Something wrong? You stopped yammering.

I'm here.

Cranky, ornery and pissy. But here. Not sure I'll be able to say the same for either of the girls by this time next week.

I was joking around with Bean the other day and asked her if she wanted to trade O in for a puppy. I really thought she'd say no, but her reply was an enthusiastic "yes!" I said "maybe I'll trade you instead" and she got all sorts of upset. So we went through a big long talk about how I was just joking around about all of it, and thought she was too, that I'd never trade either of them for a puppy, yadda, yadda, yadda.

I sometimes forget that she doesn't savvy as much as the rest of us, ya know? I had to show her that dye and die were two different words the other day after I told her I was going to dye my hair. She was horrified that I was going to "die" it, as she likes my hair. Thus began a big long talk about words that sound the same, but are spelled differently and mean different things.

Still job hunting, still way sleep deprived and now feeling the effects of being Zyrtec-less, because I think it makes me a little nutty. So I have the 'very high' pollen levels eating into my tiny little brain, and congesting the heck out of me, leaving me feeling like death warmed over by mid-afternoon. That's about when my patience runs out, my over-tiredness sets in and a day's worth of pollen does the Desperation Samba on my mucous membranes, all aligning in what I mentally refer to as the Trifecta of Impending Doom. A long, hot bath and a solid nights' sleep could take the Trifecta down a few pegs, but O's sleep has descended into suckfest levels, so O at home = sucktastic sleep for mommy.

And don't even think of telling me to go to bed earlier. The 2-3 hours I carve out for myself after the girls are "asleep" is the ONLY downtime I have in a day. So sometimes, yes, I crash and burn nice and early, but usually I'm yawning my way through a greedy "me time" grab and wishing the little ones would sleep past 5 a.m. just once. That would mean that my turning in at 9:30 wouldn't already have me missing at least an hour's worth of my much needed solid 8 hours.

Maybe I can trade myself in on a well-trained border collie ... hmmm ...

That's the kind of wooly-headed liberal thinking that leads to being eaten.

So Bean started in Manta Ray on Wednesday.

She's doing okay, but I am still so far from impressed with the teacher. I, personally, think she's awful. She gave me tons of 'tude for Bean being in her class already ("She was supposed to start Monday"), after I spoke with the director about when we were starting Bean in there and was told, essentially, 'Monday, but if she's ready now, no problem'. And told by the teacher many times 'I already have a cubby for her'.

Then I got 'tude for not having Bean's stuffed pig labeled with her name. But when I went to her old class to retrieve the pig that Bean left Wednesday, they knew exactly whose it was, no label-reprimanding required.

But what really irks me is what I witnessed when I picked Bean up Friday.

One of the kids that had just transitioned over with Bean, a boy named A, was definitely being a screamy turd. I get that that kind of behavior sucks hairy ones. It's one of the things that has me contemplating Swirly Enlightenment on a daily basis. (Hourly basis some days.) But I watched the teacher speak to him in such a shaming way ... she told him that he needed to use his words, to be a big boy, to stop acting like a baby and if he kept acting like a baby, he needed to go back to Clownfish (he and Bean's last class room). *Then* she picked up Miss O and asked him if he wanted to be a baby like her or a big boy, and kept telling him he was a baby.

I know some of y'all won't see any harm in that, and that's cool. I do, tho. Probably because I'm all wooly-headed in theory, just not super good at the actual follow-through. But Bean's spent a year plus at that school, and expressed a wide range of turdly behavior, and none of the other teachers have felt a need to shame her. Nor have I ever seen them shaming the other kids for excessive turdliness.

Am I overreacting? Would you say something to the director or owners? I asked Bean today if she liked the teacher, and she said yes, but I know she's pulled the same "if you act like a baby you have to go back to the other class" crap with Bean on at least one occasion. And when I asked Bean if the teacher told her she was a baby, she said she did when she cried. I'm just not cool with that. To me there's a huge difference between "you're a big girl, use your words" and "only babies cry, big girls use their words, and if you don't use your words you're a baby and you need to be demoted" (paraphrased and editorialized, I know, but that's the gist).


Freud would have said the exact same thing... except he might not have done that little dance

You know it's just going to be a sh*t-tastic day when you've screamed, hollered and, yes, delivered a quick swat to a tush, all well before 6 a.m.

Bean began our morning at 4:50, waking, refusing to lay back down, and then hollering "I don't want to" when I asked her to be quiet. Thus waking her sister and sealing my fate of 5 hours of sleep and an extreme level of crank. I've contemplated the Swirly of Enlightenment multiple times already. And brandy. Thank Bast her dad will be coming to take the oldest for awhile, because at the rate she and I are going this morning, we would not both survive the day.

I know, I need to read more books. But so far, all the books do is give me small tools that sometimes break through my ire with a behavior, and they make me feel like an even sh*ttier mom for not being able to be this perfect, forgiving, unconditional, relaxed and saintly mother they expect of me. I sometimes wonder if parenting books - at least the not-so-mainstream ones - rely on beating a parent down and then building them back up. The very thing they advise against in a parent-child relationship, they seem to foster in the author-parent relationship: you suck, you're doing it all wrong, here's what you should be doing.

For me, parenting books offer this utopia of a parent-child relationship, but never actually take me there. The result is lingering guilt, maybe a small bit of ability to better cope, and the hindsight to hate myself when I make my own bad choices. It's fab.

So, continuing the psychology leanings, the great social experiment that has been my blog is changing direction a little.

The vast majority of my older posts have been deleted and moved to a private blog / archive site over at Wordpress. I don't plan on adding to them, but if you want access, shoot me an email or just fill out this formand I'll add you. Be advised, if I'm not sure who you are, I may not grant you access, so in the comments, you might want to include your blog linky, how you came to be a reader here or something else that'll put my mind at ease that your intentions are honorable.

I was just feeling a little exposed, after a year of baring my soul, so I'm pulling back a little. Supposedly my blog is easy to find, although my attempts to google myself (potty brains!) haven't led me to here ... if any of you who know my first and last name have a little time to kill and want to see if you can find me, let me know what you come up with. I'm thinking that 'easy to find' may be more along the lines if 'went out of my way to find', but maybe I'm missing something.

Anyways, it'll be bidness as usual, with maybe a few changes, going forward, but I've yanked the past from public view.

I love the open diary feel of blogging, and the psychology that goes along with it. It's fascinating, and, in a way, freeing, and it's something I don't plan to give up. But my open kimono approach is going to become just a little more modest. Consider this the boxers-and-a-tank-top version :)

One of these days you're gonna have to get a grownup car.

After making the rounds of my local blogger friends, I'm thanking the PTB that my skylight survived Wednesday's storm ... I know at least three folks who lost theirs. For as much hail as I thought I got here, there was much worse to be had.

I met my folks for dinner last night after we finally got done with O's appointment (Nothing like an hour + wait with your ex and your ornery as hell toddler. Fun.) Bean came running up to meet me as soon as I walked in the door at Chili's, told me she loved me and I was her best friend at least a zillion times, and if she could have burrowed under my skin that *might* have satisfied her need to be close to me. Might have.

I've said it before, but it's such a bipolar experience dealing with Bean. Not that she's bipolar, but the extremes in behavior and

I think I'm having my own midlife crisis. I've been having the worst car envy of late. I drive around wishing I could zap unsuspecting drivers out of their sweet rides, and zap myself into their cars. Sometimes I even imagine zapping the kids over with me. (Sometimes I just figure the unsuspecting drivers would be so excited to inherit a dinged-up minivan and two adorable children that they wouldn't press charges for my zapping.)

My minivan is totally practical and serviceable, but I want something that has some style and some oomph. Something that doesn't scream "mom!" Something that's sexy.

Mmmm ... And M is the key letter here. That's an M6. You wouldn't ever use that much car in the U.S., and, from my limited driving experience in the Mother Country, there's not much use for that much car on the other side of the pond, either. But that car definitely does NOT say mom. Or practical and serviceable. It probably says, to me at least, "For the love of Pete, please stop scraping my mirrors on your garage door opening!!" or "Ack! Could you for once not nail that 12-mile-deep pothole when you cut through that parking lot?!?" or "Look, stop letting the kids eat back here, 'kay? There's only so much sticky, crumby mess that I can take before I back over you in the next parking lot." But if I could afford that much car, it could say whatever it wanted to me as I made all those horsies cringe at my sometimes less-than-stellar attention to the cosmetic details.

You know something sad? Miss O whacked my keyboard at some point and imposed a filing system on my Thunderbird email inboxes that I cannot for the life of me undo. And it annoys the heck out of me that 1. it's there, and 2. my one-year-old is unwittingly more computer savvy than I am.

I defined something? Accurately? Guess I'm done with the book learning.

We had a good 10 minutes of fun last night, in the form of a hailstorm:

I had my fingers, toes, legs and eyes crossed that the hail would not damage my skylight; thankfully I keep my van garaged, so it was safe as well. The skylight seems fine, and I haven't noticed any leaks, so I'm hoping the house came through unscathed.

I had a nice night without the girls last night, which means I'm actually well-rested today, or at least I was for the bulk of the day. Unfortunately, my sleep deficit wasn't really corrected by one night with a solid 9 hours, so now Im starting to drag again.

Thanks so much for the offers to watch Miss O during Bean's PT. Mom, I hate asking you guys to drive all the way over here for only an hour or two, but maybe sometimes I will.

Miss O just wants to wander everywhere now, so as soon as someone opens a door, especially the door that leads back to the PT gym, she makes a beeline for it. And then screams when she's thwarted. She's a much more self-contained person than Bean, but has the same opinionated streak her sister does. Added to her still non-verbal "communication" and she's one frustrated little kid sometimes. I keep trying to tell her that if she'd just talk she'd be less frustrated, but she merely smiles, babbles something, punctuates it with "mama" and gives me a hug. If I didn't know better, I'd think she was saying "But if I use words, how could I drive you batsh*t crazy, mama?"

We had Miss O's urology follow-up today. The doc was great, took plenty of time with us, explained everything, so if you need a pedi urologist in the area, let me know.

O has a very mild degree of reflux. He said it was a grade 1, but he'd call it a grade .5 if that were an option. With any degree of reflux, there's always a margin of error so it *could* be as high as a grade 2, but even that wouldn't be a huge deal. Assuming all goes well, and she has no further kidney infections, this is likely just going to be one of those things.

What she has is called Vesicoureteral Reflux: in the simplest terms, when the bladder fills, the valve between the ureter and the bladder isn't airtight, so some urine backflows up the ureter towards (or to) the kidney. In the lowest grade, the urine just goes part way back up, and in 90% of cases, it's a self-resolving thing. Meaning it corrects itself as she grows. She'll need frequent urinalyses, biannual ultrasounds and yearly VCUGs to monitor the situation. If she has one UTI/year or no UTIs, and the tests don't show any increase of grade or any damage to her kidneys, it will just be a matter of monitoring until it resolves.

If she has 2 or more UTIs in a year, or an ultrasound or VCUG shows something funny, that changes. Then it's likely surgery time.

And Bean will need an ultrasound, too, and will end up on O's same path if she has a UTI, as 35% of siblings have reflux as well. (I keep saying UTI, because that was O's e.r. diagnosis, but the urologist said UTI + fever = kidney infection. So O officially had a kidney infection, at least in the doc's book.)

Good times. At least taking Bean for an ultrasound won't be like taking Screamy Screamerson. Bean seems pretty excited about seeing her insides :)

Fine, go. Leave me here to stew in my impotent rage. I'm also gonna pee, so you *should* probably go

I had the worst day yesterday. Even Bean went to bed saying "we had a really bad day today."

It was just a crap-fest from wake-up to bedtime. I think there were 10-15 minutes of good when we first started out, but between O's latest need to scream and throw her full-on hissy fits at the slightest provocation (kid needs to learn to talk already), and Bean just being her usual strong-willed self, I was willing to drown myself in a toilet by about 9 a.m.

My dad came over and changed my tire, and when the flat one came off it had a huge honkin' hunk of metal stuck in it. I picked it up on the bridge near my house, and it was a good couple inches long by an inch wide. This was not a fixable flat. So I'll be out buying tires today.

Miss O spent most of the tire-changing time in a backpack, as she was wandering around screaming and tired, but I couldn't get her nap done because I needed to be sure Miss I didn't wander out and help grandpa with the tire change. She ended up with an hour and a half nap when it was over, and that was a decent hour and a half. Except I wasted it reading Bridge to Terabithia. But there was no screaming for the whole baby-in-carrier stretch, so even tho it was a long 2.5 hours to tote a not-so-tiny one around, it was a quiet 2.5 hours.

We had lunch when she woke up (can you believe Miss O loves liverwurst?) and then I rallied the troops for a quick outing before Bean's physical therapy. We had planned to attend N's first b-day party, but between the flat tire and Miss O being super congested and snotty, we couldn't make the party. So I picked up Bean's new orthotics (how many 3.5-year-olds can say orthotics?), and we stopped at the library for 30 minutes. Yeah, I suck for letting Miss O spread her cooties, but my sanity was already stretched beyond thin and I needed them out of the house. Shoot me. (Please?)

Trying to contain O while Bean does her hour of PT is increasingly difficult. But we managed, then Bean completely and totally ignored everything I said while I talked to her PT. And then when I was getting my purse to leave, she actually ran all the way to the outside door, let herself out and started messing around on the stairs, ramp and near the parking lot.

At that point, I was ready to pitch her beloved Clarice into the garbage as retribution, but managed to stop myself from doing that and instead let her know she was going to be without Clarice for a few days, until I was satisfied her listening and her responsiveness had improved. Of course, I didn't use those exact words; it may have been more along the lines of "If you can ever stop being such a total turd ..." But I believe my point was made and she got the gist of it.

We finally made it home (I more or less stayed on all the highway access roads so I could go slower on my donut), I made the dinner she said she would eat - peas and rice. We had had a conversation about veggies earlier, and she said she'd eat peas. Well, of course she wouldn't eat the damn food, and was all whiny and crying about it. I gave the ultimatum: eat it or go to bed hungry and without any animals or dolls to hold. She wouldn't eat it, but kept saying she'd eat just the rice. I relented to 'eat the rice or go to bed hungry and alone' (alone was her word for not having anything to hold). She balked again.

With a final warning that if I threw her food out there would be nothing else and there would be no animals to snuggle, I threw it out, then nagged incessantly for her to get ready for bed. After a few stories, I was nursing a very tired Miss O down, and getting her close to sleep, when Bean started getting all whiny about her night splints, and then when I finally got her to lay back down and wait, she started a pretend snoring thing that took my last nerve and severed it.

After I yanked off her splints and threw them, and finally got O to sleep, I came out to my office to chill and Miss O woke up 3 more times in the first hour. Then Bean woke up around 9, and was running a fever. I medicated her and told her I'd be in shortly, took an hour to myself and the went to bed with them.

It was just a day and night that had me mumbling to myself all day long about drowning myself in a toilet. Miss O has discovered the miracle or the flush, so I figured I could just stick my head in and allow her to practice me right into Swirly Enlightenment.

But there was no amount of Swirly Enlightenment that was going to fix the day, nor was the small quantity of alcohol I'll allow myself when I'm 'on duty' worth drinking (a glass of wine was no match for an Epic Fail like yesterday), and that my only recourse was sleep and the hope that today would be better.


I'm not sure what a 4 a.m. wake-up portends, but let me tell you, it doesn't make me think "this is going to be a great day!" The only thing it makes me think is "thank Bast for Starbucks drive thrus."

And - especially - thank Bast it's a school day and Bean awoke fever-free.

Boy, of all the humiliations you've had I've witnessed, that was the latest.

Driving home from picking Bean up yesterday, I heard and felt a strange sound and just knew I'd blown a tire. Fortunately I was almost home, and it wasn't until I turned down my street that all the air was gone. I did have to go maybe a half mile on a totally flat tire, but at least I got to my driveway. I'm sure I looked totally special ranting at the folks for taking forever to start moving at the light, as my sad little van limped along. If I had any pride left, it would have been humiliating ...

I've identified reason #5 husbands are nice to have around. Changing tires. Hopefully my dad doesn't mind changing my tire to my spare this morning ... my totally DIY sister will undoubtedly give me no end of grief over not changing it myself, but whatevah. Besides the obvious 'there's no way to change a tire and manage two children safely' argument, there's the fact that I doubt seriously I can loosen a lug nut. And even if I could, I don't want to. I have no need or desire to change a tire unless there's no choice in the matter. Flat tire in my driveway = plenty of choice.

In my running tally on what husbands are good for, I have:
1. Heavy lifting (both actual physical lifting and metaphorical heavy lifting)
2. Home improvements
3. Tech support
4. Touchy-feely-stuff
5. Flat tires


I've been taking some online classes. Right now I'm into one on grant writing and one on project management. PMP certification certainly wouldn't hurt my job search, nor would a basic grasp on grant writing. The grant writing class I'm taking wasn't very well-defined on my local continuing ed site, so I didn't realize it was more about starting your own business than it was about the nitty-gritty of grant writing, but I can take the more how-to classes later. Or now, if I don't feel too overwhelmed with everything. Tho honestly, I work so much better under pressure than I do in the nebulous 'too much time' world I live in now. My time-management skills are only effective when I have constraints, it seems. Maybe I'll just take the other class now too ...

I wish I could just get paid to take classes. I forgot how much I enjoy just learning. The note-taking, the new information, the new thought processes ... I miss college a lot, at least the wide open possibilities of it. The feeling I'd get with some new classes of 'Man, I would love to do this for a living!' It happened a lot, probably more a symptom of my scattered brain than anything else, but at least once a semester I'd contemplate a major change because I discovered something new. I've always said I'd like to be a lifelong student. Unfortunately, it doesn't pay for crap.


Totally random thought for the day: I call Miss O Captain Jack because her walking makes me think of Jack Sparrow.

You know me -- all about the good deeds

A few linkies you might enjoy. I'm kind of scatterbrained today, and as I worked through my magazine backlog over the past few days, I found a bunch of stuff that made me say 'huh'.

Google lets you check on flu trends:

Nifty settings for gmail: - did you know you can use Google chat to send SMS texts? Or enable mail goggles, so you don't send drunken messages you later regret?

Download a NIN/Jane's Addiction EP here:

A moment of Zen from a former GOP senator re: Dick Cheney's asinine assertion that Barack Obama's administration has put America in danger

Definitely *not* a moment of Zen for those who are taking antidepressants:

"Antidepressant drugs, already known to cause sexual side effects, may also suppress the basic human emotions of love and romance."

Now, when it comes to treating depression versus not feeling sparky with someone, it's an obvious choice which one is more important; but it's something to keep in mind, especially when you're taking an SSRI and dating. And not feeling any spark.

Hmmm ...

I subscribe to The Week in print, which is where most of this came from - it's a great condensed version of the week's national and international press in one spot:

For the condensed version of the alternative press, check out the Utne Reader:

I love both of these magazines, but I'm totally partial to reading the print versions. I just really like to kick it old school with reading - I want to hold the book or magazine or newspaper in my hands and be able to underline stuff or take notes or tear out pages. I really can't get into viewing stuff online as a preferred way of reading. I'm not alone, am I? Does anyone else still prefer the old way, or has everyone except me made the switch to online reading?

When I introduce you to Tony the foreman? You might wanna leave out stuff about blacking out and evil lint.

As I was preparing to leave for my interview yesterday, Bean was asking all the what and why questions she could, including what job I was interviewing for. I tried to explain the concept of a staffing company to her, but since she can't even grasp the whole "mommy is in charge, Bean isn't" concept, it flew a little out of her reach.

I asked Bean what she thought I would be good at. She thought, hemmed and hawed, and said: I think you are good at poopie.

No sh*t.

When I tried for something a little more impressive, I got: I think you are good at pee-pee.

It would certainly help to downplay my qualms about public speaking, huh?

I thanked her and let her know I'd mention both skills, as I hadn't considered listing them on the first go 'round. Sure as schneike, when I got home she asked: "Did you tell them you're good at pee-pee and poopie?"

Bet most other kids aren't this helpful.

I assured her that I did mention it and they were most impressed; that it put me head and shoulders above the other job seekers who hadn't mentioned their pee-pee and poopie skill sets.

She helped further by launching an impressive Bacon Double Turdburger campaign in the morning. Miss O, ever the observant understudy in her Junior Bacon Turdburger role, spent the morning trying to convince everyone that screaming and gesturing was superior to the spoken word when it comes to getting one's point across. So when I went to the interview, it was with a feeling of optimism about my future of full-time work and children in full-time care :)

Staffing agency interviews are cool in some ways - you're a little more natural, a little less worried about saying the wrong thing - it's someone that gets paid when you find a job so if you're a pretty employable person, they want you to succeed and they want to find you a position. But less cool is the ambiguity of 'we'll let you know if something comes up that fits your skill set' stuff ... But the interview went well enough and was good practice for being back in the working world.

So, hook me up with your favorite interview tips - or worst interview gaffes. Get me in the mood :)

We can't run, that would be wrong. Could we hide?

Since I've reached the point of wanting to drown myself in the washing machine, I know it's the Thursday before a kid-free weekend. I have no doubt that I set myself up, psychologically, for a collapse of all patience and tolerance when the end is near. The light at the end of the tunnel is always a double-edged sword for me - I know that relief is coming, but since I can see it and it's so close, I let my A-game slip down to my B- or C+ game. That makes Thursdays an exercise in frustration. Bean goes to my parents' house and then Dave picks her up from there to spend the night at his place, so all I have to deal with from 10:00 on is Miss O's tiny, but hissy-fit throwing, self. I'm going to have to get one of her screamy-babble-"oh-no-you-di-int" fits of film. The girl needs to start using words, and soon.

Speaking of, Miss O survived her VCUG. I'm not sure if I can say the same for her parents.

The folks there were super efficient and very good at cathing a tiny little person, but it involved strapping her down and mommy having to stand at her head and hold her hands above her head while she screamed bloody murder. Dave kept trying to distract her and I kept trying to talk her down but neither of us had any luck getting her to stop screaming. It was awful.

But there were small mercies. Like I said, the folks who did the procedure were wicked good, so they got the cath in fast and got the contrast solution in fast. They got their pictures, pulled the cath and, second small mercy, she peed everything out immediately. She was going to have to stay strapped down and screaming until she peed, and they said it could take up to 20 minutes for her to pee it out. She must have gotten the message because as soon as the cath was gone, so was the contrast solution :)

They offered me a dressing room to nurse in if I wanted to, but since O calmed down so quickly as soon as the straps were off, I passed. She still wouldn't go to Dave, who came to the procedure to be there for O, but at least she wasn't screaming. She was good enough to stay with him for a little while and allow me to go to the bathroom (toddler + public restroom = levels of yuck that make even my highly-cootie-tolerant self cringe), and then I took her over to PetSmart to see kitties. There's little else that makes the Baby Girl as happy as kitties :)

This is the cat I fell in love with; and this cat was especially taken by Miss O - every time she saw O, she made biscuits or head-bonked the glass on her cage. Miss O was delighted with her, too. Not that I'm looking for another cat, but if I were, I just really want a boycat. Like Fairfax.

Miss O took a feather wand and played with all the kitties thru the glass. There were three of them, and all three were obviously grateful for both the attention and the play. Someone remind me that being a single mom of a certain age with four cats already puts me in the virtually undateable category ... bumping up the cat numbers would not be improving my situation. At all.

Is it 9:45 yet?

My folks are coming over in a little bit to spend a couple hours with the girls while I go to an interview at a staffing company. Wish me luck at being able to shift gears from overtired and cranky mommy to totally employable and not at all imbalanced professional. Piece of cake. At least I'm having a morning that makes me *want* to go back to work ... {sigh}

Oh someone put a stake in me!

Man, I am not getting enough sleep and at day's end I am totally wiped (physically) yet motivated (mentally) to get stuff done. I'm so looking forward to a few sleeping in mornings this weekend!

Bean had a rough day yesterday. She's so damn overtired, but couldn't get a nap in the morning, so there was all kinds of badness sprinkled thru my day. Her being overtired and ornery + me being overtired and cranky = me just wanting to go into my room, turn up some loud music and pretend I live alone. Or have someone stake me.

We were joined in the a.m. by a UT photojournalism student, who is working on a piece on divorced families. She had already spent a couple hours at Dave's last weekend getting shots of he and the girls, and wanted to spend a couple hours here when the girls were with me. Her project is only for her professor's eyes, so my original concerns about being overexposed were put to rest. She asked me a bit about the divorce and about post-divorce life, and I'm really curious as to how I came across.

(As an aside, if any local divorced moms/dads are interested in allowing her to photograph you and your kids, please, let me know. So far Dave and I are the only people she's been able to talk to and she asked that I let people know what she's doing and that she's looking to interview and photograph others. I asked her to send me a blurb that I could pass along to anyone who might be interested, so if you want to email me (it's in my profile), I can pass the blurb along to you, as well as her contact info.)

Anyways, the girl was here for about 2.5 hours, and boy did she get and eye- and ear-full of a day in the life of a divorced mom at home with her girls :) O dumped a whole bag of rice krispies on the playroom floor then she and Bean did a whole sensory experiment, alternating faces, hands and bare feet as they smashed and ate krispies. Sigh. Bean ran around like the "it's all about me!" crazy person that she can be, but did sit on my lap for a few stories.

Then we went outside, where O ate dirt and Bean showed off the listening skills of a 3-year-old.

At the end, Bean wanted to help the girl take her stuff out to the car, but when I asked her to just wait a minute until everything was packed up, she flipped. I walked her to her room as she called me stupid and, of course, indian. When I picked her up because she wasn't going, she started kicking and screaming. It kept escalating until I finally said "you're not helping, and you're staying in your room." I walked out and closed the door, and she serenaded us with her CPS-worthy screams and "I want someone to hold me!" pleas.

At this point, the girl asked if this was a pretty typical day, and I said yeah, pretty much. There's always a freak out (or 27), there's always tears, there's always meltdowns, there's always chaos. But, I continued, it's usually pretty easy to handle in a positive way because I know that Bean will calm down, and when she does, she'll respond to reason and to requests. I know she really does just need someone to hold her, help her find her happy place and just give her the attention she needs. I just refuse to do any of that when she's acting like a total turd.

Sure enough, before the girl left, Bean had mellowed considerably (it's tiring kicking your door and screaming at the top of your lungs, apparently), gave me a hug and came out of her room. She wanted nothing more to do with anything except me and I got some lunch and quiet time in her before we had to leave for physical therapy. And the rest of the day was pretty smooth, especially when compared the the pre-lunch freakout.

Mommy: You're such a sweet girl.
Bean: I'm not always a sweet girl.
Mommy: No, but you know what? Even when you're not, even when I'm angry with you for making bad choices, I still love you and you're still my best buddy.
Bean: Really?
Mommy: Really.

She's such a bipolar experience sometimes.

Miss O's VCUG is this afternoon at 2:00. Think good thoughts for her, 'kay?

To read makes our speaking English good.

Happy St. Patty's Day :)

I let Bean stay home yesterday because she's got a cough and said she had a sore throat. I'm pretty much convinced it's 'just' post-nasal drip, because she's fever- and chest congestion- free, but rather than have her dramatic self wandering around informing everyone "I have a very bad cough. I'm sick" every time she coughed, I decided to just keep her home.

It was a long day.

I did get her to nap in the morning, but the kid is just so chronically overtired from waking up at 5:30 regardless of when she goes to bed (Sunday night was around 8:00) that I'm just keeping her treading water ... she could use a good week of real dedicated napping and staying at Dave's, where she always seems to sleep later.

The past couple days have yielded a few Beanism gems, though.

Bean: Let's cook Lulu (her little plastic lamb figure). First we cut her up and then we cook her in a pot. We will make lamb soup. That will taste delicious.

Later: I love lambs names Lulu. They're yummy.

Bean: I love you twenty twenty.
Mommy: What am I going to do with that much love?!?
Bean: You're going to have to give me lots of hugs.

Bean's got a couple new favorite books that I wanted to mention in case anyone is looking for new reading material.

One is Stand Tall, Molly Lou Mellon. I *love* this book. Love it. It's such a sweet little story and such a good lesson. One of my favorite things about Bean's toe-walking and all the rigamarole we go through with it is that she's been exposed to so many differently-abled kids that it's all normal to her. In a more ordinary vein, Molly Lou Mellon drives home the whole "looking different isn't bad" thing, and Bean just loves Molly Lou and the whole story.

Another is Ladybug Girl. She got this for her birthday last year, and still asks to read it a lot. It's a cute little story that builds self-confidence and belief in oneself.

She also gets a kick out of all the "Bear" books by Karma Wilson. Right now we're reading Bear Feels Sick every night. These books have a nice, gentle meter that makes them easy to read and they have some repetition that allows non-readers to get involved. They're cute little stories of friendship and compassion.

She likes Just Another Ordinary Day, too. It's like illustrated hyperbole - the words say one thing, and the illustrations take it to the max. Nothing major as far as 'the moral of the story' goes, but a fun read with a lot of imagination fodder.

We've read Click Clack Moo: Cows That Type a couple times, and I think it's pretty entertaining, but she's not asking for it a lot. Like the previous book, it's just a fun, imaginative read.

A late entry, but one she asks for several times a day, is Smash! Crash! Just a silly little book, but one that's fun to read. There are more Trucktown books out there, so I'll be keeping an eye out for them, as well.

I'm trying to decide if I get to count these toward my 100 books in 2009 goal ... ?? :)

Being this cute is not just my right, but my responsibility

Since the last post was all about Bean, it's only fair that O gets her 15 minutes as well.

But before I begin, what is it that motivates total strangers (I think three in all now, over the last few months) to feel the need to say to me "they don't favor you at all, do they?" or "they both look like their dad, don't they?" or some variation on that? Do my girls really look nothing at all like me?? And even if that's the case, in this day and age, who thinks it's okay to comment on kids looking different than their parents? International adoptions, melting pot life, advanced maternal ages, blended families ... how can anyone think it's okay anymore to say anything about how the kids look as compared to the caretaker? I smile and say "yeah, they look like their dad" or whatever, but it still pisses me off. Mostly because it's rude and tacky, but also because I want them to look a little like me, for Pete's sake!

Anyways, the Fabulous Miss O is ever so Fabulous. She now blows kisses, which ties with the early I-just-found-my-toes-and-will-nom-nom-them-with-great-joy phase for utter cuteness and being so damn endearing your head could just explode. She understands a *ton*, but still relies on the more sign for pretty much everything: food, drink, milk, more of an activity and also to indicate that she wants whatever it is she's focused on. If she's asking for food, she'll usually accompany 'more' with 'eat', tho she's as likely to push her hand at your mouth as she is at her own; and if she's looking for milk, she'll just start pulling at a shirt looking for the goods.

(Is that ASL demonstrator kind of ... I don't know .. agro?!?)

And woe be to the person who doesn't get her more whatever and fast. She has become an unparalled hissy-fitter (but with as much time as she's had studying under the Hissy Fit Master, it's no wonder), and will scream and drop to the floor in full-on "oh the humanity" mode with the slightest provocation. Her recovery time is pretty quick, but she's got some pipes on her ...

Here's the Hissy Fit pose. For yoga fans, think Child's Pose with like, a zillion times the angst.

Miss O rediscovers cake at Rachel's b-day party. As far as she's concerned, there is no bad here:

Bath time. You'll notice the hair is dry, so the baby girl is happy. Once the first water goes over her head, bath time is a beat-the-clock game, where I'm trying to wash and rinse hair while she's standing and screaming in my face. Good times.

Her (now) highly mobile and unstoppable Tiny and Cuteness. The brief periods of volatility are totally offset by long stretches of mellow joy. I'll miss the hell out of her once I start working ...

Loves you Miss O. You're just as amazing as your big sister, but in your own special ways.

I want to learn from you. But I don't want to dress like you.

Some Beanisms:

I'm trying to close this stinkin' submarine!

Mommy: You will get a towel and dry the floor.
Bean: I will be glad to.

Bean: I'm going to buy caffeine for you and me and grandma and grandpa and Aunt Bea.
Mommy: That's very nice!
Bean: I'm going to buy caffeine for everyone in this world and everyone in a different world too.

Bean, to Aunt Bea, who had just given her some money for her piggy bank: I need more money for my bank.

Bean on shapes: I like diamonds. They're like argyle.

About a Miss O movie: Oh Miss O! What a cute baby! I will hold you in my arms.

About Miss O: She's holding her dress, apparently. I guess it angered her, apparently.


Bean's sense of style is legendary. The things she puts together, the aplomb with which she wears them ... I'm so envious of her total self-confidence and utter lack of concern with 'fashion'. It's not like a kid her age knows that she's mixing patterns in a clash-tastic way, or that most folks don't wear princess dresses to Target, so she's not consciously thumbing her nose at convention. But I take it as a testament to my (and Dave's) parenting that she doesn't hesitate at all when she picks out her clothes based on what she likes versus what "goes together". I have seen some amazing things when she's given free rein with her clothing:

I'm fairly certain if I ever heard anyone say anything critical of her choices, or tell her she couldn't wear something, I'd pop them. I'll sometimes draw a line on clothing choices if she wants to wear, say, her Sleeping Beauty dress to the sand pit, but that's simply because I don't want to deal with how much sand the damn thing will drag home with us.

She's awesome, isn't she?

We're still all rooting for you on Saturday. I'd be there for you myself if I didn't have a leg wax.

The March of Dimes March for Babies is coming up on Saturday May 9th. I formed a team for any locals that want to join me walking. The team goal is $1500. Here's the team page so you can sign up to walk or, if you're not local, to sponsor my team.

Or you can just ignore this post. No big. It's not like I have stat tracking enabled and can see who visits { know who you are.coughs.} And when they visit. And how often ... but I digress. It's cool if you don't like babies or want to help them. You probably kick puppies and kittens too, don't you?

Come on - sponsor me or, better yet, join the team, get some folks to sponsor ya and go for a nice walk with me. And help the babies, too. Imagine all the karma points you can rack up. You'll probably have enough good karma stored up to get you a 'get out of jail free' card the next time you kick a puppy!

(I totally missed my calling in fund raising writing, didn't I?)

(For the record, I totally do not condone kicking puppies and kittens, nor do I associate with people who do. That I know of. I have my suspicions about a few of you ... )


I got Bean's piano lesson progress report the other day. Here's what her instructor said about her: I am so grateful for Bean! I love everything about her - her pep, wit and style. Her aptitude is astounding for her age! :)

The aptitude comment is nice, and I'm glad Bean has the opportunity if she has the aptitude. What I'm really sharing is how much her instructor appreciates her. Bean adores her piano teacher, and the feeling is obviously mutual. I can't think of a better way to spend my money than on someone who really likes my kid, you know?

In a totally opposite direction, I was talking with one of the teachers at Bean's school about the Manta Ray class - you know, the one Bean doesn't want to go to. I asked the teacher if she liked Miss Anna (the M Ray teacher). While she didn't say no, she didn't say yes, either, which is telling in itself. But she had concerns over how structured the Manta Ray class is, especially when the next classroom they go to is *not* as structured, and historically, the kids go wild when they move up and out of the highly structure environment Miss Anna creates.

The teacher I was talking to said that a lot of kids respond really well to Miss Anna, but she could totally understand why Bean was so resistant. I don't think I ever really see Miss Anna smile or act like she enjoys her job or her interactions with the kids, and that really bothers me. I know some of you (quietly) think I'm a total pushover, that Bean gets away with too much, that I'm too liberal in the way I raise her - and I don't mind that you think that way. There are times I wonder the same things myself. But then I remember she's only 3.5, and yeah, she'll be 4 in a few months, but when I was her age, my only real structure was my dad came home at noon for lunch and at 5:00 for dinner. My mom could chime in a little better on how strict she was, but since I am told with great frequency that Bean is just like I was as a kid, I can't believe there was an overabundance of strict. At least not enough to break my will :)

I refer to Manta Ray as the Evil Empire these days ... not to Bean or within earshot of her, but it's kind of how I picture it. I talk it up to Bean, emphasizing the science experiments they supposedly do. But she says that Miss Anna hollers at her and isn't nice. Not too much lipstick I can put on that kind of pig ...


Miss O had her urology appointment yesterday. The good news is that her kidneys and bladder didn't show any damage on the ultrasound. And she's finally over 20 pounds! Her kidneys were small - like in the 10th percentile - but they said that when you look at the tiny little package the kidneys come in, it doesn't seem like they are abnormally small.

She goes in next week for the dreaded VCUG, and they'll get a sterile urine sample at that time. Thankfully, she's in the hand of people who cath little kids and babies all day long, so they will be really good at what they do. I'll update y'all on that when I know more.

One thing this specialist appointment did was solidify my belief that we need to change the girls' pediatrician. They never sent the records from O's hospital visit to the urology folks, and when I called them yesterday to ask again, I told them to call me if there was any problem. Whaddaya know, they never sent them and never called me.

When Dave called to ask them to resend them, they gave him a ton of 'tude and blamed me for not telling them it needed to be sent. Then they called me and told me they never got the records. I called the hospital, and they sent the records 2/26. The hospital gave me the info I needed to allow the specialist to request the records without having my signature to authorize, and thanks to the urology office and the hospital, O's records arrived in time for her appointment.

The screw ups and blame game, coupled with the 'tude, mean they're out. The girls will have a new ped, who I met at a Q&A session and who seemed really nice and well-informed. As a bonus, their office accepts patients on delayed or alternative vaccination schedules (the main reason I was staying at the other office, as the girls are not vaccinated), and the ped I talked to said she'd present information, but I wouldn't be forced to comply. I never mind being given information to make sure my informed choices are still well-informed, so she and I should do just fine :)


Dave had the girls last night so I got in some uninterrupted online and relaxing time. My Aunt Beatrice is in town for a visit, and I believe my parents are bringing her over today so she can meet the girls. I'm also trying to accomodate a UT photojournalism student on Sunday, who is working on a divorced families piece. Then Bean and I have a b-day party to attend in the afternoon and Dave is taking Miss O Sunday afternoon and overnight so the big girls and I can attend and stay for dinner. It's a hectic weekend so I'm especially grateful for last night's break!

I didn't jump. I took a tiny step and there the conclusions were.

Bean's new word (and it's used properly almost exclusively) is "apparently". As in:

Mommy: Bean, what are you doing?
Bean: Eating my lamb, apparently.

Apparently so.


Yesterday was a long day. Just long.

The pre-5:00 wake up led to a pre-9:00 nap for both girls, with both sleeping a good 1.5-2 hours. I had promised Bean that if she napped, we could go to Chuck-A-Cheese (there's no point correcting her on the "E" part). Since she did, we did. I have like a quadrillion tokens left over from her party and other parties, so it was just the pizza cash outlay and thus a cheap date.

It started on a banner note when she freaked about the monster truck that had been, until she sat in it, her whole damn raison d'etre. Then it started, and so did the freak scene. I lifted her out, she and Miss O rode the very tame roller coaster simulator, then we ate. While we were eating, O was laughing and clapping about the bigger roller coaster simulator, so I decided to take her on it.

Cue freak scene numero dos. Bean is crying hysterically that she doesn't want us to ride it, and figuring it would abate quickly, I just told her we were and got on. O loved it. Bean stood outside the ride and cried/screamed/yelled the entire time.

The rest of our time there was better, although watching Bean and Miss O play air hockey would have made up for just about any other badness that occurred. I had O in a high chair (oh, Bean did a mini-freak about me not putting her in one) so she could at least see the table, and they both scored points by absolute accident. I wish I'd had my camera ...

Leaving Chuck-A was yet another horror scene, with Bean running away from me - at least she stayed on the sidewalk - and refusing to get in the car. I threatened to leave her, no dice. I took her beloved reindeer Clarice and what was a freak out ratcheted up to what probably looked like a full-on abduction by the time I got her in the car. She was screaming and crying, so I screamed back at her and stopped the van at a furniture store and told her she could either stop or I'd just let her out here because they had comfy beds she could take a nap in.

Not my finest moment, but she was freaking O out and my wafer-thin patience was at that point stretched to breaking. It got her to calm down enough for me to talk to her and give her logic and rationale, as well as an idea of when and how she would get Clarice back.

Like an idiot, I made another stop on the way home. And endured yet another public freak scene and this time a few judgy looks as I struggled to cope. One of the women got into some ad-magneted car advertising some granola-minded kids thing, so I'm sure she's gone back to the other granolas and told them about the awful mom at the consignment store. I keep checking (hoping) she posts to the local AP list about me, since there's always a handful of folks on there who feel it's their place to make assumptions about the quality of mothers they see in public.

When you hear a mom total demean and berate their child, tell them (in so many words) they don't like or want them, and/or really hit their kid in public, that may be an opportunity to mount your high horse and take your tiny step to your conclusions. Hell, I do it when it's painfully obvious. But parenting Bean and trying (and often failing miserably) to be a card-carrying AP momma has taught me the value of the benefit of the doubt. Now, unless I see something egregious, my first instinct with a frazzled mom and kid that's being a turd is "I wonder how long that kid has been acting like that?" I actually assume they've been rock-solid good moms all day, in the face of total turdery from their kid(s), and I just happened on the straw that broke the camel's back.

And since O's naps were all messed up yesterday, she was absolutely faklempt by the time the evening rolled around, and I was treated to no fewer than 5 of her latest Oscar-nominated meltdowns. We're talking a collapse to the floor and screams that would be more apropos were I doing some sort of torture combined with all the cats ignoring her. Meltdowns that are like black holes of communication, where there is nothing verbal that can reach her. You have to stop everything, pick her up and console her. And don't even think of putting her back down once the waterworks have shut down and she's smiling. Dinnertime, after dinner clean up, bedtime prep and Bean's story time are not at all conducive to the level of response that O requires when she's reached her zenith, so her drama queen evenings just suck.


Fortunately, today is an easy day for me. Bean has school, Dave's taking Miss O to her urologist appointment and then keeping her and Bean tonight, and I'm attending another job-related seminar about using LinkedIn to maximize job search results. And then I believe there will be a glass of wine, a hot bath and a good night's sleep in my future.

I think I speak for everyone here when I say, "huh?"

There is just something obscene about a pre-5:00-wake-up. If the clock had read 5:04 instead of 4:54, I would be less annoyed. But no. It was before 5:00. And I'd already been up a good 15 minutes trying to nurse Thing 2 back to sleep when Thing 1 started with her "mommy, can you lay with me?"s

Ex-freakin'-hausting. And it's not like I can just adjust with a cup of coffee and 30 minutes of down time. No. I spend the first hour of my morning getting up every few minutes to handle some major event. You no the kind: someone spills their snack, someone has to ask an important question, someone takes someone else's stuffed animal. All said in a whiny-crying tone that sounds like nails on a chalkboard ... stuff that even on a palmful of Valium and 12 hours sleep I'd find annoying. On no Valium and about 6 fractured hours of sleep, it's especially annoying. I'll be taking some extra vitamin B today, I just know it.


I've mandated a nap this morning before we do anything, so wish me luck. I want to try to get them both to sleep in their room and then spend nap time getting the job thing going again. I was apathetic last night after attending a resume workshop and realizing that, while it's not sucktastic, my resume needs work and is unlikely to get me an interview because it's missing some components. Makes it hard to even send it in for the jobs I'm interested in. I think I'm just going to suck it up and pay someone to make it sparkle. Until then, I'm flip-flopping on "do I just send in my resume now, or wait to see if these positions are still there after my resume is fixed?"

The resume workshop guy also said that no-one reads cover letters, but you still need to have one. Ummm ... frustrating. I use my cover letters to tie my experience to the job, and to inject some personality into my application. They are time consuming and sometimes difficult to write, they're necessary, but apparently only in the check box sense: as in, cover letter? Check. Resume? Check.


After that uplifting news, here's what I picture when I send resumes (and their seemingly worthless cover letters) into the Internet void:


I can only assume that Basement Cat is the likely recipient and that he mocks me openly before shredding my resume and worthless cover letter, putting them in his Basement Cat potty and peeing on them. Then he takes my formerly unconquerable soul and eets it fur brekfest.


At least I have Thing 1, who cheers me with her Beanisms:

Mommy: Do Goldfish belong on the floor?
Bean: Apparently, no.

Bean: Look Mommy. I made you lemonade.

Yes you did, sweetheart. Yes you did.

Whatever is causing the Joan Collins 'tude, deal with it. Embrace the pain, spank your inner moppet, whatever, but get over it.

What a day.

I mentioned before that I thought my difficulties with Bean might be related to PMS ... well, this week - yesterday, especially - is adding weight to my theory. I just had no patience or tolerance with her. Last week she threw stuff at me, kicked me and pulled my hair and I was like a Zen Master. Yesterday she was just being a pain-in-the-butt kid and I could have throttled her like a kazillion times. My fuse was about this long: ' and it was all used up by about 6:15 a.m. Even knowing I was being an unreasonable beotch with her didn't help stem the tide. I think I need to have my hormone levels checked.

I should be writing cover letters, but I can't get my brain into it. They seem like such a superfluous, archaic formality anymore. These days you send your resume with the click of a mouse, and it goes into the void of the Interwebz and you rarely even receive a note letting you know your resume was received. I'm going to a resume workshop today, so I'll be sure to ask how necessary the things are anymore, although I know I'll still include one even if the response is "not very". I tend to kick it pretty old school on this stuff (case in point, I even bought heavyweight resume paper for the grand total of zero printed and mailed resumes I've submitted).

Speaking of that paper, I should probably print a couple "nice" copies to take with me in case there's a networking opportunity today. I'm thinking of having business cards made, too, just with my name and contact info and the generic 'writer' as a job title. I just hate the whole networking-with-a-piece-of-paper thing ... looks so cheesy. So even though I don't have a 'real job', a card would just be so much more professional.

Miss O has a Gymboree trial class today ... I doubt I'll be impressed enough in one class to justify the expense, but I feel bad that she doesn't have all the opportunities that Bean did. A big piece of it is the whole "I'm single and broke" thing, but part of it is that second-class citizenry that second (and subsequent) children just seem destined to inhabit. They have a small stretch of bonus point time when they are 'the baby', but once they reach toddlerhood, they're wearing hand-me-downs and their toys are just whatever the older kid has that seems least likely to be eaten and choked on. So you do all the fluffy extracurricular stuff with kid #1, but for some reason you do less, if any, with kid #2. Like their sad little half-completed baby books, their social lives are kind of an afterthought ...

Said afterthought is hovering around my chair, mooching bits of chocolate chocolate chip muffin while I multi-task. I'll give a big shout-out for Costco muffins because they totally rock. Miss O concurs, but you'll have to take my word for it as it sounds more like "ticka-ticka-ticka-hooo-hooo-mmmmm" than it does "I concur; these muffins are divine."

Thankfully, it's a school day, and I'm even getting a Miss O break when I attend the resume workshop, so it's possible that my cantankerous and ornery self won't be so cranky with Bean. Although the craptastic nights' sleep I had makes it extra good it's a school day. Miss O was up for awhile at 3 a.m. ... she'd nurse down, seem like she was going to conk out, and then pop back up. At some point, I found myself lying next to Miss I with Miss O sprawled perpendicular to us and still latched on. I had and have no recall of getting us there.

In the middle of the night, when I'm all discomboobulated and cranky, the notion of just putting her in a crib and letting her cry it out has so much appeal. In the harsh light of day, though, I know I'd never really do it. It just isn't my style. I figure she has to outgrow the frequent waking and nighttime nursing at some point, because Bast knows I'm not shacking up with her when she goes off to college!

Tact is just not saying true stuff. I'll pass.

A couple recent Beanisms:

The reason why he doesn't like me is he doesn't like my long hair. But he likes my short bangs.

You're the bestest hair cutter, mama.

I can have a pink car, and daddy can have a blue car, and you can have a green car and O can have an orange car. Everyone can have whatever color they want. And Ayssa can like pink just like me.

I put water in the teapot. I got it from my sink because I'm allowed. I didn't get it from your sink because I'm not allowed.

I was so sad (at daddy's house) because I missed you a lot.

Mom, I was so worried about you because I didn't notice you at your house when I was at daddy's.

Bean (talking about when I pick her up at school): Stop saying 'say goodbye to your friends and goodbye to Miss Maggie'. Stop saying that, okay?
Mommy: Okay. Why do you want me to stop saying that?
Bean: Because it tires me out.

I was brought up a proper lady. I wasn't meant to understand things. I'm just meant to look pretty.

Ahhhh ... {stretches}

It's 7:30 on my final night off. What a nice weekend. I could totally get used to this.

Had some friends over Friday night for an impromptu wine and snack BS session. I had actually wanted/planned to join a local meetup group that was going out to The Main Event, but the Irony Gods had some fun at my expense and zapped me with a subtle-but-present cold sore. No *way* was I going out for a first-time meeting with that kind of disfigurement, so I enacted Plan B, which was a last-minute blitz of "Come over and drink wine and there will be no children." Not a hard sell for the stay-at-home-mom crowd :)

Saturday I really, truly intended to go to the Ikeasaurus garage sale, but after going to bed so late and being allowed to sleep in, I had only a couple hours until it was time for my class. So I hit Borders and Macy's at the Domain, scored HUGE on sale shopping (we're talking Lauren pants for $25), had an indulgent latte and a bagel for lunch, and headed over to the JJ Pickle center (I truly cannot make these kinds of things up). 5 hours of PowerPoints and note-taking and I felt sort of smart. It was cool. I don't usually feel smart; it's more like the 12 brain cells I need to eat/breathe/pee and not forget my kids when I leave are all that stands between me looking functional and me drooling and lost in a corner. But the toe-dip in the shallow end of the learning pool was really nice, and - kudos to me for stepping out of my shell - I actually sought out contact information for networking. Yay me!

Today I had the girls for a few hours so Dave could whip the house into shape for an open house. I napped Miss O, then dragged the troops to Toys-R-Us to look for some sort of outside playscape. I found some kick-ass outside toys at Goodwill the other day: an adjustable, freestanding basketball net, a tool bench (sans tools), a beat up plastic table and a Little Tikes chair for - ready for this? Six dollars. Total. Another $8 got me an older style Plan Toys parking garage (that I actually like way more than the newer style I linkied) and a vtech piano/farm thingie for Miss O. I so rock. I also earned a fat reward check from my credit card, so between the ridiculously cheap toys and the reward check, I don't have to be as frugal with the climber/playscape purchase. The Bargainista in me, tho, can't help but want a better deal than actual retail ...

After a weekend more or less alone, I've realized that I miss having a husband for three reasons:
Heavy lifting
Home improvement
Tech support

And I've realized that I don't want to settle for anything - I want a good job so I can hire the above crap done when it needs done (that's my North Carolina coming out there). Eventually I'd like to find someone to share my life with but really, I'm in no hurry. I kind of like this on my own feeling, and the privacy and control that come with it. I can't imagine giving that up soon, and certainly can't imagine getting involved with someone who needs a lot from me. Love, trust, respect and shared time, yes. The need for me to be their alpha and the omega, not so much. I'd rather fly solo.

I really, really want to get back to work now. For my own ego's sake, if nothing else. But I want this to be just on me. Now, don't think I'll be returning the child support checks, because you're damn Skippy I deserve them for as much as I do for the girls and purchase on their behalf. But I want to be off the dole. I don't want to be dependent. I don't like it one bit. I don't like the idea of Miss O in full-time care, but I prefer it to feeling as if I'm a kept woman.

Can I get an amen?

Locals - go to a garage sale Saturday morning!

To benefit a cool little guy and his family:

It's more than just a garage sale: there will be a bake sale, fun for the kids and a chance to write a special message for a very special little man.


Just sitting here watching our barren lives pass us by.

You know you're old when you're looking at Spanx, thinking, maybe ...

I'm actually in pretty good shape, overall, just have this roll of a mummy tummy that seems to be more extra skin than anything else. Probably from several expansion-contraction cycles, most of which can be blamed on pregnancy, but I was no skinny minnie when I graduated from college and got married, nor was I in good shape before my pregnancies with Miss O and Miss I. So now there's a dunlop belly (it done lopped over my panty line) to show for two c-sections and general laziness :)

I swear, after a lifetime of swearing "I'd never have plastic surgery", I've never been more intrigued by a tummy tuck.

Miss O is enjoying watching all the kiddos heading to elementary school this morning. My office window looks out onto the street, so she's sitting on a rubbermaid container and watching the world go by. Of particular interest to her are the parents walking their kids to school with their dogs. She's probably the only person on the road that's overjoyed to see a shih tzu, shih in their front yard.

I've a deliciously long and solo weekend ahead, and all I can think about doing is finishing my taxes and painting a wall with chalkboard paint for the girls. I'm such a lame-o. But I'm going to have to go see a tax person to help me figure out all the post-divorce-tax BS, and doing so with kids in tow would be insane. Plus, painting with kids at home would suck too. I just need to find out if the pretty colored chalkboard paint is an in-stock thing or a needs to be ordered thing. Martha Stewart has a DIY version I could make myself, but since I can't even reliably find a stud to nail brackets into, I'm thinking The Martha and I are on two very divergent paths. Mine happens to be less traveled by, which is nifty, but also happens to be one where home improvement and DIY skills are sacrificed for snark and good grammar.

O and I just had breakfast - two eggs each. She can snarf down scrambled eggs like no-one's business, and I fattened hers up a bit by using cream cheese in lieu of milk. Now she's rocking out (as only a toddler can) in the kitchen to the The Cult's Love Removal Machine. My kids have stellar taste in music; Bean's new favorite song is Your Number is One by The Rollins Band. Kid can name that tune in like, 10 notes.

Don't be too jealous. I suffer through Laurie Berkner just like the rest of y'all, too. And she likes Allison Krauss and John Mayer, courtesy of her dad's aural-Valium-like musical leanings. And, sadly, banjos. But she generally asks me for good music, including 10,000 Maniacs, Henry Rollins, Rage Against the Machine, old-school r.e.m. and The Grateful Dead. Miss O does her toddler rock-out to anything with a beat, but The Cult and Modest Mouse got big grins this morning.

Miss O has just wandered in, with her hair falling out of her updo, a tot-sized broom and a very cute Patchwork Pixie diaper. Still rocking out, with her white girl dance moves. I'm off to do the mommy thing. Happy TGIF everyone :)

There are some things I can just smell. It's like a 6th sense.

"Mommy, I need to tell you something. I'm a little bit congested."

Ahh, the joys of Austin allergy season. Now we'll all be snuffling and sneezing until the temperature rises to our surface-of-the-sun summertime standard, popping any variety of OTC allergy meds and toting around tissues (if you can, get bean to say tissue to you - I can't accurately capture the way she says it, but I love the way it sounds). I hate congestion and the accompanying loss of sense of smell. Although now would be the time to try to sneak mashed cauliflower past Bean, trying to pass it off as mashed potatoes. Any other time, she's pick out the smell from across the room.

Her ENT appointment yesterday went well. If you're in my area and need an ENT, Dr. Briggs was fabulous with Bean, and came recommended from a friend whose daughter needed tubes. Her hearing test showed a delta between what her nerves were capable of hearing and what she actually hears, a pressure test indicated some fluid in her middle ears, and a visual exam showed the same thing. The doc is all about conservative treatment, so she has a Nasonex spray that she needs to take every night, in the hope/thought that there could be an allergy component that's causing swelling where the eustacean tubes drain, and keeping her nose clear will reduce the swelling and allow the fluid to drain. She has a recheck in 8 weeks, and if the fluid is still there, tubes are an option to drain it out. I know I hear much better this time of year when my nose is totally clear, so I'm going to trust that this will work. Although it would be interesting, to say the least, to hear what anesthesia does to her Beanisms, as I know I ramble like a genial drunk when I come out of general anesthesia ...

It looks like I am going to have one heck of a me-time weekend: Dave is taking both girls Friday night through Monday morning. That's three nights' worth of decent sleep for me. It's sad that sleep is what excites me most, but we're back to the 5:00-5:30 wake-ups and I've been staying up late looking for jobs and building up my references and connections to enhance my chances. So my average sleep has been in the 5-6 hour range for the past week, and that's 5-6 interrupted hours, as Miss O wakes at least once in that stretch.

I'm signed up for a class at UT this weekend, and a few job-related seminars next week. I also plan on combing craigslist and the local resale shops for outside-friendly toys for the girls. I'd love to find a playhouse and a climbing thing, as well as some rugged, outside-only toys. My Aunt suggested joining some meetup groups to find stuff to do, and I'm already a member of few singles groups there but I may look at other interests to see if I can find something to attend this weekend.

A couple Beanisms from this morning:

Oh Miss O, you can't do this stuff. Crazy, crazy, crazy ...

(About her dolly) She's nice and quiet. She thinks she's in the woods, she's being Zen.
(I've talked to Bean about envisioning her happy place to help her mellow out when she's wound up; it's funny and nice to hear her 'teaching' her baby dolls the same thing)

Your mouth is open, sound is coming from it. This is never good.

It's amazing how quickly things can go south when Bean is involved.

One minute she's telling me "I want FIVE stories tonight because I was super good!" and within 5 minutes, she's gone down to one story due to poor behavior, which quickly becomes zero stories when she hollers at me "I want a story .. god damnit!" Thankfully I was in the other room, so she couldn't see the suppressed laugh (because, seriously, it's *funny* hearing your 3.5-year-old yell something like that), but she definitely lost all hope of stories at that point.

I hate not reading to her, but she'd already lost Clarice and Bambi (the kid loves her some deer), as well as her favorite My Pretty Pony, so I had little else to take that she truly wanted.

During a play date today, she flipped out on me when I removed a metal pot from her hands, just so I could get her to listen to my request that she not do a metal-on-metal drum deal with the pot and the metal ladle she had. Before I could shape my request, she called me stupid and threw the ladle at me. Believe it or not, I wasn't really mad, just knew she had to have consequences, so I told her to go to her room. She screamed no and ran away. I went to retrieve her and when I picked her up, she began hitting with one hand and *yanking* my hair with the other. She got a quick swat on the tush when I couldn't get her to let go any other way ... y'all know I hate physical discipline, but she was not responding to my verbal requests and she was really hurting me.

She has an ENT appointment tomorrow to follow up on the 'failed' hearing screening ... I'm hoping that if they concur on the hearing loss, that it's something easily remedied, like fluid in the middle ear. I'd also love them to say: "Once we fix that, her hearing will be 100% and she'll totally listen the very first time you ask her to do something. She'll never sass you again, either. That's be $15."

Hey, a girl can dream, can't she?


Local moms, check out the rummage sale this Saturday to benefit Ikeasaurus. I had hoped to donate stuff, but can't get my poop in a group. So instead, I'll do what I do best and shop :)

You're not, by any chance, betraying your secret identity just to impress cute boys, are you?

I psyched Bean up about wearing her splints to school by telling her they could be part of her secret identity - her shoes covered the foot part, and her pants covered the leg part, and she said that no-one could see them.

Then when I picked her up today she told me: "I showed everyone my secret idenivive and they thought it was COOL!"

Miss O and I had a nice day, although we essentially made the drive back and forth from Bean's school three times: to drop Bean off, to attend a play date in a nearby neighborhood and then to pick Bean up. The play date was with a new group I joined, and it was an opportunity to ask a pediatrician questions. So I got a second opinion on Bean's ears and Miss O's UTI. And since I'm kinda "eh" about our current ped, I'm casually 'shopping' for a new one. This doc said at her practice the respect delayed/alternative vaccine schedules, and would be okay with a non-vaccinating parent, so I may switch. Who knows.

I've got to make a million appointments, or so it seems; mostly for the girls, but a couple for me, too, including some professional help with taxes. Divorce and not having everything totally separate is a pain in the rear when tax time rolls around ... I'm so looking forward to all the loose ends being cleanly severed. Now we still have this mess of a my-name-on-his-stuff / his-name-on-my-stuff cluster scromp and figuring out what I can and can't claim is a challenge.

What is your childhood trauma?!?!

I'm fairly certain that there isn't a single business in the greater ATX area that hasn't received my resume.

Yes, I'm pursuing the teaching gig, but I'm keeping options open as well. I like the idea of teaching, but I'm also a little warm on the idea of a job where there's some travel. And grown-up nights out to entertain clients or to be the entertained client. This isn't exactly the economy for it, but from what I can see there are still jobs out there, I just imagine the competition is tougher than ever ...


Bean and I went grocery shopping, allegedly, this morning. But when Dave asked if I could pick up O after her a.m. nap, and Bean expressed a desire to keep doing stuff, I nixed the grocery part, left with a couple small things, and picked up the little one. Bean had her heart set on eating a croissant (I distracted her with a cookie at Target, but should have known better than to think she'd forget the croissant), so we stopped at Randall's to grab a few.

Randall's has these ratty old 'car carts', that Bean wanted at first, but then climbed right out of in the store. Rather than deal with pushing the gimpy thing around for no reason, I swapped it out for a regular cart. Bean wanted to ride in the seat - the singular seat, which meant Miss O was either going to be carried or free to roam. Neither is a good scenario. So I told Bean she needed to walk so O could ride.

Cue one full-scale freak out of nuclear proportions.

Fortunately for my blood pressure and for Bean's longevity, I find this new style of freak out laughable. I don't know if my hiding a smile/laugh is any more or less damaging to her psyche than my freaking out at her for freaking out, but it is what it is.

She started by running circles in the cart vestibule, screaming. I tried to talk her down, it didn't work, so I feigned departure. She took off into the store. Sigh. I had to go chase her down with O in my arms, then try to get her to leave with me. Because you're damn Skippy that screaming and freaking out, peppered with a few "you stupid!" barbs, means no effin' croissants.

I caught up to her, tried to explain we were leaving, she refused to walk out, so I tried to pick her up in my free arm. Almost dropped both of 'em, so I had to walk a good 100 feet or so back to the vestibule to secure O in a cart, then retrieve Miss Pissy Pants. Fortunately, she kept any would-be kidnappers at bay with continued screaming and histrionics, and when I got back to her, an older woman was down on the floor talking to her. I gave the woman a 'what can ya do?' smile, scooped Bean up, put her in the cart, and left. I later found out she was telling Miss Pissy Pants to be nicer to her mommy ... believe me, I had a moment's hesitation wondering if the woman was thinking I had abandoned Bean, or that I was some terrible person for letting her freak out and walking away.

We came home, I fed Bean a banana and put her to bed. At 11:00. She slept an hour and a half and was a new woman. Of course, when she awoke she was asking for ... you've got it: a croissant.

These freak outs are just amazing in their intensity. A-freakin'-mazing. Especially considering the grievances that trigger them. For me to work up into that level of pique, you'd have to kill all my cats (you'd get Anya as a freebie, but the others would piss me off), kick my girls and tell me that I had to put Shannon up for a week and be nice to her. For Her Royal Freakiness, just deny her a seat in the cart.

But for whatever reason, I don't find myself getting at all angry with her about them. I honestly get more tense when she dawdles or is wasteful. Watching her run in circles screaming in public just makes me laugh.


Beanism du jour: Max is the nicest cat, but I think Anya isn't. That means we have to turn her into powder.

Yes folks, she'll be here all week.

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