Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Wordless Wednesday: Surprise, Snowfall, & Sweetness

Wubster: I miss mommy [sad face]
Mini-Me: If I give you a hug you will get some of mommy's love that's left on me.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

The Accelerated Velocity of Terminological Exactitude


Oh yeah! Random Tuesday Time!

This time last week I had just finished up day one of what turned out to be a two day work can't beat a three day weekend, followed by a two day work week, followed by a four day weekend. I don't know why we haven't adopted this as standard practice.

Aaaactually...hanging out with two boys suffering from a raging case of cabin fever made the prospect of heading back to work look pretty good!

On that note...where are you, Spring? I want to caress your blossoms while your sweet whispers tickle my ears...oh, and I'd like it if the boys could run around outside for a while every afternoon.

Tonight's night one of my Solo Dad Adventure. The wife's travelling for work and I'm juggling the kids...literally. I was doing okay until I added an apple and attempted to take bites out of it every pass. Mini-Me's going to need to grow his hair out to cover his ears. After that massive fail I decided to hold off on the flaming machetes. There's always tomorrow night!

Special thanks to Keely for the Randomness!

Monday, January 24, 2011

The Godpreschooler

For a few days there, I was  worried about Mini-Me's interactions with several of his classmates. The kid who was his best friend before Christmas was now apparently laughing at him every day. Mini-Me told me his side of the story on our drives home and I did my best to convince him to be more assertive in standing up for himself or to just avoid this kid totally. Then I got a call that he woke up sick from a nap and, when I got there to pick him up, I realized I didn't need to be quite so concerned...

The Godpreschooler

[Mini-Me's father, Doug Corleone enters, worriedly scans the room for his son, and spots him resting on a cot away from the other children, coughing. Mini-Me makes eye contact with his father and walks towards the door, but a group of children surround him.]

Tyler Bartuzzi: Mini-Me, can I be Bat Hound?

Mini-Me [Rubbing his cheek, contemplatively with his knuckles]: Yeah. That works for you.

Tristan Napolitioni: Mini-Me, can I be Nightwing?

Mini-Me [Still rubbing his cheek]: Ehh...if that's what you think is best, then sure.

Alex Rizzi: You have to leave before gym time because you're sick, Mini-Me? Can I be Batman, then?

Mini-Me: Batman?!? Batman!!! You've gotta answer for the sins you committed in the name of Green Lantern yesterday. You fingered Hal Jordan for the Manhunters.

Alex Rizzi: Mini-Me, you got it all wrong.

Mini-Me: Ah, that little farce you played with the Injustice League. You think that would fool a Corleone?

Alex Rizzi: Mini-Me, I'm innocent. I swear on the Goldfishes...they're so delicious.

Mini-Me: Sit down.

Alex Rizzi: Please don't do this to me, Mini-Me. Please don't.

Mini-Me: Red Tornado is napping. So is Green Arrow. Hawkman. Robin. Martian Manhunter. Today I settled all family business so don't tell me that you're innocent. Admit what you did.

[Alex starts sobbing]

Mini-Me: Get him a drink. Don't be afraid, Alex. Come on, you think I'd make my Justice League uneven? I'm Godpreschooler to your favorite action figures.

[Alex gets handed a paper cup filled with neon orange drink]

Mini-Me: Go ahead. Drink. Drink. No, you're out of the respectable superhero business, that's your punishment. You're finished. I'm putting you in a different game. Tommy?

[Tommy hands Mini-Me a purple costume]

Mini-Me: I want you to wear this, you understand?

[Alex nods]

Mini-Me: Only don't tell me that you're innocent. Because it insults my intelligence and it makes me very angry. Now, who approached you first? Cobblepot or Nigma?

Alex Rizzi: It was Nigma.

Mini-Me: Good. There's a bathroom there where you can change. I'll call your mom and tell her what you've become. 

Alex Rizzi: Listen, Mini...

Mini-Me: Go on. Get out of my sight! You're a Wonder Twin now...

Thursday, January 20, 2011

The Anthony Bully

OSLC. 2011. Pre-School. Pick-up Time.
"Hey, buddy! How are you!?!"
"You had a good day?"
"Great! You ready to go?"
"Okay, well let's get your coat on."
"Daddy, Alex was laughing at me today and I didn't like it."
"He was?"
"Yeah. He was laughing and he wouldn't stop."
"Why was he laughing."
"I don't know."
"Did you tell him you didn't like it."
"Yeah, but he kept laughing. It made me sad."
"I'm sorry, buddy. I thought he was your friend."
"He was my friend, but today he made me sad, so I don't want to invite him to my birthday party."
"Okay, well, we've got a couple months before we need to worry about that. If he keeps bothering you, you can go play with someone else, right?"
"But he made Tyler and Hayden laugh at me, too."
"Wow, bud. Did you talk to your teachers?"
"Yeah. They told him to stop, but he laughed at me again after nap. He's not my friend anymore."
This first in a series of similar revelations over several days shocked me. Just a few weeks prior, Mini-Me asked if this Alex kid could come over for a play date. He told me they were best friends. It made me ignore the fact that Alex tells me I'm bald and calls me his daddy every afternoon. But now he's tormenting my boy? The kid who's everyone's best friend? Awash in memories, I pondered how to guide Mini-Me through what might be his first experience with a bully who likes pushing people's buttons to get a reaction.

Jefferson Middle School. 1989. Eighth Grade. History.
“Oh man…who farted? Was it you, Jeff?”
“Naw, man. Not me!”
“Ha! I wish!”
“Ewww, gross! Never!! It was probably you, David!”
“Naw…not me. I know, it was Doug! Hey, Doug! Doug-man! Did you fart?”
“You did, didn’t you!”
“Haha! It was you! You farted! Doug farted! Hey Doug, stop stinkin’ up the place! Ha!”
I didn’t fart.”
“No need to deny it, man. You farted. Phew! It was a good one, too.”
It wasn’t me.”
“Doug farted, everybody…dropped a stink bomb…probably ripped his pants!”
I didn’t fart. It wasn’t me.”
“Dude, Doug! I can hardly breathe. Man that’s bad!”
“It wasn’t ME!”
For the first time, EVER, I stood up and left a class without permission. Just walked out. I didn’t know where to go or what I was going to do; I just needed to get out of there. I wasn't the responsible party. It probably was David, but I couldn't handle the teasing any longer. This wasn't the first time David had chosen me as his target in order to get laughs and admiration from our peers.

As the classroom door squeaked open, I could feel everyone’s eyes burning through me, even my teacher’s, who, I imagine, sat slack-jawed at her desk. She must have figured I was sick, because Doug never does anything without permission. Well-intentioned, she sent some of the boys to check up on me.

Jeff, my best friend from the day I moved to Garland in the summer of 1984 to the day I moved away in the winter of 1988, but who, when I returned for eighth grade, had changed, walked into the boy’s bathroom and found me at the sink, trying to hide the tears in my eyes.

“Hey, Doug. You okay?”
“Yeah. I’m fine. Just leave me alone, please.”
Truthfully, while we had both changed in our time apart, he had done most of the changing. He ran with the ‘cool crowd,’ talked easily with everyone, and looked like he belonged in NKOTB. I played clarinet in the band, spoke hesitantly around people I didn’t know well, and looked like…well, let’s just say I made Screech look cool. We were still friends, but not like we were those first few years as we marched throughout the neighborhood on sentry duty, parachuted from rooftops, built elaborate battle scenes for our G.I. Joes, and fell asleep, mid-conversation, in the wee hours of summer mornings.
“Are you sure you’re okay? You know he was just messing around, right?”
“Yeah. I know. Just leave, please.”
Before he could leave, though, the bathroom door opened and in walked David and Anthony, “We wanted to come make sure you’re okay.”

“I’m sure.”
“Did you mess your pants?”
“Leave him alone, man.”
“I’m just goofin’ around! No need to cry about it.”
Before my flight or flight instincts could kick in, the bell rang, signaling the end of the hour. David and Anthony shrugged their shoulders and walked out, laughing hysterically as David lifted his left leg and ripped a fart that echoed off the bathroom walls. Jeff followed close behind. I waited a few minutes to make sure they had enough time to get their books and get out of the classroom before going to do the same.
“Are you okay, Doug? Did you get sick?”
“No, ma’am. I mean, yes, but not sick. I’m okay.”
“Well, alright. Next time let me know where you’re going.”
“Yes, ma’am. Sorry.”
Jefferson Middle School. 1989. Eighth Grade. History…again.

There's always that moment during a test when the first person finishes, stands up to deliver the test to the teacher's desk, and briefly grabs the attention of everyone else in the room before they return to their scribbling. Anthony was always the first one done. He lived for that moment of attention. He lived for every moment of attention. He was too cool for eighth grade.

I followed him briefly as he began his journey to the front of the room, but quickly returned to my struggle with dates and facts, unaware of his return trip. My desk was in the third row from the front; his was two rows behind me. This afforded him an opportunity he, apparently, couldn't refuse, because I made a mistake--I took my eyes off of him.

As I searched my memory for the significance of Davy Crockett and the Alamo to Texas's history, I was shocked by a sudden, painful impact in the middle of my back. I turned to look over my shoulder and found Anthony standing over me, smiling. He placed one finger up to his sneering lips, "Shhhhh."

I listened. I didn't say a word. He hit me square in the back twice more. No one said anything. If anyone else saw, I'll never know. I ignored the pain in my back and finished my test through tear-filled eyes.

Jefferson Middle School. 1989. Eighth Grade. Math.

"What's your problem? Don't look at me. I'll kick your..."
Ask me what I remember most about middle school and I might ramble on about playing clarinet in Mr. Strong's band, being mortified getting caught playing pencil break in Mrs. Carter's English class, being told "*snort* Ugh...NO!" when finally working up the nerve to ask out Nancy, one of my many crushes. Or I might tell you about my friend, Steve, running a sewing machine needle through his finger (the same one he put a staple through in fifth grade), or my eighth grade science teacher nicknaming me 'Derg' when I was excitedly hoping for 'Doogie'.

But, really, what I remember most is Anthony. The kid who made sure he stood right behind me in the class photo so he could put all his weight on my shoulders and make me disappear into the shadows of Candy's ginormous bangs. The kid who punched me in the middle of class for no reason. The kid who greeted me every day by telling me he was going to beat me to a pulp.
"You've got a problem with me, don't you? Well, you know what? I don't like you either! I don't like the way you look. I don't like the way you dress. I don't like having to sit in the same classroom with you."
I tried not to make eye contact, instead staring at the froot loop and cheerio abacus projects suspended from the drop ceiling.
"I'm gonna finish you off one of these days. We're gonna fight and that'll be the end of you. Is that what you want? You wanna fight me? You wanna hit me, crybaby?"
I guess he noticed my watery eyes. I doubt he'd believe it was just allergy season.
"When are you gonna fight me, huh? When are you gonna man up? You're a wuss. You're weak. You wouldn't last one punch."
He was right. I probably wouldn't. I wasn't a fighter. I hated confrontations. I just sat there and took it. Day after day. Class after class. Until finally...
"Today's the day, right? Today's the day I'm gonna kick your ass! Problem is, you probably wouldn't show up. You're such a wuss."
"That's what I thoug..."
"No, today is the day!" The words coming out of my mouth shocked me. "I'll meet you on the football field and we'll do this. I'll fight you today. After school. Football field. You and me."
Anthony just glared at me.
"After school, Anthony. Today's the day."
"Okay. Today's the day."
I felt sick the rest of the day. I'd never fought anyone before. I didn't have an older brother to wrestle with and toughen me up. I was a softy, and I was scared.

I crossed the football field every day on my way home, so the only thing different on this particular day was that I stopped under the goal posts and waited.
                                 And waited.
                                        And waited.
                                               And waited.
                                                      And Anthony
He also never threatened to beat me up again. Not that he was pleasant and sociable the rest of the year, but he at least stopped the most obvious forms of antagonism. If only I'd found the strength, or frustration, to say something sooner, maybe the tormenting memories wouldn't be some of the first that come back when I think about middle school.

OSLC. 2011. Pre-School. Pick-up Time.

Mini-Me is soft like I was. He wears his heart on his sleeve and is a bit melodramatic when he gets upset. Like me, he's not a fighter. I can understand why Alex might try to get a reaction from him. It's the same reason Anthony constantly tried to get reactions out of me. I just didn't think it would happen to Mini-Me so soon.
"Hey, buddy! How are you!?!"
"You had a good day?"
"Great! You ready to go?"
"Okay, well let's get your coat on."
"Bye, Mini-Me!"
"Bye, Owen!"
"Bye, Mini-Me!"
"Bye, Allie!"
"Bye, Mini-Me!"
"Bye, Julia!"
"Bye, Mini-Me!"
"Bye, Dawson!"
"Bye, Mini-Me!"
"Bye! Mini-Me?"
"Mini-Me? Why won't you say goodbye to Tristan?"
"I don't like him."
"What do you mean you don't like him? You guys play all the time."
"He tackles me when we play superheroes. He hurts me."
"Have you told him to stop?"
"Yes. And he just keeps doing it. He's a bad guy."
"Do you ever let him be one of the good guys?"
"No. He always wants to be the bad guy. He hits us when we try to put him in jail. I don't like him. He hurts me and he says mean things to me."
"What about Alex? Is he still being mean to you?"
"No. He's my best friend. He's on the Justice League. I told him he was hurting my feelings and he said sorry. He's Green Arrow now."
"Well that's good. Maybe you should try talking to Tristan, too. It's really important that you speak up, buddy, and let people know how you feel. Sometimes that's all it takes to make a difference in how they treat you."

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Dip Trip Flip Fantasia


Groovy groovy jazzy funky pounce bounce dance...Sweet sugar pop sugar pop rocks...Smooth, mind,
floating like a butterfly notes start to float, subtle like a lullaby, brace yourself, as the beat hits ya...ahhh, researching via iTunes genre playlists for an upcoming music trivia night I'm helping organize...thank you for reintroducing me to 90s one hit wonders!

If you happen to be attending said trivia may want to start memorizing your 90s one hit wonders...or you might not. Hmm...tricky!

Speaking of music, Rach introduced the boys to Color Me that considered a crime against humanity?

We signed up for a trial membership with the website Relish a couple weeks ago because of a deal Rach had in her Mamapedia emails and I've been pleasantly surprised. Basically, they provide a number of meal options (including kid friendly and vegetarian) each Thursday for the following week, you select the ones you want and then print the recipes and a shopping list. I'm in no way being 'paid' to write this...I just think it's cool because mealtimes around here had gotten into a rut. We rarely planned out our meals, grocery shopping mainly involved roving the middle aisles to grab the usual processed suspects, and evening meal prep meant a "Whatdoyouwant?Idunno,whaddayouwant?Idon'tcareI'mcoolwithwhateveryoudecide" conversation while staring blankly into the pantry. This meant we ended up having the same things over and over. Now I love tacos and spaghetti more than most, but we seriously lacked the spice of life. For the past two weeks with Relish, my grocery shopping time has mainly been spent on the perimeters of the store, which I hear is what you're supposed to do if you want to eat healthier, and I only dive into the middle aisles for cereal and a few other select items. Sure we're paying for something we could do on our own, but I like the external motivation right now and we've already collected some keeper recipes like tonight's lemon garlic sirloin kebabs with Gorgonzola dipping sauce. A couple nights ago I made my own BBQ sauce for the first time. Heck, I even cooked kale last week...what's next? Bok Choy?

They're predicting measurable snow again Wednesday night into Thursday morning...I'll just say it once more: it's nice living in a place where perfectly timed snow will get us out of school for a's too early for the snow dance, though. I'll teach the boys tomorrow.

Rach made homemade hot cocoa mix today and it's awesome! I was a bit reluctant to entertain her idea when she started searching for recipes, but after enjoying a cup! I think she used an Alton Brown recipe. That guy's brilliant!

The Wubster's playing more and more with the Rescue Heroes figures we have around the house, which is hilarious, because they mostly just stand around like a bunch of Joey Tribbianis:
"Hey! How you doin'?"
"Good! How you doin'?"
"I'm good."
"Yeah? Well, how you doin'?"
"I'm good. How you doin'?"
"Pretty good. Can't complain ya know."
"Yeah, I hear ya. You wanna go commando under all Chandler's clothes, play Foosball, or get a giant turkey stuck on your head?"
"Oh...okay. Well, how you doin'?"
"I'm good. How you doin'?"
It's amazing how easily you forget the phases you struggled through with child #1 when it comes time for child #2 (or 3) to partake. The Wubster's not going to bed quietly these days and it's easy to fall into the trap of comparing him to Mini-Me now verses Mini-Me when he was 2.5. Tonight as I put The Wubster back in his room for the fourth or fifth time I was hit with flashbacks of doing the same thing with Mini-Me. By the time I file these memories into the dusty cobwebbed shelves of my brain it'll be time for Mickey (TKNTD) to challenge us.

Tillie Olsen wrote a short story called "I Stand Here Ironing"...I wish Tillie Olsen, or the mother from her story, were here right now. I hate ironing. Great story, though. I don't hate it.

Until next time...Fahrvergn├╝gen!

Be sure to visit The Un-Mom for more Random Tuesday Fun.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Lurkey For Me...Lurkey For You...How To Get Lurkers to Comment, Too?

Apparently today's a national holiday and, yet, here I am, slaving away at work.

What's that?

Oh, yeah, I guess updating my blog doesn't count as slaving away.

Well, anywho, it seems today is Delurking Day throughout the blogosphere--the one day of the year when bloggers beg, plead, coerce, and flash...some sad puppy dog eyes (trust me...I'm looking adorably sad right now...emphasis on the sad) to convince readers to leave a comment.

If you don't comment, Mini-Me, The Wubster, and Mickey (TKNTD) will don't want them to cry, do you?!?

So, comment away! Let me know you're out there!

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

RTT: That's Not an Elephant, It's Just You


Being ripped from glorious slumber at 4:40 a.m. by one of the kids (or some other random creature who's crawled into bed with you) can be aggravating, but there's nothing like the glory of a 4:40 a.m. phone call letting you know school has been cancelled. Unless, of course, you're the wife of a teacher who still has to work...then your only glory is the knowledge that your husband will be stuck at home with three kids under the age of 5 who will simultaneously stage meltdowns about 30 minutes after you walk out the door...ha ha, SUCKER!

I really hope the boys will go out sledding with me after their naps. Last snowstorm they decided they'd rather play in the basement...weirdos. At least I'll get to frolic in the snow while shovelling the driveway!

Did I mention I love living where 2" of perfectly timed snow will get you out of work for the day? Did I mention I miss the snow days of yore when I could wake up and lounge around the house all day?
Last night Mini-Me asked an important question before bed:
What's a nightmare, daddy?
It's a bad dream, bud.
Oh...'cause  Cole (his best friend at school) said a nightmare was a good dream.
Well, we usually call bad dreams nightmares and good dreams sweet dreams.
Oh, okay...but Cole said if you have a bad nightmare then you go downstairs and get in bed with your mommy and daddy and they give you a hug and a kiss and you go back upstairs and get in bed and have good nightmares.
That's interesting...
I don't have dreams, daddy.
Sure you do, bud, you just don't remember them.
No. I don't dream.
Most everybody dreams, buddy. We just do it while we're sleeping, so we don't always remember.
Weeellll, daddy. I don't dream. I just lie in bed and think.
Oh yeah? What do you think about?
Playing Lego Batman. And playing at school. And mommy.
Well, when you fall asleep, you probably dream about that stuff, too.
I don't think so, daddy, I just think about it before I fall asleep. I don't know how to dream.
We'll work on it, buddy. We'll work on it.
After the dream conversation with Mini-Me I woke up with memories of a crazy dream in which our elder Golden Retriever, Gracie, had a huge hole in the middle of her body. She was fine. Still ate, played, barked, etc., but was missing her mid-torso. Anyone want to analyze that dream for me?

I found out the other day that Tom Hanks doesn't lend his voice to the toy and video game manifestations of Toy Story and The Polar Express. You know who does? His brother, Jim, who's also been providing the voice of Geoffery the Toy's R Us giraffe since 2001. Sweet gig!

What was going through Adam West's and Burt Ward's minds each day they put on those tights?

Ninja: 1 -  Doug's thumb: 0

Greatest invention ever? I'd vote for it...this thing rocks our kitchen! And to think, I let it sit unused for the first year I had it. Now we use it almost every day! If you don't have one, add it to your wish won't regret it.

Cabin fever is sweeping through Noisy Little Adventureland. Mini-Me's been parading around shirtless and sockless spouting "Here's Johnny!" over and over. I hope some sledding will help. If not...I certainly hope the snow packs into lovely little aerodynamic snowballs. How fast can a four-year-old run in full snow gear?

Visit The Un-Mom for more Random Tuesday Thoughts!

What are you waiting for?



Sunday, January 9, 2011

A Plunge into the Ever-Changing Deep

Wow! What a difference a few months make in terms of the growth and development of children!

Since this spring, Mini-Me is now conscious of his behavior and apologizing for it (after the tantrums, but it's a start), singing memorized songs, eating his fruits and veggies  bean-n-cheese tacos [some things don't change], and singing in his school performances. The Wubster's now in school, talking up a storm, giving us directions (often accurately) in the car, engaging in pretend play, and drinking coffee [no joke, he requests coffee if we're drinking it. He gets a latte: drop of java and a lotta milk]. Mickey (TKNTD) is crawling, sticking out her tongue, waving, sprouting teeth, and performing highly complex calculus equations with her Cheerios. I've said it before and I'll say it again...watching the development of the human mind and body is one of the coolest parts of being a parent.

We took the kids swimming this morning...the local crazies were having a Polar Bear Plunge, so we figured we'd toss the kids in, too...and I was shocked at how long they lasted before turning blue! A few months ago they couldn't handle swimming on a chilly summer day, much less a day when we had to cut through several inches of ice just to get to liquid H2O!

Kidding...put down the phone. No need to make that call.

We took the kids swimming at a local indoor pool, where we last swam sometime this past spring. Mickey (TKNTD) hadn't been born yet, The Wubster could barely wade in the children's area without dunking himself after each step, and Mini-Me wouldn't put his face under water without drinking in half the pool. Back then, neither boy went down the kid-size water slide without assistance.

Today, Mini-Me owned the pool, snorkeling through the lazy river and circling other swimmers like a Great White (he's my son...maybe we should call him a Great Pale), and The Wubster confidently waded through the water, seamlessly switching to swimming (with my assistance) when the water deepened. Both boys tackled the slide without fear, especially The Wubster, whose confidence made me worry he was pondering diving a few times. And Mickey (TKNTD)? This was her first time in the pool and she took to it immediately, splashing, smiling, blowing bubbles, sucking in half the pool...just like her brothers before her.

It was awesome to watch our "school" in action.

It's amazing what a couple months will do.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Roses Smell Like Sneezing

Did you miss me?


It's been weird not writing the past couple of days...I used the extra time to clean up the toppling towers of t-shirts on my side of the closet. I still have more than I'll probably ever wear, but at least they're once again neatly organized.

The first two days of 2011 have been momentous around Noisy Little Adventureland...

Mickey (TKNTD) has her first tooth! She's been sticking her tongue out and making pppttthhhhbbbttt noises a lot lately, but now that the tooth has come through she's doing it even more as she explores that crazy new protrusion.

The Wubster started preschool! Apparently he had a couple of teary moments during transitions, but when Rach and I got there to pick him up I literally had to drag him away from the place. Every time the phone rang for a parent to be buzzed into the building, he screamed "PHONE!" and ran across the room to a toy cash register and 'answered' the scanner. This phone business reminds me...

Is 4.5- and 2.5-years-old too early for interventions?

The Wubster's addicted to phones and Mini-Me's addicted to Wii Lego Batman. The mere mention will drive the respective addict into ecstatic attentiveness and removal of the same drives them to convulsive tears. We're learning how to use this to our advantage...

Sitting in professional development after two weeks off in a hot, stagnant classroom isn't good for the soul. Returning to a routine around Noisy Little Adventureland, though, is.

Why is it that Mini-Me has to be pried out of bed at 6am on school days, but he's raring to go at 5am on weekends?

How did I just discover this yesterday?

Props to the original artist, made me laugh 'til I wet myself.

Happy Tuesday, everyone! Thanks again to Keely for the Randomness!