I Want To Be A Supermodel

My daughter, on occasion, does a little modeling. By modeling, I mean that she puts on a cute outfit sent to her by my friends that own a preemie and kids boutique online, she gets her hair brushed, and we go do something fun while I shove a camera in her face.

Truth is, this isn't unlike most days, except the "fun" is normally the "grocery store". Well, that and the hair brushing. I try to pick my battles.

I have ridiculously cute children, and I won't for a second play all modest like I don't think they are the most amazingly, heart-stoppingly beautiful things to ever grace this planet. I've often toyed with the idea of getting them into actual, real modeling, and I've gone so far as to ask a friend who knows about this stuff for advice on how to do it. But the thing is, I'm lazy. And I think my kids should get to be, too. And I worry about making them self-conscious about their looks, especially on the cusp of the ugly years.

No child goes through puberty gracefully. Fact. Why do you think the bible stops at Jesus' adolescence and picks back up in his 30's? Zits and oddly dispersed facial hair; no one is immune. Not even someone who thinks they're god.

So for now, I stick with the modeling that helps my friends out, that gets my daughter some stupidly cute outfits, and that lets me dabble in the one and only field of subjects that I am capable of taking decent pictures of. I'm no Secret Agent Mama, but I can take a mean picture of my kids when I have to.

Except when I screw my camera's setting up.

A new dress arrived last week for 3of3 to trounce around in, and this time we actually prepped for some cuteness. I harnessed my inner pageant-mom and subjected my daughter to unspeakable tortures in the name of fashion.

Making the best of it Peek a boo

I see you You have GOT to be kidding me, woman

But it's not like I'm asking her to do anything I wouldn't do myself, so there's that.

And once she was all poofy, we went out. Normally, I have ridiculously good luck with her pictures. They just fall into place, even when I'm using a point and click camera.

Lily Pads Toes Subway

Not this time. This time I took 250 pictures and she fed every duck south west of the Mississippi, even the dead one, which didn't bother her at all but bothered me a great big fat deal, and not one picture is usable. Because I never read the manual for my camera. I assumed the DSLR just ran on pride or something.

So now I get to learn how to fix whatever settings I've wacked out on my camera, and then we get to go feed more aminals today. Live ones, preferably. And though there aren't any pictures good enough for my buddy's spring campaign, with enough time and Picnik, there are a hell of a lot of pictures for her baby book.

Golden Outtake
Roses Outtake
Roses Outtake 2
Water Outtake

This blog is her so totally her baby book. Shut up; you do it, too.

Peter Pan

When my boys were little, I could get them to do just about anything, so long as it meant they'd get to grow up because of it. "Momma, why do I have to take a baff?" So your skin can be clean and stretchy for it to grow, of course. "Momma, do I have to eat dis broccowee?" Only if you want your muscles to be strong so you can grow up big and tall, silly boy. "Momma, I don't want to sweep!" Well, if you don't sleep, your body can't grow. Little boys can only grow while they sleep. You want to grow, right? All they wanted to do was grow-grow-grow. They wanted to be big like their daddy, like each other. They wanted to do big boy things like play video games and go to school and ride bikes outside.

Not so much with my daughter.

I so much as mention growing up and the waterworks begin. "I don't want to gwow up, Momma! I want to stay wittowl forever!" she cries. And it's not just pissy little defiant four year old tears, either. The kid is flat out afraid of growing up. I have no idea where this comes from.

I've tried to rationalize this with her. I've pointed out that she's already a big girl; she pees on the potty and she rides a bike and puts on her own shoes and eats ice cream cones. Babies don't do those things. She drinks milk from a cup, not boobies. She has a big girl bed, not a crib. She writes her name and plays on the computer. She's already big, I tell her, and she just cries and cries and tells me no, she won't grow up. She's going to stay wittowl.  She can't grow up.

Now I know where Peter Pan came from.

I've kind of given up on the whole thing and just accepted that I'm going to have to resort to "Show momma how the piggies eat" to get her to eat her vegetables, or worse, the "Pull it out of her belly-button" game which is really fun when they eat mini-marshmallows but not at all fun when they eat mashed potatoes. The fact of the matter is that this is the last kid I get, and I wouldn't mind it in the least if she stayed little. She got big way too fast as it is, really.

Except that she really wants to go to school. Except that I really want her to go to school. Except that my husband would like to see his floor and my boss would like to see that report and I need her to be elsewhere if I'm going to get those things done.

Last time we tried school, she was two and not at all ready and cried from drop off to pick up every time we left her there. We ended up pulling her out because I just didn't feel like paying someone to make my kid cry. We haven't tried since, but Tuesday is supposed to be her first day at pre-school here. And she's very excited. She asks me all the time what she'll be doing and brags that she's going to have a teacher and homework, just like the guys. She tells me that she won't cry at school this time, which, holy memory Batman, and I say to her that of course she won't, because she's a big girl now, and I hold my breath.

And she looks at me with those big, green eyes that are starting to well up with tears, and she thinks. She thinks really hard and says, "No momma, I'm a big BOY now. I'm your son. Big son-boys go to school." And I think I have a really clever little girl.

If It Walks Like A Duck And Talks Like A Duck, It's So Totally The Swine Flu

I wait until it's too late to take my kids to the doctor. I have an 11 year old with asthma because I listened to the doctor who said he had a cold and didn't start ignoring the doctor until the pneumonia had almost fixed itself and his lungs had almost said, "Fine, do it yourself."

We did it ourselves for a week in Children's Hospital to get his pulse-ox above 80. We'll be doing it ourselves for the rest of his life, with the assistance of steroidal inhalants.

I under-react or I over-react, medically. Usually, one directly follows the other. Like the time I, oh yes I did, apologized to the mother of the girl who's feet hit my 2 year old's face at full-speed on a gymnastics center swing and threw her 20 feet across the gym floor. I actually checked on that girl to make sure she was okay before I realized, "Hey, my child is no longer conscious." Then I lost my fucking mind and cried sososo hard that we waited for exactly 3.2 seconds in a Canadian emergency room to be seen. They sent two doctors...one for her, one for me.

I wish I was kidding.

However, when it comes to blood and bones and oxygen, I don't fuck around. You bleed? You visit the ER. You wheeze? We go to the ER. You break? I take a quick pregnancy test because you and me are about to spend some time under an x-ray machine. Even if it's your eye socket and even I know there isn't a cast in the world for a broken eye socket.

So my daughter has been sick since Christmas Eve. My mother in law has been, too. They've been boogie-nosed, fever burning, cold-sweating, sleeping all day, up all night petri-dishes. My mother in law said her lungs felt like dried up coal. My daughter said her ears were screaming at her. But they did it together, at the same time, and that screams of virus. I don't go to the doctor for viruses. I also don't pay people to tell me I have blue eyes or blond hair. I can see that for myself, thanks, and I have plenty of other things I'd like to waste $20 on.

Fevers don't scare me, either. Once you have a kid who bottoms out a thermometer so many times his doctor tells you to stop bringing him in every time he does it, you giggle off 103. Because you know how to treat it. I KNOW how to treat a fever. It's my superpower; that and stain removal.

But after a good week, week and a half, of fevers and no sleep and sneezing and coughing that just kept getting worse, I started to worry. One girl is 4, one is 68, and neither are strong enough to endure something like, oh, say, the swine flu.

And that's when I realized that I'd been ignoring the swine flu in a child and an elderly woman with asthma. All of the symptoms were right there in front of me...fever, cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, body aches, headache, chills and fatigue. We won't discuss the diarrhea.

My daughter started waking up in the middle of the night on fucking FIRE and twitching in my arms. Twitching, people. My mother in law started sleeping so late into the day, I started sending her son to poke her and make sure she was still alive. When death became a symptom we were actively checking for, I made them go to the doctor.

I walked into the ER and said I KNEW they both had the swine flu and they were dying and please save them from my reckless endangerment. They each were examined thoroughly and I was reminded that when a child tells you her ears are screaming at her, she typically has an infection. IN HER EARS. And my mother in law? Bronchitis. My first clue would have been that the place where her BRONCHIAL TUBES live felt dried up.

This was exactly as embarrassing as that time I ran my child to the ER at 3 in the morning because I KNEW she was asphyxiating and they KNEW she had the croup. Which, yeah....I'd effectively treated numerous times using only a shower and the agreeable Colorado nighttime air for over a decade with my boys. AND I've read Anne of Green Gables, like, a bazillion times.

They bill you three thousand dollars to sit in an ER overnight and watch Ed, Edd and Eddie re-runs with a one year old. Just sayin'.

It's Clouds Illusions I Recall

Children hate Santa. It's true.

Never once has a child under four sat in his lap of their own volition. Never has a child over the age of 8 sat in his lap and been completely sold on the idea. Santa has a very small margin for error in his job.

Children like Santa the way Tiger Woods likes being married....in theory. The idea is nice, but the practical application is just creepy. He smells like dusty beer and cheese and dirty diapers. He takes your order and then makes you wait forever to bring it to you. Santa is the all-night-breakfast diner in the skanky part of town with the 5 hour wait for stale pancakes that you, and every other under-dressed drunk person in your metropolitan area, only go to after 17 shots of Jager at some club you're entirely too old to be at anyway.

I took my kids to that diner last night.

I had to carefully negotiate this event with my oldest. He doesn't want to believe, but after the events of last year, he's pretty sure he has some solidly empirical proof. I had to show him every picture we've ever had with Santa, the ones I keep all in one frame, and point out that he is the only child in all 11 pictures. I had to puppy-dog eye him and remind him that this is the only picture I get every year with all of my babies, and that I realize he knows it isn't the real Santa, but a big fat weird elf, like Buddy only not as awesome, but maybe he could just do me this one solid and I'd make sure the real Santa heard about his kindness and charitable actions towards his mother?

I also reminded him that his sister finally gets it, and it's our job as a family to keep this going. To make her believe that the guy in his brother's school right now is the real Santa, so that she can have the magic he and his brother had when they were her age.

Pulling the 'magic of childhood' card on that kid works Every. Fucking. Time. He even smiled for the picture. Kind of.

My 9 year old was ALL ABOUT IT, because he is ALL ABOUT EVERYTHING ALL OF THE GODDAMN TIME. Except homework. Fuck homework. He, of course, spent the better part of the evening repeatedly asking me if I believed in Santa, hoping to trip me up and get me to admit the truth. I know he knows. I also know that he's entirely too smart to ever admit that he knows. I'm a cheap bastard, and he wants a iPod touch someday. He knows it's Santa or bust around here.

He actually said to me, "I'm asking for DJ Hero and an iPod touch, and if I don't get them, I'll know that Santa isn't real." I guess I have 14 more days of him believing, then, because there's no way in hell. NO WAY.

3of3 immediately shit rainbows and glitter when I told her Santa was at her brother's school. "Santa is my fayborite! He's my bestest fwiend in da whole woiald!" (That's world. She's an 80 year old jewish woman from Brooklyn.) She even let me brush her hair before we left.

We stood in line for 18 hours, and we weren't even drunk so it wasn't any fun. She kept peeking around the corner, "Dayr he is, momma! Dayr's Santa!" We practiced talking to him. "What do you say to Santa first?", I asked them. "Hi Santa, how was your day?" they all replied. "And what are you asking him for?" "Dora skates and flagnard!" "What about that pink DS you've wanted? You can ask for that, too, you know." "No, I only ask for one fing, momma. I ask for DORA SKATES AND FLAGNARD." So, she can't count, enunciate or negotiate. Good thing she's got looks to ride through life on.

Also, what the fuck is flagnard? Anyone?

We watched bazillions of babies sit on his lap and cry. We giggle at the silliness of them all. And then it was her turn. Oh, how fickle the heart of a young girl can be.

She clawed my eyeballs out when I tried to sit her on his lap. She hyperventilated when I walked away. She buried her face into her brother's shoulder and refused to smile for a picture. I made a complete ass of myself and embarrassed the shit out of her, so in a few days, I'll be getting my $7 5X7 stale pancake with one very eager face smiling back at me and two faces full of abject humiliation and disgust at their fool of a mother and the fact that she made them do this ridiculous shit.

But Santa gave her a candy cane, so they were all good by the end. She even told him what she wanted. He looked at me and said, "Flagnard?" and I shrugged. He said, "iPod?" and I said, "You can expect a call from his father telling you he can't have one of those until he's gainfully employed." And then we hugged him goodbye, even the 11 year old whom Santa managed to get, not just a smile but a full on belly laugh out of, and there's your Christmas magic, folks, and with that we were off.

I tucked her into bed later and she said, "Momma, I can't wike Santa" and I asked her why. She said, "Dat's not the weawl Santa, mawwwm" and I asked her how she knew. She said, "He has cwouds all over his face." I tried to explain what a beard is, that daddy has a little brown one and Santa has a big white one, but she said no. "No, momma, day were cwouds, and I don't wike cwouds on faces."

And I don't like trying to figure out what Flagnard is, so I guess we're even.

Pyridoxine Hydrochloride Means Never Having To Say You're Sorry

"Where are we going, momma?" she asked me two night ago from the backseat of the car. "Home, baby", I answered. "Are we going to our new Texas house?" she squeaked softly from her carseat, and I told her we were. "Momma, dats not my home."


"Where is your home, babycakes?" "My bwue house is my home, wif my green woom. It's empty."

Empty House

Yes, yes it is, love.

She misses her home. She can 't remember the house in Denver that we lived in until she was 6 months old, she can't remember the little two bedroom apartment her brothers and I called home for a little over a year while her dad and I sorted our shit out, separately; all she knows in life is Moorside Place; the stairs, the yellow living room walls, her Granny Smith green bedroom walls, her white bed that we left behind for a new little baby who will need a crib when he's born. This is just some place full of boxes that we've crashed in for a while.

Home is where her gerbil is, and her gerbil isn't in America.

We're trying to do everything we can to make this as easy on them as possible. We spent every day of our 2+ weeks in the hotel at the pool, even the really cold, rainy ones, I haven't enrolled the boys in school yet, I got them cell phones, 3of3 has spent every single night in my bed, and I bought them every nasty, evil, food-coloring-soaked, marshmallow-laden, not really food at all breakfast cereal on the market. Because if their life is going to be torn asunder, I think they should at least get to eat some Count Chocula while it happens.

It's worked, so far.

We've spent these 3 weeks since we moved together, just the 5 of us, burrowed into each other making cardboard houses, watching so many movies, slowly unpacking, and laughing like we're hopped up on sugar dipped food coloring. It's been nice, but real life has to resume at some point.

Eventually, this house has to become home. And 3of3 doesn't even have a bed yet.

So yesterday, after my kid informed me that this isn't her home, I got on the horn with the eight thousand doctors and schools to get all the vaccination records and school records I'll need to get the boys back in school. I took them to Petsmart and let them buy a new gerbil, whom we've named Theodore. (Shut up, Molly & Marge, gerbils are heartier. It shall live. DAMMIT.) I opened a few of 3of3's boxes and dug out some clothes and toys. I went to the grocery store and bought more than beer and Apple Jacks. And last night, I took 3of3 with me to the Kirtsy Takes a Bow book signing where she made a new friend whom she wrestled with, got into a fight with, resolved that fight with and decided that he could be her new best friend fowrevowr.

And through sleepy eyes and tired words on our way back, she asked, "Momma, where we go now?" and I said that we were going back to our house. She said, "Are we going to my red home, momma?" and I smiled. Yes, little girl, we are going to your red home.

This Texas House

And now, to buy some fucking GRANOLA...