The amazing incidence of the new sofa shaking things up

glitch in the matrix
shocking kids is just enough
for inspiration

We got rid of our couch. And the chair. And the ottoman. They served us well over the many years, and now they will serve others well. Hopefully the others will manage to keep their children and animals from peeing on everything. We were not so lucky.

The new (leather, and easily cleanable) sofa and chair were bought on Saturday. The old couch and chair and ottoman were hauled off on Sunday. And the new stuff was delivered yesterday evening – late. That left us with a full day of one giant, empty room.

With most of the furniture gone, the room seemed massive, and it got vacuumed like four times because it looked so nice and clean. The kids LOVED having the empty room. They ran around and built forts and did somersaults. Incidentally, this is also the room with the gigantic TV. Only, with no furniture to perch on, the kids seemed to completely forget about the television.

In fact, even with the new sofa and chair, they still seem to have forgotten the TV. They've spent all day dragging the kitchen chairs into the room, laboriously draping them with blankets and pillows. They've created forts and hideaways and even a hospital bed where they snuggled and read books and I had to walk briskly into the other room and cry a little bit.

Only once did the wee-er one ask to watch Elmo, but she soon found her new bilibo and sat in it like a tiny Will Smith in MIB taking his exam. Then she put it on her head. Then she spun it. Then she used it as a stepping stool to reach the "hospital bed."

Yesterday and today the kids were kids. Sure there was screaming and fighting and crying and all of that, but it wasn't frantic and was sorted out between the two of them for the most part. They integrated some of their Christmas presents into their forts. (Snap Circuit lights! Toy car seats!)

And we read. I ashamedly admit that I didn't know much about Neil Gaiman's Coraline until we started seeing previews for the movie last week. So I checked the book out from the library. It's kind of intense for the wee-er one, but he loves it.

I spent part of this afternoon lounging on the new sofa, reading to him and the wee-er one, with Ike propped on my knees, and it felt like some kind of storybook "so THIS is how it's supposed to be to stay at home with your kids" moment. Of course, a few minutes later there was running and screaming and I was shouting for everyone to be quiet or quiet would be forced upon them. But for those few minutes things were really nice.

You know what else? It wasn't just the kids. After they went to bed yesterday, my husband and I hung out in the kitchen and the playroom. He folded clothes and I read a book and dozed and nursed, and somehow we had a conversation. It was nice.

Now, I am a big proponent of television. I love it. When I grow up, I want to write TV shows. When you find the right things to watch, television is more than just escapism. It's humor and empathy and fine storytelling and surprising and artistic. It's educational and interesting and worrisome and nostalgic. TV and I are longtime friends. But during these past two nearly-TV free days, this house has become humorous and empathetic and full of stories and surprises. It has become educational and interesting and worrisome and nostalgic.

How about that?

Switch around some furniture, add a few toys to the mix, find a good book, try to stop saying No so much. It sounds simple. If it's so simple, though, why did it take a new couch to figure it out? Why has there been such a gap between the days when the kids are just kids? No homework helps. The wee-er one getting older helps. Me having to sit still and nurse Ike-a-saurus helps – heck me being at home helps!

Whatever the mystical occurrence was that spawned these past two days, I hope it sticks around. Kids being kids are fun to be around.

And maybe that is the most educational, interesting, worrisome and nostalgic thing of all.

Christmas hangover

presents are unwrapped
head is exploding from noise
boy, that sure was fast

Now that Christmas is over I have that anxious new year feeling. The one where you want to set your house on fire and start over from the beginning.

I want to move furniture and paint walls and write books and read books and rip up carpet and put in floors and go to Ikea and spend a million dollars and make stacks of paper and dig through drawers.

I want to incinerate all of my clothes.

I want to buy red bookshelves with glass doors.

I want to display my 49 million typewriter tins.

I want to color my hair.

None of these count as resolutions, they're just things I want to do. I think the new year is worse than spring fever. I get obsessive determinations… Write a book! (that was a few years ago.) Sell the house! (that was a few years after writing the book.) This year I have too many. It's from being trapped in the house, I think. My choices are: Spiral into grouchy funk! or Buy new sofa and paint some bookshelves!

I probably will never paint any bookshelves. Can you imagine the poison control calls I'd have to make, at home alone with the wee one, the wee-er one, Ike-a-saurus, the evil dog, and cans of red paint?

So I am sitting here, feeling a little manic. I might have to start throwing things into the backyard as a preemptive bonfire attempt.

I want so badly to have good memories to replace the bad ones from last year. And setting things on fire seems kind of nice.

Are you babelized?

learning finer points
or maybe new religion?
wee one strikes again

The wee one has had a lot of questions today about why we have Christmas, what it's really for, whether Santa knows Jesus, does Santa bring Jewish kids presents, etc. We are not a very religious family, so I always find these kinds of questions hard. There are a few residual effects from my childhood that I can bust out as party tricks – singing all of the books of the Bible in order, for example – but overall, religion is not something we talk much about around here.

After this past year, though, it's come up more often.

I guess the wee one must have overheard some talk of baptism recently because he was asking me about it this morning. Only he doesn't say "baptism," he says, "babelism."

"Have I been babelized?" he asked with a serious look. "Do I need to be?"

All I could do was chuckle. Because, really, this is a child who has been talking in complete sentences since before he was 18 months old. He was pretty much born talking. He never stops talking. Even in his sleep he talks. Talk Talk Talk. His whole world is spoken. He has no internal monologue. Wee one = talk. That's just how it is.

So, yes, if anyone in the world has been babelized, it is definitely the wee one.

This is dorky

I was just thinking about how I’m more excited about Christmas this year than I have been in a while.

And yet, I’m even more excited for New Year’s Day. 2008 will be over in a bit more than a week! Over. Done. No more 2008. Can I get an amen? Hallelujah! Woo hoo! Finished!

And even with my overflowing relief over 2008 being over, do you know what I’m MOST excited about?

January 20th.

Where’s my candy-filled, handmade countdown calendar for THAT?

Real life Christmas letter

want to know the truth
or should I gloss it over
or do none at all

It is no surprise to those of you who know me that I will not be sending out Christmas cards this year. I just don't have time. Plus, I'd have to get everyone a box to put the Christmas letter in because it would be 400 pages long. This has been – to put it simply – A CRAZY ASS YEAR FULL OF CRAZY ASS THINGS.

I briefly thought of doing a card with a note about how things are going. Sort of pretending that the year started October 20th when Ike-a-saurus came home. But even then, too much to talk about.

Then I thought maybe I should just a write a letter that shows off our exciting day-to-day action:

Dear Everyone,

Today I stepped on a Lego piece and swore like a sailer in front of my kids. Last week Georgia ate three of my birth control pills. The economy is shit and we're worried about going broke. But that's mostly because I want to spend all of our mortgage payments on things like a new macbook and adorable shoes for the wee-er one, and diy robots for the wee one, and probably a Corvette or a prancing pony for Ike-a-saurus because we are just so happy to finally have him home.

I cook pasta and forget about it and nearly burn down the house almost everyday. The wee-er one refuses to wear anything but pajamas. The wee one never stops talking, especially when he is talking about trying to not talk as much. Ike-a-saurus is not pooping. The dog IS pooping. Everywhere.

The wee one just hit the wee-er one in the nose so hard it squeaked. That means I have to stop writing this letter.

Happy holidays!

You know what, though? if I had time, I could totally write a sappy Christmas card, too. I mean, we have Ike! He's home! He's here! The wee one just tied for first place in first grade for his Robot Hand science project. I am wearing my size 6 jeans again, almost back to normal. The wee-er one comes up to me throughout the day and whispers, "I lub you mommy." My husband does laundry – every day!

See? I could totally write one of those annoying letters, too. This has been a year of Terrible. But also a year of Wow! And there are still a few days left. I better not write anything else about it until 2008 is officially done. God knows what could happen in the next few weeks!

So no Christmas cards this year. Maybe a Christmas email. Maybe a holiday photo of the kids in their new Christmas jammies. Or maybe I will wait a while. Maybe I will try to salvage these next few days from the traditional holiday panic, and instead use them to rest and reflect.

Ah, who am I kidding? There are cookies to be made! Presents to be wrapped! QVC to be watched! Diapers to be changed! I think our holiday card this year should probably just be a picture of the empty couch. We are too busy running around and playing and fighting and crying and laughing to sit still for a picture. I like it that way, too.

We almost made it a year

they were missing us
her file was gathering dust
well, not anymore!

I don't know why I try to do things like sleep and clean myself. It only, inevitably, causes trouble.

After the pantyliner episode, you'd think I would have learned my lesson. But no. I thought I'd go out on a limb and take a shower this morning – well, not just a shower, but a real cleansing experience, involving shampoo and leg shaving.

So I go downstairs, bring the car seat up to my bathroom, wrap a sleeping Ike-a-saurus up in a blanket, and stick him in the seat. I put Sesame Street on the TV in my room, while the wee-er one sits on my bed eating dry cheerios.

So far so good.

I manage to get shampoo into my hair when I notice a suspicious arm waving around the partially opened bathroom door. Then I see a grinning face. At least I think she was grinning. I didn't have my glasses on. I rubbed the steaming glass of the shower door to get a better look, and there is the wee-er one, holding a package of birth control pills and smiling. A package of birth control pills I had not yet started taking. With three pills missing.

BANG goes the shower door, as I leap out at her, hollering, "DID YOU EAT THOSE?! DID YOU EAT THEM?!" She, of course, bolts. So I am soaking wet, butt naked, half covered in shampoo, freezing my ass off, and chasing her around the house. I finally wrench the package from her hand and pry open her mouth. Much to my dismay I discover finely chomped pill residue in her back teeth. Excellent.

By this time, she is, of course, hysterical. And who wouldn't be with a dripping wet, screaming, naked mad woman chasing after them? I am like a miniature, soaking Yeti, with a more powerful screech.

I calm her down, run back into the bathroom, slip on all the soap and water, almost end up in an unfortunate split position, twirl around and catch myself just before landing on the peacefully sleeping Ike-a-saurus. (What a great story that would have made – "Sorry about that, kid. I know you were born so early and were so strong and brave in the hospital. You would have led a completely normal life had your mother not  slipped and flattened you like a pancake. However, you are making great money in this circus sideshow as Ike the Flounder Boy, so to each his own.)

I grab the phone.

Note to self:  even with poison control stickers on every house phone, go on and program the damn number into your mobile phone. You may not have a regular phone handy. You may think you could never forget the poison control number, but you can. You may, in fact, fruitlessly call Delta airlines a bunch of times, because their number is very close to the poison control number.

I finally get the right number.

The lady all but laughs and says Micronor is fine. The wee-er one may end up with some nausea, but that's about it.

So there you go.

Two nearly demolished inner thigh muscles, about an inch of water on the bathroom floor (did I mention I left the shower on and the shower door open while all of this was happening?), and a probable heart attack later, all is fine.

And the wee-er one… well, she's actually been less moody today.

I guess we know what someone's getting in her stocking this year!