Saturday, December 26, 2009

And this is why I hate Christmas*

Brigit: My penis hurts.
Me: That would be a trick.
Brigit: It hurts.
Me: Do you want me to look?
Brigit: No.

(Time passes, passes mostly in a fog of cold medicine and napping, which I hate, the napping not the cold medicine. The cold medicine is pretty and has good hair.)

Brigit: My bum hurts.
Me: Ok, it's time to have a look.

Do you know what I found in her pull-up? A Christmas tree needle. A fake Christmas tree needle. This never happens in April. (Ok, so in April, we find real pine needles but whatever.)

*I don't really hate Christmas. I kind of hate Christmas away from family after having 2 Christmases in a row with the sisters and cousins and grandparents. This year, I have my children calling me the most boring mom ever. Because I was, you know napping. See above re: time passing.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

The State of Washington vs. Naveed Haq

On July 28, 2006, Naveed Haq held a loaded gun to the back of a 14-year old girl and forced his way into the Jewish Federation of Greater Seattle. Once inside, he shot 6 women, wounding 5, Carol Goldman, Layla Bush, Cheryl Stumbo, and Dayna Klein, and killing 1, Pamela Waechter.

Mr. Haq, then age 30, had a long history mental illness and has been diagnosed alternately with Bipolar Type I with Psychotic Features or Schizoaffective Disorder with Mood Components.

The facts of what happened on that summer day in Seattle are not in question. Mr. Haq surrendered to police within 12 minutes of entering the Jewish Federation. The question for the jury was whether or not Mr Haq was sane at the time of the shooting. If he had the psychological wherewithal to understand what he was doing. If he was, under the laws of the state of Washington, guilty of the crimes with which he was charged or if he was, instead, not guilty by reason of insanity.

On December 15, 2009, the jury found Mr. Haq guilty on all counts. I was on that jury.

In the days and weeks to come, I will have more to say about this, but on this day, today, this is enough.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Rory Story

When Rory was my only child, I used to save up his funny stories to share with family. This was well before my blog days, so sadly most of these stories are lost to the dark recesses of my brain. However, this kid, he gives good material.

Rory: Mom! Guess what!
Me: What?
Rory: I found the best chocolate!
Me: Where?
Rory: On the counter! It was great! And it had white inside it!
Me: Mint?
Rory: Yeah! Mint! It was great!
Me: I know, it was MINE.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Brigit on the subject of why she should take a bath

Brigit: Mooooommy, if I don't take a bath, my booboo is going to get extinct!
Tyler: Extinct or stinky?
Brigit: It's going to get dirty and then it's going to diiiiieeeee.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Surprising longing

We lived in Texas for just over 9 1/2 years. 9 1/2 long years. In a place where the "good" grass was what the rest of the world considered crabgrass, weeds. Where that good grass was infested with fire ants, the sting of which would cause you to swell and blister and itch. In a place with heat that would knock you down and humidity that would sit on your chest and push the breath out of you. In a place where the skies turned yellow and tornado warnings constantly ran across the bottom of the TV screen. In a place where ice storms would blow down I-35 and lay down inches of thick ice on the roads and freeze your car doors shut. And then the next day it would be 90 degrees again. In a place with two seasons, hot and hotter than hell. Our pipes froze, our air conditioner froze over from overwork, all within 6 months.

But you know what never happened in Texas? Rodents never crawled into the engine block of my car and did $400 worth of damage to the electrical system.

Today, I miss Texas.

Thursday, November 26, 2009


Thanksgiving, for me, was always about family. Unlike Christmas or Easter, with their family services, choral services, and vigils, Thanksgiving was not a religious event. It was not church, smells and bells. Thanksgiving was Aunt Peggi's house and cousins and trying to watch TV with first generation closed captioning. Garnish trays and turkey, cooked by Grandpa. Homemade rolls and pie (pumpkin, apple, and cherry), always made by Mom. The kids' table and the grown-ups' table. Telling Uncle Don that we were eating at 2 PM to ensure he'd be there by 4. A Christmas Story on the TV and the inevitable quoting of favorite lines, Dad reminiscing along the way about a snow outfit like Randy's (he lay there like a slug, it was his only defense) and then sharing, again, the story of Peg, the toddler stripper, leaving a trail of clothing on neighbors' lawns. Spending 10 minutes hugging goodbye and falling asleep in the car on the way home.

And then I grew up and moved away. There were divorces and marriages and children and deaths. And we all grew up and away.

In Texas, we had the incredible fortune of making a new family - our very good friends Paula and Harold, who cooked for us in exchange for chocolate cake and apple crumble (I cannot make pie crust, no matter how many times my mother walks me through it over the phone). The dogs (4 canine children between us). The food, oh the food. The wine and the coffee. The music and the company. The family.

And then they moved away and we had a child.

So we began to build our own family, our own traditions. With only three of us (and then four), an entire turkey seemed excessive, so CrackerBarrel made our meal (less dessert). There was something about eating a metric ton of hashbrown casserole with your turkey - intensely soporific and happy making.

And then we moved away. And the closest CrackerBarrel is in Idaho. And the closest family is a 2-day drive away. I do not remember what we did last Thanksgiving.

Last week, when asked to write about Thanksgiving, Rory's answer was, "I don't do Thanksgiving. I don't decorate."

So this year, I am not ordering premade food. I am not letting it go. I am baking bread (Rory's very favorite) at 1:40 AM because he is my family and this is his holiday.

Today, so early and rainy, I am thankful for my son, whose 1st grade assignment reminded me of why we cook and bake all day, to break bread together, to appreciate what we have. For my daughter, who loves nothing more than to see me first in the morning, a rare treat these days. For my husband, who saves the best bite for me, every time, and who every day makes me take time for a little something that will make me laugh. For my family away, for what they have given me through the years and for how much I miss them when I'm not with them. For health. For safety. For love.

And for premade pie crusts.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

I think she's ignoring me

Scene: Living room, changing Brigit from footie pajamas (too tight across the stomach, a side effect of too many cheese bunny crackers) into fleece pj pants.

Brigit: I love underwear pants!
Me: You do? I wish that you would wear underwear pants all the time, because that would mean you were a big girl who went peepee in the potty.
Brigit: I wish I could fly like an airplane!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

The things I learned at jury duty, update 4

If you're going to empanel a writer on your jury, you should not be surprised when said writer takes over 130 pages of notes in the first 12 days of the trial, meticulously numbered and dated pages. Instead, you should ensure you have an ample supply of paper and large 3-ring binders. This would certainly reduce the embarassing number of times said writer has to ask for more paper and maybe an additional binder in front of the other jurors. Who point and laugh now, but who will be very happy to see those notes come deliberation time in approximately 4 weeks.

Monday, November 9, 2009

The things I learned in jury duty

If you have been following my Facebook status updates (hi, Mom!), you've probably seen a trend of "what I learned in jury duty" updates.

I am absolutely not going to speak of the specific case or even my specific experience on jury duty (except, well, all the jurors are very nice and we're getting very good at playing cards). (Your honor, if you're reading this, I'm being very good, really, because, honestly, you're kind of scary.) But, I think I can elaborate a bit on these "what I've learned"s (um, imagine that's plural, apparently jury duty has unlearned me of my grammar). (Of course, if I suddenly disappear, you know where to find me - the slammer. Please send a toothbrush. Or I'll just start packing one in my purse, as a precaution.)

Update #1: the jury does not get to hear discussion of any objections.

For which I was, admit it, ridiculed. Like, well, duh, Liza - what if they're speaking the secret things that if only you knew would make up your mind and curse the defendant to a lifetime of making license plates (do they even do that anymore)? But! BUT! It's not that we don't get to hear the details, noooo. It's that every time there's an objection that one side or the other believes is worthy of "being heard," we, the jury, have to troop back to the jury room and wait. And wait. And then, for good measure, wait a little more. There are no Law & Order style sidebars with the judge coyly covering her microphone. Nope, just with the filing out and waiting and maybe working on our puzzles and then argh, I just about had this part figured out and we have to go back in.

Update #2: The attorneys don't really seem to be paying attention to the testimony, at least not opposing counsel.

That was my initial impression, but you lawyers are a sneaky bunch. Oh yes, you are. What with the feigned nonchalance and the "taking notes" and then BAM, hammering the witness on cross. I've got my eye on you now, Esquire.

And here is Update #3: You cannot take knitting needles past security in the superior court house.

They do not care that you can carry them on a plane, you still have to leave them at the security checkpoint. And no, you cannot use bamboo needles instead. Crochet hooks are fine, but not needles. No, ma'am, not even the bamboo circular needles that only contain about 2" of straight pointy material and hi, are made of WOOD. Just, no. Learn to crochet.

Of course, I don't want to learn to crochet, because I'm contrary like that. So please send patterns for very tiny knit projects, say socks (very tiny socks) that can be completed in one day (broken up into 15 minute increments) and that can be knitted on the kind of needles one might ostensibly use to secure your hair (which is of course ridiculous because who would think to sneak knitting needles into a court house in your hair - my fellow jurors, that's who - I told you they were nice).

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Rebellion before her age

Brigit took it upon herself to do a little redecorating. Apparently, that black bookcase was just screaming for a picture of Mom, complete with a party in her tummy.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

The only thing better than Glee

I give you the whitest white boy in America breakdancing to Glee.

The Whitest White boy Glees out from Elizabeth Poggemeyer on Vimeo.

Monday, November 2, 2009

The stuff of nightmares

I rarely remember my dreams. I might have a vague thought when I first wake up but the minute my feet touch the ground, zzzzt, gone. The only dreams that seem to stay with me are the bad ones, which are themselves few and far between (or so I remember).

One of the worst dreams I ever had involved being trapped in a garage at Lagoon (exciting UT amusement park - what, you've never heard of it?). There was a pit in the garage a la every oil change place in the world. And for some reason I was trapped on a thin ledge between the wall and the glooming pit. Ooook.

Another dream starred a small witch puppet who I'm pretty sure was going to kill me. She'd appear over the edge of my bunk bed and glare menacingly.

Metallica inspired a nightmare once - that damn song "One" with the Johnny Got His Gun footage in the video? All it takes is hearing the first few notes of that song, and I'm instantly returned to a nightmare where I'm the man who can't move or see or talk.

Until last night, the very worst dream of all time happened shortly after I accidentally saw The Elephant Man when I was young (6-ish? 7-ish). I dreamed that I was turning into the Elephant Man, complete with misshapen limbs. In all likelihood, it was probably related to the fact that my hand had gone to sleep, but I woke with a start with a hand that seemed 10 times its normal size. Ever since, all it takes is Tyler whispering, "I am not an animal" to send me screaming under the covers.

I don't know why these are the dreams that stayed with me. But I can say, with some certainty, that they have now all been surpassed. (Even though just typing "I am not an animal" [gaaaah, again] gives me goosebumps.)

Last night I had what can only be described as the queen of nightmares. I was at my parents' house, and for some god-forsaken reason, my leg was rupturing into X's, all along the skin. The left side of the X split to reveal fat and the right side to reveal muscle. (And hi, I knew it was a dream and not reality because seriously? Me in shorts? Not happening.) I was mildly freaked out about this, understandably, while simultaneously intrigued by the appearance of the muscle, but then, apparently, I was supposed to be going somewhere with my father. He started harassing me about being a little squeamish about my leg, so I grabbed a tissue, pressed it to my leg, which holyfuckingshit spewed blood, and threw the tissue at Dad. I wish I could remember what I yelled at him, I'm pretty sure it included the terms "fuck" and "you" and "eat bloody shit." But I could be wrong.

That goddamn dream has stayed with me all day. I keep seeing the skin rupture, the purple color of the leg. And I can feel it.

I never thought I'd long for the Elephant Man, but I do.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

In which karma and a random number generator conspire against me

Last year, over in the old digs, I wrote a post about service, even made the claim that we all serve our country.

This year, my old friend karma took a look at my balance sheet and decided that maybe I hadn't served enough. So, with the aid of a random number generator (which has never been my friend, I have never won anything ever), I was called for jury duty and subsequently empanelled.

And not just any jury duty. JURY DUTY. On a major case in Seattle, one that you can read all about in the news.

It seems that karma wants me to serve my country until mid-December. Which means, Monday-Thursday, I am up before the sun, on the bus at O'Dark-thirty, and on my way to downtown Seattle before my children stir from their beds.

By the grace of a good employer, I am, thankfully, still paid for my non-working time, as I think we'd all agree that it is impossible to pay your bills on the $10 daily stipend from the court. However, it's hardly as though the rest of my work is on hold, so I find myself working at lunch, working at bedtime, and attempting to cram 5 days of work into Friday.

Whenever someone learns that I'm on jury duty, they are full of sympathy and stories of what they would have done to get out of it. "Just start yelling that you're racist." "Answer every question with, 'Hang 'em!'" "Tell them your family needs you too much." (No one suggested the "work will be lost without me" answer, which is good, given that with 44,999 other employees in the Puget Sound area, it doesn't really have the ring of truth.)

But here's the thing. Things, I guess. Well, first, I can't lie. I just can't, you can see it all over my face. (Anyone want to play poker?) But more importantly, I hate the discussion of a jury being 12 people too stupid to get out of jury duty. Because, there but for the grace of God, you know? If it were me, for whatever reason, facing the judgement of 12 strangers, I'd hope that at least a few of them understood and valued the role that they played. Understood the sacrifice required on their behalf to ensure that justice endures. It is the jury's duty to ensure that the weight of justice is balanced, that the state prove beyond a reasonable doubt, that the defense prove beyond a preponderence of evidence.

And so I serve.

Of course, that doesn't mean I don't think karma is a bitch.


In other news, my beloved is a'blogging. Check him out at ThoughtDreams.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Bedtime with Brigit

Me: Brigit, why is there a package of diapers in your bed?
Brigit: Because I got scared.
Brigit: And I put the package in my bed and then I went to sleep.
Me: That's a little weird.
Brigit: Thanks!


Brigit: And when my grandma was a little girl, like me, she had a mom.
Me: That's right, Grandma had a mom.
Brigit: And her name was Muckwhomp.
Me: That's right, Muckwhomp West.


Brigit: Mickey Mouse don't like poops.
Me: Oh?
Brigit: Yes, but she likes pees.
Me: When are you going to start going in the potty?
Brigit: I like poops. They're interesting.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

It's possible those primitive tribes had the right idea

Have you ever had one of those days where, let's say you're maybe a teeny tiny bit neurotic (ok, so I changed my clothes three times today), and you have a meeting that you were a bit worried about and while you weren't 100% happy with the outcome (or lack thereof), afterward a colleague says, "Why were you so emotional?" and because you had thought you'd hid it better than that, you can only answer, "Hormones?"

And then you want to go home, curl into your bed, drink a bottle of wine, and cry?

For really no other reason than the fact that apparently every month your body is trying to drive you absofuckinglutely insane?

No? Just me?

Earlier this morning, when I was changing clothes, again, I was struck with the though that if I lived among a primitive tribe, I would be hiding in a hut right now, possessed with the evil spirits as I am. And I thought this would be a good thing. Notice that this occurred to me well before the meeting and the confrontation and the question and the gah.

So I posed it to Tyler - that I thought that just maybe, removing a woman from, oh, society during That Time might not necessarily be a bad thing, since I was spending all my time changing my clothes and trying not burst into tears at inappropriate moments.

But then he dashed my dream by pointing out that maybe, just maybe, since we females have the weird habit of cycling together, gathering all the women you know in the same place when they're all mildly homicidal, probably not such a good idea.


Friday, October 2, 2009

That makes more sense

Me: Brig, what did you dream of last night?
Brigit: Superheroes. And Dora.
Me: Are you a superhero?
Brigit: YES!
Me: And what's your superpower?
Brigit: Peen.
Me: Peeing? Like in the potty?
Brigit: Peeeeeeenk.
Me: Pink?
Brigit: Yes, I wear it.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

To Do List Fail

My day started orderly enough. A handful of meetings, a list of items to do. And then the day imploded. Consider the To Do list:

  • Review [redacted] e-mails (from MB)
  • Set up mtg with [redacted]
  • Reserve conf. rm for Thurs mtg
  • Finish bug for export
  • Check with R. for Logo cert updates
  • Review POR
  • DTL
  • Roadmap
  • CSS bug
  • Loc drop

(Do you like how I'm all [superspy] with my redactions?)

And 16 hours later, it looks like this:

  • Review [redacted] e-mails (from MB)
  • Set up mtg with [redacted]
  • Reserve conf. rm for Thurs mtg
  • Finish bug for export
  • Check with R. for Logo cert updates
  • Review POR
  • DTL
  • Roadmap
  • CSS bug
  • Loc drop

Good God, what did I do all day? I know I did a lot; I'm beginning to think I need to write my To Do lists at the end of the day, so I can just cross off all the shit I did do.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Our house, in the middle of the street

Alexa, over at Flotsam, wrote a post today about the places she's lived. It's part of her journey to figure out the right place to move her family. Reading her stories inspired me to reminisce a bit about the places I have lived. Here are the stories of my houses.

The first house I lived in was a small house in "the suburbs" - I call it that because while it was technically still part of Ogden, UT, it was pretty far out there. The house that my parents owned when I was born (and continued to own for many years, story to follow) was a tiny, little thing. It had the craziest stone floors - like a pebble pathway through the middle of the house, which was an incredibly effective wake-up tool, and a large supporting pole. We spent many hours trying to shimmy our way up that pole. And just as long, probably, rubbing our heads after we walked into it. None of the walls in that house went all the way to the roof - they stopped about 2 feet from the ceiling. The bedrooms had glass from the tops of the closets to the ceiling, but the den was open. This made it an incredibly good vantage point for, say, dogfood fights. I imagine, I mean.

We lived there until right before I turned 8. (Um, Mom, is that right?)

Our next house looked like a dentist office. It's really the only way to explain it. It was brick, had a flat roof, and was huge. It was more centrally located, city-wise. Within walking distance of elementary (although I didn't go there), middle (again, didn't go there), and high school. It was a block above the high school, actually, not that that kept me from driving to school every day. Green I was not. There was an alley running behind the house - it was the destination of many a lazy day and is, to this day, the site of a long-buried time capsule that my friend Miranda and I buried. God knows what's in it. There was an apple tree in the backyard that had a knot that looked like a woman's finger. And a back patio where I spent many long nights, reading Stephen King and freaking myself out.

I lived there until I left for college. My parents moved back to house #1 when I was a sophomore. At which point that gap between the ceiling made it easy for my father to lie in bed on a Saturday morning and yell at me, sleeping in the den, to make him coffee.

During college, in Logan, UT, I lived in dorms (2 years) and then moved into my own basement apartment. When you walked in the front door, the first thing you saw was the shower. There in the foyer. The bathroom was in the kitchen. And I loved it. It was mine. It was where I lived when I met my husband, where he first sent me flowers, and freaked me right the shit out.

After a year in my tiny cupboard, I shared a house with a good friend (hi, Amy!) - her dad was in the process of remodeling it to flip, so we had the advantage of cheap rent and a slowly improving home. We also spent an entire night fleeing from the living room to the bedroom to the front lawn trying to avoid hobo spiders.

From there, my now husband and I moved directly to Austin, TX, to a tiny 1 bedroom apartment whose only selling points were that we could move in immediately (the day after we signed the lease) and that it accepted large dogs. I don't actually have a lot of memories of that apartment, except that at 7 AM, the morning I was to start at IBM, a large fucking cockroach crawled across the wall and I almost smacked it with the iron. We didn't have cockroaches in Utah.

After 6 months in the apartment, we were hungry for more room, less neighbors, and the ability to get another dog. We rented a 2 story, 2 bedroom house, hardwood floors in the bedrooms, huge eat-in kitchen, back deck, and no central air or heat. In Austin, TX. It was heated with a wood-burning stove, and we got very good at building fires. There was a wide front deck and a porch swing. And I'm pretty sure that there was no insulation at all. Dust crept in, heat poured out or in, depending on the season. It was on the very far edge of Austin, across the street from the closest suburb. Whenever anyone would come visit, we used a porn store and gun store (conveniently located in the same parking lot) as landmarks: "Just past the porn store and gun store, turn right at the church."

From there, we moved to that closest suburb, in a house we had built in a subdivision. It was as cookie cutter as you could imagine, and partly, we moved because we were desperate to have HVAC. The kindest thing you can say about Pflugerville, TX, or at least the part we lived in, was that it was close to the freeway, and hence other places to eat or shop. Within the first 3 months that we lived there, our immediate neighbors were raided by the ATF, DEA, and police. The suburbs didn't feel so safe.

7 long years we lived there.

During that time, my parents' house (house #1) burned to the ground due to an electrical fire. My children have been spared walking across that damn floor on Christmas morning.

Now, here we are, in Kirkland, WA, across Lake Washington from Seattle. 2 blocks from the beach, we can see Seattle across the lake. But it is very much not like Seattle. Kirkland is, by and large, very rich and very white. And while I may be one of the pastiest people you know, I am by no means rich. Which means we are renting a small house in an okay neighborhood (one block west = housing project, one block east = $500K houses), with a very good elementary school. We're currently in the process of trying to figure out where we want to live next. Do we stay in this house (with its imaginary-sized "master" bath but a magnificent back deck), move to another rental house in the same school area, or move somewhere where we'd be able to afford more house? Do we want to stay here on the Eastside, with its award-winning school districts, or move into Seattle, for its Seattle-ness?

Some days, I think it'd be easiest to flip a coin to decide that.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Life in a petri dish, a sociological experiment

When one of us gets sick, we all get sick. It's the nature of family, I suppose, combined with this terribly small house where everyone is in everyone else's space, face, and bed. We are a breeding ground for disease. In this case, the dread herpangina, also known as the reason that Brigit threw up at Trader Joe's, the reason that Rory subsequently threw up on me, in my bed, at 4:30 in the morning.

And while this is primarily a disease of the young, I believe the fact that Tyler has also thrown up and I've been gobbling Phenergan like it was candy goes a long way to show the psychosomatic elements of housebound illness. That or it's just the smell of vomit that I cannot clear from my nose.

The problem of the family illness is, of course, that we are all driving each other ape shit. Brigit feels well enough to torment Rory, who is bound by the laws of brotherhood to retaliate but is in no shape to do so. So, many, many times in the last few days, one or both of the parents have been called in. And while it starts somewhere around, "Brigit kicked me in the head and I'm madder than 10 alligators" (which is, admittedly, pretty mad), it almost always degenerates into, "If one more person hits, slaps, bites, spits, kicks, or throws a crab at the other, you are both going to your rooms. For the love of all thing holy, including my sanity, leave each other alone."

Lather, rinse, repeat. Ad nauseum.

In a way, it was easier when they were smaller, immobile, unable to communicate. As much as I value the interactions we have, the discussions of how Poggemeyer ears give you superhearing (Rory) or how stomping is a perfectly good addition to a polite request (Brigit), I miss the baby stage for all the wrong reasons. When Rory endured the neverending ear infection and was able to sleep for mere minutes at a time, and only while laying mostly upright on a parent, he was, at least, willing to do what it takes to recover from being sick. Take his medicine, take naps. When Brigit had ear infections, she was willing to sleep, nurse, medicate.

Now, a 6 year old Rory thinks nothing of wrestling with his sister when he should be lying down and thinks naps are for wimps. Now, a very nearly 3 year old Brigit thinks nothing of projectile spitting any and all medicine on me.

And now, if you'll excuse me, I believe I need to go rescue Tyler from being used as a trampoline.

Send St. Bernard's - I think we'll need the brandy soon.

Friday, September 4, 2009

In which we discuss the nature of breasts

(previous title Let's talk about boobs)

Recently there has been a lot of to do about breastfeeding in public. I heard a piece on talk radio (agh, don't ask, it was a long, trafficy commute day) about a proposed law requiring women to cover when they nurse in public. And yesterday, Tyler asked me if I'd seen the poll on Facebook about the same issue.

So let's talk about boobs. Because that's what this is about. It has nothing to do with a child getting sustenance. It has everything to do with boobs. Breasts. Melons. Jugs.

It's about people seeing a breast and thinking about sex.

So let's talk about boobs.

These are mine:

They are large, not as big as when I was still nursing, but larger than before I had children.
They have stretch marks from pregnancy. Because it's not just your stomach and ass that grow at alarming speeds.
Without the appropriate, 3 hook bra, they sag. The girls just aren't what they used to be.
They cannot be unrestrained. It's terrifying to small children and dogs alike.
Two weeks out of the month, they hurt like a son of a bitch. They ache and pull.
They are often in the way. I cannot sleep on my stomach.
They catch stains, thus showing their only true usefulness - preventing me from spilling quite so much shit on my lap.
They are too large for most shirts. Meaning I am left to a) wear clothes that are just too big or b) look like a Porny Princess.
When it is hot, they sweat.
Despite the fact that I have not done nursed for almost 2 years, they still contain milk.
When I was nursing, I suffered painful vasospasms and plugged ducts.

Tell me, does any of this sound sexy to you?

And all of this is completely normal. Well, maybe not the size things, most women end up smaller and flatter post-pregnancy. I was looking forward to that and got hit by the bigger boob stick instead.

For some reason that I cannot comprehend, related to the way that we have been conditioned to view breasts, the sight of a nursing mother offends people.

And so we are asked to cover ourselves. To drape a blanket or other wrap over our nursing child when we are in public.

Have you ever tried to eat with a bag on your head? Have you ever been asked to? What about on a sweltering day, when all you wanted was to have a drink - would you wrap a fleece blanket about yourself?

If I asked a mother giving her child a bottle to cover up, because it offended me, I would, in all fairness, be accused of being a judgemental bitch who should mind her own business.

Nursing a child is no different than that. To me, these breasts are not sexual objects. And the fact that so many in the general public view them that way is offensive.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

We are mothers

Brigit threw up at Trader Joe's yesterday. Ok, to be accurate, first she coughed the evil 5-week lingering cough (am horrible mother), then she choked on phlegm (which subsequently shot onto me), and then she threw up at Trader Joe's. By the bananas. You know, in front of everyone. And I was paralyzed. Because she's at that stage where I no longer need to carry a diaper bag complete with wipes, change of clothes, and empty plastic bag (and I'm totally kidding, because I never carried that - wipes and one diaper crammed into my purse, if I'm lucky). I had two stuffed animals, a box of granola, and a bunch of bananas. I was 50 feet from the cooking kiosk, where there might be napkins, and 200 feet from the bathroom.

And I was catching vomit in my hand.

A friend of mine recently said, "you know you're a mother when you reach out to catch throw up."

Yesterday, I was surrounded by mothers. Within minutes, one mother was handing me paper towels and reaching out her own hand to catch vomit, another brought me wipes and helped me towel Brigit down in between retching spasms. Others helped me to the bathroom.

There is something about the sight of a sick child and a mother in distress that brings out the best of the mother in us. I did not know these women, might not have been friends with them had we known each other, but they were were there, they did not hesitate.

I have been part of the community of mothers for more than 6 years now. There are days when my mothering instinct is overruled by my snark (I may have maybe called a number of mothers in Ror's new class "Alpha moms" this morning), but at the heart of it, we are all mothers, ass-high in the alligators of vomit together. Whether we are calling one of our number a bully or calling another disgusting because she dares post pictures of her real home, uncleaned, we are all mothers. And I hope we would all be there, our hand outstretched, if one of own needs it.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

In which I take entirely too long to get to the point, which is that I was wrong and my husband was right

I love crossword puzzles. You might even call it an unholy obsession. It is a deep enough passion that I regularly risked my mother's ire by finishing the crossword in the daily newspaper before she got home from work. And my handwriting was atrocious, so she couldn't finish any clues I couldn't solve, even she had wanted to. She played the "it's my paper, I paid for it" card, so I had no choice but to continue solving the puzzles, only using very light pencil. Sometimes it is a mighty fine thing that your architect father has an electric eraser.

About a year ago, my husband bought me a Nintendo DS, and the heavens opened, the NY Times Crossword Puzzles game. I began dreaming in crosswords, much the way you do when you play too much Tetris. My children went shoeless, snackless, clothesless, while I searched for a 15 letter phrase that meant the opposite of abandoned.

In addition to this crossword thing, there is one other thing you need to know about me. I lose things. All the time. Rory once missed school because I couldn't find my car keys. Once, those damn keys remained lost for over a year, only to turn up in a box of screwdrivers in the closet under the stairs.

So I lose things. I'm good at it. And it drives Tyler crazy. Because he sets up systems, places for me to put my shit so that I won't lose it, and I still lose it. Like that day that Rory missed school? The car keys were hanging from the purse hook and not the key hook. It took me 2 hours to find them.

About 5 months ago, Tyler borrowed my DS game system. And that was the last day I saw my beloved game.

I had it. He took it. And it was gone.

So logically, my mind went like this: You lost my game.

And I may have told others that he lost my game. Even after he tore the house apart looking for it, while I sat aside, secure in my belief that the last person who touched it was him.

I know, you can see where this is going, can't you?

On our recent vacation, Tyler insisted that I buy 2 new games - Scrabble (so that my sister and I could attempt to for once play a non-full-body-contact version of the game, although he did permit us to throw things at each other) and the USA Today Crossword Puzzles game. "It's no NY Times," he said, "But it's better than what you have now."

Because my husband is a good man.

Maybe I bitched and moaned and made parenthetical comments about how I wouldn't need this new game if someone hadn't lost my other, perfect game.

Maybe I don't deserve him.

Because when we got home, he had occasion to look for something in the death pit I call my purse. What was that bag that Hermione gave everyone in Book 7? That holds entirely more than it should be able? That's my purse.

And while checking all 32 pockets in that purse, Tyler found my game.

Of course he did.

So to my husband, I apologize. I apologize for every time I accused you of losing my game. Both to your face and behind your back. You were right - you gave it to me, and I lost it. And while you insisted it was somewhere on my Bermuda Triangle of a desk, you were still right.

Mark down the date and time, because I don't easily admit that. Like, ever.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

The Best Day Ever

Yesterday on the looong car ride home (time-bendingly made longer by a 3 year old screaming for 40 miles. And kicking. And hitting), Rory had the following best idea ever:

Ror: Mom! You know what is the best holiday ever? The SpongeBob and Cereal Day!
Me: Hmm?
Ror: Yeah, and it's tomorrow! You have to watch SpongeBob all day and eat nothing but cereal. It's going to be awesome.

And so it is.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Care and feeding of the Pogudy Beasts

Last year, my parents were gracious enough to come spend some time with my monkeys while Tyler and I enjoyed our first kid-free vacation/second honeymoon (um, 9 years late). I wrote up some instructions for the grands to help them survive the 3 days with Rory and Brigit. Here's a sampling, copied verbatim - I really do speak to my parents this way. I am the worst child.

Wake up:
Rory - 6:30 AM
Get him juice and turn on the TV for him - you can get extra sleep before he demands breakfast.
[Am I not the perfect mother?]
Brigit - when she starts screaming

Lunch and Dinner suggestions:
Rory will eat or not eat what you give him. It is 100% ok to feed them what you are having - he'll complain (maybe) but life's tough all over. When in doubt, give him a banana.

Nap for B - after lunch - put in crib. Walk away.

Bath - Make sure to give them a 5 minute warning when it's time to get out. Less screaming this way.
Teeth - Rory can brush his own, despite what he says.

Stories -
After B's 3rd story, she's going to say "again" or more." Be firm. Give her kisses, pick her screaming ass up out of the corner of her closet and put her in her bed. Turn on night-light-man. Walk out. Ignore screams. Trust me.

You'd think my parents didn't survive three daughters of their own. Three girls. Three potential Brigits. They are saints. Except when they laugh hysterically at Brigit's challenging behavior. I believe my mother's cackling claim is, "Karma is a bitch." Well, so am I, mom.

The Ongoing Saga of Zipper

Apparently, Zipper (aka Brigit's bum, because who doesn't name their body parts and then create entire separate lives for them??) has been experiencing an uptick in visitors lately. We have Zipper conversations daily (which, by the way, you're welcome for not sharing the exact same story every single freakin' day) but this morning, there were some new parties. It seems that times are tough for Goblin, what with the needing to use a little ladder to get that muddy snowball in position, so Goblin has taken on help. In the form of a dog and a wolf. I'm not sure exactly what the dog and wolf do, they may help with the chicken eggs that become Zipper's babies (I couldn't make this shit up). Details to be added as soon as I figure out what in the hell is going on.

So, since I don't have details, and I hate to deprive my mom and dad of their "OMG, I'm glad that this is our granddaughter and not our daughter" stories, here is last night's gem. Which, honestly, pains me to share. Because I do not like scatological humor. But these are the facts, ma'am.

Brigit: Oooone.
Brigit: Twoooo
Brigit: Threeee

Me: Brigit, you can count!

Friday, August 7, 2009

Teenage Poet Diaries - 1

Today my nerves are raw, my teeth are gnashing at the edge, and I feel certain that anything that comes out of these fingers, I will regret later. For they are not true, they are at best impostors to my feelings, colored by emotions.

And so, I unearthed a journal, an essay book given to me by my writing instructor, in the summer between junior and senior years of high school. I was 16 and a "poet." I was dark, and drama, and angst. I was a poem in the back pocket. Words in my head. Unrequited love, committed to lines. I was every bit as obnoxious and pretentious as that all sounds. (And apparently a little too in love with ee cummings and his lack of punctuation. God forbid I write anything clear.)


like a line
flows across the page of life
like a highway-
broken at times
just over the next hill
but always there.

I search, seek,
am left anxious
When desired most
peace recedes
not to be yearned for
but needed.

I crouch on the floor
marker in hand
tracing qualities.
Concerns vacation
unreturned calls
broken promises

Clear in mind and conscience.
serene ink runs onto the paper
and makes a person.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Politics of office doors

I've been lucky, I guess, to have always had a door in my workplace. I've never been stuck in a cube farm, always had the security of 4 walls and a door, behind which I can make private phone calls to doctors about, say, this inconvenient need to pee all g'damn day long.

But as with all things in the office place, there need to be some rules. When you have a door, the status of the door provides a built-in code, an indicator of my willingness to talk to you. (Because that's the kind of bitch I am.)

So here is my Rosetta Stone of Office Doors.

At my former place of employment (lovingly referred to as Soul-Sucking Mega-Corporation), there was a door and four walls, leading to the following door positions and meanings:

  • Door open - Come on in! Distract me from these error codes!
  • Door ajar - Knock first, please.
  • Door ajar and I have a headset on - I'm on the phone - speak softly.
  • Door closed - Knock but don't be surprised if I don't answer. I'm either out or sleeping under my desk.
  • Door closed and whirring noise escaping from the cracks - For the love of God, leave me alone. I am pumping, and trust me, this conversation is every bit as uncomfortable for me as it is for you.

At my new pretty place of employment (referred to as Pretty Pretty Place Where I Work for the Pretty Pretty People), there are four walls, a door, and a window, with a blind, leading to additional much more complicated door meaning algorithms.

  • Door closed + blinds up or open - Knock and wave. I'll either gesture you in or ignore you pointedly.
  • Door closed + blinds closed - I'm busy plotting ways in which to remove you from this pretty place of business. Don't panic, panicking will not help.
Ok, so that last one probably isn't true. Maybe.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Nothing but Canadians and trouble

Scene: Family room, looking at The Little Duckling.

Ty: Yum, I'd eat a duck.
Ror: Really?
Ty: And a goose too.
Ror: Why?
Ty: People eat ducks and geese.
Ror: Even Canadians?

Scene: Driving Brigit to preschool

Brigit: Mommy, I'm kicking your bag!
Me: Why?
Brigit: To get in trouble.
Me: Um, why?
Brigit: Because I'm a girl.

Monday, August 3, 2009

The finger ... of shame

I got scoped out at the grocery store this afternoon. Well, I think? I did. I'm usually obtuse about this sort of thing. Really, really obtuse.

But this afternoon, I saw it. I mean, I SAW it.

I was walking down the soda/beer aisle with Brigit, because she enjoys a good brew from time to time. I'm trying to introduce her to the good local brews, but she has a strange fascination with the Belgian ales. Personally, I think they taste skunky, but what are you going to do? She has a mind of her own. Almost-three year olds these days, I tell you.

So I'm loading up the cart with soda (diet, oh thank you, bastard diabetes) when Brig starts playing a shy game of peek-a-boo with a man down the aisle. He had just gotten his six pack and was going back to his cart. He started talking to Brigit. She instantly fell in love and started telling him all about her stuffed dog, Buddy. I was observing, mostly because Brig makes me laugh when she plays shy. Because it is so counter to her normal kick-ass attitude.

And then it happened.

He looked at my hand. LOOKED looked. Checked me out.

Now, given that I am wearing an old bleach-stained Minor Threat concert t-shirt (real old school, not Old Navy old school) and a pair of jeans, about which the most flattering review was "do not look like mom jeans," and my hair was tied in a knot (literally, a knot), I'm pretty sure I know why he was looking.

I do not wear a wedding band.

For those of you playing along at home (hi, Mom!), I have been married for 11 years. My children, while entirely capable of being monstrous, were not born of out wedlock.

I do not wear a wedding ring because, well, I can't fit my old, blessed ring over my finger. Within 6 weeks of being pregnant with Brig, my joints had swollen beyond that pretty white gold's capacity. And either my lower finger joint really retains pregnancy weight or my fingers are just permanently fat, whichever it is, I still cannot wear it.

Over the years, I've gotten some looks. Some when I was heavily pregnant with Brig and accompanied by Ror. Some when I had both kids in tow. It happens at grocery stores and at schools.

And it's ridiculous. Whether or not I am married has no bearing on my ability to parent my children. Whether or not my children are "illegitmate" does not change the people that they are, who they will grow into. Whether or not I am a single mother is a not matter to be judged by a guy in the grocery store.

What he could have judged was whether my daughter was clean. (Yes) Dressed. (Yes, in a dress, even) Harmed. (No - except that she'd not 5 minutes earlier twirled into the cart and got a divot in her forehead) Being berated or beaten (No)

I admit to judging parents. Based on their treatment of their children. How they interact with them. How they handle (or mishandle) them.

But as for the rest of it, have we not grown past this? The 50's era assumption game?

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Rory's reading

Rory is reading a dinosaur book. To himself. Which is awesome. But which also leads to conversations like this:

Rory: Mom, what's this word?

Me: Which?

Rory: The f-word.

Me: Um, furry?

Tyler: There's a post in that.

The Weight of Memory

When I was a child, my mother threw a brush in the family camp shower and broke it.

When I was a child, I got lost in the mall. My mother spanked me when she found me. And then cried and hugged me.

When I was a teenager, deep in the throes of a bitch fight with my older sister, my mother called us both bitches.

When I was a child, my mother put my hair in a pony tail every day. She twisted the tail before securing it with a band. I believed this made it more secure.

When I was a child, we made pies for every holiday. I would sit in the kitchen and watch as my mother rolled out the crust, pressing it into the pie plate, trimming the edges. She always gave me the extra dough.

When I was a child, we had a nightly ritual of cuddling, one-on-one with my mother. She never turned down a cuddle request. And it was the first thing she did when we were cranky.

When I was a teenager, trapped in my own angst, my mother decided that what I needed was not medicine or hospitalization, but hugs. And chocolate. She renamed Hershey’s Kisses to Hershey’s Hugs, so I could have hugs while she was away.

What are the memories that my children will hold when they have grown and gone on?

Will Rory remember that I yelled at him when he wouldn’t try his first karate class? Will Brigit remember the times our wills clashed and we were both crying? Will they remember every time that I have been too stressed to parent them beyond food and shelter?

Or will they remember the hugs, the stories, the silly faces. Swinging on the tire swing at the castle park? Dancing to Mambo Italiano in the kitchen?

What we remember, and what we forgot, are our stories – each has its own weight.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

The stories we tell

Each person has a story, something that shaped them, molded them, made them who they are today. Because of my many roles - daughter, sister, friend, wife, mother - I have both my own stories and all of theirs. Each of my roles has its own narrative. As well as its own interweaving with another's story. Every time I write an entry, I tend to share more of their stories than my own. At times, I feel inextricably enmeshed in these other stories.

Lately in this blog, the stories have not been mine. They have been kid stories, or diabetes stories, or random thoughts that don't have very much to do with me but instead skim the edges of my own story. One of the items in my now defunct mini-life-list (cruelly slain by that bastard diabetes) was to blog every day. I made that goal in the hope of telling not just more stories, but better stories. It is painfully easy to jot down what my children say through the day, they are more than enough humor for all of us (like last night? Brigit was "ROCK GIRL!!") but in terms of me, and my own story, I'm not sure it tells as much. It doesn't challenge me to go beyond what is said and into the truth. I'm not trying for pretentious depth here, just more exploration maybe? More of me out there? Perhaps we're back to my old friend, free therapy by cathartic soul purging online.

Anyway, these are the thoughts that have been blowing around the attics of my mind. Who am I? What do I write about? I don't identify as a "mommy blogger" because I think it's a limited term. I write about more than my kids, those wacky monsters with their funny shit all day long. I'm not just someone who writes about what it's like to be married to someone with chronic depression, because HELLO, how funny would that be? And I'm also not just telling you what I had for lunch (turkey sandwich with havarti cheese - I love havarti - all those holes?).

So what am I? Tonight I am a wife/mother/writer, enjoying the end of a heatwave, excited about moving this here blog from Xanga to Blogger (you mean I can save a post and publish it when I'm ready? Whaaa?), hungry for more guacamole.

I am Liza, and this is my story.

Friday, July 24, 2009

The post in which I embarass my future teenager

Me: Who made this poopy?

Brig: A goblin do it.

Me: A goblin? How did a goblin get poopy inside of Zipper?

Brig: With a ladder.


Brig: It was a snowball, a muddy snowball.

Me: That's what poop is, a muddy snowball?

Brig: Yup

Thursday, July 23, 2009

An update from our friend, Zipper

Remember Zipper? I know you're all dying for an update. DYING, I say, to learn about what Brigit's bum has been up to. More than you care about diabetic turmoil, am I right?

Tyler: Brigit, what comes out of Zipper?
Brig: Pink when he's closed.
Tyler: And when he's open?
Brig: Purple.

Me: How's Zipper doing, Brig?
Brig: He has babies in him.
Me: Really? How will they come out?
Brig: From his bum. I mean, his zipper.
Me: How did they get in there?
Brig: My grandpa put them there.

Me: Did you have a good day today?
Brig: Yes because of my Zipper. He's my friend.
Me: Isn't Zipper your bum?
Brig: Yes, I love my bum Zipper.

* Yeah, everything's a "he" to Brig - I choose not to be too freaked out (only a little major amount).

Monday, July 6, 2009

Toddler Not A Milestone (but totally should be)

Scene - Morning, Brigit's bedroom

Me: Bring your bumbum over here so we can put on a pull-up.
Brigit: Don't call it a bumbum! It's not yours!
Me: Ok, what should I call it then?
Brigit: Zipper

Saturday, July 4, 2009

If my children could blog

The Adventures of Dorkboy

July 4, 2009

OMGosh, my mom is sooo lame. She wouldn't let us go see the fireworks tonight because of some "it'll be too late" excuse. Like I ever sleep. Sheesh.

And then, when we were watching those totally crappy TV fireworks instead? She wouldn't even let me dance on her head. What's up with that?

So here I am, in my bed and I can HEAR the fireworks going off RIGHT now. And I'm totally still awa...

Princess Brigit Diaries

July 4, 2009

I don't know why mom won't let me stand on my headboard to look out the window. It's not like I'd get hurt. I mean, when I totally walked right off the ottoman, did I cry about my sprained ankle? Um, ok, what about when I snuck out of the tub, totally wet, and ate it on the bathroom floor? Crap.

Fireworks are pretty. So are bunnies. I'm a princess.

Friday, July 3, 2009

What would you do?

Behind this door lies one sleeping girl. One sleeping girl who, having foregone her regular daycare-induced nap, fell asleep at 6 PM, in the midst of a screaming "I'll kick the wall if I want to kick the wall and don't you dare move the chair away from the wall or I will diiiiiieeee" fit.

6 PM. Before dinner. Before teeth brushing.

Before putting on a night-time pullup.

It is now approaching 9:30.

In the inimitable words of Dr Seuss:
"What would you do, if your mother asked you?"

Because I would much rather keep watching the Greatest Movie That Ever Was Ever Is and Ever Shall Be (aka Empire Strikes Back). But I have this fear of waking up to screams at 3 AM, screams accompanied by a soaked mattress. Would you do what I am about to dare- to risk waking the monster in order to secure the pullup?

Wish me luck.

Once more into the breach, we few, we happy few.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Mini Life-list

This post is completely and utterly inspired by Mighty Girl and her Mighty Life List, which, hi, was just sponsored by Intel. And how cool is that? I want to be Maggie Mason when I grow up.

However, to be honest, I am not such a Mighty Liza and am instead more of a medium-sized Liza, with very small goals in my life list. These are things that I hope to achieve in the next, say, three months (or sooner!). And, really, the idea of swimming with bioluminescent anything in Puerto Rico scares the shit out of me.

So without further ado - here is the Mini Life List:

  • Blog every day in July. None of this half-assed cross-month NaBloPoMo this time. I started on July 1 and will end on July 31. (And hi, why didn't I make this goal in February?)
  • Lose 10 lbs. Eh, I first have to convince myself to stand on that old nemesis, Mr. Scale. But I can do this. And I hear that gym membership thing that I have means I can exercise inside the gym and not just visit the emergency childcare area. Who knew?
  • Institute nightly or semi-nightly post-dinner walks with the kids. Did you know that I live in the Northwest? Which has never been prettier (or drier)? Why are we inside?
  • Buy new glasses. With colored frames. I have crooked ears, which means I have crooked glasses. And every day they get more crooked. I know, you're thinking - why does she not wear contacts? And I'll tell you, because they hurt like a son-of-a-bitch every second of every minute that I have them in my eyes. During my day-long interview for the lovely experience that is my job, I had to take the soul-sucking contacts out midway and pretend that I always had these crooked glasses on my face. That's how much I hate them. But I need new glasses because the crookedness is a bit out of hand, plus I broke the tip of one of the arms-things off. So I hereby resolve to get new glasses. And to get new glasses that are NOT tortoiseshell but are instead something fun and colorful. (Which I will probably hate within a few months, just in time for a new mini life list!)
  • Go 1 week without eating anything processed. I was initially going to say, go a week without my family eating anything processed. But I am a realistic working mother.
  • Buy a sundress. I currently dress either like my mother (in my brain that comes out like Click and Clack: "Don't dress like my mother" "Don't dress like my mother") or like a college student. A hung-over college student in a too-big t-shirt and boyfriend jeans. And while my mother is indeed a stylish woman, I am not yet sixty-mumblemumble years old, nor am I 20. There is a happy medium in there, and it lives inside a sundress.
  • Comment more on the blogs that I read. I don't do a good job at participating so much in this community of bloggers. I read a number of excellent blogs each and every day and am sad when Google Reader doesn't have something new from Flotsam or Suburban Bliss, yet I don't do so much of the commenting. I resolve to be better.
  • Learn some kind of heiroglyphic shorthand so I can write notes for blog entries during meetings. Especially long spec meetings where they talk about things like ASPX and WCF, and I am pretending to take scrupulous notes but am really making my mini life list.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Must buy childproof doorknobs, stat

Conversation with Brigit, the second time she came out of her room post-bedtime:

"Mommy, what does snow look like?"
"It's white."
"And what does milk look like?"
"It's white too."
"And what do toots look like?"

When I stopped laughing, she followed with a long dissertation on what snowflakes look like (white) and what they sound like (whispers) and what they smell like (sweet).

And then she started screaming because out of the 2 million books crowding her bed, the Mowgli book was missing.

Note to self, buy doorknob covers before the next sunfall or risk going stark raving.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Notes from the Mom Trenches

My older sister welcomed a beautiful healthy baby girl early this morning - Dannan Mairead was born at 3:30-ish, coming in at 7 lbs 7 ozs (I think?) and 18 inches long. Just four short hours after I suggested that maybe said sister should get her ASS TO THE HOSPITAL.

I am beyond thrilled for Sarah and her family. Dannan was much anticipated and she was a long time coming. And for just a minute, I had a tetch of the baby fever. I miss the warmth of a baby on my chest, a baby asleep on the breast, the first smiles, first steps, first words. The firsts of it all. It is all new.

And then Brigit, who was ecstatic, informed me that she wanted a baby sister for her birthday. And I snapped out of it. The truth of the matter is that my heart is full to bursting with each of my kids' firsts - the first time Rory smiled, the first time Brigit growled. The first words ("dog" and "Aye, Aye, Captain") and steps (lazy bones Rory at 16 months, Brigit entirely too early at 10 months) and foods (bananas and blueberries for Ror, anything not nailed down for Brig).

And each day they bring me new firsts.

Today was the first day Rory stamped his entire body with red ink. (Oh, Laurie, thanks for including that stamp in the birthday goody bag. No really.)

And last week was the first time Brigit referred to herself in the third person. "Brigit is hungry. Brigit wants milk." Princess practice, perhaps?

I am deep in the trenches with their firsts, each is a new challenge. What exactly is the appropriate punishment for over-stamping? How do you deal with a pig-headed toddler who has a case of the royal we? (Yes, yes, pot, kettle, black, I get it.)

I am still working it out, having my own firsts along with them. Today is the first day of Dannan's life, the first of Sarah's life as the mother of two (hold on to your hat, honey), and the first day I was pronounced Mama Gorilla by Brigit Gorilla.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Peepee in the Potty - Brigit Style

When we were potty-training Rory, every time he would do his business successfully, we would do a little song and dance routine, "Peepee in potty, Rory went peepee in the potty, peepee in the potty." Visualize, if you will, two very white parents doing the white man's overbite very VERY badly.

Every time Brigit has successfully peed in the potty, we've broken out the song. She even sings it to me when I do my business. Yay, Mommy!

Well, two nights ago, after bath, she was sitting on my lap, wrapped in a towel (you see where this is going, don't you). All of a sudden she hopped up and said, "I peed on you." Oh yay.

So we hustled to the bathroom, where she sat on the toilet and did nothing. Ok, not exactly nothing, she did make a cookie out of toilet paper.

When she was "done" and walking back into her room, she started to sing:
"Bridgey peepeed on the Mommy, Bridgey peepeed on the Mommy."

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Cackle PSA: Get your kid's [body part] unstuck

A friendly firefighter passed this bit of wisdom along. I've yet to use it, but I trust this guy (despite the fact that he completely soaked me at work the other day by shaking the tree I was walking under. To prove that it was "raining." Bastard. I am still plotting my revenge - suggestions welcome.)

Anyway, should your child (or you, because honestly it's not just kids who are stupid sometimes, right) stick a finger, a toe, something in a hole from which he cannot extract it, douse the affected body part with Windex. Yes, Windex, not soap, not butter, not oil. Windex. Et voila, the body part should slide right out.

If you have occasion to use this method, please let me know, as I trust my firefighter friend, but you know, I can't throw him very far, so verification is always appreciated.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Medical management

You are looking at one day's worth of Tyler's medications. One of my Saturday chores is to get his pills ready for the week. There are 17 pills from 7 different prescriptions + vitamins. (Missing are the omega 3 supplements, because the only ones I have left are ridiculously huge and he doesn't like them.) Looking at this makes me especially grateful for the incredible medical insurance we have through my work. We have 100% prescription coverage. At my previous job, while we had very good coverage, we still had to cover a portion of prescription costs. We were averaging about $250-300 per month on Tyler's meds alone.

Probably the most important role I play in my husband's mental health is the role of manager. I manage his medications, making sure he remembers to take them and ensuring that they keep coming. I contact his doctors when he needs refills (his nurses all know me by name and have finally FINALLY stopped asking for him when they call the house), take charge of any new prescriptions he brings home. I put together a spreadsheet with all his medications, including dosage and frequency, so he could simply take a printed list to each doctor's appointment. It is too much to remember without a cheat sheet.

I manage his appointments. I make them and reschedule them. I take him to them and most often, I go into the visit with him. (With the exception of his therapists and shrink.) I do this because he does not deal well with doctors. He doesn't always remember everything, and they tend to treat him either like he's stupid or he's crazy. Case in point - a couple of weeks ago, he saw a nurse practictioner for allergies and a head cold. That is specifically what I told them the appt was for when I set it up. While I did go with him to the appt, I stayed in the waiting room. Mostly because my own injured knee was killing me. I wish I had gone back. Somehow the NP got it into her head that Tyler didn't have allergies (really? Did you notice the red watery itchy eyes? The sneezing? No?) but did have a staph infection (that would be skin irritations from having shaved his beard and you know, acne). So instead of listening to him about the congestion, the drainage down his throat, the coughing up of phlegm (the size of silver dollars he told me this AM), she wrote him a prescription for a skin infection. That he doesn't have. It's not just that he doesn't get the treatment that he needs in situations like this, it's that he completely shuts down. And spirals down. Because of this run-in with a jackass, he was down for the rest of the day. And refused to see anyone else.

It is easier when I go with him.

Everyone needs an advocate, and none more so than those with mental illness. It is too easy for a harried (or not) medical practictioner to not pay attention, to not get beyond what they're told, and get to the heart of the issue. My husband will not tell most doctors what they need to know, not without prodding. Because he does not trust them. Because he has had so many instances of doctors not giving a rat's ass.

Without an advocate, it is very easy to become so overwhelmed by the pills, the doctors, the appointments, insurance, so easy that many depressed people simply don't do it. Don't take their meds, not enough or on schedule. Don't go to the doctor unless they absolutely cannot avoid it. Don't go to the shrink or therapist because they cannot deal with the office policies or personnel.

I am an advocate. I am his advocate.

In which we learn the poisonous effects of lotion

Until last week I had never called poison control. Ok, that's not true - I called animal poison control once when our dog Buster drank from the toilet. The toilet that I had just that afternoon dropped one of those blue cleaning tablet things in in prepartion for houseguests. Turns out, a dog his size (100 lbs, half St Bernard), he would have had to have eaten the tablet for it to do any damage. That dog, man. He ate socks, remote controls, pillows, nothing stopped him. Except for ham. Who knew that ham was a powerful emetic for dogs? I'll tell you who - ME. Now I know that.

But the kids had been poison free. I have, on occasion, shamefacedly overdosed them on medicine. (What?? 2 TEASPOONS? of narcotic pain meds? Not 2 TABLESPOONS? What??) But I've done a fair job of keeping the lethal stuff locked up or out of reach.

Until last week.

We're an itchy bunch. These pasty white people complexions of ours are very prone to the itchies. So I have a number of anti-itch meds on hand. Earlier in the day I had smeared Aveeno Anti-Itch Lotion on Rory. (And, total aside, I love all things Aveeno. If Aveeno ever wanted to, you know, pay a blogger to rave about how much she loves Aveeno Anti-colloidal oatmeal lotion or Aveeno Hydrocortison cream, I wouldn't say no. Just saying.)

The cream was applied. He turned pink in all his itchy spots (why is this stuff pink when it dries?). And the lotion was forgotten. On the end table. Within reach.

Of Brigit.

I was in the kitchen. She came walking in, holding the open lotion bottle.

"Mama, I pretty!"

It was all over her hands, her hair, her face, her MOUTH.

After my heart started again, I called Washington State Poison Control. Where the lovely woman on the line assured me that she had had numerous calls from the parents of 2 year olds just that day. 2 year olds, it seems, are nefarious with their will to eat anything.

I am pleased to report that Aveeno Anti-Itch Lotion is not, in fact, lethal when consumed. It will cure constipation, however (a fact that bore fruit all day on Mother's Day - thanks for that present).

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Whether times are good or bad or happy or sad

Are you not impressed with my Turnoff Week commitment? Almost a month, baby. Of course, I kid, because I have been online, just not here. So we're going to call this the "Don't Blog Because You Suck" month.

Much has been going on here in the Pog-Udy household, but we're still here, as Al Green put it, whether times are good or bad or happy or sad. We're here.

We're here, today was a good day. In the end. There have been many not good days in the last month (knee injuries, dark depressions, poisoned kids, work problems), but today was a good day. And that's how I'm going to leave it. Today was a good day.

And now, since there is Chinese food waiting for me, and piles of laundry to fold, and the Vicodin gods (ahem, knee injury) give me precious coherent time in which to eat and fold, I'll leave you. I will be back, to share the good and bad and happy and sad.

But let me close with my spectacular parenting fail from this evening:

"Brigit, get off the stool [before you topple to your death, such is my luck]."


"Brigit, Wow Wow Wubbzy's on, you don't want to miss that!"


Some days, TV is a good thing.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Turnoff Week

On my way home from my nightly run to the grocery store after the kids go to bed, I heard a program on the radio about Turnoff Week. Well, I thought, have I got some turnoffs I could tell them about. Ok, that's not true, I can't think of any turnoffs. Except for, you know, the idea of more babies. TURNOFF.

Turns out, though, that they were talking about the annual Turnoff Week, sponsored by the Center for Screen-Time Awareness. Wow, did I get that wrong?

So I rushed right home to share this news with all of you. But then, I thought how hypocritical is it to BLOG about an event that requires you to turn off your computer? So I started writing it out by hand. Old school.

But my hand started cramping, and my carpal tunnel flared up. And when I tried to read what I'd written, I got a headache. Jesus, my handwriting has gotten abysmal. Too much dependence on this high-falutin' keyboard machines. Maybe these CSA folks are on to something.

Then I realized, shit, who can read this, if I can't read it and none of you are in my kitchen, where you too could enjoy saying things like, "what the fuck is that?" and "Where did you learn to write, monkey school??" How, how would you ever know that you are supposed to be NOT looking at your computer right now?

So I sat down instead to type this up.

But now I realize, you are looking at your computer RIGHT NOW. And you're not supposed
to be. Shit.

Turnoff week 2009, duration = 5 minutes.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

All 9 Kinds

"It was a simple picnic lunch - there was nothing but pie. But there were all nine of Harold's favorite pies."

I hear that line a lot, either on the Harold and the Purple Crayon DVD (permanently installed in the car DVD player as it is particularly well-suited for detering tantrums from the 2.5 yr olds among us) or in the book, a regular read.

This morning, though, it really hit me. 9 kinds of pies? Seriously? How can you have NINE favorite kinds of pies?

Here are mine:

  1. Strawberry rhubarb
  2. Apple
  3. Cherry
  4. Chocolate mousse
  5. Does cheesecake count as pie?
  6. What about chocolate cake?
  7. Because seriously, I'm out of pies.
  8. 9 kinds of pie, my ass.
  9. He's totally counting cheesecake.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Cackle PSA: How to get that thing out of your kid's nose

Somehow we made it through just over 5 years of being parents without anyone sticking anything up their nose. I guess we were due, then, when Rory decided to find out what happens when one sticks a googly eye up one's nose. I can tell you what happens - it gets stuck. Stuck stuck, you can't see it stuck, bring out the nose speculum stuck. And you spend 3 hours in the ER waiting room, because of course he'd try this little experiment on a Sunday, the day before Memorial Day. When I was in a cast and on a scooter. It was awesome. Even more awesome was that, after spending all that time in the waiting room, once we got back to see someone, the nurse asked us if we'd tried the following method to remove it. We hadn't, so we did, and it worked, and the nose was spared the speculum invasion (although the trauma might have stopped him from doing it again in the future).

So, on behalf of all of you imaginary readers and your imaginary kids who stick imaginary things up their noses, here is a Cackle Loud Public Service Announcement: Removing a Foreign Object From Nose. To save you three hours on a Sunday afternoon, hours which would have been much more profitably spent watching Dr. Who.

  1. Convince your child to lie down. This might take some doing if your child, like Rory, was wigging because not only had he stuck something up his nose, he had been specifically told NOT TO STICK THIS IN YOUR NOSE 5 minutes before he did stick it in his nose.
  2. Use your finger to close the unobstructed nostril - like you're going to do CPR.
  3. Put your mouth over your child's mouth - again, like you're going to do CPR.
  4. Tell your child to stop giggling, it's not that freaking funny, and didn't you tell him not to stick that friggin' googly eye up his nose?
  5. Repeat step 3.
  6. Blow really really hard.
  7. Clean the snot off the side of your face.
  8. Tell your kid to stop giggling. Again. Threaten to go ahead and get the doctor with the scopes and the speculums.
  9. Blow really really hard.
  10. Retrieve the foreign object from wherever it shot. Put it in an envelope and make your child carry it around all day. Every time he sees you, he has to show you that he has it and repeat, "I will not stick a googly eye up my nose. I will not stick a googly eye up my nose."

Please note that step 10 does not work quite so well if what your child has crammed up her nose is something less solid, something more like, say pancakes or playdough. Although this method will remove those less object-y and more "why the fuck would you stick this gooey crap up your nose" as well.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

In which I blame the Bloggess for my eternal damnation

So, yeah, I've kind of been on a weird slant lately, with the chocolate Jesi. "Out of control" may be a more accurate description. Facebook, Twitter, here. Wow, it's been a little crazy. Like on FB? A friend of mine was all, "Indeed" (as in the "Lord is Risen, He is Risen Indeed") and I'm all, "Chocolate crosses for everyone!"

And the only thing I have to say for myself is that The Bloggess made me do it. I discovered her a couple of weeks ago on Twitter and spent this weekend reading her entire archive. The ENTIRE archive. You can say it, I'm Bloggsessed, which should totally be a word in the Urban Dictionary about reading archived Bloggess posts until your children give up and start getting their own waffles out of the freezer. And then I could be as cool as The Bloggess, she of Kawasakied fame.

Except I could never be that cool. I mean, the ninjas? The zombies? WOLVERINES?
But it's like she's in my brain now. And I'm suddenly afraid of dead bodies on toilets. And I want a pet chicken. And my mind, it's kind of wacked.

So that's why I blasphemed the Resurrection by complaining that there weren't enough crucifixion-themed Easter treats. And that's why I'm going to hell. The Bloggess made me do it.

(Except that this conversation totally really happened.)

Friday, April 10, 2009

Good Friday, in our tradition

Tyler: You know what would be cool? Chocolate crosses.
Liza: For Easter?
Tyler: Yeah.
Liza: Shouldn't they be two pieces, then? A chocolate Jesus and a chocolate cross. And on Easter, you could eat the Jesus and be all symbolic.
Tyler: I just want the chocolate Jesus. See what people have to say. Jesus was a black man.

Liza: Rory, do you know what Easter's about?
Rory: Nope.
Liza: It's about everything coming back to life, rebirth, growth.
Rory: Like the dinosaurs??

[paraphrase long conversation about the superhero Jesus and how he was all about the love but that the bad people ("The dinosaurs??") killed him because they were afraid of change. And some people believe that he rose again, to show us all that love is triumphant.]

Rory: I think I'll just believe that the dinosaurs are coming back on Sunday.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Blog entries I've written in the past several weeks ... in my mind

Lately, my blog entries have been exceptionally short lived. They are dying in my mind, without ever seeing the light of the keyboard. I get an idea, I work on it a bit ... in my mind, and then it just, you know, settles into the dusty corners of nowhere land. So because I am lazy have been remiss in posting, I thought I'd at least share some of the things that died and my reasoning, and you can understand why the old posting just isn't happening.

Married Underwear: I was getting dressed, pulling on my amazingly boring cotton underpants, and I started thinking, "Thank God we've been married long enough that I don't care that my underpants are white cotton, and neither does he." And I started writing this crazy blog post all about my underpants. Rolled waistband, not exactly granny panties, but you know, not lacy thongs either. It had promise, this idea, exploring why undies matter so much early on but then you thank God get to be comfortable (or your ass gets too big for the sexy stuff). And then, those same underpants, well, they started falling down. All day, I'm hiking up my drawers. And I realized, honey, ain't nobody likes boring underpants when the waistband has failed. You have just let yourself go.

Fat Acceptance: I've been off and on reading Kate Harding's Shapely Prose about fat acceptance, being fat, accepting it, dealing with bigotry because of your fatness. Etc. Etc. You can check it out, but I won't provide a linik. And here's why - because I'm pretty sure that if you expect others to accept your shape, no matter what it is, and you are at peace with it, yay. But you also have to accept the fact that you are the way you are because of YOU. You (um me) are the one who ate several entire bags of Cadbury Mini-Eggs and packages of cookie dough. YOU did that. Accept it. Own it. Like I own my big fat ass.

(Yeah, this one I can't really keep writing because some of those readers on that other blog probably have bigger asses than mine and could squash me. And can you believe I even typed this out? This is why it was in my MIND, people. Sometimes, it is a good place.)

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Huh, exercise

A good friend of mine is a runner. (She shall be referred to as "Crazy Running Girl" as she has one of those unique [but beautiful] names where, if you ran into her completely out of context of my wacky blog world, and you heard her name, you'd be like, "Oh, Quinella! You're the runner!" and how embarassing is that? Of course, I initially was calling her just "crazy girl" but she added the Running there in the middle, because apparently that's the only kind of crazy she is, and really? who am I to argue?) Crazy Running Girl just ran a half-marathon and recorded a new personal best time of just under 2 hours 30 minutes. And this is why I call her crazy. Because seriously? I can't think of anything, other than sleeping or eating, oooh eating, that I'd willingly do on a weekend for 2 hours and 30 minutes without stopping, Nothing. Most certainly not running. Unless someone was chasing me. And trust me when I say, I'd drop dead well before the 2:30 mark.

And therein lies my problem with exercise. It's not something you can do at the last minute. I excel under pressure. I live for the wild ride at the end, the night before a paper is due, the day before the product ships. I am in my element.

Exercise is not that. Like these biofeedback exercises I'm supposed to be doing? Yeah, I was supposed to start 1 week ago, I see the therapist in 1 week, and I somehow have to now cram 2 weeks worth of exercises into 1 week. Well, there's a sort of pressure there, but I'm not convinced that my quick flick fibers (oh my God, don't ask) will really be up to the task.

I know, I know, I should set goals. And work toward them. Real goals, like this would have been a good one: Don't look like a fat cow at your sister's wedding. Which is next week. Wherein even my seven month pregnant other sister will be considerably slimmer than me. But see, there's no pressure. Until, you know, this week. When I have to go shopping for something to wear and will most likely end up in a muumuu. And there's no exercise that can be done to spare me of this fate, not now.

So I'll be the one in the pictures dressed in something that looks suspiciously like a bedspread, with a pinched look on her face, as she crams in some last minute flexing of those quick flick fibers.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Towanda Emergency Car Repair

Last week the battery in my car died. Why does that always happen when you're on your way somewhere, like to work, and never when you're just idly thinking, maybe I'll run out for fun and not for something that I need? Anyway, it's not like I didn't know the battery was on its way out. The service shop had warned me back in December, the car very reluctantly started at the grocery store the week before. I even had a fresh battery sitting in the car, just waiting to be installed. It took the battery just finally giving up the ghost (with a little nudge from me leaving the overhead lights on all night - oh yeah? you try to remember to turn those things off when you're trying to get a sick kid into the house, go on with you) before I actually changed it.

That's the point of this post. I changed it. I popped the hood, removed the old battery (with the help of a can of Pepsi - that thing about how soda eats corrosion? Totally true), and put the new one in. I didn't call AAA, I didn't drag my husband out of bed, I didn't throw up my hands and cry. I just changed the battery.

When I was in high school, my high school debate partner, Linda, drove us to a meet one Saturday. On the way home, her car started to overheat. So we pulled into a gas station to see what was going on. Turns out she had almost no oil in the car. But it's not like she knew that. She couldn't even pop the hood.

I think that women too often rely on others to get them out of a car jam. It's so easy these days to call a tow truck, to ask a neighbor, to put your hands on your hips, hike your skirt up a bit higher, and hope that a big strong man will come and give you that jump, fix your flat, solve your problem.

To this, I call bullshit. Girls, really? You need someone else to help you? Where is your inner Towanda?

So I'm considering setting up a series of Towanda Emergency Car Repair clinics, where we'll learn the following:
- Popping your hood
- Checking the oil. Adding more if needed.
- Adding windshield washer fluid.
- Adding antifreeze.
- Jump starting your car. The smart way.
- Changing a battery.
- Changing a flat tire.

For the advanced, I'll bring in a friendly mechanic to teach us the basics of car repair - this course will be called, "How to not get screwed by the auto repair guy just because you have boobs."

I'm not suggesting that we all get ASE certified, or even that you learn how to pull the radiator out of your car (thanks for showing me that one, Dad, good skills), just that we, as a gender, stop acting so god-damn helpless.

It's barking snow rats all over again

Brigit may be my doppelganger, but oh, she is my father's granddaughter.

Me: Brigit, what do we say after we toot?

Brigit: A witch! Run!

Sunday, March 15, 2009

And then the tent said, "You're welcome"

Tyler has this theory, that women cannot stand to see men sleep. That we go out of our way to make sure that they do not get sleep. Something to do with payback for all the sleep we lose when the babies come.

I have to admit, there may be something to this theory. At least subconsciously, anyway. It seems that I'm always asking him, "Are you asleep?" just as he's on the edge of sleep. Which, when you think about it, is a stupid question. If the person's asleep, he's not exactly going to answer, and if he's not asleep but is still lying with his eyes closed, despite sensing your presence with his spidey sense, then well, asking's not really going to help, is it?

If there is some grand conspiracy against the sleep of a good man, kids are fantastic co-conspirators. They don't walk, they stomp. They don't talk, they shriek. They cannot not slam doors. Someone's always poking, pushing, pulling someone else. And the cats are always looking at them funny.

So the sleeping? It is mighty disturbed.

Thanks to our Visa's favorite store REI, we have a solution - a one-man tent, pitched at the top of the yard, under the canopy of pine trees, and a sub-freezing mummy bag. It's like a room away from his room. A nice hide-out that the kids seem happy to leave alone.

I'm a little worried, though - Tyler's been talking to the tent lately. Singing sweet songs of love, devotion. I'd tell them to get a room, but it seems a bit of an oxymoron, doesn't it?


An extra bit - Tyler has another theory: foreign actors are taking over the airwaves. Soon good American actors are going to be penniless, forced to work in Bollywood. Just look at the evidence - The Mentalist and The Beast - leads from Australia; Eleventh Hour and House - leads from England. Even Sons of Anarchy. And forget about Without a Trace - 2 from Australia, 1 from London. It's hard for a good actor who doesn't, you know, have to fake an American accent to get ahead these days.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Children these days have no respect for their elders

Conversations from today:

Rory: Mom, are you old?

Brigit: You're not rock and roll, Mom!