My dog needs Prozac and I need a drink

Wanna know what it's like to drive for three hours with a neurotic dog and very, very, extremely talkative and inquisitive children? 

First, read aloud and record the following:

Mamae, do you know where the Arctic is? Have you been there? Do they have polar bears in California? Are you sure? Why not? How do you get to the Arctic? Why can't we just drive there now? I think we can. It will only take 60 seconds. Then how about the 8-second Arctic? That's where the pandas are. And the 30-second Arctic is really really close so we could go there. Fine, we can go tomorrow. I think we should take our Pokemons. They would like it there. And then we could take a boat back so all the Pokemons can see the ocean. I really think the 8-second Arctic is the best one. Because it's even closer than the 30-second Arctic. So we could get there really fast and then we would have lots of time to see the polar bears. And show our Pokemons around. Do you think I should take Raichu or Pikachu? Which one is taller? And what's the name of the one with wings? But I don't think I have that card in my Pokemon binder, do I? Do you, Luca? Mamae, please tell him to answer me. I don't have to answer you. You're not the boss of me. What if I don't feel like talking? Sometimes, you don't feel like talking (really? I don't think that's ever happened when I'm around). I don't care. I'm going to the Arctic and I'm going to take Houndoor and Raichu and you're not going to get to see the polar bears. Right, Mamae? Because brothers who are mean don't get to go to the Arctic. So I'm going to go by myself, with Mamae and we are going to see pandas and you aren't.

Then, hold the computer screen up close to your face, so this picture is mere inches away from your nose:

Ready? I'm setting the timer, I'll let you know when three hours is up.


When a branding consultant would have paid off

I'm no Harvard Business School grad, but I'm thinking it's time to change your product name.

Even if it's a "crème" instead of just crappy old lotion...

I'm just saying.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone


A weekend in Dash's world

Can you run around with me?
I can't. I'm pregnant, remember?
Oh yeah.
Am I that?
What, pregnant?
No, you're not pregnant.
So I can run around?
Yes.  Knock yourself out.

I'm going to make baby broccoli for dinner tonight.
Why just baby broccoli? Why not mommy broccoli or daddy broccoli? 
We only have baby broccoli.
Can I see the face?

Mamae, can you please go to La Farine (local bakery) and get some gabuette?  I want some for dinner.

I might have to suggest to La Farine that they rename their "baguettes."  I bet they'd sell like cothakes.


The Breath Offender

MAMAE!!!!!  MAMAE!!!!!

It was a blood-curdling cry from the bowels of the house...something I'm used to, what with two boys whose idea of torture is only being allowed 25 minutes of Wii instead of an hour of unbridled video bliss.

These days, in my pregnant state, my various and sundry dependents are hard-pressed to get much of a rise out of me unless they are either actively, and profusely, bleeding from the head, or they have, in hand, and ready for consumption, a chocolate truffle - and then only if it's a dark chocolate truffle.  If either one of those situations is the case, I have a capacity to move that belies the enormity of my tummy and ass right now.

Upon finding me in the kitchen, stuffing my face with crackers, or cheese, or some other snack, as is often the case, Dash came to a full halt stop, his little indignant self framed by the doorway. 

He put his hands on his hips, his face screwed up into a picture of utter outrage.

"Luca came in to the bathroom...and and and...he stood really close and then he put his face right in front of mine, like really close....and then HE BREATHED ON ME AND HIS BREATH STIIIINKKSSS!!!!!  AND I DIDN'T LIKE THAT!!!"

The offender, who had, at that point, meandered up behind his little brother in order to offer something resembling a defense, looked at me, wide-eyed, as if to suggest his crime was akin to that of a jay-walker. 

"What?!?  It's not a big deeeeaaaalllll!!!  He's so sensitive!!!"

With those last few syllables, I got enough of a whiff of the un-brushed, un-mouthwashed invisible sludge that emanated from Luca's mouth, and had the inclination to make a citizen's arrest of my own son.

Since that wouldn't solve the problem, however, I quickly told Luca to go avail himself of this really amazing technology called the toothbrush, told Dash his brother would suffer Karmic retribution for his sins, and went back to eating my snack, happy to have solved another family crisis.


Screamy Mimi

I am not now, nor have I ever been, that Most 'Mazin' Mommy.  You know the one: Patient, Always Prepared, Tolerant, Organized, Punctual, 'Mazin' Mommy. 

I'm okay with this.  I have no illusions of grandeur when it comes to being Perfect and Sweet.  I don't even have illusions of mediocrity.  I figure those kinds of Mommies exist, and I'm really happy for them and their kids.  I wish them godspeed on their (perfectly pruned and well-tended) garden path.

My kids and I live on a different planet.  One might even venture to say we make our home in a different universe all together.  Of course, you'd be wise to check my mood before you suggest such a thing; but on a good day, when the moon is waxing and the wind is right, I might happily agree with you. 

The problem, I've discovered, is that I don't particularly enjoy that most basic of parenting duties: saying things over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over...

Sorry, forgot I was in the middle of making a point.

So that part of a parent's day - the one where you say the same thing over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over...

Shit, I can't even get past that word.  Okay, that thing parents have to do, where they verbally duplicate the sentence they just spoke five minutes prior because the little person to whom the sentence was directed has, oh, IGNORED said parent, and decided that instead of brushing their teeth, it's time to find the missing Lego piece that will complete the Space Police Shuttle...well, I'm not very good at verbally duplicating my sentences AND keeping my voice at the same timbre and decibel level.  Failure to multitask or malnourished sense of patience?  Both? 

A week ago, I would have given the finger to anyone trying to change my approach.  And defriended them on Facebook.  In my gestational craziness, I might even have struck that person. 

But the other day, on a particularly, umm, Mean Mommy Morning, I was sitting down to some lunch with the boys after hollering (screaming like a knocked-up, unstable banshee) my way through a round of toy pick-up, and thought I would take a moment to debrief with them.  Perhaps brainstorm some ways we could help one another.  Make them understand how utterly - and I mean this in the nicest possible way - MIND-NUMBINGLY AGGRAVATINGLY CRAZY-MAKING it is when I have to verbally duplicate my sentences over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over -

I might have to just eliminate that word from my vocabulary.

Anyhoo - I was trying to create one of those Teachable Moments that the Most 'Mazin' Mommies have, like, everyday of their motherhood and in which the children invariably learn some valuable and lifelong lesson about How to Be a Better Human Being. 

I should have known better.  Since as I said before, my kids and I live in a different universe.

Cuz Luca, in all his eight-year-old, smarty-pants wisdom, asked the simplest of things of me:

"Mamãe, could you be a little less screamy?  'Cause that would help, I think."

Umm, yeah, okay, I could try that.


Boy seahorses

"Mamãe, do boy humans have babies in their tummies, too?" my four-year-old wanted to know.

"No, sweetie, just girl humans."


"Girl humans have something called a uterus, which is the only place a human can grow and bake just like I baked you guys."

"In the ocean, boy seahorses can have babies in their tummies."

Maybe that's what saves their marriages, I thought to myself.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone


Dick Cheney Spoils Another Innocent Moment

How many times a month do I put the boys in the bathtub, throw some toys at them, and go make dinner, or clean up, or scrape Fruit Leather off the piano keys?  Often enough to have settled into a kind of secure complacency about the games and water play that go on.  Their bath time is usually an opportunity to soak each other; create faces on the tile walls with the foam eyes, ears, noses, mouths, and hair pieces we've collected from the various TubTime sets; and make shampoo faux-hawks. 

While there is the mundane bickering (both boys) and occasional crying fits (Dash) because of some vile offense like a misappropriated car or intentionally-ruined tile-wall foam-face, a former oeuvre d'art which now looks like something Picasso created while high on smack, there has never been a moment when I have worried about one of the boys doing serious, blood-shedding, scarring damage to the other.

Until this past Wednesday night.

When the following exchange came floating out from the bathroom, hitting my ears and making the hairs on the back of my neck (admittedly more copious in my current pregnant state) stand up as if Glenn Beck himself had walked through my door and announced he was my long-lost cousin.

"Wanna play Waterboarding, Dashie?"

You've never seen a gestating woman get so fast from the living room to the bathroom, where the boys were in the tub.  Anything beyond a slow amble is quite a feat when you can barely see your toes beyond the protrusion of womb-engorged belly in front of you, so the veritable bounds I managed were quite miraculous, even if they did make me look like a mutant platypus on the run.

In the split second it took to react, I was, of course, imagining little-brother-torture; I was already trying to remember my CPR class; and I was picturing my four-year-old sputtering to life as I held his limp body.  All the while, I was screaming (in my head) at my eight-year-old, and already having him admitted to a juvenile delinquent program, making tragic weekend visits to see him at some sterile facility where they were trying to scrub Dick Cheney's torture memos from his young brain.

Turns out, of course, that Waterboarding, in the sweet, play-based world my spawn have created, means NOT to drown one another while forcing confessions of hijacked Legos or swiping an extra cookie or two.  Rather, it means taking the big plastic lid from the bin we use to hold cleaning supplies, laying it at the bottom of the tub, under the water, and surfboarding on top of it. 

Maybe my boys should be the interrogation experts for the CIA. 

I bet you'd get a lot more out of someone while enjoying some Hang Ten time, than from pretending like they were about to enjoy their last breath of oxygen.

I'm just saying.


Pet Whales and Other Pregnancy Extras

First of all, let's be clear about something:  I am thoroughly enjoying this pregnancy right now, having left the dreaded first-trimester fatigue and nausea behind me.  I love that my body can do this miraculous thing and bake a real-live, human baby.


WTF with the tree trunks that took over my thighs? 

Why did I get an invitation to join the Society of People Who Look Like Bosc Pears?  (Okay, fine, it was a pre-approved credit card offer - code for Bosc Pear Club!!!)

And I could swear that the person checking me and my friend into the pool the other day for our weekly lap swim wanted to tell my friend that they charge extra for pet whales.  Or perhaps it was just that I was having trouble getting through the turnstile and so was projecting?

Oh I know, I should be thankful that I can get pregnant, what with all the women who have trouble with fertility.  But let me just be selfish and self-pitying for a minute, okay?

Because I want to know how I'm supposed to sleep when I'm afraid sleeping on my back will suffocate the baby; sleeping on my side makes my neck feel like my hateful neighbor took a hay-yah! to it; and sleeping on my stomach, is, well, impossible - unless I cut a hole in my mattress and through the base of my bed.  Which...well...I'm sleep-deprived, so don't put it past me to do just that to my Duxiana bed.

And to top it all off?  The internal plumbing is having trouble adjusting to the new tenant, if you know what I mean. 

Ah, the sweet flatulence, I mean, elegance and beauty of making babies.  And you know what? 

I'd do it all again.  In a baby's heartbeat.


Pregnant and Lactating Bitches

Feeding Instructions for Pregnant Bitches: Feed more often, and at least 50% more per feeding. 

Feeding Instructions for Lactating Bitches: Offer drinking water often and early; feed frequently.

Apparently, my nutritional needs closely match those of a female dog, according to directions on the back of the Natural Choice bag of food I bought yesterday for Timber.

My family will probably say my current temperament matches that of a pregnant bitch as well.  Too bad they can't just put me in the crate with some chew toys until I'm done gestating.


What happens when we bring home the 3D glasses from the movies

Yes Please, No Thank You

Yes, as a matter of fact, my son and I are wearing pajamas.  What, there's a dress code for shopping at Target now?

No, I will not let you into my lane after waiting in traffic for my turn to the offramp for 20 minutes, while you pull stealthily up to the beginning of the line, acting all, like, What's the problem?  The problem is, douchebag, that you've been talking on the phone instead of paying attention to the road, and I, for one, will not condone that kind of irresponsibility.  But thanks for asking.

Yes, I would like my receipt with that.  As a lovely (read: irritating) reminder of just how much freakin' money you're making off my underemployed ass.

No, you may not have chocolate for breakfast.  Because it's not appropriate for a morning meal.  I know I'm eating some right now.  When you're a pregnant single mother of two, you can have chocolate first thing in the morning, too.  No, you may not get pregnant.  Because I said so.

Yes, I would like to cancel my subscription to your paper.  Because I get enough cranky sanctimony from my kids at home, thank you very little.

No, I don't want to participate in a survey today.  Or tomorrow.  I appreciate that my opinion is very important to you.  Just for the record, my opinion is that you should stop fucking calling me.

Yes, I am going to use the Priority Boarding lane.  I pushed two babies out my hoohaw, that's why.  What have you done lately?

No, I will not help you write your paper.  Because I pay the utilities so you can have light by which to write your paper.  Isn't that enough?

Yes, they're real.  All it takes is some sperm, a good uterine blend, and you can have knockers like this, too!

No, you can't have my number.  I don't like your shoes, that's why. 

Yes, they're mine.  At least that's what they tell me every morning when I ask where they came from. 

No, you can't get inside my head.  Too many people in there already.


Notes made to self around Berkeley

Berkeley, Solano Avenue, 10:19am, Wednesday: A man pushing a cart-load of children up the street, Safeway grocery bags hanging off the sides.  Five or six kids in all, every last one of them smiling with glee.  Oh, did I say cart-load?  I meant CRIB-load.  You read right.  CRIB.  LOAD.  As in, this:

With five or six kids standing on the mattress and hanging on while the man, dreadlocked and smiling, pushed them along to some destination.  After, of course, having done the grocery shopping necessary to feed five or six children.  Who must be very hungry after a long ride.

You know you've become Berkeley-fied when, as Gabi put it, your first reaction is not, oh, say, "What the hell is that guy doing?" but instead, "Wow, that's genius."

Berkeley, the only place on earth where two people can go to the dog park - dogless - sit down at the edge of the spot where it's doggiest...spread out two very dog-attracting sub sandwiches on their dogless laps...AND YELL AT ME WHEN MY DOGS WANT TO PARTAKE OF THEIR MEAL.

Berkeley, where people keep LL Bean and Keen Shoes in business.  Almost singlehandedly. 

Berkeley, populated by a peace-loving, pacifist, tolerant people.  Until you tell them that no, they can't park in your driveway.  Or halfway in it, either.  Not even for five minutes.  Or that you're very sorry, your kid didn't mean to call them a douchebag; it's just that when he waits in line, patiently, and with much anticipation, to ask for the last morning bun, and you cut in because you're in a hurry and ask for said last morning bun, well, it's kind of irritating is all.  So no, I'm not going to make him apologize.  Douchebag.

Berkeley, the city we call home.  And where, despite some, umm, adjustments, we are happy to have put down roots.  

Now, could you walk a little faster?  I'd like to be home before the next decade.


Bagel Tigers

Luca, who turns eight tomorrow, thinks he's the authority on all things grammar, spelling, and, well, just about anything.  Like everything else, this is probably my fault.  I'm the one who encouraged books and reading, starting at 6 months.  No shocker that he was reading on his own at the age of four, deciphering words through their context, learning pronunciation in a highly precocious way (what four-year-old knows how to pronounce "consequential?").  I can't accept all the blame, of course (although I was a California Spelling Bee champ growing up and went on to win the National Memory Championship three years in a row in my 20s); but I digress.  My point is that Luca comes from a long line, on both sides of his parental lineage, of irritating smarty-pants.

So it's hardly unexpected that he feels compelled, in a way that can only be described as School Marm Sardonic, to correct his little brother's pronunciations and pronouncements.  This itch, this need, to correct, can be grating.  I, of course, do all my correcting in a super charming, and totally appropriate way.  This skill, one honed by years of rolled eyes and death stares, is not easy to teach, as the filter necessary is one acquired with much heartache and the realization that there is, in fact, a wrong time to mention that it's actually "oriented" and not "orient-ated."

Anyhoo - Dash is still at the age where his understanding of things differs, often, from the reality of things.  And I encourage this lack of understanding because, well, I think it's pretty fucking cute when he says, "Bagel Tigers" when we've been watching a program about Bengal Tigers.  And frankly, I don't ever want him to stop saying, "Will you snuzzle wiff me?" 

So I ignore the look of incredulity and outrage on Luca's face, and tell Dash that yes, in fact, the Bagel Tigers are very big, and loud, and we should be careful if we ever see one.

And just in case we do, I carry a vat of cream cheese with me everywhere now.


Fertile Sweaters

I called the boys in to tell them the news.  I knew Luca would understand more than Dash, with nearly four extra years under his belt, and having been through this whole process once before.  Given that the result had been a seemingly-bipolar tyrant whose high-pitched screams had damaged eardrums and left emotional scars, I wasn't sure Luca would be as thrilled as I was about the impending addition to our family.

From Dash, I was just hoping for the smallest indication that he might be able to imagine sharing his Mamãe with yet another kid.

Me: Guess what, boys?  Mamãe is going to have another baby!

Luca: Yay!!  But wait, who's the father?  (I should have seen that one coming.)

Dash: No you aren't!!

Me: It's Paul, and yes I am!  I'm growing a baby in my tummy, just like I baked you and Luca in my tummy before you were ready to come out.

Dash: You're just kiddin', Mamãe!  Right?  There isn't a baby in there!

Luca: When will the baby be here?  That was fast!  (Okay, ugh...)

Me: Yes, well, umm...you know...things happen...and Mamãe wasn't trying to have a baby or anything, but umm, sometimes, in life, well, in my life anyway, umm, things happen that I wasn't really planning, and Mamãe is really happy, and so I really hope you guys are, too?

Dash: THERE'S NO BABY IN YOUR TUMMY!  (By this point, he's on his feet in a fit of uncomprehending indignation, given the lack of ANY proof remotely plausible in the head of a four-year-old that there is, in fact, an actual, honest-to-god BABY in my tummy.)

Me: Yes there is!  Where do you think you came from?

Dash: Your sweater.

Now, by the time he came out that day in October of 2006, I had been single and not caring about personal landscaping for almost a year, so things had gotten pretty, umm, wild...down there...in the general region of his egress from my tummy.

Still.  He could have pulled his punch a little bit.


Mommy Magic

Dash:  Mamae!!  (Wail, cry...)  I hit my finger on the desk!!  (Sniff, snort...)  It really hurts!!!  (Whimper, snurfle, snerf...)

Me:  Come here, sweetie...sit down.  Tell Mamae where it hurts...  How did you run into the desk?  You guys were playing Superheroes Speedracers?  Okay, just tell me which finger...

It's fairly hard to keep a straight face when he's wearing a cock-eyed, homemade cape, a Spiderman mask, too-big pajamas, and holding up his middle finger to me.

Dash:  This one, this is the one I hit on the desk!!  (Shnarf, snort, wipe...)

Me:  Okay, lovey, do you want me to kiss it?

Dash:  Yes, please.  (Pout, shnarfle...)  Right here (still holding up his middle finger).

Me:  (Smoochie smooch...)  Does that feel better? 

Dash:  Yes, Mamae, thank you! 

Dash pops up off the kitchen floor, where the triage occurred, holds up his finger to make sure it's functioning properly, and takes off in the direction of his older brother.

Me:  You're welcome, sweetie.

Yet another adventure-filled afternoon of Superheroes Speedracers saved.

Thanks to Mommy Magic.