Sunday, June 26, 2011

Have I Got An Enhanced Interrogation Technique For You!

 For a long time, I enjoyed car rides with my children, especially during those months when they were transitioning out of their nap.  We might head out in the later afternoon to "house shop" as we were preparing for a move.  I would strap in the youngsters, plug in my iPod and hit the road.  Usually, I had to wait about 6 minutes before they were fast asleep behind me.  And then I had a nice little respite during the roughest part of my day.  I would play all my favorite songs as I cruised sub-divisions checking out For Sale options and getting a feel for different neighborhoods. 
Nowadays, my rolling fortress of solitude is more of a mobile torture chamber.   No one sleeps now.  And, not only do they not sleep, they argue, and it's normally about something important and requiring high volume like "my piece of pink Trident is the tastiest!" or "I am not going to play puppy dog anymore so stop trying to give me pretend dog biscuits!" or "He got to see the helicopter and I didn't! You HAVE to turn around, Mom!"

Music soothes the savage beast, right?  Um, no.  My kids "take turns" choosing which song to play on the iPod.  This consists of first, an argument about who's turn it is to choose the first song.  Then, once they have established the order in which they choose and their choice has been made, the song begins.  Now the chooser of song begins spouting off the rules which usually include several of the following:
  • Only the chooser may sing
  • I can sing and you can ONLY play the air drums
  • Absolutely no singing and no air drumming
  • There's no dancing
  • There is no silently mouthing the words
These rules are diligently policed and more arguing insues as the rule breakers are verbally reprimanded.  By now the song is in it's last 30 seconds and there is yet another argument on why we can or cannot listen to the song again because the chooser has missed the whole song while they were reciting the rules and admonishing those who were disobeying them.  The most interesting thing about this argument is that 66% of the time, the next chooser chooses the exact same song.  And, even though it is the same song, they must run through the list of rules as they have been altered slightly to suit the desires of the said chooser.

So, you ask, why don't I just turn off the music completely, right? When the music is off, the atmosphere consists of arguing about other topics, such as who can and who cannot kick the back of the seats, as in, 'the one in front of me is empty so I CAN.'  (Of course, Chuckles sits behind me and is particularly fond of this game.)  Or, if they are not arguing, someone is putting on an elaborate show that inevitably leads to a request for approval, as in, 'Look Mom, I've tied myself up in silly bands!'  These actions, if acknowledged in any form, require that the others must outperform the performer.  Then, the van begins to sound something like this, "Mom look, Mom look, Mom, Mama, Mommy, Mom, Mom, Mommy, Mama, Mommy, Mom, Mommy, Mama! Mama! Mom! Mom! Mom! Mommy! Mommy! Mommy! MOMMY! MOM! MOM! MOM! MAMA! MAMA! MAMA! MAMA! MAMA! MOM! MOM! MOM! MOM!"

So, what happens when someone is subjected to this torture on a regular basis?  Well, those in the greater Indianapolis area may have heard a strange sound Thursday.  You see, it was the fourth day of theater camp.  It's a 30-minute drive to theater camp which means one solid hour in the car at 8:30am for dropoff  and again at 11:30am for pickup.  So, at approximately 12:24pm Thursday, my head exploded at the intersection of 465 and Allisonville Road.  My apologies to the driver of the black Subaru in the lane next to me as I believe the shrillness of my scream actually cracked his windshield.  Birds made emergency landings on the nearest telephone wire, brakelights blinked for miles in either direction, computer connections momentarily froze in nearby offices and my van was filled with a sound I haven't heard in years...silence.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Rants - "...a rose by any other name..."

I don't consider myself an overly opinionated person but I do have a few things that send me into a grandpa rant.  For example, can we review the reasons we stopped calling a girdle, a girdle?  When you mention the word girdle, most husbands quickly turn their heads  and bolt.  And not only do they leave the bathroom so you can get ready in peace, but they keep the kids away too, in an effort to shield them from whatever a freaking girdle is.  It's blissful!

Now we call them 'Spanx' or, if you shop Target, 'Assets.'  When I first mentioned needing a pair, my husband told me to go to the store right then.  He had no idea what a spanx was, but with a name like that, it couldn't be bad for him, right?  When it was time for me to get ready to go out, I lost my solitude as he would make up excuses to keep coming into the bathroom, hoping for some sort of view.

So, why the name change?  Is it less humbling to squeeze your cellulite-wrinkled buttocks and upper thighs into something with a sexy name?  No, I'd much rather call it by a name that is as disgusting as the act.  I'm not striving for Barbie (thank goodness, cause look at this!), I would just like to go out without the extra jiggle.  Now, if you'll excuse me, I need to clean my dentures...

Monday, June 13, 2011

Catching up

So, it's been awhile and I thought I would play catch up of on some of the hi-jinx taking place over the last month or so.  Here's my top five:
Just like her Mama

5. Chuckles has a new game she plays with her Pop Pop.  She stands up, puts her hands on her hips and shouts, "I've HAD IT!"  Then, she stomps into another room and slams the door.  Though many others enjoy watching her play this game, I actually do not.  Mostly, because I know where she learned it and there's nothing quite like having your two-year-old put on a performance of your greatest moments.  (See  also "To Mimitate").

Off to kindergarten
4.  The last month of school Sharkbait would wake up at 5:30am, get dressed and come into my room asking for breakfast.  Now, in order to make a 7:45am bus, he would have to get up at 7:15 at the latest.  So, you can imagine my reaction to a fully dressed six-year-old in my face at 5:30am.  By the last Tuesday of school, I'd had it (see also #5).  I marched him back to his room, tucked him in (still fully dressed) and managed to get him to go back to sleep (yeah!).  Then, at 7:15, I got him up (still fully dressed) marched him through toothbrushing, breakfast and handed him his backpack at 7:43.

Well, apparently the experience made an impression on him, as well.  That night, after finally getting everyone in bed and sleeping,  I went in to check on him and found him completely dressed for school in jeans, two t-shirts and socks.  He had decided that pajamas really aren't necessary at all and changing in the morning was just too inconvenient.  After much negotiating, we stalemated at "I-don't-care-if-you-sleep-in-your-clothes-you-will-change-in-the-morning."  This agreement is still in place.

3. As many of you know we traveled to Florida in May and I have to admit, my kids were ROCKSTARS on the plane!  I was so freakin proud (yes, that's what it takes to get my juices going these days)!  Of course, they were dialed into a movie for a lot of the flight, but whatever.  On the way back, we even decided they could have a 'real' coke (as in, caffeine and all) on one of the flights which they were pretty excited about because caffeine ranks right up there with full-sized candy bars on the list of banned substances around our house.  (You can all imagine why there isn't a lot of caffeine floating around our house, I mean, accept for mine, that is.)

Time at the beach!
So, the flight attendant comes around during the middle of the movie and my husband asks DQ what she wants.  Without taking her headset off, she answers, "WELL, I'LL HAVE A SPRITE BECAUSE I KNOW IT DOESN'T HAVE CAFFEINE AND I CAN'T HAVE ANY MORE CAFFEINE TODAY BECAUSE I HAD ONE ON THE LAST PLANE.  AND, I DEFINITELY CAN'T HAVE ANY ALCOHOL, RIGHT DADDY?"  With the headset on, you can imagine the volume level at which this conversation took place.  My poor husband looked at me across the aisle in shock and all I did was slouch and turn away, leaving him to explain to the flight attendant.  It went something like "our-children-do-not-partake-of-alcohol-but-we-have-taught-them-that-they-must-ask-us-before-taking-a-drink-from-our-cup-because-sometimes-we-do-I-mean-not-too-often-but-occasionally-so-they-have-to-ask-because-they-know-it's-not-for-kids-and-can-make-them-sick-and-Oh, hell, give me a vodka tonic and a Sprite for the little one."

2.  A couple of weeks ago, I spent about 20 minutes watching a group of five neighborhood boys (Sharkbait included) trying to light something on fire with a Razor scooter that throws sparks when you apply the brake.  They were running, hunched over, holding out a piece of grass or twig or something, behind the scooter.  The rider would apply the brake, throw the sparks and the runner would go face first into the rider's butt and the item would, of course, not catch on fire. Each boy was so sure he could accomplish what the others could not and I enjoyed the hilarity of watching seven-year-olds trying to make fire.  My question was, what would they do if it did catch on fire?!

1.  So, this weekend I was in charge of picking up 25 (five bunches of five) balloons for our neighborhood pool party.  I decided that this would be a cool time to take DQ out and between placing and picking up the balloon order, we could check out the new costume jewelry store at Clay Terrace.  We always prefer Dad's car over the mini-van (shocking, I know) so we hopped in, opened the sun roof and we were off.

We placed the order and headed down the street to the jewelry store, which was closed.  No big deal, we had lunch, window shopped and headed back to the party store.  I was beginning to wonder how the balloons would fit in the car, but, I figured we would manage.  Well, after 18 minutes and three separate strangers stopping to offer their assistance/commentary, I had 18 balloons (I had purchased three additional balloons, one for each of my kids) and one kindergartner in the backseat.    However, the two remaining bunches (ten balloons total) were now hopelessly tangled with the first group yet would not fit in the car.  Now, please note that it's 78 degrees and the car is black, with a kindergartner inside.  So, as ten balloons are blowing around in the breeze, I very carefully (and I'm sure quite comically) reach into the front to turn on the car and crank the air conditioning.

After another 7 minutes, (and two balloon pops), I disentangle the remaining balloons and cram them into the front passenger seat.  Sweating and quite annoyed, I crawl into the drivers seat and realize there is no freaking way I can back into traffic because I can't see anything but red, blue, yellow, green and orange latex.  I take some deep breaths and with the assistance of the five-year-old in the back, I manage to see through the yellow and orange ones enough to safely back onto the street.  Once we were on the road I take a minute to determine that I only have to make right turns to get home. THANK GOODNESS!   Not to mention my kid thought it was totally awesome!  (And, it sort of was.)

Chuckles was torn between her desire to have a balloon and
fear that she, too, might be eaten by the Balloon Car.