Thursday, June 30, 2011

Surprises - The Good Sort

I suppose it's only fair that when Mondays kick you - repeatedly - when you're down, the rest of the week feels sorry for you and treats you a little more kindly.  Now that I'm safely ensconced in Thursday, I say to Monday, "PTHTHTHTTHTHTH!!!"

I'm sure Monday will get its revenge next week, though maybe since it's Independence Day, I'll get a break.


Aaaaanyway.  This week has not been as horrible as it looked to be when it first began.  Thank heaven.  I wasn't entirely sure I was going to survive at first.

The Z-Pak that M1's pediatrician prescribed has actually helped his hives quite a bit.  He now generally looks like he has a weird case of chicken pox rather than the mumps, and he's stopped wheezing and complaining of stomach and chest pain.  The allergist's scheduler just called, and we have a tentative consult in early August, though they'll try to get us in sooner if there are cancellations.

M2's mood has vastly improved over last week.  Is she still having her difficult moments?  Sure, but she's 6.  It's what they do.  The great thing is that we're not having entire days where she's pouting or crying or screaming or hitting or destroying or simply refusing to move/cooperate/speak.  We visited the therapist for the first time today, too.  M2 and I both really like her.  She had already reviewed the file (a bonus of her being in the same building as M2's psychiatrist) and had some questions.  M2 didn't really want to talk other than to offer a couple of random anecdotes, but the office was set up beautifully so that M2 was still able to communicate by writing on a whiteboard or making drawings.  Our focus for now is going to be M2's anxiety, since she definitely has, at the very least, separation anxiety and the Lexapro EPIC FAIL proved that medication isn't an option to treat it... EVER.  We'll go weekly until school starts in early August, and then we'll see beyond that.  Our first assignment was to make 'mailboxes' for everyone because M2 agreed that even if she refused to talk to me, she could still write to me.  So now we all have envelopes taped to our doors and M2 has been enthusiastically filling them all afternoon.  I'm going to have to invest in several reams of paper before school starts, whether they're required on the school list or not.

M1 got a particularly special surprise today.  After we got done at swimming lessons, I had the kids go to the bathrooms to change their clothes before M2's appointment.  They had finished and we were headed to the van when the one of the teachers stopped me.  I knew him vaguely as the swim team coach, and he had been running the location where our lessons were being held.  He had been watching M1, he said, and had noticed that his backstroke was particularly good and his freestyle was solid, too.  He pointed out that the only things holding him back from level 5 were his backstroke, which he just learned this week, and the way he held his head during freestyle (he tends to try to flip onto his back rather than side-breathe).  I mentioned that M1 had been working hard since his aim was to eventually be on the swim team, and the guy grinned.

"You know I'm the coach, right?"

I nodded.  He grinned again.  "Well, I usually don't do this, but if the swim team is his goal and since he's such a strong swimmer, I do sometimes make exceptions.  If he continues to take lessons [we're already signed up] to work on his trouble spots, I'd be happy to let him try out for the swim team now."

I was stunned.  I hadn't even done research into what the swim team entailed other than the fact that you had to pass level 4 to join.  I figured I had another year before I had to really think about it.  I had the presence of mind to ask what the tryouts consisted of, when they were, about basic costs, practices, etc., and then the coach had another question for me.

"He's 11, right?"

"Um, no... he's actually only 8."

"YES!!!" the coach pumped his fist and grinned.  "I'm in desperate need of younger swimmers.  He'd be perfect."

So M1 gets to think about joining the swim team at the ripe old age of 8.  Practices are late at night, so I'm not sure he's ready yet, but we'll see.  He claims to want to be the next Michael Phelps... and, barring that, to be a lifeguard or swim teacher/coach himself.  I can't think this would hurt his chances, do you?

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

How to Scare People

Bring a boy who looks like this...

... or this...

... into a store. Or a library. And watch 'em jump.

If you're polite, you can then explain to anyone who's huddling their child/ren out of the way that he is not, in fact, contagious.  It's all hives.  Big, scary-looking, itchy hives.

What really sucks is that I took him to the pediatrician today, and it's anyone's guess as to what is causing these giant welts.  It could be his cold urticaria.  It could be that I dared to be lazy last week and purchased some All Free & Clear laundry detergent (which we've used before!) instead of making my own.  It could be something totally new.  So I'm keeping him doped up on Benadryl, his inhaler, and the usual Zyrtec and Pepcid and just hoping this goes away.  Soon.  Because he's miserable, and when my baby is miserable, so am I.

*sad face*

Monday, June 27, 2011

Well Played, Monday

After last week, particularly Friday, I was grateful for the weekend reprieve.  However, Monday has rolled around again.  I'm with Garfield the Cat - not a fan of the Monday.

1.  M1 is sick in bed.  He looked like crap before swimming class this morning, and he came home looking even crappier.  I swear he has some sort of light rash on his face.  He's wheezing.  He says his chest hurts.  So he ate a little lunch and went to bed.  Hm.

2.  M2 ripped apart her goggles last week.  I put them back together, but she had separated parts that weren't meant to be separated (they were originally glued together) and they fell apart again during swim class today.  This meant she tried to refuse to jump off the diving board and got extremely angry with me after class when I told her that the money to replace them - if she wanted them replaced THIS summer - would have to come out of her allowance.  Cue the surreptitious beating of Mom in a public place.  She pummelled me with her little fists until she realized people were watching, and then she decided to "hug" me as hard as possible while stepping on my toes.  Adorable.

3.  M2's British accent has returned.  She's currently reading a Halloween book.  Half of it has been a la Liverpool; the other half has been a la Okie.  Bizarro.

4.  It's 95 degrees outside with a heat index of 103, and it's only 12:22 p.m.  Humidity is almost 50%.  I leave it to you to imagine the torture of stepping outside.  I'm sure most of you know what I'm talking about.

I think it's time for Tuesday.  Where's the fast-forward button on the 24-hour remote?

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Oh, Look! The end of the rope!

I have reached the end of my proverbial rope.  I e-mailed M2's psychiatrist today to ask the name of a good counselor who deals with mood disorders in young children.  He sent back a name (I love how prompt he is!), and I have called that office.  We have an appointment next Thursday.  I am looking forward to this.  I am looking forward to meeting someone who understands that the word 'stubborn' doesn't even begin to describe the bullheadedness.  I am thrilled that someone is going to have heard stories like mine before and will have suggestions on what to do.  I'm hopeful that I will have options when M2 flies off the deep end with rage or melts into deep dark despair.  The idea of recruiting another villager to raise my child is both exhilarating and relaxing.  The relief is bringing tears to my eyes.  M1 has asked if this means his sister won't be mad at him all the time any more. 

It's time.

We can't go on like this.

C'mon, Thursday!

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

When My Son Cries

My son doesn't often cry.  He throws tantrums where tears are involved, but he doesn't often reach the point of sadness where he actually cries.

Today, my son cried.  The cause?  Global warming.

My children have never known a time when global warming hasn't been a concern in the world at large, and yet wherever we go, they see people consuming our finite resources without a second thought.  M1 would love to have Oz install solar panels on the house or a wind turbine in the back yard; those aren't likely to happen, but Oz is seriously considering a geothermal climate control system if we are ever able to build a house.  As soon as he was old enough, M1 insisted that we recycle as much as possible - not much in our area, if I'm honest.  Most of the local drop-off recycling locations don't even accept boxes, and if you live within city limits, you have to pay extra to have recycling pick-up (again, no boxes accepted).  My boy will always pick organic over traditional foods because he knows they're better for the environment.  He really works hard to do his part.

In short, M1 knows what global warming can eventually do to our planet, and it scares him.  When he was in my lap in tears today, he was so angry that "people don't care about anything smaller than them, anything they can't domesticate."  To him, this means reptiles, amphibians, and bugs, but in general, he's right.  We don't take care of these things like we should, and it's up to us to keep the 'greening' process moving in the right direction.  As he gets older and more knowledgeable about alternatives, he asks questions that are harder and harder for me to answer.

He's currently sitting on the other couch composing an e-mail to send to all his family members to ask them to do their part to save the planet.  For us adults, "save the planet" is a cliche we've heard a million times and we're all pretty much immune to it.  "I'm doing my part," we shrug... but are we really?

Because this is so important to my son, can you all reply with one or two things that you're doing to help our earth?  I hate that my boy thinks nobody cares, and I need some things to point to.  I don't want him to cry any more.

Monday, June 20, 2011

One Step Forward...

We're missing a chicken.  I suspect it jumped the fence and was caught by a dog, though that's only a theory.  Anyway, now we're down to 10.  I guess natural selection is one way of culling the herd before it happens deliberately next year, but yeesh.  I'm praying that the kids don't find remnants somewhere. 

M2 is in a mixed manic state, and I think both of us are about to come unhinged.  One minute she's bouncing off the walls and singing and dancing and repeating herself 20 times in 10 minutes... and the next she's begging for validation and telling me that she's not really my child and I don't love her and she should just go off and die somewhere.  I'm doing the best I can to work with her, but I'm not ashamed to admit that there's a glass of wine next to me right now.  M1 is trying to be patient with her, too, but he's also at his limit.  He gratefully escaped to his room today.

The lawn mower is on the fritz.  Oz thought that the blades were the problem, so he replaced them, but it's still shaking like crazy and making about twice as much noise as usual.  This is especially troublesome since apparently our back yard is infested with chiggers and hasn't had a proper mowing in more than two weeks thanks to our hectic travel schedule.


The good news:

M1 and M2 both started summer swimming lessons today.  M1 scored the swim team coach as his teacher.  He has had this man as a sub previously and just thinks he's the best, so he's thrilled to have him again as a real teacher.  I like him, too, and it'll be good for M1 to see how he likes working with a real coach if he's serious about joining the swim team next year.  M2 surprised me.  She was initially placed in advanced level 1 and was almost instantly moved up to advanced level 2.  She's extremely proud of herself, and I'm proud of her, too.

I made a roast chicken for dinner tonight, complete with veggies and rolls and cappuccino chunky chocolate frozen yogurt cones for dessert.  I successfully deboned the chicken after dinner was over, gave the wishbone to Oz and M1 (M2 wanted nothing to do with touching chicken bones and even insisted that I remove the meat from her drumstick before she'd eat it), and now have homemade stock simmering on the stove.  The best part is that it's flavored with herbs from the garden.

And speaking of the garden, now that I've put down the newspaper and straw around all the plants (thanks so much for the idea, Elisabeth!), it's growing great guns.  I pulled the first bush tomato off a plant tonight along with two yellow grape tomatoes.  Cucumbers are coming up like crazy, there are a few butternut squash already coming along, and there's a watermelon bigger than Oz's fist - huge compared to the half-dollar-size melon that I left on Thursday!

It's about to storm now, so I'm going to go cross-stitch while we have power and satellite reception.  Hope your weeks are going well!

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Home Again, Home Aga.. Zzzzzzzzz.....

My dad's family got together this weekend.  We got home about three hours ago.  Oz is snoozing, the kids are playing quietly, and I have no inclination to leave my comfy spot on the couch for anything short of a Hazmat operation.  We all have sunburns, though none of us are fluorescent.  The kids have become intimately familiar with 10:30 p.m.  They also have met more family members than they will ever be able to keep track of.

These reunions happen every three or four years.  One of my uncles typically hosts since he owns a huge house on a huge lake which allows for lots to do and lots of lodging close by.  Someone told me there were about 80 people expected this weekend; another estimate was closer to 100.  My dad is one of 12 kids.  His parents are both still alive.  Both of my grandparents came this weekend, though they studiously avoided one another; they divorced decades ago.  Eleven of the 12 siblings were able to make it to this reunion; the 12th was definitely missed.

Then there's the rest of the family.

The age range of my cousins blows my mind sometimes.  My oldest cousins are in their mid-40s, closer to my parents' age than mine; my youngest cousins are still in middle school and closer to my kids' ages.  I'm somewhere in the middle, born within a month of two of my other cousins.  There's a picture that floats around of the three of us as infants, all lined up on my grandmother's couch.  One of my aunts had the idea to restage that photo this weekend, but it didn't happen.  Anyway, the long and short of it is that our family is so big that we get T-shirts printed up with the genealogy of the family printed on the back so everyone knows which kids - and spouses - belong to whom.  The T-shirts are color-coded by family.  Each of the 12 siblings picks a different color shirt, and all their progeny wear the same color.  The 'family picture' looks like those big school photos where they try to squeeze everyone into an area the size of a postage stamp.  Faces are dots, and identification is optional.  And as soon as the T-shirts are printed, they become obsolete.  There's another baby due any day now and two more due later this year.

With a family that big, though, there's always someone to play with.  M1, usually my loner, made a couple of good cousin friends; M2, the social butterfly, flitted from group to group and enjoyed the company of everyone from my grandmother to a three-month-old baby, whose diaper she helped to change.  Oz has long been in the favor of my uncles. 

Nobody really sat still at the reunion.  We ran hard.  The parents slathered their kids in sunscreen (repeatedly), insisted on life jackets, and watched them fly off the dock and into the water as soon as they got the say-so.  If the parents wanted a break, there was always an aunt, uncle, grandparent, or cousin to watch them.  Adults migrated in circles from the top deck to the bottom deck to the dock and back up to the air-conditioned house.  All the food was fixed in-house (meat, eggs and cinnamon rolls for breakfast; sandwiches and chips for lunch; barbecue and all the fixin's for dinner), and we ate in the garage in front of a huge fan to try to keep the air circulating.  My kids saw the empty tables before everyone arrived and said, "It looks like a cafeteria!"  In addition to the swimming and the talking and the eating, there were people boating, fishing, trap shooting, schlepping donations to Joplin, and even taking the occasional siesta (though of course my two didn't believe in that and paid for it by nightfall).  Coolers filled with drinks and ice dotted the landscape.  Everyone shared toys, and the one rule of the weekend - NO SCREAMING (unless there is profuse bleeding) - was followed extremely well.

All in all, even though these reunions are exhausting and take more organization than I can even imagine, they're amazing.  They're fun.  They're definitely memorable.  If I had been smart, I'd have taken pictures, but I didn't.  The camera stayed in my purse, and my purse stayed in the van.  It'll be hard to wait another three or four years to see everyone again, but I'm definitely looking forward to it.  Yay for great family reunions!

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Eureka Springs - Animals & Attitude

When Oz and I got to our B&B, I suspected that we were in for a great time.  It's always a good weekend when you can look out your window and see this:

But then... then Oz and I walked back out to head into town for some shopping, and we were greeted with these:

Even better, right?!?  I loved watching the deer, but I also wanted to keep moving and go get some souvenirs for the kids.  We found a store that held something for M2 first, and I heard - for the first of many times that weekend - the ubiquitous phrase, "So where y'all from?"  And we learned just how personable most people in Eureka Springs are.  In the next store, Nature's Treasures, we found a very chatty owner who was thrilled to learn that our purchases were for our 8-year-old son.

"I was that 8-year-old boy," he proudly told us as he gathered up and scrawled down information on cards to go with our selections.  He was hilarious.  We learned that he's now an actual archaeologist who very much believes in omens... so much so that he postponed a flight to Vegas.  We learned that his store was reportedly the deathplace of John Chisholm, of Chisholm Trail fame.  And the first time he saw John Chisholm at the front of his store... well, that was quite a shock to him, too.

At another store, we met Eureka Springs' working rabbits, Pepperoni and Tofu, and their eclectic owners, who love their bunny wabbits dearly.

The cats, of course, were my favorites.  This pretty kitty was out in front of the Catholic church.  She had no intentions of coming to say hello, though she did dig herself out of the bushes to provide this perspective for a photo.  So classy.  Our B&B owner had a cat tucked away in the front room.  And the winery that we visited had a fairly young kitty-fluff named Brie who apparently loves skirts.  She sat under mine for a good portion of the tasting before hopping into my lap and playing with the tassels on my shirt.  When I told her no-no, she proceeded to stalk away... across all three other laps (Oz's and the laps of the other couple... who came from the same town as one of my aunts, of all the odd coinkydinks in the world).  Brie cracked me up.

Her owner was memorable, too.  The owner of the winery was named Edwige.  She's French, though she was surprised when I asked her where she was from and didn't really believe that I could hear her accent.  She was a powerful but very sweet woman.  Very tall.  Very chic.  And on Friday when we went to dinner, we met her opposite - a short American chef in red shortalls who was running a local restaurant called The Garden Bistro, where they serve local veggies and bread with every meal.  Oz declared her bread to be "the best bread in the world," and I couldn't really argue.  The red shortall chef's waitstaff included what I suspect is the French version of Manuel from Fawlty Towers, a tall dark girl that I've nicknamed the pixie, and our waitress who I have nicknamed Mama.  Dinner was delicious.  On Saturday, when we went to another place for dinner, we had a waitress who looked like she'd been reliving Woodstock for the last 40 years, and she was a riot.  All in all, personality was the name of the game in Eureka.

Still... it was nice to get back to the B&B and enjoy the animals in the peace and quiet.  It's been nice to get back home to my own menagerie, too.  I love vacations and meeting the people (and their pets!), but I'm a homebody at heart.  One last big kiss to Oz for taking me!

Monday, June 13, 2011

Eureka Springs: The Town

Eureka Springs.  I'm not ashamed to tell you that I'm already missing the place.  When Oz and I visited 10 years ago, the trip was enjoyable but not necessarily memorable.  We didn't really do a whole lot of exploring, and my memories are pretty vague.  There are a few pictures but nothing really great.

This time, I did better.

One of the main highlights of Eureka Springs is the Crescent Hotel.  Any "Ghost Hunters" fans here?  Yup, they've been there.  They caught quite the interesting image, too.  The Crescent is quite old, and even just walking into the lobby you can sense that if there weren't spirits here, there'd be something wrong.  There are ghost tours at 8 p.m. nightly, but Oz and I didn't attend one.  It just seemed improper to start a ghost tour while it was still light outside.  I did take a bunch of pictures of the premises, though.  The shot above was taken from the end of our B&B's dead-end street.

The ivy that grows up the sides of the old building really complement the stonework,

but there are some newer areas, too.  The old and the new blend well together.

If you go up to the fourth floor of the hotel - there's a cute little Art Deco lounge up there where you can get drinks and/or lunch or just come up to sight-see - there is a great view of the mountains and some of the other highlights of the town.  That building is the local Catholic church.  Oz and I walked down to see it since it's not very far from the Crescent.

To get to the church, you first have to pass this statue of Saint Elizabeth of Hungary.

Then you pass the Stations of the Cross...

... and the rectory.  I was confused by all the coins while I was there, but I googled it and discovered that there is apparently a local legend that says if you toss a coin on the roof and it stays there, you'll be granted a wish, but if the coin falls off, your wish isn't granted.  I have to say I agree with Oz's assessment here:  "I wouldn't want to be the priest.  Imagine trying to take a nap and all of a sudden you get coins falling like hail on the roof." 

Still, it was interesting.

Near the church and the Crescent, Oz and I discovered this path.  It had a little sign next to it that said, "Magnolia Path - to shops downtown."

It was a pretty little path, though my calves and thighs did not appreciate how steep it was.  After all, what goes down must come up.

We passed this house for sale on the way.  I could never live in something that color, but Eureka is full of them.  It's part of their city.  It's like a lifesize dollhouse painted by an exuberant 7-year-old.

There are lots of stone buildings, too.

... and stone walls.  This picture was taken at the park near the center of town.  They have a little amphitheater there where they show movies during summer.  So far, the town looks really old-fashioned and staid, doesn't it?  (Well, except for perhaps the paint jobs on the houses.)

Then you get into the shopping district.  Staid it isn't.  "Eclectic" is the word I might use.  There's not a chain shop in sight, but if you want it, you can probably find it somewhere.  Just ask the shopkeepers.  They'll tell you.

I'm not sure how I caught this street so empty.  Especially on weekends, the streets are fairly busy.  Driving is something you do carefully around Eureka, because the two-way streets are often only wide enough for one car at a time.  They have a trolley that's priced at an extremely reasonable rate, and it goes all over town.  Oz and I didn't use it because we did a lot of walking, but I can see where it would be a handy-dandy service.  Oz and I walked... and walked and walked and walked.  And shopped and shopped and shopped.

When we got tired, we rested on some of the benches that were strewn around. 

And when we got really tired, we went back to the B&B.  Like I said yesterday, it was relaxing.  Just like a vacation should be.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

A Surprise Weekend

My loving husband surprised me this weekend for our 11th anniversary.  He got a sitter named Grandma, made reservations, and informed me that we were going on a trip.

I packed a bag, and off we went.

We stayed at a B&B in Eureka Springs, Arkansas.  It's off the beaten path, but I like that.  I don't like traffic.  Plus this is the B&B we stayed in for our very first anniversary, 10 years ago.  He remembered!

We stayed in a cute little room...

complete with Jacuzzi tub.

This is the porch where we ate our breakfasts and watched a movie on Saturday night.  The wicker furniture was surprisingly comfortable, and the windows were left open 24/7 to catch the cool breezes.  There was a fridge at our disposal, and my awesome man even thought to bring a bottle of vino and some glasses.  And chocolate :)

The trip was just what the doctor ordered.  It was amazing and peaceful and best of all, FUN.  I'll be writing another post or two about it over the next couple of days.  Here are some previews:

See the draperies on the window?  That's also on the porch of our B&B.  That door and window lead into the kitchen.  More importantly, though, see the cats in the draperies?  Yeah.  This crazy cat lady did, too.  Animals were a big part of our trip.  Eureka is definitely an animal-friendly city.

Food was another big part of our trip, but I'm going to combine that info with...

... the scenery and local flavor.  This photo was taken from the fourth floor of the Crescent Hotel. 

I love vacations.  And I love my husband for taking me on an impromptu one.  Happy Anniversary, Honey!

Monday, June 6, 2011

The First Weekend of Summer

The first weekend of summer is a magical time.  The entire eight weeks (in our case) seems to stretch out forever, and it is with joy that I have realized that my children do, in fact, know how to sleep in.  This means I'm happy letting them stay up later to wear them out thoroughly.

This bench and table (and the bench from which I'm taking this photo) were a weekend project for Oz and M1 last week.  The backs of the benches actually flip up and convert to make half of a picnic table... put them together and get a whole table!  Amazing stuff.

Back to the first weekend of summer.  Yesterday was jam-packed with good stuff for the kids.  We took them and their art supplies to a park where they spent some time drawing (in M2's case) or creating leaf and bark rubbings (in M1's case) and running around before it got too blazing hot outside.  For lunch, we treated them - and ourselves - to Dave & Buster's and the glory of arcade games.  For dinner, we broke out the grill and ate hot dogs and potato salad and broccoli salad.  Did we stop there?  Oh, heavens no...

Oz broke out the sprinkler! 

(He also broke out his silly side.)

The kids loved running in the sprinkler without having to change into swimsuits.  They approached the water in their unique ways:

M2 refused to run through it.  She sat near it, backed up into it, played with it, but never did dash through the water like a lunatic.

She left that to her brother, who was fully capable of doing so.  He was thrilled to discover that he was too fast for my camera, even on the 'kids and pets' setting.

Once they got tired of the water, Oz lit a small fire and brought out dessert...

I don't think this is her first s'more, but I do think it's the first picture I have of her eating one.  Note the lovely stripe across her nose from where she did a full-on face plant into the ground.  She sprained her foot in the process, too, and has been limping around all day.

M1 was more philosophical about his s'more.  He knew that with dessert came the end of the day and potentially bedtime.

"Are you worn out yet?"  I asked him.

"Yeah," he nodded, "and I don't think I'll need melatonin tonight.  I'm going to go straight to sleep."

This one agreed.  And so they did, and M2 slept until almost 8 o'clock.  M1?  Well, when I woke him up at 10 (because I want him to sleep tonight), he was none too happy about it.

Oh, the glories of summer.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Swimsuit Shopping (and all associated horrors)

I finally managed to go swimsuit shopping.  I am quite happy to consider the possibility that I will not have to do this again for at least two years.  This is, of course, if I'm lucky, but let's be optimistic for a minute.

As almost any woman who has given birth knows, swimsuit shopping sucks.  There is nothing flattering about the idea of pouring your gut into a piece of colored, decorated, surgically enhanced Spandex, especially if the word cellulite is part of your anatomic vocabulary.

My first order of business was to decide where to shop.  This is a delicate task best suited to a state of mind not influenced by PMS.  Certain factors must be taken into account:  The store must not be too busy or too empty; the selection must be available in a variety of sizes; and dressing rooms must be available, preferably near the swimsuit section and with no attendant.  Taking into account all of these factors, I decided to ignore my own rules and headed for the neighborhood Target, a busy place geared to teens and young 20-somethings with no hint of stretch marks.  It's also equipped with fitting rooms set clear at the back of the store and staffed by an apathetic female attendant.

Oh, and did I mention the swimsuit section is stuck smack dab in the front of the store so your attempts to hide are completely wasted? 

You betcha.

It took up a minute or two to work up the cojones to cross the aisle and take the plunge.

I honestly tried to look confident as I stepped into the swimwear section, but the confidence quickly faded when I realized that most of the available options were A) strapless (wardrobe malfunction, anyone??) or B) tiny (BWAHAHAHAHAHA) or C) both.

I hunted and poked and browsed - my thoughts occasionally punctuated by commentary from the tiny little childless entity who had brought her husband with her ("I've narrowed it down to these five, dear... which ones do you like the best?") - and attempted to avoid eye contact with anyone just long enough to find two viable, wearable, dark-colored options.

Then I girded up my loins and made the dash across the rest of the women's clothing section to the dressing room.  Once I enclosed myself in the overheated cubicle with more mirrors than any person ever needs and horrible, horrible lighting, I realized that I didn't have the one other thing that is an absolute necessity for swimsuit shopping - a second opinion.

Soooo I did the next best thing.  I put on Swimwear Option #1, pulled my phone out of my purse, flipped it to silent, and snapped a photo of myself in the mirror.  Then I texted it to my husband.  "Whaddaya think?" I asked.  While I waited, I tried on Option #2, which was a definite fail.  Oz texted back a flippant remark which caused me to remind him that I was on the front lines of a battlefield and that I needed useful remarks, not social commentary.  To which he responded, "I like it :)" followed a minute later by "Should I ask your fashion consultant?"

Since I was in the midst of changing back into my street clothes and deciding that Option #1 was probably a go (especially since I didn't feel like going to a second store if I could help it and Option #1 was on clearance), I didn't respond right away.  I can only assume that this silence was taken as tacit assent to his query, because as I was pulling my shirt over my head, my phone began to buzz.  On the other end of the line was my 'fashion consultant,' aka M2.

"That picture on Daddy's phone?  Is that you, Mommy?"

"Yes, Darling," I answered quietly, trying not to give away the contents of my dressing room while staying polite to my daughter.

"I think you should buy that, Mommy.  It looks good."

The firm opinion of a little blonde 6-year-old is good enough for any mom.  I bought the swimsuit.  I showed it to Oz after I got home, and he gazed at it with interest.

"Huh," he said.  "It's brown.  I thought it was dark blue."


I hate department store lighting.  And while I love and appreciate Oz's opinions, next time I have to battle the swimsuit section, I'm taking someone of flesh, blood, and my own gender.  There's only so much psychological damage one mom can handle. 

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Scheduling Summer (and a question)

Question first:  Has anyone had trouble with Blogger's comments section lately?  I've noticed that when I try to comment on some blogs lately, it takes me to the log-in page OVER and OVER and OVER and OVER rather than actually letting me comment.  I'd love to know if that's happening here.  Since leaving a comment may not be an option, e-mail me at oursunn yview @ blog to let me know if this has happened to you.  Please.  If it's not working, I want to get it fixed!
Now, on to the real blog post...

Summer is looming large over here.  The kids have a half-day of school tomorrow - consisting of a math test and making slime at this house and school-wide games at M2's place of edumacashun - and then they are O-U-T.  I'd promised to take them swimming tomorrow afternoon, but since I don't have a new swimsuit yet and the "control panel" powers of the old one have worn off (and it has those little concrete-induced picks all over the bottom), we may wind up at the splash pad instead.  I think as long as the kids get to put on swimsuits and copious quantities of sunscreen, they'll be happy.

A month ago, if you had asked me what my summer looked like, I'd have said, "Busy!!"  And to some degree it is.  Weekends are full.  If it's not a birthday party, it's a family reunion.  If it's not a family reunion, it's the Fourth of July.  And so on and so forth.  To me, this seemed 'busy.'  But now I'm staring at the calendar thinking, "How did this seem busy??"  The kids have swimming lessons for a couple of weeks, sure... but they're less than an hour long and scheduled for first thing in the morning.  M1 has camp one week, but that just means it becomes my full-time job to keep M2 occupied!  I signed M2 up for a summer violin concert last night, but even that only means the concert and two, maybe three, rehearsals, and it'll mostly be review.  In other words, most weekdays are empty.

My schedule just opened up.

The problems with having an Aspie kid and an open schedule are large and very obnoxious.  These kids don't understand the phrase "open schedule."  The words, "It's summer... do whatever you want!" are a death sentence to parents... or at least some nearby piece of furniture.  If there isn't a plan for at least 3/4 of a day, they cease to function at a normal level and will gleefully dive off the deep end of happiness into a great pit of mischief. 

Because I value my sanity - what little I have left - and would like to get through the next eight weeks with my house and his limbs mostly intact, I must schedule summer.  Schedule summer.  One of the greatest contradictions known to kids... or stay-at-home parents, for that matter.  Summer is supposed to be about spontaneity, about showing up at the pool and staying till whenever, about grabbing sno cones on the go and waking up and deciding it's a pajama day with no forethought. 

It was a sad day when I realized that a spontaneous summer wasn't going to happen.  I almost stopped and lamented the loss of my son's childhood when I suddenly realized that this IS his childhood.  He's happy when he doesn't have to think about what to do each day.  When we were at the grocery store yesterday, he asked me in all seriousness if he was old enough to have a summer job, because he'd like to earn $50 a week and isn't worried about "missing summer" to work to get the cash.  All this bodes well for his working ethic as an adult.  It also settled my brain about the notion of having to plan out what we do each day.

And so, without further mental distress, I plunked on my couch and pondered what I want to do with the kids this summer.  I figure I'll realistically only be able to plan a week ahead at any given time, but hey... if it keeps my home and kid in one piece, I'll do anything.  Even if it means scheduling summer.