Monday, July 30, 2007

A little bitchy

I just got an email from a neighbor of ours who's got 2 kids, one of whom was a classmate of Sister's last year. His email was short. He basically wanted to know when was a convenient time for his daughter to come to our house this week and play so he could take his son on an outing.


There was no "please," no "Would it be okay if...." Just, his daughter would like to come play at our house this week and when could she do that. I like this family fine, but his email just rubs me the wrong way.

Reminds me of trying to be one of the co-leaders of Sister's Girl Scout troop last year and getting almost zero help from the girls' parents. Is it just the fact that I slept so poorly last night and am feeling particularly cranky, or are there lots of people out there who think that stay-at-home moms have nothing better to do than to run a free, drop-in babysitting service for their kids?

Saturday, July 28, 2007

Big stinker

Sister had her last day of week-long sleepaway camp yesterday. I was so excited to pick her up. While I'm used to her being away at her dad's for a few days at a time and even on longer vacations with him occasionally, it just felt different to have her be gone on her own big girl adventure all by herself.

When I walked in, Sister ran right up to me with her face all lit up which is a lovely sight for a mama. Bean and I grabbed her into a big group hug and my next thought after the warm fuzzies was, "Damn, this child's head stinks!" Turns out Sister brushed her teeth only once while she was gone and didn't wash her hair at all, so it's no wonder her entire head was enveloped in a cloud of funk you could almost see. I've gotta get that girl a book on personal hygiene soon or something. I don't want classmates making fun of her for being stinky and unkempt--'cause don't you remember the weird kid in your class who smelled bad and everyone made fun of?--but the more I say anything about the subject, the more I get the feeling she's deliberately "forgetting" to keep herself clean so that she can have some form of control over things.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Proud mama

While Sister is away with her buddy at Girl Scout camp for the entire week, Husband and I took advantage of her absence to rearrange the furniture in her room. She and Bean are going to be sharing a room in the next month or two once Bean makes the transition to a big girl bed. Yes, Sister goes ballistic if Bean messes up something she's working on or gets into something really special, and yes, I've warned Sister repeatedly that this is likely to increase if she can't kick Bean out of her room anymore, but Sister is adamant that she wants to share her room. So we made the first steps towards freeing up more space last night.

Today, I've put everything back on shelves, made the beds, arranged stuffed animals, and all the smaller tasks that I could do without Husband. I also purged a bit of Sister's stuff, hoping that she'll be so distracted by the new arrangement that she won't notice. And if I ever needed confirmation that come fall I should continue my policy of underscheduling Sister for afterschool activities and lessons, I got it. Actually, I get this every time I purge Sister's room because one of her very favorite afterschool activities is to sit up in her room and write stuff. I found two particularly interesting pieces of paper this time around.

One says only: "She likes adventures. She always sees Fred. Her mother died. She isn't glamorous." I'm dying to know what character she was imagining that day.

The other one is an advertisement for: "Lip sick! Only $100,000 per stick. Now in poop brown, booger green, and in 1 new smell of chunky barf! Poop there it is!"

Yeah, no soccer practice, dance lessons, acting class, and horse-back riding for you, girlie! Well, okay, maybe one or two of those things now and then. But you're genius all on your own!

Monday, July 23, 2007

What are people thinking?

While we were at the beach, my uncle's bitchy wife said something that made me realize I was potentially in for 18 more weeks of rudeness from random people who think other people's lives are their business to freely comment on.

What happened was, we were all sitting around in the beach house living room chatting. Someone asked Husband and I if we'd decided on a name for baby girl #3 yet. We told them no but we'd welcome suggestions if they had any. My mom tossed out a few, another aunt suggested something, and then the bitchy aunt said, "How about, 'Oh no, another girl'?"

I yelled back at her, "What the hell's wrong with girls?", surprised that she, a mother of a girl herself and--hello! a former girl!--would say such a thing. Fortunately, she didn't pursue it any further.

This isn't the first time with this pregnancy that people have acted weird or said stupid things to me. Having a third child--and a third girl--has meant I've received several rude comments that I didn't get the first two times around. People were all dewy-eyed when I was pregnant with my first and second, but seem to feel that I'm just going too far, being too decadent or something with a third. For the most part, people are just stopped short and frowningly say, "Oh!" when informed that this is my third baby. And no gooey congratulations, needless to say. If they find out it's another girl, then they also express sympathy for me that it's not the boy that they assume we were trying for. We weren't. We just wanted a third kid.

I suppose no matter what, people are going to have opinions about how you run your life. Why is it, though, that the sight of a pregnant woman makes them want to say them out loud?

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Home again, home again

We're home from the beach now and I feel deliciously settled. I do love home. I know that makes me dull and unglamorous, but what can I say? I'm a Cancer. In the last 6 hours I've unpacked everything but Husband's suitcase, done 4 loads of laundry, picked 3 bouquets of flowers for the house from our busting-at-the-stems garden, gone grocery shopping, and fixed dinner. Cheerfully.

Now I'm just trying to decide what my welcome home baking project will be. I always have the urge to bake something when I've been gone from home awhile. Maybe lemon raspberry muffins for tomorrow's breakfast.

Quickly, some new stuff that's happened with Bean while we've been gone. She now calls Husband "Daddy" instead of "Papa." This is because my 2 little brothers call their dad (and my step-dad) that. From another older kid relative, she's picked up the less endearing habit of periodically exclaiming, "Oh my Gawd!" I've trained Sister very diligently not to say this because, despite being a non-Christian myself, I do think it's pretty ugly coming out of the mouths of children. Still, when Bean says it I find it difficult not to laugh, even as I try to correct her over to "gosh" instead.

She walks out the front door naked to help me pick flowers, feels the heat on her skin and yells, "Oh my Gawd!"

She sees a big bumblebee on a flower and shouts, "Oh my Gawd!"

Her sandal catches a bit on the stair as she's climbing and it's, "Oh my Gawd!"

I'm just glad my mom isn't around to hear her.

Friday, July 20, 2007

Looking homeward

Today is the last day of our big ol' family beach vacation. There's a thunderstorm outside, and most of the party has been out on a boat for the last couple of hours. The rest are napping or watching cartoons in the boys' lair downstairs. It's peaceful then, or will be for as long as the boaters are still out.

I think I finally settled into vacation mode yesterday when I was able to read on a shady, ocean view porch for a couple of hours straight and then nap afterwards. Today, Husband took Bean out to a playground nearby, so I got in some more reading on the beach while Sister hunted shells and tiny shellfish in the surf. I'm all caught up on sleep since Husband has been letting me sleep in every.single.morning that we've been here, bless him. So I'm all vacationed up at this point and feeling just fine about going home tomorrow, even if the drive will suck again. It'll be good to see my garden and my house and my kitties again, and to sleep in my own bed without 2 kids sleeping in the same room a few feet away from me.

Sunday, July 15, 2007

On vacation

I'd intended to post something last week before we left town for our big family beach vacation, but I felt like I could barely keep it together as it was. Sister had her birthday on Thursday and I'd said she could have 3 friends over for a sleepover. Even with take-out pizza as the requested birthday dinner, I still had to assemble a giant birthday ice cream cake for dessert, buy and wrap presents, run to the movie store, run to the grocery store, run to Target, and some other errands on top of that that I'm forgetting. Oh, and pack for our beach trip the day after the party, bed linens, another grocery store trip and all. Vacations are almost too much work.

My birthday was yesterday, which was the day we were packing the car and driving to the beach. I'd originally thought that a beach trip starting on my birthday was a fabulous idea, but in practice not so great. I have said many times since Sister was born 2 days before my own birthday that mine isn't important anymore and I'm thrilled if anyone even notices enough to give me a present 'cause I'm that self-sacrificing. But you know what? I'm NOT that self-sacrificing. I wanted some fuss and some presents and to go out to a special dinner and all the rest, and when I didn't get it I was pissed. Next year, I'll not plan to be driving anywhere on my birthday unless it's to a long stint at the day spa.

Bean has orange-stained lips and fingertips right now because I'm pretending not to notice as she raids the enormous bag of crunchy Cheetos. Better stop her and get on with my dinner preparations. It's my night to cook dinner for the 9 adults and 9 kids here. On the menu tonight is 7# of shredded pork barbecue brought from my favorite barbecue place in Chapel Hill, cornbread, cucumber and onion salad, purple coleslaw, corn on the cob, sliced tomatoes, watermelon, and key lime pies for dessert. I do love summertime food.

Monday, July 09, 2007

About Lisa

I've settled down a bit emotionally and mentally since my friend I mentioned a few posts ago died. She died Tuesday of last week while we were in the mountains. I thought this would probably happen since I knew she was being transferred into hospice care right before we left town. I didn't go see her there, I'm ashamed to say. We were busy trying to get things done before the trip and I knew that she had many closer friends staying with her around the clock. To be completely honest, though, I mostly didn't know what to say to her and knew that she probably wouldn't hear or understand me. I still don't know if that's practicality or cowardice.

I went to her memorial service Saturday evening at the Forest Theater in Chapel Hill. There were several dozen people there, nearly all of them friends who had known her a good long time, too. Several of them got up to talk about Lisa--her loud screeching laughter, her ridiculously complicated ordering habits when out to eat at restaurants, what a stellar cook she was herself, her political activism and unflinching outspokenness about all that she felt was wrong with the world or wrong with YOU, for that matter. Some people cried, but mostly people laughed because there really was a lot you could laugh at when talking about Lisa.

Later at home, I was in a bit of a funk as I thought about one of the last conversations we had together, when she asked me what I was planning to do after I was "done with this whole mom thing." I was kinda pissed at the question then and didn't give a straight answer, in part because I'm not going to be "done" with being a mom for quite some time. But I'm wondering now just who would show up at my funeral if I were to die tomorrow and what stories they would tell. My life is so contained and so very unconcerned with anyone else but my own family and few good friends. I'm not out there advocating for poor women or gays or Latino immigrants like she was. I'm not publishing political 'zines or losing my job standing up for some righteous principle. I don't take other people's recycling home with me if I know they're not going to be recycling. I'm just keeping the house clean, keeping the kids fed, doing a little gardening, a little sewing--a small, private, contained life.

Just another bout of SAHM angst, I guess, not helped by the fact that there's an actual friend's death setting it off. Maybe it'll pass. In the meantime, I'm going to be more diligent about recycling, try to buy much more local produce, support more local businesses, get the damn compost pile started finally...

Saturday, July 07, 2007

Inventory of a vacation

5 days spent away from home in Townsend and Knoxville, TN.

3-4 times per night was about how often Bean woke up while we were gone.

An ungodly number of calories consumed over the course of those few days--mostly sweet iced tea, fried chicken livers, devilled eggs, spoon bread, potato salad, red velvet cake, and some kind of outlandishly good brownie cheesecake praline concoction that I couldn't stay away from. (Two servings about made up for the lack of banana pudding at this year's family reunion.)

7 hours spent on the road yesterday driving from TN back to Chapel Hill, NC.

Approximately 50 creatures riding home in the car--Husband, myself, the girls, the dog, and the difference made up in snails Husband brought from the Little River to reside in our backyard pond.

69 Japanese beetles plucked buzzing from the plants they'd infested while I was gone.

2 hours spent watering our parched garden.

4 bags of liquified vegetables culled from the bottom drawer of our fridge.

We're home now.

Monday, July 02, 2007

Going, going...

Husband and I are taking the girls (and the dog) up to the mountains of Tennessee here in a few short minutes. We'll be staying in his family's extremely rustic cabin for their family reunion. I found myself trying to think through the family relationships last night, rehearsing my response when some little old lady asks me who I'm related to. I know Husband's mother was the cousin of Johnny who was the son of...damn, now I forget. But it's the kind of event where phrases like "second cousin once removed" are ubiquitous and understood by every family member there. Also, phrases like "bucket of fried chicken" and "banana pudding," which is why I'm still looking forward to it.

I'll be gone for the week and maybe without internet access depending on whether the fancy new-last-year coffee shop is still open for business this year. Hope you all have a lovely Independence Day!