Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Blitz blogging

News in brief:

My resolve is firm this week to maturely handle the constant demands of the three amoral, self-centered, wild, and infinitely lovable little girls who inhabit the household with me. I will deal, y'all.

Sweet P screamed for two hours straight last night, meaning that I got exactly five hours of sleep. And yet! I have laser-like focus! I will not yell at anyone today! (And no, you smartasses, exclamation points don't count.)

Quote of the day from Sister: "They should make a 'possum Webkins, Mom."

I fit into a pair of pre-pregnancy pants yesterday! They were a bit snug, but not camel-toe snug. Woo-hoo!

My once-a-week babysitter's last day watching Bean is today, which means I'm blogging from the patio of my favorite local coffee shop right this minute.

Monday, April 28, 2008

Weekend notes

Husband left town for three days on a fishing trip with some friends, leaving me with the young'uns. He really needed a break, and Sister was going to be with her own dad for a long weekend, so I was glad to see him go. But I'm also glad he's back now. I got to sleep in til 9:00 am yesterday morning and woke up feeling like my old self. Once again, it amazes me how much more creative, happy, and patient I can be when I get enough sleep.

Miraculously, the little girls had a couple of simultaneous naps over the weekend so I got quite a bit of gardening done before it began pouring down rain yesterday evening. I must've planted a few dozen perennials and shrubs and the garden is looking quite flush at the moment. Pictures to come soon, I promise. It really is lovely.

I can't tell you how deeply satisfying it is to get back into the garden again after the hot dry summer and my vast pregnancy size kept me inside for so long. Out of all the things I can do solo, gardening is the thing I love best. There's just nothing like putting something into the ground and watching it thrive under your care. I've done a lot of sewing and other inside creative stuff in lieu of garden work for almost the last year, so it is profoundly gratifying to get my hands dirty again.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Look what I found!

Look what I found!, originally uploaded by Secretsugar.

A baby turtle was scrambling vigorously across our path today at Sarah P. Duke Gardens, but not vigorously enough that Bean couldn't catch him.

It made our whole day.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Psyched to be 3

Psyched to be 3, originally uploaded by Secretsugar.

Bean's turning 3 on Saturday is part of what kept me away from blogging for so long. She had a real party this year, with four other toddlers plus some babies and big kids thrown into the mix. And their parents. So it was a lot of party prep, even if what we ate was lots of chips dumped into a bowl and an ice cream cake made of ice cream that I didn't actually make myself. Thank God for SIster! She was such a huge help with arranging bowls of chips, helping blow up balloons, decorating a birthday banner, and just generally offering her help up every time we turned around.

So I'm mama of a 3-year old now! Bean is so big all of a sudden and is also coming around to liking me again after the past year spent following Husband around in blind adoration. It's certainly easier to be a stay-at-home mom if your kids actually want to hang out with you.

Speaking of which, when her papa came home from work the other day and asked what we'd done today, Bean replied, "Hanged out." Funny girl.

Thursday, April 17, 2008


I've mentally settled down a bit since my last foul-mouthed post, but I have really been struggling this week. I had probably the worst day I've ever had with Sister yesterday, where I yelled at her so loud she burst into tears. Felt great about that one, let me tell ya.

Sweet P has entered a phase where she doesn't want to be put down at all and suddenly sleeps dramatically less than she used to. I know, I know, this shouldn't be a surprise to me, a supposedly experienced mama. But it does mean that on top of Sister's horrible homework hysteria nearly everyday, and Bean trying to alternately pick fights with hysterical Sister or surreptitiously squeeze the baby's hands or skull, I have a screaming baby demanding attention, too.

It's enough to make me utterly short out. You know on old Looney Tunes cartoons how you'd see smoke coming out of Yosemite Sam's ears when he was pissed off? It's the smoke of overloaded brain circuitry, I understand that now. And that's been me lately.

This morning--and the rest of today--has gone better. Sister had a delayed opening school day, so she spent the extra time getting me to set her up with an embroidery project that she's making as a birthday present to Bean. A nice, peaceful morning then, and this is hopefully her new hobby. On her way out the door to school, she declared it to be so.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

I'm soaking in it

I just want to record here that saying yes means cleaning up a lot more fucking messes. I can't get dinner made, I can't catch my breath, I can't find the time to blog, and I sure as hell can't find the time to do my own projects.

I'd like to try and give this new policy--because that's what it's become--a couple weeks, but I'm really not sure if I can make it that long!

Monday, April 14, 2008

Trying to say yes

Happy little painter, originally uploaded by Secretsugar.

I had a good mama friend over yesterday for lunch and we got to talking about a book we're both interested in. My friend actually owns a copy and after hearing more from her about it, I think I'll probably go ahead and spring for a copy myself. I'd seen it available on Soulemama's blog and I think the gist of it is that we parents should allow our little ones access to art and craft supplies instead of keeping them under lock and key for fear of the mess. I mean, don't you want to raise creative, crafty kids? I know I do, so of course it's stupid for me to stingily hide all the good stuff from their creative little paws, right? Today I'm going to try putting all the art supplies into a low cabinet where the girls can use them. I'm going to try saying yes whenever one of them wants to make a project. I'm going to try to quash my first thought that the huge mess won't be worth it. Because I'll bet it will.

Here's our easel brought inside the house this morning for Bean to use. You know, this darn thing has been sitting out on our back porch for the last year, completely without paint and brushes, with only chalk for the chalkboard available. Doesn't it make you wonder why I bought it in the first place? Bean was incredulous that I brought it in and actually put paint in the cups for her. Make no mistake, there was a huge mess, but hey! There is now a gorgeous, pink and purple swirly paint creation drying on the newspaper that Bean is very, very proud of.

Friday, April 11, 2008

It's a nice day for a white onesie

White onesie, originally uploaded by Secretsugar.

Is there anything cuter in this world than a happy baby in a white onesie? I don't think so.

Happy weekend, everyone!

Thursday, April 10, 2008


Scary rubber snake!, originally uploaded by Secretsugar.

Actually, this is just a rubber snake scaring off the rabbits who keep munching my hollyhocks. I keep moving the snake so that the rabbits remain in the dark about his rubber-ness and so far my little plants have only been bothered by a bug or two. Woo-hoo!

But that has NOT prevented them from decimating some sundrops and some mallow plants that were about 20 feet away and that I hadn't even gotten into the ground yet.

Bunny damage, originally uploaded by Secretsugar.

Little fuckers. I'm fresh out of rubber snakes, so perhaps a trip to the toy store is in order today...

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Deep spring thoughts

Big issues on my mind lately as we approach the NC primary. Like, which do I hate more, the stale air of a house whose windows are never opened or having to wipe the film of yellow pollen off every flat surface every couple of days? So hard to choose...

In other news, I'm going to be joining a group of sewing/crafting ladies tonight. I'm kind of excited about this, though it's a world apart from how I used to plan my nights out of the house. If I can manage it with Sweet P in tow, I'm going to try my hand at some embroidery. Not an actual embroidery project, but just some practice stitches. I have this idea that I'm going to make fabulous scarves out of Armani wool scraps--available at my local sewing store!--backed with silk or linen and embellished with a bit of embroidery if I'm any good at that at all. They'd make lovely gifts for my female friends, I think, and I may even try to sell them one of these days...

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Who's the bad guy here?

I've gotta vent here, ladies. I just want to say that I'm a little tired of being the bad guy when it comes to tv watching in this house. I remember when I was pregnant with Bean that the subject of little kids and tv came up. Husband was totally against little kids watching anything at all. I remember this because my response was something along the lines of, "Yeah, well I WILL be allowing some tv since I'm the one who's going to be staying at home with her all day long!" Husband conceded that this seemed fair if I needed an occasional break. Emphasis on "occasional."

Now? Bean gets up in the morning and the first thing she wants is for the tv to be turned on. No breakfast, just tv. And Husband is happy to comply because he needs a little time to himself to make some coffee, get the computer fired up, and pee. All totally fine so far.

But lately, it's not just a couple episodes of "Curious George" we're talking about here. He'll frequently turn on movies for Bean, full-length Disney films that I have to turn off at some point to give Bean her breakfast. This morning it was The Little Mermaid and you should have seen the toddler wrath unleashed upon me when I told her it was time to turn it off! Oh. My. God. I had to kick her out onto the porch because her screams were reverberating inside the house and I had to turn down that noise, no matter what the sleeping neighbors might have thought.

Sigh. The thing is that I'm somewhat complicit in this routine because on mornings when Sister is at her dad's I sleep in. If I would just get my tired ass out of bed, I could help Husband deal with Bean so that he could still do what he needed but she wasn't permitted to get so engrossed in a lengthy screening of something or other.

Yeah, you think that's gonna happen?

Monday, April 07, 2008


I'm in one of those phases where I don't feel like I'm doing anything particularly well. The house is a mess. The garden is being taken over by last year's weeds. All the girls clamor for my attention, all day long, and I only have so much to go around. My sewing projects are stalled. I can't get to either one of my blogs lately. My weight loss is stuck. And I'm late for everything.

Oh, and my every-Wednesday-morning, weekly-spot-of-brightness babysitter's last day with us is April 30th.

I need a little something good here, y'all!

Thursday, April 03, 2008

Now, even I hate math!

The hardest part lately of being the mother of three is not the attention demanded by the baby or even by my Bean, queen of the drop-of-the-hat temper tantrum. These days, it's been Sister who's required intensive management from me. Frickin' long division math homework! Sister hates math and especially this math. She just finished TWO AND A HALF HOURS of hysteria- and tears-inducing math and I, for one, am exhausted and extremely pissy. I've had fantasies of farming her out to an afterschool program because I hear that they have homework time and maybe someone besides me could handle this a little better.

Anyone else got some advice for me here? I can't continue having afternoons like this!

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Atlanta, part 2

Husband has a dear, sweet aunt in Atlanta that we were visiting, too, the mother of the opera singer and the sister of his deceased father. Let me say first off that this aunt is probably the sweetest, kindest, most baby-loving woman I have ever had the privilege of meeting. She's 83 years old and a native of Belize, though it was British Honduras in her day. She still speaks with a clipped, colonial accent though Husband's father did not.

The last night of our visit, I handed Sweet P to Husband's aunt to cuddle and say goodnight to before I took her back to sleep. This old lady was so delighted at having a little one in her arms that the whole room went still, watching her obvious pleasure. She told us how she used to sing to her own babies to get them to sleep and began singing a little lullaby to Sweet P, who immediately stopped her grousing and calmed to listen. She sang it several times and I began to pick up the lyrics--something about "little picaninny," "silver Southern moon," and "Mama's little Alabama coon."

Wow. I have to admit I was torn here between real dismay at these lyrics so shockingly racist to my modern ears, and great pleasure that this lovely woman was getting such joy, remembering her own long-ago young motherhood. I know that she would never consider herself a racist. She and her Jamaican caregivers talk a lot about life in that part of the world and seem to me to interact as if they're all old friends. Still, I can't help but feel like this little vignette was a slice of antebellum Southern plantation life.

Here are the lyrics that Husband's aunt sang to Sweet P. And by the way, according to the good old internet, this is the chorus of a song that was first published in 1893. Husband's aunt was singing a song 115 years old!

Go to sleep my little picaninny
Brer fox'll catch you if you don't
Slumber on the bosom of your Mammy
Mammy's gonna whack you if you don't
Loo loo loo loo looah looah loo
Underneath the silver southern moon
Lullaby, rockabye my baby
Mammy's little Alabama Coon

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Fabulous Atlanta

You may kiss my ring now, originally uploaded by Secretsugar.

Did you all know that Atlanta was so fabulous? Actually, it was Husband's cousin who provided us with this excessive bling. As I mentioned yesterday, she spent 18 years as an opera singer in Germany before returning to her native city. Among many other interesting, exotic household items, a trunk load of costume jewelry--from actual stage costumes!--is part of her legacy. My two big girls were in absolute heaven the morning that she busted it out and let them at it. Can you tell?

And lest you feel concerned that Sweet P was left out, behold the baby fabulousness!

Baby got bling, originally uploaded by Secretsugar.