Friday, July 30, 2010

Games Children Play

Kids have such great imaginations. Mine spend hours at a time playing made-up games that are really enjoyable-- at least, to them. They also have created some little habits to bring fun into their days. And I know they're not alone.

My nephews, Kazmer and Solomon, play this game when they're in the car driving home, called "Top or Bottom." I don't know who created it-- or why-- but, here's how it works: From the main county road, two residential streets lead to their house. One is near a ravine and the other is a block further, at the top of a hill. So, the boys pick; one takes "top" and the other takes "bottom." Whichever road the driver chooses, that kid "wins." Captivating, I know... but they think it's fun.

My kids' favorite car game happens about the time we arrive home. They like to "Run." When I pull into the driveway, the girls and Benjamin often ask me to stop. I put the car in park and open the garage door. Then, they get out of their seats, open the door and jump out of the van, so they can run all the way down the driveway and into the house ahead of me.

Some of the kids' other games are much more creative and involved-- but still weird. I know they won't always have such simple pleasures. So, I'm recording these now so I can remember them later... but, feel free to borrow for your next party:

Oonga: a game of chase; Oonga is "it" and used to brandish a plastic baseball bat (dubbed the "Oonga bat") until Mommy confiscated that element
Real Babies: basically, playing house, but without baby dolls; instead, one or more of the children pretend to be babies-- Benjamin is always "Elmo," Elisabeth is "Ella," and they call Madeline "Baby Kate"
Find Nelson: a find-the-object game, where they take this little, cardboard inchworm-- a piece from another game-- and hide it under things; they call the worm "Nelson" because it has these round eyeglasses that the kids think look like their pediatrician's

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Oprah, She Ain't

Amanda asked me if she could color her hair. I said, "No." She asked, "Why not?" I said, "Because you're eight." Amanda asked, "When can I color my hair?" I said, "When you're a grownup. You can do anything you want to your body when you're a grownup." Elisabeth said, "I'm going to color my hair when I'm 25." I said that would be fine.

We went on to discuss the costs and logistics of that kind of beauty regimen. I pointed out to the girls that doing something like that requires a lot of time and money. Elisabeth said I should pay for her to color her hair, but I assured her I would not. I told Libby by the time she's 25, she'll be living on her own, and she'll have a job with a paycheck, and she'll be able to spend that money however she sees fit.

Libby looked horrified. I was going to reassure her that it was all a long way off, and would all be a good thing. But, first, Elisabeth said, "Uh-uh. I'm not doing that. I'm never getting a job." I asked her, "Then, how do you plan to pay for your rent, your food, your hair color?" Libby shrugged and said, "I'll just find some sorry sucker to marry me and pay for everything."

Is this what I'm teaching my girls by leaving my career to stay home and raise them? Is their father "some sorry sucker?" (I swear, they've never heard me call him that.) I'm throwing in my feminist card. Sorry, Susan B. Anthony-- it appears I have failed you.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Not a Good Sport

Benjamin finished up his last day of Bison Buddies Sports Camp. When I registered him in the spring, it seemed like a great idea. Ben is used to chasing around, watching the older girls do their things, and I thought it would be nice for him to having something that was just for him.

However, the sports camp came this month-- the busiest possible time for our family-- at one in the afternoon, and it met outside. Ben was excited to go, and readily got in the car each day. But, within minutes of arrival, my boy was not only ready for some air conditioning, he was ready for a nap. There were running races, obstacle courses, t-ball drills and kickball games. Ben's favorite activities were sucking his Propel bottle, and whining.

The class was mostly full of extremely physical, fairly aggressive little kids who were all taller and faster than Benjamin. But those facts didn't seem to bother the boy as much as the time of day and the lack of shade. I know I probably should have been tougher with Ben... but I couldn't help laughing. I wanted to go home, too.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Ketchup

This post has absolutely nothing to do with the tomato-and-sugar condiment that comprises an entire food group for my Elisabeth-- I was just too lazy to write "Catch Up." Anyway, here are some of the things I haven't had time to tell you:

*Please keep my FIL in your prayers this week. He was hospitalized for four days, on IV antibiotics to treat some kind of nasty staph/strep infection in his hand. Upon his release, he was told that the heart monitoring they did in the hospital looked really funky. He will head back to the Heart Center on Friday to have a pacemaker implanted.
*Also, pray for our friend Jackson, 9. Ironically, he is suffering from a similar infection, though his resulted from a scratched bug bite.
*Both Target and Wal-Mart in my town are undergoing renovations. I'm actually relieved I've been too busy to shop (much.)
*My sister's show opens this weekend, so, if you've already seen us in "Oz," try to catch Ellen as "Maria" in "The Sound of Music." Click here for ticket info.
*My SA is out of Diet Mountain Dew today.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Guess I'm Not the Only One

I put Madeline to bed last night at 8, and didn't hear a peep out of her all night. Elisabeth was in our room, complaining of a bad dream (darn that "Jack Frost" movie... she saw it, like, three years ago) and Benjamin also wandered around to my side of the bed in the wee hours, looking for a cuddle. But I never heard from the baby.

Shortly after 9 a.m., I started checking on her. I tiptoed into her room and waited to see her little sides go in and out, in and out. Then, I tiptoed back out. After a few rounds of this, Amanda asked, "You're checking to see if she's still alive, aren't you?" Busted. Do parents ever stop doing this?

p.s. Maddy finally awoke around 9:40 a.m. and she had plenty to tell me. Needless to say, there was no morning nap, and even the afternoon one began later than usual. Thank heaven, there's no schedule in this house.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

"Exhausted, EXHAUSTED..."

"...What do you mean you're exhausted?!" That's a line from "The Wizard of Oz"-- a little thing between the Wicked Witch and her flying monkeys. But, tonight, I mean it. We have wrapped up the first weekend of a two-weekend run of the community theater musical... and we are all tired. There have been good, kind crowds for the show. So many relatives and friends have come to see us; it really warms a witch's heart. The girls are having a ball, but have been too worn out to yet attend a cast party-- maybe next week.

I have plenty of catching up to do, I know, but, first, I will (hopefully) sleep. My feet need a break. (I wear stiletto boots the entire show.) My face needs a break. (It ain't easy being green.) My mind needs a break. (All these theater people are always "on" and they're so needy with the attention! Am I that way? Don't answer that.)

I scrubbed all the children soundly and sent them to bed. The two-foot laundry piles are sorted, with loads churning as I type. I'm actually looking forward to kicking my way through the piles all over the rest of the house. Tomorrow.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Well Children

Benjamin and Madeline had their four-year and 15-month well child visits. Here are the important highlights:

MADELINE
*weight: 21 pounds 13 ounces (40th percentile)
*height: 30 1/2 inches (50th percentile)
*She got shots, which I was not expecting at this visit, and she was ticked off.
*The pediatrician asked if she was talking much, and I said, "Dada, Mama, uh-oh." Doc said at this age, her vocabulary should be three to 15 words. We have three... I guess what everyone says about the baby of the family not talking because she doesn't have to is true.
*The doctor also said by her next check-up, there's a good chance Maddy will be throwing tantrums. I told her she could already cross that one off the list.

BENJAMIN
*weight: 30 pounds (5th percentile)
*height: 39 1/2 inches (30th percentile)
*Benjamin gained just one pound from age three to age four; the average is two to two-and-a-half pounds. That might not seem like a big discrepancy, but it dropped him from the 25th percentile down to the 5th. I expressed our ongoing concerns over finding ways for Ben to put on weight, though we are constantly trying to fill him with calorie-dense foods, and I told the doctor Ben is very easily satisfied and refuses to eat significant quantities of anything at meal or snack time. Of course, it is very possible Ben is just being whiny, spoiled and difficult. It is also possible there is a physiological reason for this. So, back to the gastroenterologist and dietitian we will go.
*He, too, had shots-- all the vaccinations he needs for kindergarten, whenever we get around to that. I had Ben go first, since I knew it would never work in the reverse order, but, just the same, Madeline stood at the foot of the table, screaming her fool head off in sympathy.
*Ben is officially the third four-year-old in Krinkeland to do the same weird thing at this well-child check: At age four, the nurse always does a vision check. As you probably know, kid eye charts have pictures on them instead of letters, things like hearts and stars and circles. Every one of my children, when shown a partial moon shape, has said, "Crescent." Weird.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Dressing the Part

There's been no time to blog this week, as we've been wrapped up with dress rehearsals that keep the girls and me at the theater until late in the night. The youngsters don't seem to mind the late nights. The old lady, on the other hand, is feeling a little worn out.

Suffice it to say, the show is not ready to open this week... but are they ever? This is community theater in every sense of the term, and, ready or not, our community will meet our characters at week's end. I will post photos as soon as I find the energy to get the camera out of the car.

Oh, and the girls really, really like wearing makeup. They really like it-- too much.

The "Lovely Lady" Song

For his birthday, Benjamin's uncle and cousins made him a "mix CD" full of fun, catchy, random songs. The kids immediately latched onto it and put it at the top of the stack for their daily dance parties. Their favorite song is the first one; they ask me to play it over and over again, as they sing along, especially in the car. The girls, however, were stunned to learn Todd and I already knew all the lyrics. They thought it was a new, hip tune; they couldn't believe it had been around for decades and was actually the theme song to a television show Daddy and Mommy both confessed we watched on a daily basis when we were children:

The best part is, they call it the "Lovely Lady" song.

Monday, July 19, 2010

No Answers

Here is a partial list of questions I cannot answer today (or any day, for that matter.) All are posed by my eldest daughter, to me, before I've had any caffeine for the day:

*"How come when I blow bubbles with a straw in my milk, the bubbles stay, but when I blow bubbles in apple juice, they don't?"
*"Mom, you know that book 'The Grapes of Wrath'-- what does the title mean?"
*"If other planets besides Earth have moons, why are the astronauts always going just to our moon?"
*"If the male seahorse carries the babies, does the female still have a uterus?"

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Somewhere...

...over the rainbow!

How ironic that on the day of our tech rehearsal for "The Wizard of Oz," a couple waves of strong storms rolled through. These are the scenes the Krinkeland Twister Trackers captured in their wake:

Friday, July 16, 2010

I Want to Ride My Bicycle, I Want to Ride My Bike


Due to a mix-up with the order, Benjamin's birthday gift from Mom and Dad didn't arrive until today, three days after his birthday. We've been so busy, it turned out to not be a big deal. But Todd had told Ben something "really big" was coming and Ben was excited. We got his new training wheel bicycle set up in the driveway and then brought out the Birthday Boy to see it.

"Oh, no!" Ben cried. "That's not a good present. I don't want it!" Not exactly the reaction we were going for. We figured, as with everything with this boy, he was just scared and needed a little help and reassurance. We were right. Daddy showed Ben how to climb on, encouraged him to push the pedals, and then pointed out how the brakes work. In seconds, Ben was lapping the driveway.

After supper, Ben begged Daddy to take him on a bike ride to the park. This is real progress because, up until now, Ben has had two modes of transportation to the park: 1) riding his Big Wheel, which always results in a grown-up giving Ben a piggy-back ride while carrying the Big Wheel home OR 2) riding in the Burley, next to Madeline, picking on her the entire way.

The trip to the park went fine. The way home, however, not so much. Todd can tell the story in much more dramatic fashion than I can, since he was there, but, basically, Ben tipped over on his new bike. He never let go of the handlebars, so he fell really hard. He was wearing a helmet, but, apparently, it wasn't fitted tightly enough to Ben's head, and the pavement pushed it back to make another, gigantic, raspberried goose egg on Ben's forehead.

The ol' noggin was just finally healed from the collision with the Barbie townhouse. This kid sure can take his lumps, I tell you. Daddy used Ben's new snow cone maker to shave some ice for a cold pack... and started ranting about the need for a custom-made helmet for the boy's "special" head. As for Ben, he tells me, he's not riding that bike again until he's FIVE.

The "Addict"

The kids have a lot of down time at play rehearsal, and you know that can't be good. This week, one of the older children told the younger ones that Judy Garland, who starred as Dorothy Gale in the movie "The Wizard of Oz" (yes, she explained that, too) died at a young age of an accidental drug overdose. This news has caused my Amanda plenty of anxiety.

She came into our bedroom, unable to sleep, relaying the information she had heard and requesting confirmation. A quick Google search fleshed out the details, though, seeing Amanda's distress, I was reticent to tell her too much. Was she saddened about a talented life cut short? No. Was she drawing some parallel between the young woman who played Dorothy in the film and the young woman who is filling the role in our little play? No. She was worried about herself.

You read that right. Amanda heard "accidental drug overdose" and internalized it on her long list of irrational and misunderstood fears. "But, Mom," Amanda argued with me, "I take MiraLax every day, and a children's daily multivitamin. And, sometimes, when I have leg cramps, you give me Motrin. That's A LOT of medicine." Can kids take Valium? I imagine it would be irresponsible of me to add that to her regimen.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

One Liner

It began with a battle over a new board game, and ended with Elisabeth's utterance of her most classic line to date:

"Just because I DID IT, doesn't mean you should BLAME ME!"

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Wipeout

I have gotten so sick of replacing rolls of toilet paper, literally, EVERY DAY in this house, that I decided to buy the kind that says "Mega Roll" on the package. These rolls are so big and fat, one hardly fits on the holder. The layers of tissue fill up the entire space from the holder spool to the wall, and from side to side, so snugly that when you tug on the end of the tissue, the roll does not, well, roll.

I tell you, it's always something in this house.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Four Trips Around the Sun for Our Son

The evening of July 12, 2006, we were just putting the girls to bed when I told Todd I thought it was time to go to the hospital to have the baby. Todd told me, no, he didn't think so. He was gearing up for a really big following day at work, so, he told me I should just go to bed, and probably labor would slow down or even stop. Then, I could have the baby a day or two later, when it would be more convenient for him. But I had already been in early labor for days, and had seen the doctor that afternoon, and he had advised me to keep timing my contractions and to go to the birth center when they were steady and closer together.

Benjamin Todd Krinke was born at 6:30 the next morning... and I'm pretty sure Todd was at the office, delivering his presentation by 9 or 10. That same busy week at work was also Daddy's excuse for missing his little boy's circumcision. No matter, Mommy was there, holding his little hands the entire time.

I was pregnant with Ben, but didn't yet know it, at my brother and SIL's wedding; I spent the whole weekend trying to figure out why I was so darned tired. (But my chest looked great in that bridesmaid's dress.) The week I found out I was pregnant was the same week we bought the lake lot and started building our house. The day we signed the papers, the owner of the cabin next door gave birth to a little boy with some really serious heart problems and other birth defects. Thankfully, Benjamin and Connor now play together on the beach.

This house was under construction during my entire pregnancy. We accepted an offer on our former house a week or two before I delivered Ben, and we moved out of that house and into my parents' basement when Baby Ben was two weeks old. That boy was so lucky to have a constant baby rocker in Grandma. Two months later, I wheeled Ben's bassinet into his new bedroom in our partially finished new home.

Right around Benjamin's first birthday was when new, serious concerns emerged about Ben's health. Still, every specialist we saw was encouraged and charmed by our beautiful boy. He continues to amaze and delight.

Today, in honor of Benjamin's fourth birthday, and at his ardent request, we went to "Underwater Wield" and listened to Ben squeal and shout over the sharks and sea turtles and starfish and seahorses. His favorite movie is "Finding Nemo" and he called all the sea creatures by name. Then, we rode the rides at Nickelodeon Universe. He didn't whine, he didn't cower, he didn't refuse any opportunity. Benjamin, the big four-year-old, had a ball. He even got a hug from his new hero, SpongeBob.

Our life, with Ben in it, continues to be a whirlwind. We let the kids ride the rails for way too long (until Daddy nearly barfed from one-too-many turns on the SpongeBob SquarePants Rock Bottom Plunge.) Five miles outside of the mall, the Birthday Boy was out. He fell asleep without even opening his gifts. I guess the celebration will continue tomorrow. Happy Birthday, Benny Boy!

Can't Get This Birthday Boy Down

As is tradition in our family, we will take Benjamin to do something special today, for his birthday. We asked the boy what he wanted to do, and, unfortunately, he is set on going somewhere none of the rest of us really wants to go on a beautiful, summer day. However, it is his birthday... and the Birthday Boy gets to pick. But that didn't stop the sinister sister from getting her digs in early-- or the brazen boy from having his own snappy comeback:

Benjamin: "Underwater Wield... Underwater Wield... that's where I want to go for my birthday!"
Elisabeth: "Ben, I don't want to go to Underwater World. It's not fun there, and it stinks like FISH!"
Benjamin: "I don't care. It's my birthday and I get to pick. I pick Underwater Wield! Underwater Wield!"
Elisabeth: "And, anyway, Ben, it's not Underwater 'Wield,' it's Underwater World. You can't talk."
Benjamin: "Well, that's because I have a cold."

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Party Boy

Benjamin's birthday is just around the corner... So, we invited family over today for a little party. Grandma P. had the winning bid on another trip to Domino's Pizza, so we first made a stop there, with Ben's older sisters and his cousins. They got to make our supper-- heavy on the sausage and cheese-- and help run the joint for a while. Then, it was back to our house, to eat their creations, open gifts and have cake.

It was a fun and exciting end to a really busy weekend. I still don't know when in the heck I'm going to learn my lines for this show. But, today, it was more important to watch the fashion show of all Benjamin's new clothes... take in the dance-off between Ben and Elisabeth as they jammed to the new CD made by Uncle Terry and Kazmer... and put the SpongeBob sheets on Ben's bed.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

The Camp-tastrophe

I packed up the two little ones and took them, wailing and screaming due to lack of naps, home with me from the campground. And, I left the two bigger girls full of anticipation and apprehension, for their official sleepout with Auntie Lisa. When I departed, Daddy was still hanging around, trying to decide whether he, too, would spend the night. But I bet a cold Stella I'll hear the garage door go up before midnight. He doesn't camp, either.

Did I ever tell you about the one time Todd and I went camping? If I did, quit reading now and surf on to some other blog that actually has the power to move and inspire you.

Todd and I went camping together exactly once. It was big-time, all-out, wilderness camping and everything. We were newlyweds and a group of other couples was planning this trip to the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness. To this day, I don't know why I agreed to it. I mean, I certainly wasn't trying to impress Todd. He already liked it and he put a ring on it. Maybe I was trying to fit in with his friends. I think I was just trying to be nice. (That's back when I used to try to be nice.)

Anyway, it was going to be this great, awesome, fun experience. Todd and I were going to get to use all that camping equipment said friends had given us as wedding gifts. The scenery would be beautiful. At that time of year, the weather was supposed to be nice and the bugs-- and other wild critters-- tolerable. The menfolk who planned the expedition promised it would not be too grueling for the weaker sex-- in fact, just one portage.

It was still a lot for me. A lot. This was real, carry-your-canoe-hang-your-food-in-a-tree-poop-in-a-hole-in-the-ground-eat-trail-mix-bathe-in-the-lake camping.

It rained. It rained steadily. The rain was cold. Halfway through the long weekend, there Todd and I sat, decked out in full rain suits, huddled in a canoe, on a lake, in the rain, in the middle of the wilderness, fishing for our supper. I don't even like fish. I looked around-- the scenery was fantastic-- and saw the other couples, hunkered down in their canoes, doing the same. I sat there, thinking expletives but biting my tongue to try to be the good, little, new wifey. We sat, fishing, but catching nothing, in the rain, for hours.

Finally, my good, big, new hubby turned around and said, "This sucks. Let's get out of here." We paddled that canoe as far and as fast as we could. When we got across the one big lake, we hauled ourselves and our gear up onto the bank and started hiking to the car. We drove all the way back to the closest town. I washed my face and brushed my teeth at a gas station. Then, we went to Dairy Queen.

The moral of the story is: If you can't portage with a king-size mattress on your back (and who can?) you should stay home. That's where I am now. And I love it. But I could go for some Dairy Queen...

Friday, July 9, 2010

Campout

This weekend is the big annual family reunion/campout for my FIL's extended family. Now, just to be clear, I would NOT camp-- under any circumstances. However, if not for this community theater musical, we would probably be spending a bit more time at the three-day event, especially since, this year, it's being held about 30 miles from our home.

Since the girls and I do have rehearsal two of the three days, I will pop in for only a few hours on Saturday. Todd and Madeline will probably spend most of Saturday there. But, again, camping with a baby?! Not in my world.

Yet, my SIL took the weekend off from work, is experienced at camping, and actually wanted to go. What's more, she offered to take Benjamin with her. Yep, the boy is camping.

Can you believe it? I've been waiting for the "come-and-get-him" phone call, but all I've gotten is a text that my son is out like a light. Well, there was the earlier frantic phone call and text when the duffle bag was emptied and it was discovered that someone's rotten mother forgot to pack pajamas. Apparently, Mr. Picky Pants would have nothing of sleeping in a t-shirt. But, luckily, a fellow cousin-mommy stepped up with a pair of her son's PJs, and order was restored to the universe.

Tomorrow, when I arrive, we'll trade out Ben for Amanda and Elisabeth, who will spend night two in the tent with their aunt, while I bring home the son, bathe him, and deprogram him from all this nature loving. I'm glad my kids still get to have a camping experience. I'm more glad I don't have to provide it.

Braid Away, Braid Away, Braid Away

I know she's technically my sister's family's babysitter... and I know she thinks of my nephews like brothers to her... but she must get something out of taking care of my kids, too. After all, Maria doesn't get to play beauty shop with all those little boys:

Do you think I should tell her I'd be willing to pay her just to fix the girls' hair each day? I think they look sooo cute!

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Speaking the Truth

I like to hear my kids' views on things. Sometimes, I say goofy stuff just to find out how they'll react. Other times, they spout off all on their own. We went to have lunch with Daddy today, and, while we were out, Daddy ran a quick errand:

Amanda: "What's Daddy doing in the bank, anyway?"
Mom: "He's robbing it."
Amanda: "Yeah, right."
Mom: "What? You don't think your dad could be a bank robber?"
Amanda: "Nooo."
Mom: "Why not?"
Amanda: "He's a goody-two-shoes."

Later, when we dropped off Dad back at work, Benjamin was begging him to this evening pull them around the lake on the tube. Finally, Todd said, "We'll see," and turned to go into his office. Ben was still upset, but his sisters calmed him down:
Elisabeth: "Benny, it's OK. 'We'll see' usually means 'Yes.'"
Amanda: "Well, when Dad says 'We'll see' it usually means 'Yes.'"

The Making of a Man

Admittedly, some mornings, I stay in bed too long. Madeline is teething again, and is sometimes up multiple times during the night. As one who typically avoids physical activity, these play rehearsals are taking a lot out of me. Maybe I'm depressed. (All right, I'm not. What would I have to be depressed about?) Maybe I'm just lazy. Maybe I shouldn't admit that, because, if my husband reads this, he may consider kicking me out, in which case, I would no longer have the luxury of being lazy... and I would definitely be depressed.

In this house, Amanda and Benjamin are, as a rule, up at the butt crack of dawn. I usually roll back the covers sometime later, when Madeline starts squawking. (Elisabeth is practicing to be a teenager and is typically the last one to wake. It could also be because she hates to go to bed at night.)

So, the point: While lying in my half-awake state, Amanda marched into the bedroom and announced, "Mom, I'm making Ben into a man today." Thank heaven. It's about time someone took on that task. Ben whines and throws tantrums, he talks in this high voice, he clings to his mama's legs... not man-like behaviors, and certainly none that is going to earn him boy respect on the playground. Oh, and at that playground, the son sits at the top of the slide for, oh, 10 to 15 minutes, every time we come, contemplating the dangers of actually going down. Then, when he finally does take the plunge, Ben realizes, every time, that the speed of the slide is, like, 0.3 miles per hour.

Still, I needed clarification, because that "making a man" phrase is kind of loaded with meaning. These are young children. And-- don't forget-- they are siblings. "What do you mean?" I asked. "Well, for every day that Ben only plays with boy toys and only watches boy movies, he'll get a sticker. I made him this chart," Amanda explained. "When the chart gets full of stickers, I'll give him a prize." (Translation: The girls don't want Benjamin touching their Polly Pockets. He really enjoys that Race to the Mall playset.)

I just overheard Amanda, in her lesson, scolding Ben for touching girl toys and for not picking up his boy toys. While Ben whined, "I caaan't," Amanda chided, "That's not like a man. You can do it if you want to. YOU'RE JUST A LAZY BUM!" Whoa, this man-of-this-house conversation is hitting a bit too close to home. Now, Ben is stomping around the playroom muttering, "I'm picking ALL this up... ALL BY MYSELF... I HATE that!"

OK, God, I heard You... I mean, I heard ME. I'll try harder to watch my words. Or maybe I should just get a muzzle.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Dye Job

Under the costume designer's vision, the Wicked Witch of the West should have darker hair than mine... not black ("too fakey") but dark, dark brown. I'd been contemplating coloring my hair, anyway, to get rid of the gray, so this community theater production seemed as good an excuse as any. It might seem silly, but this is a big step for me.

I've never colored my hair. Never. Not when I was in high school. Not when I was working in television. No expensive salon appointment. No seven-dollar home kit. Truth is, I always kind of liked the color of my hair. And, more than that, I have this idea that putting chemicals in your hair just wrecks it. I'm sure hair products have come a long way-- but I've seen enough fried, over-processed heads to know there's some truth to my thoughts. And I have this nice, long, straight, smooth hair. Most days, I don't even blow dry it. When I do get around to taking a curling iron to it, I don't use much by way of styling products.

Plus, there's the problem of once you start coloring your hair, you can't really stop. It's a vicious cycle. It's pretty obvious by looking at me that I'm not big on personal beauty... and certainly there's no regular maintenance. I could end up worse off than when I started.

If you know me well, you've heard me say this before: It's not the gray hair that bothers me. We all get older, and, if you're genetically predisposed to gray hair, you're going to get it. No biggie, in my book. My brother was bald by 22. He seems to have coped well-- and he has a cute head.

What bothers me is the combination of my gray hair and my baby. It just doesn't seem like someone who is still toting a baby in her arms should also have a head of wiry, white hairs. When Madeline had her last well baby checkup, I sat in the clinic waiting room, on those ugly chairs, sandwiched between two teenage mothers and their infants. As much as I was shaking my internal head at the choices they'd made, I know those two pups were eyeing me and thinking, "Is she that baby's mom?!"

Color away, if you like to do that kind of thing. But I'm still on the fence. I remember when I was a young teenager and my mom colored her hair for the first time. She was probably, well, she was probably ABOUT THE SAME AGE I AM NOW! I remember thinking my mom looked weird. I mean, the stylist did a great job. It was all the rage at the time... "frosted," I think they called the highlights back then. If I also remember correctly, Mom made the change under the advice (pressure) of some neighborhood girlfriends. She just didn't look like herself, to me. Maybe she thought so, too, because she didn't keep the color for long.

For me, I went to see my good friend who is a stylist. She's been bugging me, since she met me, to do my hair. I explained what the people running the show were looking for, and she said she understood. I asked her if, when the play was over, she could color my hair again... more like my natural color... and she agreed... but, she promised, I would love the new color.

Don't tell her, but I don't love the new color. I don't hate it, either-- it just doesn't feel like me. I think the change is not as dramatic as it could have been... most people (including my husband) have not even noticed. Those who have noticed have been very complimentary. Then again, as much as manners have deteriorated in this country, I would still be surprised if someone walked up to me and said, "Your hair looks as appealing as the dregs in the bottom of a coffee cup."

The older kids were thrilled by my new hair. (Secretly, I think they think it makes me fit in more... I'm thinking of a couple mothers of Amanda's classmates who have very similar shades.) And, Madeline didn't cry when she saw me-- so that's something.

(photo by Amanda)

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

There Goes My Baby

Another milestone in Krinkeland. Today, I let my eight-year-old ride her bike to her friend's house. Alone. All by herself. Without a chaperone. Without assistance. Almost.

You see, Amanda's best friend's mom (who is also my friend) and I were talking... about how busy the summer has been... about how much the girls miss seeing each other every day... about the fact that we can very nearly see the other's house from our own... about the girls getting so old they'll soon be third graders, and very responsible third graders at that... And, so, we decided it might be OK if, instead of orchestrating some long and complicated play date that involves an assembly of us moms and all the assorted siblings, one girl got on her bike and rode over to the other girl's house to play for a while.

So, today, Sophia called and asked Amanda to play. Except Amanda was not home at the time; she was having an outing with Grandpa. So, later, Amanda got the message and returned her friend's call. This was new territory for both girls, leading sheltered lives as they do, so they put their mothers on the phone. I offered that Sophie could come to play at our house. But, Amanda hissed, "No, I want to go to her house!" So, I laughed and asked whether that would be OK. It was.

I put sunscreen on Amanda as she packed her bag full of necessary treasures. I walked her out to the garage and reminded her to wear her bike helmet. Then, I walked up the driveway with her. The one sticking point-- the main reason this type of arrangement has not happened sooner-- is the darn busy road. I got in the firstborn's grill and vowed, "I already lost a dog to this road. I'm not losing a kid." I hissed at her that she and Sophia would only be allowed to do this as long as each girl waited for me to help her across this road, each way, every time, NO EXCEPTIONS.

Then, I directed Amanda across the road and I watched her go. She made it about halfway before she stopped, got off her bike, and did something. I know not what. She was close enough that I could still see her, but far away enough that I couldn't yell to her. I suspect it had something to do with re-situating the bag of treasures. Eventually, Amanda got back on her bike and pedaled around the bend.

My friend called to report that Amanda had arrived safely. And, a couple hours later, she called to say she was sending the big girl back home. She also told me Amanda confessed, "Coming over here on my bike, all by myself, makes me feel like an adult. We are getting so grown-up." Have I *sighed* yet today?

The Dad's Life

Todd seldom opens a chain email, much less reads/watches the contents. But, when his mom sent this one our way, he couldn't help catching it over my shoulder. Then, he laughed out loud: "That's me!"

Monday, July 5, 2010

Recovering

We are in recovery mode around here, after a long and wonderful Fourth of July weekend. I will post photos and add details, once I get all the sand out of my crack.

Friday, July 2, 2010

I Want My MTV

It's been a rocky, on-again-off-again relationship for the past decade, but, we've finally called it quits and decided to divorce the cable company.

We've talked about it... grumbled about it... called about it... kicked and screamed about it... But we are FINALLY done fighting with the cable company, with its two-year contracts, short promotional periods followed by ballooning astronomical rates, regular outages, and crabby "customer service representatives." I don't know if the alternative is any better, but we're ditching cable for one of those little dishes.

This is a big deal. I'm lazy, I like television, and I'm a creature of habit. Now, I'll have to learn all new channels and reprogram the DVR. Plus, isn't it true that this satellite stuff doesn't really work when it rains? This could be a d-i-s-a-s-t-e-r.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

One Shameless Plug

Tickets go on sale today for our community show, "The Wizard of Oz." I don't know if people waited outside the bookstore overnight, and I'm not sure what kind of a line was assembled when the store opened this morning, but, it is time to buy your tickets, people. No pushing. No shoving. There's plenty of me to go around.

The show is at the Buffalo High School Performing Arts Center, July 23-25 and July 29-31, all evenings, except for the matinee on Sunday the 25th. Tickets are available at Buffalo Books in downtown Buffalo, through the BCT website, or by calling 800-838-3006 and selecting option #1.