Tuesday, February 28, 2006

The Age of Modesty

This morning I was about to go downstairs and make oatmeal for my kid, who would eat this every day, all day if I let him. I had my green, almost-knee-length nightgown on, and as I approached the stairs, my son asked, "Are you wearing underwear, Mommy?" I assured him that I was, and asked him why he'd asked. "Well," he said, "I can't really tell. Actually, why don't you go put some pajama pants on?" I asked if he would feel better if I put on pajama pants. "Yes," he said, "because I'm wearing pajama pants, too." I smiled and, thinking that my kiddo was old enough to have developed some sense of modesty (for both of us), asked him if maybe I should start closing the door when I get dressed. "Well," he said with a shrug, "I like to watch ya."

Um, yeah...hmm. ;^)

Monday, February 27, 2006

To Dream the Schnozzological Dream

"Mommy, last night I had a silly dream about how you picked a kid. You were picking me on the computer! Yeah, you were picking me on the computer, and there was a picture of a nose on the computer and when you were finished...[he hides behind the door and tells me the rest from there]...the computer said, 'You have choosed a boy who likes to pick his nose!' [peeking at me from between the door hinges] I think it was because there was a booger on the nose picture on the computer or something."

My boy has a cold again. But I love this dream. And the computer got it right. ;^)

Thursday, February 23, 2006

The Flies Are a Dead Giveaway

This morning my son wanted me to watch him play video games, so I did that for a while before getting antsy about starting my day.

"I'm going to take a shower," I told him.

"Why?" he asked.

"Because I feel dirty and I want to get clean."

"Well," he said, not looking up from his game, "you smell dirty, but you look clean!"

"Oh, little boys don't know what 'dirty' smells like," I teased.

"Yes, I do!" he told me. "Trashcans."

Hmph. Should I feel insulted? ;^)

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Eavesdropping on the Kiddo

My folks sent the kiddo some McDonald's gift certificates for Valentine's Day, and today seemed like a good time to use them. The sky was gray and cloudy, and we had a bit of rain, and the kiddo had some energy, so away we went so the kiddo could climb around in the human Habitrail. Yes, McDonald's lies about their french fries, but ya can't beat that Habitrail on a drizzly day.

Anyway, I was sitting off to the side when I heard my son talking to a young grandmother. (I know she was because I met her later.) He was happily chatting away and she seemed to be enjoying the conversation as well. After he gave her a long explanation of one of his favorite video games, she asked if he had any brothers or sisters.

"Not yet," he said, "but I sure like my mom and dad."

That kid kills me.

Monday, February 20, 2006

Thankful It Wasn't Too Difficult a Lesson

Guess what -- the client I was worried about sent me a big check on Saturday. In fact, I'd just sent him a very formal email requesting immediate payment, and he responded by saying he'd sent the check last week. Well, lo and behold, I went down to the mailbox for the day and found it. He still owes me $20 on a separate invoice, but that's a pittance compared to what he owed/paid me.

Naturally the money was already spoken for. I took the kiddo out to buy much-needed new shoes today, and will pay my car insurance and maybe another bill. I may not be getting rich, but my faith in this client is somewhat restored.

I'm still going to request money up front on any future jobs, though. I've learned my lesson.

Thursday, February 16, 2006

One for the Kiddo

I'm sitting here working, and my son just came up to ask if I'd play Cootie with him. Of course, I told him. He grabbed my arm and hugged me and jumped up and down...right into my tooth. Ow. Naturally this didn't feel too great on his head, either, and he told me it was actually my fault.

"Honey," I told him, "you did jump up and down and bump me in the mouth with your hard head."

"But Mommy," he responded, "you know that's what I do when I give you a love hug."

Dang. He's got me there.

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

A Pretty Darned Nice Valentine's Day

Yesterday the weather was colder than usual, and very windy. We had a lot of errands to do, beginning with ordering circles cut out of card stock from a local scrapbooking shop. (I'm assisting a motivational speaker with that bit of workshop preparation.) I'd called the store the night before and been assured that they could cut 500 circles, but when I appeared in person the next day, the morning staff balked at my request and I felt like I was talking with a small-thinking person. ("Cutting those circles will take a long time and probably will take more than two days to complete and I'm leaving soon and I have no idea what you should do about this...")

As I stood there, trying to keep an eye on my Game Boy addict of a son, I tried to think of a different place to get the circles in time for my client's Friday workshop. I'd almost resigned myself to cutting the things myself when, luckily, one of the shop owners overheard our conversation and goodnaturedly intervened. "Sure, I can cut 'em!" she said with a smile. "I've got oodles of time!" She reminded me of someone's grandmother; I told her I thought I was in love with her and she laughed. My son wandered off, with my permission, to play in the store's playroom (I swear that place was Estrogen Central) while I worked out the details with Diane.

Finally I left Diane with six colors of card stock and three contact numbers, and headed over to the mall for lunch with my son's dad. I was feeling simultaneously content at having sorted out the circle order, and bummed out at having remembered our first Valentine's Day after the kiddo was born. Back then, I was two weeks postpartum and had gingerly packed the kiddo and my four-hours-of-pushing bum into the car to shop for something for my son's dad for Valentine's Day. I'd just bought him a beautifully illustrated book (which he later gave to the kiddo to tear apart) when my cell phone rang. It was my son's dad. "Where the hell are YOU?" he'd angrily asked, shattering my happy mood. Things were so hard back then. I normally don't dwell on that Valentine's Day, but the holiday and my son's recently turning five have bumped some things to the surface and I'm trying to let them come up as they will.

Anwyay, my son's dad and I don't socialize under normal circumstances, but this was the week that our son was with me for six days straight without seeing his dad, and since the two of them had almost seen each other last week when my son's dad dropped off his games, I wanted to complete the loop and get them together. Complicated. Anyway, we arrived early at Rubio's, ordered, and waited for my son's dad to show up. Despite our vigilance, he managed to sneak up behind us. I swear, that guy is "The Sidler" (from "Seinfeld" -- remember?). We grownups didn't talk much to each other, which was fine because the kiddo did enough talking for everyone. The little guy has learned to tell jokes, although he tends to make them up and often goofs up the punchlines...which makes them funnier to me. I'd bought valentines for the kiddo's class and had the kiddo write out a couple to his dad, so he delivered these at lunch.

After lunch, we all walked across the mall for a few minutes. The kiddo wanted us to hold his hands and play the one-two-three-JUMP game, so we did. He really enjoys having the two of us together and although I always feel sort of sad when we pose as an intact family, I love that we're able to at least give the kiddo that for a little while. I still feel puzzled sometimes about my son's dad's inability to pull it together and settle into being a family with us, but I've started to accept his limitations and have turned my energy toward making a different kind of life for myself, and possibly finding someone else who will make a family with me in the future. I still want that so much.

After my son's dad departed, we ducked into Target for some cold meds, then went home so the kiddo could rest. He seemed to be coming down with the same cold I've had, and was fading fast. We'd just played a few (hundred) games of Crazy Eights when the scrapbooking store called to say the circles were ready. Well, golly. That was fast. I let the kiddo play video games for a while, then we got dressed for wind and went out to pick them up. On the way to the store, somehow the topic of ice cream came up, so we agreed to pick up some ice cream on the way home. The circles looked great and had already been paid for (client's credit card), so I thanked the cashier and we walked to the nearby grocery store. By this time it was grocery rush time (after office hours, when everyone is stopping at the store before dinner), so we had to wait a while, but the kiddo was in a fabulous mood and it was no problem.

Once home again, I gave the kiddo some dinner, then scooped ice cream into a cone for him and watched him like a hawk. Although our carpet is certainly nothing to brag about, I didn't want to deal with ice cream on it, too. By the time he was finished with it, he looked like he was wearing a brown goatee. "Hey, Mom," he said, "why don't we have ice cream cones more often?" I showed him his face in the mirror and we both laughed, but we do have a whole box of cones and plenty of ice cream, so I guess we'll be doing this a few more times in the near future.

We played video games on my bed, and since the kiddo was still in an amazingly happy, if snot-filled, mood, I told him about the Charlie Brown Valentine's Day special that was coming on at 8:00 (normally his bedtime). We agreed that he'd get himself ready for bed before the show came on, and we'd watch it on my bed. He was as good as his word, and by 8:00 we were parked on our bellies at the foot of the bed, chins in our hands, watching the show. At one point, my son reached over and messed up my hair (his latest trick), and I kissed his big toe.

It was a pretty darned nice Valentine's Day.

Monday, February 13, 2006


My son is playing "Destruction Derby" and I'm trying to make a plan for my day...at 1:14 p.m.

You know how you can tell when it's time to empty the trash? When the upstairs wastebaskets resemble little pyramids of crumpled tissues, that's how.

My dad called this morning. "Did you change your answering machine message?" he asked. Uh, yeah...the outgoing message got messed up and I couldn't fix it, so I let the automated voice take over. "Well, it sounds weird." Okay.

I did a big rush project for a client recently and I have a bad feeling that he's not going to pay the $360 invoice. In fact, I'm starting to doubt that he's doing business under his real name. I'm trying to think sunny, positive thoughts, but why didn't I ask for at least half the fee up front?? And should I try to pursue this in small claims court, or chalk it up to experience and move on? What to do, what to do...

How much caffeine can I ingest while on cold medication before I start feeling dizzy?

Saturday, February 11, 2006

Now If I Could Get the Germs to Cooperate...

After recently telling a friend it seemed like I'd missed my annual cold, I caught it, most likely courtesy of my son, who had a cold a week or two ago. I can't say I'm surprised, though. I'd routinely been getting up around 4:00 a.m. to work on reports and dissertations (editing them for other people -- I hope I never have to write a dissertation). My body must have known I was all caught up, because for the past few days, I've been sniffling and coughing and trying various medications and home remedies to get rid of the gunk in my head. Today, as I was coughing, the kiddo said to me, "Mommy, I think you caught my cold." Yep. "I think maybe you caught two colds: my sniffling cold and my coughing cold." Maybe. *cough-cough* "Well, Mommy, I'm sick of you being sick, and next time, I just want you to catch one cold at a time!"

Now if I could get the germs to cooperate...

Monday, February 06, 2006

The Marrying Kind

Tonight my son told me, "Someday when I'm maybe thirteen or nineteen, I might have a wife, and maybe you could be my wife. I would love that!"

Oh, believe me, I'm soaking this up while it lasts. I ain't stupid. ;^)

Friday, February 03, 2006

Begin Hating Me...Now!

Today the temperature is supposed to get to 72 degrees F, and by Sunday it'll be 79 degrees F. Currently I have every single window open. And yes, I know I'm tempting fate by gloating over it, and we will probably have an earthquake because of me. ;^)

Thursday, February 02, 2006

Pint-Size Peccadillo

So today my son told me he had a secret he needed to tell me. "Just promise you won't get all confused and mad about this one, Mommy, okay?" he said. More amused than anything else (although admittedly a tad concerned), I asked him what the secret was. "Well," he said, "remember when we had the dog and he had a blanket he slept on? Oh, promise me you won't get mad!" By this time he was curled up in a ball on the couch, covering his face. He's so dramatic sometimes.

I have to mention that more often than not I don't get truly "mad" about the stuff he does. I may speak in a stern voice or remind him about his marble jar, which, when filled to a particular level, allows him to choose a prize from the prize bucket in the cupboard. I have yelled on occasion. But mad? I'm not saying it never happens, but most of the time I'm somewhere between amused and generally annoyed by the strange little things he does. But I digress.

Anyway, I told him it was okay to tell me the secret. "Well," he said, "one time when I really had to pee...I PEED UNDER THE DOG'S BLANKET! Just don't be mad about it!"

I laughed. That blanket was washed long ago and I don't recall seeing any evidence of my son's, um, lack of control on the carpet (although I will be checking, I guarantee you). "You were only three years old then, you know," I told the kiddo. "Now you're five and you know the only place you pee is in the toilet, right?"

"Right," he said, brightening, "but one time when I was in the pool at Daddy's house, I had to pee and he let me pee in the bushes." We agreed that peeing in the bushes is okay in certain circumstances and must be approved by Mommy or Daddy.

Getting back to the subject at hand, I told my son that 2+ years is a long time to keep a secret like that, and it's better to tell Mommy about these things right away (or not do them). "It sure is, Mommy," he said. "I've been keeping that secret for a long time. That's why I've been telling you other things instead."

Well, golly. Now I'd better check the carpet...

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

How Much Is a "Fousand"?

I'm sitting here, trying to work through a client's project, and my son came up to give me "an affectionate squeeze." He learned the words in his "Corduroy" book. After squeezing the life out of me, he asks, "What's an affectionate squeeze, anyway?" I tell him it's a hug that's full of love. "Right!" he says. "An' I gave you a hug that was full of a hundred-fousand percent LOVE!"

Somehow the sink full of dishes and the trash waiting to be taken out and the stack of bills don't matter for the moment.