The Wink is a labor of love, occasional source of ire and constantly influenced by the toddlywinks in my life- my daughters. There's also the HunkyWink. You'll read all about them as The Wink unfolds. Please feel free to wink back!

Wednesday, February 28, 2007

"Flowers in The Windows"

It's Blog Exchange time again.
Please welcome Janet from Dancing Through.
I think you'll enjoy her Flowers in the Windows post.

Before they met, she was closed up. Detached. Sad.
There were many before him who took her innocence, her naiveté, her spirit.
But she never gave them her heart. She never let them in.
She never opened up like she did with him.
She thought she was destined to live a solitary life.
He changed things.

He helped her see the good in people.

He taught her the joys of a healthy relationship.

He enabled her to share her feelings. Something she has never done before.

The others never asked her.



Her feelings were deep and pure. And hers alone.
They were strong and willful. But not a soul cared.
Until him.



He stood out in the crowd and held her close. In his heart, in his mind, in his powerful arms, he held her close and showed her that the sun is a healer and will rise again. 
He showed her that the future holds infinite possibilities for her and for him and for the two of them together.



They planted flowers in the window boxes of their love and cared for each and every one. As you would a heart. As you would someone's feelings.
They enriched them and nourished them, enjoyed their colorful bloom. Enjoyed the healing sun shining down on them.



At the same time, they nourished their relationship and became closer, more honest and true.



Look at them now.



Throughout the seasons of their love, they have shared joy, sorrow and anger. 
Through each and every year, the burdens were heavy, the love was deep. The commitment and promise was always there. "I'll help you. Whatever load you may bear, I'll be there."



He is her heart and her one true love. He will always be there for her. He has taught her that her feelings are worth something and he will cherish them forever. She can only repay him in love and to be there for him in return.



The flowers may have come and gone with the seasons, but they are stronger for the beauty and the character they once possessed.


They have planted 'flowers in the window' in the form of children and watched them grow into beautiful, independent souls. Something she never thought she'd do. Give life and nurture another's heart and soul.



Look at them now.



Their flowers have all grown and left the 'window box'. But they are still together and they continue to watch their flowers grow. They have created a lineage that will forever lead back to her and her heart. The same heart that was too cold to touch. The same heart the he opened up and stepped inside and held with all his might so that she could see the beauty that life has to offer.


Inspired by 'Flowers in the Windows' by Travis
When I first held you I was cold
A melting snowman I was told
But there was no-one there to hold
Before I swore that I would be alone forever more
Wow, look at you now
Flowers in the window
It's such a lovely day
And I'm glad that you feel the same
'cos to stand up I'm in the crowd
You are one in a million
And I love you so lets watch the flowers grow
There is no reason to feel bad
But there are many seasons to feel glad, sad, mad
It's just a bunch of feelings that we have to hold
But I am here to help you with the load
Wow, look at you now
Flowers in the window
It's such a lovely day
And I'm glad that you feel the same
'cos to stand up Im in the crowd
You are one in a million
And I love you so lets watch the flowers grow
So now were here and now is fine
So far away from there
And there is time, time, time
To plant new seeds and watch them grow
So there'll be flowers in the window when we go
Wow, look at you now
Flowers in the window
Its such a lovely day
And I'm glad that you feel the same
'cos to stand up I'm in the crowd
You are one in a million
And I love you so lets watch the flowers grow



This Post was brought to you by Janet from Dancing Through.  Janet is a self-proclaimed "WonderMom" and wife to a man with the patience of a saint. She has a terrible green thumb. She can't keep a cactus alive.  She has one flower in her garden. Keeping her watered, clean and fed is the easy part. It's nurturing her spirit and feeding her independence that gives Janet the greyest of hairs. She writes about it all at her place.



Thank you very much to Amanda for letting me share my garden here at The Wink. Go read her post today atDancing Through It has been a special time for me since this is my first attempt at The Blog Exchange. Also, a special thank you to Kristen at Motherhood Uncensored for creating such a wonderful place to share our thoughts. Janet hopes she'll be invited back next month! 

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Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Just 'cause

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Pull

Bedtime is not always the happiest time at Chez Wink. I was never good at math and the introduction of a second child, and the opposing nap and bedtime schedules therein, switched our life from arithmetic to some sort of cold fusion calcu-nometry that I am flunking. Hard core.

I can't get behind crying it out.
We maxed out our co-sleeping threshold at 14 months.
The relentless "one more story" and "I need to frow a big one on the potty" burn my fuse pretty fast sometimes.
I try though, I really try.

Tonight I was on my own since Sean went back into work. I went into it thinking I'd let it take the time it took. The tantrum before we headed up seemed to forecast a not so fun time. We went up to the bathroom and performed the tooth brushing, face washing, good night to everyone in the bathroom ritual. Ok, she did not say good night to Ryan Reynolds who is on the cover of this month's Men's Health or something like that. She did however say good night to the three princesses on the tooth paste, the Dora and Diego on her toothbrush, the Dora, Boots, Backpack and Map on her toilet seat, the My Little Pony on Avery's tooth brush, the dancing girl on the towel (it's a ballerina, but I made the mistake of calling it a dancing girl, which now looks like some sort of brothel linen as I see it written on the screen), the duck on the faucet and to the three princesses on the tooth paste again.

Then we went to her room, tip-toeing past Avery's room so as not to wake her.

SHHH, MAMA, AVERY'S SLEEPIN'. SHHHHHH! NIGHT NIGHT AVERY. SHHH, SEE YOU LATER IN THE MORNING!


Ok, Briar let's change your diaper.

Change my diaper. Changin' my dyyyy-puuuurrrrr.

Shhh, honey, Avery is sleeping.

Shh, Avery is sleeping. Mama read the bears. MAMA READ THE BEARS. MAMA. READ. THE. BEARS.

Ok, babe, let's just get these pants on.

Minnie. Oooh, Minnie. OOH, Mii-iii-iii-nniiii-eeee pants.

Yep, shh, here you go. Let's take your shirt off. Arms up.


She lifted her arms and I pulled her shirt up. Her little torso wiggled as she stuck her arms stright up and I pulled the shirt over her shoulders.

Ok, up.

She lifted her little body as I pulled the shirt over her chin and up past her head. A stubborn little chin poked out of the neck, then a happy lower lip. I pulled the shirt toward me and it moved ever so slightly, revealing her upper lip.

And pull.

I pulled the shirt skyward and watched her upper lip move up as the neck caught on her nose.

Ooh, up.

Up, Mama.


I gave the shirt a tug and it passed over her nose. Her little mouth continued to be stretched toward her forehead, but rather than panicking she was laughing, albeit in a very elongated way.

Puuuulll, Mama

I leaned back in an exaggerated pull.

I'm pulling, Briar. Pull.

The shirt was now around her forhead, just below her eyebrows. Her face was alive with joy as her eyes watched me leaning back. As I went further, she pulled the other way, creating a very surprised and happy look on her face.

Are you pulling, Briar?

She just laughed. I gave her a nod to let her know I was going to really pull. I gave the shirt a tug and it happened. Briar fell back into the cushions of the chair and I went ass over tea cups, falling off the ottoman and onto the floor, the shirt in hand. When I popped my head up Briar was still blinking her eyes back into place. We looked at each other and absolutely fell apart laughing. And, to her credit, she laughed relatively quietly. After that it was pretty easy to get her to go to sleep. Walking downstairs I felt good about myself, and was extra thankful that for a change I had her in the chair instead of the ottoman for the diaper change, otherwise it might have been a trip to the ER.

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Saturday, February 24, 2007

For BDN




A Good Boy

I woke before the morning, I was happy all the day,
I never said an ugly word, but smiled and stuck to play.

And now at last the sun is going down behind the wood,
And I am very happy, for I know that I’ve been good.

My bed is waiting cool and fresh, with linen smooth and fair,
And I must off to sleepsin-by, and not forget my prayer.

I know that, till to-morrow I shall see the sun arise,
No ugly dream shall fright my mind, no ugly sight my eyes.

But slumber hold me tightly till I waken in the dawn,
And hear the thrushes singing in the lilacs round the lawn.

Robert Louis Stevenson



I shall remember you holding a new BD in your arms.



May a sweet slumber hold you tightly till we meet again - ADM

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Friday, February 23, 2007

It takes so little.

You could sew my mouth shut and give me a script and I'd still find a way to stick my foot in it.

After a rather controlled and planned outburst the other day, giving voice to a rant I'd heard many times at home, but that my husband was avoiding in public, we happened to run into the recipient of said rant. He put his arm on mine right there in the beer and nuts aisle and thanked me for being direct.

Me: No problem.

Him: really appreciate it.

Me: Well, I felt like it needed to be said.

Him: Absolutely it did. You don't disappoint.

Me: Yeah, when it comes to using my mouth I never disappoint.


I took Briar's hand and excused us to grab some OJ.

Oh my god. DId I just tell him that I don't disappoint with my mouth? Oh nooo. Did he go there? I cannot believe I just did that. Did Sean pick up on it? Oh my god...my mouth...never disappoints. Jesus.
Doing it in the nut aisle was a nice touch. Ha ha. Nuts.



24 hours later in our dining room.
Feeding Avery with her aunt Kelsey and my father-in-law.
I set the spoon down since she seemed to be growing tired of the food.

Me: You want some milk, honey?

FIL: Yeah, you want to have your mom give you some milk?

Me: C'mon honey, want some milk? You want it straight from the jug? Umm, the milk, you want it from the container?


I shifted in my chair and thought:

Jug? Like jugs? Did I really just say jug? Was I calling my breast a jug? Is my father-in-law...oh, god, how do I do this? Jug? WTF Amanda?

And then tonight, we're out to dinner. We're having a nice back and forth affectionate slam session with a brewery owner friend of ours.

Me: Seriously, you were mean to me.

Brew Friend: When?

Me: The other morning, after the storm.

Brew Friend: That was the morning after. I'm always mean the morning after.

Me: Careful what you say, that sounds odd...morning after...


Silence.

I began studiously playing with the sweet potato fries on my plate.

Oh. My. God. Am I the only one who found the Three's Company-esque nature of that morning after comment? "Mean the morning after." Am I twisted for that? Should I qualify that statement? Am I sitting here looking like I just made an overture at this guy?

And we'll just leave it at that for now. Stay tuned for future editions of my conversation halting blunders.

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Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Was that goodbye?

Today she waved to me. I had one hand on the door and was ready to turn to leave. Briar was ensconced in the morning ritual of riling everyone up by running around her sitter's coffee table. "Briar, please don't run around Jen's coffee table. Mason, please quit chasing Briar. Sophie, no running." Jen said in her ever calm voice. Each day the three of them seem to take more delight in this odd little dance. I smile because I like the idea of running in circles and being happy with that. Seems like dogs should wag tails, cats should purr and kids should run in circles squealing.

Avery was in Jen's arms. She looked happy, I smiled at Briar and said completely for show, "Briar, try not to get everyone riled up running around the table." "Ok, Mama," and then she saw the kids and her circling motor kicked into high gear. Turning to go out the door I looked over my shoulder at Avery. She was craning her neck to watch me. I smiled, she smiled back, I raised my hand in a faint wave and mouthed, "I love you." She opened her mouth and waved back. She waved back. Oh, but I'd forgotten how much it hurts. How deep each milestone seems to pierce. A smile. A coo. A touch. A wave. My god, a wave. She can say goodbye.

My mom once told me that being a parent is one long goodbye. She is in California right now, a daughter trying to say goodbye to her dad. And today, my daughter waved goodbye to me. I cannot bear it.

I waved back to her. I grinned so wide I popped the tears that had been flirting with the corner of my eyes right out. They skittered, burning down my cheeks as I waved and tried to fill the room with a thousand I love you's that would cushion and envelope her until I came back.

I muddled through my morning trying to focus on anything beyond the fact that my baby waved goodbye. The look in her eyes as she saw me register what she had done was so clear, 1 part I did it and 1 part you got it. She had thrown a pass and I caught it. I fought a lump in my throat as I reminded myself of my responsibility. She is devouring everything, watching us, listening to us and the watching some more. She is going to begin to repeat, to mimic and to do. My job is to celebrate and guide, support and encourage. I am to stand beside her and behind her while she finds her way, trying not to push and more importantly not to hold her back.

I realize that the wave is just a small step, but you need to understand, she took a step. No, seriously, she took a step. I picked her up at the sitter's and we drove home. It was all sort of rushed as I tried to shepherd the girls into the house. Briar had taken off her boots, so I had to traverse the ice carrying both girls, my bag, my breast pump and the drawing Briar had done. Then I had to open the storm door, unlock the inside door and get us up the stairs. Another thing, I always have to pee when I pick them up, why I don't handle this before hand I'll never know. It's a mad dash in the the house to decide whether to nurse first or pee first, both present huge leak risks. This is not even factoring in the life or death, must have it now demands for orange juice from Briar and the oppressive need from the animals for attention.

It's no wonder I'd sort of stopped thinking about the wave. Briar was down for a nap and Avery was at my feet in the living room enjoying the heat of the fireplace while I worked on the computer. She was bouncing and babbling and occasionally attacking my leg in a full body and baby teeth bite-embrace. It was about as idyllic an afternoon as a telecommuting mom can have. I was typing away when something caught my eye, it was that fast reflex mom instinct that made me turn. I knew she wasn't in danger, but something made me turn and scan. I was on full alert as I turned and watched her. What was it? Was she choking? No. Was she having a seizure? No, that's ridiculous. So what the hell?

What the hell? She, oh my god is she walking? She. Oh no. Can she really be taking a step? Her dark head turned, her little chin rising up and jutting forward, her tongue peeking from the corner of her mouth and her eyes, how they danced. Her whole body shook and her legs teetered to and fro and then, she looked quickly down and back at me. One bare little pink paddle foot raised up and moved in what can only be described as a step. I fear what this signals, this day of a wave and a step. I'm not ready. I don't want it be time yet. I want more clinging to my calf as she tries to stand, more burying her face in my neck because she hasn't the words to tell me she loves me. I want it to be ok that I am ever so slightly sad that she is ready so soon.

Tonight I'll go to sleep remembering how I got through the exqusite pain of Briar shedding the magical cloak of her baby self and exploding into the force she is now. Tomorrow I hope I'll wake up ready to help Avery with her cloak, tonight I think I might just wrap myself in that cloak and drink in every last bit of its magic, committing to memory that when she took her first step it was toward me.

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No Shit?!

Well color me shocked... Sexualized images in media may harm girls, young women.

The article, if you choose not go read it, mentions Bratz Dolls:
The popular Bratz dolls, the study noted, depict "girls marketed in bikinis, sitting in a hot tub, mixing drinks, and standing around, while the 'Boyz' play guitar and stand with their surf boards," it said. The dolls come dressed in miniskirts, fishnet stockings, and feather boas.


Since first seeing the dolls I have been mystified, but then, they are sold in the same stores that sell little peek a boo bikinis for 3-6 month olds. What the hell? I used to be critical of 7 year olds in high heels, but now I see that you have to work to not dress your girls in clothing with writing on the ass or suggestive writing on the bust line, the non exisistent toddler bust line that is.

I don't mean to be another person griping about the T&A all over tv, though I find it offensive, and frankly played out, but I have to wonder with the Britney melt down and the increasingly skimpy clothing out there marketed to young women and little girls, but when the hell is enough going to be enough?

I suppose each generation has something to complain, some way of life they experienced in their youth to mourn, but I am really worried. When I was a girl I pretended there were fairies and hobbits in the woods. I raced superballs in the gutter with storm run off. Now my daughters are growing up with a whole different take on fairies and gutters.

All I really know is that I will fight to the death to give them as many moments of childhood as I can.

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Monday, February 19, 2007

The Briet

I have been reading a lot about the challenges of feeding toddlers, and I don't mean in the glossy magazines with the pictures of kids in the $40 bibs. I am talking about those of us in the trenches. The real moms wearing cute jeans with stained shirts and our husband's socks. The women struggling to figure out how to balance work, home, life and marriage. Bloggers trying not to hate themselves for so thoroughly acquainting their kids with the backs of their heads.

I thought I would take a moment to post the very real Briet - that being a not so crafty combination of Briar and Diet, with a little twist of brat thrown in if you sort opf squint your eyes as you look at the word. No, my daughter is not a brat, nor am I a bitch, ok, sometimes I am and she is too (brat not nitch), but really, and I'm no clinical psychologist, but I'll go out on a run on sentence limb here and say that toddlers, when sitting behind a plate, can be colossal brats.

Once upon a time Briar ate cucumbers and apples. She devoured bananas and begged for more chicken, ok maybe she didn't beg, but she ate it. She used to share mugs of oatmeal with us in the morning and ate pasta with veggies at night. She would sip milk from her menagerie of princess cups. Pretzels with a bit of peanut butter were a treat worthy of squeals.

Alas, those days have passed.

In an attempt to recreate the days of yore I bought corn on the cob. It was of course frozen because this is February in the Adirondacks.



Yeah, what the hell? I wouldn't touch that either.

Now the only color variation with pasta is the box it comes in. Case in point, I put peas in the "nacro" the other day and got this:

"What's that mama? What's that that's green? Out mama. Briar no eat green in nacro."


Sean introduced a form of toddler crack into the house. It started with "Princess Food," Disney princess fruit chews, which I believe are simply high fructose corn syrup pellets with a squirt of food coloring and partially hydrogenated soy bean oil- the food pyramid of champions. Becuase I can be desperate and weak as I try to force calories into her lithe frame I deluded myself into believing that introducing Backyardigans, Dora and Diego versions of the Princess food, I would, in essence, be diversifying her diet.



The whole character thing got me thinking, maybe I could sneak other foods in via a parade of character marketed foods. Behold the organic Elmo Apple Cinnamon Oh's or as Sean calls them "Anus Oh's" and the Dora cookies which are not at all organic and make me cringe every time I grab one and say in a crazed voice, "Ooh look honey, it's Swiper. Please eat a Swiper. Look I put cream cheese on him!"



Walking through the organic section of the grocery store Briar called out "Bear Kix" and I jumped all over it like a pig in shit. Are you kidding me? I was ready to buy stock in the company. Imagine my suprise when I first served these and realized that they tasted like deep fried sugar peanut butter turds. They turn milk to syrup and the panda poop pellets to mush before you can even get a spoon in the cup. Ugh, blech, yech.



I am really trying to accept that the Briet is:

Cream Cheese
Orange Juice
Ribbon (slices of lemon)
Chip seasoning (she licks the coating off my Garden of Eatin chips)
Dora, Princess, Backyadigans & Diego Food
Minimal amounts of whatever carb vehicle we use to deliver the cream cheese- chip, cracker, bread, pretzel etc.

And if I hold my breath, act totally nonchalant and pretend to be really enjoying myself she will steal bites of what I am eating. I fear scurvy and the other conditions that accompany poor nutrition. But I am not going to kill myself fighting this. The best I can do is try to demonstrate that I choose a balanced diet and hope that she does the same one day. That and force feeding the occasional bite of grass fed beef into her mouth along with a piece of organic green pepper damnit.

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Sunday, February 18, 2007

Drip much?

Can I ask you a question, and please pardon the colorful nature of my language...

What the ever loving fuck are people doing in the bathrooms at the mall?



A much ballyhooed dalliance with Jessica Simpson notwithstanding, this man is fucking genius.

The other night Sean and I packed the girls in the car, Grandma tucked snugly betwixt the car seats, and headed for points south (just Albany, but that sounded slightly more jet set). After dropping Grandma at the airport, we headed to Crossgates Mall. I had two bags in the car, one was the "in case of breakdown and sub zero temperatures" bag- gloves, hats, snowsuits, pjs, food, and blankets. The other was the "diaper bag light", meaning just diapers, wipes and middle of dinner in a restaurant tantrum stalling tactics like crayons and dead cell phones. No extra onesies, no extra nothing. Writing this after the fact I realize how egregious my error of not packing a "cover any eventuality" diaper bag was. We were going to the mall, what was I thinking? To hell with traveling light, I should have been packing 16 changes of clothes, 8 bags of princess food, coloring books, special cut a wavy pattern scissors and a kitten, because, you know, kittens can fix anything. Nothing to do now but share the miserable story with you. Or make that the "You are going to feel like a better mom and smarter human being" once you read this story. You're welcome.

We stooped over clutching our sweet girls to our chests as we made our way through the cold, wet night, the wind whipping ferociously at our bare hands and faces. Once in the mall we began the requisite unbundling and relentlesss, "Do you want to walk or do you want Mom to carry you?" game.

"Briar walk. Mama carry Briar's doll."

"Ok, sweetie."

We slowly searched for a mall map to find out how to get to the Apple Store.

"Mama up. Mama pick Briar up."

"Ok, babe."

Looking at the map we realized that we just may have parked as far as physically possible from both a bathroom (Damn mom of two, peanut bladder) and the Apple Store.

"Briar walk. Briar walk now!"

"Here you go, Briar."

After a race walk to and through the Apple Store we decided to eat, mull and return. I won't go into the sordid details of our Outback experience other than to say that my stance on spanking (Don't and Won't) was soundly reinforced by the ragamuffin, mop top who after making what I think would fall into the "peep" category, was wrenched from the booth by his up until that moment sweet and serene mom, his little body swooshed up in the air, Dad and the other kid studiously looked away and seemed to be praying that mom wouldn't turn her wrath on them.

"Oh mommy, no. Please don't spank me."

Mom then swore something hateful, frightening and evil through clenched teeth as the child swung limply from her tiny clenched hands. They disappeared for about 5 minutes and I found myself seriously worried that she would decide to spank her other child and then mine. We weren't too torn up about leaving our barely touched Outbad food and making a swift exit.

Heading back to the Apple Store I carried Briar and said:

"This is almost impossoble."

"What is?"

"Passing H&M when I am so desperately in need of pants that don't make me look like I'm headed for a clam bake."

"Go in."

We swapped kids and bags, Sean taking Briar and the coats, and me heading in with Avery and the diaper bag that wasn't. Ok, actualy it started the other way around, but Briar's threshold for shopping is up there with mine for Rachel Ray. So 5 minutes into my speed shop Briar ignited into a raging meltdown, drawing stares from everyone and Sean came to my rescue. Avery was a happy, compliant cuddle lump, flirting with man, woman and mannequin alike. We made record time until we hit the check out.

By the time the second woman cut in front of me I realized that I was cupping a hot denim cheek, soaked through to my palm with poop. Oh yes, this was no pee leak, this was a shit explosion and the smell was making my upper lip sweat. The woman in front of me was returning a pile of clothes (Good call on the white suit return) and each item bore some sort of explanantion in her mind-

"My daughter like bedazzling, but these jeans weren't her es-tyle." Honestly, she said "es- tyle" like "t-shirt." And I realize there is no "s" on like, it's what she said. I tried to prevent my mouth from falling open as I listened.

"I was diggin' on this here sweater, but I tell you the girls weren't havin' it." The "girls" meaning breasts and at the size of hers it goes without saying that you can neither reach your arms around back or expect a twin set to survive the challenge.

After a merciless 15 minutes we made it out of the store. I was more than a little thrilled to find Sean happily chasing Briar, rather than lobbying that we institute a spanking clause. I let him know that I needed to change Avery. He started to ask why I didn't do so in the dressing room, but he's a smart man, and stopped. He pointed out a bathroom. I hurried over plotting how I would ditch her tights and onesie and clean the jeans as well as I could.

We entered the bathroom and I quickly scanned for a changing table. No dice, so I made a beeline for the handicap bathroom. Foiled again, some hateful mall rat had slithered underneath the door and locked it from the inside. I turned and faced the counter. 3 sinks with about 7 inches of space between each basin. The entire expanse of formica was soaked and in a failed bid for cleanliness there were nothing but touchless blowers, no paper towels, no toilet seat liners and the tp was .25 ply and would not have withstood the swiping of 2 hummingbird tears. I pulled my sleeve down, wiped a baby sized area of counter and laid her down.

I retrieved the wipes and a diaper and made a hopeful pass of the bag thinking perhaps there might be a rumpled onesie. Nope. I removed the jeans, the back pocket literally tinted brown from her explosion. Then came the tights, soiled from knee to hip, I chucked them in the trash and sort of missed, the tights hung precariously from the edge of the can. She was remarkably calm, and dare I say content, whilst I worked at keeping her from falling and protecting the counter from shit smears. I removed her sweater and onesie, setting aside the sweater to use as a shirt. Damnit, she was content because she had been using the touchless faucet to soak her sweater and her sister's coat from wrist to collar. Bag it, she'll wear a coat and the jeans. Then I looked at her feet, her bare pink feet. Super, fast tracking for mom of the year as I take her out into the mall in a too large coat that exposes tender collar bone, clad in ass soaked jeans tht smell faintly of diarhea, with bare feet. Whatever. I flipped the heavy diaper toward the garbage can just as, wait for it, an elderly woman walked in. The diaper swirled overhead making its way to the can, the puffy cloud, of pristine silver hair entered the frame. Time stood still as I waited for the soggy package to explode against a soft, grandmother cheek. Silver rimmed glasses turned toward me as a white blur whizzed past and hit the can sending a pair of crappy tights into the garbage.

"Hello." She said to me as the diaper made the can gently burp as it hit bottom.

Avery kicked her legs and cooed.

"What a sweet littel angel," she said.

"Thanks." I said as I felt Avery toot in her diaper. "Please don't poop again, please," I silently willed.

She walked into a stall and I saw a tan streaked wipe disappear into the stall from the corner of my eye. I admit it, I didn't say anything. I made a hasty exit, cradling a pair of not yet chilly toes in my hands. Luck took pity on me and I was at the register of a Baby Gap store in less than five minutes. Avery and I used the bathroom there, no wet counter tops thank you very much, as I changed her into a white, cable knit sweater one piece. I breathed a sigh of relief as I shook the shitty experience and prepared myself for the Apple Store. Avery looked up at me with a sweet smile. There was no judgement for the ill packed bag, no disappointment for having lost my internal cool. I was no longer sweating.

"I can totally do this." I thought.

Just then Avery made an odd sound and face. What's that? Shit, she's gagging. I clapped her back, reached in her mouth and removed a large piece of broccoli. What the hell? I flung it off my finger and into the can onto the mirror. A nasty, green glob. I stared at it. I pondered. I toyed. I did the right thing and cleaned it off. I will not be fodder for Dane Cook's next bathroom bit.

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Saturday, February 17, 2007

She's It.

The tickle that sparks a laugh.
The burn just before tears.
The way to forgiveness.
The force of my courage.
The piece that makes me whole.

Avery.




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Not Another One

Bear with me, I have found that I can be a bit of a chest thumping, soap box stomping, hanky waving loud mouth. I wasn't going to say anything, but this morning's news sent me over the edge. If you have passed the point of being able to even tolerate the Anna and Britney tragedies then come back another day. I know, I'm sorry. I am sick of it too....I mean my god Mark Steines, don't you have a wife and child or two? Today Show, isn't there a presidential race or peanut butter recall you could cover? I wish I could stay out of the fray, but a damn pair of hair clippers has made me snap!

Since becoming a mom, and more specifically, since becoming a mom to daughters I have done a major overhaul in the way of recreational reading. No more Allure, no more Glamour. I just don't have the time to spend studying up on how to apply lip gloss to the center of my lips to make them look pouty and how to dress ten pounds thinner. Beyond the time issue, I am hellbent on projecting a healthy approach to self care and self image to these girls. I do not want them to know "fat clothes" and "ugly days." I want them to embrace what I know will be tall and muscular frames. I want them to not be embarrassed that they have big feet or that they have throaty voices. I want them to have the irresistible trait of being perfectly at ease and content in and with their own skin.

Don't get me wrong, I plan on telling them that they are beautiful and I don't plan on letting my armpits get hairy while my mascara wand gathers dust. I am hoping there will be spa days and track meets, prom dresses and cleats. I just want to try and find a balance. Maybe if I go at these things head on, acknowledging the prevalence at such an early age of eating disorders and self loathing I can help lead them down a different path.

I'm rambling. Look, I just can't believe I woke up to another disaster. Another mother forgetting her babies. Another mother who so hates herself that she has been blinded by the false panacea of cheap highs and strobe lights... I certainly don't think I could have saved Anna Nicole or could have any impact on Britney, but what the hell? If I saw this in a movie I'd cluck and say, "It'd never happen." I literally can't erase the image of little baby boy toes poking out in a forward facing car seat. I cannot forget seeing video of her being carried out of a club. I ache for them all- the boys who will one day see the photos and read the stories, her mother, and hopefully the woman who will one day experience a reckoning with what she has done, the time she has lost.

I wish it didn't get under my skin, but it does. She has. I hope those boys are being loved by someone since their folks are otherwise engaged. I hope I don't wake up to more "died too young" coverage. And I really hope that the whole celebrity hysteria thing hits bottom and we get back to a more normal place. I'm tired of being embarrassed by tv, infuriated by magazines and exhausted by the sexualization of everything from truck advertising to little girls' toys.

I suppose I say this at the risk of sounding like a prude, which I am not, and a fringe zealot, which perhaps I am if Bratz Dolls are mainstream: Anyone want to go start a colony on an island where we can raise our kids without the relentlessness of society's downward spiral?

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Thursday, February 15, 2007

Feline Snow Hysteria


Must pee.
Must prowl.
Must carouse.
Which way to go, which way to go...


Not So Great Idea

Oooh, let's take the sled and pull the girls home from the sitter's. It's only 6 blocks, I thought.


I packed their snowsuits, a blanket, hats, boots, the camera and my energetic mom enthusiasm. It was a gorgeous day, beautiful blue sky, brilliant winter noon sun and sparkling fesh snow. It was going to be perfect, Rockwellian.

It also turned out to be 6 blocks of swirling, coming at you from every direction frigid Adirondack wind, coupled with blinding, assault you from every angle sun on snow glare, and of course the challenge of narrow roads, zero visibility at corners and obnoxious "I know how to drive in snow 'cause I have an SUV and live in the Adirondacks" drivers.

Yay, Mom. Way to go!

Run Mom, run!


I can't move my arms. There's so much snow on my face I look like a bagel from the back of the freezer.

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Wednesday, February 14, 2007

"Take the Potty Out"

You know those obnoxious forwards that you get from co-workers?

Subject: Redneck Women and why they do it better

Subject: You know your* a redneck if...
*typo intentional by this author

Subject: Angels are real

Subject: Re:Re:Re:Re: Too Funny

Subject: DON'T BREAK THE CHAIN

We had a moment here at Chez Wink that made it clear that those endless chains of photos of little kids doing naughty things are not in fact staged, or at least they don't have to be.

Take this little gem:

Setting: Our kitchen, dishwasher wide open with a clean load

Players: Briar and Ella (the former our daughter, the latter our dog)

The following was declared with toddler earnestness and purpose while a pudgy hand brandished a teaspoon and made a tally ho gesture.

"Take the potty out!"

I scrambled to grab the teaspoon before it made its journey to remove the potty from Ella's rapidly closing anus.

It ain't always pretty, but it's my reality.

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Tuesday, February 13, 2007

What we learn

Toddlers have so much to teach, not the least of which is the bounty of terms we use without knowing.

Listen closely to her admonition at the end. Listen for another moment and you'll almost hear me swear. Almost.

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Dressy Hair

After much drama and anticipation the night of my big event came and went. All things considered...

Things to consider being things like bat shit crazy sponsors trying to make me lose my cool -

3 points Amanda, 0 points bat shit crazy nit wits sponsors;

Loose canon lead singers of bands that look like the lead singer of Twisted Sister if the lead singer had been a woman-

Having to leave my babies to go to set up only to find that the "event coordinator" from the facility had lied and that I had 2 hours to warm my thumbs in the velvety embrace of my ass.



things went remarkably well. Sean and I enjoyed ourselves, even though I was working the event and did a fair to passing job at letting him know that I hadn't forgotten he was in attendance. We managed to get one dance in and a bit of hand holding, and I actually sat through dinner. The food was great, except for the bits of plastic in the potatoes, but then, from the perspective of the person responsible for the event, if there was going to be plastic in any serving, I'm glad it was in mine.

I have a picture* to illustrate the perfection of the dress and the proof that I had my hair done. Obviously I am biased, but I think that the shot makes me look like one of those women who have a massive chest, that, when seated, looks like an enormous barrel chest/gut. And my hair? Well, the color is great in person and the cut is fresh and kind of choppy. In this photo I think helmet-y is kind and I look like I am pushing 45 not 34. However, it should be noted, that one person, upon seeing me, stopped in his tracks and said:

Giddyup!

I am usually the one who flips out at comments, this one made Sean more than a little annoyed.




Things you can see in the picture:
My bra strap
Jim Zeman
Sean's new wedding ring.

Things you can't see:
The black tulle wrapped around the white center of my bra that was visible to anyone over 5'4"
The 3rd pair of stockings I had on after decimating the first 2 as I put them on
Lipstick

Thing you can't ever possibly understand: How incredibly itchy tulle is.

*For the record, my mom is disgusted with "what you do to pictures in your head". That said, she is also visibly amused at the boob mountain as gut description, and not entirely in disagreement as I am in person quite pleasantly proportioned.

Monday, February 12, 2007

6 Weird Things MEME

6 Weird Things About Me MEME courtesy of Amalah

(And I must warn you that this first one makes Sean cringe. He thinks it is beyond gross, he who says "burp" as he burps.)


#1 I make spit bubbles for the girls. We slowly chant mom as we open our mouths to make large, Sydney Opera House spit bubbles between our lips. I think if I had boys it would probably be the equivalent of arm farts, but I have girls, so we blow bubbles.

#2 I love to vacuum. I love it. I love it like some people like taking fragrant bubble baths by candle light. I love it like some people love chocolate.

#3 Sometimes when I am pumping and because of stress or other factors I cannot start the let down I will beebop singing either Move Along by All American Rejects or They Might Be Giants Istanbul (not Constantinople). For whatever reason, it works.

#4 I have no problem with people drinking from a milk jug but am horrified by drinking wine from anything but a wine glass.

#5 I burn out light bulbs. No joke, I can turn on a light, lifting the switch ever so gently and POOF burnt out. Same thing with twisting in new ones. Twist, twist, flip BOOM. It's not quite Drew Barrymore in Firestarter, but it's definitely some kind of bizarre.

#6 The sound of a cotton ball being pulled apart makes me itch and twicth with all the intensity and panic of a person covered with creepy crawly biting things.

Perhaps someone could start a 6 Normal Things About Me MEME so that we wouldn't all look like such nutballs.

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Sunday, February 11, 2007

The Tracks of My Tears

Somebody planning the Grammy's had a sense of humor.

They had Smokey Robinson perform. Who doesn't love Smokey, right? And the song, The Tracks of my Tears? Hey, even the most musically stunted of us can at least sing:

So take a good look at my face
You'll see my smile looks out of place
If you look closer, it's easy to trace
The tracks of my tears..


Smokey singing that song wouldn't be funny if he showed up looking like this:



However, ...take a good look at my face takes on a whole new meaning when the singer, born in 1940, looks like this:



Take a good look at your face?

Oh sweet, Jesus. I can't look. What the hell is wrong?



You'll see my smile looks out of place




No shit Smokey, it looks out of place because ain't nothin' where it's supposed to be. What have you done to yourself?




What happened to this man?



Of course time is going to take its toll, but...

If you look closer, it's easy to trace
The tracks of my tears..




Smokey, Smokey, Smokey. I apologize for running the same picture, but I can't tell, are you going for a modern day evangelist kewpie doll look?



Or are you gunning for Audrey Hepburn's role in Always?



Because that's the only thing that can explain your otherworldly whiteness and wrinklelessness. Come on.



What would this man have said?



If he knew he'd ended up looking like this?



Outside I'm masquerading
Inside my hope is fading
Just a clown oh yeah
Since you put me down
My smile is my make up
I wear since my break up with you..
So take a good look at my face
You'll see my smile looks out of place
If you look closer, it's easy to trace
The tracks of my tears


Smokey, I couldn't trace anything on your face. There are no lines, no stories, no evidence of the life you've lived. You have achieved cult status tonight with your denial of the inappropriateness of this song. It was at once tragic and hilarious.

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We Must, We Must,
We Must Increase Our Bust

Earlier today Sean had Avery on his chest. She was napping, he was bored.

Hey Man, come over here.

Yeah, babe?

Watch this. Hey Avery, do you think Daddy is smart?


She nodded her sleeping head twice.

Do you think Daddy is handsome?


Another two nods.

Do you think Daddy is incredibly talented and charismatic?


Twice more she nodded.

I shook my head and smiled at him.

Are you flexing your pecs to make her head move?


He grinned proudly.

Yup.

You know I am blogging this one, right?

Avery, do you think your Daddy is the coolest?

I walked away as her head nodded on his spectacular chest.

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Thursday, February 8, 2007

How is it possible?

How can we be out of diapers again? She never eats!

Actually, before I do this I just want to thank the random lady at the drug store for letting me go ahead of her. I was waiting to pay for a pack of diapers and a box of wipes at around 1 today.(Because, you know, we need another goddamned wipes container...a container in each bedroom and on every bookshelf downstairs and they are all empty. All the time.) I was behind a homeless looking woman and in front of her was a 40 something lady with a 7 year old buying about $80 worth of Easter decorations.

Now I know I am way behind the curve on holiday decorating, thank you notes etc. And I further know I am a miserable failure as far as not having any sense of when the hell Easter is until the PAAS shit ends up in the stores and I knock over the feather light boxes as I make a turn near the meat department...why are they near the meat? Can't they be somewhere else? Near the vinegar? Whatever. All I am trying to say is: Easter? Wtf? Isn't that in April? Can I fail at Valentine's Day first?

Back to the lady. After the 10 minutes of Easter paraphernalia rinning in she turns to me and says:

Would you like to go ahead?

I tried not to audibly communicate my complete shock.

Seriously?

Sure, honey, I can tell you are trying to do this on your lunch hour. I remember how hard that is.

Oh my gosh, thank you!


I spent the next 5 minutes falling all over myself to thank her. I cannot believe she let me pass. It was, and not to sound too gushy about thbis, but it was one of those redeeming moments for humanity. You stand long enough waiting to cross the street at a cross walk at 8.5 months pregnant and holding a 19 month old and watching car after car blatantly accelerate to make sure there isn't enough space between cars for you to cross you begin to lose faith. But then a lady lets you by, your mom buys you dresses, your husband makes you dinner and your co-worker makes you a card...these are the moments that make the other crap less suffocatingly depressing.

But I have so digressed.

Here, quick, let me reel you back in!

Briar eats like a Hollywood starlet. Sip of orange juice here, nibble of cracker there. Ok, not going to go any further with that. I don't even want to joke about that stuff. I just read that Mandy Moore is coming to grips with not being thin. She'll never be like other stars. She's a big girl. A 6 or an 8. Give me a large fucking break, child. How many girls would die to be a 6? Literally. Our local paper polled kids and they said that the acceptable size, the ok size, the size that girls should be?

0 -1




I'm a tad annoyed that she would try and suggest that she is the big girl norm. C'mon, something makes me find it hard to believe that Mandy has trouble fitting her ass in a pair of jeans. Blech!

Anyway, my Briar. Not a hearty eater of late. I was tickled to find that other moms fight this as well. (and dads...actually no dads wrote, but I don't want to silently denigrate fathers by insinuating that they don't struggle with this, because maybe they do, but they sure don't share that with me.) I had posted about the cream cheese and jam sandwiches I make in order to feel a bit less like I am just offering whatever snack food the little finicky princess will eat. So I thought I would share a dark little secret, a backpocket silver bullet to be used sparingly so as to preserve its ability to pass the toddler taste test.

When things are really bad, and I mean really bad, and I just want her to experience the ritual of a meal, I make Briar cream cheese and jam sandwiches on white hot dog buns.



I have been really struggling to figure out where I went wrong with the eating thing. She was a good eater, slightly adventurous, partial to vegetables and white meat.It was bliss. Standing over my pathetic lunch attempt last week, not nearly as gross as the seaweed, I realized that perhaps if I'd been offered this kind of slop I'd be demanding food out of a box too.

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Spa-tacular

I did it. I went to the spa. I struggled with when and how. I hemmed and hawed. And then I was like:

You obnoxious brat. Just do it. You won, it's free. Go.

Ok, actually it went a little more like this:

Have you booked your spa day?

No, I'm still deciding.


One night a few days later:

Did'ja book the spa thing yet?

No.

Are you going to?

Yes.

When?

I'll do it tomorrow

Fine.


A week later:

Did'ja book it yet?

No.

Are you going to?

Yes.

Ok.


A couple days later:

Did'ja book it yet?

No.

Are you going to?

Yes.

When?

I'll--

Now. Book it now.

But I don't know how we'll--

I said book it now.


5 minutes later:

Manda?

I'm doing it.


3 minutes later:

You done?

No.

What happened?

I couldn't find the phone book and Avery needed a diaper change.

You want me to call?

No.


Amazing how a little procrastination can really take the joy out of something. Takes the niceness out of husbands too.

I always imagine having the luxury of going to the spa, or of going somewhere with black hair cutting ponchos and being offered lukewarm coffee while I get a cut I won't like for at least a couple of weeks. Yet, I've had the opportunity (thanks, Mom) and not done it.
But I did it. I found the phone book. I don't know about anyone else, but some days that's enough for me to feel like I conquered the world - finding the phone book. Matching socks on the entire family? Domestic nirvana.

I managed to call Classical Concepts and make my appointment for spa services compliments of Belly Bar.



I had pored over their list of services one night and calculated the different combinations I could afford with the credit I won. It was delicious imagining the different scenarios. Of course in my mind there was no rush, there was no fretting over how Sean and the girls were. I was silky haired, fresh faced and relaxed. I tittered over light stories exchanged with the facialist, gracefully accepted compliments from the colorist on the healthy state of my hair, the woman at the front desk greeted me warmly.

However the pressure from Sean and the fact that I had waited until less than 36 hours before my biggest professional event of the year (which in Sean's defense is the reason he rode me so hard to schedule it) left me completely stammering when the woman said,

"And what would you like to have done?"

"Well, I'd like, um, see I won, well actually I know it's really late so I'll just do whatever you can fit me in for."

"Ok. Are you looking for spa or salon services?"

"Oh, right. Of course you need to know that. Ah, I'd like to get my hair colored and have a massage."

"Do you want full head color, highlights, or is this a touch up?"

"Um, highlights?"

"Did you want full or partial?"

"Partial?"

"Ok, and what did you want to schedule in the spa?"

"A massage.

"Elemental or hydrotherm?"

"Elemental, I think. What do you- "

"30, 60 or 90 minutes?"

"60."


Believe me when I say that as the "conversation" went on I exposed myself as a person who does not "use product" or "wear fragrance" and the end result was an appointment shoe horned in based on my desire to curtail further humiliation rather than on any logic regarding the girls, my life or my needs.

Luckily, after a slightly awkward and less than warm reception by the woman at the front desk, and the fact that my face was experiencing its first breakout in a year, and that my hair was not in fact healthy, I had a nice time.




The massage was lovely, though even alone in the room I managed to make myself feel as if I wasn't cultured enough to be there. I disrobed and arranged myself on the table...
Is that water? Is there water on this table? Is this a water table?

And I totally hopped off the table, naked save my underwear with little pink scotty dogs (Classy Amanda, real classy. Note to self: if you are too embarassed to have someone see the print on your underwear maybe it's not something you should wear. Ever.) to look. I lifed up the sheet-
"Ooh, is that sheepskin?"

Then peeled back the sheet and pressed the rubber.
"Ooh, it is water. It's a waterbed massage table. Holy shit."

Behold the water bed massage table.


And here's where I sat to watch her work magic around my spotted face.



By the time I left my body was totally relaxed and hydrated with that earthy minty aroma unique to Aveda and my hair looked incredible. I had enough credit left over to leave the stylist and masseuse each a great ip and walked out with an $8 tube of chap stick and a tub of some sort of humectant pomade thing that I thought would remind me of my time at the spa. I'd share a picture but I just took three and, let's just say that last night's event took its toll on my face, and the gym and the skipped shower today have done nothing for my hair- though Sean did say this morning:

"Hey! Your hair still looks great. You know it's a good cut if you have great looking bed head."

I was touched and opted not to deliver a slam about how that sounded like something that Gavin, the gay roommate would say. And while it might seem that by typing that slam it's as good as said, but then, this post was probably too long for him to read.

She Bites

She bites, she bites
Oh baby when she bites, she cries
I go crazy 'cause she
Looks like an angel
But she bites like a crab
Like older sibs in history

She bites, she bites
I'm crushed by the way she cries
No one ever looked so sorry
She reminds me
That a sister's got one thing on her mind

Talk to me, tell me how come
You'll wear me out like a pair of shoes
We'll wait all night until you say sorry
Then you're done... yeah baby

Well, if it leaves a mark it
Should be a crime
You better have time out
You'll do the time
With a smile on your face
Thinkin' of the shock on
Your little sister's face

She bit, she cried (both she's). No blood was spilled, but so help me, this is beginning to look like a very long ride. We invite your comments with stories and wisdom on the sibling wars. Seriously, if only to make us feel normal.

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Tuesday, February 6, 2007

Never Finished

Hey Man?

Yeah, babe.

I don't think I ever finished your post about Sunday.

That's ok.

How did it end?

Ummm, something about Christina wearing a hat and that I thought her hair still looked perfect underneath.

Huh.

Why?

Did anyone finish it?

What do you mean?

Well it was kind of long...

So?

Well, the editor in me saw a very definite opportunity to call cut, leaving the remainder for the sequel.

Excuse me?

You know, break it up and capture the summer audience.

Sean, I was just trying to tell the story.

A trilogy even.

Ouch.

Well, you think people read it? It was more like a chapter than a post.

As a matter of fact people did read it.

Who?

Emily for starters.

Really? Cause I'm your husband and...

And you didn't read it.

Tell me more about how it ended.

No.

Why not?

Cause you're a jerk.

Ah, Man, c'mon. I didn't mean to hurt your feelings. It was great, just long.

But I didn't even mention the brownies.

Yes, you did.

Oh. Really?

Yes.

Oh.

So how did it end?

We don't have enough time.


I hate it when he's right. Special thanks to Emily for taking 45 minutes from her daughters to read my post. I'll endeavor to share my stories in 750 words or less from now on.

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I love me

I am not a cat person, but that's no secret.
However, every once in a while, Barnaby does something that makes me grudgingly think,
"Ok, you know what cat? You're kind of awesome in your incredibly aggravating yet charismatic way."

Behold, proof of the true narcissism of Barnaby, the feline dictator at Chez Wink.

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Sunday, February 4, 2007

Teething

Quick post. I overdid it on the mountain today.

I gave Avery this pony to gum the other day after she had spent the better part of the morning with the index and middle finger of each hand shoved nearly down her throat. She looked like she was desperately trying to do one of those football whistles. Unlike Briar who spent so long with three teeth, Avery has the teeth coming in at a frighteningly fast pace. I think she chewed on this solely to satisfy me. Luckily her Dad is smarter and brought in the big guns and swabbed the gum number on her swollen gums. I know, riveting. Sorry, I just didn't want to totally flake out.

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Saturday, February 3, 2007

Uhh, Dad?

Behold the moment Dad realizes his idea of cool holds no water with a 2.5 year old.

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Have We Met



Excuse me, have we met before?

I'm not sure. You do look kind of familiar.

Hmm, my name is Nerve. Last Nerve.

Oh. I believe we have met. My name is Barnaby. You are, what I like to call, my dance floor.

Really? Any chance you could cut me some slack. I'm only one nerve and I am wearing ever so thin.

Pity.

Really, if you could just lay off with the cha cha cha'ing through every door in the house.

Yawn.

Maybe ease back to 23 in and outs between the hours of 3 and 7? Just for a little while?

Yawn.

It's cold and even though you howl to go out, once out you wait long enough for me to get to the next room and whine to come in.

And?

When I come back to let you in you look at me, stretch and walk away.

So?

Then I close the window or the door and you dart in and hiss at me if the window so much as grazes your tail.

Well, quit closing it so fast.

But I wait for minutes, the girls get cold. Maybe could devise a schedule.

We could, but I don't really give a flying fuck, so no thanks. I'm a cat. Deal.

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Friday, February 2, 2007

Keep it Closed

Feeding a two year old.

It's easy if you don't mind feeding a diet of Pirate's Booty, grapes and orange juice. If you have designs on putting anything close to a well rounded diet in a two year old's belly, well you are in for, shall we say, a bit of a challenge. If I can add one more food group to our current carb and sugar food groups that'd be just swell. You'll understand my excitement at realizing that Briar liked cream cheese.

Cream cheese? You'll eat cream cheese? My god, that's dairy. That's dairy, right Sean?
Can mommy get you some cream cheese?
You want it on an apple? No?
Cracker? No?
Pear? No?
Chip? Sure, why not.
Here you go, a little cream cheese on a sundried tomato pita chip.

Today Briar asked for a sandwich. Cream cheese and jam, please and thank you. Not really, please and thank you seem to be hibernating. Sigh. Maybe Punxsutawney Phill can pop back out and see if he can locate please and thank you for us.

Anyway, I wasn't going to argue. Cream cheese and jam on honey wheat was better than 2 bags of fruit chews.


Here you go honey, just keep the sandwich closed. Please eat some bread too.

Her preliminary delight about the cream cheese allowed for one actual bite.



Hmm, there's cream cheese in here.


The cream cheese is the only thing I really want to eat.
The cream cheese and the jam that is.


Mom, try it. The inside's the best part.



No thank you honey. Please keep the sandwich closed.

Here and now I officially accept that I cannot outfox this child. At least it's dairy, right?


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Me & My Girls

Ok, so I know that there are a lot of people out there who, as almost a past time, despise country music.

"Hey, what kind of music do you listen to?" Someone asks before pulling the car out of the parking lot.

"Anything but country and rap. Actually, some kinds of rap are ok."

Or:

"Do you like Cash?"

"Yeah, Johnny's great, but that new shit can go back where it came from."

Or:

"I like country, but the new stuff is straight top 40 drivel. It's not even close to real country."


I used to be one of those people who hated country music. Except of course for Garth Brooks, because I mean come on, who living their junior year of high school in a small agricultural community could not worship The Dance & Friends in Low Places?

Fast forward seven years after graduation to my first summer at the Williamstown Theatre Festival. I was a scenic carpenter in a shop full of guys. Almost all of them were good old southern boys. The radio, suffice it to say, wasalways on the country station. It took me exactly 2 weeks to get over my country music hating and get on board, because while I am not good at math, I could see that:

12 solid weeks
7 day work week
16 hour work days
1 radio - 90% preference within the shop for country music

Resistance was futile.

My acceptance of country music coincided nicely with country remakes of non-contry songs...Aerosmith's Don't Wanna Miss a Thing for example. Being the dim wit that I am about music (I am the girl after all, who thought Rock the Casbah was Rock the Sasquatch) I would listen and think:
"Hey, I know this song. I hadn't realized I'd listened to country before."

I realize that the previous admissions regarding my musical knowledge midgetry might make a person wonder how I manage to breathe in and out, rest assured Sean keeps me on track. But all that aside, country music came to be the first type of music I listed when asked what I listened to. Ok, actually I take that back. I spent a few years adding it to the list I gave after musicians less likely to draw outright mockery- Dave Matthews, Pink Floyd, CCR and those that suggested perhapss the water ran somewhat deeper thatn might have appeared- Elmore James and Billy Holiday.

The thing is, sometime in the last two years it became what I said first. No need to be ashamed. We like what we like. It's not as if passing up Pachelbel for country music is going to make me dumber...need I remind you I thought Casbah was Sasquatch?

Briar, our little iTunes fiend, has a playlist that relies heavily on the infectious hits put out by Rascal Flatts. Her all time favorite is Me and My Gang, which of course she calls:

Me'n my'n Gang

Since the first time she heard that song she has literally not been able to listen to it without singing. She bops her head, she bends her knees, she bites her lower lip- truth be told there are times when it looks like she's either having a fit or trying to dislodge a bumblebee that found its way into her ear canal.

I often dance with her, bouncing along in my way (read- as if I am listening to another song. Mama ain't got much rhythm.) Since Avery came along Briar has insisted on her being involved in the dancing.

"Mommy. Avery. Gettin'in Mommy's arms Avery. Dancin' with Mommy'n Avery to Me'n My'n Gang."

Lately she has learned to ask for me to turn it on really, really loud. So we dance.

I take Avery in one arm and then scoop Briar up in the other. We dance. We jump. We squeal. We hug. We joyously revel in the catchy, easy to follow lyrics and beebop along to the beat (Kind of sort of). It is country and it is loathed by many, but here at Chez Wink, when the right song comes on there is nothing that can rival the delight of me and my girls dancing.

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