Just like Italy.
The waiter approaches our table: "Oh my!" I realize he has seen the floor and the scattering of Cheerios and corn-flavored puffs. He asks what we want to drink, and I proudly state that we are ready to place our food order, efficient are we. I order for everyone except Jerry, and Jerry is ready as well. This should take no time.

Will starts banging mug. The perfect entertainment, but at least three tables whip their heads around to stare at us. Mug removed, baby cries.

Kid drinks come quickly, I smile at waiter. I feed Will apple juice through a straw. He drinks it happily, and starts to cry when I don't refill it fast enough. I soon get tired of it, put down straw, and he screams. Jerry takes over. That's right, train mommy and daddy.

The people at the next table have a kid the same age, and quickly decide we are friends. I don't want anymore friends. I want peace and quiet over dinner.

Waiter comes with dinner for kids. I am impressed with his speed. He then comes with fake vacuum and makes the puffs disappear. I feed french fries to Will. He is happy for at least 30 seconds.

I think of telling Jerry an important detail about my day, but then forget. No time now. Must focus on keeping beast happy.

Adult food comes. I cram bites in. Bell pepper, angel hair, tender chicken. Which bite first? Which combination best? No time for petty thoughts; must cram.

Will screams. Need more juice. I feed and down cheap wine.

On the other side: Charlie making shooting noises with fork and nugget.

People across table smile at us again. I smile, obligatedly.

Waiter asks how food is, we ask for two to-go boxes, and bill, and quick. He smiles and leaves. I joke that we've only got thirty seconds. Will screams. Ok, two seconds. Jerry takes kids to car, I'm in charge of bill. The usual.


Another Birthday.

Last weekend I had a Birthday. Jerry and Charlie sang to me while Will banged a wooden spoon in his high chair. They presented me with a cake with 23 on the top. The numbers were reversed, but whatever.

I was giddy all day. I had a massage, pedicure, and manicure. I had the following conversation with the lady doing my discount manicure:
Me: Oh, don't file the sides of the nails, please.
Her: Um, ok.
Me (sensing obvious discomfort). Thanks.
Her: Why don't you want sides filed?
Me: Because it weakens the nails.
Her: Who told you that?
What are we? In seventh grade? I have to provide references for facts that we all know are facts?

Aaaaanyway. I also enjoyed a cup of coffee, by myself, in peace.

And read my book, the Bonesetter's Daughter, at my favorite cafe.

And at night, we went out to dinner with friends.

I was happy all day, because I love my birthday, because I am inherintly a little self-centered.

Top Seven: How I Know I Am Getting Old.
7. Last week I heard myself say the following (while at McDonald's): Oh, I love this song.

6. I have lately felt very excited whenever I get to drive somewhere. I drive a minivan. We just bought it. I love it.

5. I haven't been to a concert in over two years. I haven't been stoned in ten years. I haven't been drunk in at least two weeks.

4. I recently signed up for an IRA, and got excited. I have life insurance.

3. For my Birthday dinner, we reserved our babysitter until midnight. Jerry scoffed when he heard me say that. A little before midnight, I reluctantly admitted to our friends that I had to go home because I couldn't stay awake any longer. When I say, "a little before midnight," I actually mean 9:15.

2. I find myself often choosing Briefs instead of my once-trusty Low Waisted Hipsters. I like my briefs cuz when I bend over, they don't show crack. They stay up, reliably, all day long. They also look like old lady panties, complete with some bunching in the back. But the truth is, I don't care.

1. There are all sorts of ways to become cool. If I wanted to appear cool, I could read up on bands and clothes and pop culture. But I honestly, truthfully do not care about appearances anymore. And I am happy about that.

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The talk.
Charlie (to me): Mommy, do you want to see my penis?
Me: Uh, ok. But we need to talk. You know you never show that to anyone else, right?
Charlie: See, mommy? See it?
Me: Yes. Only mommy and daddy should see it. And don't let anyone touch it.
Charlie: No one touches my penis?
Me: That's right. Except for mommy and daddy when we are washing you.
Charlie: Ok. I won't let Lucy touch it. And I won't touch Lucy's, either.
Me: Um, ok.

So I guess I need a brow wax.
Charlie [staring intently at my face, upper region.]
Me: What are you looking at?
Charlie: Your eyebrows.
Me: ok.
Charlie: What is that under your eyebrows? [Lifts brow hairs.] Oh, just more brown stuff.

And a cleaning.
While cuddling in bed with him this weekend...
Charlie: Mommy, I love you so much.
Me: I love you too, sweetie!
Charlie (with furrowed brow): Mommy, you have something in your teeth.
Me: Ok. I will brush them right after I'm done cuddling with you.
Charlie: Before they turn brown and fall out of your mouth?
Me: Yes, before then.

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It's Valentine's Day. Leave me alone.
I am in a crappy mood, and I'm not really sure why. I have some ideas, though.

The snow is still all over the ground and I am ready for the days when the kids and I can run outside barefoot, when they can splash water and not need an immediate clothing change, when gloves don't get lost and I don't have to carry around a wiggly, back-arching 11-month-old who wants nothing less than to be confined by his mommy.

The age group I have now is prooving to be sucky. Even though I am down one high-maintenance child, I have 6 who aren't exactly low maintenance. The two three-year-olds entertain themselves well, but still challenge authority and are big enough to break out of time-outs (well, Charlie anyway). The two-year-olds don't have tantrums, but are potty-training, requiring much time in the boring, windowless bathroom, and they are still at the age where they follow me around a little and make it hard for me to make lunch and pay attention to the babies. Will naps well and complains little, but gets into everything and bumps his head about ten times a day. New newborn baby is easy - sleeps often - but I feel like I give her no one-on-one time.

My goal with this daycare is to have what feels like a preschool, to potty-train the young ones, to give all the kids -- babies especially -- some meaningful eye contact and conversation; instead, circle times are just a distraction from their sole desire to play with cars, we only make it to the bathroom twice a day (not enough to potty train those not in the habit), and the babies... I feel like I just want them to grow up so they can keep up with the rest of us. And one of those babies is my own, so I feel guilty and crappy for having such thoughts.

And financially, don't get me started. Somehow someone underestimated what we needed to put into escrow for property taxes. Underestimated by almost two thousand dollars. And we have to turn in our leased car, the one where we went over on the miles, so that's another just-under-two-thousand-dollars. And both our cars have recent dents -- one my fault, the other a hit-and-run, so there's another thousand. And we have a family wedding coming up (out of state, of course). And apparantly I was supposed to be putting money aside for taxes, but I didn't, because I didn't owe last year, the year I had all the business startup costs, so I think that's another couple thousand. And then there's some medical deductibles and shit for the house.

And hubby just got a raise and promotion, but he is working such long hours that he is crabby at night. And on just the days that I can't wait to get away from the kids -- when all I want is to read and finish reading one simple article in an intelligent-sounding, adult-focused newspaper over a decent cup of coffee, which I also would like to finish without interruption -- he is stressed out and also needs a break. So we snap at each other. And it's Valentine's Day, and my Birthday is in three days but we have no money, see above.

When it rains, it pours.

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Toddler eavesdropping.
Here are some of the things I heard today from the four boys, as they ran back and forth with their trucks:

I'm gonna get you. no no no! here i coming. You better watch out. [pow pow pow]. I gonna shoot you [pow pow crash]. I am gonna eat that poo poo off your face [slosh slosh slosh.]

That last one was from Charlie.

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Sparkle butt.
When I put him to bed the other night, his jammies glowed in the dark. He had stars and other twinkly things all over his chubby little baby body. He had no idea how cute this was. After nursing him, I held him in front of the crib and he put his head on my shoulder, which means he is tired and will not fight sleep. I enjoyed the cuddle for about 3 seconds, and then he pushed me away and dove toward his bed. So I put him down and watched his glowy baby butt for another second.

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Saying good-bye.
I had two weeks of Lucitis, the equivalent of Senioritis, but with my passionate, strong minded daycare girl of over a year. One minute I would be asking (in my head), "Are you really crying about that?" And the next minute I was semi-close to crying on the inside because she was hugging me.

I don't know if her parents told her she would soon be saying good-bye to me, but I received many hugs those last two weeks. And they made me realize how much I really did love, or like, or some other strong word, her.

One time she got a time-out, and when she was done, she looked especially tired and sad. I asked if she wanted a hug, and she said yes. While her normal hug lasts .000264 seconds, just long enough to not interfere with serious play, this one lasted about 5 very long seconds. When we were done, I pulled away, ready to say some wise-sounding words. But then she hugged me again and held on for awhile. Then I again pulled away, thinking that surely we were done now, and she went in to hug me again. I waited until she was done, and then she ran off to play.


On her last day, I gave her a little homemade book called, Reasons We Love Lucy, and each page had a picture of a daycare kid and a quote from them on what they love about her. Charlie said he loves to paint with her. And so on.

At pickup, her dad looked me straight in the eye and sincerely thanked me for everything. I felt happy. And sad.

That night, Jerry kept asking why I had such a spring in my step. And what the humming was all about. But in spite of these things I was still a little unsure.

My new group.
I realized long ago that adding or taking away just one kid has a huge impact on the whole group. So while I was glad to say good-bye to the drama, I was sad to say good-bye to such passion for life. And also the pink. Because excluding the newborn -- whose gender is completely irrelevant at this point -- I now have all boys.

Two three-year-olds, both boys.
Two two-year-olds, both boys.
Two babies, boy and girl, but gender not a factor.

Some stats for this week, the first week with my "new group":
Number of crying-for-no-reason spells: 0
Number of times I felt my heart pound out of my chest: 0
Number of times I contemplated quitting: 0
Number of tantrums: 2 (down from about 15)
Number of minutes they wanted to sit in circle time: 1 (down from 5-6)

So. I am bummed about that last item. Unless you consider circle time to mean running around the house shooting other kids with your index finger, it has been pretty non-existant.

There will always be some sort of a challenge, whether it is misbehavior, money, nap struggles, or circle time. I decided in the beginning that I didn't just want to watch kids -- I want them to learn here. But how do I do that if they act uninterested?


Book meme.
Kyla tagged me for this book meme.

The rules:
1. Find the nearest book.
2. Name the book & the author.
3. Turn to page 123.
4. Go to the fifth sentence on the page. Copy out the next three sentences and post to your blog.
5. Tag three more folks.

The Tenth Circle, by Jodi Picoult
But just in case he started running out of time on a deadline, it was easier to draw straight lines and buildings and roads than to dynamically draw a figure. Daniel began sketching the outline of an ungainly, birdlike creature, half man and half woman. He roughed in a wing --no, too batlike.

I hereby tag:
CUNY Queen
Project Kjetil
Mommy off the Record


The boy likes boobs.
I might feel embarassed later about posting this one, but I also don't want to forget it.

Lately when he is breastfeeding, he will pull away, see the nipple that feeds him, flick it with his finger, and then giggle. Sometimes he will go back to feeding, other times he just wants to flick it, and I have to distract him.

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Last night I came home to find Charlie and his new sitter (whom he loves), using Mega Bloks to build airplanes.
Charlie: And this is the hairplane and its fighter jets, and these shoot like this (shooting noises), and these are the boobs.
Me: Did you just say the boobs?
Charlie: Yes, so that other jet planes don't run into him.

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Let's hope no one was watching.
He is obsessed with mouths. Early this morning, he took a ball and shoved it at my mouth. A sucker for cute Will moments even when they promote germ sharing and look very weird, I bit down on the ball and pretended to be chewing on it, shaking my head back and forth like a golden retriever. He cackled. My mouth dropped the ball, he reinserted it.

Whenever he sees our new little daycare baby, he tries to stick his finger into her open, wet mouth.

Mouths - fascinating.

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Tiny violin.
Previously I wrote about how Will is lacking the things his brother got -- cafe visits, swim lessons, stroller rides on city streets. And it sounded like I was feeling typical motherly guilt for not giving him the perks Mr. Firsborn had.

But I know Will is happy. In fact, he is less needy than Charlie was and is now, and often pushes me away to play near the big kids. He loves to help open the front door for them (while being held by me) and to wave out the window at them. He sits in his clip-on chair at the toddler table and eats with them, imitating their noises. When they color, he stabs paper with his crayon.

So it is not Will I am sad for, but myself. (Waaa, I know. My blog.) When I let myself really think of it, I am regretful that I didn't savor all his baby moments -- or even half of them -- as I did his brother's. When I did savor a moment, it was cut short by a screaming kid or my realization that I needed to start lunch or the smell of a nasty diaper. There are millions of cute things he did that I know I missed -- though I'm not sure what they were. Cuz I missed them.

Which is why every day this month, I am going to savor at least one baby moment.

The end of babyhood, part 3.
When Will was a baby, I would sing "one little, two little, three little baby boys" while bouncing him on my hip to the rhythm, and then put him down to sleep. But I stopped doing it awhile back because every time I started to sing, he would shake his head no.

Today I went to put him down for his nap, and as I stood in front of his crib, he started to bend and then straighten his knees, causing his body to bounce up and down, while saying "ahhhhh." I realized he was asking me to sing for him, so I did. Every time I stopped, he bounced and said "ahhh" for me again, and he got a good 5 minutes of singing. When I finally put him down, he cried like his little heart was broken. Ten seconds later, he was out cold.

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The end of babyhood, part 2.
The stuff I'll always remember.

Today when he was nursing, he looked up at me, made my eye contact, and then tried to stick his chubby little index finger into my mouth. I shut my mouth tightly. He made great attempts to force it in.

Later, while still nursing, he put his baby foot in my face. I kissed it. He let it fall, and then raised it to my mouth again.

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The end of his babyhood
Today Will is 11 months old. He has one month left of being a baby, and I am sad. So, every day for the next month, I will post something babyish that he did that day, and that I am going to fully appreciate.

Today I handed him a yellow school bus and let him watch me put a Little People in its driver's seat. Then I added another Little People, and then two more until the bus was full. I pushed the bus in his direction one inch. He picked up a Little People and used it to bang the other People until they were all lying on their sides.

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