Real sportsmen don’t ask questions.

The river sure looks cool in the wee hours of morning.  If it weren’t for soccer, I’d never have known.

One practice a week.  Then one “game” that is half practice, half mini-game.  2-3 hours a week.  PERFECT.

Or so I thought.  My lollipop and rainbows perspective of kids sports is that it should all be high-fives and camaraderie.  But in reality, we’ve had to have serious talks about it.  Some of the kids (and coaches, coaches of 4, 5, and 6 year old kids to be specific) are actually out for blood.  I’ll hold the tirade on why adults are encouraging 4, 5, and 6 year olds to attack each other in the hopes that this is just one or two isolated douchebags.  But the fact is that kids pick up on that negative influence, my kid included.

It was horrible.  This is my sweet kid who can’t pass by a baby without making goo-goo faces.

I swallowed my thoughts on how, maybe, kids under the age of 10 should only do dance and art and music and swimming and gymnastics.  Things where competitiveness is really about doing their best, not about beating another team.  Maybe there is something to learn from playing in a team, but it certainly isn’t about winning, and I’m starting to feel like that sort of experience doesn’t exist.

Paul talked me down from the ledge with thoughts that we could make this a teaching moment.  Okay.  Fine.  So we’ve had talks about sportsmanship and the oh-so-not-important scoring/winning thing which is lame.  Seriously, people.  Winning anything in team sports at age 5 is lame.  Let’s be real here.  It’s about not letting down your team and being a good athlete!

We deliver all of this in the most enthusiastic voices.  And deliver our disappointment at those who feel that taking out the other team by knocking them down, or talking trash, or seeing them as anything less than colleagues and friends and other jovial kids in the most decrepit, vile voices.  Bah on them, we say!  Up with peace, love, and happiness on the soccer field!

That’s the spirit!

And then I have to bite my tongue and swallow my questioning thoughts.  I have to secretly thank all that is good and right in the world that he hasn’t come around to question us about all this sportsman-like play stuff.   That his brain hasn’t circled back and recognized the discrepancies between doing and saying.

Because Will was there when we went so crazy with joy every time Brett Favre gazed up at the roof of the Superdome when someone planted his behind to the turf.  Make no mistake, it was awesome.  Every. Darn. Time.  AND HARDER EVEN!  YEAH!

Sure, we can argue it’s different for a million reasons.  (And besides, it isn’t about football, anyway.  I actually am NOT a fan of football, I things considered.)  But still.

We’re still hypocrites.

So if the question comes, I’m just glad Paul will be around to answer it.  Because me?   I’ve got nuthin’.

PS: Alejna has the most recent update about the Just Posts Best of 2009.  Just don’t call them gerbils.


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Lessons in Obstinance. By Kate, an Expert.

Lesson One: Using the Potty.
First, refuse to use it. Even if your knees are pressed together to prevent an accident. Then, insist on being in the bathroom alone. Once everyone has sufficiently made some distance between themselves and the bathroom, call for help. You can’t open that toilet seat yourself… it’s too heavy, it’s wet, you suddenly hate the color white… use whatever works. Insist on being lifted to the toilet. Threaten an accident, this will make them work faster. Insist that you can wipe yourself and remove half a roll of toilet paper before feigning dramatic failure.

kate (2)

Lesson Two: Bathtime.
First, refuse a bath. Then work towards negotiation. What extra treats and privileges will getting a bath give you? Be creative. Once a contract has been established, be cooperative to the point of entering the bathing area. Then promptly get lost in your clothes and go hysterical. The more you can get your clothes twisted, turned inside-out, and stretched — the better. Perch on the edge of the tub and insist that the water is too hot. Then insist that it is too cold. Keep up these extremes until you are thrown into the water. Once in, find every toy you can to make the biggest possible splashes. Extra points if you can get your bath towel soaked or cause Mommy to submerge her sleeves into the water. Once out of the tub, hug Mommy as many times as you can before you are dry. Be sure to insist on evaluating at least 3 sets of pajamas before going for a fourth to wear.

kate (1)

Lesson Three: Bedtime.
First, refuse bedtime. Insist on your alertness, even if it means pinching yourself to stay awake. When you have run out of options, go boneless. You’re too tired to walk, you can’t move. Drag yourself, in your clean pajamas, along the floor — this makes for great impact. Once you’re in your room, perk up enough to take a pile of at least 12 books for bedtime reading. Negotiate down to no less than 8, making sure you’ve picked the longest ones. Note page numbers and make sure every sentence on every page is read thoroughly. Stall everywhere. There are monsters in your closet, under your bed, and even some inside your pillowcase. You are hungry, thirsty, and cold. Also, you’re hot and your tummy hurts. Once you have been left alone in your room for sleep, get out of bed and drag your pillow and blankets into the hallway, it sends the message that you are still in charge. Set up your own sleep space there. If they don’t notice you, take a few minutes to erase your chore chart before settling into your chosen restful spot. Then curl up in the hallway and settle in for sleep. If you happen to wake up a few minutes later in your own bed, promptly pee. If necessary, remove your pull-up to ensure your blankets are wet. Then cry out for Mommy. If you do this enough, she’ll run out of laundry and have to bring you to her bed by default. Once you are in Mommy’s bed, kick, curl, cuddle, and lay on her all through the night. You want her nice and exhausted in the morning — it will make the your lessons much more effective tomorrow.


Mi Familia

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My kids are going to FREAK.

We celebrate Christmas because it would feel strange not to, I think that is the bottom line. Also, I love the idea of the “season of giving” — and when we talk about Christmas, this is the way we frame it. We say that people, for centuries and eons and since time forgotten have had these mid-winter celebrations, all right around when the days are the shortest of all the year.

We have explained that some celebrate the life of a man named Jesus, who some believe was special because he did nice things for others. I’m pretty sure I use those words exactly. We hadn’t spoke much about God in the past, just “Gods” in the sense of mythology, with Christian myth as prevalent than those of Greece and Egypt. Then, God came into our household on the silver voice of some proselytizing child in summer camp. Initially we were troubled, but decided to take it in stride. It gave a good learning opportunity. That not all people believe the same thing and that this is okay. In fact, it can be very important… otherwise, how we would ever learn new to see new things?

I feel good about our celebration of Christmas, even as atheists, because I love ritual and celebration and delight in giving. Like it or not, Santa is a modern day representation of these things, so we have chosen to embrace him.

Does all of this justify my use of The Santa Threat during the holiday season? Maybe it’s appropriate that Santa represents Christian tradition, as I am definitely applying him within a fire-and-brimstone theology. Or, more likely, I am just really being lazy and need to step up on my parenting.

In any case, it’s been hot and heavy over the last day, These Threats. I feel badly about it. It’s bad parenting, sure, but it’s also working against my view of how we participate in this whole darn holiday. So when I saw Emmy had made these for her kids, I had to join in.

I give 50/50 odds that upon hearing her name in the first 3 seconds, Kate misses the rest in her excited squealing and that Will gets so worked up he has to run to the bathroom and miss the entire video.

Here’s Will’s.

Here’s Kate’s.

Mi Familia

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A lil’ help.

My daughter, er, no, my HUSBAND’S CHILD got into our office drawers in the wee hours of the morning.  She proceeds to take a sheet of stamps.  And another sheet of stamps.  And some tape.

It’s too traumatic for me to go much further.

So, does anyone know?  Will the Post Office swap ruined stamps for ones still fit for circulation?

Also?  What does one do with a child who is remaining grounded until age 40?


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Move over teenagers. Moody first grade boys are the new source of angst.

In 6 days my darling son, my first born child, the one who draws me love notes and writes indiscernible sentences on random notebooks, will make 6 years.

Apparently, this is also the same age that boys go through THE CHANGE.  As I was once a teenage girl, I understand the stress.  The confusion.  The embarrassment.  The sneaking pads around in little purses, secretly wondering who has switched to tampons (shhhh! don’t say it so loud!) and wondering when to be so bold as to try.  The world just doesn’t UNDERSTAND!  And it’s SO UNFAIR!!!

I am counting on re-living those wonder years with my daughter (woo-hoo!) but it was a bit of a surprise to find them in my darling first-grade sweetheart boy.  Since when is every piece of music known to humanity BORING?  Why is it that the trial of bathing, eating, walking, dressing, and forheavenssake BREATHING, so totally and completely impossible?  Do you know how UNFAIR his life is?

Okay, I confess.  We ask him to make his bed in the morning, which can be a challenge considering the incredible athletic feats he conducts each night within it, but we figure it’s a good stepping stone to the roofing work and diamond mining he’ll start next month.

We’re taking it all in stride.  The mood swings, the sullen appearance, the sudden outbursts of tears.  We’re here for him, even if our being in the room makes it IMPOSSIBLE for him to CONCENTRATE.

If nothing else, it helps us appreciate those bright moments of beauty.  The sloppy kisses, the shared reading, the begs for nighttime cuddles.  He’ll grow out of this moody phase, yes.  But I’d take it a hundred times over if I could keep those sweet moments with it.


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Stuff we’ve learned in the past day or so:

  • Mahoney’s makes darn good po-boys.
  • Professional-grade firewall set-up has Paul very geeked.
  • Kate may have some confusion regarding which way to move on the game board, but still reigns as the household Candyland Champ.
  • The internet is a good resource for finding Pikachu coloring pages, unfortunately.

Stuff we’re trying to figure out:

  • How to convince Kate that wearing shoes on the right feet will not cause her legs to melt off her body.
  • The trick to the perfect soft cooked egg.
  • What age parents become modest about time alone in the bathroom around their kids.


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Where in you can watch several of my hairs go gray.

This is how two kids roll.

One decides to do something. Like sing and dance on a toy chest.

Then the other can’t take the lack of attention. So he must DO SOMETHING.

Most particularly, something that will annoy, bother, or otherwise sidetrack the activities of that sibling.

And then, things go downhill quickly.


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“Will told me last night that Dumbledore dies in The Half-Blood Prince.”


“C. told him at school.”

“You are kidding. His parents must have brought him to the movie. HOW DARE THEY.”

“I asked Will if C. said anything about Santa Claus.”

“That would have been much better. I think I want to kick that kid’s ass.”

Mi Familia

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The Star Wars Cast Transforms and Rolls Out!

By my count, the number of times a mother should be prepared to pass out when her child breaks a limb is 6, depending on how much she plans on re-telling stories from any part of the process. No matter how many broken bones, blood, or carnage you’ve seen.  Apparently, all of that is inconsequential when you’ve birthed the hurt kid.

Included in that count of six are two incidents during the casting process.  But don’t worry, fellow Mom.  You’ll get through it.  Then you can bring your kid home and melt his or her medicated brain.

While Paul attended a meeting a the kids’ school, I tried to redeem my lousy constitution for my son’s injury by helping him decorate his cast to his heart’s desire.

Will’s heart’s desire = Transformers.  And Star Wars.

Transformers seemed easier.

I printed out the Autobot decal and cut out the negative space to use it as a stencil.  It turned out alright, not as clean as I’d hoped due to the holes in the surface of the cast.  But, it was cool enough to pass at school.  (And cool enough to trump the little heart I added near his hand.)

After school today, the painting continued.

Will painted the women’s reproductive system.

(He said it was a stage with a king and queen performing.)

Paul painted, too.  Intently.

Kate bonded with yellow ochre.  And gave *Jazz Hands*!

While they painted, I prepared for Will’s next cast request.

Luke’s X-wing fighter.

Unfortunately, part way through the painting, Will reached over and swept his hand across the cast, smearing the whole thing.  (I had walked into the kitchen to get more paint.)

There was a lot of fixing and repairing.

Did you notice little R2?  (Look very closely.)

Here is a view of all three: the Autobot decal on his upper arm, the X-wing on his forearm, and the tiny heart near his thumb.

Did I earn enough cool Mom points to last me awhile?  I figure I need to save up when I can.

Mi Familia

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“Mommy, you’re like my pillow.”

Will seemed perky this morning and asked to go to school. We brought him, with pillow to keep his arm up. An hour later, the school called, he was uncomfortable and out of it, and he was ready to go home. (FAIL.)

After dropping Will off at school, I went to Rouse’s to get snacks for my workshop today. I felt very on top of things, running early, getting food for everyone, and having somewhat of an idea of what I was going to do. Until I was out in Kenner, almost to the meeting site, when I realized my wallet was missing. (FAIL.)

After a panicked stop at a coffee shop for a phone book and a call to Rouse’s, who had my wallet, (WIN!), the truck clutch gave out in a major intersection. (FAIL.)

Thankfully, no one hit me, I survived near collision, and managed to figure out how to drive it the rest of the way. (WIN!)

At the advice of Paul, I managed to drive the car home. The conversation went something like this:

Me: “I almost died.”

Paul: “I think the problem is due to engine heat.  You should be able to drive it home.”

Me: “What, to the morgue?”

Paul: “Really. It’s happened to me a bunch of times. It should be fine after sitting for a few hours, as long as you don’t drive it for too long.”

Me: (Silence.) “Well, okay. But how long is too long?”

Paul: “I dunno. Just don’t drive it long enough for the clutch to start to stick again.”

Me: (Silence. Pondering if I should write a quick will?)

Things perked up big-time when Emmy and kids brought treats for Will.  Will had just woken up from a 5 hour nap (hello, drugs!)  I’m not sure if he even remembers there was candy involved, but he hasn’t put down the card Ana made for him for one second.

One may think that this video is showing Will on drugs, but in truth, the meds had worn off.  (He trips even heavier when heavily medicated.) This is just Will being Will.  He’s telling me about teeth, why the fall out, and what holds them in until they fall out… with a surprise at the end.

Mi Familia

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