Friday, December 29, 2006

And so I write

My mother died five years ago today.

It's funny how grief can sneak up on you. On Christmas, at the end of midnight mass, when we were dismissed to 'go in peace' and the organ blared the first strains of some triumphant postlude, I realized that I had not shed a single tear. This would be the first midnight mass since my mother's death that I did not dissolve into tears at the first verse of 'Silent Night'. I wondered if that meant something; have I come to terms with something? I pondered. Am I healing? Am I healed?

What a crock. Yesterday evening something, and I can't even remember what, sent me reeling. My eyes welled, and I was absolutely stricken with grief and pain and longing and it was like it was new again, like it had just happened. I cried a bit, although not much, because I'm very unattractive when I cry and didn't want to subject my co-workers to my blotchy face and snotty nose.

In the car on the way home, free to sob unattractively to my heart's content, I was thinking about my mother. About how she had so many notebooks and pens when she died, but they were mostly empty, with the exception of the occasional to-do list or a the beginnings of a short note to a friend. I remember going through those notebooks, page by page, wishing and hoping against all hope that I would find something, anything. A short essay, a declaration, a diatribe, anything that reflected her and who she was and what she stood for and what she wanted, for herself and her children, what she thought about God and religion and world peace and politics, her thoughts on global warming. Her thoughts on parenting. Her memories of our childhoods, at least those that weren't destroyed by the shock therapy. Her thoughts on heaven and hell and everything in between.

There's really nothing on this blog that I would object to Jacelyn reading. Maybe, one day after I'm gone, she can somehow read what I've written here (if it's still around in some form) and think, "wow, my mom was crazy, she was overly wordy, she used punctuation VERY poorly, but she really, really, really loved me". And so I write.

And my sisters write, too. And I love them, and hope they keep writing, because they are good at it. And Mike, my brotha from anotha motha, the same goes to you, you talented, witty bastard, you. And to everyone that blogs, and loves: keep on.

Happy New Year.

This goes against everything I believe in....

...but I find myself coming to the defense of Britney Spears. I am aghast and ashamed of myself.

I saw an online article that said George Bush was voted to be both the number one hero and number one villain of 2006. I was amused, so I started reading. Towards the end of the article I read this:

"When asked to choose from a list of names, nearly three in 10 adults, or 29 percent, bestowed the honor of worst celebrity of the year on Spears.

The 25-year-old pop singer and mother of two young sons recently filed for divorce from Kevin Federline, her husband of two years. She then followed with highly publicized nights out with party girls Hilton and Lindsay Lohan, including photographic evidence of Spears wearing no underpants, which raised questions about her fitness as a parent."

I italicized the absolutely ridiculous part. Oh. My. God. What? What kind of idiocy is this? Speaking as a mother myself, I will say that:

-I have occasionally and unabashedly gone about my business sans underpants. Gasp! Am I a bad parent? Of course, when I go without underpants, I don't attract as much attention, (or any) because, 1.) I am not NEARLY as attractive, 2.) I am not a pop star, 3.) I don't wear really short skirts, nor do I have to clamber awkwardly out of low-to-the-ground, European made sports cars. Regardless of all that, there are few among us who have NOT had a wardrobe malfunction of some sort, and we are fortunate enough not to have people following us about and photographing us from eighty different angles. Should she have been a little more careful? If she cares that her sons will one day be able to Google-Image her private parts, yes. Does it make her a bad mother? No.

-News flash, people: Mothers are human, too. We are. And we have desires, and needs, and we get stressed out and want to relax, just like ANYONE else. So Britney goes out and parties. SO WHAT. If she went out and partied and locked her children in a bathroom with some newspaper on the floor and a bowl of water, then yes, going out makes her a bad mother. If she left her children with a loving relative or loving paid caregiver while she went out and blew off some steam, does that make her a bad mother? Not in my book. Since becoming a mother, I have gone out and left my daughter at home with her father or a grandparent. I have had a drink or two, and I have danced badly, sang too loudly, and "WOO!"'d enthusiastically. I have held a friend's hair out of their face while they threw up in some bushes. I have said things like, "I don't think Sammy's will take a credit card for a cover charge" and "If I keep one foot on the ground, it makes things stop spinning and I probably won't throw up".

Granted, I haven't said things like that often, nor do I go out often. Maybe the frequency at which Ms. Spears is going out for the evening, maybe that is what is bothering the nosy, celebrity-obsessed public. Maybe, if the nosy, celebrity-obsessed public had lives of their own, instead of living vicariously through public figures, this would be a non-issue. Now, I can be just as fasincated as the next person - I will admit to perusing through Brian's mother's Star Magazine sometimes while eating breakfast, but COME ON, PEOPLE. Leave the poor woman alone.

Mothers are just as entitled to time away, time to themselves. Just because a mother does not spend every waking moment at their child's side does not make them a bad parent. I spend as much time with my daughter as I possibly can, yes, as do most parents I know. I cannot imagine why anyone would begrudge a woman having some grown-up time, even if it is with Paris Hilton. Motherhood is a job. The catholic church calls it a vocation. It is a job that one enters voluntarily, yes, but you wouldn't expect ANYONE to work at their job 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, without taking a break now and then. At 2AM, when the house is quiet and everyone is asleep, a mother is awakened by a cough, or a cry, or the sound of a toddler puking onto an army of stuffed animals that will have to be washed. You're never not a mother. And sometimes, a couple of drinks and some freeballing help you to remember: that isn't such a bad thing.

Saturday, December 23, 2006

The New Addition to our family

Meet our new friend, RoboPet. We can't kill him! Only his batteries die. Shaun, Jacelyn's Godfather, gave her this for Christmas. It is so cool. She has named him Best Friend Nikki:She is scared of him, but thankfully he is remote controlled, so she can appreciate him from a distance. Some of his finer points (blatantly stolen from the Best Buy website):

*Realistic, fluid, biomechanical movements include walking, running, crawling, sitting, lying down, getting up and rolling over
*Moods range from playful to naughty, curious, angry, depressed and rude
*Environmental awareness and interactivity include IR Vision, which detects and avoids obstacles and table edges (from me: a lie - Best Friend Nikki has fallen off three tables)
*Sonic sensors respond to sounds (according to moods), while motion sensors respond to human movements
*Emits digital animal sounds, such as barking, whimpering, growling and panting
*Responds to positive and negative reinforcement, performs tricks on command and even responds to commands from Robosapien V2
*"Laser" leash technology lets you trace a path on the ground and he will follow it
*Includes visual and sonic guard dog modes as well as sleep and auto shut-off functions

AND she's getting a Robosapien for Christmas from Brian's father, so she will have robopet and the roboguy. The dog also farts, and mimics peeing, and you can't go wrong with toilet humor for a four year old. I must confess to playing with him, under the guise of 'figuring it out for Jacelyn', even at one point holding the remote over her head and saying, "Mommy has to figure this out so I can show you how to work it". Riiiiiiight. I just wanted to play. But, 1.) I'm the mommy, and I earned the right to play with her toys first, and 2.) I'm bigger. Ha! Welcome to the family, Best Friend Nikki! May your batteries last long, and may nothing important be broken off your wiry body by my enthusiastic child. I explained to her how fragile he was and how she shouldn't bend or break any parts of him. And then while in the car on the way home, Jacelyn announced, "His foot can turn all the way around". I sharply asked her to repeat herself, and she quickly said, "Nothing, nothing". Mm-hmm.

Thursday, December 21, 2006

A Crab Named Mish

Tuesday was Brian's Christmas party at work. He invited Jacelyn and I to attend, and although it was an invitation, I knew that turning it down was not an option.

I had risen early that morning and showered and dressed. I left Jacelyn in her pajamas for the trip over, so she couldn't muss her outfit by spilling something or wallering around in her car seat. I was standing in the doorway of the bathroom, watching Jacelyn brushing her teeth, when the thought struck me: why can't I be comfortable, too? So I changed into pajama pants and a t-shirt, crammed my 'nice' clothes (jeans and a sweater, ha) into a bag, slipped on some cruddy old sneakers, and off we went.

We drove down Main Street to get to the 3-Mile bridge, passing the water treatment plant. Jacelyn was looking out the window and humming, and I heard her pause and sniff and then she said, "Mama, what did you do?". I laughed and said it wasn't me, it was the building behind us. She was skeptical, and then asked me if I would roll down a window. A couple of moments later she got panicky - "Get the stink out of the car, mama! Get it out!". Once the stench was finally behind us, she settled in for the ride. She wanted me to stop in the middle of the road so she could count the birds on the jetties. She wanted me to make the fog go away so she could see. She wanted to listen to the Rudolph CD. When I finally relented on the Rudolph CD, she only wanted to listen to the song "Misfits".

The ride was a long one. Some statistics:

Road Kill Count: 3 cats, 11 possum, 1 armadillo
Bathroom breaks: 1, although it was a long and stinky one---Jacelyn had an upset tummy
Number of times Jacelyn said "MAMA!": one hundred gazillion
Number of time we listened to "Misfits": also one hundred gazillion

I had spoken with Brian while en route; when he found out that both Jacelyn and myself were in pajamas, he expressed horror and the hope that we would find a place to change before arriving. So we did; we stopped in at a McDonald's to change. We entered the bathroom in pajamas, and emerged looking gorgeous, Jacelyn especially. We arrived at Wal-Mart, where Brian showed Jacelyn off to everyone. She ate up the attention. People would say to her, "Oh, look at you, aren't you cute!" to which she would reply, "Yes, thank you". She got a lot of compliments on her boots (Hello, Kitty cowboy boots, which she wore with a skirt--so cool). She was sweet with Brian but a devil with me, at one point performing a spin kick to my shin, which I would have been more appreciative of the skill involved had she not been kicking me in the shin.

We went to the employee lounge in the back of the store. It was very festive - whoever did the decorating wrapped every flat surface in gift wrap - even the walls. Brian introduced us: "This is my daughter Jacelyn. Oh, and this is my wife". I didn't even merit a name - just 'wife'. The food was catered by Sonny's Barbecue. Jacelyn cut open and buttered her own roll, which she then did not eat and squished into little balls. She took the little balls and squished them together, put them on her chin, and said, "Look, mommy, I have a mustache". I was slightly amused.

There was karaoke. Yes, friends, karaoke. It was wrong and it was bad. It wasn't even Christmas karaoke. Two consecutive country songs were 'sung' (using that term very, very loosely), and I was already despairing when the opening strains of "Copacabana" blared over the speakers. I called Jen at work. "Do you hear that?" I asked her, as the Tire and Lube Express manager enthusiastically shook his hips to the music. "Oh, God, yes" she answered.

I was able to leave shortly thereafter. Brian offered to replace the front two tires on the jetta, so I dropped off the car and proceeded to wait. And wait. With a cranky, napless four-year old who had spent three hours of her morning cooped up in the car. Brian walked us around a little, and we stopped at a huge tank of hermit crabs. A very nice woman pulled out one for Jacelyn to check out, but he was dead. After explaining that he must be asleep, she pulled out another crab.This fellow was a bit more adventurous, and alive to boot, so after a moment he popped out of his shell and scrabbled around on the counter top. When he moved, Jacelyn made some sort of exclamation, causing the crab to pee and then go back into his shell. We all laughed, and Jacelyn said he was the one for her. "...because he peed" she explained. I guess they have that in common.

We walked away laden with a 'crab condo' complete with everything a hermit crab could possibly need for a lifetime of hermit-ing. I asked Jacelyn what his name is, because she proclaimed him to be a boy. "His name will beeeeeeee.... Mish." Hmm. "Mitch?" I asked, uncertain. "No, MISH. Like fish, or dish, only not. MISH." Oh.

So we departed Panama City Beach a little richer than we were when we arrived. I had two new tires, and Jacelyn had a hermit crab named Mish. Sweet. And the quality time together in the car, that was great, too. Annoying, but great.

Monday, December 18, 2006

The Worst Christmas Program Ever

Jacelyn's school Christmas program was last Thursday. She was pretty much over it by Tuesday or Wednesday, saying at one point, "All we do is sing, sing, sing!", followed by a scoff beyond her years. The big day arrived, and Brian, who came into town solely to watch her in the program, picked her up from school. Instead of following my suggestion and putting her down for a nap in between school and program time, he took her to waffle house, where she ate an entire waffle and a bunch of bacon. The child loves bacon - and who doesn't? Bacon is meat candy. And then they ran errands, and messed around with his car outside.

I left work early and met up with everyone at the house. Brian and Jacelyn were still cleaning his car. Jacelyn's method of car cleaning involves spraying whatever product she can get her hands on, whether wax or cleaner, onto whatever she can reach, and then showing her father: "Look daddy! I'm helping!". Brian then has a mini-stroke because she has sprayed tire cleaner or some other inappropriate substance onto the painted finish. They go back and forth: spray, stroke, wipe; spray, stroke, wipe. There's lots of yelling involved. From Brian: "Baby!" and "Stop, put that down!", and from Jacelyn, "I'm helping! I'm just helping!". It would be amusing, if it wasn't so frustrating.

I told her to come inside and get dressed, and was met with great and whiny resistance: "I have already been to school, and I don't want to go back". Sigh. I finally convince her to change into her pajamas, and she spends the next half hour running around, crazed, hopped up on syrup, bacon, and lack of nap. I would occasionally catch her while she was making laps around the living room and explain how she needed to be good, to behave, to in fact be on her very best behavior. She would nod and break free, and I would send up a little prayer: please let this go well.

Brian was sleepy and decided he didn't want to be there early, that he would ride with his mother and father. Michelle came with Jacelyn and I. I made sure she went to the bathroom, and we left. Jacelyn was singing loudly in the car, something I later found to be greatly ironic. We got to school and faced a parking melee: everyone was there early. We dropped Jacelyn off with the other K4 and K5 kids. The room was insane: little children clad in pajamas running around, screaming at the top of their lungs, bumping into and off of each other. I gratefully escaped the classroom and Michelle and I went to find seats.

The only available seating was in the very back row. We sat on either side of the four additional seats we would need, and then Michelle went outside to wait for the rest of the family.I was left to apologize to the elderly and infirm who wanted to sit there. Sister Patricia, the school principal, made an announcement about how many children were out sick (30 out of about 167), that there were only 5 children in second grade that day, and how we needed to give the kids a standing ovation for their hard work. The rest of the Bernardos arrived, and we anxiously awaited the start of the program.

The second through eighth grade filed onstage, taking their place on the high risers at the back of the stage. I was somewhat relieved to see the older kids up there; I had already pictured children falling like dominoes if the pre-k and kindergarteners were up top. Giggling quietly, I leaned over to Brian and pointed out a kid who had on pink shorts and a limey-neon green polo shirt - "What, is he golfing?" I asked. Brian pointed out that they were kids and I was being mean. Thoroughly chastened, I settled in to watch. Where are the little kids? I wondered. The older grades opened the show with a rousing number, "Our Promised King is Born". Bad skit from three eighth graders, another number. I saw a door open and short little heads bopping around, but it turned out to be the first graders filing in. Cute, yes. Downright adorable. But not my kid. Where is my kid?

The first graders sang a song by themselves, and despite their lesser numbers, around 15 of them, were louder than the rest of the school combined. I guess they haven't learned to be self-conscious yet, bless them. Another bad skit, Mary and Joseph enter (tripping over the spotlight stand and almost dropping baby Jesus). More singing, more bad acting, some angels wrapped in silver garland who, for some reason, stood very still making jazz hands for the duration of another song. Where's the little ones?

Finally, during 'Away in a Manger', the door opens and in they file. The K4 and K5 kids. So very, very cute. They filed onto stage and were seated in front of the first graders, on either side of the stage. My eyes teared, as I watched Jacelyn sitting on stage. She looked angelic, resplendent, even, in shiny blue owl pajamas ('Whoooo's Up Late?' the pajamas pondered) and fuzzy blue slippers, her pigtails hanging down in ringlets, cheeks flushed with excitement, my daughter, by baby, was gorgeous. How did I manage to have such an attractive child? If I hadn't spent nine and a half months feeling her tap dance on my insides, I would question whether or not she was mine.

New song, joined by the 4 and 5 year olds. It was great - you kept hearing those one or two kids who held a note too long or started too soon. Jacelyn sang her heart out on that first number. End of song, beginning of another skit, Jacelyn gets restless. A wise man comes down the center aisle, and Jacelyn turns to watch him carry his gift to Jesus, choosing this moment, her head in profile, to pick her nose. She picks and stares, picks and stares. Her curiosity momentarily sated, she turns back to the front. A little more nasal digging and she peers at her finger, checking out whatever she might have hooked, then looks around and, finding no better receptacle for her nose gold, wipes her hand on her pajamas. I was amused but basically unconcerned. She's 4. They do that.

Then it really went downhill. She stopped singing, except for the occasional chorus. She started pulling at her lower lip, a compulsive-type of behavior I had noticed before, but it really stood out when she did it for the better part of twenty minutes or so. At one point she leaned over and lightly popped the hand of a neighboring classmate, much to my horror. She spent two minutes with her hands over her ears, scowling like an angry monkey. Two minutes is an eternity, by the way, when your child is misbehaving in a very public manner and you can't get to them to stop the bad behavior. I was sitting on the edge of my seat, vehemently whispering, "Stop it! Stop stop stop!". Brian had crossed his arms and was bouncing his leg. The bouncing started with the hand pop, and continued for the rest of the performance.

I don't remember the music (except for the really bad soloists on 'O Holy Night'), I don't remember anything. All I remember is how my sweet daughter turned into a horror. She started waving to random people, waving and making a very ridiculous face. Anytime the spotlight got near her, she acted as though she had been blinded. She would wince, and cover her eyes, and then put a hand to her forehead and squint dramatically at the crowd. She turned around and started talking to the children behind her. This prompted me to again attempt mother-daughter telepathy: "STOP IT STOP IT STOP IT NOW". It didn't work. She continued talking, and when the child she was talking to shushed her, she turned around the other way and started talking to someone else. I was aghast. Her actions were magnified by the fact that the other children around her were acting like angels. Even the kids who I hear about in the car on the way home: "Emily pushed Arianna" and "Mitch said a bad word" and "Arianna had to go see Sister because she hit Fisher and made him cry", even those kids were really good.

Finally, after a dramatic ending, it was over. I was exhausted. After a lengthy standing ovation, Sister dismissed the K4 and K5 parents to go get their children. I marched grimly to the classroom, Brian running after me, asking over and over, "What are we going to do? What are we going to say?". I didn't know, but I wanted to get to her.

In the end we talked to her about it, mostly on the ride home. We made certain that she knew that we were proud of her for taking part in the program, that it was fun to see her doing something so neat, but we also talked to her about her behavior. Here's hoping she learned something. In her defense, she was sick of it anyway, and she had not had a nap that day. And she's 4. But that doesn't completely excuse blantant misbehavior. Oh well; we've got a year until the next one, we can work on it.

Saturday, December 09, 2006

Everybody Loves a Parade

Everybody, that is, except me. Call me grinch-y, call me whatever, but I am actually somewhat relieved that Jacelyn has been sick (although now she is much improved) and will not be able to attend the parade this evening. The last couple of parades have not been the enjoyable family fun you hope they would be. The attraction is wearing off for Jacelyn, as well. After forty five minutes or so, she is pretty much done. She's ready to go home and eat dinner or watch a Barbie movie. However, the parades around here take about two hours to see through to completion, so forty-five minutes is not nearly long enough. We collect a bagful of beads, that we promptly take home and add to the OTHER bags of beads we have collected previously. The little stuffed animals get lost under the bed, the candy gets hidden, lost, and rediscovered a year later. The beer coozis end up in the trunk, rolling around until they deform with the arrival of summer heat, and the plastic cups bearing the name and logo of some bank or radio station will enjoy a short life in the cabinet, only to be tossed out a week later. It's just more....STUFF.

Two hours in the freezing cold, screaming for trinkets and t-shirts, is not the way I particularly want to spend my evening. Visions of pajama pants, a sweatshirt, a blanket and a good book are dancing through my head. We can do the Mardi Gras parade, if Jacelyn wants to and isn't sick, but I think we're skipping the Christmas parade this year. I say that, but I'm awaiting and dreading the phone call I am fairly certain I will receive later, most likely from Michelle: "She's feeling so much better, so we're all going to come for the parade. Make some coffee!". Sigh. There go my pajamas, blanket, and book. And Jacelyn really doesn't need to be out in the weather. She slept well last night, but the night before....she was up every fifteen minutes, unable to breathe. I had to sit up and let her sleep on my chest, so she would be elevated enough to breathe. She didn't settle in until 4:30am, after some Motrin Cold (which is so good it could be currency, and possibly is somewhere). She finally fell asleep sitting up on a wedge pillow on the sofa. I laid down on the floor with a short blanket and snatched an hour or two of broken sleep. Life the following day is a blur: got up the next morning, got her settled in, and worked all day. Came home, cleaned house, did laundry, took care of Jacelyn. Watched the Polar Express, which had me sniffling and saying, "I believe too!" at the end. Realized again how much I love Tom Hanks, no matter what anyone else might think. I went to bed between midnight and 1AM, and here I am at work, getting ready to jump back into my inventory.

Brian is in town for the weekend. That's really all I have to say about that. Church Sunday, and Jacelyn and I were invited to an ornament exchange at one of her classmate's home, but I think we're going to cancel on that, as well. I'm feeling very anti-social. The thought of having to make small talk for however long it takes to complete the ornament exchange process is making my head hurt. These are all very lovely people, don't get me wrong at all, but I just want to be home. We were invited to a birthday party today, but we're not doing that, either. Mostly due to illness, but also due to the fact that I'm a jerk who doesn't feel like being around other people. Does working in retail do that to you, or am I just becoming cranky in my advancing age? Frankly, I don't care. I've got a hot date with my new pink plaid flannel pajama pants and a big roomy sweatshirt. I'm getting to work, and hopefully a better frame of mind.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

There is something wrong with me

Aside from the obvious emotional problems, that is. I'm itchy. Some places in particular are worse than others, but my skin is dry and itchy. THERE IS SOMETHING WRONG WITH ME. I cannot express that enough. When words fail, you are left with google images:



I love that web site. An illustration for everything that ails you. SWEET.

Up Yours, Always

I tend to be brand loyal. For some products, when I find something that works for me, I stick with it. The selection of feminine hygiene products is a fine example. A very personal thing, pads and whatnot, and there is a myriad of brands and options available. With or without wings, scented or unscented, regular or super, flushable applicators, quiet wrapping, I could go on and on. I have long been an avid fan of a particular Always product. Always has gone through some changes, and every time I would be slightly terrified: are they going to change? Will my favorite Always product be discontinued? But, the classics never go out of style, so I have been safe, thus far. I have seen Always through packaging changes, logo changes, and a temporary per-product assignation of colorful shapes that was dropped rather quickly after they kept changing the shapes and confusing the consumer.

I have one complaint with Always: the little tear-off strip that covers the wings is emblazoned, not just once but over and over, with the phrase "Have a happy period".


What? Uh-uh. There's very little happiness to be found in periods. Except for when they are over. Don't condescend to me, Always. I'm not in the mood. Don't tell me to have a happy period. I'm bloated, cramping, have a headache that would kill a lesser person, I am bleeding in an uncomfortable place, and I think I smell funny. What do I have to be happy about? Up yours, Always. Every time I see that little phrase it just cheeses me off. Would Valtrex include the phrase 'Have a happy herpes outbreak' on their product? I don't think so. Would Monistat put 'Have a happy yeast infection' on their packaging? NO. Smug Always bastards.

There are far better ideas for that tear-off strip. Here are mine:
-Jokes. Print jokes. Possibly off-color, or about men. That would lighten up the experience.
-A story in parts. Or a poem. Every pad would have one line, or paragraph, progressing through a package of pads. Or maybe limericks. That would be awesome.
-Cartoons. Maybe political in nature, or just standard cartoons. Like the Family Circus. You could sit there, laughing and shaking your head and saying, "Oh, that Jeffy".
-Sell it as advertising space. While annoying, you could at least appreciate the ingenuity.

That's my rant for the day. I'm gone to fire off a hormonally charged e-mail to the Always company. I love their product, but hate their message.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Thank You, Teresa

I was actually in the process of writing a post earlier which I had titled "I am so freaking thankful", and it was very dire and grim and full of dread and woe. And then I got my present from Teresa, and it made me happy. And I am really freaking thankful now. It wasn't the material gift, although I certainly appreciated it. It was the fact that she just sent me something because she's good and nice and sweet, therefore restoring my faith in....well, everything. Thank you, Teresa. And thank you, Jen. I am thankful for my sisters, because they remind me of what family is all about. Because, regardless of the fact that we are three people who are SOOOOOO very different, we can still get together and laugh and giggle and argue good naturedly. The baptist theologian, the pagan, and the confused soon-to-be catholic. I love you guys, and I'm glad to have you around. And because I think Dad is trying to defect from our family, and if we don't have each other we won't have squat. Love y'all!

Monday, November 20, 2006

Meet Butterscotch



Jacelyn loves this horsey. I was looking at it on Amazon this morning, and check this out:

* Furreal Friends Butterscotch Pony. Every girls dream of having her very own Pony... and now that dream can come true!
* This amazing animatronic Pony moves head and ears, and blinks its eyes! This fantastic creature responds to touch and voice, 'eats' a carrot, and makes real pony sounds.
* The FurReal Friends Butterscotch Pony comes with carrot and brush. Requires 6 'D' batteries, not included.
* Adults take note: Pony comes unassembled in box with head detatched.
* You may wish to not open the box around your children if they may be frightened by a box with a decapitated horse inside.

HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA. What if you weren't aware of Butterscotch's headless state, and just left it in the box? I can picture Jacelyn excitedly tearing open the Butterscotch box only to discover a severed horse's head inside. It could make that awkward mane brushing a little easier, I suppose. Or you could use it to send a message to someone. It would be really creepy if the head contains the batteries and moves independently of the body. WEIRD. Who comes up with this crap? "Yeah, pull the head off, saves on shipping!".

Another little tidbit from Amazon:

"Kids can even sit on Butterscotch and she will gently bounce."

Hmmm, maybe we DO need one of these.

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Hey, Teresa.....

I got it. "Harry for the Holidays", baby. It's quite good. It has a more New Orleans sound than his earlier CD, a little more gumbo in it, to quote a friend of mine. The first track is 'Frosty the Snowman', and has such good brass in it that I actually got goosebumps. How nerdy is that? Musical goosebumps. But I just wanted to gloat, it is mine, it is mine, it is mine. Sweet!

Saturday, November 04, 2006

I am DISGUSTING

Taking a page from dear Mike, I decided to express my feelings via items found on the much-beloved google images. I have been sick. I feel like this:



With a little bit of this:



I have had a stomach bug for a week. I think I am starting the upswing, but I am unsure. I'm afraid to eat. I haven't been drinking ANY coffee, and for those of you that know me that is a big deal. Blurg. Here's hoping I feel much, much better by church time tomorrow, so I don't have end up locked in the ladies room during the Rite of Acceptance.

Saturday, October 28, 2006

Nothing

I have nothing to say. Me! I have nothing to say. Can you believe it?

There is no pressing issue, nothing weighing on my mind. Jacelyn hasn't done anything terrible or amusing in the last 24 hours. Life has been stagnating along at its' normal operating level, and nothing eventful has occurred.

I can't wait for the GGAF next weekend. I was just looking at their website: here. We had a lot of fun last year. I would like to actually maybe purchase something this year, but that would be flagrantly breaking my 'no new stuff' rule.

Two more hours at work and then I'm bound for home. Actually, I'm bound for the Halloween celebration out where Brian's father works. Then dinner at McDonald's, then I think we're all supposed to go bowling tonight. Tomorrow there's church, and then we're celebrating Brian's birthday at some point, and then I think we're going to the fair. Michelle and I went halfsies on some speakers for his car. To me, that would be a horrible gift, but he will love it. Hopefully.

That's about it. I'm tired, and bored. Ready to go home. I wish that someone, anyone, would take the yummy homemade cake that's in the breakroom away from me before I eat it all. I've already had two pieces today. And there's still two hours left in my day, and the thought of those two hours being entirely cake-free is making me upset.

Well, I certainly said a lot for having nothing to day. Good weekend to all.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Picture Day

I absolutely HATE mornings. Today is picture day for Jacelyn, and the pressure was on for her hair to look good. Now, anyone who knows me knows that hair isn't exactly something I spend a lot of time on. I'm lucky if I remember to brush my own hair. Jacelyn's hair is a nightmare. Thin, baby fine, and cowlicks, EVERYWHERE. We have decided to let her bangs grow out, because she has a cowlick right on her forehead that sends her bangs askew if they are short. So her hairstyle is in an awkward, growing-out stage. I spent twenty minutes on her hair this morning. I finally ended up just pulling her hair into two pigtails in front, getting her bangs out of her face and leaving the back of her hair down. It took me forever to get the two pigtails aligned properly. The blame for bad hair will fall solely on my shoulders if her pictures turn out poorly.

I was a little dismayed yesterday when I opened her backpack. I knew picture day was coming, because it was on the calender, but that was all I knew. So yesterday, THE AFTERNOON BEFORE they take pictures, they send home the flier with all the package and payment options. The day before. And payment is due with the order form the next day. That might be OK for some people, but for me, if I don't budget it in advance, there's a chance the money won't be there. Last night, after church, I was looking at the picture flier and wondering what to do. I couldn't not buy her first school pictures! Brian's mother and sister were torn, when I asked for their thoughts. Brian's mother said we didn't even know if the pictures were going to be good (but I'm biased, I think pretty much every picture of my daughter is good). I called Brian to get his thoughts, and he told me to sign up for the biggest package and he would bring money with him that night, because he was coming into town. Ok, whew.

This morning, after spending far too long on Jacelyn's hair, I had to rush around to get myself ready. I poked a sleeping Brian and asked him where the picture money was, and he said by his wallet. So I go to retrieve said money, and the amount is $10 short. I poked him again, and asked if he had the other $10. He mumbled no. I wanted to meltdown. I was stressed because I was running late, and because I didn't have any cash on me and didn't have time to stop by an ATM. And because I had told him the night before, multiple times, how much the amount was, and that I didn't have any cash, and he still didn't bring enough. He always does that. Example: I will say, because I know him and his ways: "Brian, I need twenty dollars for ______ for Jacelyn, and I have no money. If I do not have $20 for Jacelyn for _____, she will not be able to do it. Please understand that I DO NOT have the money, any money, and need the full $20". He will say "Ok, Ok, geez, I'm not an idiot" and then give me twelve dollars. It's a vicious, dumb pattern that makes me want to choke him.

AND, last night, on the phone, he started complaining about his rent going up when he renewed his lease. How long did he renew it for? 7 MONTHS. One of us will not survive if we have to do this for another seven months. He really picked the wrong time to mention that. Frustration has been simmering for some time now, and frankly, I'm either going to boil over or burn out. I think I'm going to attempt a conversation with him this evening, after work. Attempt being the key word. It will be another drive of doom. Lacking privacy in the household, we have to drive around if we want to have a discussion and/or argument, and even though I will try my hardest to stay on my best behavior and watch my mouth, this has all the promise of an argument. Sigh. I don't want and don't intend to be disrespectful or mean. I just want him to know a few things. Like how his daughter doesn't talk about him when he's not there. About how she has become a bed-wetter for a couple of days after he leaves. The fact that he might be golden at work right now, but he's poo-brown with his family, and I don't mean me, I mean his parents and sister. That people joke about him not existing, about me just making him up.

Here's hoping the pictures and the discussion go well.

Friday, October 20, 2006

The First Report Card

Jacelyn puked in another parent's car yesterday on the way home from her class field trip. The woman said, "I have four kids, those things don't bother me". Whew. She was very nice about it.

I had a conference with Jacelyn's teacher today, during which I got her report card. The front cover, both inner pages and the back was a listing of skills, achievements, goals, etc. and the 'grade' for each. She got an 'S' for 'Demonstrates Strength' in almost everything. The only 'G's that she received (stands for grade/age understanding) were for 'Knows Jesus' and some other religious thing, and then she got 'G's in all of her special classes--technology, library and art. Much to my smug satisfaction, she did get all 'S' in one special class---music! Da da da da! Mama's girl! It means nothing, or at least very little, I know, but I still will enjoy pointing that out. "She got a G in all her special classes except music, she demonstrates strength in music" I will tell people, anyone who will listen, probably.

Her teacher said she listens very well (who does? my daughter? wha?), she is one of the best helpers in the class (that's more believable), and she is a smart little girl (I've known that, duh). Sigh. My big, smart girl. Growing up waaaaay too fast. So that's it, then.

Saturday, October 14, 2006

Tagged

Ok, here we go, the instructions:
The Rules of this tag game are:
1. Grab the book nearest to you...no cheating!
2. Open to page 123.
3. Scroll down to the fifth sentence.
4. Post text of next 3 sentences on to your blog.

'We will write out the dominant seventh in C major and C minor, in its three positions, following each position by the appropriate position of the tonic chord, according to the foregoing directions for the leading of the parts or voices. Let the student write out the same Progressions in the remaining major and minor scales, in the spaces provided. Look out for the chromatically raised thirds in dominant chords of the minor scales.'

from Harmony Book for Beginners, Preston Ware Orem

I'm at work, what did you expect. I had this book nearby because I was thinking about reading it, but now I'm not so sure.

I tag Jen, TX Jen, Teresa and Mike.

Sigh

What a looooooooooooong day this has been. Already. And its not even 11:30 yet. And I just heard from Michelle - Jacelyn wet the bed at some point, apparently in a spectacular manner. And instead of walking into the bedroom and waking up Brian, who is in town, Brian's mother called Michelle, who had to come over and take care of the problem. AND, she got Jacelyn dressed and fed her breakfast, all without waking up her dear brother. She didn't wake Brian up until she had to leave. CRAZY. He is her father. Make him get up and deal with it.

I'm so ready for a day off. I'm so ready to just relax. That is my goal for tomorrow. To relax. I'll let you know how it goes.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

So Tired

Yesterday was my day off. I got up early, took Jacelyn to school. Included a note in her folder about her cough, saying I was medicating it (she reeked of Vicks) and that she feels fine but if I needed to come back and get her I would. Got home, cleaned up, did some laundry. Spent three hours at the commisary with Brian's mother and Michelle. Came home, unloaded the metric ton of groceries and got it all put away. I was walking through the kitchen, thinking about a ham sandwich, when the phone rang.

It was Jacelyn's school. Before the woman could tell me what was wrong, I said, "Let me guess, she isn't feeling well". She wasn't, but it wasn't because of her cough. "She was running in the playground and fell and hit the ground with her face" the nurse explained. I asked if she was OK, and the nurse said yes, she was, but she had a small cut on her nose and under her eye, nothing that needed stitches. "Do I need to come get her?" I asked. The nurse asked Jacelyn if she was feeling well, and Jacelyn said she was. Then she put Jacelyn on the phone, and Jacelyn started crying and saying she wanted to come home. That was enough for me - all thoughts of ham sandwiches gone, I hopped in the car - Michelle decided to come along - and went to get her.

I got into the office and the entire staff was around her, patting her, rubbing her face. Her back was to me at the moment. Sister Patricia was talking to her, and looked up at me. "She looks like a losing prizefighter" was what she said, and I laughed. After all, what's a little cut and scrape? When Jacelyn got up, I literally gasped a little. Sister said, "Well, I told you". She did look like she had been on the losing end of a fight - black eye, dirty, tear-stained face, cut up eye and nose. Poor baby.

We went home, and she seemed fine, but the eye with the cut underneath it was very red and watery. We ended up at an Urgent Care facility (which meant lots and lots of waiting), where it was discovered that Jacelyn had a corneal abrasion - a cut on her actual eye itself. Very painful, from what I've heard. They sent me home with a prescription for some antibiotic goo and a directive to return there today for a follow-up. We left there around 4:00 or so. I dropped Jacelyn and Michelle off at Michelle's apartment and went to Wal-Mart to get the scrip filled. An hour later her medicine was ready, and I went back and got her. Took her to Brian's mother's house, got her into a nightgown and pinned her down for an application of the eye medicine (not fun), and then had to meet up with the girl scout troop to drop off her fund raising money and pay her dues and for her ballet ticket.

At the girl scout meeting word had gotten out. When I walked in one mother said, "Gracie said Jacelyn got hurt and had to go home - is she ok?". I told the story, and there was much 'poor-baby-ing' all around. On the way out I ran into another girl from school who asked me, "How is Jacelyn's eye? Is she ok?". It was sweet and made me happy to know that she has little friends.

Back home, where Jacelyn was knocked out asleep on the sofa. I ate, cleaned up, woke her up and tried to coax some food into her. The poor baby was in agony. Worked around the house until 11pm, when I finally got Jacelyn into bed with me. She was restless all night - not crying, just tossing and turning and occasionally moaning. I couldn't sleep for a few hours, and when sleep finally did come it was fragmented. Every time Jacelyn moved I would wake up.

Got up early this morning, got ready for work. Got Jacelyn out of bed, fixed her some cereal and then went and picked up Michelle. Back to the house, medicate Jacelyn (a nightmare) and then off to work. I'm exhausted. At some point today I have to take her back to the urgent care center for a follow-up. I'm so tired. I'm so glad she's ok.

The Bernardo's are certain there's some sort of cover-up or conspiracy at hand at school. "I'll bet they were playing tag" I remember someone saying, in a very accusatory tone, as if they were playing with loaded firearms. Children, especially my child, are going to fall. Down, off things, out of things, onto things. It happens. And after some of the stories I heard yesterday about Brian and Michelle, I am not the only relative that added clumsy into the gene pool. They spent more than their fair share of time in the emergency room as children. No one pushed her, there was no plot, the child just fell. Good grief. Everyone wants to know "what really happened". Huh? They think there has to be more to the story. Because Jacelyn said that she fell on one of her classmates, and no one in the office mentioned that to me. Well, Jacelyn did say that she fell on Mitch, but she also said she fell on a rock the size of a car and had on three shoes at the time. Bless her sweet soul, Jacelyn has a very active imagination and her version of events cannot always be trusted.

I would like to know if she did fall on Mitch, and if she did, if he is ok. Other than I'm not worried. The doctor said these cuts generally heal in 24 hours. So hopefully by tomorrow all will be well. I'm not looking forward to a return trip to the urgent care - if we could have followed up with our doctor we could have made an appointment, been in and out, but whatever. As long as she gets better.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

It Happened!

Brian got his car, gave me his car. He got a 99 Acura Integra, white, 5 speed. It looks like this (not his car, but it looks kind of like it, without the wing on back):



I am now driving his Jetta, which looks like this (again, not my actual car):



So...whew. All taken care of. Brian is thrilled with his car, I am grateful for having something that gets me where I need to go. All is well with out automotive world. Relief!

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Movin' On Up

We got a note from Jack, Jacelyn's karate instructor, notifying us that she will be ready to test for her yellow belt Thursday. My baby is going to (possibly) be a yellow belt! I got to watch her in class for the first time yesterday, and it's the cutest thing in the world. Jack likes to yell at her - he'll get up to her and growl and yell and tell her, "Be mean! You're mean! Make a mean face!" and then she'll scowl at him. He called her a maniac at one point - as in, "Watch this, you boys watch this little girl do this, she's a maniac, you'll see". She loves it, so I'm cool with it.

Brian is possibly trading-in my Camry for a car for himself, and passing the Jetta along to me. If all goes well. Which I'm cool with, because I can't really afford a car payment right now. I'll let you know.

That's pretty much it. I'm ready for life to settle down into some sort of routine. I like routine, in some cases - the same old thing can sometimes be a good thing.

Saturday, September 30, 2006

I have been VIOLATED

Someone broke into my car last night. They didn't actually take anything, for which I'm very, very grateful, but they pilfered through my stuff, which makes me very, very mad.

I went out this morning to leave for work and my rear passenger door was open a few inches, which I found odd since Jacelyn had not been in the car since that morning. That door is funny - hard to close, doesn't lock all the way with the rest of the doors, which is why I dismissed it so easily at first - maybe I had opened it last night, it didn't close properly, and I didn't notice. So I open the front passenger door to sit my purse down, and lo and behold, everything is open. The glove box, the center console, even the ash tray. Both visors are down.

At this point I realize that someone has been in the car, and start to panic, because sitting in the front seat, thankfully still where I left it the night before, is my black bag. My black bag contains my life. There's all my church stuff -my bible and my RCIA books, some folders about Jacelyn's school, my organizer (with an envelope inside containing Jacelyn's social security card, birth certificate, and other important information), and a file of important paperwork from school, including a copy of the auto-draft form for tuition payments that has my name, address, social security number, drivers license number AND the routing and account number of my checking account. All of that was still there. I almost cried, I was so relieved.

Something funny: in order to open the ash tray, car-pilferer had to take two almost empty sodas out of my cupholder. Pilferer did so, but in a very nice way - he/she sat one soda on the driver floorboard, and the other in the center console. Nothing spilled, so it was a thoughtful pilferer, I suppose, something else to be grateful for.

Everything seems to be still there, including all my CD's, as far as I can tell. I have CD's shoved everywhere (there's probably 30 CDs in the car, easily) - the glove box is FULL of them, the little panels in the doors are full of them, they are piled on the passenger seat floorboard, and fill the CD wallet that attatches to my visor. All seemingly still there, although I haven't taken a thorough inventory yet. I was relieved, and then confused. Are my musical tastes so poor that whomever rifled through my belongings couldn't even find one thing they liked? My musical tastes do run the gamut, from classical to mariachi to jazz, big band and swing to some rap, some pop, some harder rock type stuff, some alternative type music, and some 'adult contemporary rock', whatever that means.

So I am very, very thankful that nothing was missing, but I am very, very confused about WHY someone did this. What was the point? I mean, I'm eternally grateful that nothing was stolen, don't get me wrong. But what was this person or persons looking for? I suppose I'll never know. But it made me SO MAD. I have no privacy in my life as it is, and my car is the only space I have that is MINE. There are other people in it from time to time, but that is MY SPACE. And someone, some stranger, invaded MY SPACE. Moved my stuff around. God help this person should I ever find out who it is. I didn't call the police - nothing was missing, why waste time? I'll just be more careful about that back door from now on.

And, probably as some ne'er-do-well was sifting through my personal belonging in my car, I was dealing with a very fussy, sick daughter. A little fever, and a congested nose. She woke up at 1am and didn't fall back asleep until close to 3:30. So I'm exhausted, and righteously indignant. Sigh. What a way to start off the weekend.

Friday, September 29, 2006

New Blog

In order to avoid boring and/or possibly offending anyone, I have started a second blog. I know I can count among my friends at least one or two agnostics and pagans. I don't want to bog you down in my faith-based prattling. For anyone interested, the second blog in entitled Pray To Who and can be found here. Teresa, especially, I might need you. No, I really need you. So check in, occasionally.

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Family Pictures

Teresa put up some pictures of our family - Dad, Jen, herself and myself, doing very typical 'our family' things - check it out here. And also some good pictures of Cam and Jacelyn - look at those here. Ah, family.

Monday, September 25, 2006

Tiny Bubbles and Breaking Boards

There are tiny bubbles in my radiator, apparently signaling the imminent demise of my head gasket. Brian thinks the answer is not repair, but the purchasing of another car. For me. Because he can't afford a car payment right now. Hello, like I can? But I digress. He has found some lower priced, high mileage cars that he thinks I might like. My school of thought: better the evil that you know. We know my Camry. I know its' noises, its' smells, I can notice even the slightest decline in tire air pressure (although I don't always do anything about it right away), alignment, etc. I'm actually feeling very stressed about the idea of taking on a monthly car payment. I'll know more Friday when Brian returns to town.

Jacelyn is doing well. Still loves school, still love girl scouts. She received her magenta petal patch last night, which stands for "Respect Authority". Five minutes later, walking out to the parking lot, she flagrantly flouted said authority by running away from me (while I kept repeating, "Jacelyn, stop running and wait" over and over), down the sidewalk and almost into traffic on 57th, resulting in a lecture from mommy in the car and going to bed a half hour early.

She has karate this afternoon, which she still loves with a burning passion. Jack thinks she is only a couple more weeks away from her yellow belt. I read something online about Jack and his training, about how he basically sells belts on a monthly basis - if you participate in class for a month and pay your fees, you move to the next belt on a monthly basis. This bothered me slightly until I considered what dear Mr. Clark always has to point out to me: she's 4. It's really not that big of a deal. If she does decide, at some point way down the line, that she wants to continue on with karate, or maybe move to taekwondo or whatever, she might have a big fish little pond moment, but that will just inspire her to work harder. I don't really like the idea of her not really earning the higher level belt, but, again, she's 4. Not that big of a deal.

The older kids in her karate class have been breaking boards the last week or so, and Jacelyn is chomping at the bit to do the same. Jack, who calls Jacelyn "sister", keeps telling her to wait, that he will get some smaller boards for her and the other smaller kids. She insists that she does not need the small board, that she can break a big one, but he has managed to persaude her to wait. I have not been able to go to one of her classes since the one that we watched, so I'm looking forward to going with her next week. There's no girl scouts the first Tuesday of each month, so next week I will take her to karate at 6pm instead. Woo-hoo!

There is a place in town that will make an iron-on transfer of your last name along with the name of your karate school to put on the back of your uniform. Jacelyn wants her name on her uniform really badly, but the cost is, I'm sure, outrageous. I told her that's something she can ask one for from of her many doting relatives (auntie, Uncle Joe, paw-paw). She also knows that she will not survive to live another day unless she obtains the Daisy Girl Scout uniform in its' entirety - she has the smock, but she wants the shorts and the t-shirt. Together they will cost about $25, and then soon enough I'll have to buy pants. She's about to need some warmer school uniform stuff - some pants for non-PE days and sweatpants for PE. She has a sweatshirt, but no pants. I need to get her some tights to wear under her jumper. Just the apparel costs for her schooling and activities are breaking me, not even to speak of the cost of the schooling and activities themselves. But it's all worth it, it's all worth it.

Need to do some work and drink some coffee. Later!

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

The Dirty Politics of the PTA

I'm exhausted. I spent my day off yesterday running around, constantly. Picking up groceries for the house, dropping off and picking up the kid, cooking, cleaning. And I went to my first room parent meeting. I was unsure exactly what a 'room parent' was, and I'm still not positive. There are three room parents for every grade, and the school teaches grades K4 through 8th, so there were quite a few parents there. All mothers, interestingly enough.

I was nervous, but Sister Patricia, the principal, was supposed to lead the meeting and was late, so there was time for conversation. I met some very nice people, very good-natured, very funny. I am an assistant room parent, much to my relief - I have no desire whatsoever to be in charge. The meeting opened up with a prayer, and then Sister laid down the law about class parties and school parties - when, why, what you can bring, etc.. They require healthy foods for their 'wellness curriculum', or else they lose their federal funding. I was intrigued that a private catholic school receives federal funding, but since my daughter attends said school I am grateful.

There was much made over some changes instituted by the new parish priest. If your ears burn when people talk about you, this poor man's ears must have been on fire, because there was much talk, and most of it unfavorable. Sister was quite the diplomat, and finally, after a certain point, just starting repeating, "He's the parish priest and this is his church and his school". She acknowledged the changes, and that many of them did, indeed, suck (although I'm certain she didn't actually use the word 'suck'), but said that anytime she encounters a brick wall she tries to paint it pretty.

Sister then left and turned the meeting over to the poor woman in charge of the room parents, a very nice woman who also happens to be Jacelyn's girl scout leader (I got the distinct impression that she prefers four and five year olds to room parents, and who could blame her? The kids behave better and are nicer to each other). She opened a discussion about teacher birthdays that turned into the biggest and most ridiculous hullabaloo I've ever seen. People were raising their voices, and stating the same thing over and over in whiny tones of voice. I was aghast. Over birthdays. The discussion had reached a fevered pitch when the bell rang and the intercom came on and the school secretary started the afternoon prayers. Everyone sort of begrudgingly crossed themselves and bowed their heads. It was a prayer of contrition, and I couldn't help but smile - surely these people would be rational after this. But I was wrong. They picked right up where they left off, complaining about mugs and cupcakes and gifts.

I had to leave to get Jacelyn, so I skipped out, slightly horrified. They are all nice people, don't get me wrong, but that was my first experience with school politics, and it has wounded me, slightly. Nothing was accomplished. It felt like one of those reality shows where there is a team of women and they manage to do nothing because they are constantly arguing amongst themselves. I kept looking around for cameras. It was kind of surreal. So I still don't know what I'm expected to do.

I do know that I want a "'06-'07 St. John's Volunteer" key chain lanyard with my name on it, so I'm going to be on my best and most helpful behaviour. Need some help? Sure! How 'bout one of those lanyards? I would even take one without my name on it. It's funny, what can drive you. I would probably never wear it, and my keys weigh about four pounds so I would certainly never put keys on it, but man, do I want one. Baaaaaad.

Oh, and also, I learned a valuable lesson about first impressions and making assumptions about people. There was a woman whom I first met last week at Jacelyn's girl scout meeting that I took an immediate dislike to. Then, working with her at the meeting and talking to her last night at Girl Scouts, I learned a lot more about her and it turns out she's a nice person with a lot to say and a lot to offer. So, lesson learned.

Now for coffee and work. I'm auditing the files our horrid billing company sent us for 2005 band rentals (see Jen the batch queen's blog), so I need lots of coffee and possibly a valium. Or a good stiff drink. And a valium.

Friday, September 15, 2006

My daughter can kick your a$$

And then she'll pray for you. My little karate queen. She's already testing for her yellow belt. She's not getting it yet, but Jack (the instructor) has been testing her every session and says she's amazingly close. He is testing her by puffing out his cheeks and telling her to do a punch combo on him, a right-left-right hook-uppercut. She's beaned him good a couple of times, made him rub his jaw. She's taking karate seriously, and wants to do well, but she is still enjoying it. And the 6:00 class makes her eat! She ate two whole pieces of pizza last night, crust and all. And then collapsed into bed and fell asleep right away. I love karate.

Last night I wouldn't let her eat until I got a plate and sat down beside her, and then told her we had to pray. She promptly crossed herself, watched me to make sure I did the same, stopped to criticize my crossing technique, we had to start all over, and then rattled off a blessing. It's amazing what she knows that I don't know that she knows. At breakfast there was some contention over whether or not you have to close your eyes when you pray. I thought you did, she swears you don't. I will have to wait for Clark to get to work to find out for certain. I almost made a bet with her on the subject, but betting on prayer and church tradition probably isn't the best example to set.

I'm going to get some coffee and get myself to work. I would like to take a moment to publicly thank Mr. Mike Clark, my knight in shining armor, for making it possible to drive home last night without my engine catching fire or exploding. Mad props, baby, mad props. I'm so uncool. Thank you, Mr. Clark.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Grade Level Understanding

Jacelyn brought home a progress report yesterday. It was a little chart with a list of 12 or so curriculum points: math, handwriting, etc., and three choices for each: 'working toward understanding', 'grade level understanding', and something else that I can't remember how it was phrased, something about exceeding something or another. Anyway, it was the best choice. Jacelyn got this exceeding mark for all of her subjects EXCEPT.....religion. For religion she received the 'working at grade level' mark.

I was at work when she got out of school, and when Brian and his sister discovered this 'grade level understanding' mark, Brian called me, almost in a panic. "She's only working at grade level in religion!" and "We're going to have to work on this" (which actually means, "I'm going to a car show and then back to Panama City, so you better hop on this since I'm not actually going to help, and I'm not going to offer gratitude or encouragement, I'm just going to expect the best out of both of you and complain when it doesn't go well or the way I wanted it". Yikes, I'm bitter, sorry). I actually felt a little bad myself, until the voice of reason and sanity in the form of dear Michael Clark stepped in. He reminded me that she is only 4. And she is operating at grade level, not dismally below it, or worshipping Satan or anything. And that she is only 4. How much did you know about God and religion at 4? I was soothed. All in still, I do need to put more emphasis on religion around the house. We do go to church every Sunday. But I think we're going to add in prayers before meals, and I'm going to get some books at her age level about bible stories.

I'm not going to fret about this. Honestly, it's Pre-K. It's important as an educational foundation, yes, but it's not like an 'grade-level understanding' mark in Pre-K religion is going to affect her college choices. "I'm sorry, Miss Bernardo, we would love to have you attend Harvard, but you see, you got that pesky 'grade-level understanding' mark in religion back in Pre-K, and that unfortunately makes you ineligible". No, I don't think it's earth shattering.

Jacelyn did well in her first karate class yesterday. She looks adorable in her uniform. She was actually practicing yesterday, of her own volition, no less, and the child has a mean little hook and uppercut. My baby kicks ass. Don't mess with her. And don't mess with me, or else I'll sic her on you.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Back in the blogging saddle

What a blur the past two weeks or so has been. Busy busy. Girl scouts, PTA meetings, church, family activities. To briefly recap:

Teresa's visit was enjoyable, but far too short. And I was far too busy the entire time. Our schedules never aligned - she was out of town when I was off or available, I was busy with school and church stuff when she was in town and available. This resulted in me staying up waaaay past my bedtime a few nights in an effort to spend some quality time with her. But, you take what you can get. Teresa and Jacelyn did get to spend some time together. Teresa gave Jacelyn a soft little stuffed doggy that Jacelyn has named "Jacelyn-Mommy" and sleeps with every night.

Church is going well. RCIA classes on Wednesday nights, church services Sunday mornings. We hit the 8:30 mass because Jacelyn is still kind of half asleep and therefore far better behaved. I have a new catholic study bible that my dear sponsor provided me with (thank you!) that I am enjoying. I learned and forgot the 'Hail Mary' all in one night. I had it down, too, and now I can't get past the first line.

Girl Scouts are trooping along (ha!). We are selling nuts now, very expensive canned nuts. If Jacelyn sells 6 items she gets a new patch for her smock, and it's all about the patches, baby. If you've never been in girl scouts you don't know, but it's amazing what an incentive a patch can be. To parents, even. Last night at the parent meeting half the parents weren't interested in the nut sale until they found out there was a patch involved, and then everybody signed on. The girls are working on their magenta petal, so the theme this month is 'Respect Authority'. Here's hoping that sticks. There is a tentative field trip scheduled for sometime in October to visit the Myrtle Grove Fire Station, but that is on a Saturday, and Jacelyn will be visiting the Perdido Key fire station with her class that month, so I'm not going to feel too bad about missing that one, unless, of course, there is a patch involved.

School is going well. I went to my first PTA meeting. The day of the meeting I had a curious experience - when I was dropping Jacelyn off, a teacher I have never met said, "There's our little celebrity now!" as Jacelyn got out of the car. A student took her hand to walk her off and as they closed the car door I heard another teacher say, "Good morning, little miss famous". Wha? Fame as in infamy, maybe? Why does everyone know my child? I found out at the PTA meeting. The third grade class produced a five minute video in which Jacelyn was interviewed. They showed the video at the PTA meeting, and Jacelyn was adorable. You put a camera in front of the child and she turns it on (I don't know where she gets that from, certainly not me). She was being all cute, and her responses to the kids questions were funny. Her favorite food is broccoli. That never ceases to amuse and amaze. Her teachers were both very complimentary. They said she draws very well, with great focus. If told to draw a tree, you know that what she has drawn is a tree. That she is a well behaved, polite child who listens well (Huh? who? my daughter?) and follows directions well and is a pleasure to have in class. And is, of course, very smart. I ate it up. She's doing well there, and I'm really pleased with her and the school.

There was much discussion as to the emphasis placed on critical thinking skills and responsibility, which is cool. And within her class, they are following their planned curriculum but also moving at a pace dictated by the kids. With a small class of bright kids, they are moving faster than anticipated. They are also letting the kids guide some of the curriculum - they introduced days of the week earlier than planned, at the request of the children.

Jacelyn is adding one more activity to her schedule, and then we are done. She is taking up karate. We stopped by to watch a class, which she watched for a good hour, and then the instructor let her try jumping the way the boys in the class were. She was actually pretty good at it. During the course of the class we watched she kept turning to me and saying, "I like this, mommy". After the jumping, she was smitten: "I really, really like this, mommy". So we signed on. She can go to as many classes as she wants to in a week, and there are four classes in her age group per week. I am at work during all the scheduled times, so Brian's family will end up taking her most of the time, but they are very excited about it. Today will be her first class, in uniform and participating, and Brian is in town, so he's going to take her. I think it will be good for the two of them. She's got the little uniform and the white belt. She already has designs on a colored belt: "I want a yellow belt". I told her she had to work hard and do certain things to achieve that, and she said, "Oh, I'll do it". And I think she probably will. She can be a focused little child, when she wants to be. When it's her idea.

Well, I need some coffee and to get some work done, so I'm out. But that's what has been happening. That was long, sorry.

Monday, August 28, 2006

You know you're in the south when....

You have three events on your schedule and they all require you to bring a covered dish. Ha! Since the start of school life has become crazed. This past week, Jacelyn had Daisies on Tuesday, I had church on Wednesday (RCIA, catholic classes, basically), then I went to a Mary Kay party on Thursday (and hung out with no less than three middle school band directors), and a friend's birthday party on Friday. This week is a little slower: Daisies on Tuesday, church Wednesday, fish fry and drunkenness Thursday. Stress factor this week: food. I have to supply the snacks for the troop and their families for the big ceremony Tuesday night, snacks for the group at church Wednesday, and something for the fish fry Thursday. I know only what I will make for Wednesday: cookies. Other than that, I'm at a loss. Thankfully, I'm off on Tuesdays, so that will allow me to drop Jacelyn off at school, rush back to the house and cut the grass, then do some cleaning, then I can run to the store and get what I need for the Daisy ceremony (I'm thinking fruit tray and cookies - something for everybody!) and to make the cookies. Then I can pick up Jacelyn from school, finish my cleaning, rush off to the ceremony/meeting, and at some point try to figure out how I will join up with Jen to pick up Teresa. Urg.

The following week is a little better - no girl scouts the first week of the month, but there is church on Wednesday, and then my first PTA meeting on Thursday. At some point during the PTA meeting I will find out about my room parent assignments, so that will shut down some of my Tuesdays.

I'm busy! I feel like I never stop. Get up at the butt-crack of dawn, get myself ready, get up Jacelyn, get her ready, drop her off at school, off to work. Work the morning, then pick up Jacelyn and drop her off at Michelle's and head back to work (usually eating in the car). Or, if someone else if picking her up, I take a calming little breather at lunch time, which is nice. Then off work and to home. Coerce Jacelyn into eating dinner, eat some dinner myself, clean the kitchen. By that time it's eight o'clock and time for Jacelyn's bath and bedtime. Stories, kisses, then it's out with the trash, refill the drinks in the fridge, clean, wash clothes, run any errands, make lunch for the next day, lay out clothes and backpacks, and then fall into bed for twenty minutes of reading before falling asleep. Sigh. And that's on a night that we don't have an activity of some sort. It's nothing every other mother in the world doesn't do, and most other mothers do it with multiple children, so I actually have it pretty good, I know, but I just have to get used to it. And I will.

I miss lazy days! But, Jacelyn is growing up, so I guess I have to, too. Oh well. Got to do that sometime! But right now, number one on my priority list is coffee. It's 8:30, and I've been up since 5:15 and have not had coffee yet. That's probably why this particular blog entry is less than good-natured. I'll try to do better with some caffeine in my system. I'm out!

Saturday, August 26, 2006

Topless Blogging

It was pouring out this morning. I emerged from the shower this morning and heard the rain and just sighed. It's good for us, and we needed it, but yikes. I got dressed, and opened the front door. Puddles, everywhere, and pouring rain. I decided to grab my purse and work bag and load them in the car, saving Jacelyn for last. So I did, getting soaked in the process. Thankfully, after grabbing Jacelyn, the rain had subsided to a sprinkle, so she was mostly unscathed. We started heading towards Michelle's house, and the bottom fell out. Pouring rain, driving rain, so hard you couldn't see ten feet in front of you.

Once at Michelle's, I parked and idled for a few minutes, hoping for a brief respite so I could get Jacelyn into the house without getting soaked, as I already was. No such luck, so I curled her up, stuck her underneath my cleavage, bent over her, and made a run for it. She actually stayed mostly dry. I, however, was soaked, especially my back. Jacelyn safely delivered, I turned onto 98, where, despite pouring rain, low visibility and the right lane being almost entirely flooded, people were still going about 70MPH. 98 wasn't too bad, but Navy Boulevard? Yikes. The right lane was entirely flooded, and in some places the entire road was under a few inches of water. It was like a slalom, trying to correctly decipher which lane to be in at any particular moment to avoid the enormous puddles. There was about 50 feet of road around W street that was deeply flooded, and I had a couple of panicky moments trying to cross.

I finally arrived at work, where you could see sunshine peeking through to the south, and the rain had subsided to a drizzle. I rolled my window down and took a couple of deep breaths. I really felt slightly traumatized, it was horrible. I finally decide to gather my stuff up and head inside, and how does the weather respond? With one last burst of downpour, soaking me again. I had been sloshing around in the seat already, and now I was officially soaking wet.

I got inside and stood there for a moment, taking stock. My hair is soaked, my underpants are soaked. My pants are wet, but they're a cheap polyester, so they'll dry quickly. My 100% cotton shirt? Soaking wet, especially the back. And now stretched out to three times its' regular size. And inside, with AC, I was freezing. I went into the bathroom and peeled the shirt off, and I have decided to leave it off until the last possible moment. So I am blogging topless. I do have a bra on, but am still attired in a most innappropriate manner. Luckily no one shows up until late on Saturday mornings, and we have chimes on all the doors, so that gives me a couple of minutes to run off to the ladies room and get dressed.

I'm cold, and I've been sneezing, and just generally feeling sorry for myself. So I'm going to go get a cup of coffee and sniffle and have a pity party for one. Woe as me. I'm out, to warm up and eventually put all my clothes back on. Sigh. I'm glad this is Saturday.

Friday, August 25, 2006

Ants in my Car

Yes, there are ants in my car. Now, before you think and/or say anything, I'm aware of the fact that my car has always been a horrid mess. The irony here is that the ant activity has occurred SINCE I CLEANED IT AND HAVE BEEN KEEPING IT CLEAN. Maybe it's some sort of clutter-based karma, I don't know. I first discovered the ants living happily in the side skirt of the car, on the passenger side, where, of course, Jacelyn sits in her car seat. They didn't foray into the car itself, they just lived happily in the undercarriage, occasionally emerging onto the door panel, running busily back and forth. I was chagrined. I thought I had managed to rid myself of them when unbeknownst to me, Jacelyn dropped a animal cracker and empty juice box onto the floorboard. Tuesday evening when we went to the car to leave for our Daisy meeting the ants were teeming into the passenger seat floorboard in droves. Droves! I was horrified, removed the cookie and juice box, scraped most of the ants out, put Jacelyn in the front seat with a prayer and went on our way (the meeting is only a few blocks away).

At the meeting I told the other moms about the ants, probably insuring that I will never, ever drive for a field trip, but that's not necessarily a bad thing. When I got home I sprayed ant poison where they were living. That seemed to be that.

Fast forward to last night: Michelle and I went to a Mary Kay party (food was good, the skin care products were good, the foundation the woman gave me was YELLOW. She asked me how the mascara she coerced me into putting on felt and I actually said, "I can feel it on my eyes and want to claw it off", and a couple of the other guests agreed with me, it was a wonderful moment of female bonding). Our host gave us a bag of wonderful homemade mint-chocolate chip cookies to take home with us. I threw all my stuff in the backseat for the drive home, and when we got home forgot the cookies. I'm sure you can guess what happened next....more ants! That I discovered this morning, when I was putting our stuff in the car. Thankfully we were running a little early, so after a removing the cookies I sprayed the smallest dose of ant poison I could get away with and then left all the doors open and ran the vent as high as it could go on the fresh air setting to try and air out the car.

As late as humanly possible I put Jacelyn in her seat. She complained of a headache on the way to school and I knew, just knew, that I had poisoned her with the ant spray. She was fine once we got to school. I guess I'm going to have to detail the interior of the car with a fine tooth comb to fully rid myself of the little bastards. Sigh. If I would just cut the grass I might not have this problem. I think, because I have to park in the grass and the grass gets tall really quickly this time of year, they are climbing up via that damned bahia grass and settling in the car. So I guess my weekend holds yard work. Damn. Oh, and just so you know, neither Jacelyn or I have received a single bite from our little traveling companions. They seem content to leave us be, but I can't take the chance.

Teresa will be here soon! Hooray!

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Four Things (Thanks, TX Jen!)

Here we go:

Four jobs I wish I had the capabilities of:

1. Massage/Reflexology therapist: because I could help people to feel better. And it would be cool.
2. Yoga instructor: I love yoga. It's like taking a nap, only you're awake. You feel like you could float away after a good yoga session. Yoga is good, and makes people feel good.
3. Acupuncturist: see above. Hating drugs the way I do (the prescription kind, anyway, har-har) I dig alternative therapies (I'm such a hippie sometimes).
4. Chiropractor: see above. Chiropractors are genuises.

Four names I wish I had other than my own:
1. I've never thought about this
2. Viola (ha!)
3. Lucy, because then people could say, "Oh Luuuuuuuuuuuuuuuu-cyyyyyyyyyyyyyy"
4. ?

Four of my favorite actresses:
1. I don't really watch TV or movies, so I'm stumped....give me a minute....
2. I can't
3. come up
4. with anyone, sorry

Four songs I could listen to over and over again:
1. "Shelter" Ray Lomontagne
2. "Waltz: Better Than Fine" Fiona Apple
3. "Multiply" Jamie Liddell
4. "Extraordinary Machine" Fiona Apple

Four TV shows I love to watch:
1. Ghost Hunters
2. Family Guy
3. The Simpsons
4. The Sopranos (if I had HBO, which I don't)

Four places I would like to go on vacation: (fear of flying = limited international travel, so these are all domestic locales)
1. Vermont
2. Alaska
3. The Grand Canyon
4. Oregon

Four of my favorite cuisines:
1. Southern
2. Cajun (southern-ish, but spicier)
3. Americanized Chinese
4. Italian

Four places I wish I was right now:
1. Sitting on the couch, reading books with Jacelyn
2. Playing outside with Jacelyn (she loves swinging)
3. Doing anything with Jacelyn
4. In my own home, with Jacelyn

Four people I tag to take this quiz:
1. Teresa
2. Bethany, maybe?
3. Mike
4. Nicole (like you don't have anything better to do, I'm sorry!)

On My Honor.....

I agreed to do some go-fer work for Jacelyn's Daisy Troop. To do that, I am going to become an 'Adult Girl Scout'. I don't know exactly what that entails - hold up, I'm going to check the website, wait one...here we go, in a nutshell:

"Adults 18 years of age or older can join Girl Scouts to serve as a mentor or speak at a Girl Scout event, volunteer in a troop or group, offer services at the council level, or simply say "I believe in the Girl Scout mission and want to show my support by becoming a member. Membership is what you make it. Pitch in your expertise or build a skill you've always wanted to develop. Speak any foreign languages? Dabble in Web design? Your Girl Scout council needs your talent! You can spend an hour, a day, or more, depending on your schedule. We're looking for members who believe in girls and volunteers who represent the diversity of the world we live inĂ‚—women, men, young adults, senior citizens, people of all racial and ethnic backgrounds, and of course our treasured Alumnae."

The purpose of this, according to Jacelyn's troop leaders, is so that I will be covered by the Girl Scout Council's liability insurance. Ha! And, I am a 'treasured alumnae'. Ha! Funny stuff. I helped out at the meeting last night some, and gabbed with the other mothers there the rest of the time.

I heard some church and school related gossip that left me slightly chagrined. I have been living in a blissfully ignorant bubble, apparently. There was discussion about the principal, whom I have never had a problem with. The consensus on her seemed to be that "you have to take what she says with a grain of salt". Ok, but what does that mean? Isn't she probably busy with running the school, and then day-to-day operations and financial stuff and the like? Or am Icommittingg a first time school parent blunder by trusting this woman? It's not like she's going to sell off my daughter. I've decided not to worry about it, and not to let the talk get to me or change my opinions. I'll decide for myself, through further dealings. There was also some talk about the parish priest - some comments about the church and school declining since he took over, among other things. People were discussing moving their membership and whatnot. I just listened and again, decided to formulate opinions on my own. Sigh.

Jacelyn has her ceremony next week that makes her an official Daisy. The girls and the leaders will make a big flower, like the one on their smocks, out of construction paper. Each petal has a meaning, each girl gets a petal, and as they put their petal on the flower they say the meaning. In Jacelyn's case, she has the purple petal, which means "respect myself and others". She has some trouble with the word respect and always ends up saying, "Affect myself and others" but hey, we've got a week to work on it.

School has been going well. We had a small lunch eating crisis, in that she wasn't eating lunch, but I spoke with her teacher the other day about it and it has since cleared up. They wouldn't let her have seconds at snack time, and lo and behold, she ate all her lunch. Mrs. May, whom I love, saw me when she opened the classroom door yesterday and said, "Oh, we had a much better day". I immediately thought she was referring to a behavior issue I wasn't aware of and panicked slightly, but then I remembered the lunch thing and relaxed. She didn't only eat it all, she almost licked it clean. On a funny lunch related note, there is a little girl in Jacelyn's Daisy troop named Gracie. Jacelyn insists on calling her "Greasy", which is funny and horrifying all at once. I was talking to Gracie's mother about the lunch issue with Jacelyn, and she told me she had sent some pudding in Gracie's lunch that day, which she didn't finish, and so she put the opened pudding cup back in her lunchbox, to slosh around for the rest of the day. So when her mom opened her lunchbox to clean it out, everything was coated with pudding. Ha! It will only be a matter of time before Jacelyn does this, I'm certain, so I really shouldn't laugh.

I'm sure I've bored you all to tears with all this mommy talk, so I'll sign off. But we're doing well and having fun and we can't wait to see Teresa next week! Yay!

Monday, August 21, 2006

TGTWO: Thank God the Weekend's Over

Hmm, I don't think that will catch on, and no one will name a restaurant after that particular anagram, but it's how I feel, nonetheless. Oy, what a couple of days. I won't go into detail; suffice it to say that it was long and bad. Culminating in a bad Sunday night, which always makes you wonder what the rest of the upcoming week will be like and whether you should just stay in bed.

Living with your own family, you encounter snippiness and angst, annoyance, the gamut of family emotions. That being said, when it's your family, you can snip back. "Get over yourself" or "If you're going to be angry, go do it elsewhere" comes to mind. When it's your in-laws, there are different rules. Yesterday the Bernardos were in rare form. Subtly cutting each other down, alternately yelling at each other and then ignoring each other. Finding little ways of pushing buttons. Maybe they didn't get enough sleep, I don't know. Brian agreed to run to the grocery store to get some meat to grill and then sat on the sofa, perusing the newspaper, knowing full well it was driving his mother insane. Brian's mother was barking orders at Michelle for the craziest things, knowing it was driving MIchelle crazy. Brian's dad would hide away and then emerge, cranky and out for blood, to yell at Joe to get his feet off the table, to get his hands out of the bag of pistachios, whatever. And who else bore the brunt of their anger and annoyance? Poor Jacelyn. I think she was actually relieved when I announced bed time.

When I was putting her to bed, she got teary, which has been occurring more and more frequently lately. She said she didn't want to nap at school, which we have been through a million times. We discussed it again; then the truth emerged: she has gotten in trouble twice during nap time. Once for talking, and the teacher moved her mat away from everyone else, and another time for standing up to fix her blanket. She asked if I could go to school with her, and I said no. She said she misses me when she is at school; I told her I miss her while I'm at work. She asked if her daddy could go to school with her; I told her no, he had to go back home so he could go to work. She cried a little harder. She then said she misses Nikki (a friend of ours). I told her she would probably see Nikki soon, and she cried harder and said, "No, Ms. Nikki is probably gone forever". I assured her that was not the case, and she said, "Everybody always leaves me". I was DEVASTATED.

After she was in bed, the announcement was made that dinner was ready. Brian grilled some hamburgers and boneless beef ribs. Brian's mother announced that her ribs were not done enough and made Brian's father stop eating to cook them some more. Brian was annoyed; his father was annoyed. Michelle made Joe get up to check his laundry, he was annoyed. Michelle went after him to make sure he did it right, annoying him further. After eating, Michelle followed me outside as I was taking out the trash and complained about Joe, and how she is purposely not cleaning her tub to see how long it will take him to clean it himself or to ask her to clean it, how he doesn't help around the house and she shouldn't have to ask him and he never takes her anywhere or buys her anything and so on (and on and on and on). I was weary by that point, of all their digs at each other and drama and games and just exhausted by how unhappy they all were. So I did what any caring daughter-in-law would do: I went to bed.

But it's over now. Brian is back in PC, Jacelyn is in school, Joe is at work, I'm at work and I have a brief respite from them. I'm sure what they do isn't any different from any other family, but it's different when it's not your family. As I said earlier, when it's your family, you can ignore it, because you've been doing so for years, or you can tell them to shut up, or whatever. Sigh. Oh well. It will get better. Or something. I'm going to get to work. Happy Monday!

Friday, August 18, 2006

Doing Alright

Well, another week has passed. Jacelyn is still on a good behavior streak - she has received all green smiley faces this week. There's still today, of course, they day is yet young and whatnot, but I think she'll do fine. She seems to really be taking to everything. Except lunch, of all things. Her worst subject is lunch. She hasn't eaten hardly anything I've provided her with for lunch. And I've been experimenting, trying different foods. Even stuff that she likes, foods that you can almost guarantee she will eat, still comes home almost untouched. She hardly eats anything for breakfast, she barely eats lunch. I don't know how the child maintains energy to play or even just stand up. I mean, her tummy is small, I get that, but she's barely eating anything. I think I have some ideas. Yesterday after school we stopped by Michelle's. Michelle offered her something to eat, and she said "I want 10 pizza rolls". Which she got, and ate. And then ate a big-ass oatmeal sandwich cookie. I was playing the role of observer yesterday, just laying low and watching the goings-on. I think the problem is a lack of structure. Among other things I won't get into right now. I think she needs to realize that if she doesn't eat breakfast (perfect example: this morning, she ate the top of a mini-muffin-just the top-maybe three bites, and that's all she ate) she's going to be hungry. And if she doesn't eat lunch, she's going to get sick. They have a snack at school, so that probably provides some sustenance, but I'm still concerned.

The difference between my thoughts on the subject and the Bernardo school of thought is this: I think it's a problem that needs to be solved at home, whereas the Bernardos seem to think that this is a problem the teachers need to address. I think with some gentle encouragement at home (read: stern lectures and appropriate punishments) combined with her getting used to the school day schedule and the limited time for eating. Sigh. I hope so, anyway. Other than the eating, everything is shipshape for Jacelyn. Big girl.

Teresa's coming soon! Hooray!

And to Steven: should you read this, or someone should pass it on to you: We do, indeed, have much catching up to do, so you better show, dude. I can't wait to see you! Hooray!

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Stressed-Out Kiddos

Sister Jen recently posted here about Cam being stressed out before school. I've gone through this once or twice with Jacelyn, especially when she's wound up because there are people at the house, or her daddy is home, or whatever. Our secret? Massage. We read a story or two (currently 'Hop on Pop' and 'The Grinch Meets His Max' are on heaviest rotation, although she's also very fond of 'If Cats and Dogs Were Dinosaurs'), say goodnight, then I turn off the light, bust out the lavender baby lotion, and give her a good rub down. She giggles like a fiend sometimes, sometimes she just says "Yeah, yeah, that's good, mommy". Either way, by the time we're done, she's a limp little monkey and ready to go off to sleep. Although I am having to use 'mommy's magic sleep egg', an imaginary egg with sleepy goo inside that I break on top of her head, and then run my fingers down her face like the sleepy goo. Very scientific.

That's my only suggestion, and that works for us, but different strokes for different folks. Peppermint is supposed to be helpful for stomach ailments, maybe try it one night with some peppermint oil or lotion? Good luck!

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

My Girl Scout

Yes, I've done it. I've signed my innocent baby up for girl scouting. She is old enough to be a Daisy. These are the Daisy uniforms:



The flower in the center is the patches that they earn. See below, from the Girl Scout website:

Daisy Girl Scout Promise Center and Learning Petals
The Daisy Girl Scout Promise Center, which is earned first, is placed in the center of the front of the Daisy Girl Scout tunic.
Each of the petals is then placed around the Center, in the order a girl chooses. The Center and Learning Petals represent the different parts of the Girl Scout Promise and Law.
The Promise Center is Daisy blue. The Learning Petals are:
Light blue for honest and fair
Yellow for friendly and helpful
Spring green for considerate and caring
Red for courageous and strong
Orange for responsible for what to say and do
Purple for respect myself and others
Magenta for respect authority
Green for use resources wisely
Rose for make the world a better place
Violet for be a sister to every Girl Scout.

Cute, huh? I'll let you know how it goes.

Hey Laaaaaaaa-dies....

I call McGuire's night, I call McGuire's night! Teresa will be in town soon, and that requires, by I believe some sort of Florida legislation recently enacted, that we go to McGuire's. Hey, it's not me, it's the law. So start planning now - let's get this date on the calender. Come on, people! This is important bonding!

Saturday, August 12, 2006

TGIF: It's the Weekend!

Yesterday I was off a half day (A whole half day! I didn't know what to do with myself! I hate band season!). I got up with Jacelyn, and while trying to wheedle her into eating her breakfast Michelle calls. She wanted to know if she could go with us. She has gone with Brian every day to pick Jacelyn up but had not yet seen the morning routine. We agreed, so after wheedling half an English muffin into Jacelyn, I got her dressed and we went and picked up Michelle. On the drive to school I Michelle asked Jacelyn if she could walk her to her class, and Jacelyn was aghast and said no, she wanted to be dropped off and have the boy hold her hand. It was my turn to be aghast: she's in this for the boys? So I asked her what if a girl helped her out of the car. She was silent, mulling it over. Finally I asked her if that would be ok with her, and after another moment's thought, she said, "Yeah, I guess". Great.

We pulled into the carpool line, and to my glee it was a girl who helped her out of the car. Jacelyn walked off, looking slightly disappointed, and Michelle and I went off to have breakfast at Hardee's (the ultimate omelet biscuit: stomachache in a cheese-encrusted wrapper).

I spent my morning doing stuff around the house: cutting grass, picking up. When it was time to pick her up I went with Brian. The K4 kids seem to explode out of class. Jacelyn got in the car and handed over her backpack. I checked her daily report and for the third consecutive day she had a green smiley face! Hooray! (they have a traffic light behavior report: green, yellow, and red). She had four worksheets that she had done that day, an application for information on the local girl scout troop, which I'm filling out and sending in (she's old enough to be a Daisy!), and a list of the names of the kids in her class. Arianna, Adrian, two Emily's, Fisher, Donovan, Jackie, Margaret, and two other kids whose names I can't remember. And of course, Jacelyn.

I asked her how her day was; she said fine. I asked her what her favorite part of the day was, and she said the Dora pretzels at snack time. There was some gossip: Fisher hit Margaret on the arm, she said, and Margaret called him a bad boy and told the teacher. Fisher spent some time in the corner and, Jacelyn reported, a fearful look on her face, Mrs. Myers called his mommy. Da-da-daaaaaaaa! The fear of the phone call. It's a beautiful thing. I assured her that we know that she is a very good girl and Mrs. Myers will never have to call us because she did something bad. She nodded and agreed. Here's hoping!

The weird thing, for me, is her talking about these kids that I don't know. Up to this point in her life, her circle of acquaintances has been small, too small, really, and I've known them all. Suddenly, she knows people I don't. I'm glad for her, don't get me wrong, but it's strange to hear her talk about these kids. There's so much I want to know: are they nice to her? Do they talk to her, or is she sitting forlorn in a corner somewhere, eating her Dora pretzels, her face damp with lonely tears? I know it's not that bad, I'm kidding, but I do wonder. I would kill to be a fly on the wall. Or I need a Sunny, like Jen has, someone on the inside. Or a webcam and an internet feed. That would be awesome. But a huge invasion of her privacy, so I wouldn't go there.

So our first partial week of school went well. Jacelyn was actually a little disappointed that she doesn't go to school this weekend, although I'm sure that will pass. She has been on half days this week, and she has one more half day Monday (7:45 to 11:30) before they go to full days, 7:45 to 2:30. I'm feeling really good about the whole private school thing. We're paying for this, but it's really turning out to be worth it. The staff is wonderful (two teachers in a class of eleven? That's freaking awesome!), she's actually learning stuff. I discovered Powerschool yesterday, an internet program that shows each student's attendance, grades, teacher notes, school calendar, assignments, school announcements....the only thing it doesn't have is an internet feed. So I'm feeling pretty good about everything. Here's hoping that lasts.