Thursday, September 27, 2007

What's in a name?

As new parents, there were few decisions we fretted over more than the naming of our children. We were convinced that our baby's name would determine who he was, how people perceived him - it would dictate his future. A name, essentially, could make or break our child's life. No pressure.

To further complicate matters, both my husband and I were teachers. This meant that based on our experiences we had certain qualities attached to names* that otherwise would have been wonderful.

"How about Hercules?"
"Hmm....Xena's pretty."
"Too bossy."

And so forth and so on. In the end, we chose a Celtic name for our son that was somewhat unusual(it warranted a few raised eyebrows from the more traditional members of the family). We did worry that we'd doomed him to a life of mispronunciations and corrections, but as he grows we couldn't imagine him being anyone else. And, in a way, we were right. While he has the ability to dictate his own future, his name is an integral part of who he's become.

To that point, our amazing nine-year-old boy brought this poem home yesterday. He gave me permission to share it with you.

My name is C------
It flows like silk on the wind.
It's crisp and fresh like watermelon
or an autumn day.
It's red and green
like a bird of paradise.
It's spicy like Hot Tamales
and sweet like Twix.
It looks like an outline
in the fog.
All of these things
fit into this uncommon name
that belongs to me.
My name is C------.


*For the record, we did not actually consider the names Hercules, Xena and Zeus. I chose these extreme examples so as not to offend anyone. My apologies if your child has any one of these names....I'm sure he or she is a lovely child who exhibits none of these traits.

Sunday, September 23, 2007


5:30 Awakened by the nine-year-old, who on a weekday moans like a zombie when I DRAG him out of bed at 7:15.

7:30 - 10:00 - Aimlessly surfed the net

10:01 - Refused nine-year-old access to computer, because too much screen time is very, very bad for him.

10:02 - 11:00 - Surfed some more

11:00 - Considered running. Too hot. Ate yummy pastries instead (Thank you, mom). Will run tomorrow. Unless it's too hot again...or something comes up...or if it's a day that ends in "y".

12:00 - Washed dog. Came to a sad realization that dog smelled better than rug.

2:00 - Went to Walmart to purchase rug cleaner and new bike helmet for 5-year-old.

2:15 - Went into shock shopping for bike helmet, which costs as much a trip to the emergency room for head trauma. Weighed options. Decided to go with my legal obligations and purchased said helmet.

2:27 - Left the big blue box forgetting rug cleaner, but spending $60 on stuff I don't need.

3:00 - Purchased first pumpkins of the season. Imagining all the cute things Martha Stewart does with her pumpkins.

3:15 - Piled pumpkins on kitchen counter next to toilet paper and ant traps.

5:30 - Planned exquisite dinner.

5:45 - Threw some Cheez-its in a bowl, popped in a movie and decided to write.

6:40 - Posting.

Friday, September 21, 2007

Picture This...

and....I'm back.

It's picture day today at school! What I love most about picture day is the certainty of it all. You see, I know on picture day two things are SURE to happen.

1) A child will loose a tooth the day before pictures are to be taken, thereby looking like one has just stumbled into her picture session from a bar fight. Put a beehive wig on my five year old right now and she could be Amy Winehouse post-rehab. Fortunately, and I kid you not, our school photographer now offers "retouching" for a $10 fee. (Of course, I just took the kids for their botox, so that probably won't be necessary.)

2) The other thing that's bound to happen is that I will forget it's picture day. Write it on the calendar, read the reminder notes from school - do everything imaginable to remember, and I will still forget.

Now this second inevitability has several ripple effects. Forgetting it's picture day will mean that I've forgotten to do laundry which means that my children will either be going to school in grocery bags or their Communion clothes. Seeing as we're Unitarians, our choices are reduced to paper or plastic.

Second, as was the case this morning, forgetting that it's picture day means I've lost motivation to remember to order more checks. (For those of you who have not yet entered the delightful realm of school pictures - you have to pay in advance. Because they know that your child looks like she just got into a bar fight and it's very likely you might not want to buy these photos after all of their hard work and they just don't roll that way.)

So, I'm left with ONE check in my checkbook and the Sophie's Choice of school pictures. The instructions are very clear - I CANNOT combine payments if I have more than one child at said school. Nor am I willing to write down my credit card number on the order form. Not that I don't trust people, but if I was a photog's assistant and had just spent 12 hours convincing runny-nosed kids to sit still and smile all for 8.50 an hour, those numbers would be lookin' pretty good to me.

As all things usually do, it all worked out in the end. I got out my pitchfork and dug up two respectable outfits from the laundry pile, forged my husband's signature on a couple of his checks from the account he uses to pay his grad school bills, and biked my kids to school where they ran to join the rest of the impeccably groomed children getting filthy on the playground.

It's all worth it knowing we will have photographic memories of these golden times forever.


Tuesday, September 11, 2007

An Open Love Letter to my Blog

My Dearest Blog....

I'm writing to you under the cover of darkness, for fear our secret may be discovered. I believe my husband is becoming suspicious of our love affair. I know it's wrong, but I just can't help myself. You're all I think about. I know, I know, we agreed at the beginning that this would just be a casual thing - a summer fling -no expectations - but it's become so much more. When I'm not with you, I'm thinking, " I wonder what blog's doing right now?" If someone tells a funny joke at a party, I can't wait to run home and share it with you. You make me want to be a better blogger. You complete me.

These past two weeks (HIDDEN BLOG MESSAGE) without internet have been hell. Try as I might to resist, I find myself driving around my neighborhood late at night searching for a signal. I know you feel neglected, but how can I possibly write under such duress? You deserve better.

It feels like an eternity, but it's only two more short days (SECOND HIDDEN BLOG MESSAGE) until Friday, September 14th when we begin service with our new provider and we will be reunited.

Counting the moments until then.

Beta Mom

Monday, September 3, 2007

They don't call it labor 'cause it's easy.....

From time to time, I see those juicy little news bits that tell us how much moms (and dads!) would make in income if they were paid for all that they do. These figures come from totaling up the estimated salaries of chefs, chauffeurs, housekeepers, personal assistants, etc.

Personally, I think these lists only cover the tip of the parental iceberg. We switch gears 100 times a day, performing countless tasks that require a wide range of skills. Here, in no particular order, are just a few of the overlooked jobs I think should be calculated into the total sum:

Manicurist/Pedicurist – 35,000/yr
Come on, now…how many toenails have you cut in your house that aren’t yours? I think extra “tip money” should be counted in for anyone who cuts:
Baby nails
Squirming toddler nails
35 year-old husband nails (This is not the case in our house, but I’ve heard stories…oh yes, I’ve heard stories.)

Exterminator – 55,000/yr
Over the years, we’ve removed from our house: ants, flies, spiders, baby snakes, bats, crickets, squirrels and a beagle (he ran into the wrong house – add “dog whisperer” to our list).

Plumber – 90,000/yr
Not only are we continually fishing things out of the drain, but we’re always showing crack bending down and picking up after our kids.

Anesthesiologist - 350,000/yr
This scenario involves a hyperactive toddler and a bottle of Benadryl. For legal reasons, I won’t go into details. (Okay, I’m kidding, but we’ve all thought it.)

Prostitute – Salary commensurate with experience.
Who hasn’t taken one for the team when they’re not in the mood?
(Dads, while I’m trying to be gender-equal I’m not sure this applies to you…you kinda HAVE to be in the mood…right?…if you know what I mean? Otherwise how could you….you know? Never mind -this whole thing is making me very uncomfortable….I’m moving on.)

Magician – 10/yr – 20,000,000/yr
Watch boys and girls as I make an entire four-course meal appear out of thin air, while magically balancing this budget! Oooohhhhhh….Aaaaahhhhhhhh

Mafioso – I’m not really sure how to figure out salary for this one, but it must be pretty good to afford all of those suits.
The buck stops here. We lay down the law in our house – nothing gets past us. We wheel and deal, we negotiate and bargain, we bribe and extort, and if a particular toy is making us crazy, we can arrange an “unfortunate accident”.

And more….so much more. So here's to all of us and our many jobs we do - have a great Labor Day!