Thursday, September 27, 2007

Yer Cacklin' Now

Ok. In the last few weeks, a number of you have sent me emails with wonderful commentary, but have expressed regret that you couldn't write your thoughts on my blog somewhere.

Alas, my dear readers, you can!

For those of you that are not intimately acquainted with the blog world, here is a valuable piece of information. On the bottom of each post is a link titled, "Cacklin' Comments." Click on it and go wild! And you can peek at what other people said too! Voyeurism and self-expression all in one place.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Metamorphosis of Moods

Nicky has blossomed. Literally. In the last month or so, his repertoire of expressions has exploded. And they are just too sweet, too goofy, too priceless for words. Have a looksy for yourself.

Look Mommy, I'm a chef! And I drive too!

Maniacal laughter as his sister is dropped off at school and he realizes he FINALLY has mommy all to himself! And this is how Nicky eats....I mean sings into the microphone.

"Hey, you tawkin' to me?!?"

If I Can Make It There....

...I'll travel with two children under 3 anywhere!

We're going home to the Big Apple tomorrow, and I can hardly contain my anxious excitement. I'm literally buzzing with eagerness to step off that plane and plant my feet on familiar ground. I can already taste the greasy, crispy "slice" from Frank's, the old pizza joint that nourished my palette and comforted my soul on many a colicky night when nerves and frustration made cooking an unbearable chore. I can hear the rolling laughter of two women brought together by marriage swapping tales over sweet Italian pastry. I can smell the bison's musty odor drifting up from the open field as I push my stroller past flowering dogwoods and up concrete stairs crumbling under the weight of more than 100 years of zoo goers. I feel the infectiousness of four small children's glee as they giggle and frolick their way through fields of browning grass and trees ablaze with color. And I already taste the creamy nuttiness of warmth shared between dearest friends over a piping cup of freshly brewed coffee.

I was not born there. I was not raised there. I never even attended school there. And yet, New York feels more like home than any place I've ever lived. It is where I left pieces of my heart one year and four months the smile of a friend so dear that I think of her as my the laughter of her children for whom I literally gave a piece of the mystique of an institution where I found my passion in love and in life...and in all the familiar sidewalks, store fronts, and thresholds where I passed into motherhood.

And while the most precious pieces of my heart, felt in the strong embrace of a friend and lover and the sweet tug of small hands eager to snuggle and play, are carried with me wherever I go, I cannot deny that a part of me was left behind. A part that keeps me from fully embracing my new home.

Time to revisit the past, collect up old memories, and bring them back to this new the hopes that it too will someday be, "home."

Oh, and along the way I'll be toting blankies, Cinderella, Eeyore, Thomas the Tank Engine, Curious George, and a whole host of other itmes deemed necessary for survival in the eyes of my dear babes. I love them, but man do they need to learn how to pack a LOT lighter!

"Tawk" to ya's soon.

Monday, September 24, 2007

The Road Not Travelled

It's late. And I'm up. Again. Insomnia. Used to be the kids kept me up. Breastfeeding and all that. Now it's just me keeping me up...which, for the past few days anyway, has been convenient since they both have colds and end up crying out for me or waking up in a coughing fit anyway. At least this way, I'm not roused out of a blissfully peaceful sleep. But operating on 4 or 5 hours of sleep per day isn't good either, and just might explain why I can't seem to shake my own cold.

So what gives? Why the late night bursts of energy spent wasting time in front of a computer screen, giving into the compulsion to Google the names of just about every person I've ever known? Somethin's brewin, but I can't put my finger on it. There are hints of past ills revisited and yet unresolved with just a touch of present day anxiety over where life is taking me. Just today I was telling Doug how I'm feeling, "lost," a bit like everyone else has figured themselves out, and I'm still bumbling through life letting things happen to me. Seems that most days recently I feel more like a passenger in my own life than the driver, or perhaps an least where the kids and household are concerned. They and it move right along without a hitch. But me. My life. My drive. It's there. I feel it. But it's so obscured by the fog of daily life that I can't seem to find my way to it. And frankly, I'm not even sure where to start looking. Somewhere along the way, I got married, had kids, bought a house, etc., all things I've always wanted. And yet, lately, I can't seem to find myself in it all. I think in taking the time to build lives for my family, I forgot to maintain and build on my own. So tell me, when you find yourself in the midst of everything you've ever wanted feeling, "lost," how do you find your way back?

(yawn) Oh well. In the meantime, I should put the insomnia to good use and start a business where I hire myself out to take care of other people's children who are up all night with various ills so mommy and daddy can sleep. After last year's month and a half long teething/cold/flu/stomach virus season, I'm more than qualified.

nite nites.

Sunday, September 23, 2007


I forgot to mention in the previous post a very important piece of information with regard to Emma's first trip to the dentist going so smoothly....she went with Doug and I two weeks earlier and was able to watch us in the chair. And while she was in the waiting room with whoever was not in the chair at the time, she had plenty of her toys from home to play with. It made a HUGE much so that when we got to the dentist this time she asked, "Mommy, when are we going to play at the dentist?"

I highly recommend taking your preschooler for a test run when you have your next dentist appointment. Just make sure you've been keeping up with the pearly whites beforehand, you wouldn't want the wee one to see the painful visit my husband had to endure.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

With Each Passing Year....

...comes new responsibilities. In this 3rd year of life, Emma has taken on the responsibility of oral health. Well, ok. Who are we kidding. It's been my job since the first tooth came in, and I'm still doing all the work. When she says, "Ok. My turn with the toofbrush, Mommy." What that really means is, "Let me tickle my tongue with the bristles for 15 seconds, and we'll call that brushing my teeth." Lucky for me, she's never been resistant to my brushing, flossing....yes....flossing (almost every night I might add), or otherwise messing with her teeth. Nope, no squeamishness about oral hygiene here. So, I figured her first trip to the dentist would go smoothly, and let me tell did!

See for yourself.

Flashing the pearly whites in the waiting room, getting to know the wonderful hygienist Kathryn, and getting her teeth polished. Emma LOVED Kathryn. She was sweet, gentle, funny, and all the right things an adult in a potentially frightening place should be to make a wide-eyed 3 year old feel at ease. Emma NEVER took her eyes of Kathryn the entire time she was in the chair.

Look at her eyes....on the hygienist. I'm telling you, the kid was riveted. Finally, Dr. Engel, with the same goofy, gentle, sensitive chair-side manner that Kathryn employed (there's something in the water in this place..."nice ice" or something), checked out her teeth and assured me that we were in for some, "Ortho work on the bottom." Great. And of course, a great trip to the dentist, complete with Piglet toothbrush and oral hygiene education on the dangers of "sugar bugs", wouldn't be complete without celebrating with a big, fat, sugary donut.

C'mon...the kid flosses DAILY at 3. How many of you can say that? The least I could do is give her a donut.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

The Princess and the Peas

She's 3. We did it. And it's only now that I realize my delay in posting was really a feeble attempt at denial. She's 3. There's no stopping it. And each new stage brings with it new wonderment, new challenges, immense joy, and a bit of heartache for lost days.

And her day was perfect.

For all the fretting I did (and Amanda, I know you get this more than most), she matched my anxiety with greater enthusiasm and joy. It's all I could've wished for.

So, she's 3 now. She's no longer my little "boo baby", she's a full grown princess...

...but she still hates peas. And I relish the constancy of these small idiosyncrasies that make my beautiful, beloved Emma all mine.

180 Degrees

I'm not sure when it happened....or how, but it did.

Was it the birthday photos I mulled over during my insomnious late night ritual, Staring into the eyes of a little girl who made me what I am today? Or maybe it was the way he bounded through obstacle after obstacle at the park in the cool autumn sun, seemingly leaving every giggle, every roll, every stumble, every tear drop of his "babyness" trailing behind him. Or maybe it was the goosebumps I felt glimpsing the private bliss of an unseen, but heartfelt friend.

I don't know when it happened, but it did...this yearning....for one more life to fill with joy, love, and

I know, I know. You think I'm crazy. And for anyone that witnessed my bumbling transition into motherhood, I don't blame you. But in my defense, my first go 'round was complicated by 5 months of colic, a broken tail bone, a badly healed episiotomy, and a blustery New York winter that caged me for 4 months. I'll be the first to admit, I did not take kindly to motherhood in the beginning. But now, I think of myself as being pretty damn good at it. And I love it. I really do. I love playing with them; wrestling with them; talking with them; cuddling them; reading to them; watching them absorb like sponges every nuance, every word, every color, every sensation. It is life's finest miracle and biggest conundrum all rolled into one smudgy, giggly, nimble, little package. And my little miracles are growing up. Their tender "baby years" are slipping quickly away. And I selfishly yearn for one more chance, one more opportunity to cradle, to cuddle, to suckle, to nurture. One more chance to "become" a mommy all over again.

And incidentally, there's no WAY I'm signing that vasectomy form now!!! (hee hee)

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Calling All Moms

I need help. No, not the psychological kind....although....(wink, wink).

Seriously though, I need some advice here. My otherwise well-behaved, compassionate, sweet little girl has just morphed into this very whiny, very contentious, excessively hyper hell raiser, and I have no idea what happened. It's as if her 3rd birthday came and went (which I haven't even posted about yet because I'm just too frustrated by everything else), and all of the sudden she's a different person. She's completely thrown me for a loop here. And our relationship has become so acrimonious lately that it's become a chore for me to spend time with her. And I hate that. I hate that I feel that way, and I hate that our relationship is so full of conflict all of the sudden. Things that we used to enjoy together, bedtime stories, trips to the store, taking walks, have suddenly become battle grounds. I ask her to do one thing, she insists on another, and the battle ensues from there. Hell, even something as simple as putting her shoes on has become a source of friction. I tell her to do it so we can go to the park, she has an absolute fit. And we're not talking about the, "I don't want to, but am going to anyway," kind of fit. We're talking defcon 4 type of fit with the crying, screaming, flailing, etc.

And I'm left to wonder....what the hell is going on? Seriously. I'm exhausted from it all. And if she's not fighting with me, she's fighting with her brother, pulling things from him, pushing him, hitting him, whatever. As if that weren't enough, she's also regressed a bit in the self-help skills department. She won't dress herself anymore (which she's been doing for 4 months now), won't put her shoes on by herself, and I find myself constantly reminding her not to talk like a baby. If I didn't know better, I'd swear she's going through the jealous stage that most siblings go through when a new baby arrives in the family. Except in her case, it'd be about 18 months delayed.

And of course, this all happens at a time when my 18 month old son has discovered a multitude of new skills and is trying them out at every chance. He's climbing on things he shouldn't, opening and closing doors constantly, and constantly babbling at a volume that has the potential to wake the dead. These things in and of themselves would be tolerable as they are a normal part of his healthy development. But couple these with her behavior, and you've got the makings of utter mayhem. Every ten minutes someone is whining or crying over the dearly coveted toy that was ripped from their hands, among other things. I realize that at their tender ages, the onslaught of emotions over which they developmentally lack the ability to control must be overwhelming, but c'mon. I'm losing my mind here.

I've always said that parenting is the hardest job I've ever done. No vacation days, no sick days (and at present I am fighting a cold), no lunch break, no thanks. And we all go into it knowing that there will be hard times when you muster up the strength to love and care for your children even when they're at their least likable. And I've done that. Maybe not at my finest, but I have. Nevertheless, it doesn't change the fact that these past two weeks I've been feeling a bit like Jack London's lost hiker in "To Build A Fire", futilely looking for a familiar trail and/or shelter, praying that my last wet match won't leave me out in the cold.

So I'm putting the alarm call out there to you moms, whoever you are. What do I do? I'm at my wit's end, and I'm starting to wonder what I did to bring this on. Was I too hands on? Is it just a phase? And how do I get through the day without feeling like I just want to give up? I reached my patience limit in the last couple of days. And now I spend an awful lot of energy keeping my own rage, frustration, and crying outbursts at bay. I don't know if I can spend another 6 or 7 hours listening to them cry or whine every 10 minutes over this little thing or that. And I know I need a mommy's day away, but given my husband's work schedule, it just hasn't been feasible lately.

So tell me ladies, what do you do when the kids you love so dearly are the last people in the world you want to spend time with?!?

Saturday, September 8, 2007

Jesus Walton (or The Next Installment in the Preschool Chronicles)

After Thursday's news about creationism being taught in my daughter's preschool, I have become increasingly curious about what she is actually absorbing from all of this instruction. So, in the course of our usual bathtime banter and play involving letters, colored cup sorting, and other things that she should be learning in school, I decided to inquire.

"Emma, do you talk about Jesus in school?"

Not looking up from her delicate ballet of transferring water from one cup to the next, "Yes."

"And what do you know about Jesus?"

Silence as her concentration peaks while trying to place the last few droplets exactly over the hole in the bottom of her rubber duck in order to watch them disappear within.

"Emma, do you know who Jesus is?"


Totally baffled, I ask, "Sam? Who's Sam?"


Of course. She just said that. Why didn't I get that Sam was Jesus and vice versa.

Vainly trying again to extract bits of information from her sponge-like brain, "Emma. Do you know who Jesus is?"

"He's at Sam's Club mommy."

I think I peed a little here I was laughing so hard. And she jumped all over my response making it into a game chanting, "Jesus is at Sam's Club, Jesus is at Sam's Club."

And I thought, "Boy, I bet Sam Walton must be proud. And what better place for Jesus to reside in this day and age than an unfinished warehouse, owned by one of his most conservative and affluent disciples, filled 3 stories high with paper goods, lawn furniture, dog food, slabs of beef, and frozen dinners, all packaged in bulk vainly attempting to quench the insatiable American appetite to consume. That is EXACTLY where I'd look for Jesus in modern day America."

Needless to say, I'm not quite as worried about the long-lasting effects of her exposure to conservative Christianity at such a tender age, especially after I pressed her further about Jesus' identity and she answered, "You. You're Jesus mommy."

Amen to that sister!
But I'm still shopping around for a new preschool.

Friday, September 7, 2007

South Cackalackie Strikes Again

I think I may know why Miss South Carolina gave such an idiotic answer to her interview question. She was asked the wrong one! And the source of all this dates all the way back to her preschool education.

Apparently, here in good ol' South Cackalackie, the preschool curriculum emphasizes (get ready for it).... creationism over learning letters, numbers, colors, etc. Yes folks, my daughter has been in preschool for 2 weeks now, and has yet to go over a single letter, number, color, day of the week, month of the year, etc. Lucky for her (or perhaps not so lucky), her mother is a teacher and I have been going over these things for months so she's mastered her alphabet, letter sounds, counting to 30, colors, and is learning to read all before the age of 3. Nevertheless, she is deep in the throes of learning about God and how He created the universe and everything in it.

This alarming revelation (no pun intended here) came to me via the preschool's weekly take-home newsletter which proudly announced that the children are working on a "Creation Book." This was followed by a matter of fact statement that read, "...teaching them that God created everything." Nowhere in the letter did it mention that they would be going over letter sounds or other such useful material.

And I'm not sure what's more frightening here, the blind acceptance of a theory that has insurmountable evidence to the contrary, or the even more nearsighted commitment to indoctrinating children with this ridiculous theory in lieu of mastering basic life skills. And people wonder why children in this state do so poorly on standardized tests. Perhaps if the tests asked questions like, "How many days did it take God to create the universe?" they'd do better and learn some numbers in the process!

So, Miss South Carolina, should you find yourself tripping through cyberspace (unlikely as she probably can't identify what those funny shapes are on the keyboard) and stumble upon this blog, let me say this, it was not your fault. They simply asked you the wrong question. They should've asked you, "Where does everything come from?" And you could've avoided the life-altering embarrassment of your complete inability to use English syntax and grammar by simply stating with the utmost of blind ignorance, "Why....God of course." And at least 95% of the residents of this great state would've cheered wildly....or at least the preschool teachers would've

God help me......who or whatever it is.

Oh...did I mention that we'll be shopping for a new preschool?