Thursday, September 24, 2009

Should I Be This Annoyed?

Precious Daughter adores her American Girl doll. She received it as a gift from Uncle R. and Aunt V., and she plays with her nearly every day. If it weren't for her aunt and uncle, Precious Daughter probably wouldn't have one at all, because they're prohibitively expensive. when Precious Daughter first voiced her desire for one, I started poking around on eBay in hopes of finding one in good condition at a reasonable price.

American Girl has come up with an interesting hypocrisy, namely, "Gwen Thompson." Gwen Thompson is the friend of Chrissa, whose story surrounds negotiating the tricky waters of being the new kid in school and dealing with bullies. She is teased for finding a good friend in Gwen Thompson. Gwen and her mother have fallen on hard times. Abandoned by her father, Gwen and her mother are living in their car.

Part of what makes American Girl so popular today is the newer dolls' relevance to the lives of the girls possessing them. "Oh, hey, this doll is ______ like me!" At $95 a pop (for just the doll and the book, never mind accessories!), it was unlikely Precious Daughter would have had her own AG doll if my sister and brother-in-law hadn't stepped in.

What are the chances of homeless girls out there owning Gwen or any other in the AG collection? It strikes me as kind of mean. "Here's a doll whose story might parallell your own, but YOU CAN'T AFFORD HER!! HAHAHAHAHAHAAAA!"

Am I wrong? Am I missing something here? Chrissa and Gwen certainly teach a nice lesson about friendship, but I wonder how much of it will be learned by the child given the pair ($175 for the pair, a ten-dollar savings!!!) other than "two is better than one."

I hope Mattel has other more noble plans in mind, like donating an AG doll to Toys for Tots for every Gwen purchased or perhaps donating a percentage of sales proceeds to help homeless families.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Let the Whining Begin!

It's official. The school year is in full swing. My kids started their second full week of school yesterday, and the whining and stalling picked up right where it left off last June.

My morning begins tamely enough. The Oracle gets up and has breakfast, and he usually nudges me awake as he's about to get into the shower. It's roughly 6:30. Today I woke up a little early thanks to the odd scrabblings of Chessie who, it seems, had "something"stuck to her butt and was trying to bury it where it finally fell off. This is one thing I hate about cats. They sleep anywhere and everywhere. There is no limit. This morning, she was sleeping on a tote bag on a shelf, and the offending offal landed on the tote bag. I probably could have saved the tote bag, but I was skeeved and angry and sleepy. Throwing it out seemed easier.

So, all right, I'm up. I make The Oracle's lunch and I start nudging kids. I love/hate this part of the morning. I love to kiss and cuddle my warm, sleepy children. I hate when they're just awake enough to start arguing with me.

My first stop is Mighty B. Mighty B. was out of bed by 7:00 a.m. almost every morning throughout the summer. Yesterday and today I needed a crowbar to get him out of bed, and I eventually tempted him into the living room by turning on and cranking up the volume of Monster Jam. Then I turned the TV off until he got dressed.

How about Precious Daughter? At least she's consistent. She loves her bed and hates leaving it until either her empty belly or her full bladder forces the issue. She sits up in bed and chats with me, and when I think we're "good to go," I tell her to get dressed and leave her to check B.'s progress.

B is staring at Monster Jam. He is dressed, so I give him his shoes and ask him to put them on. I go back to Precious Daughter's room, and she is nowhere to be seen -- Oh, wait!! That lump on the bed means she went back under the covers. Aaaagh.

I sharply order Precious Daughter to get up and get dressed. She apologizes and picks up her shirt.

Amid this circus, Kryptonite is dragging her purple elephant back and forth across the bars of the crib, the plastic ring linked to its back plinking along much like a prisoner's tin cup against his cell. The Oracle is trying to get ready to go to work, so I need to get his lunch together. Oh, and he needs socks.

Tell me, does anyone else live in a state of perpetual laundry turmoil? I haven't been "caught up" laundry-wise since B's arrival in 2003. There is always stuff to wash, and there's always stuff to put away. Quite often we're burrowing through baskets of clean laundry in search of whatever it is we need. Sometimes an entire basket of clean stuff gets picked apart and worn without ever seeing the inside of a drawer. This is one of those times. I dig about in a basket, come up with socks, and stuff the clean (and wrinkly) clothes back in the basket.

I check on Precious Daughter's progress, and I nearly scream at her to get her tailfeathers out of bed before I drag her out by the feet. I give B. his cereal, and I have to keep reminding him to eat if he wants Monster Jam to stay on.

Precious Daughter stumbles out of bed toward the bathroom.

I finish packing The Oracle's lunch (sandwich, yogurt, Diet Crack with Splenda, crackers, carrots, and a lovely-looking apple) and dump his coffee into the Thermos.

The Oracle is running late, so I drive him to the train station which is a mile away at the most, screeching at Precious Daughter to get her clothes on and nagging Mighty B into another bite of cereal on my way out the door.

Less than five minutes later, I'm back. Mighty B. still isn't eating, but at least Daughter is dressed. I slap a bowl of cereal in front of her and start nagging the spoon to her mouth. The bus comes in less than ten minutes, and their lunches aren't ready. Hooray for Spaghetti O's!

Nag, nag, nag. They have to brush teeth and Precious Daughter still has to comb her hair. I stack their backpacks and lunch bags on the porch and usher them outside. To Precious Daugther's dismay, I brush her hair in under fifteen seconds because I hear the bus rolling up the street.

Once I shove them on the bus, I go back inside to feed Knucklehead and Kryptonite.

What I really want is a nap.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Such Bravery!

Roughly two years ago, Mighty B.'s chronic ear infections led to the insertion of tubes in his ears. Those tubes were supposed to fall out on their own, but they were as stubborn as Mighty B. himself. At this horrible, overbooked office visit, the doc decided they should be surgically removed.

Well, I dragged my feet, hoping to find they'd fall out on their own, but I couldn't risk the kid's hearing, could I? It's bad enough that he refuses to listen to me; I don't want to let him shore up his selective perception with medical limitations.

Last week was preadmission testing. Thankfully they drew no blood samples. I really wasn't sure how I'd get past that one if they had. B. is afraid of needles (who isn't?) and I wanted this whole experience to be a good one. If I had to sit on him for a needle, he'd be scarred for life.

(His trip to the dentist last week for his first filling was as smooth as buttercream. The dentist asked that I not tell him about needing a filling, and I didn't. The dentist filled the tooth -- Novocaine and all -- and B. was as cool as a cucumber. He wasn't happy about the numb cheek, but he handled that visit to the destist better than I ever could.)

Back to the subject. During preadmission testing, I'd mentioned to the nurse practitioner that I didn't want them using Versed. They used it when the tubes went in, and the poor kid was crying and combative for two hours in recovery. She made a note but no promises.

Anyway, yesterday we arrived at the hospital -- the whole parade of us -- at 7:00 a.m. In typical hurry-up-and-wait fashion, B. and I went back and got him dressed in hospital garb, answered a few questions, sat through some vital signs, and waited. The Oracle, Precious Daughter, and Kryptonite joined us and together we waited over an hour, with little visits here and there from the anesthesiologist and a couple of surgical assistants. We were -- surprise!! -- waiting for the doctor to arrive. She not only keeps her patients waiting at her office, she keeps the hospital staff waiting as well.

At 8:20, they led Mighty B. down the hall to surgery. My taller-than-average son suddenly looked very small as he walked away, his green hospital johnny flashing glimpses of his Scooby Doo underwear. I wanted to cry.

Twenty minutes later, I joined him in the recovery room as he was devouring a green freeze pop which gave us the pleasure of an encore visit ten minutes later. His ear hurt despite an injection of Toradol, so they gave him a dose of Tylenol on top of it. He cuddled with The Oracle for a bit, and we were on our way home at roughly 10:00 with instructions for B. to take it easy for the rest of the day (no climbing, bike riding, or anything where balance is critical) and to keep his ear dry for two days.

He wasn't out of bed twenty minutes this morning before hopping on his pogo stick for a bounce around the driveway.

I wish I had some of that ambition.

Friday, September 4, 2009


Thanks to the observant eyes of a caring stranger, I was spared the agony of replacing my wallet and its contents.

My kids have been on a recent McDonalds kick, thanks to the Lego and American Girl prizes in their happy meals. (Today one child was rather disappointed over receiving an unexpected Batmobile. I think the McBinge is over.)

Thanks to the sudden rationing of condiments, I got to stand in two lines for lunch instead of one. I splurged today and enjoyed a grilled chicken club, and as I devoured the last bite I flipped over the tray liner and observed that my yummy sandwich contained a whopping 470 calories. OUCH! (Maybe I should say, "oink!")

Mighty B. is picking at his fries, and I'm proclaiming a low-fat, low-cal dinner. I hear a man behind me say, "You're gonna put that back, right?" A chair scuffs, and I see a woman in a white shirt walking away. The man then tells me she tried to steal the wallet from my purse. My purse was beneath Kryptonite in the stroller basket

I thought he was joking. People often come up to Kryptonite and fuss over her, and I seriously thought that the woman was with this man and he was pulling a joke until I realized that this white-shirted woman was no longer in restaurant. I quickly went to the door she exited and looked around, hoping I'd see her getting into a car or on the sidewalk, but she was nowhere in sight. The observant patrion tells me that she was definitely caught on camera. My belly started to quiver a little bit.

I sought out the manager, and the manager called the police. A very nice officer responded, and Mr. Patron tells his story. Simply put, the lady sat down next to Kryptonite, reached right into my purse and grabbed my wallet. Mr. Patron then says, "You're gonna put that back, right?" The woman surprisingly put it back and walked out.

I'm a very lucky person today. I'm lucky that I didn't lose my wallet, and I'm lucky for the eye-opener that McPickpocket could just as easily been after something much more important, like Kryptonite herself.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

1961 Flintstones Winston Cigarettes

We forget that shows like The Flintstones weren't geared toward a kiddie audience.