Thursday, January 28, 2010

When Did This Happen?

Her Nibs suffered another lousy, snotty cold. In her usual spirit, she fought sleep until 1:00 or 2:00 a.m., but at least she let me put her in the crib where she'd remain until 10:30 or so, and she even took a rare two-hour afternoon nap. I didn't like her sleeping so late because I think it perpetuates the late hours. Still, sleep is sleep, and sleep in her crib where she belongs is sheer heaven.
Sometime during the last week of sleep and snot, something happened. Yes, it would have happened sooner or later, but I was still surprised by it.
Do you see it?

Her Nibs has a neck!!!

Thursday, January 21, 2010

What's Your Excuse?

Punctuality has been a problem for me for as long as I can remember.

When The Oracle and I dated, I was equally impressed and annoyed with his nearly-perfect punctuality. We'd arrange a date and he'd call and say something like, "I'll be there in twelve minutes." Why not round that to ten or fifteen?

As sure as sunrise, he'd arrive in the time he allotted for himself, whatever it was.

Being self-employed has improved my punctuality considerably. If the proceedings I'm hired to write are scheduled for 2:00 p.m., the court reporter needs to arrive -- and by "arrive," I mean be on location greeting the attorney, not just pulling into the parking lot -- at least fifteen minutes prior.

When I worked for 9-1-1, dispatchers on the prior shift hated having me as their relief, because I was rarely on time. Most of the time I'd punch in at 7:29 and scramble to my zone, headset in hand, all out of breath and spouting apologies and excuses. One thing or another always delayed my arrival. Accidents, construction, vehicle malfunctions, school buses, and turtles or turkeys crossing the street all had a hand in my tardiness.

I sometimes have nightmares about being late. Most of the time, I'm valiantly struggling to get somewhere and I'm perpetually delayed. I keep calling my destination on my cell phone to tell them that X happened and I'll be there soon, and "soon" never comes. It's awful and stressful and I usually wake up tired. At some point in my nightmarish journey, I also discover that I'm not wearing clothing, so I'm further delayed in trying to find something to cover my nakedness without anyone seeing me naked. (Freud would have a picnic with that, eh?)

On Monday, Precious Daughter had a play date with a classmate. I told the girl's mother that I'd return to pick her up at 3:30. Their house is less than five minutes away, and I was lat because I backed over a basketball on my way out of the driveway and it got jammed in the wheel well of the car. After several attempts at dislodging it, we decided the best approach was to drive forward and hope it pops out. It did, and I immediately thought, Who's going to believe this?

What was your weirdest delay ever?

Monday, January 18, 2010

Letting go of Perfectionism

It's comical and ironic that I can claim to be a perfectionist in anything. My house is in chronic disarray, and I am forgetful. The trouble is that I'm picky about stupid stuff. I drive The Oracle batshit because I am forever leaving the cabinet doors hanging open, yet I am annoyed when unoccupied chairs aren't pushed in.

One of my worst traits is hovering over anything being cooked. It sort of makes sense to hover when the kids are helping, but I hover over The Oracle too. Understandably, he finds this irritating and I can't blame him.

It is very difficult for me to butt out while the kids are doing their homework. I see them mispelling a word or forgetting to carry a number while adding, and I need to chomp on the insides of my lips to keep them shut. Yes, they need to correct their work, but they need a chance to find that error and figure out why they made it for themselves.

I think I mentioned before that I love Scrabble. My mother perpetually kicked my butt. I'd pore over my letters to come up with something worthy only to see mom sort of wrinkle her lips and briskly rearrange my tiles into a higher-scoring word for my turn. I admit I've done this too, but mostly with people who seldom played the game. She taught me these few cutthroat Scrabble rules:

  • Premium letters (five points and above) need to land on premium tiles.

  • Don't "waste" an S on a single word. Having an S means you can tie it to another word by making a plural, and you'll get credit for making two words instead of one.

  • The same rule applies for blank tiles.

  • The only exception to the above rules is if you clear your rack in one shot with a seven-letter word somewhere on the board.

When The Oracle and I play Scrabble on FaceBook (yep. we'll sit here with our separate computers and take turns), I try to forget about Mom's rules. Sometimes it's easy; other times the ten-dollar words seem to jump out of the rack at me and I'm compelled to use them and get accused of being just like my mom.

When it came time to decorate the Christmas tree, my mom had certain rules for us kids to follow: Do not hang two ornaments of the same color next to each other. All ornaments must dangle freely from their hooks. They are not to sit cockeyed with one side resting on a branch.

We'd help decorate the tree, and she'd rearrange the ornaments after we went to bed.

My favorite, however, was tinsel. I'm talking about the individual silver strands, not the strung-together stuff also called "garland." Mom was SO picky about tinsel. In her eyes, tinsel must be placed on the tree one strand at a time. Throwing it at the hard-to-reach upper branches was forbidden. (In my teens I learned that I could take a wad of tangled tinsel and sort of "comb" it onto the branches when Mom wasn't looking.)

Adding insult to injury, most people discarded the tinsel with the tree. My mother, however, saved her tinsel from year to year, carefully picking it off the tree and packing it up for the following year. Because of this, our house was probably one of the last in the country to decorate a tree using lead tinsel which was banned (and replaced by plastic) in 1960- or 1970-whatever as a health hazard.

These last few years I haven't bothered with tinsel at all. I just haven't had the time. This is probably the first year I didn't feel guilty about it.

With our Christmas tree, I've successfully chucked most of the rules. It may have something to do with the fact that all of my favorite, sentimental ornaments are semipermanently packed away -- temporarily replaced by indestructible plastic ones -- so my heathen children don't destroy them. They treat the Christmas tree like their own little toy store. It drives me nuts. And short of putting the fallen ornaments back on the tree, I do not rearrange their hard work.

Mighty B. got an Easy Bake oven for Christmas. He is so proud of his oven. He loves using the mixes to bake cakes and cookies. I think we have enough mix left for two more cakes and one batch of cookies, and then I'm off to the online recipes so he can make more.

He does really well, too, without much interference from me. He carefully follows the rules and hasn't done anything stupid with his oven or other equipment yet. Tonight, The Oracle made some awesome brownies, and he let Mighty B. bake some of the batter in the Easy Bake oven. Good thing, too, because the buggers are supposed to cool two hours before cutting into them. At least the kids got to sample them before tomorrow.

Precious Daughter just finished a really cool project for school, creating a sock puppet. She did a terrific job. The only help I provided was sewing the mouth into the sock and getting the hair on its head. She had to design it and give it personality. I'm sorry I didn't take a picture before she turned it in Thursday morning. It's very hard for me to not take over. I love this kind of stuff, so it's extra hard to sit down and shut up and see what she creates.

Getting the pipe-cleaner hair into the prefab hat she covered in blue glitter was a nightmare. We spent the better part of ninety minutes farting around with standard glue and all manner of propping up until I remembered that we owned a stupid glue gun, same having been purchased for making angel wings two years ago.

She got an "O" (outstanding) on her project, and not just for the construction. "Juliet" is described as kind. She not only looks awesome in her glittery hat and wild pipe-cleaner hair, she has sparkly blue button eyes. She sings scat in lieu of speaking, growls when she's angry, and bites bullies. She does not like cheese or lacrosse. She likes making friends and cheerleading, but since she doesn't talk, she only yells at the end of the cheers. Really, now. If I'd interjected my will into this project, would she have been half that cool?

Thursday, January 7, 2010

It Really Makes No Sense

I do not get enough sleep. Her Nibs takes puny naps that are rarely longer than an hour. Most of the time it's one nap per day instead of the two that are common for her age group. She usually doesn't go down for the night until 10:30 or later.

Where does all that energy come from? I'd like to know. She certainly isn't MY kid in that regard.

Her Nibs gets crabby and irritable, but will she sleep? Nope. She only surrenders when sheer exhaustion prevents further resistance. By then I'm usually at my wits' end and begging God for mercy from the onslaught of restlessness.

I was working on a transcript last night when Her Nibs awoke at 2:00 a.m. Knowing it was over, I closed out and shut down and stumbled to her crib in the dark. I changed her soggy butt, held her while I brushed my teeth, and spent the better part of an hour trying to get her back to sleep. (I should've skipped my teeth, but I hate the way it feels when I wake up in the morning if I don't.)

With all that aggravation, why is it that...

...I can't wait for her to wake up in the morning so I can squeeze and smooch the daylights out of her?

Friday, January 1, 2010

Andrews Sisters - Six Jerks In A Jeep

I love Sirius Radio. The Oracle flipped to the '40s station and we heard this fun lilttle song.

It's now stuck in my head.