Tonight’s literary selection, “Big Girl Panties“, by Fran Manushkin, will be read by Miss V. Please refrain from talking, texting or tweeting during the reading. Enjoy the performance.
Tonight’s literary selection, “Big Girl Panties“, by Fran Manushkin, will be read by Miss V. Please refrain from talking, texting or tweeting during the reading. Enjoy the performance.
That Time V Had a Religious Experience
V goes to a church pre-school four days a week. After I drop off M and C at school, we make our way back to her school where we walk in for early morning care. V is like Norm from “Cheers” (look it up, millenials); the minute she crosses the threshold, the other children spy her and yell out her name, like “Hey girl! Where you been?!” and of course, V eats that junk up with a knife, fork, spoon and bib tied around her neck. The other day, we walked in to her usual roaring greeting. However, before V could stop to acknowledge her fans, something in near the coat hooks caught her eye. In the wall cubby beside the coat-hooks, just at her eye level, was what looked like a paper doll. She walked over to it, pulled it out and examined it thoroughly. The figure was dressed in a white robe, sandals and had a red sash draped across his shoulder. Turning it over in her hands, V was unable to identify the figure. As she started to turn to her teacher, Mrs. S turns to me and says, “Looks like V found Jesus!” And not a moment too soon (#amirite?).
That Time I Had (Another) #Pinterestfail
I’m late on getting these cards out this year. We had a few false starts with the concept that I was going for this year. My mom gets the girls holiday pajamas and my goal was to duplicate this image:
I got a backdrop. I got lights. I got everyone in the jammies. I got the hair done, the tree up, and the area lit. It was a full on photo production, complete with tripods and lights. I wrapped up the girls, slapped some bows over their lips, plugged in the lights and that’s when it went downhill. Someone was too hot. Someone’s bow fell off. Someone got a headache from the flash. Someone fell into the Christmas tree. Someone had to use the toilet, “really, really badly”.
Stupid Pinterest. Stupid overachieving tendencies.
I disassembled the set. I took the lights back to Target. I went with Plan B on the Christmas card, which still came out really well (and I scored 40% plus free shipping which was awesome). The girls will wear their Christmas jammies on Christmas Eve and I’ll blow up your IG feed with all of their coordinated merrymaking. You’re welcome.
That Time The Kids Tried to Get Me A New Car
Speaking of Christmas, I think I’m done with the shopping. The girls had their lists written, decorated and in their stockings ever since the Saturday after Thanksgiving. Thankfully, there haven’t been any amendments to them. Everything that I’ve picked up is wrapped and tucked away from prying eyes. The Hubs didn’t do too badly this year, either. Every year he says he doesn’t need anything, doesn’t want anything and every year,
I still Santa still gifts him with a few things. Funny, those things never get returned, so I’m thinking deep down, The Hubs is just a big kid like the rest of us. As for me, I kind of, sort of put the girls up to telling The Hubs how great it would be if Santa gave mom a new car for Christmas.
I know! I know! That’s what happens when I start thinking out loud. In my defense, my car has been consistently going to pieces over the last few months. We’ve had the hydraulics fixed. We’ve had the climate control fixed. We’ve had the fuel line replaced. We’ve had the tires replaced. Some things are just general maintenance, and some things are just the car being like, “I think I’ll just stop working, thanks.” And while I’m grateful for all of the bells and whistles in the car, there is one that causes me the most headache: the DVD player. We’ve had my car for close to 5 years and I still don’t know how to operate the DVD player without pushing a bajillion buttons and asking “Is it working? Is it playing? Can you hear it?” eighty-eighty thousand times.
It’s gotten to the point where I’ve just told the girls that it’s broken so I don’t have to mess with it. But, back to my wishful thinking out loud. So the last thing to give up the ghost was the climate control. This was just after Thanksgiving when it was pretty chilly. My vents only blew cold air and only at max velocity. I couldn’t turn it down and I couldn’t turn it off. Into the shop it went and out came my musings for a car with a working climate control system, BlueTooth capability, a working rear windshield wiper (long story), and a digital dashboard. The girls heard this wishlist and started chimed in with their need (their words) for DVD players in the headrests. Jokingly, I said, “Yeah, tell Daddy that’s what I want to Christmas.” And do you know, those little chickies started rehearsing dialogue on what they would say? And then they actually followed through! Several times!
One time, we were sitting around the dinner table and M casually asked what each of us wanted for Christmas. When it got to my turn, she interrupted, turned to her father and said, “You know what would be great? If you got Mom a new car for Christmas. Like, you go when we’re asleep and drive it home and put a big red bow on it and then on Christmas morning you open the door and there it is and it has a DVD player in it with the screens in the headrest!”
Then she looked at me and winked:
That Time I Wore High Heels
So, the day before Thanksgiving, I had an appointment with my doctor about the status of my ankle. It’s been eight months since my surgery and at my last appointment, I told him my goal was to be in heels by the end of the year. After going over my case for the new batch of students that trail behind him like the tail of a comet, he gave me the thumbs up on everything with the exception of kicking motions. That seems random I know. Let me explain. Kicking and pointing my foot are challenging because my extensor tendon healed in a flexed position. While I do want to loosen it up, neither I nor my doc want to be super aggressive and potentially undo everything that we’ve worked so hard on. A few appointments back, when he said I could exercise, he said to avoid kicking motions where you point your toes because that could loosen things up and we’d be back to square one. At the last appointment, I asked about the kicking motions.
“Is kicking vital to your day to day activities?” he asked. Such a comedian, this guy. No, doc, but one thing that involves pointing the toe — at least a little bit — is swimming. Long story shot, swimming is good. Kicking or trying to bend it like Beckham is bad. If I have to kick, he told me, use the instep or the bottom of my foot. And then he proceeded to demonstrate, hoisting his leg in the air so that the sole of his shoe was perpendicular to the floor. The med students took copious notes on that one.
In any event, your girl slipped back into her red bottoms several weeks later to kick off the holiday party season. I had to work some practice time in there before hand; couldn’t make my triumphant return looking like a newborn foal about the legs!
And just in time for the holidays, there are a few pairs of heels that I would be happy to unwrap on the 25th. Just think, wouldn’t these be the perfect shoe to wear when I walk out of the house to get into my new car. . .with the DVD system that has screens in the headrests?
Got Any Odds and Ends To Share? Tell Me About It In The Comments!
A few weeks ago, I started having this weird experience involving my nose. Every so often, I would catch a whiff of cigarette smoke. No matter where I was, no matter what I was doing, it was like someone was walking past me, taking a drag. It was so bizarre and I thought I was going nuts.
It happened one night at dinner and I asked my family if they smelled anything. Nope, nope, nope, and nope. I asked them if it smelled like something was burning or like someone was smoking. After a few incredulous looks in my direction, they again said, “Nope” and moved onto their dessert.
A few more days passed and I really thought I was going crazy. So, I did what any person on the verge of insanity does: I Googled my symptoms.
“These phantom smells can be caused by damage to the olfactory nerve by chemicals, or infection with a virus or bacteria, or trauma. A tumor of the brain or the olfactory nerve can also cause phantom smells. Or it can be caused by the infection itself. And the resulting sensation is then confused in the brain with the smell of cigarette smoke.”
— from scarysymptoms.com
Scarysymptoms.com? Really? I shouldn’t have even clicked on this, especially when my eye went immediately to the word tumor. And then, because I’m an idiot, my brain went:
So, I closed the computer, picked up the phone and called my doctor. After I spoke with her at length, she said she wanted me to come in for some neurological testing. Then my train of thought went, “My brain is broken, my brain is broken.” Thankfully, the neurological tests showed that my brain was not in fact broken. I’m healthy, I’m just experiencing this weird olfactory issue.
Prior to this happening, I had gone out to eat with some friends in downtown RVA. The restaurant was situated next door to a live music venue. While the restaurant was non-smoking, a thin gauze of smoke permeated the air. According to our waitress, the restaurant and the music venue shared the same ventilation system. Even though no one was smoking in the restaurant, everyone was smoking in the venue and that air was getting cycled through the vents. Now, I’m not a medical professional, but I did think that there might be a connection between that prolonged exposure and my current situation. I shared that with my doctor who promptly said, “Yeah, no.”
I guess I would have felt a little better trying to find a source of the problem, which would have meant being able to pinpoint a course of action. Well, that didn’t happen. What did happen was I left the doctor’s office with instructions for flush my nose out with saline spray and Flonase, every morning, and then go see an ENT for a follow-up.
The cigarette smell wasn’t abating, so I made the appointment, even thought my past experiences with ENTs have been less than stellar. See, when I was around 7 or 8, I used to get horrible nosebleeds with an alarming frequency. My mother took me to see an ENT,who determined the blood vessels in my nose were weak, and then proceeded to cauterize them to prevent further nosebleeds. For those of you who are unfamiliar with the term cauterize, let Google break it down for you.
With a heated instrument.
Up my 8 year old nose.
And here we are 30 years later, the memory is just as fresh as when it happened. So, a trip to the ENT wasn’t something I was looking forward to, but it had to be done.
About two weeks after I saw my doc, I found myself in the ENT office. I waited. I waited. I waited. I decided to go to the restroom. As I exited the stall, this older woman exited the stall beside me. I walked forward to the sinks to wash my hands, she walked to the right to exit the restroom. My eyes widened as I watched her in the mirror, reaching for the handle of the door. She stopped momentarily, and I thought she realized I caught her about to bounce without washing her hands. She then shot out one hand, the motion activating the hand dryer on the wall beside the door. The hand dryer burped into life and then abruptly cut off as she withdrew her germy digits. The door was flung open and she left. I washed my hands and shook them out before using the hand dryer. I then looked around for some paper towels with which to open the door, and seeing none, went back into the stall to grab some toilet tissue. Using the tissue, I opened the door and walked back to the ENT office, jamming the wadded up squares in my pocket.
Finally, I was called back to the exam room, where I gave my reason for being seen to the nurse. She left and a nurse practitioner came in. I repeated why I was there for her benefit, even included my thoughts about the restaurant/recycled air scenario, to which she replied, “Yeah, no.”
She then gave me a thorough exam, pulling and prodding my ears, nose and throat. She even slipped on one of those reflective mirrors, like this one.
I almost laughed when she put it on because I thought those things were relics of the 50s and 60s. Evidently, they’re not. After she dug around in my ears, pulled out my tongue, checked out my “tiny tonsils” and palpated all my sinuses, she said she was going to numb my nasal cavity and back of my throat so they could use their camera for a more in depth examination. And that’s when she took what looked like the airbrush guns they use at the nail salons to spray the most nasty tasting numbing agent up my nose at a velocity usually reserved for NASA launches.
After the numbing agent kicked in, the ENT doctor joined us. I told him my reasons for coming in, including my thoughts on the correlation between the restaurant and the smell, to which he replied, “Yeah, no.” His take was more succinct and less conclusive. Basically, weird things happen and we don’t know why. No, really. His rationale was that sometimes we smell things similarly to the way we something get an itch on the back of our head. It just itches and then it goes away. I smell cigarette smoke and then it goes away. He wanted to rule out the possibility that it was something nefarious resting on my olfactory bulb, hence the need to use the camera.
And that’s when the nurse came at me with what looked like a metal conductors baton.
Now, I’ve had my wisdom teeth taken out, two root canals, knee surgery, three c-sections, and three operations my ankle. This sinuscope up my nose was by far the worst medical procedure by far. They were really trying to scratch my brain through my nose. I tried to keep the various other procedures in mind while they inserted and twisted and tried to get the best angle with camera, but it was tough. And it because we’ve all got two nostrils, there were two rounds of this fun, fantastic routine.
The upside to the whole thing, however, was that they didn’t see anything unusual. I have very healthy sinuses and nasal passage (slow clap for me). To rule out any and all possibilities, the doc ordered a CAT scan, which, thankfully, was done in office that very day. Aside from my hair getting caught in the CAT scanner (natural hair, head stabilizers using velcro and a rotating scanner do not mix), the scan was simple. Again, no abnormalities, healthy sinuses and nasal passages. After the doc review my films, he re-iterated that this olfactory disturbance really didn’t have a cause, which meant there wasn’t much he could do to alleviate it. He said that they usually get one or two patients a year coming in with the same problem, but none return, either because the situation resolves itself on it’s own or they learn to deal with it (gee, that’s encouraging). Ultimately, he told me, no one has come to him saying that it’s impacted the quality of their life.
That wasn’t really what I wanted to hear, but after having been through the previous ignominies, I just wanted to get out of there. So, I grabbed a tissue to blot my runny nose and left. As I was walking out of the office, I blew my nose on the tissue and was surprised to see it was bloody. I always look in my tissues after I blow, it’s so childish and gross, I know, but I can’t help it. The amount of blood surprised me, as did the accompanying trickle that started shortly thereafter. In no time, the tissue was full and I was desperate for another. There were tissues in my car, and my car keys were in my pocket, so I stuck my hand inside to retrieve them. What I grabbed instead was another wad of tissue, which I immediately brought to my nose to staunch the flow.
Then I realized it was the tissue I had used to open the gross door from the bathroom.
I don’t think saline spray or Flonase can’t help this one.
What’s the strangest medical procedure you’ve had? Tell me about it in the comments!
December first and we are already decking the halls. In truth, we’re behind. We got our tree on Sunday as opposed to the Friday after Thanksgiving as we’ve started doing the last three years or so. Truth be told, I prefer waiting until the last minute, like the 22nd or 23rd and then going on a decorating bonanza. I’ve been thoroughly outvoted. And don’t even get me started on the girls’ pleas for Elf on the Shelf. To quote Dynamom at the Huffington Post,”Sorry, Kid. Elf on the Shelf is Not Going to Happen.” Dynamom and I must share a neural pathway because her reasons as to why the Elf stays away are the same ones I have. Not to put too fine a point on it, but ain’t nobody got time for that.
What I have done, though, has been a good start to this holiday season. The girls have received Advent calendars, which has led to itchy fingers, ready to pop open all of windows now. I guess they’re getting patience as a gift this year. The nutcrackers are sending sentry on the mantel, our Santa shaped Christmas countdown calendar is hung and we’ve listened to more a Bing Crosby in the last 48 hours than we did in the entirety of the last Christmas season. The Hubs, a big fan of Bing, opens each holiday season with “Christmas in Killarney“. It ain’t Christams without him and the girls dancing a jig around the kitchen like a pack of peppermint scented leprechauns.
I may toss off a few “Bah Humbug” tinged glances here and there as the days peel away from the calendar and Christmas draws ever nearer. It’s a stressful time of year; the girls provide me revisions to the Christmas lists every morning, like a verbal ticker running across the bottom of all of our interactions. Trying to find to find a sitter is harder than trying to get one of Kylie Jenner’s lip kits. There are parties, open houses, brunches and cookie exchanges, which mans investing in either more gym time or elasticized waist bands. There’s the balance between keeping the dream of Santa alive and just giving ourselves a pat on the back in acknowledgement of the good run we’ve had.There’s the holiday card to design and deliver, which I actually enjoy trying to make better each year. There’s securing, then hiding, then stealthily wrapping Christmas presents. There’s the explaining of why we participate in Angel Tree and why we donate to the Red Kettle and why we gave as much as we could for the family in need that our neighborhood adopted this Christmas.
Yes, it’s a stressful time of year, but I’d be lying if I didn’t love it all just a bit more than I care to admit. Okay, maybe more than a bit, because even though I’ll be trying to undress the tree at noon on Christmas Day, I’ll gladly sit down when told, accept a heavily spiced glasses of egg nog and watch my family enjoy it all.
How do you celebrate the holidays? Tell me about it in the comments!
*this entire post was written using the WordPress app on my iphone5.
How is it October 31st? This has been a total “blink and you miss it” kind of month. I can remember at the beginning of September when activities started dropping into slots on the calendar like checkers in a game of Connect Four. At first, I was kind of excited because we don’t usually have an overly full week-end social calendar. Our week-ends are pretty rote:
I know, it’s terrible. Hence the enthusiasm over having something to do every week-end in October. We were going to beat this week-end slump! We are going to be a family that does week-end things! The lack of downtime 5 week-ends in a row was sure to break the habit of doing a whole lot of nothing. Let me tell you what I learned.
A lack of downtime 5 week-ends in a row is hella exhausting.
I’m the kind of tired where the thought of doing anything other than breathing makes you want to open the front door and just run out like Forest Gump. Of course, seeing as how tired I am, I might not even be able to turn the knob. The circles under my eyes have circles.
It was a good run. Fall is my jam, y’all. The leaves start to turn, the air gets crisp and my wardrobe game gets strong. I’ve got my wreath hung and comfort foods roasting in the oven. I went on a wine tour. I caught up with friends at a conference. We visited my parents. There was Homecoming down in the ‘burg which M declared as the best week-end of her life. I went to New York for the day — for.the.day! M, C, and V helped me scout locations for upcoming photo shoots. I caught up with a dear friend while she visited from out of state. I wrote the teensiest bit, but I still wrote! We went to the pumpkin patch. We’ve got Halloween costumes waiting to be slipped into for the neighborhood block party and trick-or-treat extravaganza. The girls have been crawling up my leg about me dressing up this year, so I culled together a few things for a pretty simple DIY costume. Take a guess. With the exception of a trip to Carter Mountain for apples and cider donuts, our October was chock-full of fall festivities.
And would you believe that in all of this hither, thither, and yon, I have not had anything pumpkin-flavored. No pumpkin bread, no pumpkin spiced latte, no pumpkin scones. Nothing. Technically, pumpkin season isn’t over; I’ve got until Thanksgiving at least, but still. I’m slipping on my pumpkin game.
I told a friend the other day that come November 1st, I’m hanging a do not disturb sign on my life. Then I booked a photo shoot for next week, RSVPed to four different events between the 5th and the 13th, and am planning a date night with The Hubs.
Well, I guess there’s always December. . .
I know, I don’t even why I thought that was an option.
Where has October gone? Tell me in the comments about how you’ve been spending your time!
This kid. . .
I can’t even. . .
I’m really starting to think that phrase was coined because someone had an interaction with her.
This past week-end, the Hubs and I went out of town for a multi-day conference. Snap, Crackle and Pop stayed with the Hubs parents and they were super excited to have some quality grandparent time. My in-laws and my parents are quintessential grandparents. They have completely shed the iron fist in the silken glove type of childrearing that the Hubs and I grew up with. They’re all doting, indulgent, and quick with treats, candy, and all kinds of tom-foolery. You know, how grandparents are supposed to be.
When we went to scoop up the children Sunday morning, they were still abed while my mother-in-law prepared a multi-course breakfast for them. As she stood at the stovetop, slicing pears for one, brewing tea for another and frying hash browns for the third, she regaled me with their activities over the week-end.
“But Miss V,” she began shaking her head slowly from side to side as she scraped hash browns around the pan. “That Miss V!”
And I knew, Miss V had been her self, through and through.
Evidently, M and C decided to put on a full on musical rendition of the Lion King for their grandparents. Considering that their uncle was Simba in the Broadway show, this makes sense. It’s a live show they’ve seen. It’s a movie they love. There were costume changes. There was elaborate choreography. It was a “production”. M and C asked that their two woman show be video taped, which their grandmother was happy to oblige. They also
demanded asked that Miss V park her happy hips in the audience so they could perform unencumbered.
Well, nobody puts Miss V in a corner. M and C didn’t get that memo.
Try as they might, they couldn’t keep her in her seat. Eventually, their grandmother was able to persuade her to sit down and enjoy the show. The details on what went down are a little vague, but I’m sure there was some bribery involved.
The show comes to a close and my mother-in-law proceeds to applaud M and C for their performance.
“So, I’m clapping for them, and then,” my mother-in-law says, stopping her breakfast prep to put one hand on her hip, “your youngest says, ‘That. Was. Terrible.'”
Then I pulled myself together and realized what I’m dealing with. Three years old and a giver of no. . .well, you know. I’ve got my work cut out for me with this one.
This is Miss V.
Miss V is 3 years old, but she’s been here before. She says things or she does things that are just. . .she just has this way. If you’ve met her, you know what I’m talking about. If you haven’t, here’s an example.
We are dropping C off at school this morning. C gets out of the car and stops to say, “Bye!” and “I love you” to me and Miss V before shutting the door.
Miss V: Bye, Tooty-Pants!
Me: V, we don’t call people ‘Tooty-Pants’.
Miss V: I just called C ‘Tooty-Pants’, Mommy.
Me: I know. I’m telling you to stop calling her ‘Tooty-Pants’. We don’t call people names. It’s not nice.
Miss V: We don’t call people ‘Tooty-Pants’?
Me: No, we don’t.
Miss V: I can call a ghost Tooty-Pants’, though.
Me: Wait, what? What did you say?
Miss V: A ghost. I can call a ghost ‘Tooty-Pants’.
Me: No, V. We don’t call people names. We don’t call them ‘Tooty-Pants’.
Miss V: Not people, Mommy. A ghost. I can call a ghost ‘Tooty-Pants’.
And now, I am really questioning why I chose this particular battle to fight at 8:01 in the morning. I’m sitting at a stop sign, waiting for a break in traffic, going back and forth with a three year old about why we don’t say ‘Tooty-Pants’. This is parenthood.
So, before this totally spirals into the craziest of parent/child conversations, I decide to take a page out my own parents’ guide to raising children and put an end to this discussion.
Me: I’m not discussing this with you any more.
Miss V: No, Mommy. Discuss! Discuss with me!
Me: (quietly under my breath) woo-sah. . .woo-sah . . .
Miss V: (quietly under her breath) Tooty-pants.
Oh yea, this is parenthood.