Monday, February 23, 2009

Not Me Monday

Welcome to Not Me! Monday! This blog carnival was created by MckMama. You can head over to her blog to read what she and everyone else have not been doing this week.

Well, I'm back after taking a week off. Apparently, Numberwang wasn't such a big hit. Anyway...

Last week, my twins did NOT get into the eggs again. And Natalie DIDN'T get hold of a Sharpie black permanent marker that the older kids didn't leave laying around, and she DIDN'T decorate my television, mirrors, and living room walls.

This didn't come on the heels of another marker incident in which Natalie DIDN'T cover her legs, feet and face with marker scribbles, and mark up her big sisters' bedroom wall. The one painted with the rainbow. Luckily, she didn't pick washable marker for that one. (Why DIDN'T we learn our lesson the first time???)

And finally, when bringing an armload of wood in for the wood stove, I didn't accidentally catch my nipple between two logs while shifting the pile, trying to get the door open. Not me.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Erma Bombeck on Raising Children

Thanks to Kim at The Mommy Machine for the interview!

One of the questions was about the differences between raising boys and raising girls. Erma Bombeck penned one of my favorite pieces on the subject, and luckily enough for me, some other patsy kind person already typed it out somewhere on the WWW. Okay, boys and girls, can you spell "c-u-t-a-n-d-p-a-s-t-e?


If you want to stir up a hornet's nest, just ask mothers, "Who are harder to raise - boys or girls?"

The answer will depend on whether they're raising boys or girls.

I've had both, so I'll settle the argument once and for all.

It's girls.

With boys you always know where you stand. Right in the path of a hurricane. It's all there. The fruit flies hovering over their waste can, the hamster trying to escape to cleaner air, the bedrooms decorated in Early Bus Station Restroom.

With girls, everything looks great on the surface. But beware of drawers that won't open. They contain a three-month supply of dirty underwear and rubber bands with blobs of hair in them.

You have to wonder about a girl's bedroom when you go in to make her bed and her dolls have a look of fear and disbelief in their eyes.

A mother once wrote me to agree. She said that "after giving birth to three boys, I finally got a girl on my fourth try. At first, she did all the sweet little things I longed to see. She played coy, put her hands to her face when she laughed and batted her eyes like Miss Congeniality.

"Then she turned fourteen months and she struck like a hurricane. When she discovered she could no longer sail down the bannister and make my hair stand on end, she turned to streaking. I'd dress her ever so sweetly and go to the breakfast dishes. Before one glass was washed, she'd strip, unlock the door and start cruising the neighborhood. One day, the dry cleaner made a delivery and said, 'My goodness, I hardly recognized Stacy with her clothes on.'

"As she got older, she opened her brother's head with a bottle opener for taking her dolls and called the school principal a 'thug' to his face.

"I'm pregnant again, and now I sleep with a football under my pillow each night."

I knew of another mother who said, "Boys are honest. Whenever you yell upstairs, 'What's all that thumping about?' you get an up front reply, 'Joey threw the cat down the clothes chute. It was cool.'

"When my daughter is upstairs playing with her dolls I yell, 'What are you girls doing?' She answers sweetly, 'Nothing."

"I have to find out for myself that they're making cookies out of my new bath powder and a $12.50 jar of moisturizer.

"Her pediatrician advised me to 'not notice' when she insisted on wearing her favorite outfit for four months. How do you ignore a long dress with a ripped ruffle, holes in the elbow and a Burger King crown? How would you handle it if you were in a supermarket and the loudspeaker announced, 'Attention Shoppers. We have a small child in produce wearing a long pink dress with a gauze apron, glittery shoes and a Burger King crown'?

"Our third child was born recently. Another girl. I told the orderly to pass maternity and go straight to geriatrics. I rest my case. God knows it's the only rest I've had in six years."

Girls mature faster than boys, cost more to raise, and statistics show that the old story about girls not knowing about money and figures is a myth. Girls start to outspend boys before puberty - and they manage to maintain this lead until death or an ugly credit manager, whichever comes first.

Males are born with a closed fist. Girls are born with the left hand cramped in a position the size of an American Express card.

Whenever a girl sees a sign reading, "Sale, Going out of Business, Liquidation," saliva begins to form in her mouth, the palms of her hands perspire and the pituitary gland says, "Go, Mama."

In the male, it is quite a different story. He has a gland that follows a muscle from the right arm down to the base of his billfold pocket. It's called "cheap."

Girls can slam a door louder, beg longer, turn tears on and off like a faucet, and invented the term, "You don't trust me."

So much for "sugar and spice and everything nice..."

{reprinted without permission, of course}


Monday, February 9, 2009

Not Me Monday - with pictures!

Welcome to Not Me! Monday ! This blog carnival was created by MckMama. You can head over to her blog to read what she and everyone else have not been doing this week.

My "Not Me" anecdote this week isn't about me, it's about one of the Stefo Crew. I just couldn't resist, although she's going to want to kill me someday...

BTW, I just realized that all three of my Not-Mes have featured the same child. Hmmm, does that tell you anything???

This is not a picture of one of my children asleep in the laundry hamper behind her door. She was not so tired after school that she was overcome while in the process of changing out of her uniform. Those are not her underpants down around her knees, either.

Back story: We started homeschooling in 1998 and I was doing okay with 6 kids, but in mid-2006, all the rules changed: I was expecting twins, and I was expecting the worst. Advanced maternal age, complications, bedrest, premature labor...not to mention the waking nightmare that I envisioned life with newborn twins to be. I panicked.

Now factor in a child who acted like sandpaper against everybody else in the family. You might have one of these in your house. She just annoyed everybody at that particular age. Her two next older siblings wouldn't play with her at all and delighted in tormenting her, but they doted on the youngest of the family. I envisioned her two older siblings shunning her, with me too busy or exhausted to intervene, and too busy to give her schoolwork the attention she deserved.

So I made the agonizing decision to send her to kindergarten. It really was more about occupying her all day so she wouldn't be unintentionally neglected at home. I wept over the decision, and the day I enrolled her I could barely choke out any words through the lump in my throat.

She did fine in school, although she asked me almost every day why SHE couldn't stay home with me and the babies and her SIBLINGS go to school instead. And she never did get used to that whole getting-up-early thing. None of those awful things I envisioned came to pass, anyway, and next fall she was back home with me where she belongs.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

March for Life 2009

Every January 22nd for the past 10 or 12 years, some or all of our family has made the pilgrimage to Washington D.C. for the annual March For Life. This date is significant because it's the anniversary of the Supreme Court decision "Roe v. Wade," which decriminalized abortion.

The March is one of the high points of my children's year. For various reasons, they can't wait to get up before dawn, watch the sun rise from a bus window, eat a diner breakfast, ride the D.C. metro system, mill around in a countless crowd, play "I spy the sharpshooter on the White House roof," speculate whether they are genuine homeless persons or scam artists, take a stroll up Constitution Avenue and Capitol Hill, then do it all again in reverse.

There have been a few years when I opted not to go along - I gave the executive veto the year there was a sniper picking off random citizens in the DC/Virginia area, for instance, and I opted out the year I had 3-week-old twins - but usually I have gone along with whatever baby/babies we have at the time. I know plenty of large families who go together every year, en masse, by hook or by crook, but I am not that strong. At this particular age, our twins are too hard for me to manage during a trip to the grocery store, let alone in such a sea of humanity.

Every year the crowd seems to get bigger. Last year it was immense - a sea of people as far in front and behind as you could see. And this year, with the dawn of a new and blatantly pro-death choice administration, our pilgrims reported a larger crowd than ever. We usually get off the metro and walk along with a trickle of people, which opens up to a throng on the National Mall. This year, however, they met up with heavy crowds several blocks before the Mall, and when they got to the Mall, they stood in place for two to three hours before their part of the crowd began to move along Constitution Avenue (another reason I'm glad I stayed at home with the twins and my bursitis). During this time, there were speeches being given, but none of our group had a chance to get near enough to hear anything they said.

They never saw such a crowd. The odd thing is that there was scarcely a mention of this in the mainstream media (as usual), and you can NEVER find a realistic estimate of the numbers in attendance.

But for the inauguration of the first black president two days prior? What did they estimate? A jillion-and-a-half in attendance? How do they know how many people were there? Did they have a sign-in sheet or something?

The March For Life reports usually say "crowds" or "legions;" one website put the attendance at 250,000. "Legions" is good, though. It certainly rings truer than the "several thousand" that has been used in prior years. And if you do see a video clip on the news, instead of focusing on the fact that it's a peaceful civil protest, it usually showcases the extreme cases - the real religious nuts or the "shock value" signs. Trust me, you don't want to see those.

What does a crowd of 250,000 look like? If you're in the middle of it, I imagine that it could look an awful lot like a million people, so it's impossible for me to guesstimate. One year of record attendance (I believe it was the 30th anniversary of Roe v. Wade), the msm reported that 50,000 people were in attendance. {scoff}

Oh well. I have grown accustomed to the bias of the msm, but at times it still makes my blood boil.

Here's an related article from the National Catholic Register.

This is a Superbowl ad rejected by NBC.

Here are some pictures from the March this year. I guess there were two or three dozen people there.

Why do we do it? Well...

“They came first for the Communists…but I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a communist. Then they came for the Jews…but I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a Jew. Then they came for the Unionists…but I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a Unionist. Then they came for the Catholics…but I didn’t speak up because I was a Protestant. Then they came for me…and by that time there was no one left to speak for me.” ~Martin Niemöller

(And no, I'm not going to call him the first African-American president. Sorry. He's not from Africa. My father's 100% Irish. I don't go around calling myself Irish-American. I was born and raised in America. I am just a plain old un-hyphenated American.

I just read in Wiki that Obama is the child of Barack Obama, Sr., of Kenya, and Stanley Ann Dunham, a European-American from Kansas. She was born in Kansas of Kansas-born parents. How does that make her a European-American??? Doesn't that make every single white person in America a European-American??? )

(Sorry about the mini-rant....)

(Stanley Ann?)

Monday, February 2, 2009

A Parent's Prayer

Dear God, I was so cross to the children today! Forgive me. I was discouraged and tired - and I took it out on them. Forgive my bad temper, my impatience and, most of all, my yelling. I am so ashamed as I think of it.

Oh God, the pathetic helplessness of children! Their innocence before the awful monster - the enraged adult.

Hours later, I can still see the fear in their eyes as they scurried around, trying to appease me - thinking my anger and maniacal raving was somehow their fault.

And how forgiving they are, hugging me so fervently at bedtime, kissing me good night.

I want to kneel down by each of their beds, wake them up and ask them to forgive me. But I can't. They wouldn't understand. I must go on living with the memory of this awful day, my unjust tirades.

All I can do is straighten a cover, touch a small head burrowed in a pillow and hope with all my heart that they will forgive me.

Lord, in failing these little ones whom you have put in my keeping, I am failing you. Please let your infinite patience and goodness replenish me for tomorrow.

Author unknown

I came across this prayer back when I was the stainless mother to only one or two perfect children. The first time I had to pray it, I wept and wept. In fact, every occasion for which I have to trot out this little gem, I weep. I never thought I would be a mother who had to say these words and I hate myself for it.