Monday, January 26, 2009

Mom, I'm The Kicker

Birk was getting in the shower.  Her 7 year old body jumping up and down and squiggling out of her clothes.  

She looked at me with a big smile and joyfully said with a jump to punctuate her point, "Mom, I was the kicker!"

We had been talking about many things that evening.  I tried to figure out what she meant.  I said, "In soccer?"

"No, mom, in your tummy.  Remember?  I was the kicker, Ruth was the hiccup-er and John was the roller.  Remember mommy?"

Yes, now I am remembering...and smiling right along with her.  

Friday, January 23, 2009

First Order of Business 2009: Set Your Kid On Fire

Just had to mention the first exciting event for our kids of 2009:  Birk setting herself on fire.  George took the kids outside to light sparklers--which is a real treat as sparklers are not allowed in California.

It was sub zero weather, so we bundled up everyone.  Hats, mitts, gloves, snowpants, neckwarmers, you name it, they had it on.  No one was starting 2009 with pneumonia, a horrible face rash from the Bath and Body Works kid's cream yes, but no pneumonia!

I like my warmth, so I stayed inside and watched them through the window.  All of a sudden Birk was hopping up and down and I could hear John yell through the double pane, "Birk's on fire!"

Smart girl that she is, she dropped the sparkler and rolled her flaming glove in the snow.  The mom  that I am, after I declared her free of burns, had to note that Gordini gloves may be pricey, but they sure do make good oven mitts.

Note to self:  sparklers and mittens don't mix.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

This Is Why Mommy Doesn't Sew

My daughter begins her first sewing class this Saturday. The instructions were simple: show up with an easy pajama pattern, fabric and notions.

Ruth and I headed to our local fabric store and spent a good hour and a half picking out a pattern and cute fabric. We asked many newbie questions, as the last time I sewed from a pattern was over twenty years ago. 

Of course, after almost an hour of looking at fabrics, she chose one that both wasn't on sale and turned out to be some fancy poly special care blend. By that point I was on the tracks driving the train into the station and ready to get off the ride.

As the salesclerk cheerfully added up her treasures, the total blinked at me. I blinked at the total. $64.49. $64.49???

Now, let's just say me sewing pajamas is like my husband wiring our house. Neither one of us is qualified and can come way out ahead just starting out with that knowledge. I can easily buy pajamas at Target for $14.99. If I waited for a sale, I could wrangle a much better bargain. It's safe to even say I could outfit my daughter in pajamas for two years or more on $65.

However, Ruth is happy. She skipped out of the store with a big smile. I suppose learning to sew is VISA priceless, but learning to sew all of our old clothes into new ones during this recession could really come in handy.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Watching the Inauguration: You're Never Too Young Or Too Old For Hope

We were lucky today to be able to take our kids to the local one screen theater to watch President Obama's inauguration. Young and old clapped and cheered. Just like if we were on the plaza: we stood when you were supposed to stand, bowed our heads to pray and sang along with our hands over our hearts.

The audience was clearly democratic. You could decode this by their modest, respectful applause for the past republican president and wild cheers and whoops of delight for the past democratic presidents. Hysterics and tears were saved for Obama.  Waves good-bye were silent with a few giggles for Bush when he was walking out.

All three children watched intently. Even 7 year old Birk was as quiet as a mouse with her big eyes fastened to the screen. It is so refreshing to share an experience that marks the change of times that even children find compelling.  

A sold out theater, full of all kinds of people full of hope.  We are all looking for guidance through what will be very tough times to come. We need a leader, and I think, by George Washington, we've got one.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Summer Camp 2009: Sleep Away Camp or College?

It's January and I've just signed up my kids for summer camp 2009. I am mindful of the economy and planning on cutting way back, so I just went for what I knew was what the kids and parents equally wanted: a FULL week of sleep away camp. It's the first time that all three kids will be away for a whole week.

Birk wanted two weeks, but mommy is not quite ready to have her gone that long and daddy is not ready to put a second mortgage on the house to pay for it.

Summer camp has seriuosly morphed into fantasy camp. Kids are headed to space camp, imovie camp, rock band camp, gourmet cooking camp, mountain climbing camp, surf camp..and this is the tip of the ginormous iceberg.

2 weeks of sleep away summer camp costs as much as a semester at the University of Michigan way back in the late 80's. Where do you go from here? What's left if you've already been to sky diving and hot air ballooning camp before you are ten?

Is anybody planning a normal summer?
Mom and dad are hoping for their own fantasy camp for a week. Wink. Wink.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

3rd Child Syndrome: Nothing Comes Between A Seven Year Old And Her Cell Phone


Birk was having one of those days. You know, the kind of day when you want to lock yourself in the bathroom, lie down on the floor and cry your eyes out. Except, when you are seven, you really do this.

It all started when she booked a playdate. When you are the third child, you rarely get playdates. The third child spends her life following her siblings to dentist appointments, baseball games, dance rehearsals, trips to the store to buy your brother hiking boots, etc... Yes, in short, life is not fair, especially when you're the shortest in the family.

She had booked this epic playdate with her very own bestest friend. It had been weeks since they had good old fashion girl play time. She was counting down the days as if it were Christmas or Obama's inauguration. The magic day finally arrived and she skipped happily home with her friend after school.

After a decadent ice cream snack, big sister Ruth decided to join in the fun. She created an elaborate game of wild cats and the little girls were eating it up. Suddenly, Birk realized what was going on--her big SISTER had HI-JACKED the paydate. This is when she retreated to the bathroom and the waterworks began. High volume, crocodile tears, and sobs with broken statements like:

  • Ruth is stealing my best friend.

  • This is the worst day of my life!

  • Why do these things always happen to me?

  • I have no friends.

  • Mommy! My feelings are really hurting!

I tried to comfort her, but there was no comfort to be had. She had had her first heartbreak right here in our very own home. I was helpless. The tears continued and no amount of apologies from her sister or best friend lowered the water pressure or the volume. She was howling, curled up in a ball on the bathroom floor and wouldn't budge.

Now, what you may not know about Birk is that she has staying power. As a baby, one of my main phrases was "Keep the baby happy!" This was simply because once she crossed into tears or tantrums, that was it. It didn't stop. To this day, I think there is nothing that hits a mother's core like the screams of her baby, no matter what the issue. It can drive you insane...and make you drive insane if you are in the car.

Well, best friend went home...the wailing upstairs continued. I made dinner...the wailing continued. Finally, about to pull my hair out or put my head in the oven I whispered the magic words, "Stop crying. If you just stop crying you can have your sister's old cell phone."

You know a stupid thing as soon as it exits your mouth. To my defense, I had that mother piercing two hours of shrieking to shake my inner core of reason. I sat there, paralyzed by my own lack of intelligent anything in my skull.

Immediately the tears stopped, she exited the bathroom and began doing cartwheels of joy up and down the hallway. I handed her the pink phone on one condition, that she not tell ANYBODY about it and ESPECIALLY NOT HER FATHER!

"But, mom, you know, we should tell my teachers."


I am so embarrassed. I just switched my kids from Verizon to AT&T, and I had this one phone that I hadn't switched yet. Ughhhhhhhh! Don't tell anyone how stupid I am. How long until Birk realizes that she can't phone anyone if she can't tell anyone that she has a cell phone...except me?

Kids and the Power of Advertising


I was doing some kind of Saturday afternoon thing. It could have been laundry or unloading the dishwasher, I can't remember, I just know that Birk pulled me reluctantly away from my duties and dragged me to the t.v. That girl is pretty strong for 7, so I let myself be dragged.

There on the screen, she had paused TIVO and rewound it to the beginning of a commercial. I was expecting a Barbie or pink, putty that gets stuck in your carpet type of product. Nope. It was for Big City Sliders. Please be careful and turn your volume down on your computer if you click this link, it is loud!

A few nights before, my husband George was talking about how infomercials are doing really well right now, because they can buy the ad space really cheap. If infomercials are popping up everywhere in prime time, I guess I shouldn't be too surprised that an infomercial showed up on Nickelodeon during little kid's programming. Why would they spend advertising dollars during Max and Ruby for a kitchen gadget?

Birk clearly illustrated the functionality of this advertising scheme. I have never seen a girl (or woman for that matter) get so excited about a kitchen pan. Her eyes were wide and she was jumping up and down, barely able to contain her excitement. Each little demo of the product elicited a "See mom?" She even offered to buy it with her own money.

Advertising is a very powerful and scary thing. Don't forget it! I won't, I just ordered a Big City Slider.