Thursday, April 19, 2012

I learned it by watching you!

Me: "L, can you please help and pick up JJ's toys?"
L: "Damn it!"
Me: "What'd you say?"
L: {slowly} "Damn.It."
Me: "Where did you hear that?"
L: {confused look, perhaps} "I don't know."

I let it go for a few minutes. I didn't want to yell right away. I wanted to check in, figure out where she is learning this. It isn't us. I mean, an occasional shitake - I would believe. We usually scream some random word (like SPAGHETTI! or MATZO BALL) directly after to take attention away from the under the breath "shhhhiiittt" that sometimes escapes our lips. Nana Lu heard that on Oprah or Dr. Phil or maybe it was the Wendy Williams show. So you know, that's what we do now.  Sometimes we'll put in a totally innocent word in the right place with the right emphasis - missing the ability to freely curse. Some of my favorites:
  • "That's some spaghetti!"
  • "Mother FATHER." 
  • "Oh my goose eggs."
  • "Freakity Frack."
It does the trick in a pinch, but it's nothing like having the freedom to drop an F bomb with passion as it is intended. I imagine this is what it must be like for people who use those electric cigarettes. You probably feel foolish, but you gotta do what you gotta do.

But damn it? I checked in with her a few minutes later.

Me: "No, seriously, L. Who says 'damn it?'"
L: "Um. You, mama. I didn't know it was a bad word. I didn't know. You say it, mama. I didn't know. I won't say it again."

I mean, she might as well have screamed, "You, alright? I learned it from watching YOU!"

Spaghetti, this is some Mother FATHER matzo ballz.

Monday, April 16, 2012

An open letter to our friends & family out East: Blown out of proportion

Dear You,

I get it. Tornadoes are scary. If you think tornado warnings or watches are scary you should experience a thunder storm here. It's like nothing you have ever experienced. It is intense. It's crazy town. What one person experiences in my neighborhood, 5 minutes down the road will experience differently. And then? In an instant it's quiet. Like creepy, eye of the storm quiet. The skies light up, the earth shakes with thunder. My grown husband will wake up in the middle of the night and honestly ask the question, "Should we get the kids?"

Not kids crawling in our bed, scared. Reasonable. A grown man, wanting to crawl into bed with the children.

It's wild.

Why are tornado warnings or watches not quite as scary? Because tornadoes are not actually happening in the immediate area when you get a warning or a watch.

When you see "tornado watch" on the TV - don't bother worrying. Why? Because STL should be on a constant tornado watch status. Why? Because all it actually means when it is issued is the weather conditions are favorable for severe thunderstorms to produce tornadoes in and close to the watch area.  Every time it storms here, that's going to happen, it turns out. Welcome to Tornado Alley. It can (and does) happen here. That's why they named it an alley. Frankly, it should have been "Tornado Main Street" but whatever; semantics.

A tornado warning is when an alert issued by government weather services to warn that severe thunderstorms capable of spawning tornadoes may be imminent. It is likely a tornado is indicated by radar or sighted by storm spotters. Still, not a for sure, but more likely. If you are going to worry - I'd say this would be the only time to slightly concerned. And even not all that much.

Some facts to be aware of:
  • St. Louis, the county, which is what is named in weather alerts is 524 square miles.
  • St. Louis (city) is actually 66.2 square miles. 
  • Where we actually live is in a suburb within St. Louis city which is 5.9 square miles.
  • St. Louis (county) will be in almost every tornado watch or warning that you see, because now that we are here that's all you'll see. 
  • Tornadoes come here. They will come through our town and may very likely hit our neighborhood or even our house. 
  • We are prepared, we are no heroes - when we hear an alarm we will go to our designated bunker and be OK.
  • When a tornado rips through another state or another city that is not St. Louis - I have no idea what the tornado was like because we didn't have one. We live in 5.9 area of a 524 square mile area that didn't get hit by a tornado.
Seriously - when there is wild weather 10+ hours away from you? DO I call panicked?  Do I sit and stew and wonder - will you make it? Absolutely not. You are 10 hours away.
Pull it together. Calm yourself. You have your own health & well being to care about instead of putting yourself into a tizzy about us - hundreds of miles away from natural disasters and prepared for the inevitable.

The Twisted Guarros of Tornado Alley

Friday, April 13, 2012

Are you smarter than a 4 year old?

We recently instituted a new rule. Here's what was happening: L would rush through dinner to get to her dessert.  She would likely not eat "enough" and be hungry, after her dessert. The new rule was instituted: After you eat your dinner, you may have dessert. Eating all of your protein, fruits and/or vegetables are a must for dessert qualification. If you ask for dessert - that means you are done with dinner. You can not say later you are "still hungry" after you eat your dessert. After you eat your dessert, the kitchen is closed! If you are really still hungry, you can have a healthy snack but that means you rushed to dessert too quickly and the next night dessert is not an option. When the kitchen's closed, the kitchen is closed.

Last night, it was a really nice night out so we ate dinner outside. We had chilli and some left overs from the night before including some guacamole & chips. Yum. We have a back porch set and L LOVES to eat outside, we all do. It was fun, dinner was good - and L took her dessert outside so she could enjoy it out back. About 10 minutes after she ate dinner and her dessert I notice she is snacking on chips (they were on the table). Clearly breaking the no snacks after dinner & dessert rule. Her response?

"Yeah, but we aren't IN the kitchen so the kitchen can't be closed. We're outside. Doesn't count."

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

The beginning. The spiral.

My baby is four years old. She's not a baby, but she's my baby and I don't know how I will survive her.  She's a caring little lady. She's funny. She's smart. She's mine. She's ours.  She's loving. She is the best big sister, I think that was ever made. She lights up whenever she plays with her little buddies. She loves to make new friends and is thrilled every time she meets a new little playmate. She is, as you can imagine, the best.

She is sensitive. She feels things so deeply. She's a people pleaser. She wants everyone to like her. It's scares the shit out of me. Do I want her to be a bull? No. But with some balance, I want her to be herself. I find, that she goes with what other kids do. She's really fixated on friends now a days. It started a few weeks ago. "Mama, is Jez your best friend? Is Liza? Who was your best friend when you were a little girl? What do you mean you have many best friends? What do you mean, Daddy is your best friend? He's your HUSBAND, he isn't your best friend."


She comes home from the park and will say, "Mama, I met a new best friend!" She doesn't remember her name.  Or we'll go for a bike ride and she'll pass a little girl she once played with at a totally different park and say, "Oh look - she could be my best friend!"

I try to explain, best friends will come in time. It's good to be a good friend to people, and they good friends to you. That not everyone will like you and you may not like everyone - but we're always respectful and kind. I try to explain that through out my life I have had many different groups of friends and some of my very best friends I haven't spoken to in weeks, some even months - but we love each other and we've been there for each other and we'll be there for each other. I might have gone over her head on that one. But we try to be honest, even if it's awkward and it usually is.

It's starting to spiral.  

The kid used to play at least once a week with some kids on our corner over the summer. Our au pair was friends with their nanny.  I remember before our au pair left she said, "Please make sure they still play!" And I said of course; I meant it. I tried to keep the connection. I really did. I waved when we saw them. I texted a few times. Just the other week we texted and she said we'd get the kids together, she'd look at the calendar and I never heard back. And every day my little girl would ask, "Are we going to play with them today?" And everyday I would explain I hadn't heard back yet and we couldn't really just show up. We saw them the other day, with their parents. There was a block party and we stayed for as long as we could but it was awkward. Do the kids not love our little girl the way they should? WHY NOT? I don't understand it. How can her little heart get it? The parents have their friends. The kids have theirs. And our little girl just wants a god damn best friend. Awk.WARD. We left that day and on the way home she realized she didn't really say goodbye. She.lost.her.mind. How do you tell your hurting little, tantrum throwing, girl that they just aren't that into her. 


Yesterday, she got home from school. We asked the normal questions, "How was your day? What did you do?" The ball & chain mentioned to me she seemed near tears. She was sad. I tried to talk to her, but she said she didn't want to talk about it. 

A little while later, quietly, she started to tell a story. Timid. Scared to tell me. 

"Will* said he wasn't my friend, anymore. And then I asked Timmy* and he told me that maybe he was still my friend."


Not in a cute, isn't that adorable kind of way. 

Today she came home. I asked the normal questions "How was your day? What did you do?" I had to ask. "How were things with Will?"

She started to tell me. Timid. Scared to tell me. 

"I told him I was sorry... cause I asked him a million times. Why won't you be my friend? Cause I don't understand." 

How in the hell do I help her? How can I protect her from this disappointment? At the very least, help her deal with this sadness. I certainly can't handle it, how can her little heart? 

*Names have been changed to protect the stupid bastards from MY best friends. Even if they may or may not be 5 years old.
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