Monday, March 30, 2009

Just Random

1) This weekend my husband took the kids to drop off some papers at a client's house. When they saw the kids the woman said: "They're so cute; their mother must be beautiful."

I'm not... but whatever, I'll take it.

When my husband told me I said "Awww, I am sure she didn't mean it as an insult to you." (you know, like she thought the mother would have to be beautiful to make up for his lack of cuteness or something)

Just to set the record straight: they actually look a lot like him, but with my coloring. But they are both waaaaaaaaay cuter than either of us ever were.

2) I was listening to an interview with one of the guys from "Queer Eye for the Straight Guy" on the radio this morning, apparently some fashion guru. He mentioned a few cost-conscious fashion tips including this one:

"Shop from your own closet."

Can someone please explain WHAT THE HELL DOES THAT MEAN? Has he not seen my closet? There will not be any "shopping" in there! There might be some dredging, some scavenging, and a lot of just old-fashioned "making-do." But shopping... uh no. I do not have the closet for that.


3) We had a lovely BBQ last night. The evening was beautiful. We had a little red wine. We ate right off the grill (we are a little barbaric that way): shrimp, asparagos, chicken, rib-eye... We roasted marshmallows, which G loves. It was idyllic.

And now I will give you the secret for really great grilling. We don't really use sauces much. But we always use Kosher salt. That's it! It makes the best chicken legs (breasts dry out--you have to use a piece with skin). That's what we put on the rib-eye too. Yum-Yum!

Oh, and gas grills may be convenient, but they suck in the flavor arena. We always use charcoal. It tastes better and there is something sort of comfortingly primitive about gnawing on a chicken leg by a fire.

4) ... and... that job I applied for in Chile a few months back has opened up again... HMMMM...... Destiny? or Insanity? (someone once said--I think-- that the definition of insanity was repeating a certain behavior and hoping for a different result.--Was that Dr. Phil? I hope not.)

Friday, March 27, 2009

He's Not So Bad...

Just so no one thinks, based on the last two posts, that I think that I am married to a total louse (which is totally not true). I offer some positive evidence.

This is what hubby does when I need a moment to myself on the weekends:

Isn't that cute!

Some times I even join them.

You can't see this in the picture, but his right pant-leg is hiked up to his knee. Which I mocked a little... until I found out the hard way that this is the mark of an expert rider.

You can spot me easily. I am the one riding SOLO looking like a kid who just got her training wheels removed. I am the one wearing boot-cut jeans with her pant leg covered in grease from the chain.

Do I take one of the kids? uh, that's a definite no! Even riding solo, while he balances one on his back and one in front of him, I am FAR far far more likely to fall off, veer way off trail, have to get off and walk up any slight incline... oh and I can NEVER keep up with him. How lame is that?

In my defense, I didn't have the cycling up-bringing that he did. He biked to his university and back--a 30-40 minute ride through some seedy neighborhoods in a city full of terrible drivers. He even built his own bike once FROM SCRATCH!! I can hardly inflate a tire or put the chain back on.

I got my first bike for my 8th birthday. My parents bought it from D.I. (the Utah version of the Salvation Army). It was, hands down, the ugliest bike on the planet. I wish I had a picture to prove it--you'll just have to take my word. It was a lovely-rusted-purple. One of those bikes with the giant banana seats, with the tip of the foam torn off revealing rusted metal. It also had those extra-wide handle-bars--which was the winning touch! I rode it until I caught wind (from all the other kids' snickering) that it WAS NOT a cool bike.

I didn't have a bike again (because... hello, we were poor!) until college. It was subsequently stolen off of my balcony (a few years ago). I now have an awesome bike that I bought off Craig's List.

Anyway, the point is that I didn't have all that much riding experience and I feel like I don't have the leg strength or the coordination or balance or something needed to properly control such a complex contraption.

I ever-so-generously suggested that we get another bike seat so I could take one of the kids. He said: "That's ok, I can take them both."

He didn't even ridicule my lack of cycling skill--see, now that's love.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Marital Bliss (part II): or How We Are NOT like Bert and Ernie

Watch the first few minutes of this video from sesame street:

My husband and I are just like this... except:

1) He doesn't remember his messes or even realize that he has made a mess.
2) Hence, he doesn't offer to get up and go clean it up.
3) Though I am used to it, I TOTALLY MIND!
5) When I get sufficiently irritated, I am NOT his friend.
*** oh, and I NEVER fall asleep first

First, let me put this into perspective: Hubby is not ALL that messy. I realize that I don't have all that much to complain about. I have a great husband. I am sure I am overlooking ALL of the many things he does for me and ALL of the many things I love about him to obsess pettily over a few of his teensy-tinsy faults. But I am a master nagger and I won't be happy until he is perfect... is that too much to ask?

With that said. . . to my constant annoyance, I am faced with scenes like these every single day of my petty, nagging existence:

The baking cup from the cupcake he had for breakfast... abandoned by the sink. Every wrapper he removes is left on the counter. Everything he opens is left open.

Every day when he watches TV, he piles up all the pillows, blankets and miscellaneous riff-raff in some insane attempt to "get comfortable"... and then never returns anything to the original position.

Any article of clothing he removes is dropped, draped, or thrown over the nearest piece of furniture... like the kitchen chair seen here. If I don't pick it up or mention it, it could stay here for days.

Almost every time he comes in the house he tracks in mud. Or he'll roll around in the grass with the kids and then they all come in and start "shedding". Guess who sweeps it up?

It is true: these offenses take 2 seconds to clean up. But why should they be MY 2 seconds? I already clean up after myself (obviously) and two small kids. I don't WANT to clean up after anyone else.

When or if I mention it he does one of two things:

1) Claims that I am over-reacting and that it is "not that big a deal."

2) Claims that he was going to clean it up later.

I know I have ridiculously high standards, but "later" in his "language" always means "waaaaaay later--like next week or maybe never" and that is just not soon enough for me.

oh, AND IT IS A BIG DEAL!!! (obviously)

Part of the problem is "cultural." He grew up in Chile where they really don't believe in giving kids household responsibilities like we do: "They are only kids once--let them sleep, let them play..." (Yeah, that'll prepare them for real life). It is also much much more common to have a "nana": someone who comes and cleans and cooks and helps with the kids. My husband didn't grow up making his own bed, scrubbing bathrooms, or washing dishes.

Here, in the U.S., learning to pick up after yourself is part of a child's formation, part of what we call "good manners". Call me biased, but I kind of think that is the way it should be.

I have asked him, numerous times, to be better at picking up after himself. Apparently that request is too broad and leads to vagaries in interpretation. It took me about a year of "nagging" to get him to take his ginormous morning-milk-mug back to the sink, rather than leaving it on the credenza in the living room. He finally does it... but his new-found habit does NOT apply to wine glasses, juice cups, or beer bottles.

In many ways, this is just a funny blog rant. But, seriously I don't know how many more ways I can ask him or how much more nagging it will take until he gets it. I have friends in similar boats who have just decided to "suck it up" to promote household harmony. I am all for harmony, but have never been one for just "sucking it up."

Should I just be glad I have a decent husband and overlook his inability to put anything back where it belongs?

Or til death do I nag?

I am thinking til the death...

I'll have to post about my invitation be a guest on Rachel Ray about "Why women nag."

Friday, March 20, 2009

Marital Bliss (part 1)

My husband has this annoying habit, (I call it a major character flaw, but whatever) of trying to find a way of blaming me for something he is responsible for.

Sometimes it is a serious offense, but sometimes it is downright silly and laughable.

Take for instance the other day… I was outside with the kids enjoying a beautifully balmy evening when he got home from work. Busy bee that he is, he immediately wants to re-pot our Christmas Cactus. I am hanging with the kids as he goes to get it from the kitchen. He repots it as I give the baby a bottle and push G in the swing.

As I go to take some things into the house I notice the door is wide open. Flies are starting to appear and I hate them buzzing around the house. So I say: “Hon, you left the door wide open; all the flies are going to come in.”

(He says I said it too “mean”,—which I am known to do—I just sound way more intense than I feel for some reason—like I am making a huge deal out of a small thing)

So he says, almost without even thinking: “I had my hands full. Why didn’t you close it? I thought it would occur to you that I wouldn’t be able to close it and you would do it.”

Me: “WHAT??? How am I supposed to know that you left it open? You couldn’t ask me to shut it? Am I just supposed to read your mind?

Me: (what you think I am going to give him another turn?) Oh, and you can’t just say, ‘whoops, sorry’ you have to somehow make it my fault?”

So we had a little spat about whose logic is flawed (his, obviously) and whose responsibility it was to shut the door (his, obviously).

We weren’t yelling, per se, but there was a tone of heated annoyance—which gets the kids’ attention right away—so we dropped it—since it was stupid anyway.

But I kept laughing at him all night, sarcastically saying: “I thought it would occur to you… blah blah blah.”

I am a brat like that—but I hate when he does that.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009


G has been acting up lately. Nothing serious, she is only 3 after all, but lots of "NO" and LOTS of crying and screaming. She nonchalantly swats or shoves her little brother. She stubbornly refuses to eat her dinner (and boy oh boy is she stubborn!). She has spent a lot of time in "time-out", some time in her room, and lots of time being reprimanded and told to behave.

(There have been moments, in all honesty, where I have let slip that last scrap of patience I was saving for dinner-time or pre-nap-time and I lose it and just snap. The first couple times, G got this look on her face almost like shock--which hurt to see; now I don't see it as much--which hurts a little too.)

My father-in-law suggested that she was jealous of her baby brother. But since that is always his explanation, I didn't really consider it. "She is 3", I said, "that is what 3-year-olds do." "She has always been stubborn and independent and contrary" (she is her mother's daughter--I am sure I deserve it at some level).

I didn't really consider it... until I saw it on video.

We recorded a series of videos of Nico starting to walk, because it is so darn cute. (I posted one below from youtube). There are 4 videos and in each one G is doing something distracting: running around weaving in and out; whacking her baby brother in the face with her little monkey; and yelling for papi to "come get me."

When it hit me, it broke my heart.

Nico is at that all-cute stage--chubby, smiling, starting to walk. He doesn't misbehave; all the attention he gets is positive. He is doing lots of "firsts" that we want to record as we did with G. He was also sick for a bit and got lots of coddling.

It must drive G crazy: Look, Nico is walking; Look, Nico is clapping, how cute!; Be quiet, Nico is sleeping; Don't hit Nico, he's just a baby; Nico didn't mean to pull your hair, he's just a baby; We have to go in, I have to feed Nico; We have to go home, it's Nico's bedtime... and on and on and on ad nauseum...

Part of that is unavoidable. Babies (and I) do better on a schedule and this past year the daily routine has revolved around Nico eating and sleeping. There are a lot of things we don't do because it will interfere with naptime (and I'm not crazy about tired, cranky babies--so I rarely disrespect naptime).

The other part is that everyone gushes and coos over adorably chubby little babies. No one gushes over a grumpy, obstinate 3-year-old.

So we(mostly me--I am the mean disciplinarian) are trying to take the positive attention up a notch and lay off the reprimands. I am making a conscious effort to have more sweet moments with her (one of those things that when they are babies you never think will take effort), play with her more, laugh with her more, control less, react calmly when she misbehaves.

Sometimes, it is a lot harder than you would think--which makes me sad (why is it so much easier to snap?)

... but it seems to be working. She looks happier; she is sweeter; there are fewer battles.

I wish I didn't need to be reminded of the big picture. I wish that my lack of patience or lack of sleep, or need to have onegoddamnminute to myself didn't take precendence over how G feels. It is so easy to get lost in the minutiae of small daily battles: the eat-your-meal-battle; the pick-up-your-blocks-battle; the you-need-to-be-sleeping-battle; the we-don't-hit-battle; the-I-will-help-you-but-you-have-to-at-least-try-to dress/undress-yourself-for-godsakes-you-are-3-battle; the you-have-to-at-least-try-to-go-potty-before-we-leave-battle; the no-screaming-battle; the-how-do-we-ask-nicely-AND-without-whining-battle; the daily will-I-survive-until-bedtime-battle.

It is easy to lose sight of the big battle: raising a happy, secure, emotionally-(unscarred)-well-adjusted, responsible, empathetic child who feels loved and is capable of loving. It is easy to forget that how you fight the little battles, will essentially determine to what extent the big battle is won or lost.

Knowing that everything you do and say will leave an indelible print is both a blessing and a curse.

(If you want to read a beatiful post that perfectly sums up how I feel a lot as a mother, go HERE. She is one of the most beautiful writers I have read on the blogoshpere--or elsewhere. I love her honesty)

Friday, March 13, 2009

The worst double standard

When my husband takes the kids out on an errand (a rare occasion) he comes back glowing from all the compliments he gets about the kids.

Men and women alike (mostly women, but some men too) gush and rave about how cute the kids are (and they ARE cute!!).

People talk to him; they ask him questions; they coo at the baby; they ask G questions; they offer suckers and balloons; they tell my husband what beautiful kids they are (and they ARE beautiful!). In short, they make a fuss.

I have no evidence of this, but I secretly think all the women are glancing at his left hand, checking for a wedding ring and hoping he’ll mention how he is grieving the untimely death of the kids’ mother. (What is it about a single dad that women find so attractive? Do I even have to mention the latest Bachelor Jason loser? WHAT was all the fuss about him?)

When I go out… well… let’s just say, I don’t get quite the fanfare and hoopla. Every once in a while an older grandmotherly type will make a comment. Other mothers are too busy running after or shooshing their own offspring. Young single women couldn’t care less about a woman with kids.

And men?…….. men who see a woman with kids, avert their eyes, become suddenly interested in picking just the right ketchup, or simply do an about-face and run the other way. I mean, for all they know, I left the other seven rug-rats at home, running amok, and I just brought the two cutest ones to the local Target, to troll for a potential daddy.

It’s not fair.

Speaking of cute kids, check out my little Nico starting to walk. He is also finally babbling. We thought for a while he was going to be mute.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

All in a Year

I have been so busy lately that I haven't been able to post. Good thing I left my three readers with enough to read on the last post. You may still be finishing up...

What's new?

Nico turned one last week. I can't believe en entire year has gone by.

By far, the worst gift was his first ear infection. He has been on antibiotics which,... how can I put this delicately... has made for a very "crappy" week. The number of diapers changed and loads of laundry washed has seemed endless.

But he is ONE!... He is still toothless. He is taking his first steps with his chubby little feet. He is still a little clingy, but he gives the sweetest open-mouth kisses. He loves jumping on the bed and taking a bath with his big sis.

Congratulations my sweet boy.