Sunday, 30 January 2011

The Naughty Bee

When I was in eighth grade, I made it all the way to the county spelling bee.  This was Big News, since it took place at the Edwards County courthouse, it was in the evening, and it was broadcast on the radio.  I was determined to be a total rock star, since the performance I had given at my third grade class spelling bee had colored my thoughts with shame every time I thought about it (I misspelled my first word - feild, instead of field, and spent the remainder of the bee sitting on the floor bawling).

Earlier that day I asked my orthodontist to put green and black rubber rings around my braces, in anticipation of wearing my favorite green-and-black sailor top with matching skirt for the bee.  I pulled on a pair of black tights, and fluffed my bangs out as far as my Aqua Net could hold them (this was '92, after all).  After checking myself in my mirror for about the hundredth time, I announced to my family that I was ready to perform.

Upon arriving at the courthouse, I peeked into the court room to survey my audience.  The families of the contestants had come to Albion all the way from Bone Gap and West Salem!  After giving my competition a cursory glance, I drank a little water and hummed a bit to warm up my vocal cords.  After practicing my smile in the bathroom mirror, I gave myself a long, hard look and said "You totally got this. You've been waiting five long years for this moment. Carpe the Biem!"  With that I marched into the jury box and took my seat.

As most spelling bee fans know, the pronouncer tells you the word you are to spell.  The contestant repeats the word, spells it, and then repeats the word again.  Additionally, the contestant can ask the pronouncer to use the word in a sentence, in order to avoid misunderstandings such as spelling "pear" instead of "pair."  I was determined to use each and every tool at my disposal to ensure that I would walk out of the courthouse as the winner of the Edwards County Spelling Bee.

When my turn came, I approached the microphone and honed in on the pronouncer.  I was determined not to miss any nuance of my word.  After my name and grade were announced, the pronouncer looked down at his word list and threw down my challenge: "Spell 'naughtiness'."

I blinked.  Naughtiness?  Really?  Too easy!  I licked my lips and leaned toward the microphone.  "Naughtiness."  I paused.  Don't get too cocky.  Use your tools.  I smiled winningly at the pronouncer.  "May I hear that in a sentence?"

The pronouncer nodded.  "The naughtiness of the test was at first, difficult to resolve."

Huh?  What kind of test is naughty?  Whatever; I still got this.  "Naughtiness.  N-A-U-G-" The pronouncer shook his head and interrupted me.  "That's incorrect."

I blinked again.  "No it isn't."

The pronouncer shook his head again.  "The correct spelling is K-N-O-T-T-I-N-E-S-S."

My jaw dropped.  "Seriously?  I'm supposed to get that out of the sentence you gave me?"  The pronouncer looked uneasily at the judges beside him.  "Please take your seat.  You are eliminated."

For another few seconds I stood at the microphone, blinking back tears of shame and rage.  Once again my dreams of winning a spelling bee had been snatched away, before I could even get a taste of victory. Determined not to repeat the humiliation of my public weeping in third grade, I walked out of the court room, head held high, and wept quietly in the bathroom.  After I had finally composed myself, I snuck out to the car and waited for my family to take me home.  When my mother finally arrived, sisters in tow,  she gave me a hug and told me that spelling bees were stupid, that I was spelling "naughtiness" correctly and they should have just changed the word for me, that of course when someone said the word "naughty," you would never at first think they were saying "knotty," and agreed that the pronouncer probably had a vendetta against our family and had been offered bribes in order to ensure my failure.  Properly consoled, I folded my arms, informed my family that my career aspirations as a spelling bee champion were over, and that in the future I would focus my energies on becoming a rock star.  We then went to Willums for an ice cream, which made everything all better.

And I never again entered a spelling bee.

Friday, 28 January 2011

No Clothes

This morning, Big V comes up to me and says, "Hey Chief.  How come we don't ever put our clothes on?"

Now stop right there.  We are not a crazy nature-nudie family who shucks down to our birthday suits as soon as we come in the door and play Naked Monopoly on family night.  Contrary to what one gentleman I was arguing debating with said regarding nudity and "learned shame," we do not clothe ourselves because we have overdeveloped senses of guilt and shame stemming from a cultural bias toward clothing - we clothe ourselves because I already have one overgrown toddler husband who likes to grab a boob in passing; I do not need a four-year old and an infant doing the same.

What he was referring to was our habit of the Vs remaining in their underwear and me in my pjs all day, since we spend 99.9999999999999999% of our time at home, and facebook could care less that I like to rock scrub pants and tank tops all year round.

ANYWAY, so after I told him to not tell people in public that we don't have our clothes on most of the time, I pulled pants and shirt out of the clean laundry pile on the sofa and tossed it to him.  The pants reached his ankles.  Shit.

I then went through all of Vincent's onesies; each would perfectly fit a 6-to-9-month old, which he is not.

Shit again.

The moral?  If your kids wear clothes every day, you can tell when they no longer fit.  Husband's going to love our Visa bill next month.

Thursday, 27 January 2011

Repost if you agree. No, really.

Did you know that "Kentucky just passed the best law ever! to be on Food Stamps, Medicaid, or Cash Assistance for your Children or Yourself you have to pass a DRUG test. Now every other state should do the same. Re-post if you agree and are tired of people taking advantage of the system to be fucking lazy and do drugs"?  Yeah, I didn't know that either.  And interestingly, when I checked Snopes, I discovered that not only had Kentucky not passed that law, but a federal court ruled in Michigan that a similar law violated Fourth Amendment rights against unreasonable search and seizure.

"But wait!" you say. "Why can't the government mandate that you can't be on drugs if you're getting 'government handouts' that come out of my hard-earned tax dollars?" (these comments usually from the same Second Amendment-loving anti-government people who literally shit their pants at the thought of an individual mandate on health insurance).

Well, let's explore that.  If you want to place drug testing restrictions on so-called "government handouts", we're gonna have to test people who are drawing unemployment, those who get those niiiiice farm subsidies, every single person on Medicare, anyone getting veteran's benefits, housing subsidies, temporary relief from foreclosure, and a number of other government assistance programs.  'Cause they're all fucking lazy, right?  And if someone pees dirty, we're going to yank that assistance, because their kids don't deserve to eat, right?

Actually, according to this lady, you shouldn't even be breeding if you're getting a government handout. This is what she had to say about people on welfare:
"For the welfare losers: If you can't afford to feed, clothe, or shelter yourself or your family without the aid of the government (and therefore, the taxpayers), then it should be COMPLETELY within our rights to drug test you. Drugs are illegal (as stupid as it is, yes, weed IS illegal in the U.S., but that's a separate issue), and you should not be using welfare money to break the law. You should be allowed NO luxuries, such as booze, cigs, candy, drugs, etc. You should get a basic landline phone and an answering machine, not an iPhone. You should be put on mandatory birth control until you're off the government dime. You already had children you can't afford, you don't need to make more. GET. A. JOB! Making life as shitty as possible for those who abuse the system might encourage them to get off it."

Well, (raising hand), I am one of those people who was on welfare.  My older son, who, according to Ms. Anderson, shouldn't have been born, was fed through WIC and other programs while I went to nursing school.  I had a government handout that helped me pay for heat, helped with my rent, and helped put him in daycare so I could work weekends at the Elks and spend my weeknights studying  (yes, every goddamn night; I have the GPA to prove it).  I was lucky enough to have a mother that paid for nearly all of my tuition and a grant from the Single Parent Program that gave me nearly a thousand dollars to help pay for my nursing books.  I dressed both myself and my boy with clothes from the Salvation Army, and my aunt's mother did my hair for free. No, I didn't do drugs, but I occasionally bought a bottle of $9 Moscato to sip before bed.

I am so sick of people judging those who are less fortunate than they.  I am tired of people throwing out "lazy" and "leeches" and "parasites" when talking about people who are on government assistance.  Sure, everyone knows "someone" who pops out a kid every 11 months and uses their child support money to buy a Blackberry, but contrary to popular opinion, those people are not the norm.  MOST of them are like I was, trying to make ends meet. To suggest that someone would want to be on welfare is absolutely amazing to me.  You have no clue how humiliating it is to go to a public assistance office and tell them you need help, or have the receptionist at the doctor's office tell you loudly that they need to see the latest copy of your kid's medical card.

For those of you who think that way, I won't change your mind.  Years of prejudicial thinking and watching Fox News have and will continue to feed your biases.  What I will do is continue to teach my children compassion, and tolerance, and empathy, and they will teach their children the same.  And in a few years, when you're in my hospital, receiving care that's paid for with Medicare and other government-subsidized monies, I will care for you with compassion, and tolerance, and empathy.  No judgment here.

Sunday, 23 January 2011

Annabel Lee

My all-time favorite poem, by one of my favorite authors (Edgar Allan Poe).  This was the first poem I ever memorized, and I can recite it to this day.

It was many and many a year ago,
In a kingdom by the sea,
That a maiden there lived whom you may know
By the name of Annabel Lee;
And this maiden she lived with no other thought
Than to love and be loved by me.

I was a child and she was a child,
In this kingdom by the sea;
But we loved with a love that was more than love-
I and my Annabel Lee;
With a love that the winged seraphs of heaven
Coveted her and me.

And this was the reason that, long ago,
In this kingdom by the sea,
A wind blew out of a cloud, chilling
My beautiful Annabel Lee;
So that her highborn kinsman came
And bore her away from me,
To shut her up in a sepulchre
In this kingdom by the sea.

The angels, not half so happy in heaven,
Went envying her and me-
Yes!- that was the reason (as all men know,
In this kingdom by the sea)
That the wind came out of the cloud by night,
Chilling and killing my Annabel Lee.

But our love it was stronger by far than the love
Of those who were older than we-
Of many far wiser than we-
And neither the angels in heaven above,
Nor the demons down under the sea,
Can ever dissever my soul from the soul
Of the beautiful Annabel Lee.

For the moon never beams without bringing me dreams
Of the beautiful Annabel Lee;
And the stars never rise but I feel the bright eyes
Of the beautiful Annabel Lee;
And so, all the night-tide, I lie down by the side
Of my darling- my darling- my life and my bride,
In the sepulchre there by the sea,
In her tomb by the sounding sea. 

Thursday, 20 January 2011

How I Wrote My Research Paper

Ah, Composition and Literature with Mr. Tucker.  I turned this in along with my research paper.  He gave me A's on both :)

JUNE 10: Receive reaserch assignment. Check due date. Laugh and toss syllabus in folder at bottom of bag.

JUNE 30: Field questions from professor on status of research paper. Assure professor that it's "in the works."

JULY 4: Spend weekend camping in rain and sleeping (briefly) on leaky air mattress. Swear never to go camping again.

JULY 7: Pull research topic out of thin air and madly type up proposal; hand in to professor at the end of class.

JULY 9: Skip class to race around library, collecting literature and case studies for research paper. Hand in working bibliography; assure professor its "all under control."

JULY 22: Shove hastily typed 2-page rough draft under professor's office door, slink out of school.

JULY 27:
1pm -- 24 hours remaining. Go home after relaxing sunday dinner, put Baby Einstein down to nap, and industriously gather notes, books, interviews, etc for research paper.

1:15pm: Realize there is no chocolate in house. Pack Baby Einstein into car (naturally he isn't sleeping yet) and drive to CVS to pick out several delicious brain-boosting snacks.

1:45: on the way out of the store, run into guy from class. Ask how his paper-writing is going; he smugly announces he is just dashing inside to pick out a clear plastic binder to put his completed reserch paper in. After shooting him a dirty look, stalk out to car and slam door.

1:55: upon arriving home, tuck Baby Einstein back down for a nap. Re-gather notes and interviews, shuffling papers industriously and try to feel studious.

1:57: have a piece of chocolate. Decide a pot of creme brulee coffee would go marvelously with it.

2:00pm -- 23 hours remaining. Realize I haven't planned out the evening meal yet. Hop online to peruse recipes.

2:45: check myspace messages. Reply to each and every comment and message.

3:45: sit down at computer and shuffle notes and interviews. Notice that computer screen is a bit smudged.

4:00: realize that while baby einstein is napping, it would be a great time to catch up on laundry! Wash every dirty article of clothing in the house. Dry it. Fold it carefully and put it all away.

6:00pm -- 19 hours remaining: engage in text and picture messaging session . Assist father and brother in putting up curtains (finally!) in living room.

7:00: prepare delicious dinner for Baby Einstein. Sit down to eat with him. Discuss preschool, coloring, not smashing crackers into freshly vacuumed carpet. Try to interpret his replies.

7:45: peel noodles out of hair, shirt, floor, ears. Decide to put off writing paper until Baby Einstein is bathed and in bed.

8:45: sit down at computer. Go over assignment carefully. Go over notes carefully. Decide they need to be rewritten.

9:15 -- 15 hours and 45 minutes remaining: Decide to take a break and finish up season 5 of Nip/Tuck.

10:15pm: decide that a nice hot bath will be just the thing to get me in paper-writing mode. Run hot water. Put smelly stuff in water, soak and congratulate self on still having 14 hours and 45 minutes to write paper.

11:00pm: call sister and ask how she liked The Dark Knight. Discuss the plot, plans for the weekend, for Christmas, and for Easter. Ask her what she's wearing just to be creepy.

11:45: engage in a little light stalking online. Send messages to people I haven't chatted with in a while, inquiring after their health, families, jobs, etc.

1:00am: turn on Microsoft Word. Type name, teacher's name, class, date, and title of document

1:15am: save document, just to be safe.

1:16am: wipe smudge off computer screen.

1:17am: debate going to bed and just getting up super early to write paper. Decide that would be a very bad idea.

1:48am: check myspace again, replying to messages.  Spend time on photobucket finding the perfect humorous comment to send to people.

3:00am -- 10 hours remaining: reorganize notes, then spread them all out on the floor.

4:15am: check to make sure Microsoft Word saved document; turn off computer, restart, and check again to make sure Microsoft Word saves documents even when the computer is off.

4:30: realize dishes are still sitting in sink from dinner! Do dishes. Decide now would be a perfect time to clean out pipes under sink. Take apart pipes, de-goo, carefully reassemble. Do the same under the bathroom sink.

5:30am: decide a shower is in order to degrime from doing "man's work."

6:00am: make another pot of coffee, sit on porch and watch sun rise.

6:09am: sit down at computer. get back up and walk through notes, running the gist of the paper through head. Wonder what the chances are of a meteor hitting the house.

6:15am: sit down at the computer and google that very information. Decide the chances are slim to none of that happening.

6:30am: check myspace again.

7:15am: lie on the floor amidst notes and interviews and quietly panic.

7:30am -- 5 hours and 30 minutes remaining: Baby Einstein wakes up. demands a clean diaper, fresh milk, and Spongebob.

8:15am: Drop Baby Einstein off at school. Return home to write that paper!

8:30am: call sister, moan about paper not being written. Discuss whether procrastination runs in our family. Discuss the handwashing scene in The Dark Knight. Again, ask her what she's wearing, just to be creepy.

8:31am: sit down at computer, viciously kicking notes and interviews out of the way. Make derogetory remarks about the assignment, the professor, the college, the world in general.

9:00am: re-type the title to the Microsoft Word document, make sure Microsoft Word can handle saving the change.

9:10am: check myspace again

11:26am -- 1 hour and 34 minutes remaining: answer call from Kelsey. Admit paper isn't quite written yet. Discuss plans for next week. Ask him what he's wearing, just to be creepy.

11:31am: panic a little less quietly. Beat head on keyboard. Remember that beating head against wall burns 150 calories an hour.

11:44am: frantically write paper, tossing notes and interviews around the room as needed.

1:00pm: race wildly down the corrider at school with freshly printed research paper encased in a clear plastic binder quickly purchased from CVS. Narrowly miss colliding with Mr. Matthews, whose class was skipped this morning in order to write paper. Wave paper at him in explanation.

1:01pm: dash into classroom and skid to a stop in front of professor, paper in hand. Realize entire class is staring.

1:02pm: resist the urge to staple professor to his chalkboard as he informs everyone they can just hand in their paper at the end of the week; everyone is free to go.

Tuesday, 11 January 2011

Face It, Crazy People are Hot

Oh, the places my mind can go.  I'm a lot better than I used to be.  Thank goodness I am both cute and smart - you know those pictures of a hot chick bending over, with a caption that reads "Somewhere, some guy is sick of putting up with her shit"?

That could be me.  Thankfully Husband likes my brains as well as my boobs.

A few months ago, Husband made his second trip to Vegas for the Remax Military Long Drive competition.  I remained here in Korea, dealing with things like the children and Korean Death Birds while Husband self-sacrificingly made a solo trip to Sin City in order to try to win me some diamond earrings.  As a military couple, we've been apart plenty - however, due to my occasional bouts of vicious possessiveness separation anxiety (related to past relationships), this has - at times - been a struggle.  However, Husband has grown ever more patient with me, making concessions and compromises in order to facilitate peace and harmony at home (*snicker*).

That's not to say I don't strive to do my part - as evidenced by my mature and experienced handling of the Vegas Phone Call Debacle.

Once Husband landed in Vegas, he purchased a pay-as-you-go cell phone and a phone card, in order to easily contact friends and family in the States (and also so Wife could call and ease her burdened mind).  He also made sure I had the hotel and room number, and we made arrangements for me to call when he'd be in his room so as not to use up too many of the cell minutes.  This arrangement worked out quite well, until about the third day he was in Vegas.  He'd asked me to call at 6am Vegas time, which was about 11pm Korea time, to wake him up so he could get out to the course at a decent time.  After tucking the Vs into bed and curling up into my own, I called the Casablanca Resort and asked for room sixty-ten.  After Kirby the Friendly Front Desk Operator confirmed the name the room was reserved in, he connected my call.  After three or four rings, a sleepy female voice said "H'lo?"

I shot straight the fuck up in bed.  My scalp started tingling, and all of a sudden, even though my room was dark, I could see as well as if there were stadium lights installed in my ceiling.

Unknown female: "Hel-lo? Someone there?"
Me (gagging): "Gerk."
Unknown female: "Who is this?"

Although my tongue was stuck, my brain was not.  I jumped out of bed with my mind racing; the foremost and clearest thought being nofuckingway HE WOULD NOT DARE.  I managed to peel my tongue from the roof of my mouth long enough to go "I'm very sorry; I must have been connected to the wrong room," so fucking help me I swear to Baby Jesus this better be the wrong room. "Sorry for waking you."

The next few minutes were a bit of a blur.  My hands were shaking so hard I couldn't hold the paper with the hotel number on it steady, so I had to go into the kitchen and lay it on the table so I could read it.  Then it took several attempts for me to dial it correctly (being an international call).  Once I finally got Kirby the Friendly Front Desk Operator on the phone, I asked for room six-zero-one-zero and waited again to be connected.  This time, Husband picked up the phone.

Husband: "Hello?"
Me (straining as hard as I can through the phone to hear anything suspicious).
Husband: "Hello? Hello?"
Me (icily): "Good morning, Husband. Sleep well?"
a pause
Husband: "I guess so.  What's up, babe?"
Me: "Oh, NOTHING." is that rustling in the background? Whispering? I press the phone harder to my ear.
Husband: "O-kay... is everything all right?"
Me (scathingly): "Of course it's all right.  Why wouldn't it be all right?  How are you doing, HUSBAND?" did the door just softly close?
Husband (in a long-suffering tone): "Okay, what's going on?"
Me: "Well, Lifemate, I will tell you what's going on. I stayed up til eleven fucking pm in order to wake you up so you could go play golf, and a goddamn female answered the goddamn phone.  So this is my second call.  To your room. To your VEGAS HOTEL ROOM. That's occupied by only you - right, Lifemate?!?"
another pause.  No rustling, only silence.
Husband: "Babe."
Me: "Yes?"
Silence.  Is he laughing?
Me: "Well?!?"
Husband: "Babe... I'm sorry.  That really sucks..."
Husband: "I'll come clean. I packed a Juicy in one of my duffle bags to keep me company."

Long story short, after a few minutes, I realized that 1). Kirbster the Friendly Hotel Operator had connected me to room sixteen-ten the first time, and 2). the only company Husband had been keeping since he landed on U.S. soil was that of other military golfers.  After assuring me that he'd only had his wiener out to pee and flash at the occasional reveler on the Strip, we said goodbye.

And it only took me another hour and a half to get to sleep.

Tuesday, 4 January 2011

Feminists Are Allowed to Have Epidurals

Warning: this is going to piss some of you off.

I love to prowl around on mommy boards.  Partly because right now, I just have that kind of time on my hands, and partly because they feed my deep and abiding love for acronyms.  Mommy boards have almost as many acronyms as nursing and military sites - BF, FF, CIO, CD, BW (I admit that for a little while, I thought that last one stood for Bed Wetting).

Since I've begun my foray into the world of mommy boards, I've discovered an interesting phenomenon: that of the Crunchy Mama.  There seem to be varying levels of crunchiness, but the basic tenets are ardent breastfeeding (BF), attachment parenting/anti-crying-it-out (CIO), cloth diapering (CD), and baby wearing (not bed wetting), as well as not vaccinating, electing not to circumcise, eschewing even the most minimal birth monitoring (and Woe Betide the "Woman" who elects to have an epidural), and never, ever, ever, ever spanking.  While some of these mothers are very live-and-let-live (say, choosing to breastfeed and cloth diaper, while believing it's okay to spank and circumcise), others believe that to do otherwise is to ensure that your child will be autistic, constantly sick, and possibly even have a sub-normal IQ.

Apparently I am going to Mommy Hell.

After feeding my youngest boy some processed baby food and diapering him in a commercially manufactured Huggies diaper, I delved further into the world of Crunchy Mommy and came across this gem:

Holy Mommyboard Hysteria, Batman.

Comments on this photo ranged from:



And my favorite:
"These physicians and this practice is the antithesis of feminists everywhere. Tell these doctors HANDS OFF our reproductive choices!!!"

Sweet Jesus.

Here's a thought: perhaps this particular practice got tired of women marching in, doula at bedside, and arguing over every single blood draw and monitor strip interpretation, all the while brandishing a written and notarized contract stipulating that absolutely no medical intervention is allowed unless 'Life or Limb' of baby is at stake.  Just a thought, but perhaps an obstetrician would have a pretty damn good idea already of what is safe and acceptable during a delivery, and just maybe they get a bit tired of a non-doctor telling them how to do their job.  Here's an idea: if you don't want any medical intervention, have your baby at home.  Be sure to invite The Learning Channel.

Don't get me wrong - there are hundreds, if not thousands, of opinions on pregnancy, childbirth, and child rearing.  And everyone likes to think that the way they do things is the "right" way.  But getting a holier-than-thou attitude regarding information you've gotten from Google University?  It's no wonder some OBs have had enough.  When did it become perfectly okay to waltz into a delivery room, tell the doctor exactly what he/she will and will not do, tell them you have a contract that they are to adhere to, and then if things don't go exactly as you planned, throw all the blame on your medical treatment?  Guess what - shit happens during childbirth.  While most births are routine and minimally invasive, women give birth in hospitals on the off chance that something unexpected might happen - and if it does, you want your physician ready and able to jump in and do whatever he or she deems necessary to safely deliver your baby.

So here's an option - take a page from Well-Informed Woman's Manual of Pregnancy and Childbirth:
- Know your options
- Communicate your wishes to your husband/birth partner and your doctor
- Don't apologize for your choices
- Be flexible, because the baby is going to occasionally come early, try to come out ass-first, or try to shove the umbilical cord ahead of it.  Babies are tricky like that.

And for entertainment purposes, a few pages from Blonde Mommy's Manual of Pregnancy and Childbirth:
- Send the anesthesiologist flowers before your delivery.  You want the Good Stuff, after all.
- On your birth plan, stipulate in bold lettering: "Knock me out immediately prior to anything painful. I prefer to be comatose and drooling during the Main Event."
- Pack 3 bags for the hospital: one for baby, one with Mommy's clothes and pjs, and one with Mommy's makeup and hair products.  Mommy does not want to look like she has just given birth, even immediately after she has just given birth.
- All photos before, during, and after childbirth are to be granted express permission prior to being posted on facebook.  If it's not airbrushed, it's not for public viewing.
- Someone better bring a bottle of Moscato, because Mommy hasn't had anything harder than semi-loaded coffee for nine months.

In the meantime, I will continue to troll the mommy boards, because I love to argue.  Besides, it's not the doctors who are out to compromise your medical decisions.


Sunday, 2 January 2011

The Fruit of My Womb (Part 2)

Vlad (peeling open one of my eyes while I try to nap): "Hey Chief! Wake up! Let's play!" Me (rolling over): "Lemme alone; I'm tired." V (patting my hair): "You're so pretty. You don't need a nap." Me (perking up): "Well, okay. What are we playing?" V: "The Titans! I am the hero Perseus! You are the evil Medusa!" Me: "Thanks, son."

Vlad (munching contentedly on cashews and almonds): "These are 'alicious! Better than PaPaw's. Definitely." Me: "I thought you liked PaPaw's peanuts. You sure ate a lot when we were over there the other day." Vlad: "I wasn't eatin' them. I was just chewin' all the salty off and puttin' them back."

Vlad (flying into my bed): "Mam, there's an alien in my closet with gooey green teeth and purple eyes and he's scratchin' the door and he got strep! Can I sleep with you?" Me (throwing back the covers and scooting over): "Sure thing." V: "Arentcha gonna go look?" Me: "Nope."

*thump* Me: "Vlad, knock it off." *thump* "I mean it, V!" *THUMP* "Stop kicking the wall!" *thump thump* "Stop it or YOU ARE IN TROUBLE!" ......... *THUMPTHUMPTHUMP* "VLADIMIR! What part of 'stop it or you're in trouble do you not understand?!?" V: "The last part."

Vlad (watching me run bathwater): "Bath night AGAIN?!?" Me: "Don't say it like that, V; it implies that you don't take baths very often." V: "What's 'implies'?" Me (testing the water temp): " til I'm done with this; I can't think of how to explain it right this second." V: "Why you gotta use words that you don't know what they mean?"

Vlad (patting my hair): "Heya, Chief, how come I don't have all this yellow hair like you and Vincent?" Me: "Well, you have to be born with it. You were born with very dark hair." V: "Oh. Is Vincent gonna have to go to the hair lady to keep getting the yellow put on like you?"

Vlad (in the movie store): "So. Movie girl. What movies you got?" MG: "Well, what are you looking for?" V (leaning against the counter): "Oh, you know, lotsa guns and T Rex and big crashes and shootin'. No boobs. Somethin' good."

Vlad (watching me brush my teeth): "Chief, you're beautiful. Like a flower. Like a pizza. Like Darth Vader." Me: "Thanks, V. You really know how to talk to a woman." Vlad: "Yeah, I get that from you." 

Me: "Stop annoying your brother, Vlad." V: "What's 'annoying'?" Me: "The stuff you do that gets on my nerves." V: "How many nerves does Vincent have?" Me: "The same as you and I; billions." V: "You don't get more while you're growing?" Me: "Well you can create new pathways but essentially you have the same number." V: "Wow, I hope you don't run out then."

Vlad (pushing his fish toward me): "Chief, I can't eat this." Me: "And why not? It's awesome!" V: "Well, I need it to have livers and guts and a spleen and eyes!" Me: "Sure thing, Hannibal. Would you like me to serve it with some fava beans and a nice Chianti?"

"What bedtime movie do you want, V?" V: "Kill Bill 2." (as I tuck him in) "so, if you get mad at my Chelsy are you gonna chase him all over the world with your sword?" Me: "No, I will talk about it with him calmly and we will come to a compromise." V: "Yeah. Then you will CHOP him." Me: "How about Peter Pan before bed?"

Vlad: "I think we're lost." Me: "We are not lost." V: "Okay; you're just drivin' by imagination then?"

Vlad: "So, the bug killin', is that the man's job?" Me: "It sure is." Vlad: "Aaand the lawn mowin', that's the man's job too?" Me: "You guessed it." Vlad: "So it's the mom's job to tell the man what his job is?" Me: "Exactly right."

Vlad (to boy on playground): "Hi, I'm Vladimir, I'm from the United States of America!" Boy on playground: "Me too." Vlad: "Well, darn it."

Vlad: "Heya, Chief, my room and my bathroom, that's my apartment, okay? Cause I'm a grownup now. And this here is your apartment." Me: "Okay. So who gets the kitchen?" V: "Well, you can have it." Me: "But how are you going to eat?" V: "Well, when you fix food, just put some in my room." Me: "But I thought you were a grownup. Can't you fix your own food?" V: "Now you know that grownup boys don't fix their own food!"

"Vlad, you can use the same spoon on your other pudding." V: "No I can't!! You have to clean it!!" Me: "So I guess you're going to be doing the dishes then?" V: "No, I don't do dishes; YOU do dishes, and Kelsey plays golf!!" (while Husband snickers in the background). 

Vlad: "Chief, I am sorry for pushing the red button again." Me: "Thank you. Your apology is accepted." V: "Now you have to say sorry for punishing me." Me: "No, I do not. You did something wrong, so your punishment is justified." V: "WHY DO ONLY BOYS HAVE TO SAY THEY'RE SORRY?!?!?"

Vlad: "What's for dinner, Chief?" Me: "Italian chicken with parmesan and farfalle pasta with dill." Vlad: "EW, that's disgustin'! I ain't eatin' that!!" Me: "Okay, we're having chicken and bowtie noodles." Vlad: "Now THAT sounds delicious."

Vlad: "CHIEF! It's time to wipe my butt!" Me: "Seriously, Vlad, what are you going to do when you go to college? I won't be wiping your butt then." V: "I will have some lady wipe my butt for me." Me: "Pretty sure you won't find a girl at school to wipe it for you." V: "Sure they will. People do all kindsa things when they're in college."

Me (hopping around on one foot while cradling the other): "CRAPCRAPCRAP!!!" Vlad: "What's wrong, Chief?" Me: "I smashed my toe in the closet door ANDITHURTS!!!" Vlad: "Shake it off, it ain't bleedin'." Me: "ACTUALLY, it IS bleeding, Baby Einstein, LOOK!" Vlad (peering at my broken appendage): "Shake it harder then."

Me (walking in on Vlad doing the Naked Wiggle Dance in front of his mirror): "What are you doing??" V: "I'm shakin' it, Chief. All the guys do it." Me: "Really? Why would all the guys do this?" V (looking at me like I'm an idiot): "Cause we got WEINERS. That's what you do when you have a WEINER."

Vlad (playing with Vincent's toy steering wheel): "THE LIGHT IS GREEN!!!" (lays on the horn). "GET OFF THE ROAD IF YOU CAN'T DRIVE; ARE YOU BLIND OR JUST AN IDIOT?!?!?!?" Oops.

Vlad: "Heya, mam, Vincent just pulled my lip right here and I'm not bleedin but it hurts!" Me: "Well, he didn't mean to, Vlad; he's just a baby." Vlad: "So he's not guilty just 'cause he's a BABY?!?!?" Me: "Yes. And when he's older he'll be not guilty because of his childhood. I'm setting the stage for your defense; you'll thank me in a few years."

Vlad (yelling from his bathroom): "Hey, Chief! If I pee a lot, do I got the diabetes?" Me: "I'm pretty sure you don't have diabetes, V. Lots of things make you pee a lot. You've probably just been drinking more." V: "Yeah. Or maybe I'm pregnant."

Vlad (slurping his chicken noodle soup): "Man, Korean food is delicious!" Me: "I'm glad you think so! But this is actually American." Vlad (slurping another spoonful): "Well, it has a Korean taste to it."

"Vlad, tomorrow is Thanksgiving! Do you know what that day means?" V: "Sure do! Christopher Columbus went to the United States of America and SLAUGHTERED UP all the INDIANS and then he and his pirate friends ATE THEM ALL UP and then put on their feathers and danced around a big fire without their pants on!! It was AWESOME!"

Vlad (poking at the rhinestones on the back pocket of my jeans): "Hey, are these here so that the males can tell you're ready to mate?" Me: "I don't think you need to watch any more National Geographic."

Vlad: "Hey Chief, whatcha doin?" Me: "Registering for my college classes." V: "School, school, SCHOOL!!!! Ain't you ever gonna be smart enough?" Me: "Don't you want me to be an almost-doctor?" V: "No, I want you to be a pizza chef. And learn to make PIZZA. That's what you need to do." Me: "Ask Daddy to be a pizza chef." V: "No he's gonna play golf and yell at people."

Vlad: "Chief, I got an idea. After you do the laundry and clean my bathroom and make supper and clean the dishes, you and me, we're gonna FIGHT like PIRATES!" Me: "Well, V, I think after I do the laundry and clean the bathroom and make dinner, I'm going to be rather tired. That's a lot of work, you know." V: "Yeah. You should tell Kelsey to pay you more."

Vlad (hearing me walk into a wall and the subsequent unrepeatable epithet): "What's wrong?" Me: "NOTHING. I hit my head on the wall, that's all." Vlad: "You prob'ly need to quit walking. You're not very good at it."

Vlad: "Hey, Chief, let's go outside and pee in the snow!" Me: "I'll decline, thanks." Vlad: "C'mon, take off your pants and act like a man!"

Vlad (marching up in his pirate costume): "Chief! You need to fix pizza and cookies for me and all my men!" Me: "All of your men? What are you doing?" V: "We're gonna take over the world! But you have to feed us first." Me: "Well, you and all your men need to wash your hands first." V (stomping to the bathroom): "FINE! We'll be the ONLY ARMY IN THE WORLD who destroys everything with CLEAN HANDS."

Vlad (yelling from his room): Hey CHIEF! I got one in the HEAD!" Upon running into his room, I discovered he was pelting the people below with candy canes and laughing manaically.

"Now sit there and behave until it's time to go." V: "Why?" Me: "'Cause I don't want you to get dirty." V: "I can't do NOTHIN'?" Me: "No." V: "Can I burp?" Me: "No, Vladimir." V: "Can I toot?" Me: "NO. Just sit there and behave!" V: "Well, tryin' to behave is prob'ly gonna get me dirty."

Me (singing along to The Little Mermaid): ♪♬ "Poor un-FOR-tunate SOULS!" ♪♬ V: "Can you stop singing? I'm trying to eat my breakfast." Me: "I'll stop after you're done eating." V (eyeing his overly ripe banana): "Nevermind. You already turned my banana brown."

Vlad (yelling from his balcony): "Hey you funny lookin' kids! Get OFF my LAWN!" Me (running into his room): "V, get away from the window!" (to the kids outside): "Sorry; he watches Monster House a lot." Kid: "Well, it's not his lawn!" V (jumping in front of me again): "It is too! I pee out my window right where you're standing ALL the TIME."

The Fruit of My Womb (Part 1)

...or, "Shit My Kid Says."  More to follow.

Vlad (limping around holding his back): "oh, my aches n pains!" Me: "what's wrong, V?" Vlad: "I have a neurologic problem." Me: "if it's your spine, its an orthopedic problem." Vlad: "Actually its my spine CORD.Neurologic."

Me: "Vlad, it's bath time. Get in the tub." Vlad: "I don't need a bath, I sprayed myself with Lysol. I'm very clean now." Me: "Are you serious?? That's dangerous!!" Vlad: "Well, you clean the toilet with it." *sigh* yes, everyone, he's FINE. Just smells funny.

(at Walmart, loading groceries into Megatron [which is what Vlad named the truck]) Vlad: "Would you hurry?" (whacks me on the butt). Me: "Did you just smack my butt, Vlad?!?!?" Vlad: "No. I was just pushin on it to keep you from fallin down again."

Vlad (getting out of bed AGAIN, wearing his sports PJ bottoms): "mom I think the basketball on my butt makes it look big." Me: "Well, big butts are in. Go back to bed." Vlad: "Can I turn my pants around so its on my front?"

"So Vlad, you're gonna have a little brother!" Vlad: "Cool!" a pause. "so he'll have a weiner, right?"

Vlad (pushing his hand under my nose): "Mom. Hey. Does this smell like pee?" Me (passed out on the couch): "Mmph?" Vlad (covering my nose with his hand): "Does it?" Me (sitting up very fast): "Did you pee on your hand?!? VLAD!!" Vlad (sniffing his own hand): "Yeah. I guess I'll go wash it."

Me: "Vlad, I'm very unhappy about the fit you threw today at school." Vlad: "I am sorry. It was an accident." Me: "You seem to be a little unclear about what the definition of 'accident' is." V: "It means by reason of mental disease or defect." Me: "No it doesn't! Where did you hear that?" V: "Law and Order."

(before the parade): "Vlad, do you have to pee?" V: "Nope." (just before the Marching Tigers Band passes) "I gotta pee!" Me: "Well, can you hold it?" V:(pulling down his pants) "Nope!" (pees just as the marching band passes by) Me: "Pull up your pants! PULL UP YOUR PANTS!!! UP!!" V: "I can't stop it once it starts!"

Vlad (watching me struggle to get behind the wheel of the truck):"Do you have to bring that baby everywhere?" Me (out of breath): "Yeah, it's sort of attached, Vlad" V: "can you put him on your backside?" pauses. "No, you don't have room there either"

Parenting tip #512: when at the video store, do not allow your 3-year old to explore the movies himself, lest he discover the door to the "back room." You will then hear him yell from the door of said room, ringing across the store for all to hear "Mom! M-O-O-Om! Come look at all these BOOBS! They got all kinds!" (a pause as I streak across the store) "Hey, they got tails on all the boys too!"

Vlad (to the merry-go-round operator as he exits the ride): "Hey I tooted on that horse right there. You need to sanitize it, ok?"

Vlad (to 2 soldiers in the mall): "Hey do you know my Daddy Kelsey?" Soldier #1: "Maybe, is he in the Army?" V (making himself comfortable): "Yeah, he's in Korea but he came to see me & mommy & now I'm gonna have a brother!" Soldier #2: "Yeah, that'll happen."

Vlad: "Hey chief, whatcha eatin'?" Me: "Some tomatoes with mozarella cheese." V: "Oh. Is that what the baby wants?" Me: "No. The baby wants rocky road ice cream, I'm just not giving in to what he wants." V: "Oh. Is he in trouble too?"

Santa: "Ho ho ho, come sit on my lap!" V: "No, I'll stand right here." Me: "Vlad, get on his lap!" V: "But he's an old man! And he has a beard! I'm not supposed to!" Me: "It's ok, he's a nice guy, just get on his lap!!!" V (to Santa): "Okay. But you better not give me any candy."

Vlad: "Hey, how does Santa know where I live?" Me: "I gave him a call to give him directions." V: "That's no good. He prob'ly needs your GPS." Me: "Well, maybe Santa doesn't know how to work a GPS." V: "Yours don't work 'cause you hit it and say bad words to it. I bet you don't get any presents." Me: "I think it's bedtime."

(at a b-day party with Vlad) V: "Mom! Did you bring your thermometer?!? I need it right now!!" Me (pulling it out of my purse) "Okay, why do you need it?" V: "This girl over here, she don't feel good & I think she has an infection!" Me: "Well, we need to ask her mom if she wants to use it; you can't just go taking people's temperatures." V: "No, she said it's ok." (turning to the girl) "Okay, pull down your pants."

V: "Hey mom how are you gonna get that baby out?" Me: "Well, the doctor is going to make a little incision in my belly and pull him out." V: "How come Kelsey won't do it?" Me: "Well, baby, he's not a doctor." V: "Oh. How come you don't make Kelsey carry around the baby?" Me: "Oh, if only I could. That's one of the joys of being a man, Vlad; never being pregnant." V: "Right. And you get a weiner too."

Me: "Vlad, could you bring me a tissue?" V: "Sure, here ya go." (hands me a Kleenex, which, thank goodness, I look at before using). Me: "Are there boogers already on this?!?" V: "Yeah but only on that side."

Me: "Hey, Vlad? You're getting on my nerves a little bit." V: (continues to jump like a monkey from sofa to laundry basket) "Ok, I'll get off them in a minute." Me: "Um, why not now?" V: "Well, cause it's too much fun right now."

Vlad (watching the neighbor walk his dog): "Hey mom, are you gonna teach the baby to go potty outside?" Me: "Well, he won't be able to walk right away." V: "Maybe you could just hang his butt out the window?" Me: "The neighbors might not like that too much." V: "Yeah, they won't." a pause. "But if he pees in the house are you gonna whack him with the newspaper?"

Vlad: "Hey. Mom. Why you walkin' like that?" Me: (sighing) "Because the baby's dropped, Vlad." V: (looking around) "Dropped where?" Me: "He's still in here (pointing to my abdomen), "he's just moved down a little lower." V: "Well, you look like you have to go to the bathroom real bad."

V (watching me struggle in the tub with my foot scrubber): "Whatcha doin'?" Me: (out of breath): "Getting the callouses off my feet...this is for adults-only, just like my razor, k?" V: "K" (later at the sitter's) Me: "Sorry; I'm a little behind this morning." V (chiming in): "She was using her adults-only stuff in the bathtub."

Vlad (following my 3rd trip to the Walmart bathroom in a single shopping trip): "Chief, you're sure peein' a lot. you sure you don't got the diabetes?" Me (sanitizing frantically after leaving Walmart): "Pretty sure I don't have diabetes, V." V: "Oh yeah, that's right. You're just knocked up."

Vlad (playing house with his cousin Lilly): "Lilly you have to do what I tell you. I am the BOY. I kill bugs!" Lilly: "YOU have to listen to ME! I do all this laundry!" V: "No, I am the boss! I drive the truck! You make the dinner!!" Lilly: "Fine, I'm gonna pee in your dinner."

V (in the aftermath of a spanking for running into the road): "Mam, I'm sorry I went in the road. it was an accident." Me: "V, again, you need to learn the difference between an accident & on purpose. That was on purpose." V: "No, it was allegedly."

V: "Chief, whatcha wearin'?" Me (a little out of breath): "It's a girdle, V. It's supposed to make me look skinnier. Is it working?" V (looking me up and down): "Sure. 'Cept where your skin's sticking out."

Vlad: "Hey mam, you doin' homework again?" Me (busily typing away on Facebook): "Um, yeah. I'm doing homework, V." V: "And all those people on your Facebook, they doin' homework too?"...

Me: "VLADIMIR. You are getting on my LAST nerve." Vlad: "You sure got a lot of last nerves."

Vlad: "Mama, my abdomen hurts and it's a 7. I think I have a GI bleed." Me: "Uh oh. We'll probably have to put in an NG tube." V: "Is that the one that goes in your nose?" Me: "Yep." V: "Nevermind I'm prob'ly just hungry."

Vlad: "Hey Chief, can you feel in my nose if I have any boogers?" Me: "Do you mean look in your nose?" V: "No, I mean feel."

Vlad: "Hey mam, let's relax on the couch and watch CSI." Me: "Really? No Transformers? Why?" V (wiggling his eyebrows): "Maybe you'll fall asleep."

Vlad: "Chief, can I marry you?" Me: "Aw, that's sweet, we can't get married 'cause you're my son and besides, I'm already married." V: "Well DARN it!!! Where am I s'posed to find somebody to do dishes and laundry and give me a bath and stuff?!?!?"

Vlad: "Hey mam, I can't wear my wonderwears today so I can get air on my weiner." Me: "Why in the world do you need air on your weiner?" V: "It needs fresh air and sunshine so it can grow!" Me: "You are not going outside like that."

Vlad: "Whatcha drawin on your face for, Chief?" Me: "It's my makeup, V. It's supposed to make me look pretty." Vlad: "Well you need to stay inside the lines on your eyes a little better."

Vlad: "Hey Mam, me and Vincent, we're gonna hang out in our wonderwears today okay?" Me: "Vlad you hang out in your underwear everyday. What is so different about today?" V: "Today I'm gonna show him how to burp, too." Me: "Awesome."

Sometimes, being a nurse is not always a good thing: when you have a headache, you think stroke, when you have a cut, you worry about Group A beta-hemolytic strep. This rubs off on your family. Vlad drank a ton of water after playing outside. After peeing for the 4th time in an hour, he sat beside me, took my hand, and said "Chief, I think I have an enlarged prostate."

Vlad: "Mam, c'mon, let's go swimmin', c'mooooon!!" Me: "Not today, V, we'll go tomorrow. I'm so tired I could cry." V: "PLEASE!! I HAVE TO!!" Me: "No, Vlad; I'M TIRED." V: "Well walk it off; you're not bleedin'!"

Vlad (to young lady at the pool): "Hey, I like your boobs!" Young lady's father: "Excuse me?" Me: "I am so sorry; he doesn't yet realize that's not appropriate. We're working on that." Young lady's father (eyeing my cleavage): "Well, okay." Vlad (to young lady): "I like your swimsuit top!"

Me (hearing toilet flush): "Vladimir, did you wipe your butt?" V: "No, I didn't need to." Me: "How do you figure? Last time I checked #2 wasn't normally a sterile function." V: "Didn't go #2, Chief." Me: "I saw you sitting down, V." V: "I know. Just wanted to try #1 sittin' down."

Vlad: "HEY!! Why is Vincent wearing a DRESS?? And a BRACELET?!?" Me: "It's a sleeping gown, not a dress, V. And the bracelet is a wrist rattle." Vlad: "I think you need a doll, Mam."

Vlad (watching me brush my hair): "We goin' somewhere, Chief?" Me: "Nope." V: "Well why you wearin' your hair and your makups?" Me: "In case Publishers Clearinghouse stops by with a million dollar check and a tv crew, V. I want to look nice." V: "I don't think they're comin'." Me: "I know. But just in case." V: "You could just wear my Iron Man mask."

Lady cutting Vlad's hair: "I'm going to start the clippers now...they're pretty loud, aren't they?" V: "They sure are. I think my mom has one of those. 'Cept she don't cut hair with it." Me: "He's REFERRING to my electric knife. It's pretty loud." Stylist (smirking): "Sure."

Vlad: "Where's the tape?" Me (in the kitchen): "Desk drawer; why?" V: "Just wonderin." *an hour or so passes* V (in the bathroom): "Mam!! I need scissors or somethin'!" Me (walking into the bathroom) "Why do you need...oh. Uh-oh." Vlad (tearfully): "Don't pull it off, 'kay?"

Me: "Vlad, if I have to raise my voice to you ONE more time, you're going to your room!" Vlad: "You don't HAVE to raise your voice, I don't MAKE you." a pause. "I'm going to my room now aren't I."

Me (struggling to unload Vincent from the back seat): "Vlad, stay where I can see you!" a pause, I look around. "Vladimir!! I CAN'T see you!!" V (popping his head around the back of the truck) "I'm right here!" Me: "I told you to stay where I can see you, V!" V: "Well, reg'lar size people can see me."

Vlad (looking at pictures of Clostridium botulinum online with me): "We're kinda nerds, ain't we, Chief." Me: "No, V. We're just two very cool people who happen to like looking at bacteria and viruses every once in a while. Nerds do it all the time." Vlad: "Well I still play with my other toys, then. But you for sure are a nerd."

Me, eyeing the cracked window frame resulting from V trying to climb his curtain: "Vlad, seriously? You've broken every drawer in your dresser, painted your tv, and rubbed paint off your wall. Why can't you just be good and play quietly?" V: "I try but these accidents just keep happenin." Me: "Climbing your curtain was not an accident. That was on purpose." V: "Yeah but the falling down part, that was the accident."