Sunday, December 14, 2008

I'm going to wet my pants.

Like many of us, my favorite parts of the holidays are not necessarily related to the gifts. Or even the food. Yummy...

Like many mommies, I absolutely love the excitement on my children's faces - throughout the entire season. I love watching the surprise, joy, disbelief-yet-belief, and fascination in their eyes each time they see signs of Christmas Magic. I love their little voices singing Rudolph and Jingle Bells in the backseat. Hearing them squeal at holiday lights - even the weakest displays - as we drive through the neighborhood. I love how Big Girl and I fain surprise each year to find, once again, the same collection of toy soldiers, wreaths, bells, French horns and angels suspended from the street lamps on 3rd Street. These things, of course, are a few of my favorite Mommy Holiday Moments.

I have not, though, been a Mommy forever. Consequently, some of my holiday favorites are completely unrelated to my Darling Princesses.

For instance, I so look forward to the family tradition my brothers and I have developed. It seems that, even as an adult, my siblings have a unique effect on me. They bring me to tears with laughter. In fact, they nearly bring me to wetting myself...EVERY TIME. It is just as it has always been. I cannot put my finger on the mystery behind their power over my Giggle Box. Nonetheless, they are masters at overturning it.

Perhaps it is their abilities to impersonate and speak in accents. Very politically INcorrect accents.

Perhaps their mere presence summons my personal immaturities. It never fails that our conversations, at some point, turn to bodily functions.

Perhaps it is the Power of Three. Any Charmed fans out there??

Perhaps it is merely contagious, and they were looking forward to this fun as much as I was.

Perhaps it is the unique bond that only siblings can know. After all, we've been "playing together" all our lives.

Whatever the cause, I'm so glad it's there. I'm also thankful to see this bond - this love of laughter - emerging in my daughters' sistership. My husband and I love to hear their giggles escalate to side-splitting, pants-wetting decibels. We turn, smiling to each other, oblivious to whatever it is that is so funny. For a moment, we both giggle, too....

...until we have to yell at them....but that is another post.

Buried Treasure

I was "thumbing" through my posts and back-tagging posts tonight, when I stumbled upon this unpublished piece. I assumed it was incomplete and began rereading it. I decided it was a story worth sharing, so here it is. This post was originally titled "My Little Neurotic". Hope you enjoy!


I feel a little bit guilty for the title, but it's true.

My Big Girl appears to be following in Neurotic Mommy's footsteps. Tonight we had a mini-princess-meltdown about a costume parade that has yet to happen. Mind you, the Little Princess has NO exposure to this event in the past, but she seems to have sense of what is to come.

This story starts last year when she was in Pre-K. On the 100th day of school, they had an (I'm sure) adorable little, miniature parade that included only the 30 students in the four year-old program. Apparently, she had a not-so-mini-meltdown on this day. It was too loud (???) and there were too many people (???). She refused to walk and, thank God, one of her loving, wonderful teachers stayed with her and held her hand, lovingly reassuring her as they trailed behind her 29 peers and their teachers.

Now she has joined my school, which goes, admittedly, a bit over the top when it comes to celebrations and...well, just about everything. She has no idea what she's in for. Regardless, tonight, she hysterically sobbed, "They think I'm going to be in the parade, BUT I'M NOT!!!" With great contempt she declared her intentions -- she would just stand in the hallway. (The reality is, she probably won't even want to do that tomorrow.)

Not ten minutes after this episode, which came a mere 5 minutes after her daily after-school snack meltdown, Big Girl emphatically told her sister, Little Girl, "I just can't take it. I cannot take your crying. You cry about everything! You cry when you want something, you cry for food, you cry for your pacie, you cry for your drink. I cannot take this crying all the time!"

OK. Am I hearing things? Did she really just say that? Who does she think she is???

I tried. I tried really hard to be as sweet as I could be, but I just HAD to point out to her how much she sounded like she was talking about HERSELF.

"Baby, do you know anyone else who cries a lot? What you just said sounded a lot like you..." I began to explain. Of course, she denied any parallels.

I KID YOU NOT -- It was not 1 minute later when she decided she was thirsty. Yep. You guessed it! MELTDOWN, BABY!

Do you ever feel like you're the only sane one? For me, that's a little sad...

I need to teach this girl to vacuum.

Author's Note: Wondering how it all worked out with the parade? She made liars out of us -- completely. Fire Daddy, faculty friends, other parents and I were all braced for the worst...and Big Girl paraded proudly as Sleeping Beauty with the rest of the approximately 400 Kindergarteners and first graders -- sans tears. I thought I was going to faint out of shock! Who knew?

Friday, December 12, 2008

A Runaway Train

This year, my darling Big Brother and sister-in-law, have orchestrated a family reunion trip to Disney World for the holidays. By family reunion, I do not mean the "greats" and "seconds". I mean the grandparents (MJ and Pop), the siblings (Big Brother, Little Brother*term used loosely because they both tower over me, et moi), the spouses (Sister #1 - "Louanne", Sister #2 - "Tammy" , and Fire Daddy), and the little squirts (Big Girl, Little Girl and Curly Cuz -who belongs to Little Brother and Tammy, and is the same age as Big Girl, 5).


That's how I started this post yesterday morning. However, the inspiration has faded...I'll tell more about that little excursion later. Another time, another post. Instead, a tiny detail within that paragaph caught my eye......Anyone up for a ride on a runaway train? I'm rollin' with it!

Speaking of Louanne and Tammy...those are not their real names. As I was running to the restroom yesterday for the upteenth time (started the day with a Venti Skinny Vanilla Latte with an extra shot of espresso, quickly followed with a Large Sweet Tea from Mickey D's), the subject of nicknames entered my mind. My sister Tammy is desperately trying to dub me "Jens". I'm not sure why, apparently she thinks it fits. Do I mind? Not at all. In fact, I'm a big fan of nicknames.

In the past, I've been referred to as "Jen-nay" (the Forrest Gump years), "Honeydew" (or some other fruit...old boyfriend), "Jen Mama" (best friend), my middle name alone for some folks, my last name alone seems to stick for others, and "Princess" (a man at my school's current name for me). Then there's the parental nicknames of "Pumpkin" and "Lizardabeth" or just "Lizard". Not to mention the original nickname -- "Jenn". Funny, my parents did not start that. A friend did. Consequently, when my sister Louanne met me, I think she thought I didn't like "Jenny". She made visible efforts to always refer to me as "Jenn", apologizing if she slipped and called me by my first name.

In the end, I don't mind. I didn't even mind when folks stretched my name and spoke it like poor ol' Forrest. Nicknames don't bother me -- well, within reason. I can't say I loved it when my father-in-law called me "Hippo" for a short time. But, I also realize he was just pullin' my pigtails.

There is one name I do mind. Jennifer. Allow me to publicly proclaim this now.

My name is NOT Jennifer.

Just because MOST parents name their child Jennifer and call them Jenny, does NOT mean I am a Jennifer.

My Birth Certificate clearly states that my name is Jenny. J-E-N-N-Y. That's all.

Get over it folks.

Please do not call me Jennifer.

I must say, over the years, believe it or not, I have mellowed about this...a little. For instance, there is one teacher at my school that comes to mind. She is convinced, I know, that I am Jennifer. I know this, because she calls me Jennifer in the middle of sentences ALL THE TIME.

"I'm telling you, Jennifer, you should hear........"

I am not so rude, anymore, to correct her. I'm waiting, patiently and politely, for an appropriate moment to sweetly explain, "By the way. I don't mean to be rude, so please don't take this the wrong way, but..." and then apologize profusely.

I did this last year -- in an email -- with a different teacher at my school. I'm afraid she thought I was snapping at her, despite my prefacing the correction with disclaimers and following up with apologies.

What has the world come to? I recall a time in the 6th grade when I blatantly argued with a teacher -- with the whole class as my witness -- that my name WAS NOT Jennifer.

T: Jennifer.....blah blah blah....
Me: (silence)
T: Jennifer!
Me: Are you talking to me?
T: I said "Jennifer"...
Me: My name's not Jennifer. It's Jenny.
T: Yes. But, it's really Jennifer.
Me: No. It's really Jenny.
T: Yes, but your parents really named you Jennifer and you like to be called Jenny.
Me: No. My parents really named me Jenny and I go by Jenny. It's on my Birth Certificate. Would you like to see it?

What a smartie pants. I think back on that day and am embarrassed at how rude I was to that adult. However, I also think about some of the fifth graders I work with, and the sixth graders I worked with years ago, and realize I wasn't that far off the norm for my age. They're pretty bold, folks.

For all those Jennifers out there, I'm sorry. It's nothing personal, nothing against the name, but I have grown to hate that name. I promise - I don't mean it personally. I've had dozens of friends -- good friends, best friends, friends I've loved, friends I've wanted to be more like -- named Jennifer. Apparently, Jennys, Jennifers, and Jens gravitate toward each other. They also gravitate towards Kims and Kimberlys, but that's another post.

Just don't call ME Jennifer.

Whew. I feel better.

Thanks for listening.

As for Louanne and Tammy? Those are, yes my family's weird, their "Country Music Names". I wasn't present on the day they were dubbed, but as I understand it, Country Music Names are derived, somehow, from the second letter in your first name. ???

.....Ellie? Emmylou?

What would yours be?

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Do You Like Roller Coasters?

It occurred to me today, as I realized I was walking around my school with a queasy stomach, waiting for the other ball to drop, that my life is like a roller coaster. I don't know how you feel about roller coasters, but they're not my favorite. I like a good wooden roller coaster, on occasion. (I've learned that wooden roller coasters are my style: they're fast and they go up and down WITHOUT going upside down.) However, I really could do without them, too. I can get my thrills on a jet ski or some other fast moving vehicle that feels "safe" to me. (Yes, I realize that my sense of safety is, at times, nothing more than a false sense of security.)

Ever had a REALLY GREAT week? One of those weeks when you feel like you're Queen of the World. One of those weeks when you feel like Sally Field in her 1985 acceptance speech ("...You like me. Right now, you like me!"). One of those weeks when you strut everywhere you go, confident that you're good enough, you're smart enough, and, doggone it, people like you!

In the midst of one of those weeks, you are on your game. You can handle life. In fact, you're a master. You've got your stuff together. Alright, world, bring it on!

On the other hand, there's those weeks when the phrases "spiraling out of control" and "it all went downhill" completely characterize your life. Visions of yourself in a Twilight-Zone swirl flood your mind. You see Almira Gulch (better known as the Wicked Witch of the West, pre-cyclonic-transformation) pedaling her little bicycle through swirling winds outside your window. Your home is a Money Pit and your family reminds you of the Bundy family. Ugh.

How did this happen? Just last week you rocked! What went wrong?

I start to wonder, what triggered it all to disintegrate? Was there a point when you could have turned it around? Or, at least, kept it from getting too bad? Is it a mind over matter thing? Would positive thinking help? Deep breathing? Feng shui? Incense? A voodoo doll???

Wouldn't you like to take some of those really great weeks and spread them around like icing on a cake? Back and forth with your spatula till the waves are Betty Crocker approved.

I don't know about you, but I need a cupcake.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Pour Moi???

A gift for me???

After my good friend, Melanie, read my post detailing my recent brush with the ugly side of aging, she picked me up a little surprise. After informing me of her purchase via twitter, my mind raced to solve this riddle. Whatever could it be? How exciting!

In the hubbub of the first Monday back from a holiday weekend, I had forgotten all about my pending surprise. Until, she walked in the door.

My children were doing something profound, as always. I think they were cutting out spelling words. She crossed to me, grinning ear to ear, and presented me with a little, white box. Well, scratch that. I don't want to mislead you. It was a flat, white box...rather like a box of decongestant. In fact, upon closer inspection, it looked very pharmaceutical-ly.

After I recovered from my initial confusion...I couldn't have been happier!!!

Keep out of reach of chocoholics. Oops.

BOCHOX: For relief from the symptoms of wrinkles and crow's feet.

Warning -- May cause weight gain if used incorrectly. Tell me about it!


NOT TO BE TAKEN seriously.

I absolutely love it!!! Thanks, Melanie!
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