My parents were music majors. My mom taught piano for years, and my dad is a professional musician in an orchestra. Yes, that’s his job. Yes, he gets paid.
So, naturally, my two sisters and I were expected to have some musical abilities.
I started on piano and cello when I was four. I don’t remember much about that. When I was eight, they switched me to violin so that Older Sister and I wouldn’t be competitive with each other. That’s what we like to call “wishful thinking”.
Every week, Mom would drive me downtown for a private violin lesson with Mr. Sammy Piazza. That poor, poor man. He never knew what was about to hit him. Over and over again, every week, for five years. Right between the eardrums.
I was terrible and I hated it. If you’re terrible but you love it, you’re happy. Blissfully, ignorantly happy. If you’re talented but you hate it, you’re miserable but the people listening are probably happy. If you suck and you hate it, nobody wins.
Around my 13th birthday, Mom had another engagement and Dad had to take me to my violin lesson. Let’s just say we had a pretty serious “Come to Jesus” meeting in the elevator after that hour. He was horrified that his offspring could produce something that close to cat screeching after five years of private lessons. For me, though, it was the magical day that was the beginning of the end. It probably took a day or two for Dad’s ears to stop bleeding, but I don’t think there was any permanent damage.
Shortly after that blessed day, we moved to a horse ranch. My violin was sold to someone who could give it the life it deserved, and I got a 17-hand Thoroughbred named Woody. And there was, at last, harmony in the land.
I am glad that I have an appreciation for music, and they say musical instruction has some positive effects on early development, so there’s that. But my parents were clearly more tenacious and determined than I will ever hope to be. Although Younger Sister was not really subjected to the same musical curriculum. My memory of this might be skewed, but I’m pretty sure she was allowed to play whatever instrument de jour she felt like. Or not. Whatever.
Naturally, I married an Eastman-educated professional musician. Much of our early courtship was over the phone. I clearly remember him asking, “Are you a singer? Your voice is amazing.”
He’s spent the last 14 years begging me not to sing. Ever.
Even though I am incapable of producing anything that could be described as “music”, my critical evaluation skills are about 95% spot on. Just to make sure, I occasionally double-check with Husband when we’re watching American Idol.
“She sucks, right?”
“Whew. I’ve still got it.”
…or…More adventures in Pottyland
Last week I went to a brunch with ladies from church and their kids. On the way there, Toddler Boy said he had to go to the bathroom. I told him he could go when we got there. Upon arriving, I promptly forgot and we all sent our kids out to the yard to play so we could converse with actual adults.
At one point Toddler Boy ran in yelling that his 3-year-old friend was “having trouble with the man”. His mom rushed outside, thinking he was being coerced into some evil pedophile’s car. No, a 5-year-old boy was just causing some minor havoc. Crisis averted.
It hit me about an hour after we left.
“Did you go potty at the house earlier?”
“Yeah, Mama, I just went outside in the yard.”
Then later, the mom of the 5-year-old who was causing havoc said her kid pooped outside. Nothing validates the awesomeness of my parenting skillz so much as when somebody else’s kid does something worse.
When I’m more sleep deprived than usual, I have nearly zero tolerance for 3-year-old Toddler Boy’s current phase (please, dear God, let it be a phase) of Stage 4 OCD. I don’t know if there are really stages of OCD but if there are, Stage 4 is the worst. Here’s how the last 12 hours or so have gone:
9:00 PM: Put Toddler Boy to bed.
9:10 PM: Put Toddler Boy to bed again.
9:20 PM: Put Toddler Boy to bed again.
9:30 PM: Toddler Boy finally asleep.
9:31 PM: Baby Boy wakes up. Feed Baby Boy.
9:45 PM: Put Baby Boy back to bed. Sit down to read email, check computer, see if anyone is reading my blog.
10:30 PM: Decide I should probably go to bed just in case, by some miracle, Baby Boy sleeps for more than 2 hours. Get ready for bed.
10:45 PM: Head hits pillow.
10:46 PM: Baby Boy wakes up. Decide I’m going to follow advice of friends, family, and pediatricians and let him cry. Turn off monitor in master bedroom, go sit in living room to watch TV and wait for him to stop screaming.
11:30 PM: Give up. Afraid screams will wake up Toddler Boy (Baby Boy’s, not mine). Feed Baby Boy. Go back to bed.
1:31 AM: Baby Boy wakes up. Feed him. Decide it’s too much effort to go back downstairs to master bedroom. Fall asleep in guest bed next to Baby Boy’s cradle.
3:27 AM: See 1:31 AM.
5:46 AM: See 1:31 AM.
6:15 AM: Husband comes up to tell me he’s going for a bike ride before everyone gets up. Go back to sleep.
6:25 AM: Baby Boy wakes up, apparently for good. Feed him. Take him downstairs, put him in the jumper, and try to sleep on the couch.
6:48 AM: Baby Boy crying. Diaper blow out up the back, but don’t realize this until I lay him on the bed to change him. Run out of baby wipes. Race to kitchen for more wipes, hoping he won’t fall off bed and/or spread more blowout all over bedspread. Change Baby Boy. Clean baby poop off bedspread.
7:02 AM: Toddler Boy wakes up.
So when Toddler Boy grabs the loaf of bread I finally made after putting it off for about 6 months and starts digging into the middle of it, I react less than calmly. I make him some toast, put fake butter on it and fold it in half, knowing that won’t fly but, because I’m a masochist, decide that he’s about to learn some life lessons.
“NO! I want jelly!!!”
“Jelly is too messy right now.”
“No. Just eat it.”
I put it on a plate and set it on the counter.
“No. Go sit in your chair and eat it.”
“Mama, I want a big plate.”
“Mom?” I hate it when he calls me “mom” and not “mama” for some reason. Probably because it means he’s growing up.
“I don’t want water. I want juice.”
“That is juice. Look, it’s purple.” Actually, it’s like 10% grape juice, 85% water and 5% toddler backwash. Because even though I bought that juice for $0.04 after sales and coupons, I’m still too cheap to give him full-strength juice. I mean…because I don’t want him to have all that sugar, even though it was originally 100% juice. That’s what I meant to say. Also, the longer I can stretch it out, the longer I can go without having to expend the effort to make more.
Toddler Boy finally eats toast and drinks “juice”.
“Mama, can I have some Cheerios?”
I give him a bowl of dry Cheerios. He hasn’t figured out yet that cereal is usually eaten with milk. I don’t plan on telling him anytime soon.
He comes over and puts his cereal on the table by my chair and climbs up with me.
“Mama, can you get my Cheerios?” The bowl is literally 6 inches away from him.
“No, you get it.”
“MMMMMAAAAAAAAAAMMMMMMMMMMMMAAAAAAAAAAAA!!! I CAN’T REACH IT!!!”
“Yes you can.”
He gets the bowl and eats the Cheerios. Then he goes and finds a box full of small toy animals. Like 200 of them.
“Mama, can you open this for me?”
I open it (good move, Mom). He dumps animals on floor. He finds one he wants to play with and walks away.
The dogs are standing at the door to go out. I ask him to let the dogs out. He does it while singing “WHO LET THE DOGS OUT? WHO? WHO? WHO?” at the top of his lungs.
I crack up and all is forgiven.
We interrupt this diatribe of pathetic excuses for my total lack of housekeeping skills for a few thoughts on texting.
I’m not a huge fan of texting because I’m kind of a grammar/spelling Nazi (I know, hard to believe after reading this stream-of-consciousness drivel) and I die a little bit inside every time I have to type “u” instead of “you” because there aren’t enough characters left to get my point across. But I hate it way less than actually talking on the phone so I’ve learned to cope.
Also, my phone is one of the old school ones where you have to push the 7 four times to get a freaking “s”. You’d think they would have made it easier to get to a popular letter like “s”. You only have to push the 5 once to get to “j”, which is like the 4th-least used letter in the English alphabet according to Scrabble points.
I have a friend who is a big texter with a sweet pull-out keyboard phone and we’ve been texting a lot lately. She’s always been kind of technology-phobic so it’s kind of funny that she’s a texter. But she has some kind of texting superpower where she can ask 47 questions in a single text message and it takes me like 47 text messages to answer her. For example (we’re doing some running together; also, I was telling her about Hulu because she keeps getting computer viruses from trying to watch TV online (or something, I’m not really sure)):
“how are u? have u done anything since run? how do i train? what do I eat? also what music do u listen 2 4 wking out?what’s that site 4 TV so I won’t get a virus?”
(Okay, that might have been split over two texts, but still.)
Me: “Wrote u back on facebook. My phone is too slow for long texts! Plus I only have 20 left until 4/23.”
Friend who will remain nameless just in case she thinks I’m making fun of her, which I’m totally not, because I love her like a sister and we already laughed about it together on the phone and I just think it’s flipping hysterical: “I totally understand cuz I was down 2 30 left til the 14th! I have 750txts only. How many do u have?”
Did she really want me to use one of my few remaining texts to tell her how many texts I have? She’s awesome.
I went ahead and changed my plan to 1000 texts/month. I’ll let you know how it works out.
There’s always a better time to do stuff. Like all day today I’ve been thinking, “I’ll do the dishes as soon as the kids are down for their nap.” But now the kids are down for their nap and I’m thinking, “I’ll do that after the kids wake up. I don’t want to waste prime both-kids-napping time on doing the dishes.” But then after the kids wake up, one of them will need me for something like food and I’ll be busy dealing with that and won’t ever get to the dishes. Which is probably why my house is in a perpetual state of disarray and I feel like the biggest slacker of all time.
Are you tired of the “reasons I can’t get anything done” posts yet? I’ll try and think of something totally different next time. Or not.
Another example from our series on Why I can never get anything done:
Toddler Boy is still in his PJs. When the potty training started regressing a few months ago, I decided I needed to change him from Pull-Up to underwear immediately after he woke up in the morning. That helped a lot. I’ve almost dressed him about 5 times today, but I’m pretty sure he’s out of clean underwear. I’ve made several attempts to move the laundry process along but, as I mentioned earlier, there are so many preparatory steps I have to take (by which a person like me could be easily distracted (ooh….that’s shiny!…)) that I’m not making much progress. I really have no excuse for being unproductive because Baby Boy has been asleep most of the morning.
So I decided to sit down and write a blog post about it instead. A pretty lame blog post. I’m just praying the Crap Blog Detective doesn’t stumble over here.
Update @ 11:46 am: I did manage to find Toddler Boy some clean underwear and the laundry process is underway. I’m pretty sure this will be the 4th time I’ve washed this particular load. Happy Earth Day.
Update @ 11:59 am: Whoops. Baby Boy wasn’t really asleep all morning, I just turned the baby monitor off at some point and forgot to turn it back on. My bad.
So I felt like I should post something today because Laurel said she’d be a “daily reader” so I don’t want her to be disappointed. Well, not today anyway. I’m sure you’re in for some serious disappointment, Laurel. At least as far as this blog is concerned. I can’t really speak to the other areas of your life, but you should probably be prepared for some disappointment because it happens to everyone. And it’s better if you aren’t totally surprised by it.
Anyhow, for today, I can feel like I’ve at least made an attempt to meet your expectations. Tomorrow’s another day.
So Kacey commented that she did a how-to speech on how to take a dump in the woods, which reminded me of the time I had to do a how-to speech. I was still at my old job, which involved finding ways to make postal software better and sell more of it.
Holy crap, I almost fell asleep writing that last sentence.
Anyway, I was involved in training people on how to use the software (actually, I think I was supposed to be in charge of training or something, I’m not really sure). We planned to start holding classes at the training facility of our parent company in Durham, North Carolina. They also did a “train-the-trainer” course there, so my co-worker Russ and I went there to check out the facility and take the course that would make us supremely better trainers.
The course sucked. This happened like four years ago or something, so I’m fuzzy on some of the details, but I distinctly remember talking with Russ at lunch and dinner about how lame and sucky it was and how much time and effort we were wasting being there. It was like a Speech 101 class, apparently designed for people who had never spoken in public, or maybe to any other human beings ever, under any circumstances. There were some people in class who could barely string a coherent sentence together, let alone stand up in front of a group of people and tell them something they hadn’t known already since they were like six years old.
Wow, that was an awkward sentence. I always want to put a little “awk” in red pen in the margin of sentences like that. I’m feeling way too lazy right now to fix it, so just figure it out.
Did I mention I was four months pregnant at the time? And when I’m pregnant (and sometimes when I’m not), I get these ocular migraines. Someday I’ll write about what Husband lovingly refers to as my “when I go crazy on him” headaches. Long story short (for now)…if I don’t take Excedrin Migraine within like 10-15 minutes of symptoms, I get a full-blown “put me in a dark room and leave me alone, don’t speak, don’t breathe, don’t eat, don’t emit any odors, get a bucket ready” migraine. And around Day 2 of the 5 (!)-day training, I got one.
I didn’t want to take aspirin and risk the possibility of birthing a kid with a thumb growing out of his back, so I tried to dull it with Tylenol and coffee. Which sort of worked, but sort of didn’t. It worked well enough (and the course was sucky enough) that I was a tiny bit glad that I got to bail on Part 2 of Day 2. I hadn’t told anyone at work that I was pregnant and didn’t really want it to get back to them, so I only told Russ and swore him to secrecy. Is this boring? I’m getting bored.
So the culmination of our sucky seminar was to pick a topic and do a how-to speech on it in front of our cohorts, our “instructors”, and some other random people they pulled from jobs that apparently were not all that important if they could just be pulled away at a moment’s notice to watch me make tiramisu. We were supposed to have all the props and everything and they gave us like twenty-five duckets to go to the store and get our supplies.
If you’ve never made tiramisu, it’s kind of complicated and requires a lot of special ingredients, like shaved dark chocolate and espresso and ladyfinger cookies and zabaglione (which is a fancy Italian custardy thing that you’re supposed to make from scratch). And I was in Durham, North Carolina.
Also, one morning a group of us ate breakfast at the only restaurant remotely close to our hotel, which was…wait for it…a Waffle House. Not being from the South and having no experience with this particular “eating” establishment (no, those are not unnecessary quotation marks), I thought, “Oh, good…waffles. That sounds yummy.” I was SO wrong. It was the nastiest, greasiest, I’m-sure-there-are-insects-in-the-back dive I’ve ever been to. So finding what would pass for ingredients for my tiramisu in this particular corner of Durham was quite a challenge. I think I ended up with pound cake, a can of whipped cream, some kind of vanilla pudding, and chocolate sprinkles. My ancestors would be so proud.
So I finally gave my stupid speech. After all of that, the only comment I got (from one of the so-important-I-can-be-whisked-away-at-a-moment’s-notice workers) was this: “I was kind of grossed out because you kept touching your face and then working with the ingredients.” I was like, “WHAT?? AFTER ALL THAT??? I just taught you how to make a freaking tiramisu out of ingredients I found at a gas station and that’s all you’ve got to say? Like there’s ebola or MRSA or flesh-eating bacteria on my face that’s going to get transferred to your precious crappy pound cake tiramisu? [“precious crappy” – is that an oxymoron?] Don’t you eat at the (gag) Waffle House like three times a week?”
I’m sure I totally said all of that.
Warning, sort of: If you have to drive a motor vehicle or use heavy machinery or anything later, you might not want to read this now. I’m tired just thinking about writing it. If you suffer from insomnia and need a cure, read on.
So I was all excited about getting sleep last night and had big plans for all the stuff I was going to get done today. And it’s 10:00 pm and I have gotten exactly nothing done. Well, I worked out and did the dishes and some other miscellaneous child-rearing things like feeding them and diapering them and keeping them from getting strangled by the Wii console cords. But nothing extra. Like the 14 projects I need to get done.
And here’s why.
The list of prerequisites for every task is inversely proportional to the perceived simplicity of said task. For example: laundry. It’s not like I can just throw a load of whites into the washing machine and get the process started. Because the load of wash I started 2 days ago is still in there and now smells like Baby Boy’s shirt after he’s been drooling on it all day. So I have to wash that load again before I can even get started. But before I can do that, I have to clear off all the crap that has accumulated on top of the washing machine in the 2 days since I tried to start the laundry process the first time. Then by the time I get all of that taken care of, Husband will be asleep so I won’t want to wake him up to go get the next load of clothes to wash. Once I do actually get a load washed and dried, there is absolutely zero chance I’ll have time to fold it when it’s done, but I’ll need to move it to make room for the next load. So it will go on the bed or (more likely) the couch. Then Toddler Boy will jump on it and pile it all over him and/or Medium-Sized Dog will decide that’s the perfect spot to settle in for a snooze. If I do manage to fold some or all of it, I’ll neglect to put it away immediately, and Toddler Boy and/or Medium-Sized Dog will fling it around the room while I’m feeding Baby Boy.
It’s easier to just sit at the computer and complain, really.
And that’s just the laundry.
There are other reasons I can never get anything done, including but not limited to:
- Computer games
- Did I mention laziness?
So wouldn’t you know it, the day after I start my blog and name it “Sleep-Deprived Blatherings”, I get what almost resembled a full night’s sleep. After approximately 8 months, 2 weeks and 3 days of sleeping 2-3 hours at a time at night, falling asleep in my chair, and full-on drooling-on-the-pillow mid-day naps once a week or so, I actually got 4 hours of sleep in one stretch. So look out World, stuff is going to happen.
Just so we’re clear, from here on out you’re just going to have to use your powers of intuition to decide for yourself if any particular blatherings are actually a result of sleep deprivation or if a fully-rested sane person really just wrote that.
Oh, and although being sleep un-deprived has questionable implications for my blog, I’m super-dooper excited to see what surprises await me in my first day as a nearly fully coherent mother of two.
Catchy title, huh?
On a recent trip to visit the grandparents, my 3-year-old recently potty-trained toddler (understandably) wanted nothing to do with the “bathroom” (a.k.a. outhouse) at the rest stop. It took some serious negotiating, but I convinced him to go in the grass. Now he drops trou without a moment’s hesitation.
Having grown up as a relatively wild child in back-woods Montana, I’m pretty much okay with this. Except that last night I glanced outside during our home fellowship group and saw him up on the hill in their back yard, pants around his ankles. And today he informed me he was going around the corner to go poo-poo in the yard. Amazingly enough, this I did not foresee. In his defense, it’s probably pretty confusing. But rules are rules. (Or laws are laws, I guess I should say.)