Humor is also a way of saying something serious. - T. S. Eliot

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Game On: Bleeding Heart vs. The Husband

The girls want a dog.
I'm not ready for the committment of actually owning another dog, but I do like them...if they are small and cute.
I spend time at work while waiting for the next crisis call looking at; giggling with a co-worker about how cute some of the dogs are.
The option of fostering a dog entered my mind during these browsing sessions.
Dave said, "no."
But that was after I already applied and was accepted and  kind of sort of might have committed to taking in a 5 yr old pomeranian just rescued from a puppy-mill who is in need of fostering when she is discharged from the veterinary hospital this upcoming Friday.
The girls have already named her "Maggie."
Dave has asked me to quit acting like I'm a telethon host and to give him space to think about it.

I am giving him space, it's the twins who are asking now.

I really hope his decision positively aligns with the timing of the dog's arrival to our home on Friday.

This could get ugly.  Please stand-by.

The situation is reminiscent of the time when I was 13 or so years-old and I signed my family up to host a foreign exchange student.  Mom was not happy about that....

I just can't help myself. 

Saturday, November 26, 2011

One Step Forward, Two Steps Back

The Target employee walked by Andi and smiled at her.  Andi was trailing behind me and I turned around to see what her reaction was to the friendly gesture by the man in the red shirt and khaki pants.  Her reaction -- while it probably shouldn't have -- caught me off guard...She first let out a growl, then lunging at him, she swiped at him with an oversized candycane ornament and then -- like a cherry on top of the assault -- spit at him.

For a moment I was dumbstruck, but then came to my "I better nip this behavior in the bud before she turns 16 and lands in juve" senses and stooped down to her level and quietly told her it is not very nice to try to hit others with candy canes and spit at them.  Realizing what I had just said, I quickly turned around and smiled to myself.  I have said a lot of things to my kids like "Stop running with the scissors!"  and "Don't hold your baby sister up by one arm!" but I have never had the opportunity to ask them not to hit others with a symbol of joy and merriment. 

Andi has stopped her major screaming fits, but as is so often the case, a bad habit that is eradicated is often replaced by other behaviors. 

The behaviors that have replaced the screaming include:  throwing her shoes at mommy and Best Buy employees who talk to her, growling, spitting (especially at "Big Bad Daddy" as she calls Dave), and last, but certainly not least, barricading herself under the chair in the pediatrician's office requiring removal of the chair -- twice -- so she could be extracated for an exam, and later for a strep test and blood work. 

This tiny two-year-old terror loves me and I love her and all of her naughty quirks.  I know she loves me because in a moment of deep philosophical thought she announced to Dave, "I love Mommy.  I love Sophia.  I love Ella."

Dave asked, "and do you love daddy, too?"  Her response was a silent pause and then, "I love mommy."  And then she sauntered away to go do her own thing, leaving Dave to shrug his shoulders and surrender to the fact that I am more popular than he is with our children. 

Thanksgiving 2012

What in the world?  It's already Thanksgiving?  Sophia made a homemade pumpkin pie (yes, of course we used real pumpkins -- not canned pumpkin.  And yes, of course we made the pastry for it, too).  Sophia and daddy LOVE their pumpkin pie.  For the non-pumpkin pie eaters in the house, Ella made a white cake with chocolate frosting. 

We actually did all of our baking the day before Thanksgiving.  Thanksgiving Day was very laid back.  We made a gingerbread village.  It was 50 degrees or so, so the 8 pound chicken (we don't do turkey) roasted on the grill outside.  Inside we made candied yams, homemade mashed potatoes, green bean casserole, fresh fruit salad, cornbread, gravy, and stuffing.  Aside from Andi not eating -- she'd been sick and running a fever of 101 all week which finally broke on Friday -- everyone loved their dinner. 

Ella said she was thankful for her house and her family.  Sophia said she was thankful for Andi...and when pressed, for Ella, too.  Andi said she was thankful for Sophia...and when pressed, for Ella, too. Mommy echoed their sentiments and felt grateful for everything that is going well right now -- good health, good jobs, a home to live in and food on the table.  That's a lot to ask for in these hard times, and I'm so glad we have it all. 

Ella and daddy making gingerbread village

Sophia shows us her work

Andi's work -- she had a little help

Sophia's work

Ella's work

Mommy's work -- I'm particularly happy with the landscaping of mini jaw breaker stepping stones and gum drop landscape rocks.

Last, but not least, Daddy's chalet. 

Sunday, November 20, 2011

First Snow

The girls are loving the results of the first 3 inches of snow.  I'm loving the fact that it will melt by Thanksgiving. 

And I learned that when snow melts, it doesn't turn into water, it's "dead snow."  Or so Andi tells me. :)

I got a new camera and for the life of me, I can't figure out how to save the pictures once I zoom in and center them (b/c lord knows I can't read and follow directions).  (Help Patrick and Header!)  

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Mother-of-the-Year: The Call from Ella's Teacher that Explains Everything

I have not been fond of Ella's kindergarten teacher.  Initially I thought she was going to be great, but then after a few interactions with her, I thought she had an attitude and a stick up her wahoo.  I was so bothered by her as well as some other things that have gone on -- as far as really, really poor communication and record keeping by our local school that has been a HUGE frustration and inconvenience for me -- that I stood in the shower two nights ago ruminating about what the hell I was going to do. 

There's no way in hell I want to home school the kids.  That would be a disaster.  They'd never learn to do math, we'd skip history altogether, and PE would consist of us all going and shaking and gyrating at a zumba class. 

While I'd love to follow a friend -- who was tremendously unhappy about the local schools/community --  to St. Paul to enroll the girls in a creative arts charter school, there's no way in hell I want to live in an old home.  I'm paranoid about lead paint and other things that lurk in the musty basements of homes built before...2000. 

So that left me with no options.  I went to bed and woke up the next morning to a phone call from Ella's teacher accusing me of confusing her.  There was a bitchy edge in her voice and it caught me off guard.  I wasn't awake yet.  She said she was sitting with Sophia's teacher setting up conference times.  I knew I had sent the paperwork to Sophia's teacher, but Ella's teacher never sent anything about conferences.  How is this witch accusing me of confusing her by --apparently -- asking for conflicting conference times for the twins? 

I wasn't awake enough to purposely irritate her -- I don't have the capability to get passive-aggressive until about 9:30 AM -- but by telling her I had no idea what she was talking about, it only escalated her. 

"Didn't you get my email?  You are to come to a conference with me at noon, but you are asking Sophia's teacher for an evening appt and you want the twins conferences together.  So what do you want?" she asked me. I could nearly see her stomp her foot with a hand on one hip.

Well damn.  No.  I hadn't gotten her email. But then again, I only check it about one time per week these days since I HATE spending my precious time online dinking around achieving NOTHING.  I'd rather work, see my kids, cook, exercise, write a blog on a break at work and, oh, HAVE A FRICKIN' LIFE!

I began to get worried I had dropped a ball.  I could tell she didn't believe me when I told her I didn't get her email.  "Don't you get any of my emails?"

No.  But there again....I don't check it all that much because I  HATE spending my precious time online dinking around achieving NOTHING. I'd rather work, see my kids, cook, exercise, write a blog on a break at work and, oh, HAVE A FRICKIN' LIFE!

"This is very strange," she said doubtfully and continued on, "I send all  my communications to parents via email and you are on the list and every other parent gets them.  I haven't heard of anyone not getting it.  The emails I send you aren't coming back to me."

I was silent.  What was I to say?    Ella's teacher kept going, and read off the email address to me and I told her that was correct.  But suddenly she starts groaning as she realizes she has one wrong letter in the address...someone else has been getting the emails.

She groans louder and louder and then claims she feels sick to her stomach.  I'm starting to feel like I'm at work and have to start de-escalting her before she gets too worked up, "It's not a big deal," I say, "you figured it out and now we just go forward."

She is still muttering oh nos but her voice softens and has lost the bitchy edge, "This explains everything -- why Ella never has things done or is the only child in the classroom not to bring xyz.  I thought you all were just busy so you didn't help her, so I'd always tell Ella, 'it's ok, maybe mommy is just busy." (I am, actually, but we get the bare minimum done for school.)

She finished with an apology and a promise to tell Ella she had made a mistake that had caused Ella to miss out on a lot. 

I agreed with Ella's teacher...this did explain everything -- why she was so cold and bitchy towards me.  And for a moment I felt ok with this teacher again, but then, I got pissed when the clinical social worker rose up in me.  Pissed because what if I was busy? Overwhelmed? A single mom perhaps?  Or otherwise had stressors occurring that didn't allow me to be involved as needed.  That's not ok to treat someone like that.  And I get she's a teacher and values education and has a hard job, blah blah blah.  But, really.  Have some forgiveness versus, I guess, just assuming that I truly am a Mother-of-the-Year. 

The biggest downfall of this conversation -- besides the realization that sweet teachers like the ones at the girls preschool are rare --  is that I now have to check email daily.  And I really don't want to. I went to look at cell phones today.   I thought maybe it would help if I had a phone I could check email on. Maybe if I had a portable phone, technology would seem less intrusive.  But I don't think so. I don't always want to be reachable and accessible.  Oddly enough, it stresses me to go on FB and check emails. The thought of getting bombarded by texts or calls wherever I am overwhelms me.   I like to have my space where I am able to just be.  Especially now that I am back at work as a mental health therapist. 

In the end, I walked out of Best Buy empty handed.  I just can't bring myself to spend money on talk/text/data/web/facetime, etc.  But I can't help but feel that I am falling behind the rest of the world in a way that is going to come back and bite me on the ass.  Someday, I suppose I'll have to engage with technology more than I am.   But I'm so afraid of becoming so engaged in it that I miss out on the life and people around me. 

It seems to suck people in.  It's like they are constantly multi-tasking -- or worse -- absent from the person or child standing right in front of them.  It drives me insane to talk to someone who keeps one eye on me and the other eye on their phone.  My gutteral response is to rip the phone out of their hand, slam it to the ground and then stomp on it again and again and again.  When I talk to friends about times they've been forced into not  using technology because they lost their tech gadget or forgot it at home, etc., they always convey how nice it felt to disconnect -- though they welcome their tech gadget back like an addict welcomes the appearance of his long lost dealer. 

I guess technology is like men, can't live with it, can't live without it...

Monday, November 14, 2011

Girls Weekend with Screaming Mimi

I called gramma this morning after Dave alerted me that our email is sending out spam, porn, and solicitations for buying drugs -- again.  I told her not to open any emails from our email address.  "I was just on your blog to see if you'd put up pictures from your weekend," gramma said to me.  I promised her I'd try to get the pics put up tonight at work if I had a chance.  I have 15 minutes.  Here goes...

Firth, let me show you Ella's pic where she is missing yet another tooth.  She's starthing to talk a bit funny and whistles inadvertently. 

Then you'll see pics of Andi.  Note the scissors on the ground next to her.  She is OBSESSED with learning to use them.  If the house is quiet and she's gone missing, all we have to do is look in the corner and there we'll find her with a package of halloween candy she has snagged off the counter with her scissors nearby.  I have no idea where she gets this odd behavior from -- sitting in corners eating chocolate. ;)

The last batch of pics are the ones from the weekend.  Kelli and mom came up and we all went to The Wizard of Oz at The Children's Theatre.  It was such a good show.  Andi sat and watched the 2 hour show -- there was no hint of Screaming Mimi until it came time to leave -- then she screamed. 

By the time we got to a restaurant listed as the cities Best of the Best for burgers, she was calm.  Dave joined us for dinner then took Andi home so the rest of us girls could do a little Christmas shopping.  The weekend went by really fast.  Sophia started coming down with a bug on Saturdya, and by Sunday had a fever of 102.  She seems to be perking up now...but...sigh...I hope this winter is going to be better than last winter as far as near constant sickness in our house. 

My 15 minutes is up.  Back to work!  Enjoy Gram!

Andi heads up to our seats.  She packed popcorn for everyone and was in charge of snacks. She took her job very seriously.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Mother-of-the-Year: Stealing from the Purse's of Babes

It was because I was having financial issues that I decided to return to work.  I was also losing my mind and had heard on a news report that moms who work outside the home are "happier" and enjoy better mental health than stay at home moms.  The only exception to that finding is if the working mom attempts to be "Supermom" and do it all at home and work.  As Mother-of-the-Year, I knew I would not be at risk for attempting to be a "Supermom," who does "everything."  We all know I don't do homework.

And so, off to work I went in the hopes that I could avoid future episodes with my five-year-old loan-shark.

Not long ago, I had a man come dethatch the yard and was $5 short.  I asked Sophia if she had any money -- Dave was gone, so I couldn't rifle through his wallet.  Luckily, Sophia came through.

I assured her I would pay her back.  Within 20 minutes, she was reminding me I still owed her money.  I explained I would have to go to the bank to get cash.  Things got busy and over a two week time period, I failed to make it to the bank, though with her daily reminders, such as, "Did you forget?   You owe me money."  Or "I hope you get a chance to get to the bank today to get my money...." I certainly hadn't forgotten. 

By the second week, she really put her foot down with me as far as paying her back so I went to Dave and explained the whole situation and then asked him if I could borrow some money to pay Sophia back. After laughing at me, he claimed his wallet was empty so I headed to the bank the next day and swore I'd never ask my 5 yr-old loan shark for a loan again.

Now I steal from her. 

Luckily, Sophia is more like me than not when it comes to organization and keeping track of her items.  Dave and Ella are likely to be rich not because they are good savers, but because they are so poor at organizing and keeping track of things that all the money they earn, they misplace, only to find in piles here or there -- after they needed it.  Back in the day -- before kids -- when money was not so hard to come by as it has been lately as a stay at home mom, I used to hide money from myself so I wouldn't spend it AND because I knew myself well enough to know I'd forget where I put it.  I still sweetly remember the day we moved out of our condo five years ago and, as I moved the fish tank, a neatly folded wad of $50 lay under it.

Sophia doesn't hide her money, yet, and if I cover my tracks quickly, she hopefully won't start.  I knew right where she kept her money and when Ella's bottom tooth fell out on Sunday necessitating a visit by the tooth fairy, I went straight to Sophia's purse once her head hit the pillow and extracted $1 from her tiny crocheted wallet while at the same time asking Dave to please be sure to replace the $1 in Sophia's wallet before she notices.  

 "It's odd, don't you think, that I am the one in charge of our family finances?"

And, in direct contradiction to what the study stated about working moms not being happy if they have to do it "all" Dave pointed out, "Yes, but it makes Shannon happy.  It's all about control.  Shannon has to do everything."

Three days later, Dave replaced Sophia's stolen $1 bill, and my mental health continues to improve every minute that I am at work. 

Tuesday, November 8, 2011


This past Sunday Ella and I went to a Zumbathon along with Olivia Newton-John Sophia.  It was a fundraiser for St. Jude's in memory of a beautiful little hispanic girl named Gracie who died less than two months ago -- 324 days after being diagnosed with cancer.  While the event was poorly organized -- there ended up not being a children's class, and the adult class started late leaving us with a lot of sitting around time -- 2 hrs to be exact -- the positive things were:
1. Olivia Newton-John Sophia LOVED it and danced her little heart out.  Waking the next morning she thanked me again for taking her.
2.  It was probably the most multi-cultural event I have been too with my children -- ever.
3.  I got to see a friend and her children -- we all "danced" together. 
4.  Crazy hair.  The girls loved getting the hair done.  That right there probably saved the day for Ella who was NOT, I repeat NOT about to dance in the darkened room with lights flashing everywhere and music thud, thud, thudding. 
5.  We were right by Trader Joe's and decided to leave early and pick up a few goodies including the Candy Cane Jojo's -- very naughty, but good.

We are jam-packing our weekends now that I am back to work.  Soon, my training schedule will end and I will be working Thurs-Sun -- yes, four, ten hour days -- which I am fine with since it will ease the expense of daycare costs; however, once daycare is no longer an isse, I'd love a regular M-F schedule.  This upcoming weekend is a trip to the Children's Theatre production of Wizard of Oz.  Kelli and mom are headed up because it would be criminal for Kelli to miss out on this event.

Let's hope Screaming Mimi can keep it together for the Wizard of Oz production...........stay tuned. 


Saturday, November 5, 2011

Screaming Mimi Goes to the Movies

Dave is a movie-goer.  I hate going to movies.  He's either had to go alone, or -- more likely -- not go at all.  Finally, 2 yrs ago he tried taking the twins. They thought it was pretty cool...and as of today, Andi too, is a movie-goer.  Of course, Dave has to sit through children's movies, but I don't think it bothers him too much as long as it isn't a Barbie movie.  He's pretty cool with just.sitting.  Sitting and reading. Sitting and watching some intellectual show (vomit). Sitting and watching sports -- someone peel me off the ceiling!  Sitting and pontificating about things and then writing an article about it.  Sitting.  We might have a number of things in common, but energy and activity level is not something we have in common. 

This piece of our personalities reflects in our jobs.  He is very happy being an attorney for a corporation, reading and negotiating contracts -- B-O-R-I-N-G.  I am loving my new job as a crisis triage clinician -- suicide, detox, abuse, give it to me, let's stabilize 'em and move 'em along.  No ongoing relationships.  No combing through legal-ese.  Just mental health crisis.  Excitement for me, but for Dave, definitely not his idea of a good time (despite his holding a masters degree in psych). 

Today Dave really wanted to take the girls to the movies.  Andi began sobbing that she was going to be left.  Sad, big, gulpy sobbing.  I didn't think he'd take her, but I asked anyway and though hesitant, he took her.

Her screaming has been lessening -- though she has started growling -- and her voice seems to be healing a bit. 

I told her before she left this was a "big girl event" and no screaming is allowed in movie theaters.  She said, "ok" and ran and grabbed her purse. 

While Dave happily sat in the theater, I trimmed back some bushes and attempted to start decorating the yard for x-mas (I'm not turning the lights on -- I'm just trying to get stuff ready before it gets so cold that my fingers fall off -- we live on the tundra, you know). 

Arriving home Dave let me know that Andi was wide-eyed and sat on the edge of her seat the entire time.  She made a few comments and observations about the movie, but other than that, sat still and quietly the.whole.time. 

Glory hallelujah.  This two, is passing....maybe....