Wednesday, April 9, 2014

The Most Dreaded Question

It's not "why?" or "where do babies come from?" or "can I make poop in the bathtub?"

Those are easily answered and remedied, taking, if you are efficient and tactful, a minute or so.  (Or if you are just good at leaving the approximate area of the question-asker--even less.)

It's not, "can I have a snack?" when I have nothing to offer or "who's that man in my room?" (wow.  I'm seriously demented).

Here's a clue:

Oh, that looks fun, right?  Trucks and trailers and imaginations running wild.  Some singing, lots of truck sounds. Quality time, awesome mom-points, learning-through-play. What a riot.  

Here's my most dreaded question:  "Mama, will you play with me?"

(Oh, Kelley.  Are you serious?  You are such a jerk.) 

Let me be clear.  I like playing under the following circumstances:

1.  I can lay down and move my hands around and make a few sounds and it's enough to meet the requirements.

2.  We play with animals or dinosaurs.

3.  I am able to chase, tickle, wrestle, or otherwise squeeze Brixton. 

4.  I don't have to follow directions, especially those of a very orderly and commanding (almost) 3 year old.

5.  I will play doctor all day long, as long as I am the patient and I am sadly in a deep coma.

My nemesis is exactly what  you see in the photo.  Trucks.  Semi-trucks.  Tractors.  Flat-bed trucks.  Bulldozers.   Not only am I bored out of my mind by this type of play, I try to avoid it at all costs.  I would rather clean toilets and cat throw-up then sit and play trucks.  In part because it involves:

1.  The assigned truck.  I am not allowed to pick out my own toy.  Usually I am handed
 a standard flat-bed truck with no bells and whistles and told to perform.  Any attempt of mine to change my fate results in yelling, tears, anger, and very clear threats to my safety.

2.  Always touching my assigned truck and making it move.  If my hand happens to reach up and scratch my nose or lose contact with my truck in any way, I am immediately reprimanded. 

3.  Whilst playing with my bottom-of-the-barrel truck, I must always use my "truck-voice" as a representation of the personality of the truck.  Except my truck isn't allowed to have the deep, gravely, tough voice you might associate with a heavy duty road warrior.  No, my truck is commanded to have what Brixton calls, "The Tiny Voice."  Like a mouse.  No exceptions. 

4.  The trucks will be playing in a very specific scenario that is not only completely uncommunicated to me, but also can change within a millisecond.  For example, if the trucks are working together loading hay, and then my hand turns into a helpful crane or other implement, loud protesting will occur.  I will then be informed we are actually not loading hay, but coal.  And I'm not allowed to load any, I am only allowed to gather trash that may never be dumped out.  Ever.

5.  The minimum time commitment that fulfills Brixton's play needs seems to be about 17 hours and 43 minutes.  Ain't nobody got time fo' dat.

When he's 5 or 6, I'll just send him outside with a timer watch like my parents did for me.  "Be home 5 minutes from the beep!" They said, sending me out into a forest filled with miners, mountain lions, rattlesnakes, and poisonous berries.  "We have two more," they'd say to each other, just in case.

Okay, back to the cat puke.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Teacher Bonnie

It happened on a day when everything else just seems to be flowing along fine.

"Mama, do I go to school today?"

"No, baby.  No school today." 

"Will I see teacher Bonnie?"

Teacher Bonnie is Brixton's favorite preschool teacher.  She has a big smile, robust and cuddly breasts, and just that natural way with small children that makes you wonder what you're doing wrong.  We see teacher Bonnie twice a week at preschool, but in a twist of fate, teacher Bonnie also attends our church.  This means we often see her 3 times a week and each time she flashes that happy-to-see-you smile and gets down on "their level" and all of that psycho-babble jazz and gives Brixton hugs and attention. 

He loves her. 

Teacher Bonnie is a discussion fixture in our home.  What's teacher Bonnie doing right now?  Is teacher Bonnie sleeping?  Where is teacher Bonnie?

But on this day, Brixton just went too far.

Upon learning that he wouldn't be seeing his beloved Bonnie that day, he used the toddler trifecta of guilt, manipulation, and mama-bear jealously against me. 

"Mama, will you play with me?" (Shudder.  A whole other post about that tricky little question.)

"Okay, baby."

"Will you be teacher Bonnie?"

Oh, that's cute, I thought, my heart bursting with pride at my son's obvious cleverness and tender heart.

I said a few things here and there in my best teacher Bonnie voice, thinking how flattered she'd feel, knowing how she was loved.

The game continued for a bit, until I started slipping out of character and using my regular mom voice.  Frankly, I didn't have the energy to be teacher Bonnie, all happy-happy voice, and wide smiles, and energy to sing a cute song and talk all friendly.  Nope.  I wanted to go back to mediocre, I-have-no-idea-what's-for-dinner, did-I-brush-your-teeth-this-week?, I'll-play-if-it-involves-me-laying-on-my-side-like-a-beached-whale, mom. 

"No, mama, you have to be teacher Bonnie."

UGH.  What Pandora's box did we open here?

"But I just want to be mama."

"No, I want teacher Bonnie."

Wait a minute.  Wait a freakin' minute here.

I felt the first gentle prickles of jealously coming up.  "Let's not overreact.  He's just using his imagination."  Self talk always helps.  Especially when you talk out loud so other people can hear you. 

I tried redirecting, introducing a new game/toy, dancing an Irish jig.  All as myself, naturally.  (Anyway, with the size of her ample breasts, I challenge her to an Irish jig-off.  Pretty sure I would win that crown.  You may get my son, but you will never out-jig me, lady.)

Brixton side-stepped all of my attempts, crushing them with one simple phrase, "Mama,  you have to be teacher Bonnie." 

So I did what any self-respecting mother would do.  I stood up with great dignity, tied my robe around me (let's ignore the fact it was 2pm. Inconsequential.) and walked gracefully to the kitchen.  There I opened the freezer and took out my hidden pint of ice-cream.  With my pride still intact and a spoon in hand, I stood at the counter and ate my feelings.

Brixton continued playing in the other room, content now to play with an imaginary version of t.B, (I can't even write her name out at this point.) while his real mother got her fix hidden in a corner of the kitchen from her two dealers, Ben & Jerry. 

No wonder life with t.B. just seems so glamorous. 

Monday, March 17, 2014

Counting Stars and Calories

Do you ever just spend hours running errands and it completely takes up your day?  4.5 hours of driving here and there, taking Brixton out of the car and back in, adjusting seat straps, holding hands in parking lots, navigating through shops.  Not quite like going at it alone.

Curtains.  Today it was all about curtains.

We got an "early" start and by early I mean we were dressed and out the door by 9:30.  I was feeling pretty smug and proud about that until we pulled up to World Market and saw the sign stating they opened at 10.  Niiiiiiice.  Glad I rushed and wasted all that smug for nothing.

We went to Panera to kill 20 minutes.  They started posting the calorie content of the food there on the menu.  It is very, very disturbing.  I don't need to know that my muffin was 450 (!!!!) calories, or that a M&M cookie is 420.  Seriously, 420?  I would have thought closer to 200.  Anyway, I commited to the muffin and then since I felt depressed about the 450 empty calories I was about to eat, I decided to add a vanilla mocha to the order.  No whip (cause that makes a difference.)  Expect the guy didn't care/hear/forgot and added the whipped cream anyway.  Oh well.  It was delicious.  And this is why 3 years out I still like to call it all baby weight.

As it turned out, finding something as simple as curtains just wasn't that simple.  And isn't that how it always is?  You don't need something and you're like, "Wow!  I love this ___________!!  I wish I could get it!"  Then the second you actually need something, have husband approval for the purchase and the time to go find it, you can't find anything.

After 4.5 hours filled with 8 stops (including an emergency bathroom visit at Hobby Lobby), I got us home and made lunch--Ramen noodles and a strawberry bar---chuckle.  Then Brixton and I collapsed into my bed and fell asleep. 

I woke up to noise.  A voice.  Shuffling.  It was Brendan.  It was 5:30.  Crap.  We had slept for 2 hours.  Brixton lay next to me snoring.

Out to the living room I went.  The somewhat messy, dusty living room.  We just moved all our furniture around, so it's all a bit disordered.

I felt the cold shoulder as soon as I entered the room. 

"It's a tough pill to swallow when I work hard all day and I come home and you're napping and haven't done anything." --Husband

Well, let me get you a drink of water to help that pill slide down a little easier.  Sometimes errands need to be run.  Some days the hunt for a lamp or a picture frame or a rug is just more important in my little-woman brain than staying home and making sure I can put a check next to "Clean Bathrooms."  That day was today.

He hated all the curtains.  The search continues.  And I'll clean the damn bathrooms tomorrow. 

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Asking For It

This picture has really nothing to do with this post.  While in Florida, my hair took a turn for the worse, based on some funky hair conditioner and humidity.  I felt like a lion and I looked like one too.  Brendan kept laughing at me and I really can't blame him.


We were in line for boarding when I heard the announcement.  "We will give the volunteer a $500 travel voucher, as well as pay for their hotel and food."

Well, hot dog.  Gather 'round friends and watch how this SAHM is going to make us a quick $1000 in travel vouchesr.  Yes, just watch.

  Without hesitation I grabbed Brixton, jumped out of line and headed over to the counter.  Brendan stood in line, his eyes wide and looking unsure.  I was sure.  I was finally going to contribute!!

"We will volunteer!" I said happily, thinking this idea was amazing and I must be the bravest most clever and resourceful wife/mom ever.  Turns out I was the stupidest.  All with good intent, of course.

In the end, the deal only worked out for Brixton and I, since Brendan had to be at a meeting.  The deal meant I had to stay in a hotel for 3 nights with Brixton, paid, with some food vouchers (they don't nearly give you enough).

Inside I kind of pooped a little.  3 days in a hotel room with Brixton?  Trapped?  I couldn't back out now, not only was the guy processing the paperwork, but about 25 people were staring at me.  

I put on my brave face, especially in light of the fact we had only the clothes and bags that were with us, i.e., no diapers, no stroller, no clothes, nothing.  I made Brixton an extra absorbent diaper by folding together a few washcloths and then making him some plastic pants out of duct tape.  No, no I didn't.   Day two turned into hell.  I just wanted to be home.  Day three took some major deep breathing to get through.  And then we found out our flight home on Monday was cancelled and wouldn't be rescheduled until Thursday.

Wah wah.

And they weren't paying for the hotel or food anymore.


Luckily, my MIL rescued us and took us back to her house for the last few days, even giving me several hours "off" in order to lay in bed and binge watch The Tudors.  Refreshing, indeed.

Here are some tips if you ever find yourself stranded in a hotel room with  your toddler:

1.  Just don't do it.

Hour 53 or something in that same shirt.

Totally off topic, but I saw these whore-shorts in Nordstrom while in Florida.  They were for a 6-12 month old baby.  Appropriate? 

Friday, January 24, 2014

Stuff Lately: January

It's about 1 degree out and I'm on the couch with the lights low and The Smiths Pandora station on.  Tonight Brixton is attending his first sleepover at his BFF Thomas' house.  I'm going to a "Mom Prom" and my friend, "Thomas' Mom" has kindly allowed Brixton to stay the night (and she has a 2 month old baby...good people here...thanks, friend.)

I've never attended a Mom Prom, but I'm excited.  I'm dressing up.  The flat iron is going to be warmed up.  Makeup will be applied.  Spanx will be worn, as well as a red dress I bought almost two years ago in the hopes of having somewhere to wear it.

It's the first time it's being worn, which I think is a sad testament to the social status of my life.  Or just a fact of aging.

I considered applying fake eyelashes, but really, I have neither the time or the patience for that kind of Tom Foolery.  Or glue.  I don't have any eyelash glue and I'm not about to buy any.

Here's some other stuff that's been going on in January:

*We got some furry pets added to our family.  And then subtracted.  Long story and I'll probably write about it.

*I've gotten three chemical peels these past few months.  I wish I could say I look 16 again, but really I look 36 with the peeling skin of a snake.  I have one more to do.  What women won't do for the hope of looking even slightly younger.

* I got a new car.  A 2008 Volvo XC90.  I thought it would be a snow tank, but then we almost slid into the road and if there had been a car coming we would have been smashed.  Turns out the tires are bald.  Wah wah.  Still, I'm driving it forever.  The heated seats make my buns oh-so toasty on these cold, cold winter days.

*Our Christmas got extended by a few days when I volunteered to give up our seats home in return for flight vouchers.  Then a few more days when our flight home got cancelled.  Another post in progress. 

*We are continuing work on our new house.  So far, most of our funds have been sucked away by the discovery of iron bacteria contaminated water, which basically means that when you take a shower it smells like you are showering in blood. Yeah, that makes you feel so fresh and so clean.  Our water was rated unsatisfactory by the county health office--not the best feeling.  Luckily, iron bacteria doesn't hurt you, it just stinks.  Literally and all that. 

*While Brendan likes to spend his evenings riding his bikes in snow and extremely cold temperatures (I think he thrives a bit on almost dying on each ride of hypothermia), I have been enjoying cuddling up next to our fireplace (can't get enough of it) and binge watching "The Tudors."  I can't tell if I have a crush on Jonathon Rhys Meyers or King Henry VIII, who I have come to believe was a victim as much as anyone.  I have taken to curtsying (something it turns out I'm very good at) and saying, "Yes, majesty" when Brendan asks me something.  I think he's a bit confused about the whole thing, but it is really all that bad when your queen...ahem...wife, starts treating you like royalty?  I think not. 

 Well, off to drive Brixton to his first over-nighter.  I keep asking him if he's going to be ok, if he's going to be sad later tonight, but I honestly think I'm the one that will be doing most of the missing...

Monday, January 20, 2014


I miss blogging.  What I really miss is wanting to blog.  I don't know where I lost the interest in it, since I've always loved writing, but maybe something about the whole "mommy blogging" world turned me off from it.

 One thing that really made me stop writing was a comment from a family member.  He told me (perhaps jokingly, but one of those "I'm joking, but I'm serious" jokes) that my blog was really not about Brixton anymore as the name (had) implied (Brixton Makes Three), but mostly about me.  Me me me.  It made me feel icky.  Narcissistic, self-important, full of myself.  Blogging is that--well, it can be--and often is. 

It's amazing, how even at 35 years old, you can still be shamed, however unwittingly. 

I think that's a big portion of why I haven't written for the past (almost) year.  It shook my confidence.  I don't know how to reconcile myself to this.  On one hand, yes my blog is about me--my life, the things that happen, my thoughts and opinions, pictures of what is going on here--and I love that.  I like sharing it with friends and family that are miles and miles (and oceans) away.  I like reading through it myself at times, it's a diary, a scrapbook if you will, of a very important time of my life.  On the other hand--I don't think I'm all that special.  I'm not especially beautiful or witty.  My child, while the pinnacle of gorgeous to my eyes, is probably average (ok, slightly above).  I don't live in a magical city where I am doing fabulous things all the time, wear amazingly fashionable clothes, have really anything that is brag-worthy. 

So is blogging a good way to express creativity and stay in touch with people, or just another social outlet for our egocentric and attention-craving generation? 

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

A New (Old) House For New Memories

I just finished an episode of The Cosby Show.  Brendan came in and said, "Are you really watching The Cosby Show?" and I was like, "shhhhh...Cliff's talking." 

While I deeply love TCS, it does tell you a little something about what's on (or not on) TV right now.

We moved.  Our 11th move in 8 years of being together.  This time is a bit different.  We bought a house.  It has been a process.  One that started with a quiet whisper in June.  I had just moved Brixton to a different bedroom in our house and I was in full-on frenzy decorating mode.  Suddenly, this peaceful *thought* came to me: don't waste a bunch of time or money decorating this because we'll be moving soon.  I know it was God.

Anyway, it's been a long journey.  One including one failed house contract (actually the house across the street from the house we ended up buying!), two realtors, 3 mortgage lenders (with us switching lenders a week from our closing...).  Yikes.  Then of course, the packing, the getting our place rented out for our landlord, the coordination of a move. 

Move day came.  We know amazing people here.  7 guys came out to help us move.  The whole thing was done in less than five hours, with a scrumptious sandwich lunch on a bare hardwood floor. 

I love our new place.  We have tons of space.  We have almost two acres.  I saw a FOX this morning outside of our door (and I yelled so loud out of excitement I scared it away).  We moved out to more of a country setting so we get maybe one car an hour driving by our house.  It's dark.  Really, really dark.  Our living room windows don't even have coverings on them and we aren't getting any. 

It is a fixer upper.  We have a lot of work to do.  I can't explain to you how disgusting our bathroom situation is.  Let's just say the water here has a lot of iron, which makes rust stains in everything from the toilet to the shower.  And also the previous owners didn't clean before they moved out.  And I got the stomach flu two days after we moved in.  Hideous. 

We have a fireplace again though and I love having a crackling fire going on, especially on these cold nights.

On another note, my hair is getting so long.  I want to chop it off.   Long hair is great if you have beautiful hair.  My hair is average.  I dream of short hair.  But it's taken so long to get it this long.  I want long summer hair.  Ah, first world problems, right?

I want a new, simple, small camera.  I'm going to sell my Rebel and my 1.4 lens and my remote and all the other goodies.  It's been a great camera for the past five years, but it's big and hard for me to carry around.  Who has a small point and shoot camera they love?  Who wants to buy my camera? 

Maybe next time I won't be lazy and I'll include some pictures.