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  • The Poo Poo Driven Life

    May 31, 2006

    After years of extensive research, okay really just a few days, I have developed a thoughtfully considered potty training system. By thoughtfully considered I mean it came to me the other night while I was sipping Sangria. Actually it’s not really a system, but a plan. Well, actually it’s not even a plan. It’s more like a whim. A whim that I’m marketing as the “The Poo Poo Driven Life”.

    Since Sean began showing an increased interest in using the toilet, I decided that maybe I should just talk about it more so that eventually he might think that eliminating, wiping and flushing in the potty is his own invention. So about a hundred times a day I will ask Sean if he has to a) pee pee or b) poo poo. And then for a follow-up question I ask, if so, is there any chance that he’d like to do either, a and/or b, on the potty like a big boy?

    “The Poo Poo Driven Life” potty training system is largely based on the concept that if you want to get a guy to do something, you’ve got to get him to think that it’s his idea. I learned this about my dad when I was a little girl and about men in general when I was a big girl. Batting your eyelashes doesn’t hurt either.

    Sean assumes a certain pose and glazed over expression that lets me know that poo is pending. So in keeping with my plan to eventually rule the world and live a diaper free existence, I ask him if he has any ideas about where one could go potty, perhaps, oh I don’t know, the potty? Just thinkin’ out loud. And then I batt my eyelashes.

    Perhaps I need to improve my technique. Perhaps I ask a little too anxiously, perhaps I smile a little too broadly and perhaps when I gesture like a crossing guard towards the bathroom a little too vigorously he gets the idea that this whole potty thing is really my idea, something that I would like. So then he says, “No (grunt) I need to (grunt) go poo POO in my DIIIIiiiyiii (grunt) PURH (grunt). And so then I say as evenly and off-handedly as I can, because why would I care, it’s not MY idea, “Whatever you need to do dude.” And I drop it. I do not want to make this an issue.

    However, when he does use the potty, I cheer and clap my hands and give him a lot of praise for a “job” well done so that he might think this is a good idea, an idea that he himself might even think of one of these days. This is what the child-rearing-potty-training-experts tell you to do. And this is the part of the system that is flawed because the other day after going poo poo in his diapers he started clapping his hands and giving himself a rousing round of applause. If you’re crappy and you know it clap your hands?

    “The Poo Poo Driven Life” potty training system needs more research, more thought and more Sangria before the book tour.

    Better Digs

    May 30, 2006

    Last Friday evening, we had dinner with some friends at their house. We had been remiss in keeping up with them for quite some time. You never think two years will pass by before you see people again that you enjoy so much, but it happens. Luckily, our friendship easily weathers the scourge of time.

    It was one of those magical summer evenings you see in glossy Southern Living layouts. The weather was mild and the breeze was gentle. The night air was sweet. We had a great time relaxing and sipping Sangria by their pool, eating Thai food, laughing and catching up and enjoying their precious little 7-month-old baby. I had almost forgotten how tasty little baby toes are.

    And apparently, Sean had an even better time than we did.

    He played with the other children, swam in their pool and played on their fabulous play yard. They had toys galore, including a little motorcycle, which Antique Daddy took him riding on up and down the street. He was having so much fun that I thought he might spontaneously combust into a spray of snips and snails and puppy dog tails confetti.

    As the evening wound down, I told Sean that it was getting late and that we needed to gather up his stuff to go home. As expected, he protested saying he didn’t want to go. “I’m going to stay here!” he announced and then ran into the house calling over his shoulder, “I’m going upstairs to pick out my room!”

    At that moment, searing pain and amusement combined to create the ultimate case of heartburn.

    Sean Trump

    May 26, 2006

    At two and half, Sean has already become a very enterprising young man.

    Today we went out into the backyard to pick up some branches that a recent storm had blown out of the trees. He worked diligently at collecting every branch and arranging them just so in his teeny tiny wheel barrow.

    He was such a good helper that I gave him a lot of praise, but I also decided it was a good opportunity to talk about working and earning money.

    Antique Daddy and I haven’t arrived at a chores/allowance policy yet, so I decided that in keeping with my haphazard approach to parenting, I would make one up on the spot: If he works and I feel like giving him money, then I will. It’s the same policy I have for M&Ms and Cheetoes – all based on whim theory, which was derived from chaos theory and functions in the same manner which is to say devoid of logic or reason.

    Later we went inside and found a little glass mug and wrote “Sean’s Bank” on it with a marker. Then we plastered it with Thomas the Train stickers to emphasize the respect that we have for money at the House of Antique.

    When we finished I explained to him that I was going to pay him for his hard work and that he would keep that money in his new bank and that the more he worked, the more money he would have in his jar. Then I gave him a penny, a nickel, a dime and a quarter and explained to him that they were each worth a different amount. And then we put the money in the glass mug. He took a moment to admire it, then shook it vigorously and with glee like he was making a martini. After he recovered the coins that had gone flying, he ran off to show his daddy this fabulous new thing he had just discovered called money.

    Later that evening, as he was running around the den, he bumped his knee. When he came running to me for comfort, I scooped him up and set him on the kitchen counter and administered a life-saving round of kisses. Yet even after that, he persisted in fussing, so I asked him what it would take to make him feel better and he immediately stopped crying and said “Money.”

    Good Heavens. I’ve opened Pandora’s Box. And it’s filled with small change.

    Sticky Prayers

    May 24, 2006


    “I remember my mother’s prayers and they have followed me always. They have clung to me all my life.”

    ~ Abraham Lincoln


    Sean’s first school year officially ended last night with a little graduation ceremony for the five year olds who will be leaving the pre-school and moving on to kindergarten. The younger kids “sang them out” just as the losers on American Idol do. Well, more accurately, all the other kids sang out the grads. Sean stood on the stage and did an impression of Lot’s wife.

    As all the five year olds marched across the stage in their adorable little caps and gowns, I wept. I don’t even have a kid in the graduating class and I cried. I am pathetic. I am normally not that much of a cryer, but lately ceremonies seem to prick that tender part of my heart and remind me that time slips like water through my fingers.

    As each child marched across the stage to receive their diploma, the teacher announced where they would be going to school next year and what their career plans were. One boy wanted to drive a dump truck, another wanted to study to be a ninja. One girl wanted to be a princess, another a ballerina. Perhaps Abraham Lincoln wanted to be a ninja too.

    The path laid before Sean may lead him to drive a truck or drive him to lead a nation — it is not mine to know or to choose. I know God has a plan for this boy and I’m going to try my best to not get in the way, but rather to walk along side him, holding his hand for as long as he’ll let me.

    After that, I’ll just have to hope that my prayers follow him and cling to him always.

    I’m Mom of the Week!

    May 23, 2006

    Hey I was voted Mom of the Week over at Crazy Hip Blog Mamas! Thanks Mom for stuffing the ballot box to everyone who voted for me. I am astonished honored that you would choose someone like me. Hurry go look before they change their mind!!

    Eat Tuna

    The second in series that takes a look at life in a small town in Texas.

    People tend to think there is no culture in a small town, that there are no restaurants, no theater. Well, there is. It just so happens that the live theater is in the restaurants. Just not in a dinner-theater sort of way. And not really on purpose.

    Once again, we find ourselves in Greater Tuna, where my in-laws live. There is a restaurant there that can probably best be described as a shed. Only not that nice. The tables are covered with well worn red and white checked oil cloth and none of the chairs match. The painted floor creeks and slopes slightly and a screen door bangs and then springs back to bang again as people come and go. A rickety ceiling fan whirs and rocks overhead. The cacophany of white noise all works together to create a certain ambience. It has a hand painted sign out front that reads “Aunt Clydes” and the place is run by Aunt Clyde herself. On any given weekday, the place is surrounded by cars and golf carts parked in all manner as people make their way from near and nearer for the local version of the power lunch, or what they call “shootin’ the breeze”.

    Aunt Clyde is a motherly black woman with a large presence and generous bosoms, which overflow the sides of her apron. The bib-overall wearing men can’t help but to steal glances at all this womanly glory and even the women take a second look. Aunt Clyde speaks as though she is about out of breath, in a kindly raspy voice, yet she has a natural air of authority about her. Make no mistake Aunt Clyde is in charge of the place, so don’t even think about acting a fool or she might come over and swat you upside the head with a menu and fire off a warning to “Stop actin’ like a fool!”

    Speaking of the menu, there is one, but Aunt Clyde doesn’t read or do math, so it doesn’t really matter. You just tell her what you want and she’ll tell you if you can have it or not. When you are finished eating, she’ll tell you what you owe, and that largely depends on her mood. Your meatloaf might cost you $3.29 whereas mine might be $4.48. Everyone pays whatever Aunt Clyde says they owe and no one forgets to tip. If you did, word would get around fast and let there be no doubt, small town people protect their own. If you like meat loaf, mashed potatoes, lemon pie, sweet tea and the like, there’s no better place to eat in any city of any size.

    You just can’t get that kind of dining experience at Chili’s.

    WWJD? Laugh

    May 22, 2006

    We were visiting a church on Sunday and I took Sean to find his Bible class. The teacher was a fresh-faced pious 20-something with one of those soprano sing-songy teacher voices that would make you want to gouge your ears out with a sharp #2 pencil after about ten minutes. Before I left, she asked me if it were okay if Sean had some Goldfish while he was there. I said Goldfish were okay, but no cigarettes.

    And she just looked at me as though I had audibly passed gas.

    I guess I missed this one: #11) Thou shalt not have a sense of humor.

    Silly Question #17

    May 21, 2006

    Someone asked me today if we would like to have another baby.

    I told her no, I thought we would just keep the one we had. He was working out fairly well and we were planning to renew his contract for another year. (Although there have been a few days I would have gladly traded him in for a Schipperke.)

    Banking in Greater Tuna

    May 20, 2006

    Although I really enjoy living in the metroplex, sometimes when we visit my in-laws who live in a small north Texas town, I realize there are certain aspects to small town living that I really appreciate. Like banking.

    Awhile back, when we were visiting Tuna I decided that I needed to cash a check to facilitate my Main Street antique shopping. I parked right in front of the building and walked right up to the teller whose name was Floydine. As I was fumbling around in my purse for three kinds of ID, I informed Floydine that I would like to cash a check. She asked me if I had an account there and I said, no, but George is my father-in-law. And she then said — and get this – she said “OK”. And she cashed the check without blinking or even writing anything down. She didn’t even ask to see my ID. She just said OK. Because I knew George. And she knew George. When in Greater Tuna, it’s good to know George.

    My bank in the metroplex, where I’ve had an account for 25 years, won’t even cash my check before photocopying my drivers license, taking a blood sample and finger prints, even though my check has their name on it. Even though they have had my money for 25 years – they knoweth me not. They have lots of college grads running around in khaki pants and polo shirts to prove how casual and friendly and “all about people” they are, but they don’t actually do anything helpful, like banking.

    I thought of Floydine and her quaint little Main Street bank the other day as I stood in line behind a velvet rope awaiting the privilege of giving the 1st National Bank of Khaki Pants my money. As I waited, I made use of my time by filling out their little customer satisfaction survey. And since they asked for suggestions as to how they might improve their customer service, I wrote:

    1) How about adding banking services?
    2) Hire Floydine.

    Ignorance Is Bliss. And A Lot Less Work.

    May 17, 2006

    I’ve always prided myself on my thirst for knowledge, my quest for information. Information IS power. Ha. I used to really believe that. Sometimes information is a big pain in the buhtootie. Case in point: As I was putting away some things in Sean’s room the other day, I was wondering “What is that smell?” Then I realized that I didn’t really want to know. I could go on living quite well without that piece of information. Ignorance CAN be bliss. Or if not bliss, then at least a whole lot less trouble than tracking down a smell and cleaning something up.

    One holiday season, when I was in my 20s, I was shopping on my lunch hour in the cosmetics and perfume department in what was Sanger Harris at the time, in downtown Dallas. The store was beautiful — packed with glitzy, sparkly, fabulous eye-catching displays of merchandise. Shoppers were bustling around like, well, Christmas shoppers on their lunch hour. Anyway, I’m not sure exactly how it happened, but somehow I manage to knock over a table that previously had been stacked to the ceiling with gift boxes of perfume. Not only did all the boxes tumble down and scatter to all corners of the store, but some of the bottles broke open. Not a lovely sight and ironically, not a lovely smell.

    You might think that someone would run over and shout, “The hell?!” or “Ma’am you’re going to have to pay for this.” Or what I was hoping to hear: “Congratulations! You’re on Candid Camera!” But no one even seemed to notice me standing there with boxes of perfume around my ankles. Except for probably some guy in the security office who was laughing his head off and saying something like, “Ernie, wake up! You gotta see this!” It was surreal. It was like I was invisible. Not one clerk made eye contact with me. Not even a sideways glance of distain or pity. A woman standing knee deep in a display of perfume was not information in the “power” category. It was in the “I don’t want to know because then I will have to stop what I’m doing and clean this mess up” category. Everyone just continued to breeze past me, stepping over the busted bottles, pretending not to notice the sickening sweet stench of Eau Du Klutz.

    In another similar incident, several years later at the grocery store, I bumped my shopping cart into a cardboard display of fingernail polish that was artfully displayed in the Hamburger Helper aisle. In my defense, I think retailers stack stuff in such a way to increase the potential for amusing security video footage, which they later show at the store Christmas party. Anyway, the display gave way, and you guessed it – nail polish everywhere. Tropical Pink, Lady in Red and Flamingo Frost oozing malodorously down aisle three. I stood there waiting for the “Klutz Clean up on aisle three” announcement. But again, no one seemed to notice, even though shoppers were holding hankies over their mouths and gasping for air.

    And so the other day, as I was sitting at my desk, I heard Antique Daddy and Sean rustling around in the kitchen. Then I heard a CRASH! followed by SPLAT! And that’s when I went into store clerk mode certain only of the fact that, unless the fire department showed up, there was information in the kitchen that I didn’t really need to know.