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  • Easter Eggs

    March 28, 2008

    Since we learned last month that our child is peeing pancake syrup, we have made heroic efforts to cut the sugar out of our diets.  And the person who has been most compliant and most faithful to this lifestyle change is Sean.  He has simply accepted it and goes along with little complaint. 

    The other day, his teacher told me that when he was offered candy at school, he politely declined.  He pointed to his arm where his blood was drawn and said the doctor told him no candy until his blood was better.  It kind of breaks my heart that he is so mature about it because I personally want to throw myself down on the ground and pound my fists and rail about the unfairness of it all.

    Not being able to have candy or sweets is really hard on kids because every occasion is a candy occasion and every holiday is candy-centric — and Easter is perhaps the worst of all.

    To make matters worse, when it came time to fill the Easter eggs last week, not only did I not fill them with candy, but I filled them with money from his own piggy bank.  Why not just fill them with broccoli or tofu?  What kind of mother would do such a thing?  He didn’t seem to notice.  After he found all the eggs, he simply wanted to hide them and hunt them again because unlike the adults, he gets that it’s not about the candy. 

    So then, earlier this week we visited with a pediatric nephrologist, a doctor who deals with all things kidney to see if we could figure out once and for all why Sean has so much sugar in his urine and if we should continue with our regimen of no candy, obsessive hand wringing and asking him 30 times a day if he feels okay and is he sure he feels okay. 

    After reviewing the bloodwork, the doctor said his best guess is that Sean has inherited a genetic mutation which causes his kidneys not to filter out the sugar properly.  The doctor said in his 20 years of practice, this is only the second case of this he has come across.  Two in 20 years.  See? My child is super special, it’s not just me saying that now, it’s been medically proven.

    The good doctor assured us that we have no cause to worry — Sean’s condition is totally benign.  Unlike those dimples of his that are lethal and cause his mother’s heart to beat apace. 

    Outsourcing Blame

    March 26, 2008

    The other day I spent about 40 minutes in my den standing in front of the wall of windows that look out onto my backyard.

    I was not standing there in amazement watching agile squirrels with spring fever jump from branch to branch like acrobats.  I was not taking in the beauty of budding trees or the glory of the changing seasons. No, I was untangling six tightly wound little clumps of nylon cord to six ventian blinds that cover six windows.

    The knotting was not the accidental tangling that sometimes occurs with ventian blind cords. The knotting was the work of an evil sailor with wicked boy scout knotting skills. 

    Later that day I asked Sean how the ventian blind cords had gotten tangled up so badly.  “Regan?” he quickly suggested.

    “I don’t think it was Regan,” I said. “Besides, she hasn’t been here since last week.”

    “Um… Kendall? I think it was Kendall.”

    “Kendall is only two.  She’s too short.  Besides, this is an inside job. It would have been done by someone who has the time and the means.”

    At that point, he shrugged his shoulders and ran away.

    When you are an only child you have to oursource the blame.

    Stripes Are In

    March 24, 2008

    In keeping with my quest to provide Sean with a perfect Norman Rockwell childhood, we stopped by Taco Bueno on the way home from church after Easter services and picked up some party burritos for lunch.

    Who wants a ham and all the fixin’s served on the family china when you can have a burrito on paper? I figure if I keep his expectations low, it will make it easier on his future wife.

    Anyway, as our little tribe of three sat around the kitchen table quietly eating our pathetic Easter dinner of burritos off paper, without warning Sean turns to his father and says, “Daddy, I love you more than all the stripes on your shirt!”

    “Why thank you Sean,” Antique Daddy says looking down at his shirt.

    “In fact, I love you more than all the stripes on all the shirts in the world.”

    “Wow,” Antique Daddy says, “That is a lot.”

    Sean sets his burrito down and looks up at the ceiling. In little boy fashion, he has shifted his brain into overdrive thinking how he can escalate this unquantifiable quantity of love he wants to describe into the realm of the absurd.

    “All the shirts in the word – plus all the stripes on all the zebras in the world!”

    He grins wildly at his daddy and then returns to his burrito.

    When I am an old and brittle and I look back on the Easter that Sean was four, I won’t remember a big fancy dinner or a noisy table full of chattering people dressed in fancy clothes or overflowing Easter baskets. I won’t even remember burritos.

    I’ll remember that unquantifiable, unimaginable, unrestrained love is best described in stripes.


    Chain Yanking Is Our Tradition

    March 20, 2008

    Mommy can I have some more grapes?

    No, you’ve had plenty of grapes.

    Oh. (long pause for dramatic effect)  I thought you loved me.

    No.  Not really. I never really liked you that much.

    Are you teasin’?

    Yup. Just kidding.

    So.  Can I have more grapes?

    Still no.

    Fabulous Photo Contest

    March 18, 2008

    Photo Temporarily Unavailable

    I had to take my photos down because they were causing problems with the site. When those issues are resolved, I’ll try to put some of the photos back up.


    Is this not a fabulous photo? I wish I had taken it.

    It was taken by my friend, Olivia.  I interviewed her recently and here’s what she had to say:

    AM:  How old are you Olivia?

    Olivia:  I am ten.  I was still nine when I took the picture.

    AM:  This is really an amazing picture that you took of your sister.  Did you realize that when you were capturing the image?

    Olivia:  Thank you! No, I didn’t realize it would be so great.

    AM:  Did you plan this photograph or was it one of those happy accidents that all artists enjoy every once in a while?

    Olivia:  It was sort of both.  I planned out what she would be holding and where she would sit, but everything else just kind of fell into place, like the light shined on her face the right way, and the wind was perfect for the picure. That was a happy accident!

    AM:  What are your favorite things to photograph?

    Olivia:  Hmmm…. Anything!  If I see something funny or if I just want to remember the moment, I take a picture of it. I carry my camera everywhere!

    AM: Carry your camera everywhere! That’s great advice.  Thank you Olivia for sharing your beautiful photograph with my readers!

    * * * *

    So then dear readers, what shall we name Olivia’s fabulous photo?

    Leave your suggestion in comments through noon tomorrow (3/19) and we’ll pick the one that we think best captures the essence of the image.

    I’ll send the winner a copy of Joel Sartore’s new book Photographing Your Family — And All The Kids And Friends And Animals Who Wander Through Too.  

    Sartore, a National Geographic photographer for more than 14 years, has put together a wonderful book on how ordinary people can take extraordinary photos.  Even if you are not into photography, it is just a beautiful book to browse through.  What I loved about this book is that it is more about how to capture images and moments rather than how to operate a camera.  In fact, I liked the book so much that after I reviewed it, I asked the good people at National Geographic to send me one for you too and they graciously obliged.

    So then, put your thinking caps on and let’s name that fabulous photo!


    March 17, 2008

    This weekend we celebrated Aunt Jean’s 90th birthday.  Don’t even try to keep up with this woman unless you’ve got rollers skates — she’s on the computer, she’s up on all the news, she’s on comittees, she’s on the go all the time. 

    Someone at the party commented that if they make it to 90, they just hoped they could get around as well she does.  I said I didn’t care if I could get around at all, I just wanted to be that stylish. 

    I asked her to what she owed her longevity and she said good genetics, good attitude and good diet.  And by good diet, she means plenty of Diet Cherry 7-Up and Snickers.  And the occasional Braum’s ice cream cone.

    Happy Birthday Aunt Jean! 


    March 13, 2008

    Dear Husbands Across America,

    If your wife is being self-deprecating, you are not allowed to join the party. It is not a bandwagon, do not jump on.

    Thank you and have a pleasant tomorrow.

    ~ Antique Mommy

    * * * * *

    In the interest of equal opportunity:

    Dear Wives Across America –

    The art of being wife wise, is knowing what to overlook.

    Thank you and have a pleasant tomorrow.

    ~ Antique Mommy

    In The South, You Can Wear A Crayon On Your Head Or Color With One

    March 12, 2008

    Anyway, I was over at the Apathy Lounge where I ran into my friend and the proprieter, the lovely Mizz Beaverhausen who was celebrating the 105th birthday of Crayola Color Crayons.

    And I was reminded of two things. No, make that three. I was reminded of how much I love crayons. I was reminded of a post I wrote a few years ago about crayons and I was reminded that I have nothing for tomorrow. So here ya go, an old post about crayons.

    * * * *

    Broken Crayons

    I like my crayons broken. They are better that way. Like people, you can do more with them once they’ve been broken and the hard edges are worn down with love and time and attention.

    Many many months ago, Sean and I sat down together to color for the first time. The crayon he was using immediately gave way under the pressure of his clumsy inexperienced hand. “I boke it!” he cried, holding up both pieces. “Fit it Mommy!” Not wanting to expose my inability to mend all that was amiss in his world just yet, I soothed him by breaking my crayon too and telling him that they work better that way. Then we went through the entire box breaking all the crayons in half. Since that day, Sean has made it his mission in life to leave no crayon unbroken. So take that as fair warning, you might not want us to come play at your house.

    Last night, Sean and I were reading together before bedtime. He doesn’t actually read yet, but has memorized the words to every book he has which is somewhere in the triple digits. And that makes it hard to skip pages let alone paragraphs or even the occasional adjective. The book we were reading from last night was a collection of nursery rhymes, most of which I find to be rather disturbing. Three blind mice? And an ax-weilding crazy woman chasing rodents? That you would have agressive rodents in your house? If ever there were a recipie for night terrors. But nonetheless, there we sat side by side in his rocking chair reading about one boy playing with fire and another running through the town, alone and after dark, in his pajamas.

    (Unrelated side note: I will be really sad when we can no longer fit in that chair side by side because one of us has grown too much.)

    Anyway, I read “Jack and Jill went up the hill,” and he followed “to catch a pail of watt-ee.” I continued, “Jack fell down” and Sean piped up “and boke his cray-own. They’re better that way.”

    Jack with a broken crayon is a much better image than Jack with a concussion, don’t you think? And they say you can’t improve upon the classics.

    Originally published May 2006.

    Transparent And Unapologetic

    Monday morning we were late for school. As usual. We are late almost every day, but thanks to Daylight Savings Time, we were well beyond our usual brand of late.

    I walked Sean into his classroom and his classmates were already sitting on the floor working on some group activity.

    Marlee, a tiny piquant blonde, looked up and noticed Sean standing there. Marlee is known for her exuberance, her boundless energy, her unabashed joi de vie.

    She leapt to her feet, hurdled several of her classmates OJ style and then wrapped Sean up in a big bear hug, lifting him completely off the ground. Clearly, she was happy to see him. Oh that we might all be more like Marlee – transparent and unapologetic with our affection.

    Sean did not return her embrace.  He did his best impression of a totem pole, keeping his arms stiffly down by his sides, neither moving his head or his eyes to the right or to the left. When she set him down he kind of pulled at his collar uncomfortably and stuck out his chin as if he were wearing a necktie that was too tight. 

    Sean’s reserve did not deter Marlee. She grabbed him by the hand and pulled him into the hive of activity.

    I turned to hang up his coat and his backpack and when I turned back to say goodbye, he was already engaged with his peers.  He felt welcomed and wanted here and had no need of his mother now.  He did not notice when I disappeared around the corner.

    Thanks Marlee.  You make the world a better place. Don’t ever change.

    The Health Club

    March 11, 2008

    I have a treadmill in my house.  And a recumbent bike.  And a BowFlex.  And free weights. And all kinds of other work out paraphernalia.  You would think that I would be in great shape because I can work out any time I want, right?  It’s all right here in my house.  I can work out at 2am if I feel like it!


    That’s what I rationalized said when I purchased each of those things.  But you know what?  I never feel like working out at 2am.  Never.  Not even one time.  You know what I feel like doing at 2am? Sleeping.   And on those rare occasions when I do feel like working out and actually get on the treadmill?  Within five minutes someone needs me to do something, find something or wipe something. And that’s the end of my workout.


    With that thought in mind, back in the fall, in November I think, I joined one of those big national health clubs.  I rationalized said that if I went there to walk on the treadmill that probably no one would make me stop to wipe their bottom or find their keys.


    Then there was Thanksgiving.  And then Christmas.  And then I felt cruddy most of January and February. No treading happened here, there nor anywhere.


    And now it’s March!


    And I’m actually going to the health club!  Well going may be a bit of an over statement.  How many times do you have to actually go somewhere before you can legally say going?  Let’s just say that I’ve been inside the health club a few times during the month of March.  So then, using my calculator – so far — it’s only costing me $157 per workout!  That’s the kind of stewardship that makes Dave Ramsey’s tummy turn.


    I’ve learned a lot about working out since I’ve been “going” to the club.  I’ve learned that you can watch any music video on MTV while listening to the B-52’s sing Love Shack on your iPod and it works.  Music videos do not make sense to me, so why not just watch them all to Love Shack? Come to think of it, Love Shack doesn’t make any sense to me either, but it’s got a beat you can tread to.  Love Shack works with Regis and Kelly, Rachel Ray pouring E-V-Oh-Oh, Television’ Telemundo game shows and a local TV anchor doing the hand jive with Barney – you know, big purple Barney?  On an unrelated side note, when you are a television news journalist and you are hand jiving with Barney at 9am, your career has gotten seriously off track.


    The other thing I’ve learned is that the possibilities of looking ridiculous at a health club are unlimited, even if you are not hand jiving with a dinosaur.  Add questionable clothing choices, an iPod and shoe laces to the equation and you’ve upped your odds exponentially of making a fool of yourself.


    Of course I could also do that in the privacy of my own home for free at 2am.


    If you make a fool of yourself and no sees you, are you still a fool?  Philosophically speaking, of course.