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  • Carry On Santa

    December 23, 2010

    So that y’all may go on with your holidays, I shall reveal to you the secrets of the House of Antique as it relates to obscure toy requests:

    1) A machine gun.  Sean wants the Nerf machine gun but it is $40 and we already have three other Nerf guns.  He will get the $15 Walmart no-name obnoxious noise making variety which I will deeply regret two minutes seconds after it is loosed from its packaging.

    After purchasing a number of Tonka obnoxious-noise-making Trucks and an Alvin the Chipmunk who sings Up On The Rooftop every time you walk past, you’d think I’d learn. But no.  I get visions of his eyes lighting up and his grubby little hands clapping with joy and I lose my mind and buy stuff I hate.  Apparently I’m nuts.  Or just nutty about that boy.

    2)  A Bakugan Kit.   This “kit” is the exorbitantly over-priced Tupperware container for his growing collection of Bakugans, and by growing collection I mean we have two that we got in Happy Meals (one of which is lost at the moment).  Last week I had never heard of a Bakugan and I still don’t really know what they are.  Were it not for kids at school, Sean would still not know what they are.  &!@# school kids.

    3) A microscope. This he is also not getting, although I really want to get him one.  I want to wait until I can buy a good sturdy one.  Anyone who has any microscope buying insider info, I’d love to hear from you.

    4) A lie detector kit — as seen in Sky Mall magazine.  Also not getting this as it would surely be used against me.

    What he is getting are Zoobs and a blocks and marbles super set and a new soccer ball.  Oh yeah, and the stupid machine gun.

    Merry Giftmas to all and to all a good night!

    The Mushinggun

    December 22, 2010

    One year it was the Chicken Wipes. The next year it was the Peemo Boat.

    This year, as you can see from the letter he typed up on his computer, Sean wants a mushinggun and a liykit, among other things.

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    One point for each correct answer.

    Hair

    October 7, 2010

    The other day, I had had enough of my hair. I have a lot of it and none of it good.

    Now I know that I won’t get much sympathy from many of you for having more than my fair share of hair, but with every blessing comes a burden. And the burden of having so much hair, besides that it is hot is that blow drying it requires time and skill that I do not possess.  If I could take back all the hours I’ve spent blow drying my hair, I could learn another language, even one of those hard ones that don’t have any vowels.

    And let me tell you, aging does not make hair more lovely.  Gray hair, even colored gray hair, has a texture all its own, a texture that says “estrogen on the decline, downhill from here”.

    There are a few older women who can wear long hair, but not many.  In my opinion, a woman of a certain age sporting long hair (or a mini-skirt or a midriff top) looks like she’s trying too hard to hang on to her long-gone youth and there’s nothing pretty about that.  Beauty should look effortless — even if it’s not.

    So the other day, I had had enough of the hair and the ponytail holders and the barrettes.  Being the impulsive person that I am, I called the salon and asked if there was anyone there who could cut my hair in the next 15 minutes.  There was, so I went and they did.  And when I left the salon, I was very happy to be rid of the hair.  I liked my haircut.  I liked it a lot.  I felt 10 years younger and 10 pounds lighter.  I whistled as I skipped to my car.  (My mom just emailed to say that she went and got her hair cut and felt ten years younger so she went back and got another haircut the next day.)

    When I got home, I ran upstairs to show my new haircut to AD, and being a learned man in the fine art of marriage, he diplomatically said, “Oh! Look at you! You got your hair cut!”  I gleefully shook my head from side to side so he could see how I could make my hair twirl out like skirt.  One side fell across one eye in a sexy Veronica Lake sort of way.  Clearly he was mesmerized by my new haircut.  He said he had never seen such beauty in all of his life. No not really. What he actually said was, “I gotta get back to work now.”

    Undaunted, I bounced downstairs and took a picture of me and my sassy new haircut and I emailed it to my mother who loves short hair and has never missed one single opportunity since 1973 to tell me how me how much better she thinks I look in short hair.  So I asked her, “What do you think of my new haircut?!”  She quickly replied, and I quote, “I don’t know.”

    Okay then.

    Later that afternoon, as I walked up to the school to pick up Sean, I enjoyed the sensation of the cool breeze on my neck and my bouncin’ and behavin’ hair.  As I started to cross the street, my friend Jennifer pulled up in her car.  She rolled down the window and exclaimed, and I quote, “What happened to you?”

    Hmmm.  I’m starting to get the idea that no one likes my haircut.  Luckily for me I don’t care because I am unofficially 10 years younger and 10 pounds lighter.  And besides, I can twirl my hair out like a skirt if I want to.

    When I dropped Sean off at school that morning I had long hair, but now I had short hair and I wondered how he would react.  Much like his father, he does not dig change.  As he ran out of the school doors, he spotted me and his face lit up. He ran to me, buried his face in my tummy and wrapped his arms around me.  “I like your new haircut Mom!” he exclaimed.  “You look really cute!”  God I love that boy.  Kids are so honest.

    The next morning, after breakfast, Sean and AD sat at the table working on vocabulary words.  One of the words on the list was adorable.  Using the word in a sentence, Sean said, “I love Mommy. She looks adorable.”  God I love that boy.

    So off we went to school; AD, Sean and his vocabulary words, and me and my new haircut.  Sean’s teacher said she liked my haircut and the crossing guard said she thought my hair was cute.  If you can’t trust the opinion of the 1st grade teacher and the crossing guard, who can you trust?

    On the way back home, I mentioned this to AD.  And in a dangerous move, I asked him point blank:  Do you like my new haircut?  He said, and I quote, “It’s growing on me.”

    “I have to tell you something,” he said hesitantly, “but you have to promise it won’t hurt your feelings.”

    So I braced myself to have my feelings hurt.

    “This morning, after Sean used the word adorable in a sentence? He whispered in my ear that he didn’t really like your haircut but he didn’t want to hurt your feelings.”

    God I love that boy.

    And I love my new haircut.

    * * *

    More on Antique Mommy’s hair here: The Bob is the New Helmet Hair

    Crossing Over

    September 8, 2010

    I am a Walmart shopper, this I freely admit.

    I did not start out being a Walmart shopper, it just sorta happened to me, sort of in the same way I got pregnant — I have no idea when it happened,  I didn’t plan for it to happen, it just did. One day I wasn’t and then one day I was.  And I still kind of can’t believe it.

    Prior to having a child, I had never been in a Walmart that I can recall.  I was a boutique grocery store shopper. I did not buy my t-shirts at the same place I bought hamburger.  I liked the little grocery stores that stock 37 kinds of mustard.

    But then I had a child and I no longer needed cranberry sherry mustard. I needed preemie diapers and formula that cost $25 a can.  And as though divinely orchestrated, just before Sean was born a super-Walmart sprang up a short distance from my house.

    I understand that some people have issues with Walmart and I even see their point of view.  However, I needed cheap diapers and formula and hamburger all in one stop and there they were, so what was I to do?  My economic ideals are not all that sturdy when it comes to cheap baby formula.

    So then, that is my Walmart back story.  It does not relate to anything hereafter other than to say that I have a history with Walmart.

    All that to say, not too long ago I was at Walmart, not buying exotic mustard, unless you think French’s is exotic, and as I was strolling down the big wide center aisle, my cart automatically turned into the baby department where I have been a regular for many years.  For almost seven years, that has been my zone – diapers, formula, little socks, adorable little rompers, play clothes, lavender baby shampoo, crib toys, the occasional lullaby CD and other first-time-mom impulse purchases.

    Now perhaps you are wondering how I managed to stay in the baby department for six years and I’ll tell you:  Walmart caters to a big baby.  Sean is a string bean of a boy and when he was five, he could wear 2T. Although, admittedly when it came to long pants, a 2T on a tall 5-year-old  makes for a Steve Urkel fashion statement.  But then, we are Walmart shoppers, so obviously fashion is not a huge concern for us.

    As it were on that day, I stood there in the baby zone, in the middle of all that luscious nougat baby stuff with my six-year-old who comes up to my shoulder and I realized I was in the wrong place.  The baby zone was no longer my zone.  I glanced across the aisle, towards my new zone, the boy zone with all those big not-adorable clothes, and I dropped my chin to my chest and wept silently. No I didn’t weep, because for Pete’s sake, it is just clothes, but I was sort of stunned.  The thought of crossing over to the other side rocked my boat just a little.  I could see from clear across the aisle that there were no cute little socks or luscious anything over there, just big boy stuff, and I knew that I wasn’t going to like the new zone.

    And I don’t like the new zone.  Unlike the baby zone, there is nothing impulse-purchase worthy to be had. One t-shirt is the same as the next.

    As a mother, this sixth year has been one of many changes, firsts and milestones.  Most mothers wistfully remember the day they sent their baby off to 1st grade.  I remember the day I had to cross over the aisle in Walmart.

    Mouse and Harvest Moon

    July 26, 2010

    By ‘The Artist Currently Known As Sean’

    In this composition, the artist addresses the tension of post-modern life. Here, he uses loose strokes to invoke a sense of chaotic energy that falsely reads as a peaceful night sky, perhaps a reference to the uncertain economic conditions that are the backdrop to everyday life.

    The artist creates a sense of orderliness out of the chaos by containing it in fractionalized spaces which likely symbolizes the sort of compartmentalization of life spaces – dark and light, public and private, internal and external, on-line and off-line. The deliberate use of green in places to depict the night is no doubt a nod to Remington. The brightly lit harvest moon refers to a distant hope, perhaps a statement of faith or perhaps a reference to the fall elections.

    The loosely interconnectedness of the vines talk about the condition of modern man and the effect of the internet and modern technology on the human condition; connected at all times but ultimately small and alone, as represented by the mouse which appears to be sliding off the pumpkin.

    Washable Markers on Notebook Paper (2010)
    Currently on display on his mother’s refrigerator
    Available for purchase

    Flailing Not Failing

    December 23, 2009

    Sean was born six weeks early and spent the first week of his life in the NICU.  He was teeny tiny, but was never in any danger, other than being sent home to live with two clueless people.

    Before we left the hospital, the nurse showed me the proper way to wrap my baby in a blanket. She stressed the importance of keeping his arms tucked in tight at all times. She said he was used to be being curled up in the confines of my womb and he would prefer being swaddled.  She said that if he were allowed to flail his arms freely, he would feel insecure thusly destroying his sense of well-being and possibly leading to a life of crime.  Only the worst kind of mother would allow flailing.

    Perhaps all that was implied, I don’t really remember.  In those days, uneven hormones along with the dauting task of caring for an infant made everything seem reallllly critical.

    I felt a measure of confidence as I watched the nurse swaddle my tiny new baby because I had made burritos before and I recognized that she was merely making a yummy baby burrito. Nothing hard about that.  Having passed swaddling 101, they released us to take our baby home.

    When we got home, the first order of business was to change his diaper and then wrap him up in the prescribed manner at which I was an expert.

    I laid him ever so gently diagonally across the blanket.  Just like the nurse, I folded the bottom of the blanket into a triangle and pulled it up and over his feet.  I then pulled the right side of the blanket tautly over him, rolled him forward a little, tucked it under and then repeated left to right.

    Voila!  I stood back and admired my work. All that was missing was a bow!  But then, like Houdini, he began to twist and squiggle until he had freed his right arm which he began waving over his head like a flag.  And then he pulled out his left arm.  And then he began flailing both arms with all his might.  He seemed to be saying, “Look at me! I’m flailing! And you can’t stop me!”

    “Stop it baby!” I cried, “Stop flailing! Do you want to end up in jai!?” At which point he wadded up the blanket and threw it across the room.

    I retrieved the blanket and rolled him up in it again and again.  No matter how tightly and expertly I swaddled him, he pulled his arms out in record time.  When visions of duct tape began to dance in my head I conceded.

    On my very first day of motherhood, I learned this very important lesson:  You can swaddle a baby but you can’t make them keep their arms in. Without duct tape.  I also realized that when it comes to babies, expert advice is really only a suggestion.

    Six years later, nothing in that regard has changed – I swaddle, he unswaddles, I tuck, he untucks, I wrap, he unwraps, I do, he undoes.  It’s the pattern of our lives.

    Nearly every night I peek in on Sean just before turning out the lights to find him sleeping with his arms outside the covers.  I lean over him and kiss his forehead and then like a good mother, I pull the covers up under his chin and tuck his arms securely under the blanket.

    And when I turn to take one last look before leaving the room, he pulls his arms out and flops them on top of the blanket.

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    You can tell from the look on his face that he is plotting how to get out of the swaddle.

    Intro To Pumpkinology 101

    October 27, 2009

    Last week Sean’s kindergarten teacher asked me if I’d be willing to come up to the school and lead a couple of 15-20 minute classes on pumpkins. I know my way around a pumpkin and it sounded like fun, so I said sure, why not.

    When I arrived at the school,  the teacher gave me a 10-second overview of the lesson plan, three pumpkins and a knife. Then she blindfolded me, spun me around three times and pushed me towards my classroom.

    The lesson plan was this:  She would send three or four children at a time to my room where we would list on a whiteboard all the characteristics of a pumpkin. Then we would read a short book on how a pumpkin starts from a seed, grows into a pumpkin, and then the seeds from the pumpkin return to the ground where more pumpkins grow.  Oh I’m sorry.  I just gave away the ending.  Hope that doesn’t ruin it for you.

    Anyway, after the book, the children were to explore the pumpkin.  They were to put their hands in, on and around the pumpkin, they were to experience pumpkin slime and become one with the pumpkin.  At which time I would send them back to the teacher covered in pumkin guts and she would send me three more unsuspecting children (insert scary maniacal laugh).

    If I’ve learned one thing as a mother, it is this:  managing children is a lot like throwing a party.  Any possible thing that can be done ahead of time, should be done ahead of time.

    With that thought in mind, I decided that I would cut the tops off the pumpkins before the children arrived to my room so that I wasn’t faced with wielding a knife while a small crowd of 5-year-olds tried to “help”.  But the pumpkins the teacher had given me were as hard as bowling balls. The knife that I had just wasn’t cutting it.  Cutting it!  Ha!  I crack myself up.

    About time this, another teacher, Ms. Danielle, happened by my room and saw that I had worked up a bead of sweat trying to cut the top off a pumpkin.  She did not point and laugh but politely asked how it was going.  I said, not so well and I jokingly asked her if she happened to have a chainsaw.  She said, no, but she did have a hacksaw.  I laughed and then I noticed she wasn’t kidding, so  I said, “Dudette? Seriously?”

    Ms. Danielle slipped away and quickly returned with a hacksaw.  I immediately had a series of thoughts: 1) Ain’t it great living in Texas!? 2) Mental note to self:  Do not tick off Ms. Danielle.  3) Wow, she’s got her own hacksaw!  4) If she keeps a hacksaw in her purse, I wonder what she has under the car seat?

    Side Bar:  If I were lost out in the wilderness with someone, I would pick Ms. Danielle over Bear Grylls because for one thing, she carries a hacksaw and that would be useful. And two, she seems pretty pragmatic.  I’m sure she would not get naked and jump into a freezing cold river for demonstration purposes as Bear likes to do.  And three, being a woman, she would ask for directions and we wouldn’t get lost in the first place and we would go shopping instead and we would not have to eat bugs because we could just go to Starbucks or Panera.

    There for a minute, I thought there was point to this post, but apparently I was mistaken.

    All in all, I think the Intro to Pumpkinology class was a success.  No one threw up or fainted or suffered any permanent psychological damage other than three small pumpkins.

    Pumpkin Patch

    October 22, 2009

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    How Team Sports Are Like Working In An Office

    October 15, 2009

    In the past few years Sean has played on a couple of sports teams. He played baseball for a couple of seasons and now he’s playing soccer.

    What I have observed in watching Sean play soccer and baseball is that team sports are the precursor to working in an office.  You’ve got the same cast of characters, only in miniature.  Basically the nose picker and whiner and the kid who just lies down in the outfield grow up to get jobs.  So we make Sean play sports, not for the exercise, but to develop his interpersonal office skills.

    In sports and at the office, there is always someone who thrives on drama; every minor scrape is life threatening.  Their dream is to be carried off on a stretcher.

    There is also someone who is constantly kissing up to management – they live to report every minor foul and inequity.

    There is the dude who always shows up about half way through the game but takes full credit/commission for the win/sale.

    Then there is Mr. Chatty Pants who is like a gnat buzzing around your head. He likes to chat you up while you are trying to keep your eye on the ball.  And then in the name of teamwork, he takes credit for the goal you scored.

    And many others.

    I worked in a number of different offices back in the 70s and 80s and in all honesty, I didn’t do very well. I never seemed to be able to figure out how to navigate office politics and personalities.

    Had I played soccer when I was growing up, I might be a CEO now instead of a blogger.

    I Spy With My Little Eye, Crazy Things In My Car

    October 13, 2009

    Some of us gals who attended She Speaks last summer decided that a fun way to keep up with one another would be to link up and do a Crazy Things themed post every so often.  And today is our first one.  (I thought) Today’s theme is (was) about the crazy things you find your car. (Turns out not. Just crazy wherever you find it. Oh well.)

    I didn’t even have to look under the seat to find something crazy. And frankly, I’m glad. My fear is that somewhere in the deep dark unexplored depths of my car, the Goldfish and Gummy Bears are mating and evolving into higher life forms. And that is information that I don’t need.

    I used to be very particular about my car. I kept it immaculate.  I did.

    Then I had a child.

    Now my car is more or less a sludgemobile.  It is a moveable feast, a roving footlocker, it is a portable classroom, it is a conference room on wheels — it is an I Spy photo shoot waiting to happen.

    ispycar

    I spy a tiny planet and crocodile, an iPod and a nail file…

    That’s all I can do.  Making up those I Spy poems is not as easy as you might think.  Have at it.

    So then, as you can see, there are several things I never leave home without – Carmex lip balm, germ gel, my cell phone, a hair band and reading glasses.  And Saturn and an alligator. Those things all work in harmony to keep me glued together.  There was a miniature Tootsie Roll but I ate it before I took the picture.

    If you care to reveal what crazy thing(s) you have in your car, I’d love to know.

    If you want to play the full version of the game, click over and see our lovely hostess (Vanna gesture) Hillary, also known as The Other Mama.