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  • In A Roundabout Way

    February 4, 2013

    The town in which we live was originally a small quaint farming community.  These days,  that small quaint farming community — which used to be 10 miles from its closest neighbor —  is “nestled” under the hairy armpits of the other once quaint farming communities.

    And now, none of these communities are neither small nor particularly quaint.  We are more like a bunch of fat guys on an airplane – all squeezing over into our neighbor’s space and fighting over the elbow rest.

    It is not a town without some charm though.  Within the space of a block you can find homes wherein high-paid athletes live behind big stone fences and other homes wherein disinterested Billy goats live behind chain link fences.  And we live somewhere in between.  We have neither a big stone fence nor a Billy goat.

    goat2

    As you might imagine, the expansion of so many people into an area that was intended for slow moving tractors and Billy goats has created traffic problems.  And the city’s response to this problem has been roundabouts.

    Roundabouts are a Yankee thing, and well, it’s taking some getting used to for us slow moving southern dwellers.  We only know how to do the four-way stop, and even that, seems to be a challenge for some of us.

    And it gets even more complicated when you have to negotiate the roundabout while it’s under construction.

    So the other day, we approached the intersection that is near our house and discovered that it was being transformed into one of them fancy roundabouts.  There were barricades up and chunks of road had been torn out and traffic was being diverted and re-directed and nothing was where it used to be.  Drivers were entering the roundabout, not knowing exactly what to do — some stopping completely, some yielding and others just zippin’ through.  People were honking and throwing their hands up in the air.

    From the back seat, Sean perfectly assesses the situation with his signature wit.  “Instead of a roundabout,” he said, “they should call it a Round of Doubt!”

    And from henceforth, it shall be known…

    How To Market Pantyhose

    January 27, 2011

    So a Sunday or two back, because it was cold, I pulled on a pair of tights to wear with a wool skirt.  I normally wear pants to church when it’s cold.  And by pants I mean slacks, not jeans.  I am not a wear-jeans-to-church kind of gal, but if you are that’s okay, not that there’s anything wrong with it, judge not, yada yada, whatever.  But for some reason I thought I would wear a skirt even though it was near freezing.

    Sidebar:  Sean really likes it when I wear a skirt or a dress, perhaps because it is so seldom.  I have a few strapless sparkly cocktail dresses left over from back in the day and he’ll often pull one of those out and suggest I wear it to church.  One time in pre-K, for a Mother’s Day project, he was supposed to draw a picture of me and then write a sentence about me.  His sentence was “My mom has a lot of fancy skirts.”  I have one fancy-ish skirt.

    Yet Another Sidebar: Okay, here’s a new trend I have observed that puzzles me – bare legs all the time, even when it is seriously cold outside.  In the summer when it’s warm, I like to wear a skirt with sandals.  That makes sense.  But when it is below, say 75?  I do NOT want the icy wind howling up the antique gams.  Not only because it’s uncomfortably cold but because blue goose-bumpy legs are not attractive.  But then again, I was a young gal in the 70’s and 80’s and owned approximately 3,825 pairs of L’eggs.  I am a product of the panty-hose generation.  Even if I had really great legs, which I do not, I would not go bare-legged with spike heels and a pencil skirt in January.

    So, on this particular cold Sunday, as we were heading out the door for church — me in my plaid wool skirt, turtle neck, Mary Janes and black tights (can’t you just picture the sexiness?)  Sean is walking behind me and makes a funny little cat-call whistle sound – woot-WOOoooh! – (because he can’t actually whistle) and says, “Mom! I reeeeally like those high heel socks!”

    And I chuckled because high heel socks sounds so much more sexy than control-top tights.

    Perhaps that’s how we could bring back pantyhose  – we could call them high heel socks.

    Mr. Malaprops

    May 22, 2008

    Sometimes, in a fit of motherly passion, I”ll scoop Sean up and smother him with kisses, telling him he’s so cute that I can’t stand it.  And then he squiggles and wiggles out of my arms and runs off, laughing and yelling “Yucky!”

    Last week, we were at the grocery store, and as we were checking out, he was chatting up the cashier, a grandmotherly type. 

    “You’re cute!” she cooed at him as I ran my credit card through the machine.

    “Yeah but my mom can’t stand me,” he told her.  “She says that all the time.”  And then for some reason,  he offered her this weird, crooked, sad little smile.

    The cashier narrowed her eyes and looked at me suspiciously.

    It probably didn’t help that Sean had a dirty face and had dressed himself that morning as a Hip Hop Rap artist on a golf outing.

    I shut my eyes and shook my head ever so slightly. 

    The effort it was going to take to explain that it was the level of his cuteness that I can’t stand vs. him which I can stand very tolerably (sigh), exceeded my mental bandwidth at that particular moment.  So I didn’t even try. 

    I think I exceeded my mental bandwidth just typing that sentence.

    In some local ladies Bible study, there’s a Wal-Mart cashier asking for prayers for the little boy whose mother can’t stand him.  

    Kicked Out

    December 9, 2007

    Earlier in the week, Sean and I were in Target.  He was being loud.  Happy loud, but loud.  Happy loud is annoying, but not nearly annoying as Unhappy Loud. Still, it was LOUD.

    I told him that he needed to pipe down so that we didn’t get kicked out of the store.

    “Kicked out?” he asked.

    “Yes,” I said.  “You are disturbing the other customers and the store manager might kick us out of here.”

    “Kicked?” he asked incredulously. “Out?”  His eyes widened in disbelief.

    He stopped along side the cart, and with a worried and questioning expression, demonstrated a swift little soccer kick for verification.

    I nodded.

    “Well that wouldn’t be very nice,” he declared, quietly.

    Perhaps I should have stopped here and taken the time to explain the concept of metaphorical speech, but I was too busy enjoying the not loud.  And what do I know, the manager of Target could very well be literally kicking people out of the store.

    I know there was a lady in the Christmas aisle talking loudly on her cell phone that I wanted to kick. Out.

    The New Amen

    July 11, 2007

    Three-year-old ears hear everything. Every. Thing. They are omnipotent little creatures.

    No matter how preoccupied you may think they are with your contrived distractions, they are listening and taking in every word, mentally crouching like a hungry tiger, waiting to pounce at just the right opportunity to gobble up your tender juicy pride.

    Sunday morning at church, Sean was busy racing his Lightning McQueen matchbox car up and down my arm and gobbling up Goldfish by the fistful —  seemingly oblivious to the inspired and impassioned sermon about hell, fire and brimstone.

    Just as the preacher paused for dramatic effect, Sean comments rather loudly, “Well THAT doesn’t sound good!”

    And indeed it did not.

    Flip Flops

    July 10, 2007

    squirrelWhen Sean was just a little guy, maybe around 18-months-old, we were sitting on the floor by the door that looks out into our back yard, watching the squirrels play hide and seek and flit and zip around.

    One squirrel had regrettably decided to bury an acorn in a fire ant pile. When he discovered his mistake, the poor little fella began erratically flipping and flopping like a crazed acrobat trying to shake off the angry ants. Having been bitten by my fair share of fire ants, I felt sorry for him, but at the same time it was quite amusing to watch.

    “Sean, look at the squirrel flip flopping!” I said. He began laughing hysterically until tears rolled down his cheeks. “Fwip fwops!” he repeated over and over as he pointed to the back yard. It was the funniest two words he had ever heard and the more he said it, the funnier it got. And the more he laughed, the more I laughed at him laughing.

    And to this day, he still calls squirrels flip flops. It has become part of our family’s own unique vernacular that makes absolutely no sense to anyone else.

    The other day at the playground, Sean exclaimed, “Mommy! Look at the flip flops!” Confused, all the other mothers looked at their feet.

    I didn’t even try to explain.

    Does your family have any “special” words?

    What I Said

    June 28, 2007

    What I said:  Done with the milk?
    What I meant:  Would you pleeeez not leave the milk out?
    What I wanted to say:  Stop leaving the damn milk out.

    What I said:  I need to go to the store (sigh).
    What I meant:  I have to defrost or chop something for dinner and I don’t feel like it.
    What I wanted to say:  I’m not really hungry. Y’all are on your own for dinner.

    What I said:  Are these papers important?
    What I meant:  These papers have been on my kitchen counter for a week and you need to move them. Now.
    What I wanted to say:  I’m throwing these papers away.

    What I said:  Can I make you a sandwich?
    What I meant:  Do you have to spread the contents of the fridge and pantry across the entire kitchen to make a measly sandwich?
    What I wanted to say:  Get out of my kitchen before I turn on you with a spatula.

    What I said:  Thanks for fixing my computer.
    What I meant:   I love how you take care of me.
    What I wanted to say:  I’m glad I married you even if you leave the milk out. 

    Antique Carnivore

    June 27, 2007

    Sean has never been much of an eater, but when he was around 18-months old eating stopped almost entirely.  Somedays we are lucky to get five calories in him.  We try not to worry about it because watching us nervously wring our hands at the dinner table has not increased his appetite.  Wise people say when he’s hungry he will eat.  Wise people are wrong.

    In an effort to encourage eating, we tell Sean that if he hopes to grow up to be big, he’s going to need to eat something — specifically something not made of orange dust or coco/fruity/frosty/gummy/happy stuff – something with protein to build bones and muscle, something like meat.  

    Apparently he has been giving this concept some consideration because the other day we had this conversation:

     “Mommy, I’m going to start eating MEAT like you so I can be big –  like you!” 

    “You eat MEAT all the time and you are willy willy big (holding hands out in front of him in a big circle.” 

    That’s fabul  ….. hey, I’m not that big.” 

    “You eat sooooo much MEAT!  You eat hamboogas and pork chops and ham and wunch meat and woast beefs and chicken and hamboogas and…. (pauses to think up other varieties of meat) you are big Big BIG!” 

    “Look dude, I’m not that big.  Okay?  According to the insurance charts, I’m average.” 

    “Oh no mommy – you are SO big (again with the hands in the big circle) because you just eat meatmeatmeat all the time.” 

    “You are big MEAT-eating BIG!” (making a circle from front to back like a hula hoop).

    “Go away before I eat you.”

    I’m The Poodiest

    May 24, 2007

    School is out for the summer and the days are getting longer. Boy oh boy are the days getting longer. Being the sole teacher/disciplinarian/guardian/playmate/muse of a three-year-old boy from sun up to sun down has given me a greater appreciation for Sean’s teachers — even though they slighted him missed the opportunity to feature him in the school slideshow as prominently as my precious beautiful special boy-genius deserves (wink wink).

    By dinnertime, I was exhausted. I set down a bowl of hastily made gourmet macaroni and cheese in front of Sean and then I collapsed into my own chair, too tired to eat. Instead I just sat there and watched him clumsily spooning the little orange spirals out of the bowl and into his mouth. I noticed how the afternoon light from the windows outlined his profile with a tiny white line, illuminating the imperceptible baby fine hairs on his face. I thought to myself if I ever get around to doing a painting of him, this is the scene I would paint, his hair the color of an old penny, his impossibly long dark eyelashes, his face outlined with the iridescent glow of sunset.

    He stopped eating and looked at me. He gave me a sweet smile that belied the number of times he’d visited the time out corner today.

    “I love you Sean,” I said to him.

    “I wudz you Mommy,” he replied as he screwed up his face and shyly pressed his ear into his hunched up shoulder.

    “You’re a good boy.”

    “You’re a good mama,” he enthused pointing his cheese-encrusted spoon at me for emphasis.

    Sigh. I thought about that for a moment. I thought about how I had yelled at him earlier in the day. I’m not that good of a mama. But that boy knows I love him with all of my heart. And hopefully that will cover the myriad of mistakes I make in parenting him on any given day.

    “Oh Sean,” I confessed more to myself than to him. “You are a better boy than I am a mama.”

    “That’s okay,” he consoled, “You are the poodiest wady in the whole woold.”

    Man. I’m really going to hate it when his world gets bigger.

    Scorpion Bits

    April 19, 2007

    “Mommy I’m pretending this scorpion bitted me,” Sean says from the back seat. I look in my rear view mirror to see him stretch a sticky rubbery scorpion the length of his reach.

    “No, Sean,” I correct him, “I’m pretending this scorpion BIT me — not bitted.”

    “This scorpion bitted you too?!”

    Oh never mind.