Month: February 2011 (page 1 of 2)

It’s All A Bunch of Bunk!

Way back when we learned Phoebe was on the way, it was decided that Julia and Lucy would get bunk beds. And finally, on President’s Day, after much comparison shopping, measuring, deliberating and penny-pinching, it happened. The girls were stoked. It had been about a year since we first mentioned the Make Room for Phoebe Bunk Bed Plan and I’m pretty sure they’d begun to think we were just yanking their chains when we’d talk about how we were going to get them.

Seeing those beds built before their very eyes was better than an episode of SpongeBob. It had enticed Lucy to grab her puke bucket and leave her sick spot on the couch to march her fevered feet upstairs and witness the miracle. Julia drew the delivery men a “thank you for bringing me my new bed” picture. I marveled at how accurately I’d measured as the beds – that happened to match the existing bedroom furniture and our budget – just fit and, somehow, made the room look bigger. Dave paced and fretted and made bets on who would fall off the top and break a bone first. I offered to throw him off to end the suspense. He didn’t like that idea.

Bunk Beds, yo!

Julia claimed the top bunk (a.k.a. The Bug’s Nest) and Lucy dove into “the down bunk” (i.e. The Bear Cave).

Reading in "The Bug's Nest"

Putting on the sheets and making up the beds was a bit of a challenge for me, but I figured I could handle doing it once or every other week. Lucy threw up a few times the first night to give me some practice.

And now, Phoebe has a crib to call her own.

Phoebe in her crib

Imagine “Nothin’s Gonna Stop Us” by Starship is Playing While You Read This

It was a year ago (on Sunday) that our Picasso was hit by a car. And while I was telling you, “she’s going to be okay,” the vet was telling us, “we’re not sure she’s going to make it.” Even when she came home, it wasn’t a certainty that she’d survive. She had a great deal of brain damage – the full extent of which we wouldn’t know for months – and a lot of healing to do.

But she did heal. Enough to be under my feet every morning. Enough to to crash through the house either two steps in front or behind my light saber brandishing girls. Enough to find her way to the lap of the one who needs a kitty in it the most. Enough to fill my front window and my heart every time I see her.


In the Car

“We should totally go to an indoor water park.”

“I don’t know, Jule Bug.”

“You said we’d do it this year.”

“When did I say that?”

“Hello!?!? Family bucket list!?!?”

“You’re right, I did. I just don’t think I’m feeling up to it right now…”


“You know…The Incident. I’m not sure we should descend upon an indoor water park or any place, really, right now.”

“Ugh, Mom. I really love you, but GET OVER IT!!!

It might be time to end my self-imposed exile from All Things Public. You know, for the children.

It’s Official: I Am a Bad Mom with an Unruly Child

Dear Lucy,

Today, you are 2 years, 9 months and 27 days old. It’s not your birthday and you haven’t reached some developmental milestone, but it is a day I want to document as it has marked my heart and I know the way I feel about people and parenting won’t be the same after it.

Today, I took you to the second installment of the SymphonyLand series we began last month. You were so excited to go. So was I. That last time was such fun. You are so musical. I think it’s because you’re a kid that, as my friend Susanne puts it, “is a slave to her emotions.” When you feel something, you are full up, filled to the brim with it. And music is such an emotional and moving experience – at least when it’s done right – and it is right where you live. You’ve gotten really good at identifying instruments, not just by sight, but also sound. You have a great ear and can discern the brass from the woodwinds and woodwinds from the strings in an ensemble piece. So, the series was right up your alley and, even better, it was an opportunity for us to do something we chose just for you. We do plenty of things as a family and I know it’s easy to feel like a tag-a-long in your big sister’s life. I was grateful for the chance to give you your day. Today.

Unfortunately, our fun was short-lived.

You were enjoying the experience – talking to the other children, exploring the room, dancing, pointing and, at times, getting in the way. I watched from the sidelines with Phoebe, intervening only when I felt your fun was impeding someone else’s enjoyment of the performance. The second song in, you wandered to the other side of the room and did a dance move that ended with you flat on your back. You didn’t immediately get up. I think you were relishing the attention the other children were giving you, so I began to make my way toward you when a woman from the audience got out of her seat, bent down, pulled you up by the arms and brought you to me. She told me I needed to keep you corralled or leave.

We left.

Our exit was swift. We lingered in the lobby only to get Phoebe back in the car seat and our coats on while the kind and worried people working at the event tried their very best to remedy the situation. I so appreciated their concern for us and especially the dignity they allowed us as we made our way out, confused, humiliated and heartbroken. I would have expressed that then, but I was trying so hard to hold it together. I could feel the tears coming and I didn’t want to shed them there. I scooped you and your sister up, raced to the car, and drove out of the parking lot and a few blocks away where I pulled over and sobbed.

You didn’t know what to do. You weren’t aware of all that had happened. You’d been having fun. Even when that woman put her hands on you, you didn’t feel the gravity of what was being done. “I don’t want to go, yet,” you’d said when I told you we had to leave. But you followed my lead and left with a little, “Bye guys!” and a wave. Thank God for your innocence. Nothing was ruined for you. But in the car, you understood that something was wrong and you told me, oh so quietly, “It okay, Mommy. No cry. No cry.”

We came home and you began to work on Valentine’s for the Pink Party we’re going to later today. You’re on to the next thing. But I feel shattered. As a parent, Lucy, the worst thing that can happen (next to something happening to your children) is to feel as if you’ve done wrong by your child. I worry that I’ve done wrong by you. I wonder if I shouldn’t have left. I wonder if I should have stood strong, stood up for you and told that woman that you were just fine, told her she had no right to put her hands on you. My desire to protect you should have been stronger than my fear of looking like a bad mom to someone else. I’ve made plenty of parenting mistakes. If allowing you the freedom to explore today was a mistake, I’m okay with that one. I’ll chalk it up to experience. But I’m not okay with letting you down.

Lucy, you are a ball of fire, burning bright and beautiful. And sometimes, you wipe out everything in your path. But mostly, you are a light. Let that light shine, little girl. I promise to do better the next time someone tries to put it out.



The Unicorn. He’ll Eat Your Valentines!

Julia is required to make a Valentine Box so that she may receive Valentines from her classmates at the Valentine’s Day Party at school on Valentine’s Day. I was excited about this, of course, because this would give me Julia a chance to make the coolest thing the first freakin’ grade has ever seen showcase her creativity, so everyone would see that she has the awesome-est mom evah! that she’s very talented and resourceful.

But she really wasn’t that into it and hated all my ideas couldn’t come up with anything.

And so, we turned to the internets where we found the very cutest Milk Jug Bug Valentine Card Holder that you can find the complete directions and patterns for on Danielle’s Place of Crafts and Activities on the Valentine’s Day Crafts Page.

It was perfect. It was easy to do. I had all the supplies. It was a bug. Julia’s nickname is bug! Clearly, a higher power was intervening here because never had there been a more perfect Valentine card holder than this was turning out to be! Except she didn’t want to do a bug. Or a bear or a cat. She wanted a unicorn. And so…

Julia's Unicorn Valentine Card Holder

There it is.

The Valentines go in the unicorn’s mouth. And then you have nightmares about it for the rest of your life.

I asked Julia, “Do you think it looks a little…creepy?”

“No, it’s fine. Can I go play now?”

“It’s not really Valentine-y.”

“We’ll put some stickers on it later.”

“So, you like it?” I yelled after her as she took off with a light saber in her hand.

“Yep, it’s magical!”

I think it’s the glitter.

The Terrible Toothbrush Situation

I’m not sure what’s been up with my girls for the past 48 hours. They’re like those brothers from Oasis with all the fighting. I actually had to pull them off each other this morning when I emerged from the kitchen after cleaning up breakfast and found a tumbling mass of fists, fury and hair.

WHAT is going on?!?!” I shouted as I nudged them in opposite directions.

“Well, Lucy used my toothbrush,” Julia growled from underneath her tangled locks, looking a little like that girl from “The Ring.”

“It not yours. It mine!” Lucy shouted over her shoulder as she retreated to the bathroom with the brush in hand.

“What’s the big deal, Julia?”

Mom! My toothbrush has her spit on it now!!!”

Now this coming from the girl who not only uses my toothbrush on a regular basis, but has attempted to brush the cat’s teeth with hers. It’s the same girl I’ve seen pull a toothbrush from the trash.

You see, I’m a staunch proponent of dental hygiene. And because my kids do things like use my toothbrush to comb their doll’s hair, we have about a gajillion of them floating around. This way, when some random hair shows up in my bristles or I catch a whiff of what smells a lot like toilet water when I pick up my brush, I can just toss it out and use a new one.

“Now I can’t brush my teeth.”

“Just use a new one, Jules,” I said rolling my eyes.

“You’re taking her side!”

“I’m not on her side or your side. I’m on the side where everyone has clean teeth.”

“I just want my toothbrush!”

“Then use your toothbrush.”

“But Lucy used it and now it’s RUINED!

“Well, she can’t un-use it. So, get a new one.”

“I just want my toothbrush. I JUST WANT MY LIFE BACK!” she screamed.

Who would have thought that’s all that was holding it togther?

How to Make a Steelers Fan

I insisted on driving Dave and I on our first date. We were just getting to know each other and I figured it’d be less likely that I’d end up in pieces in the trunk of my own car, you know, if he happened to be a psychotic killer or something. We were walking to my spot in the parking lot when he noticed my Steelers license plate frame.

“Steelers fan, huh?”

“Oh yeah. I grew up near Pittsburgh,” I told him. “Are you?”

“Uh, yeah. Yes. I’m totally a Steelers fan.”

“Really? This close to Cleveland?”

“You bet. Yep. See? It looks like we’re meant to be.”

Now, I don’t like to assume someone is lying to me, so I tried my best to take him at his word. But I couldn’t help but notice his wardrobe was without Steelers apparel. And on Sundays? It was the Browns on television.

“Hey. I only watch the Browns when I can’t watch the Steelers,” he assured me. “Browns football is better than no football.”

In his defense, he didn’t have so much as an orange and brown t-shirt. He did have some wrestling shirts, however. I hid them. And replaced them with black and gold. Today, he’s wearing one of them and sitting in the recliner with the baby in one arm and a Terrible Towel I draped over the other while I whip up some pizza and wings and finish icing his Steelers cake. And he will cheer for the Steelers. So he can satisfy his fundamental physiological needs for food, drink and, most importantly, sex.

Here we go Steelers! HERE WE GO!!!!!

*Edited to add: Dave wants you to know he’s been a Steelers fan since 1978.

**Edited again to add: Should you ever procure a time machine, I’d love it if you’d stop by 1978 and ask 5 year old David if this is true.

***Edited once again to add: You may want to take a video camera in your time machine. I’m sure you’ve thought about this, though. If you’re smart enough to get yourself in a time machine, you’re smart enough to remember your camera. But you might be in a hurry, especially if you hijack the time machine.

****Edited just one more time to say: How about coming back in your time machine just before I write this post? That way, I can just embed Dave’s video of truth. These extra edits are lame.

Proof that I’m not just a fish tank death dealer.

This is Monster.


He’s managed to stay alive in our fish tank for coming up on three years.

See? I don’t kill everything.

The Case of the Missing Fish

Remember our cute little puffer fish?

So long.  Farewell.  I'll miss you.

(Look at that little guy. He’s waving at you!)

Yeah, well. They didn’t make it.

I know.

Never get a fish tank. Because if you never get a fish tank, you can never get two fish tanks. Also, because getting a fish tank is like being indebted to the mafia. You pay and you pay and you pay. And then there’s death.

After the tragic loss of the puffers, it was decided that we should begin again with a clean slate and this time? We’d do a cold water tank with hearty (i.e. hard to kill) goldfish. We set up the tank and let it run, just like we learned the hard way that you’re supposed to. Then Julia chose a chubby fantail. Lucy picked a sleek comet. We brought them home, introduced them to their new tank, fed them and said goodnight to two rather largish fish.

We woke up this morning to just one fish.

Lucy’s fish has vanished without a trace.

Lucy is devastated, of course. She’s been talking her way through her feelings of loss, but it’s difficult when there’s no real closure. She’s concluded that Julia’s fish is “weird to live with,” so Silver Friend (that’s what she named him) went to live somewhere else. Probably with Santa.

Dave and I are still scratching our heads, though. Where the hell did that fish go?

Lucy, Stealer of Thunder

Phoebe had her four month check up today. (Yes, Phoebe is four months old! And 15.12 pounds! And 24 inches long! Yay Phoebe!)

Phoebe means "bright"

Given that the appointment was for Phoebe, you’d think it would have been mostly about Phoebe. Spotlight on Phoebe! But there was Lucy – a big black hole from which no one’s attention or adoration could escape, from the moment we walked in the door and she greeted the waiting room with, “Hey, everybody! Wanna see my piggy tails?” then slowly pulled her hood off her and head and shouted, “Ta-da!”

She went on to demonstrate and/or tell stories about: how fast she can run, how high she can jump, her spinning ability, her sister Phoebe, “my Julia in school,” Spongebob Squarepants, how much her grandma weighs, trees, leaves, ornaments, elevators and nose blowing. By the time Phoebe’s name was called, Lucy had fake-fallen down and decided we were there for the doctor to fix her knee boo-boo. In fact, she scrambled up onto the paper-covered patient seat and demanded it. The intake nurse was polite and obliged, rolling up her pant leg and feeling around the area of affliction before declaring it “a good knee.”

Still, Lucy was not satisfied.

When the doctor arrived a few moments later, she informed him that her elbow just wasn’t right. He asked her to sit down so he could check it out after he looked at Phoebe. Lucy waited impatiently until the doctor rolled his stool in front of her. She raised her elbow and he placed his stethoscope on it and listened. Lucy leaned toward him and whispered, “That not my heart, Doctor.”

“She knows what that’s for!” the doctor laughed as he got up to head out the door. “She’ll be right in with the shots,” he told me and he left.

We waited. Lucy had just been spying something yellow with her little eye when the nurse with the shots walked in. Lucy immediately slumped in her seat and looked pitiful. The nurse greeted her and asked if she was okay.

Groping at her stomach, Lucy groaned, “There’s a whale in my tummy. Bleeehhhhhh.”

“Oh my. Let’s check it out,” the nurse said. She put Lucy up on the paper-covered patient seat and looked in her mouth. “Uh huh. There’s a whale in there, alright. What should we do about it?”

Lucy pointed to the tongue depressors. “Get that stick and dig it out!”

The nurse didn’t do that, but she did show Lucy a book with stickers in it, which was enough to distract her so she could finish with Phoebe. Phoebe got three! big! shots! Lucy got a Superman sticker and a whale sticker. And the appointment was over.

Light Bright

It wasn’t so long ago that Dave and I were worrying about Lucy and how she’d find her way between a big sister and a little sister. I think it’s fair to say that was time wasted.

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