Monday, November 8, 2010

A funny thing happened on the way to the bus stop

Picture this: I'm walking to the bus stop with one kid in a stroller and two kids on scooters. Charlie, as usual, is completely oblivious and is barreling down the middle of the street on his Spiderman scooter, despite the fact that a car is right behind him. I'm yelling, "Charlie! Charlie!!!" like a crazy person while the crowd waiting at the bus stop stares at the lunatic running down the street screaming her head off.

At the bus stop, I give Charlie a stern talking to, you know the kind that is almost as much for the benefit of the other parents who are eavesdropping as it is for your child? Have you ever had one of those moments where you're scolding your kid in front of other parents and you can hear yourself sounding all weird and phony, like you're playing the part of a parent scolding a kid in a high school play? I actually asked Charlie to call me ma'am at some point during this little harangue at the bus stop, like we were filming an episode of the Andy Griffith Show all of the sudden.

So, Emma gets on the bus and we wave goodbye to her as though her battalion is shipping out for war. Do battalions ship out? Hmmm...will probably have to rethink that simile at some point. Anyway, we wave goodbye to Emma and then Teddy, Charlie and I turn around to scooter and stroller back home.

I'm talking to one of my neighbors while Charlie scooters a few yards ahead of me. "How was your trip to Illinois?" I ask. "Was it colder there than it is here?"

"Oh, Illinois is always about ten degrees colder than it is here," she says.

"I went to graduate school in Chicago," I say. "But I can't really remember how cold it was in relation to here."

"Oh, well, if you lived in Chicago, then you know how cold it is," she says. "You know, because of the--"


I look up and Charlie has just body-slammed a parked BMW. I was too deep into my is-Illinois-colder-than-here discussion and missed the fact that Charlie was scootering and looking at the ground instead of ahead of him (as he is wont to do) and smacked right into a parked car. And the most ridiculous part is that he was going UPHILL.

Is it bad that my first reaction was to laugh? Then my second reaction was to inspect the BMW. Then I asked Charlie "Are you kidding me?"

You'll be glad to know that Charlie emerged from the incident unscathed and is happily punching holes in paper next to me as I write this (don't ask me why he's doing this). However, Charlie will not be riding a scooter or anything else to the bus stop for a long time. And he will never be allowed to drive a car. Ever.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Mammalingo and NaNoWriMo

I'm taking a break from bleaching my house free of vomit germs to tell you some exciting news! Have you heard of the hilarious blog mammalingo? You know the one that was featured in the New York Times recently? Well, if you haven't heard of it, you're in for a treat! Mammalingo is a website that attempts to "define motherhood one random thought at a time." Take a dash of online dictionary, a pinch of parenting blog and a big handful of funny and you've got mammalingo.

Here are a few of my favorite mammalingo definitions:

TIPSY CUP n. [Fr. sippy cup and tipsy]: Mommy’s reward at the end of a very, very long day with naughty Baby.
(Submitted by Gail from Minneapolis.)
Gail is a mother of three whose little kids have grown – and are certainly no longer using sippy cups. Her email reminded me – yet again – that children grow up in the blink of an eye. I’ll try to remember that the next time my younger son gets into a jar of Vaseline. (Does anyone have any great Vaseline removal tips? And, wouldn’t it be funny if the answer was white wine?)

or one of my favorites, "nestinct:"

NESTINCT n. [Fr. nesting +instinct]: Instinct a pregnant woman may have to “nest” in the months, weeks and days before her due date by preparing the home for the arrival of a new baby. Projects may include cleaning out one’s closets, painting the nursery, mopping the floors, re-grouting the shower tiles and beginning construction on a new home. There are researchers who say that nesting is triggered by a surge in oxytocin – a hormone that helps promote infant-mother bonding as well as the need to lick your finger and wipe the schmutz off someone’s face. Of course, not all mothers-to-be experience nestinct. Some women, instead of spending their final stretches of pregnancy readying their homes for baby, prefer to sit on the couch, eat fried chicken and watch marathons of “Law & Order.”

Hahaha. Love that one! So, I attempted to add to the mammalingo lexicon and Melissa Sher, author and creator of mammalingo, posted my humble offering today. I won't ruin the surprise, you'll have to click on over to read for yourself. If you've got an idea for a word that should be part of mammalingo, feel free to email it to Melissa. Her info is on her blog.

In other news, I'm participating in National Novel Writing Month again this year. We're only three days in, but so far I'm keeping up with my daily word count goal of 1,667 words. This year feels a lot easier because I'm starting a new novel. Last year I was already about 100 pages into a novel and my goal was to write the last 200 pages for NaNoWriMo, a strict violation of the NaNoWriMo rules, which stipulate that you should not try to finish an already-started project in one month. Their reasoning is that once you've already started something, you'll take everything way too seriously and be too rigid with things. The point of NaNoWriMo is to cut loose and write crazy stuff really quickly. I did have a really hard time writing the 50,000 words last year, but I did finish that novel and now it's being read by a few potential agents. So, suck it, NaNoWriMo, rule makers!

But this year I am following the rules and letting myself write with abandon. The Swiss Miss is flowing and things are going well. Hopefully, I'll be feeling this good come day 20. Probably not. Especially not if this stomach bug keeps causing me to spend all my free time disinfecting things.

Well, Teddy is screaming his head off. He who was last to vomit gets top priority in this house, so I'm off to my nurse/orderly duties.

I just want to say one last thing before I go. If you've ever thought you had a story to tell or dreamed of writing a novel, then go for it. NaNoWriMo is a completely no-risk way to achieve your writing goals. Challenging myself in this way has completely changed my writing life and is helping me get my work done even in the midst of kids being sick, soccer practice, and making dinner. I'll go ahead and toss in one of my favorite Anne Lamott quotes here: “I used to not be able to work if there were dishes in the sink. Then I had a child and now I can work if there is a corpse in the sink."

Teddy has miraculously stopped crying. Maybe I have a few extra minutes to write after all.