September 30, 2006

Notes From the Underground

--Child sick.

--Husband sick.

--House dirty.

--Sister and brother-in-law coming to visit tomorrow.

--Sister's birthday Thursday. Gift not wrapped; card not bought. Also, gift purchased in ten-minute sprint through mall with screaming baby. Gift sucks, and she will hate it.

--Refrigerator empty. Wrapping paper drawer probably also empty.

Would anyone like to trade lives for a couple of days? Just until, like, Friday? Prefer someone whose life involves frequent massages and regular visits to Tiffany. Must do floors and change diapers, as well as minister to the sick.

September 28, 2006

Is That a Ten-Inch Lollipop or Are You Just Happy to See Me?

As I was sitting here typing, the Princess was getting into a half-open box of stuff we never unpacked after our last move. You know those boxes? The ones that have stuff in them that you just can't bear to get rid of, like a mixed tape your seventh-grade boyfriend gave you, and an old plane ticket for that trip where you went to visit the old boyfriend and ended up dumping him and sleeping with his roommate?

So, the Princess was playing with stuff in this box, and, eagle-eyed mother that I am, I noticed (read: saw out of the corner of my eye while debating about whether organic oranges were worth the price) that a long stick was poking out of the box and threatening to stab her in the eye. She had grabbed the stick and was playing with whatever it was attached to.

So I went and pulled the stick away from her, and lo and behold, she had been playing with a large, candied penis.

No, I am not kidding. The King used to live in Japan, and they have these fertility festivals there, and they aren't all psycho-Puritan about sex like we Americans are, and they give kids big, candy genitalia to suck on and wave around. Like X-rated lollipops. I dug around in the box a bit more and came up with three more lollipops--two penises and one rather girlish vagina.

So now my daughter is playing with her penises and vagina and enjoying herself thoroughly. What, I was supposed to take them away from her? If they're good enough for Japanese kids, they're good enough for us.

September 26, 2006

The Human Garbage Disposal

My daughter is just shy of eight months old. Last night, for dinner, she ate:

--One piece of chicken. And I don't mean one baby-sized piece of chicken. I mean an entire piece of chicken.

--One jar of organic carrots-and-peas baby food, size large.

--One dinner roll.

--Two slices of fresh apricot, mixed into the carrots and peas. I know, eww. But she loves it.

All in all, she ate approximately one pound of food. Given that she weighs about 18 pounds, that is roughly approximate to me eating about 9 pounds of food in one sitting. I like to think that she is only eating like this because she just learned to crawl, and is growing fast, and all that, but I'm afraid that really she is going to end up weighing 700 pounds and will have to be cut out of her couch.

Cough, Cough, Cough, Sniff

I have a cold. It's not a major one, and if I didn't have a kid, I'd probably just go to bed with some Theraflu for about 14 hours and wake up good as new. Unfortunately, the Princess would undoubtedly spend that time figuring out how to catch and eat the fish in our fishtank and pulling bookshelves down on her head, so I can't do that. Being sick when you have a child sucks. Not only do you feel like crap, and you can't do much about it because of the whole "I'm responsible for keeping this small person alive" thing, but every time she makes the slightest cough, sneeze, or sniffle, I shout, "Oh crap! She's getting sick! Stick a thermometer up her butt!"

I really, really don't want her to get sick, because my sister and her husband, the race car driver, are coming to visit this weekend and I'm already nervous about them staying in the room next door to the Princess's. They have no kids of their own and don't want any, and although they like playing with children, they aren't so fond of the screaming, whining, and pooping that go along with them.

Hopefully all will be well. And hopefully by tomorrow I'll be all better and not all drugged up on cherry-flavored Sucrets and lemon tea and can think of something more interesting to write. Like about how I had a huge crush on the race car driver when he and my sister were dating when I was a little girl, and how when I grew up, I spent years dating this guy who looks just like him (remember the old boyfriend from here?), and how then after that, I married a guy who looks just like him, and how I really, really need therapy.

September 24, 2006

We Are Americans; Give Us Your Women!

Remember the movie "Black Hawk Down?" The King was there, in Mogadishu, Somalia, just before the events that took place in the movie. His job was to drive around the city and take down roadblocks the militas had put up to keep American soldiers out of Mogadishu. When his plane landed in Somalia, each guy in his group was given a laminated card with translations of Somali phrases that the U.S. Navy thought would come in handy. Here is a selection of things he learned how to say in Somali:

--We are Americans! Put down your rocket launchers!

--The armed gang is coming slowly with the rice.

--Hello! Do you have dangerous explosives?

--Give me three villages!

--Can you lead me to six good women and some water?

September 22, 2006

Political Doublespeak

This morning, according to CNN, the president was "'taken aback' by a report that a U.S. official threatened the United States would attack Pakistan if it did not help immediately after 9/11." Apparently, Richard Armitage, then-deputy secretary of state, told the Pakistani president that we would "bomb his country back to the Stone Age" if they didn't help us in the war effort. (Armitage denies he ever said that.)

The thing was, President Bush actually said, "I was taken aback by the harshness of the words."

The harshness of the words? Not the actual threat of destroying an entire country if their leader didn't do whatever we told him to? That's what upset you?!

Even better, Armitage says, he never threatened Pakistan with a military invasion because he "was not authorized to." But otherwise, sure! We'd be all over that!

September 21, 2006

Shakespeare in Suburbia

My mother is moving into a nursing home. She needs more care now than my dad can provide, so she's moving a total of four blocks to a place near their house.

My dad called yesterday to fill me in on all the fabulous stuff she'll be able to do there. The local theater troop gives regular performances of Shakespeare, which means the Alzheimer's is probably a blessing, because they are so awful that it would be a mercy not to remember that you saw them. Dad is allowed to visit whenever he wants, and he was thrilled to announce that he can also eat in the cafeteria with her whenever he pleases. Yum! Nursing home food! Have a romantic dinner, and then share diarrhea with the one you love!

The nursing home has a keypad that keeps the Alzheimer's section locked securely. But my mother is very smart, and I imagine her watching people type in the code, memorizing it, and then using it to sneak out to the sports bar across the street on Monday nights to watch football--she was always a big fan. She'll be shouting at the tv, "Oh is football on? Who's playing? Great! Run, run, run, you idiot! Go left! Yes! Run, run, TOUCHDOWN!" [pause] "Oh is football on? Who's playing?"

September 20, 2006

My Most Recent Entry in the "World's Worst Mother" Competition

This morning, I noticed there was some kind of gunk between the Princess's elfin fingers. Upon examination, the gunk showed itself to be bits of dried up peaches.

She hasn't eaten peaches in two days.

September 19, 2006

The Holiday Season Is Upon Us

I always thought the fall equinox (which is on Friday the 22nd this year) marked the run-up to the holiday season, but apparently I was wrong, because today is National "Talk Like a Pirate" Day. In the spirit of all things festive, then, here are a few other bizarre days to celebrate this fall season:

September 23 is both National Hunting and Fishing Day, and National Fish Amnesty Day. Conflict of interest, much?

September 24 is National Punctuation Day, and September is Be Kind to Editors and Writers Month. That makes this editor very happy, but I don't think any of my authors have heard about it. because I keep getting hate mail from them about how I don't appreciate that they misspelled words in their book on purpose "to make it more casual," and that they aren't getting enough publicity, and why can't I get them an interview on Oprah?

October 23-29 is National Save Your Back week. I feel that the King is going to use that week to sit on the couch and drink beer.

October 30th, Halloween Eve, is apparently National "Create a Great Funeral" Day. Fun for yourself or someone you hope will die soon!

September 18, 2006

Yea, Though I Walk Through the Valley of the Shadow of Death, I Shall Fear No Evil

Want something new to worry about? John Hagee, the minister for one of those bizarre mega-churches in Texas, has created a new religious group. It's called Christian Zionism. Basically, Christian Zionists believe that the creation of Israel after World War II was prophesied in the Bible and signifies that the End of Days is upon us. That's right, the end of the world is coming. (As a side note, they also support using all necessary force to eradicate Palestine from the face of the earth. Nice.)

Normally, I would blow this off as just another crazy religious nut who has managed to convert a few people by shouting "The sky is falling!" on a street corner. But these Christian Zionist folks recently had a big banquet to get together and celebrate how crazy they all are. One of the guest speakers was Republican senator Rick Santorum.

That's right, a U.S. Senator supports these wing-nuts. A senator, by definition, is one of the most powerful people in the world. A person whose every opinion can change the lives of hundreds of millions of people. Another speaker at the party was the head of the Republican National Convention.

But that's not the worst part. Not only did Santorum give a speech, but President Bush, the leader of the free world, sent a tape giving his greetings to the members of the Christian Zionist cult. A guy who could thinks global warming and the AIDS epidemic are beneath his notice thinks that Lo! The End of the World Is at Hand!

Somewhere in Texas, I think the separation of church and state just died a quiet death.

$3.02 a Minute?!

If you're trying to read your blogs while your kid plays next to you on the floor of your office, she'll love it if you let her play with the phone. However, just unplugging the handset won't cut it. She will still be able to turn on the speaker phone, press the buttons, and get a response.

Then, when you hear a small, tinny voice coming out of the phone speaking Chinese, and you desperately hope she has only called Chinatown, you will quickly check the Caller ID and discover that, no, she didn't call Chinatown, she called China.

After that, you will learn to unplug the phone at the base, not the handset.

September 17, 2006

Circular Logic

Me: So, I was going pee this afternoon, and the Princess was playing on the floor, and she kept opening the drawers where we keep all the razors and lethals poisons and stuff, so I dumped a box of Band-Aids on the floor and she had a ball playing with them.

The King: [annoyed] What?! My Band-Aids? That was a brand-new box! They were all arranged by size. Now how am I going to know which are the big ones and which are the small ones?

Me: Um, usually you can tell which ones are bigger because they are, well, BIGGER.

I don't think I'm gettin' any love tonight.

September 14, 2006

Things I Have Learned

--That it's much more painful to step on a triangular block than a round one.

--That if you name your child "Zyler," people will think you're an asshole.

--That a child whose arms are 10 inches long can pick up a pair of scissors that is 8 feet away.

--That chicken and applesauce can be edible--even delicious!--when mixed together.

--That no matter how many times you swear you will never do it, you will at some point lick your thumb and rub it on your kid's face.

--That as your child begins to eat real food, his or her poop will get harder and more like an adults. Not only is this disgusting, but it means that if you are not careful, the poop can fall out of the diaper and onto the floor. Be especially aware of this if you are at your mother-in-law's house, the one with the white carpeting.

It's Hard to Be Interesting When You've Been Awake for 24 Hours Straight

Sorry, no inspiration today. The Princess screamed and nursed all day yesterday. Then we put her to bed at her usual 7:30. She woke up screaming at 8:00, 8:30, 8: 35, and 9:15. She pretty much stopped only for a marathon 1:00 a.m. nursing session.

And today is a fancy Navy chiefs initiation thing, so Chris will not be home tonight. At all. I will be alone with the little monster for 24 hours. I'm thinking about just latching her on me in bed, popping a couple of Valium, and skipping today altogether.

September 13, 2006

These Are a Few of My Favorite Things

Everyone knows that there are sacrifices you make when you become a parent: sleeping through the night, eating at fancy restaurants, sleeping in late, having long talks with your spouse, sleeping. But some things no one ever warned me about. I miss:

--Riding escalators, instead of waiting for an elevator and trying to wrestle a stroller into it next to three old ladies who won't move over and getting stuck in the doors.

--Getting out of the car, slamming the door, and walking away, instead of spending ten minutes trying to silently remove the 30-pound carseat with the sleeping Princess carefully ensconced in it without waking her or dropping it, only to wake her up by shutting the car door. And then realizing I've locked my keys inside. Again.

--Pulling open double doors and just walking through them, like it's nothing. Double doors are my nemesis. I pull one open, wedge it with my hip, press my ass attractively against the glass as I bend over to pull the front of the stroller through, get a wheel caught, wake the baby, yank the stroller free, and fall over. And fuck Blockbuster for having TWO sets of double doors.

--Having tiny, soft hairs on the nape of my neck. The King once said they were one of his favorite things about me, because they're so delicate and hidden. Now they are gone, yanked out by the Princess's grubby hands.

September 12, 2006

Forget the Denver II: These Are the Real Developmental Milestones

Yesterday, my daughter learned that the bathroom cabinet has drawers and that she can pull them open. Just after that, she learned that if she pulls them open too fast, they will hit her in the head and knock her down.

I am really the worst mother on earth, no?

September 11, 2006

I Never Was the Popular Girl

On Friday, I picked the King up from work so we could have lunch together, which was awfully nice of me. Afterward, I dropped him back off at work and went home. That's when I found his work cell phone on the floor of my car. I called him and told him I had it, and he said not to bother bringing it back; he'd get it when he got home.

So, being the nosy woman that I am, of course I flipped through his speed dial to see who was on there--and mostly because I wanted to see myself on there and feel all special.

I am SEVEN. Seventh, on the speed dial. Out of eleven.

There are six people more important than me on my husband's work phone. They are:

1. His favorite A/C repairman
2. Base security
3. The guy who sells burritos off a truck
4. His boss
5. The mailman
6. A co-worker he hates

Needless to say, we didn't have sex Friday night.

September 07, 2006


Today is my two-year blogiversary. In that first post, I dreamed I had a gorgeous baby girl, and I was afraid I'd never get to meet her. Now she's snuggled up in her Winnie-the-Pooh crib taking a nap and dreaming about pureed pears.

Toilet Training

Like many parents, when I'm home alone with the Princess, I take her in the bathroom with me while I'm peeing so I can keep an eye on her (nothing makes it harder to go than your child's agonized shrieks echoing throughout the house). Apparently, watching me urinate has gotten less fascinating than it used to be, because she has started exploring things in the bathroom recently. She learned that she can pull open the vanity drawers. Shortly thereafter, she learned that if she pulls them open too fast, they hit her in the head. So I needed a distraction for her.

Is it wrong to let your kid chew on items from the bathroom trash can?

Fun with Psycho-Therapeutic Drugs

It's been a while since I mentioned it, but my mother still has Alzheimer's, and it's recently gotten much worse. She's been wetting the bed, and now she doesn't like changing clothes and is afraid to take a bath. My dad is really upset, but I told him not to worry--she's just taking after her granddaughter! The Princess wets the bed all the time, she hates getting her onesie changed (and God forbid I try to dress her up in something with buttons), and she's afraid of the bathtub!

So my mother, who went stone-cold sober 30 years ago after a drunk driving accident, is now on Haldol, an anti-psychotic medication. I told the King about it, and he said, "Rock! I used to take that stuff to get high! Your mom's going to love it!" I can just imagine my mother, who was a straight-edger before there was such a thing, kicking back on the couch in her cozy adult diaper, watching soap operas and blazed out of her mind, going, "Dude! This stuff is awesome! Do we have any Doritos? 'Cause I have got the munchies, man!"

My dad is worried that he's going to have to move her into a nursing home. I think he ought to be worried that she's going to start sending him on 3 a.m. Taco Bell runs.

September 06, 2006

"Just Relax" Goes Global!

I am editing a soon-to-be published book about health in Africa, and it has a chapter on traditional healers. The author includes a story from Nigeria:

The narrator had "a friend whose wife was having difficulty becoming pregnant." (Why not "a friend who was having difficulty getting his wife pregnant?" But I digress.) The couple had tried Western hospitals, with no luck, so finally they went to a traditional healer. The man spoke with them, then:

"[The healer] responded that there was nothing wrong with the couple. He proceeded to caution the wife that 'she worries too much' and needs some hot tea to help her relax...He also scheduled a weekly meeting with her for conversation. After the couple left, he asked...the husband to do all he can to keep the wife's mind at ease because 'she worries too much.'"

Now the happy couple has three children! And all it took was a cup of nice hot tea and a few deep breaths. I can't help but wonder if his "weekly conversations" with the woman were like my RE appointments--I show up the requested 15 minutes early, he is able to see me two hours later.

Looks like the misogynist patriarchy has gone international!

September 05, 2006

I Like Box Cake and I Hate Martha Stewart

Sorry for the lack of postiness this morning--it's been a hell of a day. I was awakened at 5:30 this morning by the King's cussing and throwing of objects about the house. He had lost his military ID, which is a major problem because he had a huge meeting early this morning, and without his ID, he couldn't get onto the base where is office is. Very bad.

Unfortunately, his piss-offedness also woke up the Princess, two hours early, which totally sucked. So she's crying, he's cussing, and I had a ton of work to do today, which I was hoping to get going on while she was sleeping. It was not a good start to the day.

And I also volunteered to bake a cake for a going-away party this afternoon, and yes, it is a mix from a box, why do you ask? Because, no, I'm not Martha freaking Stewart, and I actually like box cake. I also unabashedly like Taco Bell and America's Next Top Model. So there.

September 01, 2006

Things That Piss Me Off, Part 1

Two-thirds of U.S. funding of AIDS prevention programs overseas must be spent on the "A" and "B" of President Bush's "ABC" plan--that is, abstinence before marriage and being faithful afterward.

90 percent of women in India who are HIV positive are married and monogamous. Even worse, in 1999, an Indian researcher showed that "marriage was the single most significant risk for HIV transmission among Indian women." In India, being married is the most dangerous thing you can do sexually.

So much for the ABC plan.

(From Airhihenbuwa, Rowman & Littlefield, in press)