Saturday, December 02, 2006

Total disaster.

Well, I'm not sure how exactly the Developmental Nazis are going to say anything concrete about my son. Sitting there during their evaluation was pretty much like watching my young nephews put on a stage performance of the Power Rangers. It was chaos and anarchy, almost funny, but you have to swallow any laughter because the performers are taking themselves very seriously and you don't want to shatter the illusion.

When they arrived, they put a big case full of toys in front of the Munchkin. And then they OPENED it so he could see them all there waiting for him, his own little toddler toy orgy. And then they wondered why he didn't want to pay attention to the tasks they wanted him to do when there was a whole big box of sunshine to explore.

Needless to say, the visit didn't go incredibly well. And of course, at the end of it, when the Munchkin had collapsed into screams because they had taunted him with new toys and then sadistically took them away, they said they'd come back when my son was in a better mood. What a crock. Who trained these ass hats?

Friday, December 01, 2006

Developmental Nazis: The Return.

After our last visit from the Developmental Nazi, I was told that we were going to adopt a wait-and-see strategy for Munchkin's lack of language. But apparently, once the the coven of DNs got together to discuss this reasonableness, this far too sensible approach, they decided it was better to throw the agreed upon plan over for a more entertaining make-the-kid's-mother-completely-insane proposition.

Today, the DNs will return -- en masse -- to evaluate my son. And once again, I face the visit with impatience and frenzied cleaning. And here's me thinking I wouldn't have to mop again until after the new year.

I doubt that this visit will be much different than the last one. And yet, I'm still stressed about it. So much so that I found myself telling the Munchkin that I would buy him his own mini Ferrari if he would just recite a soliloquy for our visitors (and maybe that I'd get him a hooker to match if he was willing to do the St. Crispen's speech from Henry V). But he seemed to resent the fact that I wanted him to kowtow to these folks and perform like a trained monkey. Ungrateful little snot.

And now I must finish cleaning before they arrive. I've skipped the lemon juice altogether this time and used storebought mop solution. So if Munchkin starts licking the floor this time, at least he'll get a good buzz. Hell, I might take a lick of it myself. Just to calm the nerves.

Thursday, November 30, 2006

Got to Have Faith.

A few months ago, our post, like many, hosted a Vacation Bible Camp (VBC). I should probably state for the record that my family is not overly religious and I didn't intend on signing the Munchkin up for said camp. I should also probably tell you that it's not monsters or bumps in the night that scare the shit out of me, but crazy Baptists.

But in any case, the VBC needed volunteers. And one thing you should know if you are even considering marrying an officer is that you need to love volunteering deep down into your itty bitty toes. Or, at least, tolerate it without wanting to tear other people's heads off. Either one works but if you fall into the latter category you also have to spend hours practicing not looking like you want to tear other people's heads off. Trust me, I've spent some serious quality time with the mirror to cultivate a passive look.

In any case, I had no intentions of volunteering for this one (it had a theme like Viva Las Jesus with a horrifying Jonestown-esque t-shirt with kids in sombreros -- and the kids had totally already drunk the Kool-Aid) but I felt sort of bad because of this whole volun-telling culture with us wives. And so, I made the mistake of looking for absolution.

On a phone call with another wife (I'll call her Rae) about a fundraiser or gift or some other nonsense -- I told you there was a lot of volunteering -- I mentioned that I felt bad about not volunteering for the VBC and then went into self-defensive justification that Munchkin was too young, we weren't religious, yadda-yadda-yadda. To her credit, Rae listened and then said, "You know, you should volunteer. I think it would be fun for Munchkin since there will be lots of other kids there and I've seen the materials and it's really not over the top."

We got to talking more and I explained my issues with organized religion and my atheistic tendencies. We talked a lot about faith and how it doesn't come so easy for some people. And we talked more about the VBC and how it could help introduce the ideas of faith and God to my son.

Needless to say, Miss Rae did an excellent sales pitch and got me thinking maybe I wasn't quite as open-minded as I thought. Maybe the VBC would be something that my son would enjoy and I needed to remove the stick from my ass. It would be fair to say that her comments made me wonder if the religious intolerance didn't stem from those crazy Baptists but from deep down inside me.

Fast forward a week. I'm at some God-forsaken luncheon for somebody and I'm seated at a table with Rae, the Chaplain's wife and the woman who is organizing the VBC. Once again, a wide call for volunteers is raised. And then I make my fatal mistake. I look over at my tablemates and I say, "If you really need volunteers, I can help."

There was a moment of total silence. And then Rae, my supposed ally in a walk towards the Lord, looked over at the Chaplain's wife and said in a snotty voice, "Yeah, right. Like we want the kids around someone who doesn't believe in Jesus. That would be some role model!" And the other two women laughed and went on with their planning for the event as if I wasn't even there.

I was more than a little pissed. First, this woman had been the one trying to talk me into volunteering. And second, she took comments made during our conversation about religion, warped them and used them completely out of context. But the good news was that I learned that someone was not my friend that day. And more importantly, I didn't have to don a sombrero and ruin a classic Elvis song for children by singing lyrics like "Viva Las Jesus." So perhaps it was a win-win situation after all.

But now with the holidays approaching, the call for volunteers is ringing loud throughout the unit. Volunteers to set up for holiday services, Christmas carolling, and Christmas tree lighting. And once again, I find myself thinking about that long phone conversation about faith I had with Rae.

I do want my son to see both sides of this story. I do want him to learn that faith is possible. I just don't think these are the people who should be teaching it to him.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

A piece of advice.

Never, ever, upon pain of death, ask a commissary employee for help in finding mascarpone cheese. Mass confusion and chaos will ensue. Don't be fooled if the employee's nametag designates her as a deli expert. Don't mention the word "tiramisu" in hopes that it will help elucidate what exactly you are looking for. Don't explain how it is a sweet Italian cheese often used in desserts. Just don't.

And don't be surprised that after going through all that for 5 minutes straight that said deli "expert" will offer you a nice aged Wisconsin cheddar to use instead. Just say thank you, slowly back away and resist the urge to throw the block of cheese at her head.

Tune in Tokyo.

For the first 6 months of my son's life, I didn't shower without an audience. When I actually remembered to shower, that is. It was quite a treat when he got big enough to entertain himself in the Exersaucer or on the floor of his room so I could shave my legs with some privacy. It was a sweet taste of freedom that, like most, did not last long enough.

Munchkin went totally mobile quite a while ago but it's only very recently that he went completely off-the-fucking-wall daredevil. And so, he's right back in the bathroom with me when I shower
so he can't rappel down the side of the house in the time it takes to shampoo. Neither of us is really happy with this arrangement but we're making do.

Yesterday, after stepping out of the shower, Munchkin walked right up to me with his arms up, like he wanted to be picked up. I told him, "One sec, baby, I'm all wet." But he kept coming so I bent down to see what was up. And it was then that it occurred. I still can't believe it. The boy took hold of my boobs -- one in each hand -- and did a double-squeeze like he was testing the fucking Charmin.

Before I even had time to react, he sort of shrugged with boredom and went back to his toys on the floor. I'm not sure whether to be relieved or hurt that my boobs no longer hold any appeal. Maybe a little of both.

This kid is definitely his father's son.

Monday, November 27, 2006

Terrified by brown specks.

I used to be normal. Well, okay, at least I appeared normal enough. I could put on clothing without checking the seams first. I could traverse a room without examining every brown speck on a hardwood floor. Hell, I was so normal I could read watch sci-fi horror flicks about alien insect infestations and laugh.

But that was before we had bedbugs.

It's amazing how much such a small creature can totally fuck with your psyche. I've never been the type that was afraid of bugs. In fact, I was that crazy girl who used to collect spiders in jars and find inventive ways to collect flies for them to eat. I lived in Georgia and, as such, learned to peacefully coexist with very large cockroaches. I have even allowed mosquitoes to feast on my flesh without too much impunity when I forgot bug repellant. But I cannot stand these fuckers. I can't sleep for fear that they will get me. I live in fear that they will attack my son. I am growing an unnatural attachment to my vacuum. I am a woman obsessed with the obliteration of the bedbug.

So imagine my surprise (and disgust!) when I read about Louis Sorkin, an entomologist at the American Museum of Natural History in the New York Times. Sorkin not only studies the critters but keeps a jar on his desk, allowing them to feed on his arm. And as I read the piece, I couldn't help but wonder: Is this our future? Is the resurgence of these insects unstoppable? Will we all be allowing these little bloodsuckers to feed on us as we sleep? Is it just time to throw up a white flag and surrender ourselves to these god-awful parasites?

All I know is, pondering that question is going to keep me not normal for some time to come.

Killing me softly with his song.

My son is addicted to the ABC song. He wants to hear it constantly. On the way to school On the way home from school. In the bath. Drying off after the bath. During visits to the grocery store. On the swing set. You name a place and chances are that I've sung the ABC song there. Sure, I vary it a little. Sometimes I throw a little scat in or sing it in a French accent but it's still the same song. And when I try to outsmart him and sing, say, "Baa, Baa Black Sheep" just to give my poor tired head a rest, he knows that it is a trick and howls in righteous indignation. So back to the ABC song we go.

I've decided to start counting the number of times per day I have to sing the dreaded tune. And I'm setting a limit. Once we hit 100 -- 200 max -- times per day, I'm switching to "Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star" out of spite.

When did I get so old?

Statler: You know, the older I get, the more I appreciate good music.
Waldorf: What's that got to do with what we just heard?
Statler: Nothing. Just thought I'd mention it.

My husband and I shared an eerily similar exchange yesterday as we listened to American Top 40. You know you are old when you are paraphrasing Statler and Waldorf without even realizing it.

Things I wouldn't have believed.

There are few things as nerve-wracking as traveling with an toddler, except, of course, traveling with a toddler on major holiday weekends. My son got sick a few times during the trip -- a combination of too much good food, a totally wacked schedule, and a runny nose. And so, as an ode to my little Munchkin, here is a list of things I wouldn't have believed prior to becoming a mother.
  1. How much vomit can actually come out of a toddler's mouth;
  2. How I will allow Munchkin to vomit all over me to ensure that he doesn't accidentally choke;
  3. How after Munchkin vomits on me, if the food has been put on the table, I don't see a huge need to change clothes just yet. (I will wipe myself off. I'm not that gross).
  4. How after a toddler vomits, parents can sit down to a meal almost oblivious to the vomit that was just there and then often talk about the consistency, color and quantity of the vomit as they eat.
  5. How raisins come through the gastro-intestinal tract almost fully intact. (Do you love how I switched from vomit to poop just like that? That also happens at the dinner table, too. Poop is a very hot subject at our table these days).
  6. If I get poop on me, I will always change, even if there is chocolate on the table. Hell, especially if there is chocolate on the table. I do have some standards, after all.
  7. You can never carry enough diapers. And wipes, well, just bring an extra carry-on to hold all the wipes you'll need.
  8. There is something about the take-off of an airplane that compels toddlers to poop their pants. I think it has to do with the fact that you have to sit there, all buckled up, and wait 30 minutes wondering if his diaper will hold, while he squirms maniacally on your lap for freedom.

There. I feel better now.