I am slowly going crazy...over towels

I hear the screams from the far bathroom. "I had an accident."

I walk in to find the girl hanging from the counter where she's been washing her face, her legs dangling 6 inches above a giant puddle of pee. Why she isn't in the bathroom with a stool is a total mystery.

I get her down and plop her into the bath tub and grab the nearest towel to deal with the mess. I silently pat myself on the back for dealing with it so calmly.

I go into the kids bathroom to get the spray bottle for the floor and find a white floor mat with an odd brown spot on it lying in front of the tub. I stoop a little bit closer to investigate. Tell tale signs of partially digested food and feces sit nestled in the white folds.

Oh no, she didn't.

I return to the naked Girl splashing in the other tub and ask, "Did you use the mat to wipe poo off of your bum?"

"Yes, because it was on my leg."

"Why on earth would you think a clean towel could do the job when you are standing next to a bath tub?"

[blank stare]

I start rinsing the poo off in the other tub and for some reason, turn around and look behind the door. Ten previously clean and folded towels are wet, trampled on, and lying in a heap on the floor.

And then my head spun around and I ate them.

The end.

Mommy needs more sleep. And mommy's children are on towel rationing for a month. One each per week. They'd better hang it up or it's going to get slimy.

My life in numbers

4 the number of teeth grown by the Baby in the past week or so
1 her very first head cold too
20 the number of times she wakes up at night
3 the number of times I have gone to bed without flossing this week
7 days before hanukkah starts
8 presents I need per child before then. I wonder if I can get away with new toothbrushes for one night again this year?
4 major sewing projects for said gifts
4 projects that I haven't started yet
4 days before MIL's birthday. I haven't started her present either.
2 little girls who have birthday this month
3 relatives who will be hurt if I don't give them a Christmas gift, (no matter how many times we ask them not to give us gifts or make a big deal.)
3 different craft projects begun for said relatives
1 hand knit washcloth finished so far
0 the amount of extra cash I have to work with this month
5 hours of sleep
27 straight days of posting for the real food revolution
87 random items strewn across my living room floor
5 wet towels on the bathroom floor, for two small children, how is this possible?
24 hours in a day, no matter how hard I try to find more.
1 spectacular husband. The pay off for less work is that I get to see him more often, and he gets to do things like help the kids in the morning sometimes when I need to sleep. And let the Baby nap on his chest when she's feverish.
10 seconds to fall asleep once my head hits the pillow.


All I have needed thy hand hath provided...

This might sound sort of cheesy, but I'm thankful this year that I've made it this far.

When I think about it for a moment I realize that I have gotten 30 years with more happiness than sadness. I have had more than 7 years with the man I love with out tragedy or incident. I have beautiful children who are healthy and smart and, thus far, safe. When I think about how remarkable that is, compared to what most of the world experiences, I find myself over whelmed by gratitude.

Sure it hasn't always been easy. There have been difficulties to face, and challenges to overcome, but we have faced them, we have overcome. We have choices, options, and we have pulled through every hard circumstance thus far. I have faith that we will do so again if need be.

I feel that with such blessing comes great responsibility, to be wise with the privilege and wealth I have been given. I am poor by many western standards, but just in terms of education I am wealthier than most women in the world. I have a faithful, steadfast, imaginative husband. I have had three pregnancies, all of which where perfectly healthy, however uncomfortable, and have resulted in 3 very strong healthy babies. These are not things to be taken lightly. And though I sometimes feel the need to grumble when the Baby is awake at 2 am because she is teething and has a slight fever, I am humbled by the awareness of how many women long for a healthy child to stay up at night with, and don't have one, who have lost a child, a baby, a fetus. And I can not complain right now.

I have been reading a book called "The New Friars" by Scott Bessenecker. In it are several very insightful chapters that discuss intractable poverty and it's many causes. I will have more to say on this soon. One of the things that stuck out for me was how he points out that one of the reasons it is so hard for the poor to change their situation is that the systems put in place to help them are usually designed by those who aren't poor, and who take for granted certain things, like access to computers, transportation, and refrigeration.

I often feel like the posts that I put up about helping others are the posts that echo into the vast apparent emptiness of the Internet. I won't for a moment believe that it's because no one else cares, because I know that's not true. It's far more likely that I lack the ability to write about it compellingly, or that my ideas sound naive or impractical by the time I get them out. I mention this because there is an idea that I presented at my other blog. It has to do with this idea of trying not to take for granted the things I know, and not making assumptions about what other people know. It's a small thing really, but simple enough in concept and execution that I think it's within the grasp of most of us that hang out here in the Internet. The thing is, Though in itself it's a small thing, It's the kind of thing that can have far reaching effects, for families, for children, for the burden on our health care system. So if you have a moment, would you please click over and read, and then maybe do just one small thing. It's a start.
And if you could comment and let me know if you have, I would find that really encouraging.



11 months

Well, it has finally hit. You are a little terror, but an adorable one, so we forgive you. You are mobile and excited about all of the cool stuff that you can grab and soak in your drool and then destroy before throwing it down on the ground and widening the path of desolation and litter that follows in your wake. Grab, growl at, bang together, throw to the side and then wrestle the next thing down, that's your current mode of operation. I once saw a show on Discovery channel about feral children. They told the story of children who had grown up with dogs or other animals and had survived in the pack somehow by acting like dogs. I remember wondering how a child, a tiny human child ,would be able to survive that kind of thing, and then I met you. You growl, you prowl, you feed yourself scraps and aggressively seek out food that mommy didn't give you. You like to grab leaves off of trees and berries and just chow down. I get the feeling that if anything ever happened to me, you'd be just fine. You would wander out the front door, grab some chow, wrestle the first dog you see into submission with your pincher grip on the jowls, and order it to bring you raw meat, NOW! (I've seen you do it to Beema's herd dogs. You aren't scared of anything, you chase them down giggling and grab hold of them and we have to fight with you to get you to let go.)

You have also discovered a new emotional state known to grown-ups as indignation, followed by anger. You used to only yell when you had a definite need. Now you yell whenever you feel yourself wronged. Like when we take away the glass jar you are trying to break into tiny little shards on the concrete and replace it with a baby toy. Or when the big kids go in and out of the baby gate and keep closing it before you can sneak through. The screams, the horror, the insult upon your tiny but supremely self assured person. We would be beheaded if you had the wherewithal to order it.

You've taken to attacking your siblings when their guard is down. You pull their hair and claw their faces, and sometimes they cry, because you are vicious, but mostly they think it is funny. I guess you learned to play from them, so it should come as no surprise. Today I took the stroller outside with the vague idea that you and I would walk around and keep an eye on the big kids while you fell asleep and I got some exercise. Instead, you looked around all bright eyed until I let you down. Then you tottered right over to the big kids, squatted down in their huddle and joined in the game. You grabbed a red car, walked around with it for a second and then very deliberately, in one very smooth motion, pushed, released, and sent it rolling across the side walk. Just like you've been doing it forever. As though you weren't a tiny little baby who is freakishly walking already and a little kid instead.

You really like to empty things; purses, cabinets, toy boxes. Why is it that you don't find putting things away nearly so exciting?

Oh, and you have a tooth. It snaggled it's way through sometime in the past few days. Just one little sharp spot of white breaking through your gums.

You have a little booster chair that sits on the floor in the kitchen. It's supposed to attach to a chair so you can sit at the table, but I have no idea where or how we would fit a whole other chair into our apartment. Besides, the only floor that isn't carpet is in the kitchen, so you sit in a little booster chair on the floor in front of the cabinet doors. You love it, because you can get into and out of it by yourself. You sit, and stand, and sit, and stand, it's a great game. Whenever you think I ought to be feeding you, you go and sit down in your little chair and look up at me expectantly. Unless of course I don't notice, or don't get you food fast enough, and then you resort to angry screaming.

You have figured out every sound you can make by blowing. You blow it through your lips, out your cheeks, and over your tongue. You look absolutely delighted if we copy your sounds back to you.

Have I mentioned your smile yet? It's still beautiful; so are your eyes, and your soft baby skin, and your adorable little giggle.

I've been thinking that with you I have finally gained that precious and elusive mothering tool; perspective. Now that I've been through this a couple of times I finally understand what all of those wise older women meant when they said, "Enjoy them while they're young, they grow up so fast." Why is wisdom always purchased so dearly, through time, experience, and countless mistakes? I used to want to snarl at all of them. Now I have a 6 year old who becomes more separate from me every day. His body is alien, his personality distinct, and not always pleasant, and I suddenly realize that those days when I understood every snarfle, and every whimper, when I could take care of all of his problems with a touch and a kiss and sweet milk, when we snuggled and gurgled and the sun rose and set on me are never coming back. They are gone forever and I regret every moment that I was in a hurry for him to grow up. I'm not in a hurry any more, but you are.

I love you, enjoy this last month as a baby before your first birthday. I know I will.

Love your mama.


Small Joys Friday

It's been a while, I know. My creative urges have been heading in the direction of knitting silver yarn to look like chain mail, for the Boy, altering a ball gown for my friend so it would fit over her nursing breasts and she could wear it to the Marine ball. Which I guess is prom all over again for military wives. And finishing slings, and trying to keep up with nablopomo at my other blog, the real food revolution. So you know, I suddenly look up and realize that it's been weeks and I have this back log of stuff to say. This Friday's small joy's are brought to you/me, mostly by my husband.


It's often frustrating being the spouse of an insomniac. Mine in particular has the hardest time
falling asleep, and stays awake all night staring at things and wishing he could sleep. Or lying in bed fidgeting and feeling irrationally angry at all of the peacefully sleeping people around him for being able to do what he can't. It's frustrating because I find myself staying up later and later to hang out with him, even though I am wrecked in the morning because of it. It's frustrating in the mornings to have him lumplike if asleep, and surly and irresponsive or in a tired daze, if awake. Oh, and did I mention the crankiness that not sleeping well causes him, and me when he keeps me up late to talk and I don't notice the time until, whoops, it's 2 am again, crap. Oh, and he has this habit of using our entire house as his own personal clothes horse. I just love finding his big shoes and stinky socks and random changes of clothing lying around in the living room. I guess that doesn't have much to do with insomnia does it? It's still irritating though.

It's not all bad though. When I need a proof reader and someone to bounce ideas off of at 1am, he's there and he's good at it. And I like cuddling in bed as much as the next person, until the fidgets start to keep me awake, and then I need to move over. I like being with him, I just don't find 2 am the ideal time to do that. Call me crazy.

One night not too long ago I woke up and rolled over and there he was, wide awake, watching me as I slept. (If I weren't married to him I suppose that might be creepy and stalkerish. But instead I thought it was sweet and romantic.) I sleepily reached out and touched his cheek. "I really like you," he whispered, so as not to wake the Baby, and then I held his hand and drifted back to sleep again while he looked on.

It's good to feel loved. There is such comfort in that moment.

Marriage is a lot of choosing to stick with it even when it's hard, to forgive, even when you've been hurt, of staying, even when it seems easier to leave. It's sometimes knowing that the person with whom you coexist doesn't always like you that much, even if they choose to love you and stay with you. Like is a feeling. Love is a choice. A marriage can work without like, but oh it's nice on occasion to feel treasured and liked again. I'm storing up this one against the hard days.


And the winner is....



(I had the GH draw a name, since it's midnight and my kids are sleeping.)

Email me at shelaughsatthedays dot gmail dot com with your address by Tuesday and the height of your boy, neck to mid calf.

If I don't hear from you by Tuesday night I'll draw again from the remaining names.


Dear Big Box Kids Everything Store-aka.Toys'R'Us

It's time we had a talk you and I, just one on one. In a relationship such as ours it's easy to let things slide, I can ignore a lot of the things that you do that are annoying, biting my tongue and gritting my teeth until our brief meeting is over. I tell myself that we only meet a few times a month, often less, and I cut you slack. But that time is over.

You see, I have three children, all of whom are at the very beginning of their lives as parasitic consumers and I have this sinking feeling I may have to see a whole bunch more of you before this is over. So I'm not willing to just grit my teeth and bear it any longer. The gloves are comin' off.

You know that thing you do where you don't put prices on staple kids items, like socks and underwear, and you neglect to post signs also? Yeah, that' really irritating. Have you ever tried to drag three children through a toy store? Because if you have you might be aware that having to walk out of the dark dingy back corner of the kids wear section through the leap pad section and the Thomas the Train displays to find the nearest price checker is something akin to whichever level of Dante's inferno that had all of those souls endlessly circling and swirling, in short, hell. And if you wanted to, gasp, do a price comparison, you might find yourself making that trip several times while a tired baby screeches and squirms, and fights alternately for freedom or snuggles and you can't think because baby screaming causes all of your brain to short circuit and stop being able to function, and the older children keep wandering off to look at things, and touch things , and carry things to you to look at in hopes that you will buy them and then you have to put it all back and remember where the socks are again. Just put the prices on the bags of socks, can't you.

What really irritates me is that I suspect you do this on purpose. I think you reason that since these are staple items that I have to buy anyway that I will just wearily give into to your evil scheme and throw them in my cart without knowing how ridiculously expensive the Dora underwear is, and then swallow the giant mark-up at the register because I am just too battle weary from dragging my children through a toy store to go back and change my purchases. Which is dirty, underhanded, and just plain mean. I bet you're also hoping to turn those tired wanderings in search of a price into an impulse buy extravaganza. But you won't succeed with me, no sir, I will just go and buy my kids socks and under wear at another store, because those stores at least have the courtesy to label their merchandise properly. Even though I have to go farther to get to those stores and add another store to our list of places, in the end it takes me less time because I don't have to keep dragging my kids between the socks display and the@#$##$$@@@ price checker.

Today I stopped trying to put things back, or waiting for my kids to put things back. I just left them all in untidy piles on the floor. I figure it serves you right for being so damned inconvenient to have to clean up after the mess my children made while I was having to wander through your store repeatedly in search of something that I should not have to waste my time finding. And for the record, my kids are not little hellions that grab everything and throw it on the floor. They're just normal kids who are suckers for the eye level displays you have set up in the obstacle course that you call a store.

I just thought I'd tell you why you won't be seeing me again any time soon. I think we need a break from each other you and I. I'll be returning when someone buys my children a gift card, only if you won't exchange it for cash for me, another underhanded evil scheme. But otherwise, I will be taking my business elsewhere thank-you very much, and I will not be trying to buy basics from you ever again.

It's not me, it's you,


ps. Christmas is two whole months away. Enough with the nerve rattling, eardrum jangling happy Santa tunes already. I already hate Christmas and we're less than a week out from Halloween.


More to give away

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket
So I did promise to have another giveaway soon, this time for the boys cape. Seemed like the bloggy giveaway would be a good time. So, if you want to win this fabulous cape, perfect for young kings and knights in training, leave a comment below and I'll draw for the winner Sunday at midnight.
I'll make the cape to fit the winner.
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