July 09, 2007

Good Guy Death Star. No Girls Allowed.

I tell The Boy two stories each night. The content varies with my level of inspiration and alertness, but occasionally I will hit upon a subject that The Boy will insist on revisiting and embellishing.

And that's how The Boy's Good Guy Death Star Adventure Series began.

The Boy, or Master of the Galaxy, as he prefers to be known in his adventures, asked me to tell him a story wherein he saves the day. So I invented a story about The Emperor and Darth Vader bringing the Death Star to earth, and The Boy being the only thing that could stop them.

This proved a popular tale. So on subsequent evenings The Boy ended up defeating the bad guys and taking over their Death Star.

"Only, pretend that it's a Good Guy Death Star now," said The Boy.

"Okay."

"And, I live there with all my buddies and star wars good guys," he added.

"Okay."

"And pretend that it's only for boys, except you can live there too, mommy."

"Okay."

Then he thought for a minute.

"But everyone needs to know that it's a good guy death star, so we'll put a sign on it."

"What will it say?"

"Good Guy Death Star. Oh, and Boys Only. No Girls Allowed."

"So you're orbiting earth in a death star with a sign on it?"

"Yeah. And it's just a plain gray death star."

"How about some red racing stripes?"

"Okay. And on the back, a picture of me beating up the Emperor with my light saber, so everyone knows it's okay because it's just me."

"Sounds good, son."

Later versions of the tale had The Boy's death star being pursued by a sparkly pink death star full of girls who wanted to play with The Boy's transformer toys. Fortunately a detente was reached before the galaxy was destroyed.

It's times like these that I wish I had some artistic ability - the mental image of The Boy's Death Star--with sign, poster and racing stripes--being pursued by another, pink and sparkly death star - is too good not to share.

Posted by Big Arm Woman at 01:48 PM | Comments (6) | TrackBack

July 05, 2007

Living Out Loud

As Hublet would be only too eager to tell you, I possess the felicitous ability to project my voice at great volume. While this came in handy during my college theatre days, and while teaching large rooms of fidgety freshmen, it has its drawbacks.

Especially when my talent for being really, really LOUD manifests itself in The Boy.

And there's no way to blame this on Hublet, who I like to refer to as Mumbles McGee on the phone. The man isn't loud. Not even when he's trying to be. It's kind of sad, really.

But The Boy? He's at what theatre types refer to as "full voice" all the time. And by "full" I mean FULL. VOICE. The kid is just loud. Really, really, REALLY LOUD. And when I'm the one noticing how loud you are, you're probably in danger of hurting someone with your vocalizations.

Naturally, his loudness is only exacerbated by excitement. Like last night. We trundled up to the top of our road to view the local fireworks display. This is the first year The Boy had partaken of the fireworks, and he was excited. Well, first he was whiny because he didn't get to sit on the top of the car, but then he was excited. REALLY excited.

And while I'm all for the "seeing things all fresh through the eyes of a child" yadda, yadda, whatever stuff, it's difficult to appreciate his appreciation when he spends 20 minutes screaming his every minute observation AT THE TOP OF HIS LUNGS OMG!

Seriously. We were outside, for crying out loud, and people were giving us the Library Stinkeye.

So Hublet and I are trying to lower the volume without crushing his childish innocence or whateverthell the Self-Help Books O' Blame are calling it nowadays, and keep him from flailing himself into a ditch or into traffic or tipping over the folding chair in his enthusiasm for the fireworks, and finally I just had to put my hand over his mouth and say, "For the love of all things holy, boy, stop screaming your head off!"

Which he found amusing, and kept him quiet.

For about a minute and a half.

But the fireworks were nice.

I'm just glad the kid has inherited some physical characteristic from me. And on the positive side, no one will ever call him Mumbles McGee.

Posted by Big Arm Woman at 04:20 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

May 11, 2007

Blood, Sweat and Puke

Or, Just Your Average Day at the T-Ball Field.

I love t-ball. I love sitting on the uneven ground in a precariously balanced fold out chair from Dick's Sporting Goods, I love observing the other parents and coaches, and I especially love watching a bunch of kids in ginormous batting helmets flail cluelessly around a baseball diamond like a bunch of sugar-addled puppies with hydrocephaly.

And The Boy seems to like it, too, even though he's still a bit unclear on the whole "importance of paying attention when you're playing first base" thing.

Normally these games pass without incident. The teams each get to bat through the lineup twice, and if the team in the field makes 3 outs, they just clear the runners off the bases and keep going until all the hitters are finished. There are the occasional incidents of tripping and falling, but until last night there was no actual bloodshed.

One of our, shall we say, coordination-challenged players was making his determined way to second base as the second baseman ran to field a ground ball that had been hit to him. Our player was wearing what I like to call the Super Special Safety Helmet, which not only protects noggins from bats and balls, but also has a facemask. These helmets make me laugh, because if you think the regular sized ones look absurd on these tiny kids--which they do--the facemask versions turn the players into life-sized bobble heads. Seriously, I keep expecting them to topple over at any moment.

The second baseman retrieved the ball and stood up, only to find himself directly in the path of the oncoming head-bobbling juggernaut, and down they both went. Our player was fine - he could have take a direct hit from a meteor in that headgear and been fine - but the other little boy got a split lip, probably from getting a face full of face mask.

FYI, there's no such thing as "walking it off" or "rubbing dirt on it" in t-ball, unless the person doing the walking or rubbing is the player's mommy making her way to second base to dust off her offspring.

After that little bit of excitement, things continued along until our catcher turned to his mom and said he wanted to sit down (we were sitting behind home plate). Then there was vomit! Three times!

Did I mention that the catcher also wears one of the Super Special Safety Helmets?

Turns out they're not the headgear of choice when your tummy's upset. It also turns out that rubbing dirt over vomit is a good way to mitigate the sight and smell, even though that's not really what the saying's referring to.

But at the end of the day, the most memorable part for the players was the Twix Bar they received from the Designated Snack Provider, so it was all good.

I can't wait 'til next Tuesday.

Posted by Big Arm Woman at 12:59 PM | Comments (3)

April 02, 2007

Not Exactly a Bunny With a Pancake on Its Head, But Kinda Random Anyhow

Work is out of control, so here's a picture of The Boy being knighted by Queen Elizabeth I.

sirknight.jpg

Posted by Big Arm Woman at 03:48 PM | Comments (5)

March 14, 2007

Topics of Great Import

I have to write these conversations down, partly to convince myself that they really took place, and partly so that I can revisit them at inopportune times in the future. I'm evil that way.

The Boy: Mommy, what would happen if some mean animals pulled Gertie's tail off?

Me: We'd take her to the vet and they would help her get better.

The Boy: She wouldn't die?

Me: Not from losing her tail--not if we got her stitched up and gave her medicine to keep it from getting infected.

The Boy: How long before she grew another tail?

Me: Dogs can't regrow body parts. Only lizards and earthworms.

The Boy: What about the aliens in the sky?

Me: The aliens?

The Boy: Yeah, the aliens--if you shoot them, can they regrow?

Me: I don't know about aliens. What do you think happens?

The Boy: I think they break apart and their parts fall to the earth.

Me: Sounds good to me.

The Boy: Yeah, I don't like sky aliens.

Posted by Big Arm Woman at 08:48 AM | Comments (4)

February 02, 2007

Parents' Day

So yesterday was a snow day, if by "snow day" you mean "2 1/2 hours of fluffy white flakes that didn't stick to the roads followed by a little sleet and then a lot of regular rain so that if you had an umbrella you could essentially just go shopping at the mall by noon." Still, it's the most winter we've had all year, and The Boy and I managed a 30 minute snowball fight, so he's satisfied that Winter has been Properly Experienced for the 2006-07 season.

After missing a day of work, I went in today for a mere half-day, because at 2 p.m. The Boy's Kindergarten teacher was having her monthly Parents' Day, to which parents are invited to come see how their children are being taught. Hublet and I usually trade off on these so that we both get an opportunity to bask in the glow of Kindergarten on a regular basis.

Having attended several parents' days by now, and having 2 or 3 classroom parties under my belt, I have come to several conclusions about Kindergarten:

1. The teachers are grossly underpaid. Sure, Hublet's high school has random murders, deliberate infanticide, 18 year-old drug dealers who keep failing but won't drop out because their entire customer base is at the high school and all-around bad karma, but really that pales in comparison to one brave woman's attempts to corral 21 5-year-olds who are either a) attempting to "show off" for mom or dad, or b) traumatized and sobbing on prostrate on the floor because their mom or dad couldn't attend today's parent day.

2. Teachers should be allowed to force parents of continually disruptive students to attend Kindergarten and corral said kids until said kids shape up. And also? If your kid is 7 years old and still in Kindergarten, I'm thinking you might want to look at some professional interventions. Just a suggestion. A suggestion that the parents of the OTHER 20 TERRIFIED STUDENTS will thank you for taking, by the way.

3. Recess should last an hour. At least. And none of this namby-pamby "OK children, let us now engage in our required 30 minute interval of teacher led cardio-vascular activities"--oh, hell no. Speaking as someone who was clotheslined and practically knocked unconscious during a game of "red rover" in the 5th grade, I am still all for kickball, dodge ball, and gigantic solid steel monkey bars structures covered with running, screaming harridans. I'll bet it would eliminate a lot of the need for #2.

All in all, The Boy is enjoying Kindergarten and doing well, and since a positive experience with his first year of school is all I really wanted him to get out of this year, we're ahead of the game.

Posted by Big Arm Woman at 10:22 PM | Comments (2)

December 11, 2006

Sounds of the Season - 2 in a series

"Wow, mommy. It sure was nice of Santa Claus to come all the way to North Carolina to talk to us today."

"Yes, son, it sure was."

"I just wish we'd been more like Rudolph when we were waiting."

"What do you mean?"

"That we would have been in the front of the line!"

Posted by Big Arm Woman at 03:31 PM | Comments (0)

December 04, 2006

Sounds of the Season - First in a Series

The Boy and I decorated our tree yesterday, as Hublet, in the time-honored Christmas tradition of hublets everywhere, watched football and made vague encouraging sounds. He also made dinner, which is good, because it took approximately one year to hang the 40 million ornaments we have somehow accumulated on the tree.

Including the ceramic Yoda ornament, which prompted The Boy to exclaim:

"Mommy! Yoda is so cool, he has to go at the top of the tree!"

And so our tree is topped with an angel, at whose feet sits a small, green, gnome-like muppet. And a Borg cube, and Emmitt Smith.

My mom is going to have a fit. I can't wait.

Posted by Big Arm Woman at 01:30 PM | Comments (4)

November 06, 2006

Worth 1,000 Words

We got The Boy's first school picture back on Friday.

Jesus.

Okay, I was prepared for a not-so-great photo, you know, along the lines of "Oh, aren't you cute being so goofy looking in that picture!"

I was not prepared for what I got. See, you have to pay for the pictures BEFORE they're taken now, and pick the pose you want to see your child in. I chose a casual, crossed arms pose that would show the design on the front of the sweater he was wearing, and made sure his hair was short enough for it to be difficult to mess up.

Hindsight is 20-20. Apparently they armed every 5 year old with a comb immediately prior to the photo, which means that The Boy had ample time to plaster his hair crookedly down onto his forehead. The crossed-arms pose was beyond his comprehension, as he is clutching himself like a demented rapper, which has the added bonus of completely obscuring the design on his sweater.

The sweater, by the way, is dark blue. He was photographed on a blue background. In his photo, he looks like a giant floating albino head to which someone has stapled a moth-eaten cat pelt as "hair."

And his "smile?" I hestitate to call the crazed rictus formed by his mouth a smile. He expression resembles what I think it would look like if the Boogeyman had jumped out from behind the camera, eaten the photographer and screamed "SAY CHEESE!!!" at him before snapping the photo.

So the end result: giant floating albino head with cat-pelt hair and rictus of terror, photographed through a vaseline-smeared "soft-focus" lens.

There are reshoots on Thursday. I'm thinking I'll just call Sears.

Posted by Big Arm Woman at 02:32 PM | Comments (6)

November 03, 2006

Don't Bleed for me, Johnston County

So this week has featured an upper respiratory infection (mine, and may I just say that Augmentin, while an ass-kicking antibiotic, has killed Every Bacteria, Good and Bad, in my body, with predictably hilarious results), Kindergartener party wrangling, Halloween, a crash-course in Phytoplankton, a somewhat disappointing episode of Supernatural, and eye strain. Thus, no blogging. Sorry about that.

I will now share the conversation I had with The Boy last night as I drove home from work. The Boy likes to talk to me on the phone during my drive time, and I learn the most interesting things from these 20 minute conversations, like the fact that Peyton wants to marry Sidney and that The Boy scolded him soundly and told him that Kindergarteners didn't get married because then they would have to be daddies and moochie-kiss girls all the time. So there. And then The Boy busted out with:

Boy: Do you know what Daddy did today?

Me: No.

Boy: He took part of his blood out! And put it in somebody else!

Me:...Oh, you mean he gave blood?

Boy: I cried when he told me.

Me: Why?

Boy: Daddy needs his blood in him! He can't just give it away!

Me: But son, your body makes more blood.

Boy: Daddy said that too but I don't care. We don't give out our blood to other people.

Me: Why not?

Boy: We just don't. We keep our blood inside us where it belongs.

Me: What about other things, like kidneys?

Boy: NOOOOOO! We don't give out our insides!

Me: Ever?

Boy: Ever!

So I'm thinking we'll be marking "no" in the organ donor section of The Boy's driver's license.

In other news, finally read Eragon. Enjoyable, if a rather abrupt ending. I think it would be more fun for young folk who aren't familiar with Tolkein yet, though.

Posted by Big Arm Woman at 03:53 PM | Comments (2)

September 08, 2006

Just Because You Can See It Coming

Doesn't mean you can stop it.

Today was the last day I was allowed to walk The Boy to his kindergarten class. He knows where he's going and he's excited about getting there, so I'm not worried about that; in fact, it'll be a lot more convenient for me to pull up to the curb, wave goodbye and drive off than to make the quarter-mile trek to his classroom every day, but still. We've hit the milestone where a large chunk of his life will be invisible to me unless he chooses to share. Unfortunately, he is exactly like me in that he doesn't like to share information about his day--not because of some weird emotional trauma, but because (at least in my case) talking about stuff I've already done just bores me and makes me tired. Blogging is a weird exception to this rule. I am digressing, and will stop.

So anyway, the bittersweet pain of letting go, yadda yadda yadda, blah, blah, one step closer to dying-cakes. That's not really the point of this post.

The point is that I can already see myself becoming irritated with Those Moms. You know the ones--they know EVERYONE, and have to stop in the halls to chit-chat--loudly--so that everyone KNOWS they know everyone, and they monopolize the teacher's time over minutiae when other parents (who, incidentally, have elsewhere to be that involves actual time clocks) are waiting to quickly drop off some supplies or tell her about after school arrangements, and they smile and introduce themselves to you in that loud and insincere way that makes you want to just grab them by the throat and growl "Knock it off, sister, or I will CUT you."

Not that I am speaking from experience, or anything.

And did I mention that I signed up for the PTA? Yeah. Buckets of fun, ho!

On a more serious note, Hublet's school year is off to a tragic beginning.

Posted by Big Arm Woman at 11:31 AM | Comments (4)

August 21, 2006

Roller Boogie

So this Saturday I decided that we had to get The Boy out of the house, lest he spend the entire day being dissolute in front of the t.v. It was too hot to go to the park, and there weren't any fun movies to see, errands that needed running, etc., and I was bored with all of that stuff anyway.

And that's how The Boy and I ended up at the local roller skating rink with a cub scout troop and a handful of overly lip-glossed 6th grade girls and a few sullen floppy-haired boys of about the same age.

I was curious to see how the roller rink had evolved since my heyday of roller disco t-shirts, oversized combs poking out of the back pocket of my blue jeans, Bonne Belle roll-on lip gloss in Bubblegum flavor and "Superfreak" blasting out of speakers while the black lights glowed and the disco ball spun.

Guess what? The roller rink hasn't changed. At all.

Black lights? Check.

Wacky swirly psychadelic carpeting speckled with ground-in spots of bubble gum? Check.

Pac Man video game? Check.

"Superfreak" on the playlist? Oh, yeah. Now with bonus MC Hammer "Can't Touch This" followup song.

Weird smell - a combination of greasy pizza, skate disinfectant spray and pre-teen cosmetics/hygeine products? Still the same.

The only major difference was that none of the kids could skate worth a crap. In my day, you PRACTICED before you went to the rink, so you wouldn't make an utter ass of yourself. Skating was an important social skill. Today? Not so much. My best friend prepared me for my first skating outing by stuffing my feet into a pair of her little sister's skates--the kind with the metal wheels--hauling me to my feet, yelling "hold on!", wrapping my arms around her waist, and taking off down a gigantic hill. Needless to say, I mastered skating in a day, mainly out of fear for my life. But the kids at the rink I saw had no inkling of the social suicide their flailing would have been had they been around in my day.

I was proud of The Boy, however, who went from "flailing monkey limbs" to "gliding short distances without holding the rail and negotiating the carpet with ease" in a little under 2 hours. He even made a friend--a rising second grader who was possibly the least coordinated little girl I have EVER seen. I tried to show her the basics, but alas, she only seemed to use them to injure herself further. Still, she just kept bouncing back. Sometimes the bouncing was literal.

And that, I realized, was the only real difference between roller rinks then and now: it will be a LOT harder to get up after a fall now than it was then.

Posted by Big Arm Woman at 02:56 PM | Comments (3)

July 27, 2006

Domestic Gods and Goddesses

Or maybe that should read "domestic demi-gods," or maybe "domestic guy who kind of thinks he might be related to a god but is totally kidding himself.

In my almost decade of marriage to Hublet, I have had to make some, erm, concessions to cleanliness. Before we started dating, my apartment was always spotless--fresh-smelling, disinfected surfaces, no needless clutter. Now it's not that I am totally anti-clutter. I wrote a thesis, after all, which means that for months and months there were piles of articles, books, and papers surrounding my computer table. These piles, however, were organized. And after a while, I would tire of the piles and go on a great PILE PURGE, which involved labeling and filing and RUTHLESSNESS WITH MY DISCARDS. So I am no stranger to clutter, but I do have a point at which I reach critical clutter mass, and just start tossing crap out.

Hublet has no such point, which I discovered during our dating years as he slowly moved his thesis into my apartment and onto my kitchen table. Then we got married, and he moved the REST of his stuff into my apartment. Clutter Ahoy! He attracts random bits of paper like a magnet attracts random bits of metal. And his piles, they are not organized or neat--they are slidey piles, of the sort that explode into showers of paper if you look at them wrong. As he is a schoolteacher, you can imagine what this is like. It makes me crazy, but I've managed to deal with it by piling the clutter during the week, and then going nuts on the weekends and tossing out or stuffing into his bookbag everything that isn't nailed down.

Hublet also has a different attitude about cleaning. He does it, but it takes him about 4 times as long to do a particular chore as it does me. It also takes him about 4 times as long to come to the conclusion that yes, the chore needs doing. And the end result is never quite the same as mine.

I try to cope with this by never being around Hublet when he cleans, because I have a bizarre Tourette's-like reaction to his efforts whenever I am.

Did I mention that Hublet also has a tendency toward bizarre spills? And have I mentioned the grape juice stain that resides ON MY KITCHEN CEILING? No? Well. Never mind.

As I say, I am learning to cope. But sometimes, I am forced to confront Hublet's unique domestic handicaps, as when I reached into the refrigerator for Hublet's no trans-fat buttery spread and withdrew a tub of Country Crock that was covered in duct tape.

Silvery duct tape that was kinda raggedy around the edges, as though the taper in question hadn't had easy access to scissors. In a KITCHEN. And did I mention it was a LOT of duct tape? Yes. A lot. It was like a silvery Country Crock mummy.

I merely held up the vessel in question for Hublet's inspection, and he looked extremely proud as he said:

"I dropped it and it sort of exploded but I fixed it."

Only Hublet could drop a plastic container in such a way as to cause its surface integrity to be annihilated. And only Hublet would respond with duct tape.

Posted by Big Arm Woman at 11:14 AM | Comments (15)

July 14, 2006

A Bad Week to Be Four

At least if you're being four in the Big Arm household.

Note to readers - any time your spousal unit calls you at work and begins the conversation with "I think we have a problem," just go ahead and tell the spouse that you'll meet him or her at the Urgent Care. It saves time.

The Boy has had a rough week. Monday he began swimming lessons, and this time, instead of falling face-first into the pool during the first lesson, he merely forgot to hold onto the wall. And so once again The Boy was confronted with water-related trauma, although to his credit he has soldiered bravely on and is looking a bit less stiff and plank-like when the instructors try to get him to float. And yes, our blatant bribery (if he's good, we promised to buy him the Cars video game for the PS2, and not just because his mommy thinks it looks fun, either) may have something to do with it, but I prefer to chalk it up to his innate bravery and strength of character--which of course he has inherited from me.

Wednesday he had a dental appointment to treat a "pre-cavity" in one of his molars and to seal the molars one one side of his mouth. In addition to my innate bravery and strength of character, The Boy has also inherited my teeth, which have all sorts of intriguing nooks and crannies, and so not even the most dilligent hygiene will prevent decay. Thus the sealing. And the novacaine. But he did very well, and is appropriately fascinated by the fact that he has an "invisible shield" on his molars. Hublet and I are appropriately fascinated by the size of the bill for all of this. Guess I should start that orthodontics savings account right now.

Which brings us to Thursday. Yesterday, The Boy was playing his Thomas the Tank Engine computer game when he was startled by his Cars movie soundtrack CD (yes, I realize that one could argue that the evil that is pop culture is totally to blame for what follows, but oh well).

As he ran to get Hublet, he lost his footing and hit his head on the corner of the chair railing between the den and the kitchen. Long story short--The Boy split his head open--"like a ripe apple," to paraphrase the Doctor With No Discernable Bedside Manner at the Urgent Care--and is now sporting two shiny metal staples in his scalp, located approximately two inches above his left ear.

But he did get to pick pizza for dinner last night, and he'll get to show off his wound to his buddy at a birthday party tomorrow, so it's not so bad. And I got to see a wound stapled together, which was actually kinda cool and distracted me from the fact that I was having to hold my crying son down at the time...

So I'm hoping that The Boy and Hublet are going to spend today surrounded by soft, dry, sugarless surfaces, and that next week will be a better one for being four. Me? I'm just going to have a beer. Or six.

Posted by Big Arm Woman at 09:23 AM | Comments (2)

June 21, 2006

Adventures in Gonads

We've embarked on another Voyage of Discovery in the Big Arm household this summer, as my almost 5-yr old has stumbled across that age-old mystery of male physiology: his testicles.

The rest of this post will appear below the cut, because I care--CARE!--about the delicate sensibilities of my readership.

We are all about the testicles right now, and frankly, although I pride myself on being pretty earthy and matter-of-fact about body parts, the whole testicle thing makes me kind of queasy.

Maybe it's an ingrained sense of sympathy pains from watching Hublet wince whenever some unsuspecting dude takes one in the gonads on America's Funniest Videos, but I've always been of the opinion that when it comes to testicles, it's best to err on the side of caution. You know, Handle With Care and all that.

So the poking, prodding and OH DEAR GOD RETRACTING of the testicles that The Boy indulges in at bath time is just too much for me to handle. Gah.

I find myself saying things like, "Aaahhh! Don't do that--you might hurt yourself and I'll never have grandchildren!" to The Boy as he yells,

"Mommy! Look at my testicles!" and pokes, and prods, and laughs like they're just the greatest play toys EVER.

It started innocently enough. One night in the not-too-distant past after his shower, The Boy was getting dried off when suddenly he became preoccupied. When I went to see what he was doing, he looked up at me and said,

"Mommy, what are these things?"

"Testicles, son."

"Why are they there?"

"Because you're a boy, and boys have testicles."

"Oh. Does daddy have them too?"

"Yes."

"Oh."

And I thought that was it, until I wandered into the den to find a naked boy sitting in a chair studying his newfound boy parts. I told him to get dressed, and that's when he chose to demonstrate his human testicle tricks, and I chose to go find Hublet.

Last night we had a small crisis as The Boy discovered that damp testicles will stick to the inner thigh area.

Since I know less than nothing about the Proper Care and Feeding of Testicles, I'm thinking that until this particular phase passes, or until The Boy gets more proficient at self-cleaning, Hublet should take over the manly bathing duties. I mean, everyone has a limit, and apparently testicles are mine.

Posted by Big Arm Woman at 01:54 PM | Comments (9)

June 15, 2006

Save the Polar Bears! Get a Vasectomy!

You know, I wanted to blog about the recommendation of the UC-Boulder panel to boot Ward Churchill, but it seems that lately I can't throw a rock without hitting some new salvo in the mommy/baby/breeder/childfree/THE APOCALYPSE IS UPON US wars.

Dang, people, what the hell is going on?

Here's the latest, about a childfree chick who changed her mind and was frankly ambivalent about it right up until she expelled a wrinkly new human from betwixt her nethers. She's also an advice columnist, and made the mistake of giving advice.

Read the article, but that's not the fun part. Read the comments--I found them extremely informative!

Did you know that vasectomies are really the only way we'll stop the polar ice caps from melting? So step on up and take one in the gonads for our furry polar bear bretheren, men!

Did you know that children serve no useful function to the parents? And that comes from someone with children! I can only reply that he or she has not yet discovered the beauties of child labor law exceptions within the home...

Did you know that when a woman asks for (and receives) advice from an advice columnist, it automatically makes the columnist a judgemental hypocrite?

Did you know that the only people who are really concerned with perpetuating the species are the ones who AREN'T perpetuating the species? That, my friends, is a really neat trick.

Oh, and religion--but not all religion, only Christianity--is evil. But we already knew that, so let's move on.

No matter what side you're on, this forum has something for you: it's a cornucopia of fuzzy thinking, judgemental idiocy and serious environmental/population control misinformation--basically, a fun way to kill a few minutes if your Thursday gets slow.

Full disclosure: I don't care whether or not you want kids or have them; as long as I don't have to raise the results you can do with your ovaries and sperm as you will. Have a nice life and all that crap. Love, Big Arm Woman


Posted by Big Arm Woman at 11:31 AM | Comments (6)

May 22, 2006

10-second review

Of Hublet's High School's production of Grease, by my four-year-old:

"There was a lot of singing, and then they took a break. Then more singing."

Yeah, that pretty much sums that up.

Posted by Big Arm Woman at 02:29 PM | Comments (0)

May 11, 2006

Deep Thoughts

Or what passes for them in the mind of a four-year-old. We spend a lot of time in the car, The Boy and I, and I can really only listen to the same four songs off the same Disney CD twice before I need a break. And The Boy is more than happy to entertain me with his observations/questions/ demands.

And now, for your amusement, Backseat Musings:

"Mommy, how do you make a plant? A coat? A car? A cloud?"

"Mommy, what would happen if we had no lips?"

"Mommy, if our teeth were on the outside of our mouths, could we still eat?"

"Mommy! Put your hand higher on the wheel! Like that!"

"Mommy, what does a toot look like?"

"Mommy, don't turn the dial to blue--we'll freeze!"

"Do you know why there are cracks in the floor at BJ's? Because if they weren't there everything would fall apart!"

"Is this a shortcut? Why can't we go that way? Why do we have to drive on the same road all the time?"

"If trees are already grown, they don't need rain to grow, so the rain should stop."

"I wish I could put on rocket shoes and jump around the moon!"

"Mommy, you have too much hair."

"Mommy, I think we're going too fast. We need to make our red lights come on."

"Mommy, you are the boss of me but I am the boss of Keat and Gertie."

"All those other cars are beating us, mommy!"

"Can I be the red power ranger when I grow up?"

Posted by Big Arm Woman at 10:48 AM | Comments (10)

April 24, 2006

The Wonders of Floam

So I'm sitting in my office, forcing my coworkers to fondle my Floam. For those of you unfamiliar with this miracle product, Floam is kind of like a gushy, bumpy, stretchier combination of silly putty and play-doh, with tiny styrofoam dots mixed in. It's also rancid smelling, and it costs a freaking fortune.

However, it is the one arts and crafts product my son has ever asked for, and so I am duty-bound to procure it. I won't add that it's also the closest thing to Slime with Eyeballs in terms of squish factor that I've been able to locate. Nor will I add that I have very fond memories of Slime with Eyeballs, as it may cause you to speculate that I am trying to relive my own childhood through my son.

Actually, what sparked this purchase is my latest round of mom paranoia. See, The Boy doesn't really like art, or coloring, or finger painting, or drawing, which is fine as far as it goes. I remember dreading art projects as a kid--every project I did involved either mountains (just some inverted Vs with Ws across the top to indicate snow caps) or the sun (duh, circle and lines) or a rainbow (too lazy to draw a whole circle? Go rainbows!)--so I figure he gets it honest.

However, I also remember all those scary guidance counselors in elementary school who would innocently ask you to draw pictures, and who would then proceed to psychoanalyze you and send alarming notes home to your parents.

And here's the thing--The Boy won't draw complete houses. Just a line for a chimney and a circle for a door, and when you ask him where the rest of the house is he just says, "That's all you need, Mommy!" Then when you ask him where the people are he says, "Inside the house." Which, bravo, kid--you've figured out how to avoid art entirely with your little line/circle minimalist expressionism, but I can see some crazy freshly minted counselor looking at that and deciding that The Boy has some weird dissociative disorder and marking him as a deviant. And when I read back over that paragraph it becomes apparent that maybe I'm overthinking this. Or maybe the Floam fumes are affecting my thought processes.

But the bottom line is this: The Boy wants Floam, which might help him avoid being labeled a serial killer in training, he gets Floam.

Posted by Big Arm Woman at 02:42 PM | Comments (3)

April 19, 2006

Of Future In-Laws and Norman Bates

Hublet and I were discussing the vagaries of in-laws the other day when he suddenly burst forth with this little nugget:

"You're going to hate your daughter-in-law."

Naturally, I was offended. Why should I hate my daughter-in-law?

Seriously. I've even rehearsed my "welcome to the family" speech for my future darling girl. Wanna hear it?

"Oh, (fill in blank), I'm so happy you're marrying The Boy. I'm sure you'll be very happy together. And just so you know, if you ever hurt him, I'll cut off all your limbs and keep you in a box in the basement. Welcome to the family!"

See? No worries.

Posted by Big Arm Woman at 12:43 PM | Comments (3)

March 27, 2006

Lesser Known Mysteries of the Universe

Why is it that no matter how many times you make your child go to the bathroom before you leave, and no matter how brief the excursion you go on, he will STILL need to poop in a public restroom?

Is there such a thing as the Law of Conservation of Bowels?

Posted by Big Arm Woman at 01:31 PM | Comments (5)

March 08, 2006

Yeah? Well My Grandpa Can Beat You Up!

We had a dentist's appointment this morning--the first real one The Boy has ever had, because I am not counting the hissy fits he threw at my dental appointments when the hygenist tried to get him in the chair to count his teeth.

It was post-hissy when I figured that pediatric dentistry would probably be the way to go, and it took me 6 months to get an appointment. Note to undecided youth: be a pediatric dentist. You will make POTS OF CASH. POTS!

So off to Dentist Lazlo (his real first name, which just tickles me b/c of the Cartoon Network series Camp Lazlo) we went this morning, and I am proud to report that The Boy aced that whole dentist visit thing.

X-Rays with mom out of the room? No problem!
Flossing? No problem!
Cleaning? Spitting into the vacuum? No problem!
Flouride treatment? A little bit of a problem, due mainly to The Boy's finicky nature and dislike of citrus flavoring. But he persevered--drooled a lot, but persevered.

So now he has two new matchbox cars, a new toothbrush, sugar free toothpaste and a dinosaur shaped toothbrush cover, and I have a bill for $150 and an upcoming visit in which he will have a pre-cavity treated with some nifty water shooting laser deal and will have his molars sealed (he inherited my teeth, the surfaces of which are very like the moon's in terms of nooks, crannies, and craters), all for the low, low price of $300 or so.

Naturally, The Boy had to call Poppa on the phone to tell him of the ordeal, and I overheard this part of the conversation:

"Yeah, I went to the dentist and I did very well. Well, I knew if they did anything bad I would just call you on the phone and you would come beat them up!"

I'm not entirely sure what my dad has been telling The Boy, but dentists everywhere should be put on notice: you hurt my kid, you will suffer the wrath of a balding 66-year-old man! So there!

Now if you'll excuse me, I have to make an appointment to get a crown put on MY back molar. And I doubt my dad will come beat up my dentist if it's too painful. I know I won't come away from the experience with a new matchbox car, either. Some days it sucks to be a grownup.

Posted by Big Arm Woman at 01:41 PM | Comments (3)

February 27, 2006

Salt, Cold Water, and Shout

With these three ingredients, you can Conquer the World!

Or, at least you can get the bloodstains out of your child's pillowcase, pillow, comforter, sheets, and pajamas.

The Boy suffers from nosebleeds, courtesy of his maternal grandmother. No, she doesn't punch him, but it's her DNA that's giving him this little problem, as she was a nosebleedin' fool throughout her childhood.

Me? I had one nosebleed in 7th grade during English class, and that's been it. Yes, it was traumatic. Junior high is not the place to be different, and projectile bleeding during The Rhyme of the Ancient Mariner tends to make a person stand out from the crowd. So I didn't get the nosebleed gene, unless it only fired once. I'm thinking I just had a really bad visceral reaction to Coleridge. He's still not my favorite.

So Sunday morning at 5:59 a.m. I am awakened by "Mommy!" I hop out of bed and cross the hall. "My nose is bleeding," says The Boy, so I grab a tissue from the bathroom and go to his side. It's dark, so I don't realize how MUCH his nose is bleeding until I sit on his bed and look at his hands.

Total Carrie moment. However, I manage not to freak out, he manages not to freak out, and after about 15 minutes of pressure, and 8 or 9 more soaked tissues, the bleeding stops. I was frankly surprised that local predators weren't drawn to our home by the scent of fresh blood. It was kind of a lot.

That's followed by the cleaning. Lots of cleaning.

The next time it happens, I'm calling my mother to come do laundry. Her genes, her fault.

Posted by Big Arm Woman at 10:52 AM | Comments (2)

February 21, 2006

The Mommy Malaise, Part 1,173,413, or, Why I Will Never Move Back to Wake County

So I was randomly surfing the blogroll yesterday and came across this woman's book-plugging site. Remember her? With the "Oh, it's so hard to be a mom, we've bought into the myth, blah, blah, blah, my child's pediatrician might not be the RIGHT ONE and no one appreciates me" whinefest?

Remember how silly I thought that was, and how folks I knew simply weren't that out-of-control?

Hah! Hah again, I say! These women are everywhere, and they quite frankly must. be. stopped.

As you know, I have recently moved The Boy into a smaller daycare situation--really, it's more like a babysitting situation. Now, I didn't do this on a whim, and I was a little nervous, but I noticed that The Boy really seemed to look forward to hanging with the new sitter in the new place, etc. etc. The driving force behind organizing the move was the mom of The Boy's best buddy, and I was content to follow her lead because she's one of those hyper-organized women with too much energy. Ah, hindsight. You are no friend of mine. But all was basically well.

And then the sitter added one more part-time child, who, for reasons of anonymity I will simply refer to as Hellboy. Because, yeah. Hellboy.

Hellboy was a bit younger than The Boy's cohort, and much less mellow than the 18 month old brother of The Boy's best buddy. No one liked Hellboy. Hellboy was out of control. It was a problem.

Now, perhaps because we are women and have to talk about everything, I ended up speaking with high-energy mom and the mom of a part-time girl at a birthday party we attended. They were concerned, and yeah, Hellboy needed to be dealt with, but in the course of the conversation a whole bunch of other concerns came out. Concerns, might I add, that I didn't actually SHARE, because I was under the impression that if The Boy could write his letters, numbers and name, and he was happy, then I was cool. 'Cause, you know, he's FOUR, and it's not like we're gonna be busting out the SATs in the next 6 months or anything.

But anyway, I shook off the feeling of End Of Daycare Days deja-vu, and suggested that they just tell the babysitter their concerns. And--again, hindsight, you evil bitch I hate you--I asked the babysitter if she could maybe do a couple of things to formalize the schedule, just to put my mind (and possibly those of the other moms) at ease. So she did! What a shock.

So then high-energy mom called me--at work--and asked if I'd spoken to sitter-woman. I said yeah, and that frankly I thought if it was such a big deal we should just have a meeting--that it wasn't a matter of sitter incompetence but of communication.

Then the sitter calls me to tell me that high-energy mom had come to her house on Saturday for THREE HOURS to outline Things That Must Be Done. Jesus. And high-energy mom was seriously talking about enrolling her four-year-old in a Sylvan program over the summer to prepare him for Kindergarten. Jesus squared, people. Seriously. He's FOUR. He doesn't require grammatical remediation or fluency in a foreign language, although sitter-girl does teach them Spanish. In the current situation, he's gonna go to Kindergarten able to do letters, numbers, and to write his name. He'll be able to label both colors and body parts in two languages. He'll know how to use a computer--if he's in a public school, he's gonna be thrown in with kids who can't even do that. And most importantly, he'll have spent a decent portion of his childhood having fun. Remember fun? And childhood? Remember that?

Anyhoo, I haven't called high-energy mom, who probably thinks I'm siding with the sitter or undermining her or that I'm an uninvolved parent or some damn thing that I haven't the energy to explore. I'm trying to be blandly supportive of sitter-woman, who for some reason (probably because I'm not an over-protective psychopath) has latched onto me as a mentor. And I am sitting here praying to God to spare me from these crazy-ass Uber-Moms, because if He doesn't, bad things are probably going to happen. Very Bad Things.

Some days, it just doesn't pay to be sober.

Posted by Big Arm Woman at 11:14 AM | Comments (12)

January 31, 2006

The What Road? Where? Huh? Stop Looking at Me!

You know, back when The Boy was almost two and I spent every single waking moment focusing all my mental energies on willing him to Learn How To Speak Already, Dammit! so that I could, you know, figure out what he wanted, I was blissfully ignorant of what that would mean. No, not that I would one day be expending equally fervent energy willing him to shut up for a second, but that as he grew in deductive and imitative ability, I would have to actually set an example for his behavior. This example setting is commonly referred to as taking the high road.

Can I tell you how much I freaking HATE the high road? Because it's hard and it sucks and I'd much rather just ignore my conscience, kick back with a small vat of red wine and some wheat thins, and catch up on my viewing of Supernatural or Firefly.

The thing about setting an example that's so annoying is that it's a constant struggle for someone like me, who tends to hate everything and everyone and to be quicker with a cynical, cutting criticism than with the whole Milk of Human Kindness thing when I'm confronted by irritants in human, canine, or inanimate form. And it totally rubs off on The Boy, as Hublet reminds me. Daily. Not that I'm keeping a notebook on that or anything.

And then I have to step in to correct the damage I've done to The Boy's ability to relate to the rest of humanity via my curmudgeon-at-large behavior and I'm confronted with the secondary portion of The High Road, which I like to call Shameless Hypocrisy in the Name of Child Raising. Example? Okay, here goes.

There's a new little boy hanging out at The Boy's new and improved daycare situation. This little boy is almost three, with all the charming personality traits that entails. The Boy, naturally, disliked him on sight. The Boy complained that New Kid didn't share. He complained that New Kid was following him around. Finally, he told his babysitter that he never wanted to come back to her house again, because New Kid ruined EVERYTHING! Lately, The Boy has been kind of a brat. I am blaming this on the transitions he's been experiencing and hoping it's a phase, especially because if he alienates the babysitter we are DOOMED.

So I had a conversation with the babysitter which basically boiled down to, "Wow, he's comfortable enough with you to treat you like family, aren't you lucky, hee-hee, I'll talk to him, BYE!"

And then I had to spend thirty minutes in the car explaining to The Boy that the New Kid is only three, that he doesn't know how to play well with others yet, that he follows The Boy around because The Boy is the cool older kid and that unfortunately The Boy is just going to have to figure out a way to suck it up and deal, because (Life Lesson Alert! Life Lesson Alert!) there are always going to be people in your life that you don't like, and you're going to have to cope somehow. Yeah, I kind of stink at the whole "imparting life lessons" thing.

Then I had to choke out some platitudes about being nice to everyone, and the golden rule, yadda-yadda-yadda, which, hello? Shameless Hypocrisy on line one! Because I was an only child, and I hated smaller children--especially the younger siblings of my friends--and I totally ignored and avoided them and was generally a total bitch on wheels about the whole thing until I was about thirty or so.

So it makes perfect sense for me to tell my four-year-old to get over it. And he dealt with it about as well as you'd expect from someone with my DNA, which is to say he yelled "NOOOOOOO!" and "That is an EVIL, MEAN boy and I don't want him there!" a lot, and generally threw a fit. And frankly, I was having the same reaction internally, because I didn't much care for the New Kid, either.

But oh well. So now I have to reinforce what I've said by modeling good behavior, which involves self-censorship, which is killing me slowly. Karma, she is a total bitch.

Posted by Big Arm Woman at 11:39 AM | Comments (2)

January 27, 2006

Spacesuits in size 4T and other mysteries of the universe

The Boy totally loves his new daycare/school situation. I know I referred obliquely to trauma around Christmas, so let me quickly fill you in:


  1. Boy had daycare he liked, with teachers who had literally been there for decades--I liked it, even though it was expensive, because of the ratios, the continuity, the location, and the fact that it felt like you were dropping your child off at grandma's, not an institution.

  2. The owner, who had been doing this for thirty-five years, decided that maybe retirement would be a nice option.

  3. Owner sells to couple from PA who had run 12 other facilities and who had big plans about curricula, facilities, etc.

  4. New owners hire incompetent 12-year old as director, and psychotic gang-banger wannabe as assistant director.

  5. Teachers start vanishing.

  6. Parents express concern at open house that owner doesn't bother to attend.

  7. Teachers keep disappearing.

  8. Parents, taking cue from teachers, cause their children to disappear from the daycare.

  9. Insert snowball effect here. I think the last straw for me was realizing that the new teacher--who never seemed to notice when I arrived and took a child out of the room, nor did she ever introduce herself, and apparently didn't bother to learn the childrens' names in a three week period--in The Boy's room had a diploma from the Morehead School. For the blind. Now I'm as ADA-supportive as the next chick, but I really think a case can be made for NOT employing the severely visually impaired to WATCH CHILDREN. And she was pretty impaired, if the fact that she never had any clue about her surroundings was any indication. Or maybe she was just an idiot.

  10. Total amount of time it took for daycare to go from happy place to living hell--3 months. Priceless.

Anyhoo, The Boy, his best buddy, two little girls from his class and his most favorite-est teacher are now ensconced at his teacher's house during the day. To say he is pleased with this arrangement is to commit the most grievous error of understatement ever. So pickups are a challenge, to say the least, involving ten minutes of whining, foot-dragging, etc.

And since he is four and has my tendency toward hyperbolic overstatement, we have emotionally fraught rides home like this:

Boy: I wanted to see the doggie!
Me: You'll see him tomorrow.
Boy: Nooooo! I wanted to play with him today!
Me: I weep for your loss. (Sarcasm, the last refuge of the tired and edgy)

Pause. Boy doesn't get it, so he changes tactics.

Boy: I want to go to outer space!
Me: Well, when you grow up and get your college degree in science or engineering, maybe you can.
Boy: Nooooo! I want to go now!
Me: You can't go now.
Boy: Why?
Me: Because they don't make space suits in your size. Only grownup sizes.

Another pause, followed by a deep wailing cry:

Boy: First I can't play with the doggie, and now I can't blast off into outer space! THIS IS THE MOST DISAPPOINTING DAY EVER!

Preach it, brother.

Posted by Big Arm Woman at 11:06 AM | Comments (5) | TrackBack

January 18, 2006

SPD! Please Kill Me!

You know, I've always considered myself pretty good about dealing with children's TV shows. I've never minded Thomas the Tank Engine, even though the newer episodes have been watered down and 'Murican-ified to the point that you want to slap the narrator with a 2 x 4: note to everyone--Sir Topham Hatt's real name, the only name he was given in the original books, in fact, is The Fat Controller. That is his name, because he is a fat man. If that offends the Society for the Advancement of Obesity, well tough. The man can lay off the scones. This Sir Topham Hatt stuff is just annoying.

Also, steam engines getting bricked up in tunnels for being naughty and generally behaving badly (and getting punished for it) is WAY more instructive than the whole "let's all kum-ba-yah our way down the track to happy-ville, shall we?" crud of the 2005 and later episodes.

But these sins are minor, and I can happily go about my business whilst Thomas chugs along in the background.

As for the other shows The Boy prefers, I still dig Sesame Street, actually follow the plotlines of Teen Titans and the Batman (though WHAT is up with adding Batgirl to that show? A 15-year-old gymnast who just randomly starts kicking butt like Batman? Mary Sue, much?), and Hublet loves Foster's Home for Imaginary Friends more than any of us--I think he wants to be Bloo.

And I thought that since we had escaped the scourge of Barney we would be safe from questionable viewing choices at the hands of our 4-year-old.

But I was wrong. So very wrong. We have gotten sucked into the endless vortex of (drumroll of doom, please):

Power Rangers.

Specifically, Power Rangers SPD. And also Power Rangers Generations. And possibly--though we haven't seen it yet--Power Rangers Mystic Force. Because apparently one group of Power Rangers is never enough.

Back in the day, there was only one group of poorly dubbed and partially re-shot teenagers in spandex and helmets who lived in California with a view of Mt. Fuji, could only speak while wildly flailing their limbs around, and fought spark-flinging plastic-headed monsters with zippers while wearing hugely cumbersome fender-like objects on their shoulders.

I remember watching them in horrified fascination, and never really getting over the fact that the Pink Ranger ended up on Felicity.

But now there are--what--18 different iterations of rangers, all in different places fighting different bad guys, and each with his or her own special power/animal totem/vehicle/jet/spaceship/mystical object? It is making my head hurt. And yes, I pay attention to these things, because The Boy is constantly asking questions like, "Which ranger is that? What is his name? What is he doing? Why? What happened?" Perhaps the ranger-viewing is causing a form of brain damage that causes him to miss the salient plot points. Not knowing the answers to these questions and having to go find them so that he will just. stop. asking. is definitely causing some of my neurons to misfire.

Note to Bandai: more is not necessarily always better. And also? When you have an acrobatic hamster in charge of your rangers and you're down to using Mastodons as the special totem animal for one of them, you are scraping the bottom of the barrel, my friends. Seriously.

But alas, all of these details completely escape the notice of The Boy, who only sees a bunch of karate chopping and bad-guy whuppin', and who as a result will now only wear his red power ranger underpants and his power ranger sweatsuit in public (thanks a lot, grandpa!). He refers to this ensemble as getting "all power-rangered up." I refer to it as "laundry hell."

And I am eagerly awaiting the day when this, too, shall pass.

Posted by Big Arm Woman at 02:28 PM | Comments (9)

December 26, 2005

Metaphysical Hoo-Ha at the Chick Fil-A

Hope everyone had a good weekend--me, I'm feeling fat and sassy, and counting the minutes until The Boy goes to bed so that I can play Gun, in which I blow the heads off of lots of people in the old west. Yippee Ki Yay and all that stuff.

Plus, if The Boy's in bed it means he can't make loud announcements in which he calls the Son of God a cannibal like he did in the local Chick-Fil-A this afternoon:

Boy: The baby Jesus can only be held by Mary and Joseph, right? None of the other people can hold him.

Me: Well, I don't guess anyone else would hold him.

Boy: Right, because if they got too close he would suck them up.

Me: Suck them up?

Boy: And eat them.

Me: Son, the baby Jesus wouldn't eat people. He's Jesus. And a baby!

Boy: But he's magic, and magic babies can eat people all up!

Me: No, Jesus was just a regular baby--like that one over there, see? Is that baby eating anyone?

Boy: No. But baby Jesus could.

Me: But he couldn't. And even if he could, he wouldn't. He's a good guy!

Boy: But no one else could hold him. Only Mary and Joseph.

Me: Fine. Are you ready to go?

Boy: No. How did Jesus grow up to a man?

Me: The normal way. It took a long time. You sure you aren't finished?

Boy: No. Mommy, are you laughing?

Me: It's better than crying, son.

Posted by Big Arm Woman at 07:08 PM | Comments (6)

December 15, 2005

In which I express concern that my son is a perv

First, apologies for the spotty bloggage. Our department has recently relocated to a spiffy new building (only 7 months behind schedule--thank you, state bidding process!), there is daycare drama out the ying-yang in which I have become embroiled, and I've preferred to spend my daily downtime doing Sudoku puzzles, rather than reading news or tearing my hair out about academe. Blah, blah, blah, beat me with a wet noodle-cakes.

And now on to the most pressing concern of the day; namely, that my son will end up as one of those raincoat and black sock clad weirdos flashing his wiener at hapless passerby.

Well, I'm not really concerned about that. But the public embarrassment factor did get ratcheted up a notch in our recent visit to Suncoast video.

The Boy loves that store, because he can recognize the movies and exclaim loudly:

"Look mommy! Batman! I can't watch it until I'm growed up and turn five!" (disclaimer--he won't watch it at five, either, but he seems to associate adulthood with kindergarten, and frankly I don't think he's mistaken about that)

Or, "Ooh! Star Wars shirts!"

This particular store had a promotional cutout for the Fantastic 4 movie, in which the aforementioned 4 are all striking ass-kicking poses around the display. The toothsome Jessica Alba was featured front and center, doing some weird kind of J-Lo meets Tae Bo bodily contortion which made her butt stick out.

I was in line to make a purchase when I heard Hublet say, "C'mon, son, let's go." When I finished my transaction, Hublet looked at me and shook his head, saying, "You won't believe what he did."

"What?"

"I looked over and he was rubbing his hand over Jessica Alba's behind, saying 'I like her!'"

"Hee."

"It's embarrassing!"

"Double hee."

"Our four-year-old is a pervert!"

"No, our four-year-old is male. Tell me you wouldn't fondle some Alba behind if you had the chance!"

"I plead the fifth."

"And I say again, hee."

Posted by Big Arm Woman at 10:28 AM | Comments (3)

December 03, 2005

My Toddler Can Kick Your Toddler's Ass: Or, For the Love of God, People, Shut UP!

So today was a birthday party for one of the little girls who attends The Boy's daycare/preschool. The Boy was excited, as was I, because girl parties mean I get to make a foray into the Aisles Of Pink at the local Target and buy cool stuff like Cinderella dress-up accessories and 40,000 other small, shiny baubles that will never end up burning out the motor in my vacuum cleaner. Ha! And also, I get to laugh at the plastic male counterparts of the Bratz Turbo Slut Rock Hookers dolls or whatever the hell. And I thought Ken was emasculated. Dear God. Those Bratz boys are $3,000 in tricks away from their first transgendering treatment. But I digress.

The party in question was held at the Downtown Designated Play Confinement Area and Education Camp for Children of Raleigh, ta-da (no real names today, alas).

Full disclosure - Last night was our Sunday school class' Christmas social, and may I just say that pomegranate martinis are the bomb. (Lay off, we're Methodists. We don't have to lie about likker and dancin'.) So maybe today I was just a BIT more sensitive than usual, and had slightly less tolerance (yes, wiseasses, it is possible for me to be LESS tolerant) for parental one-upmanship.

Now it's not what you're thinking--the one-upsmanship was not coming from among the parents of The Boy's classmates, although I admit I didn't spend all that much time socializing with them, preferring instead to perch on a castle parapet and occasionally holler "BOO!" through the dungeon window at The Boy and his buddy. They loved it.

However, toward the end of the afternoon I was hanging out near the train table, counting the minutes until 3:30 and idly observing two toddlers--one with his dad, another with his mom. The topic turned to the usual: age and size percentiles, with the father waxing poetic about his 22 month old's Ginormous Noggin. Here's something you don't hear every day, a father proudly proclaiming:

"Yeah, we had to get him an MRI 'cause his head was so big!"

Dude. Have you seen YOUR head? 'Cause, big. And I realize that a 22 month old hasn't had much opportunity to win the MVP Little League trophy, but it's okay. You don't need to get a head start on the competition. Yes, pun so very intended.

Not to be put off, normal-sized-head-child's mom went into a dissertation on teaching her 13 month old son sign language, and as I winced in anticipation, went on to outline his future educational trajectory, omitting only the Nobel Prize in Sciences and ascension to the papacy.

I wanted to grab them both by the shoulders and say, "Listen to me. You have the rest of your lives to brag about the fact that you're putting insane pressure on your kids to achieve. Can't you cut them a break while they're still crapping their pants?"

But that sort of thing doesn't go over well in a room with walls papered with "helpful parenting tips" about "introducing your child to the wonders of reading/science/math/diversity/world cultures/etc" by age 2 months.

So in the end, I went back to scaring the crap out of 4 year olds in a pretend dungeon. And I'm proud to announce that my son managed not to crack his 75th percentile head open on anything while running around like a spaz.

Posted by Big Arm Woman at 08:06 PM | Comments (4)

November 29, 2005

Gearing Up

The Season Of Joy (I'd type that in all caps but you might think I've already gone around the bend and it's not even December) is in full swing at Big Arm central. The carpets are clean, the tree (all half of it--we don't have room for a full tree in the den so we have one of those that sits flush against the wall, which really freaks out The Boy) is up and decorated, and if it will ever stop raining I will festoon the porch with faux greenery, huzzah.

In the interest of curbing the amount of crap that will land in our tiny home over Christmas, we have decreed that there will only be two presents per family for The Boy's consumption; i.e., one from Grandmommy, one from Papa, etc. Bear in mind that The Boy has no siblings, both sets of grandparents, an uncle and aunt-in-law, a great uncle, and approximately 472 of my cousins in Camden who will each get him "just a little something." That doesn't count his Santa gifts (limit 3 plus a stocking) or his present from mom and his present from dad. We only have 1500 square feet of space, people. You do the math.

And so the decree went out across the land, and lo, it was received as a pronouncement of doom by the grandmommy, with whom I went shopping last Friday. Here's a sample conversation from the Hot Wheels aisle at the local Toys R Us:

Me: Which race set--the one where they loop the loop, or the one where they fly wildly through the air, drywall be damned?

Mom: He would love that ride-in Batmobile.

Me: Yes, all $300 and nowhere to put it worth. Pay attention - wall damage, or 900 hours of looping track assembly?

Mom: Puzzles! You know he loves puzzles. Or that scooter was nice.

Me: Mom, what have you bought him?

Mom: Well, I got him a portable DVD player on sale...

Me: Uh-huh.

Mom: And a couple of movies, but that's not really much so I'm going to do him a stocking.

Me: Mother, do you know how old I was before I even got a basic STEREO that played vinyl? And you're complaining because you don't think that a portable DVD player for a four year old is sufficient?

Mom: I just...

Me: Stop. Two gifts. That is all. He doesn't play with half of what he's got and he asked specifically for only two or three items, all of which have been purchased. It will be enough.

Mom: (Makes the "my grandchild is being horribly mistreated and it's so pitiful" face)

Me: I'm going for the drywall damage. I can't wait to fly these suckers right off the track.

Mom: I got him the battery powered Lady train.

Me: Stocking. And stop buying stuff.

Mom: Maybe I'll give it to him today.

Me: No, you won't. It's a month until Christmas. One month! No presents until Christmas!

Mom: But he was asking about it.

Me: And I've been asking about a laptop computer and a bigger house. Sometimes you just have to suck it up for a while.

Mom: (Again with the "child abuse!" face)

Me: Let's get out of here.

Mom: I just want to walk through the games.

Me: You're cut off.


Posted by Big Arm Woman at 01:24 PM | Comments (6)

November 15, 2005

Scenes from Sunday

It's 8:30 a.m. and for once the Big Arm family unit has managed to make it to the early service more or less on time. There is another service at 9:00 a.m. but it features drums and my nerves simply cannot take that sort of cacophony at that time of morning. So, 8:30 it is.

The Boy sits next to me, spit-shined and clean in a sweater, slacks and brand new $1.99 Star Wars watch from Burger King, featuring Yoda and Count Dooku. To say that this watch is his most prized possession EVER IN THE HISTORY OF THE UNIVERSE would be a sad understatement. To say that he knows how to tell time would also, alas, be untrue. But I did show him how to differentiate between the hours and the minutes, so he's got that part down. Unfortunately.

My church experience went like this:

Boy: (leans over, "whispering," which, as you know, is not really possible from a 4 year old boy who ate powdered sugar donuts for breakfast) Mommy! It is eight three nine!

Me: That's nice, son.

Boy: Mommy! It's eight four zero!

Me: Yes, son. Shh.

Boy: Mommy! It's eight four one!

Me: It's communion time. Let me explain "intinction"--if you drop the bread in the cup, DO NOT stick your hand down there to pick it out. Just let it go and move on.

Boy: It's eight four five!

Me: Great.

Church continued in that vein, with no major intinction trauma. Later that evening, the Boy was getting his final ya-yas out by alternately running laps around the chairs and leaping from the sofa. Yes, I let him do these things. Why? Because it makes him tired, and that is a good thing.

So he was leaping from the sofa and decided to add a spin. Unfortunately, he spun forward instead of sideways and did a neat airborne somersault, landing on his butt. He stood up, looking surprised.

"Are you okay, son?" I asked, and he nodded, but I noticed that he didn't jump right back on the sofa, so I held out my arms and he came over to me.

"Mom, that was kind of scary," he said.

"I'll bet," I replied. And then he pulled away.

"Can I wear my Star Wars watch to bed?"

Posted by Big Arm Woman at 11:38 AM | Comments (1)

October 28, 2005

Nowhere to go but Up

Today is a black letter day in BigArm-ville, because today will hereafter be known as:

THE DAY PUH-DOG WAS FORGOT.

See, it's been a busy week. Work has been...intriguing (One day I'll post about the fun and interesting email that comes to the general media relations inbox when you get into the public eye. But that day is not today). I've been out of control on the weekends just trying to keep up, yadda, yadda, yadda.

And then yesterday, there was the diarrhea.

So this morning I was a bit harried to begin with. We were late. And then--The Boy had to potty. Again. So now we were REALLY late, and we dashed out the door and got in the car and The Boy ate his starchy breakfast and drank some Gatorade (both recommended by the advice nurse to help curb the pooping trauma) and then, halfway to work--which is located 22 miles away, by the way--this plaintive wail from the backseat:

"WHERE'S PUH-DOG?!?!?!"

Oh Dear God. Puh-dog was on the sofa with Punkin, the newest addition to the stuffed canine cabal. But Puh-dog has accompanied The Boy to daycare since he was two and waited patiently in his cubby until naptime. This was a problem.

I deployed every mom tactic: distraction, logic, exhortations to keep a stiff upper lip, and finally a cellphone call to the house so that Puh-dog and Punkin would know we loved them. Nothing helped, and there was no way I was going to be able to return home, get Puh-dog and get to work in time for my a.m. commitments.

I patiently explained the situation to Miss Kay, and left my tearstained Boy in her lap.

No phone calls thus far, and only 3 hours to go.

I suppose having Puh-dog permanently affixed to The Boy via surgery isn't an option, is it?

Posted by Big Arm Woman at 01:59 PM | Comments (2)

October 20, 2005

Quote of the day

From the never hysterical Mark Moford, concerning an Arkansas couple who have just had their 16th child:

Perhaps this the scariest aspect of our squishy birthin' tale: Maybe the scales are tipping to the neoconservative, homogenous right in our culture simply because they tend not to give much of a damn for the ramifications of wanton breeding and environmental destruction and pious sanctimony, whereas those on the left actually seem to give a whit for the health of the planet and the dire effects of overpopulation. Is that an oversimplification?

Yep. It's also breathtakingly sanctimonious and smacks of paranoia. But whatever leaves 'em laughing, right?

You don't have to read the whole thing. Here's a summary:
"Oh dear God--although I'm using that ironically because, really, who believes THAT nonsense anymore--people who don't think EXACTLY LIKE ME are breeeeeeeeeeeeding! How declasse'!"

If I had Xanax I'd send him a case.

Posted by Big Arm Woman at 03:29 PM | Comments (12)

September 28, 2005

It's a Stroller. Not a Freaking Value Judgement.

Reading the blogroll, I came across this article about gigantic baby strollers and the inconveniences they pose.

Naturally, this being a NY Times article, we have to delve into The Meaning Of It All, which leads to quotes like this:

Traci Anderson, 36, of Groton, Conn., who is married and said she has decided not to have children, agrees that the issue runs deeper than taste. Often, while trying to pass someone with a large stroller, she has seen the parent acknowledge her presence but make no attempt to move. And that, she said, begs the question of whether they believe people with children have a special claim to sidewalk space.

"My choices and what's important to me shouldn't be seen as any less important in the grand scheme of things," Ms. Anderson said.

Oh, for the love of God, lady. How exactly did we get from "Look at that rude rich bitch refusing to share the sidewalk" to "Your bourgeois values are oppressing me and making me feel that my life choices are invalid" pseudo-analytical bullshit?

They are large, overpriced strollers. Some folks buy them because they have to have the latest, biggest and best all the time. Some folks buy them because they just like them better than the regular Graco or EvenFlo models. And some of these same people are rude and self-involved and don't share the sidewalk. Amazingly enough, their rudeness might not be All About You.

And strollers aren't some sort of salvo in the reproductive wars, for crying out loud. What, is it rude to take your children out in public because it might invalidate someone's life choice? If you're thinking that a lady being rude with a stroller is doing it because she has some psychic ability to deduce that you're child-free and therefore wants to Make You Pay, then you are an idiot.

And if you think that conspicuous consumption of outsized strollers is a deliberate choice by parents to make the childless feel belittled; well, maybe you've spent too much time in your lit. theory classes and a nice vacation in wine country is in order. I had a stroller. I used it to tote my kid around the mall. At no time did I think, "Look at me and my cool stroller! My ovaries work! Bow down, childess ones, lest I mow you down!" My thoughts were more along the lines of, "Is he cranky? Can I fit that package underneath the seat? What time is it? Where's the damn Gymboree store?"

Perhaps this is a natural outgrowth of space wars in places--like NYC--where space is at a premium. Maybe these folks should move to the suburbs and chill out, you know, unless the suburban proximity to Little League games makes them feel invalidated or something.

Because the only other explanation is this one, offered by a stay-at-home dad:

"If you've got a problem," Mr. Ford said, "then you've got issues beyond my stroller."


Posted by Big Arm Woman at 10:46 AM | Comments (7)

September 15, 2005

Days Like These

I really should read my horoscope before leaving the house in the morning. Had I perused today's, I'm sure it would have said something along the lines of:

Just give up. Seriously.

I mean, it wasn't THAT bad a day, aside from the dead battery, the car repair guy's truck breaking down en route to fix it, the media circus at work today and my difficulties transcribing conversations about theoretical nanoscale physics held with Italian nationals.

But the post-work shopping incident pretty much clinched it. As I tooled around BJs with The Boy, he developed a nosebleed. Since he's never really done that before I was unprepared. I had nary a scrap of absorbent tissue on hand. However, I did have, in the recesses of my purse, a panty liner.

Yes folks, I had the honor today of shopping at a giant warehouse store with a child who had an Always Light Days pressed to his left nostril. A passing employee glanced over and said, "Runny nose?" Because I am reflexively truthful, I replied, "Nope. Blood." The employee fairly ran away.

At least the adhesive on the back meant it wouldn't fall off of his hand.

I wonder what the future therapy bills from this one will be.

Posted by Big Arm Woman at 09:13 PM | Comments (5)

September 08, 2005

Least Loved Bedtime Stories

Or; How to Traumatize Your Child One Night at a Time

(With apologies to Andrea, because I've secretly coveted that title for a while)

Every night, I lie down with The Boy for a few minutes at bedtime, in order to make up "two looooong stories" to tell him. Most of these stories involve The Boy and a cast of characters including, but not limited to Spiderman, Batman, Darth Vader, Yoda, Jabba the Hutt, the Scooby Gang, the Three Stooges, a trio of non-venomous snakes, and Mean Old Bob the Uber-Bully. But sometimes, as I lie there on the brand new Spiderman comforter and stare into the darkness, inspiration is simply not forthcoming. So I'll fall back on "traditional" fairy tales. Except that sometimes I get irritated with the fairy tales, and I editorialize a bit. And so The Boy ends up listening to something like this:

Boy: Make up another loooooong loooooong story.

Me: Okay. Once upon a time there were three bears...

Boy: Not THAT one!

Me: It's a little different than what you're used to. Anyway, it was a mom, a dad, and a baby bear. And one morning, they decided to have oatmeal for breakfast, except it was so hot they had to go for a walk while it cooled.

Boy: And then some little girl came, right?

Me: Yes. Her name was Goldilocks, and she thought it was okay to just walk into some strange house and start eating all the food and sleeping in the beds.

Boy: We don't do that. We have to be invited.

Me: Exactly. But Goldilocks was stuck-up because everyone told her all the time how pretty and fabulous she was, so she thought that she could do whatever she wanted. So the bears came home and noticed that someone had eaten their oatmeal and was sleeping in their beds.

Boy: Were they mad?

Me: Of course they were mad. They're bears, and bears don't like it when you go in their territory and houses and take stuff.
So when they found Goldilocks, they called the police and had her arrested for trespassing, and she got thrown in the jail.

Boy: I don't like that story.

Me: Okay, so how about if the bears came home and just ate her all up?

Boy: They ate Goldilocks?

Me: Well, she ate their food, so it only seems fair, right? Plus, they were bears.

Boy: That's better. We don't go and eat other people's food.

Me: Unless we're invited.

Boy: Right. Or bears will eat you.

Me: Something like that. It doesn't pay to be rude, anyway.

Posted by Big Arm Woman at 08:50 AM | Comments (7)

August 23, 2005

Blog Called On Account of Vomit

The Boy's, not mine, although that could change in the next 24-48 hours.

Which, okay, no problem. I have about 40 relatives coming for Labor Day and The Boy's birthday, party accoutrements to gather for same, and in my infinite wisdom I have decided that this week is the week to repaint the guest room, clean the carpets and Destroy All Clutter. Oh, and then there's the small matter of work. Of which I currently have a lot. All hail the beginning of the semester and the launch of the biggest fundraising campaign in the university's history! Woo!

So a stomach virus is really no problem. No problem at all. Insert slightly maniacal laughter here. And my mother is her usual helpful self--when I called to commiserate here's the conversation that ensued:

Me: Well, looks like The Boy's got a tummy virus. Fever and nausea--threw up once today and some diarrhea.

Mom: You know you were swimming in that pool at the beach.

Me: Mom. Just because your friend Joyce got sick at a pool it doesn't follow that every single person who sticks even a single toe into a chlorinated water receptacle will get sick. And also, that was two weeks ago--what, this virus has the incubation period of Mad Cow Disease?

Mom: I'm just saying.

Me: I know. You said it every day for a week. As I recall, you even leaned over the balcony to yell, "GET OUT OF THAT NASTY POOL!" while we were swimming.

Mom: You're exaggerating.

Me: Right. You never said "nasty."

Mom: You know I worry.

Me: I've begun to suspect as much, yes. How about when you get here next Friday I just feed you cocktails and you spend the weekend in a pleasant haze? Because when we get to the party and all those kids are flinging themselves headlong down the giant inflatable slides...I don't want to be responsible for your stroke.

Mom: I think I might want to try the giant slide.

Me: Or your broken hip. One word, mother: cocktails. I'm prepping the blender for your arrival as we speak.

Mom: You're impossible.

So. I'm off to dose the family with pepto bismol and motrin as needed. Have a great tomorrow.

Posted by Big Arm Woman at 08:44 PM | Comments (3)

June 23, 2005

How to Scar Your Child for Life

In two words:

Swimming Lessons.

So we decided that now would be a good time for The Boy to familiarize himself with the concept of swimming. We dutifully signed him up for two weeks of beginner lessons with the local YMCA, which started Monday at a local outdoor pool.

Monday was extremely cool and overcast. As a result, the water temperature in the pool was about four degrees. When The Boy stuck his feet in the water, I noticed that his legs were jiggling up and down, and it didn't appear to be from excitement (The Boy has a decided lack of baby fat or natural insulation). However, he gamely perservered, up until the time that the teachers told the students to walk down the two steps into the water (which comes to mid-chest on The Boy).

Instead of walking, The Boy fell forward. Face in water! Trauma! End of Days! So he was scared, and cold, and shivering, and clinging to his teacher like a tiny blue-ish barnacle. We extracted him from the pool and wrapped him in towels. Thus ended the first lesson.

His only comments on the way home were:
"Mommy, when I went in the water I could see everyone's legs!"
and
"When I grow up I'll learn to swim," which is Boy code for "try me again in ten years, 'cause I'm not going back."

Hublet and I decided to go back the following night to reacclimate The Boy to the pool and not let dread take hold, but we were saved, sort of, when the program director called and informed us that Tuesday's swim lesson was cancelled due to an unfortunate poop accident in the pool. Insert Caddyshack reference here.

The swim lessons, they were not proceeding as I had hoped.

But Wednesday was warm and sunny, and I coaxed The Boy back to the pool. After about twenty minutes of cajoling, I got his turtle float strapped to him, and got him to stand on the next-to-the-bottom step. He wouldn't go further, wrapping his legs around my calves and standing on my feet rather than putting his feet on the bottom of the pool. So I gently moved (well, pried) his feet off of mine and settled them on the pool's bottom. At which point The Boy exclaimed, "OH! The pool has a ground!" Apparently he thought it was a bottomless pit, and based on his first experience, I can see how that happened.

Then it only took a bit more coaxing to get him to swim with his teacher. I have decent hopes for tonight, barring further poop incidents, freezing temperatures, or aquatic face-plants.

If it doesn't work out, he can send me the therapy bills when he grows up.

Posted by Big Arm Woman at 11:20 AM | Comments (7)

May 02, 2005

Communion Etiquette

Ahh, the solemnity of communion. The ceremony, the feeling of connectedness that reaches back two milennia, the respectful silence, broken only by the sound of The Boy smacking his lips and saying, "Ahhhhh!" after downing his tiny shot glass of grape juice in one great gulp.

All he needed to do to complete the picture was to slam the empty cup down on the communion rail and yell, "Hit me again, preacher!"

Church is so much more entertaining with a three-year old.

Posted by Big Arm Woman at 08:26 AM | Comments (5)

April 22, 2005

How Do You Solve a Problem Like Adam...

NOTE: The names in this entry have been changed to protect the innocent--or not-so-innocent, as the case may be.

So there's this kid in The Boy's class--let's call him "Adam." Adam has...issues. Now I always figured that Adam's issues just stemmed from his relative immaturity (he only turned 3 in January, so he is by far the youngest child in The Boy's group), but I am beginning to think that Adam is a giant butthead. And please, before you get all indignant that a 30-something woman is harboring personal animosity toward a three-year old, I am here to tell you that I will be unaffected by your tsk-tsking. Adam is a butthead. A big, giant, possibly deranged butthead, who just happens to think my son is fabulous.

Now you might be thinking that we've dodged a bullet here with Adam the Giant Bullying Butthead, since he appears to like The Boy, but you'd be wrong. Among Adam's myriad problems is his total inability (even by toddler standards) to practice self control. So Adam will hug you and call you his best friend one minute, then push you down on the playground the next. Every day I get The Adam Report from The Boy, which sounds like a daily tragi-comedy in progress:

Me: So, what happened today?
Boy: Miss Antoinette took away Adam's smiley face.
Me: Why?
Boy: Adam was pushing people on the playground.
Me: Did he push you?
Boy: Yeah.
Me: Did he get time out?
Boy: Yeah.
Me: Now you know what you do if Adam bothers you, right? Tell him to stop and if he doesn't, you tell a teacher. And if that doesn't work, you push him back and run. He can't catch you, you know (The Boy is slight of build and very very fast. I'm trying to teach him how to maximize his survival skills--he can't win in a one-on-one with this kid, but speed and leverage are helpful).
Boy: Okay, mommy.

Then there was the conversation I had with Adam's mom, in which, between bouts of chasing her younger boy around while her husband stood idly by, not participating in the conversation or, well, anything, she informed me with a sigh that "Adam is just onery and he's always in trouble," and that the daycare owner had moved him up into my son's class because "he was too big and mean to stay with the other kids, and she was afraid he'd hurt them." Which begs the question, "Hey! What about my kid!" but I understand the owner's logic--put the kid where someone as big as he is will push back. Unfortunately, the lesson in Toddler Social Darwinism doesn't appear to have taken. Although, judging by the entirely average sizes of both his mother and father, Adam will learn that lesson soon enough.

I also understand that perhaps Adam's problems are exacerbated by the laissez faire parenting he receives. And frankly, if I were in his mom's shoes I might throw in the towel as well--those boys are pretty naturally rambunctious, and dad doesn't seem inclined to intervene, ever. To mom's credit, however, she has tried every intervention method recommended to her--and is working closely with the teachers in The Boy's class as well as the daycare's owner--but they don't seem to work. Reward witholding and time-outs roll off this kid like water off a duck. And it's still illegal to use ankle restraints in daycares, so that's out.

But we'll be marking The Boy's fifth birthday by enrolling at the local karate school. Of course by then Adam will be a thing of the past--The Boy will only spend about 11 more months in daycare--but I have a feeling that elementary school will present its own challenges for a small, shy boy.

In the meantime, I've been tutoring him in how to throw a punch. He knows enough not to break his fingers, but he still needs to work on keeping his guard up.

Posted by Big Arm Woman at 11:52 AM | Comments (17)

April 19, 2005

News Flash! Baby to Be Born; Society Will Cope

This makes me laugh. And not in the way the architects of the stunt may have intended. I am laughing because I have a feeling the "brave" mom-to-be has agreed to give birth in an art gallery because she has no freaking clue what labor is like.

The money quote?

Johann Novak, manager of the DNA-Galerie in central Berlin, said the artistic couple wanted to challenge conventional norms.

"It's a bit of test to see if society can cope," he said in a telephone interview.

With what, exactly? Birth? We've been coping with that for a few millennia. Birth in a public place? We read about taxicab deliveries once a week or so. And the article says there will only be 30 people present for the birth; hell, there were that many medical technicians in the hospital room where I performed the feat.

I'm thinking this will be more of a test to see if a couple of self-absorbed euro-artistes can cope with reality--the reality being that expelling a live human from your body hurts like a sonovabitch. That's why we have hospitals and epidurals, ladies--not because The Man is oppressing nature, but because The Woman grabbed The Man by the throat and said, "If you don't do something to help me with the pain I Will Kill You Dead!"

This post has been brought to you by The Artists--celebrating centuries of successfully complicating stuff that just isn't that complicated.

Posted by Big Arm Woman at 08:56 AM | Comments (8)

April 12, 2005

Roxxor!

File this under "It came from the back seat:"

"Mommy, I want big cool music rocking through the air!"

Unfortunately, I don't yet possess the iPod doohickey that lets me play my tunes through the car radio speakers, or there would have been a great big B-52s festival happening on Interstate 40 this morning.

Because to me, the definition of "big cool music rocking through the air" is "Legal Tender," or "Private Idaho" or possibly "Rock Lobster."

What?

Also, comments are wacky again. bigarm at doorstopkitty dot com, if you're just dying to chat.

Posted by Big Arm Woman at 08:19 AM | Comments (3)

April 04, 2005

Obligatory Monday Post

Okay, so The Boy waited until he got to daycare to vomit on me, thus truncating my Monday.

Read this article and the responses for your Monday dose of academia and politics.

Also, I would just like to go on record as saying that the movie Robots? Sucked. And this from someone who always stops to watch Big Trouble in Little China whenever it's on TV. So it's not like my standards are super high, you know? When fart jokes don't even get laughs from eight-year-old boys, well, you've done something wrong, is all I'm saying.

Posted by Big Arm Woman at 09:14 AM | Comments (5)

March 08, 2005

A Cautionary Tale--Too Late

So two of my pals are preggers. I anticipate that one will be high-maintenance, as she is already sending me weekly updates concerning her organic menu and eradication of all chemicals from her home, as well as numerous complaints about her inability to raise a child on just her husband's income of $90,000 per year. Oh, cry me a river. Seriously. I'll wait.

The other one won't be high maintenance. This is good. Since it is becoming apparent to me that my body is far too old to gestate another human being, it looks like I will have to enjoy the benefits of vicarious pregnancy. It also affords me the opportunity to post cautionary tales of What To Expect, just to horrify my friends. Here's today's version:

So last week, if you may recall, there was an Unexpected Vomit Incident at Exit 301, followed by hosing off The Boy at work and an unnecessary sick day--The Boy was just fine following the pukeage.

This morning, I was running late. It was raining buckets, which made the traffic horrible, and I was trying to drink my coffee and avoid an aneurysm, when I heard:

"Mommy, I don't feel good," from the back seat.

Oh, shit. I checked the rearview. The Boy looked sad.

"Are you too hot?" I asked, turning everything to COLD and HIGH and directing it rearward. "Here, breathe deeply and slowly." Frantically, I searched the car for a possible vomit receptacle before seizing upon the Gladware that housed my sandwich. Sandwich was put on the passenger seat, and Gladware was handed to The Boy.

"If you feel like you're going to throw up, use this."
"I don't want to!"
"PLEASE. Just. Use. It."

Not two minutes later, there was retching. I checked the Exit number--303. I get off on Exit 297. Traffic was starting to pick up speed. Double shit.

"Mommy, here." Even better. Now I had a shallow pan of vomit held precariously between thumb and forefinger, and I had to figure out how to maneuver it over the seat without spilling it while driving 65 mph down the highway in a rainstorm. And then...

"Mommy, I need it again!" More vomit. More careful maneuvering of the Pan O' Puke, hopefully with very little swerving.

I held the P.O.P. carefully until exit 297, when a stoplight afforded me the opportunity to put a lid on it and grab a fistful of pampers wipes.

We went to daycare, changed his clothing, and I left him acting perfectly fine and playing with friends. I fear my child has developed motion sickness. As we commute 20 miles each way, this could be a problem.

I will definitely be picking up a gross of Gladware on the way home, and possibly a small, waterproof, rain poncho for in-car use.

Posted by Big Arm Woman at 12:47 PM | Comments (12)

February 01, 2005

Enablers, Inc.

The Boy spent the latter portion of last week with my parents. Cue dining out! Cue movies! Cue unlimited video gaming! It was a wonderful time for everyone involved, particularly for The Boy, as my folks plan fun outings for every single day of his stay. Spoiled much? My only instruction to them was as follows: Do NOT purchase any trains. Seriously. We've recently instituted the chores/allowance system at our house, so that The Boy can begin to understand the concepts of earning what you want and delayed gratification. For a toddler whose primary reading material is the Thomas Yearbook, these concepts are key to his and our future happiness. I think you know where I'm going with this, so here's the conversation I had with my mom and dad not one day after The Boy's triumphant arrival at their home:

Me: What did you do today?

Mom: We went out to eat at the K&W;, then to the Nature Science Museum and then to AC Moore.

Me: Why did you go to AC Moore?

Mom: Oh, The Boy wants to talk to you!

The Boy: Hey mommy. I went to AC Moore and got power James!

Me: You SAW power James?

The Boy: And we bought some new track!

Me: You got new track?

The Boy: And power James!

Me: Let me speak to your Poppa.

Dad: Hey.

Me: Dad, did you buy him power James? The battery operated James? That costs $24?

Dad: Well, his power Thomas wasn't working right. I think he managed to break the contacts on it. We replaced the battery, but it's not making contact.

Me: You could have just replaced the Thomas.

Dad: Well, he didn't want Thomas.

Me: Well then he could have just gone without, then, couldn't he? He isn't supposed to get any new trains, what with him being completely spoiled and having no concept of things having value...

Dad: And that James is really more powerful than Thomas. I can put all the other train cars behind him and he pulls them right up the big hills!

Me: Dad...

Dad: We've had a lot of fun with James today!

Me: Dad, you wanted the train, didn't you?

Dad: Here, your mother wants to speak to you.

Me: DAD! Mom? What are you doing?

Mom: Well, he broke his Thomas...

Me: What part of "DO NOT BUY HIM ANYTHING" did you not get?

Hublet (who has been listening to my part of the conversation): What did they do?

Me: (to Hublet) What do you think?

Hublet: (sighs in defeat) Unbelievable.

Mom: He's still doing his chores and getting his smilies here--we'll give him his allowance on Saturday.

Me: That's not the point...

Mom: You didn't send any videos with him.

Me: I know, I told you that if you had some uncontrollable urge to buy him something, you could get him Aladdin. Or there's, you know, movie RENTAL. It's not unheard of to view something and not keep it forever, especially when the viewer has the attention span of a gnat.

Mom: He didn't want Aladdin.

Me: WHAT DID YOU BUY.

Mom: Well, we were at K-Mart...

Me: Before or after the AC Moore buy-a-thon?

Mom: He wanted that Thomas movie, you know, the one with Alec Baldwin?

Me: Oh, dear God, no. Not that one.

Mom: It's a cute movie. Peter Fonda's acting, though, leaves something to be desired.

Me: Just...no more buying. Or I'm going to make you return everything.

Mom: We've already opened it.

Me: Or I'm going to run over it with my car. You're the one always saying he's spoiled, and look at you! You're enablers, that's what you are!

Mom: He's eating well.

Me: (deep, despairing sigh) Great. See you Monday.

Mom: We'll call you tomorrow.

Me: Great.


Posted by Big Arm Woman at 08:51 AM | Comments (7)

January 14, 2005

Captain Baggy Drawers

Okay, does anyone know of boxer shorts for toddlers? The smallest size I've found is a 6, and The Boy is a 3, waist-wise.

I ask because he has lately insisted that no part of his underwear come into contact with his "wee-wee," due to the chafing sensation. And so in desperation I have purchased underwear a size too big, which solves his problem re: the unfettered wee-wee, but which causes other difficulties, like underwear that doesn't stay up properly.

Boxers, boxers, my kingdom for toddler boxers!

Posted by Big Arm Woman at 09:59 AM | Comments (4)

December 22, 2004

Santa's Revenge, Or: Making Memories, Dammit!

As you know, The Boy loves trains. So way back in November, I purchased five tickets on the special Polar Express Train that the Great Smoky Mountains Railroad was offering for Christmas. For the low, low price of $24 per adult and $12 per child, you got a one hour and fifteen minute round trip journey to the "North Pole," complete with Mrs. Claus reading The Polar Express, hot chocolate, cookies, and a visit from Santa. Since Hublet's parents reside in Asheville, I thought, this would be a perfect Christmas outing--one that would be indelibly etched into our warm and fuzzy Christmas memories of yore.

Well I was right about the indelibly etched part, anyway.

Hublet, The Boy and I departed last Friday night for the first part of our 1,000 mile, four-day relative-palooza, and went to Camden, SC to visit all the crazy people I'm related to down there. On Saturday, after lunch with about 20 of my relatives and an orgy of gifts for everyone under the age of twelve, we loaded up again and drove another two and a half hours to Asheville. My mountain cousins had helpfully informed me of the Gigantic Lake Effect Winter Event that was due to arrive on Sunday. Guess when our train trip was? Yeah. Guess who was practically pushing the car in his haste to ride the Polar Express? Yeah. Guess who spent the entirety of a two and a half hour drive alternately bargaining with and threatening the Almighty with dire consequences if snow caused her to disappoint the toddler? Oh hell yeah.

Exhausted, we collapsed into bed on Saturday, only to be awakened Sunday morning by the eerily flat voice of the National Weather Service Announcer proclaiming that only fools and Englishmen would go out today, because all hell was about to break loose. There was something about carrying a portable Coleman stove in your glove compartment, but I had ceased listening after the first part and was staring out the window at a perfectly clear, sunny--but COLD! GOOD GOD was it cold!--day.

Hublet was grim. Mother-in-law had decided to stay home, father-in-law was more blase', but as this is the man who managed to run into our new car IN OUR DRIVEWAY, and who seems to think it can be fixed for under $200, I tend to take his pronouncements with a shaker of salt. And then The Boy waltzed into the den, all smiles and excitement, and said, "I get to ride the Polar Express!" And it was on. We were going to ride that train, by God, even if it wiped out the entire family. No, my middle name is not Ahab.

I told father-in-law to call Bryson City and get a hotel reservation in case we got stuck, and we all went to the I-Hop for brunch. And then it started snowing. At 1:30 we had packed overnight bags and I had put every stitch of clothing The Boy owned on him--we had decided to take our car as it had all wheel drive, and I felt better with Hublet at the wheel than with Captain Driveway toting us around, and we were set. Well, except for the part where my zaftig (okay, obese) mother-in-law suddenly decided to join us. Let's just say seatbelts were unnecessary in the back of the Subaru Forester.

One hour and ten minutes (and no more snow) later, we were in Bryson City, about three hours ahead of schedule. We went to the local cafe with an increasingly antsy Boy to kill some time. The sky was clear, and since we had to decide whether to cancel the hotel reservations by 4 p.m., we cancelled them. Guess what? Yep. Snow.

There followed two and a half hours of Distracting The Boy, involving potty trips, train store browsing, and Very Brief Walks In the Arctic Environment. Finally it was 5:45, boarding time, according to the ticket office, so off we went to the Depot. And the train pulled into the station! There was much rejoicing, and we all made our way out from under the shelter.

And stood in 15 degree weather with snow pelting our faces and a wind chill of 6 degrees for, oh, about twenty minutes. At one point Hublet cracked wise about "making memories" and if my hand hadn't been completely numb I would have clocked him.

So there was finally a heated car, hot chocolate, a cookie, caroling, pretty lights at the "North Pole" (actually Whittier, NC) and a visit from Santa, who bestowed a sleigh bell on The Boy. And the 15 seconds of video I have of The Boy screaming and pointing and yelling, "LOOK! IT'S THE POLAR EXPRESS!" made all the rest of it worthwhile. Well, except maybe for the hour and forty-five minute return trip over icy mountain roads.

Ah, memories.

Posted by Big Arm Woman at 09:55 PM | Comments (5)

November 08, 2004

If it's November, it's time for Turkey Feet

The Boy has hit the Land of Make-Believe running, it seems. This weekend he veered from being


  1. A cat

  2. A cowboy with a horse named Doody--yee-ha!

  3. A farmer with an unusual livestock collection (I had to be a giraffe)

  4. A king with a penchant for whacking his subjects with his "king scept," a scepter derived from a paper towel roll. All hail the Tyrant King! He was unimpressed with my cries of "Help! I'm being oppressed!"

  5. A ghost

  6. A spy

  7. Naked Boy! Scourge of the clothed!

We also traveled to a birthday party at a place called Pump It Up, wherein a bunch of three-year-olds and their parents were invited to jump, slide, climb and generally run around a room full of giant inflatable equipment for an hour and a half, followed by pizza, cake, goodie bags and balloons. Best. Time. Ever. Although I am a little stiff today from flinging myself around the obstacle course and giant slide. Seriously, whee!

Watched Van Helsing last night. Verdict: sometimes more? Not better. Still, Hugh Jackman remains my male ideal. I would watch him watching paint dry.

And finally, The Course of the Seasons, as delineated by The Boy:

Springtime is for baseball.
Football comes in the fall.
Then we have turkey feet.

So there you have it, folks. It's turkey feet time!


Posted by Big Arm Woman at 08:38 AM | Comments (3)

October 20, 2004

Who Peed In Your Fruit Loops?

One of The Boy's charming three-year-old qualities is his refusal to pee unless it is his idea. And when I tell him to go potty immediately preceding bedtime and when he gets up in the morning, he objects. Never mind the fact that he drank approximately 14 ounces of milk right before he dozed off--he will. not. pee. As I am a person who must schedule nighttime beverage intake to occur within a 30 minute window (taking into account hours of sleep planned, size of beverage glass, and the wind speed of the African Swallow) in order to avoid having to get up in the middle of the night to relieve myself, I find this trend distressing. And so every day we cajole, bribe, order and snap completely, and The Boy whines, cries, tantrums, then produces a copious stream of urine--usually in the potty. I hate this. A lot.

So last night I decided to try the whole "target practice" tactic I'd heard about, whereby you drop some Cheerios in the bowl and let a male child demonstrate wee-wee dexterity by sinking the toasted Os. Except I didn't have any Cheerios. I had some Fruit-Os, the off brand version of Fruit Loops that They Boy had seized off the shelf in a previous grocery adventure, and that he had left over from the morning's breakfast (The Boy likes his cereal dry: He drinks some milk, then eats the cereal like finger food. Lather, rinse, repeat. Yes, I have tried explaining the wonders of skipping a step by combining the essential elements, but since I'm in my mid-thirties and still cannot stand for my food groups to touch each other, I figure he gets it honest and that I'm not one to lecture. Anyway...). Even better! Colorful targets, merrily floating in the bowl! The Boy was even quite excited, if a little confused at first; after all, it's not like mommy can demonstrate Fruit-O sinking technique, and daddy was unavailable. But he gamely whipped it out and sank the Fruit-Os! There was much rejoicing! And flushing! So life was good, and we proceeded to bed.

As I reclined in front of my TiVo'd Farscape and Hublet finished tucking in The Boy, I was summoned to the back of the house by a distressed call of "MOOOMMMY!" That was Hublet yelling, by the way. I rushed back and stuck my head in the door.

"Tell Mommy what you said." this from Hublet.
"No."
"Tell her."
"No."
"What?" this from me, torn between concern for what The Boy's deep, dark secret might be and my need to find out who the traitor was on Farscape.
"He said he wants to pee-pee on his Fruit Loops." Hublet sounded concerned. Grossed out, too.
"Yeah, I told him he could."
"WHAT?!" Now Hublet was really icked out. So I explained the Great Fruit-O Sinking of Aught Four. Hublet remained grossed out, and not terribly eager to demonstrate his Fruit-O sinking prowess--"I am 34 years old. I'm not going to pee on cereal," were his exact words.

My rejoinder that he really ought to Carpe Diem, or Carpe Fruit-Os, or Carpe Pee Tricks, fell on deaf ears.

Posted by Big Arm Woman at 01:55 PM | Comments (12)

September 27, 2004

Sing, Sing a Song

You may have noticed that I haven't posted any amusing or charming anecdotes about The Boy lately--well, unless you consider his puking all over the car last Monday amusing. And if you do, I am no longer speaking to you, so there. The reason behind the dearth of anecdotes is simple: lately, The Boy has been neither amusing nor charming. Truculent, yes. Whiny, yes. Defiant, screechy and evil, in spades. But not charming, or cute, or even very much fun. That's part of the reason why The Boy will be packed off with the maternal grandparents at the end of this week for an indeterminate time period (when I tell my mother I can pack him enough supplies for a month, she laughs and tells me how I'll be pining for him after 2 days. Umm, no. Don't get me wrong--I'll call every day while he's gone, but pining is a bit much to expect just now. Which probably explains the somewhat nervous quality of my mother's laugh when I reiterate the month's worth of supplies thing...). But--and there's always a but, isn't there--The Boy has managed to discover, somewhere down amongst all those uncontrollable motor impulses and murky unnameable desires for contrariness, his songwriting gene. Granted, it is a small gene, and given the quality of the songs a possibly malformed gene, but it's there.

This past Saturday we trekked into town so that Hublet could tape an episode of the Brain Game at the local CBS affiliate and The Boy and I could spend some quality time at Pullen Park. The main draw for The Boy was getting to meet Hublet's students: nothing amazes a three year old more than high schoolers. After we retrieved the victorious Hublet, we headed off to the Chick-Fil-A for some nuggets due to The Boy's desire that we "Not Go Home!" En route, Hublet and I were puzzled to hear this emanating from the backseat:

Students, students, studentstudentstudents
stuuuuuuuuuudents, student students
students students stuuuuuuuuuuuu
dents

When we inquired, we were informed that this was "The Students Song," and that it was a paean to Hublet's students. We dutifully praised The Boy's creative genius, which unfortunately only served to inspire him to greater heights of songwriting aspiration. And so we've added the following to The Boy's oeuvre:

The Pee-Pee Song
The Puh-Dog Song
The Gertie Song
The Green Thomas Underwear Song
The Cool Shoes Song

The ditties are somewhat postmodern in their atonality and self-referential quality, and no, I haven't been analyzing them too much, so stop looking at me like that. Let's just say that The Boy is as prolific as he is loud, which is very. And let's add that I am counting the days until Thursday, when my folks arrive.

Posted by Big Arm Woman at 09:50 AM | Comments (7) | TrackBack

September 20, 2004

Well Whaddya Know? It's Monday!

So, The Boy waits until we've gotten all the way into town and I've ordered the Monday Burger King Hash Brown Breakfast to throw up all over the back seat of the car. Cue crying, stripping, wadding up clothing, a mad dash to the daycare to pick up some spare duds, a pit stop at work to pick up some to-dos with a mismatched and inappropriately dressed for the weather vomit-smelling child who gleefully informs everyone at the office that he "Frowed Up" and thus "Gets to play with my trains!" Follow this up with a 20 mile commute in a vomit-mobile, frantic laundry, car upholstery shampooing, and a check of the work email which reveals someone freaking out about something that will ultimately be my fault, and, well, Welcome to Monday! Dammit.

Here. Read all this. Links via reader Michelle. Just a little light reading for a Monday morning...

Posted by Big Arm Woman at 09:48 AM | Comments (5)

August 18, 2004

It Came from the Back Seat

Our twice-daily commute is only 30 minutes, but it offers The Boy plenty of time to ruminate on the Myriad Mysteries of Life. It's also a good way to find out whether or not he spent any time in "time out" that day, but that's neither here nor there. When he's not pointing out faces in clouds or blue monsters in the treetops ("It's gonna bite the car, mommy! Go faster!) or perfecting his back seat driving skills ("Red light, mommy. Red light! Redlightredlightredlight!" Red light means STOP, MOMMY!" "Yes sweetie, but that red light is six blocks away. I don't have to stop for it here.") he is busily at work on what I like to call The Boy's Guide to Living Right. The Boy's Guide is a mishmash of parental admonishments, natural observations, personal desires and a smattering of Veggie Tales lyrics all rolled into one overweaning philosophy in an attempt to make sense of the world. Here's a sample:

Boy: "We don't say `stupid.'"
BAW: "Right, sweetie."
Boy: "Stupid is an ugly word."
BAW: "Yep."
Boy: "So we don't say `stupid.'"
BAW: "And we don't say that we don't say it, either, just to be able to say it. That's cheating."
Boy: (Sly smile) "What if I just say it real slow?"
BAW: "Speed makes no difference. You and I know it's an ugly word. Don't say it."
Boy: (Bursts into musical number) "Jonah was a prophet!"
BAW: "oooh, oooh!"
Boy: "But he really never got it!"
BAW: "Sad but true!"
Boy: "If you've been watching you can spot it!"
BAW: "Doodley doo!"
BOTH: "He did not get the POINT!"
Boy: "Wanna hear faster song, mommy."
BAW: (Flips radio, lands on Outkast's "Hey Ya")
Boy: (Flailing in his car seat) "Dance, mommy!"

Strangers stare at sudden spastic fit from driver and passenger in the Subaru.

Boy: "I'm moving up to my new class with all my friends."
BAW: "Yep, with Miss Kay. You'll have fun."
Boy: "Uh-huh, because I have my orange socks on!"
BAW: "Orange socks are the color of fun."
Boy: "Uh-huh, the color of fun! And my frog shirt."
BAW: "Also orange."
Boy: "Uh-huh. With frog. I wanna go to your work, mommy and show them my orange fun socks."
BAW: "Maybe we can do that Friday."
Boy: "Otay. Your work needs orange socks."
BAW: "That's the truth. The whole world could use more orange socks, son."
Boy: "The WHOLE WORLD?!?"
BAW: "mmm-hmm."
Boy: "Mommy, you're kinda silly."
BAW: "Yep. You love me anyway, though."
Boy: "Yep."

There is a moment of silence.

Boy: "We don't say `shut up.' `Shut up' is ugly. We don't say it. Not even slow."

Posted by Big Arm Woman at 10:42 AM | Comments (9)

July 28, 2004

The Adventures of Truculent Poop-Head Boy

Episode I - The Saga Begins

In a middle-class house in a middle-class neighborhood in suburbia, USA, there lived a Boy. The Boy was two and 11/12ths years old, fond of trains, running around, Spiderman, blue tiger monsters and bands of singing Australians. His life was an uncomplicated one, and he was happy. Until one day, when The Boy suffered a radioactive emotional meltdown that transformed the mild-mannered toddler into Truculent Poop-Head Boy!

Yes, Truculent Poop-Head Boy, scourge of parenting magazines everywhere! His awesome powers include Mega Door Slamming with Kung Fu Knob Grip, The Ear-Piercing Wail, Turbo Parental-Avoidance Speed, and the Power Pout. Fear his wrath! Dread his trigger moments, like being asked to clean up, go potty, eat a meal, take a bath, go to bed, get up, wear clothing, or breathe! Grab your extra-strength Tums and prepare for the next turgid episode of Truculent Poop-Head Boy!

Our story opens during dinner-time at The Boy's house. It is a simple repast: hot dogs, baked beans, broccoli and applesauce. Yet something is amiss with this merry tableau; The Boy has been asked to wash his hands before sitting down at the table. And before you can say "tater tot," The Boy transforms into Truculent Poop-Head Boy! The adults respond calmly at first, giving TPHB a choice: either hand washing or five minutes in his room. But TPHB escalates the confrontation! He releases the first weapon in his arsenal, the Ear-Piercing Wail! The adults--now with ears full of cotton wadding--reiterate the choice, and take up positions on either side of the wailing anti-hero, but TPHB is too fast for them, and with a blast of Turbo Parental-Avoidance Speed, he jets out of the kitchen and into the den!

Recovering quickly, the adults manage to corner TPHB after only a brief chase and escort him to a domestic holding cell, which has the added advantage of being sufficiently soundproofed to mitigate the effects of the Wail. They return to their meal, keeping an ear out for any further sign of disturbance. Five minutes later, they approach the ominously quiet holding cell and open the door, only to find TPHB prepared with the Power Pout. Caught unawares and helpless before this onslaught, the adults hug TPHB and ask him if he's ready to wash his hands. TPHB considers for a moment, the transforms back into The Boy and acquiesces. Tragedy averted! Well, until ten minutes later, when The Boy is asked to stop playing with his food and eat it.

What will happen next? Will Truculent Poop-Head Boy reappear? Will door-slamming and thrashing about commence? Will the dog, cat and betta fish pack their belongings and go in search of a quieter household? Tune in next week for another indegestion-inducing episode of Truculent Poop-Head Boy!

Posted by Big Arm Woman at 09:29 AM | Comments (10)

July 23, 2004

Fridays With Hublet

First of all, thanks for the fish puns. Betta blockers. Good Lord. And now, on with the post:

Hublet and The Boy have been spending Fridays together this summer in a male bonding/daycare break arrangement. I like the Fridays arrangement because it affords me the time to stop by Starbucks before work, the opportunity to drive my beloved purple pickup truck, and the privacy necessary to crank the tune-age up to eleven and not worry about whether or not the CD has a Parental Language Advisory. Woo! I take my me-time where I can find it, people. All hail the Friday commute!

The other fun part of Fridays With Hublet is the phonecalls I receive at work. I usually get a "Hey Mommy" call from The Boy, followed by a "grocery list" call from Hublet, and we usually conclude with a "post nap save me from the grumpy evil" call from both of them.

But today, dear readers, we had a first. I received this communication in place of my "grocery list" call:

Me: Hey there!
Hublet: We're dealing with erections.
Me: What? Whose?
Hublet: The Boy!
Me: (uncontrollable giggling)
Hublet: It's awful!
Me: What happened?
Hublet: He was sitting on the sofa laughing, and then he said, "My wee-wee!" and...There It Was!
Me: (more laughter)
Hublet: It's not funny!
Me: You know it's normal.
Hublet: Aaaaaaa! It's gross!
Me: What's he doing now?
Hublet: Watching Jo-Jo's Circus.
Me: I'll get some tips on redirecting toddler attention from their naughty bits and we'll keep them handy just in case.
Hublet: Aaaaaaaa!

Well. I had no idea that the grossed-out feeling you get from thinking about parental sexuality was just a tiny drop in the ocean of squicked-out-itude that you find when you must confront the reality of your child as a sexual being. Oh, and let me just thank Cialis and Viagara now for making sure that Hublet and I will be stuck with horrific parental elder-boink imagery as well as dear-God-not-my-baby imagery for many, many years to come.


Posted by Big Arm Woman at 10:50 AM | Comments (5)

July 19, 2004

The Making of a Sport God

Let's get this out of the way: I hate soccer. I hate it in all its incarnations: the "herd ball" practiced by the newbie set, the "empowering chick ball" practiced by the preteen girl set, and the "professional football (or futbol, if you're spanish language-snob inclined)" played worldwide. You won't convert me, so don't even try. And also, if you find that something deep within you is irrevocably offended by my hatred of soccer, might I suggest a beer and valium combination? Because I'm not interested in your defense of your favorite elegant nuanced girl-and-boy-empowering sport of choice that also affords you the opportunity to unironically sip a latte in the stands. Seriously. So just think before you hit that Submit Comment button, is all I'm saying. Well, that's not all I'm saying, but let's just move on, shall we?

Hublet shares my visceral anti-soccer reaction, and so when we play sports outside or watch sports on TV, they tend to be baseball or football (the 'Merican version, and I can't believe I'm even dignifying the S-word by clarifying that, dear God) or (college-only) basketball. Given the DNA that The Boy has been dealt, he will never play football. Baseball and basketball, yes, provided his growth spurt occurs earlier than mine did. He would also probably enjoy track and field and gymnastics, given his speed and penchant for hurling himself off of high structures and doing flips. But since Dick's Sporting Goods doesn't sell parallel bars or saddle horses, we're going with baseball right now.

Saturday was our weekly family outing/good capitalist trip to the local shoparama, and Hublet was chomping at the bit to get The Boy a "real" baseball glove. Yes, I know the child is not yet three, and yes, you probably do know where this is going, but bear with me. See, we've been spending a fair bit of time on the weekends tossing the baseball around, and The Boy, upon seeing our gloves, insists on wearing HIS "glubs," which are his blue and orange gardening gloves complete with a smiling insect face and the logo "Be Good To Bugs" emblazoned on them. Thus arrayed, The Boy can be cajoled to chase baseballs and either throw or place them into Mommy and Daddy's "big glubs." Hublet had decided that this Would Not Do, and so off to Dick's we went, where The Boy amused himself by running the "track" in the shoe section and I picked up a Pilates toning tape (early verdict - OW).

A smattering of baseball gear had been selected and we were on our way to the check-out when the trouble began. There, attractively arrayed at toddler eye-level, was a display of colorful "mini soccer balls." The Boy was drawn to them as Odysseus to the Sirens, for they were small, and round, and easily handled by an almost three-year-old who already possesses the only skills necessary to soccer: running and kicking. The horror! I managed to distract him with a hula hooping demo, and home we went.

Only to discover, to Hublet's dismay, that the "big glub" was too heavy. And that The Boy really likes to kick wiffle balls instead of hitting them. I reassured Hublet that as The Boy's motor skills progress he will come to enjoy wielding the glove and bat, and that since he isn't quite three his interest level in any sport that isn't "fling self wildly around the outdoors and fall down" is limited, but secretly I feared that the insidious "gateway" evil that is toddler soccer might be establishing a foothold in my darling boy. You shall not lure my son to the dark side, evil soccer! Constant vigilance is my only recourse! Well, that and another 700 games of "airplane."

Posted by Big Arm Woman at 10:10 AM | Comments (10)

July 15, 2004

Of Worry, Toothpaste and the Advice Nurse

I thought of this while reading Michele's worrywart post today. Of course, her worrywarting is several thousand orders of magnitude more sweeping in its scope than mine could ever be, but we do have one thing in common: an over-protective, worried mother.

Since I'm an only child and my mom has always, always been a little high on the paranoid meter, I developed a multiple-stage defense mechanism early on: neglect to inform mother of potentially hazardous doings in my life; when she discovers said doings, deflect with sarcasm; then finally move to confrontation and refusal to speak of it further. It's a flawed system, but nine times out of ten I never have to go past DefCon 2 on the Mom Meter, and we have a pretty good relationship.

I've mentioned before that becoming a grandmother has sent mom over the edge, worry-wise. Her latest manifestation of Grandma Syndrome occurred last weekend, when she called me out of the blue and the conversation went like this:

Me: Hello?
Mom: Is there any way The Boy can get to your toothpaste?
Me: (Knowing exactly where this is going and desperately trying to stop it) No, and he uses a special toddler toothpaste that has no flouride because I know that flouride is an evil, deadly poison and GodOnlyKnowsWhatCouldHappen if he ingested even a microbe of the foul, foul, devil's brew.
Mom: (Undeterred) Well, I was reading this article today and it said that if a toddler swallows regular toothpaste you should call poison control.
Me: I know, mother.
Mom: Well, I just wanted to make sure.
Me: You thought I was brushing his teeth with flouride toothpaste, didn't you?
Mom: (Pause that lasts just a little too long, betokening guilt) Of course not, I just wanted to be sure.
Me: Uh-huh.
Mom: So, when are you coming to visit?

This sort of thing drives me nuts, but because it's my mom, I can handle it. It's when the advice is coming from another source and that source is condescending that I snap. Like when it's coming from the Hell Nurse at my pediatrician's office. For the record, I think my pediatrician and her entire staff are the kindest, most patient, wonderful people EVER. But there's this one advice nurse who makes me want to kill her every time she returns a call to me, because she talks too fast, talks too much and has absolutely no people skills.

The first time she called me back I had asked a question about Benadryl dosages for The Boy's mild allergies and she said, and I quote (because believe me, this one's burned into my brain), "Well, obviously the people at your daycare are trying to sedate your son."

Ooookay. Never mind that I had explicitly told her that a) The Benadryl was our last resort as the Dimetapp wasn't working, b) It was the pediatrician's suggestion that we try it if the Dimetapp didn't work and that c) She knows nothing about me, the daycare I send The Boy to, or anything else. But hey, feel free to slander my mothering skills, you fast-talking, condescending, omniscient bitch. I'm sure you'll go far. She became my nemesis on that day, and although I have managed not to drive to the pediatrician's office and punch her, the thought of so doing gives me comfort.

So when she called me back about a skin question this week, I braced myself. First, she informed me that I needed to leave longer messages because if I didn't then the phone call would just end up being longer. To which I replied, "Oh, I wouldn't worry about that. You talk so fast I'm sure you get all your calls done in half the time." And lo, I got some decent, brief advice, with only one implied slur against my mothering skills because I allow The Boy to ingest juice.

As vicious digs go it was sub-par, but I'm a quick learner, and my lag time between "What did she just say?" and "Oh, HELL NO!" has gotten much shorter. One day I shall leave her to hang up the phone and realize too late that she's been SERVED. And on that day, there will be much rejoicing.

Posted by Big Arm Woman at 02:11 PM | Comments (4)

June 21, 2004

Explanations

In an attempt to forestall the nightly whining about bedtime, last night I launched into a lengthy explanation about the importance of a good night's sleep--well, as lengthy as you can be while pontificating to a toddler who just wants you to lie on his bed and make his Curious George talk to him, anyway.

"Son," I said, "you need to go to sleep so you can get enough rest so you won't wake up all whiny and grumpy and so you'll be able to enjoy our weekly trek to the hash browns lady."

The Boy looked at me, wide-eyed.

I continued, "Now I'm going to let Curious George give you a good night kiss, and then mommy's going to go do her exercises."

"You no exercise, mommy," said The Boy, trying to forestall the departure of Curious George.

"I have to, sweetie, otherwise I'll be too fat to lay here on your bed and make Curious George talk to you."

The Boy pondered this for a moment.

"O-tay, mommy."

"O-tay," I said, and rose to leave.

"Mommy, call Daddy. He can do Curious George."

So I did. It might have been Father's Day, but I was sure that Hublet didn't want to miss even one day of making a stuffed monkey writhe in agony as The Boy crushed it with Puh-Dog. Heh. I exercised, The Boy dozed off, and I felt pretty good about my little explanantion of the importance of sleep.

This morning, I went to get The Boy out of bed and onto the potty. He came, stumbling and bleary-eyed, and sat down on the toilet.

"Haveta go potty, mommy," he said.

"I know, sweetie."

"I get grumpy and fat if I don't go potty. Don' wanna be grumpy and fat."

I decided to leave well enough alone. God only knows what bizarre ideas my attempts at untangling that little cause and effect explanation might put in The Boy's head.


Posted by Big Arm Woman at 03:05 PM | Comments (0)

June 14, 2004

Notes From a Loooooong Weekend

When your mother tells you at the beginning of a trip, "Don't worry, I know this shortcut," put her in a headlock until she promises not to take said shortcut. Otherwise, you will be making U-Turns in scary gravel driveways and trying to avoid running over random dogs and being hit by other vehicles while making these U-Turns on curvy mountain roads with zero visibility, and then you will be forced to ask directions from the work crew hanging out in the parking lot of the local strip joint. These events, while slightly humorous in retrospect, do not amuse a woman who is hellbent on getting her offspring to Tweetsie Railroad in time for a prepaid ride on an anthropomorphic British tank engine. A headlock would have been a much more efficient use of time, and would have had the bonus effect of not elevating my blood pressure to steam engine proportions.

Funny thing about coal burning steam engines that we in SUV-saturated middle America tend to forget: coal burning steam engines produce a lot of black smoke with cinders, and those cinders are drawn to the human eyeball like moths to a flame. Or maybe they're just drawn to my eyeballs. It's hard to appreciate a lovely train ride through the mountains when coal particles are trying to embed themselves in your skull. Although the sensation of cinder-in-the-eyeball is definitely up there in the "unforgettable" category, it wasn't what I had in mind when I expressed the hope that our trip would be "memorable."

Never underestimate the ability of a male toddler to incur grievous skin injuries, particularly when the toddler is all het up about meeting Sir Topham Hatt. Also, never underestimate the attachment a toddler will form to a temporary tattoo in the shape of an anthropomorphic British tank engine.

All in all, we had a large time up at Tweetsie Railroad, and I learned a few things about The Boy:


  • He has no fear of heights.

  • His trust in me to catch him is absolute (see above).

  • He doesn't have a problem bossing much larger kids around.

  • He thinks that wooden trains and video cassette tapes are just as cuddly as stuffed animals, and will sleep with them in his bed.

  • His idea of good reading material is the Thomas Yearbook, which he will spend hours poring over and pointing out the items that he "needs."

  • He isn't afraid of people dressed up in gigantic padded character costumes, which gives me hope for a good Santa picture this year.

Posted by Big Arm Woman at 10:16 AM | Comments (3)

May 28, 2004

Wheee!

Nothin' says fun like a whole bunch of vomit on a Holiday weekend!

And since today is Vomit II - Electrolyte Boogaloo, don't expect to hear from me 'till Tuesday.

Have a good Memorial Day Weekend, those of you who celebrate it.

Think of me as I repaint a room and launder everything in the house.

Posted by Big Arm Woman at 08:47 AM | Comments (1)

May 26, 2004

Bad Mommy. No Cookie.

Today I committed the gravest sin a mother can commit: I failed to read my child's mind and take appropriate pre-emptive actions.

The Boy has never gone in for a lot of the normal comfort devices of child and toddler-hood. He never sucked his thumb or a pacifier, never got attached to a blanket or had a teddy bear that he dragged around everywhere. He does, however, have Puh-Dog. Puh-Dog is a stuffed floppy brown dog that The Boy has to place on his head in order to get to sleep at night, stretched across his eyes like a furry sleep mask. Puh-Dog also accompanies us in the car on the way to daycare, and then Puh-Dog will, on occasion, inhabit The Boy's cubby all day. The Boy doesn't need to actually hold Puh-Dog for comfort, he just likes the physical proximity. And as often as not, Puh-Dog will be told to "stay with mommy," and left in the car while The Boy carries on his important Boy Business.

Recently, Puh-Dog has gotten a companion in T-Bone, a stuffed version of the little yellow dog that viewers of the Clifford TV series will be familiar with. Where Puh-Dog goes, T-Bone will follow, often with the result that The Boy is rendered invisible in his car seat by a pile of stuffed dogs. But while Puh-Dog often is singled out to travel solo with The Boy, T-Bone never is. Clearly, T-Bone is second best. Pity poor T-Bone.

Lately, The Boy will often substitute other items for Puh-Dog when we leave the house. Mostly he'll take one of his Thomas trains, sometimes a toy car (the miniature Big Red Car complete with Wiggles is a favorite), and one day he took a leather bound book of poetry. We don't know why he did that, but Hublet is convinced it's proof of The Boy's discerning taste and his advanced intellect. Not that Hublet is in any way biased. I didn't have the heart to tell Hublet that The Boy only wanted to see if he could peel the leather off the book's binding. Guess what? He could! Numerous lectures on How To Treat Our Precious Reading Material ensued. And there was gluing. Lots of gluing.

Anyway, I've made a habit of inquiring whether The Boy wants to take Puh-Dog and T-Bone in the mornings. And even if he says "No!", I toss them in the car anyway, because he'll ask for them when we're halfway there. I think you know what's coming next.

We've been working on self-dressing skills. Today The Boy managed to get his Thomas underwear on right side out and frontwards, and was struggling with his shorts. I asked him if he wanted Puh-Dog and T-Bone, and the answer was, "No! No mommy! No Puh-Dog! Don' wan' Puh-Dog! Ooof!" This last bit was from the fall caused by his putting both legs through one leg hole of his shorts. I put down Puh-Dog and T-Bone, and went to assist my immobilized child.

Oh, how that scene has played in slo-mo in my head since then: the fall, me looking over to see The Boy on the ground, placing Puh-Dog and T-Bone in a kitchen chair and going to the rescue. Because The Boy, true to form, wanted Puh-Dog after we had traversed 17 of the 22 miles to our destination in morning rush hour traffic. And today, he was denied!

There was no tantrum. It was actually much worse--quivering lip, big tears rolling down his cheeks, and plaintive cries of "Please mommy, I want Puh-Dog! Please?" I attempted misdirection to no avail, "Look son! A fire truck!", attempted to substitute the now mangled book for Puh-Dog, and even did the whole tough love "Well, we don't always get what we want in life, son. Stiff upper lip and all that." thing. Finally, we arrived at the daycare, and The Boy was momentarily distracted by the big limbs that the proprietress had removed from the giant oaks surrounding the building. Oh, and by his toothbrush--don't ask why we had his toothbrush in the car and not his Puh-Dog.

Fortunately, Nathan was poised at the entrance to yell hello and give The Boy (and my left leg) a big hug. Remind me to tell you about Nathan sometime. Sweet kid, but there are issues. And so The Boy sat down to feast on peanut butter and strawberry jelly toast with milk, and I managed to prise the toothbrush from his hands. Thus my day continued as normal, except for the crushing guilt of being the Bad Mommy Who Destroyed Her Son's Faith In Humanity. Ah well, I'll get over it. In about 10 years.

Posted by Big Arm Woman at 12:56 PM | Comments (3)

May 24, 2004

Lost Weekend

Alas, that title no longer means what it used to.

Took Friday off in order to finish transmogrifying The Boy's room into a Big Boy Thomas Wonderland. My folks were visiting to help me tote stuff to storage and to keep The Boy entertained while Hublet dealt with his high school's graduation. Mom and I were going to take down the wallpaper border and repaint. Sounds easy, right?

Hah! From somewhere beyond the grave, Laura Ashley is laughing her ass off at me. Damn you, high quality English wallpaper border from hell! Damn youuuuuuuuuu!!!!!

It wouldn't come off. We scored, and we spritzed with Diff and we scraped, and we peeled, and we rescored and respritzed and it took us THREE ENTIRE DAYS to remove one wallpaper border. My hands look like gnarled claws, I have tiny pieces of "Hey Diddle Diddle" wallpaper border lodged under my fingernails and glued to the soles of my feet, and I think my mother has been permanently disabled. Thank God we sized the wall before applying the Doomsday Border, or I would have had to put up new drywall. Stupid cow, stupid moon, stupid fiddle. In light of all that trauma, I don't think my victory dance over the last bucket of Diff and glue-soaked wallpaper bits was in any way inappropriate.

Next time, I'm just going to paint the damn room and hang a thematically appropriate picture grouping.

On the bright side, we have achieved cheery Big Boy room. Now to clean out the closet.

Posted by Big Arm Woman at 10:04 AM | Comments (0)

May 06, 2004

Conversation at the Dry Cleaners

So The Boy and I are waiting for Mike, of the eponymous Mike's Dry Cleaners, to retrieve my newly-cleaned clothing. We're alone in the establishment until a tall, slender, black gentleman walks in.

The Boy: (in all his Aryan blonde glory, pointing at the man) That's my dad!

Me
(possibly the whitest white girl to ever lack melanin): I'm sure that's news to him, son.

Man: (laughing) You know, I've never gotten that comment before.

Me: I don't imagine so.

Bemused silence.

I know why The Boy made the comparison--the stranger was male, tall and thin, just like Hublet. Skin color doesn't really register with a two year old, or if it does, it's about as remarkable to him or her as noticing that cats and dogs have different colored fur: just surface detail, nothing more.

So here's the question for the ages: what are the odds of preserving that mindset?

Don't answer that. I don't think I want to know.

Posted by Big Arm Woman at 08:12 AM | Comments (7) | TrackBack

April 26, 2004

Eagle! Landed! Woo!

Sorry for the light posting today--still riding the Rocky Mountain High of successful pee-pee in the potty!

The Boy's success, not mine. Yeah, you're hilarious. Shut up.

Two, count them, TWO sucessful urination episodes in one day.

I saw the lightbulb go off when he did it, too. Of course, the ol' toddler bladder signals still aren't too reliable, and of course there's the whole "I'm playing with my trains and can't be bothered to get to the potty" thing, but small steps, people, small steps.

Woo!

Posted by Big Arm Woman at 01:48 PM | Comments (7)

April 15, 2004

Signs of Too Much Thomas

Heard from the backseat on the ride home yesterday:

"Oh Bother! Mommy, I am upset and cross!"

Part of me is proud of his grasp of vocabulary; the other part of me has visions of taped glasses and wedgies.

Posted by Big Arm Woman at 11:37 AM | Comments (5)

April 07, 2004

Things We Won't Be Discussing in Public

Until The Boy's pronounciation skills improve, that is. The Boy's paternal grandparents sent him an Easter package which arrived on Tuesday, chock-full of Thomas the Tank Engine goodness. The Boy's appetite for all things choo-choo continues unabated, especially now that we are counting the days until our June sojurn to Tweetsie Railroad for a Day Out With Thomas (Ah, Tweetsie! I used to go there and to the other attraction, The Land of Oz--now defunct, alas--every year on my birthday.).

The package included a Thomas video entitled Percy's Chocolate Crunch, which we have now viewed about 400 times. It features lots of accidents, which excite and trouble The Boy by turns.

So The Boy, being inclined to obsess about new videos, naturally wanted to request that we play it AS SOON AS WE GOT HOME yesterday, which led to this conversation at daycare:

Boy - Mommy, wanna play Percy garblegarblegarble.

Me - You want to watch your new Percy video?

Boy - Ye-ah.

Me - Percy's Chocolate Crunch.

Boy - ...

Me - That's what the video is called, "Percy's Chocolate Crunch."

Boy - Wanna play Percy Chocolate Carrot.

Me - No, sweetie, Percy's Chocolate CRUNCH.

Boy - Otay, wanna play Percy's Chocolate CROTCH!.

Me - ...

Me - (Avoiding the eyes of the other adults) Okay, let's go home and see dad.

Boy - And Percy's Crotch!

Me - That too.

Posted by Big Arm Woman at 01:10 PM | Comments (6)

April 01, 2004

Of Discipline and Frozen Waffles

First, apologies for the lack of academic mockery this week. Go here and here for some amusements, if you're disinclined to listen to my ruminations on toddler raising. (Yeah, picking on Yale today.)

So, the terrible twos have smacked our family unit in the eye. Or kicked it in the shin, or thrown things, or rolled around in the floor--pick one! They're all very likely to have occurred at our house in the last week or so. Yesterday, however, we reached the apex of two-dom, and I reached the limit of my patience:

I bopped my child on the head with a waffle. A frozen waffle, and it was more of a "Hey! Listen to me!" tap than the righteous whacking I would have preferred, but you know what? It shocked him into behaving like a human for a few minutes, and brought me down from the edge of raving lunacy, where I have been hovering for the past few days. What brought on the infamous Waffle Bop, you ask? Let me share a sample day from the past week and a half.

5:00 a.m. The Boy comes to our room, convinced that it's time to get up. As we have 30 minutes before the alarm goes off, we stuff him in bed with us and ignore him.

6:00 a.m. It is now time for The Boy to rise. The Boy objects. The Boy shrieks. The Boy refuses to do anything but sit in the floor and yell, "NOOOOOOOOO!" However, as The Boy is awake, we go about our business.

6:15 a.m. One parent attempts to dress Boy while other parent fixes his breakfast. No matter which parent does which task, it is the wrong one. Also, neither clothing choice meets with approval, there is apparently no food on earth sufficient to satisfy his palate, and now the entire family is harried, late, and irritated.

6:45 a.m. Boy is cajoled to car with trains and assorted toys. Boy gets angry if parent hovers too close to car because Boy must "DO IT MYSELF!" Boy attempts and fails to fasten car seat clip. For FIVE MINUTES. He greets attempts at instruction or guidance with shrieks. Finally, parent just does it for him and ignores screaming.

7:10 a.m. Arrive at daycare. Boy becomes model freaking citizen. Parent drinks gallon of decaf and wishes for tequila shots.

4:00 p.m. Parent arrives to fetch Boy. Boy refuses to leave playground. Boy must take a particular circuitous route to car. Repeat entire "DO IT MYSELF!" process with car seat. Drive home in rush hour traffic to sounds of Boy screaming about Baby Beethoven and parent being disallowed to bob head to the rhythm.

5:00 p.m. Arrive home. Boy refuses to see either parent. Boy refuses to get out of car. Boy refuses to do anything except be carried, screaming, into house by unfortunate parent who drew the short straw.

6:00 p.m. Epic dinner battle, including 3 time outs, refusal to eat, demands for foods that have NEVER APPEARED ANYWHERE IN OUR HOME, and culminating in consumption of PB&J.;

7:00 p.m. Epic bathtime battle.

7:45 p.m. Epic bedtime battle.

12:30 a.m. Boy appears at bedside demanding milk.

12:40 a.m. Boy expresses displeasure at parent's refusal to sleep on floor by Boy's crib. Boy is ignored.

1:45 a.m. Boy demands more milk. Repeat 12:40 procedure.

5:00 a.m. Heeeeeeeerrrrrrrreeee's BOY!

6:15 a.m. Boy is screaming about food, clothing, parenting styles, the tv channel selection, etc. Parent snaps and bops Boy with waffle. Parent then cooks waffle and feeds it to Boy. Boy manages to act human for rest of day. Parent considers writing book about frozen waffle-fu style parenting. Parent realizes that there's probably a reason Boy will be an only child.


Posted by Big Arm Woman at 01:11 PM | Comments (16)

March 26, 2004

Fickle

Let's get things started with a personal admission and then move quickly on--in my life I have had exactly three real boyfriends. Three. I married the last one. I like to tell myself that it's because I am extremely picky and hypercritical, which, if you read here you know I am, but the real reason is because I wasn't ever really willing to put myself on the line emotionally if I wasn't guaranteed a return. And since a lot of men are the same way--well, you know where I'm going with this, and might-have-beens, while fun to contemplate when in a nostalgic mood, don't count.

Enter parenthood, the single event that solidified my belief in instant karma. Here I am constantly letting it all hang out emotionally, and I know that the whole thing will hold a lot more heartbreak than not getting asked out by my secret crushes ever did. So, Little Miss So Emotionally Guarded She's Spock gets her comeuppance in the form of a fickle, moody, two-and-a-half year old. I suppose I should be pleased that I can offer the universe a chuckle at my expense, but honestly I'm not that amused.

But. Then there are moments like yesterday, when my cell phone rang as I was on the way to meet up with some girlfriends for some much needed margarita therapy. At first, I dreaded answering, afraid that The Boy had suffered The Mother of All Meltdowns and the Hublet was calling in the cavalry. Not the case.

"He wants to say goodbye to you on the phone," Hublet sounded amused and exasperated.

"Okay, put him on...Hey, sweetie!"

"Bye, Mommy."

"Bye, boogerhead. You have fun with daddy, okay?"

"Otay. Bye, Mommy."

"Bye. I love you."

"I love you mommy. Bye!"

"Bye." Silence, and I wait for Hublet to come back on, and then,

"Bye mommy! Love you mommy! Bye!"

I chuckle, tell him I love him again and then wish Hublet lotsa luck. I'm always amazed when he goes through phases of "mom-need"--flattered and sometimes annoyed when he won't let me go to get on with the small tasks of living. But in calmer times, I know that these are the memories I'll be clinging to when he does let me go and breaks my heart in the process. And so I've come late to the realization that I wouldn't change a thing, heartbreak be damned, but better late than never, to flog a cliche'.

Remind me to revisit this entry in about ten years, okay?

Posted by Big Arm Woman at 01:43 PM | Comments (3)

March 24, 2004

Conversations With Grandma

So my folks came to visit again. Let me insert the gratuitous "I love them, BUT" sentence right off the bat so you know where I'm coming from:

I love my parents dearly, but when it comes to The Boy, it seems that the patented parental "offspring hot-button pusher" goes into overdrive, and I go into exasperated sarcasm mode. Isn't it fun that no matter how old you get, you can always find your inner fourteen-year-old smartass? Yeah, I'm so proud of that fact, too. Not.

So anyway, here's a sample conversation from their last visit:

G - What's that on his neck?

BAW - It's a little rash. Noticed it yesterday--I think he's allergic to the red dye in his Blue's Clue's pajamas.

G - Has he eaten anything new?

BAW - No, it looks like contact dermatitis. The only new thing he's had on were those pajamas.

G - Are you sure? Is he allergic to nuts?

BAW - He eats PB&J; every day of his life. I would have noticed an allergy by now.

G - .But...

BAW - It's the pajamas, I'm pretty sure.

G - Did you...

BAW- WHICH I WASHED FIRST! IN DREFT! YES!

Dinner is consumed

G - He needs to eat more.

BAW - He gets enough. No sense turning the whole thing into a battle. He's hungry, he eats.

G - But he's so skinny!

BAW - Have you seen his father? Or pictures of me when I was little? You recall I spent most of my childhood resembling a lollipop with feet and hair, right? A SHORT lollipop.

G - But you ate!

BAW - That's not what you said four years ago. You told me I only ate carrots and that they turned me orange.

G - At least it was a vegetable.

BAW - And thus, the miracle of vitamin supplements were born. Which he takes. Daily. And he still manages to grow.

G - See if he'll eat this carrot.

The Boy - NO! NO WANT CARROT! I FINISH! WANT GET DOWN NOW!

BAW - Mom...

G - I'm just afraid he's not eating enough.

BAW - Because neither I nor the pediatrician would notice the rickets or other obvious signs of malnutrition. Come here, boy! Show grandma how straight your legs are!

G - Oh, fine. Mock me. When you're a grandma, you'll understand.

BAW - See, that's the catch isn't it? You used to say, "When you're a mother, you'll understand." Now that I am one, you're all, "When you're a grandma." That's convenient. I am sensing a plot.

After Dinner Relaxing with Coffee

G - I think that rash is spreading.

BAW - What? Oh, for the love of--I'll call the after-hours people, okay?

One Phone Call with a Very Understanding Nurse Later

G - What did they say?

BAW - Unless he starts swelling or bleeding out of his eyeballs, we should just put cortizone cream on it.

G - You're being facetious.

BAW - Not about the cortizone.

G - What is he--he's going to break his neck! Come down from there, sweetie!

The Boy - Lookame, Granmommie! Whee!

BAW - Well, if he does break his neck we won't have to worry about the rash, will we?

G - But what if it's a symptom?

BAW - Of what? Scarlet fever? Plague? MOM. It's. Just. A. RASH. Relax. He has cortizone cream, the evil pajamas have been banished, and he's acting like a crazy man. He's fine.

G - I just worry.

BAW - I promise he's not gonna swell, perish of rickets or ebola or break his neck in the next 24 to 48 hours, okay? Will you just relax and kiss your grandson goodnight now?

G - Okay. Goodnight sweetie.

The Boy
- 'Night, Granmommie.

Blessed Moment of Silence

G - Is he going to sleep like that?

BAW - Like what, mother?

G - Without socks.

BAW - Actually, we usually strip him naked and lash him to the deck railing, but since it's a special occasion...

G - You're impossible.

BAW - I learned from the master.

Posted by Big Arm Woman at 02:23 PM | Comments (9)

March 18, 2004

Ultimate Fighting Championship, Toddler Style

"Welcome, Ladies and gentlemen, to the first annual Ultimate Fighting Championship, toddler division! The Hayes Barton Methodist Church Doves class, in cooperation with Everlast and Chuck Norris, are pleased to present a one hour cage match free-for-all in which the top contenders, representing the elite toddler fighting schools in Raleigh, will duke it out for a cup of juice and some goldfish! I'm Nick Diamond..."

"And I'm Johnny Gomez, and we'll be bringing the action to you LIVE!"

"Well, Johnny, The Sunday School teachers are prepared with band-aids and distracting toys to contain the carnage and remove the losers from the ring. Okay, everyone, heeeeeeerrrrre weeeeee goooooooooo!"

"And Penn, the crowd favorite, has waded right into the fray, seizing the coveted plastic watermelon wedge!"

"He certainly knows his way around a lethal piece of plastic fruit, doesn't he, Nick?"

"Sure does--oh, oh! Looks like Wells and Casey have taken exception to Penn's actions, and they're going for a double team!"

"That Casey, she may be little, but she's a spitfire! Ooooh! Wells makes the first move, a classic face-push right to Penn's schnoz!"

"And Casey follows it up with a forearm bite! Penn is reeling from the blows!

"Uh-oh, Nick, Wells is distracted by the snot he got on his hand from the face-push, and Penn's going to retaliate! Yes! Penn uses his superior size and weight to knock the other two down! Wells has fallen over the train set and is down for the count!"

"The wedge is free! I repeat, the WEDGE! IS! FREE!"

"But not for long, Johnny--here comes little Erin and she scoops it up on the fly!"

"Erin studies at the Shin-Toe school here in town, doesn't she, Nick?"

"Yes indeed, and we're about to see her skills in action, because Casey's hot on her trail!"

"What strategy do you think Casey will employ here, Nick?"

"Well, Johnny, Casey's a black belt from Madame Selina's Catfighting School for Proper Young Ladies, so she'll probably go for the tresses."

"But she'll have to get in close, and that could be difficult, because---OH! Erin unleashes her Shin-Toe fury and nails Casey with a one-two shin kick of doom! Casey's down and OUT OF HERE!"

"That leaves just Penn, Erin, and the plastic watermelon, Johnny. We're about to see two of the strongest fighting styles in toddlerdom go toe to toe. Shin-toe versus old school Shove and Grab wrestling."

"Penn definitely has the height and weight advantage, but Erin is quick with those steel-toed Mary Janes, so if she can elude him long enough to take out his shins...."

"This one is definitely a toss-up. The two fighters are circling each other--look at Erin taunting Penn with the plastic fruit!"

"A classic shin-toe maneuver, Nick. Get your opponent enraged and then take advantage. Looks like Penn fell for it! He lunges and grabs!"

"He's gotten Erin by the ponytail! This could be it, Johnny!"

"But wait! She's managed to twist around and OOOOOOHHHH! She's taken out Penn's knee!"

"And Penn's taken out some hair! They're both struggling Just. To. Stay. In. The. Game!"

"This is the most exciting matchup we've seen in ages! The fighters are eyeing each other--who will make the first move?"

"It's Penn! A lunge--he's got her by the dress! Wait, the bow on the back has torn off! Penn is vulnerable!"

"Those girls' dresses sure are tricky, aren't they, Nick?"

"You should know, Johnny. And Oh My Goodness! There goes the other shin! Penn is down for the count!"

"Erin Wins! The crowd goes wild! The Sunday School teachers are patching everyone up. Let's head down and interview our new champ!"

"So, Erin. You've just captured the Ultimate Fighting Championship title AND a shiny wedge of fake watermelon. Do you have anything to say?"

"No! Mine!"

"Aaaaacckk! My shins! Johnny, over to you!"

"That's all for us, ladies and gentlemen. On behalf of the Doves, Everlast, and Chuck Norris, we'd like to say thanks for watching and tune in next time for another Ultimate Fighting Championship! Good Night!"

Posted by Big Arm Woman at 09:09 AM | Comments (1)

March 15, 2004

Weekend Update

Yeah, I know everyone is talking about Spain. Therefore, I won't. I went there on a trip with my 10th grade Spanish class--Sr. Boyst, you deserve sainthood--and had a good time, but that's really all I can state definitively about the country. Well, that and the fact that we may soon be living in interesting times, indeed.

But enough about the world. Let's talk about me. And TiVo. Ooooohhh, TiVo. Had to replace the old satellite receiver this weekend, so popped into the Best Buy and got a lovely little updated piece of technology with...TiVo. Did I mention TiVo? I am so very in love with this gadget, not least because Mr. Rogers is now set to be recorded ad infinitum. This is a good thing, since The Boy decided to destroy the VCR Saturday afternoon. And you don't want to be at our house post-bathtime if there's no Mr. Rogers cued up and ready to go.

Speaking of The Boy, we have officially entered the Literal zone. Do not use hyperbole around The Boy! Do not use metaphor! Do not say, as a means of congratulating The Boy on a job well done, "You're the man!" Because you will receive this reply:

"No, mommy. I not a man. I a little boy."

Followed by a look of patient exasperation and a whispered aside to hublet, "Mommy very silly."

I am at a loss. As you may be aware, Hyperbole and Metaphor are friends of mine. This whole pedestrian being taken literally thing blows huge chunks.

I suppose Irony is right out, as well.

Well, perhaps they can come over for beer after The Boy's asleep.

Posted by Big Arm Woman at 01:11 PM | Comments (4)

February 13, 2004

Be Careful What You Wish For

Brace yourselves, as I am sure this personal revelation will come as a shock: I lack patience. It's true. I yell at the microwave to hurry up, and I'm one of those drivers who will cuss you six ways from Sunday if you haven't actually anticpated when the traffic light will turn green and responded accordingly (I don't honk, though, my momma did teach me SOME manners). I'm short-tempered, short-fused, and short on forebearance.

In my past moments of introspection, I have often wished to have more patience and the ability to calm down and appreciate the days as they come. Well, I am an idiot. I have been granted that wish, only to discover that I must have wished upon the Monkey's Paw, because the fulfillment of this wish is going to kill me.

My toddler has apparently been divinely (or otherwise) appointed to teach me patience. How? With conversations like this one, occurring during our 30 minute commute:

Truck in front of us throws big rock at windshield. I see large black object hurtling toward us and give a loud, startled yelp as it connects sharply with the glass in front of my face.

The Boy: What happened?

Me
: That truck threw a rock at the windshield. It made a loud noise and startled mommy.

The Boy: Oh. (pause) What happened?

Me: Sometimes big rocks can hit the windshield and make loud noises. It can be kind of startling.

The Boy: Mommy, what happened?

Me: (trying to pass offending truck, annoyed that rock has hit windshield of car that we've only made one payment on, and still full of adrenaline from the sudden impact and noise) That big dumb truck threw a big dumb rock at us. It made a loud noise.

The Boy:
What happned?

Me: (beginning to wonder if boy has hearing problem) That. Big. Truck. Hit. Us. With. A. Rock. I. Don't. Like. That. Truck.

Repeat seventeen variations of this, at approximately two per minute, until exit ramp is in sight.

The Boy: What happened, Mommy?

Me: (At this point, we're almost home, my nerves are frayed, the traffic sucks, and I'm having those mom flashes, you know, the ones that say "Maybe he's learning disabled or has some sort of cognitive disability.") Sweetie, it was a rock, remember? It hit the windshield and the big noise scared me for a minute. Okay?

The Boy: Oh, Otay.

I breathe sigh of relief, until

The Boy: What happened?

Me: Rock. Car. Hit. Noise. Eeek!

The Boy: Mommy, wha-

Me: Look! Look! There's the driveway! There's Daddy! Daddy! Daddy! Come get your son out of the car, daddy!

Ignore hublet's puzzled looks as I slam car into park, kill ignition, grab purse, coffee mug, boy's backpack and stuffed animals and bolt into the house.

Then I take a two mile run. Small steps, right? Small steps.

Posted by Big Arm Woman at 10:57 AM | Comments (14)

February 12, 2004

Looney Tunes Revisited

As a post-post-modern pop culture aficianado kinda mom, I feel that it is vitally important that The Boy be exposed to all sorts of cultural phenomena. Sigh. Okay, you caught me. That first sentence should really read: As a selfish mom-type who enjoys the blatant cartoon violence of Warner Brothers, I don't want to turn the channel just because Yosemite Sam is blowing up everything in creation while The Boy is in the room. So sue me for child abuse.

I mention this because we recently received a Looney Tunes DVD in the mail as a result of upping our satellite channel package (I LOVE Boomerang, and all those extra Discovery and History channels r0x0rz!). The Boy immediately assumed that it was a new video for his collection, and now we begin our day with a healthy dose of cartoon mayhem featuring anthropomorphic animals and a freakishly small bald man. Ahh, brings back fond memories of my childhood. And yes, I still hate that stupid road runner, and wish Sylvester would just eat the damn bird, already. Gah.

But looking at those cartoons through the prism of a two-year old's experience does raise some interesting questions, the most important of which is:

WHERE do they get all those munitions? No, really. Most of the cartoons on this DVD are late 40's through late 50's (before they got all stupid and hip and experimental in the 60s and ruined everything for at least two decades and no I'm not at all bitter, why do you ask?), so are we to believe that after WWII there were just extra mortar rounds for sale via catalog? I ask this question because our conversations with The Boy during a Looney Tunes viewing are as follows:

Foghorn Leghorn blows himself up with a stick of dynamite.

The Boy: What happened?

Hublet: He blew up.

Leghorn blows up again, this time with a land mine.

The Boy: Oh no! What happened?

Me: He blew up.

Leghorn has a mishap with a shotgun.

The Boy: What happened?

Hublet and Me: He blew up again, honey.

The Boy: Rooster blew up AGAIN!

Leghorn tricks himself into playing in traffic.

The Boy: What happened?

Me: He got squished by a car.

The Boy: No blew up again?

Me: Not this time, sweetie. Wait a few minutes.

Vary the main character, but the results are always the same: the shotgun on a string, the clever cannon ploy that always backfires, the landmine or dynamite that seems like a dud until Wyle E Coyote or Yosemite Sam goes back to check on it...stuff is always blowing up REAL GOOD. And you know what? It's still entertaining. The Boy obviously gets the humorous aspect of it even at this early age, shaking his head in mock exasperation and calling the gunpowder charred rooster "silly."

I wonder if blowing stuff up and laughing about it is a uniquely American phenomenon? The EU would probably say so, but they aren't exactly Giants of the Funny, so whatever.

Posted by Big Arm Woman at 08:41 AM | Comments (2)

January 22, 2004

Incoming!

You may have noticed that this week's entries have been a little, well, lacking in vim and vigor. I apologize, but my resources have been overtaxed recently, as I have once again become embroiled in The Battle of the Poop. Those of you with weak stomachs or a lack of tolerance for toddler effluvia may choose to skip today's entry, and I won't blame you.

The Boy is an on-the-go kind of toddler. Often, he is so on-the-go that he forgets to do things like eat, sleep or go poop. The latter has been an off-and-on problem for a couple of months now, and the pattern, so far as I can detect it, goes like this:

The Boy thinks, "Hey! I've been moving my bowels regularly for a couple of weeks now, and mommy's getting that potty training look in her eye again. Time to withhold the poop!"
Two days pass with no poop.
On the third day, The Boy begins to complain, but only at home: "Have to poo-poo, have to poo-poo," then walks on his tiptoes until the urge passes.
By day four, he's generally had enough Milk of Magnesia to force the issue, but he persists in complaining until he has no choice but to give in and poop, which, after 4 days, is an uncomfortable affair accompanied by much pro-wrestler-esque red-faced straining. Usually The Boy needs a rest and a snack after such a herculean task.

All the while, mommy and daddy have been explaining how much better he'd feel if he just went ahead and pooped. Of course, mommy and daddy are using logic, and logic has NO PLACE in toddlerville, thank you very much.

Two more weeks pass, and the cycle repeats itself. Mommy has pored over tomes concerning diet, toddler psychology, and physiology, has consulted the pediatrician, and has been forced to conclude that The Boy, darling of her universe and apple of her eye, is being a butt. And an ANAL-RETENTIVE butt, at that. Damn you, Freud! But it doesn't take an Austrian psychotherapist to see the pattern emerging here: withhold poop, pooping becomes uncomfortable, leading to more of a desire to withhold poop. Grr. Just, grr. Hublet, bless him, is at a loss for what to do beyond acting like a pro-poop cheerleader. There is something surreal about seeing a six foot three inch man on his knees chanting, "Push out the poo-poo! Push out the poo-poo!" in what he hopes is an encouraging and non-coercive way.

I would just like to point out in my own defense that I have never even suggested that The Boy must poop in the potty, much less tried to force him. I'm still working on getting him to actually sit still on the potty long enough for something to happen in the pee-pee arena. And based upon my lack of success thus far, and my tendency to just give up and buy the Pampers, I foresee a sixth grader in diapers. Currently, if The Boy asks to sit on the potty, I put him on there, because, being MY child, of course he won't sit on the little potty, only the big one, and then he just perches for 5 seconds, declares "I finish!" and hops off, with nary a droplet nor a dribble to show for it.

Sigh. I am an intelligent, professional thirty-five year old woman, and my life is poop. Toddler poop, at that. I wonder if any mid-life crises have been triggered by anal-retentive boy children?

Posted by Big Arm Woman at 09:28 AM | Comments (12)

January 14, 2004

Piss and Vinegar

And I'm not talking about me. The Boy has recently rediscovered his boyness; no, not any specific body part, just a general sense of "I am ruled by testosterone, ergo I must run around like a crazy man, throw tantrums, refuse to eat or use the potty or bathe or go to bed (see: throw tantrums) and generally ruin everyone's lives." I'm blaming this in part on the cold weather which has prevented us from spending hours outdoors climbing, jumping and running around. But mostly, I am blaming testosterone. Join me as we traverse the weekday hours from 4 to 8 p.m.: The Toddler Zone.

4:00 p.m. - Arrive at daycare to retrieve The Boy, who is leading 7 other toddlers on a crazed run through the place, shirts pulled up over their heads. Smile apologetically at Miss Katie and bundle Boy into car.

4:15 p.m. - "Mommy, play music!" Dutifully put in Tom Petty CD. "No, mommy, other music." Sigh and put in Hole's Celebrity Skin. At least I don't have to keep grabbing the volume knob--Courtney wails, but she's not a potty mouth. Other CDs in the car include Johnny Cash, Aimee Mann (who is a potty mouth--I am adept at anticipating the "turn down" moments), Wiggles, and Little People. Also some classical. The Boy is nothing if not well rounded. The Boy applauds loudly at the end of each song, tiny tow-head bobbing to the beat of "Malibu." I ignore how bizarre (and old) this makes me feel, and drive on.

4:45 p.m. - Arrive home. The Boy decides it will be fun to refuse to leave the car. It's 35 degrees out. This isn't fun. Also, mommy needs to go potty.

4:50 p.m. - Get out of car and into house. Boy demands Thomas video and plants himself in the middle of his train set. Commence thirty minutes of watching and rewinding the same 6 minute Thomas episode over and over and over.

5:00 p.m. - Hublet is home. Boy forces him to "play Percy and coal car" and rewind the Thomas video. I attempt to quietly start dinner.

5:05 p.m. - No such luck. Boy wants to help cook, which he does by loading random trains into dishwasher and fridge, dumping oatmeal and seasoning into a bowl and stirring the contents frantically, and managing to find every single hot, sharp or otherwise non-childproofed item in the kitchen and then either touching it and crying, dropping it so that I will trip over it, or putting it in the trashcan. Hublet is called in for reinforcements, but is no help as he is watching ESPN with one eye and The Boy with the other.

5:40 p.m. - Dinner is served. Chase Boy around house to force him to wash hands. Allow him to bring Diesel to the table. Try to ignore him so he'll eat. Wipe applesauce off of Diesel. Wipe applesauce off of Boy. Confine dog to kennel in back bedroom. Attempt to locate bowtie pasta underneath giant mound of parmesan cheese in Boy's bowl. Give up and give him bologna, which is all he wants to eat anyway.

6:00 p.m. - "Mommy, I run around like crazy man!" Boy proceeds to run around like a crazy man. When Hublet expresses concern, reply that it won't last long.

6:05 p.m. - A thud, followed by crying.

6:10 p.m. - "I up high!" Look over in time to notice Boy flinging self from arm of sofa into a flying somersault on sofa. Look around house at shoes, coats, trains, books, pieces of chalk, dinner plates, and assorted flotsam strewn everywhere. Put sofa pillows on floor to soften the inevitable and attempt to quickly do laundry, straighten house, clean kitchen, converse with Hublet (who is doing the same things), feed cat, dog, and fish and monitor news.

6:15 p.m. - "Mommy, be monster!" "Come on, da-da! Hide monster!" The chase is on.

6:30 p.m. -
"Daddy, be monster!" Repeat above, running through house shrieking in fear or moaning with arms outstretched, depending upon role being assigned by the toddler now affectionately referred to as Napoleon.

6:45 p.m. - Bath time. Chase toddler. Dump toddler in tub. Take toddler out as he insists he needs to go potty. No, the big potty. Suspend toddler over big potty. Nothing happens. Back in tub. Toddler pees in tub. Run fresh water. Rinse soap out of toddler eye. Rinse toddler. Get very wet. Coax toddler from tub. Brace self, bodily extract screaming wet toddler from tub. Dry. Lotion. Diaper. PJs. Free toddler and go change clothes.

7:00 p.m. - Listen to nightly debate about which video to watch. Watch Boy throw tantrum because Thomas video did not spontaneously erupt fully formed from TV screen the moment Boy spoke the words "Thomas video." Look forward to glass of wine. Give Boy warm milk.

7:30 p.m. - Bedtime. Tantrum. Brush teeth. Tantrum. Read three stories. Tantrum because he wants four, even though he's had three every night since birth. Into crib. Tantrum. Covers? NO! Then, "Covers?" Then, "Lay down." Promise to lay down for 5 minutes. Leave after 5 minutes. Tantrum.

8:00 p.m. - Get glass of wine and settle in chair in middle of destroyed den. Shut off brain and join Hublet in rousing game of Return of the King.

Posted by Big Arm Woman at 02:51 PM | Comments (3)

December 05, 2003

Downside of Talking Toddlers

I realize it may be a bit too early to tell, but I think my two-year old is going to be a breast man. How do I know? Well, a couple of clues:

His favorite person at the daycare is a young lady by the name of Miss Katie, a college-aged, blonde, nubile and--oh yes--stacked specimen of womanhood. She greets me every afternoon, gushing about how The Boy follows her around all day, telling "Miss Katie" this and "Miss Katie" that. As we leave, The Boy pauses at the threshold and says, "Bye, Miss Katie!" No one else gets told anything, and out the door we go.

Then we arrive home, when the normal afternoon horseplay/dinner making hour occurs. As The Boy, in "monster" mode, tackles me, he sits up and pokes me.

"Boobie," he says.

"Yes, that's mommy's boobie. Don't poke."

"Boobie boobie boobie!"

Then at bedtime, The Boy asks, "Where Miss Katie?" I explain about everyone going to their own homes at the end of the day. "See picture?" he asks, so I bring him the framed photo of the 2 year old class. "See Miss Katie?" I let him hold the picture. "Miss Katie," he proclaims with satisfaction. Then, "Boobie."

"Time for bed, sweetie."

(Grabs chest of his pajamas) "My boobies?"

"Everyone has boobies, sweetie."

"Boobie boobie boobie."

"Good night, doodle."

"BOOBIE! 'Night mommy." With that, he rolls over and commences discussing the day with puppy dog, while I commence worrying about whether or not he's going to proclaim his love of all things boobie to Miss Katie. I realize that I am entering a brave new world of potentially embarassing situations, where my darling boy will probably make me look like, well, a boob.

Posted by Big Arm Woman at 11:32 AM | Comments (7)

November 03, 2003

The Boy

Everyone else is doing it, so here's The Boy in all his glory on Halloween--he went as Thomas the Tank Engine--the photos are before and after candy. Notice the shell-shocked vacant stare giving way to post-sugar rush happy shrieking.


Posted by Big Arm Woman at 02:00 PM | Comments (1)

Scenes from Sunday; Or, Why I am Probably Going to Hell

It seemed like a good idea at the time, you know? A chance to help The Boy acclimate himself to the rhythms of Sundays, and a way for me to make sure that he got anti-bacterial gel on his hands whenever he played with the communal toddler toys, thus hopefully avoiding the Germs of the Godly. So I agreed to be one of five teachers for The Doves two-year-old Sunday School class.

The Doves' Sundays are fairly regimented: 15 minutes free play while parents drop off their darlings, a short walk down the hall to Assembly with the 3-year olds to sing songs and tell stories, 15 minutes on the playground, and 15 minutes of "lesson," which involves reading a Bible story while they color pictures or sit and listen, and then the parents come and pick them up. Simple and structured, right? Yes, and the road to hell is paved with well-intentioned Sunday School teachers like me.

First of all, we go to a fairly large church. There are forty-two toddlers on the roster, which translates into about twenty toddlers each Sunday. The ones who come regularly are now a breeze--they know what comes next and recognize the teachers. But that's only about 50% of any given class. The other 50% is made up of kids whose parents make it to Sunday School about once a month, just enough for their child to develop fear, dread and separation anxiety. So the first 15 minutes is spent frantically trying to distract them and get them calm enough to endure the sudden disruption of being frog-marched down the hall to a room full of older kids. Yay!

The second 15 minutes is spent simultaneously shushing, chasing, corralling and distracting these toddlers, while the lady in charge of assembly looks irritated at the fact that 2 year olds are acting like, well, 2 year olds. Then we head back to our classroom. After a head count which is inevitably followed by a visit to the 3 year old room to pick up a stray or two, it's out to the playground!

The playground which contains lovely heavy duty METAL equipment. There is running. There is screaming (not always from pain, so that's okay) and then there is the cry of "Ella's going over the wall!" Ella is one of the reasons that I'll be spending eternity in a very warm place. Ella's parents belong to the "we come to church just enough to traumatize our child" group, and they have the added bonus of extreme parental guilt. Ella, being a bright child, has discerned that if she "cries" long enough, her parents will give in. "Cries" appears in sneer quotes here because this little girl should get an academy award for her ability to switch on the waterworks. Ella's parent of the day will linger and fuss--and Ella will cling and whine--until a teacher essentially forces him or her out the door, at which point Ella will cry. And cry. And cry. But--and here's the good part--she'll only cry IF YOU'RE WATCHING HER. This leads to a bizarre game of "I can't see you," in which the teachers give vague instructions to the general vicinity of Ella, which she will then follow. But if you make the mistake of eye contact, histrionics ensue. It complicates matters that Ella likes to scale brick walls to get to the parking lot. There's really no way to pretend you don't see her when you're prying her off a wall or gate or tree. And when she's kicking and crying because you've managed to stop her from literally playing in traffic, it's probably not the Christian thing to do to envision letting her parents see her scaling the wall in the hopes that they'll never, EVER, bring her back...

And then there is Penn the runny-nosed bully. Penn comes every week. And every week Penn has a cold, or a cough, and a nose that will not. stop. running. Penn's mother, proving that hope springs eternal, dresses her darling boy in those Little Lord Fauntleroy pinafores and shorts. Penn's behavior, however, is more along the lines of the Marquis de Sade. Every fight over a toy involves Penn. Every scraped knee or bumped head on the playground involves Penn. And probably every cold, cough or fever that comes from that room involves Penn. In my more evil moments, I wonder what would happen if Penn and Ella had a cage match. And I know for a fact that my first impulse upon watching Penn grab a train from my boy--telling him, "Kick him in the nuts and take it back!"--is not in line with turning the other cheek. Impulse control is my friend.

But I endure, because watching other 30-something moms rolling their eyes at toddlers makes me feel much better. Plus, it's only an hour a week. I figure Ella's and Penn's parents deserve at least that much of a break...


Posted by Big Arm Woman at 09:56 AM | Comments (2)

October 22, 2003

Life As a Musical

The Boy has recently discovered the glory of song. Of course his oeuvre is somewhat limited, consisting of "Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star," "Happy Birthday," "Old MacDonald," and "The ABC Song," which doesn't really count because it's just "Twinkle, Twinkle" with different words. And so our drives home now go something like this:

"Go that way?" Points in a random direction.

"No, sweetie, we won't get home if we go that way. We have to go this way to get home."

"Go THIS way." Said with a decided nod and point in the direction we're travelling.

Silence. Blessed, non-Wiggle filled silence. I become lulled by the rhythms of the engine. Then,

"Sing ABCs?"

"Okay." I sing the song, with The Boy fudging his way through L-M-N-O-P by going "lalalala PEEEEE!"

Silence. Then,

"Old MacDonald?"

I sing the beginning, and pause for him to fill in the animal. After much consideration, he yells, "PIG!" It's always pig, followed by cow, dog, and then he runs out of ideas and I have to suggest duck, horse and cat. At this point, my throat is getting dry. When we finish, I hand him his miniature Big Red Car and lapse back into silence. Then,

"Sing Birthday?"

We then must sing Happy Birthday, and it must be addressed to The Boy by name. No one else gets to have a birthday song. Ever. And every day is The Boy's birthday, apparently.

Sometimes I get bored and make up words to the tunes we sing. I like to think the lyrics are fairly clever, in an off-the-cuff way. Not so The Boy. Do not change the words on The Boy. The Boy will smite you with furious anger and flying Wiggles cars if you try to get smart. And whatever you do, don't pass a McDonald's on the way home, lest you be forced into 6 more choruses of the song by the same name. Of course, hitting the drive-thru is a lot more fun now:

Drive-Thru Drone: "Welcome to McDonald's. Can I take your order?"

The Boy: "E-I-E-I-OOOOOO!"

So to save my sanity, I'm trying to teach him ways to vary his playlist. So far, "Bingo" has been a big hit, but I'm open to suggestions. It's getting hard to concentrate at work with a constant chorus of E-I-E-I-O running through my head.

Posted by Big Arm Woman at 09:09 AM | Comments (11)

October 08, 2003

Bedtime Story

See Mommy. Mommy looks tired. Poor mommy. Why is mommy tired?

See toddler. See toddler play. Play, toddler, play. See toddler suddenly stop playing. Toddler is upset! Toddler is screaming! Why is toddler screaming? It is dinnertime, toddler! Come and sit! Come and eat! "Nooooooooooooo!" shrieks toddler. See toddler fling apple sauce. See toddler get time out. Hear toddler scream. See toddler eat only one noodle for dinner. See mommy count to ten. Twice.

See daddy. Daddy must go out this evening. Daddy must go visit the funeral home. Funerals are sad. Why does daddy look happy as he is leaving? Bye-bye, daddy! Daddy thinks leaving is funny. See daddy laugh! See mommy glare.

See little orange socks with pumpkins on them. See mommy trying to remove socks from toddler. See toddler take exception. See toddler run away with socks half off. See toddler trip and fall. Hear toddler scream.

See potty. Hear potty make flushing noise. "Whoosh!" says the potty. See toddler laugh. See toddler stand on potty. See toddler sit on potty. See toddler strip naked except for pumpkin socks, sit on potty, jump over potty, and laugh. See toddler make pee-pee on the floor. See toddler run. Run, toddler, run! See mommy mop up pee-pee. See toddler playing with potty. "Flush potty!" laughs toddler. See mommy bang head on floor.

See bedroom. It is dark outside. It is time for toddler to go to bed. See toddler run. Hear toddler wail. Night-night, toddler! Time for bed! See toddler FINALLY go to sleep. See mommy weep with relief.

Posted by Big Arm Woman at 01:00 PM | Comments (4)

September 15, 2003

Can of Worms

Dean Esmay, I think, is pointing to something that has become increasingly obvious to me over the past few years. Yes folks, we're gonna discuss the "A" word today. Read onward if you want, but save the flamage for someone who gives a rat's ass, 'cause I ain't your girl. This is going to be an explanation of how I went from being the Queen Supporter of Abortion on Demand to my current position, which can be summed up as Legal but Wrong. And you know what? I don't think that I've betrayed the sisterhood, become a right-wing nutjob OR condemned us all to minor roles in Margaret Atwood's Handmaid's Tale by doing so.

The reasons for my conversion are myriad, and believe me, I've spent more than my fair share of hours analyzing them for a whiff of hypocrisy--you know, the whole "now that you're older and married and want children, you're out of touch with youthful reality" spiel, or the "you've never faced the situation, don't judge me" spiel. I'm not judging anyone. I've got two friends who had abortions; I've got one who chose differently. In the final analysis, the one who kept her baby is a much happier person. Can that be boiled down to one choice? No. But when I talk to one of my friends from the former category who wants to now hurry up and get married and have kids because she's 35 and they found some precancerous cells in her last pap smear, I can't help but think that she'd have a five year old right now if she'd chosen differently. And if I have that thought, no matter how fleeting, is it any stretch for me to wonder if she has it, and if that affects her emotionally?

Before I was married, I spent all of my time protecting against the unthinkable--pregnancy. I didn't do casual sex, ever, period. And when I was in a relationship, I was all about the precautions, because to my way of thinking, an unwanted pregnancy would be the worst. thing. ever. I realize now that the pregnancy wasn't what I was afraid of so much as of being forced to choose whether or not to continue it. Even then, I had an idea that we weren't able to definitively say when life began, and I was reluctant to assert that I could make that call. After I was married, and we decided to have a child, my nervousness ran to the other end of the spectrum--what if there was something wrong with the baby? I had an ultrasound at around 10 weeks and that was it--there was no way I was going to be responsible for the death of a person who was very much alive and kicking in there, even if it looked like a tiny peanut with flippers and I couldn't feel it at that point. I didn't do the AFP test because I didn't want to spend 9 months freaking out if I got a positive, since abortion was out of the question. I was lucky, and The Boy is happy and healthy.

But now we're thinking about a second child, and I just hit the magic "end of fertility, beginning of all sorts of hideous things" age, 35, this past Saturday. If we do get pregnant, we'll spend nine months on pins and needles I'm sure. But I don't want an amnio, because it increases the risk of miscarriage. And I am well aware of the increased risk of Down's Syndrome as well as a myriad of other problems that could arise because the OB/GYN gods have declared me decrepit. But life isn't about guarantees, and I think that abortion for the sake of convenience is wrong. Ta-da. Let me repeat that: abortion for the sake of convenience is wrong. There are always rape/incest/medical exceptions, so let me define convenience a little further for you:

I was at a the funeral of a friend's father last January. One of her other friends was there and pregnant with her second child. As we sat around making small talk, she said that she's just gotten her amnio results back and that everything was normal, and she was relieved, because she didn't want to burden her young daughter with a handicapped or Down's younger sibling, the inference being that she would have aborted this one and tried again to achieve a proper pregnancy. Her oldest daughter is two and a half. Please. What she was really saying was that she didn't want to burden herself with a "sub-standard" child who would ruin her idea of the perfect life. This woman has a 20 million dollar trust fund, so of all the people I know she would be best equipped to deal with the financial realities of a special needs child. That was my final moment of clarity. I smiled and said, "Well thank God she's healthy," and left with a sick feeling in my stomach. That, my friends, is abortion for convenience.

Abortion is legal. In my world, that's fine--I don't support folks who want to just change the law. I would prefer that the battle be fought for hearts and minds, one ultrasound at a time. And for those of you who argue for abortion on demand anytime, anywhere for any reason because I don't come with a ready-made solution for every eventuality, well I'm sorry that life isn't neatly wrapped up in a bow and delivered on your doorstep. It's legal to choose, and I don't foresee that changing. So choose, and godspeed. As for me, it may be legal, but it's still wrong.

Posted by Big Arm Woman at 10:24 AM | Comments (26)

September 02, 2003

Embarrassment of Riches

The Boy turned two on Saturday. Hublet and I had already purchased and assembled his big present earlier this month--one of those sprawling Little Tikes climbing/sliding contraptions--so I only got him one small item to open on the day itself, figuring that two sets of grandparents and an aunt and uncle with no kids of their own would take up the slack. Turns out that was putting it lightly. Highlights of the Weekend of Mass Consumption?

Wiggles Pajamas--yes, parents, your child can now burn holes in your retinas by parading around the house in garish blue pjs emblazoned with primary colored blocks and maniacally grinning Wiggle heads. Good Lord, those things are bright! And your child will refuse to take them off in the morning, resulting in a rainbow colored, tantrum throwing blur. There's not enough coffee in the world. Perhaps The Wiggles could throw in some sunglasses for the parents with those pjs? Or some valium?

Hot Wheels sneakers. What can I add to that? Nothing.

Thomas, Thomas, Thomas. Two beginning train sets, two videos and one DVD. Add to that the Thomas underwear that The Boy picked out all by himself yesterday as a prelude to potty training, and you can imagine our joy. I noticed that the Thomas underwear has the "Really Useful" catchphrase printed on the front near the fly. Fill in your own joke--there are a million of them.

Wiggles Cake, complete with miniature Big Red Car toy on top. It was a very cute cake for the 3 seconds it existed intact, then The Boy grabbed the Big Red Car off the top and hasn't been separated from it since. He takes it to bed with him and makes it go around the Thomas tracks. Sir Topham Hat is most annoyed--the Wiggles do not fit his definition of Really Useful.

He also received more clothing than anyone has a right to own, including one outfit that is a miniature copy of one I saw Elijah Wood wearing in a publicity still. The Boy is nothing if not cutting edge, fashion-wise. He also got a t-shirt emblazoned with "Warning: I am Two." from my favorite uncle. This is extremely appropriate, as he ran screaming down the hall when his aunt and uncle arrived to wish him a happy birthday.

So he's a year older and I'm exhausted. I can only imagine what future years will be like, when I start throwing his little buddies into the mix...

Posted by Big Arm Woman at 08:51 AM | Comments (9)

August 22, 2003

rah rah ree! bite 'em on the knee!

I was all prepared to come in today and rattle off a scathingly insightful piece of witty yet thoughtful prose, but my life got in the way. Plus, what to write about? I mean, one of the featured news stories on Yahoo was "Bush Doesn't Like Gadgets!" Well stop the freaking presses! POTUS isn't a slave to a Palm Pilot!

Plus, I am groggy today because The Boy woke up at 5:15 a.m. and announced that he wanted to go outside. When he was thwarted, an hour-long tantrum commenced. I admire persistence in a person, but good God. Of course, his day hasn't improved, as his buddy bit him on the knee this morning. Who can unravel the intricacies of toddler relationships? Not me, that's for sure.

But back to the news--carnage, carnage, Gray Davis asks God for help--oh wait, that's just more carnage. And an extra dash o' carnage for spice!

I'm going home and straight to bed. Y'all have a good weekend!

Posted by Big Arm Woman at 02:48 PM | Comments (2)

August 21, 2003

Oh the British, they make me giggle

And the fact that a lot of them would be horrified by that makes me giggle even harder. Why am I overcome with girly mirth? Four Words:

Thomas the Tank Engine

See, The Boy has begun expressing his Y chromosome lately, and his conversation tends to turn to trains. Actually, the highlight of his day is running naked around the house yelling, "CHOO-CHOO TWAIN!" but whatever. We've been discussing getting him a Thomas starter set for his birthday, since every time we go to Barnes and Noble or Toys R Us the child makes a beeline for the Thomas display and would happily stand there until the end of time, running the little trains up and down the wooden tracks. So yesterday I'm at BJs, and see a Thomas video which includes sing-along songs and one or two brief story snippets. I figured, "Hey! Eight bucks, plus it might rid us of constant Wiggling," so I bought it and presented it to The Boy.

The Video was a hit. It was also extremely bizarre. And answered a lot of my questions about British sensibilities; like, why are they so damn fatalistic? It’s because they are indoctrinated from birth with songs like “Accidents Happen.”

The tune bounces cheerfully along, but the accompanying images and lyrics are incongruous and odd—image after image of Thomas and his friends plunging over cliffs, landing in lakes, crashing through homes and being chased by a giant rolling boulder. All while a happy chorus of British schoolchildren sing, “Sometimes accidents happen, no matter what you do” and other uplifiting phrases the upshot of which seems to be “Hey, be really careful all the time, but even if you are, sometimes you’re still DOOOOOMED!” The song culminates with a scene of the giant boulder crashing through a building and being engulfed in flames. I haven’t laughed so hard in ages. It was like Life of Brian for the toddler set.

As the song faded, I had tears of laughter running down my face, Hublet was chuckling, and The Boy was looking at us both like we were crazy. I’m starting a savings account today for future mental health costs related to The Boy’s toddlerhood.


Posted by Big Arm Woman at 08:44 AM | Comments (7)

August 18, 2003

What Fresh hell is this?

Okay, you're going to laugh. Actually, you might not, as you don't know me that well, but let me assure you that if you DID know me personally and I told you this, you would fall down laughing.

I am going to be teaching Sunday School to 45 2-year olds. Not alone, and not all at once, but still. Me. Toddlers. Copious amounts of toddlers in a confined area, including The Boy, who isn't terribly understanding when mommy pays attention to other children.

I got suckered in a moment of weakness, when a friend of mine called to say one of the teachers had dropped out last minute. "Okay, " I said, thinking that it would be a good way to help ease The Boy into a new experience. Then I went to "orientation Sunday." Dear God.

The Sunday School hour for toddlers is split into 15 minute segments as follows:

1. Getting over separation anxiety.
2. Assembly with the three year olds, where they learn a song.
3. "Lesson," which is story time followed by coloring.
4. Playground time.

Sounds simple. Yep. Real simple. There are just a few details missing from the picture -

1. Potty training, or lack thereof. One teacher is occupied full time with trips to the bathroom or trips to the changing table.
2. Callie, the big, mean pushy girl who likes to sidle up to smaller kids, waits until a teacher's back is turned, and then smacks the other kid and takes his or her toy. I'm not a fan of Callie.
3. Separation anxiety, incidentally, cannot be relegated to one fifteen-minute period of time.

And that was with just 8 children. Wait until things get into full swing next week, with 17-25 of the little dears roaring around. The above list will grow exponentially, and I will get my tubes tied. Possibly these things will occur simultaneously--all things are possible in Toddler World.

Incidentally, the class is called The Doves. I suppose that "The Plagues of Moses, " while perhaps a more accurate description, would be inappropriate. The good news is that at least I'll be spending my Sunday in prayer--for patience and stamina.

Posted by Big Arm Woman at 03:27 PM | Comments (5)

August 05, 2003

Note to Little Tikes

Dear Little Tikes -

Thank you so much for the lovely pictogram instructions that accompanied your 8-in-1 playset. The drawings depicting 1 man effortlessly snapping together your product were an especially entertaining bit of storytelling. I am particularly fond of the sequence wherein one average male citizen was able to simultaneously lift a corner of one preassembled structrue, line up the slots on the tunnel with the slots on the wall of another portion of the structure, slide the bits together and lock them into place with nothing more than a flick of the wrist.

The humor was not lost on me as I jumped up and down on unyielding plastic bits and anxiously eyed my 63-year old father for signs of heat exhaustion or heart attack.

I especially appreciated the ironic understatement inherent in your exhortations to "lightly tap" the pieces into place. Dad and I shared quite a laugh after whacking every available surface with a rubber mallet, to no visible effect. I am pleased to report that your sturdy plastic surfaces withstood all our attempts to make the tabs fit the slots.

Finally, I am beyond charmed by the fact that although the 8-in-1 playset is "easily modified," the instructions only demonstrate one configuration from start to finish. All the other "modifications" are only illustrated by small drawings on the outside of the box it was shipped in, necessitating our storage of a large, otherwise useless cardboard surface. Said surface is a lovely addition to our interior decor, by the way. And I'm sure that you will have succeeded in your goal of forcing us to examine our creative spirit and spatial relations abilities when we decide to modify the structure.

Truly, Little Tikes, you are a beacon amongst companies.

Sincerely,
Big Arm Woman

Posted by Big Arm Woman at 11:25 AM | Comments (5)

July 14, 2003

PSA - Fisher Price Little People: Still Evil!

I've opined before that the Fisher Price Little People are a scourge, but lately I've had to revisit that assessment. The are The Devil Incarnate. Why? So glad you asked.

They. Have. No. Knees. And yet, these shuffling malproportioned blobs of clay somehow manage to climb trees and jump around like crazed homunculi.

They. Have. No. Parents. Whence originate these evil little golems? No one ever calls them home to dinner, they call all the adults in town by their first names, and they roam the streets at all hours, stopping by the zoo after closing and stealing springs from the auto shop. Also, the adults are strangely receptive to their every suggestion, and even when their stunts are dangerous (see Sarah Lynn accidentally shoot a lion and clown into the sky), everyone laughs and applauds. Why? What secret power do they possess?

Michael. He's the secret devil spawn--he does actual magic and blots out the sun! Everyone in town fears Michael's wrath, and so, like the evil kid in that Twilight Zone episode he and his friends are free to Rule The World of the Little People!! Muhaahaahaa! Their evil shall reign eternal!

Will no one stop this jointless scourge of clay?! Yes, I know. Going to get some decaf now. But seriously, don't be surprised if the Little People videos mysteriously "vanish." I'll just blame Michael.

Posted by Big Arm Woman at 10:27 AM | Comments (1)

June 26, 2003

The Great Debate

It has come--the day of reckoning in the Big Arm household. The Boy has discovered his special extra accessory, and, as is his wont, is curious to know exactly what that thing is called.

Let me set the scene for you:

It is 6:45 on a balmy summer day in NC. The Boy, having produced a very smelly diaper, is being allowed to "air out" in the 15 minutes before bathtime. As usual, the sensation of freedom is empowering, and The Boy is running all over the house, laughing and trying to make us chase the crazy naked toddler.

Suddenly, The Boy stops, looks down, and points between his legs.

"Whazzat?"

Hublet and I look at each other, and the moment of reckoning arrives: do we go with clinical terminology or do we go with the baby talk?

"Your penis," I answer.

Hublet grimaces. "Penis is so...clinical. Why not "weiner?"

"WEINER?! That's just ridiculous! It's a penis. Call it a penis!"

"He's two! I don't want my two year old son walking around talking about his penis. That just sounds weird coming from a toddler."

"I don't want him walking around talking about his parts, period, but that's beside the point. And weiner doesn't sound weird? It's a goofy word! What grownup calls it a weiner? That's a food item, for crying out loud! It's a penis!"

"He's not a grownup. I called it a weiner as a boy."

"Penis."

"Weiner."

At this point, The Boy has started fiddling with the part in question, so Hublet takes him off to bathe before he does himself permanent damage (that pulling looked painful). Twenty minutes later they emerge from the bathroom, Hublet looking smug.

The Boy walks over in front of me, indicates the front of his diaper, and announces, "Wee-wee."

I grimace, but accept it. After all, it could have been worse, although I don't think a toddler would have an easy time pronouncing "schlong."

Posted by Big Arm Woman at 08:25 AM | Comments (5)

June 18, 2003

Full Disclosure

Inspired by some comments to this post, I feel compelled to clarify the extent of my family's infiltration by the Australian entity known as The Wiggles.
The Boy, who will be two at the end of August, first noticed The Wiggles after his first birthday. When I innocently mentioned to the grandparents that The Wiggles caused him to be still for an entire half-hour, a buying frenzy ensued. We now own the following bits of the Wiggles ouvre:

T-Shirts: Two, since my mom and dad couldn't determine whether The Boy would prefer the Big Red Car shirt in yellow, or the standard Wiggles shirt in blue, they bought both. Yes, he is the only grandchild. How did you guess?

Audio:


  • Wiggles Dance Party

  • Yummy, Yummy


Video:

  • It's A Wiggly, Wiggly World

  • Wiggly Safari

  • Wiggles Magical Adventure (full length feature, and that Wally guy creeps. me. out.)

  • Hoop-de-do! It's a Wiggly Party (also known in my household as the On The Fly Home Epilepsy Test, due to the flashing psychadelic backgrounds)


Our Wiggly-fication is almost complete. Hublet and I have viewed the tapes so many times that we now concentrate on the credits, trying to figure out which Leanne is the choreographer and to create a Dorothy the Dinosaur timeline, in which we chart who inhabits the suit. We also play "spot the Wiggly relative," and try to determine whose child is who on the tapes. In this way, we manage to keep our sanity while The Boy does the Toddler Frug to "Caveland."

Now here's my question. If, as Michael asserts in the previous post's comments, Wiggly Safari is NOT an example of The Wiggles best work, exactly what is? The grandparents are dying to know.

Posted by Big Arm Woman at 08:51 AM | Comments (1)

June 13, 2003

Unholy Duo

If you get Animal Planet, you know what I'm talking about. Tonight marks the bizarre convergence of those two ubiquitous Australian exports:

The Crocodile Hunter and The Wiggles.

I'm not entirely sure WHY Wiggles are necessary during Croc Week--though I'd pay money to see Captain Feathersword tackle a live crocodile (not that I'm sadistic)--but I'm thinking that somewhere in Australia, a marketing executive is laughing.

Did I mention I'll be taping the excerpt to show my son, who incidentally is wearing his favorite shirt (a Wiggles shirt) today?

Yeah, laugh it up, Australian marketing executive. I'm gonna find out where you live, you bastard.

Posted by Big Arm Woman at 03:05 PM | Comments (6)

June 09, 2003

Well, THAT Sucked. Up and

Well, THAT Sucked.

Up and about and back at work after 1+ weeks of the Infection From Hell! Tonsils swollen almost closed, double eye and ear infections, big fever, horrified doctors, the works. That. Sucked. A lot. And I have only my tiny walking biological WMD--the Boy--to thank for it. Line I'm most tired of repeating: "No, it's NOT SARS!"

On the plus side, got the Boy his first official kiddie pool from Target. It's in the shape of a whale, complete with a little spout attachment that connects to the garden hose for the front, and a big inflatable whale tail on the back. I think I'm more excited about it than he is...

Anyway, blogging shall reccommence as soon as I work up the energy to be pissy about something. Give me five minutes or so.

Posted by Big Arm Woman at 05:39 AM | Comments (0)

June 02, 2003

Sick. Ugh. Have been, still

Sick. Ugh.

Have been, still am. Left eye is officially Eye of Sauron now, and I've had a fever since last Wednesday, so that should explain the lack of vitriol from this quarter. Going back to Dr today; starting to get v.v.annoyed at this situation.

Posted by Big Arm Woman at 06:12 AM | Comments (0)

May 22, 2003

Vomit. Just--Vomit. No, that's not

Vomit. Just--Vomit.

No, that's not a pithy commentary on the quality of commencement speeches at our nation's universities, l'affair Blair, or the latest pronouncements by anyone in Higher Ed. That's a three word summary of what my world is revolving around just now, and an explanation for the reduced bloggage. I had no idea that my child was a tiny walking petrie dish for every single germ floating around the world at large. Color me surprised. Oh yeah, and covered in vomit, so color me smelly as well. Is smelly even a color? Sleep deprivation and Wiggles-induced epilepsy (anyone seen the backgrounds on "Hoop-de-doo! It's a Wiggly Party?" It's an on-the-fly amateur epilepsy diagnostic tool!) have obviously taken their toll.

Back tomorrow. Dammit. Or, vomit. Whichever.

Posted by Big Arm Woman at 10:42 AM | Comments (7)

May 20, 2003

My Sesame Street is WAY

My Sesame Street is WAY More Exciting than Yours

I was watching Play With Me, Sesame the other day, and I had an epiphany: I hate Ernie. No, really. I hate him, with a deep, abiding hatred. Why do I hate Ernie? Because he's The Roommate From Hell.

Look, I might be revealing my inner stick-in-the-mud here, but think about Bert for a minute. He's a quiet neatnik of a guy who likes collecting paper clips and training pigeons. And who does he get for a roommate? Mr. "Hey Bert, let's play a game!" psychotic extrovert Ernie, who tramples Bert's wishes to be left alone, forces him into playing some arcane game, and then abandons him at the moment that Bert decides it's fun to play. Ernie is constantly bringing over univited guests like Cookie Monster who trash the place, installing freaking drum sets in the middle of the living room, and have you SEEN the mess he makes when he bathes? Welcome to Ernie's world, where it's All. About. Ernie. Ernie? You totally suck.

Frankly, I think Ernie is playing with fire. Bert is quiet, keeps to himself, talks to birds...I think you see where I'm going with this. I wouldn't be surprised to see the following scenario played out one day:

Ernie: (in bathtub, singing) Rubber ducky, you're the one!

There's a knock on the door, then Bert enters.

Ernie: Bert, old buddy! You startled me!

Bert: What are you doing, Ernie?

Ernie: Well, I'm just taking a bath here with my best friend, Rubber Ducky!

Bert: Your best friend? I thought I was your best friend, Ernie. (Bert's mono brow creases downward in consternation)

Ernie: Well sure, Bert! You're my best pal too!

Bert: You can only have one best friend, Ernie. That's why it's a BEST friend, not bestests friendses.

Ernie: Hey, Bert! Don't be sad, Bert! You are my best friend!

Bert: (approaching tub with hands behind back) Which is it, Ernie? Me or the duck?

Ernie: Hey, Bert? What do you have behind your back, Bert? Bert? AAARRRRRGGGHHHH!

Later, we see Bert dressed as an old woman, sitting in a rocking chair and talking to a pigeon.

Bert: You were right, pigeon. It's MUCH quieter around here now.

The pigeon coos happily, and continues pecking at its meal. Bert reaches into the dish of bird seed and extracts a fuzzy red pom pom nose.

Bert: Sorry, pigeon. Guess I didn't sift it all that thoroughly.

Posted by Big Arm Woman at 06:46 AM

May 13, 2003

One Question For those of

One Question

For those of you who are planning to see X2 but haven't yet--leave lest ye be somewhat spoiled. For those who don't care--ignore this post. But I can't hold this back any longer. I have to ask:

WHY does Jean have to leave the jet to confront the dam? If she can block the Professor, Kurt and everyone else from LEAVING the jet, while simultaneously lifting the jet and deflecting the water, obviously she's powerful enough to do what she did from within the jet. Or couldn't she have just lifted the jet while inside it?

Wait, I lied. There are more questions, like: Helloooo, Bobby? Ice? Water? Freezing it? Oh, and Storm? Controls wind? Can't use the wind to lift the jet?

Basically an otherwise excellent movie was marred by last minute--we have to do these things so we can do the whole Phoenix thing next movie--just "kill" her somehow, consistency isn't a concern! Yes, I do think about useless crap like this too much. Oh, and I REALLY REALLY hate Jean Grey. But you knew that.

Posted by Big Arm Woman at 06:08 AM | Comments (0)

April 30, 2003

A Day in the Life

A Day in the Life

So, I'm just sitting around, having a beer or three with Irony, and listening to her sob story about her lack of name recognition when there's a knock at the door.

Me: Who is it?

Person Outside: Ohmigod! Like, let me in! I am totally exhausted beyond the ability to tell it! My world is ending in a fiery cataclysm! You've got to DO something! I'm at my wit's end!

Me and Irony: It's Hyperbole!

Irony: Don't let her in, okay? I am just not in the mood. Really.

Me: Oh, come on, Irony. She's obviously distressed.

Irony: So she says. She's HYPERBOLE, for crying out loud. It's not outside the realm of possibility that she could be, oh, I don't know, exaggerating.

Me: (sigh). Come on in, Hyperbole!

Irony: (rolling eyes) Gimme another beer.

Hyperbole: Ohmigod! It's a total jungle out there! Have you HEARD?

Me: Sit. Have a beer. Breathe in, hold it, release.

Irony: Or, you could just continue holding it. That might be fun.

Me: What's up, H?

Hyperbole: It's this whole free speech dissent thing! I mean, I've done some big jobs in my time, but I usually have time to prepare! Presidential elections give me at least a couple of years off--but this! Everyone in the whole world is speaking at once, and they are totally wearing me out--like, to a frazzle! I'm mostly dead!

Irony: We could only hope.

Hyperbole: You know, bitterness is not your best feature, Irony. Look, it's this whole McCarthyism thing all over again. Chill winds, crushing of dissent--and the whole bicoastal aspect is just wearing me out. What time zone am I even in?

Me: Yeah, we know you're working hard, H. Why don't you sit down and take a load off?

Hyperbole: I can't! I have to apply duct tape to Martin Sheen and buff his cross at noon! Then I've got to sit in with the Dixie Chicks, I've got a 2:30 with Daschle to prep for his press conference and--dammit! I hate pagers!

Me: Who--

Hyperbole: Oh, for the love of God! WHO gave Tim Robbins my beeper number? He's such a freaking hack--chill wind, indeed. I told him grandiose imagery needs to be original, but nooooo! He wanted to go classic "chill wind." What. Ever. Why even call me if you aren't going to take my advice? I'm a professional, and I don't have to put up with this crap!

Irony: Oh, cry me a river, you vapid tramp. I've been working the same jobs you have, and not only am I tired, I'm not even getting any credit. Subtlety is never appreciated.

Hyperbole: Subtlety is soooo 19th century. Maybe if you actually got OUT more, you know, combed your hair or bathed or something...

Irony: Bring it.

Hyperbole: I am so gonna kick your ass!

Me: HEY! There will be no figurative or literal ass-kickings in my living room! Sit. Drink. Then go out there and do your jobs. Irony? You're appreciated. See? Look at all the pretty bloggers out there--they recognize your worth, and I have it on good authority that all bloggers are not only intelligent, they're also thin, good looking, and way superior to everyone else in the world. Hyperbole? You're just gonna have to grit your teeth and bear it a while longer. I have a feeling the majority of your abusers are about to hit critical mass, implode, and vanish.

Hyperbole: Then can I go to San Cristobal?

Me: Yeah, whatever. Look, this has been fun, but I have a life to get back to.

Irony and Hyperbole: Okay, fine, we can take a hint.

Me: Good. Now go. And if I hear that you've been fighting again...

Irony and Hyperbole: What?

Me: I'll sick Metaphor and Similie on your asses.

Hyperbole: I can never tell those two apart.

Irony: Color me surprised.

Me: OUT!

Posted by Big Arm Woman at 06:51 AM | Comments (0)

April 11, 2003

The Cruelest Month(s) All this

The Cruelest Month(s)

All this happy crap about the coming of spring cheeses me off. The popular conception of spring is balmy weather, fluffy bunnies, warm sunshine and fresh flowers and grass underfoot. Spring is the time when we turn to thoughts of luuuurrrve and happy sunny things. What a load of utter crap. I hate spring with the fury of a rudely awakened rattlesnake, and here's why:

Balmy weather brings with it the yearly Exploding of the Oaks and Pines, whereby everyone in my town must go about masked or succumb to the swirling noxious yellow clouds of pollen. When you can go outside at night and actually SEE pollen motes floating through the beams of your home's floodlights, something is very, very wrong.

Fuzzy bunnies? Oh sure, we have them. For about five minutes, and then my cat deposits their headless corpses on our doormat. We keep her in at night--doesn't matter, and no one sleeps, as she was a stray who is very much an outdoor cat and who doesn't mind letting you know it. Buy her a bell--no good. Nothing can stop her single-minded quest to herald spring by mercilessly killing every one of God's creatures in a 3 block radius. I have nursed bluebirds to health in my bathroom, held bunnies as they expired (did you know that fleas leave a dead bunny's body IMMEDIATELY after death? I do! Ask me how!), and attempted to salvage moles, mice, and even hummingbirds. My success rate is unfortunately very low. In addition, I have had the joy of stepping, barefoot, into any number of pieces of ex-wildlife. At least by summertime the survivors are big enough, smart enough, or scarce enough to avoid her wrath.

Flowers? Grass? It is to laugh. I am surrounded by pine trees. Nothing grows here except pine trees. The soil sucks, the flowers wither, and the black widow population just loves hanging out around my deck, porch, flowerbeds and driveway. Oh, and that's not counting the snakes--or at least the snakes that are too big for the cat to eat.

Okay, so what about the other stuff--the luuurrrrve stuff? Puh-leeze. Spring is the time of year where I emerge, Sta-Puff like, from my cocoon of sweatpants and comfort food and find that I can signal passing aircraft by allowing the sun to reflect off of my white, white legs. My complexion always freaks out in spring; I'm pale, untoned, and scruffy. And as for the clothing--the human being does not exist who can pull off a lime green spring sheath dress. What is wrong with bright red or blue for spring? Pale pinks, lavenders and yellows have the added bonus effect of EMPHASIZING my puffy pallor. There is no love here. I scare myself, not to mention the pilots of those low-flying planes who mistook my calves for runway lights.

And then, just as I resign myself to the inevitability of fruitless yard work, spider squishing, wildlife rescuing and resumption of jogging, we have a freaking cold snap. Oh, very funny, spring! Ha. Ha. Joke's on me, I guess. Oh, and on my toddler, who doesn't understand that 40 degrees and rain are a pretty good reason for coming inside. Whee! Cold weather AND tantrums! It doesn't get any better than this!

Spring? I hate you.

Posted by Big Arm Woman at 10:31 AM | Comments (0)

March 31, 2003

Things That Make Me Laugh

Things That Make Me Laugh

If you ignore the fact that the laughter is a little unnaturally high pitched and kinda maniacal, when you get right down to it...

This online colloquy from the Chronicle on whether or not a professor should be terminated for lying about his credentials. As expected, discussion devolved into parsing the nuances of the unfairness of demanding qualifications from those esoteric artist types. Reality was inserted by, of all people, a grad student. See, we probably should determine different standards for folks in creative programs, but that's not the point here. He lied. It's wrong. Penalty paid, he'll move on. The "funny" part is that everyone's scratching their heads lately about rampant academic cheating, but no one seems to notice that when authority figures have to debate the merits of dismissing someone for falsifying their credentials (or cheating, not to put too fine a point on it) it might have an effect on campus culture generally. See? Funny! hahaha!

Or this little item (via Erin O'Connor) about how easy it is to purify a campus from all hate crimes--why, you just stifle speech and reprogram dissenters! Why hasn't anyone ever thought of that before? How very droll! Haahaaahaa!

And guess what! That new pneumonia? Why, turns out it's a lot deadlier and easier to spread than anyone thought! Know what else? China wasn't entirely honest about the extent of the epidemic! Those wacky commies! Guess the joke's on us! HAAAAAHAAAAAAAAAHAAAAAAAAAA!

Whoo! Nothing gets your heart racing and your head pounding like a good laugh. Or maybe that's an anxiety attack. Hard to tell the difference, lately.

Posted by Big Arm Woman at 08:23 AM | Comments (1)

March 28, 2003

This and That How is

This and That

  • How is it that I can spend at least half my day reading about or watching war coverage, and still have no idea what the hell is going on? I'm thinking I might just go home and play video games for a while; if the Iraqi army shows up at my door, I will assume the war went badly. If not, I'll continue with my arrogant American assumption that we'll win.

  • I have a secret crush on Tony Blair. Obviously it's no longer a secret now, but whatever. I wanted to send him a happy gram, but apparently you cannot just email the Prime Minister of Britain. On their official web site, they say you may fax or write him, and that email will be coming soon. Umm, guys? It's 2003. I realize the PM is not eager to receive "TonyBLair! Grow Your Penis!" spam, but I would think you're sophisticated enough to weed out the crud. That's what lackeys are for--and you're British! You should know all about lackeys, fer cryin' out loud. Anyway, I heart you, little Tony Blair! I would give you a big hug if it wouldn't a) embarrass your british sensibilities and/or b) result in my arrest for assault or stalking.

  • I also have a warm place in my heart for Donald Rumsfeld, mainly because he reminds me of my grandfather (Paw-Paw) who literally tossed his brother-in-law off of his front porch for being rude. Paw-Paw could do anything, was a great storyteller, and loved his family. But it didn't pay to piss him off. I get the same vibe from Rumsfeld--is there an official fan club?

  • Attended a seminar on the Invisible Knapsack of White Privilege yesterday, and while I believe that the speaker is correct to a degree, I couldn't get past the fact that all of her examples of white oppression and male oppression dated from 1986 or earlier. Is it really safe to assume that nothing would have changed in almost 20 years? I found this particularly disturbing when coming from an academic who has built her entire career around this subject. I kept thinking "bug in amber" every time she referenced an event from 1986. That was apparently a banner year for her. Is she aware that there's an entirely new generation around now? Just wondering.... There was also the unfortunate impression that she sought to curry favor by self-flagellation. Ah well.

  • We are going to break down and purchase a new lawn mower tomorrow. I'll be sad to see the old one go. We bought it for about $100 at Wal-Mart, and it has reliably cut our 3/4 acre lawn for 5 years, despite having been on fire, having its motor cord spliced together in 3 or 4 different places, and having no actual oil in the engine on several occasions. Fare thee well, brave mower--the fire was particularly exciting.
Posted by Big Arm Woman at 06:31 AM

March 25, 2003

Expiration Date Let me just

Expiration Date

Let me just say right now that I have been ripped off. No one told me that my body had such a short half-life, yet here I am at the ripe old age of 34 and unable to bend at the waist or the knee without groaning and clutching at furniture for support like some pathetic Caucasian Yoda on Dagobah. Is it too much to ask that my back muscles actually do more than contract into a tiny immobile ball of pain when I attempt to lift my child? And don't lecture me on lifting with my legs--that requires working knees, and mine haven't had cartilege for about 10 years now.

The most annoying thing is not that I am apparently mortal, but that I am now forced to confront the cold, hard, reality of never being able to live out my badass Xena fantasies. Xena would never finish a chakram toss by grabbing at the small of her back and trying to stretch. Xena would never be thwarted by a toddler who has figured out that he can evade pursuit by getting under the sideboard. And this is particularly galling as I find myself getting worked up into a righteous warrior princess snit about morons here and abroad. So I am left with only words to do my smiting, and I chafe--chafe I tell you--under these unfair conditions!

But there is hope. Tomorrow I shall away to the doctor's office and procure a muscle relaxant. Or maybe just some Doan's pills and a heating pad. And a cane. And possibly some bifocals. Oh man, I am so old.

Posted by Big Arm Woman at 10:40 AM

January 14, 2003

Rogue Singing Vegetables Have Eaten

Rogue Singing Vegetables Have Eaten My Brain

I suppose I should be glad that the boy has thrown over the hellspawn Fisher Price Little People in favor of the VeggieTales Silly Songs Collection, but frankly, I'm not. The problem is not that the songs are vapid or stupid or anything, it's that they're so dang catchy they stick in my head. Hublet and I find ourselves bursting into spontaneous choruses of "Oh Where is My Hairbrush" as we perform our morning ablutions. I fear for my job if this continues--yesterday, I had to physically restrain myself during a meeting in which a rather corpulent co-worker spent a good deal of time mashing himself into the ergonomic chair from suddenly singing: "A great big squash just sat upon my hat! A great big squash just squished my hat real flat! He squished my hat, he made it flat he crushed my snack now what of thaaaaaat?"

As the meeting droned on, my internal monologue went something like this (my thoughts appear in italics):

Corpulent Co-Worker: So, vis a vis the marketing strategy, what's our timeline?

Me: Well, we're kicking off with the pre-marketing brochure at the groundbreaking, A great big squash just sat upon his hat! A great big heavy squash squished his hat so flat he squished his hat he crushed it flat he mashed his snack now what of thaaaaaaat? ahem, with the giveaways. As soon as the construction site is underway and we get the webcams operational and the 360 tour online, we'll start the mailings. Now tell me everybody, whaddya think of that?

CCW: Great. Now, onto budget.

Me: Barbara Manatee--manatee, manateee! You are the one for me--one for me, one for me.

CCW: What do you think?

Me: That's doable. I just need to make sure we don't go over the limit before the end of this fiscal year. We are the pirates who don't do anything, we just stay home, and lie around. And if you ask us, to do anything....we'll just tell you...we don't do anything!

CCW: Well, it's getting near lunchtime. Any last items to cover?

Me: You are his cheeseburger, his precious cheeseburger, he'll wait for you-ooo, oh, he'll wait for you-oo, oh!

After the meeting...

CCW: I think that went well, don't you?

Me: Sure thing! Now tell me Mr. Nezzar, now whaddya think of that?

Sigh.

Posted by Big Arm Woman at 06:37 AM | Comments (0)