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Archive for April, 2007

Yesterday Nathan worked from home and was still helping a caller when I came home with Autumn. We hung out in the basement while he finished things up and after the call decided dinner out would be in order. Nathan just bought a coupon book chock full of fantastic BOGO deals, but most of them had a “dine in only” stipulation that would require us to actually leave the house.

We decided on a Thai place not too far from us. We’d been there before, but it has changed hands at least ten times since we were there last. It’s a little box of a place in a tiny strip mall on the main drag in town. In hindsight I realize that even though Thai food sounded mighty tasty, this restaurant was not the wisest choice, coupon or no.

Autumn was fine until she ran out of the snacks we brought. We ordered some chicken satay with peanut sauce that we thought she might like, but she was only interested in tossing the chicken on the floor and dipping her entire fist into the peanut sauce. Her sippy cup kept getting thrown onto the floor with such ferocity that I was sure it would break before we left. Our salad hadn’t even arrived and I was already wishing we could leave.

But I’m part Dutch and the coupon said “dine in only” so we had to at least attempt to eat the entrees in view of the restaurant staff.

Autumn threw fits. She cried, tried to stand up in the high chair and nearly pulled Nathan’s full order of Pad Thai onto the floor by tugging on his place mat. She didn’t want any of the sesame chicken and rice I dished out for her, opting instead to pelt me in the ass with at as I bent over to clean up some of the mess she was making. “That’s it,” I said. “I’m getting her out of here.”

I was pissed, tired and near tears as I tried to sweep together the carnage on the table. “I imagine this is what dinner with Henry the Eighth was like,” I said and tugged Autumn out of the high chair. We exited the restaurant and left Nathan to take care of the bill and gather our meals to take home.

Autumn was silent while we waited in the car. Normally she hates being restrained when we’re not moving, but this time she didn’t make a peep. I think she knew she acted like a Neanderthal. Of course the part of my brain that’s telling me this is also the part of my brain that’s convinced Molly feels guilt over crapping on the floor.

A few minutes later Nathan opened the door and handed me our food. “I’ve never been so disgusted with her as I was tonight, ” I said. “She was horrible!” Nathan agreed and we both decided buffets and fast food places are the only venues for the three of us from now on.

I sighed and said, “She broke me tonight, hon.”

“I know,” he said. “I hate seeing you like that.”

When we got home, we promptly put Autumn to bed and settled in our own room with the rest of our meals. After some ice cream and “Grey’s Anatomy” my frustration had worn off and I was able to put what happened into perspective. Yes, the evening with her was bad, but it will only get worse before it gets better. Some day she’ll have some semblance of table manners and we won’t have to leave an extra tip for the unfortunate soul who has to clean peanut sauce from the carpet.

Some day.

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A shocking turn of events in Grouchland leaves Autumn stupefied

A few weeks ago my parents bought Autumn the DVD of The Adventures of Elmo in Grouchland. Since that day, we’ve watched the movie approximately fifty thousand times, give or take a viewing or two. The girl is absolutely obsessed with Elmo and he seems to be the only thing of late that preoccupies her to the point that she acts like a civilized human being.

My mother is thrilled with Autumn’s Elmo enthusiasm and has added two more Elmo DVDs, a small stuffed Elmo and numerous Elmo books to our ever-growing Elmo collection. Our basement has become Elmopalooza and most nights when the weather prevents us from going to the playground we find ourselves in front of the TV watching Elmo dance and sing his way through Grouchland or an episode of Sesame Street we recorded earlier that day.

At first, I too thought the Elmo obsession was cute. I’d never seen Autumn so enthralled with anything real or imagined before. I have since formed the opinion that Elmo has turned my child into muppet-obsessed crack baby. When I pick her up from daycare in the evening, Autumn runs to the door, tugs on the doorknob and cries, “Ro-ro! Ro-ro!” This is her way of saying, “Woman, get your ass in the car and get me home. Elmo’s waiting!”

I guess things could be worse. In a few years her attentions will shift to the likes of those whorish Bratz dolls and we’ll be subjected to repeated viewings of “Hannah Montana.” At least on Sesame Street they have better talent. Where else can you see Nathan Lane sing and dance with The Oinker Sisters?

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Model behavior

This morning I opened up the fridge and an open packet of taco sauce fell out along with a few other items stacked on the top shelf.  The taco sauce splattered the inside of the fridge and I let out an annoyed bark at Nathan for having put the sauce on the top shelf without first putting it in a sealed baggie first.  He came into the kitchen as I was haphazardly tossing items back into the fridge.  “Well maybe things wouldn’t fall out if you didn’t just throw them in,” he said.

I looked up at him, held up the offending packet of taco sauce and said, “I didn’t toss this in the fridge.  You put it in there after dinner last night.  Without putting it in a baggie first”

Nathan continued, “All I’m saying is that you wouldn’t have this problem if you didn’t just throw things in there like that.”

We went around like this a couple more times before I actually screamed, “I DID NOT THROW THIS TACO SAUCE IN THE FRIDGE. THE TACO SAUCE FELL OUT WHEN I OPENED THE DOOR. DON’T TELL ME I THREW THIS IN THERE WHEN I DIDN’T!!!”

Nathan looked at me. “Um, please don’t scream like that in front of her,” he said and pointed to Autumn sitting in her high chair.  She had stopped eating her Cheerios and was now shifting her gaze between Nathan and I, waiting to see what was going to happen next.

I felt horrible.  Not only did I scream at Nathan, but I did it in front of Autumn.  Worse than that, it was over taco sauce.  TACO SAUCE!

I apologized to Nathan and to Autumn and left the room to get dressed.  I hate behaving like that and certainly don’t want Autumn to grow up thinking that what I did is an acceptable way to handle anger.  So far I’ve exhibited a surprising amount of patience when it comes to dealing with Autumn, but Nathan just pushes my buttons to the point that I can’t help but explode.  We got into this stupid loop of idiocy this morning and the only way I knew how to break it was to turn up the volume.

Autumn has already started to exhibit her short fuse and I can’t help but wonder how much of that she gets from me.  Yesterday morning I took a hairbrush out of her hand just before we were to leave for daycare.  She got upset and swatted me in the leg for taking the brush away.  She’s been doing that more and more, and I understand that hitting and slapping are toddler ways of expressing frustration because they can’t verbalize.  She’s also been hitting the kids at daycare though.  C- has been very kind and has attributed Autumn’s hitting to her rough play with Molly at home and to the fact that she’s just 17 months old.  Still, it’s mortifying when you find out your child has become the resident bully.

I have the feeling that we’re in for a rough couple of years.  Not only is my child head strong, she’s my child.  I have to exhibit the kind of behavior I expect from her.  That means no swearing in the car, no screaming at Nathan and no making fun of the way people look, act or talk.

Crap, this is going to be hard.

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Green acres

Saturday was my brother-in-law Roman’s birthday.  Roman’s had a tough month.  A few weeks ago he was scammed out of three thousand dollars by a guy posting a fake bass boat auction on eBay and last week someone broke into his feed store, smashed the computer monitors and cash register and stole about four thousand dollars in fishing gear.

Roman’s a great guy and seems to be taking all this bad luck in stride.  He invited us to his house Saturday night for a party at his place.  Since he lives a good hour away from us we decided to spend the night, so Saturday afternoon we packed the whole family up, Molly included, and headed out to the country.

First, it’s crazy how much packing we had to do for just one night away from home.  We had four bags of just clothing and toiletries, a cooler for our beer and Smirnoff, Autumn’s pack & play and an inflatable mattress for us to sleep on while we were at Roman’s. The car was packed and I wondered if we would ever be able to go on an extended road trip without exceeding the car’s weight capacity.

The evening was fun, although I had too much to drink.  I didn’t get drunk, but I certainly felt the effects of what I did have the next day.  I felt lethargic and over-tired the whole day yesterday.  Just keeping my eyes open was an effort, but I got through it by doing very little.  Poor Nathan, who has a much higher alcohol tolerance, was stuck doing the laundry, shopping for the groceries and making dinner.  Me?  I just made sure our daughter didn’t cause any damage to the house, the dog or herself.

Whenever we come back home from staying in the country I always feel like we’re coming back to civilization.  I miss my home, my bed and having my daughter across the hall in her own room instead of right next to me in a pack & play.  She woke up at 6:00 Sunday morning, a full hour earlier than she normally does.  She should have slept later seeing as she went down later, but she wasn’t used to sleeping somewhere other than her own bed either.

I ended up crashing about 11:30 Saturday night.  Seriously, I never have been and never will be one to party all night.  Nathan came to bed at 1:00 in the morning once everyone decided to abandon the bonfire and go to the bar.  Crazy people.  I guess the majority of them finally went to bed about 4:00.  Had I been one of them I’d probably still be in bed this very moment.

It’s taken me a long time to be comfortable with Nathan’s side of the family.  I’m not Nathan’s first wife and I always figured his side was just waiting for me to hit the pavement.  I think we all kind of kept each other at arms length for awhile.  Maybe it was just me projecting my feelings and insecurities on them.  That’s probably it, but the long and the short if it is that I’ve relaxed considerably since Autumn was born.  I may not be heading to the bar with them at one in the morning, but I was quite happy to sit in front of the bonfire and drink my share of Smirnoffs.  It’ll be awhile before I do that again.  I’m such a wimp.

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Yesterday I did something I’ve never done since I became a mother and swore I’d never do…

I paid full price for an outfit at Gymboree.

It all started innocently enough with a visit there a few weeks ago. I picked up a few things on clearance and a few things I hoped to re-sell on eBay.  I then went to the website to sign up for their email newsletter.  Lo and behold I received an email last week about their new clothing line and oh my dear heaven if I didn’t see the cutest outfit in the world that Autumn would look adorable wearing.

Yesterday I brought Autumn to the mall and we stopped at Gymboree.  I ended up picking out a few more clearance items and the outfit.  The resale value of Gymboree is pretty good on eBay, but I don’t know if it was reason enough to drop that much coin on so few items.  Usually I’m quite happy shopping at Target and consignment stores and actually view buying from places like Gymboree way too indulgent and downright ridiculous.

The good thing is that Autumn should get some mileage out of the outfit this summer.  She’s been wearing 18 months sizes for the past 5 months and has yet to grow out of them.  I’m hoping this outfit will get her through all our warm weather.

If it ever arrives, that is.

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Irrefutable Evidence

This was the scene I came home to today. Click on the video below for a visual tour of my messy basement and a peek at my guilty dog.

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Houdoggie

I took another couple of days off work this Monday and Tuesday.  I felt I was due seeing as I got the flu and contracted bronchitis during the last few days I had off.  I was a total slug on Monday, save for the hour and a half or so I spent at the grocery store.  Autumn was at daycare so I was free to roam the clearance racks at will.  It was nice.

When I got home I was greeted by Molly.  This was a problem since I put her in the cage when I left.   I know the latches were securely in place since she had performed a similar Shawshank-type escape the day before when we went out to dinner.  I immediately freaked and dropped everything to inspect the couches.  Black dog hair everywhere and…dirt. DIRT!  More freaking and chastising of the dog, who at least had the courtesy to appear guilty and skulked out of the room away from the pounding decibels of my shrieking.

The dirt wasn’t that bad.  It was mostly dry and easily wiped off.  We sprung for the stain guard when we ordered the couches so we’re protected somewhat.  The blood stains from when I eventually kill that dog may not be so easily extracted.  They do have a 1-800 number to call for assistance with the really tough stains, though.

I’m starting to think that Molly is in the sulking teenager phase and that she doesn’t care a whit about the rules her mom and dad have set down.  I’ve said it before and will say it again; it’s our own fault.  We’ve given her free reign on all the furniture and it’s going to be tough to break her of this habit.

It’s not really the dirt that gets me, either.  I’m just so afraid that one day I’m going to come home to find my nice furniture destroyed.  She’s fully capable and has proven she can’t be trusted to roam the house alone for extended periods of time.  I wouldn’t be surprised to find out she’s been jamming to Bob Seeger and inviting the neighborhood dogs over for some sex and beer while we’re out.

To her credit, there was so much more she could have gotten into yesterday while I was gone.  The whole top floor was open and our overflowing trashcan was a smorgasboad of garbagy goodness just waiting for the right dog.  It seems the only thing she did was get on the couch.  Perhaps she felt, as Ferris Bueller did about the Ferrari, that she couldn’t pass up the opportunity because the couch was “so choice.”

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