Boo! bay and doll…

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Last night my brother’s neighborhood celebrated Halloween a day early. Looking at our weather outside, I wish our city would have taken a look at the weather forecast and had changed ours as well. But I digress. The doll was invited to attend a Halloween party at her cousins, once they finished walking the neighborhood in search of tricks and/or treats. When I arrived shortly before 9pm to pick her up I asked “How was the neighborhood score?” “Mom, Uncle Danny’s neighbors gave out full-sized candy bars….” She said simulating the length of the candy bars with her hands. “Cool…” I countered. “Remind me next year to come back…” She laughed. “Considering that will be your last year….” I reminded. As one might suspect, I received a tongue stuck out at me from her in reply.

As we made our way home, the doll told me about the different houses she walked up to. “Oh mom…” She began with a laugh, “The lady who lives there is a dentist and she said we could all take two pieces of candy, so long as we also took a tube a toothpaste”. “So long as the toothpaste was sealed…” I spoke aloud. “It is…” The doll replied.  “Oh and mom, the house over there had Fall Out Boy blaring from their speakers. I told her I liked her music and she was like, “You like Fall Out Boy?” She said and then giggled at the memory. “Did you mention you just saw them in concert…?” I asked.  “No..we were only there for a second mom” She said sounding more annoyed with me. “We were going to try to go to the mansion, but it was too far…” she remarked sounding  a bit disappointed. After mulling the idea over for a minute she added “I bet they were handing out even bigger candy bars…” “Who knows doll, maybe they weren’t even handing out candy…” I tried. “No they were…” she replied sounding a bit sad. Then she pulled out her headphones, plugged in her iPod and turned up the music-essentially drowning me out with her own music for the rest of the car ride home…”

Who pray tell could she have been listening and singing along with for most of the car ride home? I’ll give your three guesses and the first two don’t count.

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Today on our morning drive to school, I remarked how this would be the last truly dark morning-as daylight savings time comes to an end this weekend. “But I like the darker mornings…” the boy lamented. “You are perhaps the only one…” I guffawed toward him. “I mean seriously mom, look at how well the street lights illuminate that grassy embankment…” He pointed out. I laughed and said, “Most people would rather look at the grassy embankment with ambient lighting…” “I guess it depends on the people…” He mused. Looking over at my handsome son dressed in his school uniform I said “Oh by the way bay, I love your Halloween Costume….” and tapped him on the chest with my right hand. In all seriousness he replied, “I’m not wearing a costume…” Taking a brief look back at him I replied, “Uh huh…coulda fooled me…” He smiled and said “No mom”. “Oh bay I’m just funning with you…” I replied a little frustrated at his unwillingness to play along. “I know Momma and your costume is hideous too.”

Ah there’s the boy I love!!

Shaking My Head daily…

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My husband has been on vacation this week-essentially driving us all a little insane–well okay maybe one of us more than the others. For the last three days he’s taken the boy to school, while I made the doll lunch and then got ready for work. Today I took the boy-happily. I’ve missed talking with him. You see every morning, while listening to NPR he usually brings something up about animals or an idea about a book he’s going to write and we have a discussion. “Good morning Bay, I’ve missed you…” I said after he climbed in the car with me this morning. “I know, dad is boring to talk to in the morning. He’s usually lecturing me…” “Well, I’ve been known to do that too” I said sympathetically. “True…but you’re easier to ignore” He said with a smile.

“Do you have an Anime meeting today?” “Yes.” “Make sure you call your dad for a ride home, okay?” I remarked. “Mom, did you know pigs are one of the most intelligent creatures on the planet-in fact some claim they are as smart as three-year old human child.” “Didn’t we discuss this last week…?” I asked. “Oh I confused you with Dad…” He replied. “Don’t ever do that again…” I said with a smile. Then we rode in silence for a little while before I started again, “By the way, I’m very proud of you for talking with your teacher about your grade…”  “What are you talking about?” He said and quirked his left eyebrow in response. “Your English teacher-so she would change her grade…” I replied.

*The boy’s English teacher has been at the school for several years and is a highly respected member of the staff. She is also legally deaf, but reads lips and talks with an accent; one usually associated with a deaf individual. At the start of the second quarter, the boy received and F on an assignment and when I called him on not turning in the assignment, he proved not only had he turned the assignment in, but had actually received a 9.5/10 questions. “Tell your teacher your mother is very concerned about your grades…” I told him. “Use me as an excuse…” “I don’t need an excuse, Momma, she’s pissing me off!” He replied. “Be that as it may, you still have to be respectful…” His father countered.*

“Your English teacher-so she would change your grade…” I replied. “Oh well that was just a chance for me to humiliate her…” He replied. “Bay…” I said shaking my head. “What? you don’t know what’s it’s like being in her class. I feel like I’m being taught by Helen Keller!” He replied. “Oh Bay…” I replied trying not to laugh. “You should be so lucky…Helen Keller was brilliant”. “I’m sure–but not while teaching English” He snarked in reply. “Bay…the reason I’m proud that you talked with her is because last year you refused to talk with your teachers when you began having problems. The fact you approached her to correct a grade tells me you have the will within you to do so…” I explained. “To quote my baby sister momma, Whatever” He snarked, before exiting the car at school.

 

For lack of a better word, Wow….

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The week prior to my neice’s wedding, I invited my sister Ann Marie to go shopping in hopes of finding a nice looking Moo Moo for me to wear. “A Moo Moo?” She asked. “It has to be a Moo Moo…I don’t think anything else will fit…” I explained and was subsequently slapped on the arm by her for the comment. We also invited the doll to join us in hopes of finding a nice dress to double for the wedding and Christmas; along with some new dress shoes. As we wandered through the mall, trying on shoes, looking for dresses for me, the doll seemed quite bored. Not that I blame her. Yet when we arrived at one of the anchor stores and  wandered into the Junior department, her mood and attitude changed immediately.

In case you may have missed this tidbit of information, I hate clothes shopping. I like to go in, grab what I want then get the hell out. My sister inherited my mother’s love for shopping and knows exactly what 12 yr old girls like to wear–So I followed her lead all the way. “I’m just going to start grabbing dresses and we can have her try them on…” Ann Marie said.  After we’d grabbed about eight dresses, the doll sequestered herself into a dressing room and began trying them on. In the meantime Ann Marie went off in search of dress shoes, while I sat patiently outside the dressing room area, hoping she might give me a glimpse of what she was trying on.

After ten minutes I asked, “Hey, how many have you tried on?” ‘Three” came her reply “Mom, could you go see if they have this dress in the next size up?” She asked handing the dress over the top of the door to me.”Yeah sure, be right back”  I replied.When I returned a minute later and tried to enter her dressing room she slammed the door shut and locked the door in the process. “Really doll?” I asked and resumed my place outside the dressing room. “You know, what would be nice, considering I’m PAYING for the dress…?” I began rather annoyed how long she was taking… “Would be if you let me see how you look in a few of them…” I said after another ten minutes.

“Is she still inside?” Ann Marie asked. “Yes…can you believe it?” “Mom, I’m still trying on all those dresses…” The doll argued. “But can’t you come out and twirl a few so I can help you choose?” I asked but got nothing in rerturn. Then finally after what felt like forever the doll quietly asked, “Mom, could you come in here and tell me what you think?” “Sure” I replied almost running into her room. There standing before me was a beautiful red head wearing an extremely cute, but rather short, black party dress. Except she didn’t look like the doll I knew. For a half a second I thought I must have entered the wrong room, before realizing, no right room, she’s just not your little girl anymore. In that instance I was struck by how little time I have left with her. Taking the beautiful woman’s sight in I replied in a soft tone “Wow!”  “What do you think?” she asked. “Wow” Sigh. “Wow. Wow.” SIGH “Umm Wow. Wow”. She looked back at me curiously, then turned to look back into the mirror. I kept trying to wrap my mind around the sight in front of me, trying to formulate thoughts into words, but all I could say was “Wow”.

Outside the dressing room, perhaps sensing I was stuck in the  “OMG my baby’s grown up” hell; Ann Marie asked, “Doll can I see what has your mother so tongue tied?” Seeing that I wasn’t offering her any constructive help with the dress, she opened the door and invited her aunt in. Sizing the doll up and down and shooting me a brief look Ann Marie threw out a lifesaver to the both of us. “Doll, do you mind the dress being that short?” Yes!! Good question!! I thought. Turning and looking back into the mirror, the doll immediately lowered her arms trying to cover her legs. Embarrassed she said, “Not really…” “Well then, was there another dress you liked just as well? Why not try that on and let us compare?” Agreeing the doll changed dresses, after we exited the room and then allowed us another preview. “Oh I like this dress!” I said; maybe too enthusiastically.”What do you think Aunt Ann?” The doll asked. “I think this one is more appropriate for your comfort level…” She explained. “Me too” The doll agreed.

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Later in the evening when I tried to explain the incident to my husband I laughed, “Our baby is growing up and I don’t like it one bit!” “I know…but that’s how this whole world spins…” He said in return. “Hey, you’re supposed to be commiserating with me!” I snarked back. “Believe me I am Marsh…I am”.

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my chemical romance is not dead…

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Okay, first to be clear, let me say, I knew what I was doing and getting myself into when I–that’s right, my idea, me-suggested to the doll that we host a sleepover with her friends so they could make their Halloween costumes together. My husband the coward, thought me insane, opening the house to six 12 yr old (going on 30) girls and as such escaped with the boy to his mother’s for the night. But I knew better. Not only did I get a daughter who’d been very nice to her parents for the last month out of the deal, the girls gained memories of having fun at the doll’s house.  And while a good set of earplugs would have been great to lessen the impact of their screams, they would have also lessened the amount of stuff I overheard all night long.

First off, due to a Girl Scout Corn Maze scheduling, the doll’s sleepover did not begin until 9:30 pm. At first I thought, well that’s too late but then realized, this meant the time we had to entertain the girls was shorter. Win win for me! One of the parents warned me during their volleyball game earlier in the day, that her daughter thought they might go ding-dong ditching. As such, in between cleaning and bracing the house for the influx of screaming girls, I visited with a few neighbors asking them nicely to refrain from carrying their shotguns to the doors. Most agreed at least this one time.

They screamed upon arrival. The last girl to be dropped off, upon hearing the others screaming decided to scream the loudest, I suppose in an effort to announce her arrival. Thus you can guess what they did for most of the night. I offered to hook their MP3s up to our antiquated stereo and before long the house was filled with the first strands of Welcome to the Black Parade, by My Chemical Romance. The only thing that gave away which group were playing were by the song’s melody, primarily because the girls loud singing obliterated the lead singers voice. When the next song came on, Nikki wandered into my kitchen and said, “Am I the only one who doesn’t know this song?” “No, I’ve never heard this song either”. Nice comfort not! I thought as she shot me a mortified look.  Immediately I knew the faux pas I had just committed. I had placed her in the loser category with myself. Oy ve.IMG_1672

Then came the time to work on their T-shirts and headbands. The night before the doll and I made a trip to Walmart and spent two hours looking for the right headbands and T-shirts to use. Two hours of the doll saying, “I don’t know, I can’t decide, I hate making decisions….” To my happiness, the shirt size we bought was perfect and the girls all loved the headbands. The gods of massive sleepover’s shined brightly down on us. As the girls worked on their shirts and headbands, they talked and shared gossip, asked one another questions and Stephanie talked about her boyfriend…a fifteen year old. I almost gagged. “My parents are okay with him, really” she assured. “Who’s singing now?” I asked as the girls sang along to another song. “5 seconds of Summer” Nancy said. “Hmm, never heard of them…” I replied. “Oh they’re the best boy bad out there…well, next to Fall Out Boy that is…”IMG_1689

“Dang it, I messed up!” One of the girls announced. “No, compared to mine that’s really nice…” Said another. “They’re both good, now knock it off” Came the voice of reason from another girl. “But…” one of them tried to argue. “Ladies, ladies, their both great now shut up!” Came from yet another girl. I sat in the kitchen and smiled, liking their support for one another. “Who singing now?” I asked, as I stepped around the girls to take pictures “Cob” Alex replied. “Cobb?” I said having never heard of them. “No Cab… you know like the car…” she explained. “Hmm” I replied as I tried to mentally remember the group to look at later. (Yep, just as I figured, another boy band…ugh!) “Do you guys like the song ‘Only Human’ the doll asked to the group. “I don’t understand this song…it’s like they just want us to cry cry cry…” she added. “Well doll they know their target audience” I threw in and was immediately sent a look which read, “Go AWAY!”

Once they were done being creative, and prior to the start of the movie, they became very, well, boyish… Setting their T-shirts off to the side to dry, they began to wrestle and scream. “someone help me, she’s killing me…” Emily screamed from the living room. I found it funny how the rest of the girls stood in the kitchen talking while Emily screamed. “Girls, really?” I said to Nikki hoping she would stop pulling on Emily’s leg. “I screamed so much I’ve lost my voice…” Emily said a little while later while musing over the “attack”. They tried to play practical jokes on one another, essentially ruining my glad wrap roll while trying to place an invisible barrier on the doll’s bedroom door frame. The hope was that Alex, who was in the room putting on her pajamas would run into it and get stuck. “Doll, what the..?” I asked and was “shushed” for an answer. A little later, all of my Halloween plush toy decorations became targets as they began throwing them at each other. “Mom they’re just creepy” The doll explained. “What? They’ve been here your whole life…you were never creeped out by them before…” I said to my fickle daughter. “Whatever mom…” she replied.

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The next morning, my original idea was to wake them up with my husband’s antique school bell, but thought of something better. They were all sleeping on the floor of my living room, except for Stephanie who chose the hardwood floor of my kitchen. I plugged in my IPod and immediately, the strands of Led Zeppelin’s Moby Dick began to eminate loudly from my stereo speakers. “Mom, really?” The doll uttered, her eyes still closed. “Rise and shine girls, we have mass in an hour….rise and shine!!” I said in the sweetest voice I could muster.  All in all the girls were pretty good about waking up. After breakfast we all walked to church together and then afterward arrived home to put their new costumed T-shirts on in preparation for the annual Halloween parade; which circles my neighborhood.  Before the girls left to find a spot to watch the parade (catch candy thrown from floats)–or hook up with other 12 yr olds girls,(boys too), I made them pose for a picture…celebrating a good night with friends and showing sometimes a mother’s crazy insane idea, is actually a good one.

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3:07 am….

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If you’ve ever watched the movie, The Conjuring, then you know every night at 3:07 am, all the clocks in the home stop working–very creepy stuff. The other night the doll hosted a sleepover with five of her friends and they watched that movie. Half way through, I kept overhearing side conversations between different girls, strategizing about how they were going to scare the others at 3:07 am.

“Marsha, I’ve never watched a scary movie but I told my mom that I think I’m ready now….” Nancy explained. “Well your cousin brought The Conjuring with her…and it’s a very scary movie…” I replied. “I think I’ll be okay…” she replied though her voice quivered as she spoke.  When the movie began she came into the kitchen, where I was seated and asked if I could watch it with them. I didn’t mind being a security blanket of sorts, so I moved my chair into the door frame-still in the kitchen but close enough so she could see and immediately wished I knew where my husband kept his ear plugs. Stephanie  was the most proficient screamer there. For no reason she would scream-which caused the other girls to scream in reply. “What the heck?” I asked her. “My cell phone vibrated on my lap and that scared me..” she replied as she and  the girls laughed. A short time later, all the girls screamed again for no reason. “What’s going on?” I asked, lost. “Your wall clock and the clock in the movie are showing the same”. Nancy cried. “Um, the movie clock is 3:07 am. My wall clock reads 12:15 am. Hello?” I said and they all giggled at their apparent silliness.

“Okay this part coming up is scary but…” Emily explained. “Would you two knock it off, I’m trying to watch this.” Nikki interrupted. “No, I told her to let me in on the scary parts so I could be prepared Nancy replied. “Okay great, could you write all those down in your mental notebooks? I’m trying to watch the movie…” Nikki asked yet Emily kept for warning Nancy just the same. We reached a lull in the movie when someone asked, “Is anyone else creeped out by the ugly colors of their bedroom walls?” “Yes, but you know this was set in the 70’s…” came a reply. “What’s that supposed to mean?” I asked sounding offended. “Oh mom you know the 70’s were an ugly time…” the doll snarked to me in reply and all I could do was shake my head and laugh.

As the movie wore on, every now and again someone would come into the kitchen for more pop or chips and bring another girl with her. “Okay, Nancy, you’re my associate producer tonight. I say at 3:07 am we both scream….” Nikki said trying to hatch a plan. Then another set of girls came  in and said, “Wouldn’t it be funny to scare everyone at 3:07?” As the result of those overheard conversations, I chose to stay awake until 3:08 am in an effort to thwart any unnecessary scary activity. For my efforts I was rewarded by the doll when she shook me awake at 3:45 and  said, “Mom, Emily is crying…” Coming downstairs I asked what’s wrong….? “Well, Stephanie is asleep in the kitchen and yet she sent a text to the doll…” Emily said. Staring at her I replied, “What?” She explained everything to me once more which prompted me to snark,  “Gee, I can see how if Stephanie were DEAD you could be afraid of a text coming from her. What are the odds she’s actually awake…in the next room hmm?” Smiling back at me she replied, “Oh well, when you put it that way….” I returned to my bed a short time later, but not before suggesting the girls do the same…we all had church in the morning. But as you know, there is no such thing as a voice of reason during a sleepover… and instead popped in another movie. All told I got about 5 hours of sleep while they got about 3.

My favorite moment of the entire sleepover occurred in the morning when all the girls complained of having sore throats. “I hope you’re not getting sick…” I replied. “Mom, it’s from screaming last night…” the doll replied as all the girls nodded their heads in reply and laughed.

 

 

A very successful sleepover indeed

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Note to self….

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“Momma…did you know a middle-aged pig is as smart as a three-year old child?” The boy asked as I finished lacing my tennis shoes. “Are you watching more of those “true life” videos on YouTube?” I asked. “True facts!” He corrected before adding, “And no. This is just something I’ve ascertained over my years of….” “You know I didn’t ask for an explanation. It was a simple yes or no question…” I interrupted. “Momma you do know who you’re talking to, right?” He replied with a smirk. Smiling back I said, “Note to self: remember when talking to the boy he has the propensity to become a long-winded encyclopedia…” “And you wouldn’t have me any other way…” He added with a smile. “Oh….I don’t know…” I said with a wink and a smile.

“Note to self” The boy began, “Stop giving Momma so many chances to get the last word in…”

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I used to get offended (wink-wink) when the doll yelled at me in the morning. After all I was just being their mom right? No need to yell at the messenger to wake up… I thought.  “Mom TURN IT OFF!! TURN OFF THAT HORRID BANGING!!“(referencing Led Zeppelin’s,  Moby Dick),  “I AM AWAKE LEAVE ME ALONE!!” “The only thing awake is your voice…” I would say in return. “UGGHHH!” She would say…all while still lying on her back, eyes closed, blanket pulled up to and over her head-not getting ready for school.

Then I got wise. I realized if kept badgering her…asking her every two minutes if she were awake, she may just wake up. Then if she could yell, she could formulate thought. If she could formulate thought, she could move her butt out of bed.

Now nothing pleases me more than to have the doll yell at me in the morning…

Today: After calling down to her at 6:45, 6:50 and 7:00 am to wake up, around 7:05 am, I heard in an angry tone  “MOM I’M UP JEEZE!!” waft up the steps from the doll’s bedroom. I smiled to myself and uttered “Good” before turning back toward my bedroom to finish getting dressed, myself.

A few minutes later I yelled down again, “Doll are you up?” because trusting her yell on the first reply is like trusting the boy to not bother his sister that day. “MOM WHAT’S WRONG WITH YOU??” She yelled up the stairs and I smiled.  “Just making sure…” I replied before heading downstairs to see for myself.

Yes…yelling on school mornings is a lovely sound….

 

 

 

 

taking notes….

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The doll entered the kitchen looking for a snack and finding a mostly empty pan of brownies. “Wow that didn’t take long…” I commented (about the empty pan) as she grabbed the pan and a butter knife and then sat down next to me at the table. Using the butter knife, she scraped the remaining brownie crumbs to the bottom of the pan and then scooped them into her mouth, before starting a conversation with me. “Mom, did you write about my melt down this morning in your blog?” “No” I replied honestly; though I never promised her I wouldn’t. “When you were my age did you have meltdowns like I did?” She wondered. “I’m sure I did, though I don’t remember them”. “You don’t remember because you’re old or because you don’t want to? She asked with a smirk. “Perks of getting old darlin’,  bad and mundane memories fade away over time…” I replied and she smiled.

She continued gathering up crumbs with her fingers to feed into her mouth when she stopped and asked, “Am I a rebel?” “Hmm…I’m not sure what you mean?” I replied wondering where she was headed. “Well I’ve been trying to decide whether to have a teenage rebellion or a mid-life crisis…” At that we both began to laugh. “Seeing as you’re only twelve…” “Going on thirteen…” she interrupted. “…Going on thirteen…you’re too young to have a mid-life crisis.” I replied. “Well then a teenage rebellion it is!” she declared with a smile. “Whatcha gonna rebel against?” I queried. “Um…I don’t know, let me get back to you on that…” she said.

“Mom….could you explain to me the teenage mind?” She asked with a smile. Which brought a quick snark from me in reply, “What mind?” “Bwahahaha! Yes that is a stretch…” She said and we both laughed.

After a few minutes she told me about a couple of friends from school who were fighting. “I guess over the weekend one girl got jealous of another and did some really stupid stuff. So now she’s grounded like forever” She explained. “I’m happy you weren’t around this weekend to get caught up in that drama” I said. “It’s weird mom…why do girls my age act so out of control? I mean is it all hormones?” “Well…” I thought for a moment; hormones are an easy answer…but not the only reason. “Doll, when you’re younger you tend to think in concrete terms: the ball is red.  But as you grow older you think in more abstract ways: The red ball can be used to play dodge…” I paused, as I watched her eyes gloss over and the sound of crickets building in the background. “What I mean is, this is a tricky time. Girls are beginning to like boys and vice versa. Some girls may become jealous that a boy they like likes their friend-even though the friend is unaware of the situation…or is aware and enjoys the attention-even though she’s not interested in him. I’m not saying that’s what happened…because thankfully I’m not in their heads…” “Oh that would be scary…” the doll added quickly. “Indeed…but that kind of lunacy is what’s happening in all your adolescent heads these days…”

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“When you were my age did you have a group of girls you hung out with?” She asked. “I had my best friend Sally. We did everything together in 7th and 8th grade. Then guess what? When we got to highschool, while we still hung out on weekends, we went off in two different directions. Which is okay. Today she and I aren’t as close as we once were. But we still talk and laugh at the dumb stuff we did back then. Having a group of girls to hang out with is cool. Stick with the group…and believe me…one day you will look back and laugh.”

Our conversation continued until she had eaten all the brownie remnants she could find. “Mom did you and your mom ever have these kind of talks?” She asked. “Yep. My mom would make us both a cup of hot tea and we’d sit at the kitchen table and talk about stuff”. “So this is normal…right?” “Yes…doll quite normal…and…I want you to know that any time you need to talk to me, I’ll always be here–though I may not have an empty brownie pan for your to scrape”.”That’s okay…I’ll bring my own.” She said before placing the pan in the sink and leaving the kitchen.

WHEW!!