Saturday, December 29, 2007

To Show How Much I Love Motherhood

Start last night:

I hate tuna casserole, but the kids love it, so that's what I made for dinner. But then Caleb refused to eat it because it "tastes weird now" and Daniel refused to eat it because he squirted Arby's sauce all over his and tasted it and said, "Tastes yuck with sauce."

After dinner, Benjamin pulled a lamp down and broke the bulb all over the floor. Hooray! Then Daniel wouldn't walk on that half of the room for hours because he was afraid the "Fwoor is shaddered" (because the bulb shattered, and he didn't get what happened).

So then by the time I chased everyone off to bed (after cleaning and packing all day), I was so tired I fell asleep in the rocking chair more than once while I tried to get everyone to sleep. Then Benj woke me up every hour (when he had tylenol in him; every 20 minutes when he didn't), and I ended up with two kids sleeping in my bed with me. All night I thought how nice it would be to get into a nice hot shower in the morning and have ten minutes with nobody touching me and with the water drowning out the sounds of fussing.

Now, for the next part, I'll identify the boys by numbers (by who got up first, not by age) so I don't embarrass them too much.

Boy 1 woke me and boy 2 up by having a nightmare. The commotion woke boy 3, and we all got up. I immediately went to check my email and phone messages, like I do every day in case there's something pressing to handle before everyone else goes home for the day. When I looked up, three boys were looking at me. 3 had pee all over his front and down his pants. 2 was playing quietly. 1 was standing in a pool of diarrhea. So I put 1 on a pile of towels, got 3 into the shower, and came back to discover 1 was really coated with the stuff--up the front and back, down both legs, on the bottom of his feet. So I stripped him down, left the pile of stuff on the towels, and hopped him into the shower, too. Both boys protested at that. One was too cold, the other hates showers. Got 1 cleaned off and wrapped in a towel and came back to clean up the puddles and found 2 was eating toilet paper. I cleaned up the floor and linens, and then 2 approached--with poop smeared down his legs, too. So I cleaned him up and then went back to the floor, only to discover the lysol can was empty. Meanwhile, 3 was still showering, and 1 now wanted some of the beef stew from the can he noticed on the counter. So I plopped that into a bowl and went to go potty myself.

Pretty soon, 1 was following me into the bathroom, where he was crying. "What's wrong?" I asked. "My stew will melt!" he said. "Come back to the kitchen so I can eat it before it melts!" I explained that ice cream melts but stew doesn't, and then back to the other bathroom to get 3 shampooed and out of the shower. There, I discovered poop in the tub! So out came 3, and I cleaned that up, too.

I sent one kid down to dress, sent one to finish his stew, and put raisins on the floor for another and hopped into the shower myself. The water was cold.

By then Benjamin was crying, so I showered quickly and hopped out. He cried all the time I dressed, and played in the sink while I put my makeup on. Dan told him, "No Ben! You too small to use haiwspway!"

So I went to dress and discovered poop in my bed, too. Off came the sheets, and then the mattress pad, too, and then I turned around to find Boy 1 standing in the corner--more diarrhea. THis time down the legs and not on the floor. Yet. Meanwhile, Benjamin is bawling, and I still haven't eaten anything.

Now, you may think the title of the post was being sarcastic, but it's not. Look at my last 12 hours or so, and then think about it when I say that motherhood is the best thing I've ever done, and the funnest, and my favorite, and is one of the only things I never have wished I hadn't gotten involved in (and I can't say almost any of this about my mission, which I also think was one of the best things I've ever done!).

Think about it.

The good things about being a mom are so unbelievably good that they far outweigh days like this.

Now I have to go attend to more poop and a screaming baby.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

The Blog May be a little dark for a couple of weeks...

We found out on December 13 that Tim got a long-term gig in Las Vegas. It starts January 10. Thanks to miracles that involved a sister-in-law's sister's friends, we found a house to move into in Henderson, NV, and we're putting our house on the market and moving to Las Vegas.

Consequently, the blog might be a little dark for a couple of weeks. We're trying to move two states away by January 5, and we just got back in town on December 26, so we don't have much time for anything but moving.

We'll be back in business around January 16, and then I can give you all kinds of details about all kinds of things (how the move went, what the gig is, how it felt to drive all day and come home to 2 rejection letters, etc).

The thing I feel most sarcastic about right now is that not only do we have to move in two weeks, Tim is leaving to start rehearsals for the new show--in ORLANDO!--today. So I have to do half the work with just me and kids home!

Now, I know my kids are pretty amazing, but 8 month olds are really better at emptying boxes than filling them. So are 2 year olds. And four year olds. And six year olds. And that's all of us!

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Weird Headlines

So science news is getting bizarre. The latest headline I keep running into is that someone did some research on why pregnant women don't fall over when they get big. Why is this important to know? And, for their information, pregnant women DO fall over. Lots of us have. Plus it's NOT comfortable, despite the extra vertebrae, and if it looks easy it's because we go home and sit around and don't do anything else but waddle with a baby. Sometimes one in the arms, too.

But this one tops all:

"Scientists Clone Glow-In-the-Dark Cats."

Wow. Pretty hard to clone something that doesn't exist!

If you read the article, it explains that the glow-in-the-dark-ness is a side effect of the cloning. So the headline is a little misleading. Still.... why do you need cats that glow? Do the cats want to glow? I always got the impression that stealth at night was a good thing for cats--at least from their point of view. I am imagining glowing felines creeping around the house at night. Spooky. Oh-oh-or that movie on YouTube about cats flying ( the cats can glow!

In other science news: They found Captain Kidd's pirate ship! I was checking my email and saw the headline and had a "novel" moment--suddenly I was Melora, a character in my novel, and she was seeing that headline, and somehow it connected to or led to an adventure she was having--either the catalyst for the adventure, or the catalyst for the climax.....I need to use that sometime.

How was that for a glimpse into the mind of a writer?

So now I want to know where the real science is.


Last year for Christmas, Tim went to Vegas and his business completely fell apart and we had to pick up the pieces and, thanks to the generosity of my parents, try to move on.

This year for Christmas, Tim went to Vegas again and came home with a job! A well-respected pro vocal group is putting together a show on the Strip and needed to double-cast, and they hired Tim. The details are still under wraps while all the contracts are being negotiated. But this certainly makes for a merry Christmas for us!

Except for one minor detail. We have to move to Las Vegas. It's a city that was on my list of "I'd rather not go there," along with Phoenix area and all of Wyoming. However, it's a great opportunity for Tim.

It was all rather sudden. He flew down to Vegas on Wednesday Morning, nailed the audition (they'd had auditions in New York, Orlando, and two days in Vegas--Tim was in the afternoon of the last day), and then flew home. He did such a perfect audition that they told him right there that he nailed it. How often does that happen?

Thursday, they called and told him he was the first choice for the role. Thursday night, they talked details. Friday afternoon we stopped walking in circles and wondering if we were awake and if they were going to call back and say, "Oh, we meant that other Tim Jones. Sorry for the mixup." We called and, after Tim asked a few more questions, accepted the position.

Suddenly Tim's employed--in a dream job that is such a long shot that we weren't even really looking for it (how many singers want a steady paying gig as their job and how many get one?)--and I'm flattered that they asked Tim what I thought of the whole thing--so I made homemade ice cream. This was not just a celebration. It was the beginning of moving preparation. I had 3 qts of half-and-half in the freezer that I didn't want to throw away when we move, and the closer we get, the more hectic it will get, so we got ice cream tonight!

And now? I clean the house first. If I can do a speed sort and pick up (maybe with help from ward members), then I can pack easily because we won't be tripping on stuff, and we won't be packing trash. Meanwhile, I posted bunches of stuff on Craigslist (couches anyone? Need a house?) and Tim has actually been whistling around the house. I haven't seen that in ages.

It's an interesting thing, getting a singing job with a well-established group in a music town. We know that Tim's skills, talents, interests, and experience are identical, but all his work that we've spent years justifying was, in an instant, validated.

Now when I say, "He's a musician," I don't have to justify it or blush.


Friday, December 14, 2007

Learning about Plural

Caleb's teacher had a worksheet for him about plural and singular nouns. No big deal. Except the instructions.

"Circle the plural or singular word that describes the picture."

So the first picture had three cats in it, and Caleb drew an arrow from one cat to the word cat (We were working on Word, so he used Word Draw). I said, "It's important to follow the directions." So he circled the word cat. I tried several times to explain by rephrasing the instructions, and it was clear he had no idea what I was talking about. Both words described the picture. There was one cat, there was another cat, so we have cats.

Finally I said, "Circle the word that makes the best caption for this whole picture."

THEN he got it. Had to speak on his level, I guess.

So then Anda was pondering singular and plural, and she said, "If we have zero, we have no toys. Toys." I had never thought of that before. ONE is singular. Both zero and and two are plural linguistically. I don't know how you handle that mathematically, or if you even have to. So now I'm mulling over plurals--we might have half a cat (hopefully not, but linguistically acceptable), but do we have .5 cats? It's the same amount. Do you have three-quarters of a pizza, 75% of a pizza, and .75 pizzas? How bizzare that fractional amounts are singular, but the equivalent decimal amount is plural in everyday usage. Now I'll have to go look up the rule on that one.

Leave it to a four year old to confuse an English teacher!

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Multicultural Woes

An article from Reuters here:

expresses what I think about multiculturalism. It should be about accepting and tolerating ALL cultures, not just minority ones. I'm not offended when a Jew wishes me Happy Hannukah. Why is it unacceptable for me to wish people Merry Christmas?

Before I was subjected to "multicultural education" in college, I watched music videos and only noticed if the people could dance or not. After I was "educated", I noticed the races of the people in the videos. Before, it was just a group of dancers--the more talented, the better. After, everyone was defined by their race (and their "race role") in the video. Doesn't this seem counter-productive?

I'm seriously worried that multiculturalism has created a culture of divide in our nation. I am absolutely, 100% in favor of recognizing that not everyone is a white anglo-saxon protestant male. I'm not. In fact, most of our nation is not (so doesn't that make them a minority group? Now we're going in circles!). But I am not in favor of putting people in boxes based on racial characteristics, and I think that's what multicultural education has done to our nation. Is it possible to be an educated, happily married professional black man anymore without facing the "all black men are thugs and absentee" prejudice? I can't know because I'm a white Mormon woman.

But, you see, I never would have thought that thought before multiculturalism took stage. I didn't know that "black men are thugs and absentee" until the multicultural education folks told me so--and then blamed it on me because I'm white. I was raised blissfully unaware of anything "racial" except that people are people, and they all are born with advantages and disadvantages in their lives, and we treat them all with equal respect regardless of where they or their ancestors came from.

Sorry if I've offended someone by saying "black"--one of my good friends in high school was Haitian, so not really African-American, right? I don't want to offend anyone, but I don't know the realities here--are all "black" people of African descent and do they claim that? Or would they rather be Jamaican, Haitian, Sudanese, or Brazilian like the "Native Americans" would rather be identified by their tribal affiliation?

And am I supposed to not call myself white? Should I instead label myself of German-Anglo descent? I can't be Caucasian--none of my ancestors came from the Caucus region......but I don't really claim Anglo or German because culturally I'm neither. I'm American--the English will tell you that in a heartbeat. (Oh the troubles and circles multicultural education has put me into).

Before I was "educated", the race issue never would have entered my mind except to acknowledge that prejudice is wrong--against ANYONE. Not just asians who are underrepresented in film (is it okay to say Cambodians are underrepresented, or do we have to class all asians as one cultural group?).

I guess the solution would be to choose not to be offended, especially by the good-intentioned.

I have long thought the American approach to multiculturalism is broken, highlighting and emphasizing the differences, not celebrating one another but trying to divide. Everyone now is focused on tolerating bigotry (unless it comes from white men--except white men are allowed to be mean to Mormons lately, it seems) instead of being a unified nation that loves and celebrates all the parts that make us a whole. I love the different cultures in our nation. I love it when someone is willing to share their culture with me.

I'm just not yet sold on the concept of "diversity." It's too divisive. I'd rather focus on the concept of "unity" (which doesn't mean uniformity. I'm not in favor of uniformity--even as a white person, I have often suffered from people wanting me to be more like them. Uniformity is a bad thing when it comes to people.). Unity includes celebrating the things that make us different, because that is part of the whole that we are. The difference between unity and diversity is not the amount of sameness in the group. It is the concept us "We".

Can't our nation have a "we" with love and tolerance rather than a mass of racial boxes that divide? We--different people, different cultures, different loves and hates, but all working toward the same goals of freedom and opportunity for all people to live and grow and learn and develop their talents and contribute to the happiness of their families.

Isn't "divide and conquer" one of the oldest sayings in the book?

So, back to the Reuter's Article. I think it took a great deal of maturity and common sense for the British leaders to step back and say that wishing someone Merry Christmas is not about me forcing you to be Christian. It's not about me "dissing" muslims. It's about respecting one another and embracing one another--and isn't THAT what multiculturalism should have been about?

Multiculturalism as it should be was included in Mormon doctrine from early on. It's part of our Articles of Faith:

"11 We claim the privilege of worshiping Almighty God according to the dictates of our own conscience, and allow all men the same privilege, let them worship how, where, or what they may.
12 We believe in being subject to kings, presidents, rulers, and magistrates, in obeying, honoring, and sustaining the law.
13 We believe in being honest, true, chaste, benevolent, virtuous, and in doing good to all men; indeed, we may say that we follow the admonition of Paul—We believe all things, we hope all things, we have endured many things, and hope to be able to endure all things. If there is anything virtuous, lovely, or of good report or praiseworthy, we seek after these things.
Joseph Smith"

Merry Christmas, everyone.
This is a nice quote I found scrolling across the top of my gmail account today:

Abraham Joshua Heschel - "Wonder rather than doubt is the root of all knowledge."

This is precisely why I'm homeschooling Caleb. Right now, he and Anda are full of wonder and delight and they love learning. I don't want him to learn the idiom of intelligent people because it is full of doubt, criticism, posturing, and name dropping. I remember distinctly the day in high school when I realized that many of my intelligent friends didn't think anything themselves. They just quoted and synthesized well.

Hooray Wonder!

I see as a corollary that action and change are not the results of criticism and doubt, but the results of wonder, support, and encouragement. "Helpful criticism" is an anti-motivator, just like doubt is an anti-educator.

Monday, December 10, 2007


I just read an excellent article by my brother about raising children :

Then I read this in a Reuter's artcle:

"Detective Superintendent Tony Hutchinson told reporters that Mrs Darwin was cooperating with police. "She's not saying 'no comment' to every question," he said."

Is that what we call Cooperating? Due to my upbringing (mentioned by my brother),I must have misunderstood the concept all these years....

Friday, December 07, 2007

Christmas Trees

The kids got all excited when we put the lights on the Christmas tree. I let them decorate it. The East side, middle, is the most decorated part of the tree. The West side is almost naked. There are two stars. It's truly a beautiful expression of the Children's excitement about the holiday.

And what else are Christmas trees for, anyway?

As they were decorating, though, Caleb somehow realized the tree was going to die. This was a very distressing idea to him. He loves our tree, which was a gift from the children in the ward, and he is a very sensitive, compassionate boy (when he was three, he always volunteered to take punishments for Anda when she got in trouble--"I'll go to her room for her." "I'll help clean up the spill." "I'll say sorry for her if she'll stop crying!").

Caleb begged me to hire a babysitter for the tree while we're in Utah so it can get water and won't die. I told him it still will die eventually and someone will recycle it.

The kids spent the rest of the day testing schemes for keeping the tree alive. Maybe if we buy it on Christmas, they said. Maybe if we just keep watering it.

They finally said, "Mom, from now on, we're only going to use plastic trees."

I agree.

My mother had that idea, too, that Caleb discovered all by himself as a six year old: Christmas is death for trees. Now I look across the room and see my child-decorated, child-loved tree and see tragedy sitting in the corner. Someone killed a living thing and then glorified the killing by stringing lights and colorful bits of useless glass and plastic all over the carcass and declaring it beautiful!

For us, it's plastic trees from here on out.