Today

Nausea.
Running to bathroom bowl. Blowing nose and cleaning self up.
Taking pill to make nausea go away.
Hideus sleepiness that I cannot fight.
Waking from couch, kids hitting each other with flashlights and balls.
Crying. Yelling.
Oh, crap. We’re late for school- no one has eaten
Drive through, roll windows down to escape smell.
Drop kid off, head home
Check mail, find a note from tax board saying Excise tax return is late. What’s excise tax return? Oh, crap.
Letter from bank, saying we bounced a check? Haven’t done that in years, how’d that happen?
Crying baby, missing binkies. Been home 2 minutes.
Rining phone with relative wanting to know if done with invitations I promised to help with.
Baby still crying, still can’t find binks. Relative asks if this is a bad time…
Bad time?
Uh, yeah. The last 7 months have been a bad time. And the next 6 weeks are going to feel like a marathon I cannot finnish.
Phone ringing. Client wondering where order is. Should have mailed yesterday. Haven’t.
Get baby in bed, still can’t find binks.
Phone rings. Phone rings. Ring. Ring. Go away.
Get baby to sleep, begin frantically going through papers.
Input various receipts and expenses to quickbooks and print Profit & Loss sheet.
This is a joke, right?
Go online to government site, and input figures. Today is deadline without 25% penalty.
Pray got it right and won’t be audited.
Trying to process return, baby wakes SCREAMING, can’t leave computer NOW.
Grab screaming baby, finish tax return with screamer on lap.
Log off, have coughing fit and pee pants.
Phone rings, cell phone rings at same time.
Baby still crying, can’t find binks again.
Husband on phone.
Wants to know HOW I AM.

The Odd Couple

My Visiting Teachers came this morning. For those of you who don’t attend the same church I do, Visiting Teachers are a pair of women assigned to you who come by once a month to check on you, talk, see if your family needs anything, and pass on a spiritual thought. These are the ladies who will round the cavalry and stir up a mess of help when the baby comes- including meals for my poor family, playdates for my kids, and just general good will. It’s a nice idea.

Some of us do a better job at this than others, and quite frankly, I am a slacker. It seems like the retired ladies are the ones who are really good at it, and put the most into it. Understandable, since even though I am assigned ladies to check on too, I just can’t seem to coordinate schedules with the companion I have, as well as the two women we check on. Combined we have 15 kids, two part-time jobs, four husbands, one baby in-utero and finding the time when all of said parties are available is a folly. But we try. But that’s not my topic- the two women who visit me are.

If you looked all over kingdom-come, you could not find two women more diametrically opposed than the two ladies who visit me. Every month, I look forward to their visit, for the comic value alone. Visiting Teacher “Madge” is about as fluffy, huggy, lacey, made-up, crazy dyed orange hair, smushy, sentimental, cries all the time, never stops talking, a woman as can be. Visiting Teacher “Endora” is the polar opposite- intellectual, whip-smart, impatient, sharp, scriptorian, history-buff, bespectacled, plain, and a tell-it-like-it-is blunt force. Madge will talk over any comment, any question, any thought that has been expressed, meandering in a meaningless and un-followable manner, while Endora crosses her arms and glares at her, waiting for her to take a breath, when she can then jump in and resume what she was talking about, completely ignoring whatever tangent Madge just went off on.

The first time they came to see me, I had to bite my cheek to keep from cracking up, and as soon as they left I called the RS President and asked her if she assigned them on purpose. She laughed, confirming not only that she paired them intentionally, but that she gave them to me intentionally, too!

My solution for the chaos is to nod politely at Madge, while trying to follow the actual conversation Endora is having- simultaneously. Endora usually has something interesting to say, and tells very good stories, if you can sift through the crazy, disconnected tangents that Madge goes off on. Really, I like Endora a lot- her faith and testimony are rock-solid, and she has a ton of knowledge. Listening to them is like haveing an important conversation on the phone, while your kids are talking to you about thier needs- and both of them need you to respond.

So today, as Madge was leaving in her puff of perfume and tears and hugs, Endora pointedly told me to call her if I needed anything, and she would make sure Madge did it. I believe her. It’s never a dull visit, that’s for sure!

Belly of Black Winged Bird

My friend Chelsea’s bridal shower is tomorrow down in California, and I’m sick that I’m not there. Chels and I have a relationship that predates our births; our parents went to high school together and are still good friends. So many memories of my life are totally intertwined with her family- she is the closest thing I have to a sister. The wedding is in Colorado in July, and the baby and I are going to make the trip, but it will be a whiz-bang trip, since the DH and the boys will be staying at home.

Here’s the thing about Chels- she is the most amazing and talented artist you can ever imagine, and she has been all of her life. Our home is filled with pieces of her work, from teapots, to lino-prints, charcoal drawings, ceramics, mobiles, sculptures, dolls for the boys, even a tiny clay model of our home- and the piece de resistance, a large urn, carved with a sleeping woman lying on a swirling sea of swimming fish. That was our wedding present.

So what did I send her for her bridal shower? It makes me cringe to even say this, but I just ordered something from her registry at Crate & Barrel- how’s that for bombing? Oh, I know she understands, and I do have something underway, but my belly is making it really difficult for me to make art these days. I am hoping that I will have completed it by July- that’s realistic, right?

Chels and I have not really lived near each other for any of our adult lives, so we have always corresponded via postal mail. Strange and odd things can go through the mail, did you know that? My very favorite thing from Chels came years ago, but I still have it. We both have an affinity for crows, for some odd reason, but anyway… A box came in the mail, and the paper wrapping had been stitched and sewn, and it was painted black over the threads. Etched into the paint were the words “Belly of a Black Winged Bird”. When I opened the box, there was a nest she had woven out of real grasses, and in it, a large terra cotta egg. In order to find the message she was sending me, I had to break the egg open. Inside was her letter, along with some assorted wildflowers, a string of beads, some cats-eye marbles, tiny brass beads, and a clay sculpture of a toe.

This is the woman to whom I just sent some bathroom accessories. Do you see why I am hanging my head? Here’s hoping the wedding present comes off with more panache!

The Birds and the Bees

I want to talk about sex. Don’t freak out and leave, I’m so not interested in specifics or TMI, but rather, I have been thinking about some of the married LDS women I have become friends with, and the common situation several have abashedly or quietly shared with me about their experience with sex. These are my observations only, and not meant to be blanket or value statement about anyone else’s experience

One of the things stressed in many Christian religions, and the LDS religion in particular, is keeping chaste before marriage. The social and personal benefits to this are easy to imagine- specifically in the arenas of heath issues, unplanned pregnancies and the horrible problems that box opens up, to the intangible but vital self-respect gained when treating oneself as special and treasured. In my observation as a relative outsider, joining the church as a married adult, I can clearly see the benefits, believe it is a good principle on every level. Almost.

Almost? Yes, almost. Here is what I have noticed. Several of my women friends were so unprepared for sex when they got married, so uninformed about what was to happen, what to expect, and what was normal, that they were shocked, hurt and frightened by their own wedding nights. If I have encountered this in the small number of women who would confide in me, I can only imagine this is a much larger problem. So my questions: Does keeping chaste have to mean keeping silent about sex? Is it fair or good mothering to send our daughters (or sons) into something so important and (hopefully) wonderful, completely unprepared?

While I am well aware of the discussion and comments going on at other boards right now, I have decided not to link. If you are interested, have at it, but do so at your own discretion. What I am more interested in is why so many parents are apparently uncomfortable talking with their own children about sex. My only guess (and it is just that- a guess) is that if parents are not comfortable with their own sexuality, it would be darn near impossible for them to teach healthy sexual information to their children. In no way do I mean to suggest a parent should ever share personal stories or other information about their own sexual relationship, but rather I am thinking of teaching our youth facts. Facts about how and why their bodies work the way they do, what actually happens to your body during sex, and what to realistically expect. Both our young women and young men need this kind of information, and I can’t for the life of me figure out why, with wink and a nudge, we are sending our kids to the altar and onto the bedroom.

Talking to your kids about sex is not questionable moral ground- frankly discussing our marvelous bodies in a timely and age-appropriate way is laying the groundwork for healthy individuals later in life. Don’t be squeamish, don’t be embarrassed. If you always are open with your children, give them the proper names for their body parts and functions, and answer their questions honestly (even if you say “I don’t know”), they will likely be comfortable with this conversation as they mature. And for heaven’s sake, don’t save everything up for one “big talk” at some arbitrary date- how awkward and uncomfortable for everyone. Wouldn’t you rather they get good, reliable information from you, rather than half-truths gleaned from whispered locker-room tidbits?

My kids are little still, so we haven’t had to cross very many bridges on this, but I know my mother was honest and frank with me and my siblings, and I always went to her when I heard something unbelievable from a friend or peer. It is my hope I can be the same open door for my children that my mother was for me.

(And hopefully, my daughters and sons-in-law’s will reap the benefits!)

A Small Promise

Two words: Stomach Flu. Every towel in the house is in the laundry, along with all bedding. If you are a mother, you then know what last night was like here. I will restrain from expounding upon said topic. Who knows if I’ve got it, I mean how could I tell? And on that note:

I, Tracy M, aka Dandelion Mama, do hereby swear that upon the commencement of this pregnancy in a few short weeks, I will never write about barf, or any derivative thereof, ever again.

And with that, I am off to do laundry.

Grosser than Gross

What’s grosser than gross? Do you remember those little jokes from when you were in school? Well, my friends, today, I finally have the answer! Yes, I know what is grosser than gross!

Backstory: All morning Jeffrey has been working on making a Blue Angel jet from a very complicated set of Legos (read: many tiny little pieces that move and spin and do things). He completed it all by himself, and is understandably proud of his work.

For some unknown reason, I decided I would go to Home Depot today before I took Jeffrey to school, to pick some paint for the baby’s room. Trying to make forward progress, no matter how small, seemed like a good idea. The kids had not eaten, so I drove through the conveniently placed fast-food establishment in the Home Depot parking lot. Excellent- they are happy, in the cart, chomping away on french fries and chicken doo-dads, and I can pick paint out in peace. ( Do you have any idea how many choices there are in colors??) My head started to spin, and I ended up walking away with nothing, due to my inability to even decide on yellow or green or pink, let alone the 17,000 variations of each color. No paint, maybe another day.

After picking up a few small things we needed, we loaded back into the car, and head towards Jeffrey’s school. As he is getting out of the car, he asks Eric to watch his Lego jet and take good care of it while he is at school. We won’t go in to the lack of wisdom in that charge, but whatever. Eric is holding tight to the precious jet, and we head home so he can nap and I get my bi-weekly break.

We are almost home, when Eric starts to whimper from the backseat. Now, while Jeffrey is melodramatic, Eric seldom complains, so when he makes noise about his tummy, I know he means business. Just as we are pulling in the driveway, he cries, “Mommy, BARF!” and proceeds to violently throw up all over the backseat, himself, the carseat, the back of my seat, my hair, and the very complicated and many-pieced Lego Blue Angel Jet.

You all know what the last 7 or 8 months have been like for me, and this morning was especially tender- so I am now gagging at the smell, and I jump out of the car and open all the doors, and pull poor little Eric from his seat, while he is still heaving. The rest of it goes on the driveway, and the poor little guy is crying and confused and obviously feeling like crap. My hands and shirt and hair are covered in Eric-barf, and I am trying to hold my own cookies down. On the back porch, I stripped him of his wet clothes, despite the 35 degrees, and hustled both of us in the house, leaving a trail of barf and clothes, like a sick Hansel and Gretel.

Poor baby- I felt so bad for him, and got him cleaned up and tucked into bed before I went back to clean up the mess and myself. The carseat required complete disassembly in order the get all the nasties from the straps and crevices, I am seriously considering just tossing the clothes, and me, well I just went and barfed in my bowl, then went about my business. Thank goodness for Febreeze, is all I can say right now.

So, back to my original question, what is grosser than gross? Imagine a Lego, the beauty of a brick, with it’s dimples and hollows. Imagine a very complicated and many-pieced Lego Jet. Then imagine washing french fry/chicken doo-dad/milkshake barf off the hundreds of pieces, and having to dig the, um, chunks, out with a toothpick from all the teeny, tiny little holes in all the teeny-tiny little pieces. That, my dear friends, takes the grosser-than-gross cake.

Oh, yeah! Some days, motherhood totally rocks.