Update: Bugs and Violets

The Moving Bug has bitten me hard. Moving is something I’ve entertained just about since we first bought our house- we knew we wouldn’t stay- this is our “5-year House”. Well, it’s been just over 4 years, and boy howdy, I am ready to be gone!

Then I read what Allison, Em, Kathryn and Heather have just gone/are going through, and I wonder, “Do I really need to be able to walk around my dinner table? Do I really need to have a place besides the middle of the living room for a high chair? Do I really need a bathroom for me and DH that doesn’t have froggy decals in the tub and blue toothpaste smeared on our towels?” That’s a tough one. Then there is the way the interest rate on a 30-year just keep going up and up and up… Not really wanting to turn our 5.2 into a 6.5. But then I’ve been bitten by the bug, so logic and reason is really out the window.

Night before last, we went to look at a house I had my eye on- even with a realtor and all, official-like. It had a lot going for it, such as the neighborhood I want and a super big fenced (hu-zah!) yard that backs up to a greenbelt (read: guaranteed no backyard neighbor) and a gas range in a brand new kitchen. But, there were also things missing that we really want. Like wood floors and central AC- that’s more important to DH than me, but we have it now, so giving it up for a new place seems like a step in the wrong direction. So, the search and conundrum continues.

In other news, Abby and I look like big blueberries. There is violet dye all over me, my clothes, Abby, her clothes and anything we touch after she eats. Evidently, the way to cure Thrush is to stain everything in your life purple. But it’s working, and quick, too. I’m talking about Gentian Violet, an old fashioned, used for 100 years cure for Thrush that three other mama’s told me about. Aside from the fact I had to call 10 pharmacies to find it, all the pharmacists knew about it and told me it works. It does. But the price is purpleness. Serious purpleness.

You sparingly paint this purple stuff on you boobs, and then nurse your baby. The purpleness coats the inside of her mouth (and everything else too) and kills the Thrush. (I was skeptical, but I googled the stuff, and doctor’s agree it’s safe and effective)- so I don’t know why my doc didn’t mention it- maybe because the Nystatin cost $23 and the gentian violet was $2? The pharmacist said usually about three days is all that’s needed, so by Sunday, we might be normal people-color again.

There is a post today at MMW I wrote about how kids prey on their poor dads when mama is away, check it out if you’re interested.


Abby has thrush. The doctor said it’s no big deal, that I caught it early, and gave me an Rx for some medicine to swab her mouth with, and ointment to put on my breasts to keep me from getting it. Sounds fine. But now she won’t nurse.

For me, who has come all this way with breastfeeding, and finally having a successful baby nursing, this is simply unacceptable. She seems to dislike the ointment, even after I have wiped it all off, she won’t suck more than a few times without scrunching her little face up and sticking her tongue out. And she’s not too terribly happy about taking a bottle from me, either.

So does anyone have any experience with this? (Jane B, here is a good place to chime in!) Can she really give it to me if I feed her without the ointment? Is there anything else I can try instead? The pediatrician wasn’t all that helpful, just told me to give her the drops for 10 days, and lube my boobs. It’s not working!

So. I. Am. Pumping. Heaven help me.

My Not-So-Secret Love

All of my life, I have loved the written word. Vividly I can recall the exact moment in kindergarten when it all clicked and I suddenly could read. It was a miracle- The words unfolded on the page, spinning and weaving and swirling in my mind, making pictures better than anything I could draw with my crayons, and the love affair was on.

Then, I learned to write. Just the act of writing, of penmanship, was art to me. I loved the way the letters curled and curved and how different shapes could mean the same thing. I loved the command I had over how those words looked, and I wanted them to look as lovely, charming and enchanting as they sounded. Needless to say, my handwriting has never held a candle to good ol’ Wills Shakespeare, but heaven knows, I tried! (just look at his writing!)

It was later on that I discovered how different writing instruments could feel so different in your hand, and how the curl and swoop of your hand would change with soft leads, flowing India inks and charcoals… And that nothing felt quite so fine in my hand as a thick, heavy pen. And when you are young, they are pretty hard to come by- No one wants to give a kid an expensive pen. No one besides my grandma. She saw my love early, and she gave me my first set of nice pens. They were a silver Cross pen/pencil set, which I coveted and then promptly lost.

It was also my grandma who put the first fountain pen in my hot little hand… and I have been lost to all others ever since. There is just something about writing with a fountain pen that makes the words carry more weight. The ink pools in your natural pauses and the ends of your strokes, it fades and deepens, the nib slowly wears to the slant of your hand; a fountain pen makes penmanship into art. Just look at old handwritten letters and postcards if you wonder what I mean. There is a beauty to them that is lost to letters written with a Bic.

At this point, (and I’m very careful not to say I collect them), I have more than a handful of fountain pens. There are old ones, family hand-me-downs, new ones that were pretty and I couldn’t resist them, wooden pens, boxed pens, found pens, disposable fountain pens (used in German schools for teaching children to write properly, if you can believe that!) and an assortment of other darlings I have acquired over the years.

Then there is my baby. My Pen. My beautiful, sexy, wonderful Pen.  It lives on my desk, but it has a leather box lined in white satin that it came in. I do keep it mixed in with the other pens, but it’s unmistakable. The very best pen in the whole world, the Meisterstueck 149 by Mont Blanc… If you like pens, those words will make you drool. This is the pen governments use to signs peace treaties, terms of surrender, accords and declarations. It is heavy, thick, solid, fluid, with a wide gold nib that gently gives to the hold of your hand- the ink is drawn up into the pen by hand, and there is simply not a finer handwriting instrument anywhere.

Even my kids know not to touch it… they like to look at it, and someday I will introduce them to the pleasure of a fine pen, but not yet. For now, it remains my little rediculous indulgence; A reminder of a lifelong love, and a well used instrument of my life. (If you’re interested, you can see one of these lovlies here.) *sigh*

Playroom Napalm

It has to happen every once in a while… there just comes a point where you cannot wade through any more toys, bits of toys, broken toys, neglected toys- you know what I’m talking about.

Tonight I opened up a can of you-know-what on our playroom. My unsuspecting children lie sleeping peacefully upstairs, and I go through their things like judo-mama. I’m brutal and unforgiving. Heaven help any toy that gets in my way when I do this- I toss it. Tonight I tossed the train table. Yes, I did. They never play with it- any of you who unwittingly shelled out the cash for one of these babies after watching your baby LOVE the TT at the store, you know what I mean. In a store, it is the magic, must have, will get years of play out of it toy. You bring the dastardly thing home, they never play trains again. And those Thomas trains are just about worth a college education in cash. Yowza they’re expensive. I’m holding onto the trains- figuring they might still have some play value, but the table and tracks- gone. I said I was merciless.

They might notice the table is gone. That is a big “might” though. It’s amazing- I can toss or donate an entire black giganormous trash bag of toys, and they never even ask where anything went. They don’t notice. You know what they will do in the morning? Cries of joy will ring out at all the toys they “haven’t seen in forever!”- never noticing the gaps in their treasures.

My kids, like most of us, have too much stuff. Too many toys. Too much indulgence of things. What they need is more time outside, chasing butterflies and looking at clouds. Things that don’t require a trip to The Giraffe. The best things in life are free, and all that. It’s true anyway.

Now if only there was a Napalm fairy to come into my kitchen as I sleep away upstairs. Ah, the dreams of a mama… 

Flux and Flow

What I was looking for was a picture of my kids with flowers or holding a dandelion, but alas, this one will have to do. I think it might be kind of fun to change the picture with my mood or with the seasons- maybe loosen my own constraints on my creativity? Do any of you do that? Sometimes my identity gets caught up in what's normal and predictable, and I struggle with change being ok… But always, when I do allow myself the room to experiment, it makes me a happier, better person. But I guess that really deserves it's own post.

So, I'm gonna be like Madonna (but not affect an accent). Or like Gwen Steffani (but not name my kid King- he has enough of a complex without that!) but these ladies inspire me, not necessarily with their music, but with their constant changing and playing with their look, and with their obvious love of being a girl. And I guess I need a little more of that. That, and pink sunglasses.

Opinions, Please!!

Well?? What thinketh you? I'm worried the type is a little too small, but I can't seem to adjust it larger. I like the grass though! Also, almost everyone else I know is with Blogger- does this matter? Is it harder to click over here from your site? Is it easy to change the link? Sometimes I wish I had paid more attention back in computer lab!

Pointless (My New Secret Weapon)

(Double posted at MMW today)

Motivating the Monkeys is always a tough row to hoe. However, the other night I unwittingly stumbled upon a new, seemingly endless, goldmine of motivation: Points.

The boys were lagging in cleaning up their room, dawdling as they put their p.j.'s on, and playing in the water rather than brushing their teeth. And I'm trying really hard not to yell these days, especially since it falls on deaf little ears anyway, and leaves me worn out and frustrated.

So as the Monkeys are picking up one…Tinker… Toy… at… a… time, barely making a dent in the million or so Tinker Toys on the bedroom floor, I said, and I don't know why,: "Twenty points to whomever cleans up the Tinker Toys first!" And it was as if someone lit a fire under their little bums- all of the sudden, they were moving like oiled lightening, and the room was spotless in, like, 60 seconds!

Then they were jumping and bouncing before me, clamoring about who got "the Points"? Uh, wow, I'm still a little thunderstruck that it worked- so 20 points for each of you! And they were delighted!! Then, wheels turning in my mind, I offered 10 points each for clean teeth, and another 5 for wiping the water off the counter when done- and that worked too!!!

(Whispering) Hey moms, this totally works- I have been doing it for days now, and they have never even thought to ask what in the world they should do with the "Points", or how many they have accumulated- They just love earning them! I have even doled out ridiculous amounts of "Points", like 10,000 last night for sweeping the crumbs from under the table! I think this just might be the magic mama-bullet.

If they do ask, sometime, what they can do with all their "Points", I plan on taking them to the dollar store and letting them choose something. It's magic, and from the generosity of my overflowing heart, I share this with you! Shhhhh…. it's a mama secret!