Friday, January 27, 2012

We Heart Books

There are many things on this earth that I love. I love cake. I love llamas. I love coffee. I love naps. And I love reading. Love love love reading. I like bookstores. I like libraries. I like bookshelves. I like the aisles of stores that have the books. I like fancy houses that have whole rooms of books (I guess they call those libraries as well, but in a very posh accent). Seriously. I. Love. Books. I had to stop working in the Starbucks at Barnes & Noble because I would find myself staring at the peeps working there, day dreaming that I worked there. Of course, in said daydream all I ever had to do was shelve books and I am sure they have to do other things. Like dust books. And help people. Blerg. I just want to push a cart around and organize the books and pretend the are mine. ALL MINE *evil genius laugh*...

This is what my houue would look like
if I was a hoarder.
Or if I wasn't married to the hubs.
Anyhoodie...Lady Baby has inherited many things from her Dada. She likes to organize (I like the idea of being organized. I like to buy things to help you organize, like drawer dividers and baskets.) She has strong opinions. About everything. (I of course have no opinions about anything. Ever.) Her first answer to everything is "no." (I am all, "that is a great idea" to everything I hear.) She likes to boss me around. (I don't like to be bossed around nor am I bossy. Ever.) She also inherited his toes and his cowlick. But from me, from her mommy, she seems to have inherited my love of books and reading. (She also has my eyes and my fingers and the ability to believe she is the funniest person around.) Like her Mama, she hearts the books. 

Nothing makes my heart sing like her bringing over an armful of books saying, "read stories, mama." Every night she stalls bedtime by begging for books. And I let her get away with it because I love that she wants me to read to her. For the past few weeks, when she wakes up in the morning and again after nap, she sits in her bed and looks at her books. It is hilarious listening to her "read" and it shows me that she is really absorbing what she is hearing. She understands that the words are the story because she points to the words like she is really reading them. She turns the book out like I do when I read to her, to show the pictures. If she is going to copy me doing something, I am glad it is reading. There are much worse things. 

I want my girl to love books. I want them to be a way for her to escape the daily grind of life, and delve into other worlds. I want her to find out what kind of books she enjoys and the authors she likes. I hope that books can be something she can depend on throughout life, like friends who will continually entertain her. They can give her hope when she has none, happiness when she is sad, and guidance in the most surprising of ways. Books have often done that for me, and I want her to find the same solace in them. When she learns to read I will be as proud as I was for her first steps and first words.

For now I am happy to enjoy her books with her. I love snuggling on the couch with a big stack and listening to her tell me what she sees and what she thinks. It is a wonderful way to get a glimpse in her toddler brain that is running a mile a minute. It also shows me what she is preoccupied with. Right now it is trucks, a few weeks ago it was planes, over Christmas it was Santa. When I let her pick her own books I can find out what she wants to talk about or what she thinks is cool. It also shows me what she has absorbed from daily life outside of our house. All of the sudden I found out she knows about pirate ships and that she count to 15. Neither of which she learned from me. 

Enjoy books with your kids. Help them learn to love books and what they can do. Not only will they help you learn more about your child, it will give you a special time with them that is quiet and snuggly and just for you. Doesn't get much better than that.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Help Save the Couch

Right now at my house we are in the middle of a war. And we are losing. But we shall not go down without a fight. We shall not go down quietly. We shall not go down with out taking 2 cats with us. 

Suspect #1
aka: Fatty, Fatty Fatty 2x4, Fat Momma
Suspect #2
aka: The Devil, Satan
The issue is cat pee. Cat pee on the leather couch that has now been hauled off by Goodwill. Cat pee on the leather chairs that my friend Nathan now has in his sun room. Cat pee on our brand new love seat from IKEA. It seems once they pee on something once, they can't stop. Kind of like what happens when I eat a cheeto. If you have had a cat pee anywhere, then you know why this is such a problem. I would much rather have a person peeing all over my house than a cat. Its a nightmare. The stink is ungodly. Literally. It is the wee-wee of Lucifer. We have tried everything. Spray that is supposed to be a deterrent. Aluminum foil on the furniture. Cleaning the litter box constantly. Seriously, their potty area is way cleaner than ours. We even have a plug-in that releases calming cat pheromones to relax them. I don't understand what they have to be stressed abou tin the first place. They have everything they could want at their beck and paw (see what I did there?). I also gave them a stern lecture peppered with words like "pound" "murder" "or else" and "please stop." They blinked. Seriously. They just stared at me and blinked. Jerks. 

If only they could read.
I have cried over this. CRIED. My cats came with me to the marriage. I like to think of them as a dowry the groom did not want. Said groom reminds me of that on a daily basis. One of them has been doing this tinkling on the furniture, and we don't know which one. All we know if it is definitely of the feline variety. I love cats, hubs tolerates cats. The other day I took Lady Baby to see the animals at Petsmart and I wanted to take like three of the cats home. If it wasn't for my husband, here to save me from myself, I would be a cat lady. I do not (said emphatically) want any more cats. Yet, I see them and I immediately want them. It is a sickness. When I am old, please, send someone to check on me regularly. Otherwise it will get really Grey Gardens up in here. Lots of crap and lots of cats. There was an old lady mooning over the kitties who said she already had four at home. It was like looking at future me. Maybe it was future me. Hmmm. I will file that away to think about when I am supposed to be listening to something else.
I am so going to rock a turban.
I would love suggestions of how to get a cease and desist on the whizzing. Please refrain from any advice that involves animal cruelty. Trust me, those ideas have already been explored. Someone *may* have even googled "faking cat's suicide." (Sidenote: Don't bother with that search. The interwebs is lacking info on this particular subject.)

Help save a couch, two cats and a marriage. I don't think all four are going to make it out of this smelling fresh.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Not Fit for Public Consumption

Today I called my hubs and told him the following, "We will no longer be taking our child into public. She can go to school, and that is it. She can no longer be trusted to not act a'fool out among the decent people of the world." 

Why you ask...Why? WHY? WHY????????????????????
Lady Baby has taken a swan dive into the terrible twos. I thought 16 months, 18 months, 22 months, were bad. Ha. Ha. Ha. Um, no. She can now undo buckles, climb in and out of chairs, and clearly and loudly speak phrases like, "No mommy, stop it, no I do it, Stop it, No. NOOOOOOOOOO." These things are among the long list of reasons that she cannot be contained with much ease at a restaurant. She does not ride well in a shopping cart. She is not happy to sit in a booster. Add in her sassy personality that has nothing to do with a two year old and everything to do with being, well, her, and it adds up to not fit for public consumption. 

Today Toodles went to play with a friend while I went to the office, then we ran errands, went to lunch, and ran more errands. She was great at the friend's house. She was good on the first two errands. The only dicey moment was in Macy's when she pretended to tickle the bum on a package of pantie hose while actually saying "tickle, tickle" and the old lady trying on coats gave me a very dirty look.  It was when we got to lunch that things started to fall apart. And fall apart they did. We were meeting my friend Ginny. Only Her Highness's excitement in seeing said friend and getting french fries allowed me to wrestle her into one of those wooden high chair thingys. She sat in it and enjoyed a cracker for exactly 2.3 minutes before she had unbuckled the "child restraint" and was standing in the chair. Goodbye high chair, hello cornerbooth where Ginny and I could pin her in. In theory. In reality it was not possible to keep her in the contained. After attempting to get out the door, into the bathroom, and behind the bar, Mother and Child had a little come to Jesus outside which involved a spanking. She had some crying because her mommy hates her and then got over it. She was happy for the time it took her to eat 7 bites of sandwich and 12 french fries, mostly because I let her sit in a regular chair, which she eventually ended up standing in. Whatevs, I am picking my battles on this one. Stand up and eat for all I care. Just try not to fall because then I look like a bad mother. Thanks. 

My child's future closet.
After a very unrelaxing lunch we went to Petsmart to get the liquid gold that takes cat pee out of upholstery (a whole nother problemo). Things started out fine. Look at the fish, talk to the cats, screech at the birds. You know, the usual. Then I need to actually get what we came in for in the first place, but Crazy Pants won't follow me, because she is organizing the dog sweaters. But she is calling them baby sweaters and talking to herself all while grouping them together by color (ironically colors are the only thing we have tried to teach her so far that she cannot grasp.) I say, "come on." She says, "no mommy, baby sweaters." I say, "actually they are dog sweaters, and I need you to please come over here." I walk toward her and she grips two sweaters and starts screaming. That is not embarrassing at all. I am just reaffirming to 90% of the patrons there why they chose pets instead of children. You are welcome, weird cat lady and ambiguous fella with the tiny dog. At this point, I think you made a solid decision. I have to carry her flailing and squalling self over to the aisle with the no-peepee products, which just happens to have another rack of dog clothes. Sweet Lord. What I don't realize is this is good for immediate relief, but very bad for my long term goal of leaving the store. I get what I need and spend way too long watching my child organize chihuahua-sized onesies and fur lined parkas (which seems kind of like making a cow wear alligator shoes). I blame her father for her need to do this. She didn't get her serial killer tendencies need to organize and sort from me. After prying a tiny yellow slicker and a pink tutu out of her hands, I have to carry a screaming and crying (real tears) toddler and stand in line to check out. It is difficult to discuss the best products to stop cats from urinating on furniture with a hysterical toddler screeching in your face. FYI: animal people don't seem to love toddlers. With good reason, of course. She turns off her hysterics when she realizes that she can see all the dogs being groomed. Thank you people who design big box stores. I heart you at this moment.

Last stop, the Red Box next door to return two movies. While I struggled to get the movies to go back into the box from the future, my child climbed on a concrete patio set and chatted up the deli lady from the Teeter on her smoke break. Despite repeated demands for her to come back and stand with mommy, she inhaled second hand smoke and dared fate to give her a head injury. When I disrupted her and the queen of lunch meat's convo about how pretty she was, the child raged on me, hard. Thus the phone call as we were leaving to let the Baby Daddy know he would have to get his own bleepity bleep blank blonk batteries, because I could not subject another group of innocent bystandards to his child. From now on she could play at home, go to school, and then come back home. No meals out, no stores, no where that serves the general population. I suppose that places that cater to children, and those that make them, are okay. The zoo, the children's museum, the science center, Chuck E Cheese (sob). Everywhere else, I will see you in five to ten. If you need us, we will be at home, organizing our closets.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Things Southern Mamas Say

I *may* be guilty of a few of these...

Have you seen the new Vera Bradley Diaper Bag?
My daughter is the 6th *insert old family name* in a row.

My son is the 15th *insert old family name with a roman numeral* in a row.

Where is my Vera Bradley bag?

I can't find one of my pearl earrings.

Go get your monogrammed dress. No the other one. No the other one. No the other one. Never mind, just put on your monogrammed shirt.

I can't wait for the *insert fancy baby clothes home show* next week.

"Please what? That's right, please ma'am."

"No what? That's right, no sir."

Do you know where I can find a monogrammed bathing suit?

Come here, Mary Margaret/Mary Elizabeth/Sarah Beth/Mary Beth/Martha Ellen/Anna Charles.

He's just having a little watered down tea in her sippy.

What is your grandmother's name? 
My mom is Gigi/Mimi/Mimaw/Busy/Honey/Nana/Nana Mama/ Granny Buzz. 
His mom goes by Sugar/Sassy/Nanaw/Mamaw/ Grandmama/Mama Jones/Granny Toodles. 

I just found the cheapest monogramming lady.

What are you bringing to the tailgate? I am bringing the ham biscuits and deviled eggs.

Isn't that cute? I got it at a yard sale.

Daddy is hunting this weekend.

Daddy is playing golf this weekend. 

Daddy is fishing this weekend.

We gotta get ready for church.

Please eat your grits.

Where did you find those matching smocked dresses and jon-jons  for Easter/Christmas/Valentines/Fourth of July/Columbus Day? They are so cute. Can you get them monogrammed?

His Grandaddy gave him a shotgun for his 3rd birthday.

I love the new church cookbook. It has awesome casseroles.

I only smoke when I am drinking.

Please go tee-tee.

Mama loves you.
We are going to do the monogram right here in lime green.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

An Open Letter To Nicholas Sparks

Dear Mr Sparks,

You and I are not so different. You are a writer, I am writer blogger. We both live in North Carolina. You have sold millions of books worldwide and have had your books translated into 45 languages. I have 89 followers and someone in Russia has read several of my posts. We are practically the same person. 

I enjoy your books. They are quick and entertaining reads. I enjoy your characters and that you often use North Carolina as your setting. My issue with your writing is your need to make me feel as if my heart has been ripped out and smashed repeatedly with a hammer. You write lovely and moving stories. You have nailed the ability to describe the greatest love the world has ever seen. And then it all goes to crap. Someone gets sick. Or dies. Or gets lost at sea. What is your problem, man? Can't they just live happily ever after? Does someone have to get leg cancer or die in childbirth? It is so painful. I don't like sadness. I am a mother. I cry over spilled milk. Literally. I don't need to read a book that is going to make me writhe on the floor sobbing. I can do that on my own, thanks.

Right now I am reading your book The Lucky One. I am only 46% through (thanks Kindle) and I am very nervous. With each click of the turning page, I grow more skittish. I don't want to invest emotionally because I know at any second you will jerk the romantic rug out from under me. It is even worse because in this one there is a dog. Please note for future writing projects, I hate animals in stories. Not only am I worried about the peeps, I am worried about the dog. If someone has to go, please let it be the grandma. She is nonessential to the greatest love of life equation. BTW, I would not have even read this one if I hadn't seen the preview for the movie. Kudos on the casting. Baby Efron is hawt. Please don't kill him off in a flash flood. 

I admit I have not read all your books. There may be some that won't put me on suicide watch. However, there is not enough medication in the world to get me through your entire library, so I may never know. Please heed my advice. (I have been told I give really good advice so if you need help with anything else, I can shoot you my cell number). No more killing off the strapping lads and beautiful heroines. Enough. I need happy love. Love that frolics in southern fields of flowers. Love that lies in row boats in the rain. Not love that is cut short by a mudslide. A mudslide. That is not romantic, Mr Sparks. I leave you with this last little nugget: more kissing, less dying. If you are wavering between making out or a hang gliding accident, please go with making out.

Your Truly
Warm Regards
With Kindest Personal Regards
Peace out 
Be well
Best Wishes for Your Future

Keep it Real,
Thea DeLoreto

He dies 
She dies
He dies
They both die.

He is hot.

(Before y'all say, "hey these are all from movies...she didn't really read the books. She just watched the movies. LIAR." I did read them, I promise. I just liked these pictures to illustrate my point. Pretty people help make a point according to my marketing people. Geeze, it not like this is a book report. Get off my back.)

UPDATE: I have not gotten a response from Mr. Sparks. I find this odd, because surely he has a Google Alert set up to sound the alarm anytime his name pops up in the Interwebbings. He is probably feverishly preparing a contract so he can ask me to collaborate on his next book. No worries, Nicky, I will let you put your name first on the cover. 

UPDATE 2.0: I finished The Lucky One. It was not terribly tragic. I only panicked slightly when the dog jumped in the water. What it is causing me to do is revisit the possiblility that I am psychic. There was a flash flood and someone did die. As stated above. CREEPY. SO now in addition to Nico Sparks calling, I am awaiting a call from Dionne Warwick to participate with her psyhcic friends. Unless she is dead. (I have really no idea) If the latter is true I won't be speaking to her because that is out of my range of abilites. I only see the future.

UPDATE #3: Dionne is still alive. Sadly, her psychic friends have gone bankrupt. Apparently someone is trying to kick start the network again, so I will surely be getting a call about that very soon. Watch for further updates.

Friday, January 13, 2012

The Dreaded "We"

"We don't throw food."
"We don't crawl on the dining room table."
"We don't stand on the rolling ottoman."
"We don't talk in time out."
"We don't hit daddy with the drum mallet."

We we we we we we we. I have become the mother who uses the "we" in third person constantly. (Don't even get me started on my use of Mommy/Mama in third person.) Now that Lady Baby is in her terrible twos, she is constantly getting into no good. I feel like I say "We *fill in the blank with offense of your choice* don't do that" a million times a day. I don't think about saying it. It just rolls right off the tongue. Am I alone in this? Do all parents say it? I feel like I hear other moms saying it too, but it can't possibly be as often as I have to say it.
My future digs.

After driving myself to the point of needing a padded room (I think having a two year old is also a contributing factor) I took a few beats to analyze why this is my go-to phrase. Here are three different things I came up with.

1) Having a two year old is so stressful that it causes a person to disassociate themselves and start speaking in the third person. According to five minutes of extensive research on the interwebs (which is always reliable and trustworthy), if you feel bodily or mental detachment from yourself and perceive your self as a third person, then you have Depersonalization Disorder. Life with a toddler is war, and I understand how this could happen. When your child continually goes into plank position while you are trying to put her in the car seat in the Target parking while she screams "no, no, stop it, stop it, no," you may want to pretend you are watching it happen to someone else. Especially when you realize people are walking by your car slowly and staring because they think you are kidnapping a child. As if this is the one anyone would want to kidnap.

2) Having a two year old is so stressful it causes split personalities in which case you begin to refer to yourself as "we." If you are having blackouts, people you don't know call you another name, or you wake up in the morning in booty clothes when you are almost certain you went to bed in flannel pajamas, then this one is for you. Much like number one, having a child who continually drives you to the point of insanity can break you. A house with a toddler is like Guantanamo, if the detainees were forced to serve their captors three meals a day, give them baths, and teach them their colors. It can cause a person to crack, people.

3) The third possibility is that I want Her Highness to understand the way decent folk act. And normally, whatever she is doing is NOT something decent folk do. Like eating dog food or coloring on the wall with a crayon. So I say to her, "we don't blahblahblah." Does it work, you are wondering? Eh. Sort of. It opens the door to a barrage of "why" questions, which is just another form of evil torture approved by the Toddlers against Parents Association. Not to mention that it is hard to explain exactly why we do or do not do things. She looked at me like I was crazy when I told her we don't flush the toilet 20 times in a row. She did not deem my explanation about America's overuse of water, and how we use more with a single flush than third world countries do in a day, an adequate reason to stop the magical fun that is the whirl of water around the bowl. Sometimes I have to break it down like this, "mommy and daddy don't stand on their chairs during dinner so neither can you." That seems to be an explanation that she understands, though she still throws the "why" dart in rebuttal on occasion. Whether she cares or not is a whole different story. And nine out ten times, she doesn't care. My hope is that I will continue to explain the way the people of the free world act in hopes that at some point Lady Baby will quit testing me every five seconds and just go with it. Doubtful.

Parents of the world fighting the good fight against your toddlers, hang on. Keep telling them what "we" do and don't do. Surely at some point they will stop being so offensive because they are sick of hearing the phrase. I am already sick of it and it has only been 6 months of explaining why we don't throw our plate when we are all done and why we don't hit our friends.  If anyone has any better suggestions for cooperation with a two year old who thinks she is grown yet continually displays the behavior of a wild animal in a tiny cage, please email me. I can use all the help and advice I can get. Until then, I will fight the good fight of the "we" and try not to drive myself cuckoo birds in the process.

Note: The butter turkey has fought the good fight and gone on to a better place. I used it for the most honorable thing a butter turkey can become...white sauce. Thank you for your contribution to my tettrazini faithful butter turkey. (If you have no idea what I am talking about and/or are concerned that these are the ramblings of a crazed mother from her padded room click here. Then you too will understand and appreciate.)

Monday, January 9, 2012

Letter to my Two Year Old

Dear Lady Baby,

Your father and I have now survived two years of being your parents. A feat that we are both proud and humbled by. Every day you remind us why we chose to become parents. You give awesome hugs, sweet kisses, and say "I love you" a lot. There are also many moments that remind us that we had no idea what we were getting into when we brought you home from the hospital. We had no idea the sheer energy it takes to manage a toddler. I recall back to your early days when you were happy staring at a ceiling fan for the 15 min you were awake. All you needed was a little milk and somewhere warm to snuggle. And we thought that time was hard. Ha! I would like to go back and slap my former self. Sure you had colic and cried a lot in the evening. Yes, you had your days and nights mixed up for awhile. But you were immobile. And couldn't talk. You were a baby. Then you became a toddler and changed the game on us. We were ill prepared. What we didn't know was that you would tear up board books up and eat them. We had no knowledge that you would scream with sheer abandon every time you get excited, especially in public. It was unknown to us that once you heard the word "Damn" you would use it profusely. We thought once a child slept through the night, they always slept through the night. We thought once they started eating food and liked it all, they would always be good eaters. How foolish we were. Mommy and Daddy did not know that toddlers are mini-dictators who avoid sharing at all costs and use "mine" as a constant battle cry. I am sorry to bother you daily with our silly rules, which you take as mere suggestions. Your keen ability to know exactly what will make us the craziest the fastest is impressive. You have great talent in the area of lying with not only a straight face, but a completely innocent one. I only pray that you will be able to channel that into some sort of marketable skill in adulthood. Preferably something that will allow us to retire early, like a career in Lifetime movies. Your ability to sob loudly and quickly change to laughing maniacally should also help in that department. 

You should know that we have not only survived you, but we have enjoyed you. In the last two years you have gone from a toothless crawler to a runner who talks in full sentences. The last 365 days have been the most exciting, and exhausting, of my life. We are so lucky to be the ones to hold you when you cry, kiss your boo boos, and snuggle you. We are honored to call such a quick witted and clever little girl our daughter. We count our blessings that you have only colored one of the dining room chairs with a pen and you have only eaten one tube of chap stick. We are thankful that you have only thrown one makeup brush and your Mickey Mouse doll in the toilet. I particularly love that you articulate the phrase "No Mommy, Stop it" so well and use it so liberally. We appreciate that it takes a good bribe to get through any shopping trip that involves you sitting in a cart. Your passion and resolve will serve you very well later in life, I am sure of it. Both will be very beneficial in whatever you choose to do. If acting does not work out, I feel that your strength's lie in world domination and/or management. 

Thank you for two amazing years. You have taken us to heights of love and frustration that we never knew were possible. I can only think that this is preparation for your teenage years. If that is indeed the case, please remember that a hug and a smile go a long way and no matter what you do, we will always love you. We may not like you, but we will love you. 

Welcome to your third year of life. I am sure you will make it your own with that take-no-prisoners attitude that we both love and find a little scary. We are ushering in the year of "why," potty training, and a big girl bed. I cannot wait to see what the next 365 days bring us. 

Love, Mama

First minutes on the outside

One Year Old

Two year old
(best pic we got becuase she was all over the place!)


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