Friday, March 27, 2009

Quizzies and . . . what?

CPod took a religion course at BYU with a professor who surprised them from time to time with what he called "quizzies": brutal pop quizzes of 10 questions each. The class was small, and so the students developed a level of familiarity with one another and the professor, and all felt comfortable joking around to a certain degree.

One day, the professor, of course, sprung a "quizzie" on the class. After it was over, and they had traded papers to grade them, one young, innocent freshman girl said to the professor and class at large, "Boy! If these are your quizzies, I'd hate to see your testies!"

Oh, yes. She did. CPod says it took a minute for the awkward silence to finally degenerate into honest-to-goodness laughter, but that poor girl was never quite the same again.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Lemme 'splain . . .

Okay, so my last post implied a great deal of vomitous occasions in my house lately. The truth is, I am wishing for more. What? Yeah, you heard me. Please, God, let me throw up already!

Because I am pregnant. What? Yeah, you heard me. Turns out, that thing you do that sometimes results in pregnancy? It actually, occasionally, works. In our case, it's nothing short of a miracle, considering the extraordinary measures we took to conceive the twins. Adding a fourth child to our family without the use of cutting edge technology and the expense to match will bring down the average cost-per-child to a number that I can almost say without hyperventilating.

I am due early in November -- yes, I'm just getting started here. I should probably keep it quiet a little longer, but I'm not good at keeping things quiet. At least, not things about myself. I'm happy to keep someone else's secrets.

That means I have . . . at least another 6 weeks of wanting to sleep 18 hours a day and always feeling like I'm trying to keep the cap on a fire hydrant. My poor children. They have resorted to performing magic tricks like "disappearing" (yes, that is a verb) Mommy by covering up the sleeping lump on the couch with a blanket. Yesterday, I stayed in bed so long after CPod went to work that the kids brought toys to me and we built legos while we lounged, propped up on pillows.

Also, I am so not running a race on April 11. I promise to put the sidebar back up eventually . . . but for now, I just can't do it.

And . . . I hate complainers. So I won't be one. I am thrilled to be pregnant. (Yes, MommyJ, it's true. I'm not lying.) I am really thrilled to think about being finished after this one . . . and to reclaim my body by having some very necessary surgery to repair some things that have been seriously messed up by childbearing, and to reduce my bustline to something that can no longer be described as titanic. Yes, I feel like a much paler shade of myself right now, but I also know from experience that it's temporary. So no more complaining. But I thought you at least deserved an explanation for my lack of presence here in the blogosphere as of late.

That's all for now. I do have other things to post about, but the urge to dry heave is overcoming me . . . must sleep, too.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Hablaba

A haiku:

Throw-up in your hair
Vomit on the walls and floor
Nervous break-down soon?

I am so done with sickness.

Heard from G-Dog yesterday after a violent round of ralphing:

"I wish I was another guy who never frowed up, mommy."

Heard from MayDay yesterday morning, at my mom's house, before we went to get the doughnuts I'd promised him:

"Mommy, dis," waving hand in the air, " is NOT de donut shop."

That's all I got. I promise I'll be back soon.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Just gross.

A few days ago, G-Dog called me into the bathroom to . . . okay, I'll say it. Wipe his bum after he used the potty. As I walked into the bathroom, I caught him wiping his own bum . . . on the rug in front of the bathtub. I screamed in horror, and recoiled in absolute disgust, immediately grabbing him and finishing the job he had started.

He laughed and laughed, and laughed some more. I, of course, had a long, one-sided conversation about gross things, and he just kept laughing.

Later that night, when CPod came home from work, G-Dog made sure to tell him what he had done. He was, after all, proud of his handiwork. And, I suspect, absolutely pleased with the helluva reaction he got out of me.

"Daddy, isn't that funny? I wiped my bum on the rug!"

CPod didn't disappoint him, either. "No, G-Dog, that's really gross!"

G-Dog was ready for him. "But Daddy, gross is funny!"

Profound, isn't he?

And here is a picture of something gross that I'm 100% certain is NOT funny:


I dropped a glass bottle of delicious Italian soda, and it pooled under my refrigerator. I pulled off the front, and tried to clean it up. I couldn't believe how dirty it was under there. What you're seeing here is 7 years of dust. I asked CPod to pull out the refrigerator and help me clean it up. We stared at a few minutes, tried to clean it up for a second or two, and CPod finally went downstairs to get a putty knife. I am shuddering right now just thinking of the bug possibilities.

And another picture, just because I love it:

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Mortification, times three

My friend Lew just posted about an embarrassing moment she recently experienced. Her moment of mortification got me thinking about a few of mine. Just to break the ice, though, I'll tell you one about CPod first.

When CPod was in graduate school, he received an administrative appointment to be a "student ambassador." This post included, among other things, giving tours to prospective students, participating in applicant interviews, orientation of the incoming class of first year students, and recruiting. (I know, he's a bit of a brown noser. Well, not really. He's just incredibly good at putting any and all people at ease. Seriously. It's nearly impossible for tension to exist in a room where CPod resides.)

We lived in Memphis, and so, as far as I was concerned, it meant that just about every weekend we were taking some new crop of interviewing students out to get barbecue. Don't get me wrong, Memphis has some good 'cue, but there's only so much of it you can take. Back to the story.

During one icebreaking session, interviewees paired up, shared vital statistics, and then "presented" each other to the rest of the group. CPod noticed that one quiet girl was still sitting by herself, so he volunteered to be her partner. He was stymied after the first question: Where do you currently attend undergrad?

You see, CPod is not from Canada. He had never before heard of the University of Regina. And so when Quiet Girl mumbled it under her breath, what he heard was "University of Vagina." Say it fast. Yeah. Easy mistake.

He kept asking her to verify what he'd heard . . . over, and over. I'm sure she thought he was crazy, or just really slow. He was really sweating by the time it was his turn to introduce her to the group, so he avoided the issue altogether by just skipping the part about her undergraduate education. But the other students wouldn't have it. Finally, when pressed, he mumbled it under his breath exactly the same way Quiet Girl had. I nearly die laughing every single time I think about this.

My most embarrassing moment happened when I was in high school. My senior year, the drama department put on a production of South Pacific. I had several costume changes, including one from a swimsuit to something else, under which I could not wear said swimsuit. Which means that, yes, at some point, I was comlpletely naked. I was very concerned about this, but there was no way around it. Luckily, I was the only one there to see it, but still. There were randy teenage boys about.

Turns out, I had reason to be concerned. I asked my best friend to stand guard while I changed (Andrea, do you even remember this?!?), and proceeded to remove my swimsuit. Just as I reached up, facing the door, to hang one costume on the hook and get down the other one, this little pervert freshman kid barged in and got a full frontal shot of me in all my glory. Talk about mortification.

I could hardly look at that kid for the rest of the year. Every time I passed him in the hall, he gave me what he thought was a sly wink and a nod, like he was imagining what I looked like without any clothes on. Somehow, the creep got a hold of my yearbook and memorialized my embarrassing moment for all time by writing, "You have a nice body," and his name. I have not responded to his friend request on Facebook.

And another one on CPod -- back to high school for him, too. Freshman year, gym was his last class of the day. He showered, toweled off, and wrapped the towel around his waist as usual. This other guy was already dressed, and on his way out of the locker room, he took the opportunity to pop CPod in the back with a towel, then took off running.

CPod is not one to let provocation go without retaliation, so he ripped off his towel and ran down the hall after him -- you know, the locker room maze hall. As he ran, he twisted that towel up tight so he could pop him. And pop him he did, really good right behind the ear (CPod claims he collapsed, screaming in pain) but CPod had misjudged the distance to the end of the hallway, and before he knew it, he was buck naked, in the common hallway behind the gym, surrounded by cheerleaders painting pep rally signs.

This man is white, let me tell you, but I bet he was blushing in all different kinds of places as he sprinted back to the locker room.

I begged him to tell this story and let me video it, because it's so much better to hear it from him. But he had to draw the line somewhere.

How about you all? Any embarrassing moments you'd like to share? Nudity makes it funnier, but it's by no means required. And you're welcome to comment anonymously, if that makes it a little easier for you. Let's hear 'em!

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

(Not) Performing My Civic Duty

Not my civic duty. CPod's. Because he received the dreaded jury summons in the mail this week. Now, I'm not one to shirk my duty -- especially when it's necessary to fulfill one of the only civil liberties guaranteed to citizens of this country by our Constitution before the adoption of the Bill of Rights. (Ask me how I know this. Okay, I'll tell you. I've been reading the Constitution, with an accompanying commentary. Yep, you heard me. I'm awesome and incredibly informed. You should try it.)

However. It's kind of a hard thing to ask. And I know they're usually reasonable about excusing you if you have a legitimate . . . excuse. When MommyJ was VERY pregnant with her twins (if you beg, I bet she'll post a picture -- you really won't believe it*) she appeared when summoned, and she barely had to say the words before they dismissed her. Don't get me wrong, here -- under the right circumstances, I would LOVE to serve on a jury. Those circumstances mostly involve grown children. And someone to keep my house clean while I'm not in it.

I have a friend who has narcolepsy. We decided that's the perfect excuse to not serve on a jury. While narcolepsy is a serious disorder and has really awful ramifications in the lives of many who suffer from it, you have to admit that falling asleep in mid-conversation while sitting through the juror questionnaire is probably not going to land you the job of jury foreman.

Now -- I do not advocate that you perjure yourself by being dishonest or misleading in your answers to the juror pool questions. Jury trials are essential to the workings of our justice system, and, as I said, guaranteed by the Constitution. But you cannot deny that there are some automatic disqualifiers. And here is a brief list. You know me and lists.

1. "I think the death penalty is waaay underutilized in this country."

2. "I'm happy to serve on this jury. But can I run out to my gynecologist's office first? I need to pee at least once an hour and I'll have to be catheterized before I can serve."

3. "I have a gastrointestinal disorder that causes me to pass frequent noxious gas . . . yeah, sorry -- just like that."

4. "Can we bring snacks? I can't watch Law & Order without a big bowl of popcorn."

5. "There is not enough litigation going on in this country. The only way to fix things is to sue, sue, sue!"

6. "Can we speed this up? I forgot to water my pot plants this morning."

7. "What, this hat? It's made entirely of aluminum foil and duct tape and it will keep you people from being able to scan my brain and read my thoughts."

8. "You wanna give me a little sump-mm, I can make things go your way, if you know what I mean."

Now go do your duty! We need smart people like you serving on juries!

*Late Post-Script: MommyJ actually did post a picture of her hugely pregnant self; I'm just an idiot and didn't remember. If you want to see it, go here. Thanks to MommyDew for reminding me that it's there!

Friday, March 6, 2009

I'm outnumbered -- not that there's anything wrong with that

This is one of those weeks when I miss bedtime 6 out of 7 nights. Except not really because of the snow, but please, let me have my pity party. I have a symphony concert tomorrow night, so I spent this evening rehearsing a dozen or so arias in the orchestra with some very talented operatic soloists.

(I haven't been to the opera in so many years that I had forgotten what it's all about. And I'm going to force CPod to take me again sometime soon. When I was at BYU, the opera department put on La Boheme, which is fantastic, and also a good one to start with if you're an opera novice. Ever the positive thinker, I bought two tickets, even though I didn't yet have a date, and had not yet met CPod. So then we started dating and I was not going to miss the opera -- do not be mistaken. First date: hockey game. Second date: Nutty Putty Cave, and I had to pee behind a bush with my future husband about 20 yards away. Third date: yep, you guessed it. La Boheme. That's when the compromises began.)

One of the soloists induced an extreme case of the eye rolls in me when I saw him sitting in the audience. He actually had a silk scarf around his neck, and perfect glossy helmet hair, and this haughty plastic face . . . if you discount the whole Pavarotti-esque contingent of opera singers, this guy was the epitome of the "primo uomo" (maybe I'll coin a phrase here . . . how about mandiva? prima donny? suggestions, please).

And then he came on stage. I was absolutely captivated. His diction was flawless, the tone quality of his voice was luscious, and I could tell that every gesture, every look, every note was fine tuned and honed to perfection so that he could take those of us listening to a different place. He was theatrical without being overly so; he was sincere and believable and beyond passionate. I loved it. (You should give it a shot. If an LA prostitute can get it enough to sob through the whole thing, you can, too.)

I started to think about how proud his mama must be. I mean, every time she watches her baby perform, she doesn't just see someone who is really great at his job. She sees someone who has found something to do with his life that he loves. Shouldn't we all be that lucky?

That led me to thinking about how great it is to be a mother of boys. I must confess, I have been known to lament the overload of testosterone in our little house. I would be lying if I didn't tell you that I glance longingly at the little girl clothes as I pass them on the way to the blue jeans and t-shirts department.

There are some definite peculiarities to mothering boys, and many of them are significantly less than pleasant: you will NEVER have a clean bathroom again. Ever. You will become intimately acquainted, in a clinical way, with parts of the anatomy you don't actually have yourself, and will be completely comfortable discussing these parts and their functions in every day conversation. You will learn to tolerate Legos, even though the bottoms of your feet will be eternally scarred by tiny circles and sharp corners.

You will learn that silence is NEVER golden, because it usually means someone is doing something they shouldn't be doing. You find yourself actually laughing at jokes and real-life incidents involving boogers, snot, hurl, farts, burps and poop. (That's not such a stretch for the girl whose claim to fame was belching the alphabet all the way through and then to Q again.) And you even get good at tuning out at the constant sparring for dominance that occupies nearly every waking moment of little boys' lives.

But it's not all bad. I have recently discovered some really great things about mothering boys. For example, as long as both parents are present when we are out of the house, and if I time things just right when CPod's not around, I might never, ever have take one of my kids into a public restroom again. Doesn't that sound fantastic?

No one has messed with my fingernail polish. At least, not yet.

The best part, though, is that these boys love me. No one brings out the tenderness in rough and tumble little bundles of energy like Mommy. They are reminded daily by their daddy that mommies are different than daddies -- that daddies are for wrestling, but mommies are for hugs. I get to set the standard of femininity for these guys -- that's actually a little sad -- and help them determine the characteristics they want to look for when they grow up and get married. (Like Mommy, or not like Mommy? Reality here -- I think that one could go either way!)

Secretly, I think I might love all the gross parts, too. Except for the dirty bathrooms. I will never love that. It's such an integral part of boyness -- dirty fingernails, boogers wiped on the wall/table/mommy's bum/MayDay's arm, poop jokes, truck noises and all. Hopefully, one day they will call me blessed, because blessed is exactly how I feel when I think about these three beautiful, sweet hoodlums -- especially when they are sleeping.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Close Calls

I had a bishop once who taught me many colorful and descriptive phrases that I have found frequent occasion to use throughout my life. For instance, when something is really hard, it's "like peeing up a rope." Or when you are making a situation more complicated than it really should be, you're "going around your elbow to get to your butt."

He's also the one that used to say that some people can look at a pile of poop and say, "That's poop, and I don't want to get any on me. I'd better leave it alone." And some people look at it, smell it, inspect it carefully, and then say, "I wonder what that is? I'd better jump right in and see what it's all about!" It's still poop, and it still stinks, but it takes those people a little longer to figure it out -- they don't recognize it on sight like others do. They can still wash it off, but it takes a little more effort.

I think I have a kid like this. Let me explain. My G-Dog is a really good kid. But he has some personality traits that make him a little more challenging than the average 4-year-old. He is very emotionally intuitive -- he can discern someone's feelings about him better than some full-grown adults I know who make claims of emotional awareness. If he even thinks a little that you're upset with him, or frustrated, or don't like him in the least, or even that you don't "get" him, his behavior changes immediately and accordingly.

Although he and ConMan are twins, it has been clear from the very beginning that he is really the oldest. MommyJ says her twins came together because they needed each other. I think mine came together because, due to infertility issues, my chances of getting all of my kids here in singleton pregnancies were admittedly low -- they came together because I needed them to. But had they been singletons, G-Dog would have been first. He has that oldest kid assertiveness and innate authority that I know well, being an oldest child myself.

He hates to be wrong (again, just like me) and he does not like to have his experiences inhibited at all -- even if it's clear that I'm just trying to save him or his brothers from mortal injury/harm/loss of limb or privilege. He doesn't like to apologize -- instead of actually saying the words, he'll say, "Mommy, when I make this noise, it means I'm apologizing." And then he'll make the noise and think he's done. (He's not.)

He is stubborn, and thoughtful, and scarily smart in the connections he makes between events and subjects that seem disparate, even to me, but upon further examination, are absolutely related. He is willful and defiant and tries hard to negotiate in his and his brothers' favor, but if I can give him a logical explanation for what I have asked of him, he complies willingly. He is tender and sensitive to the needs of others, even while forcefully exerting his dominance over his siblings. He is idealistic in his expectations of others' behavior, and holds me strictly to a consistent application of all the house rules. He has many characteristics that I hope he still has when he's a teenager, but sure make for some difficult days at our house now.

Lately, we have had some experiences that have, for G-Dog, given him the first-hand knowledge he seeks, but have also provided me with the opportunity for significant teaching moments that, I hope, will stick. The first happened several weeks ago.

I picked the boys up from preschool one Thursday. At home, they played together as I made lunch. They popped in and out of the kitchen to monitor my progress, and I noticed them playing with a few toys I had never seen before: two painted sets of bolted tongue depressors, each stick labeled with a different number, 1-10, and a corresponding amount of dots. They were clearly handmade, and it was obvious they had brought them home from school. I'm not one to accuse my kids of anything before I have gathered as much information as possible, and this one made me a little curious, so I asked G-Dog where the counting sticks came from. "They just appeared in my backpack, Mommy! It's magic!" He glanced furtively at ConMan to make sure he would cover him . . . which he did, at first, but eventually, after I called the preschool and interrogated further, I got the whole story: the counting sticks came from school and belonged back at school, and G-Dog was the sole perpetrator of larceny, although ConMan became an accessory after the fact.

We piled in the car and drove back to their school, which is affiliated with a local Lutheran church. G-Dog protested the whole time, even though he had verbalized to me that he knew he needed to take them back, but it would be hard. When he's in that frame of mind, I just let him rant. We all need to do that sometimes, and I figured the time for a lesson would come later when introspection finally arrived in the company of calm. By the time we got to the school, he was significantly more subdued. We walked in with the toys, and had a wonderful experience with the preschool administrator who took the opportunity to talk to G-Dog about how proud she was that he had decided to do the right thing. She taught him a great lesson about being obedient to God's commandments and following Jesus' example and showing love for them by choosing the right. He was so receptive. I was amazed.

The next week, I left the boys playing in the living room and watching a show so I could go take a shower. G-Dog has been known to use these unsupervised opportunities to get out food they shouldn't be eating. He has a knack for finding things I have hidden, and opening packages that should be impossible.

(When he was younger, he got the baking chocolate out of the cabinet and by the time I found him, he and ConMan had eaten 4 squares. No nap that day -- instead, they sailed around the room in a caffeine and sugar induced frenzy. The next time, he smuggled out a box of unsweetened baking chocolate while I was putting away groceries. I noticed the absence of said chocolate and found him in the living room, box open, squares lined up neatly on the hearth, a small pile of white wrappers on the floor in front of him.

"Look, Mommy. It's chocolate!"

I asked him, "Are you going to eat all that?"

He smiled, and said, "Yep!" I didn't stop him. And all it took was one bite of bitter, unsweetened chocolate for him to become eternally leery of chocolate that isn't in candy bar or chip form.)

Back to the story. I finished my shower, and turned off the water. Immediately, I heard a blood-curdling scream. This is not unusual in my house, and 99% of the time, no bodily injury is involved, so I continued drying off and figured someone would let me know if it was serious. But the crying didn't stop, and I soon heard the pitter-patter of ConMan's little feet coming down the hallway and into my bathroom.

"Mommy, G-Dog has bleed."

I wrapped my hair in a towel, grabbed my bathrobe, and ran to the living room. Sure enough, G-Dog had tried to use my brand new bread knife to open a huge package of play-doh toys. He had grabbed the blade part of the knife and one of the serrations had punctured the meaty part of his middle finger between the 2nd and 3rd knuckles -- and it was bleeding profusely. It turned out to be very superficial -- no stitches needed -- but it was a great lesson for G-Dog.

How many times have I said to him, "No knives, G-Dog. They're too sharp for little guys to use." And over and over, he says back, "No, no, Mommy, I just want to do it myself." This battle used to happen repeatedly, but thanks to first-hand experience that could have been so much worse, G-Dog has learned his lesson.

The last one happened yesterday. He climbs. I'm certain it's how he gets to so many things he shouldn't get to. I was unloading the dishwasher and talking to a friend on the phone, with all three boys swirling around my legs like a hoop skirt. They were all up in my business, and they didn't really have a reason to be: no unfulfilled needs, no entertainment lacking, just general Mommy-proximity compulsions. Which drive me batty. G-Dog decided it would be a great time to climb up on the counter and, I don't know, search for hidden candy in the cabinets. (There isn't any.) I turned around to put something on the opposite counter and heard a terrible crash. G-Dog had fallen off the counter into the dishwasher, then rolled onto the floor. Amazingly, he was uninjured. The dishwasher was a little worse for the wear, but I fixed it eventually.

G-Dog was astonished that he could fall. I believe he absolutely thought he was invincible. We had a long talk about taking risks, and being obedient. He listened. He improved.

I am grateful for all of these experiences because they could have been so much worse. In each case, I think the Lord blessed us with an experience that was sufficient to teach the lesson, but not damaging enough to cause any permanent scars. G-Dog's behavior, in each case, has been altered drastically and each lesson he learned was one that I tried to tell him, but he needed to step in it himself to discover it was poop. They could have all been so much worse. I pray that the trend will continue -- that he will only wade into the shallow end of muck instead of deciding to bathe in it.

God give me the strength to stand back and watch him experience life instead of continually trying to intervene on his behalf. If I'm not mistaken, that intercession has already taken place. And though I will try my best to protect all of my children from the world, I would not presume to take away from them the opportunity to develop their own testimonies of the Atonement of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. I have a feeling these boys will continue to drive me to my knees -- at least, I hope they do. Otherwise, I'm not sure we'll make it.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Watch out, Boy Bands! InkMama's Boys are in the house!

Happily, mother nature decided to wrap herself up in a big, beautiful, billowy, blanket of blowing whiteness. I love snow. I live for snow days. I love that we own our own business, so CPod could take a snow day with us. I love having an excuse to throw the agenda out the window and just play for a day. I love my conductor for canceling our rehearsal this evening. (Not that I would have gone, but at least now I don't feel guilty . . . and since we're making it up with a shorter one, I'll still get paid.) I love hot chocolate. I love having another adult around to witness the insanity that is our house every single waking moment of every single day. I also love having another adult around to help clean up the mess that happens when all we do is play.

The snow started for us while we were still at church. Our crazy, must-have-lived-up-north-at-some-point bishop did not send all of us alarmist, weather-novice southerners home right away (even those of use who have lived out west still get excited when the snow begins to fall). (Maybe he should have . . . we have mountains here! One retired couple in our ward took 5 hours to get home, including a foray into a snowy ditch at the bottom of their non-flat neighborhood.)

We lost power twice on Sunday. This precipitated many happy circumstances, the least of which was not bedtime as soon as it got dark -- which equals early at our house. In fact, the power came back on about 5 minutes after we tucked all three boys into their sleeping bags (like camping, right?) but CPod and I still sat on the couch reading with flashlights so they would go to sleep without knowing, yes, they actually could watch a show before bedtime if they so desired.

So, before I explain the other best parts, guess what this is:


Guesses, anyone? Here's the same picture with two minor lighting changes:


All three boys got headlamps for Christmas, so we all donned them and wandered around our house in the half-light of a closing, cloudy day. CPod got out his JetBoil and cooked us up some Mountain House grub. I have never seen my kids eat like they did when we fed them camping food. They very nearly licked their plates. Even I, food snob extraordinaire, enjoyed it enough to actually consider eating it under circumstances other than, A. actual camping, B. power outage with no access to the grill since it's covered by a snow drift, or C. the apocalypse. A good time was definitely had by all.

Which brings me to the title and purpose of this post. I've decided to market my children as a boy band. There's another trio out there of cute-ish brothers, and I am 100% certain my boys have more talent than that Disney-ified, can't do it without a back-up band even though they pretend to play their own instruments, family of hotties. So, without further ado, I present for your viewing and listening pleasure, InkMama's Boys in their worldwide internet debut. Please don't call them Milli Vanilli. At least not until they're old enough to read. Then, I'll begin insisting they do their own stuff. For now, it's The Killers.


Please forward all press kit requests or gig inquiries to my e-mail. It's on my sidebar. I know they'd be perfect for whatever event you have in mind. I mean, where else have you seen moves like these?