Candy Heaven

Catie’s daycare is having a Halloween party on Friday afternoon. All the kids dress up in their costumes, they have a “parade” (read: they march in a circle around the outside of the building), and the parents all come to take a million pictures. It sounds like fun. I saw on the door to Catie’s classroom there was a sign-up sheet to bring food for the party, and since most of the options involved cooking or a lot of preparation, I signed up for “Halloween-oriented treat.” Right. Candy. I can do that.

I considered just buying a bag of something and calling it good, but I had to buy Halloween candy for our neighborhood kids anyway, and there are only 12 kids in Catie’s class. So I bought some festive tiny paper sacks and filled each of them up with a variety of treats. Catie helped me distribute the candy evenly among the bags, it was a fun little project for us. We even made an extra bag for her teacher.

One of the things that I bought – which, if I’m being totally honest here, I mainly bought for me, not for the Halloween party or for the trick-or-treaters this weekend – was a big bag of Nerds candy. I love Nerds. This bag was made up of tiny boxes of grape and strawberry flavors. My favorites.

So while we were setting up the treat bags, I opened a little box of Nerds for myself. Catie asked if she could try them. I said sure, she held out her hand, and I shook a few of them out of the box into her palm.

As soon as she put them in her mouth, she got this really weird, sort of far-away look on her face. I thought maybe it was too sour for her and she’d want to spit them out.

Me: Do you like them?

Catie: *nodding*

Me: It’s not too sour for you, is it?

Catie: (in a hushed, almost reverential tone) This is the best candy I’ve ever eaten in my whole life.

So apparently she likes the sour stuff, just like her mommy.

She asked if she could have her own mini-box of Nerds. Since I had wolfed down mine already, I gave her one, and she took off upstairs with it. I knew Dave was taking a nap upstairs, but I didn’t think anything about it.

Catie came downstairs a few minutes later. “I put some of da Nerds in Daddy’s mouth while he was sleeping to share them with him. Was that nice?”

I told her that yes, sharing is very nice, but it’s usually a good idea to wait until the person is awake. I was a little worried that Dave would choke in his sleep, so we went upstairs to check on him. He was awake, he said that he had been sleeping, obviously with his mouth open, because he woke up to Catie shoving candy in his gaping maw.

This is around the part where I died laughing. What makes it even funnier is that Dave doesn’t even like Nerds. He isn’t into sour candy at all.

Oh well. I guess for now, the Willy Wonka candy people can rest easy knowing that they just got at least one brand new fan this Halloween season.

one sad, one funny

Two stories for you.

1. The Sad.

When I picked up Catie at daycare yesterday, she ran to me sort of whimpering and buried her face in my legs. Normally she’s happy to see me, so this was unusual. I raised an eyebrow at her teacher, and she kind of whispered to me, “Clara hit her.”

Here’s the thing. Clara is a very sweet little girl with a pretty major developmental delay. I don’t know exactly what’s wrong with her. She doesn’t have Down’s Syndrome but it’s something on par with that. She’s older than the rest of the kids in her class (she’s already 4), but she’s still in diapers and just learning “bye-bye” and basic vocabulary stuff. She goes to a special-ed school during the day, so she’s only at the daycare for an hour or so in the afternoons until her parents get off work and pick her up.

The thing is, Clara can be very rough without meaning to be. None of it is ill-intentioned, she’s a really sweet-natured kid. But, like, today for example, while I was there, I saw a little girl with cute little blonde ringlet curls, and Clara ran over and yanked on the little girl’s hair. Which made her cry. But Clara wasn’t being mean, it’s like she was trying to pet the little girl or treat her like a baby doll. She doesn’t realize that she can hurt the other kids. So how do you discipline a child when she honestly has no concept that she’s done anything wrong?

The problem on this occasion, though? Was that Clara hit Catie in the face.

When we got home, Catie mentioned that her mouth hurt where Clara hit her. I looked inside her mouth and saw that she had a cut on the inside of her lip where her tooth dug into it. So obviously Clara hit Catie in the face pretty damn hard.

I didn’t know how to react to that. I wanted to cry. On the one hand, somebody hurt my baby, and that brings out the whole mama bear instinct. On the other hand, my heart breaks for this little girl who’s got an entire lifetime of obstacles and challenges ahead of her. I try to imagine myself in her parents’ place, and… oof. I cannot even begin to imagine what their day-to-day life is like.

Catie’s way of processing things is to talk about it over and over again. So we talked about it several times, and I told her that while it wasn’t nice that Clara hit her, that Clara has a hard time understanding right and wrong, so we can’t be mad at her because she didn’t know what she was doing. I said that if Clara gets too rough again, she needs to tell her to stop, and if she doesn’t stop, then she needs to tell her teacher. I absolutely don’t want to tell my daughter to avoid the special-needs kid in her class, because I think that sets an unhealthy precedent. I’m not sure how else to handle the situation. This is all completely foreign territory for me.

Later that night, Catie and I were practicing drawing her letters. I helped her get started, then I went to wash dishes. She called me and said she had something to show me. I walked over, and saw that she had flipped to a new piece of paper, and she had drawn a perfect tear-drop shape. She said, “That’s the tears I cried when Clara hit me.” I wanted to lie down on the floor and sob. I just don’t know how to explain this on a level that a 3 year-old can understand.

I talked to both the daycare director and Catie’s teacher about it today, since they had no idea that the hit was so hard that it cut her lip. (It was a small cut, it probably didn’t bleed much or a very noticeable amount.) I didn’t ask them to do anything about it, I don’t want to cause any problems for Clara’s family, I just wanted them to be aware of the situation in case it happens more frequently and becomes a problem later on down the road. I didn’t know what else to do, really.

So, yeah. Anybody out there have any experiences like this? Words of wisdom? I’ll take whatever I can get.

2. Now for the funny (which is needed after all that).

I almost had the most awkward conversation with a grocery store cashier, ever.

The cashier guy rang up all my stuff and was starting to put it all in bags. Among my purchases was an econo-size HUGE box of tampons. (Don’t judge me. I buy in bulk. It saves money.) I was already self-conscious about that, because you know, it’s a dude ringing me up and apparently I’m still 13 and this whole menstruation thing is all new to me.

(Seriously, self. It’s been going on for over 20 years now. Time to get used to it.)

In an effort to make conversation, the guy says, “So, big fans of the Crimson Tide, huh?”

I was putting my wallet back in my purse when he said this, but my jaw dropped and I whipped my head around and I was about to say, “I’m sorry, WHAT?!?!!” Because OMG, how offensive can you possibly get, right?

Then I realized he was pointing at Catie’s big stuffed elephant that she was carrying with her. And I remembered that Alabama’s mascot is the elephant. And their football team is called the Crimson Tide.

I mumbled, “Oh. Uh. Not really, she just likes elephants.”

And then I died of embarrassment. The End.

Catie's Feelings

Catie made a “book” at daycare last week, and this is too good not to share. So, I give you….

Catie’s Feelings

Catie's Feelings

The cover is a picture of her and a little boy in her class named David. They were playing basketball together. Do you see the hoop in between them that’s at their shoulder height? Aww yeah, my kid can slam dunk.

So, apparently the idea was to pick a few emotions, and the teacher asked them to draw it. Then she said, “So when were you happy/sad/whatever?” and she wrote on the page what the picture was supposed to illustrate.

Important to note: Catie’s drawing skills are, uh, less than stellar. She has a hard time pressing down the crayon hard enough to even make a visible scribble. We’re working on that.

"Catie is sad when Mommy said I didn't get a treat"
“Catie is sad when Mommy said I didn’t get a treat.”

See the misery and woe in those sad scribbles? That’s all because I didn’t let her have a York peppermint patty five minutes before dinner. Yep. Worst mother ever, that’s me.

"Catie was happy at the beach with Mommy and Daddy"
“Catie was happy at the beach with Mommy and Daddy.”

I love this one, not only because the sentiment is so sweet (aww, she remembers our fun trip to the beach!), but also because her drawing almost makes sense. Those scribbles actually look like wave lines in the ocean, right? Kinda? Maybe?

Whatever, *I* can see it.

And now, for our big finale (seriously, this is the last page of the book)…

"Catie was lonely on the playground"
“Catie was lonely on the playground.”

WTF? I have to be honest, I laughed when I saw this because it just doesn’t seem like her at all. I’ve never seen Catie lonely on the playground. This is a child who runs up to stranger-kids and says, “Hi, kid! Wanna play wif’ me?” So… uh… when exactly did she go all emo-kid on me?

I showed her the picture and said, “Sweetie, when were you lonely on the playground?”

She said, “Because, a mosquito landed on me, and it bit me, and it HURT!”

I said, “Well, baby girl, that means you were upset. Lonely means that you were sad and all by yourself. Have you ever felt like that?”

Her: “No, that’s silly!”

Right. That’s what I thought.

There you have it. Catie’s Feelings. Or something that she thinks means the same thing. Close enough.

a million lights are dancing, and there you are, a shooting star

Last night I was looking for something to watch on TV that didn’t involve either Caillou or Dora. Catie was still awake and I was trying to get her to eat a pre-bedtime snack since she’d hardly eaten any dinner. It’s our typical Nightly Bedtime Struggle.

I happened to see on the cable guide that over on HBO, Xanadu was on. This was one of my favorite movies as a kid. Between Xanadu and Grease, I wanted to be Olivia Newton-John. All of my toys were named either Sandy or Kira. Because of Xanadu, I roller-skated in a dress while wearing leg warmers, and I had my mom braid ribbons into my barrettes. (If you haven’t seen the movie, that probably makes no sense to you.)

And yeah, I’ve seen Xanadu again as an adult, and I’m fully aware that it is not exactly a high-quality film. In fact, I’m pretty sure the people involved in the production were doing massive amounts of cocaine. (It was the 70s, after all.) It’s cheesy as hell. The acting is terrible, the storyline is convoluted and bizarre, and the weird “dissolves” between scenes look SO corny now. But whatever, I still love the music. In fact, I still have the whole soundtrack in iTunes.

Catie is just getting to the age where she likes musicals. The kid-oriented ones, of course, like the Sound of Music, Mary Poppins, and the Wizard of Oz. And she’s seen a couple of (not risque) songs in Moulin Rouge and really liked them. So I thought I’d click it over to see what she thought of Xanadu. We missed the first half of the movie, and came in right around the beginning of the “All Over the World” song.

If you haven’t seen the movie, you might want to watch that to get an idea. It’s supposed to be a simple, “Let’s take Gene Kelly shopping to find him a snazzy outfit for his nightclub opening” montage, and instead it turns into… that. I don’t even know WTF that is, 30 years later.

(Also? Poor Gene Kelly. The guy is probably one of the most talented dancers of his generation – he did freaking “Singing in the Rain,” for God’s sake – and to get a gig in his old age, they put him on roller skates. Did your investments really turn out that badly, Gene?)

Catie was absolutely riveted, because… well, probably because it looks completely surreal and bizarre.

And then, there’s the finale. Oh, the finale.
(Apparently if you want the full 8-minute finale and not a chopped 3-minute version, you have to deal with poor video quality. Oh well.)

Y’all, I couldn’t get Catie to sit down and eat her snack because she was too busy dancing around the living room (while keeping her eyes glued to the TV the whole time). As soon as it was over, she kept saying, “Again! Again!!” I had to search for the videos on YouTube for her to watch a couple more times.

This morning, as soon as she woke up, she asked, “We watch Xanadu again?” I said, sorry baby, it’s not on-demand and I don’t have the DVD, so we can’t watch it now. She said, “We can buy the DVD?” I told her I’d look to see if I can find it.

Since we couldn’t watch the movie, I turned the soundtrack on my iPod in the car when we drove to daycare. I had to explain to her daycare teacher why Catie might be singing, “Xaaaa-na-duuuuu” all day today. (Her teacher is in her mid-20s, has never heard of the movie, and likely thinks I’m completely insane based on my explanation.)

But you know I’m totally ordering the DVD on Amazon today, right? The only problem is that I’m not sure if Dave will ever forgive me for turning our daughter into an Olivia Newton-John fan.

bring you to your na-na-na-na-na-knees

Backstory: the radio stations in the Raleigh area? Are pretty sucky. You basically have a choice of the pop station (which is ok, sometimes; I have no shame about the fact that I sing along with Britney Spears) or the rock station. And the rock station is more “classic rock” in that it plays a lot of stuff from 15-20 years ago.

For example, when we’d been living here for only a couple of months, my friend Kris came to visit and we had lunch together. I was still going through a bit of culture shock after moving here from Seattle, and we talked about how different North Carolina was by comparison. I told her how the radio here was so random, and that I’d heard “Love Bites” by Def Leppard more in the past 2 months than in the previous 15 years combined. After lunch, we got in my car to leave the restaurant, turned on the radio, and – no exaggeration – “Love Bites” came on before we’d even pulled out of the parking lot.
I know you wanted that earworm. You’re welcome. Also, how much hair spray and back-combing do you think was involved in the production of that video?

Sometimes I remember to bring my iPod and my little FM adapter thingy in the car, so I can listen to my own music, but the majority of the time, I forget it at home. And you know, it’s fine. Most of my drives are within a 5-mile radius of my house, so it’s not exactly worth shelling out for satellite radio. We have too many other things that require a monthly fee, I don’t need one more.

So, the point of all that? Is to explain this story about what a horrible parent I am and how I’m going to be responsible for my kid’s ensuing nightmares.

Honestly, I don’t know why it still surprises me when Catie suddenly catches on to something. I mean, she caught the lyrics to Lady Gaga. The kid notices everything.

So, we were in the car, and we happened to have the rock station on the radio. “Welcome to the Jungle” by Guns ‘n Roses came on – which, really, is another good example of the kind of thing you hear on the rock radio station here. I left it on because Catie likes “Paradise City” (another song we’ve heard several times on that station) and you know, the lyrics are kind of screechy and hard to understand, and it’s not like she’s going to really understand what it’s about, right? And besides that, *I* happen to like the song. Heck, I like that whole album, seventh grade flashbacks notwithstanding.
I love that Axl’s version of “acting” is to comb his hair down & wear a baseball cap. And that he has that freaking piece of hay in his mouth. Because I’m sure he’d still be chewing on that after the 2000+ mile bus trip from Indiana to Los Angeles. Whatever, Axl.

So we’re rocking out in the car, and then we get to this one part toward the end of the song…

“You know where you are? You’re in the JUNGLE, baby! You’re gonna DIIIEEEEE!!!”

I didn’t even think anything about it, but then suddenly I heard this very worried voice from the backseat:

“Mommy? Why the baby gonna die?”

Oh, shit. I mean, what do you even say to that?

So I quickly tried to do some damage control and I said, “No no no, he wasn’t talking about a real baby, he was just calling somebody baby, you know like how I call you ‘sweetie’ and I call Daddy ‘hon’ and that kind of thing? It’s just a nickname. And nobody’s really going to die, he just meant that… uh… that something they were going to do was going to be really, really hard. He was just using an expression.”

So! Lesson learned. From now on, I’ll remember to keep the iPod and the adapter in my purse so I always have it with me, and we’ll listen to nothing but the goddamn Wiggles until she’s in high school. Because I’m pretty sure they don’t have any songs about country bumpkins that go to the big city seeking fame and fortune who end up as drug-addicted whores.

I mean, unless “Fruit Salad, Yummy Yummy” has some hidden subtext that I’ve never noticed. I suppose anything’s possible.

why I do that

My allergies are still giving me grief, so I’ve been skipping out on running and doing the 30 Day Shred instead. That whole “holy crap I can’t breathe” feeling isn’t quite as awful during the Shred, I guess because the exercises are constantly changing and hurting you in different ways, as opposed to running where you’re just doing the same painful thing for 25 minutes.

And it’s weird, I like them both for different reasons. With running, I get this weird sort of endorphin head rush of, “f*ck yeah, I’m a RUNNER, man. I’m strong! I’m empowered! I can conquer ANYTHING in the WORLD!” So, apparently running gives me delusions of grandeur, because seriously, all I did was run barely 2 miles. We’re hardly talking Marathon Woman over here. But whatever, it’s fun.

Meanwhile, with the Shred, I don’t necessarily get the same rush, but I feel sore all over afterward, which I like because then I feel like, “ooh, I’m toning up these muscles, and these, and these…” So they each have their own perks.

Last night, I did the Shred after Catie got home from daycare, but before dinner. Catie said she wanted to work out with me, so she grabbed my 1-pound weights and jumped in (I’ve upgraded to the 5-pound weights, which make the workout infinitely harder). It’s hilarious because she doesn’t really do any of the moves correctly, but she was so excited that she was doing it with me, and she kept saying, “Mommy, look at me! Look at me!” It actually made the workout harder because I couldn’t stop laughing.

It’s funny, she’s done the Shred with me a few times, but she doesn’t really have the attention span to do the whole video. She does the warm-up, then she wanders off to play with her toys, then she sees me doing something that she thinks looks like fun (i.e., what Jillian calls “squat thrusts” and what Catie calls “frog jumps” – I think Catie’s term is probably more accurate), and she’ll run back over and join in again for a couple of minutes, then she’s off and playing again. Lather rinse repeat.

But last night, when she first got home from daycare & I was putting on my workout clothes, I told her I was going to work out, and she said, “Why you do that?” I have been VERY careful about not saying anything disparaging about my body in front of her, because I don’t want her to take on any of my body image issues as her own. In fact, when she’s jumping around doing the Shred with me, I get really annoyed with Jillian Michaels for talking about burning fat and losing weight – like, SHUT UP, I don’t want those thoughts getting into her head.

So when she asked me, “Why you do that?” I paused for a second to think about it. And I said, “Well, you know how we eat healthy foods like fruits and vegetables so we’ll be healthy and strong? I exercise for the same reason. I need to be strong, so that I can still pick you up and carry you, even now that you’re a big girl.”

She seemed to like that answer. She said, “Yeah, and I am getting sooo big! Right, Mommy?” I agreed with her, and I was feeling all proud of myself and sort of smug, like haha, take THAT, stupid American standards that beauty = thinness! Boo-yah!

Then Catie continued: “Yeah, Mommy. And you getting HUGE!”

Nice. Thanks a lot, kid. Jeez.

Falsie FAIL

[Editor’s Note: If you’re a guy, you probably want to skip this post. If you read on, you’re going to learn more than you probably want to know about my breasts.]

I have always been somewhat under-endowed in the boob department. I technically wear a B cup, but I don’t fill it out all the way. I’m pretty sure that if you yelled into my bra, you’d hear an echo. Last month, my girls over at Room 704 did a “boob collage” photo (don’t get excited, it’s just cleavage, it doesn’t involve nudity). And I realized that I couldn’t participate because the only way I can get cleavage is if I put on a push-up bra, lean waaaay over, and then squeeze my boobs together with one hand and take the picture with the other hand. It’s just too damn much work.

The funny thing is that if you met me, you might not know just how tiny my girls are, because I only own super-padded push-up bras. They make me feel a little more equally-distributed. I’ve told Dave (numerous times) that as soon as we’re done having kids, I am getting the Mommy Lift, and I do not feel even slightly guilty or anti-feminist by admitting that I want plastic surgery. I don’t give a flip what society thinks I should look like, I just want to like what I see when I look in the mirror.

But I had whole new revelation of embarrassment about my boobs last night. I’ve been doing this couch-to-5K thing for over two months now, and one thing that’s always bothered me is how much my chest hurts when I run. It feels like I have a big rock in each of my lungs. The weird thing is that I never get that sensation when I do the 30-Day Shred, even though I’m breathing just as hard during that workout. I figured that maybe it was the difference between being inside versus outdoors – our house is air-conditioned, but there are allergens in the air outside, that kind of thing.

Last night, though, I went for a run and I didn’t have the lung pain at all. Weird, right? I realized during my second run interval, though, that I forgot to put my falsies in my sports bra. I never use them at home (i.e., when I’m doing the Shred), but if I’m going for a run or going to the gym, I use them because otherwise my sports bra flattens me out so much that I look like a 12 year-old boy. Or rather, a 12 year-old boy with a muffin top. Which is kind of disturbing.

So, apparently the source of my chest pain was NOT due to being out of shape, but because I essentially turned my sports bra into a tourniquet that was putting extra pressure on my chest. Brilliant.

If you need me today, I’ll be shopping for a pre-padded sports bra. And I guess I’ll leave my bra inserts for Catie to play with. She loves them – she calls them “Mommy’s Boobs” and likes to run around holding them on the sides of her head like Princess Leia hairbuns. She also likes to take my black Wonderbra and wear it on her head because it makes her look like she has Minnie Mouse ears. Strange kid, but you have to give her points for creativity.