Sunday, June 29, 2008


What I love right now:

1. Once. I have a big time crush on this movie and the soundtrack. This song is gorgeous, gorgeous. ETA: Watch out! Spoiler alert in Comment #4! (Kelcey!)

2. The Toy Society. I want to do this. And I will, I will!

3. These mosiacs on Flickr. I just love them so much.

4. The Matilda Top. This could be the best 4th of July fabric ever.

5. Kiddie Records Weekly. Click and weep with nostalgia.

6. Park Slope by Erin McMorris. I want nearly every print in every colorway.

7. The Mama Bird Diaries. Kelcey left a comment here the other day, so I clicked over to her blog and read the archives for over an hour. She's hilarious and insightful and real and way hipper than I could ever hope to be but not in an annoying way at all.

Can you tell I had way too much time on the computer last week? Back to reality this week. Yay! (For real. I'm happy to be back at home with the hooligans. Believe it or not.)

Thursday, June 26, 2008

From baby to toddler in 3 snips

Remember when Paige was a baby?

She had goofy hair and a wobbly walk.

Now that walk is called "toddling," and her hair has been tamed.

Her mullet is gone. And along with it, the delicate, wispy curls at her shoulders.

Now she is, officially, a toddler. A big girl. An almost (gulp) 2 year old.

One who gets rather ornery about having her picture taken one too many times.

(Yes, she told the stylist she wanted the Kit Kittredge look. She's just trendy like that.)

Monday, June 23, 2008

Loose teeth and other mysteries

It's that week again. The secret week of bliss. But don't tell. I'm working...remember? If anyone asks, I'm working, and it's hard work.

But truly, the work leading up to the opening day of the workshop is hard, and the first day is, if not hard, then stressful. I have to give a speech to a roomful of strangers and field myriad requests and complaints from the participants and faculty. I'm very good at faking poise and aplomb. Underneath, I'm all sweaty palms and knocking knees.

Last night, my nervousness about opening day bubbled up in a seemingly unrelated anxiety dream. This dream revolved around a current household drama, the drama called "when will Owen's first loose tooth fall out?"

Ever since I told Owen that the tooth fairy makes a very big deal over one's first lost tooth, he has been obsessed with its potential date of loss. He begs me for details, "Will it fall out in one day? Two days? Three days and 4 hours?" He has always required precise answers to his questions; unfortunately, I am not well-versed in the typical behavior of loose baby teeth. So I give vague answers, and he is crazy with anticipation.

In short, the loose tooth is a Very Big Deal.

So in my dream, Owen's tooth came out, and he gave it to me for safe keeping until bedtime. And I lost it. On a beach covered in tiny tooth-sized shells. For hours (in dream time) I crawled on my knees in the sand, frantically sifting and sifting and fretting and fretting. But I failed. I woke up before I found it.

It was one of those dreams that exposes very tender vulnerabilities: not only my fear of forgetting some detail for the workshop, or of failing to do my job in some way, but also the deeper, more penetrating and painful fears of a parent, the fear that I'm going to let my child down, scar him in some way, and, ultimately, lose him.

All of this incoherent rambling is an attempt to purge the uneasiness the dream left in me. I can't stop replaying it, feeling that panic and worry. And I realize that my worst fear, in my professional and my personal life, is letting people down, exposing myself as an impostor, as someone who never should have been given the job.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Keep up the good work

It's good to get a pat on the back every now and then, for your employer to tell you, "Right on. You're doing great. Thanks for your contribution to the company."

Even if that employer is 6 and a half (and don't you dare forget the half).

My quarterly bonus:

Some more things about Owen that have me grinning these days:

He's writing books (I can die a happy woman), and they're pretty good books.

He's spent hours this summer pouring over his children's dictionary. This means he loves words = jubilant English teacher mother.

He won the Character Award for his kindergarten class this year. And if there is anything I want my children to be, above being smart or attractive or popular or funny, it's nice. I'm so glad he's nice.

He cracks up at the "Mahna Mahna" skit on the Muppets

He will do anything to make Paige happy. Except share his dry erase markers (thankfully).

He's grown so much this year and overcome nearly all of his insecurities about loud noises. This is huge for him. Huge.

He takes showers alone. This just blows my mind.

He's counting down the days until we go to the beach. He loves our beach as much as I do, and this makes my heart feel warm.

I'm so proud to be the mommy of this little boy. I hope I'm worthy.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

We have a winnah!

And I'm excited because, so very appropriately, this reader was the very first person to add me to her blogroll. I was way too excited when I realized that someone I didn't know liked my blog enough to link to it. In fact, it changed my perspective on Mean Mommy entirely. I suddenly had an audience (albeit a small one), and it made me a bit giddy (and for awhile, self-conscious).

So...the winner is the very smart, funny, insightful, hip, and just damn nice Gray Matter Matters. Really, if she's not on your feed reader yet, she will be once you click over. (In fact, I just realized that the link to her blog disappeared from my sidebar. Sorry! I put it back.)

I'm also relieved that the winner is someone I "know" well enough to admit that the actual prize package I promised will probably not be mailed (or, erm, created) until the end of June because...dress show. I'm falling off pace a bit, so I'm about to turn the playroom/sewing room into a sweat shop where I will work long non-union approved hours for very little pay, but much gratification.

Congrats, Gray! Send me your mailing address when you get a chance: meanmommyblog {at} gmail.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Bless me, readers, for I have sinned

It's been 3.5 years since my last major screw up.

I'm beginning to think every child is destined to live through some moment of physical peril that will make a good "look how badly I was treated" story for him to tell through the years. At least each of MY children have one.

Owen's: We were at the beach house, where the ceilings are low, much lower than the ceilings at home. He was a wee babe, about 8 months old, and I had just changed him on the bed in the master bedroom. In a moment of playfulness, I swooped him up to tickle his tummy with the top of my head. As soon as I extended my arms, I heard a sickening, "Thunk, thunk, thunk," and with suddenly realized I'd placed his tiny baby head in the way of the ceiling fan, which was ON. I nearly swooned. I pulled him back down, praying I wouldn't find a headless child, and was relieved to find him intact, but wailing. Luckily the fan was on the lowest setting, so it hadn't done much damage. Ultimately I was wounded far more deeply than he was.

Mitch's: If you've known me long, you've heard this story. I tell it again and again in an attempt to purge myself of the horrible memory. (It never works.) When Mitch was a newborn, he loved the sling. Anytime I went shopping, I'd put him in the sling because it kept him happy and kept my hands free to hold on to Owen, who was 2. As Mitch's neck got a bit sturdier, I started facing him forward in the sling with his feet curled up under him, certainly not a "recommended position," but I always kept one arm crossed in front of him to keep him from toppling out.

Except once.

We were getting out of the car at Target, and as Owen stepped out, he tripped and fell forward, heading face first for the pavement. Out of pure instinct, I lunged forward to grab him, and when I did, little Mitch (only 3 months old) toppled out of the sling and flipped onto the pavement himself. The moment I realized what had happened and looked down to see him lying there, howling, is forever imprinted in my brain. I feel almost nauseous when I relive it.

I took him straight to the pediatrician's office, and he fell asleep on the way, causing me to nearly hyperventilate with fear that he had a concussion. He was fine, of course. Me? Not so much.

And today. Today Paige received her story.

As I may have mentioned, Paige hates strollers, shopping carts and highchairs. Lately, despite the warnings imprinted on all grocery carts, I've been letting her sit in the basket instead of the seat, which she tolerates much more readily. Otherwise, I face sobbing and fit throwing and general misery for the entirety of the errand. So I succumb to her demands. Mistake #1. Mistake #2 was, of course, ignoring the warning on the cart. You see where this is going...

Today, again at Target (shut up, Anna), Paige kept standing up in the basket. I must've told her 103 times to SIT DOWN, but alas, 19 month olds have not yet been issued their listening ears, so it was an ongoing and mostly futile battle. My mom was with us today, and as I stopped to look at something, turning my back to the cart, Paige decided she'd rather be with Grandmommy. So she stood up and dove headfirst out of the basket. She didn't fall. She actually dove. On purpose.

Luckily one of us was paying attention (Grandmommy) and leapt forward to catch her. Sadly, the catching didn't exactly work out, and Paige hit the floor face first, but my mom's nearly catching her broke her fall and slowed her down enough that the result of her cart diving wasn't tragic.

Paige was hurt, of course, but not badly, and was probably more frightened than she was wounded. I, on the other hand, am considering leaping from the roof and landing on my face in an act of self-flagellation. I know better than to allow kids in the cart basket. I know better than to turn my back on Paige when she's riding in the basket. I know better... but I did it anyway. I gambled her safety to win a more peaceful outing.

Despite these horrible mistakes for which I am due some major penance, my children live on, relatively unharmed but equipped with darn fine childhood stories. And excuses for being a bit on the slow side. You're welcome, kids. Once again, you couldn't have done it without me.

*Tomorrow's the drawing for the blogiversary giveaway!*

Friday, June 6, 2008

Good morning, mommy. Here's vermin in your eye.

It's 7:30 in the morning. Your oldest child, on his first day off of school for the summer, wakes up earlier than he ever does on a school day and makes a beeline for your room, where everyone in the household is now sleeping, including his brother and sister, who crept into your bed in the wee hours and are now sleeping with knees and elbows knifed into your ribs.

The oldest child "whispers" that you need to "get UP now" and wakes up the other children. You shoo them out of bed, and they all trot to the family room to watch TV. You reason that you need only 5 more minutes, and surely the 19 month old will be fine for a few minutes until you...zzzzzzz.

You wake to the middle child's voice in your ear, saying, "Mommy. I have a rat from the beach house." This statement doesn't make sense to you because you haven't been to the beach in 10 months, and...rat? You decide he's speaking some 4-year-old nonsense, give him a "mmmhmm" and try to drift back off to snoozeville.

"Mommy. It's a RAT. From the BEACH HOUSE."

This time you open one eye and turn to look at him, ready to chase off the boy and his nutty jibber jabber. And dangling one inch from your eyeball, swinging by a tail now held in the fingers of your young child, is a dead mouse.

For a moment, you close your eyes again. The situation is much too odd to be real. You must be asleep, still dreaming. The four year old disagrees. "Mommy!" he hisses. "It's a RAT!"

You open your eyes again and the thing is still there, it's wretched little claws all balled up, eyes shut tightly, body swinging like a pendulum in front of your nose.

"Is that a real mouse?" you ask the child, who nods earnestly. "Where did you find it?"

"In the family room," he tells you. "Paige found it."

"Wait. Paige touched it?"


"Okay, go put that thing down. Now."

He trots away. You lie there for a moment, trying to remember if you'd seen any mice at the beach house last summer, then realize that your children are in the other room playing with a dead rodent, and it occurs to you that you really need to get the hell up.

They've left it for you in the middle of the family room floor and are watching TV again, unfazed by their gruesome discovery. You march them all into the bathroom and scrub their hands, then sweep the mouse into a dustpan and inspect it more carefully. It's a little bloody with a sort of terrified expression frozen on it's little whiskered face. The cats. What a night they must have had.

No match for your morning, though, and the joy of waking up to find a dead mouse swinging in your face. Bodes well for the rest of the day, don't you think?

P.S. Don't forget to comment on this post to enter my blogiversary giveaway!

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Party! Whoo hoo!

Welcome to the Mean Mommy 1st blogiversary dance party! My blogiversary (what an irritating word that is) was actually May 28, but I'm still going to celebrate, even if belatedly, because (at the risk of sounding melodramatic) blogging has changed my life.

Let me count the ways:

1. I no longer feel guilty for not keeping up my kids' baby books. THIS is my baby book, and it's a richer account of our lives than any fill-in-the blank keepsake could be.

2. I'm writing frequently again (maybe not in May, like I was supposed to, but still). It's not fiction, but it's words and sentences, and that's better than no words and sentences.

3. I've found (and in some cases, befriended) some very cool, smart, funny, interesting mothers in this community. In fact, there are more moms who share my sensibilities in blogville than in any other place in my life.

4. Blogging here lead me to write for Momformation, where I've met another very cool set of mothers, and which has become a rewarding and fun part time gig for me.

5. I've found a place to reflect on things that worry, delight, and interest me, and have been given invaluable advice, commiseration, understanding, and sympathy from my commenters.

6. Blog-surfing lead me to the world of craft blogs, which have not only inspired me, but also pushed open the door to a brand new side of me, one that has become a huge part of my life and my happiness.

So. I'm hosting a blogiversary giveaway. No contest, just a random drawing, and the winner will receive a yet-to-be determined package of handmade goodies from me. Just leave a comment, any comment, on this post and you're entered.

I want to hear from everyone! Who's reading? Show yourselves! I know some of you (hi Anna's friend Emily!) read but have never commented. Say hi!!! You just might when the prize o' the century.

Insert standard blogger excuse for scarceness here

I know I've been scarce this month, despite the "Post a Day in May" thing (which I totally flubbed) but I've decided to go ahead with the dress sale that my friend Jane has been encouraging me to put together. Jane has been my friend for almost 10 years, and she has always been a great motivator for me, even back in the day, when she was my boss. Not only does she encourage those she cares about, she always helps, in big ways, to get things moving. For example, she is hosting the dress sale at her beautiful home and is fattening up the guest list with her contacts. She's good people. I'm lucky to have her in my life.

All of this to say, I've been sewing like a mad woman. It's been fun, something I feared sewing on a deadline would not be, but pretty much all-consuming of my free time. So I'm here, just not as much until the end of June.