so how’d we do in 2008?

So, how’d you do in 2008? Did you make resolutions, and did you meet them?

Thanks to this blog, I am faced with an incontrovertible record of what I resolved a year ago. Here was my bar-setting for 2008:

–I will work on the muffin top. Which is, after three kids, more like an entire souffle hanging down over my waistband.

Well, my muffin top still exists. According to this review of Mother Load from its Charlotte run this fall,

To do this show week after week around the country, Wilson has to keep out-of-shape. Every time she lifts her top, revealing her puffy, crinkly “muffin top” spilling out over her waistband, Wilson shows us how seriously she takes her crusade.

This review horrified me. PUFFY? CRINKLY? Sure, I think that’s how it looks, but I figured it didn’t look that bad from the audience. And I AM working out. Once a month. Anyway. It’s better, it’s smaller, but it’s still there, and in 2009, I’m going to work out more, while accepting that my elephant-knee midsection may be here to stay. 

–I will actually get down on the floor with my kids and play Rescue Heroes, or Diego Animal Rescue, or Killer Whale Rescue, or K’Nex Space Rescue. I’m not talking every day. I mean at all. This year. That would be good.

I barely even know what this stuff is, and I don’t think my kids do either. Killer Whale Rescue? Hello, 52 WEEKS ago. 12 months is clearly much longer than any toy stays in heavy rotation. This week I did a 100-piece puzzle with Cooper, and in 2009, I am so all about the Planet Heroes Solar Quarters.

–I will stop finishing my kids’ dinners. Even when it’s Annie’s Bunny Macaroni.

Um. Good one. I will try again in 2009, and I will also try not to utilize the Bunny Macaroni quite so often, for the kids or for myself.

–I will spend more time interacting with actual, real female friends, than I do with the anonymous frenemies on

Ooh! Ooh! I did this one. I haven’t been on in months, and I am certainly better for it. However, I did discover Facebook in 2008, and so truthfully I have just transferred the Great Time Suck from one website to another. At least I know the people on Facebook. Kind of.

–I will get Maddie to sleep through the night. Since she will be 14 months old by December 31, 2008, I am hoping that’s not setting the bar too high.

WE DID IT!! Maddie now sleeps until 6 am or so. What was our secret? Well, about three weeks ago, we had to move Maddie into our office so a guest could sleep in our room. And David and I slept until morning… and Maddie, whenever she got up, survived just fine until we woke up on our own. What a revelation! Since then, we have moved Maddie (almost) entirely out of earshot. If she’s screaming bloody murder, I’ll hear her. If she’s just looking for a little attention at 4:30 am, well, she’ll have to wait a few hours, because I’m not hearing her. It took me six years of parenting to figure this one out. And it is golden.

–I will do, like, five Kegels, at some point this year. Maybe even in January, and five more in June or so.

I have done Kegels here and there all year, I do them fairly regularly when I’m brushing my teeth. I can’t say they’ve helped a great deal, but I do fear what I might be like without them. Nuff said.

I will remember to take my vitamin at least once a month. (Like I said, I don’t want to set the bar TOO high.)

Perhaps I should have aimed higher here. I took vitamins never. I know, I know, I really need to start with the vitamins and calcium in 2009. They give me gross burps though, I can’t take it. I eat the kids’ Flinstones, does that count?

–I will see a movie. At a movie theater. And my children will not be with me. (A mom’s gotta dream.)

I did this also. Twice! Burn After Reading, and Milk. Two whole movies. yay for me.

So, let’s sum up. For 2009, Kegels, vitamins, playing with my kids. Less Bunny Macaroni. More reading books and less DVR’ing Wife Swap. And bringing Mother Load to a city near you. That would be a great year indeed.

Hope your new year is a great one!

artwork cribbed from moove1 on flickr, and, presumably, trevor

a nailbiting Christmas Eve

Happy third day of Christmas to all! I hope you got all your French hens this morning. My other Christmas wish for you is that your Christmas Eve was less suspenseful than ours.

We were lucky enough to be able to travel from the snowy Northeast to sunny Florida for Christmas morning, and I was just thrilled with myself for being so organized as to have everything Santa DONE already. I had sent all the kids’ gifts there, already wrapped, and had a friend open the boxes and hide it all on the other side. Why, all we had to do was breeze in on Christmas Eve afternoon, and spend a lovely warm evening decorating the already-up Christmas tree! What a relaxing Eve of the Nativity I would have!

Beware of hubris, dear mothers. Beware. The laws of Mother Load dictate that if you ever think to yourself, “I really have my act together,” the parenting gods will make it their business to see that you do not. (See “plane, throwing up on, eight times,” from last month, for another example.) In fact, I should by now know to assume the worst whenever air travel is involved.

And so I was not entirely unprepared for what faced us at the small airport near Nana’s house on Christmas Eve morning at 7 am: runways so icy that the trucks that de-ice the planes could not even approach them. No departures, or arrivals, for the foreseeable future. And the increasing likelihood, with each passing moment, that we would miss our connecting flight.

After an hour of cuticle-chewing, David and I decided to pull the ripcord. We KNEW we didn’t want to wake up Christmas morning in the Philadelphia airport. So we won’t go, we said, remaining calm. We’ll fly on Christmas Day. And they can see what Santa brought when they wake up on the 26th, instead.

The boys were watching the luggage handlers and mechanics slipping and falling on the ice outside. I broached the topic carefully.

MOMMY: So you guys. It looks like we can’t fly today. So we’ll stay at Nana’s another day, and then we’ll fly tomorrow. OK?

BOYS: (only half paying attention) OK.

MOMMY: That means we won’t be in Florida tomorrow, where we told Santa we’d be.

This gets their attention.

MOMMY: But, you know, it’s no big deal, because we’ll just see what Santa brought whenever we do get there! How does that sound?

Cooper shakes his head. Poor, deluded Mommy.

COOPER: Don’t worry, Mommy. Santa has a magic snowball. He’ll look in it and he’ll see we’re at Nana’s house. He won’t bring our toys to Florida! Santa knows EVERYTHING.

And the two boys returned to looking out the window, calm as could be. Well, Cooper was right about one thing: Santa did know everything, and she was quaking in her imitation Ugg boots.

But this time, I had my secret airport weapon with me: Daddy.

I get nowhere with gate agents, and flight attendants, and others in the customer service industry. I ask, they say no, I say OK, end of story. But for some reason, they all say yes to David. Women love him. Gay men love him. And straight men? He can work his whole “hey guy, you’re a guy, and I’m a guy” thing. So I sent David to work his magic, and get us to Florida that day, because otherwise I was going to be searching through the dregs at the local K Mart to make Christmas happen, all because of some freaking allegedly magic snowball.

And then, David flashed his smile, and the gate agent called “Inventory,” whatever that is, and then we had a Christmas miracle: 5 seats, TOGETHER no less, on the last plane to Florida out of Philadelphia that afternoon. Sure, it would mean an extra four hours at the airport, but that’s where Mommy works HER magic: skipping contests and scavenger hunts! Just 13 hours later, we arrived, greasy and exhausted, at our Florida destination, and our kids were all asleep already so we didn’t have to deal with the Christmas Eve bedtime agita, and dang it if Cooper wasn’t right: the next morning, Santa had come after all.

And even though Fergus claimed he didn’t want pwesents and wasn’t getting any, he did, and he did.

But Santa doesn’t think she’ll be cutting it THAT close again.

he knows if you’ve been bad or good… so just quit while you’re ahead

Santa called our house last Sunday afternoon!

By the way- when my friends heard this from my two sons in the past week, they all said to me later, my God, I never thought of that. So maybe you’re learning something here today, and honestly, what could be easier? You just email each child’s naughty and nice points, stressing each individual’s areas of possible improvement, along with something you know they’re getting, to a willing/game friend or relative (in our case, Uncle Tim), the phone rings, and kapow! You’ve got a huge behavioral modification opportunity on your hands.

This was Santa’s second year calling our house, so Cooper knew the drill. “Yes, mmm hmm, well yes Santa,” he said, taking his lumps about pounding the floor too loudly with his feet at 6 am and bothering our downstairs neighbors, because Santa did also say he was a good Mommy’s helper AND that he would be getting “lots of alien toys.”

Then Fergus got on the phone, and I watched eagerly, knowing that Uncle Santa was telling him he had to give Maddie some space and really just shape things up in general if he wanted his “big yellow Jeep,” the ONLY thing Fergus asked for this year. The only thing. I mean, that’s not the only thing I bought for him, but who knows if he’ll care about the puzzles and stuff. This yellow Jeep is all he wanted, and frankly, based on his behavior this past year, it’s kind of a big ask. I just wanted Santa to put that on the table, albeit leaving Fergus with an optimistic outlook overall.

Fergus listened without saying anything. When he hung up, I couldn’t bear it.

MOMMY: So Fergus! What did Santa say??

FERGUS: Nuffin.

MOMMY: He didn’t tell you… that you were being a good boy?


MOMMY: He didn’t tell you… that you need to, oh, I don’t know, give Maddie some space?

FERGUS: I’m not getting anyfing dis year.

MOMMY: What? Oh, honey, of course you are!

FERGUS: (not giving a rat’s ass) No I’m not. I don’t want anyfing. I not getting anyfing. I don’t wike pwesents.

And that’s where his thinking has stubbornly remained, since then. If he has to leave his sister alone until Christmas in order to get stuff, then (I think) Fergus thinks, you got to know when to fold em. If there are strings attached to the yellow Jeep, forget it. He’s out. A man can only do so much.

And he’s still getting the yellow Jeep. I mean, it’s already in YaYa and Poppy’s basement. This kid is smarter than he knows.

they’re on to me

Tonight, this exchange occurred as I was helping the boys brush their teeth:

FERGUS: Mommy, do you fink weindeers wike wain?

MOMMY: No, I don’t think so. I don’t like rain.

FERGUS: I fink dey do wike wain. You know why? Cause weindeers? Have wain? In dere deer NAMES.

MOMMY: Wow, you’ve got a point there, Fergus.

I smile to myself, as he resumes brushing his teeth. There is silence for a moment.

COOPER: Mom, you should put that on your blog.

Fergus Explains It All: Word World Edition

This one is actually courtesy of my sister, Aunt Polly. She and Fergus had a meaningful conversation about Word World recently. PBS Kids is really just not in the 21st century, so I can’t find a bigger picture online, but Word World is a show starring animals made up of the letters that spell their names. Like, the sheep is made out of the letters S-H-E-E-P. Anyway, Aunt Polly memorized the following exchange for these pages:

FERGUS: (Indicating cartoon shark whose body is made of the letters that spell SHARK; very seriously): Dat’s a real shark.
AUNT POLLY: Oh, wow. And he doesn’t have to stay in the water?
FERGUS: No. He just walks around.
AUNT POLLY: He can walk on his fins, huh?
FERGUS: Yes. Dat fing dat he’s walking on? Dat’s the letter ‘X.’ And it’s his back fin.
FERGUS: He’s nice, too.

(Pause while we watch)

FERGUS: (Still quite serious): I don’t know what his name is. I know the sheep and the duck’s names. The sheep is ‘Sheep’ and the duck is ‘Duck.’ But I don’t know what the shark’s name is.
AUNT POLLY: …I wonder if it’s ‘Shark’?
FERGUS: (This rings a bell): Oh, yeah, yeah, it’s ‘Shark.’

Well done, Fergus. It must be the X-fin that makes him so nice.