Sunday, August 31, 2008

One Long Day

4:57 a.m.
Thomas: "Waaaaaah! 'Lijah trying to get in my bed! Waaaaah!"
'Lijah: "Don't like my bed! Don't like my bed!"

5:30 a.m.
Thomas: "La la la la la la la la.. wake up, Lije!"
Elijah: "Waaaaah! Go away, Thomas! Go away! Moommmmm! Daaaad! Tommy bothering me!"
Mom: "I'll go sleep on the couch. Elijah can sleep here so Thomas doesn't keep him awake."
Dad: "Grumble.. grumble.. yeah..."

12:40 p.m.
Mom: "Aaaaugh!! Church is starting in 20 minutes! Get dressed! Finish your lunch! Stop playing with that. (Dad, that means you, too!) I gotta do something with my hair! Where's my slip? Where's your tie? JOSEPH IS SUPPOSED TO GIVE THE TALK IN PRIMARY! Aaauuugh! Joseph get down here by the count of five! One! Two! Three! Four! We have to write your talk right NOW! Put that down! Get in here! Sit down! I said, SIT DOWN! Now let's have a nice conversation about what the scriptures teach us about the importance of prayer. I said SIT DOOOOWWWWWN!!! That toy goes to Toy Time Out in exactly three seconds unless you SIT DOWN and focus on the importance of PRAYER! Grrrr!"

1:40 p.m.
Mom, in a loud whisper bordering on quiet scream: "Thomas, sit down. Don't run away in sacrament meeting. Elijah, don't scream like that. People are giving us dirty looks. Joseph, NO, I did not bring food! Don't throw the pen! No, I don't have another picture of a chicken. I only brought one. Try this picture of a nice ball, okay? No? Okay, here's a picture of a sunset you can color in. No? Balloon? Flower? Kitty cat? Great. What color of crayon do you want to... THOMAS! Psssst! Thomas, sit down! No, don't run out of here! Elijah, don't follow him just stay here! Joseph, Joseph! Sit down! Don't follow your brothers!"

1:41 p.m.
Quiet.

1:42 p.m.
Mom: "Joseph, we are in a CHURCH. Do not run down the halls. Come back here, Elijah. No, this is not a game! Please! Watch out for the ... aaaauuuuughhh! You knocked it over! Joseph, sit your body down right here and do not move a muscle until I figure out where Elijah ran off to."

1:43 p.m.
Mom: "Do you have the car keys?"
Dad: "Yes."
Mom: "Everybody move. Now. ... Go. Go! I said, GO, people!!"

1:45 p.m.
Dad: "Are you going back with Joseph after the twins are asleep?"
Mom: "Grumble... grumble.. yes. The boy is going to give his talk. I'll come home after sunday school so you can go to priesthood."

3:10 p.m.
Mom: "Hello?"
Voice on other end of phone: "Hi Juliana. Joseph got kicked out of his primary class because he was out of control. Do you want to come pick him up?"
Long sigh.

3:11 p.m.
Juliana's Mom: "There, there. No, you're not a total failure. Your children are just ... challenging. Adorable, but challenging."

6:18 p.m.
Yes, it's been that kind of day. The kind of day when I break my fast and immediately head for the mint chocolate brownies. When I kneel down to pray and try desperately to think of all the great things in my life so I don't fall into that abyss of negativity. The kind of day when a little blogging goes a long way to ease the tension. When the sound of my children happily building Lego vehicles with their dad is the sound of paradise to my worn out ears. The kind of day when I look forward to the kids going to bed so that I can have my sister and brother-in-law over to play games and I can forget my troubles just long enough to become the supreme ruler of Catan! Or kill the sheriff with my fellow outlaws. (Beware the renegade!) Or build the longest mail route. Or have two to trade! Two to trade! Or that elusive 50-point bonus, or five fives, or all the Clues to know whodunnit or the smarts and luck to be the supreme pirate king!

The kind of day where my troubles don't really end ... but I can try to smile and laugh about it and remember that, in Scarlett O'Hara's immortal words: "After all, tomorrow is another day!"

Saturday, August 30, 2008

No, of course I am not laughing as I type this.

Somebody asked if I laugh while I blog. NO! I am completely and utterly serious. All of the time. Why would I laugh about my own seal of approval?!?

... Actually... of course I laugh! My blog posts should nearly all be read with a very healthy amount of laughter and lightheartedness. My own seal of approval cracks me up because it's just so.. so.. SO useless. And to invest all that time making a really bad-quality graphic in Photoshop just so I can extol the merits of Tostitos Multigrain Chips? Awesome. Or geeky. Or both. You decide.

In other news, my hand/wrist has really been killing me so I've got to lay off the blogging for a while. Typing really aggravates my Undiagnosable Whatever That May or May Not be Linked to My Carpal Tunnel Release. (Tendonitis if you ask me, but I'm no MD.) So ... no long, rambly pseudo-introspective posts for a while. Maybe a few more seals of approval since they are heavy on sarcasm but light on typing. Bear with me. :)

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Seal of Approval

Ahem. Drumroll Please.

Because I'd like to pretend my voice matters...

Because it'll just be so golly gosh much fun...

Because I can...

I proudly present my very own Seal of Approval.

Oh, and umm... yes. I go by "Nerdles" on occasion. None of you were under the misapprehension that I was too cool for a nickname like "Nerdles" were you? Let's hope not.

Today's winner of my official (R) (TM) (c) Seal of Approval is:

Tostitos Multigrain Tortilla Chips

Let's not waste time pretending they're healthy because they're "multigrain." But they are packed full of nutty flavor and crispy goodness. For that reason, they are the first winner of the Nerdles' Seal of Approval.

I'm Nerdles and I approve this message.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

ExSisselLent

All I want for Christmas is to have a singing voice like this.





Is that asking too much?

Friday, August 22, 2008

On Notice

With the twins starting preschool and Joseph returning to elementary school, I decided it was time for my life to return to normalcy. (Normalcy defined as "not the years when you have young children in the home making a mess of every single thing that you own, tearing apart books, pooping on the floor and writing with crayons on the walls and hardwood floors.")

So I recently put the game closet clutter "on notice." A few days later, I was able to clean the entire thing out and reassemble the games that were in heaps of clutter on the floor of the closet.

Yesterday, I put the twins closet clutter "on notice." I marched right up to it, held back a cringe, and said, "You're officially on notice!" So today during preschool (I love the sound of that) I tore into the closet and cleaned out most of the clutter. I'm allowing myself one file-size box of each size of clothing (newborn, 2T, etc.) I knew I was a sentimental fool, but this was ridiculous. I held up little onesies with tears almost glistening in my eyes, remembering when little smiling faces barfed on them. Despite the happy memories, I carried on. I now have an entire bag of shoes that is going bye-bye and about six bags of 18 month and 2T clothing. (The other sizes were cleaned out on a previous decluttering mission.)

The clothing is going to D.I. very soon. If somebody reading this wants size 18 month or 2T clothing, it will be first-come, first-served. There is some nice stuff in there, some of which was never worn or only worn once or twice. :)

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Euphoria

At risk of giving my blog bipolar disorder ...

WOOHOO!

I cannot believe I survived to witness this day. My oldest child is in school full day and my twins are in preschool three days a week. Do you have any idea what that means?!!? SEVEN hours a week to clean, cook, blog, write, think, exercise and shower without a single child under foot. Euphoria doesn't even begin to describe how I feel. Yes, I love my kids. They are adorable. But they're happier when they're learning and I'm happier when I don't have to be on stage 24/7.

I think I'm going to go throw myself a party in the other room. I'm going to invite the laundry, dishes and my iPod. It may not sound like the party of a lifetime to you, but I couldn't be happier.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

5..4..3..2..1..Meltdown!

Sometimes everything is going my way. I feel guilty for what a great life I have. And then suddenly real life happens again two minutes later.

* I had to go back to the wrist surgeon today to discuss the fact that I'm still in pain ... eight weeks later. No matter how you spin that, you don't come up with a happy answer. His answer: Physical therapy. Wearing the splint at night again. And trying not to overdo it. How does a stay-at-home mother (who is potty training TWO strong-willed toddlers) not use her hands ... constantly? (Hush about the typing and blogging thing. I know, I know.) My housework was on the verge of being not a toxic waste zone and now I have to try to not overdo it.

* Potty training is not going well. If the phrase "poop all over the outside AND inside of a book" doesn't describe my frustration well enough, feel free to call me up and I'll give you all the details.

* The children refuse to go to sleep before about 9:30 p.m. or wake up later than about 6:30 a.m. Which means that Mom doesn't go to bed earlier than about 10:30 p.m. and wakes up around 6:30 every day. But what they really ENJOY is being cranky all day long so I know exactly how sleep-deprived they are.

* Josh and I are considering making some major life changes (which he won't let me discuss on my blog.. d'oh! If you know what I'm talking about, please don't mention it in the comments ... thanks!) We're excited about some possibilities but the pressure of trying to get all the pieces working together just right is killing us. I can't sleep at night. Yesterday, we got news of a setback in the process, which really did me in. Everything was delicately balanced and then somebody pulled out the middle. No, I'm not planning to get pregnant. Thanks for asking.

* I am taking social anxiety to new and exciting levels. I realized that I'm the kind of person that people enjoy being around once in a while for entertainment value, but not the kind of person that people really want to get close to. "You really crack me up, Juliana" is people's way of saying, "You are incredibly weird and I am going to smile and go talk to somebody that doesn't make me feel so uncomfortable." This is really difficult for a "people person" like me. I'm seriously in danger of putting Edie Brickell's Circle on a nonstop repeat on my iPod.

*I realized my social life is strangely similar to my singing. I have a certain level of skill that I've worked up to with my singing, but it's never gotten to the point that people really enjoy it. The only time I perform is when the Relief Society enrichment committee is trying to fill out an hour of Christmas singing and they know I'm willing. "Willing" is worth more than "talented" when you're desperate.

* It's really sad when I post this kind of thing on a public blog instead of confiding in my best friend. It's sad when my best friend is my cat. And I don't own a cat. :-D

* I (re)started this medication that makes all food look like dog food. No, it's not diet pills or anything like that. It just has this side effect of making me lose my appetite. Unfortunately, I don't lose those hunger pains, so I have to eat SOMETHING. What is likely to look most appetizing? Probably something that is the least healthy for me. And on top of that, I have a huge canker sore on the tip of my tongue that rules out any food that is acidic (ouuuuuccchhhh!) or crumbly (goodbye bread, crackers, etc.) or has sharp tips. Hint: tortilla chips and rice krispy treats are as good as a torture device if you have a canker sore.

All in all, I think I had a good-sized meltdown last night, and this morning I woke up to the chipper sounds of my sleep-deprived three-year-old at 6:18 a.m. A general sense of depression is settling over me and I am trying to work up the energy to fight it off. And yes, I already tried chocolate to no avail. This must be serious.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Olympic WOW!

I could watch this race over and over and over and over again. I'm still amazed! Way to go, Michael Phelps!

Font-o-Rama

I'm a total font geek. I have been since high school when I was the editor of the yearbook. I'm very, very, very, very picky about what fonts I use usually. So when I saw this cheesy little quiz to determine which font I am, I had to take it!




You Are Andale Mono



You are a geek, pure and simple. You spend a lot of time online.

In fact, you probably love the internet more than anyone you know.

You are picky about design, mostly for readability's sake.

You are the type most likely to be irritated by a bad font.



The irony? I would never use Andale Mono. As if! At least they got the description of me right.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Globally Aware

I've been thinking lately about what it means to be globally aware and globally responsible. Are humans born with an innate responsibility to work together to keep this place spinnin' peacefully? I think maybe so. Especially those born into wealthy, advanced countries like the United States. What responsibilities do we, as humans, shoulder?

This is my preliminary list of thoughts. Please share yours.

1. We share a responsibility to care for this planet. We can do this by promoting technologies and methods that do as little damage as possible to good old Mother Nature.

2. We share a responsibility to use our resources in moderation so that there is enough to go around. Yes, this means trying to be wise with your money, time, and other resources so that you're in a position to help others when they need help. If you always burn through everything you have, you're more likely to end up a drain on society and that just ain't cool. What is cool is when somebody has learned to live in moderation for their circumstances and then has a little left over to share with somebody else who is in need (even if it's that person who is draining society by burning through things at a highly irresponsible speed.) Living in moderation is scalable--the more you have to start with, the more decadent you can be and still have some to share. I'm not promoting communism, folks.

3. We share a responsibility to care for the plants and animals that can't defend themselves. I have a novel idea: how about we don't wipe out rain forests and wetlands and habitats and species that are obscure to us. True, I'd be happier if each and every spider in creation were instantly and absolutely wiped out of existence. I'll admit with a childish glee that the very thought makes me grin. But... sigh... that would not be globally responsible... even if I did have the power to make it happen. I'll also admit that I'm not prepared to become a Vegan and put my cuisine where my ideals are. Even high ideals should be served up in moderation. :)

4. We have a responsibility to choose communication, mediation and compromise before choosing violence and war. My position on the Iraq invasion is clear. 'Nuf said.

So this is my preliminary list of human responsibilities. What do you think? Do we share a responsibility to be globally conscious? Or is it every man for himself in a crazy world like this? What other items would you add to the list? I'm curious!

Olympic Dreams

Q: What happens when Juliana stays up way too late watching the Olympics?

A: Juliana has vivid dreams about dating the world's best Olympian.

Yes, in my dream, Michael Phelps and I were quite the item. It was fun for a few milliseconds of REM to ride in a stretch limo SUV holding his hand, walk next to his massive frame through the media frenzy and have people whisper about what his crazed, jealous exgirlfriends had planned for me.

Then the dream turned into some kind of black & white film noir where we were waiting for his exgirlfriend to arrive by train from The War. (Huh? Which war?) He was going to break the news to her and had, naturally, brought me along. (Possibly for entertainment value, hoping for a girl fight right there on the platform of the train station?)

Maybe tonight I should lay off the late night Olympics and instead read The Far Side before bed. That would be excellent fodder for tonight's sleepy adventures.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Creativity Valve

I majored in Communications because I figured, "What can you do with a bachelor's degree in English??" With a Comms degree, you can work straight out of college. Now it's been years since I've really done much creative writing and my fingers are positively itching to open up that valve and let the creative juices flow!

I know that I ought to be able to just stay motivated on my own, but I need feedback and brainstorming and human energy. So I'd like to start a writing group that meets once a month. The goal would be to keep each other motivated and learn about different genres of writing. What I'd love to do is this:

* Meet once a month.

* Each month is a different theme, presented at the previous month's meeting. So if I were hosting at my home in July, I would choose a theme in June, teach a mini lesson about it or just give an overview of what the "assignment" is for the next month. So I might decide that I want everybody to do a science fiction short story, or a humorous limerick (that could be entertaining...) or a three page ghost story, or a 4th of July picture book or whatever. The "assignment" can be whatever you feel like, not just a defined genre from writing textbooks.

* The "assignment" is emailed to the group one week before meeting so we can all read each other's writing privately, mull it over and provide constructive feedback. I find that it's hard to provide the best feedback when I am first exposed to something. I like to think it over for a bit.

* We could do a Saturday brunch once a month or a Girl's Night or Saturday Afternoon Tea or whatever is filled with awesomeness.

* If we got really organized, we could occasionally ask a published author to join us and be our guest for the month. I know one or two authors off the top of my head who might be willing to share their wisdom with us.

* Good food, creativity, and good friends (what better way to make a few friends?) -- I can't think of anything funner. If you're interested, please leave a comment with your contact information and we'll get started right away. I'd like a minimum of three people to make this work and I'd love to have 5-10 so we can really get a feel for different styles and viewpoints.

* Yea!

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Liberated! Free to be a slob!

I was vacuuming a few minutes ago, and started thinking about the old stereotypical "housewife" from the 50s. Poofy skirt, perfectly sculpted hair, makeup and a great big pearly smile while vacuuming. I rarely, if ever, hear this stereotype discussed in a positive light. I have myself thought of women of that decade as underappreciated and abused by the expectations of a male-dominated society. (Note to feminist self: "You go, girl! Tell it like it is!")

I imagine men coming home, throwing off their shoes and taking a "well deserved break" with the newspaper, while the wife is slaving away over a hot stove, trying to keep the children in order so they don't disturb daddy dearest. I imagine women up all night with crying children while daddy is sawing logs because he has to "work" tomorrow. While apparently the wife doesn't have to "work"--what she does scrubbing, chasing children, folding laundry, vacuuming and keeping the house in order is apparently far less physically demanding than the man's tiring day of sitting at a desk.

I imagine women dreaming of being something else--a reporter, a lawyer, a doctor, a soldier, a judge, a dentist--and feeling guilty about it. I imagine a wife admitting, shame-faced, what her grand aspirations are and I imagine her husband patting her on the head condescendingly and telling her that those things are man's work. Little ladies like her ought to be baking bread.

You can imagine how I'd react if my husband came home and demanded a newspaper because HE needs to rest while **I** need to finish dinner, feed the children, wash the children, clean up after dinner and get the kids ready for bed. I would consider that grounds for divorce based on pigheaded, male chauvinist condescension alone. Any judge in the country would agree with me these days.

Luckily, my husband is very understanding of my shocking feminist tendencies and is more than willing to be an equal partner in the evenings. I think my husband and I are the rule these days, rather than the exception. I think that women who stay at home usually do so by choice, and not because there aren't other options open to them. And more often than not, women are expected to get a job outside the home and help support the families. Chains of sexism have been replaced by chains of financial need as the pendulum has swung the other way.

What about those of us who are willing and able to stay at home as parents and spouses? When I think of a stay-at-home mom (SAHM) in the 21st century, I think of a woman who does housework in sweatpants. She keeps her hair in a scrunchee and only puts on makeup if she dang well feels like it. She is liberated to do as she likes and not be bound by the abusive expectations of a domineering husband figure. (Note to self: "But tell us how you REALLY feel!")

But wait a second. Why do people think of housewives as "desperate" in the 21st century? Why do SAHMs need Prozac just to not lose it entirely? If we're so liberated, what are we so depressed about? Why are we stuffing our faces with chocolate? What are we running away from?

Could it be ... ourselves?

Is it possible ... or even plausible ... that our parents and grandparents had the right idea by dressing nicely, doing their hair and makeup and putting on a smile? Is it even feasible that they did it because they had some pride and confidence that is lacking today? Maybe they didn't dress up just on the days they were "going out." Maybe they realized that taking pride in yourself is the kind of thing that does you good even when you're alone with the dishes. Maybe they had their kingdom so well in order (by choice) that they sent their husbands off with a newspaper on purpose, because they didn't want their peaceful organization disrupted! I might have this whole thing backwards!

Not that they weren't like totally kept down by a chauvinist society and all that ... but maybe those smiles weren't pasted on after all. Maybe I should go take a look in the mirror and do something about what I see instead of cringing and turning away. Huh. (Note to self: "Umm I'd like to say 'You Go, Girl!' but reality is a bit harder to joke about than passionate, feminist ranting. Aww shucks.")

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Electrical Tape + Furniture = FUN!

What happens when you play "Rock, Paper, Scissors" with two of your children while the other seems to be happily content in the room next door? Anything could happen. But I bet you weren't counting on an obstacle course made of electrical tape!

video

It's impossible to get angry at a child who is sporting a goofy, smiling Kung Fu Panda on his hiney.

What happens when you have to preserve the moment immediately and send all three children to go play together while you blog? I'll find out soon enough ...

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Random & Miscellaneous

Breaking Down
I can be very detailed and poetic in explaining why Stephenie Meyers' writing style drives me around the bend. So why am I so anxious to get my hands on her latest book? I guess sometimes good writing takes a backseat to a good plot.

Will Pee for Food
Thomas has been very, very, very stubborn about potty training. I didn't think it was possible for a child to be more difficult to potty train than Joseph. I have been putting it off because of the recurrent nightmares I have from three years ago. I am not exaggerating when I say that potty training Joseph was traumatic. I had two newborn babies that I was taking care of and Joseph just plain didn't care whether he sat in his own soiled underwear or not. Didn't phase him.

I have been telling myself, "It won't be that bad with the twins. They're much easier children!" Wrong. Elijah is a piece of cake, but Thomas won't cooperate for any incentive under the sun ... until today. I got the idea from someone else to use M&Ms for potty training. So today we hauled our desperate selves to the grocery store and bought some bags of the candy-coated goodies. We dumped them into a jar and I told the kids they could have three M&Ms every time they peed in the toilet. Voila! Five minutes later, Thomas was eating three yellow M&Ms! It was a miracle, I'm telling you. I can't hope it'll happen again anytime soon, but I'm stoked.

Is there a cure for this?
With children, there are some fights you fight.
There are some fights you choose not to fight.
There are some fights you turn a blind eye to because you don't want to deal with them.
Then there are those fights that you lose simply by not paying attention to what your kids are doing. The "I want to draw all over myself with this black marker I just found lying on the floor!" fight is one of those.

As if reading wasn't enough...
I don't mean this in a negative way, but: Thomas is a freak! An amazingly cute and intelligent freak, but this can't be normal:

What is he doing? He's spelling with alphabet graham crackers. The finished product says: "FAING NEMO" and he said, "Look! "Finding Nemo", Mommy!" Sure, the spelling ain't perfect but SERIOUSLY!?!? Who is this child? Reading at the age of three is actually fairly standard in my family and Josh's family, but SPELLING?

Live Green
The pseudo-hippie, earth-loving tree hugger inside me was recently reawakened. I think the renaissance of globally-friendly eco-awareness was triggered by my whale-saving, amnesty international letter-writing older sister who gave me a few reusable shopping bags from Trader Joes. I started using them to haul stuff around when we went out of the house and fell in love with them. I now have a bunch of them that I love to take to the grocery store.

It feels fabulous to be saving the planet while I'm helping myself: these bags are easier to store than plastic bags, they're sturdier and are a fabulous way to make a "fashion" statement while shopping. When not in use, I just fold them up inside one of the bags and store them in the front seat of my car:


I've also been longing for an end to this war we're waging in the Middle East. I'll say this quickly so I don't get myself riled up:

1. Whether or not you agree with the justification for the war (which has morphed into "anti-terrorism" since the whole "Weapons of Mass Destruction" flopped), this has been handled badly.

2. This is costing us not only an arm, but also a leg, every single month. And for some people, their firstborn child. No pun intended. As Obama pointed out on Larry King Live, imagine what advances we could be making if we were putting billions of dollars into research for clean, renewable energy sources. It makes me almost sick thinking about it.

3. If you are LDS like I am, you might recall the justification for war discussed in the Book of Mormon: you can defend yourselves ala Title of Liberty psych, but you shouldn't be the aggressor. That is exactly what we did. Is the USA feeling the pain from that decision? I don't know: we had drought, crops are failing, we've had unheard of natural disasters, we're at war, the economy is sinking into an abyss and unemployment is soaring. Think about the "pride cycle" discussed in the Book of Mormon: where are we right now? I'm sure I'll blog about this again later.

4. War. Is. Ugly. I adore the men and women who are out there fighting on the front lines, because I couldn't do it. It's all very sterilized in the newspapers, hearing about the number of people killed. Numbers are so unexpressive. You can start to scratch the surface if you go rent a few of the last seasons of M*A*S*H. Even that is humorous and detached from where I sit blogging, but it's sobering to remember that people aren't numbers. People have parents, spouses, children, fiances and friends who are all too human when the news comes that someone they love has been killed.

5. I don't know the best way to make it happen, but let's finish this and get our troops back home.

So there you have it. I'm remembering my oh-so-hippie attitudes from high school and starting to embrace them again. I'm sure I don't have the whole picture and others disagree with vehemently. That's all good. Isn't that what the USA is all about? Freedom to disagree and have your own opinions instead of trying to make everybody conform?

Speaking of the whole picture, one of my favorite songs is "From a Distance" by the Byrds. (Yes, yes, Bette Midler is the singer most people associate with the song!) A good reminder that the larger your perspective, the smaller our problems seem. When you look from God's perspective, we're all brothers and sisters down here struggling to survive. It's only when you get in close that problems seem to overwhelm our vision. The root of the problem lies rooted in the human breast: the solution in the heavens.



It really would be asking too much to find a video compilation for this song that wasn't uber-uber-uber-cheesy, but the song is worth stomaching some of the cheese:

Monday, August 04, 2008

Segregated Thinking

I am honestly amazed that headlines like this still exist:

Segregated churches keep parishioners "cozy"

I remember hearing a lot of sad, racially-charged stories when I was a kid, passed on by television, movies, conscientious teachers, and others. I remember wondering if "black people" and "white people" were really that different. It really felt like "black people" didn't like "white people" very much because "they" thought "we" were responsible as a whole for centuries of slavery and lost freedoms.

I've thought a lot about racism since then. Did the feeling that "black people" would dislike me because of my skin color make ME a racist? Or did that just mean I have Generalized Anxiety Disorder and worry about everything under the sun? I don't know, but the answer is hazy enough to make me uncomfortable.

Since my younger days (I can say that now that I'm "30" right? Sheesh) I think that my perspective has matured enough to understand that no stereotype is healthy or accurate and that people's inner workings are much more complex and varied than the different shades of skin in the world. I do not believe only in black and white, theoretically speaking, but the many shades of grey in between and the entire spectrum of the rainbow.

Which brings us back to the headline I read. It seems that the vast majority of people in the United States prefer to go to a church with homogenous demographics. Seriously? Josh and I love meeting people who are different from us, whether it be their exterior or their ethnic background or just their unique view on life. There is so much to learn from everybody I know.

But why should this even be an issue? I mean: WHY? I don't get it at all. It's like saying, "I only want to go to a church where people have green eyes." Huh? That is completely illogical. Skin color, eye color, hair color, height: those are physical manifestations of the amazing thing called DNA. They have nothing to do with whether or not I can get along with a person.

My son hasn't been taught yet that "race" is an issue. So it's not an issue to him. I have said to him, "Did you know that people used to think that other people weren't as good as them just because of the way they looked?!?" And he laughs and thinks it's a funny joke. I think that's the way it should be.

I have a dream that someday people will stop racist thinking in all forms, including the form where immigrants are treated as inferior and assumed to be less intelligent or less educated or less valuable to society.

I have a dream that one day people will just be people ... and love each other anyway because ain't nobody perfect.

Friday, August 01, 2008

The Proverbial Gasket :: Part Two

Funny how small things can change the course of history. For a small six-year-old boy who was never required to help out much around the house and has only cleaned his room once (total) (ever) it took two small phrases to change the course of his previously spoiled history:

1. "Mom, you're lazy"
2. "Mom, you have to learn the ways of a parent." (Meaning that I should learn that all housework is my job and he is not responsible for any of it.)

What is that child doing right now? He is cleaning his room. We had a little "uphill both ways" talk about the fact that I was scrubbing counters, cleaning dishes (sans dishwasher), hosing off the car and helping with the yardwork when I was a kid. He pushed me way too far today and underestimated how upset a mother can get when called "lazy" by her child who watches TV, plays with toys and makes messes all day long.

He will also be helping with setting the table and cleaning up after dinner tonight. And you know what? It's about time.

The Proverbial "Gasket" = Blown

Okay, maybe I haven't blown a gasket but I'm dangerously close to becoming very annoyed.

Me: "Joseph, if you want some breakfast, go get yourself a bowl of cereal."
Joseph: "How come I have to get it for myself? Why don't you get it for me?"
Me: "Because you're old enough to do it yourself."
Joseph: "Mom, you always make me do stuff. You're lazy."

Where did I go wrong with this child? He is telling me I'm lazy because I make him serve his own breakfast? Last year he begged me to let him serve his own cereal because he wanted to be independent and grown up. And now this.

A few minutes later, the twins were driving a toy through a large puddle of spilled orange soda that I had forgotten to clean up earlier. So I asked them to stop. And then they kept doing it. So I gave them the choice to play in their room or go upstairs to play. They're now safely locked inside their room for "the duration."

As I finished cleaning up the orange soda and leaned against the leather sofa, the sofa made a mysterious sticky sound. I moved the blanket that was sitting on a sofa cushion to discover ... a HUGE puddle of orange soda soaked into the leather. Gaaaaahhhh. This was the point at which I started lecturing Joseph about how they don't seem to appreciate anything we have, how his father and I were raised poor and don't take a single thing for granted, yadda yadda. I left out the part about walking uphill both ways because that's just silly.

So now it's 7:30 a.m. and the kids have already hit a few nerves. Telling Mom she's lazy? Check. Refusing to help out around the house? Check. Making messes? Check. Driving toys through the mess to expand the mess and simultaneously get the toys sticky? Check. Banishment to their room? Check. Trying to ruin an expensive piece of furniture? Check.

This is seriously one of those days that a few deep breaths will not help. I need a punching bag or airline tickets to Portos. I mean, LA.

*deep breath*

Okay, time to go do the impossible: patiently and lovingly deal with the world's messiest house and three extremely emotional and cranky children. And do it happily. And with composure. And maturity. And set a good example. And try not to binge on chocolate to cope with the situation. I've gained about eight pounds this summer (the pounds I was soo stoked to LOSE last summer!) so I seriously can't rely on chocolate.

And so I blog while the children duke it out in the other room. (An actual conversation I had with Joseph while blogging: "Mom, Thomas is crying like he's hurt." "Yeah? Fine. Go check on him. But don't let him out." In my defense, I know when Thomas is crying in pain and he was not crying in pain; it was more of an "Elijah just took my toy" cry.)