Friday, October 28, 2011

5 Minutes is an Eternity When You're 2

Every wonder what goes on in your 2 year old's head?  This is what I think 5 minutes looks like in Miss Chatterbox's.

Oh look - a marker, this wall looks like a good place to draw.
My monkey is funny - like hysterically funny.
I want to watch Thomas the Choo Choo Train.
Forget watching it, I want to ride it.
I need to peepee.
No, I won't sit on the potty...I WON'T!
I don't care if I get a candy.
I don't want a sticker.
I want a sticker.
Where is Mommy?  I want to show Mommy.
I can't find Mommy?
Mommy must be gone forever! WAAAAAA!!!
Oh, there's Mommy.
Look at my picture, Mommy.  Isn't it awesome?!
What?  You don't like it?  The wall is a perfect spot.
I don't want to sit in TIME OUT!
Where's Dadu?  I want DADU!!!
I want to ride a Choo Choo train.
What's this?  A cracker on the floor - I'm gonna eat it.
Why shouldn't I eat it?  I'm hungry.
I don't want mac and cheese!
I want mac and cheese!
I don't want to eat. NOOOOOO!!!! You can't make me.  I don't like food.
I want to play with the big kids.
I want to play with friends.
Look at the monkey, he always makes me laugh!
No, I don't have to pee pee.
Really, I don't want to pee pee.  YOU CAN'T MAKE ME!!
I'm hungry.
I NO pee peed, Mommy!  I want candy.  I'm hungry
No, I don't want mac and cheese or apples.  I'm not hungry.
I want candy.  I'm hungry.
No, don't hug me.  Leave me alone.  I NO WANT HUG!
Oh look there's my dolly.  I'm gonna play dolly.
No, Mommy, don't pick up sissy.  I want hug!   HUG ME!  HUG ME NOW!
What do you mean it's naptime?  NOOOO!!
I just wake up, I no tired.  I NO TIRED!
Put sissy down, sing me a song.
NO I DON'T have to go PEE PEE!
Oh wait, yes I do.
I pee peed, Mommy.  Where's my sticker?

Anyone else count down the nano seconds until bedtime?  Calgon, take me away!

Ain't I a stinker?

* This picture took 12 tries because she wouldn't stand still.  

Monday, October 24, 2011

How To Keep Your Kids From Acting Like Your Husband.

There are many things I love about The Firefighter.  He is loyal, honest, brave, trustworthy, and dedicated to his family.  Traits I would be proud to have my daughters inherit.  I used to imagine sweet father daughter moments with them bonding over things like fishing, or soccer, or even car repair.  Miss Chatterbox shows a predilection towards being a tomboy - so it's possible.

Yeah.  Then I woke up.

They bond over farts.  Yep, you heard me.  Nothing seems to make them laugh harder then lettin' one rip.  I have since learned that the worse it smells, the harder they laugh.  They will seek each other out, just to have someone to share the humor with.  Bleck - Not what I could have ever imagined they would bond over.  However, I can't deny that it is amusing to hear Miss Chatterbox's little voice squeal, "BAHAHAHAHA!  Dadu toot tooted!"

(The Firefighter reluctantly agreed to say "toot toot" rather than fart.  I just hate the word fart.  It just sounds so ugly. Weird, I know.)

Miss Chatterbox has also begun doing other undesirable things, like picking her nose, wandering around naked or half dressed, refusing to eat and screaming over us - ANY time we try to talk to each other.  So, I recently launched a campaign to end all these behaviors.  My solution?  To put Boo in "time out" every time I catch him doing one of these things.  I based my plan on the whole monkey see, monkey do principle.  I figure if Miss Chatterbox sees The Firefighter getting into trouble for doing these things, she would stop.   You should have seen the look on his face the first time I said, "Go to your room, Dadu."  Suppose I should have, you know, warned him.  I may or may not have enjoyed this a little too much...  Nah, on second thought, it was priceless and it has also conveniently reestablished my Alpha status in the family pack.

Disclaimer:  Though somewhat effective in this case,  in general, I wouldn't advocate watching Animal Planet for parenting advice - even if you feel like you live in a zoo.  CPS also frowns on shock collars as well as letting your kids play train with beer boxes - even if you didn't drink the beer.

And that, my friends, is how you train your husband...I mean correct your child.

Happy Monday, Y'all.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Why I, A Formerly Conservative Republican, Support the Occupy Movement.

I am not a socialist, Marxist, proponent of big government or looking for a handout.  I'm not even a democrat.

I support the movement because my generation has been sold a lie.

We are taught, from our earliest moments, to trust and obey authority.  We are taught to trust that our parents, teachers, bosses, and government have our best interests at heart.  We are taught NOT to question.  Which leads directly to the financial distress that I, and many across this nation, find themselves in.

And we are sick of it.

Like many of my generations, college was expectation my parents had for me.  Discussion about college focused on "where" I would go, not "if" I would go.  Discussions about how I would afford it weren't even entertained.  College was a new frontier for me.  I had to trust that the authority around me would lead me in the right direction.  When I expressed any concern about the amount in loans I was racking up, I was told, by a financial aid advisor, that college is an "investment" in my future.  How many of you heard that exact phrase? Or how about, "Without a college degree, you would never be able to support yourself or your future family."  I was also told, by an academic advisor, that I would be "guaranteed" a 40 - 50k a year job in my field with a degree from their school, thereby justifying the expense.

I'm not a sheep and I didn't blindly follow where they led.  I researched many things on my own and brought questions to the table that were always satisfactorily answered by people I was supposed to be able to trust.   I later found out that the financial aid advisor got kickbacks from private loan companies for selling their products, and the academic advisor was paid, by the college, to lie to keep students enrolled.  It's been a real eye opener to learn just how many people we are taught to trust, that are corrupt.

So here I sit, with a 40k dollar piece of paper, that doesn't qualify me for a job that can even earn enough to pay back the loans I took out to get it.  Yet, that degree is necessary to even apply for many jobs.  There is no such thing as "working up the chain" anymore.  If you don't have the exact credentials they are looking for, most companies won't even give your resume a glance.

So what's my generation to do?  I work 60+ hours a week at the two jobs I was able to get and that's still not enough to cover all the necessities and pay back my student loans.  

That's why so many college grads are protesting.  And no, most are not unemployed hippies, they are underemployed and struggling.

Many protest corporate greed - and I completely understand that.

While I was still in college, my husband and I bought an extremely modest condo for 150k.  Prices in our area were skyrocketing and we were afraid if we didn't buy, we would be priced out by the time I finished college.  It might be tight for a year or so, but remember I was promised that I would be able to get a great job right after college.   I was assured by my realtor and mortgage broker, both trusted family friends, that this was smart "investment".   I was assured I would be able to afford it and houses "never" lose their value.  How many of you were sold this same song and dance?  For 4 years that was true.  We had no problems making our payments and we gained plenty of equity.

Then, right about the time I graduated college, and learned the truth about the uselessness of my degree, the market crashed.  We had a decent saving built up and didn't live beyond our means, but let's face it, you can't prepare for every eventuality.  An injury and a new baby, in the same 6 month span depleted every penny of saving we had.  I tried to refinance, then modify the mortgage and like many thousand others, was denied.  Still, we held on.  My husband got a third job and we managed to just barely eke out another 2 years.  Then our home insurance company decided to double (almost triple) our rate only to drop us 6 months later.  That change alone raised our monthly due by $600 dollars a month.  Then came public sector budget cuts, which meant furloughs and pay cuts for us.  Add the increase in cost of everything and that's the pile of bricks that broke the camels back.

We still didn't give up.  We hired a lawyer to try to force the modification/refinance/short sale issue, but to no avail.   We were already paired down to the minimum and to come up with that extra money a month, just wasn't possible.  We lost our house to foreclosure.

That's not all.  The mortgage company played dirty, and reneged on an agreement, forcing us into bankruptcy as well.

And I'm pissed off about it.

I want to hold the insurance companies that doubled rates held accountable.  I want to hold CEO of the mortgage company who got federal taxpayer fund to HELP people like me, but who chose not to, held accountable.  I would love to get in a room alone with the woman who actually told me that they wouldn't modify because, "Your house is worth more to us - without you in it."

I want the wall street financiers that caused the housing collapse -which lead to the destruction of my credit and loss of my HOME - held accountable.  I want them to see the damage they caused and feel bad about it.

I want the corrupt politicians, whose financial sponsorships blind them to their sworn duty of being the voice of their constituents, removed from office.  Because so many of them say one thing to get elected, then do whatever they want once they get there - forgetting who put them their in the first place and instead working in cahoots with those who caused the recession.

That's not all I'm angry about.

I want my doctor, not my health insurance agent, to decide what treatments are appropriate.

I want my children's education to be a priority in this country.  Hell, I want CHILDREN to be a priority, in all things.

Taxes are necessary for the infrastructure of our country.  I know and understand that, but I want what I pay for to be worth it, and for everyone to pay their fair share.  I think the whole system needs a complete overhaul.  I don't know what the answer should be, but I would love to hear more ideas on it then what we are currently being offered.

In the media, they keep saying the Occupy Movement isn't cohesive - it doesn't have a definitive message, and it may not,  but I think that's the beauty of it.  It's democracy in it's truest form.  Everyone has a voice, everyone gets heard and everyone votes.  Our government gives lip service to that ideal, but the Occupy Movement lives it.  I think it will continue to grow because there are thousands, like myself, who don't feel like they are being heard.  They are sick of blindly trusting the authority that has continually led them down the wrong path and they want it to change

I want change too.  So protest on, Occupy - I'm with you.

"Be the change you want to see in the world." - Gandhi

Friday, October 14, 2011

Put Your Listening Ears On Already!

My Nanny is awesomeness, personified.  Miss Chatterbox loves her, she's always on time, never cancels, even finds baby farts as funny as I do and he keeps my house cleaner than me.  She's also uber creative and crafty and Miss Chatterbox LOVES crafts.  The Nanny can all out Macgyver a perfect keepsake out of pocket lint and glitter glue.  Pretty awesome, right?  And it's a good thing, since my crafting budget is nonexistent.

I could go on about how it's wonderful because that's what I pay her for, but I won't because, dammit, I'm jealous.  Not because she's crafty, and I've been known to screw up a paint-by-numbers, but because my kid LISTENS to her.  Miss Chatterbox will shut up, for more than 30 seconds, to listen to, follow, and execute step by step instructions.  I have a paper mache jack o' lantern, that Martha Stewart would be proud of, on my dining room table right now as proof!

I, however, cannot get Miss Chatterbox to shut her trap long enough to hear anything I have to say - let alone follow complicated directions!  It's like talking to the TV.  I've contemplated using that pink plaid duct tape I was given as a gag gift....but visions of that scary movie, whose name I can't remember, runs through my mind (as well as the possible jail time) and I just can't do it!  You know, that movie where that dude kidnaps that chick and draws red lips on the duct tape over her mouth... whatever, y'all know which one I'm talking about.

So, when her non stop chattering gets to be too much, I do what every sane parent does - I stick my fingers in my ears and holler, "I can't hear you! Lalalalalalalala!"  Yeah, I'm mature like that.

I don't get it.  I make kids listen to me all day, everyday, and I can't get my own to do the same.  Oh well, at the end of the day, I'm still Mommy, and I would bet my life savings, that my voice will be the one she hears in her head when she has to make tough decisions and the crafts will be a distant memory.   In the meantime, I'm investing in ear plugs and hiding some vodka in my sippy cup.

Cheers, Y'all!