Updated weekly. Usually on Tuesdays. Unless some small person eats my blog post.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Monday Mantra

Introducing a new weekly phenom: The Monday Mantra. A short, sweet, to-the-point summation of what a mother might need to remember for the upcoming week. This week's Monday Mantra: 

I will not kill my husband, who is just trying to be helpful.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011


I have to write this quickly, because my deadline is coming for me.

No, not the hungry baby.

Not the children who need to be played with.

Not the husband with whom I need to review finances.

Sleep. The one and only.

He avoided me for months, and now he's stalking me. Any time I sit down, I find myself facing the countdown before the inevitable head-nods begin.

In fact, I think I'm reaching the last moments of consciousness n---


Tuesday, March 15, 2011


It's just not what it used to be. 

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

It's About Counter Surveillance

After all these years, I finally understand why moms have eyes in the backs of their heads: 

Counter surveillance. 

It's about all we have to protect us from our children. And, frankly, I think it leaves us severely out-gunned because children have two major advantages.

First off, they outnumber us.  They keep multiplying. Kind of like rabbits. Or ants.  Because ants like to eat this kind of stuff:

And rabbits like to eat this kind of stuff: 

And I can tell you right now that my kids aren't begging me for option number two come snack time. 

Yeah, definitely like ants. 

Kids multiply like ants and there is nothing in the world you can do to keep them from invading every space of your life and eating all the good food before you can get to it. 

The more kids there are, the more able they are to pull this kind of stuff off. Now that there are three in my house, one can distract me (usually the immobile one, since she knows her sisters can cause more havoc if I'm occupied) while the other two dash in separate directions. Even if I manage to snatch one before she gets away, the other one is free to shut herself in my room and jump on my bed, not only disarraying my neatly made bed (hey, I heard that guffaw--it does get made! The fact that it's usually not until 30 minutes before bed time is irrelevant) but also dumping all the clean, freshly folded clothes onto the hardwood bedroom floor that did need sweeping, but now doesn't because clean clothes do a great job of picking up dirt and lint. 

Even when DB's home there aren't enough hands to go around. You should see the mealtime carnage.

Outmanned,  I tell you. 

As for outgunned, that's the second major advantage the kids have. The eyes in the back of my head get dizzy from trying to keep up with their tactics. 

The children have many super powers themselves, but by far the most potent and dreaded is the anti-sleep radar. This power is particularly pronounced in the larvae-staged children, such as Butterfly. She can't get up and sneak outside on her own, but she is more than capable of making sure I don't log more than 6 heavily interrupted hours of sleep per 24 hours in the day. Even when she seems to be so far under that a train coming through the living room wouldn't wake her, a mommy lying down on the couch sets off her radar and she is AWAKE and NOT HAPPY.  

Ladybug and StrawBee like to get in on this, too. Just to make sure their new sister's radar is functioning properly, I suppose. The 3 a.m. feeding is like a circus, and a carefully timed one at that. 

Butterfly, of course, wakes up first and whimpers gently, rapidly building to an un-ladylike roar, to get my attention. I wait for a moment because hope springs eternal and I want to be double sure that she really means it when she says she hungry. She does, of course, so we get up and get on with the feeding. 

All is quiet for almost half an hour. Ladybug waits until Butterfly is almost asleep and I'm contemplating heading back to bed. Her radar picks up my sleepy thoughts, and she pops out of bed with exclamations of "I need to go POTTY!" 

I hush her and tell her to go. She runs down the hall to the bathroom, turning on all the lights along the way and disrupting Butterfly's rest. She potties while I resettle the larvae, then emerges with a loud announcement that she can't get her pajamas back on. In attempting to help her wrestle them back on I unsettle the baby again. Ladybug gets sent scampering back to bed, and Butterfly demands I pay attention to her. While I'm distracted, Ladybug thumps her ladder around and/or turns on her bedroom light, possibly while yelling requests down the hall that I tuck her in. 

Enter StrawBee, who was sleeping peacefully and who is now screeching and whining because Ladybug woke her up and she can't find her "bibi" and therefore will never sleep again. I hurriedly place the now complacent Butterfly back in bed, then run to the big girls' bedroom, scold Ladybug (who smirks), find the bibi, put them all back in bed, and turn off the lights. 

At this point I get to climb back into bed, snuggling up with my super-soft blanket with a sigh of happiness. 

This, of course, trips the anti-sleep radar. 

You get the picture. 

DB, I have to add, sleeps like a rock through all of this. This is, naturally, the arrangement we've made and it works well for us. His sleep means I get a bit of a lie-in come morning. However, in the small hours of the morning it's difficult to be happy with the decisions made while one was feeling rational and well-rested. 

Fortunately for me, Butterfly isn't as anti-sleep as her sisters were, and often a pacifier will settle her again. Plus, once she gets to sleep, she usually stays that way for 4 or 5 hours. Not bad for someone who's been sleeping on a regular schedule for just 3 and a half weeks!

Still, anti-sleep is a major campaign in this house. How, I ask you, are the eyes at the back of my head supposed to do me any good if they're forever drifting closed in hopes of twenty winks? 

Outmanned. Outgunned. Deep in the jungle and living on a ration of goldfish crackers and juice boxes. 

Welcome to my world.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Stir Fry Brain

I had forgotten how completely defunct my brain is when there's a baby in the house. Butterfly is a champion sleeper for her age, but even 7 hours of sleep does little to straighten out your thinker when that sleep is interrupted every 2 or 3 hours.

Which brings us to today.

I am determined to get back into my regular schedule this week. This means two things: Exercise and writing. I exercised last night; today is supposed to be a blog post. After how well I did with the first, I figured the second would be easy. I managed to forget, however, that playing with the Wii fit takes a lot fewer brain cells than inventing an entire blog post. I've been trying to think about this all day, but all I get out of my brain is a faint sizzling sound and the smell of over-cooked inspiration spontaneously combusting.

Ergo: I have a short slice of story to share with you. I've always loved this little squirt of writing but never shared it with anyone because it doesn't go anywhere--today, that seems appropriate. Enjoy.

A Story: 

Agatha stopped her absent-minded crocheting all at once as a knot of yarn caught in her negligently made loop, breaking off her comments to Druce at the same time.  The owl, taking advantage of her sudden silence, ruffled his feathers and clicked his beak disapprovingly.  “I’ll say it again, Witch, those radishes are disappearing.” 

“And what does it matter if they do?” Agatha gave one end of the butter-yellow yarn knot a tug, making the tangle worse.  

Druce turned his back, ruffling his brown feathers, apparently with no answer.  “They’re dangerous,” he finally hooted, glaring at her over his shoulder. 

“Only to an unborn child,” answered Agatha serenely, her already wrinkled brow contracting into deeper furrows as she wrestled with the growing mess.  

“Or any apprentice witch who doesn’t know what she’s doing.”

“Or any apprentice witch who doesn’t know what she’s doing,” Agatha concurred with a nod of her head, her gray-streaked black bun bouncing.  She gave an experimental tug to one obscure yellow loop, and the knot fell apart.  “But I’ve been using those rapunzels for years.” 

The owl’s reflective eyes glared down at the loose yellow yarn, then up at the witch.  “I think you cheated.” 

Agatha clicked her tongue in laughing disgust, then stopped at the sound of tiny, scrabbling feet. “Minty…?” she inquired, and, indeed, a tiny gray nose poked up over the edge of Agatha’s side table, followed by Minty’s furry body.

“…trying to get your attention!” squeaked the mouse indignantly, her sides heaving as she puffed and panted.  “But you were jabbering on with that owl.” Druce stirred, flaring his wings threateningly in the firelight, but Minty was too intent on her errand to goad him further.  “Agatha, Raymond’s out in your garden.”

“Who who?” demanded Druce, settling back, appeased at the thought of news.

“Raymond,” repeated Minty shrilly.  “That man that lives next door.  His wife’s pregnant, you know.”

“Yes, dear,” Agatha agreed mildly, intervening before Druce could do more than click his beak.  “Frightened of me, both of them, the poor ones.”

“Not frightened enough to keep that Raymond man from stealing your radishes!” 

Druce and Agatha froze; Minty’s nose twitched as she eyed her audience with pleasure.  “Well,” she conceded with a toss of her little mousy whiskers, “he’s actually frightened to death.  But his wife – she wants them.  He’ll do anything to stop her whining – I heard him say so.” The mouse paused, then started to groom her fur as she continued reflectively, “Well, more grumble so.  But I guess it doesn’t really--,”

“Which radishes?” Agatha demanded, her voice tight.  Minty looked up, her black eyes wide with surprise at the unusually interruption.  “Which ones, Minty? Tell me.”

And Minty, who usually would put up a fight at a direct order – after all, she was a free mouse, not a house pet like that owl – answered meekly, “The ones nearest the willow tree, that I told you wouldn’t grow since the tree would take all the water.” 

“The rapunzels,” snapped Druce, puffing up with indignation. “See here, Witch, didn’t I tell you there’d be trouble?” 

But Agatha wasn’t listening.  She was already out of her comfortable armchair and through the door of the small cottage, swinging her beaded black shawl around her plump shoulders as she disappeared into the misty night.  

Both animals stared into the blackness that the door should have covered, only Agatha left too quickly to close it, and Druce muttered, “I warned her.” 

“Warn a witch!” squealed Minty indignantly.  “You’re only an owl!”

“Even witches make mistakes,” the owl muttered, turning his head away from her, then silently flying after his mistress. “Even witches like Agatha.” 

Minty stood up on her round hind legs for just a moment, her glance flicking from the cold outside to the seat of the armchair – pulled up nicely to the fire and with an inviting mound of yellow yarn – then reluctantly lowered herself to all fours and scrambled out into the darkness.
Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 Unported License.Creative Commons License
This work by Carolynn Dyer is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 Unported License.