Friday, December 25, 2009

Little mother

Like everyone else in the Midwest, we're snowed in. We were originally planning to leave for my parents' house in Iowa today. Now we might leave tomorrow. Or Sunday. Or sometime in late May when this snow finally melts.

Still, we had a nice Christmas. According to the newspaper, it was the first time snow actually fell in Kansas City on Christmas Day in 50 years. Our new goose wore his/her Santa suit for the first time. WCK loved all of her presents from Santa. One present was an interactive baby doll that cries and talks to you, usually to demand things. "I'm hungry!" "I'm tired!" "Play with me, Mommy!" If you don't do what the doll says, it cries more. It's highly realistic. Perhaps if Santa had gained an understanding of just how demanding this doll was, perhaps if Santa had known that this doll actually says, "Uh, oh! I made a stinky!", then Santa might have thought twice about purchasing said doll and would have delivered a silent doll. Santa is clearly insane.

Anyway. Every time the doll would cry, WCK would get very concerned and rush to figure out how to calm it down. Just before bedtime tonight, WCK told me to find the "off" switch on the doll so it wouldn't cry in the night and wake her up. Already, she has her priorities straight as a mother. Real babies should come with a nighttime "off" switch.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Christmas art project.

WCK made this Nativity scene at preschool. Isn't it awesome? This is one of those hand-made Christmas decorations that I will lovingly get out and put on display year after year, until she's 35 years old. At least.

The best part -- and look really closely -- is that Mary has long eyelashes.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Jingle Bell what?

Just a bit of WCK's version of "Jingle Bell Rock":

"Mixin' the mangoes with the jinglin' peeps ... That's the Jingle Bell Rock!"


My mom took me to see lots of plays when I was a little girl. She always got season tickets to the children's theater in Omaha, so we went all the time. Even though I didn't have a gift for being in plays (see previous post about "Ring me slow"), I loved going to see them, especially musicals. I always hoped WCK and I could go see plays together.

A little over a year ago, I took WCK to "Busytown", which was based on Richard Scarry books. You know, the books with the cute, fuzzy animals and Lowly the worm. She did OK until there was a part with firefighters rushing around the stage, trying to put out a pretend fire, and then she got scared and proclaimed all plays "scary." Once WCK proclaims something "scary", it can remain scary for years, even when it is clearly not scary. I mean, for the love of God, Elmo is not scary, WCK! She just makes up her mind that something is scary, and that's the way it is.

For a year, I searched for a play that could not possibly have anything remotely scary in it. I finally came across a production of "Goodnight Moon" at the same children's theater that put on "Busytown". I knew "Goodnight Moon" could not possibly contain anything scary. I wasn't even sure how anyone could create an hour-long production based on "Goodnight Moon", since the book takes about three minutes to read and has no plot and no dialogue, other than the old lady whispering, "Hush."

WCK complained bitterly when I told her we were going. We had to sit in the very last row of the theater, and she crouched down on the floor and watched the play between the spaces between the seats. But by the end ... success! She decided the play was not scary. She liked it. She wanted to go back for more plays!

So last week we went back and saw "Madeline's Christmas", based on the book. You know: "In an old house in Paris that was covered in vines, lived 12 little girls in two straight lines ..." WCK loved it, and she didn't even sit on the floor. She sat in my lap, but that was not out of fear. She's so light that those folding theater chairs squish her in half. As a bonus, we've been reading a lot of the Madeline books, too.

Whew. I can't wait to go to more plays.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

The Santa Experience

I think WCK is getting all Santa-ed out. She has Santa fatigue.

We saw him the first time this season a few weeks ago, when he showed up unexpectedly at Fun Run while WCK was playing with her friends. She went wild with excitement and practically stalked the poor man until she was able to go tell him what she wanted for Christmas.

Shortly after that, she got in the car one day after school and told me that Santa and Mrs. Claus had visited her school that day. There was a candy cane in her backpack to prove it. She was happy about the Santa visit, but slightly less excited, and she still hasn't eaten the candy cane.

After that, we passed by Santa at two different malls/shopping areas, and WCK had absolutely no interest in going to see him. Little did WCK know, I'd already signed us up for "The Santa Experience."

Yes. Nowadays, it's not good enough to go visit a Santa at a mall. You must sign up in advance for "The Santa Experience."

Do not ask how much I paid for "The Santa Experience." I will not tell you. Let's just hope that WCK's future employer values life experience (in the form of, say, a Santa Experience), because the child can no longer afford to go to college.

After an elf checked us in, we were guided to the first area of "The Santa Experience" The kids got special stationery and wrote letters to Santa. WCK patiently sat in her little chair and printed "BABY DOLL" and "HANNAH MONTANA" on her stationery. I might have coached her a little bit, because I said I had a feeling that Santa might bring her those things. Then an elf put her letter in the Magic Mailbox. When the Magic Mailbox was opened, it made a roaring, vacuum-cleaner-like sound and shot artificial snow everywhere. It was pretty dang cool, but it made WCK a little nervous.

Stop two on "The Santa Experience": We decorated a little picture frame shaped like a Christmas tree. Of course, I didn't order an Official Photo small enough to fit in our Official Frame, because by the time I got to the photo-ordering booth (stop six), the frame-making activity had been erased from my memory. Fortunately, Santa personally autographed our tree frame, so I can probably sell it for big bucks on e-Bay.

Stop three: The visit with Santa himself. WCK actually protested this. "But I already saw Santa!" she said. She did have a good point. She'd met with him. She'd said her piece. He'd agreed to her terms. Why did she have to tell him again? I finally coaxed her into the Santa room, and then Santa enticed her with some candy canes. We did get a cute picture, but I wondered what I was doing, encouraging my child to go hang out with a stranger who offers her candy.

Stop four: Cookie decorating with Mrs. Claus. Each kid got a big sugar cookie and got to decorate it with different colors of icing, under the careful supervision of Mrs. Claus. Mrs. Claus said that most kids eat about half their cookie. WCK ate the whole thing, because she's an over-achiever, and because it was about an hour past our lunch time by the time we got to the cookie room. Poor Mrs. Claus was sporting a broken arm in a sling, which she said she'd gotten from ...

Stop five: A very slippery room filled with artificial snow. That's right. Mrs. Claus said the snow was made from a combination of flour, water, and a secret formula imported from Japan. I don't know what the secret formula was, but the snow actually felt cold. It didn't melt. It was sort of a gel-like substance. It freaked me out a little bit, especially since it was slippery as heck and had already taken down Mrs. Claus, but the kids LOVED. THE. SNOW. If an elf hadn't gently reminded us an hour or so later that Santa needed to leave to feed his reindeer, we'd probably be there still.

Stop six: This is where I forked over WCK's college fund for a photo of her with Santa. Of course, she looks very cute in her picture with Santa. The two of us were able to go out for a nice lunch together, and I can promise her that we'll never have to speak to Santa again. Isn't that what Christmas is all about?

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Ups and downs

Do you have a child who is deathly afraid of riding on escalators?

Here is my warning to you: Do not rejoice too much when your child announces she is no longer afraid of riding on escalators. Do not rejoice when she happily rides up said escalator to the second floor of a store. Why? There is an excellent chance that once you are done shopping on the second floor and are ready to go home, the child will announce that, although she had no fear of the "up" escalator, she is still deathly afraid of the "down" escalator. The child will not waver in her fear, even after you point out repeatedly that it's the only way back downstairs, even after you stand there and watch several dozen people ride down the escalator and not die, even after complete strangers decide to gather 'round your child and join you in the explanation of how "down" escalators are not scary.

On a side note, I'd like to thank the kind staff at Dick's Sporting Goods for showing us how to find the elevator so that we didn't have to spend the night in the tent department.

Friday, December 11, 2009


We got our Christmas tree about a week ago. We always go out to a tree farm and chop down a real tree, strap it to the top of the car, and bring it home. This is what my family always did when I was growing up. I don't think I even knew fake trees existed until college. In all fairness to fake trees, there were a lot of things I didn't know existed until college, like, say, tequila.

Anyway, once I had my first apartment in college, I finally broke down and got a fake tree from Wal-Mart (and this would be the Wal-Mart in the neighboring town, since my college town was not yet cool enough to have a Wal-Mart at that time). I actually used that fake tree for a few Christmases. Then, the first year that Jay and I were married, our apartment's storage unit was overrun by mice and they pooped all over the fake tree and we had to throw it out. The mouse poop was 99 percent our fault, since we were storing the seed for our bird feeder in our storage unit in a plastic bag. I think the other 1 percent was a sign from the universe that one should never use a fake tree. Fake tree = plague of vermin from God. We've been using real trees ever since.

Back to last week: We brought home our tree and WCK and I spent about two hours decorating it. Later that afternoon, WCK and I were about to head out the door to go to a birthday party, when I thought the tree was looking a little crooked. Then -- wham -- the whole thing fell over.

Actually, it was partially stopped by a chair next to the tree, and by me leaping over to the tree to grab it and keep it from falling all the way. Of course, at the moment the tree fell, Jay was upstairs in the bathroom and couldn't hear my screams for help. WCK was standing around doing nothing, so I pleaded with her to please go upstairs and alert Daddy to the falling tree. She moved very slowly for someone whose mother is yelling and clinging to a Scotch pine for dear life, but she finally did make it up the stairs to knock on the bathroom door, after visiting every other room in the house first. This is why four-year-olds don't drive ambulances, fight fires, or report breaking news.

Jay finally made it downstairs, and we fixed the tree. The only casualty was my Miss Gulch ornament from my Hallmark Wizard of Oz collection. The wheels snapped right off of her bike, as did the little miniature Toto riding in the basket. I guess Toto was just trying to break free.

We've now gone six straight days without a tree collapse, which is a pretty good safety record if you ask me.

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

Santa was invented to get kids to go to bed

I know it's wrong, but one of the reasons I love December is that I can invoke the name of Santa to get my child to do anything. I always vowed I would never do this. Now I do it about every five minutes during the Advent season.

All other parents agree with me. You don't have to admit it out loud, but I know you do.

Just tonight, WCK was not cooperating with hair-washing in the bathtub.

"All right," I said calmly, rising to my feet and starting to walk out of the bathroom, "just let me get Santa on the phone."

"No!" shrieked WCK. "DO NOT CALL SANTA!" And she let me wash her hair.

A few nights ago, we were playing at a very fun place called Fun Run. The name of the place pretty much sums it up. It's one of those places with a bunch of inflatables to bounce on, cool play houses to climb in, etc. If that wasn't fun enough, Santa Claus showed up and all the kids went wild. WCK took a break from playing to have her turn on his lap and get her picture taken. After we'd been there for several hours, I told WCK multiple times that it was time to go home. She refused and kept right on running.

"Look, WCK," I said, "Santa is RIGHT OVER THERE. I will walk over to him RIGHT NOW and tell him you can't follow directions!"

And ... we were able to go home immediately.

I can't help but wonder what would have happened had she called my bluff. Would Santa have had a sense of humor about my reporting my daughter to him? Oh, I so deserve a lump of coal.

Monday, December 07, 2009

Dumbness, Part II

M-spike = 2.7.

All other numbers are good, so this is not terrible by any means, but it's still pretty dang dumb.

Thursday, December 03, 2009

Ring me slow

The only speaking role I've ever had in any type of theatrical production was in 1980, when I appeared as "Bell No. 1" in my kindergarten Christmas program. (Yes, back then public schools still had "Christmas" programs and nobody got sued).

Five of us were bells. We all wore big red bows and held triangles. The rest of the class said, "Five little bells, hanging in a row. The first bell said ..." That was my cue to step forward, ding my triangle, and say, "RING ME SLOW!"

Let me tell you, I totally nailed my line. I was the Meryl Streep of "Ring me slow." I was that bell, and everyone in the room believed that I wanted to ring. Slowly. My mom still brags to people about "Ring me slow". Unfortunately, this was the peak of my theatrical career. I never had another speaking role. I did play the dog catcher in a sixth-grade production of "Annie", but I didn't have any lines, and my dog-catching pantomime never quite reached the acting excellence that was "Ring me slow."

I've never been able to remember the rest of this bell poem. It took a lot of energy to concentrate on "Ring me slow." I do remember that one of the bells said, "I'm like a chime", because the "I'm like a chime" girl could never remember her lines during rehearsal. Finally one day she ad-libbed and said, "Ring me in China!" and she was immediately replaced. I believe she was banished to holding up a sign that said "Five Little Bells."

I've never heard the poem since. I've wondered if maybe the kindergarten teacher made it up because she needed to find parts in the Christmas program for five extra kids -- six, if you count the sign-holder.

Yesterday, WCK's Scholastic book order came in. I'd ordered her a CD and book with a whole bunch of Christmas songs and rhymes for kids. As I scanned the list of songs I saw -- yes!!!-- "Five Little Bells"! I rushed to find the track on the CD player and called WCK over. "Remember how I was a bell in my kindergarten play?" I said. WCK, of course, remembers. She has been hearing the "Ring me slow" story for years.

I played the rhyme for her, and she was pretty impressed for about a minute. Then she left to go do something else. I guess she doesn't appreciate the theater.

I'll post the complete rhyme, so it can live on through my blog:

Five little bells, hanging in a row.
The first one said, "Ring me slow."
The second one said, "Ring me fast."
The third one said, "Ring me last."
The fourth one said, "I'm like a chime."
The fifth one said, "Ring us all at Christmas time!"

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

FU, cancer!

I saw that our county health department is now giving out free H1N1 shots to people with chronic medical conditions, as long as you bring in an order from your doctor. They were previously only vaccinating children and pregnant women, so WCK has already had her first dose, but I've been waiting on my shot. I've read that it's highly recommended for myeloma patients, so I've always been planning to get one. Since I had to take WCK back to the health department to get her booster anyway, I asked Dr. GPO at my appointment this morning if he could write me a note. He told me I could just walk down the hall and get a shot, since the cancer center now had an ample supply of vaccine. Score!

I went down the hall and told the lady at the desk. She made a phone call and told me I couldn't have the shot because the insurance company wouldn't pay for it. Seriously?

Of course, it was totally fine, since I just took my order from Dr. GPO to the health department and got my shot for free, and WCK got her free booster. You just have to shake your head, though, at an insurance company that won't pay for flu shots for cancer patients. Wouldn't the shot be far less expensive than complications from the flu? But they're an insurance company. They don't have to make sense.

In other cancer center news, they now have a new, fancy appointment system where they give you a printout with all of the details of your next appointment. It lists the date, time, duration of the appointment, name of the doctor, and the reason for the appointment. Apparently the new form abbreviates "follow-up appointment", because under "Reason", it simply says, "FU."

Awesome. That's what I want to tell the cancer cells every day.

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

I did it!

First, the good news: I successfully completed National Blog Posting Month and met my goal of posting every day! Hurrah! Sure, there were a few close calls -- like the time when I resorted to posting a Joey McIntyre video -- but I made it! Yay for me!

The bad news: I didn't win a prize. Dang. I really needed a sock zombie. Maybe next year.

Part of me wants to see how long I can keep up the daily blogging streak. Another part of me is afraid that after a while, daily blogging would turn into a chore, rather than something I really enjoy. I might go back to skipping a few days here or there, but at least this November experiment has gotten me back into the habit of blogging. I'm hoping to do it more often than I have in the past, sock zombie or no sock zombie.