Friday, December 30, 2005

Slam Your Body Down and Wind It All Around

I got an iPod for Christmas. I guess Santa knew it was one of my fondest wishes, along with cellulite eradication and world peace.

Anyway, I listened to the sleek blue mini as I toiled away on the treadmill this morning (per my second wish), and I quickly discovered my problem: my music is woefully out-of-date.

I mean, the Backstreet Boys, Marc Cohn’s “Walking in Memphis,” and “Wanabee,” the quintessential Spice Girls track, all made the forty-minute playlist. I know. It’s so bad it’s embarrassing.

Because I realized my cool-factor needed a boost, later in the day when Jessie and I went to pick up Shef, I turned up my “poppin’” mix, made by my uber-hip sister. Jessie and I bobbed happily to that song about “my milkshake” until I started over-thinking it:

“What is her milkshake?” I wondered. “Is it her body?”

Jessie considered this for a while, and then said, “No…. I think it’s, like... her bootylicious jiggle.”

And so, I realize my musical transformation might be slow, but I’m committed to making it work, one-two step.

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

If I Weren't Always Telling My Students Not to Apologize for Their Writing, I Would Apologize for This Entry

After two days working on the list, I don’t have much to show for myself.

I will say I now kind of regret not keeping up with my grad work this semester. If I knew what the topic of my paper should be, it would be a lot easier to write it.

I did get the glasses – it took about fifteen minutes and it’s safe to say that the woman who sold them to me wasn’t overly concerned with helping me find the very best glasses for me. But, I had a small budget, and I managed to buy non-offensive frames and the whole thing was eight dollars under the limit. The old me would have scoured back-issues of In Style looking for foolproof advice about which frame would be best for my face shape and then spent the afternoon comparison shopping all the optical shops in the Mall of America, but the new efficient me just marched in to Pearle Vision Express, sucked it up, and picked something.

I hope I still like them on Friday. In the meantime, I'm crossing glasses off my list.

Tuesday, December 27, 2005


Now that the holiday is over, there is the winter break to-do list:

Finish the twenty-five-page paper that I ignored during the semester.
Grade eighty sophomore essays on themes in Black Boy.
Buy new glasses before the 31st, so as to use my flexible dollars before they’re eaten by the powers-that-be.
Run most days.
Stop eating frosting for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
Return and exchange the holiday gifts that won’t do for whatever reason.
Take Shef to museums and the zoo.

And that paper. Really, the paper is weighing on my mind.

Today, a good novel, Prep by Curtis Sittenfeld, kind of distracted me from my list, but now that's I've turned the last page, I can move on. And I did do a some work, so I don't feel overly guilty.

Sunday, December 25, 2005

A Good Night

This year was Dan and my seventh Christmas together. That’s a pretty big number, don’t you think? And this year, we had Christmas with an almost-two-year-old. It turns out (and frankly, this is a surprise to me), that’s the best kind of Christmas there is.

Also, we had Christmas with multiple glasses of wine, the world’s greatest in-laws, and way too many presents.

And, as icing on the yule log, my husband gave me a fancy piece of jewelry because, in his words, he works all the time and I take up the slack. Apparently, if I’m taking up the slack, I should do it wearing diamonds.

I really can’t complain. Not even one little bit.

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Very Bad Parenting

Shef loves my mom’s dog.

“Give Amber a treat,” he says eight million times per day.

If I’m feeding Amber, he’ll say, “Help, Sheffield,” which means that Sheffield will help with the food.

“Touch Amber!” He says, leaning over the baby gate that separates them. “Pet!”

When he’s done eating, it’s “Play with Amber!”

You get the picture.

His affection for Amber is kind of a blessing because I really dislike the dog, and therefore give her very little love. The dog probably deserves better, even though she’s slobbery and hairy (“Dog hair in mouf,” Shef reports occasionally, while fishing around in between his teeth for the offending piece of fur). She barks a lot, especially outside; and she chooses not to obey commands that I know she understands.

Anyway, tonight when Amber barked annoyingly upon the arrival of Dan at the front door, Shef said, clear as a bell, “Damn dog.”

“What?” I said calmly.

“Damn dog,” he repeated. Dan and I looked at each other despairingly.

“Maybe he’s saying ‘down’?” Dan suggested.

And so we hoped, but after making him repeat it ten or twelve more times, we can say pretty definitively that it was damn. I don’t remember using this expression, but because I dislike the dog the most of everyone, I think it must have been me.

And so, thank you very much for the worst mother of the year award.

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Avert Your Eyes

I really hate missing work; however, I think this is good rule of thumb:

If you have a rash covering the bottom half of your face, you should not flaunt it before ninety high-schoolers.

I did take my freak show out to the doctor’s office, though; and as I moved to take my jacket off, I realized I haven’t changed my clothes since Sunday evening at about five p.m.

Since I have to go to work tomorrow, rash or no rash, I vow to shower this very night.

Monday, December 19, 2005

Sick Day

I’m on day nine of The Nasty Cold. All last week I bravely soldiered on, taking teaching breaks here and there to honk into a Kleenex.

“Excuse me,” I’d apologize to my sophomores. “I’ll be right back with you to discuss that scintillating poem.”

And then, each night, I’d go home and think about calling in a sub for the following day; and then, each night, I wouldn’t do it.

I’ll rest up on the weekend, I thought.

But no. The weekend was spent zooming around the city at a breakneck pace in a vain attempt to get into the holiday spirit and also having this conversation with Shef:

“Please don’t hit Mommy. It’s not nice and it hurts Mommy.” The smirk is lingering on his face.
“Hit people,” Shef says.
“No, we don’t hit people.”
“Hit friends,” he says.
“No. If we hit our friends, it makes them very sad.”
“Hit babies,” he offers.
“No. That would be very, very sad.”

And what the hell? Is my child pathologic or what?!

Then later, after he’s gone ahead and tested the theory about hitting people, and I’ve put him back in time-out nine million times per Super Nanny’s suggestion (he won’t sit):

“Do you know what you’re in time out for?”

Yes. So, I decided I needed a day on the couch alone with my snot. I suppose a marathon of Making the Band would be too much to ask?

Thursday, December 15, 2005

Mouse Diaries

There is a mouse problem in my school. They’re simply running the place over, and frankly, it creeps me out.

The custodial staff provides glue traps, which my animal-rights-activist student tells me are highly inhumane. I tend to believe her, as we’ve found a couple of mice trying to gnaw their legs off whilst stuck on the traps. I’m not sure if I’m allowed to buy my own alternative traps; although, I suppose no one would notice. Chalk up another out-of-pocket expense for teachers, right alongside pencils, paper, and white board markers.

Anyway, my third hour students have a contest going. They each set and bait traps, and then whoever's trap catches a mouse gets a point. They also liked to assign points for kills (imagine six fifteen-year-old boys racing out the back to drop cinderblocks on the stuck rodents), until I told them I had to put a stop to the vigilante-ism.

“Don’t tell your parents about this,” I said to one chap as he stood on my desk, planting a trap in the ceiling.

It was too late – he’d already detailed for her the mouse adventures, including the spattering of blood from the outdoor smashing. As I haven’t gotten a call, I’m assuming she doesn’t mind too much.

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

The Voice of Reason

Yesterday, I pled desperately with my nearly-comatose first hour class to try to think of a theme of the poem I’d unwisely chosen for them to read.

After many heavy silent seconds, one fairly normal boy found it in himself to lift his head high and yell out, “POOP IN YOUR MOUTH!”

And so I decided it was safe to say I’d made a critical miscalculation in planning a unit on poetry to fill the long weeks before winter break.

Saturday, December 10, 2005

Two Ear Infections, One Stomach Flu, and a Partridge in a Pear Tree

It’s official: daycare is a germ trap – no one escapes unscathed. Poor Shef (who knows how to milk an ailment, let me tell you) is on his fourth significant illness of the season. This time it’s a nasty sounding cough with an accompanying ear infection speedily diagnosed by Dr. H. this morning.

Luckily and unluckily for us, he mostly gets sick on the weekends. As a bonus, this time we had fair warning. Teacher Tina told Dan that they thought Shef had thrown up on his cot during naptime until they realized the substance in question was just an unusual magnitude of nasty, crusty, decidedly non-clear mucus.

Wednesday, December 7, 2005

America's Next Top Model is Cellulite-Free

I dragged myself to the Y tonight to put in a little time on the treadmill, and I happened to see the last ten minutes of the America’s Next Top Model with Tyra Banks. Ok, let me tell you, even in closed captioning that show is SMOKIN’. Why hasn’t anyone sat me down and made me watch? To think I’ve missed three or four full seasons of this!

So, that was a boon; and then, when I went down to the locker room and traipsed into the shower, I ran into my brother’s ex-girlfriend. This was a bit awkward, if you want to know the truth. It turns out I don’t mind if total strangers see me naked, but when acquaintances have full-on access to my cellulite, I get a little anxious. Luckily, we pretended not to see each other, and went our separate ways.

Tuesday, December 6, 2005

Isn't This a Mommy Blog?

New tricks for Shef:

He’s more-or-less mastered his colors. Blue makes him feel especially happy. He’s says it in two syllables: “Buh-LOO!” And then he runs in for a hug to celebrate his color-identification prowess.

He’s obsessed with a ridiculous Raggedy Ann and Andy book that my mom bought for him. This book has inane plot twists, including the fact that Raggedy Ann and Andy can blindfold the Camel With Wrinkly Knees and make him run backwards in order to find their friend Babette, who has been kidnapped by dim-witted, fake-nose-wearing pirates. Luckily, the pirates are more than willing to give up marauding in exchange for free lollipops given to them by a bespectacled horse. Sadly for us, our beloved now requests this book six or seven times per day, and there's no chance he'll settle for a synopsis.

My mom’s house (which, as I mentioned before, is where we now live) is fully decorated for Christmas. Nana has taught Shef to identify Baby Jesus, Mary, Angels, and Joseph, whom he sometimes just calls “guy.”

He doesn’t understand real tv, having been raised on tivo the way he has. Whereas before I could easily help him out when he asked to watch
“Journey to Ernie again” (and again and again and again), now he has to watch whatever segment of “Elmo Street” that happens to be on with no rewinding or skipping at all. I can’t really blame him for being pissed.

Finally, Shef has picked up quite a few new sentences. “Where could Daddy be?” “Where’d the paci go?” “Aunt Mary come over!” and my personal favorite, “Hi, Mommy. How doin’.”