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Momo Fali's: July 2007

Sunday, July 29, 2007

Parsley, Sage, Rosemary & Thyme

Last night, my Mom and I took the kids to a local festival. It was America at it’s finest. We saw nicely dressed folks, and we saw others in Skynyrd shirts with their sleeves cut off. We saw tall, short, thin and robust. We saw mullets.

Food booths went as far as the eye could see, serving nothing but pure, artery-clogging cuisine. And, there were ridiculously overpriced, no-chance-to-win games, where the basketball is obviously bigger than the rim, yet we donate $5.00 anyway. My son did manage to win himself a stuffed dog by pulling a duck out of barrel. Though, that stuffed dog is so hard you could skip it on a lake, which is exactly what I might do with it.

After forking out $40.00 for tickets, we hit the Midway. Yikes. Most of the workers running the rides were smoking cigarettes, while sitting back in chairs with their feet propped up. They were nothing like the dapper, young, teenagers I usually see in charge of amusement park rides. These were seasoned professionals. Though, it appeared that more than a few of them had been working the Break-A-Plate game, and some fair-goers misread the sign and thought it was the Break-A-Carnies-Tooth game instead.

The kids and I took a white-knuckle ride on the Scrambler, which was being run by two men who “no speak good English”. I don’t remember the Scrambler actually scrambling, but this thing was as rickety as they come. I had to wonder if you needed to be able to read instructions to set it up, because I’m pretty sure they “no read good English” either.

The music was way too loud (Eddie Money was playing…what happened to him?), and it was hot, humid and sticky. When it was time to leave, I looked down at my kids, whose faces had been stuffed with hot dogs earlier, and were now covered with a mixture of bug spray, powdered sugar and funnel cake crumbs. And, after all the noise, sweat, smoke and chaos...they couldn’t have been happier.


Thursday, July 26, 2007

No Spring Chickens

My husband and I have come to the conclusion that we’re no longer youngsters. I realized it sooner than he did, but he’s finally coming around.

For me, the acknowledgement came about a year ago, when I tried to show my daughter how to do a back bend. It had been awhile, so I had enough sense not to go over backward. Instead, I positioned myself on the carpet, put my hands over my shoulders and palms on the floor, and PUUUUUUUSHED up. I held that position for all of two seconds, before I came crashing down on my back, having pulled every muscle between my tailbone and skull. What? When did that happen? Since when couldn't I do a backbend? It just couldn't be true. So, to prove to myself that I “still had it”, I tried a headstand, handstand, and the splits. No luck. The best I could muster was a forward roll, and even that hurt my neck. I didn’t “have” anything. I lost it all somewhere along the way.

Shortly after that, I noticed runners my age wearing knee braces. And, my friends started having surgeries for herniated discs, ACL injuries, and torn rotator cuffs. I realized this was serious. This was real. There would be no more messing around with this body of antiquity. I began lifting heavy objects while bending at the knee. I started stretching before AND after I ran, and wearing a wrap on my thrice broken ankle. And, though I often still run up the stairs two at a time, I hold on to the handrail when I do it.

But, through it all, my husband has been in denial. We bought a home gym and he believed he could lift the same amount of weight he did in college. When he couldn’t, he blamed it on inaccurate calibration, not his aging muscles. When he almost blacked out on a roller coaster, he claimed it was the G Forces, not his degenerating inner ear. And, when we went camping a few weeks ago, he and his friend (you may refer to them as The Lost Boys), had delusions of playing basketball and sand volleyball all weekend. Turns out, they mostly drank beer and ate S’mores.

But alas, my husband has seen the light. Stars, in fact. Because when he took our daughter to a water park last weekend, she wanted to see her whippersnapper of a Dad dive off the platform board. He climbed up the ladder and dove off, just as she had requested. Only, when he came out of the water, he didn’t see her proud face. He saw little white floating dots and strings. Big, strong Daddy got his bell rung. And, last night, he FINALLY said, “I guess I’m not 21 anymore.”

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Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Sick And Tired Of Being Tired

My insomnia is back. Not only back, but with a vengeance. I haven't had a good night's sleep in quite awhile. In the past two weeks, I have increased my dosage of Melatonin, secretly snuck a couple of sleeping pills that I'm not supposed to take anymore, seen my family doctor, and had an EKG and echocardiogram. I AM TRYING to figure this out.

It's understandable, that to a non-insomniac, saying I haven't had a good night's sleep in awhile would imply that I toss and turn. But, NOOOOO. It is not so cut and dry. Of course, there are nights when I have something serious on my mind and toss around because of it. But, more often than not, I lie awake because I have a song stuck in my head (thank you to Barney and The Little Einsteins for that), or because there's the slightest bit of breeze from the fan, or because the dog moved and woke me up. As a matter of fact, if ANYTHING wakes me, I don't go back to sleep. Though, I would be thrilled to have that type of insomnia right now...the kind where I can't go back to sleep. At least I would have a fighting chance to get some rest. As long as Mars is at the highest point in the sky, the Moon is full, the wind is SE at 12.2 miles per hour, and our windows are closed.

See, lately I can't be so lucky as to actually get to the point of having something wake me. The insomnia I've had the past couple of weeks, has been the kind where I just can't fall asleep AT ALL. Where I do everything I know of, but the last time I look at the clock it is inevitably after 5:00 AM. It's torture. It's maddening. It's like I need the United Nations in my bedroom to help me fight this thing.

Trust me, I wouldn't trade all the sleep in the world for my two kids, but this is one thing I can, with near certainty, blame on them. It started with the pregnancy hormones, which not only left me sleepless, but once made me LEAVE WORK in the middle of the afternoon to come home and make an enormous pot of macaroni and cheese. Then, because our daughter spent five weeks in intensive care, every sound during the night was sure to be the hospital calling (it never was). After that, came toddler nightmares, and sickness which ALWAYS seems to manifest itself in the wee hours. Then another premature baby, this one with stomach, eye AND heart problems. I have now become a worrier of mass proportions. I agonize about everything. Everything. What do I need to put on the grocery list? Did I remember to put that permission slip in my daughter's folder? Will it rain tomorrow? Should I really let my daughter buy a hot dog for lunch? Will my son have to poop while he's at school? Who cares? Apparently, I do.


Monday, July 23, 2007

How To Contradict Yourself

A conversation with my son...

I ask, "What are your favorite foods?"

He says, "I like cauliflower and broccoli. Yum!"

I ask, "Then, what are your least favorite foods?"

With a scrunched up, icky look on his face, he replies, "Vegetables."


Friday, July 20, 2007

Tell Those Kids To Get A Job

Last night, my husband and I had the good fortune to have dinner with Bill Beausay, author and clinical psychotherapist. Bill is a down-to-earth, easily approachable guy who is passionate about helping all of us help our kids. He has written quite a few books on the subject and had a lot of great advice. Here's what I learned from Bill...

1. Your kids are not entitled to "things". If your 15 year old wants a cell phone (iPod, laptop, etc.) because everyone else has one, tell him to go out and earn money to pay for it. Entitlement = Disservice

2. Don't let your kid boss you around. When your toddler is screaming for a treat at the grocery store, DO NOT give in. This goes back to #1...make them earn it. And, just because a red face, stomping feet, and tears take a lot of effort, that doesn't count as earning it.

3. Talk to your kids openly and honestly, and don't wait to do it. I asked Bill about concerns I have for when our daughter starts high school in six years, and he said to start talking to her about those things NOW.

4. Spend time with your children. Watching American Idol together does not fill this requirement.

5. Faith is an important factor in raising a child. I was glad to hear this, as I have open conversations with God every day. Sometimes, that means praying together with the kids, but often, I'm just asking for mental strength to make it until bedtime.

6. Show your children you care. Hug them, kiss them, tell them you love them. They're never too old to stop either. It makes your kids aware that you're there for them...always.

No one ever tells you how scary and fragile this parenting thing can be, so it was good to find out we're doing everything far. And, even if we do everything right, there's still a chance things can go wrong...

In the end, I think what's most important is being present for your kids. Physically and mentally present. I think I'll go hug mine now.


Thursday, July 19, 2007

You Know It's Time To Go To The Grocery Store...

When you feed your kids Beef-a-Roni and buttered hot dog buns for dinner.


Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Just Look The Other Way

One of the hardest parts of being a parent, for me anyway, has been to learn to let things go. I have a small case of self-diagnosed OCD, or as I once read somewhere, alphabetical order the way it should be (credit to the author, whoever you are). It probably came from my Mother, who used to have me iron our napkins for dinner and have the house vacuumed so that you could see the lines in the carpet. She's the most neat and organized person I know, so I blame her for my obsessive need to have lists for EVERYTHING. I have so many lists, that I have lists for lists. But, having kids has made it a lot tougher to check things off them.

I used to do laundry when there was enough clothes for one load, now I am cued to start the washer when the laundry chute gets backed up to the second floor, or when my husband tells me he's out of underwear, whichever comes first. I used to vacuum every day, but now I wait until my son's shirt is indistinguishable from the dog's fur coat, and it is not unusual for the breakfast dishes to sit in the sink until dinner. Or, for there to be so many toys scattered about that it appears a tornado came right through the middle of the house and hit the kids' toy box, but left the roof. This is not to say I'm a slob. On the contrary. These are the things that drive me crazy on a daily basis. But, to fret over them only puts me one step closer to certifiable insanity. A while ago, my husband told me that it shouldn't matter what the house looks like, but did I read to our son today? Did I play with the kids? Did I make them healthy food to eat? Did I keep them safe? Since then, I have tried to redefine my standards and am doing my best not to wish things were perfect. Because, if things were perfect, nothing could be better. And, then what would I put on my lists?


Sunday, July 15, 2007

Calling All Rude Children

Last week, I took the kids to a huge science museum, which we visit a couple of times a year. They were having a Big Machines exhibit…bulldozers, forklifts, cranes, and other things we often see tearing up our yard unexpectedly. Basically, a five year old boy’s utopia.

As it turned out, we just happened to visit at the same time as every day camp, day care, and preschool in the central Ohio area. Why didn’t I turn around and come home when I saw that ALL the parking lots were full, AND that there was another lot completely packed with school buses? Because I am a glutton for punishment, that’s why. I spent fifteen minutes trying to find a parking spot, for crying out loud. That may be nothing to someone in (insert Pace Picante accent) New York City! But folks, this is uh-HI-uh.

So, there I was, already irritated and we hadn’t even gone through the entrance. However, all that was about to change, because as I struggled to hold open the monolithic, steel and glass door AND push the stroller through at the same time, I saw a teenage girl approaching. “Oh good,” I thought, because she was obviously coming to assist me. But, instead of helping me unwedge myself from somewhere between inside and outside, she actually stepped OVER my son’s stroller and walked through the door. Really. AND, she didn’t even say excuse me. Really.

I spent a lot of the day correcting children like her, children of COMPLETE STRANGERS, on their horrible manners. Not correcting them as much as flat out telling them they needed to wait their turn, or let an old lady have a seat. “Yes guys, that one there with the walker.”

We had kids ditching us everywhere we went, boys tumbling into our stroller without saying a word, girls repeatedly banging on the door of the family bathroom, when they weren’t even a family with the right to do so. Though, I am not going to stand too high on my soapbox, because by no means do my kids have perfect manners. My son is blatantly honest (see previous post), and has no problem telling you he “likes your flab” or that a lady at the store “looks like a fish”. And, I still have to remind my eight year old daughter, EVERY DAY, not to chew with her mouth open. But, I would say it’s fair to assume that my kids would not LITERALLY walk over someone to get through a door. It was so bad, that at one point a teacher with one of the larger school groups actually gave me a pitiful look and said, “Please, pray for me”.

Maybe, instead of learning about science and industry, those kids should be taught some manners. I used the day as an opportunity to teach my children how NOT to treat people. It’s just too bad it cost me the price of admission


Thursday, July 12, 2007

For His Next Act, His Head Will Spin

During a trip to Target...

My son points at the very masculine-looking, female cashier, and loudly says, "Mommy, she's kind of a girl."

Awkward laugh, "Yes, she's a girl."

He looks back and WAITS TO MAKE EYE CONTACT, then says, "Yeah. Kind of."


Wednesday, July 11, 2007

I Wouldn't Wish For Crumpets Either

The other night, my husband and I were watching Man vs. Wild, on The Discovery Channel. Bear Grylls (pronounced Grills), a former serviceman of the British Special Forces is the host of this adventure series. It's one of those shows where they drop him off in the middle of nowhere, someplace like Iceland, and he shows you how to survive until the last few seconds of the show, when he finds civilization again. I just don't know what I'd do without these Icelandic survival skills, so I MUST tune in. You never know when you're going to need the ability to catch a chicken with your shoe string. Or, know how long to boil a sheep's leg in hot springs before it's okay to eat.

On the show we were watching, he had parachuted into the French Alps. After climbing UP the mountain to get a better view of his surroundings (this would be my first survival mistake, because I'm pretty sure I'd go down), and finding nothing but snow EVERYWHERE, he started to suffer from altitude sickness. He mentioned that his breathing was labored and he had a pounding headache, then he said something like, "I'd murder for a cup of tea." Really? Because, I'm thinking there are about 1,000 other things I'd want at that point. Like, oh...say a map. Or, an oxygen tank and a mountain guide. Or, maybe for that helicopter from which I had parachuted to come back and get me. I couldn't help thinking that Britain would be so proud.


Monday, July 9, 2007

The Twilight of Her Life

Our dog is getting old. She's not at the point where she's peeing-all-over-the-rug-old, but she's recently developed a touch of arthritis and you can see it coming in the not so distant future. It's hard to see a dog with the boundless energy she once had, start to slow down. She used to come flying down the stairs to bark at the UPS man, but now she simply stands up on our bed and barks from there.

When she was only a couple of months old, we found out I was pregnant with our first child. Being new at the whole parenting thing, we decided it was best to have an obedience trainer work one-on-one with us and our dog, in our home. This wasn't cheap. Nor, was it effective. After just a few classes, we were basically told there was nothing more that could be done. We tried our best, but she's never learned to heel, or come on command, or lay down, or even sit right. She does what I refer to as a swimsuit calendar pose. Not so much sitting, as much as trying to look seductive for a treat.

For about eight years, she acted like she was still a puppy. When visitors arrived, she would jump all over them and run around the room. That's one of the things I won't miss. No one ever being able to wear black to our house. What's the point, when you leave looking like you've been attacked by some Himalayan Yeti? "You want to come over? Okay, but wear white, and whatever you do, DO NOT wear hose."

So, the fur won't be missed, along with the nose juice she so lovingly splatters all over our bay windows every day. I also won't miss putting the trash can on top of the refrigerator when we leave the house, or the thumping sound that always precedes her vomiting at 4:00 AM. And, I would do just about anything to erase the memory of returning home, on my birthday no less, the night after our neighbor had given her a ham shank over the fence, without our permission. I could just about smell the piles of bone-ridden excrement from my driveway. Lovely.

But, I will miss her sweet, gentle nature, and how she's never even growled at one of our kids when they were using her as a portion of an obstacle course. I will miss petting her soft ears as a form of therapy, and I will miss her acting like a vacuum cleaner and picking up all the spilled food. But, most of all, I will miss feeling safe and sound, and knowing that I'm HOME, just because she's here.


Saturday, July 7, 2007


Because football season is just around the corner...


Friday, July 6, 2007

Changing Times

Some friends of ours are getting ready to have their second child. My husband and I saw them recently at a party, and shame on us for doing so, but we went on and on about how much harder life is with two kids versus one. We had no right in saying a word, especially considering my husband is one of ELEVEN children, and his parents were only a few feet away. How in the world they raised that many kids, all running about in (GASP!) cloth diapers, is beyond comprehension. As if couples don't have enough to bicker about, without having to figure out which one of you is going to scrub the poop out of everyone's pants.

But, there were a lot of things our parents didn't have to do. I don't remember my Mom driving me much of anywhere past the age of eight. If I wanted to go somewhere I either walked or pedaled there. I barely got a, "See ya", along with my swift kick out the door as I was sent to, "Go play somewhere". Our parents weren't bad parents, they were normal parents. It was great to live that way as a kid. We got to BE kids. It was not a problem for us to leave the house after breakfast, go to the pool all day, come home for dinner, then leave immediately after for a game of Kick the Can or baseball. Things didn't change as I got older either. Even at the awkward age of 15, I rode my bike to work at an old folks restaurant...hairnet, apron, and all. Oh, that's not embarrassing.

Now, things are different. If my daughter wants to go to the pool or the park, I have to drive her there, because it's just not safe for her to ride her bike (though if we did ride our bikes, we'd be sure to wear our helmets, which either no one cared about or didn't exist when I was young). But, I can't just throw her into the back of a pick-up truck, which is how we often got from place to place. I have to put her and her brother in car seats, with SEAT BELTS. Here's the kicker...I have to actually STAY with her and supervise her. Oh, and don't forget the sunscreen! You know what kind of sunscreen I wore when I was a kid? It was called a t-shirt.

For better or worse, parents must be involved with their kids in ways they didn't have to when we were growing up. In today's modern world, we have to micro-manage their lives. So, to our friends I'll say's not that you won't have enough love to give, it'll just be hard finding time to give it.


Thursday, July 5, 2007

Stranger Danger

We have recently started having conversations with our five year old son about strangers. We waited so long to start these conversations because he's had numerous health problems and for a really long time, he didn't want anyone to touch him. Not Mom, not Dad, not sister, nor grandparent. It is my belief that he thought if anyone was going to touch him, it would result in a needle being stuck into his body, or his liver being manipulated and moved about by some doctor's large, cold, rubbing-alcohol scented hands. After 18 months of occupational therapy to help him with these issues, we now have a kid who is the extreme opposite of the one we used to know. Now we can't stop him from rubbing people, or going up to random folks at the ballpark and telling them, "Hold me".

My friend, Bean, let us borrow a great DVD called Stranger Safety. The host, who calls herself Safe Side Super Chick, is a combination of Robin Williams, in his Mork days, with a little bit of Pippi Longstocking. Though incredibly odd in so many ways, it was informative and fun for all of us to watch. But, since then my son is obsessed with knowing who is a stranger and who isn't. He points at everyone we see and says, "He's a stranger"..."She's a stranger". The cashier at Target, the mailman, the trash guys, pictures of people in all his books, dogs, cats...turns out, just about everyone is a stranger. And, after all these discussions about who it's okay to talk to, and when, we found it had all paid off in a very backward sort of way. Because as I picked up my son at the grocery store the other day, he started yelling, "NO!! Help! You're a stranger! You're a stranger!!" Looks like we have more work to do.


Monday, July 2, 2007

Igpay Atinlay

My eight year old daughter, who prides herself on listening to every word we say even though she's pretending to watch The Disney Channel, has recently become extremely frustrated to hear her father and I speak in Pig Latin. We went through the spelling-words-out-phase, and when she caught on, we had to move to spelling them backward. When she figured that out, we were in a quandry. What to do when you need to yell to your spouse in the kitchen to hide the last ice cream bar so the kids won't find it? So, somewhere from back in my husband's middle school brain file, he pulled out Pig Latin. Of course, we're getting older and our Pig Latin comes out very slowly as we try to figure out what letter comes second, which now needs to be the first letter of the word. Yesterday, we sounded like a couple of sick cows. "Ooooooday oooooouyay aHntway oootay AAAAAktay UHthay idskay otay UHthay oooooolpay?" That's, "Do you want to take the kids to the pool?" Of course, we really feel like idiots, when "the" is the hardest word to figure out how to say.

Never mind, that we could've walked down the street, talked to each other about going to the pool, then come home, in the time it took to utter that one sentence. The fun of it, is that our daughter can't figure it out. After we finished our pool discussion, which literally made her stomp her feet in frustration, she turned to me and said, "I'm going to start my own language too! Sand sou sill sever sigure sit sout!"


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