Thursday, December 31, 2015

From Atlantic to Pacific, Gee the traffic is Terrific!

To me, nothing says happy holidays like an extended stay road trip. What could be more fun than cramming the whole family into the car while singing, "From Atlantic to Pacific, gee the traffic is terrific," packed tight like overstuffed olives, as we inhale stray strands of hair from the dogs balancing on the wrapped gifts in the back seat? Yep, there's no place like home for the holidays.

Before my parents moved South, we would make an annual Christmas road trip from Georgia to Massachusetts, stopping halfway in Delaware so we could spend time with both sides of the family. Sometimes, on the way back home, we would load up Aunt Katie and cousin Olivia to make the last thirteen hours of the trip a little more exciting and ring in the New Year with some real Chesapeake Bay pizzazz. The challenge was always how to add two more passengers to a vehicle that already resembled one of those tiny circus cars with the twenty something clowns in it. We rode with our load far beyond the top of Mount Crumpit!

On that particular trip, Senia Mae was probably a year and a half, no more than two, and was still at the age where she spoke only a few choice words. I called them "power words" because the phrases she spat our had to have the effect she wanted; sometimes she had to use a little more vocal force to drive the point home. After a exceedingly long standstill on 95, the bumper to bumper chaos was beginning to take its toll on our moods, so we pulled off somewhere in Virginia to get a little fresh air and stretch our legs.

After we had all used the restroom and refreshed our beverages at Dunkin' Donuts, the dogs had been walked and we were crossing the parking lot towards the car. When Senia Mae realized where we were headed, she immediately cemented her feet to the pavement like a stubborn old mule.

"Poopie diaper, poopie diaper, poopie diaper," she grumbled, resisting our attempts to move her forward.

I had just changed her diaper a few minutes before. When I slid my finger around her back side and propped it open, there was nothing in there, just like I thought. Senia Mae must have been testing out her dawdling tactics in hopes of going elsewhere, anywhere but back in the car. At eighteen months old she was already giving us the fake out!

As grownups, we don't always appreciate our ability to freely express our opinions. I guess shouting "poopie diaper" was the only way Senia Mae could delay the inevitable, her way of telling us she was NOT going to be shoved back into that micro machine... at least not without letting us know how she really felt about it!

Saturday, December 19, 2015

The real Porno for Pyros

Yesterday, as the mercury plummeted to a level where a jacket was deemed necessary, it finally became cold enough in Georgia to build a fire in the fireplace. Although I always appreciate seventy degree weather in December, the sudden chill in the air, like shoving through the crowds of overzealous mothers clawing the last available doll at Toys r' Us, does seem to be seasonably appropriate.

Whenever it is fireplace weather there is always this underlying competition of who can build a better fire from scratch, me or Kim. I feel superior because I was a Girl Scout, spending much of my youth heaving and hawing through the woods with sit up-ons and tuna can fire starters. I pride myself on knowing how to build an oven out of a wine box wrapped in aluminum foil and have no problem throwing on an old pair of boots in order to scavenge the depths of the woods to find the best dry kindling to start a fire.

Kim was a Blue Bird. I know Blue Birds eventually turned into Campfire Girls and obviously with that title they would have the appropriate skills to maintain a blazing fire in the hearth.

Whenever Kim starts the fire I always get in trouble for trying to rearrange her logs. "Get out of there," she says to me as I sneak over trying to maximize air flow under the grate. It seems hilarious now, but years ago we actually got into an argument over our competitive management of the fireplace.

She seems to have no recollection of what she learned as a Blue Bird, just that she was one. Even though I feel as if I have superior fire training, I would love to actually hear from some other Blue Birds out there, just to give Kim some extra support because even though everyone is the best fire starter in their own mind, it probably depends most on WHO is telling the story!

Saturday, December 5, 2015

There's a Missing Member from the Manger

I feel myself starting to unravel as Senia Mae scants from bin to bin pulling out random Christmas decorations, giving them the quick once over, and then proceeding to discard them on the floor as she moves on to the next discovery. The mood is supposed to be good: it's chilly and raining outside, we are drinking eggnog and blaring the Glee Christmas album on Pandora. Why can't I just enjoy this moment of family bonding as we decorate our home for Christmas? Taking a deep breath, I let my shoulders relax as I step over a mound of tinsel garland and help Senia Mae pull out her Little People Nativity scene. That is what she is really searching for.

When we find the box underneath several hand blown glass ornaments that were placed haphazardly a midst the table runner in the Christmas tote, I pull it out carefully, like it is the lost treasure we have been seeking for decades. Within seconds the box is on the floor and there is plastic hay, a mule, and a couple of wise men camouflaged into our tan and white shag carpet.

"Let her be," Kim says to me, smiling and putting her hand on my shoulder in hopes of calming down the manic expression she sees rising on my face. "We can gather up all the pieces when she is done playing."

But I can't just let it go. I have always had this neuroses where I can't stand for parts to be missing from a set, it makes me crazy. Why can't we keep all of the pieces together? It feels like its been the daily battle of my existence, trying desperately to keep all of the pieces of my life neatly together.

I remember sobbing in my mother's lap after the neighborhood kids left our old house on California Road. Pieces of my Barbie Dream house furniture were scattered in every room and I was a total mess, spinning out of my control because my "stuff" was not in a contained area. Looking around my living room today, I realize that not much has changed with my mental incapacities as I try to control myself and let my child have her own Christmas experience.

Apparently I am not Elsa and I just can't just let it go. I line the Little People up on the mantle, feeling the strong urge to make sure all of the members are there. Of course, several are missing: a donkey, one palm tree, and the cart that goes on the mule. Instead of unpacking the rest of my pre lit garland and my special Christmas tableware, I find myself digging through Senia Mae's four bins that happen to contain a mixed salad of everything from Barbie shoes to palace pets to farm tractors.

After thirty minutes of digging, I recover two of the three lost manger members. One is still missing. Is Christmas really going to be ruined over a missing donkey cart from the Little People Nativity scene? Hopefully not.

Since then I have been able to move slightly forward, I have gotten the upper mantle partially decorated. But I can't seem to get past the thought that maybe the cart got mixed in with the farm toys we passed down to her cousins last summer. I'll call my sister later to see if she came across a stray cart with no donkey. Since this isn't a dire emergency, my therapist would probably appreciate it if I held off calling her until Monday morning!

Sunday, November 15, 2015

The Dawning of a Diva

The padded thud, thud, thud, thud suddenly stopping without making its way into my bedroom was the first sign that something was askew. I waited a moment, hoping she would change her mind and go back to bed, which I know from five and a half years of experience, was never going to happen. Opening my eye a pinch, I made out solid shadows of furniture in the dark, but the silence was alarming.

The hardwood floor felt good on my feet, slightly chilly but relaxing as I slipped on my favorite robe, the waffle woven one from Pottery Barn with the terry cloth liner. Silently I crept out into the hallway to check the status of my daughter. There was no sign of a child except a red doll stroller rolled halfway into the wall in front of the bathroom door. Fortunately, at this age, they always leave clues.

Poking my head through the doorway so she couldn't immediately see me, I viewed her pudgy behind balancing solely on one leg, wobbling on the stool in front of the sink. Her right leg bent and balancing in the sink, still covered in the pink pajamas with the white and black penguins, I watched her hand reach deeply into the medicine cabinet. When she turned around smiling with the small metallic tube, I knew her desire had been the Urban Decay lipstick.

"Do you know why Mommy puts that up high?" I stun her with my voice, she thought she was being completely silent, but my smile shows her that she is not in trouble. "So little hands wouldn't get into it when I'm not looking."

I can't blame her for being so excited about makeup, aren't we all that way on the inside? It was purchased special for her dance recital last year and she's only gotten to try it a couple of times. The instructor suggested Urban Decay because of their cruelty free policy towards animal testing. Even though I probably could have spent $50 less at Walmart, I thought we should get the extra fancy red at Ulta for the recital, not just the cheap stuff. I am aware that this is an attitude that I will probably regret in about ten years.

Although having to clean bright red lipstick smeared all over her cheeks is somewhat time consuming, isn't this what having a little girl is all about? The fun of fancy dresses and makeup? I guess so. We'll just call this stage the dawning of a diva and I must admit... I LOVE IT!

Thursday, October 8, 2015

School Rules

When I told Senia Mae that I was going to be in "school" today she was enthralled, like her and I were connecting on a whole new level. Her first year of kindergarten seems to be all about sticking to the rules and maintaining status quo. Going over who's clip got moved is the only subject she is interested in discussing when she gets home.

My class is actually twenty hours of continuing education which happens to be at Life Chiropractic College, where I attended graduate school. So, technically, I was in school today.

"Does your school have a principal?" Senia Mae asked, looking interested as she gave me the questioning eye of a five year old.

"Well... no, it's kind of a school for grown ups," I said.

"Oh," she said. "Well, what are the other rules?"

"Ummm, I'm not really sure, I haven't been in school for a long time."

"Running or skipping in the hallways... are you allowed to do that?" Senia Mae asked. "We aren't allowed to skip or run in the hallways. The principal is always watching on tiny cameras. We have to walk quietly with our hands behind our backs, no running and absolutely NO skipping." Thinking of her question I giggled at the vision of middle aged, suit wearing professionals randomly skipping through the hallway by the Nell Williams Library. I saw their faces glowing, their smiles beaming with joy, replacing the solemn, serious gaze that usually accompanied task oriented adults.

"You know, sometimes adults forget how fun it is to skip. We probably shouldn't do it through the hallways but maybe outside in the courtyard for sure." Satisfied with my response, she looked down at a pad of paper she had prepared just for this conversation and placed a check mark next to a squiggly line.

"What about whistling in class?" Senia Mae asked. "I got a warning for that the other day, but Ms. Marlene gave me two more chances." She sighed a little, looking exasperated as she shook her round little face back and forth. "I just didn't know there was no whistling in class." She is so expressive for a five year old, sometimes it feels as if you are talking to someone much older.

"I am sure our teachers would not want whistling in class, either." I said. "I bet they want everyone to just pay attention."

"Yeah, you're probably right," she agreed as she made another check mark on the next squiggly line. "What time do you have recess?"

"Ha, unfortunately never."

"Momma, that's too bad, but I'm sure you are going to have fun at school anyway. Don't be scared, o.k.?" She looked me in the eye and stuck her soft, little hand on my cheek before she turned and skipped away.

At that moment I just wanted to fold her up and stick her in my pocket. Sometimes it takes the innocence of a child to remind us the importance of a simple yet happy life. How I love that kid.

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

I wish that I could be like the cool kids...

I knew that one day the phrase would eventually come back and bite me in the... well, you know where and it finally did. For several years now, when Senia Mae feels hesitant about anything from riding her bike down a hill to heading into kindergarten all by herself, I have jokingly said, "Come on, all the cool kids are doing it!"

Last summer we were celebrating a two year old's birthday party. The high school principal happened to be the birthday girl's grandmother. She overheard me reciting my line to Senia mae and laughed. "You better watch that one," she said, slapping me gently on the shoulder as she turned away. I laughed back and thought nothing of it.

A few weeks ago after getting home from school, Senia Mae came down the front steps in her new apricot laced, knee length school dress with matching white patent leather slip-ons. Without thinking I dashed in the house, unloading my armload of supplies I had lugged from the car down the thirty steps to the house, trying not to drop anything as I managed my daily balancing act. As usual my mind easily wandered and I was soon wrapped up in another chore, cleaning off the counter so I could prepare dinner while Senia Mae played outside. After several minutes of not seeing my vibrant child skipping, squealing, and doing pirouettes through the front yard, I knew something was awry. Grabbing the dish towel, I quickly wiped off my hands and headed out the screened door.

In the distance I heard the usual outdoor noises, chickens clucking, crickets chirping, owls hooting, all mixed with a little girl's voice talking quietly to herself. I rounded the corner and saw Senia Mae sitting happily in the chicken coop. She was holding her favorite chicken in her arms as she perched herself, still clothed in her beautiful lacy dress, on the poop covered ladder to the nesting box. You could tell by her look of absolute pleasure that she was where she wanted to be, spending quality time co-mingling with her fluffy, feathered friends.

"Senia Mae," I screamed, resisting the urge to yank her out of there by the ponytail, "What are you doing sitting in the chicken coop with your school clothes on?" She looked up at me with total surprise, as if she couldn't possibly understand what was making me so agitated. And do you want to know her response?

"Momma, all the cool kids are doing it!"

I guess I deserved that one.

Friday, August 28, 2015

What did your childhood taste like?

This morning a box that looked full of big, round greenish pink overstuffed grapes sat on my desk. "What are these?" I asked my assistant.
"Oh, they are muscadines. Someone gave them to Ivy and with their thick skins and big seeds, she said they were too tough to swallow. She left them for us." I opened up the plastic container and popped a plump, juicy ping pong ball sized piece of heaven in my mouth.

With the first bite, as the juices burst into my mouth, I immediately recognized the unique smell, that old familiar fragrance as the musky sweetness infiltrated my nostrils. Instantaneously my mind skipped back thirty five years and I was running through my childhood backyard, wrestling the waist-high vines with the green, palm sized leaves that got caught in our shoelaces and the pockets of our dungarees. Back then us kids called them "wild grapes." I remembered biting into their thick skins, sucking the sweet layer off the inside as the slimy inner portion floated over my tongue. Since no one liked the sour inside we would have contests to see who could spit the slimy balls the farthest. Many a mud pie was made with a secret "real" ingredient that grew wildly abundant in the overgrown pastures of Eastern Massachusetts, making my backyard recipes that much more appealing.

I probably hadn't eaten a muscadine since I was seven but today I tasted my childhood again. What did your childhood taste like?

Sunday, August 16, 2015

Grabbing LIFE by the A$$

The alarm buzzed like several angry bees trapped inside a tin can, letting me know that it was, once again, time to get up and go. On Sunday mornings I rise early, drag myself out of bed, grab a cup of coffee, and head to church to warm up with the praise team as we prepare for the 8:45 Contemporary Worship Service. Although I was exhausted from playing with my rock n' roll band last night, (at a place where we actually got a better response playing Twinkle Twinkle Little Star for a trio of toddlers than when someone in the crowd sarcastically requested Freebird and we nailed it)I was happy to be exhausted as a result of living one of my dreams.

Once upon a time I thought I was going to spend my life on a tour bus playing late nights to sold out stadiums across America. Over the years the plan has changed drastically, but my passion is still the same and I feel fortunate that I am able to live that passion, as well as being a wife, mother, chiropractor, and writer. I love to play the drums whether it is in front of three dancing toddlers, a sold out stadium, or a church full of people praising the Lord. And even though I was tired as I sat lazily on the porch swing with the sun warming my face, when Senia Mae wanted to build a tent in the living room and watch Pee Wee's Big Adventure, I couldn't say no because I am aware that special times are, like everything else, limited.

Today my partner, Kim, learned that a dear friend's life was ending. She got the call as her friend was headed to the hospital, holding onto those final hours before she lost her battle with pancreatic cancer. They had gotten out of touch over the years and finally reconnected a few years ago. Kim was stunned to learn of her friend's terrible diagnosis at such a young age. But there seemed to be nothing anyone could do. In the end she was very thankful that they had found each other once again.

It hurts my heart to see people going through the motions of life but not living: afraid to take the chance, too lazy to make the time, or even worse, frozen in the pavement of procrastination. Instead of saying, "Maybe one day when we win the lottery," make it happen now, take a risk, follow your heart, remember what it feels like, spend the extra time, make that call, book the flight anyway, write the letter, shout it out for the whole world to hear because we are alive today... but we are not promised tomorrow.

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Capitalizing the Sweet Tooth

"I don't like that," Senia Mae says before I can even get the lid off of the dutch oven to show her what's simmering inside. "I'll have peanut butter and jelly." Somehow I have been plucked from my old world of red wine and brie en croute only to be vigorously tossed into the land of peanut butter and jelly for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

"You are not having peanut butter and jelly for every meal. Little bodies need different kinds of nutrition to grow. Peanut butter and jelly is good sometimes, but tonight I made something you're really going to love."

"What?" she asks.

"Well its pot roast, green beans, and home made macaroni and cheese. Three things you really like to eat." Instead of forcing fancy cuisine on my five year old, I was trying a more moderate tactic: cooking foods we could all enjoy together.

"OK," she said as she headed to the table.

A few minutes later I noticed she had eaten most of the beans, all of the mac and cheese, but hadn't touched the meat. "Momma, I don't like this," she said pointing to the bbq style sandwich I had made her on a hamburger bun.

"Why not?"

"It's too sweet." Now if I had been serving her brussels sprouts I could understand, but nothing to her is too sweet. This was a slow cooked beef bbq with brown sugar and hickory: moist, tender, and almost heavenly. I knew she was just being obstinate.

"But you love sweet things," I said. "You have a sweet tooth." She stopped for a minute, touching her teeth as she thought about what I was saying. It was hard to keep a straight face.


"Oh, the sweet tooth is the one next to the big one in the front." It came out so fast that I didn't even realize what a tall tale I was telling.

"This one?" she said, pointing to her left incisor.

"No, one in from that one." I moved her finger over one tooth.

"This is my sweet tooth?"

"Yep," I lied, knowing I was taking advantage of my daughter's gullible nature. "That's the tooth that makes you like all sweets. Now you can finish your meat because you have a sweet tooth."

She was amazed at her special tooth, touching it with one hand, thrilled by the new discovery as she speared little pieces of food with her other.

I know that lying is one of the "Thou shall nots," but my little white one got three more bites into her without any more argument. Certainly on the big chart in the sky those two things can cancel each other out!

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Is it early stage Alzheimer's or just busy Mom syndrome?

People tell me all of the time, “I can’t believe how much you can get done. How do you manage to fit everything in?” By everything they mean being a full time wife, mother, and chiropractor in private practice… a drummer in the church praise band, writer, blogger, sometimes good cook, and hopefully soon to be published author.

What they really don’t know is… I am not really that organized. Actually I am a complete unsystematic mess. The only reason I have any efficiency whatsoever is that I tackle tasks immediately. If I do not tend my mental garden soon after the seeds have been sown, all information seems to be permanently rinsed down the drain, never resurfacing. Just this morning we showed up at my in-law’s house and my partner said, “Kara, tell them why we are here….” I had no recollection of why we were there even though we had been just talking about it in the car. The problem was we also talked about refilling our coffees, where we were going for dinner, and how my editor commented on the final cuts.

Lying in bed at night I wonder, “Is this how Pat Summit felt: overbooked, overcompensating, and overwhelmed, trying to avoid the diagnosis of early onset dementia?” I make a mental list of my symptoms, most of which could go either way. I usually remember at least 2/3rds of the grocery list although I rarely find the need to write it down. I can remember complaints a patient had two years ago, even if they haven’t been in since then. I don’t necessarily get lost on the way home, sometimes I just get so absorbed, singing at the top of my lungs as the bass rattles my brain, “I’m sorry but I’m just thinking of the right words to say. I know they don’t sound the way I planned them to be. But if you wait around awhile I’ll make you fall for me I promise. I promise you.” I have only driven past my road a handful of times.

Maybe it really is nothing. My partner and I are managing to have sex at least once a week, my five year old still crawls into bed wanting to snuggle with me, and although I have set up a workstation on my treadmill so I can get more done while I get my workout, I am convinced that I appear to be well contained on the outside. A couple of days at the beach should really slow me down enough to get myself back together. But until then my motto has shifted from “Get it done” to “Get it done right now or I will have no memory of it.”

If there are any other busy moms out there that can relate to this level of hysteria please let me know… if only to put both of our minds at ease.

Sunday, June 21, 2015

A cute little story about fathers on Father's Day

What do kids who don't have dads do on Father's Day? Mine is at the beach right now and this afternoon we will spend time with her Grandpa.
When she asks why other kids have a Daddy, we just tell her how lucky she is to have two Mommies and that she has Grampy, Grandpa, Uncle Terry, Uncle Paul, Uncle Richie, Uncle John, Uncle Bubba, Uncle Joe, and Uncle Ben to help us fill in that special place. Most days she is completely unaffected, perfectly well balanced and centered, but some days it hits her a little differently.

About a month ago we were having our morning discussion in the hot tub as she stole sips of coffee from my mug. These kind of mornings we have deep conversations, not one typical of having with a five year old. It started like this.

"Who made you, Momma?"

"What?" I said, a little stunned.

"Where did you come from?" Senia Mae asked.

"Well, Grammy and Grampy are my parents. I came from them."

"But who created you?" I was a little surprised at the depth of her question, assuming they must have been talking about creation in Sunday School that week.

"Oh. God created me and you and all the birds... basically everything. He gave us his son, Jesus to forgive our mistakes."

"So God is Jesus' father?" she asked innocently.

"Yes and God is the father to all of us. We are all God's children," I said, hoping I had explained it in a way she could understand.

"So I DO have a father!" The look of satisfaction on her face was so pure and undeniable, like she had just been explained the answer to the question of life itself.

"Yes, Senia Mae, God is your father," I said.

Suddenly all was well with the world and Senia Mae swam away happy and content that yes, she indeed did have a father. Before I could even process the depth of our conversation or how affected or unaffected she actually was, she was already onto the next topic and stealing another sip of my coffee!

Saturday, June 20, 2015

It's all in the wave

All my grandmother ever wanted was curly hair. Well maybe not all, but there was definitely a deep yearning, enough so that she married a wavy-locked man in order to pass the desired gene on to her offspring. Unfortunately all four of their daughters ended up with stick straight hair as well as the same undeniable curling desire. If any of you have seen pictures of me you know the end result... the hair DNA skipped a generation. On humid days in Georgia I practically have a full Afro. Don't get me wrong, I fully appreciate all my grandmother's efforts, enough to write a book about it and name my daughter in her memory. But the connection runs deeper.

Senia Mae sees things on a very linear level. Whenever we play princesses, even though there are a total of eleven, I always have to be Snow White because we both have dark, curly hair. Why can't I be Merida (very curly hair) or Tianna (an excellent cook) or Ariel (a wonder in the water)? With my natural traits and talents I could easily be one of those princesses. Her answer is always, "No, Momma, you have curly hair... you have to be Snow White." And so it goes. Once again, I am Snow White, even in the summer with a tan.

I wasn't aware that Gram's curly hair obsession was spontaneously transferred into my young daughter until the day I spritzed some product into her hair right after her bath. She wanted me to wrap the terry cloth towel around her head and let it sit for a few minutes, like I do mine. When I removed it she looked in the mirror and responded like this, "I love the curls... I love the curls!" It was so adorable. Here's the YouTube link:

And that is why the book had to be named The Significance of Curly Hair, because even if we don't really admit it, in this family the deep, yearning desire for waves is utterly undeniable.

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Madder than a wet hen

For any of you that aren't completely following our lives on Facebook, we are now proud chicken farmers. O.K., maybe it requires a bit more knowledge to be considered an actual farmer, but I am so excited about our three "ladies" that I almost ran out and bought a pair of Osh Kosh B'gosh overalls. Senia Mae and I find ourselves wanting to hang out in the coop and we've even built them their very own chicken tunnel for playing in the yard. Mommy Kim likes them too, but from a distance.

Every morning we are gently woken up by a "bak-bak-bak-kaaaa, bak-bak-bak-kaaaa(the end note is very highly pitched)." I am almost positive they are speaking to us saying, "I'm laying my egg! I'm laying my egg!" because when I go out there holding my morning coffee and dressed in my bathrobe, they have this satisfied look that almost says, "go ahead, see what's in that nesting box!" We pull up the lid and there are usually three eggs: a brown one from Brownie, a white one from Bianca, and a little egg from the little hen, Snowflake.(Senia Mae named her that even though she is brown!) It is so funny.

Sometimes I can't get Senia Mae out of the coop. She just wants to hang out and chat with the ladies, feeding them worms she pulled out from under rocks. One day she thought they needed a little more roaming space and let them out in the yard. Eventually we are going to let them be free range but I wanted them to get used to their surroundings first.

"Senia Mae," I shouted, "why did you let the chickens out?"

"They wanted to run around," she said, completely matter of fact. She gave me that look that teenagers give to their parents when they are certain that as adults, we obviously know nothing.

"What if they fly away?" I said. Suddenly a look of horror crossed my daughters face as a deluge of water filled her lower eye lids. Maybe my question was a little too direct, but I knew if something did happen to one of those chickens we would have a heart broken little girl. She loves those chickens.

"Lets see if we can round them up," I said, coming around the coop and cornering Brownie. I quickly placed both hands around her girth and tucked her under my arm, putting her back in the pen. The little one was pretty easy to catch, too. All I had to do was hold some grass in my hand and she came right up to me. But Bianca was really enjoying her freedom. I'd run behind her and she would scoot to the right, hiding and scratching under the cover of our 4x4 elevated garden. Even though it is raised two and a half feet above the ground, I was not going to crawl under there and get all wet and dirty following a happy chicken. After several more rounds of "chase the chicken," all of which Bianca won, I was frustrated, flustered, and about to be late for work.

"This is all my fault," Senia Mae cried, sitting on the ground Indian style with her face hiding in her hands.

"It's going to be just fine," I said. "We will just open the door to the coop when it gets dark and Bianca will go in with the others to roost." I had heard that was what chickens did and hoped that would be true this time. "Lets go in the house and give her some space." Bianca was staying in the front yard, happily pecking in the grass. Once inside, Senia Mae crawled up on the stool by the breakfast counter, still looking distressed.

"Hey guys, why is Bianca running around in the grass?" Mommy Kim said as she walked through the front door. Senia Mae laid her head on the counter, face down.

"She kind of let the chickens out unknowingly and now thinks she has ruined everything," I whispered to Kim.

"Well, I need an ice cream, does anybody else need one?" Kim opened up the freezer and pulled out the box of Blue Bunny chocolate dipped mini cones. Senia Mae lifted her head from the counter.

"That is the only thing that is going to make me feel better," Senia Mae said with total relief, graciously taking the cone with a napkin.

"Maybe we should watch an episode of Monster High and get our minds off the chickens," Kim said, turning on Netflix and plopping Senia Mae down on the couch. I left for work, leaving Kim in charge of the chicken fiasco.

After an hour and a half I had gotten a text from Kim. "You won't believe this story, call if you have a second." I called her immediately.

"What's going on?" I asked.

"Well, Bianca was perfectly happy in the front yard until I forgot she was out there and let Luna out." Luna is our 2 year old Cocker Spaniel who lays outside of the chicken coop daily, gazing at them with a yearning so primal that it could only come from a bird dog.

"Oh, no."

"So Luna is chasing Bianca around the front yard and then around the side of the house. By this time I hear the fluttering of wings and Luna is howling while headed towards the lake. I am yelling frantically and after five minutes get both dogs back in the house."

"What happened?" I asked. "Please don't tell me Bianca drowned in the lake."

"Well, I wasn't sure. I was looking out the window and saw a white fluff ball in the weedy bushes by the edge of the water. I told Senia Mae to stay in front of the T.V while I went down to the lake to check on the chicken."

"She stayed in the house?" I couldn't believe it.

"She wanted to come with me but I didn't want her to see anything gruesome so I let her stand by the window," Kim said. "I walk down there and Bianca is perched on a small limb, hanging about four feet above the water. her bottom feathers were wet and dripping. You could tell she was totally freaked out and in shock, the poor thing. I felt so bad for her. The limb she was on was too far out over the water, I couldn't reach her from the land and there was no way she was moving. You could tell she was holding on for dear life."

"What did you do?" I asked.

"Well I got in the kayak and paddled over to her."

"What?" I was hysterically laughing now.

"It gets better. So I paddle over to her but the bush is so thick that I can't get all the way in to touch her. I'm wondering how I am going to save this scared chicken... then the answer just comes to me! I took my paddle and held it out by her branch. She looked at me, then marched right up the paddle. I took her in my arms and rested her between my legs as I paddled back to the shore."

"No way," I said, unable to believe the crazy chicken rescue. "Why does all the good stuff happen when I am at work?" I laughed.

"I don't know. I wished someone would have been taking a video. It was unbelievable. I was still kind of afraid that she was going to start pecking at me, but I had to get her back to the coop, so I tucked her under my arm and started walking up the hill. Her bottom side was completely sopping wet."

"You mean to say the term 'madder than a wet hen' is real?"

"I don't know if she was mad or just paralyzed with fear, but she let me carrier her up the hill. She didn't even move when we ran into Hazel (our neighbor's Labrador). I shifted my body and hid her behind my chest and Hazel didn't even notice that I was carrying a chicken!" Kim sounded so pleased with herself.

"That is an unbelievable story. I am so sorry that I missed it."

The moral of the story is: chickens can fly and chickens can swim, but if your hen is mad and wet while perched out on a limb, you better rescue her in a kayak!

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Key West - Blistering in Paradise

I am getting teary eyed as I call the island bike rental place to return our beach rides. We have pedaled all over this beautiful island, enough that both of our butts are sore. I have actually developed a little blister on the pad of my right thumb from gripping the handlebars, but it has been totally awesome.

Although Kim and I get along exceptionally well while on a relaxing vacation, I have realized that, as kids we must have been polar opposites. My personality as a child was a little more cautious and reserved, checking twice before I took any action. Kim on the other hand, was daring and care-free, cutting through traffic and doing wheelies. I have picked up on these details while trying to follow her on my bike all week.

Last night, after a few margaritas on Duval Street and watching the sunset, we got back on our bikes. Being safe riders, we pulled out our mini headlights and as we are clipping them on the handlebars Kim says, "Look, I've already got them flashing."

"I don't want them flashing, someone's going to have a seizure... they look like strobe lights," I said as I pushed the red button on mine to make it a steady stream of light.

"Well I want mine blinking," Kim said as she took off, quickly launching her bike over the side of the curb, merging in with the traffic.

"Hey Blinky, wait... ," I said to no one because she was already off. I am not comfortable riding my bike over the curb and feeling the hard seat slam into my innards. I rolled it gently over the edge then had to wait for a few cars to pass by, looking carefully to the right and left before making my move. Before I knew it she was almost a full block ahead of me, zipping through the streets like a courier, while I rode carefully beside the traffic, aware of every bump as I enjoyed looking at all the brightly colored Victorian homes with their tropical foliage.

Even though we both ended up in the same place, our travels were very different, but it didn't matter because each one of us was enjoying the ride, our own way. And isn't that really what visiting Key West is all about?

Friday, April 10, 2015

Sleep deprivation at its finest.. It's a hard night's day!

There is not a single concealing cover-up in the whole makeup industry potent enough to hide the bags that I am trying to hide this morning. On the forefront of one of my busiest weekends of the spring, I was awakened every hour on the hour by a daughter who was announcing the latest actions of our Cocker Spaniel who, although I wasn't aware, was having "trail through the house" attacks of diarrhea. This was last night's schedule:

9:00 Senia Mae went to bed after having a large sweet tea at the Mexican restaurant... Big mistake.

10:15 I hear footsteps at the side of my bed, "Can you blow my nose?" she asks. She is sent back to bed.

10:45 Through my closed eyes I hear the frogs croaking outside but then in the distance a human voice. I get up to ensure our home has no intruders only to find Senia Mae singing at the top of her lungs in bed.

"Close your eyes and go to sleep," I demand.

12:00 I am suddenly awakened a third time by someone screaming, "Momma, Luna is pooping in the hallway! And she peed on the rug, too!" While cleaning up the mess in the semi-dark I am wondering why she is awake at midnight.

"Thank you for the report. Now go to sleep," I say with my irritated voice.

12:45 Again footsteps at my side of the bed. "I have a boo-boo." This time I didn't respond, just point at her bedroom like the parent in that Dr. Seuss book, Marvin K. Mooney Will You Please Go NOW!

1:30 Standing in our bedroom doorway Senia Mae announced, "Momma, Luna pooped again and I stepped in it." By this time I am beyond tired and well past irritated.

"Why are you out of bed in the first place? If you were in your bed you wouldn't have stepped in poop." Somehow stepping in the poop must have made her realize how tired she was because she finally fell asleep soon after the foot washing.

This morning I am dragging myself out of bed while contemplating the events of last night. After my second strong cup of coffee and a long, steamy shower, I rush out the door fifteen minutes later than I should have. Of course, I am stuck behind a slow traveling Buick driven by an elderly man wearing a Tam O'Shanter cap. As I pull up behind him at the stop sign I notice his bumper sticker:
I nearly spilled my coffee all over my lap because I was laughing so hard. It may be the funniest bumper sticker I have ever seen and oh so appropriate for a morning like this!

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

What to do when your son takes to building with your Tampax boxes... at Walmart

My friend Kelli came into my office the other day and said, "I've got a great story for you to blog about... it was so funny," she leaned the desk and looked down at the floor, letting out a deep belly laugh, "but I can't remember what it was!" How wonderful it is that other people are coming up with fresh bogging ideas for me to use... so much less pressure.

"I know the feeling," I said laughing with her because I completely understand that level of what I call "manageable forgetfulness." Many times I will get distracted in the cooking utensil aisle at Kroger and completely forget why I was originally shopping.

"Oh, I know what it was," Kelli said. "It was Brandon in the shopping cart the other day. It was that embarrassing moment in Walmart when you are walking through the feminine products aisle with your four year old son. To keep himself entertained he is building a high rise, right there in the wagon. It's got toilet paper for the ground level, Oil of Olay for the turret, and every exposed wall is either a box of Tampax or Poise pads!" Her cheeks blushed at the memory.

"Ha," I spurted out, "keep your eyes down and don't stop walking!" My words came out almost illegible because I was in complete hysterics, remembering Senia Mae's public outburst on the swing the other day, "Mama, my hoo hoo is going crazy!"

Everyone who has a child knows that keeping your child calm, quiet, and collected in the store is always going to rank higher than any type of personal embarrassment on the endless list of things that really matter. Kelli, I would remember your Poise Pad Parade with pride and say that your were merely taking one for the team!

Monday, March 16, 2015

Sugar...Yes, Please. How using your kids' sticker reward system can revamp your marriage.

A few years back, during the dreadful days of potty training, a simple sticker chart was taped on the glass of our white bathroom cabinet. I was always astonished to see how much confidence and pride Senia Mae gained when she knew did good, with something as normal as going tinkle in the potty. After she was done she would turn down its lid and sit on the potty like a stool, staring at her chart with the big Dora the Explorer stickers, so pleased with herself. "I did it," she would squeal as she took me by the hand, leading me into the bathroom to show me her accomplishments.

One morning, after an exceptionally romantic evening with Kim, I deliberately stuck a extra large heart sticker on our kitchen calendar. "What's the sticker for?" she asked, finally noticing it a few hours later.

"I thought you deserved a sticker for a job well done last night," I said, giving her a wink. It may have been the best compliment I had ever given her because almost immediately her smile changed into a panoramic grin, her chest peacocking out as she strut out of the kitchen with quite a bit more spring in her step. Something as simple as a sticker, a symbol on a calendar, made her realize that she was still special to me. She once again felt worthy, accepted, and loved while I felt close and connected to her.

It was a refreshing break to our routine that had over the years become slightly blase'. Seeing the stickers on the chart was a sort of challenge to do better all of the time, a simple reminder of how much enjoyment we have together when we take the time to do so. Something as silly as adding stickers to a monthly calendar has enhanced one of the strongest bonds that holds us together as a couple. Not surprisingly, when there are more stickers on the chart we seem to get along better. If we argue, the fights are less intense and we seem to be able to reach a common ground quickly. Our differences don't seem as noticeable because we are adding strength to our core.

Overall we are more happy as a couple and that joy flows into the heart of our impressionable daughter. In the couple of years since we began the chart we have told several people about our system, laughing about how easy it is to reward our kids but how seemingly hard it is to reward ourselves. The most common response we get is, "Oh wow, why didn't we think of that?"

Sunday, March 8, 2015

"Who's your Daddy?"

Some of our deepest conversations happen while floating face up in the hot tub. Senia Mae and I ponder life's philosophical questions, some of which I have the answer to and some that I don't. Yesterday, completely out of the blue, her question was, "Who made Jesus?"

"God made Jesus," I said.

"And who made God?" Senia Mae asked.

"I don't think anybody made God, he just is. God is the father to all of us." I said without much consideration. Senia Mae thought about my answer, her inner brain circuits rapidly firing away.

"Oh," she said as she smiled back at me, "then I DO have a father." I exhaled slowly, aware that my second biggest worry, "how are you going to explain that she has no father?" was being brought to the surface.

"Yes. God is your father." I said, relieved with the conversation was flowing somewhat effortlessly.

A few moments went by and I wondered if I was going to face any repercussions. We had already sailed through three years of preschool with no real issues. When asked about having a father she always thought nothing of it and replied, "I have two mommies."
Our pastor offered to fill the role when her school had "Donuts with Dad." Senia Mae decided that she would rather go to Dunkin' Donuts with her mommies. But I knew someday the question would go deeper, would it be today?

"I am glad that God is my father... but I am really glad that I have two mommies," Senia Mae said as if she could sense my apprehension. She gently slid her body onto my lap and wrapped her arms around my neck.

Senia Mae's face was nuzzled so deeply into my hair that she couldn't see the look of utter relief on my face, thankful that our wonderful, loving child is so remarkably well rounded. I looked up to the sky and whispered the words, "Thank you, Jesus."

Saturday, March 7, 2015

Some tips that everyday, real-life princesses can learn from Frozen

As you know I am the mother of a five ear old. This morning as I left for work she was sitting on the couch watching Frozen for the millionth time, but this time comparing it scene by scene to the Frozen Sing-along Storybook. While my family was in deep analysis mode, I decided to do a little analysis of my own because I agree that the storyline of Frozen unveils some positive life lessons for all of us.

1. When someone's life "appears" perfect it doesn't mean they are happy.
Elsa's icy power caused her so much fear she felt she had to hide in order to protect the people she loved. It is easy to envy people we think "have it all" when they may be living in their own misery.

2. The Prince/Princess who appears to have it all is not always "The one."
Dashing, debonair, and in Hans' case delinquent, just because their last name happens to be Charming doesn't give mean they are all that. We've all been there... the amazing sex, the breathtaking look, the glamorous stuff. It is easy to be swept up by illusions. Don't let your senses get so bombarded by bling that you forget to notice the girl or boy next door.

3. Be grateful if your parents were not lost at sea.
Um, yes. I think this one is self explanatory. :)

4. An act of "true love" isn't always a kiss.
We assume it was true love's kiss that was going to break the icy spell on Anna, but it was actually the love and compassion she had for her sister. Hmmm... what a concept.

5. Do real people have "powers?"
Senia Mae asked this legitimate question a few weeks ago. While you or I might not boast magical ice powers, I believe we all possess special strengths and talents that make us unique and exceptional. Honing in and using the gifts God bestowed upon us is our own way of expressing powers.

6. Why have a ballroom with no balls?
I skip through my living room singing this phrase all the time. We work hard in life to be able to afford finer things. But if fear or fanaticism is keeping you from enjoying the things you work so hard for... what is the point? Take time to savor the small stuff today because tomorrow is not guaranteed.

7. Holing yourself up in a room rarely makes any relationships better.
Anna will probably need years of extensive therapy to conquer her abandonment issues with Elsa. Try talking about your feelings, someone is bound to understand.

8. When life gets to be too much, chocolate is always a simple, sweet,and satisfying solution!

Saturday, February 28, 2015

Just wear one of these and call me in the morning!

It's not my birthday, mine is two months long past, but this is a remnant of celebration that Senia Mae wore to school on her birthday a few weeks ago. When we placed the glamorous Happy Birthday crown upon her head she instantly transformed, as if the crown itself contained powers that made any ordinary day magical. She walked through the double glass doors with pride, her expression read, "Make way, here I come," as she sported her purple, glitter,salutary headdress indicating that today, in fact, she was the real deal, a true princess.

Since her birthday the crown has been sitting on top of a pile of mail on the right side of the mantle. It has been a crazy busy month, we've had a death in the family, have been iced in our houses for most of this week, and I am stressing about not having enough time to work on my query letter that is due to be sent out in just a few weeks.

In the meantime I am trying to fight off a sinus infection without having to get on antibiotics. Last night I decided that the saline rinse was not working fast enough, so I doused a few Q-tips with pure oregano oil and shoved them deep into my nasal cavities. Oregano is more than just a palate pleasing pizza addition, the organic pressed oil has extremely potent anti bacterial properties that are so strong they leave a deep burning sensation on the skin. It took almost ten minutes for my eyes to stop watering from the zestfulness as I finally released my death grip on the sink. When I woke up this morning, although my sinuses were a little more clear, I felt like I was recovering from a wild night of snorting lines of wasabi.

Senia Mae could tell I wasn't my usual self because I was sitting in the chair with my chin down, rubbing the space in between my eyebrows. As she and Mommy were packing up her things to go over to Grandma's house, she ran and grabbed her folding pink princess card table chair. Carefully she opened it in front of the fireplace and used it as a step stool, her little hand reaching up to the top of the mantle, quickly retracting it as she tried to hide whatever it was behind her back.

"Mama," she said as she presented the glittery birthday crown and placed it on my head, "I want you to wear this." She looked so serious and grown up with her eyebrows furrowed, her expression identical to the one I use when expressing something of utmost importance to her. "There you go," she said as she fiddled with my curls around the cheap silver headband.

"Why do you want me to wear this?" I asked.

"I think it will take your mind of the pain," she nodded to herself as she rubbed her fingers on her chin, lost in deep thought.

"So wearing this Happy Birthday crown will make my sinuses feel better?"

"Mama, just wear the crown. You will feel better I know it." Her satisfactory grin showed me that she was pleased with herself and absolutely sure that her remedy was going to be a success. Who wouldn't feel better knowing that with the addition of a crown they would instantly become a real princess? It was so adorable... her most sincere wish... I had to admit that I felt better almost immediately!

Friday, February 13, 2015

Who needs sleep?

We are now the proud parents of a five year old princess diva deluxe.
Although she is all glitz and glamor on the outside, inside she is of sweetest, most sensitive individuals I have ever met. So much so that she doesn't want to ever leave us...especially when having to spend the whole night alone in her room.

"I am the only one on this whole house who has to sleep by myself," Senia Mae complains.

"That's not true," I lie, "You have bunny, chicken, all of those little stuffed dogs, and Elsa and Anna sleeping right in that cradle." My detraction works for the moment and I am able to kiss her goodnight and leave the room. She is right, everyone else does have someone to sleep with, but I am not going to admit that to her.

One o'clock in the morning creeps around and I hear the shuffling footsteps stopping at my side of the bed. She doesn't ask anymore, she just hopes she can sneak in without me noticing. Sometimes I am so tired that I am not aware until a surging hot flash floods my innards because I am surrounded on all sides. I've got Kim on one side, Senia Mae spooning the other, and the kitten curled up behind my knees. Sweat beads my forehead and I have to thrash the covers off, but they won't move because Senia Mae lies on top of them.

"Senia Mae," I groan, "you have got to go back to you own bed." She moves about one inch to the edge of the bed, hoping I will fall back asleep. Although consciousness is poking my face from its silent abyss, I am trying to remain asleep without a battle of wills that often ends in tears...tears laced with enough guilt that she thinks she may get her way. "Mae Mae, time for your bed."

"Aw, come on, you're not even giving me a chance," she pleads. Where did that come from? I think to myself, laughing at how her comment sounds like it came from an adult.

"For real this time. I can't sleep all crammed up like this," I say quietly, trying not to wake Kim. I almost have to roll her off the edge of the bed and she stomps to her room. But that is not the end. She decides to stand in her bedroom doorway and whimper about how lonely it is in her room. I try to ignore this and just let her fall asleep. The specialists would say, "Do like Elsa and 'Let it go.'" But I have a very heavy conscious and it is still the night of her birthday. I don't have the heart to let her biggest day of the year end in a weepy mess. So I drag myself out of my warm, comfortable bed and console her in the doorway.

"Hey, kiddo, why don't you get in your bed and I will stay with you until you fall asleep," I say. She nods her head and wipes a tear with her pudgy little hand as she heads under her Ariel blanket. Sitting on her very small princess fold out chair, I sit quietly with my hand on her chest, feeling it rise and fall as she drifts away peacefully.

When I think she is asleep after about fifteen minutes I stand up and one eye immediately opens, as if she were peering through a monocle, spying on me. I sit down and wait another thirty minutes, until my legs are feeling pins and needles and I am certain she is in a deep sleep. I tiptoe back to my room and get under the covers, now fully awake because I have been up for over an hour.

Finally I coax myself back to sleep, but after another hour or so the midnight bed monster returns. This time I am too tired to talk, argue, or carry her back to bed. I just move on over because I have to be completely functioning in just two hours. This has happened on and off for the past five years.

So to all who all who enviously ask, "You sit in the hot tub and drink your coffee every morning?" My answer is YES! It is one of the few guilty pleasures that I have left and a good way to bribe my sleep deprived body out of bed!

Saturday, January 24, 2015

The problem with thrift store shopping

I always find it humorous to watch which character traits Senia Mae has taken from me and what she has picked up from Kim. If any of you know us personally, you probably know that Kim is the clean freak and I am the sentimental storer/pile maker. Today's background squabble of the day was Kim threatening to vacuum up Senia Mae's Barbie shoes that she haphazardly shoved under the bookshelf when asked to clean up her mess. Okay, that would be a Kara trait she picked up. The house was suddenly loud with the whirr of the vacuum as Kim pulled out the shelf and Senia Mae pleaded in the background, "No, no, those mean something to me," running up to the shelf and scooping the shoes up in a hurry.

"Well a clean house means something to me," Kim replied.

On goes the daily battle of what stays and what goes. Sometimes it is even so tough that we have to go through Senia Mae's clothes and old toys when she's at school. Several weeks ago, after the Christmas surplus, we made a quick deposit at the Abba House thrift store about a mile down the road. I have thought nothing of it since then.

A few days ago I wanted to drop off an old office chair as Senia Mae and I were running errands. "Can we go inside?" she asked. "I want to see the fish and the waterfall."

"Ok," I said, wanting to see how many steps I would get walking around the thrift store with my new Fitbit.

The thrift store resides in a now defunct outdoor sportsman's shop, so the inside is sanded pine and very rustic, with a flowing waterfall that collects into an indoor coy pool. Senia Mae thinks it is totally awesome because there is a walking bridge over a narrow section of the pool. Right behind the coy pond is the used treadmill and lawnmower section that I was eying as Senia Mae stared into the continuous ebb below.

"Mama, can we go see the toys?"

"Sure," I said without thinking. Then I spotted the half broken Barbie house we had donated the week before. Maybe she wouldn't notice.

"Look, Mama, this looks just like mine," Senia Mae said as I guided her past the other Barbie houses to the clothes rack. She immediately gravitated towards the shoes, another Kara trait, and sat down, pulling a pair of purple Laura Ashley flowered sandals off the shelf.

"I just love these, they look just like the ones I have."

"Had," I whispered under my breath, hoping I wasn't going to have to purchase something I had already donated. That is the problem with shopping and donating to the same store. You never know when you might just have to buy your own stuff back in order to save face.

"Senia Mae, those are really too small," I said. "They won't fit in the summer time. We have another pair at home that is a little bit bigger." Fortunately for me she agreed and we headed on to the next aisle. Whew. That one could have gone either way!

Sunday, January 18, 2015

She was right...Disney princesses do NOT wear blue jeans!

We spent several days last week chasing down princesses at Disney World and I have to admit it was magical. Watching my daughter's face light up as her dreams were coming true was more fun than when I went there myself as a kid.

Senia Mae was right, though...not one of those princesses was wearing blue jeans. She decided that she wouldn't either. The first day she was Queen Elsa, the second Princess Belle, and the third day Princess Anna. When we finally met the 'Real' Princess Anna Senia Mae drilled her.

"Are you the real Anna and Elsa?" she said.

"Well, I'm the real Anna," Princess Anna said. "Go ahead, touch me!"
It was awesome!

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Underwear is Fun-to-wear! Underwear is Fun-to-wear!

I admit, since giving birth the shape of my lower end has...changed. It has not been drastic but has made certain articles a bit more uncomfortable. I experience more creeping and riding than ever before but am not willing to go out and buy new panties in the next larger size. Yes, I am stubborn. For comfort, sometimes I just skip wearing them altogether and without me being aware, my secret little stalker has picked up on the new trend.

We were visiting Uncle Terry and Aunt Vickie the other day and Senia Mae wanted to stay in her footie pajamas. It was damp and dreary day, dull, dismal, and gray. Pajamas seemed perfect, I would just carry her in. Her cousin was playing dress up and brought out a fluffy white leotard/tutu combination for Senia Mae to change into. You should have seen those eyes light up. She was ready to shed the jammies.

"My zipper is stuck," Senia Mae said. "Will someone help me?"

We were all sitting around the kitchen table playing Mexican Train Dominoes as I helped her with the zipper on her sleeper. As it dropped to the floor she stood completely naked in the middle of the room.

"Looks like someone's going commando," Terry laughed out loud.

"Senia Mae, why aren't you wearing underpants?" I asked as my face turned beet red.

"I just didn't feel like it," she said. "and you don't wear any." I felt myself wanting to hide under the table as everyone burst out laughing over my embarrassment from the innocent exposure.

"I don't know what she's talking about," I lied, not doing a very good job at convincing the crowd as they rolled their eyes. "This leotard has underpants in it, you should be fine. Let's get you dressed." I tried to revert the attention back to her and within moments she ran off with the other gowned gals, forgetting the whole incident.

Since Senia Mae is four and attending the Methodist preschool in town, I felt like the issue was something Kim and I needed to address to prevent future embarrassment for all parties. Kim had a great idea. This morning all three of us chanted "Underwear is fun to wear... Underwear is fun to wear," as Senia Mae skipped around the house getting dressed. The tactic was successful today, but as every parent knows, everyday is a new adventure. We'll see how tomorrow goes!

Sunday, January 4, 2015

The game of twenty questions

Driving in the car always seems to stimulate Senia Mae's inquisitive thinking. Even if we are only taking a five minute trip the conversational slew of questions can range from "How many months have Kelly and Steph lived in their house?" to "Why are the green colors on the traffic light round?" There is no telling what kind of question may arise as her little mind explores new concepts.

Today we were meeting our friends Kelly and Stephanie with their daughter, Stella, at the Fajita Grill for dinner. It was a little past dusk and the full moon was hiding behind a layer of clouds the shape of thinly shaved ice, looking seductive and eerie as it cast a whitish pink hue on the dark sky. I had just finished answering a question about why fingernails grow and was thinking about my next response if the next question happened to be an anatomical one. In the backseat I heard a few exasperated sighs then a nervous little voice piped up.

"So what if someone got gum stuck in their eyebrow?" Senia Mae asked theoretically.

"What?" Kim said as she turned around. She couldn't see anything because it was pitch dark in the car. At first the seriousness of the question didn't dawn on either of us. It seemed like another trivia quiz from Spin the Rolodex of Randomness.

"If someone had gum stuck in their eyebrow what would you do?" Senia Mae asked again, her voice squeaking this time. "Would they have to go to the hosibal?" Even though she claimed to want to be a neurosurgeon, Senia Mae was petrified of having to go to any doctor, even the eye doctor. I could hear the panic in her voice as she squirmed in the back seat.

"Well," Kim said, "If someone gets gum stuck in their hair you usually have to cut it out with scissors. Sometimes they will have to walk around with a funny haircut for a while but it does eventually grow back." I could tell she was processing something huge by the sudden silence in the rear. Until then, the reasoning behind all of the questions still had not occurred to us but then suddenly appeared. Senia Mae had gum stuck in her eyebrow.

"I don't want to talk about this anymore," Senia Mae grumbled.

"Why are you asking about all of this?" I said as I burst out laughing. "Do you have gum stuck in your eyebrow?" Just then Kim turned on the light an saw Senia Mae's thumb and forefinger nervously playing with her right eyebrow.
Apparently our hysterical laughter made Senia Mae more upset because she started whimpering in the back seat.

"Will you have to cut my eyebrow off?" she asked.

"Hmmm," I said. "There's probably not enough hair to cut it off. We could shave it off so you'd have only one eyebrow for a while or maybe cover it with some duct tape? Mommy Kim what do you think?" I knew we were taking it a little too far, but it was just so funny. There was a fire truck and ambulance already parked when we pulled into the restaurant.

"Oh, no," Senia Mae whined. "I don't want those firemen pulling the gum out of my eyebrow." I am certain that Kim and I could have been more empathetic if the whole scene was not so hysterical. We had just watched The Christmas Story and Senia Mae thought the firemen were going to treat her eyebrow like they did when Schlick's tongue was stuck to the frozen flagpole. After a moment of having to catch her breath, Kim finally took over the good parent role while trying to stifle the giggles.

"I think we can probably get it out with some peanut butter when we get home. Does that sound better than using the firemen to get it out?" Senia Mae nodded with relief.

"How about..." Senia Mae cut me off mid sentence.

"Mommy, this is too much. I don't want to talk about it anymore," she said as we walked inside the restaurant and met the girls. There were so many more things I wanted to add...we could get the gum out with the toy Pet Palace brush, but I could see that she was really upset and decided to just let it go before the poor kid needed therapy.