Friday, October 24, 2008

What To Wear

There is something I need those who take care of GK during the day to know. I need them to know that I dress her every day and that I have no idea what I'm doing. I'm okay with not putting stripes and circles, or whatever, together, but colors baffle me.

There's also the fact, though, that she's two, and I don't think it really matters what she wears as long as she's warm in the winter and cool in the summer.

I usually try to warn Kristy when I'm really uncertain about a wardrobe because she is the one who picks GK up in the afternoon and I don't want her to be too surprised by what she might see there. Today, though, I didn't think to tell Kristy because I thought I did okay. I put a brown shirt with purple hearts (thank you, Chloe) and blue pants on her. I found out this evening that this wasn't a good idea.

It's not so much that I stand there and study the choices before deciding on what would look good on her; it's mostly that I have three other kids and they all have to eat and get dressed and have lunches made for them, so that I'm lucky, really, to get a pair of pants and shirt on her and not two shirts or no pants.

So I'm trying, just not very hard because, like I said, she's two.

I should also focus more on her hair, too, probably, but that's a problem for a different day.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Because I Said So

I couldn't sleep the other night, and was fishing about under the davenport for my retainer that I was quite sure must be under there. Shoulder deep in broken remotes, waffle parts and toenail clippings, I felt something adhere itself to my arm hair. Pulling back, I found an Al Gore for President contribution envelope stuck to me, and on the back was written about 15 inches of funny in an illegible script. So I sent that in to The Commercial Appeal and they printed it next to my picture!

You can read it all here.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

A Magic Potion

I fed my two-year-old daughter ice cream for breakfast this morning because she asked for it. But then that two-year-old dressed herself for daycare without my help. If this works out, then I'll go with the ice cream breakfast, take the easier morning and deal with the bad teeth and hyperactivity later.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

A (Mostly) Good Boy

My 10-year-old son, C, is acting lately like a 13-year-old girl. He's moody, sensitive and quick to get upset. Very upset.

His mother and I can't say anything negative to him without him pouting that he can't do anything right. This is an odd thing for him to declare because, really, C does everything right. Sometimes I just sit in amazement at what a good kid he is. He willingly leads his brother and sisters in games, he looks out for his baby sister and helps with other people's kids as though they were his own siblings. He wants to help more around the house. He loves to read and is earnest in his school work.

It's almost disgusting how lucky Kristy and I got with our first kid. I feel guilty just talking about it with the rest of you, as though I'm rubbing it in your faces. As though I had anything to do with his good behavior. And I feel a little guilty complaining about his mood swings because, really, he's about 98% perfect.

It's that two-percent of sulking that needs some work, though I know it will get worse, much worse, before it gets better.

The Next Step

Here's the rumpus.

I don't talk much about myself here. Sure, I talk about what I think about and what I like as far as books, music and movies. And I talk about how I raise, or endeavor to raise, my kids. But I don't discuss a lot about what I do.

Or did.

In the last couple of weeks, I've sold my retail business. It's something I'd been working on for over a year and it's finally finished. I bought the little cigar shop almost 10 years ago, taking it over the day after C turned one. It had its ups and downs, I met a lot of good people and made some close friends. My kids saw that it is possible to make your own way in this world.

But it was difficult, it required a lot of my time and thoughts. I worked six days a week for the entire time I owned it, foregoing vacations many years, and that was time away from my kids.

So now I'm going from working for myself to ... working for myself. I'm going to try my hand at freelance writing. This is both thrilling and frightening, and possibly ludicrous, choice for someone who is 38 with four small kids. However, I am lucky to be surrounded by supportive people who assure me that I've made the right move and that they are here to help.

I feel good about this. I look forward to the next stage of my life, of spending more time with my family and doing something that I have always really wanted to do.

[photo by Chip]

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Happy Birthday?

GK, like all of my kids, says a lot of things. A LOT of things. I feel as though I should be documenting this toddler's vocabulary as it expands day by day but, damn, she says a lot. She has a cute little voice, too. It sounds like a cross between the chipmunks, Chip and Dale, from the old Walt Disney cartoons and Jim Henson's assistant to Dr. Bunsen Honeydew, Beaker.

And I understand about a third of it all.

She rambles and rambles on the way to school, on the way home from school, while we're getting ready for school, while she's getting ready for bed. I have no clue what she's talking about. However, whatever it is she's talking about always ends up back around at her birthday party. I don't know what birthday party she's talking about, she's never really had a birthday party. Yet the point of every conversation seems to be her birthday party.

It's fun, as we drive down the street, to point out a building and ask GK if that's where her birthday party was. Because it was there, and she'll go on and on about it ... I guess. "Bee bee bee bee bee bee ... birthday party ... bee bee bee bee ... poot ... bee bee bee ... birthday party ..."

One day GK will be a grown woman and she'll ask me what her first words were as a child. I'll probably shrug and look helplessly at her mother who will answer. And then I'll interrupt with "birthday party!" and they'll both assume I've had a stroke.

And one day she'll be a grown woman and won't want to acknowledge her birthdays. That's no fun. So for now, at least, she is welcome to believe she's had as many birthdays as she wishes.

[This is the 500th post on Urf!.]

Sunday, October 05, 2008

Broken Code

I don't cook. Since we were first married, Kristy has been the cook in the family. I don't demand it, I don't even ask for it. I don't have to, she just does. And she does it well.

Yesterday, however, we made our way to the Memphis Farmers' Market and I couldn't help myself when it came to the eggplant. It was gorgeous. So we bought a couple of large ones and tonight I slathered them in garlic, olive oil and pepper and broiled them up. Those that I didn't over-broil were pretty good. Kristy made a red sauce and polenta, which was even better, I thought, than the eggplant.

S was the only kid to sit down and eat with us, the others having partaken of pizza and already in the bathtub by the time everything was ready. S tried everything, like a trooper, and then finished her eggplant. And then asked for more. She really seemed to enjoy it.

So, for one night only, I break the Parent Code and claim a favorite child. A best of four. I proclaim S my favorite.

Don't worry, this will all change tomorrow morning when she's too late waking up, too late getting ready for school, loses a shoe and makes us all late walking out the door. This I know. No one will be my favorite come 7:55 a.m.

Tonight, though, S is it.

Thursday, October 02, 2008

Let Me Tell You About My Pad ...

JP doesn't like me. Either that, or I'm just not cool enough for him to waste his breath on when it's not absolutely necessary. The latter is something I expected, but not for another seven years or so.

I picked him up from piano today and, as we walked the halls of Downtown Elementary, I asked him about his day, about homework and about piano. His answers were succinct: Good. No. Fine.

Then we went to the computer room to pick C up from computer club and suddenly JP was animated and forthcoming and laughing. Is C cooler than me? I don't think so. I was picking him up from computer club!

This happens all the time. I can't get JP to open up, but when he's around his siblings or friends, he's the life of the party. Can't shut him up, and I've tried.

So what do I do? I eavesdrop. On the drive home he and C were talking about these comic book-journal-sketch pad things they'd recently gotten at a book fair. In it, you could design your dream home and they talked openly to each other about their plans. JP's plan for the master bedroom in his house involves a flat screen television, hot tub and bed that folds up into a couch.

I'm not sure I designed my own dream bedroom at seven-years-old, but I'm pretty sure that if I had, it wouldn't have looked like that. A TV I could see, but I'm not so sure size was an issue. I don't know that I'd dream of a hot tub. A pool, maybe. And a sofa bed? What's the point of that?

Maybe JP doesn't talk to me about these things because I ridicule him. If not to his face, then to the internet. Could he be reading Urf! at school? Did he even wish for a computer in his dream master bedroom? He probably won't answer if I ask him. He doesn't talk to me. But, he chats up his peers, so I would suggest, with his large screen television and hot tub, that you parents out there hide your daughters ... sometime in 2019.

Because I Said So

A big Thank You to Drake & Zeke of 98.1 The Max for mentioning me and my column on their morning program today.