Monday, November 19, 2012


I’m sure I’ve mentioned it before, but I think that school busses are dens of iniquity. There’s one driver and one hundred and ninety two kids. It’s not really a workable ratio.

 The other day, I had the misfortune of pulling out behind a middle school bus. Three boys looked at me and started making goofy gestures. I grinned at them. Then they started making obscene gestures. It got awkward. I didn’t know where to look. Straight ahead, with a disapproving look on my face? Turned away, as if I were disinterested? Or should I pretend to be frantically searching for something on the floor? I went with the third scenario. There’s a fun-sized 3 Musketeers lolling about there somewhere. These days, all that remains of the kids’ Halloween candy are flavored tootsie rolls and Necco wafers. A rogue fun-sized 3 Musketeers bar is a hot commodity, and I’m determined to find it before Ben- who is also aware it’s down there somewhere- does.

I fretted about putting Ella on the bus. I contemplated driving the kids to school and back each day. But with gas prices the way they are and the whole “it gets really freaking cold here in Ra-cha-cha” thing, on the first day of school I put my babies onto the giant yellow tube and went back to eating my cheerios.

The bus is where Caleb learned the f-word. It’s where Ben got punched by an extremely moody eight-year old. It’s where Daniel fought off a fellow kindergartner who bragged of depantsing “everybody in the world.” (Because that’s how kindergartners talk, in gross exaggerations.)

I worried about what Ella, who is a parrot, would bring home from the bus.

I never would have guessed show tunes.

Last week, she came home singing “You’re Never Fully Dressed Without a Smile” from Annie. Complete with motions. “Who caaares what their wearing from Main Street to Saville Row…” “Ella! Where did you learn that?” I asked. Not that I wasn’t thrilled. Annie was my favorite record when I was her age. When “Tomorrow” came on? My sister and I totally lost our crap. We ran around the kitchen table singing at the top of our lungs. It’s only a DAAAAY! AAAAAWAAAAY!”

I knew Ella hadn’t learned the “Hey hobo man, hey Dapper Dan” lyrics from her prim and proper teacher; therefore, I deduced she was being taught by someone on the bus. Ben confirmed my suspicion. “It’s this third grader who hates me and Caleb and all boys, really. But she looooves Ella.”

Today, Ella came home singing, “You’re the One That I Want” from Grease. I can’t tell you how thrilled I am by this development.  She really nails the whoo whoo whoo part.

In other news, I have a single Twinkie in my pantry that I was hoping would make me rich. That’s right. I put Twinkies in my kids’ lunch boxes. Not all the time, but every once in a while, because I love when they get off the den of iniquities, run into my arms, and say, “Will you put a Twinkie in my lunch box tomorrow, too?” And I say, “No. That was special for today.” And they say, “Why do you hate us?” And I say, “I don’t hate you. I love you.” And they say, “Then, can we have Twinkies for snack right now?” And I say, “No, my loves. I ate them all.”

And I don’t even like Twinkies. I don’t know if my taste buds completely changed or if I’ve evolved beyond processed sponge cake with chemical filling. It’s possible I’ve evolved. I mean, I like foie gras- heck, I know how to SPELL foie gras- so it’s beyond me why I eat Twinkies. Because I like to irritate my children, I suppose.

Hostess chocolate cupcakes are a completely different story. 

Anyway- there is one Twinkie left in the box. My plan was to sell the sucker on eBay and buy myself a pretty frock to wear this holiday season. Now it looks like the unions and the powers that be are going to negotiate a deal that will save Hostess, 18,000 jobs, and the Twinkie.

Now I don’t know what to do with my Twinkie.

It will probably sit in my pantry for the next 20 years. I’ll feed it to my granddaughter and my daughter-in-law will get pissed because doesn’t EVER feed her kids processed sponge cake with chemical filling. That’s the kind of daughter-in-law I’m going to get; I just know it. Nevertheless, I’ll send future granddaughter home with a belly full of sugar and a repertoire of show tunes. Hopefully she’ll run around the kitchen table a hundred times singing “Tomorrow” at the top of her lungs, driving her mother absolutely crazy.

One can hope.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

The Purple Dinosaur Song, or I'm Totally Going to Lose It

In 100 years, a melodious tune with sadistic lyrics will drift from a children’s playground:

“I hate you!  You hate me!  Let’s go out and kill Barney!  With a big shot gun and a bang bang on the floor!  No more purple dinosaur.”

One child will pause and ask, “Who’s Barney, anyway?”

“According to the song, a purple dinosaur.”

Because that song will never, ever die.  Daniel is helping it to live on right now.  And it’s fine.  I’m not on the verge of losing it at all.

I’m totally on the verge of losing it. 

Since Ella’s diagnosis, life has shifted a tiny bit- the future looks a little blurrier than a few weeks ago.  Ella’s had two weeks of relatively good behavior at school.  She has settled into the routine.  Of course, she is removed from her classroom throughout the week for various therapies and assessments.  I think her absence endears her more to her teacher and contributes to the positive feedback we’ve been receiving. 
We got the results of her physical therapy screening yesterday, and John said it was the most amusing thing he’d read all year.  It was filled with fascinating observations:

Ella can transition from the floor to standing through a right or left-kneel position without using her hands.

She can gallop with either foot leading, hop on her right of left foot inconsistently up to five times in a row and skip.

She runs with functional mechanics and speed.

The therapist noted that Ella did trip a couple of times when she was in the physical therapy room.  This is thought to be due to her impulsivity and distractibility.

Ella’s gross motor skills are currently functional for the school setting. 

Her school report card was rough.  A lot of “not meeting expectations.”  I think I cried a little.

Okay, I cry all the time.  I cried during the preview of the film “Les Miserables,” even though I find Anne Hathway’s singing voice sub-par.  I cried during Obama’s acceptance speech.  I cried during Mitt Romney’s concession speech.  I cried during a documentary about Walmart, because you would not even believe how many women are raped and then murdered in Walmart parking lots. 

I also watched a National Geographic show about volcanoes with Caleb.  The other week, I was worrying about global warming bringing about more Sandy-type hurricanes.   Now I know Yellowstone’s massive volcano is going to erupt any time now, and an ice age will commence.  I thought about raising my kids during an ice age. 

I cried about that, too.

The kids seem un-phased, not because I am particularly good at disguising my emotions, but because children are narcissists who only care about themselves.  And they always want snacks.  All the time. Like, I’m on the phone with a friend having a rather intense conversation, and Danny’s all, “Mom.  Mom.  Mom.  Mom. Mom.  Mom.”  I put my hand over the receiver.


“I want a snack.”

Sometimes I yell at my kids.  And then I cry about it a little bit.

But sometimes something like this will happen:

“Mom.  Mom.  Mom.  Mom.  Mom.  Mom.  Mom.”

“What Ben.  What.  What.”

“Have you seen my spork?”

I know exactly where his spork is.  It’s in the dishwasher.  He is thrilled to be reunited with it.  Turns out, apples taste better when they are sporked.  Ben’s on a quest to rid the world of frivolous eating utensils. 

The kids sit at the table and eat their apples- most by hand, one by spork- and begin singing the no more purple dinosaur song. 

What do I have to cry about?  Perhaps I’m not really on the verge of losing it after all.  Perhaps things are actually just fine. 

(Though that makes for much less interesting blog fodder…)