Invasion of the Cereal Weirdos

The strangest thing happened to me today...
I must first share with you a tidbit of information about my household while I'm writing this: I am holed up in my bedroom nursing my first cold beer (dinner) while Ana is currently "crying it out" from her crib. It's 9:46 p.m. and we are on our second interval of crying sessions. We started bedtime routine (late) at 8:30. The first "crying it out" session being 5 minutes, this one a little longer and producing noise at pitches only dogs can hear accompanied by some blood boiling face foaming shrieking from her crib. All of this noise originating from the same room where Ana's older sister sleeps soundly away in a bed not 5 feet from the Holy Night Terror. 9:49 and she's gathering steam.
Okay, back to my story, so the strangest thing happened. I took the girls to the grocery store after Ana's nap. Ana, of course, awoke on the wrong side of the bed, the side of the bed where she cries at the drop of a hat, clings to my trunk like a monkey on a tree, and wants EVERYTHING her sister is holding. One year olds, I swear.
Cut back to our house right now, it's 9:51 pm, the decibel level has escalated, the pitch has dropped to a low disappointed-oh wait, no, a high pitched "Weeeeee-Aaaaaauuughghhh!" repeated over and over, with a break every so often to breathe. How can I concentrate? I'll be right back....OMG she was totally asleep in my arms after five minutes of rocking until I laid her down in her crib, it's 9:57 and she is now attempting to scream out a lung, cough cough "Auuuggch! Auuueeeeghghch! Auughch!" cough cough. This is insane. And Shelby just roared a giant snore from her bed and rolled over!
Okay, so we were at the grocery store in the cereal aisle and there stood a couple, looking to be about in their 50s, a little worse for the wear, standing in front of the all natural granola section decoding ingredients in very close proximity to each other. A serious science, this ingredient stuff, obviously. So I dole out another handful of raisins from the box we are "about to buy" and Ana inhales hers and turns around in her seat at the helm of the cart to attempt stealing more raisins from her sister. When Shelby snatches them out of her reach, Ana does what every 1 year old would do at a time like this (well, maybe a little louder than normal considering her performance right this very minute-10:01, hang on, I really should go back in there now, it sounds awful!).
Phew, FINALLY, 10:08 and she's asleep, but not before blowing a gasket and chucking every soothing item as far out of her crib as possible, including pacifier AND slinky blanket. Stubborn little thing, she definitely doesn't get that from me.
Okay, so the couple in the aisle, and the raisins, and then Ana let's out this deafening scream that is so high pitched it should crack glass-it's loud, and did I already say high-pitched? And the couple, who is now just 4 feet from our cart, leans in as the woman PLACES HER HANDS OVER HER EARS AND SAYS IN A not-so-whisper-voice, "No mother should allow her child to scream like that in public!"
...uh, yeah, um, wait a second... what the...
And I'm so shocked to realize what this 50 year old woman in her smart reading glasses just blurted to her partner standing within arm's distance from us that I just stand there. I just stand there in awe of her bravado, feeling the slack in my jaw and the glaze in my eyes and retiring from my job as a parent and referee just long enough to let the audacity of this bitch sink in. And then, like a slow motion instant replay I turned to look at my darling, sweet little girls just long enough to allow the whole incident to repeat itself: Ana reaching for the raisins in her sister's hand, Shelby pulling them away and then, The Scream. But this time it was louder and longer and prouder, and I was prouder of her for expressing her one year old self in this cereal aisle, with these cereal weirdos. And the woman, who still held her hands dramatically to her ears (WTF?!) turns and jogs up the aisle like she's escaping some alien invasion in The Spencer's Market. And because I have totally abandoned my post as a parent and have embraced my new role as shocked onlooker, Ana lets out another wail because those damned raisins aren't getting any closer to her mouth and then, once more in total s-l-o-w m-o-t-i-o-n the remaining half of the cereal weirdos literally DROPS his granola box onto the floor and RUNS in the opposite direction!
And then, just as soon as the cereal weirdos disappeared, and the raisins are restocked in Ana's hands, I am overwhelmed with a multitude of emotion: Anger, Frustration, Maternal Instinct in the form of "Bitch-I-Will-Knock-You-Out-For-Insulting-Me", and Embarrassment. Yes, embarrassment that the behavior, granted the totally justified behavior, of my children sent two perfect strangers (in the visual form of adults) running away.
The rest of our outing I spent either shielding my eyes so no one would recognize the giant cloud over our cart announcing, "SHRIEKING BABY-BAD MOTHER, BEWARE!" or I was scanning the crowds to locate these cereal weirdos in their natural habitat. I mean, who are these freakazoids and what do they look like with their hands away from their ears? And why didn't I scream at them as they hurried away from my family in disgust? Why didn't I belt out in my angriest yell, "EVERYONE HAS A RIGHT TO SCREAM!!!! I'M DOING THE BEST THAT I CAN!!!!!!!!!!" And then I'd shriek into a giant megaphone connecting my voice directly to their heads the LOUDEST, MEANEST EVIL CACKLE until those cereal weirdo's heads exploded leaving only their withered devil souls to disintegrate before my eyes.
Maybe I should call my therapist.

The Preschool Teacher Got A Tattoo

For my sister's birthday last week, I took her to get a facial at TigerLilly Salon in SLO on the recommendation of a friend. Having never been there before, I went in with my sis to check it out before she started her treatment. The place is great, funky, purple, mod, with a good soundtrack and big windows.
And the uniform those hairdressers wore, well, I'll share with you my version of the employe handbook I envision would be written for "TigerLilly Salon's Dress Code": Fiery colored hair, any shade of a Reece's Pieces, followed by various metal accessories, preferably puncturing the face. Be sure to wear something that Mrs. Cleaver wore on that hit 1950s TV show, complete with apron. Any bare skin should be covered with brightly colored ink tattoos, bigger the better. Do not allow bare skin to be uncovered. Feet should be forced into exceptionally high heels, recommend a platform wedge but will allow stilletos.
After a few minutes of observation I walked out the door and into another world, Earth, I believe they call it. When did unique become the protocol?
Okay, okay, wait a second, I might be misleading you to think that I am a right winged conservative. That I own a pair of penny loafers hidden back there in my closet and I like wearing cotton briefs to bed. That I don't believe in tofu. You've got me all wrong! I can appreciate a good tattoo, and I've had a few facial piercings in my lifetime. And just to show you I'm a good sport, I can even name three tattoo parlors within miles of my home.
So, when I walked into the preschool today after a week of spring break, I was greeted by Shelby's teacher and her Giant Purple Iris. That's right, her Giant Purple Iris was staring right at me. How can you have a conversation with someone without mentioning their Giant Purple Iris? If I had an Iris like that I would expect someone to point it out and admire it. So, I pointed it out, and I admired it. And the teacher thanked me, and then added apologetically, "I wasn't sure how parents would take this," she said, "and it IS a little bigger than I had wanted." Yep. I could see that.
"Did you have it done in here in town?" I asked, because as I mentioned, I can name ALL THREE parlors here in town, which is trivia I was dying to share with someone...anyone.
"Oh, no. I've been to some of the places here with my son and his friends and I prefer a place over in San Luis. There's an artist there who's really talented."
That's when I pictured the preschool teacher in her starched white blouse and pressed denim slacks perched on a low bar stool in the back room of some seedy, smoke filled tattoo place with a group of sweaty college boys and an Ink artist name Bubba. I watched her take a long drag from her cigarette and throw her leg up on the bar, carefully rolling up her pant leg so it wouldn't wrinkle. Then she slipped off her Birkenstock, the room went silent. Through clenched teeth she said, as she smoothly blew a perfect circle of smoke, "Put her right there, Bubba, big n' pretty."
Okay, I'm pretty sure that's not how it happened. But, pairing this teacher together with a tattoo, for me, was like trying to picture Martha Stewart doing an episode titled "Home Tattooing: Get Your Ink With Style". I mean, after her stint in the pen I suppose Martha is pretty much an expert. With that I turned the image of the preschool teacher in the tattoo parlor over in my head a few times while words of support and encouragement spilled from my mouth, and just as quickly as the words came out my heart soon followed. Good for her, I concluded. There's no harm in a tattoo. It doesn't effect her ability to teach my child (well, unless of course The Purple Iris stares at Shelby the way it did me, in which case it could be terribly distracting...), and it certainly doesn't make her a better or worse person. Well, actually, it does make her a better person, because she's one iota happier. And if that's what it takes, life's too short to stick to the program. Unique or employee dress code, life is utterly too short to live without your Iris.


Achhoooo! Again?

A direct quote from my firend, Ted, artist and loving father of his teenaged daughter, "I've never been sicker than I was the year that Samantha went to preschool!"
Have you experienced the joys of this horrific cold season? For shits and giggles I thought I'd share with you all the CRAP we've been infected with in the past 3 months.
Maybe this preschool thing is a BAD idea! Then again, no preschool would involve me at home with two toddlers 5 days a week....now that is a BAD idea.
So here's the CRAP list:
1. Colds, colds and more colds: this includes snot in varying shades of green followed by cough
2. More Coughing
3. Rotovirus
4. Pink Eye
5. Green Goopy Eye (yes, the eye itself emits a green snot, no pink involved)
6. MORE coughing, this time only at night
7. Another round of Rotovirus. But this time, I must digress: EVERYTHING about this illness is disgusting. It originates with fecal-mouth interaction and is highly contagious (EEeeeeeww!). This is followed by severe diarrhea, with a distinct odor, that happens to erupt at the most inconvenient times... like midnight, or midday while standing in line at the post office, on tax day, in white pants. And then, if you're really lucky (which we were) you also are visited by the puke fairy who brings with her vomit in all directions which also has the same distinct odor. Pukedy puke puke everywhere. Especially in the car. And the carseat. And the car door speakers.
8. MORE coughing! F&$%!!!!!
9. Mysterious open sore on face
10. Green Goopy Eye, Round three

Aside from realizing a few things about my level of patience between the hours of 11 pm and 6 am, I have learned a some useful items about caring for a sick family.
In times of need a mother's best friend, along with a stiff martini, is a bottle of bleach (that shit'll clean the environmentalist right outta ya).
Every child's room should be equipped with exactly four sets of bed sheets and an equal number of pajamas (for those nights).
Never, and I repeat, NEVER make a doctor's appointment for both of your children at one time. ALWAYS make the appointment for the sickest child and bring the other one along for examination once you've gotten past the bulldog receptionists. I repeat, GET TO THE EXAM ROOM, do not sign in two kids, do not consent to two co-pays! Now, if I could just follow my own damned advice...
And the #1 rule this cold season is to avoid infecting The Husband AT ALL COST. Because every good wife knows that it's ten times easier to deal with two sick kids than it is to deal with one sick husband.


I'm Back!

And you should see me, now!
This recipe is for a renewed, refreshed, and happily balanced mommy:
Two childLESS overnight trips (grandparents highly recommended)
One pedicure
One day of lunching and shopping
Followed by one double date dinner (sitter included)
Topped with a midday brunch with girlfriends
And finally the conclusion of spring break and the commencement of preschool!
I look exactly like Oprah on the cover of her magazine right now, only whiter. !CLICK! I am camera ready (!CLICK!), all smiles, patient, doting and happy. My blouse is pressed. !CLICK! My accessories match. I have a tan. I have perspective. I have renewed my PMS (my Pre Mommy Self). I have forgotten how to cook, but perfected the art of take-out. I have retained my ability to stay up past 10 o'clock! I'm still working out the logistics of sleeping in...I have new goals.
I am me, first. I am mom, second. I'm back and I'm happy. !CLICK!