Thursday, May 29, 2008

Nature vs. Nuture

Have you ever seen that show What not to Wear? I love, love, love it. And I have a strong suspicion I will someday see Sam nominated as a fashion disaster. His utter lack of fashion sense is not his fault. It's in his blood. My Dad once wore a knit dress to a Patriots game. This summa cum laude graduate from medical school thought he was wearing a sweater for a short armed giant. We totally blame him for all our fashion faux pas.
Anyways, Sam has started to express in interest in what he is wearing. He has started asking to wear a specific shirt or sweatshirt. Okay, I will admit, I am a teensy bit controlling about what the kids wear. I always want them to look presentable and neat and on special days or occasions I will find just the right shirt, sweater or dress. I have always picked out their clothing each day. I think those days are over. Now, I do realize that it's important to let Sam make choices and choosing what he will wear is just the beginning. However, can I tell you how very, very hard this is for me. Sometimes, when he walks out the door I want to pin a disclaimer to his back that would make it very clear I was NOT responsible for that particular ensemble. On the flip side, this whole choosing his own outfits is also absolutely side splitting hysterical.
The other day he caught me at a weak moment. My sister had stopped by and he needed to get dressed for school. [side note: he had picked out his pj's the night before and ended up in a pair of striped boxer type bottoms with a long sleeved striped top, the stripes on the bottoms were blue and white vertical and the top, red, white and green horizontal. My sister thought he couldn't top that. HAH!] Since I was busy catching up with my sister I sent him upstairs with the instructions to pick out his clothes and get dressed. Five minutes later he strolled downstairs in his baseball shirt and pants and soccer socks. Muffling the laughter, I explained that his uniform was for baseball games only and he needed to change. My sister was having trouble keeping a straight face herself. So back up he went and down again several minutes later. This time the two of us nearly wet our pants laughing. He still had on the soccer socks, pulled all the way up to his knees, but was now sporting his shiny basketball shorts and a Celtics jersey, the kind with no sleeves and that's made of some kind of mesh like material. Once I was able to talk I sent him back up, wondering what he would come up with next. His third outfit was not one I would have put together, but it was weather appropriate so it got the thumbs up. His choice of pj's last night nearly had Joe and I choking on our dessert. He chose a pair of flannel pj pants and paired them with a long sleeved Fair Isle type sweater. He couldn't understand what was so funny and why he had to change. He thought it was a very nice sweater.
I'm going to continue allowing him to choose his clothing, hoping that with practice he'll develop an eye for what works. But if my Dad is any indication, I think it's a losing battle. The other day when we were at my parent's, my Dad had on his favorite polka dot dress shirt (honestly, you'd think my Mom would just chuck it already!) with scrubs, white athletic socks and Teva sandals. Is that a step up from wearing a woman's dress out in public? I'm really not sure. Oh, and my Mom is not an innocent either. She once attended my sisters' high school basketball camp game in a pair of shorts and a pinny. You know, one of those vests made from netting that gym teachers use to differentiate teams. Basically, it's see-through.
Aye, yi, yi. I'm in big, big trouble.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

A game of tag

I've been tagged by Jess

I have been instructed to list 7 weird and/or random facts about myself. I am also supposed to tag 7 more lucky people and link to their blogs. But the sad sad truth is that I know very few bloggers. No one in my real life circle blogs (that I know of anyways) nor do any other family members. My family is so low tech it's embarrassing. There are several women from an online community I belong to that blog but they've already been tagged. So long story short, I will share my weird random facts but will woefully be the loser with no blogs to tag myself.

So, here we go

1.My most favorite late night snack is whole wheat bread spread with peanut butter and sugar sprinkled on top.

2. I am a list maker. I make lists to do, to call, to write, to send. I love love love crossing items off my lists. If I do something that I neglected to list I will actually write it down just so I can cross it off.

3. My favorite way to eat oatmeal is with sugar and a scoop of vanilla ice cream.

4. I clean the house while listening to The Spice Girls song "wannabe"

5. I like to read while I eat breakfast.

6. My ears are not pierced.

7. I hate driving.

If you're reading this and have a blog and have not yet been tagged, well then,'re it!

Tuesday, May 20, 2008


From Cousin It to Pretty Pretty Princess in 10 minutes

Before the morning hair brush:

and After:

Some math facts

How many nines are 63?
What's 200 seven times?
What's 999 plus 999?

This is what's thrown at me every time we get in the car. Sam starts asking math question after math question in rapid fire succession and expects me to shoot an answer back just as quickly. Sam is fascinated with numbers and numerical stuff. This is not a new love. He always has been drawn to them and the magic they can do. Before he was two he was aware of numbers and that there were different ones and they could be combined in different ways. I remember when I was pregnant with Teresa and was told by my doctors to carry my 33 lb one year old as little as possible. It took us years, years! to walk across a parking lot. Not because of his slow toddler amble but because we had to stop at every single licence plate and "read" it. I knew he could differentiate between numbers because if I "read" one wrong his chubby little finger would go back to the number so I could read it correctly. He would jab at it until I got it right. Sometimes I wish I could go back to the days when all that was required was for me to correctly identify which number he was pointing to.

Nowadays it's much more complicated. He has since learned all about addition, subtraction and multiplication. He is beginning to delve into division (which I've always sucked at). I'm proud of how quickly he can manipulate numbers in his head but the problem is he thinks I'm capable of this as well. Oh, and that I enjoy it as much as he does to boot. Sam is not happy with the math facts sent home from school. 12 plus 15, 18 take away 7...he's way beyond that. He like to work with three digit numbers. And I'm sucked into this game. Car rides have become torture since the constant quizzes from the back seat began. "Mumma, whats 983 +215?" Sometimes he'll throw me an easy one and use a clean 400 or a simple two digit addition problem. Other times he gets me breaking out in a sweat when I have to multiply or divide. I often dodge the bullet by claiming I can't do math because I need to concentrate on the road. I'm such a wimp. Maybe I can attach a calculator to the dash?

Friday, May 16, 2008


At Quizno's last night

Joe: Katie! don't eat a chip off the floor!

Kate: Sorry, Daddy.

And she then plucks the chip from her mouth and ever so carefully lays it back down on the floor where she found it.

Monday, May 12, 2008

A stage mom I ain't

Teresa just had her very first dance recital this past weekend. She dressed as a dalmation puppy and in my opinion her group stole the show. And I swear I'm not a bit biased. While I was tickled to see her up on stage botching the shuffle ball change and looking cuteer than cute while doing so, I was mystified by the intense rabidness of many of the parents concerning the recital. I'm telling you for many people you'd think this was the kids debut on some national stage or something. We're neophytes and this was Teresa's first year in dance and we thought the recital was just a fun way to end the dance year.

WRONG, ALL WRONG!!!! And I'm so naive that I didn't pay attention to the signs along the way. First clue should have been the ticket sales. Can I just say....RIDICULOUS! I have paid for this child to take dance all year, sat in a crowded waiting room (worse than the ob/gyn, for crying out loud), paid an over inflated price for a recital leotard and I STILL have to pay for tickets! Sometime in March they sent out a form to say how many tickets you wanted and for which performance. I marked 4 tickets for Saturday night and thought "now that was easy." Silly me, that was just the ugly beginning. The following week I got called to the desk and was gently admonished for asking for 4 tickets. Didn't I realize I could only reserve two? tsk tsk tsk! Embarrassed I asked what to do if I want more than two and she said I'd have to come buy two more for that evening on the day tickets went on sale. That should have raised a red flag but I was still blissfully in denial and chirped an okay and forgot all about it. Ticket sale day arrived and my eyes began to open to what a sordid business this all is. Ticket sales started at 2. I arrived at the dance school at ten past and I swear to you I had to circle the parking lot several times before I finally just parked on the grass and prayed that I wouldn't get towed. The line extended out the door of the school. People were prepared with books, magazines, ipods and coffee. Some people had even lined up that morning. HELLO!!! This is not The Who, people!!! I waited in line for over an hour and forked over $52. Oh, and then there was the conversations while I waited in line. I overheard women discussing how in years past people got into arguments over seating and how people snuck in early under the pretext of getting their feeble grandmas off their feet and saved up rows of seats. I snorted and thought they were exaggerating. Still refusing to see what was right there in front of me. When I finally got to the front of the line and bought my tickets for Saturday night the ticket sales mom asked me two things. First she asked me if I wanted to be a Supermom. HUH?? She restrained herself from rolling her eyes and explained that the Supermoms keep the kids quiet and entertained backstage....and for this honor I'd get one free ticket. But...I'd be backstage, unable to watch the show, I tried to wrap my brain around this but gave it up for lost and declined Supermom status. Then she asked if I was going to purchase tickets for the Sunday show. I revealed the extent of my ignorance when I asked if I really had to bring her on Sunday too. Again with the mental eye roll she explained that Teresa was performing in the Saturday and Sunday show. I could just drop her off with the Supermoms on Sunday if I liked or I could purchase tickets. Flustered I finally decided I would purchase one ticket for me on Sunday on the day of the performance. She made sure I understood that the show could be sold out and I was taking a chance. So, I crossed all my fingers and toes and said a quick rosary.

Finally the big day arrived! I couldn't wait to see Teresa grace the big stage and was excited for her. I thought I was on to the whole thing and told Joe I would get in line (because yes, there would be a line) after I dropped Teresa off with the Supermoms and he could meet me there later with Sam and Kate. I was so smug I had figured it all out. There were signs plastered all over the doors to the auditorium instructing all parents to drop their children, LEAVE, LEAVE, LEAVE, and reenter through the front doors. I am nothing if not obedient, so I dropped Teresa off with her Supermoms and then went round to the front. I opened the doors and saw the line extending from the auditorium door down the hall. Yikes! I needed to pick up her pictures which were at a table on the other side of the lobby. And this was where it started to get ugly. People would not let me through the line to get to the picture table. I mean really, I'd try to squeeze between two people and they'd bunch up closer together. It was ludicrous. I know even after I got through the line and lined up (yep, another line) to get her pictures people kept their eyes on me, certain I was going to try and sidle in ahead of them. After picking up pictures I began traveling down the corridor to take my place at the back. Oh. My. God. I must have walked a mile before it finally ended. And this was an hour, AN HOUR!, before the show was due to even begin. You should have seen the excitement when the line began moving. I shuffled up those hallways towards the Holy Grail which took over 20 minutes. Obviously I wasn't getting a primo seat. I knew that and was fine with it. But I was shocked to find that people had completely ignored the directive of the school owner not to save entire rows. I, in all innocence asked one woman who was alone in a row in which all the other seats had camera bags, bouquets of flowers, jackets, and pocketbooks on them, how many seats were available. She was the only actual living being in a seat in that row. She said all but one seat was taken. Are you freaking kidding me??? I don't know what made me do it but I blurted that we weren't allowed to save whole rows. With my right hand on the Bible I'm telling you I thought the woman was going to punch me. She pointed out that she hadn't saved the whole row, there was a seat available on the end. I meekly moved along and finally found two seats in the middle of one row and two seats in the middle of another row and claimed them for my very own. Joe and the kids arrived and we settled down to watch the recital. Both Joe and I were delighted to tears to watch Teresa's dance, the second one in the first act, the second of over 20 dances.

Two hours later we clapped madly at the mini finale and prepared to leave. I told Joe I'd meet him in the lobby and began to make my way to the stage to collect my little dalmation. The aisles were mobbed with parents attempting to claim the littlest ballerinas. The Supermoms were only letting one child go at a time making sure the child was secure with a parental unit so it was a bit of a slow process to say the least. And then this woman starts trying to push through. At first she was all polite about it "excuse me, I just need to get through" No one budged and we all did that bunching up together thing I experienced in the lobby when trying to get my pictures. So she tried to physically push between people while saying excuse me. No one was giving it up and, no word of a lie, this woman started to get MAD! She started ranting that she had to go up their and get her cupcake. Her cupcake (that was the costume for another group...oh my god, were they ever cute!) was waiting for her and she had to get to her cupcake!!!!! We others linked elbows in solidarity and refused to let her through. No, just kidding with that one. When I finally reached the stage, I scooped up my puppy and kissed her all over and we went out for ice cream to celebrate. Now we just had to do this all over again the next day.

But this time I had a plan. I was not going to stay for the whole show, we had someplace else we needed to be so I was going to slip out after Teresa's number and go to the backstage room and collect her then. Easy, peasy. YAY! me, I'm so smart! I don't know why I continue to kid myself. The first part played out exactly as I wanted it to. Then I got to the backstage room door. And the Supermom who guarded it. She informed me that no parents were allowed in the backstage room except the Supermoms, was I a Supermom? I tried being rational and explaining we had a baptism to get to. She was not buying it. No parents allowed backstage except Supermoms. So you're not going to let me go in and get my daughter. Only Supermoms are allowed. I was reeling from the sheer craziness of it all. ARE YOU FREAKING KIDDING ME!!!!! I think she recognized the light of madness and finally agreed to go backstage and bring me my puppy so I'd leave her alone. But not before she scanned the hallway to make absolutely certain I wasn't planning on allowing lurking non Supermoms in backstage in her absence. My dalmation puppy and I left, her skipping along and me trudging as I fully realized my ignorance and foolishness. I refuse to buy into all this rigamarole though. I just need to find a way around it all. Well, at least I've got a year to figure something out.

Sam's social scene

I wanted to give short update on Sam and how he's doing with the social scene. We have had playdates the last few weeks. These have gone very well from my perspective. Sam has a good time, our guest seems to enjoy himself. I see little conflict beyond what is normal for the age and Sam acts appropriately the entire time. I'm thinking the problems arise when in larger groups and the social cues Sam needs to look for may get lost in the shuffle for him. After talking with his teacher some more I gave permission for Sam to participate in a social group the school psychologist facilitates. I know, I know....that woman, but I made sure it was a group, not just him and I think she does have something to offer and teach him despite my prejudice. This group meets once a week for 30 minutes and consists of 2 children who need some social skills and a "model" peer. Wouldn't you know it one of the kids we have had over for playdates has also been singled out for social ineptitude and is in this little group. Sam was thrilled his friend S. was in playgroup too. So we're taking babysteps and the best news of all...the crying at school has pretty much stopped. There are times over the course of a week where he may cry but not the several times daily that was happening a month ago. And just to brag on my boy...there were two ringleaders in the teasing and the bullying Sam endured, N and T. The other day the children had to choose a buddy to work math games with. Turns out NOBODY wanted to be N's buddy (go figure?). Everyone turned him down. Apparently Sam noticed this and went over and asked N to be his buddy. While I'd rather he worked with a nicer child, I couldn't be more proud. No one has a bigger heart than my Sam.

Sunday, May 4, 2008

body language

Yesterday I piled the kids into the car and set off to do some errands. As we're driving along Teresa kept hollering out "The road has arms! The road has arms!" I seriously had no clue what the heck she was talking about but just kind of mumbled noises of interest and continued driving. About a mile further down the road I got it and bust a gut laughing.

Get it?