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By Robin Dearing
Monday, October 23, 2006
One of the things I love about living in this valley is its bounty.
Yesterday saw us happily tromping around one of the local pumpkin patches in search of the perfect "punkin" that could be gutted and turned into a festive jack-o-lantern.
It was a gorgeous day and despite my fear that we'd already turned the corner into winter, we were warmed by the late-fall sun.
(In some cases, maybe there was a little too much sun!)
We found some really great pumpkins. The kids chose non-traditional, but uber-creepy, white pumpkins, while Bill and I settled on a small orange one and a big one that was mostly covered with webbed green veins.
Throwing fear of moldy pumpkins on Halloween to the non-existant wind, we decided to take full advantage of the beautiful day and hauled our pumpkins into the backyard. We sliced, scraped, poked and carved away until we ended up with these:
We learned that white pumpkins are much thicker-skinned than their orange counterparts and therefore much more difficult to transform into a spooky jack-o-lantern. And I was reminded once again that while my baby is growing up, I am enjoying the traditions and celebrations of the holidays more and more each year I spend with her.
By Richie Ann Ashcraft
Friday, October 20, 2006
The Haute Mamas are giving you the chance to showoff your little ghouls and goblins Halloween costumes. And YOU can win Avalon theater movie tickets for a night-out.
Get your cameras and costumes ready! We will have you submit photos of your little darlings, or little devils, for blog-readers to vote on. Watch the Haute Mamas blog for more details coming soon!
By Richie Ann Ashcraft
Friday, October 20, 2006
It's Thursday morning and I'm already fantasizing about the weekend.
It's been a rough week both at home and at work. I find myself daydreaming about one of my favorite weekend luxuries. Waking up with my family on a cool Sunday morning and watching them be themselves over a cup of too thick coffee with cream in my pajama pants and one of my hubby's oversized t-shirts.
I'd imagine this is the time I'll miss the most when my kids are grown and gone. Vacations and holidays are fun but the regular days are the most cherished by me.
We make the “Chunnel? out of couch cushions and entice SoJo to crawl back and forth. I keep one eye on •Meet the Press? while I read the paper trying not to look for mistakes. I serve a late breakfast shunning the box marked instant usually making something involving eggs and cinnamon. We let the phone ring unanswered.
By noon the floor is littered with couch cushions, newspaper inserts and dirty breakfast dishes. Somewhere in the midst of it all sits a black and white cat
I•m expecting to feel a hollowness and overcast lingering sorrow this Sunday morning as our Kenny that we considered family died. We took it pretty hard and still have the feeling of something missing within our home.
This Sunday there will be one less. We will go about the morning routine ever mindful of the loss and hoping that Soren picks something less lovable as a pet when he’s older. I’m hoping for a goldfish.
By Robin Dearing
Thursday, October 19, 2006
I remember it was dark green — ominously dark green, like a witch's potion — and my mother told me that I'd get into big trouble if I didn't take the spoonful of evil greenness or if I let one drop hit the covers of my bed.
I don't remember what the medicine was for, but I distinctly remember that it tasted terrible and I wanted no part of it.
But that was more than 30 years ago (Good grief! I have memories from more than 30 years ago ... I'm old), things are different now.
These days when you go to the pharmacy to get your kid's prescription filled, you can pay a buck extra to get it flavored cherry or bubble gum or blueberry — the battle of the spoon is no longer waged.
Also, the inventors of mediciney things figured out a way to get an entire dose of cough medicine into a paper-thin strip that dissolves on the tongue. Oh, and they come in cherry and grape flavors, too.
But one thing hasn't changed and that's the deliciously goodness of children's pain reliever.
I remember the sweet taste of those tiny, orange, chalky Bayer aspirin and really liking them. It might be the reason that my favor flavor of candy (after chocolate, of course) is orange.
They still make children's pain reliever flavored orange, but also an assortment of pseudo fruity flavors.
And you know what? My kid loves 'em all.
I don't mean that she'll take the children's Motrin willingly. I mean that she loves, loves
herself some Motrin.
Sunday, Margaret had a fever skyrocket on us so quick we were sure it was indicative of something very serious. We gave her two grape-flavored Motrin that eventually brought her fever down, but not before having a doctor check her out.
Monday, Margaret and I stayed home. Around 2, her fever began to creep up again. I gave her more Motrin and yet another dose around 8.
By 8:30 she was begging for more. She claimed she couldn't go to sleep until she'd had more Motrin. She was whimpering and sobbing over the fact that we were selfishly withholding her pills from her.
"I need my pills," she cried while her dad and I stifled our laughter. It was so bizarre to have a skinny, string bean of a kid begging for more ibuprofen like it was sugar or something really worth begging for.
We gathered ourselves long enough to explain the dangers of taking too much medicine and sent her back to bed.
Maybe, the pharmacy companies are making children's medicine taste just a little bit too good.
By Richie Ann Ashcraft
Wednesday, October 18, 2006
A good friend recently remarked that she found herself a bit jealous wishing she had a baby of her own. For those of you who may find yourself feeling the same this story may put motherhood in a more realistic light and keep you on the Pill.
A recent Saturday afternoon found me craving some Taco Bell. SoJo was playing happily on the floor but I was guessing that he might be hungry for some fattening pintos and cheese himself.
So I put my unbrushed hair into a half bun half ponytail 'do that I have been so fond of lately (the classic mother hair style I might add), scooped up babycakes and headed for the car.
Putting him in the car seat has been remarkably similar to wrestling an alligator into a straight jacket as of late. He arches his back and twists his little body in defiance. But, Mommy always wins and he usually settles down as soon as the car gets moving.
Not this time!
This time he moaned all the way to the corner light. Two blocks later he turned his pathetic whimper up a few decibels. I reciprocated by turning the radio volume up a few notches.
By the time we reached Taco Bell he was in a full fledged temper tantrum.
Welcome to Taco Bell…would you like to try our double crunchy cheesy Taco Bell tasting thingy today?
“No I’d like two Gorditas, a pintos and cheese, and diet coke please.?
(Silence. Weird pause.)
Like I can•t hear you? You wanted a what?
Did you want Baja Gorditas?
•Sure. Soren stop it!?
Do you want chicken or steak?
What else did you want?
•Pintos and cheese. Soren, please Stop!.?
At this point I unhook the seatbelt and lean over the seat to confront the infant. This only causes him to scream louder.
Something undercernable emits from the loud speaker.
Look very young Taco Bell girl•&do you not hear my kid??? I think to myself…..How ‘bout this K? Like you throw a tortilla on the buffet and pretend its buck a scoop. Just put some stuff in a tortilla and get me the hell outta here!!!!
“Fire sauce.? I say out loud.
•Yeah sure whatever.?
When I finally reached the window the poor kid working the drive through had to listen to the ear piercing screaming emitting from my backseat. He thrust a drink at me, took my money, threw the change in the bag and tossed it through the driver•s window. Now that’s what I’m talking about!!!
I zoomed home at a speed fast enough to give me a red reading on the speed monitoring device.
As soon as I unclipped the car seat the screaming stopped. My baby turned right back into his smiling happy self. And he loved his pintos and cheese...the little brat.
Tuesday, October 17, 2006
Some mornings you need more than a jolt of java to get you going.
Some mornings require really loud classic rock.
This morning was one of those mornings. The constant drip and pour of rain is really getting on my nerves. So after getting Alex to the bus and driving back home through the slop and ruining yesterday's $12.00 car wash, I needed a pick-me-up.
I found it in The Rolling Stones Sticky Fingers
CD. The actual album is long gone, who knows where, likely the casualty of some college boyfriend break-up. But Mick and the boys survived on the digitally re-mastered CD.
So the CD goes in, the volume gets cranked waaaay up, and before you know it, my mood is dramatically improved. If you’ve never let loose like this on a rainy Tuesday, you really have to give it a try. It’s so much fun and when you’re all by yourself and the blinds are closed, you can do whatever the hell you want. Think of the female version of Tom Cruise in his boxers and his Bob Seger rendition in the movie Risky Business
. OK, Tom looked a lot better in his boxers then I did this morning, but that’s not the point. Wait, that sounds like I was in Tom’s boxers. Anyway . . . .
Personally, I’ve always wanted to be a back-up singer for some band. The only thing that’s kept me from doing that is that I can’t actually sing. Well, I can sing, and I do. I just really suck at hitting the notes. But with the volume cranked up I can’t hear myself so I sound really good!
So Mick and I were having a fine time this morning as we duet-ed our way through Brown Sugar, Wild Horses, Bitch and Dead Flowers. And distant memories of years gone by came back through the fog when I air-guitared the story of Sister Morphine with Keith. (Note: not personal memories of morphine, just the song and the era in which it was recorded.)
But just like the 70’s came to an end, so did the CD and it was time to put down my blow-dryer-turned-microphone and head out the door to work. By then the sun had actually come out and the skies were clearing up. I felt better and my blood was oxygenated from all the singing.
What does this have to do with raising children? Not much, except to feel sorry for them that they’ll never get the same rush from a Britney Spears CD.
By Robin Dearing
Tuesday, October 17, 2006
Look! You can buy creepy fake hands
to help comfort your infant.
OK, OK, they were developed for preemies who couldn't be held all the time. That's noble, but there's just something creepy about putting your baby to sleep with Ernie's severed hands.
Monday, October 16, 2006
Anybody that works here at The Daily Sentinel - let me say "blessed" to work here at The Daily Sentinel - will tell you that there is some weird stuff that happens. One never quite knows what one will hear, see or deal with on any given day. That's the nature of the business.
Some of the weird stuff that we hear, see or deal with is of our own making. Currently we seem to be having janitorial issues. And some of us get really frustrated about this. There's nothing like the power of print to make a point. So when one co-worker answered the call of nature this morning, she looked at the floor in front of her feet and saw this:
Is it a ransom note? Is it supposed to serve as a warning? Should we take up a collection and send the popcorn kernels on vacation? I mean being stuck, literally, on a bathroom floor for days can't be any fun!
Hey, stuff like this is all in a day's work. Except the janitor's.
By Richie Ann Ashcraft
Thursday, October 12, 2006
Soren is a small boy. He's always been in the low percentile since birth. But he is growing at his own rate, usually two or three pounds at each visit.
My mom said that I was a small baby too. My grandmother had to make clothes for me because I was so petite. Because of this I haven't been too worried about his size.
He has started to eat three squares and at least one snack not to mention his daily allowance of nursing.
Still, he didn't gain any weight in the last eight weeks and grew nearly an inch. That dropped him down a couple of percentage points on the growth chart. His doctor said she would like to see him gain some weight so that he doesn't "fall behind."
Those two words set bells and huge red waving flags ringing and flapping in my head. What? "Fall Behind?" I don't want to ever hear those words in regards to my kid, not from his teacher and certainly not from his doctor!
The Sipowitz type grilling began: "Should I be worried?" "Are YOU worried?" "What should I do? He eats a lot I swear!" "Do you think he needs formula?" "Is there something wrong with my breastmilk?"
Of course I never gave her a chance to answer any of those questions as I berated her nonstop for a full twenty seconds.
"You could try adding butter," she said.
She explained that she wasn't too worried but I needed to make sure that he ate solid meals and snacks throughout the day and I should fatten those up by adding butter and other oils.
Of course, I became frustrated by that answer in that I am not home with him in the day to monitor his calorie intake. I already begin every conversation upon arriving home with: "Did he poop today?" "Did he have a snack?" "How did he nap?" all in a deperate attempt to keep track of what is going on with my kid while I'm gone.
"Falling behind" makes me want to quit my job so that I can maintain total control over my household's eating habits. Of course that's not practical. I guess I'll just add the question: "Did Soren eat some butter today?" and hope for the best.
By Robin Dearing
Wednesday, October 11, 2006
Sunday morning our 4-year-old neighbor looked up at me with her pretty brown eyes, mouth smeared with chocolate frosting and said, "I'm wearing my wedding dress."
And she was — well, it was the dress that she wore while taking part in their family friend's wedding. She was the candle girl.
As candle girl, her responsibilities were to walk down the aisle first, before anyone else — even the flower girls — carrying a candle to honor the memory of the groom's late twin brother. Kate relished her role and was the first to point out that the obviously ill-prepared flower girls didn't drop their flower petals — she remedied this problem by grabbing a spare basket, racing down the aisle and speading the petals.
Sunday morning, her only responsiblities were to play with my daughter ... but she wanted to do so wearing her fancy dress. Her mom let her.
And why not? The chances of Kate getting invited to another formal occassion before she out grew the dress were pretty slim. So why shouldn't she get to enjoy the lovely frock; it had served its purpose — no sense in keeping the poor thing all locked up in a plastic bag in the basement ... like Margaret's flower girl dress.
I asked Margaret if she wanted to wear her wedding dress.
She shrugged her shoulders and said, "Sure" in the exact same non-committal tone as her 15-year-old brother.
So I fetched the lovely, ivory gown that had been stored in a garment-storage bag since our dear friends, Rob and Tracee, were married a year ago March. I could barely get the buttons closed but it fit good enough for her to play with Kate.
And play they did.
And I tried to act like it was no big deal.
I agree with Kate's mom that there's no really good reason to not let Margaret wear the dress and it's practical to let her actual use the expensive frock instead of let it rot away in a plastic bag.
But the dress is so pretty with its embroidered organza skirt and its giant satin sash and Margaret is so dirty and tough on clothes.
So I stood there taking pictures as the two girls colored with scary, staining markers and spun themselves until they were disoriented on our damp, leaf-infested lawn which was just begging to leave a stain on those pretty dresses.
Finally they decided to change into clothes better suited for riding their scooters over to the park. Margaret discarded the delicate dress on to the floor of her tiny room.
Later, I rescued the pile of satin and lace from becoming a nest for our ever-chilly Italian greyhound and hung it carefully on its padded hanger. I put the protective plastic cover over the little dress.
Afterall, it's really too small for Margaret anymore ... and maybe her daughter will be a flower girl some day in the far, far future.