Monday, April 26, 2010

Grumps and Stumps

A friend came over today to help me rearrange my kitchen. Even if you were reading this then, you may not remember that there was insane flooding in our town when we first bought the house. All those months we'd planned to spend fixing up the house and moving in slowly were crammed into just a couple of weeks, and most of our moving was done in one day. So my kitchen was arranged somewhat haphazardly, with newly acquired items and products crammed in wherever they fit, but not in any logical manner.

I'm terrible at this sort of thing. With nowhere to even start, I'm paralyzed. It got to be too much this week, and I posted (jokingly) on Facebook that I needed Martha Stewart to come rearrange my kitchen for me. My friend offered instead. Can you believe she likes this sort of thing?

So she came over, stood in my kitchen, and pointed at things while I told her how often I used them and where I used them. Then she told me where to put them. Or she did it herself, sometimes. Did I mention she has a newborn? Her first baby? Who hardly sleeps? And needs to be carried at all times in a Moby wrap?

I think I may have spent half the visit gaping at her in awe. Grace slept like a champ within two weeks, and I was still a mess until she was about 6 months old.

I consider Emmy to be our second chance. Poor Grace was the experiment. She seems a little emotionally disturbed, but otherwise okay, so maybe I shouldn't feel too bad.

Anyway, my kitchen is now arranged perfectly to my liking. Acres of counter space that were once crammed with stuff. All my utensils within easy reach of food prep areas. Most-used dishes and silverware right next to the drain board. It's magical. I made dinner in about five seconds tonight. And it wasn't microwaved. Three different burners going on the stove at the same time.

(If you know me and know how big a flake I am, you will know that this is remarkable; zero multitasking skills here.)

Grace may be more damaged than I realize. We've started teaching her the Catechism for Young Children. We're still on question one, for obvious reasons:

Me: Grace, who made you?
Grace: Oatmeal?

Every single time.

Grace has always been a little slow to do everything (except talk). She took forever to roll over, took forever to sit, took forever to crawl and walk.

Emmy is her polar opposite in almost every way imaginable: She looks like me. She started out being a poor sleeper (compared to Grace, at least), but a great napper. And now she's a far better sleeper overall than Grace was at this age (sleeps 10.5 hours a night at 10 weeks, please don't hunt me down and kill me). She started out tiny, and is now a Babyzilla. Grace started out as Babyzilla and got skinnier and skinnier every day. Emmy started out grumpy and is now happy almost all the time. Grace started out happy and got really grumpy for about three months.

I did some research (read: I looked up a developmental milestone chart on Babycenter), and it turns out I'm NOT an overly proud, biased parent. Emmy actually IS freakishly advanced.

She's two and a half months old.

Going by percentiles, she is about the size of a 4.5-month-old.

She has gained an average of 12 oz/week since she bottomed out about three days after birth. Normal is 4-7 oz.

She's been doing mini-pushups for over a month now (half of all kids can do that at 3 months).

She can roll over front to back. Half of all kids can do that at 4 months.

She is in size 3 diapers.

Her torso is the size of a 6-9 month-old's.

The hilarious part is that her legs are still newborn-sized. We call her Stumps. James has taken to calling the two of them "Grumps and Stumps." Grace's sleeping patterns have devolved again, though they're not as bad as they were. She's semi-grouchy much of the time instead of freaking out all of the time. I'll take it.

One last little thing. I love cooking. LOVE it. But I'm slow. And scatterbrained. And no one ever really taught me. I fumbled my way through it on my honeymoon and have been slowly acquiring skills ever since.

(Uuuuh. Ignore the double meaning there, that I didn't even notice until I'd already typed the sentence.)

Are there any books that tell you how to get better at cooking? I try new recipes all the time, so I've got that part covered. But I mean cookingING books (not cook books) that are kind of like textbooks. And that aren't really dry. Something I'll actually read, use and enjoy.

Anyone? Thanks.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

TV really does make you stupider

So, I finally decide to get in shape, and what happens? I gain seven pounds, and my thighs grow an inch. Now, I truly do not mind my thighs get larger. If anything, it'll make my waist look smaller. It's all about the pants. I hate pants. Pants suck.

And don't suggest dresses and skirts. I have my reasons for hating most of those, too.

I'm beginning to understand mom jeans.

Someone needs to make mom jeans that don't look like mom jeans. Like, they still go up to your armpits so all that weird skin (TMI! Sorry!) is contained and doesn't hang over you waistband, but put the pockets nice and low so they look normal if you're wearing a shirt. Will they look totally bizarre on the rack? Yes. I do not care.

(Yes, I've tried Gap curvy fit jeans, and while I don't know what planet they are getting their "curvy" women from, I do know it's not Earth. Maybe planet America's Next Top Model.)

Speaking of shirts, who decided that women's shirts all had to be really short? My torso is about the same length as my toddler's, and I still have problems finding shirts that are long enough. I'd like to be able to do yardwork without sharing intimate details of my backside with the neighbors. Men's shirts are an option, of course, but I also like to resemble a woman more than a tent, even when I am getting all grubby. How do you people with normal proportions find shirts that aren't cut just below your ribcage? Am I missing something? Shopping in the girls' section by accident? What?

A friend from church gave us a CD of kids' music. I like it. It's cute without being obnoxious, which sets it apart from 99% of all other kids' CDs out there. Then there's this song:

Five little ducks went out one day,
Over the hills and far away.
Mother duck said, "Quack, quack, quack, quack!"
But only four little ducks came back.

Four little ducks went out one day,
Over the hills and far away.
Mother duck said, "Quack, quack, quack, quack!"
But only three little ducks came back.

Three little ducks went out one day,
Over the hills and far away.
Mother duck said, "Quack, quack, quack, quack!"
But only two little ducks came back.

Two little ducks went out one day,
Over the hills and far away.
Mother duck said, "Quack, quack, quack, quack!"
But only one little duck came back.

One little duck went out one day,
Over the hills and far away.
Mother duck said, "Quack, quack, quack, quack!"
And none of the five little ducks came back.

What kind of mother does that? I can kind of understand if she'd sent her kids out once after the first one went missing--I mean, you can't spend your whole life in fear just because something bad happens once, right? But after the second kid disappears, maybe it's time to change things a little. Maybe move to a better neighborhood, or perhaps go with your children when they go out to play. Stop smoking weed while they play in the street.

PBS programming. Does anyone ever watch this? It makes me want to bleed from the eyes. I turn on the TV to distract Grace while I nurse Emmy in the morning. For a while I stuck to PBS Kids, but it's got to be the most mind-numbing, awful TV ever in the universe. There is this sciency program that might be interesting, except that it's exactly like the videos we used to watch in 8th grade biology, down to the yellow subtitles and Casio keyboard soundtrack. While the subject matter is interesting, the delivery system just kills it. I keep having flashbacks to Mr. Titus and his habit of sending me to sit by myself in the back of the room every time I'd start talking.

Oh, wait. That would have been my fault, not his. But still. It was only because with the lights down and the narrator droning on in a monotone, the only way I could stay awake at 2:00 in the afternoon was to bug my neighbor. Man, I was annoying.

But then, after that, there's Dragon Tales. There are these two idiotic children who have a magical stone that take them to Dragon Land. I guessing the magical stone is really a giant crack rock, but don't tell PBS Kids. The other magical thing about it is that all these dragons don't eat these brain dead children alive. Max and Emmy, they're called.

One of the dragons has two heads. One head is a girl, one head is a boy. I can't even begin to understand how they think that works. Can you imagine how awkward it's going to be when one of them gets married?

One of the dragons is almost as brain dead as the children, and he even talks in this doofy voice that will drop your IQ three points for every minute that you watch (come to think of it, this explains a few things...).

One of the dragons has what sounds like a Mexican accent. No idea why. I mean, nothing wrong with that, but it just seems so random. Like he's their token nod to multiculturalism.

The dragon that annoys me the most is the shy pink one. She's supposedly the smarty pants of the bunch, but I'm pretty sure if she were any dumber, she'd be licking doorknobs.

The worst part is the plotlines. Now, I realize these are geared toward kids and their tiny, underdeveloped brains, but I don't remember being this dumb when I was that age. In fact, they're so dumb that I've completely forgotten the one that prompted me to write about the show in the first place.

I'll just put it this way: Instead of watching Dragon Tales, I now turn on America's Funniest Videos (hey, it's either that, infomercials, soap operas, or Spanish-language soap operas, which, come to think of it, are pretty awesome).

Does anyone have an iPad? I do not know what all the hype is about, but even if it were a bar of gold filled with everlasting chocolate, I do not think I could bring myself to buy one. It's the name. What a terribly unfortunate name. Every time I hear the word, "iPad," I imagine an electronic box of Kotex. I am pretty sure a man came up with the name. An older man who has never cringed through a commercial for feminine products.

Speaking of which, I have had the Summer's Eve jingle stuck in my head for about a week. Please shoot me.

And while we're on the topic of commercials, I have two that just kill me every single time.

All the Activia commercials are just awful, but my most favorite is the one with Jamie Lee Curtis (bless your heart, Jamie Lee, and I hope I look half as good as you do at whatever age you are) and the mom and daughter. And they're all standing around this gorgeous kitchen, eating their Activia, talking about their bowel movements and irregularity as if it were the latest celeb gossip. I looked for a video of it online, but couldn't find one. It's utterly bizarre. It's impossible to pinpoint exactly what about it sets me off, but I think it's the daughter's breezy openness about her irregularity problem and the way she pats her tummy.

Then there's the Life Alert commercial. It opens with this lady:

And while that's funny (not that old people fall, but the way they stage it), what is most hilarious to me is that they then put a bubble around her, and do the zoom-out and shrink thing, with an arrow pointing to where she is on a floor plan of a house. Like a "You Are Here!" pop-out on a map. You are here! Far from any telephones! Let me draw you a diagram!

Hm. I guess you have to see it because it's not as funny in writing. That's all. I have children who will not nap. Which is odd. They ALWAYS nap. Maybe it's the fresh spring air or the catnip in the yard or the ghosts in their closets.

Oh, but one last thing: a lot of you suggested just letting Grace cry, and then usually said something about being bad moms. First, I don't think you're bad moms. Second, that's what we've been doing. For weeks. We had an epiphany the other day, though, and tried moving her nap up an hour. She's slept like a rock every night since. I hate how dumb we are sometimes. I blame it on bad TV.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Girl likes her snacks

Results on little MiracleGro over here: 14 lb, 12 oz and 24.5 inches longs. She weighed 7 lb, 14 oz, and was 19.5 inches at birth. She bottomed out at 7 lb, 5 oz. So that means she's nearly doubled her birth weight and more than doubled her lowest weight. This usually happens around six months. She is two months old (Grace was 13 lb, 24 oz at this age, and she started out more than two pounds heavier).

The hilarious part is that all that weight has gone into her top half. Her thighs are pretty chubby, but they're not too bad, and they haven't gotten much longer. So she's still newborn-sized on the bottom and 6-month sized on top. This is awesome for picking out outfits. And for ridiculing a defenseless person. She's adorable, but so weird-looking. In a cute, ridiculous baby way.

Anyone else watch Dexter? I started watching through Netflix, and I'm totally addicted. Because this is just what I needed: another TV show to love.

I am cutting this short again because I'm completely exhausted. After a really good day Sunday, Grace decided to not sleep last night (which means I didn't either), and then she fell apart completely all morning. And then Emmy screamed a lot after her shots. James did take them away for about an hour this evening (and did dishes! *swoon*), but I'm still wrung out.

We really need to figure out something with Grace and the screaming at night. It's not night terrors. It's not thirst. More than half the time, if one of us goes in there, it's clear she's just manipulating us. And going in just seems to prolong the bouts of screaming.

And because I'm brain-dead, it didn't occur to me before now that she's falling about all the time because she's sleep-deprived. Solutions! I need! Now, please!

Sunday, April 18, 2010

My little diva

I don't remember giving birth to a pre-teen 18 months ago, but it seems I did, because I am now the proud owner of a thirteen-year-old toddler.

Oh, the tantrums! The DRAMA! The tears!

Potential contributing factors:

1. Teeth. The Child sprouts teeth like she's a shark. Right now she's working on her two-year molars. When her canines finally came in, just days ago, we breathed a sigh of relief. We would have our happy, well-behaved baby back! Life would be good again! No more teeth until she developed a few coping skills! Laugh yourselves silly at our naivete.

2. Toddlerness. Early terrible twos. I don't know. Whatever it is that makes them go haywire at this age.

3. Emmy. When we first came home with Ems, I think The Child was just so overjoyed to have us back that it didn't occur to her to be displeased over the attention we gave to that screaming bundle of smells. And then she got really clingy. And then she got better. And then she got tantrumy. Please tell me she'll get better again.

Monday was awful. Just awful. We spent the entire day at odds with each other, and I was completely exhausted by the end. But my diligence in disciplining her paid off (or so I thought), and she woke up Tuesday morning with sunshine pouring from her every orifice. Wednesday and Thursday were much the same. Friday was almost as good. Today? Oh, TODAY. She woke up two hours early and spent most of the morning sobbing on the floor (oh, kid, wait until it's 3am the day of your Canaanite Dialects final).

Our biggest problem is that we don't know when she's reacting to pain and when she's doing something that requires correction. I don't want to punish her for reacting to pain. But I don't want to let things slide and realize six months from now that we've produced a monster.

The arthropods in this house have it in for me (back story here). My sister laughs and tells me I'm a crazy lady, seeing conspiracy everywhere, but I will show you the email I sent her earlier tonight, and you tell me if I'm crazy:

So, I was just on the toilet. I was not finished with my business, if you catch my drift. I also had my laptop on my lap.

And then I notice that a piece of the wall next to the tub has started racing toward me. And then I realize that it is a very fuzzy piece of wall, and that it is moving REALLY REALLY FAST. Toward me. With my pants around my ankles. With my laptop on my lap.

And I leaped into the air (you would be ASTONISHED at my grace and agility here, in the face of such horror), just barely managed to catch my laptop before it went flying into the tub, and I landed on the other side of the bathroom, laptop safely in my hands, pants still around my ankles.

And now I can't find the stupid centipede. And Jeremy is not here. And I'm caught between wanting to vomit and wanting to laugh at how stupid I am until I cry.

This is the same bathroom where a bee dive-bombed me and a spider is camping out somewhere in my bathrobes and pants (and I don't know what to do about that, since I need to wear them to church tomorrow--the pants, not the bathrobes, though I suppose I could go to church as a shepherd).

You have no idea how undignified (and horrifying!) this all was, but I'm sure if you imagine it, it will make you laugh.

And then, just minutes later, I walked out of the baby's room, and there was a giant white spider waiting for me on the wall, right at eye level.

I threw a shoe at that sucker, and--this is a miracle, my friends, a miracle--actually HIT it. It is now smashed into the wall.

Then there were the two unholy abominations lurking in the raspberry patch yesterday while I was pruning (does "pruning the raspberry patch" sound like a euphemism to anyone else, or am I just a twelve-year-old?). After jumping back three feet (both times) and running another ten across the yard, I could still see them. That's how big they were. A neighbor a block away paused from sweeping his front walk to stare. I thought he was staring at me and my freakish screaming, but it's possible he could also see the spiders from there.

Spiders this large should not live in Wisconsin. They should be freezing to death before they ever get that large. I suspect the former occupants of this house were burying depleted uranium in the yard. That is the only explanation.

In other news, Emmy is now the size of a Wisconsin garden spider. She has a checkup on Monday, but I'm pretty sure she's at least thirteen pounds and over two feet long now. I don't know how a baby can grow so fast. I'd think it was the depleted uranium, but Grace didn't grow this fast. Of course, we didn't move in until I was six months pregnant, while Emmy has been exposed to the stuff from conception, so who knows?

It is time for bed now. These children become both more exhausting and more fun every day (aside from the Devil Teeth).

Emmy naps on her own quite well, but she's also awake for longer stretches of time, which means I'm constantly running interference between her and Grace. Grace loooooves her sister. She loooooves her so much she wants to kiss her all the time. And by "kiss" I mean, "smash her face teeth-first into Emmy's head so hard she leaves permanent indents."

She also takes great delight in helping me burp Emmy. This is really cute at first, but then she starts to get so excited about how helpful she's being, and the gentle pats turn into hearty thumps, and before we know it Emmy's spine is dislocated.

So, bed for me. If I can sleep with all these many-legged horrors skittering about.

Thursday, April 8, 2010


I am cutting this short because James and I are watching one of our shows. In case you're wondering about the abrupt ending. Which is TOTALLY uncharacteristic for me, right?

2.0 has FINALLY started napping decently on her own. However, the nighttime sleeping? Not so good. Okay, it's actually really good for an 8-week old, but she keeps jerking me around. Four nights in a row last week, she slept from around midnight to around 8 or 9. Then back to just six hours, then she slept nine, and last night it was six again. Yarrr. Grace was a lousy napper at this point, but once she started sleeping a long time at night, she never looked back.

What do you know? Every child is different.

(In other news, sky is blue, bears poo in the woods, and dogs pee on brick walls!)

In a totally uncharacteristic move, I tried to remove a fingertip today. Someday I will learn that I should not try to slice things that are still in my hand.

I have been ellipticalling (Shut up. I like it. It's clunky. Just like the machines are.) every day for two weeks. I have more energy. A will to live. My waistline is a wee bit smaller, though not, unfortunately, where my pants lie; my love handle flesh has been clinging determinedly to my skeleton since, oh, 11th grade.

The downside? I have a bum knee. I've thought it might be in my head all these years. Or that it was the high impact of running that did me in every time I tried to get in shape again. But running on the elliptical is almost no impact, and the stiffness in my knee is not in my head. The more I use it, the better it feels (while I'm using it), but every morning I wake up it's like rigor mortis has set in.

This means going to the doctor. Again. I love my OBs, but it took a lot for me to even make an appointment when I first found out I was pregnant. For a day or so, I entertained thoughts of giving birth in my living room, completely unassisted by any kind of medical professional, midwife or nurse. Which would have gone really, really well, I know.

Right now I'm entertaining thoughts of just exercising the bumness out of my stupid knee. Maybe if I get strong enough, it won't matter that a ligament or piece of cartilage or whatever is flapping around in there. Maybe I can perform surgery on myself or rig up my own X-ray machine.

Ten bucks says I go to the doctor, he looks at my knee and says, "Oh, your flimabibbit is just stuck to the spactaloot. Easy fix!" And then he nudges the kneecap, something pops, and voila! Done! And I will kick myself for a week for not getting this taken care of six years ago.

Or whenever all the trouble started. I think it might have been when I tried to jump over a box in Jeremy's parents' cement-floored garage and tripped. I only weighed about 130 then, but all 130 lbs landed on my knee from about three feet in the air.

Can I just take a minute to tell you how painful that was? No, I can't. It's indescribable. Let me try, though. With Grace, I had intense back labor for ten hours. I thought I was going to die. It was like a thousand very clumsy men were patting me on the back. With sledgehammers. Now imagine all ten hours of that condensed into one kneecap in one instant.

Yeah, I cried.

Monday, April 5, 2010


The Child had some shots last week. Three instead of the usual one, since I was popping out another at the time of her last scheduled appointment.

Three days later she turned into Gollum. Stinker Gollum, not Slinker. She's ordinarily so sweet that I forget she's still a toddler underneath it all. She's selfish and has zero emotional control. So I freaked out and was just sure that the terrible twos had arrived early.

Well, no. Monday was spectacularly awful. We spent the ENTIRE day at odds with each other. I kind of wanted to run away.

Tuesday she woke up with sunshine shooting out her rear end. It was almost creepy, how drastically her temperament changed overnight. She's been happy every day since.

Not only that, but she's no longer terrified of grass, dirt, sticks, the outdoors, the porch, or falling. Since she learned to walk a month and a half ago, we've been forcing her to go outside daily and experience nature. She did not appreciate that. She'd plop down on the sidewalk and cry. If I was feeling really mean, I'd stand her up in the grass and walk a few feet away. That would really set her off. Grass! It is green! Like vegetables!

So Tuesday I took her outside and braced myself for yet another ordeal. Instead, she cruised around the yard for an hour while I picked up sticks and branches (our trees shed more than most cats). She sat in the grass, touched it with her hands. She played with sticks and got dirty. Best of all, she started falling on purpose and yelling, "Whooooah!" every time. A couple times she even smacked face-first into the ground and didn't even slow down (before Tuesday, she would ordinarily soooob after a fall for at least ten minutes, even if we weren't around to see her fall).

And now that she's past that, I can say out loud (or write, I guess) that I was starting to worry about her weird aversions--especially her fear of different textures. She's always been very princessy about different textures, and while that's nice for cleaning up after meals, a voice in the back of my head kept chirping, "Sensory integration! Sensory integration! Sensory integration!"

Of course, there's a tradeoff: she now plays with her food. Her most favorite game is to pick up as many of one vegetable as she can fit into one fist and then cram it into her seat. Super!

And that's about all she does with vegetables. Every so often she'll become very interested in a particular vegetable and eat it until she's ready to pop. The latest was broccoli ("Boppoli? Boppoli? Boppoli?"), but she's over that now. SO over it, Mama, THANK YOU VERY MUCH. But other than that, she'll have nothing to do with actually ingesting the things.

I remember how proud I was of my little adventurous eater. Before Emmy was born, Grace would eat almost anything we put in front of her, so long as it was something we were eating, too. She had her picky days (usually while teething), but normally she was the black hole of hunger. We got back from the hospital, and she would eat only bread, oatmeal, yogurt, and fruit. For weeks.

She's gotten better, but her diet is hardly well-rounded. At every meal, we have a few things to eat, and there's always at least one that I know she'll like. If she doesn't want anything else, that's too bad. She'll just have to go hungry. Before bed, if we've had supper early, I'll offer her something from dinner, but she always refuses.

Some days all she eats is three servings of fruit and a few Cheerios. She's clearly not suffering, and I know that if we make it A Thing, it will become A Bigger Thing, something she knows she has control over, and that will just make it so much worse. But it bothers me! She's missing out! That, and she has terrible taste. I made some broccoli the other night that was TO DIE FOR, and she took one bite, made an awful face, and refused any more. The broccoli she snarfs down as fast as she can? That would be the frozen stuff out of a plastic bag that I heat up in the microwave. No seasoning. Ew.

Something good and not child-related... Hmmm...

(I KNOW all I talk about most entries is TEH CHILDRUUUUNNNNSSS, but believe me, it is not because I'm choosing that topic above all others. It's because that's what I do all day long. There is no other topic, for the time being. People without kids talk about work, home life, and recreation on their blogs. Because that's what they do all day. Two very small children and housework take up ALL of my time, except for a 45-minute window in the middle of the day, which I usually spend exercising. I get two minutes here and there all day--thus the Facebooking--, but no chunks of time, and that means there isn't much else to talk about. I can't wait until Emmy is sleeping 12 hours a night. That will let me have more of a life. Hopefully that's about a month from now, as it was with Grace.)

Remember how I was so happy about dropping so much weight right after Emmy was born? Well, I've gained five back. And it's not a day-to-day fluctuation kind of five pounds. I always weigh myself in the morning after feeding Emmy and before my shower, and it's pretty steady at +5 pounds. Yarrr. I don't get it. I'm eating healthier and less food than I was, I elliptical for 25-30 minutes a day, and I usually go on a long walk every time it's nice out. All that, plus I spend almost the entire day moving around. I know housework and childcare aren't exercise, but the only time I rest between 8am and 8pm is when I'm feeding Emmy.

And no, it's not all muscle. My waistline has shrunk a little bit, but for the most part I'm the same size all around. I don't expect to lose much weight as long as I'm breastfeeding; that tends to make your body cling to a few extra pounds for dead life, it seems. The next person who tells me breastfeeding "JUST MELTS THE WEIGHT OFF!" will get a punch in the face.

Friday, April 2, 2010

I am not down with arthropods

The weather here has been amazing the last two days. Sometimes I remember why I don't completely hate Wisconsin. I would say the exhilaration of springtime makes the six to seven months of dreary weather almost worth it, but I'd totally be lying. I suppose it's an okay consolation prize, though.

We have walked all over town yesterday and today. It's impossible to stay indoors. I very seriously considered sleeping on the front porch last night, but then there are the spiders and the Asian beetles and the spiders. And, oh yeah, the spiders. I have never seen so many spiders in my life. Can anyone tell me why other people's front porches do not have this kind of spider infestation? Is there a magical powder I can sprinkle all over to keep them away? Or are they just drawn to the scent of arachnophobes?

This reminds me. Last night I came downstairs (barefoot) and went into the kitchen (with no shoes on). I stopped in my (shoeless) tracks and gaped as something huge and dark scurried across the floor and hid under the baby swing. My first impulse was to shriek loudly enough that the thing would just disintegrate right there on the floor. But I didn't want to wake The Child, who was sleeping very well for the first time in weeks. So I swallowed it. What came out was something like what might happen when you step on a cat who's choking on a mouse.

James came to investigate; I handed him a fly swatter and made urgent girlie noises at the swing while doing something that looked like the potty dance. Did I mention my feet were naked? I keep imagining the thing racing across my bare toes and breaking into cold sweats. The foolish man has still not learned to interpret the gibberish that comes out of my face when I'm panicking. It took him far too long to find it, exclaim, "Oh! That's a HUGE spider!" and whack it with the fly swatter (hah! what a humiliating death for a spider!). By that point I was sitting on a bar stool with my (BARE!) feet in the air.

I hate that I'm such a nancy about spiders. I have tried, really I have. I have other fears that I've conquered or at least learned to choke down: talking on the telephone, public speaking (if I must), the dark, doctors, and a couple others. But I think the arachnophobia is here to stay.

So, today, I was sitting on the toilet. I know, I know. But it's important.

I was sitting on the toilet, minding my own business, when I felt something CRAWLING on my BUTT. My butt, people. I figured it was just me being crazy and paranoid, and it was just a hair floating off my head, or a piece of tissue sticking up from the trash can, or a figment of my imagination. Nope! No, it was not. I brushed my hand against my skin, and I touched something. And that something squirmed. I nearly flung my laptop into the bathtub (shut up).

I was frozen between the need to investigate and the need to not stand up just then. Then, thank goodness, the something buzzed. Oh, a bee! Bees I can handle! I am cool with bees! It flew off my butt and over to the window pane next to me, where it sat, probably terrified out of its tiny little mind--first, because no one really needs that close a look at my bare hindquarters, and second, because the Hand of Doom nearly took its life. I do not know which was scarier for it.

So, while I love spring and all, and I wouldn't take it back for anything in the world, ENOUGH with the FAUNA already. It's too early for this. I am accustomed to running around all summer in fear. Spring I reserve for carefree joy.