Saturday, April 30, 2011

Passing On The Torch

It's official.  Gabi has the Brazilian soccer gene.


Most Brazilians have their kids playing soccer before they can walk, so Gilberto has been waiting six excruciatingly long years for his daughter to take the field and see what she's got.  We had no idea if she'd inherited his genes, which are steeped in a long tradition of soccer greatness, or mine, which are not. 

In fact, I'm pretty much a lost cause when it comes to sports.  I was kicked off the sixth grade volleyball team for continuously knocking down teammates, and shot an arrow into the gym wall during archery.  I won't even go into why I didn't make the softball or basketball teams.

Understandably, I wanted Gabi to be a bit older, and more sure on her feet, before participating in a contact sport.  Knowing about my tendency to trip on air, Gilberto agreed.  I am happy to say, though, that Gabi played her very first game today and ROCKED IT. 

As goalie she kept the other team from scoring, and as forward she scored all three of her team's goals!  Not even a minute after the game had ended, Gilberto was on the phone with his family in Brazil, passing on the great news.  They've been on Soccer Alert ever since I popped Gabi out, and based on the screams I heard coming from the other end, they are just as excited as Gilberto.

The man is seriously bursting with pride.

What I haven't told him is that besides being terrible at sports, I also have a terrible case of beginner's luck.  That arrow that I shot into the gym wall?  Was after my very first shot struck a bull's eye.  We'll have to wait until next Saturday to see if she's inherited my genes after all.

Friday, April 22, 2011

In Which The FBI Raids The Neighbors

It was still dark two mornings ago when we were woken up by a metallic BANG!  BANG!  BANG!

Me: Gilberto!  Someone's banging on the screen door!



Me: Oh my God!  Gilberto!  The police want in!

How did the police know that I was thinking about getting a Medical Marijuana Card?  And I was only thinking about it!  For the firbromyalgia pain!  And that's not a crime! 


We lept from the bed and peaked out the window just in time to see the police blow the door open to the house next door.  The boom shook our house and sparks lit up the lawn for a brief moment, revealing men in black crouched in various positions surrounding the house. 

Men with big guns that had laser lights trained on the windows.

Me: It's not for us!

Gilberto: Of course it's not!  Why would it be?

Me: Oh, um, no reason!

A strange rush of relief mixed with curiosity ('cause I'm nosy) and fear ('cause there were HUGE GUNS) washed over me.  Not enough fear to move away from the window, though.  This was the biggest event to happen in the neighborhood in a long time, and I wasn't going to miss any of it!  Especially since a helicopter had just arrived and was hovering over the house with its searchlight on, ready to aid in case there was an escape.

I've recently started watching Criminal Minds, and it was JUST LIKE THAT.  The black, tinted SUVs, the uniforms, the guns, the lasers.  Even the way they entered the house, throwing smoke bombs, crouching on high alert, and then searching in darkness.  They set the vertical blinds swaying and through the moving gaps we could see their flashlight beams as they went room to room, illuminating the swirling smoke.

I don't think it would have surprised me to hear a Director yell out, "Cut!  Great job, guys.  No need for take two!" 

Once the house was secured, the police moved out, sending the hovering helicopter on it's way, and the FBI moved in.  Yep, THE FBI.

What were our neighbors up to that would involve the FBI?  I thought I had the answer when a few agents came outside for a smoke and started to chat about the woman who took their money.  Aha!  Drugs!  Or Prostitution!  Though the woman of the house was pregnant with two kids, so prostitution was pretty unlikely.  So back to drugs!  It made sense because the woman's brother was always slinking around, smoking pot in their driveway and starting fights at their parties.     

But as the morning dragged on, no one was brought out in cuffs.  And when the police and FBI wrapped things up, it didn't look like they'd taken any evidence from inside the house, either. 

Such a dramatic start to the day, such a boring ending. 

My only way to get any info is to offer the daughter a ride home from school.  Which is kinda sleazy, but sometimes you gotta do what you gotta do.  You know?  No?  Aw, fine, then I'm going to try and work up the nerve and talk to the parents directly.  But in an indirect kind of way, like going over to see if they'd like to have my infant car seat.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

My Refuge

Some people have church.  Some people have the corner bar.  Some people have a full time nanny.   

But what does this mom do when she craves some serenity?  I hide in the bathroom with the lights off. 

It's the perfect place for some solitude, and the total darkness helps me block out the screeching coming from the other side of the door.  Sometimes, sometimes, I can even ignore the banging on the door once the wee ones realize where I am.

Gabi: Mom? MOM!  I know you're in there!  Are you going potty?  Because I have to pee and I'm too scared to go to the other bathroom and Mason is eating food off the floor and I can't get the TV to turn to the cartoon channel and ARE YOU POOPING?  Because I don't care if you are, just open the door!  MOM!

All good things must come to an end, so at this point I usually open the door and hope I have decompressed enough to be able to genuinely smile my way through the rest of the day.

I have discovered some other ways to get some quiet, if not alone, time.  I can read half a magazine and catch up on what Charlie Sheen said on his latest tour stop if I do one or more of the following: 

  • Bust out the new Playdoh, don't say a word when kids move Playdoh to carpet
  • Let kids empty kitchen cabinets
  • Let kids play with kitchen stuff PLUS water
  • Hand over purse for inspection
  • Let kids paint clown faces with makeup found in purse
  • Open up the back of the pick-up truck and throw up a few lawn chairs (bonus if you give the kids some yarn to wind through the hook holes)
  • Dump out all bins of stuffed animals and dolls and then pay the kids to put them back
  • Send naked kids outside to make mud pies using a hose and a sacrificial flower pot
  • Give kids a book that's too damaged for repair, a Sharpie and a pair of scissors.  Do NOT tell them they are allowed to write or cut up the book, as this ensures they will sit and do just that.
  • Longer time outs (much much much longer time outs)

There's not much I haven't let the kids get away with in moments of desperation.  The key is that they never know it was desperation that made me buckle.  This way I'm The Cool Mom instead of The Pushover Mom.

And for those times when I'm not able to make it to the bathroom or handle massive destruction, there's nothing like an appletini cleverly disguised in a Sea World mug.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Stupid Birds, Stupid Bees

I don't know why I wasn't paying attention, but I wasn't.  I DID know that Gabi was playing in my closet and was being fantastically quiet.

Gabi: Mom, why do you have these underwear?  They show your private parts! 

I look over and she's holding up a pair of see-through underwear from back in my pre-kids days, when I actually did stuff to woo Gilberto. 

Me: Ohhhhh.  Yeah, it's probably why I don't wear them.  I mean, who wants to wear SEE-THROUGH UNDERWEAR?  Ha ha ha.

Gabi: Yeah, mommy!  They must've gotten really worn out.  Did you wear them a lot?

Me: Hey, look what you found!  My shawl!  Let's dress you up like a Spanish dancer!

I have the art of diversion DOWN. 

Especially when it comes to the wonderful world of explaining reproduction to your child.  Up until now I've gotten off easy, only having to explain about female parts and how the baby grows and gets out.  But not any of the before stuff.

I knew the nitty gritty questions would be coming before too long.  Cue last Monday.  We were driving somewhere and I was lost in thought until BLAM.

Gabi: I've been thinking, why do you need a daddy to make a baby?

She's been thinking?  Oh my God, DON'T PANIC!  She needs you to be cool so that she doesn't think it's a big deal.  Be cool, Laural.  BE COOL.  

Me: Well, you know how the mom has an egg?  It needs to come together with a little piece of the dad called sperm.  The dad gives the mom his sperm and when it touches the egg it makes it start to grow into a baby.

Ooo, that was good!  But PLEASE, God, let that be enough to satisfy her.

Gabi: What's sperm?

Crap.  How the hell do you explain sperm to a six year old?  Okay, I can do this.  Deep breathe, let it out.  And THINK.  THINK.  Why can't I think?

Gabi: Mom!  WHAT'S SPERM?     

Me: Sperm look like little tadpoles!  They like to swim like tadpoles, too, so that they can find the egg!

FAIL.  Crappity crap.  But maybe she'll start thinking about frogs and we can end this conversation.

Gabi: But, mom, how does the sperm get into the mommy?

Well there you go.  She asked it.  THE question.  I may be a bad mom, but I just can't tell her about the whole penis-baby connection.  Not today. 

Me: Hey, there's a McDonald's!  Do you want a Happy Meal?  And how about some new shoes!

And, hallelujah, it worked. 

I know I'm going to have to give her an answer, and apparently soon, so I guess I need to read a book.  Or something.  Like maybe I can get Grandma to take this one on.