Thursday, September 27, 2007

Little Girl Hair

I have finally discovered a major parenting portion of the book that I totally stink at: Styling Little Girl Hair. What a nightmare this is.

My chapter in this fictitious book I’m constantly adding to would read: Making Your Child Look Like an Imbicile in Ten Easy Steps.
  • First, attempt to comb the hair.
  • Second, attempt to free comb from the hair when you realize that syrup from breakfast is in the hair too.
  • Third, attempt to calm the child down by offering a bribe after almost tearing large chunks of hair out of her scalp.
  • Fourth, attempt to put some sort of hair accessory into the crusty, frizzy hair.
  • Fifth, remove hairbow after realizing your child looks like she has a mental problem.
  • Sixth, finally get hairbow into hair in some sort of style that isn’t horrifying to you and others.
  • Seven, do NOT blow a gasket when you turn around and small child is throwing said hairbow across the room having yanked it from her coifed head.
  • Eight, brush hair again, this time screaming something about, “I know it hurts, but you should have thought about that when you removed the hairbow from your hair!”
  • Nine, look down at your crying child with hair full of static electricity who is now starting to grunt and wrestle with you and looking like some sort of jungle woman and decide that she looks fine without the hairbow.
  • And finally, send your precious angel to school claiming, “Her father did this to her”.

I am soooooo brilliant. This is why I am The Mother Bear.

Death of a Camry

(This happened Spring of 2007, but someone suggested that I post it so that they could send folks to read it. So, here it is.)

Well, in typical Johnson Style it was another exciting weekend.

I always said that I'd drive the Camry until it blew up and then I’d just leave it on the side of the road? Well, that day was evidently Saturday. The Husband and I had been putting off the inevitable, but decided late last week after the Camry started making some strange little noises, that it was finally time to buy a ‘new’ used van.

We bought a used Town and Country Thursday night. And I mean that van is fine. I was so excited! We left it at the dealership so that they could do a few little things to it, and we'd planned on picking it up Saturday. They offered me $750.00 for my very old and worn out 180,000 miles on it Camry (I almost did a dance right there in the parking lot at that offer—I thought that they were going to tell me to pay them to haul it off).

So I said that I needed to clean it out and we'd just drive it back on Saturday and drop it then. Deal done, we headed home and in a stroke of strange timing, the car started making a dreadful noise—like a knocking sound or something—so we decided to park it half way to the house at the Wal-Mart and clean it out on Saturday before driving it back up to the dealership.

Did the Spring Fling Easter Eggstravaganza thing at church on Saturday and loaded up the kids to go get the "new" van. We looked a sight too. The kids had been egg hunting and eating candy and jumping in that bounce house and looked like homeless kids. I mean down to the “grocery store feet.” They had dried face paint cracking and peeling on their faces and cupcake icing in the corners of their mouths and stains from every single thing they’d eaten that afternoon on their shirts. We looked scary.

Got to the Wal-Mart, and we cleaned the entire car out except for one car seat and off we went. Well, the car made this terrible lurching motion a couple of times on the drive and that strange knocking sound had gotten considerably louder, so I pulled off on the shoulder and told The Husband (who was driving our old van and the kids) that I was afraid to drive it anymore. We swapped up and about two miles from the car place I look up, and there is the Camry riding up the road directly in front of me on fire. No, that was not a typo, I mean on fire as in flames and smoke were shooting out from under the vehicle like Bruce Willis in Die Hard was riding down the road. Not just smoke mind you, but full on flames.

And there was The Right Reverend, riding down the road completely unaware. Do-dee-do-dee-do.

I grabbed the cell phone and dialed him up in a complete and total panic, and he didn't answer his phone. One ring, two rings, three rings, four rings…by this time I am having my own melt down. Folks, eight seconds is eternity when your husband is on fire riding 60 mph in front of you. My one thought was that my husband is going to burn to death while his kids watch. One too many shoot-em-up movies, but I had it in the back of my head that cars that catch fire blow up. I'm honking and swerving and waving my arms and screaming at the top of my lungs like a complete maniac, "THE CAR IS ON FIRE!!! THE CAR IS ON FIRE!!!," as though he could hear me from the van to the car. I just about decided to hit him with the van (since he's just Clark Grizwolding down the road with freaking FLAMES shooting out from under the car) and he FINALLY answers the phone.

He has no idea what I am saying because I’m just shouting something completely incoherent at the top of my lungs at this point, still swerving, honking, and waiving my arms. I’m actually screaming “OH MY GOD, OH MY GOD!” over and over as loud as I can (which at our house is the equivalent of screaming the f-word), so the kids have all dropped down into the fetal position in the back seat, covering their heads and ears, when I finally choke out the words again, “YOU ARE ON FIRE!!!! YOU ARE ON FIRE!!! YOU ARE ON FIRE!!!”

He says in this calm, hey-I’m-Joe-Cool-voice, “Oh, am I? Oh, well, okay then.” He drives another 50 yards to get to a “good spot”, pulls over, puts the car in park, removes the keys, and calmly gets out. By this time, flames are now coming out from under the hood, and he’s got this oh-hey-guess-I-really-was-on-fire look on his face.

The thing was flat in minutes. It was quite exciting. Tires exploding, glass shattering, black smoke billowing. I scared the kids half to death with all of the screaming and arm waving and “God” cussing. The fire department finally showed up and the car was still flaming and smoking and in perfect Johnson style, The Husband dead pans to the fire chief, "Well, you think I can still drive it?"

The fire chief, who wasn’t sure if he was joking or not, and said, “Um, probably not without the tires or windshield, Mr. Johnson.”

Oh, right. That might be a problem, eh?

Then The Husband turns to me and says out of the side of his mouth, "I wonder if that'll buff out?" He shrugged and said, “Well, at least we look like folks who would have their car burn down on the side of the road with our four kids under seven and everyone’s nasty and covered in food and in their bare feet. Nothing like completing a good stereotype. Now all we need is a Fox 6 News van to pull by and interview us.”

Only The Husband.

Another funny—a man pulled over to help us (one among about 8 or 9 folks who stopped which encouraged me that not all people are bad). He was wearing an Alabama sweatshirt and cap. He pointed at The Husband who was talking to the firemen and said, “Maybe if he’d change that shirt his luck would improve.” He was of course wearing an Auburn sweatshirt. Nothing like a couple of smarty pants men on the side of the road watching a Camry Car-b-que.

So, after I coaxed the kids out of the fetal position and Lily quit rocking herself and moaning, we cruised into the dealership and picked up the 'new' van and drove off like there was nothing to it. Talk about timing. Two more miles and the Handy-Dandy-Camry would have been on fire in the Carmax parking lot. Of course, two more miles and I’d have had $750.00 in my pocket instead of paying someone to tow it off of the side of the freeway.

Oh, and later, after everyone was secure in the fact that Daddy wasn’t going to die and that cars don’t normally burst into flames and no, this van won’t burst into flames, and no, Mommy won’t leave you if the van does happen to burst into flames and so on…Elise wanted to know if we were all allowed to say “Oh my G. O. D.” now since I screamed it about 15 times at the top of my lungs. When I said no, we don’t say that and that Mommy was actually sort of praying as opposed to cursing at the moment, Elaina piped up from the back, “Well, I think it’s probably an exception if the van is on fire or if you are on fire or if Daddy is on fire again...”

Touché, Small Child.

So, the new 'rule' is that if anyone or anything is on fire, you may scream "Oh my God" as many times as loudly as you want.

Welcome to the Johnson Show. I'll be your host...

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Government Approved Cupcakes

I've figured out what I'm going to do when I start my own stay-at-home-mom business out of the house. We went to the PTO meeting and parent orientation last month where a well-meaning flier was handed out that included a recipe for Government-Approved Cupcakes.

Yes, the federal government is now telling you and me how to make cupcakes and even had a handy-dandy flier made up just for that purpose (which is our tax dollars hard a work). Now I'm all for the applesauce substitution--healthy is good, but government-approved cupcakes?

And if that wasn't Orwellian enough for you, not only can't the government-approved cupcakes have any oil, but they can't have any frosting on them. This is an affront to cupcakes. I ask you, what is the point of a birthday cupcake with no frosting? Seriously. The entire point of the cupcake is to support the frosting. Ask any kid, and see if I speak the truth.

As I gripped the flier in my hand, I looked around the room at the sea full of faces, desperately wanting to make the 'are you kidding me' face at someone, but everyone swallowed this announcement without so much as a blip on the radar. No reaction at all. I'm not sure what started the anger ball rolling in my stomach first--that the government is now approving my cupcakes or the fact that no one thought this intrusion was odd or out of sorts. I wanted to stand and scream, "The Government is APPROVING MY CUPCAKES??? What's next??? Are they going to start screening their lunchboxes and confiscating chips and cookies and Little Debbie's????"

Having a child with a birthday the next week, I got on the phone to the local grocery store bakery and tried to order 'applesauce' cupcakes. The woman repeated the question back to me three times until I explained that you can't take regular cupcakes into the school anymore--they are contraband. Dead silence on the other line. The bakery lady told me that I must be confused, at which point I read the flier out loud to her. Pause.

Um, no, ma'am, we haven't heard of applesauce cupcakes or making them without oil.

Then she covered the receiver and told someone working with her that there was a health nut on the phone looking for applesauce cupcakes. Okay then.

So after calling FOUR different places hunting up the healthy cupcakes with the same 'what are you talking about, lady" reaction, I realise that I am going to actually have to BAKE the stupid things. After working 9 hours, a 1-1/2 hour commute both ways in rush hour, coming home to cook dinner for four kids, helping with homework, making lunches, assembling and packing snacks, signing folders, writing checks for: t-shirt, lunch money for one kid, class trip, bathing everyone, laying out clothes for the next day, finding every one's shoes again, taking the garbage out, cleaning up the dinner dishes, moving the laundry around and folding two loads, getting everyone into the bed (eight times each), I am freaking DYING to BAKE! Aren't you? The Martha Stewart is just oozing from my pores.

But there is no way am I throwing myself out of the running for The Perfect Mommy Title, so I'm digging through drawers hunting up cupcake pans and those stupid little cups you pour the batter into and flour and salt and cocoa...the more I struggle to find the staples, the angrier I get about the 1984 Cupcakes (as I am now mentally referring to them). I get everything on the counter and start measuring and sifting and pouring, until I get to the part about the applesauce instead of oil. I am sure that I've set the applesauce on the counter--two of those little cups of it in individual containers. Sure of it! I only had two left and I know that I put them somewhere...I look around, on the ground, on the table, lifting up stuff to look under it, when in strolls my 7-yr-old and 3-yr-old smacking lips and congratulating each other on the tasty treat they found 'just lying around'. Oh yeah. They ate the applesauce. So, now I'm staring at a bowl full of half-made cupcake batter with no applesauce.

I hope they don't run any random lab testing on the food brought into the school, cause I'm going down for sneaking in contraband. Oh, and I sent in a jar of frosting just for my son's cupcake. They can force me to feed all of those other poor, deprived kids naked cupcakes, but in my house, I'm still the Mother Bear, and Carter Big Boy can take a bath in frosting on his birthday.

So, when I finally start my home-based business baking applesauce-instead-of-oil cupcakes for busy moms and dads, The Husband suggests that I call it "Big Brother Cupcakes" because no one with a lick of sense is going to buy or eat anything from a bakery called "Government Approved Cupcakes" Ha!

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Potty Training

Photos of Carter 'helping' Lily potty train. He kept cheering her on in the funniest way. Encouraging words like, "You just push it out and then we can do the Poopy Party Dance" and then he illustrated the dance, which looked like an odd combination of the Running Man and the Cabbage Patch (showing my age again--not that I ever DID any of those dances, naturally). (Ahem.)
He insisted that he appear in the photos since he was "helping". Somewhere in there he "helped" by peeing in the floor. Repeatedly.
I'm going to lose some serious points off of my Perfect Mommy Score this year--I didn't realize he'd peed in the floor until the photos came back and I saw something on the bottom of the toilet and thought to myself, 'what is that?' and went to investigate only to find dried pee all over the toilet and floor between the potty and the garbage can. You can view it in the bottom left-hand corner of the photos. (Lovely)

There was some convoluted "reasoning" that involved illustrating the peeing and missing the actual bowl that got so confusing I got dizzy and might have forfeited an IQ point or two. (Again, the don't-ask-unless-someone-is-bleeding policy should have been invoked at that moment.)
Don't think I don’t know that this photographic evidence will be good blackmail one day. Seriously--no one wants her mother showing off photos of the first poop. I'm already dreaming up magnificent ways in which to use this jewel to my advantage. Mwwaa-ha-ha-ha!


The Twins in SuperTwin Mode. They have glow sticks on their heads trying to Vulcan Mind Meld or Wondertwins Activate or something like that. I think it was a mind-reading thing, although it could have been clever accessorizing. I have learned not to ask anymore. The less I know, the less I am responsible for. :-) (And this beats the Captain Underpants stage we went through awhile back.)

I can't believe how tall Elaina is next to Elise. She's like a foot taller and 10 lbs lighter. (Is there no justice in the world?)
As usual, it's never dull at my house.

Because We are Johnsons

Okay, here we go. My first shot at the Blog Party. I have absolutely no idea how this is going to go. The whole, I'm-going-to-write-something-that-is-vaguely-worthy-of-reading is overwhelming. So, to avoid that sort of pressure, this is just a blog to keep everyone posted about the Four Shorties and we'll leave it at that. Anything else you glean from it is purely accidental.