Out

Sometimes I want to put a camera in my daughters’ room.

Because I picture the way Kate must fall asleep, and I bet it’s damn funny.

Flora cuddles under her blankets. She lies down, piles on the comforter, curls around her lovey, and dozes off. Even while her sister continues to chatter and play with other stuffed animals.

I imagine Kate sitting on her bed playing until sleep takes her and knocks her over.

Kate is my unstill child. She wiggles; she squirms; she jumps and dances; she climbs on me during TV time — she’s not quiet.

I watched her at dinner last night, at a restaurant, create a whole story involving a magnifying glass, an action figure, her mac and cheese, and a board book about baby animals. It was fascinating.

I imagine Kate in bed, sending her stuffed animals (only two now) on an adventure, until an errant blink turns into lights out. Because how else would it happen?

She doesn’t lie down on her pillow. She doesn’t pull her covers up. I find her sprawled on her back, an animal sometimes clutched in one hand, occasionally a book over her face. And I know that up until the very second that consciousness departed for the evening, great things were happening. Things were afoot. Stories were being created.

I hope that her dreams take her onward.

++

Sometimes the Internet is light and fun and we all kid around with each other in the comments.

Sometimes the Internet is mean, and it makes me want to hold people I don’t even know IRL.

At least most of the places I go aren’t boring though, right?

Lost: Recon

You know the drill: *SPOILER ALERT!*

I can’t decide if I like this week’s episode better than last week’s or not.

Although, a shirtless Sawyer does have it over a sweet Dr. Linus.

When we first saw Sawyer getting off flight 815 and eying up Hurley, how many of us thought he was going to find a way to scam him? Show of hands, please.

Yeah, me too.

Instead it turns out he’s a cop in LA; his partner is Miles (who was AWESOME in this episode); and instead of conning people, he’s arresting cons. Love, love, love this episode, everything about it, including Josh Holloway’s abs.

But that’s beside the point.

Sawyer’s present has changed, but not his past: His father and mother still are dead because of a con man who called himself Sawyer. James Ford is hunting for the guy (Anthony Cooper — Locke’s dad?) — has been for years — but has never told Miles, his partner, about it.

What was fascinating to me was the emphasis on truth in the Sideways Story, and on lying on the Island.

“Tell me truth” Ford/Sawyer is exhorted over and over in the Sideways Story.

“You’re the best liar I ever met,” Not Locke tells him on the Island.

We saw a similar theme in last week’s episode:

Tell the truth, and it will set you free.

So, what do we think? Do we think James is setting up Widmore’s people or Smokey? Or is he simply playing both sides against the other so that he can get himself and Kate off the Island? Or all of the above?

The Kate/Claire storyline just creeps me out. When Claire put her hand in Kate’s as Not Locke was talking to his people, I got chills. (I love that Sawyer has no compulsion about actually respecting Not Locke. I don’t know if Sawyer’s infected or not — ala Claire and Sayid — although I think not, for the record.) And then Claire tries to kill her; and then Claire apologizes and cries on her shoulder. I think Kate’s feeling a little whiplash over the mood swings. Which, it’s kind of nice to see Kate off balance and being manipulated instead of the other way around for a change.

Even though Kate and Sawyer are with Not Locke’s people (and, as we heard Sawyer say over and over, “I’m not on anyone’s side”) I doubt that they are actually with Not Locke. If/when it comes time to take sides, I bet they find themselves on the side of Jack and Ben.

Unless they manage to get that submarine out of there first.

Lost in the Supermarket, Take Two

After a pretty quiet and productive weekend (the children were next door with the ILs from Friday evening to Sunday morning, which I hope goes a long way to preventing more nightmares), Dan and I decided to do our grocery shopping on Sunday afternoon at the (still new) Robinson-area Market District.

The children were with us, too.

I was, given my last hellacious experience there, a little reluctant. At the same time, though, I could see a lot of advantages to going back into the breach.

First, both children could go into the Learning and Activity Center (LAC).
Second, my husband was with me.
Third, we could also have dinner there if we chose.
Fourth: Beer!

So after an internal debate, I decided we should go for it.

Compared to my last experience, it was a raging success. I still have some misgivings about shopping there, though.

The Good

Both girls went into the Learning and Activity Center. There was a brief delay while Kate was let in; they had to wait for one child to check out before they could take Flora. But it happened in the space that Dan went to go fetch a cart.

Child-free, for the time being, we set off.

The Bad

I didn’t have a very good list. I knew what we needed, but I hadn’t written every last thing down. My list went something like, “ingredients for potato chowder” and “stuff for girls’ lunches”. So there was still some searching involved. Granted, it was less stress because the girls weren’t with me. But that store is BIG. Nay, HUGE.

Shopping with Dan isn’t really shopping with Dan. He wandered off on his own agenda and spent a lot of time browsing.

And impulse buying.

The Ugly*

*Relatively speaking; it wasn’t that bad.

Dan needs to learn how to use the bulk foods dispensers a little better. We ended up with $12 worth of green lentils — about 6 to 8 pounds — because they came out really fast. Apparently, once the food is dispensed, they have to throw it out if it’s not purchased. We eat plenty of lentils, though, so I just said, “Let’s take them all.”

Prepared Foods still wasn’t that smooth an experience.

I went to pick up the girls. Actually, I went to pick up Flora; Kate had asked for her mommy about 15 minutes before we were done shopping, and we had to go get her — which took a while as we were clear on the other side of the store from the LAC; that added probably another 1/2 hour to our shopping trip, which was already running over an hour.

Dan checked out and packed the car.

The girls and I headed to Prepared Foods, and I really wish we had waited for Dan. I had too much to juggle (two trays, three plates, two children, and my purse). When I went to pay, there was only enough room to set down one tray, which made reaching for my wallet tricky. So, a further note to self: If you’re going to eat in the Market District cafe with the children, have another adult with you.

The single beer selection to drink with your dinner isn’t impressive (runs the gamut from Coors to Bud). I opted for a take-out six pack of Bear Republic Racer 5 IPA; Dan had a Yuegling. (Technically speaking, we could have each had two of the Racer 5s, since we were eating. I guess you can’t just go to the Market District to drink. Which, why would you want to?)

The rice that Flora and Dan got off the hot bar was undercooked, but everything else was good. I love the rosti they serve there with salad and apples. Delicious. I’m really going to have to try the Indian food bar some time.

Also, I do not understand the set up of paying for your food and drinks. Maybe I’m doing it wrong. Can I walk into the Cold Drinks section (which includes non-alcoholic selections and beer) and pick out drinks and pay for my food and drinks there? If so, why have those little single cash registers in the Prepared Foods section? I end up juggling my trays, paying for my food, finding a table, picking out drinks and paying for them (while hoping my children don’t run around), and finally eating.

Cons: The store is just too big for “quick” shopping trips; and it’s going to take a lot of time to “memorize” where everything is. Even with an excellent, thorough list, shopping here would take well over an hour. I’m still against making this my go-to store. And I’m still not that crazy about the Prepared Foods section.

Pros: It was a much less traumatizing experience this time around. The kids were happily occupied for the most part. Having another person helping me out was vital (thanks, Dan!). The prepared food (except for the rice) was very good.

I’d go back, given the conditions listed above.

And OH YEAH: Since the kids went into the LAC — NO MINIVAN OF SHOPPING CARTS. That’s a big PRO in my book.

Stall

It’s gotten out of hand. And it’s time for me to be a mean mommy (again).

Bedtime around Casa di RPM has usually been a well-organized affair. We have our routine, and we follow it, and it has been good. It has worked.

In the last month or so, it has ceased to work. I’m not sure why, and I’m not really 100% sure what to do.

For the longest time, the girls have gone to bed with books. They like to flip through them after “lights out” (which isn’t really lights out because they use a night light). Lately, they go to bed with 10 books each. And read them to each other.

They have requested that in addition to their night light, another light be left on for them. I have indulged them, but I think that ends tonight.

They used to go to bed with one or two favorite stuffed animals. But lately they have made a point of piling up ALL of their stuffed animals in the bed, usually after I have left the room. (We “store” the stuffed animals in their room, in a bassinet from my husband’s side of the family. He used to actually sleep in it when he was a newborn — my SIL, too.) I hear them scurrying around, getting animals, and then they play with them.

I come upstairs to find Kate neatly lining up her animals along the foot of her bed.

“They are sleepy, mama,” she says, gesturing to her animals, most of whom are lying on their backs. “I not sleepy.”

Or Flora will be buried under a layer of stuffed animals, snoring away despite the fuzz from the horse’s tail that keeps going up her nose.

They come downstairs after I have put them in bed. They ask for drinks or something to eat or one more hug and kiss; they tell me they are scared; they have to go pee; Kate, often, has waited until 9:30 p.m. to poop in her diaper.

It’s driving me bonkers. Not only that, but my children are not getting enough sleep. They don’t conk out until 10 p.m. on some nights, and Dan and I struggle to get them to wake up the next day.

I am going to (try to) lay down the law tonight.

I’ll start by insisting the light go off. (They can turn the light on, which is part of the problem. I don’t want to unplug it because — trust me — Flora will take it upon herself to plug it back in.)

I’ll tell them if they leave the room for any reason (the exception will be to go pee, although I’m not telling them that — they’ll be in the bathroom all night), the gate goes up. At Flora’s request, we have been leaving the gate off the door.

If they come downstairs once, they are going to lose their show before bedtime (the next day).
If they come downstairs again, they are going to lose TV and the night-time treat.
Then the lullaby, then the book, and if it continues, they are going to be going to bed immediately after dinner and bath time.

I need that hour or two after they go to bed: to do dishes, fold laundry, pack lunches, check e-mail, read. Whatever. That is my time. And they are messing with it.

Do your kids get out of bed? What do you do about it? If you have other suggestions for me, I’m open!

Eat You Up

Last night I had two nightmares wherein my children were eating me alive.

Subconscious much?

The first dream was more like a movie, and I was watching a dad realize that his children had turned into flesh eating monsters, and he was struggling to escape from the house. The children were relentless, crashing through doors, breaking through windows, coming on despite the violence they were met with. He finally did get out — and set the house of fire to boot — but then, somehow, he ended up getting dragged back in and consumed in the flames.

In the second dream, I was the one being chased and consumed. I did not set fire to the house, but only because I didn’t get the opportunity.

What was most distressing to me is the lengths to which we went through to get away from the children. Kicking, hitting with lengths of wood (don’t ask me where the wood came from), slamming doors, setting fire to the house.

Not that I would do any of those things to my children, but it makes abundantly clear to me that I need a break. A space of time free of my children.

It’s the relentless logistics of the care (and I’ve written about this before): the feeding, the bathing, the dressing, the putting to bed, the potty training, the brushing of teeth, the putting to bed, again.

I love my children, and I would throw myself in front of a train for them. (Why? Why this metaphor?)

But momma’s feeling a little worn out.

He Completes Me

I’ve been all over the place (in my head) with today’s post, and under normal circumstances, I would have just let it go.

But it’s Dan’s birthday, so I have to say something. I’ve already told you 10 reasons why I love him, and I answered the questions on this quiz.

It is in reading over these two posts that I realize what I think a lot about our marriage, our pairing.

I was reading not long ago about “opposites attracting”, and I left a comment about how in my marriage I feel it’s less about being opposites than about how Dan is strong where I am weak and vice versa.

Dan is the warmest, most social person I know. He is all-embracing, all-empathetic. I love going places with him, and even though I roll my eyes at him sometimes, I love watching him be with people.

He tends to get down on himself, and I do everything I can do to be supportive and encouraging. I think I’m actually getting better at this.

He tempers my anxiety, and I try to lift him up when he’s depressed. (I usually sic the girls on him, because have you ever tried to be depressed around cute, giggly children? Especially ours?)

I am more artsy, but he is more cultured. While I tend to be creative, he’s actually a dreamer. I am by far more level-headed and practical; he is more emotional, and could teach a dramatist about passion.

He is sincere, and I am sarcastic.

He teaches the girls about desserts while I feed them healthy meals.

We are equally bad at a few things, but because we are together, we are working to improve together. We don’t want to let the other down.

And that means a lot.

Two are better than one,
because they have a good return for their work;
If one falls down,
his friend can help him up.
But pity the man who falls
and has no one to help him up!
Also, if two lie down together, they will keep warm.
But how can one keep warm alone?

— Ecclesiastes 4: 9-11

Lost: Dr. Linus

*SPOILER ALERT*

Word of the Day: Redemption.

It’s hard after hating Ben Linus for four seasons to suddenly be rooting for him. And it’s not so much hating him as not believing a word that has fallen out of his mouth. Until the end of last season, when he was so shaken and disillusioned, that there were a few times that he didn’t lie.

Last night, he tried to go back to his old ways and was foiled by Ghost Whisperer Miles. And Ben didn’t even lie well! He stuttered, he stammered, he gave the wide-eyed “who me?” look! That’s how my 5-year-old lies, not how Ben Linus lies. (Ben Linus lies like my 3-year-old. Without blinking.)

But in the Sideways Story, mendacious, malicious Ben Linus is mild-mannered Dr. Linus, a high-school history teacher. He takes care of his aged dad Roger, runs the history club, and tutors a young, hopeful student named… Alex Rousseau.

Yeah, he makes a clumsy power-grab that results in his having to choose (once more) between what he wants and Alex’s future, but this time, he puts her ahead of himself.

Did you see the look on Ben’s face when Arzt says, “You’re a killer.” It was like, “Huh. Yeah, you know, maybe in a different light, maybe in a different world… I am.”

This is why I say: Michael Emerson for all the Emmys in the world, now.

(Well, except for Terry O’Quinn’s.)

And, let’s not forget the irony of ‘the substitute’ (Sideways Story John Locke) egging Ben on. That was delicious.

And then, back on the Island, Ben resists Not Locke’s temptation, tells Ilana the truth, and joins Jacob’s team. So the Sideways world informs the Island world (or so it appears to me) and vice versa.

In the meantime, Richard Alpert asks Jack and Hurley to kill him at the Black Rock. (I just stumbled onto this at Lostpedia: “In 1996, Widmore purchased the journal of the first mate of the Black Rock, a 19th century British slave ship, at a Southfield’s auction….”), so I’m guessing that Richard is said first mate.

He gave us an important clue last night: Richard says that Jacob touched him, that it was supposed to be a gift. Richard — cool, calm and collected eyeliner guy up until now — is distraught and frightened. He wants to die because he’s never going to know what Jacob was up to; his long (long, long) life has no meaning. But Jack doesn’t think that’s true. And as Jack (and several others) have been touched by Jacob, he gambles on what Richard has said about not being able to die (by one’s own hand, in any case). And the gamble pays off.

This is what I am thinking (and yes, I went to sleep thinking about Lost and woke up thinking about Lost — it’s a sickness, I KNOW): I think the Island is going to restore its balance somehow. It’s a little out of whack right now with Smokey running around unchecked because Jacob’s dead (and he’s really dead), recruiting people, trying to get off the Island.

One of the candidates is Jacob’s replacement. And one of the other people that Jacob touched is Smokey’s replacement.

We haven’t seen Kate’s name as a candidate yet (have we?), but Jacob tweaked her nose in the convenience store when she was trying to lift that lunchbox. He touched both Jin and Sun on their wedding day. But only one Kwon is a candidate.

I think Sawyer or Jack or Sun is going to replace Jacob; and then Kate or Jin or Sayid is going to replace Smokey. Or some combination like that. I guess Hurley comes down on one of those sides, too. (Probably for Jacob. I mean Hurley doesn’t have a mean bone in that jiggly body of his.)

I’ve no idea what will happen to the rest of ’em. And how having lovers (in the case of Kate/Sawyer or Jack, or Jin/Sun) be the replacements will change the nature of the Island. (Smokey and Jacob may have started out as buddies — although it doesn’t look like it at this point — but they are clearly antagonists now.)

This theory of mine probably also means that despite what Not Locke told him on the beach, Ben is not eligible to “take over” the Island. To our knowledge, he hasn’t been touched by Jacob — hell, he didn’t even talk to Jacob in his time as leader of the Others. He got his instructions from Richard “The Mouthpiece” Alpert.

I was so satisfied with last night’s show, so happy by the end of it. We’ve got the good guys (or Jacob’s Army) back on the beach where they started, and Smokey’s Army (of zombies!) somewhere off in the jungle.

Oh, and Widmore heading to the Island in a submarine.

LOST!

What Twitter is Good For V

Restaurant reviews/suggestions.

I need to find a restaurant in Sewickley. It needs to be quick and low-priced (but NOT fast food), fairly child-friendly, with tasty vegetarian options. Eat’n’Park is acceptable. The only restaurants I know in Sewickley are China Palace (very good, but not fast or inexpensive enough for me tonight) and Sharp Edge (right out in these circumstances).

If I could post this to Twitter, I would have an answer (or at least suggestions) FAST.

Dagnabit.

The Line

It’s been a bit of an adventure around here lately. But at least no one’s bored, right?

Saturday, my car died. What was especially tragic about this was we were supposed to go to the Pittsburgh Children’s Museum with my friend H and her family (her husband T, A Boy and A Girl). They had stayed with us overnight Friday, and we were all having a very nice time. We were all excited to go to the museum on Saturday.

But my car wouldn’t start, and there was no where to put four children and three adults for the ride. I sent H and her family on their way, after Flora’s tantrum, described below (they had to change plans on the way to the museum, too, unfortunately).

Flora cried and cried. “My whole day is ruined,” she wailed.

I felt exactly the same way.

And then she yelled at me, “You can’t do anything right! You never do anything right!”

And I told her I would put her in a 5 minute time out if she said anything like that to me again.

+++

Yesterday, my car got fixed while I was at work, and I made arrangements with my ILs to pick it up, and then go pick up Dan. I had the kids in the car with me to go pick up my husband. My ILs have enough on their plates, too; they didn’t need to watch my kids while I ran around town. (Nanny fell Friday night, and is in the hospital again. She’s okay, but she did need surgery because she broke her hip again.)

We were taking turns picking songs to listen to on the iPod. It was all going fine until Flora wanted to listen to a lullaby for her “baby”. The girls had both brought stuffed animals along for the ride, and were pretending they were baby animals. Flora’s puppy, Buppy, was tired and wanted to sleep.

The closest thing I have to lullabies on my iPod is the album Rabbit Songs by Hem.

Kate was not having it. Kate does not like slow songs. (Especially slow, pretty songs. That girl is a punk rocker already.)

She set about with the wailing and gnashing of teeth. I turned off the radio. “Fine,” I said. “If you can’t take turns, we won’t listen to any music.”

“You’re mean, Mommy!” Kate cried from the back seat.

+++

I try to make it very safe for my children to express their emotions. I’m trying to teach them respect and — I don’t know how to put it: teach them to be in touch with their feelings. I don’t mean that in a New Agey way — I want Kate and Flora to be able to have, identify, and express their thoughts and feelings. I guess I’m hoping to teach them good habits now so they don’t fall into bad habits later (second guessing their emotions, not being able to talk about how they feel, not saying what they mean, etc.).

When Flora was upset about our change in plans on Saturday, I let her know that it was okay to be sad, and it was okay to be angry. What had happened to my car was not within my control. If I could change it I would, but I couldn’t. I was sad, too. I let her cry and I let her stomp her feet.

When Kate was upset because she didn’t like the music Flora had picked, I told her it was okay for her to not like the music. But she still had to take turns. If she couldn’t do that, then no one would get to listen to music. She didn’t like that option, either.

It’s okay to have and express feelings. It’s not okay to be mean.* That’s the line they cannot cross.

In teaching my children to respect their own thoughts, opinions, and feelings, it’s important to teach them to respect others, too.

I hope I’m doing it well.

* (Credit to H who was upset on my behalf when Flora told me I couldn’t do anything right.)