Tuesday, December 02, 2008

One of Those Life Lesson Moments for the Boy...and Mom...in the Freezing Night Time Rain...

It was one of those moments where we both received a life lesson in the "right thing" to do.

Kai had $8.00 in allowance money in his piggy bank and was determined Sunday to buy an action figure. I suggested to him that if he saved another week he could afford the transformer he was coveting, but he had suddenly gotten to a place where he simply had to spend his money for the sake of shopping. Not because there was something specific that he wanted, like when he saved the $55.00 to get his TIE fighter. It's what I hate about the holiday season, and it's begun. He'd been watching TV that morning and just went in to commercial overload.

Well, on with the life lesson.

He wanted to shop, I had a list of things that had to get done. We made a game plan that started with laundry, a trip to Target so he could get a Star Wars action figure, on to our storage space, then to lunch, then to the supermarket. when we got to Target they were pretty much cleaned out of anything good on the Star Wars action figure front from Black Friday weekend, but Kai was undeterred. He had $8.00 in his pocket and NEEDED to spend it. It's his money so I can only argue so far with him, but I could at least influence his shopping decisions with my opinion on his choices. I could see that he didn't really want anything especially and was caught in an obsessive consumer mindset, so at least I was able to convince him to choose the droid figure that he'd admired in the clone wars 2 weeks prior and steer him away from the one I knew would be in pieces by the end of the day. I did suggest to him that he try a Bionicle instead, but he had something in his head and that was that.

Droid purchased, we headed out to the car. As we were crossing the lot, I could see the compulsion ease up on him and he hesitated, then became upset. "Mom. You can buy me the Bionicle for Solstice, OK?" "No Kai." I said. "We can put it on your wish list, but it's your money for toys. You'll need to save your allowance to buy it. Do you want to go back in the store to exchange the action figure for the Bionicle?" At this he became upset, but chose to keep the action figure, which he seemed disappointed with (of course, because it wasn't something he specifically bought because he wanted IT, he just wanted to spend his money. It was like watching an addict crash.)

We head on with our day. It was a very cold and wet day with freezing rain on and off. Made for getting things done uncomfortable, and both of us were anxious to get through it all and back home. We finally got to the supermarket just before sunset. Kai ran up to the customer service desk and asked the manager if they had any of the "car" carts available. The store manager went out in to the rain before I could stop him, and a minute or so later came back in with the cart, got a roll of paper towels, and wiped it down for Kai. He was thrilled yelling, "Thank you!" and hopped in the front while I got through the list. Half way through shopping he found the beanie babies rack and hopped out. He spotted a Dalmatian and Scooby Doo doll and began the begging. Again, "No Kai. You don't have enough money. You bought your action figure. These cost $4 each. You will get another $4 on Friday. You can buy one then if you want to save for it." More negotiation attempts began and then he resigned himself to not getting them. I thought he'd put them back. Instead, he pulled them in the cart with him up front.

When I was done shopping we paid for the groceries and headed out to the lot. It was now night, dark, freezing, and sheets of rain were pouring down. I opened the car door and Kai held up the 2 dolls with a furtive look on his face because he knew what he'd done was wrong, but was hoping I'd let it slide.

It was then that I received my life lesson in good parenting along with his. See, from my perspective, it's only $8.00. It's freezing out. There are sheets of rain coming down. It's dark and I want to go home and make tea. But he knowingly stole the dolls. But it's only $8.00 and if I had accidentally not paid for an $8.00 item, I don't know that I'd go through the trouble of bringing it back in the cold, in the dark, in the rain...but he knowingly stole these 2 dolls. I strapped him in his car seat while I mulled this thought process through my head. How do I make my point without going back out to the store in the rain? I took the dolls from him. I told him I was disappointed and explained why. I told him this was the same as someone stealing one of his toys from our house. I told him that the people who own the store buy the things in it to sell to us so they can pay for their own groceries and toys for their kids. I told him this was a crime and we could get in trouble. I thought to myself, "But what does that mean if he doesn't actually have to take responsibility for what he's done NOW? I'm showing him that he can sneak it by, or at the worst, that he may not have gotten the dolls because I took them away, but that he still didn't have to take responsibility for the crime." I realized what the "RIGHT THING" was to do for ME.

I pulled the car up in front of the store, put my blinkers on, got him out, handed him the dolls, went back to the customer service desk, and made him give them back to the store manager who had gone out in the rain to get him the car cart and wiped it down for him and apologize. I didn't yell at him, not once. I spoke gently to him throughout. I made him take responsibility for his actions to the person he'd wronged (in his mind). He handed the dolls back and earnestly kept repeating, "I'm sorry! I'm sorry!" then burst in to tears.

The store manager knows us, has given him cookies in the past. He gave me a knowing look, because for a moment he didn't realize what was going on, then got it, and leaned down to Kai and said, "Next time you need to pay for these, ok?" Kai said ok, I said thank you, and we headed back out to the car.

"That didn't feel too good to have to apologize to someone you've hurt, did it?" I asked Kai. "No Mama.", he said. Then I reminded him that Darth Vader used to be Anakin and asked him why Anakin turned in to Darth Vader. Kai responded, "Because he did bad things and let the light inside him go dark." I told him how much I loved him and never wanted his light to go dark so he had to always try to do the "right thing".

Sigh. Me too.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Top of the Morning Negotiations

KAI: "Mom! Mom! I'm soooo full! There's no more room in my belly so I'm done with breakfast, OK? Can I have some candy now?"

ME: (thinks to self) "Boy needs a better strategy..."

KAI: Sticks his stomach out and makes me bang it like a drum to prove his point.

ME: "If your stomach is soooo full .. how is there room for candy?"

KAI: Goes off to try to think how to dig himself out and put logic to his failed reasoning...

15 minutes later...

We've moved from the candy issue to video games...

KAI: Hands me my DOOM Playstation video game case. Opens negotiations to be allowed to switch from PBS Kids, the only TV he's allowed in the morning until 10:00 when it goes off, to said violent video game that I haven't played in 15 years and don't even know where he found it, with the logic that watching Clifford is not educational.

"Mom, Clifford is not educational since it's just about a big red dog & I don't learn anything watching it."

ME: "So therefore I should allow the leap to letting you play DOOM?" (thinking privately, that he has never played it and I've got no idea how he knows what it is. Note to self. Find out how he knows about DOOM.)

KAI: "But I wants to shoot monsters! It's not scary because they're just monsters. If I was shooting people it would be scary but it's just monsters"

ME: (thinking) "Egad"

KAI: Launches in to the lack of educational value to Barney to drive his argument home...

ME: (thinking) "I gotta give him points here... "

(further tribulations as the next half hour passes)

"He's going to leave me no defense in a few years beyond, "Because I said so!" I'm not going to be able to out smart him soon. I'm in real trouble when he loses his fear factor and just starts to bypass me..."

(troubleshooting the issue ensues)

"I'm still bigger than he is...and I may have to sit on him a few times when the "because I said so" fails. Last resort is always pick him up and turn him upside down to neutralize him... Hopefully I have till he hits 16 for him to surpass 5'9"."

(final resolution)

"Yeah. By 16 I'll have regained control with Jewish mother guilt. Jewish mother guilt is ALL POWERFUL!"

Monday, November 10, 2008


I was on a late conference call at about 6:00 pm Thursday evening. I tend to work till bout 9:00 pm, but I don't have calls at around 5:00 or 6:00 too often because it's dinner time. Anyway, I rescheduled this call for after 5:00 because I had a back to back day and it was the only time I could fit it in. It had to happen that day because we were reviewing the quarterly business letter that was due by the end of the week.

In any case, Kai has an internal clock when it comes to the end of my business day and dinner. The conference call started reasonably enough with the head of my division thanking us for doing such a late call to accommodate my schedule, to which everyone started cracking jokes about me working from home and probably still being in my pajamas (which is really gross, but was actually true :^) About 10 minutes in to the call, Kai marches in to the room with a brick of cheese.

Now, under normal circumstances he KNOWS he's not allowed in my office while I'm on a conference call and MUST be quiet. The quiet part he was, but he marched in with the cheese and handed it to me. He wanted to be fed and as far as he was concerned, my business day was DONE. I put myself on mute, chased him out, and told him I'd feed him once I was off my call.

About 5 minutes pass and I hear furniture moving in the kitchen, then the top of the cookie jar come off. I put myself on mute again and go marching in to the kitchen to find him with a pile of Oreo's in his lap which I confiscated, closed the cookie jar, and told him, yet again, to wait and I'd feed him in a few minutes. I then go back to my office and respond to a question that was asked of me trying to be intelligent.

Another few minutes go by and the full insurrection begins. Kai marches in, starts stomping his feet at me and mouths (no sound) "I'M HUNGRY!!!" then climbs in my bed. Next thing I know he's wearing my bra and dancing around my room. I'm trying to catch him to:

(a) get my best bra back before he destroys it

(b) eject him from the room.

He takes off running with it on, my call finally ends, and I got the picture before I killed him, then fed him.

Sunday, November 09, 2008

Out of the Mouth of Mouthy 4 Year Olds...

ME: reading a very funny quote from a personals ad, "If I could be anywhere right now... How about gazing into the eyes of a beautiful soul....somewhere, anywhere. ...or saluting reverently, as I watch an elephant sit on the president." Laugh out very BIG and LOUD after a long silence

KAI: playing in the hall quietly right outside my door, jumps out of his skin and yells, "MOM! You scared the life out of my daylights!"

I don't know how many sayings he just combined and butchered, but it was funny as hell :^D

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

President-Elect Barack Obama in Chicago

FULL TRANSCRIPT: Sen. Barack Obama's Victory Speech
Sen. Barack Obama Delivers Victory Speech from Grant Park in Chicago

Nov. 4, 2008

Full remarks as prepared for delivery and provided by the campaign of Sen. Barack Obama on Nov. 4, 2008, at Grant Park in Chicago, IL.

Hello, Chicago.

If there is anyone out there who still doubts that America is a place where all things are possible, who still wonders if the dream of our founders is alive in our time, who still questions the power of our democracy, tonight is your answer.

It's the answer told by lines that stretched around schools and churches in numbers this nation has never seen, by people who waited three hours and four hours, many for the first time in their lives, because they believed that this time must be different, that their voices could be that difference.

It's the answer spoken by young and old, rich and poor, Democrat and Republican, black, white, Hispanic, Asian, Native American, gay, straight, disabled and not disabled. Americans who sent a message to the world that we have never been just a collection of individuals or a collection of red states and blue states.

We are, and always will be, the United States of America.

It's the answer that led those who've been told for so long by so many to be cynical and fearful and doubtful about what we can achieve to put their hands on the arc of history and bend it once more toward the hope of a better day. Watch Obama's speech in its entirety »

It's been a long time coming, but tonight, because of what we did on this date in this election at this defining moment change has come to America.

A little bit earlier this evening, I received an extraordinarily gracious call from Sen. McCain.

Sen. McCain fought long and hard in this campaign. And he's fought even longer and harder for the country that he loves. He has endured sacrifices for America that most of us cannot begin to imagine. We are better off for the service rendered by this brave and selfless leader.

I congratulate him; I congratulate Gov. Palin for all that they've achieved. And I look forward to working with them to renew this nation's promise in the months ahead.

I want to thank my partner in this journey, a man who campaigned from his heart, and spoke for the men and women he grew up with on the streets of Scranton and rode with on the train home to Delaware, the vice president-elect of the United States, Joe Biden.

And I would not be standing here tonight without the unyielding support of my best friend for the last 16 years the rock of our family, the love of my life, the nation's next first lady Michelle Obama.

Sasha and Malia I love you both more than you can imagine. And you have earned the new puppy that's coming with us to the new White House.

And while she's no longer with us, I know my grandmother's watching, along with the family that made me who I am. I miss them tonight. I know that my debt to them is beyond measure.

To my sister Maya, my sister Alma, all my other brothers and sisters, thank you so much for all the support that you've given me. I am grateful to them.

And to my campaign manager, David Plouffe, the unsung hero of this campaign, who built the best -- the best political campaign, I think, in the history of the United States of America.

To my chief strategist David Axelrod who's been a partner with me every step of the way.

To the best campaign team ever assembled in the history of politics you made this happen, and I am forever grateful for what you've sacrificed to get it done.

But above all, I will never forget who this victory truly belongs to. It belongs to you. It belongs to you.

I was never the likeliest candidate for this office. We didn't start with much money or many endorsements. Our campaign was not hatched in the halls of Washington. It began in the backyards of Des Moines and the living rooms of Concord and the front porches of Charleston. It was built by working men and women who dug into what little savings they had to give $5 and $10 and $20 to the cause.

It grew strength from the young people who rejected the myth of their generation's apathy who left their homes and their families for jobs that offered little pay and less sleep.

It drew strength from the not-so-young people who braved the bitter cold and scorching heat to knock on doors of perfect strangers, and from the millions of Americans who volunteered and organized and proved that more than two centuries later a government of the people, by the people, and for the people has not perished from the Earth.

This is your victory.

And I know you didn't do this just to win an election. And I know you didn't do it for me.

You did it because you understand the enormity of the task that lies ahead. For even as we celebrate tonight, we know the challenges that tomorrow will bring are the greatest of our lifetime -- two wars, a planet in peril, the worst financial crisis in a century.

Even as we stand here tonight, we know there are brave Americans waking up in the deserts of Iraq and the mountains of Afghanistan to risk their lives for us.

There are mothers and fathers who will lie awake after the children fall asleep and wonder how they'll make the mortgage or pay their doctors' bills or save enough for their child's college education.

There's new energy to harness, new jobs to be created, new schools to build, and threats to meet, alliances to repair.

The road ahead will be long. Our climb will be steep. We may not get there in one year or even in one term. But, America, I have never been more hopeful than I am tonight that we will get there.

I promise you, we as a people will get there.

There will be setbacks and false starts. There are many who won't agree with every decision or policy I make as president. And we know the government can't solve every problem.

But I will always be honest with you about the challenges we face. I will listen to you, especially when we disagree. And, above all, I will ask you to join in the work of remaking this nation, the only way it's been done in America for 221 years -- block by block, brick by brick, calloused hand by calloused hand.

What began 21 months ago in the depths of winter cannot end on this autumn night.

This victory alone is not the change we seek. It is only the chance for us to make that change. And that cannot happen if we go back to the way things were.

It can't happen without you, without a new spirit of service, a new spirit of sacrifice.

So let us summon a new spirit of patriotism, of responsibility, where each of us resolves to pitch in and work harder and look after not only ourselves but each other.

Let us remember that, if this financial crisis taught us anything, it's that we cannot have a thriving Wall Street while Main Street suffers.

In this country, we rise or fall as one nation, as one people. Let's resist the temptation to fall back on the same partisanship and pettiness and immaturity that has poisoned our politics for so long.

Let's remember that it was a man from this state who first carried the banner of the Republican Party to the White House, a party founded on the values of self-reliance and individual liberty and national unity.

Those are values that we all share. And while the Democratic Party has won a great victory tonight, we do so with a measure of humility and determination to heal the divides that have held back our progress.

As Lincoln said to a nation far more divided than ours, we are not enemies but friends. Though passion may have strained, it must not break our bonds of affection.

And to those Americans whose support I have yet to earn, I may not have won your vote tonight, but I hear your voices. I need your help. And I will be your president, too.

And to all those watching tonight from beyond our shores, from parliaments and palaces, to those who are huddled around radios in the forgotten corners of the world, our stories are singular, but our destiny is shared, and a new dawn of American leadership is at hand.

To those -- to those who would tear the world down: We will defeat you. To those who seek peace and security: We support you. And to all those who have wondered if America's beacon still burns as bright: Tonight we proved once more that the true strength of our nation comes not from the might of our arms or the scale of our wealth, but from the enduring power of our ideals: democracy, liberty, opportunity and unyielding hope.

That's the true genius of America: that America can change. Our union can be perfected. What we've already achieved gives us hope for what we can and must achieve tomorrow.

This election had many firsts and many stories that will be told for generations. But one that's on my mind tonight's about a woman who cast her ballot in Atlanta. She's a lot like the millions of others who stood in line to make their voice heard in this election except for one thing: Ann Nixon Cooper is 106 years old.

She was born just a generation past slavery; a time when there were no cars on the road or planes in the sky; when someone like her couldn't vote for two reasons -- because she was a woman and because of the color of her skin.

And tonight, I think about all that she's seen throughout her century in America -- the heartache and the hope; the struggle and the progress; the times we were told that we can't, and the people who pressed on with that American creed: Yes we can.

At a time when women's voices were silenced and their hopes dismissed, she lived to see them stand up and speak out and reach for the ballot. Yes we can.

When there was despair in the dust bowl and depression across the land, she saw a nation conquer fear itself with a New Deal, new jobs, a new sense of common purpose. Yes we can.

When the bombs fell on our harbor and tyranny threatened the world, she was there to witness a generation rise to greatness and a democracy was saved. Yes we can.

She was there for the buses in Montgomery, the hoses in Birmingham, a bridge in Selma, and a preacher from Atlanta who told a people that "We Shall Overcome." Yes we can.

A man touched down on the moon, a wall came down in Berlin, a world was connected by our own science and imagination.

And this year, in this election, she touched her finger to a screen, and cast her vote, because after 106 years in America, through the best of times and the darkest of hours, she knows how America can change.

Yes we can.

America, we have come so far. We have seen so much. But there is so much more to do. So tonight, let us ask ourselves -- if our children should live to see the next century; if my daughters should be so lucky to live as long as Ann Nixon Cooper, what change will they see? What progress will we have made?

This is our chance to answer that call. This is our moment.

This is our time, to put our people back to work and open doors of opportunity for our kids; to restore prosperity and promote the cause of peace; to reclaim the American dream and reaffirm that fundamental truth, that, out of many, we are one; that while we breathe, we hope. And where we are met with cynicism and doubts and those who tell us that we can't, we will respond with that timeless creed that sums up the spirit of a people: Yes, we can.

Thank you. God bless you. And may God bless the United States of America.

YES WE CAN - Remarks of Senator Barack Obama - New Hampshire Primary Tuesday, January 8th, 2008 Nashua, New Hampshire

I want to congratulate Senator Clinton on a hard-fought victory here in New Hampshire.

A few weeks ago, no one imagined that we'd have accomplished what we did here tonight. For most of this campaign, we were far behind, and we always knew our climb would be steep. But in record numbers, you came out and spoke up for change. And with your voices and your votes, you made it clear that at this moment – in this election – there is something happening in America.

There is something happening when men and women in Des Moines and Davenport; in Lebanon and Concord come out in the snows of January to wait in lines that stretch block after block because they believe in what this country can be.

There is something happening when Americans who are young in age and in spirit – who have never before participated in politics – turn out in numbers we've never seen because they know in their hearts that this time must be different.

There is something happening when people vote not just for the party they belong to but the hopes they hold in common – that whether we are rich or poor; black or white; Latino or Asian; whether we hail from Iowa or New Hampshire, Nevada or South Carolina, we are ready to take this country in a fundamentally new direction. That is what's happening in America right now. Change is what's happening in America.

You can be the new majority who can lead this nation out of a long political darkness – Democrats, Independents and Republicans who are tired of the division and distraction that has clouded Washington; who know that we can disagree without being disagreeable; who understand that if we mobilize our voices to challenge the money and influence that's stood in our way and challenge ourselves to reach for something better, there's no problem we can't solve – no destiny we cannot fulfill. Our new American majority can end the outrage of unaffordable, unavailable health care in our time. We can bring doctors and patients; workers and businesses, Democrats and Republicans together; and we can tell the drug and insurance industry that while they'll get a seat at the table, they don't get to buy every chair. Not this time. Not now. Our new majority can end the tax breaks for corporations that ship our jobs overseas and put a middle-class tax cut into the pockets of the working Americans who deserve it.

We can stop sending our children to schools with corridors of shame and start putting them on a pathway to success. We can stop talking about how great teachers are and start rewarding them for their greatness. We can do this with our new majority.

We can harness the ingenuity of farmers and scientists; citizens and entrepreneurs to free this nation from the tyranny of oil and save our planet from a point of no return. And when I am President, we will end this war in Iraq and bring our troops home; we will finish the job against al Qaeda in Afghanistan; we will care for our veterans; we will restore our moral standing in the world; and we will never use 9/11 as a way to scare up votes, because it is not a tactic to win an election, it is a challenge that should unite America and the world against the common threats of the twenty-first century: terrorism and nuclear weapons; climate change and poverty; genocide and disease.

All of the candidates in this race share these goals. All have good ideas. And all are patriots who serve this country honorably.

But the reason our campaign has always been different is because it's not just about what I will do as President, it's also about what you, the people who love this country, can do to change it.
That's why tonight belongs to you.

It belongs to the organizers and the volunteers and the staff who believed in our improbable journey and rallied so many others to join. We know the battle ahead will be long, but always remember that no matter what obstacles stand in our way, nothing can withstand the power of millions of voices calling for change. We have been told we cannot do this by a chorus of cynics who will only grow louder and more dissonant in the weeks to come.
We've been asked to pause for a reality check. We've been warned against offering the people of this nation false hope.

But in the unlikely story that is America, there has never been anything false about hope. For when we have faced down impossible odds; when we've been told that we're not ready, or that we shouldn't try, or that we can't, generations of Americans have responded with a simple creed that sums up the spirit of a people.

Yes we can.

It was a creed written into the founding documents that declared the destiny of a nation.

Yes we can.

It was whispered by slaves and abolitionists as they blazed a trail toward freedom through the darkest of nights.

Yes we can.

It was sung by immigrants as they struck out from distant shores and pioneers who pushed westward against an unforgiving wilderness.

Yes we can.

It was the call of workers who organized; women who reached for the ballot; a President who chose the moon as our new frontier; and a King who took us to the mountaintop and pointed the way to the Promised Land.

Yes we can to justice and equality.

Yes we can to opportunity and prosperity.

Yes we can heal this nation.

Yes we can repair this world.

Yes we can.

And so tomorrow, as we take this campaign South and West; as we learn that the struggles of the textile worker in Spartanburg are not so different than the plight of the dishwasher in Las Vegas; that the hopes of the little girl who goes to a crumbling school in Dillon are the same as the dreams of the boy who learns on the streets of LA; we will remember that there is something happening in America; that we are not as divided as our politics suggests; that we are one people; we are one nation; and together, we will begin the next great chapter in America's story with three words that will ring from coast to coast; from sea toshining sea – Yes. We. Can.

Yes We Can - Barack Obama Music Video

Friday, October 31, 2008

Kai on the Election

I'm watching Keith Olbermann on MSNBC and they open with the polls.

KAI: Look Mama! Barack Obama has more votes than John McCain!
ME: (stunned) Do you know what that means baby?
KAI: Yes. It means he's going to be the next President. Mama. We need to vote.
ME: We'll vote on Tuesday baby. You can vote with me, OK?
KAI: OK. Then we can vote for the very important man
ME: Who is that sweetie?
KAI: Barack Obama

I kid you not. My jaw is in my lap right now. He actually has been watching the election coverage and gets it all. I'm just...stunned is all I can think of...

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Structural Deficiency in Women from a 4 Year Old Boy's Perspective

Kai marched in the bathroom this morning while I was doing my business and began to study me.

KAI: "Mama, can you aim?"
ME: "No sweetie, my wee wee isn't big enough to aim."
KAI: "That's right, boys have big wee wees, girls have little wee wees"
ME: "That's right honey"
KAI: "But you can still aim"
ME: "No sweetheart, that's why girls go potty sitting down"
KAI: "Sure you can! Some girls go tee tee standing up. You just need to learn how to aim right!" I can teach you!

Oy vey

Saturday, October 04, 2008


My dog Camille passed today at noon. She had become very ill and, while I was hoping to have the vet euthanize her in our home Monday, she took a turn for the worst last night and I felt waiting would simply force her to suffer over the weekend. I took her to the vet this morning and was with her through it. She was content and at peace when they put her down.

Camille was my first, or practice child. While my love for her can never compare to Kai, nor should it, I loved her deeply none the less and her loss is very hard.

I have had her cremated and will be getting her ashes back. We will be honoring her spirit and her life at our annual Yule Solstice by planting a tree with her ashes.

Camille was a good girl and an amazing friend. Both Kai and I are very sad and we miss her.

Friday, October 03, 2008

The Great Schlep

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Project Runway Moment

Kai has been watching Project Runway with me for 3 seasons now. For the past 2 seasons he's called the winner. Yes folks. At the age of 2, my boy had a true sense of style :^)

Anyway, Wednesday nights during Project Runway season have now become "Party in Mama's Bed Night". It has become sacrilege to make him go to sleep before Runway is over. Thank goodness they bumped the time up to 9:00 as opposed to 10:00. Afterwards he's allowed to crash in my bed since by that time we're both ready to pass out anyway.

Last week was the Drag episode. Kai was rather upset that the Kabuki Queen didn't win, then announced that this was his favorite episode of Project Runway ever because, and I quote, "I love Dragon Queens! They're cool! I like dragons, and I'm a king so I have to marry a queen so I love queens too!"

Oh my.

Monday, August 04, 2008

Wednesday, July 02, 2008


A while ago I bought Kai an ant farm and an insect "house". Both were really cheap and came with a mail away form to get the respective bugs for the houses but I figured we'd just catch stuff which was a failure, so finally I got around to sending away for his bugs. What started out as us getting caterpillars to turn in to butterflies rapidly descended in to praying mantis hell when we went to the web site to place the order and Kai saw the BIG praying mantis picture. I don't know what the hell I was thinking to be quite honest. I mean, We had a choice between caterpillars, ladybugs, or praying mantis'. I figured we could try all the bugs out in turn but we had a coupon for one bug free so I was a happy idiot who said, "SURE you can get the praying mantis egg instead!"

Bugs do not hatch 1 to an egg. They hatch 100 - 200 to an egg. I know this. I think everyone in a rational state of mind knows this.

Today the bugs arrived.

I now have an ant farm FULL of the angriest looking red ants I've ever seen, and this huge praying mantis egg, with another vial of bugs to feed the 200 mantis' when they hatch.

They're all in Kai's room on his dresser.

I'm in my room scratching.

He's in there saying good night to his bug collection.

I've threatened his life if he opens either of the habitats.

I give it till the morning.

Sunday, June 08, 2008

Kai's Rollercoaster Mis-Adventure

So the fact that I'm posting this for the world to view does seem rather horrendous of me, BUT, you need to know the back story.

This was NOT Kai's first rollercoaster ride. This was in fact the SECOND time he was on this rollercoaster that day. The first time he held his breath. Then he wanted to go on again after discussing it at length with us all day. He decided that if he screamed the whole way it would be fun.


The fact that I found his sheer terror in this video of the second ride to be so funny is unfortunate for him when he turns 16 and all his girlfriends will get to see it, but he thinks it's pretty funny too right now so he'll suffer the humiliation in 13 years. For now, here's the story.

We get on the rollercoaster, and as you can see he's having a blast as we go up the first hill. What you don't hear is that as soon as he sits in the car before the ride even begins, he starts to scream. He does this as a joke the entire time until we hit the top of the hill and his eyes pop out of his head. Then the scream becomes a whole lot faster and higher. The guy in front of us actually turned around when the ride was over to see if he was ok.

Sorry kiddo, the second time was just as bad as the first, although as soon as we stopped, he starts clapping, says it was scary fun and wants to go again.

That's my man!

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Bed Time Birds & Bees

As I'm getting Kai dressed tonight he reaches down, grabs his scrotum, and asks, "Mama, what is this nut in my wee wee?"

I responded, "That's called your scrotum. It's where all your seeds for making babies are when you grow in to a man."

Kai started jumping up and down yelling with excitement. "Yay! So I can make babies?!"

"Well," I said, "Men have seeds and mamas have eggs. You need to mix the seeds and eggs to make a baby."

"That's so cool!", Kai yelled. "So I can grow up and I can give you my seeds and you can make a new baby!"

"No sweetie. Boys can't make babies with their mamas. It won't work. The babies come out all mushy. When you become a man you're going to have to find another lady to give your seeds to."

"Awwww. Well that's ok. I can still grow up and make a baby!"

Monday, April 07, 2008

Kai's hospital adventure and what happened

Kai had a pretty normal day on Thursday. I was working from home, spent most of my morning on the phone, Kai watched TV, played, ate, etc. At 2:30 we went out for lunch. He was complaining a bit that his stomach was upset, but he hadn't eaten much, so once he'd had a slice of pizza he was fine and I didn't think anything of it.

Afterwards he went to his karate class. During class he said again that his stomach was bothering him, but went to the bathroom and he was fine, then went back to class. I figured he was coming down with something possibly, but in general he seemed fine.

We came home at 4:00, I got on a 2 hour conference call, he had milk and cookies, and all was fine until about 7:00.

At that time I'd just finished work and Kai came over to me for snuggles. One second he was playful and fine, next he was doubled over screaming in pain. I called his doctor twice and didn't get a call back in about 45 minutes. I called my friend Theta from the neighborhood (she's the editor of the county's magazine so she basically knows EVERYTHING about EVERYTHING and she's got a 3 year old who's gone through a nasty year with illness herself so needless to say, she's a good person to call for fast advice) and asked her what hospital to take him to. At that time I didn't know about Hackensack Pediatric Hospital (
http://www.humc.com/) or the fact that it's one of the best in the nation. She insisted to me to get him there, telling me that if for any reason he had to be admitted, I didn't want him getting admitted anywhere else. I then grabbed Kai up and left the house. As we were on the road and headed out of the house, his pediatrician called us back and insisted that I take him to St. Mary's hospital in Hoboken because that's where he works out of. He didn't say he'd meet us there, but said that if Kai had to be admitted, he'd be able to see over his care (whenever it would be that he'd show up. My experience with him is that he's a straight 9-5 doctor so I doubt he'd really come in until the next morning regardless and by then it would have been too late). We turned around and went to St. Mary's. When we got there the emergency room was full, but there were no real emergencies going on. The place looked like it was being run out of someone's garage to be perfectly honest. When I got to the reception desk they told me to sit and wait to sign in. We waited for about 10 minutes. Kai went in to another wave of pain (it was coming in waves that lasted about a minute or 2 each, in between Kai was fine or becoming lethargic as they progressed). It was OBVIOUS that something serious was going on and he was ignored. So I asked the receptionist if they prioritized young children in distress, she looked at me blankly and said she'd have to ask. The wave of pain passed and I asked Kai if he thought he could get in the car again and hold out until we got to another hospital, to which he said yes. Neither one of us wanted to stay there. It was a scary place and all I could think was that if they did admit him there, they'd kill him.

Anyway, I grabbed him up, got back to the car, and drove him to Hackensack where my friend told me to go.

Hackensack was amazing. From the second we walked in (valet emergency room parking) to the moment we left I was stunned with how good everything was, how effective they were even at 1:00 am when they ran him in to the emergency BE procedure (they let me stay with him the entire time, even when they were working on him and explained everything to both of us as things progressed. You just don't get that philosophy in general with doctors ANYWHERE), and in general, how happy and nice everyone was there. Nurses in particular. A sign of a good hospital vs. a bad one in my lengthy experience with them is if the nurses seem alert and happy. If the nurses walk around looking vacant and hostile to the patients, get your kid out of there because they're the ones feeling the worst of the trickle down effect of a bad administration IMHO.

Had we gone anywhere else they wouldn't have had the staff to take care of Kai as quickly as they did. Kai would have been left in agony till the morning, and then would have required surgery. This is a web page that sums up what was wrong with him pretty well in layman's terms with pictures.



As soon as we walked in they identified him as a critical patient and ran us back to the ER. The head of ER took care of us directly. She identified what was wrong with him based on his symptoms almost immediately and sent us back for an x-ray and ultrasound. Within the next half hour we were run through both. As soon as the ultrasound tech identified what was wrong, the radiologist was brought in, he did a follow up ultrasound while Kai was on the table, confirmed the blockage in Kai's intestines, explained to me that he had to have a Barium Enema to try to clear the blockage while they watched it, told me that because of the location of the blockage it might not work so to be prepared for them having to run him in to surgery immediately. I called Sanchie at that point because I wasn't sure if I was going to need her present or not and she headed out to us (I just had vascular surgery myself this past Friday and am still recovering) At this point Kai was falling in to unconsciousness in between waves so it was hard for me to try to explain to him what was about to happen. Within the next half hour, they got Kai in to the room for the BE, prepped him, and began. Unfortunately it began at the same time as another wave of pain hit Kai. Closest thing I can compare to what Kai experienced yesterday was being in labor for 6 hours. Anyway, they again let me stay in the room with him while they did the BE. They had to lay him on his stomach, push a catheter up his tush, and tape him closed. He was screaming in agony but was so brave. I kept talking him through what was going on and he was so good. He kept listening to me, he understood that they were fixing him and that this was necessary. He did everything the doctors asked him to do even though he was terrified and in pain. He was so amazing. He really was. They had to pump about 2 gallons in to him before they managed to clear the blockage and at the moment they unblocked him, he switched from being in pain to yelling that he had to poop and couldn't hold it in :^) Poor boo. I told him to let it come out and he just started yelling "EWWWW!!!!" He ended up laying in a pool of all of it by the end, shivering and stinky, but he was pain free and realized that he was ok. At the point when we got him off the table, Sanchie had arrived. The receptionist in the emergency room actually walked her through the hospital to find us. I was really surprised. We got him cleaned up and sat with him while his system cleared itself out, then headed back to the ER where he was admitted overnight for observation.

Anyway, it was really rough and he's under close observation for the next 6 months, but he's fine now. Once the enema was done and he was pain free he IMMEDIATELY bounced back and decided that he was having an adventure. He thanked all the radiologists and doctors who helped him get well, threw me out of the wheelchair they were carting both of us around in because he wanted to ride in it "by myself", and then actually jumped for joy once he found out we were staying the night. Go figure. The room was better than some hotel rooms I've stayed in to be honest, and there was a family kitchen and huge playroom on the pediatric floor. Seriously, I'm stunned at just how good the hospital was and am so grateful to Theta for INSISTING that I take him there on the phone, and the hospital itself. With what was wrong with him, I really feel the night would have gone in a MUCH different and MUCH worse direction if we had gone anywhere else.

That's it. We're home, Kai is up to mischief, we're cleaning the house.

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Allowance, Toys, and a 3 Year Old's Lesson in Economics...Oh My!

Kai thought he had saved a fortune. He had $10. He's been doing his chores around the house so well, hanging up his coat and hat, putting away his shoes, cleaning the living room when it gets too messy with his toys, feeding all the fish, etc. He's been counting and counting all his money for weeks and wanted to go to the toy store to buy a toy with his small fortune. sigh. This is another one of my, "I should have thought this through in advance" sort of tough love lessons that wasn't intended to be tough love at all.

Anyway, we went to his favorite store. It's got all the real educational toys, wood sets, lots of animal and pirate figurines, etc. I figured he'd get a small dragon and be really happy. What was I thinking! I never set his expectations. He walked in there with his piggy bank full of change, thinking he could get anything in the store because he was loaded, and 2 hours later he was fuming, depressed, and frustrated to tears when he realized what his $10 could and couldn't buy him. I mean, it was a really good lesson for him. He really GETS it now, the whole purpose of money, the reason why I work, what I mean when I tell him something is too much money, BUT...it was horrible. At one point he was in the front of the store screaming at me that we should just go with out anything because he didn't have enough money for anything cool. He looked like he was going to cry. I mean, there were a few things he was interested in, and he did finally choose an airplane and a skull that grows in water, but he REALLY wanted some other things and the comparison between what he wanted and what he could afford was, well, basically what I feel like every day only the poor little guy is 3.

I did hold my ground though and didn't offer to loan him any money or make up for what he had. He only had $10 to spend and that was it. Afterwards though I did take him to Books of Wonder and get him a bunch of books, then found a really nice world globe at the flea market really cheap, so his day wasn't a total bust, but man. The allowance thing was really rough. I REALLY don't want to discourage him. This was supposed to be a proud joyous moment where he got to spend the money he'd earned on something he liked. The next go round what we're going to do is set monetary value to his chores so he can reach an attainable goal of $20 which should afford him something cool without him losing his mind in the process. At least he'll be able to afford Hungry Hungry Hippos which he's desperate for, or Whack a Mole. The next shot at this I want him to feel a sense of gratification and pride when he buys something, not defeat. sigh.

anyway, that was our allowance/toy store adventure.

Monday, March 03, 2008

My Name is Spider-Man!

I now have to address Kai as Spider Man or he's refusing to do anything. Not kidding.

ME: "Kai, go brush your teeth."
KAI: "I'm not Kai, I'm Spider Man."
ME: "OK. Fine then, go brush your teeth."
KAI: "Spider Man."
ME: "Are you kidding?"
KAI: "Spider Man!"
ME: "Sigh...[breathe a few breaths, then]...Spider Man, please go brush your teeth."
KAI: "OK Mom"

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Blowing Up Orcs

This weekend Kai decided would be a Lord of the Rings event. I own the special extended edition of all 3 movies, so getting through the entire trilogy is over a 12 hour experience. The first time Kai watched the trilogy, or part of it, we were in San Francisco while I was out there on business. We had rented a room with 2 Queen sized bed, and Kai was in heaven staying up in his own big bed and watching the Two Towers one night with room service pizza and everything. Since that first viewing, all trees are suspect of being ents, and Kai has begun collecting orcs, ogres, and trolls, (we've got a great toy store) to secretly form an army bent on destruction. In order to control the growing masses of evil beings, Kai then decided (after viewing #2 a few months ago) that we needed a volcano to blow them all up. Being the good follower of his scheming plots that I am, I fell in line and got him a volcano making kit and we began the journey towards the battle of good and evil.

The volcano however had it's own agenda, like the dreaded ring. It took 2 weeks to dry. Patiently, so patiently Kai checked it each day to see if it was ready to be painted. In the mean time, we went to pearly paint for some architectural model trees. We got a set of 5 pines to place around the volcano. He also found my old high school ring burried in one of his toy boxes. I found him tying the string from his wooden beads through it to make a necklace and getting very frustrated at the limited dexterity his 3 year old fingers had at making knots. "Here Mama. I need a chain." Obligingly I found him an old necklace chain, strung up the offending ring, and placed it on his neck. Kai Frodo was then born. Periodically there were sword fights, me being an orc at every occasion, then finally! This past weekend the volcano was ready. Kai pulled out the Fellowship of the Ring and we began to paint!

By the time the Two Towers was half way through we had our trees in place. Thus the battle for Middle Earth ensued in our home! Kai took the volcano and placed it on the floor. The armies amassed between our sword fights for good and evil. Aragorn faced Sauron, Saruman was defeated at Orthank, and oliphants took the field! Out came the orcs and goblins! Out came all the plastic elephants to be slain by elves, out came the knights and black ships, out came the monsters! The Riders of Rohan defended the keep, and the eye at Khazad Dum watched on.

Finally it was time. Solemnly, Kai brought the volcano back to the counter and took the ring from his neck. It was time for an end to all evil. As Frodo hung to the cliff, bereft from the loss of ring and finger, Kai let loose the dreaded Sturyvesant High ring in to the mouth of our own Orodruin. Fires bubbled, the seas churned, and all the orcs were swallowed in to the earth from whence they were made. Peace was restored to our home and the world can breathe knowing that it has a 3 year old champion to protect them from all evil.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Oh my! Gremlin precautionary measures!

So everyone is going to yell at me for letting Kai watch the movie Gremlins (1 & 2), but let me preface it with the fact that his all time favorite movie scene that he makes me let him watch over and over again is the dragon scene from Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, so with that as a baseline for his fear factor, I personally thought that he'd find the Gremlins movies funny as hell. I mean it is his sort of wacky stupid humor. Well, he did. He thought they were funny as hell any time he peeked out from under my arm. For the first time in his 3 short years I saw my fearless son bury his face in my body, and with a horrified fascination, insist that I NOT turn the movie off. He instead wanted me to narrate what was going on during the scary scenes while he listened, but under NO CIRCUMSTANCE was I allowed to turn the movie off. After 1 he insisted on watching 2.

I know! I know! Beat me over the head! This is not age appropriate for a 3 year old, but he's not really a 3 year old in so many ways, and he watches some really intricate sci-fi already. His favorite TV cartoon is Avatar for goodness sake and he's followed the plot through 2 seasons. He loves Dragonheart and Aragon, he's watched the Lord of the Rings trilogy 3 times already (favorite characters are the Ent's of course and now he's quite obsessed with spotting "walking trees" in our neighborhood. He looks at Oak trees mostly to find their faces in the trunks), is half way through reading the Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe with me (I read), so basically, he's already way past the age appropriate limit. As far as he's concerned (until now that is), it all is exactly what it is, sci-fi and make believe. He's never had any issue separating it from reality,,,until tonight it would seem. I'm not quite sure why the gremlins freaked him out. I mean, they LOOK like Muppets. The orcs in LOTR are scary as hell but all they did to him was prompt him to want an orc and ogre army, build a volcano, and blow them all to kingdom come with it. These gremlins though, in particular the suspense of it all when they hatched from their cocoons, scared him. (OK, not terrified scared, but more of a fascinated but still hiding his face in my arm scared. He was having a hell of a lot of fun being frightened to be honest, then spent the rest of the day trying hard as hell to scare me...but still)

Anyway, tonight he went to the Nth degree in gremlin-proofing. It seems that his monster now eats cauliflower and raw eggs. I don't know why, and am not going to question it at the moment because his strategy was to feed his monster and leave a note in the monster's food box asking him to put any gremlins he found in to the lights. He actually dictated the letter to me to write, then signed it, "Love Kai". He then turned on every night light in his room, including his battery powered camping light that hangs over his pillow (for midnight emergencies). He had me leave the night light on in the bathroom, and then did a perimeter check of the living room, but shrugged his shoulders and said that the monster would get them out of there if they got in to the living room. Either that or it would seem that our cat, Monster, would scratch them.

I swear. He was absolutely methodical about how he was tactically protecting the house from gremlins, then once he was satisfied, sat down in his rocking chair and waited patiently for me to come read him his books. I kept looking at him and asking him if he was going to be ok, and by that time he looked at me like I was over dramatizing the situation that he now had under control and gave me that exasperated, "YEEESSSS MOOOMMM! Can we read books now?"

Well ok then. I'm waiting for 2:00 a.m.

Monday, January 07, 2008


I'm so excited I'm about to burst!

Tonight at bed time Kai and I did our usual, but when it came time to read books he immediately grabbed this one baby book that he's had since he first began learning colors. It's about 5 different colored caterpillars turning in to butterflies. It's rhymey, got sparkly pictures, and raised velvet 3D caterpillars in it. You know the kind. Just right for 1 year olds. Anyway, he's been walking around with this book all of a sudden for days. I couldn't figure out why until tonight. When he grabbed it at bed time to read I protested, whining to him that it was a baby book and why did he want to read it. He absolutely insisted upon this book so I resigned myself to it figuring that at least book reading time tonight would be short, making up for the fact that we were getting to bed a little late, UNTIL, he began to read the book to me! OMG! I'm serious. He sat in my lap opened up the book, and began to sound out the words for me. He read it! I was so stunned and excited! I don't know if I'm going to get to bed tonight. I simply can't believe what happened. He didn't read the entire thing. There were words he couldn't sound out and needed help with but I'd say he read 80% of it for me. He's been carting this book around all week figuring out how to read it! I'm just so stunned. It's just been so sudden all of this.

I know I expected it, but now that it's here and hitting me in the face I'm realizing I don't have a plan. He's going to remain in the school he's in until he's 5. I feel it's a very healthy place for him as they're amazing educators who are truly devoted to helping him develop, but then what? I need to get my act together and figure out where we're going to be in a year so he can be situated some place for the next level in his schooling and home environemt.

While I'm awfully excited right now by what just happened today, I'm actually a little frightened by all of this as well.

Learning to Read - 12/30/2007

We went to staples today and got supplies to make flash cards (along with 2 new gold fish, a beta fish, and of course 4 new plants to make a forest for the fish. Kai set up his old fish tank in his room and got a pirate treasure thingy to go in the tank. he now has a fish tank with 2 goldfish and 4 new plants surrounding it on his desk since we moved his computer in to my office ;^) Tomorrow we're staying in and making our flash cards. He's pretty excited about it. We're going to cut pictures out of magazines to start. I got pre-made blank flash cards with a hole punch and plastic laminate. It should work. I think just the process of making them has him all excited.

Learning to Read - 12/27/2007

So Kai is starting to read and I'm looking for day to day ways to integrate learning techniques in to life rather than have sit down sessions to teach him. Supposedly I learned how to read at his age (actually a bit younger), and my memory of it was playing with my sister and a Montessori reading kit that my mother bought. It had flash cards and all sorts of games in it that were geared towards learning to read. Luckily my sister liked playing with it with me so in essence, my older sister taught me to read at a very young age. By the time I was in kindergarten I was reading at a 3rd grade level. The beginning of may public school problems for me in my life...

Anyway, Kai is sounding words out on his own and really is initiating all of this so I want to figure out ways to help him in his own process, as opposed to pushing a process on him which is what makes school and learning so painful.

He's had a regular computer for about a year and a half. My friend upgradedand gave him her old PC, and another friend gave him her old 15" flat screenmonitor when she upgraded as well. What I did was wipe my friends PC, locked it down tight from a security and age appropriate perspective, then we tend to leave WordPad open so he can type letters. I keep caps lock on and make the font size really large for him.

Other applications he uses regularly are his e-mail and the internet browser. He e-mails family and likes to send pictures to his cousin. Last year for his birthday he got the Kid's Tough Digital Camera so he's always taking pictures of me and the cat to load on his PC which is a lot of fun for him. I have to help him with the uploads, but his screen saver is the folder where we keep all the photos.

When he was about 18 months old he was animal obsessed so I downloaded about 500 photos of wild animals and set the screen saver up to randomly display them. He loved it and would name each animal as they came on the screen. Then we did the same thing with the alphabet. I've set up a favorites folder for him on his internet browser where we keep all of the sites he likes to play on so they're easily accessible. He's pretty good with the mouse and using it. He's made quick work of the alphabet site at Starfall.

Another thing that we have set up is a webcam so he can do video chats with his cousin in New Orleans. They both use Skype so they can sit in front of the computer and talk.

Lastly, he sometimes watched DVD's on it, but that's not going to continuenow that the PC is in my room/office.

Anyway, we just moved his computer from his room in to mine. His biggest complaint about his computer is that he can't work WITH me. Since I work from home part of the week, he wanted to be able to work at his computer along side of me, which is actually pretty cool. It also makes it easier for me to help him when he is working at it since I only have to reach over to him as opposed to getting up every 10 minutes to go in to his room which was really discouraging both of us and became pretty frustrating. He's been in here with me for the last half hour or so sitting at the next desk typing words. It's already so much nicer! I'm working and he's got WordPad up, asking me how to spell one word at a time so he can type them out. I just realized that down the road this is going to make the homework process so much easier and more fun for him as well.

Still, I'm realizing that telling him how to spell words is still a bit of a disconnect, so I was thinking of giving him a stack of flash cards to keep by the computer so he can see the pictures and type the words, but I just feel like that's begging for a mess. Then I thought of maybe printing out labels and sticking them on everything in the house so when he looks at an object he's got the spelling of the word to go along with it. I made labels for everything in the house last night. OMG! He's been so excited. He's been walking around the house pointing at things, naming them, then spelling them. He's given me a new list of word labels to make for things he wants to spell but I haven't labeled yet. It was a serious Helen Keller moment.