So the Fish Said...

Whoever you are, now I place my hand upon you, that you be my poem, I whisper with my lips close to your ear.

- Walt Whitman

Meet the Fish

I want to get a pet duck and keep it in the bathtub.
I am addicted to chap stick and altoids.
I am freakishly flexible.

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World's Most Handsome Child


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Clive Owen

Clive Owen
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Dress, Reprise

In the past two days, I have tried on at least 50 dresses - more if you count all the ones I tried in two sizes. I bought six of them. I plan to keep at absolute most two of them, and I can only wear one of them for my big date (with my husband, chill) on Saturday night.

I can't decide, so you get to do it.

First, some caveats. I suck at Photoshop, no need to mention. I was moving very quickly to either make the most of my kid-free time or to get out of the store before Owen melted down, so a couple of these I got home and couldn't imagine why I had bought them. And I'm a blinker. You bring a camera anywhere near me and I blink. 97.4% of all pictures ever taken of me feature large expanses of my eyelids. Since I had precisely eight minutes to get into, photograph, and get out of all six dresses before tossing Owen into the car to fetch Mia from school, I had no time to take 54 pictures of each trying to get a shot with my eyes open. I think I found an extremely logical solution.

Anyway, here they are, please do try not to shatter my delicate little ego thanks.


Now vote!

Spoiled, Vain, Rich Lady, Etc.

I need a dress. And because I am cheap, I need this dress to be the perfect thing for three occasions. Occasion 1: Dinner with Chris at a downtown, not super fancy restaurant, which dinner precedes a child-free night in a downtown hotel. Occasion 2: Happy hour the week after next with people from Chris's office, of which some will likely be wearing suits and some will likely be closer to business casual but still closer to the business bit than the casual bit. Occasion 3: Dinner in Duck, NC in three weeks where I will be stuffing myself with the best crab cakes known to man.

So, I need a dress that is not too fancy but not too casual and that can accommodate variable spring weather which could be in the 50s or in the 90s. I also need this dress to not come from Target, which is the only place I have bought a dress in the past five years, and even then only two of them, and I need it by 4:00 Saturday at the absolute latest, so internet ordering is out.

I theoretically have access to just about any store you can think of, but in practice the only real option I have is to find something at the small-ish mall near my house and to do so in no more than an hour and that window may be smaller since Chris will be home sometime after 5:00 today and I am meeting friends for dinner at 6:30. Which means I can go to Macy's, Nordstrom, Banana Republic, H&M, LOFT, Abercrombie & Fitch (although not really, because just walking past that place gives me a headache), New York & Company, or Old Navy. There are other stores, of course, but I don't think Charlotte Russe is my speed.

Could somebody who is less clueless than I am pretty please tell me exactly what kind of dress to get and exactly where to go to get it? Much obliged, kisses, mwah.

(Oh yes, and I have to wear flats at best, because my foot is all kinds of screwed up. That was actually the officially diagnosis.)

P.S. If you are leaving me links, I love you like you cannot imagine, but I have to approve all comments with links in them, so it might take a while to show up. Spammers ruin it for everybody, don't they?


You guys are just dying to hear more about potty training, aren't you? Yeah, I knew you were.

So Owen, my sweet, adorable, impossible child, he mastered the pee in the potty thing almost immediately. By day three he was having one or two small accidents a day, and he would run to the potty so quickly that we could almost always salvage the pants. And then he pooped in his underwear several times a day. Not his fault, he was on antibiotics, I just did a lot of laundry and tried to focus on our areas of success.

Then a week ago, three weeks in, Owen figured out how to get to the potty in time and lo and behold, the kid was potty trained. I mean, not perfect, of course, but we had a couple of days where he wore the same pair of underwear all day long without incident. I didn't want to get cocky, but I thought we had it made. I thought we had a brief period of reinforcement ahead of us, and then I would be able to remove myself entirely from the process.

And then yesterday, I had to put Owen in a diaper at 2:00 because he had peed in every single pair of his underwear. And he has a lot of underwear. It was like the last month never happened, except that he still pooped in the potty with perfect accuracy. I tried taking him more often but it didn't matter - he would sit on the potty and produce a tiny squirt and then pee all over the floor two minutes later. And today is more of the same.

It is driving me bonkers, just because I thought we had this, man, I thought we were there. Do you guys know what to do here? Is this a mild set-back or should I restock my diapers? Do I need a better bribe for peeing in the potty? Should I have him tested for a UTI? (Do boys even get those?) Help me out here, internet, I'm at a loss.

Whine, Kvetch, Complain

Oh lordy, I'm drowning over here. And none of it is very bad, but it has just been non-stop. First there was the Man Cold and the Man Broken Toe. Then we had the Screaming Angry Sleepless Ear Infection of Doom, which turned out to be resistant to amoxicillin so we had to have ten days of a stronger antibiotic, which also meant ten days of Constant Nasty Pooping of Doom, which just happened to coincide with Owen's decision to potty train himself. There has been much laundry. And then Mia turned into the poster child for horrible spring allergies complete with streaming eye boogers and screaming. Then on Friday, we started to notice that Mia couldn't hear. At all. Sometimes, but other times she was fine, and she wasn't complaining about anything, so we figured either her ears were stuffed from the allergies or that she was a space cadet from all the allergy medicine. Finally took her to the doctor on Tuesday and learned that she can't hear because both of her ears are massively infected and oh yes, she's on the same antibiotic we just got Owen off of so we are waiting for the fun to begin.

And just for kicks, I hurt my foot running a month ago and it hasn't gotten better so I finally went to the doctor and scored myself a referral to the orthopedic surgeon so that he can send me for an MRI. It appears that my warranty has lapsed, because I have been to the doctor more times in the past six months than in the past six years, and that includes the birth of two children. Also I'm weeks behind on work and have to figure out what to wear to an event for Chris's work, which is a task for which I am not qualified and at which I always fail miserably.

See, nothing all that bad, I told you. And on the flip-side, it is just possible that the Cactus-Fish family has moved entire out of diapers, at least until Chris and I start to require them, and my doctor put me on anti-inflammatory drugs until I can see the orthopedist and my foot feels well enough that I am even considering giving running a try this weekend and I am less than 48 hours away from babysitters and date night. I am trying to breathe deeply and get over myself, but I am starting to think that the only thing that will help is a couple of days sprawled in the sand of a tropical island somewhere. I am just barely considering taking Chris with me.

(Please don't call me a baby, I already know that.)

Pride Goeth Before the Major Parenting Fail

Years ago, when I was blogging for ClubMom, I wrote a post that I believe was about the time I slammed Mia's fingers in the storm door. And I don't mean just boom and done, I mean her little fingers were in the hinge side and I kept yanking the door as hard as I could because I couldn't figure out why the damned thing wouldn't close and she was in too much pain to even scream and let me know about it and... wow, sorry, traumatic flashback, just give me a minute here....


Ok, anyway, when I wrote that post, I got an astonishing number of comments from people who said their worst parenting fail was forgetting to strap their kid into their car seat, or else strapping the kid into the car seat but the car seat was not actually attached to the car in any way. It seems that lots of people have done this - lots. And it has been a point of pride for me ever since, that in all the ways I have endangered my children through a momentary carelessness or lack of attention or even a simple failure of imagination, at least I had never done that. Now sure, I've popped the car into drive a time or two and then realized someone wasn't fully strapped in, but driving around town that way? Never.

You see, I have this Rule. The first thing I do, always, every time, is strap the kids into their car seats. I never get into the car until that is done, not even if it is pouring and they are being royal pains in my butt. And if we are waiting in the car for some reason and going to be driving again, everybody stays strapped into their seats, no matter how much they whine. Because that is the Rule, and it has worked for me for four and a half years now.

And then yesterday, we were at Target and had to go to the grocery store, but Owen wanted a drink and all I had was a bottle of water. So I put him in his seat and gave him the water, but I didn't strap him in because that makes it harder for him to drink and he spills. And you can see right where this is going, can't you? I pulled into the grocery store lot, parked the car, and Owen hopped blithely out of his seat. It took me a few seconds to figure out how he had done that. Did he wiggle out? Did he open the buckles? Nope, I just didn't strap him in.

And oh, it was a short trip on small roads, and oh, I have never (knock wood) been involved in a serious car accident, and oh, the odds of wrecking during that particular five minutes were small. But oh my hell, did I really just do that? I now have a new #2 on the list of Beth's All-Time Stupid Parenting Moves (poor Mia's finger has moved all the way down to #3 in the intervening years).

But once my brain started working again, I remembered that long-ago ClubMom post, and it was hugely comforting. To know that I wasn't the worst mother in the entire world, or that if I was, at least I was in excellent company. So if you happened to be one of the people all those years ago who bravely admitted to this particular Parenting Fail, I would like to extend my belated but purely heart-felt thanks for unwittingly saving me from overly-excessive amounts of self-loathing. I've got ample amounts of self-loathing going on over this, don't get me wrong, but knowing I'm not alone is stopping me from demanding that Chris divorce me and turn the children over to someone at least mildly competent, which I do not, at the moment, seem to be.