Thursday, May 10, 2007

Y'all gonna make me lose my mind

What is it with kids and repetition? My kids get on these kicks where they find a movie and insist on watching it on a continuous loop all day. Seriously, it's enough to make a grown up lose their sanity.

The movie du jour is The Little Mermaid. My three year old is now obsessed with it. He's watched it approximately 152 times in the past three days. Our DVD player will just play the movie over and over, so he doesn't even need Mom to start it over when it ends. And heaven forbid you should try to watch something else. He goes ballistic and starts screeching "I WANNA WATCH ARIEL!!!!". I went into his room last night and I kid you not, he was singing "Kiss the Girl" in his sleep. It would have been cute if it wasn't so strange to hear him sleep-singing. Oh, did I mention that he was singing in a Jamaican accent? Just like was adorable and disturbing at the same time...

Is it wrong that I'm praying for the DVD player to break? Or for that movie to disappear? Because I fear for my sanity if one of those two things doesn't happen soon...

Anything I can do, he can do better

Have you ever heard of Couvade Syndrome? It's also called sympathetic pregnancy. It's where the man experiences the same symptoms as his pregnant wife. I think my husband has a form of that syndrome. No, I'm not pregnant and even though he did gain more weight than I did in all three of my pregnancies, his need to always one-up me continues.

Whenever I'm feeling sick (it doesn't matter what I've got), my husband always has to have something worse. If I've got a cold, he's got pneumonia. If my throat is sore, he thinks he has strep throat. Bronchitis? He's got the early stages of emphysema. Stomach ache? Oh, well he thinks he was food poisoning. Backache? He thinks he slipped a disk. Sore muscles? He starts asking if right-side abdominal pain is appendicitis. It's really frustrating to never be allowed to just be sick and not have to be outdone by him.

I've been pretty sick for almost a week. Major head cold with ear infections and perforated eardrums. I've felt like crap, and haven't gotten much sympathy from him. I ended up going to the doctor yesterday to find out for sure if I had an ear infection, which I do. We met up at his parents' house yesterday afternoon to pick up the kids. This is the conversation we had:

Me: I've got to run home and take the groceries in the house. I don't want the ice cream to melt. I also need to get some Advil. My ear is throbbing and there are pains shooting through it. I'm in agony.

Hubby: Oh, don't worry, my throat is sore. I think I'm getting sick too.

Me: And your point?

Hubby: Well, I just wanted you to know that I don't feel well either.

Me: Congratulations.

Notice that he never offered any sympathy to me? No murmurs of "Oh, you poor thing. That must be agonizing for you." No offers to come home with me and help me with the groceries. In fact, he ditched me until almost 10:00 last night. He's not my favorite person right now (in case you hadn't already picked up on that.)

If he tries to one-up me when Aunt Flow comes to visit this month, he's in big trouble. I can just hear it now:

Me: Boy, I've got some serious cramps.

Hubby: I think my prostate is enlarged. I should see the doctor.

Would it be wrong to smother him with his pillow while he snores next to me at night? It's really tempting...

What really happened after "happily ever after"

Hi, I'm Ella. I never went by Cinderella. That was one of the many things that those darn Brothers Grimm changed when they stole my story. They better hope they never meet me in a dark alley...because I'm going to kick some butt and take some names if we ever cross paths. Those "authors" really told you all a pack of lies...

You want the true story? The real deal? Well, here it is:

My mother and father raised me in a loving home. My mother didn't die; on the contrary, she is still very much alive. We lived in a nice, middle-class neighborhood and even had a woman come and clean our house three times a week. I was never forced to be a servant. That's just rubbish. When I reached adulthood, my parents encouraged me to to decide what I wanted to do with my life. I dabbled in college, even entertained thoughts of becoming a teacher. But all that changed one night when I met "Prince Charming" at a bar...

Here is another place that those stupid Grimm boys got all fictional on you. It turned out (and I only found this out after I married him) that "Prince" Charming wasn't royalty at all. His first name was know, like the singer from Minneapolis? Likes purple? Changed his name to that weird symbol for a while? TAFKAP? Anyhoo, "Prince" Charming wasn't a member of any royal family. He came from a long line of steelworkers in Pittsburgh. But he never told me that. And let me just say, he played the prince thing for all it was worth. Drove a fancy car, wore designer clothes, never paid for a drink...yeah, he fancied himself royal all right. His family had money at one time, back when the steel business was booming. His grandparents still lived in a pretty snazzy house, and that was the only place that I ever saw his family in. Turns out his parents were really down on their luck and living in a trailer in the Happy Times Trailer Park on the outskirts of town. But they really put on the airs when we met that first time. It was our engagement party and I remember it well...

I should have been suspicious when it was mostly my family at the party. The only ones from his side were his parents and grandparents. His mother's dress looked a bit shabby but I thought they were just eccentric. Had I looked closer, I would have noticed that her tiara was made out of aluminum foil and rhinestones. But I was dazzled at the prospect of being a princess, so I closed my eyes to anything that seemed questionable. It did seem strange that his father insisted on carrying a scepter all night, but again, I chalked it up to the eccentricities of royals. Oh, I was so blind. And before we go any further, I need to clarify a few more things that have been bugging me: there are no such things as fairy godmothers. Believe me, I've tried to conjure one up and it hasn't worked yet. So pumpkins turning into carriages, mice into horses, rags to ballgowns...all lies, made up by those men to sell books. And glass slippers? C'mon, how stupid can you be to believe that? That would have to be some seriously strong glass to support the weight of a person. Glass slippers would shatter, and who in the world wants to walk around with shards of glass in their feet all night? Bloody toes are not sexy or attractive.

But back to the story...

According to tradition, my parents paid for the wedding. It was beautiful. My mom and dad really went all out on the shindig. Flowers, music, decorations, had it all. It did seem odd when Prince's parents showed up in a Gremlin. They told us they were trying to save the environment by driving an old car. Didn't make much sense to us but we just laughed it off. Our wedding gift from them was kind of strange too. Who in the world gives a laundry basket filled with pork rinds and Wal-Mart brand diet soda? If only I'd been doing the math, I would have added two and two together and realized that these people were not who they said they were. But I was in love and love is blind. (And apparently really stupid as well.)

So, here we are, ten years and seven kids later. Remember how I said I was never a servant? Well, that was then and this is now! Prince leaves every morning for his day job at the Kwickie Mart while I get the kids, Duke, Viscount, Marquise, Duchess, Earl, Princess, and Lady ready for school. Yeah, Prince insisted on those names. Needless to say, our kids get beat up a lot. I spend a lot of time at the school picking up the kids from the nurse's office. When I'm not going back and forth to the school, I'm at home cleaning. I'm sure you can imagine how much of a mess one husband and seven kids leave behind when they leave for the day. I do nine loads of laundry a day. I run the dishwasher twice a day as well. Our water bill is outrageous. Between nine showers a day, all the laundry and dishes, we rack up a $400 a month water bill. That's why Prince works two jobs. The day job at the Kwickie Mart and the night job at the landfill. Oh, and I work, too. Three days a week I clean houses for the rich people in the next town over. It's a living, I guess.

So there you have it: the truth behind the fairy tale. I'm sorry if I've disillusioned you. But c'mon, you didn't really believe that story, did you? I hate to cut this short but I have an appointment with my lawyer. I'm suing the Brothers Grimm over their use of my name and likeness. My lawyer says I have a pretty good case, which makes me happy. I'd really like to quit cleaning other people's houses for a while.

Before I go see the lawyer, I need to call Snow White and Sleeping Beauty. Rumor has it they've got an ax to grind with the illustrious Brothers Grimm as well. Sniff, sniff...I smell a class-action lawsuit...

A letter to my mom on Mother's Day

Dear Mom,

I've been wanting to get some things off my chest for quite some time now, and I think Mother's Day is the perfect opportunity to clear the air. I've got a list of things that I want to bring to your attention. Here goes:

You've been lying to me for years. Not with your words, but with your actions. You made it seem like it was easy to be a mother. It always looked so effortless when you did it, but now that I'm a mother I'm finding out that it's not as easy as you made it look. You never lost your cool, even when we would have really deserved it. I never realized when I was growing up just how young you were when you had me. I was six years older than you were when you had me when I had my first and I was SO not ready to be a mom. But lucky for me I had your example to follow. I've screwed up more times than I care to count but if I can be half the mother you are, then I figure I'm doing pretty well.

You were always there, all up in my business. You always knew what was going on in my life. You made it easy for me to trust you and to confide in you. You never let me get away with the whole "teen angst" thing. You showed me how to be mature and to own up to my actions when I did something wrong. Because you were my mother and my friend, I never went through that whole "I hate my mother" phase. You even mothered my friends when they WERE going through that phase. Everybody needs somebody they can confide in and you were that person for so many of my friends. I always considered myself lucky because I had the "cool" mom. You were cool in a way that none of us had ever seen. You weren't cool because you treated us like pseudo-adults by giving us booze or letting us get away with doing bad/stupid things. Instead, you talked to us like we were adults with brains in our heads and helped us grow and mature. How many times did I watch you calmly and gently talk my friends down from whatever "ledge" they were standing upon? Too many to count. I know in my heart you saved the lives of several of my friends just by being there and listening.

You worked too many hours. You busted your butt working for years to make sure we had everything we needed, yet you never took anything for yourself. Even now that we're all grown up and out on our own, you still don't do anything for yourself. You're still sacrificing your own desires to give to others. Your kids, your grandkids, your church, total strangers...anywhere you see a need, you try to fill it. Your constant generosity astounds me.

You made me feel embarrassed. You are the "gold standard" to which I compare myself. You have some big shoes to fill, and I usually fail to do so. Sometimes I don't feel like I'm worthy enough to be your daughter. Your kindness of spirit, faith, generosity and all-around good-heartedness put you in a class by yourself. I usually feel like I'm on the other side of that window looking in. But while I may fail miserably, at least I have a goal. For me, turning into my mother will not be a bad thing! I actually look forward to the day that someone says "You are just like your mother." For me, there will be no higher compliment.

There is a reason so many people love and respect you. You deserve every iota of love and respect you get. I have always said that I won the "Mom Lottery" when God assigned me to be your daughter. I am so glad He deemed me worthy enough to be paired up with you for life! You are an amazing woman, mother and friend and I love you!

Your devoted daughter,