Time Out!

If a one-year-old gets one minute time-outs, a two-year-old gets two minutes, and a three-year-old three minutes (and so on), it stands to reason that a 30-year-old should get 3o minutes for each time out.

Am barricading myself in my bedroom now.

She’s out there, though. “Mommy!” … “Mommy?” … “Mommmeeeeeeeee!”

30 minutes. I’d rather spend it reading, or working on le manuscript, or napping. A nap would be good. Instead, she’s pounding on the door like a body-snatcher, or a zombie or, even scarier, a hyperactive three-year-old. Might have to further retreat into master bathroom.

So here I am, perched on the counter next to the sink, armed with a bottle of hairspray from 1988 and a toilet plunger. Not the time-out I needed.

The Three Faces of Z

To be fair, she has more faces. And not all are as extreme as these. The Timid is another face that comes to mind – that’s the one she whips out in large groups of people, when I suspect she is only half timid, half I-want-my-mommy-to-pay-attention-to-only-me. There’s also a whiny face, but whenever I talk about her whining, I sound like I’m whining. So we’ll just avoid that today, and focus on the following three faces.

The Focused

When Z has a job she wants to do, she brings out her FocusedFace. She focuses completely on whatever “job” she’s created for herself, whether it’s putting every single one of her stuffed animals to bed, listing their genealogies, or tearing construction paper into tiny, impossible-to-pick-up-without-tweezers scraps. Whatever she’s doing, she’s intent and quiet. I love to watch her like this, hear the conversations she makes up with herself and her stuffed friends.

The Crazed

This is, perhaps, the most frightening incarnation of childhood I will ever witness. At least, I hope it doesn’t get scarier than this. The words “inside voices” mean nothing. The word “no” means nothing. Pogo sticks sprout from the soles of her feet. She has to do whatever it is she’s set her mind to do, whether or not doing this thing will result in an eternity of time-outs, e.g. picking up the cat and hurling her to the floor, slapping/pushing/spitting (yes, my child occasionally does these things. If yours doesn’t, wipe that smug smile off your face and trade kids with me). The Crazed Face is the one that has me calling Husband, vowing that This Is The Last Day I Will Be A Stay-at-Homie, Here Is My Resignation, I’m Driving to Mexico for Margaritas – Alone – and Nobody Can Stop Me.

The Helpful

One of my favorite recent Z-quotes happened at the dinner table the other night: “I’m going to be the calmest person. I’m not gonna cry, I’m not gonna scream, I’m not gonna make Daddy say I can’t have stories. I’m going to cooperate!” The Helpful personality of Z will often manifest itself in hyper-exaggerated gestures of politeness. She’ll often even help me recognize this face by saying something like, “I feel like a grown-up” or “I’m being polite.” The Helpful Z works to earn approval, and smiles angelically up at me from time to time. She does her chores, she cleans up her toys, she surprises me with random, gentle hugs or back massages.

What kinds of faces did you have as a little kid, or what faces do you see on the kids around you?

PS: I think she just fell asleep during Quite Play Time. YES!

PPS: By the way, if you haven’t played Killer Bunnies before, you’re missing out. I’ve been looking for an excuse to work them into a blog post for over a year now.

Will Write for Food

Yes, there is trouble in my paradise of free mornings while my angelic little tyke is at preschool. The course my husband teaches got cancelled (damn economy, it was only a matter of time before our family was impacted), so I’m going to be looking for work.

Which led me to wonder: what exactly can I do?

  • write stories (good ones, sometimes)
  • read lots of books, and read fast
  • bake chocolate chip cookies
  • consume vast quantities of chocolate chip cookies
  • critique and edit manuscripts
  • complain about my messy house
  • shush a three-year-old until she finally decides to go to sleep for the night
  • I can totally make friends with cats (just ask my neighbor’s cats – they fell in love with me today when I was locked out of my house…long story)
  • teach English
  • arrange coffee dates with friends
  • compose lullabies (and check dictionary.com when for the millionth time I cannot be sure of how to spell “lullabies” – turns out I was right the first time)
  • write endlessly about myself (last I checked, there was not much of a market for memoirs of people who haven’t really done anything unusual or groundbreaking)
  • speak some Spanish, less French
  • type a gazillion words per minute
  • wear stylish new reading glasses
  • realize when the list is getting boring, and stop a few bullets after that point.

shamlessly advertising me, in my stylish new reading glasses, doing some scholarly lip-pursing

So if anyone out there wants to pay me to do any of those things, well, I’m your girl. Available in the mornings, during not-so-quiet play time, and after eight p.m.

Finish that Manuscript! (A Board Game)

All you need is a die, and some colored bits of cardboard you can pretend are laptops or notebooks. Click on it to enlarge the view.

That’s all I have to say; I spent too long making this thing as it is.

ETA: I’ll be off to the mountains this weekend with family, so radio silence until Tuesday night. Have a great weekend, everyone!

The Giant Red Spider of DOOM

Those in our studio audience who would like to explore the issue of co-existing with insane arachnids further may enjoy…

  • A recent blog post about the karma of bug killing
  • Two images I found of the actual Giant Red Spider of Doom. You may think that my sketched renderings and the photographs have little in common. I would like to point out that my sketch is a far more accurate depiction of the fear and monstrosity of the creature. (Okay, so I was going to find a bigger picture of it, but just going to the website was seriously freaking me out. Toes curling, wishing I had shoes on, stomach all oogly-boogly. You’ll just have to click the photo for it.)
  • The following map of known sightings of the Giant Red Spider of Doom within my sleeping cabin. Notice each interloper’s proximity to important spaces – my side of the family bed (of pain), and the towel rack in the bathroom: