Friday, January 27, 2012

Awkward Mom vs. Busy

Hey there, true believers! We haven't forgotten you, it is just that Awkward Mom is dealing with awkwardness of unparalleled proportions and hasn't had a moment to write any of it down. (much less finish that long overdo Henry Ford Museum missive.) This time of year the Awkward family battles their nemesis, Busy. This is because there are 3 birthdays within a very short period of time, and this year, they are adding Super Baby's baptism, right in the middle of it all. Holy awkward! (Quite literally, it would seem.) Tune in soon because you just know that somebody is gonna fall in the baptismal font, and solid bets are on anybody but Super Baby.

Until we meet again, check out this blurry but beautiful photo of Super Toddler admiring his new train table. Don't make 'em much cuter!

And, for no particular reason, a series of photos we like to call "Awkward Home Repair." Extra awkward points for the fact that they were apparently watching an infomercial in the middle of the day. And no, we have no idea where Super Toddler got a curling iron.

No super child was harmed in the making of this photo series....Awkward Mom's heart rate was seriously elevated though....

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Awkward Mom vs. Romance

We interrupt your regularly scheduled Awkward Mom for love letter awkward....oh so much more awkward....

What is romance? Is it all those kissing-in-the-rain scenes from movies; the music swelling with the storm drains? Lingering looks in shadowy rooms? That parting overhead swirling shot of an endless embrace that fades into credits? Maybe. But not always.

I think romance is changing the 44th diaper of the day and still being interested in what someone else did at work. Reading books on opposite ends of the couch in easy quiet. Taking off your partner's glasses after he/she falls asleep in a heap next to the crib. Washing someone else’s socks. Sure, it’s I-love-yous, but it is also how-did-that-presentation-gos and wow-this-is-tastys. I think romance opens doors and closes the books left on sleeping chests, remembering to stick in a bookmark. Romance drives you the spare key when you lock yours in the car and doesn’t complain too much about it. I think romance is endless and strong and slow and hanging around after the credits, even if the soundtrack is the Wheels on the Bus on a loop.

Sure, there is still room in the daily tired for romance of the flowers and passion kind, but that isn’t where romance lives. It might visit there on occasion, but true romance lives in the million tiny touches that make up a union. The little overlapping gestures and words that weave together and make something stronger than a swooping crane shot and a catchy tune.

Of course, none of this is gonna prevent me from watching Casablanca for the 800th time later tonight, knowing that when I fall asleep about the time they sing la Marseillaise, my own Humphrey Bogart is gonna make sure my glasses aren't cutting into my nose, as he covers me with a blanket and turns off the light.

Ugh...aren't they cute and all that? OK, we will return you to your regularly scheduled Awkward Mom, and as soon as she wakes up, we are sure she'll have some tripping tales to tell you.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Awkward Mom vs. the Henry Ford Museum (part 2)

You know, the part where we are actually at the museum....

So, we finally make it into the Henry Ford Museum, and thanks to our handy dandy museum pass, we don't even have to stand in line! We can head straight into the museum, which we do....well, I suppose it could hardly be called "straight in." We shed coats upon our entry, some of us onto the floor. This requires removing said coats from under some teenager's foot and on to the hangers in the coatroom, which involves leaving the stroller off to the side, where it is moved by someone accessing a magical broom closet that I swear wasn't there when I placed the stroller there. This causes me to freak out and accuse some poor sweet janitor of stealing my baby, which is not my proudest moment, so I gather my herd and head to the bathroom to hide. Plus, I drink too much diet Pepsi and I have to go. I block the sinks completely with the stroller (it is rather limo-like in size) and race into a stall. Super Preschooler, the only one not shackled into the stroller, is incensed at being left outside, so, to my horror, he crawls under the door. I burst out of the door to find a woman washing her hands over Super Toddler's head. I think I remember to apologize as I scoot the stroller over and scoop Super Preschooler into the sink, where I wash every exposed inch of him and debate burning his clothes. I throw him onto my shoulders, where he loudly complains that he would be taller if Daddy where here, and I reclaim the stroller. I somehow wrench the door open with my foot and kick it as hard as I can, while trying to push the whole stroller through before it closes on us. The result being a jerky lumber out of the bathroom, that rams a lovely gentleman in a wheelchair in the process. (which I do feel bad about, but a man his age should know that lurking by the bathroom door will result in unpleasant surprises every time) This parade of shame concluded, we head straight into the museum.

Super Preschooler has a trick up his sleeve today; he wants to go to the trains first. I am shocked, as he is usually already running into the Oz exhibit before we have fully parked the car. I am also a little scared, as the train exhibit is the farthest thing from us right now. It takes us 20 minutes to get there. Would it take you 20 minutes? No, it would take you about 3. But Super Toddler decides that the gift shop and its lava lamp are worth a detour. Super Baby wakes up and decides that FDR's car freaks her out. Super Preschooler decides that he wants a Mold-a-Rama Rosa Parks bus and is still having trouble with the word "later." But after about 17 minutes, we all remember that we want to see trains and race to the other side of the museum.

Now, the Henry Ford Museum has real trains. Big trains. Like, how-on-earth-did-they-get-these-in-here big. The boys thinks those are OK. But nothing, and I mean nothing, compares to toy trains, and this toy train set is amazing; 7 different trains. All whizzing in and out of tunnels, past little towns with tiny water towers, and over itty-bitty bridges, flecked with fake snow. One train has a camera on it, so you can watch yourself flash onto a big screen when the train passes you. Even I have to admit, it is pretty amazing. To a toddler with a train fetish, it is heaven on earth.

I think Super Toddler is about to pass out from joy, but then he beholds what is next to the regular toy train. Another toy train set....completely made of legos. Working train tracks, made of legos. Little trees and sheep, made of legos. Enormous skyscrapers, made of legos. Little lego window-washers on little lego scaffolding. And acres and acres of racing trains...all made of legos. Are those angels singing? I think we just found the holy toddler grail.

Super Toddler watches the lego toy train set for 30 minutes. 30 minutes, readers. That is like 30 years in adult time. I don't know what to do. I have never seen him still this long. Even when he sleeps, he is more active. Super Preschooler makes some friends and builds his own train in the interactive section. Super Baby is lulled to sleep. And I stand there, watching my middle child. You know, the one who is always on the move. The one who just got ousted from babyhood by his sister's arrival and won't let me cuddle him anymore. The one I can't catch. The one who makes me catch my breath. The Henry Ford Museum opens a magical time/train portal and everything stands still. Super Toddler stands at the railing and smiles beatifically at the whirling trains; both hands tightly wrapped around the bars in a stillness I didn't know he had. He ignores me, his brother, his sister, other onlookers, the sweet museum volunteer who keeps trying to talk to him. We don't exist, nothing exists but the whirling trains. It is like he is under a lego train spell. It would be slightly scary, if it wasn't so perfect.

You know what is scary? Awkward Mom's inability to finish this post. And the sound coming from the nursery. Sound wins, must dash. Back soon.

Let me in! Let me in!

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Awkward Mom vs. the Henry Ford Museum (part 1)

Stop the presses and hold on to your hats, Readers! Have we found a way to time travel into a 1940s newspaper drama? No, but how cool would that be?! I mean, feisty fedora-wearing dames pounding the pavement for a story; so cool....umm...where was I? Oh yes, hat holding. Well, hold away because Awkward Mom is at it again! You know how the crazy woman fire-knife-juggled and took all the children to Target? Well, she is at it again; only this time she juggled some chainsaws blindfolded, while standing on an elephant. Awkward Mom took all 3 children to the Henry Ford Museum. (For our non-Ann Arbor readers, she took them somewhere like the Field Museum....on field trip day.)

Bear with me, I swear this relates: Super Preschooler has a Wizard of Oz obsession. Big surprise, right? Daring-do, dancing scarecrows, shiny shoes, and princesses (Glenda being a princess, according to Super P....we'll get to the good witch/bad witch aspect of it all when he is ready for Wicked.); the whole thing is right up his alley. Now, the Wizard of Oz happens to be my first movie memory. Remember when they used to show it on TV once a year? Yep, sometime in the early 80s, there was a young Awkward Mom hiding behind the couch with the Awkward Uncles , trying to escape the flying monkeys. This particular memory urged me to hold off showing it to Super Preschooler, but he tends to have a mind of his own. It popped up on Netflix one day, resplendent in its rainbowness, and he just had to know what it was. So, I turned it on and waited. And waited. And waited. (To be honest, he was utterly freaked out by the tornado and watched that part from the hallway, peering around the door frame in horrified fascination.) The second she opened that door and Oz appeared in all its technicolored glory, he sat down and never took his eyes off the screen. Witches, flying monkeys, apple-throwing trees, lions, tigers, and bears; he loved it all.

Fast forward to sometime this past fall and the Henry Ford Museum opening a "Wonderful Wizard of Oz" exhibit. An exhibit Super Preschooler found out about, who knows how. I blame Awkward Dad. An exhibit that Super Preschooler has seen 5 times now. An exhibit that necessitated the purchase of a yearly museum pass. An exhibit that is about 30 minutes away. An exhibit that has him referring to the movie as "the Wonderful Wonderful Wizard of Oz" (which, frankly, is the cutest thing ever and I hope he doesn't outgrow it for a good long time). An exhibit that he just had to see yesterday, despite Awkward Dad's return to work, Super Toddler's cold, and my complete ineptitude at juggling 3 kids in public. Oz obsessions are strong, my friends.

OK, I am not gonna discuss the car ride. Nothing noteworthy or awkward happens. Mostly because I may have the music on really loud and I may be pretending I am alone.....don't judge. We get there and I am immediately heartened by the lack of cars in the parking lot; I have high hopes of an abandoned museum and, as it is a Wednesday morning in January, they look like they are gonna be fulfilled.

OK, dismount time. Here's how it normally goes: Open the automatic sliding door closest to the boys. Get out. Get the stroller set up next to the open door. Unbuckle Super Preschooler, who is in the middle seat. Dive into the last row (hitting either my head or side) to grab Super Toddler, who is either asleep or playing with something, but always unwilling to leave. Wrestle with Super Toddler for awhile and eventually pull him out of the car seat onto the back seat (hitting either my head or side). Back out into the doorway (freaking out anyone parked next to us) and haul Super Toddler into the middle row. Have long and unnecessary conversation with Super Preschooler about how big boys can get themselves out of their car seats. Lift Super Preschooler out of his car seat. Grab Super Toddler from the driver's seat and plop him into the stroller. Struggle to hear Super Preschooler over Super Toddler's screaming. Wait for Super T. to take a breath and then explain to Super P. that Elmo has to guard the car and won't be coming with us, nor will the Halloween bucket full of 18 action figures. Place Super P. on the standing part of the double stroller, which was not intended for 2 kids. Tell the boys to stop fighting. Sigh. Grab the diaper bag out of the front seat. Push the screaming stroller towards the trunk. Tell the boys to stop fighting. Close the trunk. Sigh. Start walking to our destination. Turn back to close the automatic sliding door. Continue to the destination. Run back to the other sliding door and grab a sleeping Super Baby. Plop Super Baby and her car seat into the stroller. Resume walking to the destination. Turn back to close the sliding door. Realize that door isn't automatic. Race stroller back to van and close side door. Sigh. Lock doors. Trip. Yank stroller out of the way of a passing car. Tell the boys to stop fighting. Take a deep breath. Resume and complete journey to the door of wherever we are going; an hour late and no longer fully convinced we will be welcome here at all.

OK, you can resume your presses and let your hat go, Awkward Mom has to send you on a commercial break. She has been typing with Super Baby on her lap and just noticed a new aroma to the air. Super Preschooler has declared a need for play dough, and no one has seen Super Toddler in awhile. Best dash. Tune in super soon and we'll tell you about toy trains, mold-a-rama drama, and why the Wonderful Wizard of Oz should move their gift shop. Same Awkward Time, Same Awkward Channel!