Thursday, March 29, 2012

Awkward Mom vs. Royal Succession

Hey Readers, it's Thursday; guess where we went today... Yes, indeedy do; we went to the zoo, AGAIN! There was lemonade and zoo food aplenty. But thankfully, Awkward Mom decided to wear a different outfit; mostly because it is cold here again. What did we tell ya? Never ever trust a warm Midwest March. Now our zoo battle this week was a team-up with both Excellent Mom and Awesome Dad (different super families, but equally amazing), and it is gonna take us awhile to recover enough to share the details (i.e. download the pictures and stop freaking out about the zoo food bill); it was a true Battle Royale. But, speaking of royals (sorta), let's talk about Super Preschooler.

If there had been a black-tie-only delivery room, Super Preschooler would have insisted on being born there. This child was born for make-believe, dress-up, and, some dark day in college, LARPs. Yes, this is fairly unusual for a boy. I think. (You all know how much I just love reading parenting books.) The Perfect Moms I run into tell me that it is unusual for a boy. Maybe it is, but Super P. doesn't seem to mind a few stares. Like most childhood "issues," this seems to be one parents have and children don't notice. The one and only time he was confronted directly by another child, this is how it went down:

Random Little Girl: Hey, you are weird.
Super P.: No, I am Cinderella. Wanna play?
Random Little Girl: OK.

Even royals have their casual outfits.

Super P. likes imaginative play in general. He is tight with kings, ogres, fairies, trolls, zombies, dragons, knights, superheroes, ghosts, jedi, cowboys, astronauts, doctors, wizards, mad hatters, anyone under a spell, mutants, jawas, genies, and pirates. Especially the kissing ones.

But his favorite are the royals. Like any true American, Super P. is obsessed with royalty. Now, there may be many reasons for this. Most of the bedtime stories I know contains a princess or 12. His nicer dress-up clothes are royal themed handmade gifts from my college ally, Professor PHD (she is smart, as well as talented). Disney makes a lot of princess movies. Maybe Super P. is co-dependent with a weakness for damsels in distress. Oh, I could speculate all day long; the fact is, he likes it. It makes him happy. It isn't harming a soul. And if someday he is collecting British Royal Dishware and Burberry bags, at least I will always know what to get him for Christmas.

I called this picture Sleeping Beauty, until his highness informed me that Sleeping Beauty's dress is totally different.

Now, even with all this royal love, it is always wise to remember that Super P. is only 4 years old. Certain royal concepts continue to elude him, namely hierarchies and successions. But, considering these concepts continue to elude me and most people not actively in a royal court, I imagine he is doing OK. And frankly, I see nothing wrong with the Fairy Godmother being more powerful than the whole Royal Family put together.

What can get confusing is conversations like this:

Me: (to Super Baby):Who's my little princess?

Super P.: Super Baby is a princess and I am a prince and Super Toddler is a king.

Me: Wait. Why is Super Toddler a King?

Super P.: Because.

Me: So, who am I?

Super P.: My Mommy.

Me: Does that make me a Queen?

Super P.: OK. You can be the Queen.

Considering I have been a peasant, fairy, apple-throwing tree, and Queen of the Ogres, respectively, I think straight-up Queen is a step up in the world. I am pleased, but then it gets weird.

Super P.: And Daddy is 3rd King.

Me: 3rd King? What's Super Toddler?

Super P.: 2nd King.

Me: But who is 1st King?

Super P.: Oh Mommy, you can't have 3 kings! That is too many.

He wanders off, laughing and shaking his head at my silliness. Leaving me to wonder if most of the problems in the world are caused be too many Kings trying to be 1st King...well, that, and why my Mommyness always comes before my Queenhood.

There is a regular War of the Roses going on in the Living Room. (Seriously. They are beating each other with pretend flowers.) Must dash, but tune in soon for our latest zoo battle team-up. It will be Epically Elephantine!

It's good to be the king.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Awkward Mom vs. the Indoor Pool - part 2

More splishing and splashing...although, to be totally accurate, it was a Friday night.

We emerge, oh so slowly from the cabana of comfort and calm, to stow our bag in one of the huge and colorful cubbies outside the giant wall of windows. Super Toddler returns to the exact same spot he smeared earlier, only this time he puts his mouth on the window and blows up his cheeks like a puffer fish. Guess someone is ready to go swimming, so we make our way into the pool area. The air is balmy, they aren't lying about this 90 degrees stuff. We step over to the shower section, where the water is amazingly warm and gently falls from nicely spaced rain-shower-heads. No ice cold streams jetting out at you, fire hose style, here. I am starting to feel down right spoiled. Free swim is well under way; a teen flies by us and hurls herself into the middle of the pool, a la cannonball. She is quietly reprimanded, once her head finally pops up, by one of 3 lifeguards lounging on the perimeter of the pool. All seems very well organized and safe; let's get this show on the road.

We are momentarily thwarted in getting our show road-bound when I can not find the shallow end. A quick peek into the pool alerts me to the fact that there is no shallow end. The pool is about 4 feet the entire length of the pool. OK....that is fine, I'll just hold Super Toddler the whole time. Just when I have resigned myself to this and sit down on the edge to slip in, my feet bump up against a ledge about a foot under the water. Seems there is a shallow end; it just runs along the whole rim of the pool. I sit Super Toddler on it, and the water is lapping his chin. I stand him up and the water is at a more manageable waist level, so I leave him there and bounce into the water....the 90 degree water. Oh Readers, I could get used to this. I float around in a circle, making sure to adjusted my swimsuit for minimum flashability, and return to Super Toddler just in time to see him step off the ledge and into the briny deep.

Fabulous; 30 seconds in and I have drowned my son.

I lunge after him like a deranged seagull and haul him up by an arm. He spurts, sputters, and spins around; skittering up the ledge like a frantic crab trying to get away from a deranged seagull. Oh no, I have ruined water for my little water baby! Now this goes well beyond awkward. I am contemplating my utter failure as a mother when he turns around, face bursting with happiness. He waves at me to back up. I cautiously acquiesce, checking around for judgmental glares first. He points at the water, laughs, and then, affecting a look of complete nonchalance, walks off the ledge. On purpose! Yes, you know that this game goes on for the better part of a half hour.

Once Super Toddler tires of pretend drowning, we float out to the middle of the pool to explore the toys. Now, how did I know that the toys here were going to be fancy? They are huge; roughly the size of small boats. There is one in the shape of a car, except the tires are sharks. 2 benches rest within this Sharkmobile and I plop Super Toddler onto one. At first, he seems slightly put out to be removed from his beloved water, but once he realizes that he can dangle his feet in the water and "drive" along the pool, he is quite content to be pushed along. We have a near collision with a passing dolphin-cycle but escape unharmed. A upside-down canoe with what appears to be 3 giggling mermaids underneath it, passing us on the starboard side, and Super Toddler gives them a wide berth. He is no fool. However, he does lean over and snatch an oar that they left in their wake. (Liking my nautical word prowess, Readers? Just give me an aye...or an ugh...) Super Toddler's rowing leaves something to be desired and after being hit in the face for the fourth time, I decide to abandon ship.

Hey Readers, Uatu here, just wanted to give you a heads up. Finish eating before reading any further. Trust me.

I am throwing Super Toddler up in the air and letting him splash around hard-core, given that Free Swim is ending in about 10 minutes. After a particularly vigorous throw and splash, I catch him and feel a splash of an entirely different nature coming from the diaper-region. Now, I have a very clear view on swim diapers. I want them to be like air bags in my car; I like having them, but I never really want to see them work. I clamp a hand down on the small of Super Toddler's back (the weak link in diaper design) and run to the edge of the pool. Except we are in the pool at the time, so my running resembles the slow motion beach running from Chariots of Fire, only slower. And instead of cool synth music, I am listening to Super Toddler scream at me for removing him from the water.

I think I levitate out, emergencies bring out the latent Super Mom in me and this one feels like an emergency. After 347459438 diapers, I do have a 6th sense about these things. We rush pass the lifeguards, who sweetly urge me to slow down. We bypass the delightful showers. We breeze by Super Toddler's smear. We race past the cubbies and I snatch our bag without even slowing down. We round the corner to the cabana as I start to feel the ooze pushing through the fingers I have death-gripped around Super Toddler's back. I slam the door with my foot, swinging Super Toddler onto the (still dry!) bench one-handed, while I rummage in the tote bag for our wipes. Wipes. Wipes. Wipes that are in the diaper bag. At home.

Oh. No.

Oh. Yes.

Well, I have a towel.

Oh no.

Oh yes, Readers.

The less said the better, I suppose. It is vile. Some creative folding, a liter of hand sanitizer, and a couple ziplock bags keep things from getting too out of hand, literally. (Ew! Awkward Mom, I thought you were going to have less said!) Super Toddler recovers with his usual aplomb; dancing naked in front of the porthole shaped mirror while I endure clean-up. I feel incredibly guilty throwing the swim diaper into that sparkling clean garbage can but I sure don't want to take it home. I already have this poor bedraggled Buzz Lightyear towel, smashed up and stuffed into a plastic bag like some bizarre souvenir. It is seriously the worst diaper change on record, but I am counting my blessings as I slip my suit down and dig through the bag for my clothes. At least, I didn't have to do it on the hard cement floor or in front of Perfect Mom in some damp and scary locker room. I turn to admire the locked door behind me and come face to face with a man on his way to the hair drying station, which, by the way, is all very glamorous and salon-like. Not that I am thinking about that as I haul my suit back on and dash out the door to keep a naked Super Toddler in my sights. No, all that is in my mind is a mental reminder to always lock the door first, exploding diaper or not.

We might also suggest that Awkward Mom not have such lofty goals for pool-time. It appears that flashing folks just comes with the territory, whether the pool is fancy or not. Catch you later, Readers! You may now resume eating.

Don't let him fool you. A lock-picker and a streaker, this one.

Awkward Mom and Crunchy Mom

In comics, there is a great history of team-ups. Wikipedia (a true ally of ours) defines a team-up as "when two superheroes or superhero teams who usually do not appear together fight crime together." Crime, grime, rhyme; it's all parenting and it's all awkward. We would not get through it without our beloved allies.
Let's team-up!

Hey there, True Believers! Just a quick note to tell you that we have a new ally joining us! Crunchy Mom gave us a shout the other day and we popped over to her page. We liked what we saw. Now, since we live in Ann Arbor, we are fairly familiar with hippie/crunchy/natural/holistic/granola moms. Some we like, one we love, and some scare us when they glare at our store bought granola bars. Crunchy Mom we like, she doesn't seem the glaring type. Give her a peek. Anyone brave enough to attempt homemade yogurt deserves a peek!

And now, fun pictures of the Supers, the original Awkward Allies:

Super Baby and Leia Monkey, everyone needs a sidekick.

Super Toddler self-portrait. I take it back; Super Toddler needs no sidekick.

For some of us, Superheroing is all about the costumes.

But most of the time, it is all about the snacks.

So, if you wanna team-up with us, give a shout! We need allies around here; Awkward Mom is not gonna beat parenthood by herself. She can't even get through most playdates by herself.

PS...not having a blog is no impediment to being an awkward ally...just saying. and be ya!

Monday, March 26, 2012

Awkward Mom vs. the Indoor Pool (part 1)

Splish Splash indeed.

Let's talk about Super Toddler. Super Toddler is the Awkward Family's "Thing;" bold, strong, and utterly hilarious, without that whole pesky made out of rocks thing. He is our middle child, but you wouldn't know it. If we even think of paying him less attention because of his middleness, he quickly, and loudly, remedies that situation. From day 1 (when he arrived 2 weeks early during an ice storm), he has announced his fearless ability to differentiate himself from his brother. In fact, he is pretty fearless in general.

Fearless and completely at ease with himself; worry just bemuses Super Toddler. He has done every single milestone in his own time and laughs in the face of BabyCenter. When we had particular concern about his walking (detailed here and which finally occurred 1 month and 8 days before his baby sister was born), he would simply smile his huge smile at us as he crawled wherever he wanted to go. At the speed of light, I might add. Everything Super Toddler does is fast and big. He moves big. He eats big. He even sleeps big. Sleeping near Super Toddler is just asking to have a 5 little monkeys moment; he is never still. He chats away at us from morning to night, his arms a blur of rapid gesture and pointing. None of us have the slightest clue what he is saying, but he continues to say it, loud and with great relish. Yet another thing he has in common with the Thing.

Super Toddler swims big. (I know you were wondering when we were gonna get to the pool part of this post.) He has been "swimming" since the first time he joined Super Preschooler in the bath. I recall gingerly placing him next to his big brother and tenderly scooping some water up onto his chest. He looked up at me with such patience and then proceeded to dive under the water, swim the length of the tub, and pop up, laughing and clutching a bathtoy. His daredevil antics have only increased with time. This summer (pre-walking, mind) we spent a great deal of time at the outdoor pool, and Super Toddler loved every minute of it. He would crawl along the pool until it got too deep, and then he would keep going, periodically balancing on his hands, his head bopping up and down in the water like some tiny hippo; buoyant and gleeful in his natural habitat. He was totally heedless and merciless to those in his path. Woe unto the distracted; he ruined many a Marco/Polo game and took out a couple Perfect Moms. This made me super unpopular at the pool; well, that and my tendency to bring grotesquely unbalanced snacks and allow my sons to swim without swim tees and UPF+ hats. (PS...when did this become a thing? Was I sick that day?)

Anywho, it has been a long time since we went to a pool and Super Toddler's baths are starting to resemble those rides at amusements parks; you know, the ones that have a bridge over them to splash bystanders. My bathroom floor can only take so much. It is time to find him a pool, and find one we do! I decide to take Super Toddler solo. This is pretty unprecedented around here, where we tend to hang out en masse and in chaos. But after careful planning and bribing Awkward Dad with Chinese food, I am standing in the pool's fancy waiting area, holding only one child's hand. Well, I was holding it, until I went to pay and he took off for the huge wall of windows peeking in on the last class of the day.

Even taking into consideration that we here in the Awkward Family find the Chili's down the street pretty fancy, this place is truly elegant in the extreme. It is clearly new, every surface shiny and clean in a way the public pool can not hope to compete with. The waiting area is bright and festooned with tiki torches, while straw canopies cover a handful of tables, where the less concerned parents tap away on their laptops and phones. Of course, there is wifi. The more concerned parents are seated on a row of chairs which faces the aforementioned wall of windows, impossibly clear and completely smear-free. The helicopter parents are pacing the edges of the pool, trying fruitlessly to not get wet; I can hear the cacophony of splashes and shouts through the glass. I can also hear Super Toddler's shouts, and bangs, on this side of the glass. Oh, and that gorgeous wall of windows? No longer smear-free....

I smile apologetically at the girl behind the counter and sheepishly turn to chase Super Toddler. She stops me and waves over her coworker and, pointing at Super Toddler, asks her to take "our new customer" on a tour. Readers, I am serious. And she does! She scoops up Super Toddler and proceeds to carry him through the waiting area, educating him on the finer points of perpetual swim lessons and telling him why the water is kept at 90 degrees year-round. He seems more interested in the balloon she has for him, but she is undaunted. I pick my jaw up off the floor and pay the angel behind the counter. I then join the end of the tour, which has arrived at the locker rooms. Only they are called cabanas and they are private. I gather up Super Toddler and head into this opulent splendor.

All of you who have ever endured the indignity that is chasing your child, half-naked, through the damp, cold, completely gray horror of the typical locker room will understand why I plop down on the dry (dry, Readers!) bench and just sit there . I curl and uncurl my toes over the freshly vacuumed carpet and stare around me, full-on Country Mouse. There is a clean garbage can. A shiny porthole shaped mirror. A door that locks. And a contained Super Toddler, who really wants to know why we aren't in the pool yet. I decide to stop fondling the carpet and get him dressed.

Readers, it is bliss. There is no rushing. There is no shouting. There is no trying to hide behind a locker door when Perfect Mom walks in with her 6-pack-abs. There is no danger that one of my children is going to race away from me, slip on concrete, develop a huge bruise, and get me in serious trouble with Awkward Dad. I leisurely change Super Toddler into his swim diaper and suit. I leisurely change into mine...although, if I am being honest, reluctantly might be a better choice of word. This is my suit from last summer, you know, when I was pregnant with Super Baby. Roomy is a kind way of describing this suit. Baggy and falling apart is much more accurate. My goal is to not flash any unsuspecting children in it. Lofty, I know.

Did she flash any one? Did Super Toddler enjoy the pool? Did they ever leave their cozy cabana? For the answers to these questions and more, tune in next time! Believe us, if you ever wanted to know just how necessary swim diapers are, you won't want to miss the next installment of Awkward Mom!

Here is all you need to know about Super Toddler: See that grin? It is not about the cake...

Friday, March 23, 2012

Awkward Mom vs. Nerd Love

Dearest Readers, our last post (as in the one with vats of lemonade) was our 100th post! Trust Awkward Mom to not even notice this until editing it for the 8th time (that pesky to or too issue). We should do something special, but, being awkward, we probably won't, so instead, let's read more awkward love posts about Awkward Dad! might wanna get your Google ready. She is gonna help you out with some of these, but there are gonna be a ton of nerd references.

Readers, I am married to Foggy Nelson. Go ahead, ladies. Soak him in. You should have seen him in some of the 70s issues, he had a killer mustache and was about 50 pounds heavier. Jealous? I know you are.

Here's the thing. Awkward Dad is not Superman or (don't you dare tell him!) even Spiderman. He isn't fighting Dr. Doom, Dr. Octopus, or any of the other evil Doctors who roam the comics. He isn't brokering peace with alien nations. He did not shot down the Death Star. He doesn't have Quinjets or a secret lair. He doesn't have perfect aim, super strength, telepathy, radioactive whatever, unbreakable skin, or web shooters (organic or otherwise).

He isn't dark and mysterious. He doesn't have Daddy issues or billions of dollars. He wasn't scarred for life when someone killed his parents, favorite uncle, or whole family. Nope, his are mostly still around, being awkward. He doesn't creep out the windows at night to scour the city for evil-doers. He is not a ninja. He is not a blackbelt, a linguist, or a member of Shield. He doesn't do physics calculations or mutate blood streams for fun. He has never (to my knowledge) worn spandex.

In the wild world of comics, he is my Foggy. My Jimmy Olsen. My Bucky (without all that weird Winter Solider stuff). On his crabbier days, he reminds me of J. Jonah Jameson (again with the no telling!), but he is usually as mild-mannered and friendly as Robbie Robertson. Awkward Dad is straight up sidekick, chum, buddy, pal, friend, and sometimes, that kind person who tries to help out the little old lady before Spiderman webs on in and takes it from there. He isn't the lead, he isn't the star of the show. And frankly, thank goodness for that.

Besides the undeniable fact that I am no Lois Lane, Princess Leia, or (as much as I try) Jennifer Walters, I would not want to date a typical superhero. First of all, there is the constant peril issue; how else are they gonna prove they are super villains? Well, attacking the hero's loved ones comes to mind, especially the evil, twisted mind. Sometimes, you get to be Mary Jane and enjoy the whole kissing upside-down in the rain shenanigans, but sometimes you get to be Gwen Stacy or, heaven-forbid, Alexandra DeWitt. Sorry, super dudes, I am no one's fridge woman.

Secondly, there are the hours. Now, I am sympathetic to little ladies being mugged in the park and I understand that "heroing" ain't 9 to 5, but comics leading ladies have been left high and dry more times than Susan Lucci. And I am not just talking about their men missing a dinner or two or popping out the windows every time they hear a scream, Readers. These women deal with interruptions during just about every important event in their lives. Wanna get married? Prepare to have some dude named Thunderbolt show up with a gun or, even better, you could be duped into marrying the wrong guy because Professor Zoom gets a little lonely and decides to do some body-switching. Are you a career woman? Well, don't even think about hosting an event or party because you just know some loony villain is gonna show up and ruin your plans just to get your honey's attention on a random Thursday. Wanna go on a relaxing honeymoon? Take my advice and just don't marry any of the X-men. And I am not even going to discuss the perils of having a baby in the comic world because she is probably gonna turn out to be a clone, a Skrull, or Dr. Doom is gonna send her to the 8th dimension. And that will totally ruin your dinner plans.

These are pretty obvious, dear Readers. You are like; "OK, yeah, sure, but, Awkward Mom, think of Tony Stark's money or Clark Kent's chiseled jaw or Batman's abs. Think of the excitement, the adventure, the vacations to the Savage Land." I have thought about it, Readers, and I tell you this. There is nothing sexier than good old reliable, loyal, kind, patient, faithful Foggy Nelson. Nothing. I am dead serious. Life is too short to mess around, trying to be someone's damsel in distress. Save yourself. Then find someone who saved himself or herself. Then stop by Taco Bell and go to a movie. You will not regret it, I promise you. OK. You might regret the Taco Bell.

Find a man who likes the way the moonlight sparkles on your glasses. Find a man who likes the way that scrunchie brings out your eyes. And for goodness sake, teach your daughters (and sons for that matter!) that Taylor Swift is very talented and quite cute, but don't listen to everything she says. Please don't ever befriend your crush with the intention of waiting around for him to finally notice you in between breakups with his cheerleader girlfriend. Make time for the boy who doesn't notice anything else in the room but you. He is smarter and more likely to have a job when he is 35.

Here is my foggy theory on love: The bad boys aren't worth it and they will probably steal your car. The damaged ones are too much work. The heroes are just dressed up Narcissists with Messiah complexes.  Find yourself a Foggy, my friends, and keep your fridge for late night snacking.

Speaking of fridges, you guys got anything good over there? All we have is some old rice, a couple apples, and something that looks like it was once chicken stew.....Maybe to celebrate our 101 post, someone could bring Awkward Mom some food!

Oh gross, get a room!

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Awkward Mom vs. Zoo lemonade

Who made Thursday zoo day? It isn't like the lemonade is half-off or something.

We have been to the zoo the past 2 Thursdays, and I totally blame Awkward Dad. Well, Awkward Dad and some seriously freaky warm weather. I don't know about you, dear Readers, but I am Midwestern and I don't trust good weather in March. Midwesterners are firmly "when is the other shoe gonna drop" people; the other shoe being snow, that is. However, the Supers don't give a fig when it is gonna snow, they'll wanna play outside in that too. Therefore, off to the zoo, we go!

Where was I? Oh, yes, blaming Awkward Dad. You see, Awkward Dad is on a night shift at the V.A. hospital. Oh. That doesn't explain everything to you? OK, details: When Awkward Dad is on night call at the V.A. hospital, if his patients don't need anything, he can sleep. We have been lucky this week and he has gotten some rather nice 3 hour naps. Now, lest you think he is neglecting his patients, I am pretty sure the good men and women of the hospital administration expect him to sleep when not busy. Why else would they have blocked Netflix and Hulu but provided him with a television that gets basic cable? Plus, his call room has a bed.

Of course, 3 hours is not a lot of sleep.....wait for it.....for a dad. (Zing!) So, he is supposed to nap when he gets home from work. But he never wants to. Never wants to until 5 in the afternoon, that is; when I am hitting my patience wall and neglecting to make dinner because I hate to cook and the children have that magical witching hour when they turn into...well...witches, but that is another post altogether. No, when Awkward Dad gets home from work, he is ready to go, and I believe I have mentioned his predilection for adventure. Recently, he (and Super Preschooler, for that matter) can not get enough of the zoo. And since we did get the membership so we could go whenever we want, I can't find it in me to say no. Not even on back to back Thursdays.

I have talked to you about the zoo before, Readers, so I won't bore you. If anyone is so inclined to revisit our zoo tales of tails and toddlers (see that word play?! Zounds, I am on fire today!), they are located here: part 1, part 2, and was an exciting trip. And I tend to talk. A lot. For the Awkward Mom completest, this is where my solo zoo adventure was chronicled. No, you have heard us discuss the zoo before. Plus, most of you know what the zoo is like with small children, just picture that. Need to sit down? Wanna get a drink? I'll wait. No, tonight, I am here to relate how awkward I really am. See this photo:

Fairly ill framed, but rather sweet picture of me and the Super Boys, taking in the Africa part of the zoo. Nothing awkward here, right? Except Awkward Dad took this photo on our zoo jaunt last week, and as I sit here, still slightly sunburned from our zoo jaunt today, I am wearing the SAME OUTFIT! Didn't even notice until I was sorting through the pictures of last week (this week, we forgot the camera and Awkward Dad never, ever, charges his phone). Here I am looking for a nice picture to add to this post and I am confronted with further confirmation that I am aptly named. Readers, my hair is even done the same way....ugh.

Well, zoo uniforms aside, I bet you wanna know about the lemonade. Now, I have nothing against lemonade. I like lemonade. Country Time Lemonade. The kind my mother made when I was little. The kind Awkward Uncle and I used to mix up and try to sell in front of our house. Our house in a neighborhood where no one ever seemed to want lemonade. To be fair, that may have been due to Awkward Uncle's insistence that the lemonade just needed "a little something." The something being a rock or a few blades of grass. Lemonade we would drink too much of. Lemonade that would gurgle within us, making us laugh as we lay on the front lawn, naming clouds on endless summer afternoons. That lemonade I like.

I think someone is adding a "little something" to the zoo lemonade. It isn't rocks or grass. I could handle rocks and grass; I have kids and cats, for goodness sake. No, it is something tart. And I don't like it one bit. However, as Country Time Lemonade isn't often allowed in our house...something about sugar....I wasn't listening too closely but thought I would let Awkward Dad win a battle for once, the Supers don't have the history with CTL that I have. They love zoo lemonade. Like scary love. Like wanted it when we were there last December for the zoo lights love. I don't get it, but I respect it. It is powerful.

Now, I think in one of my zoo posts, I may have mentioned Awkward Dad's obsession with "zoo food." It holds a magical quality for him, as he was denied it throughout his childhood. And with good reason; zoo food is expensive! As a result, I attempt to pack us healthful and delicious snacks/lunches when we are heading to the zoo. I have yet to achieve this, but I continue to attempt. Today, I have packed 3 cheese sticks, some peanuts, a peanut butter sandwich that Awkward Dad made for one of the Super Boys yesterday, 2 oranges, half a box of animal crackers, and some diet Pepsi. Yeah...I did say attempts. But today there is an addition to my non-zoo food, 3 empty refillable zoo-sanctioned cups with straws that tuck into little holders on the side; the source of a heated debate in the "Carnivore Cafe" last week.

There we are, having our standard zoo fight about getting zoo food. He wants to buy the Supers hot dogs they will take one bite of and leave. But, as my packed lunch is roughly the same as this week's, minus the sandwich, I am clearly losing the fight. I recall saying "OK, 2 hot dogs and some lemonade for them, but nothing else!" I sit down to feed Super Baby and the Super Boys run off to pretend to lock each other in sections of the cafe. It used to an exhibit hall ages ago, and the 1950s, totally un-PC, animal cages are still there. I take a breath. Hot dogs and lemonade, that shouldn't break the bank; it's all good. I am distracted by Super Toddler's screaming; it seems he doesn't want to be the lion, after all. When I turn back to the table, I am confronted by a sheepish Awkward Dad, a tray laden with food, and a gigantic blue jug with a handle.

"What is that?"

"It's a commemorative, refillable cup. We can bring it back anytime we come and the lemonade is half-off! Look! I bought 2 small kids ones too." I hadn't seen those, hiding behind the blue Washington Monument of Lemonade.

"How much was it?!"

"Oh, don't worry about that. It'll pay for itself in a couple visits."

"But how much was it?"

"Think of the long term savings."

A mere glance toward the register would tell me, but I am pretty sure I don't really want to know. I do glance over to the next table, where a Perfect Mom sits in serene glory. Her linen dress is a perfect shade of spring green and her wedge heels are making me drool from here. Her three angels are arranged around the table from oldest to youngest and they are wearing matching t-shirts. She is producing dish upon dish, in matching Tupperware, from her voluminous Chanel bag; homemade hummus with pita chips, homemade potato salad, complex wrap sandwiches on whole-wheat tortillas, strawberries, blueberries, grapes (cut in half), mini-salads for each child, homemade yogurt, I think that is a mango, and individually-wrapped homemade granola bars, with each child's name written on the perfectly white wax paper. They are all drinking water out of metal containers, the adorable scenes of peace signs and children hugging trees winking vibrantly in the sunlight. She catches my eye, shifts her gaze to my howling feral children, then to my baby (who has spit up onto her already stained truck onesie), then to Awkward Dad chowing down on hot dogs, then to my filthy sneakers, and then to the vat of Lemonade we have sitting on our table. Her eyes widen but she quickly catches herself, sending me a perfectly patronizing pity smile. I panic. I turn to Awkward Dad and blurt out the first thing that comes to mind.

"But I hate their lemonade!"

He pauses mid-chew and smiles up at me: "I know. That's why I got you diet Pepsi. Half-off, isn't that great?"

Since it was colder than the ones Awkward Mom brought, she drank it. With only mild pouting. After Perfect Mom had left.... Catch ya next time, Super Readers! We are sure to have a post about a freak April snow storm coming up super soon!

FYI...Super Toddler does not like pretending to hatch.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Awkward Mom vs. Marvelous Machines

I really can't explain why they do things sometimes. Who decides to go to the unholy marriage of a sideshow and a penny arcade that is housed in a suburban strip-mall, with 3 children under the age of 4 on a Saturday St. Patrick's Day? Yes, you guessed it; Awkward Mom!

Awkward Dad is an explorer by nature. He is fascinated by the new, the old, the exciting, and, quite possibly, even the dull. There isn't much that he doesn't want to do, see, or taste. (He is also a collector that wants to bring home "treasures" from his explorations and adventures. This causes untold issues, but that is another post.) Needless to say, if you suggest it, Awkward Dad is up for it.

Now, it is pretty clear that the Awkwards are not the Starks. Really, Readers? The Waynes? about the Rockefellers? With me now, eh? OK, clearly, we aren't in a position for Awkward Dad to be jetting off to Europe or joining a safari. No, his adventures are currently of the smaller variety. Hence, his greeting me at the door with, "How do you feel about machines?"

"As in, do I like having the ability to access movies on Netflix or operate a stove? Or am I afraid that evil Transformers walk among us, hold secret meetings when we sleep, and are going to take over someday?"

"Neither. Wanna go here?" Except he doesn't show me the website. He reads to me out of his current adventure tome, Fun with the Family in Michigan, seventh edition. "Come to Marvin's Marvelous Mechanical Museum! It's a great name for one of the most interesting and peculiar collections of things that whir, click, toot and tick!"

He has Super Preschooler at whir. Super Toddler at click, and Super Baby seems to like the sound of toot. No telling him, but he had me with that magical, melodious M alliteration. But, because someone has to be sane in this family, I stall.

"But it might be expensive to get in."

"It's free."

"What about the machines?"

"I have a ton of quarters."

"But it's close to nap time."

"They'll sleep in the car."

"But I haven't fed them."

"They'll eat in the car."

"But it might be crowded."

"We'll hold hands."

"But it might be scary for them."

"I doubt it." He gestures to both Super Boys, who are beaning each other with lightsabers, while their baby sister laughs.

"But it's St. Patrick's day."

"We'll wear green."

And with that, I am won over. I guess the idea of us matching does that to me. Super Preshooler runs off to find us all green necklaces and we head for Marvin's Marvelous Machines.

We park in an unassuming parking lot in a busy suburban shopping area. Our destination appears to be between a California Pizza Kitchen and a Radio Shack. At least, I am assuming it is our destination. If the enormous clock with its numbers on backwards wasn't enough, there is the paneled truck proclaiming "Wonders of the World! Come see the World's Tallest Man! Bonnie and Clyde's Bullet-riddled Car! Flea Circus! The Bearded Lady! Come one, Come all!" Of course, if you miss that, the garish sign proclaiming Marvelous Machines: This Way is a pretty big clue.

We walk in to be greeted by this:

Holy P.T. Barnum.

Readers, I could not explain this place if I tried. It is a sideshow. It is an amusement park. It is a carnival. It is a hot dog stand. It is a circus. It is a state fair. It is an arcade. And it is jammed into a space the size of the neighboring Radio Shack.

My senses are on overload and I can't quite take it all in. Super Preschooler and Awkward Dad share a brain, so they are off and running; shoving quarters into anything with a slot and delighting in the whirs, toots, and clicks. Super Toddler is standing shock still in the middle of the room, tripping numerous adults and teens, while he stares at the ceiling and the arsenal of airplanes that fly through the room, as if powered by tiny little pilots. I have turned into a sideshow of my own: Awkward-looking Woman with Adorable Baby strapped to her chest. Many a Grandmother stops to ooh and aah....but no quarters so far. Super Baby starts to tire of the attention, so I turn to calm her and we come face to face with this:

Yes, this is exactly what it looks like: A naked photo of Burt Reynolds. And no, I did not lift the fig leaf.

Burt must be the keeper of the perv section of the museum because he heralds an entire wall of peep show posters. I am called to sample the exotic pleasures of the lovely Lydia, the Beauty from Barbados, and Tantalizing Tatiana. Thankfully, no actual peep show accompanies these posters and they are high on the wall, out of children's eye sight. Burt and his leaf are not, leaving one with the first of many unanswered questions about Marvin.

I leave "Peepland" and spy Super Preschool:

Yep, a personal Ferris Wheel.

Now, I have a deep fear of clowns (More on that some other time), so I busy myself while Awkward Dad loads Super P. in and out of this individual Ferris Wheel. It becomes his favorite thing in the museum. Meanwhile, Super Toddler has found this:

Oh My Goodness...well, not goodness at all. really. Yes, that is a Inquisition coin-operated scene. We did not play it. I don't even want to think about what it does.

I lead Super Toddler to some more sedate scenes. A baker that gives toy balls. A crane machine that gives candy. A group of puppets that don't give anything but mirth: I am pretty sure he spent all his quarters on these guys.

I try to get him and Super P. into these monkeys: but with the frantic banging, the hellish red light, and the eerie similarities to the monkey from Toy Story 3, they are not having it.

Oh, Readers. There is so much more. I have no idea how much time we spend here; I am pretty sure the door is actually a magic portal and you know what those do to time and space. I do know that we spent $5 dollars in quarters. I think that is a fair trade for an afternoon of magic, 6 bouncing balls, 2 plastic eggs with prizes, a pound of candy, and my favorite Awkward Dad moment of the week.

We are standing in utter chaos near the Skeeball machines, when he gazes up and reads this off the wall: "This way to the Egress." He turns to me and, in all sincerity, says "Hey, wanna go see this egress?"

Awkward Mom may have laughed at Awkward Dad the whole way home. This may have caused serious pouting. The Supers may have all fallen asleep at 4pm, wearing potential choking-hazard-green-necklaces, with Tootsie rolls smeared all over their faces. This may have caused serious bedtime riots and foiled Awkward Mom's mother-of-the-year chances, yet again. They may be nuts and ridiculous and careless and spontaneous and reckless. But you can bet, that almost always causes adventure. See ya later; Marvelous, Magical, Magnificent Readers!

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Awkward Mom vs. Teaser post

Hey there, true believers! No, we do not have a new tale of toddler terror for you, but we do have a bit of a teaser.....the Awkwards had quite the week last week. They went to the zoo, this place, a new pool, and numerous parks. The adult Awkwards actually went on a date and saw John Carter. As a result, Awkward Dad is in a full-on Burroughs binge. You have been warned. Unless you are into that kinda thing; then head on over!

They also weathered a tornado warning at a diner....meaning, they were in the diner while the tornadoes were outside someplace...not the other way around. It isn't like Storm hangs out with them and went all crazy under some evil mutant spell or anything cool like that. Fan boy (and girl) daydreams aside, this past week has been chockablock with adventures, awkwardness, and Gilded Age aliens. Don't miss a single upcoming post, dear Readers! They are gonna be marvelous....once Awkward Mom stops watching trailers on imdb and actually writes them!

Super Baby and Leia Monkey think you should tune in and hear all the details!

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Awkward Mom vs. Blogger

More than 4 posts a month? Is the sky turning red? Could the Mayan calendar be right? What exactly is going on with Awkward Mom; the 3 people who read this blog want to know. Well, it appears that Awkward Mom can evolve! News at 11! Or whenever she finishes figuring out how to make changes to the settings....

Dearest Readers, we here at Awkward Manor are still having the same level of awkwardness, I have just decided to document it with more regularity. I am conquering my deep fears of technology and learning how to best navigate and utilize my ally, Blogger. I am boldly sharing our trials and tribulations with the hope of connecting with you, my lovely Readers. I am tirelessly focused on crossing the Internet divide and reaching my fellow Awkwards to assure you that we all trip sometimes, feel inadequate next to the Perfect Moms, and privately eat chocolate hunched over in the pantry while the children/animals/roommates are busy watching Cars II. Feel no need to admit that last one, I know your secret shame and it is safe with me. It is a new day, Readers! One of consistency, hope, energy, and passion!

Just tell them that there has been nothing good on Wonderwall and the children have taken over Netflix to watch Curious George.

Hmmmm....perhaps you have already met my narrator, Readers. Just as Sherlock has Watson. John Carter has Burroughs. Moby Dick has Ishmael. Most Noir films have that impossibly cool voice over thingie. I am stuck with this weirdly snarky, semi-omniscient fellow who seems to shake his invisible head at most of the happenings around here. For some odd reason, I like to picture our narrator like Uatu the Watcher because he looks kinda smug and superior with his big head and half-closed eyes; you can feel him sighing from here. Plus, he has a kickin' robe.

Other than ol' Uatu there, here are a few other people I want you to meet. You know me:

Awkward Dad still hasn't quite forgiven me for putting a post-call photo of him on Facebook, so you are just gonna have to use your imagination there. He tends to pop up in my dreams looking like this. Or you can picture him as leering Soda Pop Man; we all know that he is into me.

This is Super Preschooler:

This is Super Toddler:

This is Super Baby:

The Super Cats make sporadic appearances and they almost always look like this: Their super-powers are limited but very mighty.

You know most of this already, my Faithful Readers. But now, I want to introduce you to some of the Awkward Family allies. There are many Awkward Allies, we are kinda like the X-men in number (pre-House of M, that is.) Really, Readers? Right now? OK. I'll wait. What do you mean, it's too long?'re right. OK....Scarlet Witch went crazy and now there are less mutants. Unless you follow the know what, just forget it....
There are a lot of Awkward Allies. We are so lucky that some of them monitor their own happenings in blog form! Much less awkwardly, I must say. Not one to pull a Karen Page, I have listed them here by their Superhero Aliases:

The not-evil Stepmother

Magnificent Mom

The Fearless Fabulous Frugaler

Excellent Mom

Marvelous Mom

The Consummate Chef

The Goddess of Great Deals

The Keeper of the Brilliant Blog

The Tireless Therapist

The Faithful Filmgoer

There you have it, our current allies. Shockingly, they all seem cool with going by their secret identites! Those are listed over there on the right. Our allies are amazing, but we are forever on the hunt for new allies. Our Avengers are always taking new members. Really? Now, Readers, you must have seen the previews for that one. On a side note, does anyone what to watch 3 super kids on May 4th?
Anyway, we always need more friends. Foes, we have enough of. But friends, we like. Especially really cool ones I can mooch off of and steal ideas from, like the ones listed here.

They have the allies. They have a pretty amazing narrator. They have the powers...reportedly. Now, when are they gonna get some costumes? I vote for spandex.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Awkward Mom vs. the Bucket

A villain's a villain, no matter how small.....

So, we leave only an hour late. Awkward Dad (who I think has turned rouge and is trying to sabotage my solo adventure) moseys home from work (with my car!) like one on a Sunday stroll. I do my usual pre-trip race-around-yelling-sarcastic-and-bizarrely-passive-aggressive-things like "what a wonderful idea, let's take out all the legos right before our trip" and "What am I, the little red hen? Somebody better get to helping or no one gets any corn...or fruit snacks...or whatever it was she wasn't getting any help making." I am, understandably, ignored.

Pretty soon, I am sitting pretty in the driver's seat of my still-new-to-me mini-van, and, despite red-henish threats, the Supers (the ones with teeth, that is) are all consuming fruit snacks. Awkward Dad blows us kisses and waves from the sidewalk like we are heading off to war. Super Baby is already asleep. I "forgot" the Barney CD and have Queen blaring; mostly to cover the sounds of Super Toddler's fake driving toy that he beeps and revs insistently, usually causing me to crane my head around for the rude driver behind me who is never there. I have diet Pepsi, my comfortable shoes, and all is right with the world.

And miraculously, it stays right for almost 3 hours. We are nearly out of Michigan when things go terribly wrong. All the Supers are asleep, and the radio is only playing songs I like. I am jamming out to Born in the USA (very glad the Supers are asleep and unable to be scarred by my rather enthusiastic chair dancing), when I decide to pass the pick-up in front of me. I may be going slightly over the speed limit, (I can't be the only mother in the world who turns into Lightening McQueen when on the highway), and I have a date with Marvelous Mom to get to. I flip my indicator on in time with the music and ease into the left lane. Pick-up dude must think he is Lightening McQueen too because he suddenly picks up speed. (see my magical word-play there, Readers? Super-powered vocab alert!) Anyway, his pick-up picks up speed but the bucket in the bed of his truck wants nothing to do with it. In fact, it seems the bucket wants nothing to do with him, as it flies off its precarious perch toward the tailgate and hurls itself, Kamikaze-style, at my windshield.

Time slows down; must be a Hiro bucket. (Sorry. Nerd reference, take your time.) Back? OK. I think I might scream, swerve, and swear all at once. Not sure and the Supers are no help jump-starting that memory. They would sleep through an atomic bomb, so they snooze on. When time speeds up again, the pick-up has pulled way ahead of me and I am going way too slow in the left lane, listening to the melodious sounds of the Boss and the less melodious sounds of something dragging along the ground, directly under my feet. It takes me awhile to realize that the beeping I am hearing on top of the song, the scrapping, and the snoring is not coming from Super Toddler's ghost driver but a very real trucker who is bearing down on me with alarming speed and would like me out of the passing lane, right now. I acquiesce.

I pull onto the shoulder and sit there, waiting for a pause in the traffic. Trucks rumble by, shaking my mini-van, which seemed so substantial just 5 minutes ago. Cars slow down but don't stop, children peering out the windows in blatant curiosity. I wave at them, all false brave and smiling; you know, that fake smile you paste on when you have no idea what to do but you don't want your children to worry. I take advantage of a break in the traffic to hop out and scurry around to the hood. I look down but don't see anything. Hmmm... I bend over and still don't see anything. OK..... I get down in front of the car on my hands and knees, trying not to fall over in the gale force winds the passing trucks are creating. I peer under the car, my face inches from the dusty gravel of the shoulder, and that is when I see it. Jammed well under the driver's seat side, just within reach lies a slightly misshapen white bucket. Its metal handle is bent up and catching the sunlight, winking at me. A taunt if ever I saw one.

Enraged, I reach under the car and grab the bucket's handle. I pull. I promptly fall over onto my face. The bucket doesn't even move. Wily one, this bucket. I try to grab the bucket from the bottom and push it to the side. Nothing. I turn around and try to kick the bucket but I can't really see and, having mininal mechinical knowledge, become concerned that I might be kicking something else. Something vital to the running of my van. I stand up and turn around. I gaze through the windshield; yep, 3 sleeping beauties. I can hear the faint strains of Gypsies, Tramps, and Thieves coming from the car radio. Darn. I really like that one.

I crouch down and assess my foe. I harness my inner Hulk and focus on the fact that this nasty bucket is making me miss major Cher emoting. I reach down and wedge my fingers in between the top of the bottom of the car (does that even make sense?) and the bucket. I lean forward and try to ignore the fact that I can feel wind on the small of my back and a great deal lower, thereby giving a free show to anyone heading east on 94 who is bored enough to glance to the left shoulder. I shove my hands down, smashing the bucket into a manageable size, and I haul it out from under the car. Power surges through me and I hurl it into the ditch, like Megatron flicking an annoying human out of his way. Come on, Readers! That wasn't that nerdy; Transformers are trendy again, right? OK, I'll wait....

Now, before you get all eco and green on me, fear not! I felt guilty about 2 seconds later and half ran/fell down the ditch to rescue the bucket, tucking it in the back for a more humane disposal. The Supers wanted to keep it, but after having lived a nice long life as container contributing to its community, with only a mild foray into a life of litter and villainy, I figured Bucket would want a rest. Fittingly, we gave him just that and left him resting at the next rest stop. That is the rest stop where we find a strange man hanging out in the family bathroom, but that is a tale for another time...

Wow, Awkward Mom's word-play powers are at full blast today! And if that is full blast, I suppose Hemingway, Miller, and Shakespeare have nothing to worry about. See ya next time; same awkward time, same awkward channel!

What bucket?

Monday, March 12, 2012

Awkward Mom vs. Travel (part 2)

Every once in awhile, the stars align, the angels sing, and we get to kick a big fat I-told-you-so in Awkward Dad's direction. Today is that day.

Well, we are back! And no worse for wear! Well, if I am being honest, I may be 5 pounds heavier due to massive clam dip consumption, but we all make sacrifices for family, right? I want to tell you all about it! About the nearly perfect drive out there, marred only by a slight run-in with a run-away bucket on the highway. (Shh...I haven't told Awkward Dad about that yet) About our magical visit to Marvelous Mom and her minions. About a certain perfect baby who slept nearly the entire trip and still slept through the night when we got there. About how my mother enjoyed the play tent I brought for the children....probably more than the children. About the joyous celebration of Awkward Cousin and her very own Super Fetus. About how expertly four generations of Awkward ladies can simultaneously eat, gossip, and ooh over baby shoes. About the too soon trip home and how Travel's cousin, Nostalgia, controlled the radio the whole way, causing me to lose it and pull over, hugging the Super Kids and instructing them to stop growing this instant. I want to tell you all about it, but I have about 15 loads of laundry to do, it looks like a herd of squirrels had a party in my fridge, and there is other evidence that Awkward Dad spent the weekend alone. Evidence that needs my (and a CSI team's) attention pronto. So, check out these awfully awkward photos from my camera phone and I'll be back as soon as I can!

Just had to stop and take a picture of Super Baby and her dragon friend.

Happy travellers.

After a fruit snack binge.

Awkward Mom is making slow progress on the laundry, but check us out soon; we have tales of errant buckets in the road and awkward grandmas in the tent. Travel's family is almost as large as the Awkward clan, so it was an event! More soon!

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Awkward Mom vs. Travel

What could be more awkward? How about awkward-on-the-go!

Travel is the Awkward Family's Jean Grey; powerful, exciting, and apt to change from hero to villain at a moment's notice. Go ahead, give her a peek, I'll wait. See what I mean? That lady has more going on than a multi sided dice...what? Too nerdy? Ummm...she's complex, much like our frenemy, Travel.

In a matter of seconds, travel can go from making picturesque memories with your Norman Rockwellian family in ancient and beautiful historic sites to being kicked out of Monticello because Awkward Uncle doesn't like the look of the East Portico and decides to hurl a glass bottle on the floor. (Ask Awkward Grandma, she loves telling that one) Travel is fickle and unpredictable; I suppose that is what makes her so exciting and desirable. Some of your best adventures are gonna be with Travel, but sometimes Travel is like that friend who promises to hang with you all night drinking Mai Tais, only to take off with a cute guy when you are in bathroom. I could see Jean Grey doing that....

Anyway, here's the deal: Travel and I are heading to the Ancestral Awkward Home this weekend. Awkward Dad is not coming, as he has to work. I am taking the Super Kids with me. Awkward Dad seems to think this is crazy. He doesn't trust Travel; hasn't quite forgiven her for that weird dust storm on our way to California or that time the power shorted out in his car. And he really holds a grudge when it comes to the Value Gas bathroom incident. I agree, that one was life-changing, and not in a good way. However, Awkward Grandma, 2 of the Awkward Aunts, untold Awkward Cousins, and, most importantly, Awkward Great-Grandma are all going to be in the same place. 4 generations of Awkward. I have to go, that much Awkward in one space is life a good way. Plus, I get to hang with my ally, Marvelous Mom, on the way out there! Marvelous Mom is the fearless mom to Kid Genius and Cool Toddler . If you don't know her, you might know her secret identity.

Another plus; my mother is making her clam dip. I would walk across the surface of the sun for her clam dip.

I'm serious.

So, I am gonna trust Travel. She isn't all bad. There is a reason both Wolverine and Cyclops have a thing for her. Oh wait, that's Jean Grey....but Travel can be super cool too! After all, she is the reason we met the Rest Stop Fairy Godmothers.

So, Readers, cross your fingers please; Fairy Godmother rest stops and not Value Gas ones for this trip. See ya on the flip side!

I figured I would let Super Toddler drive and the trip would take about 10 minutes.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Awkward Mom vs. the Whys

Awkward Manor is still hosting Cold-of-Death and his family. (We are starting to think he is an European cold, given all the vacation time he has.) Super Preschooler's Potty Training appears to be in a holding pattern. Super Toddler has decided developing speech isn't particularly important to him. Super Baby is working on a new lunge move she likes to practice whenever being held. Awkward Dad is on a night shift. And we don't think Awkward Mom has slept in 4 years. As if all that wasn't enough, a new guest has come calling! We should just open a villainous bed and breakfast with all the wicked traffic we get around here....

Of course I want my children to be inquisitive and adventurous, with the can-do spirit of Thomas Edison, the intelligence of Marie Curie, the wit of Mark Twain, the creativity of Jim Henson, and the money of Tony Stark. What? That man is loaded; a woman needs to think of her retirement. But I digress. My point is the search for knowledge is a wonderful thing, but does it always have to happen when we are late and I can't find the address of the new family that we are playdating with and trying really hard to impress because the mom is actually normal? Because that seems to be the time when Count von Why always comes a'calling.

He also likes to pop up while I am in the shower, at 2 in the morning, during church, when trying to leave the house, or any other of the many busy moments during the day when Mommy's brain isn't quite functioning as fast as it should. Which may be all of them, if recent whys are any evidence.

For example, the other day, the good Count made an appearance in our car. Here is how it went:

Super P: Why are we going this way?
Me: To get Excellent Toddler and her mom.
Super P: Why?
Me: Because we are all going to Ikea.
Super P: Why?
Me: Because Ikea is awesome.
Super P: Why?
Me: Because they have cool stuff there to buy. And I like their meatballs.
Super P: Why?
Me: Because they are tasty.
Super P: Why?
Me: I am not sure, probably some Swedish secret.
Super P: Why don't you know?
Me: Well, I'm not Swedish.
Super P: Why?
Me: Well, mommy's family actually came from a different part of Europe a long time ago.
Super P: Why?
Me: Well, there weren't any potatoes.....and hey, look, we are here at Excellent Toddler's house.

Super P: Why?
Me: Because we are going to Ikea.
Super P: Why?

The Count is relentless! He also has minions. Of course he has minions. How come, what's this made of, who invented, and any sentence that starts with: wouldn't it be cool...

There are millions of battles during the day. Some of them I win easily. Some of them I tag in Awkward Dad. Some of them have me running to Google. My recent Google searches must have them in stitches over at the Google headquarters. It pleases me to think of a bunch of programmers, huddled over a computer, in a secret lair, laughing their glasses off at my queries for "how does whistling work, how is glass made, who invented Hello Kitty, what's in erasers, how long can people hold their breath, how tall are Jawas." The average height of a Jawa is 1 meter, in case you are curious.

Count von Why and his minions are quite clever and, make no mistake, they are here for the long haul. The minion What's-this-made-of is particularly crafty. I think I have him easily beat and then he pulls out the heavy artillery. For example:

Super P: What is bread made out of?
Me: Bread is made out of wheat and other ingredients. Some breads don't have wheat but we eat the kind with wheat.
Super P: What is wheat made out of?
Me: Well, wheat is just wheat.
Super P: But what is it made out of?
Me: It is a plant, the plant wheat.
Super P: What is a plant?
Me: A plant grows in the ground.
Super P: Like in Plants vs. Zombies!
Me: Ummm...right, but not so loud. The nice ladies at church don't need to hear about that.
Super P: But what is a plant made out of?
Me: hmmm....plant stuff? Go ask Daddy.

Why did Awkward Mom not pay more attention in Biology? Oh well, she does have a few big guns up her sleeves for when the Count and his buds get a little out of control. It's magic, It's a secret, and the time-honored, well-loved, sanity saver of moms everywhere: Because I said so. She is well armed and has a high speed Internet connection. Fear not, Readers, Super Preschooler will get into college. If he ever potty trains......but that is different post all together!

See ya real soon! Why? Because we like you! A-W-K-W-A-R-D! (If you don't get this reference, I betcha Google knows....)

The Super Boys easily defeated this roll of Christmas wrapping paper. No one recalls asking them to, but I suppose a win is a win.