Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Awkward Mom vs. Halloween Decorations

So, in the least shocking news ever, it took Awkward Mom nearly a week to rebuild the Tesla Coil and stop the villain from blowing up the lab. A week, Readers. And that was with Nancy's helpful advice that "maybe this round thing goes here." Oh well, the preview for the next game shows ghosts! Ghosts are a little more in Awkward Mom's wheelhouse than, well, any science at all. Of course, we have to wait until next July for that, so let's complain about Halloween for the time being!

I am not good at decorating. For some strange reason, despite being born of 2 clutter-bugs, married to a near-hoarder, and the mother of three proud materialists, I am a secret minimalist. Well, not secret so much as frustrated. I am the kind of person who looks at the austerity of monks' cells and goes "That looks great! Where do I sign up? What vow of silence? Oh, never mind." It isn't meant to be. Especially, not with Super Preschooler for a child. He decorates daily with the pirate horde of jewelry and baubles that he has been collecting since his pincer grasp developed. Seriously, the boy has 2 jewelry boxes and is quickly outgrowing those; he has more Madi Gras beads than a college girl on spring break. You get the picture; basically my mother's Martha Stewart decoration gene bypassed me entirely and lodged itself in the forefront of Super P.'s brain, where he draped a scarf over it and pronounced it fabulous.

Super Preschooler decorates for every holiday, much like my mother, who once threw a President's Day party, complete with Lincoln beards for all. But they both agree that the big 2 are Christmas and Halloween. For the moment, I am choosing to ignore the 8 aisles of Christmas decorations at Target, but there is little I can do about Halloween, being as I am the mother of the Mayor of Dress-up Town and the daughter of the owner of a 7-foot singing Frankenstein's Monster. I don't have to like it, but I do have to deal with it. Now, be proud of me, Readers! I decide to grab the devil horns by the, hmm, horns, and I went to Target, walked right past the Christmas aisles to the Halloween aisle, freaked out about the pre-teen costumes (What the #$%^ is the 12-year-old doing being a "sexy witch" and what exactly is a "sexy witch" anyway? Is her eye of Newt designer?), and I bought a light-up pumpkin. I brought it home and proudly called Super Preschooler over to admire it. He dutifully came over, gave it the once over, and looked up at me, pityingly. "Oh, Mom, that's cute. But don't worry; Grandma is coming this weekend and we'll get some real decorations." So, after the equivalent of a pat on the head, I banished the light-up pumpkin to the bathroom (he is rather small), and I awaited my mother's arrival; breathlessly, with the rest of the family.

She arrives in true style; bearing about 647 Christmas gifts (fully wrapped, of course), 2 overflowing boxes of Halloween decorations, 3 different types of Halloween-themed cookies, a pile of magazines for collage projects, and an abundance that my children bask in like it is the sun. My mother is not as insane as she sounds; she did leave the Frankenstein's Monster at home. She has numerous super-powers, but one of her most powerful is this amazing ability to be abundant and balanced at the same time. I do NOT know how she does it, because if I did, I would bottle it and make a million dollars selling it to legions of mothers. Since my childhood, she has possessed a magical ability to make every day seem like a party, even though the party games involve eating vegetables, raking leaves, doing homework, and functioning like a responsible human being. A responsible human being covered in sequins and flashing lights, that is. I jokingly call her Martha Stewart, but she is anything but. She isn't uptight in the slightest and would laugh in your face if you asked her to make a twine bag (swear to Pete; I once spent 25 minutes watching Martha Stewart do this). My mother holds to the adage that no one is gonna notice your messy floors or dusty shelves if you just hang tinsel everywhere. Or put a 7-foot Frankenstein's Monster on your porch. Bring your muddy shoes on over to her house, she'll laugh if you break her centerpiece, and oh, just come on in to the kitchen and eat whatever you'd like, but maybe you could cut these carrots for me, let's race to see who can finish first! Her abundance is completely generous and grounded and gleeful, and for some reason, it all gels gorgeously.

I got many good and wonderful things from my mother, but I can not master this abundance of hers. I'm too stingy and small and careful and worried. But Super P.? He's got it down and he is only 4. He carries extra necklaces in his pocket in case his friends need one. He praises with embarrassing effusiveness that makes me cringe and strangers glow. Ask him to share and 9 times out of 10, he'll hand it over with an offer to help you put it on. Yes, that 10th time; well, he is 4, remember. Can you imagine the generosity that is gonna grow in him over time? I think I may be raising a combination Mother Teresa/Santa. So if the result of my mother's generosity skipping me is that it leapfrogged into my son, well, I can totally live with that. As long as he doesn't decide that he needs a 7-foot-tall Reindeer display come Christmas....

But on to the important part; pictures!

This is rather tame for her. Or I hid the second box of decorations. I'm not telling.
She decided against stringing lights through this, once she saw what Super Toddler wanted to do with it. She is nothing if she isn't flexible in her design.
What Super Toddler wanted to do with it. For hours.
Well, duh. Of course, there were window clings.
Learning from the master.
Awkward Grandma's visits are never long enough, but they were long enough to go trick-or-treating at Greenfield Village. She and Super Toddler watched the Headless Horseman canter though Sleepy Hollow for close to a half-hour, laughing their heads off. Well, not literally, but it appears that Super Preschooler may have gotten her generosity but Super Toddler got her totally irreverent sense of humor. Please, please, please let Super Baby get her culinary skills. And soon. Awkward Mom tries, but everyone is getting tired of eating Mac and Cheese around here. No mean feat, considered that we are talking about toddler palates.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Awkward Mom vs. Deadly Devices

Only happens twice a year; the new Nancy Drew game is out! Watch Awkward Mom go nerdier than a band of Trekkies trekking through Skywalker Ranch on their way to a ComicCon, while somehow playing video games and writing fan fiction. It's epic. But first, we have to get the game...details....

So, I think I have mentioned my obsession with Nancy Drew. This is not hard to understand; the girl has her own detective agency, hundreds of kickin' scarfs, and a blue roadster, for goodness sake. Not to mention a huge helping of moxie. She is cool personified; I want to be her. And secretly, you do too.

I have been playing the Nancy Drew computer games since they started coming out, which was embarrassingly past my 10th birthday and the age they are aimed at. Now I play them with Super Preschooler, which kinda makes it a little more tellable, but not quite. I still totally acted like I didn't know what Super P. was talking about when he told our neighbor all about why we were going to Best Buy in the middle of a Tuesday. I mentioned that we needed computer ink, which is true, and let Super P. confuse Mr. Perfect Yard with talk of  magnifying glasses and puzzles. Oh well, it is miles better than the day Super P. told the visiting nurse all about Plants vs. Zombies.

So, we head over to Best Buy because I have a coupon and I really do need ink. I hate going to Best Buy, and not because this place is crawling with hipsters who somehow got lost on their way to the Apple store, although that is a pretty good reason. No, I hate Best Buy because my children love Best Buy and Best Buy does not love my children. Lotta high emotions swirling around amid the appliances. (Has anyone ever bought a fridge at Best Buy? Just curious.) Basically, I think Best Buy would prefer that I bring my children back to them in about 12 years, when they have allowances and best motor control. I can't exactly blame them, but the glares are a bit much.

I am planning an in and out operation and I might have been successful, if the game I was here to get wasn't, well, a game. Getting a game involves going into the belly of the Best Buy beast; a veritable gamer's playland, where milling zombie teenagers shuffle and shrug under the nightmarish light of a hundred televisions silently showing the Avengers. There are demos everywhere; X-box, Wii, Playstation 2, or is it 12? Each demo has a listless adolescent standing in front of it, killing things with a numbing nonchalance that is all the more frightening to me when seen next to the three whirling dervishes orbiting me. Is this their future? I want them to sit still sometimes, but the boredom oozing out of this place is horrifying. My crystal ball gazing is cut short when my children cluster around the teenager playing Borderlands 2 and actually seem to drag his attention away from the screen. They are pretty loud and completely unaware of personal space, you know, like most people under the age of 8.  They jostle this kid and he shifts his eyes to them and shakes his head slowly, like someone waking up. I think I can actually see his eyes dilating, but that might be a trick of the Avengers light. I am getting significantly worried about this encounter and moving forward to shoo them away, but then he smiles. This armored teen with hair too messy to be accidental and a Space Ghost t-shirt meets Super Toddler's loose grin with an identical one, and then it all falls away. All the pretension and carefully sculpted unaffectedness and chips stacked 10 high on his shoulders. There is little a smile can do about all that gel, but for some reason, it appears to soften it a touch. He stands there looking into Super Toddler's face for what seems like a million years, then he notices me and sends me a quick look of permission. I acquiesce with a slight nod and really hope that I didn't just Rumpelstiltskin my middle child. Shouldn't have worried. He scoops Super Toddler up and lets him hold the controller while explaining something about Hyperion Corporation. Super Toddler gazes at this kid like he is Elvis and I let him bask under Super Toddler's adoration for awhile. That is, until I start counting the spent shell casings on the screen.

I ease Super Toddler away from his new guru, thanking him profusely. He smiles softly, his mask already shifting back into place, and we leave him shooting things in peace. Super Toddler is not pleased, but I am pretty sure he wasn't ready to battle the Hyperion Corporation. He recovers quickly from his thwarted gaming and gleefully sorts through the Disney movies with Super Preschooler, not a shoulder chip in sight. I am breathing a sigh of relief, as I pull the new Nancy Drew game off the shelf and hand it to Super Baby to gnaw on. Childhood is long, and if that smile was any evidence, it doesn't completely die in an adolescent flurry of gel and grisly games anyway. We've got time and now we've got a new Nancy Drew game to play. Life is good.

And then, the Supers knocked down the entire Tinkerbell: Secret of the Wings display. I turn to see a bemused crowd of hipsters gather and 5 glaring Best Buy employess move toward the giggling pile of Supers and glittered DVDs. The gamers? They don't even look up, even though, above them, the Hulk is totally destroying Loki. Have I already mentioned that I hate Best Buy?

Don't you guys worry about Awkward Mom; she and the Supers made it out of the store with Nancy's latest adventure and the ink they needed. Plus a brand new copy of Tinkerbell: Secret of the Wings. So, I guess you don't need to worry about Best Buy either. The new Nancy Drew game, the Deadly Device, is about Tesla coils and physicists; not exactly Awkward Mom's strengths. Super P. could have finished it last night, but he likes to let Mommy work stuff out for herself. We'll be back just as soon as we figure out how to reprogram the keycards and sneak into the lab. Don't wait up.

I want to go as Handsome Jack from Borderlands 2, but Mom keeps going on about tradition.
Blah. Blah.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Awkward Mom vs. Vision Statements

She's back! With the shake-up of the century! Or maybe just some small rearranging....move the couch over a bit, that kind of thing....

So, if you are anything like me, and I really hope that you are not, you feel a wee bit unorganized after battling a mega-villain, like bronchitis. Major villains really take it out of you, and they take you out of yourself. They ramble on and on about their evil plan; boring everyone in sight. Then, they start pulling in subplots and lesser villains, sometimes to the point of having to purchase tie-in issues. Not cool. Before you know it, every available space in your house is covered in random villain detritus and cough drop wrappers. Now, you have issues 1-5 of Bronchitis; Voiceless Scream. Plus, you have issue 3 of Missing School, issue 6 of Late Credit Card Payment, issues 16 + 18 of Lost Playdate Opportunities, issue 698 of Why are we having Mac and Cheese for Dinner again (getting close to a milestone issue on that one, folks!), issue 13 of Are there any Clean Socks in this House at all, plus the preview issue of Holidays; Don't try to Hide, they are Coming. What a mess! And you have no idea how to catalogue it. Do you put the Bronchitis issues first because he was the main villain, even though you acquired the other issues along the way and well before the last issue of the main arc? Do you do it in the order they showed up at your house? Do you use size? Or something more archaic perhaps? Is it done in alphabetical order? Oh, Readers, I am not Hercule Poirot, or even Miss Lemon. I am like 18 times more disorganized than Captain Hastings. This is well beyond me.

And what is even more beyond me is reclaiming ownership of Awkward Manor once more. It is time for the triumphant return for our hero; she must ride home in glory and reclaim her throne. The throne that has lain listless and lank since her departure, to vanquish the imposing threat to her kingdom. We are in the epilogue of the novel, the final panel of the comic book, the parting crane shot that dissipates into swirling fog and credits. And I will tell you why they do it that way, my lovely Readers. Because thrones that have lain listless and lank are likely pretty gross. It is Lord of the Flies in here. Literally. I have no idea how these flies are getting in or who has flies in October, except maybe Pig Pen from the Charlie Brown Halloween Special. Guess that answers my question. I am Pig Pen from Charlie Brown, Readers. I have finally realized my destiny. Whew. That was easy.

Oh, shoot. I can't be Pig Pen. I have responsibilities, and I have kids. Kids who need to be Pig Pen. Guess I better regroup. So, I have all these villains to catalogue, all these flies to evict, a throne to wash, responsibilities to resume, children to herd, and the ever rolling tide of adult life to surf. OK, guess I should roll up my sleeves and start. Where should I start? That all sounds boring, I don't want to do any of that! How about I make a vision statement for Awkward Mom instead? Yes, that sounds like a great use of time, especially since I decided to allow one more Barney before putting him away, right next to the heavy-duty cold medicine and the Valium.

I'll be honest; it's been awhile since I worked. You know, worked anywhere that might have a vision, or at least one more sophisticated than "Let's try to avoid putting raisins in our noses." In fact, that is the current Awkward Mom Vision Statement. But it might be time to update that one, let's see what I can come up with, eh?

Moderation in All Things.

You wanna know what I mean, I suppose. Man, this is turning into more work than just cleaning the throne. Wanna know why I like moderation, Readers? I'll tell you why; you go up on the roof, all reaching for the stars and whatnot, you are gonna fall off. The view from this moderately sized rock over here is just as nice. Plus, what are you gonna do with stars anyway? Take up too much space, stars do. I'm not telling you (or I guess me, since it is my vision statement) to not be ambitious. I am just telling you (I mean me) to use some sense and not demand perfection (or constant star-grabbing) on this parenting path of yours/mine/ours. For example:

Perfect bedtimes are great. But not on Halloween, Christmas Eve, anytime the Wizard of Oz is on TV, or the nights when Awkward Dad is on call and we have a slumber party in the big bed. So, moderate bedtimes.

Perfect meals are great. But not when Grandma is in town, the circus is in town, when Super Preschooler wants to make a cake at 4pm to "celebrate life", or when everyone gets so excited talking about what animal they would like to be that Super Toddler crawls into the middle of the table (a la lion) and sends the pea bowl flying onto Awkward Dad's head. So, moderate meals.

Perfect attention is great. But not when Mommy needs to read this one thing, or take a short bath, or talk to Awkward Grandma about Super Baby's weird rash, or just needs 2 minutes to herself in the pantry to eat one Cadbury Cream Egg. So, moderate attention.

Perfect discipline is great. But not when one isn't in the perfect conditions described in whichever book one happens to be following at the moment or on the Dr. Phil show. So, moderate discipline.

Perfect expectations are great. But not when hungry, tired, crabby, ages 2-4, not in a sharing mood, or in public. Or when someone is trying their best and that C becomes a symbol of outstanding perseverance, and not average disappointment. Or really, on any day between Monday through Sunday. So, moderate expectations.

Perfect parenting is great. Except it totally isn't.

Therefore, Moderation in all Things shall be the new Awkward Mom Vision Statement.

Well....except for Kindness. Because Kindness is really the only area of your life where you should take a deep breath, climb all the way up onto the roof, lean all the way over the edge, grab up as many stars as you can, and just scatter them all to the winds in glorious, reckless, absurdly abundant abandon. Kindness is a kick off your shoes kind of dance, a throw it all in kind of bet. Kindness should be totally blown on flowers every single chance you get. There is never any reason good enough to be careful with kindness. Therefore, we here in the Awkward Family shall be moderate in all things. Except Kindness. And kisses. Which is basically the same thing anyway.

We want to thank everyone who has been careless with their kindness over this recent battle with Bronchitis. It was not pretty around here and won't be for awhile, or at least until we figure out the flies. Thank you all for your moderate expectations of us!

Friday, October 19, 2012

Awkward Mom vs. Bronchitis - round 3

And now, the last word. From our sponsor: Super Preschooler.

Dearest Readers, tis I; Super Preschooler! Here to save the day (or at least the post) in a flurry of flowery adjectives and awkwardness. Awkwardness yes, but perhaps with a little more style and color then has been around these parts lately. I mean, she has bronchitis, she isn't Camille or something. Did I just compare my mother to a courtesan with tuberculosis? Well, yes, but I said she was NOT Camille. I mean, come on, she doesn't have that kind of wardrobe. Shesh.

So, Mom's voice is back. This is a gray area, superheroly speaking; like a Magneto-type villain, if you were. It is mostly a bad thing, but you definitely respect the power and you usually have enough back story to get where the range and rage comes from. Man, that woman can yell. But man, Super Toddler can destroy a room in under 3 minutes, so I get the temptation to use her power for bad sometimes. She has 3 days of yelling to catch up on, so it should be a blast, literally, around here for a bit.

But not yesterday! Yesterday, I had an all day playdate with Awesome Preschooler. All day! Readers, it was glorious! We did all kinds of stuff; amazing stuff that I am not gonna tell you about because it is secret club stuff. Now, if you wanna join out secret club, I might tell you. I mean, I would need to talk it over with Awesome P. but she is pretty cool with new friends. You'll need a wand, a dress-up dress, maybe some jewelry. Well, if you need jewelry, I have some you could borrow. I bet the blue necklace with the stars would look just perfect on you. When can you come over? What? Oh, what was I talking about again? Oh yes! Yesterday, right; Great day, the best really. I mean, Awesome P.'s brother was here too, but babies can't play pretend, so he and Super Baby mostly hung out with Mom. Which made her happy and not yelly, so I suppose babies are OK. Sometimes. On occasion. As a distraction. Whatever, they are still pretty boring.

So, mostly Awesome P. and I planned our wedding. It is gonna be like Cinderella's and then we are gonna live in a cool castle, with Mom and Dad and Mr. and Ms. Awesome. I suppose the babies will have to be there too, but they can just get married to each other and we can have another wedding! I don't know who is gonna marry Super Toddler....he has some good points that must appeal to someone. Excellent Toddler could marry him, she is tough and could keep him in line. I'll ask her next time I see her. Yes, that is a good idea. But I had to tell Mom about the wedding because it is gonna be pretty fancy and I have about 50 cents. She was so excited that she spit water across the room, which made me think that an ice sculpture that trickles punch would be a lovely addition to the reception. I was a little concerned about the face she made when Awesome P. told her that we were gonna have a baby. I thought Bronchitis was trying to kill her or something. But I think it was just shock that we would be so into babies. I mean, I'm not, but if it makes Awesome P. happy, that's cool. She says that there is a whole row of them at Target. Says we can get a dozen or more. Whatever, back to my wedding plans. Well, I wanted to tell Mom about the fountain ice sculpture thing, but Mom must have been dealing with some of the mind-alerting stuff that Bronchitis does sometimes because she wanted to talk about college and responsibility and some other stuff that I didn't really understand. We need to get rid of this guy, he is making her crazy.

That is when Awesome Preschooler and I come up with a plan to poof Bronchitis out of Mom. Super Toddler wants to call him Bronc, but I see him more as a mad scientist kind of villain, rather than a straight bruiser. And for a mad scientist, you need the -itis. You just do; it's science. So, we get all dressed up, you do not poof in normal clothes. I mean, I don't need to tell you this, do I? Awesome Preschooler wants to be Cinderella and so did I, but hey, no need to fight. I know some fabulous fairy friends and they recently sent me a stunning selection of sartorial selections. In the wave of a wand, Awesome Preschooler and I are in matching blue dresses with just the right amount of sparkle. Cinderella is tricky balance, you never wanna go overboard with the bling; it just isn't her. Now, it takes some convincing, but I finally get Super Toddler into something approximating a costume. I mean, we really ought to be grateful that he is wearing anything at all. He agrees to a hat and a shoves a wand in each pocket, like some gun-slinger out of Oz.

We pop out of the bedroom and spring on Mom and the babies. Awesome Preschooler climbs on the coffee table to begin the aerial offensive and I aimed from under the couch; we didn't know what his defenses were like and had to be ready, you know. So, we are poofing like crazy and the babies (being babies) are trying to grab the wands. (I am totally starting to rethink this baby thing with Awesome Preschooler.) Mom is looking pretty freaked out; I guess that deep within her, Bronchitis is freaking out at our display of power. So I am thinking this is working. Well, that is when Super Toddler shouts something about "hitting you where you live" or something like that (he is pretty hard to understand sometimes), and then he knocks Mom in the throat. Yeah. Well. I told you that I don't think Bronchitis is a bruiser and now I am pretty sure I was right because that didn't do anything but get our wands confiscated for an hour.

But she let us watch Cinderella, so that is a plus. Gave me some more wedding ideas. I am thinking that releasing some doves would make a nice touch. What do you guys think?

Thanks for that pleasing and powerful post, Super Preschoooler. And thanks for checking that Awkward Mom's heart is functioning; sometimes a big jolt of adrenaline can be good for her. But if she gets anywhere near Awkward Dad with your wedding plans, you are gonna have to deal with a much bigger college lecture. Fair warning.

High noon; wands at 20 paces.  

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Awkward Mom vs. Bronchitis - round 2

And now, here is a word from our sponsor, Super Toddler.

Dudes, what's up? Can you believe that Mommy is still sick! Man, Bronchitis is strong. I had a battle with a cough thing about 2 weeks ago and the doctor thinks that when Mommy started fighting this guy, he morphed into Bronchitis. I don't know if he got a bunch of his cough buddies to pile on, a la combiner transformers, or if it was like this new strain of the Phoenix that just took out Professor X (Wait, am I supposed to say "Spoiler" before or after I spoil it?); but man, he is pretty cool. I mean, bad. Like bad cool. Not that I want Mommy to be sick or anything, but villains do have the cooler powers and typically the cooler names. Stilt-Man, aside.

Needless to say, this battle is taking all her reserves. And I do mean all. This is hard to watch; she kinda slugs around the house and tries to do stuff, like get us dressed and whatever, but usually she makes it about half way. Like how Super Baby only had on pants and no shirt for most of the day. Or  the outfit of shirt, one sock, and a Tinkerbell dress that Super Preschooler was sporting yesterday. Well, to be fair, I saw him in that one 3 weeks ago and Bronc hadn't made his appearance yet. (Come on, it is too a cooler name!) Now, I try to make it easy on her and go au naturel, but she seems to have issues with that. So, we compromised on a diaper and a crown. How was I supposed to know that today the landlord was gonna stop by to check out the deck work? Like he has never seen a Superhero in a diaper before; whatever, Ka-Zar rocks that look 24/7. She didn't have to hide me in the bedroom while he was here like I was some British dude's crazy first wife. What? Like I can't be literary. Readers, I have loads of interests; Awkward Dad is my father, you know. Wrestling pillows and fighting with sticks happen to be at the top, but I can still enjoy a seminal work of Gothic proto-feminism.

So, she is in such a bad way. Like letting Dad feed us Whoopie Pies for breakfast. Like letting us watch Barney. Like just watching us flood the bathroom with her head in her hands. No yelling, not that she can. But she can usually muster up an effort; you know, a kinda barky thing that doesn't really scare but lets you know that she still thinks she is in charge. It is totally sad to see her just give up. And I am not one to let my Mommy be sad.

So, here is my master plan; I am going at Bronchitis where he lives. I have been cuddling up to her and being all huggy and stuff. She loves it, so that is a nice side-effect. But my real plan is to get a good look at Bronchitis in action, figure out his weakness, and take him down. I am like a Ninja, Bronc, you won't know what hit you, when I decide to finally hit you. Don't be fooled, you are going down. And no power ballad Blaze of Glory for you, my friend. It is gonna be with a tiny whimper, because no one makes my Mommy think she isn't in charge. Except me.

Thanks, Super Toddler. Maybe you could come back next week to talk about postmodern intertextuality in the works of William S. Burroughs or hitting things with sticks. Your call.

Nothing says business like a plastic fireman hat and a pretend sword; Super Toddler doesn't play around. OK, wait, that is all he does. But he does it cool. Like good cool.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Awkward Mom vs. Bronchitis

And now, a message from our sponsor; Super Baby.

Hi, Readers. Super Baby here. I have been asked to speak to you today, as Mommy is fighting some villain called Bronchitis. So I am thinking, "Oh wow! Finally, we are gonna have something approximating an interesting battle around here." But Super Preschooler informs me that Brontosaurus is spelled with a T. Plus, that villain has a new name anyway, something like Apatosaurus; I don't really know. I love Super P. but he talks all the time, it is kinda easy to tune out. Anywho, it appears that Mommy is fighting something less cool; in fact, all this battle seems to consist of is her taking a ridiculous amount of medication and forlornly wandering around the house, looking for soup. Now, the woman should know that we had the soup last night, as she made it for us, but I guess Bronchitis is a mind-wiping villain.

He also appears to have a reverse Banshee power, as Mommy has completely lost her voice. Well, I shouldn't exaggerate. She hasn't completely lost it. She was able to come up with this sorta strangled cry thing when she found me peacefully eating those cough drops. I mean, if she didn't want to share, that's fine, but she didn't need to snatch it. Jeez, talk about greedy; there were like 25 in there or something.

But mostly, she can't make a peep. She just waves her arms at us, like she is guiding in planes; frantically mouthing things about danger or something. I don't know, I'm not the best lip-reader. Plus, I was rather busy trying to stick some pens I found into those cool slits in the wall. She didn't have to snatch those either; I mean, she is my mom and I love her, but for all her talk of sharing, she isn't that good at it herself.

So, she asked me to write a blog post for her, which doesn't make any sense if you really think about it. I mean, how does her lack of a voice affect her ability to type on the computer? It certainly didn't affect her ability to troll Facebook for nearly an hour this morning, and for about half of that, I was in desperate need of a snack. Heartless, really. But, I thought I would be a team player and write the post today. The woman has been pretty slack; when was the last one anyway? Last Wednesday? Wow, well, of course, you are curious about our happenings.

Let's see....well, we went back to the Reptile Zoo. I think Mommy wants to tell you guys about that later, but I really like the enormous Anaconda. My brothers like the wall of bugs, with the huge Cockroaches and the Black Widow Spiders. But I think they just like that Mommy won't go over there, so they can mess around unseen. Boys. We tried to go to a new church playgroup. Now, she should have known better. It had been a full week, and we all told her that we wanted to hang out at home and watch Netflix, but she gave this whole rah-rah speech about getting out there and fighting the good fight. She was like some stern but lovable army captain from a World War II movie; except the war was a church playgroup and killing Nazis was playing with other kids. You know what, blame Daddy, he has been watching old movies late at night, and that analogy sounded better in my head. Well, needless to say, we weren't too good at killing Nazis, I mean, playing with other children. We tried, but come on, it was Friday and like our 8th playgroup of the week. I don't think the lecture of shame was necessary and I am sure I have seen her more mortified, so that was obvious hyperbole. This weekend, Bacia (Daddy's Mom) was here for a visit. That was fun. She lets us make a total mess and eat sausages for breakfast. Yum! Mommy and Daddy went to the first opera of the MET at the Movies season, and they said it was mostly fun and all. Sadly, they sat in front of a Snorer who was there with a Singer, and they were behind a Shusher. And Mommy had those cough drops with her, which I guess caused some off-screen drama. Man, adults are weird. Oh, and I broke down and called Mommy by her name. She seemed to need it.

Well, that's it. Since this weekend, Mommy has been battling Bronchitis, although I guess she didn't have him identified until her visit to Urgent Care this morning. Daddy isn't feeling too great either, so I am sure he will be the next to enter the fray. My brothers are being their normal abnormal selves. And I am perfect, per usual. So, we are all caught up! Tune in soon, for Mommy's return and her thrilling tales of toddler taming!

P.S. Hey, Readers, don't think that I am horrid, but is it terrible that when Mommy comes over to kiss me, I turn away a little? I am like, Hey there, Typhoid Mary, how about we wait the 24 hour period until your antibiotics kick in before spreading your germs all over my face? I mean, come on. I got a battle of my own with walking going on over here, I don't need any distractions. Anyway, if you guys could pass on that she could express her love in other ways, like offerings of food or maybe a return of that bag of cough drops, I would be ever grateful. Thanks!

Thank you, Super Baby, for that edifying edition of Awkward Mom. We now return you to your normal Facebook trolling of Aunt Edna's 87 pictures of her garden, but just because we like to be of assistance, the picture where you can see her cute neighbor (shirtless!) is around picture 53. Enjoy!

While we appreciate the effort, Super Preschooler, the antibiotics are apt to be more effective.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Awkward Mom vs. Levels of Love

They are kinda like Tunnels of Love, and if you want to picture Bruce Spingsteen singing about it, feel free. It makes this blog entry better, trust me.

Last time that the Awkward Grandparents were visiting, we got into a heated debate. It looked something like this:

Awkward Grandma: I fell asleep?

Me: Yes, I remember it vividly. I looked up from my big monologue, my only monologue, by the way, and you were sleeping. Third row, on the stage left side.

Awkward Grandma: No, that was when Awkward Uncle was in Our Town.

Awkward Grandpa: Well, it probably happened then too.

Me: No, it was a series of Horton Foote one acts.

Awkward Dad: Well, there you go. Who could stay awake during that anyway?

Awkward Mom: Wait, are you sure it wasn't Our Town?

Me: That was Awkward Uncle, and it isn't like I would forget it. It scarred me for life.

Awkward Mom: Well, forgive me for scarring you for life while I was working nights to pay for your fancy high school plays.

Me: Couldn't you have pinched her or something?

Awkward Grandpa: What? And ruined your big monologue with her screaming at me?

Me: The snoring wasn't a big improvement.

Awkward Mom: I don't snore. And anyway, I was awake for plenty other plays of yours.

Super Preschooler: What's a play?

Awkward Dad: It is kinda like a show, up on a stage.

Super Preschooler: Mommy was in a show?

I turn to face him and I can see the gears shifting behind his eyes. He is trying to insert me into his version of a play, which I can only guess is an awkward amalgam of Disney on Ice and this Shakespeare in the Park that we once walked by on our way to some swings.

Awkward Grandpa: Yep! She had a costume and everything.

I can see the floor dropping out from under Super Preschooler. He doesn't say a word (which you all know is one of the signs of the Apocalypse); he just stands there, staring at me, with unbelief and awe wrestling for control in his face.

Super Preschooler: Was it a pretty costume?

Awkward Grandpa: Ask Awkward Grandma, I am sure she remembers it better than I do.

Super Preschooler turns his enormous eyes to Awkward Grandma, who, without even blushing, pulls him into her arms and whispers, "Not half as pretty as your costumes, but it was nice enough."

That appears to be enough for him. He solemnly kisses her on the cheek, slips out of her arms, and comes over to me. He wordlessly stares at me for a moment (which is totally disconcerting), pats my hand, and then races off to play Thor with Super Toddler. Everyone shares bemused smiles and starts gossiping about some of the more crooked branches in our family tree, but I know what just happened. A momentous occasion just bloomed in our midst; quietly, like a rare night orchid. I just became human to my son.

In that moment, Super Preschooler accepted a side of me that isn't just Mom. In fact, it is a side from that murky time before children, that even I am having trouble remembering. It could be a previous life (a la Shirley Maclaine), as far as he is concerned; something mystical, even slightly fascinating, but not real and very hard to visualize. It isn't his fault. I think that I have mentioned how much like Super Toddler I looked as a child. Here is a refresher:

Super Toddler:

There are very few differences, even down to our love of cats. Here is how you make a picture of Super Toddler into a picture of Toddler Awkward Mom:

Step 1: Find a picture of Super Toddler.
Step 2: Find a red pen.
Step 3. Draw a huge birthmark on his lower left jaw line, about an inch from the chin.
Step 4: You now have a picture of Toddler Awkward Mom.

This causes trouble when one wants to reminisce or introduce one's children to memories. I will show Super Preschooler childhood pictures of me and this is what happens:

"Why did Awkward Grandpa let Super Toddler ride in the front seat of the car? I never get to, that is so unfair!" or "Why is Super Toddler wearing curtains? Aren't those the curtains from Great-Grandma's house? Well, they look like them. His hair looks weird too." or "What is that huge red spot on Super Toddler's face?"

It usually doesn't go well. But the idea of your parent as a child is a very difficult one to grasp. In fact, the idea of your parent as a person is a hard one to grasp, and it sure doesn't happen overnight. With just one story of my own mother's complexity, Super Preschooler has started the long road of knowing the complete me. It was bound to happen one day. It always does. The slow unfolding of a parent into a person. The awareness that your Mom is more than your Mom. There are levels and the process takes childhood and beyond.

There is that benign (level 1) awareness that happens when your best friend calls your mom by her first name. Maybe there is a polite Ms. in front of it, but it is still her first name. This new name of your Mom's sounds exotic, almost forbidden, so, of course, you experiment with calling her this name. The sparks that come flying out of her eyes are totally worth it. There are those moments when she cuts someone off in traffic, swears at the broken glass on the kitchen floor, can't figure out the Wii; tiny signals (levels 2-4) that she isn't merely the god-like creature who sweeps you into safety from the middle of bad dreams. The awareness that she isn't prefect culminates (level 5) on the day she can't fix your favorite toy. You are disappointed, but you get over it. It is nothing compared to the day (level 6 or 7), sometime around age 12, when you realize that her hugs and cookies aren't fixing your first broken heart. There are those explosive (level 10 or so) adolescent tantrums that reveal the true limits of your mother's patience, which seems to shrink along with the hems you are sporting these days. You run off to college or join that band (level 15), with full and complete awareness that she isn't perfect and is, in fact, totally lame. This softens (level 17) when she comes over and helps you pack your belongings the day you decide to break up the band and leave the drummer, who really is totally lame and can move that groupie in for all you care. Your admiration grows when she doesn't try to lecture you and makes sure to develop a sudden craving for ice cream on the way home, insisting that you be polite and help her eat it. You spend level 18-20 actually interested in all those stories of her life before you, around you, and even after you. You find yourself sad that time travel doesn't exist, but then you remember what happened to Marty McFly and you content yourself with the stories. By the time you have left home for good, to launch into a career she never thinks is good enough for you or to be with a person that she likes but would murder the second he/she hurt you, you have reached level 20, an awkward awareness that attempts to balance your annoyance with her flaws and your abundant adoration for her in spite of them. You rock on this balance the remainder of your life; precariously perched on an endless game of see-saw. Be assured though; she is rocking the same see-saw with you. She hasn't totally forgotten level 10. It is the circle of life, really.

We are really sorry that you now have the Lion King in your head. Just think of it as one more level of Awkward Mom to begrudgingly accept and love her in spite of. We look forward to getting to know and love all of you, Readers. At the risk of sounding preachy and Hallmarky, learning to accept other people as flawed and fascinating is a wonderful challenge for us all. Especially in an election year, eh? No worries, Readers; level 15 can take years to grow out of. Take your time, but make sure some of that time is spent here for our next blog entry. Same Awkward Time, Same Awkward Channel!

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Awkward Mom vs. Dada

It is a dark day in the Awkward Household.....
I don't have words, Readers. I do not have words for this betrayal.

Look, Readers! Look! Even the thought of saying Mama makes her cry!

Just so you know, Super Baby has been saying Dada since she was 5 months old. She is now 10 months old and has yet to say Mama. Not even once. Let the pity party begin!

Monday, October 8, 2012

Awkward Mom vs. Owl pumpkins

Because a normal pumpkin isn't awkward enough, that's why.

So, Super Preschooler loves fall. (He comes by it honestly; it is my favorite time of year too.) His love really knows no bounds; physical, mental, and especially financial. You see, little Martha Stewart over here thinks that everything should be decorated according to its season. Eggs everywhere for Easter. A cluttered cacophony for Christmas. Hearts hover in our home for St. Valentine's Day. (You try to find appropriate V words!) Anywho, you can best believe that it is wall to wall pumpkins at Awkward Manor right now because Super Preschooler definitely holds to the design adage; "why do, when you can overdo?" (He also comes by that one honestly, Awkward Grandma once hung a 5 foot bat in her foyer for Halloween, right next to a 6 foot tall singing Frankenstein's Monster.)

He has been sneaking Halloween decor into the shopping carts since it started popping up sometime around the Fourth of July. At first, it was little pumpkin shaped erasers and Halloween on Sesame Street coloring books. Then, the window clings started to show up. And everyone knows that window clings are the gateway decor. After that, he was completely hooked; glitter ghosts, witch candles, Boo doormats, strings of candy corn lights, carvable plastic pumpkins (what the?!), cauldrons, Halloween trees (complete with Halloween ornaments) and more costumes than Elton John would shake some oversized glasses at. My favorite had to be the elaborate Star Wars Halloween flags because, really, who doesn't want to celebrate Halloween on Tatooine? (Oh, Puny Awkward Mom!)

Most of Super Preschooler's decoration ideas are quietly returned to the shelves before we leave the store, minus the window clings because you can never have enough window clings. (See? addictive.) Despite this cruelty on my part, our house currently looks like 1313 Mockingbird Lane. OK, well, the cobwebs may have been here since June, but the point is, he has plenty of decorations. However, the one thing that he didn't have was a real pumpkin. I was trying to put this off as long as possible, remembering, vividly, the aroma of the mold that grew in the one last year. I was even trying to sell him on these plastic carvable ones (Oh, it is a whole new world, Readers.) but Awkward Dad was having none of that. Therefore, we faithfully made a trip to the apple-less apple orchard, took a million pictures that I have already subjected you to, and picked a pumpkin. Super Preschooler carved it that night. And by that, I mean, the following:

Awkward Mom: Please don't use that knife. It is way too big.

Awkward Dad: How do you expect me to cut it with that little plastic thingie when it is clearly...ouch!

Awkward Mom: Super Toddler, please get your father a bandaid.

Super Preschooler: Hey, stop bleeding on my pumpkin!

Awkward Dad: Why can't you just carve a face in it?

Super Preschooler: This is prettier. I saw it in a Halloween design magazine.

Awkward Dad: Why is our child reading design magazines?

Awkward Mom: I can't control what they put at the checkouts.

Awkward Dad: Why can't he want candy like everyone else?  Super Toddler, I don't need a bandaid on my eye.

Super Toddler: Pirate! Pirate!

Awkward Mom: Just give it to me, I'll do it.

Super Preschooler: Be careful with the eyes.

Awkward Dad: I primed it for you. Make sure to tell people that I did the hard work and you just came in at the end.

Awkward Mom: Oh, I will certainly tell people that you opened it up on the floor and left it for Super Baby to graze out of while you caught the end of that ballgame, before you argued with Super Preschooler about his design choice for close to 45 minutes. That only stopped because Super Baby was choking on a seed. Then, you picked the largest and dullest knife we own to carve out 1 claw and part of an eye before cutting yourself and bleeding all over the pumpkin and our middle child.

Awkward Dad: Well, if he had just put the bandaid on my hand and not my face, he would have been in the clear. Super Toddler, I do NOT need a bandaid beard.

Super Toddler: Pirate!!

Super Preschooler: Careful, careful! This is the feathered part.

Awkward Mom: Shush! Don't distract me.

Awkward Dad: If it were just a normal face, this would be done by now.

Awkward Mom: Shush.

Awkward Dad: I bet the Awesomes are gonna have a normal face pumpkin.

Super Preschooler: Shush!

Awkward Dad: They even had a normal one on the Peanuts Halloween special. You like that one, don't you? Let's just do a face.

Super Preschooler and Awkward Mom: SHUSH!

Awkward Mom: Super Toddler, get that bandaid out of your eye.

Super Preschooler: Take a little off the side, please.

Awkward Dad: It was an important game, I couldn't miss it. Super Toddler, stop that!

Super Toddler: 2 Pirates!

Super Preschooler: Nice ear, Mom.

Awkward Mom: Thanks, now, I just need to focus on this piece here....

Awkward Dad: AH! Super Baby, get that out of your mouth!

Awkward Mom: Sweep her mouth! She is turning purple!

Awkward Dad: Whew. She's OK.

Super Toddler: Bandaid?

Awkward Dad: No, she'll just eat that too.

Super Preschooler: ummm....

Awkward Mom: Oh, sweetie. I'm so sorry. Maybe I can fix it. I could take a little off the other one?

Super Preschooler: Sigh. No, it's OK. It is mostly good. I'll just tell people that it's an owl.

Awkward Dad: Should've done a normal face....

Hey Readers, do us a favor? If you see Super Preschooler, tell him that his pumpkin totally looks like an owl. OK? Thanks!

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Awkward Mom vs. Homemade Photo Shoots

What the Awkward?! I thought we were done with photo shoots... I mean, the awkward was amazing, but still, there is only so much a reader can take. Well, brace yourselves, Readers; Awkward Mom has a few more awkward stagings up her sleeve. No sedate backgrounds here; we are filming on location with natural lighting, where the props just might bite ya!

OK, here is what happened. We went to pick apples. Except you can't really pick apples this fall because the Michigan apple trees did battle with a villainous April frost, and they lost. Rhymes aside, there are no apples to pick this year. But we went anyway and saw cider being made. And picked pumpkins (who appear to have won their frost battle). And admired sheep. And listened to a brass band. And easily conquered a corn maze that drew a tie in its frost battle. And basically wandered around in the beauty of nature, amidst apple-less apple trees. It was a very nice fall Saturday, which, of course, puts one in the mood to try to take Christmas card photos. That's normal, right? Enjoy!

(P.S. Emphasis on the try part of that sentence, Readers....)

There are 123 of these, and if you are friends with me on Facebook, you have been exposed to all of them already. Therefore, I will only share the best with you. Best meaning the mostly deliciously awkward, of course.

 Nothing says Christmas like the back of your children and some sheep!

The true awkward way is to give Mom hope that you are all going to turn around and look at her by doing it one at a time. For 16 pictures...

Dang it! They forgot me again!

There are 15 pictures of them on this swing; Super P. and Super Baby are pretty adorable in almost all of them and Super Toddler is not looking in 14 of them.

He decides to look at the camera in this one.

And then, for some reason universally unknown, we decide that the following is a good idea:


And I didn't even bother to show you the ones where the hay ride goes by and Awkward Dad decides to take pictures of them instead. Although, I kinda get it; they were a lot more well behaved.

It is starting to look like the only way to get a decent picture of us is to take it from 18 miles away.

And then, just when all hope it lost and I am contemplating giving in to the inevitable unphotogenic-ness of the entire Awkward family. Just when I feel like an apple tree in an April frost. Then. The unthinkable happens:

At the risk of sounding like a complete and total Perfect Mom,
Everyone! Everyone, Look! Look how pretty my baby is!
OK. Great! No, wait. Does this mean that it is going to take 123 more pictures before we get a nice one of Super Preschooler? Or one where Super Toddler is actually looking?
Oh silly Awkward Mom. It is gonna take much more than 123...
Thanks for wading through our photo shoots, Readers! Check back with us later this week to hear the full tale about the apple-less apple picking outing. Anything that involves a brass band is worth the telling...
See ya next time; same awkward time, Same awkward channel!

Monday, October 1, 2012

Awkward Mom vs. Photos

Because Awkward Mom promised to show these to you and she never breaks a promise (unless it was 13 pounds of candy just so that we could leave the store), we present the results of our church photo shoot!
In all it's "glory."

Ellis Island.
We all look slightly freaked out and potato faminey; except Awkward Mom, who appears to have found some Xanax on the ship over.

Eyes Wide Shut.
We have all the extremes covered here; from Super Preschooler's no eye contact to Awkward Dad's intense staring contest, peppered with Super Toddler's "I didn't do it" glint and Super Baby's silent "Help me, I want to join a normal family."

Crooked Crowd.
Well, to be fair, the most obvious crooked aspect of this photo was done when Awkward Mom scanned it, but there is a host of crookedness going on here: from direction of gaze, to Super Toddler's hair, to legs all akimbo. And yes, Super Preschooler is pre-jump.
Football Fever. 
Well, Duh. Super P. has a football and the rest of us look like we have fevers. The kind of fevers that give you hallucinations and ideas that you can smile like a beauty pageant contestant.
The photographer was waving a colorful toy over her head to try and get Super Baby to smile, or at least change her expression. That is where Awkward Dad, Awkward Mom, Joe Montana, and the latest Bond Villain are looking. Super Baby is the one staring, with barely restrained contempt, directly at the camera. 

Compass Chaos.
You know, because we are all looking in 4 different directions. Expect for Super Baby, who continues her long suffering gaze straight ahead....18 years from now, when she can shake the awkward dust of this family from her feet and venture forth to more graceful adventures.

Our official church directory photo.
Selected because Awkward Mom's hair looks good, Super Baby finally changed expressions, Super Preschooler smiled, Super Toddler got his finger out of his mouth, and Awkward Dad was in the bathroom during selection and not there to veto it.
(Since Awkward Mom enjoys being married and wishes to remain so, she is obligated to tell you that Awkward Dad had a cold, is not as large as this photo makes him look, needed a haircut, was saying something to the photographer at the time, and really doesn't look anything like this.)

We got a free 8 by 10 of the official church photo just for taking the pictures and Awkward Mom was gonna hang it proudly in the living room until Awkward Dad stole it and put it in the basement. I suppose the laundry room did need some decoration....
Hope you are all enjoying the lovely fall weather, Readers! We are trying to, but we are already stressing about Halloween and trying to figure out what Super Toddler should be.
Suggestions are welcome!  His was "anything with a gun."