Sunday, February 28, 2010

mother of the year update

Well I think I'm out of the running for MOTY. This afternoon after church, Mac and I were having a little wrestling match where I got to practice the WWF (formerly World Wrestling Federation, not the World Wildlife Fund) moves from childhood wrestling matches with my brother.

While we were in a wrestling maneuver, Mac had his mouth open and I noticed something wrong with one of his canine teeth. We immediately stopped wrestling and I got him to open his mouth where I saw the most distressing thing of my parenthood: he has a tooth growing out of his gum over a baby tooth that's still in place.

This tooth has not just broken through, so this means that I, formerly in the running for MOTY, have missed the most significant mishap in my child's oral health. I think I'm going to have to go back to brushing his teeth for him.

And beyond the inevitable loss of the MOTY tiara, the tooth just looks terrible and abnormal. If we'd given that tooth another few days, it would probably be a buck canine tooth and who has those???

I panicked but stopped myself from calling the pediatric dentist's emergency number. This, after all, probably doesn't constitute an emergency for him, although I'm seeing an extraction coming tomorrow which is emergency for me.

I asked Mac if he'd noticed this excess of teeth and he said he had, but he hadn't told me because he didn't want me to get mad. I think (hope?) the real truth is that he knows one of those teeth has to come out and it's not going to be easy since that baby tooth is not loose.

I checked out the other canine and I think it looks like that permanent tooth might be trying to push out there as well. Are in for 2 extractions? We shall surely both need tranquilizers to get through this.

We were just at the dentist's office in early January for the 6-month cleaning. I can't remember if they did x-rays at that time, but after hearing stories from my mother about extra teeth having to be taken out of my brother's mouth and Jimmy's mom saying they have a family history of extra rows of teeth, I'm thinking we need to do some more x-rays pronto to see what we have up there. I foresaw orthodontia in our future, but I didn't foresee double teeth. It's really horrific.

I shall keep you posted after we visit the dentist. But you can cancel your tickets to my coronation.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

we are the champions

I am claiming moral victory right now over Cub Scout Pack 843 for two little, shiny, fake brass reasons. May I present you Exhibit A and Exhibit B?

This afternoon, Pack 843 held their Pinewood Derby, an annual event in scouting where scouts come together to race wooden cars of their own design. Some months ahead of time, you get a box that contains a block of wood, 4 wheels, nails to hold the wheels in and some number stickers. I asked if a woodworking professional came with the package, but doing your own woodworking is apparently part of "the fun".

I took woodworking with Mr. Howard in middle school and although I loved that man, woodworking was not my forte. The only thing I really remember from his class is that you shouldn't put your fingers in the path of the instrument that cuts wood.

But not to worry, according to these men who run the scout pack. There would be several opportunities to work on the car with qualified people who own and operate woodworking equipment.

Mac and I went to the December pack meeting where the aforementioned woodworking would happen and there was a scheduling conflict with the facility so no meeting and therefore no woodworking occurred. I pull the "helpless female with a husband in Afghanistan" routine when necessary and the pinewood derby seemed cause enough to invoke the helpless female routine. These scout leaders assured me that there was no need to worry; there would be another opportunity in January and they would not let me flounder.


No meeting was ever scheduled and quite frankly, I just hoped the pinewood derby had been forgotten by everybody and we just wouldn't have to do this thing. But then a pack meeting was scheduled for late January, again with the idea that everybody could work on their cars together. One other mother and I showed up along with all these dads. And nobody would help us. They kept saying they'd help us and after Mac and the other boy drew their design on the block of wood (per the men's instructions) and went to have help in cutting it out (part B of the men's instructions), everybody was suddenly busy. So we patiently waited until we ran out of patience and then we took matters into our own hands. The other mom has a friend who's a professional woodworker. She called him and he said he loved doing pinewood derby cars but his children were past that stage and he'd be happy to help us.

So we went over in early February and he cut out the designs that boys had drawn on some woodworking equipment that could have cut off my arm. Then the boys got to sand, paint and decorate their cars.

I didn't think Mac's car stood a chance when I saw some of the other cars. They were sleek, aerodynamic numbers. Sort of Ferrari-esque things compared to something more akin to your grandmother's Buick. They had high-gloss paint jobs whereas Mac's had stickers that buckled and bumped because we didn't know we needed to sand off the first layer of paint after the wood had expanded (or something like that).

But I'll be really honest with you. I really, really wanted Mac's car to win because of the lack of help we got. Those men told us to just order precut cars off the internet and race those, so we "helpless, little ladies" (my words, not theirs) wouldn't have to worry about cutting the car out. Wasn't the designing and cutting out part of the fun, though? You know the saying about a woman scorned? Well I wanted victory and by golly, sweet victory is mine (and Mac's, of course). He was thrilled with his trophies; he is his father's son and they do love to win. I just needed the moral victory. We are all winners at Casa Story today.

P.S. The boy we worked with won second place for Tiger Cubs, so it was a doubly sweet victory for his mom and me!

the draft

A couple weeks ago, I signed Mac up for Summerville Little League. At the time of sign-up, I was told he would need to report to "the draft" on Saturday, February 20, between 12pm and 2pm.

Did they say "the draft"?

I know he's tall for his age but they know he's 7, right? He's not 17 and trying to hopscotch college to go straight to the pros.

So I questioned what the draft involved. Just a few drills, ma'am, to evaluate his skill level.


Between the sign-up and the draft, we were traveling to Orlando for all but about 4 days. So when we got home from Orlando, we went to the sporting goods store the very next day to buy a new glove. The old glove was not in great shape and it looked like it belonged to the 4 year-old for whom it was originally purchased. We needed all the help we could get before the draft, so a new glove it was.

Except the man at Dick's was not very nice or helpful. Maybe he only wants to wait on professional athletes who might saunter into his branch location here in Summerville but I have a feeling that 7 year-olds are probably what he gets mostly so he needs to put on a happy face and dip into his patience reserves.

With new glove in tow, Mac and I went outside to practice batting on Friday afternoon. The drill necessarily meant that I was the pitcher which is not necessarily my strongest suit. Mac told me to pitch overhand but I knew that was a recipe for disaster, so I did these nice and easy underhand pitches which he knocked out of our pretend ballpark. He didn't want to practice fielding, so we called it a day.

After his basketball game yesterday we hightailed it over to the ballpark as we only had 45 minutes left in our allotted draft time. I knew we were in trouble when we walked to our appointed field 4 and saw all these little 7 year-old boys in their cleats, baseball pants and last year's Summerville Little League jerseys. But Mac is fearless and isn't daunted by challenges, so he went right out there, put on the batting helmet as instructed and went to home plate.

Where he was told he'd get 2 pitches from an adult. Only 2 pitches, son, so hit what you can.

And then this grown man threw a fast overhand baseball pitch at my child, who swung and missed.

Pitch 2, I'm happy to report, was solidly hit so there was redemption.

The next drill was for Mac to hit the ball off a tee and then run to first base as fast as he could so they could time him. They told him to run through first base, but he promptly slowed down and stopped on the base so he lost serious time there.

The final two drills required him to get his glove and report to shortstop. The pitcher man asked him if he knew where first base was. Um. Hello, Mister. He just ran there. So Mac politely pointed out first base to this man who then threw him a grounder, which Mac sort of stopped and threw to first base. It was a good throw but his ball was more of an arc than a straight-line bullet like these other boys were throwing. The final drill was a pop fly which Mac missed but picked up and threw to first base.

After a couple sports with Upward, which stresses sportsmanship, being part of a team, and learning the fundementals, this baseball thing seems a huge departure from what I think is necessary for a young child just starting out in sports. And I've been told that S'ville Little League is actually lower key and less competitive than the Parks League here in town. A mother who moved her children from Little League to the Parks League because "there just wasn't competition in Little League" told me that when her son played 5 year-old ball, they actually had a catcher on his team who couldn't catch and would let the ball hit the backstop and roll to him to catch it. H-O-R-R-O-R! Needless to say, I don't want my child to be the one that the other mothers talk about as the weak link but if he doesn't get to learn the game now, when does he learn it? And the sad thing is that Mac is a pretty decent player but compared to those boys out there yesterday who apparently swung bats and donned baseball gloves immediately out of utero, he looks like he's never heard the word "baseball" much less played it. I hope we survive the season!

Friday, February 19, 2010

bad, better and best

I just learned that my beloved blueberry scone from Starbucks has something like 22 grams of fat. That's almost a whole day's worth of fat in one little scone. Goodness gracious. I think I just ate my last one this morning.

Buying this gorgeous little bundle of tulips at Publix this morning.

A few nights ago after we rode a rollercoaster at Universal Studios that confirmed my bonafide dislike of rollercoasters, Mac was trying to go to sleep but told me that he kept reliving the scariness of the rollercoaster when he closed his eyes. I told him that he should think of the happiest place he knows - for me, the beach - and try to imagine himself in that place instead of on the rollercoaster. Mac laid quietly with his eyes closed for a few moments and then said that his brain was working like a remote control for the television when I told him to turn the volume down. The volume of the scary rollercoaster was gradually turning down just like the tv volume. Pretty cool analogy for a 7 year-old, I think.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

supper club

I've joined a little supper club of neighborhood women who meet once a month at one of their houses for dinner and conversation. Tonight is my turn to host, which leads to the dilemma of what to do with Mac. Supper Club starts at 7pm and Mac's bedtime is 7:30, so I told him he can stay downstairs to meet everybody for a couple minutes and then he must be banished to his room upstairs or else.

(The "else" being that I said we wouldn't leave for Disney World until Friday instead of tomorrow, and he actually believed me.)

Always one to love a party, he then asked if he might read a story to the ladies.

Um. No. (I mean, I do everything to encourage his reading, but this isn't a poetry open mike night.)

Then he asked if he might play the piano.

Um. Double NO on that one. Does he remember that he stopped taking lessons last month? He keeps playing this little song that he's made up over and over and over, and I think he thought tonight was going to be his big debut.

That made me remember our neighbors in Guadalajara. They were both dentists (he was the one who asked me if I'd ever thought about having a nose job or a boob job. But that's a story for another day.) The first time we went to their house, they made their son give us a concert. He was about 8 and maybe he was playing under duress or maybe not. I don't remember him as a child prodigy, just your average 8 year-old recreational piano player. In any event, he played and played and played that piano. There was no conversation during the performance. We just had to sit and listen attentively. And in our young newlywed life, Jimmy and I made a pact that we would never subject our guests to an 8 year-old's playing the piano. In honor of that pact, there will be no playing of the piano tonight.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Tuesday musings

1. Did you read today that American Airlines is going to start charging $8 for using the blanket and pillow on domestic flights and on international flights longer than 2hours? Are you kidding me? It's not enough that I have to pay to bring my clothes along on the trip, but now I have to pay to use a blanket that leaves blue lint all over my clothes and a pillow that constantly falls on the floor? I'd much prefer them jack up the price of the ticket by $35 to cover luggage and a blanket than nickel and dime me for everything. I wouldn't be at all surprised if they go to the European method of public toilets and make you pay before you use the bathroom. I really wish I could boycott airline travel for good.

2. Mac's teacher got to go to the John Mayer concert last night and she got backstage passes and her photo taken with JM. I am jealous.

3. We leave for Disney World on Thursday. We'll spend a couple days hanging out with Mac's good friend here in SC (who will be in Florida while his parents attend a conference) and then we'll spend three days with one of Mac's best friends (and his parents who were very good friends to us) from Sao Paulo. I know Disney World is the happiest place on earth. Blah, blah, blah. A Disney vacation stresses me. I'm trying to think happy, happy, happy.

4. Before our road trip, I took the old Corolla in for a tune-up today. I decided to try out the new AAA Car Care Center near my house today and boy, am I liking their service. They have internet computers; a drink station with coffee, tea, and hot chocolate; tv; a children's playroom, etc. When they discovered some things that needed to be addressed and would take more time than they obviously wanted me in their nice waiting area, they drove me home and promised to pick me up again in time to get Mac from his after-school club. Love this service.

5. I cannot stop eating Valentine chocolate. What is wrong with me?

6. I babysat my 1 year-old and 3 year-old nephews this weekend and Lord, have sweet mercy on me, was it hard. You forget how much energy little ones require. I moved one vase out of the path of destruction and considered my house babyproofed.

And it was.

Except for the open fireplace; the flat-screen tv at baby height; the Wii remotes right there in plain view; the tall reading lamp that was begging to be pulled over; the armchairs that swivel and cause a baby to fall over if he's using them to stand up; blinds that are perfect for slapping and banging; the kitchen trash can that wants to be tipped over; the toilet paper in the bathroom that is so much fun to unroll; the cookbook bookshelf that's at the right height to push all the books to the back, thereby messing up your type A aunt's precision line-up of books; the dvd shelves where if you touch one dvd the wrong way, they all fall out of the shelf on the floor.

You get the picture.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

a banner day indeed

I received the following email early this afternoon:

Hey Susan,

Congratulations!! You are the winner of the raffle prize from parent night at Porter Gaud! Please come by the Drummond House to claim your prize! It is waiting on you!

Pretty exciting stuff, right? The lecture that I heard (and blogged about last week) was prize enough, but winning the raffle? Well, that's just icing on the cake. And I don't think I've ever won a raffle before so I was pretty excited, let me tell you.

The prize, all wrapped up!

The prize unwrapped: all the Pinewood loot a person could ever need!

And then, as if winning the raffle wasn't enough, I came home to a box on the front porch that had Godiva written all over it. It was an early Valentine's Day present from Jimmy. The card said it was for Mac and me, but surely Jimmy wouldn't expect me to waste Godiva on a 7 year-old who's perfectly happy with a 50-cent bag of M&Ms? It's a lot of chocolate so we should all pray that the urge to exercise kicks in soon.

Monday, February 1, 2010


Last night I dreamed that there was a live monkey on my shoulders. Now, I'm not a dream analyst but that seems too literal to ignore. I have got to get the(se) monkey(s) off my back.