Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Declarations for 2009

• I will count to 10 in German - using my iPhone translation application - when I see drips on the toilet seat for the third time that day.

• I will not pick up candy off the floor of Wal-Mart and offer it to my Bobby Banjo, even if it means enduring 15 more minutes of hearing-aid inducing screams.

• I will not allow myself to become embarrassed when the youngest Whiffen child flatulates in public, then blames it on me.

• I will no longer try to vacuum oversized items off the floor but rather bend down, pick them up, and throw them in the garbage.

• Next time we go to the automatic car wash and my boys are fighting in the back seat, I will not yell, but instead roll down all the windows.

• I will forgive Judd when he laughs at me when I slip on the ice and fall face first on the sidewalk outside the gym.

• I will be more patient by extending my Whiffen child consequence strikes from three to four, and I will say them while smiling (even if my face still turns red).

• I will not remove the budding dust balls that accumulate around the entertainment center until they reach a size where I can easily recycle them into cotton balls and use them to clean my face.

• I will use the great tip I learned of placing vapo-rub under my nose the next time I have to clean up Whiffen child vomit, so I don’t retch the entire time and lose my appetite for three days after.

• No matter how tempting, I will not go to Costco or Wal-Mart during the entire month of December. I will not.

On a more philosophical note…

• My actions will be guided by my inner voice and not others reactions.

• I will do everything I can possibly do (along with Brittany and all the many parents dedicated to this cause) to get this autism insurance legislation passed. I promise families that are just surviving from day to day that I will never forget.

• I will tell my boys (including the big one) I love them more, and I’ll show them everyday.

• I will live each day as if it were my last blog entry.

I'm anxious to hear at least one of your 2009 Declarations!

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Costco Survivor – Roller Derby Style

The double sliding doors at Costco greet me like a celebrity, and after two Excedrin and a Dr. Pepper, I’m feeling the confidence and energy of Angelina Jolie (if I could only fit into a 42DD) as I take on a night in December at the bloated box warehouse. The newfound confidence is not enough to soothe the slight pain growing from the lining of my stomach up and into my throat as I see oversized cart-to-cart traffic and families of 10 scouring the aisles. Babies are screaming at volumes Mariah Carey can't even match. My heart murmur becomes more pronounced until I’m momentarily calmed by the Christmas lights and nodding Santa to my left. That is until a small child darts in front of my cart causing that same vital organ in my body to freeze in mid-beat. I sigh then smile with relief as the bubble above my head shows all three Whiffen children shoveling the driveway with red-cheeked smiles - their dad appointed as lead shoveler.

Soon I find myself wedged between a woman thumping on every cantaloupe in the bin, and a man on his phone in the middle of the aisle who can’t see me or hear me even though it is clear I’m standing in his peripheral vision. “Excuse me.” No response. He’s grinning at the floor and shuffling his feet. He giggles. I try to wedge my way through the narrow spot, but my cart gets hooked on his cart. He doesn’t notice. I clank my way through, crashing his cart as I squeeze by. He’s still oblivious. "Jackass," I mumble.

Next up…frozen food section. “You can do this,” I whisper. But I think the lady groping the cantaloupes hears me because she keeps staring at me and raising her eyebrows over her bifocals. Suddenly, I see someone I think I know, but I’m not sure, and I’m starting to get the shakes, so I make a quick hook to the right and down the next aisle. I avoid two minor collisions, which would have been non-existent if they would start putting blinkers on the end of the carts – a safety feature that even Brittany Spears would be pleased with.

I eye the frozen chicken breasts I’m after, and swing down that aisle, but 20 feet before I reach my destination, I hear a “ding” and I watch the food sample lady with a hairnet carefully place one-inch squares sections of pepperoni Hot Pockets into tiny sample cups and sets them out. Like flies on a hot cow pie, swarms of people seem to come from the ceiling and even the freezers themselves. Soon I’ve lost sight of my chicken breasts, and the food sample lady. Suddenly, people start to clear, the food sample lady comes back into focus, her hair net now sits crooked on her head and she looks dazed. The samples are gone, and papers dot the floor. I quickly grab my chicken breasts and head for the checkout line.

I eye all six lanes that are open strategizing which gives me the greatest chance of speed. I can almost feel the Dr. Pepper pulse through my veins as I eye a line with only two people, carts each only half full. I quickly pull into the line before someone else sees it. One down, one to go. My thoughts of chestnuts roasting on an open fire disappear when I hear the lady in front of me say, “Now, sir, I thought this was on sale. Let me speak to your manager.” I’m tempted to give her the cost difference until I realize I don’t have any cash left. I contemplate asking the Salvation Army bell ringer at the front of the store if I can have it back as I eye the other lines with an averaging six people each. I grip the handle on my cart and watch my knuckles bulge.

Twenty minutes, one hot dog and berry smoothie later and my fingernails bitten to the flesh, I’m on the other side of those sliding glass doors and into the crisp fresh air. I stop to unzip my pit vents, and giggle while jogging to my car behind my cart -because I know this will be my last trip to Costco before Christmas!

Let’s hear those holiday shopping survival stories!

Sunday, December 14, 2008

On three, two, one...

My goggles were worn by request (and for protection because sometimes our flailing arms become deadly weapons). The pirate hat is part of the ensemble (haven't you seen pirates loitering around the ancient pyramids?)

Just in case you want to practice at home, I learned my moves from Dirty Dancing and Napoleon Dynamite (okay, and WWF). It helps me to watch myself on video, though, because now I can see that I need to work on squaring my arms and making the rest of my body as geometric as possible while attempting the Egyptian walk.

I'd love to hear any other tips you might have...

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Shake it like an Egyptian

Every night after I tuck Judd into bed, I downplay the growing excitement spurred by pending freedom. It starts subtly in my toes and ends up almost bursting through my chest as I gleefully try to prioritize all 76 items on my to do list - a sort of optimism even Julie Andrews would envy.

I slither out the door and into the den, and just as I open my laptop, I hear, “MOOOOM! You forgot to do the mummy dance!”

I walk like an Egyptian all the way back down the hall and into his room. My neck bobbing much like the roosters on my childhood neighbor's farm. I hear him giggle as I bob my neck and squared arm through the door, then back out. “Mahm, come on!" he begs. I hit play on his stereo and Mary Pope Osborne “Mummies in the Morning” book on CD begins to play. Ancient Egyptian music plunks through the speakers as I frolic my way in front of the lamp so I can make freaky dance shadows for my solo, giggling audience member. I place my hands together pointed toward the ceiling. My neck moves back and forth, my hips move the opposite direction. I shimmy around the room. Judd mimics me - neck and all. His lips pursed together in concentration. His three-year-old body doing Egyptian moves like he’s dancing around the ancient pyramids with the mummies themselves. Soon he’s by my side - his moves too expansive to contain inside his small twin size bed. His shadow crosses mine just as the music runs out. I continue moving around the room, the music continuing in my head. "Mama, that's all. It's over."

As I walk out of his room and down the hall, I think about how good I’m getting at the mummy dance. I start to wonder what I might look like moving my hips this way, and my neck that way. Soon I find myself in my bedroom, door locked, doing the mummy dance in my own bathroom mirror.

After three minutes of this ridiculous fearlessness, I finally realize why my mom took me out of dance class after only the first year.