Monday, November 28, 2005


I get HUGE when I'm pregnant and my back hurts and I waddle. Christopher starts making fun of my outfits, specifically my Birkenstalks and black stretch pants which become my uniform, and I lose my sense of humor (that usually falls by the seventh month). When I was pregnant with Phoebe, expecting a baby the week before Christmas (she was born two days after Christmas), I decided to get all my Christmas shopping done by Halloween. That was the best Christmas ever. I wasn't distracted by all the shiny lights and mark-downs, ("Hey, what about THIS? No, THAT! No! THIS is BETTER!"). I've tried to keep the tradition ever since and I highly recommend it. But I guess it's too late for that now, slackers, because even Thanksgiving has come and gone.

The oddest present I ever got was a severed dreadlock from a boyfriend. He cut off a really long black dreadlock that resembled a fat caterpillar and put it in a zip-lock bag with a long letter. I'd like to say that at the time it was romantic, but even then it was a little bit creepy. I found it years later, among a trunk full of earnest journal entries. It scared me half to death at first, but then it brought back really funny memories. Christopher said it was disgusting and told me to throw it away. I like to think it was because he was jealous, but I'm sure it was more of a question of hygiene.

I haven't made my mind up about the whole giving a practical gift versus a frivolous one. It's hard enough to distinguish between wants and needs anyway and the holidays intensifies that dilemma for me. Sure, I'd love a food chopper, but will my heart leap when I open it Christmas 'morn? Maybe. (I melted my old one when I left it on a hot stove, so do I really deserve a new one? How will I learn?) Do I really need Star Wars Episodes I, II, and III? How often will I watch them? If I break it down per viewing will I earn it back after a year?

I also don't have a firm policy on neighborhood gifts. Do I give them to all the neighbors? How far down the street is appropriate? Do I give them to people who will give US treats? What about my First Nation neighbors? They haven't returned any of the items they've borrowed. . . so should we just call it even? I hate that awkward, "Oh, thanks for the treat! Merry Christmas! I've got YOUR treat. . .right. . .here. . . justaminute. . .lemme go. . .find . . .it. . ." It may be better to give than to receive, but sometimes it's just easier to not give and hope not to receive.

I do have strong feelings about some holiday gift-giving that might be of use to you:

1. No homemade coupons (20 minute back-rub, mow the lawn, etc). It's just a certificate that says "I forgot, and hopefully you will."
2. No Bratz dolls (Barbie's slutty cousin with low self-esteem).
3. No shopping on Black Friday (is that $20 you saved worth a piece of you that just died inside?)

Hope that helps! Merry Christmas everyone!

Thursday, November 10, 2005

Thinking About it. . .

When you hear that familiar gurgling and your son starts to throw up as you rush him to the bathroom, do you stop and let him throw up on the stairs, or do you continue to rush him into the bathroom, making a nice throw-up trail on the way?  I really haven't made up my mind on this one. How many bites of "whatever" is the correct amount before your kids leave the table? We know they really aren't going to starve.  Is it okay to wake up the baby?  EVER?  I've always liked the idea that you should know the answers to life's possible questions before you are faced with them so that, in the moment you need to make a decision, you won't hesitate. But some mysteries remain unanswered--much like the game sensation "What's Grosser than Gross." 'cause really, I can't make a decision in that game to save my life.
I went to pick up a check from BYU.  A seemingly simple task, picking up a check, but BYU made it a really special journey for me.  By special I don't mean endearing or touching. But I love BYU, I really do, and so I'm always willing to give them the benefit of the doubt.  After receiving two phone calls in two days that I had a check WAITING for me (and my mind pictures some 19 year-old plain-looking coed dressed in an awesome black Chico's skirt sitting behind a sterile gray desk, holding my check and checking her watch every 30 seconds--the pressure!) and a quick glance at the checkbook, I decided to THINK ABOUT picking it up. It takes me a while to ease into these things. I know what they will entail. I know what kind of determination, patience and speed it will take. I know the kind of negotiating I must be prepared to do. For example, I know that Owen will run off. I know that he'll want to see and touch everything. He'll run and get as near to the water-fountain as he can until I yell "don't even think about it!" and he'll laugh and go try to climb a tree. I know that Phoebe will take her time walking and go in the opposite direction the rest of us are moving. I know she'll say hello to all the boys and flirt as she says "My name is PHOEBE! I'm a bean-er-ina!" and she'll pick flowers she's not supposed to and tell me she has to tinkle right when I'm trying to talk to an adult or worse, tell me that boys have a penis and she has a vagina. Hugh could be an angel and smile, instantly captivating every stranger within a three mile radius, or he'll scream at the top of his lungs like a tortured cat. I consider all the possibilities and my adventurous pioneer spirit sets it. Not all of those things will happen all at once, I know. It is a grab bag of sorts; which one will happen on this journey? Which magical combination. "So", I say to myself, "feelin' lucky?"
After being directed to five different departments in the Administration Building, I finally come to discover that I do not have a check waiting for me. It will be ready on Monday. Of course it will.
After I load the kids in the car (details of aforementioned "grab bag" not important) as two 20's something students watch (in horror? in delight? I wonder), I say, "Enjoy the show?" they laugh and I flip my hair back and laugh, too and it was at that moment that I realized that I, too, was enjoying the show: "the show" that is motherhood. NO, just kidding. They just looked uncomfortable and smiled and I got into the car and told the kids to "hang on--we've got one more stop."