Friday, February 24, 2012

The Daughter Chronicles

Once upon a time I thought girls were pretty little beings with pigtails and pink dresses. Sugar and spice, and everything nice. WRONG! After I had one,  I learned the truth. They cry when you brush their hair, they never like the clothes you buy them, and there is never anything good to eat.

Story one in the 'daughter chronicles.' This morning I made French toast. I was sitting with my computer in my lap, coffee at my side and the daughter stated, "There's nothing to eat!"

Mom mode kicked in. "Do you want me to make French toast?" Did I really just say that? Yes, I did. I actually offered.

French toast? She made that face, the one that should have warned me. But then she seemed compliant, so I jumped up to do my mom duty thinking that I'd just scored sunshine points from kid 3. There should have been a disclaimer of some kind attached to her forehead: "Could spontaneously combust."  All girls should come with that warning.  No, instead there was a smile and something resemblings sweetness. (this is the look that gives me hope for the future)

The problem is that my idea of 'fixing French toast' is ordering it at a restaurant. This project meant googling a recipe, hauling out the eggs and milk, soaking the bread and firing up the stove. Really? This early in the morning? (Cooking before noon??)

Batch 1 went terribly wrong. I soaked the bread too long and put it in a skillet with too much oil. THe daughter's reaction to this oozing mess: I'm not eating that. I kind of agreed and we scraped the gooey bread into the trash.

I'm still in sunshine land so I say, "I'll try again if you want."

She agreed. I went back to work on a second batch. This time it turned out much better. I put the lovely, golden brown French toast on the plate. Kid 3 melted into the stormy cloud of blech and said, "I'm not going to eat that. It's gross."

The moral of the story: Girls can be sweet. They can also be icky. Don't get too bent out of shape if you have one and you can't make her happy. Happiness makes them angry. They come with a self-destruct button that is immediately pushed if they sense their own happiness or the happiness of anyone else.

The good news,  I've heard that they grow out of this stage and return to normal human beings by the time they're thirty.

Monday, February 20, 2012


I need a sign to hang around my neck. "DO NOT DISTURB."
There are a few people in my world who don't understand these words: Deadline. Working. Later. Can you do it yourself?

The two-year-old great niece has a list of demands and if she doesn't get them, the chihuahua is a gonner. She wants water, no milk, no water..she grins as she plays this game. She would like to clean the floor, it's really a mess. (she might have a point) As I type this,  she's flat on the floor,  whining that she needs to sweep. I know how to deal with her. I'll turn off Tangled. That's like waterboarding a 2 year old. Or I'll turn it on! That's like waterboarding the rest of the family.

It isn't just the two year old. The dogs need out. They need in. They need water in their bowl. And they ALL need to cuddle in the chair with me and my laptop.

The rest of the family has a list of wants and needs that range from 'why isn't there anything to eat' to 'why isn't there anything to eat.'  Their list goes something like this: I'm bored. I don't have anything to wear. What's for dinner. Can we go out to eat. (Oh, that one is mine)

Writing is not an easy job. It really does take time, focus, and more time. There are days that I can't figure out where the characters are going. At times the plot just isn't working or the next sentence is like pulling teeth. Of course there are days that the words flow from my imagination to the computer with little effort. But those days are rare. Writing is a job. A real job.

True, my office attire is whatever I woke up in. My desk is the recliner. But I really do work, no matter what my kids tell you. They think I drink coffee and play mahjong for a living. I promise, if I could get paid for those two things, I would apply for that job.

Do not disturb. But then again, please do. I love my life and I love that I work at home where my kids can tell me about their day, know that I'm here for them if they need something, the great niece can come to stay for weeks, the dogs can cuddle in my lap. I've learned to write a book with a chihuahua between me and the computer and a two-year-old next to me, drinking my coffee.

The question today is balance. Whether you work for home or not, how do we balance all that we have to do and keep our family a priority?

For me, the most important thing is recognizing what can wait until later and what needs attention now. And of course, a good dose of procrastination thrown in, along with a game or two of mahjong.