Friday, June 29, 2007

The Power of Chuckie

“Come on, let’s try to go potty in the toilet!”

“NO! Never, never going potty again!”

“Ok, I guess we won’t be going to Chuckie Cheese this weekend then.”

“Momma, I need to go potty.”

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Splashdown! A potty training update.

All right, the plastic pants are out and we’re pretty much back to nakedness or regular underwear. I got him convinced once that the plastic pants were the coolest thing since Go Diego Go, but after he wore them for an evening he refuses to put them on again. I can’t really blame him, it’s like wrapping a shower curtain around your privates.

We have to be diligent when he’s got underwear on because he thinks he can just go in them and doesn’t want to take the effort of pulling them down to go in the toilet (typical man). So every half hour I’ve got to convince him to go potty. Last night I employed a potty song, begged, threatened, and finally turned off the TV and said no more until he went potty.

The next time I tried the blue toilet water trick. In theory, you put blue food coloring in the bowl and then when they pee on it it turns green. Well he was pretty excited about making colors when he peed so that got him in there but he either didn’t have enough pee or it wasn’t yellow enough because it just stayed blue. But the color swirled around and he still thought it was pretty cool, so that little trick was enough to get him in the bathroom to go.

The big event last night was that I saw him squatting and grunting and asked if he was pooping. He said he was starting, so we rushed into the bathroom and after some of his protests about how “that’s not where poopy goes”, he sat on his little potty seat and when I heard it splashdown it was like the New Year’s ball dropping. I yelled, I screamed, I danced with joy and he was very proud of himself.

Now I may have gotten a little carried away because I told him if he went potty and poopy in the toilet for the next 2 days then he could go to Chuckie Cheese this weekend. So the rest of the night I got to hear over and over about how Chuckie Cheese has pizza and games and tickets and toys and games and pizza . . .

It seemed like a good idea at the time

Imagine someone who’s blind in one eye and has a cataract in the other, with one of those prosthetic hooks on one hand (the result of an unfortunate encounter with a wood chipper), and their other hand is gnarled with arthritis. Now imagine them cutting my hair. That’s truly the best way for me to describe what’s going on with my hair right now.

I’ve kept my hair fairly short for quite a few years now. However, after I had Gwen I found it very difficult #1 to get to the hair salon, with two kids, and #2 to imagine cutting my hair into a style that would require time to style.

However, with the temperature and humidity rising to the level of unbearability, I decided to just chop it all off. Now I’ve never been able to find a quality beautician that could cut my hair properly, or if she did cut it properly, did not decide to move to Pakistan the next day, or continually overcharge me and pressure me to do a $60 color treatment every time I saw her. Therefore, as sad as it may be, I often end up at Great Clips, spinning the roulette wheel of shitty stylists. Last Sunday was not my lucky day.

So I tell the gal that I want to keep it at the jawline but that I want the layers to be really close to my head because if not then the sheer thickness of my hair and its natural curl cause it to look like a big bubble. She cuts, very tediously, and what seems like 2 hours later, I am wearing a large hair fishbowl. So I say to the gal, “see how it looks like a big bubble here – can you thin it out or do something with the layers to avoid that?” So she thins it a little bit on the sides and it looks no better. Now I don’t have much patience or to be truthful, enough guts to really be all that persistent, plus by this time Aaron has come over to see me enough times that his feet are beginning to resemble tiny, hairy hobbit feet. So I just leave.

I’ve had bad haircuts before, actually many times before. I think I’ve really only had 2 good haircuts in my entire lifetime so this is nothing new to me, but I’d had it. I deserved better! It was like 20 years of crappy haircuts were all ganging up on me emotionally that day and I wasn’t going to take it anymore. Damnit, I was going to flip off those haircuts and insult their Mommas – that’s what I was going to do. So I called my friend to come over and I handed her the scissors.

Not such a good idea. I should have been wary when she didn’t want to wet it down and how she was just seemingly grabbing chunks and snipping them, but I figured if I could trust this woman with my children if Matt and I ever kicked the bucket then certainly I could trust her with my hair. It actually wasn’t all that bad and I probably should have just left well enough alone – but I didn’t.

Later that night I wet it down and started cutting it myself. I knew what I wanted, I knew I could do it. I cut Matt and Aaron’s hair all the time – it’s not that difficult. Well, it is that difficult – at least when it’s your own head. I’m still convinced that if I could have taken my head off my shoulders and put it in front of me, it would have turned out beautifully. Instead it turned out like this.

(Now in my defense this picture was taken at about 6 in the morning. I have no makeup on, just got out of the shower and am barely awake, which might explain why my glasses or crooked, or maybe they're always crooked? Anyway, I do usually look slightly better than this, but I wanted you to witness the harsh reality that is this awful haircut. Besdies, if I really wanted to portray myself in the most flattering light, I wouldn’t be writing this blog would I – but I’m keeping it real brother!)

My only styling option is to leave it wet and put a headband in it. Straightening it makes me look like Moe from the 3 stooges. Poor Matt was silent through most of this ordeal. He’s witnessed bad haircuts for years now so he knows that his best bet is just to say “honey, I think it looks good” and then step back and not interfere.

So in retrospect I should have just left the bubble. Now I’ve got to wait about 2-3 weeks for it to grow a little bit and then I’ll go somewhere to have them even it up because it’s hopelessly lopsided and chunky. Then I’ll just let it grow until I can’t stand it any longer and the cycle will continue.

Monday, June 25, 2007

There goes that theory!

Yesterday we were implementing the new potty training strategy of nakedness at all times, and things were going well. However, as I’m putting away laundry I hear Matt yell from the living room and walk in to find that Aaron has squatted and shit on the rug. There it was - a pile of poo - deposited right at Matt’s feet and I couldn’t help but laugh. Aaron didn’t really see a whole lot wrong with it, and was quite happy that he got to sit on the toilet afterwards and have Momma wipe his bottom with his special big boy flushable wipes.

So the nakedness theory is not working out so well in reality. I made a trip to K-mart to buy some of the old fashioned plastic potty training pants. Hoping that the lack of absorbency will help him learn and that the vinyl covering will keep me from mopping up excrement from the floor. I’ll keep you posted.

Friday, June 22, 2007

Keep an eye out for my new book called "Shit or get off the pot" where I delve deeper into public bathroom scenarios.

There are few things in the world less awkward than a bathroom at a large corporation. There you are butt cheek to butt cheek with your supervisors, managers, and fellow co-workers with whom you’re racing up that corporate ladder and it creates some interesting issues.

First of all the bathroom is deathly silent, no keyboards clicking, no hum of distant chatter, no piped in “white noise” just dead silence in which even the smallest fart reverberates like the aftershocks of an A-bomb explosion. Secondly you must deal with the following bathroom personalities:

The Self Assured: This person throws caution (and flatulence) to the wind and has no qualms about doing their business in the bathroom whether there are other people in there or not.

The Shy Shitter: This is the person that absolutely refuses to take a crap if anyone else is in the bathroom. They’ll just sit in the stall and clench until the room is empty.

The Synchronizer: This is a combination of the Self Assured and the Shy Shitter. They’re not quite confident enough to let it all hang out, and not quite so demure that they’re willing to wait to crap. The Synchronizer’s technique involves waiting for neighboring flushes to camouflage their gastric explosions.

The Talker: This person always seems to enter the bathroom with a companion and doesn’t skip a beat in the conversation during bladder or bowel emptying and only pauses slightly for flushing.

Now these four personalities are fine in and among themselves but when thrust together into corporate bathroom land – it’s not a pretty sight, or smell for that matter.

Imagine this scenario. A Shy Shitter (henceforth known as Shy Shitter 1) has just sat down, relieved in the fact that she can poop in peace when someone walks in. She clenches and waits. Person 2 pees and then there is silence; no rustling of toilet paper, no shifting of feet and it’s evident that this person is also a Shy Shitter. It’s a battle of the wills now. Does Shy Shitter 1 hold her ground and wait it out because she was there first? Does Shy Shitter 2 respect Shy Shitter 1’s seniority in this manner or does she think she can wait her out?? The tension can get pretty thick. Maybe 1 will tease 2 by tearing off some toilet paper, therefore giving 2 a false sense of hope that 1 has given up. Maybe 2 will give a little cough as if to say “I’m not going anywhere honey”.

Now imagine a Synchronizer enters the scene. What is she to do? If neither Shy Shitter is going to flush then she’s at an extreme disadvantage. Does she therefore become Shy Shitter 3 or Self Assured? The other option is to flush her own toilet. The bathroom has automatic flush sensors which will often go off while you’re still sitting on it, so the Synchronizer may feel confident enough to flush her own toilet under the guise of a malfunction and bear down at the same time. Witnessing this display of both courage and discretion may embolden one of the Shy Shitters to revert to Synchronizer traits or they may continue locked in their epic struggle.

Now nothing much bothers the Self Assured. They’re unaffected by the Shy Shitters and the Synchronizers. They’ve gone in to do a job and they’re going to do it. However, there are some things that can shake even the most Self Assured. First of all if they’ve been followed in by a Talker, they’re less likely to let loose because even for the self assured it’s too awkward to let one rip while someone is telling you about the sleeping habits of their 4 month old. This will force the Self Assured to be either a Shy Shitter or a Synchronizer or perhaps even to abandon her attempts all together and have to return after giving The Talker the slip.

Walking into the bathroom at the same time as a co-worker or manager can also quell the zeal of the Self Assured. They’re less likely to be completely indiscreet when they’ve been identified before entering the stall. Now if they manage to make it in the stall without being seen they are undeterred. They may time their exit so as not to be identified after the fact and they usually wear inconspicuous footwear so as not to be identified by their red and black polka dot heels.

You may wonder about my bathroom personality. I’m a Synchronizer. Teetering on the edge of “I don’t give a damn” and “I’d rather not have my co-worker know that I’m capable of blowing the enamel off the toilet bowl”. It’s a daily struggle I tell you. I can’t stand it when it’s just me and a Shy Shitter in there. I can’t count how many times I’ve just wanted to say “Okay honey, that Whopper Jr. I had for lunch is sending the contents of my lower intestines into the express lane. I know you’ve got to shit too so let’s just let it out on the count of 3. I won’t judge you and you won’t judge me and nobody will ever know.” I never pluck up the courage to say anything though.

One of my co-workers is an extreme Shy shitter. I mean this woman could spend an hour trying to go. She’ll go in and if she’s head to head with another shy shitter she’ll just leave and go back in later. I find that amazing. And if there’s a Talker in there she’s literally mortified, because if she can’t even squeeze out a turd while sitting next to someone, the thought of someone bold enough to pee and/or poop and talk at the same time is just unfathomable.

Obviously this gives great insight into people’s personalities as a whole. A Shy Shitter is timid about many more things besides waste excretion, and the Self Assured is obviously more confident in other arenas of life as well. I just thank god that we don’t have to stand next to each other and pee. Imagine how awkward that would be!

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

New Potty Training Strategy

Ah to be 3 years old again! My son spent the vast majority of last night naked as a jay bird and completely comfortable in his own skin. He was playing outside on his playground and sliding into the little inflatable pool I’d placed at the bottom of it and having a hell of a good time and then his pull-up ripped down the side so I just had him take it off because there was really no use of putting on a new one if he was just going to splash around in the pool anyway. We have a privacy fence and the kid is 3 so who cares right! So he wants to take his shirt off too so there he is stark naked running around the yard.

Ten minutes later as he stands atop his slide he says “Look Momma” and sure enough, just like a little stone statue in an English garden, there is a perfect arch of piss flowing down the slide. So after a good laugh I hosed off the slide and he slid down that thing like a greased pig and splashed into that little wading pool so fast that there was a flicker of panic on his face before he squealed in delight and ran atop the ladder to do it over and over again.

The kid was so comfortable being naked and so happy that I just left him that way, even after we went inside for the evening. The great thing was that the kid went potty in the toilet at least 6 times by himself!! We’ve been struggling with potty training and it’s been frustrating to know that he knows when he has to go, he just won’t do it. He pees in his pull ups and pees through his big boy underwear but somehow when he’s naked he knows that there’s nothing there to absorb it so he’d better hit the toilet. So I’m thrilled and I think this is our new potty training strategy – just keep him naked until peeing in the toilet is so second nature that he can do it with his undies on.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Asshole Class

I’m walking the dog this morning around 6 a.m. and as I come up to an intersection with a well traveled main road in my neighborhood two boys, maybe 16, cruising around in their daddy’s maroon Buick LeSabre, roll down the window and one of them shouts “FAT” and they just keep on driving.

Now first of all I’m taken aback because I usually get a “Fat Bitch”. Perhaps he was religious and preferred not to cuss. Or perhaps this wasn’t an insult. Maybe they just like to drive around and yell out the obvious traits of the people they see. I wish I’d been better prepared. If I had known we were playing that game I could have yelled back “INSECURE” or perhaps “HIS FATHER NEVER SHOWED HIM ENOUGH AFFECTION”. Maybe he thought that I didn't know I was fat and he was doing me a favor in letting me know? I am aware, and quite fine with my portly self so I guess he wasted his breath if that was his intention.

I was a little surprised by this at 6 a.m. I mean what are two kids doing up that early in the morning during summer vacation? The only thing I can come up with is that they were on their way to asshole class, which is obviously at the end of that street somewhere. It makes perfect sense because this is not the first time I’ve been such insulted on that particular street. This is actually the 3rd time. The first time was in the winter and these particular youths didn’t like my lovely striped scarf, I think I got a “nice scarf, bitch” on that particular occasion and then a “Fat Bitch” a few months later from someone else. Those were in the afternoon though and I was walking on the street parallel to them and had ample time to see them coming and to prepare my one finger response.

So it appears that class is held both in the morning and in the afternoon year round and they must get extra credit if they can show up and say that they insulted a perfect stranger on the way there.

Monday, June 18, 2007

Pancakes anyone?

I’m taking these herbal pills to help increase my breast milk production and they don’t really have any side effects but they “may cause your perspiration to smell like maple syrup”. Swear to God it’s true. I read it in a very reputable location.

My question is, will I notice when this occurs or will I just all of a sudden get a craving for pancakes? Will I walk into work after a strenuous afternoon stroll and my coworkers will ask if I went to IHOP for lunch?

Friday, June 15, 2007

Fashion Plates!

I’m a big fan of garage sales. You can get items dirt cheap and let’s face it it’s fun to see what crap other people have. It’s like going into an open house, not because you’re in the market for a new house, but because you just want to see what the inside of it looks like.

A couple weeks ago I had the privilege and pleasure of garage sale shopping on a Friday morning with my best friend and it was like heaven in an “everything’s 25 cents” box. Friday morning is the best time to get the prime goods. If you wait until Sat. then you’re getting second rate merchandise. We got furniture, we got toys, we got kids clothes and . . . an item that fills my heart with joy every time I see it – A Fashion Plates. When I saw it in the midst of that cardboard box on the front porch of that strangers house I literally squealed!

I would like to think that any female who grew up around the time I did knows what I’m talking about. You get all of these different “plates” with interchangeable legs, torsos and heads and you mixed and matched them to create literally thousands of different fashions. The best part though was that you could then turn the plates over and they would have a textured design on them that would come through when you colored over them.

Lord knows how many happy hours I spent as a child playing with fashion plates, and seeing them again was just the pick me up I needed. I can just look at them, and take them out and feel them and be 9 years old again, even if it’s just for an instant. The absolute best part though was that this box came with an expansion pack inside. Oh yeah, above and beyond what I had as a kid. I’ve got even more bell bottoms, I’ve got roller skates, poodle skirts, afros, it was almost an orgasmic experience when I saw it. And I got it all for a mere $3!!

I purchased them during my vacation and it was rather hectic so I haven’t really had a chance to bust them out yet but I’m planning on setting some time aside soon to enjoy them. For a moment I kind of thought it would be a nice thing for Gwen to play with when she gets older – or even Aaron if he wants – I mean look at Todd Oldham, that’s probably how he started out. But realistically I’ll be so afraid that they’ll break it that I probably won’t let them touch it. Besides I saw in the store the other day that they have Bratz fashion plates now – of course they don’t call them Fashion Plates but it’s the same thing, and I’m sure Gwen will probably want something besides bell bottoms and afros on her stylish fashion models when she grows up.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

My "Vacation"

I think I’m to a point now where I can talk about some things that happened 2 weeks ago without plummeting into an emotional pit of despair. Now don’t get me wrong. I truly enjoyed the majority of my vacation. Matt’s family arrived Saturday morning and we enjoyed 3 wonderful days of togetherness. Aaron had such a good time with the kids that I almost wanted to adopt them all just so he’d have some playmates. We had water balloon fights, roasted marshmallows, went to the park, went to Adventureland (amusement park). Then when it came time for Matt’s mom and the kids to head back to Kansas it was suggested that Aaron could go back with them as Matt and I would be going to Kansas the following weekend for the baptism.

I was incredibly torn. On the one hand Aaron would be out of our hair while we worked on the kitchen, plus he’d get to spend more time with the kids, therefore forming an even stronger bond with his cousins. On the other hand the kid is only three and a half and would be traveling and sleeping 6 hours away from home. If he got homesick the first night it’s not like we could just jump in the car and pick him up. After much debate we decided to send him, figuring that he would be so busy playing he’d barely notice the change of locale and parental supervision.

I had no regrets, until of course he called at 8:30 that night screaming into the phone “I wanna come home, I wanna come home, I wanna come home!” I had my suitcase out of the closet by the second “I wanna come home” and the car keys in my hand by the third. However, Matt comforted him on the phone and we decided to give it another hour or so and if he was still miserable we’d make our way down. Turns out he just didn’t want to brush his teeth and put on his pajamas, and was pretty much fine the rest of the week. Only asking for us when he was tired or when he was scolded for doing something he shouldn’t have. It may have been traumatic for him, I’ll never really know, that is until he’s 40 and his psychiatrist discovers that experience to be the root of his abandonment issues.

We shipped Gwen off to my mom’s for the week and got to work on the kitchen. We ripped up the linoleum, took off the countertop took off the cabinet doors and then it just all seemed to sit there disheveled for days and days. The living room and Aaron’s room were piled high with boxes of food and pots and pans. Matt was scraping the glue remnants from the sub floor for two and a half days while his dad worked in the garage crafting storage bench seats, a table and a new custom cabinet. And we never seemed to have enough supplies or the right supplies. We went to the home improvement store more times than I can even remember. By the end of the week it felt like everyone in the store knew our names – it was like we were Norm and they were Cheers.

My brother came to help on day 3 or 4, I couldn’t keep track really, it was all a blur, and helped us put the floor down and put the countertops in. The countertops. Now I’ve got to go back a little to tell this part properly. We got cheap laminate counters, nothing fancy but certainly better than the faux woodgrain laminate tops we had before. Well they need to be ordered and custom cut at the factory. So 3 weeks prior Matt had measured, and measured again, and measured again and he was confident in his numbers. I however, was not and had to fight very hard to keep from measuring things myself. I just really had this sinking feeling that he measured it wrong, but I didn’t want to bruise his ego or start a fight so I stood by my man and we ordered them using his measurements – and guess what. The damn thing was 4 inches too short.

So what were our options at that point you might ask – well none of them were good. Matt’s dad and my brother were trying to think of ways to rig it up – his Dad suggested a custom soap shelf along the wall to disguise the 4 inch gap. It just wasn’t pretty. I was seriously close to tears and that sounds pretty silly but if you’d been scraping glue and painting cabinet doors and living without running water for 3 days because the shut off valves under the sink were leaking, then you’d be pretty frazzled too. In the end I told them just to put it in so I’d at least have my sink and running water back, and we measured again and went to the store to order new countertops for another $200.

We finished things up as well as we could and departed for Kansas on Sat. morning. 3 hours into the trip we stopped for gas and bathroom breaks and it was decided that Matt’s Dad should drive. Not more than 10 minutes later the man had rear ended an SUV. I’ve never noticed his driving skills to be faulty before, but the traffic was slow and he obviously must be an impatient driver in those sorts of situations and was following so closely to the vehicle in front of us that I could see the color of their eyes from their rear view mirror reflection. I even made a kindly attempt to express this concern by saying “Gee, I though Matt followed closely but he’s nothing compared to you”. The hint obviously didn’t sink in, and when a semi cut off the person in front of us causing them to hit the brakes, well obviously we didn’t have any reaction time and plowed into them. Now the good news is that traffic on the interstate was only going about 50 and I think the collision happened at about 45 mph and everyone was fine.

However, we did have to pull to the shoulder and wait for the troopers to arrive while cars whizzed past us, causing the van to rock back and forth in their wake. And I’m the gal who envisions her children dying or being maimed horribly as you’ll recall so I had to take Gwen out of the car seat and stood in the ditch with her while calculating the trajectory of wreckage, should someone plow into the van and stretching my leg muscles so that I would be ready to sprint out of the way of the shrapnel without cramping up.

Not to mention the fact that the entire front end of the van was completely smashed up($3,100 in damage to be exact), and having just spent $900 to get the air and other things fixed on it, the $250 deductible we’ll have to spend to get it repaired now is not really appreciated. Luckily our rates won’t be affected since we were not driving. Now let me just say that to his credit, Matt’s dad was absolutely sick with guilt. I mean the man sobbed, and I think he was close to throwing up at one point he felt so bad and I think he still feels bad about it to this day and really, that’s all right with me. I don’t really blame him – okay I do blame him, but not in a bad way. Yes, if he hadn’t been following so closely we wouldn’t have had the accident, that’s true but he’s genuinely sorry, and shit happens you know – I’d just like to know why it always happens to me and my poor van.

We’ve had that van for four and a half years and it has been in the body shop three times now. I think this time I’ll ask them to place a huge rubber bumper around the entire outside of the van. Could they put air bags on the outside?

So that’s my vacation in a nutshell. You’ve really just heard the bad parts. The rest of it was good (despite the extra $450 it cost me) and I’m enjoying my new floor and cabinet and table and seats. We’re putting the correctly measured countertop in next weekend and I got a new sink for free so I’m excited about that but then I’ll need to buy a new faucet to go with it.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

A Note on Spirituality

I’m back from my trip and am so exhausted both physically and mentally that I can’t really recount all of the fabulous details for you at the moment. There were actually some pretty crappy details as well and I just can’t bring myself to think about them again right now so I’ll save that for later.

However, I did witness the baptism of my 3 nieces and my nephew over vacation and it got me thinking about spirituality, or rather just about how much I dislike church. We attended a rehearsal for the baptism, in which Matt and I were required to think about how we, as guardians, were responsible for the spiritual guidance of these children. Well let’s just say I’m glad they don’t interview or test for these guardian positions because I’m afraid I would fail. I’m not much of a church goer.

I went to church for most of my junior high years. I was never baptized and my parents did not attend. I mostly went because I was involved in AWANA (Approved Workmen Are Not Ashamed) which is kind of like being a boy scout for Jesus. We had vests and badges and all that good stuff. We didn’t have to start a fire with twigs, but we had to memorize and recite all the books of the New Testament- you get the idea. There were a lot of crafts and a lot of snacks so it was right up my alley. I made bible bookmarks and Jesus and Mary puppets, ate graham crackers and cookies and “asked Jesus into my heart” about 50 times because maybe he didn’t hear me or I didn’t say it right, or that cuss word I let slip last week negated it and then I would end up burning in a fiery hell for eternity.

I finally stopped going to church when I became too old for the Awana’s and was put into the teen bible study group in which they told me that my friends or family who went to different churches or who didn’t go to church at all were not going to get into heaven because they didn’t believe exactly the things that this church believed.

Wow! Somehow my church had got a hold of the real heaven handbook and only we knew the secret handshake that would get us through the pearly gates! I might have been young but I was old enough to know that that was the stupidest thing I’d ever heard. If heaven really was a member’s only club like that, well then I was pretty sure I didn’t want to be a member. So all in all it left me a little bitter about organized religion and I think I can live out my days very happily without ever stepping in a church again except for a wedding or funeral.

Now that you know a little more about my spiritual views – back to the baptism. It was held at an Episcopal church, which is really just slightly less ritualistic than a Catholic church. It was actually a lovely church. Very unassuming and quaint and Matt and I were made to feel very welcome. The kids were excited about their baptism. We rehearsed all of the sayings (or chants as I like to call them) and I even held my tongue and didn’t ask when the goat would be sacrificed, well at least until Matt and I were alone outside the church and then I just had to say it. Matt, knowing my aversion to such ritualized church proceedings merely rolled his eyes and smiled.

The day of the baptism came and of course my son threw the biggest tantrum of his entire life and proceeded to pout in the lobby for almost the entire ceremony. So here I am, intensely irritated, envisioning my first born either being abducted or simply leaving the church and laying in the street begging cars to run him over, while Matt assures me that he is fine. The clergy have changed their robes more times than I can count, I’ve chanted, I’ve sung at least three hymns hopelessly off key, I’ve watched them bless the water, the whole rigmarole and I was just trying really hard to live in the moment and enjoy it for the kids sake and for Matt’s sake because that’s why I was there but it was just really difficult.

I mean I get it. It’s all symbolism. The bread, the wine, they’re symbols; reminders of Jesus’ sacrifice. The blessing of the water, the sign of the cross is a symbol. That water isn’t any different than what I slurped out of the water fountain 10 minutes earlier just because a man made the sign of the cross in it and said some words. He’s just a man, a human. He eats, he drinks, he shits, he picks his nose just like the rest of us. I’m not allowed to take communion because I’ve never been baptized. That’s the magic ticket you need to be able to choke down some dry cracker and cheap wine. Doesn’t break my heart of course because to me that’s all it is; a dry cracker and a cheap wine. I realize to someone else it is the body and the blood and I can appreciate and respect that, I just don’t prefer to be involved because they’re not my symbols. I don’t believe in them and to me they’re just really kind of silly

That doesn’t mean I don’t believe in God. I just don’t believe the symbols and the rituals that most organized religions use to portray him and his work and his love. I see him everywhere. Mostly I see him in my kids. Their innocence is his, the sheer innocent joy they take in life’s smallest things, a lightning bug, a crayon, the feel of grass on bare feet, that’s God. Their laughter, their smiles are his. When Matt helps the old lady down the street take her garbage can and recycle bins to the curb that’s a little bit of God in him. The sacrifices we make for our friends and family, the joy and wonder of nature, God is in all of those things to me and I don’t need a church or a splash of water on my head to realize that. What happens in the after life I don’t know and to be quite honest I don’t really care. I’m just going to try and get through life the best that I can and take whatever comes.

Now I don’t want to take anything away from the baptism because it meant a lot to the kids and other family members and it truly was a wonderful experience for them. And as I said the church was lovely and everyone was genuinely kind which is pretty rare, even in a church. And now if my brother and sister-in-law ever kick the bucket at the same time I’ll not only get custody of the children but the responsibility of raising them as children of God. I can sing a pretty mean “Jesus Loves Me” I think that will do. Plus I’ll discourage things like murder and greed etc. That should fulfill my duty.