Country-Fried Mama

A Yankee “mutha” raising kids in the deep, deep, DEEP South

Archive for the ‘Misadventures’ Category

Do you like “see-food”?

Posted by CountryFriedMama on Feb-10-2009

New-neighbor-lady invited me to a sell-stuff-to-your-friends party back in November.  I hate these parties.  I always spend twice what I intended to, usually on things I don’t need or want.  But I went, because she was trying to be both friendly and nice. I came home with $100 worth of kiddie placemats and personalized plates for Miss D. and Belly (who doesn’t yet need either of these things, of course).

Recently, Miss D. asked me what her plate said.  She recognized her name, but what were those other letters?  The woman who took my order had suggested adding “something cute” to the plate.  I took her suggestion.  “Miss D.,” I said.  “That says, ‘Keep your elbows off the table.”

I had my elbows on the table as I told her this.  She looked at me funny, but didn’t ask about the conflict in messaging.

My table manners are not stellar.  If you took me to a very fancy restaurant, I would undoubtedly embarrass you by eating my entire meal with my salad fork.  But even I am getting grossed out by the way Miss D. eats.  She knows the word “gross” now, mainly because I can’t help but say it as I sit next to her at the kitchen table.

“Miss D., that is gross,” I said to her today, when she opened her mouth to show me her chewed-up bread.

“Miss D., that is gross,” I said to her at dinner last week, when she ate all her ketchup with her pinky finger and left the rest of her meal untouched.

“Miss D., that is gross,” I said to her at breakfast this weekend when she rubbed her honey-covered hand all over her hair.

It is ridiculous to tell a two-year-old not to play with her food.  Everything is a plaything to her right now, as it should be.  But I can’t stomach eating with Miss D. at the moment, which is why I am sitting here eating my lunch alone at 2 p.m.  (Hooray for naptime.)

I wish I had known where Miss D.’s eating habits were headed when I bought that plate.  Elbows on the table are the least of our problems.  I should have ordered a plate that said, “Miss D., stop grossing out your mother.”

The Greatest Nap on Earth

Posted by CountryFriedMama on Feb-2-2009

With several rooms full of toys, Country-Fried Daddy and I tried to think of some Hanukkah and Christmas gifts this year that would be fun for the girls but not completely crowd us out of our house.  One solution: circus tickets.  The downside of this idea was that we told Miss D. about it in December, but The Greatest Show on Earth didn’t roll into town until last week.  She finally started getting excited about it after a circus unit at school, an acrobatic show at the local library, and lots and lots of talk about clowns, tigers, and elephants.

We went yesterday; yes, Super Bowl Sunday.  I had no idea when I bought the tickets that February 1st had any importance.  Oops.  Country-Fried Daddy was pretty cool about the whole thing, saying that Miss D. would remember her first circus much longer than he would have remembered that game.

I think he was right.  It was an awesome sight, in the true sense of the word “awesome.”

I have mixed feelings about the circus.  (Has anyone read Water for Elephants?)  It can’t be a happy life for the animals.  But I tried not to think about that yesterday, and it was easy to do for most of the show.  Miss D. was enthralled.

Her favorites, in order:

1.  The $20 spinning thing with lights.  There was no way we could avoid buying one of these.  When the vendor walked by with them, CFD and I saw plastic crap.  Miss D. saw magic.

2.  The bucket of popcorn.  I don’t think we’ve ever given Miss D. popcorn before, and she ate far more than I or CFD.

3.  The acrobats.  Miss D. has a bit of daredevil in her, and she seemed to pay careful attention to the women hanging from the ceiling.  Or maybe she was just admiring their sparkly outfits.

Miss D. was not the only little kid impressed.  As tiny dogs danced in tutus (the poor things), the little boys behind us yelled, “holy crap,” over and over again.  I can’t wait to hear from Miss D.’s pre-school about that choice phrase.

While Miss D. soaked in the sights and sounds, Belly made her displeasure known.  She was tired and the arena was loud.  About a half an hour into the show, the true three-ring circus took place in section 25, row G.  CFD tried to entertain Belly by making faces at her.  When this failed, I took over and tried to surreptitiously nurse her.  CFD took her for a walk.  By intermission, we gave up and I went and sat with her at the edge of the arena, where she finally fell asleep.

Everyone was awake, though, for what I thought was the most striking image of the night.  We were slow to leave the parking lot, having accidentally walked the very longest way around the arena and back to the car.  As we finally pulled out onto the road, we saw that the circus was getting ready to move onto its next stop.  A dozen elephants were walking in a line down the cordoned-off city street, holding each others’ tails like preschoolers holding hands on a field trip.

“Look, look,” CFD and I yelled at Miss D.  We were amazed by the sight of these elephants, heads bent, shuffling along only 20 feet from our car on their way to the train tracks.

Miss D. looked up for a minute, then returned her attention to her plastic spinning thing, which was already running out of batteries.

The plastic spinning thing: isn’t it amazing?

The elephants, before they had to move on to the next stop.

Belly, sleeping soundly in a very loud civic center.


Posted by CountryFriedMama on Jan-27-2009

There are hours during the morning and afternoon in which things can be pretty dull at our house.  Miss D. might be at school, or Belly might be asleep.  It can get quiet here, even with two little ones about.  But once the sun goes down, it is hard to hear my own thoughts.

By 5 p.m., I’m preparing three meals (one for me and Country-Fried Daddy, one for Belly, one for Miss D.).  While I curse cook, Miss D. torments plays with Belly.

At the same time, I’m listening to the news in an attempt to remember there are things going on in the world that are bigger than Belly’s orange poop (although those can be pretty big) and Miss D.’s increasingly extreme temper tantrums.

The sound of this chaos can sometimes be too much.

A transcript from a scene in my kitchen late last week:

This is All Things Considered.  I’m Robert Segal…

Miss D [dancing with Teddy and singing the tune from Sleeping Beauty,

which is impossible to purge from my mind once I hear it]:

I know you, I walked with you once upon a dream.

I know you, the gleam in your eyes is so familiar a gleam.

Senate Democrats issued their stimulus proposal today…

Belly [in her exersaucer, greeting her reflection]:

Eeeeeeeeee!   Eeeeeeeeee!   Eeeeeeee!

The Congolese government today…

Country-Fried Mama [trying to hide the sound of her impatience]:

Miss D., you can’t sit on my lap while I’m feeding Belly.

What is the mood like at Guantanamo?

Miss D. [With middle finger extended]:

Ahhh!  I bit my finger!


Well, don’t eat with your hands in your mouth,

and you won’t bite your fingers.

Bill Gates plans to weigh in on Monday with his first annual letter about the work he’s been doing since leaving Microsoft

Miss D [Sounding at first surprised, and then gleeful]:

I pee-peed!  I’m pee-peeing!

And shooting a film like Slumdog Millionaire was especially complicated…

Miss D:

I’m done.  You need to clean me up now.

It’s 6 o’clock.  Marketplace is next…

Needless to say, I can start conversations about almost any current event, but I can’t usually finish them.

Miss D. enjoying the final moments of a warm afternoon before heading inside for the frenzied end to the day.

It’s hard to find good help these days

Posted by CountryFriedMama on Jan-9-2009

Miss D. likes to help take care of her little sister.  This is a lucky thing for me, because I often need help, especially when Country-Fried Daddy is out of town.

Last night, as CFD  was enjoying Mexican food and some football game on a big-screen TV in an Oklahoma restaurant, Miss D. was helping me give Belly a bath.  I tried to create lots of little jobs for her so she would stay busy while I was washing Belly.

“Miss D.,” I said. “Please put Belly’s clothes in the hamper.”

“Miss D.,” I said, “Please put Belly’s wet diaper in her diaper pail.”

My helpful girl ran around doing these little errands, handing me soap, and giving Belly bath toys.  She was a super helper.

After both girls were in bed, I took Belly’s hamper and dumped the whole thing in the wash.  I did not sort.  I did not look for stains to spot treat.  I did not check pockets.  I just dumped it in.  I was tired.  I did not want to be doing laundry.  I fell asleep before it was time to move the load to the dryer.

After I took Miss D. to school this morning, I finally got back to that load of laundry and started moving it to the dryer.  Socks, panties, dresses, diaper…  What?  At the top of the load I found a balled up, dirty (disposable) diaper.  It took me a good five minutes to figure out how it got there.

I have washed that load twice since I found the disgusting surprise inside, and I am still grossed out by it.  Eww.

I should probably go check the diaper pail for dirty clothes.

While Mama fails at her domestic duties, Belly sleeps peacefully.

At 34, I am almost potty-trained

Posted by CountryFriedMama on Jan-6-2009

About 300 or so days ago, a friend passed along an eBook to me with one mom’s guide to three-day potty training.  If memory serves, it entailed three days in the house with a half-naked Miss D. and an itty-bitty potty stuck in the middle of the living room.

I thought about this book last night as I was sprinkling corn starch over a pee puddle on my bedroom carpet.  I got the corn starch trick from that book, but I didn’t get much else.  Nearly a year after we began what has felt like a futile pursuit of the potty, Miss D. knows where the corn starch is and can go get it for me, but she can’t tell me when she has to pee.

My smart girl can identify colors, shapes, and several letters.  She can remember the words to countless (annoying) songs and can hear through walls (particularly if anyone is talking about her).  She can pedal her tricycle.  She can play CandyLand, make up stories, and finger paint like nobody’s business.  But nearly a year after we started talking about the potty, she still won’t tell me when she needs to use it.

And so, I am becoming potty trained.  On January 1, we instituted a Miss-D.-wears-panties-in-the-house rule.  I put her on the potty when she wakes up, before she eats, after she eats, before we leave the house, after we get home, and whenever she gets a funny look on her face.  We’re doing pretty well; we’ve had one accident-free day, and several one-accident days. Success, of course, hinges on my remembering my role in this game, and sometimes I miss my cue.

Yesterday, when Miss D. peed on my carpet, she stood up and said, “Mama, get the corn starch!”

“Miss D.,” I said,” you need to tell me before you pee so we can go to the potty.”

She smiled sweetly, then broke into a perfect rendition of “Accidents Happen” from the Elmo’s Potty Time DVD.

Chik-fil-a smackdown

Posted by CountryFriedMama on Jan-5-2009

I’ve been stewing over a confrontation I had before Christmas, and I was just about over it until this morning.

Back in December, we went to the Chik-fil-a playground with our fabulous friends from the Rebel Playgroup Crew (RPC).  We’ve done this more than I like to admit since the weather turned cold (i.e., 50 degrees).  Three days before Christmas, though, our beloved indoor playground was a madhouse.  Miss D. clambered up the playground equipment and tried to make her way into the rocket ship where two bigger girls were hanging out (probably smoking cigarettes and swapping torrid tales.)  One of these ‘tween terrors told my baby girl, “If you come in this rocket ship, you’ll fall down and die.”

This was one of those moments when I found myself in the uncomfortable position of disciplining someone else’s child.  Ever since, I have been angry with myself for not heading off to find the little brat’s mother, and chew her out, too.  (And I have also been listening to too many stories from Miss D. about dollies that are dying.)

Despite this trauma, we ventured out again to our favorite fast food joint today.  Big mistake.  The place is tainted for me now.  Any kid older than three seems like trouble, and I can’t even enjoy the fried fare, since January 5 seems too early to start breaking New Year’s resolutions.

It’s high  time Panera put in a playground.

Here’s what Belly has to say to kids who mess with her big sister:

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