Oh, screw it

'Twas the week before Christmas
and all through the house
Mr. Lady stopped cooking;
She felt like a louse.

She just couldn't handle
one more dirty dish;
she took the kids to McDonald's,
they all screamed, "Delish!"

The next day, off to IHop
because two kids eat free
with every adult meal;
Cheap works for me!

Her Saturday posting
of scrumptious, good dinners
would have to wait just one week;
Cheeseburgers are not winners.

Her fridge has just milk,
Cheese and some NA beer
They kids' had better get used to it;
College is near.

Saturday next
will bring entrees galore
into your reader
that you will adore.

This week we are skipping
to shop and to see
just how long the kids will eat
breakfast cereal with glee.

Merry Christmas to you
and to your lovely pack
from Mr Lady, her family
and her empty dish rack.

How Time Flys

Today is my father's 59th birthday. I honestly cannot believe that. My parents will perpetually be 35 year old angst-ridden rock stars in my mind's eye.

Those of you who have been around here for a while will know that both of my parents are alive and well-ish, but that I speak to neither of them. I haven't said word one to my father in just over 2 years. Well, except for that email I sent a few weeks ago, apologizing for my lack of communication, which he chose to ignore. Bygones.

I don't miss them terribly; I mean, I have totally replaced them with two amazing people that I really wish were really my parents, and whom I think wish the same. All is well in parentville over here. But really; sometimes a girl wants her daddy.

My kids ask about my dad all the time, and every stinking question is like a knife through my heart. I refuse to say anything nasty about their grandfather to them, so I just change the subject. It is a sad, sad situation.

But today is not about that. Today is the Friday before Christmas, and the day a 4 pound baby came into the world in Media, Pennsylvania many years ago. That baby grew up to be an amazing guitarist, arguably the best I've ever heard. He grew to be a father to an excessive amount of children, husband to 2 women, and friend to many. Here's what I remember of him:

I remember band practice when I was a little girl. I remember sneaking downstairs long after I was sent to bed, sneaking up to the couch, burying myself in between pot-smoking, beer drinking band members and falling back to sleep in a flood of guitars, tambourines and immaculate harmonies. It is my single most happiest childhood memory.

I remember sitting on the stoop one day, eating ice cream from the ice cream truck, melting in the heat, and getting sprayed with the garden hose by my dad. It was one of the few days he actually stopped to play with us, and I couldn't have been older than 3 or 4, but I will never forget it.

I remember the look on his face through his rear view mirror as he drove away, car packed, belongings shipped, on his way to Colorado. No matter how sad I felt, that look in his eye told me he was breaking a little, leaving me behind. No words could have conveyed that more clearly.

I remember turning off all the lights and sitting on the living room floor listening to Meddle on vinyl. I remember how he sat beside me, and we were both silent and motionless, and I remember drowning in the music and the Old Spice in the air and the absolute still perfection.

I remember how every year on my birthday, he would call to sing to me, even though it was totally FORBIDDEN in my religion and it made my mother go crazy. I remember how some years he'd get really sneaky and send me a birthday present. Those were my favorite years.

My dad wasn't the world's best dad, and I don't think he ever will be. He's just not wired that way. But sometimes, when he forgot about his obligations and his pursuits and his life, he was able to find a way to make me feel like the very center of the universe, in small, quiet sorts of ways. I was his little girl, and he was my daddy. There is no relationship in the world like that one. And I miss him.

Close, but not quite

Potty Training in 13 easy steps:
  1. Wait until they are ready. They'll let you know.
  2. Get a potty chair for every room the kid spends time in. Yes, that means you should probably buy stock in potty chairs. So. Worth. It.
  3. Get used to naked babies. Take their pants off. If you leave their pants on, they will pee in them. Even if you buy really cute Dora panties. It doesn't work to tell them not to pee on Dora when the potty they are to pee in also has Dora's face plastered all over it. It DOESN'T work. Trust Mr. Lady on this one.
  4. If you must put pants on your kid, put pants on that are way too big. Make sure the crotch of those pants comes no higher than their knees. They won't feel the pants on their bottom, and won't pee in them. Make sure they can get them off easily, though.
  5. If you put pants that are too big on them, get used to bruised babies. They're going to trip. A lot.
  6. Pump'm full of liquid. Break your no juice rule...let them go crazy on the juice, the water, the popsicles, whatever. Make them have to go.
  7. Go with them. Let'm watch YOU pee. Let'm watch you poo. Which is seriously gross and really uncomfortable, but it works, yo.
  8. Don't worry about overnight. Staying dry overnight takes much longer. Keep a diaper stash on hand for outings (naked babies at the mall in December are frowned upon.)
  9. Ask them every ten minutes to go potty. Set a timer if you have to. You will get so good at this that you will find yourself rolling over in the middle of the night, rubbing your husband's head, and asking him in your sweet voice if he needs to go potty. He will not be amused.
  10. Create a reward system. Lollipops work, stickers work, but 3 kids in, I have found that 'You DID it!'s and high-fives kinda work best.
  11. Keep potty fun. If they manage to stand in front of the potty and pee all over the floor, that still counts. High fives are in order. (They WILL stand in front of the potty and pee on the floor, by the way.)
  12. Make sure you keep the potty chair accessible. Do not, under any circumstances, allow your older children to come home and throw their backpacks and coats on top of the potty chair. Do not let the potty chair get shoved into the corner when no one's looking. Keep it in the middle of the room. Especially when you're cooking dinner and are all distracted.
  13. In the event that the potty chair does get buried in a pile of clutter, be sure that you do not have another Dora item in the living room, like, say, a Dora push car
    who's seat has a lid and a hole in it, one small enough that a toddler can sit on it easily, all by her big girl self, while you're slaving away in the kitchen. You know, one that seems, to a toddler, to be a perfectly acceptable substitute. Horrors will ensue.