Take a deep breath. Blow it out. Good. Now take another.

That’s what I’ve been doing since returning from trick or treating: reminding myself to live in the moment and breathe. It’s remarkably hard to make myself do this – I tend to get caught up in the details when I ought to be focusing on the big picture.

Last night, instead of enjoying what is likely to be my last trick or treating adventure with Large (he’ll be choosing friends over family all too soon), I was obsessed with Small.

“Did you say, ‘Thank you’?”

“Slow down. Wait for the rest of our group!”

“Freeze means don’t move a muscle. It does not mean walk slower!”

“Stay on the sidewalk!”

“You don’t always have to be first.”

“Wait for your cousins!”

“Have we lost your sister?”

“I didn’t hear a ‘Thank you.'”

I was already teetering on the brink of sanity by the time Large tattled on Small: “Mom, Henry got a granola bar at that house and he said, ‘What the heck is this?’ instead of, you know, ‘Thanks.'”

When the kindling is dry, it doesn’t take much.

I pulled Small aside and scolded him. He was sullen, as most people are in the face of direct criticism and a strongly worded reprimand. I kept him back from two houses and under the pressure of my scowl, he promised to do better.

He’s excited, I told myself as he ran off. Don’t ruin his Halloween.

He bounced back, remembering to thank a whopping 60% of the candy distributors at the rest of the houses we hit and refraining from running over his younger cousins. But I didn’t. My grump cloaked me as thoroughly as Medium’s vampire cape. I couldn’t wait to get home.

My heart hurts at my own idiocy. Why do I let the little things bother me so much? Why can’t I enjoy the moment more?

I’ve got a year to redeem myself. You’ll remind me, won’t you?

CVS mask plus contact paper and packing tape

Our little goth girl.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Small goes for realism.

 

 

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Small woke up crying. This is uncommon and in my sleep fog I wasn’t sure if I had dreamed his cries or if he was truly sobbing. I waited. His cries intensified. I staggered out of bed to go to him.

“Did you have a bad dream? Are you sick? Did you pee?”

“No!” He wailed louder.

“Henry, buddy, what’s the matter? Are you sick? Did you pee? It’s okay if you did. Just tell me what’s wrong.”

His little body shook. “I’m just…sad!”

“Why are you sad?”

“Cause I’ll never have a real dragon!”

I stood next to his bed, simultaneously amused and annoyed. “Is that really why you’re crying?”

“Yes, and even if I got one, you’d throw it away!”

I glanced around his recently cleaned and purged room. Ah.

“I’m sorry, buddy. I understand you’re sad. Do you want to come into my room and cuddle?”

“No.”

The rejection pierced my haze like a knife. “Ok, then. I’m going back to bed.”

A minute later, I heard footsteps in the hall. I pulled back the covers. He tossed Piggy onto the mattress and climbed in beside her. The tear stains on his cheeks were a testament to the depth of his feelings. I hugged him close. “I’m sorry about the dragon,” I whispered. “If I could get you one, I would.” I paused. Unable to stop myself, I tacked on a redemption clause: “And I wouldn’t ever throw it out.”

“Thankth, Mom,” he mumbled around his thumb.

“I love you.”

He sighed. “I love you, too.”

So, I’ve been thinking about writing quite a bit lately but haven’t managed to put the proverbial pen to paper (or, in my case, fingers to keyboard). I’ve got half a dozen incomplete posts flitting around inside my head, begging to be set out, cut, polished and published and at some point, I promise: I will get them to you. In the meantime, today’s post is off the top of my head, inspired by the hilarious Iris of The Bearded Iris who linked to a post from Kate Takes 5.

I’ve always been interested in the ways people find OINKtales (my obsession thoughts on how to turn visitors into return visitors is a topic for another post). WordPress has a handy tool that tells me on a weekly basis what search engine phrases people have used to visit my site. What I didn’t know, until today, was that WordPress keeps an “all time” list of search engine phrases. Eureka!

OINKtales’ Top 5 Search Engine Terms:

1. “oink tales” (Really peeps? Bookmark this shit site. Do it now.)

2. “body combat” (My apologies to serious Les Mills Body Combatants as I am a group fitness poser. Note to self: Only post on group fitness has become top search engine getter. Get new post on same topic finished fast.)

3. “monster trucks” (Boys like toys.)

4. “kitchen peninsula” (Very glad the before and after pictures of my kitchen renovation have had so much screen time.)

5. “suburbia” (Sigh. But I’d like to think that I’m not living in your average suburbs. I mean, it’s not like Vermont even has a city large enough to warrant suburbs. I live in a town. With lots of trees. And poor landscaping. Oops. That last bit is just at my house.)

“Wow, Mary, that was really fascinating.” Wasn’t it? Shut up and keep reading.

OINKtales’ Top 5 Weird/Funny/Scary Search Engine Terms:

5. “blonde teen brown eye brows plays with bottle brother sister” (Say what? What search engine brought them here?)

4. “BYOB restaurants Keene NH” (I’ve never been to Keene, NH nor have I written about it. I’m sure it’s a lovely place, though. If you know of a BYOB restaurant, please tell me. I’ll share. For anyone visiting the Burlington, VT area, BYOB to Tiny Thai in the Essex Outlet Mall. No corking fees so feel free to upgrade from the screwtop varieties.)

3. “bang my neighbor” (For the record, I am not banging my neighbor. Not any of them. Not even the hot one. I think we’ve already established that I live in the suburbs and that kind of thing just doesn’t happen here. But wait! Maybe they meant “bang” as in b.b. guns or airsoft rifles! Yeah. Well. I’m not doing that either.)

2. “tanya cashier at costco in inglewood” (Dude. If you’re looking for a date by googling the first names of cashiers in your area, you’ve got bigger problems than you think you do. Get thee to a counselor. STAT.)

1. “anne hathaway tampons” (I kinda love this. It’s so sick that it’s funny. I have indeed written posts about Anne Hathaway and tampons but they were separate posts about the Oscars and the O.B. shortage. Exactly why would anyone want to read about Anne Hathaway’s tampons? Shudder. It boggles the mind.)

“Chop, chop, chippity, chop! Cut off the bottom and cut off the top! Whatever’s left, you put in the pot!”

“Hey! Where’d my butt go?”

When was the last time you laughed so hard you couldn’t breathe? When was it that you couldn’t speak because your body was in paroxysms of G-rated pleasure? When can you recall being so full of joy nothing else in the world mattered except your own happiness?

My children are in that moment, right now.

It’s a beautiful day outside but the two of them are inside, repeating this obnoxious song ad nauseum, talking about their butts, and laughing and laughing and laughing.

They’re about 30 seconds to one minute away from someone having a meltdown but I don’t have the heart to stop their frivolity. They’ll learn all too soon that moments like these are fleeting and precious and that they should enjoy them whenever they can.

I want to laugh so hard I can’t breathe.

Maybe tomorrow? Will that work for you?

Saw the most ridiculous thing this weekend while I was out and about:

Yup. That’s right. Justin Bieber has his own perfume. Eau de stinky, hormone-laced, teenage boy.

As a woman in her mid-thirties, I have to ask: Why?

I don’t get it (and I read Tiger Beat in high school, too). Back in the day, Kirk Cameron, John Stamos and Patrick Swayze knew better than to hawk ladies’ perfumes. The times, oh my, how they’re a changin’.

Trying to understand why anyone would think a baby-faced teenage boy makes for a compelling spokesperson for a women’s fragrance, I watched the promotional video. The female in it, presumably a representative of Someday by Justin Bieber‘s target audience, looks ten years older as well as ten feet taller than Bieber. One spritz and the pubescent-of-the-moment materializes to nuzzle her neck. She dreamily floats into the air on his kisses. With a stiff wind blowing, they awkwardly embrace. At one point, it looks as though he is trying to give her a piggy back ride (I can too pick you up!) and in another she clasps his head to her breast, which comes off less ‘come hither’ and more ‘breastfed infant’. Pantomined ecstasy over and feet on the ground, they exchange a look – puppy dog longing on his part, circumspect assessment on hers.

Someday, he will be old enough to hold her attention without having to pay her for it. Someday, they will look back on this experience and laugh embarrassedly. Someday, he will have a ghost-writer type his memoir wherein he will whine about having lost his youth and innocence in the media circus that is his world.

Contemplating too-big-for-their-britches teenage boys led me to recall the one I met on a cruise ship last fall. I had spent the day at the beach snorkeling, drinking Tequila, para-sailing, drinking Tequila, swimming and laughing with a fantastic group of women most of whom I had met just days before. By the time dinner was over, though, my buzz had worn off and I was grumpy. Instead of going to bed, I went to the dance party on the lido deck where I promptly parked myself on a lounge chair in a prime people-watching position. Within moments, I noticed a tall boy in a red shirt with a white cross. He looked to be around sixteen years old. His shirt proclaimed he was an “Orgasm Donor.”

“Oh my God,” I said. “Look.” I pointed him out to my friend, the ZumbaQueen.

“Oh my God,” she said, cracking up. “That’s terrible!”

“Where are his parents?” I asked, rhetorically. “Do they know he’s wearing a shirt like that?”

We watched him strut among the people at the party, high-fiving his friends and leering at girls and women alike.

“I’m going to call him over,” I said. “That is not okay.”

“Mary!” she admonished me. “Be nice!”

Throwing off my blanket, I waited until his orbit carried him closer. “Honey,” I called to him, crooking a finger. “C’mere.”

He puffed his chest out, pulled his hat more sideways and sauntered over. When he reached me, he leaned down, all bluff and bravado. I smiled at him, looked him dead in the eye and said, “Are you even old enough to shave?”

Someday.

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