Technologically Dependent (or Stupid?)

Dependency can be a very ugly thing. It can beunhealthy, limiting and has the potential to be very debillitating. Yet, I continue to hold on to this specific crutch with a mighty determination and utter lackof independent thinking.

What is this ‘monkey on my back’?

The internet.

My husband has been employedin the internet technology field since graduating from his high schoolpizza schlepping days. And, although it seems like World Wide Access has been here since the beginning of time, I remember a point in my life where this handy dandy little tool wasn’t a part of my existance.

A blissful time, really.An existance where communication was handled via regular mail and/or phone calls. An existance where there was no driving need to ‘update my status’ on Facebook or ‘fertilize my neighbor’s carrots’ on Farmville. An existance where I wasn’trequired to spend 10 minutes of my time reorganizing the numerous “You’re Special To Me” messages in my email inbox.

An existance where instance knowledge was not at my fingertips and I was actually expected to learn and retain information.

This latter fact became obvious and apparent over the last few days as my hubby and I were finding ourselves with little to no internet access due to a failing router (oooh…impressed? Ten years married to a tech geek has at least garnered me that one bit of vocabulary.)

And the kids have never before wanted to know more information that is not already stored into my overly-packed brain.

“Mom, why do leprachauns wear green?” “Mom, how does the rain come out of the clouds?” “Mom, how old is Barney? (that one was Jack)”

Normally, I would race to my handy-dandy little Samsung Netbook and look it up…but this week I was left with “Umm…umm…well, let’s see…” No internet access and not a frickin’ encyclopedia in sight!

“Jeremy!” I was forced to yell. “Where are our encyclopedias at?”

“What?”

“Our encyclopedias?!” I repeated.

“Mindy, we don’t have any encyclopedias. I”m pretty sure they stopped making those in the early 90′s.”

“Straight from the mouth of an internet-worshiper, Jer. They did not stop making encyclopedias at the onset of the World Wide Web. Some people still believe in getting their information from books and not Wikipedia,” I said.

“And, you, are one of those people, Mindy? When’s the last time that you cracked open an encyclopedia?” Jer asked.

Hmmm…point taken. “Well, obviously that’s not the point (except it is) and I am in need of some information and Wikipedia is not at my fingertips, Jer.”

“You’re going to have to tell Jack you’ll get back to him with Barney’s birthday. The internet will be back up very soon,” Jer assured.

Oh, thank God.

I can’t begin to explain the feeling of calm that washed over me. We would be back on-line and back into the world of insta-knowledge in no time.

Yes. Dependency.

For all of the inconveniences of being ‘constantly connected’, I will admit there are also many conveniences attached to the luxury. I obviously appreciate having instant access to information to answer those off-the-wall questions that kids pull out of nowhere (i.e. the birth date of fictional purple dinosaurs). I absolutely love having recipes-at-the-ready from a plethora of food websites for those timesI get inspired to channel my inner Betty Crocker and I’ve grown quite attached to the glimpses into people’s lives via the blogging world.

I guess there could be worse things to be dependent upon and typically most everything is okay in moderation so I won’t be seeking any InternetAnonymous meetings as of yet. However,I am determined to invest in a set of encyclopedias for that next inevitable moment that we become disconnected.

Let’s hope they’ve covered everything…my kids are teeming with questions.

Mindy

Our Tooth Fairy Sucks

I have a bit of a bone to pick. There’s a very popular someone highly admired by another certain someone in this house that is not living up to their commitments. Strike that. Their one commitment. Their one and only job they are tasked to do.

We have got to have the flakiest Tooth Fairy around town.

This particular fairy has had it pretty easy around here. They have only been assigned to one child thus far, a handful of baby teeth. I’ve known fairies out there who are juggling three, four or sometimes five kids at one time…an infinite number of teeth lost. And those fairies manage to get their job done. Those fairies manage to sneak those teeth out of various bedrooms leaving their various tokens behind.

Not so with our Tooth Fairy. Case in point.

Avery lost a baby tooth yesterday. She’s 7 years old and has already lost a few over the last couple of years. Well, let me just tell you that our Tooth Fairy has a horrible record in terms of consistency. I’d give her about a 60% success rate in tooth/money exchanges. Which is utterly pathetic.

This most recent loss is no exception. Avery went to bed, excited to see what prize would await her in the morning. Her brother got to “pend to-nite”with her thanks to spring break and they both nestled deep into bed, with one last look at the teeny little tooth awaiting its fate on the dresser, before falling fast sleep.

Apparently, so did the Tooth Fairy.

Jer and I were woken up bright and early the next morning by a timid little voice saying, “Mommy…the Tooth Fairy didn’t come.”

Ugh. Not. Again.

“Um, honey,” I began.

“She forgot to bring me any money. She left my tooth in the cup,” Avery said, perplexed.

“Um…here, climb into bed and watch some cartoons. I need to run into the kitchen,” I said, hurriedly.

“M’kay,” she answered, climbing into my side of the bed and covering up.

Damn tooth fairy. Damage control.

Eureka!

“Avery!” I yell as I ran into the bedroom. “Come here,” I said.

“What?” she asked.

“You need to see this,” I answered.

“Okay,” she said, excitement creeping into her voice, following me into the kitchen.

“Look!” I exclaimed, pointing at the kitchen counter.

“Wow…” Avery said, eyes wide.

I began to explain, “Apparently, the tooth fairy couldn’t make it all the way into your bedroom last night…”

“Mmm hmmm…it’s probably Jack’s fault,” Avery said.

Naturally.

“I mean he woke up,” she said. “He probably scared her away,” she finished.

Ah-Ha!

“You are probably right, sweetheart. So, because she couldn’t get in there to get your tooth, she left you a dollar here in the kitchen,” I said.

“Maybe, she’ll come back for it tonight,” Avery said, hopeful.

“Yes, Avery. I have no doubts that the Tooth Fairy will be back for your tooth tonight,” I resolved.

Even if I have to leave that flake a little note reminding her.

And, so she did. Tooth Fairy hightailed her little glittery butt into Avery’s room last night bearing two quarters and a package of Smarties in exchange for a two-day old tooth.

Let’s hope this latest fiasco is the last one. However, I have a sinking feeling it won’t.

Poor Jack.

Mindy

Times They Are a’ Changing

Many things change as we age. Our hair gets slightly thinner, our skin getsslightly slacker, our faces get slightly wrinklier and our minds getslightly more confused. These are all things I’ve already come to terms with and am ready to accept. But what happened this weekend is unacceptable and I am unsure how to proceed from here.

I have a fairly large family by today’s standards. And we all live in the same neighborhood. Literally. There are but two streets that separate any of us. We’re a little commune minus the prairie dresses and braided hair. Weird for some but it definitely works for us.

I have an older sister with three kids, ages 13, 10 and 8years oldand atwin brother with two kids ages 10 and 7. Along with my own two, ages 7 and 3, my parents are the proud grandparents of 3 boys and 4 girls. They decided to have a girl’s night and take the little ladies out to dinner and then on to Build-a-Bear for a little retail therapy. The boys were going to convene at my house where my 13 year-old nephew would hold down the fort.

Time for a grownup night out. (Way) back in the day…before my kids were ever a little speck in my fallopian tubes…I enjoyed a night out like no other. I could spend hours in a club, dancing my much smaller behind off, until the wee hours of the morning. After what was essentially a power nap I could bounce out of bed, relatively unaffected, ready to face the day.

So, it should come as no surprise that I was anxious for a little time away from the kidlets. My sister and brother-in-law, brother and sister-in-law, the hubby and I set out for a night out on the town, starting with dinner at a local brewery. We were all reminded how nice it is to go out for a meal that does not include multiple trips under the table locating dropped crayons, cleaning up spilled drinks and refereeing “he’s touching me” feuds. To sit and actually taste the food one is ingesting is such a novelty and I will never take it for granted.

After dinner, none of us quite ready to call it a night, we headed towards a phenomenal bakery for a little sweet noshing. We sat over eclairs and peanut butter nanaimo bars laughing and teasing each other relentlessly. If there’s one areain whichmy family is particularly gifted it is in teasing and playfully exploiting the weak spot in our fellow members. Not necessarily something to be proud of but, hey, it’s our thing.

Following our dessert course my brother-in-law decided we needed to liven things up a bit and head to a Mexican restaurant cantina for drinks. “Heck ya,” we all answered, eager to channel our inner ‘younger selves’. We filed into the bar and huddled around a table, snatching up the drink menu. Two ChiChi’s,a couple of rounds of beer and a whole lot of laughslater we were ready to call it a night.

Jer and I stumbled home, exhausted,tummies full of delicious food and great drinks, satisfied with a full night out reminiscient of days long gone by. We were ready for bed.

Needing to pay my nephew for his mad babysitting skills I stole a glance at the clock to figure out how much I owed.

Wait. Are you freakin’ kidding me?

Our huge night out netted a return time of 9:30 p.m.. We managed to linger over dinner, enjoy dessert and imbibe in several drinks inapproximately three and a half hours. Wow.

Folks, Jer andI are officially losing our youth.This one caught me slightly off guard as I’ve been actively ignoring this particular rite of passage into mid-life. If our pathetic 9:30 curfew didn’t make this glaringly obvious, the pillow creases etched into my puffy face the following morning most certainly did.

Yes. Times…they are definitely a’ changing.

Mindy

Can’t Make It One More Step…

We had an exhausting but wonderful weekend. God granted us some beautiful weather and the kids took full advantage of sunshine and warmer temperatures. Avery and Jack, both, spent the entire day on Saturday playing sidewalk chalk, swinging from the tree in the front yard, riding bikes, scooters and harassing neighbors. It was truly blissful.

For them.

Not so much for me who was tasked with keeping Jack alive in the great outdoors. Not so much for the neighbors who were tasked with listening to my kids scream. (There’s just something about nice weather and fresh air that makes kids scream. I haven’t figured out the exact equation, yet, so that I can squash it.)

I love these kinds of days, though. And, clearly, so do my kids. I remember those first few days of beautiful Spring as a kid. There was this amazing feeling of freedom that would wash over my young (read: firm) body. The world was at my fingertips when the sun was shining and the long, dark days of winter seemed to be years away. And my only responsibility was to breathe in the outside air. It was awesome.

As an adult, Spring still carries the same responsibilities as before but has been slightly tainted by the added task of removing a winter’s worth of grime and dust from my furniture and floors. There is just something about that Spring sun which along with bringing a sense of spirit renewal alsocasts a certain unflattering illumination over dirt and debris. I don’t remember that being a part of my day’s preoccupation when I was but a child. Oh, I long for the good ol’ days.

Nor, is it my kid’s concern. Which delights me because adulthood and all its responsibilities come all too soon. I will continue to enjoy watching my kids play to the point of exhaustion, taking full advantage of the energizing Spring sun and then melting into…

DSC_4093

blissful slumber in the hallway becausethey just can’t make it allthe way into the bedroom.

I love Spring.

Happy Monday,

Mindy

An Odd Obsession

For those of you who have been following my blog, you may remember my son, Jack’s, obsession with Halloween. And if you’re not familiar, in a nutshell, the three-year old was unwilling to give up the holiday and refused to admit that Halloween had a beginning and an end. He was angry at grocery stores when he noticed spooky displays being taken down and forced me to keep a string of pumpkin lights burning bright well into the Christmas season.

We thought that was odd.

Until now.

Jack has a new obsession and I’m not quite sure how to approach this specific one. He spends a lot of time talking about it, singing about it and dancing about it.

And what is this newest obsession?

Michael Jackson.

Yep.

The one and only.

I should clarify that Jack’s adoration is actually centered on the music of Michael Jackson, not so with the person. Which makes me feel a littlebetter. Because, love him or hate him, that man was certainly talented and produced a lot of toe-tapping sounds.

Which happens to be what Jack loves to do. Tap his toes. And shake his hips. And sing his songs. And present me with slightly disturbing scenarios. He’s awesome at that.

This all started at Halloween when Jack heard the song, “Thriller”, playing on the radio. He was hooked from the get-go andcouldn’t get enough of it. At every opportunity he was singing along, making up words tocompensate for hissomewhat limited vocabulary. I can assureyou thatthe words “poopy pants” and “spankin-stein” made it in. He’s particularly fond of those.

I also noticed that he started singing Michael Jackson songs in bed at night. Since he was about a year old Jack has been singing himself to sleep. But up until recently he was practicing more of a Buddhist monk chant kind of thing, a single noted “Bwahmamama——mamamama—-.” I have to say I”m enjoying the more hip and melodic “Beat it” to the spooky chanting.

Well, as most obsessions go, Jack’s has progressed to a new level. His dad made the mistake of introducing the boy to YouTube. Like a kid in a candy store he practically salivates at the mass number of videos available at his tiny little finger tips. Now, before you go anonymously notifying Child Protective Services, Jack is not surfing the ‘net all by himself. He stands behind Jer on the office chair while he’s working, and watches the video over Jer’s shoulder. At any point during the day I will hear “Billy Jean is not my lover,” or “Remember the time…we fell in love” thumping through the walls, Jack’s voice straining to rise above the speakers.

As with most obsessions, I’m sure in time, this too shall fade. I have no doubt that Jack will shy away fromthe music of MichaelJackson and find something new to obsess about. Until then we’llplay along. Whether we’restaging fake gang fights like “Beat it”,click-clacking our way down lighted tiles like “Billy Jean” or channeling our inner-monster like “Thriller” it makes the little guy happy. Which makes me happy.

Sometimes it’s the little things…

Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

Mindy