Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Motherhood as seen from the trenches

Reach in the mailbox to get the mail and this is what I bumped into….


Apparently he's seen better days

The kids were invited to a birthday party for a friend at school for “Princess X”. You’d think the girl was truly of royalty too. Completely spoiled- to the core.
The invitation said this party was to be held at “hangin high”, a new rock climbing gym here in Guam. Princess X was to ‘scale her castle walls’ for the party. Oh My! How could we miss out on that? To be honest, I hesitated to RSVP. I knew this party would take a lot of smiling and staying quiet- not to mention trying to deter my eyeballs from rolling around making inappropriate gestures. Eventually I caved. It’s not about me- it’s about them. Always about them. So we added our name to the responses in favor and set out for the climbing gym.
The party turned out to be ok, I suppose. Most kids didn’t really climb too much, though I’ll add pics of the girls here for the heck of it…

What really got my attention was the huge advertisement on the wall by the front desk, as well as a pamphlet which was available,..you know, in case we just had to have our own Princess party there. It boasted various climbing programs- lead climbing, belaying techniques, weight training for climbing, and are you ready for this?... pole dancing. Yeah- you read that correctly. POLE DANCING. Only in Guam can you join a gym, strictly meant to increase your ability to scale a mountain and learn to pole dance at the same time. POLE DANCING CLASSES right here in Guam! Yeeeehaaawwww!!!! I can't wait to get started!

I suppose it goes without saying that we'll likely not return the girls for special classes. Our entire mission as parents is to keep the girls OFF the pole!

Doorbell rings. Emory is on the potty.
“I’ll be right back Emory- I’ll help you wash your hands in a minute, Stay here.”
Famous last words.
I returned from the brief exchange at the door to find this……

When you're in the trenches, you have to count your blessings. At least the roll of TP was only half gone.

Another grocery run and Emory has decided to talk about his “pee-wince” the whole time. At least we’ve gotten through to him that it’s not a gecko down there. But seriously, do I deserve the punishment brought about by having my kid ramble through the grocery store, stuck on high volume, about what lies beneath his Thomas the Train underwear? Ugh.
Somewhere in the cereal aisle, I tried to redirect the conversation, “Do you have to go potty? Is that what this is about?”
“Nooo. We don’t pee pee on Thomas.” He replied firmly.
We didn’t even make it past the frozen foods before I turned to hear trickling of unmistakable fluid and wasn’t surprised to see a growing puddle on the floor. This was not the case of a leaking sippy cup.
Our eyes met and I could hardly hide my disappointment.
“Uh, I just peed on Thomas.”
I love grocery shopping. Love it. Not to mention the stares and glances from onlookers who are surely planning to skip the frozen food aisle this week. Go ahead shoppers. Bring it on.

I think my kids could change the world in a day.
A neighbor asked me to pick up her mail this month. I left the kids in the house while they were reading new books we’d just brought home from the library. I was not gone longer than 3 minutes- tops.
Came back inside to discover two little Picassos had transformed the wall into a regular masterpiece. With what they can accomplish in three minutes, certainly they could end world hunger or at least the war in Iraq in a day.

Got a call today from a gal who recently asked me to take some maternity photos.
Keep in mind- I do it for free. Practice for me, pictures for them. Fair deal as far as I’m concerned. She wanted to tell me that she loved the pictures, but that in some maternity shots, at full term, her arms looked fat and she had a slight double chin.
Ok now, gals. Here’s a word from the been there done that crowd- you look fat when you are pregnant. And, well, you kinda are. Yes it’s par for the course.
I am a photographer by hobby- not a magician. Check out the pics in this blog “Dennison Maternity” and decide for yourself...
or check out the newer blog site http://cameraskeepsakes.blogspot.com/
I stand by the photos and refuse to crop off double chins or fat arms, unless of course, those body parts belong to me. :)

FridayWe were invited to have dinner with some friends and newcomers to the island. The host and hostess are the sponsors for the new folks. As sponsors, their job is to help introduce appointed newcomers to Guam. The good, the bad, and the ugly.
Dinner was wonderful- a delightful affair with great food and fun company. Eventually the newcomers started asking questions.
“How often do you have to mow the yard?”
We looked at each other and someone answered “Once a week if you don’t want to get a yard ticket.”
“Yeah- and watch out! The yard lady comes around Tuesday mornings, so you really have to mow on the weekend or your grass will be too high by the time she gets to your house.” Someone else chimed in, “You can mow Mondays though, nothing else to do then since the commissary is closed then.“
“oh yeah!” our host adds, “and the milk here tastes awful, and you’ll find weird kinds of butter at the commissary from Japan and Australia.”
Across the table, Matt adds, “don’t think you’re going to find fresh meat there either- it’s all frozen, even chicken.”
“Yep- better get used to buying frozen, past expiration dated food, and paying full price for rotten produce.”

I glanced at the girl who was being welcomed. She was listening attentively, but gradually looking dismayed. Trying to change conversation, I mention that the produce back home last summer was so filled with flavor it was amazing to me. I really had forgotten how good a fresh strawberry tasted, or a real ear of corn until we visited home briefly last summer. Shifting to a question “So where are you both from?”
They answered, but somehow conversation moved back to advice on Guam.

“be sure you don’t speed. 35 mph is the max limit”
…“Don’t park your car under coconut trees”
..”get used to wearing sunblock all day everyday”
…”get used to having to ask someone to ship you things. Most companies don’t seem to realize Guam even exists, you they make you pay out the ying yang for it.”
…” anything you leave outside will rust away in 6 months”
…”no, there are little to no programs on base for young kids…”
…”oh yeah, get your hair cut when you go back there, finding a good hair dresser is mission impossible out here.”
…”yep, you find geckos in the house, anywhere. Roaches, rats, spiders and snakes are all over this place too, just have to try to be careful….they have good ant traps at the exchange.”
…”oh! But the boonie bees are the worst! Be sure to get some spray.”
…”be careful, the boonie dogs are all over the roads…and if you have a dog, be careful to keep it on a leach on base. Someone’s dog was just shot last month on the base golf course while hunters were trying to shoot pigs.”
…”travel is very expensive from here”
..”yeah, the base library sucks.”
One of the newcomers asked, “what about baby wipes, I can’t find them in any of the stores?”
…”oh, when something is out of stock in a store, you just have to wait for the next ship to come in. Sometimes that can take weeks to months, so you’ll learn to live without things you think you need.”
The advice went on and on. Eventually everyone at the table realized what I’d felt from the start of the conversation. This is depressing. Must we make ourselves conscience of what we what we are missing out on?
Once everyone there realized that we were just raising awareness of what this place lacks, we had dessert.. After all, nothing here that a little dessert can’t numb.

Have I mentioned baby prefers ice cream to broccoli?
….Oh yeah, and the ice cream usually goes yucky while being shipped here.

Matt says I’m nesting.
I’m not.
I’ve just had about all I can take of tripping on Barbie dolls and stepping on matchbox cars. I knew I’d learn something about myself out here and this week, I’ve been schooled in my tolerance limit.
Apparently my tolerance for living on a far away island in a bunker the size of Barney Rubble’s cave with 2 dogs, 3 small sticky kids and a large man is a mere 1 year, 9 months and 13 days.
He tried very hard to argue his way out of this. “Housing in Germany wont be any bigger you know.” “We can move their beds in together and then make another room for the dressers.” “ok just think about this proposal..”
In the end, we worked it out.
After a little planning and a lot of coaxing, we are moving furniture. Let me rephrase, …Matt is moving furniture.
Each child will have their own room and new baby will oh so sweetly sleep in a crib in the master bedroom,..or on Matt’s chest as the last three have slept. The office will be moved into the entrance way, so that you can pleasantly be greeted by our computer when you enter our humble abode. Toys will have a new location, hopefully one that will make mommy happier.
Daddy will inevitably be the one suffering next week- with a stiff neck and a sore back. But he won’t twist an ankle on the toys anymore….I hope.

Sunday-Since baby 1, the rule has been, daddy picks the boy name and mommy picks the girl name. The name must be agreed upon well before the final trip to the hospital. We don’t know whether this will be a boy or a girl so having names for either is quite necessary.
Matt has yet to come up with a boy name. But I’d like to list the ones he’s seriously tossed at me. For the record…..
Errol, ……..Chester,…….. Ewan,……. Padget,……. Pembroke,……. Seton…… Ulysses…..
I’m trying to be open minded, but this has been a challenge.
He cringed when I said “Stella”, but here she is today and I can think of her by no other name,..well, there are others, but you wouldn’t find them in a name book.
Well, see….

Emory and I are having a gourmet lunch together. He’s having today’s special- peanut butter and jelly, with a side of apple slices and a large chocolate milk. I am treating myself to the calorie conscious salad. I know, baby prefers ice cream to broccoli, but we have to start discipline somewhere.
Emory asks me after a moment’s thought “ mom, did you swallow the ba-bee?”
I assumed he was concerned with how the ever growing baby is fed in pregnancy, because the girls are constantly asking me how the baby eats inside my belly.
“No honey, the baby gets food through a special cord attached to something in mommy’s belly.”
Emory looks more confused and I’m wondering how much simpler I could explain this…
“But did you EAT the ba-bee?”
“Noo. I did not eat the baby.”
“Then how does it get inside your bel-wee?”
“Ohhh! That’s what you want to know,…well, that’s a story for another day honey.”

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