The Stitch

In the grocery store this week:

Older Lady (acknowledging my pregnancy): “When are you due, dear?”

Me: “Sometime in July.”

Older Lady: “Oh you don’t want to tell me an exact date? I understand- you can never be too careful.”

Me: “Oh, no M’am, it’s not that- I’m just not exactly sure. It’ll be a c-section and will be scheduled, I’m just not sure of when in July, really.”

Older Lady: “A c-section- will this be your first one of those?”

Me: “No, it’ll be the seventh.”

Older Lady: “Oh so you never got the benefit of the ‘extra stitch?'”

Me: “I guess not…what’s that?”

Older lady: “Well, after I delivered my son, and this was 40-odd years ago, the doctor turned to my husband and asked “Do you want me to tighten ‘er up for ya?” My husband wasn’t sure what he was asking so he said “What do you mean, doc?” And the doctor says “I can put an extra stitch in here- she’ll be just like a virgin again.” So my husband says “Stitch away, doc!” And I’ll tell ya- I never once regretted getting my cooch tightened up. It really spiced things up for us. Yours should still be nice and tight, though.”

Me (slow blinking): “Yes M’am…uh….I’ve had no complaints, I guess.”

Older Lady: “I hope everything goes well for you, dear.”

Me: “Thank you! This conversation was the highlight of my day!”

Older Lady: “Me too, dear.(Smiles and winks) Brought back some good memories.”

Two things: I pray that old people never stop sharing their stories with me AND I’ll be reminding Garrett what a gift all of these c-sections have been to him. You’re welcome, Garrett.


I’m Just Going to Focus on the Positive Because the Rest is Weird

Garrett and I were in bed when we heard raised voices followed by stomping and then screaming  “Owwwwww! Mommy! Owwww! Mom! Dad!” coming from upstairs. 

We found Bella fake sleeping and Mia sobbing and rocking back and forth.

Garrett: “What’s going on?”

Mia: “Bella! She’s not asleep- she just punched me!”

Garrett: “Bell- open your eyes. What just happened?”

Bella: “What? She was annoying me so I punched her in the stomach.”

Mia: “I wasn’t annoying her and it was my vagina.”

Bella: “You were annoying me and I tried to punch you in the stomach. It’s not my fault you moved and I hit your balls.”

Garrett: “For the hundredth time, girls don’t have balls. What was this all about?”

Mia: “She just got out of bed and punched me in the vagina for no reason!”

Bella: “Total lies. I said we should paint our room purple and she said we should paint it orange and I said ‘purple’ and she said ‘orange’ and after the 10th time I couldn’t take it anymore and I just snapped. I didn’t mean to punch her girl balls, though.”

Garrett: “Did you try ignoring her or just saying ‘I’m done talking about this’? It’s not okay to just punch her. And you guys don’t have girl balls- what the hell is that?”

Bella: “It worked. She’s not saying ‘orange’ anymore.”

Me: “What do you need to do to fix this, Bell?”

Bell: “Ugggh…I’m sorry I punched you, Mia. What can I do to make it better?”

Mia: “I don’t know…agree to painting our room orange?”

Bella: “Not happening. Are we done here?”


We talked for a few more minutes about the best way to handle annoyances and how not provoke our siblings. 


As we headed out  of their bedroom, Bella said to Mia: “I hope your girl balls aren’t sore tomorrow.”

Mia: “Thanks.They’ll be fine.Good night.”

Bella: “Good night.”

Can we just agree that the take away from all this is that, ultimately, she felt empathy for punching her sister’s girl balls?

I’d prefer to focus on the empathy rather than their extraordinarily messed up understanding of female anatomy. 





The Towel Master

Bella came bouncing into the kitchen to show me a bracelet that she’d just made:


Me: “Tacos? That’s funny! Why tacos?”

Bella: “What do you mean?”

Me: “I just…I’ve never seen a bracelet that said ‘tacos’. I like it- don’t get me wrong- tacos are delicious. I just thought that you would’ve made one that said ‘Bella’ or ‘I ❤ puppies’ or something.”

Bella: “Yeah but tacos are the best thing ever and I like to think about them whenever I can.”

Me: “Okay! That’s awesome!”

Bella: “Can we have tacos for dinner one night this week?”

Me: “Sure- sounds great.”

Bella: “Only, can they not be your tacos? Can we go to a Mexican restaurant? I think we need to let the experts make the tacos- yours still need a little work. I’m not being mean, just honest. You’re really good at, like, folding towels and stuff.”

And then I asked her if she’d make me a bracelet that read: “Chin up, Tara! Your cooking may suck but you fold towels like a mofo!” Just as a little pick-me-up when I’m having a tough day.  

Rogue Wave

I’ve mentioned before that I am not a fan of submerging any part of my body into water when I cannot see what else is in that water. Whatever just brushed across the top of my foot was probably just a bit of seagrass, I’m sure, but my brain says “killer squid”. I try, but I can’t convince my imagination that it’s probably nothing. I guess because the word ‘probably’ doesn’t mean ‘definitely’ so there is a chance that whatever it was is deadly.

We were with family this weekend on beautiful Lake Keowee in Sunset, South Carolina. The lake is man made and has a clay bottom, so no icky underwater vegetation to contend with. While we were out on the boat, some of the kids jumped in and I noticed that I could see their feet and legs through the clear, emerald water. I considered that maybe this was my kind of lake! I was excited that I didn’t feel boat-bound because of my irrational fear of water debris and swimming things that want only to kill me.

I’ve never been tubing in all my 41 years as that would mean that I’d have to be in murky lake water. The kids were encouraging me to try it and, with this water being so clear, I had no good reason to say ‘no’. I was doing it, dammit.

After strapping on our life vests, Bell and I jumped off the side and swam toward the round tube. After hoisting myself up in what must have been a most ungraceful fashion, we held onto the straps and my cousin, Jeff, who was serving as Captain that day, accelerated the boat.

It was so much fun! Bell and I exchanged quick, smiley glances and laughed and laughed. The thing is, though,there was a rogue wave (lots of other boat and jet ski traffic on July 4th) and I never saw it coming. All the waves and the wake created by our boat looked the same. We were smacked pretty hard and I had to make a split second decision…my sunglasses or my bikini bottom, both of which were simultaneously flying off my body.

I’m still not sure why I thought holding onto my $10 Target sunglasses was the way to go, but they’re what I chose. That means that several boaters, jet skiers and kayakers, if they were looking our way, got a eye full of my bare, shockingly white ass. Not only that, but my bottoms flew COMPLETELY off. Thankfully, I caught them with my left foot before they sunk to the depths of the lake. Did I mention that the water is pretty clear? So while guffawing, heaving with laughter and hastily pulling my bottoms up, Bell, exposed to all my bits and pieces, was yelling “Oh God, Mom! What happened? Where are your bottoms? Please put them back on! I can see your privates! Put them back on now, please!” as if it was my grand plan to expose my lady parts to Lake Kewoee.

I loved tubing! Who knew? Next time, though, I’ll wear a one piece swimsuit. Maybe two of them, just to be sure. And a couple pairs of jeans.

My apologies to Bell and the boaters of (beautiful) Lake Keowee.

Murder You in Your Sleep

The first big fight of the summer went like this:

Mia (busting through the door): “Mom! Bell and Jules are saying that Flo from the Progressive commercials isn’t real! They’re saying that I’m an idiot for thinking she’s real.”

Me: “Well, she is a real person but she’s an actress- she’s playing the character of ‘Flo’ on the commercials.”

Mia: “Nooooo! How do you know that? Do you know her? Maybe she’s like that all the time…you guys don’t know!”

Jules: “Mia- No one is like that all the time. They PAY her to act like the character ‘Flo’ that someone created.”

Mia: “I don’t believe you guys and I don’t have to!”

Bell: “You don’t have to believe us but I wouldn’t tell anyone that you think Flo is a real life person- that makes you sound like a total idiot.”

Mia: “No it doesn’t! I can believe in what I want to believe in! Mom- tell them that if I want to think that Flo is real and walking around wearing that outfit somewhere that I can and I’m not an idiot-they’re idiots for telling me what I can’t believe in!”

Me: “Okay, guys- let’s bring it down a notch. Mia- if you want to believe in Flo, then believe in Flo- it’s fine. There’s nothing wrong with wanting her to be a real person. Jules and Bell- she’s not an idiot. Let her believe what she wants- it’s not hurting anyone. Now go read a book or something.”

Bell: “She IS hurting someone! I don’t want people to be all “Hey, there’s Mia-Bella’s sister- she thinks Flo is a real person. It’s embarrassing!”

Mia: “Well I don’t want people saying “Hey, there’s Bella-Mia’s sister- she crushes peoples dreams and has giant teeth.”

Bell: “Shut up. I don’t have giant teeth.”

Mia: “Yes, you do. You shut up, giant teeth.”

Bell: “What- are you gonna tell ‘Flo’ if I don’t?”

Mia: “Yep- and she’s gonna kill you in your sleep.”

And then giant teeth and murdering people in their sleep became two subjects that are now off limits in our home. And maybe don’t mention Flo…she’s a real bone of contention up in here.

Your Butt Jiggles

Bell and Mia are like oil and water. They love each other, I’m sure, but would just assume that the other didn’t necessarily reside in the same house. Their relationship is made of peaks and valleys. There are generally three peaks during the year-each other’s birthday and my birthday. On those days, they dig deep to find enough self-control to be kind to each other as a gift to one another and to me. The valleys are much more frequent and usually occur on days that end in ‘day’.

For some reason, the before- school-morning- bathroom- routine is a trigger for hot tempered insult hurling between the two of them. The simplest task, say, brushing their teeth while standing next to each other, often ends in crocodile tears, red faced anger and foamy toothpaste flying from their mouths while they try to be the loudest and fastest to explain to me why the other is the greatest asshole in all the world.

I have asked them to avoid being in the bathroom together in the mornings but sometimes our time management sucks and it’s inevitable. It was on one of those mornings that this exchange occurred:

Bell (to Mia who was stepping out of the shower): “Your butt jiggles.”

Mia: “Shut up. No it doesn’t.”

Bell: “I won’t shut up and yes it does.”

Mia: “Well, you have giant bunny teeth and nobody sees my butt.”

Bell: “I see your butt and I know it jiggles. And I don’t have bunny teeth…Mom says I’ll grow into them.”

Mia: “Well you should stop talking and smiling until that happens. Plus, you’re being mean to Mom when you say my butt jiggles ’cause hers does too.”

I’d say Mia won that insult throw down. Her snarky comeback coupled with a skillful and strategic mention of our apparent flabby butt solidarity left me feeling proud AND humiliated. Those are two feelings that don’t often go together- it’s a weird combination and I’m not sure I’m entirely comfortable with it.

That’s What They’re There For

Bella and Leo were eating breakfast when, out of nowhere, she asked:

“Mom, why are white people sometimes called ‘crackers’?”

Me: “I haven’t heard white people called ‘crackers’ outside of a television show and even then it was in the late 70’s. Where’d you hear that?”

Bella: “I’m not sure. I just know I heard it and I can’t figure out why you would use a ‘cracker’ to describe someone.”

Me: “I don’t know…you should Google it.”

Leo: “I know. I don’t have to Google it ’cause I already know…”

Me: “Yeah? Why do you think white people are sometimes called ‘crackers’, Leo?”

Bella: “This should be good…”

Leo: “Cause our skin is salty. Like, if you lick your arm, it’s salty- try it- I do it all the time. And crackers are kind of salty.”

Me: “Do you not think other skin color is salty? Like, black people, or Asians, or Hispanics. Do you think they have “salty” skin?”

Leo: “Ummmm…how would I know? I don’t go around licking other people’s arms. That would be weird.”

Bella: “But it’s not weird to lick your own arm?”

Leo (looking confused): “Um, no? It would be weird if you DIDN’T lick your own arm. That’s what they’re there for.”

So the next time you have a tequila shot, you can just forgo the salt around the rim. You have all the salt you need on your arm. That’s what they’re there for, guys. Maybe lick your arm when no one is looking, though, because I’m pretty sure it IS weird.