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This Isn't About the Law
When I started this blog I didn't really expect anyone other than my mom, and occasionally my husband, to read it. But I love this little community I've stumbled upon. I've developed real relationships with many of you - at least in my head - and at least one real live friend.

When I started this blog, it was also with the intent to remain anonymous aside from a few friends and family. That went by the wayside when a co-worker and friend blabbed about my blog to some other co-workers. (L - chill, you know I'm just poking at you.) Then, in a fit of insanity, I wrote a guest post for a rather popular blog on WashingtonPost.com under my real name, and they linked it to my blog.

Hell, many of you know my real name and where I work because I tend to reply to comments from my work email address. Actually, the only reason my real name does not appear on this blog is fear of The Google. I really don't want a prospective client to type my name into Google and have this be the first link. If someone is dedicated enough to find my blog with my real name and Google, it will take them a while to get there and they will be forced to slog through many of my professional publications to get there. If someone finds my blog after all that work, I'm perfectly OK with that.

But still, there is one line I will not cross. (Well, actually there are a few, but this is not a post about sex. Sorry to disappoint.)

I do not discuss the law.

It may come as a disappointment to people who click on a link to my blog expecting a "legal blog" but, despite my blog name, I will never focus on the law. Don't get me wrong, I would love to show off my legal brain here. The law is one thing I feel very confident discussing. But my little area of the law would either bore you to death or send you screaming from my URL, deleting your Favorites link on your way out the door. I've mentioned my area of expertise here before but, because of The Google, I'm not going to repeat it. Let's just say that it involves a lot of paper, some drawings, and people fighting over what those papers and drawings mean.

I've been tempted to offer my legal analysis of some important and very public cases lately. Particularly when the latest abortion case came down from the Supremes. I even wrote a rather lengthy post dissecting it and discussing past precedent.

It's still sitting in my post list in draft form.

Why the paranoia, you ask?

Well, first of all there are some pretty detailed ethical rules for lawyers regarding advertising and what constitutes an advertisement, and the rules vary in every state in the U.S. I'd rather just steer clear of that stuff entirely and not worry about it. But my primary reason for the legal ban is that I don't want to get into legal pissing matches on the Internet.

Seriously, that's it. I do that at work every single day. I don't want to do that here. And if I write about abortion, or civil rights, or even employment rights, someone is going to try to draw me into a pissing match. And I have a really hard time backing down from a fight.

I was reminded of why I don't write about the law here after my post about Altoids and pregnancy hormones. I just mentioned that I was going to be on Kristin's Blog Talk Radio show and someone started taking pot shots at me. Someone who knew nothing about me, my practice, or even my real name, and, I would hazard a guess, didn't listen to Kristin's show.

I wasn't quite sure why someone writing about me bothered me so much. It wasn't the disagreement with my opinion; I could give two shits about that. It wasn't even necessarily the questioning of my legal ethics, because, come. on. Ridiculous implications are still just ridiculous implications.

No, what bothered me was the reminder that there are so many strangers reading this blog.

Now, I know that everyone who comments here regularly was once a "stranger." I would never password protect my blog because I love finding new blogs. I've discovered so many wonderful insightful bloggers out there because someone happened to stop by my blog and leave a comment, or just appeared in my Blog Log over there in the side bar.

I also know that I have friends, co-workers and family stopping by and they don't usually comment. I have my fair share of people who arrive here through bizarre Google searches about spanking and Snow White. I'm also sure that there are people who read my blog and don't comment because they either don't have blogs, or they just don't comment anywhere. That doesn't bother me. No, what gives me pause is the idea that someone would come here, read my blog, not participate, and then go blog about me, and not necessarily in a "You go, girl" kind of way. Blogging negatively about another blogger? That would just never occur to me.

So maybe someone can tell me what motivates people to do that? Because it's really making me think twice about how I want to use this blog and what I want to say here.

I'm not going to stop blogging because of a troll or two. But I would hate to get to the point where I have to change my voice here to keep my sanity.

Of course, now that I have proclaimed my steadfast rule that Lawyer Mama Shall Never Blogeth About The Law, I will now briefly suspend that rule. Because I am the queen here and I can do what I want.

During the first 20 minutes or so of Kristin's show, there were some technical problems. Consequently, my brilliant (and I use the term brilliant loosely) legal analysis and some hilarious comments from the Queen of Shake Shake are missing from the podcast. So here's the 30 second run down of the good news and the bad news for those who may accidentally run afoul of the law in New Jersey:

1. The New Jersey shoplifting statute requires a person to act purposely, with intent to deprive a retailer of property.
2. However, being caught with said property by a law enforcement officer establishes intent.

So if a ducky accidentally falls into a stroller, there is no purposeful act and no intent and, therefore, no "shoplifting." But if someone pushing the stroller is tackled by a security officer, and a search of the stroller reveals said ducky, the person pushing the stroller is screwed. Unless there is a helpful surveillance camera film or something.

That's it. That's what all the fuss was about.

Now, I'm off to turn myself into my state bar for encouraging all of you to commit crimes.

And seriously, if you think I'm offering you legal advice or that this has established an attorney-client relationship, you're an idiot and you shouldn't be reading my blog. If so, slap yourself in the forehead. Right now! Oh, and I'd like to sell you a bridge in Brooklyn.

Cartoon courtesy of "Microdoc News" (out of business) by way of Google Blogoscoped.

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There Are No Words


Just Call Me "Grace"
Edited to add - Don't forget to listen at 10pm tonight!

Listen Live


The week before Little H was born, I fell down in the hospital parking lot. I was 8 months pregnant, a little awkward, and I refused to stop wearing heels. Hey, I'm 5'2", people, I need all the help I can get!

Anywho, I'd been walking out to my car after one of my twice weekly biophysical profiles at the hospital (ah, the joys of high risk pregnancy), and I went down like a rock. Onto my knee. I was wearing a skirt. Ouch.

I wish I could blame it on that stretchy ligament thing that happens to pregnant women, but I'm generally a klutz even when I'm not knocked up. I once fell down while standing still in a hallway talking to a co-worker.


I may be one smart cookie, but apparently I can't stand and talk at the same time.

So, when I went in for my conveniently scheduled c-section a week after my parking lot fall, the nurse took a look at my gruesome knee, asked me how it happened, and then promptly clipped a hot pink band around my wrist.

She told me that it's used as a warning to the staff that I'm a habitual faller.

Me: "You mean it tells everyone that I'm a klutz who can't be trusted to walk to the bathroom by herself or say, handle an innocent newborn?"
Nurse: "Yeah. Pretty much."

Well, I was allowed to handle Holden, but they did slap a nice matching sign onto my hospital room door.

When my perinatologist saw it, she told me that they usually only put it on the doors of little old women who've just broken a hip.


Just get me one of those LifeCall buttons and call it a day. Although, for the record, I've never seriously uttered the words, "I've fallen and I can't get up."

"We're sending help immediately, Mrs. Fletcher!"

Since then, I've managed many spectacularly embarrassing falls, but none of them were particularly memorable. It happens so often, you see, that the scars on my knees all sort of blend together.

Fast forward to last weekend.

T and I took the H's to the Botanical Gardens to see my picture and to let the little heathens run amok for awhile. The children's garden tuckered them out nicely, so we hopped on the tram for the ride back to the car. When we got off the tram, I attempted to sit down on a low retaining wall while hubs went to get the car.

I was holding Holden.

You can see where this is going already, can't you? Yup. It will be a miracle if the child makes it to adulthood.

I fell down right by the wall.

T said it was a rather graceful fall and complimented the way I cupped Holden's head and rolled onto my back like a turtle. Whereupon I laid there like a half-dead cockroach, kicking my legs and yelling at T to take the baby.

Unfortunately, despite my cradling of Little H, I managed to slam his right arm into and down the wall on my way down. There was a lot of screaming. Most of it done by me. "He hit the wall! OMG! He hit the WALL!"

Are we seeing a pattern here?

Holden is fine. His arm is a bit scraped up, but I think I have a few more gray hairs.

And I'm no longer allowed to carry the baby unless he's encased in bubble wrap.

I just hope poor Holden hasn't inherited my grace and poise. If so, the poor kid is doomed.

Oh yeah, that lovely "I'm a klutz" sign up above? My husband asked if he could take it when we left the hospital. It hangs on our refrigerator door.

I love you too, dear.

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Lock Me Up and Throw Away the Key
Listen Live
When I was pregnant with Big H, I stole a can of Sour Altoids.

In the interest of full disclosure, they were lime flavored.

I had horrible, puking out my nose, three times a day morning sickness with Hollis. (I'll be sure to tell him that daily when he's 16.) I had every nausea drug known to man but let's face it, they just take the edge off. Nothing and I mean nothing can kill really serious morning sickness.

I'd read somewhere that sucking on lemons can help you get through the urge to ralph, but that wasn't very convenient. I couldn't really carry a bag of produce around with me everywhere. Then Altoids came out with those little lemon drop like sour things - and yes, they are curiously strong. The Altoids worked just as well as lemons. If the morning sickness came when I was, say, about to argue a motion in court, it was a lot easier to explain why I was eating candy than to explain why I had just puked all over the judge's courtroom.

I had those little silver tins everywhere, including several in my purse.

One day in the second trimester, yes, the second trimester - I was puking up until the day I gave birth - I went to pick up some film from my local Eckerd. I had had a few special requests, like 5x7 prints, so I asked for a quote when I dropped the film off. The chipper 12 year old behind the counter told me it would be around $20. But when I went to pick up the film, they charged me $45. Yeah, you don't want to piss off a pregnant woman who can puke on demand. Seriously, people. Not a good idea.

Anyway, I, predictably, flipped. the. F. out. The manager was called. I dumped the contents of my purse out to find my film receipt where the chipper 12 year old had helpfully jotted down my information and the $20 estimate. The manager caved and gave me my $20 photos BUT they had neglected to make the photo disc I'd requested so I flipped the F out on her all over again. I grabbed my photos, stuffed everything back into my purse, and stormed home.

When I got home, I shared my hormonal rage with T, who wasn't suitably enraged on my behalf. But when I dumped my purse out again to show him the photos, I discovered a tin of Mandarin Orange Sour Altoids. Unopened. Not my flavor.

Uh oh.

Yep, in my blind hormonal rage I had inadvertently stolen a tin of Altoids from the display on the film counter. Whoopsie.

I wish I could say that I bravely marched in to Eckerd the next day and turned myself in, but I didn't. In fact, I made T go back to the store and pick up my picture disc just in case someone had decided to review the security surveillance film and had a Wanted poster up with my face on it.

OK, so maybe you all think I'm a horrible person now because I didn't return the Altoids. I rationalized to myself that I had been overcharged by Eckerd in the past. I rationalized that I had been paying their grossly marked up film developing prices for years. And then I ate my purloined Altoids.

And they were pretty yummy.

In fact, Mandarin Orange became my new favorite Altoids flavor.

What's the point of this story? Well, if you haven't been following the flack over the Duck at Motherhood Uncensored and The Mom Trap, go read this. Make sure you read the comments too. You wouldn't believe how strongly people feel about inadvertently stolen plush duckies from The Gap. It's eye opening. And Kristin's follow up to the post is pretty damn funny.

Kristin has asked me to be her legal expert, and I use the term "expert" loosely, in a discussion about the ethics of duckie heisting on her Blog Talk Radio show this Wednesday evening. So, because you're all dying to listen to me make a fool of myself publicly, I know you'll click on the Blog Talk icon at the top of this post to listen to the show live on Wednesday night. The show starts at 10pm EST and Kristin will be giving away some fun prizes for people who call in. I understand that a Fadiddle Keep the Duck (or Give Back the Duck) t-shirt will be up for grabs. Hell, that's reason enough alone to listen or call in.

I also want to know what you think. Keep the Duck? Give back the Duck? Shut the F up about the Duck?

You already know my opinion.

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Brotherly Love
I'm just starting to delve into the relationships between brothers. I have a brother but, being a girl and all, relationships between boys are not my forte.

What I do remember from my own childhood was a little brother who, in hindsight, adored me.

I tolerated him.

B wanted to do everything I did, hang out with me and play with me. I, being 4 years older, wanted nothing to do with a pesky little brother.

I was hard on B. I made him fetch things for me, run my errands, sometimes do my chores, and basically work his little butt off for slivers of my sisterly attention. Still, the adoration continued, even into high school.

T has a brother, younger by 2 years. T nearly killed him on several occasions, but they got along pretty well. Still, T remembers barely tolerating his brother as well. They played together, yes, but seeing as how they lived on a farm in SW Nebraska, there weren't many other options. And T remembers being awfully mean to K.

And so, based on my own experiences and those of my husband, I often wonder what sort of relationship my two H's will have. Will they be close growing up? Undoubtedly they will be in a way. Physically - they share a room. In time - they're only 15 months apart, so they'll have no choice in the matter there. But after they're grown, what will happen then? And growing up? They're so close in age but they will be at least a year apart in school, with separate friends and activities.

Here are my boys now:

But later? Will they tolerate each other? Love each other? Or a bit of both?

I worry that Holden will spend his life chasing Hollis. I worry that Holden, so close in age to Hollis, will surpass his brother in some skill and that Hollis will feel inadequate. I worry about worrying. Because worrying about my children is just what I do.

I'm also very aware that I'm worrying in hypotheticals. So much of the brother dynamic between the two of them is yet to be determined. Slouching Mom recently wrote a post about the relationship between her two sons. After reading about her boys, a relationship that seems to mirror my own with my brother, I wonder if the youngest in a family is always following an older sibling around. Following and never. quite. catching. up.

H&H will share so much beyond biology. They will share secrets and life defining moments. I won't be a part of much of it. And I wonder how these brothers, one always leading, the other following, will affect each other's lives and personalities.

Will they develop empathy, compassion, and understanding? Or the opposite?

I really shouldn't worry so much.

On Sunday we couldn't get the boys to nap. T and I were fried, so we eventually decided to just let them run around in their room until they got tired and went to sleep.

Sleep? Ha!

When T and I went up to "wake" the boys, we found Holden and Hollis grooving to the Ocean Wonders Aquarium music and hopping up and down in Holden's crib. Along with the contents of the boys' room. And I mean all the contents of the room. Everything that wasn't nailed down or plugged in was in the crib. Including all of the baby blankets from the cupboard, all the stuffed animals (including 3 stuffed animals over 3 feet tall), all the throw pillows, Hollis's bedding, and a pair of shoes. They were having a blast.

The boys will be fine. If we do our job, they'll be just fine.


Don't forget to go vote for my post at Sk*rt. I'm shameless, I know.


Of Privilege and Prejudice
A few years ago I got into a heated debate with an extended family member. I don't recall how the topic came up, but lots of alcohol had been ingested and I think she finally got up the cojones to ask me about my decidedly liberal tendencies. The subject was the U.S. "welfare" system.

I explained that I felt fortunate to have my brain, education, and upbringing and that I saw nothing wrong with paying a bit more in taxes to help those not so fortunate. My, (I thought) relatively reasonable opinions, brought forth a spew of vitriol against "those people." "Those people" on welfare. The words were so forceful that spittle sprayed my face. In the interests of keeping our vacation somewhat peaceful, I walked away. But I was very disturbed.

Over the last few years I've returned to this exchange in my thoughts and wondered what it was about my relative's views that I found so unnerving. After all, I usually have no problem shunting off the views of hateful people without a second thought. Now, I think my unease arose from a sense that we weren't just talking about welfare. We were talking about a whole world view.

What was left unsaid, but implied, by my relative, is that "those people" are somehow different. They aren't white. They aren't middle class. They don't work hard. They have children they can't support. They aren't us.

They bring poverty and misfortune on themselves.


Now, I know you're all thinking "Oh, she's going to talk about welfare in the U.S. OK, let's just get through this post." But no, I'm not. I'd like to take a look at the broader picture. Because this "us" and "them" mentality isn't limited to class and race wars within the U.S. It's not simply used to bolster a "have" and "have not" system of economics. Rather, some people use this view to internally validate an entirely isolationist view of the world. After all, if people unfortunate enough to have been born into poverty, or in another country, speaking a different language, or with a different religion, just aren't as good as "us," it makes everything so much easier.

It makes it easier to turn the TV channel when you see conflict in the Middle East on the evening news. It makes it easier to buy a People magazine instead of the newspaper when the headline about genocide in Darfur is screaming at you. And yes, it makes it easier to walk by that obviously mentally ill pan handler, keeping your eyes averted at all times. Those people aren't like you, like me, like "us." And hence, their suffering is not our problem.

I fear that I am making some of my regular readers uncomfortable with this diatribe. I can almost feel you pulling away. So I feel as if I must clarify my views even further. This is not a diatribe against fiscal conservatism or even Republicans. Republican does not = racist. I know many compassionate people who have dedicated their lives to helping others and who believe that social welfare is simply not the role of our government. This I can respect. What I cannot respect are those who turn a blind eye (regardless of political persuasion) and simply say "It's not my problem." Because it is your problem. As a resident of this Earth, as one of the privileged simply by happy accident of birth, it is your problem.

It's "our" problem and we all need to open our eyes and see.

This post is part of Julie's latest roundtable discussion. Our topic for this week was quite broad - "accident of birth." I'm sure others have tackled this topic of privilege with more clarity and erudition, but this is a post that's been brewing for quite some time and I had to let it out.

In other news, I finally got off my tushy and put something up on my review site. I put up my submission for the new PBN Blog Blast for Sk*rt, "What Are You Hiding Under Your Skirt?" Go check it out! And vote for my post.

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Mr. Clingwrap aka Fang
I've mentioned before that Holden has been exceptionally clingy lately, but have I mentioned that he's a biter?

Yes, Little H is that kid. The one who garners sidelong glances and spurs backstabbing gossip. Yes, I'm that mom, now.

Holden is at the age of easy frustration. If we put the wrong morsel on his high chair, he'll fling it back at us. (And man, a sippy cup to the head really hurts!) If we don't immediately understand him, he lashes out and flings anything within reaching distance. If he's in his high chair, he sweeps both arms across his tray, flinging everything onto the ground. He'll even toss his beloved blankie and pacifier away if that's all that's available.

Toddler frustration is fine. That I can deal with. But the biting. Oy.

The usual scenario goes something like this:

Big H has a toy. Little H decides he wants it. Little H comes within a 1 foot perimeter of Big H with an acquisitive gleam in his eye. Big H immediately begins screaming "No, brother, NO! I had it first! Mommmmmmyyyyyyyy!"

Little H closes the distance to about 6 inches and grabs for the Toy. Big H pushes him away.

Little H screams in frustration.

Lookout! Here come the teeth!

Over the last few months, Fang has branched out a bit. Now, any frustration can result in a biting incident. If I tell him no, he bites anything in close range. If he can't get to his brother, he'll lean over and bite the coffee table. If no furniture is in close range, he'll fling himself on the ground, fold up in the pike position, and bite his toes.

Seriously, people. He bites his own toes.

Friday, was the worst biting day ever. He bit 3 people at daycare. 1 older boy got a chomp on the knee, another got a chomp on the stomach (ouch!), and finally, Holden bit his own arm hard enough to draw blood. Even if no one had seen it, we'd know it was him. The unfinished dental impression, with all 4 eye teeth missing, was a dead give away.

I'm at a loss here, friends. Time outs don't work. I'm not going to spank my biting baby and I'm certainly not going to bite him back. Let's face it, even if I weren't opposed to that particular method of Bite Aversion Therapy, I'm not sure that it would work. Little H bites himself on a regular basis. He's bitten himself hard enough to leave marks several times and now he's drawing blood.

Assuming he has a functioning nervous system, Holden knows that biting hurts.

My latest attempt at Bite Aversion Therapy, involves a teething ring. When we see a bite coming, we shove it in his mouth hand him the teething ring and remove him from the vicinity of all chompable objects as swiftly as possible. We're hoping that we can teach him to at least bite something appropriate if he's going to bite. We're only 1 day into the new method, but we did have a relatively bite free day. That's not to say there weren't any attempts, but at least no one needed a tetanus shot.

If anyone else has any tricks that work, for the love of all that is holy and unmarred by Holden's teeth, please share! I'm starting to feel like Lois in the "Stewie Loves Lois" episode:

Well, you know, without the creepy sexual advances from a dog.

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Monday Montage
So, I'm a day early. Sue me. I have a good lawyer.

Lounging and having a snack. This is the life!

You've gotta love the sand Hitler mustache. It's what every baby's wearing.

"Can I jump in now Mommy?"

And this was taken with my camera phone because my camera battery died. Darn it!


Happy Birthday!
Tomorrow is T's 37th birthday.

My mother-in-law has kept a journal for most of her life, so I know a bit about T as a baby. It was hot the Summer he was born and there was no air conditioning at the house on his family's farm in Southwest Nebraska. There was sand in the well water MIL used to wash T's diapers and it gave him a horrible diaper rash. So T was a cranky baby for a few months. One entry from MIL's journal reads "T was nasty today." For some reason that makes me laugh and I remind him of it when he's grumpy.

MIL and FIL have also told me that T was quite an, um, energetic child. An endearing trait that he has passed to our sons. When he was a tween, he and his younger brother decided to bring the calf they were raising for 4-H into the house. Through the living room. He still doesn't remember why, but they thought it was a really good idea at the time.

T and his brother, K, liked to play Superman in the tree in the front yard. They had the brilliant idea to put blankets on as capes and jump out of the tree, whereupon they would of course soar into the air. T didn't want to try it first. Neither did K. So T pushed K out of the tree. Apparently K still has the scar from the nasty tree gouging he received. The boys thought they'd get in trouble, so they never told their parents.

And then there was the time T backed over his brother in the truck. And the time he almost shot him. And... I could go on and on.

When T was 17, he joined the Navy and went off to boot camp. He spent some time in Florida, Chicago, and two years in Scotland. Then he came home and finished college, with degrees in history and political science, in three years. When I met him he was in graduate school working on his Masters in International Relations. Now T is a computer geek, and it suits him, but he loves to talk and argue politics.

T loves to eat pickled pigs feet (ewwww), olives, and steak. He loves Spring above all other seasons. He can't pick out a matching outfit to save his life.

T loves to take the boys for rides on his lawn mower. He wants to teach them to ride horses and how to milk a cow. He's teaching them to say "yes, sir" and "no, ma'am" and to be good men.

T loves to give hugs at least 50 times a day. He always ends his calls to his parents with "I love you." He's not afraid to tell me what he feels.

T cried after Hollis was born because he was so overwhelmed with love. He loves to watch the boys sleeping. He would do anything for me or the boys. Anything.

We are so lucky.

I am so lucky.

Happy Birthday, T.
I love you.


Divide and Conquer
In the car on our way to the beach last weekend, (Yes, we spend a lot of time at the beach. And yes, I managed to avoid basting the baby this time.) Hollis proclaimed that T is, "My Daddy," and, "Brother has Mommy."


Hit Mommy where it hurts, why don't you?

Yes, it hurts a bit whenever your child shows a preference for the other parent, but I have to admit there's a grain of truth in Big H's ownership proclamation.

When Little H was born, T and I had a divide and conquer approach to parenting. T was usually the point man for Hollis and I, the nursing cow, had Holden attached to me 24/7. I guess a little of that is expected when a new baby comes along. But still, I made special time for Hollis and took him to swimming lessons and even left Holden with our sitter a few times so I could have some Hollis-Mommy bonding time. And I've continued to try to spend time alone with each of my boys when I can.

Hollis, while introverted and reserved like me, has had an aloof and independent air about him since he reached toddlerhood. He's never really seemed to constantly need me the way Mr. Clingwrap Holden does. I assumed that once Holden got a bit older and stopped nursing, he would be more like Hollis. He'd want to do things on his own without parental interference or help. He would demand his independence the way Hollis did.

I'd forgotten the rule that No Two Siblings Shall Ever Be Alike.

Holden's little personality is still starting to emerge, but already he is about as different from Hollis as he can be. He's about as different from me and T as he can be.

He's outgoing. He's fearless. He's stubborn. (OK, maybe I am a bit stubborn too.) Nonetheless, Holden is not going to be a Follower of Rules like Mommy, T, and Hollis.

But he needs me. He clings to me. If I walk into a room, he wants to be held by me. He wants me to be actively involved in his play. He wants me to chase him, to show him how things work, and to be by his side. All of this in a way Hollis has never demanded.

Writing this down, I'm starting to realize the error of my ways. Hollis, because of his personality, will never demand anything of me in quite the way Holden will. I, of a similar personality, should know this. But when I hear "go away, Mommy" or "I do it, Mommy" from Hollis and "Up, Mommy," or "epp me" (help me in Holden-speak) from Holden, I give what is asked without question.

This isn't to say that I don't spend time with Hollis or that I don't snuggle Hollis or read to him or love him as much as Holden. Ah, I don't know where I'm going with all of this angst. The end result is that I like being needed by Holden. Perhaps at times I find it cloying, but for the most part I adore it.

T and I are making more of an effort to mix it up. A few weeks ago I took Hollis to the beach while Holden helped Daddy around the house. Every few nights we'll switch who does the evening routine for each child. And when Hollis makes a comment about how I belong to "Brother" I spend a few extra minutes chasing him around and tickling him after bath time.

Because I love Hollis, that sometimes sweet and sometimes solemn little boy of mine. He's so much like me.

Then last night, T and I were engaged in some horizontal parenting from the couch while the kidlets played before bed. Hollis crawled up on me and joined in the snuggle. He put his little head on my chest and said "You're my Mommy."

That's right, kiddo. I'm your Mommy.

Don't forget, Julie should have her Hump Day Hmmm list up tomorrow. This week she asked us to tackle our feelings upon waking from a 20 year coma like that poor guy in Poland last week. This is a really intriguing topic, but I just can't tackle this one. I tried and my attempt was just too horrible to post. And I have low standards. So, I apologize for not participating in this one, Julie. But I look forward to the next.

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May Just Posts
The May Just Posts are up over at One Plus Two and Under the Mad Hat. It's Mad and Jen's Six Month Anniversary with the Just Posts, so be sure to check them out if you have a moment. I'm awed by so many blog women every month, but this month Jessica at Oh The Joys really made me sit up and take notice with her post Fly. I have a soft spot for righteously indignant swimmers.


My latest post is below.


Just a Boy and His Vacuum Cleaner Part II
"Cleaner" is now facing some unexpected competition.

The Mistress

"It's an undawadda Cleaner, Mommy!"


Wherein I Admit That I Am A Bad Mother
Remember all that hullabaloo over drinking at play dates? Well, if you were horrified and you think all those moms should be turned into CPS and immediately enter rehab, you're going to want to look away now.

I'll wait.

Alrighty then.

It's no secret that I love a good martini. But when I'm at the beach, I prefer a rum and coke. (Or a daiquiri, but that's a lot of sugar!) It's portable and easy. I pack the cooler with cans of Diet Coke, water in little 4 ounce bottles for the kids, and a nice sized 10 ounce water bottle full of rum for me and anyone else who wants to partake.

Last weekend when we were at the beach (yes, that beach) a mean boy threw sand in Holden's face. The boy's father was more worried than I was, carefully examining Holden's eyes and saying "oh, it looks bad," in an ominous voice. I calmly picked up the baby and carried him over to our chairs while the dad chewed out his toddler. I was congratulating myself on being so calm and collected. T came over to help me wash Holden's eyes with water and proceeded to dump some of the contents from a water bottle in Holden's eye. That's when I realized that T was dumping my water bottle of rum all over the baby. (You could see that one coming, couldn't you?)

I have to admit that I freaked out a bit. There was lots of hysterical "OH MY GOD, you poured booze in the baby's EYE!!" happening. (Thankfully, no one on the beach called the police.) But I pulled it together and rinsed the poor little guy with water. A few big crocodile tears and a snuggle and Holden was good as gold. No blind baby. No need to explain exactly how we soaked our child in booze to Child Protective Services in the emergency room. Whew!

But I was still shaken. So was T. We both *knew* what was in the bottle. We did. We were just in a hurry. I guess that's how accidents happen.

Holden, aside from toddling drunkenly down the beach smelling like he'd just been doing upside down margaritas at the Sigma Chi kegger, was just peachy. And hey, how many of you can say you've changed a diaper that smelled like a distillery? Yeah, that's what I thought.

I'm such a trendsetter.

Yes, I will refrain from packing alcohol (at least in a water bottle) in my cooler in the future.

Lesson learned.

My Bacardi Baby

Edited to add:

I just realized that this is my 100th post! Sounds like a good reason to go to the beach and drink spiced rum. (Brilliant suggestion, Gwen!)

Oh and, just to reassure everyone, I don't really think that I am a bad mother. I meant it in that "doesn't my butt look big in these jeans" kind of way. I'm a super cool mom, despite the fact that I marinated my youngest.

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Just a Boy and His Vacuum Cleaner
My son has an unhealthy obsession with a household appliance. He's in love with the vacuum cleaner. It all started innocently enough with the Swiffer. Hollis liked to clean the floor and HELL YEAH I was going to encourage that behavior. Visions of a 4 year old scrubbing the toilets began dancing around in my head.

After Hollis broke about 300 Swiffers, probably by swinging them in the air and trying to hit the cats, we gave up on that and got him a toy vacuum. It was a perfect toddler sized Hoover, complete with attachments and real, albeit very slight, suction. Hollis loved it. LOVED it. But we could not take it away. Not even for a bath or dinner time. And heaven forbid we turn the incessant tiny little whining engine off. Tantrums. from. hell. Hell, I say! Even the cats started trying to claw their way out.

And then one day, we got out our real vacuum. Probably to actually clean the house. (Shocking, I know.) That was it. For Hollis it was love at first sight. His search for his soul mate was over.

He calls it his "Cleaner." It's the first thing he asks for in the morning and the last thing he wants before he goes to bed at night. We can offer him chocolate milk, lollipops, M&M's or his vacuum. He will pick "Cleaner" every time, thrilling over his attachments every day as if it's the first. And the toy vacuum is no substitute. "I want the Big Cleaner, Mommy!"

Lest you think we could harness the power of the Cleaner for good and put him to work, we really can't. I think if we allowed him to plug his Cleaner in I would never again have a moment of relative silence in my home. And the thought of Hollis with suction power is frightening. Small toys - gone. His brother's paci - gone. The cats. Oh dear, lord, the cats.

For now, we tolerate the obsession. And regular threats to pack the Cleaner away in the closet keep him about as in line as a 2 1/2 year old can be. But I can't permanently separate Hollis from his beloved Cleaner. I don't want the lure of the forbidden to make the Cleaner even more appealing.

I can just see Hollis spending the rest of his life attempting to recreate his relationship with his One True Love. If the kid starts bringing Cuisinarts and blenders home when he's in junior high, I'll know we're in trouble. By high school it will be cappuccino makers and toaster ovens. After college he may marry his refrigerator just to spite me.

So for now, we let it continue - this forbidden love. Hollis is just a boy and Cleaner is just, well, a vacuum.


A Six Month Anniversary Present
A little over six months ago, two of my favorite bloggers had a wedding. A very special, socially just wedding, with lots of lovely socially just posts as gifts. I have to admit that, up until news of the proposal and engagement began circulating the Blogosphere, I hadn't yet gotten to know the blogs of these two very special women. I wondered, "Who is this Mad person? And why is her baby wearing a hat?" and "Wow! This Jen person has had an amazing life. How could I ever have anything meaningful to say to her?" And through the union of these two amazing bloggers, the Just Posts were born. After the wedding, I began furtively lurking on both of their blogs and greedily read every Just Post nominee. After awhile I began commenting. And now, I consider both of them part of my community. Or should I say, I consider myself a part of their community? Because theirs is a utopian community - intelligent, supportive, and socially aware. A community I wish I could find outside of the Blogosphere.

Now, six months later, it's time to pony up an anniversary gift. Earlier this week, in honor of the six month anniversary of the Just Post Roundtable, both Jen and Mad had some riveting posts about orphans created by the AIDS epidemic in Africa. Please read them. The statistics are staggering. Mad writes:

"There are 8 million children in Canada. There are 13 million AIDS orphans in Africa." In the time it has taken me to write a handful of social justice posts over these last 6 months that number has steadily risen. It is expected to reach 18 million by 2010. The children of almost two Canadas are being raised without parents at all. Many of these children are HIV-positive themsleves. It's too much too even imagine, isn't it? I try to get my head around it but I simply can't.
18 million orphaned children. Just think about that for a moment.

Does that number horrify you as much as it horrified me? Then read on.

In the way that magnificent women do, Jen and Mad are trying to do something to alleviate suffering, rather than just writing about it. In honor of the Just Post Roundtable, they're on a mission to raise money for the cause. Jen points us to an American non-profit organization called Open Arms. Open Arms runs a home for orphaned children on the Eastern Cape. The people of Open Arms keep the children in the community, hire workers from the community, and try to make a difference.

Here are some more statistics from the Open Arms website:
  • On average,600 people die from AIDS each day in South Africa;
  • 21.5% of the entire South African population is living with HIV. This is among the highest infection rates in the world;
  • The HIV prevalence rate among pregnant women is currently estimated at 27.9% nationally and 27.1% in the Eastern Cape;
  • 250 babies are born HIV positive each day in South Africa;
  • Average household income in the Eastern Cape is $1,300 per year, or 7,800 rand per year. The provincial unemployment rate is 32%;
  • Because of the prevalence of HIV/AIDS, the average life expectancy in South Africa is expected to drop to 36.5 years by 2010. It was 68.5 years before AIDS.

Mad also points us to the Stephen Lewis Foundation, a Canadian foundation raising money for a similar cause.

In honor of the Just Post Roundtable, in honor of Jen and Mad and all women everywhere who try to make a difference, I ask you to make a donation to one of these organizations if you can. If you do donate to Open Arms, please put Just Posts in the space for Company Name, so that Jen and Mad can track how much we've raised. And if you'd like, feel free to write about this on your own blog and let Jen or Mad know about it before the June 10th announcement of the May Just Posts. If you can't donate, then give your time to your community and to people less fortunate in any way you can. Let's give these ladies a hell of an anniversary present.

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The Week in Pictures
I love taking photos of my children. I probably take too many, judging by the amount of memory photos alone take up on my laptop. I'm not an artist, and I honestly know very little about photography, but I think that my children are adorable and I do manage to get some memorable photos out of them. Probably because I take so damn many.

My blog is not just about the writing, it's also about the pictures. After all, I started this blog as a sort of online journal for my children. I hesitate to use the word scrapbook, because I do that as well. (Yeah, in all my free time.) I don't use this blog to record everything event as a family, or all the cute things my kids do. (Unless it involves flinging poo. Because, really, who can resist that?) This space really isn't about cataloging our activities.

At the same time, if I've created this space with the idea that my children will one day see it, I want them to be able to picture themselves in the internal world they read here. I want to give them some context so that they can relate the written record of our lives to their own memories. Plus, my family reads this and they love to see the boys on here. So I think I'm going to start a new tradition here at Lawyer Mama. Every week or so, or at least on the Mondays I'm not feeling lazy, I'm going to devote to photos.

I give you the first "official" Lawyer Mama Week in Pictures:

What a way to start off the weekend. Do you remember feeling this kind of joy?

What is it about throwing things into the water that is so fascinating?

"Are my parents paranoid, or what?"

Fun at the beach

Looking at my photos each week forces me to forget about some of the day to day tedium and whining. My photos let me take a step back and remember why I do this Mommy thing and why I love it so much.


In other random news, last week I found out that a photograph I took of Holden (on his first birthday, no less) was selected for a juried photo exhibit at the botanical garden. The theme of the exhibit is "Children in the Garden," ostensibly to promote the children's garden/play area at the botanical gardens where the photos were taken. I can't wait to see all the entries. Sometime this week, we'll be heading over to check out the exhibit and possibly stuff the ballot box. If you happen to live in my area, please feel free to vote 10 times. Look for a ginormous version of this photo:

Baby Steps

Then be sure to email me your Pay Pal details so I can send you money.*

I'm just kidding.

No, seriously.


Bonus points if anyone can figure out what the heck is in the water in the background of this photo:

I say it's a dolphin, but T doesn't agree. Here it is blown up a bit:


* We don't really get to vote. Just in case anyone was taking me a bit too seriously.

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How Many Computer Geeks Does it Take to Diaper a Baby?
I found this video of T attempting to diaper Hollis at 9 months and I had to share. It always makes me smile. Plus, there's nothing better than making your husband look like an incompetent parent on the internet!

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