Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Best Mommy Moments: April, 2008

"Any toy, book, drawing, or article of clothing belonging to either boy which is still downstairs in one hour will be made to 'disappear.' Perhaps if you are very, very lucky, in a few years it will emerge, haggard, wan, worn, and broken from its time in the custody of State Security."
--Mommy, after an Epiphany that the boys were old enough to pick up their toys without constant supervision and nagging.

"Eric! Slow down! This is a construction zone!...Mommy, Eric is not respecting my barricade!...Eric, I am writing you a speeding ticket!"
--Danny, building a creation while Eric ran laps through the downstairs, jumping Danny's hurtles.

"This is the school bus that died inside a raccoon/and then Eric started the fire/that got so hot/that it killed everybody/and then they teleported/to the spirit world/and that's the end."
--Danny, composing a highly original song. I cannot, alas, blame this one on his Daddy's genes.

"Mommy, come admire my creation. This is the horsey I made. See his mane made out of legos? She is a dog named Emily."
--Danny, showing me the boy horsey and the girl dog, who were the same toy. (Followed by another talk about gender issues.)

"Thanks, Mommy. Now I'm back up to full hitpoints!"

"Now, are sea serpents part of the Dragon family, or are they separate? Are there more than one species of sea serpent...? And do I file griffins with birds or with mammals? Scientific classification is harder than I thought!"
--Mommy, in the midst of an ambitious, educational track-out project.

"I want a wooly mammoth, and a spider (I miss Arachne! She got lost when I loaned her out one Halloween), and a deer, and a pegasus, and a unicorn, and a badger, and a tropical fish, and a "regular" tiger (I only have two subspecies: Siberian and Tigger), and a ladybug...Oh, and a duck in a raincoat to replace poor Noah (I lost him after a Seminary lesson on prophets)....a St. Bernard...Oooh, a cheetah! As a message-runner! ...turkey, goat, snail, griffin... a llama! I want a llama! ... and a new reindeer with Christmas lights on his antlers. (I miss Rasputin! He vanished under mysterious circumstances, of course.)..."
--Mommy, right before Mother's Day, acting very childish about the holes in her ecologically diverse stuffed animal collection.

Mommy: Eric, you got every long-division problem correct except for this one. Do it again.
Eric: [suspiciously] How do you know I got it wrong?
Mommy: Because I did it in my head.
Eric: Maybe you are not smart enough.
Mommy: Eric, I'm right! You made the error! [Surreptitiously double-checking, she breathes a sigh of relief that, this time at least, she was right.]

"What's the password?"
--Eric, hiding behind the closed bathroom door, interrogating the tornado who wanted in. (The tornado didn't know the password and admitted he didn't have a reason for wanting in, but pounded on the door and demanded entry anyway.)

Mommy: Danny, I just spent half an hour writing you a new Bear story.
Danny: Yes, but now I want you to play with me.

Mommy: [Martyring air] Why is it that if I read you a story, or write you a story, or tell you a story, it doesn't count as playing?
Danny: Because I want you to PLAY with me. Upstairs in my workshop! With toys!

"Mommy, don't take Bear! Mommy, I do not want Bear to be impounded!"

--Danny, concerned (unnecessarily, this time), that Bear would be confiscated and placed into the Impound Box for Orphaned Toys.

Best Mommy Moments: March, 2008

Danny: But, Mommy, Eric told me to!
Mommy: Well, Eric is not in charge!
Danny: But, Mommy, Eric thought he was in charge!

"Eric! Cease and DESIST!"
--Danny. (I have no idea where he learned that, of course.)

I've been working on this Relief Society presentation (about the history of the Relief Society) a lot. Today I picked Danny up from school, fed him lunch, and then encouraged him to go outside and play. It was a gorgeous day. 70 degrees.
Danny demurred.
I pushed. "But look at that sunshine! And the playset is calling to you!"
Danny looked at me and then in a gentle, chiding voice--the one a parent employs when kid says something silly but insists that its true--"But Mommy, it only doesn't have a mouth!"
So I said, "It's using sign language! See that swing moving?" [There was a slight wind] "It's saying 'Danny! Come play with me! Danny!'"
Danny laughed, but didn't go out.
I sat down at my computer, and I had just pulled up my spreadsheet chronology when--
Danny wandered in and said, "Mommy? Will you push me on the swing? It is using sign language to tell me I need to go play on it!"
I was helpless against such superior logic. So I gave in and pushed him for a while. Yet another case of my brilliant ideas backfiring because of even more brilliant children.

"The Doctrine and Covenants was Joseph Smith's binder."
--Mommy, comparing a work of scripture to the boys' binders of Mommy-written stories.

Jon: [over dinner] Her former boss was awful. He announced publicly, "I expect you all to work an industry-standard 55-hour week." And she has two small children.
Eric: Did she go on strike?

Danny: I want you to work on Bear's Biography more.
Mommy: Do you want to sit in my lap and help me?
Danny: No, I want you to have a project so you'll let me watch movies.

Danny, could you go use the bathroom for me, please? I don't feel like getting up.


[Background: Carolyn deadpanned the worst poem in the English language at a talent show, causing the audience to shriek with hilarity. Now Imagine my Aspie Eric reading the same poem in complete, oblivious seriousness. I almost asphyxiated, I was laughing so hard.]

The barges down in the river flop.
Flop, plop.
Above, beneath.
From the slimy branches the grey drips drop,
As they scraggle black on the thin grey sky,
Where the black cloud rack-hackles drizzle and fly
To the oozy waters, that lounge and flop
On the black scrag piles, where the loose cords plop,
As the raw wind whines in the thin tree-top.
Plop, plop.

[At this point I had all but fallen out of my chair. Eric paused and said, "Actually, I don't think it's all that funny," and continued reading.]

And scudding by
The boatmen call out hoy! and hey!
All is running water and sky,
And my head shrieks -- "Stop,"
And my heart shrieks -- "Die."

(Plop, plop
The barges flop
Drip drop.)

Plop, flop.

"Danny is being disrespectful! He is using my name over and over in the song he is singing!"
--Eric, shortly after a lecture about not taking the name of God in vain.

"We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all breakfast cookies are created equal and are endowed by their creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, the Pursuit of Happiness, and Freedom from DISCRIMINATION."
--Gail "Mommy" Homer Berry, explaining to a very whiny Danny that he didn't get to "pick" one breakfast cookie out of the herd because they were all the SAME. (Of course, Danny eating the cookie deprived it of it's inalienable right to life. Ah well.)

"Sometimes when Mr. T-- gives me assignments that are too easy, I wish I were in first grade."

"Okay Mommy. You and I will hide, and Bear and Thomas [the train] will look for us!"
--Danny, organizing a game of hide-and-seek.

"Mommy! There are wicked AND evil AND scary AND bad monsters in the backyard!"
--Eric and Danny

"Daddy, Noooo! Don't kill my character!"
--Eric, panicking at the threat that if he didn't shape up, Dungeon-Master Daddy would run his character as an NPC. And not gently.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Best Mommy Moments: January and February, 2008

"Mommy, we are working hard to think about it."
--Danny, stalling for time before committing himself.

Sacrament Meeting is 70 minutes long. If I-derry-keeka is reverent only 68% of the time, how many minutes does he actually hold still?
--A math problem designed to help Eric be reverent during Sacrament Meeting.

Gail: Danny, can I take a picture of you and Bear having a fight?
Danny: [very seriously] No, Mommy! Because I do not want to get into trouble!

--(I was working on Bear's Biography and trying to re-create some famous scenes.)

"Read me that picture, Mommy!"

      ...Danny asked for a story, so I started one about the castle, moving figurines around. "Once upon a time, there were a queen and a knight and--"
      Danny interrupted. "Mommy! I want the cars to be the good guys!" So, fine. I allowed for the anachronistic and highly improbable inclusion of Lightning McQueen and Madir and a host of other metallic creatures. (Whereas, naturally, a dragon, a wizard, and a unicorn are perfectly plausible parts of a castle-related story.)...
      ...So, I started to explain about the mercenary dragon ("Will work for treasure!") and Danny protested and said, "No! He's a good dragon!" And bodily picked the creature up and flew him to inside the castle!
      Now, I am aware of authors who complain "This character has taken on a life of his own and just refuses to cooperate with the plot." But this...was going too far! I had figurines physically picking up and walking away from their assigned positions! Switching sides! Treason, says I!
      I lamented, "Why do people insist on ruining my artistic vision? I don't even accept funding from the NEA!"

Danny: Can I have candy?
Mommy: No.
Danny: Why not?
Mommy: Because I said so.
Danny: [whining] No, different reason!
Mommy: Because I'm a megalomaniacal dictator.
Danny: Oh. Okay.

      I debated turning the delinquents over to the police, but I concluded that 1) they were too delicate for the roommates they'd have in a jail cell, and 2) they were effectively minors who needed parental correction, not incarceration. So I smoothly told the police that it was fine; I suspected someone had just driven my car a mile as a prank...
      ...I lined the stuffed animals up on the couch and paced back and forth, in drill-sergeant style. 'What were you thinking? You could have been killed! Do you have any idea how much a mini-van costs? Do you think that you puny, pitiful stuffed animals could possibly earn $10,000 in your entire lifetime? No? Then wrecking my van would be a sin for which you could never make adequate restitution!!!!'
      (Danny observed the proceedings to make sure I didn't lose control.)

--Gail. I'll leave you to wonder about the circumstances.

"I normally don't allow vermin in my kitchen, but you are so cute, I'll make an exception."
--Gail, feeding cheese to a very adorable Danny-sized mouse.

Best Mommy Moments: November, 2007

"Mommy! Bear isn't breathing!!!"
--Danny, running into the room in a panic. (Mommy hero
ically performed CPR and saved Bear's life.)

"I'm not surprised the bear stopped breathing. I'm surprised that he ever had been breathing. He looks like an anaerobe to me! But what do I know? I'm just a doctor with some veterinary background."

--Doctor Newman, the family physician, on hearing the B
ear CPR story.

Best Mommy Moments: October, 2007

      Today Danny was on the computer and deleted some of Eric's saved games. Now, this is a justifiable grievance on Eric's part. I sympathized and said I understood that he was angry. But Eric's proposed solutions included:
      1) Building a time machine. (To prevent it from ever having happened.)
      2) Squashing Danny. (To prevent it from ever happening again.)
      3) Evicting Danny from our family permanently. (See above)
      4) Making Danny get married so Danny would join some other family. (After his repressive Mommy outlawed #2 and #3.)
      5) Confusing Danny by teaching him the wrong way to spell "delete" so Danny wouldn't push "delete" on purpose. (After Mommy explained about eternal families in response to #4.)
      He said, "Actually, I am confused about whether Danny did it on purpose or not. But I am trying to trick you into thinking Danny did it on purpose so you will give him a consequence."

"Mommy, I am Up To Something. I have a Plot!”
--Eric. (I never discovered his cunning plan.)

Mommy! Ewic isn't wespecting my agency!”
--Danny, whining.

"I didn't expect to give the 'Yes, but there are Conventions that must be Followed and we must Show Our Work, now, Musn't We?' speech to a six-year-old.”
--Gail, after trying (unsuccessfully) to convince Eric to show his work instead of merely solving algebra problems in his head.

Gail: [listening intently to Danny babble] Jon, I think Bear just had a sex change. Should this concern us?
Jon: [drowsily] Nope. Perfectly normal for Bears. [Goes back to sleep]
--(I did have a talk with Danny later.)

"EWW! I thought Bear would, you know, hand me a napkin or something. But, NO, he LICKED me!”
--Gail, after Bear offered to “help” clean up the sticky chocolate all over her face.

Best Mommy Moments: September, 2007

"Don't worry Mommy. I will take good care of you. "
Danny, the sweetest three-year-old ever, promising to take care of me after I had thrown up. (This was when it was still a novelty.)

Danny was cute yesterday.
I sneezed.

And he immediately said "Mommy! Throw up in the toilet!" He rushed into the bathroom, lifted the seat for me, and informed me that it was all ready! (It says Something about how often I've been vomiting, don't you think?)

Danny was my coach. I made an involuntary gagging noise. He sprinted to safety several feet away. (Afraid I'd vomit on his feet.) Later, while I was playing with him in the playroom, I started to feel queasy. I got up and started sprinting.
"Not on the green carpet, Mommy!" he coached
when I made a gagging sound in the hall.
I made it into the bathroom and gagged into the
sink. He frowned disapprovingly. A few more steps and I finished my gagging at the toilet. "Mommy, that was a good option!" he said, proudly.
Later I vomited into my barf bucket. "Mommy, the shoebox is also a good option!" he approved, seriously.
He was rating my various receptacles all day. It's like having a personal trainer!

...What makes this ironic is that I had delivered a very Preachy Lecture to Danny. "Mommy is about to get a shot. Mommy is not going to cry or wail or scream or flail. NO, Mommy is going to be a Big Girl. Mommy will be Brave. If I do a good job, I will earn a cookie!"
And then...I turned white, almost passed out, whimpered, vomited, had to be escorted to a different room, lay down, had blood drawn with three nurses hovering, and women rushing about saying, "It's okay Danny! Your Mommy is okay!!!!"
And I was thinking, wryly, "Well, I haven't scre
amed or cried or thrashed...but I still don't think he's going to find this reassuring!"

[Arguing over the last smores pop-tart]
Mommy: I need to eat something right now, or
else I will throw up!
[Danny, now jaded, looks stubbornly unconvinced]
Mommy: Danny, the baby is hungry. [Points to pregnant tummy]
Danny: But, Mommy, babies can't eat chocolate!

Danny: I want to do that puzzle.
Bear: No you don't! You want to that other puzzle!
Danny: Bear, no. I want to do this puzzle right here!
Bear: No you don't! You want to do that puzzl
e over there!
Mommy: Bear, Danny gets to decide what he does or doesn't want.
Danny: No, Mommy!
Bear: Mommy, go away!!
Mommy: Uh, okay. I'll just let you two work it out for yourselves!
[I felt bad for being an over-protective Mama. I just worried that Danny would bow to pressure and let himself be bullied!--Gail]

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Best Mommy Moments: July and August, 2007

"But I think Jesus could not give the children hugs because the children would catch on fire!"
--Danny, panicking because of his excellent memory. I had told him months before about Jesus' glory.

"Mommy, Charlene controls 90% of my agency. If you ask me to do a chore and I refuse, ask Charlene and she will make me do it.”

Danny: No! That music isn't pretty enough!
Mommy: [appalled] Danny, Mozart was a genius! He taught himself to play the violin at age four, slightly older than you are now! He is widely considered the greatest musician ever to grace this earth! It's impossible for me to produce music prettier than this beautiful violin concerto!”
Danny: Mommy, I want the German CD instead. [He was referring to a Pimsleur language CD. --ed]
Mommy: [helpfully] Mozart spoke German!
Danny: [glares stubbornly]
Mommy: You turn up your nose at the zenith of western culture to listen to a guy who sounds like he's been kidnapped, drugged, and forced to read his captors' ransom demands auf Deutsch? I find this...troubling.

Best Mommy Moments: May, 2007

“Henceforth, any stuffed animal wishing to leave the Papizan Chair must have a travel visa, authorized by me!”
--Mommy, cranky at the mess of stuffed animals sprawling across her floor.

“You have opened a hole there, Gail. Eric will walk up to you with a piece of paper saying, 'Sign this! Mr. Alligator needs to go upstairs!'”
--My neighbor, P., about the travel visa story.

“...Draconian measures...”
...Feel like criminal terrorist suspects...”
...Sever diplomatic relations...”
...Rescind most favored trade status...”
...Babysitting strike...
--Angry snippets of conversation emanating from the Papizan Parliament. I suspect dragons Reggie and Eustace, particularly, of murmuring about the Travel Visa crisis.

      “...One day the dragon sneezed in the woods and caught the trees on fire!” [Page turn]
      “The dragon ran to the nearest house. He knocked and the Three Bears answered.” [Page turn]
      “'Help!' cried the fiery dragon, 'A tree is on fire!' Quickly the Three Bears grabbed a bucket of--”
      “Danny, what do you think the Bears grabbed? Water? I bet you're right. [Page turn]
      “Oatmeal???” [Mommy cleans her glasses] [Danny giggles] “Yes, it says here they grabbed a bucket of oatmeal and rushed to smother the flames with their breakfast porridge!”

--Mommy, “reading” Danny like a book. A “page turn” means folding him in half briefly.

Best Mommy Moments: April, 2007

When I grow up, if the girl I decide to marry tries to change her name to Berry, I will change my name to something else because I do not want to have the same name as the girl I want to marry.

Are you being violent? Are you violent?

Eric: [to Danny] Okay, I am pretending to kill you!
Mommy: There will be NO killing!
Eric: ... Okay, I am pretending to destroy you!

Are you convincing me to play with you even though you have nothing on your bottom?

Eric! No, MA'AM!
--Danny, irritated at his brother.

...next thing I knew, 'Baby Jesus' was floating upside down on the ceiling, erupting into a pillar of fire by night, and numerous other things.”
--Mommy, after foolishly allowing the kids to watch the “Jack-Jack Attack” bonus feature of The Incredibles. “Baby Jesus” was, in fact, the baby boy doll I bought for educational purposes some years ago.

No, you're spelling it wrong!!” [Aspie Meltdown]
--Eric, to his preschool teacher, dictating big words for his “journal.” (He was right, of course, and she was rueful.)

        On Sunday, Danny tried to tell me that we had to drive through and look at three neighborhoods. (Because he is three.) And we looked at one but then I was hungry and said we needed to go home. He fussed and started to scream at me. I told him to stop screaming, and reiterated that we were going home, because I said so, because I was in charge.
        "No, Mommy! I am in charge!"
        And I said, "Let's try an experiment." So I pulled into the Food Lion parking lot and put the car in park.
        "Okay, Danny," I said, "If you're in charge, you tell the car where to go."
        "No, Mommy, I want you to drive to look at neighborhoods! No, Mommy, I am in charge!"
        "Danny,” I suggested, “try saying, 'car, I want you to go forward and then turn right to get out of this parking lot.'"
So Danny hesitantly tried it. (He was also getting distracted enough that the screaming was waning.)
        Tyndale, bless his marvelous soul, did not respond. I surreptitiously patted him and reminded him which hands feed him (i.e., who had filled him up with gas two days earlier).
        Eric had been staring like we were both nuts. I turned him."Eric," I said, "You seem like an impartial observer. Would you say that the car obeyed Danny?"
        "Did it?" asked Eric.
        I sighed.
        "Did it go forward and then turn right?" I asked.
        "No," said Eric, blinking like I was totally crazy.
        "Let's try a new experiment," I said. Surreptitiously putting the car in drive, I ordered, “Tyndale! I want you to go forward and then turn right.” And he did! (Good car. Well-trained. Think I'll keep him.)
        "Well, Danny," I said, "We are all in the car. We can only go where the car drives us. And apparently, the car will only obey me. That means we go where I tell the car to go...and I am telling the car to go home now. So, apparently, I am in charge."
        "Oh," said Danny.

"Mommy, I kept the milk dry!"
--Danny, proud of himself for thinking to cover his cup of milk before going out in the rain.

...So then the hyperactive electron did another lap around the circuit, bouncing crazily off the walls...”
--Mommy, telling one of Jon and Gail's signature Bedtime Stories for Engineers.

Best Mommy Moments: March, 2007

"Oh, God, I thank thee that I am not as other monsters...Bless my siblings to be as helpful, kind, patient, prompt, and humble as am I...”
--I-derry-keeka, being sanctimonious.

“Mommy, I want you to punish da computer! Mommy! I want you to put da computer in da corner!”
--Danny, angry because an empty computer case fell on his foot.

"Mommy I want you to come play with me in the play room because I want to play in the play room because it is a play room."
--Danny, practicing the circular logic of a young three-year-old.

“When I-derry-keeka's Mommy writes stories about me, they are real.”
--Eric, on the fiction vs. non-fiction works in his binders.

"Be gentle with that sword!!!”'
--Mommy, hypocritically admonishing children not to hurt each other with toy swords she had provided.

"Mommy, Bear is taking good care of the baby. He is not eating the baby!"
--Danny, overseeing Bear's babysitting of the Baby Doll.

“When they talk about the pitter-patter of little feet...I don't think they meant the adorable-but-aggravating sound of TRUANT FEET who ought to be IN BED ASLEEP so as to stave off ATHLETE'S FOOT and GANGRENE! It would be a REAL SHAME if I had to SHACKLE those feet to the BEDFRAME!!”
--Mommy, frustrated for obvious reasons.

Mommy: I am putting the car in time out because it's getting too close to the wet paint. [Does so] [Pause] Danny, if your fingers get too close, I will put them in time out, too.
Danny: Mommy, can you put only my hand in time out?
Mommy: Two options. First, we could chop off the hand and put the rogue digits in time out. Second, we could incarcerate all of Danny.
Eric: [very seriously] I think the second option is the correct solution.
Danny: No, Mommy, don't cut my hand!
Mommy: I am issuing a ruling. Any further infractions will result in Danny suffering the consequences for his single, out-of-control appendage. It is unjust...but I'm not required to be a fair judge. [Pause] (Danny, I would never actually do that.)

"No, Mommy, I want you pounce me one two three four five six seven eight nine ten even twelf firteen fiftsisseight nineteen twenty times!"

Danny: Eric, I died.
Danny: Eric, I died. Eric, I died! Eric, I died!!!!
Eric: ...
Danny: Eric, I am going to be died. Eric, I was DIED! Eric, I DIED!!!!!!
Eric [responding, finally]: When will you be resurrected?
Danny: In one...two...free days!!!

Eric: What is one septillion times ten?
Mommy: I...don't know. I'd have to look it up.
Eric: Is it ten septillion?
Mommy: [gaping] ...
Mommy: Uh...probably!

Saturday, May 17, 2008

A Mother's Magnum Opus

[I wrote this on Mother's Day, but then got absorbed in an anthology of best parenting quotes from the last year. Eventually I decided to split them into two separate entries.]

A few months ago, I was at Enrichment playing a getting-to-know-you game. We had to take turns answering questions like, “What was your most embarrassing moment?” or “What was your worst date?” I was asked, “What accomplishment are you most proud of?” and without thinking, I said, “Eric.” I quickly amended, “I'm really proud of Danny, too; I just meant I have put an awful lot of work into helping Eric with his special needs, and teaching him skills, and I am very proud of how much progress he has made.” Everyone there agreed that I had done a good job with both my boys.
A few hours later, I realized that several years ago, I would have thought “National Merit” and said “academic achievements.”

Almost it bugs me, almost, that I have succumbed to the sugary stereotypes of motherhood. Back when I was earning those academic honors, I hated the thought of becoming a simpering Mommy, so absorbed in her children that she ignored everything else. “I will be a stay-at-home Mom,” I thought with martyrdom, “Because that is the best thing for the family. But if all I do is discuss diapers and potty-training, I will lose my mind. I refuse to let my brains rot when I have small children!”

Well, I almost did lose my mind. In part because after giving birth, it seemed like people only asked how the baby was doing, and completely stopped asking my opinion about local education, or national politics, or international relations. And in part because a baby can't provide meaningful conversation. Mercifully, my prediction that things would get better once Eric could talk proved true. He may have exhausted me with his Aspie-induced meltdowns, but at least they were interesting Aspie-induced meltdowns. And frequently funny.

My friend Aimee once remarked, “God gave you smart problems.” For this I am grateful. Both Eric and Danny have special needs which have required me to do a great deal of research. I have had to invent creative approaches to handling those problems. I have used my talents for teaching, languages, melodrama, writing, music, and imagination to enrich my children. And now I have amazing kids with prodigious vocabularies!

I do not want to be defined only by my children. I have many interests that will keep me busy long after they have left home. I will:

* Write the great American novel! 

* Earn a degree in engineering!
* Then write the great American science fiction novel!

* Build my dream castle with a hobbit hole in the backyard! 
* Get a law degree. 
* Travel the world with Jon, visiting the great castles of Europe and the bazaars of Turkey and the temples of Asia! 
* Serve a couples' mission. Get him appointed a mission president, and then help to craft mission policy. Expound doctrine at zone conferences instead of just lecturing boys about hygiene and etiquette. (Though I'll do that too, sigh.)
* Teach Institute
* Get a history degree. 
* Join the board of CES. Reform all curricula, especially boring primary lessons and fluffy Young Womens manuals.
* Become the next General Young Womens' President. Preach substantive, not simpering, sermons in General Conference. Imitate Sherri Dew.
* Become a certified ASL interpreter.
* Get a Master's degree in vocal performance. 
* Take over the world. 
* Get a Ph.D. in comparative religion. 
* Testify as an expert witness before a Senate committee. 
* Earn a linguistics degree. 
* Become truly fluent in German. 
* Study Hindi, Arabic, and Mandarin. 
* Get a degree in International Relations. (That one is optional.)
* Become an NPR pundit. 
* Take math classes with Jon and beat him on a calculus test. (Now that would be challenging.) 
* Build robots with him and win a battlebots contest. Use our battlebots in our attempt to re-conquer the world. (After I got distracted with other projects and trusted my minions too much.)
* Grit my teeth and get a degree in education. (Maybe.) (Then again, maybe not.) 
* Run for school board and/or the U.S. Senate.
* And, most importantly, subvert grandkids. [Evil cackle]

But in order to get really good grandkids to subvert, I have to raise my own kids first. It isn't “sacrifice;” it's an investment.

It makes sense that if my kids represent my largest investment of time, they should similarly represent my greatest accomplishment. Fifty years from now, I would rather look back at my family as my magnum opus, rather than an award I won at seventeen. 

I am proud--I am &*#@ proud--to have been a National Merit Scholar. But I don't want to be like the guy who says, decades later, that the highlight of his life was the year he spent as captain of the football team in high school. That's just pathetic.

I still hate cleaning the house. I may enjoy the teaching aspects of motherhood, but I don't get thrilled about the “nurturing” side, like making dinner, scrubbing toilets, bathing babies, and changing diapers. It's mind-numbing...and I HATE being bored. Perhaps my biggest goal will be to hire a maid once the kids are grown...?

I am grateful to my own mother, and to Jon's. Among my more major goals is to get thank-you notes from daughters-in-law who say, like I said to my own mother-in-law, “Thanks for producing an amazing man! He's a wonderful husband!”