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December 2007

Proud supporter of the Anti-Infant-Growth Movement

My boy gives KISSES now.

I loooooooove my mommy!

Okay. Maybe that pictures is a little more "As soon as I'm done placating the grown up, Fat is going down" than solid evidence of kissing, but that's the best we've got.

He also claps and grooves along to his Singing Cookie Jar and is expert at scooting across the living room backwards and getting stuck under the couch.

I've suddenly become delicate and sensitive and need a pair of Nicole Richie sunglasses to shield me from the paparazzi.

I keep meaning to write and say what an awesome time seven months is, except now we're more like seven and a half months, or even seven and three quarters months. Which means we are really close to eight months and I AM NOT READY TO LEAVE SEVEN MONTHS. I wasn't ready to leave three months or four months or the other months, to be honest. This baby thing goes entirely too fast. (I CAN'T STAND IT when people say that to me, but it's okay if I say it. On my blog. Where I am Queen.)

So yes. Seven months is my favorite. (Yes I know I said that about the other months too. Shut up.)

We have lost, however, all ground we gained on Sleeping Through The Night, as last night Jack invited Phillip and me to a merry little party upstairs from two to four am. It was a BLAST.

Well, wouldn't YOU want to stay up all night with me?

P.S. Happy New Year's Eve. I will be sitting on my butt, at home, watching the fireworks on TV because I have a BABY. Something about responsibilities? But I will be drinking champagne, oh yes. They can schedule my entire world around the baby's sleep schedule but they can't have my champagne!

Flopping on Dr. Internet's couch

Because of the stupid writers strike (I am a supporter! Just not happy about it!) Phillip and I have been watching the last season of The Sopranos. Phillip really likes this show and has dilligently powered through each episode over the last couple years. (I know. It would take me, like, a month. But Phillip has other things in his life besides television.)

I used to watch the first half with him and sleep through the second half, so I never really know what's going on. Since the writers strike, however, we've been watching them earlier in the evening, so I am awake for the whole episode, sometimes even two episodes. But last night, after the episode where [SPOILER!] Tony offs Christafuh, I told Phillip I was done. He could watch another one without me, but I was going to bed.

I went upstairs and folded all the clean diapers and put things away and just tried to get The Sopranos out of my system before I crawled into bed.

Having to get disturbing TV or books or local news out of my head is nothing new for me. I've always been the type to tear up during a particular emotionally-manipulative commercial, for example. I remember watching Schindler's List at home, with the remote, so I could fast forward through anything that was too much to bear. But only recently have I had to hurriedly change the channel so I wouldn't have to hear about the latest child abuse case or listen to 911 tapes or see pictures of local devastation.

This makes me feel really irresponsible. I like to think of myself as someone with a decent working knowledge of the world. I read magazines that don't have pictures of celebrities in them. (Although I certainly read those too!) I watch cable talking head shows religiously. Every once in a while my dad will talk about some book that details a section of History about which I am desperately ignorant, and I'll pick it up at the bookstore so we can discuss it later.

So when The War came out a few months ago, I was pretty excited to see it. I scheduled the entire series to record on TiFaux and I started watching it during Jack's nap. I quit watching it right around D-Day. It was magnificently done and captivating, but it was interfering with my ability to function in the Real World. I'd started having 'What if my baby goes to war?' thoughts randomly pop into my head. And then thoughts that only made sense on the most theoretical level: "What if they reinstitute the draft and Phillip goes to war and doesn't come home and then twenty years from now I have to watch my SON go to war and HE doesn't come home?" Can you say PSYCHO?

The part of me with seriously defective brain chemistry has a terribly difficult time letting go of those thoughts. I have been known to fixate on negative thoughts that aren't even possible, so thinking about losing my child to war some day is peanuts. I have had all of three truly anxious days this fall season, and those three days are due entirely to a couple of spectacularly wicked child abuse stories that cycled through the local news for a few weeks in October. I wanted to write about it, but I can't yet. I still think they have a grip on me.

In the last several months I've just attempted to make peace with it. I have a baby now, so the stakes for everything are higher. I've always walked around waiting for the other shoe to drop- wouldn't having a baby make that so much worse?

I've tried to limit my intake of Negativity. I watch the local news to catch the weather, then I turn it off until my politics show is on, and all those people talk about is the 2008 presidential race, which is my version of watching sports. I deleted The War off TiFaux so I would not be tempted to watch the rest. I don't go to war movies or nearly anything based on a true story. I have a whole shelf of books that I've had to stop reading, because I couldn't get through the parts about child abuse or torture, or even dependencies on prescription drugs and car accidents. I find myself wishing I could just block out all the scary Life stuff and live happily ever after in my house, which is decorated in nice happy colors, and where we play on the floor and eat dinner and snuggle on the couch. I never used to wish for that, and it makes me feel so guilty. There are people out there dealing with war and poverty and hunger and losses I can't even imagine- don't I owe it to them to at least KNOW about them?

I am so overwhelmed by these things right now. The woman who killed her family. The floods. The assassination of a very brave woman. The sick babies in the St. Jude Children's Hospital commercials. Teenage pregnancies and thirty-five-year-old women who can't get pregnant. (I saw Juno yesterday, despite my better judgment.) The neverending string of mistreated children on the local news. The histories and backgrounds of the kids in my mom's fifth grade class. And that's before I float off to husbands killed in action and concentration camps and genocide and... you get the picture.

There is so much right now I think it will flatten me.

I am pretty sure this has to do with dark days and early nights and my annual I Hate This Time Of Year Funkitude. I am not depressed. I am rarely depressed. I am not pessimistic. I am not wondering why bad things happen to good people. I am not mad at God. I am just constantly wondering how one person is supposed to hold all of these things and not collapse. And I wonder at my ability to get through anything hard, when it is so difficult simply to know about the hard things. What does God have to say about that? And if someone says "God doesn't give you more than you can handle," please don't be offended if I roll my eyes and switch on the Bravo channel.

Anyway. See how I save the morose stuff for the weekend? When no one is looking? Back to Irreverent Baby Fun on Monday!

Quick! Thursday! Update!

"Has the Christmas season driven you to therapy yet? No? Just me?" Read more here!

(Like I don't post enough neuroticness here, I'm now posting it THERE.)

I was going to put some actual content on the blog today, but then my parents called from the airport all, "WE HATE THE ENTIRE AIRLINE INDUSTRY" and we had to pick them up. And hear about the evil airline people all the way home. They are supposed to be in Colorado with the sainted nephews- and they were supposed to go yesterday- but they've had about fourteen flights canceled in the span of 24 hours and they've decided they are gluttons for only so much punishment.

So now we are at their house where Jack is providing some much needed Grandma Therapy and we have talked my dad into taking us out for lunch. I am voting for more white people Chinese food. MMM.

Jack is playing with his Cookie Jar. This toy is a HIT, internet. He claps and dances. I KNOW. It is the CUTEST THING EVER.

See ya later.

Seriously defective brain chemistry

One wall in my bedroom is painted lime green. Not obnoxiously so, in my opinion at least, more pastel than neon, and it is just one wall. It might have been the whole room if I hadn't been such a painting pansy. We have a black bed and a black desk and a bland Ikea-colored dresser and bookshelf. A few months ago when I was feeling like my bedroom was the ugliest room in our house, I bought some curtains to match the green wall. I bought some black picture frames thinking they might "tie things together". (I haven't hung them up, of course.) When my mom said she wanted to buy us a new bedding set for Christmas and SAID I COULD PICK IT OUT I chose something baby blue and white. My mom doesn't think it will go with the green wall and maybe it doesn't, but I just made my brand new bed and for the first time since we moved into the house, I love my bedroom.

It helps that I cleaned it up this morning. And that it was sunny for a while and I opened the blinds. Between the lime green and the pale blue and the sunshine I was in heaven.

My space is really important to me. If the huge number of interior design shows on TV are anything to go by, I'm not alone. I don't have an eye for design, though, and I'm the farthest thing from do-it-yourself. I once repainted a hand-me-down bookshelf and it nearly killed me. Sometimes I see things I like in magazines or I admire the way a friend has arranged pictures on the wall, but for the most part Phillip and I just buy something and hope that it fits. When we bought our house, the kitchen was stark black and white and one wall was painted a neutral brown. The only thing we did was paint the bathroom cherry red and buy a slew of red things: couches, mixers, candles, kitchen towels. Not very original, but I like it. When things are put away and the counters are clean and I have a moment to sit on the couch and look around, I really love my house.

The last couple of weeks have been hard. They've just been a series of days where I can't seem to get anything done, where I'm stuck in the house with a baby and where everything is chaotic and messy. Christmas preparations- be it cookies or presents or parties- seem to leave disasters in their wake. And, as I may have mentioned once or twice, the darkness makes everything a hundred times worse. It feels like life is over at 4:30 pm- now it's time to put pajamas on and get in bed.

But when I made my pale blue bed this morning everything was different. I would never decorate my living room in Easter egg colors like I seem to have done upstairs (even Jack's room is a butter yellow) but I think it's my way of bringing light inside. I can't even really describe what it was like to open the blinds and sit in the middle of a swath of soft sunny blue. I wasn't always like this. I even remember a time when I looked forward to a pitch black 5 o'clock, because I loved the city lights and the excitement night seems to bring. But decorating my bedroom in spring colors and letting the light in made me happy. Actually physically tangibly happy. Lighter. Less tense. Calmer.

We had a lovely Christmas. It snowed. Jack has been outfitted for the next six months. I have pictures. I may actually go to the mall this afternoon (if only for blog fodder). So things are good. But I just wanted to say something to the effect of: all I really need is a baby blue duvet cover.

Hope everything was merry...

I wish I knew how to break the spell

I just wrapped this book in a piece of green tissue paper leftover from a present someone gave us yesterday. And I WRAPPED it, meaning I took the book and folded the ends of the paper over it and left it at that. Then I carried it across the room, directly in my son's line of sight, and stuffed it into his stocking while he watched, a stocking he won't even open until Tuesday morning.

Something tells me I won't be getting away with my laziness in the baby gift giving department next year. Better take advantage of it this year.

(I have bought him one outfit and one book. Things I wanted. I imagine the trunk of our car will be full of Things For Jackson tonight anyway.)

I won't be around for a few days. And since you know that means I can't tear myself away, "a few days" is probably more like "this afternoon". I've got a zillion things to clean up before we head down to my parents' house for the Fattening and Tipsy Making Festivities. I've also got a few things my elf forgot to wrap, a diaper bag to plan and pack and a physical self to attend to (a physical self that has not seen a hairbrush, a non-elastic waistband, a razor, a tube of mascara or shoes appropriate for going outside in days.) We've had a long stretch of dark gloomy dark wet dark long DARK days and it's taking a toll on my cheery disposition. If someone around you is depressed because of the weather, or anxious like me, or just in a grouchy funk, be nice. It's REALLY HARD. Supposedly there are going to be "a few sun breaks" today and I do declare, internet, that a few sun breaks are the difference between a lovely relaxing evening of television and a nervewracking tension-filled night of insomnia. Let us all cross our fingers.

Not to leave you on that note.

Here's my favorite scene (and almost-favorite Christmastime song) from a not completely terrible Christmas movie. (The opinion of someone who thinks 'White Christmas' is HIGH ART.)

Merry Christmas from Camp Cheung!

This post sponsored by the Caps Lock key

One night a month Phillip has to stay late at the office with the other geeky worker bees and update servers. Or something like that, I'm not really sure. And they have to make sure the East Coast clients are off the system and that the West Coast clients aren't getting in the way and then I guess they press a button and Boom! All updated. And this takes several nighttime hours (it's a very difficult button, hard to push) which means I am at home, by myself. Oh, except for the baby, who doesn't really count since he goes to bed after the evening news.

I've never been good at staying home at night by myself, due to the Nervous Nighttime Jitters I am prone to experiencing this time of year. I usually stock up on some good wine and some must see TV and try to ignore the clock. But now that I have the baby, I have to be all responsible and make sure there is dinner and bottles and pajamas and stories and fresh diapers. More pears, less wine. Boo.

Last time Phillip had to work late (which was an entirely different Updating Servers project, by the way, and lasted until THREE IN THE MORNING, shouldn't that be ILLEGAL) it was the night my back went completely out, in fact my back may have given notice and hightailed it to Thailand for some sunny beach weather. (It came back, if you are interested, and we've just resolved never to speak of it again.) That night I had to call my sisters and ask them to come over so someone would be here to PICK UP THE BABY. I could not even SIT, Internet. It was awful. Horrible. I felt like I was ninety-seven years old and scheduled to die in the morning. And, you know, my sisters think I'm cool and all, but even the free ice cream and multiple viewings of Hairspray could not entice them to stick around until Phillip came home. So it was poor back-less me trudging up and down the stairs because THE BABY WOULD NOT GO TO SLEEP.

Oh my God. It was torture. Every twenty minutes or so I had to run upstairs and replace a pacifier or rock him back to sleep or shush him down or SOMETHING. And may I remind you that the bedtime routine is Phillip's deal? So obviously I was doing something wrong. I was rushing in and out of the baby's room from about seven to one or two in the morning, where I finally crashed in bed (crashing being the only way to get IN the bed when your back is on vacation) and prayed that Phillip would get home before I died. Maybe the baby was still hollering, I wouldn't know, I was almost dead. That night=quite possibly the Worst Night Ever.

Today the baby woke up late. Very late. So late he refused to take a morning nap and then decided naps were completely out of the question the minute his grandparents arrived. And I don't know about you, but I need a schedule. The biggest most huge thing I've discovered since having a baby is that the schedule is not this thing that prevents you from going out and seeing your friends and retaining any sense of your former self. It does those things, yes. But more than that, so much more than that, the schedule preserves your SANITY. Should the baby be out and about at naptime? No, it's probably not good for him, and it is WAY LESS GOOD for me. Do you try to get the baby to take his morning nap, even if he's woken up late and seems the farthest thing from tired? YES, YOU DO. Because if the baby doesn't nap you have no earthly idea what to do next. When should he eat? When should we go to Target? I have no freaking idea because THE SCHEDULE IS OFF.

I don't even care what you think of me right now. I've spent years trying to be a Flexible Sort Of Person, but you know what? IT'S NOT GOING TO HAPPEN.

So I was stressed out all day because my family was meeting other family for dinner at a Chinese restaurant in a neighborhood far from my own. Not super far, but far enough, and it's one of those neighborhoods accessible only via Back Roads. Locals will know what I'm talking about when I say the dreaded word: MAGNOLIA.

And this is what I am thinking: 1) Dinnertime is perilously close to Baby's Bedtime. 2) That's too far to drive, in the dark, alone, at the tail end of rush hour, with a fussy baby. 3) I am sick. Sick! Hack! Cough! Sniff! On the other hand: 1) White people Chinese food instead of Authentic Chinese People-Approved Chinese food (I never ever get to eat sweet and sour chicken around my father-in-law). 2) Family! I like family. 3) Something to distract me from the Nervous Nighttime Jitters while Phillip is snuggling up to his servers.

I weighed the pros and cons of this ALL DAY. That is just the kind of person I am. Do you want to be friends?*

Finally I talked one of my sisters into going with me. This solved the "alone" part of the problem, which was a big deal. Even if she can't do all the Phillip Tasks, ie: heft the baby up and down the stairs, put him to bed when we get home, drive the car- she can at least listen to me complain and be otherwise neurotic about having to do all of it myself.

So we went to dinner! And it was not horrible! We left when the baby started to get a little fussy, but it was no big deal.

I talked my sister into coming in the house with me and fixing a bottle while I took Jack upstairs for a diaper change and the Sacred Bedtime Routine, even though she had, like, friends to see and a life to attend to. (I know! Who is nominating Littlest Sister for Sainthood?)

I changed the baby and got him all set and comfy in the rocking chair and gave him the [perfectly made] bottle and we sat there gazing dreamily at each other. I swear, I have got more bonding time out of this kid with a BOTTLE than I ever did when I was shooting for breastfeeding martyrdom.

We rocked for a while because that is how I know to put him to sleep, except he wasn't getting sleepy. Even though he'd fallen asleep in the car and was obviously ready for bed, he wasn't having it. So I did what I've been doing recently, just because there doesn't seem to be another Falling Asleep option.

I put him in the crib, tucked him in, kissed him goodnight, turned off the light and moved out of his line of sight. And then? He rolled over and went to sleep.

Did you just faint and fall over backwards? ME TOO.

AND! Phillip just called and said he is going to be home soon. Like BEFORE TEN. My goodness there must be a full moon or fairy dust in the water or something.

Did I say something about a TV post? Oh right. Well, let's just say I didn't want to make your eyes cross with my English major-worthy critique of The Real Housewives of Orange County. You think I am joking BUT I'M NOT. 

*Please say you still want to be friends. I can't say I am less neurotic in real life, but I know how to have a good time once the baby has gone to bed and the toys are picked up off the floor. Honest!

Television Thursday- maybe later

I have a new post up at Parenting today about the Sheer Trauma that was leaving my child overnight with his grandparents last weekend. As if you do not get enough of the Sheer Trauma here!

I have a whole list of things I wanted to share today, most of which involve television. And a little bit of Jamie Lynn Spears, to whom the scandalized media has pinned the giant letters U. H. which stand for UNDERAGE HARLOT. Seriously, I thought I could see the horrified and scandalized spittle flying out of their mouths. Ugh.

But my parents are here and Jack didn't take his morning nap and I still have the Raspy Voiced My Head Feels THIS BIG Cold and we are supposed to go shopping. So I have posted my obligatory Hey! This is What's Happening At Parenting Today sentence and hopefully I will be back later to dish on all things TV related. I know. You are on the EDGE OF YOUR SEAT.

This is Santa's big scene

It's almost 7:30 in the morning, but it's pitch black outside. Sigh. Friday we'll have the shortest day of the year and then begin the long turn around towards the light. Even if December 21st is a particularly rotten day, you can tell yourself that it won't get any worse.

When I am filthy rich I will spend the fall and winter somewhere in the southern hemisphere. I am open to suggestions. Right now I'm thinking New Zealand.

So what do you guys do for Christmas? Any tug of war between families? We're going to have three Christmases this year, sort of. Christmas Eve afternoon we'll do the present opening with just my mom and dad and siblings. Christmas Eve night we'll do the [massive, loud, takes forever, extremely fattening] present opening at my grandmother's house with all the aunts and uncles. Then we'll go home, go to church in the morning, have our little 3-person family Christmas and then drive down to Phillip's parents' house for dinner. I guess that's four Christmases. This is the most-doable version of Christmas so far- for a while we were thinking about having to stay the night somewhere and cram three of those four Christmases into Christmas Day.

Luckily there will be plenty of wine.

Phillip and I have talked some about what traditions we want to start in our little family consisting of him and me and our perfect brilliant child. Phillip's family doesn't HAVE any traditions. He chalks this up to 1) an extended family that lives hours away, 2) a brother older by 8 years, so a lot of the time it was just Phillip and his parents and 3) his mom is a nurse and often had to work Christmas Day. Since we've been married we have Christmas dinner with his parents. His mom makes a rib roast and we quickly open gifts all at once around the kitchen counter. One year we did it one at a time in the formal living room. THAT was a special year.

MY family, on the other hand, is insane. In MY family, if you do not do exactly the same thing every year, there will be Wailing and Gnashing of Teeth.  I've got four brothers and sisters, my mom has four brothers and sisters and nearly all of them and their respective families converge on my grandmother's house Christmas Eve night. (And, for the longest time, I had no idea that people opened presents Christmas morning. MORNING? But you can't party all night if you open presents in the MORNING!) It starts around 4 or 5 with soup and fried bread dough. Do you know what fried bread dough is? I will tell you. A little cloud of heaven, that's what. You put jam or sandwich fixings or egg salad on your little ball of fried bread dough, and oh my God, some people even put BUTTER on their FRIED bread dough. You eat until all the bread dough is gone (which takes a while, even though there are four or five Giant Men who do their very best to complete the task quickly). Then you set out all kinds of awful things- cookies, candies, cakes- on the coffee table, fill up your wine glass and the present opening begins. There is a Present Passer Outter and we open them one at a time and now that everyone is Old we have a gift exchange. It takes FOREVER. But since you are constantly eating treats and slowly growing tipsy you don't really mind. It's fun, but it's exhausting. Christmas Day, when I was growing up, was for recuperating.

So, you see, we are coming from different places when we talk about Traditions. But Phillip seems to really like the insanity that is my family Christmas and I have already laid down the law about things like Advent calendars and garlands and nativity scenes, the law being OUR HOUSE WILL BE CHRISTMASSY, OH YES. I think when Jack gets a little older we'll have more of an idea about how to have our own Christmas. For now we're good mooching off everyone else.

Somewhere in all of this we try to include the Baby Jesus. The reason for the season and all that. I would really really love to go to the midnight Mass at my church, but because of the aforementioned Fattening Family Party, we'd never get there in time and/or we wouldn't be able to stay awake. You shouldn't really go to midnight Mass after five glasses of wine, right? I always want to go to midnight Mass because they do a half hour of lessons and carols beforehand and by the time actual Christmas rolls around, I start to feel like I haven't sung 'Hark The Herald Angels Sing' enough times. (It's this time of year when I start to miss having a piano in my house.) And if I can't go to midnight Mass I'd like to go to the children's Mass at 5, but that's obviously out of the question. So we go Christmas morning when the church seems sort of empty and anti-climactic. It's nice, but I miss going on Christmas Eve. My church has a prayer service at 5pm on Christmas Day. I'd like to go to that if we're home in time.

But I'm thankful we don't have to fly anywhere, I'm thankful we actually enjoy all of our Christmases and none of them feel like chores or obligations. I'm thankful we can see everyone with a minor amount of hassle. I'm thankful we don't have to fight over whose family gets Christmas this year.

And I'm excited to share Christmas with Jack, even though he doesn't get the whole present concept yet and will probably be freaked out by Santa Claus. (What? Your uncle doesn't dress up like Santa every year?) He isn't terribly enthralled by our tree or the decorations or the constant aroma of cookies, but I'll have to give him a bite of fried bread dough on Christmas Eve and THEN HE'LL UNDERSTAND.


The upside of a cold is the fantastic raspy voice

Do you ever have days when you think, "Gee, wouldn't it be great to have another blog that was just for The Crazy?" And, since we are talking about me, The Crazy would include faith stuff and occasionally  some questionable mental health stuff and where those two things intersect. I think. I mean, I know this blog includes quite a bit of The Crazy already- I KNOW- but you know what I mean. Right?

Anyway, this is one of those days. I'm seriously considering it. Until I remember how much time I spend on THIS website.

And because all I can think of to post today are things that contain a bit more of The Crazy than normal, I'm going to go ahead and say, "Come back tomorrow!" Because maybe the weather won't be so gloomy and I won't feel so stuffed up and something funny will have happened and then we will have an appropriate topic to follow the fitted sheets wisdom. By the way, my mother cannot believe how many of you wanted to know how to do that. I mean, she did not SAY, "Don't those people have lives?" but she came really really close. She would also like you to know that she EXPECTS me to wear pajama pants and ratty hair. She has, after all, known me for a very long time.

Now. I shall sit down with my bowl of Hershey Kisses and look for a Christmas-themed movie on television.


Let no one say I hoard my brilliance

Many things came between me and the How To Fold Fitted Sheets Pictorial Tutorial this evening, but DO NOT FEAR. I have not let you down, Internet! Even though I am sick (SICK! GAH!), facing a mountain of sticky stemware leftover from our Christmas shindig and not quite over the whole Sending My Baby To Spend The Night Away From Me, In The Suburbs, Far Far Away, Just So I Could Party In Peace (and Internet, I started drinking as soon as my mother drove off with him, I AM NOT EVEN KIDDING YOU), I have not forgotten to deliver you all from wadded and crumpled fitted sheets!

Behold! The troublesome fitted sheet!


And no, you Scroogy types are not allowed to make fun of my snowflake tablecloth.

(That nicely folded sheet in the back is the flat sheet. For comparison.)

Okay then!  Let's all pick up our fitted sheets and stick our hands into two of the corner pockets-


so that the longer side of the sheet is perpendicular to your body. Like so.


Feel free to flash the internet a goofy crooked smile as you do.

Now clap your hands together so that the corners meet.


Now you're going to take one of the corners and pull it over the other corner. When you're done it should look like this.


Are you feeling neat and orderly and Type A? EXCELLENT.

So now the bottom of your sheet has sort of followed the same trajectory as the top of your sheet, but you're going to have to straighten it out a bit. Put down your nicely aligned top half or drape it over a chair while you do the same thing to the bottom half. When you're done, stick your hands into the two pockets like you did the first time.


Right now my mother is thinking, "Couldn't she at least BRUSH HER HAIR?"

Now fold one corner over the other so that you are left with ONE LAST CORNER. I know. It's a CHRISTMAS MIRACLE.


NOW my mother is thinking, "Pajama pants? Really?" and what we will not tell my mother is that these aren't even girl pajama pants these are BOY pajama pants and the fly is TOTALLY OPEN.

All right. So now you've got a very lovely almost-folded fitted sheet. This is what you do next.





That's the flat sheet on top. Note that the two folded sheets are not the same size. That is because I am not QUITE as Type A as everyone believes. Also because I am doing my part to rid my genes of Crazy Homemaker as, I am told, my grandmother not only got her flat and fitted sheets to fold to the same size, she IRONED THEM.

I fold my sheets kind of long and narrowish because as nice as my house is, it was designed by men who did not understand the concept of Spacious Closets Where Things Actually Fit. Anything that goes in the linen closet needs to have the dimensions of a shoebox.

Anyway, I digress. I learned this little trick not from my grandmother but the chainsmoking ladies I worked with at the retirement home the summer after my senior year of college. I served breakfast, chased after lost pets, made beds and folded sheets. I have been easing the lives of the anal retentive ever since.