Hollow Tree Ventures parenting humor
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Sleeping Beauty

Is there anything on earth more beautiful than a sleeping child?  Their sweet little faces become so peaceful, positively angelic; one can only imagine the blissful images that pass before them in their innocent dreams, as we coo and fawn over every soft sigh and eyelash flutter.

So what happens to us?  At what stage of development to we devolve from looking so idyllic during sleep into looking like the unfortunate corpse in the opening scene of a CSI episode?  It's like one night we're cuddly and soft and smell like Johnson's baby powder, and the next night we metamorphosize into snoring, sprawling, slack-jawed gargoyles drowning in a river of our own saliva.  I suspect it happens during adolescence, but then again I blame almost everything on adolescence.

The reason I ask is that I awoke today to the sight of our camera, which was propped up in the corner of the room on its tripod.  This can mean only one thing: my husband has been taking pictures of me while I'm sleeping.  Again.  This started back when we were dating, but his nocturnal photography sessions have really hit a fever pitch since our daughter was born.  He must just love the artistic juxtaposition between the captivating beauty of a dozing infant and the sloppy mess of a woman in her mid-thirties who has fallen into a catatonic state due to exhaustion.  Here's the enchanting scene he captured last night:

I look like I may have choked to death on my own tongue.  Maddie, of course, looks adorable, if not perhaps a little concerned, her brow furrowed slightly as if trying to puzzle out where her next meal will come from if someone doesn't happen by to give me the Heimlich.

I've told Gerry multiple times that taking pictures of people while they're sleeping is punishable by un-anesthetized toenail removal in some countries, but he is not deterred.  Even though he was probably grounded from the camera at the time, here I am several months ago, ruddy-faced from tidal waves of pregnancy hormones, decked out in a paint-splattered sweatshirt, oblivious to the fact that I'm about to smother the cat with pillows:

And here I am, catching him in the act - does this face leave any doubt about my feelings on the subject?

Ah, that ethereal state between sleeping and waking, your hair a tornado of wiry strands that stick out all over like used twist-ties, your eyes crusted over and (in my case) still coated in a bleary film from accidentally falling asleep in your contacts, chins multiplying by the second and threatening to join forces to transform into full-blown jowls...

That's the reason no one likes having their picture taken while they're sleeping.  It's the only time our photos look even worse than the ones taken at the amusement park as we zip by the camera on a roller coaster, eyes squeezed shut with our screaming mouths stretched into unrecognizable facial caverns by the g-force.  Worse than pictures taken while we're in the middle of saying the word "pendulous," worse than our drivers' license photos, worse than one taken at the precise instant you opened a gift that you THOUGHT was going to be an engagement ring but turned out to be a toaster.  I don't know how you'd get the sizes of those packages confused, but you see what I'm getting at.

Yet I'd never really ask him to stop.  Why?  Well, he does it because he loves us, and because what he sees in the photos are tender moments between mother and child, and because he thinks we're beautiful.  At least that's what he tells me.  And I guess I'll have to believe him, because I don't want to ruin my good pliers on his toenails.

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Old School

I was helping Jake, my 9-year-old, with his homework the other night.  We were working on spelling words, and were stuck on "fierce."  He was spelling it "feirce."

"No, i before e except after c," I would gently remind him.

Again, he would write, "feirce."

"Honey," I'd say, "Remember it's i before e except after c.  Then it's e before i."  Clear as mud.

Again, "feirce," in his perfect 4th-grade penmanship.

I am not a teacher.  Never is this more obvious than when I help with homework.  Though I did graduate from college, I can't remember how I learned how to, let's say, divide fractions, so it's difficult for me to explain other than, "You just know that 1/2 divided by 2 is 1/4," which is not really all that helpful.  If I can think of a way to explain something (which is rare), the only ammo in my teaching arsenal is to keep repeating it, which essentially equates to me being exponentially unhelpful.

"Sweetie, i before e EXCEPT after c.  The c in this word is at the end."  Brilliant!  That ought to clear things up!  I hate to admit it, but I was starting to lose my cool.  I'm not a very patient woman, and I couldn't understand why my top-notch instruction wasn't getting through to him.

"I know, Mom," Jake said, also getting a tad frustrated.  "It's i before e after c.  I accept that."

Ding.  (That was the light bulb coming on over my head.)

That interpretation had never occurred to me; I love the way kids look at things so differently from the way adults do.  Well, I love how my kids do it.  Your kids probably do it, too, but I couldn't say for sure.  Anyway, we had a brief tutorial about the difference between "except" and "accept," I silently reminded myself not to be such a Crabby Homework Tyrant (one of my semi-daily rituals), and we sailed through the rest of the spelling quiz.

So here is my plea: can we all agree to change the saying to, "I before E UNLESS after C?"  Would that be so hard?  It would have saved me a good 15 minutes and one blood pressure spike this week alone.

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Par for the course

It's amazing to me - I'm actually starting my own blog!  What is NOT amazing to me is that, now that I've finally set it up, changed my settings umpteen times (which was actually just one change that I had to do umpteen times because I'm too dense to figure out how to save), and the baby isn't crying (anymore), it's time to go pick up the two middle kids from school.  So it looks like gracing the world with my random blatherings will have to wait.  Awwww, shucks.

I hope you enjoyed yourself while you were here - and I hope you come back! Please share inappropriate giggles with me on Pinterest, Twitter, and Facebook, or subscribe via email so you don't miss a thing!