Friday, May 30, 2008

The Lurking Question

My son has picked up the phrase, “Hey, buddy, what’s up?” I don’t know where. The way he says it the words sound a little bit more like, “Heeeyyy, buuuuddeee, what’s up?” And his voice undulates up and down, especially around the “u” sounds.

He’s nosy and likes to stare out the window when the neighbor is outside talking, or when he hears the neighbor’s door open or close. Since the windows are still mostly closed the neighbor unwittingly ignores his repeated question.

The boy stands there and says, “Hey, buddy, what’s up” into the window-glass at the guy walking his daughter home from school.

The big chocolaty pit bull that lives up the street gets this same salutation.

We went to the mall and the mannequin in the women’s department wearing khaki shorts, a black top and a pair of sunglasses was also hailed and it was inquired of her what was up.

Infants, toddlers, and older kids alike merit the same greeting.

No one is exempt.

Only, the poor kid has yet to get an answer to his query. So the next time a peculiar little boy with a winning grin and smiling eyes looks up at you and asks, “Hey, buddy, what’s up?” be kind to the poor soul and answer him!

An Infant's Guide: How to Mount a Walker

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Potty Party

Near the end of last week, I decided that since the baby is usually in the bathroom while her big brother uses the potty it would be an ideal time to stick her on the toilet and see what she would do. The two or three times she sat on the pot last week were mostly spent trying to stick her feet and hands through the potty seat and down into the toilet water. According to her, this is great fun and all attempts should be made to maneuver one’s way around mommy’s arms and thwart mommy’s efforts at keeping potty time clean and safe.

The long weekend was extremely busy, as weekends are wont to be, so she was deprived the practice of using the toilet. As a result, I wasn’t expecting anything yesterday morning when I removed her diaper and sat her tiny-ness on the potty; I was greatly and pleasantly surprised however, when I heard the tinkling sound of a potty-in-use. I couldn’t believe my luck! I judiciously checked my enthusiasm with a cautionary thought: “Maybe it’s just a fluke.”

Every time over the next couple of hours that big brother used the potty, little sister had a turn. Much to my delight she went every time! “Well,” I thought, “wouldn’t it be something if she’s potty trained before she can walk?” I wanted to make sure that she really did know what the potty was for, so I devised a little experiment.

When I was pretty sure she didn’t have to go, I took her diaper off and stuck her on the toilet anyway. She sat there for a second and then she started to suck her tummy in as if she was trying to force herself to go pee. Over the course of the day, I tried this a couple of times and the result was always the same. Considering the fact that she is still using the potty today, I’m pretty sure she knows what the deal is.

Now all we have to do is come up with some sort of hand signals or learn sign language so that she can communicate when she has to go. And she needs to learn that splashing in the water is for bath time, not for toilet time. It must be loads of fun though, or she wouldn’t cry every time I remove her from the potty and put her pants back on.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Duct Tape: It Holds the House Together

I feel that all of the years I spent watching MacGyver should have better prepared me for fixing things like a busted vacuum. When my son was little he would follow me around while I vacuumed and open and close the door to the back compartment. That only held up for so long. I don't even remember why at this point, but somewhere along the line we thought that the hose needed a little duct tape remedy. When we moved last year the carpet head was dropped and cracked badly. For the last fifteen months the first application of duct tape seemed to be doing the job, but unbeknownst to us the crack was silently getting larger and larger until last week, when it finally worked its way around the entire tube. The taping repair job I did at that point just didn’t hold up, so I pushed back my sleeves, grabbed the tape and a pair of scissors and went at it today with surgical precision. I hope it works this time: that tape is holding together more than just the vacuum.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Who Needs A Tissue?

How is a person supposed to teach a toddler not to wipe his runny nose on the sleeve of his shirt, the couch, carpet, his sister, etc? My poor son is suffering from über-runny-nose-syndrome and I can’t seem to keep up with the output, so he is helping himself to the furniture in lieu of a tissue. At least the fabric of our couch is micro fiber so I can scrub the lethal boogies out of it.

I believe this may be the first cold he has had where the amount of congestion is so excessive that it actually causes him to drool. As charming as that sounds, it’s really kind of gross. While the snot drips from every orifice in his face he grabs his sister’s face with both of his hands and plants a big (really) wet kiss on her head. No. I don’t think she’ll get sick. Really! I’m sure the fact that she keeps sipping out of the cups he leaves lying around the house won’t increase the chance of any illness on her part.

Speaking of illness, I thought I would lose my lunch after seeing the amalgamation of sweet things my husband put together for a snack. He was so proud of it that he took a picture and wrote down instructions for proper layering. Just looking at it made me want to eat a large salad. Or drink a big cup of water.

Friday, May 23, 2008

Have Car- Will Spend Money

If I didn’t like getting to my destination quickly, I would consider buying a buggy; if I wouldn’t mind my “car” defecating in the street behind me, I would get a horse. Perhaps, if I had a barn to keep my “motor” warm and a trough in which to put its feed I would purchase a horse and buggy.

While in the midst of making a Huge Mistake (picking up diapers at Wal-Mart-in-the-evening with a congested toddler) my husband calls me to request that I come to his aid and pick him up at a grocery store where he stopped to get some ice cream because I had not brought any home from my trip earlier in the week. His key would not turn in the ignition, so he and his melty ice cream were stuck. Little did he know that I already had melting ice cream in my shopping cart.

I despise this particular Wal-Mart because it is always busy. Unless a person chooses to go in the middle of the night they will be waiting in line for twenty minutes or more while the baby decides to be hungry and the toddler thinks it a good time to get bored. However, I foolishly choose this specific store because they usually stock the training diapers I buy in larger boxes. Of course they didn’t have any this time.

While my husband sat in his car and waited for my arrival, I stood in a long line and rocked an increasingly irritated baby. My mother had come for a visit and I ungraciously dragged her along. (It’s always a good thing to have a Nana when there is more than one child and they are both unhappy at the length of the outing.)

We finally made it through the checkout line and I only had to sign away half of my life in order to pay the bill. There were some vain and foolish hopes on the part of both my husband and I that even though his key would not turn the cylinder mine would, as it is in slightly better shape than his old decrepit and pitted one. Not so much. This became painfully obvious after repeated attempts to make it work.

In case anyone is wondering, this is not a cheap fix (if there is such a thing). My Dad’s mantra when it comes to cars is: “Have car- will spend money”. I heard that a lot while growing up. I really think it has helped me cope with costly car repairs. Don’t ask me why. I guess I’ve just grown to accept it. I don’t like it though. Add on the price of gasoline these days to the price of upkeep and insurance, and I’m pretty much thinking of buying a horse. Or maybe just a big bird that can sit the entire family on its back and fly us anywhere we wanted to go.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Evel And Knievel

The doctor’s office called back- nothing abnormal showed up with the baby’s blood work. Through the nurse’s thick Latino accent I caught the words “urine” and “analysis”: she said that the doctor would talk with me about that at the baby’s appointment next month. Yippee.

At this point I don’t see a reason to worry about the fact that she’s so tiny. She is happy, healthy, and super active. I had to remove the little rocking chair from the living room because she has taken to climbing it and rocking it wildly back and forth while standing on the seat and facing in the wrong direction. Even though she has a great sense of balance she couldn’t resist throwing herself from the chair a time or two and whacking her head on the toys littered around the base of the chair.

Every morning after we descend the stairs to the first floor I make sure to pull the gate across the landing to cut off her route upstairs. This produces an almost otherworldly wail from the baby, as she likes nothing better than to scurry her way up those stairs and sit at the top laughing and clapping her hands while peeking over the edge.

While cooking dinner the other day, I heard a clattering sound under the table where I was stationed. I looked down and there was the baby peering through the slats in the chair; using the training potty as a ladder, she had climbed up onto the chairs and was lying across both of them. That was a new trick, and boy was she proud.

This child is dangerous. She frightens me. If presented with two paths across a room, she will usually choose the obstacle course instead of the clear route. It’s not enough that I have my hands full keeping her brother from riding his bicycle down the stairs, or jumping it off of the couch. Oh, no. I used to think that it was safe to watch old movies with children. It’s possible that I may need to rethink my opinion: believe it or not, he assimilated the bicycle stunts from a two-second scene in Singing In The Rain.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Look At The Crazy Lady

Yesterday, I was the person in the grocery store that you take one glance at, elbow your companion, and say, “Look at that nut.” Well, you would probably stare and not glance at me, because it would take more than a glance to figure out just what it is that I was doing. I’m not usually this person, but sometimes it just can’t be helped. Lately I’ve been too busy herding the whole family down the aisles, trying in vain to get through the store in less than an hour and a half while the toddler runs up and down giggling maniacally, dropping cans of beans and soup on his toes, and the husband stops at anything that looks even mildly appetizing because he didn’t eat enough before we left and now he’s hungry.

Last night, however, I decided that I really wanted to take an hour and go to the grocery store by myself. It helped my case a little that my son is snotting from his nose and I didn’t think it would be nice for other consumers to catch his cold simply because they were out of canned-squid-in-a-blanket at home and needed to go to the grocery store to buy a couple of cans. My husband graciously offered to stay at home with the children after I quickly nixed his proposal to go to the store for me with the standard, “It will be much faster if I go because I know where everything is and I know what we need. If you go I would have to make a detailed list. Thanks anyway.” (Always be sure to thank a helpful husband, because if you don’t he may not offer to be helpful anymore. Although, there are plenty of times where he doesn’t want to be helpful so much as he doesn’t want to be left home alone with sick kids.)

So off I went on my mission of mercy, bringing milk and chicken nuggets to a home and ailing toddler that had none. It was a chilly evening, and I drove along enjoying the feel of a warm and fuzzy hoodie on my skin, already excited for the fall even though there have only been a dozen or so hot days. I hoped that the baby hadn’t started crying for me yet, as she seemed a little leery on my leaving the house.

The first item that a shopper encounters at our favorite grocery store is nice, juicy (and seedless) watermelons. Now, I really have no idea where I picked up this habit, but I simply cannot buy a watermelon without first putting my ear up to it and giving it a good rap with my knuckles: if it sounds hollow that means it’s a good one. I swear I heard that somewhere. At any rate, if I tried to simply pluck a melon from the crate and plop it into my shopping cart I would probably have some sort of mental breakdown.

Somewhere along my journey I came to grips with the fact that I needed some sort of doughnut. I rarely buy junk at the store because I don’t want it in my pantry, taunting me until my eyes bug out at funny angles and I, in crazed desperation, rip open the package and devour its contents in one fell swoop. Okay, that’s a little extreme, but still. At any rate, there I was, methodically searching the bakery department wondering where they had moved the fresh doughnuts to. Since the dawn of time, the doughnuts have been in the same spot. I have ignored them time and time again, and now when I needed them they were not to be found. Ah, ha! Tucked away next to the fresh brownies and evil double-chocolate-chocolate cakes were a few large éclairs. “Well,” I thought, “that’ll do just fine!”

Obviously I couldn’t just pick the first one from the shelf and place it lovingly into the basket. No. I had to stand there and lift each plastic container from the shelf and look to see which was the largest and which had more chocolate on top. Yep. Don’t mind me. By the time I got home I really needed that extra creamy frosting. I stink at picking which line to stand in at the checkout. I’m happy to say that I didn’t ruin my batting average either. There were only three open lanes and I picked the slowest. Sigh. I even tried to be a little scientific. I not only considered the number of carts in each line and how full they each were, but I also made an attempt to judge which of the employees scanned and bagged the fastest. What? Forget that I was probably going home to a screaming infant, a boogery toddler, and a husband who would never let me leave the house childless again. I was in a bit of a hurry to get home and eat my éclair.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

He Fought The Porch And The Porch Lost

After multiple trips to the hardware store and a good amount of finagling, my husband has managed to get the porch railings up. I’m very proud of how he engineered the whole project, although it may have been wiser to spend twice the amount of money and get really pretty, and somewhat sturdier, rails instead. It is such a temptation for people on a tight budget like us to go for the less expensive products; but a person wonders if it would have been relatively easy to justify a bit of splurging.

I suppose I’ll just have to be happy if my son doesn’t rip them down or crack them with a baseball bat. Not that he has a baseball bat. I don’t think I’m ready for that caliber of destruction yet. It’s just that while actually in the store, with all of those costly price tags staring you in the pocket book, it isn’t always easy to tell Common-Sense to leave you alone.

At any rate, my big strong man did a marvelous job. The cuts are nice and straight and he didn’t make any mistakes. Even though the porch slants at an impossible angle the front railing looks almost level. Once the porch is painted to match it’ll look swell. Given our track record, the actual painting might happen two or three months from now.

After all of the work on the railing, the husband even managed to replace the front door knob as well. The knob hasn’t worked for about a year now, but it fell off completely yesterday. Not so good. At least it’s fixed now and Nana can sleep soundly and not have to worry about a burglar busting in during the night.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Big, Large Projects- How I Loathe Thee

Having made the huge decision to buy our first home in February of 2007, it seems that there is no end in sight with all of the projects that need to be done around here. The house was in decent shape when we bought it, but it’s over one hundred years old. The task for this weekend is to replace the porch railings, as they are starting to rot and look generally horrid.

The city we live in is rather hilly and slanty; in other words, our home has funny angles and probably could pass for something drawn by the late Dr. Seuss. Last year we replaced both front and back storm doors; one was curiously narrow, while the other was inordinately tall. Neither of them was terribly straight. Our porch is sloped, so the spaces for the railing are an odd measurement.

It is a gloomy errand going to the hardware store with unusual measurements. During the hour we spent in the aisle with the wooden and vinyl railings we went back and forth between the two trying desperately to figure out how to reconcile our needs with the products on the shelves. The baby eventually fell asleep, but the little guy can only stay in one place for so long before he starts climbing up shelving and pushing displays around the floor.

Our custom, when dealing with home improvements, is to make at least one futile trip to the store where we don’t buy anything and we come away almost as perplexed as before. So, of course we finally called it quits, unwound the zany toddler from the ceiling fixtures and went home to lunch.

After lunch daddy went to another store, by himself, and called me a half-dozen times to confer about what merchandise to buy. This sort of thing completely stresses me out. As much as I would like to, I don’t have an aptitude for jobs that require power tools. As it is, I’m on the edge of my seat the entire time, just waiting for some catastrophe to take place.My hubby has a good instinct and he feels manly when he can break out the big tools, so I’m going to squeeze my eyes shut real tight and wait for it all to be over. Oh, and I’ll be doing a lot of pleading praying. Even though the husband isn’t quite as much of a perfectionist as I can be, I know he’ll do his best. As long as we don’t have to scrap the entire project and start over, that will be good enough for me!

Friday, May 16, 2008

Give Me A Rainy Day

It is a dreary, wet day today. The sky is the color of the dirty white walls in our house, and a steady rain has been beating the sidewalk and street since before we rolled out of bed this morning. Although soggy, the grass looks greener for the rain and the cars on our short little street appear thankful to have had the bird waste washed from their doors and the paint freshened up by the removal of dirt and grime.

Today the birds are sighing from the strong branches of the trees across the street, fluttering their wings in acceptance of the rain but caring little for song and gaiety. A stray cat or two slinks down the road in search of a free meal, its drenched bedraggled fur clinging to the ribcage that juts out even more exaggeratedly in the downpour.

A little boy pokes his face through a section of broken blinds, his own little window to the outside world, looking for his daddy to come home because, after all, it seems to be dark out there and dusk is daddy’s usual time for coming home. After keeping a lookout for a bit he resigns himself to the couch to watch his favorite movie-of-the-week, Singing In The Rain, which today seems oddly appropriate.

His little sister is snug in mommy’s arms next to him. An occasional sad-sounding cough reverberates through her chest; her eyes red and runny. These types of melancholy days are more conducive to forgetting the housework and nestling a sick baby as opposed to bright and sunny days that energize and demand productivity.

Never mind the pile of folded laundry that awaits its return to the dresser drawer where it will sit until worn, soiled and washed again. The dirty dishes will still be in the sink later, or tomorrow when perhaps the sun will find its way from behind the cloaked sky and make the chore a little more cheery. There is a particular amount of satisfaction to be had in passing a dreary afternoon with one’s babies safely tucked away in their mommy’s arms.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Take It Slow

I thought it might be prudent to continue yesterday’s topic of the expected unexpected in relation to the raising of children. A subject that I had not broached was that of a new mother’s desire to hurry along the growth of her child. By this I mean the thrilled anticipation with which she awaits big milestones like baby’s first steps, first words, etc.

When my first child was born, I adored every stage he went through and looked with eagerness toward the next. The pride in being able to say that Junior is five-months-old instead of only four-months-old; counting away the days until one can safely proclaim him to be five-and-a-half-months-old. “I can’t wait for him to say ‘mama’” and “I can’t wait for him to be able to roll over” is just the beginning of the “I can’t waits”. What the mother does not realize is that once the child begins to crawl, walk, and even talk, her life will never be the same.

The baby that once stayed put in the same spot on the floor now crawls toward the pet food dishes in search of a snack, or opens all of the kitchen cabinets and drags the Tupperware out all over the floor. Once they can walk, children gravitate in the direction of the telephone or the stairs. Cute little fits of crying when the child is removed from the bathtub turn into all out tantrums when they need to be strapped into the car seat. “Mama” all too quickly becomes “no”.

It is so much easier for me the second time around to savor the present instead of being on the lookout for the next stage. Babies grow all too rapidly without any help from mom and dad. Of course I am crazy in love with my little ones no matter where they are in their developmental journey; I just don’t want to rush it or wish the time away.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Why Can't I Tap Dance On The Table?

My child has tiptoed across the line into the phase where he will go back to the thing he was just told not to touch, climb into the object he was removed from a minute ago, and resume hurling the ball he was just told to roll on the floor so as not to break any of mommy’s few remaining un-broken possessions. Really. And people honestly believe that humans are inherently good? As soon as my back is turned my toddler turns into a Mister-Sneaky-Pants.

It is the as-long-as-mommy-can’t-see-me-I-can’t-get-in-trouble mentality. Even though a mother knows to expect these things, it still garners a certain amount of disappointment when the said time arrives. Like the first time your child tells you “no”; or hears you say “no” and does whatever it was he wanted to do anyway.

Never mind trying to explain to the child that “mommy tells you ‘no’ because she doesn’t want you to hurt yourself”. That sort of reasoning only begets a blank stare, and when mommy’s back is turned the tot continues in the dangerous occupation and breaks his leg. Endeavor to recap the explanation after the accident happens and the mommy is likely to elicit the same blank stare.

My husband, God love him, has so very many talents and interests. Unfortunately, common sense is not one of them so I fear my children have a fifty-fifty chance at continuing on in their present bewilderment as to why certain things are unacceptable and, even, what those certain things are in the first place.

Some days I find it rather tricky to keep my sense of humor when having to repeat the same admonishments over and over and over and over again. It really can be quite tiresome. There have even been phrases I have had to speak that had never occurred to me prior to being a mommy. “Don’t sit on your sister’s head,” for example, or “Do not drink the water in the bathtub- you just peed in it!” Ah, well. I suppose common sense can be overrated.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Taking The Animals To The Zoo

One of our (relatively) local zoos does a neat thing for moms on Mother’s Day: they give us a free pass for the day! So we packed up the kids and a host of snacks and drinks, and headed up to the zoo for the afternoon. The weather was great; there was a chill in the air, but that sure beats the blaring hot sun.

Last year my son was only twenty-months-old and he was mainly interested in the bright red and blue parrot. This year his interest extended to the otters, zebra, camel (or “canimal”), tortoises, and the owls. He showed at least a mild interest in all of the other animals as well, but these seemed to be favorites.

The little guy loved throwing food pellets at the ducks. I say “at” and not “to” because, sadly, the ducks showed no inclination to eat it at all. BoBeans didn’t seem to mind their lethargy, as being allowed to throw anything is fun for him, in and of itself. The tortoises were hungry by the time we got around to them, and he did get a kick out of watching them eat their evening lettuce. Those animals are not pretty and seem so rheumatic when they move that it almost hurt me to watch them; they do have sharp teeth though, and had no problem shredding their roughage.

For my part, I rather enjoyed milling around the goat pen. These are the only animals that a person can get close to at this zoo and the little man, although enthralled at being in close proximity to said goats, seemed concerned about keeping a safe distance. He did attempt to engage one or two in conversation, as he has not yet learned that goats and people speak a different language. He soon quit chatting since the bleated replies were loud and tended to startle him.

There is one more memory that I am obliged to share for the sake of my husband since he kept on about it all evening and well into the night, until he was tucked into bed and safely on his way to la-la land. During my son’s encounter with the zebra, whilst beast and little boy were pursuing each other along the fence, the zebra took a short break to bend down and nibble on some grass; seeing this and wanting to mimic the grandly striped creature, my son apparently bent at the waist and, keeping his back straight like that of his banded mentor, plucked a leaf from the ground and brought it to his mouth.

My husband managed to get a hold of the greenery before it made its entrance into our child’s digestive system, thankfully. After completing his rendezvous with the zebra, the little colt-in-training settled for some french fries instead. The whole day was great: no diaper blowouts, no screaming or crying, no falling down, etc. I even managed to remember to put sunblock on the kids- even though it was cold enough that jackets were required for most of the day and rendered the sunblock totally superfluous. All-in-all, it was a happy Mother’s Day!

Friday, May 9, 2008

Rhubarb, By Any Other Name, Would Taste As Good

I have some very obvious weaknesses. One of them is rhubarb crumb pie. My parents have a large patch of rhubarb in their yard and my mom makes delectable pies that she graciously shares with me. Once that pie crosses the threshold of my home I eat nothing else until it is gone. That’s not entirely true: I generally eat dinner since I have to cook for my husband because he can eat something other than rhubarb pie if it is available. But since I partake of the pie for breakfast, lunch, and all snacks throughout the day it doesn’t generally last for more than three days.

Earlier this week I attempted my first Sudoku puzzle. There is, in my personality, a very stubborn streak of determination. In certain situations I am sure that this would be looked upon as an asset. When it comes to certain puzzles of logic, however, it is very much to my detriment. The children could be screaming and the house falling apart around me and I wouldn’t even notice if absorbed in one of these puzzles. I have to figure it out; I will figure it out! Only, some of them are extremely challenging and can take days at a time to solve.

Another area where I struggle to control myself is literature. If I’m in the midst of a good book it can be physically painful to pull myself away from it. I’m not exaggerating. I lose sleep because the possibility of reading without interruption after the kids have gone to bed is too tempting to pass up; on these days housework really disgusts me as I have yet to figure out how to wash the dishes or clean the bathroom while at the same time holding a book and turning its pages.

It is possible that I have exaggerated a smidge in the preceding paragraphs. I can force myself to put aside Jane Eyre to take care of my children; I just get a little cranky sometimes. There was even one day this week that I gave up entirely on a puzzle because I knew I would be mad at myself if I allowed it to consume my entire day. In one of these instances, at least, I was entirely honest. If there is a rhubarb pie in the house I will devour it. I have been known to eat a whole pie in one day. I do believe that even now, God is filling my pantry in heaven with lots and lots of rhubarb pies: rhubarb and strawberry, rhubarb and apple, rhubarb and blueberry…

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Stop The Ride, I Want To Get Off.

There is something worse than having to take a child for shots: needing to take them for blood work. My poor, sweet little girl isn’t gaining weight as fast as the doctors feel she should be. Even though she was two weeks early she still weighed in at seven pounds, four ounces at birth. Her first birthday is only one month away and she still has not passed the fourteen-pound mark. The pediatrician is fairly confident that her teeny-tiny-ness is a combination of genetics and how active she is. However, with the amount of food the child consumes it just seems odd that she gains only a few ounces every month.

Hence, the command was issued to have blood drawn to check for a reason as to the abnormal weight gain. Keeping in mind the fact that I wanted to get in and out of there as fast as humanly possible, I waited until I thought the lunch hour rush would be over. My timing was a little bit off, however, as one of the phlebotomists was at lunch. Anytime blood needs to be drawn from an infant it requires two technicians: one to do the stick and one to hold the baby’s arm down.

So there I sat, for twenty minutes, waiting in dread and wanting to be at home drinking tea or reading a book, or even plucking my eyebrows. Little Cheekers just straddled my lap and pointed out the lights and watched the cars drive by outside the window while munching an occasional Cheerio. Finally the time came to walk down the hallway of doom and sit in the horrid blue-padded chair of pain and suffering.

As infants, my kids are the type that only needs a stranger to look at them in order to start wailing, but once we were seated and the rubber band was applied to her arm the crying started in earnest. It was my job to hold her other arm down, keep her feet from kicking and to restrain her upper body. I held her tightly while she screamed and wriggled. After what seemed like an eternity the phlebotomist declared that she could not get anything out of the left arm and they would need to try the other. Oh. My. GOODNESS GRACIOUS! I had suggested they try her right arm in the first place!

Lord help me, I thought I was going to start crying myself. There are few things that are more heart wrenching than having your child cling to you in desperation and being unable to relieve their troubles. So the life-squeezing rubber band of sedition was placed on her right arm and the blood was drawn. As if the whole experience wasn’t horrific enough already, the flow was so slow that it took a ridiculous amount of time to get enough for two large and two small tubes. I tried to sing to her and kiss her head, anything to distract her. Nothing worked and by the time it was over she had practically cried herself to sleep. A full ten minutes had passed since we first sat in the chair.

It was everything I had feared it would be and more. Please believe me, I sincerely hope that all of the tests come back normal. Considering how terrible the experience was, how badly she bruised, and how traumatized she must be, I am fairly confident that it will all come to naught and that the whole incident could have been avoided. At least she still loves me.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Choose Your Weapon

There are in existence many ways in which to kill a large spider or other sordid insects that find their way into the home. Some people squash them with shoes as they make an attempt to flee; others swat at them with brooms. I have been in situations where the person endeavoring to deal with live-bug-removal just runs around in circles while screaming.

When my husband encounters something that belongs outside in the comfort of the home he generally feels the need to call a family council to discuss how to deal with said intruder. This isn’t a “should I kill it or let it loose” assembly, but rather a panicked “what should I do, what should I do” type of deal.

Over the weekend he spent some of his time down in the basement cleaning up and organizing his plethora of tools and other assorted, inherited junk. Our basement cannot be accessed from outside, and there are but three small windows that let in a very minimal amount of light. Regardless of this, all sorts of bugs and spiders manage to find their way in. (During the summer months we run a dehumidifier, which cuts down on the number of bugs tremendously).

My husband hadn’t been at the task for long when he shouted up the steps to announce that there was a giant spider with him, and asked, please, how he should go about slaying the beast. Because, really, what is a mere mortal to do when faced with such a formidable foe? I told him vaguely that he should kill it, as I am quite convinced that spiders of gigantic proportions are possessed of some sort of brain and it would probably find its way up the stairs, under the basement door, and into the kitchen where a lot of terrified bellowing would take place and smelling salts would be required. Or the baby would find it and decide that it was much more fun to hunt and kill her own food than to be strapped into the highchair and handfed Cheerios.

After searching for a contrivance with which to kill the spider my husband picked up a hammer; with this hammer he dealt a mighty deathblow and smote the monster. I felt that such a tool should make an awful mess of a thing like a spider. He corrected my assumption by informing me that as long as a person regulates their strike accordingly, it is a fine alternative for a shoe. Of course, it’s always handy to have a Shop-Vac lying around to suck up the mess with.

Monday, May 5, 2008

Party Manners

This past weekend a friend of mine had a birthday party for her youngest who had just turned one year old. She decided to have the get together at the home of her husband’s grandparents; dependent on the weather the party was to be held out of doors. It had rained the night prior, and not being sure how that would affect the set-up I decided to put my son in wind pants and a long-sleeved tee just in case the kids would still be playing outside.

I did consider dressing him in good clothes, but I was pretty confidant that if I did then he would most certainly be outside and rolling around in the mud. So, as I said, I took what I thought was the safer road. We piled the kids into the car and began the thirty-minute drive.

When we exited the highway and made the few turns that took us closer and closer to our destination, the homes became larger and larger and larger still. A glance into the rearview mirror confirmed that BoBeans was still wearing the windpants. Not only that, but his shirt was still too big and his bed-mussed hair stubbornly stuck up in places even though I had tried to force it into submission with a comb and some water.

When my husband stopped the car in front of the biggest house mansion I have ever laid eyes on I just knew that the kids would not be playing outside. I’m not sure what emotion I was feeling, but it was pretty close to mortification. God uses all kinds of situations to keep a person humble. At least my little guy behaved himself admirably. I’d rather belong to a messy looking child with good manners, than a fashionable toddler who throws himself screaming onto the floor when he doesn’t get his way. However, next time I think I will aim for nice clothes, freshly cut hair, and good manners. It never hurts to try.

Friday, May 2, 2008

Flying Toddlers and Whale Talk

This morning the little guy was watching “A Snoodle’s Tale” and decided that it would be fun to try his hands at flying. He would stand on the second or third step and flap his hands (not arms) furiously as he leapt from the stair. Over and over again he tried to obtain liftoff from his platform.

Anytime he sensed me coming to remove him from the area he would take me by the hand and lead me into the living where he wanted me to sit and watch his video, or he would push me in the tush and command me to go into the kitchen. His next experiment was to launch himself from the arm of the couch, to which I put an immediate stop.

One of the neat tricks his Daddy has taught him is to make his food talk. My food is just ordinary and plain and has never talked to me, nor have I ever been under the impression that it has any desire to do anything other than be eaten. There must be some charm in my son’s hands, however, because as soon as I handed him a piece of sweet bologna torn from my sandwich it immediately morphed into a whale and began to sing “Figaro”, like Willie the Whale in “The Whale Who Wanted to Sing at the Met”.

I would like to leave you with one of my husband’s famous quotes. I am in the process of compiling these in an attempt to bring joy and laughter to the world. Please, feel free to astound and amaze your loved ones with the profundity of the statement: “I didn’t forget; I just didn’t remember.”

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Is There A Band-Aid In The House?

My son has figured out that he can open the refrigerator door all by himself. He will go in to get his cup of milk all by himself or to unwrap some leftover pancakes from yesterday’s breakfast. Thankfully he hasn’t tried to play catch with any of the eggs yet. This afternoon he came into the dining room and plunked down a container of Spaghettios to eat for a snack.

I had another moment the other day when I marveled at the fact that I can still behave like a brand-new mommy. The kids and I were out shopping; when we left the store I looked down at BoBeans and noticed that he had blood smeared all over his face and also his left hand. “For Heaven’s sake!” my mind screamed, “What is going on? He isn’t crying and he’s acting perfectly normal! Is he delirious?!” (I’m not generally this insane at the sight of blood, but I was so startled that I misplaced my proper reaction. To my credit, I did stay outwardly calm). I first examined his head to make sure the blood wasn’t originating there. It was much more concentrated on his hand, and I quickly saw the reason for the mess.

He had chewed on a hangnail. A person wouldn’t think that a little finger-chewing could produce so much blood, but there it was. One would also think that someone who has been doing this mommy thing for over two-and-a-half years would carry Band-Aids. Especially when the toddler is a boy. Think again. The poor kid continued to bleed while I stood there applying pressure to his boo-boo with a baby wipe.

After a few minutes I gave up and we made our way to another store in the promenade that I hoped would have some type of bandage simply because it sold children’s clothing. While the store did not keep Band-Aids on hand one of the employees happened to have bandages in her purse that were left over from a recent trip she had taken.

I guess I’m going to have to buy a larger bag in order to keep everything on hand that I seem to find myself in need of these days. Perhaps I can just take a class and learn how to fold things into tiny little squares: that way I can just fold up the whole house and take it with me everywhere I go.