Monday, December 28, 2009

And Then There Were None

I missed my sisters today. Maybe it’s the cold winter blues. Maybe it’s the fact that a lot of my friends’ lives have drifted away from my own. Maybe it’s simply because all three of my siblings moved away in such a short period of time.

I am almost twenty-nine. My closest sister is twenty-seven, the next, twenty, and the youngest is eighteen. The baby of the family left for college in the end of August, moving five hours away to the other side of our rather large state. One week later my closest sister moved an hour and a half south to take a job in Philadelphia. And then in October my last remaining sister married and is making her new home three hours away in Maryland. I’m the only one who stayed.

Everyday life generally keeps me busy enough that I don’t notice, but today I found myself feeling emotional and rather lonely for their company. I suppose I shouldn’t complain because they don’t live terribly far away. And I suppose it’s nice that we all get along and love each other to the point of missing each other now and again.



















Kneeling from left: my mom holding my daughter, my son, my daddy
Standing: my closest sister, my baby sister, me holding my baby, my little sister, my grammy
Back row: my husband, my brother-in-law, my pop-pop

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

GPS Mommy

In our house Mommy knows where everything is. Well, mostly anyway. There is that once in a while when Mommy doesn’t know where something is, but usually she does.

It has been that way for me even before I became Mommy. Back when I was just, Wife, it was that way, too. My husband constantly asks me where things are. Things that belong to him, stuff that I never touch, belongings that sometimes aren’t seen for months at a time.

“Do you know where my gray socks are? The ones with the hole in the big left toe?”

“They’re in your top drawer, Dear, underneath your Luchador mask, in the front on the left.”

Not only do I generally know where his stuff is, but I can also give detailed directions and even draw a map if necessary.

I seriously do not know if the man has major problems with keeping tabs on his stuff, or if he simply takes advantage of my talent for remembering everything for him. He had better get a grip in either case because my capacity for preserving any information for longer than thirty seconds is diminishing.

Perhaps his inability to recollect where he keeps his undergarments and such is due to the fact that he belongs to the gender known as MALE. As of late I have been leaning toward this as the likely explanation. The reason being that, as my son gets older I have been able to observe some of the following tendencies in him.

Number One: He can’t focus long enough to follow simple directions.

That little man can ask me where a particular book is, and upon looking down I locate it lying on the floor touching his foot.

“It’s on the floor, next to your foot,” I’ll say.

“Where?”

“Right next to your foot.”

“Huh?”
“LOOK DOWN!”

He still won’t see it. Really. He’s four. He speaks English better than some forty-year-olds I know. This shouldn’t be that hard.

Number Two: He’ll put something down and immediately forget where he put it.

See Number One.

Now, if that is all part of being a person of the male persuasion, then it would seem that being FEMALE would entail certain peculiarities. Peculiarities like maintaining a detailed catalogue of where everything in the entire house was last seen.

I already see potential in my older daughter for following very successfully in my footsteps. Considering the current state of decline in my mental faculties, this is a very good thing. She is only two-and-a-half, but if she puts her cup down on the living room floor behind the Christmas tree in the corner and drops a blanket on top of it she’ll still remember where she put it. If one asks her where her cup is an hour later she will point in the general direction of it and say, “It’s over dare.”

If one says, “Honey Buns, can you bring me the baby’s rattle from the couch?” She will go and get it. Ask Daddy or her brother to get it and they’d walk around in circles for ten minutes and then say, “Huh?”

In conclusion, it is my opinion, from years of observation and experience, that boys will be boys. And whether or not this is something that they’re born with or that they develop out of a deep liking for being taken care of by competent women, I don’t know. But that’s my story, and I’m sticking to it.

Monday, December 7, 2009

And Some Little Girls Bite Cats

My two-year-old daughter is all upside down and inside out. If she wants to go upstairs, she says, “I want to go downstairs.” If she’s up and wants to go down, she declares, “I want to go upstairs.” When we play outside she will announce that she’s had enough by asking to go outside instead of inside.

A few weeks ago there was a little girl in the church nursery who was obviously younger than my little sweetums. I was amazed when she pointed to a nearby crib and asked to go “up.” I thought all children were as completely confused as my own. When my son was younger he used to get “up” and “down” mixed up all of the time. Apparently not all youngsters are as directionally challenged as mine are.

There are days when I correct my daughter out of the goodness of my heart because I want her to grow up and be able to communicate her desires with the other people in her world. But there are those days when I just shrug my shoulders and do the opposite of what she asks because I understand what it is that she is asking for, and because I just can’t imagine that explaining to her for the one hundred and eleventh time that she already is upstairs is actually going to make it stick.

Besides, it makes me giggle when she comes to me and cries, “Mommy, I bit Seamus!” Please understand, I don’t find it to be funny when the cat gives her a little nip (however well-deserved), but the sincerity of her voice during those tearful confessions elicits a smile from the lazy part of my brain that derives so much pleasure from her little misnomers and chooses to let them stand uncorrected.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Rosette Mini Bib Necklaces

I am currently on a bit of a rosette kick...










The lovely Lilac Rosette Mini Bid Necklace is the first to make its debut in my shop!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

What We Do on Warm Fall Days

We find tiny salamanders.














And rocks shaped like humpback whales.














We make sure that our slug friends safe and dry.
















We play with Dad.















Whom else would build snug homes for gross, slimy creatures?

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Yay for Garlands!

I have once again expanded my shop to include a fun new category! There are only two selections now occupying the space in "Home Decor," but stayed tuned for more...

Monday, November 2, 2009

Silver Linings and Happy Things about Going to the Dentist

I had to go to the dentist today. One of my many fillings fell out last week and needed to be replaced before the huge gap in my tooth turned into a pulsing, swollen mass of infection, or before the tooth just simply fell out.

Through my growing-up years and even now, I spend more time at the dentist than the average person. My teeth are soft and extremely prone to cavities. I’ve become accustomed to the whine of the drill and the sound of my dentist’s laugh, but I’m really not fond of paying someone so that they can jab me with pointy things. At least now that I’m a mommy I have the benefit of reclining in relative quiet without little hands clawing at me and tiny toddlers scaling my legs. I suppose that’s something of a silver lining. Don’t get me wrong, I love my little ninjas, but once in a while it’s nice to revert back to one’s childhood by experiencing the feeling of a Novocain-induced fat lip.

Actually, I manage to find a few silvery linings about going to see the dentist. My dentist is swell: I’ve been seeing him for about eighteen years now and he has always treated my family and me very well. If the comfy reclining and kind treatment weren’t enough, I generally get a good chuckle at some point while sitting in that chair.

It’s quite a strange thing, lying there and staring up into that light. You know, the one they shine right in your eye? Yep, that’s the one. There I am with that bright light shining in my eyes causing me to be half blinded by light spots, watching as two people hover over me with surgical masks on and all twenty-five of their hands full of pointy and suck-y instruments and tools of torture. Really, it’s kind of spooky. And they’re leaning in closer and closer with their grotesque amount of hands, and I’m opening my mouth wider and wider, and it just doesn’t seem like I’m ever going to be able to open it wide enough for them to get all of their stuff in there. I can just imagine what it must look like from their angle as they pull and pry and yank on my lower lip. Sometimes it feels as though they’ve grabbed it and hooked it under my chin to keep it out of the way. It makes me laugh.

Then there are the games that we play. Someone will ask me a question and if I can answer him or her in a manner that they are able to understand without Mr. Sucky getting stuck on my tongue I win. If Mr. Sucky slurps up any part of my soft tissue and drowns me out with his hissing and gasping choking sounds I lose. I also lose if at any point during the visit I am unable to keep the water from the little yellow plastic cup from dribbling down my chin. It’s tons of fun. It makes me laugh.

It never fails, though, that at some point the cold air coming out the back of the drill will hit a sensitive tooth, or the dentist will have to employ the use of Mr. Drill’s brother, the nasty Mr. Bumpy. And when either of those things happens, I just close my eyes and smile about the fact that the dentist and his little helper don’t know that I’m singing hymns or happy songs in my head to distract myself. And that makes me laugh too!

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Quotable Quotes

Overheard at Nana's this week near the race track...

Granddad: "I'm driving like a mad-man!"

Our little man: "I'm driving like a nice man."

Well, duh!

Friday, October 16, 2009

How I Became a Mommy Again - Part 4

In my pain-beclouded state of mind all of the shouting seemed a bit panicky. Hello! People deliver babies in rice fields, in their bathrooms, and on the side of the highway! Of course, I’m sure, people die in rice fields all of the time giving birth. Sometimes a completely natural thing can be rife with complications and lots of blood as we found out during my first delivery. In hindsight it is likely that the poor nurses had taken a peek at my chart; plus they couldn’t track my contractions or the baby’s heart rate since the monitor was no longer attached to my bulging belly.

Even though I wasn’t bearing down I could feel my body forcing my tiny infant down the birth canal. The delivery room began to fill with people and doctors who had come to stand by in case my own doctor didn’t make it in time. As they walked through the door they were met with a not-so-flattering view of my behind stuck up in the air; my husband claims that every single one of them visibly started at the unexpected view. At that point I didn’t care what I looked like, or what I was exposing everyone to. These people are used to blood and guts, and I’m sure they’ve seen scarier things. At least I hope so.

I distinctly remember trying my darndest to be polite as I shouted at that I had to push at anyone who dared to tell me not to. I really had no intention or desire to be one of those raving women who are presented an Oscar upon discharge for “Outstanding Screamer of the Month.” But there is a limit to how much of that sort of hold-your-legs-together-and-don’t-push nonsense a woman in labor can take. (Please note that I did nothing that could be called screaming, and I even apologized to the nurse afterward.)

Everything seemed a blur. When my water broke I was coherent enough to double-check that it was clear. I was aware of pain, aware of the baby’s knees and elbows, and I remember a doctor with a strange sort of mustache briefly appearing in my field of vision and trying to introduce himself. And then the voice of my very own wonderful doctor was heard in the room. I’m pretty sure a collective joyous shout was raised heavenward by everyone except me: he had made the mistake of telling me not to push as he rushed in the door. Really, that was just too much, and for the last time I whined that I must be allowed to push- I was going to push, and that was just it, the final word, I’m sorry but I’m going to push!

He recanted and gave me the go-ahead and I went ahead and gave it all I had. The baby came out so fast that I’m positive she would have flown clear across the room had she not still been attached to my insides. The baby whom I had been so sure would come out a rugged little boy turned out to be a lovely little lady. It was 4:01pm, a mere fifty minutes since I had checked into the hospital, and only fifteen minutes after Daddy had arrived.

Now that she’s here it seems like she’s always been a part of our lives, and I couldn’t love her more if I tried.







Monday, October 12, 2009

Etsyversary Giveaway Winner

A big thank-you to Corrie for following my blog. Random.org has declared lucky number two to be the winner! Please do enjoy your new necklace.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Lots of Love to My Little Sister

My little sister is getting married in a couple of weeks and she requested custom headpieces for her bridal party. I'm happy to say that all six of them are finished!























Happy wedding!

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

How I Became a Mommy Again - Part 3

To get an epidural, or not get an epidural, that is the question. Most people consider that a stupid question; most people would say, “why the heck not?!” My mother delivered all four of us without the aid of spine tingling, leg numbing, is-my-butt-still-there drugs. I had always wanted to experience a natural delivery; however, I was rather unfortunate to have Pitocin coursing through my veins with my first two deliveries. I tried to be brave, but there comes a point when bravery just becomes stupidity- at least in my mind.

The first question that I remember being asked when I checked into the hospital was, “do you want an epidural?” My wishy-washy response (which was something like a whiny I-don’t-know) turned into a slightly more positive refusal when I realized how quickly my labor was progressing. I really wanted to try it sans drugs, and, in between contractions, it didn’t seem like such a bad idea.

Daddy arrived at the hospital about half an hour after I checked in. By then I was already nine centimeters dilated and the pain from my back labor was quickly approaching the unbearable zone. Great was Sean’s agitation and incredulity at the fact that there was no catheter pushing mind-soothing juices through my spine; greater still did it become when I needed to be unhooked from the monitors in order to go to the bathroom and the floor between the bed and the bathroom door seemed to stretch on in endless miles of pain and suffering for those destined to walk them.

Well, I made it to the bathroom. I made it back to the bed. I got my hands on the bed. Somehow I even managed to get my knees on the bed. And then I was hit with what I now know to be absolute, this-is-the-end, hello-I’m-having-this-baby-now contractions. It was right about here that I blurted something like “I want drugs” (who said that?). Yes, I am ashamed to say that those very words popped right out of my mouth. It was a good thing that deep down I didn’t really want them because it was too late anyway; it was probably already too late when I had walked in the door. Something else I found out about myself at this point- my instincts kick in and I have no sense of decorum or self-respect whilst in the throes of labor.

In other words, I got stuck on my hands and knees. No, I wasn’t going to lie down, and now that you mention it I think I may just start to push. Just as I had gotten into bed the chief resident had come to check on my progress. She couldn’t convince me to lie down either, so she just peeked around my back end and said, “Oh, she’s full! There’s the head!” Generally when the head crowns that means the time to push has come, but since the doctor was still a mile or two down the road the order not to push was being given on all sides and I felt the nurse place her hand against the baby’s head.

I think everyone in the room was on the phone at this point. “Get the house doctor!” “Find the chief resident!” Somewhere in there I heard, “Her doctor’s on the bridge!” That is to say, he was almost there.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Etsyversary

We interrupt this not-so-regularly scheduled program to bring you some exciting news! To mark the one-year anniversary of my Etsy shop I am having a give-away! For a chance to own this lovely necklace all you have to do is:

1) be(come) a follower of this blog
2) leave a comment on this post before midnight on Sunday, October 11th


















*The winner will be chosen using a random number generator.

Friday, September 25, 2009

How I Became a Mommy Again - Part 2

So there I was, bent over the sink, trying to wash the dishes. It seemed that puttering around the house doing light chores was all that it was going to take to bring on full-blown labor. My mom was already on her way to help me wrangle the restless kiddos, and it was a good thing too, because round about 1:50pm I was beginning to seriously consider that fact that I may be in labor. It would take my husband at least an hour and a half to get home, and he was closer to the hospital anyway.

Off and on during the last couple of weeks before I was due I had experienced some unreasonable fears about the sink being full of dishes when I left for the hospital. I know that sounds ridiculous, but hormones can do strange and crazy things to a person. Through the pain that was now coming every five minutes or so, I was genuinely glad that I wouldn’t have to worry about that anymore: the sink would not be full of dishes when I left for the hospital. I continued to shuffle about and tidy up here and there. I put my toothbrush into the overnight bag and got some snacks together to take for the kids. Then I told them to clean up their toys. Let me just say that when a woman is in labor the last thing she wants to do is argue with two toddlers about picking up their mess. I believe I almost cried.

When my mom arrived we grabbed the bags and herded the kids into the car. The drive to the hospital went smoothly (besides some occasional clutching and rapid breathing on my part). We were able to get a close parking spot, and the elevator door opened for us immediately (before having my first child I worked in that hospital for over three years and that just doesn’t happen). There was a bit of a speed bump when we got to the birthing unit though- it seemed that quite a few other women were already in labor and there wasn’t a delivery room immediately available.

It was just about 3:10pm, and I made a quick call to my husband to let him know that we were at the hospital. He wanted to know, was I really sure that I was in labor, because he was terribly dehydrated and needed to stop somewhere to get a beverage? I told him that if I wasn’t in labor this time I would eat my hat, and that he could get a cup of water at the hospital.

While I paced the hall and tried not to scare anyone coming into the unit for their pre-birth visit, the nice lady at the desk was on the phone telling whomever was on the other end of the line that they needed to find me a room because I looked “really uncomfortable.” I think that’s code for “if you don’t get this woman out of the hallway she’s going to cause a scene when her baby pops out onto the floor.” I’m also pretty sure that my pacing was making everyone nervous: my mother kept kindly suggesting that I sit down, and I tried, but pacing seemed to suite me better.

In an effort to preserve the peaceful atmosphere of the hallway the kind nurses decided to put me into a recovery bed while a room was being cleared at the inn. I changed into one of those indecent tushy-baring hospital gowns and was directly delivered into the hands of the chief resident. She promptly hooked me up to the monitors and checked my progress. I was already eight centimeters dilated. Apparently the doctor was right when he predicted that this whole thing would go rather quickly. Now all we needed was for he and Daddy to show up before it was over.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

How I Became a Mommy Again - Part 1

As the end of August neared I was beginning to feel like I might be pregnant until apes ruled the planet or Jesus came back. My back ached, my feet were swelling, and my energy levels were pretty much caput. It didn’t help that everyone around me, including the doctor, was incredulous that I hadn’t gone into labor early.

There was also that one false start: about a week and a half before the baby’s estimated arrival date, I was having regular contractions coupled with lots of pressure and was told to go to the hospital to be checked. I really didn’t think I was in labor, but the books (and my mom) all say it’s better to be safe than sorry. Even though my contractions continued at regular intervals during the three hours that I spent in the hospital, my cervix stubbornly stayed at 2cm dilated. I had the pleasure of being “that” person who goes into the hospital pregnant and leaves with the baby still snuggle swimming around in gobs of amniotic fluid.

At any rate, August 29th came and went, and I was still feeling some anxiety about recognizing real labor (which wasn’t helped by the events in the previous paragraph). Three days later, on September 1st, I arrived at the doctor’s office for what I desperately hoped to be my last OB appointment. As it turns out, he had scheduled me to have my water broken at the hospital on the 3rd: due to the size of my first baby and the ensuing difficult delivery, the doctor felt that it was unwise to persist in being pregnant for much longer. One way or the other, that baby was coming out in the next two days. I foolishly thought that being scheduled for induction would take the pressure off of me and that I could put away that annoying stopwatch.

That evening it was business as usual. I went to bed and had to get up around 2am to go to the bathroom. Nothing out of the ordinary. Then the contractions started. They were only coming every twenty minutes or so, but they were bad enough that I couldn’t get back to sleep. I propped myself up on the couch and dozed between them. After a few hours the sun came up and with it up came the kids. We had breakfast; they made a mess; I did a lot of sitting around trying to keep my eyes open.

Things were becoming pretty darn uncomfortable down there, but still the contractions persisted in being punctual every twenty minutes. Owing to the fact that I had been experiencing uncomfortable contractions for weeks at this point, I felt less than benevolent toward my current condition. I was sick of pointless pain that didn’t seem to be accomplishing anything. “Well,” I thought to myself, “the nurses make you walk to bring on labor in the hospital, so I may as well get off my butt and see if I can’t make this thing happen.”

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: why, oh why, do women look forward to going into labor? Especially those of us who have done it before. It hurts! But somehow we forget the caliber of ouchiness that can be reached and we go on our merry way, walking, and doing housework, eating spicy food, and any number of other things to get to that blessed place of mind-numbing pain faster. Even now as I type this and cradle my new little treasure I think, “is it really all that bad?”

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

My Life at Present

No, I did not fall off the face of the earth. Neither was I abducted by aliens. Nor did I have an accident involving angry buffaloes. What I did have was a baby. And she is so sweet and cute that I've been having difficulty finding the time to blog about my life, which right now consists of snuggling this sweet little angel face and taking care of her darling siblings. Perhaps one day I shall have a laptop which would make blogging while snuggling a little bit easier. But, really, who can blame me? Wouldn't you rather squeeze this tiny pumpkin instead of sitting in a hard computer chair tucked away in a corner of your bedroom simply thinking and typing about squeezing her? I knew you would understand!



















The PG rated version of my birth story soon to follow!

Saturday, September 5, 2009

She's Finally Here!

This sweet little girl arrived in quite a hurry at 4:01pm Wednesday, September 2nd.













7 pounds 20 inches

Sunday, August 16, 2009

At Least I Know He Could Survive in the Wilderness

If I were a believer in previous lives I would think that my son must have been a goat at some point past. The kid (no pun intended) puts literally everything into his mouth. Everything. Excepting, of course, things that we would like him to put into his mouth, like apples and oranges, and maybe a little red meat or lettuce now and again. Dredging up some past posts will reveal that he has eaten cat litter, dirt, and more recently an ant or two.

People at the grocery store or the laboratory will ask before giving stickers to my two-year-old daughter, but little do they know that it’s not her I have to worry about when it comes to tasting/eating non-food items.

For whatever reason my son has settled on paper as his snack of choice. He has digested large sections of paper bookmarks; gnawed through the plastic cover on DVD cases to get to the paper jacket; even chomped through the binding on nice shiny new board books. Gym shorts with elastic pull type waistbands are another satisfying nibble. Keep chewing on the end of one of those things and a person can produce a string about a foot long.

But as I do not believe in past lives or reincarnation I don’t know that I should be afraid of walking in on him puncturing soup cans with his vicious canines. Thankfully he has not attempted to eat shards of glass or metal shavings. In lieu of those things, I suppose I can handle the nail biting and the finger chomping and the booger eating. I guess I shall sew my own silver lining onto that cloud if there isn’t one there already. I’ll just make sure to hide the needle and thread when I’m done.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Haven't I Done This Before?

This is not the first time I have found myself about to give birth. Nor is it the second. Still, I find myself wondering if I’ll know when I’m truly in labor. You know, before the baby starts working its way down the birth canal and onto the kitchen floor.

I realize that this sounds stupid and irrational, but it happens. I’ve heard stories. With my first born, my water broke and that always equals going to the hospital. No brainer. My second was a scheduled induction due to the horrendousness that was my first delivery. So needless to say I’ve never had to time contractions or anything like that.

This pregnancy has been pretty uncomfortable all the way around. I’ve had problems with sciatica since about the three-month mark and the last couple of months have been punctuated by sudden and intense pain in the area of my groin muscle. And those wonderful Braxton Hicks contractions have been around since the beginning and are getting more intense all of the time.

With just two weeks left until the date plotted for baby’s arrival I find myself wondering “will today be the day?” every time the baby even has a hiccup. It’s all very intense and exciting.

Yes, I’ve done this twice and I found that I still needed to prepare a list of things that had to be washed. I couldn’t remember what few items ought to be packed for the stay in the hospital. At least I remember how to burp a baby. And how to kiss and nuzzle that sweet little face. I suppose those are the things that really matter anyway.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

We Have a Cricket in Our Cave

The other night my husband returned from spelunking in the basement and informed me that there was a hideous cricket of monstrous size hanging around down there. Given his proclivity toward telling tales that aren’t so much lies as they are pretty darn tall and his intense exaggerations, I smiled and nodded with raised and knowing eyebrows during most of his description.

“…and it has leopard spots, and it can jump really far, it’s huge!…”

“Its back legs have knees!”

“It attacked me!”

Sure. Right. A Cave Cricket with leopard spots that’s as big as a small dog; and right in our basement too. Uh-huh.

Nonetheless, I felt a little cautious as I did the laundry downstairs in its lair. Bugs of Unusual Size seem to be frequenting the underground bottom level of our home. The previous week I had slain a rather large black spider with a gallon bucket of bleach as my only weapon: turns out that a gallon of bleach is a heavy and effective tool for squashing the life out of unwelcome arachnids.

It certainly did not help me feel any better about the cricket of much largeness when a few days later my Dad started telling me about a fellow he works with whose shed is suffering from an infestation of Cave Crickets.

“They’re big and move really fast. They prefer to hide, but when they feel threatened one of their defense mechanisms is to jump at you. And supposedly they have teal blood.”

Nice. So not only did I have some freaky monster hiding out in my basement, I also felt badly about basically telling my husband that he needed to get a grip on his fantastical imagination. I’m afraid that my disbelief may come back to haunt me in the form of a Cave Cricket attacking me and sucking my face off.

*For more fun tales involving my super-silly husband click on "the husband" label below.
*To see a real live picture of the scary monster described in this story click here.

Friday, July 31, 2009

I HEART Tums

I’ve been spending a lot of quality time with my computer in the middle of the night over these last few weeks. Being startled awake by a river of acid rushing up one’s throat and threatening to spill out of the mouth onto the bed sheets is on par with being forced out of sleep by dreams of falling off of tall buildings. How is it that carrying a tiny human inside of one’s body can wreak such havoc?

My fear of the dreaded acid reflux monster has begun to affect my desire to feed myself. Even food that looks delicious and smells even better holds very little attraction for me. I can’t imagine what those poor women who puke for months at a time during pregnancy go through: vomit is infinitely worse than piping hot acid. Unfortunately for me, the little munchkin needs to be fed via my digestive system, so I eat a bit here and there.

Those two little meatballs and their tiny bit of marinara sauce that I ate nine hours ago are probably to blame. I’m sure it had nothing to do with the big ol’ ice cream cone I had shortly after that. Nothing that delicious, eaten outside on a bench with a warm breeze blowing around me, could turn into the evil monster of acidic doom that is currently ravaging my body. Nope. I shall not believe it was the ice cream cone.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Early Morning/Middle of the Night Thoughts on Pregnancy and Womanhood

It’s four o’clock in the morning and I’m awake. I am not a farmer; I do not need to get up to make the doughnuts; nor is there any kind of rowdy sleepover going on in my house. Even though the little munchkin in my belly is sleeping soundly for the moment, the Tiny Ticking Time Bomb is causing my body to be plagued by acid reflux, intense sudden hunger pains, and the constant sense that a bathroom must be found- or else.

Some people say that the third trimester is prime time for a mother’s body to start adjusting to the many sleepless nights ahead of her; considering that this is my third sweet-cheeked baby I personally think that my body should be smart enough to know what’s coming at this point and just bloody sleep already! But alas, I seem to have the multi-tasking mind of a woman/mother, and once the eyelids roll up into my head and I become conscious of my brain activity sleep becomes a thing for sissies and I’m up. At four o’clock in the morning.

So here I am, eating an oatmeal chocolate chip cookie and a banana, praying that the swallow of orange juice I had doesn’t anger the acid that lingers in my throat. At some point I’ll manage to fall back into a semi-sound slumber- probably about five minutes before my daughter wakes up. When it comes to getting out of bed in the morning she has that woman thing going for her too. My husband and the little man will still be fast asleep and that little girl’s eyes will pop open and she’ll be declaring “good morning, Mommy!” from her crib and letting me know that she wants to get out and go downstairs.

Monday, July 20, 2009

I'm Still Mommy, Even When I'm Alone

I found myself childless and without a husband Saturday afternoon: Daddy was at work and the kids had gone to the pool with their Nana and Auntie B. Being eight months pregnant and unable to stand/walk for long periods of time without having extremely uncomfortable pains in my child-bearing regions, I could not go anywhere to meander and window shop at my leisure; I couldn’t even go to the fabric store and touch the bolts and admire the wonderful texture of linens. In other words, I was alone in the house.

It’s kind of an awkward feeling, being in a place that is so often filled with the sound of singing children, arguing children, children running around in circles. A place that was silenced suddenly and now held the sound of a clock ticking, the hum of the refrigerator, the tumble of some clothes in the dryer.

Awkward yes, but also peaceful because at least I knew that the children would be back to fill it with noise again and to tug at my dress, mommy I need a drink; the toys that now lied undisturbed would soon be grasped by two sets of little hands, that’s my car!; sweet little mouths would again pucker up to my own, I love you mommy.

But there is still something strange about lying down for a nap without another warm body, something unnerving about the absence of small bodies climbing on mine. I knew that it would be foolish to deny my tired and very pregnant body a chance to rest, so I forced my busy hands to stop and I stretched out on the couch. After a few minutes I called one of the cats over to lie with me.

Empty house and all, I was still Mommy and that spot in my chest that craves the comfort of something small and warm was crying out to be satisfied. The cat couldn’t quite fulfill that need, but he would have to do. He would just have to do.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

May I Borrow a Cup of Sugar?

As our little family walked in the door last night after running a couple of quick errands, one of the men that currently lives in the rental property a couple of doors down called up to my husband from his porch. He wanted to know if Sean smoked; apparently he was trying to bum a cigarette.

I have never smoked and my husband quit shortly after he expressed an interest in dating me because every thing about it just turns my stomach. One or two of my friends smoke, but I don’t generally go around kissing them and they don’t live in my house: so besides the fact that I love them very much and want them to live long and healthy lives, I can handle it.

Now I understand that bumming cigarettes is a relatively normal practice among people who smoke. Perhaps it is just because I am not a member of that social group and am therefore ignorant on what is deemed acceptable, but something in or about my sense of propriety finds it highly offensive to go around asking people, especially people you don’t know, for little rolls of expensive white paper to light on fire.

I don’t go around asking, “Hey, do you eat? Can you make me a piece of toast?”

Or, “Do you like chocolate? Mind if I have a nibble?”

Seriously. People would look at me like I had two heads. Better yet, “Do you have a vehicle? Great! I’m just going to siphon off a couple of gallons.”

Friday, June 19, 2009

A Baby by Any Other Name Would Look/Taste/Smell as Sweet

So, here we are with a mere two months to go before this sweet little ninja in my belly makes its arrival. If this hard punching, swift kicking child is female in nature she may not have a name until she is twelve years old. Dear old Dad and dear old Mum just can’t seem to find a one.

In all fairness that may be because my tolerance level for endless name-book perusal is pretty minimal. After about the first two hundred names my eyes start to water and a sensation not unlike vomit-inducing nausea begins to well up in my gut. My husband, on the other hand, can find lots of names he wouldn’t mind slapping on some poor innocent, unsuspecting child. (In other words, I think that some of them are a bit queer).

This is one argument some people would use to encourage certain unwilling parents to find out the gender of their unborn munchkin. I don’t think that would help us much: if it’s a boy then we don’t have to worry about picking a name; if it’s a girl then it doesn’t much change the fact that we still can’t seem to agree on a name. How do people with eight children pick out names? That’s what I’d like to know.

We didn’t have this trouble when it came to naming our cats. It generally takes about one day to name a pet. And ours even have middle names, although those didn’t get tacked on until a bit later, when they started to misbehave. I find it much easier to shout at something with two names.

In my sweet pregnant stupor I really believe this baby will be a boy. There are some things a person just doesn’t mind being wrong about, so if it is a girl I’m just trusting that the right name will come along in time. Besides, I’m already starting to mix up the kids’ names when trying to untangle their little intertwined arms during a brutal tug-of-war with a favorite toy and they’re not even the same gender. In all likelihood the new baby will end up as “hey you!” anyway.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Beware of Harmless Questions

There is a spot in my chest that trills with fear whenever someone asks my son, “how are you?” When he was a little younger he would reply something like, “I’m two,” and I could totally deal with the cuteness. Now I just haven’t a clue what his response is going to be, and I’m the type of person who is generally not fond of surprises.

Last week at the doctor’s office when the nurse inquired after his health, “Gloppity-glop,” was his response. Had I not known that he picked up this phrase (and many others) from Dr. Seuss, I may have been a bit concerned as gloppity-glop sounds like it might be catching. I do a lot of smiling and patting him on the head when we’re out in public. Thankfully he hasn’t said anything bad or inappropriate. Yet.

Quirky phrases and odd quotes I can live with. However, some of his responses make me yearn for the days when he would hide behind my legs if a stranger addressed him. “Miff muffered moof” doesn’t sound so rude, but I could definitely live without his desire to wow the world with his facial muscle contortion control.

There have been times when a polite greeting has been returned with a roll of the eyes into the back of the head and a fantastical tongue lolling instead of a sweet blue-eyed toddler smile. I frequently find myself hoping that the recipient whose benign question elicited such a response has raised boys, or at least some sort of child who was once three-years-old.

As if these things aren’t enough to make a mother ill at ease, there is another charming habit he’s picked up that should really be exercised only at home. After a few minutes of watching Daddy play some Zelda video games, the little man became magically adept at reproducing the sounds of the main character, Link, attacking his foes and jumping off of high places in a single bound. The child now trots about (literally trots) whilst shouting a guttural “heeeeyyy-hey!” and whacking the furniture with a plastic golf club.

Aside from the furniture beating, the whole act is really rather cute. Inside. When taken outside I’m sure the entire block thinks he’s being forced to do something against his rather strong will, or he’s just being very rude and angry with mommy. It’s even better when he takes up his attack stance in a physician’s office or grocery store. This type of behavior tends to startle people. Perhaps I should set aside five minutes every day to indoctrinate about the proper way to greet people; especially people we don’t know.




Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Pumpkin the Knight

Much to the chagrin of my husband, our daughter has taken possession of one of her brother’s PlayMobil knights. She hugs him and pets him and calls him “Pumpkin”. Previously, her Bubby had named the black knight “Link” (from the Zelda video games), but she has totally disregarded this and persists in calling the little stiff plastic axe-wielder Pumpkin.

I think it’s cute. She points to his molded plastic toushy and declares his diaper clean; she sings “Rock-a-bye Baby” to him. Daddy finds this whole routine appalling. He seems concerned about what it will do to Pumpkin’s self-esteem. I’m betting Pumpkin’s self-esteem is about as immovable as his tiny plastic ankles.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Cows on the Brain

Ever since the birthday party at the farm, my daughter has been more than usually obsessed with cows. If the family is out for one of our weekend rambling drives in the nearby almost-country, she sits in her car seat, which is still rear-facing because she’s such a peanut, points toward things she can’t even see and says “look at the COWS!”

One of our local zoos gives mommies free admission on Mother’s Day and we have made it a tradition to spend a few hours there watching the animals laze around in the sun or walk circles around the little outbuildings in their enclosure. This year everything was proclaimed a cow, from the zebra to the camel. A gentle correction of “no, honey, that’s an ibex” would elicit an “it’s an ibex” and a pointed index finger from the sweetie pie; but as we walked away “bye cows!” was the inevitable refrain. I believe the peacock escaped this label due to his bright blue and green feathers.

In the evenings after Daddy comes home from work it is common practice for him to enquire after our doings during the day. My answer generally follows along the lines of dishes, laundry, errands, and random other mundane household type chores, with a bit of sewing/designing and some fun playtime with the kids thrown in. Pretty predictable.

When my son’s turn comes he gets animated, stammers a lot, and tends to tell exciting stories from the previous week that are still fresh in his memory. Unless of course we happened to go to the post office or grocery store: then he tells dear old dad all about the great fun we had buying milk and bread. I’m a stay-at-home mom in the truest sense of the word, so the kiddos get pretty amped up for the weekly trip to buy fruit and veggies; even a visit to the doctor’s office is met with enthusiasm as long as no shots are involved. Not that we stay home all the time, I’m just not an on-the-go kind of person.

Usually the little girl takes cues from her brother and repeats snippets of his dialogue, shows off her baby doll, or starts in with patty-cake. However, the other night when her turn rolled around, our daughter managed a remarkably articulate response when the question was put to her. When asked, “what did you do today?” she replied in a very cool and collected tone, “I looked for cows.”




Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Stackable Babies

We're wondering how a to fit a third sweet-cheeked little baby into our home. Perhaps if we can only get the existing children to sleep like this we may be able to conserve some space...










































Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Say Hello, Optimus

Getting new underwear is exciting. In recent weeks I've begun to wonder if buying plain old boring white underpants for little people isn't better than the fun Spider-Man and Transformers underwear.

With a certain young man continuing to get bigger around here there arose a need for some larger underpants. When the old ones started to leave nasty looking elastic marks around my son's entire midsection I decided that it had been put off long enough; trying to force your child to stay little and stop growing doesn't work, it just leaves marks. During one of my few and far between trips to Walmart I grabbed a package of cool looking Transformers undies. The little man approved my selection with fervor and asked to wear them every five minutes until I managed to wash them in preparation for his tiny heiney.

Shortly after Optimus Prime made the trek from dryer to top drawer Nana got a surprise unveiling when the child removed his pants in order to show her his new prized possession. Woohoo! Really, that's not so bad and we got a good laugh out of it. I mean, what nana wouldn't want to see Bumblebee plastered across her grandson's rear end?

Last week he picked out Spider-Man underwear at the store. The same excitement went along with this purchase, and there was no peace in this house until Peter Parker and his spidey suit went through a wash and dry cycle. Thankfully no inappropriate strip tease followed the donning of these underpants. We did, however, find ourselves telling the checkout lady at Target all about them yesterday.

She was a sweet soul and seemed just as thrilled about the underwear as my son was. It's been so long since I've had new underwear that when I finally do get some I might feel compelled to tell complete strangers about them too.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Play-Doh with Dad

Notice the rather big hat that the little man is wearing... then try to find the little hat the rather big man is wearing...















Play-Doh with Mom consists of making coil pots, and squishing it through special Play-Doh presses that mold the stuff into fun shapes. When Dad plays there is born an army of sea creatures- sharks, whales, puffer fish, etc.- and there are the hats .

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

This is the Phrase that is Heard Day and Night...

There is a mantra my son repeats often throughout any given day. He says it in the morning, repeats it in the afternoon, and asks it adamantly during the evening: “Daddy be home soon?” If he does not get the desired answer he will sometimes replace “daddy” with other members of the family, most frequently “nana”.

I suppose he gets bored what with mommy tending to the dishes and the laundry and the cooking. An occasional game of memory with dinosaur cards and an afternoon romp in the yard isn’t quite enough attention for a person. One can only ride a bike around the dining room table so many times, and fight over toys with a little sister for so many hours a day.

Yesterday, however, time was found with which to have a little snuggle on the couch. The little man rested his head on my ever-growing baby belly and looked up at me with those bright blue eyes and edible cheeks. “Momma, the baby gonna be home soon?” Well, now, as if he wasn’t quite cute enough already.

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Down on the Farm

This past weekend we went to a "Yay, you're one year old!" birthday party. The sweet little man whose birth was being celebrated belongs to a very old and dear friend of mine who now lives out of state. I was excited to see her, meet the baby, and visit her parents' diary farm where much of my early childhood was spent.

During the forenoon of the appointed day, my son anxiously awaited our departure for what promised to be a splendid party. He was aware that there would be lots of cows milling about the place. During the warmer months our little family has taken to fleeing the city that we live in for a drive in the less populated areas nearby; the highlight of those dusky rambles is the sighting of deer, chickens, and sometimes even a cow or two. Needless to say, farm animals are associated with much happiness by us all.

The morning of the party had dawned moist and drizzly. A person who has any experience with farms knows that rainy conditions equal lots and lots of mud on said farms. Thankfully when we arrived there were quite a few cows dawdling near the roadside just over the fence.

Better yet, it was quickly discovered that the living room window afforded a clear view of the cows standing around behind the barn. This was cause for much joy on the part of my daughter. Every five minutes or so she would point her little finger out the window and exclaim rapturously, "A COW!!! LOOK AT THE COWS!!!" Actually, it more closely resembled a hysterical scream than an exclamation. It was a bit frightening to watch the veins in her small head come near to bursting, but it is certain that she was the life of the party in our little corner of the room.

Having thusly drained her energy and exhausted her emotions she was near a nervous breakdown by the time we packed up our little family for the short drive home. In the delirium that seemed to continue into the next day she still hadn't realized that the cows hadn't followed her home: she oft ran to our own living room window to point and shout about cows. Her brother had some cow-ish excitement as well; he was pretty exited about one of the cows licking his hand; another cow even mooed at him. Not every birthday party can be as thrilling as that. No sir.

Monday, March 30, 2009

Twenty-five Random Things About Me

I realize that it has been quite some time since I've graced the "pages" of this blog with a new post, so I thought I would share this little tidbit whilst I try and muster the wherewithal to share some more fun stories about what it is like to live my life.


1. I adore blueberries, but don't like blueberry pie.

2. When it snows I'm always afraid that someone will fall on my sidewalk and sue me. I'm also afraid that the mailman will slip on the steps if they get icy.

3. One of my favorite pasttimes is creating recipes. I wrote my first cookbook when I was five or six.

4. My chili has been hailed as the best in the universe. Okay, okay, I exaggerate just a little...

5. I have difficulty spelling simple words at times. I blame this on many things: lack of protein, screaming children, pregnancy, etc.

6. I talk to my mom almost every day. If I don't call her for a couple of days she gets worried and calls me.

7. I thought I would be published by the time I turn thirty, but that is only two years away and mostly all I want to do is nap.

8. I wear jeans until they are practically falling apart. I hate shopping for jeans.

9. When I crunch through the marshmallows in Lucky Charms cereal I get chills. It's pretty weird.

10. I feel sad for people who don't like Rhubarb pie. I think there must be something amiss with their tastebuds.

11. We have a baby every other year. It's like a sickness or something. I love it!

12. I like QUIET. And peace. Both at the same time is nice.

13. I like being home. It's so much less complicated than going out.

14. I don't mind the smell of skunk.

15. If I were rich and had no conscience, I would eat off of paper plates every day.

16. I believe that a baby is a baby from the moment of conception.

17. I really, really, really like good food. Like, a lot.

18. The car radio must be off while I parallel park.

19. I think I may be addicted to coffee.

20. If I don't have a book to read, I feel as though my life is incomplete.

21. I can't pick ONE book for my favorite.

22. I like Blue's Clues.

23. Is it wrong to force your child to get the flu shot when you don't get it yourself?

24. Children really are a gift from God. Even when they're fighting. And telling you " no."

25. Jesus is totally awesome.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Time for a Disclosure!

I have decided that it is about time I let you all in on a little secret. The real reason that postings around here are at an all-time low. My sense of humor has taken a backseat to alternately resting on the couch and purging/organizing like a mad woman. That, and discussing baby names with my husband.

A couple of days before Christmas we received an early gift: a double pink line. Surprise! We seem to have made a habit out of making babies during the fall season.

So, now that the cat is out of the preverbal bag, I’m sure you all will understand if I only manage to post once a week. I’m too busy trying to figure out how I’m going to manage being outnumbered three to one, and fine-tuning my ability to actually get some rest while still managing to hear the sound of a toddler dumping things into a toilet seven miles away.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Words.

There are some phrases that come out of the mouths of my children, and I wonder where it is that they have picked them up. Because, really, I have never heard them come out of my mouth, or their father’s mouth. I can’t remember hearing them uttered from the television by anyone or anything in any of their videos. Perhaps these phrases just come from the deepest depths of their little imaginations.

So it happens that Big Brother is following Little Sister around, squeezing her cheeks and saying, “My little weeny, weeny,” in that smooshy voice we all save for things that are cute and edible. It seems to me that this wouldn’t be so bad if he would at least once say, “My little teeny weeny,” but he is forever insistent on two “weeny”s and no “teeny”s. My sense of propriety is only slightly wounded though because it’s just so darn funny. And in actuality, she is a little weeny, weeny. She’s just that cute.

And because she is just so cute, adorable and squeezable, she too walks about saying cute and adorable things herself. She knows her name, and she of course knows mine since I am the one she needs to talk to when hungry or in need of something. However, more than anything else, she is called “honey” by us all because she’s such a sweetie pie (when she’s not throwing temper tantrums or making herself otherwise disagreeable). That word has bored itself into her little head to such a degree that I have graduated from simply “mommy” to “honey-mama”. I have to admit that I rather like it.

Nor do I complain when my little man looks me in the eyes and tells me, “Mama, you’re so pretty.” I know he’s just throwing compliments at me because I set up the Wii for him; even so, it’s nice to hear his toddler voice petting me with appreciatory comments while he runs a savage racing campaign in the world of MarioKart.

Monday, February 23, 2009

"Look, Mommy, I do it MySELF!"

My son has taken a fit of getting things for himself. No more depending on mommy or asking for help if it can be at all helped. An “I can and will do this by myself” attitude is cropping up around here like a sickness.

There are definite perks that come along with this mentality. The main one being that he has decided that he is big enough to go to the toilet by himself, although this occasionally means that the paper gets dropped into the tank and pants get put on backwards. Sometimes he comes back from his little sojourn in the bathroom without the troublesome backwards pants and fakes ignorance when asked where said pants have gotten to.

The other day he decided he could not wait for me to finish up a task, that he must have his cup of milk right away, and he delved into the fridge, procured the half empty gallon of milk and poured himself a cup without spilling a drop of it. He was extremely proud of this.

One day a couple of weeks ago I was out with my sister and was told upon my return that while daddy’s back was turned the little man removed the bag of popcorn from the microwave that daddy had popped. My son knows that the microwave is off-limits, but I suppose when a person is tall enough to reach it and their belly is yearning after the buttery smells of popped kernels, they feel absolutely compelled to take matters into their own hands. It would seem that he found himself perfectly capable of opening the steaming bag without being burned, and dumping into contents into the big metal bowl that is used to hold the popcorn during its consumption without dropping any on the floor.

Right now my main issue with this newfound independence is that it is often accompanied by ladder building and the scaling of tall things in order to reach the object that is on top of the television or the fridge, or has been pushed to the back of the counter top. Between him and his sister nothing is safe. It may be time to find a locked cabinet in which to store sharp knives, crayons, scissors, and permanent markers.

Monday, February 16, 2009

La Limonada

My younger sister is spending a week in Guatemala, visiting with a friend who works in a school in the ghettos of Guatemala city. Stop over at her blog to read about her wonderful and heartbreaking adventures.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Monday, February 9, 2009

Spring, Don't Be Late

Spring is coming. It may take the long and scenic route to get here, but it's on its way.

The position of the sun is changing. It is peeking into my windows and filtering through the blinds. Springtime shadows are lingering on the house across the street, and I can even hear a bird or two in the trees.

When the furnace kicks off and the sound of its puffy cheeks blowing heat throughout the house dies, I can almost imagine that it is the sunshine through the window glass that is warming my body.

In another month the crocuses will push their spiky leaves through the mulch and bloom in purples, whites and yellows; the pieris shrubs will drip with red and white blossoms.

Yes, spring is on it's way.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

It's My Birthday and I'll Cry if I Want To

Today is my birthday. It would be nice if my husband would change all the diapers, wash all the dishes, and make me a hot gourmet dinner. I would like for him to do the laundry and maybe even mop the kitchen floor. But I can’t ask him to do any of these things today because it’s his birthday too.

When we were still single (that is, after we were married, but before we had children) we used to take advantage of our shared birthday and go to a delicious gourmet restaurant for dinner instead of buying each other a gift; I didn’t feel so guilty about spending one hundred dollars on dinner since it was two birthdays for the price of one.

After our first-born came along and I stopped working outside of the home, I didn’t feel that we could justify this kind of expense, so we stopped going to our old birthday haunts. Then two years ago we bought a house, and when I’m tempted to reinstate this wonderful birthday practice I think about how much paint we can buy with a hundred dollars.

However, there is one thing that really stinks about our shared birthday. It is a tradition in my family for the birthday girl or boy to choose what they want Mom to make for their birthday meal. None of my sisters have to negotiate with anyone about what will be served; I, on the other hand, must consult and bargain with my husband. If he does not wish to partake in my selection I must either cry bitter tears and get over it, or lobby and draw up a power-point presentation on why he should agree to my choice. It really isn’t fair.

Even though I am to be twenty-eight today it seems as though I’ve still not learned to share nicely. I like food. A lot. I don’t like having to compromise with anyone in regards to my birthday dinner. I am ashamed to say that I have even been known to stab my husband with my fork if he attempts to take food from my plate without my consent. It’s a primal reaction and I can hardly help it. I guess I should work on that now that I’m supposed to be a grown-up.


Monday, February 2, 2009

Words for All of Your Two Thousand Parts

I sometimes find myself very fearful of what may come out of my child’s mouth in the presence of strangers. Or in his Sunday school classroom. Most parents, I’m sure, suffer from this same fear. It’s bad enough that kids pick up on things so deviously in the first place, but my husband sometimes forgets to use the child-friendly filter that I am attempting to install in his head.

Don’t misunderstand me, neither of us is in the habit of using coarse language or anything like that, but I find that my sensitive woman/mommyness can be easily offended. Words like “butt” and “fart” only sound funny the first time they make their exit from a three-year-old’s mouth.

My husband was gone last week on a business trip, so I cannot blame the following on him. Sometime during the middle of the week my son betook himself from the bathroom, where he had taken himself to the potty, and brought his pants and underwear to me for assistance. All smiles, he handed me these articles of clothing and said, “Look at my butt crack!”

Now, really, I must draw some sort of line here! I felt badly because he was so proud that his command of the English language enabled him to articulate this phrase, but I didn’t feel good about encouraging his use of it.

Awhile back he punctuated his sentences with “fossil poop” after perusing a dinosaur book with Daddy. That went on for some time. Much to my dismay he had no scruples about sharing his knowledge of dinosaur droppings with persons he had just met. After that phase passed the age of “blubber fat” began. (This time after reading a book about whales; I begin to think that learning is overrated).

Most of these phrase-related issues become issues because a certain grown-up boy in our house laughs like a madman when he hears them uttered in the singsong voice of our little Blank Slate. Thankfully Daddy wasn’t home to witness the declaration of a cloven rear-end, and I’m confident that another potential word-sharing crises has been averted.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Shadow, Shadow on the Wall

The shadows on the stair landing introduced themselves to my son today. They stood there and chatted for a bit. Since he is the big brother, these shadows condescended to being called “Little Brother” and “Little Sister.”

Big Brother asked what they were doing.

He invited them to come upstairs with him.

Bending down to talk at their level, he put his hands on his knees in a very friendly and grown-upish sort of way.

The position of the sun changed as the day progressed. Big Brother came back to check on his shadowy siblings. Little Brother was still there, but Little Sister seemed to have gone away.

“Where is Little Sister, Little Brother? Where is she?”

Little Brother didn’t know where she was. Or if he did, he didn’t tell.

At long last the sun did set. Big Brother has not inquired after Little Sister lately. I’m sure she’ll be back tomorrow.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Passing the Torch of Hole-y-ness

My son is doomed for a life of hole-y socks. He comes by it honestly enough: before I saw this trait beginning to emerge in him, I always said that my husband went through more socks than any other human being I had ever known. My husband does go through more socks than anyone I know. I feel that every time I fold the laundry there are two or three more socks with undisguisable holes that must be expelled from their place in the top drawer of the bureau.

Part of the fault may lie in his larger than normal feet. Measuring at a size thirteen makes it difficult to find socks that fit at Walmart, as most socks sold there are only meant to be worn by a man who wears a size twelve or smaller shoe. But buy them at Walmart we do, and the sock is stretched as though on the rack when the foot is inserted; I believe the strain placed on the sock to cover more area than it is meant to causes premature fraying at the toe area.

I am also pretty sure that the toenails on said foot steadily saw away at the stressed area like prisoners digging their way to free air outside of the wire. It might help some if the man didn’t drag his feet over the thresholds of doorways where nails and screws have a habit of dislodging themselves and poking out in an upward fashion in an effort to snag unsuspecting passersby.

So needless to say, there is a steady flow of footwear from dresser drawer to the rag bag to the garbage can. For a while I contented myself with the fact that a large part of my sock drawer can be dated back ten years or more. At least there was only one destroyer of socks in the house.

Not so anymore. I realized the other day, as I pulled a sock onto my son’s foot and his big toe propelled itself out through a rent in the fabric and about poked me in the eyeball, that at least half of his socks have no mates due to the large number that have peaceably reached the stage of retirement due to their inability to be of any further use as foot-huggers. Like with his father, I suspect that this may be due in part to the smallishness of the socks and the dragging of feet. Although I’m also pretty sure that trying to chew one’s toes through aforementioned sock may ultimately have a detrimental effect on the stability and wholeness of the article in the long run.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Fear from Inflection

There are three words, uttered in the pudgy voice of my nineteen-month-old stick-child that instantly summons fear and trembling into my heart. I can survive the tumbling sound as she bumps down a couple of stairs, but when she says, “Make a mess!” the life just about goes out of me as I stagger toward the sound of her voice with at least one eye squeezed shut.

It may merely mean that she has dumped the plastic bin of dinosaurs and sea-creatures all over the floor, or it could signify the emptying of a box of crackers onto the floor. Drawing on walls constitutes this exclamation, as well as upending the entire contents of the humidifier onto the bedroom floor where it will inevitably soak into the carpet and cause much mold and general rot. There is also a chance that all of my clean, nicely folded laundry has found its way onto the floor, and is now unfolded.

I believe that it is actually the force with which she shouts the word “mess” that stirs such dread into my bowels. Generally, said mess can be cleaned up without too much ado. Alas, simply knowing this to be true does not alleviate much (if any) anxiety of my part.

Monday, January 12, 2009

We See Turkeys on the Road

Through out this past spring and summer I always became a little nervous whenever we would motor past a slain animal lying in the road, its fur a shambles and smeared with blood, internal organs peeking out from beneath the burst flesh.

At times I would find myself engaging my forward facing car-seat bound toddler in conversation in order to distract him from the roadway and the carnage that was heaped upon it. I felt some apprehension that he should take notice and ask me what it was; I feared emotional confusion on his part should he associate it with one of his pet cats.

There came a day, somewhere during the fall, when I had to stop at a red octagonal road sign and wait for a break in the passing traffic in order to pull onto the road and continue the trek to Nana’s house. Directly to my left, and a few yards in front of my son’s window, lay a mangled mess that used to be some sort of medium-sized mammal.

The voice of a little boy spoke up from the back seat. My anxiety was quickly calmed when I heard what followed:

“Look, Mommy,” he shouted, “a turkey on the road!”

He’d only ever seen turkeys in books, but something about the squashed carcass on the road resembled poultry. He sounded pretty excited. Let us count our blessings.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Practice Makes Perfect

There have been more signs of a certain little man growing up way too fast around here. I have to say that while I’m not a fan of the whole growing-up thing, I still find myself smiling when I spot the symptoms.

My little boy has taken to slouching around the house with his hands in his pockets. I don’t know why. He doesn’t put anything into them. Nor does he take anything out of them. I suppose it’s just a new fun thing to do.

Certain words are finding their way into his everyday vocabulary as well. Take the word “very” for example. “I’m very done, mommy.” Or “I very love you, mommy,” are popular phrases nowadays. “I guess” is another expression that is heard with a frequency. “I’m gonna play dinosaurs, I guess.” “I want peanut-fluffernutter, I guess.”

Last night when he was asked if he was hungry he replied, “No, I’m just practicing.” Neither of us could figure out precisely what it was that he was practicing. But whatever it was he deemed it more important than eating, so it must have been vital.

Monday, January 5, 2009

Just Call Me Laura

It’s been fun around here, pretending to be Laura Ingalls Wilder. The water authority in our city had a filter malfunction and spewed some 2,500 gallons of improperly treated water into our pipes. We would have been blissfully ignorant of this disaster until our bodies began to eject disease and pestilence from uncomfortable portals except that my father, who doesn’t even live in the same city, called to warn us that we needed to boil all water used for dish washing, teeth brushing, drinking, and food preparation.

Of course my immediate reaction was something like an oh-brother-y groan, but I quickly realized how blessed we are to have access to clean water at any moment of any given day, and adjusted my attitude accordingly; even our now compromised water was heavenly compared with what people in underdeveloped areas of the globe are forced to drink. Besides, I assured myself, this could be fun! If viewed with the attitude of adventure, of course.

It turns out that boiling enough water for drinking, brushing, and food prep isn’t so bad. Trying to figure out how to boil water for dish washing, however, is a pain in the patootie. If I filled all of my pots and pans with water to boil I might have enough to fill one side of the sink; or perhaps it would be best to boil just enough for a splashing rinse, so as not to totally deplete my stock of safely boiled water. Better yet, maybe I should just hold my breath and hope for the advisory to be lifted quickly, and leave my dirty dishes to degenerate for the time being.

For the first evening and the following day I did just that: I left the dishes unwashed in the sink. So as not to fill the porcelain sink any higher we used all manner of paper, plastic, and Styrofoam plates, forks, and cups. We probably slew an entire forest of lush greenery. On the second morning of my Laura Ingalls Wilder experience I could stand it no longer and attempted to wash at least a portion of the dirtiness. It wasn’t easy, and after I saw how quickly the boiled water was disappearing I gave it up.

Going out of my way to ensure safe, clean water by boiling it in kettles and pots really didn’t complicate my life all that much. What I did find challenging at first was remembering to not use the water out of the tap. Thankfully I didn’t poison anyone in my family with unsafe drinking water through my forgetfulness. I have to say that I’m also thankful that the advisory was lifted this afternoon after only about forty-two hours. Now I just have to figure out what to do with the three pots full of boiled water still on my stove.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Naming the Animals

When I sit to do a craft that involves instructions I generally follow the directions, especially if it is a simple project or something I haven’t tried before. Sometimes this bothers me and makes me feel less creative than I like, but I just try to enjoy the task and forget about my silly perceived self-notions.

Some months back I was at the craft store looking for a craft project that I could do with my son. In the end I purchased a kit for making animal faces out of foam. It seemed pretty safe.

As it turned out, a three-year-old boy who has trouble sitting still and following directions can get overexcited while doing crafty things, but we still had a lot of fun and managed to make one of each of the four animals. In retrospect, crafts that involve googly-eyes may not be the best choice. I followed him around for a couple of days picking stray eyeballs up off of the floor and making sure he didn’t try to eat them or feed them to his little sister.

The other day daddy was hunting for something new and fun to do with the little man and saw the box of foam facial features sitting on the shelf collecting dust. So he got it down. Ignoring my suggestion that he use nice, safe glue dots, he instead opted for the gorilla glue that he keeps in his workbag. This made me more than a little nervous.

The two of them settled into the dining room table with their little bag o’ tricks (and the scary glue) and got down to business. My son first suggested making an elephant for his nana. His next request was a companion lion for his granddad. The elephant ended up with a bit of a leaky-eye problem and the lion has no ears, but they’re both ordinary enough looking animals.



















Then daddy hit his groove and his crazy creative streak kicked in. When his little protégé requested that they make a monkey for his Auntie Shmish, daddy said, “How about a tiger monkey?” Daddy’s carbon copy caught onto that idea pretty quickly, and before they were done they had made a liger for Auntie B and an elephonkey for Aunt EM.





























It’s special times like these that I’m reminded of how blessed I am to have a husband who possesses such a uniquely creative mind. It’s fun to watch my children learn to think outside of the box when it comes to creating. If it were my sole responsibility to nurture their imagination, they would always be putting the correct color with the correct number and all their foam animals would be of recognizable species. I’m also thankful that the nasty industrial glue did no permanent damage.
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