I really don't have many exciting adventures. And that's okay with me because I prefer when life goes along, predictable like, as adventures aren't always all they are cracked up to be. Generally there are some bad spots throw into all that excitement, and I would rather sit at home with a nice cup of tea and a good book while my three children play nicely (and quietly) together for hours at a time without needing to be fed, pottied, or reprimanded.
We were having one of those days recently where they were not playing together nicely and everyone was tired and bored. Including me. One of the things we like to do in such circumstances is to buckle everyone into the van and go out for a bit of a drive in the countryside, seeing if we can spot cows or deer, and just plain enjoy the river or the green green trees.
So off I went with the children all happily seated in their car seats with the promise of french fries at the end of our little meandering drive. We hadn't gone too far when I hopped a bit of the curb while pulling out from a stop sign. It made a bit more noise than would be expected from such a minor incident, but the car seemed to take it well and there was no horrid noises or shaking or smoke or anything of that sort. (My son did inquire as to whether we had a flat tire, but I assured him that if the tire were flat we would not be able to drive the van. Perhaps the apprehensive feeling in my stomach at this point was a little more than indigestion and should have been treated as a foreshadowing of the events to come.)
On we drove for a few miles enjoying the delicious breeze floating in through the windows when suddenly there came a rather suspicious sound from the rear of the vehicle. It was still operating perfectly fine, but there was that sound again, insistent and unmistakable- something was wrong back there. I wasn't sure if it was actually the tire, but that curb had done damage somehow.
Another mile or two passed us by before there was a safe place to pull over. As I approached the rear tire, there was a distinctive sag to it. Not quite flat, but definitely no longer round and plump. I have never had a flat tire in my life, nor have I ever experienced being stranded as a result of car troubles. But here I was, in a jam, with three children, no husband, and no cell phone.
So, I know I've blogged about this topic before. Some of you may remember and think that I ought to give it up already. I, however, never tire of it.
My husband has a strange relationship with bugs. In the great outdoors he handles them and inspects them with our son; the two of them allow bugs to crawl about on their hands, wrists, and sometimes even to the upper extremities of their arms. (I feel that a bug has gone far enough when it traverses any point more than one inch above the wrist; they have a way of getting lost once inside clothing).
Once a bug crosses the outer wall of our home, however, my husband views it in an entirely different light. After spotting one, he jumps about, shrieks, and carries on in a way that would make any little girl proud. (Unless, of course, she is relying on him to kill the leggy invader). It's really a very strange thing.
If he has recently slaughtered a bug, or has witnessed me in the act of doing so, he gasps horrendously and jumps four feet in the air anytime a fleck of dust so much as floats past his pinky toe. The kids have picked up on this, and while Daddy is in the midst of reading about Noah and the flood at bedtime, they'll take turns tickling his leg hair with their little fingers or poking him in the foot with some long and pointy toy just so they can watch him go into convulsions.
My husband and I try and rotate when it comes to killing the yucky buggies that we find in the house. Mostly I kill anything in the basement because my husband somehow manages to convince himself that they can't climb the stairs into our living space. I'm pretty sure that anything that can climb walls and walk on the ceiling can find its way up into the kitchen, so if I spot a spider in the cellar I am going to make a valiant effort to squash it so that it doesn't find me and try to suck my face off while I sleep.
There is one bug in particular, though, that we are both deathly afraid of. The many legged, and very freaky, house centipede. The other day I watched helplessly as one scrambled into my laundry sorter in the basement. I certainly didn't want it jumping on me as I dug through piles of dirty clothes. Nor was I willing to neglect the laundry any longer than I already had. So I called the man of the house.
I really wasn't expecting him to ride majestically down the basement stairs on his white steed, and vanquish the fearful beast, but I figured that at least I would get some moral support. After we both stood staring at the laundry sorter for a few minutes while I scratched my head and he persisted in alternately jumping and shrieking every two-point-six seconds, my husband had a brilliant idea and left me alone with the monster while he went to fetch his long-handled grilling tongs.
What a picture I'm sure we made as my husband gingerly plucked through dirty tee shirts, jeans, and undies with his tongs while I made sure to keep myself safely out of range of his flailing limbs. Somewhere near the bottom of the pile the beast flung itself from the sorter and fled to a safer, darker corner where I am sure it remains, biding its time, making its plans, and growing bigger by the second.
My son is a very curious sort of fellow; he notices everything, and likes things to be just so. He has an amazing capacity for memorization. When he reads a book or watches a video he can remember facts in detail. He asks a lot of questions. He reads all by himself. He uses big words. He is four and half.
So far his studies consist mainly of facts about marine animals, dinosaurs, and bugs, although he knows a little bit about lots of other things, like the difference between herbivores and carnivores, what decay is, when to flip a pancake, how to tell time, and different kinds of weather.
Unfortunately, none of his forays into the field of science or language prepared him for what he came face-to-head with the other evening. The little man was sitting on the arm of the couch with his Grandad on the cushion next to him when he looked down and got an eyeful of the top of his Grandad's head. Grandad has slowly been losing his hair for a few years now- his scalp is still loosely covered with hair, but it is rather noticeably thin when seen from atop.
In a concerned sort of way, my son started poking around at my Father's head. He had never been introduced to the words "bald" or "balding" before, and he just did not understand what it was that he was looking at. My Dad is a jolly sort of fellow, so naturally he had a good laugh over it. The little man, however, did not seem amused, and when his own Daddy came home later that eve he took it upon himself to make sure that Daddy still had all of his hair. So far, so good.
A couple of months ago, a girlfriend of mine flew home for a visit, and she was surprised that I did not have any felt garlands hanging around. I had been so busy creating them for my shop that I just hadn't taken the time to create one for myself. Well, she's back for another visit and I have finished creating a garland to add to my front window treatment just in time!
Why is it that little people always try and grow up too fast? I vaguely remember that feeling, that rushing when-will-I-be-able-to-eat-candy-for-breakfast sentiment that comes with the irresponsibility and ignorance of youth. When one is young, one wants to be able to make every decision (and then one becomes an adult and making decisions isn't always as much fun as it's cracked up to be).
My four-year-old son recently had the following discussion with me.
R: "Mom, when I was three, I called you "Mommy." Now, when I'm four, I call you "Mom." Me: "What about Daddy?" R: "When I was three I called him, "Daddy." Now that I'm four I call him "Dad."
The next day he went on to tell me that when he's five he's calling me "Faith."
Seriously, I know there is a certain amount of independence that comes along with knowing how to read, the ability to state the difference between herbivores, carnivores, and omnivores, and being able to discern the particular type of a dozen different dinosaurs and sharks by sight, but I want to be "Mommy" for at least a few more years. Indefinitely would be better.
My husband recently started a new game with my son. It's called, "let's send an email!" This game is loads of fun because my four-year-old gets to sit in the computer chair and send messages to various family members. The idea behind this type of communication is new to him, so we generally have to prompt him to decide what it is that he intends to say. Otherwise the people on the receiving end of the email would just get lines of gibberish (as in the following subject line, "if i did buT RRRR"). His spelling and reading skills are very advanced, but it still takes a while for him to type because the letter "a" is not next to the letter "b" on a keyboard. Generally his emails are limited to one sentence. The other day when asked what it was that he wanted to say he responded with the following: "HI A VUlture kicked me in the leg."
This was just too good a declaration to pass up. My husband summarily whipped together an illustration to send along with the message.
I love my boys. Separately, they both make me chuckle. But they're even better together.
So, the whole mushy sweet potato thing didn't go so well. Rice cereal, however, is a big hit. Pretty darn big. I feel as though I should get myself one of those fencing get-ups to protect my important parts: my face, head, and neck. Certainly, it couldn't hurt to have the rest of myself enclosed in some sort of protective covering.
The closest thing that I can think of to relate the baby-feeding experience to is a feeding frenzy in a pond: a person walks up to the edge and observes about a dozen fish milling about, floating lazily to and fro, then they toss a crumb into the water and all of those seemingly gentle and sedate fish converge on said crumb in a whirlwind of flashing teeth and flaming eyeballs. Yeah, that's what my sweet little baby turns into when she sees that spoon approaching- a scrabbling, grappling lunatic who appears to have been starved of sustenance for many a long day.
I fear for myself during these times. I really do. Today I gave her a sippy cup of water to wash down her cereal, and she actually managed to take big gulps from it. Without choking even. It's quite possible that I have lost myself in a time warp and that she is actually older than the five months I calculate her to be. That would also explain why she has the strength of a twenty-five-year-old man.
I'm going to start the baby on solid food this week. She'll be five-months-old (already!) in a couple of days and she is definitely, positively, absolutely ready. I know this because 1) I'm Mommy so I know everything and 2) I'm no dope- I can read body language pretty well.
I recently made the mistake of sharing a pear with the baby. One feels rather guilty, after a while, of eating in front of another person who stares, salivates, and makes somewhat uncontrolled motions toward grabbing said food; especially when the person doing the salivating acts as though their life depends on that chocolate chip cookie one is eating, and will suffer a slow and painful death if it is denied them. Of course the cuteness factor just helps to heap the guilt on all the more. The day I finally gave in I wasn't eating a chocolate chip cookie, I was eating a pear. A nice, fresh, healthy, good-for-you pear.
As I moved the pear toward the baby's mouth she stuck her tongue out and licked my pear. She seized the hand holding the pear with determination and force, and tried to shove both the fruit and my entire hand into her mouth. She sucked on the pear. When I removed the pear from her jaws of doom and much mashing, she kicked me. Okay, I exaggerate ever so slightly. But her eyes got really, really wide and she lunged for that pear like a lioness pouncing on a gazelle.
She may try to pull my plate off of the table if she happens to be sitting in my lap whilst I eat, she might mechanically watch as my fork goes from my plate to my mouth and back again, but shenow knows a pear from all of the other foods in the galaxy and if she senses a pear in her general vicinity one had better just LOOK OUT!
So bring on the icky-food-faces, and the orange-and-green-colored stained bibs: this kid is ready for pureed sweet potatoes and squash! At this point I fear my only other choice is to start sacrificing my fingers to the little slave to the pear.
I fear that it may be a long time before my two-and-a-half-year-old daughter becomes a lady. At times she reminds me strongly of my younger sister, Bethany, who could put a grown man to shame with her belching capabilities as a young girl. (Well, let’s be honest, my sister may be approaching her late twenties, but she can still burp with the best of them.) Some part of me, that no longer exists, was a bit disgusted by all that belching and burping.
I distinctly remember a time during my later teenage years, when the whole family was traveling I-don’t-recollect-where together, that I unintentionally let out a rancid belch of my own. My sister was impressed, my Dad was impressed, and quite frankly my entire family was impressed, or at the very least, amused. Perhaps that was when I lost some of my snobbery toward people blessed with the ability to express their backed up gasses in such a vocal and rumbling fashion. I do retain, however, an appreciation for politeness in these situations. A little “excuse me” goes a long way.
Anyway, back to my little girl. Against my wishes Daddy betook to amuse himself with teaching the whole “pull my finger” routine to the kiddos. He's a bit of a gasser, and the children think the whole thing is splendid. Especially my little Princess Meatball, as Daddy calls her. In fact, after many months of indoctrination into the cult of finger yanking, she will now instruct her brother and Daddy to pull her finger. Luck might be a Lady, but my daughter? Well…
The especially charming thing about all of this is that she can burp on command. Two-years-old though she may be, she has already walked away from numerous burping contests the victor, leaving the men of the house in her small, tiny little wake. Suffice it to say that upon pulling her finger she promptly lets out a curt belch.
Yep. That’s my girl. Hopefully, as time goes on she tempers her skill with an aptitude for cooking or sewing or something. At least for now her Daddy and her Auntie B are violently proud of her. I suppose something has to be said for that.