Saturday, June 30, 2007

A dollar.

We talk to the kids every night while they're gone. And we check with my mother in law to find out the real truth, or to make sense of the babble the littlest one gives us (he's one of those people that it's much easier to speak with him when you're in the same room).

They were having a hard time falling asleep the other night. Desperate, my mother in law told them that the first one to fall asleep got a dollar. She heard not one more peep out of them until morning.

My children will do nearly anything for a dollar. I guess that's why they won't ever find my keys for me - I only offer a quarter.

On rain, flooding and no children

One would think that this is a post about this week. Because Lord knows, we've seen more rain this month than we've seen in a long time. And there's still flooding in my master bedroom (Hey, mister roofer, caulk won't fix the problem. Try again!). And, my children are still not here. But no, all this has reminded me of a story when I left my family at home.

When the littlest baby was just five months old, my favorite friend from college and my roommate of three years got married. In Delaware. And I was a bridesmaid.

I left my children in the beyond competent care of my husband and his mother (yet another time she rescued us that first year the baby boy was alive). And I headed out on an airplane, armed with a novel, a breastpump and a bridesmaid's dress the exact same color as my pasty white skin. I thought that maybe I'd died and gone to heaven.

Except that it was raining. And I flew into Baltimore, which is a good two hour drive from where I was headed. And it was raining. And raining. It took me so long to drive there that I had to stop at a rest area and find a plug for my breastpump, because I thought that I would explode, or that it was going to start raining in my bra. Either one. My knuckles were white, and I had a headache -- I hate driving in the rain, and this was really rainy.

Finally, I was nearly there. There wasn't time to stop at the hotel, as I'd intended, to change for the rehersal and rehersal dinner. I just headed straight for the place she was getting married. I wasn't but a mile away, so close and so desperate to get there. I think my brain was fried, because I was no longer capable of making decisions.

I drove my car right into the biggest puddle you've ever seen. Not knowing where the bottom was. But the four-wheel drive car had made it through right before me, why couldn't my super-econo-sized car get through? And I drove on through. And the water came up over the hood of my car. And the engine died. And I thought to myself, "this is how all these idiots end up on the news, being rescued by helicopters, sitting on top of their cars. I am one of those idiots."

The water started coming in the doors of the car, under my feet. I called 911. They promised to get there as soon as they could. I called my family (because how were they going to help?) back in Texas. My husband told me to roll down the windows of the car, just in case I needed to get on top of the car - because there's a great way to freak out an already irrational woman. I called 911 again, they promised to get there as soon as they could. A Hummer drove past me in the other lane. He had the nerve to ask me if I needed help. Um, yeah, if you weren't so worried about scratching your paint, I'd ask you to push me out. But instead, I said, "no, I'm fine"

I remember wanting to be home so badly at that moment. I was done being away from home.

Finally, a VERY wet policewoman came to my door. This is where my memory gets fuzzy. I honestly don't remember how I got out of the water or the car. I know she didn't give me a piggyback ride. I think she and another officer may have actually pushed the car out of the water. But I know somehow the car was moved out of the middle of the flooding road.

I do remember apologizing profusely, because I knew how badly my own husband hated to get that wet in his uniform, and I remember how many times he'd come home to wring out his socks and change his pants.

I remember two other bridesmaids came to pick me up to take me to the location for the rehersal. The rentacar company was going to send a tow truck and a new car, as soon as they could, but it was going to be hours. They promised to call when he was close so I could return to the scene of the misery.

A couple of hours later, in the middle of our rehersal dinner feast, they called. We returned to the scene, and the road that had previously been covered with rushing water was completely dry. How insulting.

And her wedding day was beautiful, even though we all sunk into the saturated ground with our completely impractical, scared to look at my feet during the ceremony because I thought my feet were bleeding shoes. But we were there to make her look good. She really didn't need any help from us, but we did our part.

Friday, June 29, 2007

Miracle.

A complete miracle happened yesterday. I went shopping, under pressure, and actually found TWO dresses that I love AND matching shoes.

You know when you go out shopping for a specific event that's happening, oh, I don't know, THE NEXT DAY that it's a statistical impossibility that you will find anything remotely acceptable. And that's all the time, not just when the current style of clothing reminds you of maternity clothing and how badly you don't want to be asked if you are having a baby when you are most definitely NOT. Because you don't want to get me started on all this ridiculousness that I find in every store.

However, I believe that the new trick will be to bring my lucky charm with me, aka my husband. I tried on two dresses and loved them both. I even had to ask Sarge to go out and find me a smaller size in one of them (if that's not shopping gods smiling on you, I don't know what is). I was trying to decide and the man that I love says "why don't you just get both?"

I'm sorry, is this my life that I'm living? It only got better, however, just when I didn't think it could.

We went to the shoe store and they were having a SALE. So I bought two pairs. That were perfect. This, from a girl who, until very recently, had fewer pairs of shoes than her husband.

Watch out world, here I come with my new haircut, new dress and perfect shoes. Oh, wait. I should probably shave my legs before I go. Looking like chewbacca could ruin the look, I suppose.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Wabbit hunting

My children found just a minute in their busy vacation schedules to talk to their poor, pitiful, lonely mother. And they made me laugh.

The oldest has been given a BBGun. He'd been shooting one a Cub Scout camp all week, and Granny had this one she'd been saving. It was time. He and his Papaw went out together, just the two of them. Papaw put some cans in trees, and my son tried to shoot them. Apparently he got two out of their perch and was able to hit the others. Then, he informed me that he'd tried to shoot a butterfly, and missed.

"Thank goodness! I can't believe you were going to try to shoot a poor innocent butterfly!" Out the window goes my image of supportive mother.

"And, then, Mom, Aunt Mary told me that I could come to her house and shoot rabbits and squirrels!" The excitement in his voice was unmistakable.

"Um, buddy, I think I heard Dad tell you that you can't really kill a bunny with a BBGun. It would only hurt it. And that's no good at all. And, if you did kill it, you also must skin it and eat it."

"But, Mom, I don't know how to cook it."

"Oh, I'm sure Aunt Mary knows how. She could probably teach you how skin it, too." Aunt Mary is one of those strong southern women who could feed their family in drought or famine through sheer will.

"Ummm, I don't think I want to shoot any rabbits."

That's my boy.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Three things that I want my kids to...

Another group writing project! I love these things! It forces me to think creatively and hopefully write more gooder.

Three things that I want my kids to know about their mother:

1. I'm fun. Seriously, I know you think that I'm the lamest person you've ever met. You think that I don't laugh at the naughty stuff you do. You think that I disapprove of jumping on the bed and wiping snot on your sister. You think that I love homework and green beans.

Guess what? It's all a farce. It's what they teach us in mommy school. I really want to eat ice cream and chocolate cake with you for dinner and give you wet willies. I want to jump on the bed with you and I also want to see what happens if you throw a raw egg at the wall. And I giggle at the funny naughty stuff you do.

2. I'm smart. I really can hear you when you call my name a hundred times. I know your favorite cereal and that you will eventually pick it. I even don't need to be told ten times that you want milk on your cereal. I already knew it. You think that I couldn't go through the day without being told that your sister hit you - I've been listening in the whole time and was waiting for you to work it out.

I choose carefully for you, not carelessly and unthinking, as you are under the impression. I know the answer to the math problem, I just want you to do it your own self. I know you and your choices and your personalities. I even know where the freckles are that no one else does.

3. I don't get lonely when I'm in the shower. I know you mean well, and that sometimes I might even be in there for ten whole minutes by myself. I appreciate the sentiment, but honestly, you don't have to sacrifice your playing time to come chatter at me. Or show me your toy. Or tell me that your brother pinched you. I love that I've raised such compassionate children, but I'm telling you the truth when I tell you that I don't mind if you go in the other room to watch the Backyardigans.

There's more fun over at Mamablogga. Go check it out!

the price of beauty

When my children left on Saturday, I did something I'd never done before. I went to my friend's salon, and she cut and colored my hair.

Yes, I'd had my hair cut before, but never colored. Unless you count the time that my roommate in college colored it. And they called me Pippi Longstocking. But I'm pretty sure that doesn't count.

It was such a treat, partly because I just told her kind of what I wanted with my hair, and kind of what I want with my color. And I didn't have to explain to her that I think that combing my hair in the mornings is sometimes too much maintenance for me -- she already knew that. And the best part was that she was able to work with it. And she made me look like a million bucks. Because she just rocks like that.

The problem that all women know is that the stylist can make your hair do things it's never done before and that you CAN'T recreate. Even with all the same tools and product. Maybe because she can see the back of your head without breaking her neck. Or maybe because she was professionally trained.

So this morning, because I have time and no children, I attempted to recreate the head that I had on Saturday. And I started with the hairdryer, which was my first mistake, apparently. It exploded. Fortunately my hair was still very wet, otherwise I think it would have caught fire. Sparks came OUT of my hairdryer. And fire. And, because I'm brilliant, I tried to turn it back on. Not sure what I was thinking, but I'm not sure that I was, since I was just shooting fire at my head and then went back for more. It was dead (in retrospect, I'm really quite glad about that -- what was I going to do if it caught fire again, throw it in the bathtub?).

And my hair is not fabulous today. But the color looks good.

Monday, June 25, 2007

The one where my life changed.

Nearly six years ago, just after the birth of our second child, my oh-so-brilliant husband dropped a bomb. "Baby, I've been thinking about it, and I don't think I want to be sitting behind a desk in ten years. I just can't imagine trying to make VP. I don't want that."

It was our second child. He knew better than to mess with a woman with all those crazy hormones running around in her body. When you have a baby, lots of stuff comes out, but the crazy stays in. Promise.

Anyhow, I responded very rationally for a postpartum woman. "What do you think you want to do?" He said, "I really want to be a cop. I've always wanted it."

This is where the crazy came out. "Go for it," I said.

My husband is NOT a risk taker. He'd gained sympathy weight with me. He needed to be in shape in order to get into any police department. Maybe my plan wasn't so crazy after all. He'd never do it, but I'd still get credit for being the supportive wife, right?

He started shopping around for police departments. I begged him not to work in the really large cities around us, and he agreed. He found two, one of which didn't have a physical exam for the initial testing. Uh oh.

It was time to play my ace. "Baby, you know that if you do this, we'll be REALLY poor and you'll have to keep your truck a lot longer than we'd planned." He'd been driving that truck for six years already, and you could see the saliva at the corners of his mouth every time we passed a truck dealership. Once he realized that, he'd give up this silliness and go back to that job that he hated, right?

"I'd been thinking about that, and it's really okay with me. I want this worse than I want a new truck."

Lightning struck. I knew right then and there that this was going to happen. Both cities he applied to wanted him. The one he preferred was moving more quickly along in the process, and he told the other city what was happening, and they told him they'd halt his application, but to call if something happened with the first city.

He was hired as a recruit just five months after all this started, which is very fast for any police application process, I've discovered. We moved to a teeny tiny house, just half a mile from the police station, so his truck would last longer. And I got a new husband.

He was a changed man. He smiled more. He laughed. He loved waking up every morning to go to work, and he was happy when he got home. He was working harder than he'd ever worked before, and he was happier than he'd ever been before. He followed his calling, and it was the best thing that ever happened to us.

Don't let the door hit you on the way out.

My children are gone. They promised they would miss me, but they really only said that because I looked so pitiful.

Sarge took them halfway to their Granny and Papaw's house on Saturday, and Granny and Papaw met them (in case you were worried he just left them there). He said he barely got a chance to tell them goodbye - as soon as he put their carseats in the car, the kids jumped on up in and started buckling. They were ready to get there!

They've done this before, and they know what's in store, and they can't wait. Papaw has a dump truck deliver a giant load of sand every summer under a tree in their giant yard. That sand pile is the greatest thing that's ever happened to my kids. Ever.

People used to tell me that I'd miss them. And I do, periodically. But I know they are having so much fun, and they are being spoiled ridiculously rotten. So I don't worry about them. And I don't miss middle of the night visitors. Or demands for more milk. Or wiping various body parts.

But I have noticed that the dog seems to have picked up some of the slack for demand-making.

Another underwear story

I swear I'll stop with the cub scout camp soon, there was just so much fun had. But, one last story. Unless I think of another.

Before I left the house, words came out of my mouth in a phrase that I really had no expectation that would come out before I had children.

"Is everyone wearing underwear??"

Because the youngest has a tendency to not put them back on after using the restroom. Everyone assured me that they were wearing underwear. We get our friends, load up in the car and off to camp we went. Upon arriving and getting out of the car, I realize that the youngest indeed was NOT wearing underwear. Grrr. But there's nothing that can be done about it now, I supposed.

I was lamenting (read:whining) to my co-conspirators about my son's lack of underwear. Of course, because they are men, they found it amusing.

Later that night, after sitting under the pavilion for nearly an hour waiting for the lightning to pass, one boy apparently became bored (not one of mine! heavens!) and poured dirt in my boot. Once the storm passed, and we were on our way to our next station, I took off my boot to pour out the dirt.

One of my co-conspirators noticed that there was a giant hole in the heel of my sock. He says, giggling, "I don't know what's worse - you with a hole in your sock or you kid with no underwear!"

I defended myself. "At least he owns underwear."

Friday, June 22, 2007

I out-grossed an eight year old!

So I taught the boys a favorite childhood song of mine. It goes like this:

The worms crawl in, the worms crawl out,
The worms play pinochle on your snout.
They eat your eyes, they eat your nose,
They eat the jelly between your toes.

Your stomach turns a ghastly green,
The pus comes out like thick whipped cream.
You slap it on a piece of bread,
And that's what you eat when you're dead!

I could only remember the first half, but couldn't remember the second half. So I called my mother. Because she was the one who taught it to me in the first place. And she totally came through.

Some of the boys really liked it. One boy was horrified by it. He really doesn't like for us to sing it.

I'm pretty sure the parents will make sure there are plenty of volunteers without me next year.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Jack Bauer was at Twilight Camp this week

We're on our way home from Cub Scout camp (where I discovered that yesterday's arithmetic was wrong - a smashed thumb for mom AND a "pounding" headache belong on the right side), and I have two extra boys in my car.

They're playing some sort of game, where mine is coming up with different levels that the other ones have to conquer. A little like this:

Mine: You've come to the World of Clocks!
Other: I blew up all the clocks
Mine: You've entered the World of Windows!
Other: I blew up all the windows.
Mine: Now you've come to the FBI
Other: I blew up the FBI
Mine: Now you've come to the World of Ferrets
Other: I blew... er... I fed them prairie dogs and they let me past.
Mine: Now you're in jail for bribery
Other: I blew up the jail
Mine: Now you've reached the World of Puppies!
Other: I blew... er... I took all the puppies home with me.

This went on for at least twenty minutes straight. And all I could think was that it was just like Jack Bauer. I mean, the guy will cut off someone's head, but then help an old lady across the street. At one point, mine said to the other, "you've just earned your 'helping old lady moles' patch." This boy has no qualms about blowing up the entire universe at one point, but can't bring himself to leave the puppies, he had to bring them home.

Now, if I'm suddenly on some new FBI watch list for this, just know these are eight year olds, and they have no access to explosives. Just in case.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Simple arithmetic

50 cubscouts + 50 hammers + 300 nails + wood = 50 wooden treasure boxes + 50 proud smiles + 1 giant headache for mom

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

My husband, citizen of the year

Or at least neighbor of the year.

He's so kind and caring, that when our neighbor mistakenly leaves his dogs' excrement in our yard, my husband gives it back to the neighbors. He EVEN goes so far as to have a special tool, once known as a child's rake, specially designed for this purpose.

I mean, because if your dog left such a treasure, wouldn't you want to make sure that you claimed it and didn't just give it away to the lucky soul who just happened to live next to you? It's generous and all, but we really can't accept such a gift. It's just too much.

Monday, June 18, 2007

Obligatory Father's Day Post

Sarge asked me yesterday, in between foot rubs and feeding him grapes, whether I was going to post an obligatory Father's Day post. I told him no, I was too busy taking care of him to have time for that. And my hands were cramped from all the foot rubs.

Honestly, I think he had a good day - the kids each made him something as a gift. The oldest and I went to a craft store and made a snap-together police car model. The youngest and I made him blueberry muffins and the middle one and I made her "special chocolate chip cookies" - the recipe I've always used, but even Sarge says that the cookies have gotten better since she started helping me. It must be the eggshells she adds. And the boogers.

But the best part was that I cleaned up the kitchen and bathed the kids and put them to bed. It's my theory that the best way to spend the day honoring your parenthood is to be given the day off.

It would have been perfect if only the roof hadn't leaked and there wasn't a puddle in the corner of our bedroom. Maybe next year.

Inventions

The oldest wants a "shrink & real ray." Apparently it would shrink him to fit into his toy cars and then make them real so he could actually drive them. Points for imaginations, maybe?

Friday, June 15, 2007

Old.

I'm old. I'm having a hard time facing it, but sometimes it just comes in your mailbox. No, no, not the AARP mailers - those come for my husband. The graduation announcements.

I've received two this year. One from college and one from a high school. What's the big deal, you ask? Oh, yeah, I babysat these boys. Changed their diapers.

I remember the older of the two, you had to lay on the floor of his room until he fell asleep. And every time you'd try to sneak out, just when you thought he was asleep, he'd ask where you were going. Oh, um, nowhere, just shifting. His favorite show was The Price is Right. He always knew when Bob Barker was going to give away a car and he'd dance around the room, shouting "NEW CAR NEW CAR NEW CAR" over and over and over again, until Bob actually would announce it.

The younger one was another one of my favorites. He couldn't have been even eighteen months old when I started taking care of him, and I watched him grow up in front of my eyes. I once took care of him overnight, and remember trying to take a shower while I parked him in front of the TV for a minute - the quickest shower ever, but he still wandered in. It was not the last time I've ever begged a small person for just a minute, ONE minute.

His baby brother was the littlest person I ever cared for, until my own children - he was probably less than a week old. It couldn't have been for more than an hour or two, as he was nursing, and I remember standing outside their house, rocking and bouncing and jostling and singing, while I waited for his parents and he wailed and wailed. It was a tactic that I later put to good use with my daughter.

The problem is that I still see them as little people, and for them to have aged as much as they have, it seems that I should have aged too, but I don't know when that would have happened. Because I'm still 22, right?

oh, the horror.

My youngest son was given a book today. He opened it, full of hope. He has really begun to love books and being read to recently, so a new book is almost as good, to him, as his own little carton of yogurt. Almost.

He opened up the book, ready to discover new things. Then his face fell. "I like books with colors. This one is only black and white." Pout. Close book. Act ungrateful.

Fortunately, once the book was read to him, it was redeemed. But I wonder if he thinks that he got a second-rate book, just because they forgot to color it. Oh, gosh, I hope he doesn't try to ammend their "mistake."

sunflower gardener


I fancy myself a gardener. But I'm not.


My vegetable garden is covered in weeds. So much so that my husband used the weedeater on part of it, not knowing that hiding under my weeds were very precious, very small zucchini and squash plants. I have tomato plants that are volunteers, very small green pepper plants. I do have lots of tomato plants growing out the bottom of my compost pile (along with all the fire ants in Texas), also, and it will be a fun surprise to see what kind I am growing. If I can keep them alive.
And, as you can plainly see, I am an accomplished sunflower grower. That is an eight foot tall fence. It takes talent, I know.

Lost and Found

When we were young, we used to laugh at my mother for putting things in silly places. Like putting the milk in the cupboard or the cereal in the refrigerator. They just happened.

I am the queen of putting things down and forgetting about them. Like the time I lost the phone in the linen closet. Or the other time when I lost it in the garden. I can't tell you how many times I've lost my keys -- because I can't count that high, quite honestly.

Recently, the garage door opener has been lost. I won't say who lost it. But have I mentioned that my mother is visiting? It was lost for close to 48 hours. I wasn't worried. I knew it would be found somewhere. Last night, I was finishing the childrens' baths and went to get a pullup for the youngest out of the random closet behind the bathroom door (most awkward setup ever, by the way), there was the garage door opener, staring at me. I told the children to "quick, go get Grandma. Tell her mommy needs her!" They ran off and told her, she came in a panic to see my giggly face, pointing and laughing. At the garage door opener, I mean.

The part that befuddles me most is not how it got there, but how my husband missed it the night before. He knew we were looking for it, and he was on bath duty, and he had to have gotten out a pullup. His response?

"I just didn't see it - I wasn't expecting to see it in there!"

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Talk-talk

Have you ever talked so much that your throat runs dry? For a period of days? I feel like I haven't stopped talking since yesterday morning. I know, I know, it's not all that hard for me to do, but oh my goodness, I just want to stop talking. Now.

However, I'm off to make more phone calls. Because I really do love to talk. And talk. And talk. Maybe I'll have some water first.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Newlyweds

I was reminded tonight just how long I've been married. A Very Long Time.

We were at a party for a friend this evening and we sat across from some other friends who married just a month or so ago. She mentioned some kind of random food that she really loved. Her new husband responded in such a way that made me thing that he didn't know that before today. They talked about wedding pictures and when they wanted babies. They talked about things that newlyweds talk about.

But, oh my goodness, it's been a really long time since I've done those things, and it's become where I'm so old-frumpy-married-woman that I can barely speak of these things anymore. I don't usually have a hard time participating in most any conversation, but this one was hard for me! It took me some time to be able to remember that stage in my life.

What I came away from the conversation with was that I'm that old married person. The ones who people say when they pass them "oh, them? They've been married forever." And, you know what? I'm okay with that.

Monday, June 11, 2007

Tact (or lack thereof)

Things my children have said that make me think we need to have a conversation about tact in the VERY near future.

The oldest: Hey! Mom! You have hair under your arms!

The middle (trying to swim under Grandma's legs): I can't swim under your legs because they're so big.

The middle (in her defense, this was about two years ago, but in her loudest voice ever): MOMMY! THAT MAN IS REALLY FAT. HE SHOULDN'T EAT SO MUCH.

The middle (when she was about two, to the lady on the plane that we were going to be sitting next to for the next four hours): Did you know my daddy has a really big...

Oh, nevermind. This is a family blog.

But let's suffice to say that my children really need to learn tact. Soon. Because I'm not sure how many more shades of red that my face can handle.

Why I love living in Texas

I went to a meeting yesterday. There were drinks offered in a cooler. I opened the cooler, and inside I found: Water, Diet Dr. Pepper, and Dr. Pepper. All the bases were covered.

Oh my gosh, I love this place!

Sunday, June 10, 2007

company

I have an issue. I'm not sure how to respond when people say, "Oh, your sister came to visit? What did y'all do while she was here?"

Because people expect something exciting. Like we went somewhere. Or did something. I mean, she doesn't come to visit that often, and she's fun, so one would expect that we have a great story to tell.

But we stayed up late and played cards. And we played cards in the afternoons. Yes, we shopped a little and tried on shoes that made us laugh and we ate out once or twice, but really, the highlight of her visit for me was staying up ridiculously late playing cards together.

Am I really that lame? Nevermind. Don't answer that.

freestyle

My children love board games. Well, we all love board games, card games, etc. But my children love some of those games that I just can't bring myself to play. Fortunately, they'll play together.

My oldest loves Life, Risk and Monopoly. They all like Clue and Sorry. But they never play by the rules for long.

They stop their game partway through, usually the one who's losing makes the suggestion that they play "freestyle." That means it's house rules and the girl fills up her Life car with all girl babies and the eight year old takes out his wife. They could play like this for hours and hours.

Last night was Clue. They started off doing it right, putting the cards in the confidential envelope and trying to guess who's in it. The younger two even worked together to try to guess. But then the oldest came close enough to knowing who it was to look in the envelope and the beloved "freestyle" game began.

They bartered over who got what weapon. The girl wanted the lead pipe. She pronounces is so that it rhymes with "greed," however. They youngest wanted all the weapons. The oldest worked out a system.

The girl HAD to be Ms Scarlett, because she's the most beautiful. In fact, she informed the boys that if they were to date, they would have to date her and no other, because she was the most beautiful. Cue the groans from the boys, especially the oldest.

For some reason, the oldest boy was using a falsetto voice for his character - he must have been one of the girls, I guess, who I'm sure he made sure was the murderer.

They got an equal number of rooms and played the characters for over an hour. I was downstairs about to cry, I was laughing so hard. I couldn't stop them from playing though, even though it was long past their bedtime. The entertainment value was just too high.

Saturday, June 9, 2007

the meddler

For my youngest son, it is a physical impossibility to not touch something once he's decided that he wants to touch it. Impulse control issues, I suppose. He can know before he touches something that he shouldn't, that he'll get in trouble for touching it. He can't stop himself. He'll even say as he reaches to touch it that he knows he shouldn't. Yet he does it anyway.

This morning, he was touching everything on the bathroom counter. Everything. Not making a mess, just touching everything. I spelled, "quit m-e-d-d-l-i-n-g-!" And he said, "I'm not meddling!" He knew what I'd spelled, what I was saying by my tone of voice, because as brilliant as he might be, he barely knows the difference between red and green, much less how to spell anything.

Impulse control issues. Just like his mother in the Halloween candy.

Thursday, June 7, 2007

things I'm trying not to wish I never said...

I almost did it again.

I was having a conversation with another mom, and she was lamenting about how tired of cub scouts she is. In her defense, she has three boys, spaced fairly far apart, so she's only halfway through the second kid, and she's been involved for nine years. And her last child hasn't even begun yet.

She said, "I'm trying to figure out a way to get the youngest to not want to do it. I'm just so tired of it."

I wanted to get mad at her. I wanted to tell her how I wasn't allowed to do Brownies, because I was the third child and my mom was tired of it, even before I had a chance to see whether or not I liked it. I wanted to tell her not to do that to her little boy, who idealizes his brothers and who's been waiting for his turn for patches and pins and ceremonies and camping and selling popcorn, just like his brothers.

But I remembered that I'm only on my first kid in scouts. And only a few years into this elementary school thing. And I've not played the PTA games for very long. And I'm not tired yet. But that I'm not on my third kid. And that I should shut my mouth, because I could very well be in her shoes in not too many years.

And I really don't want to be tired for my last kid. I don't want to be tired for my second kid. I want them to each have their own chance to decide for themselves that practicing soccer stinks, and it's lame. I want to drag the oldest one to their games and meetings, just like I did for his meetings and games.

So, I need to stop forming opinions of this other woman's behavior so that I don't get tired and worn out before things have even begun for the littlest one. Because we all know what happens when I judge other mothers.

more five-year-old-isms

Because I'd rather not deal with the sadness around me. It seems the older I get the more sadness that I encounter. I want to be five again.

She was telling Granny all about Vacation Bible School. She told Granny that "Jesus riz from the tube"

And then, as she was cradling some unlikely creature that she was pretending was her pet, "I'm the animal care taker of-er"

And the four year old was so proud of his cleverness. He made a new friend who's name is Graham. And he called him Graham Cracker. Because you know that will be the last time anyone ever thinks of that. And, I'm sure it was the first.

Wednesday, June 6, 2007

glimpses into the five-year-old mind

Her: I can't wait until I have a husband.

Me: Why is that?

Her: Because then I can get some dogs. And a cute cat.

******************************

Her: I'd like a God or Jesus toy to play with.

Me: What do you think that a God doll would look like?

Her: I don't know. I'd like a God Boy Barbie.

Tuesday, June 5, 2007

Rare Opportunity

When I was in high school and college, I was sure that I was going to teach young children. At the time, four year olds were my favorite age, maybe Kindergarten. I got my degree in Early Childhood Education, knowing that I'd never teach any children older than third grade, but even that seemed preposterous to me. Third grade was far older than I'd ever want to teach.

So, here I am, this summer, doing crafts with fourth graders at Vacation Bible School. The funniest part is that I love it. I've been spending weeks, probably closer to months, kicking myself for signing myself up for that age group. What do I know about fourth graders? They'll be horrible and obnoxious and out of control. I was sure I had no business doing it.

I have found the most charming, helpful, loving group of children. They are eager to do the crafts, to learn the bible story, to listen, participate and even, get this, have a conversation with me. And, they even laugh at my jokes! I know!

I'm not sure if I like them so much because they are not of an age of child that resides in my home, or if it's because they're so self-sufficient, but I would even go as far as to say that I'm having fun.

Now, the fifth and sixth graders, however, still frighten me. But I like ten year olds. They're pretty stinkin' cool.

Monday, June 4, 2007

why I don't gamble

Ninety nine times out of a hundred, I can beat Sarge at Cribbage. So I thought I had it in the bag when he offered up this deal: Loser bathes the kids.

I've never had such terrible hands. Ever.

Sunday, June 3, 2007

family traditions

You know how some family traditions are just born, not really meant to be created? Accidental, I suppose, and I remember one vividly from my childhood that I'm quite sure that my father would prefer was long forgotten.

We used to have fairly significant family gatherings of cousins and aunts and uncles about once a year, on Christmas, Thanksgiving or Easter. Each year, usually on the colder holidays, my mom would back up the sink. Usually from garbage disposal overuse. I think the potato peelings were the culprits.

Anyhow, there was my father, every year, in the cold and the dark at the front of the house snaking out the kitchen sink plumbing. There was some sort of release valve at the front of the house, right where the kitchen sink was. He would get his shoes on, find the snake (you would think that eventually he'd just get it out when he got out the Christmas decorations, because it was part of the holiday, but he never did), and go out and fight with the cover for the release thingie.

He mumbled a lot. I never was sure exactly what he was saying, but now that I'm an adult, I have a pretty good idea. I was usually the flashlight holder. After he'd finally get the cover off, it would dump stuff all over his shoes and he'd mumble a little more and try to jump out of the way, but he never did come out all clean.

He always got it cleaned out, eventually. In the dark. In the cold. While mom was serving stuff on the good china. He'd go change his shoes, wash his hands, and enjoy the spoils of all his hard work, on the good china.

Saturday, June 2, 2007

curls

The baby has curly hair. He always has, and I used to let it grow a little long, just so the curls would be curly. It was adorable.

About a year ago, he decided that he wanted me to cut his curls off. I asked him day after day if that's really what he wanted, and he never waivered. He wanted his curls off. So I cut them. I gave him a crewcut, just like his father and his brother. It was what he wanted and I wanted to cry.

Now, don't get me wrong. The child was still adorable. I mean, he can't help it. But it wasn't the same without his sweet curly head.

Mostly out of laziness, I've let his hair grow. He needs a cut, but I really don't want to. Between the extra length and the humidity in the air, his curls are coming back. They are just as adorable as I remember. But we can't make a big deal out of it, because he does NOT like them still. If I fluff up his hair on top, he'll flatten it the best he can. He takes his little hand, starting at the crown of his head and moves his hand toward his forehead, smoothing all of his hair forward. But the curls pop up, so he has mostly flat hair with little flyaway edges.

What he doesn't know yet, however, is that those curls suit his personality perfectly. And what he doesn't appreciate yet is that the girls will go crazy over those curls. Hmm, on second thought, maybe I should cut them off.

Friday, June 1, 2007

pinky promise

The older two children have made a pinky promise that they are going to not argue until July. According to the five year old, you can't unpromise a pinky promise.

I was a witness, and I'm practically giddy waiting for them to start arguing.

140,000

I have high expectations. Only from my vehicle, not from much else. But I'm wondering if my expectations are too high.

I expect my car to last me 10 years. I expect it to go 200,000 miles. I don't expect it to look all that good, but expect it to be reliable. And I'm wondering if my expectations are just too high.

However, now that I have 140,002 miles on my minivan, nearly everything under the hood is new. My children know who "Mr. Jimmy" is and when I call him, they ask "mommy, what does Mr. Jimmy need to fix THIS time?"

My sweet ride has a new transmission, a new air conditioner, a new alternator, and new fuel intake something-or-another, new tie end rods (?) and two new window motors. I know that I've had far more fixed than that - that's just all that I can remember off the top of my head. It needs two more new window motors, and the automatic locks don't work when it's below freezing, but we've made it through two winters like that, and we're set, for now, since we're back to air conditioning weather. Jimmy thinks all that's left that might need fixing is the power steering.

Every time that we take it in to be fixed, Sarge starts shopping. But everytime we get it back, I think -- I've sunk so much money into this thing that surely it will be fixed for a long time now, right? I'm pretty sure that we've put over $8000 in repairs into it since it ran out of warranty about 60,000 miles ago. It's probably closer to $10,000, but I honestly don't want to know that. I'll bury my head in the sand right about now.

I'd like to keep my minivan about 3 more years, but I'm afraid that it won't last that long. I love that stupid van -- it's comforting to me. I don't really love that you have to sit on a towel on the front passenger seat so as not to get the melted crayon on your, ahem, seat. I don't love that you can't open the passenger window. BUT, I love that I don't worry about it - I don't worry about spills or hail or vomit. And, I love that it's mine, and it still feels new to me, even after seven years.

And, I'm not ready to accept the fact that I might want another minivan. Somehow, owning your SECOND minivan is just so, well, I don't know, but I'm just sure I'm too young and cool for a second minivan. Because I'm sure that driving a jalopy minivan with the one functioning window rolled down and the Veggietales music blaring is about as cool as I am.

fond memories

"hey guys, guess what?" says the littlest one to his siblings when they returned home from school one afternoon this past winter, "mommy got shotted in the bootie!"

Cue hysterical laughter from three children and silent yelling from their mother with strep throat.