Friday, February 29, 2008

Flu. Stinks.

And I'm pretty sure we're only at the beginning of it.

But first, can we talk about how Tamiflu can charge me so much money for fewer days of misery? Unfair, this freemarket thing, I tell you right now.

And then, to add insult to injury, it promises fewer days of misery, but BOY HOWDY, we'll make the miserable ones even more miserable-er and make your child vomit. And then vomit again.

But, because I'm a great mother who prides herself on giving the children something to talk to the therapists about, sent the two boy-children to school today. Mostly because they acted so perky, and we just weren't going to do perky around here today. No siree.

So the rest of us lounged and slept - that reminds me, there's another adult here. Who's been sleeping all day - I should go wake him up, just for the fun of it. I keep going in to check and make sure he's not got a fever, and he doesn't - I think it's sympathy sleep at this point, because the girl never sleeps when she's sick, it would lessen her ability to whine. But I'm going to feel terrible when I walk in there to check on him and he's burning up. But if he isn't, he totally gets night duty tonight. Ha HA.

So, yeah. Things here are lovely and fun, and I'm totally regretting bragging about how healthy my children have been. And for the record, it doesn't count when you brag and then say you shouldn't have said that when you're still all proud inside and so sure that it's because you're a great parent that your children aren't sick. Just saying that you didn't really mean it doesn't count - you have to actually feel it, which totally rots. And now I know.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Guilt: Thy Name Is Motherhood

I *almost* kept the middle one home from school today. She said her throat hurt and she wasn't acting herself. She even said she didn't mind giving up a playdate this afternoon if she were to stay home. I told her she could stay home.

Then she told her brother. "I'm not sure why I'm staying home, mommy just told me that I have to." Um, you don't know why you're staying home? Oh, dear.

Sarge convinced me that we shouldn't give in to such wily ways and that she didn't have a fever so she should go to school. So I sent her. I spoke to her teacher saying that we were on the fence this morning, so please watch out for my girl.

Sure enough, about 1:30, the school nurse called. Please come get your child before she further infects our school.

Oh, the guilt.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Uphill, both ways.

Technically, if you venture down into the drainage ditch on the way to school, there could be the argument that it's uphill both ways to school.

We live less than 1/4 of a mile from my childrens' elementary school. If I were to drive, it would actually be longer than that, and the time spent in the drop off car line would be longer than the time spent driving. And on especially cold days, the car would not have even warmed up by the time I returned home. Never mind that the sliding doors on the mini don't work in the cold (Everybody, pile in through the back hatch!).

These arguments are lost on my young children. Unless it is pouring rain, we walk. We walk home, too. People even comment to me that we always walk, no matter what, and it makes them feel guilty driving when they might live a speck closer to the school than I do. Well?

I recently read an article on Reader's Digest explaining that the first few minutes of driving are the hardest on your car. So what if that's all I drive every day? Twice? I would be using up more of my car than if I were driving ten miles each way? Yikes!

And what about the time spent in the car, versus the time spent walking. I would be spending fifteen minutes in my car with it running, rather than getting 15 minutes of exercise? Each way? And the exercise and sunshine (sometimes!) for my children?

So there are my arguments. My children won't listen to them. They're too busy whining about having to walk. Sorry, kids, I am single-handedly trying to combat global warming AND childhood (and adulthood!) obesity all by making my children walk six miles to school, in the snow, uphill both ways. Because you know that's what they'll tell their therapist.

Monday, February 25, 2008

Dreams, again

This time, I didn't dream about my brother-in-law, or laundry for that matter.

I dreamt that my tooth fell out. One in the front on the bottom. It had been loose, then it fell out. We were all very excited.

You see, my daughter's trauma over her teeth not falling out continues. In fact, it wasn't so bad until a week ago, the only other girl in her first grade class who hadn't lost a tooth -- well, she lost one. And now my daughter remains.

It does no good to tell her that when she's old, she'll be grateful that her adult teeth have had that much less time to rot in her mouth. That she hasn't used them enough. She asks me to wiggle it for her. She wiggles and wiggles.

She's desperate to lose it, though she's terrified about losing it. She asks if we can go to Papa's house when it's ready to come out, because of the stories I've told her about him pulling my teeth out so gently when we were young. It's hard to explain that he's a plane-ride away, and that I learned all his tricks, and her older brother can tell her that I'm gentle, too.

She will be so glad when it's over. Until then, each day I hear stories about friends and their loose teeth, and their eight big teeth, and their eight cavities.

And I dream that I'm losing my tooth, just to show her that it won't hurt and it won't be so bad.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Wal-mart list: toilet paper.

I should go to WalMart in the middle of the night every night. The entertainment value is worth every ounce of lost sleep.

First, it wasn't quite the middle of the night. It was clearly before curfew. But there were more little children there than I would have expected. Oddly enough, they were better behaved than the children who go there in the middle of the day. Go figure.

But the best part were the teenagers. Here I was buying milk and bananas and Raisin Bran. A cart full with lame mom items. The girl in front of me was buying the jumbo size cheap-o toilet paper. Stomach issues maybe? But then behind me were her friends. Also buying jumbo size cheap-o toilet paper. Hmm. Maybe something's going around. Yeah, that's it.

They were so inconspicuous with the large toilet paper. And their high school plastered on their sweatshirts. The checker was so funny - she commented to the girls, "just make sure his mom and dad aren't sitting on the front porch!" So I laughed to myself and went to go fill up the back of my minivan with my pull-ups and spinach and there they were, leaving in their inconspicuous "I got this for my 16th birthday" car with the inconspicuous school spirit sticker on the back. I ended up behind them. We went the same direction. We took the same turn. Then we took the same next turn. And the next. And the next. They headed to a house that wasn't two blocks from me, I'm sure - we were pretty deep into the neighborhood.

I think I'll drive by tomorrow to see their handiwork. It's too bad all the houses in our neighborhood all have two teeny-tiny trees in the front yard. There's going to be a lot of leftover toilet paper.

The only bad part about going to WalMart in the middle of the night is that you get home and you still have to put all those groceries away. And then write about it. And I need to go get a bow to put on the new socks I bought my husband. Because I'm a great wife like that.

Friday, February 22, 2008

In The Line Of Duty

I was wondering as I watched the news today why it was news when a police officers dies while doing his job. Why does it seem sadder to me than another death while working? Aside from the obvious.

And I realized that when an officer dies while he is working it is because he is working for us. Or Hillary. Or whomever. But he is working to take care of other people. Not to serve a corporation, not because he's on his way to Target to buy groceries, but he is usually where he is because he is making sure that we are safe and that we are protected. And if not us, then someone like us.

I get asked all the time if I worry for my husband's safety while he's at work. And I really don't, not anymore than I would if he were commuting a long distance, or driving all day at work. Because here's the deal: he's prepared. He's on guard and ready. But he and I both have made peace with his job and his obligations. And he's made his peace with God. And we know that no matter what, God is taking care of us. Whether it's him on the road, taking care of bad guys or it's me if something were ever to happen to him.

When he's called to do his job, it's because someone like us needs help. Or protection. Or a ticket(!) And he does it willingly. Without judgment. And because he wants to. This is a job that you are called to, not one that you do just to pay the bills.

But that's why I think it's sadder when a public servant loses his life while doing his job. Because they are doing it for us. All of us, any of us.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

I beat the bunny!

So THERE, bunny rabbit. And it's delicious, too. I'm totally planting more next year.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Hello, I have a scanner. Would you like to see my pig?

So in 1995 and 1996, we took photgraphs in a random corner of our apartment with a 2 foot tall ceramic pig from Service Merchandise. Now there is proof. But I'm trying to recall how the conversation must have gone "Hey, take my picture with the pig! It will make me look good!" "And lets use the timer on the camera so that piggy can be in our picture, too! Won't that be great?" Thankfully my husband's mother taught him well how to stand there patiently and smile before I even got to him.
In the last 12 years, I can't count the number of times my husband has begged me to throw it away. I know that each time we move, he looks at me with that look, like, "seriously? we're paying someone to move that thing?" And I say, "oh, no, we're not paying someone, I'm moving it myself. It's too precious to let anyone else move that thing."

So the littlest one somehow figured out how much I loved that stupid pig. After he learned to walk and he got old enough to get in trouble he would stomp over to a random corner of our house and use all his body weight to knock piggy down because he was furious with me. This is how he lost his ears. I think the dog has been licking the lead paint off his body over the last ten years, losing precious brain cells each time. His chalkboard met it's match with the first toddler. The loving, cute messages were long gone before that (Hi sarge! Still love you, I just don't write it in chalk anymore!)

I haven't thought to take pictures with piggy for quite some time. Maybe, though, just maybe, I've figured out what our next family Christmas picture might be. I'll be sure to dress him in his scarf and hat.

Hi! Welcome to 1985!

I own a fax machine. Never before have I owned such a thing, and to be honest, it's kind of exciting. I mean, I can now think of all kinds of things I need to fax.

My printer landing on the ground one too many times recently, so I found the need to get a new one. And it's not very fun to just get a boring old printer, so I got one where I could scan old pictures (watch out!), copy my face (can't wait!) and fax girl scout cookie orders to Timbucktoo.

I'm not sure how much time I'm going to have in the near future. I see very important faxing and copying to do. And scanning. If only I can keep the meddler from faxing all my tax documents to Nicaragua.

Monday, February 18, 2008

The price of pride, six year old style.

So the middle one refused to wear her jacket. She was annoyed that I assumed that she might get cold. Because it was like 40 degrees outside. And then I had the GALL to bring it along. She was mad.

So I told her I was holding it hostage, that she couldn't have it. It would cost her $1 to get it from me. She said she didn't need it. She wasn't cold.

We reached our destination, which was still fairly cool, though not 40 degrees. I told her I was lowering the price to an "I love you, Mommy," and a "You were right." She shivered, hugged herself and told me she wasn't cold.

At one point, she leaned over to me and said, "I love you Mommy." I told her I loved her too, and then looked at her, waiting for the next piece. She said, "You were NOT right." And then fell on the floor laughing. So did her brother.

As we went back outside, she said, without thinking, "BRRRR." I turned, held out the jacket and teased her. She laughed at me.

This was two days ago. She still refuses, even though I've told her that I'm not holding it hostage anymore. She thinks it's hysterical that she's out-stubborned me.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Watching Television Can Be Hazardous. To MY Health.

Have you ever found yourself watching the news with small children and suddenly thinking that you shouldn't be doing that? Or Inside Edition comes on? Or a commercial during an otherwise appropriate television show?

The news is on, and suddenly talk turns to a pedophile. Or a dead police officer. Inside Edition is talking about Gary Coleman's sexless marriage. A commercial for Erectile Disfunction. Or, heaven forbid, your OWN MOTHER sends you and innocent seeming YouTube video which has inappropriate-for-children (but really funny, by the way) content?

My first reaction was to suddenly, quickly, without words, change the channel. But then I wonder if by reacting in such a way draws more attention to it, making it that much more interesting. But usually when something like that starts, you know it's only going to get worse. And worse. And talk always turns to Britney's lack of undergarments.

So instead, around my children with the BIG ears, I start to talk. "So, how was your peanut butter and jelly sandwich today? How many Webkinz do you have again? Gosh, I think it might be time for a haircut." I mean, I start to talk. I don't care about what, I'm just trying to be louder than the TV.

Does it work? I don't know. Maybe my bright red blushing and stammering gives me away and freaks my children out enough that they don't ask any questions. As long as it keeps me from explaining about KY warming cream, I'm good.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Birthday reflections.

This morning, when I brought birthday treats to my oldest son's classroom, his teacher asked me if it felt like yesterday. And I said, yes, it feels like yesterday, but at the same time it feels like a million years ago.

As the day progressed, I thought about it more and more. And it doesn't feel like yesterday at all. I can't imagine the world without my children. I can't remember what it was like to see the world as I saw it before my childrens' personalities have colored it for me.

Each thing that I see, each thing that I do, I think about my children and how they see things. I can't see something sparkly without thinking how much the middle one would like it. I can't see a Volkswagon beetle without thinking that I should feel a thump on the back of my seat and a "SWUG BUG" yelled at me. I can't think of an animal without wondering how much more my oldest knows about it than I do. Or a historic fact. Or a scientific fact. You get the idea.

I looked at nine-year old pictures of an infant that I didn't yet *know* and I can't remember. I can't remember not knowing the three of them and knowing how they've colored my life with brighter colors that I ever knew existed.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

I don't have a thumb-sucker anymore!

And it was far less painful than I thought it would be. But I've been scared to type it out in black and white for fear that it wouldn't remain true.

But it's been a month. Woop has been lost. Honest-to-goodness-lost, not lost-like-the-middle-one's-paci (but don't tell her that, thanks.). And he's been fine without it. And fortunately, they go hand in hand, and without the woop, he doesn't suck his thumb. I keep thinking that I need to find it for real, so that I can make sure he can't find it, but it's really, really lost.

I've known since he was very small that if I could keep the two things linked that removing the thumb would be less of a problem. And fortunately, they stayed linked, and there were no bitter apple sprays, no nail polish, no contract with his mother to not eat chocolate for a month (I don't know how my mother did that one without cheating!). It just faded away.

He's not even really tried to find his woop. He says it's in his sister's room, but he doesn't seem to care. I mentioned it one night, about two weeks ago, that I was proud of him for sleeping without it. I said I thought he might not need it anymore. He looked surprised and told me that he did. I shut my mouth and haven't said another word about it.

Now if only I could get him to stop with the pull-ups at night as easily. Because that's going to be a disaster.

Monday, February 11, 2008

talent, as defined by a five year old.

I whistled a little tune this morning while putting on the littlest one's shoes. I whistle badly.

The oldest child can whistle also. The middle child can snap. Neither one can do both.

But the little one says, "WAIT. You can whistle AND snap?" As if he'd just discovered one of the Seven Wonders of His Mother.

It was very flattering. So I whistled and snapped for my now rapt audience.

The angels sang, the heavens opened...

And all the socks had matches at the end of all laundry folding for the day.

Thursday, February 7, 2008

How embarassing

Today was the 100th day of school. The children had a "100" project to do, where they had to put 100 somethings into a bottle, the wrap it up and give clues to the other children to try to guess what was in the bottle.

So the middle kid comes up with the brilliant idea of putting 100 Barbie shoes into her bottle. "Oh, that's a great idea. I'm sure you don't have a hundred, though. We'll count."

So we counted. And counted. And counted. Um. Yeah. We stopped at 125. But there were still more. HOW did she end up with so many Barbie shoes?

My daughter has a tree.

The weirdest statement I've ever typed. Swear.

We play almost every day on "the hill" outside of school for at least thirty minutes, sometimes an hour. "The Hill" is really a giant drainage ditch with two very scary drainpipes that look like they might swallow a small child, but regardless, we play with a group of "hill friends" that we've amassed since the beginning of the year. Some come and go, and then there are a group of us regulars. I digress.

My daughter has a tree. In this drainage ditch, in a pathetic attempt at "beautification," the school district has planted a number of scraggly trees. Well, maybe in the spring they won't look so bad, but right now they look like a bunch of tumbleweeds on sticks. So my daughter has adopted one of these trees. She used to do tree school for the other children, but when she got too bossy and her older brother outed her as having some false information, she was discredited and tree school was disbanded.

Now, she and one friend have adopted this tree. She collects shiny things to hang on it. She keeps it warm by hanging her jacket and other trash on the branches. She defends it against attackers (read her brother and any other used-to-be-friends-until-she-got-all-weird-about-this-tree) and brushes it with a toothbrush that a dentist who visited the school gave her. When it's time to leave, she gathers up all her things off the tree and puts them in her backpack for the next day. Her backpack is getting heavy with things for "Tree." Oh, and she named it. Tree. I know, the creativity just astounds me, too.

So now that she has hugged her first tree, I wonder what's next. Birkenstocks? Or just a professional Christmas Tree Decorator. Stay Tuned. Because I am.

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

New toothbrushes!

I found the greatest torture device, er, I mean, toothbrush ever! You press the little tail and it blinks for a minute so that your kids know how long to brush for.

At first, it was amusement for the kids. They turned off the lights and brushed their teeth. They lit up the inside of their mouths. They thought it was super-fun.
Then they discovered that a minute was a really long time. "Mom, did you know that if you brush your teeth for a WHOLE MINUTE that you start to drool? And the toothpaste gets really foamy?" Their siblings thought that was super-fun.
Then they started to brush their teeth without turning on the light-up end. Because it was a really long time and they drooled, you know. But now, after my motherly, "Did you use soap?" comes, "did you light up your toothbrush?" And then there are groans and stomping back to the bathroom. Mommy thinks that's super-fun.
Anyhow, no one paid me the big bucks to talk about this toothbrush I found (And you know I only bought it because it was cheap - now I'm hooked, darnit.) I just thought I'd pass on my great new find. And apparently they make them for grownups, too. So thank you, Dr. Fresh. You next on my list of thank you notes to write.

Monday, February 4, 2008

who, me? too organized? couldn't be.

I know, me? Too organized? You say impossible - and I say, it will never happen again.

So a month or so ago, I cleared out some old clothes out of the kids' closets and drawers to give away. The middle kid got some new socks (finally - it was getting bad) so I cleared out all the old ones in varying shades of beige. And all her tights that fit her when she was two. And all of her swim suits from this past summer. Because by the time she would need them again, she'd have outgrown them. Right?

Yeah, except I wasn't planning on a girl scout swim party. In February.

About five minutes before we needed to leave, I hollered upstairs for her to get her swimsuit on, that it was time to go. She claimed she couldn't find any swimsuits. I told her that was ridiculous, they were in her top drawer. She insisted. I came up to look, then remembered how organized I was. So organized that all the clothes that I had bagged up to give away were already given away. As in gone. Not in the garage anymore. As in we have no girl swimsuits here.

"Put your clothes back on! Let's hurry and hope Target has swimsuits in February!" And on our way, I started making phone calls to the other girls who were going to see if they had extras, just in case. No one was home. This was going to be bad.

But, retailers to my rescue, as soon as they clear out the Christmas decorations, they start putting out the summer stuff, and there was a rack of swimsuits. And, as luck would have it, there were even a few that were mostly modest enough for me to purchase without throwing up a little in my mouth. Because she's only six, and yuck.

And, at the party, there were no less that five other girls wearing the very same swimsuit.

Sunday, February 3, 2008

Asthma & Vomit

How on earth is it that they can manage to hit every surface available with vomit? And how is it that it is in a mother's nature to determine the approximate age of the stomach contents when it hits all seven layers of her bedding?

I just despise asthma, and I'm getting tired of it. Because if it were just wheezing, it would be one thing. But it's causing me extra laundry. And because my baby can't even play a video game without getting winded. And because he wants nothing more than to play sports, and I'm just not sure he can.

Making his Papa proud

Along with the Wii came a Super Mario game. You remember the ones from our childhood? Yeah, but different, really different.

So as my husband and I are fumbling our way through the galaxies, using up more lives than 12 cats, our oldest son starts giving us advice. Good advice. Really good advice.

"How did you know that?" we'd ask, incredulous that our nearly-nine year old is giving us video game tips.

"Oh, I read it in the manual. Didn't you read it? I did. The whole thing. Twice."

You see, my father is a purist. When we had a technology question, he would refuse to answer our questions, except with the question, "Have you read the manual yet?" Every. Time.

As a teenager, you can see how this was frustrating. We knew he knew the answer, he just would refuse to give it to us. And back then, those giant computers came with giant books. That were insanely boring.

And now, here I am, entering a new chapter of mediocrity in my life, allowing someone else to read the manuals for me. Except this time, I can demand the reading party to give me the answers.