Do you want to get the camera, or should I?

Our family room is an addition to the back of our house and is semi-closed off from the other first floor rooms . It’s nice to have an out-of-sight space to keep toys, our comfy -but ugly- recliner, our elliptical machine that we never use, and all the baby gear we use fequently. The down side is that when I sit in the comfy-but ugly-recliner to feed the baby, I can’t see what kind of trouble my 3 year old is getting himself into. I have mentioned before about how Sam’s passive aggressive behavior while I nurse his brother simultaneously amuses and aggravates me…

Thought I would share the recent additions…

A couple weeks ago, I was no more than 5 minutes into nursing the baby before my husband got home from work, walked into our back family room and asked, “Do you want to get the camera, or should I?”

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That’s rock salt.

…yyyyeah, what can I say? 

A huge pile of rock salt in our front entry.

 

 

 

 

***

Then, just a few days ago, Sam walked into the family room with a box of cereal. I was feeding the baby, and Sam was content to eat Fruit Loops straight from the box and watch cartoons. Who am I to mess with that set up?

Eventually, he got bored and toted his Fruit Loops out of the room. At first I thought maybe he was putting the cereal away. Hey, a girl can dream can’t she?  It was more likely that he was going to throw cereal at the dog.

I called after him, “That’s your cereal, don’t feed it to the dog!”

He bounced back in the room a couple minutes later. No cereal.

ME:  What did you do with your Fruit Loops?

SAM:  Oh, it’s over the floor.

The baby and I went in to inspect the mess….

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While Sam was in his time out chair, baby discovered he’s now ready for “real” solid foods …like Fruit Loops.  Much more substance than mashed bananas.

 ***

So that brings us to yesterday. This time I was sitting in the comfy -but ugly- recliner, but I wasn’t feeding the baby. I was chillaxin’ with my laptop, reading and commenting on blogs. The baby was crawling around on the floor and Sam was enjoying his favorite snack…”peanut butter poons.” He likes to get a spoon and eat the peanut butter right out of the jar. Ahh, a boy after my own heart.

Anyway, the comfy -but ugly- recliner is positioned at one end of our coffee table, and there’s some open floor space in front of the TV on the other end. Sam took his PB and sat in front of the table (out of my immediate view) and watched TV while he ate.

ME: “Don’t give your brother any peanut butter.”

*5 minutes later*

ME: “Don’t give any to your brother.”

*5 minutes later*

ME: “Sam, did you give the baby peanut butter?

SAM: “yeah”

…gotta give the kid props for honesty.

Here’s what left me speechless when I stood up and walked around to the other side of the coffee table:

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FYI…the baby is not allergic to peanuts.

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April 9, 2009 at 3:13 am 13 comments

Battle of Wits with LIFE

To do list:
1. Laundry…we’re TOTALLY out of clean clothes.
2. Go to the store (to get laundry detergent).
3. Clean the house

***

LIFE: Alright. Which are you going to choose to do first? The battle of wits has begun. It ends when you decide and follow through, and we find out who was right. And who is screwed.

ME: But it’s so simple. All I have to do is divine from what I know of you. Is today the sort of day that the kids will leave me alone long enough to straighten up the house before I start anything else, or not? Now, a clever woman knows that only a great fool would trust in her children‘s good behavior on ANY given day. I am not a great fool, so I can clearly not choose to clean the house first. But you must have known I was not a great fool, you would have counted on it, so I clearly should try to straighten up, just a little, so I can attempt to not feel even more overwhelmed than I already do.

LIFE: You’ve made your decision then?

ME: Not remotely. Because there is not enough time in the day to do everything, as everyone knows, and I also have to care for the children, and children are not compatible with a timed schedule, and time is defined by you. So I clearly cannot choose to clean the house at all today.

LIFE: Truly, you have a dizzying intellect.

ME: Wait till I get started!! Where was I?

LIFE: Time.

ME: Yes. ..Time. And you would have suspected that I would have known I couldn’t fit everything into one day, so I clearly cannot choose to leave anything out. I have to do laundry, go to the store, clean the house, and care for the children.

LIFE: You’re just stalling now.

ME: You’d like to think that, wouldn’t you? You’ve made sure we’re totally out of clean clothes, which means I have to do laundry before I do anything else. But you’ve also depleted my laundry detergent supply, which means I have to go to the store in dirty clothes to buy the detergent to do the laundry. Yet you know that everything we own either has food stains or smells, so I clearly cannot choose to go to the store.

LIFE: You’re trying to trick me into giving away something. It won’t work.

ME: It has worked! You’ve given everything away! I know what to do first!

LIFE: Then make your choice.

ME: I will, and I choose… What in the world can that be?

LIFE: What? Where? I don’t see anything.

ME: Well, I, I could have sworn I saw something. No matter.

LIFE: What’s so funny?

ME: I’ll tell you in a minute. First, I‘ll choose. I choose to do a small load of laundry as the first thing I do today…just a little one piece outfit for the baby and a pair of jeans for me and Sam.

LIFE: You chose wrong, there is not even enough detergent left for that.

ME: You only think I chose wrong! That’s what’s so funny! I diluted the old detergent when your back was turned! Ha ha! You fool! You fell victim to one of the classic blunders! The most famous is never use the Chinese Birth Chart to plan the conception of your child, but only slightly less well-known is this: never go in against a Mama when time is on the line! Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha! Ha ha ha ha ha! Ha ha ha ha ha ha—

BABY: *has a poop that explodes out of his diaper and onto his only clean outfit*

LIFE: There was no choice that would not have resulted in the mom getting screwed. I’ve spent years influencing the inopportune timing of explosive baby poop.

***

** In case you are not familiar with the Princess Bride scene in which this post was sampled…

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April 7, 2009 at 5:20 pm 4 comments

I Never Thought I Would Say…(cont.)

The list of things that I hear myself saying (that I never thought I would) now that Sam is age 3 just grew:

” Aaaah!! Stop that!! Stop. Stop PEEING on your brother! Go. to. the. POTTY.”

I should add that this is only two days after I saw something (that I never thought I would see) now that Sam is age 3:

Picture, if you will, a 9 month old in a standing position, holding onto a toilet. He’s standing next to his big brother who is “cleaning” the toilet with the toilet bowl brush… in his birthday suit…humming “The Can-Can.” He lifts the toilet bowl brush out and gives his poor little innocent baby brother a toilet water shower.

I have to have a talk with Sam and let him know that not only is it NOT his job to baptize his brother, but also, we are not Episcopalian. (E-piss-copalian, get it? …buh-buh-buh- Ching)

April 6, 2009 at 5:19 pm 6 comments

Some Guys Have All The Luck

I sat in church one Sunday morning, quietly daydreaming and half listening to a member go on about a recent mission trip to …somewhere.

A sudden vibration against my hip startled me back into reality and prompted me upstairs to the nursery. The church assigns pagers to parents just in case a child is behaving like a obnoxious little jerk misbehaving, or in case the child is an emotional attention hog crying inconsolably.

Our little guy had been in the nursery every week for two months with no separation anxiety, no problems, and we always got reports back from the volunteers about how pleasant he was. What could be wrong? He was fine when we left him.

When we dropped him off, he planted a big, wet, open mouth, suction baby slobber “kiss” on my cheek (so gross, but so sweet), I handed him over to the nursery helper, wiped my cheek off, and peaked back a few seconds later to see if he might cry.

Nothing.

He was very happy leave us and play with his little baby friends. Doesn’t he worry he might miss us or fear we might not return? It was hard not to take his joy a little personally.

But, something happened in a short 30 minute span to reverse his joy, and we were paged. When I got to the room lined with exersaucers, cribs, and highchairs, I saw that none of those items were being used. Instead, one volunteer held my sobbing 9 month old son while 4 little girl babies lay in the middle of the floor, wailing.

Apparently, our little Casanova crawled around to all the little girls and “kissed” their heads. None of the girls responded well to my son baptizing them in massive amounts of drool while sucking on their little heads. All four became emotionally traumatized by our son’s advances.

So, he experienced his first rejection and became inconsolable. We called him Georgie Porgy for the rest of the day, since he kissed the girls and made them cry.

***

That happened to my first son three years ago.

Now my second little heart breaker’s suction kisses have emerged. He gives me slobber love all day, and like his brother’s sloppy smooches, they gross me out as much as they warm my heart.

This week I watched my little guy’s trademark grin punctuate his face as he spotted a cute little girl crawling around on the floor in the nursery. I put him down and he quickly crawled toward her. Then, like his brother, he laid a big, sloppy wet one on her. She tilted her head and looked in his direction. She didn’t cry or seem displeased. On the contrary, she reached out and grabbed at him, much to his delight. No trauma, no rejection. Just pleased affection.

…Some guys have all the luck.

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April 3, 2009 at 2:07 am 8 comments

What Not to Wear

Sometimes I buy clothes in the little Girls department and cut the tags out so no one will know.

Am I secretly afraid that I’m going to show up somewhere wearing the same thing as someone’s eight year old daughter? Yes. Of course I am.

But before you go judging me, let me just say that I’m short, I have a short torso, narrow shoulders, and most women’s clothes just don’t fit. I usually shop in the Juniors department since it‘s less embarrassing. But, Girls clothes are cheaper than Women‘s or Juniors, and thanks to the childhood obesity epidemic, I’ve found that a size large in Girls is usually bigger than a size small in Juniors. So, sometimes I buy my clothes from Limited Too or Toys R Us. Suck it. You would do it too if you were me. (or maybe you already do…)

I’ve been looking for a new dress for Easter with no luck. So, the other day, I left Sam home with daddy and went to yet another store to see if I could find anything. The baby came along with me.

I’m beginning to think that little girls are the only demographic that the stores cater to at Easter. The women’s/juniors department only had 3 dresses. One was a polyester floral grandma uniform. And the other two were a tragic, identical pair of man-made-fiber wrap dresses– one in black and the other in red. They were hideous and not very Easter-y.

So, I checked out the girls dept. and there were dresses galore. Some too juvenile and frilly, and some too short and geared for prosti-tots. Not much there that I could see myself in. Then I found a dress that I didn’t particularly love, but I also didn’t hate it and it looked like something an adult would wear. It had a fitted halter bodice, a full, A-symmetric skirt, and was a dark dusty pink in a nice, heavy cotton. (Maybe you’ve seen it. Perhaps your daughter is wearing it right now.)

I decided to try it on. I wheeled my sleeping baby into the fitting room with me, and squeezed the fitted bodice over my slightly enlarged nursing-mama breasts.

BLECH! I held my arm against my forehead to shield the glare coming from my pasty white legs. My breasts became one in the tight bodice…a smothered uni-boob compressed in a pretty pink wrapper. The hem hit just below my knee in the front and back, and tapered mid-calf on the sides, making my colorless calves look swollen and ugly. As if that weren’t bad enough, I learned that a full skirt does not hide widened hips and a little extra junk in the trunk like I thought it would …it accentuates it.

Why didn’t I just order something online? I love online shopping. It’s quick and easy, and you don’t have to wear pants if you don‘t want to. I’ve taken hours and hours to look in several stores, just to find there’s nothing out there. I could’ve done that at home on my computer in 45 minutes.

I untied the halter straps behind my neck and began to pull the top down. Hmm, too tight…won’t come down. I tugged and pulled. Trying to lift it up or pull it down. It wouldn’t budge.

Crap, it’s stuck.

I try again and again to peel the top half of the dress from my womanly figure.

CRAP. Crap, crap crap. It’s really stuck. Apparently, little girls’ dresses weren’t made for nursing mothers, who knew? I never tried on Girls sizes with my current breast volume.

Maybe I should have thought this out a little more.

  • The baby starts to cry *

Ohhh, crrraappp. Please don’t let his crying cause my milk to come down and my breasts to swell even more.

That’s it. They’ll have to cut me out of this thing. I’m going to have to call the store clerk in here to cut it off of me. There’s no other way it’s coming off.

I divided my attention between consoling the baby and trying to get myself out of this pink nightmare of a dress. And after some circus-worthy contortion on my part, I finally got it off.

So, I went home defeated and looked online. I found a dress that I LOVE and that is unmistakably adult. I’ll leave the tag attached and I won’t have to worry that anyone’s daughter will be hunting Easter eggs in this little number.

…I just hope it fits.

March 31, 2009 at 8:00 pm 8 comments

Could Be Worse

As the day started out, I made the grocery list, got the boys dressed, and slapped on a bit of makeup (lest I be asked at the grocery store checkout again if it’s a WIC order.)

Could be worse.

I had my 8 feet of overpriced stretchy cotton…aka my Moby wrap…bandaged around me, ready to wear my living accessory while shopping. I packed snacks and cell phone, coupons and diapers and we were close to making our way out when baby had the audacity to touch Sam’s fire truck. Long story short, Sam ended up in a time out…that he seemed to enjoy… for his unwillingness to share. I spot baby on the floor eating my grocery list.

Could be worse.

Max had an unexpected poop, Sam needed to use the potty before we left, and I was getting hungry. Wow, almost lunchtime already? Baby was tired, hungry and fussy. So, off with the Moby, up with my shirt, and introduce hope that a quick snack would suffice…and perhaps lull baby into a milk coma that would last until we got home. No such luck.

But, could be worse.

Get coats and shoes on ….Sam rambles, “Can doggie come with us? No. okay. Just baby then.”… Sam hops in his seat …I click baby’s carrier in the base ….Crap, I forgot to rewrite the list (or bring the chewed pieces of the old one) ….Turn the key in the ignition, and just before driving off I hear, “Mommy, can you buckle me in?”

Could I be a worse mom?

We got to the store and I asked Sam if he would rather ride in a car-shaped cart or go to the Eagle’s Nest (childcare room). I hoped he’d choose Eagle’s Nest, so he chose car cart. After testing three carts, he decides on one and we’re ready for some shopping. Max was drowsy, so I left him in his carrier and hoped he would nap while I shopped. No such luck.

But could be worse, I know.

Max was fine as long as I kept moving, but would cry at every stop. Sam was whiney. I was hot, hungry, and annoyed. My bag kept falling off my shoulder and their was no room in the stupid undersized car cart for the bag, baby and groceries.

Could be worse though.

Sam’s whining prompted me to offer him his snack.
“Here Sam, do you want some Goldfish?” …I handed him the bag ‘o fish and reached in the bag for hand-sanitizing wipes. “Here. Wipe your hands firsss….Nevermind.”

Could be….you know.

So, we finally get to the check out line and Sam spots the “Cars” movie playing in the Eagle’s Nest.

Not much could be worse.

He eventually agreed to go home after a popsicle bribe, and Max finally fell asleep (now that it’s time to go).

Things could always be worse.

We pull up in front of the house and Sam has a breakdown because we’re home. “I want to go back to the grocery store and watch Cars. I don’t want to be home!”

Oh, well.

I leave both kids strapped in while I bring the groceries in. After he’s released, Sam gets out of the car to greet the dog who is sniffing out another good place to pee. Before I had a chance to carry the baby up the steps, Sam took off down the neighbor’s driveway and into their yard. I set the baby down on the sidewalk and chased after him ..when merely shouting for him to come back didn’t yield desired results.

Could be worse…

After I chased him far enough into the neighboring yard that the baby was out of my sight, I went back to pick up the carrier. I got half way toward baby in front of the house when I saw Sam run toward the road in the back of the house. He turned the corner and ran to the end of the block. I had to abandon the baby in his carrier in front of the house…on the sidewalk. I ran as fast as I could, screaming Sam’s name at the full capacity of my lungs. My bellowing caught the attention of the driver of an oncoming car, who stopped in case the boy stepped off the curb. Sam froze at the sight of the car and I was able to get him.

Could definately be worse.

I grabbed his hand and we ran together back to the baby who was thankfully safe and sound on the sidewalk in front of the house.

It could definitely be worse.

“I’m sorry I runned away mommy. I’m sorry I runned away.”

ME: **silent**

“Mommy, I’m sorry I runned away. I’m sorry I runned away momma.”

ME: **silent**

I took his coat off without saying a word, carried him upstairs without a sound. I knew a time out wouldn’t phase him today. I had to spank him. He has to learn that running away is beyond unacceptable. I tried to explain to him as he wailed why he had to get that swat. Then I told him he had to stay in his room for a while. (i.e. until I calmed down). For the next hour I periodically stood at the bottom of the steps to listen to him. He cried for a while, then recovered. Eventually he started to play, then was silent. I went up to the top of the steps to see if he fell asleep. He was sitting on the floor beside his bed. When he saw me, he ran up to the doorway with an immediate, sincere apology. “I’m sorry I runned away,” his humble voice poured out in remorse.

We sat on the steps and had a talk about why it is such a huge no-no to run away like that. I told him that a car could give him a boo-boo that a band-aid couldn’t fix and it would be very scary. He looked at me with a wide-eyed fear and understanding. I told him that I forgave him and he dove into me with a huge loving hug and a heartfelt “I wuv you, momma!”

Yeah, life could be worse….

March 28, 2009 at 1:44 pm 6 comments

Dreaming of Hairbows

Every Sunday morning I gaze across at a sea of patent leather mary-janes, hair bows, pigtails, and cute little dresses. Several little polo shirts paired with the same khaki pants are freckled in along with them…a few try to mix it up a bit with a sweater vest, but it’s still the same outfit.

I can’t help but feel a little pang of jealousy and longing.

It’s Easter time and I walk through various children’s clothing aisles. Every store has the same set-up. Row after row of sweet little girl things that taunt me with their cuteness…dresses, shoes, purses, hair bows, tights, jewelry. Then off to the side, there’s one sad little boy rack who stands in the corner. He’s whispering “injustice” with all of his identical little mini-vest outfits that come in a choice of 3 predictable color combinations.

I can’t help but feel a little pang of jealousy and longing.

Don’t get me wrong, I love my boys. I love having boys period. If I had two girls, I’d feel a jealous longing for a boy.

When my husband and I first got engaged, we decided on our future children’s names…yeah, we like to be prepared like that I guess. We were sure we would have two children -a girl and a boy- called Corinne and Samson. We both had a dream about Corinne shortly after we were married. She was about 2, had dark curly hair…and was the firstborn in both of our dreams. We were sure those dreams would someday come into fruition.

I imagined myself with Corinne many times before I got pregnant. Funny thing happened though…once I found out I was pregnant, I got an internal sense immediately that it was a boy. My husband started talking about “her” and about the dreams, and it hit me. Of course it’s a girl! How was that not my first instinct?

My mom called the baby “she” in the beginning too, and when I reminded her that it might be a boy, she said “oh it has to be a girl!”

My sister had 3 bags of pink dresses before the pee dried on the pregnancy test.

I tried to warn everyone before the ultrasound that I really thought it was a boy. Although no one seemed disappointed, I apologized at the words “it’s a boy” as if I were comforting a friend who just got some bad news.

But everyone was excited to imagine meeting this baby boy, and we loved calling him Sam. My focus turned toward designing the “Sam I Am” nursery (that I had been planning for the past 5 years), and my sister’s focus went toward organizing the baby shower with the same Suess-y theme.

I assumed the little girl from our mutual dream would come in the form of baby #2. In fact, I was going to make sure of it.

I met someone when I was pregnant with Sam who told me about the Chinese Birth Chart. He told me that it was an amazingly accurate gender predictor that works by corresponding the age of the mother at the time of conception with the month of conception. He said that his brother and sister in law’s ultrasound tech was wrong about the gender of both their children, but that the Chinese Birth Chart correctly predicted the sex both times. I ran home and googled it and checked what it predicted for myself and a few of my pregnant and recently post-partum friends. It was right for all of us. Over the next couple years, I became obsessed with its accuracy. I checked it for every pregnant woman I encountered. It was only wrong once out of the twelve or more pregnancies I tested it on before I got pregnant the second time.

I was so convinced of it’s accurate gender predicting capabilities, that I used it to plan the timing of our next child’s conception. It said that at age 31, a conception that occurred in Oct, Nov, or Dec would result in a baby girl. So, naturally I made it a plan to start trying for our second in October. That way, if it didn’t work, we would have two more “girl months” to try.

I got pregnant immediately. But a funny thing happened. I got the exact same internal feeling that I was carrying a boy that I had gotten when I found out I was pregnant with Sam. But I just shook it off and assumed it was just an inclination reminiscent of my last pregnancy. The Chinese Birth Chart wasn’t wrong.

Again, my husband prayed for “her” health and my sister bought another 3 bags of girl clothes. Even my mother-in-law was sure it was a girl, and my sister-in-law, and most everyone who had an opinion on the matter. Only one friend guessed it would be a boy (but that’s another blog for another time).

I continued to test the CBC on every pregnant woman I could find. Ironically, as soon as I got pregnant, it started reversing its accuracy every time. If it read “boy,” the woman would have a girl and vice versa. Every. Time. It got to the point that I could accurately predict the gender of a woman’s baby by telling her she would have the opposite of what the CBC predicted.

Sure enough, the Chinese Birth Chart was wrong for me too. And I am so glad it was. I have learned so much about God’s mercy and wisdom through this experience, and I feel so guilty and ashamed for trying to control what a beautiful, fun loving gift He had for me.

My little Max is so awesome. I worried that I wouldn’t have a close relationship with a boy like I would with a girl. My mom was always my best friend, and I’ve always wanted a close relationship like that with my children. It just seemed like it would be more likely…and more familiar…to have a deep bond with a daughter. But, as Anne Shirley might say, Max is a “kindred spirit.” He lights up with the biggest, happiest little grin every time he sees me, and I, him. He’s my little buddy, and has so much of my personality already (which might work against us someday, I know). Not to demean my love for, or my relationship with, my older son. It’s just that I love how I tried to make sure Max would be a girl, and it turned out that I couldn’t have planned a more awesome baby if I could have designed him myself. God, You Rock!

Even if Max would have been a girl, I know that we would still try for a third. Some people just know when they’re pregnant that they want it to their last child. I never got that sense. I felt through my pregnancy and Max’s infancy that “this just can’t be the last time I do this.” So, if it is in God’s will, we will hopefully have another. And I would be lying if I said I wasn’t hoping for a girl next time.

But even if I never get to buy a little dress or twist a little pigtail of dark curls, at least I can take advantage of the stores that sell a couple little extra boy accessories during holidays. And who could not delight just as much in the adorableness of this…

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March 25, 2009 at 3:35 pm 9 comments

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