Tag Archives: Family

Over estimating my significance.

16 Mar

Ephraim is 20 months.  He is no longer an infant.  I should probably stop calling him “baby”, but it is hard to let that go knowing I am not having anymore babies.  He is walking, talking, developing and expressing opinions and preferences, and becoming more independent daily.  He even graduated from the Montessori infant house and now goes to the toddler room at the ‘big kids’ Montessori school. The last real vestige of my infant is the fact that he still c0-sleeps.  We have a nightly ritual of all the boys going into Alastair’s room where daddy will read Ephraim 3 age appropriate books and then bring him to me in our room to go to sleep while he goes back with Alastair to read comic books and 1 or more of the 30+ story books we check out from the library weekly.  In our room we have our queen sized bed where mommy and daddy sleep and then a twin bed between our bed and the wall.  That is where Ephraim sleeps.  When I am putting him to bed I lay in his little bed with him and snuggle him and sing a couple of songs until he drifts off and then I sneak out to meet daddy after he is finished reading to Alastair so we can eat dinner and hang out together.  I used to nurse Ephraim to sleep while I sang, but he has been weened for a while now.  I was shocked when on Wednesday night this week as I was singing him to sleep he started aggressively pulling on my shirt and saying “milk” in that barely intelligible sleepy/grumpy toddler with a pacifier way.  I was heartbroken and tried to gently explain to him that I don’t make milk anymore and that I still love him and will snuggle and sing to help him sleep.  That didn’t work.  He kept pulling and whining.  I felt my eyes well up with tears.  After about 5 minutes of him getting frustrated with me and pulling and crying I realized he wasn’t saying “milk”…he was saying “move”.  He wanted me to get out of his bed so he could stretch out.  I felt remarkably less significant at that moment.

Later when I told Rich what had happened he laughed and told me I obviously wasn’t listening and just heard what I wanted to hear.  It makes me nuts when he is right.

p.s.  Don’t feel bad for me.  I think what happened is funny and am proud that E is growing up.

Don’t mock my dreams. They might KILL you.

9 Dec

Be warned:  I composed this post in my head while in bed trying desperately to a) fall asleep or b) not throw up.  If either happens to you upon reading the following post, remember you were warned.

Last Friday I wrote a little post about these recurrent “teeth falling out” dreams called I can’t keep my teeth in my mouth.  Somewhere near the end of the comments I responded to a remark made by BecomingCliche where I casually mentioned that just today (the day of the post) my jaw slipped a little again.  Wow.  I was as wrong as I have ever been about anything, ever.

Friday night the pain my jaw increased and I found myself unable to sleep even using my night-mouth-guard thingy (I’m a teeth grinder) and taking a couple  of T3 left over from my c-section.  The kicker (this IS a pun) was that early Saturday morning my sweet baby Ephraim kicked me in the face…on the side that was hurting.  We co-sleep (before you get upset that I took pain killers and slept with my toddler let me assure you that I did NOT.  I slept on the couch that night and only went up to the family bed in the morning when I heard him fussing to get up!)…back to where I was: We co-sleep so getting kicked in the face, chest, kidney, or neck is nothing new.  On especially rowdy sleep nights I flip over so that E is kicking my back and it feels awesome. Sometimes I look forward to it.  Anyway, I don’t usually cry about baby foot in the face.  That morning I did.  I cried hard.

25 minutes later (about 6:00 a.m.) the little family was dressed and headed to the ER.  I don’t go to the doctor on a whim EVER.  I only go when I have to or when I am pregnant.  I am bad enough about the doctor thing that my husband makes appointments for me and reminds me repeatedly until I have gone…and then he will pick up my prescriptions for me because I am bad about that too.  My kids on the other hand will go to the doctor for a check up on schedule and often in-between.

So, we are at the ER and my face looks fine except for the fact that my features are contorted in pain.  Poor Rich…I know the staff was just doing their job, but they asked me far too many questions about how and why it hurt for us to think anything other than they thought he had done it to me.  I got a morphine shot.  It took my pain from a 8 to about a 5.  That is all the relief I got.  They took 4 x-rays of my head.  Nothing to see.  Seriously?  There was nothing there?  How can something hurt so bad and you can’t find anything?  The ER doc was super nice and his only deduction was that I had injured my trigeminal facial nerve.  He offered a CT scan but that was going to take another 2 hours and rugrats had just about used up all their public decorum by that point.  I declined and went home.

Saturday night was worse.  The pain was still there but then something new started to happen.  My face started to swell.  I mean SWELL…but only the sore half.  If I thought I hurt before I was a light-weight.  This hurt worse than childbirth.  Guess where I was Sunday morning?  Yep. Back in the ER. Luckily my mom and step-dad took the boys to play (they even skipped church to help us out. God would totally understand.).  The same super sweet ER nurse was there and helped me into a room immediately.  She was noticeably concerned considering the change in my condition.  She hooked me up to an IV for fluids, more pain medication (this time Dilatin since the morphine was a wash the day before), and something to keep me from throwing up.  I have a weak stomach.  I got the CT scan this time.  Guess what…still nothing.  My sinuses were a little mucky so the ER doctor gave me some antibiotics, some vicadin, and some other pills for nausea…and sent me home again.

Monday morning…the first day of classes for the new quarter.  I was in bed, drugged, fevered, and crying.  I love the first day of classes.  I felt guilty I wasn’t there.  My face was still swelling and the narcotics were not working.  My husband called our family doctor and made me an appointment for that afternoon.  My mom picked me up to drive me there.  She hadn’t seen me since this started.  Her expression was enough to know I didn’t look so good.  She didn’t need to say anything.  Even the receptionists who are an angelic bunch of women that oh and ah over my kids when I bring them in were a little taken aback by my appearance.  My GP’s expression confirmed it.  I looked inhuman.    She looked at the x-rays, the CT scan and then gently poked around in my mouth.  She couldn’t see anything either…and she is SMART and I trust her.  She insisted I see my dentist just in case I have an abscess tooth even though there were no signs of it on any of the scans or during any physical exam by any doctor.  Super Mom called the dentist and got me in immediately.  My dentist is another smart and very kind woman whom I trust.  I was at her office in 30 minutes for more x-rays.  Still no real evidence of anything.  She was worried enough about me to call my GP right then and form a plan of action…because as she put it to me in her softest kindest voice, “your kids need you”.  Yeah, whatever was wrong that could not be pinpointed could kill me.  KILL ME.  She called the oral surgeon she trusts most and got me an appointment for a day later.  The dentist and GP were satisfied that with the amount of antibiotics in my body I would make it until Wed. although both of them called to check on me on Tuesday just to make sure.

Wednesday morning came and my mom drove me to the oral surgeon’s office.  Yet again another x-ray scan of my entire jaw and yet again no real evidence of a problem.  I do have a root canal in the area…the best guess at this point is there is a fracture so small that it cannot be seen on any scans and it is infected and leaking puss into the skin/muscle in my face.  (Puke now if you need to.  I almost did when I heard that. Thank God for those anti-nausea pills)

Here I am one week after my silly post about teeth with a swollen face (albeit FAR less swollen) and an appointment to have one of those teeth ripped out (a real one, not a dream one) next Friday.

Moral of my story:  Don’t mock my dreams.  They might KILL you.

p.s. I thought of several alternative titles for this post.  Here are a few.  Some have explanations, some don’t need them.

1) After 4 days of being unable to eat, microwaved frozen cheese pizza meant for the children tastes like heaven.  Sorry kids, it is all gone.

2) I am not a fan of narcotics.  While they helped take the edge off the pain, they did not make it go away.  Also, they made me feel crazy.  I think, all right, I know they gave me auditory hallucinations.  We have a sound machine in our bedroom that plays soft summer rains sounds all night while we sleep.  I woke up Rich several times asking “did you hear that?”  He didn’t.  I had to leave the room because for me every few minutes the sound machine was making static poltergeist like sounds.  It was not soothing. It scared the bejesus out of me. Once I could get by on ibuprofen alone I stopped taking those things.

3) My mother is made out of steel. (except her knees)  My mom has been through a lot of shit in her life. (Excuse my language mom, but sometimes profanity is necessary.) Those are mostly her stories to tell…speaking of, you should have a blog mom.  My mom has grit (the “momma bear” thing) when it comes to taking care of those us  fortunate enough to be counted as one of her loved ones.  She went though revolving-door doctor thing when my dad had cancer and despite her best efforts that didn’t have a happy ending. She went through something like this with her mom, her dad, my brother when he was baby, her step-daughter, herself, my step-dad (which did have a happy ending), and with me a couple of times so far.  She will be right there when you need her and back off when you need space.  She will be at every appointment you let her in and ask questions you should have thought of yourself.  She will be on the phone making the next appointment and asking “what is next”.  She will also not take it personally when you are a bitch to her because you don’t feel good.  She is made out of steel…except her knees.  We all have our weaknesses.

4) It is perfectly acceptable to eat 3 giant pixi-sticks if you have a fever (and nobody is looking and you are over 4 years old).

5) My coworkers and boss are way cooler than yours.  They probably don’t read this.  Why would they?  As Adam so astutely put it one day, “Why would I read your blog?  I share an office with you.  I get the one-woman show.”  Being the first week of classes was the worst possible time for this to happen.  Well, maybe not the WORST, but a pretty awful time.  My coworkers jumped in and took up my slack.  They kept the train moving and saved my seat.  I would say I love them, but I would get all kinds of teasing for that.  F- it…I love them.  They are awesome.  I am so grateful.

6) I love my kids.  I cannot get any more clear than that.  When the dentist reminded me my kids needed me I almost lost my mind.  I do not want to die now more than I have ever not wanted to die in my whole life..not that I ever really wanted to die before.  Now is different though.  I could muddle through an explanation, but I bet I don’t need to.  I bet you get it.

7) A 37-year-old can find comfort in blankies.  For four days I was home alone and needing to rest.  Before I got in bed I searched the house for 4 things.  1) the heat pack for my face. 2) Alastair’s blankie. 3) Ephraim’s blankie. and 4) One of Rich’s already worn t-shirts.  I would get in bed, put Rich’s shirt over my face with the heat pack on top, put Alastair’s blankie up under my chin and drape Ephraim’s blankie over a pillow and then wrap my arms around it.  My warm little nest of family smells made me feel better than any drug ever could.

8)  I won the partner lottery.  I had to save this one for last because I am going to cry when I type it.  I have the best husband in the world.  Cliche statement.  I know.  I could give a thousand examples from the last week about him missing work to take care of me, doing all the housework alone, taking care of both boys emotionally and physically, dealing with doctors and prescriptions, driving everybody around, making dinner, keeping our families updated, and all those other things.  That is not what earned him the award.  (Here are the tears!)  He wins, or actually I win, for one tiny little thing he did that he probably didn’t think twice about, which, of course, makes it extra special.   Sunday morning when I was in the ER I was in bad shape.  I hadn’t showered, my hair was crazy (think: dreadlocks-finger-in-a-light-socket), my teeth weren’t brushed, my clothes weren’t clean, I was crying out of fear and pain, I was in a narco haze, and my face was so swollen I was almost unrecognizable.  Rich Mansfield, (aka The Love of My Life) took my hand, leaned over, and whispered in my ear, “Your freckles are so pretty.”

Pause to let that statement sink in…

He probably thinks I didn’t hear him or if I did that I don’t remember.  I do remember and will until the day I die.  (which will NOT be any time soon!) You may have just fallen in love with him too. I wouldn’t blame you, but, sorry, this one is taken.  I totally learned “momma bear” from an expert so don’t test me on this one.  MINE!

 

I can’t keep my teeth in my mouth.

2 Dec

Gross.  They fall out.  They shatter into bits. It happens when I eat. It happens when I smile. They can get knocked out with an intense impact.  They can get knocked out with a soft kiss. Sometimes it is bloody and painful.  Sometimes it is subtle and I don’t notice until I choke on them. Sometimes they leave a big gaping hole.  Sometimes they leave a perfectly smoothed over space. Sometimes it happens in my sleep…all right, it ONLY happens in my sleep.  I keep having the “losing your teeth” dreams.

I have always heard that these kind of dreams are anxiety induced.  Being the intrepid woman I am, I Googled “dreams losing your teeth”.  Huh.  Surprisingly not that helpful and I even have a big thing for symbolism.  I love symbolism in literature, in art, in religion…in basically anything.  I give my Color Photography class an assignment called “The Psychology and Symbolism of Color” and I give my Intermediate Photographic Concepts class an assignment called “One Thousand Words” which is based on the methodology of Dutch Vanitas painting.

So, why weren’t the dream interpretation sites I explored helpful?  Because I couldn’t relate anything they discussed to my lucid life.

Stressed about your job situation? Nope.  I love my job.  It is true that a new academic quarter is starting next week, but that has happened every 3 months for the last five years.  That is not stressful.  It is exciting and I happily anticipate it.

Fear of being impotent?  Being a lady with lady parts the most common understanding of the word impotent doesn’t apply to me. As for the other definition, there really isn’t anything monumental that I am feeling powerless or helpless to control.

Afraid of looking stupid in front of people?  Uh…who isn’t?  Nobody likes to look stupid in front of people, but I do it all the time.  I usually laugh about it and move on.  (That was a gift from my dad.  Thanks dad!)

Stress about looking older/trying to stay young?  I am looking older these days.  That is probably because I am older these days.  So what.  I joke about it but I am most certainly not stressed about it.  My livelihood does not depend on looking youthful and neither do any of my relationships.

Have you lied to somebody?  It would be a lie to say that I don’t lie.  Everybody does.  I can tell a little one without much effort. I can answer the question, “How are you?” with an easy, “Fine” even though I have a throbbing headache and feel like I am going to throw up.  I am not so good at the big lies though.  It started in Kindergarten when I had some unexplained crayons in my backpack.  My dad asked me about them when I was in the bathtub that evening. (I remember this as clear as if it were yesterday.)  I tried to lie and tell him that Ms. Thompson gave them to me.  He knew immediately that was untrue and the next day made me take them back to her and confess.  Since then I have been insecure about my ability to tell a believable lie.  It didn’t stop me from trying as a teenager.  I got in trouble a lot.  So, no I haven’t told any big lies lately.

Lacking power at work or relationship? I actually have a remarkable amount of “power” at work.  I was hired  because it was believed I could do the job well and I have the freedom to design my courses how I think they should be to best serve my students.  As far as my relationships are concerned, they are all very healthy.  I don’t want “power” in my marriage.  I want equality and that is what I have.  I get along beautifully with my family and my in-laws and so does my husband.  I have the appropriate amount of power over my children.  I parent them…usually effectively.

Money?  Well, we never have any extra, but we are also not starving, naked, or homeless.  We have remarkably generous family members on both sides that help us out when we need it.

Truth be told, my dental health has been on a downward spiral since my second son was conceived.  In the last two years I have had 3 cavities, 2 root canals, 2 broken teeth, 3 crowns, 2 infections, and my jaw has been out of alignment 3+ times (which really really hurts).

Even Sigmund Freud said, “Sometimes is a cigar is just a cigar.”

I just made an appointment with the dentist.

Our holiday crime spree.

28 Nov

It is true that when my husband and I were younger we were on the rebellious side, but neither of us were ever criminals  (youthful indiscretions aside).  Well, we weren’t, unless you did not buy the late 1980’s/early 1990’s sloganeering that, “SKATEBOARDING IS NOT A CRIME”.  In that case, Rich was a sponsored criminal and I was a criminal groupie.

We must look shady.  Nothing says dangerous like a relatively short couple in their late 30’s schlepping two little kids and an overstuffed diaper bag with their coat pockets full of used Kleenex, lollipops, and a couple of pacifiers.  At least that must have been what the cashier at the Christmas tree farm thought when she insisted on seeing my husband’s identification when he tried to pay for the tree we lovingly picked out.  I don’t know how she saw through our plan.  I thought it was fool-proof:  we steal a debit card, drive (our minivan) outside the city to a tree farm, take 2 hayrack rides, freeze, pick out a tree, take 2 hayrack rides back, freeze again, pay for our frigid fun with stolen funds, and disappear into the night with a diabolical laugh.  It could have been Alastair’s fault.  I warned him that his over-the-top adorable act would draw unwanted attention.  The kid has got to learn to tone it down if we are going to make it as a crime family.

The joke was on her though.  We thought of every possible scenario.  We had the proper identification and completed the purchase.  Some young farm boys tied it to the top of our van and I restrained myself from correcting their inappropriate language.  I needed to remain calm and low-key. We were almost home free.  I had it in my head to belittle these wholesome boys to the point they would watch their mouths around children in the future, but then realized they would probably just insult me back and then Rich would defend my honor, a physical brawl would ensue and the police would surly be summoned.  I didn’t want to make that memory. I wanted to get home and decorate our ill-gotten prize.  I rolled up the window, turned up the radio, and held my tongue.  Soon enough we had our tree and made a clean get away. 

Drunk on Friday’s success we decided to up the stakes on Saturday night.  We loaded up the get away van and headed to Target under the guise of needing dishwasher detergent.  No matter how often I tell the boy, Alastair blew our cover almost immediately.  I just know that security saw him chatting up the elderly wheelchair bound woman right inside the front door.  Their mental alarms must have gone nuts watching him on video surveillance holding up his pant legs and dancing around her so she could see how his cowboy boots light up.  The minute she smiled and clapped for him it was all over for us.  For the next 30 minutes I noticed that no matter where we were in the store a certain young female security guard was never far away.  She kept a keen eye out when I picked out lotion (our criminal escapade at the tree farm did a number on my skin), she watched as we debated what to pick up for dinner, she was ever vigilant as we joked with another mother about the chaos that comes with having two young sons, and she was front and center at the exit as we all shrugged back into our coats to make our escape.  We eluded capture once again.  No alarms sounded as we passed through security.  What cunning! What luck! What skill!  How did we do it again?  Here is the secret.  We paid for our stuff like we always do with our own hard-earned money from the jobs we take quite seriously.

 

I can’t find my angst.

17 Nov

I seriously think I lost it for good this time.  Over the years, I have misplaced it a few times, but it always found its way back to me.  I am not sure what do to about this.  I have had it forever.  It matched my cynical perfectly.  Speaking of, where did I leave my cynical?  This getting older thing is really doing a number on me. I can’t seem to remember anything these days.  I usually keep my cynical with my disillusion but now can’t locate either one.  I hate to say it, but it is a distinct possibility that kids stole them.  Maybe my husband threw them out.  He never liked them anyway.

Ugh.  They were so comfortable!  They don’t even make them like mine anymore.  What I see the young people with these days just seems so cheap and contrived.  Not like mine at all.  I had the real deal with the poetry and journals to back it up.

I guess I don’t miss them that much.  They were fairly outdated.  Not to mention the fact that they were heavy and I was always exhausted after carrying them around all day.

I must admit the optimism my husband gave me on our first date is pretty nice…and it does look really hot with the confidence I picked up in my early 30’s.

My hands are too cold to be a mom.

11 Nov

I get “corpse fingers” (Reynaud’s disease) when I get cold.  I can’t help.  It is gross.  My fingers (and toes) turn white, lose sensation, and don’t bend easily.  As I warm up they turn red and tingle.  It isn’t all that painful, just a little uncomfortable.  The painful part of the whole thing is when I go to touch one of my kids and they wince, pull away and sometimes scream.  I don’t blame them.  Nobody likes to be touched with ice cubes. I get it, but it doesn’t mean I don’t get bummed out.

One of the million things nobody warned me about being a parent is that you need NEED a thick skin and healthy sense of humor.

Examples from recent memory:

A: I don’t like it when you touch me with those hands.  (I already explained that one.)

A: You talk too much. (True…ish)

A: You laugh too much. (Lots of things are funny!  Anyway, I thought that was a good thing.)

A: You are boring.  (No I am not! I am just tired.)

A: The house is messy.  (Agreed, but it is mostly his fault.)

E: We are working on saying Ma-Me (mommy) because Ma sounds too much like “milk” and “more”.  Granted, those all used to mean essentially the same thing.  Now it is confusing.  He can say it, I have heard it.  Right now I will say, “Ephraim can you say, ‘mommy’?” He will keep a straight face, hesitate, and then say, “Alastair” (his brother) or “Teacher” (the dog).  He usually giggles after he does it.  (Little devil.)

E: He gives great kisses and I want them all the time.  Sometimes I will ask for a kiss and he will go grab a stuffed animal and shove it in my face and then walk away smirking.  (Again, little devil.)

A: Within the same 30 seconds Alastair has told me my breath smells bad and he likes the smell of the car exhaust.  (Seriously?  I know coffee breath is bad.  I agree, but it is hard to hear that your breath is bad from a kid who enjoys the smell of exhaust.)

A: You car is too dirty. (I am not the one eating Goldfish in the backseat!)

Here is the kicker…

This is this year’s Thanksgiving card he made at school. That is me.  Right there at the bottom of the list.  First on the list is Target?  Yes, he is most thankful for the retail store.  Brother and dog are next.  Daddy got a decent spot.  Hugs and “doing work” (work is what they call the activities they do in Montessori) gets the next spot.  That is pretty sweet, except I know it is in reference to his Directress whom he LOVES.  I am last.  If he had thought of one more thing I would have been out of the running all together.

I get more than enough of sweetness from my kids.  I appreciate every compliment (I make the world’s BEST scrambled eggs!) and show of affection if get.  I live for them.  I have to be honest though, when I became a parent, I expected them.  Who wouldn’t?  I did not expect the criticism.  I mentioned this to my mother, she laughed, and sarcastically said, “I wonder where they got that from?”.  My mother is seriously enjoying watching me get a little of what I gave.  I don’t blame her.  I was pretty wicked.

I know she is reading this.

Mom, I apologize for the thousandth time for my youthful mouth and attitude and thank you for resisting the understandable impulse to have my lips sewn together until I reached adulthood.

I only hope I can be as strong.

A House Full of Alphas

8 Nov

Yes, I did just equate my sweet little family with pack of wild dogs.  With all the howling, growling, snarling, and teeth baring that went on this weekend it is a pretty apt comparison.  We all have dominant personalities for better and worse.  This weekend it was for worse.  At some point last week everybody in the house was sick.  By the weekend all the acute symptoms were gone, but the grouch stayed around.  I was bossy and impatient.  Rich was tired and quick-tempered.  Alastair was convinced we all lost our hearing and need to be yelled at. Ephraim thought everything would be fine if he could just be touching me (and only me) at all times.  Even the dog got in on it.  Apparently this is his house and if he wants the garbage spread across the kitchen floor than that is damn well what is going to happen.  I am sure the fish would have jumped into the mix if he had vocal cords and his biology didn’t confine him to his bowl of water.  After all, he is a Siamese Fighting Fish (aka Betta) named after the Roman god of war.

Most days our little pack of Alphas can coexist in relative peace.  We are never bored.  Somebody will always have an opinion about what we should do together and we are happily adventurous.  I also take a lot of comfort knowing nobody in my house is going to be taken advantage of and if nurtured correctly my boy’s dominant personalities can translate into positive leadership skills as they grow.  The dog though…he really needs to learn his place.  Be that as it may, he is a rescue who had a rough start in life, so I do tend to cut him a lot of slack.

Monday morning was a long time coming.  I do not generally look forward to the weekend ending regardless of how much I love my job.  I enjoy hanging out with my boys.  This weekend was an exception.  After I dropped Alastair off at school I felt my shoulders loosen just a bit and my jaw unclench.  As I walked from my car to my building on campus I remembered that it is near the end of the academic quarter when all the students are stressed out about finishing their final projects and taking exams and that I had scheduled 2 critiques for that day. I felt myself bristle.  Fortunately, nobody growled at me and I didn’t have to bare my teeth.  That would have been embarrassing.

An argument so good he almost got his way.

6 Nov

It doesn’t happen everyday, but on occasion my 4-year-old will give me an intellectual run for my money.  On this particular day he wanted a popsicle before dinner.  His first two attempts at persuasion fell flat.  It was the third that slacken my jaw.

A: Can I have a popsicle?

Me: Not before dinner.

A: I can’t eat dinner.  Real food gives me green face.  (We make the distinction between play food/treats which are fun to eat but don’t have any nutritional value and real food which is at least somewhat good for the body and green face=nausea…it is from a book we read to him when he was tiny).

Me: Nice try.

A:  I think I am allergic to real food.  It makes me itchy and crabby.

Me: You are getting more creative my love.

A: You just won’t understand.

Me: You would be surprised how much I understand.  I am pretty smart.

A: Fine.  I can’t eat dinner because then I won’t be hungry.

Me: That is the point of eating dinner.

A: Ugh!  If I am not hungry I won’t want a popsicle.

Me: That is a problem?

A: Yes!  I want to want the popsicle.  If I am not hungry I won’t want the popsicle and it tastes better when I want it.  I want to want it!

Wow.  That is the truth.  There are a number of things in life that are infinitely more satisfying if you get them when you really want them.  Of course, there are things that are better if you wait.  I know that.  Still, that was a damn good argument and I almost fell for it.  Almost.  My brain kicked in and I thought, “He has to be well nourished to be able to reason that well.  It is my responsibility as his parent to see to that.  He thinks well if he eats well.  No popsicle before dinner.”

I won’t relay his reaction when I congratulated him on his rationalization but still said no.  It makes him seem far less charming.

I call that “Daddy’s Fault”

4 Nov

I see a lot of myself in my two boys.  They are picky, dramatic, emotional, defiant, and opinionated.  I can own up to those things along with a bunch of their more positive traits.  What I can’t (won’t) claim is their blatant disregard for their own personal physical safety.  I don’t get it.

As the only XX in a house full of XYs, I have come to the non-scientific yet perfectly logical conclusion that the risk-taking behavior is directly associated with that pesky Y chromosome…you know, the one they got from daddy.

Here is some evidence to support my non-scientific yet perfectly logical theory:

-When my husband was little he thought he might like to grow up to be a stuntman.  To prepare, he practiced throwing himself  down the stairs.

-As a teenager he got toxic shock and had to be rushed to the hospital after failing to remove the large splinters in his scalp from a half-pipe skateboarding fall.

-When he joined the Army at 17 he signed up for Field Artillery.  Why?  “I wanted to blow shit up.”

-When the Army did their x-rays upon his enlistment it was discovered he had broken his arms 20+ times.  He has never had a cast.  Direct quote: “Casts are for pussies.”  He said when he was skateboarding and one arm hurt he would just fall on the other one.

-In graduate school while working on a metal sculpture he caught himself in the gut with a grinder and tore up his skin.  Did he go to the hospital? No. He went to Dollar Drink night and then went home numb enough to poor hydrogen peroxide on it and pull out the shrapnel with tweezers.

You are totally on board with me now I bet.

Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE (yep. all caps.) this guy.  He is an awesome father and the greatest husband.  His mother claims he was the easiest of her children. (I know and love the other two and being the easiest of those kids isn’t really much of an accomplishment.)

I will be there warning those boys over and over to be careful, but Rich is always the first one to comfort them, staunch the bleeding, wipe the tears, fetch the ice, and apply the bandage.  He should be.  After all, it is his fault.

A Brief History Thanks to Facebook.

1 Nov
Facebook has preserved a lot of what I would have forgotten.  Here are some highlights from the last couple of years. They go in order from newest to oldest and end when Alastair is around 2 I think…
-As if yesterday’s remark about a clean house when he gets home wasn’t ornery enough, this morning Alastair told me he isn’t going to be funny anymore because I laugh too much and it is annoying. Unfortunately for him, I found his declaration hysterical.
-This morning Alastair had the audacity to request that the house be clean by the time he gets home from school.
-I just dropped my kids off at school and then came home and watched videos of them for 20 minutes.
-Last night Alastair declared his love of the Sharpie marker. Today I will hunt down and hide every one of them in our possession. Alastair plus a densely pigmented marker is not a good combination. This is in my best interest considering the last time he “accidentally got marker on me” I looked down to find my entire forearm covered in little brown squiggles. (Yes, he did draw all over my arm while I was awake and I didn’t notice until he confessed.)
-One of my students works for a company that does school pictures. Today he was assigned Alastair’s school. Having to photograph your lighting professor’s kid while currently enrolled her class…no pressure there.
-I would like to know who told Ephraim that I startle easily. Yesterday I put him in our bed to nap. After 10 minutes of stillness I was sure he was asleep. He then yelled “hah” as loud as he could. Of course, I jumped and screamed. He laughed uncontrollably for 5 minutes saying “hah” every once and awhile and laughing harder. I feel like that maybe isn’t normal baby behavior. He is only 16 months. I should get busy worrying about this.
-Alastair says the other camera (the point and shoot) is for babies.
-I absolutely loathe it when people speak to my children like they are puppies with poor hearing.
-Are Rich and I such Game of Thrones geeks that we would convince our kids to dress up like a knight and a dragon for Halloween? Yes. Yes, we are.
-This morning I was showing the kids old Bruce Springsteen videos and talking about how much I like them. He reminds me of my dad so I got a little teary eyed. Alastair looked at me and said, “do you like them or no?” I said, “yes, I do. I am not sad.” He said, “oh, it is happy cry.” (he just came to terms with the fact that I cry when I am happy.) I said, “no, not happy cry.” and then tried to explain that sometimes I just get emotional and tried to keep explaining. He stopped me and said, “I don’t get it. You shouldn’t do that anymore. It is confusing.” Rich agreed with him.
-Rich took the boys to the pumpkin patch last night while I was at work and brought home the most obscene gourd I have ever seen.
-With all the work I have been doing lately with bones, skulls, and skeletons you would think I would be a little less freaked out to find a LARGE dead bird in my backyard. I think the disturbing part is that there are no visible signs of trauma and its eyes are open (they are blue which also seems weird).
-This morning while pumping gas I had that strange feeling somebody was watching. I looked around at the other patrons and they were all doing their own thing so I looked up to see if there was a video camera or something. No video camera, just a GIANT praying mantis with its creepy little alien head cocked to the side glaring at me with contempt.
-There is no question I need glasses. I have been taking the wrong prescription for over a week. In defense of my old lady eyes, the pills are the exact same size and shape and almost the same color.
-Who let this lunatic into my house?
-I touched a real live swimming around in water SHARK this weekend!
-When my children learn to cuss it will not be from Rich or me. Last night at a family dinner my loving mother asked me (quite loudly since I was in an adjacent room playing with my kids) to tell everybody what a bitch I was when I was I a teenager.
-About an hour ago Alastair was seriously frustrating me. Typical kids stuff like yelling, slamming the bathroom door, and being generally disagreeable (apparently Kleenex is NOT a reasonable substitute for toilet paper when you are out.) Anyway, I had to walk away to regain my composure. Rich must have told him to apologize because when I came back he walked right up to me, looked me in the eye and said, “sorry for making you mean.”
-I just moved the couch downstairs to access our storage crawl space. There was a large insect looking thing. In the poor light of the basement I couldn’t tell if it was real (alive or dead) or one of Alastair’s toys. I fled and vow not to return until Rich investigates.
-Because of how I ended up being dressed this morning I jokingly made the remark, “today I will playing the part of heavy metal mom”. Alastair looked at me and said, “more like motel mom”. A little shocked I asked him what that meant. He shrugged and walked away leaving me speechless and Rich laughing and making suggestive comments about motel mom.
-Apparently age 4 is when kids start getting presents that parents like playing with too. Magna-tiles, stomp rocket, marble race = crazy fun.
-Alastair is 4 years old today!
(It is 8 a.m. and he has already rolled his eyes at me twice. I said 4 not 14 right?)
-Feel good moment of the day: There was a woman who paints birdhouses on PBS this morning. Alastair said, “She is an artist. You are an artist too except you make photographs. Her art is boring. Your art is not boring.” I then went on the have an uncomfortable ratio of failure to successes in the studio, but that is beside the point.
-This morning I was making silly faces and sounds to Ephraim and he seemed to be enjoying it. He was giggling and smiling. Then he hit me in face with a remote control and really started laughing.
-5 years ago today at the Tropicana in Las Vegas in front of family and friends and while a heavy metal pool party was raging next to the chapel I married Rich Mansfield.
-Yesterday Ephraim took his first two unassisted steps while we were all at the library. For the sake of the other patrons who came there for quiet time I did my best to control my excitement.
-Alastair to Rich yesterday: “You just don’t know what you are doing, old man.”
-This morning with some impressive evasive driving techniques I successfully thwarted a wild turkey’s “suicide by mini-van” attempt.
-My dog just drank rain water collected in an unused planter and then immediately peed on that same planter. I will never understand boy dogs.
-I learned yesterday that the will my parents wrote when I was a teenager put everything left to me in a trust not to be touched until I was 35 years old! Apparently a trust is for those who can’t be trusted.
-Apparently I annoy Alastair to no end. Sometimes he is polite and says “please”, but most of the time he says, “Mommy, just stop talking.”
-“Maybe Batman is Catwoman’s owner.” -Alastair Mansfield
-I hung some laundry out to dry today and a bird pooped on it. Totally uncool. Unless, of course, they somehow found out I have been shopping for bird skulls on eBay. Then it is understandable…maybe even justifiable.
-Do the big black birds (crows?) just hate squirrels or are they trying to eat them? It is like a horror movie in my back yard right now. I would feel worse for the squirrels if they were not always antagonizing my dog.
-When the baby wakes up in the middle of the night I can usually cuddle him back to sleep. When he is laughing at 3:30 a.m. I know I am getting up.
-Last night Alastair invited me to play a game with him. It was called “smack the face”. I declined the invitation.
-While watching an episode of Community where they were playing Dungeons and Dragons I made a casual remark to Rich that the game looked fun if you were into that kind of thing. He told his brother I said that because Bill was into it as a kid. Yesterday I got a package in the mail from my brother-in-law. It was a D & D starter kit and a note welcoming me to nerd town.
-It was much easier to buy birthday presents for Rich when he was a drinker.
-The 7 am whole family impromptu pajama dance party in the kitchen was the best 15 minutes of my whole week.
-This morning Alastair sang to me what can only be described as the punk rock version of “you are my sunshine”. I was delighted.
-Sleeping like a baby is a misnomer. My baby doesn’t sleep like a baby. He sleeps more like a caffeine addict or a fugitive.
-The answer to final jeopardy today was “Satan”. When they showed the contestants answers on the screen Alastair said, “That is my name!”
-Ephraim’s method of understanding something new: 1) stare at it 2) taste it 3) hit it 4) scream at it…if that doesn’t work try again omitting number 1.
-Ephraim LOVES his Sophie the giraffe. A $22 teether/toy maybe excessive, but I am a sucker and it is French.
-Devilishly handsome is still devilish.
-Listen to The Ramones and eating Andes Mints are a few of my favorite things.
-I cried a little today when I traded in my pretty black jeep for a minivan.
-Mythbusters marathon on today. In the intro they say “don’t try this at home”. We asked Alastair if he knew what that meant. He said, “yes, it means do it outside”. Not really the answer I was looking for.
-This may be the greatest school picture I have ever seen.
-Ephraim thinks I am the funniest person and best singer he knows. Granted, he only knows about 5 people…not much competition but still good for my ego.
-Ephraim’s baby breath smells like powdered sugar and his chubby little body looks like he eats powdered sugar. (20 lbs. @ 4 months old.)
-Every morning Alastair pledges allegiance to the invisible nation under grog.
-I have a dog, 2 kids, and a fish. They are all thriving. Still, I can’t keep a houseplant alive over 4 months
-The repeat button on my Alastair seems to be stuck in the “on” position.
-The NPR story on Freddie Mercury this morning brought back sweet memories of dancing in the living room with my dad to his Queen records. I was 6 or 7 and thought it was embarrassing and fantastic. Now I just think it was fantastic.
-Baby fingernails are like adorable little razor blades.
-Alastair is 3 years old today! Time to teach this kid how to do some yard work. He has been free loading way too long now.
-I want to know who taught Alastair to hiss at me like an angry cat whenever I say something he disagrees with.
-40 weeks for human gestation is unreasonable and tantamount to torture in my opinion.
-Still geeking out on the finale of Lost I recommended that Larry watch the entire series on his way to Japan. Matel then reminded of the premise of the show. I had to rescind my recommendation. One probably doesn’t want to watch show that opens with a violent and deadly plane wreck while spending 14 hours over open ocean.
-Lately the only phrase I can get Alastair to repeat on command is, “I am not a trained monkey.”
-No matter what I am doing, if I am listening to Leonard Cohen I feel like I am in a movie and something bad might happen.
-I don’t think it is unreasonable to wear sweatpants and flip-flops to work if you are 7 months pregnant. If you disagree, I am not really interested in your opinion.
-Yesterday I vowed to be more vigilant about my dental health. Today I ate a cupcake for breakfast.
-Rich got a 100% on his “preventing sexual harassment” quiz for work. I got an 86%.
-Thanks everyone for the congrats on the news of another boy. You all are way more encouraging than Alastair. When I told him he gave me an annoyed look and said, “I am eating apples.”
-Alastair just informed me that he needs a helmet, a rocket, a table saw, a dirt bike, a turtle and a rainbow…and that he will be having sprinkled donuts and pink cake for lunch. please, thank you so much.
-Rich is of the opinion that I LOVE the Betta fish Alastair got for his birthday. All I did was a little research on what habitat would make him happiest and healthiest, buy him some stuff for his home, call him beautiful and give him a name…
-Is convinced after yesterday’s experience that Alastair would eat dirt, soap, or even boiled cabbage if it just had some pastry sprinkles on it.

That is enough for now.

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