Friday, January 29, 2010

The Propane Fairy and Purple Van

After bragging about how awesome it is to be on propane instead of city gas...we ran out of propane in the middle of making dinner for company on Monday. Snap. If I had known I was not going to be able to do the dishes, laundry, cook or take showers for the rest of the week, I probably would have flipped out a lot more.

If Jamie would have taken me seriously when I said playing in the mud would earn him a cold shower, then it would have spared him 5 min of shrieking.

Consequently, when the Pro Flame truck pulled into our driveway at 7 am this morning, the man had two pajama clad kids and an exuberant woman waving and greeting him. I have to say, he looked a little awkward at our happy dance, but I could have kissed his feet when he lit the pilot light on the water heater. And laundry! Heavenly.

When the man left he pulled me aside and said "I've never had a kid thank me so many times for fixing his bathtub. I think he's a little obsessed with baths." I said he'd probably be obsessed with baths too if someone forced him to take a shower with winter well water.

On a closing note, my family left today for Guatemala in a purple van with gold rims and a travel pod on top. I don't know what sort of message that will send as they drive through Mexico, but I hope it's a safe one. If you think about it, pray they make it safely. As crazy as they are, I really do love my family and I'd like to keep them around.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Real Men Sing Lullabys In The Middle Of The Night

I expect children to wake up sometimes in the middle of the night. They live in a world of dogs the size of cars, and people the size of Goliath. Who wouldn't have nightmares? Remember when broccoli resembled a mid sized tree?

I don't however, have the foggiest clue what Charlie's problem is right now. He's always been a hard one to figure out, because unlike Jamie, Charlie is pretty laid back and chill about everything. So when he wakes up in the middle of the night, night-after-night, screaming bloody murder, it's well-- odd. It's even odder when he refuses all attempts of help. He throws his pacifier, arches his back, picks a fight with his blanket (and loses. Those things are flexible buggars), and pushes away any loving hand that ventures near to pat and soothe. So we eventually leave him to work it out on his own. Which can take hours, and hours, and a few more hours. I realize that as a mom, I can't really expect to get a full nights sleep in oh...ten years or so? Hopefully? But in the meantime, I'm really not fond of the extra missing chunk. I get so frustrated in fact, that I stomp around the house at 3 a.m. slamming cupboards as I search for baby tylenol, turning on every light and daring anyone else to wake up.

Jim somehow, can sleep through his child wailing like a howler monkey on helium. But it's unfair, because when he does eventually wake up (which may or may not be caused by objects thrown at him), he has the patience of a saint.

It takes a special kind of person to pace the floors with a hysterical baby, in the middle of the night, for hours, and make up fake lulubyes, even when you hate singing. Clearly, Jim is better at this job than I am.

Oh, and any suggestions for the Charles unit would be much appreciated.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Timothy, the Anatomically Correct Doll

I'm not sure which is more embarassing.

The fact that I try to coerce Jamie into playing dolls with me, or that the doll is wearing an organic, hemp diaper.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Resident Toy Stasher

One of my fears as a mother of only boys is that they will move away from home at 18 and call me only once a year on Mothers Day.

But I'm thinking maybe my concern resides in the wrong direction. We had to cut the nipples off of Jamie's bottles and hold a funeral around the trash can in order to wean him off the bottle. We had to shoot his diapers with a 12 gauge shotgun in order to potty train him at the tender age of 3 1/2.

And today, he pleaded with heart wrenching eloquence over every broken and worn out toy I threw away, as I tried to clean out and reorganize his room. Clearly the child is not fond of change. Maybe I should stop worrying about things I have no clue about.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Helicopters For Breakfast, and Your Elbow: The New Finger

I knew I was in for trouble today when Jamie tried to insist he sit in his carseat backwards today. Somehow I missed the memo that today was opposite day... at least for Jamie. "Look Mom" he said, pointing to the blue sky, "The sky is RED!". I peered up at the sky looking for a red plane, or maybe even a pinkish cloud as Jamie laughed riotously in the back seat, completely tickled at his own joke. It might have been funny if we weren't en route to his scheduled speech assessment. The one year follow up from last year (can't believe it's been a whole year). He can talk a thousand times better (which isn't difficult since before speech therapy, he didn't talk at all), and although I realize he has some issues with clarity and enunciation, I was looking forward to impressing the friendly staff with how much he'd improved. That was before I knew today was opposite day. If I'd known, I would have stayed home and saved the gas.

She asked him to point to the sleeping puppy, he pointed to the playful kitten.
She asked him to point to the orange circle, he pointed to the purple square.
She asked him what his name was, he said "Santa Claus"

Poor lady... I wanted so badly to help her, but she insisted she was fine. How was I supposed to explain that I knew where this was headed, the impish grin on his face was a dead give away. She tried to get nicer and sweeter, but it just made Jamie think it was funnier and funnier to thwart her every question.

She asked him where he went to bed, he said "in the kitchen".
She asked him what his favorite food was, he said "helicopters".
She asked him to point to three animals, he pointed to the chair, apple and scissors.

By this time Jamie was hanging upside down on his chair, using his toes to point to the pictures she was showing him. "No Jamie" she said sweetly, "don't use your feet, use your finger". He promptly used his tongue. "No Jamie" she tried again "Not your tongue, give me your finger."
She guided his index finger towards the picture. He quickly switched to using his elbow. "Jamie!" She said in super nice, pretend horror, "Is that your finger?"

"Yes" Jamie said, "This is me giving you the finger."

I don't even want to know what that speech assessment is going to conclude.

Oh, and sadly, opposite day met its untimely death this afternoon, because sometimes four-year-olds just don't understand when enough is enough of a good thing.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Mistborns and The Rebellion

I completely lost Jim to the distant and faraway city known as Luthadel, right around the same time Jamie and Charlie decided to morph into The-Children-I-Do-Not-Know.

I didn't think there could be any downside to a husband that has no problem letting me read whenever and as much as I want. After growing up with books hidden under the bed, books read with the hasty guilt of being caught, and books stashed in the bathroom (or hanging out the bathroom window on a rope after my siblings started doing regular sweeps of the bathroom), I thought I'd died and gone to heaven when I married a man who understood and sympathized with my addiction. The only problem is, he gets equally as lost in a good book as I do...except he takes three times longer to finish it. And don't take that as a sign I read fast, he just reads that slow.

I admire slow readers a lot more than I admire fast ones, but when Charlie has mastered the art of climbing onto the kitchen counters, and is simultaneously sharpening his temper tantrum skills, Jim's desperate hand gestures of "you won't believe what's happening now", are hardly consoling to me. Jamie, on the other hand, woke up two days ago and suddenly realized that he has been blindly accepting his chores and duties as if they were reasonable, acceptable requests. He plotted his revenge and started his ill-fated rebellion by wrapping his legs around the table, making clear eye contact and saying firmly and authoritatively "No. You're not the boss of me.", when I asked him if he'd fed the dog. This continued (and continues) over every little thing, from finding his shoes, to excusing himself from the table. He was a relatively well behaved four year old not 48 hrs ago, and I'd like to know what happened. For some reason, Jamie can't get it through his head that his parents are also equally stubborn firstborns, who can and will exercise an infinite amount of discipline and perseverance. Something Jamie always has to learn the hard way. In a way though, I can handle Jamie's outright mischievousness better than I can handle Charlie's quiet subterfuge.

Either way, I need to go find myself a good book. This week is going to need it.

(I know this one is out of focus, but it's the only one I have. :-( )

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Who said Alcohol was worse than Caffeine

After mountains of peanut brittle drowned in oceans of eggnog, I switched from jeans to spandex. Really, the season's best look for me is dresses over those soft, stretchy leggings. It's better than wearing pajamas. Despite however, the happiness of my elastic ensconced waist, the rest of me was feeling a little bit like I had electrified cotton candy running through my veins. It may or may not have been helped by the complete lack of sleep combined with my new-found love of coffee+steamed eggnog+pumpkin spice syrup. I don't think that's technically an eggnog latte unless it has espresso? No? I should know this, but I don't.

So when Gabrielle gave me this for Christmas...

...It pretty much looked like a diamond necklace to me. I ran full throttle into it's loving, but lecturing arms as I confessed my affair with all things potato related (is there even a way to prepare nasty potatoes?), my flirtation with bread and pasta, and the ten different kinds of cheeses that currently abide in my refrigerator. I have to admit, we get rather territorial with cheese in this family. There's no time like the present to take a break from bad habits, and it can't be coincidental that Christmas just happens to fall days before the page turns over on Time.

Three days into my sabbatical from gluten, sugar, alcohol and caffeine, and I'm still loving the piles of sauteed squash, the giant, dark green salads, and the mugs of peppermint tea. I have always loved all of those things, and it's no punishment to be eating them. I thought I'd miss my glass of wine, or brew, but no, it's the cheese and coffee I miss. The steady pounding in my head sounds like a whiny brat, begging for even the tiniest smidgen of green tea. When I close my eyes the whole world feels like it's spinning... spinning with wheels of Bri, wedges of Romano, and rounds of Gouda. I feel so sluggish, I think I need several shots of pure sugar shot straight into my bloodstream. It doesn't help that no matter where I hide the Christmas candy, Jamie has an uncanny knack of finding it. He doesn't even bother eating in secret, he munches on it happily while I try to move my heavy bones in his direction. I made him sit in his room with the door closed while I stowed it deep in the recesses of the cleaning closet on a high shelf, but he still found it. I wonder if he can smell it like a vampire smells blood? He tells me it's ok because he's sharing with Charlie. Lovely.

In happier news, these adorable munchkins had a reunion with my kids on Monday morning. Joel and Jamie have been two peas in a pod since they were itty bitty. They haven't changed much, they still get into everything and never stop moving. They've only added chattering, and lanky height to their sizable list of skills. They've also gotten a few siblings. ;-)

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Grace and Panache

When you're a kid, it never occurs to you that you are currently creating your past. Heck, I can barely remember this as an adult.
Grownups tried to warn me with their whole "When I was a kid..." but when you are eight, even Christmas to Christmas and birthday to birthday seems like an unfathomable distance, let alone the realization that you won't always live in the same house, have the same friends, or play in the same backyard.

Somehow that inescapable truth hit me like a ton of bricks... 2009's last punch on the way out. Jim and I were up in Pasadena to welcome in the new year, and somehow our spontaneous date turned into an even more spontaneous jaunt to my childhood home. Unsurprisingly, everything looked smaller, and yet still exactly the same. There was the rolling picket fence across the driveway that my dad installed to keep us kids from accidentally chasing a ball into the busy street, the river rock wall with geraniums that my dad and Grandpa built and the bike path that went behind our house. Jim and I parked the car and walked along the trail. We used to have a garden behind our back fence, but it now more closely resembles a jungle. I tromped through it and stood on the spot where my four year old self asked Jesus into her heart... back then it was just a tomato garden, now it's just a spot where my 26 year old self tries to catch a glimpse of me when I was Jamie's age. So bizarre.

We stood on our tiptoes and peered over the back fence into the back yard. Jim acted like he was committing some sort of crime, whereas I felt just as "at home" as I always felt there. I'm sure the neighbors or police would have understood. I could have pitched a tent right there on the spot and never moved. I miss the fact that all my people are growing old, and changing. I'm changing. I know this year will bring good changes along with the bad changes.

I pray I have the grace to survive it.