Monthly Archives: March 2010

Vampires in the Doctor’s Office

So Marissa had blood drawn for the first time yesterday, and I hear it went exceptionally well. I was not there, which was probably a very good thing.

We have a confirmed case of strep throat, and my little school-loving girl is forced to stay home in what she sees as some sort of warped parental form of torture. She would much rather be at school. (Now, if you were to ask my older kids, they would be glad to take on a case of strep throat just to have the opportunity to miss as much school as possible.)

First of all, most of us know that the test for strep itself is not pleasant (some sort of procedure involving a stick in your throat). She made it through that just fine, and she didn’t even start to express concern until the doctor mentioned that she certainly looked pale and she looked like she just really felt awful and he would love to take some blood, just to be sure that’s all we were dealing with.

Blood. This word has power. At the mere mention of stabbing her arm and digging around for a vein, Marissa’s little lower lip jutted out and her eyes filled with tears. But she didn’t cry. (I probably would have cried.) Instead, she sat very still for the blood draw, and it went very smoothly actually.

After they took her blood, she had to wait in the lab waiting room with Grandma, and as the doctor walked by, Marissa stopped him with a question that has had me rolling with laughter since I heard it. She said, “Dr. Dempsey, I know you had to take the blood out to test it, but do you have to stick me again and put it back in my arm?”

Upon noticing her distress at possible further probings by the needle, our family doctor who we love and go to for everything from headaches to ingrown toenails said to her, “Oh no, we just wait for the vampires to come here every night and pick up the extra blood.”

This made her smile, because as we all know, vampires are nice and cute and romantic, just like in the movies.

“S” is for ‘Oh, crap, Mommy said a bad word.’

Yes, our little parrot has decided that the word he enjoys most, the bestest word in the entire English language, the word he must use frequently is a certain 4-letter exclamation that he learned directly from his own mommy’s mouth.

See, what happened is this. Mommy was calmly working in the kitchen preparing spaghetti and reciting educational nursery rhymes to her boys (Yeah, right…and there was a unicorn and a rainbow, too.), and all was going well. Until…yes, until…Mommy splashed some sort of boiling concoction onto the floor, narrowly missing turning her foot into a well-done main course.

And Mommy (who shall remain unnamed) did what any self-respecting adult who saw boiling liquid hurtling toward her foot would do. She yelled. And not just something like, “Oh golly!” or “My heavens!” Nope, I’m pretty sure it was more along the lines of “Sh*t!”

You know, 3-year-olds are very quick learners. Yes, indeed. Not only did Jadon jump in and mimic that word instantly, but it’s as if he now has some sort of daily quota he must meet in order to maintain his hip 3-year-old image. And he enunciates, very well I might add. It’s not like I could cover this up and say, “Oh,” (laugh, laugh), “what he meant to say was ‘sit.’” Nope, nothing like that. Up until this point, he hasn’t been able to pronounce the ‘s’ sound worth a sh*t, but now, all of a sudden he is a master of the complicated ‘sh’ sound.

When he drops something, he says it. When I drop something, he says it. When Max or Ruby drops something, he says it. In fact, if he even thinks someone might drop something, he says it—just in case it might actually happen!

So this is my proud parenting moment of the week. And I have learned from this. I have learned to be very, very careful and not to let anything drop from my hands in Jadon’s presence.

Uh-sgustin

Do little boys just come genetically predisposed to being disgusting? I’m thinking the answer is a resounding YES! Yes, they do. It’s taken me a long time to learn this, but here is the evidence I have collected:

  • Jordan will frequently stash food in the sofa cushions or under the sofa, only to dig it out days later for a yummy (albeit a bit stale) snack.
  • Jadon is fascinated with his mouth, ears, nose, and other unmentionable areas.
  • Jordan loves to dig in the trash for whatever treasure he might be able to find.
  • In Jordan’s little mind, poop is an equivalent and acceptable substitute for Play-Doh.
  • Jadon will spend countless minutes on the potty straining to soak through layers of toilet paper he has placed strategically below him for target practice.

So, this all leads us to Jadon’s newest word: Disgusting (pronounced uh-sgustin). Everything now is uh-sgustin, and when he encounters anything disgusting, he announces it to anyone who will listen. Just the other day, he informed our family doctor that the trash can in his office is disgusting. He will point to food that drops on the floor and deem it disgusting.

But here’s the fun part. He likes to be disgusting. And he loves it when I groan and cringe when he sticks his finger in his own nose. He will run circles around the house—finger in nose—sing-songing ‘uh-sgustin’, uhsgustin’ while I chase him with whatever form of wiping material I may have grabbed while on the run.

It funny, I never thought before that being this uh-sgustin’ could be so much fun!

Catch That Kid!

Yesterday afternoon was lovely, which is why I decided it would be a great day for an early springtime walk to the park with the boys and Marissa when I got home from work. We gathered our tennis shoes and jackets and headed out to greet the semi-warm weather with enthusiasm. Jordan, of course, also had to tote along his sippy cup and and extra pair of socks (not sure what these were for, but he was adamant that we definitely needed to take them).

Our neighborhood play area is a small playground about ½ mile from our house, not a huge trek, but if you’ve been planted on the sofa for most of the winter adding to your winter warming layer, then it’s a fairly decent hike. Time to stretch out the old muscles and consider coming out of hibernation.

So, off we went, a 3-year-old, an almost-3-year-old, an 8-year-old excellent helper, and one very out-of-shape mommy. We arrived at the playground in a respectable amount of time—you have to consider that a couple of our group have midget legs, and mommy has recently pried her winter butt off the recliner—and as soon as the boys saw the playground, they lurched forward in their excited toddler way, anxious to begin stomping in the mud and throwing wood chips at innocent passers by.

Have I mentioned the lovely time we were having? The boys climbed and slid and ran—a much-needed release of energy, since they have been cooped up for far too long waiting for winter to get the heck out of Dodge.

I had my trusty cell phone, (I have been told I am a pitiful excuse for a woman with a cell phone because I never keep it on my person, or for that matter anywhere near my person, so I’m trying to do better.) so we decided to call Daddy on his way home so that he could stop and enjoy some outdoors time with us. Great! The boys were thrilled that he was stopping to play, and they eagerly gathered a small mountain of wet wood chips to throw at him in some sort of odd toddler welcoming ritual.

And so we played. Daddy arrived, and all was right with the world. Birds were chirping, bees were buzzing…not really, but this was our first day outside in a while, so it was pretty good. After a leisurely half hour or so of playing, I announced that it was time to begin the hike back home. After all, I was pretty sure the good fairies had not snuck into our house to prepare dinner while we were out.

Now remember, Jason stopped by in his car, so as logic would dictate, he got back into his car when it was time to go. I got to be the lucky herder of muddy boys as we squished and sloshed our way back home. (Marissa, of course, is a wonderful herder in training and helped a lot by keeping tabs on their whereabouts.)

All was still wonderful as we waved at Daddy. He slowly pulled his car away from the curb, waved, and he was off. And that’s when the fun began. Jordan turned into some sort of Forrest Gump on crack, yelled ‘Daddy!’ and took off at a full-speed run behind the car.

And let me tell you, this was no leisurely Sunday afternoon jog. We are talking full-out, elbows pumping, knees raised SPRINT. Before I even knew what was happening, he was nearly a half a block in front of me, still following Daddy’s tail lights like a hyper puppy. In the meantime, I had to gather Jadon, who clearly thinks that the second half of the walk sucks because there is no play equipment at the end, so he moving at about the pace of a slug after a huge dinner.

So I had two ends of the spectrum—Speedy Gonzalez and Eeyore. And for the record, I feel quite comfortable with the Eeyore speed, thank you very much. However, being the nice mommy that I am (sometimes), I left Marissa to hold Jadon’s hand so that she did not have to run ahead to tame the wild roadrunner.

Let me digress to say that before our walk, we had all changed into comfortable clothes—non-work clothes. Which is to say that Mommy had put on her comfortable bra, the one with no elastic and only one working hook. In retrospect, this was a bad plan—had I known I would be sprinting all the way home, I would have pulled out the super rebar-reinforced support system to wear underneath my baggy t-shirt. But oh no, instead, in my haste to catch Jordan, I’m fairly certain I ended up traumatizing several neighbors and small children.

Any-hoo, we ended up running all the way home. All. The. Way. Home. I know, I know, it’s only about a ½ mile, but remember the whole couch/winter hibernation thing? Yeah, and do you think I thought to carry my inhaler with me? Nope, because I was too busy remembering to take my phone.

About ¾ of the way back, Jadon decided he could walk no further. He was dying. His little legs could not take another step. He planted himself in front of me, arms in the air in the universal kid-sign for ‘Pick me up, Stupid.’ So I did, because I figured, hey, I’m not making enough of a spectacle of myself, so I should plant a kid on top of my head.

Having Jadon securely perched on my shoulders, his little arms wrapped around my head, fingers poking into both my eyes, I took off again. Jordan was still in the lead and still yelling ‘Daddy’ all the way even though daddy’s car was long gone.

We rounded the corner in a final burst of speed. Nearing the finish line, our house in sight, Daddy’s car parked safely in the driveway, Jordan also went into overdrive, his final burst of speed. With visions of cars squishing my precious youngster, I ran even faster. Jadon was bouncing on top of my head, I’m pretty sure the last strand of elastic on my ghetto bra had finally snapped, and I was wheezing like a 30-year-smoker, but I was determined to catch that kid.

And catch him I did. I caught up to him just as he ran into our open garage. The object of Jordan’s obsession must have heard us arrive because the door to the house opened, and out stepped a calm, cool, and collected Daddy who clearly had not had to sprint all the way home from the park. And you know what? Jordan was pretty darned proud of himself for having finally caught him.

Menagerie

So now we have two cats, one chinchilla, one bunny, one beta…and a partridge in a pear tree. Oh yeah, and the five—count them, FIVE—children. I’ve been thinking for a while that life is crazy and hectic and complicated, and all this time I’ve been trying to think of a way to tame the wild life we are living. But you know what? I think I really like it. I can’t seem to find a way to make life calm, and I think that’s because I love the chaotic swell that carries us along from day to day.

In fact, I don’t know what I would do without all of this beloved chaos. Recently, we had a day all to ourselves. Our kids all had something to do and somewhere to be. And after a while, we didn’t know what to do with ourselves. Oh sure, for the first couple hours of freedom as adults there was the keg and the dancing naked in the cul-de-sac, but other than that, we didn’t know what to do.

The point is this: I wouldn’t have it any other way. On the days when I want to tear my hair out, that’s exactly how it’s supposed to be. And on the days when we all laugh and play and get along, that’s how that’s supposed to be, too.

So bring on the chaos…the wild rumpus…the whatever. We got this!

Teen Beat

Do you remember how cool it was to purchase the new Teen Beat or Bop magazine as soon as it hit the shelf in the grocery store? I remember. In my pre-teen, hormone-ridden body, that was in fact the only logical reason for a trip to any store. Obviously, we were headed there to pick up the newest full fold-out poster of Menudo…not because we had run out of bread or milk or any of those inconsequential things.

I would systematically cut each magazine into displayable visions of teen heartthrobs that would hang all around my room, on my ceiling, on my bedroom door. Everywhere. These things were important to me. At 12, they were practically the essence of my being. That is huge.

So, imagine if you will the reaction a pre-teen girl would have if she were to get home from school one day, hop off the bus in a perfectly rosy world humming the latest Lady Gaga hit, head into her room to begin her afternoon of texting all her friends (the ones that she just saw a few minutes ago in school)…only to step into the pit of hell.

Well, not really the pit of hell, but remember we are dealing with the raging hormones of a 12-year-old girl, so her life was simply and irrevocably destroyed in the split second it took her to cross the threshold of her room. It took her only seconds to realize that something was not right.

And by something not being right, I mean that all of her precious posters had be defaced and defiled. Her life was ending right before her eyes. Instead of the rock-hard, spray tanned abs of a teenage werewolf, she found herself face-to-face with crudely drawn replicas of the male appendage. A lot of them. Drawn with great attention to detail.

As if that weren’t enough, there were also words to accompany the drawings, in the strange instance that viewers might not immediately recognize the sketched likenesses.

So, when she called her dad sobbing, intermittently gasping for breath and wailing, I’m sure he was startled and must have thought she had been lured into some den of iniquity by a stranger wielding candy and promising soft, fuzzy puppies if she would just get into his car. Or maybe he thought she had inadvertently chopped off her leg or gotten her arm stuck in the garbage disposal. Any number of things—all life-threatening—must have entered his mind.

But let me remind you: almost-teenage girl, hormones. You get it. After he was able to calm her down and ascertain the root cause of her current hysterics, he was given the information that, in a moment of teenage brain paralysis, our son had thought his artwork would be a welcome addition to her décor. Not so much.

She was told he would be in trouble, but there was really nothing we could do from work. However, Jason asked her to leave the posters in place, so as to assess the crime scene in its original form. He also assured her that her brother would pay for new posters so that she could redecorate with posters that lacked the emphasis on the male anatomy. She wasn’t entirely pleased with this arrangement and was wholeheartedly pushing for the death penalty. We are showing some leniency this time, and although he is still in trouble, we have opted merely for a life sentence of him having to hear his sister whine about her lost werewolf and vampire posters. Oh yeah, and he’s grounded and has to buy new posters.

Micaela would like to see a harsher punishment, based on the fact that he ‘RUINED MY LIFE!!’

Three Years

My little boys are getting ready to turn three. Yes, THREE! I cannot believe how the time has flown. One minute I was a cranky, impatient parent to be, wondering when in the world we would get word from Guatemala that we could finally go and pick them up…and then the next minute, I’m watching both boys run and play and start to talk and do all sorts of things that healthy toddlers do.

A lot of things have happened since those boys finally came home to join our family. There are days when our entire household erupts into complete chaos, only to be outdone by the earthquake/tsunami combos you see in the news. There are days when I think I can’t possibly find the time to smear peanut butter onto bread, and there are days when I wonder if I’ll ever see the bottom of our mountain of laundry (probably not soon anyway).

But most of all, there are happy days. Days when I can’t even remember when those little boys weren’t a part of our family. Now, it seems like they have always been here, like our family was just waiting for them to arrive.

Happy Birthday, Jadon and Jordan! You have brought so much to our family, and we count the blessings you have brought us every single day—even when you are writing on the walls or trying to flush little cars down the toilet. I never thought I would gleefully retrieve objects from the toilet, but you boys have made that possible!

I think of all the kids in the world who don’t have a family. And I think of all the families in the world who would love to have kids just like ours. And I know how lucky we are.

Yes, it’s crazy. It’s hectic. It flies by in a whirlwind most days, but it’s good. It’s a good, good life.