Monthly Archives: June 2010

Experiments in Bathing

As it turns out, shampoo that does not specifically call out an attribute of “tear-free” on its packaging is definitely not tear-free.  Even if you only use a little bit.
Last night we were out of the tear-free variety, so I was faced with a very difficult decision.  Either I could ignore the repulsive smell emanating from my two 3-year-olds OR I could experiment and hope to get the shampoo out of their hair without getting any into their eyes.
Ok, in fairness to me, I only used a little bit of shampoo.  Normally, I would gauge the level of filthy boy-ness and meter out the shampoo quantity accordingly.  After playing outside in the heat, usually this requires a solid handful of shampoo, and then I usually drizzle a little extra straight from the bottle onto their little heads.  Lots of shampoo and soap is required to make these boys clean after a day of doing all their muddy, grassy, buggy boy things.
But I refrained.  I held myself back and only used the prescribed dime-sized amount, as the Suave people suggest.  (Except that it was probably more like a half-dollar sized dollop, just for good measure.)
All went well until the rinsing part.  Their little heads were coifed in the familiar baby-in-the-bathtub-with-a-mohawk style, full of clean-smelling shampoo (that I was fervently praying was not the eye-stingy kind).
I handed Jadon a towel to hold over his eyes, and he held it there for about 2 seconds before he dropped it into the tub—right before the first gushing waterfall hit his head to rinse the suds.  I had already started pouring the cup of water over his head when he dropped his towel.
What I heard next was a sort of screech-howl that finally peaked on some ungodly, eardrum-shattering note.  It sounded like a pack of wolves was being attacked by chimpanzees.  (I have not actually witnessed that event, but I’m guessing there would be some shrieking involved.)
At the same time, picture if you will, a small wildebeest performing a Native American rain dance.  Because that’s what he was doing while he was shrieking.
I got the wildebeest another towel and quickly got the rest of the shampoo out of his hair.
Jordan’s ordeal was not nearly so eventful, as he had the foresight to actually hold onto his towel.  I’m totally blaming this on the kid—he should have held onto his towel.
This scientific experiment has proven the effectiveness of regular shampoo when it comes to making kids cry.  I would not recommend it.

Stealing a Snickers Bar

So last night’s workout was…wait, what was that word I used before?  Oh, yeah.  Brutal.  B to the R to the UTAL!  Yep, that’s what it was.
All day long I worried about the workout of the day.  So here’s what I learned from that:  Don’t look up the workout of the day beforehand.  Just be surprised.  Go in blind.  It’s much better than giving yourself an ulcer because your first group class EVER totally revolves around running.
Let me tell you about running.  The last time I ran, it was with by best friend, Gina, in high school.  We signed up for the track team (um, yeah, that did not work out for me), and during workouts the team coincidentally ran right by her house, so we (being the conniving teenagers that we were) dropped to the back of the line and slowly faded into her front door—where we enjoyed snacks and Mountain Dew until the rest of the suckers came by again on their return lap through town.  As they gasped to make the trek back to school, we jogged along with Mountain Dew sloshing in our stomachs thinking we would much rather be in her living room watching Oprah.  So that was the peak of my running career.  It all went downhill from there.
I think I sort of did a skip-run once when there was a double markdown on Coach purses, but I can’t be positive.  I might have just been riding the wave of sale-hungry shoppers.  And there are rare occasions when I might concede to running now—like if there is a shoe sale.  Or maybe even if one of my kids is about to be hit by a bus.  Then I’d at least give it a good Girl Scout try.
Ok, back to last evening’s torture.  Ahem…workout.
First of all, it was hot.  And sticky.  Muy, muy sticky.  Secondly, I had stuffed the girls into some sports bra contraption that was mushing everything together, and combined with the sweat, worked to form a fairly sizeable LAKE.  (Just so you know—for me, sweaty “girls” = grumpy.  I know, I know.  TMI.  But I’m trying to set a scene here.)
So the coach (a.k.a. head torturer of the day) decided we should take our running outside.  Where? you might ask.  He decided to take us across the road to the police station track/torture course—which, as you can imagine is directly behind the parking lot of the police station.  That means every single cop in Lee’s Summit had front-row seats to my humiliation.
And then the coach said something like, “3-2-1 Go!”  or “Heart Attack!” or something like that.  I am telling you right now that track HAS to be longer than 400 meters per lap.  I’m pretty sure it’s more like a mile per lap, at least.
I started off strong—really, really strong.  In fact, I almost made it to the little rabbit that was staring at me from the first curve before I started to sputter, wheeze, and see visions of my dead great-grandma saying, “Well, I’d rather put on a tin bill and pick sh*t with the chickens…”  Yeah, me too, Nanny.
Needless to say, the little bunny was scared.  Be afraid, little bunny.  Be very, very afraid.  I’m sure the little guy was leisurely munching on grass and whatever else it is that bunnies munch on when, to his utter dismay, he looked up to see the Michelin Man, clad in black running pants and a drenched t-shirt, headed straight for him at a…well, not-so-fantastic rate of speed.
The bunny ran off, far away from the track, as I approached, but as I neared him, I think I heard him tell me, “Go back, go back.”  Oh wait, no that was the hallucination I was having, combined with a touch of heat stroke I think.
So I rounded the corner toward the police department parking lot—because I really, really could not wait for Lee’s Summit’s finest to see me in action.  Honestly, I’m surprised they were not out there recruiting me right then.  But that’s probably because they were inside the building laughing at the girl hobble-running up a hill like she stole a Snickers bar.
I made it through the course, and I’m alive to talk about it today, so that’s a step in the right direction I suppose.
And THEN!  Then, do you know what I did?  I’ll tell you.  I went back for more this morning.  (Mostly because I like the feeling of fire and volcano lava searing my muscles.  I mean, who wouldn’t like that?  Oh yeah…normal people.)
So now I can’t move.  But I can’t really sit still either.  No one will show sympathy for my butt crisis, but I am fairly certain I have strained something down there.  Ouch.  But, no pain, no gain—I am down 9 pounds so far and still trucking.  (Never mind the numbness and tingling in my right leg.)

Death Wish

A whim?  A dare?  A challenge?  I don’t know.  Maybe a little bit of each, and then some.
Usually my posts are about my kids, but I have to break the cycle and write about the newest happenings in my very own life.  Yeah, me.  Not me the mom.  Or me the wife.  Just me.
This is all Carl’s fault, so if he’s ever reading this, he needs to know that he’s created a monster (albeit an out-of-shape, struggling-to-keep-up monster).  It is a monster that is getting stronger by the day, and I am so excited.  I never thought I would spend the first portion of my life so out of shape, but now I am determined to spend the rest of it getting into better and better shape.  I cannot believe the difference that a mere week has made—both in my physical and mental makeup.
Here’s the deal.  CrossFit.  Where do I even start?  You may recall a few posts back when I explained in gory detail the brutal workout my daughter did with her team at CrossFit.  As it turns out, this was the turning point.  (Darn those fit people for being so nice to me!)
I blogged about needing my inhaler just to watch them do the torturous workout they were doing.  I think I mentioned something about my lungs collapsing at the mere thought of trying to do what they were doing.  And yeah, that’s probably still true…for now.  BUT…
(And that’s a big ‘but’)
…I took the leap.  When Carl first told me I could do this, I wondered to myself if maybe we had missed a trampoline payment or two and maybe he was trying to off me.  I was a little worried, but I talked to “J”—the guy with the funny shoes (I gotta get me some of those!), and he, too, reassured me that I could do it.  I got the talk about all fitness levels and scaling workouts to my level and maybe something about using defibrillators if my heart stopped.  I dunno.
Anyway, I was convinced.  And you know what?  The first day was:
Torture.  Pure, unadulterated torture.
Let me rephrase.  The first day was the most brutal, gut-wrenching workout I have ever survived.  Survival—that is the key.  Here’s sort of what we did, although by the end of the workout, I’m pretty sure I was in some sort of sweat-induced coma, so it could be skewed:
5 gazillion squats.  I was told these will become my new best friend. (Whether I like it or not.)
1 million push-ups.  These are not my friend.  Yet.
20 million box jumps.  For me, these were crawl-on-the-big-box-any-way-you-can exercises.
Some other stuff in between.
A little bit of stretching.
And a whole lot of feeling like I might barf all over their pretty, squishy floor.
It was the BEST. WORKOUT. EVER.  I have never in my life felt so happy about not being able to feel anything below my waist.  I did have a little trouble holding on to the steering wheel when I left, as my arms were functioning about as well as tree trunks made of Jell-o.
I’m still in awe of those big boxes that people jump on though.  The tall one comes up to my waist, and unless there is literally a fire under my butt, I’m pretty sure I’m not getting on it.  Especially by jumping.  Maybe with a ladder.  (If I ever jump on one of those, someone remind me about this post when I thought I couldn’t even climb onto one.)
And I’m still pretty positive that I sprained my butt, although Micaela tells me that’s impossible.  She just said, “Oh, Mom, that’s your hamstring” and had me do some sort of human-pretzel stretch in the middle of our living room.  (It DID make my butt feel better, but I’m not telling her that.)
I have finished my five foundations classes, and now I’m off and running.  (Well, not running, per se…but you get my point.)
After only one week with CrossFit, here’s what I’ve learned:
  • I need better bras.  The girls need to be tamed and kept under control.
  • Pain is good.  As the soreness from the previous workout starts to wear off, I find myself looking forward to the next one.
  • I didn’t sprain my butt.  I DID, however, work muscles in my butt that I didn’t even know existed.
  • “Those People”  (the fitness-crazed CrossFitters) are really nice.  And encouraging!
  • Donuts aren’t worth it.  All that hard work and making my body feel better just makes me want to do more and more positive things.  (Marking donuts off my food pyramid is one of them.)
And finally, the most important thing I learned:
I have to go back!  Seriously, you guys.  This stuff is freakishly addictive. 

The “L” Word

It seems that my teenager is flirting with the big “L.”  He is in LOVE.
OMG, what the heck am I supposed to do with that juicy tidbit of information?!
Instead of spending my time telling him how he’s looking at future heartbreak and emotional ruin (because I’m a supportive and understanding mom like that), I decided to think about what I loved at 15 (going on 16).
The list is short, and it’s pretty much inclusive.  When I was 16, I loved:
  • My curling iron
  • My pleather flats
  • My mixed tapes
  • My make-up
  • Goofy 80’s sitcoms
  • Shopping (for pleather flats)
  • My hairspray
There might have been a few other things in the periphery, like, I dunno, family, pets, friends, blah, blah, blah…but pretty much it was anything I could buy at Claire’s or in the make-up aisle at Wal-Mart.
What I did not love at 16:
Another 16-year-old!
Why? you might ask.  Well, let me tell you.  It’s because I had some sort of ingrained sense of self-preservation that told me I would most likely get my heart trampled by a herd of hormonal teenage boys.  That’s why.
So now I’m watching my kid.  In LOVE.  The ooey, gooey, mushy kind of love.  The kind where they say things like, “No, you hang up first.”  or  “No, I love YOU more.”  That kind of gaggy stuff.
And believe me, no amount of parental bribery or distraction will sway him from this path.  I have tried explaining that he has a long, long time before he has to settle down, but he seems to think we are in some sort of Olympic falling-in-love-for-time event, and let me tell you, if that were the case, I think we would have a clear winner.
So for now, I’ll just sit back and listen to the ooey, gooey, mushy stuff and try not to act all mom-like.  But seriously…EWWW. 

Going to the Movies

Hmmm.  The movie excursion was interesting and not completely mortifying, so I’m giving it a ranking of Yeah, We Might Do That Again Sometime in the Next 10 Years.
It wasn’t the bloodbath I thought it would be, so kudos to the boys on their good behavior.  Only a couple ladies had popcorn in their hair, and there was this one poor guy sitting below us that got the brunt of a juice box, but he was ok as soon as he found out the stream of liquid splashing near his feet was just juice.
There were lots of monsters kids, so we blended.  Ours were not the best behaved, nor were they the worst.  I’m going to go out on a limb and say that the most badly-behaved patrons at that particular showing of Toy Story 3 were the teenagers who huddled in obnoxious masses in the front section.  Let’s just say this:  I can recall only a couple of instances when I have voluntarily chosen the neck-breaker seats in the very front, and each of those instances involved me having entirely too much to drink.
OMG, I think I just sounded like one of those geriatric patients who grumbles about “those darn teenagers these days!”  Yikes!  Ok, the teenagers were great, and they really didn’t add to the chaos, because the theater was filled with fun-sized chaos-makers anyway.
When we first got there, Jadon was scared.  All he would say is something to the effect of, “Ja-Ja go watch movie in Ja-Ja’s house.  Sit in Ja-Ja’s chair.”
Oh, no, my little man, we are here now.  Tickets have been paid for.  Candy has been smuggled.  You are going to have fun.  And I mean it!
So, after I lovingly soothed Jadon’s fears, (Dude, it’s a giant tv, and looook, candy!) we settled in for the previews.  That was when Jordan decided he needed to disassemble the lighting fixture on the step we were sitting by.  Next thing I know, he was handing me something in the dark.  I’m used to being handed mystery items (boogers, chewed-up gummies, etc.), so this did not phase me in the least, and I stuck my hand out to receive the proffered gift.  And that was when the SCALDING and burning of flesh began.  I’m not sure how Jordan managed to get the little light bulb out of the stairway fixture, but I’m thinking that stuff should be child-resistant.  Hello, Dickinson Theatres, anyone listening?
I nursed my singed hand with the still-cold coke I had smuggled in for Jason, while I inspected Jordan.  He was fine.  Completely and totally fine.  How did he not burn his little hand?  I don’t know.  All I know is that the theater was entirely too bright for his taste, so he decided to darken it up a bit.
Once Buzz and Woody finally made an appearance, it was smooth sailing—mostly.  Or swaying, or whatever.  Jordan swayed through the entire movie, and Jadon was afraid to sit in the chair (because he’s the big, tough one, you know).
The only little glitch happened when I started digging the giant bag o’ smuggled candy out of my purse.  I gave each of the boys a fun-sized bag of M&Ms and thought that would be acceptable.  No.  It was most definitely NOT acceptable.  Once Jordan had zeroed in on the motherlode of sweets hidden in my purse, his sole reason for existing on this planet then revolved around GETTING. THAT. CANDY.
I redirected.  I cajoled.  I distracted.  Finally, Jason and I resorted to playing some sort of cruel chocolate keep-away with Jordan, which did not make him happy in the least.  Luckily, he was distracted by the terrifying flaming inferno that the toys were about to fall into, so he became more worried about this new childhood trauma than he was about getting the chocolate.  Well, almost.  Every now and then, he would remember his original quest and make a head dive for the candy.  But alas, the adults were very good at hiding the candy…and also at stuffing the candy in our faces while he wasn’t looking so that we could combat the extreme amount of stress involved in taking them in PUBLIC.

The Wild—Survival and Surrender

I have packed my survival kit in anticipation of this evening’s foray into the wilderness.  Not only will I be venturing into certain disaster and mayhem, I will also be required to think quickly and respond with the reflexes of a tiger.  My strength will be tested, as well as my will and my resolve.  I will be venturing into a territory where midget-sized evil lurks in every corner.
Can I do it?  I don’t know, but in honor of moms of preschoolers everywhere, I’m going to give it everything I’ve got.  I will not go down without a fight.
I am not venturing into enemy camps or into a jungle wilderness.  Worse.  We have decided to take our 3-year-olds to the movie theater.  In PUBLIC.
We have studiously and diligently avoided taking our children in public since our two littlest guys came home from Guatemala, and really the only reason for it is that we are afraid.  Very, very afraid.
Our three older children, we could handle.  We could even take them out for an ENTIRE day and pretty much remain in control of the situation.  But now—now is a completely different story.
Now, we have five (OMG, FIVE!) kids to contend with.  And I’ll admit, we are only taking three of them with us tonight, but two of those three have the power of an entire army of sugar-fueled, parent-duping youngsters, complete with a taste for blood.  If they sense one iota of weakness on our part, we are going down in flames.
But we have been told that it’s un-parentlike to lock our kids in the house and never, ever, EVER go anywhere with them.  It’s not that we don’t like them.  We do.  We love them.  But, reference a few paragraphs back when I mentioned the fear.
We are going to see Toy Story 3, and we have chosen this movie simply because both Jadon and Jordan tend to go into a hypnotic trance every time they see Buzz and Woody on TV.  So, I figured if they love them that much, then just imagine how delighted they will be to see them on the BIG screen.  If any movie can hold their attention, it’s Toy Story, so we’re crossing our fingers that the trance begins at the start of the movie and lasts through the rolling credits at the end.
However, if you happen to be at the Lee’s Summit movie theater tonight, and if you happen to see two trembling parents curled into the fetal position and crying underneath a movie seat, it’s probably us.
Oh, and if you happen to see two little brownish-complected boys throwing popcorn and jumping on the seats…yeah, that’s definitely us.

Man the Lifeboats!

We have been having lots of rain lately, and by ‘rain,’ I do not mean that very pleasant springtime drizzle.  Oh, no—I’m talking about deluges that have turned our yard into a lake.  I have noticed this, Jason has noticed this, and pretty much anyone who has to picture themselves eventually mowing the jungle of a lawn when it finally dries out has noticed it.
But I didn’t think the little guys had noticed it.  You know it’s rained entirely too much when the 3-year-old looks out the window and says, “I need a life jacket.”
And on a related note, since yesterday’s flood only lasted a short time, Jadon also saw something else.  He shouted excitedly from his room, and Jason went to see if he had hog-tied his brother or if some other equally traumatizing event was occurring.  Nope.  All was well.  He was shouting because he had seen something else outside his window—the first rainbow he has even seen (well, or at least the first one he has acknowledged).
So the boys and Jason looked out the window at the rainbow for a long time.  But I’m sure Jadon was still worried about his life jacket and whether or not there would be enough life boats.  No worries.  I feel absolutely certain that we could fit 2 adults, 5 kids, 2 cats, a chinchilla, a rabbit, a snake, and a beta fish in the lifeboat with room to spare.  Anyone want to hop in with us?  I’m sure it’ll be one heck of an exciting ride!

Diagnosis: Are You KIDDING Me?

Yes, that IS the official diagnosis.  Well, maybe it’s more like my response to Jordan’s diagnosis.
After our initial visit to Children’s Mercy, which lasted about an eternity and a half and was facilitated by something like 50 billion doctors, we returned today to hear the official diagnosis from our team of medical professionals.  (I’ll digress for a moment to tell you that I’m pretty sure one of them was no older than 14, but she sure seemed like she knew what she was talking about.  Sort of like the perky female version of Doogie Howser.)
Autism was ruled out.  And let me stress that I’m pretty sure this was the ONLY thing that was ruled out.
Evidently our kid has apraxia (a speech disorder), which will require a lot of speech therapy.
He also has sensory intolerance to a certain degree, explaining his aversion to loud (or not so loud) noises.
Oh yeah, and don’t forget the anxiety disorder.  That’s what seems to be causing him to settle into a familiar routine and pull away from unfamiliar things (one of the things that made us think we might be dealing with autism).  We learned that, in fact, he enjoys being around people—he just doesn’t know what to do when he’s there.  Which is a problem.  We were all in agreement that, indeed, it would be quite frustrating to play with kids when you can’t talk to them.
Hmmm, let’s see.  I don’t have the stack of paper in front of me, but I don’t want to forget the anxious attachment disorder.  The doctor who told us about this was quick to point out that, no, this is nothing like RAD, and he won’t wake up one night and try to kill us in our sleep.  Very good news.
There’s also the constant movement of his little body.  It’s exhausting to watch him, and I’m pretty sure he has to be exhausted, too.  That would work into the impulse control portion of the diagnosis.
After the first dozen or so diagnoses, I sort of starting hearing this buzzing in my head, and the doctors’ mouths seemed to be moving in slow motion.  Huh?  I’m pretty sure the buzzing in my head was due to the overload of information I had to absorb.
“Why yes, waiter, I am ready to order.  I’ll have the anxiety with a side of apraxia, followed by a half portion of sensory intolerance.  And for dessert, I’ll have the impulse control.”
Good grief, I am going to need my own personal library to learn about all of this stuff.  No, wait!  WebMD, here I come!
But on a serious note, I’m glad we have a diagnosis for our little guy.  We can now get him all the help he needs.

Would it be wrong…?

Here’s the sitch.  Micaela has a bit of trouble distinguishing and working with spatial differences in objects.  (Translation:  Things like puzzles are hard for her.)  This is all due to an unfortunate incident before kindergarten in which a certain day camp let her nearly drown in their pool, but that’s all water under the bridge.  (Yeah, I crack myself up sometimes.)
Anyway, last night she announced to Jason and me that she had a brand new list of things to put on her birthday list.  (No doubt.  The list already has somewhere around 500 items on it, and it continues to grow.)
She informed us that she had spent the day working puzzles and was now completely “into” them.
Fantastic! we thought.
As she began work on her third puzzle of the day, we started to hear mysterious noises that resembled furniture being hurled across the room or an earthquake or maybe even a minor explosion.  Noises that were somewhat alarming and accompanied by shouts of frustration.
I was guessing that the third puzzle, and by far the most difficult, was proving to be a bit more of a challenge than she had anticipated.
And yep, I was right.  It wasn’t long before she stomped out of her room, declared herself a failure, and taped a sign to her door announcing to all passersby that they would promptly be eaten by trolls if they were to attempt to gain entrance to her fortress.
Ok, really the sign said this:
Um, so here’s my dilemma.  Would it be totally and completely wrong of me to correct the spelling in that situation?  Yeah, I thought so, but I sure wanted to.

A Visit to the Zoo

Well, not really.  But close enough.
You know how when you go to the zoo, usually it’s the monkeys that are doing really funny stuff?  Like picking bugs off each other.  Or putting their fingers in their ears.  Or throwing poop.
Yeah, that last one is my favorite.
Here’s what I have learned.  When one of your little monkeys is old enough to actually throw poop at you (yes, throw. poop. at. you.), it is definitely time for some hard-core potty boot camp.
Sweet little Jadon, my adorable little pumpkin (laced with heavy sarcasm here) decided that I did not respond quickly enough when he yelled, “Ja-Ja poop in pants!” at me after I had tucked him in and settled meself down for a good session of Whale Wars on TV.
I actually thought I responded quite promptly, after I muttered a few things under my breath about him being the first child EVER to go to kindergarten with poop in his pants.  Yeah, that’s still a few years away, but believe me progress has been very slow in this department, slow enough to make me start fretting about how I’m going to manage to send Depends to kindergarten in an unmarked package so that he is not mercilessly mocked by his peers who happen to enjoy not pooping in their pants.
I grabbed a Pull-Up—because in my delusional state of believing the boys are semi-potty trained, I have moved from diapers to Pull-Ups—and I headed up the stairs at a blistering rate of speed.  Still not fast enough for my little angel though.
Once more I heard, “Ja-Ja poop in PANTS!”  This time it was louder and more insistent.
Well, maybe you should have thought about the uncomfortable situation you were about to put yourself in BEFORE you dropped a load in your pants, little man.  I thought this, but didn’t say it.  (Ok, maybe I said it, but in a loving and nurturing way.)
As I made it to the second step, suddenly I found myself in a storm of round, brownish hail that was raining down—inside my house.  Oh yes, my little cherub decided that it would be fun to play a game of Poop Asteroids with Mommy as she worked her way up the stairs.  At a brief break in the hailstorm of poop, I looked up to see him standing at the railing with his hand twisted at this unnatural angle, trying to dig for more ammunition from the back of his pants.
OMG—my kid was throwing poop at my head.  Seriously?  Where the heck did he get the idea that this was remotely acceptable?
After a good reprimand, during which I thoroughly sanitized his little poop-covered hands, I realized that I needed to have a conversation about good choices with my little sugar plum.  And then I realized, OMG, I am going to be one of those moms that I have previously caught myself wanting to strangle with the strap of my diaper bag as they sing-song to their kids, “Make good choices!”
I told Jadon it is NOT A GOOD CHOICE to throw poop at Mommy.  And then I mentioned that if he did it again, I would bleepity-bleep-bleep his little bleepity-bleep-bleep.  Because that’s what good mommies do.