Monthly Archives: November 2010

Here Comes Santa Claus

You know, when you’re Santa, you probably hear a lot of interesting things.  Probably much like working as a bartender.  You get to hear all about what’s going right and wrong in the lives of your patrons, and you get to try to help them any way you can.
So here’s a brief conversation that took place between Jadon and Santa.
Santa:  What do you want for Christmas, little boy?
Jadon:  I want a big Woody.
Santa (rolls eyes & takes a swig from flask):  You and me both, kid.
Ok, ok, Santa didn’t really say that last part.  But you never know with those mall Santas.  They can be creepy sometimes.

Chaos on Crack

Our family on the move is a bit like a traveling circus, and when I say ‘circus,’ I mean the chaotic, noisy underbelly of the circus, not the pretty stuff all the patrons see.  You see, behind the scenes, there has to be someone scooping the elephant poop and another person to clip the tigers’ toenails and yet another one to listen to all the midget clowns gripe about having to cram into that little car day after day.  And the ringleader is the person who, somehow, finds him or herself smack in the middle of all this chaos, trying to maintain some semblance of organization and dignity.  (But really, we all know the ringleader is just as crazy as all the others.)
This Thanksgiving, we took our little show on the road.  We packed the clowns into the circus car, and we fed the caged animals, and we struck up a lovely rendition of that little circus ditty that seems to play right before the guy gets shot out of the cannon.  And it was over the river and through the woods, to grandmother’s house…
So at the first grandmother’s house, everyone was fairly (surprisingly) well-behaved, although I was immediately placed on high alert when a grandparent I shall not name (ahem) went into some sort of nervous flapping frenzy and demanded ‘parental supervision’ before the kids even did anything.  No one ate a seashell or a collectible rock, and no one chased the dog (Jason’s sister) into hiding, so I was pleased.  However, it became clear that my boys’ mere proximity to the collections was a nervous breakdown waiting to happen, so we attempted to intervene.  (Ok, I only intervened because Jason made me.  Otherwise I would have been content to sit back and let the mayhem unfold.)
Anyway, nothing got broken, and we headed off for the next house on our route.  When the front door to my grandma’s house opened, my boys ran a la Red Rover, Red Rover through the door and straight into the kitchen.  Here is where it begins.
There was a fruit tray.  An innocent, blameless fruit tray that at one time must have looked beautiful—but not after my boys got hold of it.  See, here’s the thing with my boys and fruit.  They can’t get enough of it.  Ever.  They stuff their little cheeks like we’re preparing to hibernate, and if the fruit happens to be particularly juicy (as was this fruit), it starts to run in rivers down their little chins and necks to puddle somewhere around their bellies.  Oh, they try to wipe it with their hands, but after a while, everything is so coated in natural sugars and juice that there is no clean surface that could possibly be used for cleaning.
So Jordan stood beside my grandma, dripping pineapple all over himself—and her—and stuffing grapes into his pockets for later.  Meanwhile, Jadon worked the candy corn dish, pilfering as many of those little sugary gems as possible.  It was at this point that I looked down the length of the table to see my ever-so-proper and delicate 13-year-old fisting a handful of turkey while shoveling pie with the other hand.  In the middle of this, Marissa had grabbed the paper and was clipping sale ads as fast as she could—probably to keep the pineapple juice from congealing on them.
Jacob and Jason were working some sort of computer magic in the living room.  I’m thinking this was a strategic decision on their parts, so that they did not have to dine next to the traveling circus.
As soon as the fruit was devoured by the wild animals finished, everyone wanted dessert.  Now, one might think I would be wary of this.  Having just left one grandma’s house where everyone got quite stuffed, and now sitting at another grandma’s house where those same someone’s were still stuffing their faces, it might have been prudent for me to be concerned about the unusually high amount of food my two little guys were ingesting.
And I would have worried.  Except there were sale ads.  And I was engrossed.  I was planning a strategy for our shopping day.
It wasn’t until I heard an awful sound that was something like BLECHTCHUGH that I worried.
Have I mentioned Jadon’s gag reflex?  Well, he has one.  A very finely-attuned one.  It soon became clear that the little guy had had just one bite too many of chocolate cheesecake.  As he unglamorously tossed his cookies or cheesecake (so to speak) back onto my grandmother’s nice Thanksgiving table cloth, I watched the looks of utter amazement pass across the faces of the other guests.  And you know what?  It was sort of like the looks of amazement that cross everyone’s faces after the tightrope walker sits on a chair on the tightrope and juggles flaming pins a hundred feet above the floor.  Without a net.  They were enthralled at the spectacle.  (Ok, they might have been mortified, but I prefer to go with enthralled.)
Hello, family!  It’s Thanksgiving, and the circus has come to town!

Call an Ambulance—Surely Someone Is Dying

Do you know what happens when only one Leapster is working?  When you have two 3-year-old boys—and only one working Leapster?
Well, let me tell you this.  The kid who gets the short end of the stick in that deal is determined to let the ENTIRE WORLD know that he has been wronged in the most grievous possible way.  If the neighbors were wondering what the high-pitched keening and wailing coming from our house was all about, weeeeelllll, here’s the short version.
After scraping together enough batteries to get both machines in working order, I proudly handed the boys their games, with a smile of triumph on my face because of the fix-it feat I had managed to pull off.  And do you know that those things take 4 (count them, FOUR) batteries each?  That meant that I had to remove batteries from several household items in order to get fully functioning Leapsters.  But hey, I’m that kind of mom.  I’m willing to make the sacrifice for my kids.
Anyway.  So I thought I had the wretched things fixed when I handed them over to the boys.  I left them playing their games contentedly on the couch next to their sister who was evidently texting an entire thesis to her BFF du jour.  I then snuck up the stairs to attempt (that word is key here) to do a load of laundry.
I had no sooner lifted the lid to the washing machine when I heard…hmmm…how do I even describe it?  Have you ever heard, say, a tone-deaf sheep attempting to hit a high note?  Yeah, me either, but either that’s what was in my living room, or something dreadful was happening.  Like maybe the boogie man had snuck in and started yanking Jordan’s fingernails out one by one or something equally as awful.
So I ran—braless, I might add, because I had just gotten into my comfortable house clothes, which do not necessarily require as much support as my work attire—as fast as I could down the stairs, because I was sure that with the amount of wailing I was hearing that someone must surely be dying.
Ok, think.  Assess the situation.  I am an emergency first responder.  WAIL!!!  OM-Gawd, what the heck is going on down there?!
I finally made it to the bottom of the stairs, and for the record, I’m fairly sure that gravity has taken an irreversible toll on certain parts of my body because of that sprint.  And what do you think I saw at the bottom of the stairs?  A burglar?  An axe murderer?  A kidnapper?
Nope.  Not even close.  Here’s what I witnessed.  I witnessed the complete and utter meltdown of the 3-year-old who happened to get the Leapster that quit working.  Jordan was curled into a ball, while still standing, if that’s even possible.  It was sort of a wilted hunchback look, and he was just looking at the game and wailing.  Wail-ing.  A lot.  And loudly.
I quickly used my fix-it knowledge to attempt to remedy the situation.  I took the Leapster and shook it.  Nothing.  Then I tapped it (maybe slightly less than gently).  Then I turned it off and turned it back on.  With each failed attempt, the wailing got louder and the hunchback situation grew more dire.  His head was literally hanging by his knees, so that he was bent over in this impossible position, but he refused to budge.
And do you know what happens when you tell that same kid that he’ll have to wait until Daddy gets home so that he can hook it up to his computer and reset it?  Good guess!  Utter and complete chaos.
And even better yet, every time Jadon would laugh or get excited about something that his fully functioning game would do, Jordan would get even more upset.  The world is a cruel, cruel place when there is only one working handheld game.

But do you know what I learned?  I learned that if you go ahead and do the laundry anyway, it gets really hard to hear the wailing over the dryer.  And I also learned that I’m going to need to improve my Leapster repair skills, because this cannot happen again.

Why We Need to Get Out More

Because my kid walked up to a goat and said, “Baa.”  This is troublesome and more than a little disturbing, especially coming from the sort-of-used-to-be country kid that once walked into church and announced, “I got sheep shit on my shoes!”  (Although, I have to say that in retrospect–and in the lovely alliteration–I could have seen signs of my word-nerdiness going WAY back.)

And here’s the sheep/goat thing that now probably has a personality crisis because of my kid labeling it with the wrong sound:

Suburban Wildlife…As Seen in the Front Yard

And what is it about little boys that makes them want to roll on the ground and frolic in leaves?  I dunno, but seeing them made me want to roll on the ground and frolic as well.  The only thing that held me back was the fact that the neighbors would probably have ended up calling the Loony Bin to come and take me away.  Alas, I let the boys frolic to their little hearts’ content:

Not Too Spooky

This Halloween was the best one we’ve had with the little boys.  Not that the first year–when they were both scared of their dalmation costumes–wasn’t a blast.  And not that the next year–when they both got to the farthest point from home on our walk and THEN refused to take another step–wasn’t also a fantastic time.  They were all great.

All I’m saying is that this year, the weather cooperated.  The boys cooperated.  The costumes weren’t a) too itchy,  b) too hot,  c) too scary, or d) all of the above.  We had a very happy monkey:

And we had a not-entirely-unhappy dragon.  He was definitely happier once he realized that the ridiculous dragon costume would get him more candy:

Once we were able to wrestle Jordan into the dragon costume for the fifty-bazillionth time, we ran out the door (before he could take it off again) and headed to the neighbors’ for loot…you know, the kind of loot that would have all the neighborhood kiddies wallowing in a sugar-induced stupor by bedtime.

The boys actually walked the entire time, which was a vast improvement over years past.  Although, halfway through our candy quest, their pace slowed considerably, and they showed more interest in plundering their bags than in begging for more candy.  Whateva’, little guys, Mommy and Daddy are on the lookout for Reese’s and Snickers, so get on up there and ring another doorbell.

We lasted about an hour before exhaustion set in (mostly on the part of the parents, but I think the kids were tired, too).  This was ok, because earlier in the evening we were informed by Marissa that we were no longer cool, and she ditched us.  Yup.  Ditched.  Us.  (I know, right?!  Can you even believe it?)  Evidently, her friend was a WAY cooler trick-or-treat buddy, so the Mad Hatter headed off to greener pastures…or more sugary streets.  But I did get a pic before she left:

We allowed a bit of candy eating before bed, but it didn’t take long to usher all our little goblins off to sleep after they came in from their candy gathering.  After all, Mommy and Daddy still had to plunder the candy bags for the good stuff.