Thursday, July 3, 2008

Man Cold - March 2008

So, my dh, who is the greatest husband of all time, came down with a cold last weekend. Although to hear it from him, he's the first person who's ever had one this bad. I can't really complain, but I will anyway, since he's been coping well with my recent and ongoing sever depressive episode like a champ. That said - what gives? Do all men shuffle around in their jammies and slippers for extended periods of time mumbling to themselves and coughing loud enough for everyone within ear shot to interpret their misery as being on the threshold of death? Do all men lie down for extended periods of time on any flat surface nearby? I want to say, though I have not, Buck-up little cowboy - take your medicine, put on your shoes and keep moving. Of course, since I have harboring these uncharitable thoughts, I myself have come down with a bad cold. Serves me right, I suppose. Buck up, little cowgirl.

Post script:

A month or so after this post, I got sick, very sick - and coughed and hacked (and peed my pants) and wheezed and sneezed with cold chills and hot sweats. It lasted for days and days and then a week, and then two. Suddenly, I had so much more compassion for my husband and vowed, that I will never again complain about how miserable he acts when he feels so bad... until next time, at least.

What do SAHM do all day??? from DCUM, 02/15/07

From DCUM in response to the question: What do Stay at Home Moms DO all day?
Friday, February 15, 2007

I make lists of the projects I will do when my kids go to school. I referee epic battles. I take a zillion pictures and print none of them. We go out everyday to somewhere - and scour our-kids and gocitykids over a hot cup of coffee each morning that the boys are not in preschool. I make "practice runs" to places like the grocery store and buy only an item or two.

I remember how much we wanted children and how long it took us and how much it "cost" us in emotional energy and money - and all the shots in the ass and the dr.'s appointments. I pass out my "mommy business card" to anyone who will take it - and urge them to get connected with other moms. We go to the car wash, whether it needs it or not. We look for construction sites and hang out there. We visit the fire stations, each and every one in the county... We look for emergency drills being conducted by the county and hang out there, too.

I clean house and tidy-up with my helpers. We all have spray bottles and rags and we have a couple of vacuums and unbreakable (almost) plates. I throw dinner in the crock pot with my helpers. I go to the appliance store and get giant card board boxes and bring them home to the living room for as long as they last. I talk to my mommy gal pals on the phone while the kids are napping - and read dcum and mona and the other 1/2 dozen list serves that deluge me. I run my two roombas over and over again. I hide in the bathroom and pretend I can't hear what's going on elsewhere in the house. I read them a dozen books (or two) and cuddle with them at every opportunity. I "fix" things using scotch tape and batteries.

I worry about my kids' education and how to combat the negative influences that will impact them. I ponder what it would be like not to be home and feel grateful that I am. I remember my career and don't miss it. I remember be trim and fit and do miss it.

Knowing this special time before "real" school, and soccer practices and video games and television and sleepovers and driving lessons, and proms and SATS will be gone in the blink of an eye, I get down on the floor and play trucks and trains and cars and I finger-paint and stamp and hand out big rolls of scotch tape and big boxes of band aids to the boys, just to see what they'll do with them.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

For the love of all that is Holey - DCUM December 7, 2007

> Date: Friday, December 21, 2007, 7:41 AM

I am either going to shoot myself or starting drinking at breakfast! I know parents of twins
(and more) around the world have successfully potty-trained their kids without doing either, but I feel like I am going to lose what is left of my small mind.

John and David declared on Tuesday that there would be no more diapers. Fine. That was our plan for the holiday break, since we are masochistic freaks who like to do all the hard things over the holidays – think losing the pacifiers, dropping some nursings, etc.

My problem is, it’s not the potty training that is driving me over the edge, I can clean and sanitize and redress with the best of ‘em – it’s managing my hell boys…

I bought four different potties at various consignment sales, with the theory that we could start by having them scattered about the house like candy from a piƱata. Naturally, they only like one of them, so they spent Tuesday pushing and shoving each other off the favored
throne, or simply dominating said throne (and thereby their sibling) by refusing to get off of

Fine. So, I went out and got two matching potties Wednesday and that seems to have solved that problem. Each child, however, likes to have "company" while doing their deeds, which leaves the other child to either wreak havoc elsewhere in the house (think kitchen – think mess), run off with the toilet paper and unroll the whole thing to get to the tube within
(which then becomes "unusable" because his royal highness on the throne wishes to unravel his own paper), or to stand in the bathroom and antagonize the crap (so to speak) out of the one who is dutifully sitting.

Or, while one is dutifully sitting, one will go elsewhere in the house to have a sneaky pee or a sneaky poo, aka "accident." Or, wholly unrelated to one being on the potty – one will be doing the tantrum thing somewhere in the house and need immediate attention to prevent serious
self-inflicted bodily injury, and the other will arrive on the scene to investigate, while making "that face" and "that sound" that indicates that a poop is in progress.

When one is left to do his business solitaire, whilst I attend to some other emergent crisis, he manages to either screech until I return, or proceed in silence to find something in the bathroom that he has no business doing, like removing the lid from the back of the john, breaking into the "childproof" cabinet under the sink, or dispensing enough hand soap into the sink with water to make the bubbles overflow ala Great Falls with 6 tons of Dawn dumped in upstream.

And the friggin’ dog (an 85 pound Sheppard) keeps joining us in the bath room…and vomited all over the rug in the boys room – yes, the dry-clean only sheepskin rug which I promptly threw in the washer.

And the boys insist on being entirely naked while learning this new skill…

I am not an inattentive parent and I have a house the size of a cracker-jack box and I am running as fast as I can back and forth. I realized recently that my primary methods of "parenting" these first three years have been containment, elevation (of off-limit things) and deception (gee, I have no idea where your cow bells are, sorry). Sadly, those techniques seem inappropriate in this venue.

Please, someone, throw me a bone and tell me I’ll make it til Saturday when my husband is on-duty. Other than straight jackets – what else can I do that won’t win me a referral to CPS?

I have yelled more in the last three days than in the last three years combined and am concerned about by place on Santa’s list as we approach the big day.

Advice, commiseration, and a stiff drink are all welcome…not necessarily in that order, of course.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Crying it out - I am a sucker

From February 2008 in reply to the periodic battle that arises over crying it out:

I’m a sucker for my twin boys, and always have been. I tried CIO once and it nearly broke my heart.

Against all advice, I routinely nursed my children to sleep until they were 26 months old. My husband and I love to snuggle up with my boys, and always have – to hear their gentle breath, to touch their soft skin and to feel their warmth. Now that they are 3+, one of us still snuggles with them before nap time or evening sleep, often staying with them until they doze off and we can gingerly place them in our loving arms and carry them to their cribs. We sit together in soft light, listening to the sound of the same beautiful music that we have heard thousands of time since their birth. I often think about the time in the not too distant future when they will be so much less open to the special closeness we now share. I think about what their hands will look like when they are men, and how their voices will change. I am so often the beneficiary of the sweetest kisses in my cheek, with the kindest words I’ve ever heard: Mama, you are a good woman. I will love you always and forever. You are my heart, and I am yours.

We will have no more children, and someday there will be no more lullabies. What will linger for me is the magical time that we have shared. And should we find ourselves someday burying one or both of my children in some godforsaken chain of events, I will never regret the time I’m given them. And should I die before I am ready – and they are ready to lose me, my husband can tell my sons, Your mama heard you, and she came to you. She held you – you are in her heart, and she in yours. She will love you, always and forever.

As an addendum - I cannot say how much I love lying with my boys, cheek to cheek on a cramped loveseat in their room, as they share their memories of the day and the fantastical things they are in the process of dreaming up. It is, by far, my favorite part of each day.

What I gave up when I got married

Recently there was a discussion about email addresses and women who share one with their spouses. It included the thought - I gave up my name when I got married...

Here's what I gave up - from MONA, winter 2008:

When I got married, I gave up being alone – alone for the holidays in a sea full of family and extended family, alone for the long three day weekends when my colleagues were hurrying home to their families, alone at night, but for the comfort of a trustworthy dog at my feet and a cozy cat nestled on the pillow beside me.

When I got married, I gave up having to do “it” alone – to clean the gutters with no one holding the ladder, to drop the car off at the shop and still get to my next destination on time, to stand by the side of my trustworthy dog when they put him down, to get back and forth to the hospital for surgery, to manage a household…

When I got married, I gave up being my only real, sincere and giving cheerleader – now I have someone who roots for me in the world, in the big and the small, who looks ahead with enthusiasm and optimism with me, and who relishes many of the same joyful memories that I have over a chilled glass of white wine.

I share a bed, a home, a car, two children, the chores, the ups and downs, the good, the bad and the ugly with my husband. I share dreams with him and sorrows, joys and consternation.

My marriage has been no sacrifice to me – it is what sustains me in a troubled, uncertain and chaotic world.

My Big Red Secret

It turns out that my big red secret turned out to be a really good investment of time, when we have had occasion to call the medics to our home twice in the last month. Knowing the guys - and them knowing the boys, made the work of getting the job done (possible poisoning & treatment of a finger wound).

From summer 2007 on MONA & NVPOM:

We have been having a complete hoot for the last 6 weeks dropping in on various fire stations across the county – I wanted to share this big red secret for those of you who might have a youngster who would enjoy such a frolic. We have visited five (or six) different stations – and just have dropped in when the opportunity arises. The boys LOVE it and the firefighters have been so pleasant and so welcoming – answering the same questions over and over and over again – and of course, letting the kids climb all over the equipment, and open every compartment on the truck.

Our visits usually last for 20-30 minutes – and we often have the extra bonus of seeing other interesting county vehicles gas up at the pumps – which, if the firetrucks have lost their shine, is a great diversion.

We have also learned:

Firefighters go poop and pee in the potty (for those potty training)
Firefighters like a clean place – and put all their “toys” away
Firefighters stick together and do not leave one another (for those who have runners)
Firefighters wear socks
Firefighters hang up their clothes and put away their shoes
Firefighters who are shorter than 36” do not use dirty words
Firefighters eat their vegetables and drink their milk
Firefighters know how to leave the “house” quickly
Firefighters always wear their seatbelts
Firefighters are good listeners
Firefighters are kind and helpful
Firefighters do not hit
Firefighters take turns
Firefighters share
Firefighters do not spit in the house
Firefighters do not throw food or trash on the floor

The other very cool thing for those who host playgroups is that your local fire truck and/or medic unit will drop by for a visit if you call and ask – and obviously, if they are available. Such a visit may, if you are lucky, be punctuated by a loud and rapid departure.

Friday, March 14, 2008

Lollipop stickies and black tar hands

After suffering through another week of wheezing, sneezing, coughing and sniffling, I finally mustered the courage to return to the ped's office today. Once again, we arrived on time - and this time I cleverly inquired: "How far behind is the doctor?" 45 minutes I was told - so off we went to the parking lot, to circle the periphery and read all the license plates. We were all distrught when the tow truck which pulled into the lot did not actually tow anyone, but standing and waiting killed about 10 minutes. Our eventual visit to the doctor was relatively uneventful, but for my son John insisting that he "be doctored" again and again and again. A pleasant, over-worked, already behind doctor obliged before giving us the the final verdict: Viral bronchitis for both boys - nothing to be done.

The promise of the day, which was made before we even left the house, was that good behavior would lead to visit to a new construction site in nearby Clarendon. I almost forgot that our ped's office sits atop an old fashioned pharmacy with five shelves worth of candy, including an entire shelf dedicated to lollipops and other suckers. Being a sucker myself, we wandered in and began the intricate and complicated task of choosing.

One of the things that I have marveled at with my boys is their choosing - I wonder to myself, what are you thinking about as you slowly run your fingers through the box and examine each lollipop individually? Why does it please you so much to pick each one up to study the packaging, the twist of the paper and the length of the stick? There is silent but palpable excitement over what might be within and intermittently a question about whether a particular lollipop has been crushed by and 18-wheeler or had the stick bitten off by a bad wolf. Hard to say, I reply...

We all made our choices and paid for our lollipops - and then 2 out of three of us changed our minds and needed a different color. Hmmmm, wonder who that could be.

Enroute to the construction site I heard from the back seat fantastic shouts of DUMP TRUCK!!! STOP THE CAR!!! As I was driving 45 miles an hour on Route 50 and could not instantaneously stop the car, David hurled his apple green, half eaten lollipop in my general direction, where it promptly became ensnared in my ever lengthening hair. After muttering a string of expletives to myself without making a sound, I got the car turned around so we could all take a look at what turned out not to be a dump truck, but instead a bright red and shiney Peterbilt wrecker with the name "Henry" on the side. Entranced by the prospect of the wrecker towing away a school bus, we pulled to the side of the street nearby to watch the show. I must say, we got more than we bargained for when the tall, pot-bellied, chicken-legged, tobacco chewing, hairy-chested tow truck driver stepped out of the cab and came around to hook up the bus. He was wearing a white tank-top style t-shirt like my grand dad used to wear, layered beneath a tattered and too small sweat jacket on top. The ensemble was complete with some polyester athletic shorts and a well-worn baseball cap. Imagine my surprise when he bent over to hook the gizmo to the whatchamacallit under the bus - My gaze was fixed on the bus, curious as to whether it might fall off the gizmo and crush the man - when David exclaims from the back seat: "I see the man's anus. It's peeking out. Look. His anus." It was, of course, not his anus, but the large crack in his fanny to which any of us who have ever had a plumber in our home have sadly become accustomed.

The entire frolic and detour from our original destination ate up another 30 minutes or so, and so, with all deliberate speed, we continued on our merry way, following the big red tow truck and the going backwards school bus as far as our paths were paralell. At some point, I was directed by the child seated behind me to "Move to the left lane," apparently so that we could become precariously closer to the oncoming traffic which was whizzing past us. It worked out just fine, as I eventually turned left to get toward the New Construction Site (NCS).

With luck on our side, I found a metered parking space within a stone's throw of the NCS, and a pocket full of nickels and dimes to buy me an hour and a half on the meter. Consumed by glee, we sprinted to the sidewalk adjacent to the construction site to watch the small skid-steer sized asphalt grinder chew up a perfectly straight line of asphalt at a remarkably slow pace. Simply fascinating, I must say. After being asked to "move along" by a rather giant fellow (whom we later learned was not the jerk he first appeared to be), we circumnavigated the perimeter of the entire site, a good size city block. No circumnavigation worth it's salt would be complete without an actaul dig of our own, so diving nearly head first out of the primary containment device, we found a small patch of filthy, dirty, asphalt ridden ground and got to work. Twenty minutes and many varieties of loud cooming and vromming sounds, all to either the amusement or complete dismay of lunchtime passersby, John and David had hands as black and as sticky as night. It turns out that lollipop sticky hands are the BEST for attracting asphalt to ones hands; fingernails that are overdue to be cut also add a special dimension to such a foray. Eventually, the boys tired of using their bare hands as hoe-rams (yes, that's the official name) and back hoe scoops, and I sensed a hunger related meltdown fast approaching. We strapped back in to minimize any damage we might to do the lucky business in whose sinks we decided to wash up - and headed down the street to the Clarendon Grill. Twenty minutes of scrubbing (emerging soaking wet from the torso down) and three grilled chees sandwiches to go later, we emerged, ready for a picnic lunch around the corner where the back hoe and bulldozer were working side by side to further tear up the already torn up street to lay new water pipes in a very deep and narrow hole.

The construction men certainly seemed to enjoy having an audience and seemed, like Mike
Mulligan and his steam shovel, to work a little harder and a little faster as we sat on the sidewalk nearby watching, riveted by the sound, the movement and the power of the big machines.

It's taken me many days to complete this post, and we were back at the site today. Three excavators, three back hoes, one loader, numerous skid steers, one giant purple rock crusher and one giant purple "high reach" demolition machine and we were pretty much in hog heaven. The previously mentioned fellow who urged us away from the asphalt grinder was much more relaxed today and enjoyed getting down on the boys' level to answer their questions. His name is Kip and I think I will try to set him up with the babysitter soon.