Monday, July 30, 2012

My Week, In Redness and Swelling

Have you ever have a day where you want to lovingly place a hand on the back of each of your baby boy’s precious heads and thunk their two melons together in hopes that it will stun them into silence just for a few moments? Well, I had an entire week of those days. And then everything really went to H-E double hockey sticks in a hand basket (whatever that is). Each and every one of my three children developed a large, red, swollen area on his/her body within one 24 hour period of time. First up: Baby Girl.

Baby Girl had her 4 month well child visit. The nurse was asking the usual list of questions about medications, allergies, and such. I was only half paying attention. Baby Girl had stripped down and was partying in her diaper. I was dancing her around the exam room trying to convince her that going to the doctor is FUN!

Nurse: “Same address?”
Me:“Yes. Who is that pretty girl in the mirror?”

Baby Girl: “Ahhhhh!”
Nurse: “Insurance information?”

Me: “You are! You are! Huh? Oh, yeah, insurance is the same.”
Baby Girl: “Gurgle, gurgle.”

Nurse: “Allergies to medications?”
Me: “Nope. We no have no awergies. Do we? No. We. Don’t. Nowedon’t.”

Baby Girl: “Heh, heheh.” (She laughs like Beavus. Or is it Butthead?)
Nurse: “Any—“

Me: “Wait. Her leg did swell up after she got her shots last time. Does that count?
Baby Girl: “Ack!”

Nurse: “I would say so. Especially, since she is getting the same vaccinations today. Do you know which vaccine caused the reaction?”
Me: “Pah! Um, how would I know?”

Nurse: “Do you remember which leg it was? We usually give the vaccines in the same place each time.
Me:  It was in…this leg. I think. I DID call the office when it happened. Do you think she noted which leg it was?”

Nurse: “Lets see…’Hysterical mother called to report softball-sized swelling around injection site.’”
Me: “What? I was so not even close to hysterical.”

Nurse: “Idiot didn’t notice until diaper change 2 hours later.”
Me: “That was because my baby exhausted herself crying and totally passed out.”

Nurse: “Crazy woman said swelling was gone by end of call. Why did she bother us on a Friday afternoon?”
Me: “Because I was on hold so long!”

(Okay, okay. I embellished some of that.)
Nurse: “I don’t see anything about which leg had the swelling. We will keep her for a little while after she receives the vaccinations and monitor her for a reaction.”

Baby Girl got her shots, the nurse left, and then we waited…about 6 seconds.
I poked my head out the door, “Excuse me?! It’s happening! Her leg is swelling!”

Turns out, a cold compress and some ibuprofen do the trick. Really? We couldn’t just go ahead with all of that and avoid the theatrics? Jeez.

Meanwhile, back at the homestead, the dudes were playing in the front yard with Husband.  Eldest was quietly playing with Matchbox cars. Red was lying on the ground peering into a hornet nest. Husband freaked out when he noticed millions of hornets (okay, maybe ten) flying around all of that sensitive, redhead skin.

Husband: “Get away from there! Get up! GO!”
Red: “Huh?” He looks up from the hole, lazily.

Husband: “You have your face in a hornet nest! You are going to get stung!”
Red: “Hornet nest?” He sits up and looks around. “Where?”

Eldest: “Hey guys, what’s going—OUCH!”
Red, the freakin’ hornet whisperer, had his face in a nest and absolutely nothing happened. Poor Eldest was 20 feet away and got stung above his eye. I suggested ice and ibuprofen. (I learned a little something after my experience with Baby Girl). Did they listen to me? No way. Husband put a band aid on it. The next morning Eldest came downstairs.

Red: “What with your eye?”
Eldest: “What do you mean? Mommy, it is kinda itchy.”

Me: “Holy sh—cow! Your eye is swollen shut! How am I going to get the band aid off?”
Red: “Open your eye,” he said as he tried to peel open his brother’s eye.

Eldest: “Ow! Don’t touch my eye. It IS open.”
No, it really wasn’t.

I was trying to monitor Eldest’s eye without drawing attention to the fact that his EYE WAS SWOLLEN SHUT. I was lurking in corners, shooting surreptitious glances towards my Eldest, when I noticed a smell.
Me: “Red, did you poop in your pants again?”

Red: “No.”
Me: “Let me check.”

Red: “No!”
Me: “Fine, but you are going to get a rash.”

Red: “No I’m not.”
I was fed up. Let him sit in his poo if that is what he wanted to do. By the time I changed him, his bits and pieces were bright red. He busted out some jiu-jitsu moves to avoid the diaper cream. I poked at him with a finger full of Desitin a couple of time before I gave up.

“Fine! Let your junk swell up. You’ll match everyone else in this house.”
A couple of hours later, Eldest got stung by another hornet. From now on, no one leaves this house without an ice pack and a dose of Advil.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Dude, read the disclaimer!

“I don’t come across all that great in your blog,” Husband says to me.

“You read my blog?! That is sooooo sweet.” He glares at me. Right, focus. I put on my sympathetic listening face. “What do you mean?”
“You said I ate all the gummy worms.”

“You did.”
I guess I need a schedule for the potty,” Husband quotes from a blog entry, in what I think is supposed to be a Forrest Gump imitation, but all of his accents make him sound like he is from Bombay, so I am just guessing here.

“Did I write anything that was not true?”
“Well…no…but what about all the nice stuff I do?”

“Did you read the disclaimer?!!” I say, exasperated.
“Yeah, I get it. The nice stuff I do isn’t funny. But I do a lot of nice stuff. I’m just saying….”

He is right. He does A LOT of nice things for me. Probably more than I deserve. Especially, since I make him sound like a buffoon on the internet where anyone and his/her mother can read about it. I would like to make it up to him. Here are SOME of the nice things that Husband does for me, in print, on the internet where everyone can read about them along with their moms.

  1. He makes the coffee. This is so fantastic, because I cannot operate the coffee maker until after I have had my coffee. Whenever I try, I end up with beans scattered everywhere, water spilled on my socks, and something sticky on the counter. I have no idea where the sticky comes from, but it happens EVERY TIME.
  2. He is an optimist. The man can find the good in any situation. After I made him watch “The Vow” (Hey! That is another nice thing he did for me. There’s your bonus good deed, sweetums. J) I said, “Can you imagine if I lost all of my memories of our life together? That is so sad. Would you try to win me back?” He says, “Of course I would. And maybe the new you would like to play board games. Amnesiac Tina might actually play Yahtzee with me! That would be sweet!”
  3. He has excellent communication skills. For example, I was getting ready in the bathroom when the door squeaked open slightly and a hand puppet popped in. The puppet looked around, met my eyes, and said, “Good morning, beautiful. The boys are playing prehistoric animals. Red is a ground sloth and Eldest is a saber tooth cat. They are cuckoo for cocoa puffs. It is best to pretend you are a tree. If you don’t move too much, they will get bored and leave you alone. Good day!”
  4. He inspires me to stay active. I kissed the boys goodbye and then started walking across the backyard towards my car. Husband pulled up next to me, pushing the baby in the stroller, trying to get me to race. When I wouldn’t bite, he started dribbling a stray soccer ball. “Baby Girl and I invented a new game. It is soccer, but with a stroller. We call it stroccer.” Then he kicked a ball at me. I tripped over it, somehow sending the ball rolling back towards Husband. “That was great! You are a natural at stroccer! High five?” I righted myself, then got into my car and drove to the gym to workout.

See, honey? I do notice and appreciate all of the nice things that you do for me. Happy now? XXOO

Saturday, July 21, 2012


As I mentioned before, Eldest is scary smart. Though he is only 4 years old, he can do some really neat tricks, like reading chapter books, addition and subtraction, and driving me batty. During my better moments, I love to watch his little brain work—the way he approaches the world is fascinating. There are times, however, when I just want to do something simple, like exit the house, without all the questions, you know? 

“Where are we going? Can I bring my truck? Is my truck made of metal or plastic? Why is it plastic? What makes it plastic? Why do they call it plastic?”
“For the love of all that is good and holy, put your shoes on! No zapatos, no preguntas. Comprende? Once the shoes are on, you can ask all the questions you want.”

“What are zap toes?”
“PUT YOUR SHOES ON! Aaaaaahhhhhhhhh!”

I know that every child goes through a “why?” phase. I don’t want to make this into a competition. But if it was a competition, I would totally win. Hands down. No contest.
I was in the kitchen, enjoying one of those rare moments when Babies 2 through 3 were sleeping and Eldest was entertaining himself, differentiating equations or whatever he does with his crayons in that notebook of his.

“Can I help you, Mommy?” Eldest asked.
My brain screamed, Nooooooooooooo! No. No way. N-O! But I said, “Sure.”

Eldest: “What are you doing with that knife?”
Me: What does it look like I am doing? I’m knitting the American flag. “I am slicing up this melon, sweetie.”

Eldest: “Why?”

Me: Because you can’t unhinge your jaw and swallow it whole. “So that we can eat it.”
Eldest: “Why are you cutting off that green stuff?”

Me: Eat it and tell me why I’m cutting it off. “That is the rind. It does not taste very good.”
Eldest: “Why not?”

Me: Maybe if I just stay silent he will stop asking questions.
Eldest: “Why does it not taste very good?”

Me: Should have known that was not going to work. “Because it is hard and probably tastes bitter. I honestly haven’t tried it.”
Eldest: “What makes something taste bitter?

Me: Uhhhhh… “Uhhhhh…”
Eldest: “How do you know it is a melon?”

Me: Because it’s called a waterMELON. “I think it has something to do with it having a rind and the seeds on the inside.” 
Eldest: “Why do melons have seeds on the inside?”

Me: I don’t know! I’m not a freakin’ melonologist! “I am not sure. We could look it up.”
Eldest: “Nah. I want to help you. Can I help you? What can I do?”

Me: What you can do is stop asking me questions. “In a little bit I will be done with the knife and you can help me make pudding.”
Eldest: “Why can’t I use the knife?”

Me: Because you have the dexterity of a moose wearing oven mitts. “You need to be older before you can learn to use a knife.”
Eldest: “How old do I need to be?”

Me: One million. “Maybe 10 years old?”
Eldest: “Why?”

Me: So you don’t cut your arm off. “Let’s get our pudding making supplies.”

Eldest: “What do we need to make the pudding?”
Me: One less person in this kitchen. You can choose which one. I’m not picky. “We need a bowl, a whisk, this box of mix—”

Eldest: “What is in the box of mix?”
Me: Magical powder that makes little boys quiet. “Chocolate, uh…um…pudding stuff…”

Eldest: “Why does it say Jello? I thought we were making pudding.”
Me: Here we go. “That is a brand name. A brand is the name of the company who makes a product. In this case, Jello is the company who makes mixes for instant jello and pudding.”

Eldest: “Why are you mixing so fast?”
Me: Because the faster I mix, the faster this will be over. “Mixing helps the powder dissolve.”

Eldest: “Why does mixing fast make the powder dissolve?”
Me: Crap! I think I learned this. What was it? What WAS it? “If I am remembering correctly, there are three ways to help one substance dissolve in another: speed of stirring, temperature, and…maybe particle size?”

Eldest: “Why don’t we change the temperature?”
Me: Cuz if you try to mix instant pudding into hot milk it turns into a big glob of brown goo. (Not that I ever made that mistake.) “The instructions say to use cold milk.”

Eldest: “Why do the instructions say to use cold milk?”

Me: I am so very tired. “Because that is what they say.”
Eldest: “Mommy?”

Me: What now?! “Yes, baby?”

Eldest: “I like helping you. You are the best mommy ever.”
Me: I am such a jerk.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Potty Training Red: Part Two

DAY 4:

It was time to work on Red's aim. It is NOT fun to make the toilet into a waterfall, I don’t care what you say. “You need to keep the peepee in the potty. Take your hand and put it—“
“No Mommy! Don’t touch me there!”
On the plus side, if Child Protective Services removes him from the home, his new mommy will have potty train him.
“Okay, honey, but you need to do it yourself then. Just like that. Aim it in…. Great job! I am so proud of you.” He immediately ran out of the bathroom to yell, I mean tell, his brother.
“I TOUCHED MY WINKY! I DID GREAT!” Red screamed proudly.
 "Ooo-kay,” Eldest said. “Why don’t you have pants on?”
“Mommy?" Eldest called from the living room. "Why did you tell him it was great that he touched his winky?”
“I MEANT it was great that he went on…. You know what? Never mind. Red! Get yourself in here and put your pants back on!”

DAY 5:
Time for a new plan! We had a playdate scheduled. All of the kids except the babies, even the toddlers younger than Red, were potty trained. I was hoping he would look around and think to himself, "Hey! It is just me and the droolers peeing in our pants. I don't want to be like the bottle-feeders!  I should totally use the potty.

This did not happen. Instead, Red performed an improv inspired by The Moldy Peaches song "Anyone Else But You" on the trampoline. 

Squinched up your face and did a dance
You shook a little turd out of the bottom of your pants

To be honest, I have no proof that it was Red. The kids held to some sort of a "what happens on the trampoline, stays on the trampoline" code, but COME ON! Who else would bounce a turd out on the trampoline? Do you think we will be invited back?

DAY 6:

Daddy was in charge.

"I think I need a schedule for when I should put him on the potty," he said after Red went to bed.

Ya think?!

DAY 7:

I am exhausted. Under the best conditions, dressing Red is like trying to put pants on a squirrel. Wrestling him in and out of his clothes 152 times a day, only to find that he has already gone in his pull-up, is wearing me down. Mommy needs a potty (training) break. And a nap.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Potty Training Red: Part One


The morning before the big day, I tried to drum up some excitement for the whole potty training process. “Good morning! Who is the biggest boy ever?! Who is going to start going on the potty tomorrow?! You are!”
Red remained politely, but adamantly, against the whole business. “No thank you. I don’t want to be a big boy.”

I tried another approach. “You know, big boys get to wear fancy-schmancy big boy underwear.”
Nothing doing.

The family trundled off to the Target store to purchase supplies: Thomas the Tank Engine undies for Red and ice cream for Mommy.

Red’s eyes light up when he saw the package of big boy underwear. I allowed myself to hope when he immediately asked to put them on. I reassured him that he could wear his new underwear the next morning when he started to use the potty like a big boy. Red drifted off to dreamland snuggling with a pair of his new Thomas underwear.

DAY 1:
Not an auspicious beginning. Red woke up happy and excited that Daddy was home for the weekend. “Daddy! You came home!”

I immediately ruined his good mood by suggesting that he use the potty.

In a long history of spectacular tantrums, this one was a standout. I tried to lead him to the bathroom, but he collapsed on the floor and rolled into a ball. I tried to lift him to standing, but he wouldn’t lock his knees.

“Put. Your. Feet. Down. Put them down!”
He wouldn’t. I picked him up and carried him into the bathroom, but then he wouldn’t let go of me. I would unwrap his legs and he would cling tighter with his arms. I got his arms off of me and he wrapped his legs around my waist.  I finally swung his legs out and was able to peel his hands off of my neck before he could get his legs back around me.

Then he immediately dropped his truck into the toilet.
Stunned, Red stopped crying. Husband mistook the silence for success and popped in to do the potty dance. Instead, he found the two of us staring forlornly into the toilet bowl. Red resumed crying hysterically. I fished the truck out, cleaned it up, and gave it back to him. While he and his truck enjoyed a heartwarming reunion, I stripped him down and put him onto the toilet.

Crying and screaming, “I WILL NEVER PEE IN THE POTTY,” he started to pee. In the potty! Success!
Half an hour later, he crapped in his pants. Failure!

DAY 2:
We realized that we needed to offer Red an incentive to tell us when he had to go potty. “Hey Red, if you make me some pee pee in the potty, you can have a gummy worm.”

“Okay! I have to go potty Mommy.”
Drip. “One.” Drip. “Two.” Drip. “Three. I get THREE gummy worms!”

“No, sweetie, you do not get a gummy worm for each drop of pee, just one for every TIME you go.”
Then Husband ate all the gummy worms.

Husband made an emergency worm run, but Red wasn’t taking any chances that we would run out again. He stopped eating them and started stockpiling them. When it was time for bed, Red wanted to bring his new “friends” with him. He was probably scared Husband would eat them otherwise. Smart kid. I made the case that they would get all sticky and make a mess. Husband and Red assured me that gummy worms are an excellent bedtime pal.

DAY 3:           
Red woke up with a gummy worm stuck to his neck. Another gummy worm had glued his shorts to his stomach and he was having some trouble walking. I peeled the gummy worms off of Red, but he had sticky spots all over his body. As the day went on, dog fur stuck to the sticky spots and he looked like he had some sort of reverse mange.

Lesson: gummy worms are NOT an excellent bedtime pal, Husband.

STAY TUNED for an update on the rest of the first week of potty training Red. Highlights include a close call with Social Services and "Is that poo on the trampoline?"

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Potty Training, Do I Have To?

Ever since Red turned two, the question of when to begin potty training has been on my mind. This is mostly because my mom keeps asking, “When are you going to potty train that kid?” If it was up to me, the answer would be NEVER.

Potty training the Eldest was so traumatic that I have blocked out most of it. Every now and then I will have a flashback, like the time we were buying yet another box of Pull-Ups and I was so frustrated I yelled, “They don’t make a bigger size, so if you don’t stop peeing your pants soon I am going to have to buy you Depends!” Unfazed, Eldest thought for a moment and replied, “Well, Mommy, I guess you had better buy some of those.”  I don’t remember how we eventually got him to use the toilet consistently, but I do remember visiting every public restroom in the Metroparks. If the toilet perched on a hole and there was no way to wash his hands, he HAD to use it. I have been in no hurry to start all of that again.

I had plenty of legitimate reasons not to potty train Red—I was pregnant, I had a newborn, I really should organize the closets first…. Who wants to potty train when all the closets in the house are a mess?   

Eventually, my mom decided to go over my head and deal directly with the redhead himself. When Red would crawl behind a chair in her living room, she would peer over the throw pillows he had stacked up for privacy and ask, “Do you want to go on potty?” He would peer up at her and grunt, “um, no.” Undeterred, she would continue, “Don’t you want to be a big boy?” Then he would start to cry. My mom would look at me and say, “He really needs to start using the potty.”

“I know, I know.”

Before I knew it, I was no longer pregnant, the closets were organized, and the Husband started talking about potty training my redhead. “You know he is going to be three in a couple of months. And preschool won’t take him if he isn’t potty trained.”

“I know, I know.”

Finally, I agreed to begin the torture known as potty training once Baby Girl was sleeping through the night. I was feeling pretty smart because the boys essentially catnapped through their first six months. Then, at barely three months old, Baby Girl thought we looked a little tired, and started sleeping for 12 hours through the night.

Now I have to convince Captain Ants-In-His-Pants to sit still long enough to use the potty. How am I going to do this? Two words: gummy worms.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

An Interview with the Author

Interviewer (myself): Welcome to blogging, Tina.

Me: Thanks! I am pretty excited! That's why I am using all these exclamation marks!!!

I (also me): What made you start blogging?

Me: Well, my facebook friends said my posts are funny and that I should start a blog.

I: And if your friends said that you should jump off a bridge, would you do that?

Me: Pretty much.

I: What would you say your blog is about?

Me: Judging from this first post it will be a lot of me talking to myself.

I: Any idea what you will be talking to yourself about?

Me: I spend a lot of time with my children (hence the blog title), so I will probably write about them.

I: Don't you think there are enough "mommy blogs?"

Me: Probably.