Thursday, September 29, 2011


Everyone loves a party!  Except at 3am.  Well, actually, there was a time when I loved a party at 3am.  They were called late-nights at our school, though I've also heard to them referred as after-hours.  Regardless of what you call them, I long ago stopped looking for a party after the bars closed.  In fact, it's been years since I closed down a bar and over six months since I've been to a bar at all. 

Last night, however, I was the unwilling attendee at a 3am party in my house.  Chester decided to throw a bash, and insisted I come with him.  He came stumbling down the hall (very reminiscent of previous 3am parties) and stood next to my bed.  I gently took his hand and guided him back to his bed, tucked him in, patted his back and left.  This was repeated 15 minutes later, 30 minutes after that, and once more at 4:15am. 

On a side note, I'd like to mention that the infamous third-trimester insomnia seems to have arrived two weeks early here.  I had little to no hope of falling back to sleep between these visits, even if Chester had actually gone back to sleep himself.  This is yet another phase of pregnancy that I despise.  Even completely exhausted, I have a tough time falling asleep at night, and waking up, even to pee (because every pregnant woman I know pees all night, don't deny it!) can bring hours of boredom staring at the ceiling fan or listening to passing cars and every squeak or sigh of the house settling. 

Back to the party last night, I heard him playing in his room until he returned to my room, quite insistent at 5:30am. At least he wasn't crying, I suppose.  After Chester returned to my room, he climbed into the laundry basket, throwing all the dirty clothes on the floor so he could use the overturned basket to climb up and stand in the window.  I can only imagine what would have happened if a police car or other mandated reporter drove past the house with a toddler standing on the windowsill waving to passing cars at 5:30am?   

I finally removed the gate to the living room and turned him loose, thanking my lucky stars that I cleaned it before going to bed so that he could have the run of the living room and playroom while I tried to reclaim any of the last 2 1/2 hours of sleep I had lost to his party antics.  He promptly rewarded me for granting his freedom by bringing me a ginormous care bear from the pile of teddy bears in the playroom.  And then the stuffed turtle.  And the stuffed Harley dog.  Finally he stumbled back to his own room and jumped on his brother at 6am. 

At this point, working on approximately four hours of sleep, I turned on an episode of Dora for the boys and set about my morning.  I served eggs and toast in the living room, unwilling to fight a battle to get them to the kitchen table.  I started a load of dishes in the dishwasher, washed and packed grapes with cheese sticks for the class snack, dressed a pre-schooler, a toddler and myself and made it out the door by 7:30am.  Though quite reminiscent of the many Friday morning classes I attended with little sleep, now ten years older, and pregnant, I'm not quite as perky after a night of little sleep.  I managed to leave for preschool on time with everyone dressed and all of our bags in the car for the day, which is an amazing feat on eight hours of sleep, let alone four. 

After we dropped off Pete, Chester and I headed for the gym.  By then, he's been awake for over 5 hours, leading me to believe he'll pitch a fit and get thrown out of playcare before my boot camp class has even started.  I arm the playcare ladies with chocolate milk, chocolate graham fishies and grapes cut in half.  Yes, I'm the Mom feeding my kid sugary snacks to keep him happy at the YMCA, judge me, I dare you.  Shocked that we made it through class, I returned to pick up Chester, only to find him fast asleep.  He looked so peaceful that if we didn't have to pick up Pete from school, I would have left him there while I curled up on some yoga mats!  Sigh.  I guess when you get up at 3am, naptime can be 10am....

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Lessons from Apples, New England in the fall.

Last weekend we went apple picking with friends.  We've gone to the same farm, Russel Orchards, for three years now, taking a hayride behind a tractor to the orchard, wandering the rows of trees searching for our favorite types of apples.  The apples have taught me many lessons over the years, and I'm glad it's part of our family's fall traditions. 

Apple picking 2009

Apple picking 2010

Apple picking 2011

Apple picking 2011
First, I didn't know there were so MANY types of apples.  The grocery store where I grew up would have Red Delicious, Yellow Delicious, Granny Smith and that was it as far as I knew.  Apples were Red or pale Green or bright Green.  The apple orchards at Russels are filled with names I've never heard, but I'm loving every one of them!  Last year, we scheduled our trip too late in the year, and missed the Honeycrisp, I was devastated and vowed to check the status of my favorite apples.  I'm happy to report that this year, my apple bag was filled with plenty of crisp, sweet, luscious Honeycrisp apples, perfect for baking and eating. 

Chester has decided he likes Honeycrisp too!
Second, to my parents and grandparents, who grew up on farms, apple picking is not a fun fall family event, it's what your family did to harvest the apples each fall- WORK!  The concept of apple picking as fun was a difficult one for my parents to digest, but they did enjoy it with us two years ago. 
Grandma and Pete 2009
Grandpa and Pete 2009

Next, I owe an apology to the professors from ACC 499.  As a business student, I couldn't wrap my head around people choosing to pay more for organic foods (which I now purchase) or farmers turning their fields into tourist attractions (which I now visit).  They said that small farms would have a tough time simply producing food to sell as their sole business and offered educational school tours, seasonal festivals and CSAs as examples of ways a farm could bring more income without significantly changing their core business values.  I laughed at these tree hugging demma-commies and barely passed the class.  (It didn't help that it was at 9am on a Friday morning in the spring of my senior year, I was slightly distracted or hungover for most of the classes.)  I don't even remember the professors who taught the class, but I'd like to apologize.  I tip my sulfite-free-organic-wine to you gentlemen!

Finally, the lesson that should have been obvious to me:  Even a very enthusiastic three and a half year old little boy can't handle a peeler without slicing a chunk of his finger off.  Thankfully, it did not get on any of the other apples, and I was able to stop the bleeding and bandage his poor finger before any further damage was done.  I guess that part of our fall bonding will have to wait another year or two. I peeled and sliced the rest of the apples while the boys watched Diego.  Both of the boys, however, thoroughly enjoyed licking the spoons after I mixed together the flour, butter, sugar, oats and spices for the apple crisp topping.   I guess that part doesn't have an age restriction!

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Pillsbury, I hate you.

Chester is getting so much better with his words!  I knew this day would come, and of course it's exciting, but also bittersweet. 

He can say "candy" clear as day in the checkout line at the store.

His "yes ma'am" is totally understandable, though only I can understand his "more please".

There's a little confusion between "baby" and "belly" but I think that's honestly confusion because we have him pat the baby in my belly while saying "baby" and then ask him to pat his own belly saying "belly".  Hopefully that will also pass.

And of course, I'm thrilled when he comes running to me after MOPS or YMCA Playcare yelling "Mommy!"  However, I was less than thrilled tonight when he flipped through a magazine and came to an add for Pillsbury Brownies.  He pointed to the Pillsbury Dough Boy and said "Mommy".  I assured him that those are "yummy" and told him that's the "Pillsbury Dough Boy."  He looked at me, looked at the ad, pointed to the Dough Boy again and said "Mommy" quite firmly.


Sunday, September 18, 2011

Stupid things people say to pregnant women

You may choose to blame my pregnancy hormones, or society's downward spiral into lack of tact, but today I'm a little cranky about things that people find appropriate to say to a pregnant woman.  I'm not talking about children, or even non-moms who've never done this before.  They are blissfully ignorant and should remain that way until (or if) they eventually become pregnant themselves.  I'm specifically referring to other women who've DONE this before and should know to have a little compassion, or tact.   
Here are two from today:

So are you getting tired of being pregnant?  Let's be clear, there are two parts of pregnancy that I like: the beginning and the end.  The beginning, for obvious reasons, and the end because labor is a lot like running a marathon.  I'm all excited and giddy with anticipation to start the race/labor, and once you get through labor and power through that brick wall at 20 miles and cross the finish line, you feel accomplished and hyped up on the surge of endorphins.  Plus, you get a baby out of the labor, which is better than any marathon medal I've taken home.  But the middle?  The 40+ weeks of misery?  I was tired of that from the second the test popped positive.  So yes, I'm tired of being pregnant. 

And for the record, that question came from a family member who knows how much I hate being pregnant, so really, it was just a cruel question to remind me of the 16 weeks I have left.  (Like the SPD that causes my crotch to feel like it's being ripped apart and the recurring nausea and exhaustion aren't enough!)  This is the third time in four years that I've done this, I was tired of it the first time, and Chester and Baby3 should just be thankful I was willing/stupid enough to do it again after I knew what I was getting in for!

You getting big yet?  Or how much have you gained?  Or my, you're huge.  Or any other size-related comment.  My grandmother asks stupid questions like this every time we get on the phone.  There is no reason to ever comment on the size of a pregnant woman.  I've looked five months pregnant since about the first week, thanks to the extra 10 pounds I never lost after Chester, and the horrible gas/indigestion/bloating that goes with my first 20 weeks of pregnancy.  So when strangers ask, I just give them the answer they expect:   I'm five months.  Who cares if I was actually 8 weeks?  These people are never going to see me again.  And for those, like Grandma, who will see me again know better, I just explain that I'm five months and the baby is due in January.  Hmm, doesn't that make for a 13 month pregnancy?  Yes, Grandma, that's why my babies are so big. 

But, for the record, I did not berate either person who asked me these questions today.  I smiled and gritted my teeth and said "Only 16 more weeks to go, we're so excited!" and "We're right on target according to the midwife".

Then I hung up the phone and had some saltwater taffy.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Just one of those days, I guess. Remarkable!

Did you ever have one of those days that you just want to keep living over and over?

So many of my days recently, I've just been praying to end.  Just get through today.  Just make it bedtime.  Please don't let me strangle anyone before breakfast/dinner/bedtime.  But today was a better day, today could have lasted forever.**

**Until 6pm, but that's later in the story.

We slept until 5:30am, which, around here, is late!  Chester even went back to sleep at that point, while Pete and I snuggled and Ryan got ready for work.  He was going in late because we were driving him in with some equipment that can't ride on his motorcycle. 

Pete happily got dressed (instead of crying about changing out of his pajamas), and enjoyed eggs and toast with Daddy while I packed a bag for the day.  I wish I could have recorded a picture of the look on Pete's face when Ryan told him "YES, we are going to drive over the Toby bridge this morning."  Seriously, you might as well have told him we were going to Disneyland.

Chester woke up just in time to have eggs and toast in his jammies before getting in the car.  Considering he's been getting up at the crack of dawn, I'm not bothered in the least that he left the house in his jammies because he got up "late" at 6:.30am.

The day got even better when we arranged a last minute playdate and grocery date at Hanscom AFB, and of course, when I told Pete where we were going, he was just thrilled to death.  For the record, that's TWO consecutive hours so far of totally gleeful pre-schooler- no whining and crying, and no screaming or spanking.  Who cares that we were stuck in Boston's rush hour traffic?  And who cares that Mommy took a wrong turn off the Elliot Bridge and we were headed for who-knows-where before the GPS got us turned back towards Route 2?  We had nothing but time today.  Nothing but happy time. 

Arriving at the gate to Miss J's house, Pete asked if we could play on the playground (there are LOTS of playgrounds there, as he tells me every time we grocery shop at Hanscom) and I got to tell him YES, we're playing on the playground with Miss J and Baby O today.  I'm pretty sure Pete thought he had died and gone to heaven.  In his little three-year-old head, this was the best day ever:  Daddy was home for breakfast, we drove over the Toby Bridge, we're going to see Miss J, play on the playground, AND no one has yelled at him yet. 

We got Chester and Baby O dressed since they were both still in jammies, and when we were ready to walk to the playground, I asked Pete to hold hands with Little E, the little boy that Miss J watches during the week.  This was going to be a long walk, and Little E sometimes wanders away, but I knew Pete could help.  They held hands while we walked to the playground, and talked.  Oh, my heart just melted listening to these 3 year olds talk to each other. 

E: My Daddy goes on a boat. (I'm not even sure if his Dad is in the Coast Guard, but I'm thinking he must be!)
Pete:  That's pretty cool.  My Daddy used to be on a boat, now he goes to an office in  Boston.  We took him there this morning on the Big Green Toby bridge. 

After playing on the playground for a bit, we decided to walk all the way to the Dunkin for some Pumpkin Spice Lattes and donuts for the kids.  Chester no longer wanted to be carried.  He wiggled and wiggled until I let him get down to walk.  He ran up and joined the older boys.

Seriously, how cute is that?  Ignore Pete's bedhead- we dealt with that after coffee!

I told Pete and Little E they were being good listeners, and big boys.  We barely had to correct them to keep them on the path.  Unbelievably good behavior all the way to the Dunkin. 

They ate their donuts and hot chocolate at the table with a reasonable mess, no one cried or screamed, and Chester only made one little run for freedom.  While we ate our donuts next to the Exchange's vendor tables, Pete and Little E even listened when we told them to look at the gifts with their eyes, and not touch with their hands. 

So we braved the barber shop to get Pete's hair cut.  As you can see from the picture, he was more than a tad overdue for a trim.  Though the barber shop was crowded, they all sat with bottoms on their chairs and said yes ma'am and please and thank you for the lollipops.  Even the little old retired men made comments about what remarkably well behaved children we had.  Pete sat quietly for his haircut, though he did help himself to a second lollipop after they finished.  So often I'm apologizing for my children's behavior, or hissing at them to sit down and be quiet, trying desperately to distract them enough to keep them quiet while others stare or give me pitying looks.  Not today.  Today, all we got were compliments. 

After a long walk home, they all took naps (shocking, considering our recent sleep troubles) and I was able to grocery shop at a record speed without any children at all while Miss J kept the boys asleep in her spare room. 

They woke a bit confused, but not the crying messes they can be after nap!  Chester happily gobbled my sushi and seaweed salad, then Pete enjoyed a cheese stick before we piled into the car to go pick up Daddy.  Even the hour commute home was fully of pleasant conversation and not much whining. 

Everyone, including the dog, had some apples while I made dinner, and then they ATE IT without complaint, and Pete even asked for more.  I was beginning to think I'd entered the twilight zone.

But just like that, my bubble burst.  Chester and Pete headed out to the backyard and while Ryan was grabbing a beer to sip on the back porch, Pete yelled inside to us that Chester pooped.  This was not his normal time of day to poop, and I had thought nothing of letting him run around without a diaper after he took off his diaper to practice peeing on the potty.  But clearly when he escaped to play in the backyard without a new diaper I should have expected disaster.  My mistake, I'll own that one.  But even more horrifying, Pete drove the tricycle through it.  Seriously. 

Ryan took one for the team and cleaned the poop from the back porch and the tricycle and just as he brought in the cleaning supplies, grabbed another beer and headed back out, he poked his head back in the door to tell me "Pete pooped in the backyard too".  I thought he was joking.  Sadly, he was not and we had a case of Monkey-see, monkey-doo-doo on our back porch.  I'm not entirely sure what Pete was thinking, but the day had gone so well that we reacted calmly even to this mini-disaster.  I got Pete inside to the potty while Ryan was again stuck with poopy duty. 

Though bedtime wasn't a picnic (it never is) I enjoyed my chance to snuggle in my bed with Pete and his blankie and shark while Chester cried in their room.  I told Pete how happy he makes me, how he's my best Pete, and how proud I was of the way he helped with Little E today at the playground and on the walk to Dunkin.  I told him he's a good example for his brother.  We talked about the new Dinosaur Baby and Pete said he was "a little bit" afraid of the new baby.  "A little bit" seems to be his favorite quantitative phrase these days, and the way he says it is just the sweetest thing ever.

It's remarkable how unremarkable today was, but how special it was.  I wasn't at my wit's end with them by 7am.  No one was throwing a tantrum when we had to leave the playground.  No one got spanked and there wasn't any screaming.  Pete was a good role model and a gentle friend.  I was patient and encouraging with timely situation appropriate praise.

I'd love for tomorrow and everyday to be just like today.  Sorry if this wasn't as amusing as most of my harried stories, but for me it was perfect.  I'm going to bed with a smile on my face and peace in my heart.  Today was a good day.   

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

The poop. Oh the poop.

Though I started this blog with a horrifying poop story, there have actually been relatively few blog-worthy poop events in the last few months.  That was.... until last Sunday.

The day started innocently enough, but notably without the standard morning dirty pants from Chester.  We went about our day, and after an early lunch, I thought briefly about the lack of poop.  If for some reason Chester doesn't fill his pants immediately upon waking, he does it quite reliably after breakfast, and at the very latest, following lunch.  But on this day, nothing, though I didn't have much time to linger on the child's lack of scheduled poop, as we had an exciting pirate birthday party to attend! 

CR turned three this week, and his Mommy scheduled a party at Malltots, one of my favorite indoor playgrounds.  We started the party in the private party room.  Everyone loved the pirate cake and snacks, enjoyed taking turns with the pinata, and then headed out into the common play area to ride on Cozy Coupes, climb on the pirate ship and jump in the bouncy houses.   

After focusing on Pete for a few minutes, I headed back over to Chester.  I could see that he had fastened himself in the police car with the seatbelt.  Buckling his own seatbelt is a new skill that can keep him occupied for hours, though he has yet to learn to un-buckle them and can get a little frustrated!  You'll find all of the booster seatbelts clipped, which can be quite frustrating if you try to put him in the seat for dinner before un-clipping the straps.  But I digress, back to the situation at hand.  Chester was strapped into the police car and was headed for hysterical, bouncing in the seat as high as his seatbelt would let him, then sitting back down to wail before stretching against the seatbelt again. 

Though it was highly amusing to watch him struggle against the seatbelt, I decided to free him and let him find another car to buckle himself into so we could repeat the catch and release process a few more times before he moved on to riding a tricycle down the slide or pushing a lawn mower up the plank of the pirate ship.  I was probably 10 feet away when I smelled something.  Hoping it was one of the other babies in the playground, and not mine, I was totally unprepared for what I saw when I got closer.  Chester had pooped.  And the repeated actions of straining against the seatbelt and then slamming back down to a sitting position had propelled the poop up and out of his diaper, out the top of his shorts, up his back, out of his shirt and on the police car.  I'm not talking about just a little bit, either. 

My first thought was to take him and leave, but as I picked him up from the police car, the poop spread all over me, and now Chester's hair, socks and arms too.  I quickly determined that he could not go in his car seat like this.  Holding him as far from me as possible, I pushed the car over to the attendant, alerted her to the fact that we had a situation, and headed for the bathrooms. 

Two things dawned on me as I carried the stinker across the floor.  First, thank God the party was at Malltots, where my other child is completely contained on age-appropriate toys, and the other parents at the party could keep an eye on him for me while I attended to the disaster.    Second, thank God for friends like LW who saw us both covered in poop and instead of gagging, came with me to the bathroom to help.  We removed his shoes, which was the only article of clothing that had escaped the poop, and put his shirt, shorts and socks into a ziplock baggie.  Totally good luck that I had used the ziplock baggie to protect my purse from the sweat of the frozen water bottle I carried around hat day.  It probably took 30 minutes and 50 wet and soapy paper towels to remove all the poop from the rest of Chester's body.  Then we put a new diaper on him, replaced his shoes and turned him loose to play while I cleaned myself up too. 

Here comes the super-mom moment, don't you wish you could be as well-prepared as me?  I had long ago stopped carrying a separate diaper bag.  I toss a diaper and some wipes in a travel case and tuck them into my purse.  (I've given up cloth diapering when we leave the house, I'm only partially crunchy)  But I do carry a spare change of clothes for the boys in the car, and clearly this time we needed it!  Not only that, but a few days before we'd been to a friend's house and I had packed MYSELF a spare change of clothes, in case we decided to play in the water outside with the boys.  I left the boys with our friends, and dashed out to the car, changed my shirt in the back of the van, and brought in clean clothes for Chester too.  It may not have been the adorable black satin party top I was rocking originally at the party, but the grey wrinkled t-shirt was clean and free from the unmistakable odor of child-poop.  Check that out:  At nearly two years old, we survived a poosplosion at a birthday party and came away unscathed.  Yes, I'm that good (I mean lucky and blessed with great friends).

After attending to the crisis, we actually ended up staying for another two hours.  Pete found a friend with almost his exact birthday, and they played beautifully together.  Chester played in another Cozy Coupe, the firetruck one this time, since the police car had been whisked away to be sanitized, or possibly burned.  I haven't been back since, but I'm hoping that there's no pictures of my children at the entrance with big red Xs across them indicating we've been banned from Malltots, especially because I'd like to host our next birthday party there too!

Happy birthday C, we're glad you invited us to your pirate party!

Killer: Boston Terrier or Lizard?

Killer has been a "special" dog from the first minutes we met him.  Heading to the petstore, Ryan had dreamed of an English Bulldog, but when we arrived there was a sad looking Boston Terrier in the cage on the end.  He was marked down on sale several times, and was, in fact, on clearance.  When we asked the sales clerk, she said that the dog was super ugly and he was on sale because no one wanted him.  Well that was all we needed to hear; Killer Kowalske was coming home with us. 

When he went in for his first check-up a few days later, it was clear that he was sick already, and luckily, the pet warranty covered his medical bills because they were ridiculous. I didn't have anything other than hamsters growing up, and they didn't need vet care, since they typically escaped before having a chance to require medical attention.  Nearly $1,000 later, we took home our eight pound bag of skin and bones, with big bug eyes and a crooked tail.

He was so embarrassed to wear a birthday hat for my party.  This could have been the initial cause of the submissive piddle problems!

Look at those ears.  They're as big as his head.  Thankfully, he grew into the ears, but the tail still looks silly.

Killer's "special" problems didn't end with his trip to the vet.  He continuously excited piddled and submissive piddled.  I sent more than one friend home in a pair of sweatpants after he soiled her pants.  He couldn't climb stairs, and had to be carried to the second floor to come to bed with us.  He had gas that could clear a room. 

Killer also suffered from second dog syndrome.  Hudson shoved him out of the way for the table scraps, and despite our best effort to split them evenly, Killer would wait until Hudson finished the meat and bread, then zero in on the broccoli or other vegetables on the plate.  He has a taste for broccoli and other veggies that make their way from the kids' plates to the floor.  Now that Killer is the only dog in the house, he STILL chooses the vegetables first from the plates, coming back later for some gravy and chicken. 

Killer will find the smallest patch of sun on the floor, and curl up to bask in the sunlight.  He loves to spend a large portion of his day outside, just laying in the sun, and grazing the backyard.  Killer joined our family in the summer of 2006, and as we entered cooler weather that fall, he trembled  as the temperatures dipped below 70 so he had to wear a jacket to go outside. 
  I've determined that he must be cold-blooded. 

Between looking nothing like a Boston Terrier, eating grass and other vegetable and being cold-blooded, I've determined that Killer must be a lizard.

Sunday, September 11, 2011


Recently, a fellow Coast Guard spouse (whom I really consider a friend, though we've never actually met) lived through a nightmare.  She experienced the kind of morning that you read about in forwarded emails or hear about on a TV news magazine, and makes you want to run to your babies' bedroom and hug your children, even though it's the middle of the brief nap time you've been looking forward to all day.

Miss F's little girl Baby J was up and about the house early, while Miss F was still getting up.  Baby J pushed a step stool over to the kitchen counter and climbed up, then reached up on top of the refrigerator and found a bottle of throat spray (the family was just recently recovering from a round of colds/flu that had worked its way through the house).  Baby J managed to OPEN the bottle, and drink most of it.  Miss F found Baby J stumbling around the kitchen with slurred speech and a puffy face.  They rushed to the hospital, where Baby J was given charcoal and IV fluids and tests for kidney and liver function.  After several tense hours, all the tests came back normal and Baby J recovered from Phenol poisoning. 

I should mention that Baby J isn't actually a Baby, but a pre-schooler, about the same age as my oldest boy, Pete.  Which is why this story really hits home, and why I'm sharing it with all of you.

I'm dying for a little more sleep, a little more rest in my life, while I'm exhausted just growing a baby and trying to keep my children from destroying the house around me, let alone prepare meals daily and keep a stash of clean clothes ready for my family.  On many days, I hand them each a banana and cup of milk and try to lay down a little while longer before starting my day.  Just like Miss F, my children are running around the house some mornings without my direct supervision, and are now big enough that even a baby gate can't keep them contained.  And just like Miss F, I have some tylenol and vitamins, cough syrup and baby-tylenol up on the window sill above my kitchen sink, out of reach, as far as I know, of my children. 
So this week, upon hearing of the accidental overdose, I prayed for Baby J's full recovery, Miss F's peace, and my own children's safety.  Then I went to the kitchen and removed all the bottles, moving them to the highest shelf in the locked pantry.  I know that with kids, no storage method is full-proof (which also scares me to death about the locked gun-box high on a shelf in our basement) so I'm tempted to throw it all away and only run to the CVS down the street when someone spikes a fever.  I know that's not practical, and I have to be reasonable, and so the medicine will stay in the house, on the top shelf, in a tupperware box, in the pantry with a child-proof door.  Just like so many things in life, I'll have to hope that my reasonable precautions will protect my family

What scares me even more than Baby J's accidental overdose was some other parent's response to the incident.  A chorus of "that's so scary" was typically followed by "my kid would never climb up there" or "my kid knows medicine is only for when you're sick" or "my kid doesn't know how to open a childproof cap".  Maybe I'm overreacting, but this kind of keeping your head in the sand is how accidents keep happening.  I can guarantee you Miss F never thought Baby J could climb up from the step stool to the counter and then to the fridge.  And I'm sure Miss F would never leave a medicine bottle around, thinking that Baby J could find it and manage to open it too.  Finally, I know throat spray tastes horrid, and who would think that upon tasting that nasty liquid, that Baby J would keep drinking it? So look around your house today, and think about what you might hate to find out your child can get into before they have the chance to get into it.  Because the first time could be the last time. 

And then go hug your kids.  After they wake up from nap. 

Ten years. Seventy years.

There are days I wish I had the talent as a writer to pour out my heart in words, to have the reader feel what I'm feeling.  I wish I had artistic talent to paint, or sing, or photograph and record and describe the emotions in a way other could understand.  Though I know I can't do the day and the memories justice, I do want to share some thoughts.

I wonder, is this how my grandparents felt when they heard about Pearl Harbor?  Without today's instant media coverage, our grandparents were spared a play-by-play, the speculation and the video coverage of friends, family and strangers' last moments.  My thoughts linger on families that received calls from planes, from the towers, helpless other than to say goodbye.  Compare those final calls to the sailors who may have scribbled notes and scratched messages while they were trapped on the USS Oklahoma for two days following the attack on Pearl Harbor.  Would it ease your mind to imagine your loved one's final moments, or to know the details?  What would those men have said if cell phones existed in 1941?  The days the families spent searching NYC hospitals mirror the days families spent waiting for a telegram or a knock at the door to confirm their worst fears.  The site of the WTC towers and the ships on the floor of Pearl Harbor, the final resting place for men and women whose families will never be able to bring their bodies home to their traditional family plots.   

Even as we remember the 10th anniversary of 9/11/01, it is slowly becoming a part of our history.  The horror of that day lives on vividly in the minds of those who lived through it, but it is now a history lesson to children too young to remember or born since that day, just like December 7, 1941 is a history lesson for most of the country now that nearly 70 years have passed.  Are the memories going to be as fresh and as raw another 60 years from today?  Who will mark these anniversaries as those who remember the day grow old and pass away?

Though we were in a state of shock as a country ten years ago, I honestly feel more closely touched this year.  Ten years ago I thought it would be sad to lose a husband in the attacks.  Now I have a husband whom I love more than life and the thought of losing him is so gut-wrenching it nearly makes me vomit.  Back then I thought I knew love.  Now I can see how young and silly I was.  Ten years ago, I didn't think twice about children.  Now I have two little boys and one on the way, and I stop breathing thinking of the parents who had to explain to a toddler that Mommy or Daddy isn't coming home anymore.  The country changed ten years ago, but it's taken me ten years to catch up.   

My writings can't truly embody all the emotions of this anniversary, but here I have tried to honor the men and women who lost their lives that day and the families they left behind.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Patience, right?

And here I sit.  I sit in the rocking chair and supervise nap time.  Not the actual sleeping part of naptime, but the hour it takes for them to fall asleep in their beds.  Weeks ago, we moved to an 11am lunch aiming for naptime to begin between 11:30am-noon.  The idea was that napping slightly earlier in the day (they had been napping around 1pm or later) would make bedtime easier, which would make for happier and well-rested children, even if they continue getting up at 5am. 

Routine is supposed to make this easier.  And we certainly have routine, they're just not catching on that at the end of the routine, they should close their eyes and sleep.   

After lunch we use the potty and put on a pull-up (Pete), change the diaper (Chester), we wash hands, read a book and then they lay down in bed.  This is where the fiasco begins.  Chester is doing headstands, folding in half with his toes over his head, stretching out off the edge of the bed, getting out of bed to look out the window, etc.  Pete is alternately doing the same and yelling at Chester to get back in his bed.  So I've taken to sitting in their room while they fall asleep.  Then I cover them up and leave to attend to my own needs, like lunch or cleaning the kitchen and folding laundry.  We're coming up on week three of the routine, and they are still bouncing off the walls for an hour, at least.

Bedtime is similar, though it also involves a shower, pajamas, one cartoon of choice (typically Go, Diego, Go these days) in addition to the potty trip and bedtime stories.  And then an hour or more while I sit and threaten "get back in bed" and "put your head on your pillow".  I also pick them back up and put them back in bed without additional snuggles.  Consistency is key in training dogs, husbands and children.  Anytime I try to leave the room before they're both asleep and I hear little feet making a pitter-patter for the door, the other bed or the books on the bookshelf.  Last night it lasted from 7:30pm to 9:15pm!   

So there goes two to three hours of my day, spent sitting quietly in a dark room, wishing my children would catch on to the concept, and that I will have the patience to continue sitting and rocking waiting for them to fall asleep.  I  guess the alternative is duct taping them to the bed, and duct taping their eyes shut before I leave the room.     

Monday, September 5, 2011

A few letters:

Dear mosquito who bit me on the bottom of my foot yesterday:  You suck.  Quite literally.  I'm not sorry I squished you, I'm only sorry I didn't get you before you gave me a super itchy bite right where my flip-flop rubs my foot. 

Dear mosquito friend of the first mosquito:  Clearly you didn't learn from your friend's demise.  I did not appeciate you flying up my shorts.  I hope none of my neighbors saw me jump out of my chair and smack my crotch repeatedly yelling "get out!".

Dear Baby Dinosaur:  You're welcome for the donuts and coffee this morning.  Please stop bouncing off my cervix, bladder, kidneys and other internal organs.  I promise we'll be back to eggs and toast tomorrow, this was just a special treat for a holiday weekend.

Dear Hudson:  I'm sorry I failed you.  I hope you'll forgive me someday, and for now, I hope all those snuggles you got sleeping and snuggling in bed with your new little boy helped ease your confusion.

Dear Laundry:  Please wash and dry yourself.  Thanks.  If you could add an extra vinegar rinse to the cloth diaper load before hanging out to dry that would be great. 

Dear Husband.  Thank you for a wonderful birthday, and the coffee and donuts in bed this morning.  I enjoyed celebrating the first anniversary of my 30th birthday.  :)   

Dear CGC Spencer:  Welcome home, my friends have missed their loved ones.  Congratulations on a successful and safe patrol.

Enjoy your Labor Day friends!  We're having beautiful weather and picnics with friends!

Friday, September 2, 2011

The nerdery never dies, it just changes form.

Back when I worked as a CPA, I referred to my office as the Nerdery, which was also the name of my house during grad school at Miami.  (What you didn't name your houses at your university?  Boring!)  My days were filled manipulating numbers, with the goal of maximizing profit or reducing tax liability.  I could add, subtract and rearrange numbers and their descriptions with the best of them.  Despite having a "math intensive" reputation, I truly never used anything beyond addition, subtraction, multiplication and division. 

So last night and this morning, I set my sights on the grocery budget.  I've been meal planning for each pay period, picking up all the non-perishables and the meats to freeze, then only heading to the grocery for fresh fruits and vegetables throughout the week.  While meal planning for this month, I took it one step further and put it into a spreadsheet.  This way, I'm not keeping random notebook pages of weekly menus for reference, and I can begin analyzing and manipulating the data, tracking ingredient costs, managing waste, eating seasonally and reducing expenses.


This is just a first draft and needs to be tweaked and updated as I get more specific data on just how many ways a head of cauliflower can be used in a two week period.  It may also keep me from getting stuck in a dinner rut, which Ryan should appreciate too.