...my child sold your honor student the answers to the test...

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

When You Want to Laugh but Can't

It's very hard to properly discipline your kids when you're trying your damnedest not to laugh out loud at their antics. Ashe is hitting the age where his vocabulary is just exploding, he is putting proper sentences together, and mimicking anything he hears...along with making up his own twists here and there. A lot of them are just flat out hysterical. But most are flat out hysterical and things he really shouldn't get away with saying. J and I are finding it harder and harder each day to keep our wits together long enough to let him know that somethings are not ok to say while contorting our lips into frowns when all we want to do is bust out laughing.

For instance, while Ashe won't call J Babes anymore on his own, he has begun to "echo" me anytime I call up to J. So if I call upstairs to get J's attention, and Ashe is nearby it sounds like this:
"Hey Babes?"
"Honey don't call Daddy Babes. That's Mommy's name for him. You call him Daddy."
"Thanks.... Hey Babes?"

I mean seriously, how can you keep a straight face to that?

His latest phrase is "MOMMY I'M NOT TALKING TO YOU!". It's so hard to discipline a toddler when you add in the sound of this tiny pipsqueak voice trying to sound gruff. He said this to me today and of course while trying not to laugh I told him he can't say that to Mommy. Then J pipes up in the background "But you say it to him." I went to counter that I did not but realized, I did. Usually I say it to Xavier, who believes every word out of someones mouth is directed solely to him and he'll continually interrupt a conversation with "What? What? What did you say? I missed that can you repeat it?" to which I turn around and say "I'm not talking to you, I'm talking to (insert name of person here)." With Ashe echoing Xavier, he's been doing the same thing to me. And thus I found out where he gets it from.

Tonights escapade sent J and I over the edge. I took the turn to put the older boys to bed tonight. Of course they decided to act like they had caffeine instead of blood in their tiny little bodies and were just all over the place. It actually got to the point where I went beyond threatening to shut their bedroom door (they loathe that) to actually doing it. Ashe kept popping out of bed and opening it, then running back to bed. Maybe I'm a bad mom but after this went on about 4 times I waited right outside the door and when he opened it again I yelled "GET IN BED!" His little body jumped 3 feet in the air and he ran back into bed.... laughing his butt off. 'Great', I thought, 'he thinks it's a game.'

I went back to the office and shut our door so I could pretend to be ignorant of their antics. Sometimes you have to just admit defeat and hope they pass out soon without destroying their bedroom. As I'm putting on my headphones and turn to my computer, the office door opens and there is Ashe with a HUGE grin on his face and he yells "SURPRISE MOMMY. I OUT OF BED!"

I cant begin to describe the heroic strength it took for me not to laugh right then and there. Just the mental image of his cherubic little face with a devilish grin as he said that makes me giggle. But I had to be the mean Mommy. If I laughed he would think it's ok to do this forever and he would try. Oh yes, my darling boy would try every night thereafter if I showed any hint of amusement. So I reigned in my laughter, fixed a frown on my face and growled "Get. In. Bed. Now."

His poor little face crumpled, the eyes glistened, as he sees the outward appearance of me not getting his joke. I want to jump up and tell him Yes dammit that was really funny!!!!! but I can't. I have to be Mom. He starts to cry and hobbles back to bed, and sobs himself to sleep. And a little part of me dies inside, because dude, that was a riot, and yet I cant tell him. Not for another 16 years at least. And until then he's going to think I was mad. And that sucks.

After he went back to bed I closed the door and J and I quietly stuffing our faces into our shirts and just laughing until we gasped for breath. Even eye contact with each other would set us off again. I hope that when Ashe is old enough I can share this blog so he knows Mommy wasn't mad, but I had a job to do and sometimes my job as Mom has to come before my sense of humor as myself. And I really hope I didn't just give him a memory to dissect with his therapist in 20 years. I think I'll make sure to print this blog out and save it in a fireproof safe for proof I'm not as evil as he may think I am.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Family Games

We are a family of gamers. J and I started the trend over 9 years ago, and over time, others were sucked in, including my mom and her husband (although thank god they don't play with us... and if you're reading this mom, nothing personal! I love you!!!) as well as our sons.

It's not uncommon in our household to find all computers being used by every person in the family at once, including Soren. Many a times I've gone down to get a fresh cup of coffee, only to find my desktop commandeered by Ashe or Xavier, who have taken over my MMO character and run her around like a chicken with it's head cut off. It's actually a reason why I wont do PUGs (Pick up groups with random unknown people in the game) on the off chance they ever saw my character being repeatedly murdered by a gleesome 2 year old as he runs her off cliffs. If anyone saw this happening, and I'm sure people have, they may wonder about my intelligence. Unfortunately while true, it's too easy to blame it on my offspring. I'm sure that's a common excuse for gaming idiocy.

Xavier is finally old enough to not only understand how to maneuver a character around the gaming world, but he knows how to actually play in a limited sense. I'm not yet ready to power level him to max level and have him join our raiding guild (besides we raid past his bedtime) but he is able to tag along with J and I once in awhile to complete quests and instances. He will be one of the few teenagers who can say he's been gaming since he was 3. Sometimes I wonder if that's really cool, or really sad?

He really gets into the game around Halloween, as there are a lot of extra fun and silly things to do and acquire, including nifty illusions to turn yourself into a skeleton or scarecrow. I stock up on these during this time of year so that I can mail them to him in game throughout the year for giggles. Since it is now that time, his interest n gaming has increased and he keeps stealing my computer when I'm busy with the other 2 kids and hopping on a new character he created.

His new character is named Blackshadower, a necromancer. One day last week, he bemoaned the fact that he didn't have a mount to ride like everyone else. Because his character was on my account and I had access to a mount per character J was able to get him a free one, a monstrous bear you can ride around. This please Xavier for awhile and he happily ran around, mauling poor innocent deer and shooting down fairies (and orcs and other things he was actually supposed to kill.) But then he decided his bear was not fast enough and wanted a horse. Horses in the game cost money. A lot of money, especially since he wanted one that rode really really really fast. He asked J to lend him in game money and J said nope, you don't play often enough for me to give you money yet. Show me you can play for awhile and I might. In the meantime, you can quest to get your own money for a horse. Apparently, Xavier didn't like that answer. We shouldn't be surprised because he never likes that answer even in real life terms despite the fact he now get a a $7 weekly allowance if he does all his chores.

So the other night after this conversation, and the kids were all abed, J and I popped on our game. A few minutes later J starts giggling and motions for me to come and look at his screen. He had noticed mail was sent to his character in game and opened it and this is what it was:

I especially love the fact only the last line is capitalized, showing he understood what he was writing and used capital letters to get his vehemence through.

J and I spent a long time chuckling and wondering if it was some keen joke of Zavis. We didn't want to be upset at him if it was, but if it wasn't we were going to need to have a little talk.

The following day J asked Zavi if it was a joke and it was not. Zavi said he was really sorry and he didn't mean to yell at J. I guess the two of them made amends and Zavi now really understands no pony is in his future unless he gets it himself. I guess I should be thankful he's asking for a virtual one and not a real live pony. It could be worse.

I now begin to worry about Ashe in the future with gaming, seeing as how he really has a grasp on the mechanics of the game at a much earlier age than Zavi did. At 2 he can do everything BUT quest. I look forward to seeing what kind of spam mails J and I will get in our virtual world from him in the coming years. Maybe he'll be demanding a dragon by then!

Monday, October 19, 2009

Screwdriver Chicken

I hate cooking. I really really hate it. I'm not good at it, I hate the mess it makes, I hate cleaning up after. I was never taught how to cook by my mom as most daughters are. My mom didn't know how to cook either and our meals growing up consisted mainly of either McDonalds Drive thru, way overcooked steak that could break your teeth, and once in awhile a decent meatloaf. About the only thing I can make is an amazing turkey. I don't know why but no matter how I cook it, my turkeys always come out perfect (knock on wood). I do like making turkeys. But thats about it!

I often wonder that if I had been taught how to cook I may actually have grown to enjoy it. I often fantasize that one day I'm going to have an amazing kitchen with double ovens, a huge pantry, hanging black iron skillets, and a spice shelf that puts Fresh Markets to shame (yes, I stand by the Fresh Market Spice shelf and drool although I have no idea why). And once I have my amazing kitchen I'm going automatically know how to, and love to cook fantastic gourmet meals that are both delicious and nutritious for my wonderful family. I need to get my kitchen first though to see if this fantasy actually pans true. And maybe J will get a big pay raise too so I can buy decent meat and fresh crisp vegetables for every meals. My fantasies also include me going out every day to pick only the freshest cuts of meats and bread, with locally farm grown veggies picked off the stem that day. This is how I know it's pure fantasy folks. Where the hell would I even find time to go food shopping on a daily basis?!?

Most evenings I start cooking dinner around 4:30-5pm. While I hate cooking it's my job during the weekdays, and trying to wrangle the stove that makes the smoke detector go off if I even contemplate boiling water and 3 kids who are getting tired, irritable and clingy, I go for efficiency when I choose dinner meals. My favorite lately has been semi premade meals from the Macaroni Grill with Chicken. Think Hamburger Helper but without the taste of cardboard and actually really good. We learned quickly that canned chicken breast works really well with it. I can generally whip up a decent meal with it in 15 minutes, plus be able to help Zavi with his homework, jiggle Soren on my hip and dance around with Ashe, keeping all three kids if not entertained, at least busy and quiet.

So tonight I decided we were going to have Macaroni Grills Creamy Chicken and Basil. I heated up the water and started cooking the noodles, and began melting butter for the chicken. I pulled out a can of canned chicken and placed Soren in his exersaucer so that I could saute the chicken without worrying about him getting scorched. I picked up our hand held manual can opener and started to open the can. I began to vaguely remember J mentioning that our can opener seemed to be busted the other day as I stood there, hand cranking the opener over and over and nothing was happening. We didn't have any extras or alternatives and I began to realize I may be in a spot of trouble here, dinner wise.

For a few minutes I tried in vain to get the damn thing to work. I opened it up, checked the insides (looked fine but what the heck do I know?) tried putting it back on tighter... to no avail. In a fit of desperation as I glanced at the now boiling pasta I decided to try something hardcore. I ran to the laundry room, half jumping over Ashe in the hallway who was trying to dive bomb and grab my legs to bring me down to his level, and yanked open the laundry room door searching for my tool box. Digging through it I pulled out a hammer and a screwdriver and raced back to the kitchen. By now Soren was whimpering to be picked up, Zavi was yelling questions about homework from the dining room across the hall and Ashe chased after me and pinioned my legs together wrapping his entire body on my shins and singing loudly. Already I could feel a head ache forming.

I grabbed the can of chicken, placed it in the center of the counter, put the screw driver on top and started hammering the top until the screwdriver broke through the metal surface. With a pop I had success. But then I looked down and realized, after noting how small the hole I had just made in the can was, how long this was going to take. Nevertheless I was insistent on at least giving it a good try. Smelling the melting butter in the awaiting frying pan, I took a deep breath and continued hammering away at the can.

After about 5 minutes and only 3 inches of the can opened I tried another tactic. I took the hammer and tried prying the can open enough to get the chicken out. no luck. So I tried a wine bottle opener. Nope. In a fit of desperation I grabbed a kitchen knife and tried sawing through the can top in the hopes that it would be faster. Fail. By now Soren is beyond pissed off and letting it be known, Ashe is trying to placate him by poking his chubby sticky (why are toddler hands always sticky no matter how many times you wash them?) fingers into Sorens jowls and Zavi is yelling at me that the butter is burning. And I'm ready to just scream. But I cant because if I do I'll scare the kids which will set off a domino reaction of wails and screams.

Instead of screaming I throw down my implements of canned chicken torture and just give up. I run up to J and bluster that we need a new damned can opener tomorrow morning, and run back downstairs to figure something out.We're not having Macaroni Grill tonight folks. I slam open my kitchen cabinets in a desperate search for something to go with the noodles and come up with spaghetti sauce. I hate spaghetti and sauce but at this point anything will do. I drain the now overcooked noodles, toss in some sauce (careful not to put too much in or J makes faces) and butter up some bread. I slap everything together and dole out portions, yelling at Zavi to clean off the table and Ashe would you go tell Daddy dinners ready?

In the end everyone but Ashe ate the spaghetti with no complaints. Zavi even asked for seconds, and I doled half my meal onto his empty plate. I plan on going out tomorrow and purchasing a new can opener. One that's electric. And sits on the counter. None of this manual crap we've used for years. And I'm contemplating making myself a real screwdriver once the kids are asleep. You know, the one with orange juice and vodka.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

RX: Zavi and Coffee

There is a song I mentally sing to myself every morning when I wake up. It's a song I think ALL parents should hear, memorize, and know deep in their heart. It's by a fantastic children songwriter who goes by the name Ralphs World (he is the only children songwriter I have been known to listen to in the car even without the kids) and it's called MOMMY needs COFFEE. If you have never heard of it, please take a moment to listen and memorize:

I am an avid coffee drinker. I can drink mass quantities of coffee every day up until it's time to pass out and well, pass out. And it's not because I have kids that exhaust me into passing out. I've always been this way. Kids help though, I readily admit. The reason I can do this is because I have a mild case of ADD. I was diagnosed as a kid but as it was so mild I've never taken medication for it. However after doing research when I reached adult status, wondering why I could drink so much coffee with no ill effects I stumbled upon several websites and forums of other adults with ADD who self medicated with caffeine. It's actually been proven that caffeine affects those of us with ADD differently than the average Joe because it helps to self regulate the chemical imbalance and allows us to actually keep up with our thoughts. In laymens terms, it allows us to focus.

ADD and ADHD is usually passed on genetically and poor Zavi got genetically knocked upside the head with my genes and consequently ADHD. His ADHD is on the severe side, so we do use medication along with behavior modification. Even then though, when the meds wear off at night, or before they kick in during the AM hours, Zavi is a completely different person. It's nothing he can do about it, nothing he can control. It is what it is. But mornings and nights are HARD for us all to deal with, even with a lot of consumed coffee. For most of the day you would never, ever realize Zavi has ADHD. He does fantastically at school, he is kind, and polite, and so damn smart! I've had people tell me point blank there is no way in hell he has ADHD after meeting him (on his medication and years of behavior modification). Instead of being insulted as if I were lying I take it as a compliment towards Zavi. he's worked very hard to be where he is today and I am beyond proud of him and his accomplishments.

But again, mornings and evenings are rough on the whole family. Arguments over the most stupid things occur nonstop, running around like a bee got caught in his pants, nonstop talking (really, I should call it shouting) about anything and nothing, not listening, focusing, or following directions. All out tantrums when it's time for bed.

I bring this up so you have a good sense of what we deal with on a constant daily basis. It's been like this since he was 3 and has never gotten better. Now when a child takes medication for ADHD every 6 months they go in for a check up with their pediatrician to make sure that the dosage is correct for them as they grow and that there are no bad side effects. Today Xavier had his 6 month check up after school.

In the car on the way there I tell him to please be on his best behavior, do not interrupt, please answer honestly any questions the Dr has, blah blah blah, to which he agrees. Last time we went for his check up I said the same thing and as I'm chatting with the Dr he was bouncing all over the place, jumping off the table, making up silly songs, just being, well, Zavi. And I remember having thought his medication was fine and the Dr asking me if this was him. I said "Yeah, this is him". She paused and whispered to me"Honey, I think we need to up his dosage." And I looked at him, not as his mom, but as the Dr saw him and realized whoa!! Yeah she was right.

This time he did fairly well. Aside from the fact the moment he got in the Space patient room and threw on the size 4yr old astronaut space suit and helmet and started pretending to walk on the moon. Which involves jumping in case you didn't know. He was smart enough to remember last visit and did not approach the table/bed thing. So he's jumping around like he's on the moon while the Dr and I talk. She asks her normal questions and I tell her that hes doing amazing in school, no bad behavior reports, the only issues are mornings and nights. So we get into details about that and I ashamedly admit that one time, when we ran out of his medication on a weekend so couldn't refill, that I gave him a cup of coffee knowing how it helps me.

I remember doing that and thinking that I was going to go to Mother Hell for giving my son a full cup of coffee in order to hopefully help him calm down. But in a weird sort of way it helped him. Once he got his medication refilled coffee was again off limits. Which was hard because, like mother like son, he loved it.

Oddly enough when I mentioned that and inwardly cringed thinking I was going to get verbally lashed for being a bad mom, instead the Dr leaned back with a ponderous expression and asked me how it affected him.
"It seemed to do for him what it does for me which is to help focus. It wasn't much but it took the edge off."
"And he liked it?"
"Liked it isn't a strong enough word I would use. Let's just say every time we go by Starbucks he gets a gleam in his eye and he sighs."
"You know there have been studies about how coffee actually helps people with ADHD?"
"Yes I know. I have ADD myself and found that out a few years ago. Its why I allowed him to have a cup when we had no medication."
"And your mornings are hard until the medication is noticeable?"
"How would you feel about allowing your son coffee in the morning?"
..... Coffee? For a 7 yr old? Is this allowed? Really? I started thinking maybe I wont go to Mothers Hell? Was I maybe not a bad mom then?

So the end result was that because Zavis medication does not kick in for awhile in the mornings, and it is hard to us all in the mornings until then (emotional confusion for Zavi since he can not control himself and doesn't know why) the Dr decided to prescribe him coffee every morning. His eyes lit up when he heard that and all the way home I heard about how he gets to have lattes now (dude how many 7 yr olds know what a latte IS???) and can we buy an espresso machine? (NO!)

So tomorrow we start caffeinating our oldest child with coffee. I can already picture the three of us, J, myself, and Zavi, sitting at the table, all of us reading , and preparing for the day. Oddly enough, it's quite a fitting picture. And now I realize that I need to teach my son the coffee song, and we need to create a new verse, just for him.

Z-A-V-I boy needs C-O-F-F-E-E

Battle of Wills

I've been trying to get my bed back from Soren now for a few weeks, to no avail. It's become a power struggle and one I admit I am losing to a 3 month old. He did great sleeping in his crib for a few hours in the early night for a little while. But then he would wake up utterly pissed that he was not in my bed. And beyond pissed that he wakes up and I'm not there either.

I know he can do it. When it's J's night he goes down peacefully almost every time. Yet when it's my turn he stays asleep only on my shoulder. The moment I put him down in his crib, or car seat, or bouncy seat, or anything that is not me or my bed, I begin the mental countdown of 5 minutes before he will inevitably wake up and start letting me know under no circumstances are these sleeping arrangements to be tolerated.

I caved for awhile during our week of flu here, in order to get any kind of sleep possible. Since he wakes up every 2 hours, it was killing me to wake up, get out of bed, stumble upstairs, nurse him, and then spend an hour trying to get him to go to sleep again, stumble back down into bed only to have Ashe or Zavi need me, and by the time I finished helping them out Soren was up again. So I selfishly brought him into bed with me in order to survive. And that worked great for him. So great, in fact, he has decided to take up permanent residence again in the middle of our bed.

Last night was my night to get Soren to sleep. The night before J was able to get him to conk out in the crib. he did wake up once screaming and I had to go in and console him until he passed out again, but my point is he slept in his crib on Js night. So when it was my turn last night I figured we could do the crib thing again no problem. He passed out and I placed him in his crib, comatose, and prepared to pop on to my game. He lasted 10 minutes before I heard him whine, then bawl. I grabbed him, checked his diaper, gave him a pacifier, and rocked him to sleep. I gently put him down in his crib and he woke up and started to bawl. Again. Resigned I took him out to the living room and settled down to watch House with him cuddled in my lap. Again, he passed out. No taste in TV shows if you ask me! I prepared his car seat and put him down. He stayed asleep for 5 minutes so I thought I was safe and tiptoed back upstairs to game.

About 15 minutes later I heard him wake up and start to whine again. I wasn't ready to give up though. I went AFK, brought him and his car seat up and set it beside me. He seemed happy so long as I was in his line of sight, and contently watched me raid for about an hour. But he wouldn't sleep. Oh no.

It's now about 9:30 and he starts to fuss again. I finally succumbed to the realization that I would most likely not be raiding anymore for the night, so I left the raid, gated back to the guild hall, threw up my AFK tag and grabbed Soren. We headed downstairs to watch more TV until he passed out. Fortunately I had DVRd Ancient Secrets of the Egyptians so I had something to watch that was actually interesting. Soren was just content in hanging onto me for dear life, eyes wide, staring at my face. Staring me down. We both knew this was a battle of wills and he was determined to win!

I held out for awhile. I too, was determined to win this night, but after an hour passed with him never straying his gaze from me, I realized I was defeated. Besides my show was over and I had nothing else left to watch. Slowly I stood up, and walked towards my bedroom. The moment I put him down on the bed Soren gave me a huge toothless grin and started wiggling around like crazy. Think of it as the baby version of the happy dance football players do when they get a touch down. I muttered to him "Yeah yeah you won. Stop rubbing my face in it." He respectfully stopped, knowing it's not nice to rub salt into open wounded pride, and happily contented himself with playing with my face, hair, and most especially, my shirt. But still he refused to sleep.

After awhile I came onto an idea that I thought may help him pass out for good. I had noticed he was constantly clutching my shirt. So in a fit of inspiration, I took it off and handed it to him. He instantly clutched it to him like a life vest and promptly passed out cuddled to it within a minute. And he didn't wake up for 3 hours.

I didn't win getting my bed back last night. But I did learn something valuable. I learned that no matter what my baby feels absolutely contentedly safe and secure when I'm around (I knew that but it really hit me last night). And I learned when all else fails for getting a baby to sleep, I will literally give him the shirt off my back if it helps him. My only thought is to wonder if Soren is going to grow up and use my shirts as his lovey and how I'll survive the bill to buy myself new shirts to actually wear.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Goodbye Training Wheels

Xavier has finally learned how to ride a bike without training wheels. I thought this day would never come. No seriously I really didnt think it would. Is that bad of me?

You see, Xavier has had some form of bike since he was 2. We started with the traditional tricycle and then moved onto a bike with training wheels when his knees kept hitting the trykes handle bars. Despite me constantly dragging him outside to practice he has been reluctant. Zavi is a perfectionist at heart, but lacks the confidence and patience to perfect new skills. If it doesnt come to him easily he wants nothing to do with it. This was extremely evident on learning how to ride a bike.

He would always come up with these grand ideas of what he would be able to accomplish when he could ride without training wheels. He would do wheelies. He would do jumps. He would ride his bike handles and wow everyone around him. I never dashed these dreams of his. But I would insist before he started planning on jumping the Grand Canyon with his bike he better feel comfortable enough on it to try getting rid of his training wheels.

When we moved here 2 years ago I was excited because we had a green way right behind our house and I thought it would be a perfect place for Zavi to finally practice and gain the confidence he needed. We'd go out a few times and he would pedal his bike at Mach -3 (that roughly translates to slower than a snail on Valium) constantly stopping when he felt like he was going to fall. He never did, but he feared falling. Despite my repeated comforting assertions that yes, he will fall eventually, but that its ok and he wont get hurt (Much, I would mutter very quietly). And that EVERYBODY falls off their bike when learning so it will be ok and no one will laugh at him.Of course the one time we did go out and he started showing confidence he turned a corner on the pathway and got barreled over by 3 10 yr olds whizzing by on their bikes. After which he put his bike away for 6 months.

I bought him a new bike for his birthday in March. It was a Star Wars bike, with Yoda and Jedis on it. He loved it! He tried it out once. Then he forgot about it. J kept commenting on how it was wasted money. But I refused to give up. I knew one day he would achieve confidence in himself and practice enough to finally take off the training wheels and join the rest of the boys in this country biking all over the neighborhoods.

It took seeing his friend, a year younger than he, biking like a maniac on our street a few weeks ago. I was outside with our neighbor and her kids, pushing Ashe around on his little bike and Xavier was wobbling all over and getting frustrated. His friend whizzed by, stopped to chat for a bit then offered to race Xavier. I should also mention that Xavier is also competitive. I saw a gleam in his eye as a smile lit up his face. Gone was the nervous boy on a bike and replacing him was a boy who wanted to race. And win. I should thank Zavis friend for that. The two boys raced each other for awhile and when we were packing it in for the day Zavi asked if we could bike again tomorrow. Sure, I said. And so every day after that as long as the weather was good, we were out for an hour to bike. And he practiced. And practiced. And after a week I made his training wheels higher so he wobbled more. And he practiced some more. And started bringing up taking the wheels off again.

On Sunday, when he felt better from the flu, J and I decided to take the boys to a park for a picnic. On a whim I threw in the bikes with training wheels off them, and picked a park with unused basketball courts for him to practice on. We ate our lunch and then Xavier hopped on his bike and listened while I explained how to do a kick start. I also explained to him if he felt like he was going to fall to head for the grass all around.

He got the kick start figured out after about 15 minutes of growling and muttering. Instead of braking he'd just head to the grass and topple off grinning. I figured if he wanted to bike on our road he damn well better know how to stop if a car comes by. So I played a game with him. He would bike around in circles and I'd call out things that were crossing the road. If he didnt break, he was "dead" and had to start over. So our game went like this:

"Zavi BEAR!"...brake "Good job!!!"......"Zavi MOOSE... MOOSE.. XAVIER MOOOOOOSE!!! Ok dude you just hit a gigantic moose."
"Mom, there are no Moose in NC."
"Not anymore. You just hit the last one. Ok lets try again........ ZAVI SHARK!"
"What kind of shark???"
"What? I dont know... ummm, TIGER SHARK!"
"Sharks don't live on land."
"Would you stop being so realistic and work with me here?"
"Fine. I'll try again."
"Good.......ZAVI TIGER!!! TIGER!!!! WOULD YOU JUST BRAKE?!?!?!?!"

until finally he got his braking confidence. I laughed and cheered and jumped up and down as much as I could with Soren in his Moby wrap passed out on me. Xavier was thrilled and was disappointed that yesterday it rained and he couldn't bike after school. But today is sunny, so we'll be waiting for him to get home from school, outside, with his bike waiting for him, now without training wheels.

Fly, young bird, fly. You've got your wings.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Running on E

It's been awhile since I had the time to actually sit down and write. OK I had the time, just nowhere near the mental capacity to form coherent thoughts and write them out correctly. I'm still trying to catch up...ha! That's funny. With a 3 month old who doesn't sleep and a 2 yr old who likes to get out of bed in the middle of the night several times looking to watch tv or get a refill on chocolate milk...catch up? Well I have to hold on to some form of hope that it happens sooner than when Soren hits the age of 18 or I'll probably end up in a Happy House surrounded by several nice men in pristine white lab coats. Actually, now that I think about it, that sounds kind of nice. Maybe I could even get 4 hours of uninterrupted sleep!

So last Monday Xavier came home complaining about a weird tummy. By evening he had a mild fever which meant no school the next day. By Wednesday we decided to take him to the Drs as his list of symptoms began to grow and wouldn't you know it, he was diagnosed with H1N1 and Pneumonia. I swear when we went into the Pediatric office he wasn't looking too bad, but by the time he got the official word he had just plummeted to complete and utter sick! So I took the poor kid home and got him in bed, went out to get his medicine prescription filled and stopped at Blockbuster to stock up on movies. Keeping him in his room, liquidated and medicated was the easy part. The hard part came in keeping everyone away from him!!

Since Ashe has asthma and H1N1 is bad for kids with pre-existing conditions, J and I decided to keep him as far from Zavi as possible... which proved IMpossible! No matter how hard we tried to keep him off Xaviers top bunk I would find him there within the hour. I understood Ashes reasoning's. Zavi was miserable and Ashe wanted to comfort him. Zavi had Indiana Jones playing on the lap top and Ashe wanted to watch too. Zavi was playing Star Wars on his DS and Ashe wanted a turn. Ashe was bored and wanted to annoy his brother as it is his duty to do so.

On top of this I also had to keep everyone sanitized and away from Soren. As a baby he was also in the category of OMG DO NOT GET FLU!!!! So J and I reverted to Purelling everything and anyone who walked by. Want to look at Soren? Wash your hands. Want to talk to Soren? Wash your hands. Want to get within 45 feet of Soren? Wash your hands!!!

Then came medication. I felt like Nurse Ratchett the entire time as I doled out Tylenol, Motrin, Tamiflu for Ashe, antibiotics for Xaviers pneumonia, Airborn and Cold Eaze for J and myself. My kitchen counter made Targets Pharmacy look amateur in comparison. I kept tally both mentally and on scraps of paper who had what when, temperature readings, etc.

Add on top of all this nights. Zavi waking up in the middle of the night trying to cry from being in pain but having no voice. I would go in and rub his back until he finally passed out. Then Ashe would wake up with a stuffy nose and demand wipes for his nose and butt (why his butt I have no idea but we just ran with it to keep a happy family.) Soren decided to want to wake up every hour to nurse a few nights and then J started feeling bad and got sick himself. At this point I had to stay healthy and keep going. J was down for the count. because he was sick I had Soren duty nonstop. I love the little bugger to death, but it got to be hard when I had to keep him in my arms and try to diffuse a fight between Zavi and Ashe (who would decide to climb up on Zavis bed and try to steal the laptop) while holding Soren at arms length outside in the germ free hallway.

It was like this All. Week. Long. By Saturday night I passed out at 9:30pm. I could not speak properly, I couldn't even complete a thought if my life depended on it. I realized trying to keep Soren in his crib was ludicrous right now as if he stayed in bed I could just roll over and nurse him without missing a beat. So he's back in our room for now. Anything to sleep.

Sunday Xavier was perfectly fine again. J is still a little under the weather but not too horrible. He's been a doll and despite being sick has allowed me to wake up late during the weekend to try and catch up. I know hes being nice but I also think it's because he knows how bad the atmosphere can get in here with a tired cranky wife and mom. It's another survival tactic. I love that man. Xavier finally went back to school today full of pep and vigor. Ashe, Soren, and I seemed to have been spared from the flu (knock on wood). But I really need one day sans kids to just crawl in bed in ratty PJs, my godawful looking purple fuzzy socks, and my favorite quilt and just zonk out and not worry about little feet pattering to my door, slowly opening it and crawling into my bed to ask in a concerned voice "MOMMY WHATCHA DOING????"

I wonder if the Happy House has their number listed in the phone book?

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Ashe and his Elephant

Ashe has an Elephant. So he tells us. J and I cant figure out if it's a pet or imaginary friend. I guess it doesn't really make a difference in the long run. But we're curious as to continue the conversations with Ashe and see what his little mind comes up with. So far he has not decided.

Most kids his age have imaginary friends. It comes with the territory and I am by no means an imaginary friend noob. I vividly remember having to stop and "buckle" in all of Zavis 9 imaginary friends in the back seat of our car whenever we went out. This went on for months. And I did so silently, never complaining, even in the negative 10 degree winter weather. I have a high respect for imaginary friends.

What's different about Ashes Elephant though, is where it lives.

This weekend Ashe came up to J and said "DADDY I HAVE AN ELEPHANT."
J looked at him smiling and said "Oh yeah?"
"Sure Buddy, I'd love to meet your Elephant."
Ashe then proceeds to shove one of his grubby fingers up his nose then pulls it out like he is holding something and holds it out to J. "SEE DADDY HERE IS MY ELEPHANT." (insert Ashe making Elephant noises here, which is impossible to actually type out I just realized...so use your imagination)

Now I didn't witness this conversation on my own but J did relate it to me after the fact between fits of gurgled laughter. He also mentioned that when it was time to go food shopping ( a weekly routine where J picks one boy to accompany him and it was Ashes turn) Ashe insisted Elephant come too. And while meandering through the aisles, Ashe would stuff his finger up his nose, "pull out" Elephant from his comfy dwellings and ask his opinion of which snack would be best to bring home. I guess Elephant would answer him and then Ashe would proceed to pick up a snack and place it in the cart, content with Elephants advice on snackages.

I got to meet Elephant earlier this week. Fortunately I had been prepared through Js story so I was able to keep a straight face when I was introduced to him. I complimented him on his beautiful big ears and asked him nicely to not destroy my living room. I couldn't tell you if our introductory meeting went well or not because I haven't "seen" him since (although I have heard Ashe converse with him a few times in bed) and my living room does look like a tornado went through it (but it always does with 3 kids and 1 of them home sick this week).

We've been lucky so far with Elephant. Zavis imaginary friends also needed their own spot at the dinner table but we haven't reached that point yet with Ashes new found friend. It may come though. I'm still trying to figure out how to be ready when the time comes that Ashe asks me to buckle up Elephant in the car. Do I pretend to buckle Ashes nose or insist Elephant comes out of there and sit in a proper seat? Can he sit up front as it is the only chair left not taken up by car seats and booster seats? Is Elephant the appropriate age to sit up front even?

This morning, Ashe woke up with a stuffy nose. I asked him if Elephant was getting too big to live there. He looked at me for a moment as if considering and said "NO MOMMY, THAT'S NOT ELEPHANT. I HAVE BUMBLEBEES IN MY NOSE." He then shoved his finger up his nose and pretended to pull out a bumblebee. "BZZZZZZZ"

I'm starting to wonder how big this menagerie of animals will be in the next few weeks!

Monday, October 5, 2009

Please Don't Call Daddy Babes

BC (Before Children) J and I created pet names for each other. It's gotten to the point where we cant even call each other by our given names. It just feels too weird. So when we were carefree and childless our pet names for each other was baby. Unique, huh? But it worked and we got along fine for many years, until we had Xavier. As soon as he was born we noticed we had had a dilemma on our hands. You see, whenever one of us called Xavier Baby the other person would automatically assume they were being called. So after a meeting of the minds we switched our pet names to Babes, which has stuck like bubble gum in hair ever since.

Our kids have always called us Mommy and Daddy, or some other variation thereof (although never Mother/Father or Ma... I just can't get into those.) And until recently, the kids were able to differentiate the fact that Mom and Dad have other names for each other that aren't Mom and Dad and just for them but not for the kids. Until this weekend.

On Friday evening, I started talking with J about something unimportant and of course started off the convo with "Hey Babes..." Ashe was in the room with us and I noticed him watching me as I spoke. I swear I could visibly see the gears working in his head while J and I talked, but for what I couldn't figure out." I continued chatting with J and forgot about that scheming little look I had gotten a glance at.

Saturday morning, J and I were upstairs in the office on our respective computers when I heard a call from Ashe downstairs about having just pooped in the potty. He has finally achieved Potty Trained Status (woohoo!!!) and is still SO excited he must verbally catalogue each and every bowel movement to one of his parental units so he can receive the praise he is so deserving of. Ashe called out "HEY MOMMY! I WENT POOP IN THE POTTY!" to which I cheered and said congratulations. After a brief pause he continues:
.... J and I glance at each other in shock.
A moment of pure silence went by and then after the shock of what we heard filtered into our brains J and I just burst out laughing. But we both knew, as parents do, we had to keep quiet with our guffaws and not answer him or he would take that as consent to continue using our pet moniker for one another. So we sat there and suffered in silence, laughing to the point I had tears in my eyes and our sides hurt as Ashe continued yelling up the stairs with his little 2 year old voice "HEY BABES!...BAAAABES!"

After awhile when it must have become apparent to him we weren't going to answer, Ashe stomped up the stairs and entered the office with a little glare on his face. He marched right up to J, hands on his hips and announced "BABES. I WENT POOP IN THE POTTY!"

I'll give J full credit for not losing control and laughing himself on the floor right there. He didn't even crack a smile, although I did notice a hint of one trying to sneak out from the corner of his lips. Instead he calmly faced Ashe and said in a matter of fact tone "My name is Daddy."

Ashe chewed on this for a few seconds and then looked up at J. "OK. HEY DADDY, I JUST WENT POOP ON THE POTTY!" J of course praised him with high 5s and good jobs. I pulled Ashe to me and hugged him in congratulations. And while his little arms were wrapped around me, his chin resting on my shoulder, I let it go and laughed my butt off as silently as I could. When Ashe gave me an inquiring look I just said I was so proud of him and hugged him again until I could get myself together.