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

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Invasion of the Toy Snatchers

Xavier is a rabid pack rat. It doesn't matter if it's a piece of twisted paper, an old McDonalds toy or something expensive, whether it's in good shape or pitifully broken, if it's something he actually plays with or not. If he feels it is his he will not let it go quietly. He comes by it naturally though. While J and I are not even close to pack rat status, after pondering this dilemma we realized that both of our moms are Pack Rats with a capitol P. Maybe these things skip a generation?

Being a Pack Rat is not always a bad thing, but when it comes to de-cluttering the house it creates the perfect storm for an all out tantrum of epic proportions. And these epic tantrums happen at least once a year around the holidays when I have enough of the clutter and begin to clear up in preparation for Christmas toys entering our household. Normally I try and do this decluttering when he is away at school to save us both from butting heads. He cant see it and wont know what happened, while I can toss in peace. This year I was able to get the downstair toys done while he was still in school, but this year he got out of school too early so I was unable to get to the heart of his hoarde, his room, before it was too late. Fortunately this year, I had a partner in crime.

This past weekend while the two older boys were off playing/beating each other up, I noticed J in the boys bedroom picking up. Normally we have our kids pick up their room each weekend as is their chore. I wandered in perplexed as to what he was doing, breaking the Adult Conspiracy and enabling the kids to get away with not doing their chore. When I queried his response was that if he was in charge of cleaning up the room this weekend he could actually reduce the amount of toys in the room without the kids realizing. Once that sunk in I realized how utterly devious and ingenious this plan of his was! And I joined him in his diabolical scheme.

Casually I sauntered downstairs, trying to not make eye contact with the local natives and grabbed some trash bags. I crumpled them up into a wad, carefully ensuring the red of the tie was not visible, and walked up the stairs to their room. Once in safety I grabbed one from the wad and went to town. I started on Ashes toy box first just in case Xavier decided to pop in unannounced and wonder what we Parents were up to. He did come in a few times but was so busy in his own world of play that it didn't register on him as to why his mom and dad were in his room cleaning it for him. Ahhh, the ignorance of children! Once in awhile his eye spied a toy of his in the trash and he would start to cause a commotion, but we would quickly tell him it was broken and to go GO play! Be free and enjoy your little childhood games! In awe of this, he did, and we were once again left alone to toss in peace, a grin on our faces.

It was such a wonderful feeling, to have a partner in this endeavor. While I know it has to be done, there is always a part of me that feels a certain amount of guilt in tossing items that are not "mine" because I was a kid once too. I remember how much I cherished certain items and would have been devastated if my mom came in and trashed a favorite toy of mine that may not have looked like much in the eyes of an adult. But at the same time, Xavier takes his hoarding to a whole new level and I know he doesn't play with 90% of his belongings, let alone remembers that they are there until he sees them in the trash bag. But to have J there took my guilt away because it wasn't only me making the ultimate decision. It made me realize that I wasn't being an evil mom when I underwent this chore. Just a mom.

And so it went for about an hour, until we had 4 trash bags filled with broken clutter and toys. Only a few halfhearted whines did the Peanut Gallery elicit, but they were not lasting. And when it was time for bed no one mentioned the lack of toys in the room, nor the insane amount of trash bags J surreptitiously moved outside to avoid further commotion. It was like those toys never existed. Which is not really a bad thing in the end

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

The Weeks Beginning

Mondays suck. Mondays that are cloudy and rainy so you can't escape outdoors suck even more. Mondays where its cloudy and rainy and you're stuck indoors with cranky children with colds sucks the most! No, wait, I take that back. Mondays that are cloudy and rainy with 2 cranky kids with colds and the knowledge that in just 72 short hours you will be faced with having all 3 kids at home for the next 6 weeks and no school sucks the most. I cant think of anything worse than that. Not that I don't love having my kids together, but 6 weeks straight on with a husband who works from home and has to take conference calls often, trying to keep all 3 kids from wailing to be picked up or screeching in indignation then whacking their brother for taking a toy then the other whining about how his brother hit him because he ripped a toy out of his brothers hand..... yeah. Not so much fun. Now lets add one more ingredient for disaster. No naps. If I survive to the new year it will be by the grace of alcohol and locks on doors. I kid. Kind of. I promise to wait to consume alcohol until the kids are in bed. After that I make no promises.

With year round school my oldest Xavier tends to have a schedule of 9 weeks in school, 3 weeks out, with the exception of summer vacation and winter vacation. Because of the track he is on he gets the lucky draw of having extra time off those two times of the year. Because of the way the schedule works out this year, he gets out of school the day before Thanksgiving and doesn't return until January 4th. His last track out was in September and we spent the time traveling to Massachusetts to visit family and friends we have not seen since we moved down. Since that time my family has endured one illness after another with literally no breaks in between. We're still on the illness stretch, with Ashe and Soren dealing with yet another cold. It's not too bad, except for the fact that Soren was so congested he had to sleep in our room in his car seat the other night just in order to breathe and of course, now that he can get air past his nostrils (and thus back in his crib) he is adamant about wanting to sleep in our room again and refuses to go down easily. In fact he has declared an all out war on his crib (and thus me as I put him to bed) and he is determined to win this time. Fortunately I am made of stubborn stuff and I refuse to let him win. Which of course puts us in a headlock of epic proportions. Good times.

Yesterday Ashe was so cranky and tired he had a melt down because he wanted baby wipes (his new fetish) every time he cried (which was every 5 minutes give or take 30 seconds) and was aghast when I would not enter Sorens room to get some because Soren had finally passed out in his crib. While Ashes melt down SUCKED and lasted roughly 90 minutes of chasing me from one room to another (I had this video stuck in my head while it happened which allowed me to have some belief that I am not the only one who deals with this) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZI0ae4MHutE it did allow for him to finally pass out for about 2 hours on the floor of his bedroom. Which was the one shining star of my day. I had 2 kids down for the count at the same time. Of course Soren woke up 20 minutes after Ashe passed out so I only had 20 minutes of frantically trying to cram everything I needed to get done without kids dragging on my legs or clinging to my neck. But it was appreciated!

By the time Xavier came home I realized with dread when he informed me he had no homework this week that he would no longer have school (or homework) to occupy him for most of the days after Wednesday. Coming up with a brilliant plan of action, I grabbed the Master Calendar from the kitchen, sat down with him and we made a list of things to do during track out and put them on the calendar. We still have 15 days of no plans, but some of those are actual holidays and the rest I'm hoping to fill in with playgrounds and shopping.

Then realizing with another kid at home full time my house would look like a tornado whipped through it 24/7 without some sort of agenda, we sat down to negotiate extra chores and allowance. We even made a contract (which he gleefully signed in cursive and oddly enough his signature looks like mine... I wonder where he got that from?) and put it on the fridge where both of us can see it and point agitated fingers at when the contract is not followed through. Which will happen. He wanted to cook with me and help with laundry. I wanted him to help pick up trash whenever I asked him to, and do dishes alongside me. We both got what we want. But we'll see how long it lasts.

The only other shining moment was that family dinner was actually quiet and relaxing. But after we had finished it went to pot as Ashe flipped out again over a toy he couldn't find, Xavier flipped out over having to clean the living room (one of his static chores) both wanted baths and created Tsunamis that flooded our bathroom and upstairs hallway, and Soren and I began our battle of the bed, which lasted for 4 hours off and on. By the time I dragged myself to bed it was midnight. And of course, as soon as I started to doze, Soren woke up for his first night time feeding. At 12:27.

Here's looking forward to the rest of the week!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Portraiit of a Family Dinner

When we moved down to NC and J was going to be working from home I had one thing I wanted to start doing and I wouldn't budge on it. That was dinner together as a family. Having almost never having these when we lived up north due to Js insane commute (90 minutes each way) this was something I dreamed about doing on a consistent basis. So J agreed that he would stop work at 5:30 sharp to have dinner and if he needed to work more, he would wait until after the kids were snug in bed.

Family dinners to me, mean taking just a little bit of time out of your day and spending it with those you love most to see how their day went. It means connecting, communicating, laughter and joy. At least that is the fantasy. This is what it's really like. I'll use tonight's family dinner as an example:

Ashe and J woke up this morning sick and Soren still is on antibiotics for his ear infection and conjunctivitis. So at dinner time I had one cranky baby, one boy who is snotty nosed and wiping his face with his arm, the only other adult in the picture is zoning out watching the steam rise from his ravioli as Im trying to talk to him about his day, and one child whose ADHD meds are noticeably wearing off, bouncing in his seat coughing HACK HACK HACK while barely covering his mouth.

I take Soren into my arms so J can actually have a few bites of warm dinner only to have him grab my plate and douse himself in tomato sauce. I beg J to grab a towel and he just sits there and says "You didn't get up last night to get me a cloth when he spit up on me...oh it's sauce, not spit up... ok" and lumbers off to find a towel. Meanwhile Ashe is refusing to eat his meal and only wants a juice box, while Xavier is nattering away bouncing in his seat. HACK HACK HACK

I get Soren cleaned up and try to finagle a bite of dinner into Ashes mouth where he turns his head, wipes his snotty nose on his arm then turns back to me and yells "DELICIOUS" over and over again, trying to get me to sing back "Delightful" a la Upside Down show (good show by the way). I refuse until he takes a bite of ravioli. J is staring off into space again while Xavier is loudly talking about how come Ashe doesn't have to eat his dinner but he has to eat all of his? HACK HACK HACK

Soren starts fussing, Xavier finishes his meal by stuffing the last 4 raviolis in his mouth (at the same time) then tries to ask if he can have dessert with his mouth full. Ashe then whines he wants dessert too (and bubblegum medicine cause MOMMY I SICK) and cries when I tell him he has to eat his dinner first before he can have dessert. Xavier saunters off to the kitchen, trying to unsuccessfully gloat at Ashe without getting caught. J is still zoned out staring at his plate. From the kitchen I hear HACK HACK HACK.

Xavier comes back from the kitchen with Italian Ice and smirks while Ashe is now sobbing for Italian Ice too, but refuses to eat a bite of ravioli. Xavier starts yelling over the table "THEN EAT YOUR DINNER GOOBER" to which Ashe screams in indignation. Soren is still fussing in my arms and I'm trying to shovel down my now cold dinner just to escape. J is in lala land. HACK HACK HACK ("FOR CRYING OUT LOUD WILL YOU PLEASE STOP COUGHING ON THE TABLE?!?!?!?!?")

I look over at J and mouth "I want a vacation!!!!". J finally glances up and says why?
"Cause I want some quiet." Ashe is now singing Rhett and Links Space Trash song and Xavier leans over the table and yells "QUIET ASHE, MOM WANTS QUIET".... thanks kid. HACK HACK HACK.

And thus our family dinner for the night comes to a close as Ashe leaps off his chair, whining for a baby wipe so I can wipe his nose, Xavier puts his plate in the sink and starts his homework, J takes his last bite of ravioli and I stand up to bounce on my toes trying to stop Sorens wails. We all depart from our dining room and go our separate ways. Myself? I push Soren into Js arms and step out on to the porch and shut the door for just a little peace and quiet before I go back in to utter chaos and lose my mind.

Ode to Soren

Throughout the day when I play with the kiddos I burst out into silly, made up on the fly, songs or poems. I dont know why, I've just always done this. I wonder sometimes if it's just me or if other parents find themselves making up songs about toes or rhyming stories about the naughty step to get their kids to laugh. I always mean to write them down, but by the time I actually have a moment to find a pen and paper I've already forgotten most of what I made up.

I found myself starting a few little ditties today while playing with Soren and realized *during* it that it was forming into something cute, so I decided to find a pen and paper right then. I worked at it for awhile, crossing out lines that elicited a frown or fart from my audience of a 5 month old, and here is what passed the test:

My Ode to Soren

Soren is our little lad
He's got his mom, he's got his dad
He has two brothers big and small
But he's the smallest of them all.

He's just a baby, little boy
With eyes of blue that fill with joy
When someones fingers come close by
He grabs them, chews them, sucks them dry.

His little toes are fascinating
He likes to sit there vascilating
Should he bend down and touch his toes?
Or try to make them reach his nose?

He loves to bounce and pacify,
Watch the scenery pass on by
While comfy snug in baby wrap
content and happy, takes a nap.

At dinnertime he sits with Dad
He wants to munch on real food bad
He gives a most indignant screech
When Daddys plate is out of reach.

At bedtime he must wear a hat,
Hold his blankie, likes to chat
With Mommy as she reads their story
Filled with magic tales of glory.

He's growing fast each night and day
Advancing in his form of play.
One day he'll grow into a child
With no more gummy, drooling smiles.

But while he masters babyhood,
Plays baby games just like he should
His family will gather memories
of their beloved, precious baby.

They cherish every sloppy kiss
The gummy smiles his mom will miss
Those reaching hands to pat their face
Nestling little head in place

Between the neck and shoulder nook
And falls asleep into the crook
Of someones arms who holds him close
Those nightly cuddles they'll miss most

For a sleeping baby's a precious thing
It makes you smile, your heart does sing
In awe you watch this precious cargo
Feel safe enough to let it all go

Sleep safely in your rocking arms
Knowing you'll keep him from all harm
Baby Soren you're our joy
Our little bouncing baby boy.

We love you more than you can know
~Love Mom and Dad
And your two bros.
(P.S. When you're big like your brothers, please don't beat up one another)


Monday, November 16, 2009

Mother Bear

I joke about a lot of the parenting scenarios I'm faced with on a day to day basis because it is the little things that make your hair stand on edge you will remember when you're in your rocking chair and laugh your ass off until you need to gulp down mass quantities of oxygen to keep going another day. And to be quite honest, most of parenting, while stressful at the time, in hindsight is pretty amusing once you calm down a week later. Some parts of parenting are not fun though, no matter how much time passes. And usually those parts are when your child is in danger or is hurt, or is scared, and you are called upon to be their champion. Because there is nothing funny about seeing a child in pain, either physically or emotionally, especially at the hands of another adult. I had one such situation occur last week and I still bristle and snarl under my breath when I think of it. Yes, I snarl.

Without getting into the minute details of the scenario basically I took my kids to a museum on Veterans Day and while they were playing at the water table, splashing and spraying and having a good time with a ton of other kids, Ashe came over to me to fix his water smock. When I turned away I missed something major and it was probably a very good thing I did not see what happened or I'd most likely be blogging from my shiny new jail cell. I turned back after helping Ashe to notice Xavier backed in a corner not playing, and warily watching a woman (another mom) who was standing roughly 5 feet from me, glaring at the whole table. After pondering the scene a moment I beckoned to Xavier and asked him what was the matter and why was he looking at that woman so oddly?

Tears started welling up in his eyes (which is completely NOT normal for my boy) and he whispered that that woman had come over to him, grabbed him by the wrist, ripped the toy he was playing with out of his hand, and yelled at him to stop spraying at the water table.

Now before I continue I will take a moment to say I did talk to him about not spraying the water too much but I will also say a ton of other kids were doing it too and there are no rules about not doing it. I just told him to stop for politeness sake.

It's hard to explain to a person who isn't a parent what happens to you when you're faced with a situation where your child has felt scared and threatened by a strange aggressive adult. If you're a parent though, you nod your head in sage understanding and begin to bristle on behalf of that child, whether said child is yours or not. Basically your eyesight gets hazy and red, you begin to feel the surge of adrenaline coursing through your body and it takes Every. Ounce. of inner strength to hold on to your sanity and to think clearly. This phenomenon is called Mother Bear syndrome. Most people hear tales of not getting caught between a bear cub and its mother and if you do find yourself in this awkward situation the best thing you can do is to lie flat and play dead until the Mother Bear has ripped your body to shreds and leaves you. A Mother Bears instinct is to protect her cub from any potential harm and will do so in the most vicious and thorough manner possible. There is a definite correlation to the Mother Bear, and what a parent goes through when they feel their child is threatened. One who is not a parent may think that our thoughts and reactions are extreme but it is not really something that can be rationaled away. It's biology, pure and simple. You are biologically programed to protect your offspring and if your offspring are threatened you will do anything you can to keep them from harm. Hence why I said (and was not joking in the slightest) that if I had seen this woman touch my son as he claimed I would be blogging in a new jail cell.

The fact I didn't see the actual occurrence was the only thing that allowed me to hold on to some sort of semblance of sanity and rationality as I slowly stood up and made my way to the woman. I took a deep breath, threw a fake smile on my face, introduced myself to her as my sons mom, told her what he told me and asked her what happened. She had a real nasty disposition and said my son was spraying water at the water table and kids were wet (uh yeah... its a water area... people get wet). I told her that I had already spoken with him about that and it would not happen again, but that in the future she was to find me and let me know so I could handle the consequences and to not touch my child. She then went on to say there are rules at the water table. I looked for the rules, didn't see any and asked her to point them out to me so I could brush up on them and teach my kids.

She then ignored that request and said my son was a liar and that she never touched him only asked him nicely to stop. It was at this point I was pretty much at the end of my sanity in dealing with her. For the first part Xavier doesn't lie. Hes actually brutally honest. Also, he's not the kind of kid to begin crying over something small. Thirdly, when I first mentioned her touching my son she didn't refute my comment. To me it looked like she was now back pedaling and trying to make my son look bad and her a victim.

With a frozen smile on my face and a glint in my eye I said with quiet venom, "If I have to choose between believing my son and a total stranger in a situation like this I will always believe my son. Don't you Ever. Touch. My. Son. Again."

The rest of the time at the water table she stayed as far from me and my children as possible and left fairly quickly after. I talked with Xavier later and let him know that no matter what, unless he was in imminent danger of being hurt or hurting another child through his actions, if anyone who was a stranger touched him he was to find me, or his dad, or whoever he was with and let them know immediately, because that is NEVER ok. He hung close to me the rest of the day, searching through the crowds for that woman, and always making sure I was right there in case she was, to defend him. And I was. I gave him a lot of hugs that day to comfort him and let him know both verbally and non verbally that no matter what I would protect him and keep him safe. I hope he believes me.

Everyone parents differently and I think that's very cool. But there are some boundaries no matter how you parent that everyone knows you just don't cross. Touching another persons child unless they are in imminent danger can result in loss of limbs, hair, and broken bones. No joke. I brought this scenario up to a bunch of moms in a forum I am a member of and after 4 pages of responses, not one mom thought the other mom had any right to touch my son, and thought I actually acted very tame considering the circumstances. My only response for the tame aspect is again I didn't physically see it happen and there were children in the ares when I confronted her. I try to behave as best as I can when there are little kids around. But the outside appearance of my actions and my internal struggle were two very oppositional. I'm both proud that I stayed so cool, and ashamed as well. Proud because I was the better person in the situation. But ashamed because I look back, and while I know I championed my son and protected him and made him know I would always be there for him, there is a primal part of me that wishes I could have let go and ripped the woman to shreds, both verbally and physically. A piece of me feels that my son is still in danger because that woman is still standing. It's not rational, I know, just pure primal. It's the Mother Bear Instinct.


Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Sibling Rivalry

During a regular day the sibling rivalry is kept to a minimum, due to the fact that 1 kid is in school and the other is too young to get involved yet. And by the time he is old enough to get down and dirty with his brothers 2 boys will be in school. Weekends work out because both J and I are there to separate any potential battles and keep everyone busy and out of each others hair. Plus I will admit for the most part my kids do love each other enormously and get along.

However vacations and holidays are the exception to the norm and it's those days or weeks that cause about 90% of any gray hair I've acquired. Take today for example.

Today is Veterans Day. Xavier has the day off of school and it's pouring out due to us dealing with the outskirts of Tropical Storm Ida, so I cant send them outside. It's only 10:30 and the kids are ready to kill each other. Fortunately I was super smart and invited Grandpa down for the day and we'll be heading to a Museum in a few hours. In the meantime I've been trying to keep the kids quiet and happy while J works. This is no easy task when you have 3 kids of various ages cooped up in a little town house.

Since 8:30 I have broken up a fight over a comic book Xavier was making and left on the floor and Ashe of course thought it was fair game (I tend to agree. Anything left on the floor is no mans land.) Of course it was right in front of Js office and he was on a phone call. Then I had to separate Ashe as he stalked Xavier and tried to smack him upside the head just to see his reaction. I finally pulled out paper and crayons and set the kids to working on a Happy Veterans Day card for Grandpa, who served in the Army. Then Xavier decided to make him a paper airplane gift, but one that resembled something from Star Wars. That lasted all of 15 minutes of quiet time and 30 minutes of me cleaning up bits of paper off the dining room floor.

To keep them busy I gave Xavier my camera and told him to start working on his extra curricular project, which is to take a picture that represents the theme "Beauty Is...". While he went to town taking pictures of his Pirate Ship and stuffed dog, Ashe got jealous and wanted to take pictures too. Thankfully I found the toy camera for him to play with and he shadowed Xavier around the house saying CHEESE, SAY CHEESE to anything with physical substance. Xavier of course grumbled about Ashe stepping on his feet. I count this project as a success as no cameras were broken or bashed over anyones head.

Ashe got bored and sat down to watch Dora. Then Xavier decided he wanted to watched a show after Dora was done and Ashe had wandered away, which caused screeching and mauling over the remote once Ashe realized that the tv was being taken over (despite the fact he hadn't been watching it). I pulled out the alternate tv show clause, which means one boy gets one show then the other boy gets to choose the next one. After pounding this into both boys heads (figuratively speaking although sometimes I wonder if a physical representation would work better) and getting them to agree, I escaped with a cup of coffee to the sanctuary that is the office for a moments respite.

This whole time Soren is either in my arms happily chewing on my hair or nose. Towards the end he finally passed out from either exhaustion or boredom.

I'm sitting in my office trying to catch up on emails and forums when Ashe wanders in to the office, clearly upset:

"Ok hon you can use the computer."
"I think he's watching tv isn't he?"
"Well Xavier can have one and you can have the other. Lets go downstairs."
"He did not! Ashe you're making up stories about your brother."
"It's not nice to lie about your brother. You know he didn't poop his pants."

I walked downstairs and Xavier is happily zoned out to his tv show, computer not even turned on and no poop in sight. I glare at Ashe and tell him not to make up stories about his brother and to apologize to me and Xavier. He does, gives Xavier a hug (who then shoves him off and complains he cant see the tv) which causes another battle I wade in to dissolve. After a lecture about being nice to one another I get the computer on and set up, hand Ashe the headphones, and race to the office again to finish my now cold cup of coffee.

I'm hoping with Grandpa around today and us off to the Museum where they can race around that the rest of the day will be more harmonious. But only time will tell. And both J and I are thinking that this is only one day. And Xavier gets out for a 6 week vacation in under 2 weeks.

Monday, November 9, 2009

RX Lovin'

Some of the parenting issues we all have to face at one point in time, almost all of us can relate to one another. Then there are issues where no matter which side of the fence you're on, the grass is always greener. Take medicine for example.

Most of the parents I know vent at one point or another how much of a pain in the butt it is to get their kids to take medicine when their children need it. And once in a blue moon, when my kids have to take a particularly disgusting antibiotic for something I catch a glimmer of what they mean. But for the most part my kids are terrific at taking meds. So terrific in fact it has become an issue once in awhile, and there is a part of me that laments on why my kids can't be like normal kids and run around the house screaming NO MEDICINE!!!!!!! while I chase them with the cup of Tylenol bribing them with sugary candy.

Take for example Xavier. When he was a toddler we never had an issue with him taking his medicine when needed. I would simply pour out the required amount and he'd suck it down in 2 seconds flat, then smack his lips. I thought I was so lucky to have such an amazing kid who would take some Tylenol or Motrin without complaint. When we lived in Massachusetts we had an upstairs bathroom with a closet and shelves. On the highest shelf is where we kept our medicine and we kept the closet door shut. We were always very careful to keep medicine away from our kids.

Well I vividly remember one day needing to take a shower. And like any mom with a highly inquisitive child who tended to get into trouble if I wasn't 2 feet away I brought Xavier (age 2) into the bathroom with me, hauled in a bunch of toys to keep him occupied and popped into the shower. Every couple of minutes I'd pop my head out of the curtain to make sure he was ok. Somehow between washing the shampoo out of my hair and throwing on conditioner, Xavier opened the closet door, climbed the shelves, grabbed the adult NyQuil, figured out the adult proof... I mean child proof lid, and swigged some down. When I peeked out I saw him swallowing NyQuil from the bottle.

I still to this day can not figure out how he did it so quietly or how he did it at all! But I do know I went into full panic mode. I raced out of the shower conditioner still in my hair, soaking wet and whipped the bottle out of his little hands. I tried to calculate how much he had, but having no idea how much was in there in the first place I was at a loss as to figure out if my lil guy was going to be in a drug induced coma in 5 seconds or 30 minutes. Throwing him under my arm I raced for the phone, sliding down the hallways with wet feet, and called Poison Control (1-800-222-1222 = Learn it, Love it, put it on your fridge!!!!!) and after giving them info they sent me to ER just in case.

I raced to the hospital, usually a ten minute drive in about 4. Then I waited for about 30 minutes until we were seen (which drives me beyond insane). After telling the nurse what happened and getting the most awful dirty look that meant "you are such an awful mom for leaving your son alone with medicine where he could get his hands on it and I don't believe your story for one moment that a child would willingly drink that foul tasting NyQuil...." she came back with a plastic cup filled with black water.
"Coal" she said. "It binds with the medicine in the stomach so he wont be poisoned. Nasty stuff though. You have to force him to drink the entire thing down. He'll spit it out. I'll get you an extra cup of it because you will need it." She handed me a straw and the cup.
I handed them to Xavier and asked him to drink it. He smiled and sucked that cup dry without a wince. I turned back to the nurse, whose eyes were absolutely bug eyed and jaw dropping. I smiled sweetly and said "He'll drink anything. Why do you think we're here in the first place? "

The dirty looks stopped.

We've had to call poison control a few other times for Xavier. Once he ate 5 of my birth control pills (again left up high but he thought they were candy.) Fortunately I learned that boys can get away with eating 10 birth control pills before they need to go to the doctors, but less than ten if your child is a girl. It has to do with the amount of estrogen in the body, you see. I also learned that 3 deadly nightshade berries are not as deadly as you would think but 15 or more is not a good thing.

Fast forward to the present. In the past 30 days we have dealt with 1 case of H1N1, 1 case of pneumonia, 2 cases of Pink Eye, 3 cases of colds/viruses (and a partridge in a pear tree!!!). I've been doling out medicine like Nurse Ratchet to all the males in the family. The other day I was getting Ashe and Sorens antibiotics and eye drops ready for Pink Eye and called out to Ashe to come take his medicine. He walks down the hallway to the kitchen and I hear him comment "AHHHH, DELICIOUS, FABULOUS MEDICINE!"

All I can think of is Here we go again.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Toe Fetish

Every child has a comfort habit. It might be normal, like thumb sucking. Or you could be one of those "lucky" parents whose kids have a completely unique and sometimes awkward, habit. Like me. Leave it to my kids to find a habit that can actually gross me out. And I'm hard to gross out.

I've noticed the past few weeks that while Ashe happily sits down to watch his favorite tv show that once in awhile he's munching on his toes. No, I did not make a typo there. You read it right. He munches on his TOES. Don't ask me why, I've been scratching my head in bewilderment and anytime I ask him why he just shrugs and goes back to nomming on his big toe.

The first time I witnessed this I froze mid step and watched in awe as I noticed his tiny toddler body contorted in a way that would make any Yoga Master insanely jealous. My eyes wandered from head to toe (ok they were touching so I guess that goes without saying) taking it all in. I think it took me about 20 seconds for my mind to actually comprehend that his toes were in his mouth and he was happily sucking on them. Then I gagged (have you ever seen little boys bare feet after running around the house? I mean I have a clean.... ok as clean as you can get with 3 kids.... house but STILL!!!!!) and went over to him.
"Ashe take your feet out of your mouth."
"I cant understand you. Take your feet out of your mouth."
"Count of 3 Ashe. 1....2...."
"Because it's gross dude!!! Do you have any idea where you're feet have been?"

You can't argue with logic like that.

Socks don't work. Even before this issue started Ashe was adamant about taking off his socks the moment he got inside. Slippers worked for only a day until the novelty wore off. Shoes aren't worn in the house because Soren likes to sprawl on the floor and Ashe is notorious for not paying attention to where he is walking already. So I just have to catch him in the act as many times as possible and try to get him to quit it. So far it's not working so well.

And it's not just HIS toes either. It's toes in general. Anytime Sorens little toes are out in the open Ashe will come by grab his little feet, and kiss them to death. He's gone for my feet once or twice but a good Mommy glare and a quietly growled "Don't you even think about it Mister" has kept him at bay so far. If only it were that easy to get him to stop chomping on his own little digits.

I'm really at a loss as to how to handle this. Xavier was a thumb sucker for just a little while and I ignored it until he stopped on his own by age 4. Soren is no where near old enough to start developing his own odd habits. So this is new territory for me. If he doesnt stop on his own am I going to get phone calls when he starts school from the teachers asking me to pick up my son because he got stressed out during a pop quiz and ripped off his sneakers to chew on his pinkie toe? I keep imagining that he wont stop and will have a toe fetish as an adult. I guess I might have to try to influence him towards foot models as a potential spouse. I can already imagine having "The Talk" with him and adding in the footnote (ha! that's funny) that NO means NO and that includes toe munching.

Maybe I'll get lucky and he'll grow out of it soon. In the meantime, I'll just do my best and try to get him to stop if I catch him in the act and try to redirect his attention to something more yummy. I'm not above bribery by any means. And it could always be worse. He could have attachment issues to something even weirder, like underwear. There is that to be thankful for I guess.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Costumes and Candy Tax

I was yelled at the other night for not blogging fast enough lately. On the one hand with a sick husband and preparations for Halloween I haven't had time to slurp my coffee down hot let alone blog. On the other I felt pretty dang happy I got yelled at. It means people actually read my ramblings. Yay!!! (and as I sit here frantically typing as fast as I can I hear Ashe whining for me to fix Lego batman on Wii, despite the fact I told him 86 times I refuse to do Wii and if he wants to play it he's on his own dude.)

Halloween was last weekend. I am a huge fan of Halloween, as a person and as a mom. It means making goofy crafts, figuring out the best faces for Jack O Lanterns, finding awesome costumes, begging strangers for candy instead of me (ha!) and of course, my candy tax. I started the candy tax the first year Xavier was old enough to eat candy and actually go out begging for sweets. When he was so little he couldn't eat half of the stuff he got so by default it became my own. Ok I shared with J a little bit. He got the Baby Ruths and other candies I don't like. As I sat there sorting his plunder the first year, my feet achy from carrying the little tyke all over our neighborhood, I realized that parents deserve some of the candy for all the hard work we do on Halloween Eve. We lug our kids around from door to door, off and on carrying their masks, their pumpkin baskets, flashlights, capes, and sometimes kids themselves. Yet society on the whole frown upon Moms and Dads asking for candy too. Yes, we can go buy our own, but seriously, whats the fun in that? Not to mention you get a much better variety of treats on Halloween. So thus the candy tax was born. Depending on the age of the child and how much work I have to do while they gallivant from door to door determines my percentage of candy commandeering. The older they get and the less work I do, the less of a percentage I take. So I figure by the time they are 10 the candy tax will be no more. Ok maybe down to 1%. Now before you start thinking I'm this evil mom who steals her kids candy, realize I don't take much. And I'm lenient and let the kids offer to me the candy they don't want for the most part. Honestly, the kids fully understand this concept and are down with it, no complaints. Instead of sneaking candy from their baskets without them knowing I'm upfront and honest about it and we have some good respect and communication vibes going on.

This year we had a little theme going on costume wise for the older two. Xavier was Darth Vader and Ashe was Yoda. In order to ensure Ashe knew who he was dressed up as we taught him the Weird AL Yancovich song Yoda (sung to the tune of Lola.) For 2 weeks we listened to him sing it. Non.Stop. Oddly enough it never got old. I think hearing a tiny 2 yr old voice singing Yoda just cant get old. Of course with 2 Star Wars Enemies in the house there have been a lot of light saber battles going on, with full out sound effects, the occasional bonk on the head, a flurry of apologies before Mom comes stomping downstairs to take said light sabers away and hugs. I'm normally not a proponent of toy weapons (no toy guns in the house although we do allow swords and shields since not many people walk around with swords these days) but after the past week of them play fighting and all the apologies and hugs since they wanted to keep their light sabers I may have to rethink my stance on it. I haven't seen the two boys get along and act so affectionate towards each other before, barring the bonked heads.

As for Soren, I finally got my way in regards to infant costumes. When Xavier was an infant I found the coolest costume. Everyone dresses their babies as pea pods or pumpkins or cats. Of course I wanted something unique because I'm weird like that. I searched online until I found what I was looking for. A Pine Fresh Air Freshener costume. Unfortunately fate was against me for 2 out of 3 kids. Js mom had made a costume for Xavier so we couldn't say no. Then by the time it was Ashes first Halloween he was too big to wear it. But this time around Soren was small enough this year. So I bought it, and persevered despite Js comments that I was going to emotionally damage our child by humiliating him when he was old enough to see the pictures. I retorted that sometimes that's what kids are for, especially for their first Halloween costume. I don't care what anyone says. You don't dress up your babies for themselves. You dress them up for your own entertainment. They cant have candy, they don't have an opinion on costumes, and they wont remember it without visual reminders later on. And if it really bothers them they can take it out on their own children when they become parents! =)

However I doubt we have to worry about emotional damage. Despite J's grumblings Sorens costume was a hit. And when it came down to actual trick or treating, he wore it for all of 10 minutes before he passed out costumeless in the Moby wrap. So Soren, if you read this blog 15 years from now, I love you, you were not emotionally damaged, everyone thought you were the coolest baby, and you only wore it for a little while. (There, hopefully that caveat covers my behind in therapy bills in the future.)

Trick or treating was normal. We went out for about 90 minutes, Xavier racing as fast as he could from house to house trying to garner the most candy. He did pay more attention to his surroundings this year as last year he whcked his head on a mailbox as he ran. I was thankful for that. Ashe tried to keep up for about 20 minutes then decided he had enough and hung out in the stroller, only popping out every third house to go ring the doorbell. Soren was comatose on my chest, and J and I strolled along the sidewalk calling out which houses were ok to go to and which were not depending if porch lights were on or off.

By the time we got home Xaviers pillow case bag was dragging from the weight of candy and Ashe had a decent haul himself. We sat down for some serious negotiations. I got away with 15 minisnicker bars, 2 twix, 1 kitkat, and 1 nestle crunch. Xavier was given a full Hershey Bar that he was kind enough to try and share with me, but I told him it was special and thus all his to eat. Both boys came away with enough candy to last them until Christmas easily, I got my chocolate fix, and all was well with the world. Already the two older ones are thinking ahead of what they will dress up as next year. And I'm starting to plan ahead for the next big Holiday.