Friday, October 31, 2008

Suddenly Scrooge

In spite of my love of Halloween, I have to say that my first preschool Halloween party knocked me to my knees this morning.

This morning at O:Dark-Thirty (when is the TIME CHANGING??) I got Thomas dressed in his pirate costume, put a cute Halloween t-shirt on Emmie so she wouldn't feel left out, and dragged both kids to Thomas's school for his "Fall Festival". I had planned to stay to help out but really had no idea what to expect.

What I got - 50-plus kids cracked out on candy and cookies, one befuddled Thomas and one totally over-stimulated Emmie.

We arrived to find two classes of three-year-olds crammed into a single classroom. The noise was deafening. Shrieks, giggles, sobs and shouts were bouncing off the walls and ceiling and into each other and multiplying and dividing until the decibels were at an illegal level. Emmie immediately clutched the legs of any adult wearing jeans thinking they were me and Thomas put his head on my shoulder to hide his face. Thank GOD the speech therapist asked if she could work wtih Thomas for a bit because I could not have stayed in that room for longer than 5 minutes without wanting to stick a knitting needle into my eye to lobotomize myself.

After speech therapy we went to the playground for candy and games. Gah. The school has both special needs and typically developing kids, and the typical kids definitely had the advantage today. They ran around frantically picking up the candy they found on the ground while I carried Thomas and tried to pry Emmie off my legs. I finally convinced Em to pick up two Reese's cups for me and then we sat down on the sidewalk to watch the other kids spin circles and exhaust their sugar highs.

After carrying my 27 lb son for 30 minutes and watching Emmie get knocked down for the third time I told myself it was time to go. My kids had obviously had all the fun they could possibly stand for the morning and so I put Thomas in his stroller, turned to my terrified, crying daughter to encourage her to walk with me to get our stuff so we could go to the car, and then watched, amazed, as she had a total meltdown at the idea of leaving all

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

I am such a Halloweenie

I LOOOOOOVE Halloween and it really wasn't until I had kids that I truly started appreciating this day. I mean, it was fun in college, another excuse to get stupid-drunk and an EXCELLENT excuse to wear a sheet to a party, but honestly, I love it so much more now that I can find the innocence in it again. I adore the little people running around the neighborhood dressed as ghosties and pirates and princesses and bumblebees holding buckets of candy and wearing astonished looks on their faces like "Seriously? You are just GIVING me candy? And my Mom knows about this and everything?"

I went to Walmart today with the intention of getting some candy for Friday. I always have to wait until the very last minute to buy it or I will eat it all, even if I buy stuff that I don't really like, and oh, hey! Let's take a quick trip through the other Halloween stuff just for fun.

I ended up with two new candy buckets for the kids, cat ears and a tail for me to wear so I'm not the boring mom who didn't dress as anything, a rainbow wig which my husband damn well better wear says he'll consider wearing as he passes out treats, THREE HUGE BAGS of candy, and when I say huge I mean 5 lbs each and it now looks like Halloween threw up in my living room.

My kids? I'm not sure they have hit their prime trick-or-treating ages yet. Friday afternoon I will get Thomas and Emmie dressed in time to join the rest of the neighborhood for the Halloween potluck dinner held each year, and then I will pull them in their wagon to a few houses for trick-or-treating. And at each house the following scenario will play out:

I will ring the doorbell and say trick-or-treat. Emmie will stare at the people opening the door like she has never seen people before, like this is the VERY FIRST TIME she has encountered an actual other person and she's not sure how she feels about it, and that person will try to get her to smile and she will continue to stare, unsmiling, until they give up. Thomas, meanwhile, will be looking at everything BUT the person opening the door while digging in his candy bucket and throwing the candy out on the sidewalk because he KNOWS THAT IT IS FOOD and by God that food will NOT BE GOING ANYWHERE NEAR HIS MOUTH. I'll just laugh apologetically and shrug it off and go on to the next house, and when we finally get home I will dig through their candy and eat all the Snickers bars right there while sitting on the floor and before I even get the kids undressed and ready for bed.

I'll be sure to take pictures for you. Because I LOOOOOOVE Halloween.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Friday Friday Friday

Last night was one of Those Nights and thus today has been one of Those Days. We all slept in after having a sleepless night and I wandered around the house in my pajamas until 10:00 am. I finally decided it was time to get it together so I washed my face, brushed my teeth and changed from my pajama bottoms and a t-shirt into...sweat pants and a t-shirt. The transformation was less than miraculous.

Is this what it has come to? Elastic waistbands and men's t-shirts? An existence where jeans and a jacket is dressing up? I did put on mascara to go to the grocery this afternoon though, so there is hope.

In other fashion news, Emmie has been rocking this look for a week now.

The hat MUST be on her head and the brim MUST be turned backwards.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008


Thomas is going to be a pirate for Halloween this year. It will be noted that he was a pirate LAST year as well. When you are born without your left eye it sort of dooms you to dressing as a pirate every year until you can protest otherwise.

The costume I bought him this year has a hat with yarn-hair attached - the sole reason I chose it. Ohmyhell it is so cute. For a moment I tried to think of what it reminded me of, and then it hit me - with that tiny little nose and all that yarn around his face, he is a MUPPET.

I can't wait until Halloween.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Some Things I've Learned

No matter how many books you read while pregnant, no matter how many childbearing friends you have, you can't possibly know what you are getting into when you have children. I mean, I knew that babies don't sleep much at night. I knew there would be lots and lots and LOTS of diapers to change. Lots. And lots. And in my case I was a first-time Mom twice.

Thomas was so sick when he was born and needed so much special care that I learned quickly how to tube-feed rather than bottle or breastfeed. I knew how to check placement on his ng tube using a stethoscope. I learned how to draw meds into a syringe using only one hand. I can now convert milliliters into ounces without thinking about it. I swipe medical supplies at the doctor's office when the nurses aren't watching.

Thomas's sensory integration disorder meant that he didn't want to be held - ever. He spent the first 6 months of his life being moved from one horizontal surface to the next because Godhelpyou if you tried to hold the little booger. He would scream ceaselessly until put down.

I slept on an air mattress on the floor of his room for the first four months because I was terrified of leaving him alone. In fact, I rarely ever stepped foot outside his room. It became my bunker, my hidey-hole, my refuge from the outside. Thomas and I became this little world unto ourselves that even my husband could enter only on occasion. It felt safe there and of all the things I wanted, I wanted to keep Thomas safe. He was so fragile, so small, and I wasn't ready to start explaining to the masses what his diagnosis meant and how many things were different about him.

(That came to a screeching halt when I took a few days to visit my parents the September after Thomas was born. I came home and found my air mattress had been deflated and tucked away in a closet and my husband announced I was moving back into our bedroom with him. I think he missed me.)

And the doctor appointments. LORD the doctor appointments - neurologists, gastroenterologists, surgeons, twice-weekly trips to the pediatrician for weight checks. It was neverending. It became my new normal and I felt lost and adrift if we didn't have at least one appointment each week.

When Emerson was born she was premature, and tiny, but she was totally healthy and did everything just the way a baby is supposed to. She spent a few days in the Special Care Nursery until she was able to maintain her body temperature on her own, but after that she was pretty much ready to come home. BUT, BUT...I wasn't sure how to feed her! She wanted to be held ALL THE TIME. What is this strange creature?

At the first checkup with the pediatrician she told me to come back in two weeks for a weight check. Two weeks? You don't want to see her for two whole weeks? I could seriously mess her up in that amount of time! Shouldn't we come back on, say, Friday?

I was assured that all would be fine and you know what? It was.

To this day I have to rearrange my thinking about Emmie. When she started scrooching around and putting things in her mouth I was shocked because THOMAS had never put anything in his mouth. She was mouthy and grabby and people, let me just tell you it took me a while to catch on. I would set her down next to a full glass of water and when she picked it up and poured it all over herself I was honestly surprised. When she grabbed a magic marker and created lines and freckles all over her face and colored her tongue blue? Amazement on my part. I actually had to BABYPROOF my house.

It has been an adventure parenting two such disparate children. I've learned to appreciate the differences and take pride in each child's achievements. But I still haven't really caught onto the grabby thing yet.

Exhibit A - my cellphone

Thursday, October 16, 2008


Hubs took the dogs for a walk last night. Since it was after dark and the vision of a large man walking two large dogs is, in his mind, not enough of a deterrent to muggers on its own, he took the canister of pepper spray.

We bought the pepper spray for our 100 pound babysitter to carry when she takes the kids for a walk.

About 10 minutes after he got back he started complaining about his forehead burning. Then one of his ears was burning.

"Honey," I say, "You have pepper spray on your face. What did you do? Test it?"

"No! It can't be pepper spray! How would it get on my face?"

"Are you sure you didn't test it?"

"Well, I just flipped up the trigger guard to figure out which way would be most effective for spraying, and then I put my finger like this and Really! I didn't press that hard!"

I mean, seriously?

Tuesday, October 14, 2008


This weekend was Punkin-pickin' time. It will be Thomas's fourth Halloween and Emmie's second, and I was really, REALLY excited about taking them to pick out our punkins - yeah, I said punkinS because who can really stop with just one?

I had visions of me carrying Thomas while Emmie toddled around pounding on various punkins, both of them just thrilled to be outside and helping me ready the front porch for Fall.

The plan fell apart a little when I realized that Emmie didn't want to walk, period. Something about the straw on the ground freaked her out and she wouldn't even stand up. Thomas had no problem with it and would have happily sat there throwing straw around for as long as we let him.

So, we did this.

We ended up with two tiny punkins, three smallish ones, one medium-sized and one HUGE one, the last one being the one I will eventually carve into a jack-o'lantern.

We brought them home and I began arranging them on the front porch and steps along with our two little straw-men, one of whom is on a stake so he can stand in the yard.

Gives a whole new meaning to the phrase "stick up your ass".

Finally satisfied, I took the kids inside for naps and let the dogs out to play.

A bit later I went outside to admire my porch again (I know! I'm such a dork!) and Hey! What the? Some of my punkins are GONE. I was flummoxed. How on earth do punkins just disappear in the middle of the day? I hadn't been inside for more than a half an hour and the two tiny punks and one of the smallish ones - just NOT THERE ANYMORE. I started looking up and down the street thinking, I don't know, I was going to see some kids riding away on their bikes with my punky-punks and laughing?

About that time Jake The Bulldog comes lumbering around from the side of the house. He sees me and does that little head-duck thing that means he's up to no good and knows it. His lips are foamy and flecked with orange and Holy Crow, he ATE my punkins. I checked the yard and found a couple of stray seeds. Three of them. Gone. Stems and all. The gastrointestinal implications are unmistakable. That there dog was going to have one helluva bellyache.

Last night I related the story to Hubs and mentioned it might not be a great idea to feed Jake - maybe we should let his tummy rest a bit. Hubs was worried. Won't he be hungry? "Honey?" I said. "Do you REALLY think it's a good idea to load that particular gun?"

Jake will be spending LOTS of time outside for the next couple of days. Hopefully the remaining punkins are too big for him to carry off.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

First real word

Emmie has been babbling for months in that weird, Latvian dialect that only she understands. I mean, Thomas apparently only speaks Chinese, so obviously HE can't figure out what she's saying and we as adults have no memory of the days that we made up our own language and happily rolled with it, pointing and shouting lbulabulwhmfumleebullatablut! Weehblazoomak!

But day before yesterday she was watching the dogs play and I asked her Emmie? What does the doggie say? Does the doggie say woof woof?

And Emmie replied oof. oof. And smiled.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008


You are asking "What on earth happened to that child? Did you smack her in the head with a baseball bat?

"Did she take a header down the stairs and land flatfaced on the flagstones below?"

"Did her brother finally get fed up with her antics and bop her a good one?"

Nope. Her mother left the screen door open and let a whole HERD of mosquitos inside and one proceeded to feast on her small child's vulnerable forehead.

Friday, October 3, 2008

Another example of fine parenting

Yesterday was the 21st anniversary of the day that Brenna, SuperNanny, was born. THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU Brenna's parents, by the way. About a week ago she asked me if I would accompany her on her first-ever visit to the liquor store on her big day and I thought sure! Why not! It'll be a field trip!

So first thing yesterday we loaded up the kids and the double-stroller and headed off to the local ABC store. No I really didn't think about how it would look. Seriously. But once we got there and I started unfolding the stroller and strapping the kids in it struck me. It's 9:15 am and I'm standing behind my mothermobile getting ready to roll my two small children into the liquor store. Whooo hoo! You can send the parenting awards in the form of cash please.

As we entered, the old guy that runs the place yelled out a good morning and inquired as to whether we needed any help. Oh nooo thanks heh heh. Just browsing and Hey! It's her 21st birthday! THAT'S why we are here! (Insert lots of nervous laughter here.)

Once it became clear that Mr. Liquor Store Manager had seen far stranger sights than we presented, I relaxed and we started roaming the aisles. I quickly found the perfect spot between aisles so Emerson couldn't play grab-and-smash, and then discovered that the liquor industry has been, well, industrious in the past few years. To wit: two aisles of nothing but vodka: pomegranate vodka, blueberry vodka, pepper vodka, forty-eleven makes of plain vodka. The back wall was chock full of premixed cocktails once obtainable only from a bartender: B-52's, Long Island Iced Tea, Margaritas, Mudslides, Martinis, Appletinis, Chocolatinis...I was nearly drunk just looking at it all and I haven't squealed that much since my last trip to a shoe store - I was fascinated! Astonished even!

We cruised each aisle twice just in case we missed something the first time. Brenna asked me all kinds of questions that I couldn't answer and really, what IS the difference between single-malt and blended whiskey, and why is that shit so EXPENSIVE? And, if I paid $150 for a bottle of scotch would I really be able to DRINK it? Or should I place it on the mantle, price tag intact, so people can be impressed?

Brenna finally picked out a lovely bottle of Patron tequila and we made our way to the check-out counter, where the guy dutifully carded Brenna and didn't even bother PRETENDING that he wanted to see my ID. Beh.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

September is my favorite month

And NOT because it's my birthday month, because now that I'm of a certain age I am not as fond of my birthday as I was when I was, say, eight. Remember when you wanted so badly to be older? You were 8 and a half, then 8 and three-quarters...

I love September because the ungodly heat and humidity of August is a memory and cooler air is arriving...even if it isn't quite here yet it's on its way and that's enough for celebration. I also love the way the water looks in September. The sun is starting to drift lower on the horizon which makes the waves sparkle and dance in a way that just isn't possible when it's July and the sun is directly overhead. The tourists are mostly back at home in September so the beaches are less crowded and the water is still warm.

Yeah, I know it's October now. I meant to post this yesterday.