Monday, October 20, 2008

Will CPS Get Involved if They Win the X-Games?

I have always been of the persuasion that kids should be allowed to play on the playground without me hovering over them every step of the way. First of all, they should be allowed to explore and learn. Second, I'm not very good at hovering - I get bored very easily. Third, I don't want my boys to be little scaredy-cats that girls will make fun of.
I am beginning to worry, however, that my method may have back-fired into creating future X-games participants.
A few weeks ago, L put a crack into the foundation of my laid-back playground beliefs when I turned around to find him on top of the tunnel slide; at the very top, approximately 10 feet above the ground. I'm sure you'll be happy to know, I got him down without any trouble and only one loud semi-swear from me as I bolted up the equipment towards him.
Yesterday we were at the park again and as I look over at my 2.5 year old child, he is going down one of those ladder-looking things that curve at the top. Head-first.
I had enough time to think "that's not gonna go well" and start running, but I was just too slow and he hit the ground face-first. After cleaning him up and comforting and all that I was left with an unsettling concern: I am not sure which is worse - the fact that the poor baby scraped up his face and got dirt/ wood chips in his mouth or the fact that he only cried for 45 seconds and then ran off again. I mean, I'm obviously happy he wasn't seriously hurt, but this kid has no fear and I don't know if I have the psyche to be an X-games mother. I may have to begin hovering after all...

Meanwhile, I am enjoying the one-on-one time I get to spend with L while S is at school. Today we were walking to the car and he began talking about how he could see the moon, which looked like a "triangle." (Half-moon) I wasn't sure what he was getting at, but he was saying something about "go up there" so I figured I'd try for an educational moment:

Me: "Well, when you are a bigger, you can become an astronaut and go to the moon in a rocket ship."
L: "When my am bigger, my can fly up there?"
Me: "Yes. Would you like to be an astronaut and fly in a rocket ship to the moon?"
L: "Yes. Go up there and find the missing pieces."

As we kept walking, I tried to explain to him that the moon will get smaller for a few more days and the it will be big again, but when the moon was hidden by some trees, all I got was a sigh and a "we'll never find the pieces" in the most despondent, adorable voice.

Is there any way you can not love this child? I mean, he wants to find the missing pieces and make the moon whole. How is that for a campaign promise?! (And I will do it in two weeks tops!)
I'd vote for that!

Friday, October 17, 2008

It's All Fun and Games...

Until you have to call the fire department!

Although that was pretty fun too, once the nice firemen (and one -woman) tested the CO2 levels in our house and told us we wouldn't be dying from a CO2 overdose today. Earlier in the day, our CO2 monitor began emitting that annoying loud beep that usually indicates it needs a battery change. I was heading out the door to get S from school and assumed it was the smoke detector, so it could wait till we got back. (Hey, there's a second smoke detector if the first one doesn't work. And I was going to change as soon as we got home! -ish...)
When we finally did get back after our busy afternoon out, the beeps were more frequent so I tracked them to the CO2 monitor, figuring a battery change would solve all our problems. Not so much. After a near-deaf experience, with the blasted thing going off right into my ear, it seemed that the batteries may not have been the problem after all and I was left with the choice of hoping it would resolve itself and calling 911, just in case we actually did have a CO2 problem. I would be lying if I didn't say I considered (for a very brief second) just to hope for the best and get to dinner, but I am not quite as lax about the welfare of my kids as I seem, so I called 911.
I have to say the fire men (fire people?!) were super nice and seemed to have understanding for the fact that I hadn't removed the stinking machine and read the instructions on the back as it was beeping at somewhere around 125dB. It turns out, the slow beeps were indicating a need for battery change and apparently the alarm is supposed to go off once you change them. You learn something new every day? Well at least you just learned this without four full grown fire men having to step over piles of unfolded laundry and toys to test the CO2 levels of your house. Feel free to thank me by sending cookies or something.

Just FYI, the fire people (seriously - what is the mixed gender word for fire men?!?) did say they preferred that people called if they were ever in doubt as CO2 is lethal and all. And now I feel like a public service announcement. Hope that was helpful!

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Future Politician

I foolishly turned my back on an open container of humus while going to look at something S had made. I knew L wanted to "try some" (L-speak for "I want to eat it - a lot of it." Usually refers to other people's meals) but figured I could hold him off with an order to wait for me to get back. Riiiiight...You'd think that by now I had learned how unlikely that was. I was gone maybe 45 seconds and when I came back into the kitchen, the humus was on the floor.

Me: "L, did I tell you to wait for me?"
L: "Yeeees."
Me (getting more annoyed at the blatant lack of remorse): "L! Why are you choosing to be a bad listener? I told you.."
L (interrupts my rant): "I love you, mami."

And I'm disarmed. It was all I could do not to laugh out loud, forget trying to discipline him. I used to be so strong-willed. Sigh.

A few days ago, L and I were in the car and he was singing as usual. I obviously think he's the most adorable two-year old ever, only rivaled by his brother, so I rhetorically stated: "L, how cute are you?!" Completely confident, he replied: "Two and a half cute."
I'm not sure what his scale is, but I'm fairly certain two-and-a-half is pretty good in his world. And I'd have to agree. After all, he loves me.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Happy Reminders

There are several times a year, when I wonder where my sanity went when I agreed to live where we are now. For instance, when it's 96°F and what feels like 250% humidity or when it's negative 20°F with a windchill of 30.
Fortunately, there are times that remind me why we are here. One of these is Autumn - the leaves are breathtaking, the air is crisp, there is apple picking and -cider and homemade applesauce, pumpkins and that glorious darkness of dusk that carries the promise of a season of cozy blankets, hot chocolate and candlelight.
I like all the seasons, but I adore this time of year in the North East.

This past week, I was (again) reminded of another reason why we came to this particular part of the world - family!
We could have gone many places in the US, but chose this one for one reason only--although the apples do come in a close second. (Kidding!! Of course.) - the proximity of E's parents.

We figured it would be worth the humidity, windchill factors and ridiculous home prices because we would have family on the area - and the kids would have at least one set of grandparents close by to enjoy. And what a blessing it has been. Of course there have been times when we have seen sides of one another that wouldn't have been noticed with a distance between us - I'm certain my in-laws could have lived a happy life without knowing that I get extremely unpleasant when I don't get enough sleep, for example. I do feel that sacrificing a little of my pretend perfection is worth it for the closeness of family, the blessings of family celebrations, grandparent dates for the kids and their help with our house. This past week alone, my mother-in-law watched L while I went to work, L also had his Friday date with grandma (including, but not limited to: library class, lunch and visit to farm), the boys and E had dinner there on Sunday while I nursed my sinuses back to health, and on Monday S got to go on a date with Grandma - after L and I had lunch with them. Also, my father-in-law installed my new thermostat. And gave me a drill. (Still feeding my testosterone high! I totally love the drill. And might not shave my legs tonight. Ha!)

There are too many experiences to recount here, but we feel so blessed and so much richer for having chosen to live right here. Richer in a spiritual/ emotional sense of course - we are fairly certain that most other states would have been kinder to our actual finances...But rich, nevertheless. Now off to celebrate our choice with some apple cider - and my new drill!

Bonding with my inner Trucker

Yesterday I noticed a strange grinding noise every time I used the brakes on my car and ended up bringing it in for service. The dealership was fabulous in that they could have the car done quickly and even let me use a complimentary rental from Enterprise in the meantime - apparently that is part of our service plan. (The loaner, not the speed.) Enterprise made it very clear, however, that the plan only covered a small car, but since I wasn't planning on going anywhere, with many kids in the 24 hours I'd have the car for, that wouldn't be a problem.

As it turned out, the small car part wouldn't be a problem at all. When I got to the dealership, the only car left in Enterprise's lot was this little fellow:

Hello Dodge Ram...I have spent the past 24 hours bonding with my testosterone levels, which I truthfully think went up driving around in the car. I have a sudden understanding for why (some) men find these cars attractive. It was way too much fun to be in such a powerful car, with other drivers respectfully giving me the right of way. And gawking when they realized that the monster was being driven by a girl. Although some of that may have been them just wondering how in the world I was going to get into the driver's seat without a ladder. Yeah, I had fun, so much so, that it was sad to see him go tonight. The boys were bummed too - they got a kick out of the "giant red car." I wonder if there are any reviews that tout the Dodge Ram as the new family vehicle of the year?

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Here's to Amazing Friends!

I haven't been able to shake the cold I complained about two weeks ago - it just won't go away and I have been working on a close to empty tank pretty much since then. However, in spite of that I feel so amazingly blessed today. One of my friends took L to the gym with her and then fed him lunch at her house so I could do my errands in peace and quiet - read: without red-faced sweating in an attempt to get my bouncy ball son to sit in the cart through Target and then giving up on all other errands, reasoning that my sanity is worth more than having food in the fridge. It is such a luxury to be able to walk through a store and make decisions about the things I am getting, instead of haphazardly tossing them into the cart while trying to entertain (again read: not strangle) the monkeys.
Then, while I was out, another friend called me and told me that she is bringing me dinner tonight. I don't know if she even know what a heaven-sent gift that is. One of the speakers at our church conference talked about how there are angels among us who are messengers from God. People who will be there when we need it. Thanks for being inspired and for being there (here?) for me! And thanks for being an amazing example of kindness and service in the face of our own challenges. Blessings on your head!!

By the way, the last line is from one of my favorite stories/ musicals/ movies/ ever - there are bonus points for knowing which move it is.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Fairy Houses and General Conference

I don't think those two phrases have ever been put together before, so here's to breaking new ground! I'm also not sure what they have in common, except both have made me feel very happy lately.

Last one first: Twice a year, our church (The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints) has a church-wide conference, with talks given by many of the leaders of the church in 5 two-hour sessions. The conference is held in a conference center in Salt Lake City and broadcast to the world via satellite, radio and in recent years, the internet.
- As a side note, when I first joined the LDS church, I had to trek to the chapel and watch the conference sessions via satellite. I was wildly envious of the members who lived in Utah, Idaho and surrounding areas who could watch conference from their couch, in pajamas should they choose. Today, we watched conference at home on our couch. I love the internet - well, that aspect of it at least. Probably because I am a lazy bum who loves to be as comfortable as possible and while I have always loved conference, it certainly is easier to enjoy when the kids are entertained by their toys in the house. Somehow, I've never quite taken to the pew-wrestling exercise that long church meetings seem to induce.
ANYWAY - every time I listen to conference talks, there seems to be something in there just for me, right now. The theme of today's sessions seemed to be that while the world is frightening and dark at the moment, the gospel of Jesus Christ makes it possible to still find joy and peace. I really needed to have that reiterated, because the world scares me witless and raising kids in it is a daunting task. It was nice to be reminded that God is very much aware of all of us - each of us. And that His love and teachings will help us make it through our journey here on Earth - even when it gets difficult and dark.

The fairy houses were a different kind of happy. And completely unexpected. Having two boys, I spend a fair amount of my time talking about Pokemon or Bionicles, arm wrestling to get them to eat their vegetables (no, really), or dealing with questions about penises. (Which I will spare you for - for now.)
I love my boys and I wouldn't trade them for anything but that doesn't mean, that my very girly heart doesn't occasionally long for a quiet game of dressing Barbies. Well, S's school invited the author Tracy Kane to visit the school, teach the kids about her fairy houses and then help the kids build their own fairy houses in the woods by the school. I didn't think S would be all that interested, but he loved it and wanted to build another one when he got home. So I got to build fairy houses with my boys.
Don't worry, we collected manly things like sticks and pine cones and limited the pretty flowers on our fairy house. But we had so much fun!!

I love L's expression on this last photo. I wonder if it's the fairy houses that bother him, the Jim Halpert hair or the fact that I took 50 pictures of the boys and the fairy house. Such a trooper...

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Exercise Could Get You Arrested

My sister always claims that exercise is dangerous and I must finally concede that she is right. exercise could get you hurt. Or in trouble. Allow me to begin at the beginning...
Today I was supposed to watch this little girl whose brother's immune system is weak at the moment. However, somehow I managed to get up this morning with a stuffy nose/ sneezing and a scratchy throat, so her mother decided against exposing her to our germs - and possibly our dirty house, which I am so behind on cleaning, it's no longer excusable. A clue to that might be that I am on the computer even now, instead of cleaning my toilets...
Anyway - as my gym has fabulous (and free) babysitting, I packed up L, figuring he'd be happier playing with other kids instead of listening to me sneeze. Once there I opted for a class instead of the treadmill, knowing full well that unless someone was yelling at me to move, I'd be walking at a snail's pace today. In the class the instructor had us do punches and would walk around with a portable punching bag for us to hit. So here I am, punching away as she comes up around my left side and stands right in front of my face. As I am punching. My useless reflexes allowed me to cover my mouth in shock. After I punched her in the face.
She took it well, I must say and didn't get me arrested, although she did put away the punching bags after that. And I am going to reevaluate exercise as a valid activity for me. Maybe knitting would be better. Although that has needles. Maybe I'll go back to reading; at least being a book worm didn't get me in trouble when I was growing up.