Saturday, June 30, 2012

Jesus Horses

Long ago. Before we had kids. When I used to get lots of glorious sleep. When I could sleep in in the mornings until 10 or even noon if I wanted (uh, and I usually did). I used to stay up and watch Saturday Ni.ght Live. It's been a looooong time since that happened. But something reminded me today of once clip that I loved back then, and, frankly, still do.

Hubby and I were in bed one evening watching television (this was also when we had a - super tiny - television in our room. These days, there's a TV in the living room, and that's it). SN.L was on. Hubby was mostly asleep, but I couldn't sleep (you know, probably because I hadn't gotten up until noon) so was watching.

And then this clip came on (I wish I could find the whole long clip, but I can't for some reason). And, you all, I could not stop laughing. I mean, giddy, hysterical, tears streaming down my face, make my cheeks and belly hurt because I'm laughing so hard, kind of laughing. Do you know the kind I'm talking about?

Now, I don't really know exactly why that particular thing hit me as so funny. But it did. And it still to this day makes me giggle - sometimes uncontrollably - when I think of the phrase "Jesus Horses". Ah. So funny.

Today's Lesson: The Dict.ionary offers this brief explanation of "Jesus Horses". Whether or not you think this is funny, I think it's important to find something that makes you laugh like this. Laughter is good not just for the soul, but for the body as well. Also, it's good for a marriage.

Friday, June 29, 2012

1 Training Wheel

So, several people have asked why the kid's bike only has one training wheel. Is it some kind of brilliant and effective teaching strategy? While I'm flattered by that, the truth is, well, the 2nd one just won't stay on. I'm not sure if it's because the screw is stripped or what, but it simply gets loose after 10-15 minutes of riding and falls off. So we've given up and just stopped trying to reattach it. Mostly - to be honest - because we're lazy and easily frustrated by the thing. No genius here.

Fortunately, many of you offered some great ideas (mostly on FB) of what to try and I thought I'd share some of the weath here.
  • SL: Use your hips to shift your weight, don't be scared I am with you, peddle strong to pull yourself .... And no matter what even if you don't get it today keep trying, you will.
  • Aunt L: my kids learned in the yard, it was harder to petal so they had to really put effort into it and if they feel they soon found out it didnt hurt so bad.
  • DJ: Take the training wheels off first practice balancing on the bike then walk with him occasionally letting go so he learns to always balance slowly start to take 1 hand off then only have hands to catch him
  • SP: I taught N and H, as well as my niece B. I took N and H to a parking lot at the park with elbow pads and knee pads on. I pushed them around until they got comfortable then I started letting go without them knowing it as I kept walking/running beside them. Eventually they got it. It only took both of them an hour maybe 2 to learn. Btw. No training wheels. In my opinion it hinders. Just my opinion though maybe work for others.
  • MCW: Buy the balance buddy. Seriously one to two days. Just have to run with them. So easy and stress free!!
  • AJ: Get rid of the training wheels and take the pedals off so that he can walk and coast until he learns balance.  I had A riding in an hour using this method.
  • CB: Balance bike. The bike will do all the work in 2 weeks or less.
So, thanks for these great ideas. Also, thank you for admitting that teaching your kids to ride a bike has also been stressful for some of you. Seriously, made me feel much better!

Today's Lesson: I can not stress this enough, I don't care how long you've worked somewhere, how well you know your co-workers, how comfortable you are, when you work in a cubicle, please, PLEASE, do NOT talk about your nasty feet. Or walk around without shoes showing them off. Seriously. Not appropriate. Or nice.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Fence Painting

The next sumer activity packet hubby pulled out for the boys was Fence Painting. Now, that doesn't mean painting the fence (which is good, since, well, the fences in our backyard actually belong to our neighbors). Basically, what we did was put the boys in swim suits (do you see a pattern here?), duct tape a long piece of paper to one of the fences, give them tempera paint and several brushes and let them do what they did. Which is paint the paper, paint each other, and eat paint.

Only baby E ate the paint. Well, I think only he did. Although, honestly, I wouldn't put it past the kid, after seeing E do it, to also try. It was, btw, the first thing E did. The ensuing diaper the following day was... uh... colorful. After a mouthful, he looked at the kid, and then stuck the brush dripping with blue paint in the kid's hair. Only then did he decide to put some on the paper.

I'd like you to take a moment to guess who stayed engaged with this activity longer. My 6yo or my 20mon old? You'd think it'd be the 6yo, right? But, no, not so much. He was all in to it and painted a ton. For about 20 minutes. Then he was off running around the yard, mostly playing in the other "center" hubby had set up (basically a tarp, with several containers of different sizes filled with water - the boys love this activity. Bonus? It was a great way to wash off a lot of that paint). Baby E, on the other hand, stood there painting (and eating/tasting) for every bit of 45min..

I engaged both boys in conversation about how to make different colors, the different ways the paint looked on the paper based on which brushes (or body parts) they used, how the amount of water on the brush affected the paint and colors, the different shapes/lines they were creating, etc... They mixed colors in the egg carton (perfect for paint holding!) and on themselves/each other.

I'd say this was a successful activity and one we'll do again.

Today's Lesson: Kids have such a way of seeing the world. They don't see the rules and boundaries that we, as adults do. While this is (seriously!) infuriating for me as a parent at times, when art comes into play, it becomes so obvious how this is a good thing. Now, to find a way to help them balance that...

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Truck Dreams

We were driving down a road in our neighborhood, on the way to my mom's house. We were in this massive red truck. The boys were in the backseat. Hubby wad driving along with this huge smile on his face.

And I. Was. Livid. He'd just shown up with this truck, all proud of himself. Hadn't talked to me first about this enormous purchase. Where was this money supposed to come from???!!!!!

We pulled up in front of my mom's house and I saw his Cam.ery sitting in her yard with a "for sale" sign in the window, another sign stuck in the yard. My anger, if it was even possible, increased significantly. I grabbed that yard sale and, with all I had, slung it across the yard.

I wanted scream and yell and pummel him with my fists. I was beyond furious. I couldn't come up with even one word, my anger was so intense.

And then, well, I woke up. 

My hubby has a dream of getting a truck. Now, it just ain't gonna happen for several reasons. But still he yearns. One night last week I dreamed he had gotten that truck. And, poor fella, I was still so angry when I woke up that I could hardly talk to him.

I can laugh about it now. But it took over an hour.

Poor, hubby. Sorry I was cranky with you about that. You're still not getting that truck, though...

Today's Lesson: Poor hubby gets in trouble for things he doesn't even do.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Bicycle Built for 1

As fearless as my kid is when it comes to the water, he is just as trepidatious when it comes to the bicycle.  And as nonstop as he tends to be, his stamina on the bike is kind of puny. Now, I'm not sure the reason behind either of those, but I do know that regardless, hubby has a set a goal this summer of the kid learning to ride his bike sans training wheels. So we're gonna have to figure out how to get over those roadblocks somehow.

Recently, we had him ride his bike (which now has just 1 training wheel) over to my mom's house, which is about a half mile away (or less?). She lives on a cul-de-sac, which in addition to being a great place to learn to ride a bike because of low traffic and being totally flat, is also where I learned to ride my bike.

Then my mom took lots of pictures which she posted on And I then stole them. Because she's much better at downloading pics to her computer than I am. And she loves me so doesn't get mad when I steal her pictures. I hope.

Hubby helped him first. Hubby looks all excited here. The kid, not so much.

Baby E was all, "is anybody else seeing this??!!".

And then I took a turn. And his face was all, "I don't think you know what you're doing, woman". He was right. And it hurt my back. And I apparently am getting old. And whiny.

And then baby E was all, "look how cute I am. I will cheese just for you. But not look at the camera. Because that would be entirely too much cute for you to handle".

The kid's victory pose. Because there was no falling involved. There was also no solo bike riding. But at least there was no falling. Or tears.

Today's lesson: Helmets and pads are so very important for kids. I get it that many - most? - of us didn't have them growing up and we survived. However, I see so many kids come in to the ED with serious head injuries that could have been prevented with the simple step of donning a helmet. It doesn't take more than a minute to put it on and it prevents heartache and all kinds of other problems. Please, please put a helmet on your kid. Every. Single. Time.

Saturday, June 23, 2012


My boys having peaches fresh-picked from the tree in our front yard. Does it get better than this? Well, actually, if I'd been there, instead of at work, it would be better. But, you get the point. Happy Summer!

Today's Lesson: When you most need it to happen - you know, 2 kids napping at the same time - it won't. Suck it up and be productive anyway. Then play with the kids. Or reverse the order. Either which way, don't sit around whining about it because that will get you no where (she says with authority on this paritcular subject).

Friday, June 22, 2012

Water Balloons

After spending literally hours this past weekend reading, and reading, and reading, then shopping, and then organizing, typing, stuffing, and finishing activity packets for the boys to do this summer (although, I still can't walk away from Pin.terest. So I suspect I'll be continuously adding more activity packets), the first Pin.terest idea came to life at my house the other evening.

I introduce to you, the Balloon Pinata. Now, this is - obviously -a simple activity. In the bag were 4-5 balloons and an instruction sheet that simply said something to the effect of "fill, hit, enjoy". Hubby grabbed it as the first one. I think probably because it was hot outside and an easy activity to do.

We made the kid wait like 2 hours from the time hubby filled up the balloons until he could do the activity. We wanted to make sure baby E got in on the action, as it is one of the activities than he can participate in. But, baby E decided to take a 4 (FOUR!!!!!!) hour nap. If you know my kid irl, you know how hard and torturous this waiting was for him. Somehow, we all survived.

The kid was beside himself with glee. Grinning and giggling abounded. Obviously, this was a fun activity, but it also allowed him to practice hand-eye coordination and get some of that energy out. Which is always a good thing at my house. He went to town with that bat, swinging wildly all over the place. Both my expression and the kid's make me smile.

Baby E, in typical baby E fashion, approached this activity in a much different way than the kid. He didn't want anything to do with the bat. Instead, he preferred to just squeeze the balloon over and over. He got 1 balloon to the kid's 3 or 4. And yet, baby E's play time lasted easily 3-4x longer than the kid's. He played with that balloon until all the water was gone. We used the activity to introduce some vocabulary as well, particularly with baby E, that are words that don't necxessarily come up in everyday conversation (i.e. words such as squeeze, burst, impact, etc...).

Overall, I feel like it went well. I'm just hoping it went well enough to encourage hubby to continue to do more activities!

Today's Lesson: You, too, can justify your addiction with Pin.terest. This moves it from "wasted" time, to "productive" time. Which is a total win-win. Or justification. One of those two.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Activity Packets

Remember how I said I wanted to put together some packets for the kid to do this summer? Well, I did. I possibly went overboard. But, that's kind of what I do.  I spent my weekend scouring Pin.terest for activities for the boys to do this summer while home with their Poppa. I came up with a lot. As in, I had to narrow them down to what: A. was reasonable to be accomplished in the summer. B. hubby would realistically agree to do with the boys. And C. I was willing to purchase the supplies for. I went shopping. And then the real work started.

I spent hours Saturday and Sunday working on the packets. I decided that I had to make the activities do-able and ready-to-go in order to hubby and the kid to do them. A simple list of "here you could try these things" wasn't going to cut it.

Here's what I did. I picked out activities that varied in several ways. There are science experiments, water play, art, reading, math, experiential, etc... Some are over-and-done in less than 30min activities, and others take a week to see the results. Some activities the kid can do on his own, others necessitate lots of support from hubby. Some have 1-2 supplies, others a long list. Some allow baby E to get in on the action, while other are just for the kid.

I printed out directions for each activity. Some of the directions are as simple as "water balloon pinata - fill, hit, have fun!". Some are 1-2 pages - those are generally the more involved science experiment ones. Then I stuck those and as many of the supplies possible into zip.loc bags. The tree hugger in me cringed at all the plastic I used. The organizer in me couldn't not do it though so organized they are. (Sorry, environment. We'll make it up to you somehow!)

Now, if I had more time (and, frankly, desire), I'd have labeled or color-coded them all in some way to help hubby and the kid be able to easily recognize which take longer, necessitate adult supervision, etc... But I didn't. Maybe next time.

They're all in their little (big) bags now and in a tote down in my scrapbook room. Pics of the first one to be posted later this week. Fingers crossed that hubby and the kid continue to use them, which means I'll have lots more pics to share as the summer continues. Thanks to several of you, also, for your ideas! We're going to incorporate several :)

Today's lesson: Here are the links to a few of the sites I found and got great ideas from.
Kids Count 1234
The New Home Ec
Science Bob
Play, Create, Explore
Play at Home Mom

Tuesday, June 19, 2012


Me: What are you making, honey?
Hubby: Almond Butter.
Baby E: Eat, eat, EAT!!!!!
Me: You know he can't have that right.
Hubby: Right. Obviously. It's nuts.
E: EateateateateateateateateatEAT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
E: Mulp-mease ("milk please")?
Hubby: Uh, wait. He can't have this. But we've been giving him Almond Milk.
Me: Oh... Yeah. There's that...
E: mulpmulpmulpmulpmulp. Eateateateateateat. EAT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Me; You're gonna make him an almond butter sandwich for lunch, aren't you?
Hubby: Yes.
Me: Makes sense.
E: Yesh ("yes")!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Today's Lesson: Sometimes we don't really stop to see the inconsistencies in our behavior. Until they smack us in the face, that is.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

A Shot

This one time when we were camping, the chiggers were prolific. Hence, the chigger bites were ridiculously prolific. I stopped counting at 80 bites. Mostly because I couldn't see the rest (that I knew were there because I could feel their incessant itching). But also because I was tired of counting.

I couldn't sleep for the itching. And I couldn't concentrate while I was with clients, because of the itching. And I was afraid I was going to scratch and end up with infected and still itchy bites. So, I sucked it up and made an appointment with my doctor.

Now, I hate to go to the doctor, which is funny since I (now) work at the hospital. I have been to my primary doctor maybe 3 times in the last 10 years. The other times were for allergy medication. Remind me to tell you some time about how the resident kept asking me about my sexual liaisons with women (there have been none, btw). But she was insistent about it. And all I wanted was an allergy med refill.

Anyway, I digress. To the doctor I went. The doctor came in and thankfully did not want to discuss my sexual history. She was all "I'm gonna go get you a script and then you'll be outta here". So I sat there waiting for it.

Enter the bitchiest nurse ever.

She had the biggest needle I've ever seen. My eyes got big. She rolled her eyes and told me to drop my drawers. My eyes instantly started tearing up. I hate shots, y'all. I mean I abhor them. As in I cry. Every. Single. Time. And I hadn't even had time to prepare myself. I tried to explain to her that the doctor had told me she was writing me a prescription. She, very (not at all) empathetically said, "do you want to get better or not?". I assured her I did want the infernal itching to stop, which was, of course, why I'd come. But I'd seriously prefer not to get a shot. But, I'd do it.

The tears threatened to spill over.

She said, "seriously, are you going to cry?!". I told her that I might just do that. She rolled her eyes even bigger and issued a major sigh. I tried to pull it together and did a few deep breaths (seriously, I hate me some needles). She gave me 30-45 seconds and then sighed an even bigger sigh, "are you ready yet?". I, not so nicely, told her to give me the damn shot already. Which she then did. In a stabby rude kind of way. And then rolled her eyes again.

And I wanted to stab her. But instead, I covered my now sore ass back up and gave her a "I hate you, you mean nasty woman" look. I'm sure she was quite affected by that look.

And then my ass hurt for the next several days. But the bites did stop itching.

Today's Lesson: Sometimes even though something's a pain the ass, it's totally worth it.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Camping: Water, Bees, and S'mores

This past weekend we went on a family camping trip (3 nights). Thought I'd share some pictures. Which I totally stole off my mom's FB page (thanks, mom!). One of these days I'll download the pics from my camera on to the computer. Probably. Maybe. Anyway, here are a few of my favs from last weekend.

Baby E was all "Heeeeeyyyyyyy!! I looooooove me some camping, y'all". Seriously he does. Mostly because there are lots of rocks to taste. With the kid, it was sticks. But baby E is all about the rocks.

We went on a cool hike up to a waterfall. I carried E all the way up and down. I think it was close to 3miles counting the trek back and forth to the car. The kid ran back and forth and all over the place. I bet he did at least 50% further than the adults.

My boy loved the waterfall. We were there 2-3 years ago, but of course he doesn't remember it. This year he was big enough and steady enough to climb around the rocks and water billygoat style with the "big" kids. He was in heaven. See that grin? It was plastered on his face til we headed back down the mountain.

Then there was pool time. Remember that time I freaked out, thinking my baby E hates water? Yeah, that was funny. He's on his way to being a surfer. I'm pretty sure.

I mean, he loved (!!!) the mountain stream we hung out in for the afternoon. I was thrilled about this because it's one of my favorite places on earth.  But, considering there were rocks, and rocks, and then a bazillion more rocks, how could he not love it?!

The kid also loves it there. And, again, he got to climb all over and romp about in the freezing cold water, so what's not to love?!

Then there was a play at the campground that night. And, I must say, I do believe I have about the cutest bumble bee ever. He cracked me up, too. (Also note how strange he looks without those 2 top teeth. Well, strange to me at least...)

The last evening ended with S'mores. And, really, I ask you - is there a better way to end a camping trip?

Today's Lesson: To quote myself on FB today, "Sometimes the dress that seemed perfectly appropriate while you were standing at your mirror at home, does not seem quite as appropriate when you are sitting down at work."

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Tales from the ED

Oh, how I wish I could tell you some of the hilarious details from my adventures in the ED (Emergency Department, i.e. ER). Alas, for fear of losing my job, and license, I can not. But, here are a few snippets.

The 90yo man who got a DUI because he was driving so slow (no one was hurt). Mister was funny, too. And maybe a little bit handsy.

The mother who came in demanding bottled water because tap water kills, don'tcha know. And to be served a vegetarian dinner. She'd shown up well after dinner time. Not that the ED serves meals anyway. She was highly offended that neither bottled water, nor dinner were brought to her. The Diet didn't seem to bother her though...

The kid who told me that his momma was gonna burn up the ATV he'd crashed on. He just hoped she'd let him light the fire. 'Cause kid loved to play with fire. He was not responsive to my suggestion that his love of dangerous things were what landed his 8yo butt in the ED in the first place.

The dude who was coming down from a high from bath salts (wha...????) and had some very interesting opinions on Ronald Regan. 'Cause he's still alive, in case you'd been led to believe differently. Don't believe all that shit Ann Land.ers (you know, the advice columnist) feeds you. She's possibly a poltergeist. Or Libertarian. Or something like that.

The woman who wanted a diagnosis for her little kid of a large rectum. Oh yes, she did. And, really, what else is there to say about that? I certainly couldn't come up with anything.

The strippers who demanded that I serve them the beverages of their choice (which may have included those of the alcoholic variety). And that I send them in a taxi to a city 90min away. 'Cause they had to get back for work, y'all. I mean, I am a girl who appreciates a strong work ethic. And, oh.  How I wish I could tell you the names they gave. Because they were awesome, like epic.

The mom who was taking pictures of her kid in pain and with a catheter in, because when he decided to do something stupid again (which she suspected would be no more than a month from then), she could show him these pictures of himself looking ridiculous. Or use them as blackmail, threatening to show them to his friends. I kinda liked her.

The lady who told me I was a dumb, stupid, stupid-y head, with stinky fingers. And that she would be moving in with me a week from Tuesday. Funny enough, she was not high.

Today's Lesson: And this is why I am not a stay-at-home momma. Well, that and the whole need a paycheck thing.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Worst Tooth Fairy Ev-uh

My sweet kiddo has lost 4 teeth in the last 2 months. The first one came as quite a shock. As in, we had only just realized that it was loose a day or two before. And then, pop - quite literally - it was out.

And we had a problem. No MONEY! Ahhhhh! Quite an issue. I mean, we had a $20, but seriously. The cheap tooth fairy visits my house and she ain't handin' out $20s unless that tooth has gold in it. And is the size of a kiwi. The kid stuck that tooth in his little pillow and tucked it lovingly under his bed. And woke up with it in the same spot the next morning. Because the fairy hadn't come.

So, she did the next day. And she paid him, with interest. (That's 5 bucks, but only because it was his first, and she'd screwed up royally by forgetting him that first night.)

And then, he went and lost another damn tooth. Like 2-3 days later. And then, that damn lazy fairy, well, she completely forgot to pay him. As in, she had the money, but just went to bed. Sleep whore.

So, again, it took 2 nights for the kid to get his money. This time it was only a dollar. What? I told you she's a cheap fairy.

Funny enough, I don't remember what happened with the 3rd tooth. Which must mean that crazy winged chic finally got her stuff together.

And, then, he lost another last night. I was at work and came home to a note, telling me the fairy needed a loan to pay the kid. But, uh, all I had was a $20. And he still wasn't gettin' that. I managed to find a half dollar in my wallet (no idea where that came from) and a couple of quarters, which would have to suffice.

So, the fairy snuck stealthily into the kid's room...and couldn't find the damn pillow! And then he woke up. While she was standing right there with his money in her hand. So she was all, "come on, baby, lets go pee in the toilet". Fortunately he obliged her and did so. She ran back in to the bedroom and did the old switch-a-roo, monies for tooth. She then tucked him back in and hoped he was none the wiser.

Fortunately, he seems happy with his loot. Shew. And he looks kinda funny without those 2 front teeth.

Today's Lesson: This fairy stuff is complicated. And potentially expensive.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Summer Activities

Hubby stays home throughout the summer with the boys. You know, because he's a teacher and all and is lucky enough to get the whole summer off (like I think they get 9ish weeks this summer!). But, to be honest, I think they start to get on each other's nerves - the boys on hubby's nerves, and him on theirs - after about a week of straight time together. So, I'm trying to come up with some things to keep them busy and engaged. Here are a list of what I've got so far.
  • Workbooks - The kid still thinks it's fun to do these. And, I think it's important to keep him working on reading/writing/math skills. I bought 4 or 5 of them and though there's no way we'll get them all done this summer, he has plenty to choose from. Some are activities he's able to do on his own, with us just reading him the directions. Others will necessitate additional adult input/support. I think 2 or 3 pages a day is a great starting goal. Though if he wants to do more, I'm all for it.
  • Playground - we have a great one within a mile of our house.
  • Journaling - My goal is for him to continue to do it daily as he does at school. I'll let ya know how that goes (hint: probably not so well since hubby's in charge of it 4/7 days).
  • Camps - the kid is going to go to several camps this summer. A (full day, week long) science camp where he'll learn about paleontology. A (half day, week long) art class where they'll focus on African art. Vacation Bible School (week long, half day). Swim lessons (two separate 2 week long sessions, just a half hour each). An equestrian grief camp (half day, 3 days) put on by our local Hospice.
  • Playdates - Like, with anyone who will have him, or come over to our house!
  • Pool time, of course. We have lots of great city pools that are relatively inexpensive and I expect hubby will take the boys fairly often (especially now that baby E seems to not abhor the water!).
  • Momma dates - I'm going to try to make sure I take plenty of opportunities to spend one-on-one (or one-on-two) time with the boys, so that hubby gets a break.
  • Outside time - we have a pretty great backyard. And I love it when I come home to sweaty, dirty boys who have been outside running, jumping, climbing, playing all day long.
  • Boys in swim suits (or not, lol, I don't really care either which way), fill up a couple of bowls, buckets, etc... with water, give them some toys and let them go at it. They seem to be able to entertain themselves this way for at least an hour. And that's a long time for either of my boys!
  • Library - ours has a summer reading program that I'm planning to get the kid enrolled in soon.
  • Finger painting outside - to be followed by some kind of water play.
  • I'd like to make up some craft packets - you know, things the kid could pull out and do, with everything he'll need all put together. But I don't know what - ideas??
And that's all I've got for sure. I'm hoping to find a few - or several - hours to put together some ready made activities that hubby or the kid can just pull out when they're having one of those days when they're all done with each other. I found a cool Pin.terest site that suggested a few ideas - putting water and food coloring in balloons, freezing them, cutting off the balloons --> let kids go to town outside; giving them a scavenger list of things to find throughout the day; and now I can't remember what else - oh no! I love the idea of an "I'm bored jar", but I really don't know what to put in it!

So seriously, I'd love to hear what ideas you have (pretty, pretty please with little fishes on top, as the kid says)!

Today's Lesson: Another good way to get lots of information (aka spam emails) about medications available for er.ectile dys.function? Write a lesson about hea.d in.juries. (You'd think I'd have learned the first time - apparently not so much.)

Monday, June 4, 2012

Breaking Point

It was about 11pm. The baby, who was about 5mon old woke up screaming. His mother had gone to bed less than an hour before, had actually just managed to quiet her mind and drift off to sleep. Her husband had been asleep for more than 2 hours. But she didn't have to work the next day; he did. 

He used to sleep through the night, she thought, until he got that damn stomach bug a month ago. She rolled out of bed, padding sleepily into his room. Barely awake, looking forward already to crawling back into her warm bed in just a few moments.

She entered the baby's room, peering into his crib. His face was all screwed up and his mouth open in the middle of a scream. She picked him, wiping the tears off his cheeks. He'd come unswaddled. He didn't sleep well unswaddled, even still at his age. She laid him down and swaddled him tight. She wished he'd take a pacifier, but he'd never wanted any part of it.

He was still screaming. The swaddling hadn't done the trick as it usually did. She wondered how her husband could sleep through all this noise. Certainly a gift. For him at least. For her, not so much.

She walked slowly down the hall to the living room and the rocking chair, carrying her baby. She knew he wasn't hungry. It'd been less than 2 hours since he'd eaten. He wouldn't be hungry again for at least another 3 or 4 hours. She settled them both in the rocking chair and started to sing. Rock and sing. Rock and sing.

After about 20 minutes of that she gave in to the realization that it just wasn't going to work. He was still screaming. A completely pissed off little creature. She stood up and started walking and bouncing with him. He wasn't impressed. The screaming continued. She tried the Happ.iest Baby on the techniques. All 5 of them. The screaming continued. At this point he'd been screaming, nonstop, for an hour.

She was crying, too, because she felt helpless, and tired, and didn't know how to make her baby feel better. Also, all that screaming (and her crying) was giving her a headache. Oh my god, what is wrong with him???!!, she thought.

She started dancing. Another no-go. She offered him a bottle. He seemed offended by the thing. She took him outside. He woke up all the neighborhood dogs, several of whom joined in on his noisy protest. She held him on her shoulder. Then cradled, face in, face out. Then face down on her forearm. He was still screaming.

She unswaddled him. (screaming) Then swaddled him again. (screaming) She took off all his clothes. (screaming) She put them back on.(screaming)  She added another blanket. (screaming) Took it off. (screaming) She checked his fingers and toes to see if something was wrapped around them. (screaming) She looked for tags in his clothes that could be irritating him. (screaming) She changed his diaper. (screaming) She tried bicycling his legs. (screaming) She tried infant massage. (screaming)

It had been more than two hours at this point. He was still SCREAMING.

She, not really all that gently, turned that loud offensive creature so that her hands were holding him around his ribs, he was facing her. What is wrong with you???!!!!  She need it to shut up. Just SHUT UP. Just for a minute. SHUT UP!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!, she yelled at it. It did stop for a second. Then his eyes opened wide and tears poured down his cheeks afresh.

Something clicked in her head. She laid him down, purposefully, gently in the bouncy seat, buckled him in and ran down the hall. She said to her husband "Go get it. Make it shut up!". It took him a minute to wake and focus his eyes on her, "uh, umm, what?". She screamed hysterically, "it won't shut up. It's been screaming for more than 2 hours. I am losing it!!!!!". He got up, slowly. Much too slowly for her liking. She threw herself down on the bed, sobbing.

After only a few minutes, the screaming stopped. Her sobbing continued. She had lost it. Screamed. At her baby! She was a horrible mother. She hadn't done anything to him physically. But still. She'd screamed. He was just a tiny baby. How could she??!!

Her husband came back in, after putting the baby back in his bed. "I don't know what that was all about. He calmed right down". She told him that if he didn't shut the hell up, she was going to do she didn't know what to him, but it would probably involve his genitalia and a knife. He started to say something that sounded an awful lot like "you're overreacting" but then seemed to think better of it once he noticed the tears streaming down her face. Her face was still wet with them when she finally fell asleep much, much later.

Today's Lesson:
I never understood how someone could hurt their own child. I never knew how you could get mad at an innocent baby. I never thought *I* would hurt my child.

And then I became a mother. And I found myself at the edge. And then I understood.

I was 27 when the kid was born. Had been babysitting for 15 years. Had a degree in social work. Had worked in a daycare. Had worked at child protective services for 2 years. Had been teaching parenting skills to new parents for 4 years. Had wanted this baby more than life itself. Had waited for him for more than 4 years. Had the knowledge and skills to soothe a baby.

I didn't know that even I would get frustrated with him. That even I could lose it.

I hear people (including lots of professionals) demonize parents who hurt their children, particularly when those children are infants (as in shaking the baby). They say "those people" or "them". As if "those people" and "them" are not the same as "us" and "we". But the truth is, we are them, they are us. Any of us can lose it if given the right, or wrong, conditions. Just because someone loses it for mere moment, it doesn't mean s/he is a bad person. It means a mistake -an albeit horrible, possibly life-altering mistake - was made. But, that mistake? Well, any of us is capable of it. Any of us.

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Team Sports

Hubby is a PE teacher (yes, PE, not "gym". But that is a post for another day). He doesn't watch sports on TV. Unless I make him watch the 2012 NCAA basketball champs. Even then, it's only during March Madness. He just doesn't care so much about sports. Fitness, yes. Sports, nope.

Everyone always assumes that because hubby's a PE teacher (not "gym", also not a "coach") that sports are important to him. And that, because of that, the kid is/should be involved in a lot of sports. But that also isn't the case. Hubby and I actually are in agreement that organized sports aren't in our kid's best interest, at least for now. In general, hubby doesn't believe that organized sports are good for little kids at all (as in non-school age kids). That at those ages, they should be learning skills, not competing. That at those ages, competitive sports are really for the parents, not for the kids.

Personally, I have flashbacks of all the horrible coaches my brother had when he played soccer - and by "all", I mean two that I can think of. But, by George, they have stuck in my mind all these years. I have flashbacks of pressure, and yelling, and swearing, and ridiculous expectations. I remember feeling bad for the kids because they were being shamed by the coaches, and sometimes their own parents. It was an experience I vowed to never participate in (either as a child myself, or subject my own children to).

Now, I know many other parents don't share our views of organized sports. I know many of you participated in them yourselves ("and look how great I turned out!"). I know many of your children are participating in sports. And that's fine. Seriously. I'm not judging you about it. Honestly, do what works for you and your kids! I'm just saying it's not for us. Right now.

The kid takes gymnastic lessons. For us, the difference is the lack of competition. It's about becoming stronger, more flexible, increasing his focus and self-discipline, and developing his own personal skills. There is no goal that has to be scored or shame to be had when another kid outruns you. The only person he is competing against is himself. And that is a lesson I want him to learn. I want him to compete against his own best, not strive towards some one else's. I want him to be internally motivated, not externally. And we don't feel like team sports help him achieve that goal. At least right now.

(Also, I know there are good coaches out these who don't belittle or shame kids. I'm thankful for them. But, still, competitive sports aren't gonna happen in our family. For now.)

And that is why my kid, even though his Poppa is a PE teacher, doesn't play sports.

Today's lesson: Apparently if you really want to get spam comments about er.ectile dys.function medications, you should write a post and call it "head injuries". It will get you loads of them. Promise. And that is a useful lesson, folks.