Thursday, May 31, 2012


My apologies for the late posting, but after exactly ONE YEAR of blogging, I have officially run out of image space on my server.  I am in the process of setting up some alternate accounts so that when I tell you about the craziness that ensues in my home, you'll continue to be witness to said craziness as long as my boys continue to provide it.

But when I made the casual observance that this was my blogiversary, it made me wonder what else had changed since May 31, 2011.  And as it turns out, it's a lot.

In May of 2011, we still had our dear, departed Airstream trailer, and at night I didn't hear my shrill screams as Cael drove our motorhome across the street.  Ah yes, the good old days.


We'd also concluded our five month-long aquatic experiment only to discover that we are not equipped to care for any additional lives.  We've simply hit our limit.  Poor frog never saw it coming.


Or the first frog.  Or the fish.  All three of them.

In those days, Cael was still hip-deep in his train obsession and I thought there was no light at the end of the track tunnel.  Little did I know that within a few short months, his locomotive interests would rub off on his brother as he moved on to shooting, slicing and beating to death invisible animals all around the house.  Maybe it's a good thing we killed the fish.


Graham was still my snuggler, sloughing off the last touches of babyhood as he became a full-fledged toddler and ratcheted up the "crazy" in my house to apocalyptic levels.


All in all, we were happy then, just as we are now, and excited to know what the next year would hold.

Before I wrote my first post, I knew I'd enjoy the creative outlet of the blog, but I never expected that I'd gain as many readers as I have, and I certainly never expected to love doing it as much as I do.


 So thanks for continuing to read.  Even when the days are boring or the kids are sick, or Cael has unplugged my alarm clock and I wake up at 9am to find the cat lock out in the rain (what a wake-up!).  Thanks for celebrating with me this year, and I hope to continue to suprise you in the year to come.

But not too much.  I've hit my limit, remember?

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Rockin' Robin

The baby birds growing under our deck have been a constant source of entertainment and misguided biological knowledge since we discovered their nest last month.

Every trip outside warrants an updated photo of the robins in their nest, their tiny necks craning up at the camera looking for food.  I won't touch them, of course, as much as the kids beg me to take one out, because I understand that the mother will reject them and I don't want to have that hanging over my head. My kids reject me enough as it is, I don't need to be responsible for a handful of birdlets in an avian orphanage.  I've got enough on my plate.

But we do check in on them, and they seem to be growing well and getting fluffy with new feathers.  And with each visit come new questions.

"Mommy, are birds dinosaurs?"

"Nope, the dinosaurs all died.  But they are related to dinosaurs-- a lot more than most other animals." 

"Like cousins?  Like me and Ethan and Keaton and Ryan and Jared?"

"Yep, exactly like that."  Trust me, it's easier than explaining evolution. 

"Why do birds come out of eggs?"

"That's just how they are.  They're not mammals, like people."

As soon as I said it, I regretted it.  I really didn't feel like launching into a science-based discussion of mammals, amphibians and all of the other lifeforms I can't remember because in elementary school science class I was too busy doodling and feigning interest in gym class.

But for once, I got lucky and Cael went a different direction.

"Did I come out of a blue egg?"

"No, you know that you came from me."

"But was there a blue egg inside you?"

"No, human babies aren't born like baby birds."

"When will I get feathers?"

"You won't, Cael, because you're not a bird!"

"But Daddy has feathers on his arms and legs."

That's news to me.

"You mean hair?"

"That's what I said."

"Right now your hair is just on your head.  But when you get older you'll grow hair on your arms and legs." 

"And then I'll fly away?"

"Nope.  People can't fly."

"But will I keep my egg?"

"Cael, there's no egg, remember?  Not for people."

"But will I still be a dinosaur?"

And here ends my will to continue, Cael's ability to listen and any chance of me imparting wisdom on the kid.

"Yes, Cael.  When you're older, you will have feathers and fly away.  You'll wear your blue egg shell and go play with all of the other dinosaurs.  You're exactly right."


Sometimes, if you can't beat 'em, join 'em.

Tweet, tweet.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Innernet Inquisition

"Mommy, what is a blog?"

"Well, it's a website where you can write and post pictures.  It's a place where you can talk about whatever you want."

"What's a website?"

"It's something you can see on the computer.  You've heard me talk about the Internet, right?"


"Well, websites are the places you can go on the Internet." 

"Can we go there?"

"No, you can't visit them.  They're just pages you can see."

"Like paper?"

"Um, no, not like paper.  It's just something you see on the computer but nowhere else."

"But you see it on your phone and on the iPad."

Sigh.  "Okay, yeah, you can see it anywhere you have the internet."

"Can you see it on the microwave?"


"Can you see it in the van?"


"Can you see it in the bathroom?"

"Not unless you bring in a computer."

"I don't get it, Mommy.  You write and show pictures on something that's not paper and you can't see it in the bathroom?  I don't get the innernet.  I think it sounds stup-- uhh, I think it's stinky.  Why don't you just write stuff on a piece of paper?"

Maybe I've been around them too long, but that logic made sense to me.

And it's totally true.  But what can I do?  It is what it is...

Friday, May 25, 2012

A Sticky Situation

Sometimes as a parent, you just need a pat on the back, you know?  A small reminder that, while you're no parent of the year and there is so much  more that you could give, you did something right-- or at least averted a problem.

Cael had his dental check-up earlier this week and passed with flying colors.  Once he loosened up enough to be friendly and quit clenching his jaw shut, the hygienist was able to see that his beautiful pearly whites were cavity-free and undamaged by the dreaded "sugar bugs".

He couldn't let me off that easily, though, repeatedly asking the hygienist questions that made me look utterly neglectful despite the fact that he knew the answers. 

"What is flossing?"
"What are cavities?"
"What is a toothbrush?

When his appointment was done, Cael was able to choose a sticker from a basket just like he does when we visit the doctor.  Dora or Mickey, Batman or Cars?  He enthusiastically grabbed hold of one, and once in the van expressed his confusion. 

"Mommy, I get a sticker at the doctor, and now I got one at the dentist!"

"That's right.  You got that for being a good patient."

"Can we go to the doctor so I can get another sticker?"

"No, you're not sick."

"But I want another sticker.  Can I go to the foot doctor?"

Cael's middle toes, perhaps serving as a metaphor for his personality as a whole, curve under and rebel against the actions of his foot.  He has visited a podiatrist in the past, so when he requested to see the foot doctor, I assumed he knew what he was talking about. 

But then, in an effort to acquire a record number of stickers, things got weird.

"Or I could go to the chin doctor.  Or the tummy doctor.  Or Mommy, I could go to the bottom doctor!"

"I don't think the bottom doctor gives away stickers, honey.  Plus, your bottom is just fine."

"No it's not.  It's super stinky."

No argument there.

"How about this, Cael?  When we get home I will give you another sticker so that you don't have to visit the bottom doctor."


As promised, I handed over the sticker to Cael and he scampered off to torment his brother.  Within 20 minutes he reemerged, walked up to me and promptly dropped his pants. 

"Look, Mom!  I put the sticker here since it was for the bottom doctor.  And I have one on my head, too.  I think I need to see a head doctor."

And for once, I completely agree. 

I'll be taking Monday off to enjoy Memorial Day with my family.  See you on Tuesday!

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Ism of the Week

It's starting too early.

"Mommy, what is a tampon?"

"Wha--?  Where did you hear that?"

"On the TV."

"Oh.  It's just something that women need sometimes."

"But what does it do?"

"Um... uh, it helps ladies each month.  There are some things that girls have to deal with that boys don't." 

 "So what is a period?"

Ugh.  Isn't he supposed to be the one embarrassed to talk to me about stuff?

"Well, it's one of those things that ladies have to deal with.  It's something we do so that we can have a baby one day."

"But what is it?"

"We can talk about that when you're older."

"Okay.  So can I have a tampon to play with?"

"No-- they aren't toys."

"Okay.  I'll just go find one."

Five minutes later he emerges, bearing really creepy gifts.

"Here, Mommy.  I found one for you."

"No thanks, Cael.  That's a turkey baster."

I think it's time to turn off the TV.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

School's Out For the Summer

I get it now.  

I understand why, when the children run with glee from the school to begin summer vacation, parents groan and wring their hands.  Because it hasn't even been 24 hours since Cael's preschool closed for the summer, and he's already driving me crazy.

I swear it was yesterday that I wrote about my apprehension as I prepared Cael for school that September morning.

But if it didn't seem possible then that he was old enough for school, it certainly doesn't seem possible now that he has one whole year under his elastic band belt.

To celebrate, his preschool class met at a large park in town and had a picnic, playtime with friends, and an opportunity for me to see just how he behaves with his classmates.

And a chance for me to contemplate homeschooling.

Not for his sake, of course.  I'd be awful at it.  I lack the patience and self-confidence it would take to impart knowledge upon him other than how to put on his sandals and dominate in Angry Birds.  No, I briefly considered homeschooling for the overwhelming benefit of the other tiny people trying to learn and not growing intellectually by hearing Cael shout loud statements of nonsense like, "You eat a burger!  I'm gonna punch tiny babies!"

That doesn't make anyone smarter.

He knows how to turn it off, of course, and I hope beyond hope that he turned it off this year as his teachers read books and counted, recited the alphabet and sorted shapes.  Because telling a friend, "I'm gonna take you down to Chinatown!" when they knock over your blocks won't raise your IQ. 

At least I don't think it will.  But then again, I'm no teacher.

So kudos to the women that put up with his antics for a year without the reciprocation of wet kisses and nighttime snuggles.  I'll do my best to cherish this summer as time to reconnect with him and prepare him for the year to come and a period of learning. 


Okay, so... I'll do my best to keep him alive.  Wish me luck.

A Day In The Life - Part 2

(This is a continuation of yesterday's post.  Click to read it, too.)

As soon as I emerge from my silence-induced coma, I am able to see the sad state of my home.  Toys are piled up like the rubble from a collapsed building, and it is only then that I realize I forgot to have the boys pick up before lunch time as is usually the routine.  Although, if I forget to have them do it more than I remember, I guess the real routine is for me to do it myself while grumbling about all of the other household tasks I have yet to tackle. 


I sort two hamper's worth of laundry into colored piles, mentally noting the subcategories to which all of our articles of clothing seem to fall.  Stuff Crusted in Food.  Stuff The Cat Threw Up On.  Teeny, Tiny, (Dirty) Underpants.


Rinse the dishes in the sink and open the dishwasher to load them, only to find that I never emptied it after its last cycle.  I contort to kick myself and, despite the fact that I will have to empty it sometime, I opt to stack the rinsed dishes back in the sink.  Totally not worth the extra effort.


Check email.  Respond to blog comments.  Read friends' blogs.


Did I ever have lunch?  By this time in the day I've probably downed three bottles of Diet Dr. Pepper, but did I actually eat any food?

I dig around for leftovers and throw some couscous in the microwave and cut up some mushrooms to make it a little more exciting.  I spend three or four minutes ruminating over the fact that I just found mushrooms to be exciting before grabbing a drink from the fridge.  A science experiment jar of moldy marinara catches my eye, reminding me that I should have added "clean the refrigerator" to my list of jobs to accomplish during my "free time" tomorrow.  I place the sauce on the counter and grab my lunch and head to the couch downstairs, not to demonstrate what I mean by "bad table manners" but to quench my hunger while I catch up on whichever cheesy reality television show was DVRed the night before.


I turn on the TV just as I hear the doorknob turn.

"Mommy?  Can I have a treat for not waking up Graham?"

What has happened to my parenting skills when my son expects a daily reward for not doing something naughty?

"Come on, Cael.  You can have one cookie, one small piece of Easter candy..." (candy that we will likely still be eating come October and may just have to become a prop in his costume.  Easter Bunny, anyone?  "... or you can have one banana.  Your choice."

"Five pieces of candy."

"Nope.  If you want candy, you may have one."

"Okay, half of the banana and half of the cookie."

"Nope.  One cookie, one candy, or one banana."

"Ugh.  Fine, Mom!  I'll have a peanut butter sandwich."

Glad I could be of service today.


The noise of our snack-time debate leads to a scratching sound in the boys' room.  I pray silently that the cat has simply gotten trapped in there, but as I look at the ledge behind the sofa and find him, eating my couscous straight from the bowl, I know that the sound can only be coming from Graham.  As I approach his door, I try to prepare myself for any number of possible offenses.

He could be clawing at the door, desperate to get out and further disrupt the two minutes of my relaxation.  He could be scaling the wall in an attempt to reach the shirt he'd flung over the ceiling fan in a fit of giggles last week.  He could even be trying to jimmy the lock on his window and make a break for it. 

I can relate.

But when I open the door, it becomes apparent that Graham hasn't been doing any of those things.  He has all of his clothes stripped off, save for his diaper, which is soggy and stuffed with a pair of Cael's socks and his primate friend, "Cheeky Monkey", who he has tucked off to the side like a gun in a holster.   

"I have poo, Momma.  Mommy?"


I ask the boys to head upstairs and retrieve their shoes so that we can play outside.  I'm not really sure why I continue to make this request because, while they are perfectly capable, I already know with virtual certainty that they will go to the shoe closet, get distracted, pull down as many of my shoes as possible, and parade around in the summer's hottest shoe trends.

Oh, who are we kidding?  All of my sandals came from Target.  Four years ago.  Before all of my money went to the kids.


Finally outside, I remember exactly why we splurged on fencing our backyard.  The kids run free for quite some time without fear of them scrambling into the street and being hit by a car.  But it's not that simple, is it?  Without the temptation of the highway, my two fiends manage to find their own trouble.

First they climb on Daddy's lawnmower and discuss how they will shove rocks into the engine so that it will break and be "so, so, funny!"  Then they locate their squirt guns and, catching me on a generous day, I agree to fill them with water so they can douse each other.  But I'm too busy eyeing the lawnmower and wondering what disastrous event will take place next to notice that Cael has bypassed the water pistol completely and is spraying Graham down with the hose-- first set on "mist", then on "shower", and then on--

"Cael!  Put it down!" 

Too late.  Cael rotates the sprayer into "jet" mode and the tight beam of water passes across Graham's legs, knocking him to the ground where his lower altitude makes the spray pass across his forehead, throwing him back onto the grass.  Into the house for another round of clean clothes.


Is it too early for pajamas?  Probably.  But we haven't had dinner yet and I'm fishing for Graham's fourth outfit of the day, so I give in and pull his Mickey Mouse pajamas over his head.

"Mommy, I not want to go to bed yet!"

"You don't have to go to bed yet.  I just don't want to get another outfit dirty."

"Otay, I get Mickey dirty then."



Knowing that I need to make dinner, I offer to put a movie on for the boys and immediately regret the request.  They enjoy the same movies but enjoy arguing even more, so they refuse to agree to one film, and I eventually give in and put two shows on different tv sets so I can finally get dinner started.

As I walk back upstairs, I remember the laundry that I abandoned earlier in the day, so I swap the loads out and dump the few clean items on my bed to sort after dinner.


I snap out of a haze and realize I've been staring at the refrigerator for five minutes and don't have a clue what I'm making for supper.  Sometimes I slip into auto-pilot and pull out something like a jar of relish and an apple and bang them together on the counter before I regain consciousness.  This time it is Joel's return home that beings me back to reality, and I settle on grilled chicken with pasta and homemade pesto (which I mercifully made the day before) and some foccacia bread. 

I am happy to relinquish control of the boys to Joel as I cook, but as they jump on him and ask him a line of 58 consecutive questions, I recognize the same look of haziness in his eyes after his long day of work, so I set the table and throw dinner together as quickly as possible. 


We all sit down to eat and as I taste the chicken I realize that I haven't eaten since the ill-advised banana I downed in the car as I took Cael to school.  Joel and I quickly finish and look to the boys' plates to find that they have been gumming their bread and haven't touched the chicken or pesto pasta.

"Mommy.  This is yummy.  This is the only yummy meal you've ever, ever made!"

An insult disguised as a compliment. 
Thanks, Cael.


The table is cleared and the dishes are stacked in the sink because I have yet to empty the dishwasher, but we are again in a supper stand-off.  Tired of the battle, Daddy has announced that they boys WILL finish on their own and only then are they allowed to leave the table.  Cael understands the implications of this request and quickly eats, leaving Graham to mash tiny strands of linguine between his fingers for the next 15 minutes until he finally, mercifully, announces that he is done.


Joel heads outside to work on the new basketball hoop, and when I come around in front of him to check his plate, I find that he has, indeed, cleared his plate, but rather than the noodles and chicken finding their way into his stomach, the green bits are in his ear, inside his (fresh) pajamas, between his fingers and toes and all over his chair and the floor.  Even Oscar, who has been scavenging below, has flecks of pesto in his hair.

I have enough filthy beasts in the house... scrubbing his furry back ranks low on my priority list. 


Bathtime.  I hadn't planned on bathing them tonight, mainly because they have sensitive skin and too many baths will make them scaly like the dinosaurs they pretend to be.  But then again, how much of my day has gone according to plan?

I toss them in.  Within seconds, Cael is dumping soapy water over Graham's head and in a move to retaliate, Graham yanks whichever toy had been in Cael's hands.  He doesn't really care about the toy, but he puts up a fight because, well... I don't know.  It's almost 8pm and I've developed a bit of a steely demeanor.  I'm not proud of it, but my patience is thin and my eyes are tired.

And I still have laundry to do.


After a bible story that I essentially read to myself, Graham is in bed.  He's not sleeping-- God only knows when he'll give in enough to do that, but it is no longer two against one.  I get Cael in his pajamas and agree to his final few minutes of iPad time.  As I reach to hand it to him, I watch him kick the dog-- kick the dog-- and snatch the tablet back as quickly as possible.  We have a no tolerance policy with dog abuse (I'm not referring to doggy dental neglect.  We don't need to revisit that.) so I rescind the video game time I would have allowed. 

These are the hardest parenting decisions; the ones that you know will make your life harder but that you also know are in their best interest.  And I want to be a good mom, but I can't help but wonder sometimes... who is making decisions in my best interest?

See?  NOT Supermom.


We decide to read his bible stories early instead of while in bed, and he completely confused the stories as well as the intended message.  "Noah made an ark out of animals?"  "Joseph has a coat with lots of colors?"  "Did he get it at Target?"  "Wait-- Adam and Eve were NAKED?"

 A few more minutes of snuggling on the couch and I tuck Cael into his bed.  Graham is sleeping soundly with his bottom up in the air, and Cael does his very best to stifle a laugh and a comment about "tooting up" the air. 


As I look at him in the dark, I'm always amazed how the atrocities of the day are erased.  I can't imagine sending him to bed not knowing that I love him and am proud of him, so I whisper these thoughts to him and kiss his (still) sticky face.  When I've quietly closed the door, for one second I feel a pang in my chest and miss them, almost turning around to go back and snuggle up next to each of them.

Nah.  I do a tiny jig instead. 


Since I can't sleep without a bath, my biggest self-indulgence, I fill the tub with super-hot water (if you're not red when you get out, it wasn't hot enough) and climb in.  And I think about nothing.  It's my favorite thing to do, especially in the tub.  I can very easily waste away an hour and a half in a bath, or even more if I am writing, reading or being otherwise productive.


When I hear Joel back in the house after slaving over his basketball production, I get out, dry off, get dressed and remember that I have nothing written for the blog tomorrow.  I sit myself up at the counter, willing my brain to be creative, and falling very short.  In the meantime, I notice the stack of dishes and decide to tackle them now so they won't be even crustier come morning.  I toss several of the dirty forks and spoons in the silverware basket and slap a soapy hand to my forehead.

The dishes in the dishwasher were clean.

I pull them all out, wash all the silverware by hand, unload the dishwasher, put dishes away, load the dirty ones inside, and head to the bedroom for a dry shirt.  But where are all of my shirts?


Oh, that's right.  They are in a big, wrinkly pile on my bed, and two loads of darks and towels are still waiting in the laundry room.  I complete the task, grumbling a bit if I'm honest, and turn out the lights.


I climb into bed and as my mind drifts to sleep, my eyes snap open.  I had a blog post to write.  I never dumped out the moldy marinara.  

And the cat is still eating my couscous. 



Monday, May 21, 2012

A Day In The Life - Part 1

(In response to my Fifty Thousand post, Liz requested a day-in-the-life breakdown to show what my routine is like with two kids.  Then she called me "supermom" and when I wiped the tears from my eyes from laughing so hard, I knew I had to do it.  But when I wrote it, it was so painfully long that I simply had to break it into two pieces.  So check out the first part of our day, and check back tomorrow to see how it ends.)


Somewhere off in the distance there is a bugle call.  Did that extra episode of Caillou propel me into such a deep dimension of insanity that I have awakened in a Civil War base camp?  What side am I on?

Nope.  It's just Joel's ridiculously loud iPad alarm app, that experience has taught me will be trumpeting with ever-increasing volume until I nudge or knee him to hit the snooze.  In nine minutes, as I am just drifting back to sleep, I hear it again.  And again.  Lather, rinse, repeat.


Ugh.  I've taken a knee to the bladder and I'm forced to get out of use the bathroom so that I don't spend my last 21 minutes of early morning rest in a wet puddle on the bed. 

"Mommy, I want to watch 'Iron Giant'!"

"Fine, but we're not watching the whole thing.  Just until I need to get up, okay?"


6:31am.  "Mommy?  Can you make it louder?"  6:34.  "Mommy?  I still can't hear it!"  6:43.  "Can I wake up Graham?  I want to wake up Graham!"


I can't ignore my own alarm clock anymore, and I have a short time left to get ready for the day.  I throw on my mommy uniform of jeans and a t-shirt with my hair in a ponytail and head downstairs to dress the boys.  Cael is still in my bed watching "Iron Giant", allowing me a few quiet moments with Graham.  I kiss him awake and he smiles at me, waiting for me to say the same words I say every morning so that he can respond in the same nonsensical manner.

"Good Morning, Bubba!  Did you have good dreams?"

"Yup.  I dreamed about red frogs and green frogs and white frogs and blue frogs."

"Oh, wow, that's silly.  I dreamed about you."

"No, Mommy.  You dream about cookies.  And poop."


I grab shirts and pants for the boys and encourage them to dress themselves, knowing full well that they won't and I will be forced to yank big heads through little collars and wiggly legs through stationary sleeves.  Once they are fully covered, we collectively head upstairs and I prepare myself for battle. 

"Mommy, I want cereal!"
"No, I want 'nanas!"
"He got to pick last time!"
"We never ever eat da bananas!"

There are no battles as consistent and as deadly as the battle for breakfast domination.  Except, perhaps, the battle for the colored plate of choice-- a ceaseless war that has been raging since the dawn of civilization despite the fact that Cael always picks green and Graham always picks purple.  Always.


Time to eat.  I dish out french toast sticks as I am unwilling to choose sides.  There's syrup everywhere, further reminding me why I only let them have it on occasion.  Graham's fingers stick together.  Cael's hair looks crusty.  The fresh shirts I put on them are stuck to their bibs where globs of syrup dripped as they abandoned their forks and started shoving french toast chunks in their mouth like they'd never seen food before. 

I should have gone with the bananas.


Off with the sticky clothes, on with an entirely new outfit.  I wonder if everyone has to change their kids' clothing three times before 8am.  I brush two mouth's worth of tiny teeth, scrunch gel into Cael's wild mane and strap them into their shoes.  It is at this point, knowing that I have only a few moments left before I need to deliver Cael to preschool, that I realize I haven't eaten and grab a banana before shooing the kids out of the house and into the van. 

"Mama!  You say I not have bananas but you eat bananas!" 

Ugh.  Rookie mistake.


I drop Cael off at preschool, say a silent prayer that he does not mock, steal from, assault or otherwise torment any of the preschool children who have managed to preserve their innocence beyond age four.  I drive aimlessly around my town for 30 minutes in an effort to "find a train" for Graham, who has picked up the slack from Cael who has moved on from trains to guns and dinosaurs.


Two steps in the door, and it starts.

"Mommy?  Mom?  Momma?  I have a drink?  Mommy?  I want a cookie.  Momma?  I watch Mickey Mouse?  Momma, Mickey?  Mom?  Mommy?  Momma?  I play with Oscar.  Oscar needs to go potty.  Mommy?  Does Oscar need to go potty?  Momma?  Look at Oscar, Mom.  He needs to go potty.  Go potty, Oscar!  I need more cookies.  Mommy?  Cookies?  Mom?  More drink?  Mommy, I need more milk.  Mom!  Mommy?  You like cookies?  Momma?  You want a cookie with me?  Mom?"

"I have poo, Momma.  Mommy?"


I load Graham into the car, clad in a fresh diaper and relish in the fact that he is quiet in the car as long as Cael isn't present.  It's not that I don't like to converse with my own children, it's more that Graham speaks nonstop when Cael is in school, spilling out all of the thoughts he was saving up while his brother dominated the conversation with tales of pterodactyls and assault rifles.  So as we drive to the preschool to pick up Cael, I have nothing to show for the last two and a half hours-- no housework done, no writing accomplished, no activities executed.  Just a boatload of words, some knocked over buckets, and one smelly diaper that took 14 wipes to clear up. 


Once home, I throw together lunch.  I don't prepare it or plan it, because I have found that the easiest way to keep it somewhat healthy and organized is to stick to the formula.

Meat + Grain/Potato + Veggie = Toddlers That Don't Have To Wear Adult-Sized Clothing

I dig in the freezer.

Chicken.  Meat... check.
Rice.  Grain... check.
Carrots.  Veggie...check.

And ketchup.  Because these maniacs won't eat anything unless it's doused in ketchup.


As usual, Cael has eaten all of his meat, Graham has eaten all of his vegetables, and I find myself in a stand-off with each of them that could rival the OK Corral for bragging rights.  They know that they have to make an effort with the foods they're not crazy about.  I won't force feed them, but in our house, one coin-sized slice of carrot does not earn a dessert, despite the fact that "dessert" is either a cup of yogurt, applesauce, or fresh fruit. 

 So I bribe them.  I beg them.  I blackmail them with photos of bare buttcheeks that may or may not reappear at their high school graduations.  Basically, I do everything you're not supposed to do as a parent.  But they eat, and I dole out yogurt like nobody's business.  Because at the end of the day, they love it and I still want to make them happy.  Quiet, but happy.


I've almost gotten all of the ketchup and yogurt off of Graham's face when I start in on the layers of crusted food that have been deposited behind his left ear.  They pile up like sediment, and in a bizarre session of parenting archaeology, I am able to step back in time and see what he has been consuming simply by attempting to remove whatever sauces have petrified there.


Once clean, I wrestle Graham into my arms and whisk him off to bed.  I remember fondly how my boys used to ask to go to bed, or at the very least didn't argue when the time came.  Now both hurl themselves against the floor, wail and flail uncontrollably as if they were on fire, and only when they see that I am not backing down, stop abruptly with an "Ugh.  Fine." and trot off to the bedroom. 

After his surrender, I tuck Graham in and return to the family room to help Cael.  In an effort to kill two bird with one stone, the time between Graham and Cael's bedtime became the designated time for Cael to play the computer/iPad/Wii, not only keeping him quiet while his brother attempts to slumber, but limiting the amount of time his brain can atrophy before he throws the aforementioned, standard-issue fit and I send him to bed.


Silence.  I stare at a blue fleck in the carpet for 20 minutes and wonder... whose brain has atrophied now? 

Check back tomorrow to see if we made it through the day.  :)

Friday, May 18, 2012

Worth Fighting For

I know that brothers fight.  I knew that going into the whole "motherhood" thing.  But I guess I pictured the tug-of-war about toys and stereos and shoes.  I expected heated wrestling matches on the living room floor.  I imagined teenagers fighting over a girl.

There may be some of that, someday.  And as much I as I will likely regret this statement later, I am looking forward to it a little bit.  I don't want to see them fight, of course, but each of those disagreements will build their character and bring them one step closer to the men they will one day become.

But mainly, I'm looking forward to it because their fights now are just plain stupid.

"Look Graham, those are the woods.  That's where bears and leopards live!"

"No, Cael.  Those are the trees."

"No!  Those are the woods."

"No... trees!"

"Mommy, tell Graham that those are the woods!"

"Momma say no!  Those are TREES!"



Seriously?  Woods or trees?  Is there nothing better to argue about?  What about how Cael gets to stay up later each night?  What about how Graham has a special song we sing at bedtime, while Cael hasn't adopted that ritual?  What about how I've been complaining for a year about the fixtures in my disgusting master bathroom and none have been replaced?  STILL?

 Nope.  They are more concerned with who murred (mooed) at the cow second.  Not first, second.

"Graham, I murred at the cow after you did."

"No, you murred first!"

"No, Graham.  You murred first.  I murred second."

"I second.  You first!"

"No way.  You beat me.  I'm slower."

"You're mean, Cael."

And, like every other tiff, it escalates to the point at which I have to tell them that they aren't allowed to speak to one another for fear that my head will explode and its contents will soil the towels-- the only new thing in my otherwise offensive bathroom.

So I breathe in the silence, the calm, and will myself to hold on until they are old enough to handle their problems themselves, until I no longer have to deal with such trivial and pointless disagreements.

"Psst.  Graham.  I'm being quieter than you are!"

"No, I'm more quieter."

"Graham, let's be super quiet.  Let's see who can be quiet for longer."


Ahh.  Now that's worth fighting for.