Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Comic Relief

Normally I would be really proud to learn that one of my boys had acquired a new skill.  After all, each new task they master is a step closer to independence.
You learned to write your name?  Good for you!
You can tie your shoes?  Great news!
You know how to put someone in a sleeper hold?  That's amaz-- wait, what?

But if your child is prone to moodiness like Cael, what seems like good thing can turn out to be passive-aggressive therapy fodder in no time.

Therapy for me, that is.

"Mom, did you see my comic strip?"

"No, show me!  Did you make it yourself?"

"Yeah, look.  Zoop's Mom is always telling him to do things like clean up, and she never has a good reason."

"Hey Zoop clean the rood" (road),  "Why do I always haf to listen to you",  "cose I said so",  "rrrr"

"Okay... and what's happening to her?"

"She gets hit by a van and then she's really mad at Zoop because she got hit by the van."

"ouch",  "rrrr"
I have to admit to being somewhat impressed by his illustrations and what was a pretty understandable storyboard, but I immediately started having flashes of pillows being pressed over my face at night, or poisoning by toilet cleaner in my soda.  I needed to say something.

"Wow, Cael.  I know you don't like picking up but I don't think it's that big of a deal.  Plus I think you'd be pretty sad if I really did get hit by our van."

"It's not you, Mom!  See, the guy's name is Zoop!"

"I know, but are you saying you don't feel this way even a little bit?  I know how much you hate cleaning."

"Well, I don't know.  But see, Zoop's van is red and our van is blue.  It can't be you in the comic."

Alright, alright.  But I just want you to remember that I do most of the cleaning in the house, and I just ask you to pick up the messes you make.  I think that's pretty fair."

"Yeah, okay."

I wasn't going to eek out a confession, so I decided to let it go.  As long as he is able to release his frustrations with a yellow marker and not our red blue Toyota Sienna, I can focus on his artistic skills and not on the tiny stars circling over "Zoop's mom's" head following what must have been a concussion.  But just as I was walking away, I could hear Cael muttering to himself.

"Fine then, Zoop isn't sorry!"

PS--  If I disappear after a few days, please enter Cael's artwork in as evidence.

Why?  "Cose I said so."

Thursday, February 5, 2015

Winter Snow

A couple of weeks ago, the east coast was hunkering down for what what reported to be the "biggest snowfall in history".  In reality, however, the storm wasn't so historic.  New England was blanketed in a lot of snow, but after one day or so, business went on as usual.

We get that.  It happens all the time in Iowa.  Nearly every time there is more than 2 or 3" of snow in the forecast, the local news and weather team works themselves into a frenzy.

Stock up on canned goods!
Check your batteries!
Stay safe with storm coverage from our station only!

Yet nearly every time, what results is little more than a flurry of activity, and very few actual flurries.   
See what I did there?

Last week, however, the predictions were true for the Midwest.  After about a day's worth of snowfall, we had more than 11" of heavy snow bending tree branches and coating the world in a thick layer of crisp, clean, white.

And since there aren't words that match the beauty of a still winter snow, take a quick second and admire the way our brown fields and bare trees have been transformed.

See what I mean?  No words are needed to describe this amazing scene.  But in case you are a verbal person and not prone to being moved by images, let me leave you with Cael's words which ring out like poetry against the beauty of nature...

"The snow is so pretty and cold, and it makes my nose red and numb... just like my nuts.  Seriously, Mom, I'm numb down there."

Stay warm out there.

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

A Mother's Love

There's a bit of a running joke in my family that "true love" means being willing to hold your bare hands out and catch your child's vomit without a second thought.

I know, we have a strange sense of humor.  But if that is the true measure of a mother's love, I must love Graham a whole lot.  A whole lot.  And Graham must love me somewhere around a pint and a half.

I probably had it coming-- it was just over a week ago when I complained about having to keep Cael home from school when it was clear he wasn't really sick.  I probably shouldn't have been surprised when, while over at my sister's house for dinner, Graham ate a full meal, played with toys on her floor, and then promptly scrambled up onto our laps and drenched us from top to bottom with the contents of his stomach.

If you've been with me from the beginning of this blog, you may remember that Graham has a history of making me his personal sick bag.  Back in 2011, Graham enjoyed his first movie with a few too many bags of fun-sized M&Ms, and in the darkness of the theater, my only clue that something had happened was his quiet cough and something warm on my chest.

Last Wednesday's incident was like that in, well, pretty much no way.  Over the course of 15 seconds, Graham transformed from a Beyblade-weilding Pok√©mon master to a pork cutlet geyser.

Sorry for that visual.

But I love Graham, so I did what a mother does when she loves her son-- I held out my hands when it was clear he was going to be sick.  Unfortunately for me, this was no fun-sized explosion, and it just kept coming.  All over me, my sister, the sofa where we sat, the table, the rug, the floor.

For the next 45 minutes as I helped to clean up Graham's mess and ignore my own wet clothes, I could think of little other than trying to contain the the spread of whatever germs had colonized Graham.  Unfortunately, his demonstration was not our last medical setback for the week, as Adler caught both the digestive bug and a nasty respiratory virus which forced us into the ER after midnight and only allowed me 2.5 hours of sleep before having to wake up and dispense oatmeal like any regular day.

As exhausted as I was, even insomnia seemed preferable to becoming the official throw-up catcher.  In fact, I could think of about a million other ways I'd rather demonstrate my love.  If one's willingness to do something unpleasant without reservation is the best indicator of parental love, I would now like to petition to the "powers that be" that any of the following become the new standard:

- Watching and reporting on all episodes of Yo Gabba Gabba
- Allowing my children to feast on nothing but processed hot dogs and doughnuts for a week (although that may lead to the vomit hand-cupping after all)
- Playing Monopoly without cheating to make the game end faster
- No longer prohibiting the mixing of contrasting Play-Doh colors
- Pretending to think farts are funny

Now that's love.  I'm off to shower...