Tuesday, December 30, 2008
For 15 minutes I have been listening to the same 2 minute loop of an enthusiastic helpful woman telling me about dental care. The loop actually has pauses and clicks built in so that you keep getting your hopes up, then dashing them when the loop starts again.
Then, you are sent to an operator that takes all of your information (again) - then, puts you back on hold.
Then, after another 10 minutes - someone answers, and asks for all of your information again.
I am doing this to resubmit a claim for the third time (it has fallen off the abyss each other time).
This insurance company has a history of rejecting every single claim I have made, out of hand, and requiring resubmission and justification. For example, my visit to the emergency room on a Friday evening was rejected because it wasn't pre-approved (their office closes at five and I had the audacity to break my arm after five). It was noted that they have too many spurious ER visits.
My visit to the ER when I needed eight stitches in my finger was rejected when the doctor failed to note that the finger was on my RIGHT hand.
I don't want the government in charge of my health care, but I don't want these assholes involved either.
What is the most frustrating insurance fiasco you've had?
Monday, December 15, 2008
I know that I am fortunate. I am absolutely blessed. I know that. I had a bad day.
So, here I am, thankful and contrite.
- I have a handsome, smart, loving, sensitive husband.
- I have three beautiful, healthy, bright, inquisitive boys.
- I have my health (other than a cold, which is, not really a big deal, all told).
- We live in a lovely home.
- We live in a beautiful part of the country.
- My husband is good at and enjoys his job, and his job is stable.
- I have a good job that I enjoy and it is stable.
- We are comfortable and know that we can pay the bills.
- We have a loving extended family.
- Other than my occasional tantrums, we live mostly free of drama.
- I worry more about eating too much than too little.
- We are educated and our children also have that opportunity.
- We have clean running water, electricity, and a safe place to sleep.
- Our community is safe and friendly.
If you sometimes forget (like I sometimes do) how lucky you are, view the following youtube video about the "miniature earth".
Saturday, December 13, 2008
This is the second time I am writing this post, because my internet connection randomly turns on and off.
I am sick with about the 18th cold/flu of the fall and winter season. My nose is literally dripping snot too quickly to keep up. My head hurts from sinus congestion and I can't sleep at night. I am sick of being sick.
My kids won't help with even the most rudimentary and expected tasks - they'd rather their punishments than contribute. They don't wish to think ahead of doing anything, and are thus, followed by a series of minor (and not so minor) disasters. In the past several days, they have spilled cereal all over the floor and/or table at least three times because they were balancing it on the milk jug. They have spilled molasses all over the counter because they were trying to "help" me make cookies for the stupid cookie exchange (that I'd enjoy if my head weren't splitting). This morning, they spilled about a pint of maple syrup all over the kitchen.
They would rather be punished than help around the house - even the most basic tasks. One child would rather sit on the stairs than take the recycling to the garage. He'd also prefer to pay $3 than clear his breakfast dish. This is the same breakfast dish that was still completely full of cereal that he poured, than changed his mind. The kids wastes more food than some children get. The other left the laundry he was supposed to gather all over the house. While gathering the laundry, I found an unflushed poo, and that all of the bedding had been pulled off of the youngest's bed.
There is glitter every-effing-where in the house.
Someone (it isn't clear who, there is apparently a bad case of amnesia going around) broke a shower stall in our guest bathroom this morning.
The shower stall isn't the only part of our house that is falling apart. The columns in front of our house are rotting. Actually most of our external woodwork is rotting (window sills and door jams); I don't think that they were actually constructed of outdoor materials. There is a hole in the drywall. In our kitchen, the refrigerator is on strike - refusing to make ice or serve water, the hood is falling down, and our cabinets are falling off the wall so dramatically I've had to "store" all of our china on the dining room table. That is, when the kids aren't toting the china pieces around like they are toys. The arm is falling off of my favorite chair, threatening to dump me at any moment. The laundry sink drips, the dryer hose disconnected from the wall. Both of these little foibles will require both of us (and NO KIDS) to fix. You'd think we live in a colonial-era house or something, but it was built in 1996.
Our greedy, entitled kids want every other thing in every toy catalog we receive. Their desire increases with the likelihood of calamity or the number of breakable parts. This, from the kids that made indoor RC helicopters last less than two hours each. I think I'll give them a shower door for Christmas; those fuckers run about $400.
My grades are due on the 22nd and I have a final to give as late as the 2oth (yes, Saturday). I have a mountain of crappy papers to read between now and then.
Our post-Christmas trip was cancelled. Instead of going to the tropics, I am looking at two straight weeks in our broken house with two restless boys when I should be preparing my two new courses.
I think I'm going to move the kids to a barn so, when they leave the doors open (and let more stinkbugs in) they can say "why yes, we do live in a barn".
Christmas this year, ideally, would allow me to tuck in with some good food, some tea and a nice book. Quiet and peaceful. I don't care about decorations, socializing, fancy food, parties, shopping, buying more crap, or holiday spirit. I just want a few moments of peace.
Then, I'm going to move to Australia.
Monday, November 17, 2008
When I started driving this morning, I thought I was losing my mind... (too much nyquil?).
I kept hearing voices.
"I know I'm every hippo's dream"
What the ????
Stupid, McDs toys have a motion sensor - so, they repeat this continually the entire way home.
As if their food wasn't bad enough, now their toys will make you crazy too.
Thursday, November 13, 2008
You see, the night before - I put the kids to bed. Then, I put the kids back to bed. Then, I put them back to bed and told them that I expected them to stay put. Then, I finally told them that the next time they got out of bed - they would lose all of their halloween candy.
I thought that they would stand and take notice. Instead, they tested me.
So, the next morning, J and I sequestered the really good stuff for ourselves (we aren't dumb). And, I gave ther rest of the candy to my students.
Mean mom indeed.
Then, we had our second. Now, it was man-on-man defense. Lots of individual attention, we'd keep switching kids. We lost most of our free time.
Now, with three, it is zone defense. Usually, we make it work.
Tonight, we are both sick. The kids are getting sick and (though not tired yet) they are all pissy. I can tell when B is getting sick because, even though he doesn't complain - I start to think about selling him to gypsies. (Is there a caravan nearby?)
When we are both sick, what do we do? Bitch a lot, let the kids run amok and generally feel lousy.
Blech. We need to get back to full-on zone defense before our house falls down.
Tuesday, November 4, 2008
But, on the negative side, we still need to pour $1400 into it tomorrow.
So, to sum it up,
$400 on vacation last summer
$1000 on tires on the way home from vacation last summer
$800 in repairs a month or so ago
and $1400 tomorrow.
This means, I'll have to drive this car until I am old and gray.
On the plus side, with this headache, I'll be old and gray in no time.
I, seriously, have been on the edge of green sporadically for a week and, oh seriously, my head.
Then, over the weekend the kids seemed off. Z complained of car sickness. The kids moaned and groaned during errands.
Even J got a headache - that never happens.
Hmmmm. It seems to happen in the car....
I'm spending 50 bucks today, and I better find out there is an exhaust leak, cuz' otherwise, I've gone around the bend.
Sunday, November 2, 2008
My youngest was trying to clarify things the other day.
"I'm a him and you're a her".
"Yes, dear. You have a penis - you are a boy."
"I have a penis, I'm a boy. Boys have penises."
Long pause here...
"And... girls have necklaces."
Um. Glad we've straightened that out.
Wednesday, October 29, 2008
She said that one of B's friends came running, shouting, to her across the room "B just said SHIT". She calmed him down and tried to divert attention from the word.
She approached B and asked if he had used a bad word.
He said "Yes".
As she admonished him to make better choices, he said
"BUT MY MOMMY SAYS IT ALL THE TIME".
Wednesday, September 24, 2008
I go over the answers. Students respond with "I wrote ... do I get it?"
I respond that that answer probably doesn't merit any points because...
One student looks square at me and loudly proclaims "THAT'S CRAP".
Monday, September 1, 2008
I have a friend that has three girls for our three boys. As babysitters are so blooming expensive and our kids play nicely together - we periodically sit for one another so the other couple can go out. This past Saturday it was our turn. We kept the girls; kid total = six, two 7-year-olds, two 5-year-olds, and two nearly-3-year-olds. Talk about a rowdy house!
Her little girl is potty-training. So, we made a big production of her peeing on the potty like a BIG girl. So, our little attention-hounding three year old needed to pee on the potty too. I took him into our lavatory, removed his sodden diaper and set him on the pot. He dribbled a little pee, so we lavishly praised him (this is how exciting our house is).
I (obviously) couldn't put him back into a stinky, drippy, wet diaper - so, off he toddled NEKKID to rest of the world. I came out to corral him to our bedroom, where we keep the diapers.
The little girl gaped at his little naked thing. She cocked her head. Then, she exclaimed "HE HAS A TAIL!?".
"No, no dear", I reassured her "he's a boy, boys have a penis, that's a penis".
She looked at me again, cocked her head, and stated (as though I were just insane), "No, he has a TAIL!"
Tuesday, August 19, 2008
So, I failed - during the water break, I congratulated the goalie on her hustle - the ball never made it to her end.
Then, toward the end of practice, my little guy shouts - "Hey that's my daddy, he has a big penis"
"MY DADDY IS THERE, HE HAS A BBIGGG PEEEENIS"
"Uh, come here honey"
"OOOHH, AND I AM POOOOPY".
Friday, August 15, 2008
I had the tires rotated before my vacation with my sister. Five kids and two adults in one minivan for a week requires a fully working vehicle.
Once we hit the road, it was obvious the balancing job was not complete - the steering shimmied at high speeds...worse when braking (suggesting rotors and new pads are needed).
Then, the engine light came on. One day of vacation down to sit in a Honda dealership - $100 for diagnostics, $200 for a new valve, and $200 for service charges equals $500 lost plus one precious vacation day.
On the way home,with my three in the car and in the middle of the night, I blew a tire on the highway. Yes, I suppose that I could have changed it (I haven't done that for years, though).
I called AAA and lost about 45 minutes and a $15 tip. Drove home on the nickel spare.
This morning - one hour and $472 for four new tires (ya couldn't have mentioned my bald tires a week ago?).
Bad car, bad.
Friday, July 4, 2008
They were going to conduct science with spiders.
A few minutes later, I go outside to check. Z and B are both wearing their rubber boots. Z is carrying a camping pad and an umbrella. B has a shovel. (Hmmmm.)
Then, I pop in the shower and B comes in to say that they need some supplies. He needed either three crickets or food coloring. (mmmm, ok)
I look outside after my shower, and they have the shovel, pad, boots, umbrella, crickets, some tupperware, Elmer's Glue, and some dish soap. (No on the glue and the soap).
Maybe I should go check on them again?
So, the fourth always meant hours of illegal fireworks demonstrations, increased traffic in the burn unit, drunken fights at various cabins around the lake and lots of loud music. Noise travels exceedingly well on water. So, between the fascinating bouts of domestic violence and drunken debauchery, and the illegal fireworks displays - we kids used to spend the whole evening wrapped in blankets on our dock watching the neighbors and/or their explosives (of one kind and another).
We were always disappointed, however, that our dad wasn't cool enough to have any fireworks to shoot from our dock.
One year, dad must have gotten tired of our complaints. So, he set us up on the other dock (for safety) and pulled out one, lone firework that he promised would produce excitement for hours. No one else around here will set off anything like this, I can promise you.
We sat dockside for quite awhile watching the brilliant glow from this fantastic firework - waiting for something more to happen... waiting, waiting.... waiting some more.
It turns out - road flares just aren't that exciting.
Thursday, June 12, 2008
This little sweet potato... stinkbug... butterball... honeypie... (you know what I mean) is so stinkin' adorable so we will forgive him for the unspeakable damage he does now and will do in the future to everything we own.
Let's see... a hole in a screen, snapped a faucet off of its fixture, removed several curtain rods and lost the parts, filled our entire porch with play sand, pooped at the pool, wrote in a new book of mine, dropped my cell phone, and did unspeakable things to his older brothers.
And... still we keep him.
That smile is why (and his crazy tiny little voice - when it isn't shrieking).
This all stems from the advertising industry's propensity (I believe) to make fun of men. Seriously... all the commercials with "Old dumb dad..." who can't seem to figure out how to make cold cereal for breakfast or when diapers need changing. Old dumb dad... "hey, what's this thing for?" (holding a broom). Old dumb dad... helpless with a dishwasher. Old dumb dad... won't eat anything unusual.
Geez... thank heavens I am not married to that bozo. In fact, things are a bit different here.
J won't let me do his laundry because I don't fold things nicely enough. J does breakfast with the kids and cleans up after it.
I know that not all men are like J... but, for Pete's sake... they aren't all imbeciles!
Wednesday, June 11, 2008
He is nearly unresponsive, except when he wants something (when he is whiny, tugging at me, and in my face). He interrupts my conversations with adults, but won't talk to me when I beg him to. Getting him to start his summer academic activities has been mind-numbingly difficult.
And... my sister just suggested that maybe this stems from his teacher having been more emotionally abusive than I had realized.
Then, maybe I am an asshole for completely going off the deep end and losing my patience with him.
Is there a worst mom competition? I know who to write-in now.
Thursday, June 5, 2008
As such, I have oodles of nightmare stories "poop on a plane", "missed the plane", "barfed in the car", "flight canceled - three kids under six (plus sixteen college kids)", and so on. I promise that I won't regale you with all of them.
But, one of them keeps coming back. It isn't because the experience, by itself, was so horrifying. It was the response of the public.
So, we were taking a bunch of college kids to the Bahamas, and it was the first leg of the journey. Flying as a family to Miami to meet the students. Our kids at the time - five, three, and one. It was December 27th and we were headed from the winter to the tropics.
This trip, I might add, requires that I carry over 200 lbs of clothes, dive gear, dive lights, batteries, laptop, books, snacks, kid stuff, and other items.
Carry-on for this particular trip included: snacks for kids, toys/diversions, laptop, digital camera, lecture notes, course notes, class handouts, diapers, wipes, sippies, a spare set of clothes for child in potty training, and the usual stuff you might carry. Stuff that I: didn't want stolen, needed no matter what when we arrived, and needed en route.
So, when the baby (toddler) pooped in his pants right before they called our flight in the first puddle jumper - we debated. We didn't want to miss the flight. We didn't want to change a poop in the aisle of a 16 seat plane then sit with poopy diaper for two hours). Finally, we gambled and he hastened in to change the kid while I held the other two and paced.
In short, J tried to shortcut the changing routine by pulling T's pants just to his ankles and not completely removing shoes, pants, etc. as he was in a hurry. T found it funny and dipped his foot into the poop - then smeared it all over his little shoes, his pants, sweatshirt, and his socks. Making the best of a bad thing... J threw out the socks, rinsed and wiped the shoes and put them back on T, threw the pants and top into one of our baggies and tied it shut.. then bagged the toxic waste and called the HAZMAT team.
So, now we are traveling in December sub-freezing weather with three kids, the baby nearly naked in a t-shirt and wet sneakers. Then, we get to the first stop of our journey for a four-hour layover.
Please note that airports do carry the following: perfume, booze, t-shirts, hats, golf balls, kitsch, and many other items. They do not sell: children's pants. Basically, the kid was gonna stay naked until we re-united with 200 pounds of luggage in Miami.
Here is the interesting part of this experience: When my dear husband was with this naked ragamuffin in the (cool) airport... people smirked, gave knowing looks, and smiled at him. You could see the inner dialogue: "poor dad, came unprepared... how amusing". When J left to help the other kids burn off energy... people walking by a mom with a naked ragamuffin in December the response was different. People glared at me, scowled, didn't make eye contact, and were generally pissy. Here is the dialogue to me: "what is the matter with that woman and why is her baby naked? How disgusting... what trash".
I swear I am not making it up... I even got independent verification of the phenomenon.
What is wrong, people? Why the hate? Geez, there is only so much shit you can carry; 40 lbs of carry-on and 30 pound toddler is enough while we are toting two other kids that need hand-holding.
What was your worst or most interesting travel story?
Tuesday, June 3, 2008
It used to always be that Z would develop a crush on one of the girls. For the last year, though, it's been B that is smitten. B wants to marry one of my students - she is a little uneasy about his unbridled affection (in a good way, though). The other students think it is hilarious. The sad day will come at some point when my boys really notice the bikini clad students (on my beach trip) and the students find it less cute. For now, we think it is grand.
My kids also participate in most of the class activities. This means that if it is wet and cold, they also get wet and cold. This has had one bonus, the college kids don't complain as much as they used to.
For example, last year I taught marine biology. Our field trip got us to the beach on a rainy spring day. The temperature hovered around forty, it was howling with wind, and the rain was spitting sporadically... not such a nice day.
We bundled up and trotted into the mud to drag nets and dig for worms and other stuff. Z had a full set of raingear and little boots. B had a raincoat, sweats on, and his little boots (they don't make toddler foul weather gear - what gives?). T was bundled up and in a backpack on me over my chest waders.
We all tromped out of the vans to the mudflats, got out the nets, buckets, and sampling gear. It was just about then that Beck got stuck in the mud and sat down in about 4 inches of cold seawater. When I helped him stand... it ran down his legs into his boots. The kid was wet. It was cold and windy. He paused and looked at me - "do I cry here?". I said "whoops, don't sit here... that's not a good idea". He bucked up.
He had a blast catching crabs, fish, worms, hermits, and jellies. And, everytime a college kid looked like they were about to bitch - they looked at B and changed their mind.
Thursday, May 29, 2008
He is such a powerhouse of a helper - we are going to have a good time. I sometimes worry about whether he gets enough of us, middle child and all. We'll catch up a bit.
My brother-in-law had his usual five-mile run last Thursday. After his run, he experienced some chest pain. He thought that it was significant enough to run over to the nearby hospital and get it checked out, just in case. M walked through the doors into the hospital about the same time that his heart stopped. He collapsed. In minutes, they had done CPR, used a defibrillator, and brought him back. Within a few hours, he had received a shiny new stent in a major coronary artery.
He would have been dead (permanently) if this had happened pretty much anywhere but inside a hospital. I dashed to their house to watch their kids so that my sister could be with her husband at the hospital.
If he had had a recent cardiac stress test (called for due to his age and a strong family history), it would have detected the occluded artery.
Get yourself checked out as needed.
Tuesday, May 27, 2008
- B absolutely loved riding the bus, that was exciting beyond belief.
- B is going to school with three friends that he has been in daycare with since he was a wee little thing. If he gets placed with C or N (two other little boys) woe be the teacher in the class. These guys are ok on their own (any of them) but, together they whip any place into a froth of chaos.
- B is a bit on the young side for kindergarten, but is pretty ready as he's been going to "school" since he was a baby.
- When next year's kindergarten class walked by, B stood easily three or four inches taller than the next tallest kid. He is taller than many of Z's first grade classmates. Wow. How many other parent's (do you suppose) thought that we had held him back?
- My little baby is growing up. How did that happen so fast?
Monday, May 5, 2008
A friend of mine took her hubbie, two-year-old, and seven-year-old to a shindig with a bunch of work friends and their families on Friday night.
From what I hear, everyone was having a good time, hanging out, eating burgers, drinking some wine and beer.
Suddenly, a tree branch fell in the back yard.
With his two-year-old about a foot away, my friend's 36-year-old husband was struck down and killed by a freak tree branch.
Widowed with two young daughters, in a freak accident.
Go hug your loved ones... and, don't go under trees today.
On the flip side, my college is a great community. People are rallying, gathering casseroles, hiring a maid service, hiring lawn care, and organizing visits and travel. Some places really show what they are made of in a tragedy. I hope I never need it.
Thursday, May 1, 2008
As luck would have it... J's car broke down one mile from our shop, in front of a convenience store. So, this is one of those silver lining deals. He wasn't stranded in the boonies for hours. Someone stopped immediately (he didn't even have to hoof it across the street to the store) to let him call me on the cell. We have a towing service, so they were called and promised to dispatch someone. I gave up (selflessly) my chance to work out to drop J at work and wait for the tow. Would you believe that in the half hour I waited a cop and a fireman stopped to see if I needed help? Would you also believe that I drank my second 24 oz diet pepsi of the day so by the time the tow arrived, I threw him the key and drove across the street and hop/danced into the ladies room? Yes on both counts.
Anyway, so I gave up the gym. Z had piano lessons, so we did end of day sort of in reverse. I met the bus at home for Z. We struggled through some inane first-grade homework. Then, we gathered Z's piano books, and picked up J. Then, picked up B and T. Then dropped Z at lessons (there's a point - hang on).
After lessons, we needed dinner. So, we took an overanimated Z, an excitable B and a cranky T to a bar that doubles as a restaurant on the way home. Each kid got a Yoo-Hoo (which, if you don't know is a semi-dairy, semi-chemical filled chocolate sortof dairy drink).
Shortly thereafter, T suddenly smelled kinda off. And, what a mess. So, J scrubbed the boy with some napkins (clean face for throwing up) and finished eating his meal.
Then, J took T to the car to clean up while I finished eating with the big boys and settled the bill (I did tip well and let him know to clean up the booth real well).
When I got outside, T was naked in the car and J was scrubbing himself with wet wipes. He stuffed T into a spare diaper and into his seat and held out a plastic bag (ewww). What a mess for a little spit up!
No, J says - as it turns out , he had the runs and blew out of his pants all over - it was the runs - everywhere, in a restaurant. We couldn't tell, cuz' well, he had a Yoohoo.
Are these the days we're going to treasure?
Wednesday, April 30, 2008
Yuck. Right now it is covered with about 30 research papers (all waiting to be carefully read, commented on, and assigned a grade), about a zillion laboratory assignments (why did I have them write so danged much?), and a bunch of books and paperwork that needs attention.
But. More interestingly, I have some really weird random stuff inside my desk. Including:
- chewing gum
- a plastic baggie full of prenatal vitamins (no longer needed)
- a plastic baggie full of advil (greatly needed)
- sudafed and claritin
- playing cards
- magic markers
- a plastic turtle
- plastic frogs
- about 30 inter-office envelopes
- some candy wrappers
- single-serving tunafish containers
- some single-serving fig newtons
- calcium/vitamin D pills
- dozens of old CD-ROMs that go with text books
- backup data in formats I can no longer open
- insect pins
- photographs of my first year teaching
- spare socks
- feminine products
and about a dozen pairs of forceps (left over from a lab, but really - WTF?)
Thursday, April 24, 2008
Today is the day of the brain fog. Trying to find a story that would magically tell itself did not happen.
Not as easy as you might think.Remember: one word answers.
1.Where is your mobile phone? bag
2.Your significant other? bed
3.Your hair? flat
4.Your mother? gone
5.Your father? dear
6.Your favorite thing? one?
7.Your dream last night? stressful
8.Your favorite drink? beer
9.Your dream/goal? moving
10.The room you’re in? bright
11.Your ex? Pennsylvania
12.Your fear? loss
13.Where do you want to be in 6 years? here
14.Where were you last night? bed
15.What you’re not? perky
17.One of your wish list items? fitness
18.Where you grew up? Connecticut
19.The last thing you did? grade
20.What are you wearing? crocs
21.Your TV? flat
22.Your pets? unruly
23.Your computer? slow
24.Your life? satisfied
25.Your mood? sleepy
26.Missing someone? Mom
27.Your car? minivan
28.Something you’re not wearing? socks
29.Favorite Store? grocery
30.Your summer? travelling
31.Like someone? lots
32.Your favorite color? blue
33.When is the last time you laughed? earlier
34.Last time you cried? heartfelt
Monday, April 14, 2008
Anyway, despite the mound of papers that I've been successfully ignoring for eons... we had a fabulous time.
What always strikes me, though, is how darned different our three boys are.
J took the two big boys around first, while I played with the little guy.
T, the little guy, wanted to be with his daddy... but, he was ok to hang out with second best. He loved playing in the splashing areas, getting wet, and adored pushing a tube around in the wave pool (even if he did get a bit irate when the waves started).
B (who is otherwise rugged and unstoppable) showed his colors, he is boisterous but not overly adventurous. He was tentative about new experiences there and wanted to hold hands and not be surprised. Of course, it didn't help that the first thing he did at the park with J was... go down the Howlin Tornado (eeep).
Z would try anything. He didn't ask to do the Howlin Tornado a second time, but he jumped onto the surfboard without reservation (and knocked out and swallowed a tooth on it - it was ok, we'd been waiting for it to fall). His only problem - we couldn't keep up with him. He was off like an arrow in every direction. He also went through one of the tunnels that you are supposed to ride a tube - without the tube. What a wild man.
Tuesday, March 11, 2008
My son is frustrated in school.
His teacher is frustrated with him
We are frustrated with the teacher.
Our son also frustrates us. (We probably frustrate him too).
The longer version:
Z has a difficult time getting his work done at school. He is a class I, top-level procrastinator that has a difficult time staying on t...
(what was I doing?).
Oh, so I know where he gets it.
It doesn't make it less frustrating.
Z's first-grade teacher has been doing the good fight all year. She is pregnant and tired. And, she is getting frustrated with trying to prod him into action. And, it shows... to us and to him.
We are frustrated because... he is reading three grades over level, he is doing math and science over his level and we know that some of the issues have to do with abject boredom. The rest of it is that Z is really hard to prod into action.
So, I have a first grader that literally walks around with his head in his book. We catch ourselves saying things like "put the book down and eat". Until last week, he was nearly on the bottom of his class for accelerated reading (the AR program).
On the flip side, although the teacher knew all year that Z was reading tons at home, she never pointed out that he could get AR points for this home stuff. We were under the impression he could only do that at school. When I reminded her that we aren't concerned if he sometimes doesn't finish reading his sentences with his book buddy... uh, because he just finished the first five Harry Potter books and the first 12 Lemony Snicket books at home - she said... "Oh, now that I think of it, some of those might be worth AR".
So, in three days, Z has gone from near the bottom of his class with seven points to somewhere upward of 65 AR points. This leaves me both happy for my boy... and, frustrated because he has read over 250 AR points worth of books this year, but may not remember all of them well enough to get the recognition because we didn't know until now.
Also frustrating, teacher isn't posting his points as he is earning them... so, he isn't "feeling the love" that is earning 44 points in one morning (Order of the Phoenix) - he deserves to get the recognition.
So, what's eating you today?
Tuesday, March 4, 2008
T breastfed a lot longer than I had thought I wanted to nurse my babies. He just got so much comfort and calming from nursing... it made such nice mom/baby time, so I let him go on. Then, I got pregnant and I figured he'd wean when I stopped producing milk. He slowed down a lot. Then, when I completely stopped producing, he switched to a token little nurse at bedtime, so I thought he'd wean any day. Then, I was due in a few weeks and he still hadn't stopped. I figured that I couldn't wean him then start feeding his baby brother in a few weeks - talk about creating sibling rivalry.
I had a pretty bad hospital experience delivering T, so because of that and a number of other things, we decided to homebirth B. I found this terrific midwife and all that. Anyway, T was only about 2 and 1/2 and I didn't know where he'd end up during the birth, so I wanted him to be ready. We talked a lot about baby and all.
To prepare for the birth, I showed him lots of lovely photos from Birthdiaries.com. They are really beautiful and graphic enough for him to understand what he might expect. "look, T, you can see the baby's head" T really soaked up the photos, he found them fascinating.
"Ooooh, and look, there is more of the baby's head"
"See how that mommy is shouting, it is ok if mommy shouts".
"And, look, there's the rest of the baby"
"See how the mommy hugs her new baby?"
"And, look, she is nursing the new baby... the baby likes its mommy's milk".
At this time, T stopped... looked at me... raised my shirt, pointed at my breast and stated "MINE".
Oh, and in the end... T slept through his brother's arrival. He came down in the middle of the night and met his baby brother. And, he did share his mommy.
In the end, I let T nurse at bedtime until I weaned B - they weaned simultaneously.
Saturday, February 23, 2008
Just, every once in a while (particularly this time of year) when I'm a bit behind in grading papers and so on... I have labs to plan that aren't yet pulled together, my house is a mess, my kids get grumpy, my publication status isn't where I feel it should be... I really feel like I am not doing what needs doing.
There just doesn't feel like there is enough of me to go around.
I am trying to be committed to get back into shape for my mental and physical health, so I can play soccer with my boys and feel better and work more efficiently and it does help during the work day while I am there. It also means that I've been committed to work out during my work day. Which means that I take work home with me most nights. Some of which doesn't get done. This is especially true about the stuff with less tangible deadlines (committee responsibilities and publishing my own research).
I get to feeling like some women make it work... have friends and a life, fitness, are successful moms and successful at work... and I just can't figure it out. I honestly find time to actually socialize almost never and some of that is just my being a bit introverted and a lot of it is... when would I actually do that stuff?
Is it an illusion that other moms have it figured or am I screwing up somewhere noticeable?
Friday, February 22, 2008
I didn't realize how much worse it could get.
Three days ago, with one load in the washer and a new load in the dryer, the dryer gave its last little puff of heat. It took several days to hang out the wet stuff. Now, we are just watching the mountain grow.
I could have ordered the Whirlpool Duet Steam washer and its mate yesterday... but, I just couldn't drop $3K without J's consent... not that he cares which washer we buy... I just hate spending money. Besides the earliest delivery date from Sears would have been the 29th.
So tomorrow morning, we'll peruse Best Buy, Home Depot, and Lowes to pick our newest combination. After which, we'll go home and take the cabinets off the wall for the new set. Then, I'll cry.
Because, all we'll have to do then is paint the laundry room, rehang the cabinets about 15" higher, and wait some period of time for the new stuff while socks, underpants, peed in clothes and the like pile up around the house.
After we spend $3K - these things do wash, dry, fold, sort socks, and put away the clothes, right?
If you have one, are you happy? (not with life overall, but, just with the darned washer and dryer)
Thursday, February 14, 2008
However, things are a bit different with kids in pre-school and elementary school. Valentines Day brings the obligatory something special for your teachers, sign little grocery store valentines (all branded merchandise of course). This year we celebrated
Actually, I picked out the Harry Potter cards for Z because he is a terrific fan. B picked out the turtles. As far as I know - he's never seen them - I haven't a clue where he got that idea. Then, I looked at all of the cute bunnies, duckies, and care bear crap in the store and I bought little Harley Davidson cards for my two-year-old cutiepie.
J thought that motorcycle cards were in poor taste and dragged out leftover Sesame Street cards from a previous year.
Then, we had the crew decorate cookies for their teachers. I didn't tell T's teachers that he was alternately using toothpicks to color the cookies with icing and licking icing from the sticks. It just adds a bit more love anyway, right?
Wednesday, February 13, 2008
Ironically, given I am a biology professor - isn't it a bit surprising that I high-scored in literature rather than science? I'm just saying.
Actually, on further reflection, given how I feel during the average social interaction - I am more shocked that I wasn't higher in the awkward dork category. Who knew?
Sunday, February 10, 2008
I stopped at a convenience store to grab a bit more caffeine and some chewing gum for the meeting.
In front of me in line - there he was... Father of the Year.
When I first looked, I thought that he had two giant cans of energy drink. On closer inspection, they each were 6.5% alcohol.
Now, I like a drink as much as the next guy - as long as the next guy isn't this guy. It was 7:45 a.m.
He recognized the guy behind me.
"Hey dude, how ya doin?" He waved his brown bagged drinks around and indicated that this was the necessary tool to get him through the morning with his kids... off they were to McDonalds so the kids could eat crap and play in the the playplace - and he could get silently shitfaced. Driving the kids there himself in his pickup.
For those of us questioning our parenting skills because our kids haven't learned not to interrupt adults at the table - perhaps we should at least be proud of something... we aren't driving drunk with our kids on Saturday morning.
Thursday, February 7, 2008
I am walking in the dense fog of sudafed and overtired.
I was tired last night... but, B woke up about once an hour in tears because he was sick.
"Hun, what's the matter?"
"Are you ok?"
"Does something hurt?"
"My throat... and my brain."
Wednesday, February 6, 2008
The big boys are not picky. While our friends lament that they can't get their children to eat enough, or the right stuff - we just have to keep it coming. Z orders steamed broccoli instead of french fries. B isn't quite as hardcore, but will eat basically anything (and like it... and ask for more). Heck, B is a 43" tall four year old weighing over 60 lbs. - feeding him will become a second job soon.
T, on the other hand, would mainline sugar, and doesn't seem to want much else.
During the week, he'll happily skip meals at daycare, knowing which ones have the sweets. The care-givers say "Oh, my, what an appetite, he ate three pieces of cake".
Uh, yeah, but did he eat lunch? No? That's what I thought.
He is just like the "Bug" in Men in Black... both in mannerism and preferences... the kid would love nothing more than a bowl of sugar. And, his adorable chubby cheeks won't be so cute when he is 16.
I disagree with the idea that I should sneak healthy food into junk. He has to learn to like healthy food. So, we are enforcing increasingly strict austerity measures. No yogurt as meal replacement. No bottomless milk cup unless he eats food. Fruit is not endlessly available in lieu of protein.
Last night was the first major challenge. Dinner was chili (which, he has previously liked). He said "NO" before dinner, during dinner, left the table, and cried when we locked the fridge.
About an hour or so after dinner (right before bed), he begrudgingly requested chili.
Then asked (begrudgingly) for a second bowl.
Sometimes you just have to stick it to them, don't you?
Just when you are ready to sell them to the highest bidder, they do something like this and you just have to keep them.
Saturday, February 2, 2008
If you didn't, well, I was just plain old pissed-off about him getting all the way to my office in the car without having thought that shoes might be helpful for that trip.
So, this morning, J takes B to his swim lessons at nine a.m., Z's aren't until 10:45, so I take Z and T over to the pool at around 9:45. This way Z gets to swim before his lesson. This gives T just enough time to splash around, get bored with the pool, make me show my fat thighs to all the world following him running around the pool deck... make me remind him 98 times "walking feet, T", "walking feet", "don't run", before he just tells us "I go home now" and head for the locker room. By then, B and J are usually ready to go too.
But, this morning... I get to the pool, and tell the guys "Ok fellas, let's go, I've got your bags". Z has a vacant expression, then a worried one... "Mom, do you have my shoes?"
Now, I just have to wipe little bits of my brains and blood out of the corners of the car from where my head just exploded from the shock of it. (He walked in sans shoes and lost the post-pool restaurant lunch).
He's a bright kid... how is he so far from the idea that once you go somewhere in the car, it usually involves getting out of the car on the other end?
What was unusual - HE POOPED IN THE POTTY.
The other two were
And, when he grows up, he'll be really happy that I shared this with the internet. In fact, I'll bookmark this post so that I can show his first girlfriend. Yeah, that's the ticket.
Friday, February 1, 2008
He carefully packed Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix * to read, and some word find puzzles. He packed his lunch, and climbed into the car.
I dropped the little guys at the daycare, then proceeded to my college. As we arrived, I hopped out and looked at Z.
"Um, where are your shoes?"
Shrug, sheepish grin.
So, I carried him in to my office where he spent the day with damp feet (it's raining and the hallways get damp). Sometimes I get a college kid to entertain him for an hour or so... not this time, no one else will carry the boy around campus (at 65 lbs).
He came into one of my classes. I had already shared Z's poor planning with them, for a laugh. So, when Z came in they complimented his shoes and laughed with him (he took it very good-natured).
Then, right before dinner, the boys were standing on their chairs at the kitchen peninsula (as usual) when Z decided to step off into space. I looked up in time to see a very surprized 7-year-old dive face first into the corner of the table. Ouch.
He is going to look quite dramatic by tomorrow. Maybe he is better off in school.
* I realize that seven is a bit young for this book. But, I pleaded with the child all summer to read sound it out books. During the summer, we were enticing him into reading with the early Harry Potter books. I assumed that he'd be ready to read them by the time it was age appropriate. Then, suddenly - the kid took over reading them mid-fall. I guess I feel like it would be wrong to take a book from someone after pleading them to learn to love reading. So, we read to him when we are able and discuss the book when his nose comes out of it. The mental scars won't show anyway, right?
Thursday, January 31, 2008
We were under siege from early on by B, who stayed up well past his bedtime chatting and playing with Z. While we love to hear them being brothers and playing nicely together... doing so at 10 pm always means that we will pay for it.
He was perky when he joined me in the shower. When I left and Z took my place, he got contentious. So, I made him get out... tantrum number one.
B is a big guy, and has issues about "things" on his skin. Lately, this has been related to shirts feeling tight when he pulls them over his head. Apparently, there is no polo shirt or hoodie that isn't "TOO SMALL, I CAN'T WEAR THIS".
So, I have made a point to buy a bunch of shirts with roomy necks.
Lately, though, particularly when he is tired, this has taken on epic proportions in
Some psychological wisdom enables you to determine the root of misbehaviour based on how it makes you feel.
You feel --> The Goal:
Sympathetic --> Enabling helplessness
B hit on all cylinders this morning.
"I CAN'T WEAR THIS. GET ME ANOTHER. NO, NOT THAT ONE EITHER" *
Geez, that pisses me off. He rejects shirts he wore two days ago, picks ones he has rejected, then rejects them.
"I CAN'T GET ANOTHER ONE, I DON'T KNOW HOW".
Um, yes, you do. Get something else if you don't like my choices.
"WAAAHH, WAAAAAHHHHH, WAHHHHHHH"
Like nails on a chalkboard, that is... oooooh and loud.
Being overtired makes B a tyrant. Couple this with my relative slothful feelings in the morning and we sometimes have a veritable powder keg.
I put B in the car half naked. He howled for 15 minutes in the car. He decided to put on the shirt I had chosen for him before entering daycare, and his shoes too.
The shirt went on effortlessly.
Then, when we got to his room, they asked us to smile for a mommy and me picture (surely for a Valentine surprise).
I think I was still gritting my teeth.
Early bedtime tonight?
* By the way, I don't make a habit of running round all morning finding different shirts. I sometimes allow him one veto, but I usually don't anymore as I am careful to select shirts that will fit over his head. I have offered him the opportunity to select his clothing the night before, he will reject his own choices as well. Besides, it is clear that this isn't really about shirts anyway.
Wednesday, January 30, 2008
But, really, it is about T.
I was called to his bed by a despondent two-year-old at two a.m.
"What's wrong, dear?"
"I'm sorry, what?"
"It's two in the morning... what about socks?"
"I NEEEEEED them".
"Honey, people don't sleep in socks. See? I don't sleep in socks."
(the following in the sweetest, most forlorn voice)
"but I dooooo."
Well, I was tired, but it's hard to argue with this kind of logic. So, I dug around in the dark in his bed, found the socks, pulled them over his feet and the two of us fell back to sleep snuggled in his bed.
Two-year-olds are wonderful for that.
Saturday, January 19, 2008
That is why I lock the bathroom door.
When I don't lock the bathroom door, either T or B are in with me immediately. When I say "really, dear, mommy needs some privacy", they pull the door closed, look up and say "privacy, that better?". (um, not really).
With the door locked, suddenly a house full of boys that were busy
Truly, can't this wait for a moment?
On the flip side, some day, I'll be up wandering the house at night (as I often do) and they won't be all cuddled in their bed to kiss in their sleep. I won't always have a two-year-old to snuggle from about 2 am until we get up.
Life is all about trade-offs, isn't it?
Thursday, January 17, 2008
On the home front... a snow day for all three children and at my college today. No gym for me, no progress on my work, and no adult interactions. I had three kids at home today: an overtired two-year-old, a constipated four-year-old, and a bored seven-year-old.
It was an inauspicious start anyway... I rolled over in bed at 5:30 and (apparently) caused a stinkbug to cut loose on my side of the bed and all over our sheets. I ripped my shirt off and fled to J's side of the bed (he was already up... morning guy). I never quite either got back to sleep or woke up after that horrendous experience.
When I imagine time with my kids, I always imagine moments like our first 20 seconds out in the new snow today... before T started moaning that "not like that snow", before B started saying "I'm cold, I need to go in, I still NEED to sled", before Z needed to pee. After 20 minutes of suiting up, we sledded and made snowballs for 25 minutes before we needed to go inside. AARGH.
I understand that when the kids fledge, I will remember only the best. That is adaptive, right?
Tuesday, January 8, 2008
We needed an attitude change.
So, I relied on my iPod. "What song do you guys want to listen to?"
The little guy calls out from the back, "the chicka song".
B pipes in, "Yeah, the chicka song, we love that".
So, I put in "How Long" by Queen Latifah. The chicka song (yunno - "betcha got a chick on the side, sure you got a chick, I know you got a chick on the side").
Then, more quietly, B says "Mom, what's a chicka?"
I pause, but I am determined to be honest (if not thorough). So, I try to explain the song title, yunno, in terms understandable to a four-year-old. Finally, B decides the description isn't that interesting. The next song comes on...
T shouts "Don't like that song... play chicka song again"! Yes, he is two.
I point out that I don't repeat songs like that, but, I can jump to the next song for him. Which I do.
"Don't like that song!"
I jump a few songs, then B says, "OOOOOh, play the whole song mommy. I've never heard it before, but I think it's my favorite".
Wonderful, explaining Chicka was brilliant - explaining "The Bitch is Back" will be a joy.
Sunday, January 6, 2008
Anyhoo. On this camping trip (which, to me, wasn't really camping), we got the mobile mansion (trailer) to a site at some hokey little New England campground with an algae-ridden pool, a long walk to the bathroom, very little nature, but organized macrame (what could go wrong?). As her dad took the fifth pass at backing into the camping slot, I piped up, "what's the matter? Can't you just park it?". He slowly turned, ashen-faced, toward me. He said nothing, but the hushed and frightened family members let me know that this was not a time to talk - dad will blow.
When I was little, I never needed the sense often. But, it is a useful tool for any child. You know that sense I mean... the, my mom's head is going to explode little bits of blood and gray matter all over, she'll lose it, much shrieking, unreasonable chattering and so on will follow. A smart child sees the signs, backs-off, stands-down, disappears, makes themselves scarce.
My kids don't need it (too) often.
But, jeez Louise, they need to learn when they see it to back the hell off.
My oldest in a frantic need to poop, always gets in trouble. He got to the dinner table with T, and apparently (though he denies it) gave him my salad tongs to play with. My salad tongs that were a special gift from a friend that bought them for me in Africa. The wooden tongs that makes me think of these special people that moved away four years ago every time I serve salad. He apparently (though he denies it) helped show T that he could pry at the fork with the spoon, and in the process snapped the business end of the fork in two - effectively ruining these. "Oh well, you'll have to get some new salad thing. Look what T did."
This would have been a good time for that sense. That, or any time in the following two hours. But, I haven't seen any sing of remorse, or any sign that he can recognize when I am about to explode.
(think Martha Stewart's voice) That would be a good thing.
Do your kids have that sense?
Saturday, January 5, 2008
Q. What would best describe your personality?
Q. What do you like in a boy (girl)?
Q. What do you think of your friends?