I have been blessed this holiday season with not just one, but TWO ear infections inflicting my son. That's right, TWO! For the price of one. Exactly 15 days apart. See how that works right after the medicine runs its course? First in one ear and then out the other! Ha ha, I'm so fucking funny. I should have my own TLC show. I could call it Snot and Tiaras. Except he'd probably get pretty pissed about the whole tiaras part. He'd be all like, "What are you doing? My ear hurts! Are you crazy, woman?!" And then I'd have to send him to his room for being misogynistic and shit. Which he wouldn't understand so he'd probably have a really spectacular tantrum in his room. But producers LOVE that crap so hey, it's all good. Child services wouldn't get called on me for trying to make my son wear glitz dresses and flippers in front of live cameras while he had an ear infection and really just wanted to suffer quietly while playing video games. I would probably win an award or something because it is so hard to accessorize a red hot ear! But no worries, I'll find a way.
Chance is going through a baby talk phase right now that is driving me absolutely bonkers. I've never been a fan of baby talk in general. I don't think it's endearing. You know those young women who do it because they think it makes them look cute? I think those women are tools. (I mean, if you're gonna do that, do it in private! You know what I'm talking about.) Besides the fact that it grates my nerves it also makes Chance really hard to understand. I mean, he is still at the age where he mixes up his 'r's and 'w's and then he throws baby talk into the mix. I think he picked it up from playing house with the girls at school. Someone always has to be the baby, see. Either that or there's a girl he likes who is doing it and she probably looks adorable when she does it (although I bet she's driving her parents nuts, too) and he thought, "Aww, she's SO cute! I think I like her even more and I should do stuff for her and then maybe she'll be my girlfriend. And... huh, I wonder if I can get in on that action?!" Then he tries the baby talk to see if HE can get stuff out of it. See, there are problems when you have a boy who already likes girls from an early age. They pick up stuff! Stuff I am not prepared to deal with just yet. Like when he wanted to tell me a secret and the secret turned out to be that he "really likes boobs."
I have a headache.
Also accepted: How to scare the bejeebus out of your children with education.
Me, typing on the computer and peering at the Science Fair Handbook (capital letters, please): "So are you sure you want to do the science fair?"
Me: "Remember, they're not letting anyone do volcanoes this year." (Volcanoes... THE reason to do science fairs.)
Chance, swishing saliva around his mouth: "Yes, I want to do it."
Me, more typing and peering: "OK, so let's look at some project ideas."
Chance: swish swish swish gurgle gurgle gurgle
Me: "We could do something with plants? Or how about magnets?"
Chance: "Mmmm." swish swish gurgle
Me: "Well let me look up this other site and see..."
Chance, leaning over, then sitting up. Swishing has ceased.
Me: "Did you just SPIT on the carpet?!?"
Chance: "Uhhh..." Frantic cleaning follows.
Me, watching the frantic cleaning. "I know... why don't we do a science project about SPIT?" <sarcasm> <heavy>
Chance, grin splitting wide: "OK!!"
Obviously someone doesn't believe me about the germ factor. Prepare to have your mind blown, little dude. (I hope.) - wg
At 6:22 by my clock (which is really 6:12 because I do that ridiculous thing where I set the clock ten minutes ahead in a sad attempt to be on time (or at least, get another free hit on the snooze button)) Chance comes charging in to my room. He zips to the bed, then to the bathroom, then to the walk-in closet, then back to the bed like an errant hummingbird on speed, and in my groggy state I knew he was looking for Keen. Keen was in Vegas for training, but normally if Chance woke up early he went right to his dad. (Those damn morning people always stick together.) Of course, Chance normally woke up no earlier than 7:00 and sometimes as late as 7:45! Which is kind of what I was counting on.
See, yesterday was preschool and a lunch playdate and swimming. Today was an open day. I wasn't planning on doing much of anything until lunch time, at least.
So I mumbled something to him along the lines of stop jumping on the bed and why don't you go play DS until mommy wakes up. Yeah, I'm that mom. Deal.
7:25 (which is 7:15, you're with me on that, right?) - thump STOMP STOMP STOMP up the stairs
Me (still groggy): "Chance? Are you wearing shoes?"
Chance: "Yes Mommy!"
Me: "Hey, don't open any doors, OK? I haven't turned off the alarm yet." (For the record, that statement I just uttered is a vast improvement because usually I set off the alarm accidentally at least once every time Keen is out of town. It's my job to turn it on in the evening. It's HIS job to turn it off.)
Chance: "Mommy, guess what? I'm not just wearing shoes... I got dressed! AND I got my own Cheerios! And I ate them all because those will give me energy! Because I want to get to school sooner today."
Me: "You got... dressed?!"
Chance: " Yes! I'm all ready! Because I want to go to school and play with my best bud!!" Chance climbs onto the bed where he harasses the cat with excessive fidgeting.
Me: "But kiddo... can you stop jumping please? Leave the cat alone!... it's great that you got ready," (which never ever ever happens), "but there's no school today."
If I had been marginally more awake I would have made him go do his homework sheets before telling him.
- the weirdgirl
So we've told Chance that when little kids don't behave, the Easter Bunny fills their eggs with bunny farts. I extended it to a few pellets if you're really bad, but the bunny farts are what seem to have impressed him. An egg filled with farts is by far worse than an empty egg... and yet, it's still a little intriguing.
Chance has actually been pretty good lately, but we feel it's a wise parenting strategy to extend the same principals of Christmas ("We're calling Santa!") throughout the rest of the year. It works great when you're approaching vacations, and of course Halloween's a natural. I'm not real sure how we'll play that around Fourth of July - he's not a huge fan of the fireworks just yet - but it'll probably have something to do with explosions. Any suggestions? We do have a local parade... maybe I could work civic duty in there somehow. "If you don't behave you have to ride with the politicians!"
That probably won't seem as horrifying to him as to the rest of us.
- the weirdgirl
So essentially, I'm a smartass. (Shocker, right?) A smartass and a storyteller. I have probably been these things since I
learned to talk, spinning some facetious yarn about how binkies are actually
the detached udders of cows. I also have
three brothers. Therefore, as with many
children in large families, I grew up feeding those brothers lines of crap and
seeing how much they’d buy. What? It’s fun!
A healthy family activity.
However, call it fate or karma or what have you, I am now saddled with a child who puts an awful lot of emphasis on personal empirical knowledge. For example, the lovely Motherbumper one time told a story about her child playing with a ratchet gun (without a bit) and Motherbumper told said child that if she unscrewed her belly button her butt would fall off.
This is exactly the type of thing I would have reveled in
telling my brothers!
But, for a long time, I couldn't (and maybe still can't) say anything like that to Chance... because he would try to unscrew his belly button. Just to see if his butt would fall off. See, he seems to have the unfortunate combination of intense curiosity and a certain lack of self-preservation. When he was younger I often caught him trying to touch the thing that I just told him was hot. If I explained the cause and effect of hitting the wrong end of his spoon, next thing I knew he'd be flinging food in the air. He had to test everything. By the time he was ready for warnings about electric outlets I knew to intentionally leave out any mention of forks.
I couldn’t figure out where this... I don't even know what to call it... scientific spirit? foolhardiness? ...came from. Regardless of the fact that my brothers and I told each other great big whoppers we knew better than to try them out. I mean, what if one of those stories were actually true? When my older brother would stick his tongue on a battery and pretend to be electrocuted... did I ever test that? HELL no! Did my youngest brother really think that if he didn't wear his underwear his penis would fall off and he'd become a girl? I don't know, but I do know he started wearing underwear again.
Anyway, you can see my dilemma... with Chance's million questions (and trust me, he has a LOT of questions) sometimes a smartass story is just burning to get out. But I can't! Given his nature I just need to suppress my facetious instincts until (hopefully) he grows out of testing everything. Which I hope is soon. I still can't figure out where this came from; I mean, in my family, I admit, we're all a little detrimentally creative at times but we're still healthily self-protective about bodily harm.
So one day I'm discussing (complaining about) this aspect of Chance with my mom and she says, "Yeah, I was like that. I'd scratch myself because I thought blood was interesting."
*blink blink blink*
*blink blink blink*
- the weirdgirl
Recently, every time Chance has a playdate over there has been a major meltdown when it’s time for his friend to go home. I mean, there have always been some tears (what can I say? he’s a social kid) but nothing like the water works leaking lately. I figured it was because he was out of school for summer and missing it. Who knew the murky and convoluted depths of the four-year-old mind.
“Hey Chance, it’s time for Atticus to go home. Give him a hug and say goodbye.”
“What?! Noooooo!” Sobs ensue. “But I want to kee-eeep him!”
“Sorry, kiddo. It’s time for him to go.”
“Mom, I want to keep my friend!”
“Honey, he’ll still be your friend, and you’ll have another playdate soon.”
“But mom, I don’t want him to go. I want to keep him!” Crocodile tears wash the floorboards.
Ding! (that’s my lightbulb)
“Wait… you mean you want him to stay here? All the time? And sleep and eat here?”
“Honey, no. We don’t keep our friends as pets.” Hmmm, I’d love to keep Johnny Depp, though.
“Because our friends are not pets. They’re people.” I could make him a nice place in my closet. Have all his outfits for him.
“But I want to keep my friend!”
“Chance, how would you feel if you went to a friend’s house and they wanted to keep you?” Harrison Ford, too. He’s getting up in years, but he’d be great for laps.
“And you could never come back to your own toys, or room, or bed? Would you like that?” Harry and Johnny would be so spoiled they’d be happy.
“Well, that’s why we don’t keep friends as pets.” Ooh, another one? Josh Gates from Destination Truth.
“If someone tried to keep me I’d spank them!!”
“Uh, okay.” Mmm, spanking.
“Can we go get a real pet, then? Or a baby brother?”
Sure. Next time I go to Costco.
Who would you keep?
- the weirdgirl
Chance has gotten to the age where he wants to know how everything works. I hear more "but why's" out of his mouth than anything else over the course of the day. He seems genuinely interested in those "why's" and I love seeing his curiosity at play. This part of being a parent is really exciting. This is the part that I so intensely looked forward to when Chance was a tiny infant... watching him learn. Introducing the world to him. Hoping against hope that he would be one of those kids who wanted to learn, even if that made him the wee bit nerdy. (But also hoping, if he did love learning, that he wouldn't be quite as painfully nerdy as I was.)
However, there are A LOT of questions - more than an idealistic new parent can imagine - and there are some moments where I completely give up explaining things "at his level". I don't know if this makes me a bad mom, or simply one without the correct amount of patience + creativity. (Because, at this point, I think that explaining things in simple terms is a rare and specified skillset that some people just have and it probably should go on their resume. It's hard!) Sometimes, especially at the end of a long day, I just can't seem to get out enough single syllable words and easy examples to satisfy either of us and I... revert.
Chance: "Mom, why did the balloons sink?"
Me: "You mean, the balloons from your party?" (three months ago)
Chance: "Yeah. Why did they sink?"
Me: "Well, the air leaks out of them."
Me: "It just does, honey, balloons don't last forever. The air slowly leaks out of the balloon and that's why they sink... or... deflate..."
Chance: "But why?"
Me: "They just... um..."
Chance: "But why?"
Me: "Because some gasses are more permeable than others."
Me: "You know the balloons that float? Those are filled with a gas called helium. And the ones that don't float are filled with the regular air that we breathe, which is a compound gas. Well, helium can sneak through the material of the balloon and escape faster than the regular air can." (I wasn't sure if that was technically correct, but I knew it was close. Anyway, I was winging it.)
Chance: "Huh. Why?"
Me: "Because you know how things look solid, like our arms and this table? Well, they actually aren't. Everything is made up out of these tiny bits called molecules. And the molecules, they have gaps in them and that's how gasses sneak out of balloons."
Chance: "Oh... OK."
And it was quiet. Briefly, but blessedly, quiet.
I can't decide if my hackneyed explanation was better than just saying "because I said so!", but I fear if I don't brush up on my science I might quickly turn into Bobby Boucher's mother.
After being walked in on AGAIN on the toilet.
Chance: "Mom, why is there fur on your butt?" (Hint: he wasn't looking at my butt.)
Me (sigh): "Well, honey, adults have fur on their butts. When you're a grown up you'll grow fur on your butt, too."
Chance: "Oh, OK."
The five stages of gift-giving grief as typified in unnamed older relative (UOR) behavior upon relinquishment of presenter/presentee rights within standard environments. Median age of subjects is 65.
Denial – “We can’t bring gifts? I don’t remember you saying not to bring him presents! You never said that!”
Anger – “But it’s Easter! You can’t count Easter! It is my RIGHT as a UOR to buy him toys if I want to! That’s my job! What do you mean not every holiday needs gifts?!”
Bargaining – “Well, this is just a small thing and it’s not really a toy. This will be the last one. I swear. Nothing until July. I swear.”
Depression – “They make him so happy… what am I supposed to do now?”
Acceptance – “OK, fine, we’ll put it back in the car before he notices.”
After standing firm with the early morning smackdown, (totally taking it for the team by being the bad guy, I might add,) I’m still left with one question… what the hell is in July?
(See that face? That is the face of kid who is happy with gummi's and a couple of matchbox cars. I'm just saying.)
Happy Easter everyone!
- the weirdgirl