It's all good this Christmas

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. 


Baby talk and boobies

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.


Jeopardy question: How to turn the science fair into a life lesson

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?"

Chance: "Uh-huh."

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


The day I was going to sleep in

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


What's in your basket?

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.

 George-bush-with-the-easter-bunny

Aaaaggghhhh! 

                - the weirdgirl


Who knew cause and effect was genetic?

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*

Thanks Mom!     

                     - the weirdgirl


Highly affectionate, easily trained

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?”
“Yee-esss!”
“Honey, no. We don’t keep our friends as pets.”  Hmmm, I’d love to keep Johnny Depp, though.
“But why?”
“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.
“Yeah, but…”
“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.
“No.” sniffles
“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.
“Mom?”
“Yeah, Chance?”
“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


the holes in it

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."
Chance:  "Why?"
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."
Chance:  "What?"
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.  
            - wg


For Easter, a psychological study

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? 

DSC03591

(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


So begins the "phase"

You know, for a brief shining moment there I thought a modicum of cleanliness had entered my life.  I was no longer washing soiled undergarments (yay potty training!), Chance really seemed to enjoy using napkins, he had learned not to fingerpaint with pudding and could distinguish that mud would make a mess, he even liked baths.  Life was looking up... at least from a cleaning perspective.

I should have known better.  I did grow up with three brothers after all but whatever, a girl's gotta dream.

I picked up Chance from preschool the other day and he looked like he had rolled full body in pasta... to find out that he DID roll in pasta.  (What?  It's the new Olympic sport, Mom!)  I've recently picked him up to find he has also rolled in sand/mud/paint.  He has - to his delight - discovered that his shirt is so much easier and more convenient than hunting down a tissue... from the tissue boxes that are in every room in the house.  And you know, sometimes it's just more important to run from the bathroom back to that video game as quickly as possibly, rather than making sure one is completely free of any potty debris.  Or even having pulled up the pants completely.

(Yes that is my bare-bottomed, dirty little boy running through the house, thank you very much, and no, I don't want to buy any magazines.)

((There is occasionally that door-to-door salesperson who is unfazed by the rampant nakedness.  Or as one said to me before he continued his pitch, "I have younger brothers."))

And recently, Chance's most common question whenever the subject of a bath comes up is,

"What will happen if I go to school stanky?"

(P.S. "Stanky" is his word, not mine.)

So anyway, from the awareness of being dirty to the convenience of being dirty in just a few short weeks.  I know this will pretty much last until college.  Case in point.


           - the weirdgirl


Your regular voice works just as good

We have been infested.  Infested in the most annoying manner.  Specifically, this infestation belongs to the variety of...

"Pleeeeeeeeeease?" 

Big puppy eyes, head tilt, long drawl out voice ending in that high note that can quickly, oh so quickly, turn into full on whining. 

We don't know where this infestation originated - whether from school, the TV, another of the species, or if it just percolated up from the murky depths of the toddler Id.  Doubtless the creature is under the impression that this is an effective, and cute, method of obtaining his goals.  I can only imagine that it must work on Grandma (??) because it is not cute.

It is far, far from cute.

Especially repeated several times a day.  Upon hearing it, and its whiny (nastier) cousin, it pretty much squashes any inclination I may have had to good-naturedly give in to the goals of the creature.  In fact, the entire infestation is seriously grating on my nerves.

But I can't admit that... because then I know it'll grow into a plague.

              - the weirdgirl


Soccer Moms and their contribution to the oil crisis

Our life without school

Mornings:
Watch kid TV and have leisurely breakfast
Do activity sheets (i.e. coloring pages with letters on them); read stories
Have lunch at home (home-baked bread, fresh vegetables from garden)
After lunch do an outing to Target, a park, or maybe the pet store, all of which are close by
Afternoons:
“Quiet time” (i.e. the two hours Chance is required to play quietly in his room; Me – nap or work)
Clean up after quiet time

Art project or play outside, garden or go for a walk
Dinner time, then bath
More stories and bedtime

Our life with school

Mornings:
Watch 1-2 kids’ shows, scarf down breakfast and run out the door
Drive Chance to school
Stop at Starbucks because I didn’t get enough caffeine and/or breakfast
Stop at bank
Run errands to stores that are lacking in “child entertainment value” (i.e. anything that isn’t Target, Toys R Us, or a pet store)
Stop briefly at home (because that seemed like a good idea)
Drive back to school to pick up Chance
Stop for drive-through lunch
Eat crappy fast food lunch at home; realize I need to stop by the bank again (feel guilty AND broke)
Afternoons:
Enforce shortened “quiet time”
Sit exhausted on couch (me)
Prep for next outing (because of course all the playgroup/kid oriented activities start up again now that summer is over!)
Pull Chance out of quiet time, cram snack in him
Drive to playdate/group activity/seasonal outing/grandma’s house
Drive home (in traffic)
Dinner time (hope that Keen has cooked; if not, run out to pick up food)
Skip bath (Eau d’ Exhaust is so lovely!)
Stories and bedtime

Over the summer I had maybe two to three guaranteed outings in a week. Last week I had seven! I gassed up my car last Wednesday midday… by Friday I was already down a quarter of a tank! My carbon footprint has not just expanded, I think it’s grown a corn or two.

          – the weirdgirl


And then it turned a little chill

About to embark on seasonal coat shopping...

ME:  So Chance, what color jacket do you want?  Do you still want black?

CHANCE:  No, I want a dick jacket.

ME:  What was that?

CHANCE:  Dick.  I want a dick jacket.

ME:  Um... You want a dark jacket?

CHANCE:  NO... dick!

Blink. Blink blink blink.

ME:  OH!  You mean you want a thick jacket!

CHANCE:  YES!!  I want a DICK jacket!

Silly mommy. 


Three Sucks

Chance had his first OT and speech therapy session yesterday.  He really liked it.  There were games involved and lots of play for about an hour and a half.  He basically liked it so much he had a big screaming tantrum as we tried to leave.  ugh.  That’s one of his biggest areas that could use improvement right now.  We’ll be out doing something fun and he doesn’t want to leave.  Sometimes we won’t even be doing something all that fun (for example, the mattress store!); he just doesn’t want to go back to the house.  (And I can’t blame him, because I’m pretty bloody sick of being stuck in the house right now with a toddler who misses preschool something fierce, too.)  He doesn’t have that level of tantrum at home, only when we’re out (so yes, I am that mom with that child).  Obviously this kid’s social life is not at the activity level he would desire.  (I can already imagine what high school will be like.  And the fights.  Oy, the fights!)

The option (just in case you thought I missed this) is to let him play until he’s tired enough to go home with minimal fuss.  So I’ve been experimenting to find the magic number of play time. As far as I can figure with this inexact science that number is three hours minimum.  Three hours!  Three hours out somewhere, doing something (but nothing TOO loud or TOO stimulating or we guarantee a freak out), before he is tuckered enough to head home (and sometimes not even then). 

For example, we met another mom and toddler buddy at The Jungle on Monday.  We spent two hours there – and it was cool because it wasn’t crazy busy because so many kids were already in school – then we all went across the parking lot and had lunch at Red Robin (another hour).  I got him in the car without a tantrum, but there was still some protest crying involved.

I actually think four hours would be ideal.  Then he might even fall asleep on the way to the car.  (That would be so cool.)

However, do you know how trashed I am after three hours?  (I am old.)

He goes back to preschool October 1st.  I need to come up with somewhat social, definitely active, not too over-stimulating, appropriately interesting activities for another month.

So I start imagining… what if you had The Jungle but it only piped in quiet classical music?  And it had a full café attached.  Not a pizza place, but a café.  With free WiFi.  And it could still have video games but they wouldn’t steal your quarters and the sound would be turned way down so as not to disturb the classical music.  And there would be attendants!  Fully-trained ex-daycare worker attendants to watch the children.  And (for myself) all the other parents are cool because all the children are hyperactive.  The kids just bounce off each other to their heart’s content (or until they fall asleep) while we sit and drink lattes.

I could spend 3-4 hours at that place.        - wg


St. Porcelain's

I look around my house and I know our household has truly arrived at the status of “family” because we are proliferating in more creatures (human and otherwise) than ever before.  Of the things that need to be fed (besides us) we currently have two cats, a venus flytrap, vague plans for a dog (on which we feed our fantasies), some goldfish, and a water snail.  The snail is a big hit.   And I know this is only the beginning.  We also have a newly emptied small tank that I’m sure will house a lizard, turtle, or frog at some point in the future.  Or perhaps some more flesh eating plants.  (Those are cool!) 

I base this animal-overrun definition of “household with kids” on my own upbringing.  My parents were both into nature and especially my mom was pretty laid back about anything “scientific” going on in the house.  Plus, we had a decent-sized home and a yard that backed up against fruit orchards and beyond that, hills.  This led to a lot of pets and nature experiments over the years.  (I mean, besides the chickens and the rabbits.  I take no responsibility for the hippie tendencies that occurred during my youth.)  For example, one time I trucked down the hill from the pond with a plastic bag full of tadpoles.  And my mom let us keep them!  In the bathtub.  Because witnessing first hand the miraculous change from tadpole to frog trumps clean kids anyday!  Woo!

(Lesson learned from frog experiment: If you don’t know what to feed tadpoles, eventually they’ll start eating each other.  I think we made it to two frogs.)

Anyway, I always kind of planned to be fairly open to nature and animal visits like my mom.  Not that Keen’s family aren’t animal lovers as well, because they are.  They just go in a different direction.  A large portion of Keen’s family is made up of small Italian women, who all own a variety of small dogs - mainly, poodles and Chihuahuas, with maybe a Llapso Apso thrown in somewhere – and they smoke, and carry these dogs around, and wear double knits (both the women and the dogs), and the dogs all have names like Butch, and Bubbas, and Chi-Chi.  It’s all very canine Goodfellows.  (There was even a Pesci-esque poodle/coyote incident in Yosemite once, but I’ll save that for another post.)  Keen and his brother had a variety of pets growing up as well, but I can guarantee not ONE of them lived in the bathtub. 

Not that I’m letting anything live in the bathtub either.  That’s what tanks are for.

(Oh! Lesson learned from snail experiment (this is where I put two garden snails in a shoebox with dirt because I wanted to “observe” (make pets out of) them):  If you don’t know what to feed snails, they’ll eventually try to eat each other.  Nature is cruel, man!)

(Don’t worry, I let the snails go.)

ANYWAY!  The goldfish have been a new addition to our family.  It started with one, won by my son (under the sun, what fun!) at the county fair.  Ah, suburban stereotypes.  Chance was ecstatic because he luuurrves fish.  And I thought, well, we might as well get a tank (because the ones they give you at the fair are a joke) and a companion for the fish.  So I bought a small tank.  Then on a separate trip I bought another goldfish.  (A “rescue” fish, by the way. There’s a pet store near us that just does rescue animals and this goldfish was “rescued” from a pond. That just cracks me up.)  Turns out, this second fish was way too big for the tank we had. 

OK, a couple weeks later I buy a second, standard-sized tank.  (Yeah, I made the fish wait in cramped quarters. Sue me.)  I also bought two more “fancy” goldfish and a snail, and a bunch of live plants… because if you’re gonna have a regular tank you might as well make it look nice!  This weekend I transferred everything to the new tank.  It went swimmingly (especially since I never follow that “wait 24 hours for filter to adjust water” crap).  All the plants, and little fishes, and snail, were doing fine.  Except for one.

The one fish that drifted near the top of the tank for a long time, taking big gulps of air (water?).  The one that started swimming around tilted.  The one that seemed to stop eating.

The one I found belly up two days after I bought it.  Damnit!

Do you know I struggled with whether to tell the kid?  My first instinct (because if anything, and despite the Bigfoot episode, my first reaction is always truthful and I really should break out of that at some point because being too honest can, on occasion, be just as much trouble as telling big whooping lies) was to tell him and talk about it and let him do a burial.  Then I thought about the possible tears, and the promises to pick out another fish, and the whole conversation and I said, what am I crazy?  I do NOT need to have the death conversation with my three-year-old!   (I kind of figure that if I’m open to pets I’m gonna have this conversation plenty in the future.)

I imagine I will tell him at some point… when he notices.  Which I imagine will go something like this:

Chance:  “Mom?  Where’s da white fish?  The white fish, Mom!  Where’s white fish?”

Me:  “Oh honey, well, that fish got really sick, so I sent it to the doctor’s where they could take care of it.”   

Chance:  “The doctor’s?  When coming back?”

Me: “No, it’s not coming back, kiddo.  It’s too sick.  But they’ll take good care of it!”

Chance:  “Where, Mom?  Where it at?”

Me:  “St. Porcelain’s Hospital, honey. St. Porcelain’s of the Immaculate Fishes. But don’t worry, it’s a step up from St. Shoebox the Divine.”

(Oh look I’m breaking out of that honesty thing already.)

                    - the weirdgirl


Being a Girl Is Just Safer

I have to preface this post with a detour down memory lane.  Bear with me.

I have three brothers.  It should be no surprise that, growing up the only girl, I was (and am) well aware that boys are enamored of their penises.  Boys are pretty pleased about their bodies in general (being such a bastion of entertainment value), but boy oh boy, their penises are really the bomb.  It’s practically scripture.

And lo, from the Heavens came the body, and the body had manifold usefulness, such as the lougee and the fart, and the armpits that can also fart, and gifted in infinite wisdom unto the body was the mighty penis, that wiggles amusingly and fruitfully pisses names into snow, and the Heavens looked down on the body and saw that it was good.  And the Heavens farted, and laughed.

Boys love their penises so much that sometimes it gets them in trouble.  (And I say boys, not men, because this is a post about boys.  Men have a whole other kettle of fish to, um, fry when it comes to loving their members.)  Take, for example, the time that I was getting one of my younger brothers ready for bed.  He decided it would be so funny to thrust his wiener at me and make a lovely pissing sound as if he was… yuk yuk yuk… actually peeing on me.  The only problem was that I was in the middle of zipping up his one-piece pajamas when he put his wang in the path of danger. 

Yes… he got zipped. 

(Don’t ask me why he wasn’t wearing underwear.  If you have hippie parents and ask an eight-year-old to dress other children for bed, underwear may or may not show up.)

Then there was another time when one of my brothers was at that potty-trained yet still highly distractible age when he went to lift the toilet seat to go to the bathroom.  Just... he didn’t lift it quite high enough, and then he let it go a little too soon, AND his head was turned so he didn’t notice the seat coming back down on his little ding dong that was in the perfect position to get smacked.  

It happened way too fast for me to prevent anything, I swear. 

Then there is also that stage that a lot of boys go through where they just decide to stop wearing underwear altogether.  My theory is this is all about giving the schlong its freedom.  It lives such a confined existence and it deserves some swinging in the breeze.  However, sometimes in real life your pants really can just rip off.  I’ve seen it happen.  (In front of a grocery store, no less.)

Anyway, I thought all this trouble with penii was universal among males, but maybe it’s a family thing.

Chance is what I consider half potty trained.  He’ll go pee in the toilet but he’s still doing stealth poops in his pants.  You know what I’m talking about.  I figured, since it’s summer and toasty warm, I’d just solve this by removing his pants during his normal window of opportunity.  I know he’ll go in the toilet rather than on the floor.  Except the other day I had to take my shower during that same window.  I debated putting his underpants back on but I talked myself into trying the time without his pants.  Maybe I would get out of the shower and be pleasantly surprised with a floater.  (What the hell has motherhood done to me?!)

Anyway.  As I got out of the shower I heard a whimper through the baby monitor, but no calls of “Mom, help”.  ??  Also unusually, Chance had not once run up to the bathroom to harass me as I was getting clean.  Suspecting something was amiss I threw on my bathrobe and went to his room. 

Chance has this kick ass walk-in closet that holds a ton of his toys, where he often hangs out to play when he wants alone time (and to poop in his pants).   I found him on the floor of his closet, kind of contorted.  He started whimpering again and immediately put out his hand and said, “Go away, Mommy. Go away.”

“Chance honey,” I said, “If you need to go poop, just go and use the potty.” 

“NOOOO!” he howled, but I picked him up and hauled him to the bathroom.

I plopped him on the toilet and Chance burst into tears.  “Chance, there’s no reason to get so upset. It’s not a big deal…” I started to say…

…and then I looked down.

He had a chip clip stuck to the end of his penis.

(For those of you not familiar with the term “chip clip”, it’s like a plastic clothespin that we use to hold closed a bag of chips.  Some of them can be quite the grippers.)

My poor son had (obviously) found a stray chip clip and eventually clipped it to the obvious place.  He was also obviously in a lot of pain and had no idea how to remedy his poor beloved penis.  Maybe he was even a little embarrassed, or sensed that the entire situation was just wrong, I don’t know.  All he knew for sure was he didn’t want anyone else touching it either.  Just in case.

Of course, I reached down there quick as a snake and unclipped his wanker before he could stop me.  (I do want grandchildren someday.)  Poor thing was all red and indented, but Chance wouldn’t let me examine it.  The most I could do was put a cold washcloth on it until it felt well enough for him to poke at it again.

But do you see what I mean?  From fun plaything to disaster zone in the blink of an eye.  Trouble trouble trouble.              – the weirdgirl

Clothespins


Burnt on Summer Already

The weather has gotten warm, there is sunlight until nearly 9:00, and I’m wearing shorts every day.  It feels so good you hurry to schedule all those fun activities that are impossible to do in the winter (plus, with the price of gas and plane tickets who the hell is taking an actual vacation?).  Beach trips, parks, zoos, train rides, even chaperoning those lovely preschool field trips.  And did I mention I signed Chance up for swim lessons?  (Yeah.  Keen is taking over that one.) 

Events on paper just look so nice and neat and doable.

Today we went to this local park/zoo place which is really a lot of fun – not to mention a place I went to when I was girl so, you know, fond memories – that is closing down for a year for renovations.  (I figure part of the remodel is because it’s so old and outdated, and part of it is fallout from that whole nasty tiger attack incident in San Francisco.  Nothing spurs modernization like a tiger attack!)  Anywho.  Chance did great on the trip.  A few rough play moments, but then his playdate buddy was another rambunctious kid himself so no worries.  Overall, he did a pretty good job listening and playing and so on and so forth.

Until it came time to leave… then there was a full-blown meltdown.  With teeth.

I swear to god our calendar of events suddenly flashed before my eyes.  It’s a small wonder I didn’t fall down in apoplexy myself.

Here’s the kicker… his friends had left for home and lunch earlier, so I figured a spin around the zoo would be the perfect cap for wind down time.  It was hot so we drank plenty of liquids, I brought a bagged lunch that Chance ate while we were strolling past the meerkats and the monkeys, and I gave him plenty of warning that we would be leaving after the zoo.    

Still.  Had.  Meltdown.

(Of course, by the time we get to the car I’m having a tantrum myself, “If you don’t knock off this behavior we’re never doing anything fun AGAIN!”  Because, you know, that’s helpful.)

Tomorrow is a preschool field trip to the park.  I definitely need to reassess our calendar. 

(On the upside, after we got home and an hour into his quiet/nap time I poked my head into his room to check on him when, without warning, he apologized.  *?!?*  That’s gotta be progress, right?)

                       - wg


Rethinking the Role Model

Chance has been on a Mickey Mouse Clubhouse kick and the more I watch the show the more I realize that there is something really odd going on up in that big-eared house.  Daisy seems to be at the clubhouse quite a bit.  In fact, Mickey just seems to be hanging out with Minnie and Daisy a lot.  Like have you noticed that whenever the gang needs to split up for whatever wacky adventure they’re on Mickey always gets paired with the chicks?  Daisy is always right there batting her eyelashes, wiggling her tail feathers, and being all demanding. 

And, even more telling, Minnie seems to have no problem with it! Minnie_daisy

So you can see where I’m going with this, right?  I think Mickey is getting to use his meeska mooska mousekatool twice as often as he used to.  

But do I think Mickey is a sly philanderer using his fancy, fully-automated home (obvious wealth there) as a way to lure young ladies into his sugar daddy clutches?  No.  I think there’s another cause.

Let’s look at the facts…

Somehow, over the years, Donald has turned from an angry abuser (not the finest catch but some chicks go for that) into a complete idiot.  I mean, he’s gotten really dingy.  You know when toddlers are telling him the answers he’s having problems.

Goofy is… well… Goofy.  Not the most handsome guy around and he obviously can’t afford dental work.  Plus, he spends a lot of time with animals.  (Not that I’m implying any tendencies with that zoo of his.)

Pete is a greedy, money-pinching bastard.  And we all know Daisy is high maintenance. 

So there you go.  The bachelor pool at the old clubhouse is mighty slim.  This is how I figure it went down... Daisy has had a few too many fast-talking, “heart-to-hearts” with Minnie about relationship problems over the years and they finally came up with an “understanding”.  (Because let’s face it, Minnie is a follower.  And she aint as innocent as she pretends, either.)  After that, those coy Disney girls approached Mickey.

And how do you think Mickey reacted?

Mickeymouse  

He’s no idiot.

             
- wg


In Which I am a Mean, Mean Mommy

So essentially, Chance is at a point where he has the potential to be completely potty-trained… but he’s not. Some of it is normal; he still gets too interested in playing to always stop and go to the bathroom. He doesn’t always tell me he has to go, so I have to make him take potty breaks. If he gets upset or over-stimulated, he’ll have an accident. And he still will run off and hide to poop in his pants. 

But the biggest thing I noticed (or finally clued into) was that he was using accidents as payback. He has an accident and then runs away instead of getting cleaned up. Turns it into one huge game. It’s another way to push mommy’s buttons… and lately, he’s been big into pushing buttons. (Can you tell this totally makes me insane?)

The scene: Chance and I are playing together but he keeps pushing me with his feet.  After I’ve told him to stop three times, and tell him I’m not going to play if he isn’t nice, I stop playing with him. I sit on the couch and pick up a book to read.

Chance pees his pants. 

ME: “Oh kiddo! OK, let’s go get changed.”

CHANCE, watching me intently:  “No!” laughs hysterically, starts to run off

ME, temper rising: “I’m not going to chase you, Chance. This isn’t a game. Let’s get cleaned up. You don’t want your butt to hurt, do you?”

CHANCE, more laughing, tries to hide

ME, (completely mentally snapping): “OK then, you know what?! When you’re ready to get changed, you let me know!”

CHANCE, stops laughing, looks at me warily

ME:  stomp to kitchen, forget what I’m doing, stomp back, pick up something off floor

CHANCE, sees me coming back, starts laughing again

ME: “I’m not going to chase you! Are you ready to get changed?”

CHANCE: “No!”

ME: “All right, you let me know when you’re ready.” I stomp back to Keen in the den and tell him what’s going on. “I’m going to go practice drumming. Don’t change him until he asks.” (Mean mommy!) I head outside and bang on things for a while. 

Twenty minutes later I go in to get a tissue (damn allergies) and Chance has just gotten changed. I then invite him outside to play.

 

Ten minutes later, another accident.

ME, feigning nonchalance (but inside I’m still pissed from earlier): “Oops, looks like you’re wet! Do you want to get changed?”

CHANCE: “No!”

ME: “All right, it’s up to you. You let me know.”

CHANCE goes back to playing.

Five minutes later.

CHANCE: “[I’m] cold, Mommy.”

ME: “Well, that’s because you’re wet, kiddo. You ready to get changed?”

CHANCE: “No!”

ME: “OK, it’s up to you.”

Another five minutes later.

ME (because I couldn’t resist): “So are you going to have an accident in front of all your friends at school, too, and then stay in wet clothes?”

CHANCE: silence

Five more minutes later.

ME (after the wind had kicked up a little): “Hey kiddo, ready to get changed?”

CHANCE: “Yes.”

ME: “Let’s go.”

 

Get inside and Chance waits for me to undress him. (Which, honestly, up until this point I usually did. It was just faster that way.)

ME, not stepping in to help him at all: “OK, take off your clothes.”

CHANCE starts to tug at his clothes but still looks for my help

ME: “Nope, you’re a big kid. You can do it. Take off your shoes first.”

CHANCE takes off his shoes

ME: “OK, now take off your socks.” (The totally sodden, sticking to him socks.)

CHANCE wrestles socks off his feet

ME: “Good job! Now pull down your pants and underwear. Everything off!”

CHANCE gets out of pants and underwear

ME, giving him a quick wipe down and handing him new clothes: “Put your clothes on. I know you know how.”

Chance again pauses, waits for help

ME: “Go ahead. You’re a big kid, you can do it.”

CHANCE s-l-o-w-l-y pulls on all his clothes himself.

ME: “Great job, Chance! See, you’re such a big kid now I knew you knew how to do all that yourself.  And when you have to go potty I know you can come in here and do that yourself, too.”

CHANCE, big beaming smile

 

That was Sunday. The next time I asked him if he had to go pee he ran into the bathroom shouting, “I can do it myself!” The next time he had a (perfectly understandable) accident he 1) told me, and 2) when I said, “OK go take off your pants” he ran into the bathroom and took off his pants.  The angry, button-pushing peeing seems to have stopped (God, I hope I’m not jinxing myself!), and best of all, he actually pooped in the potty the other day! Then the last time he tried to do the run and hide maneuver (to poop) all I had to do was remind him of that great poop he made in the toilet and he went running for the bathroom. 

Who knew me having my own version of a tantrum would work out so well?

 - the weirdgirl