A Mommy Blog About Raising Men, Not Boys.
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Sunday, May 29, 2011

What Would We Do....

A few nights ago, the line of storms that wrought hell across the country moved through Atlanta. We were assured by the salivating weathermen that our chances of tornadoes were "slim" and just to expect bad thunderstorms.
We did have the thunderboomers as expected, and driving rains. I drove home in between a patch of them and made it safely indoors before the next round of amazing gulleywashers rolled through.
(I'm using all my favorite storm terms from the weatherman of my childhood - Stan Wood.)
Anyway...the storms were bad but really at my house anyway, not so bad. Just thunderstorms. Anyone who grew up in a big flat place like me and the husband would barely pass a second glance at the storm. There are storms and there are STORMS, this was the former.
But right as we were getting ready to put food on the table - we lost power.

For the first time in my children's memory - we had no electricity at night. It's happened before, but they didn't remember it.

I was glad of the digital world as I downloaded the flashlight app for my iPhone a while back so I whipped it out and made my way upstairs to find real flaghlights and camping lanterns. We set up dinner with our candles (and my husband mocked that three wick candle I got him for Father's day years ago!) and ate our dinner in the calm of candlelight, with the curtains blowing in cool air from the rain that was still pouring outside.

Georgia Power said not to expect electricity back before 11pm, so after supper we were stumped for what to do.

We're fairly digital people. Right now I'm logged into a virtual world holding six cats so that they'll be happy and loved. Digitally loved. I'm also uploading about 300 pictures to snapfish. I'm talking on Plurk to my plurkies and I Facebooked and tweeted today. I'm also blogging (obviously).

So what to do when your digital options are rendered dark? We could've played with the cell phone except I didn't want to run down the battery in case of emergency.

We returned to one of the most excellent choices on the Earth, since oh, the written word was invented.

My husband read to us.

First we read King HawksBeak and then he broke out one of my favorite books from childhood, THE BORROWERS. As he read to us, I fell asleep on the sofa listening to the tale of Pod, Homily and Arrietty combined with the rain pouring down outside.

About 10:30pm the lights came back on and we bustled the kids off to bed. The oldest boy, who had been the BIGGEST complainer about how TERRIBLE our night was going to be, smiled at me as I tucked him in and said "That was kind of nice, reading stories. We should do that again some time."

He's right. We should.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

It Started Off Innocently Enough

I had some flowers to plant and then to water. The kids were outside playing with sidewalk chalk on the drive. So when I went to water my new future flowers, the kids wanted to play in the hose.

This seemed like a good enough idea to me.


I spent entire summers with muddy feet playing in hoses and running through sprinklers. Hell we used to DRINK from the hose but now I hear you aren't supposed to do that. I'm not sure why. Historically that was the coldest, best water in the world. I guess now we know more about ground pollution or something.

Regardless, the kids thought it was about the perfect Sunday afternoon, I'm pretty sure.
But there is always something there to remind me that life with special needs kids is just a little bit different from life where everyone falls into the typical range.

For instance, on this perfect day where we had sidewalk chalk and playing in the hose, as I was peeling their soaking clothes off them to send them to the bath, Charlie says to me "My hand."
I was busy with a different child, plus since I turned 40 my close vision isn't what it used to be so I couldn't quite see what he was on about, I just said "ok baby one moment"
At which point he repeated himself - waving him hand in front of me.
I still couldn't see what he was trying to show me, moving object at close range isn't my forte.
"Ok baby give Mommy a sec...."
at which point he stuck his fingers in my mouth - fingers which were covered in poop.

Yeah you heard me.

Poop.

Welcome to my world.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Zombie Apocalypse - Are YOU Ready?

If you're    ready for a zombie apocalypse, then you're ready for any emergency.    emergency.cdc.gov

Saturdays and Teacakes REDUX


When my oldest boy was in Kindergarten, they read this book called SATURDAYS AND TEACAKES. Which is a really sweet book.
The author came to speak to his class, and it happened to be around his birthday so, hearing that the recipe for these TEACAKES was in the back of the book - I offered to make them for his class for the birthday party.

It got rave reviews from kids and teachers.

They were, however, some of the most annoying cookies to make in the history of the world. Even cold they were impossible to roll, impossible to cut and had the consistency of velcro when coming into contact with any other object made of matter.
Despite this, I was pretty pleased with myself for having made them.

About six months later, the boy says, as we were plotting treats to take to school for St Patty's Day "Can we just get donuts or something? Everyone else's mom brings stuff from the store or Krispy Kreme."

Really.

Everyone else's mom just swings through the Krispy Kreme and thus they are cooler than me and my home made cookies eh?

Grrrrr.

By the time SECOND grade got here, apparently some of his classmates asked for the teacakes again at birthday time, as the book was again being read in class. I growled, but made them.
As I made them, I remembered how much I hated them and cursed the fact that clearly this guy's MAWMAW had left something OUT of her index card because no way was this right.

I vowed, NEVER to make Mawmaw's teacakes again.

So as we're driving to school a couple of days ago, the boy says "Mom I don't know if you know this but my class party is coming up next week. It's our year end party. I was wondering, could we make those teacakes again?"

Me "Ugh, Louis I don't know. They are such a pain in the ass."

Him, "But Mom, you are the only mom who ever bakes anything. Everyone else just stops at gets something at the store. It's lame. The stuff you send is always special....."

Hooked.


Monday, May 16, 2011

Progress Comes In Many Forms


The Norm: I walk the first boy to the bus at the end our driveway every day at 6:50 ish. He has serious Mommy attachment issues, does my Miles. He holds one or both of my hands everyday as we walk down the driveway, often burying his face against my hip as we walk. He's ok as long as I walk all the way down the drive right to the door of the bus with him.
He looks back several times as he steps on, making sure I am standing there.
I never move until the bus is out of site.

TODAY: before we even left the porch, he let go of my hand and took off in front of me.
He never looked back, boarded the bus without so much as a castoff glance over his shoulder.
I guess this is progress.


..................
Scene: I am sitting on the toilet. The boy mentioned above, is in the small half bath with me, singing into the mirror and banging on the Elvis candy tin that decorates this room. He always has to come with me, or there is screaming. The door opens, and the other twin comes in.
He promptly has a seat on my lap - while I am sitting on the toilet.
He hugs me close and says - "Family."

Yes. This is family.

And, in our world - this is progress.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Two Cups And One Girl

What'd you THINK it'd BE? YA SICKOS!

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

This Is Why 8 Year Olds Aren't In Charge


Watching an episode of Spongebob where Mr Crabs wells the Krusty Krab and all the employees, the oldest boy asks me "Mom, can they do that? Can they sell employees?"
I explain no, that they can't.
But then I expand and start talking about how sometimes companies are purchased, and employees are given options to stay, sometimes incentives etc. I explain buyouts and hostile take overs and sell offs.
We're driving in the car to school as he's digesting all of them and he says "Those guys taking over companies better hope the employees don't know karate. That's all I'm saying."

Yes.

Let's hope.



The Secret Language of Snuggles

My oldest son slept with me till he was oh........ummmm, almost 4. There were a lot of reasons for it, but mostly, it was because I LIKED sleeping with him.
And he liked sleeping with me.
We used to play this game at bedtime which he called "THE RACE" (note - I'm not sure what or who was being raced). While I was making up the bed for sleepytime, as I fluffed up the sheet he would dive under it, striving to get completely under it before it fell down to the bed.
We'd do this every night.
As he got older things changed, he'd sleep in his own room till it became a habit and even on weekends or special nights when he was allowed to come sleep with me, he wouldn't ask for the race anymore. I kind of chalked it up to the equivalent of kisses at the bus stop - a thing of the past. Not cool. Baby stuff.
But he asked me last night if he could sleep with me, mentioning monsters and velociraptors that he sees in the shadows sometimes and I said yes because, yay snuggles.


As I pulled the covers apart to make up the bed (yes, we don't make our beds in the morning shut up) he knelt up on the mattress and said "Can we do the race?"
I giggled and he giggled, and he looks around and says "I think this bed got smaller, I used to have more room than this."
Then he laughed and dove under the sheet as it floated down onto him.
I am guessing that means he won.
A couple of hours later, I slipped into bed and put my arms around him.
He whispered "Mommy" in his sleep and proceeded to snore.

I am glad he's not too cool for snuggles yet. I am going to miss them.

*Authors note - is it just me or does he look freaked out by that cookie above?*

Saturday, May 07, 2011

The One Where I Broke My Toe


So there's Ninja furniture in my house. A dining room chair, normally docile and harmless, broke my toe today.
I was just cleaning up breakfast,when suddenly WHAM my foot was slammed against something hard.
The pain in my toe was overwhelming. I felt sort of stupid, thinking I had stubbed my toe. Until I got upstairs and the pain was radiating up my leg like a shockwave.
Sharp throbbing pain, lots of bad, radiating up my leg while a bad weird numb sensation overtook the outer edge of my foot.
I wore shoes today and then when we got back home I had a black and blue toe to behold.

Good times.



We Accidentally Went To Relay For Life

The oldest boy had shared that his school was doing some fundraiser event at the fairgrounds. Being absent minded parents of four, we decided we'd go and be supportive yadda yadda. He kept saying there would be "family activities" and stuff like that. We were mostly thinking bounce houses and the like.


Yeaaaaaaah, his school's RELAY FOR LIFE TEAM had a campsite and the announcement was to invite everyone to come out and be supportive.

So, as we wandered into the throngs of literally thousands and thousands and thousands of people....I was honestly totally fucking amazed. It took us a while to get our bearings. There are hundreds of "campsites" where each team has a base and they're usually selling something to also help raise money, or giving stuff away. The place is full of people singing, and dancing, and laughing.

There were even people dressed up like KISS.



It was one of the most bizarre things I've ever attended. I really loved it.
There were tons of high schools there, all walking and while we were there they had a DJ leading a few thousand teenagers through various dances.
I learned that despite the ridicule that I've heard, teenagers will dance and sing gleefully to Justin Bieber. I had no idea he was actually popular but these kids were having a fantastic time.

When it came time to eat - there was really only one choice - the FRIG-N BBQ obviously.




It wasn't anything like I expected, Relay for Life. I don't know what I expected. I've done the Race for the Cure several times in several states, it's always sort of the same. You walk, you get a coffee, you go out for breakfast after. I am sure some people run. I don't know any of those people.
This was more like, a feast and a party all in one. Everyone was welcome. I'm not sure I've been to such an exuberant, and joy filled event in a long time. Despite the seriousness, despite the sad nature of what the event is there about - it was about life and celebrating it. Whomever puts it on has done it right.
It was fairly amazing.


I explained to my oldest boy what the luminaries were for - in memory of those who have died, or in honor of survivors and he pauses, looking at so many all lit against the night sky.
"That's a lot of people with cancer," he remarked.
Yeah. Yeah it is.

I saw a family, a dad and three sons, pause to take a picture with a luminary.
It was the mom of the family, now gone from their lives. "Smile with mom's candle," the dad said. And they did.

I didn't say anything, my kids were being nutty, it was the end of the night. But I watched it quietly, this amazingly sad moment, a moment I can't even FATHOM. Then dad handed one boy the bag of cotton candy and they bounced off to do something fun.

The lesson there is that life goes on.

Enjoy it. And make it count.

Sunday, May 01, 2011

More About The Mouse

Our trip to Disney was specifically to celebrate the big girl's first birthday. As you can see, she was keen to share her special birthday cupcake with the characters - who she seemed to think were just big stuffed animals to play with. To say she loved them would be the biggest understatment ever.




Why do we love Disney World so much?
I'm not sure. Because it's the place where we officially declared we'd be a family?
Maybe. But it's always had this cementing force on our lives. Despite the hot and the sore feet.

There is something perfect and magical about the Happiest Place on Earth. Maybe it really IS just that.


People will ask us "Well wasn't she really too young to understand it?"
I don't know. How old do you have to be to understand joy?
There is no such thing as too young for joy. Or to old. I think sometimes you just have to be reminded what it looks and feels like.
It's like this.



Crazy and disorganized and cluttered and not even looking at the camera.
This is joy.

This is my family.