A Mommy Blog About Raising Men, Not Boys.
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Friday, December 27, 2013

Monster In My Walls

Two years ago on April 1 I heard some sort of noise in our crawl space. Skittering running and rattling, it was disconcerting. I woke my husband up but due to my unfortunate timing, he thought it was an April Fools joke. Almost but not quite one year later - it happened again - and I convinced him we had a problem because it started again, but not on April 1.

In the last week, there has been something in the outside wall of my computer room, and now this morning - in my kitchen wall. Whatever is happening in my kitchen is more frantic, running and crashing into the two by fours and making an incredible racket while my coffee is brewing.

What the hell.

I guess you call an exterminator, the kind that does large pest removal. It reminds me of someone I knew who had a raccoon that broke into their attic every fall. They had it trapped and removed. And it came back. They knew it was the same one, because the exterminator tagged it. Every year they heard the crashing in their attic and had to pay to get him trapped and removed ONE MORE TIME. Apparently he really liked them.

We already had to throw away all our camping equipment and stuff because it was covered in various wild animal poo. And the other stuff that was in the crawl space, it has an entrance from our computer room and we were using it for storage.

I feel like the coyotes from the forest just aren't doing their job if I have wild animals in my walls. Or perhaps these beasts are seeking sanctuary.

Well, that's just a bad idea, because seriously you can't say here. BAD SQUIRREL.


Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Cookies for You And Cookies For Me But Mostly Cookies for Mr C

I had this grand plan about making from scratch gingerbread men this holiday. I had read a few recipes online, and yeah it's a lot of work but I thought I GOT THIS. It'll be SO SPECIAL AND AWESOME and we'll make cookies and everyone will be so happy to have homemade cookies!

And then the stress of the universe dropped down on my shoulders like a ton of bricks.

I had promised cookies. Cookies were the last thing in this world I wanted to deal with.

But I was out shopping - and saw this gingerbread cookie mix marked down, and it was Betty Crocker and I thought oh god, ok find, I committed we'll just make these and I'll be a loser mom who didn't make proper home made cookies.

I felt bad. I'm not some PINTEREST MOM but omg I WANT TO BE ONE.

But as we mixed and stirred and the rolling took place, and I showed Louis how to flour the rolling pin the way my mom showed me something became clear.
They didn't care. We were making cookies. They were rolling dough and cutting out cookies and getting dough everywhere. My son kept saying THIS IS SO MUCH FUN! And Julia kept eating cookie dough.

So we made the cookies and we made the icing and we decorated them and they aren't pretty but they are ours, and they are actually delicious.

Who needs made from scratch, these are the best cookies from a mix I ever had.

I hope Santa likes them!

Sunday, December 22, 2013

She Still Asks Why

The girl child still asks why. WHY? WHY everything. None of the boys ever did this. Perhaps Louis wasn't that interested, I don't know. The twins for obvious reasons. Why isn't a word they conceive. Everything is or is not, without reason, from what I can tell.

But the girl. WHY? WHY she asks. Why do you drink this coffee? Why did you get my yogurt (you asked for it). Why did you get this shirt? Why is your hair long? Why is this show on? Why do we have milk? Why is there chocolate? Why? Why? Why? Why? Why is this a helmet?  Why is this a tv?

I don't ask why, but it doesn't trouble me that she does.

I figured out a long time ago, that asking WHY is asking for heart ache, a lot of the time.
There isn't really a why because some things just happen because they do.

In the course of 24 hours, my mother was rushed to the hospital in serious condition, my grandfather began the process of dying, and my cat died.

Why?

Well it could be because I'm being tested. But I'm pretty sure I'm not JOB and I'm also NOT religious and let's take it one step further, if I were, I'd be a pretty arrogant ass to presume my deity had time to test me.

No, I'm not being tested. This past weekend was a big old heaping dose of the thing called life. Maybe life itself is the test. I freely admit I cried a lot and probably failed a lot. But I realized while out Christmas shopping that it didn't matter if every single thing in my life exploded at once, I had to put one foot in front of the other and keep going. Life isn't convenient and it doesn't work on a schedule that coincides with my sleep and work plans.

Time passed. We played Chutes and ladders, and had a tea party, and made hot chocolate. My husband buried the cat in the pouring rain today. There were tears. A lot.

My mom is getting better 48 hours later. My grandfather is still leaving us slowly, but in his own time.

Why? Because those things are also life. My mom got a good medical team, so we move forward with progress. My grandfather is strong and didn't go as quickly as they thought.

I was angry at the universe for these helpings of tears and worry coinciding at such an close interval, until I got my mind around the idea that no one ever gets sick or dies when it's convenient. Babies also tend to come when it suits them, so there is some cosmic symmetry there.

My son cried copiously when he realized Chilli's stocking is still hanging, and wondered what we should do with it. The girl cried because Chilli can't be her best friend anymore. They both crawled into bed with me and cried last night until they were quiet.

When it was quiet, and they were both sleeping snuggled against me, I laid there and cried too.

I didn't even wonder why.

Sunday, December 15, 2013

I'm Not Outdoorsy But...

I have to confess I have a SICK adoration of Bass Pro Shop. It's so much fun, it's marketed and laid out so well inside I WANT TO BE OUTDOORSY.  I want to camp and hike and fish and be one with nature and cook over a fire.
Well, I do in my mind. Mostly I just want to buy their cute things and sit inside comfortably while using them.
Bass Pro is holding special Christmas activities for families this weekend and next weekend and so we hopped down there for something fun to do with the kids. They've cleared out all the boats in the boat showroom and it's one big Christmas wonderland with lots of things to do. 
Like a carousel and trains and real live but not dead animals. I mean how can that NOT be awesome?
There was even a spot for coloring Christmas pictures and for writing your very important letters to the Big Man Himself. Louis took the job as scribe and surveyed everyone very seriously about what they wanted.
The boy isn't a cheap date. I'll leave it at that.

It was a fun, amazing laughter filled time. I was so glad we went because it was a perfect little family outing.

Until we left.

The idea was, we'd wander around this mall and look for anniversary presents - our wedding anniversary is Monday (tomorrow). This was the IDEA anyway. He took the stroller loaded with coats and Charlie, and I took Louis (for crowd control), Miles and Julia.

The first thing that happened is that I realized we're at the family activity mall. Tons of stuff for kids to do. None of it on my agenda. Crying. Sobbing. Begging.Tantrums. These things which I firmly DO NOT ALLOW take place.   In the process of trying to tug one of them along, I twisted my bad knee. Now, walking is agony. 

I can't walk into a store, because they're acting like whackadoodles and I need to go into nicer shops. So, we're not doing that. I call the husband, I say "This isn't working, I can't do this." We agree to meet at the food court.

We go to the food court, at which time Miles decides it's time for an autistic meltdown. We haven't HAD one of those in a while. Julia sees balloons. She refuses to stay with us. She wants a balloon. If you think I'm buying ONE balloon for them to fight over, you can forget it. If you think I'm buying THREE balloons for them to make unbelievable noise with in the car, you can forget it. NO BALLOONS.

Miles is clapping his hands loudly and fussing. I ask him to stop because people are staring. He SCREAMS like I'm killing him. Now, more people are staring. He takes my hand and tries to make me put it on his mouth, repeatedly - when I pull my hand away he shrieks and pulls at his shirt. 

Ladies and gentlemen, we're officially THAT table.

I am trying to watch two kids who are on meltdown of different sorts and Louis is just about to die, wanting to hideunder the table I can tell.

Two poopie diaper changes, the return of daddy and some burger king dinner worked like a cease and desist on the tantrums. 

I added this last part, because I show a lot of fun family pictures. You don't seem me kneeling in the bathroom stall just after the picture, trying to clean the poopie pull up of my nine year old without getting it all over me or him, or letting his pants touch the gross bathroom floor. You don't see that sometimes I get a lovely ring in the shape of toilet seat on the back of my pants, because that's the only place to sit WHILE changing said pull ups and sometimes there is water on the seat. GOD I HOPE ITS WATER.

Did  we have fun? Absolutely. Despite the crazy hour. But did I nearly break down and cry in the food court?

Absolutely.


Saturday, December 14, 2013

She's Got This

I was used to the idea that Louis would always be ahead of the twins by leaps and bounds.  That's a hard thing to get your mind around, that two of your children aren't on the developmental train you want them to be on. They're wandering around the station, not moving the way one child is.

Louis is so smart. I know I take it for granted sometimes. I take HIM for granted, he's the third parent around here too often and I'm always so sorry for that.

I didn't expect my three year old to start earning her "taking care of the twins" stripes quite yet but it seems that she's already working on that merit badge and I didn't know it.

At bedtime, in the middle of reading Goodnight Moon I glanced over and noticed Charlie had a trembly lip and tears running down his face. Charlie is a lot like a toddler in that when he's over tired, he'll just sob for no reason. I put my hand on his cheek to wipe away his tears, but Julia climbed into bed as I finished their story, and hugged him tight. "What's wrong buddy?" she asked him.

He cried harder and she sat up, took his hand and said, "Do you need a squeeze, Charlie?"

Charlie has peri-perception issues and I'm spelling that wrong. I don't know how it's spelled. You'd think I would by now. Anyway, he has issues where he craves/needs deep pressure especially on his joints, for calming. Strong pressure hugs, pressure on his shoulders, on his wrists, he desperately needs these and will sometimes act out until he gets them.

He blinked away his tears and said "Quee" which of course means Squeeze in Charlie language.

She took his hand and wrapped both of her little hands around his wrist and hand and began gently squeezing. He stopped crying and she hugged him and kissed him.

She's so smart too. I guess she can fill in for 3rd parent on occasion.

I know Louis will appreciate it.

Monday, December 09, 2013

Santa Picasso

We had only two events we could make it to this weekend (the BIG event was Tim and Justin's wedding and we couldn't get there for that - sadface).

The Twins Club Christmas party is our favorite Holiday party and as always Mr and Mrs Claus didn't disappoint with the magic they brought.

The craft this year was so much fun - GREAT IDEA GUYS - we made reindeer food. Sparkly sugar, marshmallows and oats will be the perfect treat for when Santa's reindeer need a snack at their stop on our street. Miles had to taste test though.

The little people had a great time because - party with Santa can't go wrong!

This weekend we also decided to try out a new art museum - at Oglethorpe University.
University art museums are a great place to take your kids, because they are usually small, and there aren't hundreds of people who just paid a ton of money to get in and are too cool to have kids being annoyed by you and yours. 

This little art museum had two exhibits we had to check out, one was a series of sketches by Picasso - I mean - PICASSO come on! That's awesome. These are the only I could get a snap of because they weren't in the forbidden zone.

There was also an exhibit about the artist who created the Coca Cola (and thus the modern era) Santa Claus. It was awesome and the kids really loved it - if we had gone on Saturday apparently the big man himself was there.

I always love seeing things like this - the artists version and then the ad version of the same work. Little things like perspective, angle plus obvious props change. It's oddly fascinating.

I'm still getting over being sick so we took it easy most of the weekend, but it was a lot of fun getting out for just a little bit.

Plus going outside is always an excuse to say hello to Mr Penguin.

Wednesday, December 04, 2013

I'm Really Not That Strong

People say that to us a lot. "Oh you're so strong" - or something similar. We're not I assure you. But when you don't have any choices you just make do.

That's the midwestern in us. Midwesterners MAKE DO. You deal with what you have and you go on. No reason to grouse about it.

I think though that it's important since I share a lot about being a Mom of special needs children, that I don't paint some false idea that if you just PUT ON A HAPPY FACE EVERYTHING WILL BE ALRIGHT. Seriously no, it won't be alright. Everything will be exactly as it was before you put on your happy face. I'm not better at this than you, I'm not tougher than you. I am not good at this. I'm just doing it every day, because I have do.

I do however, try to NOT dwell on the things that are threatening to destroy my soul if I let them linger.

Yesterday was Charlie's IEP. His teachers love him. He's progressing so very well. He's throwing less tantrums, will actually attend to his work sometimes. He can type his name. They say he's SO well behaved during community skills (that's where they go shopping at the grocery or at the mall). They are really pleased and think he's having a great year.

He's developmentally 39 months old, give or take.

He's 9.

If you think that isn't a knife through my heart, you're wrong. I had to blink back my tears as that went across the screen - and smile as they told me how even though he doesn't say the ending consonant for many words they aren't worried - and nod while we talked about can he work a zipper? Could we work on having him make a sandwich for lunch on the weekends?

I am sick as a dog right now and I can't talk. At bed time the last two nights, instead of reading, I've played the video of Goodnight Moon on my phone to the twins at bed time. I cried both nights while it played.

Here's why. Who is going to read them/play them Goodnight Moon when I'm dead? Can I put that in my will? I need someone to do this. I need someone to read Goodnight Moon to my babies who aren't going to be babies but, oh god they ARE going to be still little guys, possibly all their lives. Especially my Charlie. How will they go to sleep without me?

These are the things, that threaten my sanity and my well being. These are my fears and worries. What happens if I'm not here to read them a story when they are 45?

I wish I knew.

Monday, December 02, 2013

Traditions Happen

Thanksgiving in families falls into a pattern I think. At our house it's turned into - Louis makes a pie of some sort - this year it's chocolate pretzel pecan pie. He drafted helpers.
My Hunny invents a new kind of dressing (this year featuring monkey bread and TexMex muffins) and when it's time, Louis goes to help with the bird.

It seems like a little thing, but I watch it every year and feel like it's a father son tradition that started when he was a little tiny guy who just wanted to help (at that time, he was allowed to SHAKE the spices and sprinkle some) and now he's a big guy and it's just something we do.
It's a weird little tradition that feels like we'd be missing something if we didn't do it that way. It's just us on Thanksgiving since we live so far from everyone, and it's nice to have these little things that make it so special.