Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Join the club

Earlier this evening, Nolan was using my computer and surfing around the 'net.

His siblings took turns clamoring around him, in the "whatcha doin'?" fashion.  Jostling.  Asking questions. 

I had my back to him, so I thought everything was fine and he was sharing things with them or something along those lines.  Then I heard this:

"Guys.  GUYS!  Can't you leave me alone so I can do this?  Why do you all need to come up here just because I am on the computer?  I can't believe you can't leave me alone for FIVE minutes so I can look this up!!!"  and so on.

I couldn't resist.  I turned around and started to say, "That happens to me all the time!  You know how I feel now, so you'll leave me alone!"  but instead, I said this:

"Welcome to motherhood, son."

He was not nearly as amused as I was.


As Remo mentioned in his comment, we have a new van.

My other van, a silver Dodge Caravan, was seven years old, and had just under 135,000 miles on it.   Aside from the wear and tear associated with hauling all of us around, it's had some serious (read: expensive) mechanical difficulties over the last year or so.  That, coupled with a drivers' side window that was broken, rear windshield wipers that didn't work, a temperamental heater that heated once you got to your destination, and a speedometer that was possessed by the devil...we decided it was time.

(The van was sighing, for pete's sake, every time I turned the engine off.  As I started it up one icy morning recently, I swear heard it mutter "Bitch, are you kidding me ??")

We started hunting around last weekend, narrowing down the field, then we snuck onto some lots with all the kids and put our eggs in the carton, so to speak.  We toyed with SUV's, to get me out of the van rut, but I didn't want one.  There really isn't much room in those things, and the boys, well, they are only growing about a foot a week these days, so I had that to consider. 

We tried another Caravan, but Nolan had to fold himself up into an origami swan to get into the back, so that was out.  We were going to try the Honda Odyssey, but I had yet another one of my "This is the right one" moments that drive Mr W crazy (they occur often on the first item I see) when I saw the Nissan Quest.

I knew it was the best choice once I saw the kids in it, and the stars were in alignment, I guess, because we bought it yesterday.   I say "bought it" but what I should say is "signed my life away for the next few years, in triplicate."

It's Lakeshore Slate, which is the fancy way of saying "blue-gray" with a gray interior.  There's not much in the way of bells and whistles on it, I wanted it that way, except...except...there IS a DVD player in it, and it came with wireless headphones, and I am so very happy to have that in the arsenal for those days when they can't get along and my sanity is on the line, I just can't tell you.

Audrey has turned into mini-Vanna White, she shows anyone who will listen all the features, gliding her little hand over whatever it is she is pointing out.  The boys love it, too.

So, in response to the comment Remo left me, let me repeat:  There will be no van christening.  Even though we have the capability of watching porn and making out in the backseat, it's not gonna happen. 

I did all my backseat gymnastics in high school, and now I'm working on getting a medal inside my own four walls.

If only I could get past that Romanian judge, I'd be a shoe-in for the gold.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

He's got it going on

Earlier this week, Mr W and I were running errands.  He stopped at the neighborhood QT because I wanted to get something to drink (love the ice there) and as we pulled up, I noticed two large piles of wood right outside the door.

I always get a chuckle that anyone in our city would use firewood, but to each his own.  (Fireplaces in the Valley of the Sun just seem a bit much.)

As we were getting out of our seatbelts, Mr W gestured towards the piles, asking "Should we get some wood?"

At which point I leaned over a little, raised an eyebrow, leered a bit  at his package, and said, using my best low voice, "I got all the wood I need, baby."

It was good for a laugh.

Besides, once in a while it doesn't hurt to remind him he's still got it.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Instantly a kid again

My best friend had to go back to our hometown this weekend to attend a funeral.  She's staying at home, with her parents. 

I wanted to check on her and her family, once I knew the funeral was over.  I'd called her a couple of times, on her cell, but she always sets it on vibrate.  Which would be fine if it was in her pocket, but not so good when it's in her purse. 

It was natural for me to dial her parent's phone number.  I did it from memory, and as I punched it in, I smiled to myself.  I found it reassuring that some things in life are their number hasn't changed since the day Jenny first gave it to me 31 years ago.  It was even better when her Dad answered, and after he finally heard me talking (he must've said "Hello?" about five times--before I got up the gumption to speak loudly and we got on the same page).

Here I am, 39 years old, and I still couldn't call him by his first name.  He was my high school biology teacher to boot, so old habits die hard, I guess.  "Hi, Mr. H,"  I said, smiling.  "You want to talk to Jennifer?"  he asked.  "Yes, please."

As he bellowed, "Jennifer!  Phone's for you!"  the surreal aspect of the whole thing hit me kind of hard.  I mean, it was like I was 11 years old again, calling her to talk about our latest crush.  (It reminded me of that scene, in "Peggy Sue Got Married" when Kathleen Turner picks up the phone in her house and her grandma is on the other side.)  I thought Jen picked up the other phone, and I felt my eyes well up as I realized it was her Mom.  It was so good to hear her parents' voices, and I shouldn't have been surprised that I was feeling a little emotional because of it. 

Jen said everyone was fine, that the funeral was well attended, and she saw a lot of relatives she had not seen in a long time.

And then we started talking about our latest crushes.

All dry and 35

It was raining lightly on Friday when I went to pick up the kids from school.  I managed to swing by the house with time enough to spare to run in and get everyone's umbrellas.

The rain wasn't all that bad, but I know as soon as I am at the farthest point from the van, sans umbrellas, the heavens will open and we'd become a family of drowned rats.  Besides, the kids love their umbrellas.

Audrey was thrilled when she saw that I had hers, and promptly opened it, brandishing it with gusto, endangering the eyesight of everyone around her.

We went for Ryan next, and his class was just letting out.  I walked in and he came up to me, ready to go.   "Where's my umbrella?"  he asked.   I held up the handle.  "Right here,"  I said.

"Moo-om,"  he said, as he looked at it as though it was a bucket of snakes, "that's not mine."  "Yes, it is,"  I said, holding it out to him.  He wouldn't take it.  I held the dinosaur handle up and showed him:  "See?"  He sighed a little, exasperated.  "Mom.  I thought you were getting me a new one."   "There's nothing wrong with this one, it's just a little small,"  I insisted, again thrusting it towards him.  "That's not mine.  I can't carry that..."  he said, a wrinkle across his nose, disgust on his face as he announced disdainfully, almost haughtily, "'s childish."

What are you, 35?  Childish??  I stifled a giggle.  "I will look for one like Ben's over the weekend,"  I promised.

(Ben's is plain black, and quite grown up.  Audrey has a pink Littlest Pet Shop one.  Mine?  It's an enormous rainbow paneled mombrella, and if I opened it strategically, I could use it as a weapon.)

Sigh.  I remember when I bought two dinosaur umbrellas and a Teenage Mutant Ninja turtle one too, and it seems like yesterday.  Now when the older boys hold them, I resist the urge to hand them a drink to stick them in, they look that small in their hands.

I handed it to him anyway.  "Just use if for now,"  I pleaded.  "Fine," he agreed, "But only for today."

As he walked out of the room, I looked at his teacher, who had caught most of the exchange and stifled a giggle of her own at "childish."

"Have a nice weekend," I said.

I couldn't help myself, I added: 

"He'll be reporting to school on Monday in a smoking jacket and ascot."

There are times when I wonder if he's ever going to stop acting like "the baby".

And then there are times when he's the oldest nine year old I know.

Friday, February 22, 2008

Shift thinking

Yesterday morning was nuts.  I overslept, the kids were hard to move (five more minutes), I didn't get to make their lunches so I planned on dropping them off on the way to work (I had stuff to deliver to the school for me, too).  Dishes in the sink, a last load of laundry mocking in the hallway, I ran out of waffles.  There were a couple of other things that had me on edge, and by the time I made it to work, an hour late, I was agitated.

I sat at my desk, trying to concentrate and count my cells, but my heart was pounding and I kept going over in my head the things I did wrong, the things that went wrong, and I couldn't settle down. 

I switched my music to something soothing, and took a deep breath.  What's wrong with you?  I asked myself, as I sat, continuing to count and recount the same cell over and over.  I took a deep breath.  And I thought, this is crazy.  I do a lot of things right.  What went right this morning?

I was ready to leave before the kids were, makeup and all.  We got to school and no one was late--I walked Audrey to her class.  She gave me the biggest smile as she turned to run out and meet her friends.  Later, I paid some bills before I left the house, delivered the lunches, and put the papers I needed to get out in the teachers' mailboxes.   I picked up some birthday cards for our supervisor's birthday on my way in to work (a friend of mine called me and asked me if I had any at home and I said no, but I'd take care of it.)  I got a compliment from one of my colleagues when I got to work, and fielded inquiries along the "Do you feel better?" line.  (which was nice)

Small victories, it's true.  Maybe even a little shallow, now that I think about it.

But my mood changed, and I settled down.  It's really easy to get stuck in thinking that you suck when things are a little off.  Or a lot off, whatever the case may be.

It's harder to convince yourself that most of the time, the things that agitate are not worth the effort of exasperation. 

Like when you are getting married, for the lack of a better analogy, and you want everything to be perfect, everything to be just so....but the baker mistakenly gives you carrot instead of chocolate cake, you got a run in your hose, and your mother-in-law makes a pass at your brother.  Yet you smile and pose for the pictures, and no one knows that anything is wrong at all.  All they see is a beautiful wedding.

I like to think that on my frazzled, screaming-at-my-kids-in-the-parking-lot, surely-I'm-crazy days, all they see is a beautiful mom.  It only is a disaster from my vantage point; I'm all grace under pressure to those on the outside.

And if I'm the only one who knows it's a disaster, than it's probably not a big deal at all.

Which leads to grace under pressure...on the inside.


It will be a miracle if they make it to adulthood

Last week I went back to work.  I still wasn't fully over my cough, but I soldiered on anyway. 

But on Wednesday, I had a coughing fit...that scared my colleagues.  I felt it coming on, and I went into the nearest bathroom.  I let it fly, hacking away, it was awful, and awfully loud.  Loud enough to bring the supervisors out of their meeting down the hall.  Scary enough that as I was cleaning up afterwards, wiping my eyes and such, the bathroom door opened.  Hey, I locked that...I thought.  There stood two of my friends, water glass in hand, concern etched on their faces.   Shoot.  If someone is breaking down my bathroom door, I'd hope it'd be firemen.  (Not that the two ladies were unwelcome, I'm just sayin'.)  I assured them I was okay, but I was a little freaked out--as I hacked, I had a point where the spasm was so hard, I couldn't get air.  Not good.  (My doctor's office agreed and called in some more meds for me, and as of Friday, I was much better.  I'm fine now.)

That night, I was just getting to bed after falling asleep in the living room when I heard Nolan start coughing.   He was fighting what we'd had and I knew he'd taken Nyquil earlier in the evening.  Sigh.  I went and got him a dose of my magic cough syrup (w/ codeine).  I dialed it back a notch as he is smaller; I woke him up and gave it to him in bed with a little water.  I toddled back over to my bed, and promptly was out.  I didn't hear him cough again.

The next morning, Mr W was getting ready for work.  As he sat down on the bed to put on is socks, he said:  "You might have trouble waking up Nolan today.  He was coughing really bad last night, so I gave him some of your cough syrup."  My eyebrows shot up to my hairline.  "Um, when?"  I asked nervously.  "Around 12:30 or so."  "No way,"  I said.  "I gave him some too."  "When?"  "Around 12:15 or so."  We looked at each other, horrified, giggling, and I said, "He's probably dead." I walked across the hall, and stuck my hand under the covers so I could feel him breathing.  He stirred.  Mr W and I looked at each other, "Well, he's not waking up....until next Tuesday."  I said.  Later that morning, I called to see if he was awake, as Mr W was coming home from work to take him to the pediatrician's office.  For the cough.  Not the overdose.

"Why didn't you tell your Dad I'd given you cough medicine already?"  I asked.

"I didn't remember you doing it,"  Nolan said.

I decided to skip the stories about how being under the influence can make you forget what really happened.  I explained to him our mistake.

I'm sure that will come up again during the deposition.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Laughing can be dangerous to your health

Nolan had a mini-concert tonight.  It was a solo one, and he played and two of his peers had to critique him.  The entire band participated, everyone in different classrooms with set times.  He did his bit, then we listened to two others; then he walked around looking for his buddies and I followed, a respectable distance behind, of course.

I got to put faces to the names I hear him say all the time and that was really nice.  However, he never said anything in regards to me.  Like "____, this is my Mom."

I called him on it as we walked to the car. "Dude.  Do you have a problem with me?"  "No."  "Then why is it you never say, "This is my Mom"? when I'm here with you?"

"Because.  I figure they know already, because you're following me."  I sighed heavily.  "Fine," I said, "I guess I don't mind if they think I'm you're older sister."

"No, Mom.  They'd think you're my younger sister, because I'm taller than you." 

I could hardly argue with that, logic, who needs it?

Once we got home, it was like someone sprayed hyper-dust in the air.  The kids were all wound up. Nolan reminded me that they had a birthday party this weekend. I read the invitation, and one part caught my eye:  "Please leave all jewelry and sharp objects at home." (It's a party at one of those bouncy-house places.)  I cracked up.   "Guys, you know what that means?  No bling, no shanks."  We chuckled together, and were walking down the hallway to repeat the joke to Mr W, when Nolan doubled over, hacking really hard.

As I passed him, I quipped, "Did you cough up anything pink and spongy?" 

"Only my heart,"  he deadpanned.

It was my turn to laugh.  And hack.

Doubled over, gasping for air, yet nonetheless, grinning from ear to ear.

I love that kid.

Orange inferiority complex

Audrey likes Kraft Macaroni and Cheese.

Believe me when I tell you that I am appalled.  It's not like I've never eaten it (it's fine), it's not like the other children have not gone through this phase, it's just that mac-and-cheese is one of my favorite comfort foods.  I make pretty good--no wait, I'm going to brag here--I make really very good mac-n-cheese from scratch.  The only time it has ever turned on me is when I tried to bake it.  With the crusty little breadcrumbly top?  Disaster.  The person who ate it said it was fine, but my regular's just so much better

Creamy.  Cheesy.  It's like a hug from the stovetop, and should be eaten right from the pot.  (Not that I've ever done that, of course.)  I start by making a roux, with butter and flour...and I use 2% milk, or whole milk if I feel dangerous.  Then I put in just enough medium or sharp cheddar, about 1-2 cups, depending on how much sauce I've made to begin with...and I mix it up with the pasta immediately after the pasta is done.  It is probably the only thing I make that I won't leave the kitchen while I am in the midst of--why ruin the lovely sauce to break up a fight--and the kids love it.  I vary the shapes, sometimes shells, sometimes radiatore, penne, rotini, or campanelle, but I think it's best with the elbows.  I like the large ones, cooked to just al dente (not mush).

It seems ridiculous to be so picky about something as mundane as mac-n-cheese, but it's worth it, even if my husband doesn't eat it.  My best friend moans when I tell her I'm making it, because it's her favorite too.  I have another who teased me mercilessly one day, (hoity voice) "Oh, I'm grating the cheese for mac-n-cheese....don't you know that mac-n-cheese comes from the blue box?  Your kids are so spoiled." 

It always comes down to the blue box.

As I stood there today, coaxing the orange powder into a sauce-like state, I was transported back to these kids I babysat when I was in college. 

You see, the act of making this mac-n-cheese never fails to remind me of the shame of being fired from one of my first jobs.   Not even being fired, mind you, just never called again.  

I had a childhood friend who was doing the sorority circle thing in college and she called me one day, telling me about this nice family who needed an occasional babysitter.  She was too busy to do it.  She knew I liked kids and needed the money.  I was a little embarrassed that my social life/standing were such that I was not out gallivanting on campus leaving college boys in my wake, but I was a serious student, with a serious boyfriend (who lived out of town, I had all kinds of free time).  Play Mommy to some little ones and get paid for it?  Why not? 

I've always been good with kids.  I get it from my Mom, who is the baby-whisperer in our family.  But I was still a little nervous to sit for a family I didn't know, with children who could be the brattiest children around, for all I knew.

My initial conversation with the Mom (was her name Maureen?) went well.  She knew I didn't have a car, so she came to pick me up the first afternoon I spent with her boys. 

She had an amazing house, an older one, with wood floors and a very "This Old House" feel about it.  There was a playhouse in the backyard by the swings.  It was the kind of house I envisioned myself living in some day.  I got kinda a granola-vibe from her, like she had hippie blood running through her veins...and I wasn't far off.  She was organic apples before they were cool.

And the boys, they were adorable beyond belief.   Cute, pale with freckles; big, almost violet eyes; pointy (but not too pointy) chins; perfect rosebud mouths--they were breathtaking.  My ovaries started the "youneedoneofthese" beats in triple time.

While the older one did prove to be a little bit of a challenge (he was smart, and a crafty bugger) we got along great.  I remember following Maureen around the house, she with the luminous skin and barely-there makeup (yes, she wore Birkenstocks), as she pointed out  that she'd made something for lunch, that the kids could eat soon.  Wow, I thought, impressed that she'd done the work for me. 

It was Kraft Macaroni and Cheese.  And to boost it, she'd stirred cottage cheese into it.  Clever.  I'd never would have thought of that.  She did it so the kids could get extra calcium, I think, if I remember correctly.  I was to busy getting over her bathroom, her Kiss My Face toiletries, to really remember why she said she did it.  (I'd never heard of Kiss My Face, never seen it in stores, but if I could boast skin like that, I'd certainly attempt to hunt it down.)


The kids and I had a good afternoon.  I started babysitting for her pretty regularly, once or twice a week.  One week, she asked if I was available on a Friday night.  Her husband was away, and she was going to go out with a girlfriend.

Sigh.  Yes.  I was free on Friday night.

I played with the kids, we ate our mac-n-cheese, but as the evening got later, closer to eight (nine?), I got antsy to watch my show.  It was Miami Vice time.  Hmm.  They're little.  It won't affect them.  The baby is almost asleep, anyway.  "Conor,"  I said to my young charge (he couldn't have been more than 4 years old)--"I'm going to watch this tv show.  Okay?"  I started watching it, then had a thought that maybe that might not be such a good idea.  "Um,"  I thought out loud, "Do you think your Mom will mind if you watch too?"

Now, I was what, 18? Who has perfect sense at that age?  He would be falling asleep soon anyway, hopefully, I justified to myself. 

We were about fifteen, twenty minutes into the show when his Mom got home and came in with her girlfriend.  It was all sunshine and happiness, "Did you have a good time?  The kids were angels, as usual"...and then a staccato burst of gunshots came from the tv.

Maureen's brows came together as she looked over at her boys, particularly the older one, and the brief look of glee that crossed his face.  It was not a brief look of glee that crossed her face in return, but rather a questioning, slightly irritated one.  "Ah, um,"  I stammered, "I was just watching Miami Vice,"  I explained, and I know I made some excuse for why I was doing so while the children were up, like it was a new episode or something (ha, life in the prehistoric pre-DVR/TiVo world) but I could tell she wasn't pleased with me. 

She exchanged a knowing look with her girlfriend while I felt a little on-the-spot.  It's not like I was caught there with my boyfriend in her house, making out on the couch while her children stuck forks into light sockets.  But... I still had a feeling this would be my last time with the boys. 

Maureen dropped me off at home that night, and the "you're setting a bad example" hung between us in the car, an unspoken sandbag.  I never heard from her again.  Ever.  I cringe a little when I think of that.  Even now that I'm a Mom, and I restrict my own children's tv watching, so I do sympathize, I understand; but on a scale of 1 to 10, I feel it's a .5.  It was a minor transgression.  It shouldn't matter anymore.

Yet part of me still can't help but feel like a chagrined teenager when I am stirring that orange powder into the limp macaroni (there is no way to cook those straight tubes al dente--it's raw, or overcooked, and that's that).  Dumped.  Fired.  Over Don Johnson?

"Mommy, whatcha makin'?"  Ryan bursts into the kitchen, and stands on tiptoe next to me.  "Mac-n-cheese,"  I reply.  "Is it the box kind or your kind?"  he asks, angling around me to look on the counter.  "My kind,"  I gesture to the pile of cheese.  "Yessss!!!"  he exclaims, smile on his face, as he goes to announce it to the other kids.  I hear Audrey complain just as I hear the boys say, "You love us, Mom."

It turns out that I am not such a bad example afterall.

Monday, February 11, 2008

It's fair play hair day

I'm still coughing.   Sometimes it's a polite *cough,cough*, sometimes I scare the children.   It's gonna be around for a while, too, at least that's what I hear.

I was excited this morning, to get up and not feel as though I had to lay down again.  As I was waiting for Nolan to get ready, I washed dishes.

Nothing is gonna get me down today, I thought.  After spending the last week or so in and out of pajamas, smelly, tired, no makeup, I was happy to be bursting out of my Kleenex cocoon.   I had an appointment with my hairstylist, for a haircut and color.  I was sure to emerge from her salon renewed, ready to shed my sick visage in for a newer, dark-and-smooth, sleek diva look.  I love it when she blows my hair dry straight, it's just too awesome.   Even if I am just running to pick up the kids, I feel like a million bucks.

I certainly could use some of that.

After yelli--reminding Nolan that he is not the only person in town who needs hot water, I came back into the family room and heard the chiming of my cell phone.

I glanced at the number, which was familiar but not recognizable.  Assuming it was one of the other volunteers calling from the school, or one of my friends calling me from their place of business, I answered anyway.  

"Anna?" squeaked out a familiar voice from the other end.  Cool, maybe she needs me to come in early, I thought.  Right on!

"Hi,"  I answered, trying not to get too excited.  Wait a minute.  That voice...

"I'm so sorry honey, but I don't think I can do your hair today,"  the voice cracked.  Ohgodohdogod  "I need to get to the doctor today."  NOOOOOOOOOOO!

"That's okay,"  I reply.   darnitdarnitdarnitcrapcrapcrap

"Can we reschedule?"  "Um, sure."  nonononoI'mgrayitlooksawfulwhat amIgonnadomybangs!mybangssuck!

"Will next Monday be okay?"

"Sure.  Feel better."  Awwwww,man!

Oh well.  I'll be fine.  It's really not a big deal.  Yes, it is.  But I know how awful she feels. 

That's what ponytails are for.

I used my newfound time to go pick up my geekalicious prescription lab goggles.

Now there's a fashion statement.

Friday, February 8, 2008

It's liquid gold

It's been a long, blurry week.  I kept up my I'll-get-better-soon mantra for most of it, because I knew that running to the doctor would only yield the "keep up the symptomatic care" line and while I like my PCP, I don't love her.  She's okay.

However, after a few nights of a cough that didn't let me sleep, I relented and called for an appointment yesterday.  I probably would have let the exterminator examine me if he could prescribe medication, I felt that bad.  Besides, it's hard to convince anyone you feel okay when you sound like a horrible, nonsexy version of Lauren Bacall--given you could speak between the cough spasms.  I nearly wept when the receptionist found me an appointment at 9, which was a mere 45 minutes away. 

The PA was in and out in a flash.  I barely had time to think about an answer to his questions, but the bottom line was he said he thought I was probably getting better, but might be headed for bronchitis ("You sound on the line, but since your cough just started a couple of days ago" <--not his fault--I thought he wasn't listening to me, but truly, I forgot what day it was, so when I said "a couple of days" what I should have said is "five or six days") and gave me a prescription for antibiotics and one for cough syrup with codeine.   He advised me to "wait a day or two and see how you feel, and if you feel worse, or aren't any better, start the antibiotic.  Make sure you get some Mucinex, too." 

Dude, you had me at "cough syrup with codeine."  

"Yeah, that sounds reasonable."  Now hand over the 'scripts, and no one will get hurt.

After my appointment, I took Ryan to the pediatrician, as he is suffering a cough too.  They were b-u-s-y and we had to wait a long time (almost an hour, no joke), during which I did cough up a lung and nearly fell asleep in the exam room.  The nurse practioner came into the room, looked at me, and said, "You sound worse than he does.  Did you see your dr?"  "Yes."  "You have bronchitis, don't you?"   Any doubt I might have had about starting the antibiotic the PA gave me was erased.  Ryan sounded more asthma-y to her, so he is on some inhalers and I am taking him back on Monday for a recheck.

I got the antibiotic filled, I took it, I'm taking it--I got some sleep last night (certainly more than the night before) and today I feel almost human. 

So much so that I was contemplating going to pick up my new geekalicious prescription lab goggles...but it's a 35-40 minute drive away, and I got tired just driving Nolan to school this morning.  Besides, it's hard to drive a straight line when you're having a violent coughing fit.

Instead, I am taking a much needed shower, a shot of the elixir-from-the-gods, and I'm laying/lying/I'll be horizontal down.

If I nap, I'll just consider it a bonus.

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

They do give you one phone call, right?

I must've reached my limit.

Tonight, Audrey took a second spill, a second blow to the head.  (Earlier, she fell off a chair, and shattered a outlet cover with her head.  Just as I was settling down in my room for five minutes.  That type of crying will put the catnap on hold, I tell you.)  She was playing with Ryan and a friend of ours, and for whatever reason, decided to hang off the back of Ryan, arms around his neck (shoulders?) and wriggled just so, Ryan moved backwards, and they both fell.  He fell on top of her, and she hit her head on the corner of the wall.  It made a horrific noise, I mean, it could have been his water bottle hitting the floor that made the noise, but it really sounded awful, and after this afternoon, I could only imagine that her brain would be reset to "scramble".

As we left the building, after I threatened Ryan with his life so I could check her, I decided to remind him (and all of them) that they need to be more careful with each other.  They are growing, and getting stronger, but have not yet developed control of themselves yet--so there is quite a danger of someone getting hurt.

A rational argument, yes, but this is how it came out:

"Ryan, you are twice her size.  Twice!  Aren't you close to like, 100 pounds, and she's what, 50?  You land on her like that, and she snaps her neck, she could die, do you want to kill her?"  Ryan looks scared.  Good.  I'm about to lay into the two of them again, when Ben does something to Nolan, and Nolan flicks him, hard, on the arm.

It's a good thing they were out of my reach.

"Hey!  Do you guys not hear me?  I am just telling these two to stop hurting each other, and now you're doing it?  GIVE ME THAT", I hold out my hand to Ben, carrying his new faux aikido knife,  and put it in my bag.  "Ben did something stupid with it to me, so I hit him,"  Nolan explains.

"That is not okay.  I'm tired of you guys getting physical with each other.  Someone is going to get hurt, and I swear to God, unless there is a bone protruding through skin, I am NOT taking anyone to the ER right away, you will suffer, for half an hour at least, because this is ridiculous.  I'm tired.  I'm sick.  You're Dad is gonna be late getting home tonight, and I still have to feed you people when we get in.   We get home, you get physical, I don't care, it's bedtime for you.  KNOCK THIS SHIT OFF."

I realize that the attention span of the kids is probably not enough for them to catch all of that.  And I'm not speaking right now, I'm croaking, and paying dearly for that speech as I type this, owwwch, my throat.

I noticed as I ranted that Nolan adopted that time-honored look--the one where the teenager looks at you, like they are paying attention, but really are looking through you, not truly listening but riding out the storm?  The one he will probably use on ranting girlfriends, the same look his father adopts when he's had enough of my emotional outburst of the moment....the look that made me want to punch him just to get it off his face.

I felt myself ball my fist and take a step back as I recalled the look once we got in the door.  I was upset in the car, spent, Mommy-meltdown on the horizon, I cried a little because my head hurt and really, I was done.  But now, all I have is this ball of rage, and it's a good thing that once we got home, everyone went to their separate corners.

After I handed out the Nyquil.  I'd have put it in dixie cups with Koolaid, if only to amuse myself, but I have caplets, so I took mine, and handed some to Nolan.  (Who says he is sick now.  Ryan is better.  Audrey is better too.   Ben looks to be escaping the scourge unscathed.)

Then I went to make dinner.

And I found cutting up the semi-frozen chicken breasts unusually therapeutic.

Maybe if someone else pisses me off in the next half hour, I'll make chocolate chip cookies, too.

I'm gonna have to remember this, to tell them when they have kids of their own, how homecooking saved their lives.

Monday, February 4, 2008

Right now the only question I ask is liquid or capsule?

I am sitting here with the certainty that I have never been this sick before in my life.

Luckily, Mr W was indeed wonderful and was me today, which means he spent a lot of time in the car shuttling kids around right after tucking me into bed from as far away from me as he could get and still be supportive.  He's doing his part to avoid the pestilence that surrounds me like a cloud. 

My eyes are watering and I am sure a lung will pop out the next time I cough.

Unfortunately for me, Ryan has it now too, and I hear someone else coughing, I think it's Ben, and Nolan, he of the no-tonsils, had the gall to tell me he had a sore throat just moments before I placed him in a sleeper hold.  I just couldn't take the thought of someone else stealing my sick thunder.

Anyway.  I'll get over it.  Misery loves company and all that.

I am throwing myself on the mercy of the 'quil gods, and heading down the hallway as quietly as possible, which means I will be hacking up said lung the minute I touch Ben's shoulder, and if that doesn't scare the sickness out of him, maybe my voodoo dolls will.

Curse for a cure?

Sunday, February 3, 2008

A little ice cream will make it all better

Ugh.  I'm sick.  And it's kicking my ass.

Finally, I admit it.  Actually, I admitted it yesterday when I got to work and realized the place could run without me, and probably should run without me as my desk blotter was looking like a good pillow.

(I only drooled through two months.)

Anyway, on Friday, when I started feeling icky (thank you, Audrey) I whined a little to Mr W that if he really loved me, he'd get me some ice cream.  Because that is what a rational person wants when their throat is starting to hurt.

I figured he would get it and bring it to me.  On his steed, he'd go to Ye Olde Creamery and return with something decadent, and I'd not even have to lift my delicate head off the pillow to get my own spoon.  (Delusional, even before I took the Nyquil.)

But nooo-ooo.  No, he suggested we all go together, all of us, great, that's what I need.  To feel a little crappy, and take the whole family.  Whoo-hoo, sign me up.  I pointed out I was in my pjs, and he rolled his eyes at me as he started telling the kids to fetch their shoes.   I grumbled as I found my jeans.  Fine.  Whatever.

On our way to Baskin-Robbins, I remembered we were out of a couple of things and as the grocery store was right next door, maybe we could swing in and get them.  "But I didn't bring my purse, so I have neither money nor my savings card to the store," I pointed out.

"That's okay," he replied, "I have my wallet."  "But do you have the savings card?"  I asked, determined to save my fifty cents on milk.  "Yes."  I looked over my shoulder real quick to make sure no one was listening in before I  said "It's probably in there next to that condom you've been carrying around since you were 16,"  smugly, with a smirk.

"If I only knew ________"  he faded out, as he turned his head, and started chuckling to himself, pleased with a retort he didn't intend on sharing with me.  "What?  What did you say?" I demanded, mockingly.  "Nooo-othing,"  he insisted, giggling harder.

So I grabbed his arm and threw some punches at his shoulder, giggling too, "Tell me,"  and he still refused, continuing to get out of the van, rubbing his shoulder, muttering "bitch" under his breath.  (I hurt him.  Weenie.)  "What?"  I said to him, gesturing, half-joking, "there's nothing else I'd rather be doing, either?"  I came around to meet him, surrounded by the kids, who wanted ringside seats.  "I could be a doctor!  I could be driving a Porsche...with the Blaupunkt!"  as I gestured towards my well-used minivan, "and instead, I have this..." gesture towards kids, who are now not interested in me, and as if on cue, are jostling elbows and pushing each other, the picture of good behavior...just then Audrey decides to bend over slightly, wiggling her butt from side to side in the classic "stinky butt" maneuver, "I have wiggling asses in a grocery store parking lot!"  sweeping my hand over her for emphasis.

The teenagers standing outside the car next to ours probably thought I was nuts. 

Mr W, however, reached for my hand and pulled me towards him, "Oh, come on," he smiled, leading me towards the grocery store, our quail following us close behind.