Sunday, November 30, 2008

The Circle of Life

My friend DK came over on Saturday with her kids. It’s nice because her kids are all younger than mine so anything we outgrow we just pass on to her. Sometimes I feel a little bad about the amount of stuff we send home with her, but not bad enough to stop. Yesterday, we sent her home with Lizzy’s kitchen, dishes and plastic food. She mentioned that she needed to buy some snow pants and long underwear for her son for skiing. I managed to find her both as well as a pair of snow boots.

The best thing about knowing you aren’t having anymore children is that once someone outgrows something it can go. I don’t have to think; well, maybe I’ll have another child in a few years so I better keep it. The bad thing about it is once someone outgrows something it goes. I got rid of a lot of toys years ago when Will didn’t have any play skills so I’m buying toys for the second time. Seriously! We are on our second train set and I really wish I’d kept the garage. Oh well, DK mentioned that once her baby outgrew some of her toys she'll give some to me.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

“Church, please.”

I took Will to a nutritionist last week. He didn’t enjoy it, which is confusing because he spent the whole time looking at books. He actually requested church several times. I’m not sure why, as he has never before requested going to church. Maybe he thought if he requested something non-preferred I would let him leave.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

The Second Annual Turkey Trot

Last year my cousin and her family came for Thanksgiving. She suggested that we all go to the park for a Turkey Trot. When I asked her what that was. She explained that it involved exercise. We all walked over to the park and she and her husband jogged around the park a couple of times and I jogged very slowly -- alright, I walked around the park.

Today when the kids and I drove up to the house I noticed the flock of wild turkeys was back in my front yard. The kids were very excited at the sight of an animal in their yard. (I swear that living here is the next best thing to the kids actually owning a pet because we see a lot of wildlife!) Will ignored the turkeys and ran into the house to go to the bathroom and the other kids stayed outside to watch the turkeys. Three minutes later I looked out the window in my front yard to see Bri doubled over laughing, Will running to the car completely naked and Jake running after him trying to catch him. Fortunately, Jake got him back inside before I could make it down the stairs. When I looked back outside Bri was chasing nine turkeys across the street.

Sometimes I really don’t know what to say to my neighbors.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Thanksgiving the Easy Way

I got smart this year and decided to give myself a break for Thanksgiving; so, I'm going to Marcy's. I'm bringing desserts. I love making desserts.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Read, Lizzy Read!

It’s amazing how much Lizzy’s reading has improved in the couple of weeks that I’ve had her read to me. Gosh, I could have had her read a couple of books during the summer and she wouldn’t have had a reading problem. Poor Lizzy, she thinks that it rocks to be the littlest but actually sometimes it doesn’t. I’ve decided not to ask her teacher how much her reading has improved because if she’s caught up, well, there goes my motivation.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Maybe he wants to be home schooled?

Will started moving all the dining room chairs into the living room over a week ago. He either puts them in a long line or layers them two deep. Last night, as the whole family watched in kind of an amazed stupor, Will very carefully pushed the chairs to and fro until they were perfect with the front of one line butting up against the back of the other.

The chair moving is becoming a little annoying. When I bring my bowl of cereal into the dining room in the morning I just want to read the paper and eat my cereal! I don’t want to track down a chair and drag it back in the dining room while my cereal goes mushy. Or separate Lizzy and Jake as they fight over who gets to sit on the only chair at the table! Chair repositioning is not the kind of perseverating behavior I want to encourage in my nine year-old, why couldn’t he obsess over cleaning the house or reading to Lizzy?

Will had twelve chairs in the living room one morning! There were zero left in the dining room. But my greatest worry is that he’s getting pretty big, so big in fact that I can foresee him working his way up to moving around couches.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Question of the Day:

If I lined up all the toilet paper Will has unrolled, how many times would it circle the earth?

Friday, November 21, 2008

Contemplating my Mortality

I was driving Will back to school on route 9 when I noticed the driver of the car in front of me obviously was in a quandary over which lane she wanted to drive in. This is completely understandable as sometimes I have a hard time choosing an entree. I slowed down and gave her some space to decide; well, really I just wasn’t brave enough to try to squeeze through. I watched in awe as she drove throughWellesley straddling the dashed line markers. As the traffic got heavier I agonized over the decision that she must now feel forced to make -- but I underestimated her. She just scooted over a little. Someone driving a Spider noticed how close she was and swerved into the breakdown lane. I felt a little more concern when she turned towards Will’s school as autistic children might not know to dive out of the way if someone was driving on the wrong side of the road. Fortunately, she turned off; but as I drove past I creened my neck to look for the flask in her car.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Look Mom, A Circus!

I was at the computer when I heard the door clink, thinking it was my husband coming home I ignored it for a couple of seconds. Then I got up to check on Will. Out the window I see William running across the yard in a baby blue tee-shirt and the inevitable pair of backwards underwear. I didn’t stop to grab shoes or a coat I just ran after him. We’re both running down the middle of the street, but I’m calling his name, telling him to stop and trying not to wet my pants because I need to pee. We run past a crew cleaning up leaves from a yard. A guy driving his truck down the street pulls up by me to ask if I need help. As I’m jogging I manage to incoherently gasp out that I’m just trying to catch my son and I put on a burst of speed and manage to grab him.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Do you need a can opener with that?

Today I had to get a tooth pulled and having a gap in my mouth big enough to hide a small child makes me feel like a hillbilly. And because I can, I blame it on my dentist’s son who did my root cannel eighteen years ago. However, unfortunately a missing tooth does not magically cause an errand fairy to appear and do all the stuff I need to get done today. So, I stopped at Whole Foods to buy myself Calm, an herbal tea, that I suspect I will require today and some probiotics for Will. Then I went to Stop and Shop. However, nothing really looked good, quite possibly due to the nausea caused by the wad of bloody gauze in my mouth. But beans and canned vegetables were on sale so I put a lot of cans in my cart. Imagine my cart – 500 cans of beans and vegetables, two boxes of frozen waffles for Will, a bag of French fries, some cheese and crackers, granola bars and a couple of boxes of brownie mix. I looked like a homeless person.

Then my dad called me. “Hallooo,” I say. I’m trying to talk to him with a numb and swollen face and a mouthful of bloody gauze. However, I come to the surprising realization that I am not completely use to public humiliation. I still have a speck of pride that has not yet been excised out of me by my children and I get off the phone before the other customers, who think my slurred speech is due to drinking, call a manager. I slink out of the store fully expecting the store employees who naturally have mistaken me for a vagrant to say, “Excuse me, ma’am you know you can’t take the cart out of the parking lot.”

At this point I should have expected that CVS would not have my prescription ready but I’m an optimist. I waited at the drive up window my mind racing with the clock. Will I get home before Will’s bus? I did, but I was starving because I didn’t eat lunch before going to get my tooth pulled! I’m not really sure how that managed to happen because I always remember to eat. I looked in the fridge for a soft food. Why oh why, didn’t I buy something at the grocery store? Because it’s really hard to eat something with a half numb mouth and a cavern you’re trying to avoid! On a positive note, I’m lucky I didn’t eat my tongue because I probably wouldn’t have felt it.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Life is Slowly Getting Back to Normal

The last couple of weeks have not been great. Bri was home sick for over a week with Pneumonia. Then I got sick, then my husband, then Will got an ear infection, then Lizzy got Pneumonia. I’m still giving Will and Lizzy breathing treatments. I don’t take my kids to the doctor very often because their pediatrician is a half hour away and that raises the bar in terms of it being worth my time. But I’ve made up for that over the last few weeks when I feel like I’ve gone twice a week. But the most ridiculous thing about going to the doctor that often is that they still ask me if anything has changed. I feel like responding. “You know, it’s crazy but when I left here four days ago I decided to sell my house and move so yes, I have a new address. And my husband got a new job.” Quite frankly, stuff doesn’t change that quickly for me.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Facebook Loser

Yesterday I added some friends to Facebook. When I clicked on what I thought was my brother’s page I noticed he was born in 1982 which is not even the right decade and lived in a different city. I felt like a Facebook loser who asks random people, “Please be my friend.” So I sent the guy an email explaining that I thought he was my brother and maybe we were related. That wasn’t awkward at all and I’m sure he thought I was brilliant.

The response? It was my brother he just likes to shake things up and play with my mind. I haven’t decided what I will write on his wall, but rest assured it will be epic!

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Hansel in the Backyard

Will drops his clothes behind him the way Hansel dropped bread crumbs. I went outside to find his clothes. I found a shirt by the swings, and his hoodie, his socks and shoes on the trampoline. But I couldn’t find his pants. Hmmmm, I searched the entire back yard – no pants. I finally found them in the family room. I only wonder what came off first.

But if he’s Hansel then who am I?

Friday, November 14, 2008

Mountain Boy

I picked up Jake from his play practice and he informed me that he has to wear clothes under his costume and needs to wear deodorant during the performances. “Mom what’s deodorant?” He asked. I told him why people wear it and that he’d probably start wearing it in a couple of years. “Ewww!” was his response. But I clearly went into more detail than he wanted because when I mentioned that he’d also start showering every day he yelled, “Everyday!” Clearly, I’d just informed him of a future colossal waste of time. Let's see, eleven year-old boy. Yeah, at this point in his life he could probably go a year without bathing or changing his sheets.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Living the Dream

Lizzy is home sick again. At this point I’m just suspicious she wants to stay home and watch TV all day!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Apparently I’m right out of a 50s sitcom, or at least I am according to Marcy

The kids were out of school on Veteran’s Day. Jake’s scout leader called and said she was planning a service project for the troop. When Marcy asked me what our plans were for the day I told her Jake and I were going to go rake leaves for a widow. She laughed at me and asked, “Why not an elderly couple?” She said that I sounded like I belonged in the 50s.

But the raking wasn’t all fun and games because we only had one good rake and both Jake and I wanted it. I got it because I’m bigger, but Jake wasn’t happy using the scavenged rake (it's partially broken and has dangling pieces) that I appropriated from my neighbor’s garbage on trash day. Fortunately, someone brought brownies and there were two adorable little girls that Jake gave rides to, so his day wasn’t ruined.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

One of my Dominos Fell Down

I kept Lizzy and Will home from school Monday; Lizzy because she threw up that morning and Will because my husband guilted me into it. I decided that as long as I was keeping Will home I’d make it worth my while by taking him to the doctor. I drove to Newton for a 3:30 appointment. Will had an ear infection and wasn’t at 100% oxygen. So, he got a breathing treatment and we waited for the doctor to come back. And we waited for the doctor, and we waited for the doctor. I was inclined to give her the benefit of the doubt because we had been squeezed into an already full schedule. But as I noticed it was getting up on 5:00 and I was worried about not getting home to drive Bri to piano I went out to find the doctor. . . . She had forgotten about us. She ran right in and was very apologetic. And she mentioned that she had forgotten someone that morning as well. I can only assume her memory problems are due to her four children as I am sure my four children negatively affect my memory.

So, I called my husband and asked him to take Bri to piano and this is where my whole house of cards fell apart. Either my husband thought that I took Jake with me to the doctor or he was so busy working that he didn’t notice Jake wasn’t home. I routinely depend upon the “Jake didn’t come home on the bus with Lizzy – that’s right, he has play practice” methodology. Unfortunately, since I was still at the doctor’s office at the time Jake would be arriving home my method failed. Only when I noticed that my friend had called my cell phone did I realize that I had neglected to ask my husband to pick up Jake. So, I called him and asked him to pick up Jake on his way to Bri’s piano lesson. He did but was twenty minutes late picking him up and got my reprimand. (Thanks for taking one for the team, honey!) About ten minutes later Bri noticed that she had grabbed the wrong backpack and didn’t have her music. I was closer to the house by that time and drove home to pick up her music planning to meet up with Bri and give her the music. My brilliant plan saved them about 4 minutes as we met up on our street. I threw the music and a phone book at them (because, of course, no one had her piano teacher’s phone number) and drove Will to his MyGym class. We were naturally late. Then I had to pick up Bri and didn’t make it home until 7:20. Then to top off the night – Lizzy threw up. I’m just lucky I had cancelled Tae Kwan Do and Bri didn’t have play practice!

Monday, November 10, 2008

I didn't ask her what year she was born.

I heard the woman behind me say, “That’s not old!” I turned around and asked what Jake had called old. “Anyone born before 1975,” she responded.

I had to explain that in Jake calculations that was in fact near to death and tell her that he asks me questions like, “In your day did cars exist?”

I had him going for a while about having to wind up our cars to get them started. He kept saying, “No, you didn’t!” but in half disbelieving tones. But on a positive note – Bean I guess you aren’t old, yet.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

It just as easily could have taken out the fence!

A couple of weeks ago, a 30 foot branch from one of our trees fell onto some of our bushes. We cleared that out today. My husband got out his chain saw and started hacking away at the branches. That must have emboldened us to channel our inner lumberjack because he mentioned that he wanted to take down two more trees. I said, “Why don’t we just go for it.” The first one was easy but we were concerned about the second. It was really tall and it leaned over our beautiful fence. We had about five feet between the fence and our shed where it would need to fall. We got out the ladder and tied a rope around the trunk and my husband started sawing away. I pulled on the rope and dropped that tree one foot parallel to the fence. My husband had to pause and admire how well we had done. We probably saved ourselves $800. I was so impressed with myself I suggested we take out more trees behind our house and make the kids a bigger play area.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Spreading the Love

I feel that I’ve spent the last couple of weeks busily getting nothing done. It sucks when I can’t think of one accomplishment beyond uh, well, driving my kids around a lot. I haven’t even been exercising. I got on a machine for fifteen minutes on Thursday and was winded. I didn’t feel I was getting enough air. But I’m starting to feel better. Once I finish transferring my hacking cough to my husband, which should happen this weekend, I should be able to exercise again.

Friday, November 7, 2008

The Littlest Part II

I had Lizzy’s Parent Teacher Conference today and met Lizzy’s teacher. She was adorable. I’ve noticed that Hemenway’s principal only hires cute, youthful teachers but I think she outdid herself with Lizzy’s teacher. I wanted to pinch her cheeks!

Often the youngest sibling gets more stuff or to do things younger than the older ones did. I remember my oldest sister telling me that she fought the battle to get to wear makeup and the battle for bangs. We all lost the battle for pierced ears; I rectified that immediately after moving out in college. But I’ve slammed up against the ugly side of youngest sibling privilege! Well, at least the way it works in my family. Lizzy has an old and worn out mother. The kind of mother who assigns a sibling to read to her instead of doing it herself; the kind of mother who has been doing this for years! Brianne read to me everyday through at least second grade. I taught Jacob to read before he started kindergarten. William . . . we’ll leave him out of this. No, maybe not, maybe I can somehow transfer the blame from myself. Anyway, by the time it was Lizzy’s turn I thought I have two readers who can soldier some of Lizzy’s read time.

Well it hasn’t worked very well. Lizzy isn’t quite where she should be in reading. Her teacher was a little confused because she is where she should be in spelling and she said that most kids are in the opposite situation. This is the part of the conversation where I think it diverged from the typical conference. I’m different than other mothers because there is nothing like repeated public humiliation to take away the need for others to admire you. You eventually reach the point where you rarely care about what other people think of you. It’s called Zen. I can find Will at the park wearing only underwear and think well; at least he’s not naked. So, at this part of the conversation I flat out say that it’s probably because I don’t have her read to me. (I gave it to Jacob as a chore. Although now, I must say that I’m reconsidering that assignment!)

My parting comment to the teacher you ask? I mentioned that I might have Lizzy practice addition with her brother.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Fall in New England Seems Different This Year

Maybe it’s because I live on a different street next to a state park and my house feels like it’s nestled in the woods in a corner of Framingham. The glorious orange oak leaves are stubbornly clinging to the tree in my front yard and my back yard is rimmed with pine and oak trees. But now I can see neighbors’ houses peeking through the trunks of the trees. This summer was oddly rainy and somehow I feel the rain affected the fall, although I haven’t lived here long enough to have become fully integrated into the seasonal changes. Maybe the oak has the perfect symmetry with New England: hardy, beautiful and durable.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Hope for the Future

While I was driving the kids to their Monday lessons Bri casually mentioned that their school had an election. I asked her who she voted for. “Obama,” she replied.

“You know that your dad and I are voting for Obama, too.” I said.

“I know, but that’s not why I’m voting for him.”

“Really? Why are you voting for him?”

“I believe that Obama thinks carefully about his decisions before making them. McCain would do whatever he thought was right then. McCain would try to win the war though the military even though the General of the Army said that we can’t win this war through weapons. I think Obama will find a better way to get us out of the war.”

Then, as my heart swelled with pride, she reinforced my belief in the usual thought processes of twelve-year olds by adding, “And I liked the videos supporting Obama on YouTube better.”

Monday, November 3, 2008

Crack your Cheeks

I guess it was inevitable that I would catch something from Bri or Lizzy. I’ve taken them to the pediatrician 3 times in the last two weeks which is a lot for me. Since I was brought up by “him who does not feel pain” even to the point of having a root canal without pain medicine, yes, really! I’ve internalized that lesson even if I do feel pain. Both because I’m a redhead (we do feel pain more intensely -- its biology!) and because I’m a wimp. So, while I might not take pain medicine until my husband reminds me, I will alway wimp out and succumb to drugs.

My husband took all the kids to church and left me home alone. That in and of itself almost qualifies as a vacation as I’m not expected to do anything (except make dinner if I’m not deathly ill) while they’re gone; I wouldn’t even do that but my husband always makes a lovely and elaborate dinner complete with garnishes even if he has to drag himself in to the kitchen to do it. Which I do appreciate but it raises expectations for me which I would sooner do without.

I tried to drug myself with two Advils because I do not like the sensation of my brain reverberating against my skull when I cough, nor do I enjoy the accompanying aches from my ribcage. I tried to sleep with a cough drop in my mouth but couldn’t. And I was freezing despise wearing socks, a sweater, an extra blanket and a heating pad!

I feel like King Lear who has been cast of by his two eldest daughters after foolishly giving up his kingdom. “Blow, winds, and crack your cheeks! rage! blow!” Except foolishly it is my own body that has cruelly cast me off into the heath.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Transfering the Blame

Friday afternoon, Marcy and I took an exercise ball class at the Y. It may have initially been my idea but since I knew I would be late getting there and Marcy made me come anyway I believe that I am able to transfer the blame to Marcy. Blame because my butt still hurts from that class!

Saturday night I was complaining to Bri about how much my butt hurt when I decided that I needed to go to the source – Marcy. I called her up. And before I could even start describing the agony I was experiencing she asked, “Does your butt hurt? Mine woke me up in the middle of the night.”

"Feasting" on the Gospel

I looked down the pew at Jacob who was sucking on a dum dum. I mouth to him, “No Candy!” In response he slumps down and covers his mouth and the candy with his jacket.

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