Thursday, June 19, 2008

Needle In A Haystack


This morning when Howie woke up he screwed his head on backwards and must have forgotten to run the virus scan on his brain because he woke up with a system malfunction. He woke up late, forgot to flush after he pooped and then ran downstairs to the basement. His "office" is in the basement. And I used that term, "office", loosely because it's basically a cubby hole with a Steeler pendant taped to the wall, a "Sopranos" poster tacked to a stud and cob webs so thick that one has to hack your way through with a machete to reach the desk. He checked his email and made some calls. Except he didn't use the cordless phone which sits right in front of him, he chose instead to use the "Incredibles" phone that someone gave Birdie. This way he could plug in his headset and talk hands free as he masturbated his keyboard with gentle strokes.

That's all well and good but then he forgot to hang up the phone and later this morning when I wanted to call someone, I picked up the phone only for it to buzz at me in a bitchy tone and say that there was a "line in use". Great. There's only like a million phones roaming around this house. Really, a random phone could be found anywhere. It could be covered in chocolate and goldfish crumbs at the bottom of a toy box. It could be buzzing in the trashcan under the slimy, rotting salad in a bag. It could be stuffed down Bear's diaper smothered in a pile of poop. Totally needle in a haystack.

I searched under couch cushions, in the bathroom, inside shoes, toy boxes and plants. I dumped laundry baskets and backpacks stuffed with glittery school projects only to be left empty handed. I happened to glance up and noticed that Howie was IMing me saying some shit about "why haven't you answered the phone" and I won't repeat what I typed back because it was so terroristic that I'm probably now flagged at the pentagon.

Turns out Bubba threw up at school today and I needed to go pick him up. They called me but obviously I couldn't answer the phone so they called Howie who was trying in vain to call me. They called my neighbor and Bubba's godmother and my friend who were all trying simultaneously to call me to no avail. Howie finally told me that he must have forgotten to hang up the phone so I did and reached the nurse who was by this point shaking with anxiety at not being able to reach me.

I know it was an honest "accident" but ever fiber of my being wants to take Howie's headset and "accidentally" throw it into our septic system. Really, it was totally an "accident" when I strategically placed the headset under one of my minivan tires and ran over it. Twice.

The "A" Word


At the suggestion of Bubba's pre-school teachers we finally decided to take him in to see a developmental pediatrician. It was a miracle we got an appointment because the first two times I tried they informed me that the list was 18 months long. And I'm not even kidding about that. Eighteen fu--ing months! We were lucky enough to reach a doctor who's practice is moving and just happened to have an opening.

And after 2 years of wondering and worrying I heard the word I've been dreading. Autism. I knew there was a chance and I tried to prepare myself but nothing can ever make you ready to hear that as a diagnosis for your own child. Bubba actually falls under an umbrella of autistic disorders and was more specifically diagnosed with something called PDD n.o.s (Pervasive Disability Disorder). This means that he is mildly autistic and high functioning. It also means that we might be facing an uphill battle with getting him services offered to most autistic children because he is only mildly affected.

The doctor spent four hours with us explaining everything and I have to admit, it's daunting. I was conflicted about the diagnosis because while I am happy we can move forward and do the best for Bubba, it's never easy to hear the truth. There is no more hiding behind "oh, he's just a boy" or "he'll grow out of it." It's there...in black and white all over his charts and there's no denying it. In a way I am relieved because all this time I've been struggling and blaming myself for not doing enough to get through to him. For not teaching him enough, or spending enough time with him or being consistent enough. And now I know it's not me and not only have I not been doing a bad job, I've been in fact doing a great job as the mother to a child who has autism.

I feel very hopeful for Bubba. The doctor was very positive and said in many cases like his, with proper intervention, children with PPD can make huge advancements. So much so that their symptoms can literally fade away as they age. The doc also made mention of Birdie and the possibility that she may have ADHD. We've wondered about that as well but never made an effort to get that diagnosed because we would never medicate her or anything. When we dug a little deeper we found that there is a strong posibility that Howie could have adult ADD. Which explains a lot!

So, I'm living with a husband with ADD, a daughter who possibly has ADHD and a son who's got autism. The fact that I haven't completely lost my mind is a damn straight miracle ordained by God himself!

So with proper eduction Bubba will be fine. With some behavior modification Birdie will be fine and with a few cracks over the head, Howie will be okay too. I think he's owning this whole ADD thing a little too much. I think he just likes that he has an excuse to ignore me when I tell him to take out the trash. Again!

I Can't Help Falling In Love


Yesterday we attended a wedding for a friend of ours. She's a co-worker of Howie's who he lassoed into babysitting for us a few years ago back when we only had one child. I immediately hit it off with her and we've been friends ever since although I admit we've been shitty friends to her since we've had like 14 kids or something. Who knows how many we have, I lost count.

Anyway, I love weddings. And I'm becoming quite a softie in my old age because I want to cry at every wedding I attend. I'm like that old woman in the back who nobody knows but everyone notices because she's sobbing and sniffling in the back row. That and she's got blue hair and smells like a weird mixture of moth balls and Liz Claiborne. I think that it's something about getting older and understanding the importance of milestones in our lives, whatever it may be. I cried when our babysitter told me about her valedictorian speech. I cried when a neighbor (who I don't even know that well) told us about her upcoming divorce. I cried when I saw a pack of girls enter the church in their first communion dresses. I never was this sappy before, but now I cry at ADT commercials. You know, the one's with a family telling about how their houses were vandalized and how they felt so violated and now because of ADT they can sleep soundly at night. Even though I know those people are actors I want to like send them over a basket of home-made cookies and a condolence card or something.

The wedding was outdoors at a yacht club on the shore overlooking the Long Island Sound. Gorgeous. Imagine a cool evening, salty ocean breezes, seagulls flying overhead with a duet of violinist playing in the background. Stunning. And the best part was that it was a small wedding and it was so informal and intimate. The groomsmen wore khaki pants with jackets and flip flops, the bride a flowing summer dress. Me? Well, I was glad that I could wear my sunglasses to cover my tears. They read Corinthians 13 which is one of my favorites albeit quite overused. It never seems to be lost on me because it always takes things back to basics for me. Having been married now for nearly 7 years, together with Howie for 11, it's easy to get caught up in the daily grind of life. We forget how simple it is to love each other and how blessed we are to have love in our lives whether it's our spouse, children or extended families. I know it gets to Howie as well because every time a couple reads their vows he reaches over and squeezes my hand as if to say, "hey, I still feel the same way about you" and it makes me deeply exhale. It's an opportunity to remember why you married your husband or wife and to remember what it felt like on your wedding day. For me, weddings are even a better reminder than our own anniversary because I can put myself in that bride's position and remember what it was like to stand there, sweating like a pig not knowing whether to laugh or cry but wanting to burst with happiness and maybe even a little fear.

As the bride walked down the aisle after the ceremony, arm in arm with her new husband she raised her hand in the air and let out a squeal and the party began. We (and by we I mean ME) drank poisonous amounts of alcohol consisting of margaritas, cosmopolitans, vodka with orange juice, beer, something called a blue Hollywood and of course Champagne. We sat at a table with some more of Howie's co-workers and now having met them I can understand why nothing gets done at work. No, all joking aside they were lots of fun. If you hadn't guessed already, the whole wedding was a beach theme so each place setting had a shell with our names in calligraphy on them. And at one point we were so drunk that we tried to make bras by stringing together the shells and plastering them across our chests. At this moment there is a photo of my name on a shell suctioned to some woman's breast. I know, pretty hot right? :-) What can I say, that's what you get when you combine a bunch of crazy women, double shots of tequila and lots of 80's music! I think at one point someone did the splits in front of the dj booth and the dj nearly came in his pants! Indeed, love was in the air. We noticed a couple making out in the cake line. The husband was nibbling on his wife's shoulders and within minutes of setting their cake on the table they rushed out of the banquet hall only to re-appear about 20 minutes later with post-coitus written all over their faces, disheveled clothes and tousled hair. Nice!

We danced to Elvis's "I Can't Help Falling In Love" while Howie serenaded me and then we ate nauseating amounts of red velvet cake. Course, it might not have been the cake but rather all the shots of tequila that gave me the queasies! And at the end of the night when all the liquor had been drunk and I was back at home lying nestled next to Howie I made a wish for Ann...may she find as much happiness and fulfillment in her marriage as I have. Because if she does, she will truly be one of the luckiest women in the world.

YOU Are One Sexy Bitch


You know what I hate? Going to the doctor. The gyno doctor in particular because well, you know, she sticks a huge metal contraption up my hoo ha, scrapes my insides and then jams her pinkie up my butt hole.

Yeah. Not exactly my idea of a good time. Plus, every time I go I have to get weighed and I hate that. I spend the night before my appointment trying to avoid heavy foods, trying to score water pills so that I can drop some quick water weight and always picking out my clothes carefully. You see, clothes will always add an extra, say...20 pounds to your actual weight, so you have to choose carefully! Between that and the water weight, breakfast I ate and jewlery they should totally subtract like 30 pounds from what the scale says, right? Can I hear an AMEN?




I also shave before my appointments. Everywhere. The first area I shave is a no-brainer. I replace the carpet with some floor boards. You know, to impress the doctor and make things easier for her. I don't want her to have to dig her way through the jungle down there. I can just see her now dressed in a jungle hat and camouflage, hacking her way through my overgrown tropical forest. Yeah. No. The second reason for the shaving is of course to take more weight off. Cause you know, every ounce counts!

So my yearly gyno appointment was yesterday and after the standard blood pressure/weigh in (without shoes of course), I was escorted to the exam room. After a quick question and answer session with the nurse I was asked to remove all of my clothing. And they didn't even turn down the lights or play any mood music. The audacity!

Last year, after my exam, the doctor talked to me about my weight. This was ALWAYS an issue. I hate the lectures but this time was different. She was cool about the whole thing and really inspired me. I started working out, eating right and overall taking care of myself so this time I had some good news to report. I have lost 75 pounds this year and for the first time in god knows how long my doctor looked at me was like, you're doing everything right. You're healthy, you're fit and I'm proud of you!


Whoa!

I laid back on the exam table and stared at the ceiling. Is it just me or would it not be cool to just once look up and see a poster of a naked man pointing at you and holding a sign that says, "YOU are a sexy bitch." :-)

We started talking and she was gushing about how much dedication it takes to do what I did and I told her had it not been for her, I would never have changed. That talk of hers gave me new direction, motivation and support. It was exactly what I needed and I was eternally grateful. When she sat up I noticed that she was crying. I was hoping it was from what I said and not that she had just seen me naked. And it turned out it WAS what I said. Of course her crying made me start crying and we sat there crying and hugging. It was a moment. One that made my day and probably hers too.

I feel different about going to the doctor's office now. I guess certain experiences change a person. Like bringing your doctor to tears and crying and hugging her while your butt sticks out of your gown and goop runs down your legs.

When Did That Happen?


Man, I'm tired. The weekend was a huge success but also exhausting. It started Friday when I went with Birdie on a field trip with her Kindergarten class to the Essex steam train and river boat. We were planning for a hot day. Well, mostly hot...it was supposed to be 85 and humid so I dressed us appropriately in shorts, capris and tank tops. The early morning rain didn't worry me, I thought it would clear up but instead we spent the entire day huddled under our umbrella freezing our asses off. And people kept staring at me like I was an idiot for wearing summer clothes. Well excuse me! I guess I didn't get the memo between the 6am news and the 8:30 arrive time that said it would be 30 degrees colder than expected!

Later, I also learned that they were probably staring at me because I had toothpaste smeared all over the front of my pants courtesy of my clumsy daughter. She dropped the goo on the drawer in front of the sink and then I leaned against it and smeared shit all over myself. I didn't notice until we were sitting on the bus and by then it was too late...the whole kindergarten class and their parents had seen me looking like a slob. And the funny thing is that I tried hard to look good that day. I flat ironed my hair, put on make-up, earrings, pressed my clothes and even polished my fingernails. But that's like dressing up an orangutang in high heels and expecting people to think it looks high class.

We rode a steam train through Essex followed by a river boat down the Connecticut River which I learned is larger than the Hudson but much more shallow. We also stopped by Gillette Castle
in East Haddam. I would have taken more pictures but by this point it was pouring rain outside and I was so cold that I was literally shaking so it would have been futile to try to take pics. It was nice but let me tell ya, being trapped on a riverboat with hundreds of kindergarteners is a sure fire way to lose your mind. At one point I considered flinging myself from the top deck of the boat just to be able to hear my own thoughts.

I was talking to one of the dads on the trip and kind of noticed that he was a nice looking man. I remember thinking "wow, he's kind of hot, how did I not notice him before?" And then I stopped in horror because I realized I am now finding older men attractive. When did THAT happen? It wasn't that long ago that I was drooling at guys in their mid 20's to early 30's. And every once in a while I would see a guy who was barely legal and my insides would twinge. Not on this day. This dad was in his late 30's to early 40's, shaved head due to partial baldness who pulled out his reading glasses to skim through the event brochure. Holy hell! Next thing I know I will be checking out some 70 year old guy and be all wow look at those muscles when he puts his weight on the cane. What a hot piece of ass! *gag*

*As a side note, I happened to click on the "my readers" section of my blog and noticed that my readership has nearly doubled. I don't really know how that happened but wow, I'm so flattered that so many of you would be interested in my babble. Welcome! Nice to meet you and thanks for reading. Don't be afraid to leave me a comment so I can get to know you better. And if you blog please let me know so I can subscribe to you. I don't always get to every blog but I try my best!

My Two Dads


It's funny, really, that when I was growing up I was a mama's girl. I never really had a lot of "dad" interaction and now I'm surrounded by dads. My biological father left when he and my mother divorced. I was two. I didn't have much contact with him firstly because he lived across the country and secondly because my mom put up road blocks for him. That's something I didn't understand until I was an adult but now I get it. My stepdad was always there but usually kept me at arms length. Again, my mom put up road blocks for him so we were never able to build a good relationship. He's family, but not exactly what I would quantify as a dad. He's more like a weird old uncle. You know, I care about him but sometimes I look at him and wonder what planet he's from.

Now that my mom has passed, I'm left without a true parent but I have to give these men credit, they are trying. My biological dad isn't the lovey dovey type. We have sort of a business relationship where he checks in from time to time to see if I'm still alive. But it's always a weird conversation because it's like I'm talking to a stranger. I know him, I'm happy to talk to him and there are pleasantries, but it's ackward. What do you say to someone who shares your DNA but doesn't really KNOW you? There are so many things I want to say to him but it's just...weird. "How are the kids?" "Oh, Great...getting big." "How's work?" "You know, keeping me busy." *silence*

Talking to my Papi is a little different. He's like talking to a three year old. "What did you do this week, Papi?" "Well, I woke up and had cereal and watched cartoons but they were too scary and they gave me nightmares when I napped. Then I had to poop and there's something wrong with my poop because it's green, did you ever see green poop, it's gross. And smelly. Like old cheese. But I like cheese. Can I have some cheese?"

He recently lost his wallet at the store. Someone took all of his money but tossed the wallet. It was turned in to the police thank goodness because he was carrying his resident card, driver's license and social security card. I told him he needs to keep a piece of paper in it that says "if found, please call this number." He was thinking of coming for a visit but gas prices and air fare were way to expensive. "It's okay...there's plenty of time", he said. Which freaked me out because those kinds of statements are always proceeded by some kind of cataclysmic event. Like when say "no problem" and suddenly everything goes wrong. Or when you say "I'll be right back" and then walk outside where a bolt of lightning strikes a tree which cracks and falls over right on your head! It's like you're just tempting fate by saying stuff like that!

It's probably just my overactive imagination combined with my obsessive need to worry which is making me batshit. I hope there is plenty of time and he's not just saying that because he knows something and isn't telling me. I know, I'm just paranoid but I worry. He's the only thing resembling a parent that I have left and while he may frustrate me at times and makes me roll my eyes and smack myself in the forehead, I would be lost without him.

So now this mama's girl is surrounded by men. Fathers. And while neither can fill the void left in my life by the loss of my mom, I'm grateful for them both. They may not know what they are doing, but at least they are trying and that's more than I ever expected from either of them.

What Would You Do?


The jackpot for our state lottery is up to 15 million. It's small potatoes compared to some of the jackpots in the hundreds of millions but that still doesn't keep Howie and I from drooling every time they announce it on the news. And inevitably the following conversation ensues...

Me: "What would we DO with that much money?"
Howie: "Take care of Mamaw for life, take a vacation, make sure the kid's college funds were overflowing, make sure we had plenty in retirement, donate some to charity, pay off the mortgage, remodel the kitchen...what would you do?"
Me: "I would cash out a million dollars of crisp $100 bills, throw them on the bed and roll around naked all over them. Then I would buy myself a diamond studded toothbrush and a pair of platform shoes with a goldfish in the heel."
Howie: "Nice."
Me: "Or you could just buy me a kitten."
Howie: "Not a CHANCE!"

So what would you do with say...$100 million dollars?

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Well, It Just Wasn't Meant To Be


I've been bugging Howie about adopting a kitten. I want a kitty because I recently saw one and it was so amazingly cute. Cuter than I remember kittens being. I used to have the same reaction when I would see a pregnant woman. I'd ogle her round belly, let out a sigh and wish that I was pregnant again. And while I was daydreaming one of my children would be lying on the ground licking dirt from the sidewalk and the other would have a diaper full of nuclear diarrhea that was starting to drip down his pant leg into his shoes. But I would ignore all that reality shit and continue my daydream (cue music and hazy mind vision) about a bouncy, giggly baby who would cuddle for hours and smell like freshly applied Johnson's and Johnson's. Except that's when my dream would be rudely interrupted by my one of my kids biting a chunk of flesh from my legs and spitting it across the highway.

I know in my head that a kitten would be a lot of work but I'm still sold on the idea. Cause I'm still daydreaming about a cuddly little purry thing who sits on my lap while I watch TV and I'm supressing the scratching, hissing and attitude. Howie......well, lets just say that he would rather me tie his testicles to the tow hitch of his truck and drag his naked body across a freshly asphalted street. That doesn't keep me from testing the waters to see if he's changed his mind. "Can we get a kitten now?". "NO." "How bout now?" "No." *pause* "How bout now?" "NO!" He's not wavering much but my hopes were raised when we were driving through the neighborhood the other day and he's all "check that out" as he points with his mouth to a sign on in the yard that reads "FREE KITTENS". I gasped and sat up quickly with my eyes permanently stuck to the sign and my head turning as we slowly drove by. "Does that mean we can get a.." "NO!" *sigh* "Someone's there, look lets go now before they give them all away." "NO."
"Why not?"
"It's just another mouth to feed."
"How much could it possibly eat, it's not like it's a elephant."
"I dont' like cats."
"That's what you said before we got Tyson and now you love her."
"No I don't!"
"Please."
"No."
"Pretty please. With a cherry on top...and marshmallows...and whipped cream...and nuts..."

He let out a loud sigh and finally turned the car around as I shook with excitement and let out a little squeal. I ran up the steps of the house, knocked on the door and when a woman answered I threw myself at her feet and asked to see the kittens. Except I was seconds late. The last kitten had just been given away and with that my hopes were dashed. When I came back to the car empty handed and explained what had happened Howie says, "well, it just wasn't meant to be."

And he has been regretting those words ever since:

"Hey, that last brownie was mine."
"Well, it just wasn't meant to be."
"The Penguins lost the game last night."
"Well, it just wasn't meant to be."
"Weren't we going to make out tonight?"
"Well, it just wasn't meant to be."

At this point we've compromised. I agree not to get a kitten and he agrees that I can complain a little longer.

The First Supper


Ever since Bear grew out of her high chair we have had a problem with our dining room table. A problem with space. We had a four seater when we desperately needed a 6. If Mamaw was over for dinner both Howie and I had to stand and eat our dinner. It wasn't such a huge deal for me since I usually end up waitressing rather than sitting down for dinner anyway.

We definitely needed a new table but the finances limited us. Luckily, a few months ago, Howie happened upon a going out of business sale that afforded us the opportunity to buy a beautiful table for $250.00. It was marked down like a gazillion percent. It didn't have chairs so the thing sat in our garage for a LONG time until this last weekend when we finally found some suitable chairs at IKEA . We put the old table and chairs up on craigslist and they were sold within 2 hours! We broke even with the cost of the chairs, woo HOO!
The table is HUGE. Well, maybe it just seems huge in comparison to the other table but still. Howie and I sat at opposite ends of the table and we had to shout at each other. I think it might be wise to invest in an intercom system so that we can converse during meal times. Either that or learn sign language. Or invest in a couple bull horns.


So tonite was our first night eating a meal together at the new table. What a wonderful experience. I actually had room to put food on the table, spread the kids a safe distance apart and sit together and discuss current events. You know, topics suitable for toddlers. Like world politics, the stock market, gas prices and the election. And this is how the discussion went:

Howie: "Can you pass me the soy sauce?"
Birdie: "I can only eat one carrot, ONE carrot."
Me: *trying to reach Howie from across the gigantous table * You have to eat more than one carrot."
Bear: "More, more, more, more."
Bubba: "What's a cow say?"
Me: "Moooo."
Howie: "Just throw it at me."
Me: "I'm not going to throw you the soy sauce."
Bear: "More, more, more, more." *giggles*
Birdie: "One carrot is just too much, more than enough. More than one will get stuck in my throat and then I won't be able to breath and then I will die. Do you guys want me to die?"
Howie: "Eat all of your carrots and stop complaining."
Bubba: "What's a pig say.....oink, oink, oink, oink, oink, oink, oink."
Bear: *with a mouth full of food* "More, more, more."
Me: "Bubba, quiet and eat your chicken."
Bubba: "What's a chicken say? cluck, cluck, cluck, cluck, cluck."
Me: *Gets up to walk the mile around the table and deliver the soy sauce."
Bubba:"What's a horse say?.....Mom, mom, mom, mom, mom, what's a horse say?"
Birdie: *crying* "But I HATE carrots, they're gross.
Me: "A horse says 'neeeeiiiigh'." *shaking head and making raspberry sound*
Howie: "That's enough complaining Birdie. Eat your carrots or else I will make you eat all of the brussel sprouts too!"
Birdie: *stuffs her face with carrots*
Bubba: *spills his milk*
Bear: "Want some, want some."
Me:*cleans up spill and pours Bear a glass of milk*

By this point everyone was done with their food and I hadn't even begun. I really wanted some soy sauce but I didn't have the energy to get up and walk around the table so I ate dry brown rice and a bowl full of left over brussel sprouts. And while it was a crazy meal, at least we were all sitting there together. A complete party of five, dining together and all eating the same meal. The first of many, many, more meals to come and it made me smile :-)

Practicing Great Restraint


Sitting on the couch at night watching TV...

Me: "Are you tired, wanna go to bed?"
Howie: "Nope, I really want to watch this."

"This" is a golf reality show.

Me: "Okay, but then after can we watch House on Tivo?"
Howie: "Sure."

After a few minutes of picking at my fingernails and shoving handfulls of saltless sunflower seeds into my mouth I looked over and noticed his head was bent backwards, mouth wide open, eyes glued together with his snores rattling the windows.

Me: "Hey, lets go to bed?"
Howie: "NO, I'm watching this!"
Me: "Are not, you're sleeping."
Howie: "Nuh uh."
Me: "Your eyes were closed and you were snoring!"
Howie: "I was just resting my eyes for a second...see, I'm awake."
Me: "If you're going to sleep, then can we watch House?"
Howie: "This is almost over, I promise."

I started to read a book and within seconds I heard him snoring again.

Me: "Hey, you...lets go to bed."
Howie: *no response*
Me: *rubbing his shoulder* "Lets go to sleep. Hey. Helloooooo."
Howie: *half asleep* "I want to watch this show."

I said "goodnight" and went to bed. I was reading when he walked into our bedroom giving me the stink eye. "Just leave me alone and come to bed without me, wontcha."



Lets just say he's lucky I didn't kill him in his sleep last night.

Monthly Memo To Kids: May 2008

To: The Fruit of My Loins
From: The Parent You Get Your Good Looks From
Re: Because I Said So



Birdie:
I guess you figured you'd end year five with a bang because you really put me through the ringer this month. It started when you wrote in PERMANENT marker all over your bedroom wall. When I saw it my first inclination was to laugh because what kid hasn't done THAT in their lifetime? But I decided to suppress the laughter lest I encourage you to do it again. So I swallowed the laughter and a funny thing happened. It pissed me off and before I knew it I was searching the house for ANY permanent marker or writing impliment, tossing them all into the bath tub and setting them all on fire. All of that while I was screaming at you, of course. But you didn't even understand what I was screaming because what I had to say was so foul and disgusting that I decided to say it all in Spanish. All you heard was a jumble of words you couldn't understand when really I was saying that I must have eaten a crazy sandwhich with a side of stupid on the day I stopped taking birth control! It didn't stop there. Oh NO! You snuck your spring school pictures out of the house (along with your brother's) and took them to school. On the bus ride you ripped them all up and passed them out to fellow bus riders and blanketed the school with them as well. I got a call from your teacher. And the principal. It wasn't the first conversation we'd had about your behavior that week. You sure are lucky that I love you because you were this close to living out the rest of your childhood in a straight jacket. Mainly because you won't keep your hands to yourself. You've stolen money and food from your Mamaw's house. That's right...you stole from a poor, defenseless, blind woman who was crazy enough to let you have a sleep over at her house. You also keep picking up your baby sister no matter how many times I tell you to stop. This month you dropped her and we ended up in the emergency room because we were sure her leg was broken and she'd never walk again. Lucky for you she comes from sturdy stock! On the bright side, you have been better since we put the clinkers on you and put you in lock down mode. We've totally re-defined your boundaries and it seems to be working because you've been a joy the last few days. I think we're starting to understand each other. You do what we say, we let you live.




Bubba:
Your dad thinks that he's failed you because sometimes you can be such a drama queen! You would rather go naked than wear a shirt with a *gasp* stain on it. God forbid you get a fleck of dirt in or on your shoes and you can't stand for the sun to hit your skin. "Oh my god, I'm melting, a bright warm light is hitting my skin and I'm going to soon be a puddle of mushy body parts dripping down the driveway. For the love of God make the light go away!" It's like you're half human, half vampire. Also, I think your teachers are crazy. At my last meeting with them they seem to think that you are regressing at school. They said that you changed after February vaction and are not yourself. They didn't take into account that they changed the classroom and where there used to be only boys in your class there are now 2 girls. Two hot girls that give you the warm and fuzzies and make you think it isn't cool to sing the Peanut Butter and Jelly song at circle time anymore. They didn't consider that you stopped taking naps, you've had allergies from hell and are on prescription medication. I know for a fact that you are doing better. You are talking in complete sentences, engaging in conversations with others, playing nicely with other children, sharing, requesting help without as many meltdowns and eating a million times better. You are starting to recognize that you could branch out your culinary pursuits to things other than frozen chicken nuggets and spiderman fruit snacks. I know that you have some learning issues and we are working to get you through all of that but I also know that a lot of what they perceive as "a problem" is really just part of your personality. It's okay to be shy or not to feel like doing a puzzle on a Monday. I get you so much better than anyone else does because we are EXACTLY alike. Sometimes we don't make any sense. We can be moody and unreasonable. We take a while to warm up to new people, we like to keep others guessing. I get that. I understand that when you have a cranky day at school it doesn't mean you are coming down with a contageous virus, it just means that you woke up a little pissy ass and need to be left the hell alone. I know it because I see it in your eyes, I feel it eminating frome every pore in your body. I get you, my boy. Even if nobody else does.




Bear:
Don't tell anyone else that I told you this, especially your brother and sister, but baby girl....you are the cutest thing that ever walked the planet. You can make me smile just by looking at you and there are times when I just want to pick you up and eat you. I start shoving your arms into my mouth but you keep resisting. It's a good thing you're so darned cute though because you are becoming quite the handful. You are climbing on everything. I swear if I left you to your own devices you could scale the walls in the foyer with nothing but your bare feet and sticky fingers. You also learned that if you don't want to be put down you can refuse by lifting your legs up right as we're about to set you on the ground. This way, you can dangle like a monkey, climb up our arms and affix yourself permanently to our shoulders by digging your fingernails into our flesh. But at least you're polite. You are the first to say "bless you" if I sneeze, "thank you" when I give you something, "excuse me" when you want me to get the heck out of your way and "please" when you want a bite of my apple. It seems like everyday you are saying something new. Your new favorite word "no" because I hear it at least 100 times a day. You say it even when you mean "yes". You are always trying to share your food and drink with everyone by holding out partially chewed food and saying "want some?" We usually politely decline but sometimes you just won't take "no" for an answer. Like the other day when you took a mostly masticated piece of broccoli out of your mouth and shoved it into Mamaw's mouth. Yeah, that's gross so cut it out, okay? And why is it when I go to change your poopy diapers you immediately try to stick your hands in the poop. Ick! "Poop, poop." Yes, it's poop. I see it, I smell it, you don't need to reiterate by rubbing your hands in it and sticking it in my face. Yep, it sure is a good thing you are so darned cute. You know you get that from mommy's side of the family, right?