Monday, June 28, 2010

Why I Never Went To Medical School

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We went to a church picnic yesterday.  It was hot and humid; a sticky miserable kind of humid where the simple act of breathing can seem like a chore.  But we went and had a great time meeting new people.  We started going to this church recently and are quickly developing a deep affection for it.  I don't think I've ever seen so many young people be on fire for God in that way, like ever.  There is a huge number of young men in that church and not just who attend but who are passionate and it's inspiring because where most churches struggle to keep young men in that 15-30 yrs age bracket, this one has oodles.

But I digress...we were at this picnic, sweating like pigs and the kids were playing on a playscape.  Bear had chosen to wear a pair of black, Mary Jane Crocs.  She had also chosen to wear them backwards.  Now as you can imagine, little sweaty feet inside of rubber shoes do tend to see a lot of friction so she ended up with a blister on her foot, poor girl. 

I know those kinds of blisters hurt, especially if you keep sweating and running in sand pits and dropping melted ice cream on them!

Today I noticed that the little blister had scabbed over but it was red and since I didn't want it to get infected I decided to treat it.  I could have done this yesterday but I forgot because when you don't bathe your children for days on end, you tend to overlook the bloody details.

So anyway, I sauntered over to the medicine cabinet and saw this:


Now, I don't know what you see, but I see a bottle of Neosporin.  Because this is where I keep the Neospsorin, the tiny little tube, next to the band-aids and antibacterial wipes.  So I grabbed it and sat down next to Bear so I could apply it to her boo-boo.  But then, some greasy mess came out of the tube and I started to wonder whether maybe it had gone bad.  Does Neosporin go bad?  So I turned it over and saw this:




Oh yeah.  That's right.  I just tried to disinfect my baby girl with white DECORATING GEL!  Who the heck put this in the medicine cabinet? Who could have done such a thing?  Now here is where it sucks to be the only one in the house who ever cleans because when something is put in the wrong place, there is nobody else to blame.  Damn it!  Boy, you turn 35 and your brain turns into a puddle of goo!



Thursday, June 24, 2010

A Day In My Shoes

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It's official.  I'm going to have some serious explaining to do when I die and meet the man upstairs because I did something pretty despicable. 

Let me start from the beginning *rewinds tape*  A couple of days ago, I took Mamaw and all three kids with me to Wal-Mart.  You can read the blog here.  Anyway, in the blog I describe this horrible episode of taking the kids to the store and how traumatic that was for me, especially since Mamaw adds to the chaos by stretching her arms out in every which direction to feel for anything available.  It's not a stretch to say that at some point she is going to grab a stock boy by the testicles and be all, "what IS this?"  For those of you who don't know, Mamaw is blind.  And she's touchy feely.

What I didn't say in the blog was how incredibly horrible I handled the situation.  I kept my cool for about three quarters of the trip but then started to bite my tongue and roll my eyes.  Then came the long sighs followed by a small prayer that went something like, "please forgive me Lord, for what I am about to do."  And then I yelled.  Because there is just so much a mother can take on a hot and humid day when her children are out of control and her mother-in-law is feeling up stock boys and there is not a cold beer in sight.

I hate getting to this point, ever.  But I REALLY hate getting to this place in public! At one point I stopped and said, "THAT'S IT.  I don't want anyone to look at, speak to, breathe on or think about each other until we get to the car and if anyone so much as makes a peep, you're riding home strapped to the roof of the minivan! Got it?"  I did what I had to do.  But Mamaw?  Well, she was full of opinions and suggestions.  "Why do you let them get to you? You shouldn't talk to them like that.  You should discipline them more.  But don't discipline them too much because that just breaks my heart."  Oy vey

It irks me how she can have so many suggestions and such a determination that everything should always remain calm and that I'm just overly "worked up".  Yeah? Well aren't you the woman who fell asleep last night at 8pm and woke up at 9am and proceeded to watch TV while you drank three cups of coffee, uninterrupted and the most stressful part of your day was deciding whether you should mail your cable bill or call it in? Aren't you the one who can't seem to understand how I can fall behind on laundry with 5 people in the house when you seem to keep up your laundry, all two loads per week of it?  Oh yeah? Do you have any clue what my life is like on a day-to-day basis?  I never sleep in, I'm pecked at, whined at, screamed at, thrown at and demanded of nearly every second of every day.  It never stops.  I'm doing the very best I can and sometimes, yes sometimes I do crack but that's just a stress fracture.  There is only so much pressure you can put on a person before they crack!

Well, I would never SAY anything to her other than, "it's just hard to understand when you're not the one at the center of it."  Because that's what it is, really...a giant swirling storm with dangerously flying debris.  There is lighting and thunder and loss of power.  And us moms are at the center of that super cell, trying our best not to get flogged by a projectile.  We're in the thick of it, baby.  We're enduring, we're suffering, we're clinging desperately to a shred of hope that someday the storm will pass and the sun will come out.

Mamaw is like the TV viewer, safely watching live coverage of an F5 tornado with wind speeds of 300mph from the safety of her home, 1000 miles away saying, "psh...that wind doesn't look that bad.  What a bunch of sissies.  I don't know what they're getting all worked up about?"  Well then, what would she do if the storm was on her back door?  Or in this case, in the epicenter of her teensy little apartment?

"You know Mamaw, you are going to be gone to Pennsylvania for a month and the kids sure are going to miss you.  Maybe they should spend the day and night with you so you can get some (get this) quality time with them before you go.  I'm sure they'd really like it.  We'll even let all three of them stay with you.  It'll be so much fun!"  She agreed.  Because how could she not?  She's a grandmother and there is an unwritten rule that Grandma's just can't say "no" to their grandbabies. Muah ha ha.  I got her on a technicality.

She had them from yesterday evening until 9pm today and it was glorious!  I slept in until...hold on to your panties now...NINE IN THE MORNING, PEOPLE!  I got up and prayed and breathed and took slow sips of my coffee.  I skipped (no- really I truly did) down to my garden and checked out all of my yellow squash which are now the size of my index finger.  It was amazing.  She had called me three times by the time I woke up, to know when I was coming to pick them up. They had been fighting over ridiculous things and she couldn't seem to keep them fed enough and why do they wake up when it's still dark and why do they keep touching each other? Why won't they let me sit down for even five minutes?

She was frazzled by the time I went over this evening to make dinner.  She hadn't showered and was complaining of exhaustion.  She was snappy and the kids tattled something about Grandma threatening to separate them into three corners...of the earth.  *smirk*  Gone were the snuggles and the quiet, patient voice.  Gone were the frivolous offers of candy.  She looked like a haggard crash test dummy, fresh off a Kia testing lot.

We left the kids there yet again so we could volunteer at a shelter this evening and by the time we returned she begged me never to leave them there again for a LONG time and assured me that she would not miss them for the first two (maybe three) weeks of her vacation.

Oh Mamaw, why DO you let them get to you?

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

A Bad Day

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I'm hoping that yesterday wasn't a fluke, perfect day as it was.  Today was Awful...and if you'll take note, that was with a capital A.  There were no excuses for it either.  Everyone was in good health and got plenty of rest and food but they woke up fighting and it never stopped. By 8 am I had already confiscated their zhu zhu pets for all the constant bickering.  The rule is: if the toy is causing a problem, then it's Gone.  With a capital G.

I dropped Bubba and Bear at Mamaw's because Birdie had a doctor's appointment.  It was her final consultation with the ADD/ADHD clinic.  She's been to three and they boldly announced that she does not have to return for the fourth consult which could either mean she is so far off the charts seriously screwed up that they don't need yet another appointment to confirm said screwedupedness.  Or it could mean that there has not been enough conclusive evidence to give a diagnosis and one more appointment wouldn't put it over the top anyway so why bother.  I don't care.  I just want answers.

At her first appointment they did some neurological tests on her and the results were pretty dramatically BAD!  The tests clearly showed a deficiency in a certain part of her brain, a deficiency that the doctor said most likely shows that she's low in a chemical called dopamine, typical for kids with ADD/ADHD.  She failed the tests across the board, something that surprised me.  We go back for the final test results soon. 

But anyway, after we picked the kids up from Mamaw's we decided to head to Wal-mart as Bear was in desperate need of underwear.  She's been wearing her brother's tighty whities for the last week because her teeny little panties were cutting into her thighs.  I asked Mamaw to come with us, which only proves one thing: I ate a bucket of crazy for lunch.  What was I thinking? Taking Mamaw to the supermarket is hard enough when I'm by myself, let alone with all three kids.  Next time I'll just ask someone to kick me in the teeth with steel toe boots. It will be less painful.

I've said this before but Mamaw is a beast behind a shopping cart.  The woman walks at .-1 miles per hour on her own but put her behind the handle bars of a shopping cart and she goes all Jeff Gordon on me.  This isn't normally a problem when I'm alone, except for all the welts she leaves on the back of my ankles.  But with the kids around, this becomes much more dangerous.  They are notorious for not watching where they are going and will often times walk in front of the cart and then just stop, out of the blue.  So you can understand my concern as I do not want my mother-in-law to plow them down.  But they won't stay out of the way.  And she won't slow down.  They are all out of control.

Inside the store the kids ran in circles, hid in clothes racks, ripped price tags from clothes.  What the heck? This was AFTER I had laid down the law, AFTER I had given specific instructions.  Good grief!  At least there was no fighting or whining and nobody asked for anything.  But the whole experience was painful, like trying to juggle four fiery batons with only one arm.  It was a losing battle, one in which I was bound to get burned, which of course I did.  

You all know how much I hate shopping alone.  There's a reason I haven't been to Wal-mart for nearly 9 months and why I will not be walking through the motion opened doors for another year.  Because I will need time to recover.

Monday, June 21, 2010

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One thing that I love about summer is how I can connect with my kids so genuinely because there is no schedule, no bedtime, no where we have to be. Like today for example. We borrowed the day pass from our local library and hit a kid's museum. And we didn't just stay a few minutes because there were errands that had to be done or a school bus minutes away. We stayed for the long haul.

I didn't try to multi-task by reading my email or bring a book. I earned myself dirty knees from playing cars with Bubba. I was director/producer/choreographer of the dance production that they performed. I ate endless bowls of food at the play restaurant and the only errands I did were going to the play post office to buy stamps from Birdie and stopping by the bakery (run by Bubba) to get some donuts and I was driven there by Bear who has a suprisingly lead foot.

The point is, summer allows me to focus less on schedules and getting everyone's teeth clean and making sure that their homework is done and that they have clean clothes for school. It relieves me of the every day necessary things and allows me to spend an entire day of one-on-one play time followed by a visit to the park where the only thing on the agenda was feeding the ducks so much bread that they exploded, leaving only a trail of feathery death. Then it was off to te ice cream shop where we sat and talked and tasted each other's ice cream and then laughed at Bear for getting brain freeze.

They all fell asleep on the way home. We were only ten minutes away from home but they were exhausted from an amazing summer day. In my mind, they were drunk with fulfillment. And the only thing you can do with that kind of happiness drunkardness is sleep it off.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

As We Brushed Her Teeth...

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Me: "C'mon now baby girl, it's time to floss your teeth."
Bear: "But why?"
Me: "Because we want to make sure they are all clean."
Bear: "But we just brushed them."
Me: "I know...but we want to make sure there isn't any gunk between your teeth."
Bear: "Like squirrels?"
Me: "Exactly! I just hate it when I get a squirrel caught between my teeth!"

Saturday, June 19, 2010

IEDs

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We haven't quite started out the summer the way I would have liked. Howie got a nasty stomach bug that lasted several days. Bear got it shortly after and it doesn't speak so well for Howie that Bear handles illness with much more fortitude and grace than her father. So, poop and vomit were not exactly at the top of my list of "things to be cleaning at the onset of summer." I would much more have liked to have "drink successive spiked lemonades" at the top of my "to do" list. Because I'm lushy like that.

This thing seems to have like a 4-5 incubation period so me and Bubba and Birdie are like sitting ducks, treading lightly and looking over our shoulders in anticipation of the IED (improvised explosive device) to go off in our digestive tracks. It looks like Bubba might be the next man down.

I suppose it's a good thing that this didn't happen during the school year but it just really puts a damper on the summer fun. I have a lot of stuff planned, things like going to the beach and watching free movies at the summer theater and using our library passes to visit every museum in a 50 mile radius. We're going to play put-put golf and do a couple of weeks of summer camp and vacation bible school. We're going to jump on the trampoline and squat at our neighbor's house because they have a pool. We will make mud pies and ride bikes and shoot down our soapy slip-n-slide. If only this nasty bug would cut us loose!

In the meantime we will stick around the house. I've been pampering my garden which has proven to be wise because my plants have really taken off! I already have one green pepper the size of a jalapeno and several yellow squash, tiny like little hot tamale candies. My watermelons and cucumbers all have flowers and are starting to crowd each other, I hope I gave them enough room. The tomatoes are up to my knees and will not be contained by the bamboo sticks much longer and will need reinforcement. I'm going to make them a steaming pot of compost tea in the next couple of weeks and watch them take off! So far no critters. There are some raspberry bushes planted nearby, enough to satisfy even the most glutenous of chipmunks. I've also put out a bowl with water so it seems like me and the chipmunks have come to an unspoken agreement. They leave my garden alone in exchange for all the water and raspberries they could ingest. I think it's a fare trade.

Friday, June 4, 2010

Happy Birthday To Me

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I got a call from my biological father yesterday. He calls once a year, on my birthday. The last two years have been an improvement from previous years where he would get fall-down drunk and then call me, bawling his eyes out and begging for forgiveness. He left when I was very young and did not feel equipped to deal with the situation when my mother re-married so he basically just walked away. I've only seen him 3 times in the last 25 years. I talk to him once a year or so.

Anyway, he's been pretty good at calling me, sober, since my mom died. Believe it or not, I'm grateful for it. Because while it may seem like a small gesture, it's actually a huge deal for him to first off, remember it's my birthday and second, make the effort to not be wasted when he calls. He's a difficult man to understand and when I was younger, he often hurt my feelings. Nowadays I get him. Because even though I didn't spend much time with him growing up and I don't really know him per se, we are very much alike.

He said, "How old are you now?" "Thirty-five." "Getting old, huh? Well, I'm on my way to work but Obdulia will call you later." Because the closest relationship I've had with him has been through Obdulia. I like her very much. She's loving and caring in a most surprising way for a step-mother. Frankly, out their family of five, she is the only one with whom I have lengthy conversations.

It might seem strange that I am satisfied with a short, once-a-year phone call from him but I am. It means that I'm not forgotten and while he may only reach out once a year, I know that the call is the tip of the iceberg. Underneath it all, there is a lot of love that is unseen. Because even though I'm now 35, I'm still his baby girl.