Little Boy History Lessons

martin-luther-king31This morning, I asked Bryce (age 6) if he knew who Martin Luther King, Jr. was, and why we celebrate him.

He responded with this…

“Yes, I know who he is.  He was a great man who went to jail, like thirty times, so that black people and white people could eat together.”

(Insert proud mom moment here.)

It’s a simple answer, yes.  A complete answer, no.  But through the eyes of a six-year-old, it’s one hell of a start.  🙂

Little Boy Laughs #1

This is the conversation I just had with my son, Bryce (age 6).

Bryce:  Mom, I love this rock!  (It’s a plain river rock.)  Can I carry it with me everywhere?  Even on vacation?

Me:  Sure.  You really seem to love rocks.  Maybe you’ll be a geologist when you grow up.   (Case in point, I fished three rocks out of my washing machine this morning, because he picks them up everywhere he goes and leaves them in his pockets.  One of them wasn’t even a rock, it was a broken bit of concrete.)

Bryce:  What’s a geologist?

Me:  A scientist who studies rocks.

Bryce:  Oh, cool.  But can I also still be a secret agent?

Me:  Sure, buddy.  You can do both.

Bryce:  Sweet!

Kids are awesome.  🙂

Life is Good.

Hello, world!

The summer has flown by, as I knew it would, and as I predicted, I only got about three posts up all summer.  Figures.

But life continues to be busy.  Since I got home from my grandparent’s house at the end of July, I hosted my college roommate and her family for a few days, was sick for two weeks with a nasty virus that closely resembled strep throat, threw a birthday party for my son and twenty of his closest six-year old friends, and got both of my kids back to school.  So yeah, life and children continue to dominate my time and attention.   Blogging has been on the back burner for a long time, and I’m hoping now that I have both of my kids in school full-time that I’ll have more time and attention for both myself and all of you.

cold germsBeing sick for two weeks wasn’t fun.  I went to the doctor about five days into it and she ran all the typical tests to rule out bacterial infections.  It felt like my head was going to explode, and every time I swallowed it felt like my eardrums were bursting and I was trying to swallow crushed glass.  Fever, fatigue, and all the glamorous parts of feeling like total shit.  My husband had to be out-of-town for work for several days, so taking care of the house, kids, and all the pets when all you want to do is lay down and die was no picnic.  Unfortunately, the doc couldn’t give me any drugs because it was a viral infection, and it took a solid two weeks before I felt human again.  To add insult to injury, going to the doctor in the first place is always such a mind-fuck.  I already felt like shit, and have you ever noticed that going to the doctor makes you fat?  Seriously.  I walk in and immediately feel like I’ve gained ten pounds.  Then the nurse puts you on the scale and you realize that in the two hours since you got dressed and hauled your sick-ass to the clinic, you really must have gained ten pounds because their ancient scale, that must be counter-balanced with massive invisible boulders, says so.  Why don’t doctors use modern digital scales that will weigh me the same as when I’m at home?  And now that I feel like a sick, ginormous, fat cow, I have to sit, forever, in the little room and wait.  imageAnd there’s a mirror in there that is now confirming what the scale said.  Somehow my face looks heavier.  My ass seems to be climbing up my back and my muffin top is more muffin-y.  And now I want to cry because my throat hurts, my ears hurt, I can’t get any meds, and just walking in the door made me feel like Martha Dump Truck.

Damn, I’m glad that’s over.

My son’s birthday party was fun, and humiliating.  But I found my self-respect at the top of a bounce house, so that was an unexpected bonus.  We had the party at Pump It Up.  If you’re unfamiliar with the Pump It Up franchise, it’s basically a party venue with giant inflatables.  Each room is a massive, two-story room with multiple indoor inflatables, like bounce houses, obstacle courses, rock climbing walls, and things like that.  We had the Glow Party, which is like a super cool rave for kids with music and glow in the dark everything.  I had promised my daughter that I would do some of the inflatables with her because as the big sister, she was the oldest kid at the party and didn’t really want to hang with the six-year olds.  Thank God it was dark in there.  I was a little dressed up for the party and my nice jeans were somewhat confining.  Also, you have to wear socks in these things, and I quickly realized that with

This looks a lot like the structure I was attempting to climb

This looks similar to the structure I was attempting to climb. The picture doesn’t do the height justice, though.

socks on it’s hard to get any grip on the structure with your feet.  So,  I was attempting to climb this two-story monstrosity that was part rock climbing wall and part slide in tight jeans and slippery socks.  You see where I’m going with this?  You had to put your feet on these small squares and then use alternating tether straps for your hands to climb up.  Well, the tiny-made-for-five-year-old-feet squares would collapse under you if you didn’t move fast enough.  Half-way up there was this ledge you had to get over, and then another ledge all the way at the top.  I fell trying to get over the first ledge.  Kids were flying past me and laughing as I flailed and dangled by the tether straps.  Did I mention it was also pretty steep?  And also that I’m not a ten-year old?  Anyway, I dug deep and hauled myself to the top, and as I was struggling to get over the second ledge, and considering saying fuck it and just letting go, my son’s friend from his class was sitting at the top of the ledge, and she was watching me as I hung on the tethers.  She’s an adorable little girl and she says, “Keep going Mrs. B!  You can do it!”  Sweet Jesus.  How do I fail in front of her now?  I couldn’t, and it was ugly, and I’m glad it was dark in that room, but I managed to get my fat ass over that ledge and to the top.  I was sweating and tired, and when I went down the slide it was so steep and fast it actually launched me out of the shoot and I landed in a heap in front of several parents watching from below.  There was no way to play it cool, so I laid there like a lump, catching my breath.  Thankfully, several parents said how impressed they were that I even attempted to get to the top, so at least I got some street cred out of it.  Or they were just trying to make me feel better.  Either way, only one other parent attempted the same structure and made it to the top, so that makes me one of the cool moms.

My kids went back to school on August 31st, so I had three days last week of blissful alone time.  I’ve never had that, and I savored it.  I read several of your blogs, did some housework, ran errands without children, and met friends for lunch.  It was heaven.  I’m really looking forward to this school year.  And for the first time since my oldest daughter started school eight years ago, I didn’t cry at drop off on the first day.  I fucking celebrated and went out for sushi!

Life is good, people.  Life is Good!!!!!!

My Sick Boy.

party germsThat moment, when you reach across the bed and feel his forehead, praying that the heat has left his little body in peace…

Bryce has been sick with a nasty virus for the past week.  We’ve battled six days of high fever and other bodily functions I’m sure you’d rather I not go into detail about.  Well, that’s too damn bad cause I’m totally going into detail about it.  The kid has had diarrhea like an arterial spray.  I’ll let that visual sink in for a moment.  You’re welcome.

My kids are both very healthy.  They only get sick once or twice a year, but when they do get sick, it’s serious.  It’s a knock you on your ass for a week kind of sick.  Their bodies hold onto infection like a fucking grudge.  It’s horrible and scary.   When you’re holding your child while their body feels like it’s on fire with heat, you can’t help but be terrified for them.  They get that glazed look in their eyes, and when they talk, half the time it’s delirious gibberish.

I took Bryce to the doctor on day five of the fever and she told me it was a virus going around that was lasting 7-10 days.  She said his fever shouldn’t last for more than five days.  I explained to her that we were already at day five, as Bryce lay in my arms burning up at 103 degrees.  She reprimanded me for allowing him to have dairy products.  I explained that I was giving him whatever he wanted to eat because he had no interest in food and had already lost two pounds in five days.  She scowled at me.  I scowled back.  She is not my regular pediatrician.  (She was correct though.  I shouldn’t have allowed him to eat yogurt and milk.)  Then Bryce had a meltdown in the office when the nurse tried to give him a dose of Tylenol.  With tears in his eyes and a hot pink flush to his face he explained that their Tylenol was different than our Tylenol, and he preferred to wait until we got home and take our Tylenol.  He said their Tylenol was yucky because it wasn’t the right color.  I eventually got him to take it, but with the last sip he gagged and then regurgitated a large portion of the dose back at me.  I carried him to the car, both of us splattered with Tylenol vomit.  Good times.

i-need-a-sick-day-to-recover-from-my-kids-sick-day-19c3d[1]For six days I monitored his temp, coaxed him to take medicine to reduce his fever and slept with him so I could feel his body and watch his breathing.  I held cold packs to his back, forehead, stomach and legs.  He would look at me with glassy eyes and say, “Am I still your little fireball, mommy?”  It was the kind of fever that could have killed your child before the days of modern medicine.  Thank God for modern medicine.

Finally, this morning, as I reached for Bryce’s forehead next to me on the pillow, I felt it.  That cool, dewy ring of sweat around his head on the pillow.  The gross, disgusting, beautiful ring of sweat that indicates his fever has broken.  His little body was so quiet and deep in sleep, which was a blissful change from the constant moaning, rocking and shivering from the past six days.

I’m exhausted.  I’m relieved.  I can’t wait to get the hell out of this house.  I need to drink wine on the beach and watch the sunset with my beautiful kids and my husband.  I need to take him to the park and watch him run, and climb, and laugh, and play.  I need to see him smile with excitement, health, and joy.  That’s all I need.  🙂

The most adulty-adult

birthday emoticonRecently, my family and I were over at a friend’s house for their son’s birthday party.  It was a party for a four year old, so there was a lot of fun stuff going on.  There was a clown doing balloon sculptures and face painting.  There were awesome little arts and craft activities and a bounce house.  Of course, all the kids LOVED the bounce house.  So, imagine lot’s of young children running around a picturesque yard with no shoes, squealing in delight over the endless fun of the afternoon.

And where there’s fun, there’s bound to be drama.

I was sitting on some patio furniture talking with friends when I see the hostess of the party run into the back door of the house with another mother and her child clutched in her arms.  They were frantic.  I could tell something bad had happened by the way the women were reacting and rushing the child into the house.  A busted lip?  A cut to the forehead?  Did the child need immediate medical attention?  Stitches?  Who knows….it’s not my circus, or my monkeys.  My kids were not involved, so I thought the best thing to do was to not over-react and let the adults in charge handle the situation.

A few minutes later, the hostess of the party (and I should mention she is a good friend and a great mother) poked her head out the back door and asked me to come inside.  I gave my husband the ‘uh-oh’ look and walked into the house, where I was met with complete chaos.

11128630_799132960183928_8023045032805565439_n[1]

Both my friend and the other mother were frantically rushing around and talking loudly in panicked voices.  The child that I saw being rushed into the house, a beautiful little girl about five years old, was sitting on the bathroom counter with her feet in the sink soaking in cold water.  She was crying uncontrollably.  I didn’t see any blood or immediate signs of injury.

cute beeMy friend says, “She stepped on a bee and we’re not sure what we need to do!  We took out the stinger but she’s still crying and it’s swelling!  I knew YOU would know what to do!”  There was a first aid kit on the counter with all kinds of gauze, medical tape and bandages spread out everywhere.

What?  They think I’m the most capable adult to handle this situation?  When did I become the most adulty adult?  When did I become the person you grab when you don’t know what to do?

I looked at the girl’s foot and there was no swelling.  There was a tiny red mark where she had been stung.  That’s it.  She was simply terrified and carrying on because the adults in the room were upset.  I guess I’m still surprised how many parents don’t realize that if you don’t lose your shit in front of your kids, more often than not, your kids won’t lose their shit either.  I realize that sometimes it’s hard not to freak out when your child is upset or in pain.  And it’s even harder to be objective when it’s your child whose experiencing something traumatic.    But kids need to have faith that their parents can handle anything.  They need to know that you are in charge and you are capable of seeing them through the tough shit in life.  And when you’re five, your first bee sting is some tough shit.  I guess my ability to keep calm in these situations is what makes me the most adulty adult.  Sigh.  That thought is so depressing.

I didn’t do anything heroic to save the day.  I asked the sweet little girl what her favorite song was and asked her if she could sing it to me so I could hear what I was certain would be a beautiful voice.  She immediately stopped crying, beamed her pleasure at me with a toothless grin, and began belting out Twinkle Twinkle Little Star.  While she sang, I put a Band-Aid over the red spot on her foot.  All better.

Her mother threw her arms around me and hugged me so tight, thanking me for my help.  I left the room and went back outside to sit by my husband.  He asked what happened and after relaying the events to him I said, “That I’m the most adulty-adult at this party really scares the shit out of me.”  🙂

Vacation!

Hello, world!  I’m home!

The family and I spent nine days visiting with friends and relatives throughout the Midwest.  I call this trek our annual Midwestern Tour, as we hit Illinois, Indiana and Michigan in the same week. This time of year the area where I grew up is amazingly beautiful.  You wouldn’t believe how green everything gets.  Even the corn fields look beautiful when I haven’t seen them in a while.

We spent the first couple of days in Chicago, then drove south to central Illinois to visit my grandmother.  We then drove three hours north through Indiana and Michigan to reach my mother, other grandmother and various relatives who live in the area.  It was fast, organized, exhausting and incredibly fun.

Here’s the highlight reel…

10635748_10152955877379574_8811372455149121989_n[2]While in Chicago, my college friend hosted a house party and invited all of our girlfriends from school, along with their families.  We BBQ, drink, laugh and relive our glory years together while our kids run around and make new memories and form new friendships.  This year the adults sent the kids to the basement to play so we could play the game, Cards Against Humanity.  If you’ve never heard of it, it’s an adult card game of mostly vulgar and inappropriate topics.  If you’re not too uptight and appreciate a dirty joke, then this game is for you.  I will say that I did surprisingly well in the game, and my two most popular cards read, “Altar Boys,” and “Two Midgets Shitting in a Bucket.”  Feel free to use your imagination here as to what these cards may have been in response too.  🙂

We visited my grandmother, who is 94 years old.  I’ve always had a very close relationship with my Nanny and she’s an incredible woman.  She is in amazing health but starting to lose some of her short-term memory.  We looked at the same photo album about four times, and although it was new for her every time, I continue to be amazed at her ability to remember details about family history from the late 1800’s and early 1900’s.  Her own mother was born in 1897, and every conversation feels like a history lesson, but one you don’t want to miss.  When I ask her how it feels to be 94, she tells me, “getting old is not for sissies!”

St. Joe lighthouse

St. Joseph, Michigan

While in Michigan, we visited with several of my high school friends, my mother, grandmother, aunt and a few cousins.  I went to my favorite childhood restaurants.  We drove to St. Joe and took the kids to Silver Beach, which is on Lake Michigan.  My kids ran down the pier alongside the lighthouse, disbelieving that Lake Michigan wasn’t as big as our Pacific Ocean back home.  I found a lake house there I would like to buy for the low, low price of 1.6 million dollars.  What a steal!  LOL!  At one point Bryn looked at me, while having dinner outside on a patio overlooking a beautiful lake active with boats and jet-skis, and she said, “I can’t believe you got to grow up here!”

Yeah, I got to grow up there.  It’s funny how so often in life we don’t appreciate what we have until we can look back with some perspective.  Growing up, I didn’t appreciate the beauty of the fields, the lakes or the small community that looked out for each other.  I took it for granted and was more excited to see other places.  I guess what I’m trying to say is that the older I get, the more I appreciate where I come from, and this annual trip means more to me every year.  I want my kids to experience the things I loved about growing up in the Midwest.  Admittedly, my kids have opportunities that I never had as a child, and I’m thankful for that.  But I also want them to appreciate the simplicities of life.  The small things and traditions that add up to big things when you look back on your life and remember what you loved most about your childhood.

lake canoeingI want them to gorge themselves on strawberries while picking them fresh from the fields, and then bring the berries home to make fresh strawberry jam in grandma’s kitchen.  I want them to canoe the rivers of my hometown and camp under the stars, even if it’s just in their grandmother’s back yard.  I want them to catch fire flies,  sit around a bonfire in a field with their cousins, learn to water ski on the lake and marvel at the incredible beauty of the leaves turning in the fall.   I want them to know who their people are, and why, no matter what they choose to do in life, it will always be special that their family comes from this incredible place.

So yeah, it was a good vacation.  😉

 

 

Good morning!

That moment, in the early hours of the morning, when it’s still dark outside, and your kid, who managed to wiggle their way into your bed in the middle of the night, suddenly sits up and declares with panic in his voice, “My tummy hurts.”

Nooooooooooo!!!!!!!!!!!

You bolt awake, adrenaline filling your system as you grab your child, and run as fast as you can to the bathroom before Mount Vesuvius erupts in the middle of your bed.  You just changed the sheets and a bed full of vomit is not something you want to deal with at 5am.

An hour later, after cuddling him through the stomach cramps, wiping his tears of fear, rubbing his back, administering Sprite, Tums, and a few Saltine crackers to get something in his stomach to absorb the acid, he looks at you and says, “I guess I just had to fart a couple of times, mommy.  I’m ok.”

So, yeah.  Good morning.