Took Tre to his first den meeting tonight. No, he did not get a pocket knife. He did, however, get to rampage around with five other cub scouts and do projects. Achievements, I’m told. They learned about safety. What they learned about safety I’m not sure, but that seems like a good thing to learn about, right? They also made truffles and trail mix and popcorn – “the old fashioned way.” When he said that I pictured them shaking wire baskets over an open fire ala Little House on the Prairie. No, apparently the old fashioned process of making popcorn goes like this: You take a pan and put it on the stove, then you add the popcorn and put some oil in there…
Old fashioned. Ooookayyy. Apparently my childhood is the good old days. Sigh.
I’m pretty sure the whole scouting thing is a cult. I finally got to sit down with the den leaders and have them go over what I need to go buy for Tre, the patches and shirt and scarf and slide and book…and it all means something. As I was furiously scribbling down instructions one of them reassured me that the people at the Scout Store would be more than happy to help me. “Well that’s good,” I said, smart-mouthed as ever, “because I’m beginning to think I’ve stumbled into a cult and it may take me some time to get up to speed on everything.”
Ooookaaay, not a cult with a great sense of humor. But nice people, nonetheless. I suspect that spending a great deal of time in this particular cult gives them special powers. The other week at the Pack meeting, someone was giving a plea for a volunteer to take over the Awards Coordinator position. He explained what it entailed (getting a list of awards needed by the various pack leaders, picking them up from the Scout Store, organizing and delivering them at the pack meeting), and I sat there, thinking, hmm. I could do that. But I decided not to jump in and commit myself. My life is pretty full…wah, wah, wah.
The next week I got a call. Steve, the Pack leader, called to say he understood I was interested in the Awards Coordinator position, and he thought that was just great…
I said “no, Steve. I didn’t say that to anyone.” He said, “hmm. Are you sure? I have your name down here…”
Um, long story short, I’m now the Awards Coordinator. And I do my best not to think anything that would offend those people. Not when they’re around.
(This is something from Friday that I didn’t post then because the carpet in the room where my computer is was still wet. Plus, I didn’t manage to transfer the file from my laptop until just now. The weekend got hectic. So now you get two, count ‘em TWO blogs for the price of one. Can you believe your luck?)
The carpet cleaners came this morning, and as expected, they cleaned the carpets. So our house is damp around the edges. I’ve been doing my best to keep feet off carpet all day. We’ve been out a lot.
This afternoon the exile from the carpeted zones drove me outside, to the garden. It’s high time to tidy up the place in preparation for winter, anyhow. And fortunately I had Raphael’s help. I dug up some garlic and he drove a toy bulldozer over the cloves, mashing some into the dirt. So I saved the remaining garlic and moved to the reclamation project – removing the parsley forest. I may have mentioned the parsley forest. Well, as bemused as I was in the spring, when the parsley plants were all about four tender inches high, picture me today. Now they are sturdy foot high plants with deep, strong taproots. They own a good third of my garden area. And my garden area is fairly large.
So I set to pulling up parsley plants. I actually broke a trowel on those things. But I got a good portion of them up, and threw the parsley carcasses in a pile. Raphi drove his bulldozer over them. I showed him that parsley is good to eat, dusting off a few leaves on my shirt and munching on them. He took a fistful of leaves and marched around, chewing manfully. He didn’t really like them, but he wouldn’t admit it. Occasionally he would gag a little and I would ask, “You ok, honey?” He’d nod and reply with a grim expression, “Yummy.”
In his meanderings he found a under ripe bell pepper. “Iss a beena?”
“No, it’s not a banana, it’s a bell pepper.”
“Oh. Ah pick it?”
“No, let’s leave it there to ripen. But hey, thanks for asking first!” My hand met a sticker among the parsley and I jumped. “Ouch!”
“Whassamatter? Yoo hurt yoo leg? Ah kiss.”
“No, I hurt my hand. You want to kiss my hand?”
“Oh. Ok then.”
“Ah kiss it.”
“Yoo aw better?”
I leaned back on my heels and breathed in deep the scent of parsley, garlic, dirt, and fall.
“Yup. I’m all better.”
Ok, picking up today. The carpet is all dry, and I’m going to get all the small bits of furniture back in their places just any minute now. There is already a new spot on the floor of the sun room, where Raphael spit chewed candy corn out. I don’t know why. Why does he do any of the things he does?
Dad took the boys to Elitch Gardens today. Pardon me, that’s actually Elitch Gardens Six Flags now. It used to be a charming amusement park nestled in an actual garden setting. But the area it was in got seedy, so they moved it downtown and sold it to the Six Flags empire. Now it’s huge and way more exciting. Tre’s words of greeting when they came home were, “We’re back! And nobody barfed!”
Well, you can’t ask for more than that.
I tried to get the boys into bed fairly early, since it had been such a big day (big AND barf-free), and tomorrow’s school. Pardon me a moment while I giggle maniacally.
Anyhow. Max went down ok. He was exhausted, since he had been up late last night playing a wonderful game with Raphael. It’s called “doughnut” and it goes like this: Mama puts her children to bed. Tre in his room, Max and Raphael in their room. As soon as she goes back to her room to watch “Trading Spaces”…err…do something productive, Raphael calls out merrily, “One…two…threeeeee….DOUGHNUT!!” Max flops over in bed and responds, “HUH?” This is apparently very funny. Veeerrry funny. There is much laughter and joy, until aforementioned Mama appears in the doorway with that look on her face. Then Max declares loudly and mournfully, “Raphael woke me UP!”
Repeat. Until 10:30 pm.
Eventually they went to sleep. But Tre actually outlasted them. He was reading in bed. He’s into the Magic Treehouse series, and he’s read four books this week. Every so often I’d poke my head in his room, and there he’d be sitting in the middle of his bed, so engrossed in the book that he wasn’t even aware of me. I suppose I should have made him turn off his light, but I just couldn’t bring myself to. Ok, I confess, I took a picture.
It’s just so cool, watching him become a reader. He’s been able to read for…what…almost four years now. But up until the last year it hasn’t been reading, it’s been decoding. Now he’s crossed a line where he’s not even thinking about the phonics, he’s getting lost in the stories.
And tonight, when he should have been way too tired to read, he was at it again. As a mother, when I’m standing in his doorway, watching him devour his book, I’m pretty proud. I taught him to read. Now I get to watch where it takes him.
I was bustling around, cleaning – with more intensity than usual, because the carpet cleaners are coming tomorrow. That means the carpeted areas of our house have to be cleared of detritus before they get here. So there I was, shoveling away, and Raphael walked up to me, sniffing vigorously.
“Rockn da nose,” he stated.
“Rockn da nose.” Sniff sniff.
I picked him up and stood him on the table – much to his delight. He’s not allowed to stand on the table, although he’s often convinced that TODAY he has a good reason to stand on the table. He looked around, pleased. Probably wondering if this meant the unreasonable “no throwing things at windows” rule would also be repealed. I tilted his head back and peered up his nose. Couldn’t see anything. So I scrounged up a flashlight. Unfortunately, the only flashlight I could find was Raphi’s cow flashlight that moos when you turn it on. So the cow and I had a look up the Shoopernose. Sure enough. Rockn da nose. A little, snot-colored rock, way up his nose.
Last week it was a sticker. Tomorrow…I dunno, probably the cat or something. What is the drive two year olds have to put things up their noses? I remember when Tre was two, one day Mom was watching him while I was at school. When I came home, Mom was sitting on the floor next to Tre, with a stricken look on her face. It seems they had been playing with dried beans. I don’t know why. I’ve found my children have a bizarre affect on my parents. Pretty much anything they ask for, my parents seriously consider giving them. So if I walk in the room and discover Mom giving one of the boys a marshmallow 4.5 seconds before dinner and I give her the raised eyebrow of questioning, she looks back at me helplessly and protests, “But he wanted it!”
So anyhow, apparently Tre wanted to play with beans that day, and together they had made a dried bean mess. They were all over the floor. So Mom had gotten out the vacuum, only to discover that our vacuum mainly just flung beans all over the living room, with great clatters and pings. It was like shrapnel, she said. She started hand-collecting beans, and at one point she looked at Tre, who was “helping” and said, “Now, don’t put one of these up your nose.”
So she’s sort of right when she said it was her fault Tre had a bean wedged in his nostril. She was fretting that we might have to take him to the emergency room, to get it out before it started to swell and cause damage to his sinuses, or something like that. I walked up to Tre, plugged his unobstructed nostril, and said, “Blow, honey.”
Well, it worked six years ago, and it worked today. Just as his big brother had shot the bean out of his nose way back then, Raphael was able to shoot the rock out of his nose today.
I’m so proud.
(I have to insert a disclaimer here. My mom is not, in any way shape or form, unintelligent. She just sometimes gets a bit fogged by her love for her grandkids, which is just what you want in an Amma.)
¶ 9/25/2003 10:25:00 PM
Wednesday, September 24, 2003
This is not, I repeat, NOT going to be a coherent blog. I am a special depth of tired tonight, and am not planning to be all that entertaining nor insightful. Now, don’t you all feel treasured to know that I care enough to show up on a day when I’m sure to be a total bore, just because I don’t want to let anyone down?
Never mind, that didn’t even make sense to me.
Anyhow, what I’m thinking about tonight are ear worms. No, seriously. I read recently that the Germans have a word for those annoying snatches of song that get stuck in your head and repeat over and over and overandoverandover…till you could scream. And that word translates roughly to “ear worms.” Now, I call that descriptive. Calls to mind that scene in…some Star Trek movie where the bad guy…”someone,” puts those black slimy slug things in the helmets of…some of the good guys, and they crawl into their ears, causing them…some sort of problems. Um, I’m not what you’d call obsessive about details, particularly with Star Trek movies. But if there is any way you actually remember the scene I’m referring to, you know what I mean. That slimy slug creature, sliding into their ears? That’s what “ear worms” makes me think of.
Anyhow (again), that’s not what ear worms actually are. They are, as previously mentioned, those annoying snatches of song that repeat themselves in your head. At the moment, for me, it’s the theme song from “Out of the Box.” This is a children’s show on Nickelodeon (I think). My boys don’t like it, but I’ve heard the song just enough times to make it the perfect ear worm. See, in my head it goes like this:
“Out of the box (clap, clap)
Out of the box (clap, clap)
Something something something
Let’s something something,
Put them all together,
Look for one that’s something something.”
At this point I’m thinking, look for one that’s what, already? How does that go? Then I remember that I don’t care, it doesn’t matter, why am I wasting time on this anyhow? I go on with my day, only to catch myself about 4.6 seconds later, humming, “Out of the Box…”
Look, it’s your fault anyways. You keep showing up and encouraging me. Let today’s blog be on YOUR head.
¶ 9/24/2003 09:47:00 PM
Tuesday, September 23, 2003
Today (as in when I’m actually writing this) is my cousin Melyssa’s birthday. Happy birthday, Myss. Love ya; love your kids, so glad you were born. Hugs and apple crisp and poster thoughts sent your way all day. I hope you were cherished today.
Today (as in when anyone is actually going to be reading this) is also someone else’s birthday. She doesn’t like it when people look at her, so I won’t be mentioning her by name. I’m just here, sitting at my computer, not looking at anyone, musing about a certain birthday celebrator.
She is smart and funny – can make me laugh until I have to cross my legs. She’s capable of things I can’t believe. She undersells herself. She is a talented writer, who will really enjoy that aspect of herself someday when she’s ready/has time. Her gentle urgings have literally saved my life more than once (and I say that as someone who HATES it when people misuse the word “literally”). She is my best friend. And may I say to her, on this her day, may God bless you with joy and peace and wonder in the timeless world you occupy. Thank you so much for all you do and all you give. Love you.
¶ 9/23/2003 10:41:00 PM
Monday, September 22, 2003
It had been a long night. Raphi had had a nightmare somewhere around 2 am. Max had had…pull-up issues that resulted in him sleeping with me, which for Max means sleeping right in my armpit. Tre had woken up around 4, wondering if it might not be time for us all to bound out of bed. But finally the morning came, after far less sleep than I would have liked. I was a touch cranky. I crawled out of bed (perhaps snarling just a little), and started the great push through breakfast and off to school.
Ah, school. It was Monday. That precious day. Max and Tre were off to their respective classes, Raphi was spending the morning with a friend, and for three blissful hours my time was to be my own. I didn’t get my Monday last week, because I was helping out at the school. But here we were, at Monday again.
I harassed the kids into their seats at the breakfast table. I slapped food down in front of them. I snapped at them to hurry up.
“Mama? I’m itchy,” whined Max.
“You’ll feel better once you have clothes on.” I replied. No idea where that logic came from. “Eat your breakfast.” And I stomped off to pick out clothes for Raphael. Let’s get this show on the road, I thought. Me time. As I came back down the hallway, I was met by Max. Who was not, as you may have guessed, eating his breakfast. “Look at this, Mama.” He held out his arm. Which was covered in welts. I grabbed his other arm. Ditto. They were all over his legs too, and creeping up his cheeks. It was so bad that when I called to Mom to come and look, she said, “Oh my goodness!” Mom is a nurse, and I have made her look at every skin anomaly on my boys since they were born. She usually glances at something I’m sure is melanoma, at least, and says, “Hmm. He’ll be ok.” The strongest reaction I’ve ever gotten out of her is, “Keep an eye on that. It’ll probably just go away.” But today she stopped, kneeled down next to Max, and peered at his arms and legs. Moved him into better light. Set down her keys even though she had been on her way out the door to work. “What has he eaten this morning?”
I sighed. “Nothing.”
We inspected his breakfast, and it was true. “Well, has he used any new soap?”
I thought. “No…WAIT! That’s it! He used my shower gel last night! Tons of it.” We studied him in silence for a moment.
“He should have a bath,” she advised finally, “with baking soda. See if that helps. Maybe call his doctor when the office opens.”
So that’s what I did. Mom took Tre to school and I put Max in a baking soda bath (as an aside here, a bath with a handful of baking soda is good for just about any problem of children’s skin. Rashes, diaper and otherwise, dry itchies, you name it. Love the stuff). The welts started clearing up almost immediately. Soon they were almost all gone. He was still a little itchy though, so after a consult with the nurse at his pediatrician’s office, I gave him a dose of Benadryl. After that he was perfectly fine, if a little logy from the Benadryl.
I, on the other hand, was not fine. Instead of a morning of freedom, where I got to go out and be cool with my laptop, I got a morning of home. With. Kids. I get plenty of those. I wanted a break. I was not a happy camper. I took a deep breath and got over myself soon enough, but the voice in my head was distinctly whiny.
Max was pretty sad about not going to school. He was supposed to be the special person of the day (it’s ok, I got it switched to next week), and he wanted to be there. I felt bad for him so I offered a lunch out at the place of his choosing. He chose the Golden Wok. He and I went there once when Tre was at a birthday party that Max hadn’t been invited to, so ever since it has been a symbol of “Mama –n- Max time.” So we went there and were sat in a booth. The last time we were there the tray kept falling off the high chair. I could see it was the same high chair, so rather than fight with it I just put Raphael next to me. Then Max decided he needed to sit next to me too, so I sat there, flanked by boys. We ordered our food and had a peaceful meal. As it was slowly winding to the end, I started contemplating errands I could still accomplish, even though my day had been shot. Let’s see, I mused, I could go get that stuff at Wal-Mart, and the Vitamin Cottage is right next door to the restaurant. As I sat and planned, I stared at a water fountain across the restaurant. It was a large flat panel, with ripples of water moving smoothly down it into a collection of rocks. It was bugging me, because I kept focusing on one ripple, and then following it to the bottom. I waved down a waitress. “Could you send our waiter? I’m ready for our check.” She looked at Max, who was still picking tiny green bits out of a dumpling. “Don’t be so hurry,” she urged, “take you time.”
Huh, I thought. On my right sat Raphael, in his Shooperman shirt, scooping ice contentedly out of my water glass. On my left was Max, leaning against me in a Benadryl fog, soaking up the comfort of mom. As she walked away I turned my attention back to the waterfall. For the first time that day I relaxed, and instead of focusing obsessively on one ripple, I took in the entire soothing wall of water.
And it was good.
¶ 9/22/2003 09:48:00 PM
Sunday, September 21, 2003
I was sitting here, catching up on my blog reading after a full day away from the computer (well, 23 hours at least. Baby steps.), and Raphael climbed up on my lap for a hug. He pressed his silky fat cheek to mine, wrapped one arm around my neck, and crooned in my ear, “Gimme dat paper.” He wanted my notepad. He’s always swiping my notepads. Reason #2045 I will never be organized. But I’m a kind and benevolent mother, so I gave him the requested paper, plus a pen that caught his eye. He trucked off and flopped belly down on the carpet to draw. After a few minutes of scribbling furiously, he came over to me and shoved the pen in my direction. “You draw.”
“What do you want me to draw?”
“You draw Raphi.” By this time he was glowering at me, irritated that I hadn’t complied already.
“Well, give me the paper,” I replied, pointing to the abandoned notepad on the floor behind him. He heaved a sigh at my obstinacy.
“NOOOOOOOOOOO. Gimme new paper! Dis one!” He was pointing at the printer, so I obligingly handed him a sheet from the printer. He snatched it from my hand and turned to trot away. A few steps from me he turned back and informed me with that special Raphael intensity, “Ah SHOOPERMAN!”
You know, I don’t know if I should be worried or not, but I suspect that he actually thinks he is. Yesterday he found a jammie shirt of Max’s. It’s blue with that big red and yellow Superman emblem on it. It even has a cape that velcros to the shoulders. Well, Raphael went nuts for the Shooperman shirt. Wore it all day and all night. If I tried to take it off him he would clutch at his belly and squirm out of my grasp, shrieking, “NONONONONO! Dat’s my SHOOPERMAN!” I decided to put that one in the category of “battles not worth fighting.” Besides, he’s awfully cute. Whenever anyone asks him about his shirt, he takes the stance. One hip juts out, one shoulder comes to his ear, and his belly protrudes. “AH SHOOPERMAN!”
Tonight Dad was flying Shooperman around the room. Raphi was trying to hold his arms out in front, because Dad had told him that’s how Superman does it. But the swooping flight was just too thrilling, and he kept clasping his hands right under his delighted drooly smile.
Well, I guess it’s ok, this super-fixation. The only real problem is his new identity and his nickname merge to an unfortunate “SuperBug.”
Can’t win ‘em all. Even if you’re SHOOPERMAN.
Today’s Dad’s birthday, so I wanted to say a few words about him. Dad has stepped up to the plate in a big way with my boys. He’s in the fray, throwing balls in the back yard, teaching them to play chess, training Tre as a beekeeper (Dad’s a beekeeper – that’s a whole ‘nother blog), and generally standing in place of their dad as much as he can. He’s such a gift to my sons, and I cannot imagine how I would ever thank him. But he isn’t doing this for my thanks. He’s here because he knows what’s important. Because he values the things that matter.
The other day Raphael spotted a picture of Dad and climbed on a chair to get it. He was frustrated because he wanted to take the photo out of the frame, to love it directly. I tried to explain that if we took it out it would get torn or ruined, but he was not impressed. “Gib it to meeee!” he shrieked. Raphael does not understand the concept of loss.
Dad has been looking forward to being a grandpa since he was just a kid. His given name, Martin, was the surname of his mom’s dad. His Grandpa Martin. Dad loved Grandpa Martin, and some of his earliest memories were of him.
But Grandpa Martin died in a car accident, when Dad was just a teen. I think he still misses him.
So there you go. Raphael may love Dad (and oh, he does), but Dad knows what it means to lose someone. So Dad loves him, but he also knows to cherish him.
Thanks, Dad. Happy birthday.
¶ 9/20/2003 12:11:00 AM
Thursday, September 18, 2003
I signed Tre up to be a Cub Scout tonight. He is thrilled. He is simply beside himself. Of course, you must understand that for Tre Cub Scouts has two basic meanings. 1) He will sell MORE GREENERY THAN ANYONE and therefore win the Gameboy SP, and 2) He will be getting a pocket knife. Any minute. His friend from across the street is a Cub Scout, and he has a pocket knife. AND he informed Tre that just about everything you do in Cub Scouts requires a pocket knife.
So Tre and I went to tonight’s meeting and scooted to a seat in the back. After a few minutes of flag stuff and greeting, the boys were taken off to another room to play raucous games while the adults talked. That mainly meant lots of sincere pleas for volunteers. Finally they brought the kids back. Tre had looked a touch anxious, leaving with a herd of kids he didn’t know, so I was glad to have him come back. He rushed over to me and sat down. As we turned our attention back to the leaders he leaned over and whispered, “I had fun. The kid next to me, wow. He acted like Max when he’s tired [this means bizarre and hyper behavior].” I nodded, trying to listen to the troop leader or pack leader or whoever was talking about the big greenery sale. Tre leaned over again. “I didn’t get a pocket knife yet. Maybe next week.”
Well, after the meeting we talked about it, and now Tre knows that we’ll find out IF he needs a pocket knife next week at his pack meeting. Or is that troop meeting? Den meeting? Sheesh, no way I can figure all this stuff out. Like the different levels. There’s Tiger Cubs, then they become Cub Scouts, then Webelos, then Boy Scouts. Ok, I know what a tiger is. I understand “cub” and Lord knows I’m familiar with “boy.” But what the heck is a webelo? Mom’s helpful take on that is that it’s a little, small something underneath. You know, a wee below. Dad, on the other hand, is certain that it refers to something that wobbles, but doesn’t fall down. Thanks, guys. What would I do without you?
In other news, Pepe` is doing much, much better. This is a great relief to all of us, especially Max. He’s been following the poor dog around, petting him and whispering comfort. Whenever Pepe` moved anywhere, Max would carry his water bowl to him, leaving asterisks of water on the floor all over the house. Well, Pepe` slept on Max’s bed last night and all the tender care (plus the medication) have worked wonders. He’s even started bringing balls and dropping them at our feet again. He’s not the only one breathing easier around here.
Finally, let me share with you a moment with Raphael. Have I mentioned he’s two? Oh, ok then. So he spent the day doing his level best to destroy the world. This evening he was standing on a chair, turning a light on and off. I was around the corner, talking to Dad in the kitchen. I overheard Raphael talking to himself, something like this, “Ah turn it OFF. Ah do it my SELF. Ah’m SHOOPERMAN! Ah’m da IRON GIANT! Ah’m Punkin’ Buug!”
And indeed he is.
¶ 9/18/2003 10:34:00 PM
Wednesday, September 17, 2003
Pepe` is not well. He’s been lethargic and coughing since yesterday, so the boys and I took him to the vet’s today. His owners are off camping somewhere, so we couldn’t get ahold of them. So I rallied the troops and we were away to the vet. I reported the symptoms like this, “Well, I don’t know his medical history or how old he is, but he’s been making this gagging/coughing noise and he’s way too calm. Like someone turned his dimmer switch waaaayyy down.” So she listened to his heart and lungs and took some x-rays. Ready for this? It’s his heart. He has a murmur, and he’s in congestive heart failure. There’s fluid all around his heart and collecting in his lungs. The vet explained gently, “He’s not getting much oxygen. That’s why his…um…dimmer switch has been turned down.” She said it can happen like this, heart problems surface all of a sudden. Just bad luck that it happened on my shift.
But I’m fretting about Jodi, his “mom.” What a terrible thing to come home to. Pepe` might be just fine. He’s on heart medication now, and he’s already doing much better. I’m sure Jodi and Pepe`s vet can figure it out from here. Oh, but what a hard thing to come home to.
But I’ve done what I could, I keep reminding myself. Time to let myself off the hook. See, that’s a problem of mine. Like last night. I could tell Pepe` wasn’t feeling well, and had decided to take him to the vet’s first thing in the morning. But he kept having these coughing fits, and I was worried. So I took him upstairs and let him sleep on my bed. That way, whenever he had a coughing fit I could wake up and helplessly stroke his back. I could have left him sleeping peacefully on the couch, but no. I had to be there. Because Lord knows, if there’s a problem it’s my business.
So today I’m exhausted. And Claire (our beautiful stupid cat) is miffed at me, because she caught a DOG, of all things, sleeping in her spot on my bed. Sheesh.
Hey, but Pepe`s doing better. Counts for something, right?
I was at a four-year-old’s birthday party today. Actually, Max was the one in attendance, but I was there as his backup. He had just met the birthday boy a few weeks ago at school, so he wasn’t comfortable being left at his house just yet. Come to think of it, I wasn’t all that comfortable with the thought of leaving him. Fortunately, the mom of the birthday boy (Adam, by the way, an adorable towheaded wee boy) was very understanding about it and perfectly happy to have me stay. Even though that meant adding me, Tre, and Raphael to the guest list. At least, she seemed to be ok with it. She was terrifically gracious about it, and the boys all behaved themselves, and I tried to help out…ok, getting off track here.
Anyhow, there I was, bouncing kids back into play whenever they tried to wander out of the back yard; making small talk with a bunch of moms I don’t know. I did my best to avoid the subject of dads, but…well…the subject will come up. One mom was chasing down her daughter with a bottle of sunscreen and she remarked, “She just burns so badly. You’re lucky, your boys are so brown, and they must not burn. Is your husband dark skinned?”
“Yes…um…he’s Mexican actually…but…we’re divorced.” Silence descended on the group as they looked back and forth between my three kids and me. I could see them thinking, her youngest is just two. They were shocked. Understand the demographic here. These are all homeschoolers. Christian, family values, homeschoolers. I went to a homeschool convention in June, and attended a talk for single homeschoolers. Out of thousands of participants in the convention, five single homeschoolers showed up. There simply aren’t a lot of us.
“Wow,” someone finally said, “have you been divorced long?”
“It’s been final for a little over a year.” Awkward silence. I don’t blame them for not knowing what to say, and I wanted to save them from their distress by launching into the tale of what happened. Fill the silence and oh, by the way, explain how it’s all his fault. But I try not to do that any more. I try not to exploit his failures to cover my shame at being the only divorced mom in the group. Hey, mistakes were made. Move on.
So I launched into a speech about how fortunate I am to have my parents, who have given me and my kids a place to live and made it possible for me to stay home. All true.
I’m not proud of this, but today’s not the first day I’ve thought longingly about how much easier it would be to be a widow.
Ah, what the heck.
Life is hard. God is good.
¶ 9/16/2003 09:32:00 PM
Monday, September 15, 2003
Let me give you a little background first. A few weeks ago, I was taking a shower. Mid-shampoo, the shower door flew open, and Raphael peeked in.
“Hi, honey. Can you close the door please?” But he was busy peering in at me.
“Mama? Wheh yoo pen*s?”
“I don’t have a pen*s, honey, I’m not a boy. I’m a girl.”
“Yoo don’ hava pen*s? What yoo got?”
“I have a vag*na. Close the door.” His face fairly glowed with joy.
“No, honey, vag*na. CLOSE THE DOOR.”
Ok, so fast forward to today. I was in a department store, picking out some jeans. Tre and Max were in school, so it was just me ‘n Raphi. He was adorable, chattering and singing little songs, pulling a few items off the racks, but mostly just being cute. Eventually I made my way into a dressing room, maneuvering his stroller in carefully. Raphael thought we were going into a bathroom stall, and sang out, “Yoo gotta go pee?”
“No, I’m trying on clothes.”
“Yoo gotta go bafroom?”
“No, honey, this isn’t a bathroom. See? No toilet. I’m trying on clothes.”
“Oh. Yoo gotta vag*na?” Clear as a bell. Still can’t say YOU like the rest of us, but that word was unmistakable. I said something helpful like “mm-hmm”, hoping he would just shut up. But no.
“Yoo don’ gotta pen*s?”
“No. I’m a girl.” I whispered, thinking, what happened to that two-second attention span that makes mealtimes such a joy? Where’d he get this focus all of a sudden?
“Yoo gotta vag*na?”
“Hey, darlin’, you want to draw? I’ve got some paper and crayons here…”
That worked. He settled in happily to drawing on the stroller and eating crayons. Eventually I finished trying on the clothes and started untangling the stroller from the changing room. On my way out I passed a woman, who nodded to me and said,
“Quite a vocabulary he’s got, hmm?” I shrugged and laughed a little. “You know,” she went on, “I knew someone who’s little girl used words like that. Other parents weren’t wild about her teaching their kids that stuff. You may want to have him keep that stuff at home. Not everyone wants their kids to talk…like that.” She gave one of those smiles that is in no way an actual smile, “Just something to think about.”
I was floored. I turned to go, but then turned back.
“Let me tell you a story,” I said sweetly. “I have a friend who’s a social worker. She told me once about a little girl who was being sexually abused by her stepfather. But they couldn’t prosecute him because she had been taught all these goofy names for her body parts. The only statements they could get out of her were about him touching her ‘smile down there.’ I’m sure the appropriate terminology is uncomfortable for some people, but I’d say there are worse things in the world.” I smiled, and you know exactly what kind of smile, “Just something to think about.” And I turned on my heel and left.
Now, here’s the thing. I stewed about the uptight woman for a while. I thought about it for some time. And here’s my conclusion. She was wrong. But I wasn’t all that right. See, if she doesn’t want her kids to talk like that, that’s her deal. She’s an uptight weirdo, if you ask me, but her kids are HER kids. Just as my loudmouthed little sweetheart is MY kid. I can teach him whatever words I want to. Even really nasty words, like “presidential primaries.” And if the uptight weirdo in the dressing room is bothered by that, that’s her deal. I hope if something like that happens again I can laugh it off.
Maybe I should have asked her if something was wrong with her baby dino.
Hello, All! Miss me? I’m beginning to suspect that I may be a Monday through Friday blogger. I mean, I try to blog on the weekends, but it rarely happens. I’m considering throwing in the towel as far a Saturday or Sunday blogging goes. As it is, I spend much of the weekend casting guilty thoughts at my computer, but I never seem to find the time to follow up. I’m thinking I’ll just let the guilt go. Admit my inability to stick to a weekend schedule and set myself free.
Then again, maybe that’s a cop-out. Hey, if you have an opinion feel free to let me know!
We don’t have a dog. We have a goldfish. We have a beautiful stupid cat. We had a pet rat, but she died. But we have no dog. Truth is, I’ve resisted. You know, dogs eat things they shouldn’t. This wouldn’t be a problem, except when they then reject the things they shouldn’t have eaten. They shed, on a far larger scale than cats. They poop in the yard, and guess who here would be cleaning that up? I deal with enough poop in my life, thankyouverymuch. So I know we should have a dog, to round out our happy family picture, but I drag my feet.
We have two dogs staying with us for a week or so. Casey is a sweet old golden retriever, and Pepe` is a sweet tiny…oh, what’s the breed…fluffy white dog. They’re great dogs; we’ve taken care of them before. I don’t mind having them here, because they’re so well behaved, but any addition to the family causes ripples through everyone. And by everyone I mean the boys. Mom and Dad and I are pretty much able to adjust to dodging dogs without missing a beat. Ah, but the boys.
Raphael hovers between feeling a touch frightened of the dogs and thinking maybe he could be their boss. Sometimes, if they move too fast (particularly Casey, who out weighs Raphi by a good 70 pounds), he turns and runs away from them, screeching, “S’ a BIG DOG!” But then again, he often notices that Pepe` is actually smaller than him, and that Casey has all the malice of, say, a pair of fuzzy dice. Then he tries hitting them or riding on them. He’s spent much of the last day in time out. I’m not sure he’s actually learned not to hit the dogs, but at least he can’t abuse them when he’s stuck there in solitude.
Tre is hoping the dogs, with their attendant chores, will be a money making opportunity. He frequently asks me if I might consider paying him for helping out with the dogs, and if so how much? I really need to make up my mind on that. Tre is also a touch anxious about Casey getting stuff out of his room. Casey likes to carry small stuffed things around in her mouth (slobbery…oh so gross), and Tre is sure she has her doggy eye on his room and all his many precious things. What Tre doesn’t realize is that Casey no more wants to climb the stairs to his room than she wants to spend time with Raphael. But hey, if it convinces him to clean up the floor of his room, who am I to argue?
Max is the happiest to have the dogs here. He adores them. He follows them around, and feeds them and lies down next to them to pet them. He carries around their leashes and wishes aloud that he could pretend to walk them around the house. He loves the dogs. Today we took them for a walk, Me, Tre, Max, and Raphael, with two dogs. Yeesh. Casey was a little excited, and tugged on Tre too much, so Tre ended up pushing the stroller and I held Casey’s leash. Max took Pepe`. We were walking along, a visual representation of chaos. Tre kept accidentally pushing the stroller into bushes, causing Raphael to holler protests. This would make Casey stop walking and sniff Tre, who would respond with a heartfelt soliloquy on why he couldn’t push this stupid stroller with that dog in the way, and couldn’t someone help him…
Max walked serenely along with Pepe` until about halfway home, when he stopped suddenly and called out to me, “Mama?” I glanced over my shoulder from ahead on the sidewalk, where I was helping Tre untangle the stroller from a fire hydrant. “What, honey?”
“Do you know what it feels like to have a dog?”
“It feels good.”
Well, he’s right. We gotta get our own dog.
Someone asked me recently if I actually call my kids “honey” as often as I quote myself saying it in my blog. Oh, yes. And the truth is far worse than just the generous sprinkling of honeys. I have nickname issues.
It started with Tre. When he was just a few months old he had this cold. One day while his dad and I were sitting and admiring him (we did that a lot in typical new parent fashion), Tre sneezed. And he sneezed out these two enormous snot worms. (Well, what would you call them?) Right into his mouth. And then he enjoyed them. Relished them, really. His dad and I were aghast. I mean…gross. But I recovered enough to say, “Well, do you want to give Booger Breath here his bath or should I?”
Well, it stuck. He was known for a while as Booger Breath, which morphed into Booger Boy and then Booger. I’ve called all my boys Booger at times, because it’s lost its original mucosal connotations for me. It’s an endearing word meaning “son of mine.” I often start to address my boys as “gentlemen” and it comes out as “gentleboogers.” I know I’m in for some sort of psychological reckoning some day.
I don’t know why I spent so much time agonizing about what I was going to name my kids, because I hardly ever call them by their given names. All day long it’s “honey” or “darlin” or “sweetie” or some such treacly nonsense. Max is frequently called “Sweet Pea”, although that really should be spelled “Sweet Pee” because he earned that nickname as an infant. He had a talent for catching me or his dad unaware mid diaper change.
For some inexplicable reason I’ve decided that Raphael is my little “Punkin’ Bug.” I know, I’m embarrassed just to type it. Yet it flies out of my mouth several times a day. Just yesterday I was telling my wee Punkin’ Bug to…I don’t know, get his finger out of his nose or something. Dad overheard me and asked, “Punkin’ Bug? Really? Why?” I just shrugged. What can I say? I have issues.
Well, it’s late. I’m going to bed. As soon as I peek in on Booger Boy, Sweet Pee, and Punkin’ Bug.
¶ 9/11/2003 11:06:00 PM
Wednesday, September 10, 2003
Let me first of all say a word about the day. September 11, and we’re all mourning again. Which is difficult to do while you’re holding your breath.
The events of 9/11 will always be tied up in my mind with the end of my marriage. Things were falling apart then. During the long nights I spent on the couch, waiting for my husband to come home, I watched the footage of the attacks again and again. And though it was real, actual buildings crumpling into dust, actual people dying by the thousands, it was also for me a metaphor. Life as I knew it was over. The security I had taken for granted was gone. The pain was unbelievable.
But when those memories come back, I also remember something my mom said on 9/11. She came over to my house when she heard the news and we sat at my kitchen table, trying to imagine what it could mean, what we should do.
“I don’t know what’s going to happen,” she said, “but I know this. The people in the concentration camps in World War II who survived were the ones who weren’t waiting for life to get back to normal. They were the people who focused on what was happening and reacted to that, rather than remembering and longing for the past. Whatever happens now, keep your eyes on the future.”
So I hope no one thinks me callous today, writing about the silly things I write about. I will say a prayer for those left behind. I will cry in unguarded moments. But I have to keep my eyes on three little bits of the future.
This morning I was doing a project with the boys that included cutting pictures of animals out of magazines. Raphael had joined us at the table, in order to swipe scissors, eat glue sticks, and throw magazines to the floor. Oh, and color his arm with a red marker. Raphael is very interested in education.
(As an aside here, the boys were making signa, like the ancient Romans carried into battle – Tre because he’s studying the fall of Rome, Max because Tre was doing it and it’s therefore cool. They were looking for pictures of fierce animals to adorn their signa. Each chose a picture of Claire as one of their terrifying emblems of doom. They continue to be impressed with her as huntress.)
Max was cutting a picture of an octopus out of a National Geographic Kids magazine when Raphael spotted a dolphin on the opposing page. He dove for the magazine, nearly knocking Max off his chair.
“Iss a WHALE!” he shrieked.
“No, honey, it’s a dolphin.” I responded reasonably.
“NOOOO, ISSS A WHAAAAALE!”
“No, really. It’s a dolphin.”
This went on for some time in this vein. Finally I noticed the caption below the picture that read something like “dolphin leaping out of water” and I got an idea. I swiped a couple of letter tiles from the fridge.
“See, Raphael, this letter is D. D says d. Now this letter is W. W says w. See? D – d. W – w. Got it?” He nodded cheerfully. “What does this W say?”
”That’s right! And this D says d! Now, look at this word under the picture. See how it starts with D? That’s because it says DOLPHIN. D – d – DOLPHIN. Not W - w - whale, D - d - DOLPHIN.”
Yes, you are reading this right. I actually tried to teach my two year old to read just so I could convince him I was right. He peered closely at the caption. “Now, honey,” I said, “what’s in that picture?” He smiled oh so sweetly.
Geez, he’s stubborn.
This morning I was awakened by two very excited boys. Tre and Max came screaming into my room. Something about a bird. I stomped down the stairs, snarling. Morning is not my best time. What I found was Mom, standing over Claire (our beautiful stupid cat), who had between her paws a tiny and terrified baby bird. Poor wee fuzzy thing was sitting there, occasionally squeaking. I sent Mom to throw Claire out in the back yard and went to fetch a shoebox.
Well, once I got the little scrap of a bird in the shoebox I set to finding someone who would take care of it. The boys were fascinated with the thing, and kept peeking in the box. Since it was 7 a.m. or some such ungodly hour of the morning, there were no vet clinics or animal control offices open. So I sat down with the boys to give them the truth, straight out. “Guys, this is a pretty tiny bird, and it’s been through a lot. It might not live. But I want you to know that Claire hasn’t done anything bad here. Even though it’s sad that the bird is hurt, that’s what cats do. They hunt.” I studied them for a reaction to the complicated reality of the circle of life. Tre looked back at me with shining eyes. “Mom, Claire’s such a brave hunter. I bet she could catch a bear.” I looked around at our beautiful stupid cat, which was prowling around the shoebox. Her? The cat who didn’t figure out for ten minutes after Mom threw her out in the back yard that she could come in the cat door? “Um…I guess so, honey. It would have to be an awfully small bear.” Tre and Max discussed it for a minute and decided that it was certain that Claire could at least catch a baby bear.
Well, I thought, they seem to be handling the complicated reality fairly well. Humph. See, if it had been me as a kid, with a wounded baby bird in a shoebox, I would have been distraught. I would have been bringing the bird scraps of material to line the box, trying to give it water with an eyedropper, and generally tormenting the poor thing to an early demise. Um…earlier demise.
But they’re not me. They’re a couple of boys who are mainly impressed with the hunter prowess of their cat. We took the bird in to a vet clinic that takes wild, injured birds. After we dropped it off, Tre remarked, “Well, we did what we could. Let’s get lunch!”
“Yeah,” chimed in Max, “some place with dumplings.” So I took their little hard hearts out for lunch.
Well, the bird didn’t make it. It died shortly after we dropped it off, and I’m glad it waited until then. I’m not sure the boys would have been upset about the bird, but they hate it when I cry.
Them I can forgive. After all, as I keep reminding myself, boys are…different. Not wrong, just different. However, I have a couple of times hissed at Claire under my breath, “Bird killer.” She is unfazed. She is after all, Claire, our beautiful stupid cat and bear hunter.
¶ 9/09/2003 09:49:00 PM
Monday, September 08, 2003
I did it, I DID it! I networked my computers, transferred the files, and I’m in business again. However, this triumph has come with a price. Namely, my brain. I’ve spent the entire freakin’ day sitting here in front of this computer, punctuated by brief trips out to stores to be condescended to by twelve year old computer sales people. There was one guy I really appreciated. I went to Circuit City (you would not believe how many attempts it took me to type that name just now), and this grey haired gentleman who worked there briskly approached to ask if he could help me. Having learned my lesson yesterday, I pulled out my 3x5 card and recited, “I need a serial PC to PC file transfer cable.” He went a touch pale and then begged me to wait right there while he found a “CP person who can help you.” I stood there, puzzling about what a CP person could be for a few minutes until it finally dawned on me that he meant a PC person. HE needed a 3x5 card. May God bless his silver head.
Everyone else I talked to regarding my never-ending file transfer saga seemed to agree that I am a moron. “A SERIAL cable? No, you don’t want that! Here, this is what you want.” I’d be standing there, helplessly insisting that the file transfer wizard was asking for a serial PC to PC file transfer cable, so even if that was foolish and wrongheaded could I have it? Please? Eventually I gave up and called my brother, the computer genius. He sent me information that was suitable for what he called my “intellectual strata.” I may not know cables, but I do know English, Josh. And I would have some very cutting remarks for you had you not pulled my…strata out of the fire today. Smootch.
Well, I’ll spare you the many details (like there is any way I could remember/decipher all the details), and sum up by saying I did it. My beautiful new desktop and my sleek new laptop are now networked and communicating fabulously.
I think they’re talking about me behind my back.
¶ 9/08/2003 10:19:00 PM
Sunday, September 07, 2003
Well, I did it. I pulled the beast out of the box. And I wanted to transfer my files, right? So away I went to Radio Shack. I was repeating in my head the kind of cable I was told to buy to accomplish the file transfer. I also had it written on a 3x5 card in my pocket, but I didn’t want to read it in front of the Radio Shack guy. See, I went in there with the wrong attitude entirely. There I was, foolish girl, thinking I would preserve some dignity. Oh, how the computer gods laughed.
The guy was helping someone else, so I wandered around for a while. I found myself right in front of a whole wall of computer cables. Well, yippee! Surely I could pick the cable out. There they were, cables! I mused. I browsed. I settled on a cable that seemed to be in the category I required. I picked the second-most expensive cable, thinking the more it cost the better it would be. Right? Right?
Well, I tossed my choice on the counter, and the Radio Shack guy looked at it with raised eyebrows.
“This is what you need?” Understand, he wasn’t offering to help; he was questioning my ability to choose my own cable. At least, that’s how I read it. I leveled what I hoped was a confident gaze at him and nodded. Must have been convincing, because he picked up the box and started to ring it up. “Wow, a gig. Must be some network.” Damn, I’m thinking, damndamndamn. I have no idea what he’s talking about, but I’m pretty sure I got the wrong cable. But do I confess and ask assistance? Nooooo. I’m in too deep for that. I shrug noncommittally. “Streaming video and stuff, right?” he asks, like that makes sense. I said something clever like mm-hmm. “Huh. What, are you going to be doing web design?” He’s handing me my change by now, so I pocket the money and grab my bag. Over my shoulder I say breezily, “Well, maybe. We’ll see.” And I was out. Safe.
Except now I’m going to have to find someplace else to go tomorrow when I try again to get the right cable.
¶ 9/07/2003 11:46:00 PM
Thursday, September 04, 2003
I gotta tell you, a black eye suits Raphael. It’s just the right accessory for his tough-guy little soul. We were in McDonald’s today, and Raphi was tearing through crowds of toddlers, scattering them like so many screeching bowling pins. A grandfather was sitting to the side, watching the scene. As I went to haul my wee angel off to yet another time out, he nodded at us in grim approval. “Now, that’s a boy. A bruiser. You can tell just by looking at ‘em.”
On other fronts (and yes, there are other fronts in my life. It’s not all about the kids), I have a new computer. I’m not using a new computer, you understand. I haven’t unpacked the new computer. But it’s here, sitting prettily in its two Dell boxes, awaiting my attention.
So why is it still sitting there, even though it arrived (cough, cough) Tuesday? Why haven’t I yanked that puppy out and set it up, especially considering the tiny little McComputer I’m using presently? Um…I’m…a little intimidated. There’s all the setting up, the fitting in of the wires. I know I can handle that. But can I handle that and keep all three boys alive simultaneously? And then there’s all the file transferring to be done. I hate that. Somewhere, in the transferring and the setting up of the new system, something will go wrong.
Although it’s shameful to admit, I’m pretty ignorant about computers. (Josh, at this moment, is saying something mocking. Shut up, Josh.) So when something goes wrong, I tend to react like someone in the Dark Ages, witnessing an eclipse of the sun. “Aaaahhh!! I have angered an evil spirit! Quick, break out the holy water; make the error message go away! Call the priest! Turn off the box-that-hums and pray that it will be healed!”
In case you’re wondering, that approach to computer repair doesn’t work.
Fortunately, I have purchased the extended service contract. Unfortunately, tech support people that I've talked to tend to fall into one of two categories. Either they are idiots who actually know less about computers than me (“Ok, did you turn it on? Try that. Turn it on? Huh. I don’t know what else to tell you. Good luck.”), or they smell my ignorance, like that whole dog/fear thing, and hate me before I finish saying my name. I’m realizing now that I paid extra money to talk to someone who hates me in the event that I should be suffering computer bad humors. Shoot.
Well, if I should disappear for a few days, you’ll know why. I will have screwed my courage to the sticking point and opened the boxes. But first, anyone know any good chants to ward off evil spirits?
¶ 9/04/2003 10:35:00 PM
Wednesday, September 03, 2003
Ok, no blog yesterday. Last night Raphael took a tumble down the basement stairs. Sounds fairly benign that way, doesn’t it? Let me take another stab. Last night Raphael was making his way down the basement stairs, spoonful of peanut butter clutched in one fist. About halfway down gravity reached up and snatched his feet out from underneath him, smacking his face into a stair below him and leaving swirls of peanut butter on the wall to describe his head-over-heels descent to the bottom. Today he has an amazing shiner on his right eye. Occasionally he touches it gingerly and says soberly, “Ah fall down da stairs. Ah get owie.” Indeed.
I don’t know how I’m going to get this one to adulthood alive. He’s a maniac, pure and simple. The other day we were at The Tattered Cover, which is a fabulous local bookstore. It was just Tre, Raphael, and I. Max was with Mom, riding a train. I needed a few things for school, so there we were. While I browsed the children’s section for just the right educational supplies, Raphael waged a full-scale attack. On what, you say? Well, everything. Kids who tried to look at the book he was looking at. His brother, no matter what he was doing. A small stepstool, which couldn’t have directly offended him, yet somehow needed to be tipped over often and with relish. Then he found The Book. The Book is a Tonka book, called “If I Could Drive A Loader.” It is written with just about as much sparkle and wit as you would expect from a book written not by a person (as far as I can tell), but by a company that produces toy construction equipment. Raphael loves The Book. He spotted it, climbed over a table to get it, and clutched it to his bosom. “Ah WANT DIS!” he shrieked in that endearing ear-shattering way he has. I promised him he could have it, and he was so relieved that he only had to ask me if he could have it about twelve thousand more times. Ceiling tiles were falling.
We headed downstairs to purchase our books and when the lady behind the counter had to take the book to scan it, Raphael’s world threatened to end. He wailed, huge tears welling up in those dark eyes, “Ah want da BOOOOOOK! Gimmeeee DAT BOOK!” And then, most piteously, “PWEEEEEZ?” Now, the crowd down at the Tattered Cover is a book loving and child centered type of crowd. Oh, the concern. The adoring looks and indulgent smiles! I think they were ready to crown him their toddler king. I’m glad he waited until he was safely in his car seat to tear a strip out of the cover of “Dat Book.” I hate to shatter illusions unnecessarily. Fortunately, there was only Tre and I to witness his destruction, and to listen to him beg most of the way home, “Mama? Can oo fits it? Ah bwoke dat book! Can oo fits it?”
“Yes, honey, I can fix it. Just as soon as we get home I’ll tape it. Just hang on.”
“Mama? Can oo fits it?”
Repeat. Many, many times.
So last night, instead of blogging, I had to do my motherly duty. As I saw it, that meant I had to stay in my room, next to Raphael’s room. I had to read quietly, listening for his breathing. And every so often I had to go in there, lean over and look at his sweet, battered face. Feel the warmth rising off his skin and whisper thanks that he’s ok. Pray that his angels won’t get too tired to keep up with him, and that we’ll all survive Raphael to the power of two.
Earlier this evening I was waxing delightedly to my mother about what a wonderful holiday Labor Day is. It’s the perfect holiday, because there’s nothing to it. No cookies to bake, no songs to sing, no presents to buy, no cards to send. I didn’t have to prepare a special meal and I don’t have to fret about whether or not my kids understand the “real” meaning of the day. It’s an actual holiday, free of guilt and complications. You can do whatever you want. Well, unless you want to go to the post office or the bank or Costco. But who wants to do that?
Ah, but then I tucked my children in bed (and they weren’t exhausted from the festivities, because you don’t have to do that), and it hit me.
Labor Day. That means summer’s over.
That means school starts tomorrow.
Now, I’m a homeschooler. And this isn’t my first year either. I knew this was coming. I’ve been preparing for it for weeks. I’ve got all kinds of books and plans and sharpened pencils and 3x5 cards. But as I sat down to prepare my first week’s lessons, the thought that echoed in my head was this:
What was I thinking?
Good Lord, what is wrong with me? This isn’t something people do on their own, at home. What am I doing? I never even finished my degree (although I do have something like 136 credit hours – another story entirely). I’m going to entirely screw up my boys, who already have tough lives ahead of them, what with the whole absentee father thing. And besides which, they’re short, and that’s really hard on boys and that’s my fault too because I’m short AND I picked the short guy to have kids with which, come to think of it, makes it my fault about the whole absentee father thing too and I didn’t even remember to give them their vitamins today, how can I expect to teach them all the everythings they need to know, I mean, I barely passed algebra in high school, what was I thinking whatwasIthinkingwhatwasIthinking
(Putting my head between my knees and taking deep breaths)
Mom says I did this last year. I don’t remember that. But I will tell you this; it gives the term “Labor Day” a whole new meaning. Because tonight, as I sit here with my books and papers, planning the days to come, I keep remembering a certain point when I was in labor with my boys. Right before it was time to push, I panicked. NO. Can’t do this. Three babies, three times I suddenly decided I simply could not do it.
Of course I did. Not much choice at that point. And I guess I’ll manage this too. But if anyone hears me doing Lamaze breathing during a phonics lesson, you’ll know why.
¶ 9/01/2003 11:14:00 PM