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Saturday, August 10, 2013

"I Knew He Would Use Pliers!"

I felt a blog post welling up inside me this morning and thought about just how long it has been. So long, that apparently I forgot my log in information, and I don't know how use Blogger anymore.

Too many moments have escaped the written log in past year and more. I watch my kiddos grow up by the month, week, and day, and can't seem to get enough them. Well, except for those moments that have been too frequent at times where the Girl-Child, in all her budding 'tween attitude, makes her little brother the constant subject of her disdain and criticism. She is very good with words and uses them as a source of meanness toward her little brother. While she only does this to her little brother because he is an easy punching bag, I've been working hard with her to stop this. Meanwhile, her little brother is as boy as a boy can get, and when he gets fed up to the point that he can take no more of his sister, he just pops her one. It's imperative that I succeed in putting a stop to this at the first glimmer because it rolls downhill fast. The more annoyed Daughter gets with her little brother, you know-for breathing or just simply existing-her little brother finds even bigger and intentional ways to annoy her even more to get back at her for displaying such disdain towards him. Yes, this is the season we are in. No more poopie diapers, but still a lot of "crap" to deal with.

Usually, though, my heart swells with that indescribable something when I have the gift of time to just enjoy being with my kids with no pressures. When I can take a step back and just really notice them--still young and childish--but growing up so quickly. I was enjoying one of those peaceful kick-back mornings with my kiddos today--at least as peaceful as a morning can be when it includes my Girl-Child having a tooth extracted. She has always been an amazing trooper when it comes to the dentist. There was the event of the previous baby tooth extractions in 2009. There was also the dental surgery of 2008.

The Girl-Child seems to have a recurring issue with baby teeth just not coming out properly before the permanent ones feel like they need to come in. This time the offending loose tooth managed to become wedged between the molar on one side and the new permanent tooth that had erupted at a strange angle adjacent to the molar. I came to the conclusion last Sunday that the only way this tooth was coming out was if her dad took his needle-nose pliers to it or if we took her to the dentist for the job. Since Daughter has no issues with the dentist, and has even been known to LIKE going to the dentist, I made the appointment as soon as possible to get 'er done. Our dentist is actually an hour and half away (that's another story), but her orthodontist is near, and he was able to do this job for us. We were cautioned that he did not have nitrus gas, however. Daughter has never had nitrus gas, so all would be fine unless I was going to need a toke or two to get me through the ordeal.

All the talk of a "tooth extraction" at the dentist office had the Boy-Child intrigued and excited, as seven-and-a-half-year-old boys tend to get. He asked with great enthusiasm and excitement if they were going to use pliers to pull his sister's tooth. None of us knew. The Girl-Child didn't seem to remember exactly what the tool looked like the last time she needed to have a tooth pulled. I asked her if she was nervous about what tool may be used for this procedure, and she nonchalantly said, "No. I mean, I just can't wait to get this thing out of my mouth!" and she went about happily skipping around the house. That's my girl, happy and skipping about at the idea of getting a tooth pulled.

The orthodontist is really laid back and welcomes me, and the Boy-Child, into the exam/treatment room whenever he works on the Girl-Child. The previous dentist who did the previous extractions required me to be in the lobby while they did unknown procedures on my then six-year-old daughter, so it's a good thing my girl likes the dentist and had no issues with me being in the lobby while she had "procedures" done on her teeth. It is also no wonder why the dentists always love her. What dentist wouldn't love a six-year-old who sings and hums happily with a mouthful of bloody gauze after having two teeth pulled? Meanwhile, I would be in the lobby having anxiety attacks, worried about what was being done to my daughter and how she was handling it. The dentist has that effect on me whether I'm in the "torture chair" waiting for my dental cleaning and looking at all those posters of dental diseases and rotten and misaligned teeth, or sitting in the lobby watching videos on proper brushing techniques and looking at close ups of tooth plaque.

Today, I tenuously asked Daughter if she would like me to stay in the room. While I didn't want to suggest or imply that this was going to be horrifying and scarey for her, I also wanted to offer my support (even though it could be horrifying and scarey for ME). She said she'd like me to stay, which meant the Boy-Child would be with us as well. He was really excited to have a front row seat to the dental torture of his big sister. He perched on the edge of the chair closest to her, his face radiant with curiosity, and waited with great anticipation to see what would happen next. I felt like I needed to offer him some popcorn and a soft drink to add to the ambiance of his entertainment. He is such a boy.

The numbing swab came first. That was the part the Girl-Child later said she disliked the most. Really? Big needles, pliers, numb jaw, and she hates the swab the most? Then the needle. The thing was HUGE! The doc always chats with me about politics, gardening, or professional stuff as he knows I'm a licensed health care provider myself. I was thankful that today he chose gardening. My weak stomach was in no position to jaw about politics today. We chatted about heirloom lettuce while Daughter waited patiently for the shot to take its numbing effect, and Son waited impatiently, ready for something to happen that involved more action.

Next thing I knew, the doc turned around with the tooth held in his long dental pliers. Son beamed with excitement and exclaimed loudly, "See! I knew he would use pliers!" Something about his excitement over watching the dental chair torture on his sister felt simultaneously amusing and macabre.

Daughter skipped happily out of the dental chair and out to the car as pleased as she would have been if she'd just eaten an ice cream cone. I gathered my weak stomach and shushed Son who continued to jabber away enthusiastically about the pliers he knew they would use, paid the bill, and met up with my happy girl at the car.

Daughter had asked yesterday if we could go to the library today, and I had told her we could after the dental visit if she felt up to it. She commented on how weird her numb jaw felt, but she was simply not going to miss an opportunity to get books from the library. Like most library trips, the kids each snatched books off the shelves like they were candy. I interrupted Son snatching up and stuffing book after book in the bag and pointed out to him the two large Star Wars anthologies he had missed on the shelf just above his eye level. Son paused, completely enraptured, gazing at the Star Wars books on the shelf. It was like a moment suspended in time. Then he snapped to his sensed, grabbed them both, hugged them close to his chest, and announced that he was now ready to go. He carried them to the counter and laid them down in a most decided fashion, waiting for the male librarian to check them out to him. He became even more pleased, if that could be possible, when the librarian went into the same enraptured trance that Son had fallen into when he first saw them on the shelf. Mr. Librarian thumbed through one of them longingly and started in on some Star Wars dialogue with Son that reminded me a lot of Daughter's Rosetta Stone Spanish studies with the computer. I knew something important was being discussed, but I just couldn't decipher it. Then I realized that Mr. Librarian was enjoying quizzing my seven-and-a-half-year-old Boy-Child with Star Wars trivia. Uh oh. He had met his match. He fired off questions to my Boy trying to stump him. My Boy fired off the answers back at him like a dare. And it was on. The Girl and I stood there bewildered at what was transpiring. Then a question from Mr. Librarian about something to do with the AT-AT. Son paused. Uh oh...was the stumped? Mr. Librarian repeated the question. Pause. Daughter jumped in responding something about "AT&T" and giggled as I clarified with her that the question had nothing to do with phone service. Our giggling brought the Star Wars trance to an end as both Mr. Librarian and Dear Son snapped out of the fifth dimension to shake their heads at us.

The awesome come-what-may summer morning with my kiddos continued to unfold with a trip to Freddy's where ice cream, or whatever my Girl and her awakening jaw could tolerate, was permitted as a reward for her wrangling with the pliers in the dental chair. There were no mean words from the Girl towards the Boy now. Both were in bliss as they decided to share a burger and fries so that they would have room for ice cream afterwards. I savored the time with my sweet ones as our hands bumped together in the onion ring basket. Dear Son snuggled up next to me on the bench and pressed his body into mine while we munched. His love language is physical touch. Dear Daughter sat across from us. She has a bigger "bubble" than her brother. She was just happy because there was ice cream involved.

It was a priceless summer morning--just ambling along together with a tooth pulling, new library books, burgers, fries, and ice cream. These are the sweet times I cherish and wish could last forever (well, not so much about the tooth-pulling). The drive back home was typical. It was silent in the back seat. Little bellies were full of the stuff of American diner food and the kiddos both had their noses in their books. Daughter was reading about Mollie, the American Girl of the 1940's. Son was studying his Star Wars encyclopedias. I admired their sweet faces in the rear view mirror and felt thankful for the sweetness of the day and the company of my kids. Then the silence was broken as Dear Son began to jabber about Star Wars and Jabba the Hutt and something about a spider droid and a brain suspended in some liquid in a jar and how it was red, and on and on until Daughter could stand no more and pleaded with her brother to stop the talk that was making her feel queasy. This sort of thing, NOT having a tooth pulled, is what makes the Girl queasy.

Just a day. A meandering summer day with my Girl and my Boy. Wish I could save days like this up and re-savor them in the future, because I know there will come a day when I will miss it all: taking the day as it comes with my young ones, driving them to appointments, watching them choose their books at the library, listening to them chatter in the back seat about the things they love, and most of all watching them eat ice cream and bumping hands with them in the onion rings basket.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

In Which Mother's Day is Celebrated

It began like Mother's Day usually begins at my house. I awake in the wee hours and decide I just can't ignore the call of Nature. I take care of business with my eyes half closed and try not to gain full consciousness lest I lose a rare and glorious opportunity to sleep in. As I hurry back to my warm spot in the bed, I find that my boy-child, who joined us sometime in the night, has rolled into MY warm spot and Dear Husband is still sleeping soundly on the other side of him. I shove the boy over and reclaim my spot and blissfully doze back to sleep, waking much later to the thump, thump, thump of little boy and little girl feet running down the hallway. Next time I awaken, Dear Husband is no longer in bed, but I refuse to look at the time and manage to doze off again. Thump, thump, thump down the hall again followed by SLAM as my bedroom door flies shut. Loudly. That's my kids' way of making sure they don't wake me up with too much noise outside my bedroom. I haven't yet figured out how they think they can keep from waking me up by slamming the door so loudly.

I look at the clock and sigh. Time to get up. Minutes later I'm preening in front of the mirror in my bathroom when I hear the bedroom door open slooooooowly and carefully and little whispering voices say, "Hey! She's not in here!" Dear Husband is standing in the bedroom holding my "breakfast in bed" when they find me already up in the bathroom. Bacon and eggs. I would eat them in bed if I were still in bed. Instead, I tell Husband I'll be out to eat them in a couple minutes.

Thump, thump, thump, again in the hallway headed towards the kitchen followed by a little boy voice shrieking, "Whew! Look at all the smoke in the air! I can't even see in here! I need some goggles!" Thump, thump, thump back down the hallway the other direction. In the mirror, I see a little blond head peek around the corner behind me. The little blond head is wearing swim goggles and grinning from ear to ear. "Mom! It's so smokey out there that you gotta wear goggles to see!" His dimples are popping out everywhere in all his giggly excitement. He doesn't wait for my reply. Thump, thump, thump towards the kitchen. I hear his voice across the house, "Dad! I gotta wear goggles to see in here!" Thump, thump, thump back down the hallway. Boy-child with dimples still popping out under his swim goggles stands behind me, and waits. I see him in the reflection of the mirror watching me. "Mom, are you gonna come out here? Because if you do, you really need some goggles to see!" Off he goes again, thump, thump, thump back towards the kitchen. "Are the windows open in the living room?" I call after him. Pause. "No!" the boy-child responds. "Ask Daddy to help you open them to help the smoke clear." A moment later I also hear the whoosh of the attic fan being turned on.

"Daddy is cooking," my girl-child says matter-of-factly. as she plops down on my bed to watch me finish preening my hair. That's what we always say when the house fills with smoke: Daddy is cooking. And it's usually the correct explanation.

A few minutes later, thump, thump, thump boy-child comes back to my bedroom. "Are you gonna come out here yet?"

I ask, "Has the air cleared yet?" This time I follow his thump, thump, thump down the hall

My two rapidly growing not-so-wee ones hover over me, watching me eat my cold bacon and egg breakfast, eagerly waiting for me to open the presents they have for me. It's the best cold bacon and eggs breakfast ever. I sip my re-heated coffee as two little faces excitedly watch me unwrap the beautiful collection of homemade sun catchers. My warmed heart makes up for the cold breakfast now hitting my stomach. I'd have no Mother's Day at all without my little ones. As I pull them close to me, my heart beats loudly with gratefulness in my chest, thump, thump, thump.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Tell it Like it is

It was a peaceful start to the day today with Dear Son still in HIS OWN bed at 8:30 this morning, sleeping soundly. We've only just recently gotten to the point where Dear Son stays in his own bed instead of wedging himself between the Husband and I in our bed sometime during the wee hours. I realize the child is only five, but not only is he big for his age, but sharing a bed with him is like sleeping with an octopus on crack. He manages to take up three quarters of the bed, starting in the middle and working out, and typically leaving me teetering for dear life on the edge of my own mattress. Not only that, he somehow he manages to kick me in the head all night, while simultaneously stealing the pillow out from under my head. It's a mystery. We have finally increased the incentive enough for him to remain in his own bed all night where he can kick himself in his own head to his heart's content.

Typically Dear Son is up before his big sister up in the morning, and we often have breakfast together, just the two of us, before I wake his sister. It's peaceful that way. If you've ever parented a spirited and precocious eight year old, you know what I'm taking about. This morning, however, it was Daughter with whom I shared breakfast before Son was up. I believe it may have been the first time this has ever happened (Daughter is about as much a morning person as I am). She was sweet as pie with her manners and overall presence as the two of us shared breakfast. I kissed her on the head and called her "my sweet girl," and in all the sweetness her eight-year-old self could muster, Daughter replied, "That's because Zach isn't up yet to fight with." Sweet girl, indeed. And she's also insightful and honest.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011


Dear Son: "Mommy, if I was old enough, I would marry you!"

Me: (swoon)

I have the sweetest little yellow haired boy on the planet.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

I Believe I Can Fly!

My Dear precocious Daughter turned eight a couple weeks ago. Eight years gone in a blink. Halfway to driving a car. Unbelievable! Of course, I still remember the day of her birth like it was yesterday. She caused a stir before she even entered the world. My girl-child likes her some drama. She wasn't moving satisfactorily when my pregnancy with her was six weeks from D Day--or should I say Bday (haha)? My doc put me on fetal monitoring every 72 hours. That means a trip to triage every three days. On this fateful morning, I had eight days left before she was supposed to arrive, and I went to triage for monitoring on the way to my first meeting of the day. I never made it to the meeting. Doc agreed that day that Baby wasn't moving enough, and we (that means "me") were going to have a baby that day. Drama.

I was shocked and caught totally off guard. I didn't even have "the bag" packed. I was supposed to wait a looooong time at home when I started labor (directions from my momma, the labor and delivery nurse, who warned me that first births can take a really looooooong time). Don't go to the hospital until the baby is crowning. Or something like that. Of course, I've been told the story many a time, about how I was nearly born in the backseat of the car in the middle of an Iowa snowstorm after Uncle R (my momma's brother) had a heck of a time getting her out of the upstairs bedroom where she was in major labor and flopping around like a fish--or something like that, the story goes. My dad was in the Navy and somewhere overseas at the time.

So there I was, intending to head to my morning meeting as soon as the needle on the monitor waved around satisfactorily and the Velcro belt around my belly was removed. The baby wasn't crowning yet. I don't think she had even "dropped." I hadn't had a single labor pain. And the doc said I was having this baby today. Next thing I knew I was being admitted and someone was poking an IV into my vein and my mom was at my side reminding me agin that this could be a looooong process. I was calling the husband telling him to pack that bag that I never got around to and bring me some movies for the loooooong wait. Oh, and by the way, you're having a baby. Today.

Couldn't have been an hour into this process when I noticed Baby's heartbeat was slowing waaaaay down. By the time I said something to my mom, still at my side, she already had a concerned look on her face. "Turn this way!" She ordered. Pause. "Turn that way!" She ordered. Pause. She pressed the nurses button (I was delivering at the hospital where my mom worked, but my mom wasn't on duty that day). My mom then opted not to wait for the nurse on duty to arrive. I'll spare you some detail, but she needed to remove the medication that had been inserted by my cervix to get the job rolling. Now we needed to stop the labor quicker than we had started it. I realized later that my daughter may not have made it if my mom hadn't been there (my nurse must have been off having coffee somewhere as she waited out the loooooooong process). Drama.

Doc arrives on the scene quickly while nurses and techs poke and prod me some more and someone thrusts a clipboard under my nose informing me that I need to sign it before I can go to the OR. I saw three pages of microscopic text, and was pretty sure that somewhere within I gave full consent for the medical personnel to do whatever they wanted to me with full agreement from me that I would never sue them for the mistakes they could be about to make-including that I could become paralyzed for life or die. We needed to do a c-section. I called my husband who had just finished getting me movies for the looooooong wait. I informed him that I just signed away all my rights and was at the mercy of the white coats wielding needles and knives. It hadn't clicked for me that there was any rush, so I didn't tell him to hurry. I hung up, and next thing I knew they were suiting up my mom to join us in the OR in case the husband didn't make it. Husband ended up arriving just as they began wheeling me out the door towards the OR. Drama.

I watched the ceiling as I was rolled through this corridor and that. It was a view I hadn't seen before, except for a dramatic camera shot here and there on the old tv series, "ER." I felt vulnerable and terrified. I didn't pay attention to this part in my birthing training. This isn't the route I was going to take. I was going to go into labor at home and wait a looooong time before I went to the hospital and deliver a baby without medication and without that baby being cut out of my abdomen. Doors swung open. People talked about me like I wasn't even in the room. Some man stood at my head unsmiling and later barked at me for fidgeting so much. I realized later he was the anesthesiologist. And he had a terrible bedside manner. I was flipped and turned and moved to a gurney that only half my body comfortably fit on. The "wings" came out and my arms were strapped down. There was a mask over my nose and mouth. I felt claustrophobic and waaaaay too vulnerable. This was seriously cramping my "gotta be in control" style. Sheet went up below my face. Doc asked if I could feel this. Then, could I feel that. Crap. I was freaking out. Not only could I not feel it, but my brain was telling my feet to move, and nothing was happening. Seriously freaking out. Panic. Drama. "No," I informed the doc. "I can't feel a thing." Crap. I can't feel a thing. I can't move.

The doc started narrating what she was doing. That she was cutting and which layer she was in. Crap. Shut up! I don't want to know this stuff. I can't feel a thing. I can't move. I'm laying on a 2x4 with my arms tied down. While I'm panicking, Mr. Personality Anesthesiologist is barking at me to be still, and the doc is informing me that she is cutting through my abdomen. And I had just signed away all my rights under great duress. Drama.

Then, "Oh, she's a cute one!" A baby crying. Lots of talking and hubub. In a few moments, they handed her to my husband. I could barely muster a care. I was shaking so bad that I was sure I would shake right off that 2x4 with my arms still tied down, and land on my face with my guts spilling out of my gaping belly. And then the doc narrated that she was sewing me up. Please stop telling me these details! It took forever. I gotta get outta here-but my legs won't move! Finally, the doc finishes. In rush the aides and nurses. They flip me this way and that off the 2x4. Oh crap-I'm looking at the blood splattered floor. Now I'm looking at the ceiling again! They're gonna drop me on my face for sure this time! Still can't move! Feet won't respond. Panic. Drama.

It was traumatic. But it didn't take long for me to fall in love with the tiniest person I had ever seen.

And the drama still hasn't stopped.

"I want' to be an inventor!" she recently announced, and then she began drawing intricate blue prints for various contraptions. I would find them all over the house. Detailed, complex robots. Crazy (but creative) ideas--one after another. This particular day (represented in the photographs), she decided to see if she could fly. She spent a good hour and a half creating gear and dreaming up how this could work. Cardboard wings. StuffMart bags around her arms and ankles for parachute action. Two balloons in her arms with clothespins holding them shut until she was ready to release the extra force of their air. Helmet, knee pads, elbow pads. And Crocs. That's an excellent choice in footwear when you are trying to fly. "I'm going to take a flying leap off the bed of the pickup!" she announced to her daddy and I. We convinced her that wouldn't be wise. But not wanting to break her spirit, we agreed to accompany her outdoors in the 105 degree heat to help her find something appropriate to jump off of and to cheer her on. She wanted to fly, and I figured the Wright Brothers had to start somewhere, too.

I won't have to tell you that she didn't get far. But if precociousness and perseverance is any indicator, eventually she will go far one way or another. It's been a wild ride. One that I hope stops its breakneck pace. Eight years went waaaaaaay too fast, and in the rush of the next eight I'm certain I will long for her to be satisfied to jump off of stuff in the backyard with homemade wings and shopping bags and balloons rather than trying to learn to drive a car. Slow down, Sweet Girl. You haven't let me catch my breath in eight years!

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Turds Hanging from a Chandelier

Dear Daughter: "I wish I was a hippie!"

Me: "I wish I was one, too. Only I don't have cool straight hippie hair, so I'd have to wear dreadlocks."

Dear Daughter: "Dreadlocks! No way! That looks like turds hanging from a chandelier!"

She does have a point.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

He's Playing My Heart Strings Again

Dear Son: Grabs my hand and whispers to me, "Mommy, when I grow up I'm going to live right next to you!"

Me: With heart full of warm fuzzies,"That would be wonderful, Sweet Boy! I will remind you of that when you turn 30!"