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Sunday, April 29, 2007

Your Stuff Is My Stuff

Sibling rivalry is in full force as the Bubster learns to hold his own and antagonize his big sister while he's at it. We tend to call Dear Son "You Little Stink" a lot these days!

In response to his Big Sis' tendency to grab her treasures and huddle around them when she sees Little Brother coming, Son has begun to retaliate. He now gets her back by snatching the things he knows she most definitely doesn't want him to make off with, and then he runs quickly in the opposite direction with a deep throaty "Ha Ha! I got you this time" laugh while she chases him and yells, "NO, BUB!" Then HE takes said item and huddles over it to keep HER from getting it back. I mistakenly thought 16 months of age was too little to begin sibling rivalry. *Sigh*

Thursday, April 26, 2007

New Neighbors and Other Unfortunate Events

The family that no one wants to live next to just moved in next door to us. Complete with five kids between the ages of 2 and 11, a pregnant dog, and pregnant cat. Did I mention that the dog is a HUGE chocolate lab, and while he has a great disposition, he also leaves elephant size poop piles in the yard? The biggest problem with this is that we live on an approximately .28 acre lot and the neighbors live on an even smaller lot on the side of our house that has the smallest amount of yard. That means that you can stand between the two houses and practically touch one with each hand. That also means we live way too close to said neighbors. And it means that our search for a new home with a small acreage has become a near desperate search.

The other day I counted the kids among the seven houses nearest ours. I came up with 17 kids under the age 13. Ten of those children are under ten years of age. I have to note that I am not anti-kid. I actually like kids. We have two of our own, after all. But out of these 17 kids, the only four that are monitored very well are our two and the two that live across the street. The other 13 pretty much run wild. Where are the parents when these kids are helping themselves to our kids' toys that are parked in our garage? Where are the parents when their kids help themselves to the swing set in our backyard when we are not even in the yard ourselves? Where are the parents when their dog is taking a massive, record-breaking crap in our grass?

Husband and I are very perplexed as to why we are the only parents (save for the one across the street) that are actually outdoors WITH their small children and monitoring what they are doing and teaching them to respect their neighbors. We are even more perplexed as to how a parent could let their just-turned-two-year-old run around without parental supervision. I end up having to monitor the entire neighborhood because I am apparently the only parent who cares.

Last week the about-to-turn-five-year-old that just moved in next door with his four other siblings and pregnant cat and pregnant dog was playing on the swing set with Daughter, while at least two other neighborhood kids were playing in Daughter's sandbox, including one of Almost-Five-Year-Old's sisters. Daughter is not used having so many playmates. In the midst of the chaos, she got kicked in the face by Almost-Five-Year-Old, who was swinging hard and fast when Daughter apparently walked in front of him. She was smacked so hard that she was spun around and thrown onto her face on the ground. There was blood everywhere, and I was sure that under all that blood were a couple of missing teeth. It was the last straw...well, before the last LAST straw of yesterday when I found the three mammoth-sized crap piles in the yard. I sent all the kids home immediately and took my bloody screaming daughter inside to find out how much of her face was permanently damaged. She had a fat lip for two or three days and the blow completely ripped the skin that attaches the upper lip to the upper gums, and she was bruised and bloody on the gums above one of her front teeth. Fortunately, there appears to be no permanent damage.

I realize that accidents happen. I'm not angry at anyone about the accident, especially not the little boy that kicked my daughter. But I am quite irritated that the parents of this child, and his seven-year-old sibling that was also in our yard when the accident happened, did not even come over later to see how Daughter was. I would have done so if their child were hurt while playing with my child. I am, of course, assuming that said five and seven-year-olds went home and told their parents about the bloody face of their three-year-old neighbor that occurred when Almost-Five-Year-Old accidentally kicked her with the force of a wild bronco.

Then there's the recent incident of Almost-Five-Year-Old returning a few days later to our door to ask if Daughter could come out and play. At least he asked this time. Apparently, he really wanted to play in Daughter's sandbox and on Daughter's swing set again. We went out with Daughter and Son to play with Almost-Five-Year-Old and his sister, Seven-Year-Old for awhile. Of course there was no sign of the parents of these kids except when their nine-year-old yelled inside the door to their father to ask if they could please come inside yet. Apparently that was met with a "no" as the kids all continued playing out in the street. My guess is that the chaos got too much for the dad, so he sent them all outside to play and be supervised by us, the only parents who seem to care.

This time Almost-Five-Year-Old had had some kind of poop accident in his pants. I didn't notice it at first. I kept catching some smelly whiffs, but I just figured he ate beans for his supper or something. Then I finally noticed he was grabbing at his rear a lot and there was a wet stain seeping through his pants. That was about all I could take this time. I told him that he seemed to have had some sort of accident in his pants and needed to go home and ask his mom to help him clean up. He didn't want to go and continued playing on the swings and the slide. I was envisioning poop streaks on Daughter's play equipment and thinking of how this is the way Polio was passed long ago. I wasn't concerned about Polio, but I still didn't want poop streaks on Daughter's play equipment and germs passed this way. I tried to send him home again, and he still wouldn't go, so we finally just told him he needed to go home because we were going inside. I don't know if he ever did go home to deal with it. Last we knew he said he was going to stand firmly in place in our driveway until we came back outside. Before going inside and pulling down all the blinds and locking all the doors and windows, we told him that he would be waiting for a long time...or something to that effect.

We are suddenly missing the elderly lady with the yappy rat-dog that used to live next door to us. It now doesn't seem so bad to have been awakened at all hours of the night and early morning by rat-dog's yap, yap, yapping. At least we never saw HIS poop piles. And his owner never left poop streaks on Daughter's play equipment, stalked us in our own driveway, or kicked Daughter in the face and left her to bleed to death.

If we don't find our own little anti-social acreage soon, I fear it's going to be a long, LONG summer!

Monday, April 23, 2007

This Little Piggie...

My Dear Daughter has never had much hair. It's also blonde, and not curly. For those that don't know what Husband and I look like, we both have thick dark brown (nearly black) hair, and mine is, by some freak of nature by God's sovereign design, curly. Following Dear Son's birth, both my obstetrician and her nurse commented (each in absence of the other) that Daughter "just doesn't look a thing like you, does she?" They are right. She doesn't. We would all wonder if I'd been hanging out with the mailman on the side if it weren't for the fact that during the first year and half of Daughter's life even total strangers told us she looked just like her daddy (otherwise known as my husband). That, and the fact that our "mailman" is actually a "mailwoman."

At any rate, Daughter is now pushing four years of age, and I've never yet been able to use hair accessories successfully in her hair. She didn't even need her first haircut until she was nearly 26 months old. She now has kind of scraggly hair that is rather thin and isn't curly, but isn't completely straight either. I can't ever figure out what to do with it and how to let it grow while still keeping it out of her eyes. Until this morning--when I discovered that Daughter has now arrived at a stage in which she can wear pigtails! I'm puzzled as to why I did not realize this sooner. Now, as we enter into the warm muggy months, if only I could figure out my own hair nightmares. I'm on the verge of pulling a Susan Powter, "Stop the insanity!" if only it, stop the insanity.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

"We Have Met the Enemy"

As I watched the television news coverage of the tragedy at Virginia Tech and the simultaneous headline news story about the partial-birth abortion ruling, I was overcome by the insanity of ALL of it!

On one hand we, as society, are bemoaning the horrific tragedy of a sick adolescent who attempted to relieve his own torturous experience of life by massacring his peers. We are asking ourselves and each other what brings a person to do such a thing? We are asking ourselves and each other what is going wrong with our society? With our youth? We are seemingly desperate for answers as to what to DO about this "condition" we have found ourselves in. We can't seem to figure out why our youth are so troubled. We are mysteriously puzzled as to why they do not value themselves and others and sacredness of life more. We cannot see the forest for the trees!

On the other hand, so many of the same people who are asking these questions are ranting and raving in protest about the ruling against partial birth abortion. As if it should be acceptable to pull a living human baby from his mother's womb, and in spite of his beating heart and gasps for breath, stab him in the back of his skull with a pair of surgical scissors and suck his brains out while his feet are kicking. I'm fighting the urge to throw up as I re-describe the court descriptions of the so-called "procedure." This cold blooded act of murdering a baby who would have otherwise potentially lived is called a "procedure"????????????? If a baby the same age was ripped from his incubator and stabbed through the skull before sucking his brains out it would be called murder. It would be unthinkable. I don't get it!!!!! Have the people who are in protest of abolishing such a "procedure" ever held a newborn baby in their arms? Can they really look into the faces of their own children and still think this is somehow acceptable or right?

We fight for the legal "right" to so coldly disregard human life while we are baffled as to how a young college student could possibly be so capable of the same????????????

Indeed, to quote Walt Kelley, "We have met the enemy...and he is us."

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Please Pass the Chocolate!

Before Dear Son was even born, I had decided that I was going to teach him to sign. I taught Dear Daughter a few signs when she was about 12 months old, but they never stuck, and ultimately they were never needed as she began talking in two word sentences by 18 months of age and has always been so verbally advanced that she could communicate quite well with her words.

When Son was five months old I picked a couple signs and began doing them frequently for him. I did everything the books and literature recommend. He never was real consistent with "milk", but for some reason he picked up on "bath" pretty quickly and now signs it consistently when we ask him if he's ready for his bath. This is his second consistent sign. The first one was "done." The literature suggests teaching "more" as one of the first signs, but I thought it would be more constructive for a child to communicate he was done eating as our culture has plenty of problems with eating more. By about 9 or 10 months of age Son would finally wave his hands in fashion with the sign for "done" and say "Duh! Duh!" which is short for "done." After he could sign and communicate "done", I began to focus on teaching him "more." He never seemed to quite get it. At least not until last weekend.

Son LOVES chocolate; he has come by it honestly as both Dear Husband and I are chocoholics. Over the weekend I rationed out chocolate Easter eggs for the kids, and whenever I offered him one, Son would gobble it up and fuss and whine incessantly for more. I finally reminded him of the sign for "more" (thinking that it was pointless as I'd been at this for 10 months now), and to my surprise and excitement, he immediately started pressing his pudgy little fists together in front of him and saying clearly, "mo!" "mo!" I was so excited that 10 months of repetition had finally paid off. Until Husband pointed out that Son probably thinks "more" means "chocolate Easter eggs." My excitement waned as I observed for the next couple days and realized that sure enough, the only time Son signs "more" and says, "mo!" is when he wants "chocolate Easter eggs." *Sigh*

Friday, April 06, 2007

The Reason My House Isn't Clean: Part Deux

It's snowing today, for crying out loud. A week ago we were wearing shorts and sweating in the heat. Due to highs in the 40's, we are spending all our time indoors again. And it shows. I came home from work last night to find the typical Thursday night disarray. Dishes weren't all cleaned up yet from lunch in spite of there being an evening meal that followed. Food was littered around the wee ones' chairs. There was a funky odor in the air. And that was just in the kitchen. I had billing to get done online last night before I could go to sleep, so that's what I did: my billing and go to sleep. Boy have I adjusted my standards to amazingly low levels since adding Thing 1 and Thing 2 to my family. It's all about SURVIVAL now, pure survival.

I sat the kids down with their breakfasts this morning, rolled up my sleeves, put on a gas mask, and got to work. I decided that leaving Dear Son alone with his own bowl of Life cereal and his own spoon may be risky (he wanted what his sister was having today), but worth the gamble as I tried to find and obliterate the source of the stink. Life is always a trade off of one mess for another these days. I did get the dishes loaded in the dishwasher, the pans washed, and the counters wiped clean. Son was happily occupied all this time, and this is why...

He had discovered that his spoon could function very much like a slingshot.

I really should have known better. This is what happened the last time I left him to his own.

I asked Dear Daughter how in the world did the house get to be such a mess, and she proudly replied, "Well, Bub and I worked together at it!"

It's a conspiracy.