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Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Five Randoms

My blogging friend, Tracy, tagged me here we go:

Share five random/weird things about myself.
1. I've always wanted to learn how to operate heavy construction equipment. You know, excavators, backhoes, front loaders, dump trucks, anything like that.

2. I like mowing our five acres with the big ass lawn mower.

3. I like to eat my bagels toasted and smothered with jalepeno peppers and melted cheese.

4. I have a secret fantasy of living in a log cabin in the mountains and wilderness, running water and electricity are optional, and completely living off the land with homegrown food and hunting wild game.

5. I have a phobia of cockroaches...and pretty much ANYTHING that even remotely resembles one. And those walking stick bugs are pretty darn wicked, too. I shuddered just writing the previous two sentences.

Share five places that I want to see or see again.

1. The mountains in the northernmost region of the Idaho panhandle. The memories always make me homesick.

2. Yachats, Oregon. These memories always make me homesick, too. And remind me of my honeymoon.

3. Alaska. Never been there, but someday I will, and I may never come back.

4. British Columbia, Canada. I've been there, but I've never been able to stay long enough.

5. Siberia. So I could jog along those stretches where Rocky trained and where the snow drifts were six feet tall. I think I'll wear a stocking cap like that too when I get there.

Tag five random people and link to them and let them know they've been tagged by leaving a comment on their blog.

Ya know, my experience so far is that whenever I tag people, they get annoyed or just ignore me. So if you're reading this and you want to volunteer tag yourself, be my guest. I'd love to read what you have to say. Otherwise, I'll leave you alone.

Monday, January 28, 2008

A Proud Moment

Dear Daughter has a strong sense of herself. She decided before she turned three that she wants to be an astronaut someday. AND a deep sea diver. One thing I feel strongly about is that she could do either one well, and it wouldn't surprise me if she found a way to do both simultaneously. While I'm not a die hard for women's rights and all that jazz, I do feel strongly that sometimes a woman is the right "man" for the job and that the person (whether man or woman) best for the job should be the one to do it. And the compensation for the job should not be less just because it is done by a woman. I am assertive. I am pretty sure of myself, especially in the professional world. I have a strong personality. I am proud to see my daughter following in my footsteps and demonstrating a sureness of herself and her abilities as well.

Tonight I had an especially proud moment. Dear Daughter was playing make believe. She had to perform a very important surgical procedure on her beloved Taggie Book(who had to have an extra bone removed--gee, where do you think she gets these ideas?). In the midst of the whole scene she was playing out, Daughter paused to inform me that she is a doctor and her husband is a nurse. I giggled despite myself and said under my breath, "That's my girl!" as I wrapped her in a hug. She snuggled into my hug and asked, "Why are you laughing, Mommy!" I replied simply, "I'm just really proud of you!"

For those of you interested, Daughter's consult this morning with the oral surgeon went well. The extra tooth has to be extracted and he was pretty firm about using general anesthetic to minimize the risks of an airflow collapse which would be more of a concern with sedation. It does need to be done soon, as the permanent tooth has already rotated 90 degrees due to the obstruction. Getting it out now will prevent further damage and he feels the prognosis is good that the tooth will rotate back into position and that if there is any rotation left when it comes in, simple orthodontics, perhaps even just a retainer, should correct it. The best news is that he felt pretty confident that he could get it out without disrupting her two top baby teeth, so her smile will likely be saved! It's still a possibility either or both of the teeth could have to come out, but he didn't even bring it up as a possibility until I brought it up as a concern. It will be a quick and short procedure, with his surgical portion of it only taking about 20 minutes.

And now I get to collect on the lunch my husband bet me on how much this whole "little" procedure is going to cost us. We don't carry dental insurance. The cost of the premiums and deductible would be greater than our average annual dental costs, so we choose instead to use a high deductible savings account to save for these things and accrue a little interest along the way. I told him I expected it to cost towards $2,000.00. He vehemently denied this, never stating a figure, only stressing that he believed it would be much much lower. I insisted it wouldn't be, and came down only to about $1,600.00 to $1,800.00 in my prediction. Then he bet me lunch, and I took him up on it. The actual estimated cost from the surgeon's office comes right in the middle of my prediction. So...I'm trying to decide now where he is going to take me. It was kind of a backwards bet: "I'm betting this will be really expensive, and if I'm right, you can take me out for a fancy expensive lunch as well." So despite my winning, we'll probably be eating peanut butter sandwiches on the crub. *sigh*

Friday, January 25, 2008

Send Out the Search Party...We "Fell In"

In case anyone wondered if we "fell in," we did. It's been a heck of a week. We took Dear Daughter to the orthopedist on Monday for a consult on the hemangioma on her finger. It suddenly got much larger than it's been for over two years. The doctor basically said, "Yep. It's bigger" and that pretty much sums up the visit. They did x-ray it again to ensure no calcification on the bone, and that was all clear. The only options besides just monitoring the growth would be to surgically remove it, which would, of course, require full sedation, or an MRI to see if we could determine anything more about it. That would also require heavy sedation as Daughter would have to remain completely still for 20 full minutes. It doesn't make sense to do either. Since it has been there from birth and hasn't seemed to interfere with anything in her life, we may as well do nothing. The "experts" say it will disappear by the time Daughter is six to eight years of age (if it is indeed a hemangioma as the consensus seems to think.) The doctor wants us to keep coming every six months so that he can keep offering his opinion, which boils down to, "Yep, it's bigger." "Looks about the same as last time." "Seems a little smaller." The plan is always "do nothing," so what's the point of paying his outlandish fees for his observation, which seems no better than our own?

Daughter also had her routine six month dentist appointment on Wednesday this week. We didn't expect any issues, so here is where we were caught off guard. Her teeth are clean and healthy, and no cavities. This is good. She is only four, after all. But they did the first panoramic x-ray of her mouth. It showed all her baby teeth lined up and ready to come in. And an extra one that shouldn't be there. Furthermore, it is turned backward and pointing up instead of down, and it is in the way of the proper tooth that needs to be able to drop down. The short of it is that it needs to come out. Because it is upside down, it has to be done by an oral surgeon, who can "open up the skin and pull it apart enough to cut the tooth out." Great. This was all more than I felt prepared to handle. Now, there can be worse things in life to be sure. Much worse things. I do keep that in perspective. And yet, I really don't want to put my little four year old through this procedure. So far she has never had a bad experience at the dentist or doctor's office. I don't really feel like starting now. Oh, I forgot to mention that the dentist was not sure if the baby tooth underneath it will have to be removed or not, which is one of the top front teeth (and hopefully not BOTH of them, which would be even worse). So if they do have to take out one or both of the upper top teeth, my little girl will pretty much look like a little white trailer trash girl whose mommy doesn't care well enough for her teeth to prevent them from rotting and falling out of her head prematurely. I don't want her to be missing those front teeth a couple years early and ruin her precious little baby girl perfect teeth smile. *sigh*. We have the consult with the oral surgeon next Monday.

Off the topic a bit, I am absolutely horrified when I go to the food mart these days. A two pound bag of shredded cheese costs $9.55. A gallon of milk costs in the range of $3.85. Good luck finding a box of cereal much under $3.00 and most are over that. Oranges are $.50 EACH on a good day. Bananas are $.59 per pound. Avocados are more than a buck EACH unless a good sale finds them at $.69 each (what a bargain!). Zucchini squash is $1.99 per pound and green bell peppers are a buck a piece. Don't even get me started on what the red ones cost. I prefer them, but not a $2.50 apiece. Holy guacamole! I saw several price hikes this morning, and I ultimately left the store disgusted with far less items in my grocery cart than I intended on purchasing. Who can afford it anymore? I've watched our grocery bill more than DOUBLE over the past 5 years. Yes, we've added two mouths to the family, but they are only four and two years old. They don't eat equivalent to Husband and I.

And it's pretty bad when I'm driving home from the over priced food mart and notice that gas has dropped to $2.69 per gallon, and I think to myself, "Wow! What a bargain!"

I've decided that it costs too much to live anymore, but I cannot find any ethical or moral way out of it. I guess if our family starves to death because we can't afford to buy food anymore, that will solve the whole problem. The only other alternative I can see is to buy some livestock to go along with the garden and fruit grove we want to plant. We can have dairy cows or goats. Maybe a pig or two for butchering. And then if Husband doesn't want to take up hunting, I may have to. We can put a deer stand at the back of our property and eat for a year off the carcass. The problem is that while I like the taste of venison, I would rather look at the deer than eat them. I suppose that would all change if I got hungry enough.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

"Well...36 is Old!"

Dear Daughter loves birthdays. She loves other people's birthdays about as much as she loves her own. She loves the cake and ice cream. Blowing out the candles. The presents. The whole deal.

Tonight, as I snuggled in bed with Dear Daughter in the dark after stories, the following conversation transpired:

Me: "Did you know that Mommy's birthday is coming up pretty soon?"

Daughter: "Yeah! But how old are you gonna be?"

Me: " old do you think Mommy will be?"

Daughter: ""I don't know...! ...45?!"

Me: (giggling) "...nooooo....not that old"

Daughter: "Well, then, how old?"

Me: "36"

Daughter: "Oh!" (pause) "Well...36 is old!"

Me: (giggling again) "You just keep digging that hole deeper, don't you?"

Daughter: (giggling too) "What hole are you talking about, Mommy?"

Both of us giggling

Daughter: (still giggling) "You really crack me up, Mommy!"

I'm not entirely certain that the "crack me up" pun wasn't intended, given that Dear Daughter estimates my age to be just shy of a decade older than I really am. I didn't bother to ask Dear Son. I already know what he thinks.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

In Which Dear Son Learns to Generalize New Information

Since we already know from a previous post that I enjoy a few childish moments from time to time, I feel compelled now to confess of the apparent consequence of said childish moment. I seize every possible teaching moment with my children, and so this morning I was doing drills with Dear Son. Whatever object he picked up became a quiz about its size, shape, color, etc. He was running about the room practicing his 80 yard passes with his "hoffa" (which means football, and I have no idea why--he is capable of saying it ....s...l...o....w....l....y....: "foot. ball." but as soon as he puts it together quickly, it is "hoffa" again). At any rate, he was practicing his "hoffa" passes across the length of the downstairs playroom...and beaming a few off his sister's head in the process...and at one point I stopped him and asked him what color his football is. He stopped in mid pass and paused a moment to think before he pulled the football back close to his body and tapped it with his little baby index finger, and then stated with confidence, "Turd!"

Great. I've created a monster. Now Dear Son refers to every brown object as "Turd!"

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

One Day

The day will come when my home won't be littered with random misplaced items carried to and fro by toddler and preschooler hands. When I don't find toy phones in my bed, I don't trip over dump trucks left in the middle of the floor, and when things I need can be found where I left them after the last time I used them.

The day will come when I won't be required as an audience for my daughter as she does her business in the bathroom. When she won't require me to wipe her rear. When she can button or snap her own pants when she is done.

The day will come when my son is potty trained, though obviously not at 22 months as my daughter was. When there will be no more silliness and teasing and tickling on the changing table.

The day will come when Dear Son won't require me to "hold ya's!" as I try to prepare breakfast, talk on the phone, or brush my teeth, or do just about ANYTHING before deciding that I can get NOTHING else done as long I have to "hold ya's!"

The day will come when my full and undivided attention is not required for every waking moment of my children's little lives. When I can complete a phone conversation without interruptions. When I can type an email in one sitting. When I can watch what I want to watch on television.

The day will come when my kitchen floor is not littered with dried up chunks of Play-Doh, a few old macaroni noodles, and that sticky juice stain that has been collecting sock lint for the past week.

The day will come when bedtime for my daughter doesn't require thirty minutes of stories followed by thirty minutes of "snuggling" in the dark under the covers before she will go to sleep. When my son goes to his bed without stalling for 45 minutes with excuses like wanting Mommy, then wanting Daddy, then wanting Mommy, then wanting Daddy...followed by insisting he is "poopy" (of course he's not), that he needs juice, etc.

The day will come when everything is in its place and my home is back to its childless, neat-as-pin old self. When the toys are no longer in my bed or left in the middle of the floor because they've long since been packed up, sold, or donated. When I won't have anyone to blame but myself for not being able to find some random thing.

The day will come when my daughter doesn't want my audience, for ANYTHING, because she's at that awkward stage where it's not cool to need your parents, and I will wish with all my heart for her to want my attention.

The day will come when my son will be too big to hold in my arms as I attempt random tasks about the house, and I will ache to hold him in my arms again--even if that means I don't get another thing done all day long.

The day will come when I will miss being needed even if that means I can complete my phone calls, my email messages, my anything.

The day will come when my floor is clean, but my kitchen is lonely, and I will long for the giggles and laughter and squirming that happened at the table even if it meant that food got spilled.

The day will come when I'm no longer needed for bedtime rituals--for stories or snuggling, and despite that resulting in time for me to read my own stacks of neglected books, I will miss burrowing in the blankets with the wee ones and reading Dr. Seuss instead.

The day will come, and it will be a sad day.

Thursday, January 03, 2008

Play-Doh faux pas

I've never done an anniversary post, but this one seems fitting in honor of the three year mark for this blog. Yes, three years ago today is when this blog was launched. It was my maiden voyage into the world of html, uploading and placing photos, etc. Three years ago, Blogger was NOT as user friendly as it is today, so I was tried in by fire. And check out what Dear Daughter looked like three years ago. And Dear Son? Well, he didn't even exist yet. Amazing how much things change and how quickly.

Now onto the real point of this post. Be forewarned, some may view this post as crass, but it wouldn't be first time I've been accused of that.

Why, pray tell, do the makers of Play-Doh even make this stuff in the color brown? I mean, c'mon. What does this lump of brown really look like? And you know what kids (okay, and maybe a few parents) all around the country are thinking when they play with brown Play-Doh! I mean, really, who can resist? It's just wrong.

The real kicker is that Dear Son always wants the brown. Honestly, he wanted the brown even before I busted up laughing so hard the first time he started mashing it around.

Here's how it starts every time:

Dear Son: "Play-Doh! Play-Doh! Booster! Booster!" translation is that Son wants to sit at the table in his booster and play with Play-Doh

Me: "Okay, okay! Play-Doh! What color do you want?"

Dear Son: "Brown! Turd! Brown!"

From the first day those "10 exciting colors" (that's what it says, right on the top of the box--"10 exciting colors") came to our house, brown has been Son's preferred color, followed by "blat!" which, of course, means black. What exactly is "exciting" about brown Play-Doh? Just look at all those color options that are certainly more "exciting" than brown, or "blat" for that matter.

Yeah, yeah, I confess; I giggled like a child at the brown Play-Doh logs my son shaped. I may not be as mature as you, Internet, but only because I actually said it. You know you were thinking the same thing but you were just too prude to speak of it.

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

It's Pretty Bad when the Silence is Deafening

I know I've covered the point already that Dear Son has the hottest head of any toddler this side of the Rocky Mountains, but Holy moly! And not only is he a hot head, but he is stubborn (to put it quite mildly). The combination of the two can be astounding some days.

Yesterday we took the kids for professional pictures. The main goal was to get some two-year photos in honor of Dear Son turning two recently. He has never been one to cooperate for pictures. Never. Last year he got mad because he couldn't actually drive the little car prop we sat him in. After that, it was all over. Several months later he refused to quit screaming or crying unless his daddy was holding him. Forget about getting a picture of the kids with Grandma and Grandpa, and forget about getting a picture of the kids together. We ended up having to merge two separate photos of the kids together. This time was no easier. Son did well with the family portrait, probably only because his daddy was holding him. After that, each new prop we used to entice him worked for only as long as it took for the photographer to stage the scene, and by the time she was ready to start clicking photos, Son was done...wandering about the room with his back turned and having fits in response to our requests for his cooperation. She tried to follow him around as much as she could with the camera, but he kept his back to her and made sure to always wander just out of the view of her lens. Each time she repositioned her camera, he changed his location. I am positive he knew exactly what he was doing and was determined to sabotage what we wanted. She did end up getting a couple shots of him that provides the evidence of his orneriness. The expressions are priceless, and such a true representation of his "stink-wad-ness." We were lucky to get a single shot of the kids together. And that's all we got. He's bound and determined to have things his way, and that's the only way he'll accept it. We've learned to try to frame our requests in such a way that he thinks he's coming up with them as his own ideas. This still only works some of the time, but at least some of the time is better than none of the time. I'm already dreading the teenage years with him.

A couple weeks ago Son went through this thing where he refused to put his coat on to go outside. I tried letting him have his way, and carried his coat, thinking when he got cold enough he would agree to put it on. That worked about once. We also tried hog tying him and cramming him in the gosh darn thing. One morning I was rushing out the door to get Daughter to her gymnastics class in time and I had just managed to shove Son's little sausage arms into his coat, kicking and screaming the whole way (both of us). I finished the deed with a satisfied and confident "zzzzzzipppp" of the zipper up to his chin as if to punctuate the power struggle with a "So there!" to him. He continued fussing and screaming at the tops of his blessed little lungs and stamped defiantly around the kitchen while I worked on Daughter's coat. By now I was sweating up a storm myself and I was both physically and emotionally drained despite the fact that we hadn't even made it out the door yet. I barely had Daughter zipped into her coat when she squealed, "Look! Zachy took his coat off!" No wonder it had gotten quiet. I turned to see his little coat, still zipped up to the top, lying in a pile on the floor and Dear Son doing a satisfied happy little victory dance around the kitchen because he had managed to have the last word. I swear the little devil could work himself out of a straight jacket if he had a mind to.

A couple weeks later I was trying to get out the door for a run to the Stuff Mart. I typically do this on Saturday mornings when I can leave the he-child with Husband. I couldn't handle a Saturday Stuff Mart trip with him in tow. I do bring Daughter with me, though. She is usually pretty compliant and loves to go shopping. Son decided he wanted to go "side" (outside) and I was stepping out the door with Daughter. Husband had already offered Son the consolation option of doing a separate errand with him that morning. Son didn't really care where the heck he got to go, he just wanted "Side!" While Husband was collecting what he needed to collect before leaving the house with the he-child, I engaged in the familiar struggle of convincing Son to put on his coat. I finally became so exasperated that I dropped his coat next to him and closed the door in his face while he screamed about not putting his coat on and going "side." I decided Husband could deal with it this time. I deal with it alone five days a week.

I called Husband 20 minutes later to see how he was surviving and learned that the power struggle was still in high gear. Husband decided to sit in the easy chair in the living room and wait out the storm, and Son continued to scream about "Side!" and continued to refuse his coat.

I called again about 20 more minutes later. This time Son had given into the coat thing, but as soon as he got his little shoes on his little chubby feet and bolted out the door, he was apparently deeply disappointed that Mommy was not still out there waiting for him. He then went into a fussing frenzy about "Mommy!" Husband said he tried to just shove the lad into the car and strap him in his car seat, but then had a moment of sanity amidst the screaming and decided he wasn't going to try to go anywhere like that. He took Son back inside and remained un-committed about going anywhere. Most days I don't have the luxury of an option and just have to bite the bullet. Husband didn't appreciate my reminder that he has the easier options with our Son. I didn't appreciate that Husband wasn't offering me a gold star for my persistence and bravery in dealing with this on a daily basis.

Son's temperament doesn't bode well with his sister most times, either. He insists on having any toy or object that she first puts her hands on. I've sat back and watched this play out. He will be completely uninterested and unaware of a random toy or object until his big sister picks it up, at which point he immediately goes into fuss and whine mode accompanied by relentless demands of "Hab it!" (Have it), "Hab it!," "HAAAAAAAB IIIIIIIITTTTT!!!!!!!!" Then his big sister runs around the house with the coveted object cradled against her body in a choke hold while her little brother chases behind screaming at the top of his lungs. He later seeks revenge when she is playing innocently with something and he sneaks up (as well as a toddler can sneak) in total silence and snatches it away and bolts the other way with the object smashed in his own choke hold against his little body. He then grins and giggles and squeals as his big sister chases him around the house. This, you have to remember, plays out any number of times throughout a typical day.

This is precisely why I cannot make business calls from home with both kids present. Last night I called my dad to discuss the state of my ailing grandmother. During the phone call, Husband cut the power to part of the house to install a dimmer switch on one of the living room light fixtures. This had the side effect of also cutting the power to a video that Daughter was watching at the time. She started crying and whining and carrying on relentlessly about the interruption to her show. As she was sent to her room for a time out, Husband had the flashlight ready so he could see what he was doing with the light switch in the dark. The next problem is that Son has an infatuation with flashlights and no one else in the family can hold one in his presence without sending him into a relentless tantrum of "Hab it!" "Hab it!" "HAAAAAAAABBBBB IIIIIIIIIITTTTTTTT!" My dad finally asked me if someone was dying in the background, and I realized I had been doing my best to tune it out. I described to him the circus act going on in the background. Of course, he found the whole thing a little amusing, but he doesn't have to live with it day in and day out. I've come to the point of tuning it out to some extent or I'd never get anything else done with my days but mediating the conflict.

It reminded me of a time I was in the car with a friend who had two young children in the back seat. I was still childless at the time. As we sat at a stoplight I realized that the car was rocking and swaying with the scuffle in the backseat, my head was pounding, and my friend was simply talking calmly and more loudly over the noise. I was completely unnerved at how she was capable of this uncanny ability to simply proceed in her own business as if nothing were competing with her. As I take a step back to look at my current life more objectively, I am now unnerved that I have learned to cope in a similar manner. However, in my case, I am certain the entire house rocks and sways with the scuffle, and since I'm less mature than my friend, I cope at times by sticking my fingers in my ears and loudly chanting "La la la la la la la la la.......can't hear you.... la la la la la la la!" to drown out the rest of the noise. Last night I had a rare private moment in the bathroom. The kids didn't even storm in. I marked the day on the calendar. Happy New Year to me! Husband was entertaining them in the downstairs playroom, so I wasn't even on the same floor as them for a few minutes. I suddenly noticed the silence. It was a ringing silence that was so silent that it rang almost painfully in my ears. It was a rare moment that left me fearing that by the time the kids leave the nest, if I survive that long, I will have a raging case of tinnitus.