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Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Redeemed in a Heartbeat

A random conversation with my pre-schooler (who actually just finished Kindergarten under my homeschooling tutelage):

Dear Daughter: "Mommy, how many hearts do we have in our bodies?"

Me: "Just one, Honey."

Dear Daughter: (...looooooong pause) "...Well, I think I have TWO hearts in MY body, because I love you so much that ONE heart can't hold it all!"


And with that, the most challenging year yet of my dear daughter's life--the year that made the "terrible two's" look like a cakewalk--was all worth it.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Wishful Thinking

Counting the days until my three-year-old birthday....

Dear Son studies toy magazines at great length for long periods of time. Every so often he pipes up with an exclamation of, "Look!" followed by, "Can I have (fill in the blank) for my present? PLEASE? Can I?"

Needless to say, there is just shy of FIVE MONTHS left until his birthday, and his list is getting quite long already.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

"It's a BOODER!"

This won't be the first time that I've pointed out how hard-headed my boy child is. Long ago I discovered a little trick when he insisted on having something that I didn't want him to have at the time; I would tell him said object or activity was "taking a nap." For example, if he wanted to watch television and I was cutting him off for the day, I would just tell him, "The shows are taking a nap right now!" It has seemed to always work well for some reason. He just stops whining and screaming about whatever it was he wants and accepts what is apparently a perfectly logical explanation.

This afternoon I was headed downstairs with the kids. We were on our way out the basement door to the swimming pool and the sprinklers to play in the water on a hot day. Standing at the top of the stairs, I had my arms full of crocs, towels, water bottles, etc. Just as Dear Son was about to turn over and slide feet first down the stairs as he likes to do, he paused with his finger up his nose, pulled out a VERY LARGE specimen and held it out to me saying insistently, "HERE!" That means I'm supposed to take the extremely large booger that has its own pulse off his hands. Literally, off his hands.

I didn't respond fast enough, and so he raised his voice and said it again with a bit more insistence, "HE-ERE (with two syllables this time)! It's a BOODER!" You know, in case I hadn't figured that out. I responded again that I couldn't take his "BOODER" right now as my hands were full. He sat for a split second at the top of the stairs considering what to do about this dilemma before he quickly found a solution. He wiped the creature on the banister. I responded with a grossed out groan and a statement that I didn't want him wiping his "booders" on the banister, but he just sat admiring it in all its smeared glory on the wooden banister. I swear the thing was throbbing as we both gazed upon it. Then he proudly explained, "It's taking a nap!" Which of course meant that I was supposed to leave it there. I confess, I did leave it there. My hands were full after all. Besides, I wanted to save it to impress my child's father when he got home from work. What can I say...I don't want their bonding to end with Transformers!

Monday, July 21, 2008

Who's "It" Now?

I haven't been tagged in awhile, but I guess I'm "it" again, thanks to Carabee. So here goes: Six Unspectacular Quirks about me. I really am curious why they must be UN-spectacular, though. I'm not sure how many of my readers don't already know at least most of these things about me, but since I have a few relatively new readers, perhaps this information will be at least mildly interesting to someone out there.

Per blog-tagging etiquette, here's the rules:

1. Link the person who tagged you
2. Mention the rules on your blog

3. Tell about 6 unspectacular quirks of yours…

4. Tag 6 following bloggers by linking them…

5. Leave a comment on each of the tagged blogger’s blogs letting them know they’ve been tagged.


Here are my six UN-spectaluars:

1. I like to mow the lawn with our big-ass lawn mower. I think the bigger the ass on the mower, the better. Five acres at a time is about enough, though. I also like to use the chainsaw and do manual labor like shovel rock off a truck. I've always wanted to learn how to run a backhoe and an excavator and any other heavy construction equipment. (Does all this information only count as one?)


2. I miss the mountains. And the snow. And the ocean. And the Northwest wildlife and scenery in general. I don't miss the cost of real estate, though.

3. I love whitewater rafting and camping and hiking and mountain biking. None of those things carry the same meaning since moving away from Idaho and Oregon.

4. I have a computer obsession with Tetris. I can't let myself play it unless I really want to be stuck on it for a good couple hours. There's just something about trying to fit all those little boxes and shapes into a perfectly locked pattern. This would be the reason I haven't allowed myself to play in months.

5. I can handle working with severely emotionally and behaviorally disturbed teenagers--even the "scary" ones and the ones who cuss me out and make hate statements to me on a semi-regular basis--but a room full of two and three year olds will fast send me into a nervous breakdown and render me completely stressed out and emotionally incompetent.

6. While I'm "only" 36 (and a half, UGH!), my hair in its natural state is white. It's not gray; it's white. I would estimate if I went completely natural it would be at least 50% white and make for quite the salt and pepper look. I once let my roots grow out about an inch and a half just get an idea of how it would look if I let it go completely natural. I was thinking that perhaps the teens I work with at the group home would think I look more distinguished that way (and maybe would quit cussing me out--lol, not really). But I took a poll from the teens themselves to see what they thought, and they unanimously agreed that it wasn't really working for me. So I color it every six weeks. I guess this "works for me" because I got carded recently when buying a bottle of wine, and if my emotionally disturbed teen clients ever find out my true age, they are surprised and think I am closer to 26 (as long as they were not on my caseload circa my salt and pepper hair experiment).

So who am I going to tag? Well, I'm going to annoy some with this, but I'll tag whomever reads this and feels like being "it." I've learned from experience that tagging sometimes irritates and annoys people, and that the people I tag often don't want to play anyway.

So thereyago.


Friday, July 18, 2008

Boys (er, MEN) will be Boys!

Dear Son, in all his boy-ness, has discovered Transformers. I owe it to McDonald's. I've indulged the kids a couple times in the past few weeks when they've been really well behaved while we ran morning errands. The most recent Happy Meal reward was this week. Dear Son noticed the Happy Meal Transformers display case within seconds of walking in the door. He spied the "rocket" and began to express with great intensity that he wanted one. I began trying to prepare him in case he didn't get a "rocket" in his Happy Meal, and I was secretly quite concerned about what would happen if he didn't. I don't know which one of us was the most delighted to discover that he did indeed get a Transformer "rocket" in his happy meal that day.

He's gotten two of these Transformer toys over the past few weeks. Each time he could not be separated from it for days solid. He fidgeted with it nonstop. It's a truck. No, it's a robot thing. No, it's a truck. Each time it transformed, a proud "I did it!" followed.

As Dear Husband and I lay in bed a few nights ago debriefing the events of our days, I commented on just how pleased our son was over his new discovery of Transformers. I described to Dear Husband the whole story of Son spying the "rocket" as soon as we walked in the door, and the relief I felt when I discovered one of his own tangled in French Fries in the bottom of the bag, and his delight each time he transformed it from a plane to a robot guy to a plane to a robot guy. I paused a moment before saying, "The plane's name is Lugnut..." and before I could finish with , "isn't that cute?" I was cut off by Dear Husband's enthusiastic, "Umm hmmm!" I noticed his enthusiasm, but went on to say, "I don't know what that little truck one is called that he got last time..." and I was again cut off with an enthusiastic, "Optimus Prime!"

Huh? Puzzled, I asked Dear Husband how he knew this stuff, and he stated matter-of-factly that he had watched the movie. Okay, so I was thinking he watched the movie in like 1980 or something and just had a really great boyhood memory of the experience. So to be sure, I then asked when he watched it. Because we've been married for 11 1/2 years after all, and I'VE never seen the movie, and I couldn't remember knowing when he might have. He said, "I borrowed it from Ron." Okay, again. So Ron is one of Husband's co-workers. This means he is also an adult male, and I would estimate him in his mid-forties or so.

I was equally puzzled and amused. You mean grown men in their mid-thirties and mid-forties still get into this stuff? You mean my two-year-old son can literally bond with his thirty-seven- (and a half)-year-old Daddy as if on a peer level about this Transformer thing?

Oy! Who knew? I'll have to order an extra Happy Meal next time.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

They're Baa-aaack!

Have I ever mentioned how much I don't like bugs? Have I ever mentioned just how much those golf-ball sized buzzing, flying, kamikaze beetles that come out this time of the summer wig me out? Maybe once or twice, huh?

As we approached the end of June, I thought that perhaps since this had been a spring of strange weather patterns around here, with the crazy record breaking rainfalls over and over and over and over again, that perhaps it would have a favorable impact on reducing the numbers of kamikaze beetles. It had been quiet, and I had not seen a one of them. Yet.

Then, about the third week of June, the Japanese Beetles began to show. I used to wig out over those things, but compared to the Green June Beetles, the Japanese variety are like minuscule gnats. In fact, despite that one weekend that I requested Dear Husband be the one to remove the clothes from the clothesline because they were covered in Japanese Beetles, I haven't noticed them much. I am sure the fact that the Green June Beetles made their annual appearance in droves has something to do with it.

The good news is that Dear Daughter seems rather unaffected by them. She walks right out in the middle of them without hardly flinching. I'm quite proud of her for this, as this is the same little girl who was terrified of gnats and ants not all that long ago.

As for me...well, I don't walk out of the house without my flyswatter or tennis racket. I keep it especially close when I'm mowing through infestations of them by the thousands. These wicked bugs are not only large, but they are horrible navigators. Hearing them repeatedly smacking into the side of the house or hitting the window panes is bad, but getting smacked in the head over and over again by them is thousands of times worse. My only comfort is the cognitive restructuring I work hard at by telling myself repeatedly that my big-ass lawn mower is not only much much bigger than they are, but its buzz is a heck of a lot louder. Truth be told, it's only because the buzz is so much louder on the mower that I can tolerate chopping through the middle of their massive bug lawn parties.

Fourth of July weekend seems to be when they suddenly crawl out of the ground by the millions. Maybe the noise of the fireworks stirs them up from their dirt beds. One day I saw not a single one. The next morning there were millions swarming about the lawn, and I was doing my schizophrenic jig around the yard with my flyswatters and tennis rackets.

For the love of all that is good and holy, THANK GOD the flying, swarming, buzzing portion of their life cycles lasts only a few weeks. If it lasted much longer, I would be packing my belongings and buying a one way ticket to Siberia.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Momma's Gone Nuts?

As I sat on the floor of Dear Son's bedroom, putting the finishing touches on the fresh whitewash on the inside of his door, the kids were having a rare moment of playing nicely together in Dear Daughter's bedroom across the hall. They were pretending to pack their backpacks for a make-believe overnight trip somewhere. Dear Daughter grew frustrated with her little brother about something which I could not discern from my position. As I crouched on the floor across the hall behind Dear Son's bedroom door, here is the conversation I overheard:

Dear Daughter: "Aaaarghhh! Zach! You make me nuts sometimes!"

Dear Son: "Yeah." (...long pause...) "...Mommy's nuts!"

Dear Daughter: "Yeah, you make Mommy nuts sometimes too!"

Dear Son: (another long pause) "...Mommy's nuts all the time!"

Sunday, July 06, 2008

Changed

I'm not myself these days. I'm having trouble posting my typical venue, despite some cuteness from the kids over the long weekend. I'll get to that again soon. For now, I couldn't decide whether to acknowledge this in this setting or not. Not acknowledging it felt rather like a lie, while acknowledging it felt a bit like betrayal. However, I can't simply ignore it.

I knew it was quite possible that I would one day lose a client to suicide, given the instability of the persons I serve.

She was a child. A young teenager. Her whole life still ahead of her. She was in constant emotional agony. She was unpredictable. Impulsive. She was smart. She was funny.

I see her face in my mind's eye. Hear her voice, her laughter. I see her smile. I remember her jokes. There's something wrong, under the circumstances, about the fact that I won't be sitting face to face with her again, exploring with her the meaning of her life and how to live it.

Her appointment is still written in my book for next week. I can't bring myself to erase it, even though I know she won't be there. Her life cannot, and should not, simply be erased.

I am not unaffected by my clients' lives, and I don't want to be. I want to grow as a professional and as a person. While my services are focused on providing what my clients need, I don't go away empty handed. I most certainly don't go away unchanged.

The experience I had with this client has changed me as a professional and as a person in ways I do not yet completely know. While I couldn't save her, I will learn from her. I don't say that simply because she would have liked to have heard me say it, but it makes me smile to know that she would have.

I hope you are free now, sweet girl. I hope you are free.

Friday, July 04, 2008

Hodgepodge

Dear Husband has resurrected the computer. This means my photos are once again loaded on the mother ship (desk top computer) and easily accessed via network on my personal laptop and published here.

I am few on words tonight. If you know me at all, you know this is a very rare occurrence. I won't explain why I have few words tonight, because quite frankly I don't feel like using up the words to do so. Instead, here are some pictures.


Dear Son riding his "motorcycle" with his "power" (squirt gun) tucked in his pocket.


The kids running down to the pond to look for frogs. Note that Husband has not got the proper mixture figured out yet in order to control the algae in the pond. You may not even recognize that the green thing that blends so well with the grass is even a pond at all.

Helping Daddy put together his new Father's Day present (a basketball goal).








Helping Daddy cook.




Some backyard soccer.

Forgetting that this was a soccer game and NOT a football game.

First experience playing miniature golf. Check out that mini mullet. We can't bring ourselves to cut that cute little duck tail curl at the back of his little blond baby head.