Oh, that sound

January 30, 2011

I can hear it now. It’s Hubs, snoring. Loudly.

I shall not cast any stones from my glass house, however, because I know that I snore when I have a sinus infection and/or when I’m pregnant. But wow, he’s loud.

He won’t like me mentioning this (won’t like is an understatement: I can’t believe you wrote about that on your blog! What were you thinking?!?!), but I have to discuss it, because it leads me to a cute kid story (humor me).

I went upstairs to S’s room a few mornings ago and his bed was empty. Not under the bed, not in the bathroom, not in his sister’s room. I finally tracked him down, curled up on the floor of his closet, wrapped in a big red blanket. The closet door was shut, no less – which, given his fear of the dark, surprised me, but he had taken his blue bird nightlight with him.

Did he get scared? Had he wet the bed? Had he been up looking at books or working puzzles?


He went into the closet and closed the door, and then he wrapped himself thoroughly in the blanket, to get away from the loud noise.

What noise, I asked him.

That sound Daddy makes when he’s sleeping. Kind of like he’s growling.

Out of the mouths of babes…


Missive from the handbasket

January 13, 2011

So, I’m trying to type while a baby snorgs loudly in my ear, sucking his thumb and chewing on my hair at the same time.  Somehow this baby has developed a thing for my hair.  It’s like his security blanket.  I’m trying really hard to get him to transfer his affection to a blanket or stuffed toy, but no luck so far.  Which means I have little wet wads of hair after holding him.  And oh, does he want to be held.

I thought his “hold me now” insistence was bad when we were in Georgia and we were trying to pack, but if anything it’s worse now.  I can understand.  He’s in a new environment, and he’s been through a lot of upheaval in the last month, and he wants his mama.  Of course, now this makes unpacking difficult to accomplish.  But if I get him sitting just right, happily situated with thumb and hair, I can type a bit or read things on my laptop.

From what I’ve seen so far, I like Texas pretty well.  It’s different, and this morning when S started talking about playing my cousin, a big wave of homesickness washed over me.  I started tearing up as we were driving back after driving A to school (most days we’ve been walking, but it’s really cold today, and I didn’t want to take the baby out for a long walk in that).  There are so many changes right now that I just feel emotionally spent by bedtime most days.  I really miss my parents and extended family.  I feel so divorced from what’s happening in their lives, and I guess it’s similar to how things were when we lived in North Carolina, but then I hadn’t had the years of closeness and near-daily contact as fresh memories.

Did I mention that our garage is completely packed with boxes and plastic bins?  Over five feet tall, completely filled to the door, a two car garage full of our stuff.  The sight makes me feel so materialistic, and overwhelmed with the prospect of unpacking it all.

Make it stop.

December 13, 2010

You know that handbasket?  The one that goes to hell?  Yeah.  My life’s been in that basket for far too long now, and I want off this ride.

Things have been generally stressful since Hubs went west in mid-September, leaving me as the Responsible Party with all three kids, three dogs, and a house to pack and move.  Then he had a wreck on November 1. Much chaos and difficulty ensued with getting his car evaluated, getting answers from insurance, etc.  After three weeks, they finally decided to total his car and he had to find a new one, fast.  Mind you, he went ahead and bought that car over three weeks ago, because he needed a car for work and insurance declined to pay for a rental car any longer, and yet the check from insurance for his old car didn’t show up until yesterday.

I was already developing serious concerns about our insurance company before I had a wreck, on November 16.  Again, it took a ridiculously long time for them to decide whether to repair or total my minivan. My sweet minivan (don’t laugh!), the only new car I have ever owned, which Hubs got for me for Christmas six years ago. Yeah, it was a mom car, but it handled so well, and had nice leather seats and a DVD player and room for all of the kids and assorted junk.  By December 3, they finally decided to total the car.  Did I mention that they kept telling me that they were waiting on a report from the guy who inspected my car?  And they fed me this line for a week and a half? And the report was there, in their system, the whole time, only with a slightly different title than what they apparently expected? Gah.

So, my rental car subsidy ran out on Friday, but I cannot locate the title for my late lamented van (I’m wondering if the bank ever sent it when I paid off the loan – I can’t remember receiving it), and so I am in a similarly awkward position of having no money and no vehicle.  Well, actually, I still have the rental car, because I don’t have a choice. I have to apply for a replacement title, and then send in that title to the salvage yard so that they can officially total my van and pay me.  I fear this may take a while.  Did I mention that we’re moving to Texas? In a week?

In other fun news, I went to the emergency room one night over the Thanksgiving holiday – always a good time. I wished fervently for hand sanitizer – nay, a personal protection bubble – while I sat in the waiting area with A (the patient), baby D (the bottle-refusing baby), and a huge crowd of coughing, hacking, sniffling sick people. A fell and whacked her cheek and the side of her body pretty well, but the doctor said she didn’t have a concussion and sent us home after more than three hours.

As if the poor kid hadn’t endured enough (the fall, plus night terrors and sleepwalking that seems tied to her father’s absence), she got sick last week. Both of her brothers got the flu shot earlier in the fall, but she was in school when I took them. And something came up when I planned to take her for a flu shot, and with all of the business, neither she nor I ever got the shot. So naturally, my sweet baby girl got the flu.

She missed four days of school last week, and now she’ll miss tomorrow, too – she’s healthy enough to return, mind you, but school was canceled due to the threat of inclement weather. There’s a dusting of snow on the ground, and that’s enough to call off school in these parts. I’m sure others who live to the north would laugh at the way Georgians react to snow. Quick! Everyone run to the grocery store and buy all of the milk and bread! And yes, the kids and I were out there with the rest of them at Kroger yesterday. In addition to the requisite bread and milk, we also bought Oreos, hotdogs, and some ham from the deli to round out the gourmet offerings on our menu.

So, I’m dealing with an inadequate rental car (A has to ride in front – the back seat is too small for three car seats/boosters), a sick girl, a wild boy who’s stir-crazy from staying inside so much, a baby who wants to be held at all times, a dog that needs to be rehomed before we move (which makes me so worried and sad and knotted up inside), and the house. Packing the house. Which is going well, in terms of boxing and packing items, but which is also making me sick.  The dust stirred up with all of the moving and such has ignited a disgusting sinus thing that makes me cough, snort, and generally act in a decidedly unladylike fashion. The cough has kept me up at night, and I woke yesterday to find that I also had laryngitis. Still have it today. And that makes it so much easier to talk on the phone and get things done in preparation for the move.

Argh. This needs to stop now. I really need a few things to go well. I could use a streak of good luck. Smooth sailing, or what you will.

Dear Lord, I need a break.

November 27, 2010

This holiday weekend is rapidly driving me insane. A and S are constantly picking at each other, sniping, whining, wailing, and coming to me to complain about each other. I knew things were off to a bad start when I spent most of Tuesday night in the emergency room.

Tuesday morning, I called A to the table to eat breakfast. She stumbled out of bed, barely awake, and came to the table, where she sat in some sort of contorted, unstable position on her chair. I told her to sit up straight, but she didn’t move. She was wearing an oversized t-shirt and had her arms inside it because she was cold. She maintained this position even after I placed a plate of food in front of her and told her to take her arms out and eat. And then, as I worked in the kitchen, she toppled from her chair and landed on her side, on the tile floor, with a horrifyingly loud sound.

Immediately she wailed. I picked her up and held her, while her busted lip and bitten inner cheek bled out on her shirt and mine. I could see the beginnings of a horrid bruise forming on the side of her face, from her forehead down her cheek. Once she stopped crying, I gave her an ice pack and put her back to bed to rest. She missed the bus, and I thought she might need to stay home for the day, maybe go to the doctor. But she insisted that she felt better, so I took her to school, an hour late.

Apparently she had a headache much of the day at school. She didn’t mention this to anyone (even though her teacher knew what had happened that morning) until she got home. She seemed tired, so I gave her some Tylenol and told her to take a nap that afternoon, but she kept waking up and complaining about her head hurting. I called her pediatrician’s office, and they said to see if the headache went away within an hour of taking the medicine. If not, I should take her to the emergency room. After an hour, she woke up screaming and wailing about her head and neck hurting, so I loaded up the kids and went to the ER. My mom met us there and took S home with her, leaving A, baby D, and me at the packed ER, waiting to be seen.

After three hours, a doctor finally examined her. By then, A announced that her headache was mostly gone, and that she felt a lot better. The doctor said she didn’t need a cat scan, since that would mean a lot of radiation exposure and since A never lost consciousness or threw up. So we were sent on our way, with instructions to watch A for anything troubling.

By this time, it was nearly 10 pm. A hadn’t eaten dinner (nor had I), and she requested Steak ‘n’ Shake, so I went to the drive thru. As I got the food, she complained that her neck hurt. I looked at her, and then, as we pulled away from the window, she barfed. On my coat, sort-of fortunately. Have I mentioned that I had a wreck a couple of weeks ago, so we have a rental car? I got her out of the car to barf more on the lovely grassy area beside the drive thru lane. She finally said she felt better, and mentioned that the kid who sat next to her at school today had barfed. Lovely.

Not knowing whether to attribute the barf to germs or head injury, I took A and her baby brother home. S spent the night with my parents (prompting some jealousy from A, who insisted that she felt much, much better after throwing up). I put her to bed and stuck her untouched food in the fridge (said food would later become fodder for one of many fights between A and S). I checked on her regularly through the night, and she seems fine now.

The next morning, my dad came to get A and take her to join S. The two of them spent the day and night with my parents, while baby D rolled on the floor and I worked like a dog (not my dogs, mind you – they’re all lazy bums). The woman who cleans my mom’s house occasionally came by and helped me with packing and cleaning. We made so much progress, and she is such a lifesaver. I can’t do this packing alone – I’ve been trying for weeks with almost nothing to show for it. She’ll be back next week on two days.

That night was amazing. I was exhausted, went to bed early, and slept in the next morning. I think it still counts if one gets up around 5:30 to feed a baby and then goes back to sleep for a few more hours. The key thing, for me, was a respite from the wake-up committee (climbing onto the bed, getting in my face with their hot morning breath, saying “wake up, mama” over and over and over).

I tried watching the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade that morning – I haven’t watched it since I was a kid (Hubs can’t stand the parade coverage, largely due to the chipper commentary), and I used to love the floats and the balloons – but I gave up fairly quickly. Dance numbers and interviews with actors pimping the network’s shows are not a parade. That disappoints me.

Thanksgiving Day at my grandmother’s house was delightful. The only thing missing was Hubs – his absence felt like an ache all day long, but I enjoyed the time with aunts, uncles, and my cousin. A and S had a fantastic time with my cousin, and baby D loved being the center of attention. He’s a great sport at family gatherings, smiling and laughing and doing adorable baby things. All three kids crashed on the way home, and the older two slept from late afternoon straight through until morning.

Early morning, that is. S woke me up at 4 am to tell me he was hungry. He wanted macaroni and cheese, and I wanted to go back to sleep. We compromised, and I heated up the aforementioned Steak ‘n’ Shake kids meal. I parked him in front of the tv, watching kid shows on Disney, and he scarfed down the food. I headed back to bed.

5:30 am  “MAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHMMM! S is eating my chicken fingers!” Much drama ensued. I was up for good. The day, in summary:

Needy baby D wants to be held at all times. A screams at S. S screams at A. He did it! She did it! Make him stop! Make her stop! MAAAAAAAAHHHHMMMM! Whining. Wailing. Sneaky, naughty behavior. Contraband food discovered in A’s room after explicit warnings, less than one hour before, not to go there. A scolded and sent to room. Am I gonna have to stay here forEVer? More whining. Wailing. Full-blown tantrum: kicking feet on walls, screaming, lots of it’s not fairs.  A busted trying to sneak out of room/time out to get toys. Toys confiscated. More tantrum. Plans to go to grocery store, to get some food for the mostly-bare kitchen, scrapped. Pizza ordered. Pizza arrives. A and S pick off cheese, toppings, leaving crust and sauce, and have nerve to ask for dessert. Denied. Requests for indoor camp-out. Denied. Children to bed. Baby D resists. Late night.

And then, this morning, another disgustingly early wake-up call. A wants pancakes. No can do – don’t have all necessary ingredients. I make muffins (Cinnabon style, from a mix). Food snobs strike again: What are these? I don’t like these. These look funny. I don’t want to touch these. I’m so full, I can’t eat any more (after a single bite). And now? I’m taking these ingrates to the country. I hope the fresh air, sunshine, and exercise will exhaust them, so maybe I can get a nap this afternoon.

At least tuning them out to write this post has been a break, of sorts. At least getting it out of my system helped a little. But I could use one of those nice, quiet afternoons where I can get a bit of uninterrupted sleep.

Sweet boy

November 16, 2010

Over the last few days, I’ve been struck by how sweet, gentle, and caring S can be.  Sure, he has his moments of acting like a little hellion, but beneath that, he’s amazingly generous and sensitive.  I don’t think all of his classmates in preschool are like this.  I know some are – and I’ve observed that those are the kids he seeks out as companions.  His two best chums – a girl and a boy – are lively, intelligent, delightful kids.  Each has a terrific sense of humor.  It makes me particularly sad and wistful to think of moving when I consider the relationships he’s developed with those two kids.

This morning, A overslept (and needed it) and didn’t wake until the bus had already passed, so I took her to school.  S is like me in the mornings: he’d love to snuggle in a warm bed for a while, until he has to get up and do something.  I always feel bad getting him up before he’s really ready, because I secretly wish I could stay in bed, too.  Unfortunately A’s bus arrives at the rude and ugly time of 6:40 am, so I have to get up at least an hour before that to get her on the bus.  Usually she’s wide awake and ready to go (like her father, she’s one of those strange “morning people”), but last night we were late getting home.  Anyway.

My sympathy for S’s bed-loving ways led me to offer to carry him to the car in his pajamas for the ride to A’s school.  Let’s not dwell on the fact that I was also wearing pajama pants for the trip – a fact no one would have even seen before the switch from daylight savings time two weeks ago.  I thought I would scoop him out of bed and take him straight to the car, but no.  I walked back, and he had turned on his light so he could find his stuffed animals.  He walked out of the den, his arms overflowing with stuffed animals, wearing his Buzz Lightyear pajamas, and announced he was ready.  I suggested that he pick one animal to join him (I’d never be able to carry him and his menagerie at once), and maybe a blanket, since he didn’t want to put on shoes.  This is how we ended up with a boy, his big red fuzzy blanket, and two kitties snuggled in a booster seat for the trip.

His favorite lovey is a little orange striped cat he calls “Kitty.”  Kitty is his baby.  He’s started taking more trips around town with us since Hubs left for Texas, and S sleeps with Kitty every night.  Kitty helps S on the farm (my boy has an unbelievable number of toy tractors and implements, most from my parents), and sometimes even joins us at the dinner table.  Kitty is particularly fond of desserts, but since he can’t actually eat them, he tells S (Kitty is very shy and only talks to S) to enjoy his share.

This morning, Kitty and his new tiny sidekick, Little Kitty (a little black and white stuffed toy that S got from a Happy Meal several months ago), joined us for the expedition.  After we dropped off A, S and Kitty sat in the back seat taking care of Little Kitty, who, like S’s little brother, is a baby.  Drawing on his observations of me, S reenacts typical baby-care tasks and tells Kitty how to be careful and gentle with a baby.  Hence such gems as, “Kitty, he’s just a little guy.  You have to be careful” and “Shhh!  Little Kitty’s sleeping!  We don’t want to wake him up!”

Last night we ate dinner with my parents after I picked A up from ballet.  Just before we ate, I let S sit on the sofa and hold baby D in his lap.  The huge smile and obvious delight on S’s face as he held his baby brother were so precious.  He loves being a big brother, loves the sense of responsibility (to teach baby D all about farming as he gets older), and particularly loves to get smiles and laughter from his baby bro.

Sure, S tries my patience sometimes.  He can be a handful, and he’s stubborn and insistent in a way that might be attributed to my family or Hubs’ side, maybe both.  But he’s also precious, generous (sharing a piece of his favorite candy with his grandfather, because of course he wants to share candy he loves with the man he loves so much), and loving.  He hugs his baby brother with great enthusiasm and excitement, if not always as much care and gentleness as I might want.  I don’t know what I did to deserve this amazing kid, but he’s such a delight.  It’s all I can do not to scoop him up and hug him and kiss him and tell him he’s fabulous while he dances around the kitchen, singing a happy song, doing a happy dance, because he gets to have Fruit Loops for breakfast.  He plays “hide and seek” in the car as we drive to school (yes, I know there’s not really anywhere to hide, particularly when you keep your seat belt on, but he loves it nonetheless).  He still climbs in my lap sometimes for a cuddle, even though he’s getting older and so independent.  My boy is amazing, and I’m a really lucky mom.

Valuable skillz

November 2, 2010

My brilliant, talented baby has an exceptional talent.  From any position in the den, he can manage to turn, twist, roll, and contort his body so that he can see the television.  Having done so, he quickly enters that tv-watching zombie state observed frequently in his older siblings.  Even worse?  Despite repeated rebuke, said siblings will turn his chair around to face the television if they see him doing his maneuvers – to “help him see the tv better.”

He really likes Anthony Bourdain, too.  But tonight, he’s insisting on election results while he slurps on his thumb, laying on a blanket in the floor.

Clone me, add more hours to the day, insert overused harried woman cliche here

November 2, 2010

It’s November.  I’ve pretended long enough that I don’t have tons of packing, culling, organizing to do.  I have to face reality: we have far too much stuff, most of which needs to be packed so it can go west in about six or seven weeks.

I’ve attacked the issue in tiny bites so far.  Yesterday, I cleaned out some of the food cabinets in the kitchen, so I can take food we won’t eat before the move to the food bank (which is woefully low on stock just now).  I’m trying to be strategic, pulling out foods that the kids don’t like much.  That makes for a strange collection – several cans of tomato soup and baked beans, a can of Mandarin oranges, some jars of spaghetti sauce (A’s going through an anti-red-food phase and S hopped on that bandwagon too), several boxes of broccoli and cheese Rice-a-Roni (A & S pick through to remove anything green), a bottle of Balsamic vinegar, and three bottles of hot sauce.  Hubs may be surprised to learn this (hi, honey!), but I plan on moving little to no food.  Texas may be a whole other country, but I know they have grocery stores there.

I got one big sentimental task out of the way yesterday: I cleaned out all of A’s outgrown clothes, so that I can donate some and pass others down to younger cousins.  My little girl is so tall and slim now, not the tiny baby she used to be.  With her little waist, she has been able to wear some dresses and outfits for three or four years, until she outgrows the length.  Efforts to get her to eat enough are largely futile.  She’s not too thin, but is on the edge.

Hubs was in a wreck last night, on his way home from work.  A woman failed to slow/stop for the red light where he was stopped and ran into the back of his car.  I said many unkind things about her and her barely-scratched SUV.  The little green car (what A & S call their daddy’s car) has a smooshed trunk and rear bumper and had to be towed.  I’m very relieved that Hubs is mostly okay (some back and neck pain -> a few physical therapy sessions) and a little apprehensive about the traffic out there.  The other “new guy” who started work around the same time as Hubs was in an accident a couple of weeks ago.  I hope this is just a fluke and not an indicator of the caliber of drivers in Austin.

Oh, look!  I’ve managed to procrastinate for several minutes by writing this post!  Off to pack.