A Beautiful Thing

March 28, 2011

My current favorite in the baby gear department: the Fisher Price Precious Planet Jumperoo

Baby D’s love affair with his jumperoo continues unabated. This evening he dozed off again in mid-bounce and then sleep-bounced a few times before I plucked him out and took him to bed. Watching your siblings ride their bikes is apparently exhausting work.

In other Baby D news, he has finally outgrown his infant seat. He’s a little guy, so it’s taken him longer than either of his siblings. His little feet hang out over the end of the seat now, however, so he’ll be upgrading to the convertible car seat. I’ve had that seat, still in the box, since my wreck last year, just waiting for him to grow into it. Fortunately we had a second infant seat and base that I used until now.

He’s such a smiley guy, and now he flashes four sharp little white teeth every time he grins. Sure, he bites occasionally, but that toothy little smile and the laugh that almost always accompanies it are adorable. If only I could entice him to eat more than applesauce and puffs with his tiny chompers!


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.


September 19, 2010

Hubs has a loaner laptop from his new job, to use until his permanent laptop arrives, so we were able to chat a lot today over Skype.  He doesn’t have a webcam for that laptop, but I have the one he got for me before he left, so he was able to watch baby D rolling and laughing in the floor.  He’ll be able to talk to A & S tomorrow (they’re already in bed).

I’m thinking that my neighbors feel kind of sorry for me, being on my own with three kids.  We went up to their house yesterday evening (she was hosting one of those home jewelry sales parties and had invited me, so I went in search of adult conversation and ended up buying, but I digress), and she sent me home with lots of chicken salad, croissants, cupcakes, and a piece of cheesecake.  And then this afternoon they walked down and gave me two containers of chicken vegetable soup, plus more desserts, and offered to have A up to play with their girls for a while.  A jumped at the chance, of course.  She loves going up there and spending time with the “big girls” (high school age).  I feel really lucky to have such generous neighbors.  Almost all of the neighbors in our old neighborhood in NC were rather standoffish, but fortunately almost everyone around us here is polite at minimum, with most being genuinely friendly and outgoing.

That soup was really good, too.  I wouldn’t make something like that myself, at least not now, because A and S are incredibly picky and wouldn’t want to try it.  They’ve convinced themselves that they don’t like a lot of foods, foods they used to eat and enjoy.  At present they claim not to like tomatoes.  I know they really do.  Both have eaten tomatoes as ingredients in various dishes and loved them.  But these days they pick out every little piece of tomato to form a discard pile on the side of the plate.  They won’t even eat ketchup!  It’s strange.  They want ranch dressing on everything instead.  They dip fries in it, eat it on hot dogs.  Don’t get me wrong.  I love ranch.  But I’ll be glad when they move past these imagined food aversions.  A used to love trying unusual foods – the kid would eat anything off the buffet from our favorite Indian restaurant – but now I hesitate to take her out to any place that doesn’t serve chicken fingers, because I don’t want to waste money on food she won’t eat.  S won’t even eat burgers.  The kid thinks he doesn’t like beef.  He has eaten it at my parents’ house and enjoyed it, but if you ask him, he still insists he doesn’t like it.  Since my dad raises beef cattle, I’m eager for him to get past this particular issue and develop broader tastes than chicken nuggets, fries, and mac ‘n’ cheese.

My mind is (obviously) wandering all over the place.  This post is quite the piece of stream-of-consciousness writing.

From the mouths of babes

August 13, 2010

I’ve learned many wonderful things from my children this week:

  • My husband has super powers.  Super Daddy powers, actually.  He uses these powers to replace light bulbs and fix broken toys.  S told me all about it.
  • Anthony Bourdain soothes the angry baby.  Baby D loves the sound of his voice, and he will become quiet and entranced whenever No Reservations comes on the tv.  Fortunately he’s too young to pick up Anthony’s occasional potty mouth.
  • My daughter A loves first grade.  My son S also loves first grade, but he, alas, is in pre-k.  And incredibly jealous of his big sister.  He wants to go to her school and be in her class.  I think he believes they eat prepackaged cheese and cracker snacks all the time, since A’s teacher gave her one at “meet the teacher” day.
  • Night terrors actually terrify the parent who witnesses them, not the kid.  A has been having these lately and has no memory of them on waking.  On the other hand, I get so frustrated by my inability to comfort her and get her back to sleep easily while she’s in her zombie-like state that I frequently cry after the episode is over.
  • Baby D is very, very crafty.  Only three months old, and he can already get rid of his dissolving medicine tablets by allowing the medicine to dribble out in a small stream of drool.  And it gets on his chubby little neck, so I don’t always notice it right away.  Tricky little baby.
  • A and S love ranch dressing.  They use it to dip carrots, chicken nuggets, fries, and anything and everything else.  They don’t like ketchup.  If we don’t have ranch, they’ll accept mayo as a substitute dip.  Who knew they had such Continental tastes?
  • A and S are very picky eaters, who now think they don’t like many foods they loved in the past.  I can sneak “suspicious” fruits into homemade smoothies, however, and they’ll both tell me how delicious the smoothies are.
  • Kroger now makes lemon wafers (like vanilla wafers, only, well, lemon) and they are delicious.  S had them at my parents’ house and loves them, so we got a box for home too.
  • I’m a really safe, really good driver.  Hubs is a good driver too, but sometimes he drives fast.  The kids told me both of these facts.  A and S will tell on him (to me) for speeding.  They also rat out their grandfather (my dad) to their grandmother (my mom) for eating too many cookies, particularly when his appetite results in a reduced number of cookies available for their own consumption.
  • S knows the lyrics to Starship’s “We Built This City.”  And he loves to sing and dance to it!  The song is on Hubs’ iPod, so he’s heard it on long trips, but not that many times.  Mind like a steel trap, that boy.
  • A understands the concept of the pathetic fallacy, even if she doesn’t know that particular term.  She discussed this after watching a cartoon in which rain was referred to as clouds crying.

Beautiful Day

July 15, 2010

Yesterday was a beautiful day.  I took the day off from worrying, as well as I can, and spent the day with Hubs and the kids.  He took off work – for Bastille Day, which sounds like a great reason for a vacation day to me.  And we drove a short while north to do fun things with the kids.

We went to the aquarium, where they saw their beloved penguins, although the new baby in the exhibit was still hiding behind its parents.  They also love the butterfly exhibit, and I always take my camera in there to catch fun photos of A and S watching, and sometimes chasing, the butterflies.

We ate lunch at the Olive Garden.  Sometimes Hubs and I get a little snobby about dining out – we prefer local places that offer something unique over the average chain restaurant – but we love the Olive Garden.  It features several foods that, in combination, are irresistible to us: pasta, cheese, and tiramisu.  We have such an addiction to the latter that I’ve been known to get it as takeout and bring it home when I go there without him.

Our next stop was the zoo, which was not terribly impressive.  It was extremely hot, and the zoo isn’t all that.  Strangely eclectic mix of animals, uneven facilities in terms of construction/maintenance and conditions for the animals, occasionally surly or disinterested staff.  But it was dollar day ($1 each to get in) and the kids liked seeing the animals, so all in all, pretty good.  They got overheated so we didn’t linger.

And then came the most delightful part of the day: we piled back in the mommy van and went to a pick-your-own blueberry place, at a lovely farm out in the country.  A and S each got a bucket, as did their daddy, and I followed behind with baby D in the stroller.  It was still warm outside, but not nearly as miserably hot as it was at the zoo, and the farm was lovely.  They had row upon row of blueberry bushes, with staggered growth so that more should be ripe in time for a return visit in another week or two.  The three pickers amassed a gallon, and we picked up some honey harvested from bees there on the farm, too.

The berry farm is a new favorite for me as a kids’ activity.  It’s outdoors, so they’re getting fresh air and sunshine.  They have to walk around to pick the berries, so they get exercise, plus they’ll be tired and sleep better later.  And they love blueberries.  I’ve never been a blueberry fan myself (shhh!  don’t tell the kids), but A and S eat them voraciously, and they’re healthier than chips/cookies/chocolate chip granola bars/cheeze-its, other favorite snacks.  I can freeze them for use later in the year (oh, I’m wishing and dreaming of a large chest freezer – some day!) and use them for assorted baking projects.  And a gallon costs only $8, if we pick our own.  Vast improvement over prices at the grocery stores.

When I win the lottery, mind you, I’ll have my own blueberry bushes on my own farm (where I’ll grow many delicious foods and beautiful flowers and have oodles of adorable rescue dogs and a huge library inside the house), but for now, the berry farm really works for me.

After a fantastic day like yesterday, I’m exhausted but riding an emotional high from all of the good times with my family.  A and S were full of curiosity and good humor but have turned back into (cute but grumpy) little pumpkins who fight over crayons and scream “don’t touch me” today.  They’re demanding and fussy today.  I’m trying not to let it bring me down.