Thursday, January 22, 2009

Growing Ups

"Mom, I don't have anyone to marry..." Milo is sitting next to me on the couch, dejected. I am nursing Violet and, when my lap isn't contested ground, Milo and I have been having some pretty deep conversation while Violet drinks and snuggles.

"Honey, you're three and don't really need to marry anyone for a very long time, if ever," I tell him gently, taking his thick little hand in mine. I squeeze it softly to let him know that I've heard him and take his inquiry seriously.

"If I don't have someone to marry when I get growed up, will I have to marry Violet?"

"No, little buddy, you can't marry your sister. If you want to get married when you're all grown up, you have someone to marry, I promise." Looking at him, I know it is true. He is a handsome little fellow, brimming with life and energy, his humor riddles every conversation. Of course, he is mine and I am tremendously biased, but his grandfather (my dad) agreed -- stating that, "he's got everything -- intellect, humor, personality, looks -- what more could you want?"

I sense that his question is more rooted in his immature attempt to puzzle together the pieces of family -- that he is matching people to mates and trying to understand the diagonal relationship of aunts, uncles and cousins. My suspicion is confirmed when, the next day or so, he hands me the action figure of Obi-wan Kenobi. I say, "Thanks! I love Obi-wan!"

"Mom! He's a toy... you can't kiss or marry a toy. That's silly!"

He is starting to figure out the rules, the code of society. He is constantly questioning why people do X or Y and what would happen if they did the opposite or chose something different. He's piecing together explanations, often logical in a three-year-old's illogic. His expectations are more firmly established, often leading to endless argument when they are unreasonable or unattainable -- as in "I want pizza!" on a night when I've already made another dinner. "If I eat some of my chicken, THEN I can have pizza!" followed by "You didn't make pizza??? But I waaaaaanted pizza!"

So we're trying to give him more control over his surroundings -- we've enlisted his assistance unloading the silverware from the dishwasher basket, sorting clean clothes, matching socks, putting away his toys and books every night. He enjoys this and likes feeling that he's contributing to our household. He refused to get into his bath last night until he'd gotten a firetruck puzzle put back into it's box and safely stowed with the rest of his puzzled. Scott couldn't argue that.

The smooth hand of doubt has crept into his psyche, too. One weekend he told me several times, "I'm not a smart boy." To my knowledge, no one has ever said that about him. Upon further questioning, he confessed that the sitter's daughters told him he wasn't smart. I think that the girls might have said something like, "Oh! That wasn't a smart thing to do!" when he did something not particularly well thought out, but I know both girls well enough to know that neither would tell him he wasn't smart. But that manufactured opinion became a pebble in his shoe and he couldn't stop thinking about it, incorrectly internalizing that he wasn't smart. This is such a small injury to his feelings, it was easily remedied by a quick discussion with the sitter and I've not heard a word about him being "not smart" since then. I know that not all slights, insults, and omissions will be as easily fixed; I understand that part of growing up is learning how to deal with the opinions of others, but my sensitive little soul lets these opinions rest on his little shoulders until he cannot carry them, then they spill out into my heart.

In Violet-world the biggest thrill is dress-up. She is working like mad to be able to pull up pants, slide into a shirt and jam her feet into shoes. Her taste is currently girly-girly and she's got her eyes on sparkly dance costumes and princess dresses. Too bad our dress-up box contains neither of those things, just a lone pink tutu...

Monday, January 12, 2009

Well, poop!

Miss Violet has been under the weather. She vomited twice on Thursday night, but has had pretty bad diarrhea since then, though she's also got a good case of "boob-in-the-mouth-itis" and is not dehydrated in the least. Today she's only pooped once and it was much more solid than it has been, so I think she's fine to go to daycare tomorrow, yay!

Anyway, Scott's in a town about 85 miles away for the opera -- this is the same company that was flooded out this summer and they ended up taking a huge loss, so they are remounting an opera from a couple of years ago, but they had to move it to a different theatre -- 85 miles away instead of 20 miles away. With the late hours, there's no way Scott can commute, so he's up there until Thursday. Violet was too poopy yesterday for me to send her to daycare, so I took Milo to the sitter's and brought Vivi to work with me for a few hours this morning. Leaving the house almost on time was the EASY part this morning.

There's a blizzard, so it's snowing like mad out there and the temps are supposed to plummet tonight. Violet and I work for about a hour and a half before she conks out on my lap. I'm able to work another half an hour that way, which is fine. Why is it necessary that I get in to work with a sick kid on my lap? One of my bosses has resigned her position effective next Thursday. So, I gots lots to do!

Anyway, I bundled Violet up in the stroller like we're mushing across Alaska and we get into my office and get a bunch of stuff done, then I bundle her up and trudge across campus in the two inches of snow that have already fallen and make a delivery, then we hike back to my office and pack up for the morning. I know I'd be pushing her limits to have her there for longer than 3 1/2 or 4 hours.

At this point, I realize that there will likely be a snow emergency called, so I swing by the house while I only have one child with me and move Scott's car off of our street and onto a non-emergency route side street. Run back up the hill to get to Violet and drive to the sitters to pick up Milo. Sitter offers to keep Violet since she hasn't pooped yet and wasn't running a fever, but I'm exhausted by this point and think it will be easier to just go home NOW and hole up rather than try to get back out later after another four inches of snow has fallen... The kids and I park at the bottom of the hill and climb back up to our house and now both of them are napping.

All the while I am silently cursing Scott for abandoning me with a sick kid, an urgent situation at work, and a snow storm. Until I call him to find out how things are up North and he sounds like hell -- because he's been up all night vomiting. Now he can just stay up there until he's feeling better -- I have no need for more germs, thank you very much!

Friday, January 2, 2009

Hello 2009...

Well I started the new year off with a whimper. As in wanting to crawl back into bed. The kids had been sleeping in every morning all wee -- I didn't even see Milo on Tuesday before I went to work. But New Year's Day? Nope. Up at 6:30. Yay...

We've had a series of unusual mishaps lately -- now that we're on the other side of them, we can look back and appreciate the humor in the situations.

First: Scott was filling the dogs' water bowl thingy -- it's like an office water cooler, but sits on the ground with a dog bowl attached. It's pretty spiffy. Anyway, the kids and I were in the family room reading books and he started filling the water cooler in the kitchen, then turned on the tap in the bathroom for the kids' bath. He stepped into the family room as the tub was filling and we chatted a while, then he rounded up the kids to get them ready for the tub and I went into the kitchen on an errand which I have now forgotten. Well... the water cooler had filled up several minutes prior to me walking into the kitchen. Enough minutes prior that there were three inches of water standing on the floor by the sink.

I screamed a horror-movie scream and dashed to turn off the faucet, Scott quickly on my heels with a look of shock on his broad face. "Towels..." he stammered. I pointed to the basket of clean towels right behind him and we started sopping up the mess. Both kids tried to get in on the action and before I knew it, they had thrown every potholder, washcloth, and hand towel from my kitchen linen drawer onto the pile of seeping, wet bath towels, plus a sweater, some doll clothes and a mitten. This was the point where I insisted that bath time happen as normal, mostly to avert anything else going into the substantial pile of sogginess.

2. Scott left to work on the opera yesterday morning at about 7:30. The kids and I were happily ensconced on the couch, snuggling in the comfort of our big red blanket.

At 7:45 I decided to use the restroom. Violet followed close behind, then Milo skipped into the bathroom around her, bouncing from one foot to the other like an over-sized leprechaun. Thus the team sport of Mom is Pooping was born.

Violet quickly unspooled half of the roll of toilet paper before tearing off about three square inches, which she used to try and wipe my bum whilst I was re-rolling the rest of the toilet paper. Somehow, the babe actually connected with some of the poo, which she wiped onto my leg, pajamas, and bathrobe. Horrified, I snatched the offending and offensive tp from her hand (which was miraculously clean) and plopped her outside the bathroom, closing the door. In case you don't make it any further in the story, I did get her hands all washed the minute I was able to -- no gross baby hands, please...

Well, banishing the princess started her howling, which made my leprechaun all the more gleeful -- until I decided that pooping is really in an individual sport and deposited him outside the door as well. Then I locked the door. I did all of this from the seat of the throne, but the way.

As I really didn't have that much to finish up with, I was quickly off the pot, scrubbing my icky thigh, and changing clothes. Then I washed both kids' hands with mucho soapo and got us all the heck outta the outhouse.

3. Last night, at an informal gathering at my parents-in-law's home, Violet apparently auditioned for "Jackass" without my knowledge. While I was helping child #1 into his pajamas in Grandpa and Grandma's bedroom -- he's suddenly shy about changing clothes in front of people, as he should be -- Violet and her cousin Reece were playing with the plastic ride-on John Deer tractor.

According to eyewitnesses, my sister-in-law Sally shrieked and darted out of the room, yelling, "Reece! Stop!!" Reece was at the top of the stairs with the tractor. They say they saw Sally grab Reece and move her from the top of the stairs and the tractor tumble down. By this point, Scott's brother Eric (husband to Sally) was on the scene. Sally flew down the steps and those not close enough were puzzled at her response to "just a tractor" going down the steps. Unfortunately, no one but Reece, Sally and Eric knew that Violet was riding on the tractor that Reece was pushing.

Baby girl and tractor cartwheeled down the steps, landing on a similar pile of shoes which caught Milo about 20 months ago when he, on his own power, cartwheeled head over heels down the steps. Violet was instantly screaming, which I heard from the back bedroom, but assumed was because she didn't want Scott putting her pajamas on her. Nope... She was startled, confused and wanting a nipple to calm her. When Milo and I finally came out of the bedroom and the story was explained to me, it was already clear that Violet was fine, but Sally was not. Violet nursed for about three minutes -- long enough to gather herself together. She ran down the hall, back into the fracas without a second thought.

There was much chiding, mostly teasing Eric and Sally about Reece wanting to be the only girl again and getting there by offing our little Evil Knievel.

When you add to this the normal craziness of raising kids who have limitless imagination and sharp wits, it has been an interesting year already...