Saturday, July 31, 2010

The Hunting Party

We had an intruder in our house yesterday who needed to be hunted down and...well, not exterminated, just relocated.

We were all upstairs in my room, working on a project together, when I had to go downstairs to fetch yet another tool. As I entered the kitchen, passing the open patio door, something whizzed past my head in a blur. I suspiciously and catiously entered the living room, where the blur had headed, and found a bird perched on my window ledge, checking out the view as if he'd rather just observe the trees from inside rather than inhabit them in reality. He looked quite content sitting there, pooping his bright blue poop all over my window.

I immediately called for Matt, as I had my hands full with Jack, and couldn't be expected to get rid of the pest myself, right? Plus, for some reason, the bird scared me. He had beady little evil eyes and although I couldn't think of anything he could do to really hurt me, I didn't want to go near him. I had visions of him dive-bombing me, or at least, pooping on me. So I called for reinforcements.

When the boys found out what I was actually talking about, they went wild! Ben and Mitchell were so excited to see this bird flying around the living room and came flying down the stairs themselves to be a part of the action. The excitement hit a snag when they discovered the poop splatters all over the floor - "Mom! He poops! Don't put Jack down!"

Matt and I armed ourselves with brooms and cautiously approached senior intruder. I'm not sure we had a specific plan worked out as to what we were going to do though, so when we got close to him and he started bashing himself into the window, then fell down dead, we felt a little...disappointed. All that excitement for the bird to just commit suicide? I could have handled that myself!

Well, this bird had some tricks up his sleeve. We were about to pick him up to dispose of him when up he flew again, whirring around as if he was just taking a little snooze! Faker! He flew upstairs this time, pooping all the way! He ended up behind/under one of the boys' beds, where he decided to lay low. We regrouped and made a new plan which involved much opening of windows and also closing of doors to keep him in one room (duh...) I moved the bed out from the wall and there he was, just staring at me with those beady eyes again. I couldn't do it! I made Matt shoo him out of there while watching from behind a closed door with the boys (it was a mostly glass door.) He flew up to the ceiling, circled once, then flew out the window. Bye bye birdie! Don't come back!

Since then, Ben has been quite diligent keeping all doors and windows closed. "Mitchell - shut the patio door! We don't want the bird coming back!" "Mom! Don't open the window! What if a bird flies in again?" I think they secretly would love for it to happen again. It must have seemed quite the adventure for two little boys - chasing a bird around, leaping over splats of poop, waving mops and brooms in the air, shouting, laughing, just on the line between fear and hilarity.

Friday, July 30, 2010

Guess We Ran Out of Seats...

Matt was home all morning this morning (yay!) so I headed off to the gym to enjoy some time to myself at a normal hour for such activities (as apposed to 6am or 8pm.)  When I returned home, I quietly came in the back entry, so no one heard me coming.  When I entered the living room, I found all 4 of my "dudes" having a great time together in a way that never happens when the lone female/stick-in-the-mud is around.

Does this look like an appropriate place to sit - especially for a baby?  No, I didn't think so, but they had daddy right there and so enjoy their "dude time" with him.  Who am I to question how a father and son tempt fate?  I have to trust that he was ready to catch humpty dumpty when he decided to "have a great fall."

A Difficult Morning Forces Some Deep Thought

This morning was an early morning - earlier than usual, that is.  The big boys hauled themselves out of bed much too soon, resulting in cranky, whiney boys and a cranky, annoyed mom.  After handling each situation poorly and becoming increasingly disappointed in myself as a mother, I began thinking of ways to not just eliminate bad behavior in my children, but how to teach them healthier alternatives - what to do rather what not to do.  I want to do this for their own good - not just so that I am less annoyed.

Today we begin with shouting/whining at me from across the room or another room entirely.  Mitchell especially is going through a very whiney phase right now (which I will have to deal with seperately and am very open to suggestions on this one!) and even when he is not upset, his "normal" voice is very high pitched and loud.  This is not acceptable, as it severely annoys me and puts me on edge, and also because it puts him in a complaining, demanding mood, even when he otherwise would not be.  "The voice" has got to be transformed into a more appropriate, even sound that does not rile anyone up.  

So as I sat there, being barraged by constant loud/whiney voice from Mitchell, it hit me that if he had my undivided attention and was close to me, it would eliminate the need to shout or whine.  I had the sudden inspiration that if he was actually touching me, he'd be close enough to put this new inspiration into effect.  I sat him down next to me and explained to him that I could no longer hear him if he was not actually touching me.  Starting this morning, he is no longer allowed to talk to me unless he is touching me.  Seriously.  I pretend that I cannot hear him until he is physically touching me.  Now, I fully expect this to make the situation worse - at first.  He will shout at me from another room and I will ignore him rather than shout back.  That will frustrate him and he will shout louder.   When I still "can't hear him," he will turn it up a notch and add in the whiney voice.  All this I realize could result from my idea.  My hope though, is that once he remembers to actually come up to me and touch me, and because of this I immediately turn to him and give him undivided attention and eye contact, he will quickly understand what is expected of him and the shouting/whining voice will slowly make its departure.  

I feel like because I write and tell stories so much of the funny aspect of my interactions with my kids and skip over the unentertaining aspect of parenthood that is discipline (who really wants to read about that part?), many people get the impression that I do not discipline at all, but merely sit back and let my kids run wild and do as they please.  This is not the case.  I do allow them to act appropriate to their age, and also enjoy and allow a certain amount of boyish antics and craziness into our lives, but training and discipline is a constant part of my day - sometimes I fail at it, sometimes we make real progress.  I find real comfort in Dobson's "Bringing Up Boys" because it points out how boys were created and wired to be active and need a certain amount of craziness and activity that I, as a mom and a female, cannot quite understand the need for.  Reading that book set me free and relaxed me quite a bit.  I stopped trying to "tame" my sons; rather, I now aim to "direct" them in their crazy, energetic activities and provide boundaries for their abounding energy.  Expecting them to be like myself was only frustrating us all.  I am a female and I am an adult.  They are neither.
With each new phase my boys go through, all my ideas and rules have to be re-considered and re-worked to make sense for us.  I feel I am at one of those crossroads with Mitchell (yet again.)  His need for special attention from me has become clear to me, as is his need to be corrected in his unacceptable behavior.  With hard work and diligence on both our parts, I hope to have worked out a system to bring my adorable and comedic middle child back to a normal decibel in his communication and also to provide him with what he might be missing - some more personal attention, perhaps?  Any insights, comments, or criticisms you might have on this issue we face are more than welcome!

I apologize for the deviance from the normal light-hearted and often humorous entries I normally post.  I felt the need to point out the other side of my interactions with my kids this time.  I love my boys so much and want what is best for them - it sure is a lot of work trying to figure it all out and then implementing it as well!

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Big Lady

Some of you will read this and think I am "one of those moms" - the kind whose kids are disturbing the peace and going a bit crazy.  Others of you, I hope, will read this and think my kids are hilarious and get a laugh out of their antics, just as I do.

We had to buy our city vehicle stickers today and since I have 3 kids, I had to do this with 3 kids in tow.  I had Jack in my arms, chewing my keys up, and Ben and Mitchell fully exploring the space of the place.  As I was busy with the paperwork, I heard some serious laughing going on.  A bit annoyed that they were not standing quietly beside me with hands to themselves, quietly lost in their own thoughts (haha), and also a tad curious as to what was so funny, I turned to take a look.  Ben had found a life-sized cardboard woman and was busy walking her around the store, making scary noises at Mitchell, who was feigning fright and making the appropriate noises for such a scene.  

My first instinct was to stop their game and put an end to the silliness and make them come stand by me.  I suppressed this instinct though because they really were using "inside voices," were not bothering anyone (in fact, everyone was quite entertained and laughing as well), and were just making so much fun out of a bothersome errand.  I wish I could find so much fun out of my everyday and often annoying business.  

Her name was "Big Lady" and she had a suspicious likeness to our babysitter.  I bet she works for a lot cheaper though...

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

A Sweet Surprise

Today, Mitchell came running up to me, telling me he had a special surprise for me.  Now with Mitchell, I never quite know what to expect when he says this (or what to expect from him in general, for that matter).  When he says he has a surprise for me, it could be anything - poopy underwear, a dead bug, a gooey booger, something of mine broken into pieces, a random toy...the sky is the limit with Mitchell and his "surprises."  

So when he came running up to me with a big grin on his face and a "surprise" hidden behind his back, I wasn't sure whether to be excited or run away.  Well, he ran right up to me and whipped his hands out from behind his back, and...they were empty!  I asked him where my surprise was and he leaned over to my ear and whispered, "I love you, mommy!"  Now that was a nice surprise - not that he loves me, but that he went through such theatrics to tell me in a special way.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

A Confusing Triumph

I have known for some time now that Mitchell is capable of riding his bike without training wheels, I have just been waiting for a convenient time to work on it with him when I don't have the other two boys with me.  Well, waiting for that "convenient time" has resulted in just not doing it, so for the last few days, I have positioned Ben on his bike in front (to show Mitchell what to do and also to provide the encouragement he is so great at giving), Mitchell on his bike in the middle, with me close behind holding him steady as well as trying to push my stroller with Jack in it (wish I had a picture of that to show you.)  We have to somehow get this caravan of craziness maneuvered around busy Chicago sidewalks without crashing into things or each other and without getting hit by cars (although how a car could manage to not see a sight such as this from far away and have plenty of time to avoid us would be pretty unbelievable.)

Well, I'm glad we figured out a way to get it done because, as I suspected, he can ride it!  We just skipped the training wheels stage and the boy never needed them!  He has always had the balance, he just needed someone to keep him moving as he learned how to actually pedal.  So great, right?  He can ride, I can stop pushing him around, the boys have one more thing to do together.  Unfortunately, with Mitchell, things are never quite so simple.  He has confused me once again by not wanting to ride the bike, even though the hard part - learning how to do it - is in the past now.  We have now spent two mornings riding around our neighborhood (I now know the surrounding alleys almost as well as the streets) with Mitchell crying and crying because I am forcing him to ride his bike.  

At first, I just thought he was having trouble learning and was scared or really didn't think he could do it, but now that I have seen him ride up and down a whole alley without stopping once (crying the whole time), I wonder what in the world is wrong with this boy!  He's not scared, he just doesn't want to do it!  I can force him, but I taught him to ride for fun not for torture!  

I've held my temper in check and tried not to get too frustrated at his attitude and inability to tell me any reason why he is upset and not having fun.  It is so confusing - look at the little guy!  He rocks that bike!  He hasn't fallen or hurt himself even a little so he doesn't have that excuse. Ben and I are so proud of him and keep telling him what big boy he is and how proud we are of his accomplishment, but it seems to fall on deaf ears.  He will not be swayed - bike riding is NOT fun!

So my little Mitchell can ride a bike and I am so proud of him, but my vision of both boys riding bikes together joyfully has been shattered and I face a choice: push him to keep practicing until he enjoys it (much like our soccer experience) or put the bike away for a while longer and make playtime actually fun for everyone again?  Oh Mitchell, you have left me guessing once again!

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Why Boys Don't Wear White

To me, there is nothing cuter on a little baby boy than a white onesie.  It is simple, but babyish, matches any bottoms one should choose, and never distracts from their boyish cuteness.

There is one drawback to a white onesie though - it looks like this at the end of the day (truthfully, it looks like this by mid-day, but I don't always do anything about it, knowing it will just happen all over again.)  A mess like this doesn't just happen all at once - a few hours of being a baby is needed to truly make a masterpiece out of a pure, white shirt.  We need at least one meal, plenty of drool, some mashed up and spit out Cheerios, crawling all over the place, and plenty of brotherly help.  

One example of this "brotherly help" I mentioned:  I put Ben in charge of keeping Jack away from the stairs leading down to my front door.  I just had to close my eyes for a few minutes, and in that exhausted state, I truly thought Ben would make a great babysitter.   Now before you think me a terrible mother and cut me out of your life altogether, know that I was merely dozing, not truly sleeping, and was on the chair, sitting up, not laying down for a nap in my bed.  While I was in this semi-conscious state, I could hear plenty of giggling by both Ben and Jack.  There would be a few seconds of slapping sounds on the floor (Jack crawling) followed by giggles by both boys, repeated over and over again.  It was quite a nice soundtrack to my "meditation."  My curiosity finally overcame my sleepiness and I just had to see what was going on.  Ben would let Jack crawl as far as the top of the steep stairs, then grab him by both ankles and drag him back 5 or 6 feet back to my chair where he would begin it all over again.  They both thought it was the best game ever!  I had a nice little break from chasing Jack around, keeping him out of the dangers a new crawler continually searches for, but I hate to say, this white onesie may not ever be white again.  Being drug on his belly across the floor may have been just too much for bleach to take care of this time!

Friday, July 23, 2010

At Last, I Become a Track and Field Fan

Matt is a long-time lover of track and field, but I have never been a true fan, I admit.  So far, it has really just been a distraction from fatherly duties, as far as I am concerned (sorry, Matt.)

But today, Ben participated in his very first track meet, and I, his mother, became a fan of the sport for the very first time.  I packed my kids up, despite nap times and dinner times, drove way down south, and suffered the heat to watch my oldest son do the long jump and 100m.  

I have been waiting for something like this since my very first baby boy was born - sitting in the stands or crouching on the sidelines snapping pictures while my kids try their hardest at their chosen activity.  I love it.  I have never been an athlete myself, but am loving living vicariously through Ben.

The excitement began when he received his very own number to pin on his shirt - making it all feel very "official."  He was so proud of that number - we actually still have it hanging in his room.

For me, the best part, by far, was his warm-up routine alongside daddy.  Watching Ben excited about what his daddy is excited about and mimicking his every move was far more entertaining and touching than the actual events.  They skipped, jumped, high-stepped, side-stepped, stretched, river-danced (ok, maybe not, but it looked like that to me) up and down the track, warming up for their events.

His first event was the long jump.  I have no technical knowlege of the event (I should, with how much I have listened to talk of it) but it looked like he rocked it to me!  He had such a look of supreme concentration on his face before his take-off: he really seemed like he knew what he was doing!  He hit that white line and launched into the air, feet out in front of him, landed in the sand, rolled, and then sat there as if he deserved a break after such a performance.  Mitchell and I were close by, cheering him on, which brought on the biggest smile from him.  It must be nice to have such a devoted following :)

Next up: 100m race.  Now this is the event he was most excited for, but it is a bit of a long race for a first-timer.  He lined up with all the other boys his age, "shook out his muscles," got into position, then proceeded to miss the start.  He started a good 3 or 4 seconds behind the other boys, then ran from lane 7 across to lane 1, which lost him even more time.  Let's just say he didn't finish first, but by the look of triumph on his face, he beat the other boys by a mile!  By the time I caught up with him, after packing up the other boys and all the junk we have to carry everywhere we go, he was still jumping up and down in celebration of his awesomeness.  

I just have to say, I am so overjoyed to see my oldest son having so much fun competing in something that is so important to my husband.  I hate to write this, in case Matt is reading, but I may have become a track and field convert overnight.  I hope this is just the first of many things they do together and get excited about both personally and together.  

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Sidewalk Chalk and Gummy Worms

When I think of my sister coming to visit, I always think of sidewalk chalk and gummy worms.  Sure, sometimes the weather does not allow us to spend time creating masterpieces on the ground outside, but I still think sidewalk chalk when I think of her visits.  If she doesn't use chalk, she finds a different medium to use - window crayons work well in winter!  I sometimes wish I could be a bit more creative and spend hours drawing with my boys, but the problem is, only one of my boys will actually draw and the other two need more and more attention the more time I try to draw.  It is so nice to have someone else encourage my son's imagination with drawing in a way I cannot normally do.  We love it when Aunt Nenni visits!  Our sidewalk became alive with dragons and outlines of the kids and many other amazing pictures and, as we are right next to a school, they had many admirers of their artwork!

One other thing that always reminds me of a visit from my sister is gummy worms!
She always brings them with her and uses them at the most opportune moments.  I personally am not terribly fond of them - they just get stuck in my teeth and I can think of much tastier treats - but my boys LOVE them.  Rain or shine, snow or sun, hot or cold, we can always eat gummy worms.  I actually have considered buying them for the boys before, but usually decide against it in order to keep it a special thing we only experience when Aunt Nenni is here.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Difficult Choices

Hurray!  Both boys have filled their sticker charts!  

We recently reinstated the use of sticker charts with our boys.  It is funny - a sticker on an empty chart at the beginning is far less motivating than when we they get down to the last few spots.  Those stickers are vigorously sought after!  Once they can almost feel that "special toy" in their hot little hands or taste that "special treat" on their tongues, it is amazing how motivated they are to fill up those last few spots!  I have boys asking what they can clean for me and if they can please practice their letters and saying things like, "Did you see how kind I just was to Jack?" and "I sure love you, mom," and "I just brought the mail up for you, mom!"

This time, for their reward, they both decided to pick out a toy at the store.  After choosing something in the acceptable price range, we came home with two small airplanes - one for each boy.  Ben got his immediately, but Mitchell still had one spot to fill, so he had to wait a bit.  By the time he did fill it, he had changed his mind about what he wanted and was certain that he would like an ice cream cone at McDonald's instead.  I tried my hardest to help him understand that once he ate his ice cream cone, there was no going back and he couldn't then change his mind again.  He assured me that he understood and we rode our bikes to McDonald's for his chosen treat.  We had a great time and Mitchell fully enjoyed his ice cream (even voluntarily shared a few bites with Ben!), but as I suspected, the moment we returned home, he said he decided he wanted his plane after all.  I just knew he was going to do this!  I reminded him that we had already talked about this, but he suddenly didn't seem to understand anymore.  It didn't help at all that Ben was very disappointed that his new plane didn't have a "friend" to fly with and was joining in the battle on Mitchell's side, fighting with him for double treats.  I had to stand my ground, of course, but in the end, I think that when Mitchell sees Ben playing with his treat after his treat has long digested, he feels a bit cheated.  Maybe next time I should eliminate the choice for him and just get him a little treat ahead of time and avoid the drama.  

This does make me wonder about Mitchell though.  Does he really not get it and did he really feel cheated, or is he smarter than I give him credit for and was intentionally trying to work me on this?  I really can't tell with Mitchell...

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Why Is It So Funny?

Why is it that little boys (and big boys...and men...) find words pertaining to private parts and bathroom experiences so giggle inducing?  Today in the car, Ben and Mitchell were starting to get a bit stressed out after about 10 minutes of Jack's crying.  Ben finally unplugged his ears for long enough to ask me why Jack had to cry for so long and I said that he probably had poopy pants.  Well, that immediately changed the mood in the car.  The fingers came out of the ears, they looked at each other, grinned their naughtiest little grins, and said, "she said poopy..." followed by plenty of giggling and silly faces.  Where do they get that?  Who told them poop and bottoms and other private parts are funny?  Well, I guess I know where they get it because Matt also was quietly giggling about the "poopy pants" comment.  

It's not just "poopy" words that are hilarious though.  They also find it funny to pull each other's pants down and expose their bums.  They are eternally fascinated by...well...other private parts as well.  There seems to be no end to jokes and silliness in that department.  How did I end up so surrounded by males with questionable senses of humor?  I don't get it...

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Where Is Everyone?

This morning was a fun morning for us all.  We had two of the boys' favorite little buddies over for some noise and mess and craziness.  My thought on playdates is - the more the merrier!  We make a mess and a lot of noise anyways, why not add a little more volume to both?

Sometimes play dates can be overwhelming for one or more of the kids, especially if it runs into nap time, but today went perfectly.  All four boys played together and found things to do all together, which is rare.  I was even able to let them all play unsupervised in the boys' room for quite a while!  After a bit, I went up to check on them (they were being suspiciously quiet, and you know what that means) and when I opened the door, not only was it quiet, but Ben was the only boy in sight!  When I asked him where the other boys were he said, "Oh, I put them in the closet.  They were being naughty so I put them in there and shut the door and I won't let them out."  I peaked into this "jail" of Ben's and immediately got a chorus of complaints from the "prisoners," telling me to shut the door and stop messing up the game!  Now this is a game I like.  Ben takes over the discipline, four boys between 3 and 5 are very quiet, and I am not allowed to be around!  Perfect!  If only we could add a chubby baby boy into the game somehow...

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Dumpster Diving

I come by dumpster diving honestly: my grandpa did it, my dad did it (I specifically remember him finding a sandwich in the garbage at the lake one time and, after not being able to convince anyone else to eat it, ate it himself!  To his credit though, that is the only instance of dumpster diving I remember him doing, albeit pretty gross.)

I have taken dumpster diving to a whole new level though.  Not only did I find quite the treasure, but I made my oldest son do it for me!  After all, the "treasure" was for him and his suboordinate (Mitchell) so why not make him do the actual gathering of the item?

Let me back up a bit to give a little perspective on why a mother would possibly make her 5-year-old son get somthing out of the garbage.  One of our neighboring houses is being demolished.  It is being completely leveled to the ground, and it is an awesome thing to watch, even for me!  In order to get the best seats to watch this fantastic show, we parked our butts down in the ally, not 10 feet away from the tractor performing the amazing feat of knocking down walls and tearing down chimneys and causing total and utter destruction.  It was awesome.  Try to ignore the fact that we were actually sitting on the ground in a dirty ally, leaning our backs against someone else's garage door, hoping it didn't open on us and send us falling backwards into someone's garage.  It is at these times, when we are having so much fun doing something or watching something we don't normally get to do or see, that I wonder if providing a new and exciting experience for my boys is worth the fact that it is filthy and we are actually sitting on the ground getting covered by the dust of a newly demolished building.  Obviously, I chose fun over cleanliness this time.

So there we were, sitting on the ground, watching one man working a tractor, one man spraying the mess with a fire hose, and one man just sitting on the fence watching ("supervising" I presume.  Wish I had his job), when something caught my eye on top of the garbage bins next to us.  Now this was actually on top of the garbage bins, not actually in the bins, so it's OK, right?  It looked to me like a child's workbench, taken apart and placed on top of the bins.  The bins were squished in between the work site and the next building, so I couldn't actually reach the workbench to check it out, so I lifted Ben up and onto the bins, and he crawled across them to give me a report on what he found there.  His glowing report was that it was, indeed, a fully intact and clean workbench that had been taken apart a bit in order to fit in the small space, but otherwise in great shape!  He dragged it back to me, and we quickly carried it a block back to our house (quickly in case someone somehow knew that I had just taken a toy out of the garbage and scolded/criticized me for my disgusting act.) 

       We cleaned the thing up, brought it upstairs, put all our tools in/on it, and it is our new favorite toy!  The funny thing is, we almost bought this very same toy for Mitchell at Christmas last year, but it was more money than we wanted to spend on just one toy, so we passed.  Should I be finding and bringing home someone else's garbage (or, more correctly, encouraging my child to do so?)  My final thought on the matter is that when the "treasure" is good enough, the answer is a big "yes!" 

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

No Wonder We All Hate Going to the Dentist

A dentist's office is, at best, an intimidating place.  At worst, it it is downright scary.  As I walked into the room for my follow-up appointment yesterday, i saw "the room" through Mitchell's eyes.  I knew that the machines in there were not just for cleaning this time, but for jabbing needles into my gums and drilling holes into my teeth.  No matter now calm and professional and charming your dentist is (and mine is all the above), it is difficult to relax and trust your well-being to a man who is about to use a drill in your mouth.  

As I lay there waiting for the numbness to take, listening to Enya sing lullaby-like songs about sailing away and other half-understandable lyrics, and staring at the hideous ceiling (don't they know their patients only have one place to look?  Make it a nice ceiling!!), I found myself unable to relax.  By the time he was actually drilling my teeth, my body was already a bit fatigued from the constant flexing all over.  As I lay with my mouth gaping, my jaw tiring, holding my breath so I didn't have to smell the smell of tooth powder drifting around, feeling that terrible pressure of a drill inside my tooth, I had to constantly remind myself that it didn't hurt and I needed to relax a bit.  My butt was so clenched that when I consciously relaxed it, I sank into the chair a couple inches!  

I do have to give my new dentist credit for one thing though.  He doesn't try to carry on a conversation with me while my mouth is stuck in a gaping position with all manner of equipment jabbing and scraping and sucking.  I remember my family's dentist as i was growing up as quite the talkative wannabe comedian.  He not only had an assistant with him at all times that he carried on constant conversation 3 inches from my face, but he would actually tell me lame jokes and ask me questions while drilling my teeth - as if I had any ability to answer him in any other form than a nod or grunt!  I ran across this little graph that illustrates my old dentist perfectly.  I may not enjoy visiting my new dentist, but at least he knows well enough to keep his thoughts to himself and not make an uncomfortable situation more uncomfortable by requiring verbal participation from his patients.  


It's Official: We love Chicago!

Well, we have been here about a year and a half and have found things we love and...well, don't quite love about Chicago.  We LOVE our friends and the city itself and our home and our neighborhood and our neighborhood Starbucks.  Basically, the only things we don't love are having no family close by and the weather, the weather, the weather!

We feel like this may be the final move in a long line of moves, but one never can tell for sure if one is basically willing to do it again so I haven't really felt like this is "home" yet.  But as of yesterday, thanks to a Cubs gear store across from Wrigley Field, we officially became Chicagoans!  Check out these handsome boys in their new hats!

Up until now, they have been anti-hats of any sort, but I told them these were special hats that not only keep the sun out of their eyes while out riding bikes, but extra special because it means we have lived here longer than anywhere else and it means this is a really special place to live.  

So thank you to everyone who helps make this a wonderful home for us!  

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Good Thing It's a Big Bed!

While we have company, we have a bit more complicated sleeping situation.  The older boys have to give up their room to sleep on couches in the living room (which they love!) but can't fall asleep down here unless the rest of us want to go to bed when they do (which we don't!)

So they goof around, make a lot of noise and, eventually, fall asleep in my bed each night and then we move them downstairs when we are ready to go to sleep.  Last night I went up to move them and found a lot more work than I was planning.  They had so many toys in bed with them, I'm not sure how they found enough room to get comfortable!  I don't love that it takes them hours sometimes to fall asleep at night, but I do love that they still get such a kick out of sharing a room, doing secret things at night, playing spooky games, loading up their beds with as many toys as possible, singing sweet little songs, and other general mayhem.  With the way they play at night together, you'd think they hadn't just spent all day together!  I hope they always love each other this much.

Friday, July 9, 2010

An Alternative To Going Crazy

Waking up to rain in the morning is not always a great start to our day.  I immediately picture us all stuck inside, trying to make up more and more things to do to keep from driving each other crazy, but coming up just a bit short.  Being able to play outside is a major thing for my family, which is mostly made up of energetic boys who, if they can't run, jump, scream, chase, and ride bikes outside, will do all of those things inside (yes, even ride bikes if I let them.)  All those things which are wonderful outside, are just plain loud and often obnoxious inside.

So with another energetic youngster staying at our house, adding to the general fun and craziness, we decided that a little rain should not force us to remain indoors where we would most certainly run into trouble.  So we put on the grubby clothes and crocs and headed off in search of the biggest puddles we could find!  As luck would have it, the biggest we could find was right in our very own alley!  Now I know that a city alley is not necessarily the cleanest place to play, especially when my kids are not just stomping and jumping in the puddles, but sitting and laying and "swimming" in them, but for me, it is worth the risk of...well, I'm not sure what the risk actually is, so we do it!  Mom stays sane, boys have fun, and the morning flies by!  

Thursday, July 8, 2010

The Dessert is not Worth It!

Neither of my "big" boys are big fans of dinner.  It doesn't matter if we eat PB&J or meat and potatoes - they eat very little of it.  I think they really just aren't that hungry most nights, so I normally only give them small portions and hope they can get it all down with plenty of milk to fill in the hollow spots.  If they eat well (without whining, complaining, refusing to eat, taking over an hour, gagging, hiding food somewhere, or needing too much actual feeding from mom) they get some sort of dessert, like a popsicle or a bowl of yogurt or a little ice-cream.  

Well, tonight, I went out on a limb and made something new for dinner.  It had both things they normally love and things they  normally detest so I was hopeful it would all even out in the end.  It started out fine, but they lost momentum about 10 minutes in.  After 15 minutes, they had completely run out of steam and were coming up with all sorts of fun things to distract them from the goal, which was finishing their dinner.  Ben was telling stories and jokes.  Mitchell was sitting backwards, upside-down, feet in the air, food in a pile on the table... After a bit of this, we decided they only had a few minutes left to finish, or no popsicles.  With only a couple minutes to go, Ben furiously started shoveling the food in to make it under the time limit and get the prize.  Well, last bite made it in it time, but it only took another second for that last all the rest of them to come right back up!  It looked like he threw up more than he had originally eaten!  In order to get that popsicle, he force fed himself most of his food in only a few seconds and it all ended up on his chin, shirt, pants, and my dining room chair.  Throwing up is a traumatic experience, so I think maybe we did not accomplish anything positive tonight.  He didn't get his dessert, and we didn't get him to actually keep down any dinner.  In the end, he didn't even care about getting his dessert.  He just wanted to get away from the scene of the crime.  

Monday, July 5, 2010

My New Dentist

I admit it - I have not been to the dentist in years, and my kids have never been to the dentist.  I have many excuses for this lapse in hygene including moving as often as I do, no sore teethe, feeling like I do a great job flossing, and my favorite - I just don't like going.  Well, as it is no longer just about my teeth, but about all the little teeth in my family, I finally made dentist appointments.  

Mitchell and I were up first and today was the day.  I will admit, I was nervous.  I have very weak teeth, and I knew it was not likely I would escape the cleaning without a second visit getting scheduled to come back and fix all that has gone wrong in my mouth.  Despite my general unease, I tried to make it sound exciting for Mitchell.  At first, he was excited to be going somewhere with me all by himself, but one look at that little room with all the equipment in it and he decided this was not where he wanted to be.  There is an aweful lot of complicated looking machinery in there, it's true.  

I went first to show him that it would not hurt and to show off what all the "scary machines" were for.  As I had to sit still facing forward with my mouth gaping open and full of all manner of cleaning and scraping and poking instruments, I couldn't really see him exactly, but I could see that the longer I sat there pretending to be having a great time for his sake, he was creeping farther and farther out of the room and into the hallway.  When I could finally turn my head and take a tiny peek at him, I found him huddled on the floor outside the room just barely peeking around the corner into the room to make sure the dentist hadn't finally finished me off.  

When it came time for him to climb up in the chair, he lost it.  He clamped both hands over his mouth and burst into tears.  "Later mommy, later!  I'll do it later!  I'm not ready!  I don't want him to look in my mouth!  I won't open it!"

It took some serious skill on the part of my dentist and myself, as well as plenty of goofing off with all the "tools" in there, trying to make him laugh and see it wasn't such a big deal, but we finally coaxed him to let him count his teeth and then bit by bit, brush them.  We almost had to reschedule, but in the end, we got his little chompers checked and cleaned.  

You'd think that after all the drama and fears and tears, he would want to forget about the dentist and his experience, but it has been the opposite.  He has been talking about it all day and even pretending to be a dentist himself!  I had to sit still for quite some time this afternoon and let him be my dentist.  He got all manner of tools out to work on my teeth.  Now we have no dentist tools.  We don't even have any doctor's tools, so he improvised.  I had quite the assortment of "tools" working on me - drill, measuring tape, blocks, a saw, flashlight, baseball, tinker toys, even part of a bbq.  Some tools were for "fixing," some were for "cleaning."  Others were for sucking the coffee off my teeth and fixing up my tongue and cheeks while he was in there.  He even labeled his shoes "dentist shoes."

It is good to know that while he seemed quite frightened and a bit traumatized by his first dentist visit, he came out of the ordeal with nothing but respect and excitement for the dental profession.

An Injured Baby Toy

We don't have many real baby toys in our house.  I got rid of most of them after Mitchell grew out of them, so when Jack came along, I got a few back, but mostly have improvised as far as the baby toys go.  One such toy is Luigi.  He was originally Ben's toy, but was never a favorite and has been sitting in a toy box for some time now, so we have given him a new position as Jack's toy.

Luigi is a soft, squishy car who talks when touched.  What is great about him is what he says when touched.  Jack will take a big chomp out of him and Luigi will say, "Ouch!"  He will bash him against the floor, and he will moan, "Take it easy!" or "Oh, my aching tires!"  He throws him into his toy box and he yells, "Not so hard!" or "Ow!"  Luigi gets pretty used and abused by my energetic baby, and he's not shy about telling us how he feels about it!  It is hilarious that his comments are so appropriate to what is being done to him!  How funny to hear a baby toy complaining about its life.  I get a good chuckle when Jack plays with Luigi.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

How Long Does A Haircut Last Anyways?

I finally had to give Mitchell a trim this afternoon.  For some reason, the back of his hair seems to be growing faster than the rest of his hair.  I'm not sure a mullet was ever cool, and I am positive it was NEVER a good look!  So away with the little boy mullet!  

Although not terribly excited to sit still for me while I use very sharp scissors near his neck and ears ("Mommy, don't poke me!  Mommy, don't cut me!  "Mommy, don't cut my head off!" -  I assure you, I did none of the above), he suddenly became very excited about the fact that he had gotten a hair cut once the ordeal was over.  Throughout the day today (at the grocery store, Costco, a quick check during quiet time, at the park, and even while on the toilet) he kept asking, "Mom?  Do I still have a hair cut?"  


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...