the boys

the boys

Sunday, February 27, 2011

This will just hurt for a minute

Those of you that know my little sister, Allison, know that she and I are a lot alike.  We look a lot alike despite the 4 inch height difference.  For the first few years she was in Alabama everyone called her Gwen.  And now if I go back to visit everyone calls me Allison.  Aside from looks, we have the same sense of humor and quick wit. 

So it is with honor, and her permission, that I share her story.  It's a story of pain and suffering.  Of tears.  Of gasping for breath.  A story of resourcefulness.  A story's just damn funny, really. 

Allison is a bit of a world traveler.  And not the kind that sits on beaches and sips on fruity drinks...although I would put money that she has done her fair share of that too.  No, she is the kind that goes to small villages in Russia, or war-torn countries, or God knows where else.  I can't keep up.  Let's just say she can hold her own.  Her quick wit and her love of languages makes her a force to reckon with here and across any ocean.

As she prepared for her most recent venture, she was packing her odds and ends.  Mind you, Allison can travel by train across Russia for two weeks in the winter with one small suitcase so I use the term "packing odds and ends" loosely.

She comes across the pepper spray that she can hook to her key chain.  She thinks "gee, I've had this for years and never had to use it.  I wonder if it even works anymore."  And so my extremely bright and resourceful younger sister positions herself in the far back corner of her small one bedroom apartment in Washington DC.  And she sprays a very small stream right into the corner. 

But wait!  What is this?  It does not just spray into the corner.  The dang thing has a range of about two feet to either side.  Suddenly the whole room fills with pepper spray smell.  Stinging her eyes; burning her nose.  So she runs to the living room and opens up the small window.  She sticks her face out into the cold air and takes a few big gulps.  She is huddled in one small corner trying to breath the fresh air while her entire apartment fills up with pepper spray. 

She blindly feels around for anything to cover her face.  Her hand brushes across her silk pashmina scarf.  So she wraps it around her mouth and nose, uses her glasses as a shield for her eyes, and scurries around the tiny little apartment opening the kitchen window. 

Back to the living room window for a few deep breaths of fresh air.  Then once again makes a mad dash to the bathroom window.  One might have thought to open the window BEFORE spraying, but we live and learn.  Maybe next time. 

It was hours before the apartment was livable again.  Fortunately she was leaving anyway.  She is pretty sure there will still be a slight sting in the air when she returns.

So there it is, my friends.  Allison's story of pain and suffering.  Of tears. Of resourcefulness.  I guess even clever world travelers have their blonde moments!

Monday, February 21, 2011

Things I heard today.

* Did you forget daycare was closed today?- Ellan, after I turned up at her door with 2 children

* Not on the wall!  Not on the wall! -Jeremy to Leo after he gave him the small hammer

* after smiles and an "I love you" Mom, I colored on the plate.  Justin

* I neeeeeed my mommy -Leo, of course

* I'm really tired of picking up toys -Justin

* Well, maybe you should be paying attention so you don't do that! -Justin to me after I accidentally erased one of the Batman cartoons from our DVR

* What a BUMMER! -Leo while he stamps his foot on the ground

* Nuthin' but bones. Nuthin' -Justin's  new favorite phrase.  Not sure where he learned it.

* I locked my f***ing keys in my car!  I'm pretty sure we all know who said this :)

* Can we watch Pirates of the Quesadilla? -Justin

* What's for dinner? (and various other funny questions) - about 15 of my friends who agreed to go along with my little joke on Jeremy and call him within a span of about 30 minutes to ask what he was making for dinner while I was at gymnastics with Leo. 

* Guys.  It's a secret.  I am Batman.  No one can know.  Have we got ourselves a plan? - whispered by Justin at dinner

* Wait for it.  Wait for it.  -Justin

Thursday, February 10, 2011


Well, well, well.  People report being entertained by my report of life events and I do so love to here goes.

I was THIS close to having time to get on Facebook this morning with the intention of posting the following "It's gonna be a good day!  Both boys slept through the night for the first time in over 2 weeks!  Bring on Thursday."  I was up early, ahead of schedule, just rockin' and rollin'.  Tomorrow is a state holiday and I am determined to lock myself in my office and knock out some work so I don't have to spend Friday working.

Oh what's this?  A screaming child?  Oh what?  Two of them?  Right, right.  This seems familiar.  I was able to wrangle them back in fairly quickly with the promise of a sticker for the sticker chart if they put coats and shoes on without incident.  So a slight hiccup in the morning routine did not allow for the FB post.  I should have known it was a sign of what was to come....

Work.  What does one say about work today?  Crisis, after crisis, after crisis.  Of course I can't share details due to confidentiality so instead I will focus on my amazing staff.  They were hit with one thing after another today.  Drug exposed infants, high as a kite parents, parents admittedly "on the run" from us to avoid responsibilities, parents being arrested for failing to protect their children from harm, medically fragile child, parent/child visits, tracking down a teenage runaway, the list goes on.  I find myself to be in the lucky position of sitting in my office fielding questions and offering advice instead of actually having to scramble out into the big bad world and chase down families. Our front line workers are the real heroes today.  They worked their tails off and worked together for the better of all.  What more could I ask for?

I was out of there by 5 pm on the dot...which is more than I can say for at least 3 of my staff who were still out and about in the community.  I was off to Bitty Baseball with both boys.  And if I thought the work day was interesting, the best was still to come.  My phone is already ringing with after hours work crisis.  I am trying to wrestle the kids out of their coats while staffing a case on the phone.  Then I realize the baseball glove is still in the car and it's 10 degrees outside so no easy task to get everyone back in their coats to run outside.  So I load up Leo on my hip, shove his hat on  his head, tell Justin's coach to watch him for minute, and run outside for the glove.  Fortunately Leo was thrilled with me racing through the parking lot bouncing him on my hip. 

Back inside, I field two more work calls and find myself huddled on the top bleacher as far into the corner as possible with one ear on the phone and my finger in my other ear trying to staff out crisis.  And keep my eyes on the boys.  All in a day's work.

OK, time for baseball to start.  Justin is doing his thing while Leo is running around like a wild banshee....shocking I know.  He is running through the group of boys who are learning how to play catch.  I warned him once to go around behind them.  Did he listen?  He did not.  So he streaks across the court one more time and POW!!  He gets popped upside the head with the (soft) baseball.  Seriously.  It hit him right in the cheek.  The mother of the kid that threw it turns to look at me in panic and I just give her a quick smile.  As I expected, Leo barely even notices, shakes it off, and keeps running.  That's my boy! 

Justin finishes up with baseball and we head home.  Very much worth the money.  He has a great time and Leo burns off some...OK a lot...of energy.  Time for dinner, bath, books, and bed.  At this point I'm on autopilot. 

What's that?  The doorbell?  Are you freaking kidding me?  Oh, Schwann's man.  And a new Schwann's man.  About our 3rd one in 9 months.  Must be a stellar job.  Sure Schwann's guy, here's my life savings.  Load me up with some pre-made food so that I never have to cook again.  Yes, please.  And the one thing I make sure to order?  Frozen chocolate chip cookie dough because I am too lazy to even make my own cookies.  And this is JUST what I need tonight after the kids go to bed.  Thanks Schwann's guy...for NOTHING!  He freaking gave me cookie dough ice cream!  Did I say ice cream?  Did the words ice or cream ever come out of my mouth?  I'm going with NO.  I wanted cookie DOUGH.  DOUGH, you dumbass.  Big hunks of raw cookie dough that I can cook at my leisure and eat warm.  Son of a....

Whatev....on to baths.  clothes off.  potty.  in bath.  Leo, what's with that face?  ARE YOU POOPING IN THE BATHTUB????  Oh, yes, yes, yes.  That is what happened.  I can't make this crap up (no pun intended).  So my 2 year old who has been fully potty trained for over 4 months now decides to drop one in the tub.  Out come the boys.  Out come the toys.  They stand by while water drains and I fish out poop.  Leo finishes on the potty.  Oh wait.  What's this?  I forgot the toilet is broke so it won't flush now.  SUPER!

So now the tub is re-filling with water.  And while the poop is gone, there is still some sock and toe jam fuzz floating around in the fresh water.  Don't act like this doesn't happen at your house!  Leo is screaming that it's poop and I'm thinking "buddy, if anyone should be screaming here it's me.  But do you see me screaming?  You do not."   Justin tells him "Don't worry Leo.  Mom will take care of it.  She takes care of everything.  She is the dult (adult)." 

Right.  I got it boys.  You just sit back and relax.  I've got it all under control.....except for the damn cookies.  That, I cannot get over. But I embrace the craziness....and grab a pen and paper to make notes for this blog. 

Some people call this chaos.  I call it Thursday.  Good night Peeps!

Monday, February 7, 2011

Just the usual

Here's what I really love about my children.  They know how to turn it on for company.  Enter: Parents As Teachers.  My kids perform like the little circus monkey's we all know and love.  Justin is five steps ahead of the game.  He surpasses PAT Jenny's expectations for a child his age.  Writes his name on command, displays his ridiculous vocabulary for a 3 year old, counts, writes, categorizes, follows directions, strings some beads forward/backward/upside down/according to color/shape/size, the list goes on.  Leo meanwhile is working the room too.  Politely hugging on dad and asking nicely for Scooby.  Going downstairs when asked to give Justin his time for PAT.  Then coming back up to tell Jenny all about his "BIG boogie" from his runny nose and then rush off to "go stinky."

But it's all short-lived, my friends.  The little stinkers knew what they were doing.  They were biding their time.  Jenny only stays an hour.  Daddy has to go to work.  They knew they would get me all to themselves in just a few short minutes and stop this charade.  It really must be exhausting for them! 

(as Sofia Petrillo would say) Picture it: Kansas City, MO.  February 7, 2011.  5:00 pm.  All hell breaks loose.  Jenny leaves.  Jeremy starts to put on his boots to leave for work after staying home all day with the sick kids.  Leo starts a coughing fit only to be interrupted by his first of many antibiotic-induced trips to the potty.  I get a call from work about a less than pleasant situation (aren't they all in my line of work??).  Jeremy leaves.  Then a call from my mom who I can't hear over Leo's screams.  I've got Leo pinned down for a breathing treatment for which he is screaming that it is hurting his face... whatever that means.  I have Scooby Doo on TV and turned up to a ridiculous volume so that Leo can hear it over the loud hum of the Nebulizer.  Justin starts flaking out.  He NEEDS juice.  Yes, right this minute.  He MUST have it. 

Leo is done with his treatment and now it's on to Justin.  He does the big 1,2,3 freak out for no apparent reason other than he wants to challenge my authority.  And we all know how much I love that.  It goes over really well. 

Things calm down for a few minutes until Justin wants to play hide and seek....but with a twist.  He has found a new hiding spot (behind the overstuffed chair).  In true oldest child fashion, he bosses me and Leo around.  He tells us...from his hiding count to 20 and then go look around the whole house...the WHOLE house...and then come look behind the OTHER chair and THEN we can find him and he will say surprise.  Good plan, J.  Too bad Leo is only 2 and can't follow more than 2 commands at once. 

So we count to twenty....well I do.  Leo stops around 14 and just repeats that number until he shouts TWENTY!!  So we look in the dining room.  Spoiler alert: Justin wasn't there.  On to the living room.  We are rounding the couch when Justin pops his head up from his hiding space to demand, once again, that we search the WHOLE house, and THEN behind the other chair, and THEN find him.  I must capitalize those words each time to demonstrate the extreme emphasis that Justin placed on them every time he repeated his instructions. 

So Leo and I venture to the kitchen and the playroom and shockingly Justin is no where to be found.  We make our way back up to the living room where he again begins to talk to us from his hiding spot.  Well whadda ya know?  Leo walks right over to his hiding spot and "finds" him.  This of course causes a complete freak out because......why?  Well, because we didn't look behind the OTHER chair first!  Oh, the drama. 

So every the compliant younger brother.  Leo walks over to look behind the other chain and then back to find Leo.  Whew.  All was resolved. 

But that wasn't the end of this fun night.  Oh, no, no, no it wasn't.  Leo begins about a 30 minute stretch of trips to the potty every 3-4 minutes.  Three days of a steroid and antibiotic have done a number on his system.  A number 2 to be exact.  Each time he insists that his underwear is wet, which it is not, and refuses to put the same pair back on.  He screams in panic when I try to put them back on him which only brings on another coughing fit which brings on more pooping.  And around and around we go. 

So on one of these trips to the bathroom I can see out of the corner of my eye that the living room light is going off and on.  Really?  I don't even have time to chide Justin for playing with the light switch.  But when I get downstairs I find him hiding behind the overstuffed chair pulling the lamp plug in and out of the outlet.  For crying out loud!!!!  I've got one with the runs and one trying to electrocute himself. 

Ahhhhhh motherhood.  I do love it so.  So after dinner, bath, story time, and meds.....all is quiet on the home front.  For now.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Sing us the song you're the Piano Man...

I often look at my boys and wonder what they will be like as teenagers.  Or even worse, pre-teens.  Not so much their attitudes and misbehavior (gasp!).  But rather what those awkward years will be like.  Perhaps because, like most of us, I am still haunted by my awkward teenage years. 

One particular awkward tween moment came back to me today as I drove home during Snowpocolypse 2011.  Billy Joel's Piano Man was on the radio.  It took me back.....back to the good ol' days.  I had the cassette tape.  Oh yes, ma'am, I did.  And I can't ever hear that song without thinking of Mark Hemry. 

I'm going to guess that I was about 13 years old....which in gymanst years is about 10 years old because not only does gymnastics stunt your growth it also stunts your social maturity because you spend every waking moment in a gym instead of doing normal childhood and teenage activities.

Oh, but I was COOOOOL!  Or at least I thought. (I was wrong, btw).  So after I listened to my tape of Piano Man about a million times (you are welcome, mom) I bragged to my sister's boyfriend that I knew all of the words.  Ohhhhh, I know you are all jealous.

Enter one, Mark Hemry.  My older sister's even older boyfriend.....who just so happens to now be my brother-in-law.  Who wouldda thunk it?  So if I was 13, going on 10, I'm guessing Marky was about 17 going on 22. 

So it went something like this:
Me: Hey, Mark.  Want to hear me sing all the words to Piano Man?

Mark: Sure (I have no idea what he must have been thinking but he was throwing me a bone by even entertaining the idea)

Me:  Ok. 
[key up the cassette tape].

Me: Well, it's 12:00 on a Saturday...oh crap I messed up already.

Mark just walked away. 

Ouch, that stings.