Wednesday, February 27, 2013

little button nose

It's Murphy's Law that when your husband is away for the weekend, anything that can go wrong will go wrong.

During the first afternoon that The Mr. was away, our new dog, Fritz, chewed through an "indestructible" nylon dog bone. We have had Fritz for 5 weeks and he has never so much as sniffed the bone in that time. As I was pushing through a migraine, taking a rare moment to be still on the couch before the middle kids came home from school, Fritz quietly discovered the bone. He was gently, intimately caressing it with his little doggie teeth. Oh, good boy, I thought, keep yourself busy and calm. 5 minutes later, the nylon bone was ground down- half of it missing. Oh sh*%! I know how this story goes. I've read the accounts of the fatal harm of  ingesting indigestible material- the obstruction of the bowel, the perforation of the stomach, the aspiration of particles in the lungs.

I opted to wait and see how it all came out. He ate dinner. He played. He chased the cats. And made the giant leap from the floor to the bed to occupy the space beside me. He was fine.

At 4 AM, my little bedfellow woke me with the sound of sloshy, lapping grooming that dogs often perform on themselves. I hissed at him to go to sleep. At 5 AM, I heard the sound again, this time at my feet. I sat up to pull him back  toward me and my hand brushed against the crunchy chunder. Oh, the sheets- the soggy stew! Poor boy, poor bed. Suffice it to say, that after a day of vigilant monitoring of his food intake and poop exportation, he is perfectly fine.

But, in between my watchfulness of the dog and my attempt at keeping the house in order, my careful eye fell off of Violet. I was in the upstairs bathroom replacing the shower curtain liner when I heard a rumble of agitation downstairs. Her sister and brother were downstairs with her- I assumed they were just annoying each other. But, then I heard muffled words floating up the air vents, You did what?! It's stuck where? Sit still, I just want to look. No, don't try to pull it out! MOM!

I found them in the dining room. At first only Violet's feet were in view- the rest of her body was obscured by the wall. Did she have her finger stuck in the electrical outlet on that wall? Sh*&! How do you get a finger out of a socket? Henry was bent over her. Princess Commando's eyes were wide with panic. "She says she has a button stuck up her nose!" A frickin' button?!  I must have been frozen too long- running through the strategies they teach you in Parenting School for button extraction because someone yelled, Do something, Mom!   Crap, that's right, I dropped out of Parenting School 16 years ago because it was on Wednesday nights- the same night Party of Five was on TV. I don't know what to do! What would Charlie Salinger do?

I pulled my hysterical 3-year old onto my lap. I tried to look up her nostrils and could not fathom how a button would fit in those tiny holes. 'I have to blow my nose!' She sobbed. Should I let her? What if the button is stuck in her brain and it rips out part of her gray matter? Can buttons get into brains? I don't know what nostril it went into! Left brain, right brain? What's more important? Argghhh!!! Before I could work out an answer, she announced that she could feel the button. One last, snotty blow and out the button flew, right onto my lap. There it was. One simple white button. Not huge- but still something to marvel at. Lordy, that kid is trouble.

'Do not stick things up your nose! You could have gotten hurt.' I brushed the tears off of her cheeks and kissed her on the forehead.

'But, I can stick my finger up my nose, right?'

If it keeps other objects out of there, 'Sure, you can stick your finger up there.'

The moral of the story is that in a panic, you won't remember any of the lessons Party of Five has to offer, if there were any to offer at all. Except this one- family is the most important thing. And after they've barfed up their bones and blown buttons out of their noses, and all becomes right with them again, then all is right with the world.

Friday, February 22, 2013

don't go

I woke up at 3 AM with a prickly feeling in my chest. A buzzing- as if I had been on a caffeine drip. I knew it was just anxiety about The Mr. and First Born Son leaving for a soccer tournament later in the day. They would go off to work and school as usual; and then they would be on the road to Cleveland. They would be away for just one night. Just to Cleveland. But my anxious tendencies wandered over a list of what if's. For someone who struggles with anxiety every day- that list is miles long. They will be just that much further away- that much further out of sight-out of reach. 

It should have compelled me to be gentler with the morning routine. Mornings are hard. It seems like my children are the only children on the planet who do not get up on their own. It takes multiple reminders escalating into threats and then the physical force of covers being ripped from their comatose bodies.

This morning, First Born Son looked too big for his bed- shins to feet dangling off the end. Foolish me to think that just because I slept on a twin sized bed until I was married-  it would be big enough for him. I just never imagined he would get so tall. His body was still recuperating from practice the night before. His calf muscles were tense when I ran my fingers over them and he smarted and yelled at me to leave him alone. The nasty snap stung. And I clawed back, "Jesus, you're an a@#! I'm so glad that you’ll be gone tonight!"

I didn't mean it. I wanted to say- don't push me away. Don't remind me again that you are inching closer to that day- whenever it is- when you will be on your own. No feet dangling off the bed- in this house- in the morning. 

We were quiet through the rest of the morning motions- the dishes, the cereal, feeding the animals. We gave each other space. I did not apologize. I selfishly clung to my stupid words- because I wanted him to hurt a little, too. 

The middle children left for the bus. The little one was getting her boots on to leave for "school." The Mr. squeezed us together in a farewell and I breathed, Don't go. First Born Son closed the space from across the room. Coming toward me- long, strong arms tightly wrapped around me. Lips to my forehead. I closed my eyes and absorbed his words, I love you.

Don't go. I said.

I know. He answered quietly. 

I stood in the doorway and watched them pull away- the cord to my heart tugging. At least, it's still attached.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Talk Dirty to Me

Recently, my straight-laced Mr. took a step in an uncharacteristically racy direction by attempting to send  me a mid-day lascivious text. Attempting is the operative word because due to his human error (who knew that the IT guy was human? I thought he was just a robot with feelings), the text did not get to me. It did, however, reach First Born Son's friend's father who had- up until the receipt of that suggestive text-only communicated about carpooling for soccer. Take this as a cautionary tale- double check (and then check again) to make sure you know who you are texting before you send a message about bringing home Polish sausage.

There is another kind of dirty talk being spoken around here. It know that it will be short lived. But, it has permeated all subjects of conversation. It is not racy but it does illicit an emotional response. Mainly misguided pride. As much as I sometimes question their maternal parentage based upon their hatred of horses, an aptitude for math and science or the red hair- it is further proof that these children did, in fact, descend from me (or more specifically, my father's side). It is obvious that they did not inherit this from their father because he makes a face like he just ate a poop when he hears it. And he doesn't giggle at all.

I try to behave like a proper mother. I do tell her to stop. It's not appropriate. But then I hear myself calling them by their pet names: Poopernutter, Poopy Head or just plain Poop. I am a hypocrite. And I deserve these visits at bed time- after I've tucked her in. She comes to me sweetly and announces, 'I want to sing one song to you.'

I'm sure her father, who has a degree in astrophysics, could answer the question about what a star poops if his mouth wasn't so contorted against the unsavory language coming out of his little girl's mouth. I haven't told  him that she's  dropped worse dirty bombs. Again, all my fault. ( But dropping bombs keeps me from killing them some days).

I know that the poop talk will run it's course. All of the kids did it as some point- usually when they started pre-kindergarten. I try to keep my giggling to a minimum and ignore it.

But, I do cherish this one instance- although I think she was truly innocent and misheard me. The news was on TV and  across the screen there flashed an image of the Pope, standing on his little Pope balcony with his arms outstretched to receive the crowd below him. She looked up at the screen and sighed dreamily, "Ahh, a king." (She is, for better or worse, smitten with princesses and princes). "No. That's the Pope, " I corrected. She looked back at the screen, still imagining his castle, "Oh, King Poop."

All hail, King Poop.

*This post is not intended to be anti- religion, anti- Catholic, anti-Pope. It is, however, intended to be pro-Poop. So believe what you believe and let me believe in poop.

Thursday, February 14, 2013