Tuesday, November 29, 2005

I've Been Tagged

And not with spray paint. I was tagged by Compulsive Writer, which means I have to "List 5 things people may not know about [me] and tag 5 people to do the same." Could be interesting, so here we go.

1. I once interviewed for a job as Barbie for a Toys R Us store opening. You had to have certain measurements to fit into the dress. I don't think I got it because I was (still am) too small up top. I've never liked Barbie, to tell the truth, so I'm glad I didn't get it. I doubt my brothers would ever have let me live that one down.

2. I went to "modeling school," if you can call it that. That's where I got the interview for Barbie.

3. I used to clog, and I really liked it. I can still shuffle step and chug with the best of them, if I do say so myself. (Chug is a clogging step, not what you do with a beer.)

4. I was born and raised in Utah and have never, ever been skiing.

5. I am one class shy of a Math minor, but I graduated with a degree in English. Go figure.

I'm tagging Leah, Lessel Peeper, Nihao, Lyle, and, since she hasn't done it yet in spite of being tagged, Lorien. Happy blogging!

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Yawning in Technicolor

At 2:30 am this morning, my son woke me with the words every mother loves to hear in the middle of the night: "Mommy, I barfed." Those words work like a cattle prod for a mother who is deep in sleep, and it's amazing how quickly one can literally leap into action.

As I'm escorting barf boy to my doorway so we can get him cleaned up in the other bathroom, I asked him where exactly he barfed. "Well, it was all over my bed and in my bedroom. I don't think I got it anywhere el....hhbblloooork!" Mmmmmmmm, tasty. Yet another mess to clean up. This time it was smack dab in the middle of the hallway at the intersection where all the bedroom doors open up. And it wasn't in a nice little puddle either. All I could think of, as I looked down in horror, was that poorly written sentence from high school English: "McBride fell 12 stories, hitting the pavement like a Hefty bag filled with vegetable soup." (Actually, it was tomato soup with melted cheese sandwiches.)

It's overwhelming to be awakened from a sound sleep and have to face that kind of cleaning job. I just stood there in my bare feet and wondered how the heck I was going to clean it all up by myself. Then I remembered that I had a sleeping spouse who might be willing to help. Thankfully, he was, and he was absolutely wonderful about it. We put Barf Boy in the tub, much to his surprise ("Am I allowed to take a bath in the middle of the night, Mom?"), and divided ranks. I worked on the bedroom mess and Phil took the hallway. Between the two of us, we were able to make relatively quick work of the whole thing.

I'm left wondering today why is it that no one teaches you how to clean up after your kid tosses his cookies? What's the best way to get stuff like that off the carpet? (and walls and furniture) With my first child, I counted myself so lucky that he had never thrown up--I had no desire to clean that kind of mess. But, as we all know, pride cometh before the fall: he turned 5 and got his first case of stomach flu. The scenario was slightly different than last night's: he tried to clean it up himself, I heard him hurling in the bathroom, and I got up to help. I was amazed that such a little kid could throw up that much! It was EVERYWHERE! It was on the wall BEHIND the head of his bed. (Did you know you can vomit backwards?)

Phil had a great idea: barf drills. Teaching your kids how to make it to the bathroom in time or at least how to contain it in the bedsheet is as crucial as teaching them how to exit the house in case of fire. I mean really--you don't always have advanced warning of an upset tummy at bedtime. If the kid knows his stomach feels sour when he heads to bed, you can at least give him a barf bucket. It's when it comes on without warning that you have a problem.

So here are some of my favorite terms for vomit. Feel free to add your own to the list.
1. The technicolor yawn
2. Worshipping the porcelain goddess
3. Hurl
4. Tossing the proverbial cookies
5. Blowing a rainbow
6. Upchuck
7. Hork your guts out
8. Heave
9. Retch
10. Spew chunks

And, on that note, I bid you all a Happy Thanksgiving. May your turkey day meal stay where you put it and not end up on the carpet at 2 in the morning.

Friday, November 18, 2005

Torture Chamber

On Tuesday, my sons and I played "torture chamber." Oh, yes, it started out innocently enough. T--, the 2-year-old, was still in his pajamas, watching Barney in the living room, adjacent to the kitchen, while delicately slurping chocolate milk out of his sippy cup. He had that "just woken up" smell and was cocooned within his blanket and snuggle, reclining gracefully on a pillow. Such the picture of tranquil domesticity.

Now, picture a madwoman carrying a chainsaw (a.k.a. hair clippers) entering the kitchen. With an insanely evil laugh, she captures said 2-year-old and removes his jammies down to a top and a diaper. Suspecting nothing, T-- giggles and gives the woman a hug as she carries him to the electric chair (a.k.a. the high chair). Upon realizing that he is going to have to sit in said chair and (heaven forbid) be STRAPPED IN, he begins his struggle.

Alas, he is firmly entrapped! [sharp and prolonged intake of breath] The madwoman plugs in her torture device and gets to work. Ah ha ha ha ha ha!!!! As the hair flies, the tears and boogers flow as quickly as the chocolate waterfall in Willy Wonka, although the river is perhaps not as sanitary or palatable. The ensuing screams would bring forth a compassionate response from most mothers, but this is no ordinary mom. This is a mom with hair clippers, scissors, and a mission. [cue Mission Impossible music] The mission? To give the 2-year-old a haircut before he looks like a girl or self-destructs, whichever comes first.

The results were pretty decent, if I do say so myself. And it would have stayed that way if he hadn't grabbed the scissors about two hours later and cut a huge chunk out of the front. Of course I had to fix it, much to his dismay. He was thrashing around so much this time that in the end I just had to give him a buzz cut (using the longest setting I could--I didn't want him bald). It was bad enough the first time to watch parts of his curls fall to the floor, but they practically disappeared the second time around. However, after 9 years of doing my boys' haircuts (yes, that includes their dad as well), I know that the only way to get the job done is to strap 'em down, work really fast, and ignore the shrieks of "NOOOoooooo! Mama! NOOOooooo! Hair owieeeeee!"

You'd have thought I'd had enough hair cutting by then, but no...we moms must be either long-suffering or forgetful: I decided that S--, the 6-year-old, needed a haircut too. His hair was even longer than the baby's. I could have put it in little pigtails all over his head and made him look like a Koosh ball. (I actually threatened to do this, but for some reason he was not amused.) He was long overdue, and it was going to be more than a trim.

I'd been easing S-- into the idea for weeks now, but you'd think I had sprung it on him without warning. He pleaded with me to please use just the scissors. I calmly explained that his hair was too long: he'd refused to let me cut it earlier when I could have just trimmed it with scissors. Now we were going to have to use [dum dum dum, long pause] the buzzers. [Enter Mrs. Norman Bates with hair clippers in hand; proceed with high pitched screaming.]

The screaming lasted from the moment I turned on the clippers until the second I turned them off. Any eavesdropping passersby would have thought I was trying to perform an appendectomy on the child using my dullest serrated kitchen knife. Then, as I was finishing off with the scissors, he kept asking me, "Aren't you done yet, Mom? This is taking way too long." Grrrrr. It would have taken much longer to do the whole thing with the scissors (which is why I ousted that option), but it would have been much faster to buzz the whole thing (which he absolutely refused). Here I was trying to compromise and I was getting COMPLAINTS about how long it was taking?!?!?

Maybe next time I should take them to a barber.

Monday, November 07, 2005

Does This Make Me Look Fat?

Within the last month and a half, I've had three different people ask me if I was pregnant. I find this disturbing, especially since I started working out regularly at Curves 2 months ago. I haven't lost weight, but I have lost inches. I've never been one to obsess about my figure. However, I decided I was at a point where I needed to be more active. Diabetes runs in my family. I know what that entails, and I don't want to have to live that kind of lifestyle with its accompanying risks.

So I wonder what it is that makes people think I've got a bun in the oven? Is it bad posture? Bad wardrobe choices? I'm not sure. We've got three boys, and I often get questions about whether or not we're going to "try for a girl." Why does that matter? Don't get me wrong--I think it would be great to have a girl, but I'd be perfectly content with another boy. I love my sons, and after three of them I think I have the boy thing down. But why is it that people assume that because I have three of one gender I must necessarily have this obsessive desire to have one of the other?

I suspect that timing is a motive behind the pregnancy questions. My "baby" is two years old now. Apparently, that means it's high time to add to our band of ruffians. Who developed this timeline anyway? Sheesh. Do I have to follow the perceived "Mormon standard" of kids two years apart just because I belong to the predominant religion in Utah? Do the math with my other boys and you'll see that I've rebelled against that standard. My first son was 3-1/2 when son number two came along, and son number two was 4 when son number three came along. If I continue that pattern, I won't be thinking of bottles and newborn nappies for at least another year or more.

My sons have been their own form of birth control every since they were born. Neither my husband nor I do well when sleep deprived. I can't be a good mom when I'm grumpy and tired. And unlike those few lucky parents whose newborns sleep through the night from day one, our babies don't reach that milestone until they're at least 5 to 6 months old. Do you know how long it takes to make up for half a year of lost sleep? Those first smiles and coos are a great reward, but they don't give your body the sleep it craves.

Our first son has been a real challenge from day one. First children are always challenging in some way because as new parents you feel like idiots. You have no idea what you're doing or why they let you come home from the hospital with this new little person. What if you feed him wrong? What if you don't put the diaper on right? And heaven forbid you should have to give the kid a bath--you might break him or something. It's really scary. But then you figure it out and the baby survives and you realize that you CAN be a parent--at least until the kid turns about 17 months old. (At our house, the "terrible twos" start early.) Overnight, it seems, your angel child turns into the spawn of Satan. Then what do you do?

I distinctly remember an incident with my first son, A--, when he was about 2-1/2 years old. We were living in Layton at the time, and our back fence (which had blown down in a wind storm) bordered the driveway of our neighbor around the corner. A-- and I were in the kitchen getting lunch ready. We could see out the back door into the yard and onto the neighbor's property. We noticed that the neighbor, an elderly gentleman, was outside getting the mail or something. On his way back up to his door, he bent down to reach something on the driveway. About 5 minutes later, A-- asked me why that man bent down. I told him I didn't know--maybe he picked up some trash or something. I hadn't been paying attention that closely. This launched A-- into a FULL BLOWN FIT! I had never seen anything like it until that point. He literally screamed at me, "YOU HAVE TO KNOW!!!!" He wanted me to go over to the guy's house and ask him what he was doing when he bent down in his driveway. Yeah, right. You can imagine how well that conversation would have gone:

"Um, excuse me, sir. I'm your neighbor to the west. My son saw you bend down in your driveway about 10 minutes ago. What exactly were you doing? He's two and he just has to know."

That was the first of many similar incidents. Once, he asked me, "What does a chair say?" I told him chairs don't say anything. He insisted otherwise, which started a long afternoon (and several weeks following) of kicking, screaming fits about what noise chairs make. Is it any wonder, then, why we waited so long to have another child? Who wants to deal with two out-of-control children at the same time?

So here we are with three kids and questions about when/if we're going to have more. I wasn't offended by the questions--mostly because two of the three people who asked are good friends and the third is one of the girls in my Young Women class. It's only that it made me wonder why they would ask. How do you respond to that question anyway? "No, I'm not pregnant, I'm just gaining weight. Thanks for noticing, though." Kinda makes you uncomfortable. It's one of those "forbidden" questions, like "Do I look fat?"