Q&A And Pour More Coffee

February 24, 2011 by Rieshy

 Ostriches Look Funny got me pondering this morning.

Question: Do the child rearing years really fly by?  Are they truly, "all grown up before you know it"?

Answer: How much time feels like a long time?

My oldest son is somewhere in Haiti building houses.  He'll spend his 19th birthday there, it'll be months before we see him.  I ran across a photograph of him yesterday.  So handsome and kind, sniff, sniff.  I miss him, even as I enjoy my reduced grocery bill, I miss him.  This nostalgic missing- it makes me regret having him put away all those Legos by himself when he was 4 and he thought I was being mean.  Almost.

I'm suffering from mild sleep-deprivation and my youngest son is in time out in the living room.  When will he ever learn?  My 9 year old needs me to go over his times tables, again.  Wet bed linens waiting to be washed, and who got the bathroom floor all wet...  please, please let that be just water that splashed out of the shower!!! 

Today, time is not flying by.

So, even though I know first hand how fast they grow up, I also know how fast they don't- not while you are in the thick of the work of helping them grow.  Especially when you are in the thick of helping them grow when they would prefer not too.

This leads me to conclude that time does not fly, rather it ebbs and flows like a river, a river preferably constituted of strong and aromatic Antiguan coffee.

Scattering The Unfairs

February 23, 2011 by Rieshy

Last week my 3 year old was sick for 4 days with a 102.5 fever followed a few days later by an earache.  He felt wretched.  He was wretched.  I pity his future wife.... he doesn't handle illness well. 

In general I have a healthy family.  My oldest 5 children are polyester children.  Wash and wear, throw some ibuprofen their way when they feel puny and poof, they're good to go.

My 3 year old is generally healthy too.  He has bouts of morning hypoglycemia but has never required hospitalization.  This recent illness was just one of those "baby viruses" that kids get when they are little so they don't have to get them when they are older.

My 4 year old is a different story.  His FOD affects him everyday, to varying degrees. In other words, he's "chronically ill."  How I hate that phrase.

It was interesting seeing the 4 year old react to his little brother's illness.  This is the first time he's ever really noticed anyone else in the family being sick.  He was full of words for me:
  • "Mom, remember that if he throws up take him to the hospital for a shot."
  • "You need to poke him for his blood."
  • "Does he need more medicine?" 
  • "What's his temperature?" 
  • "Is he going to the hospital yet?" 
  • "Does he need more Gatoraid?"
  • "What's that needle they put in my arm called again?" 
  • "What's his blood sugar?"  
On and on, for days.
It quickly became clear to my 4 year old that the treatment for his brother is different than for himself.  Much more hands off, his brother requires much less "poking."  I think the specter of that terrible word- unfair- raised it's head for the first time. 

 I don't want my 4 year old to be a collector of unfairs.  I try to be matter-of-fact about his differences without being dismissive.  It's a balancing act, but not one unique to chronic illnesses.

In the end, you just have to choose to stand up and shake the unfairs out of your lap.  I'm trying to teach him how to do just that, while the unfairs are still just crumbs and easier to brush away.

. As an aside: I found this great article on Coping With Chronic Illness



February 21, 2011 by Rieshy

Today is our first day of Spring Break.  The boys had been outside maybe 4 minutes before I heard the screaming. 

First Blood.

My 4 year old's mouth somehow connected with my 3 year old's feet.  A swing was involved, but under all that blood nothing was broken. 

While I was mopping up the mess and administering that medicine of choice (cold milk with a straw) my 9 year old brought the 3 year old in to apologize.  The seriousness with which the situation was treated seriously cracked me up.  My 9 year old may have a future career with the courts.

Last week I hurt my right hand.  Today is the first time I've been able to type without pain. Spring break was supposed to be for finishing painting several rooms in my house and getting the gardens ready for Spring.  Because of my hand it's not going to happen.

I didn't break anything in my hand but it looks like my non-break may result in a real break this week.  Time for some hot tea and reading....

As long as no one else breaks anything.  Can I bubble wrap my boys?


Street Theater

February 17, 2011 by Rieshy

I'm in the throes of training my 3 year old to use his powers of independence, tenacity, and unusually well-developed motor skills for good.  At the very least I'd like to postpone his bid for world domination until he's legally allowed to run for president.

Unfortunately, he had the flu last week and now has an ear ache....  which he seems to blame on me.  I guess his reasoning is that I'm the person who is supposed to make things better- but I'm not. 

We were both up all night.

This morning he had had enough of my ear ache healing failures and persnickety rules.  He went outside got on his trike and started off down the street.

Child training takes no breaks, not for the flu, nor for ear aches, nor for under-dressed mothers.  Bathrobe flapping, I reacquired toddler and trike. 

Do you know how tightly a toddler can grip a trike with their knees?

Ear Ache Street Theater- for the entertainment of the school kids watching from the corner bus stop. 


Hold A Generation Gap By The Tail

February 10, 2011 by Rieshy

I was working on my computer, pretending that the little boys were napping while they pretended to nap.  Suddenly I heard running feet.  My 4 year old appeared at my elbow with his eyes aglow.  "Mom in big-brother's Closet we found a mouse- or something like a mouse but much bigger!"

Ughhh.  I ask you, what's like a mouse, only bigger?

Last week, one of the children had opened the garage door only to have a mouse race, helter-skelter, into the house.  It took much excitement and some screaming (mine) for us to chase the mouse out the back door.  I had immediately put poison in the garage to finish off the rest of the invader's family, hoping of course, that they would have the grace to eat and die outside.

My son is still dancing at my elbow, "Mom can we play with it, Mom what's it called, CanweCanweCanwe?"

My eyes are bugging out, "Is it still alive?"  At this question my son stops dancing and suddenly looks a bit freaked out.

"Alive?" he asks.

We both hear the sound of the 3 year old running down the hall yelling, "I got it, I got it!"  Now my 3 year old has an unfortunate habit of flinging things at you that he wants you to see.  My adrenaline flushed body is trying to figure out a motherly response other than screaming and using my 4 year old's body as a shield.

My 3 year old rounds the corner holding something by the tail.

Oh, of course, an old Final Cut Pro Editing controller.  It's most definitely, "something like a mouse- only bigger."


Parental Soundscapes

February 8, 2011 by Rieshy

40 million Legos being poured upon the den floor, which sounds remarkable different from 40 million blocks being poured on the den floor or even 40 million Bionicles. 

The tell-tale burp that announces the arrival of a stomach virus.

The quiet and furtive snip snip, coming from the master bathroom signifying an unlawful self-haircut.

The crash, thump,   thump,  thump thumpthumpthump of little feet jumping out of bed and running to your room chased by nightmares.

Splush, across the dinner table.  Spilt milk, yet again.

Whack____ Howl____Whack____Howl.  Two toddlers not getting along.

Crash, Bang, Slam, OOOh-OHHH Catch it, Catch it!  -the sound of you favorite vase almost being broken by roughhousing children.

Laughter.  Laughter that echoes through the house and makes milk come out of noses during dinner.

The messy soundscapes of life.  I love it.

The Cat's Out of the Bag

February 7, 2011 by Rieshy

As a mother I do all sorts of things I would prefer not to, such as: eating peanut butter sandwiches, potty training, cleaning up vomit, watching Star Wars, and swimming in indoor pools.  Actually, I don't swim in indoor pools.  As far as my children are concerned our rec. center's indoor pool closes for the winter.

Indoor pools are smelly, hot, and the dressing rooms are freezing.  Speaking of dressing rooms, my main memories of indoor pools are from my childhood.  In every memory the dressing rooms were full of naked old ladies standing about chatting.  Most unpleasant.  

Last week I talked with a physical therapist about the best way to increase overall strength in my hypotonic 4 yo son.  My 4 yo's had a growth spurt and his muscle strength has just not kept up.  Water play and swimming were the first things the physical therapist mentioned... 

Deep sigh.

The children were astonished and thrilled to learn that the pool is, in fact, open.  Second deep sigh.  This is not a fact that they will soon forget.

To my surprise the pool water wasn't hot and there were no naked old ladies.  The dressing room did have one oddity-a trash compactor for wringing out swimsuits.  My 3 year old could have skipped the swimming and just played with the swimsuit-wringer. 

I have to admit that I had fun swimming with the kids.  As a bonus, the younger ones took power naps afterwards.  Indoor swimming is going to be o.k., I guess I can learn to tolerate the frigid dressing rooms as long as I don't have to eat pb&j, potty train, clean up vomit, or watch Star Wars in them.