From the Locker Room

September 29, 2011 by Rieshy

My 3 year old son was born intent on world domination.  He's an alpha male in a 3 foot tall body.  I have to wonder, is precocious interest in girls part and parcel of being an alpha?

My 12 year old overheard the following conversation between my alpha 3 year old and my laid back 5 year old sons:

3 yo:  "Do you think girls like me?"

5 yo: "Some do, I bet."

3 yo: "Why do girls like pink so much?"

5 yo: "I don't know.  It's kinda weird."

3 yo:  Deep sigh and then a rhetorical, "Why are girls so pretty?"

I'm thinking we should be planning for a wedding... in about 10 years.


Not Quite A Homophone

September 28, 2011 by Rieshy

And Other Joys 

My 5 yo goes to, "Invisible Therapy."  It makes me laugh, to hear him say it, every. single. time.

I told my three year old that he was not allowed to color during nap time.  He exclaimed with a sad face, "You Just Broke My Heart!"

Life is good, in the visible South.


Laundry Ethics

September 24, 2011 by Rieshy

My washer ate a Haitian octagon-shaped coin.  It did not agree with the pump.  While waiting for the new part to come in I've been communing weekly with a laundromat.

Washing weekly instead of daily for a family of 9 means that I load up the back of my van with bag after bag after bag of smelly laundry... actually it means I have the children load up the van with bag after bag of smelly laundry, and then head to King Neptune for 2 hours of washing bliss.

I'm not kidding about the washing bliss part.  I can knock out 12 loads of laundry in 2- 2 1/2 hours.  Not only that but I can buy a large drink and sit by myself and read while the rest of the family does Saturday morning chores at home.  As a bonus, when I arrive home to my newly clean house my family even feels sorry for me.

I shouldn't have let it slip that the Laundromat has free wifi, my husband is getting suspicious; last weekend he asked just when the part would arrive.

If it wasn't for the $25- $30 a weekend to use the Laundromat I might never fix my washer.  Well, that and the fact that to keep to 12 loads a week I've become the laundry police, "What do you have on? No, wear what you had on yesterday.  Sheets?  No they don't need to be washed yet!"

Normally, my older kids do their own wash.  Everyone helps fold- everyone puts their own things away.  This is important because it prevents me from facing a moral dilemma faced by mothers everywhere-

Can I throw away this particular item of clothing that personally offends me while no one is looking and afterwards feign ignorance?

At the Laundromat, however, I have have no audience, no witnesses, no accusing glances to fear.  If I simply pitch something there will be no wail of, "But that's my FAVORITE."  Or even worse, the calm, self-assured voice of an older child asking, "Why are you throwing out the 3 year old's favorite pair of shorts?"

I'm not talking morally questionable clothing, modesty and respect are not involved.  I'm speaking of personal preference and taste.  I'm actually specifically referring to a pair of silver basketball shorts owned by one of my younger sons.

They are tacky.

That's it.  They are just tacky.  So of course, in accord with the mysterious physics of hated clothing, he will Never outgrow them and they will never stain or rip.

I recently read the book, Zebraland, by Marlene Roeder.  In it she asks if who you are is defined by how you react most of the time, or how you react under extreme circumstances.  Actually, she asks a lot of questions along the lines of whether people are basically good with occasional evil actions or basically evil with occasional good actions...  thus the zebra stripe imagery.

Anyway, back to the laundry.  Am I basically deceitful, with honest moments, or will I wash and fold these stupid silver shorts and take them home for another week?

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Beware of That Person

September 22, 2011 by Rieshy

We have to drive to another city for my 5 year old's physical therapy- it's not too far, just 45 minutes but that's far enough that I have to take a snack for my son.  Last week I forgot to pack one so we stopped; the only nearby option other than McDonalds was Panera.  Admittedly not a great choice given my son is on a low-fat diet for his medical condition.

My 12 year old, along for the ride, was thrilled.

As I had my nose pressed against the display asking which muffin was the lowest in fat grams, I realized I was going to have to ask to see their published nutritional data because the thought bubble above the employee's head clearly stated:

"Bahhhh.  It's a bakery.  It's all empty calories, so what's the difference?- enjoy your food and stop holding up the line."

Their nutritional data is in a humongous 3 ring binder which was handed to me with an humiliating flourish. That was when I realized I have become That Person.  The mother with weird needs for her children.  Needs that don't make any sense to the casual bystander.  

I ordered a fat-free muffin for my son, and a fat-full bearclaw for my 12 year old.  My son's muffin came with an extra dollop of incredulous pity from the cashier.

"That Mother..."


Train of Thought

September 12, 2011 by Rieshy

My husband and I were relaxing in the living room chatting this weekend; perhaps I should say attempting to chat while all the kids were home doing a million different things.

After the 17th interruption my husband pointed out that our large family has the timing of a sitcom.We sat and counted.  Sure enough every 3- 6 seconds:

  • someone entered or exited from varying directions
  • a loud sound occurred off-stage
  • a person appeared with a question or a one-liner
  • random neighbor-children entered and exited carrying swords 
All in all, a normal Sunday afternoon.  It's a funny life...
and no commercials.

How to Help?

September 9, 2011 by Rieshy

Pondering parenting.

I've been searching for articles about how to help children with chronic illnesses deal with fear.  Most of the advice is so basic that it could have been written by a hamster.

I want nitty-gritty, in the trenches advice. -From people with experience, not just a deadline to post a feel-good upbeat article.

My 5 year old woke at 12:30 a.m. with an earache last weekend.  Normal childhood stuff, except with his medical condition he's been hospitalized at least 3 times for metabolic de-compensation kicked off by a simple ear infection.

I did what I could to make him comfortable and to support his metabolism, but he was too wound up to sleep.  I put in the most boring movie I could find and snuggled with him on the sofa.  He chatted/asked movie questions non-stop until 4:30 a.m.

Out of the blue around 4:15 a.m. he confided, "I'm always asleep and then I wake up and have to go to the hospital when I feel this way."

5 year old logic: staying awake=no hospital.

After he explained his fear we talked and he relaxed, and fell asleep.  I just wish I could have figured out the issue 4 hours earlier.



September 7, 2011 by Rieshy

"Wow, what happened?"  Not a good sign to have to ask that right after pulling back the covers-cocoon of your 9 year old son. 

"Well Mom, After you left last night I jammed my finger."

"Yes, but your lip is enormous?  I've never actually seen a fat lip until now."

"After I jammed my finger I figured out I had a bruise on my leg and arm."


"Then I was holding onto brother's arms.  When he let go I flipped over the sofa and luckily didn't hit the piano, just my knee."

"What did you hit your knee on?"

"My lip.  [of course, silly me]  Then I was doing handstands and hit my back on a chair.  That's when Dad said to sit down."

The 5 year piped up at this point, "Yeah Mom, we really need to get rid of the piano, it's kinda dangerous."

And that is my definition of Boys.



Not A Flying Toy

September 6, 2011 by Rieshy

We've had a wooden jointed toy snake for years.  Every few months I'll be in the boys room late at night re-tucking someone in and it will accidentally get bumped and slither down the wall from the top bunk.

I'm a transplanted West Texan.  I've seen more than a few rattlers rattlin in the wild, in the suburbs, even downtown from a rattlesnake that had hitched a ride into town on the underside of a car.  I know what a rattlesnake sounds like.

It sounds Exactly like my boys wooden toy snake.  "It's just a toy, it's just a toy," is my calming chant- after I climb down from the ceiling fan.

My two little boys both recently got plastic toy snakes as a sort of prize.  They are very realistic, they look just like baby snakes.  They keep reappearing in the dryer.  But, I've gotten used to them.

At the park last week my 3 year old was showing a 15 year old friend of the family his toy snake.  Our teen friend was really impressed.  "Wow, Miss Susan, I think that really is a snake."

"No, no, he got it at church.  Look at it closely.  Isn't it amazing?"

"Uh, Miss Susan, that's not a toy." Whereupon our friend tossed it to the ground.  "It's eyes are sunken in."

A crowd gathers as I'm leaning over the "toy" saying, no really- it's a....  I was interrupted by my 3 year old decisively clarifying the situation. He did this by emphatically stomping on the snake.

Blood squirted everywhere.  

I think enough adrenaline rushed through my body to do permanent brain damage.
Nope, not a toy.


Labor Day Search Party

September 5, 2011 by Rieshy

The kids thought we were crazy.
We loaded up in the rain in search of... 



Gigantic leaves.


and fun- 
nine pairs worth.