Monday, April 26, 2010

Ending the Streak (or STREAKING??)

Last night my Mother-in-Law called. We chatted for a while about the kids. We talked about Jay's first spend the night birthday party (which was fabulous) and Annie's soccer games this weekend (she scored a total of 7 goals between two games!). Then, Trish asked me about Jane.

"How's Dynamite doing?" She asked.

I sat there for a minute, totally dumbfounded. I told her that I had no bad stories to tell because Jane was on a good streak and aside from escaping from her stroller on a daily basis, had not given me anything good to write about lately. I told her about how CUTE Jane has been and that she is really turning into a toddler and is leaving this baby thing behind. Like the other day, for instance. She finished with her lunch, took her plate to the trash, emptied it and then opened the dishwasher and PUT THE PLATE IN IT. Then she grabbed her blanket and her pacifier and headed to the stairs for a nap. I think she would have put herself to bed if I had let her. She's a hoot! She also got herself completely dressed last Friday. Complete with pants, shirt, socks and shoes. Clearly, the third child here. I think I had to MAKE Jay dress himself when he hit Kindergarten.

But last night the streak ended. Or began. Depends on how you look at it, I guess. I put Jane to bed at her normal time. However, she didn't seem particularly tired and talked to herself for a LONG time in her bed. Sounded like she was having a party in there at one point. Not sure who she invited, but the guest list was evidently large and the PARTY GOT OUT OF HAND.

And then Jamie and I made a colossal mistake. We did not check our bad baby before we went to bed. No, no. We set off to our own slumber without giving a thought to what MIGHT HAVE GONE DOWN in Jane's bed before she finally checked off the net. Lesson learned.

At four a.m. Jane started crying. I tried to ignore it, hoping she'd find her pacifier and go back to sleep. The crying got more frantic and Jamie (bless him) headed upstairs to check on her. Three seconds later he came back downstairs but all the lights were still on upstairs. THAT'S never good. So, with one bleary eye, I peered at him and said, "What happened?" "She's NAKED!" he replied. He grabbed pajamas and I laid there for about two seconds wondering if my fairy godmother was going to come and take care of the mess that I knew was awaiting me. Stupid fairy godmother NEVER shows.

And when I got upstairs, the naked baby greeted me in her full glory with a huge grin and singing a song. Her sheets were SOAKED and she was SOAKED. This, of course, is what happens when you fall asleep at 7:00 p.m. and are TOTALLY NAKED. Jumping without a net, she was.

So, we got her cleaned up, put a new diaper on (backwards and with DUCK TAPE, I might add) put new sheets on the bed, started a load of laundry, updated my Facebook status (oh you KNOW you would too!) and climbed back in the bed so that I could lie awake until about 7:05, falling asleep and dreaming just in time for my alarm to go of at 7:15.

Thank GOODNESS she gave me something to write about.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

On Parenting Boys...

Almost ten years ago (eek!!) I received the news that I was pregnant with a baby boy. My reaction was pure excitement. Some of my friends didn't feel the same way. I heard over and over, "I wouldn't know what to DO with a boy!" I have never understood that. After all, I got to watch as Jay learned how to make really good car sounds at just a year old. I was there the day that he rolled around on the floor, thrilled over his new set of match box cars and shouting, "Caaaars! Caaaars! Caaaars!" over and over. I delighted in him knowing what EVERY single piece of construction equipment was. And he taught ME a good lesson on construction equipment as well.

It was cool to see the kind of stuff that was inborn in him and set him apart from girls from the get go. His love of sleeping in his rubber rain boots because they were his "Buzz Lightyear boots", his ability to spot the make of any 18 wheeler out there and call it out to me while we were on the road, and the boy noises...ahhhhh...the boy noises. Siren noises, motorcycles, 18 wheelers, boats...they all have a different sound. I never noticed that until I had a boy to point it out to me. All of these things that Jay picked up on were as inborn in him as Annie's love of painted nails and "pretty" things.

But remember that mother who said "Just because your friends decided to jump off a bridge doesn't mean you have to too."? Yeah. I would just about guarantee you that she didn't have a girl. Nope. She was the mother of a boy. Promise. And I know this because of what happened in the cafeteria the other day.

I was out shopping for Jay's ninth birthday present. I had just bought it when my cell phone rang. As I answer, I hear Jay's principal on the other line. She says, "Malinda, Jay is fine." Now, this? This is not a good way to start a conversation. I am already running through my List of Doom. Among these is 1. Head Trauma and 2. Broken Limb. She follows her statement up with the news that Jay and his friends were playing a breath holding game in the cafeteria today. They wanted to see who could hold their breath the longest. Jay won. Of course, winning THIS particular contest means that you hold your breath so long that you pass smooth out onto the cafeteria floor. Thankfully, one of the teachers spotted the game and knew what was happening. She arrived just as Jay passed out, thus saving him from number one on my List of Doom. Thank goodness for our teachers and their powers of observation.

But poor Jay was hysterical. I tried to talk to him on the phone but couldn't understand anything he was saying through the heaving sobs. So, I headed to the school to pick him up and bring him home. I figured this would be a good opportunity to discuss several TOPICS that mothers need to discuss with third graders without the eyes and ears of younger siblings.

So I brought him home. He was still VERY VERY quiet. I asked him if he was still scared by the passing out and he told me that he was. So then I asked him exactly WHAT he was scared of. "I'm worried that I did PERMANENT DAMAGE to my BRAIN!!!" he wails. I reassured him that he was FINE and that God made us with a stupid switch in circumstances like these so that we would pass out, therefore turning OFF the stupid switch and start breathing again. "Your brain is FINE," I told him. "However, I'm not sure how well it was working BEFORE you played that game." Then, he looks down at his ankle. His eyes get VERY big and he says, "Mom. My ankle. It's BLEEDING." I looked at it and said, "It's just a scratch. Go wipe it with a paper towel." He looked at me, with fear filled eyes, "But Mom! What if I burst a blood vessel with I passed out? Could this be serious?" It is at this moment that he swiped a finger across the blood on his ankle. And smelled it. "Oh. Never mind. This is just gravy from the cafeteria."


Friday, April 9, 2010

The Spring Break that Wasn't

So if you look at this in terms of comparisons, that title is kind of like saying, "The Little Engine Who Couldn't". Huh...only THAT would change the whole outcome of the story! Which I guess is entirely appropriate, since that's exactly what happened to us! I love me some comparisons!

So, the Wednesday before Spring Break Jamie and I went to our weekly Bible Study. At the end, as we were taking prayer requests, I asked that everyone pray for my sanity as I was taking all three kids to Mississippi for a week by myself. As in, without Jamie. Oh, and also? I had broken my leg the week before. Not a bad break, mind you, but enough of a break to cause searing pain when stepping without the crutches that I was instructed to use but couldn't because how do you use crutches and take care of a baby? Four arms. That's how. And since I don't HAVE four arms, crutches just weren't going to happen.

Anyway, so I make this prayer request and afterwards everyone is asking how far the drive is, and how I handle that by myself. I'm feeling pretty smug because I have done this drive numerous times and I am quite used to doing this trip without Jamie. I'm all, "It's tough but SOMEBODY'S got to do it...". And all the while, what I'm really thinking is, "Piece of cake. Can't wait to tell them how great it went. I am SUCH a rockstar!!"

Note to self...smug attitudes, ESPECIALLY in church, will really come back to bite you.

So, Friday morning comes and we make it out of the house by about 8:20 or so. We had a few bumps getting the car loaded, but everything worked out and pretty soon we are on our way. Jane is eating and napping, big kids are watching a movie and I am jamming to my ipod. Now, let me mention, that I have this trip down to a fine art by now. We stop in Brinkley, Arkansas for lunch and gas. Not before. Never before. We HAVE to pass the sign that says, in BIG BOLD LETTERS, "SPARING THE ROD WILL SPOIL YOUR CHILD!!!!" before I can stop. I don't know, something about seeing a sign about beating my children really gets my vacation off to a good start. I am, of course, kidding. Do not call DHS on me.

So, we finally arrive in Brinkley and stop at McDonald's. This is when Annie tells me it hurts when she tee tees. And THIS is where Annie will begin to need years of therapy as she rereads what her mother wrote about her on the internet. But ANYWAY. And of course, this does not surprise me because LITERALLY someone has been on antibiotics in my house since JANUARY, and since Jane AND Jay had just finished up THEIR antibiotics that very morning, it only made SENSE that she would have a UTI. Tragedy averted though. We got a med called in for her and ready to pick up upon our arrival in Mississippi. No harm, no foul. And naive little me thought, "OKAY! There's our bump in the road for THIS trip." HAHAHAHAHAHA!!! That's not the sound of me laughing, it's the sound of FATE.

So, we arrive in Mississipi, at my parents house and all is well. There are hugs and kisses exchanged, Jane is glad to be out of the car. Everyone is happy. We pick up Annie's meds, have a glass of whine...uh wine...and spend a lovely night talking. I bathe Jane, who eats virtually no supper, and then put her to bed. She cried for three seconds and then was out like a light. And I promise you, I stood outside of her door and made the statement to my father who was standing with me, "I have the BEST babies! They have all traveled so well!" HAHAHAHAHAHA!!!! Yeah. That's fate again.

Jane wakes up at eight the next morning and she is screaming her head off. I don't think much of it, other than that she's hungry. Sure enough, she eats like a horse. We play all morning and then Nana and I take Jane shopping and Papa takes the big kids out to play and fish at the farm. A good time was had by all. Until...

Mama and I came back home to put Jane down for a nap. Such a short and sweet statement, that should be such a short and sweet task. But instead it turned into HOURS of drama. She screamed when I put her in the pack and play. I thought she would calm down, left her in there and closed the door. Ten minutes later I hear her BANGING on the door and screaming. I went to check, thinking that maybe a cat got caught in her room, but no. There is Jane, standing there, having crawled OUT of the pack and play. And here begins the battle of all battles. As soon as I put her in, she crawls back out. In, out, in, out, in, out. Round and round we go. We play this stupid game for a while. I lost count of hours. I just know she was hysterical and it was loud. And my leg hurt. Then, Mama and I get the idea to take her to my aunts house, where there is an actual crib. YES! THIS is the solution! She doesn't like the pack and play!! PROBLEM SOLVED!

And my mother would like me to point out here they they DID have a crib, but I told them I wasn't having anymore babies, so they got rid of it. I told them to take that up with Jamie.

We arrive at my aunts house, Jane is still screaming. We put her in the bed there and close the door. She crawls out again. Now, you may be asking WHY I didn't just rock the girl to sleep. Ahhhh....if only that were an option. My children are really good sleepers. They always have been. But they are really good sleepers who have never rocked. They like to be put in their beds and left alone to go to sleep. I did try rocking her, but she was having none of it. She turned into a hissing, spitting, head spinning around baby. So THEN, Mama and I decide that the crib just needs to be moved to HER house and THEN Jane will sleep. YES! THAT'S the problem!! So, my father comes, takes apart the crib, hauls it to their house, and reassembles it.

I'll give you one guess as to what happened next.

So, then I just completely gave up on this napping thing, hoping that MAYBE things would be better in two hours when she went to bed. Jane has now been screaming for somewhere around three hours now. I was in serious need of Advil. And perhaps a glass of wine.

Eventually she gets sort of happy, though we treated her much like a live grenade because at any moment she could blow up, unleashing a fury that sent us all stumbling backwards by several feet.

Again, so supper, and this time she is hysterical through bath time. It is at this point that my mother says, "I don't blame you if you do not want to continue this visit." Now, this visit was supposed to be three days with my parents, followed by three days with Jamie's parents, followed by two days with my grandmother. The thought of having to repeat this process with each house, alone, and with a broken leg was enough to make me rethink my plans. I started to seriously considering leaving.

I put Jane down for the night and we continued the in and out dance for around forty five minutes. Only this time she is absolutely exhausted, but WILL NOT STOP CLIMBING OUT OF THE CRIB. It is at this point that my father gave her a new nickname of "granite". Fitting. I finally had to spank her to get her to stay in the crib. Funny how that stupid road sign actually came into play. Eventually, she slept, though fitfully, until about midnight when she finally slept without waking. I, of course, couldn't sleep until I KNEW she was down. So, I didn't get to sleep until after one. I hated to just give up and go home knowing this would set a tone for the rest of our trips. I was determined to stay. I went to sleep, still debating, but thinking we could always pick up and leave later if things got too bad.

And then, at 5:30 in the morning, Jay threw up. And we left two hours later. The End.

HAHAHAHAHAHA!!! That's fate again.