Saturday, January 30, 2010

Another Cold

I have another cold.

Colds are funny things. I mean, on one hand, a cold is just a cold. It's not a huge deal. On the other hand, a cold makes you congested, gives you a runny nose, blocks up your ears, chaps your lips, and gives you an uncontrollable appetite for chocolate covered pound cake. Which makes life more difficult.

I usually survive my colds with Afrin. I swear by it. Yes, I know, it's nose spray, and therefore dangerous and should be avoided at all costs. But on the other hand, it lets me BREATHE. And breathing helps be do the things I need to do. Like sleep and yell at my children.

When I was in NY, Jamie got me a new bottle of Afrin. It's not drops, it's a spray, and it works better. One dose can keep be going 18 hours. Within ten minutes I feel as though I have no cold at all, and life goes on. The trouble is, it wears off suddenly. It's like Cinderella at the ball - one minute I'm dancing with a prince in a beautiful gown, the next minute I'm wearing rags, sitting on a pumpkin, and breathing through my mouth.

The thing is, I keep expecting each dose to be my last. At some point I use the Afrin, and it just doesn't occur to me to take it again. It may wear off, but the congestion just won't be so bad. I won't think about it. Usually after a few days.

Please, please let that time be soon.

Friday, January 29, 2010

New Furnishings

I got each of the boys a little folding chair because 1 - they were cute, 2 - they were inexpensive, and 3 - I needed chairs for the little play table the boys have.

The boys love the chairs. In fact, they dragged them around the house for the first few days, insisting they needed them at all times, just in case they wanted to sit down and read, or rest, or perhaps leap off of something.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Me Do! Me Do!

Andy is learning how to do things on his own. If you've read past posts, you probably know that he can take off his clothing, and even his diaper. But these days he also takes off his shoes, puts on boots and hat (see photo), and can zip things up, like his PJ's or his jacket (once it's been threaded.) When it's time to take a bath or change clothing, he pushes my hands away and says "Me do! Me do!"

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

He Ain't Heavy...

When we took our backyard winter walk, I dragged Andy on the sled. Not only is the snow deeper for him than it is for everyone else, but boots tend to not stay on his feet. As soon as he got off the sled, he stepped right out of both of them, got his socks encrusted in icy snow, and we had to go in.

Nick didn't like the idea of Andy getting a ride when he had to walk. He insisted on dragging the second sled along behind him, and when it was time to go back, talked Nate into pulling him. Nathan actually managed to go two or three yards before I convinced him to let Nick walk.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Head Full Of Staples

My last post had a picture of Nick and Nate sitting in the snow near the brook in back of our house. My brother Jamie made a comment about how they looked a little too close to the water, and how it made him nervous, and then went on to say being a parent would give him heart trouble. I would like to state, for the record, that the entire time I was taking pictures down by the brook - from ten feet away - I was shouting at the kids to move back. And we were down there for about fifteen seconds before I made us turn around.

Being a parent doesn't mean you don't feel nervous about your kids dashing their brains out. It means you are actually worried about things like that ALL THE TIME. I mean, EVERY WAKING MOMENT. And how you deal with it - be it to freak out four times a second about all the possible injuries that could occur, or to surpress and squash those feelings and smile while you drink a third glass of wine - well, that's up to you.

Tonight, as I was cooking dinner, Nathan hit his head on the corner of our fireplace and I had to take him to the Emergency Room. This is an injury both Steve and I saw coming. We saw it as soon as Nick learned to roll over. "One day he's going to smack his head on the corner of that thing" we said. And I tried to child-proof it for awhile. I tried covering it with pillows and the placing a huge baby gate in front of it. And eventually, as time went by and life went on and the kids got older, we learned to live with letting it be except for the occasional "Move away from there!" and "Stop jumping off that!"

So, I saw it happen. I saw Nate fall, and I saw him stand up, and I saw him start to cry as he ran to me, blood pouring down the back of his neck. Nicholas jumped in and did exactly what I asked him to do, running to get Steve, then running up and getting my shoes, and when he couldn't find Nate's shoes he got his own for Nate to wear. I was frantically trying to calm Nate while pressing an entire roll of paper towels on his head.

And once we got to the Hospital, once we checked him in and sat there, waiting for someone to look at his head, watching an hour's worth of cartoons featuring nothing but Fart Jokes, the Medical Practitioner put four staples into my baby's head. Staples. Not stitches. No needles and thread, but a staple gun. Into Nate's HEAD.

He was very brave. Other than crying when he hit his head, he was his usual stoic self, and only cried for a few seconds when the last staple went in.

I didn't expect the staples. I really didn't. And I supposed, in the long run, they are better than the stitches. They are stronger, it was faster to put them in. It's his head, so scarring isn't an issue... But still. It seems so barbaric.

And now, now what do we do about the fireplace corner? How do we stop this from happening again? Or is that anything we can even do? Sure, we can paste soft corner things onto every corner of our home. We can bubble wrap the entire place. Or we can freak out every time they boys move within two feet of anything sharp. Maybe the best thing to do is to hope that Nathan learned something, and that he will learn not to fling his body toward sharp objects.

I don't know what to do. I don't know how to be a good mother, here.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Busy Day

This day was very busy. We went to church, then Steve took the boys to Burger King while I had my writing group. After that we went bowling, and then we all had fondue for dinner. And now, I'm a little tired.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Back And Forth

Today was one of those manic days, where I couldn't seem to sit still. I drove the kids to a store to get shelves for the playroom closet, only to realize that the shelves I selected were too wide. So I drove back in the afternoon to exchange them.

The whole thing left me feeling frazzled and driven rather than acomplished, which is what I had been going for.

So here are some pictures I took on Friday's Backyard Trek. They are supposed to be soothing.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

The Key... To My Funnybone

Steve came back from a business trip today. As he was hanging up his jacket and settling in, Steve pulled a card from his wallet and handed it to Nate. It was the keycard to his hotel room, and it isn't uncommon for him to bring one back for the boys. It's just that, usually, he ends up handing it to Nick.

Nate was overwhelmed with his gift. "Mom, look!" he said. "Now when we drive to Tennessee, I can open the door in the hotel!"

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Sunny Side Up

I used to be a morning person. I used to wake up before everyone else, and I'd be up and ready for the day.

But I'd like to take it all back, now.

This morning, I stormed into the boys' room before 5am to settle an argument. I was so tired. After I left the room I could still hear the boys chattering, but I refused to get out of bed until almost 7am.

I keep reminding myself that one day I will have three teenagers, and they will refuse to get up before 10am.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Sweet Boy

The other day, Andrew fell asleep in the car before lunch. So when it got to be naptime, I let Nick and Nate climb into my bed with me while I read, hoping they would get a few minutes of rest before Andy woke up.

I read my book, and Nicholas climbed up next to me and rubbed my back, the way I used to do to him when he was little.

Monday, January 18, 2010


Andy surprises me each day with his conversation. Don't get me wrong. there are no full sentences, and even if you can make out the individual words sometimes you need to grasp for meaning. Even so, he can sometimes express himself quite well.

While I folded laundry, Nick and Nate were playing Toy Story Yahtzee. Andy took another new game from the table, and I quickly tried to discourage him from opening it. "That's really a Big Boy Game," I said.
"Nate!" he said.
"Yep, it's Nate's game. I think it might even be a little big for him."
And then Andy said something like... "Willow."
"No! Willow!"
"No! Willow!"
"Oh! Little!"
"You're too little for the game?"

As heartbreaking as that conversation was, it wasn't as funny as when he walked up to me while I was making dinner. "Me help! Me help!"
And for the next twenty minutes he 'helped' by grabbing things off the counter - the spatula, the garlic, the butter - and handed them to me. Needed or not.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

The Bounce House Birthday

When I was a kid, we always had the best birthday parties. So did everyone else I knew, actually. All birthday parties seemed to be crazy, lavish affairs with forty kids, goody bags with care-free gum, enough balloons to lift the house, a sing-along, a puppet show, and pony rides on the pony that lived in our garage. You think I'm kidding. But I'm not. And I thought this was perfectly normal. Didn't everyone do this?

Well, apparently not. And now that I'm a mother, and I have boys that have birthdays, and that go to birthday parties, I know why. First - it's insane. Second - it's expensive. Third - it's crazy.

This is the first year Nathan has had a birthday party with friends. I told him he could have a party when he turned 4 last year, when he turned 3. And when he changed schools, I assumed I would just do what the other mothers at the school were doing in terms of sending out invitations. But there was a problem - there have been no other parties. None of the other kids in his class have sent out invitations or anything. So I was breaking new ground.

Nate had been asking for a party at Chuck E.Cheese's. I managed to convince him that a party at our house would be much more fun, and less likely to kill me. But when I got his class list... there are about 25 kids in his class. Not all kids come on all days, but when I crossed off all the kids that weren't in class with him on any days I was still left with 20 children, and that didn't count my kids or the other kids we are friends with. And Nathan never talks about any kids in particular, so I was left with either just randomly cutting people out of the party and risking hurting feelings, or trying to force 30 kids to picnic in the snow.

So I decided to have the party at a bounce house. We've been to parties there, and it's fun. I only wish I hadn't stressed about it so much. The bounce house offers to provide pizza, juice boxes, goody bags, and even cake and bottles of water. You just have to pay for each item. And I rolled my eyes and insisted on buying my own of everything. And it worked out. But I might have saved myself some stress just letting them do it. After all, they took care of EVERYTHING while we were there. They shuttles gifts to the party room. They served the pizza and cake. They threw away the trash. They gave me paper and a pen to write down who gave which gifts.

And best of all, I didn't have to clean my house. Not before, and not after. I think that qualifies as a success.

Friday, January 15, 2010

No Spice On Nate's Meat

In honor of Nathan's 4th Birthday, which is tomorrow, here is a little bit of our dinner conversation.

Nate: Can I have some more meat?

Steve: There's still meat on your plate.

Nate: But I don't like the taste of this meat.

Me: But all of the meat tastes the same.

Nate: I want meat with no spice.

Steve: There's no spice. It's just salt.

Nate: I want meat with no salt.

Me: There is no meat without s-It's not salty or spicy. It's fine.

Nate: I put the meat in my mouth, and it goes on my tongue, and the spice and salt goes on my tongue, and then I just spit it all out on my plate.

Me: - - -

Nate: Next time don't put nothin on my meat. Just put stuff on everyone else's.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Blame The Goat

This weekend, as we were all either getting over or not-yet-overcome with the illness of doom, we decided to bunk the boys' beds.

Actually, that might be an over statement. I had decided to bunk the beds awhile ago, and Sunday morning I began walking up and down the stairs with various tools, thumping along the way, making various noises, until Steve couldn't take it anymore and then he got up and basically bunked them by himself. Except for the part where I dug the crayon out of the holes the pins were supposed to go in, because apparently they are just the right size for a crayon.

Anyway, after bunking the beds, we moved all the toys into Andy's room, and Andy's bed and dresser into the boys' room. So now Andy sleeps in the Big-Boy room, and there is a whole room dedicated to toys. It's great because it can get really messy, and I don't have to step over the mess! But the boys are much more excited about the beds.

And I was going to take pictures, I really, really was. But I just didn't get the chance. I've been too busy trying to change the sheets with the new setup, and trying to convince Andy to come down.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010


I love the choir I belong to. Sure, sometimes I raise my eyebrows at the songs we sing, and sometimes I get impatient because attendance is haphazard and this means we need to work on the same difficult phrases week after week. There are some Sundays I know we sound just awful.

But some nights we have rehearsal and I come away so excited just to be able to sing what we're singing. And "Seasons Of Love" from Rent to be sung the same weekend as "Tomorrow" from Annie? ... I think this choir was created just for me. The Kathleen Choir.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

King Of The World

Some days are better than others. Today was a good day. Nick went to school, I got to run, we had a playdate, a story-hour, and the boys got some play times in before numbing their minds in front of the TV.

And now I'm eating Christmas chocolate. Ha!

Monday, January 11, 2010

Getting Back Up

Those squimish or faint of heart should not read this post.

I already posted about Andy throwing up Thursday night, all over my sweater. That, I think, is how it started. I thought it was a fluke, because there is this time-lapse thing involved between catching this bug and symptoms actually appearing.

Nick climbed into bed with up early Saturday morning, and at around 5am he climbed out of the bed and threw up. I had to write about it because it was a little bit funny. Not the actual getting sick part. That part is horrible and terrible, and I had a lot of empathy for Nick, and later I knew exactly EXACTLY how horrible and terrible and tortured he felt. Each time he was sick Nick would ask "Why? Why is this happening? I hate this." But with little kids it's worse, because they don't know themselves well enough to figure out just how close to throwing up they are, and they don't know exactly what to do when it starts to happen.

So Nick gets out of the bed on Steve's side, which is the side farthest from the bathroom. And then he starts throwing up. Nick is inclined to just stand there are throw up, not worrying about clean-up at all. But Steve immediately started telling him to get to the bathroom. "Bathroom! Bathroom!" he's saying from the bed. But Nick can't take more than a step without more puke hitting the rug in previously un-puked-on places. So, from my side of the bed, I start saying "Just stay there! Don't move! Just stay there!" While I slowly drag my mind through items I can use to catch / mop up the mess. But Steve is seemingly oblivious to what I'm saying, and can only see one objective - the bathroom. So he's still yelling "Bathroom! Get to the toilet! The Bathroom!" And poor Nick is just at his wit's end.

So it was a long morning. For me, it all came to a head a few hours later. We were all still in our PJ's except Nathan, who was oddly motivated to get dressed. I wasn't sick yet, but I could feel it coming on, and I was tired from being up early with Nick and miserable from cleaning up puke - because let's face it, no one in the world would do that.

Anyway, I rounded the corner to make my way up the stairs and get out of my bathrobe, and I heard Nathan make an odd sound as he started coming down. His eyes were teary. "Are you going to throw up?" I asked. He nodded. I waved my arms to the bathroom, which is ten steps from the top of the stairs. "Bathroom!" I shouted. Nate nodded, but took three steps down before opening his mouth and puking.

I felt like a figure in a Greek Tragedy. I was standing near the bottom of the staircase, waving my arms, holding out my hands, yelling. "NO! NO! Bathroom! Go Back! For the love of Christ! Bathroom!" Because.. have you ever seen what a slinky does going down steps? Well, vomit pretty much does the same thing, only more splattery-like.

But poor Nathan only had one objective - to get to me. Because I am the one who makes it all better. Never mind that an hour later I practically pushed him out of the way of that very same toilet I had been waving him to.

Anyway, we're all getting better, slowly but surely. Steve didn't get sick until 36 hours after Nick did, which just seemed to drag things out. And the boys are still really tired. But tonight they started to play again, which is something they hadn't done in days.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Not Today

I am taking today off. We all have a stomach bug. I am alternating between cleaning up and wishing someone would shoot me in the head. Sorry - I'm just not up for small talk. Maybe tomorrow.

Saturday, January 09, 2010


I am really, really good at finding the long way around to my point.

Nathan still wears pull-ups at night. I think this is fine - he's just turning four. And ideally, wearing a pull-up would keep this night-time potty training from being an issue. But the trouble is, Nathan has never been able to keep his pee in his diaper. And now, his pull-up. I don't know why.

So, to keep from having to change wet sheets every morning (because he doesn't wake-up when he leaks, he discovers it only when he wakes up) I wake him up before I go to bed, and bring him into the bathroom so he has a better chance of staying dry. This usually works, and when I fail to wake him, he usually leaks.

But Nathan doesn't wake very easily, so I usually carry him most of the way and direct him toward the toilet.

Last night, as I was lifting his drowsy body, I got stuck.

I was lifting him, and suddenly I couldn't straighten up. It was my back. My back was just telling me that, no, this was it, I had reached my full range of motion here, at a 45 degree angle.

I did manage to eventually stand up, and also convince Nate that he could walk. But once back in my bedroom, I found reclining into a horizontal position quite uncomfortable, and even painful. Once down, I couldn't move.

Anyway, I'm better. Mostly. I was just taken by surprise. And I am suddenly aware of how many times a day I lift crying or screaming or kicking little boys. And bend over to pick up object from the floor. I'm hoping this goes away and doesn't come back.

Friday, January 08, 2010

If You Want To Destroy My Sweater...

Tonight, as I was reading stories to the boys, Andrew was acting more tired than usual. I thought he might fall asleep, and I was letting him half climb / half roll on my lap.

And then, from out of nowhere, he threw up.

He managed no to get any on him - not on his face, or his PJ's. And nothing got on the bedding, or the rug. In fact, it was all contained neatly on my sweater.

I really, really like that sweater. It's not new. In fact, it's got to be ten or twelve years old by now. But it's warm, and big, and has pockets all the way around the bottom, even around back. And now... now I put it in the washer for a rinse because I couldn't think of anything else to DO. I really hope it makes it through without getting ruined. Although I can't imagine wearing it without... remembering.

I think Andy's OK. I'm hoping it was one of those freak things and didn't have anything to do with the fact that he didn't eat a thing for dinner. Because I'm tired, and I really want to go to sleep, and not spend all night changing bed linen, cleaning up puke, or dealing with sick little boys.

Thursday, January 07, 2010

How Others See Me

I don't often post pictures of myself. This is because I don't often TAKE pictures of myself. Usually, I'm the one with the camera. And I don't often see myself unless I'm looking at my own reflection. And it's not at all the same thing, is it? I mean, when I look in the mirror I'm usually inspecting my skin, or my teeth, or my hair. But even if I'm just looking to see how something fits, I have on my "Mirror Face." Which means that, even if I don't want to, my facial expression is going to look a certain way.

Steve took this picture of me secretly, and then emailed it to me. Isn't it awful? I mean, one look and I've decided never to wear that T-shirt again, or those jeans, and also to go on a diet and loose 40 pounds, or at least the muffin top. And to sit up straight, and start putting on make-up, even if I am just lounging around stupidly staring at a computer, because you never know when SOMEone is going to be sneaky and take your picture. Also, to never use a computer again - seriously? Do I look that vapid and duh-duh when I'm typing on a computer? From now on, I'll only use my computer when I'm alone. Like, when I'm sitting on my closet floor.

That said, I was playing a video game when Steve took this picture. One that I can't play on my own computer. Which is good, because I liked the game. And it would take over my life.

Wednesday, January 06, 2010

All Thomas, All The Time

Welcome, to the Island of Sodor! Andy call these the Mommy Thomas, and the Baby Thomas.

And just for fun, here's a picture I took of Nate when he wasn't expecting it. He looks so surprised, it just cracks me up!

Tuesday, January 05, 2010

Happy New Year!

Of all the holidays there are, I think I am most ill-suited to New Year's Eve. Why, you ask? Well, I hate crowds, I can no longer have more than two drinks without getting hung over, and staying up past 10pm is a big deal for me these days. That, and I really dislike television specials consisting of Pop-Stars I don't know, or that I do know and hate.

That said, I had a wonderful time.

This is the street my parents live on, not too far from, nor too close to, Times Square.

This is what it looked like at night.

It was cold. It was raining. The only reason the crowd stops there is because there is a street. The crowd picks up the next block.

But we were inside, where it was warm. There was wine. There was a fabulous dinner.

There was fabulous entertainment.

And I stayed awake to ring in the new year, as grumpy and sleepy as I may have been.

Monday, January 04, 2010

Christmas Is Over

My parents have a big Christmas tree. It's twelve feet tall if it's an inch, and it's impeccably decorated. I covet every single ornament on that tree. Also, there isn't one pine needle on the floor. Because the tree is fake. It's amazing.

We took our Christmas tree down today. Ours was about six feet tall - our ceilings are only eight feet, so anything taller becomes impractical. And unlike my parents, we got a real tree. This usually poses a needle problem, but this year was just awful. Before Christmas they were already falling off at an alarming rate. By this morning many of the branches were already bald. And each brush brought another shower on needles to the floor. The under-dressed tree looked like this:

Let's take a closer look at the floor, shall we?

I am now seriously considering buying an impostor tree for future use.

But for now, I'm putting Christmas away for awhile. The cleaning it up has turned me into a Scrooge - why did I hand all these lights? Why did I think we needed all this stuff, all this music? The magic is lost. And instead, I'm just tired. I don't think I'm the only one.

Sunday, January 03, 2010

New York State Of Mind

We're back from New York.

On the way home, Steve mentioned that it was probably the longest we've ever stayed as a family - four nights. And he may be right. But in all the time we were there, I left the apartment only once. (I don't count the time I went to the store - I didn't even cross the street.)

I was sick on this trip - my cold came back full force and I was dopey on cold meds the entire time. It was kind of nice, actually. Usually I'm dragging the kids around to go places and do things, but this time we just spent too much time watching TV and talking and just doing nothing.

Which isn't to say we did nothing. We had Christmas, part 2, where I realized my gift giving skills need brushing up, and where we all got many wonderful presents. We are so lucky. I got to see Heather, a friend from high school, and that was really nice. My parents took us all to The Big Apple Circus, featuring Bello Nock of the gravity defying hair. Linda and her friend Penny made us a wonderful New Year's Even dinner of roast cornish game hens, couscous, and an arugala and goat cheese salad. I drank too much wine (not that much) and sang while Winston and my dad played piano. And the next day the boys went to see Fantastic Mr. Fox with Anne-E and Jamie.

And now we're back. I have a list a mile long of things I need to do, and we're all very excited to get back to our routines. Well, at least I am, and Andrew. That's at least two of us.

Photos to follow.

Saturday, January 02, 2010

Cap'n Crusty

People give us the strangest things.

Friday, January 01, 2010

Best Laid Plans

I always make just a few New Year's resolutions. I keep them simple and easy to follow, and limit myself to a reasonable number so that I can't fail at too many.

Why do we do these things? I know many people don't. I mean, I don't remember making New Year's resolutions as a child, nor do I remember my parents making any, or even referring to them in any way but a joke. But there are people who do. Including myself. Why? WHY DO I DO THIS?

Well, for me, I think it comes from a real effort, a real desire, to become a better person. Or to reach one's ultimate goals, perhaps. I resolve to watch my diet and work out more so that I might stay healthy and in shape as I get older. I resolve to take my vitamins and my calcium for the same reason. I resolve yell and shout less, especially at my children, and to find other ways to make myself heard. I resolve to keep the TV off more, and to spend more time outdoors. I resolve to continue making an effort to minimize any harmful effects I might have on the planet.

I want to do these things. I promise myself that I will try to do these things. But it really is hard to break out of old routines and cycles of behavior. Every morning I mean to do the right thing, but each evening I realize I forgot to take my vitamin, that we never set foot out of the house, and that I spent hours doing nothing but shouting.

But it can't stop be from trying. The only sure way to fail is not to try, right?