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Archive for July, 2008

Submitting to Mr. Bubble

I know you are all on are on pins and needles wondering about the potty drama, and I am surprised to say we have had a certain amount of success with the Diego pants.  Simply put, the princesses can suffer in silence but Diego can no longer be put in such an, ahem, awkward position.

Somehow, Diego is far more important than Belle, Cinderella and Ariel.  I guess I could console myself with the fact that Sue does have two brothers, so it’s natural for her to shield the boy—right??  Is that good?  Is that bad?  I gather it’s a tad controversial if you think about it too long.

And now my book club is reading this book, Created to be His Helpmeet, about submission and I’m all queeged out about this, although I do agree with some parts.  (I guess part of me is still dealing with the reality of casserole caddies.)

But anyway, now that Sue has made her first tee tee “fountain” as she calls it, (when it is tee tee alone—no poo poo), her demands have begun.  It’s like she’s drunk with the power of it all.  “I’ll take my candy now…and this time I want CHOCOLATE…please.”

And the latest: “I don’t like this white…I need pink paper.”

I’m a slave to this potty stuff.  Remember, she starts her three-year-old preschool class in 22 days, and she must be potty trained by that point or she relinquishes her spot.   And if she loses her spot, I will have to entertain her all day, every single day, while I simultaneously homeschool my two boys.  And I have never homeschooled them together so I am just a wee bit nervous about all this newness.  (I’m sure you veteran homeschoolers out there are rolling your eyes at my whining–but remember, I’m an “accidental” homeschooler and I’m new to all this.)  I also won’t be able to carpool with my dear friend who has 5 children, is homeschooling three of them (also for the first time), and is about to adopt a 6th.

And all of this is a lot of pressure–pressure that has led me to consider importing 140 rolls of pink toilet paper from France.  (That’s the minimum.)  This is the color I believe Sue has in mind:

And here is a picture of the toilet paper laboratory (their word, not mine.)

In researching sources for tinted toiler paper, I found many people lamenting its disappearance from the US.  Why has it gone?  Irritation to the “private area,” of course, although the French toilet paper people claim to have perfected hypoallergenic colored toilet paper.  Alas, we don’t have that technology in the states.

I seem to remember avocado toilet paper in my childhood…and some pumpkin-like color.  These colors went great with the shag carpet my parents chose (and still have) in their bathroom.

And this leads me to an associated memory of Mr. Bubble.  Remember when Mr. Bubble was a powder that came in a large box?  He was simply grand–made the frothiest bubbles–and was such a happy, pink bubble man.

Here’s a link to the the commercial for those of you who are too young to remember.

Like most children growing up in the 1970s, I loved, loved, loved Mr. Bubble.  But then my parents discovered that he made our “tee tees” sting…and, lamentably, we couldn’t use him anymore.

Yet for some unknown/sadistic? reason, my mother kept the box for years and years and years.  Every time I opened that linen closet to procure a towel, or some white (or orange) toilet paper, Mr. Bubble jeered at me from the top shelf.  (Incidentally, the NIH has determined that Mr. Bubble did indeed cause “irritation to the urinary tract.”)

H was not surprised when I told about all of my findings: “Always back to the urethra…” he sighs.

Posted on 21 July '08 by , under Accidental Homeschooling. 14 Comments.

Mullet For A Moment

God gave Edward hair that, well, truly reflects his personality—curly, wild, Einstein-like, uncontrollable.  Edward loves his hair long.  He likes to shake his head really fast so his hair will swing around, and preferably hit people.

With the advent of Summer, we’ve let a lot of things go around here—consider the van—and Edward’s hair is just another.  It just kept getting more unruly, ungovernable and more like Jim Morrison’s.  See the similarities?

(Let’s hope they stop here.)

Now that we have gotten questions about whether he’s a girl or not, though, we’ve had to move fast.

So at 4:30 today I had procrastinated enough, and dashed out thinking I could get a quick cut.  In this town?  Not that simple…the one haircut place for children was booked through the end of the day…we left with a stomping, angry Edward. (They provide unlimited gameboy use for children getting haircuts.)  After three more tries, I finally found a place.

“Can you cut it in a mullet so I can take a picture for my blog, and then we’ll finish the cut?”  I asked.  This young,  tattooed girl sized me up quickly:  “Whatever…” she murmured.  (I’m a 41-year-old wearing a baseball cap with my hair in two braids.)

But she completes the mullet cut and starts to embrace the idea.  Edward poses and preens—he’s loving the attention.

And now he looks like a proper boy:

Posted on 19 July '08 by , under Humor/Disconnected Miscellany. 8 Comments.

Things We Say to Psychologists

We’ve seen our share of neuropsychologists, developmental psychologists, occupational therapists, play therapists, physical therapists and the like, in our search for the best way to help Edward, who is delightful and charming at times, but a far cry from neurotypical.  At one of our latest appointments, we met an extremely kind clinical/developmental psychologist whom we warmed to immediately.

She got down on Edward’s level, looked him straight in the eye and asked him where he would most like to travel.  Edward had an immediate answer:

“Well, I’d most like to go to Antarctica where they have lots of permafrost because did you know that if you pee there your urine would immediately freeze and fall to the ice?”

“Yes…well…that is interesting…and certainly true…I guess…”  (She looks at me…I smile knowingly.)

“So, Edward, tell me about your family,” she asks next.

“Well…my Daddy doesn’t smell very good…actually he smells kind of like urine…sometimes he takes a shower to smell better but other times he just rubs on lotion…actually most of the time he just uses the lotion.”

The therapist shakes her head knowingly.  (H is not in the room.)  She looks quickly to me, (actually I’m undaunted), and kindly comments,  “You know we hear all kinds of things in here.”

Yes, I’m sure you do, and I’ll bet before we’ve run through our $500.00 on this evaluation, you’ll hear a lot more…

Posted on 18 July '08 by , under "Did He Just Say ?", Autism Spectrum/Sensory Processing. 2 Comments.

My Beautiful Boy “Pull-Ups”

The potty training marathon continues.  Sue’s third birthday has come and gone, and still no progress.  Yesterday at her check-up, the nurse wanted her to produce a “specimen” in a small plastic cup.

Sue thrilled to the idea of tee teeing in a tiny cup.  She grunted…she groaned…she spoke directly to the moment: “Come out, tee tee, come out!”

As I silently prayed that she would be able to make, I could hear Edward’s voice echoing down the hall as he took his vision and hearing test alone with the nurse.  “What’s that device for?  Why does this button activate that part?  Are you sure you calibrated it correctly?”

(I always cringe inwardly when he is alone with an unknown adult because I really never know what will come out of his mouth, although I know it will be something shocking and I know the unknown adult will ask me several questions about it later.)

The pressure to urinate in a pediatrician bathroom decorated with jeering clown wallpaper was far too overwhelming and Sue crumpled under the challenge.  But she did want to take the cup home as a souvenir…it’s been rattling around in my purse ever since.

Oh, but I was so excited about my latest potty training plan for Sue that I announced it at her birthday party last week.  One of my friends even said, “Now that’s out-of-the-box parenting!”  (I was so proud.)

My plan was to make her wear BOY pull-ups.  She shrieked, she cried, she flailed at the thought.  “But I love those ’pincesses,’” she wailed.

Knowing she despises The Hulk, I told her we would get some Hulk panties.  “I don’t like that ‘geen’ monster Hulk.” I took her to Target with the threat of Hulk.  She’s jumping in protest…she’s fussing…she’s clinging with both hands to the very last princess Pull-up clinging to her tiny body…she’s noticing the Diego pull-ups…she’s smiling…she loves Diego…she wants those pull-ups.  “Diego can just run away from the tee tee,” she laughs.

Target does not have Hulk pull-ups any more.

So yesterday she got up, wet and soaking, and I pointed it out to her.  “Oh, that’s OK, I’ll go get one of my beautiful boy pull-ups.”

And it doesn’t matter that these pull-ups have the new “cool alert” system that is supposed to ”notify” the child when he or she has had an accident.

“Cool alert” is apparently refreshing in this hot July weather.

Posted on 17 July '08 by , under "Did He Just Say ?". 1 Comment.

Illegitimate Webkin

Joseph recently spent a week with my parents and brother at the beach.  My parents own a DVD player but they have never been able to actually put a DVD in it, so it’s not surprising they could not preview the photographs of the condo (on the Internet) before they rented it.  My brother’s girlfriend, who just happens to be an interior designer, called to let me know about the abundant mirrors, black laquer and Patrick Nagel prints.  I had to get Joseph’s take on this, and was not surprised that he found it to be “really fancy—all black, mirrors and purple.  Nothing like our house.”  Alas…

He of course had to bring prizes home for everyone…everyone, that is, except me.  (What does this say?  Has being his mother and his teacher driven him away?  Well, that’s another post for another time.)  Anyway, I’ve moved past this pain, and am here to tell you Sue received an over-priced pink shovel—just perfect for coconut bobbittism.  Edward was the recipient of a Western-style pop-gun whose handle was sheared off two days into its use.  And H, well, let’s just let the dialogue speak for itself.

“We were in this Pizza Hut and I was trying to win a prize at one of those claw cages.  And I didn’t really win but this Pizza Hut worker man who was there, you know he gave me this monkey Webkin.  And it doesn’t have the tag anymore so you can’t play with it online, but you could just sit it by your computer and enjoy it.  It was a clean Pizza Hut with no roaches—not like the Pizza Hut here.”


So Edward returns from the mountains with my parents yesterday and he brings Sue and Joseph this to SHARE:

This is what H receives:

Please note: it has all the tags.  And it, too, sits by H’s laptop, smiling down, encouraging, reminding him that he is the #1 Dad.

Posted on 16 July '08 by , under Humor/Disconnected Miscellany. No Comments.

Raw Potatoes & Victorian Puddings

Joseph hunches over his plate, a large baked potato clasped in both hands, getting ready to take a bite.  “What on earth are you doing?”  I asked.

“I’m just being like Oliver Twist…you know when he was so starving and grabbed that potato to eat.”

“Was it raw?”  asked Edward.

“Nobody eats raw potatoes!  They give you worms,” Joseph admonishes.

Now he is speaking in an affected Cockney accent—something he’s been doing since we let him watch the film version.

I’ve prepared what is, for my family, a complicated and important meal of roast, steamed carrots and baked potaoes.  (OK, H cooked the roast, but I did slice some organic apples for a side dish and I wrapped the potatoes in foil.)

“This dinner would have been a feast to Oliver when he was so poor and an orphan and all,” Joseph explains at the dinner table.  “But later when he gets to eat those huge meals with those tall puddings and big chickens and hams, this meal would have been sort of loser…”

I think he is starting to understand the concept of “middle class.”

Posted on 15 July '08 by , under Humor/Disconnected Miscellany. No Comments.

“Casseroles, Shut-Ins and Feminism”

There’s not a lot out there on the “shut-in,” and sadly, people just don’t talk about them much anymore.  (They used to be an official heading in most church bulletins in the South.)  One thing is certain, however, the shut-in is desperate for casseroles—and lots of them.

In case you’re not Southern, Dictionary.com defines a “shut-in” as a “a person confined by infirmity or disease to the house, a hospital, etc.”

As a former graduate level feminist-theory student turned Christian homeschool mom, I have an interesting perspective on the casserole.  When I finally succumbed to marriage at 27, I was fresh out of grad school.

So it’s no mystery why I sobbed openly when my mother’s cousin presented me with a blue and white quilted “casserole caddy” (complete with a pink bow) during a wedding shower held in a church multi-purpose room.  At that point, I had never made a casserole, could not imagine myself doing such, and was convinced my life as a married woman would render me scrubbing grout lines and analyzing the benefits of Biz over Whisk.

It’s also not surprising that a few weeks after marrying, I began drinking a few too many Joseph’s Cherries (raspberry seltzer with grenadine and vodka) and trying my hand at huswifery.  The results were tragic:  Endless, crumbly, dry peach cobblers and an attempt at falafel that tasted like soap.  H renamed the dish “cho cho balls.”

Now, 13 years and three children later, I actually have a casserole argument.  H exhibits severe disdain for my casseroles; yet he exults that if I am providing a meal for a “shut-in” family, my own family goes without.  And that is true.  But truthfully my own family is glad–they will get takeout Mexican.  And the shut-ins’ are happy to see my casseroles coming!  They are shut in—they have no choice…no ability to go out and get some alternative.  And I’ll tell you they all ask for the recipes when it’s all said and done so what does that say about my casserole-popularity?

I have two offerings for the shut-in: “Wild Rice Chicken Casserole,” or a “Cheez Whiz Spaghetti Casserole.”

So my dear friend Ashley calls me yesterday to make sure I knew some friends had a motorcycle accident and were going to be “shut in” for a while.  She asks, “So which one are you doing, “the chicken” or “that Cheez Whiz thing?”

Am I that predictable?

“Yeah, it sucks to be a ‘shut-in’ in this town,”  H encourages.

Posted on 14 July '08 by , under Huswifery. 4 Comments.

“There were bullets on top of the TV!”

Joseph had a play date today with a new friend.  Of course when he got home he COULD NOT QUIT TALKING about this child’s house.  Usually the items that make an impression on Joseph are the food (“real orange cheese curls, Mom, and white bread!”) and the myriad of video game systems.

I get to hear him wax poetic about the advantages of the Xbox over the PS2, and describe in detail what it’s like to eat an actual Little Debbie Swiss cake roll for the first time in his short and incredibly food-sheltered life.

This playdate, however, was different.

“You know at Billy’s house…they had this tiny old TV in their kitchen and it only had Black and White color.  And it had those long antennas…it was so cool…much cooler than anything we have.  And there were real bullets on top of it.”

“Do the TVs with those antennas have no commercials?”

“Is it normal to have, like, bullets lying around?  It sure is cool.”

It sounds like we could sell our HDTVs, scatter some bullets around on the floor and really have it made.

Life could be so simple…

Posted on 13 July '08 by , under Humor/Disconnected Miscellany. 1 Comment.

Did He Just Say “Trichinosis”?

Ham is a tough topic in our house. Ham is tough because, frankly, it comes from a pig.

And until a few days ago, everyone thought all meat came from chicken. I mean, they ate hamburgers, bacon, sausage and the like, but Joseph called hamburgers and steak “black chicken,” and ham was “pink chicken.” I know this sounds a little frighteningly naive coming from an eight-year-old but he was eating, the siblings were eating, why rock the boat?

Well, Edward, never one to eat pork of any kind, finally called a spade a spade and announced that ham was pig.

And that was cool with everyone except somehow that started a lengthy conversation on foodborne illness which progressed, (or digressed, depending on how you look at it), to the point of Googling statistics regarding how many trichinosis cases there are per year in the US (about 12). And learning that wild bear and cougar are other major sources of trichinella infection. And that has led to a heightened interest in all things epidemiological.

(Sometimes when starting to answer questions about topics like this, I think to myself, “Why am I talking about this? This will just come back to haunt me.” And usually it does.)

So H is at Publix with Edward and they approach the meat area where Lee, the “food barker” or demonstrator, is trying to promote a pork tenderloin recipe. Edward sums up this foodborne threat immediately. He turns to a shocked patron reaching for one of these porky morsels and cries out for all to hear, “Lee is undercooking the pork! He doesn’t know about trichinosis! Everyone who tries it is going have worms living in their muscles!”

The scowling Lee begins to shuffle around uncomfortably. (I mean he’s wearing a hairnet and serving pork chunks in the meat aisle of a Publix and now he’s being berated on food safety by what looks like a 4-year-old.)

An elderly lady turns to H and asks in a hushed voice “Did he just say trichinosis?”

“Oh yes, he did,” a proud H replies.

Posted on 10 July '08 by , under "Did He Just Say ?". 4 Comments.

Fossilized Tater Tot

Don’t get me wrong—I love the Town & Country’s “stow ‘n go” functioning.  But I get a little nervous when I have to move car seats around–especially when I’m running late and car pool children are glaring at me, etc.

The other day I had to negotiate some complicated booster seat maneuvering to enable the T&C to safely transport six children to science camp.  I got the seat “unstowed” but could not get it to “pop down” in the groove part and latch.

“I think there’s something stuck down in there,” Joseph explained.

Oh great, I think to myself, who knows what it could be…

It’s a fossilized tater tot.

Posted on 9 July '08 by , under Humor/Disconnected Miscellany. No Comments.