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Archive for May, 2009

Deprogramming

It is well known that I lean slightly toward the dramatic, and yet I must share my own struggle with no longer running down three flights of stairs to the knish shop for my morning coffee.  One week out of New York and I still wake up confused.

Also troubled are my children who, after seven days of coddling and inane liberty at the loving paws of their grandparents, have summarily transformed into Augustus Gloop and Veruca Salt clones.

When I first started leaving my children with my parents, I would prepare impeccably typed schedules and itineraries detailing all the interventions and activities that needed to transpire throughout the day.  When I returned from my trip, I’d find the list still sealed in its careful envelope and candy wrappers, soda drips and Happy Meal toys littering the floor.

Gradually, however, I have learned that part of being a grandparent is simply that gracious abandon that allows children to lounge in pjs until noon, eat ice cream after breakfast, and order the kid’s meal every single time at the drive through even though it is not fiscally responsible and the toy is some plastic head that blathers on and on about being a “doctor not a physicist.”

physicist

(The only up side to that toy is that all three of my children can now define physicist.  And lest you be encouraged that this “head toy” will be ruined by pool water and then happily discarded, think again.  I saw one today become dunked, thrown, sunk and bashed repeatedly and yet still the head prattled steadily about physicists.)

Still the sharp spike of freedom that I seized during my week in New York beckons to me, making me feel like a bad mother.  Perhaps it’s just summer’s advent…

At any rate, all four of us are in need of some serious deprogramming.

We’ve run through two cartons of ice cream in two days.

Posted on 29 May '09 by , under Humor/Disconnected Miscellany. 12 Comments.

Someone Else’s Life

Two Thursday mornings ago I woke with a start–a three-year-old’s puffy nighttime pull-up snuggled against my knees, a pink sippy cup denting my cheek and the toenail of a tousled 7-year-old wedged in my shin.

Granted I’d stayed up until 1 am the night before cramming fashion news in an attempt to blend with New York.  I cast aside all my light blue jeans and only packed the dark.  Do people still wear heels with jeans?  Is there any possibility I might pull off a black empire waist dress with tights and boots?  I know scarves are in, but what the heck is a Spring scarf and how would one tie such a thing?

Hours later, I found myself settled in a crowded Atlanta airport, novel in hand, surrounded by hordes of people sucking down lattes and clacking away on laptops.  Everyone appeared busily important.  They all hurried and rushed.  Some dragged carry-on luggage while others text-walked, amazingly negotiating the miasma of carts and swirling suitcases with little effort.

“I used to be one of you,” I thought.

I used to be a “director” of something with stacks of business cards, power point presentations and contracts.  I criss-crossed the US from meeting to presentation to consultation, clad in perfectly pressed Anne Taylor suits and important pumps.

Yet now I lounge on this vinyl seat sipping bottled water and reading a mindless novel, not actually caring when my flight becomes delayed two hours.  For the first time in so many years, I do not actually have to be on time.  I text my friends in New York who are easily able to change our dinner reservations to a later time.

When the plane touches down at La Guardia, I smile a prayer-thanks and breathe deeply.  I am so, so far away from South Georgia.  Nobody knows that I homeschool, struggle with feelings of inadequacy, and have a child on the autism spectrum.

I leisurely stroll toward baggage claim, noting the footless tights and loosely-gathered buns that apparently denote the current “New York” look.  As I look toward the baggage carousel my eye catches a name written on a largish scrap of poster board: “Elizabeth Channel.”

My sweet friends have called a car service.

Tears spring in my eyes.

I feel like a star.

Dmitri, my driver, assists graciously with my luggage, hefting the 49.5-lb suitcase into the trunk of the Lincoln Town Car with apparent finesse.  I sink down into the leather while the streets and lights of New York whoosh by…

Surely this is someone else’s life.

Posted on 26 May '09 by , under Humor/Disconnected Miscellany. 13 Comments.

I Don’t Know When I’ll Be Back…

I can’t take it any more…the endless questions, the whining, the homeschooling, the dieting, the woefully short hair, the laundry mountains, the french fry-encrusted van, the GF/CF diet, growth hormone shots, spilled pie, puppy pee, poison control…

Nahhhh.  You know I love that stuff.

For the last three years I have spent one week each Spring at the National Stationery Show in New York helping my best friend with her invitation company, Prints Charming.

prints_charming

I’m leaving tomorrow at lunchtime and will miss you all terribly.  I’ll think of you while I luxuriate in an East Village apartment, brunch at the Sunburnt Cow, browse purse-dealers in China town and check out all the new invitation designs at the Stationery Show.

I hope to return with a bevvy of fascinating stories, but since my children will be staying behind, I’m not sure I’ll have have the same quality to which many of you have become accustomed.

I’ll give it my best!

Tootles for a week!  I hope to check in but don’t think I’ll have computer access!

Miss me!

Posted on 14 May '09 by , under Accidental Homeschooling, Humor/Disconnected Miscellany. 10 Comments.

Mumbers: When The Cat’s Away

mumbers

She’s gone to the shore, she has.  And in her absence I reckon I can do just about anything I want with her Mumbers gig.

Who’s game?

Join me in a new Mumbers thrill.  Craft mumbersology specifically about Kia.  Let’s make it positive and do posts on the things we love about Kia!  When she returns from the beach all calm, tan and svelte, she can revel in the glory of our golden words.

Who’ll join me?  I don’t know how to do that Mr. Linky thing, but I’ll do an old-fashioned link if you’ll give this a try and we’ll see how many Kia-Featuring-Mumbers we can get!

10 – Number of months I believe I have been following Kia’s blog.

14 – This number proves what a great weight loss Guru Kia is compared to me because it shows the difference between our weight loss.   (Hint, it’s a word problem.  First person to send me the answer wins a box of Atkins bars.)

1,777 – Number of real-life depictions of mothering angst Kia bares to her readers and therefore makes them feel they are not alone.  It’s rare to find someone so authentic!

1 – Number of swear-words Kia has re-crafted innocently into something I can now use in my head on a daily basis.  You know the word I’m talking about.  I actually said it out loud to my children last week and they all looked at me, greatly confused and concerned.

57 – Number of times Kia has said things about her Mother-In-Law that certain of us wish we could say (or perhaps just think) but dare not to.  (Not me of course! I love my Mother-In-Law.  Seriously!  I got lucky!)

256 – Number of times I personally have sat in awe at my computer, rendered speechless at the birthday party plans, cupcake preparations, goodie bag endeavors or towel tricks.

77 – Number of colds, flus, maladies, reactions and rashes that Kia has tirelessly nursed her family through in the past months.  (Of course it may not compare to the number battled by Mrs. Bear, but remember, that woman has four children!)

27,893 – Hours of patience Kia has shown toward her sweet, brilliant boy.

357 – Number of times Kia has personally encouraged me with my own trying children…and truly meant it!

Have fun, sweet Kia!  We miss you!

OK, do your own “Kia Post” and I’ll link you!

Please read Patty’s post-tribute to Kia!

Posted on 12 May '09 by , under Humor/Disconnected Miscellany. 5 Comments.

Ipecac, Like Pluto

We’re a house known for summoning the effective emetic, syrup of ipecac, from time to time.  I’m sure that surprises none of my regular readers.

What’s fascinating is that of all the times I have had to call Poison Control, none of them has been for Edward.  Sure there was the time when Joseph sucked the alcohol-gel out of a cold pack from his lunchbox.  He simply clamped a vampirish bite down on the white, melting squisher, found the insides, in his words “like a plainish jello,” and went to town.

Poison Control does not have that happen too often, they said, but still they could read the code on the cold pack and tell me how much alcohol the child had ingested.  A gallon of water later, he was copacetic.

(On a side-note, let me tell you how fun it is to get a three-year-old to drink a gallon of water!)

Then of course there was last year, (while I was at a Beth Moore conference two states away), and Sue decided to have a tea party with “the pink,” otherwise known as ibuprofen.

I was sitting at the hotel breakfast bar thrilling to a fruit plate and coffee with friends when the call came in:  “How much ibuprofen was in the pink ibuprofen bottle?  Not the one with no dyes or colors, but the pink one.  ‘Cause Sue had her pink teacups arranged in the kitchen floor feeding it to herself and several unsuspecting babies.”

You can imagine the conversation, prayers and panic that ensued as what was once a relaxing care-free morning with friends turned into steely fear.  (At least I was in good prayer warrior company!)

The fine motor skills on tiny girls still surprise me, as did her ability to open the child-proof bottle which may or may not have been screwed all the way on.  Poor H rushed to the drug store, hastily purchased the standard brown bottle of ipecac, and Sue proceeded to throw up violently in the bathtub while the Poison Control fellows on the other line cheered; in a few hours’ time, she was fine.

I vowed to never leave town again, of course, which was a mistake because the next time Poison Control was summoned it was on my watch.  Sweet Sue downed an entire bottle of Bright Spark, the homeopathic attention aide Edward has taken for three years.  Poison Control was able to reassure me that one two-year-old ate two full bottles with no ill effect.  Sue was focused but fine for the rest of that day.

So last night, H and I had planned a rare date night with friends.  We scheduled the babysitter over two weeks ago, discussed possible restaurants and couldn’t believe our good fortune–a fortune that melted, however, with repeated deluges last week resulting in so many baseball game cancellations that a Friday night game was scheduled.

Drats!

Yet the good part was that I could actually watch the 7:15 game, unfettered, since it was too late to cancel the sitter.  I planned to take a few pictures, actually try to meet some of the parents, and hoped for a late dinner with my two “older men.”

(Normally I stand at this one spot on the top of a hill where I can swirl back and forth pitching juice boxes and watching the playground and the game until I become dazed and dizzy.)

I was sitting on the bleachers enjoying the game warm-up, (something I’d never seen), when the call came in from my sitter: “Oh me, oh my, do you know how many melatonin pills there were in that bottle because I think Sue ate all of them. Oh my should I call 911 what do I do oh oh!”

Now this is an awesome sitter–a sitter who once heimliched a penny out of Edward’s throat, saving his life.

And that’s when it hit me: I was the one who left the melatonin on the admittedly very high but still accessible breakfast bar in the kitchen.  I did not panic, though, because I knew melatonin was a relatively safe supplement.

I raced to the drug store and began pacing the aisles in search of that faithful brown ipecac bottle.  I saw none.

I rushed to the pharmacy tech who began running up and down the aisles, muttering under his breath, “I knew we used to have it, I know we have it!”

The pharmacist finally returned from the back and said with certain authority.  “We do not have ipecac!”

I jumped in the car and gunned it while simultaneously calling my neighbor and bloggy friend.  She knows me well enough to sense my tone:

“Hi. Do you have ipecac?” I questioned.  Without a beat she, a perfume stalker and mother of five, replied, “Yes, a whole bottle.”

“Then go to my house and give it to Sue right now.”

“Will do.”  (And I knew she would have no troubles getting Sue to ingest the entire bottle of brownish gruel because that’s the kind of mother and friend she is.)

Then I dialed Poison Control and discussed the matter with them.  I could hear the guy’s fingers flying over the computer in the background as he took down all the pertinent information: weight, age, what she took.  He breathed a sigh of relief.  “Oh, you have no problems.  She’ll probably get very tired and may throw up…just stay with her all night and periodically wake her up to make sure she is coherent.”

Yipee!  I’ve done that so many times.  I’m good at checking for coherent children in the middle of the night!

I breathed a sigh of relief, and that’s when I told him we had already given her the ipecac.  I thought he would praise our proactive efforts but instead he kind of growled, “Oh no!  That stuff is terrible!  Throw that stuff away.  Never ever give it to anyone again!”

Then he went on to list a litany of problems with ipecac causing fatal aspirations and rarely helping the poisoned victim.  I could not believe it!  Only a year or so ago, ipecac was King, included in every new mother’s take-home baby basket, and now it has fallen, like Pluto, off the radar.

Poor, poor ipecac.

Read more about ipecac’s dangers here.

Sue wretched and heaved into the night, peppering my bed with broccoli-cheese soup laden with tiny melatonin chunks.  She’s fine today.  Tired, but fine.

Some busy, busy guardian angels have been assigned to my children.

My, my, my how I am thankful for them!

On a concerned note, now I have to replace Ashley’s bottle of ipecac.  Perhaps I’ll have to check the black market?

Another adventure awaits!

Posted on 9 May '09 by , under Humor/Disconnected Miscellany. 13 Comments.

Sara Lee Tragedy: A Photo Essay

pie_cry

pie-floor

A gentle smear…

pie_smear

pie_cleanup

Seeing the good side!

pie_yum

pie_finish

It coulda been worse!

Posted on 8 May '09 by , under Humor/Disconnected Miscellany. 8 Comments.

Five Things I Love About My Body (I think?)

5-things-thursday

It’s not my topic.  Go blame her!  Or better yet, join her!  (You don’t have to write about your body; you can write about anything.  I was just tired and ran with Peanut’s topic!)

OK, I’ve been known to post photographs of various body parts healing, but I’ll leave today’s images up to the imagination.  (I think the tick thing yesterday was a tad “in-yer-face” for some people.)

1.  Curly-Q Leg Vein: When I was four, a 250-lb fireplace mantle fell on me, crushing me beneath it, but only breaking the vein in one leg.  This was one serious miracle which left me with a small “curly-q” vein on the back of my right leg.  My entire life I have been able to look at this and be thankful God spared me a horrific injury.

2.  Impressive Stomach Scar: I’ve written in detail about this before, but while pregnant with Edward, I had a suspicious grapefruit-sized tumor on my ovary that threatened the pregnancy and appeared malignant.  Doctors removed it with a 14-inch longitudinal slice to my midsection.  In a series of miracles, my pregnancy progressed normally, the tumor was benign and Edward was born!  I used to be quite vain about my flat stomach.  I could gain weight elsewhere but my stomach remained Sahara flat.  After this surgery, however, my stomach bears a deep purple furrow with what I like to call meandering “pits.”  (Sounds lovely, I know.)  It’s taken a few years, but now I love this scar because it reminds me of God’s promise for this child and His protection.  This scar also keeps some of my challenges with Edward in perspective.

3.  Arrow-Shaped Feet: Yes, since I was a young child, my feet have been shaped like arrows.  In actuality I have inherited some serious bunions.  While I have come so close to having surgery to correct these lovelies, every time the surgery has been scheduled, something has come up and I’ve had to cancel.  Since I became a stay-at-home mom, however, and can wear any type of shoe I want, I no longer have bunion pain.  Thankful?  Absolutely!  However would I manage two separate 6-week episodes of bed rest and crutches?

4.  Separated Eyebrows: I’m wretched at plucking and shaping my eyebrows, therefore I am quite thankful they do not grow together into some sort of “mono-brow” because that would be a lot to maintain and I’m not sure I’d be very good at it.  (See, I never thought about that until today.  Thanks, Peanut, for showing me more to be thankful for!)

5.  Cavity-Repelling Teeth: Seriously the only time I get cavities is when I have a baby, so I have three and I think that’s the end of that!  Or it could be linked to my flossing obsession?

So go visit Peanut and do your own Five Things Thursday!

Posted on 7 May '09 by , under Humor/Disconnected Miscellany. 5 Comments.

Mumbers on Wednesday

mumbers

Yes, yes, yes I am well aware that it is Wednesday.  Still this makes me only two days behind, right?  That’s pretty good for me these days!  I’m sure Kia will forgive me…right Kia?

1 Number of ticks H removed from my inner arm last night.  (What is it with my family and ticks?)  We used the “Pine-Sol” technique, and yes it works wonders!  We simply saturated a cotton ball with Pine-Sol, applied that to the beast for about 5 minutes, and the fellow expired.  H pulled him out with tweezers and his entire sucking apparatus came out too!  There’s not even a mark!

may-tick

Note:  Contrary to what you might surmise, I am not a health professional; in fact, the only college-level science course I took was Geology of Weather; please consult your own doctor before attempting this tick eradication technique.

2 Number of paper plate masks my children created with their babysitter while I was book scouting.  (Yes, I love this babysitter!)

masks

2 Number of inches Edward has grown in the past four months since he began growth hormone!  Our endocrinologist estimates he will be in the 50th percentile for height according to his peers by the time he is 10.  (Considering he has spent most of his childhood on the 1st percentile or below, this is grand and glorious and such a blessing!)  Two more inches and he will be roller coast bound!

7 Number of anti-bacterial gel bottles my three-year-old has gone through to combat her Swine Flu fears.

“I don’t want to be a pig, mommy!  I want to stay a girl, or at least a boy!”

Note:  anti-bacterial gel will strip furniture!

gel-strips-table

$21.00 The cost of a homeopathic immune-booster I bought for the children to help combat Swine Flu and Edward promptly dropped on the tile floor, shattering all that immune-supporting goodness throughout the kitchen in a flash of blue glass.

5 Numbers of hours I believe my boys could spend per day wrestling.  Now that we have added the puppy, it’s even more fun!

wrestling

Posted on 6 May '09 by , under Humor/Disconnected Miscellany. 5 Comments.

GF/CF Friday: Surf Sweets Candies

gfcf_fpr_button

When Edward was in Pre-K, his teacher rewarded students for staying in their seats, completing coloring worksheets and raising their hands before speaking by proferring Skittles, Ring Pops, Dum-Dums, Pixie Sticks and the like.

Needless to say, Edward did not receive that much candy because he preferred to stand near the world map memorizing countries, write his own math problems to solve on the back of the coloring sheets or lounge in the reading center reading book after book.

Still, eliminating artificial colors, flavors, and high fructose corn syrup was our first step toward implementing what would eventually become the GF/CF diet to help Edward’s behavior.  Three years ago it was almost impossible to find sweets and candies that didn’t have colors and dyes.  We found a few items and brought them to class, but Edward soon tired of the same old lollipops day after day.

Life for the sweet lover who avoids the artificial is easier now, however, with a host of organic, natural candies.  I was delighted to learn about Surf Sweets candies last year, and even more excited when they sent me a sampling of their candies to review.

These confections are simply great with a “normal” texture.  They offer Gummy Worms, Gummy Swirls, Gummy Bears, Fruity Bears, Jelly Beans, and Sour Worms.

surf-sweets

These treats are:

*Made with Organic Fruit Juice and Sweetners

*Natural Colors and Flavors

*100% of Your Daily Vitamin C

*Free of Corn Syrup and GMOs

*Made in a Nut Free Facility

*Gluten Free

According to Joseph, you can’t tell the Gummy Worms from the ones they sell at the ball park.

gummyworms_sub

Sue thrilled to the Gummy Swirls would have eaten the entire bag if I had let her.

gummyswirls_sub

Edward embraced al of the Surf Sweet offerings, preferring, not surprisngly the Gummy Worms!

surf-sweet-yum

I just keep a bag of these in my purse and then when candy is offered at soccer or another event, I’ve got a swell substitute!

Thanks, Surf Sweets!

Posted on 1 May '09 by , under GF/CF Diet/Food Reviews. 4 Comments.