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Posts Tagged ‘grandma’

S has memorized the How To Be An Annoying Younger Sibling Handbook. Hell, she may have revised the thing, adding new chapters such as “Sitting on Big Brother’s Head – Appropriate Situations to Employ This Most Dangerous Tactic,” and “When Hurting Yourself is Worth it in the Spririt of Getting Big Brother in Trouble,” and “Let’s Make Sure Mom Drinks Tonight.” My sweet little girl pulls hair, claws eyeballs and puts her own fingers into L’s mouth for him to bite. In her defense, she only does this stuff when she’s bored. And she will handle a whole minute of boredom before resorting to these measures.

She’s most bored when L watches TV. This is problematic for me because I plug L into the TV when I have something to do. Like cook dinner, make a phone call, or not kill him. So while I’m super busy cooking, talking on the phone, or not killing, S is in the other room stirring things up. She’s instigating a monster, and she knows it. She will sit on his head, (keep in mind, she’s usually not wearing anything on her bottom half,) pull his hair and claw at his eyes until he retaliates. In his defense, he has a HUGE tolerance for this type of crap. I have seen him watch an entire Wild Kratts with his sister on his head. When he does retaliate though, he does so with gusto. A swift twist, push and throwing maneuver and S is thrown from the couch altogether. He may leave it at that, or he may leap down after her and then the two are a blur of legs and arms as they wrestle it out on the floor.

L weighs 45 lbs. S weighs 23. Fighting is in L’s DNA. S doesn’t stand a chance.

This morning, L is plugged into a movie while I try to pack up all of our stuff as we can finally head home after a week of living with my parents. We have our electricity back and I can’t wait to get back to our normal lives. S does not want to watch a movie. So, naturally, she grabs a handful of eyeball. Like a pitbull, once she’s latched on, nothing can get her off. L is screaming and I’m yanking on S but she’s glued onto that eyeball. I finally free L from her clutches and put S into a time out. She does not stay in time outs so I am re-putting her in the corner again and again and then something strange happened.

A man came in and scooped her up. He gave her a hug and asked her if she will promise to be good. Through pathetic fake tears, she promises. He then releases her back into her freedom. WTF? Who is this man? He looks like my dad, but can’t be.

When I was growing up, my dad was the scary one. When we were naughty we quickly asked our mother, “Please don’t tell dad??” I think he still doesn’t know about the brand new ski jacket I lost in the 5th grade. (Sorry, Dad.) So who’s this softy letting my daughter out of her time out? I could have used this guy 30 years ago.

I guess the moral here is that we all have to wait about 30 years. Then when our terrible children have terrible children of their own, we can do whatever the eff we want. We can be the nice guy if we used to be the mean guy. We can give them Sugar Puff Honey Crack O’s for breakfast and then give them back to their parents. We can babysit and keep them up way past bedtime. All this is to say, that one day, we will have our revenge. Good things come to those who wait.

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Are you ready to hate me?

I’m fairly confident that most people leave my blog feeling grateful that they are not me. But not this time. T and I just took a 3 day vacation with no kids! (Yes, 3 days is a vacation.) My extremely awesome and helpful parents took on the kiddos for an extended weekend so T and I could escape to Block Island, RI for his birthday.

Have you been to Block Island? If not, go. We had never been, but are now planning to visit at least annually, eventually own a house, and create lifetime memories for our family. After years of searching, we feel like we found our place.

Unless we were eating, drinking, sleeping or kayaking, we were on our bikes. (I’m sore in all sorts of places, many of which are unmentionable.) That baby seat on the back of my bike? Perfect for toting picnics, towels, bottles of wine and other assorted goods including several rocks I fell in love with at the beach and later discarded in our hotel bathroom. (Sorry about that, Hotel.)

T’s birthday dinner began with drinks and tapas in Adirondack chairs over looking gently rolling hills, dotted with a few goats, some llamas and a camel that almost made me snarf my prosecco.

We then moved indoors and indulged in a prix fixe meal which included 2 apps, an entree and dessert each. That’s 4 appetizers! On top of the 2 tapas we had outside and all the olives in the martinis. Did I mention the basket of assorted homemade breads with the most delicious fresh butter ever? The meal was amazing and it’s a good thing we had biked all day.

Scallops, roasted corn & sweet potato crisp on the left. Salad of fresh greens, flowers and herbs, all from the restaurant's garden, on the right. OMG.

Meanwhile, the kids had a wonderful time with their grandparents and T and I didn’t have to worry about them at all. So, do you hate me now?

Safety first in the kitchen

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It’s Mother’s Day – a day when we give and receive flowers and chocolate as a way of saying thanks for something that is impossible to properly say thanks for. Where to begin when thanking and appreciating your mother? Thanks for enduring all the discomforts of pregnancy, and sorry I kept kicking you in the bladder? Also, sorry I didn’t come out on time and you had to be pregnant for way too long. Oh, and thanks for giving birth. You did a bang-up job and I appreciate all that effort. And all those nights when I cried?Sorry about that.

Is it possible to begin there and still manage to properly thank a woman who still cares for me and helps me all the time and has for 35 years? Of course not. The only way to properly appreciate a mother is to become a mother yourself. Even then, it’s impossible really. Now I get the pregnancy, birth, late nights etc, but I still can’t properly appreciate her for the teen years, the 20’s, and as a grandmother. Trust me, my mom needs A LOT of appreciation for those teen years. Sorry about all that, Mom.

A couple of months ago my mother watched my two kids for 5 days, after gifting T and I enough airline miles to get us to Puerto Rico for a vacation. How freaking amazing is that? I can’t imagine surviving motherhood without her help. She has 5 grandchildren and has a real relationship with each one. Each child knows and loves Grandma, trusts Grandma completely as a caregiver. Lucky Grandma is close enough to these kids that she sees the real (read: bad) them that is usually reserved just for parents. How do you thank someone for that? For loving your kids?

The answer is you don’t. Such is the nature of motherhood. There is no possible way to thank, appreciate or repay my mother. So, all I can say is: Thanks, Mom. I know you spent so much time caring for and worrying about me. I kept you on your toes and certainly didn’t do anything to make your job at all easy. But I turned out OK. Thanks to you. Your unwavering love and support gave me the chance to go out and explore, because I knew I could (and would) always come back in the end. Now I have my own little hard-headed child and I can begin to see just how annoying challenging I was. Hopefully he’ll keep his authority-defiance to a minimum and I won’t have to suffer all the calls from principals and camp directors that you did.

You’re so freaking good at this mom-thing that you make the rest of us look bad. Happy Mother’s Day!

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As I type this my kids are nearly 100 miles away from me. I’m not talking in the figurative sense – as in I’ve reached some awesome meditative state and/or plugged them into Sprout and I’m looking at the bottom of my second glass of wine – but in the literal sense. As in they are an hour and a half away from me. Sounds pretty good, right? Wait. It gets better. Very, very early tomorrow morning, T and I will get up (happily) and hop on a flight for a 5 day trip to Puerto Rico. No kids. Just us.

The point of this post isn’t to gloat over my amazing luck, but to give a massive shout out to my spectacularly awesome parents. Not only are they looking after the kids while we’re away, but as a gift to T for his last birthday, my mom gave him enough airline miles to get us our tickets to PR.

So, if you want to know what the best mother on Earth looks like, that’s it. She’s the mom who takes her kid’s kids, and sends her kid and husband away for a vacation together. Don’t bother trying to be the best mom in the world, that spot is already occupied by my mom.

Thank you, Mom!!!

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I’m getting a lot of pressure from some people in my family to spank L.

In their opinion: everyone used to be spanked, and turned out just fine. In the old days, kids were afraid of their parents and therefore behaved, and that was a good system. Never would a child dare say some of the stuff L says to me. Spanking would whip him into shape, show him who’s boss, and may only have to be administered one or two times.

I’ve been bombarded with this message for some time and have mostly tuned it out, thanked for the input and went on about my non-spanking business. But L does seem out of control. Are they right?

I don’t think spanking is evil, and I don’t believe that if used as one form of measured discipline it is child abuse. I just can’t imagine doing it. And I can’t imagine it working.

L is a smart kid. When he uses a bad word and I correct him, he says “but you do it!” So how will he react, post spanking, if he swats at me or S and I tell him not to hit?

Then again, he does seem to be confused about what level of respect he should show towards me. Am I not authoritative enough? Would spanking him show him that I am, in fact, the boss? Maybe it would shock him enough to get the message through that he is not allowed to speak to me that way. Then again, could hitting a young child on his bottom possibly garner me more respect? Isn’t respect something someone feels out of reverence, not fear? Or maybe a little fear is good?

The other day when he didn’t get his way he told T that he was going to break everything in the house. T replied, “Well, then you’d have to find somewhere else to live.” L’s mad face vanished and was replaced with real worry as he asked in all sincerity, “But then who will keep me safe?” (Insert heartbreak and paternal guilt here.) Do I want him to feel that his place with me is at all tenuous? Isn’t early childhood the one time in a person’s life when he should feel entirely free from worry and fear?

My pro-spanking relatives would tell me that I’m way over-thinking. That back in the day parents didn’t think of all this stuff and that kids’ emotions weren’t really considered important. And that everyone turned out just fine. But did we? All the parents I know think a lot about our kids’ emotional needs. Is that a reaction to our own parents dismissing ours? Maybe we’re raising our kids differently on purpose.

It’s hard to be on the receiving end of so much pro-spanking rhetoric, especially because it’s from people who know and love L and only want what’s best for him (and me). Is it possibly true that one or two spanks could lead to total L reform? That this simple solution is just sitting there waiting while I bang my head against the wall trying desperately, but in vain, to solve the problem with assorted new-fangled approaches?

So there you have it. My tangled mess of thoughts on spanking. What do you think?

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Had surgery on right index finger this morning. Debating leaving in all typos, or simply leaving out the letters yuhjnm altogether. Either way = unintelligible.

examples:

jere us keavung un akk tyois

ere is leavig ot tose letters.

Anyway, that’s not what I came here to talk about. I came to talk about what kids do to you. Before kids, on a day I was having surgery I’d be thinking mostly about myself. Today, though, my thoughts as usual were about L and my surgery was just an enormous inconvenience.

L has an infection in one of his toes. I first noticed the toe looking red last Monday. By Tuesday afternoon the toe was 2-3 times its normal size and bright red. I took him to the pediatrician who prescribed antibiotics. By Thursday morning the toe was absolutely horrifying. Huge beyond belief, red, with white dots all over it and an enormous white and purplish section under the nail. Poor L was limping and in agony. Back to the Dr who prescribed a second, stronger antibiotic and took a culture to find out wtf it was. (Getting the culture was terrible. A nurse and I had to use significant force to restrain L while the Dr pricked his toe and L screamed like I’ve never heard before.)

The Dr said that if it wasn’t improved by morning, that the next step would be to sedate L, make an incision and drain the toe (sorry this is so gross). Well, the next morning was this morning. Where I had to leave the house at 7AM for my own surgery, leaving L and S with my mom. My parents arrived late last night and we strategized about what we’ll do if L has to go to the hospital. If all was well, my mom would stay with the kids and my dad (a Dr) and T would come with me. If all was bad, T and my dad would go with L, we’d beg someone to take S, and my mom would come with me. It killed me to think of L going through this without me there.

I briefly saw L’s toe before leaving this morning and it looked a little better, or at least not any worse, although it still looked pretty awful. We left it all in my mom’s hands. Poor Grandma, this morning was her first time seeing the toe and it’s a frightening sight, and now it’s her responsibility.

L on my mind up to the last second before anesthesia knocks me out.

As I’m coming to, in partial delirium, I  overhear T and my dad talking about toes and things getting worse. I try to shake off the anesthesia. My mom has called and she thinks the toe is worse.  She’s wants to call the pediatrician. I will myself coherent.

I HAVE TO GET OUT OF THE HOSPITAL NOW AND GET HOME TO MY BABY!

Very frustratingly I have to wait an hour before discharge.

In the end, I get home and find L’s toe looking worse than this morning, but not worse than yesterday. I’m groggy and have a huge bandage. We go ahead with our plan for my parents to take both kids to their house, so I can have the rest of the day and night to recuperate and we’ll join them tomorrow. I hate that L and his toe aren’t under my care. I hate that it’s the weekend and if anything needs to be done it might mean a trip to the ER. I hate that I had to have this stupid surgery and that now I have this stupid bandage and am taking these stupid meds and that I feel so out of it.

So, there you have it. What kids do to you. Even when something pretty big is going on for you, your kids easily and totally trump it.

How coherent is this post after all? Should I go ahead with it, or hold off until I can reread it with a clearer mind? Eh, what the hell! I’m going to lie down.

PS: Thanks Mom and Dad!!

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Sometimes I feel like an army general. I have thousands of tactical decisions to make, provisions to think about, logistics to figure out and collateral damage to control. I always have to be prepared and at least a step ahead of the enemy (usually, that’s the kids).

Yes, I have a band-aid. Yes, I have a snack. Yes, I have spare underwear. Yes, I have toys and distractions and lovies and pacis. Yes, I have sun hats and sunscreen and bug spray. In my car I have balls and kites and bikes and stomp-rockets and toy phones and assorted rattley objects. Appointments, playdates, classes and errands are scheduled around naptimes and mealtimes and snacktimes and happytimes and grumpytimes. I keep a daily mental log of who ate what when, what’s come out the other end, how much tv has been watched and how much running around has been done.

I’m accustomed to my life as a general. But yesterday I was thrown a curve ball. I found out I need to have surgery next Friday to remove a benign tumor from my finger. As I was scheduling the surgery and related appointments, my head started spinning. I need to go in on Monday for a pre-op work up, Friday for the surgery, 2 weeks later to get stitches out, and 6 weeks later for a follow-up. I scheduled all of the appointments but have no bloody idea how I’m going to manage them.

Pre-kids, these would have been annoying and inconvenient, but do-able. Now, I don’t know about that. The hospital is 35 minutes away. Yesterday’s appointment was scheduled for 10:45, I got there (as instructed) at 10:30 and I was seen at 12:15. I finally left the office at 1:15. Luckily, my mom came to watch L and S. Normally, if I have a Dr’s appointment, I schedule it for a day when L has school and S comes with me. But I can’t take her to an appointment that might end up being 2.5 hours long, plus over an hour of driving!

Add to that the fact that next week L has swim lessons each morning at 9:15 and my brain implodes. Add to that the fact that I’m actually having surgery and will need to recover from anesthesia and having my finger cut open, plus having stitches for 2 weeks which I’m sure I’ll be instructed to keep dry, (is that at all possible with 2 little kids?) and that this is all on my right hand (I am very right handed), and my brain shuts down completely.

I am not the general I thought I was.

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