Monday, October 31, 2011

Knock on the door with a Big Bang, it's Trick-or-Treat!

Tonight was trick-or-treat!  It might sound redundant to say that, considering it is Halloween... however, I came from a town that celebrated trick-or-treat on some random night that was never really Halloween, so I felt I should mention the normally obvious.  Anywho... my oldest son wanted my husband and I to dress up to go trick-or-treating with the boys.  At first I was quick to jump at the chance to be Kate Middleton, and wear my gorgeous tiara from my wedding.  I suggested to my husband he wear a garbage bag stuffed with newspaper and go as "white trash", but he thought that was not cool around the kids.  (Weenie)  Then it hit me... with very few clothing pieces I could quickly purchase we could go as Dr. Amy Farrah Fowler and Dr. Sheldon Cooper, AKA ShAmy from "The Big Bang Theory".  I only had to buy 3 things to pull it off.  I'm not sure what that says about our wardrobe, though.  All I know is, I now understand why Amy has such a boxy frame... it's her penchant for wearing way too many layers of clothing!  I had 4 shirts on to pull off her look.  By the end I had nearly no shape, and the ruffles from the one blouse did not so much seem feminine as give me more of a manish look as they poofed out my sweater that was over them (and a cardigan over that!).  I had a tank under all of it, because I always have one on.  (OCD much?).  Either way, it was perfect.  I also just wore my glasses, straightened my hair, put a barrette in, wore a plain black skirt, nude panty hose, and black flats.  Voila!  My husband wore jeans, converse sneakers, a striped long sleeve shirt with a Green Lantern t-shirt over that.  I combed and gel'd his hair in place and suddenly ShAmy was born.  haha  It was fun, especially the part where people weren't sure we were in costume, and gave us looks like we were weirdos.

My oldest son went as a robot, as I mentioned in a previous post.  It was a HUGE success.  Everyone was saying how awesome it was.  They loved the sounds, the lights, and his robot acting skills.  :)  There were several people who said it was the best costume of the night.  Who needed that blue ribbon?!  haha  That's all a Momma needs is a happy kid who feels like the belle of the ball (or whatever the dude equivalent of that would be) to inspire here to keep making these kinds of costumes.  Everyone loved the baby in his little duckie costume, but he got cold and cranky after a little while.  I brought him home, and then I got right down to business handing out spiked hot apple cider to our (adult) neighbors.  Hey, it was the only Halloween I have ever known to have snow on the ground... we needed something to keep us warm.  Plus, when do the parents get their treat?  I know, you're all saying "When the kids go to bed and we raid their candy stash."  But who wants to wait?!

We had great decorations inside and out, fun jack-o-lanterns (my Hello Kitty Jack-o-Lantern turned lots of heads, and even had her picture taken by adoring fans), a strobe light, painted pumpkins, mums, candles, pumpkin lights and a light up spider web and spider.  We were ready to go!  I made homemade chicken and waffles to fortify the troops before we set out (and before my Mom and Sis got ready to hand out candy to the masses for us so we could go out with the boys), mini apple pies, and, of course, the warm cider with some "Halloween spirits".  It was a fun night.  I think we all enjoyed ourselves, and it was great to spend it with my family and our great neighbors.  This is why Halloween is one of my favorite days of the year.   

Sunday, October 30, 2011

You need a nice soft sheet to lay your ear on... if you're lucky enough to sleep.

Busy weekend, per usual... so I'll wrap it up with a few conversations that contain important information to know or at least consider as you're moving through life....

My husband and I were watching a show with an actress we like, and she happens to have a wonky ear.  I also have a wonky ear, so now that you're all caught up....

Husband I don't know if I like that haircut on her.  It really shows off her wonky ear.  It's like a dumbo ear, but she only has one so it would be like "Dumbo the 'I can only fly to the left' flying elephant."

Me HEY!  I have a wonky ear!  Are you saying there is something wrong with a wonky ear?

Him No!  Your wonky ear is cute.  She's a beautiful girl!  I'm just saying, that haircut is not flattering because it makes that stand out so much.  It's distracting.

Me Well, it's been proven that people with wonky ears are more smart and are generally the best people out there.  

Him Sounds like someone with a wonky ear made that up.  *gives me a wonky eye stare*

Me Of course they did!  Because they are smart!  Duh.  Didn't you hear what I said about the wonky ear'd folks being the smartest, so they would know this!  Maybe she just wants to flaunt it!  If you've got it, flaunt it!

Him You're on like some wonky-ear crusade here.  

Me I'm just trying to bring attention to the cause, empower my people.

Him You could use a hobby, I think.

After our show, we got to talking about a project we are about to undertake that involves using a green screen.  For this project, we simply need a blue or a green sheet...

Me Oh, we need to get on that photo project!  I need to find a blue or green sheet.

Him Maybe you can find one at Ollies or somewhere cheap.

Me There is no need to go to extremes here, I can just go get a cheap set from Target.  They have all sorts of colors for pretty reasonable prices.  It doesn't have to be the fancy sheets, just their cheapest set.

Him Like, what thread count?

Me There is no thread count.  When you're looking for the cheapest sheet you can find, they don't bother to mention the thread count.  It might say something like "It's a little better than newspaper... just sleep on it!"  or "Need to cover that dead body?  Eh, this'll do if you ain't got nothin' better."

Him Or it just says "Has threads?  Yes, we used one."

Me Oh it's like one of those cheeseburger cats... "I'm in your sheetz, stealin' your threadz."  Although, our cats wouldn't sleep on that.  They are 375 or better, type of cats.

And last, but never least, I got to reminisce with my sister, on facebook, about the time when she cut her hair and tried to cover up the crime the day before her pre-school pictures....

Her (This picture was taken) the day after I chopped off my hair (on one side), and mom had to cleverly tuck it behind my shoulder for the picture.

Me I remember that day oh so clearly.  You tried to blame all the hair on the chair on the cats. haha

Her hehe

Me So clever... if our cats were blondes...

Her And persian...

Me And able to cut their own hair.

Ah memories!  Especially memories where my little sister is the one getting in trouble instead of me, for once!


Friday, October 28, 2011

Is Halloween snow considered a trick or a treat?

We are expected to get our first snowstorm of the season tomorrow!  Just one thing... it's not snow season, yet!  It's not even quite Halloween.  (I'll take this moment to point all climate-change deniers to exhibit A...)  I had the unfortunate coincidence of my usual grocery shopping trip falling on the day before the snowstorm.  I had to really gear myself up to go out amidst the crazies, stocking up on milk and bread like they won't see the light of day for the next 2 weeks.  Forget that we are expecting temps to rise after tomorrow... it's the apocalypse!  It's not even like we live somewhere that doesn't get snow.  We are used to this, yet the panic always hits.  There have been actual fist fights over TP in this town on the eve before past snows.  I wish I was exaggerating. 

The snow before trick-or-treat is strange enough, but for me and my family it had another strange twist to it.  My grandfather turned 80 back in August... yeah when we had that freak earthquake.  I joked with him that his birthday shook the entire East coast.  We had planned a nice family dinner as a surprise for him, but that's when natural disaster #2 struck within the same week!  The hurricane hit.  Not wanting to risk injury in the heavy rains or dealing with power outages, we rescheduled.  It's hard to get the entire family together, so the party was put off until tomorrow... when we are to have another freak act of nature that has the potential to mess up our plans again.  I still stand by the explanation that my very own Pop-Pop is quite simply a force of nature.  We shall see what happens... oh, and my Uncle, one of my Pop's 3 children who are taking care of this dinner, went in for emergency surgery today.  You can't make this up.  I only hope that if the snow mucks things up, we can tell my grandfather about the party so he doesn't think his 80th passed without proper celebration.  At this point, we are probably all "off the Christmas list!", as he would say. 

I guess this snow will also cancel the outdoor Halloween party and costume contest tomorrow.  I busted my ass on my kid's costume this year.  He is a robot, with all the bells and whistles (lights and robot sounds), and I wanted to enter him in the contest.  So, if you see a crazy woman with her robot child knocking on people's doors, asking them to please judge the costume... it's just me, looking for a high five for my hard work.  There were tons of costume contests when I was a kid, but now that I slave for hours over costume creations, there are none to be found.  At least I always win the contest when it comes to my kid and what he thinks about the costume!  That is the most important, after all.  (Awe, yeah, mush mush... But seriously, where's my blue ribbon!?)

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Exactly like "It's The Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown", just without Charlie Brown... or the pumpkin

I'm wild about pumpkins, at least as much as any other suburban housewife who loves to put pretty shit on her porch.  The kind of shit that says "Look how homey my home is!  (In case you didn't notice people living inside)" and "Don't step on my gourdes or I'll stick ya!"  I mean, "Welcome, friends."  I used to have an adorable little scarecrow, but after years of sun exposure, it was looking more "haunted house" and less cute autumn decoration.  This year, I filled in my empty scarecrow space with a larger bale of hay, mums, and more pumpkins of assorted sizes.  We made a big deal out of going to the pumpkin patch to pick small pumpkins to paint.  We chose 2 larger pumpkins for carving (which we haven't done yet so they don't rot before trick-or-treat).  We had a great little set up out there, until tragedy struck...

Something is eating our pumpkins.  It almost looks like a little pumpkin horror movie set on my front porch, which is not quite the message I was looking to send.  There are pumpkin guts everywhere.  The baby's little painted pumpkin is completely gone, another small pumpkin has been completely torn in half and it's guts strewn all over the other pumpkins and the hay, and both of the huge pumpkins have bites out of them, as well as the 2 other painted pumpkins.  It's kind of a pain in the butt that I have to go buy 2 new big pumpkins to carve, but the worst part is having to clean up the sticky seeds and innards of our casualties.  Perhaps I'll just leave it like that, and give one of the big pumpkins the pumpkin carving knife for trick-or-treat, and stage it more like a Pumpkin murder scene.  Everyone loves a little gourd on gourd crime for Halloween.

This puts a serious kink in my plan to carve a Hello Kitty pumpkin.  I just don't think she's capable of that kind of violence.  I'll have to switch to Bert from Sesame Street... after all those years of living with Ernie, I'm sure he's ready to cut a bitch.


Told my husband I wanted to put poison on the pumpkins so the animals (whom we assumed were the foxes that we see out and about) would not want to eat them.  He pointed out that they would still eat them, and then we'd have a dead fox problem.  I don't really want to kill them...just turn them off from my porch.  Maybe I could put a TV out there playing old Glenn Beck episodes from Fox News.   

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

I have an addiction, sir!

I think my favorite Starbucks and I are perhaps spending too much time together.  Today, my barista tried to suggest a hot beverage other than the one I religiously order because he thought he knew of something different I'd like to try.  When I order, it's with conviction and urgency, never uncertainty.  I do not think I look open to suggestion when I'm jonesing for my fix.  I'm pretty sure I don't even look fully human at that moment.  It's not until about halfway through my GrandeNoFatPumpkinSpiceLatteLightWhip that I start to resemble something more socially and fashionably sophisticated than a wild chimp. 

I clearly have an addiction.  As soon as I get that cup in my hand I begin to feel more calm and pulled together.  I am almost convinced they put some type of illicit drugs in their coffee, because clearly there is something possessing powers above and beyond your everyday run of the mill caffeine at work here.  I don't even care.  The euphoria I get from that cup of Heaven is worth it. 

Almost 2 years ago I had a birthday party.  I requested there be no gifts, but folks who didn't get that message or who wanted to get me something anyway, showed up bearing gift certificates for Starbucks.  These enablers... I mean friends... were unaware of each other's gift of choice.  I ended up with nearly $200 in free coffee.  Because I cut back on my caffeine while pregnant, I JUST used up the last card.  Now that I'm paying for the coffees myself, I think I heard my husband mumbling how he'd wish I had a crack habit instead.... something about it would be less expensive.  Oh well, ya like what ya like!  (Plus, didn't I already mention my suspicion about the ingredients of this magical brew?)

So anyway, stand back Mr. Barista!  Do exactly as I say, and no one gets hurt.  Well, at least after I've actually had my coffee... before that people might get hurt.  It's probably best for everyone's health and well being to hold off on too much interaction before I've had my fix. 

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

You send Alec Baldwin ONE dirty tweet....

This morning I awoke to my twitter feed filled with Alec Baldwin's tweets.  So, as I thought to myself  "Oh God, Alec is all OVER my twitter!" the sound of my own voice saying that in my mind sounded like angels from Heaven... it was golden.  I couldn't keep that kind of funny to myself, so I tweeted "Wow, @alecbaldwin was all over my twitter last night.  I wish that was code for something else, but it isn't."  Of course, after I stopped giggling, I shared my funny with my husband, who (of course) rolled his eyes at me and shook his head.  However, let the hate mail begin!  I got everything from people reminding me I'm married (which apparently also means dead and unable to appreciate another human being's appeal without wanting to leave your husband), to people hating on Mr. Baldwin via tweets to me, and people telling me that was gross (AKA prudes who probably should avoid twitter altogether lest they be offended further...)

Just to clear up the whole "you're married!" outcry... of course I am!  My husband knows all about my "extra husbands" and "Hollywood husbands".  He is so not worried, nor should he be.  It's all innocent fun.  Plus, he likes the old "Oh, you want those $900 shoes... well, I think (insert any one of my Hollywood husbands names here) would love to buy them for you.  Should I ring him up?"  He also has "extra wives".  Sometimes I assign them to him like "Oh, what about her... she's your type!  She's totally your Hollywood wife!"  I don't lose any sleep over any of this, and neither should anyone else.  It's just silly.

The sad part about Alec being all over my twitter... I slept through it.  That is SO not how that went in my fantasy.  Damn.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Today it's 2 for the price of 1

I know, I just posted, but this little gem just came up.  I just have to share my husband's charming and inspirational way with words (in case you all miss the whole dog butt conversation) with the world...

Me I'm so sick of these last stubborn pounds.  I need to tweak my diet again to get things moving.

Him Now, remember, the more weight you lose the older you will look.

Me What are you saying?  You think I look old?

Him No.  I'm saying you'll look older if you lose any more weight.  What was your lowest?  You were too thin then.  Remember that picture of you in the attic in a white shirt, and how young you looked.  You looked good then.

Me Still sounds like you're telling me I look old now.  I was heavier AND younger back then.  So do I look bad and old now?

Him I'm stuck in a hole now, aren't I?

Me Yep.  You wanna keep digging?

This conversation comes off of the other following romantic talk from my husband:

Me There was a nice man chatting me up at Mom's work today.  He thought I was one of the therapists.  

Him He can have ya!  

Me Now, now, settle down!  What would you do without me?  If you didn't have me, who would spend your money?  You'd have sad, lonely money locked away in some dark place collecting dust and looking pitiful, instead of being turned into beautiful things... shiny things... you know, what it dreams of being used for.

Him Exactly... hop in the car... I'll drive you back to him.

And this morning...

Me Hey, come here!  Look how I reorganized my gift wrapping closet!

Him Can't you just describe it to me?

Me No, I can't describe such a vision, you need to see it with your eyeballs.  Now, please come here.  It'll be quick.  It's awesome.

Our son Daddy, I think Mommy wants you to go look at what we did upstairs in the Hello Kitty room.  It's amazing.

Me See!  Even he thinks it's cool.  Come look!

Son Daddy, Mommy says go look!

Him Ask Mommy if she can just take a picture on her phone and send it to me.

Me Really?  You can't come humor me and look at the result of my hard work?

Him Just take a picture and show that to me.

Me Alright, fine.  If that is how this works, the next time you want to see something in person I'll take a picture of it and send it to you instead with a little footnote referencing this conversation.

Son What is Mommy talking about?

Him She's crazy.

Son Yeah, I know.

When packing up your car to return home, you may want to include the baby before you leave...

This weekend was my littlest cousin's 6th birthday.  His party was today, and I was responsible for making his cake.  He requested a cake representing 2 different football teams, and so I made a fun mash-up cake.  Of course, the tricky part was keeping my 3 boys (yes, the tall one too!) off of the cake before we got there.  Aside from turning a curve to find a stopped car in the middle of the road and having to slam on the brakes and just barely missing hitting it and getting that colorful cake in my face... we got the cake there in one piece. 

At the party, my youngest son started out quiet and bashful, but soon was running around shouting his gibberish.  He was making his rounds with our family members, and everyone was getting their baby snuggles in.  My Aunt was holding the baby, while we started to pack up our car.  So we loaded up, and my husband started to get into the car when my sister asked where the baby was.  We noticed he wasn't in the car.  Whooooopsie!  haha  I thought my husband had gotten him from my Aunt, and he thought I had.  Of course, we could hear the howling laughter from inside... all the way out in our car.

In our defense, they did not cover this in the parenting class we attended this week, so we cannot be held accountable.  What kind of parenting class WAS it, anyway, if it did not cover emergency first aid OR remembering to take your children home with you... both things we could have used this week.  Really our first son is damn lucky he has made it to 4 years old with this kind of lack of information out there.  I blame the system. 

And, in super happy and long overdue news.... the boys are healthy!  Let's hope we are going to start a trend now of no illness.  :)  It's so nice to see them feeling so well.  My oldest kiddo's new teacher starts tomorrow, too... so fresh starts all around.  Just in time for Halloween... one of the best days for a kid (and grown ups alike... thinking of handing out spiked warm cider to our friends taking their kids around for trick-or-treat to take the chill off :) ).

Friday, October 21, 2011

My husband tries his hand at writing my blog post....

My husband called me on the way home from work today...

Him Honey, I know what you can write your blog on tonight.

Me Ooooookay.  What?

Him I just saw a bumper sticker.

Me Okay... so I'll write about you seeing a bumper sticker?

Him Well it said "I kiss my dog on the lips."  It might as well say "I like the taste of dog butt."

Me Okay, yeah that is gross.  There is only one degree of separation between you and your dogs ass if you're kissing his mouth... but I need a little something more to go on.  My blog posts tend to be a little longer than that.

Him Well you see, dogs lick their butt a lot, and all day long.  So it's like kissing their butt.

Me Yeah, I get that.  Super gross.  So I should write an entire blog post about that?  What else is there to say?  

Him Well, see, it's like they are kissing...

Me Yes, we've been over that... but now I'm wondering if you see why I write the fun blog and You write the boring techie blog...

Him They are kissing their dog's butt!

Me Aaaaaaaaaaaaah!  I cannot write about THAT!  But I can write about you wanting to write about it, because now you're just cuckoo.  

Him It's gross.

Me  Yes, dear.  Good talk.  Good talk.  Oh, look, the kids are trying to kill each other.  Gotta run!

I think I will not be outsourcing my blog topics to him anytime soon.  You're welcome. 

Thursday, October 20, 2011

A (not so) funny thing happend on the way to parenting class...

Tonight, my son's school was holding a parent education night, and the speaker was actually giving a lecture on parenting.  (Sometimes these educations nights are more "see what your kid is doing in class, but tonight was actually parent education...)  Life has a funny way of taking something you think is super important and can make or break you, and showing you what actually is important.  I was so excited over the class and already thinking about how this guy would make a great parent out of me... when life decided to remind me what the number one job of a parent is...

#1 Responsibility of a Parent.... Keep your child alive
After all, alive kids are the happiest kind of kids.  So, if you keep your kids alive that has to be at least half of the battle. 

I ordered pizza tonight to get everyone fed, including my sister who was coming to watch the kids, before we had to rush out the door to our parenting class.  (Also, it did occur to me that maybe I wanted to learn how to be a parent before creating 2 miniature people of my own).  I gave the baby some ravioli, which he promptly ate before I even took a bite of my own food (baby crack, I swear).  So, I broke up a slice of cheese to hold him while I warmed up some veggies for him.  While I was cooking his veggies my sister said "Um, is he choking?!", and I turned and looked.  What I saw was so confusing because babies do not grab their neck with the "universal choking sign".  She said she saw him jerk his chin twice, and when I looked he was rolling his head and eyes funny, so I rushed over to him and already started ripping his highchair straps off of him when he turned purple and collapsed over on himself.  Then he let out the worst cry ever, so we had hope the food came loose, but then it was stuck again and he wasn't breathing or able to cry again.  I had him out of that chair so fast and had flipped him over on my arm, head down at an angle, and started the back thrusts you do for a choking infant.  He'd get bursts of air and cry and then nothing, and finally, they said he was spitting stuff on the floor, and I turned his head and saw the food.  He had shoved a ton of cheese pieces in his mouth and they formed a wedge together that blocked his airway.  I swiped that out, and another piece, and he was crying, a little weak at first, but then very loud (and also frightening).  That was one of the worst moments of my life, and I never care to experience anything like that again.  BUT  I did my #1 parent job, and thanks to my sister doing her #1 Aunt job, it was just in time before anything terrible happened.

That made me think, I think they should have a first aid for parents of young children course.  Perhaps that should come before "how to properly reward and punish your kid" because if something tragic happens to your kid, and you don't know how to help them, you may not have a kid to punish or reward.  If I didn't know what to do, it's very possible we would've had to call 911 and by the time the ambulance got to us it would be way too late.  Trust me, as a nurse, I've heard these stories.  They never end well.

So, sorry this isn't a funny post.  I tried to lighten it somewhat because that is how I deal with stress, sadness, and fear.  But, really this is an important reminder to be alert, and get some information on what to do in these situations.  These things happen in literally the blink of an eye, and choking, is silent.  A baby doesn't know to wave their arms at your, grab their throat, or get your attention.  You turn away for a moment to refill a drink, think they are happily eating their beloved cheese, and turn back to see something out of the "parents' worst nightmares" book.  Know what to do if you find yourself if one of those nightmares. 

Now, hug your kiddos close, and the next time they are getting on your nerves or are misbehaving... just be glad they are there, safe and sound.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

My TwitFace Pages

Just a quick FYI, Hippiechicmomma is on Twitter and Facebook, mostly just to notify readers of new blog entries.  If you're interested....


on Twitter the blog is under @HippieChicMomma

Some of you have asked about sharing this blog with your friends, and those are both good options for other folks to see what's happening on the blog.  :)  Thanks for reading!

Dear Target, It's not you, it's me. Well, it's also you.

Dear Target,
    I think we need to talk.  I first would like to point out that I do, in fact, love you.  There is no question about that, but I do believe our relationship is becoming unhealthy.  From the start, there was always that piece of me that knew you probably weren’t good for me, but you are so charming with your cheerful colors and fun advertising.  The things you have to offer me are so shiny and pretty, and that distracts me from my goals and objectives every time I come to visit you.  That’s another thing… I’m always coming to see you.  You never just surprise me, and if I want to see anything from you come directly to my front door, I have to pay for it.  It’s like a punishment for asking you to come to me for once!  That leads me to my next point… I’m always paying on our dates, and you’re always sticking me with a larger bill than I intended for these dates.  I have realized my friend was right, I’m broke because of you.  I go in for tissues, and come out with a $100 hit on my debit card.  I think we need to stop seeing each other.  The problem is, I try to quit you, but you won’t quit me.  Every time I start to move on and get over you, you start sending coupons in the mail.  You show up on my tv and in my Google searches, reminding me of your better qualities, how convenient you are, and all the unique things you have to offer.  Quite frankly, it’s a little too close to stalking me.  Even when I come see you, you print out coupons for products you know that I use.  Knowing the brand of toilet paper I keep stocked in my home is just a little too close for comfort.  Also, don’t think I don’t notice you are seeing other people.  I see you seducing them into cute throw pillows, stylish organization methods, and designer paper plates.  I guess no one is immune to your charms, but you don’t have to rub it in my face like that.
    So, I think you can probably see why I think we should cool off a bit.  I know the holiday season is approaching, and our history shows that’s when I need you the most.  If we take some time apart now, perhaps my visits during the holidays will be more reasonable.  Maybe you can work at appreciating me for my mind and not just my wallet, and I can perhaps leave our visits feeling less used.  I hope we can stay friends, and still be there for each other, just in a new, less bank account-draining way.  You work on not flaunting your deals on super cute household goods, and I’ll work on some restraint. 

Monday, October 17, 2011

McGruff comes to school and Momma fights traffic crime by yelling at random drivers

My son has a new teacher, already!  I got to meet her today, and she is so nice and so knowledgeable about the type of school he is attending.  She observed his class today.  I knew this for a few reasons #1, they sent a letter home saying she would be.  #2, he said "McGruff came to our class today.  She was nice and she looks wonderful!"  Her name is not McGruff, but it sounds similar.  I suppose he decided he liked McGruff better.  And #3, she told us at our meeting today that she observed class today.  Then she offered up this little story about observing:

I came into the class today, and the teachers explained I would be observing.  They did not say I would be the new teacher, because we didn't want the kids to focus on me while I was trying to observe their day.  One little friend came over to me several times to engage me, and ask me questions.  I told them I was just watching them work today, and they went back to work.  Then they came back and said "Why do you want to watch us work?"

I knew right away that was my kid.  He doesn't miss anything.  He saw someone/something new, and had to investigate.  haha  He also would ask why, because he'd find it quite boring to want to just sit and watch people work instead of being involved.  So, when I came home I asked him if he talked to McGruff, and he said "She was just watching us.  We were supposed to just do our work."  So I asked him who went over and talked to her.  He said one little girl went over to her, but when I started telling the story he said "Oh, that was me!  I wanted to know why she just wanted to sit there and watch us!"  Exactly.  The teacher did not indicate if the child was male or female, or even look my way, but I know that boy all too well to not recognize him in that story.  He's one of the most inquisitive people I know, and he does NOT let things rest.  He needs to get to the bottom of it. 

I often trap myself with that kid when I answer his questions.  For example, one thing I hate about where we live is the horrendous drivers.  People around here could not drive themselves out of a paper bag if their lives depended on it.  We have lived here for less than 2 years, and our cars have been hit and dinged in parking lots soooooooooooo many times.  My husband's bumper was ripped part way off his car the first week we lived here.  So, I often mouth off to folks while driving, though in much more clean language than before I had kids in the car.  Well, now my oldest asks questions about almost everything I say, so this is what I got the other day:

Me: Welcome to Maryland!

Him: Yes!  We are in Maryland!  Wait, why did you say that? Who are you talking to?

Me: No one.  Your Mommy has a bad habit of talking to people who can't hear her.  I'm just upset because no one here knows how to drive!

Him: Sure they do, Mommy! Look, there is someone driving RIGHT NOW!

Me: That's not what I mean.  I mean they DO drive, they just do not drive well.  They stink at it, as a matter of fact.

Him: Hmmm, why?  That car looks okay.

Me: Well, I don't know why.  They just are terrible drivers here.  Yes, that car looks okay for the moment, but I'm sure they'll mess up any moment now.  Look, see!  No turn signal!  They forgot to use their turn signal!


Me:  They can't hear you.  They are too busy being a bad driver, and their windows are up.

Him: But you were talking to them.

Me: Yes, because I am crazy.  You don't want to be a crazy person like your Mother.

Him: Why are you crazy?

Me: You should probably learn right now to never ask a crazy person why they are crazy.

Him: Can I get a hot chocolate?

These conversations always just go until one of us gets tired.  Some days, I give up, other days he moves onto something else, like hot chocolate.  Poor McGruff, she has only gotten a small taste of his personality.  Just wait until he starts pointing out when she forgets to do something, or does something a little differently.  Nothing gets past him.  That's my boy.  haha 

Saturday, October 15, 2011

The Weekend Rush - Halloween Prep

For the past 2 years in a row, my son has been "Thomas the Tank Engine" for Halloween.  I made him, well quite simply thee most fantastic Thomas costume ever.  I can't even pretend it didn't totally rock.  I was so pleased with it the first year he wore it, and when he fell face down into some wet leaves on a muddy lawn in the rain on the way back from trick-or-treating, I didn't even mind because we had gotten great use out of it.  I also could easily fix it back up.  Such a treat!  Then, last year came the trick... I had my son prepared to be Batman for Halloween, but when the day came he insisted on being Thomas again.  I did everything in my power to convince him otherwise, but he wasn't having it.  It had to be Thomas.  It was almost like trick-or-treat was defined by that costume for him.  One couldn't exist without the other.  So, I reluctantly agreed, already feeling sad that it would be difficult to tell Halloween 2009 and Halloween 2010 apart in pictures, and it would look like I was some slacker of a mom, sending my kid out in the same costume two years in a row.  For shame! 

This year I have built up trick-or-treat and costume picking for months!  The baby has his little duckie costume all ready to go (still hooked on those duckies in honor of "duck" being one of his very first words... must mean he loves them!).  We talked over costume ideas with my oldest son, and he decided he wanted to be a robot!  YAY!  So, I spent time drawing up the plans, collecting supplies, finding just the right size box, getting together sound effects and different kinds of lights to try... He is very excited.  I just finished the body of the bot tonight while he was sleeping.  I cannot wait for him to wake up and see the costume tomorrow.  Hopefully he will forget all about the Thomas costume (which lives on, it's in our basement).  I have to finish the head, but I need my husband's help as it requires the very careful use of a power tool, with which he has much more experience than I.  Still, I have the plans all drawn up for him. 

I get so excited over Halloween!  My mother made the greatest costumes for us.  We would attend costume contests and always win.  Here's a few of the hand-made costumes, just to give you an idea: a Taco!, Boom-box that played music, Dorothy, Snow White, a kangaroo, A show poodle, a Senorita, a raccoon, a bumble-bee... she rocked.  I also remember my Dad taking us around trick-or-treating, and I was so scared of all the scary costumes and houses but he'd make me feel safe.  It was so nice.  Great memories. 

I want my kids to have the same kind of happy memories of Halloween.  Maybe that's why I love autumn so much.  It's just one thing my parents always knocked out of the park, and it inspires me to do that for my kiddos. 

So I have a ton of stuff to catch up on tomorrow after devoting my day to the robot, but it's totally worth it!  My husband even managed to sneak in framing in and mulching under the swings on my sons' play set today.  2 big projects taken care of.  We are totally kicking ass!  :P

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

That's Sir Ninja Esquire to you....

Today my son was cleaning up the toys he and my youngest had spread out all over our living room, so I said "Thank you, Angel.  That really helps Momma!"  I often call him Angel, after all he's my sweet baby who is a perfect angel... when he's asleep.  Well, today he was so quick to say "Don't call me Angel, Mommy.  I'm a boy.  That sounds like a girl's name."  So I asked him what he'd like to be called instead.  "You could call me.... Ninja!"  I don't even think he really knows what a ninja is, but he has heard the word and thinks it's cool.  haha  For the rest of the night we called him "Ninja", along with a million other things he requested we refer to him as... such as Superman, Professor, Space Ranger, Doctor Engineer, Sir, Mister, and Blueberry (how that didn't fall into the "too girly" category I will never understand...). 

The poor thing is completely ill, yet again.  This is his 3rd illness since the weekend after labor day.  He has missed 5 days of school.  You are all probably sick of me mentioning him being sick, and let me tell you that I am so sick of it, too.  I want... I NEED something else to report!  He has an extracurricular cooking class tomorrow after school, and I'm so worried about sending him there with his coughing and runny nose.  Who wants to be cooking around that?  I will be doing some serious meditating tonight, hoping to attract some positive energy for this house.  He needs to be on the mend!  Maybe this means everyone will be right as rain for the holidays!?!  I hope so.  In the mean time, I'll take the extra snuggles.

Speaking of sick, time to get your flu shot!  I got mine today. =)  All the cool kids are doing it.  

And, on a "Remembering why I'm still a 58 year old man"-note:
I sent out two cards yesterday to two of my dearest friends.  I miss these ladies being close by every day.  I mean miss to the point of tears on occasion.  I'm so lucky to have found great friends along my journey in life, and I wish I could have had them close by forever.  I guess I need to share them with the rest of the world.  =(  I like sending out real mail.  I don't know how many folks still do it, but it makes my girls feel closer when I can send real paper and ink their way.  Don't get me wrong, I obviously love email and online communication, but I do like the occasional snail mail.  We send holiday gifts each year to our friends' children in Germany.  I started doing it because I thought of how it would have made my little kid year to get a gift from oversees from a little foreign buddy of mine.  Heck, a letter would have been awesome.  (But we all know every kid loves presents!)  I try to think of something they don't necessarily have over there.  We sent last year's Hess truck to the little boy because it had a plane and he loves planes, and we figured Hess was not something Germany would have.  All this mailing stuff also gives me a great excuse to get a pumpkin spice latte from Starbucks, which is in our grocery store right next to customer service where I buy my stamps.  =)

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

A cautionary tale for crickets

After all the crazy rain we've had, our garage is totally full of crickets.  Our neighbors are also having this problem.  It's disgusting.  We've sprayed them, and tried to get rid of the, but they keep multiplying.  Some are as big as frogs.  Between my husband, my son, and I someone mentions these buggers on a daily basis.  Today, though, my husband took the cake.

H So, I went out into the garage early and stabbed like six crickets.  I just went back out there, and saw other crickets carrying off the bodies, like their little dead comrades.  

Me Wait, what?  You were stabbing crickets?  Isn't that a little overkill?  What would you stab them with, anyway, and how are you so successful with these little moving targets?

H Stomping, I was stomping crickets.  Stabbing them would be tedious, though would send a pretty clear message to the other crickets, I suppose.

M I was just trying to imagine you hunched over some hopping crickets with little cricket shanking shivs.

H No, I am not you.  I didn't even think to make a tiny little shiv like that.  That is your hobby, not mine.

M Yeah, I'm like the Martha Stewart.  With shivs.

Monday, October 10, 2011

It's all fun and games until someone plows down your tree

It was another busy weekend and holiday for our family.  We had a fun weekend full of fall fun, starting with a Fall Harvest Festival at which we volunteered and also got some time to enjoy.  At the festival was Captain Jack Sparrow, who is now my pirate husband.  Everytime I say this my real husband rolls his eyes.  The first thing I said to my pirate husband was "I've been trying to get my husband to dress like this for years!" to which he responded "I've been looking for a wife for years, and you smell good!"  So, we really had to get pirate-married. 

After the festival, we went out to a local farm/orchard, and took a hay ride out to their pumpkin patch.  We had fun with the kids, "hunting pumpkins" as my oldest said.  Then, my husband mowed the normal looking lawn when we got home.  That may sound like a boring piece of trivia, but it will be important later!

Yesterday we were out of state for most of the day, getting the baby's portraits done, and visiting family.  I wasn't feeling well (equal parts brilliant and stupid to wear slip on shoes to volunteer at the moonbounce... easy to get in and out, but tend to get grass and stone in your shoes from taking them on and off leading to lots and lots of painful blisters :( ), and with the past month of illness throughout the family and assorted other stresses between the school issues, my husband's ever changing work schedule, and just about a ton of other things, I have been emotionally exhausted.  Well, my son's pictures were printed poorly, so I had to take a return trip and walk (which is seriously painful right now) way more than I really could stand to get them fixed.  My MIL and her boyfriend did not want my husband to go back to get the reprints, so they laid the guilt on thick and convinced me to go.  So, while I was there, I decided to self-medicate with an Abercrombie and Fitch shopping spree.  Needless to say, my husband was not quite as enthusiastic about my new outfits as I was. I'm wearing a pair of my new pants RIGHT NOW, and let me say they are so comfy and so cute.  :P

Today, when I woke my son up for school, I opened his curtains, and that is when I saw it.  Someone had driven through our yard and ripped it up.  We had a super busy morning ahead of us, so I just told my husband as a quick FYI, and we would check on the extent of the damage later.  Later in the day, my husband and son went to the library and to the doctor (yet again... now all 3 of the males in this house have been on or are on antibiotics for the assorted illnesses they've had for over a month now), and then, as I found out, to the mall.

I went out to check the mail, yes, Columbus Day, no mail!  While I was outside, I decided to look at the tire tracks.  As I was noticing that it seemed to be a motorcycle, as there wasn't always 2 tracks, and in spots where you could see 2 tracks kind of going the same direction, they'd get closer together and further apart, which a car wouldn't do (obviously).  This person pulled in and out of our yard and was turning and burning out in the mud.  They obviously came into the yard from the neighbor's driveway.  One of those neighbors has (or had, maybe he just sold it and that was the first thing the person who bought it did) a motorcycle.  There was a tire track of burnt rubber on their driveway, too.  Then, I saw that there was a full on accident.  Our tree was hit.  Bark was burned off or rubbed off, and several parts of it were straight up missing.  The entire thing was bent over, and many branches/trunks were (short tree or tall bush, it has lots of "trunks") totally broken and snapped in half.  I'm not sure where 50% of the tree went, but what was left of it now has about 50% of that gone from me taking out the broken pieces.  So, I spent a long time cleaning up my yard and garden and the tree.  We will have to repair and reseed some of the lawn.  The thing that really kills me is, no one left a note or knocked on our door to tell us they did that, that it was an accident.  Just fess up!  People make mistakes... unless it wasn't a mistake.  So, time will tell, I guess.  It's just annoying, and one more thing to add to the list of things that aren't quite going right.  My anxiety makes it hard to remember to see all the things going right, but I do get there.  I do remember that the crap going awry is just that, crap.  Most of it is just little things that are fixable.  Just why so many at once?  Eeek.  Oh well.  At least I still have all of my beautiful boys (and my extra pirate husband haha) to distract me from it and keep me smiling!

So, on that note.... we'll end with the conversation my real, not extra, husband and I had just before I sat down to write my blog...

Me You got a new phone, didn't you?

Him Yup

Me  Well, what did you get?  A droid, you got a droid, didn't you?

Him Yup

Me Well, I guess that means you really do love my new Abercrombie pants!  I knew you'd come around.

Him I'm calling you on my Abercrombie pants right now.


Me Guess your phone doesn't actually make phone calls.  Should've gone with the real Abercrombie pants.  tsk tsk  Oooh, mine just told me I have a new voicemail.  Oh, it says 'Those pants are so super cute.  It's so good that you got them, and the other pants and tops that are also super cute.  You could probably cure cancer in those pants.  You're husband can't even figure out how to play angry birds on that phone.'

He stopped talking to me.

Friday, October 7, 2011

On getting back to normal, whatever that is!

My son seems pretty much back to his normal, fun, cheerful self.  Yesterday he didn't have any time-outs, and when I corrected him a few times he immediately followed my instructions.  Today he did get carried away a couple times, but just his usual not watching where he was going.  But, he is not acting out anymore or misbehaving in strange and mean ways.  He was also super happy after school again today.  What a relief.  Hopefully the change in his class happened just in time, before his love of school and learning was totally squashed.  So, in honor of this funny little man, I'll post some of his "kidisms" for the week.

-Son Mom, I just stepped on that cricket and a tooth came out his butt.

-Son Again, Mrs. was not at school today.  She must still be sleeping.

-Son Mom I am sweating so much.  I need a hot chocolate to cool down.

-Son I don't know where my watch is.  This is a problem.  We should probably investigate.

-*The phone rings*
Son Mom, is that a sales person?

Me Nope, it's Aunt C.

Son Oh.  What is she trying to sell you?

Me Nothing.

Son Then why did she call?

Me There used to be a time when people just called each other on the phone to have a nice conversation with each other, and it wasn't all sales calls.

Son Ooooooooooooooooh, weird. 

-Son Mommy, your hair looks ridiculous.

Me What?  Why?  Why is it so bad?

Son No, GOOD ridiculous.  Like very ridiculous.  It's big, too.

Me My brain hurts.

Son Maybe it's your hair.

*And last, but not least.... this little fun nugget...

- Son Mommy, could you please give me those scissors.  I need to clip these coupons, and send them to Santa.  He could use the help. 

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Baby's 1st Birthday Party, Circus Theme...

Not really.  The theme of my youngest son's first birthday party was "duckies"!  One of his first words, aside from the Momma, Dadda, and his brother's name, was "Duck!" which was immediately followed by "Quack quack!"  However, the theme I had in mind and prepared with,wasn't the only theme.  Enter, the usual "family circus."  I love my family dearly, but often they simply write my blog posts for me.  They are very predictably unpredictable.  Just when you think you've seen or heard it all, they up their game and pull out a new brand of crazy.  At least they're lovable crazies.  (By the way, I am not unaware of myself.  I realize I'm also afflicted by crazy.  The difference is, I know, and openly admit I'm a case.  The first step is admitting you have a problem, right?)

We can start this entry at exactly 47 minutes before the party began, and I was trying to finish getting my oldest son ready....

Me: Come on, kiddo, I need to brush your teeth and do your hair.  

Husband: We have 45 minutes!  We have time.  

Exactly two minutes later: *ding dong!*  Enter my always ultra-early father in law.  He has brought my husband's grandparents with him. I  now have 3 guests to entertain almost an hour before the party, while I'm working on the finishing touches.  Oh, fantastic, they want to chat while I work and expect my full attention.  Let's get this party STARTED!

Now, along with my father in law always comes junk mail.  We are talking catalogs, clippings from magazines, and coupons for the diapers they know we do not use.  A real "Here, you throw this out!" situation.  He did not let me down!

FIL: I brought you a gardening magazine!  I know you have a garden.  You can look through it and buy stuff out of it if you'd like.

Me: Oh.  The catalog?  I thought my husband brought in our mail.

What I was really thinking: I'm saving every women's apparel catalog I receive in the mail, and I will bring them to your house the next time we come up.  I know you have a wife!  You can look through it and buy stuff out of it if you'd like!  PS Quit bringing me junk mail to stuff somewhere while I"m trying to get ready for a party you are so hella early for.

Not long after their arrival, my mother in law, her boyfriend, my brother in law and niece showed up.  They are also always early.  It's almost as if my fil and mil try to out-early each other.  This is the first time she didn't ask our permission to show up early (we always say not more than 15 minutes), so I thought we were out of the woods, but nope... she didn't ask so she couldn't be told "no".  She promptly walked over to Gram, whom my mother was speaking to (yes, my Mom WAS there early she and my sister come and help.  They never expect to be entertained, and they always get busy helping when they get here... this is never the case with the other folks who show up with endless amounts of shit to dump in the middle of my beautifully decorated party and then ask for drinks and entertainment before I'm ready for the party to even start!!!)  So, where was I, yes, my MIL walks over to Gram and my Mom, butts in and immediately starts talking to Gram and completely ignores my mother's existence.  She never even acknowledges that she cut in on a conversation already in progress.  She always makes that bee-line for Gram, who is her ex-mother in law (whom she doesn't quite have a great relationship with so that's even more peculiar.)  Then, I notice that someone is moving into my house....

Yes, boxes upon dirty, dusty boxes are appearing in my house... on my front stoop, and are making their way into my basement.  Everything comes to a screeching halt as a truck full of shit I wasn't warned about or asked for is completely unloaded into my home.  A TRUCK.  That is not an exaggeration.  This is all still before the party starts, and GUESS WHAT!  I'm expected to hold the door open for them (my MIL and her boyfriend) instead of do what I need to do for my party that starts in the next few minutes.

This might be a good time to mention that the last party I had, I was showered but still in my pj's about 20 minutes before the party started because I had so many last minute things to tend to.  They are LUCKY I was dressed.  Although, maybe answering the door in my nightgown would give them the friggin hint.  Oh wait, my FIL used to knock on our door at 7AM on a weekend when we were newly weds without kids, and I'd roll out of bed and answer the door with pj's, undone hair, no make up, not even teeth brushed, and a scowl on my face and he still continued to do it.... so maybe not.

Then I notice my oldest son getting presents.  My MIL found out that my SIL had something for him (now, it was something I asked her to get for him and I'd pay her for it, but my MIL thought it was a gift...) so SHE had to buy something for him, as well.  Rule #1 on that side of the family:  You don't get to do something original or on your own.  SHE did it first, SHE did it better, or SHE did it bigger.  (Hell, today I mentioned my husband has a swollen thyroid, and guess what SHE had one first!!  Back when she was 30, and she had it for years, and the doctor was so clairvoyant that she didn't need any tests to know that it was absolutely nothing.  She's a medical marvel, that one!)

So, let's fast forward past all the hairy eyeballs my MIL and FIL shot at each other, or the exaggerated sudden conversations they'd start up in my face as soon as the other one walked anywhere near them, and get to the flavor of nut that is my own flesh and blood...

My father is retiring and moving... just in case you don't live in a 500 mile radius and have been stopped by him, an entire packet of information about his new home in sunny Florida thrust in your face, and had him scrolling through the pics on his iphone while he tells you how fabulous and successful he is as a human being.  Yep, he's just a little, well a whole hell of a lot better than you are.  He has soooooooo much more than you do, too.  He's so outrageously successful , that he is measuring his success with how big of a golf cart garage he will need... oh yes, he's going with the 2 cart garage!  NO expense will be spared!  THIS is what makes life complete... driving a golf cart around your retirement village as your 2 children live their lives and your 2 small grandchildren grow up so fast right before your very... oh wait... very far from your actual vicinity.  But they will have his and her GOLF CARTS!  Seriously, you can't top that.  I know my mother's (yes, the one he divorced) father LOVED hearing all about his life of luxury and "better than you-ness", all the while knowing what my mother has gone through thanks to him.  That was probably the EXACT conversation my pop-pop was hoping to have.  I'm sure he loved the little movies of golf carts driving up and down the streets on my dad's phone.  Totally awesome, and super appropriate.  This day was meant to celebrate how top notch my dad is, and how he's made it, and once again is leaving his family behind and... oh wait... why is there a birthday cake... who are these presents for... oh wait, YEAH!  There's a small person walking around here who might be important or something.  Bet he doesn't have a golf cart.  Loser.

Right after everyone ate, my husband's grandmother approached him and said they had to be leaving because his Dad was getting tired, and he was their ride home.  My FIL then approached my husband and said that his Grandmother was getting tired so he had to get them home.  Who do I believe?  Gram.  My FIL usually says, about an hour into any gathering "Well, I have to go mow the lawn."  Like, he always waits to mow his lawn on the only day you have plans with him, even if you haven't seen him for several months.  THAT'S the day he needs to mow.  Why make the 3 hour round trip down here to stay for an hour?  Usually when he says "Well, I" that's when I cut him off now and say "Have to mow your grass?!  Well, thanks for coming!" in the most chipper, insane voice I have.  Which, yes, is really really close to my normal insane voice, but still... He had to blame it on someone else because it was pouring rain and just above freezing, so mowing would be even more absurd than usual.

So that was our family circus party.  These people, I could squeeze till their eyes pop out with equal parts of love and frustration.  We ALL have these people in our families... if you think you don't then it's YOU!  You may need to re-evaluate.  I'm just sayin.

To end the party, I pulled out my brand of quirky behavior and pulled out the party hats, and proceeded to require everyone to wear one, corral everyone in front of the fireplace, and took a picture for my son's scrapbook.  A photo of lovable, misfits who all belong together on the funny farm making each other laugh, cry, and sometimes stab things.  But, they are our family, and if we got rid of any of them it would not be the same.  If any of you tell them about this blog I will stick you.  Just sayin'.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Rule #1: Do NOT mess with a Momma Bear's cubs...

My 4 year old recently started pre-school, as I have mentioned.  We love the school, and it really seemed like a perfect fit for him.  When we received his teacher assignment, we found out he had the "bad" teacher.  Her reputation was not very warm or encouraging, but I still gave her the benefit of the doubt.  I like to form my own opinions, and he is a bright kid which I thought might help him in this situation.  I was told she favors kids who are ahead of their peers.  Right away I started to worry about how things were going in the classroom.  My son would be withdrawn when I'd pick him up.  He'd be quiet, and stare off.  This is not at all like him.  He couldn't tell me even one name of a classmate.  He told me they were never allowed to speak, and they couldn't even exchange names.  He told me the teacher was constantly "shushing" them.  I was disappointed, and asked a friend who works at the school if he was in a silent classroom.  Did I miss that about this place?  She told me they are not supposed to be silent.  (Remember, this is pre-school, and also an alternative school, not a formal grade school.)  Then my son fell very ill, just like most of his classmates.  He missed several days of class, had a febrile seizure, and when he was recovering from one illness and returned to school he picked up a second illness immediately.  So, he missed several days and several lessons.  The other children all had 12 more hours of school than he had.  I was worried he'd be a little lost and behind.  I was told he'd be caught up.

  Then I get reports from him that he is no longer eating snack.  He says the teacher tells him to keep working every time he tries to have snack.  (They help themselves to snack when they want it as long as they have completed one item of work before they head to the snack table.)  Also, there are only 4 seats at the table.  If they are full you can't have snack, you need to start another work and finish it... then you may try again.  Sound ridiculous for 3-5 year olds?  Yeah, thought so.  They are under no time limits, so the same 4 can sit there as long as they'd like.  Also, if they each take an average of a 10 minute break, they will take an hour to get through every child, and with the near hour of outside play and the circle time and the work they are doing, they really have less than an hour to get everyone in.  I had already mentioned my concern to the teacher that he was never eating and was very hungry when he got home.  It's known that children this young need a mid morning snack to be able to properly learn and function.  It also affects behavior if they are hungry. 

   Then my kiddo starts telling me another child called him stupid because he couldn't hear what the teacher said and made a mistake.  This teacher whispers so quietly when she speaks that my husband will not attend meetings with her because he cannot hear her at all.  AT ALL.  No exaggeration about that.  It's a passive-aggressive behavior that is to have control over people.  It makes people have to lean in, have to ignore everything around them to the point of straining to hear, and forces them to ask you to repeat yourself (which eventually gets embarrassing) or risk the added embarrassment of doing something wrong because they didn't hear the proper direction.  I have told my child several times to tell her when he cannot hear her and ask her to speak up.  When I speak to her now, I keep direct eye contact and the minute she becomes inaudible I firmly say "I cannot hear you.  You need to speak up."  She has learned to not pull that shit with me, and always speaks audibly to me now.  I guess I lack the capability to play along with passive-aggression, but I never have the patience to cater to these types of people.

   Then... oh yes there is more, much more... my kid is standing outside their gym, proudly holding open the door for his classmates to walk through at the end of the day, and a kid gets in his face and sticks his tongue out at him in a nasty (not silly) way.  Later, in the car, he tells me another kid was headbutting him and he had to just sit there and take it because he was not allowed to get up and walk away and he's afraid to ask the teacher for help and "make her mad".  He is also afraid to ask her to help him tie his shoes and "make her mad".  (She has said she does not tie shoes.  We have been trying to teach him, he just does not have it all figured out yet which is totally normal.  She's just insane.)  He is also afraid to ask for assistance, if he needs it, in the bathroom and "make her mad."  Why is he so afraid?  Why will everything "make her mad"? 

   I noticed that my son's withdrawn behavior had turned to acting out at home.  He was acting unusual and aggressive.  I felt like he was acting like he does when I'm ill and can't give him much attention and he acts out to get any attention.  Like maybe he was being ignored all day or not engaged in challenging enough material.  Well, the teacher started to walk over to my car in the pick up line on Monday.  Another teacher had put my son in the car.  So I rolled my window down, and greeted her with a cheerful "Hello!" hoping she wanted to tell me something fun my son did, but nope.  This is the exact conversation.  (Note, her tone was hostile as if I had done this myself or instructed my child to misbehave). 

Her: "Your son did not get to play at all today.  He was hurting children."
Me: What?!
Her: Yes!  He pushed 2 kids."

Then she stormed off.  I did not get a chance to say "boo" to her, let alone ask her about it.  I would have liked her to call me, so I could address my concerns about how he was being treated by the other kids and how he was acting so strange at home.  Maybe it was connected.  Maybe he was instigating the trouble with his peers.  Maybe he was defending himself.  I had no idea what was going on.  BUT  I did know I was not going to be ambushed in the pick up line and not given the opportunity to respond.  If my kid has a behavioral problem, I need to know.  I do not tolerate that kind of behavior in my home or anywhere else.  I did speak to him, reprimand him, and put him in time out.  He did tell me he was going to go down the slide, a child would not move out of his way, and was sitting at the bottom refusing to move.  He asked her to move, she didn't, so he went down the slide.  Not acceptable, but also not intending to hurt her... intending to go down the damn slide. Here is where I will skip ahead a bit... today she came to my car and said "You can expect a phone call from me.  He was pushing again."  So, I asked him what was going on again, and he said 3 kids were pushing him, trying to push him out of line, so he pushed one of them back.  So, now he's defending himself.  The child who did not move off the slide was breaking the "get off the slide when you're done and let someone else come down" rule, but did not get reprimanded.  Also, the 3 kids bullying him in line did not get in trouble, as only he was seen pushing by another teacher.  His actual teacher never saw him push anyone ever.  She said the one kid on the first day (not the girl on the slide, but someone else who also said he pushed them) may have been making it up because he fibs a lot.  So, she didn't see any of this happen, and only really believes one report but decided to make him sit alone for over 25 minutes.  He could have been out there for 23-45 mins.  They usually go out for 45 mins.  I was there early that day for pick up, and saw them outside at that time.  That is how I know it was at least 23 minutes.  That is ostracism.  I was ostracized by my peers as a child and that was bad enough, but having an adult sit you out and make you watch everyone have fun around you for so long when you are only 4?!  Time out should be one minute per year of their age!  My friend who works there witnessed this on several occasions with him.  She even spoke up about it and pointed out that he is not a bad child who ever hurts other children.  She doubted he had caused any trouble at all. 

Knowing he was mistreated on the playground like that by the teacher, I arrived at the school bright and early.  The head of the school was in a meeting, so I said

No problem.  I have cleared my schedule.  I have a babysitter for my baby.  I will wait.

As I walked to my car, my child's teacher noticed me and immediately looked down.  She knew why I was there.
I sat for an hour and a half (all the while my attitude totally improving) .  Then I was called in.  I went over everything I laid out here.  I said what I wanted out of the meeting was the following:

A.  I insisted on a face to face apology from my son's teacher for the mistreatment of my child, and a reassurance that it would never be repeated, or anything close to that.

B. I wanted an immediate observation of the classroom to see if I noticed anything I could reinforce at home, to see how I could help my child succeed.  So I could figure out how to make sure he got to that snack table.  So I could see what the problem might be.

C. I wanted phone calls, not parking lot ambushes, for any future concerns regarding my child.

D. I also made clear that if my meeting with the head of the school resulted in any poor treatment of my child that "I will be standing her before you even less happy than I am at this very moment, and we see how this is going."

E.  I also said I will not be bringing in snack on the day I am to bring it, as they can collect up all the snacks he should have gotten and hand them out to the kids.  Why should I feed everyone elses' child, when my kid never gets a chance to eat.

I was firm, but still pointed out how much we love the school, and do believe our child should be there.  We were disappointed at that time, but felt it could be worked through.  I thanked the head of the school for meeting with me, and for her attention to the matter.  She (btw, she had agreed with every issue I had and how inappropriate everything was and said they had spoken to that teacher in the past about the very same issues so it's not just me by any stretch of the imagination.) said that the teacher would be calling me to set up the observation.

I waited until the afternoon for the teacher's call.  When it came she apologized only for not calling me sooner.  She told me she had not observed my kid misbehaving, but trusted the one child who reported him, (which, mind you, my kid feels he cannot report when kids are bad to him but it's okay for them to do it?!), and one other teacher saw him push and she knew he was defending himself, but he can't push.  She also went over the snack rules I laid out above in this post.  I told her I understood what she was saying, but we had to figure out how to get him to the snack table in time.  Maybe his blood sugar dropping was adding to his behavior.  I also told her we withheld his cough medicine last night because we felt that was altering his behavior, and noticed that at home.  I did tell her we noticed his behavior changing way before that, too, and that clued us in to something being wrong at school.  Maybe he wasn't challenged enough.  Well she danced around and had excuses for everything. She stayed pleasant, and I did not get mean, but I stayed firm.  I mentioned to her the thing about I will not be bringing in snack (as I mentioned above).  Then I told her I was to schedule an observation with her.  She told me she could not schedule that, I had to call the school.  I thought it was weird that the head of the school gave me wrong info about that....

So I called the school right away.  They put the head of the school on the phone with me who was extremely shocked that the teacher had called me.  She said

I met with her.  Our meeting did not go well.  Um, can you tell me about your discussion with her?

So, I told her what I laid out for you above... then our conversation went like this:

H: I would like to set up the observation for you, if you still want one, but she won't be in tomorrow.  Or ever.  She told me she wouldn't be in tomorrow, or ever, that she was not returning.

Me: What?  I'm sorry it did not go well, I didn't want to make anyone leave.  I wanted to work together to be sure that he was treated right, and that I was doing my part to be sure he was properly participating in class and not misbehaving.  

H: No, I know that.  Don't worry.  I had only gotten to tell her that, again, kids are not to be singled out and sitting on the bench all of recess, but she told me he wasn't sitting on the bench.  

Me: She told me to my face he was.  *(side note, he was sitting on a tire, so she thought she'd get away with saying he wasn't sitting on the bench... niiiiiiiice)

H: I know, and she's done this before, and the other teachers saw it.  So I told her that is unacceptable and never to happen.  I also got to tell her that every child needs to get their snack if they want it. She said she could not adhere to those standards, and that is when she told me she was not returning and left my office.

Total shock. You can't NOT put kids on a bench or tire for 45 minutes and make them sit alone while they watch their friends have fun, and you cannot make sure they get snack if they want it, so you will quit your damn job over snack and recess?!  Apparently she did need to go, because that sounds like a psychological issue to me now.  Also, she called me AFTER she quit?!  Whhhaaaaat? 

I did not rejoice in this news, and at first I worried what would happen to his class... would they find another teacher, would this be too much on the kids, would the assistant treat my son bad (or would I even be treated like a problem parent?!).  I also worried about the teacher, who had been there a long time.  She is a human being, and was making a living.  I felt guilty for causing all this trouble, but then I realized I did not cause it at all.  I called it out, yes, but I didn't cause it.  She made the choice to do those things, and if she had given me nothing to report, then I wouldn't have had that meeting.  It's not acceptable to mistreat kids like that.  I even said I wanted to work with helping my child succeed, but I would not dismiss the fact that what she did on the playground was completely unacceptable.

My friend has assured me that no one was told I even came in for a meeting (though, I'm pretty sure that me and my "angry face" was seen by nearly everyone.  But, there were also a lot of other parents there that day, so maybe there is a chance I won't get a bad rep.  I volunteer there all the time, and I'm on good terms with everyone.  My neighbor says the few people who know do not view me as trouble, but more like Joan of Arc.  haha  I do not know about that, but if my meeting today keeps my son and the other kids from having to be treated poorly (and I have other stories from other parents I don't even have room to go into on here, just suffice it to know parents have pulled their kids out over this teacher before), and from the staff from dreading working with her and worrying about the kids and their mental health around her, then I guess I made the right choice to take care of it when I did.

So, I hope that answers some questions for my friends who knew kind of what was going on, but wanted to know what all went down.  The more you know....


Sunday, October 2, 2011

Hear no, see no, speak no evil... unless you're 4 then say whatever you see or hear!

My 4 year old hit the "repeat everything you hear" stage a loooooong time ago, so we started spelling out anything we didn't want him to understand or repeat later.  Today that brilliant little game came to a screeching halt, thanks to his current focus on reading and spelling.

Me: We have got to get rid of this birthday cake.  I can't be around it or I'll totally D-I-E.

Son: Yes, me too.  I could totally D-I-E.

And that was that.  Now we'll have to get more creative, I suppose, or start only having very dull and boring conversations while the kids are awake.  That sounds painful and soul crushing, so we better come up with a new approach very soon!

Later on we went out to pick up Halloween costume supplies at Lowes.  On our way we encountered a huge traffic issue and a group of protesters.  We were about to give up on making the usually 10 minute trip...

Husband: What is going on?  This is tying up the entire city.  There is literally a circle around the center of the city and we cannot get around!

Me: I know.  Oh wait, there's going to be a break!  *just as we go to turn, the cop who was stopping traffic decides to no longer remain parked and turns into our path without warning* This is ridiculous!

Son: This is ridiculous!  People driving today, that is ridiculous!  

*snickering from the parents*

2 minutes later, while we're parking

Son: Aaaah!  People are coming out of the store, taking things to their car, and getting in their car and driving away.  That is ridiculous!  This rain is ridiculous!  Look at how they painted the name on the store...!

Me: *after howling with laughter and then managing to collect myself*  Okay, let's go into this ridiculous place and get some ridiculous supplies, Mr. Ridiculous.

Son: Mommy, that's ridiculous!

I wonder what his "news of the day" will be tomorrow at school.  Whatever it is, it's probably so ridiculous that I will D-I-E when he tells me.

Oh well, all good things come to an end.  Before my 4 year old calls me out on something insane I said in the privacy of my own home while we are out in public, I better install a better filter between my brain and my mouth. 

Saturday, October 1, 2011

The quote that shall go on my tombstone... if I was going to have one

Today was my youngest son's very 1st birthday party!  It was a lot of fun, but now I'm super exhausted and just had a sugary piece of cake.  Apparently you can take exhaustion and add sugar and it equals this...

Me: Dude, that little facebook in the corner of my facebook says you have profile picture Tourette's or something

D: I've always been an indecisive twit.

Me: You must choobse...

D: Story of my life.

Me: I'd stick with the penis one.  I mean, I've always said "When in doubt, go with the penis."

And there you have it, sugared up sleep deprived words to live by.  You're welcome, America.