Thursday, January 31, 2008

Know what scares me?

When my kids throw up.

I don't try to track down where they got their snotty nose or cough, consigning those things to facts of living. But, I try to track down why their tummies are so upset they must violently empty themselves. Did I give them something rotten to eat? Have they been sucking on fingers that have been God only knows where? Is there something I could have done or is it something I did?

They've both had problems this weeks with "stomach flu" I guess you'd call it. Trevor is Superman, though. Monday night, he couldn't eat, he got sick before bed, woke up ready to go the next day. Just Call him Super Immunity System Kid. He's getting taller, too. Devin, on the other hand, has had a cough since Sunday, and when the stomach flu paid him a visit, it knocked him on his little bottom. Which seems to be getting littler and littler. Call him Standard Immunity System Kid!

Well, it scares me, this. More than other childhood illnesses. I'm not sure why.

The other thing that scares me right this moment is that Spy Satellite that will fall to earth in February or March somewhere in North America, maybe. We don't know exactly where it will land until 30 minutes before it hits the ground. I'm thinking of ways to be prepared...

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Teddy Bear, Teddy Bear

You may recall a news story recently where a British Teacher abroad nearly got whacked for naming a Teddy Bear "Mohammad" as part of a class project. I'm glad she got out of Sudan with her life and didn't have to spend too much time in jail for her innocent mistake.

Anyway, the boys' school is doing a very similar project. We got Teddy (who is named Teddy and not Jesus, Moses, Joseph Smith, Buddha or Ganesh) and his overnight bag on Thursday night, and he spent the entire weekend with us. Devin had a good time dressing and re-dressing Teddy, and he even let the new Teddy sleep with him.

Even Trevor let the bear sleep with him one night.

Yes, even Socks got in on the action one night when neither Trevor nor Devin took Teddy to bed.

The point of the project isn't foster care for toys, though. The point is language development. After spending time with Teddy, the kids are supposed to write (or dictate) about Teddy's experience in the journal.

Devin scribbled a little and told me a few stories about how Teddy fell down the stairs on his head at which time his eyeball fell out. Then, he told me another story about throwing him in the air and catching him and having his eyeball fall out. And, he made a note of how Trevor shared Teddy with him. Except for the eyeballs falling out (which didn't really happen) Devin's dictation was pretty par for the course.

Trevor's wasn't.

See, he had been really excited about bringing Teddy home. He wasn't the first of his friends to spend time with Teddy, and he had heard about all the fun that everyone else had with Teddy.

His dictation started out normal enough. He told me how he threw him in the air and caught him. But, then he said that he got bored of Teddy and that was really disappointing and unexpected since everyone else had such fun. He was so bored that he just went back to his old sleeping friends for fun. He ended his journal entry with a Thank You for the opportunity to spend time with Teddy.

I felt the need to apologize to his teacher. Even though it was language development, I felt bad writing down what Trevor dictated. So, I mentioned it to his teacher. She's also British and abroad, judging from her accent. She said that they just roared and roared at Trevor's honesty...

Also, did I mention that his latest assessment from school has him listed at Blue Circle's authority not only on dinosaurs but also on nature. It's true.

Monday, January 28, 2008

You've waited for it...

Here it is.

Juicy Home Made Raisins.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Yes, I've been rather absent

Not sure why. Streppy Christmas led into something else that I'm pretty much over now, but I've been tired. I've started several posts and then stopped because they weren't even to the standard of what I like to call my "Mediocre Mommy Blog" where spelling and grammatical errors are allowed to stand for years (and years.)

So, let's talk about Devin. I'm sure you've been checking almost daily to hear about the latest status of potty training.

It was going splendidly for weeks. And, then we took a mini-vacation to Niagara Falls. And, he did splendidly until the way home. We had just entered the greater Buffalo area when Devin told us he needed to go. There is not one, NOT ONE, easily accessible gas station or fast food place on whatever interstate we were on in Buffalo. Not one, and I am not exaggerating.

So, we ended up taking an exit with a Hospital near some stadium at the edge of Buffalo. The town looked scary from the interstate, but Trevor had to use the bathroom, too, and we figured that there would be a McDonald's or another fast food place near a hospital. With the help of our tom-tom, we did find what was easily the scariest KFC I've ever been in. If Buffalo, NY is anything like that KFC and that particular part of town we were in, then it's safe to say it was the scariest KFC in the scariest town I've ever been in. It was scary from the moment we pulled into the snow covered parking lot and spied the graffiti on the building. We were so scared that we locked the doors. We never lock the doors. Upon entering scary KFC, we spied what appeared to be bullet proof glass that was stowed, but could be used after closing to separate the kitchen from the dining room.

So, the bathrooms at the scariest KFC in the scariest city in America were, hmmm...scary. Devin refused to use the scary toilet. And, at some point on the way home, he reverted to using his pull-up. And, later at home, he redefined "potty trained" to mean changing his own diaper.

A Brief Note on the Scariest KFC...the cashiers were angels. They commented on my immensely cute, but suddenly shy, Devin. Then, they coaxed him off my shoulder with a little bag of Teddy Grahams. They asked if we were there to bring our child to the doctor. Seemed an odd question, but we had taken the hospital exit. I think they questioned our sanity in bringing our children to the scariest KFC in America, but thought it must be OK if we were taking said children to the hospital. They were good women in a scary place.

The scary toilet helped Devin understand that he has standards when it comes to toileting himself. Since our return from Canada, we've been able to get him back on the right path, though now it seems less clear when the path will end, and he has several potty accidents a day now. Before, he was happy to potty on the toilet, and after he had at least one poop, he could wear underwear safely.

Now, he isn't happy to potty on just any toilet. It must be flushed. I know what you're thinking. Don't you flush? Sure, I do, but sometime Trevor doesn't. He's a little fearful of things, and for that reason, I will never allow him to attend a revival at a Southern Baptist Church (they'll talk about demons if I remember my Southern Baptist revivals). But also for this reason, sometimes, he doesn't flush. Devin, however, wants his toilets to be pristine. Which leads to the next thing. Toileting in a public restroom is only rarely acceptable to Devin. And, if he's wearing a pull-up, it's even rarer. It's only with bribes of apple juice can I get him to actually go potty in a public toilet. Prior to the scary KFC, public toilets were just another fine place to show off his newly acquired skill.

It's like a broken promise. He told me he might or he might not go potty. But, then he did. And, for weeks, he only had one potty accident. And, I told his teachers how excited I was, and that I knew it was going to go fast. And, as far as potty goes, we were right there. We still had to work on the next part, but I simply marveled at how easy it was. I thought that everyone should really just wait until their kid is ready! I probably even had moments when I felt superior to those people who actually potty trained their kid instead of just waiting for their kid to potty train himself.

And, then we visited a scary KFC, and it's all undone. I mean, we're back on track now, but I see more obstacles than before. That KFC was really just a scary place.

But, wait?! Did you say you went to Niagara Falls in January? Yes. Yes I did. Even though our dollar is weak, it was cheaper to go to the indoor water park in Canada than to stay in the US. I guess it's supply and demand. Americans wanted to go to indoor water parks during Martin Luther King Weekend, and none near us had openings or they were prohibitively expensive. Up in Canada, we got an excellent rate and it wasn't crowded at all. It was only about 5 hours from home. Oh, the falls were cool, too. We looked from a distance. But, they were cool. As I paddled in the wave pool in the best indoor water park I've ever enjoyed, I couldn't help but think that Niagara Falls in January is America's best kept mini-vacation secret. Food was expensive because of our weak dollar. But, we got lots of coupons because it was their off peak time. So, it worked out just fine. Canada Rocks. Buffalo, NY...not so much.

Part 2.5:
I read 1.5 books on our trip. Fantastic! Long Road Trips are awesome!!

I want a share a quote from the first book I read. The Road by Cormac McCarthy is the story of a Man and his son traveling to the Southern Atlantic coast in post-apocalyptic America. The Man is a good Man, and he tries to teach his son to be good, too. Here's the quote, and it is what the Man says about his Boy very early on in the book.

If he's not the word of God God never spoke.

(I would put it in quotation marks, but Cormac McCarthy doesn't use them, so neither shall I.)

Shouldn't we all feel this way about our children? Even those children who require pristine toilets for continued potty training success... Especially those children.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Trevor the Paleontologist

Trevor is the smartest 5 year old I know. He really is. We like to watch educational programs together, and sometimes he actually prefers those over cartoons (especially the cartoons Devin likes to choose!)

We were watching an educational program last week, and he said, "I want to make a discovery!" He said this with such passion that I promised him that we would do exploring and digging as soon as the weather got nice. That was the day before it turned 60 degrees out.

When we picked him up at school the next day, he threw a tantrum because he and his dig team were having such a good time digging and discovering things at school. We finally got him home, and we played outside as promised. Since he'd already been given some good paleontological knowledge at school, I had a heck of a time convincing him the colorful pointed rocks were anything other than rocks. I was hoping he'd be happy to discover something resembling a tooth or a tool. But, no. He wanted a fossil, a bona fide fossil. So, it was a little disappointing to Trevor that we only found rocks. (Devin had a good time, though.)

Later in the week, he wondered aloud if he should invite a girl to be part of his dig team. And, we noticed the teachers had made signs that read "Paleontologists at work."

So, it shouldn't have been surprising to me yesterday when Trevor told me that he wants to just stay at the Montessori school where he is. His plan is to go ahead and sign up for their paleontological program. And, this will have the added benefit of keeping him out of high school. He doesn't want to attend high school because, as he said, "they have cafeterias." (Apparently, he doesn't mind peanut butter and jelly sandwiches every day.)

Friday, January 11, 2008

The tornado and the end of the rainbow.

I'm pretty sure this is my boss's neighborhood. I just talked to him, and he sounds exhausted. He's been quite busy helping to take of his neighbors in need, and he's looking forward to coming back to work so that he can relax.


On a brighter note, though, the Computer Guy and I went out for lunch, and we saw a rainbow. And, then, we saw the end of that rainbow right there off to our left. Pretty cool.


I adore Devin. I really do. I adore Trevor, too. He's our resident expert on dinosaurs, and if we have a question about a dinosaur, we ask Trevor and we trust his information. But, I want to talk about Devin.

Last night, we were in the office and we heard him rustling around in his bedroom. Then, we heard his door squeak open. He must have heard us because he didn't come down. Instead, he let out a choked sob. He's had a cough, so I ran to him to make sure he was OK. I knelt down to his level and asked what was wrong. He threw his arms around my neck and as I pulled him close, he said with a cry, "I want you to go to bed!"

He's been coming to our bed each night around midnight or right after. I pull him up and put him in the middle and that's where he sleeps. So, he was upset because he was ready for his second phase of night-night, and we weren't in bed.

I carried him downstairs, and while I was still holding him, I started turning off lights and putting things away so that I could go to bed. The computer guy came over and said hopefully, "You want me to take him?" I didn't. I was pretty busy adoring my Devin, but I could tell that he wanted to adore him, too. So, I gave him up and finished my tasks as the Computer Guy coo'd to him and took him to bed. When I finally came to bed, Devin and his dad were nose to nose, "keeping each other warm," the Computer Guy said.

I wish this conveyed how much I adore Devin. He's just a wonderful little kid. I know he's going to have to beat back this "ornery" label that me and his teachers and everyone who knows him has saddled him with. Maybe "adored" will outweigh "ornery." Ooooo, I just want to give him a cuddle right now. Too bad he's at school. Cuddles later...

Tuesday, January 08, 2008


As a kid, I was keenly aware that I lived in tornado alley. And, tornadoes scared the heck out of me. When they said, "We've got greenage!" in that movie, Twister, a deep frightful place in me responded to the truth in that statement.

Last night, my boss's house got hit by a tornado in Wisconsin. He said that 10 houses in his neighborhood were destroyed, and MSNBC said that 11 houses in Wisconsin were destroyed. His house is still standing, but it appears only because tornadoes are random in their destruction.

I don't think Wisconsin is in Tornado alley, and yesterday was a glorious Indian Summer Day here in Central PA where we dug for fossils in the creek sand behind the house in our shirt-sleeves. I'm thankful for our beautiful day here and thankful no one in Wisconsin died in the tornadoes yesterday. Keep Wisconsin in your thoughts today, please.

Sunday, January 06, 2008

Guess who's using the Potty?!

Did you guess me?  You're right!  But, so is Devin!  We started talking about it yesterday, and I asked him to try and he said, "Ok, I might, but I might not (go pee)."  All I asked was that he tried, and he did try.  About six or seven times, as I hovered nearby anxiously waiting for the tinkling to make music in my ears.  But nothing.  He was definitely on the "might not" side of the equation.

But, then.  But, then!  He went and sat on the little potty in the bathroom and came back all excited because he had in fact gone potty!  Then, he did that about 8 more times.  And, today, he went shopping with the Computer Guy for at least 2 hours without having a single accident in Trevor's underwear!  (He knows where we keep Trevor's underwear but he's having a hard time finding his own, you see.)

I did promise a couple of things...cake and lasagna, birthday style.  I'll invite his grandparents over.  I'll let him pick out a big toy.  We'll take him to Disney World (We're going anyway! Sometime within the next few months, so we'll let it be his reward.  It'll be fine.  He's not spoiled!)  We'd been making similar promises for months to no avail.  I'm not sure what's different now.  I don't care.  He's using the potty, and I am so proud of him.  Trevor is so proud of him that he actually shook his hand this morning.  Whaddya think about that??

I think this is going to go relatively fast, too.  That's my hope.  Man, I hope he doesn't get a cold and have a set back.  Can you imagine never having to buy diapers again?  Can you?  Wipes? Running out of them? Freecycling the changing table? Never having to worry about diapers, wet dry or indifferent again?  Can you imagine??


Friday, January 04, 2008

All out of order

I still need to get pictures off my camera, so this is all of order.  Hope that works for you!

On New Year's day, there was a bit of snow on the ground, so we went sledding in our backyard.  Our sled hill ends in a wild rose bush with thorns, and that's sad.  But, we were pretty good about hopping off the sled just in time.  Santa brought both boys a little blue disc, and lo and behold, I can fit on it, too!  What a fun time, we had.  I need to rip out those thorny bushes, though.  Not only do they make an unpleasant end to a pleasant sled hill, they make it hard to mow in the summer when they reach out and grab me with their sticky grabby hatefulness that won't even produce wild roses in the summer.

After our sledding, we went and explored the area behind out house.  The developer of our neighborhood has built a raised boardwalk because it gets swampy back there, so we spent about 20 minutes making snowballs from the snow on the boardwalk and throwing it at the trees.   Then, we went to feed the ducks.  Our neighbor up the street feeds them every day, so they live in the creek behind her house.  But, they come out of the creek, too.  As we walked toward the section of the creek where the ducks spend their time, some were on the bank.  We stopped because no need to scare them away, right?  They didn't take much notice of us.  A few minutes later, they did notice us, so they started walking towards us!  Bold ducks, they!  On Christmas Eve, a lame deer came to our back yard.  I tried to call someone to help when my brother in law suggested that I call a hunter.  I decided then just to let it be.  I figured off it was better off without my help!  Good thing, too.  Apparently, the lame deer has been hanging around here for awhile now.

Oh, and the neighbor who feeds the ducks? She's asked the boys to join her a couple of times.  Last time, Devin so desperately wanted her to stay for a play date.  She left, and later he said he was going to call her "Dot.Com."  Why?  Why?  I have no idea.

Trevor is making New Year's resolutions at school.  His first is to start feeding Socks.  Not bad, I say.  His original second was to help me keep his dirty clothes separate from his clean ones.  Then, he decided this would be too hard.  Why would this be too hard?  All it really means is that he puts his dirty clothes in the hamper, right?  No, he likes to get all of his clothes out of their drawers before deciding on what to wear, and he likes to throw his dirty clothes pretty much in the same place.  Then, when I come to sort things out, no one knows what's clean and what's dirty.  So, too hard.  Instead of this, he's going to help me and Dad clean the whole house.  But, yesterday, he didn't want to do any jobs.  I tried to explain it's only a job if you're cleaning up after some one else.  But, he wasn't buying that.  He's not even going to clean up after himself without a fight most days.  Unless Grandma is coming over.  He'll clean his room if Grandma is coming over because he just knows it will make her day to see a clean room.

Want to hear a progress report on Devin and potty training?  There's no progress.  I just gotta keep telling myself that he won't be wearing a diaper in kindergarten!

Trevor watched a show last night called Blue Planet.  It's topic was life at the poles, specifically in and around the polar seas.  There was a little white baby seal who made a cute little noise.  Trevor loved this little baby seal.  It made him very emotional.  Not sad, not mad, not angry.  Just filled with love, I guess.  It was a sweet moment.  I still tried my best to comfort him even when I knew his were tears of love.  It felt like tears of sadness.  Sweet.

Devin can be a little mean.  Often over the last two weeks when they were off from school, this mean streak was directed at Trevor.  We tried time-outs over and over and over.  Finally, one night around 7:30, I just put him to bed because he wasn't stopping.  I read him books and treated it like a normal bed time, but he just cried and cried.  He wanted his brother.  But, he had lost his Trevor privilege.  This is a new weapon in our arsenal and we will use it as needed!  We gave in a little finally.  He wanted Trevor to read him a book. So, Trevor did.  He's got a little book memorized, and he went up to read it to his little brother. Trevor came down and Devin followed right behind, sad and crying.  Trevor said, "It's OK! He just wants me to read the book to him again!"  So, he read him the book once more.  Then, he cried but stayed in bed and finally went to sleep.

This was the first year that we really experience a school break.  What a challenge!  I was pretty busy with work, and that was not expected.  But, I really really really was looking forward to school restarting.  Which it did Wednesday.  Yay for us.  Back to the routine.  I missed you, routine!  I could write a poem about how I looked forward to school restarting, and I'm sure that it would move you!  But, I won't just in case it's really boring.

Ok, all caught up on the cute stories of late.

Can I take a moment...

I would love to write a letter to the paparazzi who follow Britney Spears and ask them to stop.  I can't help but read about her because I'm fascinated and all and I want to invite her over just to stay and detox for a month, I really do.  But, I would be just as happy not reading about her, and I think her life outlook would shoot up if we would leave her alone.  Can't we just leave Britney alone?  Join with me in leaving Britney alone.  Even say a little prayer for her if you pray.  She needs some help.  That's my New year's resolution.  I'm going to stop reading stories about Britney and say a little prayer for every now and then.