The Kids

The Kids

Monday, May 20, 2013

Silence Is Not Golden

Why silence is not golden in my house...

If I am home with Noah and it is suddenly too quiet, I know something is wrong.

While putting away laundry today, I noticed that my shadow was not right next to me and that I did not hear him playing downstairs.  When I found him, he had taken all of the toilet paper rolls out of the new package of toilet paper and was tearing them apart.

My frustration was split evenly between the mess and the money going down the drain on what I paid for the 2 ply necessity.

By the way, if you come to my house and use the downstairs bathroom in the next few days, you will see a mound of toilet paper scraps sitting on the shelf.  It will be used up and will not be thrown away.

Yesterday, after changing Noah's dirty diaper in the evening, I let him be diaperless for a few minutes.  After all, it was almost bath time so why waste a diaper?

Um, yeah, I should have wasted a diaper.

It only took a few minutes for me to hear, "Mommy, my finger is wet with poop."  Excuse me?

I found him upstairs, standing near my desk, with poop on his fingers.  My eyes then drifted to my desk chair, where there was a pile of soft feces.

I wanted to scream and run out the door, and never come back.

Instead, I pulled it together and cleaned up the little monster.  And my desk chair.

Tonight was a memorable one.  Noah came out of his room, saying something about having to use the bathroom.  Because he never means it and because I was distracted helping Abby finish up her final book report (last 2nd grade report-hooray!), I did not really pay attention.  Within seconds I heard a crash, followed by a scream.  Then I heard Caleb yell, "Mom, Noah slammed the toilet seat on his penis!"

Are you freaking kidding me?

Images of blood and tips being broken off and a life with no grandchildren filled my mind as I raced up the stairs.  My poor little guy was in so much pain (no kidding) and it was not a pretty sight.  After much calming down and a little ice, I think he is okay.  Time will tell how he heals.

I really hope this does not affect his future potty training issues.

Oh Noah, life is never boring with you.
After he broke the blinds on the back door

Thursday, May 16, 2013


Anyone who has a boy will love this story from W. Bruce Cameron...

Someone once asked me, "if you could be any person in the world, who would it be?"  To which I responded without hesitation, "my eleven-year-old son." 

My boy's life is one where the less pleasant elements of reality rarely intrude.  His eyes unfocused, his mouth emitting sound effects, he drifts around in serene oblivion, almost never concerned about anything. 

Last Saturday I interrupted his reverie and asked him to check to see if the mail had arrived.  He responded agreeably enough, though it took several reminders before he actually was out the door.  I went to the window to observe his progress.  He made a strong start, striding purposefully toward the mailbox at the end of our driveway.  Then something caught his eye and he stopped, frowning.  He bent over and picked it up:  a stick.  It fit into his hand like a Colt pistol, and he swiveled, eyeing the trees for enemies.  He spotted a couple and dove for cover, firing as he rolled.  Airplanes swooped down and he switched to ground-to-air mode, jubilating when the missiles hit their targets.  He spoke into his radio and did something to his forehead, probably putting on his night vision goggles.  I lost sight of him as he snaked around the corner of the house. 

Half an hour later he tromped in, exuberant over his military victory.  I stopped him in the hallway.  "Did you get the mail?" 

He stared at me blankly, and I wondered whether he even knew who I was.  "You were going out to get the mail," I reminded him. 

His focus cleared.  "Oh, yeah." 

"Did you get it?" 

His expression indicated he wasn't sure. 

"Why don't you try again," I suggested. 

Back out the door.  I winced as he glanced at a tree branch, but he didn't appear tempted.  His eyes acquired radar lock on the mailbox, and I sighed in relief. 

Lying next to the mailbox was a football which had drifted there at the end of a neighborhood game a few weeks ago.  He scooped the ball up in his arms and swerved, dodging tackles.  Touchdown!  I put my hands on my hips and watched him toss the ball into the air, calling for a fair catch.  First down.  He took the ball, fading back, out of the pocket and in trouble.  I shook my head as I was treated to the spectacle of my son sacking himself for an eight-yard loss.  He jumped up and shook his finger, urging his blockers to stop the blitz.  They seemed to heed his admonitions*on the next play he rolled left and threw right, a fantastic pass which found him wide open thirty yards downfield.  He trotted into the end zone and gave the crowd a mile-high salute. 

When I checked back at half-time to see who was winning, mankind was on the brink.  The football was jammed up inside his shirt, and he was struggling forward on his knees, looking like a soldier crawling through the desert.  He had pulled the lawn mower out of the garage, and as he fell toward it, gasping, he pulled the sacred pigskin from his shirt and, with the last reserves of his strength, touched it to the engine.  He died, but civilization was saved by his heroic efforts. 

No word on whether, with this triumph, mail would be delivered. 

I met him at the door, pierced through his fog, and asked him to get the mail.  He agreed in such as fashion as to indicate this was the first he'd heard of the subject.  There was a skip in his step as he headed down he driveway, and he was making so much progress so quickly I felt my hopes growing, particularly when he reached out and actually touched the mailbox. 

Alas, he was only stopping to talk to it.  Conferring in low tones, he nodded, squinting into the distance.  He raised the mail flag, igniting the retrorockets strapped to his back.  He throttled to full power and then dropped the flag, firing off into space with his arms outstretched like Superman. 

He was nowhere in sight when, half an hour later, I went out to get the mail.

This is totally my Caleb.  Whether the task is to get up, get dressed, eat a meal, get your backpack ready, get your baseball bag ready, get your shoes on, clean up your mess...there are so many adventures between what I say and when he actually does it.  After reading this, I no longer feel like I am raising a child that ignores me or will be lazy-he is simply a little boy.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

My Life As A Single Mom

No, Nick did not leave me.

I honestly think he has had his moments, because that is the reality of eleven years of marriage-eventually you WILL annoy the other person at some point.  Thankfully, my husband still likes me enough to stick around.

I only feel like a single mom these days.  The reason?  It is baseball season.

No, I am not a baseball widow because my husband likes to watch the Reds every day (oh wait, he does), but because he is a baseball coach, I am left on my own most days.

He has been the assistant junior high coach for years, so I have been used to it.  However, this year, he was offered the JV head coach position.  Awesome promotion and fun for him-exhaustion for me.

I suppose it would not be so bad if I did not have the perfect storm of kids playing spring sports at the same time.  My week usually looks like this...

Kids come home from school, I make dinner that most people on AARP would find too early, then we go to whatever practice comes first.  Sometimes I feed and drive extra kids.  At least twice a week, I am dropping off Abby and possible teammate, then going to Caleb's practice, while another mom brings Abby to me or keeps her until we come home.

Carpooling is, without a doubt, one of the best things ever thought of in the world.  Without it, I would be lost and possibly insane.

Again, I was used to this in the evenings as Nick has been a coach for years.  However, this year, there are more games AND Abby is playing select soccer, which means that the schedule constantly changes.  This organized, lives by her calendar, mom does not appreciate that.

Another added bonus of the JV job is Saturday games.  Nick is now missing most of Caleb's soccer games and some of Abby's soccer games.  As much as I am exhausted, going to all their games by myself and chasing Noah on the sidelines the entire time, I know that it is killing him to miss their games.  Yet, it comes with the job.

I think I reached my breaking point the other day.

Abby had a tournament on the west side of the city.  For those not familiar with Cincinnati, the east side and the west side are like different countries.  You just do not cross them very often.  I do not quite understand it, but after eleven years of living here, I have come to accept it.

Regardless of this rule, many of Abby's games and tournaments are over there so I have been navigating my way around new places.  Between this particular tournament and Caleb's own game back on our side of the city, I found myself driving all three kids to the west side for Abby's first game, racing back to the east side for Caleb's game, then hurrying back over to Abby's second game on the west side.

I really wish I could find a way to write off all this mileage on my taxes.

I never thought I would be one of those parents who kept their kids busy.  We try hard not to be that way-they can (usually) only participate in one activity at a time, we lay low during the summer and winter months, and on our days of no games, we make a point to stay home.  When I think about the busy schedule we have right now, I have come to realize that only I am the one who is tired.  Abby's going to her thing, Caleb's going to his thing, Noah's having fun wherever he is and I am the one trying to be everywhere at once, while chasing the fun-loving Noah.

I want to cry sometimes and ask, "What has happened to my life?"  Then I see the look on Caleb's face when he scores a goal and the fist bump that he gives his teammates when they do well.  I see the little skip and grin that Abby has every time she defends the ball well.  I see them having fun and running around outside.

I see how happy Nick is when he is coaching the game that he loves.

And it makes it all worth it.