Days 2015

Days 2015

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Position of Strength

I was busy baking something the other day and I thought, you know, I really feel at home here in the kitchen.  When I have extra energy and ambition, this is where I go to make some happy treats, a fabulous meal, or the fancy dishes for a party.  This is where I go to gain control of my life--by washing the dishes--because I don't feel like I can have it all together if my house is a mess, but by golly if at least my kitchen is clean, I'm off the hook, at peace, and free to pursue whatever I want to (and to put off other, less connected-to-me chores).  The kitchen is where I feel the most appreciated, the most skilled, the most feminine and motherly.  Some help in the kitchen is always the best kind of service to me.  The kitchen is my command center, my source of physical power (as in, I can give or I can take.  No dinner until your homework is done!  Oh, your room is clean?  Of  course you can have a cupcake.)  The kitchen is where I am most likely to sing and dance.  And best of all, as a disgusted Cooper pointed out today when Mark and I were kissing when he came home from meetings, "That's the WORST thing that happens in the kitchen!"

Cooper was not in a particularly generous mood tonight, though.  After dinner he was singing the song from Aladdin to himself.  "Prince Ali, mighty is he...strong as 10 regular men..."  Pause.  "I think Daddy is one of the regular men."

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

A Creature was Stirring...

One thing I've noticed about keeping a regular blog for so long is that I start to look for little "stories" in my everyday life that I might be able to write about--ironies, patterns, beginning-middle-ending, lots of drama, etc.  Sometimes this is a bad thing because I start keeping lists of all the things that went wrong and it puts me in a negative mood.  I admit, sometimes as I write the story, I emphasize parts to spin it the way I want it to go, but sometimes, my life really is that crazy.  No spin needed. 

Last night could have been a sitcom.

A little background:

The night Cooper got home from the hospital, we were pretty tired as we vegged in front of the TV after the kids were in bed.  Luke woke up about 10 and started howling.  This was nothing new, he has pretty much always been a TERRIBLE sleeper.  He sleeps through the night maybe once every two weeks or so.  The rest of the time he wakes up 2-6 times a night, and I have gotten so used to walking into his room, laying him back down, covering him back up, and then falling back into bed myself that it's almost like rolling over in my sleep.  And he goes right back to sleep, so it's hard not to respond.  Yes, I'm a mother of five and yes, I've made all of my kids "cry it out", multiple times (because for my kids it never works after just one time except maybe short term).  Luke was about due for another sleep training session, and I was too exhausted to get off the couch, so I let him cry it out for 45 minutes.  (Boston came downstairs to complain a couple of times.)

Wonder of wonder, it worked!  Luke has slept ALL night long for the past six days in a row.  Now for the negative part, where I collect and compile the Murphy's Law details that make this a story.  (Filled with drama and irony, I assure you.)

The first night, Cooper was up with surgery pain.  Totally fine and expected.  But then hard for me to get
Cooper shows off his post-op look with his Grizzlies souvenir.
back to sleep.
The second night, Macy was up for some reason, Leslie woke me up too early in the morning.
The third night, Cooper walked in his sleep and had an accident before we were home from our date.  Macy also wet the bed (only the second time in her whole life).  Leslie got scolded for not making sure they both used the bathroom when she put them to bed.
The fourth night, Macy woke me up, worried that she had had too much water to drink that day and might wet the bed again.  Then she woke me up a few hours later because she needed another blanket.
The fifth night, I didn't get to sleep until about 2 because my brain was busy decorating my new house under contract.  Macy had a horrible screaming dream around 5:30.  (Probably got too hot under all those blankets.) 

(Just noticed, Boston is looking like an angel in this story for a change.)


So then we come to yesterday, as I was starting to rant and rave about never getting a good night's sleep for the rest of my life and wondering if that would be the night I would finally break the pattern.  I tried to be grateful that Luke was sleeping all night, but I also have much experience dueling with the  "conspiracy of waking up mom" that my kids seem to have entered into. 

After we said our family prayers and sang "Silent Night"  (just now laughing at THAT coinkydink), I gave the kids a little pep talk.  It went something like this.

"Kids, I have a really great plan for tonight.  Mom has had a really hard time getting to sleep ALL night long.  Lukey has been super good at sleeping the last few nights, so let's all work together to see if mom can sleep all night, too.  So, if anybody has a bad dream, when they wake up, they can just say, "Phew, I'm glad that was just a dream" and go back to sleep.  Everyone is going to use the bathroom right now.  If anyone gets cold, they can just look around and see where their blankets fell off onto the floor and put them back on again, or they can get an extra one out of the linen closet, or they can put on some warmer pajamas, and , poof, go right back to sleep.   See?  We don't need to wake up mom and dad.  We can do all that stuff ourselves."  (Notice how I didn't name names?  It was tricky.)

And to all a goodnight.

Bah bah BAAAH!

About three o'clock Cooper comes wandering in, howling at the top of his lungs.  I try to instantly assess the situation since he is pretty much non-communicative.

1.  Is he in pain from his surgery?  No, don't think so, he's felt fine for a few days now.
2.  Is he sleepwalking?  Possibly.  He sleepwalks about twice a month, but it's usually because he has to use the potty, and I KNOW he already did that.  However, he's not making much sense and is kind of dancing around weird, so...
3.  Did he have a bad dream?  I asked him.  He violently shook his head no.
4.  Some Other problem.   I ask him, "What's the matter?"   Howl howl, lips trying to form words but not quite closing around the howl.  Finally I make out, "I burned Tao!" 

Ah, so it WAS a bad dream.  Tao is his buddy from China he sits by at school.  I hugged Cooper and say, "Shhhh.  You burned Tao?  It was just a dream honey."
"No!  It's NOT a dream!  I burned Tao for REAL!" 
Hmmm.  Weird.  "You burned him at recess or something?"
"NOOO!  Not TAO!  I burned a towel!  Right now!  In the microwave!  And my leg HURTS!"

I smell smoke.

My chest seriously hurt for at least an hour because I think my heart stopped or something with the adrenaline.  I gave Mark a swift kick because he sleeps like the grateful dead, and calmly told the both of them that Daddy would go downstairs and help Cooper get a heatpack on his leg (dratted growing pains--forgot to role play that scenario at bedtime) and that Cooper had just burned a towel in the microwave, and that I wasn't mad about a hole in my towel, I loved him and it didn't matter.   Treat the person, then the problem.  A+ for this cursed mama.
The remains of my dishtowel, tossed onto the snow last night.


I pulled the covers over my head (and nose) and tried to decide whether to laugh or cry or pray, or all three.
Mark had a hard time going back to sleep--he was the one who had pulled the wet dishtowel stunt for the leg pains when we couldn't find the rice bag in the middle of the night. Cooper's repeat experiment just forgot about the part where you add water.  In all honestly, I think Cooper was mostly super upset that he ruined something, and frightened, too.  I also am not a hundred percent sure that he tried to do it all himself because of my little speech--he might have done that anyway.  Right?  But then, of course, it wouldn't be much of a story.

Luke slept all night long.

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Cheetah chasing

Cooper's surgeon had a last minute opening available and so early on Wednesday morning I took him in to Primary Children's for his "cleft rhinoplasty with rib graft".  The waiting room was especially enjoyable because when Cooper is a little bit nervous or shy or excited, he goes into what I am starting to recognize as his Jim Carrey mode.  (Talking too fast, random subjects and comments, one liners from TV shows, goofy voices and faces, no inhibitions...) And once he gets going, there's no turning it off.  (To be avoided on Sundays AT ALL COSTS!!!)  I always swing between amused, annoyed, amazed and acutely aware that everyone in the room is probably assuming that I have a special needs child when I don't.  We managed to keep things sort of under control while visiting with the doc (who assumes that Cooper is "What a funny kid!") but pretty much lost it when we were walking past the surgical desk on the way to the OR and Cooper decided to test out his nonskid (ha!) hospital socks by sliding into first base.  (Perfectly executed slide, by the way).  Propped up on one elbow in his gown on the hospital floor, big hammy smile to the waiting crowd, "Uh, I meant to do that."

The anesthesiologist pretended like he thought it was hilarious.  So much for those antibacterial wipes we had just scrubbed his entire body with.  Sigh.  To sleep with you, crazy child!

Jim Carrey was gone when Cooper woke up a few hours later.  They told me to expect that he'd be out four hours but they were able to do everything pretty quickly so really it was only about 2 and a half.  He seemed pretty comfortable and wanted slurpies, oreos and donuts (you can tell he's a regular at the hospital since he already knows what's good.)  Mostly what bothered him was some slow seepage out of his nose, dripping blood every few minutes.  The doctor said we could go home instead of staying the night like we'd planned, so after a visit from some Grizz hockey players who gave him a teddy bear and a dizzy trip to the bathroom after a few more hours, we were on our way.  I think he liked riding in the wheelchair.

He gets to wear the stents in his nose for FOUR WEEKS.  That was kind of a surprise but I think he is getting used to them, kind of like you get used to a retainer.  I'm sure he will thank us that we are doing this now instead of when he is a teenager.  His nose looks great, even though his face is kind of swollen, and Mark and I have been cracking up at how much he looks like his cousin Spencer who is on a mission in the Kiribati islands right now.  (They already looked quite alot a like, but Spencer has a wider bridged nose--probably not a flattering thing to say that your kid looks like someone when his face is all swollen--but there you go.)

So, he has missed three days of school since he is still on pain meds off and on.  To entertain himself, when I insist on a break from the TV, he likes to write.  Yes.  Pretty awesome for a first grade boy to have as a hobby.  We go through tons of paper at our house...I've given up on trying to conserve.  So, Cooper has been bellied up to the piano bench (right by the south window--it's the warmest place in the house) with his pencil caddy and several sheets of legal sized paper, folded in half, for hours on end this week.  I thought his latest book was rather charming and a pretty good representation of his body of work, so I scanned it and share it here for future posterity.  (We don't actually KEEP the papers at our house or we'd be buried as soon as the kids empty their backpacks.)

This story is a new volume of his favorite series, The Magic Tree House.  When he is done he staples the books on the center fold, so that is why some of the letters are chopped off in the crease.  I'll provide a transcription for you, but the backwards letters were too cute not to have scanned in.

Chapter 1  Flying.  Annie and Jack Got off of the plane.  They fond some cheetahs.  the Cheetahs wer still togather.  the cheetahs wer rasting they semed tierd they wer growling and moning and groning Annie felt bad for the cheetahs.  She tryed to help the ceetahs  Jack Just didn't laet her.  
Annie didn't care that Jack holled her.  She shoved and poshed.   Chapter 2.  No!   Jack tryed to worn Annie But she did not hold bak she was so anoying to Jack [laughing out loud here...it even rhymes].

Annie Got anlysht [unleashed:)] she ran as fast as she cold but a lion jamped out of the boshis Annie shoted Jack He tried to worn Annie But She did-nt Listen But Annie ran Back the lion ran to but Annie ran to [too] fast so the lion was worin out Annie was sorry

the lion want away Annie still thot she cold make it to the cheetahs.  Chapter 3.  AAAA!  Annie ran Back wen the lion was Gone.  She ran into a codra!  [he gets his d's and b's backwards].

the codra was vary Big!  it shots venom AAAAAAAA! run! Annie ran as fast as the wind!  Jack Got his Afraka Book  He red:  lions and cobras are praders [predators] Be War Jack adid in his Book  Codras Shot Venam

Chapter 4.  Finaly.  Annie saw The codra slither Away She thot:  This is my  chans She ran one of the cheetahs stod it ran too Annie chasing the Cheetah the cheetah was 14 times faster then Annie


Cooper's other talents include sleepwalking when his bladder is full and also charming the ladies.  He even uses the written word for that one...
Just tonight, he and Mark decided they wanted to take some cookies over to Cooper's friend Gracie who was home sick from church today.  Cooper made her a get well letter.  When Mark looked it over, he noticed a "Merry" just kind of hanging at the end. 

"Did you want to finish that sentence, Cooper?" 
"Oh yeah."  He added a little bit and handed it back to Mark.

It read, "Merry Me."

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

When Hot Chocolate was Romantic.

When hot chocolate was romantic
I didn't have five children who all wanted some
(Especially if only one of them had wanted it to begin with...)
and who joyously offered a cup to the neighbor kids
(what can I say, they are my kids and also must proffer goodies)
or I wasn't concerned about running out of milk for breakfast
(because then I'd have to take my Dodge Yak back to WalMart)
I also wouldn't have to point out the cons to using a drinking straw
(consequently causing tears and desperate pleas for just this once)
or mop up puddles of the brew from my tabletop
(because of course, they must stir their own)
There wouldn't be five varieties displayed on the counter
(I would never drink the chocolate mint kind or that hard marshmallow kind)
I wouldn't be putting away again those five varieties, six cups, six spoons, one jug missing a lid
(at least this time I held strong about the drinking straws!)
I wouldn't be smirking about the calcium intake of said children
(at least four of them--still trying to identify the culprits who only had a sip)
and I would have had a cup myself.

A cup myself.  MMMMMmmyself.
(probably something soup-sized with painted pink flowers on the side)
White chocolate or spiced chocolate or milk chocolate.
(look ma, no straw.  I wouldn't even slurp from the spoon)
I'd fit my face over the mug and feel my skin breathe.
(although if my skin was breathing, that probably means I'd burn my tongue)
My chilly fingers would finally get warm and I'd sip
(did I mention I was also watching TV?  at a reasonable volume?  not needing closed captioning?)
Don't forget the fuzzy socks, the candle on the table
(Maybe lots of little short unpractical candles.)
Husband can be there, too,
(as long as he brings a soft blanket and doesn't change the channel.)
Drink it to the dregs.

Some people need their chocolate to beat them over the head.
(Not me.  I'm now versed in subtlety.)
I don't need a cup to warm my hands
(Who knew dishsoap could be so luxurious in December).
A candle on the table doesn't hold a candle (ha) to a gleaming pan of monkey bread
(Surrounded by cheering monkeys)
Bing Crosby can get a little, well, boring
(Which is why "You're a mean one, Mr. Grinch" gets played over and over)
The house never looks so clean and shiny and I sing
(I think it's the extra light coming in the windows from the snow)
Seven pairs of boots matched in the closet
(Or drying on the mat from a great day's play)
Sons AND neighbor kids shoveling the driveway
(won't husband be surprised?)
Yes, frozen feet and socks that don't stay dry indoors
(is nowhere dry?)
But cold feet on husband shins is a test of true love.
(and mine always passes.)

Would you know?  They kept their promise.
(The cups put away, spoons too)
The garage door opening rivals the Christmas carols
(Home in time for dinner)
Now five heads are counting sugar plums and I'm by myself
(but I think I've had my cup today.)