Tuesday, July 27, 2010

RTT: Hair cuts, crazy talk, and exceeding my own expectations

The only things certain in this world are death, taxes, and Random Tuesday Thoughts.


* Oscar got his hair cut:

Do you see that?  All his curls, shorn!  I should never have put Nelson in charge of this task.  He told the stylist to just take half off.  WRONG!  We tell them to cut it short, but KEEP THE CURLS.  Anyways, this hair cut makes official his big boy status.  I cry, I cry.

* Hey, I got my hair cut too:

I love. I'm not even going to tell you how long it took me to take that photo.

*While I was taking these photos, Miles pooped his pants, climbed onto the dining table, and dumped out the salt shaker.  When I went over to get him off the table he started chucking fruit out of the fruit bowl and onto the floor with shocking speed and force. He wrecked two beautiful, ripe, local peaches and bruised at least one orange before I could stop him.

* Just for the record:

Not getting his hair cut anytime soon, possibly ever.

*  I just finished reading Girl with the Dragon Tattoo and I really liked it.  I also watched the Swedish version on the movie this weekend and it was good.  Not as good as the book, of course, but it was very well done.  I'd recommend both the book and the movie, in that order.   I'm reading Eat Pray Love right now and I'm liking it quite a bit.  I realize that I'm basically the last person on the planet to read either of these books.  I'm a literary loser these days.

* I've become a social butterfly as of late.  I'm not quite sure how it happened but suddenly I'm going to movies and out for drinks and to parties and book clubs and on an on it seems.  Kid free!  Much of this thanks to my wonderful husband, who enjoys the time on his own playing video games.

*Oscar has been doing this baby-talk thing and it's making me nuts.  NUTS.  Any tips on how to deal with this?  Other than going crazy?  Cause that's all I got right now and I've gotta say, it's not really working for me.

*So, preschool playgroups have only been slightly disorganized thanks to me.  It seems I always forget some vital piece of information.  Like a number from the address where we are meeting, or maybe setting a meeting time for 10AM when the location does not open until noon.  Or forgetting to tell folks to bring swim suits for the kids.    Not quite as terrible as I thought I'd be, but not spectacular either. And Oscar and I have actually be enjoying them quite a bit.

*Any word on overnight potty training?  Oscar wakes up dry probably 95% of the time at this point.  Do we just slap a rubber sheet on his bed and go for it?

Thanks as always to our luminous hostess (who I'll be meeting in person next week!!) Keely.  She's go this random thing locked down.  Or is it locked up?  Whatever, just go.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Emergency! Or not.

This weekend, Miles earned the honor of my first call to 911 for child-related injuries.  And this time, he was not the one doing the calling.

Let me say first, that Miles is absolutely fine.  Perfect, even.  Not at all worse for the wear, just to set your minds at ease.

As you may or may not know, it was a hot one here in the mid-Atlantic this past week.  This weekend in particular, heat indices exceeded 105 degrees Fahrenheit.  So, you know, a tad bit warm.  The kind of warm where the National Weather Service advises checking in on your elderly neighbors and staying indoors in an air conditioned room all day long.

We live in an older home and don't have central air.  We rely on window units and they usually provide us with ample cool air in the summer months.  But they just can't keep up with degrees exceeding 100.  It gets to be around 85 in here and while that is still significantly cooler than outdoors, it's not exactly "cool." These days are what the boys and I refer to as three Popsicle days, meaning the only way we can cool down is by eating three consecutive Popsicles.

So.  Nelson was getting his hair cut and the boys and I were sitting in the living room, trying to move as little as possible, enjoying Popsicle number two.  Miles made a funny shrieking noise and started running in circles.  I thought maybe he had brain freeze.  Then I noticed the panicked look on his face.  And that he was changing colors.  And not making any noise.  Or breathing.

"Miles?  MILES!"

I scooped him up and he was indeed choking.  The skin on his face was mottled and a dark crimson.  I tilted him forward and began thumping him on the back.  His face began turning purple.  I put him on the ground and Heimliched him twice. Nothing.  I picked him up and started thumping again.  He was going blue.  Of course Oscar is tugging on my pants, "Momma, why you hitting Miles?  What's wrong with Miles? Why does he look like that?"

I began thinking, "It's a fucking Popsicle!  It's going to melt.  Right?  RIGHT?!"   Then I started thinking, "I need to call 911.  At what point to I stop and call 911?"  At this point it had been maybe a minute, minute and a half since he'd began choking.

Just as I was feeling desperate, I heard a wheeze.  He was breathing!  His color changed so quickly back to a mottled red.  He was wheezing and gasping, so his airway was still obstructed, and that is when I called 911.

So, I have this policy about calling Poison Control, and I've called there lots and lots and lots of times.  And my policy is that if I'm ever thinking that maybe I should call Poison Control, I go ahead and call Poison Control because better safe than sorry.  I decided this policy also applied to 911.  Also, the EMTs are about two blocks from my house so I knew they'd get here fast.

While still holding a wheezing Miles, I picked up the phone and dialed 9-1-1.  It rang.  And rang.  And rang.  And rang.  And rang (!!).  After the sixth ring I thought maybe I called the wrong number?  Oh, no someone answered.  It was a recording, explaining that all of the emergency operators were busy and I should please hold for the first available operating.

Are you effing kidding me with this?  I'm calling because this is and EMERGENCY, not for a casual chat.  What if my kid was dying?  Or my house was on fire?  Or there was an intruder in my home?

After about a minute of waiting, I got an operator.  She was very nice, very helpful, and she dispatched the EMTs.  By the time they arrived, Miles was breathing normally (it had finally melted) and the EMTs check him and gave him the all clear.  The boys got to sit in the ambulance while I filled out some paperwork.

The EMTs asked if I'd had any trouble getting through, and advised me to call them directly next time.  Because, seriously, in the time I waited while the phone rang and on hold an such I could have scooped up both boys and run to the station house.

Anyways, my emergency, which ended up not really being an emergency, wasn't really treated as an emergency by my county's emergency services, but everyone is okay.  This time.  Hopefully, there won't be a next time, because I'm not really convinced that I'll get help when I need it.

I've had much better luck with Poison Control.  Too bad they don't dispatch EMTs.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

It's a good thing

It's a good thing the boys each took turns in the big bed, kicking the crap out of me last night.

It's a good thing Miles woke seconds after I entered the shower and screamed the whole time I was in there.

It's a good thing Oscar loves his and Miles's matching PJs so much he's refused to change out of them and it's nearly noon.

It's a good thing Nelson left and open soda can on the side table in the living room.  Again.

(Too bad Miles that even with his best efforts, Miles was unable to use the soda can to cut his finger.)

It's a good thing I thought today was Wednesday.

It's a good thing I forgot the cleaning people were coming today and neglected to clean up the books/toys/shoes/clothes from the floor before the arrived.

It's a good thing it's been so long since I've done laundry I had to wash clothes today so Miles would have pants.

It's a good thing I keep forgetting to ask Nelson to bring the dirty laundry to the basement so I can wash it and the clean laundry upstairs so I can fold it and put it away.

It's a good thing Nelson misplaced the checkbook the first time he's used it in five years, on the one day a week I need it to pay the cleaning people.

It's a good thing I had mound of dirty laundry to sort through so I could find the check book after nearly 30 minutes of searching all over the house.

It's a good thing Miles dumped out the dog's water right after the floor was washed.

It's a good thing Miles refused to nap until 11:30.

It's a good thing Oscar dumped out a massive bucket of matchbox cars seconds after the cleaning people left and has since refused to pick them up and I've tripped over them 97,000,000 times.

It's a good thing that Danny's response to being told he is not allowed to jump on the couch was to burst into uncontrollable tears of heartbreak.

It's a good thing my tooth still hurts two weeks after being drilled.

It's a good thing that the only game Oscar and Danny want to play while the littles are sleeping involves drumming on metal pans.

It's a good thing that the second I reprimand Oscar for bad behavior that Danny immediately imitates the exact same behavior (example: banging on windows with plastic hammers) and then I reprimand Danny for the behavior (that he just heard Oscar get in trouble for exhibiting) and Oscar imitates the behavior (that both he AND Danny have gotten in trouble for exhibiting) and on and on into infinity. Or time out (also know as time of preschoolers shrieking and sobbing at the injustice of not being allowed to smash windows.)

It's a good thing the children shrieked at me and literally tugged on my pants as I was preparing their snack.

It's a good thing there's been a safety recall on our stair gates.

It's a good thing, you know, because I wouldn't want things to get boring around here.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

This time is not infinite

It's been a rough few weeks in casa de Oscarelli, sleep-wise.  If I'm being totally honest, things are never perfect sleep-wise, but they are usually tolerable.  Usually, one boy wakes up every other night.  Not ideal, but okay.  These past few weeks?  Not tolerable.

It started last week when both boys got screaming high fevers (Miles was 104.8 and Oscar was 103.8.)  They were quite the sick little boys.  The fevers lasted 3 days, and of course were not concurrent.  Nope, my boys prefer to stagger their illness to maximize exhaustion and miserable days for children and parents alike.

So, they were sick.  And, obviously with fevers that high, they were waking in the night.  And this is not their fault.  Nelson and I were up up and down all night for several nights in a row.  At least one boy would be up and unable to sleep, and several nights it was both boys.  Many of these nights both boys ended up in our bed.

It is crowded and I sleep horribly.  Miles tosses and turns; Oscar's blanket smells like death; both boys end up on "my side" of the bed, so I have maybe six inches in which to cram my (not at all small) self.

They've both been recovered for a week, and nearly every single night, one of them has woken up.  Oscar will just wander into our room and crawl into our bed.  It's not the worst, but it's not awesome either.  Miles on the other hand wakes up and refuses to go back to sleep.  That?  The worst.  After an hour of rocking he'll end up in our bed where he'll proceed to toss and turn and throw his body about violently, inevitably resulting in a collision between his (very hard) head and my face.

All of this on top of the fact that Oscar has decided he cannot fall asleep without Nelson or I lying in bed with him, and the fact that if Oscar naps for so much as 10 minutes he won't fall asleep until after 10PM.  It's a bit much.

And you know, it is what it is.  I'm not asking for solutions, or really even sympathy (okay, I'll take a little sympathy) I'm just tired.

This morning I woke absolutely unrested.  We did eventually get both boys back in their own room, but it was too late.  Nelson and I lost hours and hours of sleep.  I've been stumbling through this morning, drinking cup after cup of coffee.

Then, about an hour ago, it occurred to me: This time is not infinite, this time where they wake at night and come to me for comfort.  This time where they long to be close to me, where they steal kisses from me in the night and snuggle in closer and closer.  This time is but a teeny, tiny fraction of their childhood; and even smaller fraction of their lives.

Ten years from now I'll have to remind them to kiss me goodbye as they rush out the door to catch the bus and ask them to snuggle closer while they tell me about their day.  They will confide in friends before they look to me for comfort.  They will get lost in books for hours or prefer to play video games as opposed to playing trains with their mom.  They will need me less and less as the years go by.

I'll long for the days when I was their center.  I will miss this time when little boys filled my bed with their flailing limbs and smelly blankets.  I really, really will.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Mighty, mega, (pink) monster trucks

Oscar requested a pink monster truck cake for his birthday.  I used a homemade pound cake and icing.  It was pink, with purple trim and orange stars.  I think it turned out pretty well.  Oscar was very pleased. Here it is:

I also made that dinosaur cake, but it didn't turn out nearly as well.  I mean, it was delicious, but not very cute.  The jellybean spots on it were a huge hit, though.

Confession: I still haven't written thank you notes for his gifts.  I swear, I'm on it.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Conversations with a Preschooler, #6: You suck

Scene: Oscarelli family living room.  Jenni is in the kitchen preparing dinner.  Oscar, Miles, and Nelson have just finished watching Hero of the Rails for maybe the 300th time.  They are watching the sing-a-long video at the end of the movie.  Nelson is singing and dancing with great vigor, trying to get the boys involved.

Nelson [singing, dancing]: Lets's goooo, Thomas!  Thomas is number one!

Oscar: ...

Miles [singing, dancing]: La la la la! Choo-choo!

Song reaches instrumental break; Nelson stops singing for the moment.

Oscar: That's NOT going to work, Dada.  That's not going to work.

Nelson: What, my singing?

Oscar: Yeah.  That's not going to work.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Big ass tree

Becky posted some photos yesterday of this big ass okay tree that fell over in her yard.  Scary!  Isn't it crazy how things, like a tree falling, that would have just surprised you before having a kid give you the willies after becoming a parent?  I mean, as soon as I saw that tree down across her driveway I though, "Oh my god!  Hank was playing just at the neighbors!"  And Becky had wrote that she basically had the same thought.

Anyways, enough of paraphrasing Becky's post.  I'm mentioning it because it reminded me that we actually had a significant tree downed in our yard a couple of months ago.

We have a very large, very old tulip poplar in our backyard.  It's around three and a half stories tall - significantly taller than our home - and it's rooted about maybe 10 feet from our back porch.  Now, if you know anything about trees, you know that tulip poplars are fairly fragile.  Anytime we have a storm of any strength we lose large limbs.  The tree snapping off a 5-10 foot limb after a short storm is nothing.  What is so scary is that the tree is very close to our home.

This tree had a significant dead limb on it that we had planned to remove.  This spring, in fact.  The limb wasn't particularly close to the house, but it was really large - like 10 feet or so - so we didn't want to wait for it to break naturally.

In April, we had a large thunderstorm, as we often do during the spring time in the mid-Atlantic.  The winds were very strong, strong enough to rattle our windows, with lots of thunder and lightning.  It was fast and furious and then over.

The next morning, I went let the dogs out and look what I saw (click on the photos to see larger images)!

That's a big fucking limb!  (Also, lovely golden euonymus growing up the tree that has since been pruned.) Here's a shot of the length:

It's hard to see it from the photos, but the limb itself was about 20-25 feet long, maybe a third of the tree.  The tree to the left if is the tree it came from.  Do you see how close it is to the chain link fence?  Yeah, it is on top of it. That's a standard 4 foot fence. Here's two more shots of it, with Oscar standing beside it for scale (please ignore the overgrown grass.  It's all dead now anyways):

OMFG, right?  This is basically the top of the tree.  It snapped off and just fell to east of the tree.  Had it fallen south it would have fallen directly into the boys room.  Where they were sleeping.  Gives me chills just thinking about it.

Here's a shot that shows where it snapped off the top of the tree:

The top that snapped off?  Not even dead.  Totally alive.  The dead limb?  Still attached to the tree.

In this photo, you can see it was about, oh, three feet away from taking out our gas grill:

I took all these photos thinking that we must have sustained some kind of damage.  To the fence, at least.  But no, nothing, nada, zero, zip, zilch.  No damage whatsoever.  My father-in-law came up and helped Nelson cut apart the tree and hauled it away for us.  There's still a piece of the part that fell lodged into the ground.  It's a limb that's maybe 10 or 12 inches in diameter and Nelson still needs to dig it out.

So that's my tree story.  Oh, and we still haven't had that dead limb removed, though now that I'm thinking about it I really should call the tree surgeon again.  I don't know if we'd be so lucky a second time.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Not Pregnant

So. I am not pregnant.

About two months ago, I though I was pregnant.  Even though we being very careful to NOT get pregnant, I really, really thought I was.  My period was days and days late.  I was all achy and crampy and grumpy and tired.  I started thinking about what it will be like to be pregnant again and would it be a boy or a girl and what would we name him/her and would I be able to manage three small children and would my marriage survive three small children and and and?  And then I realized that, no, not pregnant, just getting my period.  Which, I should have known in the first place by all the crazy thinking I was doing.

So.  I am not pregnant.

Back in March or so, Nelson and the boys and I were out to dinner.  In a real restaurant!  With real non-fast food!  And the children were behaving and eating and so were the adults.  It was fantastic.  Then, Nelson says to me, "So, you want to be pregnant again by Christmas?"

Just like that, out of the blue.  I didn't know quite what to say.

I looked around at my three guys.  The littles eating/playing nicely. My husband enjoying his dinner and our adult (!!) conversation.  It was...nice.  No breastfeeding at the table, no little containers of baby food, no wee mite strapped into his/her car seat like a ticking time bomb of poop/pee/tears/spit-up.  It was really, really nice.

"No.  NO!  I'm not ready.  Maybe pregnant again by this time next year?  Next spring.  No new baby until Miles William is at least three."

We've been having these amazing family weekends outside, working in the yard, playing in the sandbox.  They boys are both a such good ages this year.  They can really do things and since Miles is pretty low key and Oscar is nearly three, they can play independently and actually play together.  They both sleep through nearly every night, which means I sleep through nearly every night.  This is as close to well rested as I've felt in three and a half years.

I would almost call this whole stage of parenting easy.  Comparatively.  Easier than being a first time mom with an infant, or a second time mom with an infant and a toddler.  A preschooler and a toddler together are less intense, and I'm much more relaxed.

When I think about throwing a baby into the mix, it causes the teeniest of grimaces.  The yard work would not be so easy with an infant strapped to my chest and wanting to nurse every two hours (or hour and a half, as was the case with Miles.)  They cry.  Their diapers have to be changed every couple of hours. They are very dependent and time consuming.  That infant stage is a lot of work and not much sleep and throw that on top of two other little people to manage?  Tough stuff.

Miles William is still incredibly cuddly and snuggly, but he is now fully weaned.  I'm not nursing a baby for the first time in nearly three years.  No babies.  Thankfully, Miles loves hugs and kisses.  He still lumbers around like a drunken sailor.  In short, he's still a baby.  Oscar was so independent, as soon as he could crawl he hit the road.  Miles, not so much.  And I like that, that he is still my baby.  My non-nursing baby.


When I went to visit my friend Amanda and her new baby a few weeks ago, it was all I could do not to swoon over her sweet smells and little squeaks and general itty-bitty-ness. A friend recently told me she is pregnant and I swear my uterus echoed with emptiness.  Another blogger announced a pregnancy and I felt...jealous.  Just a little, but still.

So, where does this leave me?  I'm happy with my family, and I worry what another pregnancy and a new little baby would do to our dynamic.  I want to be pregnant again, I want another little baby.   But won't I always?  I'm a person who likes babies and who (sort of, sometimes, at times) likes being pregnant, so won't I always lust after another pregnancy, another birth, another baby?  I'm going to have to say "when" at some point.  Is this that point, after my two fantastic boys?  Or will I KNOW when I'm done, just unequivocally know in my heart of hearts that my family is complete?

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Sense memories

Do you chew gum?  I do.  I enjoy chewing gum. I used to chew it all the time, particularly when I smoked and when I first quit smoking, but my gum chewing has tapered off significantly since them.

I prefer sugarless gum.  I like cinnamon flavored gum, particularly Trident cinnamon flavored gum.  I used to buy multi packs of Trident and savor the packs of cinnamon.  I also like original Trident, but I had a boyfriend in high school that chewed nothing but original Trident and now if I have a piece it always reminds me of him.  

Not that he is a terrible person or that I loath thinking of him, or that he was awesome and I love thinking of him.  Mostly I'm indifferent to him and thinking about him.  I just think it is kind of strange the way a taste and a smell can evoke such strong memory.   I mean, when I chew original Trident, the days of shockingly red hair (shaved in the back, of course); flannel shirts; Ministry and Fugazi; grunge rock; copious angst; holy jean shorts with bright tights underneath; sneaking cigarettes in the girls bathroom during Drama class;  they all come flooding back.

Do you have sense memories like that? 

Anyways, I don't really chew original Trident very often because the memories are overwhelming.  Those teenage years are fill with so many intense emotions and hormones, I'm always shocked to hear people claim high school as the time they'd like to re-live.  Not me.  Not in a million.

There are a few other scents that do that for me.  Sometimes when I'm in an elevator or a mall or movie theater, I'll catch a whiff of my grandfather's cologne.  I couldn't tell you the name of it, but the scent I know.  It's been around for decades and while it is no longer as popular as it once was, there are some people who still wear this brand.

He passed away, I don' t know, maybe seven or eight years ago?  But when I smell his cologne, I'm six again and getting bear hugs and a dollar for my smile and trying to find the finger that he lost in a factory job when my mom was small girl.  I clearly recall his thick, white hair, glasses, and always neat appearance; having sandwiches in the cafeteria where he worked and how it always smelled strongly of deli pickles.  I remember that he always bought me some ridiculously frilly dress for Easter and that I always loved it.  I never saw him not smiling.  He smiled with his whole face.  His laughter came from somewhere deep inside and it was a hearty chuckle.  He laughed with his grandchildren a lot.

I don't feel at all ambivalent about these memories.  These memories I cherish.  I love it when I catch that whiff of my grand father; the scent of his memory.