Tuesday, March 26, 2013

The Big Baboon!

If you've been following my blog closely, which I know you have, you may remember that Andy likes to hear the adventures of Andy Lion and Alex Lion every night before he goes to sleep.  Somewhere along the line, at the request of Andy Lion, I introduced a new character- the big baboon.  The big baboon does not have a first name, but I believe that he is Andy's favorite character, for if I try to tell a story that does not involve the big baboon, Andy interrupts me quite rudely to remind me to insert him into the plot.

This is for you, Andy, for when you are much older.  This is the story that I tell you every night.




Andy Lion and Alex Lion were two little lions that lived in a cave at the zoo.  One day, the big baboon came over to the cave.  He did not knock at the cave door or ring the cave doorbell.  He knew that if he were to ring the doorbell, the Lion family would ignore the bell and just assume it was another birdbrain from AT&T trying to sell them something.  So, instead, he huffed and he puffed and he blew the cave down.  The cave came crashing to the ground in a great pile of cave rubble, and Andy Lion came running to what used to be the cave entrance, with his little brother Alex Lion crawling rapidly behind him.

"Hey!"  Andy Lion called out to the big baboon, who was rearing back to give another mighty blow.  He looked around at what used to be his cave, and he was very sad.  "You blew down my cave!  All of my toys were in there!  All of my food and my TV and my bath tub and my bed were in there!  Why did you blow down my cave?  That was so mean and awful!"  He shook a lion paw at the big baboon and said, "You should really get a time out for this.  How old are you?  Around here, we multiply our age by the number of minutes and- well, it's kind of a tricky formula."

The big baboon looked around at what used to be the lion cave and became instantly sorrowful.  "I'm sorry," he said to Andy Lion and Alex Lion, hanging his big, dumb baboon head in shame.  "I don't know why I did that.  See, I'm a sad baboon, and sometimes being sad makes me do mean things.  I don't have any friends.  I don't know how to act."

Andy Lion, who had a very big heart, decided to forgive him, even though his entire cave home had basically just been annihilated, including every last Cheez-It in the Lion pantry.  "Don't be sad.  You have friends," he said to the baboon.  "You have me!  I'm your friend.  And Alex is your friend, too!"

The big baboon smiled a glorious big baboon smile.  "Really?"  he said.  "Will you really be my friend?  Well, that's just wonderful.  Tell you what.  I will help you rebuild your cave.  Let me go get my tools.  It's a good thing I have opposable thumbs.  Be right back!"


The big baboon ran off while Andy Lion and Alex Lion played a rousing game of Peek-a-Boo and waited.  After a short while, he returned with his tools:  a hammer, some wood, a couple nails, and a screwdriver.  With these few tools, and a complete disregard for basic cave architecture, the three new friends rebuilt the lion cave in a jiffy.  Before they knew it, the lion cave was even bigger and better than before.  It had a separate formal dining room!  And a basement!  And the tax base was somehow magically lower, as well!

After the cave was finished, Andy Lion and Alex Lion invited the baboon inside to watch fifteen straight episodes of Dora the Explorer and Caillou, which in this fantastical zoo have been combined into one super amazing TV show about an uppity chick with a monkey and her whiny Canadian sidekick.  It was then that Mommy Lion returned home from a long day doing important Mommy chores, such as buying Lion Wine.  "What the!"  Mommy Lion exclaimed, confused.  "Why does my cave look so different?  What happened?  I love this new couch!"

"The big baboon came and blew our cave down," Andy Lion explained.  "This is the big baboon."


The big baboon interjected, "'Sup."

"But then we all became friends," Andy Lion continued, "And he helped rebuild our cave.  He made it even better!  Isn't that great?"

"Sure, whatever," Mommy Lion replied.  "Hey, who wants pizza?"  Then Mommy Lion ordered a large pizza, and after Daddy Lion came home from his job of programming Lion computers (difficult without the opposable thumbs), the  Lion family- Mommy, Daddy, Andy, and Alex- sat down for a super fun pizza party with their new friend, the big baboon, who was now so very happy and nice and completely cured from his desires to ruin other animals' lives and homes.  And Andy Lion had learned a very important lesson: to always treat other animals with kindness, even if they were total jerks with no obvious redeemable qualities other than their astonishing craftsmanship regarding caves.

The End.

Saturday, March 23, 2013

A Dry Run!

If your child has a cold, the anesthesiologist will not want to administer the anesthesia.  Someone should tell you this in advance of your son's surgery.  They should say, "Oh, hey, just so you know, if your child is coughing and has a runny nose, don't bother showing up, registering, signing all the paperwork, sitting in two different waiting rooms, having your son undressed and redressed in the hospital gown and hospital socks, and having him hooked up to the heart monitor.  Don't bother having the surgeon change into his special surgeon clothes and mark up his butt and penis with a purple pen whose ink shall not wash off for two days.  Don't bother starving your child for six hours prior to surgery, waking him up at one thirty in the morning for a night bottle that will only confuse him and disrupt his normal sleep schedule.  Don't bother spending a sleepless night worrying about the impending surgery, because it ain't going to happen.  Oh, were you going to inconvenience your mother-in-law by having her take off work to watch your older son?  Well, if your child has a runny nose, again- don't bother.  It'll all be for nothing."


I didn't know that giving anesthesia to an infant with a cold was something that would elevate them to a high risk patient and that they wouldn't want to do it.  Perhaps this is obvious and I SHOULD have known, but I didn't, and no one told me.  The day before, when I noticed Alex was sniffling and coughing a little, I googled "baby with a cold anesthesia" and the only thing I found was that having a fever was cause for alarm and a reason to possible cancel and postpone surgery.  Did Alex have a fever?  No.  I know this because I checked at least five times.  Did Alex have a cold?  Well, yeah. It's winter, and he's had a cold for months.  Did anyone tell me that having a cold was a reason to postpone his operation?  Again.  NO.  No one said anything until we were seconds away from having him put under.

The whole morning and day was draining, emotionally and mentally and physically.  To know that we have to do this whole thing again in two weeks (this whole thing, only this time with the actual surgery) after his cold has subsided makes me want to curl up and cry a little.  It's a good thing I'm all cried out from the series finale of "Six Feet Under" eight years ago.  Since then, I can only cry for real tragedies, not just stressful inconveniences.  Or when I'm about to get my epidural during the birth of my second child.  That was a real sob fest, and I still can't explain why.  Other than the extreme pain and the overwhelming nature of the whole ordeal.  Also, "Marley and Me."  And I don't even like dogs.  I mean, not even a little.

Anyway.

So, let this be a lesson to those with babies who are scheduled for surgery.  If your kid is coughing and has a runny nose, for God's sake call ahead.  

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

I'm a Facebook Mom!

I sure do post a lot of pictures of my kids on Facebook.  If I'm being honest with myself, it's way too many- about 79% more than anybody really wants to or needs to see.  I can't help myself, though.  It's an illness, the twitchy hand that needs to clasp a cell phone for quick mobile uploads of when I catch my children doing something amazing.  Examples of pictures may include:

Four different angles of Andy eating the same ham sandwich in his underwear.

Ten similar shots of Alex giving minutely different open-mouthed, fly catching grins.

Andy holding up an art project consisting of a mostly blank piece of paper decorated with one wavy, nearly invisible stripe of red marker.

Alex sleeping with his head cocked to the right.

Alex sleeping with his head cocked to the left.

Andy at:  preschool, the library, outside a public restroom, in the bread aisle at Jewel.

Alex at:  the living room, the kitchen, in the bread aisle at Jewel.

Okay, now, both boys TOGETHER in the bread aisle at Jewel.

Andy and Alex posed together with one of them looking away.

Andy and Alex posed together with the other one looking away.

Andy and Alex posed together with Andy's mouth half open saying, "Stop it Mommy.  No more pictures!"

Alex eating a single Toasted Oat (I'm legally not allowed to call it a Cheerio).

Alex contemplating eating a second Toasted Oat.

I think it might be getting out of hand. I think that statement would have been accurate two and a half years ago.


Now, I know that most of my friends on Facebook couldn't care less about seeing my children's mugs splattered all over their newsfeed.  If this were me pre- 2010, and I were someone else (let's say that I'm the heiress to the Pez fortune in this scenario... and I had naturally straight hair and flawless alabaster skin), I would probably be most likely saying aloud, "Enough already with your stupid kids!  Don't you have a hobby?  Your children are not unique and special snowflakes.  They are just like everyone else's kids.  AND I DON'T NEED TO SEE AN HOURLY PLAY BY PLAY OF THEIR MONOTONOUS, POINTLESS LIVES UNFOLDING BEFORE ME EVERY TIME I LOG ON TO FACEBOOK."  Yes, I would talk in capitals.  Have you ever read "A Prayer for Owen Meany?"  No?  Well, get thee to a library, it's fantastic.

Anyway.

I can't stop.  I most likely won't stop.  Because the thing is, my kids and their monotonous, pointless lives (and what a rude thing that was to say!) are my hobby.  They are my everything.  I think it's pretty amazing that in this day and age, I can take a gazillion pictures of them, post them immediately to my personal albums, and have them all there at the touch of a button (or swipe of a screen) for friends/family/perverts to see and for my own record keeping.  As an adult, I can't find a whole lot of pictures of myself as a child.  They were taken on a finite amount of film that cost money, printed out at KMart to the tune of $75 a roll (I assume that's how much it cost to develop pictures in the '80s), and then slowly lost over the years as they were used for school projects, reorganized in albums that would later get stowed away somewhere inconvenient, and all but completely forgotten about.

I don't have a digital record of young Jackie growing up and managing to keep it together during a solid decade of horrible hair cuts and questionable fashion choices.  But, assuming Facebook is around forever, little Andy and little Alex will.

Or, assuming Facebook goes under within the next two years, little Andy and Alex won't.  Remind me again to one day shift all my stuff further onto that cloud thing, okay?  Including this blog.  But don't remind me too often, otherwise I will start tuning you out completely.

So, I'm a Facebook mom.  I have a lot of pictures of my kids available for your viewing or ignoring pleasure.  This is my apology to those who think it's way, way, way too much.  But, really, if you had a son who ate a ham sandwich in his underwear the way MY kid eats a ham sandwich in his underwear- well, you'd be uploading a ton, too.  Right?  Right.


Monday, March 18, 2013

I'm Getting Big!

"I'm getting big," Andy likes to tell anyone who will listen.  Everyone's always commenting on how big Alex is getting, and Andy either believes they are talking about him or knows that they are talking about Alex and wants to assert his growing place in the universe as well.  "I'm getting big," Andy says, "Big like Mommy."

The truth is, Andy is not getting big.  He is getting slimmer.  He has lost all of his baby fat and is becoming lean and child-like.  He is a little man, suddenly.  You can converse with Andy, who is quick to start conversations by inquiring, "What are you doing?"  or "What are you making?"  In the car, he will loudly tell you that you passed the library or that you need to turn a certain way to get to preschool or ask if you need gas if he spots a gas station.  He likes to ask, "Are we there yet?" and I am seriously going to strangle the person or TV show or book that taught him that question, since we live on the fringes of suburbia and are rarely, if ever, almost there yet.  He tells you to go faster and shouts "Green light means GO!" as if you are a moron and this is your first day ever operating a car.

Andy likes to play practical jokes.  Clearly, he is absorbing some of what preschool has taught him, and the other day, during dinner, jumped up out of his seat while I watched him.  Cup of milk in hand, he ran over to the cabinet, stuck his milk inside, and then came back to me with a mischievous look on his face.

"Mommy, where did my milk go?"

Bracing myself for the world's worst prank, I feigned confusion and replied, "I don't know.  Where is it?"

"Leprechauns took it," he said conspiratorially.  I know he got the leprechaun thing from preschool because I have never once said the word leprechaun out loud, ever.  As a staunch ignorer of St. Patrick's Day, I've never given the Irish the satisfaction.  Aside from that, I've never even eaten Lucky Charms, the cereal that features a leprechaun, as we were a generic only household and the closest I ever came to Lucky Charms was an off-brand marshmallow and grain mixture referred to as Fortunate Souvenirs, whose mascot on the box was a hairy-armed pawned shop dealer smoking a cigar.

"Oh my!  Leprechauns!"  I said, testing out the word for the first time ever.  "Where did the leprechauns take it?"

Andy pointed to the cabinet.  "In the cabinet."  And then he retrieved his milk and finished his meal.  See, I told you it was the worst prank ever.  But still.  For a two year old, I was pretty impressed.

Andy's memory is unbelievable as of late, making me rethink my old tactic of parenting him, which consists of cobbling together a web of false promises and out and out lies in order to get him to nap, leave a fun place, or stop hitting the baby.  

But, still, physically, he is not getting that much bigger. Alex, on the other hand, is getting big.  He's in twelve month clothes, eating everything in sight, and already pulling himself up on furniture.  He is long and strong and all set to make that transition from baby to toddler, a few months too early.  He is bursting out of his infant car seat, which I still drag him around in to keep him as portable as I can for just a little bit longer.  I have dislocated my shoulder no less than four times in hauling him around in that thing, but for now, it's worth it.  

So Alex is getting big.  Andy is getting smart(er).  And I am getting thin again.  Hooray for the third hole on my belt, which I have just last week achieved reaching in the daily tightening of my pants.  This was a big day, and a momentous occasion in my post-second-baby-ness that I promptly celebrated with an unholy amount of cheese and sour cream.

A few other quick things:

Ask Andy about his first petting zoo experience a couple weeks ago.  He will remorsefully summarize it by saying, "I kicked a goat."

Alex is now officially playing with all of Andy's toys, correctly, and today seemed to act out a scene involving Buzz Lightyear trying to gain entrance to Elmo's apartment in order to help review his taxes.

However, in many ways, I can understand Andy's frustrations with Alex since little Alex is truly becoming a pain in the ass when it comes to immediately crawling over to Andy whenever Andy is quietly playing and making it his number one mission to knock down Andy's toys, put as many toys as possible in his mouth, or just make a general sloppy mess of things.

Andy loves watching Dora now and likes solving the puzzles she presents.  However, he gets very irritated when Dora doesn't listen to him.  Dora might say they're on a mission to find a mail truck, and Andy will spend all episode yelling, "It's behind the mountain!  Behind the mountain!!"  Clearly, Andy is smarter than Dora, and his Spanish is coming along quite nicely.  In fact, just the other day, I believe he told me to "Vamanos."  

One day, getting bossed around by a two year old will become less humorous.  Yep.  Probably tomorrow.


Friday, March 1, 2013

Mommy's Time Out!

If you should ever babysit Andy, and if Andy should ever use the potty while on your watch, I'm telling you right now:  Let Andy flush the toilet when he's done.  If you flush the toilet for Andy, he will lose his shit (I mean that on two levels because I'm a great writer!) and you're going to have a meltdown on your hands.

Today, I flushed the toilet for Andy.  Even though I knew better.  I can't help it; I see a toilet that needs to be flushed, and I just do it.  I take care of business; that's the kind of pro-active go-get-'em-ness that once made me a success in business.  In this situation, however, it was clearly a mistake, an overstep.  Andy immediately started crying, sobbing, "Mommy flushed my poo poo!" He was inconsolable, and I was at my wit's end.  The Hamburger Helper was almost ready, and I had only minutes to get this resolved.  I apologized.  I said, "Andy, I'm sorry."  And then I said, "Andy, do you want to give me a time out?"

Disclaimer:  It's probably not the best parenting tactic, letting the two year old hand out a time out.  But what the heck.  Every day is an experiment for us.  It's a real live laboratory around here.

The role reversal ensued.  Andy immediately perked up at the thought of giving me a time out, and his first instinct was to try and pick me up.  He wrapped his arms around my legs and hefted, hard. Surprisingly, I didn't budge, and I suggested, "Andy, why don't you take my hand?"  He grabbed my hand and led me to the time out spot in the front room, pushing me down onto the sofa.  He shook his index finger at me and ruffled his brow.  He said, "Mommy, you're in time out.  You flushed my poo poo.  Not nice.  Stay here."  And then he walked back into the kitchen where I heard him tell a very puzzled Alex, "Mommy's in time out.  She flushed my poo poo."

I waited, and I swear he kept me there for exactly two minutes, his time out time.  For the record, I don't actually time his time outs- it's more a free form idea of when I think two minutes have passed or when I'm done eating my sandwich, whichever comes first. When he came back to get me, he seemed very serious, as if he had made and consumed a sandwich when in actuality his knife skills are pretty poor.  He said, "Mommy.  Don't flush my poo poo."  Then, he cocked his head and asked, "You going to be nice now?"

This hand makes hamburger horrible.
"Yes, Andy," I said, keeping my straight face on.  He had this whole thing down.  I added, "I'm sorry.  I shouldn't have flushed your poo poo.  I won't do it again."

His face broke into a smile, and he leaned forward and kissed my cheek.  Then he said, "Come on!" and led me back into the kitchen.  "Mommy's out of time out," he told Alex, who I swear looked at me and silently asked, "Exactly what the hell is going on here??"

I finished the Hamburger Helper while Andy waited for dinner, seemingly pleased with how my first time out went down.  Then he tasted dinner, immediately spit it out, and proclaimed it the "wrong macaroni."  And for the second time in ten minutes, he was absolutely correct.

That stuff is gross.  And another two minutes for me!