Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Settled In and Worked Up!

We're all settled in our new house, and I am finding the boys not quite as infuriating as the week we moved in.  Of course, my pregnancy hormones are still raging hard, but the boys seemed to have calmed down in their new abode, and some of the novelty has already become commonplace.  I don't hear as much ruckus from the basement, they're not as obsessed as climbing on their bunk beds like some kind of poor man's jungle gym, and neither of my so-called brilliant children have yet figured out that other things can go down the laundry chute aside from laundry.  I mean, really, boys?  Little Teddy hasn't wanted a ride?  Nobody's thought to shove an iron down there a la "Home Alone" (one of their favorite movies)?  I'm almost disappointed I haven't had to pull Alex out by his foot.

Two intelligent, well-behaved (ish) boys completing a puzzle.
I took Andy for his kindergarten assessment yesterday.  What a feeling, to enter this big building and watch him get led away into a room as his first step to entering actual, real elementary school next year.  Of course, he passed the assessment with flying colors, the counselor or teacher or volunteer or whoever she was remarking that he "even knew rhyming words!"  The rest of the assessment, though, was pretty lame.  Based on their standards, I'm pretty sure Alex is ready for kindergarten.  Simple shapes?  Counting to five?  Knowing if they are a boy or a girl?  Come on, school district.  Give us something to aspire to already.  "Andy's very good at counting," you might say to me, "But he has no idea what the Krebs Cycle is."

As I've been hyping up the start of kindergarten next year (Bus!  Cafeteria!  Gym!  Tornado drills!), Alex is starting to get upset that he's not going as well.  "But you have two more years of preschool left," I try to reason with him as I think in equal parts, "Alex, you only have two more years of little boyhood left!"  and  "My God, he's still got two more years????"  Everyone's getting promoted around here, and while I fear that Andy will starve from not being able to open his own lunch at school next year (you should see him try to get a granola bar unwrapped; he's like a bear in the woods struggling with chips), I know that Alex's promotion from baby to middle child without his big brother around quite as much is going to be the hardest.  Alex, I am starting to realize though, is extremely intelligent, though, and I think he will get it and be just fine.  He understands a lot more than I give him credit for and has a memory like a steel trap.  He is also extremely hilarious in that not accidental/on purpose way that really works.  Yesterday, while building blocks, a single block fell over, very softly, with no big to do.  "This is the worst day of my life," he muttered to himself, straightening the block.  And it was in his delivery; I couldn't stop laughing for ten minutes or so.

And it feels good to laugh, as I had a sting of days in which I was only crying.  You see, it all started with hummus.  Hummus which I would later find out was part of a recall, as it was potentially tainted with a bacteria that could seriously harm my little unborn baby.  Oh, the spiral of emotions as I did everything in my power to fix the situation.  I called the grocery store to try to trace where my batch had come from.  I called the hummus people looking for specific answers.  I called my doctor and then my doctor's nurse to discuss if I could be tested and how I should proceed with life and pregnancy knowing that this bacteria was possibly festering in my body.  It was a rough couple of days, all because of a little dip on a chip.  But I guess I've been convinced that I'm probably going to be fine, as is my baby.  The doctor is so unconcerned by the whole debacle that it's basically insulting.  That being said, she is humoring me, and my hysteria has essentially worked me into "high risk patient" status.  I'm getting non-stress tests and ultrasounds to check for growth and fetal stress until she is born.  My next appointment, in two weeks for the 36 week check up, is going to be a doozy.  "Plan on being here for almost two hours," the doctor told me, a slight smirk on her face.  I guess it should all give me comfort, and it does.  But being pregnant is terrifying enough.  You can't see what's going on in there!  Somebody has to watch out for this little baby!  And that responsibility falls squarely on me.  On the upside, after several conversations with the hummus people, their insurance representative, etc, I think I may be getting free hummus for life.  Not that I'm ever going near the stuff again.  But the resale value has to be pretty good, right?

Anyway, we're almost there.  From here on out, it's the waiting game, which I am pretty awful at.  I'm about as bad at the waiting game as Alex is at Connect Four.  So maybe he's not quite ready to jump ahead to kindergarten after all.  Let's be honest, this whole starting school thing is definitely something that I CAN wait for.  Although let's see how crazy my house gets this summer with no preschool and a new baby.  My raging anger hormones are bound to be in check after delivery, right? Right.  For sure.

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Donut Time!

Wal-mart sells donuts.  They're pretty good, and they're only 54 cents.  In the realm of sweet things that can be bought with spare change, the Wal-mart donuts reign supreme.  They are also excellent tools for bribery and are to be used the opposite of the Starbuck cake pops in Target.  At Target, I let the kids eat a cake pop while I do my shopping as a way to keep them busy and sitting still in the cart. This technique is good, but not great, as before long they are holding only a stick and I'm still on the top of my list trying to get my phone battery back in because I dropped the whole damn thing while scanning underwear with the Cartwheel app.  At Wal-mart, the donuts are for the end, to be eaten on the way home, a treat to be deserved if you are being good as opposed to having been handed out preemptively in the blind, foolish hopes that all will go okay.

Have I mentioned that I loathe the amount of sugar my kids eat and will rant for days about how holidays are the worst since they are basically week long celebrations of candy?  But when I dole out the sugar on my own terms of negotiation, then it's a whole different story.  Besides, cake pops and donuts are made with EGGS, which are very healthy.  Jelly Beans are made with pure sugar, neuron altering artificial dyes, and the souls of small rabbits.  It's two different things.

Anyway, I bought the boys Wal-mart donuts for the first time about a month ago.  The three of us gleefully picked out our treats after filling up our cart with all sorts of wonderful things that you can only get at Wal-mart, such as three dollar pants and every Sheryl Crow CD except for that one.  You remember the one, that song, "Watch out sister, watch out brother, watch our children while they kill each other with a gun they bought at Wal-mart discount stores."  The mid nineties were huge for censorship.  I picked out the white frosted donut, Alex picked out the pink frosted donut, and Andy picked out the chocolate frosted donut.  Andy clutched that little bag all the way to the car, the prize for a shopping trip with only minimal yelling, where he then promptly dropped the whole donut bag into a sloppy muddy puddle.

Damn!  Donuts down!  I moved quickly and saved the donuts.  Luckily, the donuts themselves were fine and it was just the bag that suffered a little damage.  Little Alex didn't even notice what had happened and proceeded to eat a donut the only way he knows how (by licking off all the frosting and then pushing the rest at me and proclaiming "Here.  I'm done.")  Andy ate every last morsel of his delicious donut, only momentarily lamenting that they had been dropped.  And I shoved my own donut into my mouth so fast that I semi-permanently dislocated my jaw.  Totally worth it.  Still the best 54 cents I've spent to date.

It was a couple weeks later that we returned to Wal-mart, and as soon as I mentioned where we were going, Andy and Alex were both quick to yell out that they wanted donuts.  I agreed that we could get them as long as they were good, and so we loaded up with the finest items twenty dollars could buy and then headed to the donut case.  We picked out our selections (white, pink, and brown) and bagged them up.  "Don't forget!"  Andy called out as we headed to pay.  "Don't forget we have to drop these in a puddle so that they're extra good like last time!"

I'm so glad he reminded me out loud to do this instead of just taking it upon himself to chuck the whole bag into another puddle.  Things could have easily gone south.  Instead, I had to explain to him.  Last time, the donuts were so delicious DESPITE having been dropped into a puddle.  We got LUCKY that they were so delicious.  The having been dropped into a puddle part was not a key ingredient to the donut's fine taste.  Please, Andy.  Don't throw my donuts into a puddle if you can help it.

And so we got home, having just stuffed our faces with delicious 54 cent donuts.  Alex used the potty successfully and asked for one of his poo poo M&M's.  He's been asking for his poo poo M&M's, but I haven't given any to him here at the new house, having figured the move was a good reason to change a few things up sugar wise.  I explained that we don't have them anymore, and Alex asked if they were at the old house.  I can only believe he's imagining the new owner flushing down a mighty poo and then proudly chomping down a handful of Alex's old poo poo M&M's.  It's okay, Alex.  Let the new owner have your old M&M's.  We're headed to Target tomorrow, and I'm going to buy you a cake pop for no good reason other than my own lack of conviction and common sense.

But seriously, the Wal-mart donuts are delicious.  Step lightly around the puddles.

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Two Things!

Alex really wants to go to the Monster Truck Tractor Show.  I don't know what the Monster Truck Tractor Show is, but he can't stop talking about it.  I can only imagine it might entail huge, fire-emblazoned monster trucks rolling over innocent farmers sitting around in their tractors.  He asks us to go at least ten times per day.  If you see an advertisement for such an event, be sure to let me know.

Andy- whose lucky number is 1,000- has informed me that he has two super powers.  One, seeing through his t-shirt (only thin cotton blends, not anything thick).  Two, riding his bike and waving with one hand at the same time.  A superhero is born, and perhaps one day the combination of these two powers will save countless human lives.

Thursday, April 2, 2015

The Age of Friends!

Our new house is conveniently located near the park.  It's right around the block, the perfect walking distance for one waddling mother, one overly confident four year old who wants to rule the world with a single twig, and one clumsy, two-left-footed two year old.  We've been going almost daily, right after our laughably loud quiet time comes to an end, and it's the perfect way to round out the afternoon.

This little boy just wants to make some friends.
The same group of junior high kids (I'm terrible with judging the ages of children; they could be college students for all I know) show up at about the same time we do. They do the kinds of things that older kids like to do.  Pee behind bushes.  Use swear words.  Loop the swings up over the top bar. They also engage in some game that utilizes the field right next to the park.  Being the star athlete I am, I'd like to say it's either touch football or Red Rover.  Not really sure.

Of course, Andy marched over to these kids the very first day we saw them, calling out a chipper "Hello!" and introducing himself with his full name, age, and a recent history of personal events.  We just moved here.  Mommy has a baby in her belly and it's a girl.  That's his little brother and he's kind of a weirdo.  He likes to play Red Rover/ touch football/ ice hockey too.  Can he play with them?

I let Andy's interactions go as far as I can let them before gently butting in and telling Andy to leave the kids alone.  Sometimes I let it go a little further than I should since I'm wrapped up explaining to Alex why he can't touch that man's ball, as in yesterday when Alex kept roaring, "I want to touch that man's ball!"  The man in question had a semi-deflated volleyball that Alex wanted to take ownership of.  I tried to get Alex to insert the word "volley" between man and ball, but he blatantly ignored me.

There reached a point yesterday when I noticed Andy essentially pestering the older kids, announcing that he wanted to play their game too.  It was a situation in which I felt equal parts pity and annoyance.  Of course Andy just wants to play with them.  They're his *friends*.  But, man, Andy. Read the room.  They were being kind to him, but I finally had to drag Andy away and spell it out as coldly as I could.

"Andy, you can't play with them.  They're too old for you.  You have to play with kids your own age."

"But I know them!  They're my friends."

"Andy."  Pause.  "They don't want to play with you."  Even I winced at this brutal statement.

"Why not?"

"You're too little.  You can't run as fast.  You might get hurt.  Listen, Andy.  You have to play with kids your own age.  Like, four year olds, five year olds, and six year olds."

He let this soak in for a second.  As he did, another kid came cruising up on his bike, hopping off just as Andy ran up to him and blurted out, "Hello!  My name is Andy.  I'm four and a half.  What's your name?  How old are you???"

The kid replied, uncomfortably, "Ethan.  Eleven."

Andy whipped his head around to me.  "Is eleven okay?"

To which I laughed and said, "Nope!  Too old.  Sorry."

And so the eleven year old loped off, confused, and Andy listlessly waited around for a four through six year old to show up.  Eventually one did, with a box of crackers.  Andy and Alex proceeded to eat all of his crackers.  So on that particular day, the park visit ended semi-successfully.