The one where you all roll your eyes

Bathing suit season did not come quietly for me this year. At the end of august when I returned to work at the hospital (aka the gross error in judgement), I was fresh off my 8 months home with the kids post Connor and post move. We still hadn't sold our house. We still didn't know if we would and yet all that stress and the subsequent stress eating was entirely absent from my frame. At the hospital I barely sat still, racing all over my floor, racing to the nursing moms lounge, fitting in 20 minute lunches. Starting my work for hospice just before the holidays was ill-timed to say the least. There is no running around, there is driving around. All those holidays goodies and every single thing since that I stuff my pie hole with in the car has nowhere to go but my hips. I'm not running it off chasing my kids. I'm no longer feeling like I have no time to eat at the hospital. I just drive and chew and as the stress of my job has increased I spend more time eating while driving. My phone rings and I reach for a granola bar, it buzzes a text message and I'm digging for a snack. The one good thing is that somehow my husband prepares a nice lunch for me each morning and this has kept me from frequenting fast food or giving into the temptations along my route. You try driving by anna's taqueria 3 days a week, I dare you. It's not unhealthy eating, there is just a lot of sitting and driving.

Steve is involved in a weigh loss challenge. Maybe he doesn't want you to know, but I do because I am so proud of him. His tremendous efforts are paying off and I decided to join him in his healthy eating and exercise routine. Since two weeks ago I am down only about five pounds, but I feel better, I feel more energized, I look better in my clothes. I wish I could tell you his two week weight loss, you would join me in cheering for him, but he is keeping it to himself before his halfway weigh in with his competitor who will remain nameless.

I'm not crying fat here. I'm not asking for sympathy either. I have spent most of my 30-something years eating with reckless abandon, outeating boys, and never thinking twice about having one more sea salt caramel... Or five more.

This job was the wake up call. This stressful, sit all day job has forced me to really look at what I am eating and also what i am not doing physically. It's not a good idea to eat cheetos because I can get away with it. It's not healthy to eat all that cheese because I can. It's the perfect time in life for me to wake up and realize that what I put into my body has a direct correlation to how long my soul resides within its shell. So thanks to Steve for giving me a new healthy philosophy. I'm sure he would never expect to hear that related to this topic, but I'm thankful.

turns

Sharing. Taking turns. My turn. Your turn. The kids both at this point GET the concept, they just aren't buying its validity or necessity as it pertains to them. Both feel equally entitled to exactly every single item in the house. Toys, books, remotes, crayons, brooms, cups, blankets, and hockey sticks.

Without fail the moment something catches Connor's gaze, Caroline will stop whatever she is engaged in and immediately DEMAND a turn. I understand that to her it must feel terrible for us to tell her that it is his turn, that he is using it and she will have a turn with it later. It must feel like she never gets her way, that he is getting preferential treatment, and that we clearly don't understand that EVERYTHING is hers. Connor understands enough that when we tell him to let her have a turn he will hand over whatever object has sparked the tension. And then he collapses to his knees in revolt. I rarely see him try to take something that she is playing with, but monkey see, monkey do. It won't be long will it?

His turn. Your turn. Her turn. Your turn. It's like a broken record in our house. I hate playing turn referee; gauging how long a turn each of them will tolerate before their eye sockets explode from the awesome pressure of PATIENCE. I'm considering getting another egg timer just for the playroom. I think it would take the pressure off of us to dictate turns and I honestly think that in the time it took for the timer to go off the waiting child would completely forget what they were waiting for anyway. They are like goldfish in that way, aren't they?

We don't tolerate teasing. I put things on the highest shelf that she holds literally over his head and races away from him holding behind her in that evil Na, Na, Na, Na way. I don't even hesitate. That's how white puppy got a new spot on the high shelf and every time we try to reintroduce him, he ends up back there. It's like a sharing dungeon up there.

For all the moments of teasing and fighting, even over sitting on my lap, there are equal parts getting along. They sit together at the table each in their chair coloring for entire minutes on end. They push cars around the rug. They build tall towers together. They even sit side by side on the couch pouring through books, taking turns, sharing. I savor those fleeting moments. I know it won't be long before I am listening to impassioned arguments for car keys. I'm not so sure the car would fit on the top shelf though and I'm pretty sure Connor would not look cool in front of his friends throwing himself to the floor in defeat after giving up the keys to his sister.

June courtesy of Auntie k







Lovey

Kids have treasured objects. Caroline will take anything she deems precious and place it into the upper cupboard of her kitchen. These items range anywhere from baby bottles for dolls to plastic silverware to princess crowns or a particular color crayon she doesn't want to share. She never really had a comfort item, she had her thumb always at the ready to comfort her. Still she cannot take a nap at school or fall asleep at night without the Curious George her nana and granda gave her at her side. I like this, but I like it even more because circumstances prevent us from seeing nana and granda as often as we would like to. I hope it makes them feel good too, their gift is always by her side, his little fingers brown and faded from love and adventures.

Connor took to a pacifier as we endured those evil and cruelly long months of reflux. It was often the only thing that would get him to calm down. He spends less and less time with it lately, especially at home. Car rides and nap time, maybe a meltdown if he is having a particularly hard moment. That bink is not as readily available as his sister's thumb was and for those tough toddler moments like day care drop off, he looks to his little blanket animal friend.

Until recently that transitional object was "car bear." Caroline had held him on the many car rides from CT to Boston. She never took to him in a transitional object kind of way, but he had been hers and she had snuggled with him many times. Connor literally could not sleep at school last week when car bear went missing. I wanted an all points bulletin! He was missing and he had to be found! Except, he hasn't been. The last time I saw him was when I went running down the driveway after Steve waving a freshly cleaned car bear. The last Steve saw he was holding it to his cheek at drop off. He is gone. Vanished.

We have another one at home, "giraffe." He also has the silky unrside, the super soft blanket, but he isn't "car bear." So I set out to find a replacement, something he could keep at home so we could send giraffe to school knowing he might also go to the land of vanishing day care toys. I worried that whatever I found would not be a suitable second object for Con. I worried that I was replacing something irreplaceable. I brought home "monkey." Cute, cuddly, monkey head holding blanket, silky on the bottom, soft on top monkey.

When you give a baby a lovey you celebrate them grasping it, holding it, rubbing the soft satin between their fingers. "look, she's holding it!" When you give a boy a lovey, he smiles widely, places that silk to his cheek, calls it by name and instantly loves it more than anything other thing, even hockey. He shows his thanks by offering it to you, placing it to your cheek, dragging it behind him everywhere he goes in the house.

This kid is constantly surprising me. He is both rough and tumble & sweet and sensitive. He drops to his knees in anguish, he says no and scrunches his face into a puss. He lays his head on my shoulder and gives hugs like a real boy, squeezing you back.

I'm sad still that an object held by both my children, showing its love through wear and extreme softness from washing and cuddles, is gone. I'm proud not that it was replaceable, but that my son is adaptable and he somehow knows that mommy understands he needs that little blanket when we can't be right there with him. A boy and his monkey friend, racing around holding a hockey stick, taking shots on a tiny goal with wiffle balls. My sweet, affectionate, energetic, surpringly strong, left handed son.

To his future wife, you are so damn lucky. Someday I'll show you all of this and you won't be surprised because you will already now you have landed an amazing guy who loves sports, eats like a horse, plays hard, but can help you pick shoes (obsessed!).

Chip

Imagine, if you will, arriving home on a beautiful summer day. It's early enough that you are planning to prep dinner, pack the kids for the holiday weekend and complete the rest of your paperwork for the day. You drop your laptop on the table and notice something odd on the bay window sill.

"What happened to the basil?" you ask yourself, moving in closer to inspect a mess of dirt on the floor. Closer yet you discover that not only is there a mess around the basil plant you grew from seeds (!), but the entire plant is gone. Not a leaf, not a root, not a stem. GONE.

Imagine then that you hear a noise and as you turn you scream like you just caught a madman creeping through your home. Only the madman is actually a small brown furry creature known more for tormenting Donald Duck than eating basil from a kitchen.

My first thought was not to chase it, but to race down the hall to my bedroom because I was wearing flats and a skirt. This situation clearly required winter boots. I slammed the bedroom doors shut and tore down the steps grabbing the kitchen broom on my way downstairs. I wasn't sure what the broom was going to do for me, but I wasn't going down there without something, anything.

Who do you call when you have a chipmunk in the house? Kiki of course!

"I'm living your worst nightmare," I told her. She suggested a call to the police for animal control. Yes, this seemed like a good solution, much better that I had imagined holding that broom, wearing those boots.

My call to the police was not so helpful as they told me that animal control was recently out of the area bringing another animal to the state lab for testing. He did offer to call her for me and when she called me back my heart sunk as she would be gone for at least a couple hours. She provided me a trapper named Barry's information. Barry was out of town until July 2nd.

No Animal Control.
No Barry.

Just me. And the chipmunk.

As I was talking with Animal Control I saw him. I whispered into the phone, "I see him. He's right there under the couch."

She suggested that the chipmunk was more scared of me than I was of him. Impossible. She further suggested I use my broom to sweep under the couch and push him towards the door. I built a blockade with the available furniture directing this furry trespasser out the open garage door. As I approached I heard the chirpy noise that chipmunks apparently make when they are afraid. This for me was scarier than the premise that there was an animal that belonged in my garden in my family room. Way worse.

I climbed on top of the couch and started whacking the front. There was some scurrying, but I never saw him. It would have been impossible for me to be watching every direction while whacking the couch and I wasn't sure if he was still under there, if he had ran out of the house, or if he had found a new spot to harass me from. This was not good.

Steve's suggestion was to turn the couch over. I didn't think that was funny at all. In fact, I think I demanded he come home that instant because me and my boots and the broom were not capable of handling this.

Later that night we set a humane chipmunk trap with some peanut butter and a strawberry. No chipmunk the next morning. In fact, we left it up the entire holiday weekend and still, no chipmunk.

No chipmunk. I am 97% sure he is gone. I am not looking foward to ever finding him or one of his friends in the house again. I have gotten 100% better at closing the door to the garage as we schlep the kids' stuff or the groceries into the house. We're pretty sure that's how he got in; garage to family room to kitchen.

I had to purchase a new broom this week. Steve broke the other one banging it on every stick of furniture down there. He wouldn't want me to tell you this, but I think he was just as scared as I was. In fact, I think he said, "when we find him, we are both going to scream like little girls."

I'll tell you one thing I know for sure, I am pretty pissed about that basil. I had plans for that basil. Pesto and lasagna and tomato salad.