Wednesday, July 27, 2011

What a Stay-at-Home-Mom Has Spent Entirely Too Much Time Thinking About

I wonder if we can trace the pathway of our life by our intimate knowledge of the back of our toilet?  I mean, as a small child, I vomited in the toilet, much like most children my age, but I was rarely alone.  A parent, usually my mother, was there, holding my hair back, rubbing my back as I expelled the contents of my stomach into the porcelain bowl.  It was probably at that time that I took notice of that metal tube at the rear of the toilet.  I would have asked what it was if I'd had time between gags.

Of course, I certainly forgot to ask and by the time I revisited that area, I was a belligerent preteen, most certainly alone.  I was alone back there because, as a 12-year-old, it was now my job to clean the entire bathroom and I was belligerent because I was, of course, 12.  And, since belligerency had crowded out curiosity, I did not wonder what the metal tube was for and why it was so cold, I merely hated it.

So, time passed and my preteen angst went away and my curiosity returned. However, as a college student, my curiostiy was otherwise occupied with boys, Marketing 101, alcohol, overseas travel and finding a job (yes, probably in that order).  There were several times my curiosity with alcohol got the best of me, and I, once again, found myself hanging out around the back of my toilet.  But, at that point, the metal bar was covered in several months of dirt and grime and any thought given to it made me wretch more so I tried to avoid it. 

Now, as the mother of small children, I again find myself spending time in close quarters with the back of my toilet.  I'm once more charged with keeping that area clear of vomit and urine.  However, once again, my curiosity is distracted from the function of the parts by questions more along the lines of 'why it is so hard for some young males to discern the toilet from the trash can?'  And, 'the opening is HUGE, what exactly makes it so difficult to hit?' And, 'Oh, how disgusting is that?!'

Who knows where my relationship with my toilet will take me in the future.   I just take comfort in knowing that some things do not change:  Moms will continue to rub the backs of vomiting children, someday, it will definitely be the responsibility of one of my daughters to clean it,  the metal bar is still there and it's still strangely cold.

By the way, in the course of writing this, I stumbled upon someone else who has asked, and unlike me, answered questions about their toilet.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Chuckles, No More

Sweet Chuckles
As everyone knows, nicknames are earned, not given.  And, shame on me for trying to give a nickname to my youngest.  (Even though I think Chuckles is really cute, as she is.)  However, she hadn't really earned one, as Sharkbait and DQ had, simply because she's just two, and it's hard to find that defining quality in such a short amount of time.

The signs have been there from the very beginning.  When I was seven months pregnant, I made my husband drive to Saint Paul to pick up chocolate covered cannoli.  There were several new foods I got her to try as an infant only when I mixed in some marinara sauce.  And, before she could eat solid food, she would literally suck entire Italian dinners (meatballs mostly) through the net of a Muchkin Fresh Food Feeder. 
The first meatball.
So, tonight, at a family dinner with many witnesses, I watched this tiny, sweet two-year-old eat more golfball-sized italian meatballs than me.  In fact, the only person at the table of nine (six adults) who consumed more meatballs than her was, her father.  She matched my brother-in-law, but in fairness she did it in one sitting and he started sampling them about 2 hours prior to dinner.  The number that she consumed, anyone...anyone...?  EIGHT!  Yes, that's right, this 28-pound toddler consumed EIGHT meatballs in less than an hour.

As a result, it is time to say farewell to Chuckles.  Henceforth, she shall be known as Meatball.  

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

They always return to the scene of the crime

It's been two years since Sharkbait earned his nickname.  And to kick off the July 4th weekend, I took the kids back to the zoo for the first time since that fateful day.  I won't lie, I was nearly drooling at the thought of what might happen at the shark petting tank.  I believe that most of you know the story, but for the few newbies, I'll briefly tell you the story.

Not a great picture but when they are
constant motion, they're hard to capture.
My father-in-law and I took my three kids, then ages 4, 3 and 4 mos. to the zoo one afternoon.  We anxiously ran into the aquarium and straight to the shark tank.  We soon discovered that the arms of three and four-year-olds aren't quite long enough for a feet-on-the-ground petting experience.  So, DQ waited with her Pop Pop for just the right timing while I held Chuckles in her Baby Bjorn and Shakrbait stood next to me.  It did not take long for the boy to realize that if he wanted to touch a shark, it was going to take a big 'reach.'  So, he sees one headed toward the side just three or four feet away from where we're waiting.  He quickly (really quickly) runs there, hoists himself on the edge of the tank and leans as far as he can. 

What happened next is what I've coined the teter-totter effect.  He leaned so far, that his whole head and upper body fell in the water while his legs flew up in the air.  And, this brings us to the only scary moment of the whole ordeal.  His hands were planted firmly on the bottom of the pool while his legs and feet were still stuck on the side (look at the side of a five-gallon bucket for an illustration).  He lacked the strength or the arm length to push himself up and out.  So, I simply pushed his legs down and his head/hands lifted right out of the water.

There we were, the three of us reacting in our own way to what just happened. One was soaking wet from the waist up and crying that the water was cold and tasted yucky.  I was fighting back the laughter that came much quicker than I would have thought.  And, Chuckles, helplessly stuck to my chest had eyes that were the size of silver dollars.  An attendant, who I'm guessing was about 17 and in her first week of work, came over.  I apologized and she said, "that's okay, um...that happens sometimes...they tell me..."  She offered us some towels that they keep in the aquarium.  We paraded to the other end of the exhibit (not a short walk) while adults and children alike stare at the soaking, crying mess who's mother is giggling.

We have rarely talked with Sharkbait about falling into the tank.  He doesn't remember it now and, he never once showed any concern for the fact that he was swimming with carnivores.  He's a boy who appreciates animals but doesn't exactly trust them.  He's the first kid to offer his little sister the first pet of any new animal we come upon.  So, the day we returned to the tank, I wasn't totally surprised that he watched but did not try to touch the sharks.  He did, however, humor his mom and pose for a picture.

My son has always been exuberant.  I mean, extremely exuberant, like I've been chasing him since he took his first steps at eight months of age.  And, for those of you who know him, you know that I am not exaggerating.  He turned seven last week and he can currently out-run me, out-talk me and certainly outlast me in nearly every aspect of parent-child relationships.  But, I like to put a positive spin on these situations and think of him as determined and self-sufficient and adventurous.  And when he is asleep in his bed at the end of each day, I remind myself how all of these qualities will serve him well in his future.  And, how this specific set of traits has provided me with enormous entertainment (and blog material).  Then, I promptly pass out from exhaustion.

Happy Seventh Birthday, Sharkbait!
This is more like it.

Checking it out

Sure, I'll hang out with the tiger
if there's 1.5" of plexiglass in between.