Show Some Love

IMG_1846 Last week we made several trips to the dentist. Does the tooth fairy have anything to do with the teeth we’re given?  I don’t know. But if she does she is on my s*%t list.  Despite their best efforts it’s almost embarrassing the number of cavities Techno and Twinkle Toes have between the two of them.   (I don’t even want to see it printed here.)  You’d think we have something against oral hygiene around here or that my kids bathe in Coca-Cola or something. But even the hygienist at the office has said some kids just have those kind of teeth.  Okay whatever.

Twinkle was having tooth pain last week. And after much crying and – forgive the awful pun – gnashing of teeth she decided she’d rather have it pulled.  By the end of the week the dentist agreed.  After being in so much pain, missing some school and near begging to have it removed she was so happy when it was all over. Then the fun part – a visit to the treasure chest to pick out some awful 5-cent-valued plastic tchotchke as a reward.

This is where I am blown away.  She came up to the counter with a bouncy ball.  She asked me what I thought of it. I know she doesn’t collect these…her brother does.

It got me thinking about how my two oldest children show each other love in different ways. It’s rare!  But it’s wonderful to see.

When Twinkle was just days old and had jaundice we had a visiting nurse that came to take her blood regularly.  The first time the nurse performed this squeamish task my 22-month old little prince got between Twinkle and the needle-wielding woman and batted the nurse away. We witnessed his unbelievable desire to protect his baby sister before he could even verbalize it and the story has become a part of our family folklore and been re-told many times.

Then one day we were in the parking lot of a store and Twinkle took off without the obligatory look both ways and Techno held out his arm just in the nick of time to stop her.

Twinkle is the first one to make a gift for her older brother when the holidays roll around or he is celebrating another birthday. She has written many letters and made the most heartfelt cards over the years.

So why it is that when the bedroom doors open in the morning or they come bounding in after school at the end of the day that these lovely gestures are long-forgotten and the gloves come off?

I guess it’s no different from us adults. Sometimes we save our worst behavior for those closest to us. Next time Ice and I are having a tiff I wonder how far a blue plastic bouncy ball will get me?

Bring on the Bubble Wrap

It is coming back to me now, not in a drip or a trickle but a deluge.  Every day is a new adventure in protecting Bee from herself.

Yesterday we had a plastic part of unknown origin that neither Techno or Twinkle would claim ownership of. I did the sweep and found it in her mouth.  There were two pairs of flip flops being offered delightfully as a snack by my dear friend’s children at the softball game. She just loved munching on those! And the lilacs were so very interesting and tasty to her.

Last week the Lego piece in her mouth was cause for an immediate run downstairs to find the gate to cordon off Techno’s room from her future “digs”.

Today was the coup de gras.  While blow drying my hair she was begrudgingly situated in the play yard in the bathroom grabbing at her toys.  I looked over to see she had grabbed the cord on my curling iron, yanked it into her play area and the iron fell to rest on her arm!  I couldn’t react fast enough to snatch it off of her and find out with the greatest relief that I had not yet turned it on.

After this latest near-miss it really gave me pause.  How DO so many people make it past a year??  It is all I can do to keep her contained.  Her curiosity and clever maneuvers are not unique.  Every Mom has her tales of “can-you-believe-it’s?” and “You’ll-never-guess-what-Johnny-did’s!”.  But when you are witnessing it unfold on a daily basis it’s hard to believe there will ever be a time when you can look away for a minute, let alone an hour.

And yet, it’s been so long and Techno and Twinkle are so much bigger than Bee that I know it will come faster than I can bear. If I am smart I will polish up my disaster aversion tactics. My patience meter will be set to high. And I should really consider stock in bubble wrap.

Love Letter to Mom

Happy Bday MomThank you for letting me back in the house when I packed up my corduroy briefcase from Grandma and “ran away” from home because macaroni and cheese wasn’t on the menu that night.

How cool are you for helping me color my hair when I was 14? Except for the time we got it so wrong and you took me to the high-end salon to be sure it was fixed right.

By putting in a good word for me at your long-time employer it ultimately led me to my husband.

Passing along the special red plate tradition as a marker of an achievement or birthday made a lasting impression.

Did you know that the Irish Lullaby you used to sing to our two oldest is the Lullaby they now sing to Baby Girl?

For having the most optimistic outlook on life yet still knowing time and again how to respond to my glass half-empty rants is perfect.

When you can’t stop laughing from something being funny, I can’t seem to either.

To this day, the chicken and biscuits you made the day we brought our firstborn home from the hospital ranks among the best home-cooked meals we’ve ever had.

Despite the additional paper coming in to my house, (!) the numerous magazine and newspaper articles, coupons and deals you want to share is endearing and thoughtful.

The first person who calls me in anticipation of a good story from an event, a trip or an overall momentous occasion is you. I’m looking forward to hearing about your latest road trip.

I love that you love fashion, fun and being young.  Age is just a number and you are timeless.

O mystical radio contest winner…from the year’s supply of bubble gum in the 70’s to the Disco cruise we snorted through a few years ago, how do you do it? I can never get through!

By encouraging me to travel, try new things and be joyful about it, you have created a lifelong appreciation for what anticipation can mean. And it is priceless.

You have established yourself as the master bingo caller, VCR operator, consignment shop treasure finder, wine glass connoisseur, beef roll-up maker and rocking chair baby whisperer.

And you have always modeled what it is to be a good daughter, sister, wife and friend. And in doing so you have made it possible for my life to have more meaning.

Three Cheers for you Mom. Repeated daily.

Love, Me

It’s A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood

It is 12:20 a.m. I am sitting on the couch, head rolling back and eyelids barely able to stay open from sheer exhaustion.  Am I drooling?  I may be.  Ice is face down on a quilt on the carpet having since konked out moments ago.  Daniel Tiger, an adorable animated television program based on the works of Fred Rogers, is on the TV. (We have no less than 6 episodes taped for Little Bee).  My party girl is tentatively making her way around the coffee table with her tiny steps, slowly, one at a time.  Did I mention she is also shaking maracas?  Oh yes, cue the Mariachi band…

How did we get here?

Less than 36 hours before I had three paramedics and a police officer in my living room.  I am so grateful I have never had to call 911 in my life – until this week.

My “micro-napper” Bee took a three and a half hour nap on Monday and I just knew when she woke up something was not right.  She was so out of it and VERY warm.  She is usually ready with a smile and a bounce in her step.  But she took a long time to wake up.  After awhile I called the doctor and wondered “Is this fever from teething?”  She had been cutting a tooth for the last week and it had seemed to be mildly uncomfortable for her.  After talking with a nurse and getting some advice I hung up the phone.

But wait…she seemed to be getting warmer by the minute.  Her lids were droopy and she was getting kind of listless.  What is going on??? my brain was screaming to me.

I took her temperature a second time…and a third…it seemed like it was climbing.  I called the doctor back and spoke to the receptionist.  I waited and I waited for a nurse to answer my call.

With Bee in one arm, I balanced the cordless phone on one shoulder and picked up my cell phone to call Ice.  “Something is not right” I said in a panic.  He calmly told me to call 911.

Ice would rather rip out his fingernails than have to make a trip to the Doctor.  “Rub some dirt on it!” I have heard him say tougue-in-cheek when a minor injury occurs. So the mere fact that he advised me to make that call kind of freaked me out. I hung up with him and dialed that dreaded number.

Techno and Twinkle Toes were downstairs playing.  I needed to inform them of the call I just made. This brought great panic to their eyes and caused me to have to verbally re-enact the scene from the movie Moonstruck when Cher slaps Nicolas Cage and says “Snap out of it!”

I remembered thinking how odd it was that I heard the siren, knowing it was coming for my daughter.  Just that morning I had looked out my kitchen window and seen an ambulance speeding down the road, siren blaring and wondered “Where is that going today?  Who needs it?”  Having NO idea just hours later I would be relying on it myself.

To their credit, my two older children were on the phone with my husband at this time keeping him informed while he raced home.  I was so proud of them.

The ambulance arrived very quickly.  The doorbell rang and I answered it with Bee in my arms.  After taking vitals, noting how she seemed to be more alert than what I had witnessed before they came (I had given her some Ibuprofen at the advice of the nurse the first time) and seeing her demeanor change just a hair…the paramedic was able to offer me some relief that maybe this sudden spike in temperature was something other than life-threatening and it would be manageable.

I declined to have her ride in the ambulance.  I promised to follow-up with our pediatrician and I kept repeating over and over how utterly stupid I felt for calling.

The police officer who had a 15-month old kept making references to similar situations with her little one and offering her best advice to calm me and relate to me as a mother.  It was extremely helpful and welcomed at a time like this. None of them made me feel bad for calling, assured me that it was okay and eventually departed – sure to offer phenomenal assistance in some other desperate situation.

As it turned out from what we can tell, Bee fought off a virus of some sort for a few days.  She had no other symptoms but a sudden onset of a fever.

I was surely tested this week.  But was offered the best care and concern for Bee from the first responders, support from my family and friends and the best part is that she is doing well.  It’s a beautiful day in the neighborhood.

Gimme a (Spring) Break!

It is Spring Break for my 10-year old son and 8-year old daughter, heretofore referred to as Techno (for his affinity for his laptop, my cell phone and the occasional X-Box session) and Twinkle Toes (it’s obvious, right?) We are not in the -land, -world, -shores. -beach or anything remotely vacation sounding this week.  We are at HOME.  Gasp!  Does anybody do that anymore??

Each morning I still get up at 6:30am because my smallest creation, 9 month-old Little Bee doesn’t know it is Spring Break and she has no notion of sleeping in.  As this week’s cruise director I am reminded each morning that Techno and Twinkle’s friends are not home. My favorite phrase du jour…What are we going to do today?

It is an act of Congress to get Little Bee fed, take a shower and do some light housework (by light I mean make sure that the dishes do not reach the ceiling, ditto the laundry). I have found that by the time I accomplish these tasks it is almost time for the next meal and the ensuing “light housework”.

Meanwhile when my mind can take a millisecond to wander I envision the scores of families enjoying a toe in the sand, a ride on the teacups or a splash from Shamu. Back to the dishes…

Easter weekend kicked off with the climax of my own terrible sinus and congestion issues.  Twinkle experienced some major gastrointestinal upset.  And in between her heaves, Techno and I decorated Easter eggs.  Peter Cottontail still had to make a stop at our house and as is customary hide the eggs that we color.

My dear husband, Ice (the love of my life and my In Case of Emergency) coughed and sputtered his way through the weekend only to find out Monday morning that he had his first case (and hopefully the last!) of pneumonia.

And before I know it it is Sunday and Spring Break is fast coming to a close.  What have we done?

Well  I can report that I had some great couch time relaxing with Ice.  I enjoyed a more complex than advertised sewing craft with Twinkle and a nice walk in the chilly air with Techno and Little Bee (WHEN will Spring come to the Midwest??)  I managed to ignore most of the housework that desperately needed doing, showed Little Bee the finer points of riding my knees like an airplane and was taught a new card game by Twinkle.  We enjoyed the Final Four games with good friends (go Wolverines!) and busted a few moves with Just Dance Greatest Hits.

I am thoroughly sick of watching the dust bunnies float by and if I am subjected to one more laugh track on a Disney show I will most certainly feel the need to scream.  But damn I sure do enjoy the company I keep.  Can we do this again next week?  I’m just not ready to deal with the bunnies – dust not Peter Cottontail.