Wednesday, August 27, 2008


People who freely spoonerize should not be allowed to be around small children.

Said today at lunch: "Large Fry, you need you use your foon and your spor...your spoon and your fork."


Monday, August 25, 2008

"What the?!?!?" moment of the day

Large Fry is potty training.

To that end, we now have little girly training pants (they were all white when I was a kid, as I recall).

I decided to tackle this piecemeal, in shorter blocks, slowly working up to all day in training pants, with diapers only at naptime and bedtime. (What do I know? I've never been a parent before.)

So, as I'm checking the tag on the recently-wet training pants to make sure there's nothing weird I need to be aware of (you just never know these days), I notice the label includes this handy bit of information:

"Cool iron if necessary."

What the heck?

WHAT parent in their RIGHT mind would think that ironing training pants is a necessity?

I'll be happy if she can hold it longer than five minutes!

Friday, August 22, 2008


I meant to do this yesterday when I had the time, but, well, I just didn't have the time.

J was located fairly early yesterday morning and informed of the news. That was a weight off everyone's shoulders.

Funeral plans are proceeding; exactly when is not known, but probably not earlier than Monday. First, J and his wife and daughter (who are flying in from Seoul) have to get to Texas to begin with. Secondly, Uncle D is a veteran, and burial will be at the National Cemetery in Houston. Unlike Arlington, Houston only does 3 services per day, so they have to work around Houston's openings to figure out when to have the funeral.

My aunt is having a very hard time. Uncle D pretty much took care of everything, and now she's more than a little lost. A is helping to plan the funeral, and Mom is taking care of logical stuff like sorting through Uncle D's files (such as they are) and finding insurance information and all that stuff.

I had Large Fry call Mom just before naptime yesterday, and Mom said that her brother had looked quite different that morning than he did the day before. It was now obvious he was gone, despite the machines. And seeing the coolers waiting for the transplant harvesting team made the final goodbyes especially rough.

I had asked Mom what they'd determined about cause of death. What the neurologist suspects is that something caused Uncle D to collapse and fall. Precisely what is unknown. When he fell and hit his head, it was with enough force to fracture his skull. That trauma, combined with his bloodthinners, caused a cranial bleed. Between the pressure of the cranial bleed itself and the undoubted swelling caused by the blow to the head and subsequent fracture, a small aneurysm then ruptured.

When I handed Large Fry the phone so she could talk to Mom, she said hello, and then asked, "Gramma sad?"

I had told her that the night before. It was kind of amazing she remembered.

Since Large Fry was practically on my lap, I could hear Mom's response. Yes, she is sad, but talking to Large Fry makes her happy.

I had all three of the Fries talk to Mom at bedtime (as much as the two smaller ones will, which is mostly breathing and giggling and shoving the phone away). I need to make sure I have them call her again tonight.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Correction: My mother is the nitwit.

So I called my dad. "I thought I should tell're a nitwit."

"This is not exactly news to me," he says on a chuckle.

I proceed to explain that I called Mom after calling him, despite my feeble battery life, so that Large Fry could talk to her. And she had asked if he'd told me that they'd declared Uncle D gone.

This is now news to him.

"Ah, so my mother is the nitwit."

"Well, we do tend to flock to our own kind," he says.

We will give Mom the benefit of the doubt, though, because she has reason to be acting like a nitwit. She was up at an ungodly hour, flew to Texas, and has spent the better part of the last ten hours in a hospital. And will be back at the hospital at four tomorrow morning for some final goodbyes before the transplant team comes in at 6a.

Dad did say that she'd communicated Uncle D was braindead, but he didn't realize that he was officially declared. Hey, I'm just sayin' what Mom told me. Brain death, though, is medically considered to be irreversible, and it is death. (Though there are some weird groups that will argue the point.)

He also relayed that he talked to Mom a little after I'd called and had Large Fry talk to her. She told him that it was "the bright spot" in her day.

I can't do much from here, but I at least got that part right.

Is it bad form to call one's father a nitwit?

My uncle (my mother's oldest brother) collapsed and hit his head in Texas yesterday afternoon, with little to no explanation. He had the momentary presence of mind to instruct bystanders to call my aunt. By the time the news had wound its way through the family to my mother and then to me, he was at the hospital and no longer responsive. That was about 6ish last night. Mom had nothing more to report; they weren't sure if he fainted or if he just fell, or if something precipitated the collapse.

Dad sent out an email last night, stating that it didn't look promising and that my uncle was not expected to make it. (He'd had a rather harrowing brush with death a couple years ago following back surgery. Mom spent several weeks in Texas playing nurse while my aunt was abroad, visiting their son in Korea, not knowing that such horrible complications would set in after she left.) Further, Dad said, a CT scan done earlier in the evening showed zero brain activity. Not a good sign. Mom would be flying down to Texas in the morning.

At an awful hour in the morning, as it turned out. When I called Dad this morning, he'd just gotten off the phone with my sister, the CNP, and prior to that, my aunt (Mom's sister), the lab tech. Not much new to report; they suspected a ruptured cerebral aneurysm, and they had him on life support now, in an effort to keep him alive enough until the rest of the family could make it, and to help keep his organs viable until death could be declared.

And that's where the story takes an odd twist. A, my cousin, has already flown from her part of TX to her dad's part of TX to be at his side. J, her brother, well....

J lives in Seoul, South Korea, with his wife and daughter. He's the pastor of a Nazarene church there, and teaches at Korean Nazarene University. Naturally, getting ahold of him with the time difference is going to be just swell.

But wait! There's more!

J is not presently IN South Korea.

He's in Africa. Tanzania, to be precise. Leading a short-term missions trip. No cell phone can reach him.

A managed to get through to a friend in TX who was making contacts at the mission base J is currently working out of, and there was a group searching through the national parkland where he's been doing the bulk of the mission work, trying to find him.

Updates were pitifully thin throughout the day. Uncle D is in the ICU, so no cell phones allowed. A's page gave a brief update at 11:30a that his BP had tanked, and dopamine was ordered to stabilize it.

Dad called at 805p to pass along some information, completely forgetting it was bedtime for the Fries, who were all clamoring for me to read their favorite story. I actually had to middle-name Large Fry, because she kept standing up on the futon when I told her not to. If I'd had the ability to give her a swat and not lose my cell phone at the same time, I'd have done it. I asked if there was anything new with Uncle D, and he said no.

Medium Fry's "Pwease!" cries were getting louder, so I hung up with Dad and had Large Fry come stand next to me while I dialed Mom's cell.

I figured, when your brother is dying, talking to an awful cute 3-year-old grandchild who will say, "Okay, I love you! I love you, too!" with nary a break between the sentences is probably just the ticket.

I grabbed the phone back before Large Fry dropped it, and talked briefly with Mom again.

And herein comes the part of labeling my father a nitwit.

"Did your father tell you that they declared him dead about 11a today our time?" Nothing new to report, Dad? Golly.

She went on to explain that there was no brain function in last night's test, none in the test today, and that they'd sent tissue samples to the lab to get markers to see whom might benefit from his organs (he wanted to donate). Within six to seven hours, a transplant harvesting team would take what organs could be readily used. Mom said she, her other siblings, and his wife would all like a list of what organs were procured for transplant. J still has not been found; his wife and young daughter are flying back in from Seoul, however. The funeral will likely be Monday.

Mom says it's very hard to come to grips with the fact that her brother is gone, when he is still warm and "breathing" and all. I'm sure it will hit hard, and with great force, when the transplant team has finished their work, and all the machines are turned off.

My big concern is my cousin, who still does not know his dad is gone. But prayers for all would be appreciated.

Now I just have to tell my father he's a nitwit....

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Romance v. Parenthood

It had been a tough week on more than one account. The Fries all have the sniffles, so they've been extra crabby, and Medium Fry (whose nose was running the worst) screamed and cried every time I wiped her nose. Adding to all that is that Large Fry is about on the cusp of no longer needing naps, or at least as long a nap as the twin Fries need, so naptime has been a battleground.

I was frazzled by the time Hubby got home last night, and supremely glad he'd canceled the overnight camp-out with our older kids (the youth group). Hubby sent me upstairs while he finished supervising dinner, and started dinner for us.

I took my laptop and my notes for work and retreated to the bedroom. I watched non-child-friendly TV for the next hour, when I came down the hall to help with bedtime. We moved Large Fry's bed permanently into the office, so that she wouldn't wake her sisters while she refused to fall asleep.

I was getting ready to read the requested bedtime story when Hubby asked if I could finish up by myself; he needed to check on dinner. I read the story, tucked them all in (much to Medium Fry's vocal dismay), grabbed my laptop, and headed down to the kitchen.

...And found the table set in the kitchen with nice goblets filled with sparkling punch, cloth napkins in napkin rings, dinner ready to go, and Hubby looking sheepish that he wasn't finished when I came into the room.

"Who's screaming?" he asked.

"Yours," I told him. Medium Fry is his buddy, and she's very much her uncle's girl.

"Then I'm not going to turn on the monitor."

I didn't blame him. Medium Fry has a healthy set of lungs on her, and can be LOUD.

"See?" he said, gesturing to the table where he'd now lit a jar candle. "Romance isn't impossible with kids. It's just hard."

But when the screaming didn't abate as we sat down and started to dish up food, I looked at him. "I think she needs a shot."

Hubby mimicked a punch.

"No, motrin. She's teething again, her bottom eye teeth. That's probably why she's screaming."

Hubby opted to go up and drug his girl, and I decided to keep eating so my food wouldn't get cold.

After five minutes had passed, I said to the kitchen, "I love this romantic dinner we're having."

By the time Hubby came back downstairs, nearly twenty minutes had passed, and I was nearly done, even with seconds on the veggies.

Medium Fry was still crying, but it was now a how-dare-you-leave-me scream, not an I'm-in-pain-fix-it scream.

I mentioned my thoughts about our romantic dinner. He chuckled and said he'd been having the same thoughts upstairs. "Medium Fry would've been more than happy to fall asleep on my shoulder," he commented.

"Do I need to go up and hold her?"

"No, she's fine. She's just mad I left."

"Did Small Fry sleep through that?"

"Oh, no. She was awake. I'd tell her to lay down and be quiet. She'd say, 'Duckie!'"

I chuckled. My mom had bought all three girls little Gund ducks, which are permanent bedtime fixtures.

"'Small Fry, shhhh.'" He paused. "'Duckie!' I'd tell her to lay down and be quiet again. 'Duckie?'"

I'm trying not to laugh at his description of Small Fry's one-word side of the conversation and at the look of consternation on his face.

"'Duckie. Duckie. Duckie.'"

Now I'm laughing, because I know how cute Small Fry can look when she's like that.


And the irony is, it's Medium Fry who is so attached to her duckie that she can't sleep without it.

By the time we finished dinner, Medium Fry had stopped crying and all was quiet upstairs.

Hindsight being 20/20, I should've looked at him when we went to bed, and said, "Duckie!"


Friday, August 15, 2008

Note to self:

Strip the twin Fries the next time you want to serve yogurt with lunch.

Cleanup will be so much easier, and result in less laundry.

Lunchtime Blues

Golly, but the Fries have been cranky most of the morning.

Large Fry got her hand spanked at breakfast and it just kinda went downhill from there.

I'm having to scold her now about taking her food off her plate and putting it on the table. (She likes to "paint" with it.) And because she's mad about me telling her to put her food back on her plate, now she's trying to bend her whale spoon until it breaks.

The two smaller Fries are at least eating, but then, they're also stuffing their little plastic forks and spoons down their shirts. Yay. I don't know how to discourage using that "pocket."

Oh, double yay. Medium Fry is eating her yogurt with her fingers!

Yep, it's that kind of day.

*     *     *

The "pocket" reference above doesn't tell the story of how shirts overall became so known.  No, it's not the reason you think.

When we knew the girls would be spending the summer with us, I bought a little 6'-wide, 12"-deep snap-set yard pool.  Small Fry turned out to be terrified by the water, and my presence was required in the pool.  She clung to me like a lifeline the first few times we used the pool.

Innyhoo, my bathing suit is one piece and perfectly respectable...unless you're a small child standing next to me, looking down at me, as I'm sitting in the pool.  Then I have this very cool "pocket" created by my cleavage....  Naturally, Large Fry decided to make use of that pocket, taking one of the pool toys (a plastic measuring cup) and dumping water down in the "pocket."  Then she was surprised that the water wouldn't stay IN the pocket...and so she'd pull out the neckline of my suit to see where the water went.

From that point on, whenever the girls wanted to put something in a safe place, they chose the same kind of "pocket"...and put things down their shirts.  I'm not sure if I'm sad that the practice of using that "pocket" was only in use for a few months....

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Quote of the Day:

"Large Fry, do not feed suds to your sister." ~Hubby, as he supervised bath time.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008


It's been one of those days when you just want to go back to bed and skip to tomorrow. My boss decided he wanted to do payroll at 11a today (I usually have things ready to go by noonish). The kids were crabby. Emails were flying between Hubby and Dad and me regarding some intense family situations. I couldn't even escape to the bathroom for five minutes without the Fries crying or quibbling or shrieking, or my phone ringing for work.

As I prepared a very late lunch for the Fries, opting to get payroll done and my boss off my back first, I called Hubby in tears. I begged to know when he'd come home. I was so tired of taking care of everyone else and having no one to take care of me.

I got off the phone, wiped my eyes so the Fries wouldn't get upset, and called them for lunch. I finally gave up on begging Large Fry to eat her peas, deciding I no longer cared if she ate them; I didn't have the energy to continue to bribe her with wedges of clementine. As I rubbed the bridge of my nose to try to help alleviate my growing headache, Large Fry piped up, "Auntie crying?"

I looked over at her and smiled gently. "No, honey. I'm not crying. My head hurts."

Large Fry gave me a huge grin. "I kiss it!" she said cheerfully.

I couldn't help but grin. My headache still hurt, but darned if I didn't feel better as I bent over next to her so she could kiss my temple.

Naturally, she of course had to have me kiss her head. "Kiss Medium Fry head," she demanded. So I went over and kissed Medium Fry on the head. "Kiss Small fry head," Large Fry instructed. I did the same to Small Fry.

Medium Fry piped up next. "Hug!" she shouted happily.

Ever tried to hug a small child stuck in a high chair? It's interesting.

Small Fry held out her arms for a hug after I hugged Medium Fry. Then Large Fry said, "Want a hug too!" So I went and gave her a hug.

This resulted in Medium Fry gleefully demanding, "Hug!" again, which became repeated alternating hugs between Medium and Small Frys until I finally had to call a halt so they could go nap.

Stuff like that just makes my day.


Monday, August 4, 2008

Lessons in Parenthood

1) Leaving small children unattended while you go to the bathroom, especially when you've accidentally left out both the wipes and the lotion, results in a wipes snowstorm and Large Fry "conditioning" her sisters' hair (one badly enough that she required a second bath to wash it out) and the couch.

2) Huggies wipes are tough stuff. Two of them survived running through the washer.

3) Telling Large Fry she needs to use a spoon instead of a fork to eat her corn will result in Large Fry getting a time out because she (a) threw her spoon on the floor, and (b) began to scream while sitting at the table. It's her second time out for the day, and for pretty much the same reasons as the one at breakfast.