Monday, November 23, 2009

A Night Out with Uncle D

It's been one of those days for me. It's a holiday payroll week, which means I'm cramming 2.5 days' worth of work into 1.5 days. Which, of course, means the kids are extra needy. And I got an email from my boss at 9:15 this morning, reminding me that it's a short week for payroll. I didn't so much mind the reminder, although I hadn't forgotten. His wondering where I stood on payroll was a little annoying, though.

About lunchtime, as I've barely managed to down a bowl of Cheerios for my own breakfast, I ask Hubby when he'll be home. I explain what's going on with payroll, and he says he'll be home hopefully around the end of naptime, and he'll even take the kids out to dinner so I can keep working.

After the kids wake up and Skype with Mommy (my least favorite part of ANY day), Hubby takes them out for dinner. Small Fry solemnly tells me that I'm not coming. I breathe a small sigh of relief, and continue plowing through payroll stuff.

When they get back, Hubby tells me that Large Fry has started to recognize that big yellow M. He relates the following conversation, which took place at the light at Black Gap Road at the end of the I-81 offramp:

Large Fry: I think we should go there!

Hubby: Where?

Large Fry: I think we should go there! Where the french fries are!

Sunday, November 22, 2009


Medium Fry: Duckie is sad.

Hubby: Why is Duckie sad?

Medium Fry: He's sad.

Hubby: Why is Duckie sad?

Medium Fry: Because he bonked his head.

Hubby: He bonked his head like you did?

Medium Fry: I need to hold him.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009


Yesterday afternoon, Hubby came home from work and dropped into the blue armchair. He dozed off and on while I watched tv, did laundry, and the girls napped.

In short order the girls woke up, and when I came downstairs from getting something, Small Fry was in Hubby's lap, snuggled up against him.

"Watch this," he whispered.

He moved his hands.

Small Fry sat up, gave him a look, and laid back down on his chest.

He chuckled and put his arms around her, kissing her on top of her head.

He explained that she'd come downstairs and marched right up to him. His eyes were closed, and she just tapped him. As soon as he opened his eyes, she demanded to get up in his lap.

I chuckled.

A few minutes later, Small Fry was sitting up on Hubby's lap. I was getting ready to go for a walk, and I was strapping on my AirCast for extra support while I walked.  Hubby's hands were clasped together in front of Small Fry .

She shoved one aside. Hubby grinned at her and moved it back when she shoved the other one aside.

Indignant, Small Fry demanded, "Move yew hands!"

"Why?" Hubby asked, moving his hands aside.

Small Fry didn't say a word. She just dropped down against his chest and grinned in triumph as her favorite uncle wrapped his arms around her again.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Conversations. Again.

Hubby: Medium Fry, don't hit.

Medium Fry: Smawll Fwy hit me!

Me: Small Fry did not hit you. I was sitting right here.

Medium: You're making me scared!

Me: Why am I making you scared?

Medium: Well, you are!

Guess she told me.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Conversations, part Two Zillion

Hubby: Medium Fry, you've got your coat on upside down.

Medium Fry: No, I don't.

Hubby: Yes, you do. Your hat's down by your rear.

Medium: No, I don't!

Hubby: Yes, you do.

Medium: I am not going to kiss you!

Hubby: I didn't ask you to kiss me.

Medium: You're not a nice boy!

Hubby: I am a nice boy. I let you live with me. I take care of you.

Medium didn't really have an argument for that one.

Great. How do I explain THIS one?

The kids have all been sick this week.

With two different bugs: one a cold, the other high fever and early (and short-lived) stomach icks.

Yay me.

Dan has been sick, too. This is the first day he's made it into the office all week.

Did I mention I've been sick too?

All of that aside...

I'm trying to manage three kids, Charity now with the high fever sick and the twins not-so-sick (they just have the cold now and a low-grade fever). Once the ibuprofen gets in Charity, in a few hours she feels "all better." The twins are hard to stop.

I feel like I've been running a marathon all day between catching up on laundry, keeping diapers changed, feeding them, feeding me, feeding cats, giving the old cat her shot on time (I managed that today! I'm so proud of me), doing more laundry with small helpers who are not helping but rather squeezing around me, finally getting around to doing hair, and then lunch.

I had maybe a total of five minutes to myself so far today. All of those were trips to the bathroom. And one was interrupted.

I'm trying to breathe (figuring maybe that fake TV-Lamaze will get me through this without my blood pressure going through the roof) when Faith pops her head through the doorway. (Truly, there is no sense in closing the door.)

"Yes, honey?" I'm feeling somewhat resigned.

"JoyJoy is pushing!"

"Pushing what?"

"JoyJoy is pushing buttons on youwr phone!"

"JoyJoy!" I shout. "Leave my phone alone!"

By the time I have finished up and gotten back out to the living room where I left my phone (silly me), my BlackBerry is blinking at me.

One missed call. One new voicemail.

I recognize the number as that of one of my favorite caregivers--he's always a delight to talk to--whom I'd spoken with much earlier in the day.

I don't know what he wants, but I do know I don't want to deal with it now.

I change diapers. Start laundry. Open a bunch of new CDs that just arrived from that make the kids squeal as they recognize their favorite Veggies all over the covers. Start playing one of the CDs. Keep youngest child from jumping into the washer. Half-kill myself tripping over the hobby horse laying on the floor, not once but twice. (Ankle protests sharply.) Make lunch. Answer the phone. Finally I get thirty seconds when no one is screaming or crying or shouting or demanding juice or talking or whining that "she's touching me!" or anything like that, and I dial my voicemail.

I listen to Daniel's message. In thickly accented English, he tells me that he saw that I just called him, so he was returning my call. I should call him back when I get this.


I check the history on my BlackBerry for his number. Sure enough, two minutes before his last call, there was an outgoing one to his number.

I look at JoyJoy, who was eating lunch. "You called Daniel!"

She gives me a goobery happy grin.

I sigh, and note the voicemail on the BlackBerry's notepad app, as well as my next Daniel, to explain that I really didn't need anything.

Then I call Daniel. When he answers, I explain that I didn't call him. My three-year-old had.

He's really amused.

Then I text Dan to find out when he's coming home. And I tell him what our youngest did.

He also finds it amusing.

I can't wait until it gets back to the office that my three-year-old namesake is trying to take over my job....

Monday, November 9, 2009

What makes a parent?

Is it the fact that you contributed biologically to the creation of a new life?

Is it that you were there when your child(ren) were born?

Is it that you are the one who originally instructed your child(ren) that your appropriate term of address was "Mommy" or "Daddy"?


Is it when you took in three small girls when they needed someone, reprioritizing your life forever?

Is it that you cried yourself on a daily basis for weeks, because your little nieces were scared, you knew it, you were scared too, and you couldn't fix it and hated that?

Is it when your fridge became less full of "adult" food and more full of chicken nuggets, macaroni and cheese leftovers, and enough jelly and bread to shake a stick at because the children like PB&J and so that's what you fix?

Is it when you set your alarm for 2 a.m. because your youngest has been so sick, and the fever's been spiking when the ibuprofen wears off, and 2 a.m. is when the last dose is set to wear off? Is it when you check the others' temps too, just to be sure they're okay?

Is it when you set your computer aside because your middlest cheerfully announced, "I want to cuwl youw haiwr, Auntie J!"?

Is it when you spend the morning failing miserably at the job you're paid to do, because your poor sick little girl wants nothing more than to snuggle in your arms?

Is it when you shed both happy and sad tears as you watch your oldest happily get on the bus for her first day of Pre-K?

Is it when you read the same story for bedtime, every night, and you don't even need to look at the pages because you have it memorized, because it's the girls' favorite?

Is it when you console your youngest when the small dachshund she saw thirty feet away absolutely petrified her?

Is it when you scour the Internet, looking for duplicates of your middlest's duckie, that she just can't live without but manages to keep losing? And you buy (ultimately) eight of them?

Is it when you "let" them have lunch with you in the bathroom simply because YOU required the use of that room?

Is it when they're scared in the middle of the night and you let them sleep in your bed?

Is it when your heart breaks as the youngest cries for more juice, but you have to say no because she just threw up?

Is it when you're sick as a dog yourself, but they're sick too and so you care for them anyway?

Is it when you let them kiss you on the lips when they're sick, because they love you, even though you know it'll get you sick, too?

Is it when you take pictures of your oldest after she colored herself blue with your highlighter before you wash her off?

Is it when you fight back tears after watching your youngest--terrified for so long of big, curvy slides--go down the biggest, curviest slide at the park, all by herself, with zero prompting or encouragement on your part?

Is it when you have scowling "wars" with your middlest, just to get her to smile?

Is it when you rejoice outwardly that your youngest doesn't need to cling to you like a leech in the pool anymore because she's no longer scared of the water and yet inside you're crying a little because she doesn't need you for that one little thing anymore?

Is it when you check on them at night, and smile because the oldest is comfortable, the middlest has turned herself around in bed, and the youngest has kicked off her covers...and you right things for everyone before you go to bed?

Is it when you listen intently in the middle of the night because you thought you heard someone whimper?

Is it when you fight like crazy to protect them, even from those who aren't supposed to put them in danger, and you feel your heart break in the process yet you know in your heart it's the right thing? Simply because little girls should never have to wonder where their next meal is or if they're loved?

Is it when you praise your children's successes, give them "special bandaids" for their imaginary boo-boos, hold them when they cry, care for them when they're sick, comfort them after bad dreams, make their favorite lunches, encourage them after a setback, and love them like crazy?

Or is it all biology?

Somehow, I can't believe that it is.