Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Kid Math

Last night, I was listening to Small Fry rambling on about kids and family and death (weird, I know; but we're trying to prepare the Fries for the inevitable passing of Popoki, our oldest cat).

Small made this pronouncement: "You have fwree kids now.  But if I die an' go to heaven, then you'll only have two."

I tickled her foot.  "Nope.  I'll still have three.  Two here with me, and you in heaven."

"But I don't wanna go to heaven yet."

"I don't want you to go yet, either."

About then, Hubby announced a moratorium on dying.

And, of course, then we went on to discuss the Yakuza.

1:30 a.m.: A Story in Two Parts

Part One

Last night, Medium Fry was inconsolable at bedtime.

She didn't want to go to bed.

I was supposed to be in charge of the tucking last night, and Hubby was going to give hugs from where he was collapsed on the couch while I hobbled upstairs to do the bedtime routine.

Medium whimpered and whined from her spot on Hubby's lap that she couldn't go to bed alone.

She wouldn't be alone...Small Fry would be there.

But the giants would get her, she insisted.  At least, I think that's what she said, because she was still crying and rubbing her eyes.

Yep, totally exhausted.

We both asked her what was so scary about her room.

"The things," she said.

What things?

"Fwankencelewry and Juniowr awre dewre, an'..."

Great.  VeggieTales characters.

"Mommy is going to kick the monsters out.  She always remembers.  I usually forget," Hubby pointed out logically.

Silly Hubby.  Irrational fears do not respond to logic.  Even in small females.
Popoki, patrolling the new house.

"Po lives here, honey," I said gently.  "This is her house.  She will fight off the giants.  She doesn't like them.  She won't let them get you."

"But Popo never comes into my wroom.  She can't pwotect me."

"She doesn't need to.  She keeps 'em all out of the house."  I could tell this was not going to end quickly.  We were going to be here another half hour just convincing her that she could to to bed before we even got her upstairs.  I slapped Hubby on the leg and told him he needed to come in and tuck in the kids with me.

We got the twins settled in their beds and said prayers.  We tucked their covers over them.

I settled Medium's Max (of Dr. Seuss & Grinch fame) next to her, by the ladder up to her loft bed.  "Here, Max will guard you."

Medium smiled sleepily at me, thumb in her mouth, and closed her eyes.

Part Two

I'm in bed.  It's after one in the morning.  I'm rather blearily half-awake when I heard the door at the other end of the hallway open and close.  From the soft rattle I heard, I can guess which munchkin is soon going to enter my room.

Medium shuffles in.  "Mommy?"

"What's the matter, honey?" I asked softly.

Medium clambered up on the bed.  "I'm skawred."


"Max isn't pwotecting me anymowre."  She fidgets as she gets comfy under the covers.

"He's not?  Why not?"

"Becauwse his eyes got tiyewrd."

Ooookay.  Arguing with that one is going to be pointless.

"You can stay here for awhile, then.  Lay down and go back to sleep," I murmured, stroking my hand over her hair.

Thumb popped back in her mouth, Medium hunkered down into Hubby's pillows.

She was out like a light within seconds.

I guess Mommy is better at keeping away giants and monsters than Max or Popoki.

Homemade or Store Bought?

Matt over at TCONP posed an interesting question today.  Which is better?  Made-'em-yourself kids, or adopted?

We did neither.

But far be it from me to keep my mouth shut on such a subject, since it really is rather close to my heart.

Here's what I wrote in response to the biological vs. adoption question, when it comes to how to build your family:

It’s difficult for me to truly weigh in on this, since my husband and I neither had biological children, nor adopted. It was more of a hijacking, really. Of us, to be totally honest.
My husband and I tried for over six years to have biological children, and then had our lives turned upside down and inside out by taking in my nieces (not quite three and 18-month-old twins, at the time) when their parents were splitting (quelle surprise), and ultimately ended up having to move to protect the girls from their own parents by filing suit for full custody of the children. (Long and involved story.)
Not quite a year after the girls moved in with us, I had surgery to remove uterine fibroid tumors (they’re benign, but bothersome), which was the likely culprit for us not conceiving. Not knowing at that point that we would be filing suit in three months for custody, we decided to give me a good year to heal from the surgery (c-section incision) before trying again, since we knew it was possible to get pregnant after removing the problem. Almost exactly a year after the surgery, I landed in the hospital again…this time, due to pneumonia complicated by a massive pulmonary embolism. That required a year of prescription bloodthinners to treat. Couldn’t get pregnant then.
By the time I finished up the treatment for the PE, and we could contemplate biological children again, we had won custody of the girls and were looking at the long haul of parenting. Did we really need more children? Would it be fair to our three girls if we had a “real” child of our own? We sure love these little girls just as much, if not more, as if we’d given them life. Six little words helped seal our decision: “We could have another girl, honey.” Not that we don’t love the girls, but Hubby is already feeling the strain of being the lone man in the house (he says the two boy cats don’t count, since they’re fixed).
So we made our decision. We’ll stick with the three we have. The fact that a scant 16 months separates the oldest from the twins makes life an adventure! It’s not how I imagined getting my children, but in retrospect, my mother fully believes this was the way God determined we would be having children. It’s a prime example of God taking unwise choices and helpless consequences, and using it for his own good. (I kind of like that.)
It’s been a heckuva ride.
Adoption has always been close to my heart, and I had always lobbied for that when it came to having kids, because I am a wimp of the first order and didn’t want to go through labor.
Labor is the easy part, I tell you, and I daresay any mom would agree.
While we have decided that we’re done with having kids, since we now have three, I have friends who are in the process of an international adoption of two children…before even having biological children (which they do intend to do).
Since that’s the opposite of the way it usually works, they get a lot of questions.
But I love their reasoning.
They’re adopting from Ethiopia, and they’re both Caucasian. They want to be able to focus on their adopted kids and getting them through the culture shock and language hurdles that will come with that, even though their kids are 3 and 14 months old. They don’t want to shortchange biological children because the newly-adopted ones need more of their time. They want it to be completely normal for their biological kids to have Ethiopian siblings. They feel this is what God has called them to do. I love that! I am so thrilled for them that they’re in the final stages of the process, and it should be a matter of weeks now before they can finally bring their children home. I think it’s so cool that they want their blond-haired, blue-eyed kids to think nothing of the fact that their big sister and brother are chocolate-skinned and -eyed.
I can’t tell you what’s the best way to go.
What I can tell you: letting someone else’s biological child into your heart inevitably means that they will run away with it. Loving a child that is not of your genes is an indefinable experience. There’s something about the kind of love that adoptive/foster/hijacked parents have for their kids that is beyond fierce and is almost greater than the love of a parent for a biological child. Love is a choice, a verb, after all, and loving your own biological kid sometimes has that “you’re mine; I have to love you” tag attached. When it’s not “your” kid, you’re reminded every time they drive you bonkers: “You are mine, not because I birthed you, but because I chose to make you mine. You’re driving me insane (a short trip for me), but you’re mine still. And you’ll always be mine, because I’ll always choose to keep you mine.”

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

I've invited you all here today because I'm ready to name the murderer....

Many, many moons ago, when Hubby was 19, he took a year off college and worked for a plastic-injection mold factory that manufactured (primarily) Little Tikes toys.

To this day, the brand name makes him twitch.

Hubby worked on the line, waiting for molten plastic to squirt into the mold, set, and for the mold to open.  Then he reached in to grab the newly-formed toy.  And so on.

You had to be quick.

The mold closed down with over a thousand pounds of pressure per square inch.


You see where this is going, right?

At this point, I should really mention that Hubby lived on the Big Island of Hawai'i for three years, from age 13 to 16.  He's the only guy his size that I know who's been beat up (admittedly, he was 13, but still, not exactly small) simply because he's haole.

All that to say, Hawai'i is a melting pot of Asian and Polynesian cultures.  Living there is very much a crash-course in Japanese, Korean, Hawai'ian, and a handful of other cultures and traditions.

But I temporarily digress.

One day, Hubby was not as quick as he should have been, and the tip of his left index finger (and the edge of the middle) got stuck in the mold.  He slammed the emergency stop button and had to actually get someone else's attention, get them out of the "OMG, BLOOD!" zone-out,  had them get the foreman, and got a fast ride to the hospital.

Where he proceeded to crack stupid jokes, his preferred method for dealing with severe pain.

No, I am not kidding.  The doctor who was attempting to cauterize the (many) bleeding vessels had to put down his laser after the last zap had generated a smoky cloud, and Hubby said, "Mind if I smoke?" with a drugged-up giggle.  The nurse walking into the room turned around and walked right back out.

He's fun when he's doped up and scared and in serious pain.

All that was left of the tip of his finger was what could be wiped off the inside of the mold with a paper towel.  (Eww.  I know.  Exactly what the doctor said when he looked in the paper towel after a nurse walked in with it and said, "They brought the finger.")

It took forty-two stitches to close up the end of his index finger and the collateral damage on the middle finger next to it.  The doctors didn't think that he would even have a fingernail left on his index finger, but he does have a tiny, rather deformed fingernail.

I told you that story to tell you this one.

Now, Hubby was down to  9¾ fingers (by his own admission) before I met him.  So I've always known him this way, and never really thought anything of it.

And Hubby, with his rather warped sense of humor (which is, undeniably, one of the reasons I love him), likes to have fun with his missing quarter-digit.  Like affecting a startled look when someone points out his finger, as if he's just now noticed it's gone.

Last Sunday, during second service, Hubby and I are sitting in the pew in front of Jester and Mitzy when Jester notices the finger.

Hubby does an abbreviation of the startled routine, then whispers over his shoulder to Jester, "Yakuza."

Jester looked momentarily confused.

"Japanese Mafia," Hubby clarified quietly.

Which sent Jester into a cough as he tried to not laugh.

I got to tell the whole crazy story after service was over.

I told you, he has fun with it.

Now, I've told you that brief vignette to tell you this:

Tonight, Small Fry noticed the finger for the first time.  "Daddy, what happened to yewr fingewr?"

"If you tell her Yakuza..." I muttered under my breath.

"Yakuza," Hubby says, wide-eyed.

Right on cue.


"Can you say Yakuza?"

"Yakuza," Small parroted fairly well.

"It really got smooshed in a machine," Hubby confided.  "But if anybody asks you, you tell them 'Yakuza.'"

"Did it howrt?"

"Oh, yes."

"Did it blood?"

"Yes.  It bled a lot."

"Did you cwry?"


"Did you hafta have a bandaid?"

"A big one."  Hubby grinned at her.  "So, now what do you say when someone asks you about it?"

"Yakuza!" she whispered, with just then right amount of hushed awe.

Then Small contemplated for a moment.

"I'm gonna tell Gwramma it was Yakuza!"

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

1 a.m.

It's late and I'm finally getting to bed a couple nights ago.  I'm finishing up my own bedtime routine.  As I head back into the bedroom from the master bath, I hear the door to the twin Fries' room open.

A peek down the hallway tells me that it's Medium who's up and about.

She sleepily bumbles into my room, her duck mini pillow pet clutched in one hand, her "shaky duckie" (as she's now started describing Duckie, given that she's acquired quite a collection) held in the same grip.


I tugged on my own jammies.  "What, honey?"

"I can't sleep."

"Why not?"

"I'm alone.  I can't sleep when I'm alone."

"But you're not alone," I said.  "Small is there with you."

Medium whimpered.  "But not next to me.  I can't sleep wiffout someone next to me."

My heart melted, and with it the desire to send her back to her own bed.  "Okay, go ahead and get into my bed."  I smiled gently as she clambered up into our bed.  There's been several times in the last few weeks that we've both still been up when Medium has awakened and needed someone, and so Hubby has gone back upstairs with her, laying next to her in her bed until they both fall asleep.

I went back into the bathroom for a few minutes, and heard, "Mommy?"

"Yes, honey?"

"Whewre awre you?"

"The bathroom.  I'll be right there."

She was mostly asleep when I got into bed next to her.

And she was still there in the morning.

I love that.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Someone, please stop my head from exploding.

It's either going to be my head or my heart, and I'm really not sure which it's going to be.

Tonight, as we were having a buffet of munchies for dinner (having eaten really well at GVD for lunch), Medium Fry looked at Hubby and said, "You'wre not our wreal daddy."

If I felt like I'd had a knife plunged into my chest, I can only imagine how Hubby must have felt.

The Fries had seen their biological father on Saturday for visitation, who hates the "Daddy S" moniker that the girls have given him.

Hubby replied, "I do all the things a real daddy does."

"But you'wre not our wreal daddy.  Daddy S is!"

And that was about when my hands started itching to be wrapped around my brother's throat.

Because I knew he had to have been called Daddy S during visitation, and he must have really expounded on how Hubby is not their daddy.  And how they shouldn't call Hubby Daddy.  And how only he is their daddy.

"Daddy S," Hubby said carefully, obviously trying to find the right way to explain the true nature of Bro's relationship to the girls, "is your father.  But I do all the things for you that a real daddy does.  I play with you and keep you safe and love you and take care of you."

It was easy to tell that Medium was really mostly just parroting Bro's words.  But it still hurt.  And I had the nearly-insatiable desire to email him and tell him he is never to destroy his children's (because he is so adamant about them being his daughters, and his alone) love for their Daddy-Uncle that way again.  And remind him that the human heart has an amazing capacity for love, and he shouldn't try to stifle that in them.  And that they can call him Daddy S and still love him, even as they address Hubby as Daddy and love him, too.  And point out that Hubby has been more of a father to the girls than Bro ever was.

And then whack him soundly about the head with a wet pool noodle.

Medium came downstairs awhile after this conversation, having been sent upstairs to get into her jammies and ready for bed.  My heart was still twinging over what my brother had obviously tried to drill into the girls over the course of visitation.

Somehow, in her conversation with Hubby while I sat and quietly (and hopefully inobtrusively) brooded, the topic turned to whether or not Daddy was strong.

Medium giggled.  "You'wre nawt stwrong!"

Hubby scooped her up, peals of little-girl laughter filling the den.  He cuddled her tight to his chest, locking his hands together behind her back.  "Say 'Daddy is strong!'"

"Daddy's nawt stwrong!" she shrieked, giggling.

"Say 'Daddy is strong!'"

"Daddy's nawt stwrong!"

I'm not sure who was having more fun, and I remembered the stories Hubby had told about his dad wrestling with him when he was a small boy, demanding that he say "Your mother's a rat!" before he would release the hold.

"If I wasn't strong, how could I protect you?" Hubby asked.

"Daddy's nawt stwrong!" Medium shrieked with glee.

"Wiwll joo mawwy me?"
"Prove it!" Hubby challenged.  "Push down my foot!"

It took about ten minutes...

And all of Medium's body weight, sitting on Hubby's shin...

But she did finally get his foot from mid-air to the floor.

And while I still wanted to storm the 150+ miles to where Bro lives and smack him silly with my pool noodle, I knew.

Medium knows who her wreal Daddy is.

He's sitting right over there, on the other end of the couch.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Toilets, 2. Hubby, 0.

We hadn't been in the house a month before Hubby had his first home plumbing repair to make.  Noooo problemo, he saith.  He is, after all, the son (and nephew) of a plumber.

It happened after he tried to install the Kaboom flush-to-clean bowl cleaning systems in all three toilets.

The two upstairs?  Just fine.  The Kaboom inserts installed flawlessly.

The one in the half bath downstairs?  Not so much.
A part in the toilet tank there broke when he tried to install the Kaboom thing.

I was quite ecstatic when it was finally fixed and we had three potties again.  (My ankle was starting to gripe about having to go up two sets of stairs to get to the nearest toilet, especially since most of our time is spent on the kitchen/den level.)

On Thursday night, I mentioned that the master bath toilet was, well, burbling, for lack of a better word.  I didn't think it was running.  It was just making noise, and jiggling the handle (the extent of my plumbing skills) didn't stop it.  Hubby checked, and it was indeed running, and he picked up the parts to fix it before I left Friday afternoon to bring the girls to Mom & Dad's.

Hubby had SPAM night with the middle-school kids in the youth group (that's Soda, Pizza and A Movie), so he stayed behind.  After his relaxing Saturday, he finally got around to replacing the faulty parts after bath time tonight.

I was half-watching Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, the Fries tucked in bed for the night, when Hubby hollered from upstairs.  "Can you go take care of Medium's bug?"

I dutifully trooped upstairs, located the nearly-invisible spider, and effectively dispatched the thing.  After a prompt burial at sea in the kids' bathroom, I headed back downstairs.

As I approached the stairs, Hubby sighed. "I am not getting along well with the toilets in this house."


"I was able to get this out easily, without any tools."  He glanced over at me.  "Which means...I broke something else when I took it out, and that means lots of tools."


I continued back downstairs, and was just beginning to get engrossed in Indy's third tale when I heard Hubby's heavy footsteps move down the hall to the twins' room, which is directly above the den.  Terse words followed, and then Hubby stalked into the den a few minutes later, now wearing jeans (he'd put on shorts for supervising bath time) and carrying a pair of socks.  "Next time we have a broken toilet, we're hiring a plumber!"  He strode to the couch and sat down.

"Going to Lowe's?"

He nodded.  "I broke the dang overflow tube."

I knew better than to say anything about that one.  So I just asked what the problem was with the Fries.

He then explained, as he tugged on his socks, "Medium saw (gasp) a dot on the wall.  And she wanted you.  And she wouldn't settle down because she thought she saw a dot!"

I decided it would not be a good idea to ask him if he could measure the glass panels to get the replacement shelves for my dining room china cabinet while he was out.

That's some interesting theology....

A few weeks ago, Small Fry was adamant that PeeJay, the senior pastor at our church was at least as smart as God.  If not more so, really.  I was entertained enough that I posted a brief recounting of the conversation on his Facebook wall.

He was very impressed with that, and said the next morning in church that he admired the job we were doing, raising our children in accordance with Proverbs 22:6.

I told him I was very pleased with his humility.

Tonight, at dinner, I was trying to get the twin Fries to eat while Hubby was upstairs giving Large Fry a bath.

In an effort to keep Small from attempting to boss around her twin, I reminded her that she was not in charge.

A few minutes later, Medium casually announced, "I'm in chawrge of God."

I did a mental double-take.  "Is that so?"

"God is in chawrge of everyfing else, but I'm in chawrge of Jesus and God."


I think perhaps I ought to make her listen to the sermons in church, rather than color.

The cats don't count?

As I walked Large Fry home from school one afternoon this week, she made a startling announcement.

"I can't wait 'til we can get a pet!"

Wait, what?

"We have pets," I pointed out.  "We have kitties."  In fact, the kitties outnumber the people.

"Not them.  I want a pet panda bear."

Thankfully she was in front of me, and didn't see me trying to stuff my eyes back in their sockets.  I had to wonder how illegal a pet marsupial would be.

Between Small Fry asking Santa for a pet reindeer and now Large wanting a pet panda bear, we're in big trouble.

Maybe I can dress Po up in a panda costume....

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Tuck, Round Two

Hubby tucked the Fries in tonight, because I needed to hunker down, get a load of laundry done, and get my newsletter written for work, and then go to bed (do not remind me what time it is).  I'm fighting the tail end of Monday night's nasty migraine, which was nasty enough that I'm willing to cough up the money for a drop-in day for the twins at day care tomorrow.  Hubby usually doesn't go in to work until noonish on Thursdays, but he has meetings all morning in our old town, and I got teary at the thought of my poor head and happy, loud kids all. day. long.

Once the kids were safely tucked in, Hubby ran out to the store.  We were out of very important things, like kids' toothpaste and milk and bread.

I'm sitting in the den, which is directly under the twins' room, and I hear muffled wailing.

I tried to ignore it and work.

Not so much, for the wailing was not abating.

I went upstairs to see what the problem was.

Medium whimpered.  "We saw Daddy leaving!  I don't want him to leave!"

"He just went to the store!" I exclaimed.

There were sniffles.

"He'll be back," I promised.

Then I tried to leave the room.


"Mommy, I want you to tuck us," Small Fry piped up as I closed the door.

I came back in and hugged and kissed and hugged and kissed and said "I love you" about eight times.

I took one step.

"Tuck means you pull the blankets over us!" Small declared.

They had both kicked off their sheets and comforters in the short timespan between Hubby's departure and my arrival.

I pulled the covers back up on both of them, as they watched me with impish faces.

One more round of "I love you," and I closed the door.

"Good night, Mommy," Small shouted.

I opened the door again.  I looked pointedly at both Fries.  "Good night.  Go to sleep."

They were still grinning impishly when I closed the door again.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Quote of the Afternoon

"Her face is all cracky."  ~Large Fry, describing Miss C, the "old lady" (again, Large's words) who is in charge of the children's department at church

Reminds me of when Medium Fry complained that her thumbs were getting old, because "they'wre all cwacked!"

I finally understand.

My heart is heavy right now.

Hubby is having a very serious discussion with Large Fry about stealing, after today's events.

I got an email from Large Fry's teacher this morning regarding a cell phone that she had seen Large Fry with yesterday.  Long story short, another student had brought in the cell phone from home (although she knew she shouldn't), Charity had found it, and claimed it as hers when the teacher asked her about it.  Then the teacher got a note from the parent this morning, asking about it.  I found the ill-booten gotty tucked under her own belongings, stuffed into the box my slippers (received as a Christmas gift) were packaged in.

We'd had previous issues with her taking little things that she found--ponytail holders, pencils, erasers.  We've had discussions about why taking things that don't belong to her is wrong.

Hubby went over to pick Large Fry up and return the phone and have a little powwow with her teacher.

We were at a total loss for how to discipline for this.  Pencils and erasers are one thing; a cell phone is another entirely!

I called my parents for advice.

And for the first time, I understood exactly what it meant when my parents would tell me that my spanking "hurts me more than it hurts you."

It never made sense before.

It does now.

And, Mom and Dad, I know you're reading this.  But quit laughing!

Friday, February 10, 2012

House to Home

There's a difference between a house and a home.

A house is simply the place you go at the end of the work day.

A home is where you live.

For me, several things change bricks, mortar, drywall, insulation, and wiring from a mere house into the comfort of a home.

The presence of my family, for instance...both the two-legged and four-legged.  When the cats moved over here first before the rest of us did, our old house became less home and more house without them there.  Our belongings.  My pillow (home is always where my pillow is).  Our decorations.  My books.

Our pictures on the walls.

Slowly, we're making this place ours.  It's not a weirdly empty shell, like it was before we moved in.  It's not Previous Owner's.  It's ours, and it's starting to look like it.  It feels like home.

The biggest signal that this is home has been getting the pictures on the walls.  As I unpacked the boxes of carefully wrapped framed pictures, my heart warmed as I remembered the moments these shots captured.

The Fries at the annual Ice Fest in our old town, sitting on a huge throne carved intricately out of massive blocks of ice.

Large Fry, caught in motion with my two-foot-tall Pooh Bear as she twirled and "skated" around the living room, mimicking the pairs figure skating on TV.

All three Fries at the living room window, in the first week they lived with us, looking outside.  It's still one of my favorite shots.

Pictures from last Easter.  Pictures from the two Easters before.  Pictures from the park.

Most of the pictures are in nice, cherry-stained frames.

But I have several pictures framed in sharp-looking metal frames, one with two openings and a ceramic inlay of baby booties.  That one holds pictures of all three Fries as newborns.  Long before they moved in with us, I wanted to have baby pictures of the Fries.  They're the early pictures of the Fries: all three when the twins were born, Large Fry in a sack-sleeper my mom made, Hubby with a four-month-old Large Fry, the first time we met her.

Hubby and Large Fry (4 months), Nov. 2005
These were still sitting out on the ottoman and the shelves, since most of them have velour backs and I didn't have a way to hang them up on the walls yet.

Large Fry bounced into the living room one afternoon while Hubby was in there and found them.

The next afternoon, she came up to me in the den, holding the framed picture of herself and Hubby.  "Mommy," she said, "Daddy said I have to ask you.  Can I have one of this picture for my room?"

I smiled at her and stroked her hair.  The photo didn't have a place on a wall yet.  "You can have that one to put that up in your room."

Her eyes lit up.  "Daddy!" she shouted as she scampered up the stairs.  "Mommy said I could have this one for my room!"

Tonight, as I tucked Large Fry into bed, I saw that picture, in its place of honor on top of her dresser, right next to her framed picture of herself with Poppa Nick (her buddy from our old church).  It's right where she can see it from her bed.

And I remembered.

How in the HECK... Part 2

Not long after I told this story, Large came upstairs and into the den, befrocked (sort of) in another old dress.

Which she'd found somewhere.

Probably amongst the dolly clothes, for that's about all it was good for these days.  Dolly wear.
Large Fry.  Stylin'.

Yet there she was.

The dress barely qualified as a shirt.  How she'd managed to pull it on over a thick fleece nightgown was a question I wasn't going to attempt to answer.

This time, I made sure I got pictures.

What size is that dress, you say?

Six to nine months.

And my six-year-old can still get into it.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Mirror Twins

Medium and Small Fries are not identical twins; they are fraternal.  Quite obviously so, in fact.

Mirror boo-boos.
Tonight, however, in one of those freak kid-related accidents that you have to see it happen to believe it wasn't deliberate, they now bear mirror-image goose-eggs on their noggins.

I fixed chicken stir fry for dinner, since Hubby was working tonight, and he doesn't like it anyway.  Medium protested having to eat her broccoli and peppers.  I said she had to eat them anyway.

As Medium is shoveling in the remaining veggies without further complaint, Small announces that she's full.

Surprise, surprise.

She has broccoli and yellow squash left in her bowl.

"You have to eat it," I told her.

"I doan' wannit anymowre!"

"You need to eat your veggies."

It was at this point that I became distracted by the other two Fries, and I missed something significant.

Small Fry leaving the room.

Medium was being silly, and bragging to me how she had eaten all of her broccoli and red pepper strips, and she whirled around, laughing.
Small's boo-boo.

And that's when it happened.

As Medium twirled, she careened slightly off axis...just as Small Fry bounced back into the room (I am still unaware that she'd left), turned to face her twin, annnnnnd...their foreheads collided.


Medium staggered back.

Small went crashing to the floor, knocking her little Disney Princess tray (upon which her supper had been sitting) into Large Fry's tray, jostling it.

Medium did not want to pose.
Small immediately erupted in tears.  Not to be outdone, Medium began to wail, as well.

I called Small over first, since I was worried she'd gotten a double-knock to the noggin, first from her twin, and then from the floor.  Through whimpers and tears and wails and more of the same from Medium in the very-near background, Small Fry said the only spot that hurt was the already-swollen and purpling lump near her hairline, high on her left temple.  I sent her back to where she'd been sitting, and checked out Medium.  Her lump was on the right side of her forehead, above the outside edge of her right eyebrow, and not getting purple...but still red and swollen.

Medium with Pooh BBB.
That's about when I gave up on eating my own stir fry while it was still hot, and went to get two ice packs. Pooh for Medium, and Belle for Small Fry.

Yes, I have a supply of Boo-boo Buddies.

Of course, they both immediately complained that the ice packs--which they'd cried for--were too cold.

That was when I noticed that Small Fry's dinner bowl was gone.

"Where's your bowl?"

"Inna sink," she said timidly.

She had dumped her food that she didn't want, in direct violation of what I'd told her to do.  That's why she'd been coming into the room when she collided with her calliope sister.  I grumbled as I went into the kitchen and got two small paper towels to wrap around the ice packs.  At least I didn't have to clean up food from the floor.

Medium was biting down on Pooh's icy-gel-filled ear as I walked in.  "Don't chew on that!  It'll make you sick!"

Honestly, I cannot make this stuff up.

Chaos Theory

Yesterday, after Large Fry got home from school, she spread out her small deck (by "small," I mean that it would take two cards, side by side, to almost equal the size of a standard playing card) of Old Maid cards, face down on the coffee table.

She happily bubbled that I would be playing with her.  She said something about making matches and that we had to look at two and find a match, and she would go first.  Then it would be my turn.  And it seemed whoever had the most matched pairs won.  But Large's instructions on how to "play" the game were a bit...garbled.

Apparently, this game was something of a cross between Memory and Old Maid.

I think.

She took several turns (I think) before patting my knee and saying, "Mommy, it's your turn!"

I turned over two cards and didn't have a match, so I placed them back on the coffee table, face down.

Large took her turn(s), and then it was my turn again.

No luck for Mommy...still no match this time.

At my next turn, surprise, surprise!  I found a match!

My glee was short-lived, because not two minutes later, my matched pair was missing.

"Hey!  Where did my cards go?"

Large Fry giggled.  "I took them!"

"Why do you get my cards?"

"'Cause that's how the game is played!" she crowed.

"That's not right.  Why can't I keep my cards?"

"Because I get them.  That's how it's played!"

Okay then.

I once listed my qualifications as a great babysitter, and one of them was the ability to lose convincingly at CandyLand with the best of 'em.  I can lose at this game too.  (Doesn't appear that I have much choice.)

That's when I noticed that Large would turn over pairs of cards until she got at least one match.

Two turns later, I got another match, and fought to keep it.

I lost.

With a great deal of glee on the part of Large Fry, I might add.

It would seem that playing Old Maid/Memory is sort of like, well, Calvinball.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Who's Watching?

Medium Fry: Daddy, Small Fwry is using scissewrs on hewr piggy dat she got fwrom Chwrimmas.

Hubby: Go tell Small Fry that Daddy said to come here and bring her scissors.

A few minutes later, Small Fry skulks into the room, Medium trailing her.  She holds her scissors.

Hubby: Are you allowed to use your scissors without someone watching you?

Medium [helpfully]: I was watching hewr.

Hubby [with a baleful glance]: A grown-up.

Monday, February 6, 2012


"Stop pooping on me!"

Large Fry, to one of her sisters.  Who were, I presume, all fully clothed.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Quote of the Day

"You're not listening to me, and now you're breaking my mind!"  ~Large Fry, to her irritating younger sister  (I am not sure which)

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Pronunciation Lessons

Medium: What's dat white stuff?

Me: Sour cream.

Medium: Sow-ah cweem.

Boppa: Sow-er cream?

Medium: No, sow-ah cweem.  Sow-uh-uh-uh cweem.

Boppa: Sow-ah cream?

Medium: You'wre missing da point!

***    ***    ***


As I was typing this up, and trying to remember this dinner conversation from last night, I asked Dad about Medium's near-guffaw-inducing line, because I couldn't remember if she'd actually said "You'wre missing da point," or if it was another similar phrase.

Dad looked at me kinda blankly.

"Last night.  Pronunciation lesson," I said.

"Ah."  He shook his head.  "I don't remember."  He hefted the full trash bag out of the kitchen trash can.  "Sow-uh cweem," he said on his way to the garage.

"Sow-woo cweem," Medium corrected.

When Dad cracks up, it's all over.

We're weekending with my parents while Hubby is away on a winter retreat with the youth group kids.  I figured it would accomplish two things:  One, it would alleviate some of the anxiety of missing Daddy.  Two, I would not have to single-mom it.

And, conveniently, it would also refill the Grandie Time banks that my parents seem to have.  Which, my mother had indicated, were pitifully low when I emailed to ask if we might barge in for the weekend.

Mom and Dad had a surprise birthday party for a friend of theirs this afternoon, and they took off for that as the kids and I were finishing lunch.  Given Large Fry's spectacular meltdown at the beginning of lunch (over being asked, of all the horrible duties, to put a napkin at each place), I insisted that all three Fries would take a nap.  Large is old enough that she doesn't usually have to nap on Saturdays.

Besides, I wanted a nap, too.  (Which I didn't really get.)


My folks came home, declared their friend completely agog with surprise over her party, and Dad tried to get some work done...until he decided that the fat flakes of snow falling outside and the general dreariness as a result equaled naptime for him, not work time.

After the Fries woke up, and after pretty much failing to keep the Fries quiet-ish while Boppa napped on the couch, he relocated to his recliner and snuggled under his fleecy leaf blanket (a Christmas gift from the Fries).  He closed his eyes and settled in.

About this time, Large had discovered a new game, which had the effect of irritating Medium.  This seemed to be the desired goal, as Large half-skipped loops around the kitchen/dining/living room, chanting, "I can't see Meeeedeeeyum!"  Ad nauseum.

This reduced Medium to tears after the fifth such utterance, causing her to wail piteously, "Yes, you can!  I'm wright hewre!"  More tears.  More Large "not seeing" Medium.  "Yes, you can, Lawrge!  You can see me!"

Intervention was clearly necessary.  I called Medium over while Large was still lapping.  "Medium," I said gently, "she's just pretending.  It's okay."

Medium, in a small pout, nodded...but her face wrinkled in advance of tears when Large cheerily shouted, "I can't see Medium!" on another lap around the room.

Intervention #2.  "Large, come here," I commanded.

Large bopped over in front of me.

"You have to stop saying that about your sister.  You're upsetting Medium, and you're doing it on purpose, and I don't like it.  Stop saying that.  Understand?"

Large nodded, and bounced away.

She careened into the kitchen, and began, "I can't see..."

"LARGE!"  I injected every bit of sternness and I Will Be Obeyed into my voice that I could.  "I told you to not say that anymore!"

"No, I...I...I...I was saying...I...was saying I couldn't see..." her eyes lit up as she hit on an idea, "...the computer!  I couldn't see the computer!"

Dad, reclined with his eyes closed and blanket up to his chin, couldn't keep his lips from curving and poorly muffled a guffaw.

I lasered Large with a gimlet eye.

"The computer!" she insisted.

Dad's lips twitched, there was another audible, poorly-muffled guffaw, and he pulled the blanket up over his mouth.

I wasn't able to stop my own chuckled snort.  "You're not helping," I said to Dad.

You know how you can smile with your eyes?  Dad can do that, even with his eyes closed.  (It's a gift.)

I reminded Large once again that she needed to be nice to her sister.  She scampered off, saying, "I can't see the computer!"

Neither Dad nor I could keep a straight face.

Friday, February 3, 2012

Groaner of the Day

A sheriff walks into a saloon and shouts for everyone's attention. "Has anyone seen Brown Paper Jake?" he asks.
"What's he look like?" asks one shoddy-looking cowboy.
"Well", replies the Sheriff, "he wears a brown paper hat, a brown paper waistcoat, a brown paper shirt, brown paper boots, brown paper pants, and a brown paper jacket."
"So what's he wanted for?" asks the same cowboy.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Another One for the List

The list of things that should never go through the washer and dryer, that is.

Vaseline Intensive Lip Therapy tubes.

Which, of course, I didn't discover said item had gone through both the wash and dry cycles until I was pulling a load out of the dryer and heard something clatter against the dryer drum.

"Oh, no," I muttered.

First I found the cap.

Then I found the tube...which used to hold the lip stuff.  Which was now empty.

I tossed them both in the trash can and emptied out the rest of the clothes.

And that's when I discovered that I would pretty much need to re-wash the entire load.  There were Vaseline Intensive Lip Therapy grease spots all over everything.


Thankfully, I had just stocked up on what my mom hailed to me as the best stain remover she'd seen in a long time: Resolve stain sticks.

I was impressed by how well the stain stick removed all the ink with which Small Fry had decorated her light pink monkey shirt.

It removed grease spots well, too, and didn't have to sit as long as the Shout Foaming aerosol spray, which also works well, but it has the downside of long soaking times and the inability to treat and walk away, since you're not supposed to let it dry on your clothes.

It's my new love.

So my new love and I attacked an entire basket of clothes, treating grease spots.  If I let it sit for a day or two, it'll come out and I shouldn't have to retreat.  Love that.

It took me an entire stick plus about half of another to treat all of the spots on most of the clothes in that load.

An entire stick, and then some. That's a lot of spots.

And it wasn't all of the clothes, either.

I decided that Hubby would just have to deal with grease spots on his boxer shorts, since they were his own fault.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Let Them Eat Cake

We've lived here in our new house for about six weeks now, and one of the big appeals of this place was that we had lots of room to entertain.

That was something our previous home had lacked.  In spades.

We could barely get the five of us around the table in the kitchen, let alone two more when Mom and Dad would visit.  With the arrival of the kids, we totally lost the dining room so that we could have a toy room and a living room.  No room for extra chairs.

No room for lots of things, really.

A bigger house was something we needed, and something we were really looking forward to.  We were tired of not being able to invite friends over to hang out.

Our illustrious first guests were my mom and dad, who came for Christmas, barely a week after we moved in.  But they're not exactly company.  Next, we had my cousins who were back in the States on furlough (they're missionaries with Wycliffe in Papua New Guinea) here for an evening.  Guests, yes, but

Hubby had a youth staff meeting here one night.  Business, though.  Not entertainment.  (Although, the kids sure tried.)

Then we had Marlboro Rob (he looks like a cross between the Marlboro Man and Rob Schneider) and Lady S over for an evening.  They often cared for our cats when we'd be gone on vacations (mini or otherwise), so they had a key to our old place, and never bothered to knock when they came over.  Practically family.

All of this to say...we have this great house, and haven't really had any kind of entertaining happen yet.

Which changed last night.

We've made a couple of good friends among the college students who attend our church.  This is in no small part helped by the fact that we have adorable children who could make friends with rocks without difficulty.

Once we got moved, we told them, we'd have them over for dinner.  By the time we got moved, it was Christmas break, so it was several more weeks before we could even think about scheduling a dinner together.

Even with Small Fry's icky cough, runny nose and need for antibiotics, Jester and Mitsy were still ready to make a go of our Tuesday plans when they saw Hubby and the two older Fries in church on Sunday.  And then, with Medium's stomach bug, well...that was mercifully short-lived.

I had great fun tormenting Jester in particular with Facebook posts about the yummy smells coming from my kitchen as the roast cooked in the crock pot.  When I mentioned the cake I was going to make, his comment was, "THERE IS GOING TO BE CAKE!?!?!?!"  Yes, there's going to be cake.  I like to treat my guests well.

They arrived at the appointed time, and were immediately greeted with squeals of unrestrained delight.  Prolonged ones.  They got a very haphazard tour of the house as the Fries dragged them hither and yon, culminating in the basement toy room.  Hubby and I chuckled, and he started setting the table while I finished working on dinner.

I found our CD case with the classical music CDs, and selected Heigh Ho, Mozart for kicks.

Hubby asked what the seating arrangements would be, and I pointed out that I--even our guests--was not the person to ask.

We asked the kids, of course, and it was determined that Mitsy would sit between Large and Small, while Jester would, naturally, sit next to Medium, since he is, after all, her "boyfriend."

It was soon obvious that a rollicking game of hide-and-seek was going on.  Jester crawled under the dining room table as Hubby was trying to set it, hiding by laying across the chairs.  Mitsy ducked under the counter in the kitchen.  Laughter abounded.

Jester then scooted through the kitchen, and out the door.  Hubby followed him in, and said, "Did he just go outside?"

I nodded and chuckled.

Hubby went over and opened the door.  A wordless "guy conversation" followed, and so I went over and opened the back door, too.  Jester calmly stood outside, an impish grin on his face.  "We're playing hide-and-seek," he said, "and no one specified the boundaries.  I am the king of hide-and-seek."

I was still grinning when Mitsy came into the kitchen after helping one of the Fries count before going off in search of hiders--Jester included.  "Anything I can do to help?" she asked.

No, I told her.  I had everything pretty much under control.

"Where is Jester?"

I pointed to the back door, and the silhouette of her boyfriend.

"He went outside?"

"He said you were playing hide-and-seek and no one laid any ground rules."

She laughed, too, and Jester soon came back inside, and Hubby helped Small hide under the myriad pillow cushions on the den couch.

Finally I called out, "Kids of all sizes!  Dinner's ready!"

Jester looked at the au jus sauce still in the crock pot while Hubby sliced the roast.  "Would you mind if I just drank this?"  (Hey, it tastes and smells mouth-wateringly good.)

Savory roast, scalloped hasselback potatoes, green beans, and sweet corn...yum.  When I try, I can be quite a good cook.  I think I bake better than I cook, but I think it's safe to say I very nearly outdid myself. Jester proclaimed being on the verge of a very happy food coma by the end of the meal.

I heard rumors that he sneaked a second piece of the chocolate chip cake after the kids were in bed. ;)

Getting my wound-up little Fries into bed was a challenge.  Hugs went all around.  Medium threw herself into Jester's arms, distraught over being told by Hubby that she would have to show Jester her mad hula-hooping skills some other time, and Jester carried her up to bed.  (Small Fry, not to be left out, insisted happily that Jester had to pick her up and put her in bed, too!)

As Hubby tucked Large Fry in down the hall, I tucked in the twins.  Medium needed this.  And that.  And she pwomised that she would give Jester a surprise before he put on his coat to leave.

This smacked of excuse and stall technique.

"What did you have to give him?"

"Um, I have to give him, um, a...a...a bumblebee kiss!" she announced with mixed relief and giddiness at being able to come up with something I wouldn't expect and that she hadn't already done, like giving him a kiss and a hug.

And she was looking at her closet.

With the flowers and bumblebees painted on the doors.


"No, honey.  You can't.  You'll see him on Sunday."

By the time I got downstairs, Hubby was educating Jester on the finer points of Disney's Phineas & Ferb, and had set up an episode to watch.  Then I showed Jester and Mitsy a couple of extremely cute videos of Medium from when she was much younger (they were charmed).

And then we watched Tim Hawkins's comedy DVD "I'm No Rockstar."  Great stuff.

Medium, however, was in rare form, and required three parental interventions during the course of the video.

She had informed me, when I told her it was time to close her eyes and go to sleep, that she couldn't, because her eyes wouldn't let her.  Medium usually is first to conk out; instead, she was still awake at nearly 10.

I'm sure it's because her eyes wouldn't let her close themselves, because she doesn't know how to close them (that's her other excuse).

Certainly had nothing to do with our company.


Next time, we'll have to pick an evening that isn't a school night.