Friday, March 30, 2012

Angels are launching confetti cannons.

The kids were bugging us tonight that they wanted to watch the "Easter movie" after dinner.  Pestering.  Begging.  Even the arrival of Tex, one of the much-loved boys in our youth group, didn't distract them.

Hubby relented, and then a search commenced for the DVD.

Large Fry eventually found it.

It's an animated, family-friendly, two half-hour-long segment movie called (brilliantly) The Animated Passion.  I looked at the run time--90 minutes--and really hoped, as I looked at the clock on the wall that read fifteen minutes to bedtime, that those 90 minutes included the extra half hour of bonus features.

It's a good thing that it was broken into two half-hour segments, because Small Fry started bawling at the end of the first episode.  The crucifixion scene had ended, Jesus had died, and she was in tears.  We had to take a short break for Hubby to explain why Jesus died.  That he died for us, so that we could someday be with him.

The resurrection episode was much easier on the emotions.

The Fries went to get ready for bed, and then Large Fry came downstairs, indignant that Small Fry had dared to call her a sinner.

Hubby explained that we're all sinners, so Small was right.  He went on to explain that Jesus died to take the punishment for our sin, and used the example of Large stepping in and taking Medium's rightful punishment for lying, when Large hadn't done anything wrong, as what Jesus did on the cross for us.

By then, the twin Fries had joined us, and we did bedtime prayers right here in the den.

Medium prayed first.  Then Small, who told God how much she loved her sisters and loved her mommy.  (Awww.)  Hubby asked Large what she wanted to pray for.  Large was still thinking, so he looked at me.

We hadn't really mentioned that I'd lost my job to the kids, so I said I didn't really have anything.

"You can't pray for ice cream this time," Large said with a giggle.  (I confess!  I did pray for ice cream about a week ago.)  "God already told me you can't have any, or you'll get fat!"

So Hubby prayed for me.  And then Large finally prayed.

She said just enough in her prayer about sins and forgiveness and not wanting to do bad things that Hubby asked me to take the twins up and tuck them in while he talked with Large for a bit.

When I came back downstairs about five minutes later, I was so glad that I didn't just go to bed like I'd contemplated.

Hubby and Large were talking about what it means to give your life to Jesus, to ask him to forgive your sins and live in your heart.

He stressed that this was Large Fry's decision.  She had to choose.  And if she wanted to ask Jesus in her heart tonight, we would help her.  But it had to be her choice.  "Do you want to pray tonight?" Hubby asked.  "Or later?"

"I want to pray tonight," Large said.

Hubby listed the five things she needed to tell God.  "You know you're a sinner. You're sorry for those sins.  Ask for forgiveness.  Ask for help in not listening to the devil.  Please come live in your heart."

Large pointed out that he first said four things.  Hubby smiled and said he just forgot.  Then he asked Large if she wanted to pray herself, or if she wanted help.  She wanted help.

So, right there, on my cozy brown sectional, we stopped everything else, held hands, and Hubby helped Large pray, asking God to forgive her, help her stop listening to the devil, and to have Jesus come live in her heart.

While Hubby and I were just sitting there, hearts about to explode, he asked, "Do you feel any different?"

Large shook her head.

Hubby smiled.  "That's okay."

"Is Jesus happy?" Large asked.

Hubby's grin stretched from ear to ear.  He leaned into her conspiratorially.  "The Bible says," he confided, "that, when someone gives their heart to Jesus, the angels have a party!"

Large Fry's dark-chocolate eyes went wide and sparkly.  "Really?"

"Yep.  Every time somebody asks Jesus into their heart, they have a party.  When you started praying, they got real quiet, wanting to hear every word.  And when you said 'amen,' they started cheering."

"Did they have a party for Mommy?"

"A long time ago," I told her.

"They were just winding down from hers," Hubby told Large with a wink.

"Hey, those angels love to party!"

I hope their party goes on into the night.

"An' they deaded him onna cwoss..."

Overheard at dinner tonight:

Medium: An' they put up a sign dat said, "Nobody can come to da cwoss!"

Hubby: Really?  Where was the sign?

Medium: Onna cwoss.  Above his head.  An' den dey wroped him!  Dey wroped him all over!

Charming Start to the Weekend

My boss called a couple hours ago.

I got laid off this afternoon.

I'm still trying to process through how I feel about it, but I'm not really all that surprised.

Ironic that I would post about my first regular client with my company yesterday, and then get laid off today.

I have no idea what I'm going to do next, other than hit up my other friend for more copy editing work!

Thursday, March 29, 2012

"Can we call Daddy?"

It's Thursday night.  Hubby has to work late, running worship team practice for Sunday's second service worship set.

The twins are missing him now, during tuck-in time.

My cell phone battery indicator has gone from green to a smidge of yellow, but I place the call anyway.  Voicemail.

I call again, and this time, I let the twins leave him a message.  Medium Fry goes first, telling him she loves him and misses him and wants him to come home soon.  And that she wants him to come up and give her and Small Fry and Large Fry hugs when he gets home.

I stepped closer to Small's bed and asked her what she wanted to say.

"I love you!" she chirped.  "An' I want you to give me an' Medium an' Lawrge an' Mommy hugs.  An' you should come home."  She gave me a goobery grin as she talked.  "Amen."

Wrong Father, kiddo, but it's uber-cute.

Sentimental Journey

Last night at youth group, Tab was setting up snacks just before group started.

She brought E.L. Fudge cookies.

Instantly, a bittersweet smile crossed my lips.

In what seems like a zillion lifetimes ago, I worked as a caregiver for the eldercare agency that still employs me as an independent contracted office staffer.

I'd gotten into the field quite by accident.  A lady at our church was looking for someone to sit with her husband's elderly aunt (she was 95), who was now living in a nursing home and had her first cold.  They wanted a little more care and interaction beyond what the aide staff could provide, just to kind of help her get over the cold, push fluids and juice and stuff, and generally interact with her.  Her mind was still sharp enough that she wanted to get her hair done weekly along with a manicure, and go to the church services the nursing home offered, and to try to escape the secured wing she lived on.  The church secretary recommended me.

It was supposed to be a two-week gig.

I stayed for two and a half years.  I left the job only because my patient passed away.

I loved the simplicity of the employment hierarchy, the knowledge that I was making a visible difference in the life of someone.

I'd hoped I would get another job privately, because I knew the pay would be better.  That turned out to not be in the cards, and I applied to the agency I work for now.

As a new caregiver, I didn't have a regular client schedule right away; I was plugged into the schedule wherever I could fit.

My first regular client was a sweet lady named Polly.  She'd lost her hair due to a high-stress illness, and so one of my jobs was to help her bathe and dress and fluff up her wig after she got it on.  It was only a couple of hours each day, but we developed a relationship.  I would make her lunch.  I knew about her sweet tooth.  I would collect the trash on trash day.  And I would keep her company.  We would do cross-word puzzles together.  We would talk about her daughter's cat, Jasmine, who seemed to control the whole neighborhood.  We became good friends.

And I had five all-too-short months caring for her before the effects of a stroke took her.

Around the time that Polly turned 85 (I told her she could flip the numbers and be 58 instead, which amused her), late summer/early fall had arrived.  The days were temperate and gorgeous.  When the weather was good, and Polly felt up to it, we would have lunch on her daughter's newly-rebuilt front porch.

One such afternoon, we were sitting on the porch, finishing lunch, enjoying the sunshine and the blue skies and the birds singing.

Polly loved cookies, so her daughter almost always stocked some in the house.  I'd brought out a small plate with several cookies on it for us to share.  Today, it was E.L. Fudge cookies: little sandwich cookies with one of four elves pressed into the front, a saying pressed into the back, and chocolate creme in the middle.

Polly selected a cookie.  "Buckets," she read the elf's name.  She flipped the cookie over.  "'Dunk head first.'  Okay, honey," she said, and promptly bit the cookie's head off.

This sent us both into giggles.

Polly died about six weeks after that afternoon, and I grieved hard.  For a long time, I couldn't even look at E.L. Fudge cookies.  The memory was too fresh, the pain too deep.  I'd spent more time with Patsy, but Patsy's decline meant that, after about a year, she mostly slept and occasionally did therapy, and I cross-stitched and watched her breathe.  We hadn't had nearly the relationship I'd had with Polly.  I got a lovely note from her daughter about a week after Polly's death, thanking me for all I did, especially for just plain loving her mom.  (I still have that note.)

I crossed the room at the youth house, stood at the snack table, and picked up a cookie.

Wouldn't you know it...the first one I grabbed said "Dunk head first" on the back.

I swallowed a huge lump of more-sweet-than-bitter emotion and whispered, "Okay, honey," and then bit the head off the cookie.

It's like this...

My dad had rotator cuff surgery on Tuesday.  So, he's kind of getting a taste of what my recliner-confinement was like, post-wreck and -surgery and stuff, since he's spending a lot of time just sitting in the recliner.

At least he can walk.

But I digress.

This afternoon, I got a series of text messages from him, detailing what had just happened.

Apparently, my sister was on the phone.  My mom was tethered to her nebulizer.  My brother-in-law was at work.

And four-year-old Roo (previously mentioned here as simply R) was on the potty.

Roo had concluded his business.

Sis was still on the phone, unable to come help.

Dad, being only two days post-op, can't exactly help Roo.

Who is still sitting on the potty.

And saying, "Dooooone!  Dooooone! DOOOONE!!"

There is increasing insistence and volume.

And an echo from his one-year-old brother, out in the hall: "Daaaaahn!"

Dad sat in his recliner, laughing 'til it hurt.

Many miles away, I had the same reaction.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012


Overheard at dinner tonight....

Hubby: You're silly!

Medium Fry: No, I'm not!


Medium: Daddy, you'wre a weiwrdo!

Hubby: I'm a weirdo?  [turns to me]  What do you think of that?

Me: I think she's very astute.

Medium: What's astoot?

Me: It means you're smart.

Medium: No, I'm not!  [giggles]  You'wre a stoot!

And it just devolved from there.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Conversational Vignettes

While I'm working, Hubby piles the Fries into the van to go pick up pizza for dinner.  En route...

Hubby: Kids, you're going to need to eat fast when we get home.  We have a concert to go to tonight.

Fries: Yay!!! [pause]  What's that?

Hubby: People sing.  Jester and Mitzy will be there.

Small Fry: Medium, dat's youwr boyfwiend, an' dat's my giwr...she likes Dohwra.  I know.  Jester told me.

*     *     *     *

During dinner....

Medium [sing-song]: ♫ I want to see my boyfwiend!  I'm old enuff to haff a boyfwiend! ♪

Small [not to be outdone]: I haff a giwrlfwiend!  Mitzy is my giwrlfwiend!

*     *     *     *

And on Sunday, during the potluck dinner after church, Medium confided in my dad that Jester was her only boyfriend.

The other college guys from Local U...she's apparently just using them.


A Moderate Success

I wish the Bee-Be-Gone (aren't I clever?) spray was working better than it is.

Despite being in constant use since Friday, the placebo effects are not what I'd like to be seeing.

Saturday night, Large Fry was up and downstairs twice after bed.  We gaped at each other in shock after her third trip down, the one she was told would result in discipline.  She didn't care; she was ready to accept it.  Hubby couldn't believe it.  But after that, she stayed in bed.

Last night...oy.

Last night, she came downstairs before she even got her teeth brushed, in tears and panicky, because there was a bug in the bathroom.

Which we knew already, because Medium Fry had come downstairs to inform us of this not thirty seconds before.

Hubby went up to dispatch the "bee" that both Medium and Large insisted was present in the hall bath.

He came down, irritated at having had to get up (yesterday was exceptionally long for him), and not having a bug in any line of sight to squash.

I went up a few minutes later to tuck the kids in.  Small Fry still needed to finish brushing her teeth, so I sent Medium and Large downstairs to give Hubby hugs and kisses.  Small was still brushing when they came back up, so I opted to tuck Large in first.  She told me she'd already sprayed her Bee-Be-Gone.  Good deal.  And there was a bug.  Oookay...yup, a small spider.  It was quickly dispatched.

I pulled up her covers.  I turned on her radio.  I gave her a hug and a kiss and asked her what she wanted me to pray for.  "Everything," she said.  "The whole world."

Well, there's a tall order for a bedtime prayer.

I prayed.  Another hug, kiss, and "I love you."

Time to tuck in the twins, having had to shoo Small Fry out of Large's room and to her own while I was still tucking in Large Fry.

Hugs and kisses times two, prayers for good dreams, and exhortations to be quiet and go to sleep.

Large's door was open again as I closed the twins' door.  I went back down the hall.  "Why are you up?"

"I forgot to pray for you!"

Yeah, like I was gonna argue with that one.  I climbed up one rung on her ladder and she prayed for me.  More hugs and kisses.

I went back downstairs and faced my pile of copy editing.  I got through two articles (a total of 31 pages) and called it a night, going up to bed.

While I was in the bathroom, I heard Large's door--her room is right next to ours--open and close.  And open and close.  I went down the hall to check things out, finding her standing just outside her room.  A bug, she told me.

We went into her room, turned on the light, and sure enough, there's a spider up by the ceiling near the foot of her bed.  I climbed up, dispatched the spider, and settled Large back in her bed.  I turned on her radio, assured her that everything was fine, and said she needed to go back to sleep.

That was at 12:30a.

Not ten minutes later, she's opening and closing her door again.

Time for the big guns.

I called Hubby's cell, not wanting to shout down the stairs.  I told him I needed him to come up and why.

He came up, reassured her, got her settled in bed again.  He went back downstairs.  I went back to getting ready for bed.  And within five minutes, Large Fry was up again.  I met Hubby coming back up the stairs as I came down the hall to see what was up.  I happily let him have it.

I finished up my bedtime routine, and heard Large whimpering that she needed her angel bear.  Her angel bear would protect her.  I went in to help look, and found that Hubby had loaded up nearly every stuffed friend that Large had, so she wouldn't be alone while she slept.  Hubby found the angel bear, and reminded Large that she was not alone.

That's when she said that there was a bee, so being among friends wasn't going to help.  It was behind her door.

"Where?" we both demanded.

"It's a pretend bee, down at the bottom."  The same rust spot that she screamed, a week ago, was a real bee.

Progress.  At least she knows it's not real.

She was up one more time before I finally fell asleep, and I had Hubby handle that.  Thankfully, it seemed that she was only up to use the potty.

I need more brilliant ideas for combating this.

Friday, March 23, 2012

Monster Spray, Repurposed

I made it a point to talk with Large Fry's counselor at her Wednesday appointment.

I have absolutely zero shame in admitting that we needed advice for our burgeoning bee problem.

They aren't there.  Large's mind is playing huge tricks on her.  She's hallucinating, really.  Her brain is so hopped up on the idea that she is convinced she's seeing things that aren't there.

Plus, I wanted her counselor aware of the immense phobia we're now dealing with.

Her counselor advised the same thing that I posted here not long ago: Monster Spray.  An ordinary spray bottle, filled with water, and given an important label.

"But it has to smell," she said.  "It doesn't work otherwise.  Use old perfume you don't like.  Or anything to give it a scent.  Then she can spray her room, her clothes, anywhere she needs to in order to keep the 'bees' away."

We had an extra spray bottle kicking around, and Hubby filled it with water today and put in mint extract to make it smell.

I printed off a label this afternoon.

Large is over-the-moon ecstatic, and disappointed that I didn't put her first initial anywhere on the label.

Hopefully, this will help...we've had several nights since last Saturday in which we've had to get her physically past where she thinks her new biggest fear is located, nights where she's flat-out refused to go upstairs, has kicked and screamed cried and flailed.  (I've got bruises.)

Fingers crossed and all that.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

At times like this, I really wish I drank alcohol.

It has been, to put it quite simply, an awful night.

And that's being generous.

It started this afternoon, honestly, while I was trying to nap.  I've overdone it a couple days this week while being sick, and I was paying for it.  We took the kids over to the playground and came home, and at some point while I was dozing fitfully between calls from work, I was startled awake by Hubby literally screaming at Large Fry to calm down.

She'd been so deathly frightened by a bumble bee that had somehow gotten into the house that she'd run outside screaming, and Hubby had to scream to be heard over her.

Hubby had to leave just before 5 to meet up with the youth group at the church for their outing to a relatively-nearby-ish pro hockey game.

Dinner was uneventful.

It was about 7:30 when Large Fry came unhinged again, screamed that there was a bee, and once again ran screaming out of the house...and would not come back in when told to do so.

I had to haul her back inside.

I had to shout over her screaming.

She said the bee was in the den.


On the door.

There are three doors in the den.  It was a Migraine Salute moment.

It took five minutes to get it out of her that it was the door to outside--the heavy one, not the storm door--that had the alleged bee.

I dragged her into the room and showed her: no bee.

No, she screamed, tears pouring down her face.  It was in the curtains.

I moved the curtains and checked all over them.  No such bee.

By then, it was bedtime.  I heaved a huge internal sigh of relief and sent them upstairs to get ready for bed.  And I tried to calm my rattled nerves from what was (although I didn't know it) Epic Tantrum, Round One.

I'd just sent Small Fry back upstairs to brush her teeth when I heard Large Fry screaming.

I went upstairs and forced open her bedroom door, despite her increased shrieks to not do so, because there was a bee in her room.

I made her show me where.

It was a rust stain on the paint on the doorjamb, by the bottom hinge.  I told her to get her jammies on and went to tuck in the twins.

Large was lurking in the hallway and called my name.  I went back out to the hall.  She started to argue, but I told her to go potty and brush her teeth, in no uncertain terms.  I tried tucking in the twins, but had to go back to the bathroom and shout at Large that there were no bees in the bathroom--that buzzing she heard was the slight static of the twins' radio--and what she was feeling on her shoulders was the chiffon on the shoulders of her nightgown...and her own hair.

I went back to the twins and got them settled.

Then I went to see about Large Fry.

Round Two was about to begin.  I was blissfully unaware.

She refused to get in bed.  I bodily hauled her up.  I descended her loft bed ladder, and she was right behind me.  I got her back in bed, whipped back the covers to show her that there were no bugs of any kind in her bedding.  She still refused to stay in bed, screaming and crying and wailing, "I can't sleep all by myself!"

Which is hogwash.

She sleeps by herself every night.

I tried pointing out that Minnie Mouse was in bed with her; she was not alone.

No soap.

She screamed she didn't like this house.  She doesn't want to live here.

What didn't she like?  It has doors.  I pointed out that we couldn't get out of the house without doors, and our last house had doors, too.

New tactic.

She wanted to sleep with me.  Pointing out that I was not sleeping right now, and she was not staying up until I was going to bed, did not help.  She was adamant that she needed to sleep with me, or another grown-up.  Anyone.

I pointed out that her sisters were already in bed.  She said she wanted to sleep with Daddy.  Daddy, I reminded her, was not home; he was at the hockey game with the youth group.  He would not be home for quite awhile, and she needed to be asleep before he got home.  (Famous last words.)

After twenty minutes of screaming and wailing and shouting (and that was just me), I gave in and I dialed Hubby's cell.  I shouted at him that I needed him to talk to Large, and he needed to get to a place in the arena where he could feasibly hear her.  I lost the call, called him back, and put him on speaker.  He spoke to Large Fry and tried to help calm her down, then he and I spoke privately, and I warned Large that she had to stay in bed while I talked with him.

While we have no idea where her sudden fear of bees is coming from, it's clearly psychological and can't be reasoned with.  I said I did not want her going in and sleeping in our bed just because she suddenly thinks her room is alive.  It would set a dangerous precedent.  I was not willing to budge on that.

With my frustration mounting, I hung up on Hubby and went back to try one more time.

Large was still quivering and crying and fidgeting.

I had zero luck.

I managed to accidentally dial Hubby again, and this time I held the phone to Large's ear.  Hubby gave her two options: either sleep on the floor of her room, or go sleep on the loveseat in the living room.  Our bedroom was not an option.

She chose to go to the living room.

I chose not to fight with her over the fact that she wanted to sleep in the oversized chair.  I made sure she was settled, and came downstairs.

And got a big dish of ice cream.

I got precisely three bites in before I had to go upstairs because now Medium Fry was screaming.  There was a small spider on the ceiling of their bedroom, and she was coming unglued.  I told her it was not getting her, it would leave her alone, and she needed to roll over and face the wall, close her eyes, and go to sleep.

Fifteen minutes later, she came downstairs screaming, saying there were bees in her panties.  I checked.  No bees.  I sent her back up.  Within another 15-20 minutes, she was screaming again, pulling and picking at the flighty sleeves of her nightgown.  I tried to calm her down.  No luck.  I stripped her nightgown off and told her to go back up to the living room.  She refused to "stay like this."  It took me five minutes to realize she didn't want to stay in just her panties.  I sent her up to her room to get jammies.

She came down less than a minute later to inform me that she had no jammies in either dresser.

I had helped her put away her clothes that morning, so I knew she had jammies.  I pulled out a two-piece Minnie Mouse set that had no ribbons or frills or anything that could possibly be construed as a bee.  I made her get dressed, and then I called Hubby again on the house phone.  I didn't figure my cell's meager battery would last long enough.

He talked to her, and got her to promise to go settle down and sleep.  She went back to the living room, and I went back to the den.

About 10:30, I heard movement.  I went upstairs, and she wasn't in the living room.  I went up to the next level, and she was laying on the floor in her room.  "You okay, honey?"

"I didn't want to sleep downstairs.  I want to sleep here."  Ooookay.  I went back downstairs.

Forty minutes later, I thought I heard my name.  I silenced the tv, and listened.  Nothing.  I went to start a snack for myself because I needed to eat so I could take my antibiotic.  Once that was going, I decided it would be smart to check things out.

Just in case.

Large was not in her room.

She was not in the bathroom.


I walked into the master bath from the hall door, and turned on the light.

Large was snuggled into the middle of our bed.

"Out!"  I herded her back to her room, and asked where she was going to sleep--there, or the living room.  She opted for her room, and actually climbed into bed.  I got her Pillow Pets for her, turned on her music, and got her settled.

I went back downstairs.  Again.  All I could think of was that the morning was going to be singularly unpleasant, since it was nearly 11:30 and morning was going to start in 7 short hours.

Hubby arrived home about fifteen minutes later.  "Anything else?"

"Since I talked to you?  Yeah, about fifteen...."

Footsteps padded upstairs.

"Now," Hubby said, and turned.

I stopped him, and explained what had happened.

I have no idea what he did when he got upstairs, but I heard no screaming.  No wailing and gnashing of teeth.

Clearly, he handled her better than I did.

Score none for Mom tonight.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Christmas in February: A Photo Essay

My sister and her family live in Romania, where they work as missionaries.  They're back in the States right now on what will be an all-too-brief furlough, and since they weren't here in December, we had Christmas again on February 25th.

Medium & Boppa: Best Buds


Uncle C & Auntie JS looking at the present Large Fry made for them.

Open!  Open!  Open!
A present for ME?!
A, nearly a year old, opens his present under Sis & Small's watchful eyes.


A's electronic birthday cake, a present from Gramma & Boppa.

What did R get?


Santa remembered Hubby.

...and Gramma.

...and Boppa.

A very happy Medium.

Look what WE got!

Yook, Unca D.  I got twains.


Medium with her new stuffed Nala.

Pound it, R.

Medium, show him how it's done.

Hugs for Gramma!

Hugs for Boppa!

Sis & BIL laughing over their iTunes gift cards...'cause they just used up the last ones we gave 'em.

What did A get?

Every boy needs his own Pooh Bear.

It's Matewr, Unca D!

Sis laughing over her gift of Cadbury creme eggs (which she can't get in Romania).

Kids at play!

Electronic birthday cake: sleeper hit gift.

Small, R, & BIL, playing with R's train set.

Hugs for Auntie JS!

Nala is getting you, Unca C!

Father & son.

Riding Uncle C.

Father & son, take two.  I love this shot.

There is nothing quite so terrifying... muting the TV at 12:15 a.m., because you thought you heard something odd from upstairs, and hearing your child's muffled screams of "I need help!"

Hubby went racing upstairs to see what the problem was (I don't race much anymore).

I followed at a more sedate pace, figuring it was not a terribly emergent situation because Hubby hadn't been hollering for me to come help with a sick kid or something.

Which, admittedly, was my first thought: that Large Fry had either puked in bed or somehow accidentally wet the bed.

Turns out the problem wasn't nearly so dire.

It's a quirk of our house.

The door to Large's bedroom, when it's pulled shut all the way, tends to create a vacuum of sorts and sticks.  She woke up, tried to open the door, and couldn't get out.

I asked the obvious question of why she needed to get up.

"She just did," Hubby said.  "She wanted to sleep with us.  I told her we weren't sleeping, so she had to go back to her bed and sleep."

Of course, I and my late-night snack (so I can take my antibiotic) set off the kitchen-level smoke alarm a few minutes later when I had the oven open too long.  (Thing is so sensitive.  Darned irritating when I don't need it to be that sensitive, but I tell myself I should be grateful it is that sensitive.)  However, I didn't hear anything after I got the thing hushed, so I figured Large--who knows the alarm is touchy when she's awake enough to remember she knows that--wasn't bothered.

I'm eight paragraphs into this, and I mute the late-night Nick Friends marathon.

She's crying again.

Hubby is still upstairs with her, so I'm guessing she needed him to lay in her room with her for awhile.

Or, more likely, lay in our room with her for awhile.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Out of the Mouths of Babes

Ever since I posted a crazy Tim Hawkins link to Facebook about radically changing the musical style of certain worship songs and then sent the link via email to Hubby (who happens to be the worship pastor at our church), he's been on something of a Tim Hawkins kick.

He's been working through the various YouTube postings from Tim's "Full Range of Motion" video, and as the Fries finished getting ready for bed tonight and came back into the den, they clambered up on the couch next to him to watch.

This was the last segment before he herded them upstairs for bed:

Small Fry came over to give me a hug.  "Da man on Daddy's compyootewr is silly!"

Yeah, sweetie.  He is.

And that's why we love him.

I'm thinking perhaps we need to concentrate on letter sounds....

I'm in the kitchen, cutting up chicken breast for tonight's dinner (chicken pot your heart out, SnarkyDad).  Small Fry is sitting on one of the stools at the island, keeping me company, and looking at a book designed to go in an electronic reader.

Small [pointing]: Who is dat?

Me: Caillou.

Small:  Who's called Caillou's mom?

Me: I don't know her name.  She's just Caillou's mom.

Small:  Oh.  Buh-buh-book.  What starts with book?

Me: Book starts with "b."

Small continues to look at the pictures and is happily talking to herself, while I keep working on getting dinner assembled.

Small: Buh-buh-duck.

Me: Duck starts with "d," honey.

Small: Duh-duh-duck.

Me: That's right.

Small:  Buh-buh-book.  Buh-buh-duck.  Buh-buh-panda bear.  Buh-buh-tiger.  Buh-buh-dinosaur.

Yeah, I was glad I was done cutting up chicken about then.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Excuse, Part Deux

My dad emailed me after catching up with the RSS feed tonight, and had this to say about the "Excuse Event" post:

LOL. And the winner is...

I emailed him back:

Daddy, who sent her back to bed after two more minutes of um-inspired attempts to excuse the excuse. 

To which Dad replied:

That bug knows where he lives, too.

Okay, so I've got a strange sense of humor.

I think we've established that.

But this has to be my favorite FRIENDS scene.  Ever.

Excuse Hall of Fame

Tonight's competitor in the Excuse and Stall Tactic Event is Large Fry:'s a bug in my room.  And I saw a bug at school, and it knows where I live, and I'm scared.

Things You Don't Want to Hear

"Daddy?  The toilet trouble flushing.  It's broken!"
                                                                   ~Large Fry

12:45 a.m.

Medium Fry [rubbing eyes]: Mommy?  I hadda bad dweem.

Me: You did?

Medium: Can I tewll you about it?

Ooookay.  This is new.

Me [patting mattress]: Why don't you just climb on up here.

Medium [clambering]: I hadda dweem dat we wewren't a family anymowre.

Me [swallowing huge lump in my throat]: We will always be a family.

Medium snuggled into the covers, and then leaned over on me.

Medium [sleepily]: I fot we wewre gonna be sepawated.

Me: No.  We won't ever be separated.  We'll always be a family.  Always.

And I held her tight, kissed her hair, and tried not to cry.

Because we'll always be a family.

I don't want those doubts to even invade her dreams.

It makes my heart break that it happens.

And it made me doubly glad for the intake we had scheduled at the counselor's today.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012


...hilarious anecdotes to share.  At least I think they're hilarious.  They may be figments of my fever-addled brain.

...different medicines that I'm now taking.  Second visit to the doc today in less than a week, and for two different things.

Mika takes his hovering seriously.
...big, fat couch pillows that I'm huddled into.

And one slender, svelte kitty who has been hovering for days.  He's still hovering.  What a sweetheart.

I apparently have a sinus infection run amok, and my throat is so raw and sore that the PA in the clinic today was actually quite surprised.

He was not surprised when I told him it had been so sore last night that I'd had trouble staying asleep.

More later, when I don't feel like I'd need to be dead three days to feel better.  Or worse.  I'm really not sure which right now.

I think I shall doze with Disney's The Great Mouse Detective helping to keep Large Fry occupied until Hubby can get home and I can go retreat to bed.

Thursday, March 8, 2012


Posting has been temporarily hijacked by nasty boomerang migraine (now in its third day).

Yep, off to the doc tomorrow to either get my normal rescue meds changed, or get shot up with something to make this go away for good.

"Another night, deprived of slumber..."

~*9:45 p.m.*~

Medium: Daddy?  I have to go potty.

Hubby [tired of excuses and stall tactics that prolonged bedtime more than an hour before]: Go potty and go back to bed!

Medium whimpers, but does as she's told.

~*11:15 p.m.*~

Medium:  Daddy?  Daddy?

I groggily recognize her shouting for Hubby through the haze of migraine meds (and migraine pain).

Hubby: You'd better have a good excuse for being up!

Medium: My bow is untied.

The bow on her pajama pants.  The decorative one.

Hubby [nearly roaring]: GET BACK IN BED!


Medium [having clambered up onto our bed]: Mommy?

Me [groggily]: What, honey?

Medium: Can you move over so I can get inna middle?

I don't have much room, mind you.  Hubby is laying on his back.  I'm laying on my side.  Not a whole lot of mattress real estate between me and the edge of the bed.

I scoot over anyway, and Medium burrows inbetween us.  She lets out a snuffling sigh and goes to sleep.

~*Several (?) hours later, perhaps around 5 a.m.*~

Medium whimpers and sniffles and noisily rubs her hand up and down on her nose.  Lather, rinse, repeat.

Hubby: Medium, go get a tissue.

Medium [whining]: I don't know how!

Hubby: Go to the bathroom and get some toilet paper.

Medium [whining]: I don't know how!

About 30 seconds later, I hear Medium shuffle out of our room and down the hall.  I presume Hubby just lifted her right out of bed and set her on the floor.

~*5 minutes later*~

Medium [whining and low-volume wailing]:  Daddy!  Daddy!  Daddy! Daaaaddddy!

I got up and limped down the hall (the weather changes have been making my ankle ache).  Medium is in the hall bath, light on, standing by the toilet and whimpering.

Me: What is the problem?

Medium [whining]: It's too bright!

I turned off the light.

Medium [whining]: Now it's too dawrk!

Me: Blow your nose and go back to bed.

Medium [whining]: I don't know how!

Me [exasperated]: Yes, you do!  Blow your nose and go back to bed!

I turned and went back to bed myself.  Shortly, I heard the door to the twins' room open and close as Medium went back to bed.

~*15 minutes later*~

Medium: Mommy?  Mommy?

Me: What?

Medium: My duck is inna middle.

Hubby: No, it's not.

I located Duckie between and underneath pillows and tossed it to Medium.

She had the audacity to pop her thumb in her mouth, grin at me, and bumble back down the hall.

~*1:45 p.m.*~

My doctor asks if the migraine I've been dealing with has interfered at all with my sleep.

The migraine?  Not so much.  It's more of a persistent, annoying, low-level migraine.  It just won't go away.

When I related the story of how my night had gone, doctor just smiled and nodded in empathy.

She's got four kids herself.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

With a Shiny Duck

Tonight, during dinner, Hubby and the Fries were discussing heaven.

They were in the kitchen.

I'm in the den, desperately hoping that I can finish what work I need to do so I can take myself and my poor aching head off to bed.

He comes in and relates this story:

Large Fry:  Daddy, do giants live up in the sky?  In a castle?  With a shiny duck?

Hubby [momentarily bewildered]: You mean the golden goose?

Large: Yeah!

Monday, March 5, 2012

Water Wars

This morning, Hubby had a meeting with the local high school principal about the baccalaureate service.  One of three youth pastors in our town, Hubby was volunteered to be the pastor in charge this year, mostly because the other two guys didn't want to.  Or something like that.

That left me in charge of getting Large Fry off to school.  Hubby usually walks her across the street in the mornings, unless he has other obligations (like today) or he's sick.  I get up to help make lunches most mornings, and to stick the diabetic cat, who needs insulin twice a day.  Three days a week, the twins leave with Hubby and he drops them off at preschool before driving the extra 60 seconds over to his office.

Today was his day off (despite the meeting this morning), and he got back just as I was herding Large Fry out the door for the walk to school.  He went in to herd the twins and talk to them about going out for breakfast.

By the time I got back, the cold was seeping into my ankle, which is still sensitive to weather changes (and probably always will be).  I was also pooped, since I'd gone grocery shopping late last night and didn't get home until about 12:30.

Medium Fry wanted a jammie day and didn't want to go out to breakfast (unusual).  Small Fry didn't want to go out to breakfast unless I was going, too.  So Small readily agreed to go when I said I would come, but Medium wasn't quite in the mood for food yet.  Hubby told her to go get dressed anyway.

Medium came back downstairs a few minutes later, complaining about her lack of pants.  I went down to the laundry room and got her a clean pair of jeans from the dryer, and she happily skipped upstairs to put them on.

I plunked the spray water bottle and the detangling spray on the butcher block island.  "Can you take care of hair?" I asked.  I still needed to put my contact lenses in and I was feeling pretty sluggish still.

"Sure," Hubby said.  He picked up the squirt bottle.

And playfully aimed it at Small's head, pulling the trigger.

A fine mist of water hit her in the side of the head, mostly on her hair.

She shrieked.

Hubby squirted Medium, who also squealed.

"You got me wet, Daddy!" Small giggled and skittered away.

"I'm gonna get you again!"  Hubby grinned and aimed.

Squealing, Small and Medium both took off for the den, Hubby chasing them and misting their hair with water.

Thinking this might get out of control fast, I moseyed down the hall after them.  "Don't squirt me!" the Fries chorused, giggling.  Hubby countered with, "Spray, spray, spray!"

Leaning against the doorframe, I said, "Daddy, what's our rule about chasing?"

Hubby stopped in his tracks and looked sheepish.  Oops was all over his face.  "You're right."

I smiled and stepped back, intending to go upstairs and put in my contacts.

"I sorry," Hubby said as he came over to me.  "I thought I was being a good daddy."

"You were, honey," I said, feeling bad that I had stopped the fun.  "You were."

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Conjugate "Melt"

Meltdown: n.  When a small child comes completely unhinged because Daddy took her twin with him (but not her) when he went to pick up pizza for dinner.  (Those of the nuclear variety are less powerful.)

Melt: v.  To liquefy, become mooshy.

Hubby & Small (18 months)
Melting: adj. What my heart does when Hubby comes home, and Small Fry grins from where she's leaning against me, and he asks if she needs a hug.  Small's grin becomes huge around the thumb in her mouth, and I gently tickle her side.  "Do you need a hug from him?" I asked.  Small grinned some more.  Hubby feinted coming to give her a hug a couple of times.  "Go get him," I whispered.  And then all three Fries took off after him, chasing him to the kitchen, while Hubby shrieked with glee, "No!  Don't hug me!  Don't hug me!  I don't wanna hug! Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaah!"

They caught him.

Much giggling ensued.

Much hugging, too.

And much melting of my heart.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Waving the White Flag

I surrender already.

I give up.

You can have my sanity.  I never had much to begin with, so I probably won't miss it much.

They say insanity is get it from your kids.

Apparently, you do not need shared mitochondrial DNA to contract this terrible disease from your children.

Will someone please find me a nice room with a comfy bed and rubber walls painted a nice soothing shade?

And take my hormones with you, while you're at it.  I don't want them anymore.  They are incorrigible and cannot be trusted.

If I had a whole nerve left this morning, I'd be surprised.

I do not have any now.

They've frazzled themselves out of existence.

By the time I got the Fries down to nap, it was very late.  Did they sleep?  Noooo.  I should have tried to nap myself, but I didn't.  I wouldn't have had much success anyway, since Large Fry came downstairs after half an hour and asked to get up.  (Egad, no!)  Medium Fry asked the same question 40 minutes later.  (Again, no.  Seriously, they had all had meltdowns of one kind or another before nap.)  And fifteen minutes after that, I had to herd both twins back to bed.  Medium had gone potty after asking if she could come downstairs, which was fine, but the fact that she clearly had not then gone back to bed like she'd been told and Small Fry was up now too.  Argh!

Ice cream did not improve my disposition.

In the five minutes it took to drive to the church tonight for the youth group's spaghetti dinner fundraiser, I was teetering off the edge again.  Large and Small running happily amok in the parking lot didn't help, especially when neither of them stopped when I shouted at them to cool it.

I was on the verge of tears by the time we got down to the fellowship hall.  Hubby was talking with the college students, and given my text to Jester and my wordless communication that I was about to lose my mind, I should not have been surprised that Mitzy and her roomie came right over, gave me a hug, and took the kids so I could go breathe for a minute.

I didn't breathe; I collapsed in the corner hallway of the children's ministries wing and bawled.  Hubby left the kids with Jester, Mitzy and gang and just let me cry.

Days like this are thankfully rare.

I should have had a second piece of cake.

If I didn't know that the teens and youth group staff were boxing up leftovers to take over to the firefighters at the nearby station, I would have.

I think I shall prescribe a fistful of mini Reese's PB cups.

Friday, March 2, 2012

Parenthood Defined

I ran across this description of parenthood on one of the blogs I frequent, and giggled so much that I could not help but share it with you:

I’ve heard a guy on another comment page (one that was a bit removed from this one) describe parenting like having all of your sanity and emotional well-being located in your…um, “nether regions”… and then walking pantsless through a bad neighborhood carrying a sign that says “Please kick me in the groin.”

"Oh, no! He doesn't look good!"

The blanket crate here in the den has been turned into an operating suite.

The patient is decent-sized white bear (complete with snowflake hat and scarf) that I got for Christmas more than 20 years ago.

Golly, I'm old.

Medium and Large are the surgeons who are fixing my bear up.

Medium: Oh, no!  He doesn't look good!  His foot is bwroken!

Large: We need to fix him.

Medium: He needs skwrews.

Medium jabs him with Hubby's chopsticks, leftover from his lunch, and left behind to be so appropriated.

Medium: His tail has blood!  Oh, no!

Large carefully turns my bear over onto its side with a couple of toy wands.

Medium pretends to skewer his tail with the chopsticks.

Medium: Both his foots awre messed up!  He needs skwrews in both!

More jabbing.  (Poor bear.)

Medium: Dewre!  His tail's all bettewr.

The bear is lifted out of the blanket crate and placed on the floor.  Hushed examination follows.

Large picks up the bear and deposits him back in the blanket crate, and then covers him carefully with a fleece throw blanket.

Large: There you go.  Shhh.  Go to sleep.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Not a Good Sign

I'm freezing.

My right ear aches.

Both ears are happily and rapidly speaking to Snap, Crackle and a language only they understand.

Perhaps I should have been the one to see the ENT today instead of Small Fry.

Looks like a trip to the walk-in clinic for me tomorrow.