Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Going Quackers: TSME, Day Two

Small Fry came unglued tonight at bedtime, because she missed Daddy so much.  She started crying as I helped her finish brushing her teeth, and continued to cry throughout most of the bedtime tuck-in routine.  I hugged her and rubbed her back as she cried and I prayed and kicked out monsters.  And giants.  And wombats, dragons, and snakes.

Oh, it was heartbreaking.

I'm glad they all love their daddy so much, but I hate how much that deep love hurts when Daddy has to go away.  And there's nothing I can do to make it better.

After I sang their goodnight song, Medium popped up and handed me her duckie.  "Mommy, I don't want this duckie.  He needs a bath.  Can you take him and wash him?"

"Sure."  I took Duckie.  "I'll get you another one."

"I don't want another Duckie."

Good heavens, is she feverish?  "Are you sure?"


"Are you sure?"

"Yes. I want to try sleeping without him."

"Okay," I said skeptically.  "Goodnight."

Well, every time Medium has tried to sleep without Duckie, I've ended up getting her a new one anyway.  When she was smaller, it was easier to keep their location hidden, but she now knows that I keep her ducks in a bureau cupboard in my bedroom.  I figured I would get one and leave it on the phone stand built into the end of the hallway by the twins' room, so she could get it if she wanted.

I had stuffed the desperately-in-need-of-a-bath Duckie in my pocket and closed the door.  And I remembered that Small had said around dinnertime that she had no more clean pants.  I was pulling jeans out of the twins' hamper when I heard Medium call me again.

"What, honey?"

"Could you come back hewre for a minute?"

I opened the door.

Medium was sitting up in bed, her pillow tossed to the side.  "I don't need another duckie 'cause I have fouwr."  Her little hands held up four duckies all squooshed together in a death grip.

I blinked.

"So you went into my room and got them all?"

Medium nodded.

"Can you pick one, and let me put the others away?  I don't want to lose them."

Medium shook her head.

"You don't need more than one, honey.  Pick one."

The tears starting to fill her eyes told me that she did need more than one.  "Can you pick two?"

Medium shook her head, the tears threatening to spill over.  She sniffled.  "I just want fouwr."

My poor girl.  Daddy's not here, and he's her best buddy, and Duckies are a poor substitute for Daddy.  I caved like a cheap suitcase.  "Okay.  You can have four tonight.  Tomorrow, can you pick one, and I'll put the others away?"

She nodded, and then tucked all four ducks safely under her pillow.

I collected Large Fry's jeans and tucked her in, and thought how sweet and cute it was that she wanted all her ducks except the filthy one, and I couldn't blame her on that count.  I'd seen that Duckie's wingtips in her nose and ears multiple times in the last few days.

Sunday, April 28, 2013

The Single Mommy Experiment Rides Again

Hubby's en route to Florida tonight for his annual youth workers' summit.

Actually, at the moment he's stuck in Charlotte, where it's raining.  And apparently, the heaters they use for dehumidifying equipment on the planes are important.  And by important, I mean that they pulled the plane off the runway, deplaned all the passengers, and directed them to a new gate.  His anticipated 10:15 flight into Orlando now isn't scheduled to leave until 11:59...which is about ten minutes after he should have landed, had his flight been on time.

Isn't he lucky?
The paper chain
Hubby made, to help
count the days until
Daddy gets home.

Innyhoo, the Fries and I took him to the airport.  We went up to the observation deck and the Fries were delighted with watching a plane take off.  They were even more delighted that there was a McDonald's in the airport.  Medium Fry wanted to know if we were going to go on the elescator again.  We ate dinner together...and as soon as all of us girls took a potty break before heading home, the screws started loosening.

Everybody was okay during the first round of hugs.

Not so much the second, in which the twins came unglued.  Small Fry cried the whole way back to the van.  Medium Fry joined her as I started the engine.  I had to call Hubby before I even left the parking space in the garage.

Thank goodness for the set of CDs we got years ago that are different classical compilations.  Gentle Classics into the CD player, and in another fifteen minutes, at least the kids weren't crying anymore.  (Large Fry's "I'm sad in my heart, but I'm not crying" stoicism didn't help calm the twins.)  They all fell asleep on the drive home.

I sent them up to get ready for bed.  My mom called while I was waiting for them to finish getting ready.  In the twenty minutes between getting home and me getting upstairs to tuck them in, Large Fry had fallen asleep in her bed, glasses still on, lights blazing in her room...which I didn't discover until after I tucked in the twins.  (She woke in a panic when I took her glasses off, and I told her it was okay and to go back to sleep; I don't think she heard me sing or turn on her radio.)

Before I tucked the twins in, Medium wanted to know if Daddy had sent the pictures of the plane at the gate and himself in the plane that he'd promised.  I pulled up the photos Hubby had sent by text, and they smiled.

I went through their usual bedtime routine.  After I kicked out all the monsters, giants, wombats, dragons, and snakes, and Medium had sent the fwiendly fings to Gramma and Poppa's, I asked if we needed to send a few friendly things to Daddy's motel room.  Medium nodded, thumb already back in her mouth.

Then we needed to send some to Auntie Sis in Romania...and Great-Aunt Dee and Great-Uncle R, too, since it's very cool that they have a great aunt.

It's gonna be a long week.

I self-medicated with a couple of ice cream sandwiches.

Is it just me, or are those things about half the size they were when I was a kid?

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Outside Just Now

The twin Fries are playing out back.  It's a gorgeous day here, so I'm sitting inside, with the door open, listening to them.

They've been racing.

Small: Medium, can you say, "On your mark, get set, go!"?

Medium: On your mark, get set, go, undewrweawr!

Yeah, I thought I'd heard wrong, too.


Medium: On your mark, get set, go, undewrweawr!

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Oh, I'm so very sad.

I think the Fries are starting to outgrow Little Einsteins.

I love this show.  I love the music, the art, the cute little adventures.  (I especially love that it replaced Gaspard & Lisa in the 8 pm slot on Disney Junior, but that's another story.)

Tonight, Medium and Large Fries were watching Little Einsteins while we waited for Small Fry to finish getting ready for bed.

And apparently Medium felt that the show was dumbed-down too much.  Or that the characters aren't too smart.

Annie [one of the Little Einsteins]: What color is Rocket?

Medium: Wred!  You know this!

I turned and looked at her, kind of shocked.

Medium:  You know it's wred.  You can see it.  You jus' want us to see it!

Smart as a whip, that one.

I think I'm justifiably scared.

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Things that make you say "Hmmmmm..."

Small Fry has been sick the last couple of days, the pattern following Medium's last bout with strep. I took her to the clinic and was surprised to hear her strep test was negative. (Medium's did the same thing, but it was so obviously strep when the doctor looked down her throat that she was surprised the test had come back negative.) My frustrations with the doc we saw aside, I reluctantly agreed to wait it out and see if anything developed.

This morning, Small was quite perky. She was singing made-up songs out in the hallway.

I was already downstairs when Hubby heard shouting from behind the twins' bedroom door. As he got closer, he could make out the words. "Ready, set, go! Ready, set, go! Ready, set, go!"

Curious, he knocked on their door and poked his head in. "Whatcha doing?"

"We'wre having a wrace!"

Hubby nodded.

Small went on. "Dadda! I'm all bettewr! Except that I have a fevewr and my froat still huwrts!"

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Hilarious Quote of the Night

Medium had a pretty bad day at school today.

When your extremely kindhearted middle child comes home from school, dutifully does her homework, and then asks you how to spell loser, this is what we call "a clue."

And, as it turns out, the reason she wanted to know the spelling of that particular word is because one of her tablemates in kindergarten, whom Medium considers a friend, called her that today.  And said she needed to bring him a piece of paper tomorrow with the words "Medium is a loser" written on it.

I refused to allow her to do that, and she skipped off to play, dashing inside and out and having a good time.

I, meanwhile, emailed her teacher.  I do not want to be one of those helicopter parents who emails over every tiny little thing, but this is not the first issue we've had with this particular student.  I understand that he's a six-year-old boy, and he will act like a six-year-old boy, but it's really hard to explain six-year-old boys to my kind-hearted, loving middle child who has never met anyone that she doesn't like.  And who doesn't have problems making and keeping friends...except with this one kid.  His waffling between "I like you and you're my friend for always" and "I don't like you and you'll never be my friend for always" confuses Medium.  She doesn't know why he acts this way (I have my suspicions, but they're not exactly explainable in this situation; Medium is also my elephant, and I don't need her repeating my thoughts to the kid in question).  But calling my child a loser is unacceptable, and telling her she needs to write that about herself—an request she wouldn't question, since it came from someone she considers a friend—is even more unacceptable.

Especially when it's not true.

I copied my husband on the email that I sent to Medium's teacher and then went back to reading a book and listening to the kids play outside with a couple of the neighbor kids.

Combined with the heat (the high in my backyard peaked at 91 today), running around and playing outside in the heat (and thus, the humidity), the fact that bugs live outside and bees fly near people in their search for flowers (no, honey, the flowers on your shirt are not attracting the bees), and hunger, Medium harrumphed back into the house just as I was starting to make dinner.  She plopped down on a stool at the kitchen island, started talking, and soon had dissolved into tears about how this little boy has been telling her that he likes her and then that he doesn't like her, and nearly came unglued when I told her I had emailed the teacher.  She said that would just make it worse; the boy would lie, and she wouldn't be believed, and he'd say she was mean.  She said that, when he called her a loser, he meant that she was mean.  Did I tell her teacher that?  No...because I just found out.

"Take the email back!" she wailed.

I gently explained that I couldn't.

This did not go over well.

Medium sniffled and gulped and tears spiked her lashes.  I grasped her chin gently.  "You are not a loser.  You never will be.  You are my Medium, and there is no other Medium in the world like you.  You are special and wonderful and kind and loving."  I wrapped my arms around her as tears dripped over and she sniffled some more.  I held tight and made a mental note to email the teacher back when she responded, to let her know that Medium was worried she would not be believed.

And given the circumstances—heat, humidity, hurt, and hunger—I was not at all surprised when Medium's panicked concerns switched to high school.  "I don't wanna go to high school."

Now, I've told all this backstory for a reason.  Namely, Medium's determination that she didn't want to go to high school.  Or middle school.

Hold that thought.

Here, it's important to note that I am not nearly the cook my mother is.  Or that Hubby is.  I can bake like nobody's business.  I can decorate cakes and have them not be Wrecks.  But cooking is something of a different matter, and I'm not nearly as good at it as my inner Mom Manual says I should be.  I have a handful of dishes I make well.  It's also very hard to mess up a crockpot meal when I can simply throw in ingredients from a list and leave it alone.  But I'm not Alton Brown or Pioneer Woman fabulous.  Hubby tends to do more of the cooking here.


I'm cooking dinner while letting Medium gripe herself out.  She doesn't want to go to school.  Not high school.  Not middle school.

"I jus' wanna stay here an' do what you do.  I wanna stay here an' cook."

I was shaking soy sauce into the deep skillet where I had cut-up chicken cooking when she said that.

I'm glad I wasn't doing anything dangerous.

I think I made some kind of comforting, reassuring noise.

Medium felt the need to say it again.

"I don't wanna go to school.  I jus' wanna stay here with you.  An' cook.  Jus' cook.  Like you."

After a few more gripes about the fact that I was putting squash into the stir fry (the bag of veggies came like that, honest), and me promising no squash on her plate, she hopped down and headed out to play.

I just wanna cook like you.

Oh, honey.  I hope you end up a much better cook than me!

Dinner Conversation

Medium had been burping throughout dinner.

Medium Fry: Why am I not eating like a nice lady?

Me: I don't know.

Medium: Because nice ladies don't burp. Like daddies. And me.

"Mommy? Can you do me a favor?"

I confess.

My first reaction to Medium's question was an internal sigh.

I'm in a lot of pain this morning. The spring weather here is wonderful, but it brings with it the curses of fluctuating air pressures and humid air. Both my wrist and ankle have been aching as a result, and I had missed a dose of my heavy-duty arthritis painkiller yesterday, so I took it when I remembered...as I put the kids to bed.

Which meant that it had all worn off by this time. And I hadn't taken the next dose yet.

I was kicking myself (figuratively) for adjusting the med schedule so I'd be at my absolute worst in the mornings.

I tried to smile. "What's that, honey?"

"When you go upstaiwrs, could you get my duckie and keep him with you so he's safe?"

My heart melted right along with my irritation at myself and my pain. "Of course!" I assured her.

Clearly, Medium was feeling a little insecure or something this morning. She can't take Duckie to school, since we don't want her to lose him. And when she feels the need to cling to Duckie more tightly, she'll ask me to do this very thing. That way, she knows Duckie is safe, and all remains right with her world. If Duckie is safe, so is she.

So, as I type this, I'm resting in bed (waiting for the drugs to kick in). I have Mika curled up next to me on my right (he's hovering because he knows I hurt), and Duckie next to me on my left, eyes facing the headboard since he's too young to watch Criminal Minds with me.

There is nothing as important as these small promises, I think. I'll keep Duckie with me all day until Medium gets home from school. Because I said I would. And Medium trusts that I will do just that. Hopefully she'll trust me on bigger things, too...although, in her world, there's not much bigger than Duckie.

Besides, he's pretty good company.

Saturday, April 6, 2013


It was Medium.

I was downstairs in the laundry room, moving a load of clothes over to the dryer so I could start yet another load of wash.

And it's been one of those days. My ankle and wrist have ached for days. I'm tired. I'm cranky. Hubby has been gone all day. The kids somehow found jumping beans and inhaled them, and my house was stricken with serial tattling. Play-doh did not stay where it belonged.

And now...

"What, honey?"

Footsteps pounded down the stairs.

"I need to show you my Skype!"

She held out her Leapfrog letter game. I turned around to look at it.

There on the screen were three words:


I swallowed the sudden lump in my throat. "I love you too, honey. Thank you."

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

It starts...

I walked out to the corner this afternoon to meet the Fries after school.

Medium and Large raced over to the crosswalk, and when I saw that the unusually heavy traffic was stopping for them, I waved them across.

It took another minute for Small to arrive...holding hands with a small, bespectacled, blond girl.

*facepalm*  I already know where this is heading.

"Who is that, honey, and why is she with you?" I called.

"She's gonna sleep over!" Small shouted back.

Oh, brother.

I crossed the street, tossing apologetic looks to the patient drivers who were backed up on either side of the crosswalk.

"Honey," I said, "she needs to ask her mom before she can sleep over."

"She did!" Small insisted.

"Well, her mom didn't talk to me."  I smiled at the little girl.  "You need to go home your usual way, honey," I said, and waved her back toward the school and the line of buses.  I felt bad for the mild confusion on her face, but I was not going to be the cause of another mom's panic.

I ushered Small back across the street to our house.  "Who was that?" I asked her.

"Quora."  Ah.  One of her classmates, and a name I hear often.  It wasn't until Valentine's Day that I realized the little girl I'd thought of as Cora was a victim of Creative Spelling by Parents.

"There are no sleepovers on school nights," I informed Small Fry. "And Quora can't sleep over unless I talk with her mom first, and I haven't."


I don't know that I ever expected that one of my kids would just drag a friend along after school, since we live so close, but I know this: Small is the one that didn't surprise me in doing so first.