A Typical Day in Every Way

Well it's been a day.  And whenever my four year old decides to give it up and go to sleep (Dear God, could you please quiet the thunder quickly, please and thanks?), it'll be officially over as far as Mom-duties go.  (Dear God, since I just said that, could you also please prevent my kids from vomiting, having bad dreams, and/or needing superfluous cups of water overnight tonight.)  For the sake of recapping for Sam, who is enjoying the "bachelor-life" on business near Syracuse for the next couple of days, here's - a day in the life of three wild and crazy kids. 

The morning started out with Sarah letting herself out of her bed (typical), barging into the bathroom where my dad (who graciously, along with my mom, offered to stay a couple of extra days while Sam is in New York) was taking a shower, standing at the door to the shower with a book and demanding, quite verbally, that he read it to her.  At that precise moment.  Since he didn't oblige, she opened the shower door and got in with her book, fully-clothed.  I wasn't actually present for all of this, but my dad tells me he did read the book to her once they were out of the shower.

After getting Ben fed and off to school, things were settling down when Sarah disappeared for a quick minute.  Nothing good ever comes from Sarah disappearing for a quick minute.  I found her in the master bathroom.  Indulging in some toothpaste.  Sucking on toothbrush after toothbrush.  Then carefully lining them up.  On the floor.  Awesome.

Needless to say, she was not happy when big sister confiscated the contraband.

Since Sarah's teeth were squeaky clean, we left the bathroom.  As I sat at the computer, no doubt checking flight tracker and Facebook, my mom emerged from the kitchen with the question, "Jennie, did you mean to put that much coffee in your cup?"  Having no idea what she was talking about, I remembered that I'd left my nearly-empty cup under the coffeemaker and then, in a moment of A.D.D., moved onto something else. So I went to check it out.  I found this:

Turns out, my very own kitchen lady (Abby), had taken it upon herself to fill my cup to the absolute brim.  When I asked her if she was, indeed, involved, her response was, "Did I fill it too much, Mommy?"  I didn't have the heart to tell her that the only thing keeping it from pouring all over the floor was surface tension. 

The girls passed some more time in the morning with some good solid, dance moves thanks to the sweet music of our "Fridge DJ".

While Abby & Grandmom went off to Target for, you guessed it, one dollar popcorn, Sarah helped me pull up some weeds pansies, with which she proceeded to play a sweet game of  "He loves me, he loves me not."  (Okay, she's one and doesn't really know how to play that, but the way she dismantled each petal made me wonder if the rules of that game are innately ingrained in little girls.)   After the game, she collected a few  leaves....on the back of her diaper...before we called it a day in the front yard.

After sharing some Carrabba's leftovers, I put Sarah in her bed for naptime.  Things seemed to be going uncharacteristically well until I heard the harmonica.  That's all that needs to be said about that.

When Miss Priss woke up from her nap, she opened her door a crack, extended her entire arm through, and proclaimed "Here!" loudly until someone (I) came to see what the heck was happening.  Apparently, she wanted to provide some long-lost missing puzzle pieces to us, but for some reason didn't want to leave her room to do so.

We played outside for a spell.  Ben was off on "Cube Circle" with our favorite neighborhood nine year old.  Meanwhile, some malnourished, skinny blond went down the slide, and Sarah ran.  Just ran.  All over the place.

Until she cried because I wouldn't let her return to the scene of the crime head gash. She's I'm not quite ready for that yet.

We had "homemade" pizza for dinner.  It wasn't bad.  Abby filled up on breadsticks & marinara beforehand though, so getting her to eat actual pizza was tough.  She ate half a piece (typical).  We had mini chocolate chip cookies for dessert, the sight of which brought about the return of her appetite.  That child is as predictable as my late grandparents' tv line-up. 

After dinner, Abby emerged from her room with one bottle from her collection of lotions.  After squirting a volcano-sized pile into her tiny hand, she instructed me to "Smell this kind of lotion."  Then asked, "You mind if I rub it on your legs?"  I guess that's fun for her?  You know what...it was kind of nice.  Thanks, little one.

While the older kids watched Mulan (random) back in Abby's room on the roll-away cart, the tiny one apparently felt she needed to air out a little.  She entered the living room stark naked and oh-so-proud.  I'm not sure how Grandmom felt about that, especially when she climbed onto the recliner with her in all of her stark-naked glory.

So I checked in on "movie night" in Abby's room.  Nothing too surprising.

(That looks really comfy...or is it covey...silly Abby.)

Oh - and Sarah re-clothed into Abby's dress as soon as Abby opted for jammies.

Going full circle, bedtime brought about more toothbrush drama, this time by a seven year old who did not want to brush his teeth.  And went so far as to lie about having done the deed.  Caught in the act of lying, and after suffering the consequences, he wound up the night looking like this. 

Sorry, kid.  BUSTED.

And that, Sam (and whomever else is kind enough to read my rambling), was the day.  We miss you!


Gonna Make a Memory

When I think of the times I spent on the eastern shore with my grandparents, I have a plethora of amazing memories. They run the gambit from getting up early in the morning to take the little aluminum boat out on Colbourne's Creek with a fishing rod and a can of Vienna sausages to standing in the woodshop by Grandpop's side for hours at a time watching as he crafted and then painted little wooden birds.  From taking bike rides on the dusty dirt roads looking for woolly bears so we could predict how harsh the winter would be based on whether they were black or brown in the summertime to picking blueberries, "grapes" (which I now know were actually scuppernongs), and almost any vegetable I could name right off the plant in the back garden of my grandparents' house.  I remember sitting at the kitchen table snapping the ends off of green beans into a large metal bowl.  I remember begging to get to sleep out on the "breezeway" on the orange cushions.  Why?  I don't know...because it was hot as Hades out there and it smelled like sulfur.  I remember growing older and graduating from a pedal-powered metal tractor to a two-wheeled bike to a moped to our tan Aerostar van as I learned to drive on those deserted dirt roads.

I could go on for days.

I am so thankful for each one of the memories I made during those trips to the shore.  It was our special time with Grandpop and Grandmom.  Now that Grandmom is my last remaining grandparent, I feel even more compelled to remember and treasure the times we've had together. 

What's cool, though, is that now that I'm a mother myself, I get to witness the memories being made by my own kids with my parents.  (And my in-laws as well.)  It just so happens that we're slightly more than halfway through a week-and-a-half long visit with my parents who trekked the 13-some hours from Maryland down to central Georgia (although it hardly ever takes us longer than 11.5 or 12 - "What's that in the back?  You've got to pee?  Well here's a cup.  Aim carefully!"  Yeah.  We're mean parents.  We stop for nothing.  Except coffee.  For me.)


Because of my overly active imagination, I sit and observe my kids with my parents and wonder which of the moments they will add to their respective memory banks.  I have a lot of categories in my memory.

Things that make me laugh.  (The sight of my grandfather in a Donald Duck costume.  I seriously wish my legs looked that good in yellow tights.)
Things that give me the warm-fuzzies.  (My grandfather's strong bear hugs.)
Things I have tried to block from memory, only to think of them at the most random times causing me to give  dirty looks to an innocent passersby.  (Seeing my cousin stomp a frog to death with his shoe on my grandparents' patio.)
Things that make me salivate with hunger.  (My grandmother's no-bake cookies.)
Things that make me shake in my boots...if I were ever to wear boots.  (The prospect of getting in the pen with my grandparents' two large dogs.)
Things that bring tears to my eyes.  (The thought of my grandfather on his death bed, pointing up, ready to go home.)

I suspect that one day my kids will have a memory bank full of these things from both my parents' trips down here and from their trips to Maryland.  I hope that most of them fall into the warm fuzzies category.  If I had to guess, right now, I would say that their already-banked memories include:

~ Trips to Target for popcorn
~ Trips to McDonalds for McDoubles
~ "Your mommy/daddy said don't do that" as the #1 form of discipline
~ Extra TV time
~ The wall o' tiles that is no longer...

~ Hanging out in the basement of my parents' house

~ All-meat meals
~ Painting the girls' fingernails and toenails
~ Reading books with Grandpop for hours on end

~ Feeding the fish with stale Italian bread

And God willing that is just the beginning...

Now I'm on a mission.  To impart to my kids how precious these days are.  (And to take as many pictures as possible.)

Because, going back to my favorite Darius Rucker song, It Won't Be Like This for Long.


This makes 710 (give or take) Mom Things...

In the past week you dealt with hives, vomit, and stitches.  And now that you think back on it, it really wasn't all that different from any other week as the mother of three.  C'est la vie, right?

When your newly stitched toddler runs at full speed head first into the dishwasher with a loud "Bang!", you cringe for a moment only to realize she hit it with the other side of her forehead.  And instead of comforting her, you let out a sigh of relief.  PHEW.

You laugh raucously in Chili's when you realize that your 25lb toddler is eating your 35lb 4-year old's leftovers at dinner.  She's apparently trying very hard to overtake her "big" sister in weight.  And is, seemingly, succeeding.

You often wonder what your neighbors must think of you and your little family - like, for instance, on days at 3pm when your toddler is wearing footies and your four year old is wearing a Sunday dress and Sunday shoes, and they are sitting in rocking chairs pointed towards a neighbor's house...just staring, and talking into two ends of the same phone.  Do they realize this is normal?  Or is this just normal for us?

When you get your toddler out of bed after nap time you find her hair matted to her head in a crunchy-rat nest type of way.  After further investigation you discover a giant wet spot on her pillow.  Your conclusion (among other guesses involving pee and puke, which were ruled out based on the lack of an odor) is that she just drooled that much and wallowed around in it.  The best part?  She totally pulled the crunchy hair off in a way that only that giggly little mischievous imp could.

If you could bottle drool and pass it off as something profitable, you'd have been rich by your first child's first birthday.  Though, it appears, this third child is trying to take the prize for droolingest child ever.

You count your blessings as they are that it took you three kids and seven years as a parent to experience your first profusely bleeding wound that required stitches.

You sadly realize that all the progress you'd made towards not being a helicopter parent was erased the moment your toddler toppled headfirst down those stairs to meet her bloody fate.  You're back to being as crazy and hovering as ever.  Darn you, head wound.  Darn you.

Your first grader has figured out that the best way for him to stay out of trouble at school is to read a book when he's finished his work.  Yes.  Go with that.  It sounds like a great plan.  I'll provide the books.

Based on your toddler's ability to drink an entire sippy cup of milk in 0.2 seconds flat, you have high hopes for her winning the gallon-of-milk-chugging contests in the high school parking lot when she's of age.  [Of course, these innocent hi-jinks probably won't even take place when she's in high school because everyone will probably receive fluids intravenously as they'll surely be too busy texting to stop and lift a drink to their mouths.]

Your four year old was so elated to get Lucky Charms at the store she couldn't wait to get home to eat them.  Thirty seconds into the treat, she declared, "I'm done!"  Of course she was...


Flashback Friday - But not really

Since it's my blog I make the rules. And my rules clearly state (now that I just made them up) that I can flash back to something that happened six hours ago if I so please.  They also state that I can type a novel's worth of words to describe a 30 minute event if I so please. 

And I so please.

The weather here has been absolutely heavenly this week.  Not to brag to those of you who aren't enjoying temps in the mid-60's to lower 70's with a sunny breeziness, but really - heavenly.  That's the only word for it.

After a surprise morning of sleeping in for an extra 30 minutes (a rare treat while Ben is on winter break), we dawdled around, enjoyed a late breakfast, traipsed over to Kmart for a great deal on Lucky Charms (while there is a point to this blog post eventually, the Lucky Charms are completely and totally irrelevant), and spontaneously stopped by McDonald's for some early afternoon fun and to spend our $3 worth of gift certificates.   By the time the girls went down for a nap, it was 2pm...much later than usual and we hadn't even enjoyed the weather yet.

Needless to say, when Sarah woke up at 4pm, we immediately went out back to play. 

Sarah loves the playground.

I kept thinking - I should really get my camera.  But I didn't.  I thought, let's just enjoy playing for once without shoving a camera in her face.

The whole time we were out there, it was an unceasing barrage of one word exclamations.


She moved around to the side where the steep steps are and climbed up.  She has never had any trouble climbing.

(This was back in November...climbing up with no rails and a cup no less.)

I was on the other side encouraging her to come over to the slide.  Not sure why she changed her mind and decided to go back down the stairs, but she leaned forward, lost her center of balance and tumbled.  Head first.  The fall was truly amazing from my angle.  It was like a series of perfect slow-motion somersaults.  I wasn't sure she was even hurt, but I ran over and scooped her up out of the grass and then she grabbed her forehead.  

That's when I nearly lost it.  But I didn't.  I am very proud of myself.  (And thankful for the calming power of the Holy Spirit.)

Her head was very obviously deeply gashed.  I couldn't tell how badly because there was so much blood.  I just knew it was bleeding profusely and a band-aid wasn't going to fix it.

I sprinted inside, grabbed a rag from the laundry room to hold on the wound, and yelled (very urgently, I'm sure) for Ben and Abby to get in the van.

We live about two miles from our pediatrician's office in one direction and two miles from an emergency care facility in the other direction.  So it seemed logical to me that fastest thing was for me to take her somewhere.  

Abby had just woken up from a nap herself and was very groggy.  Ben was luckily in his room and easily locatable (instead of roaming the neighborhood on his bike).  For some reason, it was important to me that the older kids be wearing shoes.  (Who knows where these thoughts come from in a time of crisis.)  So I told Ben to run inside and get his shoes while I strapped Sarah in her seat.  Abby saw the blood and got shaken up immediately.  When Ben got back to the van with his shoes, I gave him an active role and told him to hold the rag on Sarah's head, that she wasn't going to like it, but I needed his help.  I sprinted to our closest neighbor to see if they could keep Ben & Abby but they weren't home and in an effort not to waste any more time, I just took them along.  I'm glad because Ben held the rag on Sarah's head en route to the doctor's office or it might have been an even bloodier mess. 

I lost my calm when I called Sam on the way to let him know.  I was doing so well.  That's when the emotions came out.  I was sorry I didn't catch her.  I was sorry I'd even taken her out to play.  I was sorry it happened on my watch.  I was sorry my two older kids were scared out of their wits by my tears and Sarah's blood.  I was sorry I wasn't lucid enough to make a decision as to where to take her for emergency care.  

I ended up at our pediatrician's office. 

I got the spot right by the door and ran inside and instructed Ben & Abby to follow me (when they had their shoes on...so random).  My thoughts were bouncing back and forth between "I hope they can help us" and "I hope there aren't too many kids in the waiting room"...not because I thought they'd make us wait with a bloody head trauma, but because I'd already scarred my own kids, I didn't want to scar stranger's kids with the sight of my bloody shirt and Sarah's bloody...entire body. 

There was one couple with an infant carrier.  Thank you, God.  And that kind gentleman saw me coming and opened the door for me.  The nurses saw me, promised to return whomever she was speaking to's call at a later time, and took care of us.  She remained so calm.  I can't say enough how grateful I am for everyone's peacefulness.  It was contagious.  Kind of...at least, they didn't contribute to my anxiety.  

Ben and Abby arrived by my side seconds later and we were shown into an exam room, where the doctor followed us in.  He pulled the rag away and looked at the gash.  

And that's when I saw her skull.  

It was that deep.  Adult foreheads don't seem as fleshy as baby foreheads, but man, it was a deep cut.  The sight of the bone shook me up.  He took his fingers and pinched the gash shut and said the words, "That's a perfect cut.  We can fix that."  An interesting choice of words, but great news.  By this point, Sarah was mostly calmed down...not even crying.  She is absolutely amazing.

Moments later, Sam arrived.  (Thank you, God, for his timely departure from work today, because he was practically at the doctors office when I called him.)  He took one look at me and said, "Jennie, go to the bathroom."  I just wanted to get Ben & Abby out of there.  I cleaned myself up a little bit in the restroom, fixed the toilet (which was a nice distraction - but oh-so-very random), and gave Ben & Abby a hug and thanked them for being such brave helpers.  For a moment the older kids worked on dum-dums and watched a minute of the Suite Life while I checked on Sarah.  Sam had her lying on her back, playing with keys and his cellphone.  She was kicking away at his legs and just chattering away.  It was as if nothing was wrong.  The nurses had cleaned her up a bit and the bleeding from the hole in her head had mostly stopped.  (It would start again when they began the stitching.)

Sam suggested that I take the kids to a neighbor's house and change my shirt.  Knowing that was a 5 minute round trip, I acquiesced, though I really wanted to stay with my baby girl.  Our awesome neighbors took Ben & Abby in, I grabbed a new t-shirt and returned just in time to help hold my sweet, strong baby down for her stitches.  (To earn passage into the room I had to promise the doctor that I would not pass out.  I assured her I wouldn't.  Cry and hyperventilate...maybe.  But I wouldn't pass out.)

Five stitches, a whole lot of wrestling by a nurse and two parents, and the reassuring words of our beloved pediatrician later, Sarah was up, hugging my neck, and bidding the doctor "Bye bye!"

Good as new.

Just a little resemblance to Frankenstein's monster.  

I wondered if my sweet girl would be traumatized and never want to go on the playground again (like me), but as soon as we got home, we walked out back and she reached out and said, "Play!"

It takes way more than a somewhat-serious head injury to keep this girl down.

When she sees herself in the mirror, she points to it says "Boo boo!" and smiles.  I think she's almost proud.  She would be.  Little stinker.  

So that was our Friday night drama.  Our first child to endure a stiches-requiring injury ended up being Sarah.  Is anyone surprised?  (Maybe a little...only because Abby hasn't already required them.)

At the end of the ordeal, I found myself praying - prayers of thanks.  Because it could have been so much worse - but it wasn't.  Everything played out perfectly.  Thank you, God, for taking care of us - all of us throughout this ordeal and every single moment of every day.  And thank you for my beautiful children.  Period.

If you read all of that, I'll mail you some Gooey Butter Cakes.  And consider yourselves "lucky" enough to read an entry of my diary - which is what I sometimes tend to treat this blog as.  Sorry 'bout that.

Happy Weekend, All!


Mom Things - Heavy on the Sarah-isms This Go Round

You thought about going to check on your ailing four year old, but since you could hear her sawing logs from all the way in the living room, you saved yourself the trip down the hall.  She was obviously sleeping soundly.

When the snoring subsided you checked on her only to see this...

...at which point you hoped there was a child somewhere in that heap of pillows and blankets.

You've heard of people devouring books, but your toddler doesn't seem to understand figures of speech and quite literally eats her Daddy's work-homework.  (Thanks for the inspiration on this one, Diane.)

Speaking of devouring things, your toddler is either part rat or part goat.  After hearing a request for a honey bun by her older sister, she helped herself and opened it herself - with her teeth.

You find that kind of independence is actually preferable to the time the very same toddler appeared next to your recliner with a bag of unopened raisins, an adult-sized pair of scissors, and a pleading look in her eye.  At least you learned where not to keep the scissors.

You feel simultaneously triumphant and emotionally exhausted when, at the end of a 2.5 hour throwdown between you and your toddler at naptime, the 21-month old is snoring in her bed and you are finally able to do anything but stand guard by her door and return her to her bed.  She might be stubborn, but you are more stubborn (insert evil maniacal laughter here).

That crib tent is looking better and better by the minute.

You thoroughly enjoyed a trip to the grocery store with just your seven year old.  He came in handy for counting mega-event items and provided entertainment in the form of random exclamatory remarks about how "awe-uh-some" various products are.  (When your kids are amused by groceries, you know you're doing something right.)

As a reward for his helpfulness, you let your son pick a prize (within reason).  His choice?  A 99 cent bag of cotton balls for his art projects.  And that confirms it - you are definitely doing something right with that one.

You just never know what the topic of conversation will be at the dinner table, but when it turns to Moses and the plagues inflicted on Egypt, it gets unappetizing...in a hurry.  Thanks for that, Ben.  Thanks a lot.

When your pediatrician was unsuccessful at prying your toddler's mouth open with a tongue depressor and proclaimed, "Wow.  She's really strong!" you're not sure she meant it as a compliment...but you took it as one anyway.

Your mostly-always-half-naked toddler has caused you to pause and reconsider your stance on plumber pants.  After all, that's a little bit cute, right?  (Maybe that really is just a Mom Thing.)

Posting these early this week (at least, early for me).  I have a 2nd interview tomorrow (Wednesday) at 2pm, and I would love if you would keep me in your thoughts and prayers, please and thanks!


Simple Pleasures: Worn Out Sneakers

As "late" as Debbie was to the simple pleasures party this week, she wasn't the last. Leave it to me to come in as everyone else is leaving.

Hey, I've never claimed to be punctual.

I do have the excuses of Thursday morning Bible study and having to take breakfast for that as well as snack for my son's first grade class this morning.  Then there's the added pressure of Mrs. Debbie's Miss Whimsy coming over tonight to watch those three rowdy kids, and I would hate for my unkempt house to end up on her blog some day.  I can see it now - "How not to keep your house tidy."  Or something like that.  (I know she wouldn't actually do that.  I just have a wild imagination.)

Honestly, I can't really blame the late-ness on those things.  Truth be told, this is as early as it was going to get for me.

I wasn't sure what I was going to do for my simple pleasure this week, but as I tidied up in preparation for Miss Whimsy coming over tonight, I stumbled across these:

We call them Ben's Play Shoes.  Once upon a time, they were new.  And we would tell him, "Go put on your nice tennis shoes."  Say, for school, or maybe to wear to church on Wednesday night.  But as time progressed, they got a little worn in as he splashed through puddles, tripped on asphalt, used the toes as alternatives to the brakes on his bike, traipsed through that "beloved" Georgia red clay, and apparently refused to tie his shoelaces.

And now - they look like this.  That's right - daylight coming through the toes.  My favorite part is when he decides to wear colorful socks and the red toes peek through.  He just wears these around the neighborhood to ride his bike and play with the other rambunctious little boys whose shoes are in equal disrepair, so I don't have to be embarrassed about it. 

The reason these well-worn worn-out sneakers are my simple pleasure this week is two-fold.  Number one - the represent everything that being a little boy is all about.  They are dirty, ragged, broken-in.  They've run a million miles through who-knows-what and most likely enjoyed every single minute of it.  They even bring home some of the who-knows-what with them.  See...just take a look inside.  There's a little pile of dirt in there.

The second reason these shoes are my simple pleasure goes back to my frugal roots.  They aren't name brand shoes.  When they end up looking like this after a couple of months, what would be the point of spending that kind of money?  But still, he squeezed every penny's worth out of the fifteen dollars we paid for them.  And they fulfilled their purpose - just as they should for a seven year old boy.

The price of a happy childhood couldn't be paid any more appropriately.

So when I feel grumpy about his red toes peeking through, I will remind myself of this fact.  Shoes aren't meant to last forever.  And, Oh the places they'll takes us.

Join me for more Simple Pleasures at Dayle's Simple Pleasures Party today.  (I promise you won't get in trouble if you're later than me!)


Midweek Mom Thingies

Your cell phone goes missing and you automatically assume one of the children is responsible. Your suspicions are confirmed when you find it underneath your bed, where the suspected four year old culprit was last seen "reading" your Kindle.  (Apparently, under-the-bed is a great place to go when you've stolen Mom's electronic devices.)

You might not have time for 45 minute long DVD workouts, but you are convinced that pretending to be Prince Charming and dancing around with your four and one year olds counts as significant cardio activity.

If there were a contest for it, you know beyond a shadow of a doubt that your kids would win the title for Best (Worst?) Bed Head.

Sometimes you laugh at nothing at all just to hear your parrot-like toddler laugh right behind you.  You love how she likes acting like she's in on the joke.  Whether this even is a joke or not.

You find it perplexing when other parents tell you their children freely admit they are tired and even ask to go to sleep.  Your kids don't do that.  In fact, you think your kids would sooner endure water-boarding than willingly go to bed.

You knew for sure you were going to go absolutely insane staying at home with your kids when you lost your job...what you didn't realize is that you would get to experience (among some unhappy times) moment after sweet moment of things just like this...

You smile every time you approach the Publix parking lot because you know your toddler will shout "Yay!" in excited anticipation of that free cookie.  (This is a cross-post from the "You know you go to Publix too often" list...should I ever make one of those.)

You have learned the hard way that while it seems like a good idea to put a few toys in your child's bed in an effort to get them to like being in there, what you failed to think through is that if they roll over mid-nap onto one of those talking stuffed animals, well, naptime is then over. 

Thanks to all of your brilliant parenting expertise and how well you know your own kids, you were regrettably right when you surmised it would be a matter of days before your toddler overcame the few extra inches you gained by turning the crib around.  Mom - 1, Toddler - 1 (or 2 or 3...whatever the score is, I'm pretty sure she's winning.)

In all of your stellar wisdom, you have opted not to forbid your children from partaking of sodas, candy, and other processed things.  It's not because you're lazy or because you particularly like those things yourself, but mostly because you've seen what happens when kids who don't regularly enjoy these things get ahold of them.  And you prefer to build a tolerance up in your kids.  See, that's a great reason.  Right??? 

You've found that the best way to respond to your know-it-all seven year old is with a taste of his own medicine.  When he gives you a fun fact about the weather you respond, "I knooowwww", just like he does when you tell him something.  And you think it's getting through just how rude that sounds.  Man, I love being a mom.

You're not sure why your toddler cannot hold still for a diaper change, nap, or car ride, but when you get out the fingernail polish, she sits as still as a grandpa waiting on a doctor's appointment.  You consider carrying nail polish around and flashing it when you need her to sit still.

Went a little long today....hey, it's my prerogative.  Happy Mid-Week!


Flashback Friday: Not Your Average Pig

My helpful "Edit Posts" page informs me that I have not done a Flashback Friday since October 22, 2010.  (What!?  How has it been that long!?)  It feels like just yesterday I wrote the post entitled "Flashback Friday: The weight of the world lifting off my shoulders". As it turns out, it was the perfect foreshadowing of what was to come. As I reflected on how great it felt to pass the Engineer-In-Training Exam, in a week's time I found out what it felt like to take the Professional Engineer Exam, and in a few months time I would come to find out how great it felt to pass it.

So basically, what I'm saying is, Flashback Fridays make good things happen.

Maybe.  Maybe not.

At any rate, I'm back with more.  You missed them, right?  (You don't have to answer that.)

This week, our middle child, Abby, has been spending some coveted time at Grammie & Grandaddy's house.  It's a rarity for her to go anywhere alone without a sage-like big brother or pesky little sister, and I know she's been enjoying every minute of grandparently spoiling.  The thing is, we've been missing her here.  She is...how do I say...the life of the party.  Things just aren't quite the same without our lively Abby around to keep us giggling.  This isn't to say Ben & Sarah aren't fun and precious - but without Abby - we're just not quite complete.

Ben has missed her the most, and while we were eating dinner tonight, he informed us that he had surprised Abby by straightening up the furniture in her dollhouse and making her a sign for her bedroom door.  He told me what it said.  "Welcome Home, Princess.  Love, Ben XOXO"

It brought tears to my eyes.  He thinks of her as his princess.  I love that.

Ben has kept the sweet, tear-evoking hits coming this week.

Yesterday he volunteered to move a cart out of the road at Target after watching half a dozen other customers and Target employees pass right by it.  It was a small, albeit wonderful exhibit of the fact that he just cares enough to want to do the right thing.

A few days ago, after spontaneously deciding to organize his top bunk from a chaotic heap of books, covers, stuffed animals, pillows, and action figures to a slightly more orderly heap of the same, he walked out of his room with an armful of stuffed toys that he wanted to donate.  The fact that he voluntarily donates toys is wonderful enough to bring tears to my eyes, but what was in the pile of giveaways nearly took my breath away.

The pigs.

And thus begins the tale o' Piggy.

Before Ben was even born, we got a stuffed pig from one of my dearest friends.  As many commonly do with stuffed toys, we put it in the stuffed toy net in the corner of his room and didn't think about it until he was older than a newborn.  I don't remember how it came to pass, but this cute stuffed pig became our firstborn's chosen security item.  We all know that "lovies" are not at all uncommon in kids.

I had a blankie when I was little.  Three of them to be exact.  Still have them actually.  I recently tried to convince each of my kids to sleep with one in an attempt to force sentimentality on them.  Ben obliged and humored me for a night or two.  The girls outright refused.  So much for that.

The pig became a constant companion for Ben.  He has swapped more saliva with that pig than I suspect he ever will in his entire dating and married life combined.  He began by sucking on the tail.  Then he chewed on the ears.  Then he graduated to the snout.  Barely a year had passed when Sam and I looked at Piggy, who had already been mended multiple times across the snout and lost probably half of the tiny little beads that filled him, and realized he wasn't going to make it much longer.

We panicked.

We googled.

And we found it!  (Okay, fine.  Sam found it.  But you already knew that, didn't you?)

We ordered three more.  (They were very reasonably priced.)

We thought we were sooooo smart.  "Haha, Ben will never know the difference.  We can swap them out while we clean/repair/fumigate the others."

And for a little while, the facade worked.  Until Ben developed a preference for one of the four pigs' tails.  It was a bit curlier than the others and he could identify it by touch alone in about a millisecond.

My clever husband solved this problem by applying scissors to one of the other pig's tails to make it feel similar.  And that was satisfactory enough for the finicky Benjamin.  (I will pause right here to remind everyone that this was our firstborn.  You do things differently with them.  Just sayin'.  Some day he may forgive us for coddling him.  Then again, he might never recover.  Time will tell.)

So we were back down to two pigs.  The Chosen Two.

One of which has been sitting on the laundry room sink for months waiting to get the Hamburger Helper stain off of it.  Pitiful, isn't it?

The non-chosen two are the ones that made it into the donate pile.  And yet, I still find myself getting sniffly over them.  Perhaps, I am the one with the sentimental attachment to his Piggies.  I just feel that if he's giving over the non-chosen two, the others are soon to follow.  (And then the entire Toy Story 3 movie plays out in my mind - starring Ben - my firstborn.  I'm not ready for him to go to college!  -sigh- I can hear Sam's words now.  "Jennie, he's only seven.  Relax.")

As far as I'm concerned, Piggy is a part of this family.  (Any and all of them.)


See what I mean?

One last Piggy memory before I contact Guiness for the Longest Blog Post about a Stuffed Animal award.

This comes from my 2nd ever "Mom Things"...a true story:

You've been in this predicament: searching up and down the side of the highway at 2am with a flashlight for a stuffed pig (Piggy, as it were) that may have been left atop the vehicle you rode off in that evening, only to find it in serious disrepair on the shoulder where the pavement meets the grass. After bringing it home, you put your sewing and stain-removing skills to the ultimate test...and pass...with flying colors. You know, or something less specific, but equally heroic with respect to your child's beloved "lovey". (This was actually a *Dad* one, but it totally counts. Love you, Sam.)

No matter what happens to The Chosen Two, whether tomorrow or 11 years from now when Ben heads off to college, it's bittersweet to realize that my boy is growing up.  The bitter part is leaving all of those innocent, precious memories behind.  The sweet part is that I love what I see him becoming.  He's the kind of son a mother is proud to have.  I can't wait to see all the new memories that are in store for him and us...with or without Piggy.  I am so blessed to be his mom. 

And, shoot, it's kind of cool being Piggy's mom too.

Have a very blessed weekend, everyone! 

And if you have a growing boy (or girl) who seems to be growing a little too quickly, give him an extra hug from me.  It won't slow them down, but it sure won't hurt.

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