Monday, November 23, 2009

Top of My List of Swear Words Back in My Teacher Life: BORING

While I was making dinner for myself and the kids tonight, O. commented that he thought cooking was really boring.

"Oh really? Not the word I would choose," I said (I'm testing out a Neutral Response tactic to words I don't want him to say lately. Overreacting and Forbidding trials showed inconclusive results. I'll let you know how the data shakes out.)

"Yeah, boring. Because you just have to go back and forth, back and forth all around the kitchen for a really long time. And then you get our food made, and then you have to go back and forth, back and forth to make your own plate," he replied.

I'm pretty sure he just summed up my whole life.

Friday, November 20, 2009

My Favorite!

One of the 10,000 things I love about O. is that he doesn't play favorites. Oh, not that he's completely inclusive of his playmates, or even that he doesn't have strong preferences for things. Screw up any of his multiple rituals for getting going in the morning or getting ready for bed, and you'll hear about it. But, anytime you ask him what his 'favorite' of something is, he will invariably reply "They are all my favorites."

Favorite animal at a visit to the zoo? "I liked them all."

Favorite color? "I like all colors."

Favorite food? "Corn dogs and jelly sandwiches and bagels and apples and chips and pickles and olives!"

If he does choose thing he likes better than another, he usually qualifies it by saying, "I like orange today." But he will probably like red or pink or blue tomorrow.

It's a charming little quirk of his that I've always enjoyed. Therefore, I know "favorite" isn't a word I use a whole lot, and was surprised when N. showed me a book she wanted to read before bed and said "dat one N. fav-o-ite."

I don't really think it's her "fav-o-ite." There are many others she prefers to have in her crib with her at nap or bedtime, but I suppose it should not surprise me that she has picked up this concept. If ever there were a child with preferences, it is my girl N.

Don't even think about pulling a pair of pajamas out of the drawer for her. No, choosing which ones are just right for bedtime today is a highlight of her day. Luckily or unluckily, we have two drawers full of hand me down options from which to choose.

We have also recently had some loud disputes over what she will wear for the day. I try not to be too particular about my children's clothes, but I really do not prefer for them to wear character themed clothing every day. N., however, ferrets out the leopard print pants and the Dora t-shirt everytime I hide them, and pleads to put them on. "Peeeeze, Mommy! Hello Diddy? Doda??"

Other favorites:

Favorite Princess: Ariel the Mermaid. Yes, we have hit the princess stage full on. This probably deserves a post of its own, because I was so adamant that we not jump on the Disney marketing bandwagon with all its gender stereotyped baggage. But N. has disregarded all of those morals of mine and fallen head over heels for the girl with the fin. The little girl who passed on to us much of N's wardrobe was an Ariel devotee, so there is a nightgown and pair of summer pajamas featuring her that N. would never take off if I didn't make her. I caved and let her use her Halloween money from her grandma to buy a little Ariel doll, and she needs to know where it (and its accompanying miniscule Flounder the fish) is at all times.

Favorite Blanket: "Hoft Bankee" (trans: Soft Blankie) This is not the blanket I tried to get her to love, a satin backed one like her brother's. Instead it's a fleece pink and white checked one, that I'm concerned will not stay "hoft" for quite as long as she may be attached to it. But for now she rubs it up against her face and snuggles down in to her bed.

Favorite Meal: "Macanoni" She doesn't always eat much of it, but if you ask her what she wants to eat, this is the automatic response. Unless she's given some time to reconsider, at which point she may waver and say "Ice Neem"

Favorite Book: "Silent Night" She loves to find the picture of the "Baby Dejus" and all the animals surrounding him in the stable.

Favorite Color: Pink. It's the only one she can consistently name accurately. Asked if she wanted to help put candles on my dad's birthday cake, she replied "Oh, Yes! Pink Ones!"

Favorite Song: "Rocky Baby One" (AKA "Rockabye Baby") This is what she sings to her dolls and her animals after she covers them with a blanket and tucks them into their doll crib, or into a laundry basket. "Rocky baby. In tee tops. Rock-eee baby. Win bows."

Favorite Action: "Dance" This is what she always chooses during the "Hello Song" at music class. "How would you like us to sing to you today, N?" "Dance!!"

Favorite Swear Word: "Poopie Butt" Thanks, O.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Even If I Try...

I've been a little light on posts of substance lately, but couldn't resist sharing the above video. O. has always been a fan of music, loves to play instruments and pretend to be a rock star, but he shares his mother's inability to remember lyrics in their entirety. That is, until today. Apparently he is learning more than I suspect at preschool. I LOVE this little song. There's also a portion about a tadpole and a frog, but he would only consent to singing this part for N. on camera. Note that N. couldn't allow this performance to pass without adding her own final flourish.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

A Crazy Mess

Back when I was in fifth grade, there was this teacher that frightened everyone I knew. She had a reputation for being not only mean, but also a little crazy. You could see it in her eyes. She was the teacher that yelled so loud you could hear her if your class was walking down the hall to go to a special, and the one that you dreaded having recess duty, especially indoor recess duty. I distinctly remember having to play checkers really really quietly in her classroom.

However, the thing for which this teacher was most infamous was lunch duty. She was known to have a real problem with food waste, and positioned herself near the garbage cans to police what kids were throwing away. I often witnessed her salvaging whole apples from lunch trays before they got passed through the window to the dishwasher. There was even a rumor for a time that she had rescued a banana from a tray that a boy vomited on, and that it had been rinsed off and replaced on the lunch line. Who knows if this was true or not, but I was always glad that I usually packed my lunch, and could safely hide my leftovers in my Muppets lunch box and take them home.

I have no idea how it started, but at some point during that year, several of my friends started making "creations" with leftovers from their bought lunches. If there were extra of the limp green beans, they got mixed in with the uneaten portion of mashed potato. It turned into a bit of a competition to see who could find just the right texture and color combination, adding dashes of crushed cookie or splashes of chocolate milk. I don't know why this was so fascinating to us, but we found it both hilarious and daring. At first, these creations were made right on the cafeteria tray, but as they became more elaborate, we had to find ways to hide them, lest they be commented on by Mrs. Crazyteacher. The used milk carton became the usual receptacle.

Until one day, Mrs. Crazyteacher noticed. And stood over our table, asking who was responsible. Crazy eyes rolling, she threatened that whoever thought it was SO funny to waste food could just drink that mess. Luckily, another teacher showed up and called Mrs. C away before any of us peed our pants or created another vomity urban legend. I know we were being ridiculous, but what fifth grader isn't? For a long long time after that, I was just appalled that someone would even think of threatening children over a few remains of food. Sure, wasting is not great, but forced feeding seems much more potentially harmful.

These days, I'm the one that has the issues with wasted food. And we waste A LOT of food. O. has never eaten much of anything, although I keep trying all the techniques I've read about, continuing to offer new foods, creating interesting ways to serve food, and just in general trying not to turn it into a power struggle. N. is a better eater, but lately has taken to only eating breakfast food and fruit. You can imagine the results of that sort of diet, and I won't go into the gory details there, but it doesn't bother me nearly as much as pitching out all the other foods I serve her alongside her pears, peaches, apples and oranges.

She will ask for a third bowl of cereal in the morning, and while I'm loathe to pour it, she will sometimes eat it, so I usually do. And then dump most of it down the garbage disposal. Same goes for a waffle that she sees me making for O. and just HAS to have one of her own.

Sometimes I purposely leave the excess food on the table for a while, with the pretense that they'll come back and eat it later for a snack, but really because I know the dog will probably get it, and at least it won't be wasted.

I throw away halves of sandwiches, 3/4 full yogurt containers, slices of cheese with only a bite taken out, piles of 'macanoni', and bananas that have been completely unpeeled (b/c N. likes to pretend she's a monkey) but not eaten at all.

Today it was an entire can of tomato soup that O. promised he would like, even though I told him it would taste just like TOMATOES which he does not like. I'm so invested in them actually eating something that I will most often make them whatever it is they say they will eat at breakfast and lunch. Dinner, they usually have to endure what I've made for everyone or have nothing. Which means I usually ditch the portion I've measured out on their animal shaped plates (purchased because I hope they'll make food more appealing) at the end of the meal. It makes me nearly physically ill to throw all that food away.

Last night, I made meatballs and Rice-a-Roni with broccoli. This is a meal that each child likes at least a portion of: O. loves the rice, N. usually eats the meatballs, and O. likes to pretend that he's a dinosaur eating trees with the broccoli. However, on this night, neither wanted anything to do with the main parts of the dish, and N. ate broccoli, but nothing else. I offered each some applesauce and crackers to entice them to eat something. O. proceeded to mix the rice, applesauce and crushed up crackers in a small bowl. He called it a 'salad' but then refused to eat any of it.

And God help me, I found myself yelling at him and came this close to forcing him to eat it all.
I haven't checked in the mirror yet for the crazy eyes, but I'm pretty sure I have them.

Friday, November 6, 2009

The Most Wonderful Time of the Year

This is J's busiest time of the year, work wise, so he's been traveling for business even more than usual. Thankfully, he was here for most of the Week of Illness. It was so nice to have him around so that there was someone other than me for the sick children to drape their bodies across, or to entertain one while the other one was feeling like dirt.

He took O. to and from preschool on Monday so that I could take N. to the doctor, and invented a run to Lowe's to entertain O. on Sunday.

Also, he kept offering to go to the store for me, asking if there was anything we needed that he could run out to get. He hates going to the grocery store, so this was a big deal. I took him up on the offer twice. Once for milk, once for kleenex.

So nice. So thoughtful. The day before he left this week, he even brought these home.

I know. Awesome, right?

I'm pretty sure all these kind offers had nothing to do with a certain release date of a certain favorite beverage only available for two months each year and its tendency to frequently sell out once it finally arrives. Right?

(P.S. to J: Your welcome home gift awaits. I bought two. Love you.)

Thursday, November 5, 2009

This is about as close as we get to educational at 7PM...

  1. Watch N. display her stellar listening skills as O. reads the Opposites book.
  2. See her find a new use for the neck of her shirt.
  3. Witness textbook example of residual H1N1 cough (and elbow covering technique!).
  4. N. illustrates her knowledge of closure.
  5. Of course they know "Noisy!"
  6. Watch for the big finish.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Dear Piggy (Flu): Sucks to Your Ass-Mar!

Because yes, we seem to have emerged on the other side of H1N1 relatively unscathed, even the toddler with asthma in the house.
We were successful at obtaining the H1N1 vaccine for the kids on our visit to Cleveland a week and a half ago. (I told you I wasn't kidding.) However, as you may be aware, a two shot dose has been shown to be necessary to produce an immune response in children under nine.
And so, it appears we were exposed to the virus in that window of time before they were fully protected, and we have had a rough few days in the last week.
Not least of the problems was that I could not monitor the spread of the disease outside my own home because my Facebook account was unavailable for nearly 72 hours. Don't laugh. It could happen to you, too.
Basically, I had a bad night that may or may not have been food poisoning, and several days of achiness that may or may not have been related to planting bulbs and raking leaves. Not so bad.
Both kids had a cough/fever/general awful-lying-in-bed couple of days. And of course, N. developed a wheeze almost as soon as she started to be feverish. Amazingly, I did not panic in the ways that I had envisioned myself doing at the height of my flu fervor. It seems that doing all that I could do to prepare and prevent something basically uncontrollable was enough to calm me. We just started using the nebulizer, and it seemed to keep things under control. There was one very scary hour in the middle of the night when she was holding her hands over her eyes and crying out in pain, then grabbing at her stomach and her back as if they also were in extreme pain. However, as soon as a new dose of Tylenol kicked in, the pain seemed to calm, too, and she went back to sleep for a few hours.
Later that morning, J. took O. to school for me, and N. and I curled up on the couch under a blanket. "'Nuggle in, Mommy." I had the phone with me, trying to get through to the pediatrician's office. Monday morning, busy signal a given. When I got through, I got up from the couch for a moment to talk to the nurse. When I came back, N. was asleep again, sitting straight up.
This was perhaps the first time she's been sick that I felt like I was consoling a child, not a baby through the illness. When she woke up coughing the first time, and I tried to give her a breathing treatment, she kept shaking her head and trying to get off my lap, but when I promised her that she could get in my bed after the treatment, she calmed right down and sat still for the ten minutes required. Reason worked, and I was amazed.
Two days later, and half a prescription of Tamiflu behind us, and my bright eyed toddler is back. Are we sure they had H1N1? No. Could be some other nasty virus. Either way, I'm thankful we were able to weather it in a relatively short time.
Ways that I know that everyone is on the mend? Yesterday was almost a worse day than when both were sick. We couldn't go anywhere because they were still potentially contagious, but the kids were well enough to torment each other and myself by jumping off of various pieces of furniture and bouncing various body parts off each other. And they were both awake at 6AM. Daylight savings time could not have been scheduled more poorly.