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Kristen: June 2009 Archives


Backyard Camping

Posted by Kristen on June 29, 2009 at 7:10 AM in Camping
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Ethan started early in the day.

E: Can we camp tonight?

He asked no less than 30 times. Derek finally gave in and put up the tent. No one paid attention to the weather forecast. A little rain never hurt anyone, right?

They asked if I wanted to join them. My kind of camping is either at someplace fabulously famous or historical or camping at a five-star hotel with a 42-inch television and a jacuzzi bathtub. I know it's wrong but it is the way it is.

They raced out to the tent with a couple of couch pillows, a couple of sleeping bags and a flashlight. Ten minutes later Ethan came in the house and got a plastic bag. I should have asked questions but I figured his father had it under control. Another ten minutes went by and he came back in to show me his bounty.

There were three lightning bugs in the bag. The sealed bag. He began to tell me how he was going to keep the lightning bugs until tomorrow. I flashed back to that time when I was five and I decided to keep two hundred lightning bugs in a bug lantern overnight. Imagine my surprise when I found 200 lightning bug corpses in my bug lantern the next morning. I think the incident made me who I am today and who really needs to go to therapy over dead lightning bugs?

K: Buddy, if you don't set them free, they will miss their dads.

With that he set them free. Unfortunately he set them free in the tent and Derek killed one by accident when he mistakenly thought it was a mosquito but I did save the life of two of them. And hopefully shaved off five or six hours of therapy when Ethan is older.


Rain and Mr. Steve

Posted by Kristen on June 25, 2009 at 6:49 AM in Raising Boys
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The weather has been a little crazy lately. We have had so much rain that when I hear Mr. Steve, one of my all-time-favorite people in the whole world, singing the Rain song, I contemplate throwing something at the television.

The kids have been cooped up inside too much. I know that we have reached this point when I walk into the living room and find the two of them on top of the armoire. The scary thing is that the box that was on top before was on the ground and I never heard it hit the ground. It's really heavy. I'm fairly certain they couldn't lower it to the ground themselves. I wish I had one of those motion sensors that would go off when the kids go higher than 3 feet in any given room.

This time I was feeding the baby in the family room and they were playing with cars on a track in the living room. In the old days (read three months ago), I always knew someone was getting into trouble by the silence. Now I have to pay attention because the safety in their talking is no longer effective.

They were having this long conversation about playing mom and dad and who was going to be forced to be "MOM" while the other person got the awesome role of dad. They were having the conversation as they were climbing. I happened to walk by as they were deep in discussion above my eye level. When they realized they were busted, the both began apologizing profusely. I just wanted them to get down and not get back up. I guess we'll have to add the living room furniture to the pile of chairs we recently moved to the basement. It's only a matter of time before they are giving each other a leg up.

Sun, please stay out so we can play in the much safer yard filled with ticks and mosquitoes.


Father's Day--Success or Bust?

Posted by Kristen on June 22, 2009 at 7:05 AM in Budget livingCutting BackHolidays
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096.JPGEthan wanted to get his father something specific for Father's Day, but I don't remember what it was. The only part I remember is that it cost money. I shut him down.

You can see by that haircut that we are doing a little cutting back here at Chateau Cookie. I always swore that the last luxury I would give up would be $14 haircuts for the kids. Either we have reached that point or maybe that chocolate was more luxurious than a head of hair that does not look like it had a plastic cereal bowl slapped on the head and cut around.

I cut the hair today. Having watched the barber on more than one occasion cut a divot out of the head of a child who suddenly decided he really wanted to know what Oprah's Book of the Month was this month, I was afraid. But this is what Father wanted on Happy Father's Day so this is what I did.

Of course I started with Ethan because I thought he would be better behaved. Unfortunately he has that hair. I don't even know what that statement means but I have heard it often. This doesn't make any sense because if you cut 30 heads of hair 5 days a week, is there really a head with that hair? It looks frightening but at least it is out of his eyes.

Then I cut Nathan's hair. There is something heady (pun intended) about wielding clippers. His head looks relatively tolerable to live with but his bangs look like Lombard Street in San Francisco. He was so busy trying to shove the cut hair down the drain of the sink I had him perched on that I just gave up trying to get them straight. You know how it goes with bangs. You keep trying to fix them and then you end up looking like that girl from Northern Exposure. Sometimes it's better to just walk away from something and revisit it later. It's not like I just ruined his prom picture or anything.

The boys then spent the rest of the day chasing their father around the backyard as he did things with cement. There were multiple changes of clothing and eventually ice cream at our favorite spot since it was free-ice-cream-for-dad-day. Other than ruining all photos of my children for the next 6 weeks, I'd say it was a good day.

How was yours?


The Great Gravel Move of '09

Posted by Kristen on June 18, 2009 at 6:28 AM
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photo.jpgSchool is officially out. I know this because it is already Wednesday and my children are ready to lose their minds.

E: Momomomomomomom. We should go outside and play ball.
K: What kind of ball?
E: We can just throw a ball.
K: Sorry, bud, but not today. It's raining.

I'm just going to take a little time out to discuss the rain. Global warming, global cooling, global climate change, cyclical climate change, I don't care what you call it. You know what I care about? The fact that it has rained so much in the last few months that the second the sun comes out, we all act like lunatics. I imagine this is how you people in Ireland and the Pacific Northwest feel. Of course I'm not saying that you are lunatics. I'm just saying that if this rain keeps up, we are going to have a house boat and we are a good 1/4 mile from the water. But back to my errant children.

We moaned about the rain and I went to make dinner. Not two minutes later I heard a baseball hitting my newly painted wall. This was actually a slight step down from the handstands he had been doing up against that newly painted wall. I ordered everyone outside. Rain, schmain.

First I had them dig this hole. Okay, their father dug this hole but I put them in the hole with two shovels. Then I brought their wagon over and instructed them to carry gravel in it from one side of the yard to the other. For no reason whatsoever. Did they know that? Nope. Did they care? Nope. In fact, they very cheerily worked together.

A girl's gotta do what a girl's gotta do to protect her walls. Even if it means getting a little wet.


Poorly Behaved or Poorly Parented?

Posted by Kristen on June 11, 2009 at 6:33 AM in Raising Boys
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I live in this fantasy world that the reason my children are so poorly behaved in public is because we are "old" parents. I tell myself and everyone else that will possibly listen that I'm sure I would be more strict if I had had kids in my 20's. I wouldn't be so tired. I wouldn't be so cranky. I would have more patience.

Guess what? Here it is. The honest to goodness truth. I imagine that I probably would have allowed my children to continuously throw each other over the side of the booth if I had them ten years ago.

Derek and I sat across from them on the 80 minute ferry ride. They did the best they could. We let them run around and around and around and around. Then we gave up because they have more energy in one pinky than we have in our entire bodies. So we sat inside at one of these booths and we watched in horror as they took turns shoving each other over the side of the booth. I looked around and no one in the Saturday crowd was even paying the slightest bit attention.

I was all geared up for my false apology for the behavior of my kids. My kids who were having the time of their lives. My kids who were doing no harm to anyone or anything.

And I just let them do it.


Soap-flavored Marshmallows

Posted by Kristen on June 8, 2009 at 7:07 AM in Raising Boyspicky eater
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The kid only wants to eat junk. As a junk-food-junkie myself, I get it. As a mother, I just want to shove broccoli down his throat.

Ethan: I'd like marshmallows for dinner.
K: What?
Ethan: Marshmallows.
Nathan: Me want 'em too.
K: I don't think so.
Ethan: I think that is a GREAT dinner, Mom.
K: I don't think so. There is no nutritional value in marshmallows.
Ethan: But they are SO good.
Nathan: Good, Mama.
K: No.
Ethan: Please?
K: No.

Ten minutes later I caught him sneaking into the marshmallows. He and his brother had at least three a piece before I found them. I got mad. Really mad. I threw them in the trash and put them in time out.

Time out being a time-honored tradition of useless discipline. Or maybe I'm doing it wrong.

While they were in time out, I dug the marshmallows out of the trash. I squirted a little Dawn Dishwashing Detergent in the bag and threw it back in the trash. I covered them up with more trash. Sure enough, three hours later I heard a hacking in the kitchen.

K: What's wrong?
Ethan: These marshmallows taste TERRIBLE.
K: Did you take them out of the trash?
Ethan: Um, yes?
K: You dug them out of the trash. You ate garbage.
Ethan: I didn't eat garbage. I ate marshmallows.
K: They were in the garbage.
Ethan: Why would anyone throw good marshmallows in the garbage?
K: Because people were TAKING them when they weren't allowed.
Ethan: They tasted horrible like soap.
K: How do you know they tasted like soap?
Ethan: MOM. I know what SOAP tastes like.

I don't know what disturbs me more. That fact that he ate marshmallows out of the trash or the fact that he correctly identified the soap taste in his mouth. Either way, here's hoping he won't dig food out of the trash again.


I'm Wondering if My Ears Will Explode

Posted by Kristen on June 4, 2009 at 6:55 AM in Raising Boys
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143.JPGWhy does a stop sign mean stop?
When I get old, how will I know how to drive?
What happens if I am driving and then I am on the sidewalk?
What's a "driver's manual?"
Why do you need a driver's book if everyone knows that a red light means stop? That's silly.
What are those shiny things on the mailbox?
If the water makes things go away, why do the lights stay?
What makes the lightning?
Why are you in this lane?
What is that restaurant?
Why do you call it a "fern bar?"
Is that a tweet, mom?
Why are there hospitals in the sky?
Why do these mailboxes glow in the dark?
Why doesn't our mailbox glow in the dark?
Why don't we have reflectors on our mailbox?
Why don't we have glowing mailboxes on our street?
Why don't our neighbors run over our mailbox if we don't have reflectors?
Am I doing too many tweets?
Where is that BINKY of Mason's?
Why does it say "no P?"

This is roughly 1/3 of the questions he asked on the 12 minute ride home. I don't think he even breathed between questions. You know what would be an awesome post? If I put the answers that I was thinking IN MY HEAD right in this post. However, this is a PG site and not a rated R site. At one point, we just started to laugh and couldn't stop because he didn't even wait for my answers before he started another question. No wonder I have lost my mind. This four-year-old never stops. This four-year-old is crazy. And it's making me crazy.

What kind of questions are your kids asking you? Do you remember when you used to drive in your car and have silence, because I don't even remember those days.


No Wonder We Always Go to the Emergency Room

Posted by Kristen on June 2, 2009 at 6:57 AM in Raising Boys
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That's what you were thinking when you looked at this picture, right? I'll admit I was sort of thinking it too when it was happening. The only thing is, I couldn't really see how this kind of activity could make you end up in the emergency room. I guess falling short and putting a tooth through your cheek? Maybe? I didn't think about that then.

I suppose I should have a predisposition against this kind of activity since I had that incident when I was about 11 or 12 and the middle table between the beds jumped out at me while I was sleeping and left me with a gash which gives my nose the character it has. However, I was asleep and that was before the big litigation boom in the early '90's. My mother says now that we should have made them fix my nose but I kind of like it. I can say I got in a big fight and that's how it happened if I want to sound tough. But back to the bed jumping.

I wish I had a picture of Nate doing it. The "trainwreck," as I am now referring to him, could do it too. I'll admit I was shocked. That's quite a distance for his fat little two-year-old legs.

Part of me knew I was supposed to give them the speech about respecting furniture (especially furniture that is not ours) but the other part of me thought, "this is a one-night vacation, pared down from a week because that's all we can do these days. Jump away."

And so they did. Sometimes you just ditch the propriety in hopes of one day hearing, "and my mom and dad used to let us JUMP ON THE BEDS WHEN WE STAYED AT A HOTEL. THEY WERE SO COOL." It's a shot.

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