Archive for July, 2011

The Wisdom of Six

I woke up on a weekend morning to find an email from my husband waiting for me on my phone.

George gets up early, ahead of the children, so that he can get some gaming time in on the computer.  On this particular morning, Samantha woke up shortly after he had gotten started, and hours before me, and so she wound up getting some time to watch her Daddy play.  Her words made me aware of just how often she’s managed to get this time.   Here is some of her game play commentary, as George shared with me:

“Dad, don’t stand in the black circles, they’re poison and will kill you, and then everyone will die, and I’ll be sad.”

“Dad, I know you’re healing, and you’re good at healing, but if you were playing your DPS time, these guys would already be dead.”

“Oh great. It’s raining bad guys. And now it’s raining lasers. I guess this just isn’t your day.”

“Dad, I know it’s not about winning, it’s about having fun. And I do know that it’s about having fun. But it seems like you have more fun when you’re winning.”

I’m thinking I should sleep in less.



I am on the phone with my husband.  He has the big kids on his end.  I have the little one on mine.  Hearing each other makes the child’s game of telephone seem easy, when I ask an offhand question.


From my perspective:

“Honey, did you light the incense today?”

He responds, shocked, “WHAT?”

I repeat, slowly,  “Did you light the incense today?”

“Okay, it sounds like you’re asking me, did I buy incense today, and I know that’s not right.”

I’m rolling my eyes.  He is so deaf.  “Did you light the incense?  Did you set the incense on fire today?”

The shock and horror in his voice is baffling.  “Did you just ask me if I lit the incense on fire?”

“YES!  Did you LIGHT the incense on FIRE today?  In the cat room?!” I hate the stuff, but it covers the indiscretions of a cat who won’t cover his mess.

“OH! No, I haven’t done that in weeks! Oh my God!”


From his perspective:

“Honey, did you buy the infants today?”


“Did you buy the infants today?”

“Okay, it sounds like you’re asking me, did I buy the infants today, and I know that’s not right.”

“Did you light the infants?!  Did you set the infants on fire today?!”

“Did you just ask me if I set the infants on fire!?”  He knows he’s deaf, but he also knows I’m crazy.  But surely not this crazy!

“YES!  Did you LIGHT the infants on FIRE today?!  In the cat room?!”  The cat room.  Fire.  INCENSE!  She’s talking about incense!

“OH! No, I haven’t done that in weeks! Oh my God!”  And this is the woman I leave my children with every day!


My sons love to play outside.  They do not love to play together.  The rule is very firm for the five year old.  The baby cries, and his outside time is over.  As much as possible, they rotate play spaces.

My daughter does not love to play outside.  She is not particularly fond of sticky heat and blood sucking bugs.  She does not appreciate her need for fresh air or sunlight.  She plays outside until the timer in my hand beeps, and for every time she approaches me to whine about it, another minute gets tacked on.  She tries to be a good sport about it, and sometimes even misses the beep, she becomes so engrossed in play.

All three of them wind up outside at the same time today, a particularly hot and mosquito ridden day.  Within minutes, I am escorting Jack back to the door, to wait for another turn just for himself later.  Samantha watches.

A few minutes later, she appears by my elbow, and quietly, hopefully asks, “Mama.  If I make the baby cry, do I have to go inside?”


Samantha is enjoying Sunday morning cuddles.

“Daddy, I am awesome. If you want, I can teach you how to be just like me. Except, I won’t teach you everything, because you are really bad at hula hoop.”

I think she may be missing a handful of critical skills herself.


I snap awake in the middle of the night. “Oh my God, the baby is having a seizure!” I can feel it, a rhythmic jerking from his spot in the bed next to me.

I smother the chemical surge of panic so that I can listen and feel for what is going on in the dark. Thumpthumpthumpthumpslurpslurpslurp. It’s the damn cat, cleaning his filthy fur in my bed, trying to steal a warm spot by cuddling with the baby. It’s a false alarm. They are all false alarms.

Since the baby will wake up as soon as he is aware something has trapped his feet, I shove the cat off the bed, and since I am awake, wide awake, I grab my phone for something to read.

Why all that panic? Two years ago, when they released my baby from the NICU, they told me to keep an eye out for seizures. And I have. Oh, I have. Like a paranoid insomniac hawk, I keep watch.

The Smart One

I am making dinner, which tonight includes a side of sliced apples.  Samantha is “helping.”

“What about the seeds, Mama?  I don’t like seeds.  I see seeds, Mama.  Look, a seed!  What about the seeds, Mama?!”

“I have a method.  Quit worrying about the seeds.  Hush.”

“But I see seeds!  I don’t like seeds.  What are you going to do about the seeds?  I don’t want seeds.  Look, those are seeds!”

She talks faster than I can keep up with.  I get the melon baller from the drawer and start scooping the core out of the middle of the apple halves.

“What are you going to do with the seeds, Mama!?  What are the seeds for?”

George answers, “They’re for sticking up your nose.”

“You’re being silly!  Everybody in my family is silly!  I have a such a silly family!”

I laugh, “You sure do!”  It’s all such a lovely moment, isn’t it.

Samantha isn’t done.  “That’s funny.  I thought Daddy was the smart one, and Mama was the silly one.”

Watermelon Drama

I cut up watermelon for everybody, for snack, but Jack can’t stand it because of the seeds, so he skipped it, even the pieces I guaranteed as seed free.

After everything is all cleaned up, I notice he’s quiet, so I stop by the room he’s in to check on him. He is quietly watching a movie on the computer. The second he catches sight of me, though, his chin trembles.

“Jack, what’s wrong, darling? Are you sad?”

He starts to cry.

“Jack! What happened?”

He sobs, “I dropped my watermelon on the floor!”

“What are you talking about, Jack? Where did you drop watermelon?” ‘What watermelon?!’ is what I’m thinking.

He points at the floor, where, sure enough, there’s a splatted piece of watermelon, and cries. He’s been sitting there, heart sick over his stolen watermelon, when a giant bowl of it, picked free of seeds and freely offered, was waiting for him in the kitchen.

Of course I usually take a shower without my glasses on. Most people do, most of the time. Not all people do, not all of the time. There’s a reason for that.

I took my glasses off before climbing into the shower this morning. Half way through my shower, something dark in the bottom of the tub caught my eye. A thick ribbon of brown, slithered up against the side of the tub, just under the edge of the shower curtain.

I’m gonna die! There’s a snake in my shower!

The snake is between me and the exit. Samantha is on the potty in the room with me. My feet are so close to it. How am I going to get out without disturbing it? What kind of snake is it? How do I get Samantha off the potty and around the door without injury or pee on the floor? What is it like to get bit by a snake? Is Daniel in the bathroom?

Wait. It isn’t moving – at all. Didn’t George say he’d had to drape the bathmat over the edge of the tub this morning because it was wet? The brown bathmat.


So. I think today is towel day with the laundry. What do I feel like making for lunch?

Random Responses

I am making pizza dough with my kitchenaid mixer. It has a lid that fits the bowl, and Jack thinks the lid is hilarious. It looks a little bit like a hat for a very tiny headed person, because of a depression in the middle of the lid to accommodate the mixer where it extends into the bowl.

Jack steals the mixer lid off the pizza dough while it is rising. He leaves the kitchen wearing it on his head, holding it on with two hands and cackling at his own daring and success. I have my hands too full to do anything about it, for the moment.

George comes across Jack a few minutes later, still wandering around with the lid, with two of his toy trains tucked into the hollow in the middle of the lid. Samantha is careening about the living room, and she collides into him, knocking one of the two trains out of the lid and onto the floor.

Jack looks at his remaining train, looks down at the floor, and screams, “SNANA! I’ve been cleaning this for HOURS!”

I’m standing in the kitchen, prepping burgers for the grill when I hear that terrible cry from the living room.  Daniel has fallen, and it’s the awful, “I’m really hurt” cry that I rarely have to hear.  I come running.

He’s on the floor at the foot of a piece of exercise equipment we had already decided to throw out this weekend.  His chin is gashed, and his mouth, open with that awful scream, isn’t opening evenly.  Half of his mouth is wrong.  I sweep him up and carry him to the couch, because I need to sit down.

I rock him to calm him enough for me to see what’s going on, and all I can think is this is a really awful day to need the ER, and he’s just so tiny.  Watching his sweet mouth, that I know like it is engraved on my soul, not working right is turning my insides to jelly.

It doesn’t take long to assess that his jaw and teeth and tongue and spirit are just fine.  He demolishes an entire bag of wipes, taking swipe after swipe at his scratched chin with them, nurses like a champ, and delightfully chomps through a bowl of grapes.  He might wind up with a scar and some ugly bruising, but nothing more.

Fifteen minutes after that scream, I’m back in the kitchen working, and Daniel is back to tromping about the house, barely subdued.  I, though, feel drained.  In the few minutes on that couch, it feels like I aged in hours, not minutes.  Everything’s fine, and yet I need a nap to recover from it.