Sep 152009

Do you ever find yourself in the middle of a moment in which all your children are yelling “WATCH THIS, MOM!” at the exact same time and you want to squeeze your eyes shut, curl up in the fetal position, cover your ears and scream “STOP BOSSING ME! YOU ARE NOT THE BOSS OF ME! YOU CAN’T MAKE ME WATCH!” but you don’t have another twenty for the therapy jar so instead you make your head turn toward the child closest to you and you hear yourself saying yaaaaaay without even knowing what the child did to deserve the yaaaaaaay because your brain was somewhere else Thank God.

That keeps happening to me this morning. Too much Tylenol PM last night maybe.

Sep 162009

Chase is in first grade now. He leaves for school early each morning and the girls and I are on our own all day. We miss him terribly.

Here’s why.

When Chase walks out the door, Tish watches him until he disappears completely, like a puppy.Then she turns and peers at me with suspicion and premature exasperation. I am second string to her brother, for sure. But she calls me off the bench, because I’m all she’s got. So she takes a deep breath and says something like this:

“Mom, pretend that I’m the princess and you’re the prince and you say“ hello, you look lovely” and I say “thank you very much” and then we go roller skating in the snow and you say “I love your dress” and I say, “thank you” but then I fall and you fall too and you say “ow, that hurt” and I say “Are you okay?” and then you say “yes” and then a bear comes and he growls really loud and he is scary but we’re not scared and then Paige comes and she says “hi guys” and we say” how are you?” and she says “fine” so we go to the movies to see princesses and daddy comes too and he says “how was your day” and you say “it was fine” and then a mean boy hits us with his soccer ball and he says “Sorry” and we say “hey!” and then we go to chick fila and the big cow is there and he says “Mooooo” really loud and I say “let’s go home now” and you say “okay.”

And then she takes another breath and stares, waiting for me to get started.

And I always say:

“Kay. Um. I forgot who I am.”

And Tish puts her hand on her hip, cocks her head, adjusts her purse and says :

“MOOOOM. I’m notgoing to tell you again.”

And I say a silent prayer of thanks that she’s not planning to start over.

And then she asks me how many more hours till Chase gets home.

Sep 212009

Once when Chase was three, he was looking through my wedding album and said “Mommy, I don’t want to hurt your feelings, but you look kind of BIGGER in these pictures. Like… not skinny.”

I cleared my throat and said. “Oh, right honey. Well there is a lot of food at weddings. I was REALLY FULL. And also, in case you’re wondering, grandpa was holding that shotgun because the ceremony was deep in bear country.”

Chase bought my fertilization fables for several years. But since he was five when I got pregnant with Amanda, his baby questions started to get more specific. “Mommy, how did she GET IN THERE? How is she going to GET OUT?” At first, I held tight to my routine of lies and distraction. “Oh, honey only doctors know the answers to those questions! And I didn’t go to medical school. Sorry. LOOK, AN EAGLE!!!”

But he wouldn’t let it go, and I thought maybe it was time for some professional help. So we bought a children’s book about what happens to a woman’s body during pregnancy. In the section about labor, the book discussed how the baby travels through the birth canal and then out through the vagina, which it described and illustrated as a “tunnel.”

This book was a really fun bedtime read for my husband. My favorite pastime became watching Craig try to read that book to Chase without skipping the words vagina, sperm, and ovum. Every night when Chase was choosing his bedtime story I’d yell up the stairs…”HEY GUYS, HOW ABOUT THE BABY BOOK?” And Craig would silently curse me while I giggled and felt a bit better about my heartburn and swollen ankles.

One afternoon, late in my pregnancy, I was in my family room with two moms I’d just met from Chase’s preschool. All the kids were downstairs playing with Chase and Tish’s new playhouse, which had a big tent and passageways to crawl through. Just as I began preparing a delicious snack of God knows what, we heard Chase scream,


My new friends and I froze and stared at each other for a moment. I decided immediately that this little problem was okay, really. I had a lot of friends. I didn’t NEED these two ladies.

And then I politely excused myself to check on the children.

When I reached the bottom of the stairs, I saw Chase squatting and lunging into his new play tunnel, or birth canalif you will, trying to pull Tish out by her head while she kicked and screamed. I calmly suggested he use some forceps.

And since I don’t have a walk-out basement from which to escape, I had no other choice but to hike back upstairs and try to explain myself and my child. I don’t remember much about the excuse I offered, but I can’t imagine it went smoothly. Which is to say, that there haven’t been any more playdates with those particular ladies or their traumatized children.

And so it goes.

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