Tuesday, September 27, 2011

On This Day, You Are 5

Our desire was that Mason would wake up to a surprise worthy of his adorableness. And at 7:30 a.m. we discovered that a life-sized bear can be just the surprise to render a 5-year-old speechless.

Drop off brother at school and begin a long walk and discussion that went something like this.

Mom, I know what they do when people are about to die.

Really? What?

Well, they bury 'em deep in the ground and put one of those gravemind things which are oval on top of 'em.

Do you mean gravestone?

Then they squish their faces with dirt and they can't breathe so they turn green. And then they walk like this. (Pantomimes frankenstein walk with arms and legs outstretched and face stone still.)

Are you thinking of a Halloween decoration? Or actual dead people?

Anyways, are we going to the museum?

9:50- 11 a.m.
Mandatory gym time.

One salami and cheese sandwich, and TV with bear.

1:30 p.m.
Museum of Nature and Science. Our first exhibit was the mummy room -- surprise surprise. Followed by the T-REX named Sue, which was scary. And finished with Space and then minerals.

3 p.m.
In the middle of the minerals exhibit Mason proclaims he's tired and would like to go get Cooper. As he's loading into the car I say, "So, how does it feel to be 5." He says, "I'm not actually 5. You have to blow out candles and sing Happy Birthday before you turn 5." Ummmmmm... was I supposed to get a cake?

5:40 p.m.
Start dinner. Mason has requested Macaroni and Cheese. It may be his birthday, but he is overruled and we settle for spaghetti and meatballs. Steve starts spaghetti while I start baking a cake and hunting for candles that say something other than CONGRATS!

8 p.m.
It's official.
PS -- A big thank you to our accomplices who have hidden this bear in their house since July!

Monday, September 26, 2011

The Front v. The Back

Tonight is Mason's last night as a 4-year-old. Since he will awake as a strong and mighty 5-year-old, I thought I'd share his current professional aspiration.

But to really share the story I need to disclose that it involves bad smells. So, if that may offend you, well then you've never lived in a house overrun by boys. Of course I have. Always have and apparently always will. So, I'm comfortable with poop, vomit, and all manner of toilet talk.

At the close of the night I was reading stories to Mason when he passed gas. My goodness! That boy smells bad when he wants to. Anyway, I think I might have said something like, "Mason! How can you stand to smell yourself." To which he shrugged his shoulders and explained he doesn't mind the smell of farts.

Astounded, I suggested he pursue a career in proctology. When he asked what a proctologist was I ineloquently replied, "A doctor of butts. Specifically buttholes, and everything inside your body that you get to through that opening." Go ahead, be horrified at the way I speak to my children.

After the giggling subsided he pensively said, "I wouldn't like that. But I wouldn't mind being a pee doctor." So there you go, after generations of plumbers it seems the family business will soon be urology.

PS -- I promise to pay tribute to his awesomeness tomorrow in a reflection befitting his birthday.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

From His Sick Bed

Collecting my thoughts is impossible. Organizing them is far worse. So, I could approach this from a chronological standpoint, or I could relate to you one little moment on one afternoon that will shed some light on some of the shi-izzle that is going down here.

Due to construction, everyone in our house has been reassigned a sleeping space. Little Mason's sleeping space is currently a mattress on the floor of his brother's bedroom. This is not an ideal situation for anyone, however, Mason seems to enjoy having sleepovers with Cooper and he has commented many times that he likes his space (though he did tell me I should turn it into a couch -- not actually have him sleep on a couch but find another mattress to lean against the wall next to the mattress that is on the floor and make a couch out of the bed). I have made every effort to make this nook very comfortable. I have moved in his favorite puppies and penguins. I let him buy new crib sheets from IKEA in what he refers to as "batman blue" for his little mattress. Cooper has donated two extra pillows to Mason's cause, just in case he rolls off the mattress. They stay up late reading stories to each other and singing silly songs. They have been tired every morning when I wake them up for school, but it is like an extended camping trip that they enjoy. Let me also add that while Cooper has a full size bed that he could share with Mason, Mason prefers the floor to sleeping with Cooper. I can appreciate this. Cooper is a furnace that never stops moving. Sleeping next to him is like sharing a sleeping bag with a feverish pot-bellied pig.

AN-Y-WAY... besides becoming Mason's sleeping space it has become his sick bed.
This past week Mason was with Cooper and me at the rec center watching Coop's karate lesson. He was sitting on a bench and I was running on a treadmill. He decided to get up and walk behind the row of exercise machines. He tripped and fell and when he put his hands out to catch himself his right hand hit the moving belt of the treadmill.
Now, I know treadmills are dangerous. I unplug the treadmill at my in-laws house when we are there. I don't let my children play on them. Mason wasn't roughing around, he wasn't trying to touch it. He just tripped and fell. He thought that getting hurt by a treadmill would get him in trouble. So when he got hurt he lied to me and told me he fell on the brick wall next to the treadmill.

Obviously there was like this big rush of first-aid and fretting (Note to gym managers, when a patron tells you they need first aid don't page the 16-year-old lifeguard. Call 9-1-1). Though I could see it was bad, I just kept thinking all he did was fall on bricks. He doesn't need to go to the emergency room. A lot of people saw it and the conclusion from everyone was to just wait until morning and see. Mason's opinion was that it "hurts worser than when my private parts got slammed." By morning it was swollen, encrusted, and oozing -- an appetizing combination -- and I decided to take him to the pediatrician. That is when Mason decided to confess. He had actually fallen on the treadmill and did I want to send him to timeout?

The first doctor appointment was intense. The lack of attention the night before had created some scenarios that disguised the signals of his actual condition. The skin trauma was in fact severe enough that the pediatrician elected to table further testing to determine if Mason's fingers were fractured. This left us all focusing on two little fingers that looked as if they would require skin grafts to restore tissue loss.

We've since learned that the fingers are not broken. Phew! And we are fairly certain that plastic surgery to restore skin thickness is not necessary. Major phew! We're still changing the dressing twice a day and following doctor's orders to the letter because we want to avoid joint contracture. This just means that as the skin heals it gets a little tight and if we're not careful it will make it so that Mason can't open his hand all the way (I think that's what it means. Doctors talk this way to confuse mothers. Even smart mothers.). So far his range of motion is not affected.
All that mess has meant that Mason has spent some quiet time reading books and playing with sticker books because he can't draw as well as he would like. Oh, and he can't go to swimming lessons until the lesions are closed. His current plight is mild. And it would feel mild rather than frenetic if he were sleeping in his own bed, not sharing a bathroom with everyone in the family, and if his mother knew where she temporarily stashed the first aid kit.

Through this small medical mishap I learned that my job as a parent is to recognize the vulnerability that comes when a child realizes he made a mistake. I can't make the consequences of accidents and poor choices so scary that my children make more poor choices rather than trusting me.

And let me tell you, there are certain jobs I could never do. Being a pediatric nurse, physician's assistant, or doctor who has to debris burned skin on a small child or infant is one of them.

Lastly everyone in the family has been witness to the basic truth that sometimes more pain reveals new growth and if we can just endure it, everything will be restored with time. One other thing, brush up on your first aid.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Can I Get a Seagull

There is a remark I have never fully recovered from, spoken by a profusely sweating man in a short-sleeve dress shirt (I loathe those things), in a classroom now made famous by the movie High School Musical.

Yup, that’s right, I took some community college classes when I lived in good ‘ol Salt Lake City on the campus of East High School, which was extraordinarily convenient because I lived across the street in the smelliest apartment known to man. It was a certification course for substitute teachers so I have NO idea why this man was talking about journals. But he said that on the famed day of “The seagulls eating all the crickets” there are no journal entries.

I found this to be a big deal because the story of the seagulls and the crickets is so deeply ingrained in the culture of Salt Lake City. I mean like it’s their state bird and they have statues and stuff. If you’re not familiar with the legend, it goes something like this…

Back in 1847 the Utah pioneers’ crops were being decimated by copious droves of crickets. To the rescue were a large flock of seagulls – like so many they couldn’t see the sun – who came and ate the crickets and then flew away, then threw up the crickets, and returned to the scene of the feast to eat more crickets. They repeated this bulimic behavior until the pestilence subsided. Big deal, right?

And supposedly, according to this very questionable authority, on the very day of this entire happening no one thought to write in their journal about it. There are historians who have researched the story based on pioneer journal entries from that time. And the general documented consensus is that the pioneers did have some troubles with drought and pestilence – namely crickets – but that no one consistent, conclusive account was written on that day.

Here’s what I think about that. Who cares!

I myself have had some very big stuff happening around here, and I tell you what, there are no journal entries from any of it. Oral history is as good – if not exaggerated and misappropriated – as written history, I think. And in most cases of really crazy circumstances is all that remains.

If you stick around and are patient you may hear about some of the following stuff on this blog:

 The first born learning to ride his bike without training wheels
 Thou Shalt Not Sell Your Brother
 Family expansion news, including weddings, houseguests, and expected babies (none from this uterus, I assure you)
 Major medical mishaps
 More major medical mishaps
 Oh, and a few more major medical mishaps
 My Book Buddy’s Ven Diagram
 Adventures From The Peanut-Free Gang
 Sour School Portraits: To Retake or Not To Retake, That is the Question
 Ragnar Running Update – because I am literally too effin lazy to keep that other blog going
 My husband is older-ish and we went to a concert
 Tales from the Coin-Op Laundromat and other disease-fearing dilemmas
 Farewell to Tortuga
 Proctology v. Urology
 25% of my house is a shambles, and approximately the same amount of my life is, too.

Then again, you may not. Because quite literally a significant portion of my life is misplaced and it’s making my brain hurt.

DISCLAIMER: I am not a historian. I am not even an Utahn. So, if any of my memory of this legend or any account of my strange teacher happens to be unabashedly untrue, I don’t really care. But I haven’t put it forward for any other reason than to illustrate a personal point, so live with it. And also, if it really bugs you, invest in Utah public education. AND Idaho Public Education for that matter. Hell, invest in public education because it’s the right thing to do.

PHOTO NOTE: Unrelated picture of my son wearing face paint, because who doesn’t like green eyebrows.