Archives for January 2006

Washboard Abs

Was thinking of going for a walk today. Looked out the window– it’s snowing. Scratch that idea. Decided to do a few sit-up as at least a token nod at the idea of fitness.

One… Two… (baby is already coming my way to investigate this unusual activity)..

Three… Four… (baby is now lying in my chest peering into my eyes to make sure I’m still the same sedentary momma she knows and loves) I was ready for a break anyway, so I cuddle her for a few seconds. She loses interest and wanders off.

I fire off 6 more quick ones, in rhythm with my 7 year old’s voice repeatedly asking, “Mommy, what are you doing? Mommy, what are you doing?”

Pleased I’ve gotten 10 whole situps done, I answer him, then do 5 more just for good measure. Since my stomach muscles are already quivering, I accomplish these last 5 while swinging my arms vigorously to increase my upward momentum. But I count ’em anyway.

Pitiful, ain’t I?

Thursday 13- My Hubby

Thirteen Things about MY WONDERFUL HUBBY

1. We met in precalculus class during our senior year of high school.
2. Got engaged during our freshman year of college.
3. He proposed to me in a parking lot parked near a dumpster. I said yes anyway. (Actually I only noticed the dumpster later.)
4. We got married at the ripe old age of 19. Both got through college anyway.
5. He’s a stubborn first-born, just like me, but we get along great anyway. Mostly.
6. He is a real cutie-pie.

7. He’s a hard-workin’, honorable guy and he spoils me rotten.
8. He has a great sense of humor.
9. He plants 100 tomato plants in the garden every year. Yep. 100. That’s the real reason we have 8 kids. To eat the tomatoes.
10. He’s currently building me a bookshelf/desk for my hallway.
11. He likes almost everything I cook him– unless it’s fish served on Friday.
12. One Christmas, he gave me my heart’s desire. (totally making up for the dumpster thing.)
13. He has let me travel the world to get our babies, AND he loves them every bit as much as I do!

Love ya, sweetie!

My Morning

Joining Chris and Carmen in telling about morning in a busy household with many children.

6:15 am– I awaken to the baby crying next to me. 3 year old is asleep on the other side of me. Both are crammed as close to me as they can get. Hubby left for work an hour ago. I’m hoping the baby isn’t thinking it is morning already– I’m certainly not. I offer her a bottle and she falls back asleep.

7:00– 3 year old definitely thinks it is time to get up and is chattering loudly enough that I worry she’ll wake the baby. But for the moment baby is still snoozing. I gingerly untangle my arm from under her head and sneak out of bed. 3 yr old and I go to the bathroom, then head out to the living room. I turn off the fan in the hall that we use to blow wood-stove heat back to the bedrooms, so I’ll be sure to hear the baby when she awakens. The fan turning off immediately wakes both 7 year olds, who drag themselves out bleary-eyed and park themselves in front of ‘Arthur’ (on PBS). I pour coffee that my hubby made before he left (wonderful man!) pop another log in the fire, and settle down on the couch with email. 3 yr old cuddles in next to me on the couch as i sip coffee and read. Ah, bliss.

7:30–Baby stil sleeping. Utter silence still from upstairs. The big kids rarely arise before 8.

7:50– Baby wakes, fussing, and one of the 7 year olds who has gone back to get dressed grabs her and brings her to me. She smiles, sleepy-eyed, and cuddles on my lap a few minutes before getting down to play.

7:55– When she gets down I realize her diaper has leaked and she and I are both wet. Darn those size 3’s– I need to switch her up to size 4’s but since I only use disposables at night, that last pack of size 3’s is lasting forever. I get up to dress the baby and myself. On the way I pass the laundry room, which is overflowing with dirty clothes. I backtrack out to the bottom of the stairs and call for all the big kids to get up. Then I call the 11 yr old to come toss a load of laundry in, since this is his week on laundry duty. He agrees sleepily and I head back to first dress the baby, then myself. i try to remember when I last took a shower…yesterday.. good enough.

8:05 –While dressing myself I keep the baby in with me, so she won’t get into mischief. This morning one of my 7 year olds has a prosthetic leg fitting appointment–at 10:30 in The Big City, a 40 min drive away. I’ve got to get a move on. I pull on a pair of black velour flare jeans, a grey and blue sweater, and my favorite clog slip-ons.

8:15– Back out in the kitchen I put a pot of water on to boil– we’re having grits, OJ, and toast for breakfast. I assign a 7 year old to set the table and another 7 yr old to make OJ. The 17 year old goes out to feed the horses. When she comes back in she grabs a loaf of bread and starts making toast without me even asking. Big kids are wonderful!

8:20– I tool around the kitchen with the baby on my hip, drinking a little more coffee, and stirring grits. 15 year old comes down and washes some pots and pans that did not get washed last night. 14 year old goes to get the newspaper. Not much talking. Everyone is still sleepy.

8:30– The 7 yr old going with me is cheery. The one who isn’t coming is cranky about not coming. He tries to get me to allow him to play video games before his school. No dice. The 3 year old, surprisingly, takes in stride the news that she is staying home, and sits on the living room floor playing with one of the baby’s toys, til the cranky 7 year old comes over and picks a fight. Within seconds both are screaming and the 3 year old calls the 7 year old an idiot. I redirect both, giving each a job– since it is laundry-folding day, he starts in on his basket. The 3 year gets a wet rag and a 3 minute session of floor-scrubbing for name-calling.

8:35– 15 year old serves up the grits, to which I’ve already added butter and brown sugar.

8:40–We all sit down to eat. During breakfast grumpy 7 yr old nags a bit more about computer games. I tell him if he doesn’t shape up he’ll spend the morning in his room.I ask 15 yr old how she feels–she had a migraine last night but says she’s feeling better this morning. Then I remember 11 yr old stubbed his toe really badly last night (on a baby gate). I check that. It is black and blue but not too puffy and he says it feels better.

8:50– The baby is pretty much refusing the grits and has gnawed only part of a piece of toast. But she’s now throwing food, so I wash her and take her back with me to do my makeup. Before leaving, I remind the 7 year olds to empty the dishwasher so the 14 yr old can load it. 3 year old follows me back to the bedroom and I pull her hair into a quick ponytail before starting my makeup. She runs off to play, delighted that this AM she got an easy hairdo. The single ponytail will be looking wild by midday but she’s not going anywhere so it doesn’t matter. 5 minutes worth of makeup and a quick brush of my hair gets me as good as I’m going to get today. By the time I get done, the baby has one drawer almost totally empty. Ah, well.

9:05– Almost ready to leave the bathroom, I remember that the baby IS going with me, so I definitely need to do her hair. Often I just stick in two hair clips, but she is getting a really BIG ‘fro these days. Once I pik it out and look at it, I decide to do 4 ponytails instead. Not hard with a stationary subject, but as soon as I get the right amoun of hair divided and pulled together, ready for a ponytail, she shakes her head back and forth, wailing for me to quit tugging on her. Thankfully I got hairdo experience with her more tolerant big sis. I hang on, following the movement of her head, quickly twisting in each ponytail in spite of her movements.

9:10– Half way into the hairdo, the 15 year old comes storming into the bedroom, almost in tears over the grumpy 7 year old. She declares if she has to be in charge of him, she knows her migraine will come back. Since the kid has almost given ME a headache this morning I sympathize. When he gets in a funk like this, it is hard to pull him out. i call him. He comes in hollering about the injustice of the older siblings in his life. I listen for a minute, then address his responsibility in the matter. But he is too peeved to hear anything of it. By now I am finished with the baby’s hair so I let her down. I tell the 7 year old to grab a banana and a water bottle, along with all his school books, and bring him into his room. I write a list of things for him to do this AM– math, handwriting and reading. When I see the state of his room, I add room-cleaning. I set him up at his table with his school books, and tell him this is where he is spending the morning. He can come out only to go to the bathroom. he is upset but after some talk, a couple hugs and a little bit of crying, he settles down and seems like he will be OK.

9:30 Back out in the living room, I tell the 15 and 14 year olds the plan and set the timer for noon, when the 7 year old can come out. The 15 yr old will check on him every now and then. I think– I hope– this will work better than putting him in close proximity with the other kids while I am not home to referee. I hope to be home by 1:00. (Later note: In fact, this solution DID work beautifully. The big kids reported that he got all his school done, played Legos, and came out in a very pleasant mood when the timer rang. Yeah!!)

9:35 I do a quick inspect of the going-with-me 7 year old and am relieved to see he’s in something clean and matching and has his school books to bring along. The 17 year old is ready to go too (she’s coming along because we are going to buy party supplies for her birthday after the prosthetic fitting this AM). While I get coats on the baby and myself, 17 yo fills a couple bottles and restocks my purse with diapers.

9:45– 15 yo is settled in the living room with her school books so she can keep an eye on younger ones while ding school. As I run out the door with kisses all around, I remind everyone to work hard on school, & be kind to each other. Then, feeling a pang over leaving the 3 year old, I assign the 15, 14 and 11 yr olds one 15 minute span each to play something fun and special with the 3 year old. That along with Sesame Street, her coloring books, and her Betti Spaghettis will keep her occupied til I get home. She’s such a cheery kiddo. (Later I was told that the 15 yr old made cheerio necklaces with her, the 14 year old read her stories, and the 11 year old played one of his new Christmas games with her– a good deal all around.) A reasonable amount of school got done as well.

Anyway, this morning was a little unusual for me, since most mornings I don’t have errands to run. But it kinda gives you an idea of life at our house! And it does let you in on on of the biggest keys to a happy life at our house– lots of help from the kids!

Blog Olympics

OK, I am excited! Just got a gold medal in the Blog Olympics – Round 2 Results for, ahem, posting really often. (What’s that? You’re not surprised…?) Well, I was! Being a ‘baby’ in the blogging world, this is probably my only gold at this olympics, but it is fun. Can’t wait to hear what the next event is! Go see it!

Family Government

After picking up cereal off the floor for the 47 zillionth time, I decided that the presence of baby # 8 required something none of her predecessors had– a baby latch on the cereal cupboard. While working away, trying to get a screw started in ridiculously hard oak of the cabinet door, I decided to take the door off and lay it on the floor to use my, um, physical mass to better advantage.

14 yo son walks in. ”Did you mean to do that?” (assuming I’d broken the door somehow.)

Already frustrated with the screw and now also with the chauvinistic slant of his question, I hissed, “Do I look like an idiot?” Then thinking better of giving a 14 yo such an opening, I added, “The only proper answer to that question is, ‘no, mom!'”

“But usually you tell us to say, ‘yes, mom’!” He laughed, then added, “I think the form of government in this house is a hypocracy!”

“No,” I corrected him. “It’s a monarchy– rule by the king and queen.”

The 11 year old pipes in, “No, actually it’s a MOM-archy!”

Apt Slips

Like many her age, my 3 year old doesn’t pronounce all her words correctly, but her slips often end up being oddly sensible.

She brushes her teeth with ‘tooth-taste’. Her favorite is vanilla. Yum.

She loves visiting ‘Lick-Donalds’ where one of her favorite activities involves dipping a french fry in ketchup, licking, and repeating, til the fry refuses to act as a utensil any longer and simply falls apart.

And she, like her big brothers, loves ‘tainting’ anything she can get her ‘taintbrush’ on. Thankfully we have managed to keep the house-taint away from her so far.

Vaccines and Autism Part 2

Just wanted to share the link to this blog Adventures in Autism . FYI, California is one of the states where mercury has recently been outlawed in vaccines.

The Bandaid

Bedtime Saturday. All the little kids except the baby were off brushing their teeth, and big kids were milling around in the living room getting hugs from mom and dad. 14 yo son wanted to know if he was taller than 15 yo daughter. Much laughter and stretching was involved in the measuring process. I momentarily forgot the proclivity of the one year old to get into everything.

Until I heard the distinctive rattle of the wood-stove door-handle.

I whipped around, just in time to see the baby lose her balance, falling against the front of the stove, and slamming her head on the metal lip of the stove just in front of the blazing hot glass-fronted door. As fast as I could move, I was still too late to do anything but watch it happen.

Instantly she was howling. I pulled her off the hearth, and bent over her cradling her close. She was hurting way to much to be comforted. Blood was running out of a gaping split on her forehead. It was short but it looked deep to me. I could see white at the center of it.

I was instantly mad at everyone in the room, but mostly at myself. I couldn’t believe we’d let this happen to this adorable precious child. For awhile when she was first walking we’d blockaded the stove with laid-down barstools. But for weeks she had seemed so uninterested in the stove that we had gotten out of the blockade habit.

Rewind. Rewind, I kept thinking. I couldn’t believe we had all been RIGHT THERE in the room, and still it had happened. So shocking to go in 5 seconds from laughter and bedtime silliness to planning who was going to watch the kids while we went to the ER.

Hubby grabbed a baggie of ice, which would have been a good idea if she’d put up with it. I walking around the room with her. Hubby warmed her a bottle, which she refused as vehemently as she had the ice. And still she howled.

We checked her hands for burns– maybe she touched the hot front window of the stove on her way down. But except for her forehead, there wasn’t a mark on her, praise God. And gradually, over 5 minutes time, the bleeding slowed, then stopped.

We’d had another child who’d needed stitches — we’d been on vacation in another state. He’d fallen on a trailer hitch in a camp ground. Before we even got to the fun of the papoose board and the lidocaine shots and the stitches, we’d had to find a hospital we’d never visited in a strange city. It was horrid.

Our son’s head wound had bled copiously and steadily all on the frenzied 15 minute drive to the hospital, the 10 minutes being ignored in the ER by the triage nurse, and the 10 minutes filling out mandatory forms before we could be brought back.

At one point I was so infuriated by the miserable, turtle-like beaurocracy of it all that I removed the blood-soaked towel that I’d been holding against my son’s head the whole time, letting the blood flow down his face, so I could point out to the ward clerk that we could see my son’s SKULL in that hole. She paled and hurried a tiny bit faster.

Remembering that awful experience, we realized that the baby’s gash was not that bad. Hubby got a bandaid, and pulled the edges of the gash together. Then we waited to see how long it would take for the bandaid to be soaked.

It didn’t get soaked. Hubby tried to check the pupils of her eyes for signs of brain injury. But this child, bless her heart, has such purely black eyes you cannot see the pupils except in very bright light. We gave her Advil, and after 10 minutes or so of sobbing, she fell asleep, still sucking in deep ragged breaths now and then.

She did wake in the night, crying and needing more Advil. But the bleeding had truly stopped and the next day she was totally normal. I’m hoping that by the time her head heals, I will be done kicking myself for letting it happen. And yes, the barstool barrier is back around the stove.

Vaccines and Autism

This morning I read the post from The tales of Mama D where she shared her concerns over vaccinating her child. For the record, my kids are fully vaccinated, but not without a fair amount of concern, and on a much later schedule than the doc recommended. I just didn’t feel peaceful about giving huge numbers of shots to my babies when they were very young.

Anyway, later today I read an anguished post from a friend of mine whose daughter mistakenly got an adult flu shot instead of a child-size dose– and soon after presented with autism. Scary, sad stuff. The theory is that the problem ingredient in the immunizations is mercury or thimerosol, which is a poison. And yet it used as a perservative in immunizations.

It IS being phased out of shots in the US– it is not in nearly as many shots NOW as it was in the early 90’s. But according to my reading today, it is CURRENTLY still present in two shots: the flu shot and the tetanus booster.

If you are interested in reading more about this provocative debate, check out Rolling Stone : Deadly Immunity

One of These Things….

Hypothetically speaking, if a baby were faced with this colorful array of toys, none of which she had ever seen before, WHICH tempting item do you suppose she would grab first?

Study the items carefully before you make your guess.

You guessed it! Elmer’s wins out over Fisher-Price every time!!

“If I smile really cute, maybe momma will let me keep it!”

(I’ll tell ya the bandaid story later….)