Sunday, March 20, 2011

Sunday Ramblin'

There was a time when I didn't feel a need to have something to blog about. I just sat down and started writing. I think those posts may have separated the wheat from the chaff. I'm sorry. But I do kind of miss the carefree blogger I once was. I want to blog regularly but I either don't have time or content, and the two never seem to meet up.

Last week was my Spring Break and it was lovely. J was out of town so it was just me and the chillin's....well, uh, chillin'. I couldn't help but notice that flying solo with a 7, 5, and 3 year old is CONSIDERABLY easier than flying solos with a 1 and 3 year old, like I did every week in Texas. Babies are hard. While the week went more smoothly, I always prefer J home. I like that boy.

Little Miss Avee is going to be 6 in one week. I started blogging on her first birthday. So, I guess there will be TWO birthdays around here. I can always make something about me.

Tonight I had the kids start keeping a journal. Bo was none too pleased about it. In an effort to convince them that they'd like reading it when they were older, I told them about stuff I'd read in J's journal when he was a little kid. Like, when he was about 10 or 11 and he wrote that he'd asked Lisa to be his girlfriend and she said no, and he wrote, "I don't blame her." Totally cracks me up. You might think it's a sad depressed little entry, but that's not how J rolls. It was more compassionate and understanding of Lisa than it was pity for himself.

Avery wrote that she was in "kindrgrtin". I got to watch her sound out all the sounds in the word. It was adorable. She wants to do it right, but I want to prolong this phonetic spelling so I'm kind of not very honest right now. She'll thank me later. I'm sure of it.

Tonight we were at some friend's house for dinner and my friend was telling me about this adorable old woman she saw wearing a fedora. As we were on the conversation of the elderly, Avee, playing the wii, chimed in---"I love old people's elbows!" We all laughed because it was so bizarre and random---but it is classic Avee. She tries to say the most bizarre things and every once in a while she nails it.

So, I actually have a problem I'd love some input on. In the past I've gotten some great suggestions or insights or reassurance on this blog, so I'm hoping for some more.

Danyo is kind of rotten. He's actually adorable and sweet and charming. But lately, for probably the last couple of months, those characteristics are rare to be seen. He's short tempered, he's demanding, he's inconsolable, and he has an awful fierce little mouth on him. A couple of examples. If he wants something and I don't respond within a couple of seconds (I don't hear him, I'm on the phone, I'm driving, another child is talking to me, I can't understand him) he completely loses it, starts yelling, screaming, crying, and basically cussing me out, I'm stupid, he hates me, etc, etc. I can calm him down from that fairly easily, but it's excessive.

If he wants something and I say no, he pesters endlessly. "You say no and I say yes!" He'll say that for about 20 minutes. He wants to hit me. He hates me. He won't just go and disobey, but he will not leave it alone. I will explain why he can't have something, offer alternatives, distract, do a number of things but he won't stop.

I feel like I could list a zillion examples.

The other day he was at preschool at my friend's house and he wanted an umbrella and she told him no. He started to call her stupid but he stopped. I was so glad he had enough sense to not finish, but I realized then that it was a problem that needed to be addressed more fully.

Honestly, if I saw a kid behave like he sometimes does, I would think something was amiss at home. He often talks through clenched teeth when he's mad, which seems to me to be a learned behavior and he doesn't see that here. Although this morning when I was helping him get dressed I grabbed him up and said, "Oh my gosh you are so cute I could just EAT YOU" and realized right afterward that I said it through clenched teeth. But that was a NICE thing! :)

"I hate you" and "stupid" have both been words that Avee and Bo have tried on for size, right around this age. But they didn't get mad as often or throw as many fits as him, so we just didn't hear it as much.

My take on it is that he doesn't feel like he has enough control in his life. He is genetically predisposed to a short temper (both J and I are short-tempered, but we've learned how to manage it over the years. :) ). He doesn't have adequate coping skills and it's my job to teach them, but I'm a little bit at a loss. And he's annoying when he's angry so my tolerance for dealing with him is considerably shortened. Sometimes when he's totally crazy and I don't know what's set him off or how to talk him down, I wonder if he has some bizarre food allergy that makes him crazy. That's how crazy he can make me. :)

Any ideas?

You should know, there isn't anything amiss at home. He doesn't see any fighting or name calling at home, Avee and Bo are pretty mild-mannered, J and I get along swimmingly, etc. I just don't know.

Okay, we're going to watch "Waiting for Superman".

I will send a batch of cookies to anyone who gives me the cure for Danyo. :)

P.s. I make good cookies.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Har Kuts

I cut Avee's hair last night. We've been trying to grow it out (a trend around here, and yet I'm the only one with long hair...) but it just looks so scraggly and scrappy 98% of the time. I do love the pigtails, but if I'm being realistic, we just don't make time for cute stuff most days.
Plus, she looks absolutely adorable with short hair.

So, I chopped it all last night. She was amazingly patient about it. It took me much longer than it should have. She recorded herself on our Flip camera, and bragged about her new haircut. Shortly after, she went to bed.

This morning when she got up, not a word was said about her hair.

We spent an hour and a half together this morning getting ready for school, eating, chatting, etc. Not a word about her hair.

I walk out to the car where the kids were supposed to be settling in, getting buckled and she was standing by my door with a sad little face. This is her typical way of communicating with me any dissatisfaction she has about anything. I was rushing to get going and she realized I wasn't going to notice the obvious, so she pointed to the van door where in the dirt "Dum har kut" was written. I said, "What is that!?" She said, "dumb haircut" sulkily. My temper immediately flared because I thought Bo had written it and I was going to beat him with his own backpack for it. Who wrote that!?" She said she had, and my temper immediately calmed. I barked at her to get in the van and then asked her why she had written that.

"Because I hate my hair cut, it looks dumb."
"Wow Avee, that makes me so sad to hear, I worked hard to make it look good and I think I did a great job. I think it's a very cute haircut."
"Well I don't! I don't like my hair this short!"
"That's weird, you didn't say anything about it last night, or all morning. Why are you suddenly complaining?"
"I don't want to go to school with a dumb haircut."
"Well, you are wrong about that. It's not a dum har kut, and I can guarantee you that everyone will think it's cute. I'm positive you will get at least 5 compliments on your hair today."
"No I won't."
"Okay, let's make a bet. If you get 5 compliments today, you have to clean the bathroom for me when you get home. If you don't, then I'll do something you want."
"Eight. I have to get eight compliments."
"Okay, eight. I bet you'll probably even get 10. OR people won't even notice, which means it's not a dumb haircut because you still look the same."

We rode about a half mile in silence, and then, "Never mind, I don't want to bet you."

That's what I thought.

Turns out the average kindergartner doesn't care about their classmates adorable dum har kuts because nobody said anything, except her substitute teacher, who told her it looked neat. Which, I find very complimentary because I definitely was aiming for a neat cut, but Avee prefers the words "cute" or "beautiful".

Fortunately for me, she forgot that the other half of the bet was that she got to pick something if I was wrong.

My luck, she'll remember at 7:59 tonight.

Friday, March 11, 2011


You made me laugh. You made me cry. Mostly you made me laugh. You were stubborn and passionate and opinionated. You were tenderhearted, forgiving, and sweet. You made me so angry sometimes, and other times so proud.

You didn't say a single thing when I smashed into your car at 16, completely ruining months and months worth of work. You brought me chocolates with a bite out of each one when I was sick. You played tennis with me on a broken leg. You flickered your bedroom light every morning when I drove past on my way to seminary. You walked me halfway home after I walked you halfway home, never really ready to say goodnight. You made me try squirrel. Your laugh was contagious. You once hid a bag of cheeseburgers from a passing police car, like it was a bag of crack. You tried to protect me when I played tackle football with the guys. You drew pictures of half a dozen Disney characters and made me hang them on my wall because you thought all girls liked Disney characters. You wrote me letters using obscure or ridiculously big words to say completely juvenile things. You really tried hard to do things right, so many times.

You were stupid and impulsive and shortsighted. You were innovative and talented and hardworking.

You made me laugh until my stomach and face were sore; a hundred times or more.

You broke my heart once or twice.

You guarded your pain like a mother bear with her cub. Fierce, mean, threatening, if anyone got near it. I don't know that anyone ever knew the full extent of it.

You dealt with your problems idiotically so many times. But you faced your consequences like a man, and somehow managed to handle life skillfully, despite it all.

You acted so tough, like you didn't want anyone to know how gentle and kind you were.

You made it a point to make people get past the rough-gruff-hardened exterior to see what you were really about. I think you, more than anyone, taught me to look past the exterior for something worthwhile.

We were the odd couple. Goody-Two-Shoes, best friends with Trouble. But really, you had a better idea of right and wrong and what really mattered, long before me. I just played by the rules better.

I'm muddling through strange emotions, brought about by your death. We had next to nothing in common in our adult lives, but something about sharing those tumultuous teen years kept us connected all these years. It feels strange now to mourn your death---I don't know how to do it properly.

Last time we talked I asked you how a big goofy-looking jerk like you got such a beautiful wife. You told me that was no way to talk to a cancer patient.

I always fell for your inappropriate and ridiculous jokes and you laughed when I apologized for my insensitivity.

You despised hypocrisy.

I think your inability to overlook it or get past it made you do some pretty dumb stuff.

But maybe, if anyone could have known your hurt, or carried some of it for you, you would have found peace in this life.

I know you are at peace now. I'm certain you aren't resting though. This time when I say "be good" I think you might actually do it!

I'll see you where the sidewalk ends and the road begins.
June 14, 1975-March 4, 2011

P.S. I'll make sure they keep putting flags out for your birthday every year.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

He's An Animal

I have a lot I want to post, but no time to do it. So I will leave you with a picture that brings me joy.

Okay, maybe not joy. Just the giggles. Every time I see it.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Ketching Up

A couple of weeks ago I came home from class....wait, let me back up. A couple of months ago my sister sent the kids this great cardboard play house. It has little windows and a door that open, it's tall enough for Bo to stand in upright, and it's black and white, intended for coloring all over. Very cool.
Anyway, back to coming home from class. We'd had this thing for at least a month at this point. I walked into the living room and hear J's funny hello greeting from very nearby. Only, I can't see him. Then he pokes his head out of the window of the cardboard house. He's inside, wrapped up in a blanket, with a space heater, and his laptop. I couldn't stop laughing at him. He kept trying to have a conversation with me and I just couldn't do it. Finally I told him it was just a little too Michael Jackson for me and if he wanted to talk to me, he had to come out of the playhouse. He muttered, "Michael Jackson wished he had a playhouse like this."

Then, last week I came home from class and J was on the couch, with a snuggi (I found generic ones at Aldi for six dollars, that's why we own something like that, and because I know J has secretly dreamed of owning one since they were invented) and the fire burning. I don't know why I found it so entertaining. He so wasn't meant to live in Iowa, he is ALWAYS cold. But it provides entertainment for me. I pulled my blackberry out (my camera was missing) and he said, "This is going on the blog, isn't it?" Yes, yes it is.

On Saturday I spent a total of about 3 hours cleaning Bo and Avee's room. Bo's room was recently "remodeled" into a clubhouse, and upon quick surveying, actually looked pretty clean. Then I lifted blankets, opened closets, looked under was ridiculous. The kid's a disappearing artist with clutter! Then Avee's room; she doesn't have a closed in closet, so no ability to hide all her sins in there. She drapes her clean clothes over the bar though. I told her that's not how clothes are hung up (she's been harangued in the past for stashing clothes under mattresses, in dark corners, and pieces of clothing are missing for months) and she gets big eyes, tilts her head, her mouth sets, disapproving of my disapproval and she says, "They aren't on the floor, they are hanging and they are on the bar, that's what you said I had to do, that's what I did."

I have already said, "That's just semantics, Avee" several times in the last couple of months, about other things. She's five. I say that to my five year old. And I'm totally serious when I do it. She has the ability to throw my words back at me like no one I've ever met.

I got a couple of other gems from that hour plus of cleaning. She responded to something I asked her with air quotes. It didn't even make sense, what she said, but the air quotes were all that mattered. Then, about an hour into sorting and organizing, I started griping again about how unacceptable it was that her room was this messy. She responded, "I know, right?"
Totally shut me up. Cute always wins over gripey.

Bo has been enjoying an acting class for the last several weeks. Next week he has his showcase play. His character is a karate fighter named Fabio. The teacher let everyone pick their character, and then she wrote a play around it. I'm kind of anticipating a slow motion train wreck, so I'm really looking forward to it.

His sense of humor is so enjoyable. We listen to Veggie Tales a lot in the car and Bo is just starting to really get some of the more adult humor they throw into their songs. I love it.

He got really, really sick two weeks ago. He missed a week of school and probably would have missed the following Monday, but it was a holiday. Your heart aches for your children when they are so miserable, but his miserable is borderline hilarious. He couldn't talk without crying so he cried about things like, the air, cream cheese, pillows with fringes, etc. Then I'd dose him up with Advil and 25 minutes later he'd be telling jokes in bad accents. He still only operated at about 70% while medicated, but the difference was remarkable.

One of the days he was sick, I just really thought he should be on the mend and we ran a few errands. He was not one ounce better from Monday morning when he got sick, until Sunday morning when he woke up. I just didn't expect him to stay that sick for that long. Anyway, as we were running errands he mentioned that it would be funny if someone was named T. I told him I had a friend named Traci and her nickname was T. He then thought that she should run races so people could cheer for her, "Go T, go T!" It actually took me a second to get it. But, I did have a little hint with the eraser cap. He kept it there for about two hours. I love that he's comfortable being weird in public. Am I the only parent that feels that way? I wonder.

When he was in preschool and refused to wear gray pants because they weren't a cool enough color, it kind of made me sad. Funny thing is, I kind of get it now. Gray really isn't that great of a color.

School is going great for me. A lot of work, but J is a super awesome support and I'm an exceptional procrastinator. I love being in school though.

Danyo is the cutest little cutey patootey with the shortest temper and meanest mouth. It would be funny if it wasn't such a problem. He's finally learned to say "I hate when you do that" because "I hate you" hadn't worked out for him so well. We'll work on the word hate maybe when he's four. It actually drives me crazy because he likes to be right up in my grill when he throws his fits. And he's also completely shocked when he gets in trouble, like I just came out of left field or something. I kind of vaguely remember Avee and Bo being somewhat impossible at this age, so I'm hoping it will pass soon. He loves his little preschool and loves me the best, except when I make him take naps, eat his vegetables, put on a coat, and find underwear. Then he doesn't like me AT. ALL.

Most days I can handle his short-temper, but when Avee gangs up on me about my disciplining him, that's when I get exhausted. The other day she said to me with big tears in her eyes, "You just don't know what it's like to be yelled at by you!" Um, compelling? Yes. I spent the 10 minute drive to school defending my need to teach Danyo how to behave properly. Most of my best arguments were met with, "Whatevoh Mom" and "Uh, Mom, he's three." I wouldn't say I convinced her much. I'd never say that, actually.