all images © Meghan Boyer Photography

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Get a Room

On June 15th, I experienced my most terrifying parenting moment yet.  I'm sure there are more to come.  I try not to think about that part.  I had taken the triple threat to a local bike trail.   There is also a playground and numerous baseball fields.  Lillian and Grady rode their bikes and I pushed Dempsey in the stroller behind them.  They rode down a hill and around a curve, just out of my sight.  I heard a bike tumble and a brief cry from Grady.  I ran.  I had never heard that cry before.  Grady was on the ground.  His face turned toward me.  But nothing was coming out.  I was expecting a loud howl any minute.  I thought he was taking a big gulp of air, readying himself to let out an explosive wail.  One of those kind of cries.  When I reached him, he was face down.  Hands clenched into tiny fists.  I didn't even want to look.  I scooped him into my arms.  There was no response.  His eyes were dazed, face pale, and his tongue hung from his mouth.  I can't even write what I was thinking.  I screamed.  Then screamed some more.  No one heard me.  I grabbed my phone and called 911.  He was unreponsive for less than a minute.  It felt like an eternity.  While I was on the phone, he began to wimper.  I laid him on his back, leaving the helmet on.  Remembering that I shouldn't move him.  I  told the 911 operator that I hadn't moved him.  I wasn't trying to lie.  I hadn't even realized what I had done. 

The paramedics asked me if he knew how to ride a bike.  Later, this makes me giggle.  Grady has been riding a two wheeler, with training wheels, since he was two and a half.  Twenty six pounds of tornado.   He barely weighs more than the bike. 

Two hours later, he walked ran... giggling...out of the emergency room.  Carrying my heart.  Two more children ran behind him.  With my other two hearts.  I have a lot of hearts.  I'm blessed.  To have three hearts.

Being a parent is tough on your hearts.

Eight days later, we took an evening trip to the pool.  We were there for less than thirty minutes.  I heard a cry.  I knew that cry this time.  I ran over and scooped him up.  Cupping his chin and racing towards something.  I grabbed a towel and frantically looked around.  Moms came running.  Two happened to be trauma nurses.  I didn't scream this time.  In fact I was surprisingly calm.  Off we went.  In the ambulance.  For the second time in 8 days.  Five stitches later, Grady ran sprinted...giggling...out of the emergency room.  My heart tried to catch up.  Two more children chased him.  Tossing my other two hearts back and forth.  I am blessed.

Less than 24 hours later, two of the stitches came untied.  Back we went.  To the emergency room.  This time without the escort of the ambulance.  We sat in the waiting room.  Grady said, "Let's go to my room now!"   And why shouldn't he have his own room?  With his name on the door!   He should have an ambulance named after him!  Get the fire department on the phone!  He gets his wish.  But this time it's room number 3.  The first two times, room number 7.  With a steri strip on one half, and three stitches remaining in the other, Grady carries his chin and my heart, proudly out of the emergency room doors.

They told me the steri strip wouldn't budge.  I should expect it to still be on there when he takes his driving test.   Really.  They should know him by now.  I mean, come on.  The kid has his own room.  In the emergency department.  That steri strip?  Lasted as long as a dry diaper.  I buy more steri strips. 

Two days later, he uses my parent's dining room floor as a slip and slide.  You don't have to act surprised.  And I'll completely understand if you gossip to your mom's group about me. Another stitch popped out and the steri stripped side busted back open.  Back we went.  To the waiting room.  Grady demands, "Let's go to my room now!"  Get this kid a room.  And get one for me while you're at it.  Although it may be in a different ward. 

I am the mother of the triple threat hearts.  And I count my blessings every day.  Because I never want to lose one.

After the bike tumble.  I couldn't help but smile once we knew he'd be okay.  Dempsey was happy too.

The pool tumble.

Nurses rock.

The triple threat hearts.
Mr. Tough Tornado

Ready to play soccer.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Justin Fever is a Juicebag

Our first night in Buffalo, Grady tries to kill the fish.  Again.  I thought I was being proactive.  He wanted to play in Conor's room.  Conor being my seven year old brother in law, godson, and uncle to the triple threat.  Sean and I lay out the rules.  And make Grady repeat them.  No window, no door, no fish tank.  Toddler speak for don't jump out the window, don't lock the door behind us, and don't throw shit in the fish tank.  We check on him repeatedly.  But somehow it still happens.  As we're tucking all the kids into bunks that night, Conor points to the fish tank.  Inside is a pair of underwear, shorts, and a shoe.  In my world this is still considered a positive parenting moment.  Because A.  He didn't jump out the window.  B.  He didn't lock the door.  And C.  He didn't throw actual shit in the fish tank.

The last time we were in Buffalo it was Christmas time. Conor was into Justin Bieber.  Lillian got Logan, the Figit friend.  He sings, dances, and interacts.  Conor would scream at Logan, "Sing Justin Bieber!"  Lillian had no idea who the hell Justin Bieber was but would still try to imitate Conor, "Sing Justin Fever!"  Last week Justin Bieber was on the Today show.  Lillian repeats his name as Sean enters the room.  He asks her if she knows who Justin Bieber is.  She says, "Yes, he's a beaver."

While in Buffalo, we visit Lake Erie.  On the way home we run into another big, fat, super jerk.  Only this time, Sean names him.  And it's not big, fat, super jerk.  "How's the red light douche bag?"  Sean yells out the window as we pass the big, fat, super jerk who's stuck at the red light after riding our ass bumper down the road.

Conor - "What did he call him?"
Lil - "A douche bag."

Conor and Lillian discuss this quietly.  Lillian has a question.  She yells from the backseat.

Lil - "Dad, I have a question.  It's about the douche bag."
Sean - "Lillian, don't use that word, Daddy is going to call him up and apologize."
Conor - "How you gonna do that?  Look up douche bag in the phone book?"

Sean and I discuss this quietly.  He thinks it's hilarious she said juice bag.  Um, that's not what I heard.  There was most definitely a D sound, followed by a shhh sound.  You know, like what do you get when a water truck collides with a vinegar truck?  Doushhh.  Don't act like you never told that joke either.  I couldn't help myself.  Have I ever mentioned how much I love the 80's?

Discussing the douche bag

We celebrated Grady's birthday in Buffalo.  And in case this is your first time reading my blog, you should know that my children are pop addicts.  Grady's great grandparents know him well.  They got him a really.big.pop.

A really.big.pop.

On the ride home, the kids are happy to sport their new UPS hats, courtesy of grandma.  We stop at a gas station where a little old lady admires their new gear.  "I like your sexy, green hats."  She tells them.  Sexy. Green. Hats.  Yes, that's what she said.  She's been listening to a little too much Justin Bieber.

Sexy. Green. Hats.

In the end, I'm just glad Lillian has no freakin' idea who Justin Bieber is.  I hope she continues to believe he's a beaver.  Oh Justin Fever, you juice bag you!

Friday, June 15, 2012

The Master, The Marriage, and The Mad Dog

So it's not everyday you have a Master in the house.  My husband, the Master.  Normally I would never condone leading your husband to believe he's the Master.  But in this case, I'll let it slide.  It's well deserved, long awaited, and it has finally happened.  Sean has been promoted to Master Sergeant.  When we first started dating he was an airman first class.  I would drive from college to spend the night day with him.  I always hated driving on base.  I'll never forget the first time I went to the base liquor store.  I got out of my car and walked towards the door.  Everything stopped.  Cars stopped driving.  People stopped moving. The Star Spangled Banner  blasted over loud speakers across the base.  What in tarnation?  Is this my grand entrance?  Do they know I'm about to buy grape Mad Dog?  Are they honoring me for my fabulous taste in shit wine?  See, I was charmed by shit even before I even had kids.  I also obviously needed alcohol pre triple treat.  It must have been the premonition of what was to come.  It was 5pm after all.  Maybe this signified the beginning of base happy hour?   Who the hell knows.  I just needed some purple Mad Dog.  Oh, and they did eventually let him marry me.  If only they knew that I slept over.  This may have had a different ending.

Four years of dating, ten years of marriage, a dog, and three kids later,  I no longer drink purple Mad Dog.  And little did I know that our home would become, literally, the home of the brave.  I should have stopped to listen.  Because you have to be brave to live in our house.

Lillian and I had a girl's day.  She wanted to go to the comic book store.  The owner of the store was quite nice.  Lillian was impressed.  She commented on just how nice he was.  But she insisted that just because someone is nice, doesn't mean you should marry them.  Because "you may already have a husband or a wife." Good thing to know right?

I married Sean because he was cute.   And wore a uniform.  And brought me back Sangria from Spain.  And had blond hair.  Okay, so eventually I realized it was black.  It was the Sangria.  Plus he was nice and I didn't already have a husband.

Marriage is hard work.  Marriage with children, even harder.  Sometimes you're communicating well.  Other times, not so much.  Sometimes everything is perfect.  Then... it isn't.  Some years fly by without hardship.  The next year, you're hit hard.  You want to spend every waking minute with each other.  Then you just aim to stay awake for one more minute.  Your spouse and your friends are your world.  Then you have children.  Your life becomes theirs.  Until you finally have a date again. And remember how those children came into the world.

So you want to know why I really married Sean?  He was the first man to call me beautiful instead of cute.  He laughed.  A lot.  It was contagious.  He took me to meet his family.  I was enamored by them.  He drove long distances to see me.  Stealing borrowing cars in the beginning.  My mom told me my eyes sparkled when I looked at him.  He loved me.  He loved my family (they are crazy and plentiful).   I knew he could be an incredible husband and father.  With some hard work of course.  And I knew that I loved love him.  No matter what.  It's my job.  What?  You thought I just stayed home with the kids? 

Ten years used to seem so far away.  I can remember the adventures we dreamed up for what we would do for our ten year anniversary.  You know what we're doing?  Going camping.  Right now, that's a dream.  The two legged kids aren't coming.  Just Finn.  Our first baby.  Our mad dog in this crazy new life.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Jumping Head First

I know you're not supposed to do this.  All the experts advise against it.  But sometimes we just can't help ourselves.  Because it's hilarious to think about.  Labeling.  Our children.  We do it.  The crazy one, the crazier one, and the craziest one.  The one most likely to throw a party when you're not home.  And the one who will play hey mister to snag the beer.  The one who will blow their teacher a kiss for an A and the one who could care less.  The child that will be the first to climb out the bedroom window to meet friends at midnight.  And the one that will catch them when they jump.  Sean and I were lying in bed the other night.  Labeling our children.  Sean and I agreed.   Lillian will be the boss.  Grady's motto will be, Let's paaaaartaaay!  While Dempsey's will be, Let's break some shit!

Grady is wild.  And I love it.  He licks people.  And jumps head first into everything.  Baths, pools, bushes, embraces, arguments, and fun.  He enjoys cold baths.  The coldest the water will go.  Dumping buckets full of frigid water over his head.  He turns on a hose and squirts it full blast at his face.  Then laughs.  You can't help but laugh too.  At two, he rides his bike around the neighborhood like the wicked witch of the west.  Then helps his sister when she falls over on hers.  He clobbers me in the pool, pulling down the top of my swim suit. Revealing what is left of my right boob.  I'm pretty sure the lifeguard was impressed.  He drinks water from a dog dish and loves anything with added sugar.   But will finish it off with a bag of green beans.  He can climb a tree, a fence, and a kitchen counter.  He sings.  A punk rock version of Do-Re-Mi.  I sing to him too.  A punk rock version of You Are My Sunshine.  I made it up.

You are my sunshine
My rockin' sunshine
You make me craaaazy when skies are blue
You make me craaaazy when skies are gray too
Please don't take my sunshine away

He pees on the potty when he feels like it.  And sometimes in other places too.  Like the closet.  At least it was Sean's side.  He produces green poop.  He's very advanced.  He can dress himself, fasten buttons, put on shoes, and buckle himself into his car seat.  He likes to open, close, lock, and unlock doors.  Especially doors on vehicles.  He's been known to break into the neighbors' cars and trucks when they mistakenly think it's safe to leave them unlocked.  He can also lock himself into a bathroom stall.  Then climb under the door when it's more entertaining than unlocking it.  A brain teaser for the next customer.  He jumps out of windows and from the top bunk.  He shows his love for his mother, father, sister, and no other.

And there you have it.  Grady.  My rockin' sunshine.  Turning three.

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Bite Me

Lil - "So we gather up ALL the animals and eat them?"

Mom - "Well, just the pigs, cows, and chickens.  And oh yea, turkeys too."

Grady - "We don't eat pigs!"

Mom - "Yes, we do.  We eat bacon.  That's pig meat."

Grady - "We eat Pygmies?"

Mom - "No, PIG MEAT."

Grady - "Huh?"

I may just be on to something.  Pygmies, as defined by Encyclopedia Britannica, any group whose adult men grow to less than 150 cm (59 inches) in average height.  Eat your vegetables Grady.  Or we will eat you.  And then I'm reminded by our friends at Yo Gabba Gabba.  Don't.  Don't.  Don't bite your friends.  What about your kids?  Does that count?  And what if they're under 59 inches?   And what if they bite me first?  It only seems fair.

Most mornings Grady wakes up begging for pops, gum, and Rita's.  That kid can polish off an entire ream of Bubble Tape before you can say, don't swallow.   He pulls out the whole roll and bites off a chunk.  This morning he came to visit me in the bathroom.  Requesting Rita's.  I told him maybe we would get some at the Strawberry Festival today.  I thought Rita's might be there.  While peeing on the toilet crouching down to his level, I ask him for a kiss.  "After we get to the Strawberry Festival...and get Rita's."  He promises.  Can I bite you if you don't follow through?

We picked up Nanny for an adventure with the triple threat last weekend. She bit me and stole my bike. Karma Lillian caught up to her and rammed Nanny with her new polka dot on wheels.  Sending Nanny tumbling across the cul-de-sac. In other words, Nanny bit it.

The aftermath

Moments before the collision.  Notice Lillian's sneak attack from behind.

I think someone may have just bitten Nanny's butt.

So off we go to the Strawberry Festival this morning.  Me and the triple threat. Sean is biting people traveling for work. There is no Rita's representation at said festival. Damn you Rita's. I could bite you right now. So much for my kiss. There are snowballs. Blue ones. We order three and take them down to the beach. Where all members of the triple threat launch themselves, fully clothed, into the water. Random people offer me swim diapers. Bite me. I need a hell of a lot more than swim diapers people. A toddler struggles in the water next to me. I scoop her up and she asks me to take her home. Bite me kid. Do you give kisses sans Rita's?   Her mom wanders over to tell me she was watching her. Sure you were. Bite me lady. Make a Rita's run and this will all be forgotten.

We head back to the van for swim suits.  Grady walks aimlessly through the festival with snowball blue water.  He bites it.  Wipes out.   Snowball Blue water flies through the air.  People are staring at me.  Bite me people.  We make it to the van.  I get naked.  Inside the van.  Changing into my swim suit.    Begging Grady to please stop opening all the doors.   I go down the triple threat line.  Strip, redress.  Strip, redress.  Strip, redress.  Back to the beach.  Now that we're dressed for water, we play in the sand.

Moral of the story.  Don't.  Don't.  Don't bite your friends.   Or your kids, toddlers you save from drowning, slacker moms, and other random people.  And get naked in your minivan.  Yo Gabba Gabba will thank you for it.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Bad Decisions

Five is harder than I thought.  For me.  Not for Lillian.  It's been the difference between my baby and my child.  Though she hasn't been a baby for years.  She is showering by herself.  No more rub a dub dub, three babies in my tub.  She buckles and unbuckles herself in the van.  She play independently with the neighborhood kids and has her own friends at the pool.  She makes shit up and convinces herself it's true. Like when she told me she really does want to share with Dempsey, but her brain said no.  She brushes her hair and teeth, as well as I can.  She asks where meat comes from and if what she's eating is good for her body.  "If I stop talking so much will my teeth grow?"  Sean and I answer with an emphatic YES!  We like to make shit up. 

She talks about good decisions and bad decisions.  Claiming Grady only makes bad ones.   I make lots of bad decisions.  Like this one, and this one here, and here's yet another bad decision.   Yesterday could be construed as a bad decision.  I will start by telling you that I did check for moving vehicles first.  Before allowing my children to run into the middle of the street to jump into a huge puddle.  We did it over and over and over again.  It's how we entertained ourselves all morning.  Running to the curb when a car was coming and returning to the puddle when it drove away.  Grady somehow mistook jump for lay.  So that's what he did.  Some may say he made a  bad decision.  Others would just lay down next to him.  That's what I would have done.  If I wasn't taking the picture.  An elderly woman told the triple threat they were cute.  Grady told her she was cute too.  He makes shit up.  Learned it from his sister.

Make fun of a bad decision today.  And make some shit up too.

Friday, June 1, 2012

I Promise. And Other Lies My Children Tell Me.

The bank loves our family.  We give them our money and we only visit the drive through.  The bankers can smile and wave from a safe distance and pass out some pops.  The only real form of communication is a speaker.  One that can be turned off once they've heard enough from the minivan entourage.  Or if they get tired of me asking them for more money.  Sorry Mrs. Barnum, you can't just drive up here and ask us for money all willy nilly like.  You actually have to put money in....then you can take it out.  See how it works?  And you can't come here just for pops either.  Our people know.

This week I broke an unwritten rule (never take the triple threat to places where there are people).    I took them into the bank.  When we pulled up, I asked Grady if he wanted to ride on my back in the carrier or sit in the stroller.  He picked....walk.  Um, that wasn't an option.  He begs me.  Claims he'll stay right next to me.  Says he'll hold my hand.   Then he agrees to my list.  No running, no screaming, no taking off in the parking lot.  Keep your shoes on, keep your clothes on, keep your diaper on,   Do not touch yourself, your siblings, other people, the money, or anything else you may happen to see.   "I promise."  Grady outright lies says.

We make it through the parking lot.  We walk in.  Grady and  Lil on either side of me.  Dempsey in the stroller.  Grady drops my hand and takes off running.  Opens the door of the unoccupied mortgage lender's office and shuts it behind him.  Now is my chance.  Take my money and run.  But what about the other two?  Can I out run them?  Will they try to follow me?  Except I don't have my money yet.  I leave my pile of stuff, and two orphaned children, at the counter.  Then remove Grady from the office before he signs off on any mortgages.  I put him in charge of Dempsey.  With instructions to stay on a gray square of carpet.  Who would have thought there would also be gray carpet squares on the opposite side of the bank?  Dempsey's stroller races across the bank, with Grady shoving it from behind.  Grady spins Dempsey in circles for their finale.   I haul the boys back to the counter.  Lil and Grady begin their acrobatic routine. Somersaults and Twister like positions.  They stayed on the gray carpet. It did sort of resemble gymnastics mats.  The banker whispers to me, "Can they have pops?"  You must be new here.

As we're going to sleep that night, Sean reminds me of camping.  The night Grady woke up at 2am in a panic.  He couldn't find his paci.  Then Dempsey woke up.  Both were screaming.   Sean frantically searched for paci.  Grady found paci first...lying on his own shoulder.  He turned to Sean and said, "This will be funny in the morning."  Yes, Grady, it will be.  It always is.

What makes mornings, and every other time of day, funny....

Boots and a tank shorts

A parking break for your bike on a hill

A big mouth

Finding your children reading this on the bottom bunk