all images © Meghan Boyer Photography

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Red Ones, Blue Ones, Small Ones, Big Ones

Grady has a crazy obsession with vehicles.   I'm thankful that he is not prejudice.  He adores cars, minivans, pick up trucks and SUV's.  Red ones, blue ones, small ones, big ones, old ones, and new ones.  If it is left unlocked, it's an open invitation.  If it is locked, he holds onto the handle, climbs up the door, braces his feet against the vehicle and tries to pull the door open with his 28 pounds of body weight.  Everyone in our neighborhood locks their vehicles.

Mr. Ray pulled in front of his house yesterday and turned off the ignition.  Grady tossed his bike aside, bolted across the cul-de-sac, and climbed up the door, and into the driver's side window of Mr. Ray's F-150.  Grady is not shy.  Just in case you needed some insight into his personality.

We used to allow Grady to play in Sean's car, ignition off, windows down, for short periods of supervised time.  Disclaimer:  This decision was supported by a trained professional.  Car play was mostly used as a reward, especially during potty training.  Lil and Grady would fly in and out of the house.  Taking umbrellas, blankees, milk cups, and assorted other valuables out to the car.  Then Finn would fly out.  She's not one to snub an open door.  Lillian always sets off to find her.  She knows exactly where she goes.  To the neighbor that leaves out the bagels and bread for Finn the birds.  Lil always comes running back, Finn trailing, and throwing a days old bagel onto our dining room floor.  "Here Finn, this is for coming back."  Lil congratulates her.

One day,  during car play, I walked out to find Lillian and Grady on top of the car.  I scolded them...after I took a picture. 

The next day I hosed off took a shower.  When I got out, I asked Lillian what Grady was doing.  She told me he was downstairs watching a show.  Her voice sounded odd, and her eyes were darting from side to side.  This was a cover up.  She proceeded to tell me that she was going back downstairs "to make sure Grady is still watching his show."  I'm still naked as I glance out our bedroom window.  Grady is in the car.  The car is running.  I run.  Outside.  After I put clothes on.  Grady is sitting at the steering wheel, keys in the ignition.

We are not careless parents.  We hide all keys.  We hide them so well, we can't find them.  The hiding places change often, as Grady figures them out.   This particular time, he had climbed on top of the stove, got into the cabinet, retrieved the correct keys, and then unlocked the dead bolted front door.  He unlocked the car, got behind the wheel, stuck the key in the ignition, and turned.  Car play is over.  My life is over.  If I run, will someone come find me and give me a beer bagel?

Lillian, you are totally busted as the instigator

Say 'Cheesburger!' Now get off the damn car before daddy sees you.

This does not bode well for her teenage years.

Friday, August 24, 2012

Abe Committed Penicide

This week was full of accomplishments.  Lillian can ride her bike without training wheels, Grady learned how to swing while standing up,  Dempsey can say yeehaw, and I baked banana bread.  I even let the kids help.  Snot flew before the flour had a chance.  I rewashed all bowls, utensils, and the table.  Then started over.  I let Grady mix the sugar and flour.   I looked at the next step.  Cream sugar and butter.  My friend Amanda, the baker, told me this was a crucial step.  I dumped it all out.  And started over.  I creamed like I've never creamed before.  And voilà.  Banana bread à la triple threat.   No one actually ate it.  Except Uncle Andy.  And we haven't heard from him since.

Neighbors donated the knee pads. 
In case your mute button is on, he's saying YEEHAW over Safeway Select Frosted Flakes.  I never did like that tiger.

Is anyone surprised he figured this move out?

Yet another accomplishment.  I fished a penny out of the toilet yesterday.  A penny.  With bare hands.  A penny.  It was sitting at the bottom of the bowl.  A penny.  Under poop.  A penny.  Mostly hidden.  A penny.  Abe Lincoln's nose was peering out.  Aghast at where he had found himself.  A penny.  Grady's beloved penny of the day.  He finds one every day.  And it becomes his beloved.  I heard him screeching from the bathroom.  "My penny!  My penny!  My penny!"  I walked in to find him pant less, straddling the seat.  Staring at his crotch.  He told me he had been playing with it.  The penny.  Get your mind out of the gutter.  And it just fell right in.  Abe probably didn't know which was grosser, a 3 year old boy's grubby paws, or a poop filled toilet bowl.  He made a jump for it.  You have your answer.

While the penicide was taking place, I was in the kitchen doing a booty dance over my excitement in finding an Indie children's station on Pandora.  And by penicide, I mean penny suicide.  Because when I googled penicide to see if I had indeed created a new word, this is what I found.  According to Urban Dictionary.

The act of killing or mortally wounding a male's penis.
A rare chemical that instantly dissolves penises.

Yes,  a rare chemical that instantly dissolves penises.  Worse than a 3 year old boy's grubby hands and a poop filled toilet.  The end.   Literally.  For the penis.  I'm pretty sure this is not what Abe had in mind.

I attempted to pay my AT & T bill online today.  I offered them an Abe.  Through the computer.  They wouldn't take it.  They must have known where he's been.  I resigned myself to the fact that I would have to provide my checking account number.   I completed that step, but then the next button kept disappearing.  I clicked super hard.  It was there.  Then it was gone.  Sort of like Grady.  When I blink.  They offered me an 'online chat' with 'Sherry Taylor'.  And yes, that's how her name appeared.  In single quotes.  I must admit it freaked me out a little bit.  Who puts their name in quotes?  Is she a very advanced AT & T helper?  Or is her name really Venkatanarasimharajuvaripeta Delhi and her AT & T wink wink nod nod code name is  'Sherry Taylor'?   I tried to ask Abe his opinion, but he was still pretty shaken over the whole Urban Dictionary thing.  He was quiet for the rest of the day.  Good thing Grady will find a new one tomorrow.

My Abe.  In all his shining, poop stained glory.  2008-2012  RIP


Monday, August 20, 2012

Free Balls

We have a sleigh bed.  The kids think it's theirs.  Really it's mine.  Okay, and Sean's too.   Lil and Grady stand on the top of the foot board, jump off, and try to catch the hanging strand that turns on the ceiling fan. They also enjoy climbing onto the window ledges behind said bed, and swan diving onto our down comforter.  Last Friday night, around nine, the entertainment was in full swing.   In the end, Grady hurt his foot. He pointed to the same bone he broke back in March.  Oh good.  Because I really need some drama in my life.

The following is the text conversation, in italics, between me and my friend Amanda.  There was a wedding, we were both attending, the following night.  You will also see my own personal commentary.  Because I am always talking to myself in my head. 

Me:  Seriously. I think Grady may have just broken the same foot as before :(  Jumping off the bed :(  I see visions of myself in the emergency room tomorrow morning, wearing a dress :( 

Amanda:  Do you want me to come over so you can take him now :)  Um how about you come over, we lock the kids in the bedroom and drink tequila while we talk about people.  Don't bring yours.  Your kids I mean.  Definitely bring your tequila. 

Me:  I think I'll wait.  He can walk on it :) Just walks funny and is pointing to the same spot as before :(  He is walking like a penguin.  But if I tilt my head slightly downwards and to the right, while I walk sideways next to him,  his gait looks completely normal.

Amanda:  Just let me know.  Better safe than sorry :(  

Me:  I'm thinking maybe I should take him :(

Amanda:  Okay, I'll be over in a few minutes :)

Me:  We are clear :)  He is able to walk on his toes :) I think he's fine :)  Yes, this was my scientific evaluation of whether or not the foot was broken.  Turns out this test works marvelously.  I was soooo right.

Amanda:  Okay.  Just let me know if  you change your mind :)  You are missing a chance to see me in my pj pants :)  Change my mind?  Why whatever do you mean?  Are you saying I'm indecisive?

Me:  I think I may be banned from the ER for a least a few months ;)  I would love to see you in your pj pants though :)  We will have to save that for tomorrow night ;)

Okay, after allll that,  I actually call Amanda.  You know, that form of communication where you  say words out loud.  Into a tel-e-phone.  The person hears you through this speaker like contraption.  Then they say words out loud too.  And you can hear their voice!  It's marvelous.  No ;) ;( :) involved.   "Can you come over?"  I whine.  I know she thinks I'm crazy.  But she comes over.  In her pajamas.  As promised.  And she's smiling :)  But she forgot her tequila :(

Grady used the emergency room bathrooms for the first time.  Ever.  He is officially potty trained.  And wants nothing to do with underwear.  He prefers, what Sean refers to as, freeballing it. If you know what I mean.  If you don't know what I mean, here is the freeballing definition, according to Urban Dictionary

Going without undershorts, said of a male, so called because his balls hang free and unencumbered. 

Sometimes, Grady will at least put on shorts over his free balls.  And sometimes, he won't.  I refer to this as free balling and extreme free balling.  You just haven't experienced life until you've visited our back yard on a summer day.  There are free balls everywhere.

Extreme freeballing

Grady is fine. No broken bones. We made it to the wedding.  Sean and I got a date night with lots of great friends.  I was free of my boys.  And their balls.  Well...I still had Sean.  He brought his along.  But he generally takes care of his own.  And covers them up in public.   I got to see Amanda in her pajamas. Again.    

Sunday afternoon, we met up with my parents to get the kids.  They had gone to That Bouncy Place.  And they got something while they were there.  Free balls :)

Free balls

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Why I Trip My Kids. On Purpose.

They're animals.  The lot of them.  They are wild.  Untamed.  Beastly at times.  Some days they're lions.  Some days monkeys.  Other days, birds.  Today was a bird kind of day.  On some bird days, they peck at me like I'm a nut.  Wait, I am a nut.  Stop pecking at me.  

Mom can we have milk?  Can we watch a show?  Can we ride bikes?  Can we have a pop? What are we doing today?  Can you do a double back tuck and land on the kitchen counter?  Who gave you your hair?  Where did you get your face?  Can we play in dad's car?  Stand on your head, stick out your tongue, and cook me a waffle.  Please. Is it hard to find a husband?  Is it because everyone is already married?  Can you stand on one foot and smack yourself in the head over and over and over again?  Can we jump from the window ledge?  Why will it hurt if we fall out the window?  Can we sleep in your bed?  What is your soul?  Do I have one?  Can I be a girl scout?  I want to sell cookies.  Can we have a cookie?  How old do I have to be to drive?  Will we go to Disney World before or after I'm old enough to drive?  Will you stick your head in the toilet and we'll flush it? 

Today they chose to fly.  Off the roof.  Luckily  it was only the roof of the play house.  They did have umbrellas after all.  And they don't know Mary Poppins any better than I know the answers to all of their questions.  They thought this up  Genius if you ask me.  I should have them tested.

We went to the pet store this week.  Grady ate some dog treats, unlocked a couple of cages, and gave a fake turtle to a bird.  At least Lillian didn't eat her dog treat, that was meant for Finn.  She fed it to a kitten.  I had to stick my hand in the cage and try to retrieve the treat.  The kitten was not amused.  I had to explain to the kids why you should never stick your hand in an animal's cage.  While my hand was stuck in the cage.  Genius mom moment.

I taught Sean a trick today.  We were at the trail, after a run.  The triple threat were playing on rocks that border the path.  Dempsey suddenly bolted onto the trail.  With the eyes in the back of my head, I saw a bike coming right at him.  I was able to sweep him to the side, averting the collision.  I didn't have to use my trick.  The trick.  For when you have three.  And only two hands for grabbing.  And they're all running in different directions.  I use a foot.  I trip the one that's running toward the most disastrous ending.  Works every time.   If anyone is watching, I just pretend I slipped.  While grabbing the other two.  Genius.  Trust me.  I am.  Give me the test.

Lil's take off.

True genius in action.  Grady's turn.

Beastly right?

And Dempsey.  Not to be outdone.  He thought he could fly with a lampshade.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

I Want to Invite the Geico Lady out to Lunch at Chick-fil-A

I wanted to bear hug, and maybe smooch just a little, the lady who helped me at Geico today.  I had a big crack, right through the middle of my windshield.  Before calling Geico, I envisioned myself dropping off the van to be repaired...for days...and walking home.  With the triple threat.  Then the idea of a rental popped into my head.  Then I remembered I have three car seats.  Finding a last minute rental vehicle for this clan and removing and reinstalling three car seats while the triple threat stand in a parking lot?  Not going to happen.  Blasted.  That's when my lover made her move.

I called Geico.  She answered.  I told her my story.  She said she was sorry that this happened but she would help me.  I love you.  She told me I'd only have to pay $100.   Let's make out.  She would make the appointment for me.  And they would come to my HOME!  AND they could be there TODAY!  I blew secret kisses to her through the phone.   And just in case you still don't get why she is so fabulous.  There would be   I was almost in tears.   I wanted to invite her to lunch at Chick-fil-A.  So we could make out.  But alas, it's not really my thing.  And I had already made my appointment to have the windshield replaced.   For the precise time of...anywhere between noon and five.  So lunch was really out of the question. 

When the glass company arrived, a very kind man emerged from the truck.  He had two ears.  But not for long.  Grady sat two feet away from him.  For an hour and a half.  The conversation Grady's monologue went like this.

We have a sqwatch in our window.  You see it?  I see the sqwatch.  Maybe bigfoot hit it with a rock.  You gonna fix our van?  I like our van. You like our van?  Those are my friends.  You like my friends?  I like your truck.  What's that?  Oh, your water?  You like water?  Oh, you hot?  I like water when I'm hot too.  Man!  Man!  What's in your truck?  Can I get in your truck?  You lock it?  Where you put your keys?  Can I look in there?  Can I get in my van when you're done?  I gonna get in the driver's seat.  My mom won't care.  I gonna sneak in.  Can I have the keys for a sec?  Man, what you doing?  You like ice cream?  I like ice cream.  Hey, man!  Hey, man!

I finally made Grady come inside for a few minutes.  He banged on the front glass door and waved at the man.  I don't think he could hear him anymore.  Because when I looked up, his ears were missing.

I took Grady back outside so we could pay the earless man.  Grady told me he wanted to give him a hug and kiss.  I think this was toddler speak for, I want to take him to dinner at Chick-fil-A.

Hey man!  You.  Me.  Dinner.  Chick-fil-A?

Monday, August 6, 2012

Lillian May Just Be Mexican, And I May Just Be Married To Brad Pitt

When Lillian was born, she looked, well...Mexican.  She had a tan.  At two minutes old.  Without the sun.  She had black hair and dark eyes.  I can remember my own mother feeling slightly awkward flashing those newborn pictures around the office.  Wondering what her coworkers might think.  Knowing that neither of Lillian's parents were, well...Mexican.   When Lil was a baby and a toddler, strangers would ask me if my husband was Chinese.  Or if she was adopted.  One, well meaning person, actually asked, "Where did you get her from?"  Um...well...I was a little dopey after being in labor and ending up with a C-section.  But I'm pretty sure she came right out of my uterus during the operation.  I swear my husband witnessed the whole thing.  And I certainly don't remember going to another country to retrieve her. 

When Lillian was a toddler, we were friendly with a family at church who had two boys that were Chinese.  Lillian used to  crawl under the pew to be with them.  Returning to her homeland.  She just knew.

When she was two, we moved to our current home.  Our neighbors are from Mexico.  The rest of the neighborhood still isn't clear as to which family she belongs to.  At their house they have better climbing trees, ice pops, and dinner.  She is always in their front yard, having dinner with them, and playing hide and go seek, while shouting, "Uno, dos, tres, cuatro, cinco, seis, siete, ocho, nueve, diez!"  I believe she can count higher in Spanish than she can in English.   Their oldest son, who happens to only be entering the second grade, walked her home last night, apologizing to me that she was half an hour late. They were finishing dinner, he said.  They take such good care of her.  I'd want to be part of their family too.

She calls me madre and mama in her fake Spanish accent that sounds more French than anything else.  She needs to work on the accent if she wants this to be a passable facade.  The most hilarious part?  Her regular voice makes her sound like she's from Boston.  I really get around.  And my child looks like a Mexican and speaks in Spanish with a French Boston accent.

Today, Lil went next door for their daughter's birthday party.  Her name is also Lillian.  This is all very spooky if you ask me.  Anyhoo, our babysitter had taught our Lillian how to sing Happy Birthday in Spanish.  This is how it went.

¡Feliz cumpleaños a tí!
¡Feliz cumpleaños a tí!
¡Feliz cumpleaños a ......!
¡Feliz cumpleaños a tí!

So...tonight when Lillian got home from the party, I asked her about the birthday song.  Did you sing it with them?  She just shrugged her hands and shoulders and exclaimed, "That's not how they sang it!"  She obviously has a lot to learn if she wants to be Mexican.

I asked her what the dads did at the party?  She said they watched tv and sat on the couch the whole time.  Yup, sounds about right.  I think that's a global phenomenon.  Mexico, China, and Boston.

The triple threat look alike and very different at the same time.  The first has dark brown hair and amber eyes.   The next came out with blond hair and blue eyes...that sometimes look darker.  The third arrived with blond hair and brown eyes, that sometimes look ornery.  No matter where our children come from, what they speak, or which accent they choose to speak it in, we love them.  We're parents.  And they're ours.   

The next time a stranger asks me if my husband is Chinese, I'm just going to tell them he's Brad Pitt.  And you can just call me Angie.   I'll say it in Spanish, with a French Boston accent.  As soon as Lillian teaches me how.

Lil and her friend Clare.  It's the bangs that did her in.

Because it wouldn't really be a picture without the infamous Uncle Conor

Friday, August 3, 2012

The Letter

So Lillian got a letter today.  The letter.  It actually wasn't addressed to her.  It read, to the parents of.  An official looking letter.  It might as well have been a college acceptance letter.  Because that's what it felt like.  But it wasn't.  It was a kindergarten acceptance letter.  My child is quite advanced.  She  was accepted into her first choice of schools.  So maybe our neighborhood was the deciding factor.  Not my advanced child's wit.  We'll just pretend this was a competition.  And Lillian won. 

Within this letter was a name.  The name of Lillian's kindergarten teacher.  I cried when I read the teacher's name.  It sounded nice enough.  I did a background check on said teacher.  Okay, so it was  a background check via facebook.  Through a friend we have in common.  Is this considered stalking?  Lurking?  Am I creepy?  I am creepy.  Who cares, I got the goods. 

She looks nice.  Is she nice?  Will she adore my Lil as much as I adore her?  Will she make sure she eats her lunch?  Gets onto the correct bus?  Maybe I should pick her up?  Will she protect her from bullies?  Teach her how to read?  Give her a hug when she's feeling scared?  Will she know when she's feeling scared?  Or sad, or mad, or happy, or excited?  Will she send her to the nurse's office when she doesn't feel well?  Will she call me if she has concerns?  Will she appreciate Lillian's jokes?  Her thoughtfulness and her craziness?  Will she understand that Lillian is simply a loud child?  She doesn't know how to contain her exuberance for life.  Will she embrace this?  Or try to squash one of her best traits?

I feel like I've been raising babies my whole life.  I've only had five years with Lillian.  Three with Grady.  And Dempsey, for only eighteen months.  But I can't even remember what I did without them.  I can't remember not loving, kissing, hugging, whispering, chasing, teaching, preparing and loving, kissing, and hugging.  I can't believe I actually had a life without them.  What the hell did I do with all that free time?  Was I smart?  Was I interesting?  Did people like me?   I surely never uttered the words mommy milk, poop, pee or potty.  Unless of course you count the time I busted Sean peeing into the Tupperware container, holding 40 pounds of dog food, after he had drank too much 'mommy milk.'   Maybe he was preparing me.  For all the poop, pee, and pottying that was to come.

Lillian is my first baby.  I love her with all my being.  I reminded her the other day that she will always be my baby.  "Even when I'm 80?"  She asked.  "Yup, even when you're 80."  I told her. 

Dear Teacher,

Please love my baby.  Take good care of her.  Watch out for her.  Teach her to read and write.  Make sure she eats her lunch and gets onto the correct bus.  Don't let anyone pick on her.  Remind her to say please and thank you, and treat everyone how she would like to be treated.  Tell her she's special and smart and can do anything she sets her mind too.  Everything I would do.  If I was still lucky enough to spend the whole day with her. 


Lillian's mom

Dear Lillian,

Don't leave me with the babies!

Love, Mom