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Thursday, January 31, 2008

I must admit I’ve been feeling quite BLAHG lately. (If you know me and my affinity for word creation – or if you’re just a bright one – you will immediately understand that my clever word “blahg” translates into: feeling quite blah about my BLOG). I wonder if I’m waiting for good material to Blog about. This worries me as I worry if I’m secretly asking for things to happen. Unfortunately, it seems that when the Blog gets slow, things always do pick up – like snot or puking in the Martin household – providing me with endless anecdotes to share.

So, sure enough I was feeling a bit Blahgish this morning when ahh! Lo-and-behold, Matthew stumbles out of his room with a new and nasty cough. (Yes, Blogging material, here we go). Matthew does something interesting when he has a cold, he hums – nearly constantly – it’s a monotone, non-melodious tune that just drones on and on and on…and on. And because I’m his mother, and I’m allowed to say stuff like this: it really kind of creeps me out. It starts to sound a little wacko and weird. Like maybe, along with the nasal congestion, come some psychotic tendencies. I don’t know. Just a thought.

Also, to assist with my Blogging, Zachary woke up on the cranky side of the crib today. One side of his crib is up against the wall, so we really only have one exit option, but for whatever reason, today it was SO the wrong side. He was eating breakfast and munching on some freakishly-not-naturally-bright-colored fruity cereal when I helped myself to one of the little lime-shaped green ones that had wandered off his placemat. I really didn’t think he would notice or if he did, he certainly wouldn’t care. Boy-oh-boy was I ever wrong. Zach looked at me completely taken aback. “What?” I mumbled guiltily. He shook his head and with eyes welling up in fury and disbelief, disgust and utter disappointment said (and then screamed) “MY NUMS!!!!! MY NUMS!!!!” [nums/nummy = food in this house]. He pointed his finger accusingly at me, shrieking about the injustice of it all. Mike came out wondering what was so wrong. Certainly there was something seriously bad occurring. I walked away from the table. I ate a lime! That’s it. One lime. I gave you LIFE, child. The least you can give me is some sugary-green-lime-shaped puff.

Thanks for the material, boys. Blahgishness has subsided.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Apparently I was gaining too much of a healthy self-confidence, maybe even an ego. So, God planted this little moment just to remind me what a nerd I really am.

Last week, I met the sister-in-law of a really good friend. I won’t go into details as it’s a long and confusing story of how I connected with this woman. Anyway, I had just gotten the boys strapped into their car seats and I thought, I should go introduce myself. So, I went up to her and explained who I was and that Mike and I are good friends with Kate and Kevin.

“Oh!” she says. “From that thing?”

“Engaged Encounter! Yep.” I supply the “thing” that she is looking for.

“They’ve met some really cool people through that,” she informs me.

Then somehow my brain quits functioning and I get stuck. All I can do is grin from ear-to-ear and say, “Yep, we’re really cool peeps.”

She laughs and kind of jokingly mocks what I say, “You’re like yeah! That’s us!”

And then for some unknown reason all I can do is repeat the exact same mind-blowing line again, “Yep, we’re REALLY cool peeps.”

We say our awkward goodbyes after a terribly awkward conversation, and I get in my car. I drive up the narrow street, turn around in the intersection and head back down in order to depart the neighborhood. She’s still standing outside, so we wave (Oh wow. There goes the really cool peeps again! She must be thinking). I feel like she looked at me kind of strangely as we drive by but think nothing of it because I am SO cool. Two seconds later I hear a weird sound on my car – coming from the roof. A moment later, my travel coffee mug goes rolling down the windshield, down the street and rests underneath a parked car. This is why you don’t put things on top of the car. (For the record, I don’t usually do this, but my hands were so full I didn’t have a choice).

I park my car in the middle of the road, hop out and get down on my hands and knees in search of Travel Mug. I can’t seem to find it anywhere and decide that lying on the ground in the road with my children sitting in the car in the middle of the street is probably not the best plan. So, much to Matthew’s distress, I decide to forego the coffee mug search and continue home.

At the first stop light, I decide – for whatever reason – to get a piece of gum. Before chewing it, however, I’m going to be really cool for the cars around me and check myself out in the visor mirror. Right. Two BIG BLACK poppyseeds stuck on either side of my top row of teeth. Of course I have big black objects in my teeth. As if I wasn’t making a great first impression all ready! Now I know that my “We’re really cool peeps” comment was thoroughly supported by my appearance…followed by the coffee mug rolling down my car. Reality check: we’re not cool peeps. We’re not even really cool. And I really shouldn’t be saying peeps.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Last Friday, I taught my first ever Dinosaur themed Little Ditties Academy music class. I did SO much research and found SO many great dinosaur songs, that I am forced to admit two things. First: I now consider myself somewhat of a dinosaur expert. Second: the class went so swimmingly well it may have been my best ever. The moms were particularly impressed with the version of Queen’s “We Will Rock You.” Help me out now:
stomp, stomp, clap. Stomp, stomp, clap. x2. I'm Ankylosaurus I'm big and strong; 10 feet tall and 30 feet long. Got a club on my tail, Armor on my back; Don't get too close or I'll give you a whack. I will, I will stomp you, stomp you. I will, I will stomp you, stomp you. I'm Tyrannosaurus Rex I'm big and mean. The meanest dinosaur that you've ever seen. I've got tiny little arms, Great big feet; I'll pick you up with my big sharp teeth. I will, I will, CHOMP you, CHOMP you!! I will, I will, CHOMP you, CHOMP you!!
Or how ‘bout “Doo Wah Ditty” sung to “Dino Ditty…” You can see the kind of quality musical education my students are walking away with.

My very favorite part of the class, however, was not something that I spent time planning/printing/taping/cutting out/preparing for. The best part had – of course – nothing to do with me what-so-ever. When asked what kind of dinosaur was his very favorite, Matthew – without skipping a beat – replied seriously, “a John Deerasaurus.”

Thursday, January 17, 2008

It is ca-razy to me that 6:40AM feels like over-sleeping. That’s just nuts! But it’s true; I did let myself sleep in. I’ve been doing a fairly decent job of getting myself to bed earlyish so that getting up by 6 wouldn’t be torture. Yeah, it’s still torture. I have the utmost respect and empathy for those that do this everyday for a “real” job. (Like, grown-ups, I mean).

A couple Matthewisms for you:

A while back, we were getting out of the car and Matthew started whining. He said that his leg was “full of sand.” It took a while but eventually Mike deciphered that what he meant was that his leg had fallen asleep. This morning when I first woke up at 5:30 (and quickly decided to go the heck back to bed!), my arm was totally and completely asleep. I noticed that – while I’ve never actually had sand in my limbs – it really felt as if my arm was full of sand. The child is very bright.

The child is a little too bright. Yesterday, the boys were wrestling on the floor. Here is my recent observation: our boys get along swimmingly as long as there are no toys or inanimate objects what-so-ever involved. Throw in a toy or something random – say, a sock – and eventually they will fight over it. We may just sell all of our material possessions in order to live in peace and harmony. Their favorite brother-bonding activities are: running around and around and around the kitchen-dining room-living room loop (especially when chased by Mommy – that makes it way more fun), playing hide-n-seek (especially looking for Mommy together and then screaming shrilly when they find me), pulling all of the sofa cushions down and pole-vaulting themselves on to the floor or doing head-first somersaults on to the soft padded landing, and finally wrestling. It should come as no surprise that Zach is usually the initiator of a wrestling match. If anyone dares sit or lie down on the floor he/she will immediately be sat upon. So, half the time I glance at the boys, Zach has Matthew in some sort of choke-hug-hold.

Yesterday, to my surprise, Matthew was the wrestly one. Matthew was holding Zach around the middle and Zach was lying there going “hug…hug…hug…” probably wondering when the super-long hug-fest would conclude. After a bit Zachary started to whine – not cry (yet) – I saw that Matthew had maneuvered himself to be sitting/clinging/hugging on to Zach’s back. “Matthew,” I said, “that’s enough. You’re too big, and Zach’s starting to say he doesn’t like that. That’s what that noise means. Matthew! You’re squishing him! Get off please!” (OK, probably in real life the please didn’t happen, but we’ll pretend that I’m still a polite mother most of the time). Matthew – without moving a muscle – looks up at me and says, “But Mommmmm, Zachy’s is a turtle with a Matthew shell!”

Thursday, January 10, 2008

What is it with Kara (my laptop) and caffeine? OK, the same can be asked of me. Yesterday, I watered her with my Diet Pepsi. I guess it’s just been way too long since Zach gave her the coffee bath, so it was high time for a caffeine fix. I think I’ll start using Zach’s no-spill sippy cups for my beverages too. It was almost a slow-motion, out-of-body situation as I watched my hand reach out and tip my glass over (I really did bump it in an strange, almost on-purpose sort of way). When I yelled something to the effect of, “Oh no!” or “Crud!” (one of the kid-friendly curses), Matthew said, “What’d you do, Mom?” As I frantically mopped off Diet Pepsi, I explained the obvious, “I spilled my Diet Pepsi and a little bit got on Kara.” Matthew sat there calmly and said, “Well, why’d you do that?” It’s a good question.

So, I finally got myself into the doctor to have this Strep Throat situation taken care of once and for all. Except that it wasn’t taken care of at all. The first Strep test came back negative – although I was reassured that that test does occasionally have false negative readings, so a second swab was taken to be sent to the big, fancy lab where the results are always 100% accurate. After looking at my throat and getting the negative reading, the doctor – who I’d never had before – sat down on the stool next to the table and said very seriously, “You have a very bad sore throat. There are some things that I want you to do to help this get better.” I was pleased that he was taking my lame throat epidemic so seriously and he was very intense about it. He got out his prescription pad and I thought, ooh! Yea! Even though the test came back negative he’ll still give me the magic drugs that will heal my weary throat. In doctor scrawl, he scribbled on the pad, and then handed the top paper to me. It said, “SALT + WARM WATER = gargle x3 x3days.” Wow. This is what I paid money for. And I’m so glad that he spent years and tens of thousands of dollars on medical school to write an in-depth explanation of how to do a salt water gargle. He also wrote “Advil/Ibuprofen = 3 tabs x3 x3 days.” He wants me popping nine pain killers a day for a sore throat?! Yeah, it’s lame. It hurts really bad in the morning and really bad at night, but nine pills a day?! I’d much rather have one little antibiotic pill to take each day that will take the bad sore throat germs away. In conclusion, he added, “If this does not work – three days of three times salt water gargling and three days of three times taking three tablets of pain killers, then call the office. After three more days, if your throat is still in pain, we may just call in the Antibiotics for you.” I’ve had the sore throat for nearly three weeks, but because I saw the doctor and got this magical cure, it’ll suddenly and finally be better? In three days? After THREE weeks? THREE days of gargling and supposedly THREE days of THREE times of THREE pain killers. Three. Three. Three. That word starts to look weird when you have to type it so many times. (It’s tree with an H in it, I might add).

Essentially I left the doctor’s office with the following, “It’s probably not Strep, it’s just a bad sore throat. You’re a wuss. Go home.” Maybe I should have told him how much the swallowing-daggers sore throat takes away from my morning coffee and dose of antioxidants. All I know is I liked it better when I had self-diagnosed with something that had a name. That sounded a lot more impressive and sympathy-worthy. I’ll just name it now, I have Swallowing Daggers Throat. The only cure is THREE extra dark chocolates xTHREE xTHREE days. There! See, I could be a doctor too!

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

This is Week Two of “The Plan.” The Plan where I get up early every morning to either run or write and I get to bed early so that The Plan is a little less painful. The Plan stinks. It hurts. Getting up before six every morning is pretty lame if you ask me. I have succeeded in getting to bed a little earlier at night – never early enough though – but I really don’t know if that makes the getting up in the morning any easier. My first thought EVERY SINGLE MORNING is, “Ooh, maybe I can get a nap today,” which is followed quickly by, “I can’t wait to go to bed tonight. I’m SO getting to bed early tonight.” Rarely do either of these thoughts – fantasies, really – come to fruition.

Friday night is a night that I’m not required to lay myself down to sleep early (as Saturday is not an early morning). For the most part though, I’m a total Friday night party pooper and am still ready to be in bed by 11. This past Friday, Mike went to a Guys’ Game Night and I had invited my friend Rachel to drive down from Bellingham to hang out. Her email said something like, “That would be great! My car’s been making a funny noise, but it should be fine.” Ahh, Rachel, a fellow writer – and a very talented one, at that – should have recognized that clear foreshadowing! But everything did work out fine, and actually quite splendidly for Matthew! He got to stay up late to see the tow truck pull up with Rachel’s car in front of our house.

Rachel’s misfortune was Matthew’s Christmas morning come late. Her tire totally blew out on 405 just an exit away from ours. She was all geared up to change to her spare on the side of the freeway when she discovered that the bolts were the wrong size for the tool she had. (Or the tool was the wrong size for those bolts. Whatever. There was a size mis-match issue). When Matthew and I watched the tow trucker driver doing his work, Matthew was full of questions; none of which I could answer. Finally, I suggested that he could direct one question to the driver when he was done and ready to leave. When asked what he wanted to ask him, Matthew thought about it and said, “Mm, what did Santa bring the tow truck driver for Christmas?” His one opportunity to speak to a tow truck driver and that’s the question!? In the end, no questions were asked of the driver just of me and Rachel…for hours…for days we’ve been discussing the tow truck that brought Auntie Rachel’s car to our house. Thrilling.

Not at ALL thrilling is the fact that I have Strep Throat. This has yet to be confirmed by medical personnel, but I’m fairly certain that I’ve got it. It feels as though I’m swallowing daggers. This dagger-swallowing has gone on for a couple of weeks now. I’ve ignored it until recently – assuming that it was just another cold that would eventually go away. It’s still here though. It’s annoying that I have to make an appointment, pay a $15 co-pay and have them stick a super long, gaggy, Q-Tip down my throat just so I can get the antibiotics that I know I need. I suppose I should try to get in to the office today. I’m tired of swallowing daggers. It takes away from my enjoyment of my morning dark chocolate and coffee.

There was a time when the start of my day – the coffee and chocolate part – was #1 on the list of favorite parts of the day. It’s still up there but I have a new one. It happens when I’m putting Zach to bed every night. When we’re done reading his story and saying prayers, he quickly turns around and throws his little arms around my neck, he gives a big squeeze and whispers “hug” in my ear. This can go on for minutes – just cuddling with the occasional squeeeeeze and “hug” said ever-so-softly. Then he’ll push his soft cheek up against my face until I give him butterfly kisses. The tickling of my eyelashes never ceases to amuse him and make him giggle. He’s also big on Eskimo kisses, though his nose-bumping kiss isn’t quite as gentle as some of the other moments. I often catch myself during this bedtime routine squeezing and holding on to him for just a little too long. I know that the days of bedtime cuddling will eventually – and most likely soon – be over. But in the meantime, I’ll just hold on to them – and him – as long as I can.

Thursday, January 03, 2008

OK, Resolution #3. (I swear I haven’t made an official list of Resolutions, the numbering just happens by itself. Regardless of how much I resist it). So, #3: Just say no! I say yes to way too many people just because it’s easier – for them. It’s hard to say no when you’re a People Pleaser and worried about what others will think should you dare to say no. But enough! After vaguely deciding yesterday that this was something that I should work on (but not yet elevating it to Resolution status), I proceeded to say yes to two people for things that, while I would probably be fine with and enjoy doing, I just don’t need to add to my plate right now. Just say no!

The boys have done some pretty darn cute things in the last few days that deserve a Bloggly mention. Yesterday, after being informed that yes! He would FINALLY get to go back to preschool, Matthew went running down the hall waving his arms in pajamed-glory yelling, “I’M SO EXCITED FOR PRESCHOOL!!!”

I will say that being locked in the house together for two straight weeks due to illness did force the boys to spend a lot of time playing together (not always nicely, mind you). I’ve discovered that they play excellently together if there are NO TOYS OR OBJECTS INVOLVED WHATSOEVER. If they are “playing chase” or wrestling (i.e. Zach tackling Matthew, sitting on him or just generally pinning his big brother down) they are usually getting along and in great spirits. Add in a toy or a random object and it immediately becomes a dispute and tears are soon to follow (usually Matthew…Zach has usually confiscated said-object and has run away). The other day, the boys had decided that the kitchen floor was the best place to wrestle for the moment. Zachary was on top-ish (there was a lot of movement), but they both simultaneously stopped and embraced in a big ‘ol brotherly bear hug. Matthew said, “Ahh, I love you, Zachy,” and kissed him on the ear. Then Zach’s hug got a little too tight and the next proclamation was a whine, “enough! Zachyyyyyy, stop. Your hug is choking me!”

At one point during the post-holidays vacation, we made the (crazy) decision to eat out. The destination? Chili’s. A fine family dining establishment, offering, among many things, excellent baby back ribs. (Now, the stupid commercial jingle is stuck in my head. You too?). For our dining experience, we were seated in a cozy booth. Zach sat next to me (until food arrived when we would strap him in the high chair), and Matthew sat across from him, next to Mike. The family at the booth behind us was thoroughly entertained by our boys, and thankfully, not annoyed by their shenanigans. Zach would turn around, face the other customers, and stand and squat, stand and squat, initiating half the restaurant in a game of peek-a-boo and occasional waves of hi. He wasn’t satisfied with my pre-meal snacky-spread and as soon as Other Family received their food, he started begging. (Albeit, politely – he said and signed pleeeaase, while pointing to their heaped plates). The mother of Other Family – who had commented on Zachary’s politeness and general adorableness to me – proceeded to narrate to her 8-year-oldish son the constant movements of the Martin boys. It was like listening to an announcer at a sporting match:

Oh look. There goes Big Brother under the table. And pop! He’s now next to the little guy. Poor Mom, she’s got both boys to contend with on her side. She’s outnumbered. Uh-Oh, looks like they’re starting to wrestle and ooh! That had to hurt. What move is Little Guy going to make next? Ahh, he goes for the classic neck-hold. But Big Brother is offering back a taste of Little Guys’ medicine. They’re locked in what looks like…it’s a Hug, people. They’re locked in a Hug. OK, Mom is trying to keep the Hug from slipping together under the table. Looks like both boys are trying to make a move to go UNDER the table, they nearly are wedged under… Ahh, Mom blocks and…wait. What’s this? Oh, wow, I haven’t seen a move like this since dinner at Red Robin back in ’98. Little Guy is being passed OVER the table. I repeat: Little Guy – ooh, watch the head so he doesn’t hit the big light fixture [that’s hung way too low over the table] – that was close. Now, Little Guy is on the other side of the table with Dad. And! Ouch. He goes for the classic throw-the-crayon-at-Big-Brother move. The parents are quickly gathering up the crayons before they can be put into use as a Weapon of Mass Destruction and nope! Not fast enough for Little Guy. He snagged the blue and managed to draw a quick line on the table before it was removed for good…

I’m telling ya, dining out with these little people IS a full-contact sport. (Helmets and elbow pads not included).

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

2008, here we are. Most years I’ve got a list of Resolutions longer than my around-the-house to-do list. This year? Not so much. I spent all of 2007 with resolutions, lists, things to change, finding myself, surviving myself, etc. So, 2008 is all about Maintenance. I’m fairly on top of things right now. Thanks to medication, red wine, caffeine, running and dark chocolate (not all at the same time, mind you…though that might be interesting) my children aren’t totally driving me mad and I feel relatively sane. For the moment. And thanks to six months of therapy last year, I, of course, now have ALL the answers, TOTALLY know who I am, and am good to go!

OK, so one Resolution I have (look, I said I wouldn’t make a LIST, I didn’t say that I wouldn’t have ANY) is to get to bed earlier. Easy enough, right? Should be. My job requires me to do things like get up at 5:30 in the morning and run in the rain, then come home, shower, get everyone dressed and fed and out the door to preschool, errands, play dates, ready for music class, ready to do loads of laundry, play Lego’s and John Deeres, etc. It isn’t a hard life, that’s for sure. But it is an at-times hard job and it does start early. I’m committing to my running routine with Andrea and my writing routine. Therefore, I – before all of you – vow to get up MWF at 5:30 (well, I hit the alarm…so 5:40, at the latest) to run and then TTH get up by 6am (gotta “sleep in” a little bit) to work on my award-winning literature. (It’s all about Visualization: if you believe it enough, your dreams CAN come true. Thank you, Oprah and The Secret).

My other Resolution is to ALWAYS trust my Mommy Instincts. So, if you’ll recall our boys were ooberly sick right before Christmas. Zachary had the whole not-being-able-to-catch-his-breath-and-breathe-normally thing going on. If you’ll also recall, I was not convinced that the doctors were really giving me answers and/or explaining clearly what the problem was and what the treatment plan would be. Also, remember, that on one Sunday evening, we called the nurse for help. She informed us that if his breathing was between 50-60 times per minute that we needed to get him to Emergency at Children’s Hospital. At that moment, we counted 44 breaths in a minute. The next morning, at the doctor’s office, however, their accurate machine-dealy counted 52 times in a minute. OK, now you’re refreshed on the details.

SO…this morning at preschool drop-off the one Mom-friend that I’ve made there (Angela) informed me that her little girl, Emma (two months older than Zachary), spent three days at Children’s Hospital because she just couldn’t get a breath, her little lungs and tummy were pumping all the time, she’d cough so hard she’d throw up, she had a fever for days…sound familiar?!!!! THE EXACT SAME THING. Angela, tired of getting the run-around from HER doctors, decided on that SAME Sunday night, to trust her Mommy Instinct and take Emma to the Emergency Room at Children’s. At the hospital, they counted little Emma breathing 45 times per minute (that EXACT same night, we’d counted Zach doing 44…I know I already provided you with the facts, I just need to reiterate, to stress how crazy this is). The doctors took one look at Emma and her stats and said, “She’s staying.” According to the doctor’s at Children’s Hospital, NO kiddo Zachary and Emma’s age should be breathing more than 30 times in one minute. Spending days breathing and working hard, like ZJ and Emma had been, is way too hard for their little bodies. The docs informed Angela, that pumping like that can exhaust their systems so much that they could just eventually up and quit. The lungs, heart, everything/anything could just plain old poop out.

So, to remind you, (yet, again) the morning after we counted 44, at the doc’s office, they counted Zach’s breaths-per-minute at 52. They gave Zach steroids and sent us home, and it just didn’t sit right with me. I just didn’t feel like they were doing enough or…at the very least, not communicating what the problem really was. And now to find out, that Zach was in WORSE shape that morning than Emma had been when they checked into the hospital, that he’d been going through the EXACT same thing and doctors at Children’s Hospital kept her for THREE days to help her with her breathing so that her organs wouldn’t shut down…that we would have seen Angela with Emma in the ER on the SAME night going through the SAME thing (RSV, it turns out/Reactive Airway Disease, etc.)…it’s just nuts to me. To think that we just watched Zach working that hard for days to breathe…thank God he’s a little fighter. Obviously, I’m VERY thankful that we didn’t have to go through the hospital thing, and thankfully, the treatments that we did receive from the doctors worked and Zachary was fine and IS fine. But still!!! Now, I know to ALWAYS trust that Mommy Instinct. And if I’m worried that people are thinking that I’m just One of Those Moms…well, I’ll except that title with pride.