We've moved

Since this blog was active, we moved overseas and back again. Now you can read about the boogers' latest adventures at www.boogersabroad.com.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Christmas in Boogerland

Here's how you know that it's the holiday season in my house:

1. Every morning I've been woken by Mo. "Mom! What number is it today?"

I give him the date and his little feet patter away, sometimes with his brother in tow. I can hear them on the steps and then in the kitchen until he finds the coveted advent calender and the day's new piece of molded chocolate.

2. When I do something to upset Mo - like I make something for dinner that's not mac-n-cheese or I send him to time out - he looks at me and threatens, "I'm telling Santa on you!" Or even better, he warns me that if I'm naughty, I could get "cold" in my stocking.

3. The crash we heard in the living room was Curly knocking over the Christmas tree. We lost a few ornaments, but thankfully the little guy was OK. In fact, I think it scared him into finally understanding why we don't let him play near the glittery, ever-fascinating Christmas tree. He's pretty much left it alone ever since.

4. I kept discovering little finger-sized gouges in the rock-hard frosting of our gingerbread house. Finally, I found a spot on the mantel where the little men can't seem to reach it.

5. Our car rides are filled with "oohs" and "ahhhs" - even if it's the same Christmas lights we've driven by a million times, the boys are continually impressed with any sort of lights display.

In fact, most of what they've experienced so far this season - the advent calender, the decorations, lights, crafts, treats and songs - are nothing short of magical to Curly and Mo. I can only imagine the wonder and joy these next few days will bring.

Happy Holidays from Boogerland!!

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Getting old, sort of

This weekend I turned 33. I don't usually feel old or whine about birthdays, but this one hit me a little stronger than most. I think it's because I remember when I was a kid and my uncle turned 33. And he was a grown-up.

Does that make me a grown-up now too?

Here are a few of those moments where my age has really slapped me in the face lately:

1. Mo, at the ripe old age of 4, asked (seriously) for his own laptop from Santa. He's had a toy laptop since he was 2 and he's sick of me "kicking him off" my own computer when he's trying to play his games on nickjr.com or pbskids.org or watch a streaming Care Bear video from Netflix. I got my first computer (with a modem, what we had before that was basically a word processor) when I was a senior in college. Mo isn't even in kindergarten.

2. My kids hardly ever watch TV in real time. And when we do, Mo often asks me to "freeze it." They're used to watching shows online or DVDs from the library. He doesn't understand why I can't freeze Sesame Street for him when he goes to the bathroom.

3. Mo thinks that Bingo and Candyland are computer games. He learned to play both of them, completely on his own, during his special computer time while I'm putting Curly down for naps.

4. My kids think that going to insanely huge indoor water parks is a normal way to spend the weekend.

5. Mo's been asking a lot of questions about death lately. That could be a whole other blog post. But he asked me if he was going to die. I told him not for a long time, when he's very, very, very, very old. He replied, "Old like Daddy?" My husband is 33.

6. One of Mo's friends saw the crank for my car window and asked "What's that?" She's 6. She had never seen manual car windows before.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Mom's cold computer

Mo: Mom, why's your computer always so cold?

Me: My computer isn't cold.

Mo: Yes, it is. You tell me all the time.

Me: What do I tell you all the time?

Mo: You know, when you turn it on. It's always cold.

Me: Hunh?

Mo: You always tell me to wait for the computer to warm up.

Me: Oh!

Mo: So, why is your computer always cold?

Friday, December 11, 2009

The mystery of the missing tape: Solved

Winter showed up in full force in Boogerland this week. On Tuesday and Wednesday it dumped a foot and a half of snow on us. And then it turned bitter cold (it's -2 as I write this).

Today one of my projects was to put plastic over all the windows to help insulate the house a little better. Mo "helped" me for a while, but he was most interested in using the hair dryer to torture his little brother: "Hey look, Mom, I can give him more curls!"

The boys got bored quickly and went off to play. I could hear them giggling in the bathroom. They love to climb into the large cupboard under the sink (now empty) and "hide" in there with their flashlights.

To put the plastic up, I was using double-sided tape from a kit we used last year. I knew I had a second role but couldn't find it. When the first roll ran out, I took a break and went to check on the boys... and discovered where the tape went.

Mo exclaimed, "Mom! Look! We made a spider web!"

Monday, December 7, 2009

Ah, the smell of the season

The other day at Target, as I was loading my things onto the conveyor belt (or as Mo says, the container belt), I caught a whiff of my garbage bags.

I did a double take.

Sure enough, they were vanilla scented.

I found this hilarious. Still do, actually.

Mo asked me what was so funny. I held up the garbage bags to him. "Smell," I told him.

"Yummy!" he said.

"We bought vanilla garbage bags! No matter how stinky your brother's diapers get, at least we'll know that they're being contained in delicious-smelling bags."

So that was that.

Yesterday we had a rather festive December afternoon. We'd just finished putting up the Christmas decorations. And then it was time to make a gingerbread house and put on some holiday music.

I also decided to turn on my fake candles - with two wild men in the house, I'm too afraid to have an open flame, but I bought some fake candles that look just as pretty in my Christmas candle holders. They even smell nice.

Mo loves looking at the candles and switching them on and off.

In a moment of inspiration, he said to me, "Hey Mom! Guess what? These 'nilla candles smell just as nummy as our garbage bags!"

Ah yes, just as yummy as our garbage bags.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Oh, you better watch out

Mo has a new fascination: Santa Clause.

And what's most interesting to him about Santa isn't the presents. Or the fact that he has flying reindeer or travels up and down chimneys. The big deal for Mo is that Santa's watching him. I think it genuinely creeps him out.

"How does he do it, Mom?" he'll ask out of the blue.


"How does Santa watch me? How does he know if I've been naughty or nice?"

As I was thinking of a good response to that yesterday, he ventured some suggestions.

"Does he have a giant telescope? Or is it some kind of map?"

I envisioned a map like in Harry Potter, where Santa watches what all the little kids are doing at all hours of the day and night.

"You know, Sweetie, I'm not sure how he does it - but I think it's magic."

He nods and thinks some more.

Under his breath, he utters, "Maybe I can trick him."

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Don't mess with Mo

Recently we were loading into the car, heading to a playdate, when one of our neighbors said, "Hello."

Mo (to Neighbor): Do you know where we're going?

Neighbor: Um. To your friend's house?

Mo: Yep! Do you know who it is?


Mo: It's my friend Jackie!

Neighbor: Oh yes, she's a very nice girl.

Me (to Neighbor): Boy.

Neighbor: Right, boy.

Mo: You remember him, right? From Halloween. We went trick-o-treating at your house.

Neighbor: Oh sure, that kid in the funny costume. I remember him.

Mo: Yeah, he was a fire fighter.

Neighbor: That's right, the fire fighter.

Mo folds his arms and turns serious. Then he deadpans:

Mo: He ... was.... Batman.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

The truth about Grandma and Grandpa

At day care the other day, Mo found a small toy grill. This must have triggered a memory from last time we were at my folks' house.

He went to our day care lady, and gravely he said, "Guess what?"

"What?" she asked, thinking he had a big secret to confess.

"My grandma and grandpa EAT DEAD CHICKENS!!"


Saturday, November 28, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving!

On Thursday morning, Mo ran into my bedroom, "Happy Thanksgiving!"

"Happy Thanksgiving to you too, Sweetie," I replied.

"I love Happy Thanksgiving," he said.

"I do, too. Why do you love Thanksgiving?" I asked.

Mo's an outspoken vegetarian, so I was a bit surprised to hear him so excited about a holiday sometimes called Turkey Day. But I thought perhaps he was excited to see our extended family or he liked the idea of giving thanks (the reasons I like Thanksgiving).

"Because, Mom," he explained, "Happy Thanksgiving has candy in it."

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

New York, New York

We just got home from a trip to Upstate New York to visit my husband's family. Overall, it was great trip. With two kids, two car seats, a stroller, a diaper bag, blankies, bottles - oh, and a couple of clothes and toiletries, I was freaked about maneuvering through the airports and connecting flights.

While we may have looked like sherpas, it wasn't bad at all. We balanced the booster on top of the stroller and the giganto car seat upside down on the rolly bag, and we were off.

The plane rides went off without a hitch, even though we had to be up in time for a 6 a.m. departure on the way out there and didn't get in until nearly 11 last night. The boys were too excited and curious about everything to misbehave.

In fact, I think the Booger Boys entertained many a travelers on our way from Point A to Point B and back again.

Mo: Where's the Drink Lady?

Me: The Drink Lady?

Mo: Yeah, the one who gave me water on the first airplane.

Me: They're called Flight Attendants. Call them that, OK?

Mo: OK.

A minute later.

Mo: Mom?

Me: Yeah?

Mo: Do you think they have a Snack Lady on this airplane. Cuz I would really like a Snack Lady.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Boogerland or barfland…

Lest you wonder where we’ve been lately, a nasty stomach bug has been working its way through our family. There isn’t much that I can say about it that’s funny or interesting - but here are a couple things:

1.Where did we catch this nasty tummy bug? I suspect that it was in the crowded doctor’s office, filled with lots of little kids and their parents. We ended up getting two doses of the H1N1 vaccine – plus our special bonus: three cases of the stomach flu.

2. And yesterday, when I felt like death warmed over, I took refuge in the upstairs bathtub. I submerged myself in warm water as much as possible, with my ears under water and my eyes closed.

Imagine my surprise when Mo, who snuck in the bathroom unbeknownst to me, decided to help me out a little by adding some more water to the tub. He simply unscrewed the top off his sippy cup and dumped its entire contents (ice cold water) onto my belly.

I screamed and flailed and scared the kid to death. He kept repeating, “Mom, I was trying to help.” I know he was, but talk about a rude awakening!

I guess the moral for today is that good intentions don’t always pay off.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Mo's funny-ache

Last weekend we went to Mount Olympus in the Wisconsin Dells after I got an awesome deal using their "Make An Offer" feature. It was a last-minute getaway. We did the same thing last year after I found a great deal.

Mo goes crazy for waterparks - and they have an indoor waterpark which is the perfect size for our family - a few big slides, a large kids' area and a lazy river. We tried going to one of the super-sized waterparks with Mo when he was little and it was just too loud and overwhelming.

Mt. Olympus also has an indoor theme park, which has several small carnival rides - again, perfect for a kid Mo's size. And all of this is included with the cost of the hotel room.

Well, since the weather was so nice last weekend, they had some of the rides in their huge outdoor theme park open too - bonus! - so it was like going to Six Flags, and then an indoor carnival, and then a water park. Talk about a lot of excitement in one day. And a lot of junk food.

While we were riding the swings at the outdoor theme park, I asked Mo how he was feeling. He said, "I have a funny-ache." What a perfect way to describe the feeling on a roundy-round ride.

But soon, Mo set his sights on the waterpark. I kept suggesting different "dry" rides before we made the trek back to our rooms to get our swimsuits on. I could tell he was done when he said, "NO!"

"What's wrong, don't you like the rides," Daddy asked.

"This place is just too," he paused and looked around, "too themey for me!"

So we abandoned the theme parks and took the kid to the waterpark, where he went up and down, up and down, up and down the slides a million times. What a day! We had to finally drag him out of there.

On our way to dinner, we found a candy shop and just had to stop. Maybe not our smartest move.

When the kid threw up later that night, we shouldn't have been surprised.

Fast forward to today. I had a doctor's appointment, and to get him to be quiet for two minutes so I could talk to my doc, I gave Mo a sucker from his Halloween candy. As he unwrapped it, he told the doctor, "This weekend, my Mommy gave me too much candy and I throwed up!"

Thanks kid.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Colorful bathtime

I've been pulling out the tricks lately to urge the boys into the bathtub. And I've had some pretty good success with foam soap and fizzy bath tablets.

The foam soap is just fun - it shoots out like silly string and floats on top of the water - oh, and it gets them clean as they play with it.
The fizzers are, umm, interesting. These aren't the rose-scented pastel numbers you're probably used to. I found some that are specially made for kids, made by Crayola. So, I bribed the boys into the tub, opened the container and let them each pick out one.
I look down as every-growing bright yellow puddles started expanding around each of them. Ewww!! (They were mesmerized, of course.)

Since I couldn't bathe them in what looked like pee water, I opened the container again and asked Mo to pick out another pellet. He did, happily.

A minute letter, my heart sank. Dark red streaks filled the tub. Giggling, Mo lifted up his dripping red hands.

I scrambled for the container again. This time, I made sure to give them each a blue pellet!

Still, it looked like dark swamp water. And it's hard to associate that with getting them clean.
When I washed Mo's fine blond hair, I wondered if it might end up with a hint of the dark blue-green. But it didn't.
In the end, they had one of the best baths I can remember - there was no crying, no cajoling, no threatening or whining. Just lots of pretty colors.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Naughty strangers

Curly has a wicked diaper rash/yeast infection right now. Another of those side effects from Hirschsprung Disease. This morning, he was walking funny, he was in such pain. My poor little dear.

So after work today, I let him run around sans diaper. Air out. It's supposed to help.

Of course, Mo had to join in the fun. They ran naked laps around the house for awhile. And then they were just kind of playing and goofing around.

"Whatcha doin?" I asked.

Curly looked at me and gibber jabbered. He's so cute. He talks and talks as if we can understand him.

Mo translated. "We're playing a game. Guess what it is, Mom?"


"We're naughty strangers!" Mo said excitedly.

Curly squealed in agreement.

"Really?' I asked. "And what do naughty strangers do?"

"Well, we run around without pants on," Mo said, pointing out the obvious. "And we go around breaking things! And dumping people's root beer in the sink!"

"Wow, that is pretty naughty," I said.

"Yeah, we know" Mo said, and they both started running and laughing again.

At least it seemed to keep the little guy's mind off his sore boodie.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Playing with dolls

I want my boys to be well-rounded, so I've always bought them toys that are both traditionally "girl toys" and "boys toys." However, they only have a few dolls, because they're so mean to them.

The same baby who spent some time in our fridge, has recently become one of Mo's favorites. Last night at bedtime, Mo relinquished his baby to Curly, but first he outlined a few important rules.

1. No sucking on baby's head.
2. No drooling on baby.
3. No shining a flashlight in baby's eyes.
4. No showing her your butt.
5. No showing her my butt.
6. No showing her butts of any kind.

Once that was established, Mo handed over the doll. And Curly, who's 18 months old and teething, promptly began sucking on her bald, plastic head.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Gymnastic adventures

Mo is a little monkey, so gymnastics class seemed like a no-brainer. However, his first gymnastics class had a dozen kids or more and only two instructors - so they spent most of the time standing in line. And when Mo's bored, he starts looking for trouble. It was a disaster.

So I got him a spot in a very small class with only six kids and two instructors. Unfortunately, the first class was a mess. About once every minute, one of the instructors was getting on his case for not paying attention or doing something he wasn't supposed to. They shouted his name over and over.

Last week he injured his hand and ended up in urgent care. They glued it back together (!) and he's fine - but he missed class.

This week he was worried they wouldn't remember his name. I assured him they would (I think everyone in that gym - kids, parents and instructors will remember him from last time).

I was geared up for another disaster - but he did great. And he was so funny.

Another boy was having trouble sitting on his bottom while waiting for his turn. The teacher kept reminding him over and over. So while Mo was on the mat taking his turn with pre-cartwheels and mini-handstands, the teacher raised her voice, "Sit on your bottom, NOW!"

Mo, who's used to being the troublemaker of the bunch, stopped in the middle of his exercise and sat on his bottom.

Then later the kids were chattering while the teacher was giving instruction. She said, "You will all have a chance to ask questions after I'm done talking."

So when she was done talking, Mo's hand shot up. He asked, "Can I go first?"

She said, "No."

She asked if there were any other questions, and his hand shot up again.

"Where did you learn how to do all this stuff?" he asked, indicating all the gymnastics moves she'd been teaching them.

Finally, she softened a bit and told him the name of her childhood gymnastics instructor. I'm not certain, but I think he may have finally won her over.

Friday, October 30, 2009

More Mo-isms

Holding up a fly swatter to his little buddy, Mo intently explained, "It's called a bug cruncher."

We like a Mexican restaurant called Habeneros. Mo calls it: Bob-in-arrows.

At the grocery store, Mo loves it when we get to the cashier so he can watch the container belt.

And my favorite, he warns me before our walk in the woods, "Don't go off the path, Mom. You might get itchy ivy."

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

The VCR saga continues

Today at the grocery store, I bought Mo his very favorite toy: 79-cent generic brand scotch tape. Then, like most Wednesdays, we stopped at the library.

When we got home, while Mo was busy making tape creations, Curly hit the eject button on the DVD player. Without hesitation, he took Mo's new library DVD (Care Bears) and shoved it into the VCR at an angle that made me question if I could get it out without breaking it.

After much finagling - while Mo was whimpering over my shoulder - I finally rescued the Care Bears.

Mo, just as frustrated with Curly's VCR obsession as I am, asked me if he could tape it shut.

"Sure," I told him. (I love it when they police themselves.)

Well, a minute and a half later, Curly shoved his chubby hands right through the tape barricade, directly into the mouth of the VCR.

So right now residing in the VCR, we have:
  • multiple shreds of sticky tape that I'll probably never be able to retrieve
  • a bendy straw
  • a hot pink, plastic pipe for blowing bubbles

Monday, October 26, 2009

That's an imagination

Today while I was preparing dinner, I heard a thud and then some muffled little boy voices from the living room. Whenever I start making dinner or loading the dishwasher or putting laundry in the dryer, some kind of trouble-making gene kicks in. This is especially true whenever I pick up a phone.

So I pop in the living room to access the damage.

They both look up at me, doe-eyed and sweet as can be.

"What was that?" I asked, scanning for anything broken or out-of-place, since no one appeared hurt.

They both grinned. Obviously, they were up to something.

Finally, Mo the Mouth spoke up, "Mom, it was just your imagination."

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Hmmm, maybe we do need a dog

Since I'm feeling listy, here's another good one.

Things I cleaned off the floor yesterday

1. Bits of crescent roll

2. Fishy crackers

3. Cheeze-its

4. A broken up slice of cheese

5. Mac-n-cheese

* If there was any doubt about where we live, I'm sure you've all figured out by now that we're Wisconsinites, since half my list is cheese ...

6. Bath water

7. Drinking water

8. Applesauce

9. Milk

10. Yo-J

11. A red freezy pop

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Curly's treasures

Here's what I've recently "discovered" inside my VCR. Everytime I see Curley wander in that direction, I assume there's a new little treasure waiting for me.

1. Tinker toys
2. DVDs
3. CDs
4. The remote control
5. Fishy crackers
6. Legos
7. Checkers
8. A plastic fork
9. A small flashlight
10. Something small and blue that I haven't been able to dislodge

Needless to say, the VCR no longer works.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Ziggies piggies revisited

Here's a post from January that I thought would be fun to revisit...

We were driving through the country and I noticed we were coming up on a pig farm with several large smiley face signs. The place was called “Ziggy’s Piggies,” kind of a fun little landmark in the middle of cow pasture.

So I mentioned this to Mo, thinking he would get a kick out of it. He was silent, so I thought he was just taking in the scenery, but when I looked in the back seat his expression was that of horror and disgust as we passed the pig farm.

“What?” I demanded, suddenly concerned.

“Piggies, Mom? Like… feet?”

And then I remembered, just that morning, grabbing his little toes to play, “This little piggy.” Just imagine where his little mind was going, envisioning a piggy farm.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Curly the Climber

Lest you think, based on my recent posts, that Mo's the only one causing trouble here in Boogerland- check out where I found Curly a couple days ago. I think it's pretty evident how he got up there, and what he was going for..

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

The problem with lollipops

I'm not a fan of lollipops. They seem like too much candy in one shot. And not so good for the chompers.

So my strategy when Mo insists on eating a sucker is that I put the timer on. He has to put down the sucker when the timer goes off. If he doesn't, I throw it away immediately. (I might throw it away later, if it gets gunky, but then I'll trash it on the sly so it's not so devestating.)

Well, he's caught on to me.

A couple days ago, he snatched a sucker while I was wishing my friend a happy birthday on the phone. Not wanting him to eat the whole thing just before dinner, I warned, "OK, I'm putting on the timer."

"Great Mom," he said unphased. "When it starts to beep, I'll quick chew up the rest of it real fast."

Yeah, nice.

And then when I duck into the kitchen to put on the timer he yells to me, "Mom? Do we have any ant traps right now?"

"Um, no," I replied. In the springtime we had a bit of an ant problem. I figured that's what he was thinking of. But then I reconsidered.

"Honey, why are you asking about ant traps?" I asked, suddenly remembering how we warn him whenever he spills someone on the floor: Clean it up right away, otherwise we'll get ants. And sure enough...

"I dropped a piece of my sucker on the floor," he says. "If we had ant traps out, then I don't have to pick it up, right?"

Friday, October 9, 2009

Guess what this is: A belt of a different color

Here's what happens when you give a 4-year-old some spending power. Mo got himself a spiffy new bright green "belt." Only it's not actually intended to be worn as a little boy belt.

Can you guess what it really is?

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Just say what you mean, Lady

I think I've mentioned recently how 4-year-olds seem to take everything sooo literally. I've had two recent conversations with Mo where it was abundantly clear that I - without realizing it - totally misled him.

1. Today in the car we saw a beautiful rainbow. It was the most vibrant rainbow I've ever seen in person. Excitedly I exclaimed, "Look boys! Look! A real LIVE rainbow."

Mo has seen rainbows in books and on TV, but I'm not sure that he's ever seen one in person. But he was uncharacteristically quiet about it.

"Do you see it?" I asked.

"Yes, Mom, I see it," he paused. "Does it really talk?"


"Well, you said it was alive," he said.

2. At the grocery store the other day, the boys were getting squirrely, as usual. To keep them busy and out of trouble, I excitedly pointed out the granola bar aisle. We needed granola bars.

"Guess what, Kiddo. I'm going to let you pick out ANY box of granola bars you want!" I gestured expansively over the rows and rows of boxes. "Any one you want, Bud."

Instead of inspecting the ones with bits of Oreos or peanut butter chips, he went right for the high-fiber variety. The ones with like, all your fiber needs for six days, packed into a chocolatey little bar. And he was dead-set on getting that kind.

But, he was right, I did tell him he could have any box. So instead of inciting a tantrum I just threw in a box of his favorite rainbow chip bars and hid his high-fiber selection when we got home. He never noticed.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Mo's love song to Mom

As part of our nighttime routine - after brushing teeth and reading stories - we sing songs.

Tonight, after I finished the first song, Curly started singing gibberish in his little baby voice, so sweet.

When he was done, of course Mo needed a turn, too. I was getting ready for a song about butts or potties or french fried eyeballs. You know, the usual fare. But instead, his song went like this:

Oh, I love you so much Mommy
You are my sweetie pie
I love you more than Daddy does
And, now, good bye
How adorable is that? And it even rhymes! Perhaps we have a future writer on our hands.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Boob tube for the birdies

The concept of reflection is hard to grasp when you're four. (So is sarcasm, but I'll talk about that another day.)

Today was dark and rainy. Cuddled on the couch, Mo and I watched a Rugrats video from the library (until the VCR ate said video, thanks to Curly breaking the VCR with Tinker Toy bits - but again, I digress).

Mo suddenly noticed the reflection of his favorite cartoon in the picture window behind us.

"Mom! Look out there!" he yelled, looking from the real TV to the reflected TV and back again. "It's two TVs! Wow! Two TVs!"

Too tired to explain - because Daddy would have surely given him the entire scientific explanation of light refraction and yada yada yada - I just smiled and said, "Yeah, two TVs."

He grinned back at me and looked out the window some more.

"That's nice, Mommy," he said after a minute. "Now all the animals can watch TV too."

Thursday, October 1, 2009

What happened to the popcorn?

Mo asked for popcorn, his favorite snack. But when the entire bowl disappeared within just a few minutes, I started to get suspicious.

"What happened to the popcorn?" I asked.

"I put it in the garbage truck," he explained. "It needs to get crunched up."

"Your toy garbage truck?" I asked.

"No," he said. "It's my garbage truck. And it really crunches up real garbage!"

Starting to get a little nervous, I asked him to show me. So he did.

Yes, that would be Daddy's recliner. I must say, Mo's pretty creative.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Just another night in Boogerland

So tonight was a typical night in Boogerland.

The boys wanted to "help" clean up, so I let them squirt the Windex and wipe it up with paper towels. A recent favorite activity. Only Mo decided it would be fun to rub his head across the windows, using his hair to mop up the Windex. Who needs paper towel anyway? Curley had to get in on the action, too, of course.

So I hauled them off to the bathtub to de-Windex.

Mo ran ahead of me, stripping along the way, and proceeded to rip all the sheets and blankets off my bed and the guest bed. He prefers to jump (naked) on mattresses that are bare, too, I guess.

Bath time was a four-towel event, as they tried to out-splash each other.

Afterwards, Mo refused to get dressed. Refused to dry off. Refused to re-make the beds. So when Daddy got home, Mo was sitting (wrapped in a towel) in time-out.

"I'm disappointed that you're not behaving for Mom tonight," Dad says.

"How do you know I'm not behaving?" Mo asks.

"Well, I heard you when I was walking up the steps," Dad explains.

Mo gave him a questioning glance.

"Kiddo, I have ears you know," Dad says.

"So? I have ears. Everybody has ears," says Mo.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

I'll take the choking hazard, please

Mo had a great line today. We took the kids to the mall. Seems like every couple feet they have kiosks of candy for a quarter.

So naturally, Mo was begging constantly.

I don't mind if he has a handful of candy, but I knew Curley would be jealous. So I kept trying to steer him toward something he could share with his brother. Like Rasinets or M&Ms. But he kept going for a giant jawbreaker. Or super-big gumball.

Finally, he got frustrated and yelled, "CAN I JUST GET THE CHOKING HAZARD KIND! THE KIND DADDY LET'S ME HAVE?!"

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Tired of sleepytime woos

We're all a little bleary eyed over here in Boogerland.

Last week, Curley began throwing all-out fits at bedtime. Put him in his crib: he'd cry. Hold him: he'd cry. Rock him: he'd cry. Try to give him something to drink: he'd cry. Sing to him: he'd cry.

I've already been planning to transition him to the bottom bunk (with guardrail) as soon as he attempts to climb out of the crib. Since he's being such a fussbucket at bedtime right now, I decided to move up the timeline. He's already crying his head off at bedtime, let's just go with it.

And he has, in fact, slept in the big boy bed for the past five nights. But it ain't been easy.

An article in Parade magazine this week said that on average it takes about 20 minutes for a kid to fall a sleep. But the more inactive time they've had in the day will add minutes on to their fall-asleep time. And the amount of active time subtracts minutes from how long it takes them to fall asleep.

Last night, it took more than two hours before they both fell asleep. Since I'm off work today, I made it my mission to tire out those kids, so we wouldn't have a repeat episode tonight.

We played at the Y. Then on to swim lessons. Then storytime at the library. McDonald's playland. Later we headed to the grocery store. And then had some good runaround time at a park.

And after all that, I still hear some rustling upstairs. But guess who's probably the most tuckered out?

Yes, that would be me.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Mo's one-liners

Here are a few laughs, courtesy of Mo.

1. Mo: "Mom, my mouth hurts. I think I have another canker storm."

2. Me: "Please stop tossing food onto the floor for your brother. He's not a dog."

Mo: "But he likes eating off the floor the best!"

(I can't argue with that.)

3. Mo: "Hi, my name is Mr. Brown."

(Spontaneously quoting a Dr. Seuss book when asked to give his own name.)

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Squirrel attack!

When I was making dinner tonight, the boys started screaming. I ran over to them. They were staring at the back door.

Here's what they saw.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Kix invasion threatens bamboo floors

Mo wanted a snack. I had to go to the bathroom. He held up a new box of Kix cereal, and I said, "Fine."

When Curley figured out that Mo had attained a snack, I could hear him scamper up to his big bro and start whining. And then crying.

From the bathroom I yelled, "Share with your brother, please."

My mistake. Big time. I should have seen this coming.

So you guessed it, Mo did exactly what I asked. Only instead of handing Curley a few little corn puffs, he gave the 1-year-old the entire box.

When Mo was 1, he also dumped an entire box of cereal out. Yeah, I should have known.

From the bathroom, I could hear the sound of hundreds of Kix bouncing and cascading over my bamboo floors.

By the time I could survey the damage, both boys were flicking the cereal, rolling it into every corner of the kitchen and living room. They had a grand ole time, jumping on it and smashing the balls into zillions of tiny crumbs. And, of course, they feasted - filling their mouths with fistful after chubby fistful of melt-in-your-mouth cereal.

It was one of those moments where you just have to laugh. And snap a few pics.

So then I started cleaning it up. Mo, annoyed that he couldn't eat any more cereal, asked for popcorn and I obliged. And - as these things happen - as soon as I cleaned up the Kix, Mo tripped on the rug and dumped his entire bowl of popcorn.

So, I clean up the popcorn - turning once to shoo Curley away as he tried to sneak some Kix directly from the open garbage can.

Finally, or so I thought, I'd cleaned up the mess. Since I'd filled the garbage bag, I lifted it up from the can. And guess what? There was a hole in the garbage bag. A hole that expanded rapidly until all the Kix and all the popcorn spilled right back onto our lovely bamboo floors.

Ah, just another day in Boogerland.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Peanut butter sandwiches and cup-stealing monsters

We've had a really rough week in Boogerland. I'm not going to get into the details right now, but all of us could use some extra snuggles.

So when the boys were both crying after lights-out tonight, I caved in and announced "Peanut butter sandwich!"

No, it wasn't a nighttime snack. That's what we call it when the three of us - or four if Daddy joins us - snuggle together on our big king-sized bed.

There are two rules to peanut butter sandwiching:

1. Keep your head on the pillow. (I can't sneak away - or breathe very well - with two boys draped over me.)
2. NO making noise. (It used to be "No talking," but they would hum and bang things and give each other raspberries - which got them riled up instead of calmed down.)

Well, somewhere in the shuffle of getting Mo down from his bunk bed and Curley from his crib and making the important decision of who was going to be the bread and who would be the peanut butter - we somehow lost Mo's sippy cup of water.

Quite upset, he searched his room high and low.

After several minutes, he appeared in my doorway, shoulders slumped.

"What's wrong? Couldn't find it?" I asked.

He threw up in his arms in frustration. In a very serious, almost reprimanding tone, he says, "See Mom? I told you there was a monster under my bed!"

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Outsmarted (again) by a preschooler

The trouble with time-outs is that Mo is acutely aware that for some mischief, the time-out is totally worth it. I've mentioned how he uses time-out as a stalling technique at bedtime and clean-up time.

But it gets better.

I got hosed!

Mo was recently "watering my plants" or basically, just playing with the hose in the backyard. He knows that he's not supposed to soak me (or anyone else) and the punishment is immediate time-out.

He turned quickly and sprayed me across the legs.

I told him, "OK, that's it. I'm turning off the water."

He knows that's our deal. But the little wheels were turning.

He flicked the hose at me again.

"Time out!" I declared, striding toward the spigot.

Only the spigot was halfway across the backyard from where I was standing. And Mo's no dummy. He knew he was already in time-out.

So the little stinker chased me with the hose the whole way back, as I dashed to the spigot and shut off the water as fast as I could. That kid completely soaked me! I was drenched.

Our neighbor later told my husband it was one of the funniest things he's ever seen.

Sweet revenge
Today I found a long-forgotten square of Ghirardelli chocolate. Mo begged me for it, and I struck another deal: We'll split it.

I explained that when you split something, it's only fair if one person does the splitting and the other picks their half.

He wanted to split the square, but he broke off one piece much smaller than the other.

He looked up at me. Paused for a second. Then popped both pieces in his mouth!

"Hey!" I yelled. "Spit that out in the sink right now!"

He chewed faster.

"If you don't spit that out, you're going in time-out!"

He turned on his heel, and ran right to the time-out spot, chewing all the while.

And he's right. Time-out is totally worth it if it means soaking your mom with a hose and getting the whole square of chocolate to yourself.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Hide and seek

Mo's terrible at hide and seek. Well, at least the hiding part. He giggles and fidgets and sometimes tells you flat-out where he's hiding: "Mom! I'm in the closet!"

But tonight he got really creative.

I could tell he was behind the recliner. But, like always, I loudly pretended to be looking for him elsewhere. As I approached the recliner, he said: "Don't look back here! Worker-guys are busy doing something back here."

("Worker-guys" could be anyone doing a job, like bagging groceries or checking out books at the library - but is most often used to describe construction crew members.)

So I tell him, "Well, I better stay out of the way if there are busy worker-guys back there. I'll try looking in the kitchen instead."

While I'm in the kitchen, going through the motions of searching for him, he yells to me from the living room, "Mom, you got a new statue in the living room."

I walk into the living room and he's standing against the wall, very still. I thought it was so cute and creative to "hide" as himself in statue form. And then, when I tickled that brand-new statue, I magically discovered that it was my son all along.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Bee attack and a Fruitista

One of my scariest moments as a mom happened on Saturday.

It was unseasonably cold, so we were decked out in long-sleeved shirts, jeans, socks and tennies. Lucky for us!

Joined by our good friends, Mo's 4-year-old buddy J. and his mama M., we set out on a nature hike - one of the boys favorite adventures. I pushed Curley in the stroller.

The big boys ran ahead excitedly with M., when they stopped suddenly. I caught up and noticed J. was crying a little and apparently had gotten stung by a bee, just behind his ear. (Ouch!)

Then Mo grabbed his belly and yelled "Ow!" and "Ow!" again.

That's when I noticed the bees swarming around me, too! We all ran in the direction of the cars, the 4-year-olds and moms screaming like crazy people.

I later told my husband that the bees seemed very "sticky" and he replied, "No, they were attacking!" I guess I'm just used to being able to shoo them away and that's that.

They were really going after Mo's jeans, and M. and I had to wipe the bees off him with our hands (and then keep running). At one point the evil little buzzers turned to me and even got stuck in my hair, and I had to pull them out with my fingers. I think I only got one sting in my scalp, but man did that hurt!

Back at the car, the swarm had finally dissipated. I stripped little Mo - and it was cold out there! - and had him jump in the car. Sure enough, when I shook out his clothes, at least two more bees flew out.

Throughout the whole thing, Curley was remarkably calm - I'm sure we were great entertainment! - so we assumed he was spared. Come to find out when we got home and striped him, too, that he had three stings on his belly.

Not sure if he got them during the swarm or later in the car? He did cry a tiny bit on the drive home. And we found a bee in the car when we pulled into our driveway. I bet the neighbors could have heard Mo shriek, my poor little man, when he discovered we brought a bee home with us.

He had the same reaction - screamed - when he found a fly in the house about five minutes later. I killed the fly for him, just for good measure.

Mo, 42 pounds, had eight stings on his belly, back and shoulders. I called the nurseline, and they said to put a baking powder paste on it, give him some Tylenol and watch him carefully. Thankfully, I already knew he's not allergic to bees - since he had a sting when he was two. If I didn't know that, I would have headed straight to urgent care.

He never cried. And he took immense pleasure in calling the bees "stupid" and "dumb" - two words that are usually banned in our house, but I made an exception in this case. I also asked what I could get him to make him feel better and he wanted nachos from Taco Bell. So I got him that and one of those Fruitista drinks - high sugar, frozen drinks that he's only had by the straw-full when his aunt is around.

With the nachos and Fruitista, he was a happy kid again. No more mention of the bees, unless someone asked or brought it up. I was worried about nightmares or a fear of going outside - but no. We spent much of Sunday outdoors and even walked in the woods on Monday.

It was like the entire, traumatic bee attack was erased by a frozen strawberry beverage from the drive-thru.

It just amazes me at how tough my boys are.

If that happened to me as a kid, I bet I'd still be terrified of bees. In fact, after Saturday, I think I am!

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Mommy's education, Part 2

In the back-to-school spirit, I shared some lessons Friday that I've learned from Mo. But I'm learning just as much from Curley.

1. Curley's been through a lot in his little life - surgeries, therapy, meds, IVs, PIC lines, shots. I'm not sure if it's because of this or if it's just his personality, but Curley very rarely cries when he falls down. I once saw him barrel right into the corner of an table - it hit him right between the eyes and knocked him flat on his back. He rolled onto his belly and crawled away, on to the next thing.

Don't let anything slow you down. If you fall, get right back up.

2. When he feels like being sociable, Curely likes to wave and say, "Hi." And it doesn't matter if you're emptying garbage cans or working behind a register or rushing your kids to day care. He says "Hi" to everyone. In fact, it sometimes catches strangers off guard, and Mo's taken to explaining, "We have a very friendly baby."

Be kind to everyone, including people you've never met and may never see again.

3. Part of the joy of little kids is how easy it is to make them happy. Rolling down a hill, throwing sticks in the water or petting a dog constitute major excitement. They truly stop and smell the roses. Happiness for Curley is a cup of milk, a soft blanket and a hug from Mom.

Savor the simple pleasures and countless wonders that surround us every day.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Mommy's education, Part 1

With all the back-to-school frenzy around me, I've been worrying a little about getting Mo ready for kindergarten. He's got a full year before that happens, but he doesn't yet know how to write his name. And we need to work on sitting still, paying attention and taking turns.

As I've been exploring different ways to teach him all the many things they are supposed to know before kindergarten - it occurs to me that I'm learning just as much from him. Or maybe even more.

So let me share some lessons from Mo.

1. A couple days ago we were playing at a park overlooking a lake. We threw rocks into the water, and he took his shoes and socks off and shuffled in just a little past his ankles. Then he slipped and fell. Shorts, shirt, totally soaked. I didn't have a change of clothes or a towel or anything. But he just got up, looked at me, unconcerned, and said:

It's OK. The sun will dry me off, Mom.

2. This morning I brought down clothes for both kids and put them on the couch. Mo unfolded both his and Curley's socks, and decided to wear one of each. Red-and-white stripes on one foot, navy on the other. He told me:

They don't have to match. They work fine just like this.

3. And the lesson that he preaches to me over and over, when he's climbing the furniture, making elaborate forts, trying to give his brother a ride of some sort or lobbying for another snack:

Don't worry, Mom. Everything will be OK.

Coming up next: Lessons from Curley.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Nearly wordless Wednesday

Can a toy blender pop a balloon?

Answer: No.

Well, at least not without the help of a sharp thumbnail.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

10 telltale signs you're a mama

Find my latest post on the Wisconsin State Journal site. And check out some of the comments - yikes!

Friday, August 21, 2009

Some things even Mommy can't take away

We limit Mo's special treats when he's misbehaving.

For example, throw a tantrum, forget going to the park. He can't have dessert unless he eats his dinner. If he refuses to share a toy with Curly, then I take it away and no one can play with it.

So for several months, if not longer, we've been trying to emphasize to Mo that his actions have consequences.

Well, tonight at the grocery story, he was terrible. Ever since we walked in the store and they didn't have any car-shaped grocery carts, he was a total crab. Pulling things off the shelves. Ignoring me. Sitting down in the middle of the aisle and fake crying.

It was the kind of experience you might refer to as "birth control."

When we (finally!) got to the car and started driving away, I began talking to Mo about how very disappointed I was with his behavior.

Since he's so used to me taking away privileges when he misbehaves, I'm sure he immediately started thinking about what fun things we have planned in the near future.

He gasped.

And then his tiny little voice asks me, "Mom?"


"Do I still get to turn four tomorrow?"

It was exactly the comic relief I needed right then. Happy Birthday, little man.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Seesaws and false advertising

I was driving with the boys yesterday. As we approached a neighborhood park, "the blue park," Mo sighs loudly from the backseat.



"There's no seesaw at the blue park!" he says definitively.

I nod in agreement. "Yes, Honey, I know." Trying to follow his train of thought, I added, "They don't have a fire pole either." Because right now, he just loves fire poles.

"But MOM!" he says, getting angry.


"The sign says there's a seesaw at that park. And I KNOW there's not a seesaw at the blue park!" he fumed.

Confused and trying to placate him, I simply agreed. "OK. You're right." And then I quickly changed the subject.

But on the drive back home, I figured it out. And I realized I should have taken little Mo a bit more seriously. He's a smart little bugger. And a very deep thinker.

About a block before the park - the blue park that contains absolutely NO seesaw - here's what I saw, what Mo must have seen, too:

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Livin' life - just on a smaller scale

My post today is on the Wisconsin State Journal mommy blog.

Your comments are welcome and much appreciated :)

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Dollies beware!

Dollies have a rather morbid history in our house. A couple months ago I wrote about one unfortunate incident, which I called "Frozen Cabbage."

Well, yesterday we took a nice walk and stopped by a few garage sales along the way. The boys latched on to a toy roller coaster and Ferris wheel that came with four little dolls and two cars. For three bucks, it was an easy sale.

They've been playing with it ever since we got home. At first they ignored the dolls and just zoomed the cars up and down the roller coaster tracks.

Then Mo thought it would be funny to force a dolly to ride the roller coaster backwards.

Then he threw a couple dollies on the track and yelled, "Oh no! Don't hit the sleeping babies on the tracks!"

Then his attention turned to the Ferris wheel. But instead of giving the dolls a nice ride, he decided to hang them upside down by their feet.

Yeah. Now I remember why we don't have more dollies around our house.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009


So, last week I told ya about our brand new bamboo floors. In those seven days since they've been installed, we've really done our part to initiate them into our family. (Welcome to Boogerland, sucker!)

In a mere week, the floors:

  • Were peed on twice by Curly.

  • Began sporting a mysterious gooey, gummy substance that you have to pick off with a fingernail.

  • Were stamped - as in by an ink stamper, held by a certain 1-year-old who opened a cupboard, dug out a box and pulled out a tiny drawer in order to find said stamper.

  • Were beaten, exactly twice, by Mo yielding a metal ice cream scooper.

  • And this morning, Curly threw up all over them. (Not because he's sick, but because he took a large bite out of some sidewalk chalk and chewed it up - which apparently, can cause a vomiting reaction.)

Also on the floor front, we discovered water in our basement this weekend. Turns out when you flush the downstairs toilet, a gush of water spews across our basement storage room. Apparently the floor guys didn't put the potty back correctly.

They're coming to fix it tomorrow.

Never a dull moment, right?

Monday, August 10, 2009

Discipline attempt #405

Find my post for today in the Wisconsin State Journal's mom blog.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

More pick-up lines from Mo

We had our friend B. over for dinner this weekend. She's cute and single, so not surprisingly, 4-year-old Mo was ready with his pick-up lines.

He started out strong.

Cuddling up to her, he commented, "You're very soft!"

He then got even bolder.

"I love you."

And later it was, "I love you the best!"

But then he crashed. Lost all his positive momentum. Let himself be seen as the little boy he truly is.

Attempting to impress her, he exclaimed, "Hey, guess what? I just tooted on my hand!"

Friday, August 7, 2009

Impressionable child both green and clean

I had a surreal experience at the grocery store today with the boys.

Mo, who can't even write his own name, walked right up to the Green Works brand of house-cleaner and says, "This is Green Works. How about we buy some and bring it home."

I stared. We've never used this brand, and I've never even really noticed it.

"How did you know that was called Green Works?"

He shrugged.

I tried to remember if our day care lady uses the stuff.

"Seriously, how did you know that was Green Works?"

"I just read it, Mom."

Slightly puzzled, I continued our shopping adventure. And then on the drive home, again, he asked, "Mom, why didn't we get any Green Works."

"Well, we have other cleaners at home. And they're environmentally friendly, so don't worry."

He sighs. "But Mom, Green Works disappears the stains off your counters. And they have Green Works wipes."

My gosh. Maybe he learned to read overnight.

And then he clued me in:

"I learned all about it on TV, Mom."

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

(Nearly) Wordless Wednesday: Bamboo-zeled

The good thing about brand-new bamboo floors: They look amazing.

The bad thing about brand-new bamboo floors: Now we need to paint. And get new furniture.

Monday, August 3, 2009

Story time and other tortuous pursuits

Check out my first blog for the Wisconsin State Journal: Story time and other tortuous pursuits.

I also just noticed this is my 100th post for Better Than Boogers. Wow!

Friday, July 31, 2009

We're movin' on up!!

Watch out Wisconsin, you're about to get invaded by Boogerland!

A couple weeks ago, I gathered up my courage and contacted an editor at the Wisconsin State Journal to see if they'd be interested in signing up another writer for their mom blog. And to my (pleasant) surprise, they agreed to post some stories about my two little wild men and our adventures in Boogerland. Turns out, their writers only have girls, so they were looking to add some diversity.

Each time I post on the WSJ site, I'll also provide the link here. To give you a sneak preview, my first post will appear tomorrow (Monday), called "Storytime and other tortuous pursuits."

Show your support by contributing your clicks and comments.

What can a 3-year-old destroy in under 5 minutes?

The answer: His room.

While I was talking to my mom on the phone last night and fetching a bottle for Curly, Mo went up to play in his room. Well, I thought he was playing. I heard a couple clunks but here in Boogerland, I'm more nervous if they're quiet. Noise is normal. Noise is good.

But then, when I heard what distinctly sounded like Curly's crib being knocked over, I went to check on him. I knew it was a bad sign when I couldn't open the door because the nightstand had been pulled in front of it.

You see, Mo just realized a couple days ago that he could move our couch. It was like an epiphany for him. I can move furniture! All by myself!

So apparently he decided to give his new skill a try and just went nuts in his room. And it's not like he was angry or trying to cause damage. I was more like, hey, I bet I can take all the books out of my bookshelf and then move the bookshelf onto my bed. And then move my nightstand in front of the door. And knock over my brother's crib.
In fact, I think he was quite proud of himself.

Lately I've been referring to my little guy as the Destroyer. But Mo made it clear that he's the real Destroyer, if he puts his mind to it.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Beware the depressing polar bear cartoon

If Mo doesn't get nightmares from our latest "children's video" than perhaps I will.

Our reward for braving story time at the library is getting to check out two movies for the week. This morning I grabbed a beautifully illustrated show called, "The Boy Who Wanted to be a Bear." Sounds lovely, doesn't it?

Typical of our routine, the boys got home and excitedly turned on their show - leaving me a few uninterrupted minutes to make lunch. Everything seemed fine, until Mo shouted to me, "Mom, come here! It's scary!"

I'm thinking, "Sure kid, how scary can the polar bear cartoon really be? You just want my attention." But I told him I'd be there in a minute.

Well, a few seconds later, he says, "No Mom! Now!" And this time, I could tell there was real fear in his voice. I came quickly.

Sitting beside him on the couch, we watched a harrowing cartoon scene where a polar bear watches a young mother leave her home to fetch some water. He then sneaks in the house and snatches her baby. The mother catches him in the act, freaks out and tries to attack him. The bear knocks her out cold and runs off with the baby. She wakes up and runs after him, though he's got a head start and runs much faster. Eventually she realizes she'll never catch him. She yells at him repeatedly to give back her baby and finally collapses, howling like - well, like a mother who's had her infant stolen by a bear.

OK, this is a G-rated movie. The back of the movie says it's won four children's film awards. This movie was mixed in with Elmo and Dora and Bob the Builder.

Later I watched the opening scenes of the movie, which the boys had seen without me. It involved two polar bears getting chased by wolves and the mama bear falling off a cliff. She survives but delivers a stillborn baby bear - and they even show his listless little body and the mama bear burying him. It's done well - watching these polar bear parents mourn their loss is just heartbreaking. And also way too heavy for little kids (or their mamas).

Or tell me, am I just being overly sensitive here?

Either way, I sure learned a lesson about monitoring what my kids are watching!

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

A morning of Mo-isms

Mo was on a roll Sunday morning.

We we are all - and I mean all four of us - snuggled in our bed around 6 a.m. Somehow, the little ones always end up cuddled up next to us in the morning. But I'm not complaining. Mama needs her cuddle time.

Curly usually just curls up next to me and falls back asleep. But Sunday he was crabbing. Climbed up and sat on my belly, flailing his arms and making angry faces. Most have woken up on the sourpuss side of the bed.

I didn't say a word. But Mo looks at him sternly, and says very adult-like, "Hey Baby Brother, I don't like that yucky attitude."

He got Curly to laugh a little, after giving him some raspberries (as in blowing on his skin, not the seedy red berry). Then Mo opens up the blanket and offers, "Hey little Baby, come into my hug jar. I'll give you some cuddles."

He's such a sweet big brother! Too bad Curly just wanted to get down and pull out the contents of my bathroom drawers.

And then Mo had another great line later that morning when we were on the way to Farm-N-Fleet.

He says: "Are we almost at the Farmer Feet?"

Monday, July 27, 2009

Destroyer Baby takes on kitchen

Curly loves emptying shelves, drawers and cupboards. And I'm OK with that. As long as he's messing with "his" stuff - like the Tupperware, the dishtowels, his toys.

I've arranged the pantry so the stuff that he can dump out and make a mess with - like cereal boxes and rice - are on the top shelves. I don't care if he rolls the cans of black beans or takes every packet of microwave popcorn out of the box. That's how babies learn, right?

I thought the granola bars were pretty safe. Pull them out of the box, put them back in, pull them out again. That's like, three whole minutes of entertainment. And there's no way he can rip open one of the wrappers.

Or so I thought.

Not only did he open the granola bar - just bit right through the wrapper, yum! - but he also ran around the whole kitchen, littering specs of wholesome crunchies in every corner and crevice.

Destroyer Baby wins again!

Friday, July 24, 2009

Curly's pull-thru experience

I'm following the stories of two Facebook friends who's little ones just had their pull-thrus for Hirschsprung Disease. It brings back a rush of memories from Curly's pull-thru, just over a year ago.

I wasn't blogging then, so I want to capture that experience for the record. I hope I don't come off as complaining, but - well, last night I saw "A Comedy of Errors" - and that keeps popping into my mind when I think of Curly's last surgery. Though maybe "comedy" isn't the right word.

No room for you!
When we checked into the hospital, I got a blank stare when I gave Curly's name. I gave the name of his surgeon and PAs, and they started making phone calls.

For an hour, Curly and I sat in the lobby while the receptionist clicked away at her computer and made more phone calls. I just kept thinking about how much we'd been looking forward to this day, to finally get this surgery over and done with. And how my wonderful mother-in-law had taken off from work and driven 3.5 hours to care for Mo, and how Daddy had also taken off from work. Plus my maternity leave was just about to end, and if we had to reschedule, I'd have to work something out with my employer too.

And then suddenly, the receptionist came over with our room number and directions on how to check-in.

No insurance for you!
So we got settled into the room. They brought in a crib and hospital jammies for Curly. And we waited for his IV and NG tube to get put in.

And we waited. And waited some more.

Finally, a resident came in and told us that they weren't going to do an IV or NG tube because our insurance was saying we weren't covered (!) and we'd need to resolve that issue before they did anything invasive to Curly.

Here's the thing with insurance for babies. It can take a long time to get their ID cards. Think about it, they need to get Social Security numbers issued first. At the same time, the health insurers don't want to recognize coverage without an ID card. This is why we got an $80,000 bill in the mail for Curly's NICU stay (and that was only the first bill)!

So I make some frantic phone calls. Luckily, I have a great Benefits Department at work who knew my situation. We got it cleared up. Curly got his IV (that would be his 28th IV, yes, I was counting) and NG tube. Bowel prep ensued.

No surgery for you!
Curly was scheduled for surgery at 7 a.m. on a Thursday. At least, that's what we thought. So he went through the bowel prep Wednesday and Thursday morning, which meant nothing to eat and IV meds to flush his bowels. And then we waited. And waited. And waited. The entire day.

In the early evening, we got a visit from our very apologetic surgeon. Because of a scheduling issue, Curly wouldn't get his surgery until the next day - Friday, at 9 a.m. This scheduling glitch explained why they weren't ready for us when we checked in, and why our insurance wasn't prequalified. The surgeon had been expecting us; the hospital and operating room were not.

So we fed Curly twice, and then started with the bowel prep all over again. (Poor baby.)

And finally...
Finally at noon Friday, Curly went in for surgery. We expected a 4-hour procedure. The surgeon wanted to just do the pull-thru and leave in the colostomy for a while to let the pull-thru heal. He expected that he'd be able to do it laparoscopically.

After the 4 hours passed, we got a call that something had changed. When they put me on the phone directly with the surgeon who was still in the operating room, my heart almost stopped I was so scared. He explained that the pathology showed Curly had a longer segment of non-functioning colon than the earlier labs had detected. That meant he had to take down the ostomy in order to do the pull-thu. He also had to cut his belly wide open.

What started as a 4-hour procedure took 7.5 hours.

Happily ever after
But here's the thing. After all the chaos, Curly's surgery went great - plus, he didn't have to endure a whole third surgery, because they took the osotmy down with the pull-thru. And another unexpected bonus: no more colostomy bags!

His recovery was painful but, thankfully, it went fast.

We celebrated his first poopy diaper a couple days later. He ate and grew like a champ. It's never as simple and perfect as you hope (7 months of anal dilations, 6 bowel infections), but I'd still classify Curly's post-surgery experience as "happily ever after."

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Killer pumpkins take over garden

It started innocently enough. A couple years ago, shortly after Halloween, we put our moldy old pumpkins in the garden to compost.
Last year, amidst our tomatoes and lettuce, we discovered a squash vine. It took us a few weeks to connect this intruder with our mushy Jack-O-Lanterns from the year before.

That renegade vine yielded two cute little pumpkins. Perfect. One for each of our cute little pumpkins, Mo and Curly.

So last year, around the time we were packing up Mo's garbage truck costume and pulling the fake cobwebs from our shrubs, we put another batch of molding pumpkins to rest in our meager backyard garden.

This spring I planted basil, parsley and broccoli. I found it oh-so-cute to discover not just one but a few little pumpkin vines in the corners of the garden.

But then they grew. And grew. And grew.

They snaked their way through the basil. Mowed right over the parsley. And my broccoli? Choked to death!

This year, we don't have a garden, we have an all out pumpkin patch. And if every one of those bright orange blossoms turns into a pumpkin, we might just open a road-side stand. So much for selling lemonade, guys, we're hawking pumpkins this year!

Check it out:

Monday, July 20, 2009

A 3-year-old in love

Yesterday a good friend of mine joined us for dinner. Staring directly into her chest, Mo professed, "You're so beautiful!"

Nice, hunh?

Later, when it was bed time, he asked her: "Can you come upstairs and sleep with me? Or at least chase me around the room and pretend to be a monster?"

Daddy, suppressing a laugh, whispered to me, "You got to admit, he comes up with some pretty good lines."

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Dentist Man, take me away!

Yesterday I had some dental work done. Ahhhh. It was quite nice.

Am I nuts?

Well, yeah, a little nuts.

But my dentist assured me that mothers with young children, like yours truly, are the patients who most enjoy going to the dentist. Yes, I said "enjoy" and "dentist" in the same sentence.

The prodding and drilling aside, you get to lay down with your feet up in a comfy chair, in the middle of the day. You can close your eyes and listen to music. All you have to do is keep your mouth open. You don't have to chase a toddler who's learned to take his own diaper off. You don't have scrub marker off the walls or sanitize sticky fingers. Or feed, clothe or bathe anyone.

Sure, it's not like getting a spa pedicure and facial. But those things could be seen as self-indulgent and expensive. Getting your teeth cleaned is necessary and responsible, and likely covered by your insurance. What I'm saying is, it's guilt-free. A totally free pass to lay down with your feet up in the middle of the day.

Since a lot of you readers out there are also parents of young children, I'd like you to weigh in. Am I crazy? Or do you like going to the dentist these days, too?

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Drains, trash and porta-potties - OH my!

When Mo was 2, we took him to Montreal. We found these beautiful botanical gardens, and all he wanted to do was look down into the drain grating to stare at storm water runoff and bits of debris. I kid you not - he just ran from drain to drain, completely enthralled.

The other tourists found him adorable and hilarious. And we did, too -- the first 27 times. Then it would have been nice to move on to something like, say, the beautiful gardens we'll probably never get to see again.

And then there's the trash-and-toilet stage Curly's in right now. We've had to lock up our kitchen garbage can and put the diaper pail beyond the baby gate. It's like he physically can't stop himself from going through garbage when it's anywhere in sight. Just like he can't refrain from splashing in the potty or throwing his bottle (or other goodies) in the toilet bowl.

If that weren't gross enough - Mo is suddenly enthralled with porta-potties. Not just curious or interested - he's mesmerized! In order to get him to behave the other day, I found myself offering as a Big Reward, "I'll let you look inside the porta-potty at the park today." And bam, that got him to behave.

We went to the Concert on the Square last week and to the Bastille Day "Fete De Marquette" festival on Saturday. The highlights for Mo? You guessed it, the porta-potties.

You should hear the excitement in his voice when he recaps: "We played, had a picnic and listened to music. And GUESS WHAT? They had porta-potties there! A whole row of them! They even had an outside sink next to the porta-potties - it was soooooo COOL! I just love porta-potties. You know, my Mom let's me look in the porta-potty by the park sometimes."

Oh, life with little boys. Need I say more?

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Five signs of summer (in Boogerland)

It must be summer because:

1. The munchkins' bathwater is even darker than usual.

2. Every time I go by the back door, I catch the lingering scent of bug spray and sunscreen.

3. The (current) layer of goo on our kitchen floor is from lemonade and freezy pops.

4. One of Daddy's tires is blue. Oops! Guess we forgot to put away the blue piece of sidewalk chalk.

5. Our feet are striped with tan lines - though Mo's actually sporting polka dots from his Crocs.

Monday, July 13, 2009

"I'm sorry, Officer, it won't happen again!"

We were visited tonight by a police officer. Yikes!

What was the crime?

It started off so innocently. At day care pickup someone commented that Mo didn't know his phone number yet. So I started singing our phone number to him over dinner. For some reason, he didn't like that one bit. Didn't want to play along.

So then I told him, "There's another important number I want to teach you, too. It's 9-1-1."

"9-9-1," he says.


"9-9-1-1," he says.


"9-1-9-1," he nods.

I sighed and decided to work on that one another day, too.

So fast forward an hour. Daddy calls to say he's on his way home. Mo is saying goodbye to Daddy, when Curley grabs the phone and runs off with it, giggling the whole way. I click the phone to "off," but he howls as I attempt to pull it from his chubby little fingers. So I let him have it.

He toddles off to one of his favorite spots: behind the couch. I peek over. He's dialling 3-3-3-3-3-3.

OK, no harm done. I step away for a minute.

Then I hear two giggling boys behind the couch. And suddenly the phone rings.

"This is 9-1-1, what's you're emergency?"

My heart sinks. I tell them how sorry I am, like a million times. They ask if we are in need of any ambulance, fire service, police. I say, "NO!"

I then realize that Curley is screaming his guts out in the background. I tell you, that kid did not want to give up his precious phone! And I'm thinking, this probably doesn't sound too good to the 9-1-1 operator. I felt obligated to explain, "That's my 1-year-old screaming. He's just mad that I took the phone away from him."

Soon after, the doorbell rings. Yep, there's a nice officer on my doorstep, asking if we're all OK. I drag Mo up to the door so he can see exactly what happens when you dial 9-1-1.

Later he also got some talking to from Daddy and I, and some quizzing about what constitutes an emergency. In retrospect, I should have given him that lecture long before I even uttered the numbers 9-1-1 within earshot of that kid.

Friday, July 10, 2009

The Little Things: Mo's lesson for the day

On my days “home” with the boys, we’re often bouncing all over the place. Park. Library. Olbrich Gardens. Farmer’s market. The zoo. There’s the less-glamorous stuff, too, like the post office and grocery store.

It drives me nuts to be home for an entire day. I need to move around, even if it’s just a walk to the park. And since I got two little wild men at my heels, it makes sense to me to keep on moving.

On one particular day, we hit the YMCA, story time at the library, McDonald's play land, the car wash, grocery store and a neighborhood park. When Daddy got home, I recapped our day.

“Boy, you were busy!” He turns to Mo. “So kiddo, what was your favorite part?”

He thought hard. He’s a thinker, you know.

I was sure it would be the car wash or park. Maybe the Y.


“It was riding my scooter with Mom!” he said.

I had to think for a minute. And then I remembered that when we got home from the park, I took him down the driveway a couple times on his scooter. He hooted with delight. And then we moved on to the next thing: making dinner and tidying up the house.

The fact that our little scooter ride meant so much to him was really touching. And it was a great reminder for me that, while it’s sometimes fun to haul them all over the place in search of exciting things to do, sometimes the best, most meaningful moments are the unplanned little things.

A good lesson for the day, courtesy of a 3-year-old.

Oregano with a twist

Mo and I were grinding some herbs this morning.

Ur. Perhaps I should give a little back story. Oregano plants - or more like bushes - took over our side-yard. (And pumpkins overtook our garden, but that's a story for another day.) So my husband recently leveled Oregano-Land and dried it. Next step: crunch it up.

Yes, it would take like 2 seconds in the food processor. But Mo loves the little hand-grinder. And Curley was sound asleep. So Mo and I spent some time this morning crunching up oregano.

He was "playing" so nicely that I decided to make a quick call for work, while I had a spare moment. I noticed him get up at one point and then return to the grinding, but I didn't think much of it.

But then, upon closer inspection, I realized he got out the sprinkles (red container in pic). You know, the little itty bitty balls, I think they're called nonpareils. I figured, oh, he must be eating them. But no.

He mixed them in with the ground oregano.

He looks at me, eyes gleaming, "Isn't it pretty Mom?"

I gulped, "Just ask me next time before you get out the sprinkles, OK?"

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Mo's deep thought for the day

If you follow this blog, you already know that my 3-year-old, Mo, is a deep thinker. For example:
  • He explained his brother's colostomy as a "belly button where poop comes out."
  • He purposely gets into time-out just before clean-up time or bedtime.
  • He describes holding his urine as "having a stopper in my penis."

So here's a recent Deep Though of the Day.

It started, like many of our conversations, with a question.



"Why do you say that same thing if you're trying to say 'Get outta my way' or if you're saying 'I just tooted?'"


"If you want someone to get out of the way, you say, 'Excuse me.' And if you just tooted, you say, 'Excuse me.'"

"Um, I guess you're right."

I guess I could have explained that "Excuse me" is a polite way of saying, "I'm sorry." But I only know that a flood of other questions would come pouring down - Why should I be sorry that I tooted, everybody toots? Why should I be sorry that he was in my way?

Instead, I just congratulated him for being such a savvy guy.

And I can't wait to hear what questions are coming for me next!

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

I love you THAT much

Mo inspired the name of this blog when he told me he loved me "better than boogers."

He recently picked up with the "I love you more thans" again.

First it was, "I love you more than mud."

And then he decided, "Mom, I love you more than Daddy loves you."

Not sure what gave him this idea. Or if it's a little bit of that male competitiveness coming out. So I tried to explain to him, "Honey, Daddy loves me very much. I know you love me, too. And that's just fine."

"Mom, I know Daddy loves you, too. I just love you more." He paused to think about it. "WAY more."

I laughed. "I know you love me a lot. I love you too. And Daddy loves both of us a lot."

He shook his head. He wasn't about to give in. In fact, I could tell he was getting frustrated by my attempts to change his mind.

Finally, he explained. "Mom, I love you thirteen hundred eleventeen million." He paused to make sure I was listening. "Daddy only loves you six."

Not sure how to respond to that, I decided to drop it.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Introducing Curly and Mo

When does a baby stop being a baby?

When I started this blog, I called my older son, "My Toddler" and my younger son "Babycakes." But these days, Babycakes is the toddler-like one, walking, talking, running, climbing, drinking from a sippy cup. And my almost-4 year old could use a better nickname, too.

So they are now officially dubbed "Curly" and "Mo."

My little guy has developed the most beautiful little curls. It makes me afraid to cut his hair - will those curls really come back? His ringlets also seem to convince quite a lot of strangers that he's a girl.

Can't boys have curly hair?

So IRL I've taken to calling him "Curly," which gave me the idea to change his blog name too. That said, he's still, and will always be my Baby.

Mo isn't that far off from Big Brother's real name.

So there you have it. Curly is my toddling, drooling and sweet-as-pie 14-month old. Mo is my too-smart-for-his-own-good, 4-year-old funnyman.

Stay tuned to hear all about their latest adventures.

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Meet my brother

Since I've been on a roll with all the funny things that have been coming out of my almost-4 year old's mouth, here's another good one.

We were recently at a gathering with several other preschoolers. I had Babycakes along, too. Some of the preschoolers - namely, those who don't have their own baby brother or sister at home - showed a strong interest in my little curly-headed 1-year-old.

Big Brother beamed with pride over this attention. He puffed up a little, and said by way of introduction, "That's my Baby Brother." Shrugging his shoulders and nodding his head in the direction of Babycakes, he added, "You can pet him if you want."

Monday, June 29, 2009

That's one way to serve salad

We have lettuce of every variety coming out of our ears these days. Each year we buy a CSA farm share where were get a box of in-season organic veggies from a local farm every week from June through October. And the last two weeks it's been lettuce, lettuce, everywhere.

So I'm serving salad with every meal. Usually for my preschooler I leave it plain or maybe put on a couple drops of ranch dressing.

Yesterday at lunch I decided to use a little of the aged balsamic and fancy olive oil that we picked up on vacation. (Yes, it was from the store that didn't allow strollers.)

What was the reaction from our almost-4 year old?

He took a bite and his eyes got wide. He jumped up, ran to me and tugged at my shirt with genuine concern in his sweet little face.

"Mom," he gasped, "There's poison in the salad!"

Saturday, June 27, 2009

High-tech tricycle

Since a friend is turning 4 tomorrow, my preschooler accompanied me to pick out a gift today. Through aisles of action figures, trucks, Legos and bubble-blowers, he was surprisingly well-behaved. If he did ask, "Mom, can I bring that home for me?" I explained that it was his buddy's birthday. His own birthday isn't for another couple months.

And I was pleased that he didn't put up much of a fuss.

That is, until we hit the check-out line.

Suddenly, he had to have this mini, travel-size Etch A Sketch. Considering his previous good behavior today, I relented. Plus it was only three bucks.

The whole way home he stared at it, turning the knobs ever so slightly. As we pulled into our street, he suddenly piped up, "Hey! We're almost home!"

I thought, OK, so he recognized this is our street.

Then when we got home, he ran for his tricycle, balanced the Etch A Sketch on the handlebars, and ever-so-carefully practiced doing laps around the house. Still I didn't think too much of it.

But soon after, Babycakes knocked the Etch A Sketch off the trike. Fists clenched, my son turn to his baby brother and yelled, "You're not allowed to play with my GPS!"

Thursday, June 25, 2009

The quaint, the kid-friendly and the commercial

The Griswalds are home from vacation. (Thus my recent lack of posts.)

And perhaps I should rephrase that first sentence. I'm not sure if the word "vacation" is entirely appropriate when taking a long car trip with two small children. Especially when that car trip involves a Toyota Corolla (we're too cheap for a sedan, much less an SUV or minivan) and the glaring lack of a portable DVD player.

So we helped boost the Wisconsin tourism industry. And from the lack of crowds, I think it needed a little boost. We hit two of the major Sconie hot spots: the Wisconsin Dells and Door County.

The Dells

So I'll be honest. I'm a snob when it comes to the Dells. In summertime, I avoid the place like the plague. If we go at all, it's wintertime when you can find amazing last-minute deals to play in 80-degree indoor waterparks while there's a blizzard outside. Plus you avoid the masses of out-of-state tourists.

But last weekend some of those tourists happened to be my husband's family, in town for his nephew's baseball tournament - so we trekked up to the Dells. And we all had an absolute blast water-parking with Grandma and the cousins.

Just about everything was kid-friendly, from in-room pizza delivery to kid-sized patio furniture, to drive-thrus and convenience stores on every corner, to the fun-to-look at gaudiness everywhere you looked. Everything's entertaining in the Dells. And the kids burn so much energy at the waterparks that they're too exhausted to act up - and there's little fuss at bedtime.

Door County

I love Door County. I've been going every year since I was 14. It's quaint and charming, with homegrown cherries, friendly shopkeepers and melt-in-your-mouth fudge.

Excitement in Door County is watching the sunset with an ice cream cone. It's an afternoon on the golf course or a bike ride through the lakeside trails at Peninsula State Park. You'll find nary a drive-thru. But there are endless little stores to explore and fish boils and supper clubs.

But I'm sad to report that the place is much less inviting when you've got two little wild men at your hip. A leisurely dinner can be excruciating. Shops with antiques, art or glassware can be migraine-inducing. One store, billing itself an "olive oil bar," had large signs on the front door forbidding strollers and anyone under the age of 13. If it weren't for my lovely parents, who met us up there and helped watch the kids, we probably wouldn't have ventured much beyond our resort.

I don't mean to trash Door County. I still love it there, and we certainly came across pockets of kid-friendliness. But bottom line: With kids, the Dells is the place to go.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Umbrella table bites the dust

Here's why you should never leave the umbrella in your umbrella table when you're not using it. Lesson learned.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Come on 4

Within 10 minutes tonight my preschooler:
1. Almost smashed the mirror in our bathroom with a hammer that he snatched from me when I was hanging pictures.
2. Tore all the sheets and pillows off my bed.
3. Tore all the sheets and pillows from his bed.
4. Broke Babycakes' crib by standing on the rails (to jump off).
5. Kicked me in the hand, pushing back my index finger to an angle it wasn't made to reach.
6. Tore all the sheets and pillows from his bed, again, after I'd just remade it.

He went to time out. He had his bedtime stories taken away - and then his songs. But honestly, I dont' think any of that even phases him.

Someone once told me that age 4 is easier than 3. Oh please, oh please let that be true. Just two months and five days to go.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Why I don’t deserve a vacation home

Today I got a $100 check in the mail. Bummer!! It was my returned entry fee for an essay contest for a house - yes, a real house. I read about it in the paper, how a couple invested in property but with the economic downturn, they just wanted to be rid of these extra six houses. They researched several options and decided to go with an essay contest.

But alas, after extending the deadline a couple times, they still didn't get the minimum number of entries they were hoping for. So I thought I'd at least share my essay here.

The assignment was a 200-word essay, and one of the possible topics was, "Why I deserve a vacation home." I decided to get creative (hey, I needed to stand out, this was for a house!), so I wrote, tongue-in-cheek, about why I don't deserve one.

Why I don’t deserve a vacation home

Dearest Vacation Home, it’s with a heavy heart that I must declare our love affair is over before it’s even begun. But find solace in knowing it’s me, not you. I simply don’t deserve you.

Because of me, you’d end up stinking like burnt popcorn and overdone sugar cookies. I’d selfishly poke your walls with rusty nails to hang my family portraits. And that’s only the beginning! My husband would tickle your gutters and scrape ice from your sidewalks. With his handyman ways, he’d jiggle your toilets and rattle your plumbing, knock at your rafters and stomp on your roof.

And then comes the sticky, slimy wild-boys, always on our tail. They’ve never met a door they wouldn’t slam or a carpet they couldn’t stain. With their Thomas the Train sneakers, they’ll trample your flowers and climb your trees. They’ll even graffiti your driveway with crude drawings and lopsided hopscotchs!

I would have liked to get to know you, Dear Vacation Home, but surely you can see that you’re better off without us. Just know that you’re something I’ve always wanted, always dreamed of – and I’ll forever look back and yearn for you, wondering what might have been.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Beware the preschool traffic cop

Today we were driving down a busy highway when my preschooler suddenly gasped.

"What's wrong kiddo?"

I peak in the rear view mirror at him. He looks utterly disgusted.

"Mom!" he says, pointing to his window.

I look around, and nothing jumps out at me. There's no fire truck with its lights on. No cement mixer. Not even a convertible with its roof down. Nothing out of the ordinary.

He taps the glass, visibly upset. "Mom, look!"

I see a some regular old cars, minivans and a motorcycle ridden by a middle-aged couple.

"Mom, those people!" He points, really upset with the bikers.

The woman has long flowing blond hair. The guy sports a bandanna and a grey beard. They look pretty normal to me.

Shaking his head somberly, my son grumbles, "They're not wearing their helmets."

I recall all the times I've talked him about the importance of wearing a helmet - from riding in a Burley towed behind Daddy's bike, to his own trike to his big boy bike with training wheels. I can see the message clearly wasn't lost on him.

"Mom," he says. "I think they should go to time out."

"Yep," I said. "I think you're right."

Thursday, June 11, 2009

The Internet is a wonderful thing

Instead of telling a cute story about the boys today, I'm going to reflect on what an amazing thing the Internet is.

I like to joke that I'm so glad they didn't have Facebook when I was in high school. High school was hard enough dealing with real-live people - I can't imagine having Facebook drama on top of it.

But I'm incredibly thankful for Facebook now. My Babycakes has Hirschsprung Disease, a not-very-well-understood condition that he was born with. It makes it so the colon (or a section of it) doesn't function. After a few surgeries, he's doing great - but will probably always deal with constipation and/or diarrhea, and for the next few years we'll be dealing with severe diaper rash and the risk of tummy infections (he's had about six in the last year).

I've never met someone in real life who has the disease or has a kid with it. The closest I've come is my aunt in Arizona whose coworker's grandsons (twin boys) have it. But thanks to Facebook groups, I've found this amazing network of people who are living with or caring for those with the disease. They've been great about answering my questions and letting me know what's coming around the bend. They warned me about anal dilations (they're as bad as they sound) and recommended probiotics (I'm a huge fan).

And here's the cool thing: Now I'm starting to help others with my experience and connections. Who would have thought?! When Babycakes was diagnosed 13 months ago, I had never in my life even heard of the disease.

So here's the story that prompted this rather rambling post:

I was on this baby site that I visit sometimes called thebump.com (it's a spin-off of thenest.com and theknot.com). A mother on the "Special Needs" board was at her wits end because of her son's chronic issues with constipation. He's 2 and has never pooped on his own. She's going through the enema and laxative routine (I can see the Hirschsprung parents nodding their heads) and the little guy is still miserable and in pain.

And here's the kicker. Her doctors keep saying that it's all in her head. And she - rightfully so - is mad as heck. I asked her if she'd ever heard of Hirschsprung, and she had in fact stumbled on it (thank you Internet) but again, she's having trouble finding a doctor to take her seriously. They were testing her son for food allergies.

So I find out where she's from and post a couple queries on the Hischsprung groups' Facebook pages. The next day a guy gives me the name and number of the doctor in her area who operated on his grandson with Hirschsprung. I forwarded it along and she called the same day.

I guess we'll see what happens with the rest of the story. Who knows, she might hate the doctor. Or her son could end up having something completely different than Hirschsprung. But just the fact that sitting here from my computer, I so easily connected these people that I'll never meet in real life ... it just puts me in awe of the Internet.