Update October 2015

We've been living overseas since about the time this blog petered out. There are lots of funny Mo-and-Curly-abroad stories to share -- I'm exploring the best way to do that.

Thanks for tuning in!

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.

"9-1-1."

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

"9-1-1."

"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.

Nope.

“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.

"Mom?"

"Yeah."

"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?'"

"Hunh?"

"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.