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!

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Mo's thoughts on Santa

We went out for pancakes the other day, and Santa stopped by our table to say, "Hello."

Mo surprised him with a pointed question: "How do you get in people's houses if they don't have a fireplace?"

Santa's face lit up. Clearly prepared for this question, he pulled out an old fashioned, ornate key. He explained, "For houses that don't have fireplaces, I have a magic key. It looks like a normal key right now, but on Christmas Eve it glows and sparkles and opens any door."

Mo nodded but didn't say anything more.

Today in the car, Mo says to me: "Mom, I'm really glad was have a fireplace. I don't like the idea of someone just walking into our house like that. Even if it's Santa."

Monday, December 20, 2010

Trouble in a cute package

Curly's super-cute these days, but boy is he a lot of trouble.

Just yesterday:

  • He picked up my coffee cup and emptied its contents on the floor.
  • He refused to put on his coat, hat, gloves, socks or shoes. He also wore his jammie shirt all day long.
  • I put my dinner on the kitchen table and ran back to grab the Parmesan cheese. Curly took that opportunity to dump my entire glass of water over my spaghetti dinner.
  • He broke the power cord on my laptop.
  • When I ran upstairs to talk about Christmas gifts with my mom (didn't want the boys to overhear), Curly pulled a kitchen chair up to my spice cupboard and sprinkled stuff all over the counters and floor - including an entire jar of basil.

I just keep reminding myself that Mo used to be like this, too, and I know that little Curly will grow out of it eventually.

Friday, December 17, 2010

The Christmas countdown ends here

This morning.



Mo: Can I get my chocolate for the day?

Me (in bathroom): Can you find number 17?

Mo: It's a one and a seven, right?

Me: Yes, that's right.

Mo: I can find it.

Me: Ok then.



I come downstairs to find this... apparently he not only found number 17, but every other remaining number on his advent calender that still had a chocolate behind it. I should have known better.


Thursday, December 9, 2010

Another tale of destruction

So, you've heard about the peanut butter painting, the raisin road and the warped bamboo floors.

The destruction continues.

Curly recently shoved a pirate coin in the Wii. Mo pulled it out with his little fingers, but the Wii still doesn't work. So we're assuming there's something else stuck in there.

Dad tried disassembling it but it looks like he'll need a special tool. Apparently it's much harder to take apart a Wii than a VCR.

And of course, Wii games are part of the plan for Christmas presents in a couple weeks.

Any ideas out there? Could something like the Geek Squad help us out, or is our only option to buy another Wii (ouch!)?

Friday, December 3, 2010

Calling all my Hirschsprung peeps

I know a lot of my readers are connected with the Hirschsprung community.

And what do all of us HD people want?

Better information and improved diagnosis and treatment.

To make that happen, there needs to be more research. And guess what? There's some happening right now at John Hopkins. And they need more participants.

So please check it out. All you need to do is sign a release form so they can access medical records and submit a blood or saliva sample. They'll send you a kit and walk you through the process. Easy, peasy, as Mo would say.

We all know how rare this disease is. Have you ever met another Hirschsprung patient or parent? I haven't -- not in person. So you can understand their challenge in trying to find us for research purposes.

Here's how to get involved.

Here's an interesting overview.

I signed up yesterday, and they're sending our kit Monday. I'll keep you posted.

Monday, November 29, 2010

What makes having a sick kid even harder?

Answer: The fights with your insurance carrier bound to follow.

Sorry, I'm not into ranting and bellyaching, but I just got a phone call that made me throw my hands in the air and yell, "Not again!"

Mo got hurt recently and needed staples in his head. We were out of town and are now dealing with out-of-network insurance charges and an unfamiliar provider.

What was the phone call? The provider telling me they'd charged our credit card twice for the ER bill. They're working to fix it.

OK, fine, I understand one mistake. But this provider also sent me a notice last week saying my son was uninsured, so they've notified groups that will help us get him insurance or possibly government assistance. Well, hmmm, you'd think they'd know he's insured considering they've already billed and received payment from our insurance! So now I'm getting calls from solicitors, who love to ring during Curly's nap time, offering to help us find medical insurance for Mo.

When I was complaining to Dad about this particular provider, he reminded me that our own wasn't any better. We recalled our experiences so far:
  • Two bills for routine visits ($260 and $420) just this year, which are, in fact, covered in full by our plan.
  • The time we took Curly in for surgery, and they wouldn't start his IV or NG tube because they said the procedure wasn't pre-approved by our insurance. Turned out to be a miscommunication.
  • When Curly was still in the NICU, we got a bill for $80,000. The next day we got one for $11,000. And they kept coming. When I stormed the hospital billing office, they told me it was because Curly didn't have an insurance card yet. He was four-days-old at the time of his first surgery. Once his card was issued, they recognized his insurance and nearly all was covered.

We're lucky. We have very good insurance. But dealing with all the mistakes and poor service is the last thing a parent should have to worry about when they have a sick child.

OK. Rant over.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Basketball or something like it

This morning Mo had his first, uh, "basketball," uh, "game." He's five. I'm sorry but that's just too young. I started playing in second grade, and even that was pretty darn young.

It was basically a bunch of kids running back and forth - with two refs and four coaches right on the court herding them so they knew which direction to run. Except for a couple truly gifted kids, most of them were clueless about what was happening.

For Mo, this was his first team sport adventure. Since I wanted to make sure he understood the concept of defense, we've been talking about that a lot this week. My big message was, "Arms up!"

Well, I should have spent some time explaining offense. Because no matter what - even if his teammate was trying to throw him a pass - Mo just stood there with his hands in the air. He didn't know who had the ball, but boy were his arms up!

Afterwards I asked him what his favorite part was. He said, "Sitting on the bench."

Sunday, November 14, 2010

A relatively good weekend

It used to be that a "good" weekend meant nice meals in restaurants, maybe a fun party or good time at the bars. Perhaps a beautiful day enjoying a bike ride, ski trip, round of golf or sunset boat ride.

Oh, how my standards have changed.

I would call this weekend "good." It was cold and rainy and otherwise blissfully uneventful.

However, for the first time in a long time, this weekend:
1. Nobody vomited.
2. We didn't have to rush anyone to the ER.
3. My number of laundry loads remained in the single-digits.
4. None of us is running a fever.
5. Plus - bonus - I got to nap. Twice! Woo hoo! (I never imagined I'd get so happy over an extra hour or two of sleep...)

Monday, November 8, 2010

Dancing Mama

I don't know what we were watching - probably Backyardigans - when I was inspired to get up and dance around the living room.

Both boys started yelling, "No! No! No!"

I chided them to get up and dance with me, like old times. We used to have a dance party in the living room every night!

But they kept at it.

"Stop Mom!" Curly yelled.

"Please Mom! Quit it!" Mo scolded.

I stopped and looked Mo in the eye. "Come on. Can't I even dance in my own house?"

He thought about it for a minute, nodded and said, "Yes Mom. You can dance in your own house. Just please go somewhere we can't see you."

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Really, that's a bad word?

We were at a friend's house the other night, and one of the kids reported that Mo said a bad word. Mo, of course, vehemently denied it.

On the car ride home, he brought it up again, complaining that he'd been tattled on unjustly.

So I asked him what he said.

He tells me, matter-of-factly, "All I said was, 'What the f#@k?'"

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

An overheard conversation

Mo and Daddy, chatting before bed.



Mo: Some kids today were eating dead meat, Dad.



Dad: Lots of people eat meat. That's their decision. It's OK.



Mo: Well, I called them a bunch of "dead meaters."



Dad: That's not a very nice thing to say.



..... Later ....



Dad: Let's practice some spelling words.



Mo: OK.



Dad: How about Mom?



Mo: Mom's easy!



Dad: [Laughing] Did you hear that, Mom? He says Mom's easy.



Me: Yes, I heard.



Mo: Why's that funny, Dad?



Dad: Ummm. You'll get it when you're older.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Another lesson from Curly

Add this to the pile of lessons I've learned from the Booger Boys.

Curly woke up in the middle of the night Friday with yucky poops. Soon he was throwing up all over. I was running around like a crazy person trying to clean up the carpet, bedding, Curly and myself.

I found myself mumbling, "It's OK, it's OK" over and over again. But then I realized that it wasn't Curly who needed reassuring - it was me. He was perfectly fine. He didn't cry at all. He didn't get upset, though I know he was feeling terrible.

He simply told me, "Mom, my tummy hurts."

Later in the bathroom, when I was stripping him down, he looked and me and explained, "Mom, I'm sticky."

After bathing him, the little sweetheart was shaking like a leaf. But no crying, no complaining, he just asked if he could wear his purple Care Bear socks.

An hour later, he was warmed up but still couldn't sleep. I was exhausted and upset, but Curly simply asked me if we could go downstairs and watch Care Bears.

So at 1 in the morning, we turned on a Care Bear movie and watched the entire thing through. When it was over, he toddled over and turned it off. "OK, it's bedtime now," he told me.

So I took him back up to bed and he slept.

He's continued to be sick all weekend - but he laughs and plays and never complains. I wish I could say the same for myself.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Monsters vs. strangers

This was a writing exercise that my writer's group suggested I post here. It was supposed to present the point of view of someone who's anxious and having trouble distinguishing what's real. It's based on several actual conversations with Mo.

Monsters Inc. Little Monsters. Elmo. Grover. Cookie Monster.

Mom says they're not real. But she buys me sheets and blanket and those things that go on your pillows - they all have monsters on 'em. One eye, two eyes, three. Horns and sharp teeth.

I tell her they scare me. They'll eat me in my sleep.

She says they're "not real." Nothing to be scared of.

So I tell myself: The scary stuff isn't real. Mom says monsters aren't' real.

Just like strangers.

But now she's laughing. She says strangers ARE real. But strangers aren't on TV. They're not on my bunk bed covers. But now strangers are supposed to be real?

What about pigs, Mom? Are pigs real?

Sunday, October 17, 2010

"You get what you get..."

Mo has quickly adopted the vernacular of Kindergarten.

Besides things he's picked up on the playground ("Girls go to Jupiter...), he's shared some really cute expressions that I'd bet he learned in the classroom:

  • When dolling out snacks: "One, two, three - that's enough for me."

  • When working on crafts: "A dot, a dot, a dot will do - more than that is too much glue."

  • On dealing with the hand you're dealt: "You get what you get, and you don't have a fit."

  • Time to be quiet: "Zip it, lock it, put it in your pocket."

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

The day a (trashy) dream died

Mo loves garbage trucks. And I mean loves.

He runs to the windows when he hears them a-coming. We take walks specifically to follow the garbage truck routes - Mo running from house to house, watching excitedly.

For Halloween, he dressed up as a garbage truck driver. You get the picture.

So tonight I was reading Curly one of Mo's old favorites, Trashy Town. Mo knows it by heart. It's about a trash man who collects all the trash in the town and then has one thing left to clean up - on the last page, he takes a bath.

Mo looked up from the Judy Moody book he was reading with Daddy.

"Is that true?" he asked.

"What's that?"

"If you're a trash man, do you really have to take a bath every single day?" he demanded.

"Yep," Daddy and I said in unison.

Mo nodded and listened to the last chapter of his book. Finally, he declared, "Mom. Dad. I've decided. I no longer want to be a garbage truck driver when I grow up."

Sunday, October 10, 2010

If Mo had spending power...

For his birthday Mo got a Webkinz toy, and every toy comes with a code for its cyber-likeness that the kids can "play" with online. I didn't know much about Webkinz until my Mother-in-Law enlightened us on how you can play little games to earn cyber-money for your character and then buy them things.



What kind of things can you buy for an online character? Well, food, clothes, furniture, toys, extra rooms for their homes, decorations, a day at the spa - it's crazy, actually, all the different things you can buy these "pets."



But what I really get a kick out of is seeing how Mo spends his cyber-money.




  • His pet has only two outfits: A tuxedo and a swimsuit. (All you really need, right?)

  • He saved up for a long time to buy an antique toilet. (Really, that's what you want to buy?)

  • His two beds are a pirate bed and a hammock.

  • He now has two scooters, a hovercraft, a swimming pool, a bowling set and a large collection of bobblehead dolls. But still just the two outfits.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Lemonade stand - Mo style

Ever since a neighbor girl had a lemonade stand last spring, Mo's been obsessed with the idea of having one too.

I've steered him away from it - thinking he'll be board to death and that it's tacky to charge your neighbors a quarter for a cup of lemonade.


Well, Daddy was cleaning out the garage on Sunday, and Mo found a folding table. He soon hauled it to the bottom of the driveway. I had to run some errands but had a suspicion about what was going to be waiting when I came home.


Sure enough, Mo had a lemonade stand going when I got home. But in true Mo fashion, his wasn't like any other. For one, it was green. Forget the disposable cups (we don't have any), he pulled his favorite cups from the cupboard, and Dad washed them in between uses. He also recycled the sign - taking a former art project and turning it into his advertisement.

But my favorite part was the price...


...

...











And get this. He didn't walk away empty-handed: He made $2.60 in tips!

Plus he attracted tons of friends to play with for the rest of the afternoon and evening, long after the lemonade stand was abandoned.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Mrs. Who?

I volunteered in Mo's classroom Friday, which was so much fun.



As soon as I walked in, one boy asked me to tie his shoe, another hugged me and a little girl asked my name. I replied "Brooke."



But soon I learned that I'm not "Brooke" in the classroom.



MANY times over, the teacher addressed me as "Mrs. Hall." It was the most bizarre thing.

I loved helping the kids read and write, but hearing, "Mrs. Hall will hand out your workbook," and "Just ask me or Mrs. Hall for help" - not only did it not feel like she was talking to someone else, I also realized I was getting a big agitated.



Did it make me feel old? Well, yes it did, but I think it was more than that.



I realized that only other time I've been addressed that way is when annoying telemarketers call the house. This was the first time I've been called "Mrs. Hall" in a good way!

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Another great car conversation

Sometimes I just want to preserve the deep conversations that happen in our car.



Me: OK guys, Dad and I are going to a wedding tomorrow so you're going to have a babysitter.



Mo: You're going, too, Dad?



Dad: Yep.



Mo: And you're taking your mom.



Dad: Not my mom, your mom.



Mo: Right, you're going with your mom.



Dad: No, she's my wife.



Mo: Your life?



Dad: My wife. Your mom's my wife.



Mo: Mom's your life?



Mo sometimes pronounces words incorrectly, often switching the first letter for a different consonant, so I got to wondering...



Me: Hey Kiddo, can you say words with double-u in them?



Mo: DOUBLE-U!



Curly: X!



Dad: Not like that, say "water" ...



Mo: DOUBLE-U!



Curly: X!



Mo: Y and Z!



Curly: SING WITH ME!

Friday, September 24, 2010

Five kindergarten lessons so far

Here are some things Mo's learned in Kindergarten so far:

1. The expression "Easy peasy, lemon cheesy."

2. That "girls go to Jupiter to get more stupider."

3. We should "leave no trace" and sometimes that means picking up other people's garbage - which he's started doing around our house and neighborhood, not just at school. (Can you see my proud-mama smile?)

4. He doesn't like hot lunch. Not because of the taste but because he ends up throwing too much of it away, and he "feels bad wasting."

5. Where the Principal sits. The third day of school, Mo asked me to show him how to get to the Principal's office, "just in case."

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Goofy socks in the face of adversity

If you've read this blog even once before, you know that Mo is a character. He often dresses himself and his sparkling personality shines through in his wardrobe choices. Remember the dog collar/belt?


Well, now it's goofy socks. And boy does the kid have a lot of goofy socks. They're purple striped with blue owls. They're green with monkeys. They're black-and-pink polka dotted. And zebra striped.

Mo casually told me on the third day of kindergarten that some classmates were saying, "You must be a girl because you're wearing girl socks."
His response? "I like these socks."


When they kept making fun of him, he stuck out his tongue at them. He tells me he's responded the same way now at least a couple times with kids who've teased him about his outfits.

To help the little guy out, now when he gets dressed I always make sure there's at least one pair of plain white socks to pick from, if he wants to go the plain route.

And how many times do you think he's picked the white ones?


Never.

He knows the other kids might laugh at him, but he doesn't seem to mind. I hope that never changes.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Help. Is the PTO gonna hate me??

I need some help here, readers. Some of you have kids older than mine, so you've been through this before.

In our first two weeks of having a public school kid, I'm shocked at how many times we've been hit up for money. On three occasions we've been asked to buy "spirit wear" - namely, t-shirts and sweatshirts with my son's school name on it. We've also had "market day" fliers and book sale catalogues sent home.

And these are just the everyday fundraisers - there's also the seasonal fundraisers, like pasta and pizza sales that start later this month.

Here's my issue. My kids have plenty of clothes. The market day food is neither fresh nor healthy (kind of a misleading name, isn't it?) and I just don't have the space in my freezer. We have more books than we know what to do with - and a nearby library we visit weekly. On top of that, I'm not comfortable hitting up my friends and family for overpriced pizza or pasta or wrapping paper or any of that stuff.

However. I have no problem donating to my kids' school. I get that schools are underfunded, and I want my boys and the other kids in our community to have the best education possible.

Money for the school = GOOD
Overpriced crap I don't want = BAD

So, how do you solve that dilemma?

Well, we'd like to find out what the school really needs and then decide what we're comfortable donating - knowing we have two kids who will each attend the school for six years. Can we just make a personal donation from our family toward new computers or library books or whatever?

And then we could be allowed to ignore every market day and book sale and whatever other fundraiser they throw at us?!

Will that royally tick off the PTO? Are there better ways of doing this? I'd love to hear some thoughts on the subject...

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

A ruckus at the grocery store

We got yelled at today at the grocery store.



I don't know why it bothers me so much, but it does. I was so embarrassed and upset when we left the store that I was nearly shaking.



You see, Curly likes to make a high-pitched screaming sound lately. I can usually stop it with a word or a look or a distraction. But today at the grocery store - after a long day at work and school - Mo kept provoking his little bro. It made things really tough.



As we walked down the freezer section, Curly began screaming. He wouldn't stop with my usual tricks - and I realized that Mo was holding his hand and blowing raspberries into his palm. As I was trying to quiet my baby down - by separating the boys, threatening time out and taking away a treat all at once - is when I heard it.



"Stop it! Someone shut that kid up!"



The voice was behind me and I was too preoccupied doing exactly that - trying to shut the kid up - that I never got a look at who yelled at us.



Perhaps, someday, whoever it was, will need to buy a gallon of milk and loaf of bread while toting a child or grandchild with a healthy set of lungs.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Kindergarten and the pursuit of power

Mo started kindergarten on Wednesday. I got a bit misty-eyed, but he did great. In fact, he learned two lessons about power on the very first day.

1. When we were walking home, after the chattering about his new friends and how he had to be the "caboose" in line, Mo's face drew into a broad smile. He looked at me, almost challenging me, and declared defiantly: "Mom, at lunchtime I ate my dessert first!"

I remember having that same feeling in first grade. Knowing I could eat the fruit roll-up before my sandwich, and no one was stopping me. Ah, that first taste of freedom.

2. After crossing a busy street on the way to school, Mo became uncharacteristically quiet. Finally, he announced, "Mom, I know what I want to be when I grow up: A crossing guard!"

I remember how adoringly he watched the woman who stopped traffic for us.

"Mom? Do you think they get to bring home that little stop sign?" he asked. He was enthralled with the idea of being able to stop traffic, anytime, anywhere. Talk about power.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Kindergarten here we come

Mo starts kindergarten tomorrow.

Naturally, I'm a little freaked out. I hope our meet-n-greet with his teacher wasn't an indication of how things are going to go this school year...
  • Mo threw his school supplies into the plastic bins like he was slam-dunking basketballs.
  • He wouldn't tell his teacher his name or how to spell it.
  • He told her she had "too many baby toys" in the classroom.
  • And I was informed that the classroom treat I planned to bring (fruit snacks) is not on the approved snack list.

Ready or not, here we come!

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Attack of the killer pumpkins: The saga continues

Last year I wrote about our killer pumpkins, born out of a composting Jack-O-Lantern, which took over our garden.



Well, they're back with a vengeance in 2010. I never knew how vicious or prolific their spiky vines could be, latching onto everything and spreading, spreading, spreading.


This year, they sprouted from the garden area, as well as from the compost bin on the other side of the yard.


They're covering our back door to the garage, making it impossible to go in or out that way - is that a fire hazard?


They've lept over our fence and are starting to terrorize the neighbor's yard. (Notice the big green guy bulging over our lot line in the photo above.)


Every day we gingerly peel the killer pumpkin vines off our fledgling raspberry plants.


But what we really found shocking was when we spotted some odd leaves poking out from our arborvitae (evergreen) tree, maybe seven feet up in the air.


See that? The killer pumpkins are now attacking our trees!








Monday, August 16, 2010

Mom's attempt at a relaxing bath

My back's been hurting me, so I tried soaking in a hot tub the other day. But "relaxing" is pretty much impossible in Boogerland.



After just a few minutes of playing with Dad and Mo downstairs, Curly had to come and find me. He toddled right up to the tub and for a second I thought he was going to jump in. But no, trying to be helpful, he started tossing in all the plastic watering cans and toys boats he could find. You know, just so I'd have something to play with.



Since, apparently, I wasn't playing with the toys to his satisfaction, he decided to join the fun -- by splashing me and getting himself all wet.



Then, impossibly quick for a two-year old pip-squeak, he reached over and dumped my almost-full cup of coffee on top of me, right into tub.



So much for relaxing...

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Let's play "taster"

We had Mo's fifth birthday party today. It was a pirate theme and I made a cake with two ships, an island, some plastic pirates and jolly roger flags.

The kids trickled in and applied their temporary tattoos and pirate stickers. Everyone played nicely as we waited for all the munchkins to arrive - so we could start the treasure hunt.

Waiting isn't Mo's strong suit.

He sauntered up to me and said, "Hey Mom, can we play tasters?"

"What?"

"Tasters. Can we play it?" he asked again.

"What's tasters, Honey?"

He then leaned over the cake, lapped up a big scoop of frosting with his index finger and popped it in his mouth before I could say, "Hands off Birthday Boy!"

As least he was creative with his snitching!

Friday, August 13, 2010

Car wrecks and bad puns

We were driving home today and traffic was backed up for a couple miles. As we got closer we saw the flashing lights of emergency vehicles.

"Uh oh," I said. "Looks like someone got in an accident."

Mo knows all about car accidents. Both Daddy and I have been in crashes in the past few years - both of us had totaled cars and I got a back/neck injury that still bothers me today. Thankfully, we were both on our work commutes, and no boys were with us. In fact, Mo seems to think that the only way to get a new vehicle is to crash up your existing one. ("Mom, can you crash your car again, so we can get a van?")

Anyway, back to the story.

Mo peaks out the window and sees a crunched up mini van. He deadpans, "Looks like someone peed in their car."

"What?" I asked.

"Someone had an accident in their car," he says earnestly.

And then he starts cracking up, laughing. "Get it Mom! Someone peed in their car!! They had an accident!"

Friday, August 6, 2010

Dentist adventure with the Booger Boys

I had the distinct pleasure of having not one but both Booger Boys accompany me on my dentist appointment today.

They actually did amazingly well, especially considering we had to wait for 20 minutes in the waiting room.

At first when the hygienist started working on me, Curly starts yelling, "Mama mouth! Mama mouth!"

Then, as the hygienist hovered over me, Mo started to get concerned. He says to the poor woman, "Why aren't you letting my mom breath!?"

I reassured him that I, in fact, could breath just fine.

Then she got out the little straw vacuum thing, "Mr. Thirsty."

Both kids started shouting in alarm.

Mo yells, "Stop DRILLING my mom's teeth out!!"

Sunday, August 1, 2010

"Following through" kinda sucks

Any parenting book, pediatrician or nosy neighbor will tell you that when disciplining kids, "You gotta follow through!"

Last night we were heading to one of our favorite Italian restaurants for fresh bread with dipping oil, homemade calzones and pasta. My mouth was already watering.

The boys were bickering all day.

On the car ride to dinner, it got worse and worse. Poke, poke, poke. Scream, scream, scream. WAAHHHH!! MOM! LET GO! GIVE IT BACK! HE'S HITTING ME!

After multiple warnings and scoldings, Dad got tough. He said, "If you two don't stop it right now, I'm turning this car around and we're going home."

Two seconds later, Mo snatched away one of Curly's toys, refused to give it back --- and yes, Dad turned the car around.

They scream. They cried. I wanted to, too, knowing I now had another night of cooking and cleaning ahead of me - but I played it tough. You gotta following through, right?

We ended up eating some salty Bagel Bites and limp Creamette pasta. I mixed spices with olive oil and went to cut up some bread for dipping - but it was spotted with mold.

To top it off, Mo decided to use his Popsicle to "paint" the outside of our sliding glass door - rubbing it over the tons of grime and dirt for reasons I'll never understand. So he lost his dessert too.

Sigh. I hate being the bad guy.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Mo and the Scrambler

We took a trip the the local amusement park this weekend. It's where I learned - last year - that I just can't handle the Tilt-A-Whirl anymore. But for some reason, I can stomach an occasional ride on the Scrambler.

The Scrambler was Mo's favorite ride this year.

On his seventh scrambling of the afternoon - the second time he convinced me to ride with him - I started getting quite dizzy.

"Why do we do this to ourselves?" I asked, mostly to myself.

"What Mom?" Mo asked.

"What do you like so much about this ride, Kiddo?" I groaned, watching the world spin around me at warp speed.

"I just like it," he answered quickly.

But then he thought some more.

"Mom, I like it because I like the hole it makes in my tummy," he shouted as we flew around in circles, pinned together. "It makes me feel not dead, Mom."

Then we finally started slowing down. Thank goodness! And though I did feel more alive, like Mo observed with his 4-year-old's wisdom, I was mostly just glad it was over.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Free dental service, courtesy of 4-year-old

Here's Mo and Curly's latest, greatest game. I think they call it creative play. I call it strange and slightly disturbing.

It starts with Mo declaring, "You have a cavity!"

Curly laughs and toddles over to his big brother.

Mo pulls out his toy drill with a flourish.

Curly opens his mouth wide.

Mo shoves the drill in his brother's mouth, turns it on, and spins the plastic drill bit - complete with spin-chilling grinding noises - for a full 45 seconds. Curly's bright blue eyes sparkle, he's loving every second.

Then they both laugh hysterically.

A few seconds later. "Hey! You have another cavity!"

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Don't break your head!

Over the past few weeks, Mo's been asking me some rather strange and disturbing questions:
  • Can you break your head?

  • Wouldn't you need to use a saw, like the one Daddy has in the garage, to break your head for real?

  • If you did break your head off, you would be dead, right?

  • Would you be dead right away? Could they fix you up at the hospital? You know, put your head back on.

And then I finally started to figure out the source of these weird questions when he asked:



  • You have to jump in the water at the deep end of the pool, right Mom? If you jump in where it's shallow, you'll get dead. Because you'll break your head off. Right?

Of course, no one's ever said that to him explicitly. But they don't have to. In every single pool we've visited this summer, there's been a posted sign with some iteration of this image...




Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Are we too doom-and-gloom?

It's been apparent lately that perhaps we've been too doom-and-gloom when explaining things to the boys. Neither of them is afraid of anything, so we need to explain WHY something is dangerous before they even pay attention. But perhaps we've gone overboard.

  • When Mo was home sick and Curly was a day care recently, Mo excitedly got down a bucket of standard-sized Legos that are usually hidden on a high shelf in a storage area. He asked me, "Can I play with these choking hazards, since Curly's not here?"
  • We walked by a buggy, wooded area that Mo loves to play in. He asked, "Can I go play down by the ticks today?"
  • And when Curly took off running toward the street today, his big brother shouted at the tike, "Stop! Do you want to DIE?"

Monday, July 12, 2010

Hotel fun

I mentioned that we went on vacation recently. Besides the usual trips to the hotel pool or extra TV channels to explore, here are a few ways to entertain little boys in a hotel room:
  • Play space ship in the shower (Mo's idea)
  • Take out a bunch of tissues and shoot them all over the bathroom with the hair dryer (Mo's idea)
  • Crawl around, bark loudly and pretend to be dogs (Curly's idea)
  • Combine 1 and 3 and play a game of Space Dogs

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Be safe: Don't follow our vacations

We were on vacation last week in the Wisconsin Dells, followed by a visit to see family and friends over the Fourth.

One of the highlights of our trip - something Mo begged for and had been anticipating for months - was a tour on the Ducks. The Ducks are amphibious vehicles, used in WWII, now retired to giving land/water tours. They look like fishing boats with wheels.

Our kids are 2 and 4. There weren't any seat belts and the life jackets were stowed away in overhead bins. I was a little nervous about safety, but then felt like I was being paranoid. They moved very slowly and the lake is shallow.

Well, did you hear? There was an accident in Philadelphia yesterday when a duck boat stalled in a lake and a barge crashed into it, sinking the duck boat and sending the riders flying and presumably killing two of them.

Now that in itself might not seem too coincidental. But get this.

Our last vacation was to Orlando in January, and besides our visit to the ocean, our favorite excursion was the day we spent in Sea World. I loved the Shamu show - to which my husband and sister constantly made fun of me for - but they did let me drag them to two Shamu shows.

Well, get home and a few weeks later there's a breaking news story about a whale trainer killed in a tragic accident, right in front of the audience at a Shamu show.

Tell me, is that creepy? Or am I just paranoid?

Friday, June 25, 2010

One more funny sick day story

Earlier this week on the way to the doctor's office, I told Mo that they would be asking about his symptoms. One that I wasn't sure about was if he's been congested.

"Has your nose been stuffy?" I asked.

"What's 'stuffy'?"

"It's when your nose has lots of boogers in it," I explained.

"Well, if it does, I just dig 'em out."

Oh boy.

"Do me a favor," I told him, "don't tell the nurse that, OK?"

"Why Mom? It's the truth. Do you want me to lie?" he asked.

As I thought about how to reply, apparently Mo's mind was wandering too.

"You should really try it Mom," Mo said.

"What's that?"

"Boogers! They really make a great dessert."

Thankfully, this conversation wasn't repeated when we got to the doctor's office.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

More sick day funnies

With both kids sick and barely eating or drinking anything, I'm letting them have whatever they want.

Chocolate donut with rainbow sprinkles for lunch. Why not?

Two kinds of ice cream for dinner. Sure, go ahead.

Curley requested mac-n-cheese at 4:15 a.m. today, and I complied - thankfully we had some leftover in the fridge, so it wasn't too hard. Though I'm not sure he ate even one spoonful.

And yesterday when we made another medicine run, Mo spotted some toys at the pharmacy. They were on sale and sure to keep them busy for a few hours - and after three sick days, they've watched every show we own and played with nearly every toy - so why not?

When we were setting up a new board game, drinking grape Kool-Aid and having fruit snacks for lunch, I think the reality of it all finally hit Mo.

"Why are you being so nice to me Mom?" he asked.

"Because I love you," I replied.

He thought for a second.

"I think you're lying. I think you're doing it cuz I'm sick."

[One more sick day funny tomorrow.]

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

The ailing jokster

Leave it to Mo to cheer me up. He's been sick the past few days with a fever and sore throat, but he says the cutest things!


  • On missing his friends at day care. "Mom! If I get a cold washcloth and put it on my forehead, then can you try taking my temperature? Maybe then I can go to day care."

  • On going to the doctor's office. "If they tell me I need another flu shot, I'm leaving."

  • More on going to the doctor's office. "If he tells me I need to eat ice cream all day, then we better listen to him."

  • On cough drops. "My fever's so hot, these things are just melting down in my mouth."

  • On seeing a little girl at the doctor's office. "Ahhh! Ahhh! Stay away from me! I'm sick."
[More tomorrow.]

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Anybody seen my sense of humor?

So, I've temporarily been neglecting this blog. I could tell you that the kids haven't been cute and funny lately - but that's not exactly true. The truth is, I seem to have lost my sense of humor. I no longer find their "blog-worthy" antics as adorable as I used to.

Here's what I'm talking about.

1. The primo example happened two weeks ago. When I was in the shower, they decided to take a pot that was soaking in the sink and dump it on the kitchen floor. To their 2- and 4-year-old selves, this was so hilarious that it warranted doing it over and over and over and over again. Pot after pot of water, through the entire course of my shower.

You may remember that less than a year ago we had new bamboo floors installed. Even though I dried them as soon as I became privy to the child-induced flooding, a large section of the floor is totally warped. Permanently damaged. Ruined.

Two weeks later and I still can't even chuckle about it.

2. The other night, as soon as I put a homemade, fresh-from-the-oven pizza on the kitchen table, Curly picked up my full glass of ice water and dumped it on top.

3. I just checked my planner to see what's ahead for next week. I keep everything in my planner- reminders about what I need to bring to daycare on Monday, who's birthday it is, play dates, when to pick up the veggies for our farm share (CSA). Everything. Phone numbers. Web sites. To-do lists. Reminders. Confirmation numbers.

Well, one of the little men apparently ripped out Sunday-Wednesday of this week. And I have no idea when it happened or where the pages could possibly be. I feel lost! (If you have plans with me this week - please call and remind me :)

Sorry to be a downer - I'm hoping life in Boogerland will lighten up very soon...

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Cheese curbs and bark wire

Lots of funny things coming out of Mo's mouth lately:
  • At Culvers, "I want some cheese curbs."

  • Singing before bedtime, "If you're happy and your nose, clap your hands. If you're happy and your nose, clap your hands..."

  • After Curly throws his juice box on the ground, "Mom! He's glittering again!"

  • After walking in the woods with Dad. "We stayed away from the bark wire fence."

  • And, upon hearing me refer to Curly as a baby, "He's not a baby any more, Mom. He's a toppler."

Saturday, May 29, 2010

My grocery helper and MJ

To keep Mo entertained at the grocery store, I make him my little helper. He picks out fruit and cereal and feeds Curly snacks. At the check-out counter, he helps load everything on the conveyor belt.

He was being difficult this week and refused to help.

"What happened to my little helper?" I asked.

"He's dead!"

"That's not nice to say," I told him.

"Why not? You said Michael Jackson was dead. That's not nice."'

So yes, apparently the obsession with death and MJ continues.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Mo's birthday list so far

When you're 4, birthday's are a big deal. A really big deal.

So even though Mo's next birthday is a few months away, he's been deciding on - and then switching - his party location constantly. First it's the Y. Then Chuck E. Cheese. Then the bouncy place. Then the back yard. Ad nauseum.

And just last week he started making his birthday gift wish list.

1. More fence.

"Why do you want more fence, Kiddo?"

"So we can make the backyard bigger. So there's room for a swimming pool."

2. A parachute.

"Really, you want a parachute?"

"It's OK, Mom. I also want a strap for it," he motions around his chest. "One that's just my size, to keep me safe."

I can only imagine what's going to get added to the list next.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Curly spells T-R-O-U-B-L-E

At just barely two years old and 26 pounds, it's amazing how much trouble Curly can cause. And boy is he cute when he's doing it!

It doesn't matter that his brother is twice as old and twice as big as him. Curly holds his own.

If Mo rips Curly's blankie out of his hands or knocks him down, the little guy bites the big guy's arm. Or screams in his ear. I'm not proud of this, and we've started doing short time-outs with him, but you gotta admit the kid is scrappy. Curly doesn't cry to Mama, he takes matters into his own hands.

Just yesterday we were having a picnic. Curly got mad and stomped on Mo's peanut butter sandwich! He's also squirted out Mo's juice boxes and stole his brother's food right off his plate. Once I saw him dump a bucket of water over Mo's head in the bathtub.

I can only imagine what's coming next.



Saturday, May 22, 2010

Slacking in Boogerland

We're still here.

I'm full of excuses for not posting lately: Daddy threw out his back and needed constant care. Business trips. Beautiful weather.

But in reality, I've been slacking off. I'll get with the program soon...

Monday, May 10, 2010

Mo goes underground

Today we got a brochure for the upcoming season at our local botanical gardens. As members, we get discounted rates on their classes. They even have a few for kids.

I was reading the course listing to see if anything caught Mo's fancy:
  • Wiggling worms
  • From root to flower
  • Eating the alphabet
  • What's underground
  • Butterflies
You get the picture.

Well when I mentioned "What's underground," he jumped up.

"That one!" he said, excitedly.

"Great," I said. " You want to know more about what's underground. I can see why that would be interesting."

"Well, no," he said. "I already know what's underground."

"Oh," I said, thinking he meant soil and roots and rock. But that's not the path he was going down.

Beaming, he told me, "Underground are dead people. Oh, and pipes for your toilets."

Somehow, I don't think those will be covered in the class.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Happy Birthday Curly

It's Mother's Day AND Curly's second birthday. I'm feeling all sentimental.

So here's a little piece I wrote shortly after the little guy was born. It's kind of a love letter to a newborn and a reflection on motherhood. Some of you have seen this before.

"Love" doesn’t begin to describe it. Any mother could tell you that.

Cradling my newborn, warm and fleshy against my skin, his simple presence erases the blinding white pain of childbirth. Completely forgotten are my stitches, stretch marks, sore nipples. And nine months of leg cramps, back aches and rib pain, erased in an instant.

All for the trademark baby-scent of milk breath and Pampers. A smell that makes middle-aged women huff at baby heads like teenage junkies. They know what it's like. To be someone else's hero, his life-support and protector.

Even though we've just met, I already know every inch of this ball-of-baby. The silky peach-fuzz head. Roly-poly thighs. Razor-sharp half-moon fingernails. Folds and creases where wrists belong. I don’t recognize my own misshapen silhouette, but I know every baby toe, the smell, the taste, the texture.

Those drooly nuzzles and gummy grins - that's the stuff I live for. And I, sleep deprived and dumpy, am his light, his strength, his everything.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

More on baby talk

After posting yesterday about Curly's language explosion, I just have to tell you what he said to me this morning.

When we were saying "goodbye" this morning before work/day care, we did the usual kiss-kiss, hug-hug, wave bye bye routine.

Me: I love you, Baby.

Curly: Bye, Mom.

Me: Good bye, Sweetie Pie.

Curly: Bye bye, Sweetie Mom.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

What did you say?

We've had Curly hanging around our house for nearly two years now. We're used to him crying, grunting or pointing to get what he wants. He's also proficient in speaking gibberish.

Until recently.

It seems like overnight, Curly went from not talking to speaking complete sentences. It's the strangest thing. Almost like having a different kid around.

Take this morning. My little guy used to pull me by the finger to the pantry and point to what he wanted. Today, he just walked up to me and said, "I want cake, Mom."

The other day when Mo asked for an "orange cheese stick," Curly looks over and says, "I want orange cheese too."

I love hearing his little voice, but it still throws me when I'm struggling to put on his shoes and instead of crying or whining, he yells, "I DON'T WANNA GO!"

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Earth Day in Boogerland

We're taking a walk in the neighborhood. The boys are chewing on their very favorite fruit snacks. When Curly's finished, he chucks his wrapper onto the sidewalk.

"Hey!" Mo yells.

He chases after the wrapper and hands it to me - like he does with most trash. (Gee, thanks.)

"Mom!" he tattles to me. "He was being a GLITTER BUG!"

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Welcome to the Ant Haven

This time of year, we start having a problem with ants.

The unnoticed apple juice spill. The last bite of granola bar tossed behind the couch. The stray dripping from a freezy pop. We may as well have a sign on the front door, "Welcome to the Ant Haven."

I've been keeping close tabs on the boys, and explaining to Mo how we have to be careful with our food to prevent being taken over by creepy crawlies. I also bought some child-proof ant traps.

So this afternoon, he was munching Pringles and leaving crumbs all over the place. Instead of going for the dust pan or at least pointing out the mess - like he's been doing lately - he just ignored the Pringle droppings.

"Buddy, you need to clean that up," I reminded him.

He shrugged. Then he pointed to an ant trap, less then a foot away, hiding under the couch.

"It's OK, Mom. See? This will get 'em," he rationalized.

Friday, April 16, 2010

The benefits of opening your trap

Sometimes it's best to shut your trap. I know I've inserted my foot in my mouth more times than I care to remember.

But lately - and specifically when it comes to Curly's Hirschsprung Disease - I've been very grateful I opened my big fat mouth. In fact it happened twice today.

We met with Curly's surgeon for an annual check-up. I blathered on about how Curly has bad reactions to oranges and poppy seeds, and how his tummy troubles have been kept in check lately - which I partially attribute to the probiotics we've been giving him (referred by other HD parents who've been there, done that).

He was fascinated not just about the benefits of the probiotics (which he said made total sense), but also the network of HD parents I've connected with through the Internet.

First, he wrote me a strongly worded letter to send to my insurance, who will not let me use my medical flex spending account for Curly's pricely probiotics without a doctor's referral. The letter talks about his susceptibility to enterocolitis, which is life-threatening, and how use of probiotics could decrease his need for future visits and hospitalizations. (So take that, Insurance Lady who was giving me grief on the phone this week!)

But secondly, and most exciting, was his interest in doing research on Hirschsprung, specifically about what can be done to reduce the conditions these kids live with after their surgeries, which no one seems to know much about. You mostly just hear: They have a surgery (or three) and then they're "fixed up."

He then asked if he could tap into my network and if I thought the other HD parents would be willing to fill out surveys about their experiences.

And since we're all out here on the Web seeking information - and many are frustrated with the lack thereof - I figured we could find quite a few recruits. How cool if this research could help our kids and future generations of HD kids and parents!

Sunday, April 11, 2010

The Good Peanut Butter Story

I talk a lot about the horrible messes, frantic times and uncomfortable situations my boys put me through. But, lest I sound like a big ole whiner, I must admit we have a lot of wonderful bright spots in our crazy lives.

Sometimes it's the little things. Like at the playground the other day when a little girl got stuck, and Mo hoisted her up - really, he rescued her - and then went about his business of chasing the older boys. Not a second thought.

I was so proud.

And this weekend, Mo was my little shining star.

The boys usually get up at 5:45 a.m. But instead of running into our room and tugging at me and Daddy to entertain them - the boys went downstairs on their own.

Mo put on Curly's favorite train cartoon - which is all it takes to keep the little guy happy.

But it didn't end there. When they got hungry, Big Brother Mo got out the bread and (using a chopstick, since he's not allowed to use the knives) made two peanut butter sandwiches. He even got out the special cookie cutters to make the PBJs into circle shapes.

The next time they make one of their infamous messes, I'll try to remember coming down the stairs yesterday morning - with an extra 45 minutes of sleep - and seeing them camped out on the living room rug, side-by-side, eating their little circle sammies and watching The Busy Little Engine.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Preschool fashion crisis

Over Easter weekend, Mo wore two different shoes: one tennie and one crock. He also wore orange nail polish: fingers and toes.

At the store one day, he convinced Daddy to buy him a neon green dog collar. Mo wears it as a belt. Often.

He dresses himself and often goes for the brightest colors and boldest patterns he can find, sometimes mixed and matched.

So the point of my story?

This week was crummy, cold and rainy. The boys have matching froggie raincoats. Mo has a matching umbrella and boots. After wearing the frog ensemble through countless rainy days, he decided as soon as we got to preschool that he wouldn't go inside:

He was suddenly embarrassed by his froggie boots.

He cried. He hid. He refused to go inside the classroom.

I talked with the teacher, and she said it would be OK for him to go to class in his socks. He left his boots in the hall, and was fine after that.

And I'm left with this nagging feeling that the fashion crises have only just begun.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Throw Mama under the bus

Mo's been tattling a lot lately - on me!

For my last dentist appointment, Daddy got stuck at work so I hauled both boys with me.

Curly sat unhappily buckled in his stroller, alternately trying to hurl himself out of it, grab at the equipment and turn the lights on and off.

Mo talked. And talked and talked.

There was a quiet moment (finally!) and I think I heard the hygienist take a deep breath.

But instead of enjoying the silence, Mo decided to fill it by throwing Mama under the bus.

"Hey Dentist Lady! Sometimes my Mom doesn't brush my teeth all that great."

Gee, thanks kid.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Freaking out for naught

A couple times recently, I've found myself freaking out for naught. (In this house, my freak-outs are usually well warranted!)

1. Playing hide-n-seek with Mo. He always hides in the same spot - crunched down in an old car seat in the storage room.

Yet, this time, he wasn't there. Then I turned to see the small basement fridge we'd just gotten. It was just his size.

I freaked.

I screamed his name and ran to the fridge. His little head popped up. He was crouched down behind it. He later told Daddy, "Mom screamed and got all scared. But I know not to hide in the fridge."

2. It was our anniversary recently. After work, I ran upstairs to throw on a dress before whisking the kids to a friend's house so we could have an adults-only dinner. The kids watched cartoons contently while I got ready.

When I came down a few minutes later, Mo had locked himself in the downstairs bathroom. When I asked what he was up to, he said the second scariest thing (the first being, "Nothing!"). He said, "I'm painting my nails!"

I had visions of nail polish all over the bamboo floors, wall and counter tops. Remember the Peanut Butter Incident?

Well, he was painting his nails, true. But just like I always do, he had gotten a big square of paper towel to put under his feet/hands. Sure there were a few splatters, but they all landed on the paper towel.

Oh, my little Mo. He's growing up!

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Of love, tradition and hotels

When I was a little girl, my great-grandmother used to tell me, "I love you more than tongue can tell."

My mom and I keep the tradition alive by signing off our e-mails "LYMTTCT."

The other day, Mo was snuggling with me in my bed and whispering secrets that I couldn't understand. So I whispered, "I have a secret for you."

"What?" he asked.

"I love you more than tongue can tell."

He thought for a minute than nodded.

He whispered back to me, "I love you more than a hotel, too."

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

The Unfortunate Peanut Butter Incident of 2010


This weekend we had a rather unfortunate incident.

I'll preface this by saying that Curly loves to take things from the pantry and walk around with them. It's not unusual to find him carrying around a can of black beans or rolling a tin of water chestnuts along the floor.

So all week Mo was anxiously awaking a birthday party at a place where they have all sorts of inflatables, including a giant slide. We haven't been there in six months or more, so this was a real treat. We had already picked out and wrapped the gift.

The morning before the birthday party, the boys were playing upstairs, and Dad and I were cleaning downstairs. Because too much quiet is a scary thing in our house, I got a funny feeling and went to check on the boys.

And, well, Curly apparently brought a full jar of peanut butter upstairs. They proceeded to empty it by painting their clothes, bodies and hair - and then they moved on to the walls. The smell was so strong that I detected the peanutty destruction from the stairs.


They made hand prints on the walls. They covered the door knobs. Our clean-up effort was so intense that we lightened or in some cases scrubbed the paint right off the wall. I washed Curly's hair five times, and it's still unnaturally oily.

As we chiseled at the peanut butter disaster, us two grown-ups looked at each other and concluded there was no way we could - after this! - bring Mo to a fun-filled birthday party at the bouncy place. He knew better, and he had done it anyway. We had to be firm in letting him know that's not acceptable, and a four-minute time out wasn't going to be enough.

He was heartbroken, of course. And it was hard on us too.

I delivered the birthday gift and an apology.

Man, it sucks being a parent sometimes.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

NOT awesome

After gymnastics today, Mo showed me his sticker - he gets one at the end of every class.

Mo: It says "Awesome."

Me: Great!

Mo: Not great. Class wasn't awesome today. So I wanted one that said "NOT Awesome."

Me: I don't think they make stickers that say "NOT Awesome."

[He thought about this for a minute.]

Mo: Then I would have liked one that said, "Kinda Crunchy." Or "I love candy."

Me: I see.

Mo: But they didn't have those either. So I just got "Awesome."

Thursday, March 18, 2010

How Curly drinks a Capri-Sun

Drink it nicely through the straw. Until Mom turns away.

Lay the juice bag on the ground.

Stomp! Stomp! Stomp!

Lay on belly.

Lick up the little puddles of juice off the floor....

Until Mommy catches you.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Mo's pot o' gold

In preschool they've been doing St. Patty's Day related activities - drawing shamrocks, drinking green milk and reading Irish storybooks.

Along this theme, a teacher was telling them about rainbows and the idea that a pot of gold can be found at the end. The she asked, "What would you buy with a pot of gold?"

Now here, I should include a side note. Mo loves older women. Well, actually little girls who are a couple years older - like the kindergarten through third-grade set. There are a couple girls at day care he'll follow around like a baby duck. He's obsessed with the six-year-old down the street, and after their recent play date, he was on Cloud Nine for about 48 hours.

So the key message here: He's been hanging out with some slightly older girls lately. That's my only explanation...

Now back to my story, teacher asks, "What would you buy with a pot of gold?"

Mo politely raises his hand, and she calls on him.

He replies, "I would get a boyfriend!"

He says all the kids laughed. Not the teachers though.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Carnival disaster has a bright spot

Tonight I took the boys to the little family carnival at the YMCA.

When we arrived, I only bought three dollars worth of tickets, because I wasn't sure how many activities would be geared toward 1- and/or 4-year-olds. For a quarter a game, they both played the dock pond. Mo knocked over plastic bowling pins and threw ping pong balls into buckets and tossed beanbags - excitedly winning a balloon, pencil and paddle ball.

Then we headed to the gym to bounce on some inflatables. And that's when the trouble happened.

Curly tripped on the gym floor and bonked himself really hard. Now, his little nose is already bruised pretty bad after colliding with the sidewalk a week ago - from the same thing, trying to walk/run too fast and tripping.

So tonight at the Y, he fell down, and began screaming. He's got a huge tolerance for pain - not surprising with all he's been through - so I knew the little guy was really hurting. I scooped him up and held him tight against my chest and swayed with him for a several minutes, while he gradually calmed down.

Then I realized his nose was bleeding. Like, really bleeding. His face was a mess and I later noticed I was covered in blood, too, from holding him so close.

I grabbed Mo from his beloved bounce house, and somehow accounted for all the shoes and coats. The lovely Y staff helped me manage the stroller, got us some first aid supplies and led us into a private office away from the carnival crowd. Curly was fussy and upset, but at least he cooperated as I cleaned him up. Mo stuck by my side and didn't complain.

The whole ordeal was chaotic and stressful.

Once I got Curly under control, I just wanted to get home as fast as possible.

I told Mo to forget the crafts or face painting, it was time to leave. I still had a dollar's worth of tickets, so we got two popcorns to go. Only the lady dishing it out - one of those who helped us recover from Curly's incident - wouldn't take our money/tickets. (We must have looked pretty pathetic, Curly with his banged-up face, me with my blood-covered shirt, Mo quietly disappointed over leaving early.)

So I handed our unused tickets off to volunteer ticket takers - and they tried to give me my buck back, which was very sweet, but I told them to keep it. I felt bad only spending three dollars at their fundraising carnival as it was!

Anyway - so we get home and Mo runs in to report to Daddy about our adventures. Do you think he mentioned the games? Prizes? Bouncy house? Gushing blood, screaming brother, frantic Mommy? Or being forced to leave without getting his face painted?

Nope.

He ran into the house and excitedly told Dad: "Guess what? We got free popcorn tonight!"

Ah, the perspective of a 4-year-old: Priceless.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

More deep thoughts from Mo

  • "Mom, the bigger the mess is, the more it wasn't me."

  • "Mom, I saw a baby the other day. And the baby was way cuter than [Curly]. Actually, I've seen a lot of babies that were cuter than our baby."

  • "Dad, if you dye your hair it stops growing." [No it doesn't, kiddo.] "Oh. So when you're dead, your hair just keeps growing then? It just grows forever and ever?"

  • "I better not do that or I'll get in big, honkin' hairy trouble!"

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Buried treasure, right in our living room

Mo had the idea today to dump out all of the contents of the large wooden chest we use for toys. It hasn't been completely emptied since I don't know when. And boy did we find some treasure:
  • Tupperware lids
  • Measuring cups
  • The garage door opener that we replaced two years ago after concluding it would never reappear again
  • A full container of tic-tacs (dumped out and now colorless)
  • Lots of baby toys we'll be donating to Goodwill or the hospital
  • Lots of broken and junky stuff that went right to the trash
  • A Build-A-Bear outfit I never knew existed ("Rocky has jamies!?")
  • Missing game and puzzle pieces galore
  • A sufficient number of bouncy balls and toy cars for eight years worth of birthday party goodie bags
  • Enough forgotten-but-treasured toys to keep the boys entertained all afternoon

I'll try to remember this the next time I'm contemplating buying yet another new toy.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

One thing about Kindergarten

The boys (and that includes Dad) have made some amazing forts lately, moving lots of furniture and even disassembling the bunk beds. I'd show you but Curly finally gave my camera it's fatal whack last weekend.

So in lieu of that, I'll talk about Kindergarten.

Last night I registered Mo for Kindergarten. It was surreal to walk those halls and imagine my baby boy in there within a matter of months.

I filled out crazy amounts of paperwork, and signed him up for a Kindergarten screening spot. I was telling him about it last night, and our conversation took an interesting turn.

Mo: Is that my school, the one with the really cool playground?

Me: Yep. That's where you'll be going to school every day.

Mo: Great. I already know one thing about Kindergarten.

Me: Oh yeah, what's that?

[I'm thinking he's going to tell me about his neighborhood friends who'll also be attending. Or that he knows he'll be walking to school everyday. Or that you don't nap or watch PBS Kids when you're in Kindergarten. But no.]

Mo: Well, I know that in Kindergarten I'm not allowed to say "What the hell?!"

Me: Um, yeah, I guess that's true.

[I'm thinking, "Oh man, this is going to be an interesting year."]

Mo: But at home I can say, "What the hell," right?

Me: No. I don't want you saying that at all.

[He sighs loudly and slumps his shoulders.]

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

"I don't want to die, ever."

Tonight I was helping Mo get ready for bed after his bath. He stopped and looked at me, suddenly fearful. Out of nowhere, he says:

Mo: I don't want to die!

Me: What makes you think you're going to die?

Mo: I don't want to die, ever.

Me: You don't have to worry. You won't die until you're very, very old. It's nothing you have to worry about right now.

Mo: But I don't want to die ever.

Me: Well, you can live longer by making sure you stay healthy. And you can stay healthy by eating fruits and vegetables and exercising and getting a good nights sleep.

Mo: Really, then I'll live forever?

Me: Well, uh...

Mo: Like until I'm 26?

Me: Yeah. Until you're 26. And even longer than that. Way longer.

Me: Wow.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Oh, how the Olympics inspire

As I've said lately, the boys of Boogerland have an extreme case of cabin fever - despite our best efforts to keep them active.

Yesterday Mo asked what I did with "his board." I knew what he meant. They used to have a decorative board on their bedroom wall to measure how tall they were.

Mo kept pulling the thing off the wall and using it for ramps and bridges for his Hot Wheels. And that's fine. But he's your typical, careless 4-year-old and when moving the board he'd smack into furniture and walls. I was worried he'd smack Curly upside the head.

So I did what a lot of moms do: I got rid of it.

Err, actually I told him I got rid of it, but in reality I hid it in the basement storage room.

But you can't trick Mo that easily. He found it and carried it under his arm, beaming. He cruised right past me, headed for the white-carpeted staircase with a purpose.

"Whatcha doin'?" I asked.

Without a pause, he replied, "Snowboarding."

Saturday, February 13, 2010

More on winter in Boogerland

In my last post, I mentioned how the boys - amidst wintertime stir craziness - have been striping down and running laps and jumping on the bed.

Yesterday I was on the phone rescheduling a doctor's appointment when I could hear them getting naked. The squeals of delight gave them away. I figured I had a couple minutes to finish what I was doing before peaking in on them.

Oh but I was wrong. A couple minutes was way too long.

You see, normally, when they run around in the buff, it's not a problem. And they know that "naked time" is for our house only. Mo learned that when he was 2 and kept trying to strip every where we went.

But this time, well, Curly's diaper was full. I didn't know that.

I won't go into detail, but it involved a lot of carpet cleaning, impromptu baths and washing bedsheets and blankets and pillowcases - all before leaving for morning preschool.

To help burn their energy today, we opted for a winter walk in the woods.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

How to tell it's winter in Boogerland

We try really hard to keep the boys active in the dead of winter. Open gym at the gymnastics place. Swimming at the Y. Sledding. Mo's taking an intro to sports class.

But you can tell when all of that just isn't enough, and the little men get stir crazy. Then they start making their own fun. Lately they've been:
  • Taking off their clothes and running circles and jumping on the beds.
  • "Sledding" down the stairs in a plastic storage bin.
  • Jumping off the stairs into a giant pile of pillows and blankets.
  • Making "bridges" with every chair and cushion in the house in order to cross from sofa to recliner to kitchen table without getting eaten by alligators.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Little fashionista

The boys' dresser is too tall for Mo to reach the top drawers safely. Yet I want to continue encouraging him to dress himself - which has been a huge time-saver in the morning.

So I recently began using an under-the-bed storage container for Mo's clothes for the week. I put seven pairs of pants, seven shirts, undies and socks in the bin. I even make sure all the tops and pants match each other so he looks good no matter which combination he picks.

After a couple weeks, I started to feel guilty about preselecting all of Mo's outfits. He looked too polished, too grown up. He used to get so creative with his plaids and stripes and his bright green dog collar he sometimes wears as a belt.

Oh, but then he started getting creative again. That's my boy.

First he put his turtleneck on backwards and inside out. I pointed out what was incorrect and asked him if he'd like to change it before preschool. He said, "No, it's not scratchy or anything. I like it like this."

So I let him go like that. Interestingly, no one said a word even though it was quite obvious with his tag at the base of his throat.

Then he found a pair of Curly's sweat pants and decided to wear them to day care. I pointed out that his calves were exposed and he couldn't leave the house like that in the dead of winter. He went back to his room to change.

However, when he came back, instead of wearing new pants, he'd added a pair of knee socks to the ensemble. Way to go, Mo.

So perhaps I'm not stifling his creativity at all.

Friday, February 5, 2010

More of Mo's famous quotations

Mo continues to crack me up with his comments, observations and wit. Some recent examples:

1. Mo: Hey Mom! I know an animal that stays up all night and sleeps in the day.

Me: Really? Which one.

Mo: Um, let me think a minute.

[One minute later.]

Mo: I remember! A pasta.

(Get it? A pasta, opossum.)

2. Mo: Hey Dad?

Dad: Yes?

Mo: I got CASH!

Dad: You do? How much.

[Mo turns his pockets inside out and lifts up a couple coins.]

Mo: I got some quarters, and some diamonds.

(Dimes=diamonds... wouldn't it be nice.)

3. At the Magic Kingdom in Disney World.

Me: Look! It's Mickey/Minnie/Cinderella/Chip and Dale

Mo: So?

Me: Don't you want to go see them? You could get an autograph. Or give them a hug.

Mo: That's OK. It's just a guy in a costume.

(He equated it to seeing people in costume on Halloween. So what that we're seeing Mickey Mouse in Disney World, I saw six Spidermans - Spidermen? - when I was trick-o-treating.)

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Who knew raisins could be so messy?

I've written a lot about the disasters my Booger Boys create. But today they moved to a whole new dimension of messiness.

It started with a canister of raisins. Don't think raisins can be all that messy? Well guess again.

Curly dumped the whole canister in the middle of the living room floor. Right now he dumps everything on the floor, so that was to be expected.
But then Mo got the grand idea to ride his tricycle through the raisin mounds. Over and over again, round and round the living room-dining area-kitchen loop.


Again, it might not sound like that big of a mess. But what happened was the raisins stuck to his wheels - like 100 of them. Then as he rode, they were ground deep into the floor, creating a thick sticky film through our entire first floor.
It took the two of us about an hour on the floor, scrubbing Cinderella style, to de-goo the floor - which Mo did without complaint.
Now I think my floor is cleaner than it's ever been!

Monday, February 1, 2010

Mom is cool again, sort of

I recently posted about how Mo passed up a special trip with Daddy and me to hang with the babysitter. Yesterday we had the opposite experience.

I took him to play on the inflatables at the Y yesterday afternoon as a special treat while Curly and Dad napped. As soon as we got there, he took off. There were lots of kids jumping around the bouncy house and racing through the blow-up obstacle course. Mo was in heaven.

I hung back with the other parents, as we collectively congratulated ourselves for finding a (free!) way for the rug-rats to burn some energy in the dead of winter. Mo yelped and ran and bounced and laughed.

But then something changed.

He kept asking me to run the obstacle course with him. Or bounce with him.

If it was less crowded, I would be out there in a second. I've done it many a time.

But it didn't feel right to take a spot in line away from another overactive 4 year old - and make all the other kids wait in line just that much longer so Big Mama could have a turn. So I explained as much to Mo.

But he kept coming back. And back.

And then I figured it out.

There was a group of boys there, just a little older than him, who were all friends. I watched Mo ask one of the smaller guys, "Will you be my friend? Will you play with me?"

The kid said, "NO!" and gave him the cold shoulder.

Not easily deterred, Mo asked several more times, garnering the same reaction.

Now Mo is a very energetic, sociable guy - but I could see in his little face how much it hurt to get shunned by these older kids.

So I said, "Hey Kiddo, let's race on the obstacle course!" And we did. Over and over.

Yep, I was the only grown-up out there. And yes, I made the other kids wait in line while Mo and I bounced and bopped and slid. Boy did we have fun.

Afterwards, we just had to stop at Culvers and get ice cream - they had waffle cones on sale for a buck! I figure I need to take advantage of these moments now, while he still wants to hang out with his mama.

Friday, January 29, 2010

Introducing Skelator Mama

It's frickin' cold outside. Just like you'd expect in Wisconsin in January. Right now the temp reads 12 degrees F, but they say it feels like zero. Frickin' cold.


So this morning I bundle up the boys and get everybody out the door. We're halfway to preschool when I realize I don't have any gloves for myself. And I needed to stop for gas. Ugh.


Just before heading bare-handed into the freezing outdoors, I glimpsed a spare pair of gloves, bundled up like socks, in my passenger seat. In theory, I try to keep a spare pair in the car for times likes these but I'm not very good about it. So, yeah, score one for Mama!



They looked like your basic, cheap knit gloves. We have about a zillion pairs floating around the house.


But when I unrolled them, well, they were clearly Mo's special gloves. So today, I got to be Skelator Mama.



Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Mo likes the babysitter more than me

Sunday we had it all planned. The babysitter came at 9 to watch Curly. And me, Dad and our ski expert friend were going to take Mo on his first downhill skiing adventure.

I was so excited - and so was Mo.

But then it rained. And rained.

Yuck! Terrible ski conditions.

Since we had it all set up, we decided it would be nice to take Mo out for breakfast and bowling with us grown-ups while the babysitter watched Curly. At least he'd get to do something special if he couldn't go skiing.

Only when she showed up, Mo looked out the window sadly and said, "What are we doing again, Mom?"

Trying to sound chipper, I told him we were going for breakfast and bowling.

"Can I stay here?" he asked, eager to play with the babysitter.

"Really?" I asked, trying not to look too disappointed that he was rejecting our special Mo time.

"Yeah. I just want to stay here and play," he said.

Well, I wasn't going to force him to hang out with me. So we let him play. We had a grown-up breakfast at a not-very-kid-friendly place. It was nice. But I was still a little sad my 4-year-old didn't want to hang out with me.

But I should get used to that, I suppose.

Friday, January 22, 2010

This is Mo, leave a message

I thought it would be cute if Mo recorded the message on our answering machine. As an outgoing 4-and-a-half-year-old, I was sure he'd be up for the task. And boy was he ever.

"Hi. We're not home. I love you. Whoever you are, because I don't really know. I love you. Want to be my friend? Bye."

"Hi. [cough, cough] Oh no, I'm choking. Ha, ha, ha! We're at the doctor's office now, because I'm choking. Ha, ha, ha! So just leave us a message."

"Hi. Sorry I coughed last time."

"Hi. We're not home. I love you. Leave a message. Did you know I'm a rock star? Like Michael Jackson. Michael Jackson is dead! He's buried in the ground. I love you, bye."

Monday, January 18, 2010

Disappointment starts here

At the indoor playground today, Mo declared, "I'm having fun with all the kids except that one girl I don't like."

"Well, just don't play with her then," I told him, and he ran off again.

Soon I saw him chasing a little girl who was maybe 5 or 6, an older woman. She giggled and ran. He yelled and ran after her. It was cute. She was the one he "didn't like."

Only then I noticed him kiss her on the arm. "EW! Stop!" she yelled in response. Then he took off and tried kissing her again.

I pulled him aside and asked him to quit it.

Soon after, I saw him grab another girl in a game of chase. That was my cue that it was time to go.

In the car I told him that you can't just grab girls and kiss them, especially when they've told you to stop. And then I kept thinking, He's four! Are we really having this conversation already?

Soon after, he started getting angry.

"Why is everything pointed?" He shouted. "You're pointed. My teacher is pointed. Daddy is pointed. AHHH!"

Pointed? Did he mean, like, sharp. Like I was being too strict with him.

"How are we pointed, Honey?" I asked.

"Like, telling me I can't grab girls. Or play fight. Everyone is making me so 'pointed," he said.

Ah, disappointed. He's disappointed in his lack of freedom, in the rules we're imposing on him.

Wow, if he's disappointed now, just imagine when he starts getting saddled with chores and homework and curfews.

I wanted to tell him to get used to it, life is full of disappointments. But he's only 4. He has plenty of time to figure that out.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Brotherly love

We were walking in the mall the other day, amongst meandering teenagers hand-in-hand and exercising seniors and no-nonsense shoppers on a mission.

I was pushing Curly in his stroller and Mo was walking beside his brother. They were holding hands.

It was sweet, but Mo kept getting in people's way. So finally I told him, "Please stand back here by me."

He looked at me with those big blue eyes like he was totally crushed.

"What's wrong?" I asked.

"Mom!" he said, motioning toward his brother, whom he could no longer hold hands with, "We are in LOVE."

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Nap time disaster in progress

When Mo woke up me and Curly just before 5 a.m. this morning, I tried to focus on the positive: Now, after preschool, all three of us could take a nap. (Mo rarely naps these days, which means I can't either.)

Well, right now I've been trying for more than an hour to get those two to sleep. Plan A was for the three of us to cuddle together, but the boys kept fighting for my attention.

Plan B, in progress right now, is to leave the two of them alone. I'm hoping in vain that they'll get bored and just go to sleep - at nighttime that works like a charm. But I can hear them up there goofing around as I write this.

My two nap time rules are:
1. Keep your head on the pillow
2. No talking

I threatened Mo that he wouldn't get a Popsicle this afternoon if he broke the rules one more time. So just before I headed downstairs, he got very serious. Laying in bed, he asked, "Is it OK if I blink?"

"Yes," I told him.

"Can I move my head a little bit, side to side?"

"Fine."

"What about if I have an itch? Can I scrape it?"

I sighed loudly. "Yes!" I told him as I headed downstairs.

Well, even as I finish writing this I can hear them up there. I guess it's time for Plan C: Take them for a little drive.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Wake up call from Curly

I don't write about Curly enough, so here's a cute story about him.



Usually he wakes me up by sitting up in his bed and just yelling, "Mama! Mama!" over and over until I fetch him and put him in bed with us. He curls up and goes back to sleep, and that's that. Sometimes he even makes it through the night and wanders in to find us in the morning for his cuddle time.



Yesterday morning, I woke to the sound of him loudly whispering, "Beep, beep! Beep, beep!" over and over. He was also laying next to me and his clammy little fingers were squishing, ur, honking my nose.



And then I remembered how Mo, when he was about 1.5 like Curly is now, would sometimes wake me up by taking his little fingers and actually prying my eyelids open. I wonder how long before Curly figures out that trick?

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Watch what you say Mama

My head is still in vacation fog. So, as I was getting ready to take Mo to his first preschool class this week, I realized at the last minute that it actually started at 9 - I thought it started at 9:30.

So we rushed out of the house. On the drive across town I kept having visions that he was going to be terribly late for his first class - and that would make him shy and uncomfortable and give the teacher a bad impression of me, The Mom Who Was Late the Very First Day of Class.

But we actually made pretty good time on the belt line highway.

However, as we approached, I remembered that there's a weird little side street I need to take. It's very poorly marked and the last few times I've been there, I've missed the turn or turned too early and had to back-track.

"OK Boys," I announced. "We're running late, so Mommy needs to turn on the right street this time, not like all the other times."

Sure enough - bingo - I turned on the correct street.

"Woo hoo!" I shouted.

Mo was oddly quiet in the back seat. Could he be getting nervous for his class?

"Honey," I asked. "Did you hear what I said, I turned on the right street. We're not going to be late!"

"I know, Mom," he said. "I know you turned on the right street."

Like his Dad, he's good with directions. Has he known the correct turn-off the whole time?

"How did you know that was the right street?" I asked.

"Because Mom," he explained, "If you turned on the wrong street, you would have said 'shoot' or 'damn it.'"

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Purple nail polish goes with everything

I got my little cousin a sweatshirt for Christmas but wanted something else, something small, to go with it. I had the boys with me at the mall, and we stopped at a teeny bopper store. They had little 5-packs of tiny, glittery nail polish. Seemed perfect.

Mo seemed to think so too. Actually, he thought they seemed perfect for him.

Mo caught me painting my toe nails when he was just two and demanded that I paint his too. Now, just about every time I paint my toe nails, I paint his too. Not a big deal. Got a couple comments at the water park once, but they aren't very noticeable.

Well, when I went to the checkout at the teeny bopper store, the cashier told me the nail polish packs were buy one get one free. So I slyly grabbed another and they appeared in Mo's stocking on Christmas morning. I figured I could use some different, fun colors in addition to my boring (old lady?) reds and pinks.

A couple days ago, Mo found his nail polishes and begged me to paint - no, not his toe nails. His fingernails. Which is funny because I never paint my short little finger nails - just my ugly toes in the hopes of making them a little less ugly. Perhaps this comes from spending the holidays and New Years around his grandmas with their pretty, painted fingernails.

So, as requested, I painted his fingernails a lovely shade of purple.

Mo started a new preschool program this week. So the morning of his new school experience, Dad gently nudged him to get his nail polish taken off. He even promised that I would put on a new color later in the day.

Mo flatly refused.

"Then I won't be a rock star anymore!"

I honestly told him that mostly just girls wear nail polish (gasp - he had no idea). So the kids at school might make fun of him.

He thought about that for a minute and then decided, "That's OK. I just like how it looks, Mom."

So that was that. We let him go with it.

And not only did he wear the nail polish, he proudly pointed it out to just about everyone we saw that day. And so far the response has ranged anywhere from a mild, "Oh" to an enthusiastic "Nice," to another mom telling me that her young son's toes were painted underneath his shoes and socks.

And I must say, I'm really proud of Mo. Already questioning and breaking social conventions. And he has just the right attitude to get away with it.

It will be interesting to see if he's sporting finger nail polish on his first day of kindergarten in September.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Let's go on vacation forever

We just got back from a nice winter escape to Florida. When we got back to Wisconsin it felt so dreary and dank here, and - of course - freezing cold.

In Florida, everything seemed brighter - the green plants, the towering palm trees, the yellow and pink buildings, the orange walls in our vacation home. My parents rented a house and we all got to say there. One day the maintenance man stopped buy to answer some of my dad's questions.

I could tell Mo was having a good time when he asked me: "Can we stay here forever?"

"I wish we could," I told him.

"Well, why don't you just ask the guy?" he asked, motioning to the maintenance man.