Monthly Archives: February 2013

Confession is good for the soul….

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As a follow up to one of the blogs from earlier this month, I thought you might get a kick out of this….

May 12, 2003: Just a quick note, this morning when I went to get the doll out of her bed, lo and behold, there was the boy lying under the covers looking up at me from inside the doll’s crib. I said, “Bay, didn’t we agree you’re no longer allowed in her crib in the mornings?” I reached over the rail and picked up the doll for my usual good morning hug (she pats your back-miss those!).  The boy replied, “Yep.  Do you remember when the doll went tumbly, tumbly, tumbly out of her bed and landed on the cushiony part of the floor?”  Curious to where he was headed I replied, “Yes.” Then he said, “She was hurt huh?” I replied, “Well I know she didn’t like it”.  Then he said, “Yep I was holding her by her legs then she went tumbly tumbly over the side and onto her head”.  Trying to remain serious I said in return “You learned your never allowed to do that again right?” “That’s right!” he replied enthusiastically and then added “Now can you get me out of this bed?”  As I lowered him out of the bed, I couldn’t help but laugh to myself.  He kept that little tidbit of information to himself for a whole week. He must have felt it was safe to tell.  In addition, I made him promise me once more that he would never do that again.  Here’s to keeping my fingers crossed!

When I first read this aloud to my kids the doll wasn’t too happy with her brother.  The boy’s only remark was “What? I was trying to help her out of the bed…” as if he actually remembered the event.  To his credit, the boy has never been the best liar in the world.  We usually can catch him when he’s feeding us a line.  The doll on the other hand could teach a masters class on how to lie convincingly…though…her parents have grown wiser as a result.  The one thing I do miss is the boy’s openness to tell us everything.  Nowadays I feel like I’m holding a fishing pole over his head and trying like crazy to land on something useful he will tell me.  I commented to him the other day that grunts and minor head shakes leave much open for interpretation.  He replied, “I’ll take it under advisement” which really meant “And your point is?!”

I know my days of open communication with the doll may be numbered….but at least we still have our “car” time talks…and I’m praying they never end.

snow daze

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To his credit the boy has always been an early riser. His mother–not so much. We could always tell when he was in a growth spurt; he didn’t wake up at the crack of dawn. When he was an infant I managed about five hours of sleep a night, trying desperately to keep him awake; so he would “sleep” in the morning. His Daddy worked third shift and needed to go to bed when he arrived home.  I’d leave for work at 5:45 am and the boy would wake up sometimes as early as 6:30 am.  Daddy would get maybe an hour and a half of sleep, before having to get up with growing boy-who wouldn’t go back to  sleep until the afternoon. Needless to say, the need for Dad to get off that third shift became apparent. “The boy is trying to kill me” he would lament over his total lack of sleep.

Dec. 2 2002: As Dad’s alarm clock went off this morning, he opened his eyes to find the boy standing next to our bed; ready to play. Daddy explained to him that he had to work and instructed him to lay down in bed, next to his extremely tired and most likely, irritable mother and go back to sleep. Well the boy got bored with that idea and accepted the challenge to slowly try and wake me up. I ignored him for as long as I could and surprisingly made the time last until just after daddy left for work-an hour and a half later.  Together we laid up in bed talking about all the silly things in the world. He wanted a good afternoon snack right now and then. I told him he would have to wait until it was afternoon time. Then he asked me if today was “No TV Wednesday” and was very happy to find out it wasn’t. The whole time he kept trying to get me out of bed while I kept trying to get him to stay. Guess who finally won? Resigned I asked him, “What would you like for breakfast?”  he said, “Cheerios, chocolate milk and an apple with syrup on it.”  I replied, “Okay, sounds good, but no syrup.” To which he retorted “Mom, don’t ruin it, syrups what makes it taste just right and good.”

I read this aloud to my son this morning and he claims her remembers this exact event.   I don’t know how true his memory really is but I do know his eating habits really haven’t changed–so long as there is sugar on something, the food has got to be good right? The  letters from which I’m pulling these tales are littered with my frustrations trying to get the boy to eat something other than peanut butter and sugar-er jelly sandwiches.  To this day, sugar in the form of bread, pasta, donuts, cookies and candy are still his favorite foods.  Of course this drives the doll nuts too–she’s had three cavities where he’s had none.  Something just isn’t right with this picture.

Dibs evidently doesn’t work….

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Some things never change….

March 17, 2003: On Friday I watched the kids’ baby cousin Mary (5 mos) for a short time. I laid a blanket on the floor in the living room and set Mary down.  I also brought her car seat in from the kitchen and set it down nearby. The doll was very interested….not in her cousin mind you, but her cousin’s car seat. She tried like crazy to fit into the darn thing. Over and over the doll kept getting out, rearranging the blanket, then trying to get back in without success.  While watching my doll’s failed attempts I had a bright idea (a light bulb actually appeared above my head!).  A few weeks earlier, Daddy had removed our extra car seat from the van and put it into the boy’s bedroom.  Whenever someone read a story to the boy, the doll would sit inside the car seat and listen. “I know” I thought “…what if I bring that other car seat into the living room? I bet that would pull the doll away from Mary’s (much smaller) car seat?”  And you know what?  It worked! Except then, the boy decided he liked the car seat too. I stood back and watched as his imagination took off. While seated inside the car seat he became an astronaut or a transformer or….an obstacle for his sister to overcome.

This morning Daddy leaned back and tried using the bottom of the seat as a head rest.  The doll took particular offense to this.  First she began hitting Daddy in the head with an empty plastic bowl she got from the kitchen.  When he didn’t budge, she slid into the car seat from the side and then began kicking her dad in the head; trying to pry him off the seat.  Daddy was like “Jeeze I don’t get no respect!” In the end, the car seat found a new home in our basement–the moment we caught the doll in a boy headlock as they fought over the car seat. Good ideas often die hard.

Yesterday the hub entered the kitchen complaining about our children’s possession of the living room. “When did the kids begin to like the big couch?  They used to leave that one alone so I could lay down and take a nap.  Now the only place left to do that is on the floor.” I smiled because everything he said was true.  The doll has claimed the love seat as hers while the boy, whose grown to behemoth proportions can only fit comfortably on our larger couch.  The good news however, is if we’re lucky, in five years the boy will be off to college and we can begin to reclaim the living room.  Until then, pillows for the floor are always a good buy.

the doll and the dog….

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Our old dog Sweet Pea lived to be 15 years old.  She was the first animal I  ever owned and was a good precursor to children. Being a dog, one might imagine, she could be a trouble maker.  Whenever she would get mad at us she would eat something she shouldn’t ($500 vet bills later), chew on something of value (so that kitchen molding really isn’t necessary after all) or confound us by her behavior (is there a reason you’re standing on top of our kitchen table?).  By the time the doll came into our family, the dog was eleven years old, set in her ways and wary of these little animals we kept bringing into the family and then favoring over her.

At some point in the doll’s relationship with the dog, a bond was formed.  If she didn’t want to eat food, the dog was there to help her out.  If the dog wanted to play catch, the doll was ever so ready to throw the ball.  They were good companions–however we could have lived without the old dog teaching the young girl new tricks…

May 2003: When the doll was around 1 1/2 years old, we switched things up on her–which made her brave enough to learn new ways to scare the living daylights out of her parents.  We changed the way she received food–we changed her high chair.  Several years earlier we were given a  “McDonald’s” original high chair–you know the kind that allows the kid to sit directly at the table. The week before, on a trip to Grammy and Papaws, she sat in a booster seat and decided that was the way to go.  As way of compromising, the McDonald’s chair was brought out and she was in heaven.  Now she felt like the rest of us–sitting at the table. The problem is, the chair is built somewhat like a ladder. And what do kids do around ladders?  They climb. The doll has used the “ladder” to climb upon the kitchen table.  I asked her the other day if who she thought she was…Sweet Pea? 

All the kitchen chairs must be pushed up to the table and the high char must be placed on its side-next to the oven. Dad decided after dinner one night to just place the chair atop the table instead.  What we learned was the doll found the space between the oven and the wall a fascinating area to put your hand and try and pull the gas line out of the wall.  Needless to say, the chair was put back onto the floor, next to the stove thus blocking the doll’s passage.

Today if you were to walk into my kitchen, you would probably find all the kitchen chairs pushed away from our table.  Pushing the chairs under the table never occurs to anyone anymore, too much like work. Plus the doll’s curiosity and desire to walk upon our table top or pull the gas line from the wall were passed over in favor of new and exciting adventures awaiting her in other parts of our home. Also, our current dog Dixie, a  Jack Russell terrorist has yet to discover the want/need to jump upon or stand on the kitchen table…but give the doll some reasons….and I’m sure she’ll be teaching that old dog a new trick or two.

how dumb we can be…

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The doll was born 9 days early on February 13, 2002 and has been in a hurry to grow up ever since.  If you ask her today, as she fights through the storms of puberty, she’ll tell you “I don’t want to grow up” then in the next heart beat she’s putting on make-up with her friends.  That dichotomy is at war with both our senses.
9/15/05 While watching The doll swing on our back yard swing set, I noticed how old she looked.  Her communication skills have improved tremendously as we are understanding her more and more.  My baby, was growing up.  We lucked out that the doll had been afraid of falling out of her crib for so long (fear brought on by her brother’s unwanted help no doubt); she didn’t start climbing out until she was almost three.  Now we were at the time to wean her from her crib and into a big girl bed.  Another step away from babyhood.
 
“Hey doll, how would you like it if I put this bed into your bedroom?” (While on a recent visit, we placed a twin bed in our living room for which my mother-in-law could sleep. The bed began to resemble a “day” bed/third couch for a spell afterward) I asked her.  “Uh, no Mom, this is Grammy’s bed.” she replied.  “Yeah, while Grammy visited she slept here, but now it would be your bed…”  “But Daddy told me I was getting a “Princess” bed from Santa.”  “Well”, I said, “You’ll still get that Princess bed, but, you can use this as a “practice” bed, until you get your new bed.”  “No thanks Mom, this is Grammy’s bed, she needs it.”  I started thinking this was going to be harder than I thought.  “Doll, did you know when the boy was your age, he was already in his big kid bed.  In fact, he was younger than you.”  I said trying to appeal to her competitive side. All of a sudden, the realization of what was about to happen gripped her.  “No Mama, I love my bed, I’m not too big for it, see, I haven’t out grown it!” she said, climbing back into the crib, stretching the long way with her arms stretched out above her.  “Honey, you may not be too big size wise, but your old enough to sleep in a big girl bed”.  “But Mama”, she said through tears, “I love my bed”.  While snuggling with her, I felt like I was traumatizing her beyond belief.  Finally, I appealed to her sensible side, “Doll, I know you like to jump on your bed, but I bet if you jump on the new bed, you’ll be able to jump higher.  In fact, why don’t  you go into the living room and try it”.  She wiped her tears and whimpered, “Okay” to me.  Moments later she was jumping up and down, giggling.
 
I moved the crib across the room and began setting up the twin  bed in her room.  First the bed frame was put together, then the mattress and box spring was brought in and set up.  We first tried an “angle” look for the bed, but concluded the bed rail wouldn’t be able to raise and lower.  Thinking aloud I said, “I don’t know, I think I’m gonna have to push the bed up against the wall”.  Unaware the doll was behind me in the room, she said,  “Ok Mommy, push it against the wall, yeah just like that.” She stood off the to the side and made hand motions as if directing traffic.  Once the bed was in place, she began jumping up and down on the bed, giggling again.  I had a brief moment of regret, in my tactics for getting her to accept this bed, but decided what the heck, they worked.  We can work on the bed jumping later.  Now the time arrived.  The only way I could get the crib out of the room was to dismantle it and was worried what reaction I would get from her.  “Now doll, the only way I can get your old crib out of the room is to unscrew it–take it a part”, I said.  “Okay Mommy.”  she said, in a matter of fact voice.  Evidently she was really ready for that big girl bed.  Now, I’m sad…she IS growing up.
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Since I wrote this piece, the doll has gone through three additional beds.  Currently she has bunk beds, inherited when her Grandmother moved back north last summer.
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 When the doll and I read this-this morning she smiled and asked “Why is this my birthday story?  I mean why not tell them about the day I was born (Which is a fun-often told story)?” I smiled and said, “Because I wanted everyone to see how dumb I was back then.” Scrunching her nose she gave me a curious look.  “How?” she asked.  “When I wrote this you were three and a half years old. I was sad because you were growing up. Today I look at you and see this beautiful young lady (she hates being called a lady), growing tall, facing challenges and learning how to become a young strong independent woman. My beautiful little baby girl will always be growing up-and growing away from me.” I replied, laying it on a bit thick I might add. She stopped what she was doing for a few seconds before saying, “But I will always be your baby girl-that will never change”.  I smiled and we hugged, longer than a moment, noting our sincerity.
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As we released from our hug I gave her a wry smile and said, “Now let’s see….eleven smacks…” all the while lifting my hand in a mock slap readiness. She giggled, pulling herself to her feet and scooted around me, keeping her rear end facing far away from me and my hands.  “Happy Birthday Doll…” I called out to her, giving her a wink-letting her know, her eleven smacks were simply on hold until later.

challenges and solutions…

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This morning before school, the doll and I looked over the possibilities for today’s blog.  This week is pretty much doll centered, primarily with her birthday arriving tomorrow.  She’s not too happy to share her birthday with Ash Wednesday; not that I blame her. So this morning I said “Doll, here are the choices…which one do you think I should choose?”  “Well mom, while they may be hilarious to you, they are embarrassing to me.”  “Yes, but doll you are no longer wearing diapers…” I offered.  Smiling back she agreed “True”; before pointing at this story.

May 19, 2003: The doll may be trying to tell us she is ready to be toilet trained. Here are my clues…she enjoys the bathroom so much, she’s been barred from going in there alone. She is spacing her diaper filling duties to an almost trainable time table. But the most telling feature has been her readiness to remove her diaper any given moment. The only problem with this of course, she will then proceed to tinkle on whatever she is standing upon, while the diaper is discarded a few feet away. The other night, after a bath, I had her set for bed and went back into the bathroom to check on her brother. When I came back out,  the doll and I began playing a game where I was blocking her from taking a certain path. On one of her passes I grabbed her acted like I would spank her. That was when I discovered she wasn’t a wearing her diaper and her T-shirt was wet. You never saw two parents jump up so fast–looking for the wet spot and diaper. We were lucky, they were both in plain sight on her bedroom floor.  I checked her diaper to see if it was dry (it was) and then put it back onto her; sternly warning her not to remove the diaper again. Then Dad and I went back into the bathroom to retrieve a towel and check on the boy. When I left the bathroom, I discovered a new wet spot on the living room floor–but no diaper. The doll, sensing trouble ran into her brother’s bedroom; where she once again discarded her diaper (next to another wet spot).  As we struggled to catch her, she ran back into her bedroom and then created yet another wet spot. Her father looked at me and said, “How can she go in so many different rooms?” There we stood; upon towels in all three rooms, trying to figure out if the doll was emulating our dog or what? 

We came up with a solution: They say when the world ends, the only thing that will still be around are cockroaches and duct tape.  Lord knows, duct tape, is the wunderkind thing that can be used to solve almost any problem. Heck even the government wants us to stock up on the darn stuff. What better use than taping her diaper on her so she can no longer unhook the Velcro straps? And guess what?  It worked!!  Although….you need to have it handy when changing her–as she doesn’t give you second chances.

Kids like to challenge their parents.  Lord knows the boy and his inability to turn in his homework challenges us on a daily basis.  But rarely do we come up with quick solutions that work.  Honestly, using duct tape was a flash of genius for us.  I’m not sure who came up with the idea, I’m just happy one of us did.   Now if we could come up with a solution for the boy’s homework woes that work too… sigh.

Post script: On a trip to the doll’s pediatrician we proudly displayed how we used duct tape to secure the diaper–believing we were geniuses.  Her doctor smiled and said, “Yes, I remember that well.  We used to wrap duct tape completely around my son’s diaper to fully secure the diaper to him; otherwise he would let them fly–especially when they diaper was full of number two.”  I remember looking at my doll and husband in that moment and thanking God she was not that crazy; her need to be naked not withstanding.

daddy’s girl….

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April 05, 2004: I have come to realize The doll is a daddy’s girl. That, or she is trying to play us one against the other.  Every day when nap time comes, she goes down w/nary a cry (knock wood 3X). At night, forgettaboutit. First she has to sit on Daddy’s lap, get kisses from him, then try really hard to make herself small enough so I don’t see her. When I don’t pick her up she just cries, arms outstretched toward dad crying daddy, daddy, daddy.  If he happens to come over for a hug, she really works herself into his arms.  Tonight I said Fine, go to your dad-he can put you to bed.  Then she began to cry for me.  Dad not one to listen to crying children, put her in her bed then proceeded to read her and the boy a story from the hall way.  This worked wonders…as they were soon asleep.

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     Oh if it only worked this easily today…. Trying to get the doll to go to sleep can be exhausting in and of itself.  Take for instance this past weekend when she invited two girl friends to spend the night.  This year her birthday lands on Ash Wednesday.  Hard to make it a fun day when your noting  a solemn event.  As such, I gave my permission for a “sleep over”. Her father agreed to take the boy over to their grandmother’s thus keeping any possible war between the sexes; out of the equation. “Now doll, whatever you girls do, is up to you.  You’re the party planner” I informed her.  She took the task to heart and planned out several different scenarios for the evening.  What she did not plan on was Stephanie’s strong personality taking over.
   “I rented you girls some movies….” I offered.  “That’s okay, I brought my own…” Stephanie announced and pulled out a soft case containing twenty or so videos.  Hmm, I could have saved myself some money!  A little while later my living room smelled of nail polish and nail polish remover.  As I entered the room, all three girls had make-up on, complete with mascara–another treat Stephanie had brought along.  There was also a stronger, worse smell emanating in the room. The doll’s other friend Felicia said, ‘I’m sorry if the room smells bad, but Stephanie’s  feet smelled worse, so I had to spray them with some cologne.”  “Really?” I wondered aloud.  “At least her feet smell better…” Felicia said.
    “I don’t know about that…” I thought.
     Once their make-up was perfected, Stephanie asked, “Doll’s mom, what is an acceptable prank?”  “What?” “You know, what can we do to the first one asleep–that isn’t harmful but funny?”  Dear god. “I don’t think anything is really that acceptable…” I said, realizing I was completely out of my league here.  “But mom, you told me about a time you were at a slumber party and they put a girls bra in the freezer….”  “Damn, tales of my youth are not supposed to be used against me” I thought.  “Well there is that…that didn’t hurt anyone–just made them mad.”  “Well we were thinking of putting hair mousse in a hand, so they would get it on their faces…” Stephanie noted.  “Hmm, I don’t like that for two reasons…” I began.  First, the mousse is a chemical that will burn if you get it in your eyes and second, that’s my mousse and there isn’t much left…” Stephanie picked up the bottle and announced there was plenty…but conceded the chemical problems.  “Maybe we can find erasable markers and color mustaches….” she offered.  I quickly changed the subject hoping all ideas would get dropped.
     “Mom, please mommy, please say yes” the doll proposed.  “No, I don’t think so…” I replied.  “Please mom, let us stay up as late as we want…”  “Doll, Felicia has a basketball game in the morning and god knows what else.  Plus I’m really not looking forward to “cranky” doll…”  “Mom, I promise I won’t be cranky, Pulllleeeezzzzzeee.”  Such a fools promise.  I grabbed one of my rented movies, sat at the kitchen table and began to watch on the laptop.  The girls meanwhile, after playing Just Dance on the Wii and listening to music finally settled down to watch one of Stephanie’s movies. As luck would have it somewhere around 2 am I fell asleep. I was awaken twenty minutes later to laughter and a doll running out of the kitchen, closing the door behind her.  Walking over and opening the door, all three girls stood their laughing.  The doll, holding the evidence smiled and tried to downplay what has just happened.
     “What did you do?” I asked in a stern voice.  All three girls laughed “Nothing”.  “Doll, I’m not finding this funny” I said trying to sound mad-but actually pleased by their ingenuity.  “Mom, really it’s  nothing..”  Looking at Felicia she cowered a little and said, “Well, there’s just a little on your cheeks.  Nothing bad.”  “My cheeks huh?”  Stephanie smiled and said, “Well you were the first one to fall asleep…” Walking into the bathroom, I turned on the light at the mirror and found eye shadow on both cheeks. “Acceptable prank” I said to myself, as I washed the make-up off.  “BEDTIME!” I announced and all three girls laughed on their way.
     The sleep over ended when at 4 am I made sure the girls were finally asleep.  Felicia, who informed me she never sleeps at sleepovers was indeed the last one asleep–though not by much.  The doll and Stephanie lasted until 3:45 am.  Thankfully, the boys arrived home around 8:30 am and took over the job as host–getting the girls up and moving, fed and out the door in a reasonable amount of time.  I stayed in bed. Later the doll informed me the sleepover was a success; this was one of her best birthdays ever and she loved me more as a result.  I confirmed my earlier suspicion that lack of sleep makes for one cranky doll–who yelled “I’M NOT CRANKY!!” and proved me right.