Saturday, February 20, 2010

Conversations with an almost-4-year-old

Me: "What do you want to be when you grow up?"
Him: "I will be a fireman. But I will get so tall because firemen are so tall. And then I won't fit into our house."
Me: "But will you visit us?"
Him: "I will be at the firehouse with the other firemen and I will be teaching fire safety."
Me: "Okay, that's pretty important. I understand. What do you think your little brother wants to be when he grows up?"
Him: "Probably a salesman."

Me: "Don't cover your nose; you need it to breathe."
Him: "Oh I can breathe on my own."
Me: "Your lungs help you breathe."
Him: "I don't have lungs."
Me: "Yes you do, they're inside your chest just like lots of other things inside your body that you don't see (start naming organs...)"
Him: "Is my brain by my eyes?"
Me: "Yes it's inside your head."
Him: "Well I don't feel it. But I do hear it. When I shake my head I can hear it."

Monday, February 15, 2010

Love It, Hate It

Have you ever heard something that is catch-your-breath sweet and at the same time a punch in the gut?

Can anything do that quite like two little voices on the other end of a cell phone when they say this to a traveling-on-business-again mommy:

"Mommy will you come and cuddle with us before we go to bed?"

Aww. And ugh.

Friday, February 12, 2010

The middle-of-the-night dance

It’s 3:00 a.m. I hear a whine. In my limited coherency, my overworked subconscious starts going through its unregulated-by-daytime-logic freak out mode. Eyes closed, the questions start: Was that a cry? Is he puking again? Did he sit up or is it going to be on him again? Why is he throwing up so much? Is it a tumor? Something so rare that we’ll have to go doctor to doctor until someone finds the answer? What if he didn’t sit up and he’s choking? Is Hubby getting up? Get up! Get up, body! GET! UUUUUP!

My body finally moves, simultaneously waking up my logic. It tells my subconscious to snap out of it. It’s not a tumor. It’s a virus. And it’s time to change the sheets again. One foot in front of the other, I walk toward the whine.

“Buddy? Do you need to throw up again? Lean over the trash can, okay? Want some water?”

I get him out of bed. He’s hot. He’s limp. Take off the wet pjs and strip the sheets. He waits quietly, face down on the ottoman while I finish. “Water?” his small voice attempts. We’re both going through the motions as if this happens all the time.

Thank God it doesn’t. I pause my nighttime chores for just a second to admire him, his tiny body’s strength.

Hour after hour it comes. Each time, he yells out a warning. “Mommy!” “Daddy!” sometimes one of us literally jumps out of bed and runs in his room. The adrenaline - just sitting on go, waiting to be beckoned. Other times my subconscious wins, muddying my brainwaves. One eye opens and wonders why the alarm clock is so bright. Mind coaxes body up, feet to the hardwood. As if running underwater I don’t make it in time. I find myself feeling around in the dark to find the wet spots. With bare hands, trying to determine - without waking Little Brother - whether sheets and pjs need another change.

I realize that after so many times, there is not even a smell. I ponder how it’s possible his tiny body can do this over and over. Is it normal? And that prompts the middle-of-the-night subconscious to ask the freak out questions. Again.

He lies back down. See you in about an hour, buddy. I don’t say it out loud – maybe he thinks that was the last time. My feet guide my body back to bed.

We do this dance all night, though he switches dance partners between Mommy and Daddy. Subconcious occasionally tries to cut in. But Adrenaline often pushes it off.

In the morning, I break the news that he can’t go to school. I know all he wants to do is sleep but still he is disappointed. “I won’t throw up anymore!” he promises. I explain that his body still needs time to fight the germs inside.

“Will the germs come out of my mouth?” he asks.

The simultaneous cute and gross of his question erases the blur of our night. We are in this together, little man. Dance partners matched by God – the one who has a way of always making me forget how exhausted I am.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Today is Not Valentine's Day

Today is Feb. 10. It’s not Valentine’s Day. It’s Wednesday. And thus, it’s the Valentine’s Day party in the toddler room at St. John’s Parents Day Out. Of course it is!

And so this morning, this working mom’s “oh sh*t!” stream of consciousness kicked in. There I was anxiously trying to remember what ‘party day’ was supposed to mean to us. The whole process went something like this…

Find the Sesame Street Valentines Mimi picked up at a fellow retired teacher’s garage sale for 25 cents. Check. Sign child’s name to the Valentines but do not put any names on the outside envelopes to make it easier on the teachers. Okay. Do not include any candy because we never know who might be allergic to what, and besides teachers hate sugar in the classroom. Of course. Is this the one where we’re supposed to include little pencils, stickers, cutesy tokens? Maybe that’s the Friday school. Maybe Mimi knows. (Late for work. Late for work. Late for work.)

Okay, sign for Reid. Find a red marker? Pink crayon? Try to make the script a little more festive?

What would Reid want me to do? (Late for work. Late for work.)

Reid can’t write. Or read. And neither can his little friends at school. But dagnabit those other moms can so here we go.

Black ball point it is.

Flip them all over.

“From Reid”
“From Reid”
Use print instead of cursive, of course. I mean what toddler knows cursive?
“From Reid”
“From Reid”
15 times.

Is that enough? How many kids are there?

Settle on 15 with the logic that those rooms are pretty small and he doesn’t ever come home with bruises from kids climbing over him. Fifteen is probably more than I need. Oh crap, will I need some of those 15 for the Friday school? Wonder if I will I be doing this same tap dance on Friday morning.

Snap drifting mind back to the project at hand.

Feel guilty that Reid’s Valentines are likely going to be sub-par compared to the rest of the class. Remember that I still have to get shoes and coats on the boys and get them into the car. (Late for work. Late for work.)

Insert some granola bar bribery.

Stuff Valentines into his backpack’s front pocket. Make mental note to remember to tell Mimi they’re in there so she can take them out when he gets to school. Say a brief prayer thanking God that Mimi signed up to bring paper cups to the party, bypassing my incompetency.

Make mental note to never go out for PTA president.

Happy Valentine’s Day, dear reader. I mean, uh, Happy Wednedsay.

P.S. Yes, I realize I haven’t yet answered my cliffhanger from two posts ago. Clearly I have other crises to manage and haven’t had a chance, but rest assured (as I know you’ve bitten your nails down to stubs at this point) it’s coming.