Saturday, June 27, 2009

King of Pop

I can't believe Michael Jackson is dead. I wonder if finding out about his death is going to be like the "I remember where I was when I found out Elvis died, where I was when I found out President Kennedy died, when the Challenger blew up, when I found out about 9-11," etc... Love him or hate him he was the icon for my generation. Michael Jackson's Thriller album was my first album I ever owned. I was in fifth grade and my brother came home from college and brought along the "new danger" album that would forever be a changing moment of my life. I memorized every song on the album. I read the words as Michal sang them in his soprano voice and I agreed with him that Billy Jean is a skank who is trying to pin him as the daddy just to get child support. Little did I know at the time, but "Beat It" had a double meaning for him, it wasn't just get out of my house and don't darken my doorway again. Still today when I hear the song "PYT" (Pretty Young Thing), I expect, "Wanna Be Startin' Somethin' " to immediately follow. Michael Jackson's video of my favorite- Thriller, was the first music video I ever saw. I admit it was scary with all of the zombies, but was a bit "thrilling" and exciting as well! Michael Jackson was the first man I saw gyrate- to music and otherwise. Apparently the "Man in the Mirror" was a bit too black for Michael because soon after his huge success, he turned white. He also had a strange obsession with the elephant man and owned his skeleton. Maybe Michael could relate to the elephant man since his nose fell off just like him. I always kind of related Michael with OJ Simpson because they both only had one glove. In my time it was cool to wear only one glove (and a sequenced, tight red jacket), but then along came OJ and his one glove and it no longer was cool, but creepy. That's about the time Michael Jackson reached his peek of creepiness. He was dangling his children out of hotel windows, making his kids wear veils (maybe because they were in fact black), and opened the Never Land Ranch as if it were in competition with Disney World. I think Michael Jackson was a troubled man. Actually all of the Jackson's are troubled. Latoya with the drugs and jail time. Janet with the whole "Ooops! I showed my nipple decoration on national television during the most broadcasted event of the the year- but didn't mean to!" Perhaps father Jackson pushed too hard for his brood of 5 to succeed and Michael couldn't re-gain the popularity of the "Thriller" era and couldn't cope. I feel bad for his three children, not just because he threatens to play "toss the baby" out the window, or the veils, but because their mother gave up all rights and visitation to a crazy man, and now that crazy man is dead. Maybe someday they can join Brittney Spears in the Circus- I mean on her Circus tour...

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Before I Became A Parent...

Before I became a parent, I would see other people's children throwing tantrums in public and swore MY children would never throw tantrums in public.
Before I became a parent, I would surely take my child out of the store while throwing a tantrum rather than ignoring him and continue shopping.
Before I became a parent I would NEVER give into tantrums just to make them stop.
Before I became a parent, I knew I'd make my kids do chores around the house.
Before I became a parent, I WOULD NEVER let them get out of doing those chores by whining.
Before I became a parent, I would never dream of doing their chore without even asking them, just to avoid all of the whining/nagging drama.
Before I became a parent, MY children's TV time would be limited to a total of one hour daily.
Before I became a parent, MY children would rather play outside than with video games.
Before I became a parent, I WOULD NEVER buy my children video games.
Before I became a parent, I would never be relieved they are watching TV, because video games are violent.
Before I became a parent, I would never put my child's wants before my financial needs.
Before I became a parent, I'd monitor absolutely EVERYTHING they watched.
Before I became a parent, I'd never allow my children to eat junk food.
Before I became a parent, I had lived 20 years without a hot dog and swore my children could too.
Before I became a parent, I would never allow my child to eat mostly sweets.
Before I became a parent, I WOULD NEVER give my child a cookie just to put something in their mouth to stop the whining...
Before I became a parent, I knew my children would sleep through the night in their own beds at the age of 3 months on.
Before I became a parent, I would never allow my six-year-old to sleep with me.
Before I became a parent, I knew MY kids would nap immediately when told to until they were seven-years-old.
Before I became a parent, MY children would always wear matching, clean clothes.
Before I became a parent, I would lay out my children's clothes daily and they would gladly wear them.
Before I became a parent, I would always be on time everywhere because MY children would be cooperative and get in the car when it's time to go.
Before I became a parent, I knew I'd be very organized and know where everyone's shoes are at any given time.
I was so much wiser and much better at sticking to my convictions before I had kids...

Monday, June 22, 2009

I am Thankful

I am thankful I am a teacher. I know I whine and complain about some parents not raising their children so the responsibility falls on the classroom teacher, but being a teacher allows me to raise my own kids. Not only is teaching my passion, but it gives me three months (except June is always crappy- so I wish it were July, August, September) off. I love spending the days with the boys. I love waking up to Ethan crawling in bed (or already there) and wanting to cuddle. He's at an age where every time he holds my hand or wants to sit RIGHT by me on the couch might be the last. I feel like I have to burn it into my memory. I love watching Noah get so grown-up. He is so responsible and logical. I am thankful for Noah because he is, and always has been an easy child. He truly wants to please. He is such a good teacher for his brother. Sometimes he is a cocky winner, but he's so fun to hang around with. I am thankful for Ethan because he prefers mommy to anyone else in the whole world, and he is funny, and innocent and when he loves something he LOVES it with his whole heart. Ethan doesn't like a lot of things, but when he does- he loves it with passion. I see my personality in both of the boys even though they are so opposite. Noah is what I strive to be socially, everyone flocks to him because he has such a good heart. However, I am more socially like Ethan who is a bit skeptical at first, gets a first impression and is 90% correct about it. Ethan is quick witted and funny, where Noah is sensitive and kind. Noah tells you want you want to hear, and Ethan tells me the dentist will say I "have bent teeth." Noah will tell me the pants I am wearing don't make me look fat, while he is thinking "it's her fat that makes her look fat" so he's not technically lying. However, I know Ethan would tell me the truth, so when I ask him I know he means it. I love them both so much. This morning Ethan asked me what time it was, I said "9:30". "Oh! I gotta get dressed and play outside for an hour!" He ran downstairs to go get dressed in his pants because he has a hard time changing seasons and wearing appropriate clothing for the weather, and ran outside and played for an hour. He's so funny. I wish I could stop them from growing up so fast.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Week Two

It is week two of summer vacation and I have realized many things. 1) TV commercials/mini- infomercials are ridiculous and make absurd promises. 2) Baseball is mind numbing boring and I am certain I can't take it much longer. 3) Maxie is VERY stylish with his new haircut. 4) Sam is VERY, VERY naughty and destroys on the average of 4.5 items a week. I am wondering if he'd be happier at another person's house. 5) Without having work, little kids to chase around, or master's to work on, I get a little anxious wondering what to do. 6) Ethan hasn't injured any limbs (yet) this week!
First of all- TV mini infomercials. Yesterday when the kids were watching the Disney Channel, I overheard a commercial for a reading program geared for babies. "Your baby can read at 8- months-old!" Are you kidding me? 8-month-old babies can't talk let alone read!! I have known many babies, two of which were gifted and lived with me, so I knew everything they did, and NO eight-month -old can talk. I know boys talk later than girls, but I also know a gifted baby girl, Lilly, and she didn't talk at 8-months. Lilly said "mama" at 10-months, but that could have meant, "there's my mama!" or "I want mama!" or "I am wet/uncomfortable/tired and mama fixes it", or "I'm hungry and mama means food", or "Why does mama keep going to work? I want her" or "It is the middle of the night and am lonely, I wish I were sleeping with mama or that man mama person..." There is no way an 8-month-old can read. The concept is the baby watches a video. They video says a word like, "clap" while showing the action, followed by saying the word again while showing the word and making the sound for clap. The kids aren't "reading" clap, they are reacting to the action/word- repeating it- making it appear that they can "read". Kids are not developmentally ready to read until age 5-6, on a rare occasion, maybe four, but that's even young. Before then, they are word callers, they see a word and memorized what it looked like and can say the word. When you string together the words, they make a sentence, but because they are simply word callers, they aren't fulling comprehending what they are reading. Also, reading in the early stages requires phonics, letter/sound connection and the brain making the connection to put together letters/sounds to form a word. Without this stage, kids do not learn to "sound out words", which is a requirement in second grade when they come to unknown words. Word callers are excellent students until third grade, then they level off, or worse, let the classmates soar above them because in third grade the kids are required to read for information and they are no longer learning to read, but reading to learn which requires comprehension. Sure, you can teach your baby to read, but what's the point in knowing how to read if you can't comprehend?
Number 2- Baseball is mind numbing boring. I am proud of Noah for being in Babe Ruth Baseball, but I am eagerly anticipating the end of the season. He has games every Thursday night from 5:00- 8:15. He bats twice in that three hour and 15 minutes. Yes- TWICE. The kids pitch, so it's usually four "balls" then the coach pitches. The kids are the catchers and when the pitcher throws the ball, the catcher (except for Noah) misses the ball, then doesn't go get it, but expects the ball to roll to him (which doesn't work). It is so painful that I have to literally have Ethan sit on my lap so I don't run out and become the pitcher or catcher. However, watching T-ball is not painful. Maybe because t-ball is only 45 minutes and that is the limit of my attention span, or because when the kids hit the ball all of the kids in the outfield run to the ball, with the exception on the kid doing the "happy dance" (usually my child) in left field, the kid picking dandelions in right field, and the first baseman writing his name in the dirt. T-ball is entertaining. At Ethan's last game, a kid hit the ball and ran all of the bases even though the kids (from his team) on the second and third bases didn't move, he just ran by them giving them high-fives the whole way. It's only 45 minutes, but Ethan batted three times. That is two and a half hours shorter than Noah's games and he batted once more.
Sam is so naughty. Both Ethan and I are always mad at him, and Abby hide under the bed most of the time because he is so big and chases and wants to play with her. He is ALWAYS barking or chewing on something he shouldn't, and he's the only one who sheds, and he sheds A LOT. The little dogs are always hiding from him. He is driving me crazy, and if this "puppy" stage doesn't end soon, he'll find a new home. They only thing that saves him is he's cute and nice when he sleeps, but so is Fran Dresher, and it doesn't stop her from being annoying as hell.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Hide the Penny

I found out seven years ago, apparently there are very few things that are equal to the entertainment value of "watching mommy get ready". For the past seven years, I have rarely been able to do my hair and make-up alone. But hey, my boys will grow-up to be understanding husbands when their wife has to budget monthly for make-up/hair products. Noah was sitting on the toilet (not going to the bathroom) talking to me yesterday as I got ready to take Ethan to the clinic. He was speaking some strange "sports" language and I was answering "really?" "NO WAY!" and "Who is Stanley and why is his cup so great?" As Noah was talking, I put him to work wiping off the counter. I have a shelf on the counter that holds lotions, a candle, eye cream, etc... I know, shocking I wear eye cream- I don't just wake up looking like this. Although, one of my students saw me early in the morning as I was making sub plans on the day I was certain I had the swine flu. I didn't have any make-up on, I simply showered and left the house. He didn't notice I looked different at all, oh, I take that back. I was wearing sweat pants, and that was different. Anyway, Noah moved the shelf to wipe off the counter and found a penny. I told him he should give it to Ethan to put in his shoe so he'd have better luck. Noah wandered into the kitchen where Ethan was and rubbed the penny on his foot, played "heads or tails" with Ethan and then put it in his piggy bank. Noah's so cheap that truly EVERY penny counts. Meanwhile Ethan came in to the bathroom to partake in the entertain known as "mommy getting ready". Now he is sitting on the toilet. He's talking and singing and suddenly moves the shelf saying, "MOM! I hid something for you... Do you think you'll find it?" Obviously not finding the penny, runs out of the bathroom yelling, "NO-AH!!!" Ethan got his penny back and "hid" it somewhere else for me to find. He's so funny. Last summer he was hiding from me, but forgot to tell me. Noah told me, "Oh, Ethan's been hiding for like 15 minutes. He wants you to go find him." When I found him he was so excited, he thought he found a super great hiding spot that took mom 15 minutes to track down.
Three is one to many dogs. When it was just Max and Abby, things were calm. Actually, I take that back, broken liquor store dog is the one too many dogs, because if Max or Abby are outside, the house is still a circus act, when Sam is outside, it is calm. He is HUGE. Yet he looks at Max and Abby and thinks, "I must be a lap dog too" so he jumps and climbs on us like he's a six pound dog, not twenty-six pounds. When we sleep, Max and Abby sleeps. When Sam sleeps, we get to sleep because he doesn't care we are sleeping, he will jump on us, bark at us, bring us his food dish, drop his bone incessantly on the kitchen floor, or better yet, bark at his bone if it is out of reach. I swear, he is always barking. He's not the only one that barks, Abby barks, but only when Sam is rilling her up. The only thing that saves him is he's a happy dog, I have never seen him anything but happy. Abby gets sad and anxious when she knows we are leaving, Sam wags his tail like, "when they leave I get a treat! Maybe they'll leave more than once today!" Max is very shy and timid, whereas Sam is all "Hi! I am a little puppy, please try to carry me around". The other dogs freak out at the vet whining, barking, peeing themselves, pooping everywhere. Sam walks in like it's his second home and they've been waiting to see him. Even after he got fixed, he ran in the backyard like, "hey I can run faster now!" Maybe his perpetual happiness has something to do with him being found at a liquor store.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Poor Little Boy

Poor Ethan. Yesterday he had the choice of staying and playing at the neighbors house, or coming with me to an "end of the school year social" at my teaching partner's house where there would be no kids, except two babies, eight grown-ups and a dog and cat. He, of course, chose Diane's so he could play with the cat and dog. When we got there, the dog was locked up because he tends to sneak out if the door is opened, but the cat was sitting in the living room. Nothing is more tempting than other people's cats. Some of my favorite memories include friends/relatives cats. My Aunt and Uncle, Buster (yes that's his name) and Joyce had a big black cat. Not big like my dead, 25 pound big, fat kitty, but BIG and shiny like a panther. His name was Poor George, not George, but Poor George because George became "Georgina" early in life, hence changing his name. Kind of like Max/Maxine. George purred so easily. He'd sit by me, his head even with mine and we'd share popcorn, chips, what ever snack Joyce had given us. He was so silky. When I was a little older, like pre-teen age, I would sit on the couch with George in my lap, petting him as Joyce pet my hair as if I were the cat. The other irresistible cat was Stacy's cat. She is 21 years old! I really didn't know cats could live that long. I saw him last summer and was told by Stacy's mom "DON'T TOUCH THE KITTY!!!" As if MY germs are going to kill the antique cat. Anyway, her cat was a blast growing up. If we weren't dressing her up in doll clothes, putting baby bonnets on her, shoving our toes in her mouth saying "bite my toe kitty, BITE MY TOE", we were watching her stalk and attack the invisible mouse. Kitty was so much fun. Kitty and I, and later Stacy's children shared the same pet name from her dad, "Rufus". As in "What's up Rufus?" "Knock it off Rufus", "Are we feeding Rufus?" I bet you can't tell which one was meant for me or the cat?- Ya, me either, I always had to look at him to see who he was talking to, kind of like in my classroom when I have two Chris' or Hunters. Anyway, Ethan went up to the cat to pet it and I went to get an alcoholic slushy. Immediately I hear an ear piercing "NO! OWWW!!!" The cat bit Ethan on his non-broken arm. He has six puncture wounds. Diane cleaned it and put on band-aids, apparently better band-aids than we have because her don't hurt when they come off, gave him two cups of dip and dots and a Gatorade. He still said he was glad he went to the party. We went to Noah's baseball game, (in which MY BABY made a run) and he was playing with another kid and I noticed he stopped using that arm. I bought him a hotdog and he had a really hard time eating it since he couldn't move either arm. I took him home, had him soak the arm in the tub with soapy water, put neosporum on it and fresh band-aids. This morning he said it hurt, I took off the band-aids, which was very traumatic, and cleaned it and put new neosporum on. As I was doing this he was crying and screaming bloody murder. I asked him if there is anything that would make him feel better. I was thinking, a Popsicle, ice cream, Tylenol... He answers sniffing, "A new puppy..." "We are not having four dogs." "A new kitten then. We'll train him not to bite..."
I called ask-a-nurse and she said he should go to the clinic. I took him to the pediatric walk in clinic and got in right away, the whole ordeal took less than a half hour!! They gave him a shot of antibiotics, in his "good leg", (I had no idea he had a "bad leg") put some numbing cream on it, cleaned it and wrapped it up. We left with a prescription of antibiotics and got some ice cream. Bad things run in three, so I am a little worried about what injury he'll have next. So far my first week off has sucked more than the school year. Hopefully it drastically improves.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Day 3

Day three of summer vacation and it's not as fabulous as I had hoped for during the last nine months. Don't get me wrong, it is awesome to sleep in until 8:00 (by the way, I am SO sleepy lately- I bet I have slept 13 hours a day since summer vacation). It's also awesome to be able to tell Ethan, "no school today" when he crawls in bed with me at 8:00. The dogs think it is fantastic now that we got the nasty vet business out of the way, and now I realize how much Sam really does sleep. Every time he sleeps it makes me remember my mom saying, "babies grow when they sleep", and it makes me want to wake him up because he is too big already. It's nice watching my soap everyday, even though it seems I haven't missed much in the last nine months. I just thought summer vacation would be spectacular!! So far it's "eh.." I feel the pressure to make it spectacular because we got done really late this year, and we start earlier than ever next fall, so my summer days are limited. If you have any ideas on how to make it spectacular, let me know. Other than the "take Noah to the dentist and find out he needs braces and pay the 800.00 bill for Ethan's broken arm." I am at a loss. Seriously. I should have been an orthopedic surgeon. They make 459.00 for just looking at an x-ray and saying, "Yep. Looks like it's healing. Bet he won't jump off a swing again. haa haa. See ya next week..." I could see the x-ray, and say that it's healing. They should x-ray him and give it to me- skip the middle man (whom makes 459.00) all together.
My teacher friend said on facebook today that she "wants a dog for her family. She took an on-line quiz (probably the one we took that lead to Abby) about what dog she should get." She wants, "a small dog that doesn't bark, or shed. Is good with kids, can be left alone and easy to train." The answer she got was, "there is no dog that matches your desires." I was all HELLLOOOO!! Maxie does!! He doesn't shed, or bark, he's great with the kids and was easy to train. He likes his kennel, so I think he's OK with being alone. I told her about Max and she said he sounded like a good breed. She also said her daughter loves the name "Sara" and wants to name the dog that, but she said she won't name the dog my name. I'd be honored to be named after a dog like Maxine. He is so sweet and loved. I told her that and that she'll love her like she's a third child. We'll see. She is also considering a beagle, which I think are yappy and neurotic, but her other friend said they aren't.
My next door neighbor has the week off and came over today with her son which happens to be Ethan's Best Friend. I am so glad she came over. I had a difficult day and really needed a friend more than I've needed a friend in the last few years or so. We had a few beers on the deck and I saw a glimpse of what a spectacular summer should be. She went "home" to Dickinson for her Grandma's funeral last weekend. Guess what?! If you live up here, you are familiar with the story, but if you don't... There were four fugitives from the Alabama prison (for killing people) who came to North Dakota- thinking who lives in North Dakota? We'll never get caught. They knocked over a liquor store (I always wanted to say that for real) in Dickinson and hid out in the garage of a farmstead near Dickinson for at least 15 hours. The garage they were hiding out in was my neighbor's parents neighbor!! How crazy!! The road to "town" was blocked because of the fugitives, and it caused my neighbor, her sisters and families as well as her parents to be LATE to grandma's funeral!! WOW!! Now that's a memorable way to go out. One of the para-professionals at my school dad died last month. During his funeral, some guy died of a heart-attack AND the Church caught fire! The oven that they were cooking the hot dish in caught fire, everyone was upstairs at the ceremony and didn't find out until the alarm and sprinkler system went off. Now that's a way to go. I sincerely hope someone passes out from too much heat or sadness (doesn't die though) during my funeral and the church catches on fire. That way all of the funeral goers will know exactly what I am going through- with the fire and all. However, wouldn't want any people or animals (aka- dogs in purses) hurt in any way. It will be remembered as that old school teacher's funeral when the church caught fire. I'd go down in history!! When the para told my students what happened at her dad's funeral, one of my students said "Did everyone get out?" "Yes" "Who got your dad out?" Hee heee. He said it, but you know EVERYONE was thinking it.

Monday, June 8, 2009

First Day of Summer Adventure

Well, I would consider today to be my first "official vacation day", because Thursday and Friday I worked, and the weekend is, well- the weekend. Today Ethan had an appointment to check on the healing progress of his arm. His appointment was at 8:05. We got in at 9:10. It was so frustrating. Ethan has been so wild and impatient lately, he was on the floor, on the chair, on the floor, walking around, making weird noises, on the floor, etc... He was driving me nuts. He needs to get that cast off and soon so he can get all of that energy out by going crazy outside. When we walked into the Doctor's room after the x-ray, he hinted that Ethan could get his cast off, but recommended it stay on for 10 more days to make it even stronger so, June 19 it's coming off!!
While we were at the doctor, Noah called to tell us that he put the leashes on Max and Abby, and Sam chewed off Maxie's leash. I think he was trying to take Maxine for a walk. Later, when I got home, Sam had chewed off Abby's leash as well. It's a good thing we still had Sam's and a spare leash. I had to take Max and Abby to the vet to get blood drawn for the heart worm test. Abby hates the vet, so she whines and barks constantly while she is there. Max got so worked up that he pooped in the waiting area and the whole way to the scale. The technician took Max back to draw his blood and when he came back he was so traumatized he ran over to me and peed on the floor. Seriously. I don't think I'll be allowed back into the Pet Clinic again. They probably have my photo up saying, "don't help this lady..."