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    One Big Melting Pot of Europeans

    March 25, 2011


    This little person represents Ethan’s “people.” I absolutely drew the line at his father’s printout of a polish sausage (seriously? How about a Polish joke t-shirt too, Mr. Sensitivity) and the Danish was an 11th hour addition to his little guy’s elbow. Because haven’t we all, at one point or another, wished a danish would magically appear in our elbow?

    The picture is black and white to save you from the assault of colors represented by Heritage Guy and Ethan’s pajamas. That and it’s out of focus. You’re welcome.

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    “Stuck” is a little Melodramatic, dontchathink?

    March 24, 2011

    5556382650_1bd117ccdeD and I were having a very tedious argument about whether or not the one bug I found in the kitchen actually started out the night before upstairs in my couch on the cookie bar someone had abandoned God himself only knows how long ago (I still say ‘NO’). We weren’t arguing face-to-face. He was down below in the backyard and I was up on the porch. In fact, I couldn’t even see him.

    Off to the side I heard “Mom, there’s a problem.”

    I looked straight out to see Ethan in a tree. About 10 feet up in a tree. A tree that really isn’t a climbing tree because the limbs are only an inch thick.

    K: What are you doing in that tree?
    E: I was on the rope swing and then I just ended up in the tree.
    K: I don’t understand how that happens. The rope swing goes beside that tree, not towards it.
    E: I was on the rope and then the tree was there so I grabbed it and now I’m in the tree. It’s complicated.
    K: Isn’t it always?
    E: How do I get down?
    K: I have no idea. I guess you’ll need to figure that out.

    But when your mom pays a gypsy to climb 50 feet up your tree to tie a rope that you can ride all the way through the arc to a height of 10 feet 2 inches (verified by Nate’s tape measure) from the bottom of your shoe to the ground, you most certainly will be expected to get yourself out of a tree should you find yourself there by way of grabbing onto it.

    The only reason the whispy tree is still there is because their father likes the spring blooms. Sure the branch can cause an occasional leg scratch and we do maintain a standing recommendation to all newcomers that they close their eyes if it appears they may become blinded, but by golly is that tree pretty in April. And you sure as hell better figure out how to climb down if you are going to be crazy enough to get stuck in it.

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    Puddles. It’s what’s for Lunch.

    March 18, 2011

    puddle drinker
    Baby has taken to drinking out of puddles. And the dog bowl. He gets right down on all fours and drinks. Sometimes he just bends over at the waist and drinks. I feel like this is a skill he’ll be sorry to lose when he gets older and his body can no longer perfectly bend in two. I offer him a cup, he shakes his head “no” and points to the dog bowl. Yesterday the dog stood beside him and just looked at him. I wanted to offer my apologies to the dog but it seemed empty. I mean, it is what it is.

    Puddles are more confusing to me because frankly, they are nasty. It’s a puddle. It’s muddy. So intrigued by his brother’s need to drink outdoor water, his older brother Nate got down on all fours the other day during our flood and took a sip. The muddy water flew back out of his mouth just about as fast as it went into his mouth. “WHAT THE???”

    Baby just looked at him with his best “I can’t help it if you don’t like muddy water, Dude.” He didn’t say these words because he’s two and he doesn’t speak. But somehow we all knew that’s what he was thinking.

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    Bad things happen in the hammock

    August 30, 2010

    natemower This is how Nate mows.
    I was lying in the hammock yesterday, critiquing my husband’s weed whacking skills.

    Ethan: Mom, why do they call it a weed whacker?

    The thing I think I love most about my husband at this juncture in our relationship is that the man answers every single question his children have. Every single one. I’m to the point in our preschool-ness that I desperately just want to make stuff up. 72 questions in an hour, it’s easy to falter. Okay, I want to fold after 4. I can’t wait for the kid to be able to read so he can get his own smart phone and google the answers. Also, so I can text him to bring me stuff in the basement so I don’t have to yell for him for 20 minutes before he answers.

    This is all happening while my children are playing Hewks the Docker (your guess is as good as mine) at a “level” with the hose. They are soaked from head-to-toe and all I keep thinking about is how we bought a HE washer so we would use less water and now my children have used enough water that we could have just provided water to a sub-Saharan village. At this rate, let’s just fill random plastic BPA-laden bottles with it. My husband senses a green rant coming on and tells the kids to knock it off.

    I crawled out of the hammock to mow the lawn because, you know, my husband was weed whacking. Nothing makes you feel lazier than sitting in a hammock while someone is decapitating 2 foot high weeks that have grown up along the perimeter of the “compound.” My neighbors will be so proud. Which brings me to an aside. A neighbor posted on the ‘hood message board about a rogue grass growing in the neighborhood and her attempts to combat it. These attempts were very complex and heartfelt. I need this kind of time on my hands, people. Really.

    I mowed the lawn as The Baby stood at the edge of the grass and told me where to go. It wasn’t the first time and won’t be the last.

    Exhausted with my 45 minutes of work, I parked the mower under the porch, threw the keys on the table and climbed back into the hammock. I started to write this really heart-warming post on PBS Supersisters which I promptly deleted this morning and replaced with a thinly-veiled mockery of the public school system today.

    My husband handed me a Mai Tai. This is where I should be grateful but instead I am critical. At this very moment I determine that I cannot ever, in fact, be an alcoholic because I just cannot abide cheap alcohol. I would rather have no Mai Tai than a Mai Tai with a non-Myer’s Dark Rum float. Or maybe I could be an alcoholic if I came into a lot of money. That’s not happening any time soon so I will stick with my high booze standards and only drink one day a week. Shockingly my husband gets defensive and tells me they were OUT of Myers and I guess I should feel bad but I don’t. I realize though, that there is a lot of cheap rum in my closet so I’m just going to go sober for a month or two until we get rid of the Caribbean crap from years past in the pantry. I’m too poor to dump it down the sink.

    I hadn’t even had a sip of my drink yet and my husband yells from his spot under the porch.

    D: The baby is on the mower.
    K: They play on it all the time. It’s not like it can drive itself.
    D: Did you leave the keys in it?
    K: Of course not. Now you are just talking crazy. Are you crazy?
    D: He has the keys (holding up the keys).
    K: No, he doesn’t (opening an eyeball and looking at the table, where the keys used to be) Um, sorry.
    D: He had the keys in the mower.
    K: He did not.
    D: He did.
    K: Crap. Thank God for that 80 pound weight requirement for it to start.

    With that, I looked to my other children and added up their weights in my head. And I realized why they all get on when they played on the mower. Yep, we have our 80+ pound requirement met, people.

    And the mower keys went into the safe instead of on the table. I love it when a crisis is averted.

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    Enough with the ticks

    June 20, 2010

    Derek complained the other day that we needed to take the boys for haircuts because Nate has too much hair. His is like mine. It’s ridiculously fine but there’s a boatload of it.

    Did I take them on Friday? NOOOO. I went to the Museum of Natural History with 3 children to meet up with Susan but then I never found her because there were 7 million people at the Museum of Natural History. And every single one of them wanted a picture of their whiny kids (and only THEIR whiny kids) in front of the Mastodon. And they wanted the ENTIRE mastodon in the picture so that meant that they needed to stand 40 feet away. Did I mention that they did not want any of MY children in their posterity picture?

    You should know that my children are going to be the Where’s Waldo of about 80 DC vacation photo albums this year because they just don’t abide by that craziness. There should just be a line like the one for the Hope Diamond where everyone gets an unobstructed flash photo where nothing is in focus but you also don’t have Nate smiling wildly at you since he is my strange child and not yours.

    So we didn’t make it to the barbers until Saturday afternoon. The chick had barely taken a #2 to the back of Nate’s head when she screamed. Yes, there was a HUGE TICK stuck in his head. Tick removal is not included in haircuts at this place so I had to do it myself. He had a huge welt and then I knew for SURE he had Lyme.

    K: Do I call the ped?
    D: Do you want to call the ped?
    K: What are you, a shrink? I’m asking for your opinion.
    D: I don’t know.
    K: Eh, I’ll wait until Monday. Why bother them on a Saturday?

    But then he took a nose dive off of the lawn mower into the concrete and I thought that maybe we could get a two-fer at the ER. But the huge knot on his skull went down to a mere bump after 70 minutes and we decided to blow the whole thing off. No vomiting? Check. No zoning out? Well, it’s Nate we are talking about here. It depends. Let’s just say no more zoning out than usual.

    So now he has no concussion but he probably has Lyme. I can’t win here, people.

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    Somehow I missed that 2010 was the Year of the Tick

    June 16, 2010

    I have a deathly fear of ticks. Seriously. I’m pretty sure I’m going to get Lyme disease like that girl I knew back in Jersey. She had that lingering malaise for like two years and was shocked when the doctor diagnosed her with Lyme. She rode horses 5 hours every day. I’m pretty sure she was the only one who was surprised. Although she is also the girl that picked up a demon while playing with a oui*a board one day in high school and her story was it stuck around for two years. I’m not saying that keeping yourself open to a bad spirit having at it makes you more susceptible to ticks. I’m just saying.

    I do not come from people who are well-acquainted with the tick. My husband’s people? They fear nothing. Out come the tweezers and Bactine and everything’s good. When I called my husband to tell him I was pulling ticks off a certain child’s private regions, he sighed. I wanted to dial 911. Somehow I think there could be a middle road somewhere.

    Like the first time I ever had a tick burrow his nasty head into my body. Rewind 5 years ago when I had the baby strapped on my back as I was trying on pants in the Nordstrom Rack dressing room. I was already feeling awesome about being 6 sizes bigger than I was pre-pregnancy. I looked up to see a black spot on my throat. I tried to swat it off and it stayed. I called my FIL and left a message with his secretary. I used the words “EMERGENCY” and “TICK” and “ROCKY MOUNTAIN SPOTTED FEVER.” My phone rang 2 minutes later in the dressing room.

    FIL: I was in surgery. What’s up?
    K: You left surgery? That doesn’t seem right. I mean, this is an very important emergency because I HAVE A TICK BURROWED IN MY NECK AND I MIGHT HAVE ROCKY MOUNTAIN SPOTTED FEVER AND DIE IMMEDIATELY BECAUSE DIDN’T THAT GUY JUST DIE LAST WEEK OF ROCKY MOUNTAIN SPOTTED FEVER but now I feel a little bad for the guy who is still cut open in the trauma OR.
    FIL: I was mostly done anyway. And I’m pretty sure you don’t have Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever since you live in Virginia, Kristen.
    K: It could have gotten on a plane in Denver. It’s not outside the realm of possibility.
    FIL: That’s true. But I’m guessing it’s either a deer tick or a dog tick.
    K: Will I die?
    FIL: No.
    K: I’m really sorry you left surgery. I feel bad for that guy now.
    FIL: It’s fine.

    What is the purpose of marrying into a veritable medical dictionary if you can’t make a panicked call once in a while? But I didn’t let it go. I called my husband. When in doubt, keep going until you get the response you want.

    K: I called your father. He left surgery to call me back.
    D: I’m pretty sure he didn’t actually leave surgery to call you back about a tick.
    K: Whatever.
    D: I’ll be home in 3 hours. I’ll look at it then. Just take it out and put it in a baggie.
    K: I think I have Lyme disease.
    D: It takes a little longer than that to get Lyme.
    K: Remember that girl from Jersey?
    D: It’s really not that big a deal. Just save it in a bag until I get home.

    I didn’t. I went to urgent care. Oh, don’t look at me. You never forget your first tick bite if you are a grown adult. And I had post partum depression. And I’m stupid. It was a dog tick. But it explains the path to emotional scarring that will forever haunt me. I cannot stand ticks.

    This week alone? 5 ticks on a variety of family members. FIVE. I’m over it. I’m thinking about making the kids wear cat collars or hosing my husband down on the back porch. My tick removal skills are forever in QUESTION (“stop squeezing, you’re shoving tick guts into my leg,” “oh no I’m NOT”) and I have authorized bags of that toxic tick repellent be spread so thick it looks like a tick repellant sand beach out back but to no avail.

    I’m not saying I’m rational. I’m just saying.

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