Monday, November 24, 2008

The Sunday Night Chronicles

  • 9:00pm -- I stretch, yawn and push myself up off the couch, announcing that I'm going to bed because I'm incredibly tired and would really like to get a good night's sleep.

  • 9:30pm -- I brush and floss, put on my PJ's and pad out to the family room to tell Mike goodnight.

  • 9:40pm -- I burrow under the covers and curl up with my book. I read two pages and start to doze........

  • 11:30pm -- I snap awake worried that I've overslept my alarm. I sit up and look at the clock. (Sigh....) I put my book on the nightstand, turn off the lamp and go back to sleep.

  • 12:15am -- Landis shows up bedside, announces that he's getting in and directs me to scoot over. I peel one eye open and tell him to go around. He argues, and insists that I scoot over. Being in no mood for a debate, I inform him in no uncertain terms that I am not moving. I give him two choices: Go around and get in on other side, or go up to his own bed. He cries and says he does not want to sleep next to Gibby. I peel other eye open and tell him that Gibby is not in this bed, that Gibby is, in fact, in his own bed, and that if he does not stop crying he can march his little bootie back up to HIS OWN BED too.

  • 12:17am -- Landis finally quits crying long enough to realize that he has the entire other side of bed to himself, quits arguing, goes around and climbs in.

  • 1:34am -- I snap awake, convinced I've overslept alarm. I look at the clock, (Sigh.....) and go back to sleep.

  • 2:36am -- Landis rolls over and decides that the most comfortable sleeping position for him would be DIRECTLY ON TOP OF ME. He sighs deeply in his sleep and says "Mom, you play the tuba." "OK" I reply, glancing at the clock and wondering exactly how many minutes of sleep I've managed to get thus far. "I'll play the clarinet........." he says. "OK." I reply. ".......AND the accordion." he sighs. "Whatever floats your boat..." I tell him, and I gingerly work my way out from under him, scoot him back over to the other side of the bed and go back to sleep.

  • 3:11am - I have a dream that it's 5:19am and that I've overslept my alarm by almost an hour and a half. I dream that I'm running, running, running..... Trying to call someone -- ANYONE -- to help me fix it. I bolt upright, lunge at the alarm clock and realize I'm dreaming. I roll over and wonder if waking up every hour to an accelerated heart rate actually qualifies as a decent night's sleep before dozing off again.

  • 4:00am -- The alarm goes off. I hit snooze.

  • 4:04am -- The snooze alarm goes off. I lay there contemplating how dangerous it would be for me to

  • 4:09am -- I jerk my eyeballs open, throw the covers back, and climb out of bed.

Saturday, November 22, 2008


Gibson ran a fever for a few days -- a mystery fever than came with no other symptoms. No chills, no sore throat, no upset tummy, no achiness. It was just a fever -- but it was high enough for us to decide to keep him out of school.

All day long, for 2 days straight, we had the same conversations:
"Can I play with Alex?"
"No. You have a fever. You need to rest."
"Can I go outside?"
"No you have a fever. Why don't you lay on the couch and rest?"
"Can I ride my bike? I feel OK."
"No. You have a fever. Why don't you watch cartoons and rest? Your body needs to rest."

Finally, nearing the end of the second day, I said "Gibson, why don't you go upstairs and clean up your toys? You've been playing like crazy and you've made a huge mess up there."

To which Gibson flopped down on the couch with his arm draped over his eyes Scarlett-O'Hara-Style and replied, "Mom! I can't! I have a fever and I need to lay down on this couch and rest."

Friday, November 21, 2008

Have kids? Get a life insurance policy.....

My son is trying to kill me. I'm convinced of it. There can be no other explanation for the recent events that have taken place in the wee-hours of the morning in our otherwise peaceful household. I'll present my case and you can draw your own conclusions.

Let's start with Wednesday morning. Some of you know that I open the Y a few days a week. That being the case, I roll out of bed at 4:00am. (Well, OK......I hit snooze at 4:00am. I roll out of bed at 4:10.... but it's all the same at that hour, isn't it?) I get myself dressed, take steps to address my bedhead, and brush my teeth before I tip-toe out of the bedroom and into the kitchen. The house is still and silent, and my movements are calculated in order to make sure I don't inadvertently wake anyone up. The refrigerator door is opened slowly and silently, my breakfast is put quietly into my bag, and I wrap my keys in my fist so that they don't jingle against one another on my way out the door. On Wednesday, I stopped at the hall-tree to grab my winter jacket, because it was literally freezing outside. Twenty-three degrees to be exact. I unhooked my coat and slid my arms into it, and then bent to pick up the bag I had silently placed on the floor. As I did, a sharp and punctuated sound came out of the dark stillness above my head. It came from the upstairs balcony and it rang out like a shot. It said "MOM??!!" and I am here to tell you, I almost had a heart attack and died right there on the door mat. So after I'd gotten up off the floor, regained my composure, stopped convulsing, and checked my pants, Gibson and I had a conversation about what I was doing, where I was going, and whether or not daddy was still here. (On a side note, the way that kid worries about us leaving him forever, I'm pretty sure he was abandoned in a past life......) Eventually he determined that all was OK, and went back to bed. But me? I was WIDE awake. Who needs coffee in the morning when you can have a near-death experience instead?

Now, let's cut to last night. Gibson kind of had a rough one. I think he sometimes has nightmares -- and he sleeps like a rock, so it's hard to get him to snap out of it. I'd gone up to his room a couple of times to try to soothe him, as he was half crying and kicking around in bed. It took a few tries, but I'd finally managed to get him settled down and had gone back to bed for the 3rd time that night -- completely exhausted and just hoping I could get some uninterrupted sleep until morning reared it's ugly head. But at some point in the wee hours of the night, Gibson had woken up and wandered downstairs to our bedroom. Mike heard him coming -- which is a freakin' miracle in itself -- and was in the process of getting out of bed to see what he needed. This means that when Gibson tottered into our room, instead of quietly walking over to the bed and waking us up like he usually does, he came face-to-face with a six-foot-nine-inch figure looming over him in the dark. So he did what any normal six year old would do........ He screamed. And I don't know how you react when you go from a dead-sleep to a blood-curdling scream in your face at 3:00am, but I can tell you what I did. I shot straight up out of bed, and clung to the ceiling with my nails while I convulsed and had a mini-stroke. Oh yeah -- and I screamed too. Which, if I remember correctly, made Gibson scream again. And poor Mike, huffy because of the reaction his "help" had garnered, was all "Jesus Christ!! Would you two just SETTLE DOWN!?!" And then he steered Gibson out of the room.

So I think it's pretty clear that the kid has it out for me. He's discovered my weakness and is determined to exploit it by showing up at random moments in the dark of night and literally scaring me to death. And I don't know what he hopes to gain by knocking me off, because he's going to be sorely disappointed in the life-insurance policy.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Doing Homework; A Lesson in Responsible Parenting

Look who hasn't been doing her "homework" lately! But, hey, I warned you that might happen, right? I explained that I wasn't very good at that whole "turning assignments in on time" thing, didn't I? I would like to point out that I did, however, excel at posting for eight days straight. That might be a new world record for me -- both for posting AND for turning in homework assignments.

And when it comes to homework, do you know what else I'm not very good at? Remembering to make Gibson do his. Yes, yes.... He's only in Kindergarten, but they do have homework every night. It's easy stuff -- and really not very time consuming -- but the general idea is just to get the youngsters used to actually doing it. And please don't tell anybody, but I think it's safe to admit to you that I'm falling down in that department. Apparently, even as a grown up and mother, I still have issues with completing it in a timely manner.

Here's how it usually works: Gibson gets off the bus and I tell him that the very first thing he needs to do is his homework. But then he's hungry and needs a snack. And then after he's eaten he gets distracted -- usually in the form of Landis, and sometimes in the form of the neighbor kids. And then I get distracted -- usually in the form of laundry and/or dinner prep. I mean, let's face it.........two people who may or may not have ADD issues are not very good at keeping one another on task.

So after about 4 days of me forgetting to actually see to it that he even starts his assignments -- let alone complete them -- I catch a glimpse of the homework calender taped to the fridge. (Especially eye-catching is the signature line at the bottom -- where you, as the capable and dutiful parent, put pen to paper and sign it when you pack all of it into your son's backpack to be turned in at the end of the month.) It's at that precise moment, when I realize that the scam I've been running (you know, the one about me being a responsible parent) is about to be exposed.
GAAAAAAAAACK!!! Gibson!! You have homework to do! FOUR DAYS WORTH!!!!!! Get your notebook!! Sit down! Here! Take this pencil!! Write your numbers 1-20! Write the alphabet in uppercase letters! Practice your phone number!!! Draw four pigs! Count their ears!!!!!
And Gibson, who is only supposed to have about 10 minutes of homework a night, flounders around in about 30 minutes worth. To his credit though he gets it all done, and with little complaining.

Apparently, the lesson I am teaching my son is this: Never do today what you can put off until tomorrow. And then freak out when the dead-line is approaching. Which is certainly an improvement from my own school days where my motto was: Never do today what you can put off until tomorrow. Dead-line, Schmead-line.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

And then he kissed me......

Today Gibson and Landis were playing the "Kissing Game" in the backseat of the car. Yep. That's right. The Kissing Game. And I have to admit that when Gibson proposed that they play it, I was more than a little taken aback. (Gibson = Hey Landis...Wanna play the Kissing Game? Landis = Sure! Me = Wha.....?!?!)

I adjusted the rearview mirror so I could see them. "Just exactly how does this Kissing Game go?" I asked. "Like this!" replied Gibson. Then he proceeded to lean across the backseat as he puckered up his lips, made smooching sounds, and smacked Landis in the back of the head. Landis responded in kind.

I'm not entirely sure why they think that's kissing, but I swear they didn't learn that from Mike and me.

So all I can say is this: Those two are either going to have to really work on that kissing technique of theirs, or they're going to have to find themselves some really freaky girlfriends. Let's all pray for the former.......

Friday, November 7, 2008

"Bee-ing" Good.

Gibson brings home a "Bee-havior" report every day from kindergarten. It's a good system, really. Here's how it works: Each of the kids has a bee. If a student is "good", meaning he lives up to the classroom expectations, his bee stays in the hive with all the rest. However, if a student breaks a rule, his bee gets ousted from the protection of the hive. At that time, in order to bring home a smiley face in the Bee-havior report, the rowdy-rule-breaking student must try to win back his place in the hive by proving that he is, indeed, a hard worker and knows the classroom expectations. (I like to imagine that the little worker bee has to grovel to the Queen. He flies into the hive, escorted by the royal-guard-bees and pleads his case..... "Your majesty. I'm sorry for not doing my share of the pollinating and honey-producing..... I can do better, my Queen, if you'll just see fit to give me another chance........... I'll work hard. I promise. Please do not banish me to the net. Perhaps her majesty would like a few extra buckets of honey....?")

If the wayward bee can win back his favor with the Queen, then his previous mis-behavior is expunged from his record, and the little bee brings home a smiley-face in his "Bee-havior Report". However, if he is unable to win back his rightful place in the hive -- let's say, for instance, that he just can't quit talking to his neighboring bees -- then instead of a smiley-face, the number of the classroom rule our little bee has broken is written down in it's place. (Just for the record, Gibson brings home a lot of #2's. That means that he is not "bee-ing a hard worker" because the only thing he's actually working on is wagging his tongue. And, by the way, that roar of laughter you may have just heard is the collective cackling of each and every one of the teachers I ever had in my education career. I imagine that they are all in hysterics over the fact that I am already SO GETTING WHAT I DESERVE. Yes, I can hear you -- even all the way down here in Charlotte.......)

What, you may ask, happens to the little bee who not only can't win back the favor of the hive, but also continues to mis-behave? Well, those poor little bees end up in the "net". It's a sad and lonely place, that net. And if you find yourself wondering if our little bee has been to the net before, I'll tell you that yes, in fact, he has. But that's a story for another time. What I want to tell you about today are all the smiley-faces our little bee has been bringing home. His goal was 2 in a row. And we've gotten there. We've gotten there a couple of times. But last week...........whew-doggies!...........we had a good run on smiley faces. Our little bee had come home with his SEVENTH smiley-face IN A ROW!

"Gibson!" I said to my son, "You are doing amazingly well, and I am so proud of you! I'll tell you what...... If you are able to bring home 10 smiley-faces in a row, I'll take you to Chuck-E-Cheese." Well, if you've known a 6-year-old-boy in your lifetime, you'll know that I'd just promised him the Garden of Eden. So the next morning he left for school determined to get smiley-face number 8. And when he got off the bus in the afternoon, he ran to the house shouting "Mom! Mom!! I got ANOTHER smiley-face!! And you're going to laugh, because my teacher drew a funny smiley-face in pencil! Wait until you see it!" I was thrilled for him, because this, my friends, this was a huge accomplishment.

I dug around in his backpack and pulled out his "Bee-havior Book". And there it was. His pencil-smiley-face. And he was did make me laugh...........

Thursday, November 6, 2008

In need of some distraction

Sunday was one of the most beautiful fall days I've seen here in Charlotte, so we took a drive out to Crowder's Mountain to do some hiking. And not only was it a perfect day for a hike, it was also a chance to see the leaves at their most colorful. So off we went. The hike is a couple of miles long and mostly uphill, but the boys were amazing, so we made it up the mountain in just shy of an hour. Crowder's Mountain is almost like a huge rock fin jutting up out of the ground, so when you get to the top, you can alternately hike and rock scramble to get from one side to the other. It's fairly wide in spots, but the edges are steep -- and in some places sheer cliffs hundreds of feet high. I'm pretty relaxed about what my kids do when we are outdoors, but in this one instance I thought I might have a stroke from my stress level. Luckily, Gibson made a suggestion that helped distract me and kept me out of panic mode. If you look closely in the reflection of my sunglasses, you can see what had me totally and completely on edge..........

Wednesday, November 5, 2008


Amazing. Incredible. Astonishing. Awesome. Marvelous. Unbelievable. Wonderful. Astounding. Fantastic.

Way to go America! I couldn't be more proud of you.

But California? Shame on you. Shame. On. You.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

41 weeks pregnant

November 4th. Election day, 2008. And I feel like I felt when I was past my due date.

Have you ever been pregnant? Did you deliver on your due date? Or even early? If so, you can disregard this entire blog post because you'll have no earthly idea what I'm talking about. But if you've ever been pregnant AND continued to be so way past your due date, you'll know exactly what I'm getting at.

I was a full week "late" delivering each of my children. It would be an enormous understatement to say that it was exasperating. Especially with my first, because at that time I was naive enough to think the doctors knew what they were talking about when they assigned me that completely arbitrary date. So you can imagine that once my due date had come and gone with nary a movement in that stubborn uterus of mine, I spent every waking moment going "Now? Now? Now? How 'bout now? No? Maybe......NOW! Nope. Now? Now? Now? Now? Now? Now? Now? Now? Ooooooooo! Ooooooooooo! Maybe Now! Hmmmmmm.... No. Now?"

And even though it was insane -- and I was fully aware that it was -- my anticipation was so great that it was impossible for me to wait patiently and let the process work. And let me tell you, that sort of anxious and antsy behavior makes for some LONG and torturous days. Not to mention a slightly annoyed husband.

Having weathered that emotionally and mentally painful week, not once but twice, you'd think I'd have learned my lesson. That perhaps I would be better about embracing the process. That I would be calm, composed, even easy-going as we await the results. But...ummmmm.......not so much.

So......... Do you think we'll know soon? Now? Maybe now? How 'bout now? No? Now? Now? Now? Now? Maybe now......

Monday, November 3, 2008

The Daily Blog

So my friend, Janice, whom I believe I've mentioned here before, has recently informed me that November is "National Blog Month". And perhaps this news is only exciting to those of us with our noses pressed up against our brightly lit screens, typing out the intimate details of our lives to share with our friends, our families, and any poor sap who happens to pass by. Or maybe it's not true at all, and it's all a big joke on me, but I'm excited nonetheless.

Now, to my understanding, in order to participate in National Blog Month, one most post something every day. I think this sounds like fun, but seeing that I'm already 3 days behind, I'd like to propose an informal "rule bending" of sorts. Let's say that I'll participate, but that I'll do so in my usual half-assed way. It will be a bit like the way I used to do my daily homework: Partially-done assignments turned in 4 days late......if ever. Turned in frequently enough and complete enough to ensure that I wouldn't fail, but certainly not frequently enough or complete enough to ensure me the "A" that I was capable of. (Which, as a quick aside, makes me think I should say it's truly a wonder that my educator/mother still has her hair. Really.) So, does this arrangement work for you? It does? That's fantastic, because I have to tell you, I'm great at half-assed.

So since I need to go ahead and post something to get credit for today, do you wanna' hear how long Landis sat on the toilet today crying about how nobody would wipe his butt? No? Not today? Are you sure? Because it was a REALLY long time....... Well, that's OK. I can save it. And besides, I'll see you here tomorrow.