Friday, December 26, 2008

Twas the night before Christmas........

Twas just before Christmas -- eight-thirty at night
the kids were still up, their eyes were still bright.
We'd had our big dinner -- roast pork and cranberries --
The tableside chatter was lively and merry.

We baked cookies for Santa; A plate we were fixin'
for Dasher and Dancer and Prancer and Vixen.
And for Comet and Cupid and Donner, of course!
And for Blitzen and Rudolf (who eats like a horse!)

Then finally (Finally!) the kids were in bed
and visions of sugar-plums danced in their heads.
Mike went to the kitchen and made a night cap
and then stockings we stuffed and the presents we wrapped.

The wrapping took hours, and midnight drew near.
Our cutting and taping was into high gear!
And when we were done, I wandered to bed.
I fell on my face and I slept like the dead.

And then at some point in the still of the night
We awoke to a sound and a terrible fright!
From up on the stairs there arose such a clatter
Mike sprang from the bed to see what was the matter!

Up on the landing, with a wheeze and a whoop
our poor little Gibson was fighting the Croup*.
He coughed, and he barked, and he gasped and he choked
like for 99 years he'd breathed nothing but smoke.

"Dad!" Gibson yelped, staring Mike in the eye.
"Daddy! I think that I'm going to die!"
Mike scooped him up. He knew just what to do.
We'd had this before. Out the front door he flew.

He sat Gib outside. Let him breathe the cold air.
But our Christmas Eve temp was incredibly rare.
Sixty Degrees! Oh My Lord, it was balmy!
But when you need COLD, well.. it wasn't too calming.

So Gibson continued to gasp and to wheeze
while I was in bed, catching up on my Zzzz's.
Not Mike. He was on it -- so lively and quick!
He had up his sleeve another fine trick!

He altered his course, his movements, they flashed.
He ran through the house! To the bathroom he dashed!
He turned on the shower and sat Gibson down
he watched him breathe loudly and said with a frown

"You stay here little buddy, and try to recover.
I have to go downstairs and wake up your mother."
More rapid than eagles, his footsteps they came.
As he ran down the stairs, he was calling my name.

"Rachel!" he said, "Gibson's a mess!
He can't catch is breath, and I think that unless
he starts to get better, we might have to go!
Which hospital's closest? Tell me...Do you know?

As dry leaves that before the wild hurricane fly,
when they meet with an obstacle, mount to the sky,
So up to the second floor bathroom I flew,
with my stress-level rising, and my blood pressure too!

He sat on the toilet, a miserable elf,
and I laughed when I saw him, in spite of myself.
He was dressed in Pj's, his hair damp from the steam
which made the whole sequence seem like a bad dream.

His eyes, they were focused. His face was not merry.
His chubby white cheeks were as red as a cherry.
His poor little mouth was as round as an "O".
He breathed in. He breathed out. The air started to flow.

We watched him suck air in and out through his teeth
and the steam, it encircled his head like a wreath.
"He's better!" said Mike. "I think he's improving!
He's out of the woods! He can get his breath moving!"

A wink of his eye and a twist of his head
soon gave us to know we had nothing to dread.
He gave us a nod, and then wiped off his nose,
and pushed himself up -- off the toilet he rose.

We gave him some meds, tucked him into our bed
and then I snuggled in to prop up his small head.
I lay there beside him, awake and afloat.
It was like a kazoo was lodged into his throat.

Somehow, after while, it calmed down to a whistle
and my sheets were as soft as the down of a thistle.
We all drifted off before dawn was in sight.
Merry Christmas to all! And to all a Good Night!

* Any condition of the larynx or trachea characterized by a loud bark-ish sounding cough and difficult breathing. (Doesn't that sound like FUN!!?)

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Apparently, it's good news all around......

Guess what, Internet? I got a full-time job! No joking. After four blissful years of stay-at-home-parenting (read: working your ass into the ground 24/7 and not getting paid for it) I am returning to the world of full time work. Which certainly doesn't mean that I'll get a reprieve from working my ass into the ground... it just means that I'll actually see some revenue for it. Hooray!!!!!!

This is not to say that I haven't enjoyed my stint at a stay-at-home mommy. I have. It has truly been an experience like no other, and for the most part, it's been wonderful. Four years ago, when Landis was born and Mike and I made the decision to stay on this track, we knew that it would be a big financial sacrifice. And it has been. (Folks, there have been months that have been, ummmmm, welllllllll.......let's just say "tight" and leave it at that.) But we also knew that we were lucky to be able to make this decision, since so many families don't have a choice. So we scrimped and we pinched and we budgeted ourselves down to the very last penny. We made enormous sacrifices, but we were glad to do it because we knew that the boys would appreciate the trade off.

So when I learned that I was getting this job, I sat Gibson down to talk about the changes that could happen in our household. I explained that I was going to go back to work. I explained that this meant that I wouldn't be home for them all the time. And I explained that, depending on how it all worked out, they might need to start attending an afterschool program or that we might have to have a babysitter in the afternoons. I was a little worried that a monumental change like this might rock his world -- That he might be a little apprehensive because mommy wasn't going to be there for him every day when he got off the bus. I was prepared to ease his fears, calm him if he was distressed, and I braced myself so I could readily address his concerns.................

I shouldn't have bothered. Because after I spilled the news, his big blue eyes lit up like Christmas candles. He danced all around the kitchen in sheer delight and said: "That's AWESOME!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Can we have Garrie?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!"


Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Bathtime fun

Last night at bathtime, I left the boys alone to soap up and shampoo while I went upstairs to grab PJ's. It's no big deal, as they are really self-sufficient and can execute a body scrubbing and hair washing without any problem. (You'll note that I said "can". By that I mean they are perfectly able. And let's be clear here: I am by no means implying that they ever actually DO it on any sort of regular basis. However they are indeed perfectly able.)

Before bathtime, I'd looked both of them in the eye and stressed that we were in a bit of a hurry. I told them I'd need them to get down to business. No playing around, no toys. Just a quick scrub-down and shampooing. And believe it or not, they were actually doing it -- with no reminders from me. They got in, they scrubbed, and they didn't mess around at all! I was so proud of them for how well they were listening. The entire process of bathtime went so much faster than I thought it would -- and with considerably less water on the floor -- that I had to dash for the PJ's because I was the one who wasn't ready.

Wanna guess what they did while I was gone?

Go on........


No guesses? OK. I'll tell you.

Apparently, while I was gone, they were taking the opportunity to have a brotherly stand off. A water-fight of sorts. Folks, they were WHIZZING ON EACH OTHER!!!!!! That's right. You heard me. They were whizzing on each other in the bathtub. Mike walked in and found them standing face-to-face, with weapons drawn, in full assault.

The issue of actually peeing on each other aside, this leaves me with 3 questions:

1. How do they even have that much urine in their bodies when I made them both pee before they ever got in the tub?
2. Why are boys like this?
3. Why did they wait to do it until AFTER they were clean?

I will be eternally grateful to anyone who can give me answers to these questions. In fact, I will put you in my will of you can give me the answer to question number 2.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

One Big Happy Family of Monkeys

So everyone keeps asking me how my Thanksgiving was. They all knew I was hosting twenty of my in-laws at our house over the extended weekend, and my standard reply has been "It was great! A little like unleashing wild monkeys in my house, but yeah.... it was Great." And after a while, I realized I'd made that reference so often that I thought I should look on-line to see if there was any information out there about what it's actually like to unleash wild monkeys in your house. Not only did the Internet turn up a plethora of info on this exact subject, but it turns out that it IS in fact similar to just what we experienced at Thanksgiving -- and well, if I'm honest, what we experience at any holiday in which we all get together under one roof.

Take for example the snippet that says "Monkeys are messy. They can't really be effectively toilet trained and sometimes engage in distasteful activities involving their feces and urine." For the record, my washer and dryer just simultaneously shouted "Ya THINK?!?!?!" And then I think I heard one of them give a disgusted snort. Though to be fair, they are still grumpy from being abused non-stop over the 4 day weekend. Don't get me wrong, they're used to getting a regular work-out, but it's nothing like the punishment we bestowed upon them over the holiday -- And distasteful disposal of urine and feces were just the start of it. Those poor appliances are still trying to catch their breath, but at least they aren't panting anymore.

Oh -- and how about this little addendum: "Aside from the toileting messes, monkeys can be extremely mischievous and destructive, especially if bored." Ummmmmm, yeah...... Mischievous. Did I mention how many kids were in and out of the house all day long? And how our front yard was littered with so many random objects that it looked like the Clampitt's had moved to town? Or how there were articles of clothing hanging from the trees? And the random climbing rope hanging between two trees that may or may not have been used as a home-made zip-line?

The article goes on to point out that monkeys are unpredictable and may turn aggressively on anyone, including the person to whom they are the closest. HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA........!!!! Does anyone else think this is hilarious when applied to holiday get-togethers? Oh my... Oh my... Hang on.... I have to compose myself...........

"A wide range of diseases can be passed from monkeys to humans." Or, as we discovered, from children to children and/or children to adults! Hooray!

"Monkeys are expensive to house and feed, and some require specialized diets that can be time consuming to prepare." Not unlike preparing a Thanksgiving feast for twenty that includes a 20 pound turkey, various options for the vegetarians, and options for those with a gluten/wheat allergy.

"A significant commitment of time is needed just for routine care and cleaning up after a monkey" As proven by the solid week it took me to get my house back in order. Oh who am I kidding? It's still a wreck.........

"But more importantly a monkey needs a large amount of social interaction and attention from the owner." Amen, Brothers and Sisters. Isn't that what makes it all worth it in the end? Isn't that exactly why why we do it all in the first place?

So, it appears that my comparison was right. Our Thanksgiving was great. It was chaotic and lively and boisterous and lawless and EXACTLY like setting wild monkeys loose in our house. And I'm excited to do it all again in two weeks -- at my sister-in-law's.