It is mandatory in my home to take an instrument through high school.
I don't care what it is, I don't care how many instruments you learn even if it is a new one every year, I don't care... we start in 4th grade and you take an instrument until 12th.
End of story.
So far, my eldest started on trumpet for three years, and now plays the bass guitar and the drums.
My 2nd son played the trumpet one year since his arms weren't long enough to play the instrument he REALLY wanted to play, the trombone. The next year they were long enough and he's been playing the trombone for two years now.
Bones... is Bones. More than ANYTHING in the world, he wanted to play the sax. I think in his mind that he expected he'd pick it up and be world class, playing on street corners for money.
He was really impressed when we were in NYC and some guy was playing the sax with his case open at his feet, passersby throwing money in the case.
But the sax is work too and within months the novelty wore off. Add to the fact his meds wore off by then, it was too much for him to sit still. He's an extrovert... he feeds off energy in a room.
Bones with a sax, sitting with 20 other kids, all energy, no meds... it hasn't gone so well.
But not good.
He hates it.
As the year has come to a close, I told him to think about what instrument he wants to play next year, as ADHD or not, the kid will play an instrument until the end of his 12th grade year.
Add to the fact that... there is a local middle school here for kids with artistic talent and I'd like him to try out. Our current school is not a good fit for him.
He'd like to go there, be with artistic kids, under drama... and we are starting drama lessons for him this summer, but it was time for us to think of something else.
So I said to him a month ago, "Voice. I think you should take voice."
Bones: Voice? Boys don't sing!
Me: Are you KIDDING ME? Don't ever tell Pavoratti that... although you can't because he's dead. Men make up half the singers!!! Think of American Idol. Opera. Rock. Country.
Bones: I won't sing.
Me: Fine. Just keep in mind, your father's side has some good voices...
Bones: I won't sing.
But lately he has gotten the bug that maybe he REALLY would like to go to this special school and MAYBE... voice wouldn't be so bad.
So I signed him up at the music studio where my eldest goes. They have a fantastic voice teacher, but they never sing for more than 15 minutes at a time for children. Their voices are not strong enough.
We showed up yesterday and he was already jittery and nervous. To me this was going to be a great fit. It would be one on one and so the ADHD will not be such an issue. He can focus one on one... he cannot focus with 20 kids. Plus... I don't have to hear how heavy an instrument is or how difficult it is to blow into.
I'm all about eliminating as much bitching as possible.
He didn't want to go. He was giving me static. Sitting in his soccer clothes as I'd just pulled him from soccer practice, he sat in the chair, kicking his feet, chin on his chest, sullen.
I ignored him.
And then we were called back into the room by his voice teacher, a young beautiful tall thin, blonde, with Shirley Temple ringlets of hair, something out of a magazine with a voice sweet like Snow White.
As Mo likes to say, "You picture them singing with birds and animals..."
That kind of sweetness.
Suddenly, Hmm, maybe it was OK.
The three of us sat in a room so I could give her background. He kept his eyes on the ground. I told her that she would find him funny and engaging when she got to know him... that he was a good boy. She smiled and said she was sure she would.
I think a deer or rabbit poked their heads in through the window when she spoke.
She gave Bones the option of starting to just hum and sing a bit. He kicked his feet and said maybe they should just talk.
I said maybe he should try it or he'd dread it next week... and I'd leave them alone.
And 10 minutes later he was back, grinning, telling me how he has some things to get for his next lesson.
... and "By the way, Mom, do you think I could bring some extra clothes so I don't have to come to my lessons in my stinky soccer clothes? I could change..."
We will see. I just want him to appreciate music and to grow to love it. We'll see how it goes this year... with the Drama King and his Voice Teacher.
I'll be on the look out for small animals and birds hovering around the voice room...
My boss has throat cancer on his vocal chord. It is mostly 90% curable, finding it when they did.
We heard the stats, understood the treatment, he was somewhat blah about it. "No big deal."
We sat around looking at each other, mumbling to each other when he wasn't around, "I think 6 weeks of radiation to the neck is a big deal. Eating has the potential to hurt like hell..."
But we left him alone about it. We figured he was coping and he was doing a far better job than most of us would be, considering this was his second time at the Cancer Dance, colon cancer just last year.
And then things just kind of went... wonky. And tests came back with a small spot here, and hot spot there, here a spot, there a spot...
And a biopsy was to be performed on one spot, but was stopped as the surgeon couldn't get passed a bleeding lesion.
That doesn't sound good.
And through all of it, with the little spots here and there, until the moment of the bleeding lesion, my boss has still been 'eh, it'll be fine.'
I decided that he can float down the river of Denial if he wants... or perhaps he really is that good at coping, but I'd be sick over it.
Sick with worry.
I spent the better part of last night's free time, trying to understand where he is in the big cancer scheme. What stage?
It's not easy with what is going on. I don't want to get too much into it, but it literally is like a little spot appears, they can remove it, then another appears, and they can remove it...
It's akin to playing Cancer Whack-a-Mole.
He's got time. With chemo and radiation, he has time.
But the bottom line is... some sort of trigger has been tripped. And this is now officially a dangerous game.
I just want to understand it.
The boys got in the car yesterday and I said, "Hey, did they talk about the Swine Flu in school?"
Ringo, sitting shotgun, said, "No, what's that?"
Me: It's a new flu going around. I figured 'current event', they'd mention it in science or something.
Ringo: Are you kidding me? SWINE flu?
Me: Oh yeah. The media's all over it. The pandemic to end all pandemics.
Ringo, rolling his eyes: First there was the cow thing, then the chicken thing, now a pig thing.
Me: Cow thing? Chicken thing?
Ringo: Yeah, you know, mad cow disease... everyone was going to die from it. Then that bird flu thing that started with chickens. Everyone was going to die from it.
Me: Oh. Crap. You're right...
Ringo: Now a pig thing. We're all going to die from it. Next is some horse thing. Some horse flu. "Watch out for the horses!!!"
And boy, talk about out of the mouth of babes. He is right. In his 14 years, this is the third health issue where we were all going to die.
Now don't get me wrong. When it comes to Mad Cow... I'm not playing with that one. To me, that is VERY real. I try to buy only organic ground beef. My sister in law and one of her kids won't eat a hamburger at all and they mostly stay away from all beef. But the fact remains, we were ALL GOING to get it... and even though I'm very well aware, and to be honest, may actually give up beef over it... my son has a point.
We're not all keeling over of brain disease. My issue with giving up beef is with the beef industry and what we've been doing is very very wrong. Plus, it's not that great for your heart... I would really be OK, living on fish.
So... be afraid of the Horses. They're next.
Meanwhile, onto who gets the award today for what I consider probably some of the most irresponsible journalistic reporting, my very own local paper, which has pissed me off enough now, I may actually cancel my subscription.
This was today's front page.
If you read further down, you will find in the article that we don't ACTUALLY have ANY cases in Florida... but they know they're there and are going to find them.
How is that for sensationalism?
Tomorrow's headline will read, "Bring out your dead!"
Meanwhile, I'm reading everywhere that tourism to Mexico from America is down due to the Swine Flu.
Help me out here.
There has been a State Department Travel Alert to all Americans concerning travel to Mexico due to violence and crime. It says things like this, "U.S. citizens who believe they are being targeted for kidnapping or other crimes should notify Mexican officials and the nearest American consulate or the Embassy as soon as possible, and should consider returning to the United States."
The thought of being kidnapped, killed during crossfire, or having one's self injured during some other crime in Mexico was not enough to deter Americans from travel to Mexico.
The thought of never leaving Mexico due to lead in the head because of kidnappings or drug wars was not enough to keep people from traveling there as of late.
But Swine Flu did it.
Folks... that boggles my mind. I wouldn't travel to Mexico after the increased violence was reported... Swine Flu has nothing on lead in my book. I can fight the frickin' Swine Flu.
I absolutely CANNOT fight a bullet to the head.
Just my thoughts. Feel free to clarify if I've missed something...
Living with an ADHD child presents challenges that you can never anticipate. It's social as well as school.
ADHD children are different than other children. I joke that I can pick them out of a crowd.
I know... we are different as a family because of it. I know we have to work harder at things that others do not. The impulse control that Bones lacks, can get on people's nerves. I know where I can take him and where I cannot. His brothers get frustrated that he is always in their personal space, Ping, Ping, Ping, he never stops.
It would be easy if you could just tell him to stop, punish him, and set the limits, but with them... it doesn't work that way. As a dear friend of mine said to me once, "ADHD has always been around, they're the kids that used to get beat more than everyone else."
You keep that in mind when you have a child like that in your home. You provide structure, and guidance, teach them right from wrong, but don't want to squelch who they are and ruin them... as that happens to them as well.
Yell at them enough and they take it to heart. They don't get that what they do is not normal... it is normal to them. They don't get that how they are can be irritating... and so if you come down hard with them all the time, you end up with a child who will tell you they don't understand why they're so stupid or 'Why am I a bad kid?" Self esteem and worthlessness sets in.
It will break your heart.
We've been down that path.
When we were first told he had it, after spending a ton of money having him tested, it made us sick to medicate. I've written of it before. But we were already at the bottom of self esteem, his grades were failing, he wasn't learning, he was starting to not have friends, as much as everyone loved being around him.... he is a lot of boy.
He was the king of self loathing.
I hate that people in our society are quick to label parents as taking the easy way out for medicating. I hate more when I hear people say there is no such thing as ADHD. I want to scream at them, 'OH YEAH? Come live my F***ing life and then tell me there is not."
People are assholes.
Judgemental over what does not fit in their round hole of the world.
It is real and people don't get it until they live the life... the worry.
But since we started meds, our life changed nearly immediately. We had no side effects, his grades bounced immediately up to A's, and he was able to focus in class, as opposed to zoning out. (We do not medicate except for school hours... weekends and days off are not medicated.)
And ever since I've thought... at least we have the meds. Diet change doesn't work. Been there done that. Exercise doesn't work. Been there done that. Taking out red dye...nada. Been there done that.
You'd be amazed at what you will do to avoid the meds, all the crazy crap you'll buy into.
But as my pediatrician said, it changed our lives and we knew... the day would come where we would have to change his meds.
As a child grows, gets heavier, or a child starts getting into the hormone driven pre-teen and teen years, the same meds no longer work. Dosages have to change, all sorts of factors come into play.
We knew it was coming and I was avoiding it... even at the beginning of the year when our doctor said, "Bou, I cannot believe this is still effective. He's been on the same drug, coming up on 3 years. He doesn't weigh the same! He's gained 20 pounds!"
And I would reply, "Look, If I'm not getting phone calls, notes home, failing grades... we stay the course."
The last couple months we have noticed the grades slipping, the notes home, his self esteem taking a dive... all signs he was struggling in school. We changed his meds and didn't tell him, also adding for one week, an over the counter med to calm his stomach as he has started to dread school so much it was causing digestive issues.
I picked him up the day of, to find him pointing to his mouth, like that bunny in the Pixar animated film with the magician... the hungry bunny.
I looked at Bones, mouth open, pointing to his mouth, I imitated him. I mean, WTF?
I got out of the car and he said, "Mom, it's hard to breathe. You need to nebulize me and my stomach hurts. You said that medicine would make it better; it made it worse! And I have a bad bad headache."
I knew it would all wear off... with time. And it did.
I called our Pediatrician and he said, "No more meds... I don't like this. Take him for an EKG and let's just get everything checked out."
I learned that if you're an adult and need an EKG, you can wait weeks to see your internist. If you're a child, you just walk into the local Pede Cardiologist office and they give you one on the spot... like buying a cheeseburger.
Today we found out the EKG came back borderline. I said, "Borderline? Borderline... what?"
And he said, "Borderline... not normal. Look, I need you to make an appointment to see the cardiologist. We need to get to the bottom of this."
Aghast, I said, 'Did the meds cause this?" He said that no, it did not, he was born with it, but the increased dosage may have made it more prominent.
And so we are in limbo. No meds. Learning is a struggle. Behavior will be as well. I've already told his teachers. He's allowed to play all his sports (he is in soccer and lacrosse) unless his heart starts to race and then he is to stop.
His stamina has never been good... we are wondering if he has had issues and we never knew. We don't know.
He may never be able to do meds again... and the thought of that is daunting.
So that's what's been going on... or at least a small part of our iceberg of the last couple weeks. It's been very stressful.
On a positive note... as sick as a dog that I am, I still don't have swine flu. Heh.
There is much to blog on, but I'm sick and feel like crap.
No, I don't have the swine flu.
But that takes me to the fact I hate media sensationalism. I've grown to hate the media in general. Can they just report something without acting like Chicken Little?
If I hear Pandemic one more time... I might scream, but I can't because of this nasty headache and tight chest.
And I understand that this has the potential to be nasty, but... how many people die a year of the flu? Nobody in America has died yet and it's already a Public Health Emergency?
Maybe I'm wrong... but I'm a bit at a loss. Perhaps I'm not forward thinking enough. Perhaps we should all be alarmed... feel free to educate me if I'm missing something...
I'm off for a hot shower to try to clear my airways and sinuses.
Oh... am I the only cynic thinking that the stockholders at Theraflu are rubbing there hands, grinning, thinking, "Come to Papa!" as their product flees the shelves?
In the event that folks get the mistaken impression that my boys did nothing but blow up balloons, I need to clarify.
We spent the first hour going over projects I'm working on, then I introduced them to some software we use. You can build an airframe with an engine, pull things apart, rotate it 360 and move it all over.
My sons kept wanting to add missiles.
I kept explaining that the company I work for, nor the company I subcontract for, builds missiles, therefore adding missiles and bombs was not an option.
"Mom, I think you should ask one of your co-workers. There may be missile-adding capability and YOU just don't know about it!"
But the funniest thing happened when I was showing them one of the projects I'm working on. I explained that there was a problem in the field, the lead engineer and the field engineer wanted a particular solution, so they sent it to me to see if I could make it happen.
I did all the research, talked to myriad people, and came up with a way to make their solution work.
I have a plethora of documentation from blueprints to slides of the issue, the field write up, commercial manuals on how they fix the problem, other military aircraft manuals on how they fix the problem... and on and on. The folder is about an inch thick at this point.
And so my eldest looked at it, looked at the issue as I had a picture of the actual incident, and he said, "Mom, why don't you put some xyz here and here..."
To which I hestitated and said, "Well, that's pretty much what we're doing"
He continued, 'And you could secure it using a heavy duty needle and some sort of thick thread..."
To which I replied, "Well, we can do that, and some people do, or we can use teflon tape. We're working that through right now..."
And I just kind of grinned to myself that my son, who knows nothing of what we do, looked at it and knew exactly how to fix it.
A couple minutes later I said, "Boys, look at this blueprint and find the date. I'm looking for the date this blueprint was approved for this fix..."
They studied it and immediately found the box in the lower right hand corner, everything on the blueprint handwritten in block letters, no typing.
Ringo said, 'November, 1964." I grinned and said, "Yup, someone came up with this fix on the commercial side before I was even conceived. Mimie wasn't even pregnant yet..."
They thought that was funny, but not as funny as I've thought it was, as I've been teasing some of the engineers on this project about it, "Were you even shaving yet?" I asked one of them. Another engineer said, "Hell, I wasn't born until 1972. My parents didn't even know each other!"
My boys just thought the blueprint was older than hell. Heh.
I took my kids to work today. I showed them some things I'm working on. They played in some 3D software, which they thought very cool.
I didn't know it, but one of the engineers I work with turns 60 this weekend. He's from Greece... so for this blog's sake, we'll just call him... ummm... Jimmy.
So Jimmy's birthday is this weekend and our assistant knew it and pinned one black balloon in his cube and baked him a cake.
My boys were beside themselves that it was his birthday. They felt it needed a big celebration.
They don't even know Jimmy.
Big celebration to them was... fill his cube with balloons.
They had me take them to the grocery store down the street and buy 55 balloons (they are kicking themselves that they did not by 60) and for an hour, as I worked, they blew up balloons.
I shoved them under my feet to keep them hidden.
We brought our assistant in on it, so she knew. As soon as he left the room, the boys, me, and our assistant, filled his cube with balloons, which was nice because it emptied mine.
He came back from getting his printouts to find his cube filled and a big happy birthday note.
Now, to be honest, I wasn't sure how he was going to take it. Kids come to work, they're noisy (but polite) and then they dump 55 12" in diameter balloons in his cube.
He was so happy. I immediately said, "Jimmy, I have a pair of scissors, we can help you pop them if you want!"
"NO! I am going home to get my truck! I will take them ALL home with me!" (He drives a small car to work.)
Someone got the bright idea we needed a picture and being it was Take Your Child to Work Day, we knew HR had a camera. I went to fetch it when security gave me a 'paparazzi pass' and let me take it.
That could be dangerous, giving my group a camera pass. Seriously. We're the cut ups.
We took pix of Jimmy with my kids and 55 balloons.
We took a group picture of all of us crammed into his cube with... 55 balloons.
And then after he brought his truck back, we helped him fill it with balloons. He was going to have a tough time sitting. There were balloons in every seat.
My boys think it was a GREAT day. I'm not so sure they think what I do is cool, although they did like the software, but they definitely like my co-workers and they definitely loved celebrating someone's birthday...
... someone who wasn't expecting it.
It was very fun.
My middle son told me that today they took some heat in class for anyone who intends to go to Take Your Child to Work Day. She said they were too old.
And they had to make up their work.
And he said he looked at his friend and told her, "I don't care what she says... I'm going."
And so tonight, I sat down and wrote her the following letter. I thought she needed a different perspective on this particular day. (The letter has been edited to take out any particular names of what I work on and who it is for.)
Mr. T was telling me today how they were told they really shouldn't be going to Take Your Child to Work Day during Middle School.
I understand where you are coming from, but I thought I'd give you my perspective.
First, Ringo has never been to my place of work. He has never expressed an interest and this year was the first. I'm not about to NOT jump all over that... when a teenager expresses interest in a parent, that opportunity must be seized when it comes, as it may never happen again.
Mr. T has come with me once before. He has asked to come again as he truly enjoys working on the systems where I can pull up a jet engine and he can pull it apart and move the various components on the XYZ plane, my teaching him how to read blueprints, and watching me interact with my co-workers. It's role modeling.
When my kids come to work with me, they learn.
I didn't have this opportunity in the past. I'm fortunate that nothing I am working right now is top secret, that my employer is open to children coming in and experiencing what we do, and that my co-workers love to pull them in and teach as well.
I was driving on a field trip at Christmas and two little girls were in my car with one of my sons. One of them saw my badge. She said to me, "Mrs. L., what do you do for a living?"
I replied, "I work in National Defense as an engineer."
I was met with a blank look by both girls.
I continued on, thinking they didn't know what National Defense was, "I work on the F-xx".
Still I got no response. I was at a loss as I thought for sure they'd seen my plane on the news or on some TV show.
I expanded, "It's a jet. The United States XYZ flies it... " I got nothing. "OK. It's a jet... you know the back end that blows out fire? That's the nozzle. Right now, I'm working on the nozzle."
Two blank faces stared back at me and I gave it up for a loss as I had nothing else to expand with that they might connect the dots.
Finally from the back of my van I heard a little girl voice say, "Wow, my Mom just folds laundry..."
They got it the ENTIRE time. They just could not believe what they were hearing, that a woman, a Mom, was working in a job that would be considered a man's job.
My boys need to see me at work. They need to see that I'm just as smart as their Dad, just as respected, just as capable. They need the exposure to what I do, that my life is not just about them and washing their clothes and cooking their meals.
And that is why I am taking my boys. I think they 'get it' more as teenagers, than they do as younger children. This will be my last opportunity with Ringo. When he gets to high school, there will be too much on his plate.
And for the record, I made sure that little girl knew that what her Mom did was just as important as what I did... and that I do fold laundry too. Our most important jobs are being Moms.
My son graduates from 8th grade in a few weeks. Since our school goes K-8, it's a big deal.
There is a big graduation dinner all the parents and their graduate will be attending on graduation night and we've been asked to supply pictures of our kids for a slide show... pictures of them with their friends.
First, let me state, we are rather clannish. We stick as a family and so most of my pictures are family related. I don't have a lot of pictures of my kids with their friends...
... I realized today.
But what has been damn close to hellish is getting my son's approval on pictures I did find.
Keep in mind, I was going to have to scan these suckers in. I had to not only find them, but hook up my scanner and edit them accordingly.
PAIN.IN.THE.ASS, and the kid doesn't like... any of them.
It's as if he wants to forget he was EVER in Kindergarten or First Grade. He only wants pictures of NOW, with the crazy hair and the teenage body.
No sweet cherubic faces. No chubby clubby hands. No little boy haircuts.
There has been one little girl that has been one of his closest friends since Kindergarten. I have always suspected she was sweet on him... starting 9 years ago.
He won't talk about it.
I found a picture of them together, her making sure she was in the picture and I said, "OH! How about this one?"
His reply? NO!
The other pictures I found suffered from too many children being in the picture that no longer go there. There was one with my son with all his buddies lined up against the Kindergarten wall singing and I said, "Look. The picture is clear, you don't look like a dork, and it's a good picture."
His reply? "Mom, only George and Harry are still at the school. Not one other of those boys are still there... and you can hardly even see Harry's face. NO."
We finally agreed on a couple pictures, after much cussing and gnashing of teeth on my part. But the funny part is, I spent a FULL HOUR looking for First Holy Communion pictures.
I found one of him, a picture of the family... and nothing else.
After reaming him out that I was doing this for him and he was being part of the problem, NOT the solution, in his very deep voice he said, "Mom, let me go to my computer. I think I have a picture of my buddy Sean and I, and... let me see."
So he emails me, which in itself cracks me up... when he emails me and we're in the same daggum house, and there was a picture of his buddy and...
... holy crap... a full class picture in 2nd grade of their First Holy Communion.
Me: Son! Do you now how hard I've been looking? Where in the HELL did you find this?
Ringo: Nobody knows how it got there. Nobody knows who put it up. Just one day it was under photos.
So now I added that to our list of what to send. I'm waiting for some email from some of his buddies with a couple other pix, but overall, we're finished.
Below the fold are two pix... one that made the cut, and one that did... NOT.
This did NOT make the cut. This was a Spanish project from 6th grade. He had to make a frickin' sombrero of his favorite thing.
I thought his teacher would spit when it came in with airsoft gun pictures all over it. I think she was aghast. Like I give a sh** what that particular teacher thinks... we won't go there.
Anyway, it had airsoft bullets glued to it.
I said, "OH! Let's send this in!" He said, "NO! I look like a dork!" Great.
BTW, can you tell my son hails from the mentality, Bigger is Better? He had the biggest sombrero in the class.
This photo made the cut... the only one where he was five...
He was picking out a bumper sticker for having gotten Student of the Month. I don't put bumper stickers on my car... only magnets that declare I did 26.2.
Oh and this one is his fave... this one made it. This was last month at the School Variety show... in his Great Grandfather's hat.
Ringo was 6 weeks old.
I was on maternity leave.
I was glued to the TV, watching CNN, nursing him, and crying.
I remember this every mid-April... every detail as if it just happened.
The horror in Oklahoma, the horror in America wondering who would do something so unimaginable, so ghastly.
I've never blogged it before, but I spent that day and the days following, nursing him, holding him, loving him... and crying.
That is what I remember... the big chair I sat in, me and my baby, the tragedy, and my heart breaking wondering what the future held for my child and what monsters lurked among us.
More monsters than we could ever know...
Bones had a Lacrosse game today. Right before the half, he tapped his helmet.
Tapping one's helmet signifies to the coach that you need to come to the bench.
So the coach pulled him, and asked him what was up. He evidently told him something felt funky in his mouth guard and it was hot and he was feeling beat. As he put it, "Playing Midi is a lot of work. You really have to run a lot."
Halftime quickly came and the coach had him grab something to drink and he grabbed a slice of orange, where he felt a 'crunch'.
He pushed on a tooth and it popped out, hence the 'something felt funky in his mouth guard'.
He pulled the tooth of his mouth, surprised, looked at coach and said, 'Hey! I lost a tooth!"
The coach kind of bug eyed, shook his head, Bones called for one of the Team Moms to hold it for him, he then spit in the grass, a bunch of spit and blood.
The coach looked and exclaimed, "Blood! Bones is ready to get back in the game!"
And with that, halftime over, Bones put his helmet back on and ran back out on the field.
I was handed the tooth after the game, shocked by the story.
They lost 7-6, but it was a good game. Blood and all...
And so on Wednesday I attended a small local Tea Party.
This is pretty much how it started...
A couple friends of mine, octogenarians plus or minus five years, decided about four weeks ago to have a Tea Party at the local City Hall for a small township in the area. One girlfriend called me and asked if I'd like to attend and I said, "Sure! And I'll bring my boys!"
I figured this was a great way for my boys to see the First Amendment in action. Peacefully expressing ourselves without fear of government intrusion.
Well, a talkshow got hold of it, signs went up and the next thing I knew, I got a panicked email that they needed programs (the printing kind) and "could you help?"
These women are tremendous planners. They had a program completely planned out (just not on paper) and every time they ran into a roadblock, they found a way around.
The town wouldn't let them use their mic? They found a bullhorn. The town asked one of their speakers not to speak? They found a better one. They heard there could be nasty people coming to torment? They called the local police department to make sure there would be a presence to keep my children and other's children safe.
They were worried about the children.
And so it went.
I made the program hurriedly on Tuesday for them, something simple, but organized and in big enough font we could all see it without our glasses.
I showed up to find about 300 people had gathered.
I know... it's not big considering there were thousands of people in Atlanta, Orlando, the City of West Palm, but thinking that four weeks ago we thought it would be nice to have a Tea Party and maybe 20 people would show... and then to see 300?
Wow. (I counted... in groups and then estimated.)
And so I showed up with my boys, not knowing what to expect, and we saw people we knew, other families, all my friends who are my grandmother's age and who I absolutely adore, and we listened, and cheered, and cars honked their horns and some people flipped us birds, but we ignored them.
And about 20 minutes into my eldest son said to me, "Mom, I am hungry, can I go get something to eat?"
We were on a major highway that runs through this little town and there was no way in hell I was going to hand a five to my 14 year old so he could walk anywhere looking for something to eat.
"Are you nuts," I replied?
He slumped his shoulders and walked away, with my calling after him, "You JUST ate an hour ago! You are NOT going to starve!"
Ten minutes later he came back happy like a puppy, "Mom! Someone brought cookies! Can I have a cookie?"
Rolling my eyes, I said, "Sure."
I'm not sure what I was thinking... which means I probably was not... thinking.
Location of cookies?
I watched him as he snaked his way through people three deep next to the highway, to make his way to the main table that was acting as a podium, where people were gathered listening to the speaker, and where the cookies were evidently sitting.
He got himself small, sneaked in and quietly took a cookie, and then extricated himself from the masses, smiling largely at me, holding up his cookie in Victory.
I'm sorry, but it was just damn funny.
Want my son at your demonstration? Promise him food and he may just show.
I know. You're wondering where in the hell I got the title to this post.
I blog anonymously. I don't put my kids' names out here, most of all. So this is a story about my youngest son and his name and Payton Salmonello kind of rhymes with it.
So today, for this story, Bones' real name is Payton Salmonello. (Yes, his name is that unusual... all of our names are that unusual.) Keep in mind as well that my father in law lives in an Assisted Living Facility.
We went to supper after the Tea Party and 'Payton' is extraordinarily demonstrative.
He looked up at the ceiling, pursed his lips, tapped his fingers together and said, "I have a story... we were all at Pop's and I wanted a drink of water, so I decided to go down to the water fountain while you stayed with Pop in his room."
He continued, *deep breath* "Weelllllll, I met this old lady. She said, "Sonny. What is your name?"
Old Lady: Clayton?
Bones: No... PAYton.
Old Lady: Shayton?
Bones: No, no, PuhAYton.
Old Lady: Pashon?
Bones (rolling his eyes as he tells this, showing his frustration): PayTON.
Old Lady: Tracy?
Bones: Yes. It is Tracy.
Old Lady: Oh that is a nice name. Sonny, what is your last name?
Old Lady: Bella? What is that?
Bones: It's Italian.
And with that he shook his head and walked off.
We were calling him Tracy Bella all night. Tracy may actually stick.
My husband said he should have said 'Smith' and he shook his head and said, "Nah, it's not Italian." Heh.
My eldest son is in Algebra I.
I see this often.
Kids 'get' when they are adding fractions that they have to have a common denominator. Get into Algebra and suddenly the denominators are different with variables, and they get all whack.
They don't understand and don't know what to do... or why they're doing it.
And so tonight I sat down to work with my son, to teach him how to add rational expressions, the following conversation ensued to the best of my recollection:
(Sidenote, we were adding 1/(1+x) + 1/(1-x) )
Me: You can't add them together. I know you think you can, but they aren't the same on the bottom.
Ringo: But I don't get it...
Me: It's like fractions. They have to look EXACTLY the same. The equation has to be completely EQUAL on both bottoms to add or subtract them.
Me: You don't see it.
Me: Look. Cats and dogs can't mate and have babies. Giraffes and elephants can't mate and have babies. People and animals can't mate and have babies. Everyone can only mate with their like kind... cats and cats, dogs and dogs, people and people. Same same.
Me: Its the same in math. You can't mate equations unless the bottoms look exactly the same. They both have to be cats or humans. You can't mix animal types.
Ringo: OH! I get it!
Go figure. But, hey, he got it.
I felt like a sequal to Ghostbusters...
It is insane here.
I have family still in town.
I went in to work today to clean up some stuff and found out my boss has cancer.
I am helping to organize a Tea Party to be held on Wednesday. I got a call to help make the fliers. I'll be leaving work early to help and the boys and I will be making posters tomorrow night. It will be my first demonstration...
I signed up to be a Mentor for Team in Training. I'll not be fundraising. I'm a 'non-fundraising mentor' as I told them I cannot fundraise with the chronic injury I have.
I'm a bad risk.
So I'm going the non-fundraising route, and I'll be helping people on the team prepare for the Viriginia Beach Half Marathon. I'll be training with them, helping them fundraise, keeping tabs on their progress and being a cheerleader during the tough times.
I'm actually really really excited. Beyond excited. I'm attending various open houses throughout the north county in the next couple weeks to answer people's questions.
I've taking Team in Training to the next level... and I'm... just... thrilled. And better yet, I'm on the same team as Run! Paula! Run! and my coach from my marathon. The coach that did the entire thing with me... on the spur of the moment, never really training for it, will be the coach for VA Beach. (Did I tell that coach story?)
On May 9th, I start training for the 1/2 Marathon in Virginia Beach to be held on Labor Day weekend.
No trials and tribulations... if I am injured, I won't do it. Half marathons don't require the same level of training, so I don't anticipate all the issues, although I'm not stupid. There will be some.
Thirteen point one, Half the Distance, Double the Fun.
From my girlfriend, Lola, who reads here but does not comment, I received my favorite Easter cartoon this morning.
And this inspired me to ask... Are you a Butt or Ear person?
Do you like Tail? Are we all Ear people?
And I'll start first by saying, I start with the ears, then do the butt/tail, then the arms, and work my way through. Essentially... I eat the outside first.
May all of you who celebrate, have a most wonderful Easter. I know we will.
We got in this evening, to a house full. My husband's 2nd eldest sister is here with her husband and two of her three kids. (Her eldest is in college.)
My sil and her family usually come for Easter. The boys have had their annual tradition of dying eggs with their cousins, their favorite color is the 'bludge' colored egg.
Bludge is pretty much all colors. Its a nasty brownish egg, looking more like something a big bunny would have defecated.
Yesterday was our last day in Atlanta, having spent the morning with Denny, a quick visit so he could see the baby. She was really really good, such an easy baby.
Denny was kind to open his home to us, three crazy boys and a baby.
Upon leaving, realizing the weather was turning wicked bad in the afternoon, we took a quick drive through the Georgia Tech campus so my boys could see it. Mr. T appears to be interested in Tech as the school of choice as of now.
I'm not sure what he thought yet... we'll keep taking looks at schools so he can get a feel for them. I think he thought it was big and intimidating, but I think he also liked it. He is afterall, only 12.
Ringo is not committed to anything except high school and playing bass and I do believe girls are involved in that mix.
Bones is 9 and still all over the road.
Easter is in the morning and I'm beat.
I miss my sweet niece. She is peaches and cream and all that is in between.
I forgot to get a picture of the Flambina Kiss Sandwich, when Mr. T and I each take a cheek and kiss her at the same time, puckering out her lips.
Other pictures to follow...
I took the kids to Six Flags yesterday. We were standing there eating our very expensive Pizza, as Six Flags truly has some of the most overpriced food of any theme park we have ever visited, when a little girl evidently fell and hit her face on something and was crying.
I missed the accident. I was busy, probably chiding my children over something.
She appeared to be about 8 or 9 years old. She was with her family and perhaps another as there appeared to be two mothers and the rest were kids.
And this is where it is rather funny.
The family was a black family. I had absolutely nothing in common with the mother, from first blush.
She was a big big woman, I’m not so big.
She spoke with the heavy accent of Southern African American combined with a slight touch of ebonics. My accent is slight touch of Gulf Coast southern for the most part spoken as it is taught in English class, mostly grammatically correct.
She walked with an effortlessness, very casual. There is nothing casual about how I carry myself. I am very deliberate, leading the way, snapping for the kids to keep up as we have things to do.
And then she said to her daughter, after they got the crying under control, in her heavy accent, “I know what happened to you! You weren’t paying attention to your surroundings! I tell you over and over, you have to pay attention to what’s going on around you!”
And with that, Mr. T grabbed my arm, blue eyes wide he said, “MOM! Did you hear that? Did you hear what she said to her daughter?”
I stared down at him and he continued, “She said, “You weren’t paying attention to your surroundings!” She told her, “I tell you over and over you have to pay attention to what’s going on around you!” You say that, Mom! She said what you ALWAYS say!!”
I laughed and said, “We’re Moms.”
He twittered off to tell Ringo of this odd phenomena.
Five minutes later, Ringo laughingly said to me, “I heard it too. That Mom told her daughter she needs to pay attention to her surroundings, the same thing you always tell us.”
I shook my head and said, “Son, all kids are alike. All of you live in your own little worlds and don’t pay attention, running into things, into people, all the time.”
From the outside, this Mom and I looked completely different, but Mommishness runs deep.
We were very much the same.
The boys and I are roller coaster people, although I’m not as roller coastery as I used to be.
My inner ear is not what it was.
We rode a big roller coaster called, ‘The Great American Scream Machine’. It's an old fashioned coaster with no loops and looks rather benign.
We were standing in line when I looked at Mr. T, who is a screamer, “So, are you going to scream like a little girl the entire ride?”
He grinned and nodded.
Ringo observed this and said, “I’m sitting with Bones.”
Bones looked at me and said, “You don’t want to sit with me?”
I replied, “Oh sure I do, but Ringo doesn’t want to sit with T because he’s going to scream like a little girl…”
We got in our seats, T and I in front of Ringo and Bones… and we made our way up the first hill.
Click, click, click, T looked at me and said, ‘I’m a little nervous…” I nodded.
And I looked at Ringo and Bones behind us, and they had already started to grip the pads in front, I braced my feet as did T, and we grabbed on… and the car slowly pulled over the hump…
… and Mr. T and I screamed like little girls… the.ENTIRE.WAY.
The whole roller coaster.
We screamed from the first slope until the end, only pausing to take in air. Holy crap.
It stopped and T looked at me, eyes widened and said, “Oh.My.God.” I couldn’t quit laughing. The boys behind me were laughing.
I said, ‘Could you hear us screaming? I think I nearly peed my pants!”
Bones said, “I was too scared. I was too shocked to scream!”
Ringo said, “I was too busy praying and saying to myself, “Don’t move. Don’t move. Don’t move.””
A letter to Six Flags Over Georgia:
You need to take the Disney class on how to move large masses of people efficiently.
Your parking situation stinks. The free for all, was a disaster.
Your ticketing situation was a chaotic, confusing and frustrating. You had different lines for different things and no signage. People were looking to each other to figure out what they were supposed to be doing. Everyone was clueless.
The maps to your rides… are the worst. You need MORE signage within your park telling you where to go (the couple “You are HERE” signs were very helpful), but better maps would be far better.
It is impossible to tell at times what ‘section’ the ride is located in on your maps… Cotton, French, Spanish, as there are all these little colored numbered boxes and it is difficult to discern to which ride each little box belongs. I suggest you keep your rides numbered and your food and non-ride attractions lettered, so it’s easy to tell which box is with an actual RIDE. Too many things are clustered together and so it appears to be an odd dot to dot... once again, chaotic and confusing.
Also, your train… label somewhere that it has only two places to get off, so people don’t have the misconception that it makes several stops.
I am sure I’m not the only one who had great frustration.
We had an awful lot of fun on the rides we rode and the people who work for you were both helpful and fun. You have a lot that is right. I think without much effort you could get it mostly right and make people always WANT to come back. As of now, I'm on the fence.
Bou and her Family
P.S. Also $25 for a pizza that serves four is ridiculous.
We took the Chupa to her first movie tonight.
Monsters vs. Aliens.
Holy crap. Now THAT is the way to see a movie with a baby. Of course she never made a peep, but just in case, all we would have had to do was sequester to the car and nobody would have been disturbed.
It was nice and cool out, she was wrapped in a blanket, and she just lay in her Mama's arms and slept in the cool air as we watched the movie.
To get to the Drive In, we have to pass a State Penitentary. I'm not sure what prison it is, but I hear its one of those high secure types that holds the really bad guys.
My boys had never seen one or been near one.
I remembered we had to pass the Penitentary on the way and said to Mo as we got close, "Isn't the Atlanta State Pen near here?"
She answered to the affirmative and Bones said from the back, "Atlanta State Pen? What's that?"
And here we were driving through the vast stretch of land that is Atlanta with not a drop of water in sight, when the following conversation ensued to the best of my recollection:
Mo: Prison. There is a prison here.
Bones: Is it on an island?
Me: Umm... Baby, that's Alcatraz.
Mo: *whisper* did he just say that?
Me: *whisper* it's a case of open mouth and talk. no thinking involved...
Mo: *whisper* an island??? Can you blog on this?
We took The Flambina to the Atlanta Botanical Gardens today.
It was empty.
Probably because it was 49 degrees... and frickin' WINDY.
Morrigan had her in this little pink knitted cap she wore as a newborn. She's nearly 8 weeks old now, and the pink cap, was just a riot.
I told Mo, Flambina looked like she was going to celebrate Kwanza.
We arrived, the boys in their 'hoodies', Mo had given me a fleece, and the Flambina all wrapped in a blanket with her Kwanza cap, when the cold hit us like... holy crap, cold.
The baby... did not cry the entire time we went around the gardens, both inside and outside gardens.
We have a couple theories.
For the inside, we think it was the constant rumble of the wheels of her stroller on the pavers.
For the outside, as Mo said, "She just shut down". I was joking, in my Flambina imitation voice, "Maybe if I just close my eyes this will all go away..."
Then there is the theory that the air was so cold she thought perhaps if she didn't cry she wouldn't have to suck in so much cold air into those little lungs.
You know... all that higher thinking in an 8 week old brain, could happen.
Holy crap was it frickin' cold...
Mo and I took the baby to a place called Little Five Points.
It’s a rather alternative place.
To put it in perspective, normally I blend, black turtleneck, jeans, tennis shoes, brown hair pulled back, small post earrings.
At Little Five Point I stand out because I don’t have Raggedy Ann Red hair, facial piercings or clothes mishmashed into funk from a thrift shop. Think brown spandex with fuzzy boots, skin tight funky shirt with fur, gold bangles out of the eye brows, and sleeve tats.
That was the norm.
I was not.
And so we walked around a very fun store called The Junkman’s Daughter, I held the baby, looking for odd Easter gifts.
Every now and then Mo or I would say, “Look at you. You have a baby… in a bar…”, (movie quote) referring to the fact we had a baby in this very alternative store.
We walked the streets with baby in arms, going from one store to another, passing homeless people, funky people, young folks playing music on street corners with guitar cases opened full of $1 bills.
People would stop and talk to us, asking how old she was… a man in a car, probably in his mid 50s, shaggy and relaxed looking yelled out his car window to us, “How old is your baby?!” Mo shouted back, “Two months!” and he got the biggest grin I have ever seen and he yelled back, “She is BEAUTIFUL! God BLESS YOU!”
Even the homeless shouted out to us… “How old is she, one month?” Mo told him her age as we walked by and we noted he was not off by much.
He was almost spot on… she’s the size of a one month old.
We got in the car and I said to her, “Everyone loves babies. Even the homeless…”
Keeping in mind, that headcount is more important than the fact the clothes were left in home, today was a better day.
My husband took the forgetful one out shopping for a couple items, like an extra pair of jeans and underwear.
The two older boys forwent going so they could hang with the baby.
She went down for her morning nap, and woke startled 15 minutes into it. Not one to believe that tiny babies should be left to cry it out at such a young age, and fortunately, my sister isn’t of that thought either, I picked her up and put her on my chest to sleep. I sat back in the recliner, listening to her quick breathing, her heart beat against mine, running my lips against the sweet fuzz on her head, inhaling her, listening to the occasional “uh,uh,uh, siiiiigh” as babies do, the quickened punctuated inhalation, ending with a deep baby sigh.
My eldest saw me there, eyes closed, living in the luxury of all that is baby, and he said, “Are you sleeping?”
I opened one eye and said, “No, I’m focusing on how wonderful she is. Want her to lay on you?”
And… he said yes.
And so he sat on the couch, and I took his wee cousin, and put her on his shoulder, and there she lay, nuzzled into his shoulder, for a better part of an hour, perhaps an hour and a half.
He sat there, running his nose through her silky peach fuzzy hair, lightly kissing the top of her head, smelling her, being mellow yellow.
I’d walk over and see Mr. T there next to him, Ringo playing guitar on her back. Or… he’d have both hands playing some soft little drumbeat on her tiny diapered bottom.
Mo or I would offer to take her. "Are you OK? Want us to take her?" He would look at us and grin, and softly shake his head no.
We are all in love.
Just so everyone knows.... I'm #6 in Google for, 'when will swallowed lego piece come out of the poo'.
Nice. THIS post.
If you want to get said poo out of the carpet, go to Army Wife's. I hear she's #1 for that...
... and maybe pitch the lego.
And while I'm writing of odd things... I ate chocolate covered bacon today.
A gift from Sissy.
I'm not sure what to think yet. I will say the packaging is wrong. It reads "...everything is better with bacon". No. Everything is better with CHOCOLATE.
But bacon... it is very odd...
We are visiting my sister so the boys could see their new cousin. They are enthralled with the Flambina, from her tiny feet, to her pursed lips to the pooping noises.
I am left wondering how in the hell my husband and I packed the car this morning and didn't do a bag count.
I don't understand how we did a bag call no less than twice and yet nobody noticed...
... that Bones, Mr. All Over The Road, Mr. I Forget My Homework on the Desk at Home at Least Once a Week, Mr. Bright Shiny Object, didn't seem to stay focused long enough to bring out his bag.
... so here we sit at my sister's, eight days from being home, and the kid has not one stitch of clothing other than what he wore in the car for ten hours.
Which brings me to... a little shout out to the State of Georgia whoever is in charge road construction:
A 8.5-9 hour drive took us 10 hours because of road construction.
We get an awful lot wrong in the State of Florida, an awful lot, but our major interstate construction is done AT NIGHT, so it doesn't interrupt the flow of traffic for TEN FRICKIN' MILES.
We sat in traffic, absolutely STOPPED at times, for 10 miles at one point and then some later, due to I-75 construction.
And then to find out that Bones didn't take his clothes out to the car as we asked...
... I'm done.
OH! And I'm not sure we packed warm enough clothes. OH *I* LOOKED at the 10 day forecast. I packed for cool weather.
But did I pack for SNOW SHOWERS?! HELL NO. And I just got word at where I was taking the boys on Tuesday is expecting frickin' SNOW.
This is frickin' APRIL.
APRIL IS SPRING.
APRIL MAY BRING SNOW IN MONTANA, BUT NOT IN THE FRICKIN' SOUTH!
I'm going to bed.
I am so not trying to be rude or unappreciative but... my stats counter is kind of going nuts and when I looked to see from where these readers came, it said "rpc blogrolling".
Anyone? Beuller? Anyone?
Can someone shed some light?
Hey, and feel free to come back. I'm just wondering... who sent you here?
We're going out of town for Spring Break, off to see the little Chubbalina who is turning into just a chunky little ball of love.
We're so excited.
But before we make our way out of town, I had to go to the store and buy the traditional Easter Basket goodies for the boys. We return Easter Eve. I don't need to be stressing about 'basket faves' upon our return.
There is a chocolate store down the road where I get their chocolate bunnies and assorted goodies, but the bulk of the candy comes from our local grocery store.
Peanut Butter cups are a favorite of my spouse's, so I always get Peanut Butter eggs.
The Pooping Chicken has become an obligatory treat. Nothing says Happy Easter, and "He has Risen" like a plastic chicken that poops bubblegum.
As if a chocolate bunny does either...
Last year I was going nuts trying to find Peeps. I COULD NOT FIND THEM ANYWHERE.
Who in the world does not carry Peeps? As much as I HATE Peeps, they are most definitely a yardstick to the quality of the basket, I mean, come on, YOU HAVE to have a Peep in the basket.
Everyone and their brother is carrying Peeps. And when did Peeps come in all these daggum colors? It used to be traditional yellow. Now we have green, blue, pink, orange and... red.
Red Peeps. Deep Blood Red Peeps.
Honestly? I couldn't bring myself to buy a box. It looked like Peep murder had occurred.
Now I'm thinking I should have bought it and created a little Peep killing scene.
This year, I had a tough time finding Cadbury Eggs. Every boy gets ONE.
Tell me... do any of you REALLY like Cadbury Eggs? Really? Because every time I eat one, I think I can actually feel my pancreas shutting down and my vision degrading my kidneys failing.
Those eggs do such bad things to my blood sugar, it can take until the next day until I'm not all whacked out.
Yet, I bought one for each of the boys. I'm not sure what I was thinking.
So that pretty much covers our traditional baskets, Bunny, Peeps, a few chocolate eggs, Gum Pooping Chicken, PB Eggs, and a Cadbury Egg. I also throw in a few toys, clothes or something as well.
What is tradition in your family? What do y'all put in the baskets?
And... I always buy a different bunny for me... dark chocolate. Everyone else gets... milk.
This is going to border on crude, but we're all adults here and so... we'll deal.
Have you ever had to use the bathroom so badly, that you had to fight the urge to sigh upon finding relief?
If you answer no, you're lying. Everyone has been there.
So I went to the Assisted Living facility where Pop is living and before we went up to see him, I went into the downstairs restroom in the dining hall. (I refuse to use restrooms in his apartment. His apartment smells of disinfectant with a strong hint of urine. I'm too much of a germ phobe to use his bathrooms.)
I walked in and entering into the handicap stall was a woman who appeared to be in her 80s using a walker.
Side note: I say 80s as that looked like her melting stage. TGOO refers to the elderly as looking like they're melting. (For instance Pop swears he weighs 205 lb, but he still looks to me like he's the girth of his 230 (he's 5'5"). He is losing muscle and bone mass. TGOO says he's melting. That makes me laugh.)
So she walks into her stall, I go into mine, and I swear to you, she let out the largest sigh when she started to... relieve herself.
I nearly busted out laughing.
I want to get to the age where I don't care, where I'll gladly admit a sigh when my bladder is finally emptied.
It'll be the small things that make me smile.
Although... perhaps in your 80s... that is a rather large thing!
This is what I hear when I got to my sports med doc for my chronic foot/tendon problem.
"Blah Blah Blah, orthotics, blah blah blah, all the time. Blah blah blah, barefoot is bad, blah blah blah, orthotics..."
I told him the problem is that I can't put orthotics in my every day shoes as they don't have removable insoles. Only my running shoes do.
But now its becoming more important I finish healing (I'm struggling a bit) because I may be a Mentor for Team in Training for the VA Beach Marathon on Labor Day. Verdict is not in completely, but if it happens, it is a Half Marathon.
I've hung up thoughts of ever doing another whole.
Anyway, so I found some sandals where I can replace the insole with my orthotics. They're by a company called Bite shoes. I found a pair of sandals on sale (of course) and bought them tonight. In particular I liked the Bite Me hat... but refrained.
If I can't bring myself to buy the tshirt that says "Does This Shirt Make My Butt Look Fast?", then I can't buy a Bite Me hat.
I have kids, afterall.
And do like to try to have a modicum of class.
Although that shirt really is calling my name...
So I got a call from TNT today asking if I was interested. I called my coach and the following conversation ensued, to the best of my recollection.
Coach: So, Bou, how many toenails did you end up losing?
Me: THREE! BWAHAHAHAHAHAHA!
Me: Can you frickin' believe it? Bwhahahahaha
Coach: Bwhaahahahaha, I don't know anyone who lost that many on a marathon!
Me: You know ME! Bwahahahaha!
Coach: You never told me you were hurting...
Me: Mile 16, for the next 10.2... Yeah, I need that tshirt that says, "Got Toenails?"
So if I do this, she'll be the coach, I'll be the mentor, and my girlfriend of "Run! Paula! Run!" fame, could be the other mentor.
I'm kind of looking forward to this...