Thursday, April 30, 2009

I Have Some Explaining To Do

A lot of you have probably seen this picture floating around the internet or your emails. It's my way of recognizing the swine flu scare for posterity. What I love about this picture is that the kid's mom is probably the one snapping the photo while encouraging her baby to move in for another lick. Sounds like something I would do. (It should be obvious that I'm not a germophobe--unless you have strep. I'm sick of that one.)

After my last post, I have to explain a few things. I agree that finishing my breakfast after #5 slimed it is pretty gross. But here is the actual thought process that I went through: "There's not that much that hit my plate. I'm two seats down from him after all. Plus it was mostly saliva, which isn't that bad. And I've had worse from him and lived."

Now let me explain the incident that was worse. When #5 was an infant, only a week or two old, I was nursing him and noticed a yellow smudge on the back of one of my fingers. I assumed it was sauce from our curry dinner, so I licked it off. It wasn't curry. I realized then that somehow I had gotten some yellow baby poop on my finger when I changed his diaper just before I sat down to feed him, and somehow I had missed that smudge when I washed my hands. I have no idea how it got on the back of my hand, but that's what I licked. My train of thought then: "Gross! At least at his age he probably doesn't have much bacteria built up yet." Incidentally, baby poop tastes a little like earwax.

So there you go. I do wash my hands. I disinfect my counter tops. But I don't freak out about germs. I'm surprised so many people are so worried about the swine flu. Sure it could go pandemic. But so could the common cold. Either way we have meds to treat both. And don't tell me you've never kissed your child only to get a lipful of snot! Let's face it: being a parent is down and dirty work.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Oh Brother!

Yesterday #5 pulled something on all of us that was one of those moments that defines boys as being able to gross out girls. Warning: I'm going to use some very descriptive language, so this is not for those with weak stomachs.

Friday morning I made a great breakfast. We had scrambled eggs cooked perfectly, hashbrowns, OJ, and bubble bread (some people call it monkey bread; it's basically white rolls baked in a bundt pan with nuts, caramelized topping, and cinnamon). I usually save this breakfast for a weekend, but the girls have been asking for it for a few weeks, and they reminded me to make the bubble bread the night before. (It rises all night.) So there we are, seated around the table, enjoying a nice family meal before school. #5 thought the bread was so good that he was stuffing his face as quickly as possible--literally. His mouth was so full that he couldn't close his teeth, or even his lips, together, and the bread was bulging out. I said, "Be careful [#5]. Don't put too much in your mouth." At that moment, he started gagging on his mouthful. He put his hands up to his mouth to try to keep the food in, but the gag reflex was too strong. It was kind of like watching a meat grinder to see how the food methodically came out. All of it passed through his fingers as he helped it to his plate. As the gagging continued, we could see threads of saliva and some yellowish bile trail along as well. (I warned you!) When all of it was sitting in a puddle on his plate, he looked up...and started shaking his hands vigorously to get the slime off them! Drops and clods were flying everywhere, mostly on the three sisters surrounding him, but also on our plates and the serving dishes, all of which still had our delicious breakfast on them. The girls started yelling at him to stop, but he just looked around as he continued to shake his hands trying to figure out what exactly he was supposed to stop. I literally fell over out of my chair laughing! #3 started crying because her breakfast was ruined, but she then laughed through her tears at how ridiculous it all was. Most everyone left the table, but I, who once accidentally tasted his poop--a story for a different day--decided there wasn't that much spattered on my plate, so I finished breakfast.

Later that afternoon, I took the kids shopping at Wal-Mart and treated them to burgers in the adjoining McDonald's afterward. Again, #5 was surrounded by all of us in the booth. Again he stuffed his face in his eagerness to earn dessert. I said, "[#5], don't stuff your mouth. You'll gag again!" At that, he swallowed the enormous mouthful to finish his burger...and started clapping enthusiastically. He was proud of getting it all down I think. Unfortunately, he was so enthusiastic that he knocked his arm into #1's cup while she was drinking (water with no lid) and sent a nice-sized splash all over her face and shirt.

All I could say was, "Oh brother!"

Friday, April 17, 2009

Next Year I Need A Plan

My three school girls got Thursday and Friday off for Spring Break. I thought it would be nice to hang around the house, watch some movies, maybe do some crafts, and just play together. I obviously need to plan something more concrete next year. Here's a sampling of what my kids came up with to entertain themselves.

That's right. #3 and #4 are inflating balloons with their nostrils. Lovely.

Here #4 and #5 are enjoying a balmy the snow.
#1 and #2 spent both days playing SCHOOL! I guess they missed the point of the break.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Childhood Trust

Yesterday I chaperoned five third-grade girls on a field trip to the Clark Planetarium in Salt Lake City. When we came out of the parking garage to head home, we were surprised to find it was snowing. The gray sky and thick sleet on the freeway made me rather nervous to be driving. It was nice that, for once, the Utah drivers around me slowed down to the speed limit to accommodate for the conditions. The girls weren't phased at all. They laughed and talked and sang songs without a care for anything else. It reminded me of a similar trip when my mom was the one driving me and my friends home. I was fourteen or so, and my mom was driving a group of us home from a youth activity skiing or snow tubing. It was dark, we were driving through a thick snowstorm, coming home through a canyon, and we kids were being loud. I remember my mom asking us to settle down and recognizing that she was on edge to be driving that night. But I also remember not being worried because things always turned out fine. It's part of that invincibility that teenagers experience where they don't think anything truly bad will happen to them.

It got me thinking about a basic belief of my childhood. I remember often thinking that adults obviously knew what was the right course of action and would take care of us kids. That's a good sense of security as far as having a safe home and family. But I think I took it too far and stayed naive for too long in my understanding about the way the world works. Specifically, I applied this notion to government. I always assumed that there is a best way to run things and the people in office can obviously see that best way and run things accordingly. I never imagined there was so much room for opinion and debate, even on issues that seem so black and white to me. On the one hand, it's a little scary to be part of a system that just kind of feels its way along. I frequently get frustrated that our society and government seem to be making the same decisions that didn't work well in our history. (I'm not going to get specific, because that would just open up debate on certain issues, which isn't my purpose here.) On the other hand, I really enjoy getting an understanding of others' opinions. It's intriguing to me to hear callers on radio shows, poll results, or friends and family that oppose my own opinions. I like to try to understand where they are coming from and weigh their thoughts against my own in making decisions. (Radio show hosts don't do that as much for me because I can usually predict what they will say about a given issue.)

What all these memories and thoughts have prompted in me is the need to provide--as much as is within my power--not only a secure home for my children, but also opportunities for them to think for themselves. I need to take the time to listen to their thought processes and ask questions to make them think deeper. I believe giving them the skill to think through situations and problems before committing to a course of action will be a great tool in their lives.

What are your thoughts?

Wacky Weather

On Monday I got a sunburn while working in what will be my garden.

Wednesday brought this. We woke to this marshmallow world today. Tomorrow (Friday) is supposed to bring more. I'm grateful to have no worries about a drought this year, but this is April! I'm sure Lagoon will be disappointed, but the ski resorts must be loving it!

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Newly Nine

Daughter #2 celebrated her birthday today. She got lots of birthday wishes including the grand song sung by everyone in the lunchroom at school today. (I figure that beats a waiter singing at your table. Possibly less embarrassing too.) In our family, the kids get a big party with friends every three years. Maybe after the late-night girls night out (in at our house) tomorrow I'll post some pictures...if I'm not passed out with exhaustion!

Birthdays are a good time to celebrate a person, so I just have to note here what a great person she is. She is my first proof that babies who scream through their first year turn into the most affectionate and caring people. #2 is #5's first choice for a hug when he gets hurt. If someone is upset, she looks for ways to make it better and restore peace. She is a good worker at home and at school and a good friend to all who know her. I feel honored to be her mother...and sad that the years of raising her are already half over! (Though after that first year, the other eight have really flown by!)

Friday, April 10, 2009

My Relaxing Evening

Today my dad came down and we spent the afternoon building garden boxes. We got a lot of work done, but there is even more still left to do. After working all day, I was happy to change out of my saw-dusty clothes into yoga pants and a comfy T-shirt. I was ready to just rest and relax a bit. Too bad I forgot that I'm a mom!

I went downstairs and started making dinner: tacos, guacamole, Spanish rice. The kids were constantly coming in needing tools or more layers of clothing to be able to work at planting some bulbs they had found while cool weather was moving in. I would slice an avocado, put on #5's shoe, slice another avocado, and then run to close the sliding door that had been left wide open again. The hungry cats, whom I am trying to re-train to be strictly outdoor cats (no more pampering in the garage), kept wandering in too. At one point after I had fried the taco shells and turned off the burner for the oil (I thought) I was literally chasing a cat around the couch, hissing at it to scare it back outside. I lunged for it and only felt the tip of its tail brush through my fingers. I finally caught the cat and took it out, then jogged back to the kitchen to cut cilantro. Seconds later I smelled smoke and turned around to discover that I had not quite turned the stove dial to "off". It was on "high" and the oil was smoking pretty badly. I was sure I would see flames in a few seconds, so I very carefully and quickly carried the pan outside, with the smoke alarm blaring in the background, leaving a cloud of smoke through the kitchen, dining room, and front room. Outside the oil began popping, so I placed the pan in my wet flowerbed and went back to dismantle the smoke alarm and open all the windows and, reluctantly, the sliding door. When I got to the door, I poked my head outside to discover #5 playing in the water spigot with the water turned on full blast. I ran into the puddle in my grass to turn off the water, and ran back inside to chase the cats out again!

Fortunately, the evening calmed down after dinner and I did get to lay around with the kids watching a movie. Sadly, though, I missed talking to Kent. He is on a work project and called to check in on us. I was so busy giving cooking directions to #1, sending #3's friend off with her dad, and telling #5 where to find dry underpants that all I could do was explain that I was in the middle of dinner prep and he would have to talk to #4 instead. Maybe I'll get a minute with him tomorrow.

Now I'm left wondering why I feel the need to wake up early for exercise. I seem to get plenty of it just doing my job as mommy!

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

This Makes A Lot of Sense

Kent found this headline from "The Onion". I loved it!

98% Of Babies Manic-Depressive

March 23, 2009 | Issue 45•13

NEW YORK—A new study published in The Journal Of Pediatric Medicine found that a shocking 98 percent of all infants suffer from bipolar disorder. "The majority of our subjects, regardless of size, sex, or race, exhibited extreme mood swings, often crying one minute and then giggling playfully the next," the study's author Dr. Steven Gregory told reporters. "Additionally we found that most babies had trouble concentrating during the day, often struggled to sleep at night, and could not be counted on to take care of themselves—all classic symptoms of manic depression." Gregory added that nearly 100 percent of infants appear to suffer from the poor motor skills and impaired speech associated with Parkinson's disease.

Friday, April 3, 2009


Surprisingly--or maybe not--I haven't had much on my mind lately...other than gardening. We've had a few days of spring weather surrounded by days of more winter. But when it does reach 50-degrees outside, you can find me working the ground to get ready for my vegetable garden boxes. I'm sorry if you don't share my enthusiasm on this topic, but I find it quite exciting!

So I haven't blogged much. My camera is broken, has dead batteries besides, and I can't find the recharging cord, so I haven't taken pictures in a while. Fortunately, a friend of mine is going to fix that problem in exchange for some babysitting. So in a few more weeks, I'll have more pictures to blog about.

But here's something I don't need pictures for: my kids' stats. I recorded their weights and heights today as we are applying for a new insurance policy. (Those of you with HSAs could really benefit from this specialized health insurance. It's going to save us several hundred dollars per year. Email me if you want to know more. No, I don't get a commission; just trying to be helpful.) Anyway...I noticed that for all my kids, their number for their weight is within seven numbers of their height number. For example, #2 weighs 54 lbs. and is 52 1/2 inches tall; a difference of 1 1/2. #5 is the outlier with a spread of 7 (31 lbs and 38"). It got me thinking, if that rule applied to me, I would be over 12 feet tall! It's funny how adult bodies are proportionate and children bodies look proportionate, but they are actually quite different. Have you noticed that the size (length) of a child's head is a larger proportion of his height than an adult's head is to his height.

Not a very deep thought, but it's my deepest thought of the week. I hope General Conference generates some deeper thoughts this weekend. :-)