Friday, April 24, 2015

Stand-Up Guy

He’s inordinately proud of himself.




Every milestone, it seems, comes with an increased level of panic and security in the house.  No longer is it enough to clean up marbles and other chokeables from the floor; now I have to make sure that the spilled yogurt is immediately cleaned up from the chair and that Freddie doesn’t crawl too close to the stools (they tip over when he tries to hoist himself up to standing on them).

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Not long from now, I’ll have to re-lock all the cabinets and figure out how to keep the toilets from attracting baby hands.  Charles always went after the toilets, but Jamie never did, so we haven’t locked them since Charles was a baby.  Given the frequency with which I find Freddie playing in the dog water bowl, playing in the toilets is a reasonable worry.  Toilet seat up?  Easy access to whatever’s in the toilet (oh, your toilet only ever has water when no one is standing in front of it or sitting on it?  Mine has any number of things in it at all times: poop, pee, dinosaur figurines, Cheerios… life with children is pretty exciting).  Toilet seat down?  Perfect opportunity for a small person to lift the seat up and then smash it down on his own fingers (we are experienced in such.  We are also experienced in wiener smashing, when one child wanted to lift the toilet seat juuuuuust a little bit instead of putting it all the way up to pee and then accidentally dropped it).


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Also, books on the bookshelf within reach are being dumped to the floor every day and the poor, beleaguered  houseplant is being decimated by small hands and teeth.


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This is why we can’t have nice things.  Good thing I don’t really care, right?  Pass the wine.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Aaaand, We’re Clear.

Just like that, late nights with a teething baby aside, things feel so much better.


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Tony’s going to need more recovery time. 


Every year, it feels like it couldn’t get any worse, and then it does get worse, and then all of a sudden, it’s all better.  Tax season is a bitch and I KNOW I complain a lot, but it seriously sucks balls.  Never again will I have a nursing baby during tax season, though, so I’m hoping that it will only get easier to handle from here on out.

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 photo 3 (76)   Hooray!  Daddy’s home!

And now here we are, just starting the season of sunshine and baseball, bikes and walks to the park, barbeques in the backyard with friends, and sunscreen.  So much sunscreen.  Skin cancer is a foolish thing to die from, you know?


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Guess what else happened while we were all strung out on too little sleep and too much work?  This guy turned nine months old, complete with weigh-in and measurement and confirmation from the doctor that he is the cutest baby alive:


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Who, me?


He weighs almost 20 pounds and is some length (28.5 inches?  I think?  Poor third child…) that is healthy and normal.  In fact, he’s right where Jamie was at this point in his life, a fact I know because I can look back at old photos and see Jamie wearing the same clothes that Freddie is wearing now.


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Speaking of Jamie, he is Freddie’s favorite person in the whole world right now.  He puts on a show for his little brother and Freddie encourages him with laughs and shrieks and giggles.  They’ll probably fight like cats and dogs later in life (dogs win, of course), but for now, they are best friends.


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Sometimes I think, three kids, what was I thinking?  Other times I think, three brothers, they are so lucky.

Monday, April 13, 2015

Young Humans Are Absurd

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We’re slowly losing our minds around here.  I consume vast quantities of coffee and chocolate to make it through the day and lament the lack of wine at night (not because I don’t have any, but because I am all alone since Tony has been going back to work at night AND getting up super early in the morning and it seems foolish to drink more than half a glass when I am solely responsible for the health and well-being of three small people).  The children get weirder and weirder as they get more and more bored with mom. 
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They’ve taken to enumerating their Christmas wish lists, eight months early.  Both Charles and Jamie are asking Santa for night vision goggles, jet packs, rocket launchers, and a skateboard this year.  Jamie also wants a lightsaber.  Charles would like a jacket with a hood that goes over his whole face (whaaa?).

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I left the lot of them with a bleary-eyed Tony (he’s always bleary-eyed these days) yesterday and went for a run.  Charles shouted after me, “Have a good run, mommy!  I hope you don’t get bitten by a raccoon!”  Me, too, I guess.  I hadn’t thought of it as a risk before now.

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Jamie refuses to wear clothes.  It’s all footie pajamas, all the time.  Sometimes with a cape.

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There is constant posing, either with silly faces or like superheroes. 

I find myself saying things like, “Don’t lick your shoe!” and “Don’t sit on your brother’s face!”

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The baby’s hand smelled like my skin in 6th grade when I finally got the cast off my broken wrist after 6 weeks.  Sort of dirty and fermented.  Third children aren’t bathed very often.

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The mess in our house is indescribable.  Oh, April 15.  Come soon!

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Spring Break, and Other Cook Family Disasters

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I think he prefers the sink bath.


For the first of what will be many Spring Break trips without Tony, the boys and I visited their grandparents and cousins last week.  I survived, but not without sacrificing yet another piece of my soul on the altar of parenthood.


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My parents and in-laws did the best they could to get me some extra sleep, for which I am ever thankful, and they all cooked for me, which was amazing.  We didn’t have a schedule, so I didn’t nag at the boys to brush their teeth or get their shoes on or even to go to bed.  They really needed a break, I think.

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They found Grandma’s Sharpie markers. It still hasn’t worn off.


Oh, but it was hard.  First, there’s the traffic.  It took us three hours to go from Mount Vernon to South Tacoma and most of that time was spent with the boys yelling “Mommy, I have to go potty!” or “I have to go potty REALLY BAD” and me yelling back (they were wearing headphones), “Just HOLD IT, we’re on the freeway!”  Yeah, we pulled over on the freeway, twice, in stop-and-go traffic so that the big kids could pee out the van door.  Should I be more embarrassed?  Probably, but I’m not.  Better out than in.


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And then, of course, Freddie is teething, in a sort of interminable way, so that he’s always uncomfortable and gumming things but has only one tooth poking through and no others even ready that we can see.  With the teething come the colds and runny noses and red cheeks.  And because I am an idiot, I thought he would sleep and mostly be fine in the car on the drive to the beach.  Ha.  Hahahahahahahaha.  He screamed all the way from Olympia to Montesano.  I got him out of the car seat in Montesano and he crawled around, happy as can be, for ten minutes, and then promptly started screaming when I put him back in his seat.  He screamed until we were within 30 minutes of my parents’ house, at which point he finally passed out, much to my relief.  Except that until he fell asleep, I was doing that numb thing where I just tuned it out as best I could (after all, we had to get there, and it was the getting there that he objected to), but as soon as he fell asleep, I felt absolutely horrible.  All my baby wanted was to be comforted and instead I callously let him scream for hours on end.  Shame.


For the next two long drives, I drugged him with ibuprofen ahead of time.  No more rookie mistakes there!


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I made them all get out of the car to look at Multnomah Falls.  In the rain.  They hated it.


The stays in Ilwaco and Richland were low-key and would have been relaxing if I had slept.  I would have slept if Jamie and Freddie had slept.  They didn’t.  Also, I was sorely needed at work – I do a full-time job in something less than part-time hours and I feel guilty and terrible with every hour I have to put my little boys in daycare.  I feel guilty and terrible with every minute I spend on my boys and away from the business and our livelihood.


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Where Freddie spent most of his time at Grandma’s house.


Now, having returned, I am just as much an ogre to my kids as before.  Would you like to feel better about yourself by judging my (not) stellar parenting?  I screamed at Jamie SO HARD this morning.  I stomped my feet and threw things and generally had a temper tantrum.  Other moms might think they are failing at motherhood because of the pileup of dishes and laundry or the lack of gourmet meals; I know am failing because I am a beast who can’t seem to keep from yelling at her kids and whose kids seem to deliberately infuriate her because, I don’t know, they want to or something.  There are many big disadvantages to this Spring Break thing (now that I’m a parent, I would advocate for 2000-hour-a-year school), but the most immediate to my life right now is that my children are fucking tired of me.  I may be the parent to take them on fun trips to new places, but I am not the fun parent. 


We will go on a Spring Break trip every year.  Tony needs the time to work without us (I think he only came home to sleep while we were gone, and not very much at that) and I can’t really fathom keeping the boys at home or at work with me for a whole week each spring.  But if it never gets better than this year’s harrowing, exhausting trip, I might just book myself into a spa and send them away to survival camp or something.  Hell, they could run the survival camp.  I can barely survive them and I gave birth to them, so good luck to anyone else.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Stone Fox

I picked up Stone Fox from the library for Charles a week ago.  He skipped over it in favor of Zapato Power and Bunjitsu Bunny, but we finally got to it on Sunday night.  I read about half of the book then (it moves pretty quickly and is not a long chapter book) and Tony read the rest Monday night.


I was in my bathroom taking out my contacts when Charles came in to tell me about the end of the book.  I knew what was coming and I started tearing up right away.


“Mommy, Searchlight and Willy were doing the race and Grandfather got better and then they stopped ten feet from the finish line and Searchlight’s heart burst!”


“Oh, honey, I know…”


I enveloped Charles in my arms as he told me the rest of the story and sobbed.  Then I sobbed.  Then we read the last three pages of the book again and sobbed some more.  Then we had a lovely, long talk about loyalty, sacrifice, sacrificial love, respect, and pride in others.


The best books are the ones that make us feel something.  I am so glad that Charles was so affected by Searchlight’s sacrifice and death in the story.  Novels teach our children empathy, provide opportunities for difficult conversations, and give me a chance to see the softer side of this tough-as-nails kid.



This was his fourth chin-up, engaged solely for documentation purposes.  Apparently, he does them on the playground at recess every day.


Books, man.  Books.

Up All Night

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I don’t actually mind getting up in the middle of the night to change and feed Freddie.  I don’t like it, per se, but I don’t mind it.  He’s a baby.  I go through the changings/feedings in enough of a fog that I can drop right back to sleep after I put him back in bed.  It’s not enough sleep for me without stimulants, but it’s enough if I add plenty of coffee and a little bit of chocolate and at least one death-defying, adrenaline rush-inducing stunt by my older children each day (jumping from the top of a long, cement staircase at the Seattle Center on Sunday, for instance).  The constant time crunch between kids, work, housework, school, and other daily tasks fills in the gaps of my day and keeps me from falling asleep at the stove or wherever.

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He sleeps here.


But what I can’t handle is a baby who wakes once in the middle of the night and then wails for two or more hours regardless of location, amount of ibuprofen ingested, or boobs available for constant eating.  I’ve taken to going downstairs and farting around on the internet until he can sooth himself back to sleep on my shoulder.  Is it teeth?  Is it itchy eczema?  Is it just general contrariness?  I don’t care.  I just want it to stop.  When I’m up that late at night for that long, I fully wake up and then I can’t get back to sleep easily.  I was out of bed the night before last (mostly, save 20 minutes during which Tony tried, and failed, to calm Freddie down – kid wants mom ALL THE DAMN TIME) from 1 am until 3 am, but then I was still awake, lying there like an ass, until at least 3:30.  I got up for the day at 6:30.  Last night, Freddie woke up at 3:30 and went back to sleep at 4:30 and THANK GOD Tony was getting up for the day at that point because Freddie chilled out cried on his shoulder while he ate breakfast and I got to doze until he dumped the baby back in bed with me.




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Cute at all hours.


My chocolate supply needs replenishing.

Monday, March 23, 2015


Me: Should have texted you right away, but dad got here at 8 and I fed him delicious split pea soup.

Mom: Oh good, not something I make very often.

Me: I’m going to add it to the “make often” list.  Both boys gobbled it up.  Might’ve helped that I told them it was dinosaur snot.


Me, to Tony: Hand to God, the boys are all coloring together right now.  And earlier, I made Rice Krispies Treats with Jamie and then we painted our nails.  It’s like the fucking Twilight Zone today. 

Me: And just now they each gave the others compliments on their coloring: “That’s a nice picture, Jamie.”


Me: Jamie has learned the fine art of farting and then immediately saying, “Who tooted?” so as to cast suspicion on others.

Tony: Clearly 100% boy.


Me: Charles just told me to “relax.”

Tony: Was Charlie’s “relax” a 12 year old relax or a frat boy relax?

Me: I told him to hurry up so we could get to school on time and he said, “Relax, mom!”  Like I just needed to chill out.  Total 12 year old.

Tony: That’s what I figured, but somehow the frat boy relax seemed like a possibility.


Me: Come for dinner: pizza pies.

Leland: Fuck off.

Leland: Sorry, tried to write “We’ll be there.” Autocorrect.


Leland: Are we all set for lasagna?

Me: Jamie calls it masagna.

Me: We’ll probably eat it all before you get here.

Leland: That only means it’s good.


Me: This is just to remind me and you that one thing we should check on the washer is the drain hose - the internet says it might be clogged and that's why we're not getting a full drain.  Also, the internet says that there is a trap somewhere that might be clogged.  On the bottom, perhaps?

Tony: Ok…I believe everything I read on the internet. I can buy a snake to check the trap. Do you think a Bull Snake would work or should I get a Python? Seriously, though, I’ll stop by Ace on the way home and buy a snake.

Me: I'm guessing that with three boys in the house, it will not be the last time we will ever snake a pipe.  Sigh...