Chalkboard Declarations

First, let me begin by saying that I believe in self-expression via writing. Words are the most effective means of communicating how we feel, right? It’s kind of a no-brainer that I, of all people, would encourage my children to write.

So with that in mind, I painted an entire wall in Joe’s room with chalkboard paint.

It’s been fun to find their silly little drawings. Joe’s nearly perfect attempts to recreate Chomp from Super Mario World. Gwen’s weird-looking princess people with something resembling an antenna springing forth from their heads. A series of wobbly lines drawn by Kate and placed directly over the artwork of her siblings thus eliciting screams of protest and angry pleas for me to make her stop.

Sometimes Gwen is permitted to sleep on the top bunk in Joe’s room. These are the nights when her heart swells with joy and she beams with giddy delight at his invitation for a sleepover. We know that giggles and fake farts sounds are part of the deal. Dave and I accept that we’ll be required to stand at the bottom of the stairs and issue several warnings to settle down. Of course we know this, but boy, do those two children share a special bond. We love to see them loving each other.

So last week, during one of their sleepovers, Dave and I let them giggle and make fart sounds for a bit too long. Mostly because the giggles had turned to uncontrollable belly laughs. The deep and uncontrollable kind that can be so rare for Joe as he struggles with ADHD and anxiety and emotions. He’s a serious guy. So when he laughs so hard that he’s gasping for air, we let him and we share a glance and a chuckle before finally issuing the “that’s enough now” statement.

To tell you the truth, I didn’t give those belly laughs much thought the next morning. They had become a warm memory, filed away for use at some future date when I attempt to recall what Joe and Gwen sounded like at ages 7 and 5. When I need to pull that memory out because I’m pining for these days. The very days we are experiencing right now. The ones that parents of grown children tell me I will miss. I believe them. I do. But when you’re in the thick of it, it is hard to embrace that sentiment. Despite the wistful expression that washes over the face of a stranger when they see me herding my noisy flock through the grocery store, the look that comes right before they say, “I remember those days.” They say things like this as they stare at my children, not really seeing them at all, but traveling back in time to spend just a moment with their little ones courtesy of a warm memory filed away long ago.

When a complete stranger remarks that they miss their little ones, I pause. I do. I pause because I know I’ll feel the same way one day. Mostly because my naughty little brood makes me laugh. Despite their decidedly fresh behavior and inappropriate language, I will miss them terribly when they become pimply and gangly-limbed humans.

However, I will not miss finding the messages of self-expression that make it abundantly clear what those sibling slumber party belly laughs were all about.

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The Horror!

My boob fell off today. Well, to be completely honest, it was my nipple and it only seemed that way if you happen to be a 2 1/2 year old named Kate. 

For some weird reason, the two of us seem doomed to experience boobie horrors together and always smack in the middle of Toys R Us… unless you count that time at the beginning of the summer where she pulled my bikini top off at the beach. Anyway, the last time I braved an excursion to Toys R Us with Kate was in the spring. While we were waiting in line to check out, the cash register ran out of tape and Kate decided that while waiting, she should multi-task and fondle my right boob. In our defense, it did cause that rather slow cashier-person to speed things up a little so I let it slide.

Our latest boob horror began last Thursday morning when something possessed my body and caused me to enter TJ Maxx. It’s a place I don’t normally enjoy, but for some reason, last Thursday I thought it was a fantastic idea…for about 15 minutes. I found a new booby trap that isn’t meant for a 12 year old girl just beginning to bud. I know, that’s exciting news right? I also bought a little box containing silicone nipple concealers. You know, those things that look like raw chicken cutlets, only tinier. Nipple sized flesh-colored pasties..because technically, I do not require a bra. Ever. They cost me $3.99.

Kate happened to be in the closet this morning while I artfully arranged my new skin colored pasties. When I turned to face her, she was intrigued then confused and ultimately, screamed at my right boob before running into the bathroom to escape. From the other room I heard her freaked out little voice, “Oh…your boobie Mommy?”

Later, Joe and Gwen begged me to drive them over to Toys R Us so they could cash in their birthday loot. Gift cards in hand, we spent an unbelievably painful amount of time wandering the aisles, searching for the elusive $25 toy of their dreams. I was becoming coated with a slick sheen of sweat as I pushed the cart, lifted the toddler, bent and stretched to retrieve toys for inspection and rejection. I had completely forgotten about my pasties.

In the Barbie aisle, I was forced to stand on my tippy-toes and stretch my right arm up to the top of the shelf to grab a gaudy Fairy Barbie. As my fingertips grazed the box, pushing it just out of my reach, I swore under my breath. Then, using the bottom shelf as a step, I lunged for the box and simultaneously heard a light THWACK on the tile beneath me.

I cluelessly stepped back onto the floor and passed the Fairy Barbie to Gwen.

“What is that thing?” I turned to see Joe squinting at something on the floor and wearing a look of utter disgust.

Gwen shrieked, “It’s mom’s boob! MOM! Your boob fell off!”

“That’s not her boob, Gwen…what is that thing anyway?” He cautiously inched closer to get a good look.

Kate pushed her way through the crowd and crouched down to inspect it. She poked it with her finger and, when she determined that it wasn’t alive, she picked it up. She straightened her little body to its full 2′ 8″ length and waved the pastie in the air. “Here, Mamma…your boobie.”

Silicone Nipple Concealers? FAIL.

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Public Humilation and Other Horrors

This weekend I spent a lot of time compiling essays and filling out transcript requests. I’m in the process of applying for my MFA in Creative Writing. By this afternoon, I was looking for a mindless task. I needed to zone out. I finished painting the family room a lovely shade of Fairview Taupe (brown-ish/grey-ish). Perhaps it was the paint fumes that got me thinking…We have been changing diapers almost non-stop since July, 2004. That’s a lot of hiney wiping. Yet, in exchange for the care and feeding of our three lovely children, we routinely suffer grave humiliation. There are a few that I’d like to address. I don’t expect they’ll be able to provide me with a proper response or change their behavior immediately. No one can accuse me of being unrealistic however, its time to call these kids out on a few things.

In the play space kitchen you were whipping up some “treats” when you loudly announced that you were serving me a glass of wine. Delivering the wine in an enormous and “fancy” ice cream sundae glass was the icing on the cake. You gave all the other mommy’s a nice warm cup of tea. What gives?
If I hold your hand in the mall and you’re pissed because I wouldn’t buy you one of those giant cookies, please don’t scream, “OWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWW! YOU’RE HURTING ME MOMMY!” People think I’m abusing you.
Don’t yell, “I’m going to kick your ass!” Ever. You’re four. Not cool.
I know you’re my son but that doesn’t mean that I relish the act of cleaning your “pee pee” from the outside of the toilet, the floor or on occasion, the wall. What’s with that? There’s a big round hole. Point and shoot, dude. It’s not like your junk is separated from the toilet by several feet.

Yelling, “Look Mom, they even have booby traps here!” in Target was funny. I’ll give you that. But standing in the cart and squeezing each of the booby traps while saying, “Nope, too big for mommy!” wasn’t. Besides, they look like this because of you, you little stinker.

When Daddy quietly mutters, “Where the hell is the fucking bus?” to himself, don’t turn around and say, “I don’t know, maybe we fucking missed it.” Daddy doesn’t understand that you have the super-human ability to hear things from yards away. Skip the F-bombs. Especially at school. Please.

Stuffing things in your nose is never a good idea. We were lucky that your sneeze dislodged the twig. Plus, I have booger issues. Stop it.

If I take a picture of you with my phone, don’t loudly ask, “Mommy? Did you just take a picture of my privates?” That’s messed up. Social services visits mommies for statements like that. Please stop.

I overheard you tell your cousin that your “mom goes crazy.” Did you also happen to fill your cousin in on the times that you’ve cried and thrown the controller across the room because a mushroom killed you on Super Mario? No? Well, people in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones. Capiche?

While I’m on the subject of video games, It’s disturbing to enter the room and find you in the bean bag chair clad only in your mini-boxer shorts and a t-shirt, the room smelling vaguely of farts while you navigate the perils of Super Mario Land.

It’s not okay to bite the dog. Not ever.

It’s only okay to color on your face with WASHABLE markers. Sharpies are never a good idea. Trust me.

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