Sunday, October 7, 2007

Forking A'!

"Stop forking the wall, son!"

These are the words I heard my husband say to my 2 1/2 year old son. Not something I thought I'd ever thought would be said in my house, and is now on the ever growing list of "Things You Never Thought to Say to a Child" ...and it's quickly becoming Volumes I & II. Look for it on bookshelves in fall 2008.

This particular instance came into light during supper the other night when our youngest, who happens to be high functioning autistic, decided to depart early from the table and begin scraping his fork up and down the wood paneling wall. Which resulted in a "delightful" noise that can only be best described as . . . .annoying and ear-piercing.

The son, giddily looked up at his father, and said "No!! My fawrk!" and then went running down the tiled floor hallway with said fork in hand. Oh yes, this was a great idea.

Hubster takes off down the hallway after the child, muttering along the way about who decided to invent forks for toddlers anyway, and the child is giggling manically and then *SLAM* goes the bathroom door. Thankfully the child has yet to figure out how to lock the door, as you need a key to do it, but that doesn't make it any easier to shove his little 35 pound body away from the door safely.

Well the fork is away from the child and the walls are safe from any further performances. . .for this weekend anyway.

Stay tuned for our next chapter.... "Son, stop licking the cat!! That's gross!!!"

Friday, June 8, 2007

Pheasants of the world beware!

I recently returned from a trip home to the homestead in South Dakota. Just a quick trip to see my baby brother graduate from high school, and being as it was a 'quickie' I had the opportunity to go it alone while the Hubster stayed at home with the kids.

FREEDOM is a sweeet thing lemme tell you. 5 days, 4 nights with no kids, no real responsibility. It was a much needed and refreshing time, that is for certain. Hubster's experiences were, well, far less relaxing than mine and that is definitely another blog for another time.

I wasn't completely alone, however. My best friend here in Germany was the Thelma to my Louise on this trip. Being a Texas girl and not seeing much of the Midwest "Thelma" accompanied me on my whirlwind trip to SoDak. Wanted to soak herself up some of our fine Midwestern culture and cuisine (behold: the glory that is Taco Johns!), and meet some of the locals.

What I don't think Thelma was prepared for was South Dakota wildlife. The deer, the pheasants, the skunks, and the raccoons. It's beautiful, untamed, and....suicidal.

Three miles into South Dakota, Thelma comments, "Uh, wow...sure is a lot of road kill around here." Me: "Yup." Approximately 50 miles later, "Are there any living raccoons in this state?" Me: "Not especially."

And then it happened. Thelma sees one of her first pheasants, it's flying not-so-gracefully out of the ditch and as she begins to comment on the beauty of it's feathers, when THWACK!! it becomes one with the tires of the Taurus. Said pheasant flew right into the fender well and became a memory. An expletive later, I mutter, "And so it begins. . ."

Thelma looks at me with some concern, wondering what the hell I'm talking about. I tell her that wildlife and I don't necessarily get along when I'm behind the wheel of a moving vehicle. The last time I came home, I wasn't even there for an hour when I hit Bambi. Seriously. I'm certain it was Bambi...spots and all. She laughs and continues enjoying the scenery.

It's getting near dusk and I tell her to keep her eyes peeled because as my navigator, she's also responsible for deer watch in the ditch. Fifteen miles from my parents' house Thelma discovers her first kamikaze deer herd. The "herd" of 3 deer was simply chillin' in the middle of a state highway and didn't seem very concerned at my Taurus roaring towards them at 70mph. It's the ultimate game of chicken and being kind hearted, I relented first. Of course that didn't stop the deer from trying to run into the sides of the car or telling their brethren 3 miles from my parents house to jump out and say 'hello' as well.

We finally make it to the house and in one piece. I warn Thelma that over the next few days she'll more than likely see a few more pheasants and other SD wildlife up close and personal. I don't think though, that she was prepared for the final body count. Dad asks how the trip in was, and I say "Only hit one pheasant and no deer." Both he and mom are amazed at our good fortune.

The following days consist of many rushed trips of shopping, visiting far away relatives and helping in the preparations for graduation. And on each trip there's a common theme....pheasants!

Apparently winter had been quite kind to the South Dakota pheasant population and they were more than happy to greet out of state visitors! Every trip consisted of some psychotic pheasant careening out of the ditch at my rental and Thelma yelling "Dammit! There's another!" and more often than not, the loud thump and crunch of my Goodyear's welcoming our majestic state bird into the great beyond. I think it was Day 4 before she finally stopped involuntarily ducking every time she saw something move out of her peripheral vision while in the car though. . .

By the time we headed to Minnesota a few days later, Thelma was pretty much numb to the roadkill scattered across the highways and the wildlife recklessly throwing themselves into harms {our} way. We both decided that Ford Taurus' take a pretty good beating, as I'm pretty sure we nailed at least 1 out of every 5 pheasants that we encountered and that whomever supplied those breaks deserves a wildlife endorsement for the ability to stop so well while flying down a gravel road and dodging deer!

I'm pretty sure that Thelma will never look at a pheasant the same way again though!! What a trip! Oh and by the way, Pheasants: 0, Taurus: 6. . . .

Out of the garden and into the pond.

It's official. There's no longer a Kindergartener in my home. As of 2:30p.m. today, we have a First Grader. I can't seem to grasp this concept quite yet. As a Kindergartener, my son still seemed like my baby. My lil' man. Now he suddenly seems so grown up as he has an actual grade attached to him.

I'm not completely sure what to do with myself at the moment.

Yes, I know, you're all thinking I'm crazy. After all, school just finished for the year two hours ago and I'm already contemplating graduation announcements.

But in those two hours, a whirlwind of emotions have streaked through me. I'm realizing that I can't stop time and no matter what I do, he's going to keep growing up.

Soon he'll be riding that bike without training wheels, losing his first tooth, and crushing on his first true "love".

First grade suddenly seems like a huge leap to me, like he won't need or want me as much. I know none of these things are true, I mean after all who else will wash his Toby Keith undies if not for mom. First grade does seem awfully grown up compared to Kindergarten - no nap or snack times, more actual homework, and you're no longer safe from all those "big kids" wandering the halls. He's suddenly one of the smaller fish in that big ol' pond.

But have no fear, I'm not completely out of the picture. He came in here a few minutes ago and asked me if I'd be in his school as much next year as I was this year. Oh you can count on it boy-o. Someone's gotta keep those girls away from you.

And while mom maybe a little trepidacious about this upcoming adventure - the boy certainly seems ready for it. He's terribly excited to be one of the big kids and do all the 'cool stuff' they're allowed to do. What the coolness is, I'm not completely sure yet . . .nor do I think he is either!

But one this for sure, watch out grade schoolers. Lil' Jack is on the move. . .

Sunday, May 6, 2007

For the birds!

"Mo-omm, can we do sumfin fun???" This is the phrase my 5 year old constantly bombards me with, day in, day out. Thirty seconds after the child walks in the door from a long day at school, this tirade usually begins.

"Okay, what do you want to do?" I ask.

"I dunno. Sumfin. Sumfin" - And here is where it gets interesting. It's never a normal request like say, coloring or playing GI Joes. No. My child...he goes for the gusto.

"Can we go to the swimming?? You know that place with the waves and the water that dumped on our heads?? Can we go now??"

"Hon, that place was in Belguim and it's 2 hrs from here, not to mention it's Wednesday night & your dad is working."

Heavy sigh. "Oh. Humpf....okay. Well can we do sumfin else? Like...OH! I know we can bake a cake! The SpongeBob one!"

Said cake the child is refering to? Well, I made that cake for his fourth birthday...Wilton took me 6 hours to make the damn thing.

"Okay son, how 'bout we color or build with Legos??", I ask.

"Pfffft...nah I guess I'll just go watch cartoons," says my oldest and dejectedly walks to the playroom.

Sheesh! I can't take the child to Belgium and suddenly I'm up for the "Worst Mother of the Year" award!

Feeling bad, I ask him if he'd like to help make dinner, something he normally leaps at the chance for. But I get rejected when I tell him, "No, you can't use the grill, because you are five." Now some may say I'm stifling his growing Wolfgang Puck abilities, I say I'm avoiding yet another trip to the ER and explaining to Family Advocacy why a five year old was grilling in the first place.

The weekends are usually when I try to make up for his "lack o' sumfin fun" days. Today for instance, I thought I'd be the "cool" mom. We were going to make bird feeders out of old milk cartons....the half gallon paper kind.

I bring out all the necessary supplies: paint, brushes, stapler, glue & my handy dandy Martha Stewart activity book. (Sadly, no I'm not joking about the book- it's real and I own it.) I holler at my child to come take part in "sumfin' fun" whilst his younger brother is napping. We lay out the newspaper, and begin painting away. I'm thinking by now, I'm gaining coolness points because he's telling me "Wow mom...In art they never let us paint on the milk!". As he's painting I'm whippin' up some bird feed - Martha style.

He gets done painting and asks what's next. I say we have to wait for it to dry then we'll put everything together, but he can help with the bird food bit. "Nahh....I'm gonna go back in the playroom."

Well, crap!

I'm being trumped for "Hot Wheels: Acceleracers"!! What the heck!?! My bird feeder idea isn't as cool as future-esque teenagers racing on Hwy 35?!? So I attempt to pull my project outta the gutter - "Hey son - ya wanna cut the hole out for the birds to go in??" Knowing my child, who never gets to use sharp, pointy objects would leap at the chance.

Or so I thought.

"Nope. You can finish. I'm done here."

Oye vey. Just when ya think you're cool, you're put in your place by a five year old.

"Mom, I'm so not impressed with you. . ."

Saturday, May 5, 2007

Of Grandmas & Frustration

As it turns out, my children not only bewilder my husband and I, but their grandparents as well.

Late last summer, we had to fly back to South Dakota, as my grandfather had suddenly passed away. My mother-in-law was a wonderful resource to us, because we basically handed her our children said "Here ya go! They don't eat this or this! Ooh and No.2 can't lose that paci or YOU will go insane!" and left for two days.

My MIL bravely stepped into a role that even on the best of days I cringe when thinking of what lies ahead of me. I say this because in the 5 years that we have had children, the grandparents have maybe seen them a grand total of a month, and therefo
re don't really know the idiosyncrasies of said children. At the time, the oldest was just a few weeks past 5 and the youngest was about 18 months old and very deep into the mommy-separation anxiety bit. But the MIL is no shy woman and she and her husband jumped head-first into their role.

One day as she was settling the kids down for naps, my oldest asked if they could watch a movie. The grands aren't very technologically advanced, as they spend most of their days working on their farm, and still have just basic cable and a VCR, neither of which are used very often.

As Grandma was struggling to get the VCR to function, she was muttering under her breath and getting pretty fed up with the whole bit. My 5 year old quietly came up to her, tapped her on the shoulder and said, "...Grandma...are you twenty-five??"

With a puzzled look on her face she responded, "Well, fact Grandma is a lot older than twenty-five! Why??"

To which my child replies, "We-lllll, you are...there...there are these words you can say. . . if you're frustrated... you can use '25 year old words'"

By now my MIL is completely baffled. "Sweetie, what do you mean??"

"Well, when Daddy & Mommy are frustrated they say....some words....but they said you have to be twenty-five to say them."


Apparently my child does listen to my husband and I, and quite well as a matter of fact!! A few weeks before this, we'd had a bbq with some friends, most of which have no children. Being Air Force maintainers, their language is ...colorful to say the least. Our child, hearing some of this language from the friends and us later on, had attempted to expand his vocabulary with some of these words!! We promptly t
old him that there were just some words you couldn't say until you were a certain age. And of course he had to ask what age that we said 25!

So, when seeing his obviously frustrated and overwhelmed grandmother struggling with the movie experience, he wanted to help her out as best he knew how. But he knew well enough NOT to say those "Twenty-five year old words" to Grandma and just...suggested she use them! Thankfully, MIL wasn't brave enough to venture into which words were considered acceptable for a 5 yr old and which ones were not, because I'm pretty sure any response she would have gotten would have probably caused her untimely demise as the eldest would have been more than happy to repeat those words in a 'matter-of-fact' manner!

It's never a normal day when you've got a 5 year old in your house, that's for sure.

Gma & the oldest drivin' the tractor in SD.

Sprechen sie English, bitte?

Being a military family living in Germany, we're constantly bombarded with information screaming at us to "blend in, don't stand out from the locals, yadda, yadda, yadda". And I truly believe that this information is meant for those service members living here without children. Although I don't know what makes us stand out more, my kids babbling 100 miles/hr in English or my husband's Chevy hat that he wears so proudly atop his head!

We're told to try to speak the local language when on the economy (meaning 'off base') and doing shopping or sight-seeing. Well that's fine and dandy...until your kids answer you back loudly AND in English. I mean, there's nothing like asking the restaurant manager, "Wo ist das tolietten?" and then having your child loudly announce, "MOMMY!!! I have to PEEEE.....NOW !!!!" and you just happen to be in the middle of some po-dunk German village on your way to Belgium.

The area we are currently in, thankfully has a high tolerance for our American presence here. And rightly so, for the most part, as the Americans stationed here bring in a ton of money for the Germans. Many of us live on the economy and are paying ridiculous amounts of rent and utilities for the homes we occupy. So most of the time, we don't really have to worry about 'blending in', the Germans know and accept that we're here and are more than happy to take our euros!!

Friday, May 4, 2007

Hi-ho, Silver! Awaaaaay!

There are just some things, that as a parent, you never imagined yourself saying. Take & plant your family in a foreign country, and these things can tend to get even stranger, but that's another story.

For instance, I never thought I'd have to tell my five-year-old, "Son, please don't ride your brother down the stairs..." But I did.

Little background..we have a large yard at our house and there is a small set of curving, concrete steps leading from the front garage area, to the backyard. My two-year old takes much delight in traipsing up and down these stairs in any way the human body can possibly manage and endure. Some days we go up them on our feet, other days we roll down them sideways. One particularly brave day, said child attempted to come racing down the slope of the driveway to these steps on a "Lightning McQueen" ride on toy, and "power brake" around the curve and down the steps. Needless to say, the ending wasn't quite what he was imagining it was supposed to be, I'm sure.

But on this particular day, young child was attempting to walk down the stairs as say, a horse would. . . and in his five-year-old mind, the oldest just couldn't resist the opportunity that lay in front of him. Now, my kids are no skinny things, so my 50lb five-year-old wasn't exactly squashing is 33lb brother, per say, but it did look quite uncomfortable. But the five-year old seized the opportunity, sat upon his baby brother like a pony at the State Fair, and held on to brother's hair, and rode down the stairs, much to their parents dismay.

I will say that neither child was hurt even as gravity and physics took hold of them both and propelled them down the stairs. Concrete apparently doesn't hurt much when you're laughing like fools. And they even tried attempting it a second time, which could have very well been successful, until mom put the kibosh to it.

What's a little road rash between brothers, right?

By the way, their shirts describe them to a T!!!


Well thanks to the encouragement (or threatening?) of a dear friend from high school, I'm attempting this whole blogging thing.

However, you are all going to have to keep the panties out of a twist for a bit longer, because I have to go do some motherly & wifely never seems to end.

This should be an interesting journey as the blogs begin...I'm a mom of 2 rambunctious boys, ages 5 & 2, and they continually shock and amaze me with the many things they do.

I bid thee adieu, as I have to go get the hubster Subway for lunch!