Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Traumatic Experience

Yesterday when I went to pick Punkin up from school, I was rushed at the door by a lady who I did not recognize.

"Before he sees you, he swallowed one of those little arts and crafts pompoms and he's pretty upset. He threw up and he's crying."

"Um, are you the nurse?"

"Yes I'm [name unintelligible because she was rushing]. He seems okay, but I'm afraid to give him anything to drink. I don't want it to move in to his airway. But he's breathing and talking fine."

I went to find Punkin in the bathroom with his teacher and as soon as he saw me, he started bawling.

"I (breath) swallowed (breath) uh (breath) POMPOM!"

He was so upset. He kept saying it was in his throat and he was coughing like he was going to vomit again. I wrapped my arms around him and let him cry and told him we would call the doctor and that he would be fine. I snagged one of the pompoms for reference and started to get his things to leave. His teach sidled over to me when he wasn't looking and said "He asked me if he was going to choke and die. I wanted you to know that." The nurse stood next to her nodding her head solemnly.

My heart skipped a beat. Awesome. Now his teacher thinks I'm exposing my child to morbid information about death and how he's going to die one day. I tried to laugh it off.

"Oh. Uh, ha ha. Um, yeah when I tell him not to put things in his mouth and he asks why, I tell him he could choke."

Which is true. He and Skeeter both like to play a fun game of "Let's See How Many LEGO We Can Fit In Our Mouths!". So when I tell him not to do that and he asks why I say because you could choke and he says "and die?" and I say maybe.

So now of course, I feel terrible about even entertaining the idea. But honestly, I feel like he needs to know how seriously hurt he could get. So on this day, when he had this traumatic experience, I told him "This is why I tell you not to put LEGO in your mouth".

"Because I could choke and die?"

"No, you're not going to die" (because I felt awful that he thought he was going to die)

"So....I'm just going to keep choking?"


I had no idea what to even say. Punkin saw a dead squirrel with Austin one time, and Austin tried to explain to him that the squirrel wasn't going to wake up because it died. I could tell after they came inside and had that talk, Punkin was having this internal struggle of trying to figure out what it meant to never wake up. Maybe he was too young to explain it and have him understand. I guess I just feel like this is the circle of life and there shouldn't be anything scary about that. Of course I don't want him to think he could die at any moment. But I also want him to know that life is precious. And that some times we lose people we love and that's just the nature of living and that living is so wonderful. So I don't want to shield death.

Being a parent is hard. I'm certain most days that everything I'm doing is wrong. Maybe this is wrong, too. All we can do is follow our gut.

But to the pressing matter at hand, Punkin is fine and he's rather looking forward to the prospect of pooping out the pompom.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014


I am thankful for all of the things I should be thankful for. Healthy kids, an awesome husband, friends, family and food. All of these things bring meaning to my life and have shaped me in to the person I am (yep, even food). It's easy to focus on the negative in life, but there is so much positive here that I really have no excuse.

In addition to these blessings, here are some other things I'm thankful for that I honestly could not live life without:

1. Plastic Mattress Covers - If not for the ingenious invention of the plastic mattress cover, my 4 year would have gone through 4 or 5 mattresses by now, I'm sure. Potty training is the worst, but night time training, for us, has been even more of a struggle. Plastic mattress cover and I are BFF.

2. My Shark Vacuum Cleaner - Because y'all. It can suck up the massive amounts of dog hair that my dog leaves behind every time she, you know, breathes. But it can also suck up pieces of sidewalk chalk and vacuums my hard floors without kicking little pieces of dirt shrapnel at me.

3. Magic the Gathering - I love my husband. Like, a lot. But sometimes when he goes to play Magic on Sundays, I can put the kids down for a nap and then crawl in bed and watch Gilmore Girls and eat pie and no one is there to judge me. It's fantastic.

4. Harry Potter - Because it feels like home every time I crack one of those books open.

5. Leap Pads - With the added benefit of all of the educational games that my kids have definitely benefited from, they keep them quiet in moments where I just really need some quiet. Basically they keep me from locking myself in a closet and hiding under the pile of shoes I never wear but can't get rid of.

6. My iPhone - Because sometimes I need to Facebook and watch Hell's Kitchen at the same time, you know?

7. VPK - Since Punkin has started VPK, he falls asleep like a champ at night. No more in and out of bed. No more asking for glasses of water he doesn't need (see item 1). He's in bed by eight and most nights he's out and snoring by 8:15. It's glorious.

8. Fresh Fruit - Because on nights when all I can muster after working all day and getting home at 6 is a PB&J (to the delight of my children), fresh fruit at least makes me feel like I'm offering something with some sort of health benefit without having to expend any extra energy.

9. 5:00 PM - amirite?

10.  Weekends - During the week I really only get to see my kids maybe 3 or 4 hours a day before I go to work and before they go to bed and my husband maybe an hour or two longer. The weekends are my time to actually be able to get in some quality time with my family, even if we stay home doing laundry all weekend. Livin' for the weekend, baby.

Friday, January 31, 2014

Lessons in Motherhood

When Punkin was a baby, I heard all the time about what amazing patience I had. I was in that new motherhood phase of thinking things were going to go exactly how I wanted them to. I was going to raise him this way and discipline that way and only organic food all the time ever! In my defense, Punkin was an amazingly good baby, so it's just as much his fault as it is mine (joking!).

But then something happened. Something called "toddler" came over my child and I'm afraid my patience was worn very thin. Especially with the addition of a little sister to hit and push and steal toys from.

One day, when I picked Punkin up from school after an especially frustrating day in the office, he sat in the back seat playing with his Leap Pad while I drove thinking about dinner and jammies and bed time. Punkin has a new found love of recording himself and then playing it back so he can hear it. His Leap Pad has one such game. So he's sitting in the back seat recording himself screaming. This awful, deep, incredibly loud scream. After telling him three times to please stop screaming, I lost it. I yelled as loud as I could so he could hear me over his screaming "STOP SCREAMING!!!".

"Sorry.", was all he could meekly say. I felt immediately relieved that he stopped. Happy with myself even, that I made him listen to me.

Then I realized, he recorded that whole exchange. Pretty soon the sound of myself screaming at my child was being played back to me over and over and over again from the back seat. Me yelling and him saying "Sorry.".

Needless to say, I felt so bad. I sounded out of control and scary. To myself. What did I sound like to a 3 year old?

This was a lesson I needed. It's so easy to just snap. It's so easy to take the easy way out and throw a temper tantrum just like Punkin would. It's hard to keep your cool.

So, I make the extra effort to understand why he's upset. Most of the time, if I get down on his level and speak to him about why he's feeling the way he's feeling, I avoid a fit. One time he was upset about something or other, and I sat down on the floor of his bedroom and just talked to him.

"What are you feeling right now?"

That was all it took to start the conversation. He told me why he was upset, I offered a solution and told him it was okay to be sad. At the end of it, he gave me a hug and said "Thank you for making me feel better, Momma." and I wanted to cry. Why couldn't I do that all the time? How hard was that, really? I had my shining motherhood moments, but lately it seemed like I was losing my cool more than I was offering solutions.

So, I make the extra effort as often as I can. Sometimes it doesn't work and I have to put him in time out or take away a toy. But most of the time, it does. When he cries, we take deep breaths together (something Austin actually discovered), and when he's upset, we talk about our feelings.

It's important to remember that while it's our duty to teach our kids, they end up teaching us as well.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014


I'm about to confess something here that I haven't confessed to many people. Mostly because I think, as we all do, I tend to judge myself harshly as a mother and I'm forever comparing myself to what other moms are doing. Because, you know...they're probably doing it better.

I was brushing Punkin's teeth one night when I noticed one of his teeth looked kind of off. There was no hole or spot, it just looked a little...different. I don't know about you, but when I get an idea in my head, be it that Austin has wrecked on the side of the road or that Punkin has a mouth full of cavities, I obsess over it. So first thing the next morning I called the pediatric dentist and set up an appointment for Punkin, which wouldn't happen for a couple of months because they're SO busy all the time.

It turns out my obsession this time was well called for. He had 4 cavities, and one tooth that looked suspicious. I wanted to die right there in that little room with the kid sized chair and the overly smiling hygienist. Her smile flickered ever so slightly when she saw my face and every employee I came across after that (the dentist, the billing lady, the receptionist) was sure to tell me how sometimes these things happen and they get kids in there all the time who need crowns and roots canals, so it was good that we caught it early. I just kept saying "I swear I brush his teeth".

I got in the car and cried. I felt like the worst mother in the history of ever. I mean really? Five cavities? At 3 years old? How does that even happen?!

So I had to really stop lying to myself and take a look at the fact that yes, there were some nights I simply forgot and figured it wasn't a big deal. There were some nights he may have had a gummy or piece of candy after brushing his teeth for going poop in the potty. I never flossed his teeth. Ever. For some reason in my brain, I didn't even really think it was possible for a kid to have this kind of damage at his age.

I never had a cavity until I was in my 20's. Austin on the other hand, not so much. His first root canal was in elementary school and his teeth get cavities like squirrels collects nuts. Apparently that's genetic, and apparently Punkin has his Daddy's teeth.

Today we went in for the second and what I thought was the last round of fillings. Turns out when they were working on him there was yet ANOTHER cavity next to an existing cavity where the rotten apple apparently was on it's way to spoiling the bunch. I wanted to throw my purse down and stamp my feet at the dentist.

"But I brush his teeth EVERY DAY! With a special ELECTRIC toothbrush we bought! AND we floss whether HE LIKES IT OR NOT! AND HE EFFING HATES IT!"

The dentist went on to explain that bacteria are like bugs in people. Some people have bigger bugs than others. Punkin apparently has some very big bugs in his mouth and there's not much I can do about it except for watch his sugar intake in snacks and juice and be diligent about oral hygiene.

The moral of the story is, I suck and my kid's mouth is going to cost me a fortune.

(For all of you who say dental insurance is a crock I LAUGH in your face. Between Punkin and Austin, it's saving me all kinds of money!)

My sweet boy at the dentist. He's such a trooper.