Saturday, August 30, 2008

$1,500 Pimple?!

Yeah, my sentiments exactly.

Apparently after being married 7 years and birthing two children I have just hit puberty. Good times. My face has been breaking out for the first time in my entire life in the past few months. I'm not big on makeup, but have actually had to wear CONCEALER!!! Ick.

So I get up Thursday morning and without any warning, there's a new one. This is no ordinary pimple. Oh no. This has taken over my chin. I'm not exaggerating here. It is literally the size of a half-dollar and my entire chin is shiny from the skin stretching. I look like Jay Leno. No joke. I finally get up the nerve to touch it and I almost passed out from the pain.

The best part of my new-found treasure was when Spruce took his toy car and ran it over the pimple. I honestly almost hit the floor. It was absolutely the most incredible pain. Later, Beaux told daddy that "Sprucey thought mommy's ouchie was a speed bump!" If it hadn't hurt so bad, I would have laughed.


Now, I'm not a 'let's see the doctor' kind of girl. I go when things get bad enough that others say, "you should see a doctor." However, this one seemed much more serious. Hell, I had to take Motrin to talk! So I call the dermatologist. October 1st is her next available!!! I told them that my entire face would be paralyzed by then (or the Motrin would have killed my liver) and they put me on the cancellation list. They called two hours later and had a spot for the next morning. Hallelujah!!!

I get there and sit in the waiting room for the longest hour. I could feel all the eyes on my face. It was mortifying. I was the guy in the drive thru with the lazy eye. People would make eye contact with me and do their best to not look at the chin. (My neighbor even asked who hit me...) Great. So an hour and a $1500 bill later, I'm agony. She numbed it and lanced the bad boy. Yeah, sounds as bad as it was. As I'm walking to the checkout reading the enormous bill in my hand I'm thanking the Good Lord that we have great health insurance. Well, that lasted about as long as the numbing medication in my chin... The receptionist kindly let me know in her 'all-knowing and could-give-a-shit-less" attitude that my insurance only paid 1/4 of my last bill and I had a $400 balance already!!! I about died. If they only paid $100 on my last visit, what would they say to a $1500 pimple?!?! Holy shit. I really almost puked then. If the car and the lancing hadn't done me in, this was going to.

So here I sit with the remnants of my mortgage payment sized pimple (which is just half it's original size but is very much still there) and mull over the conversation I will have with the insurance company on Tuesday. Good thing they aren't open now...mamma's got on her beer muscles. (What?! It goes great with Motrin!)

Sticks and Stones

So we're in the car bringing mams to our house to babysit. We are having an in depth conversation about how electronic toys are inhibiting both of my sons imaginative play. (Which is actually something I had been thinking about, but it all comes down to having the time to play with a wooden toy with them. You know?) Mams starts in on the 'when I was a kid' tyrade and we are all pretty intrigued. "My father took old soup cans, punched holes in them, tied strings to them and we wore them as stilts." Wow. That's pretty impressive honestly. I'm trying to imagine balancing my 5'10" frame with size 10's on a tin can. Not a pretty sight even in my head. "Then we'd play kick the can. Someone would kick the can and everyone would run and hide." Sounds like 'hide and seek' but I still can't find a use for the can. However, it does have me wondering about how much soup they ate.

Beaux, sitting attentively while mams recounts her childhood, finally pipes up and says, "Mams, Daddy only had leaves and sticks to play with when he was a boy. Sometimes, if he was really good, his daddy gave him some rocks."

The entire car goes silent. I look at Steve, who is pretending not to hear...

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Just Surviving...

We're in survival mode now. Steve is almost home, the boys are arguing constantly (when they aren't ganging up on me) and I have already polished off one of Steve's last three 'special beers' that my cousin brought him back from St.Louis. I contemplated drinking them all in hopes that he would forget they were there in the first place, but I think that will just incite a riot...if he remembered.

I am hiding in the office, throwing out the occasional "Stop That" when I feel it might be necessary. You know, audio parenting. (For the novice, that's when you listen to the specific pitch of the scream before you jump and run.) Currently, they seem to be playing together pretty well. Even if I was in the room, I would be ignored.

Those two have their own games with unidentifiable names such as "Tay-Al, Tay-Al" and "Jearz". At first I thought it was just their language. They were communicating with eachother, playing little games, etc. Then I finally started paying attention to the actual game itself. "Tay-Al, Tay-Al" is the southern slang for "Tail, Tail" and the game consists of chasing the dog around the house in persuit of her tail. Yeah, she likes that about as much as I enjoy hearing the screaming. Part of me is enjoying the fact that they are leaving me alone AND the dog could use some exercise anyway. The second game "Jearz" is named so because they get on the rug and spin in circles until they fall down. In case you haven't picked up on it, "Jearz" is the sound a drill makes to a four-year-old. Pretty inventive if you ask me. Certainly, as with any little boy game, it gets violent. The eldest will throw his 45-pound-body like a projectile in the direct path of the littliest one. No warning, no consern for self-preservation. Nothing. He certainly has that 'watch this' mentality that will one day bite him. (Just hope I'm dead by then cause my "I told you so" would really annoy him.)

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

What Ever It Takes

So tonight I came to a realization. (This doesn't happen often, so work with me here.)

Some moms are just born nurturers and some are survivalists. I'll give you some examples.

Nurturing mom: "Oh, Johnny! You fell! Are you okay? Did you get a boo-boo?! Here, let mommy kiss it!"

Survivalist mom: "Dude! You're bleeding all over the damn carpet! Hurry, get the carpet cleaner that mommy uses for cleaning up her wine!"


Nurturing mom: "Sweetie, do you want to go play now while mommy fixes dinner?"

Survivalist mom: "Hey, you want nuggets again?"


Nurturing mom: "Honey, it's time for bed. You have to get a good nights sleep so we can have plenty of fun tomorrow!"

Survivalist mom: "Listen kid. It's almost midnight. Get in bed now! Trust me, it's for your own safety..."


Now, on a daily basis I find myself fluctuating between the two. On occasion, I have been both at the same time. But for the most part, I find success in a happy medium. You have to have enough of the loving side to get them to want to please you and a touch of the 'do it now' side to help them realize that if they don't...they'll regret it. However, I have friends that are on the drastic ends of both and their kids seem just fine.

So is a wet wipe bath really that bad???

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Sleep when I'm dead...

If someone came up to me right now and said, "You. Go to bed." I would gladly ablige. No questions. No problems. So at what age does the pendulum swing and we go from udder torture to begging for a nap?! Cause I gotta tell ya, if these two 'chillins' don't starting going to bed when I say so, this blog is going to turn into something completely different!

Tonight, for example, I begged and pleaded all through dinner. I finally gave up when the peas started flying. (At some point one has to resolve themselves to picking battles wisely and I knew I was outnumbered. I had learned that similar to dogs, one is a pet and two is a pack.) I gave up and they knew it too. I tried to save a little face with the old mommy addage of "Well, that's all you're getting for dinner. You can go to bed hungry." But knew in my heart they were smirking at eachother behind my back. They always do...

Next came the bath struggle. Now I'm no super mom. (If you have read any of the above posts, you are already well aware of that fact.) However, I feel strongly that on certain occasions, a wet-wipe bath will serve as a suitable replacement to an all-out water fight in the bathroom. Tonight was one of those nights.

The bedtime struggle is always the best. 'Little Sprucey' never fights. He actually requests to go 'see his duckies' and is gone in a matter of minutes. Beaux on the other hand, is always a different story. He will come up with the most amazing excuses for not sleeping. Honestly, I am secretly proud of his tanacity. One night he actually put liquid hand soap on his tongue as an excuse to come down stairs. I was shocked, and worried at the same time. Of course, this IS coming from the kid who peed down the air conditioning vent to keep from taking naps. Guess I shouldn't be too shocked. I digress. So the soap thing has taught me one valuable lesson. Not only will he go to extremes, he has no fear. (That and I can always threaten to 'wash his mouth out with soap' and know I don't have to follow through with it!)

Tonight the first attempt was "I have to pee." Fortunatly, he has his own bathroom, so that was a pretty lame one. Next came the "I'm scared." Which I do believe as he's been having bad dreams lately...but you have to sleep to dream, so I sent him back to bed. Finally he got up the nerve to march himself downstairs and announce that his pants were inside out. That they were. I can invision him sitting in the bathroom floor trying to get them inside out just so he could come down and tell me... Tanacity. It's impressive. I fixed his pants, kissed him goodnight and sent him back upstairs. Good mommy. Didn't get upset. Didn't raise my voice. Just told him goodnight.

But I am pretty sure the 'thump' I just heard was him falling out of bed... He better have a broken bone.

Terrible Two's Were Nothing...

...compared to the Frightening Four's! I have tried to be understanding and I am have blamed it all on the 'transitions' in our lives right now. But to be honest, my four-year-old has become a terror! He is mean to his brother behind our backs, he is disrespectful to my friends, he is manipulative and is amazing! I am truly at my wits-end almost every evening. When he disobeys and I give him that 'mommy is disappointed' look that used to work, he smirks at me! Yes, they can smirk at this age!!! How do you handle a smirk?!

I don't think I have lost control yet, he still obeys when I throw out ultimatums that he knows I will follow through on. I have never made empty promises (or empty threats when needed.) I have always been honest with him, given him choices, and responded when he made the wrong one. Lately, I have decided to focus on the theory of 'give a dog a good name' and just shower him with praise. But to be honest, it is damn hard to compliment someone on their 'good behavior' when you have been gritting your teeth all day.

Tonight, for example, he looked my dear girlfriend in the eye and told her "NO" when she asked him to turn off the water. (This was after he yelled at her son for being a 'bad boy' for getting water all over the floor trying to get out of the tub to escape!) Nice. Nothing makes you feel like an incompetent parent faster than that!

So now that he is asleep, I am rehashing the day and analyzing my every mistake. Each time that I lost my temper, each time that I rolled my eyes, and every smirk on my face just helps me to realize how easily we condition our kids to act in the same way that we despise. Maybe one day I will learn to communicate to get the desired result with him and him with me.

But as I hear his little feet thumping around upstairs when he should be sleeping I remind myself that there is always tomorrow...

It's Hell in the Hallway

Well, it is official. The Davis family is moving to Raleigh. Steve was offered an unbelievable opportunity there and we are shipping off. Well, HE is shipping off...the loving, devoted, self-sacrificing wife is staying behind with the two curtain-climbers to sell two homes. Yes, TWO. (So if anyone knows anyone who is looking for a house...or a kid...heh heh heh.)

Now mind you, I have lived my entire life in Knoxville. It wasn't that I was afraid to leave here, not at all, it was that the opportunity had never presented itself. Now that it has, I must admit that it is pretty darn scary. I am leaving behind a disabled mother who will have to be attended to by my wonderful 82-year-old grandmother and grandfather, and a devoted father who cannot even discuss his 'little Amo' moving. I worry more for my grandmother as she has devoted the last 4 years of her life to my sons. Not a week goes by that she doesn't see them nor a day that she doesn't call. She has been my rock, my teacher, my best friend. I cannot fathom the thought of something happening to her and me not being here to help. I realize that decisions of that magnitude are out of my hands, but you have to understand that I have somehow ended up the matriarch of this family. I have been the one that they call when someone is sick, needs a ride to wherever, or simply needs a hole dug in their yard. I have fixed phones and brownies in the same day. It has just been the way.

My father is my other concern. He and I have always been close. He has brought stability to an otherwise shaky childhood. He prevented many bad situations form happening just by being there. He guarded me with his life and sacrificed much to ensure my success. He has been an inspiration and a confidant for many years. I know he will be lonely. I have no doubt. I regret taking his grandsons six hours away for a job. But what I hate the most is that he doesn't understand the motive. He sees it as 'chasing the dollar', which is not the focus at all. Certainly it is a pay increase, but the position that is offered is one that Steve would never attain at his current employer.

My husband has worked harder than I have ever seen anyone else to ensure a good life for his family. He put himself through grad school while working full-time, teaching full-time and operating our balloon company on the weekends. It was crazy. We never saw him...and I was pregnant with Spruce and on bed rest! It was the busiest time of our lives. But, we both know that God carried us through all that for a reason. Doors have been opened that ordinarily would not have been and it is amazing.

Through all of this worry, my biggest concern is the boys. Spruce isn't really old enough to understand the impact of the word 'moving', but Beaux is a different story. Just past October we moved from Fountain City to Powell. Not a big jump, but we left behind the home he knew, the friends that were just up the street, and the park that we walked to often. It was a big change for him. Much bigger than I had anticipated. Because of that, our preparation for this move must be as low-hype as possible...which with family members who can't even discuss it...geez.

Last week the realtor put the big yellow sign in the yard. We hadn't thought much about it until we pulled in the neighborhood and saw it for the first time. Beaux honed in on it immediately. "Daddy! Why is that sign in our yard?!" My husband tried to explain it to the best of his ability, but the timing was just bad. The rest of the evening, Beaux was acting worse than I have ever seen. That night, as I was tucking him in, I asked him what was wrong. He fidgeted around and finally said, "Mommy, I just don't know what is going to happen to me." Talk about breaking your heart... I resisted my first response of 'well, honey, you are staying with the house', as I have learned in four years that smartass answers don't translate well to preschoolers. I did my best to explain that he loved the old house and he loves this house, so of course he will love the new house. I think he bought far.

It is just in these moments of uncertainty that you always go back to what you know. What you have understood to be fact. My safe spots have always been the conversations with my great-grandmother. She was one of the wisest women I have ever known. I was trying to explain all this to my neighbor the other day and told her that my great-grandmother used to always say, "When God closes a door, he opens a window." She looked me dead in the eye and said, "Yes, but it's hell in the hallway."

Talk about clarity...

Puppy Love Leads to a Dog's Life...right?

As mothers we envision the day that our children will bring home the girls that will inevitably break their hearts. We imagine how in-love they will be and how it will overwhelm them. We know, from experience, how bad it will hurt when they break up and have already planned how we will console them. When we think of these days, we assume it will be at least 10 years from now, right?! Not always...


My oldest son has always been a bit of a flirt. It started when he developed a crush on the nurse practitioner at the pediatrician's office. He was about 18-months-old yet was immediately smitten. We have made trips there for the oddest illnesses until I realized that he was just wanting to see 'Miss Molly'. Well, at the age of 4, I am surprised to say, 'Miss Molly' has been replaced. I am sure there is still a special place in his heart for her, but she sent over one of her friends to baby sit. That was all it took. The cute little college girl bounded in the door talking of how Molly had told her 'all about Beaux and Spruce' and that was it. He was gone. He ran up and down the hall to show 'Miss Annie' how fast he could go. He jumped off every piece of furniture to show 'Miss Annie' how high he could jump. He even pulled out every one of his favorite frogs to show 'Miss Annie' his collection. (Little did he realize that while he was showing her his tumbling techniques, his little brother was sitting on her lap, petting her hair.)

Now tell me I have nothing to worry about?!

"Babies Eat Boobies"...and other Beauxisms

Every once and a while, your child will come up with the most embarrassing statements which are usually nothing more than their perception of their world. They mispronounce words, they reverse the order of common names, they tell the preacher that, "Babies eat boobies", etc.

My oldest has always been the master of it. In fact, my husband and I are constantly second-guessing everything we tell him. Now mind you, we don't always tell him the exact truth on everything, simply because the truth is usually boring. We have gotten into this habit of making up answers to questions where we know the answer will take too long and probably be over his head.


Last week, Beaux was watching Molly bury a dog treat in the back yard. Of course, he wondered why she didn't just eat we were wondering too. My husband proceeds to explain that Molly thinks if she buries her bone, a bone tree will grow there and she will have all the bones she wants. (He generally doesn't come up with the quickest responses, so I was actually proud of him for that one.) Well, Beaux, who is accostomed to our humerous (to us) responses, says, "Dad. Are you kidding?" Steve responded with, "Maybe. Why don't you ask Molly yourself."

As we walked off giggling to ourselves, I told Steve how bad it was of him to do that. He said, "Really?! Beaux told me last week that birds can sit on electric wires and not get shocked because they have rubber feet."


The Judgements

So how is it that once we give birth we become pros at everything child related? You get pregnant; you know all about pregnant women and how much folic acid they need, how they shouldn't be lifting that box, how they have outgrown that t-shirt, etc. Then you give it comes; you know everything birth-related. If you went natural; pain meds are for wimps. If you had meds; 'don't those granolas know that you don't get extra credit for going natural?!' You have a c-section; 'I had to have one because XYZ happened, but I wouldn't have chosen it!'

We've all experienced this. You're shopping in the store and you see another mom. You immediately begin judging. "Humph. She looks good. Must have a nanny for those kids." Or, "I can't believe she let her son go out without a coat! Some mom."

I have realized that you don't have to be a mom to do it.
"Look at how wrinkled that man's clothes are! His wife must not be much of a wife." "I can't believe she's wearing THAT!"

Why do we judge so quickly. Does it make us feel better about our own decisions? Do we really think that we are justifying our recent weight-gain by criticizing someone's desperate need for spandex?

And none of us are exempt from this. Even the sweet, soft-spoken friend that never says a cross word about anyone does it in their head. See, they have learned that verbalizing it tends to get you in trouble. They are the smart ones...

A personal example: On one such occasion when I verbalized my criticisms, my great-grandmother asked me, "Honey, does it make your candle glow brighter to blow someone else's out?" (She just kept her criticisms to herself, I'm convinced.)

So just remember, when you point the finger, there are three of your own pointing back at you.