Sunday, September 30, 2007

Smunch Logic

This is an approximation of a conversation I had with Smunch the other night.

Smunch: Ooooh! What am I going to get for Christmas?

Me: Uh...I dunno, Smuch. What do you want for Christmas?

Smunch: I want some more Fischertechnik, but that costs a lot of money.

Me: Hmm, well, I guess that might be a problem.

Smunch: I know! I'll ask Santa for Fischertechnik. Then won't it cost money.

Hope Santa's got some elves packaging erector sets in Germany!

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Oh, crap.

If you're not a parent of a young child, you have probably heard that parents of young children, especially babies, are obsessed with diaper contents. This is true...and the more colorful or stinkifying, the more worthy of remark. One color you really don't want to see is red. As in the violent, dark shade that is unmistakeably blood.

That, and a presumeably historical bout with constipation, got Mam a referral to a GI specialist at the local children's hospital. Having virtually lived at this hospital for three and a half months after Smunch was born (Smunch lived there, I only virtually lived there) and having visited a friend with a 5.5-year-old daughter in the PICU two weeks ago today...a daughter who tragically died just four days later, this is not my favorite place to go. It's a teaching hospital...which means you get to see people who know not-a-whole-lot before you actually get to see the specialists who know one hell of a lot.

Happily, today's was a very good experience from a customer service perspective. We didn't have to enter the actual hospital, only the clinic across the street. The medical student, or resident, or whatever she was didn't seem terribly experienced, but she was nice and the doctor was great. She asked if I was crunched for time (having dropped Smunch off with Gram, I wasn't), had us go down to Radiology for an X-ray. We didnt have to wait. It was very simple. Then the Gi doctor had us come back up afterward. The X-ray was sent right to her computer and we were called back in within about 5 minutes of arriving back at Gastroenterology.

Unhappily, the medical news was not great (after renewing my perspective on such things with my visit a couple of weeks ago, it's not that bad either). Apparently, our happy, active Mam was hiding the fact that she's full of sh*t. Literally. She really seemed fine. She's been eating lots of fruit. Not complaining on the potty. I'm surprised this kid as been as happy as she has. I know I wouldn't be.

So, I came home to experiment with how in the world to get two full caps of Miralax (the miracle laxative, if you couldn't tell) into a wee bitty Mam every day. Water, colored with blue Gatorade was not the answer. So, we took a trip to Costco where I stocked up on the aforementioned Miralax (thanks for making that OTC guys!), apple juice and M&Ms to reward her for drinking her 8oz of magic apple juice twice a day. This should be fun. Really.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Not all face-painters are created equal...

as evidenced by the artist who was hired to work at Erin, Kate and Allison's birthday party today.

Home Improvement

The truth is, there's very little in the way of home improvement going on around here...unless you count the bi-weekly sorting of clutter that happens before the house cleaners come every other week. So, Smunch decided to take matters into his own hands.

After visiting many parks in his oh-so-varied life, he realized that there was something missing from our home. He duly procured some pens and paper and created his own remedy to our poor skills as homeowners.

He started with the bathroom next to the kitchen/family room.

His mission accomplished, he moved on to the hallway bathroom where he noted the need for "separate, but equal" facilities.

The master bathroom presented a special problem. After all, Mommy and Daddy share the bedroom, so it'd be sort of cruel to make either of them go find a different toilet in the middle of the night. But Smunch had it all figured out.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Rewards for Good Behavior

Yes. These are my running shoes. I even bought them for running...oh, sometime around the turn of the century. I had a brief little period of trying to make jogging fun. I failed. These shoes are not well worn. I wear them sometimes when I get on our elliptical trainer, but in the interest of complete disclosure here, I haven't visited the ol' elliptical trainer in more than a month now. I'll get back to it. I will.

On a topic that sounds completely unrelated (I'll get back to that), the frequency of Smuch's speech therapy is truly oppressive. He doesn't seem to mind it and his stuttering is currently "in remission"...if you can call it that. It's not gone, by a long shot, but it's so reduced that I remember how crazy he drives me with his incessant questions. He can't talk nearly as much when the words don't come out easily! Obviously, it's not the time to quit therapy. On Mondays Daddy and I both got with him to see his stuttering specialist for 45 minutes and on Tuesdays and Wednesdays, he sees the therapist at his school. On Tuesdays, he goes for 30 minutes. On Wednesdays it's just 15 minutes. And, of course, I refuse to get to school in any way other than under my own power. It's so close to the house that it's just ludicrous to bother strapping the kids in and fighting to find a parking spot.

Anyway, I realized after our first Tuesday visit that 30 minutes doesn't even give me a reasonable amount of time to walk home (with Mam in tow) and go back again. It just means Mam gets to watch 10 minutes of Dragon Tales and then gets all pissed off because we have to leave again already and its not over yet. I figured I could go get coffee, but that would involve driving since Starbucks is just a wee bit too far to walk there and back in 30 least when you include the time required for the Barista to work her magic. Still not willing to waste the gas and energy strapping and unstrapping. Not even for Starbucks.

BUT, I own running shoes. And wait, I own a jogging stroller too. It has never once been used for jogging, but it's been a terrific hiking stroller. That doesn't mean it can't be used for jogging though! Ah. I think I've found my solution.

So, today I dropped Smunch off with the therapist with Mam strapped in the jogging stroller. Then I jogged to Starbucks. And I did. I jogged all the way there, which suggests I'm in slightly better shape than I'd imagined, at least. Before you even think about being impressed though, you'll need to know that it probably took me five minutes to get to Starbucks, jogging very slowly. I ordered my coffee, caved and got Mam a "petite vanilla scone" and chocolate milk and then walked most of the way back to school, self-medicating most of the way. I could have jogged back, but why risk sloshing even an ounce of that precious liquid out of the cup?

This could become a habit! But don't count on seeing me at Starbucks on Wednesdays. I don't think 15 minutes will ever be long enough for more than walk around the block...or a jog around a longer that doesn't make it all the way to Starbucks!

Introducing...the Green Geckos

When we picked up Smunch's first AYSO soccer uniform a few weeks ago, I was somwhat stunned by the color. And OH what a color it is! I explained to Smunch that unlike with Little League, the teams get to pick their own names in soccer and that the name is usually related to the color of their uniforms. He gamely suggested "The Stems". Hmmm. Not bad.

Fortunately, the team chose to be called the Green Geckos, which is a whole lot cuter, although not nearly as original. Since the uniforms are one-size-fits-all, Smunch is guaranteed to be swimming in his. I'm pretty sure he could pull those shocking green socks right up to his hips if he wanted to.

As you might expect, a bunch of kindergarteners playing soccer is a lot like watching an ant swarm. Fortunately, AYSO is merciful enough that there are no weekday practices for the under 6 (U6) crowd. It's 90 minutes on Saturday afternoon...40 minutes of practice followed by a 40-minute game. That also means that all of the 24 U6 teams play at the same time, at the same school, on little mini fields with five players a side. It's quite a scene.

I don't think they technically keep score at these games, but naturally, we did. The Geckos tied with the Silver Bullets (who are PC-ly represented by a bullet train) by a score of 6-6. And Smunch even scored a goal! He was so proud...and so were we. He's still the littlest guy on the team and he's often distracted, but he's a fiesty little dude. And he had a great time. Yay!


Saturday marked the first real day of soccer for both Mam and Smunch. For Mam, it was a new experience entirely. So, in typical Mam fashion, she embraced it with gusto and became one of a beehive-worth of new and enthusiastic little soccer players in her Kids Love Soccer class.
I didn't think this was necessarily guaranteed. I had intended to sign her up for soccer with My Sarah, but there was a miscommunication and Sarah ended up in the later class. Not only that, but I found out when we arrived that Mam's new best friend from preschool, Riley, was in Sarah's class as well. I thought Mam might just implode if she had to see both of her very best friends in the whole wide world in a different class together.

But it wasn't really an issue. She had a blast at soccer and then we hung around at the park for a little while until the next class was over. She played with Riley until Riley went home and then went back to see My Sarah. They played, kindly including Smunch, until Sarah's brother was done with his class.

Saturdays are going to be fun this fall...and all about soccer. As you'll see in the next post, Saturday afternoons are reserved for AYSO, featuring some very brightly clad kindergarteners!

A Different Kind of Toy Store

It's another day for a marathon of blog updating. It hasn't been the most eventful week and a half, but we're long overdue and it's certainly not as though *nothing* happened. For instance, on Friday, I took the kids to the dentist. That's pretty exciting, huh? Given whatever difficulties I have with either child at home, it's a little surprising just how easy they are with the dentist thing. I give some credit to the dentist and his staff, of course. They're great. It's a pediatric practice, so I guess I should expect them to be good with kids, but this is the second one we've been to and they're definitely not all created equal.

Pediatric dentistry, at least around here, seems to be a ridiculous circus in a lot of ways, these days. I arrive with my two small children, teeth freshly brushed as they so seldom are in the morning. I depart with an armload of new toothbrushes, floss, tiaras, bouncy balls, magic wands, stickers and well as the "shades" they give the kids to protect their eyes from the bright examination light.

And, naturally, this being...well, now...there are televisions mounted in the ceiling and each child gets a pair of ear phones. I haven't got the slightest idea how they know when to open their mouths. (They certainly don't know when to keep them shut, normally.) Going to the dentist for preventative maintenance seems to have become a full-on multi-media experience. I guess it's no great wonder that the kids leave with a look of, "That was it? I didn't even get to finish the movie!"

Monday, September 10, 2007


So, I just dropped Mam off at preschool...roughly an hour after dropping Smunch off at kindergarten. This happened on Friday too, but I was really busy getting ready for camping and Daddy came home to help me out, so I wasn't home by myself.

It's quiet here. Very, very quiet. I don't have any work to do today...not the paying variety anyway. So...huh. I nap, or shop, or do nothing at all. This is very strange...

Sunday, September 9, 2007

Camping - Take 2

You may recall that I tried a little camping experiment with the kids back in July. It was in the backyard and it wasn't altogether successful. I'd already registered with my Las Madres group to go camping at the beach this month. You can imagine what sorts of scenarios were playing through my mind as I packed for the trip.

Fortunately, I managed to talk Daddy into joining us at the last minute. I'm sure I could have managed the two kids by myself, but it wouldn't have been very fun. It meant I had to go out and buy a new tent. And it meant that when I got home with the new tent and it turned out to be a used tent, I had to order another one online and returned the supposed new tent. Still, it was a very small price to pay for the help I got. In the end, no one looked more surprised to see Daddy on the campground than he looked himself.

And, except for the fact that the new tent was a bear to set up...leading to a bent pole...and a pain in the butt to try and zip closed...leading to a broken zipper...the trip went really, really well. It went so well, in fact, that Smunch woke up on Saturday morning and loudly declared, "I LOVE CAMPING!!"

Really, though, they both had a blast. The campground was dirty and dusty, so they were absolutely filthy most of the time. I suspect some of their clothes will never come clean again. But it was completely worth sacrificing a few ill-fitting clothes anyway.

Saturday morning, after breakfast, we all headed down to the beach. It was foggy and pretty cold in the campground. Fortunately, the beach was warmer. I tried, but failed to convince the kids that they should put on their swim suits before we left. And, although I foresaw exactly what was to happen when we got there, I didn't bring the aforementioned swim suits with me. In typical fashion, Mam ended up soaked in the surf. Daddy actually remarked, "Look! There's a little dry spot in the middle of her back!" Nice.

She ended up huddled in a towel, shivering, with Daddy feeding her Goldfish crackers. Both kids had a great time though.

Unfortunately, it wasn't any warmer at the campground when we got back. In fact, I think it was getting colder. Sometime after lunch, the fog finally burned off, but the wind came up and it seemed colder still. We spent a while in the tent, which was very nice inside, despite the door not closing. We later headed back down to the beach, which was absolutely beautiful in the sunshine. The kids collected sand dollars, inspected sand crabs, seaweed and washed up jellyfish and Smuch dug a that the water would flow up the beach. This time, both kids ended up in their swimsuits. I wasn't dumb enough to leave those behind a second time.

The sun was starting to go down by the time we left, which meant it was lovely lighting for photographs. And, of course, I took a ton of them, but there were far too many to post here.

This was one of my favorites though. Mam, sans glasses, just happy to be running around like a maniac on the beach and thrilled with her new sand dollar collection. I wish I'd gotten a comparable photo of Smunch, but he had his nose to the grindstone with that trench.

By 5:30 or so, it was getting late enough that we were worried we'd miss dinner if we stuck around too much longer. Knowing how little I was able to help out with dinner, I kinda wish we'd stayed for the sunset, but the photo turned out pretty anyway. It was another evening of hanging out by the campfire and eating s'mores. It was much warmer in the campground with the wind gone and it was a nice evening.

Unlike our backyard camping experience, the kids were pretty good about going to sleep in the tent, especially after a full day of beachcombing and walking around. Mam brought some of her "amials" with her...thank goodness. They made good company after Daddy and I both sneaked out of the tent to go hang out at the campfire.

This morning, we just packed up and came home. I'm hoping it was enough fun that Daddy will consider going with us again. Of course, now we don't have a tent. That POS went right back to the store it came from as soon as we got home!

Another First Day

It used to feel like after my kids started walking and talking, they were sort of out of "firsts" to record, but I was so wrong. Especially lately, it seems like the firsts just keep piling up. And these days I'm more of a participant and teacher than I used to be. Even though those first smiles and first steps were precious and beautiful, I was a mere onlooker. I loved those times, but I'm having so much more fun now!

Wednesday was Mam's first day of preschool. She went to preschool last year, so this shouldn't seem like such a big deal, but this is a new school for her. Smunch went there last year, so it's familiar for her and for me, it's only a 5 minute drive instead of the 15-20 minute drive we had last year. So we're both happy. If Mam looks a little uncertain in this photo, it's because she took a header into the sign the first time I asked her to pose or me. I'd had to console her for quite a while before getting this one.

A parent is required to attend the entire first day of school with their child at this particular preschool and naturally, that job fell to me. It gave me a nice opportunity to document the occasion and witness Mam's unadulterated joy at being in school with her new best friend...getting to sing, paint, play with sand, roll out play dough, listen to stories, ride bikes and share a snack with her new classmates. Prior to this day, we went to a little playdate in the park where she met a little girl named Riley. The two stuck to each other like glue at the park. The first day of school was no different.

At one point, she looked at me and said, "It's my first day of school! I love it!" Holy cow. I wish enthusiasm could be bottled and sold!

Friday was her first day of school all by herself. She seemed just a smidgen anxious about it before she said, "If I feel lonely, I'll go play with Riley." When I dropped her off on Friday and said "O.K., you can go on in," she walked through the door and out the back door to the playground without even looking back.

No tears, but no hugs and kisses either. I didn't know what to do with her at home, but I kinda miss her already!

Monday, September 3, 2007

The Meaning of Friendship

Tiny Toes

This is a very late addition to the blog, but I just couldn't resist now that I've got YouTube all figured out. Back in July, Mam went to her very first ballet workshop here in town. It was a three-day workshop for 90 minutes each day. Mam absolutely loved it. This is the video of her recital performance on the last day of class.