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That’s Mother Of The Year, you know.  Took Ben in for his first well child visit in…3 or 4 years? and as the nurse took his BP, she said, “How long has he had this rash?”  This wha?  Child is COVERED in a lacey red rash.  huh.  Ben says “Oh, I’ve had it for ages.  About 2 weeks.”  Thank you son.  I smile and say “Once they pass the strutting around naked age, who knows what goes on with them?”  Because I also clearly never even look at him.  It’s a wonder I can even spot him in a crowd.  My brain unfreezes a bit and I say, “You can’t have had it 2 weeks, I just did a tick scan on you last weekend and you didn’t have it!” (bonus points for checking for ticks, and for actually looking at my child at least once a week)  And it’s then that I remember that he had a fever on Saturday, keeping him from the swim meet.  It went away by that night so I ignored it.  Fever + rash 3-4 days later= Fifth’s disease!  Woo!  I had it diagnosed before the NP even came in.  I rock.  At some things.  Oh, and for those without kids, or with kids too young to have had this several times, it’s this benign virus that usually just causes a low fever and a scary looking red rash.  Only contatious when you dont know they have it, so you can’t even get into trouble for spreading it.  Once the rash shows, they’re fine.

My gross cat brought a baby bunny, SCREAMING, into the house yesterday.  she then dropped it so that her stupid human kittens could learn to hunt by finishing it off.  Instead, I chased the rabbit outside (to die, as it was clearly wounded).  She despairs of us ever having meat.  Then later yesterday afternoon, Ben is sitting in the family room playing with a dollhouse I found in the basement (more later) and Lily walks into the room and says “Dead bunny,” totally flat, like “whose shoe is that?”  or  “there’s something on your face.”  I look and there’s this HUGE blood smear across the floor, right next to Ben, and a mangled bunny corpse (band name? nah) lying where the dollhouse was blocking his sight line.  We know that he does not handle the grisly well.  So I said, “Ben, look at me.  Now stand up and walk toward me, looking at me the whole time. Now leave the room.”  He said, after the crime scene had been tidied,  “Yeah I saw the blood and wondered what it was.”  Seems like a life skill one should have.  If there is a big blood smear, do not play there.  Maybe it needs a rhyme mneumonic: Pile of gore, play no more. or When blood is there, go elsewhere. Anyway, he was totally freaked out and wouldn’t go into the room and was generally being a loon.  I wanted to shout “DUDE, you were practically walking your Playmobil guys on top of it!  and now you can’t be in the same room where it once was?”   bonkers.

So the dollhouse.  Back when Julianna was 4 or so, I bought two rooms of the “Room-by-Room Dollhouse” from Discount School Supply’s clearance.  It looked cool and was full of little fiddly things, which I love.  Once it arrived, I remembered that my precious flower only played with chunky rough hewn wooden toys that refer to recognizeable objects, so as to not stunt her imagination.   So I packed the rooms into the basement for a later date or to give to inferior, stunted children, and sent Julianna off to play with her stump and thimble.  More children were born. We moved.  Standards slipped.  Playmobil and Lego took over my house. Then I was down in the basement earlier this week and noticed a wet box in one of the back sections of the cellar (if you’ve never seen my basement, think of the scariest, dankest, horror movie set you can imagine.  Now add tubs of children’s clothes, spiders, and camping equipment).  After determining ( I think.  Hope.) that the wet had come from some spill from above (no subfloor, so anything spilled on the first floor goes into the basment.  It’s a feature.) and not a recurring leak, I opened the box to find the dollhouse rooms.  I figured Ben and Lily were perfect ages for them, and I was right.  They’ve gotten my 20 bucks worth and more.  I expect they’ll be forgotten soon, once the tiny ice cubes are gone from the wee freezer, but really, what can I expect with these stunted, plastic-infected attention spans.  Julianna and Stumpy, though.  They’re still best buddies.

…to be left in the garden, even though the chances are good you’re going to destroy it?

About this cute:

I mean really, he won’t eat much, right?

More on my garden here

It has rained a lot here.  A Lot.  I’m not complaining, really, low water-tables make me nervous.  But seriously man, a LOT of rain.  Today we had a swim meet in the rain.  We had to be at the other team’s pool–20 min away–at 7 o’flippin’ clock.  Why, pray tell, can we not light the pools and have meets at night?  How much cooler would that be, both literally and figuratively? As we loaded up, thunder was rolling and thunder means out of the pool.  It was tempting to say “clearly it will be cancelled” and stay home, but I was scheduled to be Clerk of Course for both halves, so I had to show up just in case.  When we arrived, they told us it was delayed an hour.  Not helpful in any way.

We went to McD’s–blech–for egg and cheese on a muffin.  It laid in my stomach like a rock.  It became clear that Ben wasn’t well (first clue, not excited to receive junk food for breakfast), so I told him he didn’t have to swim.   But Julianna did and I had to be the lining-up-the-kids person, a job that involves  a lot of standing and shouting (which, yeah, it’s fairly well suited to me.  If only I could sit instead).  When went back and checked in in the thunderless drizzle.  Sometimes the drizzle amped up to rain.   The swimmers are wet anyway, so cry no tears for them (although they didnt’ really get to dry off and were quite shivery), but *I* am supposed to stay dry at meets.   I can’t even swim, man.

So it was wet.  The pages of my swim schedule all stuck together and when the rain finally stopped, I steamed.  AND we lost.  So meh.  This hot (okay not really) on the heels of the 4-H leadership campout on Wednesday night.  Anyone living in this weather system will remember that Wednesday was the Night of the Deluge.  Holy sweet baby Elvis, it was wet.  AND cold.  We were staying at the same camp site as the 3rd grade camp-out (see below), so we at least had a pavilion we could hang out under, and didn’t have to huddle in our tents.  Although really, if there had been no pavilion, we could have just gone home…

As it was, the program leader told the kids that the weather was not going to get better and, in fact, an inch of rain was called for over night.  That there was no shame in calling it a night and heading home.  Stalwart pre-teens this lot, and they asserted that it would be wimping out to go home.  We lost a few, but most stayed and toasted their marshmallows over a propane stove.

none of these is my child, so you neednt try to figure out why you dont recognize these kids

none of these is my child, so you needn't try to figure out why you don't recognize these kids

theres Julianna, in the green coat.  With a heavy sweatshirt underneath.

there's Julianna, in the green coat. With a heavy sweatshirt underneath.

our determined fire-starters.  They really did get one going!

our determined fire-starters. They really did get one going!

In the end, it wasn’t that bad and there was that bond of going-through-unpleasantness-together.  I had enough dry clothes to stay dry and warm (all hail polarfleece and those hiking pants that dry super fast!), and our tent did not leak at all–hooray REI!  I did, however.  There is no diuretic like the sound of a tent flap zipping shut and when that was combined with the torrential rain, I had to pee about a dozen times.  But that gave me a chance to knock the water off the top of the tent several times, so Im sure that helped our water-tightness.  It continued to rain the next day, but by the time we got home it was sunny and windy, so our gear dryed quickly.

But can I just say I am DONE volunteering?  Camping, field day, swim team, drama…I’m done with other people’s kids.  Done.  And I’m damp.

The Third Grade Campout was last weekend.  You may recall from some previous rant or other that the teachers decided not to have the annual campout to celebrate the third graders moving up to Upper Elementary.  In our school, the kids have the same teacher for 3 years, so it’s kind of a big deal to leave 3rd grade.  The campout had been a great way to let the kids mingle with the others who will be moving up, get to know each other a bit before the big shuffle.  For a variety of vague reasons, the teachers decided not to do it this year. I was disappointed, but more was dreading having to tell Ben–who’d been looking forward to it since Julianna did it 3 years ago–that it was off.  So I took it on myself.  Sometimes I don’t think things through.

Really, it wasn’t that horrible, particularly in hindsight.  The hard part was finding a spot to camp. It was fairly short notice and I didn’t want us to be too far away–close enough to go home if there was lightning.  Luckily, I got tipped off about the Poplar Grove youth camp site at Catoctin Mountain National Park and snagged all three sites.  when it was too late, I realized I’d booked the same weekend as my college reunion.  But it was done.  The things we do for our children.  More on the reunion later.

After that, it was just light organizing and emailing and stress about whether anyone would come.  In the end, most of the 3rd graders were able to make it and they had a BLAST.  The site was perfect, with woods and open space and a stream.  Behold:

My favorite shot, even though Bens eyes are closed.  Is this not the perfect childhood look?

My favorite shot, even though Ben's eyes are closed. Is this not the perfect childhood look?

there was a good deal of tying one another to posts.  We figured that if they then started piling kindling at their feet, we should step in.

there was a good deal of tying one another to posts. We figured that if they then started piling kindling at their feet, we should step in.

Yes, they are roasting Cheetos.

Yes, they are roasting Cheetos.

Waiting, as patiently as they can, for the fire to go down enough to make smores.  Eventually, they just went the flaming shmallow route.

Waiting, as patiently as they can, for the fire to go down enough to make s'mores. Eventually, they just went the flaming 'shmallow route.

For breakfast, Little Chocolate Donuts, as endorsed by John Belushi, and roasted over a campfire.

For breakfast, Little Chocolate Donuts, as endorsed by John Belushi, and roasted over a campfire.

Chocolate donuts, you say?  Tell me more...

"Chocolate donuts, you say? Tell me more..."

A stream, of course, means a massive civil engineering project.  All kids make dams.  It’s what they do when confronted with running water.  And me?  I struggle not to make hilarious yet inappropriate dam-based puns.  Like when Ben shouted to Nick “Dam the waterfall!” and I yelled “Hey kid, watch your mouth!”  I did say that out loud, but I managed to keep my tongue when Nick asked “Is this dam good?”  I wanted soooo badly to respond “Damn good?  It’s fucking awesome!”  It causes pain, it does.  Probably not good to hold to hold those in.

The dam was needed to catch crawdads

The dam was needed to catch crawdads

Dam the waterfall!  Full speed ahead!

Dam the waterfall! Full speed ahead!

In all, a success.  They had a blast.  And that was what it was about.

a

Stalked!
June 2009
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