Feb 28, 2006

Self-Esteem Booster

2/28/2006 — cori
Chloe has taken it upon herself to be my cheerleader. With one look, one word, or one action she can change my whole outlook on life. Her latest, greatest is to look at me, with a sweet little smile and smiley little eyes and pronounce, "Pripee". I'll then ask her, "Who is pretty, Chloe?" And she'll get a gigantic grin on her face, point to me and say, "Mommeee pripee". How can that not make my heart swell?

Bennett has been trying this ploy for months now, as well. However, his is done purely out of manipulation. He’s trying to soften the blow of which discipline I’ll hand out to him. If I’ve caught him red-handed, he’ll look at me and say, “Mom, I love you. I think you’re pretty too.” I’m sure the response he’s hoping his compliment illicits would be something like: Oh sweet, thoughtful Bennett, my beloved child, how could I punish you now after you have bestowed such accolades upon me, your Mother? I shall now do away with all disciplinary procedures and dwell amongst the flattery you have so timely lavished upon me.

Since he’s realized that the timing of his compliments have gotten him nowhere, he has moved on to a more casual approach. He now informs me, “Mom, I think you look pretty today – even if you’re wearing THAT.” Why, thank you, Bennett, you have made my day.

You just can’t beat the perks of being a Mom!

Feb 22, 2006

I Live in Superheroville

2/22/2006 — cori
In the past week, I’ve run into no less than 4 new superheroes residing at my house. Unbelievable, I know. Not only do I get to meet all these amazingly interesting and talented creatures, I am also privy to all their tales of heroism. Here is just a sampling of the ‘amazing but true’ news flashes I hear on a daily basis.

Humanknight (invented by Gavin) has now made himself known to mankind. We should all be humbled by his abilities and prowess. Can you believe he has claws for climbing buildings and ropes cascading out of his hands. But, alas, those are not even his super powers (which happen to be super vision and super strength).

The other day, Bennett introduced me to Waterman. He took a Crayola marker out of the ‘junk’ drawer in the kitchen (thank God it was of the washable variety – I also have several permanent markers in there – note to self: remove all permanent markers out of reach of the children). He then proceeded to draw a what appeared to be a mini hurricane all over his chest. He informed me that this was Waterman’s logo. “Oh, how inventive”, I replied. I’m not quite sure what powers he possessed. I was still quite taken back by the red logo all over his upper torso, that I blanked out during the super-power speech he gave.

Not to be outdone, Chloe has also joined the ranks of super heroine. She too, comes to me with red marker in hand and in her own language, begs for a ‘logo’. Most often she prefers “Super Chloe” which is an SG with a heart enclosing it. Chuck felt she needed a little variety in her heroine choices and has now given her the option of “Super Star Girl”. This logo is just a simple shining (bright red) star in the middle of her upper torso.

The theme here is logos. You cannot be a real superhero without having a real logo to back up your claim. My children, at tender young ages, have come to appreciate a good logo and know the importance and necessity of one as well.

The other heroes I met in Superheroville include, Lightning-Star Man. He is special because he travels on lightning and stars (who would have guessed?). Bennett informed me that his costume is very similar to Captain America’s so I should be careful not to confuse the two.

Gavin also introduced me to Icicle I Zill. It was a very brief meeting, so I’m not up to speed on all his super skills. I’m assuming they involve ice in some way, though. Batman, Spiderman and Superman are regulars here and need no introduction. However, sometimes some of the other random superheroes borrow their costumes when they’re at a creative loss.

Last, but definitely not least, are SuperGavin & SuperBennett. Ah, what to say about these two characters. Can you believe they even possess their super powers when they are still mere humans? They never cease to amaze me. SuperGavin has a dark blue uniform with a light blue SG logo. SuperBennett has a purple costume.

Well, that’s a little inside peek into my world. Come again, anytime. But you better make sure to have an acceptable logo.

Feb 20, 2006

Degrees of Sickness

2/20/2006 — cori
I have three degrees of sickness in this house. Surprisingly, I also have three children. One could deduct that each child represents a unique and amazingly different degree of sickness. Let's begin with the first degree. I like to refer to this one as ‘ Pretend Your Not Sick And Then Throw Up All Over Everything & Everyone’ level.

The subject who fits this category is none other than our very own Bennett. The only warning one receives from this degree of sickness is a nonchalant “Mommy, my tummy kinda hurts.” When a statement like that is voiced out of the mouth of a hypochondriac, it is not given much weight. Bennett gives the same intensity of emotional outcry to a paper cut as he does a broken arm. It’s hard to judge his level of sickness merely from his reaction to it.

Yet, I have noticed a pattern. It has taken me four years, but I believe I have finally hacked into his mainframe and figured out his triggers. He typically gets sick (meaning throw-up) out of the blue. It appears that between 4 -6 hours after uttering the words, “my tummy hurts”, there is invariably a puking episode of some sorts.

He prefers to throw-up all over his pillow and himself. He lays in it until jarred awake. He NEVER makes it to the bathroom. He NEVER cries out. He prefers to take matters into his own hands. This involves going into the bathroom and standing there. After hearing a pitter-patter upstairs at 2 in the morning, we (Chuck) is stirred enough to sleepwalk upstairs and is greeted with the most pleasant aroma. He then spends the next hour cleaning puke from everything and everywhere while I tend to the child (trying all the while to keep my own stomach in check).

The second degree of sickness we have witnessed is the ‘Yell Out And Act Like You Are Dying & Ask For Permission To Leave Your Bed First’ variety. Ever since Gavin was an infant this has been his method of choice. He used to lay in bed and scream for us at the top of his lungs until we came running in there assured that a monster had him in his grip. He would then inform us with utmost panic that he was about to throw up. All the effort and strain he spent yelling for us evidently triggered the ‘throw-up right where you are’ mechanism in his body and we would then be witnesses to the phenomenon. But it wasn’t over after the first bout. He would then feabily stand and try to walk to the bathroom only to have another puking attack in a prominent place in the hallway. He ALWAYS leaves us a trophy on the carpet. Each stain reminds us of a previous bout of illness and leaves us with many stories to reminisce over. Again, this degree of sickness has one prominent feature to it: NEVER make it to the bathroom.

The last and final variety I have had the priviledge of observing is the ‘Do Not Under Any Circumstances Let The Puke Leave Your Mouth’ degree. This is the most peculiar to me. My youngest and only girl, Chloe, has chosen this method. When her tiny body begins the convulsions associated with a ‘watch out I’m fixin to puke’ warning, she squeezes her mouth shut as tight as she can. A monkey wrench wouldn’t be able to pry her mouth open. When the episode has passed, she calmly swallows whatever was in her mouth and continues on with her zombie like state. She remains this way until the ‘bug’ has left her system. Then all is well in the world once more.

These entires might come in handy for future spouses. Remember, marriage is “for better or worse, in sickness and in health”. If you are considering marrying one of my children, read this first…you will need to know what you’re getting into. Don’t say I never warned you.

Feb 14, 2006

Operation Valentine

2/14/2006 — cori
I was given the invitation this past weekend. Chuck & Gavin designed a sweet little number inviting me to a dinner date at our house – formal attire none-the-less – for Valentine’s Day. I have to say, this was one of the best ‘dates’ I’ve ever been on.

The kids love keeping secrets. Gavin even had all the instructions Chuck gave him written down and shoved into his shirt pocket. I noticed him consult his all important list several times. And of course, they were dressed to the nines. Both boys donned their Sunday best. Just to give you a visual image: clip-on ties all caddy-wompus, shirt-tails un-tucked, pants pulled up way above their belly-buttons and no socks or shoes.

Chuck was sweet to come home from work and immediately get started on the ‘secret dinner’. I was given alone time in the bedroom which frustrated Chloe to no end. We ended up dancing, playing on the bed and playing Batman for a large chunk of that ‘alone time’ – not that I minded at all. The boys also had the good sense to ‘help’ me pick out my formal attire. I will not give you a visual description of what they chose for me to wear. Suffice it to say, there was much compromising going on.

After Chloe was cuddled, sung to and fast asleep in her bed, ‘Operation Valentine’ was put into action. Chuck ran down the ‘list’ one last time with Gavin and then whisked me away, out the front door. We sat out on our patio for a few minutes while the boys finished their final preparations inside. When we knocked on the door, we were greeted by a frantic Gavin. He was visibly upset that Bennett had strayed from ‘the plan’. Instead of turning on the c.d. player, Bennett unknowingly opened the c.d. player and neither one knew how to fix it. Chuck calmly intervened and the mini crisis was over. We repeated the whole knock on the door thing.

The boys were just so giddy about the whole idea – that their Daddy actually wanted and needed their help for this special occasion. They couldn’t wipe off the silly grins from their faces. Nor could they stop bouncing around. I don’t think they walked anywhere all night – they just jumped from one thing to the next. Their whole body burst with excitement.

Our table was the small kids table we normally keep upstairs for the kids’ to work on. It was placed strategically in the living room. Frank Sinatra provided the lovely background music. The boys set the miniature table beautifully. Gavin even made up a name for the ‘restaurant’ and taped it to the fireplace. Come to find out we were eating at the: G & B Restrront.

I was a little nervous during the whole candle lighting. Gavin had figured out how to use the fire starter, but had not quite mastered the whole aiming thing. Bennett brought us little valentine’s cards he had written. Matter of fact, we got four cards. He just couldn’t stay away from us. He wanted to just pull up a chair and hang out with us. When he wasn’t bouncing around like Tigger bringing us cards, he was just staring at us with a huge grin on his face or refilling my water glass.

It was so cute to see their excitement and servant hearts. This was truly love in action and the best gift I have ever received for Valentine’s Day.

Feb 9, 2006

Jacob's Ladder

2/09/2006 — cori
Okay, so here’s the story…my friend and I meet at a park. We have a total of 7 children between the two of us. We heard there was this really cool natural point of interest called “Jacob’s Ladder”. So, we did a little asking at the park we were at and come to find out, the object of our desire is a mere 100 yards away.

We really weren’t all that sure what this “Jacob’s Ladder” was. We were under the assumption it was some sort of suspension bridge. Neither of us were in our home city. We each drove quite a distance to meet one another in a central location to enjoy a wonderful day outside. That’s why, if we appear clueless about this beautiful natural tourist attraction, it is because we were.

Knowing the ages of the 7 children involved is quite important. My friend has a 5 month old in one arm, a 2 ½ year old lagging behind her, 4 & 6 year old boys running like gazelles 10 yards ahead of us. I, of course, have the fearless superheroes for children. They believe they ARE Spiderman and Batman; therefore, no harm can ever befall them. I also have my little diva attached to my hip. Anything that resembles dirt makes her squeamish and must be instantly removed from her sight. Thus begins our journey into the unknown.

We come to what appears to be some stairs leading down toward a road. At first glance, they look like every other set of stairs. Being the anal, paranoid type of person that I am, I immediately set up guidelines for walking down these ‘stairs’. One Mommy, that would be me, will walk in front (in case anyone slips and falls they will bump into me and then I will go rolling….). The other Mommy, my friend, was to pull up the rear (in case we had a retreater, plus, her daughter insisted on walking the stairs all by herself and 2 year legs don’t go very fast).

Once you reach about the 10th step, you realize you are no longer going down a stairway, you are instead, propelling yourself and 7 children down the steep edge of a cliff. With each step your life flashes before your eyes. Being that I had Chloe on one hip, I was off balance slightly. I have difficulty walking on my own two feet by myself. Add to that my INTENSE fear of heights and the fact that I was leading this parade gave me great distress.

I do however, owe a big thanks to the makers of these ‘stairs’. They did have the foresight to add charming little wood post railings to either side. They were, unfortunately, a little on the rickety side, wobbling more than I deemed safe. Either side of the ‘stairs’ were covered with trees and underbrush. We did pass your random piƱata. I was really hoping it wasn’t from a birthday party gone bad. We finally reach a small landing only to find the rest of the cliff still awaits us and appears even steeper than the first leg of our journey.

While we are all ‘resting’ on this death ledge, the children are leaning all over the rickey ‘ol railing. I am on the verge of throwing up, I’m so nervous. My legs have turned to mush. Fear is gripping me. I foresee some major rolling down a cliff in my near future and the thought is a little overwhelming. Yet, I press on, not to be one to shrink back from a challenge. Plus, I was the one leading this little excursion. What would the kids think of me?

We finally reach the bottom and turn around to look up from whence we came. We were going to need a helicopter to come in and bring us back up. There was no way in this world I was climbing up the side of a mountain with Chloe in my arms. However, that was a short lived pipe dream. We asked a bystander, who must have been enjoying the entertainment our parade provided, where this “Jacob’s Ladder” was. She looked at us like we were aliens and replied, “You just walked down it.” Duh.

This time, all four boys led the way back to the top of the cliff. Being that they had the added bonus of spider webs they could shoot out to help ease their way up the mountain, they had no problem bounding up the steps. My friend and I took slightly longer to go up. I was at the very back. I just knew I was going to fall backward at any moment. I have not experienced such a work out in my entire life. Yet, who was I to complain, I wasn’t carrying a 5 month old on my hip. If she could do it, so could I. My legs were burning, my heart was racing, sweat was dripping down my back and that was only at step 50 – where the landing was.

Once I made it to the top (the 93rd step), I wanted to fall face down on the ground and kiss it. I have never been more happy to be on flat land. I looked back over the ledge and told my friend, “If I had known that this was the adventure we were walking into, I don’t know that I would have ever done that on purpose. We might as well have just volunteered to climb the Washington Monument with all our kids in tow.” Thus ends your typical day at the park for us….until next time.

Feb 5, 2006

I Spy

2/05/2006 — cori
One of the games we love to play in this crazy house is the old favorite, "I Spy With My Little Eye". It brings us hours of laughs and nail-biting anticipation. However, we play it with a twist. My beloved children prefer to play this game while in a moving vehicle. This brings the added dimension of fast speeds, moving objects and quick guessing.

Of course, Bennett receives credit for tweaking this off the wall version of “I Spy”. He’s not one to do things in the ‘traditional’ or ‘accepted’ manner. You could say he’s a sort of ‘buck the system’ kinda guy (a little like his mother).

Joyously, I play this game most days as we run errands. You can imagine my delight when Bennett mumbles out the famous line, “Mommy…I spy wif my wittle eye somfin….ummm…somfin…white.” Hmmm, let me see. Could it have been that object I passed just 10 seconds ago, that we can no longer see? Or is it the clouds…again. And I shant even so much as think about suggesting an item inside the car – that would be too predictable and thus, boring.

You see, the problem with making “I Spy” a portable game is that IT IS NOT PORTABLE! You are supposed to play this game while sitting still. Nothing around you should be moving. You are not supposed to pick objects 5 seconds behind you or 10 seconds ahead of you.

One day when he has a firmer grasp of the “I Spy Rules”, I shall attempt to make this a house game only. But until then, I have my ol’ stand by answers ready…the clouds, the sky, that light post, the stop sign, the tree or that red car over there.

The ONLY reason my son chose this game was to once again, mess with my already confused mind. I am loosing brain cells by the minute these days. And he knows it. He hits me where I’m weakest. How can a mother refuse to play a game with her child. She can’t. Even though this game drives me to the verge of insanity, I must play. Its called, unconditional love.

I know one day the tables will be turned. One day (far, far from now), I will be old and gray and Bennett will be driving me back and forth from doctor visit to doctor visit and a distant memory will come rushing back. That’s when I’ll blurt out, “Bennett, I spy with my little eye something…” And he’ll play with me, because he’ll remember that I played with him.

Feb 2, 2006

Firsts

2/02/2006 — cori
In every baby book there is a place for 'firsts'. I remember Gavin's first word was "Hoagie" - we had no idea what it meant. But we rushed to write it down in his baby book none-the-less.

Then along came Bennett. I don't exactly recall what his first word was. Obviously, I didn't write it down. It was either "boom-boom" (for hammer) or "vuh-vuh" (for brother).

Then along came Chloe. Life is flying by at this stage of the game. How pathetic is it that I can’t even remember what her first word was? But I do remember her first sentence. Since there is no place in her baby book for ‘first sentence’, I think this would be a fine place to record it for all posterity.

My sweet little baby girl, ‘Lo-lo’ as she calls herself, up and blurted out one day, “MOMMMMEEEEEE…beee lellow tuck!” Just so you don’t get lost in translation, let me decode that for you. My DAUGHTER’s first sentence was: Mommy, big yellow truck. Why would that be my daughter’s first sentence? Why couldn’t she say, “Mommy, let’s go shopping” or “Mommy, lipstick please.”

I have a feeling she’s being too heavily influenced by her two older brothers.

Feb 1, 2006

Dryer Dilemma

2/01/2006 — cori
So, here I am doing laundry today when all of the sudden I run into a problem. Not that I noticed it was a problem at first. Sometimes I find myself a little too dense to notice things right in front of me. That being said, maybe you'll understand my little 'issue'.

As I was unloading the washing machine of its contents, I noticed some gum wrappers and a few spots of wet, globby gum masses left in the bottom of the barrel. Thankfully, these masses were not stuck to the wet clothes.

Now, at this point, I'm sure any reasonable person would have thought to maybe check the pockets of any and all clothing in the pile in order to ensure that there was no more gum to be found. Not me. It never even crossed my mind...that is, until I got the clothes out of the dryer. That's when I noticed a sticky substance clinging to the inside of my dryer.

My first thought, "Aw, Man!"

My second thought, "Duh, Cori. Why didn't you check to see if there was anymore gum left in any pockets?"

The only answer I could think to give myself was, "Do you really think I have time to be digging through a pile of wet clothes looking for some miscellaneous piece of leftover gum in some wet, scrunched up pocket?" By this time, the argument in my head is progressing rather rapidly.

Now I'm under tremendous pressure to make a decision that will affect the entire progression of laundry for the rest of the day. These were the choices I felt I had before me:

1. Abandon all laundry for the rest of the day until Chuck gets home to 'fix it' for me. In choosing this option, I would also be helping to boost my dear husband’s desire to be needed and fix things - so this option was highly plausible.

2. Begin the search and rescue effort of the random piece of gum that would now be dried and stuck inside a pocket of already 'clean clothes'. This posed another dilemma, were my clothes really 'clean' now? Was I expected to go back and rewash and redry the entire load because of one little piece of gum wrapper and a little stickiness left on some clothes. I couldn't even deal with that thought. I decided to ignore it.

3. Clean the inside of the dryer myself. But with what? And how? And I might get a crick in my neck. And what would the kids think of their mother as they watched her top half stuck inside the dryer with her butt up in the air while precariously balancing upon a chair I would have had to drag into the small utility room. This option was looking worse and worse by the minute.

Mind you, all of these options are presenting themselves in warp speed across the frontal lobe of my already overused brain (I’m assuming that’s where all reasoning takes place). Within seconds I opt for #1. Boosting Chuck’s self esteem by appearing to be a damsel in distress with a dryer dilemma looked to be the only reasonable option.

Immediately upon Chuck’s arrival home, I presented the problem. I could see his mind already processing the information and deriving a plan before I even reached the end of my sentence. A solution had been found and he would be the one to put ‘the plan’ into action.

Unfortunately, once I heard ‘the plan’, I was a little leery of how effective it may or may not be. But beggars can’t be choosers. So, I just watched. My sweet husband got out his beloved can of “Goof Off”. This is supposed to be a multipurpose cleaning agent that can even remove car grease from under men’s finger nails. However, nowhere on the can did I see it as a solvent for removing dried, wet gum from inside the dryer barrel. I did read that it was not supposed to be stored anyplace that was 120 degrees or greater (doesn’t the dryer reach 120 degrees?). And I did read that fact to my sweet husband as he was suffocating while applying this most offensive odor all throughout the inside of the dryer.

First of all, he didn’t really like that I was reading the can to him. And second of all, he didn’t really care. So, I responded that if he didn’t care about our dryer going up in flames since it was smothered in “Goof Off”, I wouldn’t either. That always goes over well. So then he proceeded to Windex the entire inside of the dryer.

I can now proudly say that as I sit here I am happily drying a new, gum-free load of clothes and they don’t smell like “Goof Off”.

This has indeed been a very good day. Thank you, Baby, for coming to my rescue. Unfortunately, this is a very true and unembellished story - who in their right mind could think to make up a problem like this?!

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