Thursday, February 25, 2010

The pediatrician's office

I took Sarah to the pediatrician's office for an unbloggable reason.  I very rarely go there, so it seems that whenever I do, they've just upgraded to some new "system" that requires me to fill out new forms and/or answer a slew of questions when we arrive. I signed in with the receptionist, and she started clicking on her keyboard and asking the questions.

"Are you still married to Michael?"
"And does he live with you?"
"Yes." That's an odd question.
"Does he still work at CEFCU?"
"Which one?"
"The one by the airport in Peoria." Why does that matter?
"And do you work?"
What is this weird feeling washing over me?  Shame?  I know I have an important job, and I love it, so why am I ashamed to admit to this woman that I don't receive a paycheck or contribute to Social Security?  Maybe it's because I haven't brushed my hair today.  Come to think of it, I don't think I've even brushed my teeth...
"DO YOU WORK, MA'AM?" she asks, louder this time.
"No," I mutter.  The woman behind me is well put together, looks like a high powered executive on her lunch break.  She's probably brushed her teeth twice already today. 
"No."  I race my kids to the car when we come out of Walmart, but I haven't run a 5K or anything.
"I mean, nationality?" 
"Oh. Caucasian."
She glances down at Sarah, who is swinging her leg around like a monkey and picking her nose, obviously bored silly. "I mean SARAH'S nationality."
"Oh.  Right.  She's Korean."
Several questions later, the interrogation was finally over.

After waiting in the play area with five kids coughing all over mine, we were called to the exam room.  When the nurse came in, Noah and Sarah were both unusually quiet.  The nurse must have gotten the impression that they were shy, so she tried to draw them out with a small-talk question.  The poor woman wasn't aware that you don't ask Sarah a question if you don't have 30 minutes to listen to her rambling response, most of which will have nothing to do with the question.
"Have you been playing in the snow?" was all it took to get them started talking, both at the same time.  Noah answered the question with a few details, but Sarah went off on a long tangent that I had to cut short.

Having learned her lesson, the nurse got to the point:  "Does anything hurt?"  Sarah thought for a second and then held up her pinky finger, pointed at absolutely nothing on it, and said, "I have a little cut on this finger.  I don't really remember how I got it, but it hurts really bad, and when we get home, I'm going to ask Mom for a bandaid, because it could start gushing blood and then...."
I cut her off again.

Eventually I had to take her down the hall to extract a urine sample.  I left Noah in the exam room, and held the cup under Sarah while she peed all over me.  I don't work??  I'm working harder than I ever did when I "worked"!

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Nocturnal mystery

When I woke up, Mike peered at my cheek and said, "There's something on your face." (when we were newlyweds 13 years ago, it would have been, "Good morning, honey.  You look beautiful.")  I groggily looked in the mirror and thought a big melanoma had somehow appeared overnight.  I leaned closer and discovered that it was a blob of chocolate, plastered onto my cheek.  In my early morning fog, I tried to remember what I did last night...I'm sure I didn't consciously eat any chocolate, so I must have eaten it in my sleep.  And apparently with some degree of abandon, since it was nowhere near my  mouth. 

Later I was snuggled up with the kids in my bed, and Sarah was eating a chocolate chip granola bar.  I watched a chocolate chip fall off the bar and land on my pillow, and suddenly the mystery was solved. 

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Pipe dreams

We watched a show about all the available cheap houses in foreclosure in Florida, which inspired me to look some up online.  There are some amazing deals out there.  Mike and I fantasized about buying a $65,000 house that was built in 2005 and is five miles from the beach.  We talked about it all night like we were really going to do it, but then the practical realities began to set in, and we realized it was yet another on our long list of pipe dreams.

Then I started searching totally outrageous real estate and found a set of four islands for sale off the coast of Florida.  For a mere 18 million dollars, we could own an entire island, plus the house on it, and all the neighboring islands.  I slipped into a lengthy fantasy about that  After some more research, I found that if we put down a 3.7 million dollar downpayment, our monthly mortgage payments would be $87,000 per month for the next 30 years. 

Tissue anyone?

Mike was telling us about a preview for a new game show.  The contestant had to get all the tissues out of a box in less than one minute, using only one hand.  Of course the kids wanted to try that.  We started the timer, and tissues went flying.  It took a lot longer than a minute to gather them all up and count them.  Noah got 141.  Sarah was disqualified for using two hands, grabbing more than one tissue at a time, and ripping them. 

                                                        Sarah with the gathered up pile.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Science experiments

 We have a book of science experiments, and I told the kids that they could each choose one to do today.  Sarah picked chromatography, because she knew there was food coloring involved.  She mixed some red and green food coloring together and put a drop on a strip of paper towel.  Then she hung it over a cup of salt water and watched the colors separate.

Noah chose an experiment about capillary action, because it involved defying gravity.  He put one end of paper towel strip in a bowl of water, and taped the other end to the rim of a tall cup.  Then we watched the water climb up the paper towel and talked about how the paper towel is made of tiny wood fibers.

Sleeping arrangements

We have a box of interesting questions next to the kitchen table.  Sometimes during meals we pull some out and discuss them.  Today at lunch, the question was: If you could sleep in a different place each night, what seven places would you select?

My list:
1. Montana
2. Colorado
3. Australia
4. California
5. Hawaii
6. A deserted island in the South Pacific
7. heaven (OK, I didn't think of that; I stole it from Noah)

Noah's list:
1. in the top bunk in Florida
2. with Sarah, as long as she's not wearing a diaper
3. with Mom
4. on the car
5. inside a rifle barrel
6. heaven
7. on a big plate of mac & cheese and lasagna

Sarah's list:
1. with Dad
2. on a bed of popcorn
3. on 2Blanken on the floor
4. heaven (again, stolen from Noah)
5. on a water bottle, because I'd be thirsty from all that popcorn
6. in a bag of clementines or inside a cantaloupe
7. with Noah

Notice I was the least creative. Feel free to post a comment with your own list.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

All about Sarah

Sarah had to fill out a form at CBS called, "All About Me".  Here's what she wrote:

Name:  Sarah
Nickname: Sarah Bear
Grade: K
My best friend:  Noah
My favorite color: pink
My favorite food: cantaloupe
My favorite game: freeze tag
My favorite TV show: Everyone's Hero
Things that bug me: getting shocked, Noah, bugs
The silliest thing I've ever done: chase Noah
What I want to be when I grow up: dentist, ballet teacher, Noah's friend
What I like to do most: paint
Names of sisters: ----
Names of brothers: Noah
What I like best about me: graceful, good painter, good heart, friendly


I worked in the 4-year-old class at CBS today, and I witnessed a little boy choke a little girl, because she sat in the seat next to him. Her reaction was to sit there and cry.  Tonight I told Noah and Sarah about it and asked them what they would have done if the kid choked them.  Noah said, "I would get the teacher."  Sarah said, "I'd KICK him!"  I thought this would be a good moment to talk about what Jesus would do, and teach them about turning the other cheek and being peacemakers.  That's what I intended to say, but what came out of my mouth was, "If someone is hurting you or doing something inappropriate to you and you've asked him not to, first try telling the teacher, but if you can't get the teacher's attention...kick him!"  In theory, I know that we're supposed to leave judgment and revenge to God, but when I picture a mean kid torturing my kids... I guess I have a long way to go in my spiritual growth.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Spit & Polish

The kids spent hours yesterday and today dreaming up and setting up a store.  Oddly enough, it was a tobacco store that sells tobacco and cigars, and they also clean your shoes.  They called it "Spit & Polish", and even wrote a jingle for the grand opening. 

The shelves stacked with tobacco.

Wrapping cigars
Laser-cleaning a shoe

Ringing up my purchases 

After I bought my cigars and tobacco, I sat right there in the store and enjoyed my purchases while the organ-grinder played a song for me.  I also bought a spittoon (upside down plastic firefighter helmet).  

Fortunately, there was a doctor on hand, giving out free exams after all that smoking, chewing, and spitting.


If you've seen me, you know that I don't care about my hair.  It's almost always just stuffed into a ponytail.  I've always had bangs for two reasons: 1) to hide my tall, wrinkly forehead, and 2) I lack the patience to grow them out.  When they get too long, I trim them.  About twice a year, I get a professional cut. 

Over the weekend, I went to Walmart for my biannual cut.  The stylist graduated from high school two years ago (I know this and much more, because she talked the whole time).  I hadn't even brushed my hair that day, because they always wash it before the cut.  This one said she prefers to cut dry hair.  Mike and the kids had finished wandering around Walmart and had come in to the salon to watch.  I've fielded a LOT of strange, inappropriate questions about the formation of my family, but the stylist looked at all four of us, and (as she yanked a fine-toothed comb through my tangled hair till I thought my scalp would bleed) asked me one I'd never heard before: "Was your pregnancy with them very hard?"

Mean Mom

I sent Sarah to the corner as punishment for doing something she knows she's not supposed to do.  I glanced at her once while she was standing in the corner.  I noticed she was drawing something on the wall with her finger.  When her punishment was over, I knelt down in front of her to talk to her.  After a short discussion, apology, prayer, and hug, I released her, and she said, "I'll show you what I was drawing while I was in the corner."  I watched her little finger trace the letters M-O-M, and I thought, "Isn't that sweet."  But then her finger drew a circle around it and put a big angry slash through the whole thing. 

Couch playground

This is what our couch normally looks like.  When we're expecting company, we put it together for seating, but usually it's just used for playing.  In fact, I started keeping a list of all the things the kids have pretended it to be.  So far, there are 71 different things on the list (if, for some reason, you want to know what they are, send an email or leave a comment, and I'll email you the list). 

My aunt and grandma are coming over for dinner, so Mike put the couch back together.  This morning the kids ran into the living room and both stopped short. They looked dismayed, and Sarah said, "Oh no!  Where's the playground?"

Dale Carnegie

I wonder if I could make millions teaching a Dale Carnegie course for kids.  Probably not.  I've been teaching my "How to Be a Good Friend" class for 8 years, and the results have not been the best.  I keep getting the same two students in my remedial courses, "How to Listen and Compromise" and "Don't Be So Bossy!".  The progress is painstakingly slow and sometimes appears to move in reverse. 

My mom feels sure that they will eventually become fine adults, and most of the time I believe that too.  But some days, I have my doubts...

My little packrat

Yesterday I was helping Noah clean his room.  The kid is emotionally attached to every little piece of junk in his room, so it's very difficult to declutter, since he's always around.  I was stuffing things in my pockets to secretly dispose of when he wasn't looking.  I loaded up the kitchen garbage can  with the loot while he was still in his room.  Then I carefully covered it up with other garbage. 

Fast forward to this morning when I woke up at 2:30 a.m.  I didn't go back to sleep, so I was wide awake when I heard Noah come out of his room at 3:30.  I heard the refrigerator door open, followed by some rustling.  After a few minutes, he went back to bed.  When he got up this morning, I asked him about his middle of the night adventure.  He admitted that he was rooting through the garbage to see if I had thrown away any of his "valuable property"!  I cringed and asked if he had found anything.  He said, "No. I only used the light of the refrigerator, so I couldn't see very well.  I thought it would be my only chance to search without you seeing me."

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Too much time on my hands

I bought this yogurt only because I had a coupon for it.  I certainly don't need help with slow intestinal transit.  This statement on the container amused me, because that little phrase, "as part of a balanced diet and healthy lifestyle" is really the key.  If you have a balanced diet and healthy lifestyle, you wouldn't need fancy yogurt to speed up your "intestinal transit".  You could insert any food in place of "activia".  For example, "Eating a pound of M&M's is scientifically proven to help with slow intestinal transit when enjoyed daily for two weeks as part of a balanced diet and healthy lifestyle.

When I read "See under lid for details", I just had to see for myself what these details could be. 

I took off the plastic lid (on the right), thinking that would be the logical place to find the details.  Nothing.  So I peeled back the yogurt-covered foil lid, and there were the details.  Who's going to bother to wipe the yogurt off to read them?  

Yep.  Me.  After going to the trouble to clean off the lid, you can't even read the tiny silver words printed on the wrinkly silver foil.  I got out the magnifying glass and was barely able to make out the details.  You have to mail the company your original receipt (with the yogurt purchase circled), the UPC code (which you have to cut off the plastic container), and, get this...a written essay about "why you didn't see the benefits of Activia."  All this must be postmarked by a certain date, and then you have to wait 6-8 weeks for your refund.  Would anyone really wipe off the yogurt to read the information, cut off the UPC code, circle the receipt, write an essay about their constipation, put it all in an envelope, and spend 42 cents to mail it, just to get their $2.99 back?   

Classic Sarah

Sarah complained to me, "Noah thinks he's better than me, but he's just bragging.  Actually, I'm better than him."
I said, "Aren't YOU bragging?" and she said, "No, I'm just being confident."

Sary, Sary, Quite Contrary

Conversation with Sarah:

Sarah:  Mom, what should I have for dessert: chocolate or a tootsie roll?
Me:  Whatever you want.
Sarah: You choose.
Me:  You have to choose for yourself.  I don't know what you want.
Sarah: I want you to choose.
Me: Chocolate.
Sarah: But the tootsie roll will last longer.
Me: Tootsie roll then.
Sarah: Which one? You have to choose.
Me: Tootsie roll.
Sarah: But the chocolate is bigger.
Me: How about neither?
Sarah: No, you pick.
Me: Chocolate.
She ate the tootsie roll.  It's been this way ever since she could talk.  I choose not to be bothered by it anymore.

Rollerskating mouse

Upon entering the kitchen to make lunch, I tripped over a stuffed mouse wearing roller skates.  Someday I'm going to miss these little shenanigans.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Angel in a bikini

I was helping Noah with his CBS homework.  He was supposed to draw what I was reading.  It was a section from Revelation about angels wearing robes with a sash across the chest and holding golden bowls.  He scratched out a drawing, studied it awhile, then said, "Well, it looks like the angel is wearing a bikini and holding a dog bowl, but that will have to do."