Sunday, September 30, 2012

Wes is four!

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Wes Spiderman turned four on Friday. We started the morning with our traditional birthday cupcakes for breakfast and followed it up with his presents.

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He was more excited about these Spiderman jammies than the picture would have you believe. He also got Spiderman's Headquarters and a huge bouncey ball of death that is really fun and also really likely to send you careening head first into the coffee table. It was planned as an outside toy, obvs, but we had a lot of rain this weekend. We all had a good time with it. And with Spiderman's castle. I am so glad one of the kids is into superheroes!

That afternoon I came screeching into the driveway after work with just enough time to slap together his requested birthday meal of homemade macaroni and cheese and cinnamon apples. The boys decorated the cake while I cooked and our babysitter stayed for dinner, which made it a party.

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He wanted a candle with a number but the only one we had in the house was a "2". FAIL. Wes is such an easygoing middle child.

The next day my family came over for his Picnic Bear Lunch party. Do you have Picnic Bears in your house? They come visit Wes every single night in his dreams and eat pie with him. His favorites are fish pie and candy pie, but they have a different kind every night. They've been coming every night for over a year! They even come with us on trips! The Picnic Bear Picnic had to be moved inside due to rain, but we had a great time eating sandwiches in the dining room instead.

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Cupcakes with picnic (gummi) bears, naturally.

Wes: "Mom, this day has been SO MUCH FUN!!!" Love him.

We went to a party at a friend's house later that afternoon and after playing hard for an hour and a half, Wes sat down on their kitchen floor, ate a hot dog, then fell fast asleep sitting up leaning on their back door. Sadly, I did not have my camera with me for that moment. I managed to carry him upstairs to lie down on an extra bed, then move him to the car when it was time to go, then move him into his own bed at home from the car without him waking up. Still had the ketchup on his cheeks when he got up this morning. I win parenting.

And, appropos of nothing, this picture kills me. We call it "James's first rain" because he was born during a drought and is not very familiar with rain. They spent half an hour playing with these dribbles and puddles at church!

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Sunday, September 23, 2012

Prodigal

In church today the scripture reading was the parable about the Prodigal Son. When the reader got to the part about how the younger son asked his father for his share of the inheritance early then squandered it all with prostitutes and drunkenness and wild living, Ryan and I looked at each other and mouthed "Wes," then snickered silently behind our bulletins.

And then I felt really, really bad. Sure Wes is kind of crazy, but he's so sweet! No one is cuddlier, no one more eager to help. He's friendly! And polite! But bedtime is kind of a problem, and sometimes he lies down and screams in parking lots, but he's a good boy. Usually. And he's only three (but don't tell him that, he thinks he's four and if you tell him otherwise he FLIPS OUT). No, Wes isn't the Prodigal Son. Definitely not. He'd never shame the family like that, I don't think.

When I had finished mentally chastising myself for casting Wes as the antagonist in a Biblical parable, I smiled warmly and turned to face him, my heart full of tenderness. He walked over to me, from the spot he favors waaaaaaaaaay at the end of the pew, then made a strange face and reached into his mouth with his fingers.

And pulled out two staples.

That he'd chewed out of his Sunday School art project.

Oh Wes.

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Friday, September 21, 2012

Another productive Friday

When someone I worked with asked me to cover his class today so he could go to a doctor's appointment, I agreed because I would be here anyway and he said I could talk about hurricanes if I wanted to. So last night I threw together ten or twelve slides and figured I'd write on the board a lot and maybe tell a couple of stories about that time I was in an airplane hangar during Hurricane Claudette and the roof blew off.

But then this morning came and all I could think about on the way in was the kinder-pocolypse that's been happening at our house. Not hurricanes. Not adiabatic ascent and the Ideal Gas Law. Kindergarten. Will my kid be chastised by his peers (and/or teacher) for failure to color today? Because honestly, I don't think I can take it anymore.

As an aside, I just want to tell you about my wonderful friends. Four of them have contacted me this week to talk and encourage me (and in one case, offer me a hypothetical bottle of wine while we waited outside children's choir at church). They are lovely. Lovely, wonderful people. I am so lucky.

But as I feel it would be awkward to go over to their houses and snot-cry all over the place right in front of their families, I have to reserve that for alone times in the car. Foul-mouthed tirades are reserved for Ryan after bedtime. He's a lucky, lucky man.

(By way of an update, if you asked Charlie yesterday, he had a great day. He only had to miss *a little bit* of center time. Yay? If you asked him on Tuesday, he would have been lying face down on my red checked table cloth sobbing about having tummy-aches every day and wishing he could pay attention and finish his work and not miss naptime. That angst-filled day may have been related to me being out of town for two days. Go me.)

So anyway. Not exactly in the breeze-though-two-semesters'-worth-of-atmospheric-thermodynamics state of mind this morning when I arrived. I still had high hopes that my familiarity with and enthusiasm for the subject would carry me through the entire fifty minute period. But then I started talking and could feel, actually physically feel, my brain vacillating wildly back and forth between Way! Over! Simplified! and Oops, that was kind of a Masters-level analysis right there. And every time that second thing happened I would freeze and say "Uh, you don't have to write all that down. Heh heh."

I kept on talking though! I referenced a YouTube video that probably would have been really good to have cued up because, you know, actually watching the video would have been LIGHTYEARS more valuable than listening to me describe it. Two students were engaged and smiling and nodding. Two were asleep. The rest were fidgety and confused.

And I ran out of material at 10:35.

Crickets. No questions.

OK, so HAVE A NICE WEEKEND EVERYBODY!

When in doubt, you can always earn points by letting them go early.

So that was kind of a disaster. I came back to my office and spent some time looking at this picture until 11:00 when the dining hall opened. I'm thinking of using it for our Christmas card this year.

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And then I finally got down to business after lunch. First thing on my to-do list: Figure out how to compute skewness and kurtosis in Excel. I opened Excel and when I couldn't figure out how to access "help" in the new version, I typed "=skew" into one of the cells and UP POPPED THE FUNCTION SKEWNESS. And then I typed "=k" and bang, there was the function for kurtosis. CROSS THAT ONE OFF THE LIST.

I have just enough time to add one or two sentences to my (hopeful) publication before my lab and then after that it is the weekend and we all get to be happy again for TWO WHOLE DAYS! I cannot wait.

UPDATE: Five minutes after I posted this I got an email from Charlie's teacher. She said "He amazed me today! He made three puppets, while the other students only had time to make two! Gold Star for Charlie!" Good news.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Wes is sending three out with a bang!

We were out on the playground this afternoon when my friend waved me over to the play structure. Wes was there, hanging onto his bottom, hopping around. Crap.

I scooped him up, fireman style and ran to the gate, threw it open, ran into the fellowship hall, ripped his pants off and plunked him down onto the toilet.

He didn't make it, but I didn't have time to worry about the poop all over the place because Charlie and James were still out on the playground.

Leaving Wes sitting on the potty yelling for me, I ran back out to the playground to locate James and Charlie. As soon as I poked my head out the door I heard Charlie "MOOOOOOOOOMMMMMM!!!!!!"

He was standing in a tree about ten feet off the ground.

"DON'T MOVE! I HAVE TO CLEAN WES UP AND THEN I'LL COME HELP YOU."

I called a friend over and asked her to keep an eye on James. Charlie was still yelling for me when I ran back into the bathroom. Wes was whining and calling for me. I wet a handful of paper towels in the sink and angry cleaned off the toilet, the floor, his shoe, and his legs. Then I left him on the potty while I ran to check on the other kids.

Poked my head out the door, "MOOOOOOOOOOOOMMMMM"

Poked my head in the bathroom "MAAAAMAAAA!"

Poked my head out the door, "MOOOOOOOOOOMMMMM!" Told Charlie to wait JUST ONE MORE MINUTE!

Returned to the bathroom. Wes's undies were not salvageable. Threw them in the trash. Made a mental note to stick a five dollar bill in the nursery offering Sunday for destroying their bathroom. More wet paper towels. Counted to ten. To twenty. To five thousand. It didn't work.

"WHERE DO WE GO TO THE POTTY, WES?! DO YOU NEED TO WEAR A DIAPER AGAIN?!" This was the third (!!) potty accident of the day after all. That's a lot for a kid who went a year in undies with very few issues.

Picked up Wes's shorts to put them on him. They were covered in poop too. Rinsed them out in the potty. Told Wes he's going to have to put them on. We had NOTHING else. He is four. He cannot be naked on the school playground.

He refused. He yelled at me and ran away. He would not wear those shorts. I put his shoes on and told him to pull his shirt down as far as he can.

We went back to the playground holding Wes's shorts out at a distance. James was still playing nicely. Charlie was still stuck in the tree yelling for me. A friend saw me with naked-Wes and went to help coax Charlie down.

I led Wes back to the stroller where the only thing we had to cover him up was a BumGenius. Hooray for one size fits all! I strapped it on him and he ran off to play. This was not nearly as embarrassing for him as I was hoping for.

Charlie was out of the tree and Wes was playing (in a freaking diaper) so I relaxed and talked to my friends some more. A few minutes later, Wes ran by with a huge stick. I had just had the thought "Where did that huge stick come from?" when Wes raised it up over his head and hit my friend's oldest son in the face.

Time stood still as all the blood in my body rushed into my head and face and out of my mouth in the loudest, scariest mommy voice the kids have ever heard.

Wes was ripped off the play structure and plunked in the time out spot by the gate so fast his head spun. "WE DO NOT HIT WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU YOU HURT HIM YOU SAY YOU'RE SORRY WE'RE GOING HOME SIT DOWN WHAT IS THE MATTER WITH YOU?!!!"

I left him there looking afraid while I apologized profusely to my friend and her son, who was crying and holding his eye (O.M.G.). He had a huge scratch over his eyebrow. I grabbed Wes by the shoulders and showed him. "LOOK AT HIM. YOU HURT HIM. YOU SAY YOU'RE SORRY."

Apparently there was something so fascinating as to render him mute on the ground near his feet. Back to time out he went. "CHARLIE, IT'S TIME TO GO!"

Charlie didn't want to go, surprise! I didn't care! Go get your backpack and meet me by the gate!

I watched my friend's other kids while she ran for ice. Wes said he wanted to play some more. I resisted the urge to tell him that the next time he would be playing would be the day after I dropped him off at college and led him to the gate with Charlie. When my friend came back I made Wes apologize again and after she assured me her son's eye was alright we went to the car.

He fell asleep within minutes of pulling out of the parking lot, which seems like a good thing except that a nap during the day means he stays up way too late and has an awful day the next day, which is why he's acting so crazy today. Last night he didn't go to sleep until ten and during his time upstairs managed to climb to the top of the linen closet and open two packages of Tylenol Cold. I found two pills with NIBBLE MARKS on the counter and interrogated him like a CIA operative until he fessed up to putting them in his mouth then spitting them out. I was certain that he hadn't actually swallowed any pills, but I still checked on him every fifteen minutes until I went to bed.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Back in the saddle and there's no place like home!

Drove up to the old town for a couple of meetings. I left Sunday right after church and was feeling very ambivalent about getting in the car to drive for six hours so I could attend a meeting I was very stressed about instead of driving the kids home and wrapping up in quilts to watch Charlie Brown Halloween while the rain fell outside. At that moment (and the next two hours of driving through rain in an unfamiliar car), I thought working while the kids are small might not be the way to go.

But I forced myself to keep driving and eventually the sun came out and a really hilarious small town classified ad show came on the radio and I got some cookies at Subway and drove through a wind farm and suddenly I was having a good time again.

The trip got even better when I got to my friends' house and held their cute little toddler and we all went out for a wonderful Italian dinner with more friends and great food and chianti. We went back home and sat in the living room after dinner, working on our laptops all three of us, watching a football game. JUST LIKE HOME. Except with no bedtime. Glorious!

I enjoyed preparing my presentation. It was satisfying to revise my paper. It felt good to stay up late working on something I enjoy. Long-term goals, perseverance, working through a challenging problem--a different kind of challenging problem than I usually have (how do you make a kid stop peeing off the top of the swing set?)--it was great.

And the meeting, which I was completely intimidated by, went well (despite a fitful night of sleep filled with anxiety dreams by proxy about kindergarten). I did my presentation and answered questions and did not once sound as stupid as I often feel when talking with people who get to do research full time. Dr. Advisor said my presentation was well organized and good. We talked through some weird results I've been getting and during the conversation it hit me. I'm not the only one having trouble understanding this! It's a real research problem! Not understanding does not always equal stupid!

Do you know how many years it's been since I haven't felt stupid in a research meeting? A lot of years. Life-changing.

Also life-changing? A couple of weeks ago it dawned on me that I am no longer limited to two servings of caffeine a day since James hasn't nursed in over a year. PARTY ON GARTH. I had a silo of tea with my lunch.

With my resting heart rate in the 130s, my afternoon meeting was just as productive and affirming and interesting. I got lots of good direction on another project I'm starting (And talked about it! INTELLIGENTLY! It's a Christmas miracle!) and got to meet some other members of the research group. Several of them had families. Families were discussed! Openly! The head of the research group talked about how much her so likes Wild Kratts! Just awesome. I have no words. I loved it.

So yes, I now have two research projects. And three classes. And the kids. And the high-need dog. Oy.

It has taken me a very long time to start feeling like my old pre-kid self again. Every once in a while I get a taste of the drive I used to have. The motivation, the ability to keep multiple pieces of the puzzle in my head at once without one of them getting knocked aside by a different thought (OMG I FORGOT TO TAKE BACK THE REDBOX AGAIN!). Meetings like these help so much and I really wish this kind of discussion and feedback was part of my real life. It was so exciting to talk about my work with people who understand it. So exciting to be near all those interesting books.

Still, when it was over, I ran to my car and drove like a crazy person so I could get home in time for bedtime. When I pulled in the driveway Ryan and the kids were still sitting in the car after getting home from Dads and Kids Pizza Night at Charlie's school. The kids swarmed me. Ryan looked like a deer in the headlights. I herded everyone up the stairs to brush teeth and flung my dress pants and shirt into the closet and put on the stretchiest pants and comfiest t-shirt I could find. We snuggled on Charlie's bed and read books before lights out, then I had dinner and three desserts. Soon I'll be tucked into bed reading Little Women. So good to be home.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Traffic, but not the drug kind.

I left work around 4:20 today so that I could get home in time to roast a butternut squash and make some cornbread for dinner, but when I got to my exit I was dismayed to see a huge wall of cars blocking my path.

I finally (and with as little eye contact as possible) worked my way through three lines of stopped cars to get into the right lane to make my turn, but no one was going anywhere. We were stopped. The cars behind me were stopped as far as I could see. The cars coming across the highway on the bridge were stopped as far as I could see.

I looked through a clearing in the woods to see a train moving veeeeerrry sloooooowly on the track that goes over the road, the road that was standing between me and my snuggly babies and my barbeque chicken in the crockpot-scented house. I was really looking forward to that chicken and the butternut squash and the corn bread, especially on this dreary (yay!) day, so I thought about working my way back out to the free lane and going the long way around. Ultimately I decided it probably wasn't worth it and settled in for some people watching.

But then the train stopped! At least I thought it stopped. I couldn't see clearly through the rain on my passenger side window so I rolled it down to get a better look. Just as I had opened the window allllll the way and was leaning waaaayyy over to see if I could see the train, the whole car filled with light and there was a huge BOOOOOOM.

Lightning had obviously just struck something very close. Judging by the, oh, ZERO SECONDS I counted between the FLASH and the BOOM that was still resonating through my brain, it was very close indeed.

I rolled the window back up very fast. Well, that's not true, first I stupidly swatted at all four window buttons on the armrest for several seconds before I finally zeroed in on the right one. I managed to get the window closed and decided I really didn't need to know what the train was doing after all.

As it turns out it had moved on. But the lightning had blown out the signal lights. We sat there a while longer while we waited for cops to come direct the traffic, which was nearing the angry violent mob tipping point.

When I finally got waved through two intersections by two hostile-looking light-saber wielding policeman I saw that the traffic was even worse in the other direction. But still. My twenty minute commute took fifty and I almost got incinerated by a bolt of lightning. I was very glad to get home.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Stresssssfullllzzzzzzz

Wow friends. I had no idea the havoc kindergarten would unleash on our lives.

Charlie is struggling with focusing and finishing projects.  Just that one thing, apparently, but he is having major problems and it is really getting all of us down.  We've been practicing at home, we've been corresponding daily (sometimes more than that!) with his teacher, we've been encouraging him, we've celebrated his successes, we've gently but firmly reminded him that his teacher is in charge and if she says it's time to color your Mother Goose then you need to color your Mother Goose while at the same time internally questioning the importance of coloring as an academic skill for a kid who can read and add and subtract.  I've come up with many professional ways to say "But he's my baby, please be gentle with him, just look at those freckles!!" and cried many, MANY tears of frustration--in the kitchen after bedtime, in my car, in my office before important meetings--wondering if he was one of those smart boys who just doesn't "do school" well, wondering if he needed to be moved to a Montessori school out in the country, wondering if I needed to quit my job so I could spend more time volunteering in his classroom.  And yes, I've eaten all the chocolate in the house.

Mostly what we've done is we've held on with our fingernails waiting for that magical sixth week, after which some kind of "adjustment" is said to be complete.

I've hoped for improvement, some shred of good news every single day.  There has been some.  His teacher has done an excellent job at cheering him on for the good things he does.  He's neat, he pushes in his chair, he's polite, he's thoughtful, he doesn't speak out of turn.  He's a good boy.  But this project issue seemed to be a big one.

Yesterday he came out with a note that I had to sign and send back.  He wasn't completing his work, which meant he was being irresponsible.

He flung it at me and told me he didn't want to go to school today.  Then he picked a fight with Wes and rode his bike far away from us.

My baby.  My smart, sweet, loving baby boy who loves to learn and wants nothing more than to please his teacher, who taught himself to read this summer so he wouldn't disappoint her, did not want to go to school.

He's going to hate school, I thought.  He's going to be like all those smart kids I knew growing up who got terrible grades.  Who were angry and withdrawn.  Who did drugs.  Who ended up working at adult bookstores after graduation.  This is how it starts.

There was more crying.  I polished off the rest of the semisweet baking chocolate.  I filled Ryan in via email and was relieved when he came home early.

After dinner I went to an information night at his school.  It was supposed to be a fun little get to know the kindergarten curriculum kind of event.  But I got there early and sat in the front and smiled cautiously at his teacher when I saw her.

She immediately came over and sat down.  We talked for fifteen minutes.  She was great.  She said "I do NOT want him to hate school.  I would rather he do less work than hate school.  Tell him 'Do not worry about this.  You will be fine.  I will work with you.  School should be fun.'  I have lots of ideas.  If he doesn't want to color, he can start with cutting and gluing.  If he has to finish coloring at home where he can be alone, that is fine with me.  He is not the only kid to have had this problem and I know he's a smart kid.  I know he can read.  He's always polite and considerate.  He's a good boy.  Please tell him not to worry about this any more."

And so I went home and told him what his teacher had said.  He rolled over in his bed with Phent and said "I don't know.  I think I'll be sick tomorrow."  And I told him how when I worry about things at night my tummy feels sick the next morning.  I emphasized again that his teacher said to tell him "Don't worry.  Tomorrow will be better.  You do not have to color."

This morning he was a new kid.  He jumped out of bed before his alarm.  He dressed quickly and ran downstairs for breakfast.  He was cheerful and goofy and pleasant and adorable.  He was HIMSELF.  Ryan said he rode quickly to school and walked confidently into the building.  It was a good morning.  Such a good morning.

I thought about him all day, my nerves still raw and ready for another bad email, another bad note home, another blank sheet of construction paper folded into has backpack.

After my class I ran back to my office to check my phone.  I texted our nanny.  She responded, "GOLD STAR FOR CHARLIE TODAY!!"

I cried some more.  I emailed Ryan.  I exhaled for the first time in two weeks.  I hope this is the start of something good.

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Monday, September 10, 2012

Get yer guns up!

We woke up Saturday morning to seasonably cool weather for the first time in months, which is to say it was 75 at eight o'clock instead of 85 and humid. Add in the brisk north wind that came with it and it was downright nice outside. Charlie ran out onto the porch then ran back in and up to his room to put on some jeans and a long-sleeved shirt. Wes and I cuddled under a blanket with my coffee, just because we could. James enjoyed going down the slide without requiring extensive skin graft surgery to his legs.

The euphoria lasted until about ten o'clock when the kids started to get bored with frolicking in the wind and began to turn on each other.

We needed something fun to do, QUICK. Our Red Raiders were playing Texas State in a nearby town so we decided a family tailgate party was in order. The hour we would spend in the car on the way down with everyone strapped into their seats out of reach of their brothers was an added bonus that did not go overlooked. A quick run through McDonalds for OJ and hashbrowns and we were on our way.

The alumni association had staked out a parking lot and set up a stage for a live band, a beer tent, and some port-a-potties. They said the tailgate didn't start until 12:00, but I know my Red Raider fans better than that. We arrived at 11:00 to find a dozen George Straight-style bus-campers lined up around the lot and the party well underway.

First we decorated the car...

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Charlie's sign:

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My sign:

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This was all amusing slash annoying to the more professional tailgaters around us, with their enormous smokers on wheels and tents, especially the guys next to us whose grill almost caught the big roll of crepe paper I had on fire after the wind ripped it out of my hand.

We played a little catch.

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James wanted to know when it would be time to break into the cheese.

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And then he fell asleep briefly on a stranger's doormat.

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Someone took a nice family picture for us. Yes, we did forget James's shoes.

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We made some friends, listened to the live band for a little while (a delightful song about how much fun it is to skip work and drink beer. Which, yes and no.), and then headed back home. While we were driving back to the highway a student from the other school, no doubt a representative of the Greek community, screamed "F*$# TECH!" at our window repeatedly. It's those kinds of organic experiences for the kids that make me miss living in a college town. That and having neighbors who sit on their roof and drink beer at nine o'clock in the morning. Memories!

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

PREEEEEESCHOOOOOOOL!!!!!

It seems like such a simple thing, vacuuming the bedrooms without someone falling down the stairs...

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...taking a shower without a $75 emergency room copay...

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...running into the coffee shop to order a breakfast taco and a cup of tea from an actual human, unencumbered by an armful of pissed off toddler.

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Any sort of wistful feelings I might have had about this moment were erased when James had a spectacular ten-minute screaming tantrum on the kitchen floor over not being allowed to bring his "bike" inside.

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Wes had a bit of a moment in the car when we got to school, insisting that Charlie is the one who goes to school, Charlie is the big boy! He is nervous about being there without him. Then I reminded him of his two best buds from last year, who are in his new class.

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And you can help look out for James! I told him. He was dubious, but ultimately got out of the car and put on his backpack so I didn't have to call an aide to come peel him off of me. Just kidding. Kind of.

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Everyone was happy when I walked out of there, hands free for the first time in MONTHS. Yes, fall is my favorite.

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Monday, September 3, 2012

People in glass houses...

I needn't have worried about Charlie and Wes's friendship now that Charlie is at school for much of the day. They picked right up where they left off this weekend and had a great time together. And by "had a great time together" I mean, "sneaked food and broke things together."

It started this morning when the two of them headed downstairs instead of coming into our bedroom and waking us up by peeing in our bathroom, slamming the toilet seat, then crawling into our bed. I checked the clock (7:30) and noted that James was still asleep (miracle!) and snuggled back under the covers (and by covers I mean single top sheet because it is still freaking hot here).

Finally, Ryan went down to see what was going on and found Wes climbing up the pantry shelves like Spider Man to get at the contraband box of Cocoa Pebbles we had leftover from a recipe I made.

Charlie was on hand to orchestrate the whole thing.

I did not ask how he planned to treat the head injury that Wes would almost certainly incur when he fell from the top shelf. Although he would have landed in a huge pile of clean clothes so maybe he would have been alright.

Evidence on the kitchen table suggested that as an appetizer to their breakfast of Cocoa Pebbles (they turn the milk into chocolate!), Wes had eaten half a packet of hot chocolate mix. Just the mix. No milk.

Ryan worked quickly to get some solid food into him before he crossed over to the Dark Side. I think he ate a half a banana.

The two of them spent a lovely day running around the house together doing who knows what. They spent lots of time tucked away among the winter bedding in a corner of our closet talking to each other and making up stories. I don't really know, or want to know, because they were being so nice and having such fun together. It was later that Ryan and I were downstairs with James, that I had the thought "This is so nice. Is this what it's like to have big kids? Because this is awesome."

And then Charlie appeared on the stairs looking contrite.

"Mom? I'm really sorry but..."

Oh goodness did they break another crib? Another Pack and Play? Did they break the TV? The window? Where's Wes? Is he hurt?"

"...we broke the light."

Ryan and I headed up to find the glass dome of our closet ceiling light shattered into pieces.

The scene gave us both the nervous giggles. Charlie and Wes sat on our bed trying to look sorry. This made me laugh harder. I hid in the bathroom for a moment then regained composure.

"How did this happen?" I managed.

Charlie spoke first. "We threw a boot at it!! BANG! Lights out!"

Sure enough one of Ryan's size 12 L.L. Bean steel toed hiking boots was lying nearby. It probably weighs ten pounds. I'm not sure how they threw it that far but I'm impressed. And annoyed. And still shaking from the effort it's taking not to laugh.

We had a Very Serious Conversation about throwing things inside. And then they got banished to the back yard, where you can throw anything you want that's not a person or a dog. When Charlie complained about having to take the compost out I just looked at him and said "You want to talk about that light some more or do you want to help me with the compost?" He chose to do the compost. I plan to get some mileage out of this.

And then it took Ryan over an hour to get all the glass out of the closet with his shopvac. There were pieces in all of the shoes, ground into the carpet, in his dresser. Tiny shards of glass. Everywhere.

We may need to install a padded room. With no glass of any kind. And no sugar cereal.