Pinky & The Brain…

Well, Twitch didn’t make it.  Poor fish.

Though truthfully, we’re all a little shocked he even survived the first night at all.  He made it until some time last night while Daddy and I were watching Jurassic Park 3D (because Mommy has seriously seen the movie probably a thousand times, and absolutely HAD to see it in the theater.  That, or have a little part of her brain implode.).  We came home to find him dead at the bottom of the tank.

I’m sad – which is silly because I knew the darn thing was going to die.  He’s been floating in the back corner of the tank, refusing to eat, just twitching away since we put him in it.  But still.  It would have been super cool for him to have survived.  I could have made him a little fishy tee-shirt that said “I survived the fishy apocalypse”.

Okay, maybe I wouldn’t go that far.  But still.

In the meantime, Mase went to bed last night, got naked a few times, and then seemed to settle down.  We got home from the movie and I saw him in the window – by the time we walked in the house I could hear him “Mommy!  Mommy!  Mommy!” so I went to go put him back in bed and say goodnight.

Or not.

Poopcasso Jr. has struck again.  The little snit.  Luckily it wasn’t a lot – and this is the fourth time in the last two weeks.  Still, it could have been worse.  A lot worse.  One little spot on the carpet and a poopy covered kid is a whole lot less damaging than poop on all of the textured walls, toys, and every other surface of the room.  That was more Kaleb’s style.  Mason just covers himself.  So far.  I don’t know why I’m surprised.  I’ve been preparing myself for this event since Mason stopped smearing six months ago.  Because as different as he and Kaleb are – in many ways they are like reflections of each other.  Sometimes it’s like watching a parallel universe – where their personalities are drastically different, but their actions, processes, and other such things are mirror images.

So, I knew.  Because Kaleb did the same thing to me.  Poopcasso Sr. smeared for what felt like forever.  Even when we were stalking the video monitor he still managed to wipe poo on every surface he could get his stinky little hands on.  Then he stopped for a good six months.  I had six months of utter relief that the only poop I was cleaning came in the form of a diaper.

Then, BAM!  Just like that.  Right back to smearing every surface.  Poopcasso Sr. came back with a vengeance.  And I was pregnant with Mason.  With extreme morning-afternoon-evening-night-if you look at me crooked I’m going to throw up sickness.  I’d take one step into the hallway, get hit by the smell, and vomit on the spot.  So of course then I was contending with his mess, and my own mess, while having to lock the dog outside so he wouldn’t eat it (because Milo has this disturbing obsession with eating the most disgusting things on the planet).

This?  Last night?  This was cake compared to Poopcasso Jr.’s mentor and predecessor.

Stick him in the bath, clean him up, clean up his room, get him out of the bath, put him in pjs, send him to bed – not even playing kid.  Plant your rear in that bed and don’t you move it till the sun comes back up.

Of course, one of the biggest problems with this is the joy they both get out of this terribly disturbing habit.  And I know that part of it is a sensory thing.  But neither of them likes to play with PlayDoh, at least not the way it’s meant to be played with.  No finger paint.  Under any circumstances.  So, what’s with the poop?

Problem number 2:  I have no idea how far Mase is going to take this.  Is Poopcasso Jr. here to stay until he finally potty trains?  Will he get worse?  Will he stick with this minimal action poop play?  Or will we be finding poop up by the ceiling hiding behind a shelving unit in the closet three years from now (ahem – guess what Daddy found in Kaleb’s room when prepping to paint the closet?  We have no idea how he even got it up there.)?  I am not a fan of the Poopcasso family.  I am even less a fan of the unpredictability of Mason’s determination.

Because the truth is, Mason is the most dubiously manipulative child I’ve ever seen.  Some days it’s like living with Pinky and The Brain.  Both boys have their strengths and their weaknesses.  Kaleb’s strengths lay in academics and creativity.  Mason’s biggest strength is people.  Don’t misunderstand me – Mason doesn’t actually like people.  In most cases (unless you’re one of the few people he deems worthy) he doesn’t care one iota about people themselves.  He’s fascinated with people the way he’s fascinated with cars.  He wants to know how they work.  From the day he was born he’s been studying people.  He watches everything from your micro-expressions to how you react in stressful situations.  Within five minutes of meeting you, my Mini Monster is able to play you like a fiddle.  He’ll make you love him.  He’ll give you that look that says “I’m just so adorable and sweet how could you possibly think I’m anything other than a perfect angel?”

Love me, Love me, say that you love me..

Love me, Love me, say that you love me..

Then he’ll do something completely off the rails – send you carreening into a frenzy of “What the hell just happened here?” – and most of the time you won’t even know that it was him  that did it.  And by the time you start to come to that conclusion he’s giving you the look, being sweet and affectionate, and you think “No.  It couldn’t possibly have been him.”  While over your shoulder he’s smirking.  Smirking. He’s TWO.  No way should he be smirking behind your back.  But he is.  And he’s good at it.  He can conjure tears in seconds.  Beam a smile bright enough to light up a room and laugh that goofy little laugh without a single thought.

Perfect personality moment.

Perfect personality moment.

So, there are days where I’ve turned the tables.  I’ve studied him.  And it truly is like living with Pinky & The Brain.  Mason and Kaleb are playing together – and you can see how Mason, even when Kaleb thinks he is controlling the play, is manipulating Kaleb with very little effort.  He could get him in trouble, he could get him praised.  He’s just that good.  And then he starts yammering – and for some reason Kaleb actually understands the jumbled mess of Masonese that leaves his mouth.  The next thing I know, Kaleb is in action.  And it doesn’t take but a minute for me to figure out that he’s purposely trying to send me over the deep end.  But then I watch Mason get exasperated and start yelling at Kaleb.  Then they start fighting.  In the end, Mason has come up with what I’m sure he thought of as a brilliant plan – and Kaleb executed it wrong.

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“What are we going to do today Brain?”

“The same thing we do every day Pinky.  Try to make Mommy insane!”

I could probably go on about this forever, but I have to go stop Mason and Leah from causing Monster War 7,985,586 in Kaleb’s room.

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Badfish…

Soooo…

The fish is dead.

Oh, but that’s just the beginning of this story.

For those of you just tuning in, I bought Mason a fish about two months ago, after endless days of crying and screaming hysterically every time he saw a fish tank and we had to leave (including in the middle of the library – thanks for that one people).  Eventually I caved, took the kid to PetCo and we picked out a Beta fish, a little 2.5 gallon tank, some fishy necessities, and we were on our way.

Mason loved this fish.  He was also determined to either give it a stroke, or eat it.  The jury is still out on that one.  This was not only an adventure of epic proportions for him – but for me as well, seeing as how I’ve never had a fish last more than a week in my care.  His morning highlight every day was feeding the fish.  Mine was watching his face light up as the fish came darting out to eat.  This was sweet, it was cool, and apart from the pain in the butt weekly tank cleaning, it was pretty low maintainance.

Until one fateful day, not so long ago.  Mason and my niece decided the fish tank needed some more decorating.  Everything from baby hair brushes to air fresheners (all the stuff found in the bathroom junk drawer) was propelled into the poor fish’s tank.

Insert nightmare number one.  Now, replay that three more times.  Each time I’m becoming more and more convinced that they want the fish to die.  Then they decide to pull out all of the fish’s plants (this is what occurred the last time I wrote).  Big trouble.  Followed by an attempt to put all of the plants back – which would be amazing (omg you’re actually trying to fix a mistake you made?  Did someone spike my drink??).   Except the plants were being forcefully put back into the tank, while Mason was elbow deep in water, and the fish was on the verge of having a little fishy heart attack.

Fast forward to the next day – fish seems okay.  A bit spooked still, basically spends all day hiding in his little shark, even after the tank was cleaned.  The next thing I know, I wake up this morning, go to feed the fish, and…

Where on Earth is the fish??  Oh, I see him, he’s hiding in those plants.  Tap, Tap, Tap.  Oh crap.  He’s not hiding.  He’s dead.  He’s dead and he’s tangled in all of those stupid little plastic plants.  Oh no.  Extricate Mason from the bathroom as quickly as possible with the promise of food – any kind of food – Yep, you can have a cookie – just get away from the tank before you figure out that something is amiss.

So.  Being the loving, doting, absolutely insane-and-sometimes-really-stupid parents that we are, we immediately decide to buy a new fish.  Mason and I go to Walmart first – primarily because I had other things to get (like magic erasers to clean all the crayon of Kaleb’s door so we can repaint it sometime this century).  But truthfully, I was completely mortified at the thought of walking back in to PetCo after only two months and admitting that the fish is dead, and I was the last person to interact with it before time of death.  Nuh-uh.  No way.  Let’s go to Wally World.

So, we do.  We get to the fish section, and I’m looking for a lid for our tank.  Of course I can’t find one.  In the meantime, Mason is in the cart losing his mind over some little GloFish.  Hmmmmm?

Oh, look at that!  A Glofish tank!  And it comes with all the major accessories needed to sustain life.  Look!  The box even tells you what to buy to continue to keep the fish alive!  Ooooh look at that!  The little book over there says they are “great beginner fish”.  Also easy to care for and energetic.  Um – SOLD.  Grab the tank and accessories, hunt down an employee, and let Mason point and squeal at the fish.  The little booklet said they do better in groups of five or more – so we get five fish.

Mason is thrilled.  He talks and yammers to those fish the entire way through the store, the check-out line, and in the car.  We get home, I let him out of his car seat, he takes off like a rocket for the front seat screaming “My Fish!  My Fish!”

~~ Note:  This is one of the very few times I’ve heard Mason use any form of possessive language (especially appropriately) – not to mention he’s stringing two REAL words together with some serious enthusiasm.  I’m mentally patting myself on the back for my ingenious plan (and secretly hoping Daddy agrees with my genius), and we stroll into the house with our fishy supplies.

I put Mason down for a nap and get to work.  Flush the dead fish (yes, seriously.  I did not do it before.  I couldn’t bring myself to flush a dead fish at 7am.  I had a hard enough time doing it at 1pm after some serious caffeine intake – so shoot me.), clean out the tank, and get to work setting up the new one.  Which takes forever.  Mostly because I have absolutely no bloody idea what I’m doing.  Who knew fish were so complicated?  Especially when you throw in filters and glow in the dark plants.

By 2:20 I’m done.  Good to go.  Whoo-Hoo me!

Oh crap, it’s 2:20!  The boys have hair appointments in an hour!  My niece gets dropped off, and I’m fighting to wake Mason up.  “Look Mase!  Leah is here!”  (Not her real name BTW, but what we all call her)  No go.  I try everything.  Food.  Milk.  Cars.  Go Bye-Bye.  The Bus will be here soon.  Nothing.  Then, out of nowhere he shoots out of bed like a rocket and takes off for the bathroom screaming “My Fish!  My Fish!”

Oh, that’s it – I am freaking brilliant.

He oohs and ahhs over the fish for a bit, before we pack it up, go wait for the bus, and head off to get haircuts.  Only to realize that Kaleb left his Blankie at school and I had to make a complete detour to go pick it up before his teacher left for the day and all hell broke loose. The boys get their hair cut – Kaleb doing better than Mase, but a lollypop cures most of that problem.  In and out, thirty minutes no problem (This is why Aunt Cheryl is the bomb).  By ten after four we are walking back into the house.  Daddy has seen the fish – and also thinks I am brilliant (OKAY, okay, I’m taking a bit of license with the words here – I believe what he actually said was “That’s really cool.  What other colors are there?”).  We leave Mason looking at his fish, and we go to discuss the possibility of getting some more in other colors.

It never even dawns on us that Kaleb and Leah are out on the porch – and Mason is not.  Until it’s too late.  Mason comes walking down the kitchen, drenched.  He has this look of half confusion, half pride, and a tiny smidge of “Oh Crap am I in trouble” thrown in for good measure.  Daddy and I both jump up and run to the bathroom – to find a fishy horror story.  Upon first glance it’s a massacre.  With some careful inspection, it isn’t quite that bad – but pretty darn close.

He’s pulled the fish tank into the sink – slamming it against the faucet and breaking the tank.  There is water everywhere.  There are rocks everywhere.  But… where are the fish?!?!  We spot a yellow one on top of the rocks left in the tank flapping around – and it’s time for action.  Grab the old tank, throw some water in it as fast as possible, toss in a few drops of the conditioner, grab the fish and throw him in.  Find fish number 2 on the floor.  He looks dead.  I go to scoop him up and he jumps into my hand (not gonna lie, it scared the crap out of me for a second).  Get him in the tank as fast as possible.  Yellow fish has recovered (seemingly) fairly well and is swimming around.  See-through fish from the floor is kinda twitching.  A lot.  I wonder briefly if fish can have strokes, before we continue our search and rescue mission.

Where are the other three fish??

All the while, in the back of my head, one dreaded thought is circling… did he eat them?  Did he really eat his fish??

Daddy opens the cabinet to get into the drain, only to discover everything  in there is soaked – diapers and all.  We empty it out and he pulls the trap out of the bottom of the drain and we look – no fish.  Well crap.  Then all of a sudden we hear a small “plop!”  and there’s fish number three!  Just fell out of the drain!  We tossed him in the survivor’s tank, and looked a while longer – sifted through the rocks and the mess, but the other two fish are gone.  Either down the drain or Mason’s gullet.

Which left us with three somewhat active, mostly alive, if not twitchy fish.  They’re going to have anxiety issues if they survive this night.  Especially after being thrown into their ghetto of a fish tank – no rocks, no plants, nothing to do but… twitch.

Oh, and lest I forget – what were Mase and Leah doing while we were on this fishy rescue mission?  They had gone into our bathroom – and made a complete and utter mess.  Leaving nothing unturned – including the toilet brush.  And don’t forget the six times they’ve stripped down naked in a matter of seconds.  OOoooooh children you are just downright cruel today!

So, off I go, back to Walmart.  Where I buy a new tank, new fish, and we find a new, safer location for the fish.  One where the kids can look, but can’t touch, and it’s smack dab in the middle of the kitchen and the living room.  Perfect.  I’m sitting here typing this while the kids are in bed, and Daddy is setting up the new fish tank (with no small amount of OCD – which I find both charming and absurd considering it’s a fish tank).  Anyway, it’s his turn.  I’ve reached my fish tank quota this week.

I’ve also just realized that the two fish who didn’t make it six hours more than made up for my good two month run with the Beta.

Why couldn’t we have just gotten a bearded dragon?

GloFish!  Not ours, ours aren't ready yet - this came from www.glofish.com

GloFish! Not ours, ours aren’t ready yet – this came from http://www.glofish.com

Can’t Repeat…

I’m currently sitting on the floor in the boys’ hallway glaring at a pair of mischievous imps whose selective hearing skills are more impressive than that of a Roman God.

Wanna know why?

It all started like this…  Kaleb, Mason and my niece were playing in Mason’s room.  They were behaving, so I didn’t think much of it.  Until I heard Kaleb yell “No Mase!”  My ears perked up, I waited a second, and I heard Mason say “Why?”

However Kaleb responded, I couldn’t hear it from the kitchen.  Another minute goes by and the exact exchange occurred.  Now I need to know what is going on, so I start heading their way.  Almost immediately I hear Kaleb yell “No Mason!  Stop that!  You can’t get naked!”  Followed immediately by the “Why?” that will forever make me think of smeared poop.  I turn the corner to find Mason mostly sans pants – he’s got one foot stuck, in the process of stripping off his diaper.

baby-chuckie-funny-naked-rugrats-tommy-pickels-Favim.com-51624_large

Ughhhhhhhhh again??

This is mean.  This is spiteful trickery and I do not appreciate it.  I know you aren’t ready to potty train.  You know you aren’t ready to potty train.  So why do you want to pee on your carpet SO badly??

Annnyyyyway…

We move on, make dinner, and do secret silent happy dances cause Daddy can finally start painting the color on Kaleb’s walls.  Which means we only have a few days left of Kaleb sleeping in our room.  < Insert imaginary fist-pump here >

So, we eat dinner – and it’s kinda like eating in the middle of the Twilight Zone.  Mason actually used a spoon (okay, it only happened once – but once is enough for three imaginary fist-pumps), my niece actually ate – it wasn’t much, but not much is still an improvement from her falling asleep with her face on a plate full of food she refused to eat for dinner.  And Kaleb not only ate all of his dinner, without a single complaint (he actually complimented it!  Can you believe this?!) – but he did so while being all around wonderful (and yeah, he totally got cake for dinner).

Then of course, the real trouble sets in.  Daddy’s preparing the paint, I’m folding laundry, Kaleb is playing with his Legos.  I saw the two little ones go in to Mason’s room, so I didn’t think much of it.  Until Daddy found them – playing in the fish tank – again.  As much as Mason loves that fish, I’m really beginning to wonder if he is trying  to kill it.  Not three minutes go by before they are in the tank again. And in serious trouble.  Enough is enough – you both get to go to bed ten minutes early.

Aaaaaaand problem number three sets in – now they both get naked.  Drama, drama, “Keep your diapers on!” drama.  Six minutes later – they are naked again.

So here I am.  Watching Daddy paint in one room, while telling those little minions to get their butts back in bed every sixty seconds in the other room.

I feel like a broken record – and I cannot stand that.  I seriously cannot stand repeating myself.  It’s one of those absurd idiosyncracies I picked up when I was young and I just can’t shake it.  I don’t mind repeating stories (or maybe I do – maybe that’s the subconscious reason this whole blog exists – just so I can tell everyone the story one time), but I do not like to have to constantly say the same things over and over again.

Get in bed!  Leave your clothes on!   Stop pushing on the screen!  Stop smearing poop!  Don’t throw food to the dog!  Eat your food!  Get out of the dog’s face!  Stop jumping on the couch!  Don’t touch the fish!  Get that out of your mouth!  What is that??  Where did you get that?  Give that to me – take it out of your mouth!    

These are the things I have found myself saying so many times over and over again I feel like there’s a new circuit board in my brain, just programing automatic responses to certain situations.  It feels sometimes like all I do is holler the same phrases over and over and over again.  And not just with Mase.  With Kaleb.  With the dog.  Hell, I’m pretty sure half the time the only person in this house that listens to me is me.  And that’s pretty sad considering I’m just now learning to start taking my own (pretty awesome) advice.

That isn’t really true.  Daddy listens for the most part – sometime I can’t blame him for tuning out – sometimes I talk so fast I can’t keep up with myself either.  Then again, sometimes I’m just downright insane and I find myself meeting the kind of glazed-over, “you can’t be serious” look – usually when he can’t figure out if I actually am that crazy, or if I’m just having a moment.

So, I get easily frustrated when I have to constantly repeat myself to the same people over and over again.  Especially my little Monsters.  Though, I’m pretty sure they do it on purpose to make me as crazy as Daddy sometimes thinks I am.

But I discovered something that might help with that.  Okay, that isn’t exactly true.  I was all but dragged from the comfort of my pajamas Saturday morning to go to a Yoga fusion class that was holding a fundraiser for our walk.  I can’t thank my friend enough for that.  Because, as much as I despise working out, this yoga thing ROCKS.  For the first time in three years (well, until now, this floor is kinda doing me in) my hips didn’t hurt.  And I was relaxed (for almost ten whole minutes!).

So Mommy is doing something that is simply, strictly for her and only her.  I’m going to go to Yoga once a week.  I’m actually going to get up at the crack of morning, put on real people clothes, grab the mat my kids have been using as a play toy for years, and go take Yoga classes.  And I’m going to stick with it.  That’s why I’m telling you cyber-people.  I need to be held accountable for actually following through with this – unlike every other harebrained idea I’ve come up with (seriously, why did I think it was a good idea to join a gym for the first time when I was pregnant?).

The plus side to this lunacy?  Not only will it help my completely out of control arthritis, and give me a least a few moments of actual peace once a week – but I’ll actually be exercising without being miserable.  Plus, I’ll look super by the time next May rolls around and we actually get married!

Win, win, win!

Mason still hasn’t given up the fight – so I’m off to go give him the “Mean Mommy Eye” (I don’t think that’s a real thing – but it’s reassuring to think I have one).

 

The Worst Day Since Yesterday…

training-kids-quote

Yesterday was the kind of day that shatters me as a mom.

One of those days where you end up on the verge of tears for hours until the dam finally breaks and the flood comes rushing out at the slightest thing.

Calling my boys “The Monsters” has become a something so light and common place in our lives, I forget sometimes why the nickname started.  Yesterday reminded me of exactly why Kaleb is the Monster Man.  He was absolutely, unequivocally horrendous yesterday.  And while the past few months haven’t been a walk in the park – we haven’t had a day that bad in a long, long time.  

The biggest problem for me though?  Wasn’t that he was being a jerk (yes, I did just call my five year old a jerk.  If you were here yesterday you would understand).  It was that he was such a jerk, I couldn’t tell when the stubborn, back-talking, mouthy, bad attitude ended and where the meltdowns began.  I didn’t know what to do or how to react.  Nothing was working.  Nothing was working.

Talk, conjole, yell, discipline, ignore, hold on to – I did all of that and more.  But it just kept going.  On and on.  I’m bruised.  I’ve got scratches all over, and bite marks to match.

Who is this MONSTER  and where the hell did my kid go??

Everything was fine when he got off the bus – happy, excited, a little flighty, but overall, I’m like yay for good moods!  I had been cleaning (with very little help from the Mini-Monster) basically all day – Daddy’s parents get to town to visit today.  So, Daddy was painting and I was in a cleaning frenzy.  I was working on the office, and asked Kaleb to clean off his art desk.  It’s completely covered with paper, books, and miscellaneous nonsense that does not belong there.

Insert an hour and a half of complete chaotic nightmare.  At first all I can think is where the hell is this attitude coming from?  Seriously.  I didn’t dare speak to my mother that way until middle school.  He’s got the attitude of a thirteen year old girl.  And it absolutely stops us in our steps every single time it rears it’s angsty head.

So aside from the abject refusal to take a time out for chucking a Lego car across the living room at Mason, he flips their play table, upends a couple chairs (okay, they weigh all of two pounds, it’s not like the fact that he’s flipping them around is shocking, or even new – it’s the vigorous attitude he’s got while he does it), screams, kicks the sliding glass door a couple times, and then starts spitting.

SPITTING.  Since when does my kid spit?  All over the chair.  At me.  At Mason.  You’re joking right?  I inhaled too many fumes from my little canister of Clorox Wipes right?  I’m hallucinating?  Well, the kick to the shin just pulled me out of that little delusional wish.  He’s completely out of control.  And I can’t make heads or tails of it.  All this?  Over what?  Why?  I don’t understand.  I can see you.  You’re with me.  You know what is going on, what you are doing, and you are in control over yourself.  Why are you doing this?  Why??

That’s about as far as I got – because I had to sit on him to keep him from going after the dog.  Then Mase.  And he’s screaming, and spitting, and biting… it’s like he’s gone rabid.  I’m stunned.  I don’t know what to do.  I’m getting scratched and punched and slapped.  And I’m just sitting here, keeping him down with all I have – because if I let go, something really, really bad is going to happen.  And the way he’s raging – I’m just not sure I’d be able to stop him once he got some momentum back.

He starts screaming at me because he’s not a chair.  Well I’m not a punching bag!

Doesn’t matter.  All I need is for some of the rage lining his face to relax enough that I can trust him not to seriously injure someone.

In the meantime, my niece gets dropped off, takes one look at us, and runs for the hills.  I knew she was a smart one.

Then Kaleb threatens to cut me.  WHAT??  What did you just say??  What the hell just came out of your mouth?  Where did you hear that?  Do you even know what that means?  What is happening to my child???

I’m trying with all I have not to cry – because I just don’t know what else to do but sit here, wrapped around him like one of those velcro stuffed monkeys.  I’d already had a bad arthritis flare up in my hips, this – totally not helping.  Between the emotional pain, and the physical pain, it took every ounce of self control I had not to burst into tears.  Then Daddy came out to try and help, and a few tears slipped.  He tried his turn – conjoling, talking, reasoning, threatening to not finish his room – he got the same “Nah nah nah nah BUH” crap Kaleb had been spewing at me for the better part of an hour.

Finally, finally this nightmare comes to an end.  He calms down – we talk for about thirty seconds before I decide I really need some air and let him go play with the kids.  And all is fine.  For thirty minutes.  Until I discover all three kids in Mason’s closet making the mess of the century.  Considering the amount of time it took me to get that mess organized the first time around, I am not happy.  I’m not seething angry, but I’m definitely not pleased.  I want all three of them to clean the mess up.  Either you play with the toys or you find something else to do.  Dumping them out on the floor and laughing is not playing with the toys – it’s just mean at this point.

Mase and my niece both start picking up – and I’m helping – I don’t expect them to clean it all up without some encouragement.  Kaleb flat out refuses.  Sits there with his arms crossed glaring at me, “No.  I don’t clean.  You clean.”

You have got to be freaking kidding me.  After all we just went through?  You’re doing this again?  I can’t just let this go.  I can’t just sit here while you act like a hellcat because… well I don’t know why you’re acting like this.  But I can’t just let it slide.  Help us clean up, or take a five minute time out.  “NO.”

Enter meltdown number two.  It is now four thirty in the afternoon, he’s been home for just over two hours and yet again I’m sitting on him to keep him from harming something or someone.  This was basically a repeat of the last episode.  Conjole, reason, demand, yell, ask, plead – please.  Please stop this.

Another hour goes by before he’s finally calm enough to take his five minute time out while I wash dishes.  He sits in the chair and he spits.  He hits the sliding glass door.  He kicks the table and chairs.  But his bottom stays in the chair, so what-the-hell-ever.

I throw the meat in the sink to thaw for dinner and start to pull stuff out to prep.  He wants a snack.

No.  I’m making dinner.  If you eat dinner you can have a snack.

What’s for dinner?

Salmon and veggies.

Insert meltdown number three.  He wants chicken and veggies.  Suddenly he doesn’t like salmon (something he has consistently enjoyed forever).  Now I’m done.  No more.  You can sit your happy behind in bed, where it is quiet until it is time to eat.  The problem with this theory?  He doesn’t actually have a bed right now.  He’s sleeping in our bed while we re-do his room.  Fine.  Put him in our bed, tell him to take the time to calm down and stop misbehaving, and leave the room.  To hear something crash against the wall approximately 4 seconds after I pass the threshold.

Oh.  My.  Freaking.  God.  Now what??

March back there, put him back in bed, walk out again.

For him to pick up the same picture and throw it again.

March back there, put him back in bed, walk out and close the door.

For him to open the door, slam it, and open it again.

Just shoot me.  Please?

This of course escalates quickly into another thirty minute wrestling match.

More beating the crap out of mommy while mommy tries desperately to figure out just what is going on.  And fails to come up with a single reasonable explanation that doesn’t include possession and an exorcist.

Eventually he calms down, and I limp my way back to the kitchen to finish making dinner.

Put dinner on the table – insert meltdown number 4.

I.  Can.  Not.  Do.  This.  Again.

I just can’t.  I don’t have it in me today.  I do not have the emotional or physical wherewithal to take another bout in the ring with this kid.

Daddy recognizes this before I can even say anything, and he takes over.  Thirty minutes later, Kaleb is still raging, and Daddy is as frustrated as I am.

Kaleb’s Lego Police Station from the hospital has been sitting on top of the popcorn machine for a couple weeks now.  It’s safe up there, he can see it, but Mason can’t touch it.  Well – it was safe, anyway.  Until Kaleb takes the box it’s sitting on and chucks the entire thing across the kitchen.  Right then I felt like I was going to drown.  In Legos.  Confusion and anger.  More anger at myself for being so angry and not having more patience.  Sadness.  Frustration.  You name it – I was a rainbow of emotion, not a good, pretty rainbow either.  A rainbow that got swallowed by a storm cloud.  I just wanted to sit down on the floor, amid the hundreds of Legos and cry.

But, alas, there were two other little people to chase down.  Mase decided he was done and put himself in bed.  My niece started to pass out at the dinner table – so I put her to bed.  Then I sat down with Daddy and Miss Lisa and ate my dinner (which, at least, wasn’t half bad).  Got Kaleb up off the couch where he’d planted himself after the Lego showdown, and talked him into cleaning them up.  Talked to him for a few minutes about why he was in so much trouble – again.  Got his milk, took him to bed, had a good hug and “I love you” moment – because I needed that.  I needed to make sure before he went to sleep how very much I love him – even when he makes me want to hide in a closet with a box of tissues, a keg, and a straw.

Still, the tears didn’t come.  Until quite a few hours later when Daddy and I were talking about something completely unrelated – something that in no way should have been emotional.  And I just burst into tears.

Daddy gets kudos for not showing (much) how baffled he was – and for letting the flood gates open.  I woke up at 4:30 when Kaleb came out and crawled onto the couch.  He leaned over, gave me a kiss, rolled over and went back to sleep.  If I wasn’t so tired I probably would have cried all over again.  Because he’s so freaking sweet when he wants to be.  He’s so easy to love, and so hard to understand.

It makes me crazy (er).

This morning was typical, no sign that yesterday was a complete nightmare.  That is, until you look at the bruises all over my legs, and the fact that my arms are like jelly.

Now, Granny K & Grandpa Dave are here to visit.  And I’m having miniature panic attacks every twenty minutes or so.  I don’t know what to expect with him – I have no way to anticipate what’s going to happen.  Plus, it’s going to take significantly longer to finish his room than we originally thought – and we’re going to have to put him on an air mattress in our room.  Because Mommy’s hips and Daddy’s back cannot take much more of the couch.

I just hope today is a better day.  I still have a bit of clean-up to do.  I’d like a nap.  I’d like to know what to do with my child.

Oh, and btw, he was suspended again Tuesday.

That’s a story for tomorrow.  I’m going to go chew a couple packs of gum and clean up the Special K cereal that Mason dumped all over the power wheels jeep.

But just in case today is not a better day, a friend of mine (you know who you are) should not be surprised if I show up on her doorstep in a couple hours to steal their kegerator.

‘Till tomorrow, folks.

Oh, crap, one last thing –

There is officially 100+ people who follow this lunacy.  Thank you to all of you.  I was going to wait to say something until I wrote my 100th post (which will be in the next week or so I believe), however, that’s kinda rude of me.

So, thank you all very much, for continuing to fall down the rabbit hole with the Monsters.

Rest In The Bed…

By 8 o’clock last night I looked like a giant teddy bear threw up on me.

I’m not even remotely joking.  I was covered in foam.

Okay, Tarantino style, here’s what happened:

We’ve had problem after problem with Kaleb and his room for the last couple of months.  He continues to insist he’s hearing noises in his room – neither of us can figure out what noises he’s talking about.  The problem is, it could be any number of things – but the times and reactions are so inconsistent, I was seriously going with “I TOLD you the house was haunted!”

Okay, okay.  No.  I don’t actually think my house is haunted (but remind me to tell you about the dead people in the walls…).  However, as I could not find a logical reason for his constant insistence that his room makes noise.  And it just kept getting worse as time went on.  He went from just getting up in the middle of the night to insisting during the day that his room was “scary and not safe”.  Well, this is a big problem.

And then someone posed a question, wondering if the noises he’s hearing aren’t in his head – as a way to compensate or express overstimulation.  The more I thought about it, the more it made sense.  So, enough is enough.  Daddy and I discussed it (well, I talked and talked and talked until he probably agreed just to shut me up), and we decided it’s time to redo his room.  We’ve been planning on getting Mason a Corvette bed for a while – but we weren’t planning on painting his room, just touching it up when I pull the nursery rhymes off the walls to give him a more “big kid” theme.  We’d also been planning on finding a good time to redo Kaleb’s room.  Originally, this was based on two main factors:

  1. The kid has thrown, kicked, punched, and slammed an unbelievable number of small holes in the walls, and we need to fix them.  
  2. It is time for the Red Bed to go.

Now, of course, there’s more of a rush on it.  If he really is too overstimulated in his room – we need to fix it, pronto.  And as I sat thinking about the entire situation, I know that I’m partly to blame for that.  We don’t have a good “time-out” spot in the house.  So, we’ve always given time out in the bedroom.  That’s generally my primary mode of discipline – go take five minutes and calm down.  So, not only is he not calming down because the room is too “loud” – he’s associating it with being in trouble, not being safe.  Insert me smacking my forehead in a “how did I not realize this??” moment.

So, we are putting a rush on it.  I made Kaleb a list to explain what has to happen for him to have a “New Room” where he can feel safe.

  1. Break down the Red Bed
  2. Clean up the foam and bed
  3. Clean all of the crayon and marker off the walls (no more writing utensils of any kind are to be allowed in that room anymore.  It’s going to take me a month to get it all cleaned off)
  4. Fix the holes in the walls
  5. Pick out paint color
  6. Pick out new sheets
  7. Move the furniture
  8. Tape off the baseboards
  9. Paint the walls white (primer)
  10. Paint the walls the new color
  11. Get new bed
  12. Have a New Room!

He’s stoked about this, btw.

So, at 12:30 yesterday afternoon, I went in and started to break down the Red Bed.  Don’t know what the Red Bed is?  Well…

The Big Red Bed

The Big Red Bed


Obviously it’s red.  It’s also big.  7 foot in diameter actually.  It’s round.  It’s filled with what looks like a couple of memory foam mattresses that went through a wood chipper.  We bought it for Kaleb a couple of years ago, because his night terrors were coming back worse than before, and he was having a hard time sleeping in a regular bed – we’d find him in his bean bag chair a lot.  So, Daddy found the Red Bed (and believe you me, it didn’t come from someplace you typically buy kids furniture!), and there you have it.  I set it up the day it came, and made a huge mess, but the kid loved it.

Over the last few months though, we’ve noticed he’s sleeping on the futon, not the Red Bed.  While the Red Bed cradled him and gave him the stimulation he craved when he was younger, we think it’s time for him to have a regular bed again, since the only thing the Red Bed is used for anymore is something to jump on.

So, again, I went to go and break down the Red Bed.  Remove the cover, set it aside to go to the laundromat.  Grab the box of 39 gallon bags, and unzip a tiny section of the inside liner.

The foam inside the Red Bed

The foam inside the Red Bed

Ah crap.  I forgot what a complete and utter mess this was.  And I’m standing here with a garbage bag in my hand wondering how on earth I’m going to get the foam from the bed to the bag.  Then I ha an Ah Ha! moment.  We have at least ten different buckets stashed around this house – Mason is constantly changing his favorite form of container for the four thousand matchbox cars he cannot live without.  Run and grab a bucket – before I know it the bag is full.  And I haven’t made a dent.  Oh this sucks.  Daddy comes walking in, takes one look at me, the bed, and the bag, and tells me he doesn’t think this was such a good idea – I point out that switching the beds out was his idea.  He walks away shaking his head.

But he’s right.  This was a BAD idea.

Five bags in – we’re talking just shy of 200 gallons here folks – and I still haven’t made a dent.  By the time I’m on my 7th bag, it’s time to get Kaleb off the bus.  Tell him I’m breaking down the bed so he doesn’t go completely off the rails when he walks in and sees the mess.  He even helps me for a minute, which has me super excited because I was totally ready for the meltdown.  But compared to the toilet – the bed is no concern.

Oh, I haven’t mentioned the toilet?  Well, it was still clogging every day.  And finally Daddy had enough and decided to put in a new one.  So, while I’m literally up to my elbows in foam, he’s up to his in crap.  He did find the clog though – it wasn’t a matchbox car as we had suspected.  It was a dinosaur.  Ohhhh Mason, whatever will we do with you??  Anyway, Kaleb was upset because Daddy was “breaking” his toilet.  This was a problem for a while – but eventually he got past it – until this morning.  He used it, but he wasn’t happy about it.  It’s not the same as his other toilet and he needs the other one back.  Yeahhhhh no ya don’t.

Anyway, by 6 I was nearly done with the bed.  The entire bedroom was covered in foam, and so was I.

IMG_2803

Stopped to make the kids dinner and clean up the kitchen, got them in bed, ran to the store, and by 8 was ready to start cleaning the foam up off the floor.  21 bags later.  That’s more than 800 gallons of foam.  And we have NO idea what we’re going to do with all of these bags unless we get this bed sold, and fast.  Since Mason was actually asleep, I opted to sweep up as much as I could with the broom, and vacuum up the rest with the shopvac today.

IMG_2804

So, Kaleb slept in Mommy and Daddy’s room.  Mommy and Daddy slept on the couch because Kaleb is a bed hog.  And Mason woke up in time to see the bus… again.

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Now I’m off to vacuum, scrub, run to the vet, spackle and prime.  Wish us luck!

P.S.

There aren’t actually dead people in the walls.  At least, not that I’ve seen.  But I have my suspicions.

The Pied Piper…

Pied Piper 1

Sometimes I feel like a very unwilling Pied Piper.  This morning was one of those times.  Mason was up before my alarm (again?  What is the deal here?  What happened to sleeping until 9?  I liked that!), Kaleb was a bear, and Milo… well I’m pretty sure he actually is trying to kill me.

So, I get up, fumble around for my robe and drag myself to Kaleb’s room.  I shouldn’t be tired.  I was asleep by 9:30 for goodness’ sakes.  But for some reason I woke up a hundred times last night, before falling right back asleep.  I don’t know what kept waking me up, but I’m definitely not shining this morning as I rise.

The SECOND I hit the boys’ hallway Mason practically flies out of his bed and straight at the gate.  “Mommy!  blablababbleImakenosenseandIamtalkingwaytoofastbeforeyouhavehadcoffeeblabla Mommy!”

“I’ll be right there Mase.  Gotta get the Monster Man.”

I used to try and wake Kaleb up gently.  You know, closet light instead of ceiling light; gentle rub of the back, the hair – time to wake up buddy…  Wanna guess where that got me?  Nowhere – late for the bus and exasperated.  So, no more.  Lights on, shake and a tickle – wake up little dude, you’ve got school – grab the clothes, dresser drawers sliding open and closed with resounding *THUNK*.

This is what happens next (Every.  Single.  Morning.):

“Mommy I’m too tired to get up.”

“So am I.  Get up and get dressed please.”

“Noooo!  But Mommy I’m still so tired I can’t go to school…”  < Keep in mind, he’s whining all of this at me, and as previously stated there has been no caffeine intake as of yet.

“Kaleb.  Do you want your snack?”

“Yesssss….”

“Then get your bottom out of that bed and get dressed.”

If Mason is still sleeping this is usually followed up with a lot of shushing and “Don’t wake up Mase!”.  Out to the living room we go because for some reason Kaleb refuses to get dressed anywhere else.  Of course, he also refuses to put his dirty clothes in the basket, so I suppose it doesn’t matter where he drops them as long as he gets dressed.

I leave Kaleb in the living room – who is whining and grumbling at his clothes as he moves at a pace a snail would find embarrassing – to go get Mase, who has been running his mouth a mile a minute the entire time I’ve been fighting with Kaleb.

Do the diaper, clothes, feed the fish thing.  Give Kaleb his lunchtime options.  Of course you want apples.  Why would you pick the orange?

Allow me to explain why this is a problem.

Kaleb has decided some time in the last month or so that he cannot eat brown food unless it is meant to be brown.  Meaning, poptarts and graham crackers are okay – but if an apple slice has even the slightest hint of brown?  Forget about it.  He won’t eat pizza anymore because there’s brown on the cheese.  So on and so forth.  I’ve been trying to find a solution to this problem.  He loves apples – they cannot be brown.

So I spend ten minutes on Google trying to find a reasonable solution.  I eventually end up mixing lemon juice and water and sticking the apple slices in the container with the mixture before placing the whole thing in his lunchbox with a note that says “Please have a grown up open this!”

This whole time, Mason has been stuck to me like super-glued velcro.  He has not once been more than an inch away from me.  Which is starting to play a tune on my nerves.  Just give me a little bit of space please!  Well, now of course I have Kaleb on the other side of me, and Milo right behind me.  What is this?  Why are you boxing me in?  Don’t you want me to make your lunch?  Do you want me to go postal before the sun is even up?  Please back the heck up NOW!

This continues right up until the minute I get Kaleb on the bus and get Mason inside.

Of course a hidden reasonable side of me thinks it’s better to be the Pied Piper.  At least I know where they are, what they are doing, and they’re not destroying anything more than my nerves.

Whereas when they are left to their own devices while I cook dinner (last night for example) they have the collective ability (along with my niece) to destroy the entire house before you can say “How did you make such a huge mess so fast?!”  It seriously looks like a herd of child elephants came over for a playdate.  And it was done in under five minutes.  Daddy stands there half stunned and half defeated – I’m so used to it I just shake my head and walk away.

So maybe it is better to be the Pied Piper after all.  Then again, is the condition of the house really worth the condition of my nerves?

Probably.

Blue’s Clues…

Yesterday was Blue’s birthday.

Well, actually, all of April is Blue’s birthday.

And by Blue I am talking about the puppy from Nick Jr.

blues clues

Even though we’re obsessed with Disney Jr and we do not watch Nick Jr any longer.  Even though we’re obsessed with Madagascar 3 and Megamind.  Sophia the First and Jake & the Neverland Pirates.  Cars and Cars 2.  Somehow, we’ve re-fixated on Blue.

Before I get into a full-blown story, a little background.

When Kaleb was a little bit older than Mason is now he LOVED Blue’s Clues.  More than anything.  More than graham crackers.  And considering he went an entire month eating ONLY graham crackers – that’s a lotta love right there.

The transition was so gradual, I barely even noticed it was happening.  He hadn’t been talking that long, and most of what he said was echoed from Dora.  That’s primarily how he communicated.  “Bridge, mountain gooey geyser!  Elevator, slide, Z!”  And of course his language was so new it was difficult enough to figure out what he was saying, let alone when he would spend all day simply repeating three Dora locations to explain what he wanted.  So when he started asking for Blue’s Clues all I could think was Oh thank God!  No more Gooey Geyser! *Note*  I still have a very serious dislike of the Gooey Geyser.  

So gradually, Dora was replaced with Blue.  I was completely happy with this.  Not only did I get to say “Hasta Luego!” to the girl with the terrible haircut and too-short tee-shirt, but I loved Blue’s Clues!  I still remembered most of the songs from when my cousin was young and was in love with the show (back when it was new lol).

~~Oh, and as a sidebar – steve isn’t dead.  I don’t know if you knew that or not – I didn’t.  For years I thought he was dead.  He’s not.  I first discovered this when he popped up on Jack’s Big Music Show.  Turns out – Steve is buffed up and in a rock band.  Seriously.~~ Check it out.  http://www.zooglobble.com/blog/2007/1/22/kidvid-i-hog-the-ground-steve-burns-with-steven-drozd.html

Anyway.  Kaleb fell in love with Blue and he fell HARD.  That year was the year of Blue.  Sho-Sho got him a Mailbox and a Tickety Tock Clock (both of which were things we MADE into Blue’s Clues things – because that crap is IMPOSSIBLE to find these days).  And then we found the notebooks.

I’d been tortured by these notebooks.  Teased and tortured.  He needed a handy dandy notebook.  Do you know how difficult it is to find a tiny notebook that will hold (without losing) a large crayon?  Then we found a pack of Handy Dandy notebooks online (in hindsight we should have bought the erasable one) – SOLD!!  Score!  Kaleb loved his notebooks!  Took them everywhere.  Problem?  He was little and destructive and they were paper.  Off goes a cover – well it’s ruined.  accidentally marked the wrong page – ruined.  So on and so forth.  Then for Christmas, Daddy found the Mecca of Blue’s Clues items – Blue herself.



070

072

075

From then on it was Kaleb and Blue.  Inseperatable.  They were a team.  He would carry her around by her nose – which Mommy has had to sew back on many a time (and you want to know why it continues to tear?!).

And then one day, in a split second, Blue was no more.  She got put away, replaced by Doggie (totally different story, I’ll get to that eventually).  Blue’s Clues was replaced with Yo Gabba Gabba! (seriously – who comes up with this crap and what drugs are they on?  Party in my tummy?  Shoot me in the face).  Just like that.  Bam!  Bye Bye Blue.  Mailbox was just a mailbox, Tickety was just a clock that got thrown into a wall one too many times and doesn’t actually tick any more.

Now, in typical Kaleb fashion, every now and then he would revert for a day or two back to Blue’s Clues.  Usually because mommy couldn’t stand one more minute of DJ Lance and forced a respite.  It never lasted long though.

Daddy and I have been randomly putting on Blue’s Clues for Mase for a while – because they use a lot of sign language and I can’t listen to any more Rachel Coleman than I can Moono.  If you have small children or have ever watched “Signing Time” videos, you’ll understand.

Well, somehow that has not only given us a new Blue’s Clues lover – but it’s regenerated Kaleb’s affection.  So, now every day in April is Blue’s Birthday.  And Kaleb needed to make a present for Blue.  A few days ago I brought the contingency bag in from the car to empty out and refill with the newest obsessions (we keep a backpack filled with all the things that can distract on short notice).  In it, Kaleb found one of those ridiculous toys – the stick with the globe on the end, when you push a button the thing inside the globe lights up and spins around.  We must have five or six of them – Mason loves them.  Well, the inside spinny part of this particular one was broken.

Kaleb asked Daddy to make it a present for Blue.  So what does Daddy do?  He rips it apart to fix it.  Going so far as to pull out the soldering iron for a three dollar plastic toy.  He takes all this time and fixes it – goes to hand it to Kaleb… what’s Kaleb’s reaction?  “Great job Daddy!  Can you make it a present now?”

Kaleb didn’t actually give a flying monkey if it was broken or not.  He just wanted Daddy to wrap it.

So, fast forward an hour or so – I get back from the store, and Kaleb has been hanging on to this thing waiting for me to come home and open it for Blue.  As I’m putting away groceries, I ask him why I’m opening it, why isn’t Blue?

“No mommy, Blue can’t open it!  Blue isn’t real!  Blue is just a toy!”

> insert wildy proud moment for the recognition here <

“But don’t we pretend with our toys?  Isn’t that what they are for?  So why don’t you pretend that Blue is opening it?”

We went back and forth like this for a while, but the end result was – Blue opened her present.  And then Mason saw it.

“NOoooooooo!  MY!  My!!”

Now I’m bracing.  I don’t dare move, because I don’t know how this is going to play out, and if I interfere too soon there is a very good possibility I will make the situation worse.  So I stay frozen two feet away, ready to dart out and grab Mason if needed.  Mason finally gets to Kaleb – screaming over his toy that Kaleb has been fixated on for HOURS – there is no way this is going down without a fight, so I start edging closer.  Kaleb looks at Mason coming at him….

And just hands over the toy.

Just like that.  No fight.  No argument.  Not even a comment.  Just gives it to Mase and continues telling Blue Happy Birthday.

I’m stunned.  Shocked.  Amazed.  Proud.  Wary.

Is this a trick?  Is there something going on here I don’t know about??

Nope.  Mason carried the toy around for the next, oh I don’t know, ten seconds – then took off after something else (the kid has the attention span of a grasshopper).  Kaleb never even gave a second glance to it.

Who are you and where is my child??

So far this morning – Mason is screaming at Kaleb every time Kaleb touches something – and Kaleb is just shrugging it off.  I’m afraid to even type this – I don’t want to send a jinx out into the universe.  But holy amazing Batman!

The kid is totally getting a funnel cake at the balloon festival today.

The bestest buddies!

The bestest buddies!

Kaleb and Blue playing in the Jeep.

Kaleb and Blue playing in the Jeep.