Hard Work…

Dear Birkram Yoga:  Screw.  You.  

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Okay, first of all.  I only kinda, somewhat, sorta only mean that a little bit.

Mostly.

Saturday a girlfriend and I had our first session with this 100 degree torture chamber.  Did I feel inadequate looking around the room at these ladies 30 years my senior who were able to stand on one foot while fully extending their other foot in front of them with their hands wrapped around their feet?  Um.  Yes.  I absolutely did.  But I am new.  <~~  note:   this is my new mantra.

I was doing okay.  Until we got to this crazy crap that was so far out of my bounds I could barely keep my balance, let alone lock my knee?!  Yeah!  Right!  What happened to the yoga I thought we were doing?  That calming, relaxing, stretch-your-mind-and-body-find-inner-peace crap I was looking forward to?  This was boot camp.  In a sauna.  And I am not friends with sweat.  I don’t want to sound all wussy and whiney here – but my scrawny behind does not sweat like most people – in all honesty.  It takes a lot for me to break  out into an all out sweat.

So yeah, the poses were difficult, but I was doing my best, and would probably have been okay – until I got to the point where my breathing is labored and I can’t catch my breath – because it’s a million degrees in the room!  When she finally stopped with the standing up (I looked more like a flamingo than ever – Poppy would probably have died from laughter watching me attempt some of these poses) nonsense, I was stoked.  Pumped.  YES!!  I get to sit my ass down! 

Right.  Only not so much.  When she first had us laying on our backs I looked up and realized I was right under one of the sprinklers in the ceiling.  As this class progressed, by the end of it all I could think was please, please someone pull the fire alarm and set that sprinkler off.  

At one point she had us do something that was almost identical to the kind of W-sitting that both the boys do.  Holy mother of God!  My kids sit like this constantly!  No wonder they can’t sit with their legs crossed in front of them!  It feels like this!!!  A couple times she had us in poses that were just too much for my knees.  I can’t put that kind of pressure on them, they’ll shatter.

But whatever.  We persevered.  We pushed through, drenched in sweat and dying for air.  We made it.  Then we went straight to McDonalds.  Yeah.  I earned that double quarter pounder and those delicious golden salty french fries.

Okay, truthfully though, I don’t really hurt that much.  My back, knees, and shoulders were sore when I went to bed, and a bit more so when I woke up yesterday.  But after a 45 minute spartan wrestling war with a five year old they were the least of my concerns.

Anyway, as soon as I got home I had to jump in the shower and rush to get ready.  Because Kaleb got invited to the birthday party for a classmate for the very first time.  It just so happens the little girl who was having the party is one Kaleb has been talking about endlessly since the beginning of the school year, and he could not have been more excited.  She also just so happened to have been on the receiving end of one of Kaleb’s meltdowns a few months back, so I couldn’t have been more anxious.

As it turns out, I had absolutely nothing to worry about.  Her parents were wonderful right from the second we arrived.  Kaleb was welcomed – literally with open arms as he and his friend ran straight for each other – and I got to spend the next few hours watching my little Monster genuinely interact and play with another child without incident.  Twice he started to become overwhelmed – once we went outside for a minute, and once he came and climbed in my lap for a while to just relax.  I really enjoyed getting to know her parents, and was blown away by how warm they were toward Kaleb.  I’m so very glad they invited him.  He was upset that we had to leave early, but handled it well, and for that I’m super proud.

Then came yesterday.  3:30am I’m being yelled at by a 5 year old.  Kick him out of my room – send him back to bed, go back to sleep.  Thirty minutes later he’s back.  Repeat.  Every fifteen to thirty minutes until then I had a wriggling, loud, whiny, half asleep Kaleb in my ear.  I finally gave up at 7 and got up with him, completely wiped out.  From that moment on it was madness.  One meltdown after another – mostly minor – until around 10:30am.  He was drawing – and something went wrong.  I don’t know what, as he immediately crumpled up the paper and started screaming.  As I walked over to see what the problem was, he was furiously scribbling with marker on the carpet.

*Sigh*

Of course he is.  One thing leads to another.  The next thing I know he’s spitting in Mason’s face.  Fast forward three minutes and I’m doing everything I can to keep him under control as he goes into a full blown meltdown.  As I said before, my yoga pains are no longer relevant.  Not compared to his little elbows smashing into my knees, his little fists pounding and little teeth biting.  Of course, poor Daddy had the misfortune of being on the phone with me when this all went down, and instead of talking to me got an earful of shrieking Kaleb.

This lasted for more than two hours.  Every time I thought he was winding down he would turn right around and start all over again.  He was finally stable enough for me to leave him alone so I could make lunch.  Which, of course, nobody ate.  Put Mase and Leah down for a nap, and help Kaleb put his room back in order.  Well kind of.  I spent more time putting clothes back on the little kids than I did actually helping Kaleb.  By the time 3pm rolled around, both of the little kids were in nothing but diapers – having stripped down and peed on everything else they had to wear (do the laundry gods hate me or something??).  They both slept for about an hour – and woke up in worse moods than they were in before the nap.

Basically the entire rest of the day was a blur of screaming, whining, fighting, crying, throwing, hitting, kicking, and all around chaos.  Bedtime came and went, with only a slight hiccup.  Mason managed to dismantle one of the headlights on his car (Daddy – I am 100% blaming you for this!), and then shoved a bunch of matchbox cars in the hole where the headlight was.  He then proceeded to scream for thirty minutes because the cars got stuck.  I got out as many as I could without pulling apart the front end of the car (which I will do today), and he eventually screamed himself to sleep over the last three that I was unable to pull out.

I stood in the middle of the house when all was finally silent – and even the disaster couldn’t take away the joy of beautiful, sweet silence.

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Then came today.

Kaleb decided for some reason that he wanted cereal this morning (at the crack of dawn since I found him in our bed once again).  Then he decided right after I poured the milk that he didn’t want cereal at all – he was going to eat breakfast at school.  I wasn’t in the mood to argue, and figured I’d just eat it when he got on the bus.  Only I completely forgot about it.

We now have three dead fish.  Thanks to Mason and the uneaten bowl of cereal.

The stool I had safely tucked away had been pulled back out by Kaleb this weekend – and left where Mason’s mischievous little fingers could get it.  I went to the bathroom, and when I came back out the sight that met my eyes was yet another fishy horror.

Evidently the Mini Monster decided the fishies were hungry.  Standing on the stool in front of the fish tank, he’d pulled off the lid and dropped the entire bowl of cereal (including the bowl) into the tank.  I walked in to see him standing in front of the tank clapping his hands and screaming “fishies!”

Awesome.

Act 1 was followed up by a thirty minute scream fest over his bagel.  Every time he would rub his finger in his cream cheese and the bagel would show through he would completely freak out until I spread the cream cheese back over the empty spot.  Then he went and fed the bagel to the dog.

Oh this day is not starting as well as I had hoped!

Now I’ve got to go scrub down his room since he has therapy today and it’s a disaster yet again.  Followed by another meeting at the school.  Wish me luck – it looks like I’m going to need it!

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The Outsider…

I need to extricate myself from this fish tank.  Immediately.

This obsession we have with the fish has gotten so out of control I’m attributing social classes and anxiety to them.

We have one fish that is just a regular zebra fish (not sure how that happened) – the rest are all neon.  The little zebra fish (let’s call him Zed for now) is a total outcast.  He just chills in the back of the tank staring at himself in the mirror.  It kind of reminds me of the little lunatic fish and her twin “Flo” in the tank on Finding Nemo.  Anyway.  He only leaves his corner (what Daddy is calling the death corner, because that’s where Twitch presided for his short reign) to eat, swim for a quick second, and he’s right back to his spot.

Daddy was expressing concern about this last night, when I found myself rambling on about how he’s just the social outcast.  All of the other fish are bright, neon colors – they swim around all day like “Look at me!  I glow!  Look how special I am!” while Zed just chills in his corner because he doesn’t glow.  He’s the kid in the back of the class nobody talks to – nobody quite knows why nobody talks to him, but that’s just the way it is.  Can fish be depressed?  Or rebellious? I just know he’s going to be the fish who tries to escape.

Do you see what I mean?  This has to stop.  This is nothing short of insane.  We should have gotten a frog, or a lizard, or a stupid hamster.  Do you know how freaking complicated fish are??  The water has to have this, this, and this, the Ph balance must be exactly this, clean it like this… I mean seriously.  I figured as long as you had a small tank all you had to do was throw the fish in the water, clean it every now and then, and not forget to feed them.

Anyway, speaking of complicated, Kaleb’s room is 99% done – finally!  We only have a few more things to do before we move on to focus on exactly how we want to do Mason’s room (do you hear Daddy groaning?  I’m pretty sure he’s pretty sure that I’m probably going to want to paint it).  He loves it.  Which makes all of the stress surrounding it totally worth every second.

Daddy finished painting the closet, so we moved the big green comfy chair from the living room into it, and put the futon in the living room (Kaleb’s closet is virtually a whole extra room – his room used to be our office).  So now he has a reading chair, and his closet is his safest spot in the house.  Whenever he is upset, for whatever reason, he can go into his safe spot and have all the time he needs to work it out and calm down.

If he is inside and the closet curtains are closed, nobody is allowed to bother him (unless he is hurting himself or causing some form or irreparable damage) until he says so.  Today he and I are cleaning all of the shelves in the closet so we can line up all of his books and puzzles.  We will only keep calm, soothing activities in the safe spot – so for right now it will just be his books and puzzles.  Once we’re done with the shelves today we will put the stuffed animals back in their home, finish repainting his bedroom door, and we’ll be good to go!  I’ll take pictures when it’s all finished.

I also made a list of bedroom rules, put them in a frame, and we’re going to hang them up today someplace where he can always see them.

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He seems really excited about this (based on the number of times he’s told us his new bedroom is AWESOME), and I am hoping with all my heart it helps him.  It’s seemed to have a bit of a calming effect already.  He’s been less prone to outbursts over the last couple days, and he’s been holding back when he is getting upset.

Of course Mason is jealous.  Insanely jealous.  He will not stay out of Kaleb’s room.  Unfortunately it’s going to be a while before we get to totally focus on his room.  His new bed will be here sometime next week (of course it’s after Daddy goes back to work and Mommy and Miss Lisa will have the pleasure of putting it together), we’re going to clear out some space in his closet (he hides in there all the time) for a bean bag chair like Kaleb’s so he can have a Safe Spot too.  We’re going to give him a little cabinet to keep stuff in, and redecorate his walls.  We’ll keep the paint for now – just touch it up – but change out the “twinkle twinkle” for the Hudson Hornet.  Of course, the biggest focal point will be the bed – so Mommy will spend the next eight weeks trying to figure out the best way to make his room calming and sensory friendly, while fun and exciting for him.

I am completely thrilled with Kaleb’s room though.  After hours of debating over paint swatches, going back and forth with the kid, freaking out about the furniture – it turned out perfect.  So major points to Daddy for spending hour upon hour painting over the last two weeks – because Daddy likes painting about as much as I like washing dishes.  And even bigger props to Kaleb for being able to accurately express what he wanted, and not completely flipping his lid when he got it.

So, now I have to go fix the family room because moving the furniture around last night took the Kids’ Corner and turned it into the Kid’s Chaos.

Oh, and the kid even made his bed this morning.

 

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.

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

Big Eyed Fish…

Okay, I’m obsessed with this fish.

I can’t go more than 20 minutes without sticking my face in front of the tank to make sure it’s still alive.  This morning I nearly gave it a little fishy heart attack.  It wasn’t moving!  It wasn’t blinking!  Oh no, please don’t let it be dead yet…  So, after staring at it for a full two minutes with no movement, I tapped on the glass.  Apparently it had been asleep.  And I just about scared it to death.  Thing took off and hid behind the light for an hour (I know this, because I am compulsively looking in on it).  I’m sorry fishy!!  But I thought you were dead.

It’s gotten so bad – twice last night I fed myself a line of B.S. about checking on the kids just so I could go look in on the fish.  This cannot be normal.  Or healthy.

Of course, the fish just had to pay me back and cause problems this morning.

how-to-draw-a-betta-for-kids,-betta-fish

I got Mason up (fighting with all he had), and stuck him in the bath.  I then spent the following twenty minutes listening to Mason scream at me because he wanted the fish in the bath with him (Ummm NO.  Hello, we’re trying to keep the fish alive!).  When I pull him out of the tub he ran right for the fish – nevermind the fact that he was soaking wet and shivering.  Yelling at me because he wanted to feed the fish.  We can’t feed the fish.  He isn’t supposed to eat every day, and he will eat himself to death. Insert more screaming here.

Basically, Mason spent the majority of the morning infuriated at me.  Screaming, rolling around on the floor, throwing things, screaming some more, kicking things, screaming some more… I just sat there trying not to laugh (I know it’s not funny, but he sure did look goofy) wondering what I did to deserve this kind of Karmic bitch-slap.  We have to leave for the doctor at 11.  Get him ready to go, download a gazillian new apps for him to play with because I know just how much he enjoys the doctor, and off we go.  He’s fine the whole way, jabbers along to himself with his two little school busses and his cup of “Jewawa” (that would be Juice Water in Masonese).

We get to the doctor’s office and things immediately go south.  Evidently, when I made the appointment, the woman told me 11:50, but wrote it down at 10:50.  So we were 30 minutes late.  I apologize profusely, because I cannot stand to be late.  It’s like a serious problem for me.  Get that straightened out, and sit down with Mase – who is already aiming for the door.  I take my coat off so I can chase him a bit more freely, and discover dried cereal clinging to the back of my coat… How?  What?  Oh I quit this day.

Get called back, strip the kid down to the diaper, and plop him up on the scale (35lbs – you’re a beast kid!).  He’s immediately displeased with this new direction and starts trying to take off for the door.  Move on to the next room, and wait for someone to come in… FOR EVER.  It was probably only about 15 minutes, but with the way Mason was carrying on about leaving, it felt like 15 days.  Finally, doctor comes in, does the normal stuff, and he goes to order the shots (and no, we are not talking Tequila, or I would not be sitting here writing this right now), and we’re back to waiting.  Now Mason is seriously starting to get peeved.  He’s screaming for his shoes and his shirt (which is actually his pants, but to Mason all clothes are either shoes or shirts).

Finally the nurse comes in to give him his shots.  Joy.  Two for two with needles this week.  Whoopdee doo!

Needless to say, he was less than thrilled.  And by that I mean he screamed loud enough they could probably hear him two counties over.  I hate shot days.

I suppose I should say, as a side note – that yes we do (obviously) vaccinate.  I have no doubt in my mind that there are some families out there who have seen some form of reaction regarding their children and vaccines.  We have not.  I’ve never seen any more change than an angry kid and a freaked out mom who hates needles.  I’ve done a lot of research.  I have found nothing concrete – nor have I found anything that has even given me cause to suspect.  I don’t believe for one second that my children’s problems are related to their shot records.  Do not get me wrong – I’ve met some people that did in fact see drastic change in their children – and I will be nothing if not supportive – you know your kid better than anyone.  But we aren’t that family.  I felt the need to clarify that before someone jumped on the “Your kids have autism and you still let them be vaccinated” bandwagon.  I respect your choices as a parent – I merely ask the same of you.

Now, moving on.

The wheels on the bus.  I will be singing this song for the rest of the day, thanks to one of the new fancy smancy apps on my phone – one that I got the free version of (BIG mistake.  Ads kept popping up for the paid version in the middle of the song and he completely spazed out.  I had to pull the car over three times) – later the paid version (yeah, I’m a sucker).  Mason loved it.  Sat in the car, sniffling, yelling at the singing bus – shots and fish baths forgotten.  For now.  Now I have an hour before Kaleb comes home to fold laundry, pick up, eat, and do dishes.  Then we are loading up and going to the store to give Kaleb his “you got poked with a needle” Lego prize and Icee, along with misc. supplies for Movie Night.

But first, I have to go check on the fish.

*BTW the title is in part for you AC – as I’d much rather have DMB stuck in my head all day than the wheels on the bus!*

Everyone’s A Winner…

liebster-award

Before I start to say how stoked I am about this Leibster award – I have a confession.

I was conned today.  By a two year old with big, sad eyes.  We now own a fish.

Yep.  Mommy the fish murderer is now in charge of this little creature that has completely captured my child’s heart.  Why me?

This is all the library’s fault.  If they didn’t have a fish tank, this never would have happened (well, at least not today).  Mason saw the fish tank at the library and went completely mad.  After fifteen minutes of staring at the fish tank, I turned him to leave, and the child who was just smiling and yammering and being so sweet turned into something so scary the devil himself would have saluted.  Red faced and screaming, trying to topple the stroller (that he was buckled into), anything to get back to the fish.  I’ve never been checked out so fast in my life  “Can I have your id, your card expired?”  I go to grab it, he screams louder she thrusts the books towards me and says “Nevermind, I’ll get it next week!  Have a great day!”

Yeah, right.  Great day my —.  Anyway.  The next thing I know, I’m sitting in the Petco parking lot, with a still sniffling child in the back seat saying (In Masonese) “Oh NO!  What happened?  The fish!  What happened?”  Well, I can tell you what happened.  What happened is you have had two extreme, public meltdowns in the last four days over fish.  And I’m a sucker.

Thirty minutes later, we were the proud owners of a betta fish, a 2.5 gallon tank, and a group of accessories I have no idea what to do with.  He cried at the checkout because I had to put the fish on the counter.  The clerk gave him a dog biscut.  Great, thanks.  You know what he’s going to do with that?  He’s going to… “Mason get that out of your mouth!  Don’t eat dog treats!”  Clerk apologizes profusely.  I get it.  It was sweet.  Thanks for trying.  But my kid eats everything from crayons to couches, so maybe giving him a dog cookie with the expectation that he would hold it until we got hom was unwise.  Mason cried the whole way home because he wanted to hold the fish – which was not allowed because he kept trying to shake the fish – and he cried all the way into the house.  I got the tank and water ready, treated it, set it up, and in went the fish.  Let Mason (over) feed the fish (which had me scooping out extra food before the stupid thing ate itself to death before we’d had it for two hours), and oh good grief was he happy.  Giddy.  Ecstatic.  Over the moon.  Because of a fish.  Luckliy I talked myself out of getting Kaleb a hermit crab just in the nick of time – that was a close call.

So.  Yeah.  Now we have a freakin’ fish.  I will consider it a minor miracle if the fish survives the week.

Untitled

So, on to more exciting (and potentially less life-threatening) news!  A huge shout to Amber at http://journeyintothespectrum.wordpress.com for nominating me, I’m floored!

I mean, I like to think (as I’m sure we all do) that I’m the coolest thing on the block (I just bought my kid a freakin’ fish – give me this one will ya?), but this was super unexpected, and I’m insanely grateful.  I wish I could nominate you back!

So, as I understand it, this is how the award thing goes:  Spread the Love!  And, no I’m not talking in a hippy dippy sixties kinda way, so don’t go getting crazy.  Designed to help bring attention to budding blogs – this is a really cool idea.  So, here are the rules:

  • When you win, you post 11 random facts about yourself
  • Answer the 11 questions posed to you by the kick-a** person who nominated you
  • Pass it on to 11 (I’ve also read 4 – so I’m just gonna go ahead and be flixible on this one) other blogs – making sure you let them know!
  • Write 11 questions to pose to your nominees
  • You cannot renominate the person who put you up (or I totally would)

So, here goes.

11 Random facts about me:

  1. I DVR Jeopardy!  Whenever I’m bored, or the kids are being nuts, we sit back and play with Alex Trebeck.  I genuinely will cry like a baby if he ever leaves the show.  
  2. I am one of the most uncoordinated people on the planet.
  3. I’m just as bad (if not worse) at becoming obsessed with certain foods as my kids.  Once I get hooked I stay hooked for weeks.
  4. I would absolutely die without gum, coffee, diet pepsi and nicotine.
  5. I’ve been obsessed with Douglas Adams since I was 9.  Someone bought my grandmother the BBC show on video tape, and it was game on.  I’ve read the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy at least five times a year since.  Sometimes I sit down in the middle of my house and read it at the top of my lungs so the kids are forced to listen.
  6. I’m a video game addict.  Once I find a game I like I’ll start playing the minute the kids go to bed and will do so for days – until either I beat it, or I have an uncontrollable urge to throw the remote across the room.  Then it’s time to take a break.
  7. I hate ladders.  Ant ants.  I really hate ants.  I’ve been waging war on them for years.
  8. I’m an avid photo taker.  I take pictures of just about everything.  To say nothing of the mass amount of photos all around our house.
  9. I have no artistic talent.  When one of the kids wants me to draw something – it almost always leads to a meltdown because my drawing is so poor it doesn’t resemble what was requested.
  10. Pirates are better than Ninjas.  There.  I said it.
  11. As much as I hate mornings – they’re my favorite time of the day.  The world is still quiet, the kids haven’t figured out what trouble they want to cause yet, and there is a whole day of unknown adventures ahead of us.  But I still think they come to early.

My answers from my nominator:

 What caused you to start your blogging journey?

You can only be told so many times by so many people to start something before you check it out!  I’ve always used Facebook as a way to spaz about the antics of the Monsters.   After being told multiple times to start a blog by a bunch of different people, I said to heck with it and gave it a shot!  Frankly, I’m surprised people even read it, but I must be doing something right!

What drives you to improve yourself?

My kids.  I want everything for them.  I want them to be driven, smart, open minded, sweet, optimistic, fanciful, and to live life for everything it has to offer.  It’s my job to make sure they get everything out of me they can.

Where does your inspiration come from?

Life!  Fact really is stranger than fiction.  Where else would you find Poopcasso, Poopcasso Jr. and a house full of Monsters?!  They (whoever they are) say to write what you know.  Well, I know my kids.  I know my world.  And often it’s out of control, loud, and at the very least, entertaining.

Who is your personal hero?

I have a couple – If you’d asked me this as a child my answer would have been:  Edgar Allen Poe, Douglas Adams, Walt Disney, and Harry Houdini.  As an adult, first would be my mom.  She’s beaten a lot in life, and she’s my best friend.  I know I can always count on her to be there when I need her, whatever the reason, no questions asked.

And second – my boys.  Every day they face challenges a lot of kids will never have to experience.  And they overcome, every time.  They make me laugh, give me purpose, and have let me see the world in a whole new light.  They saved me – and they don’t even know it.

What is one secret that no one knows about you?

You mean I can have kids and secrets at the same time?!

That’s a tough one.  Lots of people know lots of things about me.  I guess…

Most of my self-confidence is a complete fallacy.  I’m constantly questioning, doubting, and freaking myself out.  I don’t know how to take a compliment – because I rarely feel like it’s deserved – which is something I’m working on, but still.

Oh, and I can’t stand cilantro.

If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?

I’d have shorter legs!  Look, people can rave about long legs all day long – but do you know what a pain it is to buy jeans and pajama pants when you’re 5’9″ and your hips literally come up to your belly button???  Especially when you have no butt, and no hips!  And considering I live in jeans and jammies, it’s a cruel, cruel fate to make me constantly have to shop for the one thing in the world that never fits right.

I’d also like to dance without actually frightening people away!

What makes you…you?

I’m a pain.  I have no mouth filter.  I love music, books, and Roman history.  I try really hard to cook – and usually end up wishing I had just ordered a pizza.  I like to laugh.  I like to find the good in the bad – and when the bad gets worse I will fight to the death for what’s right.  When they built a drive-through Starbucks in my town I just about exploded with happy.  I used to sing, now I just drive my kids crazy.  I have a love for the beach that’s almost as intense as my love for my kids.  I wear flip flops year round – I don’t care where I am or what the weather is like.  That’s why toe socks were invented.  I’m really good at making a fool of myself – and I enjoy every second of it.  I’m scattered and loud, obsessively organized, and relentlessly messy.  I’m half lazy, half driven, and completely insane.   I’d do just about anything to see my kids happy, and I’d give just about anything for a weekend alone in a hotel with a Starbucks in the lobby and a decent pool.

I’m me because I’m a lunatic.  I’d give the world to my children, and invade other planets so I could give them those as well.

What is one trait that you see in others that you wish you could posses?

Natural self-confidence.  That ease that some people have with themselves.  The ability to know that what you are doing is good, it’s right, and you rock at it.  It’d be nice to spend a couple hours not questioning myself every few minutes!

How many times have you truly been “in love”?

That’s a bit of a complicated question for me.  I can’t really say I’ve been “in love” more than once.  Because any other time I thought I was – I was either in love with a lie, in love with an idea, or in love with parts of someone – not the whole.  So, I guess my answer is, one.

If you could quit your current profession and just blog for a living, would you?

I don’t think I can really quit the mommy gig!

What is the biggest dream that you fulfilled?

Writing a complete manuscript.  It may never go anywhere, it could be total rubbish – but I did it.  On my own, I created worlds and characters and brought them to life.  At least, for me I did.

So then, on to my nominees!

1. Life With Legos – I’ve never met the author of this blog, however her husband was a miracle at the 2012 SFA and actually got Kaleb up on a surfboard.  Since then, she has become an absolutely invaluable resource to me.  She’s funny, insightful, and it’s been huge for me to know someone who has braved the raging waters, and is raising two awesome kids – one of who has autism as well.  I’m beyond grateful for having found her, and couldn’t be happier to put her at the top of this list.

2. Blowing Off Steam… and Other Cooking Adventures – Between the recipes, the stories, and the awesome sense of humor, I’m super glad to have found this blog.  She definitely provides a little sunshine to my day.

3. Family Nomadic – A dedicated dad and husband, it’s been really interesting to learn about the family’s life abroad.  It’s crazy how much you can relate to a total stranger in an entirely different country!

4. The Writings of Larry D. Bernstein – Another dad writer!  An English teacher, Larry’s writing covers a broad variety of topics, always interesting and humorous.

So… I haven’t had a ton of time to really explore the blogs on here, and those are four of my favorites!

My questions for them:

1.  What prompted you to start writing?

2.  Do you have any long term goals for your blog?

3.  What are you most passionate about?

4.  What are you least passionate about?

5.  Who inspires you?

6.  What is your favorite time of day to write?

7.  What have you learned since entering the world of blogging?

8.  If you could go back in time and change one thing, what would it be?

9.  What would be your perfect day?

10.  What do you hope people feel/think after reading your blog?

11.  What’s your favorite thing about blogging?

Super thanks again to Amber for nominating me – you made my day!!