“Dear Toothfairy, Keep Your Day Job”

Emme lost another tooth. If she keeps losing teeth at this rate, I’m going to have to start feeding her a steady diet of porridge and take out a loan.

After a week of watching this snaggled tooth, so loose that it hung out of her mouth, and listening to much wailing and gnashing of other baby teeth, she finally yanked the thing out of her head. We all offered to do it for her. The list included parents, cousins, and a couple of aunts. Just so the complaining might stop. Cailey especially was eager to give it a try. “Emme, just let ME do it!” she a little too gleefully hounded. Ad nauseum, as she followed her sister around each day. Hoping above all hopes that her big sister would change her mind, and her mother would grant her the use of pliers.

No such luck.

The adult tooth was impatient, waiting for the baby tooth to fall out. So, it’s my theory that Adult Tooth just shoved Baby Tooth out of Emme’s mouth, as it is already halfway up. We placed the tiny tooth in a sandwich baggy and I wrote Emme’s name and the date on the outside. I expect to have many such baggies before the three children reach puberty. This is a wonderfully clever way I’ve found to keep track of the teeth, and idea that I got from Meritt quite a while back.

After the extraction or murder (depending on how you look at it), Emme sat down to pencil a letter to the Toothfairy. We’re beginning to study Writing Composition, and the timing couldn’t have been more perfect. The letter was two pages long. She had quite a lot to tell the Toothfairy, evidently. Mostly about the pain and suffering she endured waiting for the tooth to fall out. She took her two page letter and baggied tooth, and placed them under her pillow. To await the Toothfairy.

Who never came.

You see, the Toothfairy hasn’t been getting much sleep lately, and isn’t quite up on her game. It was another rough night with Jensen, and when I stumbled out of the master suite this morning, I remembered. Oh no. Emme was already up having her “coffee” with Fiddledaddy in the front reading room. Her “coffee” consists of whole milk in one of my favorite coffee mugs. This makes her feel very civilized and mature.

Maybe she forgot. I know. But a mommy can dream. I rifled through my purse and could only find a five spot and some change. I considered just using the five dollar bill, perhaps to alleviate some of the guilt, but reconsidered. This would be setting a precedence that I might never financially recover from. Do the math. Each kid has about 20 teeth to lose. Times three kids. I then raided Fiddledaddy’s cash stash and only came up with a five plus change. But I was able to put all the change together to make one dollar. I stuffed the coins into a sandwich baggy, labeled with her name and date, and quickly scribbled a note which cleverly said something like “Good job Emme! T.F.” And stealthily tiptoed into her room to make the exchange hoping she would think that she overlooked it.

Later I found out that she did indeed notice the absence of money under her pillow and sadly reported her findings to Fiddledaddy. He offered two explanations. “Probably the Toothfairy had a really rough night and couldn’t make it.” She looked at him doubtfully. So, then he added:

“Or the Toothfairy heard Jensen screaming and it scared her off.”

A more plausible reason for a 7 year old, I think. Thusly taking the heat off of the poor bedraggled toothfairy. But then, when Emme went to make her bed, she found her baggy of loose change and the note. Excitedly she came running out of her room. “She came, she came after all!”

No questions asked.

A tired tardy toothfairy is better than no toothfairy at all.

April 26, 2007

A Disturbance On Aisle 2

If you’ve been following my blog, you know that I’m one of those weirdos obsessive types that gets up at dark thirty every other weekend to do my big grocery shopping trip. All by my lonesome. Yesterday, my resolve was once again strengthened to continue with this little ritual.

I’m due for my big trip to Wal•Mart this weekend, but I wanted to hit Publix to take advantage of some of their 2 for 1 specials to which I would add coupons on top of those savings. I thought I’d go early in the afternoon, and bring my entourage. For sport.

Jensen was trapped strapped into the stroller, which I was driving, while Emme manned the grocery cart. To her driving credit, only two endcap displays and one elderly patron were compromised. The grocery store was particularly crowded with geriatric shoppers. Cailey flitted about close by.

We made it to the middle of the noodles aisle when Jensen let loose with The Screaming. For no apparent reason. Nothing was being pinched, he wasn’t hungry, it wasn’t time for a nap. Frankly, I was surprised that it didn’t begin in the dairy aisle. Usually The Screaming commences when we enter through the automatic doors. Jensen doesn’t care for shopping.

Well, we were drawing a crowd, let me tell you. Some older patrons were turning their hearing aides off, while other sweet grandmotherly types thought they would stand in front of Jensen and “try to reason with him.” He only got louder. And I didn’t think that was possible. “ARE YOU INSANE? STEP AWAY FROM THE STROLLER. YOU’RE MAKING IT MUCH WORSE,” I shouted. In my mind. I would never say such a thing out loud. But my thought life?

2 Corinthians 10:5
“We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.”

Let’s just agree that my thought life needs a little work.

Anyhoo. I picked up the pace, trying to get to the end of the list as soon as possible. People were beginning to come by the throngs to see who could possibly be torturing this little boy enough to make him scream that way. I noticed Emme lagging behind a little. I turned to see her stricken face as she said, “Mom, let’s go. This is so embarrassing.” I turned my attention back to the screaming Jensen and hollered loud enough for him to hear, “Dude, you now have the ability to humiliate your sister in public. You have no idea how much you are going to enjoy this!” All the while, Cailey continued prancing and twirling beside us.

I had told the girls that if they were extra good, they would get a cookie when we got to the bakery aisle. Publix has this wonderful policy of giving free cookies to particularly good children while shopping.

It is my long held opinion that it is the MOTHERS who deserve the cookie.

We finally arrived, but unfortunately, there was a long line at the cookie counter. Well, they all heard us coming and parted like the Red Sea. Without a word, the bakery personnel handed me three chocolate chip cookies. I gave the girls’ theirs, and I handed one to Jensen. Saints be praised. Silence. I raised my hands signaling a touchdown, and received modest applause. A few of the ladies nodded with knowing smiles saying, “We’ve all been there.” While I kept repeating, “It’s only a season, it’s only a season,” to myself.

The cookie induced quiet only got us through the frozen vegetables where The Screaming picked up where it left off. But that was the last aisle, and we soon found ourselves in line to check out. I apologized to everyone around us for The Screaming. I handed the clerk my coupons, and she felt the need to PULL EVERY ITEM FROM THE BAG TO MAKE SURE IT MATCHED. I’m not kidding. Again, my thought life went to the dark place. Satisfied, she handed me the receipt and we headed out the door. As soon as we cleared the auto-door The Screaming ceased.

It seems my son is an outdoorsy kind of guy. Doesn’t care for the confines of a concrete building all that much. I stashed all of the freezer items in the waiting cold bag, and we set off for the park. Where I could unleash Jensen into wide open spaces and let him terrorize nature. With the wind in his hair, and a huge smile on his lips, he ran free.

My dreams of my son becoming a doctor or an attorney are all but shattered. I have a feeling that he will lean more toward an occupation that can be accomplished outside. Like football player. Or cowboy.

And again, I’d like to offer my apologies to all of those Publix consumers who still hear a ringing in their ears. But I managed to purchase about $60.00 worth of goods for approximately $20.00. I’m just sayin’.

March 16, 2007

Fickle Finger Of Fate

When my daughter Cailey was born, her sister Emme had just turned two. From the moment Cailey emerged, mad as a hornet with her brillo pad orange hair, I knew she would be a force to be reckoned with. She has seldom disappointed.

Emme developed an unfortunate habit that would come back to haunt her, all these years later. Whenever she happened by her baby sister, innocently seated in the bouncy seat, Emme would quickly give the sleeping babe a little head slap, and then continue on her way. This caused great commotion for all concerned. I’ve heard of older siblings acting out in all sorts of ways when the parents bring home an unwelcome and permanent house guest. It could have been worse, I suppose. I know of one child that took to defecating on the carpet when his mother presented him with a baby sister.

There was suitable punishment extended to the guilty party, and stern warnings from me. I explained to her that she really should be extra nice to her baby sister, because that’s what Jesus would want her to do. And while that’s true of course, I was mostly concerned that this little strawberry haired pistol, would be able to clean Emme’s clock, in short order, as soon as she was mobile. As usual, I was not wrong.

I look at my girls as “bipolar opposites.” While Emme has usually been compliant and easy going, Cailey is a little firebrand with a distinctly Irish temper. While they love each other dearly, they are prone to bicker and fuss, and on occasion I have to step into the middle of an all out skirmish. But lately, I’ve noticed that Cailey has devised a rather devious way to get even with her sister. It’s brilliant really.

I was stationed at my customary spot in the kitchen, overlooking the family room. I’m able to peer over the counter, generally undetected, to see what mischief is befalling my two girls. Recently, I spotted Cailey with her index finger up her nose. Now, there’s nothing unusual about this. But I knew from the glint in her eye, that she was up to no good. She excavated a suitable booger, and stealthily scooted by Emme, who had only moments before been tormenting her little sister, and Cailey deftly deposited the booger bomb using said index finger. She continued on her way, with a sly cheshire cat grin, stifling a giggle. Revenge is sweet.

I’ve discussed this behavior with her. We talk at length about always using a tissue, frequent hand washing, and how to work out your problems. Without the use of nasal mucus. I thought I was getting through to her. But really, I was awfully glad that she had stopped the pushing, kicking, hitting, and yelling at her sister. And so far, her sister was none the wiser. Thankfully. I cannot even imagine the fallout if Emme discovered she was wearing her sister’s booger on her sleeve. The horror. So, I haven’t made a really big deal about it.

Until last night.

I had been chastising Cailey about her unruly behavior before bedtime. We finally settled into my daughters’ room to continue reading the “Little House On The Prairie” series. We’ve been at this for quite a while and we’re on “The Long Winter.” I think I’m enjoying these books more than my captive audience. On occasion, Cailey will whine “Moooom, can’t we just go to sleep.” “No, we must get through this chapter.” Just because I want to know what happens next. I read these books when I was a girl, but apparently motherhood has killed off one too many healthy brain cells, because I have little recollection. But now, the book that we’re currently reading has both girls spellbound. Because Laura is about to meet Almanzo, don’t you know.

But I’ve digressed.

I took my customary spot on the floor, Cailey is behind me on her bed, and Emme is sitting beside me. I could feel Cailey messing around with my shirt, but that’s not unusual. She then interrupts me with “Mom! What’s that on your shoulder?” I look. Sure as shootin’, there’s a booger perched atop my shoulder. “Cailey, is that a booger?” She leans in to closely inspect the object. “Yes, I think it’s a booger.” “Cailey, where did that booger come from?” “Well, I dunno.” Sure pal.

What she hasn’t considered, is that I’m the chief preparer of all that she eats in our home. And if she wants to learn a thing or two about how to get even, and not angry, then she’s messing with the right person. In the meantime, I’ll be sitting across the room from her during our nightly reading ritual. And I’ll be inspecting my clothing a little more carefully anytime she swoops in for a hug.

February 1, 2007

A Good Girl Scout Is Always Prepared

Because of the events on Tuesday, I’ve revamped my posting for Works For Me Wednesday. A warning though, if you’re dining, you may want to pause.

Bear with me while I set this up. Imagine if you will. My daughters, ages 7 and 5wfmwheader.jpg are all spit-polished in their pressed American Heritage Girls Scouting uniforms. We’re heading to a fun Christmas outing with their troop. We’re within, say 1/4 mile of our destination when the unthinkable happens. From the back seat, I hear my 5 year old say in a small voice, “Mom, I don’t feel good.”

Note to self. Whenever the 5 year old says that she doesn’t feel good, pull over immediately. This is not necessarily the case with the 7 year old, as she is prone to a little hypochondria. On any given day, she’s afflicted with broken bones, severed arteries, malaria, etc. But the 5 year old? If she says she doesn’t feel good, believe it.

So, before I can pull over, Mount Vomitous erupts from the back of the van. I can hear it. It sounds really bad. Now, here’s where my parenting skills may be lacking. Whenever I even think someone is going to hurl, I begin heaving like a dog. Evidently this is genetic, as the 7 year old starts gagging as well.

By the grace of God, I get us pulled over and I begin to assess the situation. While trying not to add to the mess. My sweet daughter is covered in puke. From the top of her little blonde head, to the tips of her sneakers. And east and west of her as well. It was an impressive amount of vomit. I was recognizing stuff from yesterdays lunch.

Now, here’s where I do excel as a parent. And the point of this post. I’m prepared for such an emergency. I keep a plastic toy bin, with a cloth liner, in-between the two booster seats in the back. I had hollered to the 7 year old to dump the toys and give it to her sister. Which she did, thusly avoiding a much worse disaster. I have an old sheet that I keep in the van for impromptu picnics, which aided in the clean up. I also keep a canister of wipes handy. And for extra brownie points, I always have an extra diaper bag stashed under my seat packed with a change of clothes, including underwear and socks. Now, it had been a couple of years since I had updated the bag, so the clothes didn’t quite fit her. But desperate times call for desperate measures.

If I only had my trusty spray bottle of Febreze, which is a most awesome invention, for the long ride home, I would have earned my mommy badge of honor.