Thursday, August 31, 2006

Goodbye Month Eight: Ninety-8 degrees, 8 Legs, & 8 Cavities

I hate August. There are not that many things that I hate in this world, but I hate August. For one thing, it’s hot. For another thing, it’s hot. Thirdly, I think all spiders everywhere go on terrorism campaigns in August. Finally, in August of every year, I go to the dentist.

I used to have a thing about the gynecologist and the number six, but I’m thinking of changing from a fear of the Mark of the Beast and pelvic exams to a fear of the number eight and dental fillings (of which I need eight). I can’t wrap my brain around the fact that we pay people to poke around in our mouths with sharp instruments, declare a virtual smorgasbord of problems, drill into our teeth to verify the problems, and then fill them up with amalgams of various substances. What is that stuff anyway?

Yesterday was D-Day for me and because The President (as in GWB) happened to be speaking RIGHT NEXT DOOR TO MY DENTIST’S OFFICE, The Guys dropped me off two blocks away and I walked because the street in front of the dentist's office was closed and there was NO parking within many, many miles. As if that was not a sign to reschedule the appointment.

First of all, I need to warn you that this may get long, because right now I feel like telling the whole story. I know that this is not a blog to voice my anti-dentite ramblings; rather, it is dedicated to chronicling the lives of our family. However, I am 33% of this family and I think I can take just a moment to tell a personal story.

So anyways, they dropped me off and I went in and picked up some magazines to read. The cover of the 27-year old Newsweek said, “How Our Mouths (and Stomachs) Affect Our Lives.” Another sign.

But do I adhere to gut reactions? Feelings of evil looming behind plexiglass windows with intake forms sticking out under the bottom? Prior experience with dentists?

Sing it out now: NOOOOooooOOOOO.

I walked right into the exam room and said, “Hey doctor. Here I am.”

Now, what I should’ve said right after that was, “Where’s the nitrous oxide? Let’s go ahead and get that going right away.”

But oh no. Brave me. Brave little I-Had-A-Baby-Without-Any-Drugs Me decides that it’s worth it to save the thirty bucks and endure the drill with only oxygen sliding through my nostrils.

But not for long.

First, the numbing shot didn’t work, so I had to have a second dose, but only after he TESTED to see whether or not the first shot worked by DRILLING INTO MY NEXT-TO-LAST MOLAR ON THE UPPER LEFT SIDE. Next, I tried doing my yoga breathing. I tried alternate nostril breathing. I tried to picture the beach (which should be fresh in my mind). The doctor was talking about The President. About Cheney. He was telling me that joke about Bush wondering how many is in a Brazilian. Do y’all know that one? OK, I’ll tell it: Cheney walks into the Oval Office and tells Bush that he has bad news: Three Brazilians have been killed in Iraq. Bush says, “Gosh, that’s awful.” Pause. “How many is a Brazilian?”

Cue guffawing.

My black Mary Jane shoe is rubbing a hole in that orange pleather reclining chair. In walks the receptionist (dentist’s wife). He says, “Honey, who sings that song that’s on the radio?”

She says, “What song?”

He says, “That song that’s on the radio.” (It was "Lady" by Kenny Rogers.)

She says, “I don’t know. I’ve never liked that twangy stuff.”

Y’all: These people had to be pushing 80. They must’ve been in this same building playing that same station for 45 years or more. And all the while she has never liked country music. Now that is love.

So then she says, “Kee-yum? Are you all right?”

How are you supposed to answer their questions with a drill, a suction tube, and an entire plantation’s worth of cotton in your mouth?

I just grunted and wiggled my foot some more.

She says, “Fred, pull out the drill.”

He does, and two minutes later I have that mask over my nose and am breathing in what felt like gaseous chocolate, it was so good. Then I had my typical laughing fit, they turned it down some, and on with the show.

The only problem was that I had previously inquired as to about how long my mouth would be numb. Answer: 45 minutes. At this point, it’s been nearly half an hour and I am watching the clock. My feeling-around tongue is telling me that I don’t have very much tooth left back there after all that drilling, and at this rate I figure he is not going to finish up in the 15 minutes of numbness that I have left. I start taking deeper breaths. He is telling me about how this guy he graduated with REALLY liked the gas. You know. Wink wink. He really liked it. Janitor found him half-dead in his own office laid up in the chair after the hygienist went home. The room starts spinning. I start waving my hand: “Urn it own.”

“What?” they say.

“Urn it own. As. Urn it own. I onna ow up.”

They turn it down a little. I don’t throw up.

The feeling comes back into my arms. I can now hear more clearly, and what I hear is this: "Ewwww. This is a bad one. If this is any indication of those other SEVEN then we’re in for a long haul.”

Y’all just go ahead and buy some stock in nitrous oxide because I cannot take that drilling. It smells funny and you can feel tooth dust flying around in your mouth. I can't take it.

Meanwhile ... back at the ranch, er, fire station, The Guys are having a blast climbing on ladders, getting stickers and coloring books, trying on hats, and finding out about fire safety. There was a fire station right on the unblocked part of the street, and the two of them spent the entire time there, living it up. I mean what could be better? Ladders. Hoses. Big red trucks with sirens and lights. Hats. Dalmations. Well, maybe not dalmations, but still.

Is it this hard for the rest of y'all? There are a lot of things I can take. Childbirth, for example. But I cannot take the tooth drill without the gas. And guess how many he filled yesterday? Of the eight?


I have to go back tomorrow.


The end.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Post-Vacation Mischief

Click this photo for more.

Well I was all set to write about The Goose’s most recent vacations (Paternal Family Reunion to Lake Geneva in Wisconsin (sans Mama), and Maternal Family Trip to Orange Beach, Alabama) but then – just a few hours ago actually – we went to OPEN HOUSE @ JEB’s School. And y’all: I barely made it outta there.

See, here’s the thing … I had spent the last two weeks feeling all proud and uppity about the fact that the biting stage was over and the “peas” and “tankoo” stage had begun. I had been wondering if it was on account good genes, good nursing, or just good parenting skills in general. And then there was OPEN HOUSE @ JEB’s School.

The best way to describe what happened (besides picturing me with my head hung down in shame halfway into a plate of spinach dip) is to imagine a kitten in that state of weird, unexplained energy bursts which makes it run around in circles, clawing at things, and hiding behind couches for the sheer purpose of listening to you scream when it lunges and bites at your ankles or climbs up your pantsleg. Alternately, you could imagine a person with Attention Deficit/Hyperactive Disorder getting the Holy Ghost at a tent revival in Kentucky. Those types of situations are probably the closest Earth Events which could give you some idea of what it was like at OPEN HOUSE @ JEB’s School.

As the Academic Director was explaining the subtle nuances of Einstein’s Label Everything Theory, I was kicked back in a metal folding chair sipping lemonade with a coupla The Goose’s buddies' parents, trying to pretend like I was really interested in this whole idea that putting his name on everything really makes him safer. I had just distracted him from The Car Closet and had convinced him to go shake hands with people (a new favorite pastime for a budding politician), when I heard, “No, no, no, be GENTLE!” And then I saw a much smaller version of the Toddler Species flying backward towards the floor while The Goose, arms extended in front of his chest (post-push), looked on in sheer amazement that yes, his little experiment had indeed indicated that an object in motion will remain in motion until acted on by Another Force.

That’s when I hung my head down and got half of my Former Bangs in some Sam’s Club spinach dip. After I wiped out the spinach, I put him in Time Out in the corner by the garbage cans.

Usually, after two minutes of “sit still and think” time (the rule, for those who are interested, is approximately one minute for each year of life) , I explain the offense and ask him to apologize and try again to do better. This typically elicits an “I sorry” followed by a big hug and kiss. So as soon as I put him in Time Out tonight he started saying, “Hug. HUG. HUG!!!” and smacking his lips in between, “I sorry! BANKY!” and “UP!!!” I had to turn around so he wouldn’t see me laughing. It’s like I cannot even believe how many words, phrases, clauses he knows and how much he understands. How much he soaks in. It’s scary. And hilarious.

After the Newton's Laws of Toddler Gravity Experiment there was the “PINK APPLE JUICE” (Lemonade) Episode, the “MY Dino” Incident, and the “COOKIE PEAS!” Urgent Request Period. We got outta there with nothing but a Child’s Information Sheet and a styrofoam cup full of ice. At one point during the event, the Assistant Academic Director came over to offer us a napkin and to ask if I might be interested in signing him up for more than two days a week and. I’m not sure if it was a comment about my parenting skills, an attempt to make more money, or a reference to The Goose’s inability to function in large groups. Probably it was (D) all of the above, but it felt like the jury was back with a verdict of GUILTY in the trial of The State of Goodparenting versus Me.

So for now, I’ve forgotten about the vacations even though at least one of them was just, like, YESTERDAY and am wrestling with the following existential dilemma: WHAT IS WRONG WITH ME?!?!?

Lucky for you though, I can remember a few snippets about the vacations. First, The Goose slept in a Big Boy Bed for both trips. Second, he quintupled his vocabulary. Third, he won over both sets of grandparents for the 1,465th time (each). Specifically, I would like to highlight what I consider to be the top two events of both trips (please remember that for one trip I was not present and that I am, in general, highly biased):

  • On the plane on the way home from the Family Reunion trip, The Dad was explaining how they were about to “go see mama” and Goose said, “Yay Mama!!!!!!!!!” and clapped – to the amusement of all the other Midwest Express passengers.
  • The Goose referred to our room in Orange Beach as “The Congo” – really it was a condo, but as I’ve documented before, we still need work on certain segmental phonemes.

Like poop through the drain in the kiddie pool, these are the days of our lives.

Click HERE for pictures of The Maternal Beach Trip and HERE for The Paternal Family Reunion.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

23 Months

Dear Goose,

Happy Almost Two, Kissy Face. My favorite thing about you now is that you like to give kisses. And since I know firsthand that there are other, much more dangerous, things you could do with your mouth, I am all in favor of unlimited besos.

You also like blocks:


And boots:

And diggers (behold, Larry, the front-end loader, whom you call "Deeeeeg")

Goose & Larry the Digger

And red striped shirts.

You and Your Dad are up north for a family reunion and I am down here, all lonely and pitiful and so bored I've been to the mall twice. Please Lord do not let Your Dad find the credit card statement. It was fun for the first day, but now I'm antsy. I miss you and I miss Your Dad too.

When I dropped y'all off at the airport, you said, "Bye Mama" and sauntered off toward the automatic doors, nearly crashing into a flight attendant because you were walking forward but looking backward waving at me and simultaneously eyeing a "Beeeeg Bus." Then you stopped, turned, and ran towards me, arms open, for one last hug and kiss. Twenty minutes later, they sent out a team of janitors to clean up the mess on the sidewalk that was really me, melted into the concrete beside the DROP OFF ONLY ZONE, door open, car running ... a puddle with wavy reddish hair on top, right there in front of the Midwest Express curbside check-in.

When I talk to Your Dad each day, I hear you in the background talking to various relatives. Today I heard you say, "Hi Debs." Yesterday while we were having a phone conversation, Your Dad said, "Don't bite Nana!" and then I heard you say, "Ha ha ha -- a big ole BITE!" That's not funny, but of course I have to marvel at your use of colloquialism.

Your Dad says that you have been wowing the Beckers with your counting (to twelve!?!) and sleeping in a Big Boy Bed. He also told me the story about how you got up at 6 a.m., climbed into his bed, and went back to sleep for a couple hours. I am absolutely GREEN with envy about all that snuggling and me here with nothing but a credit card bill to show for my last two days. It makes me want to get rid of your crib just so you'll get up and come into our bedroom and get in the Beeg Bed. But then again I do like to sleep.

I feel like when I see you tomorrow night you'll be so different: An expert in family reunions, airline travel with only one parent, and big boy bed sleeping. And all I've done is make friends with a Mastercard. I really need to get some hobbies.

Happy 23, Little Man. Even when you're 2300 months I'll still call you my Snickerdoodlecoochycoodle.



Thursday, August 10, 2006

More Complex Verb Structures (& Other Developments)

Here he is @ 22.75 months of age. It's the teeth that kill me. In more ways than one. I mean, just the fact that he has a mouthful of teeth! (And he's not afraid to use them.)

But I am most excited this week about the development of three more sentence structures! Get excited.

As you know, The Goose is a pro at using intransitive verbs with first person pronoun subjects such as, "I tee tee" or "I poop" -- nevermind that he isn't inflecting them for past tense (he always announces after the fact) ... I'm not sure he has much of an awareness of time anyway.

Now, we have three new structures:

  1. Transitive verbs: Subject + Verb + Direct Object
    Example: "I want Meow." (stuffed cat)
  2. Linking verbs with predicate adjectives: S +V + PA
    Example: "That's cold." (ice)
  3. The use of dummy "it" with time/weather: It + BE + T/W
    Example: "It's hot." (outside)

I am thrilled. It's just almost too much.

And now, on to the evidence of our most recent bout with biting (not that it matters):


See that yellowish bruise? It's really not that big of a deal, really. It just hurt, that's all.

Otherwise this week, we have been spending a lot of time FARTING. I mean, FORTING:

BIG fort

Everybody has to get in the fort together: Mia the Meow, Arty Dog, Big Teddy, Big Doggy, Dad, Mom, tennis balls, dump trucks, Larry the Digger, etc:

Dad Likes the fort too

Inside the Fort

Above: A view from the inside of the fort.

And speaking of Larry the Digger ... I would just like to thank Nana for such a fantastic toy. Granted, Larry has long since been rendered mute either because of overuse or because Dad secretly took the batteries out, but still, he's a big hit. His laryngitis has not in any way diminished his appeal.

Let's see ...

In other news, we are starting to learn how to quantify items and identify certain colors. For example, "Two pink snakes. Sssss."

Yesterday I picked up a Playdoh duffel bag kit at Target complete with a tool that seems to be a combination of garlic press, hair-maker, and snake creator. You put the Playdoh in and then squeeze it and out comes a whole bunch of Playdoh string-like things. Mostly we call them snakes because we have a thing about snakes. Mostly we use the pink Playdoh because we have a thing about pink. We have to pair up the snakes and call the diads "Mama and BAYbee. Ssssss." And that, folks, equals TWO.

Playdoh Table

Above: The Playdoh Table (note the duffel bag on the floor behind him)

In addition to the pink obsession and the fascination with the number two, there are other reasons that I fear I may be raising a fellow English major. He identifies his favorite books by the author's surname. For example, Llama Llama Red Pajama is simply called "Dude-nee" because its author is Anna Dewdny (fabulous book by the way -- there's a scene where Mama Llama says, "Baby Llama! What a tizzy! Sometimes Mama's very busy! Please stop all this llama drama and be patient for your mama."). The Very Hungry Caterpillar is just "Carl" -- I can only assume he means "Carle" as in "Eric Carle," the author. When we read books, we make it a point to always say the title and the author's name. I have a pet peeve about people who love books but never remember author's names. How could you ever recommend a book to someone if you didn't know who wrote it? How could you ever find other books by the same author? How could you diminish what might be someone's magnum opus?

So that's about all from our end. And it is a big end, let me tell you. Mostly on account of my Pepperidge Farms Goldfish intake, I am considering going on Weight Watchers, but that's neither here nor there -- unlike my "end," which, due to size, is both here AND there. Not that it matters.

Happy Thursday.

Sunday, August 06, 2006

Letter to Store Manager

Dear REI Store Manager:

Please accept my non-apologetic explanation of the scene that occurred in the Children's Bike Section of your Brentwood store earlier today. You see, we had only gone into your store to look for Mama a water bottle -- not to ride pink tricycles with streamers. But your Store Arranger Person probably didn't think about how it would affect my life (and the lives of your customers and employees) if pink tricycles with streamers were placed in the front of the store rather than in farthest back corner, like they are at Target. I like Target -- now those Store Arranger People really have their heads on straight.

So when it came time to leave the Children's Bike Section and go to the Mama's Water Bottle section, my son and I had a little bit of a showdown. And really, I feel that I handled it well: I allowed him to ride the bikes for several minutes, gave him fair warning, and was in the process of lifting him off the pink bestreamered three-wheely when it happened. A sharp pain shot through my upper arm. Tears came into my eyes. When I looked down, I noticed that there were teeth marks right in the same spot where I felt the shooting pain.

Accordingly, in an attempt to provide consistent discipline for my child, I put him in time out underneath a green sea kayak poised vertically on a beam just across from the personal flotation devices and right next to the Children's Bike Section where the previously-mentioned oral assault occurred. It was then that he started screaming hysterically and it was then that four employees and six customers all stopped, looked directly at me -- tears streaming down my cheeks -- and GLARED.

Now, why exactly do you think they were glaring at ME? Because I discipline my child? Because my child dislikes time-outs? Because I should really be in control of his teeth at all times?

You see, I take issue with this. I take issue because it's hard enough to raise a child without having pink tricycles with streamers standing in the way. It's hard enough not to bite your child back when he sinks his teeth into your soft, delicate flesh (which, by the way, likely would've made him scream even LOUDER). It's hard enough to implement consistent and widely-accepted disciplinary tactics in an attempt to help a child differentiate good and bad decisions. But it's just downright ENRAGING when, despite all of your good intentions, despite your throbbing, tooth-pocked arm, despite your restraint, you are faced with the glares of perfect strangers shopping for rock climbing gear or people attempting to sell freeze-dried scrambled eggs in a bag ("just add hot water and shake!"), who obviously don't have kids and couldn't recognize good mothering if it bit them on the arm. Yes, I do take issue on matters such as that.

I certainly will not apologize for even one second of it though I do feel for your poor, tortured customers and employees who may never be the same ... much like my mangled upper arm.

Thank you for your time in reading this heartfelt letter. Perhaps you should forward this on to your Store Arranger Person in the hopes that providing a better store layout might enhance the shopping experiences of your customers and the working atmosphere for your employees. And think again if you're labelling me "Once Bitten, Twice Shy."

I'll be back.


p.s. In case you want his picture for a "Most Wanted" poster, here it is:
New Shirt, New Shoes

Friday, August 04, 2006

Wet Rat

Wet Rat
Originally uploaded by Kimmy Crack Corn.
We've had a lot of rain lately.

Click the picture for more.