Friday, August 12, 2011

Victoria on Higher Education

Wee 1 suffers from horrible allergies. In fact we have strongly considered pursuing a restraining order against dust mites, but apparently dead micro-organisms fall outside the purview of the county court system. Victoria's allergies are so bad that she must take daily meds to control them and visit the allergist weekly for shots. Though I initially felt that these visits would be more painful for me than the child who was being poked with the needle, I have come to see them as a blessing, because each week I am able to give her 1 hour of uninterrupted mommy and Wee time that results in conversations like this.

Wee 1: Mom, do you have to go to college to be a mom?

Mom: Nope.

Wee 1: Are you serious? Don't you have to go to college to do even simple things like learning to operate heavy machinery and identify rapid mood swings?

Mom: No honey, that's the voice over information from the Lunesta drug commercial. I told you, you aren't allowed to watch programming with commercials. Do we need to revoke your TV privileges?

Wee 1: I think you are losing sight of the big picture mom!

Mom: How so?

Wee 1: If you don 't have to go to college how do you know you are doing it right - being a mom I mean?

Mom: You don't know if you are doing it right, you just do what you can and hope for the best?

Wee 1: HOPE FOR THE BEST!! This is my future you are talking about!

Mom: Well, sweetie you are so stinking smart you can do anything when you grow up. I always figured - you'd cure cancer or some other equally heinous medical demon or become a member of the FBI's most wanted list. The way I figure it - it's up to you to make good choices with what I've taught you.

Wee 1 sits quietly for awhile chewing on her lip and ruminating. As we pull into the allergists parking lot she asks, "Is college expensive?"

Mom: Yup, but with hard work you'll figure it out. Mommy and Daddy made it through on scholarships and lots of jobs. We didn't take fancy Spring breaks, worked every day in the Summers, heck we even joined the Army so that we wouldn't have any student loans.

Wee 1: Doctor's are the ones who cure cancer right? And they have to go to college right?

Mom: Yes, yes they do on both accounts. Aunt Katie is a Doctor and she attended college for almost a decade.

Wee 1: A decade - that's close to 10 years!!! How am I going to have any time to get on the FBI's most Wanted list if I spend 10 years trying to become a doctor!! They're sure to find somebody they like more by then.

Mom: Oh, dear - the FBI's most wanted list is not a good thing to be on.

Wee 1: Mom - "wanted" is a good word. Like I wanted that DS game last week, but you didn't buy it for me. It's a good word. Are you sure their aren't college classes to take about becoming a mom?

Victoria rolled her eyes at me and stomped off to get her shot.

I was just about to call her back when she proudly proclaimed to the nurse, "When I grow I am going to try and make the FBI's most wanted list - isn't that great!"

I couldn't very well abandon the child in the doctor's office without actually making the very list in question. So I buried myself in a magazine and waited our 30 minutes to pass so we could leave. The kindly nurse eyed me funnily when Wee 1 went up to have her shot site examined for a reaction and when we received the all clear sign I sprinted Victoria through the door.

A wee bit in need of tutoring,

Monday, June 13, 2011

Maddie on Milking

 WARNING: This post mentions the womanly art of breast feeding in a positive and loving way. If the idea of a woman using her body in the way Heavenly Father intended her to offends you tune in at a later date for a future post on Whimsies of the Wee.

For the last few Summers I have had a unique opportunity to teach gifted students at a local university for a three week period. I love the chance to interact with other people's Wees for awhile and my Wees love getting rid of me for a bit too.

The program is located in the heart of Atlanta which means that my family's normal routine is turned on its head. Instead of telecommuting I join the regular herd of disenchanted workers on their lemmingesque migration to the place which provides them the income to do all the fun things they would rather be doing than allowing the 95 year old postal worker with their blinker STILL on to merge into their lane.

In order to make this adjustment as painless as possible for Weeland we hire a live in nanny who provides continuity of care and fun for the kids for the period I am out of the house. This year's nanny is my college aged sister who my girls haven't had the chance to spend much time with up till now. While I am racked with "mommy guilt," they are gushing at the opportunity to "hang" with a "sophstipated" (Bella's word) coed cooler and younger than good old mom.

Of particular angst to me is leaving the littlest Wee for anything longer than his normal 30 second nap. As momma bears go on a scale of one to ten I am a 15. I nearly beat an old woman to death last week with a package of celery in the grocery store. In retrospect it was clear that she was merely handing Reid back his plush toy, but in the heat of the moment she looked like a scary babynapper to me. Her walker should have been a clue as to her harmless nature, but my motto is "better safe than sorry."

To be sure that Reid has everything he could possibly need in my absence I have been pumping extra bottles for him like mad. This means that despite attempts at modesty Wees 1, 2, and 3 have seen me using a breast pump at least once in the past few days. Wees 1 and 2 expressed mild amusement at the sight. Victoria even made the charming observation that  I looked like a cow on a dairy farm.

But Maddie has been captivated by the process and ferrets me out to get a front row seat.  There is no hiding place safe from her playtex sniffing nose and no lock secure from her constant handle jiggling. As soon as I try to pump in solitude I hear her firm stomp coming down the hallway and her belowing voice chanting "Are you milking mom? Where are you milking - can I see?" To her credit she is a motivator and routinely claps and cheers me on when a bottle is topped off.

One day last week I was loading the dish washer and the house was quiet - too quiet. The kind of quiet which means a mess that would shame the explosion at Chernobyl was being made somewhere. While mentally weighing whether or not the tranquility was worth having to get a back hoe out to clean up the play room later, I heard Wee 3's blood curdling scream coming from my bed room "My milkers!!! My milkers!! HELP!!!"

I sprinted down the hall throwing my weight against my bedroom door and burst through only to collapse in a heap of convulsed laughter. Maddie had taken her shirt off and was seated in the middle of my bedroom. She had somehow pried off the protective outlet cover on my bedroom wall and plugged in my breast pump. The pump was cranked all the way up to "Superhuman Suction" mode - a level I have personally never been brave enough to try. The pump was sucking and releasing like a steam engine on steroids and in her panic Maddie was pressing the cone of the pump harder against her chest instead of trying to pull it away.

I crawled with tears streaming down my face to the outlet and unplugged the pump. Wee 3 was not amused. She pulled the pump off tenderly fingering the welt appearing around her "milker" and threw down the pump in disgust. Giving the dirtiest look a 3 year old can, she yanked her shirt over her head and stomped out of my room. As her little perturbed body rocketed down the hallway I heard her mutter "I am never cooking for Reid again!"

A wee bit pumped,


Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Maddie on Counting

Human beings seem to derive an insatiable sense of satisfaction from counting down to things. We make little chains and remove a link each day as we head towards Christmas, astronauts can't seem to make a 9 ton space craft take off without a little voice over a loud speaker telling them when to go and mothers - oh' mothers love to countdown when trouble is brewing.

I am proud to say I am a card holding member of the count down club. I've counted my kids down from many a horrible act of toddlerness. Most notably were the "I am counting down from 10 and there better not be any more lipstick on my bathroom floor" incident of 2008 and the even more concerning "I am counting to 2 and my Godiva chocolate bar from Valentine's Day better be back in that fridge and untouched" incident of 2010.

Today we had another notable "counting down" disciplinary debacle. Wee 3 who I really, really do love was pitching a fit because I had informed her that she would be picking up all of the cheese crackers she had stomped into the carpet while I was laying Wee 4 down for his nap.  Maddie felt this request was simply unreasonable and clearly below her station, so she raised one eyebrow caustically and said - "NO, I don't think so."

I replied, "Oh, I really do think so - double time Missy."

My children normally take my usage of military vocabulary as an indicator that I am not going to back down and then comply posthaste - Maddie however, having never endured the delights of boot camp or Air Assault school and who is quite a bit more sure of the glories of heaven than her sisters was unimpressed. She turned her back on me and continued to fluff the tail of her favorite My Little Pony.

So as you can clearly see I was left with no choice, it was time for the countdown - and I assure you I can put Dick Clark and New Year's Eve celebrators worldwide to shame with my countdown voice.

I got right down on Maddie's level, looked her in the eyes and said, "You will be cleaning this floor up by the time I get to zero, are we clear?"
10-9-8-7-6-5-4-3-2-1 .....

Reluctantly, my tiny general turned, slumped her shoulders and defeatedly mumbled, "Okay, okay, mom. I am cleaning up."

A few moments later, the play room was cleaned to an acceptable standard for a 3 year old, and while I was pulling out the vacuum to capture the itty bitty crumb escapees Maddie turned and said to me.

"Mom, I'm hungry, I want some lunch."

I replied as I was kneeling down to unravel the vacuum cord, "Maddie one minute, let me finish with this vacuuming."

Ever the star pupil, Wee three walked right up to me at eye level, took my chin in her hands and said. "I can count too - I want my lunch, 5-4-3-2-1!"

Thus ends another moment of domestic bliss. I'm taking comfort in the fact that she is already apprenticing for a role as an astronaut.

A wee bit counted upon,

Friday, March 18, 2011

Weeland is under Assault!

I know it has been quiet in the Wee Blogosphere for awhile now. But I have good reason for my silence- a heinous, perfidious, dark and sneaky enemy has been besieging our Wee kingdom for several weeks and seems ill likely to give up its evil assault.

The name of this dastardly foe .... the EAR INFECTION MONSTER!

As is the case with most horrendous plagues, the ear infection monster is attracted to first born sons and the younger the better. Wee 4 has had a double ear infection for going on 6 weeks. Though he has been whisked against his will to all manner of people with very large certificates of "I know something about what is wrong with you" a cure has yet to be found.

Much has been made of the "antibiotics" which are to fight back and slay the Ear Infection Monster, but all they have done so far is to create an endless number of separate problems which can be encapsulated under the title "blow outs." In fact the use of 3 separate antibiotics have created an internal war within Wee 4's body which require the introduction of the probiotics. I hate to be political, but it is quite clear that the "pro's" in this battle are sissies as the "anti's" continue to wreak havoc. Their anarchistic displays of intestinal displeasure have tripled the needed contents of my diaper bag and reduced the number of others willing to hold Baby Wee due to the potential hazards of "blow back."

Those of you who are stalwart Whimsis of the Wee followers know that Wee 4 has always been a finicky baby. Not one who believes in taking a nap or (anything else for the team for that matter) he has chosen to be particularly offended by his selection as the Ear Infection Monster's target. His drool is even more plentiful then normal. In fact the city council of Niagara Falls is threatening to sue Reid as his oral deluge is becoming a popular destination for hordes of love blind honeymooners. His already sensitive and eczema challenge skin has become lacerated underneath his inflamed ears as his constant tugging irritates his dermis. All of these additonal symptons have taken him from "so cute, but a little fussy" to "cute or not I am sending you to the nearest relative in a well ventilated package" status.

Let it be known however, that here and now I proclaim to eradicate this beast and have set a countdown to ensure its eviction. All Ear Infection Monsters who choose not to succumb to this latest round of feebly effective magical potions (read here ammoxicillin) will be surgically removed and replaced with one uber powerful "tube" at the end of the month (or roundabouts depending on when the not-so-accommodating insurance companies make the time to make this happen) These tubes will ensure that the monster is unable to return and that Wee 4 can return to his usual only slightly perturbed demeanor.

In the meantime we beg the patience and compassion of our blog readers. It is most difficult to slay invisible biological foes, bounce a fussy baby and type in the Wee hours of the morning.

A Wee bit on the defensive,


Thursday, March 3, 2011

Perspectives on Branding

It is an indisputable fact that Wees see the world differently than grown ups do. They value things differently. Adults have a tendency to place value and therefore remember things based on their economic cost, ease of use, or the durability of the item in question. Wees are far more "sense"ical. They value something based on their sensory interactions with it. How did it taste, feel, and was it the perfect accessory for their latest ballerina/circus clown themed dress up ensemble.

I find the use of Wee senses to be particularly strong when it comes to their attempts at remembering or replicating brand names for products, places and companies. My Wees have described Coca-Cola as "Mommy Juice," Nike is the "Check mark company" and Walmart is that "cheap place most people shop at."

This week Wee 3 celebrated her third birthday and she decided that as 3 was a very big thing to be celebrating that she and her sister Wees deserved a happy meal for lunch. Dad and I felt this was not to great a thing to ask so we let the Wees set about choosing where we should eat and as we drove down the main drag here in Weeville they saw a number of fast food restaurant signs and began discussing their options. This is how they described them:

Arby's = "Hat Burger"

Chick-Filet = "Mc - Cluck, clucks"

McDonalds = "Old McDonalds had a farm's restaurant"

Dunkin Doughnuts = "Yummy, but unhealthy breakfast place" (Victoria called it Dunkin DoughNOTS to stress her point)

Burger King = "The place Pops likes"

As Maddie was the queen for the day she went with her all time favorite "Old McDonalds" but it was very interesting to hear the kids discuss the quality of fries, happy meal toys and the return on investment they would experience at varied play grounds and questioning as to whether or not there was a reason to visit a Restaurant which did not have a playground at all. Wee 1 in particular felt that patronizing institutions without Play Places was almost criminal and not in the best interest of Wees everywhere.

A wee bit brandied,


Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Bella on Anatomy

Before I had Wees I was one of those people who was never going to do so many things as a parent. You see my future Wees were going to come out of the womb perfect. Little child rearing was actually going to be needed, and I was never going to be flummoxed, at a loss for words or frustrated. Life was going to be like a mix between a Norman Rockwell painting and a 1950's Coco-Cola commercial - all technicolor and flawless. Then something happened - my first pregnancy test came out positive and all my plans of grandeur went by the wayside.

A particularly strong pre-Wee stance I took was that I would never use baby talk. No ridiculous words for using the bathroom, no made up code phrases for disciplining or warning children and above all no imaginary body part descriptors. As the following incident highlights - clearly I have abandoned my position on all of these fronts.

Because we lived in an almost all female world (dad was the only rooster in the hen house) before the birth of Wee 4 my girl Wees thought they had the nuances of life figured out - especially biology and anatomy. They (especially Wee 2) figured everyone looked the same, every where. After all dad has two ears, two eyes, two legs - what would possibly be different about boy Wees and girl Wees?

Now that Reid is five months old and the girls have seen 100s of diaper changes they are very aware that some things are definitely different and now they are trying to process those differences in their age appropriate ways. It seemed we had laid the matter of biological differences to rest when after much thought Bella decided that boys had "tinkle sprayers" and girls had "squatta majigs" and that these differences in private areas were due to gender preferences on how one uses the toilet. It never occurred to her that the reality was spurred for opposite reasons - but I had no plans of stirring up a hornet's nest. An additional benefit of this made up nomenclature was that if they began talking about their bodies in potentially embarrassing situations - say in the line at the deli or while dropping off the dry cleaning - no one around us knew what they were talking about.

Something interesting happened yesterday though. Wee 4 needed his diaper changed (again) and I asked Bella to bring me a new diaper. This she did and than she waited around to see if anything exciting was going to happen. She once caught him peeing on me when he was only a few days old and has been hoping for a repeat ever since.

While I changed Reid, the following exchange occurred.

Bella: What is that?

Mom: What is what?

Bella: That thing below Reid's tinklesprayer. What is that?

Mom: His bottom Bella, you have one too.

Bella: Mom - not his bottom - that other thing, I don't have one.

Mom: Oooh, that thing.

Enter a pause here. As a more experienced parent I have discovered the miracle of the PAUSE. Never rush to fill empty space, whether its during a PTA call for volunteers or a child asking those hard to answer questions. Take a pause - in most cases it will resolve itself without your intervention.

As I sat back and tried to think of just how much I wanted to tell my four year old about the differences between boys and girls and Heavenly Father's divine injunction to go forth and be fruitful, she interrupted me and the conversation continued.

Bella: Reid has a little brain down there. It looks just like the brain we saw in Victoria's Science book.

Mom: Ummm, Bella that is not a brain.

Bella: Yes, it is. It looks like a little brain - is this why boys are always saying they are smarter than girls? Because they have an extra brain down there?

Mom: No, Bella it is not a brain. Boys are not smarter than girls.

Bella: Are you trying to not hurt my feelings? I am going to go and tell Victoria about this.

So as I washed my hands and redressed my son, my two daughters carried on a furtive conversation about biological gender inequity. I had decided I would have to be upfront with them and have a conversation I had been hoping to put off for a little longer when Bella came back in the room with a big smile on her face.

Mom: Is everything okay Bella?

Bella: Yup, Victoria says boys don't use that other brain so we are still even.

It is with a huge sigh of relief and only a bit of sheepishness that I say that I let it go at that.

A bit brainless,


Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Victoria on Unmentionables

I am lucky to have a husband who realizes that after singing the best of Journey for 5 hours straight each night to a cranky and ear infected Wee baby that I have nothing left to give to the "get on the bus right now" pandemionium which ensues each morning as Wees 1 and 2 prepare for school. This means that though I lay out what I want them to wear each night before - I don't get to see what they actually wore until they get off the bus in the afternoon. This is where all of you experienced Wee raisers should be chuckling and shaking your heads as you murmur "foolish woman."

Last Friday, I met Wees 1 and 2 at the bus stop as usual. I grabbed their backpacks from them, got out the snacks and did all that super cool June Cleaver stuff that makes our home the place they want to be after a hard day of singing "Kumbayah" and building paper mache replicas of famous people.

After snack time Wee 1 even volunteered to help me load the dishwasher. As she bent over to drop in a few spoons I noticed something very concerning at her waistline - the clearly discernible band of a pair of my underwear. Now, this was PG stuff, it was not like the child had gone digging where she should not have been in my dresser, but it was still definitely not her normal My Little Pony or Pretty Pretty Princess fare.

And so the following conversation ensued:

Mom: What are you wearing?

Victoria: Clothes.

Mom: No, on your bottom what are you wearing?

Victoria: Pants

Mom: Underneath the pants???

Victoria: Underwear!

Mom: Whose underwear?

At this point Wee 1 begins to look at the floor a wee bit embarrassed. She begins to stutter and attempts to stall for an opportunity to make up something, like she was held captive by a striking 6 foot tall blond who held her down and forced her to wear my unmentionables. Oh, and this woman had on big wings and a foreign accent.

Mom: Victoria, you know very well those are not yours! Weren't they uncomfortably big on you?

Victoria: No - not really - I am getting very big you know these days. Besides they were in my laundry basket to put away.

Mom: If I had mistakenly put one of Reid's bibs in your basket would you have worn that or would you have returned it to his dresser?

Victoria: (incoherent mumbling noises)

Mom: Well, did anyone comment on your 6 sizes too big grown up bright red underwear at school?

Victoria: Oh, yes my friends and my teacher. She asked me why I was wearing them.

Mom: Great - what did you say?

Victoria: I said they had my name on them after all and I wanted to know what I was supposedly hiding from everyone.

Mom: Excuse me?

Victoria: They say "Victoria's Secret" right on the band mom!!

Mom: (Rolls eyes and walks out of room - to commence giggling where she will not hurt Wee 1's feelings and where she begins to write her 1 millionth note to school "Dear Ms. X....."

A wee bit unwearable,