Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Ethan's newest conquest

Saint Sitter told me that Ethan cupped her breast yesterday.

She said her first reaction was: Oh my goodness! Najla wasn't kidding in her blog!

Her second reaction was to laugh hysterically.

Ethan got upset with her for laughing.

I guess it kinda hurts a guy's ego when he takes a run at first base and gets laughed off.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Reality check

I understand that kids think the universe revolves around them. At our house that means four universes. Four very large and stubborn universes.

Each like a black hole -- sucking up all forms of life that dare come near. Yes. Paul and I dare... and we get sucked in and spit back out the other end into another dimension.

Over and over and over again.

UNTIL... we have had it. AND... last week... we had HAD it.

Each young male universe hit some sort of hormonal high or fantasy world or mega force something star warsy something...

There were several things that went profoundly wrong over two days last week involving the following: 1. Money; 2. Emotional meltdowns and; 3. Overall bratty-ness. Because of time, space, and my own desire not to relive the entire week, I will only talk about a few incidents that involve money -- with good background information about how my children feel and deal with money.

Keep in mind - the few stories I tell you happened over the course of two days.

Let's begin, shall we?

Zayd loves getting money. He's a pretty good saver, except he hides his money and he can't remember where he put it. So when he needs it and can't find it, he expects us to give him money because he "has" it. Somewhere. So we are to give him money that he has but cannot find.

Ethan also loves getting money -- most of which Paul and I try to intercept because if we don't, it will end up somewhere in a toy box or an empty plastic water bottle named Bob (please see earlier postings) or in the sand box. This becomes particularly troublesome when my parents give him money because they tend to give him too much money accompanied by things they shouldn't say to a 6-year-old with too much money (this will be explained below).

Evan always has money. He works hard at selling cold water bottles in our backyard - which is on the 5th tee of a 9-hole golf course. He does very well for himself. One summer he made $400 and bought himself a nice electric piano. He is willing to give anyone money but his brother Zayd. (Evan has had a problem with Zayd since the day Zayd was born. That might be for another blog entry).

Zachary also always has money. However, because he does not work in any way, shape or form, we have concluded that he makes money by taking money from his brothers. He is infamous for repeatedly saying, "I had $20! Someone stole it from my room!" This elusive $20 has had like... 100 lives.

Which come to think of it may be why Zayd always seems to be misplacing his money.

The four of them seem to always be talking about the money they should have, the money they had, the money they think they have, the money they had and they can't find, the money Ethan took, or the money Zach owes them.

I tried the chore/allowance thing. It doesn't work for my children. Every time they lift their finger they ask if this is part of their allowance or if they can get paid extra for doing "this."

So - Zayd gets $80 for his birthday - most of which came from my parents. My parents also have "issues" with money and they seem to be passing these issues onto my children. My mom has "her money" and dad has "his money." They also refer to each other's money as "her money" and "his money." So possession of money is clearly important to them.

When they give my children money for their birthday, or whatever occasion they see fit, it is accompanied by the following statements:

-This is your money.
-Don't share your money with anyone.
-I want you to spend your money however you want to spend it.
-Shhh... Don't tell your parents how much money we gave you.
-Did you see how much money I gave you? I gave you more than Papa - so you should remember your Nana. (this obviously is said by my mother).


Zayd did something (which falls under the General Bratty-ness category) that led Paul and I to demand he turn over the rest of his money to us. He cannot account for $20.

Me: Where is the $20?

Zayd: I don't have $20.

Me: But you should have $20. You spent $20 on the nerf rifles, $10 at the movie, and here is $30 you gave me. Where's the other $20?

Zayd: I don't have $20!


Me: You don't know where it is.

Zayd: No.

Me: How do you lose $20? That's a lot of money! $80 is a lot of money! From now on, any money you get from anyone comes to us and it goes in the bank. We are finished with you and losing money.


Me: Don't even start my friend. This is it. You wanna lose more than your money? Keep going and watch what you'll lose.

Zayd: Whhhhyyyyy? I want my money. It's myyyyy money! Nana said I could spend it anyway I wanted to...

Nana. Argh.

Me: Too bad. Nana isn't the boss. We are. The money you get from now on goes in the bank for college.

Zayd then spends the rest of the evening doing what falls under the topic emotional meltdown.


The next morning Zayd uses the bathroom and comes out victorious.

Zayd: I found my $20!

Me: Where?

Zayd: In the bathroom!

Me: In the bathroom. You are kidding me, right? You found your $20 in the bathroom.

Zayd: Yes! I am so happy I have my money back.

Me: You don't have it back. Hand it over.

Zayd: WHY!???

Me: Because you lost the liberty of possessing money yesterday with your actions and today you have sealed the deal by finding your money in the bathroom.


That night after dinner sometime, Paul comes out of the bathroom and says, "Whose money is in the bathroom?"


Me: Well, that tends to be Zayd's hiding place.

Paul: Zayd, why do you put your money in the bathroom?

Zayd: I don't know.

Me: Where was the money?

Paul: In the top drawer.


Zayd: OH! YEA! That's where I put the other money I had that I couldn't find. The money I had from before my birthday money.

At this point I am wondering how is it that couldn't find all the money he had stashed in there at once? I mean, it's a freakin' guest bathroom! It's got room for a toilet and vanity and one person.

I took Zachary and his friend to the mall. When I dropped them off, Zachary wanted me to give him money to buy something for a special friend (you know what I mean). He had JUST spent all of his money on a video game. God knows whose money. I told him I wasn't going to loan him money. If his friend was so important, he should have thought about her (oops) before he spent his money on a video game.

And... and this is a very important AND. Because I know exactly how Zachary thinks. Because I was exactly like him. I make sure to tell him, "And don't borrow any money from anyone else - like a friend."

Low and behold...

I pick up Zach and his friend from the mall and I am immediately shown a lovely gift for a special friend.

Zach tells me, "Isn't it cute?"

Are you kidding me?

I do not get mad at my kids in front of their friends. I will always pull them aside or into another room and have my frank discussion. This time, it couldn't wait. I was really mad.

Me: Are you kidding me, Zach?

Zach: What?

Me: How did you get the money to buy that?

Zach: What do you mean?

o.m.g. It drives me nuts when I ask him a clear question and he responds with "What do you mean?"

Me: Zach! WHERE did you get the money to buy that? What don't you understand about my question?

Zach: huh?

I know what he's doing. However, I would have done it better when I was his age. He is trying to figure out his exit strategy. I.. on the other hand, would have NEVER waited to be pushed into a corner. I would have figured everything out before the conversation began. I always had multiple exit strategies. And at least one "grand daddy" exit strategy that could get me out of the possibilities I hadn't considered.

Me: Zachary. Did you borrow it from your friend?

Zach: huh?

Me: Did you borrow the money from your friend?!

Zach: huh?

I'm not going to go on with this particular conversation because the thought of it is giving me a hot flash right now.

Zach finally fessed up that indeed, he borrowed the money from his friend. I paid the friend back immediately and told Zachary he would now need to pay me back with interest by selling water on the golf course. He would also need to take into account the cost of the water (they sell 20 oz water bottles for a buck a piece - they buy in bulk so each costs them about 30 cents).

He complains.

I go ballistic since the friend is now gone.

He apologizes.

I tell him that as part of his punishment he also gets to tell his dad what he did.

He begs me not to make him tell his dad.

I amuse myself by allowing him to suffer for about an hour.

Then... I cave.


The next day Zach decides he is going to sell water until he makes enough to pay me back. He decides this at about 4 pm but manages to make the all the money he owes me by 7 pm.


And this is the great part...

He asks to borrow money from me to go to a movie that night with a friend.

Seriously. OH. MY. GOD. Seriously?

Me: You have GOT to be kidding me Zach!

Zach: What?! WHAT?

Me: Please tell me that you get it. Please, please tell me that you understand why this would make me incredibly mad.


Zach: Well... I'll pay you back.


Me: ZACHARY! You do not spend money you don't have! You earn the money first and THEN you get to spend it.

Zach: But I want to go to the movie.

Me: Then next time don't buy a video game and don't buy a present for your woman and work selling water every so often and THEN you will have money to go to a movie. What a thought!


Zach: Fine - I'll go out and see if I can sell enough before the movie. It doesn't start until 9.

Me: Fine.


So Zach comes back after attempting to sell enough water in two hours to go to a movie. He does not make enough but does say, "I guess I'll have to go another time." Thank you. I only hope he finally gets it.

Zayd, I am quite certain, will forget that he is not allowed to possess money any longer, will forget that he puts that money in the guest bathroom, and further, will forget exactly where in the guest bathroom he will put it.

I am also quite certain that Zach will soon tire of selling water to earn what he wants to spend and will quickly discover that Zayd hides his money in the bathroom. Which means all this crap will start all over again.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Quotes from Saint Sitter

Saint Sitter posted on my FB wall tonight. Here is what she wrote:

Most favorite sentences coming out of the three youngest boys' mouths in the past two days:

"If there is any girl out there, any girl, I don't care if you're ugly, please call me." (Zayd)

"I want three op-et-ens [meant to say options]." (Ethan)

"So if we smelled with our tongues we could do this [closes eyes and sticks out tongue], 'Mmm, pie.'" (Evan)

[to his younger brothers in the car today] "Never ask a girl how much she weighs." (Evan)

Friday, July 17, 2009

No surprises

Today is Ethan's birthday.

He came bounding into my bedroom at 6:40 this morning with a huge grin on his face.


Ethan smiles even bigger and turns his head away.

Me: OH. MY. GOODNESS! THE day is FINALLY here! You are six! Let me look at you. Stand far away so I can see how much you have grown.

Ethan stands super straight and he is trying hard now to hide his excitement.

Me: So did you find your first clue?

Ethan: I haven't started yet. 

Me: Well.... let's get this party started boyfriend! Let's find the clue and wake up your brothers!

Ethan: I can wake up my brothers?

Me: Heellllooooo? It's your birthday! Yes.

We go into his bedroom, find his clue and wake up his brothers. The boys help him read the clues and wander around the house and yard to find them. The last clue reads: "Where you are SUPPOSED to pee." He gets that one right away. 

After gathering his pile of presents from the bathroom (which we have video of... will post later) he plops on the family room floor to open them. He starts with the smallest and works his way up. We wrap everything. Every box of candy, every coloring book. 

He finally gets to the big one.

Ethan: I wonder what this is?

The rest of us: Yeah.. I wonder. It sure is big!

He opens it up to find a remote control motorcycle.

Everyone ooooo's and ahhhhh's. 

Ethan: Is this remote control.

Paul: Yup.

Ethan: Yessss! I'm going to use it today!

long pause

Ethan looks at us sheepishly.

Ethan: Uh. I'm sorry to say this to you guys.


Ethan: I looked in dad's car last night. 

pause. We all sit in silence.


Paul: You little stinker! You already knew what it was! (smiling)

Ethan: Yes. (He's looking a bit between worried and sad. He almost looks like he is going to cry. I think it is that he is worried we'd get upset.)

Paul: So... do you like not having a surprise?

Ethan: No.

Paul: Welll... I'm going to have to get better at hiding next time.

Ethan: Well... I DIDN'T know it was remote control. 


Ethan: Let's DO THIS!

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Can you put me to bed?

Ethan turns 6 tomorrow and his birthday treasure hunt begins as soon as he wakes up.

He's pretty dang excited. Here are a few funny things he has said already today:

At dinnertime
Ethan: Could you please get me more spaghetti? You have to do it because I get whatever I want because it is my birthday.

We all look at him with our eyebrows raised.

Ethan: Actually I have a list of things I want.

He gets up, goes to the counter and returns with a list written by him. He doesn't know how to read, but he knows how to write his letters.

Ethan: I want all these things.

Me: Uhmm.. well... if you wanted some of this, you should have thought about giving this to us a little earlier.

Paul: You didn't get any of those things.

Ethan: Okay.

He then goes back to eating.

I don't really think he cares what he gets... as long as he gets.

Later at dinner
Would you take my plate please because it is going to be my birthday tomorrow?

At 6:30 pm
Ethan: Where are my presents mom?

Me: I don't know.

Ethan: Yes you do! You know!

Me: I don't. You dad hid them.

Ethan: Argh. When are you going to wrap them?

Me: Later, after you go to bed.

He leaves the room

6:40 pm
Ethan: Can you put me to bed?

Me: It's too early to go to bed Ethan.

Ethan: NO it's NOT! I'm tired!

Me: Even if I put you to bed now, I will not wrap your presents.


Ethan: Well why not!?

Me: Because I will do it later.

He growls and leaves

Ethan: Okay mom. It's already 7! Can you put me to bed.

Me: Ethan, if you go to bed now, you will have trouble falling asleep.

Ethan: I won't!

Me: Yes you will. You can go to bed when you always go to bed.

He growls.

It's about time for him to come again.
OMG - He seriously JUST walked in the door as I typed that. I am freakin' amazing.

Ethan: Now can I go to bed

Me: You can get ready for bed

Ethan: Why just get ready for bed?

Me: 'Cause it is too early

Ethan: Too early for bed STILL? Why is it too early? I'm tired.

Me: You're excited.

Ethan: No. I'm tired. I'm really tired.

I was able to type out that conversation as it was happening. He's gone now. I give him.. 10 minutes this time.


Paul thinks I don't hold my ground with the kids enough - I'm too soft with them. I don't know. Maybe he's right. But I remember what it was like being a kid. You are misunderstood, you are bossed around, you have to deal with your parents cranky moods... it's hard.

This afternoon Zach texted me and he caught me in a cranky mood.

Here was our text conversation:

Zach: Would it be ok if ryan spent the night? Please!

Me: no

Zach: Why?

Me: b-day in the morning. I am tired. I am stressed. I don't want ryan at my house.

Zach: K. now he wants to know if I can go there?

Me: no

Zach: Why im not even here why does it matter? Can I ask dad if its ok with him?

Me: Yes but u have to tell him I said no. If you don't then u will be in big trouble.

Zach: Ya but why did u say no? He is going to be the one staying home tomorrow anyways.

Me: I'm not in a great mood right now and I'm busy. U have really caught me at a bad time.

Zach: Sorry. ill talk to you later.

Paul and I try to stay on the same page when it comes to discipline - but it's hard to keep track of everything and everyone. So, if one of us says no - we try to alert the other asap so the kids don't try to mess with us.

When I got home, Ethan hands me a gift bag with three presents he has made me. A piece of wood he got at the lumberjack exhibition at the Red River Valley Fair this week. He has colored it beautifully. Another lovely drawing and another piece of paper with a bunch of holes poked through it. Zach was at the stove making supper.

Me: What's going on?

Zach: I'm making dinner.

Me: What are you making?

Zach: Spaghetti

Me: Oh. Wow. Okay.

I walk in and drop my bags. I look around the kitchen. It is spotless. When I want something to look this good, I usually ask Evan. He is Mr. Cleaning Machine. During our first parent-teacher conference with his Montessori teacher we asked which "area" he spent the most time in? The teacher responded: Well... he spends a lot of time... well... cleaning.

Me: Wow - did Evan clean the kitchen?

Zach: No. I did.

Me: Wow! You did a great job. It looks incredible.

Zach: And look at the family room. I did that too.

I turn around to take a look.

Me: Holy cow Zach. Looks great!

I'm about to say something sarcastic - pointing out the fact that this was done so we would allow him go to his friends house to sleep over. But, he has melted my crankiness. The place looks great and the effort has made.

Me: Thank you Zach. I really appreciate it.

He gives me a devilish look and says, "I love you."

Okay - so I'm going pretend I didn't see that look. Paul walks in.

Me: Look at the kitchen Paul! Zach cleaned it. Didn't he do a great job? He is also making us supper.

Paul: What does he want?

Me: Paul! That's not nice. You shouldn't do that. That sounds like something my mom would've said and I would not have wanted to even try to do anything nice again. Just be nice - okay?

Paul: Oookaaayyy. But he wants something.

Me: Paul! Seriously! Don't!


Zach: Well. I do want something.

So much for trying.

A little later Zach asked me again if he could sleep over. I said it would be okay with me if it was with his dad. Paul didn't want to let him go. He said we should stick to our first decision. But I thought - well.. I mean... he did help out a lot. Shouldn't that be worth something? It's not like we said no because of something he did wrong.

So we let him go.

I just got another text from Zach: Thank u.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009


SO many funny little stories to tell - all that happened last night. 

First, on our car ride to go to out to eat last night:

All was quiet in the car when suddenly Zayd yells out the question, "Who here finds me attractive?"

A bit later during our drive... Ethan , who can only read the following words -- We, is, and the -- yells out "HOOTERS!" I look out the window and by God... there's the Hooter's sign. Paul and I are so proud to add Hooter's to Ethan's list of words he can recognize. I'm certain his 1st grade teacher will be so impressed. 

Later that night, Zach, Zach's friend, Carter, Evan and I were preparing for Zayd's birthday treasure hunt. This is a birthday ritual that started about 5 years ago. The birthday boy has to find his presents through a treasure hunt of riddles. Since Zayd is turning 9, he gets to work through 9 riddles to find his presents. The first riddle is always waiting for them under their pillow when they wake up in the morning -- expect for Zayd who fights with his bedsheets - so I put it on the table next to him.


Carter takes the roll of wrapping paper and hits Zach where it counts. Here is what ensues:

Zach: Oooooooooohhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh.........wwwwwwweeeeeeeeeeeeeeee...

Evan and Carter laugh

Me: What? WHAT?!

Zach: Oooooooohhhhh myyyyyyyyyyyyyyy ooooooooooo... they are moving uppppp into my abdomen. Up they gooo....

Evan and Carter still laughing

Me: What? What is going into your abdomen? Are you ok? What's going on?

Zach: Helllllp. Helllllp. I can feel them moving up. 

Carter: OK bud. I'm here for you man. Let me help. 

Zach: Noooooo! Let me deal with this. Don't touch me Carter.

Carter: I'm your bud man, I can't let you go through this on your own.

Carter proceeds to hug Zach from behind... and says:

Carter: OK - we're going to do this together Zach. Hang with me man. We're gonna get them back to where they belong. 

Zach: Ohhhhhhhhhhhh.....ooooooooooooo....oweeeeeeee...

Carter (who is easily 5'11 and 170 lbs compared to Zach who is 5'3 and 90 lbs) lifts Zach up and brings him crashing down. Up and down, up and down -- he is gonna get them back where they belong.

Carter: Let's get thunder and lightening back down to where they belong.

What? Who are thunder and lightening?

Me: Why are they in your abdomen Zach? Are you serious? Does that really happen? 

Zach: Mom. Please. I can't talk right now.

Carter lets go of Zach and Zach lies on the floor in the fetal position. I am now standing over Zach. 

Me: Zach. Seriously. You are scaring me. Are you ok?

Zach: I'll be fine mom. This happens.

Carter: I didn't hit them that hard!

Zach: HEY! They are sensitive.

Me: And will someone please tell me what is thunder and lightening and what that has to do with this?!

Evan: You don't want to know mom.

Carter: You don't know about thunder, lightening and Zeus?


Me: No! What are you guys talking about?

Zach: Don't tell her Carter - It'll end up on her blog. 

Carter: Mom (he calls me that - and he is speaking to me as if I am in 1st grade) Mom. Thunder is on the left and Lightening in on the right... and ZEUS! (now he strikes and interesting pose. He turns to the side and holds his right arm at a 90 degree angle in the air -- his face looks the same way. In a powerful loud voice he proclaims:) ZEUS!  is in the MIDDLE. He is in control and he gains strength through work and exercise!


Tuesday, July 14, 2009


I get attacked by my boys as soon as I walk in the door from work each weekday.

Their dad does not get attacked. Why is this?

Today, I walk into the house, wearing my nice suit, and heels and before I can even put down my bags Ethan has his arms wrapped around my legs so I can't move, Zayd has his arms wrapped around my body, just above Ethan's head, and Evan has his arms wrapped around all of us.

Zach is at the kitchen counter with a friend. Oh and Zayd? He has flannel pajamas on - ones that are even too small for Ethan. Mismatched top and bottom. It's like 90 outside. Help me.

Everyone is talking at once:

Zach: Mom are you going to take Alex and me to Target now?

Evan: Mom I ate a lot of junk today - I'm feeling kinda sick

Zayd: Mooooooooommmmmm!!!! My birthday is tomorrowwwww!

Ethan: Mooommm! Hug me! Hug me! Hug me! HUUUGGGG MMEEEEEE! (he is holding me and bouncing up and down)

And this is just what I could make out. They kept talking but all I could focus on was keeping my balance and not stepping on any bare feet with my heels.

Me: Okay. Okay. OKAY! SERIOUSLY! Can I just put down my bags? Please?

Ethan: Moommmmm! Moooommmmmyyyyy! MOOOOOOOOOOMmmm!!! HUuuugggg meee! Hugggggggyyyy. Pick me up so I can hug you! Pick me up! PICK ME UP! PICK ME UP!

O. M. G.

I pick him up and put him on the kitchen counter. He's got his arms locked around me so I'm not going anywhere.

Everyone starts talking again:

Zayd: Did you buy my presents yet? Are we still going to do the treasure hunt?

Evan: Mommm. I'm serious. I really ate so much. I had a pop and two peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and...


Zach: So how much are you going to give us to do this party? Are we going to go when dad gets home or can we go now?

My cell phone rings. Thank God. I'm saved.

Me: Okay! OKAY everyone. STOP! I need to answer my cell - it's work. You need to be quiet. Please.

I answer the phone. Ethan is still hanging onto me, Evan is now hugging me from the side and Zayd is dancing around in his flannels. Zach and his friend stare at me.

When I need to focus, I can. I do. I did - to the point that I didn't realize what Ethan was doing until I was saying goodbye.

Ethan keeps pulling my shirt towards him and looking down it. Over and over and over again. By the time I notice what's going on... all the boys are laughing because it is so ridiculous!

Me: ETHAN! Knock it off!

(omg. Right now, as I am writing this... Ethan has confiscated my Kenneth Cole high heels and is stomping around the kitchen in them. - save me)

Zach has to grab him around the waist and pull him off of me to get him to stop. I use this opportunity to run away.

Me: I'm going to my room to change.

I escape. I am in my room. I am safe for the moment.

And the kids wonder why I always run to my room and lock the door. This is just not a safe place for a woman.


Here is the conclusion to the last story I posted -- "No people, please"

When my husband got home last night, I told him about the conversation with Zayd. That he is scared of his own birthday party and he doesn't like people.

Paul responds:

"Huh. Sounds just like me."

SEEEEEEEEE???? I was right!!!!

Monday, July 13, 2009

No people, please.

Tonight, my 14-year-old suggested that I give him and his two buddies some money to plan and execute a birthday party for their brother, Zayd who turns 9 on Wed., July 15, and Ethan who turns 6 on Friday, July 17.

I thought that sounded fine.

So the two of us sat and chatted for a while, when Zayd came into the room. He sat down and crossed his legs - very adult like...

Zach: So Zayd. How would you like it if Carter and I planned a birthday party for you?

Zayd starts scrunching up his face -- eyes looking one way, lips pursed the opposite way. He sits wondering and scrunching for at least 30 seconds.

Apparently this isn't going to be as straightforward as we thought.

Zach: Zayd? What's up? Who would you want to invite?

Now, not only is Zayd scrunching his face, his legs are crossed and he has crossed his ankles too. His body language is trying to tell us something. I'm just not sure what yet.

Zayd: Uhmmmm..... (pause for 15 sec). Wellllll.... (another 30 sec pause)

I should stop here and explain something about Zayd. He does not like to be rushed... over anything. You cannot rush him to accomplish tasks, to eat, to talk, to decide, to tell stories... nothing. If you ask him to tell you about an incident, he'll start the story about 2 hours before the incident. This coupled with the fact that he takes 30 second pauses between each sentence... well... let's just say he is methodical about everything. At restaurants, if the waitress asks him what he wants to drink... he will contemplate in silence for at least a minute before answering. We have all become used to this - the waitresses on the other hand...

Zayd: Ahhhh..... (more scrunching and pausing and himming and hahhhinnng.)

Me: So... you don't want a party?

Zach: Or you don't know who you want to invite?

Me: Or you don't have anyone to invite that doesn't annoy you?

The reason I asked this was because this past school year, Zayd told me he can't find a best friend because all the kids he meets annoy him. He can't find anyone who doesn't annoy him.

By this time another couple minutes of scrunching have passed. Finally he speaks:

Zayd: Wellll... I don't mind having a party, but I don't want to invite anyone.

Zach and I stare at him in silence. Personally, I'm trying not to look alarmed.

Me: Okay. Okay. Uhmm... interesting. Well, Zayd. Most parties involve having people there. I don't know... eh...uhm... so... I'm not sure how to have a party without having people.

Zach: Do you just not want to invite your friends? Or you don't have anyone that you want to invite?

At this point Zayd is squirming and twisting and thinking... this is obviously some kind of mental overload for him. Finally he speaks:

Zayd: I am afraid of birthday parties.

Zach and I stare again at him in silence. This time it lasts a little longer and this time I am working harder to try to hide my alarm.

Me: Okay. Okay. That's fine. It's okay to be afraid of things. But, you go to other people's birthday parties -- do you not like going to those?

Zayd: Oh no. I like going to other people's birthday parties. I am just scared of my own.

Oh. Well. THAT makes sense. But I nod as if I understand.

Zach: I think I get it.

Me: You do? Really?

My other social butterfly gets this?

Zach: Yeah. I think it's about having to make sure that his friends have a good time. I don't think he wants to worry about that.

Me: Oh. Huh.


Me: Is that it Zayd?

Zayd: Welll..... uhm.... kinda.

Me: Okay.

Zayd: I just don't like people.

Zach and I stare at him again. He doesn't like people.

Zayd: I mean I like you and Carter and Zach and my family... but just not other people.

Me: Oh! I keep nodding in agreement. Like I understand - which I don't, but I am trying to understand. This sounds vaguely familiar... but whhyyyyy...

OH! Oh my God, of course! He's just like his father! God, I knew this conversation seemed familiar.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Tape boy

Our soon to be 9-year-old, Zayd, is quite a kid. I think nowadays they refer to children like Zayd as "strong-willed?" Yes. That would be a polite way to put it...

He is introverted, shy, artistic, creative, prone to temper tantrums and unbelievably stubborn. On the other hand, he is quiet, innovative, passionate, loving and focused. He also has a thing for doing stuff with tape.

Yes... that's correct... tape.

He isn't particular about his tape. He's used duct tape, masking tape, scotch tape, electrical tape and even double-sided tape.

Yesterday, he created an interesting little... uhm... thing. He had taken a recorder -- you know those kinda flutey-type plastic instruments that you play in elementary music class -- and he wrapped all the little finger holes with scotch tape.

Then, he took a whoopie cushion...

Yes... that's correct... a whoopie cushion.

Which could take us on an entirely different tangent, but we won't go there right now.
The kind you blow up and sit on and it sound like a fart. Are you with me so far? See, these things he makes are really quite difficult to explain...

And he attached the opening of the whoopie cushion to the recorder's mouthpiece...

... with scotch tape... of course.

When I saw him, I had just walked out of my bathroom having taken a shower -- and there he is, RIGHT in front of the bathroom door waiting for me. He is squatting on the floor over the whoopie cushion --- in position.

Zayd: Mom. Mom. Look what I made.

Me: Uh. Okay.

He sits on the whoopie cushion and the recorder makes a loud, long, loud - did I say loud? - sound. Or noise. Or... musical note?

Me: Wow. Zayd. Wow.

Zayd looks up at me, still squatting, with a huge grin on his face.

Zayd: Isn't that cool?!

Me: Well... sure. Pause. Yes. Yes. It's very cool.

Zayd: Yeah! Watch! I'll do it again.

Me: Uh...

The loud, long, loud noise cuts me off.

Me: Okay Zayd. Please don't do that again, ok?

He runs off to show his dad.

That recorder/whoopie cushion instrument thingy was just the most recent tape creation. A few weeks ago, I walked out to our patio to find all the legs of one of our lawn chairs methodically wrapped in masking tape. I mean - this was beautifully done. It must have taken at least a couple rolls to accomplish. The wrapping was done at a diagonal and was evenly spaced.

Me: Who did this?

Zayd: Did what?

Me: Who wrapped the lawn chair legs in masking tape.

Zayd: I did.

Me: Why?

Zayd: I was bored.

Me: Ooookaaayyyy... so what made you think of doing this?

Zayd: I don't know.

One of my "favorite" scotch tape creations is some sort of magical illusion thing he saw in a book, or on TV. He takes a clear plastic, screw top bottle (sometimes pop, sometimes water...), suspends a penny using tape and fishing line to the inside of the cap, screws the cap back on... This looks (kinda) like the penny is suspended in thin air in the bottle. Which is fine.... the first time. But I find this creation in my kitchen at least once a week. Sometimes, he'll dump out the remains of a liter pop bottle in order to make this thing.

One day, I found tiny pieces of scotch tape all over the floor of his bedroom. It looked like he had taken the tape, and either cut it, or ripped it into little pieces, which he left on the floor for whatever reason.

Another time, he had taken tape and covered a good chunk of my kitchen counter top - "to protect it."

He has a magnet board in his room to hang up anything he wants - it has plenty of magnets. He uses tape.

In his mind, anything can be solved, fixed, or made with tape.

Needless to say, when I need to wrap presents, we never have any tape.

Thursday, July 9, 2009


Ethan and I just made a Culver's run for the gang. Amazing how much goes on in his brain in such a short amount of time. Here is our conversation during our drive:

Ethan: Why is Culver's a little bit so far away?

Me: A little bit so far away?

Ethan: Yes!

Me: Well... it just is where it is.


Ethan: Mom. What if Culver's were next to our house? Like right by our house. And what if it were our Culver's? All ours? That would be pretty cool.

Me: That would be VERY cool.


Ethan: Mom. What if our Culver's had a trampoline inside?

Me: A trampoline? Wow.

Ethan: Yeah. That would be really cool.

Me: Yes. Really cool.


Ethan: Mom. What if the trampoline went in all different directions? Like you could go all over the place? Jumping all over Culver's.

Me: A tramp in different directions? What do you mean?

Ethan: Like a track. There was a track inside our Culver's but it was a trampoline and you could jump all over in different places?

Me: Holy.

Ethan: That would be super cool.

Me: Super cool Ethan.

And what if Culver's had a spa and delivery and even daycare? THAT would be super duper cool.

Practical lessons

I try to find practical opportunities to teach my kids good life lessons.

For example, one night, Zachary, my 14-year-old, calls me from the bathroom. He has been vomiting, he looks like crap and he is in the fetal position on the floor.

And all of a sudden it hits me...

Me: Zachary. You know how crappy you feel right now?

Zach: Yeeeaaaaahhhhh.

Me: This is how it feels when you drink too much. When you get drunk, you spend the next day doing just what you are doing now.

Zach: Ohhhhh... my God. Moooommmmmm....

Me: In fact, even after you think you've thrown up everything there is to throw up... you keep throwing up. It's so awful.

Zach: Seriously mom. Ughhhh... Can we talk about this another time. Do you really have to give me the alcohol talk now?

Personally, I thought I jumped on an excellent opportunity. I sure felt a hell of a lot better.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Tidbits from today

I hesitated posting so early... it IS only 5:45 pm - lots of time for more to happen. But here are some short stories from today:

The sitter tells me that World War IV broke out between the three older boys this morning. Something about lots of punching, needing to physically restrain a couple of them, gathering 8 shoes that another had stockpiled ready to whip at his brothers... and Ethan playing peacemaker. I've asked my Saint the sitter to write about it -- will post soon.

The three younger boys and Saint Sitter (as she will henceforth be known) came to the office to visit this afternoon. As I was talking to Saint Sitter, I noticed Ethan had taken my hand and was rubbing the back of it gently back and forth against his cheek. Such an unabashed display of affection! I love 5. I hope he stays like this when he turns 6 next week.

Finally, this evening I made soft-shell tacos for the boys. They could not stop raving about my tacos. I think they were just really hungry:

Evan: Mom - these are the best tacos!

Zach: We haven't had tacos in forever. These taste so good. We should have them more often.

Zayd: You make really good tacos, mom.

Ethan: You are the bestest taco maker in the whole world.


Ethan: Maybe you should work at Taco Johns.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Another boob story

I'm not entirely sure I should post this. But, since I haven't filtered any of my family stories thus far... I figure... what the heck.

Ethan is a boob-man.

Yesterday I was putting Zayd and Ethan to bed. I sat on Ethan's bed and rubbed his tummy while Zayd chatted away.

Ethan was rubbing my tummy. 

Next thing I know, he is rubbing my right boob.

I promptly removed his hand and placed it on the bed.

Two seconds later, he is cop'n another feel. This time, I addressed it directly.

Me: Ethan. Don't touch mommy's boob. That's my boob - not yours.

He bats his long eyelashes at me and gives me this innocent look. I really have to try hard not to laugh. But it is so weirdly funny - maybe it was the way he tried to sneek it in... maybe it was his smirk. I don't know. The kid just makes me laugh.

He does it again.

Me: ETHAN! I'm serious. Don't do that.

Ethan: Why? I want to.

Zayd: (snorts out a laugh and rolls his eyes).

I suppose if you room with Ethan, you've seen it all.

Me: Yes. I understand that - but this is part of mommy's body, not your body. Mommy's boobs are private. You have private parts too...

..which come to think of it, he touches freely and frequently.

So today, I'm having lunch with my husband Paul and I tell him about Ethan touching my boob. 

Me: He's almost 6 Paul. I mean, shouldn't we be over this phase by now?


Paul: Well... It's soft, it's sticking out - what's a guy gonna do.


We spent the July 4th weekend at my in-laws cabin on Spirit Lake, just outside of Vergas, MN What happens in Vergas, stays in Vergas -- with the exception of what Ethan does. (He IS my primary source of blog material).

It was early Sunday morning and I was enjoying my cup of coffee with my in-laws when my brother-in-law, Lon, joins us.

Lon: If you notice anything weird in Ethan's stool - don't worry.

Me: What?

Lon: Weeellll - you might see something really black and strange looking in the next couple of days. Don't panic. It's o.k.

Me: What did he eat?

Lon: A leech.


Lon: Oh - it was a rubber leech.

Like that makes it better.

Lon: It was a big one too.

Me: What?! 

Lon: Yeah, I have these great big black rubber leeches in my tackle box. I noticed him playing with them... and next thing I know... he is chewing on something. So I asked him if he we eating one of the leeches.

Me: ...And he said yes.

Lon: No - he said no. Then he said yes.

Me: Oh my God! What is wrong with this kid! He is almost 6-years-old! 

Lon: I think it was the texture that he liked. It is sorta soft and gummy... I think he liked the way it felt.

This reminds me of the time Zach ate dog poop... 

Then my sister-in-law brought up an interesting question.

Lynette: Was it one of the stinky leeches?


Lon: No. It did not have a scent.

Lynette: Oh good. That would be really gross.

Now we are quantifying grossness. As if it wasn't weird enough he ate a jumbo rubber leech.

Later that day, when we were down by the beach together, I asked Ethan if he ate a rubber leech.

Ethan: Maaayyyybeeee.

Me: Yes or no Ethan.

Ethan: Welll... yes.

Me: Why!?

Ethan: I liked it!

Me: Honey... we don't eat rubber things. That's not good for you.

Ethan: It tasted good. I want to eat it.

Me: Ethan, promise mommy you won't eat rubber things anymore. 

Ethan: (sigh). Fine. I'll try not to.

That's all I can ask.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009


Tonight, I played ditch with a bunch of 14-year-olds and my two youngest children.

It's like tag... sorta - but instead of confining it to your front or backyard, you have most of the neighborhood to run around.

This is what I learned:

1. When I am scared, I can outrun a 14-year-old boy.

2. While I can outrun them, I cannot out-maneuver them.

3. The Bladholm's backyard, (two doors down), has a ton of great hiding spots... and a lovely garden too.

4. As a mother, I would never leave my child behind to fend for himself. However during a game of ditch, I will leave my 5-year-old behind in order to save myself.

5. If a successful tag means a kid might get pushed into the golf-course pond, my maternal instinct kick in and I won't tag them. This seems to fly in the face of #4 - I haven't figured out what the distinction is for me.

6. Dad's rule is that Ethan is NOT allowed to be on the golf course during a game of ditch.

7. Mom's rule is that Ethan IS allowed to be on the golf course during a game of ditch.

8. Some 14-year-old girls are quite developed.

9. #8 kinda makes me nervous.

10. Now I know what Ethan is doing when he doesn't bother to wipe his butt or go to the toilet.