ZooDoo

A few weeks ago I entered the Fecal Fest lottery a Zoo.  About a week later I received an email in my inbox—Subject: Congratulations, you’ve won ZooDoo!

“Is today the day we get the zoo poop?” my four-year-old twins have been asking me ever since.  Finally, today I was able to answer them, “Yes!”

My dad cleaned out the back seat of his truck so the girls could come with us.  They climbed in the back seats and were all smiles, giggles, and songs all the way to the zoo.

The signs led us around to the back of the zoo, through a gate that was normally closed to the public, to an open area with piles of bedspread and compost: ZooDoo!  I checked in and we backed the truck up to a new pile of bedspread mulch.  With our shovels in hand, including mini-shovels for the girls, we climbed on top the steaming mountain and began shoveling the ZooDoo into the truck.  I leaned down to inspect the coveted material and felt the heat rising off of it.  It was thick, dark, and full of worms.  My garden was going to be so happy!

Many hands makes light work, and in no time at all the bed of the truck was full. When we got home, my son, C, jumped up into the bed to help shovel it out.  “What kind of poop is it?” he asked.

“Zebra, hippo, and giraffe they said,” I told him.  My dad and C got it all out of the truck and now it’s a mini-mountain in the garden bed in my front yard, just waiting for me to spread it all around.  Just looking at it makes me excited.  After four years of neglect (basically since my twins were born and I’ve had no spare time), this year my garden is going to look good.  And it’s all starting with ZooDoo!

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Cups

C’s baseball coach sat down on the bleacher next me.  The game had just started, first  kid on our team up at bat, so I thought it was a little strange that she wasn’t on the field.

Leaning towards me, she asked, “A little awkward, but…is C wearing a cup?”

“Uh, no,” I replied, “I thought he only needs to if he is catching.”

“At Rookies they have to wear one all the time.  Does he have one here?”

I shook my head.  I had been telling my hubby since before baseball started at the beginning of March that C needed a cup, but he still hadn’t bought one for him.

“I think I have an extra one in my car,” she said, “I’ll be right back.”

A minute later she returned and tossed a cup to me.  Wow, I thought, who has an extra cup lying around in their car?  C was waiting for me at the end of the dugout.

“Hurry,” the dugout mom told me, “he’s up next to bat.”

I looked around for a place to go.  C had never worn a cup before, so I was going to need to help him—not that I had any experience with cups.  Where is my hubby? I sighed to myself.

“Let’s go in that shed right there,” I said, pointing to where they kept the field maintenance equipment.  We hustled over and C unbuttoned his pants.  I helped him get the cup in place, but something just didn’t seem right.  Maybe it’s just too big, I thought looking at it.  But then it dawned on me.

“Oops, buddy, I think it’s upside down!” I laughed.  He turned it around, narrow side down, and it suddenly seemed much better.  “OK, hustle back, you’re up!”

C made it back to the dugout just in time to go up to bat.  As he was up, my hubby finally arrived.  “He almost didn’t get to play because he didn’t have a cup!” I told him.

“Really?  We’ll get one tomorrow,” he promised.

Just then, C hit a nice line drive to right field.

“Yeah!”

Rub-A-Dub-Dub

“I’m ready to take a bath,” A told me, then turned to her four-year-old twin.  “P, are you read?” P nodded in agreement.

I looked down at my watch.  7:15.  The girls had gone to bed late the night before and had been cranky all evening.  I wanted them in bed by 8:00, and if they got in the bathtub now, I knew that wouldn’t happen.  But I needed a shower, too, and I knew a compromise that would make everyone happy.

“It’s too late to take a bath,” I said, then before anyone could complain added, “but you can take a bath with Mommy.  How’s that sound?”

”Great!” P squealed in delight. “A, what toy do you want to bring?”

Five minutes later I stepped into the steamy stream of water, carefully finding a place to stand amongst the two little girls, two mini muffin pans, three My Little Ponies, two water bottles, tea pot, tea cups, and rubber crocodile covering the floor of the tub.  Rub-a-dub-dub, three in the tub, I smiled to myself, knowing these crowded showers won’t last forever, but enjoying them while they do.

Little League

Take me out to the ballgame,

To see a little little league game

Kids throwing pitches ten feet in the air,

Batters still swinging without a care,

All thr parents ask “when’s it over?”

The sun is starting to set

‘Cause it’s se-ven forty five

and to bed we need to get!

80-HD

C finished his breakfast and I handed him a cup of water.  He took a drink, holding the water in his mouth until I pressed the tiny yellow pill to his lips.  He sucked it in, his face twisting into a look of concentration as he swallowed it all down.  Same routine for the past three months.  Same routine routine for the rest of his childhood?

In November, C was diagnosed with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder- combined presentation, which means he exhibits symptoms in all three areas of hyperactivity, impulsivity, and inattentiveness.  The previous summer was heart wrenching as I watched my sweet son retreat into a shell of anger that was a front for his frustrations and disappointment.  I knew I needed help, WE needed help, for C find the confidence had lost in himself.  I knew he was a loving, creative, brilliant boy; I wanted him to know it, too.

Like most parents, I was a little worried to turn to medication.  What about the side effects?  What about the long-term effects?  The first few months were a lot of trial and error to find just the right thing.  But I knew from the beginning that we had made the right choice.  His confidence at school immediately shot up, bringing with it not only academic success, but also stronger social connections and new friendships.  At home I saw small differences, little things like staying at the table during dinner and tolerating longer car rides without going crazy.  Sometime around February, though, I realized that the differences weren’t small any more.  They were tremendous.  Playing more than fighting with his younger sisters.  Reading voluntarily at home.  The ability to recover from disappointment and calm down when upset.  Smiles and laughter.  My amazing son has found himself again.

My son’s favorite author is Dav Pilkey, especially the Dog Man series.  One of the characters in Dog Man is 80-HD, a supa-robot who helps Dog Man and Li’l Peter save the world.  Whenever we read Dog Man, I think about C.  My Supa-Son who I love with my whole heart.

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Munching

When I write I like to munch.  It’s a habit that goes back to my paper-writing days as an undergrad at the University of Denver.  Before I would begin to work on a paper, I’d make a trip to the C-store on the first floor of the dorms to stock up on snacks to keep me motivated while I wrote.  Then I’d sit down at my computer, notes on one side of my desk, snacks on the other, and get to work.

The munching habit continued years later when I was taking classes for my ELL endorsement, and years after that when I was writing the entries for my National Board Certification.  And it has followed me in recent years into the month of March when I sit down daily to write for the Slice of Life Story Challenge.

Tonight, I couldn’t decide what to write about, but as I stared at my blank screen, the munchies began to call.

I could write about the girls’ ballet class, I thought as I nibbled on the last few cumbles of jerky in the bag.  Watching four-year-olds do ballet was more like watching the teacher try to herd kittens wearing tutus.

How about making a make-shift bandaid out of a Kleenex and hair-tie for C during his Cub Scout meeting at the beach tonight? I wondered as I gobbled up some crackers.

It was good to spend time with my nieces before they head home, I pondered as a possible topic while I grazed over the dinner leftovers that still needed to be put away.

I’m so glad everyone is healthy again after nine days of flu in our house! I considered as I looked in the cabinets for something sweet.  What I really wanted was dessert.  But I couldn’t find anything easy to munch on while typing. So I told myself that as soon as I finished my slice I could have something sweet.

And now I have, so I will.

Dreaming

A month or so ago my dad said some beautiful words to me.  “You and Hubby ought to plan a trip for this summer and Mom and I will watch the kids.”

My hubby and I used to travel a lot before we had kids, mainly to South and Central America, but also around the United States.  After our son was born, we continued to travel for the first two years of his life.  But once the twins came, our traveling days were done.  I always imagined we’d go on an epic international adventure for our tenth anniversary, but instead  we found ourselves in our own real-life “Survivor” adventure as we made alliances with each other in order to survive infant twins on top of a three-year-old.  We haven’t gone away alone together since the twins were born four years ago.  So the thought of a vacation with just the two of us is almost too good to imagine.

Today I found myself daydreaming about all the places we could go.  Do we go back to somewhere we’ve been, maybe Panama or Ecuador or Peru?  Do we try somewhere totally different, like Iceland or a Argentina?  Stay in the US or go abroad?  There are too many choices, but all of them sound too good to be true.

Dear Flu

Dear Flu,

I don’t know how to say this politely, so I’m just going to say it: you have officially overstayed your welcome here!

When you arrived at midnight EIGHT days ago, I was a little annoyed at the inconvenience, but not totally surprised.  After all, you haven’t stopped by at all this season, and I knew you would be coming eventually.  You didn’t seem put off by the fact that we don’t have any extra beds to offer (there is literally no room at this inn).  No, instead you decided you would just make the rounds, starting with the oldest and working your way down to the youngest.  How kind of you for not leaving anyone out.

If you must know the truth, what is really getting to me is your sneaky ways.  Quite honestly, the unpredictable nature of your stay is making it hard for me to be a good host.  On more than one occasion, you seem to have completely left for 12-24 hours, only to return obnoxiously in the middle of the night.  If you had just let me get a little more sleep, I might not be at the end of my rope now.

I’ve picked up on your pattern, though, and if my calculation is correct, we have one more day of your company to tolerate.  Enjoy your final hours as our guest, because I don’t want to see you again for a long, long time.

Sincerely,

A Tired Momma

Vegan Meat

My husband took a bite and chewed slowly, a confused look on his face.  “This chicken tastes funny,” he finally said, swallowing.  “Here, try a bite.”

I leaned over and took a bite, immediately recognizing that it was definitely not chicken.  We were standing around the back patio of my husband’s favorite local bike shop, which tonight was transformed into an Asian Cajun Pop-Up, eating fried rice, gumbo, and “chicken” wings.  “That’s some sort of meat substitute,” I said.

“I think it’s Satan,” the man standing next to us chimed in.

“Huh?” My hubby cocked his head to the side as he continued to eat the mystery meat.

“Seitan,” the man said, pronouncing it slightly differently this time.  “Although some people call it Satan, depending on what they think of it.”

“Vegan meat,” I added for clarification.

The way my hubby shook his head, I could tell it wasn’t making sense to him.  “Wait, what does Vegan mean?” he asked me.

“No animal by products,” I said.  “Is this vegan?”  He nodded.  “Oh, well, that makes sense, then.”

Later, on the way home, my husband was still thinking about the Vegan Meat.  “Did you know it was Vegan?” I asked.

“Yeah, but I guess my mind wasn’t registering what that meant. My body needs real meat.  Can you call and order some teriyaki chicken for me to pick up?”

So I called our favorite teriyaki place and he picked up his second course, this time with real meat.

Going Out in Public

I zip my coat up over my pajamas, snap on my helmet, and follow C on his bike to school.  Walking up the stairs and down the hall to his second grade classroom, I smile at the other parents, teachers, and kids in the hallways.  Inside, I am laughing to myself because no one knows, but…I am not wearing a bra.

If you had told my 20-something self that someday I would voluntarily go out in public without a bra, I would have laughed at you in disbelief.  But now that I’m a 30-something, I do it almost every morning that is cold enough to require a jacket when I take my son to school.  Sometimes I go to the grocery store late at night without one, too.  It’s not like you can even tell once I get my jacket zipped up, but I still find it humorous.  And, I can’t help but wonder…how many of those other moms in the hallway aren’t wearing a bra, either?