Thursday, January 28, 2010


It is fun to watch the differences in our children. Steve & I especially enjoy watching Joey and Lily-Grace interact. They seem to play more together at this age than the older boys did. I think it is because Lily-Grace has the imagination and um, shall we say, persuasion to get Joey involved in her ideas. And you get the added bonus of watching the differences in male and female, and I don't care what anyone says, they are there! Today I was washing the dishes in the kitchen (our dishwasher is out and I realize how spoiled I am!) and Joey and Lily are playing behind me.

Lily-Grace had gone and put on her pink, sequined flapper dress (the same dress she put on when she wanted to impress Levi's friend who was visiting and stood in front of him and began to shimmy her hips. I am not even kidding. I wish I was.) And Joey had dragged in the big old stuffed horse that Levi got for Christmas when he was about 5 - that horse has been through a lot. Lily stood on a stool at the far end of the kitchen and announced, "You come riding around the corner and see me and say how beautiful I am, and we fall in love."

Then Joey replies, as if he hasn't even heard her, "And I am in a horse race."
"You come riding around the corner and we fall in love!"
"And I am in a horse race."
"You come riding around the corner AND WE FALL IN LOVE!"
"And I am in a hor"
"And I"
Sigh. "Fine. But then we ride off on my horse."
"Yes! That is a great idea. We can ride off on the horse together after you ask me to marry you."
So they play out the story according to Lily-Grace's wishes, and I must admit it is making my dishwashing much more entertaining to listen to all this. I'm hoping she doesn't think this will work in real life. In fact, when Joey failed to propose to her like she had instructed, she took matters into her own hands and asked him to marry her. And then they hopped on the horse together and began to ride into the sunset. At which point Joey said in that cute singsong voice kids use when they are pretending, "And let's say that you fell off the horse here and died."
"NO! Nobody dies in this story!"
"Aww, man! This is a boring story!" And so the conflict continues about the age old question - chick flick or action adventure? It starts early. When these two are involved it usually goes the way of chick flick. But, I must say, that Joey does have his limits. Earlier in this play session before the whole horse and falling in love thing was happening, Lily-Grace was being a cheerleader - a very loud cheerleader, and she tried to convince Joey that it was his turn to be a cheerleader. And Joey emphatically told her that boys weren't cheerleaders. And so Lily-Grace turns to me, the dispenser of all knowledge and wisdom (at least for a few more years) and asks me if boys can be cheerleaders. I told her that they can, and she looks at Joey with that triumphant look and says, "See? I told you so! Now, be the cheerleader!"
And Joey calmly replied, "Well, maybe some boys can be cheerleaders. But Not. Joey."
And that was that.

Saturday, January 23, 2010


I'm Baaack! My kids are gone to my mom's house this weekend, and it is amazing what a little quiet can do for your thought processes. There are parts of my brain firing that I didn't even know still worked! When you have the time to complete a thought without being interrupted by, "Mom! Tell him it is my turn with that game!" or, "Mom! I'm hungry!" or, my personal favorite, "Mom! Can you come wipe me?" well, when you have that time, it is a blessed thing, a thing not to be taken lightly or for granted.

You see, my mom keeps our kids every year for a weekend for our anniversary, and while our anniversary is not until February 3rd, this was the only weekend within a month's time that we didn't have anything else going on, so this weekend was planned and much anticipated, not just by me, but by the kids as well. Lily-Grace got a cough on Tuesday, and I kept her home from school on Wednesday because my top priority was for her to be well this weekend - nothing should come in the way of this wonderful weekend! Joey especially asked every day if this was the day they were going to GranJan's. And Thursday night I put him to bed with the promise that tomorrow would be THE day - the day of going to GranJan's! And then the unthinkable happened. Joey woke up Thursday night gagging and trying to throw up. This has never happened to me before. The children never wake up and actually alert me to the fact that they are about to get sick. No, I am awakened after the fact by the crying and the unmistakable smell. So, we sat in the bathroom for a while, and nothing happened, so I sent him back to bed with a bowl for him to throw up in, which is a joke, because that would never happen. I mean, he sleeps in the top bunk after all, and why pass up the opportunity to lean over the bed and throw up all over the floor from 5 feet up? But, amazingly, we got through the night with no throwing up, but the next morning, he did, at long last, toss his cookies, except their were no cookies, only chocolate milk. Gross.

And I wanted to cry. And Joey did cry when I told him there would be no trip to GranJan's house. But then I grasped at the crazy thought that maybe this would be a one-time only event and he might perk up and be able to go after all. These are the thoughts of a desperate woman who has also built up this weekend in her mind as full of wonderful restaurant visits and staying up late and sleeping in, and knowing there will not be another opportunity for this before March. And Joey also had built this up in his mind as a weekend of eating junk food and playing games and basically doing whatever it is they do at GranJan's when no kill-joy parents are around. And Joey began to tell me how much better he felt, and he acted better, and we both wanted to believe it, and so I called my mom and told her of the tragedy that had befallen us, but assured her that I thought he was on his way to wellness and basically begged her to take them anyway because I couldn't bear the thought of telling Joey and the other kids that they weren't going after all. It was all for the kids, you know. Nothing at all about sleeping late or going out to eat entered my mind at all. And, of course my mom agreed because I really left her no choice.

And so I drove to Lamesa in the 100 mile-an-hour winds and blowing dirt to meet my mom at McDonald's, and got them all food, and Joey said he needed to go to the bathroom and so my mom took him. As soon as he got in there, he told her he needed to throw up, the little liar! All day long all he had been telling me was how much better he felt! Well, he didn't throw up, and I got them all settled in with food and left as quickly as I could before he could follow through on that idea.

And Steve and I went out to eat at a lovely grown-up steak place, and went to Blockbuster and rented adult movies, and by "adult" I mean nothing of the cartoon variety, preferably with no children in them at all, nothing make-believe, and the punch line is never a fart. And we came home and watched Julie & Julia, and it was lovely. And Steve got up to go to our room, turning out the lights as he went, and it was so quiet. So quiet. Like, it is never this quiet in our house - even after they are asleep because we know they could wake up at any time. In fact, Joey has perfected this method of crying out just as I have either gotten into bed or fallen asleep. And I know that I will have to go in there, lift him out of his top bunk, carry him into the bathroom while he is laying his head on my shoulder, sucking his thumb, and playing with my hair, and set him on the potty. Where he will do his business and I will carry him back to bed, and he usually sleeps for the rest of the night. But I knew that wasn't going to happen tonight. There was nobody to go check on and watch them sleeping, and cover them up and say a prayer over. And I actually felt sad. This is a new thing for me. Honestly, I rarely miss the kids on the few times we are away from them.

I think that as the years go by, I know how fast they are growing up. It won't be long until this will be an everyday occurrence - we will go to bed in a quiet house. There will be nobody to carry to the bathroom as he sweetly sucks his thumb and plays with my hair. And, sure, I'll be honest, I do sometimes dream about the day that I have two loads of laundry a week instead of two loads a day. But last night, in the quiet house, I caught a glimpse of the wonderful life I have. The wonderful, crazy, messy, loud life I have! And I was glad for it. It will all be gone before I know it, and I will miss it and wonder where the years have gone.

But, I gotta tell you, this morning when I was still sleeping at 10 o'clock I loved that quiet house! So, Mom, thanks for giving it to us. Thanks for allowing me the time to have some consecutive thoughts and giving me a quiet house so I could miss the loud one I usually have! I love you! And I pray that you don't get sick!