Wednesday, April 25, 2012

The straight poop

I was going to do an Overheard column last week. However, since we've had some sort of stomach bug tearing through the house for the past two weeks there has been precious little else talked about. And it really isn't funny. At all.

The following phrases have been on a continuous loop around here:

Did you poop?

Do you need to poop?

My belly hurts. (Fiona)

Poop hurts. Bottom hurts. (Owen)

Mommmmmmmyyyyy. Poop. (Owen)

Got poop. (Owen)

To which, Jim responds: What are you telling me for? Your mother is right over there. (Thanks, man.)

(Did I mention that I changed eight, yes EIGHT, poopy diapers one day? That's just obscene.)  

Ohhhh. Not again. (Danny)

Okay. Don't move. I need to clean this up.


Wash your hands. Please.

WAIT. Don't flush it. I need to see it. (Really, I've been inspecting poop regularly.)

The classic B.R.A.T. (bananas, rice, applesauce and toast) diet didn't banish or slow it. And I was not about to try the 24-hour liquid diet on three kids who would likely try to gnaw my leg off, even if I did offer them an endless buffet of popsicles. Every meal and snack had to be carefully vetted. My mind is numb from analyzing what my kids should and should not eat. It's like I'm some kind of poop chemist.

By the end of this whole ordeal, I was afraid to feed my children anything for fear of what would come out the other end. No one ever tells you about this stuff in the parenting books.

That is all.

Friday, April 13, 2012

Give us this day

I've long struggled with how to introduce Jesus to my children in ways that would not seem manipulative. As a teenager, I began to feel manipulated by how Jesus was presented to me. I've never been one to feel that going to church was absolutely necessary for salvation or favor in God's eyes. Staying away from church for as long as I have has actually helped me to think more clearly about God and what that concept means to me.

I've wondered, though, how exactly to convey the depth of my faith to a child who has not yet had the depth of experience that I've had.

A few weeks ago, the older kids came across a set of rosary beads. They both thought it was a really cool necklace. I told them they were rosary beads. Naturally, the next question was "What are rosary beads?"

I explained that they were special beads that people use to say prayers and think about Jesus -- very simplistic, I know. So from there, I introduced them to The Lord's Prayer. Danny repeated the lines after me. I stopped every few lines to talk about words such as trespass and temptation.

Give us this day our daily bread, I told them, means that we are asking God to give us what we need.

Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us, I explained, means that Jesus forgives us our sins and, in return, expects us to forgive others.

A trespass is another word for sin, I told him.

What's sin? he asked.

It's when you do something that you know is wrong, I said.

And as if on cue, he reaches out and grabs a ball from his sister's hand.

That was the wrong thing to do, I told him. And he gave it back to her.

Next we discussed temptation. And as I'm explaining what it means to be tempted, he begins to sneak his hand toward the ball in Fiona's hands while eying me.

You're tempted to take that ball even though you know it's wrong, aren't you? I asked.

He admitted that he was.

So, without really trying and without feeling like I manipulated my children, I conveyed the three of the most important things that I pray to God for: give me what I need spiritually and physically, forgive me and help me behave.

We've also been reading a daily devotional book during what Danny has come to call "blanket time." Basically, it's our morning devotional time. We read our devotion, talk about it and do a prayer. Danny is pretty good about repeating the prayers after me, but one morning he said, "Wait, I want to do the prayer." And he started, "Dear God, I want to talk to you."

And I was stunned and humbled.

I've been telling him that prayer is just a conversation with God and that he can talk to Him whenever he feels scared or unsure of what to do next. I didn't think it actually would sink in. I mean, why would I think that it would sink in? This is the kid who still STILL leaves the door open when he goes inside or outside.

Next up? The rules. I found a children's book about the Ten Commandments at my favorite thrift shop. I began reading it to Danny and Fiona. I figured that I should start with love, forgiveness and conversation with God before moving on to the rules.

Thursday, April 12, 2012


Boy am I bad at writing lately. I blame Facebook and Pinterest and the fact that my sister lives in the same time zone and, oh, yeah, the three little maniacs who live with us. I've got a lot on my mind, too. We're waiting on the results of one more school lottery for Danny before deciding what to do about school for him in the fall. I'm inclined to just keep him home. We didn't get into either public Montessori school and are number 134 on the waitlist for the state charter Montessori.

I also can barely remember anything that the kids say. Lately, however, it's all sounded like 100 decibel roaring, mostly coming from the nearly 2 year old menace. You see, Owen has turned into a bit of an intimidating bully. He pushes his siblings around, bites, hits, charges and roars at them to express his displeasure or just for his own entertainment. Of course, it's not without provocation. Fiona is fond of snatching his toy the second he puts it down and laughing maniacally as she runs away. If he's crying, I can always count on her being nearby.

Why is he crying, FiFi?
Because, [pregnant pause, shoulder shrug and head tilt], I didn't do anything. Her other favorite response to this question is: Because I did nothing. Right.

And the kids have just been plain destructive lately. I sent the kids out to harvest some chard from the garden for dinner and they came back with this disturbing story:

We went out the door window, Danny tells me. 
Um, we don't have a door window.
Yeah, we do. We broke the screen. Brilliant. I just hope no one saw my children escaping from the front window.

And lately, Danny's brain has been telling him to do all sorts of things.

I made a mistake. My brain told me to eat jelly beans, Danny says after getting caught sneaking jelly beans.
Well, there's another part of your brain that knows not to eat the jelly beans after Mommy said no. Next time listen to that part. 

What do they do in the karate place? Danny asks.
They teach you how to fight and kick.
God doesn't like fighting. Yeah, and neither does your mother.

And if someone is bad to me, I will shoot them with this mop, Fiona informs me. Yes ma'am.

Baby ducks in the street!! Fiona squeals. They're taking a walk with their beaks.

DANNY HIT ME. AND THEN DANNY FORGOT NOT TO HIT ME, Fiona wails. And then she threw her head back and wailed even more forlornly.

Why is your shirt off? I ask Fiona.
My shirt has a runny nose.

No, you can't drink that, Danny warns his Uncle Tim. Diet Coke is for girls. If you drink that you will turn into a bad ... , and here he pauses as he catches my eye. A bad what? Mommy?

My hair moves when I wiggle, Fiona says. She's discovered that her hair moves when she shakes her head. I told her it was one of the coolest things about being a girl. (And I mean it.)

Bye, bye pee pee. Bye, bye pee pee. Bye, bye pee pee. Bye bye, Fiona says as she flushes the toilet. Every single flippin' time.

She's a nice girl, Fiona says of Nana as we play with the sticker book Nana gave her. She has a pretty shirt I think.

I can't find pretty pajamas, Fiona wails one night. (Actually, she says this every night.)
Then wear ugly ones, Jim responds. Of course, I usually get sucked into a 10 minute ordeal of sifting through pajamas with her while she summarily rejects every option in her drawer.

Mom, hey mom, mommy, mom, whatever your name is, Danny mumbles. Can I change my name now?

Loud noises, Molly, Owen says to the dog when she's barking. This is what we say to the kids to remind them to tone it down.

Have a great weekend.