Tuesday, January 31, 2012


Me: "Mags please go to your room to think about what you just did."
Mags: (from her room) "This really isn't working for me!"

I laughed hard in the kitchen by myself when she said this. I hear ya, Mags! It really isn't working for me either. I stood there chuckling, releasing the frustration of our overall day together. It felt like how I perceive the Hulk feels when he turns back into Bruce Banner (or David Banner if you are a fan of the old 70's TV show). 

Mags and I often have low key days together. There are those days, however, when I feel like all she wants to do is see how far she can push me. Little Miss Opposite. These are the days that don't work for me. These are the days that my inner Hulk builds up. I feel like I get a deeper hue of green with every defiant "No!" or "I don't wanna do that!", until all of the sudden I am wearing purple pants and she is running for the hills. 

The thing about it is, I watch her do the same thing to Tuck.Tuck is an easy target. For her, he is no challenge. She can send him spinning like a top in one fell swoop by grabbing the Lighting McQueen car he wants.  I give him strategies to ignore her, ask her to stop politely, walk away from her, breathe deeply 10x, say a prayer...whatever works! Sometimes these things work for him and sometimes he turns into a raving lunatic running and screaming toward me begging me to make her stop. 

However, during the day, I don't have anyone to run and scream to that can make her stop. She is four. She is testing her boundaries. She is going to have her days. Just because these moments don't mesh well with my Type A personality doesn't mean that I can't make them work for me and adjust my own attitude. So, I've been trying.

I've been trying because I always feel crappy after I turn into the Hulk. My pants are ripped, my hair is a mess and I'm EXHAUSTED from it building up all day. On these days, where she wakes up with her "GAME ON" attitude, I have been working on laughing in the kitchen a little bit more by myself or taking a few extra minutes to switch over the laundry. I know she enjoys watching me spin like a top. It's fun to watch, so my husband tells me. 

Since I started changing it up a bit and throwing some curve balls at her, I am seeing a difference. I am following my own advice that I give to Tuck. I am also trying to give up some of my control and let her choose more things. "Let her win a little more" as my Dad says. This seems to make a huge difference. Elementary, my dear Watson...I know. 

For some it may be common sense but for me, it's a learning curve. My goal on these days is to co-exist somewhat peacefully. It may not always be smooth and I may have to adjust way out of my comfort level, but it's worth it.

That way, when when my husband walks in the door, I am not running and screaming towards him like a lunatic begging him to make her stop. 

Even on days when she acts like THIS!

Monday, January 30, 2012


I sent Tuck upstairs to grab my sunglasses out of my purse. 
He came back empty handed saying, 
"Mama, I couldn't find them. Your purse is out of control."

What the heck was he talking about? My purse was not that bad. I figured he just wasn't looking hard enough. When we got upstairs, I grabbed my beautiful, lavender purse that my dad had bought me for Christmas and dumped it out.

Here's what I found:

1 pack of crumbled Ritz Bitz crackers (there's a few solid ones in there)
1 1/2 eaten pack of Cars fruit snacks (waste not, want not)
1 empty box of raisins (no rhyme or reason)
1 candy cane that was mostly peppermint dust (the top half was fine)
1 squished piece of gum that had coagulated to the wrapper (still chewable)
2 wrapped up wads of chewed gum (someone should throw those away)
2 Princess Barbie shoes, pink and purple (she can make it work)
1 Barbie bikini top (you never know)
1 Barbie hair brush (which I sometimes use for my own hair in a pinch)
1 Mini Cars Car fire engine (Red is his name)
1 Buzz Lightyear laser gun (in case of alien attack)
1 plastic shark (I'm going to need a bigger purse)
4 fun dinosaur hand tattoos (ROAR)
1 empty bottle of hand sanitizer (someone should refill that)
1 bottle of Excedrin Migraine (no explanation needed)
7 beads from a bracelet Mags made me that broke (restringing it soon)
2 beaded bracelets in tact (since the other one broke)
1 popsicle stick (in case I need to do a throat exam)
1 suction cup (no explanation for this)
2 empty IHOP mint wrappers (pancakes are delicious)
2 bank lollipop wrappers (a must)
1 Hulk "cozie" that doubles for my cell phone holder (multi-purpose)
5 receipts from various places (busy as a bee)
7 single "Boogie Wipes" (there's always a booger somewhere)
6 assorted lip glosses (two of which are not mine)
5 random hair ties and clips (for the princess)
1 school employee badge (a woman's got to work)
1 pen (to use parts of in case I get in a sticky situation like McGyver)
1 pair of cheap sunglasses caked in fingerprints (more of a decoration)
2 sassy red "texting" gloves my Dad gave me for Christmas (love them)
1 wallet (looky there, a necessity in my purse)
1 Epi Pen (another necessity that I hope to never use...again)
1 First Aid Kit (with leopard print and super hero printed Band-Aids)
1 iPhone (my brain)

After we finished going through the guts of my purse, Tuck just looked at me and smiled. I smiled back. I knew what he wanted to hear.

Alright, I admit it. Maybe it was a LITTLE out of control.
Do you have anything interesting in your purse, 
computer bag, briefcase, satchel or man purse? 

Share it with me in the comments!

Sunday, January 29, 2012


Me: "Time to do your eyedrops Mags."
Mags: "No way! You have to find me first."

Once again, another stellar hiding spot

This is the fourth installment of "Picture This". 
You can read all about why I started this by clicking on the link.

Friday, January 27, 2012


Physical therapist to me: "So, tell me what is going on with your foot?"

Mags (cutting me off): "My Mama's foot is hurting her. It's right here, on this spot. Don't touch it, though, cause she'll yell at you."

It's true. I admit it. However, I gave fair warning before I yelled. 

I had tendinitis of the Achilles Heel. Since I had taken care of it right away tried to treat it on my own for so long, my calf decided to get itself involved. I guess it wanted to make a point. After a few charley horses at 2a.m. that made me vociferate words that would make a truck driver blush, I gave in and went to physical therapy.

I loved my physical therapist because she was a runner. On top of that she was training for a marathon. She loved talking about her long training runs and I loved to listen. We were a match made in heaven.

Of course, most of the time I went I had my trusty side-kick with me, also known as Mags. She enjoyed doing the stretches with me and I enjoyed having a partner to do them with. She kept count for me during all the different exercises I was assigned to do. I always had to do ten of each and Mags would never let me cheat. "Nope, Mama, you only did nine!" Grrrr.  Who taught her to count correctly? 

One day my physical therapist brought over a container of marbles. She dumped them out and told me I had to pick them up with my toes. She said to take my time because it was a lot harder than it looked. Little did she know that I had a hidden talent. After she walked away to check on another patient, I picked them up and I did it fast. When I finished, Mags jumped up and we looked at each other in amazement. I whispered to her, "I'm like a monkey Mags!" She fell over laughing, literally. 

The ruckus we caused caught my PT's attention. She came back over to find out what was so funny. I showed her all the marbles that I had put in the container and she was amazed. She dumped it out and told me to show her what I had done. Then she brought over two other PT's to take a gander at my technique. I guess they'd never seen a mom before in flip flops. You know, the one who used her toes to pick up her fallen keys in a parking lot she couldn't  bend down to get because she had a baby in one hand and a cantankerous, ready to run two year old in the other. Either way, the PT people were impressed. My mind wandered for a few seconds thinking of all the possibilities. 

Do you think this could become an Olympic event? 

If it does...London, here I come!

Thursday, January 26, 2012


Me: "Mags, where you headed with your suitcase?"
Mags: "To California. I need some space."

She's right. Everyone needs their space. Small children don't exactly know about personal space. I found when they were little that no matter where I'd look during the day, there was a little human in my space wanting or asking for something. In the kitchen, in the bathroom,  in the laundry room, while I was hiding in the shower. Nope, it wasn't on. Just hiding...and breathing. Doesn't take long for them to sniff me out. 

Tuck always had a way of saying he needed his time, even when he was younger. He would all of the sudden stand up from whatever we were doing and announce, "I'm gonna go take a break." Back when he was a toddler and he would do this, we knew it meant he was going to lay in his bed, suck on his pacifier and snuggle with his comfort item. Now I know it means he is going to lay in his bed and play his DS or transform some Transformers. It is his way of recharging his batteries for a bit. 

Mags, however, never seemed to "need her space". My husband and I always joked that I had a 20 second time limit when I left the room she was in. If I was gone longer than that, my name would be called...frantically. As she has grown, she has found having her own space is a good thing. She sets up her dolls, looks at the pictures in her books, dresses up and has a blast. She realized that she could make up on her own games. She didn't have to compromise. When she is alone, everything always goes her way. Bonus! That is a great way for Mags to recharge. 

Currently, I am working on finding my own space again, too. I know I need to make this time for myself. No working, no  writing , no thinking. Just be. For me this escape from the world has always been running. 

In college I ran competitively on a team. Since I was a long distance runner, I had the luxury of getting lost in hour long runs through trails or by the ocean. Whatever was happening at the time did not exist during my workouts. It was time for me to concentrate on my pace, my strides, my breathing, and how I would attack an upcoming race. It would always recharge my brain. 

Now I want to run to have time alone, plain and simple. Granted, it is on a treadmill in our kids' playroom, but I turn up my headphones full blast, listen to my "big girl music" and block everything out that is going on around me. I know I have to take the time to recharge. To not answer questions. To not get someone a juice box. To not have the dishes that didn't get done stare at me. To do something for me. That way, when I come back into reality, I am ready. My patience is restored a bit and I can almost see things clearer. Mags is right, after all. 

Everyone needs their space.

You just need to find where YOUR space is.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012


Mags to Tuck and I upon seeing the puzzle we put together:
"Wow! Look at the puzzle you guys made!" She paused to look and then told us," Hmmm. That doesn't look so good. Maybe you should start over?"

That was a great suggestion. The puzzle we were putting together was a lenticular Star Wars puzzle. It was 48 pieces or something like that. Easy peasy, right? Not so much. 

Tuck got this beast of a puzzle for a birthday present. I'm certain the family that gave it to him had no idea the havoc this puzzle would cause. Have you ever done a lenticular puzzle? It is basically a migraine in a box. Just when you think you are making headway...BAM! It turns on you. Literally. You may have thought you just put the piece with Yoda's head on his body, but then you move left a half an inch and suddenly Yoda's head was on light saber. What? How in the world?  All the pieces seemed to fit so seamlessly. The maker of the puzzle has to be having a good laugh, I'm sure of it. 

Of course Tuck really wanted to do this puzzle. I had promised him that we would do it the next morning, just us. How long could a 48 piece puzzle take? We had done a bunch of these before. They weren't lenticular, but still, I figured it would take about 20 minutes max.

I heard him rustling at 6a.m. I went and got him and we set out to complete the puzzle before Mags got up to "help us" at  7a.m. He was so excited! We opened the box, poured out the pieces and organized them into piles. We put corners in one pile, edge pieces in another and then any colors that looked similar in random piles. 

Then it began. We got the edge pieces together in record time. I kept thinking that we might even have time to put another puzzle together. Cart before the horse, Mel. Cart before the horse. 

We decided to work our way in from the edges. It was a solid plan.We were plugging along, finding pieces, chatting about his friends at school, and making progress. It was going fine, but then we both got quiet and started to really concentrate. I was engrossed in finding Anakin's eyes when Tuck started little side projects. "Mama, I found Yoda's head and ears that fit together!" This was when it started to go awry. 

I began to notice the puzzle wasn't looking like the box. From my angle, where I was sitting, it looked like we were on track. From Tuck's angle, an inch away from me to the left, it was a disaster. He started to notice, too.  "Uh oh, Mama! We put Anakin's head on Obi-Wan's body."  Oh, for crying out loud!

My eyes were blurry and watering as I looked back and forth between the box and "our puzzle". Then I looked at the clock. It was 6:45 already?! I thought it had to be wrong! Forty-five minutes had passed? No way! Thank goodness we only had a few pieces to go. I told Tuck we should try to finish it up. He agreed. I moved some pieces around and asked him from his angle if that looked better. "Nope. Now Yoda's head is on Anakin's butt." Awesome. Just what I was going for. I was like that kid in Toy Story creating new...and disturbing creatures. 

We finally finished forcing pushing the last piece into place at 7:05. We stood up, looked at the mishap, and both burst out laughing. Then Tuck said, "We definitely need to get Daddy to help us." I told him very seriously, "There is really only one person that can fix this now." 

"Help us Obi-Wan Kenobi, you're our only hope!" 

To be honest, I'm not even sure he could help. 

Tuesday, January 24, 2012


Me: "I don't know what to make for dinner, Tuck."
Tuck: "You know what you need? A 'Dinner-inator'."

Phineas and Ferb have entered our house. It's like when the Beatles hit America. My kids and my husband are obsesesed. I am not sure why it took us so long to give into the two geometrical brothers. I have heard over and over how clever and funny the show is. I guess I thought it was older humor. 

Plus, we had our favorites like Curious George and Wild Kratts that kept us busy and filled up our DVR. I don't know about your kids, but our kids will watch the same episode of something over and over and over and over and over again. That is, until an episode is accidentally deleted off the DVR. Like Dora. Awwww, bummer! Dora can't interrogate me anymore about where the Gooey Geyser is. Ask Backpack, Dora and leave me alone. I get enough questions all day long. 

According to Tuck, we are the last people on the planet to start watching this show. I doubt it, but since this is all our house can talk about lately, I thought I would share with you my favorite things about Phineas and Ferb:

1. The shapes of Phineas and Ferb's heads. They are a math lesson in themselves. As an educator, I love that these kids are a walking Geometry review.
2. Perry plays his part of the cross-eyed, non-verbal pet platypus well. No one suspects that he is part of the Super Secret Spy Network. Since I don't have a good poker face, I really appreciate someone that can pull it off flawlessly.
3. Perry the Platypus in a detective hat is adorable. I love hats.
4. Tuck will now say to Mags, "CURSE YOU, PERRY THE PLATYPUS!" Mags answers him, as Perry, by just staring at him. I think I need to buy her a hat.
5. Phineas and Ferb are always busy thinking of clever ways to solve problems that are high tech. The two boys never argue or tattle on each other. It is quite refreshing.
6. Doofenshmirtz, the evil genius, is always making some sort of "-inator" to take over the world. It never goes according to plan but he never gives up! The next episode you find him busy creating a brand new "-inator". Way to go, Doofenshmirtz!
7. Doofenshmirtz's quips throughout the episodes are hilarious. I love a man who can make me laugh, even if he is 10 pounds lighter than me.
8. The way Mags says Doofenshmirtz is so adorable. I had to record it and share it with you. Click here to listen.
9. There is a Mom and Dad present in the show that take an interest in their kids. Unlike Max and Ruby. Where are their parents anyways? 
10. Chris and the kids get so excited to snuggle up and watch the show. Throughout the episode they laugh hysterically together. This melts my heart. Every.single.time!

So here we are. Entering into a new phase of Tuck and kid's TV. For now, that's the newest thing going on with us. What's new in your house? 

I mean....whatcha doin'?

(I had to record Mags saying this. I couldn't help myself.
 Just click on the whatcha doin' "Link-inator".)

Monday, January 23, 2012


Me: "Mornin' Mags. How did you sleep?" 
Mags: "Great, Mama! How was your sleep?"

Well Mags to be perfectly honest, it stunk! You were up from 1AM-3AM screaming and unable to be comforted. Of course I did not say this to her, but I feel frustrated.  Even if she doesn't remember the night we just had, I do. 

I want the night terrors to go away!  I want them to leave my baby alone. I have done research on night terrors vs. nightmares since Mags starting having them when she was 18 months old. Tuck had them for a short time, so I was able to recognize what was happening with her.  There are distinct differences between night terrors and nightmares. 

During a night terror, Mags is frightened but cannot be awakened or comforted. Her eyes are often wide open, but she does not know that I am there and she will continue to scream for me. The episode will last from 10 to 30 minutes at a time and even when she seems like she has fallen back into a peaceful sleep, she will repeat the process about 10 minutes later. She often does not remember the episode in the morning. They always happen between 1AM-3AM, like clock work!

When a child has a nightmare, they wake up scared. You can comfort and hold them. They can tell you what happened in the dream. Most nightmares happen very late in their sleep period  between 4AM-6AM. Tuck will have these occasionally and they always have to do with an alligator. He has had the same nightmare on and off since he was three years old.

So here I sit, writing this post at 2AM. I was just with my munchkin in her room. When she stopped screaming for me and looked peaceful, I kissed her warm, flushed cheeks. Then I whispered in her ear, "Let's go eat ice cream together in your dreams. I want Black Raspberry and I know you want Chocolate with rainbow sprinkles. Lots of 'em. I love you." 

I know she'll be screaming again not too long from now, but I feel like if I can put a better thought in her little head, it might help.  No matter how many articles I read, I always seem to find the same advice or the same theories of why night terrors occur and how I can help her through them.

However, I just found something very interesting while researching...again. An article that a doctor wrote recently noted that night terrors can be brought on if a child is "overly tired", such as if a child is not napping. It suggested that the child might benefit from returning to a daily nap during these times that they are having consistent night terrors. This lit up a light bulb over my head. We have been weaning Mags off naps the past few weeks. Yes, my four year old still napped for an hour a day. My kids inherited my napping gene. It's a great gene! So, I have put her back on naps to see if this helps at all.  Right now, I will try anything. 

The article also said that if the child has an overly active imagination 
they are more prone to night terrors. I'm not sure if this fits her, though.

What do you think? 

Disclaimer: This post was written at 2AM. I apologize for any jibberish. 

Sunday, January 22, 2012


Me: "What is that smell?"
Mags: "I took my boots off."
Me: "Holy cow! Your feet smell really, really bad!"
Mags: "No they don't, Mama!  
Me: "Oh yes they do!"
Mags: "No way! Your nose is broken. They smell like roses."

Go ahead. Take a whiff. I dare ya! 

This is the third installment of "Picture This". 
You can read all about why I started this by clicking on the link.

Friday, January 20, 2012


Tuck to us: "I know! Let's play a game. I will choose...wisely."

Tuck walked out of his room with the game Trouble, also known as "The Crying Game" in our house. As soon as we saw what he had chosen, Chris and I both groaned in unison like two little kids who were just told to finish our brussel sprouts. For crying out loud, of all the games in all the world, this is the one he chose? The Trouble box summed it up best with their little motto, "There's trouble...in that bubble." They weren't kidding! It was R2D2 Trouble to boot. This meant every time you popped that bubble full of trouble, it was accompanied by the R2D2 sounds. Cute right? Sure, but after the 297th pop (I'm not exaggerating) you were ready to pull the batteries out...or your hair.

I wasted no time confirming, "Are you sure you want to play this? Remember last time?" Chris backed up my question with, "We just played that one. Why don't we choose another game?" Tuck was unwavering. Plus, he had already told Captain SpinsTooMuch, so now we were definitely locked in. We gave into his choice and told the kids they should start setting it up. Chris poured some water and I took some Ibuprofen. Then it began. 

Immediately Mags began to assign everyone's colors. "Mama's yellow, Daddy's green, Tuck's red and I'm blue." Once Chris and I heard her say she was blue we both counted down, "3....2...1..."  (insert Tuck's scream here) Tuck jumped in with his usual, "Maaaaaaaaaaaaags, NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO! I'm blue. You know that!" We heard Mags as she started to recite her dissertation of how she never got to be blue before and it wasn't fair. Tuck came back with his own dissertation and explained how blue was always his color in every single game they ever played in their whole entire life. I passed Chris the Ibuprofen and we went out into the living room. We distracted their battle of logic with "Hey, is the game set up yet? We can't play if it's not set up!"

Chris was like a ninja in his movements and quickly positioned the board so it suited everyone's needs. He told Mags that she had to be yellow because she was his ray of sunshine, or something like that. It worked. So we began to play. This game always takes FOREVER-EVER-EVER. Between the four game pieces that have to be freed from your home spot and R2D2's screech every time the bubble was popped, you had "edge of your sanity" excitement. Never mind  once your pieces are freed and on the board, there is a chance if someone landed on you that you were sent back to your home spot. To start all over again. This was where the game earned the name, "The Crying Game". Tuck hated to be sent back. Cried, moaned, yelled. Oh the injustice! 

So, after 20 minutes of the game being played, Tuck was crying,  Mags was on the floor making snow angels, and Chris was muttering under his breath. Me? I was busy cursing R2D2 for not popping the right numbers that would make the game be over. I was sure we said, "Mags, your turn to roll" about 604 times. Miraculously, we finished up. I was the victorious one. It was a fight to the finish at the end, which perked most of us up a bit. After 57 minutes of blood, sweat and tears it was over. Tuck congratulated me with a hug and Chris wasted no time packing up the game (and throwing it off the back deck). About that time, Mags sat up from her snow angel making session with a confused look on her face. 

"Is it my turn to roll?"

Thursday, January 19, 2012


Mags to me: "I keep making 'mis-cakes'! I quit!"

I was teaching her how to draw a basic person when she said this to me. I quickly reminded her that she was learning and that you have to practice to get better, stronger, and more confident. 

When I began this blog a month ago, my goal was to practice my writing skills. In my first post I said, "I have fun writing for people. I have fun being creative in what I write." This is still true. I have found my strength is to recap events. I also have found my weakness is editing. It is my kryptonite. No matter how many times I read a post back to myself, to Chris, or have Mags proofread it (just making sure your'e paying attention) mistakes always slip by me. Should I quit? NEVER! This is a learning experience for me. The only way to get stronger is to keep on writing and learning from my flubs.

How do I learn? Well, I spent some time last night going through all the posts I have written and was embarrassed to find some of the silliest grammatical errors. This morning I am going to take the rest of the time I have with my now tepid coffee to go through and make the corrections. Just like Mags, I have to practice.

After all, you know what they say...practice makes perfect!

Wednesday, January 18, 2012


"Look at my homework paper! Its despicable!"
After I told Tuck repeatedly not to sit at the Master of Disaster's (AKA Mags') dinner spot to do his homework, he insisted. I explained I hadn't washed it down with the pressure washer yet, but he didn't care. He told me, "Mama! I got this." I tried to reason with him and told him what would happen, but he wouldn't listen. He was determined this was what he was going to do. 
I think he expected a little battle of the wills from me. However, I had a surprise for him; a little secret move I'd been saving up just for this kind of moment. Instead of fighting that fight, I just popped some popcorn and watched...quietly. He was so proud of himself as he sat there in the remnants of his sister's dinner. I could tell he was feeling somewhat victorious.
Then it began to happen. The thin, cheap workbook paper started to crumble under the pressure. It's weakness began to show through the growing spots of residue. Tuck saw it happening, but kept moving on. He worked around it and finished his paper which now resembled an art project from the cafeteria. I pulled out a piece of stationary from the drawer and began writing. He knew what he had done the second he picked it up. As he walked by me to put the paper back into his school folder, I handed him the following note to put with it:
Dear Tuck's Teacher,
I apologize for the maple syrup, sour cream, avocado, and spanish rice that is soaked into and stuck onto Tuck's homework paper. He insisted he do his homework at the 3 yo's spot at the table after dinner before I was able to thoroughly wipe it down. We had tacos for dinner. Your guess is as good as mine about the maple syrup.
The Mom you shake your head at.
I heard him reading it out loud as he shuffled into the other room where his backpack was. He laughed and mumbled something. Then he walked back into the kitchen, wrapped his arms around me, and uttered four sweet words.  
"You were right, Mama." 
Perhaps I should use this tactic more often...especially when he is 16.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012


Me: "Mags, listen. I think I hear your babies crying! You better go check on them." 
Mags: Mama, you know they're not real, right?" 

Busted! Mags has never been one to buy into those types of things. She has always been too logical. When she was a baby and my son was a toddler, my husband would put on quick little shows with their stuffed toys. He made different voices for each animal and entertaining story lines. Tuck, who was two at the time, sat and laughed hysterically at my husbands' display. He would watch the toys as my husband pranced them across the floor hanging on every word they said. Mags, being an infant, would sit in her bouncer and watch her father, not the toys. She threw my husband a bone once in a while and flashed him a smile, but she never bought into the toys being the ones who were talking. Fantasy has just never been her thing. 

Mags does use her imagination plenty, but the story lines between her dolls always revolved around real life. I found when I spied listened in, it was usually about something that she herself had experienced. So, a lot of times, the dolls were chatting it up with their mom, singing silly songs or in time out. 

Tuck on the other hand, was all fantasy. He turned any daily household object into something from his imagination. For example, a spaghetti strainer became a helmet, a spatula became a sword, his little folding chair became a hang glider, and my husband's boots became moon boots. 

Together, these two made quite a pair when they were playing. Over the years we have worked with them on learning to compromise. Tuck had to learn that if he played dolls with her, it was going to be real life. There would be no flying babies or babies that turned into aliens and lived on Mars. It would be straight forward. Tuck was the Daddy, Mags was the bossy Mommy and the babies were being fed, diapered, and having their clothes changed. 

On the flip side, Mags knew that when she was playing with Tuck, she had to throw him a bone, too. She had to "camp out" in the woods with bears and go on a search to find the "bad guys" so they can save the world. She'd humor him, but then after a while, she'd start switching it back to real life. 

Due to her constant attempts to make his game her own, Tuck had to get creative. He had to figure out how to keep her in his game. He tried a bunch of different tactics like screaming, begging, and telling her he was never going to play with her again. Those strategies didn't phase her. 

Then, after he received some insider tips from my husband and I, Tuck realized that there was one thing Mags could not resist. Dressing up. Since both of them had super hero costumes from Halloween, he put his on one random day. Of course, seeing that Tuck was wearing his costume, she HAD to wear hers! From that point on they figured out how to make their games work for both of them. 

With realistic plots, of course.

Sunday, January 15, 2012


Me: "Mags what are you doing in Tucker's room?"
Mags: "Touching things he doesn't want me to touch."

Your honesty is refreshing. Carry on!

This is the second installment of "Picture This". 
You can read all about why I started this by clicking on the link.

Saturday, January 14, 2012


Tuck to me: "Mama! Please stop singing like that. It's embarrassing!"

Of course my response to this was to sing louder and more awkward, not that I have to try. I realized the moment he said those words that we were starting a new chapter. The "I Can't Believe You Did That" chapter. I knew it was coming. I knew my time was closing in on him wearing a shirt that says "My Mom Rocks", kissing me at the bus stop in front of all his friends or yelling, "I love you, Mama" from the bus line. It makes the moments he grabs my hand as we are walking out in public that more special. It has to be his idea to be OK. I need to be aware of that. 

So, I have been getting into this mode. I have been trying to let myself not be hurt when he "forgets" to wave goodbye. I revel in the fact that he is growing and becoming independent. Isn't that what we have been working hard on teaching him for the past six years? Of course. 

I guess I just didn't expect it to come this fast. I should have know, since every little old lady that ever stood behind or in front of me in a check out line told me, "Enjoy it, it will go by so fast." Sometimes I nodded and smiled. Some days, during 'those kind of days', I gave them my best, "Are you seriously saying this to me right now?" look. 

I wonder if I will be that old lady? You know,the one who is smiling sweetly at a young mom who is struggling with a two year old screaming to get out of the cart and a newborn who is screeching her lungs out because she is two minutes past her feeding time. Will I tell her then, at the moment, as the sweat beads are dripping from her chin that it goes by fast and to "enjoy it"? 

Most likely I will be that old lady. I don't think I'll be able to help myself. Perhaps I'll just choose my timing in saying the words, "Enjoy it, you're gonna miss this." a little more carefully. For now, I just need to focus on enjoying each moment as they come, no matter how fleeting they may be. 

Moments like these: 

We also need to continue to model silly times for Tuck. Silly without being too "embarrassing" for him. An example you ask? Sure. Let's just say you are walking through the Air and Space Museum.  You see a cardboard standee of Harry fighting The Dark Lord.  This standee is set up perfectly for you to put your body in so it looks like you are fighting Lord Voldemort. You should do it. This is a silly situation you should definitely take advantage of. 

You know...if a situation like that ever arises.

Thursday, January 12, 2012


"Hey MAMAAAAAAA! There's a spider on the fireplace as big as my head." 

My first reaction was to run as fast as I could down the stairs yelling, 


We have found some big spiders in this house, including one of these suckers in our garage: 

As soon as I reached the bottom of the stairs, I could see it on the fireplace. Tuck looked over at me and said, "See?", pointing at it. I put on my "no big deal" face while inside I was screaming, "NO FRIGGING WAY AM I TOUCHING THAT THING!". 

I had to, though. I couldn't just leave it there. Tuck immediately walked over with one of Mags' tiny little flip flops that would cover one of the spider's legs. Really, Tuck? Obviously we need to work on his spacial relations. 

I led the kids back upstairs where I grabbed my phone (to text my husband a romantic picture), Raid for Ants (poison is poison in my book) and my husband's snow boot (the biggest shoe in the house). I slipped on some sneakers of my own just in case I missed and I had to do emergency stomping. 

Armed with what I needed, we started down the stairs. I instructed the kids to remain on the top stair. You know how that goes. They ended up right behind me "instructing me". Mags was saying, 

"Awww, Mama! Don't hurt him. Okay?" 

Her and her bugs! I appeased her by explaining I was just going to put him to sleep with the spray and then lay him outside. Tuck was quick to jump in, 

"Mama, quick, just squish it already." 

That's my boy! 

I took a deep breath, cursing that my husband was out of town, and stepped forward. From that moment on it was chaos. I told the kids to step back, so of course, they stepped toward me. I sprayed the Raid, but only hit half of the enormous body. The spider wriggled and got PISSED. The front of it bucked up like a horse. I couldn't help it. I screamed. Tuck screamed in reaction to my scream and bolted to the stairs. Mags hit my butt saying, 

"Mama! He isn't even asleep yet!". 

Thank you, Captain Obvious...now get over to the stairs. 

It scurried quickly down the brick. I jumped back, falling over Mags, who was of course not on the stairs. She was fine, but in the process, I dropped the boot and the Raid. Panic!  I kept my eyes on the spider, now limping a little, but still impressively agile. I sprang up, grabbed my weapons and sent Mags to the stairs for the hundredth time. I watched her walk over.

When I turned back around to face my enemy, IT WAS GONE! My stomach dropped. I looked frantically for what felt like an hour and finally found it where the carpet met the brick on the fireplace. Nicely played, spider.  I aimed and fired the spray again, this time draining the entire can. Do you know that spider kept moving? At this point both kids were chanting, 


I did what I was told. I was victorious. I turned to my adoring fans, raised my hands in the air and did a victory dance like a wide receiver who just caught a touch down pass. The peanut gallery cheered wildly. 

I thanked them for their encouragement and "help". We all recovered and got our shoes on to race to the bus stop. I felt a little less "creepy". I was happy it was gone and the spider ordeal was over. 

That is, until our next battle. 

Wednesday, January 11, 2012


Mags: "What did you do today while I was at school?"
Me: "I had coffee with a friend."
Mags: "Don't be silly, Mama! You don't have friends!"

"Uh, huh! I do too!" That was the best comeback I had at the time. I quickly rattled off some names of people to her and she finally gave in, saying "Oh, right. I was just kiddin'!". Too late, kid, you've got me thinking and that can be dangerous.

This little exchange lingered in my head for a surprisingly long time. I mulled it over while we drove home and I made our lunch. Does she not see me talking with my friends after I pick her up from school? Of course not. She is too busy yanking at my arm screaming, "I really wanna go!". I realized that Mags never really SEES me with my friends. If we do go over to our mutual friends' houses, (AKA a play date) then she is busy playing. She does not see me sitting, laughing, and chatting it up. In her mind I am there to serve her drinks and "come look" at the toys her friend has that she doesn't. 

I realized further that she doesn't see my exchanges with people on Facebook or Twitter. Lots of my friends live in there. Friends from all over the place and from all walks of life. These friends are people that I have grown to laugh with, support, and who support me. To Mags, those sites are places where she knows she can see pictures of our loved ones...and Choo Choo Soul, of course. Eventually they will become more to her, but that is many, many years away. 

When I started this blog, Mags didn't see the texts, emails, and comments that my friends made. She didn't read all the words of encouragement. I did, however. For those comments and for all of you, I am so grateful. So, here's to you my friends! To all of you! The one's I have known my whole entire life, the one's who live in my computer, and  the friends I have "met" over the past few weeks through this blog. To me, you are very real. 

Now I'm a little verklempt. Talk amongst yourselves.
I know you all can come up with a creative topic! 

Tuesday, January 10, 2012


"Come here little guy. It's OK. I won't hurt you."

From the bathroom, I heard Mags saying these words in her best sing-song voice. I was in the middle of making Tuck's lunch, telling him to get his shoes on (for the fifth time), and trying to keep an ear out for Little Miss ICanBrushMyTeethMyself. The bus was coming in eight minutes and the kids still needed to flip flop themselves down the stairs, bear walk across the cellar floor and fumble with the door leading to the garage. That production in itself would take about five minutes. I would then have three minutes to strap them into the car and burn rubber to the bus stop. 

I looked over to see Tuck finally had his shoes on. I threw his lunch bag to him while I shouted to Mags in the bathroom, "Hey, how is the teeth brushing going?" She responded "I'm all done. I'm just helping this little guy out". My stomach clenched as I prayed "this little guy" was not a spider. We have found some as big as her hand in this house. I bounded into the bathroom to find her there, in all her glory, trying to brush a stink bug's "teeth". She was so proud I didn't have the heart to scold her. Plus, I was a little relieved it wasn't Shelob.

I scooped her off the stool, told her the bug was thankful she helped him, and threw her toothbrush in the trash. I was giggling a bit because nothing can really harm a stink bug. There are loads of them around here starting in the spring. They don't bite, but they do release a foul odor when they feel they are being attacked. It's like the skunk of bugs. 

Anyways, I would have to take care of it when I got home. It's wings were wet so it wouldn't be able to get too far. I took off, Mags in hand, for the mad dash. We made it to the bus (miraculously), I kissed the boy good-bye (so thankful he still lets me), and dropped Mags at preschool (breathe). 

By the time I got home I had completely forgotten about the bug incident. I was focused on trying to plow through as much of my to-do list as time would allow. While I was loading the dishwasher, I caught something moving out of the corner of my eye on the counter. I looked over and saw that it was the stink bug from this morning. How in the world did it make it all the way out to the kitchen? More importantly, how did I know it was the exact stink bug from this morning's teeth brushing incident? Oh! Very simple! 

Hey, Mr.Stinkbug! You got a little somethin' on your back.

Monday, January 9, 2012


Allergist Shot Lady to Mags:  "OK, make sure your Mommy doesn't scratch her arms. You are in charge."

Mags to me: "You heard her, Mama. I'm in charge."

Oh man! Thanks, Allergist Shot Lady (ASL)! I'm not sure you know what you've done. I'll go with your choice of who is in charge, but I'm not 100% behind you. Heck, I'm not even 50% behind you. You see, putting Mags in charge can go either way. She either takes the job seriously and does it well or she takes the job WAY too seriously and people get scared. 

Turns out, it was a good thing. If you've ever had allergy testing, the initial "scratching" is not that bad. They take something that looks similar to a hair brush and push the bristle looking end into your skin. Kind of like this, but without the tasty treats on the end:

There were 24 scratch "bristles" that were pushed into my upper left arm and 24 into my upper right arm. "No sweat", I thought, "I can deal with a little itchiness." Except if you are extremely allergic to everything they push into your skin. Then it becomes 15 minutes of sitting in a room with a 3 year old wanting to rip your arms off.

Luckily, Mags took pity on me. She kept me from scratching and up to date on how many "bubbles" were rapidly forming on each of my arms. We had an impromptu counting lesson that kept me mostly distracted from the unbearable itching and burning. If I even went to scratch my nose, Mags would say, "Uh uh uh! You 'renembah' what the lady said. Hands to self, Mama. Hands.to.self."  (I love when she shoots my "Momisms" back at me in her little Minnie Mouse voice.)

Besides counting, oohing and ahhing at the "bubbles", and reminding me she was in charge, Mags also took some pictures with my phone. She wanted to text Daddy the freak show forming on my skin. "He's gonna love the bubbles, Mama!". Oh, definitely. I could just see my poor husband at work receiving texts containing pictures of my blistered up arms. How romantic. Then I heard the door open. 

Finally! ASL walked into the room and said, "Let's take a quick peek". I have to say her response to what she saw was a bit unsettling. I heard her say, "Oh! Oh my! Give me one second". She rushed out of the room and returned with an epi pen, the doctor, and a camera. She told me to hold the epi pen "just in case". OH! FOR THE LOVE OF JELLYBEANS! Seriously? I'm a teacher. I know about epi pens. I've had the training. Needle in the thigh, no sweat. Right?

I'm not going to lie, my stomach flipped a little. I smiled at Mags who told me the epi pen was pretty and asked if she could hold it for me. She's so helpful. It was then that I realized I must have looked panicked. I promptly changed my tune so I wouldn't freak Mags out. 

I learned quickly that the words "overachiever", "impressive", and "off the charts" are terms you DO NOT want to hear from ASL. I was allergic to 46 of the 48 allergens scratched on my arm. Off the charts allergic. Oh, but the good news was that I wasn't allergic to Bermuda Grass. I could run through fields of it and be perfectly fine. Too bad Bermuda grass is found in the lower southern portion of the country. Just out of reach for frolicking in.

However, I was excited that I finally had 46 reasons for the non-stop sinus and ear infections I'd been experiencing for several months. I felt like this was a successful doctor's visit (for once). I left there with answers, two very sore arms, a  prescription for my very own epi pen, and a plan for six shots a week. SIX.A.WEEK. What did Mags leave with?

The entire basket of toys they had at the front desk, of course! 
  (Oh, and you're off the hook, ASL. I was wrong. You chose....wisely.)

Sunday, January 8, 2012


Tuck: "Maggie, you sit there and be the spectator while I dribble."
Mags: "No, thanks. I wanna sit here and be a Popsicle eater."

Since I started the blog about 3 weeks ago, I've been taking some time to collect pictures we've taken, posts I've made on Facebook, and voice memos I've recorded on my phone. I noticed that some of the pictures and posts I want to use speak for themselves. They are interactions between the kids that made me smile, laugh heartily, or just shake my head. I want to share with you some of these captured moments. So, here we go. 

The first of the "PICTURE THIS" installments.