Sunday, September 30, 2012

Before & After

Notice anything different?

How about now? 

The new bed was a big hit with my boys. For some reason Nate looks nearly stationary here but the pillow under his feet gives him away:

Of course, he eventually tuckered himself out:

At least briefly.

Hope they sleep well in their new bed tonight. Also fingers crossed that no one falls out (although their old mattress is on the floor just in case).

- L.

Saturday, September 29, 2012


Inevitable is the only word that sums up this post. You all saw this coming, right? 

– *struggle* *grunt* I is trying but I cannot gets up there for some reason.
– Is the clothes. They is weighing you down bro'.

- L.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Poop, Stink, Mischief & Engineers

Nate's glucose levels came back perfectly fine following his completely undramatic blood-draw on Monday which is great news, but there is still some confusion/phone tag with the pediatrician's office over whether he was supposed to provide a urine sample also to check for possible kidney problems. At this point I want to optimistically say that I just have a boy who really likes water (and making pee-pee), but I'm not quite ready to do a happy dance/weep with relief in a corner of the house just yet.

And so we wait.

In the meantime, I decided there was no time like the present to have some good old fashioned fun OP-style.

Before I get to it though, do you know how hard it is to track down denim overalls in Canada for kids? It turns out it's nigh on impossible after size 18-24 months, but at my request Grandma Leslie picked up the genuine Osh Kosh articles in size 4T last spring on a trip to the U.S.

Alternately, do you know how hard it is to persuade a couple of two-and-a-half year old boys that overalls are awesome and should be worn immediately on a trying-to-have-fun-now-so-Mommy-doesn't-have-to-think-about-kidney-troubles day at the OP?

I've been working on trying to get my guys to wear those overalls pretty much since last spring and to be honest I have no idea what the reluctance was all about but I can tell you that a couple of engineer caps from last year's Hallowe'en costumes made those overalls completely alright. In fact, they were downright popular.

Playing engineer in the backyard:

And getting into a little mischief in the corner of the yard where I don't really like them playing: 

But I looked the other way today because my boys were harvesting some fall leaves: 

I have no idea why the only leaves that have changed color are in the one area of the yard I don't especially want them playing in, but since Nate and Seth stood still long enough for me to take some cute pics of them together post-harvest I kind of forgot about asking why and got clicking:

Why yes, that is the look of mischief right there – and as you're about to see the secret signal was clearly understood:

Whatever it was, it got them smiling for the camera at least (even if they do look a little guilty). 

Of course, it might have had something to do with what happened roughly 5 minutes after we came inside*: 

Or maybe it was about Seth's after-dinner trip down memory lane with his favorite bucket (or at the very least one of those Sophies my boys om-nom-nom'd all the spots off of**): 

Bucket red, Bucket bright, 
I (still) dream about you day and night. 
The world's best bucket is where I sit, 
And the best part is... I still fit!

Then again, it's just as likely they were still laughing about their handiwork in our latest YouTube™ video called "Poop & Stink", because Heaven knows if you have boys (at least if you have my boys) there is nothing funnier than poop and stink.


- L.

* Then again, maybe the overalls just kind of slid off my skinny boy. If you haven't sent a sandwich lately, maybe it's time to consider it.

** Really, the spots are all gone – every last one of them – and those poor Sophies are just completely nakey now. Whenever I see a new one in a store or in a baby's hand I'm always a little surprised to realize that they even had spots to begin with.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Seth's Heart

Earlier this month we went for our 2-and-a-half year checkup. Our pediatrician first noted Seth had a heart murmur when he was 15 months old. At the time no one was too worried because heart murmurs in young children are common, typically innocent and often resolve themselves with time. 

When Seth got sick last winter we found ourselves at a walk-in clinic and the doctor on call commented on his heart murmur while listening to his chest. It was pretty loud but it turns out that's not uncommon either if you're running a fever.

Our 2 year check-up came and went and Seth's murmur was still there, but our appointment wasn't with our usual pediatrician and so it was impossible to say whether things had gotten better or worse. The doctor we saw felt it was still an innocent murmur.

Which brings me back to earlier this month at our 2-and-a-half year checkup.

Our regular pediatrician was back at her practice and said it was time to get Seth's heart looked at by a cardiologist. She made it clear we weren't looking for immediate problems as those would have manifested themselves before now, but for heart problems that might become an issue later in life. She had some legitimate concerns that his heart murmur combined with his struggles to keep weight on might be an indicator of something more serious.

We left that day with a referral and a week later got a call for an appointment for Sept. 24 (yesterday). In the meantime we bought some new carseats.

In the past 2 years my boys have only been in a car a handful of times. Seth has never gotten sick in a car, but he did get sick on a swing once when it was early in the day and not long after breakfast. He also expressed early on that riding backward in our Radio Flyer wagon was not for him.

As a kid I suffered with motion sickness myself in a fairly profound way and there are certainly better times of day to travel than right after breakfast. In this case however, we didn't have much choice. Our appointment was set for 10:15 and so we hit the road a little before 10 with tummies full of breakfast and my fingers crossed.

Nate had no issues on our journey to see the cardiologist, but I didn't expect that he would. He had a great time in the car and can't wait to see Daddy "drive the wheel" again:

– 'Dis remind me a little of long time ago time in other kind of new seat
for some reason.

I checked in with Seth half-way through and he said he felt OK, but 5 minutes later he looked a little green and said he did not feel OK.

– I looking at distant point on horizon and doing my best to keep
cinnamon toast and fruit down now.

Fortunately we were almost there. 

And the cardiologist had toys waiting in her waiting room which meant we liked her already. 

– Is always nice when there is a toy waiting for you when you show up in strange place.
'Dis is good protocol everyone.

It wasn't long before it was time to get down to business however. Seth had a great time getting weighed in and standing against the height chart and a few other preliminary procedures. The info from the cardiologist's office suggested bringing a comforting item from home for the exam (a favorite toy, a cherished stuffed animal, etc.).

I brought Nate.

The truth is we had another appointment that day with Nate for different reasons, but that isn't specifically why I brought Nate. My decision to bring Nate to Seth's appointment (and by the same turn to bring Seth to Nate's appointment) was deliberate. Mommy can kiss boo-boos like no one else, but having your best friend in the room with you when the lights go down in a strange place and you're laying your half-naked self down on an unfamiliar doctor's table with a bunch of machines and wires around you... well, it provides a comfort that nothing else can match.

Except for maybe a sucker. 

– 'Dis doctor appointment really starting to shape up now.

The cardiologist was so good with my boy, but then that is part of her specialty as a pediatric cardiologist and it certainly wasn't her first trip around the block with a toddler who felt a little apprehensive. Neither of my boys have had a sucker before so there was a bit of a learning curve for Seth at least since he was laying down ("No biting, just licking!"). Nate was off to the side and crunched his down before the doctor was done issuing those words so I crossed my fingers again and hoped Seth wouldn't notice.

Sugary goodness, Mommy kisses and a music box with dancing circus figures later and we were good to go.

This is the part where I take a picture of something I don't ever want to see again in my whole life:

And the part where I have no idea what I'm looking at but take a picture of the screen anyway because I don't know if this is the beginning of a journey or the end of one:

The truth is I had no idea what I was looking at on the monitor yesterday in terms of heart health, but for a moment in time I was standing there while the doctor ran the ultrasound device over my little boy's goo-covered chest, and looking at Seth's heart I realized it was the most incredible thing to see that I don't ever want to see again. 

My baby has a noisy heart.

A beautiful and strong and noisy heart that is perfectly fine as it turns out.

We are the lucky ones.

Thank you to everyone who lifted us up in prayer yesterday, and a very special thank you to Mason's Mommy because I know outside of immediate family we were in your thoughts especially. 

We left the office with this in hand:

I kind of want to put a frame around it.

- L.

PS. The sucker turned out to be nearly an all day sucker. Seth took the "just licking" thing very seriously. 

This picture doesn't capture it very well, but by the time we arrived at Sick Kids Hospital his bottom lip in particular was stained a bright orange:

And on our way to get our "Old McDonald's" he fell asleep:

But not before he admired Nate's admission bracelet at Sick Kids. It was also orange so that probably helped a little. 

My other brave boy after getting a blood draw that he didn't even so much as flinch over: 

And of course the lunch at "Old McDonald's" complete with "French fries! And a cheeseburger! And chicken nuggets too!" that was promised after a tough morning:

They're still lovin' it.

Maybe a little too much since this was our second trip in a week, but if anyone deserved a fun lunch yesterday it was all of us.

I hope the results of Nate's tests will be a much shorter post where I can simply say "Good news everyone – he's fine!". The truth is that Nate drinks a lot of water and pees a lot also which means he's either one thirsty boy or there is something else going on. Currently we're looking at the obvious things: Juvenile or Type 1 Diabetes or issues with kidney function. 

In case I sound a little casual here, you can bet that either of those terms makes my heart get up in my throat which to be honest is already a little raw. 

We did everything we could to make yesterday as fun and light as possible and it was for my boys, as much as it could be. Still, when we got home from our "big adventures" I'm not going to deny setting them up with a few toys to play with quietly while I went into a far away room and had a good cry. 

The good cry was tears of relief for one of my sons.

And God willing, I hope to be having a similar cry over the other one very soon.

• • • • • • •

Update: It turns out Nate is just a thirsty boy – his kidneys and pancreas are fine. : )

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Lockdown For The Win! Sort Of.

Lockdown was heavily product-tested today and managed to hold up against my wonder twins in spite of their "shape of key!" and "form of water now!" commands. I don't want to oversell our window solution just yet but since it's meant to keep the criminal element out, I'm relying on it also keeping my boys in.

Of course this is what I walked in on just after breakfast this morning: 

– So... how you think 'dis thing work anyway?
– I not sure yet Seth, but I has some ideas.

– 'Dis my first idea.
– Not bad for first idea. What else you got?

– Well, there's 'dis...
– That look pretty interesting. Maybe easier than trying to push bars out window...

–... so I tries it too!
– 'Dis pretty fun, but we still not quite there yet.
– No. Not yet.

– Wait! I think I gots it now!!!

– Oh, you totally gots that one bro'!

– I owns 'dis window now everyone.

– I gonna keep trying 'til we is co-owners. You not give up on me, OK? 

- L. 

PS. What do you call something that was unexpected and expected all at the same time? I have no idea. I expected this eventually, but not less than 12 hours after installation. My little boys acrobats – they work fast.

PPS. Seth made his way up about 3 minutes after I put the camera away.


so much depends

a red straw

guarding walls the color of

alongside the white

• • • • • • •

Of course there's also the new maximum security window:

There's a lot riding on that one too. 

- L.

PS. My apologies to the late William Carlos Williams for taking your simple poem and mangling it to suit our purposes. Truth be told, nothing in particular depends on the red strawberry other than filling in as a temporary door prop. "More L-brackets!" was the phrase that paid yesterday.

PPS. Special thanks to Grandpa David for all your help and advice.

Friday, September 21, 2012

We Survived Phase II

No pics of the aftermath yet, but we did survive the day and the boys had a great time and are already loving their new room even though we've only made it through the painting, furniture rearranging and locking it all down tighter than a drum phase.

Trust me when I say those things alone were a tremendous undertaking for one day.

The boys' room at 10 o'clock this morning:

And no, we didn't paint ill-formed clouds on the walls at the last minute – that's just some of the spackling paste we needed to cover up a years' worth of wear on their room. Really, we only moved in here last August and the room was freshly painted at the time. We definitely went with a much more durable paint/paint finish this time around – fingers crossed that it fares better. I love how the finished result turned out.

In case you were wondering how this ended up, the boys were so excited this morning that it was finally "Fries-day" we couldn't get out the door fast enough. Fortunately, the Happy Meals delivered everything they promised and in case you need proof: 

They are definitely still "lovin' it™".

• • • • • • • 

I had meant to include something else as a part of last night's post, but it was getting late and I knew we had a busy day ahead of us so I wisely decided to go to bed instead of staying up late for the sake of a video only their Mother could love.

And by love I mean at some point in the distant future where Grackles are long since a thing of the past. Last May I posted a best/worst list of the things my boys say and the #1 spot for worst things ever was about the word du jour that they drive me up the wall with.

Word du jour is a bit of a misnomer. While some words only last a day, others go on for a week or more. And in the case of Grackles, some are also accompanied by actions that would send even the most patient among us around the bend.

I've been accused of being patient, but Grackles threw me around the bend a few times this week if I'm being honest. I don't often raise my voice – at least not to the level I did this week – but indeed my kids occasionally turn me into something a little more than Stern Mommy™. Not that it has any effect particularly – but just in case you were wondering, it happens.

I say that all as a preface for Grackles: The Video in case it sounds like I'm taking it all in stride and letting the kids run wild. The main reason I'm sounding good humored in the video is because they aren't actually doing Grackles and also because I wanted to get a sample of "word du jour" for posterity.

A train could have driven through the kitchen at the time and neither of my boys would have batted an eye – when they're in their own little zone they're very much in it. Doing anything more than letting the camera roll and exchanging a few comments here and there would have been a fool's errand, so I just sat back and went with it.

If it doesn't seem that bad (and it probably won't seem all that bad since it's under 3 minutes long), please use your imagination and pretend you've listened to this video for a solid week non-stop.

A little bit grating then, yes?

For what it's worth, I don't often take videos of my boys when they're out of control for real – partly because who has the time or the hands for that? – but mostly because they are really good kids. I just wish they'd ditch the word du jour already, especially since every single one of them is just code for getting up to no good. That said, it's the relentless nature of word du jour and not the word du jour itself that eventually drives one over the edge.

As things currently stand, we have been 98% Grackle-free for the past 48 hours – and their new room is about to become 100% Grackle-proof. I'm not taking any chances on the other 2%. 

Trust me when I say, you wouldn't either.


- L.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Pettetos & Grackles

Pettetos and grackles have pretty much been the driving force behind our emergency makeover of the boys' room.

There are no pictures of the many heart-stopping moments Nate and Seth call "pettetos" because I was too busy growing grey hairs to document it via a photo. All I can say is that we most certainly converted the cribs at the right time and that we ditched the converted beds entirely when it became clear that pettetos were here to stay.

Petteto (pet-et-oh) 
– verb 
1. the act of perching oneself precariously atop a crib rail 
2. also the act of climbing atop a crib rail to gain access to things previously out of reach 

Grackles on the other hand appear to be isolated to assaulting a single piece of furniture in their room, but the truth is if it can be climbed or assaulted then my boys are probably already on it.

The end result of some recent early morning grackles looked like this:

In case this post suddenly seems a little like Groundhog Day, it's not – we really have been here before (at least more or less, although emphasis should be on less then and more now I suppose).

Same drawer but they managed to bend the hardware beyond repair on the opposite side this time:

Also this time they added a twist in the form of what they proudly announced was "Mommy's Reaching Stick™": 

Grackle (grak-el) 
– verb 
1. the act of causing maximum destruction to a specific item of furniture (likely dresser drawers) via climbing. Enhanced only by strewing any findings as the result of breakage about the room (most especially furniture contents). 

Tomorrow Phase II of  our "There gonna be some changes in here!" plan is in full effect and will be, without a doubt, the biggest undertaking of the 3 phases by far.

Please wish us luck.

- L.

PS. Mommy's Reaching Stick™ is a real thing and it does resemble the piece my boys tore off their dresser, except that mine isn't broken and I didn't tear it off a dresser. The real "reaching stick" is just a plain piece of MDF trim easily found at any Home Depot or similar. And no, it wasn't bought with the express purpose of becoming a reaching stick, but a leftover 3 foot scrap has come in handy on the many occasions my boys have stuffed toys in places a hand could never reach. And thus, Mommy's Reaching Stick™ was born.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

In The Midst Of Big Changes, It Turns Out They're Still Lovin' It™.

Alternate title: Funny Today, Maybe Not So Funny Tomorrow.

Part II of the "There Gonna Be Some Changes In Here" plan hasn't happened yet, but it involves repainting the room and moving, readjusting and/or heavily securing the furniture and window – and I'm not talking your typical wall anchors and window locks just in case you were wondering.

My main involvement however will be keeping the boys out of the house and/or at least out of their room for the better part of the day. As such, I've been talking it up a bit and when one of my boys asked earlier today about french fries I said, "It just so happens that we're going to have french fries on Friday – Mommy is taking you out for lunch!".

My guys can recite Sunday through Saturday off the top of their heads and typically know what day follows what if you pick a random day of the week.

Apparently when french fries are involved though, all bets are off.

Nate and Seth were more chatty tonight at bedtime than usual and since I was in the next room and could hear everything I decided to transcribe a small portion of their conversation* because it was too funny not to.

• • • • • • • 

N: Not Monday today.

S: It's Tuesday.

N: It's Friday today.

S: It's not Friday today. No. We have french fries on Friday.

N: Friday is tomorrow.

S: Not Friday today. It's Monday now. French fries and chicken nuggets.

N: Cheeseburger.

S: Tomorrow! Seth have chicken nuggets and french fries. Tomorrow, not now. Today is Monday. Today.

N: We having cheeseburgers.

S: Tomorrow.

N: Tomorrow.

S: French fries and chicken nuggets.

N: French fries and cheeseburger.

S: And chicken nuggets too!

N: And a cheeseburger too! 

• • • • • • •

*The actual conversation ran approximately 30 minutes before they wore themselves out. I'm not sure how tomorrow is going to pan out when I have to break it to them again that it is still a couple of days away from Friday, but at least I will know what to order when the time comes.

- L.

There Gonna Be Some Changes In Here: Part I

"There gonna be some some changes in here!" is a popular phrase lately for some reason.

Notice anything different?

– There gonna be some changes in here everyone!

Yep. There gonna be some BIG changes in here.

We're in the midst of redoing the boys' room from stem to stern for a myriad of reasons – the bulk of which were unexpectedly urgent ones. The room needs to remain a livable space at all times so the plan consists of 3 phases.

The first phase involved getting rid of everything superfluous: 

Yep, there gonna be some changes in here alright. 

• • • • • • •

– So... it look like there gonna be some changes in here everyone.
– Big ones even.
– I pretend I cannot hear you ask why.
– I knows why, but I rather not say.
– Also I does my best to look endearing right now so you not judge too harshly.
– I still not talking.

– Of course 'dis whole plan probably blow up in Mommy's face 6 months from
now like the last time she carefully plan out a very safe room for us.
– Well... at least if 'dis look has anything to say about it.

Unfortunately my boys are probably right – they have a knack for finding the weakness in any plan. But really, this time we are locking it down tighter than Fort Knox.

- L. 

*The grime on the walls behind the cribs was not one of the reasons, but if I'd had a clear understanding of the advanced stages of said grime, it might have been. Gross!