Tuesday, May 26, 2009

None of our Business

We moved into this house almost 3 years ago and discovered there was a rather elderly couple living next door.  We saw the man quite often out mowing the lawn, working in the yard, tinkering in the garage, what-have-you.  He kept to himself, but was always good for a friendly wave or warm smile.  His wife, on the other hand, rarely came out of the house except to get the mail, and she certainly never offered a friendly gesture.  

Well, after about 9 months, we suddenly stopped seeing the husband.  Shortly after he disappeared we started seeing her ALL the time.  Ever since then she's been the one tinkering, swinging on the swing, and working in the yard.  All while still being completely unfriendly.  Also, there have since been numerous visits from, we assume, their children, who we never recall seeing before the disappearance.  On top of that, various older male visitors appear from time-to-time (sometimes more than one at a time) and we often wonder why such a crabby woman has so many suitors.  Not that any of this is our business, whatsoever.  So, I'll get to the point.  

Two summers ago Laurence was quick to notice that the man wasn't around any more.  He asked about it, and we told him what we assumed, though never confirmed, to be true - that the man became sick and passed away.  He seemed fine with that, and has never mentioned him since.  The boys and I spend a lot of time in the yard when the weather is nice, so he's been witnessing all the comings & goings of the gentlemen friends right along with me.  Well, just the other day we're out there playing and he's chasing a ball or something toward their yard where the woman and a random "friend" are swinging.  Suddenly he stops in his tracks, and yells loud enough for the whole block to hear, "Well, Mommy!  It looks like that man didn't die after all!"  Guess who else stopped in their tracks?  That mind of his!  Why now, after 2 years, would he think the man that lived there has reappeared?  Anyway, I quickly ushered him over to the deck, and trying to hold back my snickering, explained that we don't talk about other people's business unless invited to.  Or at least not loud enough for them to hear us...

Friday, May 15, 2009

You Fill in the Blank

On the way home from school yesterday Laurence was reading a sheet the teacher sent home about their year-end carnival.  He read the date, the time, what types of activities there wil be, etc.  Then he tells me there are some parts I'll need to fill out. "Like the number attending, OR I will be unable to attend with my..........sugar cookie."  I said, "Are you sure that's what it says?  It doesn't say 'I will be unable to attend with my child?"  "Nope," he says.  I repeat, "It doesn't say 'child?'"  Oh, well, yes, but waaaaay underneath.  There's a big space and you have to fill it in, like with 'chocolate chip' or 'sugar.'  I will be unable to attend with my.......cookie."  I've gotta see for myself, so I ask him to hand me the paper, and here's part of what we need to fill out at the bottom:

___ I can provide __ dozen bars or 
___ I will be unable to attend with my cookie

I know it's dangerous to read while you drive -- and even more dangerous to read AND laugh while you drive, but it was worth it!  The moment almost made me get over the fact that they left an "s" off of "cookie."  Almost.  

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Go to Your Safe Place

Today was Part 2 of kindergarten orientation.  Part 1 was a couple of weeks ago, and was just for parents to provide an overview of the school and what kindergarten is all about.  (It's true that it's no longer all about playing, by the way.)  Anyway, this afternoon Laurence & I went together.  He was quite excited about it all morning, and couldn't stop talking about it all the way to the school.  Things changed drastically the moment we walked thru the doors, however.  Laurence clammed up and his face lost all expression.  That is, until the tears started.  Poor kid was terrified.  He would not let go of my hand, and certainly wanted no part of lining up with the other to-be kindergarteners who were getting ready to tour the classrooms.  The plan was for the kids to spend an hour with the teachers, and the parents to meet with the principal to talk about important adult stuff.  Instead I tagged along with the kids & teachers.  Better to make it a positive experience for Laurence than to have him fear everything kindergarten, the teacher said.  I agreed.  He did rather well during the classroom visit, and by the end was feeling quite comfortable.  He even told the teacher as we congregated with the other parents, "I wish I could stay!"  

He will be fine.  Of that I am certain.  He just takes extra time to warm up to any new experience...because he thinks too much, I believe.  And he still needs his mom most every step of the way.  That became even more clear this evening when we were messing around in the kitchen and Laurence walked over to me, shoved his face in my belly and said what sounded like, "E woth e vemaollo etca eoge stel mdar."  He said it a few more times, we giggled, but I finally got him to repeat himself clearly, "I wish I could be in your belly because it's safe in there."  Seems like not long ago he was in my belly, but now in just a few months he'll be off to the big scary world of kindergarten.  And I have to let him go.  I will be fine.  Of that I'm certain. 

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

These Dreams

I had a conversation with a couple of friends today about dreams.  I find dreams so fascinating!  I love hearing about other people's, and I love to recount mine.  I remember a ton of them, I suppose because I'm such a light sleeper.  At least something good comes out of a poor night's sleep, right?

Shortly after this conversation, the boys and I were in the car on the way home and I asked Laurence if he ever has dreams.  He said he does and I asked if they are ever funny.  He said some are scary and some are funny.  He categorized dreams like this:  medium scary, really scary, medium funny, and really funny.  "Really funny ones are the best, because they're laughable!" he said -- yep, he really used "laughable."  A kid after my own heart.

My dreams are generally funny.  But I do have the occasional medium scary dream, many of which have a recurring theme.  But two night ago there was one I'd even classify as really scary.  I'll spare you the details and hope that the theme does not pop up again any time soon.

I find recurring dreams to be some of the most interesting, yet extremely annoying.  Up until a few years ago, I dreamed frequently of trying to find my classroom and not succeeding until class was almost over.  I struggled with that one for years, but I guess now, in my mid-30's, I've finally outgrown that fear.  I've moved on to bathrooms.  This is a pretty common theme from what I've read, but it doesn't make my own dreams any easier to take.  (Remember my last post about trying to find some humor?  The same would apply here.)  Let's just say that in my dreams when I gotta go, and I have to choose between a completely filthy private bathroom or a clean yet doorless and very public one, I choose to wake up. 

But as Laurence so expertly stated, the laughable dreams are the best.  I've had many of them over the years, but I have one particular favorite.  It was during the time that I worked in a nursing home, some 14 years ago now.  There was a female resident whom I did not care for.  She was a crabby old curmudgeon in the truest sense of the word.  She was demanding, impatient, rude to the other residents, and expected us to be at her beckon call; she tested my patience every day.  Anyway, in my dream a guy I worked with was coming out of a building and stepped out the door onto a landing at the top of an accessible ramp, holding a tupperware-like container.  Just your standard container, maybe 10x10x5 or so -- perfect for holding cupcakes or some other very edible treat.  "Oh!  What's in there?" I asked, grabbing for the container.  "Careful!" he said, but let me take it.  I started to open it to take a peek and he said, "Don't open it!  Seriously, don't!"  He was making this too much fun.  Of course I opened it, and out pops the woman, full-sized, wheelchair and all.  Miraculously she landed on her wheels and went safely rolling down the ramp.  "How did you get her in there?" I asked, trying to hold back my laughter, but he just shrugged his shoulders, smiled...and then I woke up.  In real life, she lived another year or so and continued to challenge me every day.  Sadly, that dream is by far my fondest memory of her.  Thanks for the laugh, JP...may you forever rest in peace in your Tupperware container.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

I'm Trying to Find Some Humor...

...in Eimer eating a dead bird on Monday.  I'm trying to find some humor in the bagger woman at the grocery store reprimanding me for allowing Laurence to assist me using the debit card on Tuesday.   I'm trying to find humor in the woodpecker turned feral cat that may possibly have taken up residence in our chimney yesterday.  And today, TODAY I'm trying to find humor in Eimer pooping on the stairs & ripping half the cover off of a book that belongs to a friend, and Loic demonstrating his ability to climb out of the Pack 'n Play (where until now he's happily played while I'm in the shower), then dumping a bowl of pasta & tomato sauce all over the floor (though the two incidents are unrelated).  

Those who know me would say I can find humor in many situations, it's true.  That's what this blog's mostly about right?  So here goes....there's my friend who reminded me that it's not like the the bird was an emu, it was just a little, tiny goldfinch (this happens to be the same friend that loaned me the book -- I hope she can find humor in that, too).  There's the fact that the bagger woman at the grocery store called my debit card a "charge plate."  And there was the scene after one of the incidents this morning -- Laurence using all of his power to drag Eimer to her cage so she wouldn't continue gulp down the pasta & sauce, then saying, "Phew!  I'm glad I'm not a part of their tag team because I don't want to drive you up the wall!"  Cute, right?  Funny, right?  The chimney resident, Pack 'n Play and poop, however....definitely NOT cute or funny...at least not so far.  

So that's a glimpse of what my week's been like until now.  But top it off with playing games with friends, good food, a nice long dog walk, lots of sunshine, interesting and though-provoking conversations & plenty of laughs and it's shaping up to be a great week.  I have so much to be thankful for and I have to look back at those other incidents and chuckle.  

I generally end each post with a silly Laurencism or otherism to hopefully spread some laughter, but as I sit here and recall for you my silly little challenges this week, I'm feeling a little somber because right beside my every thought are Bill's sister & her family who were evacuated from their home in Santa Barbara yesterday because of the threatening and encroaching fires.  Scary and very serious stuff.  Whether you pray, think positively or meditate, please take a moment to do it for this family that is very dear to me, as well as the others there and around the world who are facing real challenges this week.  

Monday, May 4, 2009

Translation Frustration

Loic has entered one of my favorite stages of language development.  He's now stringing 2, 3, and sometimes 4, words together at a time.  Understandable words, that is.  Or at least understandable to me.  Bill is amazed at how well I understand him, and I must say that I AM getting pretty good at it.  But I do spend all day, every day with the kid, so the fact that I have picked up on many of his words and phrases is no surprise.  I'll jot (can you say "jot" when you're typing?) a few of my favorites down here --

Lee-lee:  blanket
Doe-toe:  motorcycle
Dottij-jee:  cottage cheese
Nahnume:  vacuum
Dee-Do:  Thank you (he uses this one a lot, and it can also mean "me, too.")
Eee-uhh:  See ya!
Lurlie:  Laurence (my personal favorite)

Of course there are plenty more, and many, many more that he uses that he can say clear as day.  The kid talks a lot.  He talks to anyone, anywhere.  Thankfully, he doesn't seem to get frustrated that most people can't understand him most of the time; he's just happy to talk.  At this point I think he's just glad that I can understand him, since I tend to most of his needs.  This morning, though, I clearly let him down.  

He was eating his breakfast -- Ut-eel (oatmeal) -- and said "Oh, Mommy, D-Dog moon!"  The first three words were obvious.  "Oh" - got it.  "Mommy" - got it.  "D-Dog" - got it.  (He calls any dog "D-Dog," and though he knows Eimer's name and can say it rather clearly, he continues to affectionately refer to her as D-Dog, usually when she's doing something wrong.)  "Moon" had me stumped, however.  I immediately located the dog, who was happily working her rawhide bone, a few feet away from Loic's chair.  Ah, ha!  Perhaps moon = bone!  I said, "Yes, D-Dog is chewing her bone."  "Oh, Mommy, D-Dog moon!" he said again, louder, meaning I didn't get it right.  I looked around a bit, hoping & praying that he wasn't using "moon" for "poo" this morning (D-Dog has been known to have an occasional accident in the house), but that didn't seem to be it, either.  I repeated, "D-Dog IS chewing her bone, isn't she?"  Loic, clearly irritated, yells, "Mommmmy!  D-Dog moooon!"  I went over to him, and calmly said, "It's ok, Loic, D-Dog is fine, can you eat --" and suddenly realized the issue.  Moon=spoon.  Apparently dear D-Dog had taken Loic's spoon from his tray.  There it was, on the floor, licked clean.  The deed done, she'd moved on to her bone and left poor, frustrated Loic unable to finish his ut-eel.  

This certainly doesn't add to the humor of the situation, but for the record, I DID get Loic a new spoon.