Friday, April 29, 2011


Is there anything about your day that you just simply detest? I mean really and truly loathe with every fiber of your being? For me, it’s bedtime. More specifically, it’s getting the kids ready for bedtime. Every night around 8:30 PM my left eye starts to twitch and I have this overwhelming sense of dread like when you were in high school and you pissed away weeks worth of time that you had to write a paper and now it’s incredibly late on Sunday night and you are totally and utterly screwed. You know, like that…

It’s the same story every night. 8:45 PM rolls around and the announcement is made that it is Teeth Time and then it starts…

Aaron: Daddy is going to carry me into the bathroom!!!
Elyse:  NOooooooooooo, Daddy is going to carry ME!!!
Aaron: Nuh uh! ME!!! Carry me Daddy!!!
Me: (yelling from the bathroom) Come on, I have two tooth brushes and no kids.
Mike: Why don’t you both just walk in?
Aaron and Elyse: NOOOOOooooooooo!!!!! Carry ME Daddy!!!!
Me: COME ON!!!!!

Somehow they both get into the bathroom. I get Aaron’s teeth brushed and then send him on his way to get his bed ready. Then…I brush Elyse’s teeth. Well, first there is the fight over whether of not she will brush her own teeth. Sometimes I let her give it a try. Most nights we have messed around for so long by this point that I just flat out refuse. The next step is a very intricate dance that I like to call The Taming of the Octopus. By now, if I have refused to let her brush her own teeth, Elyse is flailing about and thrashing like I just doused her with holy water in an attempt to release the demon within. There is screaming, and pleading, and begging…but at some point I manage to get the brush into her mouth. There is still crying and a moderate amount of flailing, but somehow against all odds the job gets done.

Then, she has to tell everyone goodnight. There are four people in our home; Elyse being one of them. That means that she has to say goodnight to three people, but this part of the process is by far the longest and most painful. First, she and Aaron do their “knock down hug” in her room where she runs at him full speed, knocks him to the ground, and they laugh and giggle and thinks that it’s the funniest thing EVER.

Aaron: Goodnight Elyse.
Elyse: Goodnight Brother.

The end, right? Wrong. Aaron goes to his room to get into bed and now Elyse has to give him a hug in his room.

Elyse: I want to hug Brother.
Me or Mike: You just gave Brother a hug.
Elyse: NOOOOooooo, I have to hug Brother.
Aaron: (From the top bunk of his bed) NO GIRLS ALLOWED!!!
Elyse: (climbing up the ladder which is the only reason that she NEEDS to give Brother a hug) Nooooooooo, I want to give you a hug!!!!!

A struggle ensues and Aaron eventually relents and they hug goodnight again. Now Elyse goes off to her room to get her diaper changed and pick her bedtime story while Aaron reads his own story to either me or Mike; whoever won Rock, Paper, Scissors, Lizard, Spock.

The “lucky” one that got to put Elyse to bed has to go through the diaper change, then there is the choosing of the story, the reading of the story, then that story has to be given to the parent in Aaron’s room which leads to another Brother hug and the entire “No Girls Allowed” ordeal.

After she is peeled off of Aaron, she heads back to her room, but not before she HAS to use the potty even though I ask her thirty times a day to use the potty and she violently refuses every single time with such a look of disgust you would think that I asked her to poop on Main Street in the middle of the Christmas Parade.

Of course now that she has used the potty, she has to get a sticker for her calendar. By this point, if I am the one that is putting her to bed, I have completely lost all patience and I’m practically foaming at the mouth. My mind drifts in and out of a fantasy where I live on a deserted island and monkeys bring me fancy drinks in coconuts with little umbrellas and I never, EVER have to brush their teeth.

FINALLY, she gets into bed.

Me: Goodnight Elyse. I love you.
Elyse: Goodnight Mommy. Are we going to Grandma’s tomorrow?
Me: No Elyse.
Elyse: Why?
Me: Goodnight Elyse. Get some sleep.
Elyse: WAIT!!! I need socks!!!!!
Me: (gritting my teeth) OK. I start to put them on her…
Elyse: NOOOOOoooooo, I can do one. She struggles, and tries, and wriggles her piggy into the sock.
Me: Goodnight Elyse.
Elyse: Goodnight Mommy.

I close the door behind me, take a deep breath, and hope that we haven’t finished all of the wine yet. This is every night. Every single, ever-loving night; except last night.

Well, most of all of this happened last night, but the difference was that Aaron read the bedtime story to Elyse. It was adorable. Aaron has been slowly learning to read since December and he has worked his way to Super Books which are basic, little stories that, once mastered, he can take it back to the teacher, read it for her, get a sticker on his folder, and then bring home a new book.

As I sat there watching him read to his little sister I thought, “I am going to want to remember this moment.” So even though there was a potential to completely ruin the moment, I ran to get the camera and snapped this…

And when the story was over, I got this…

 Someday, the kids will put themselves to bed. One day, a long time from now, these bedrooms will be empty and I will probably miss these days and the craziness, but when I think back to bedtime, this is the picture that I want to remember.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Why Elyse and Scissors Don't Mix...

Going back over some of my previous blog entries, I’ve picked up on a bit of a theme; Elyse is a maniac. This concept is not new. I have been gradually working on accepting it and finding a way to cope with it in such a way that it doesn’t stifle her beautiful little mind. But it’s exhausting. The girl wears me out. And the thing is…she knows EXACTLY what she does.

It’s just that she is always in to something. Her little fingers are in perpetual motion, weaving a dance of destruction and chaos with a wake of carnage larger than the Titanic.

For example…

Last weekend, Mike and I went to a fundraising event for Aaron’s baseball team. Aaron and Elyse stayed behind with Grandma babysitting. At some point during the night, Aaron had to poop and he left the downstairs family room to take care of business. But when everything was taken care of, he needed Grandma to help him wipe. This left Elyse in the family room with the cats…ALONE! Now, this is something that I do on a daily basis. Sometimes, you just have to leave her unattended for however brief a period of time, in order to accomplish some task. Sometimes she is good and when I get back she is coloring perfectly in her My Little Pony coloring book. And then there was last weekend where when Grandma got back downstairs to check on her, she found Elyse, her hands covered in blood, holding a pair of scissors, and sitting next to our kitty Bella. She had cut the kitty’s ear with a pair of scissors.

Aaron was beside himself with the need to rat out his little sister and he even waited for us to get home and stayed awake until almost 11:00 to be able to tell us face to face what had gone down.

The next morning he busied himself with getting some photographic documentation of the injury…

Here you can see that both ears are definitely still attached…

See, two cute fuzzy kitty ears. I loaded her up with Neosporin for days and now I am happy to say that the ear is almost completely healed, but we are keeping the scissors hidden in a combination safe buried approximately three feet down in the back yard twenty paces from the old holly tree stump.

Luckily, on occasion, she gives me glimpses of the sweet little girl that she truly is deep down inside. Like the other day when she wanted to paint her own fingernails. I was incredibly hesitant because of the mess and whatnot, but against my better judgment, I let her do it and now I am so glad that I did because I have this image of her that I will keep in my heart for the rest of my life…

That’s my baby girl; The sweet, adorable, girly-girl who just happens to be a little bit of a booger underneath. These are the images that I will have in my head someday when I am watching her walk down the isle…

By then, all of this craziness won’t matter. She’ll just be my sweet baby girl who liked to paint her fingernails and do all things girly. I want to try very hard to remember that and focus less on the chaos and more on the girl because I know that this won’t last forever. Luckily, these memories will…

Sunday, April 24, 2011

When Good Easter Treasure Hunts Go Bad

Friday we had a fantastically awesome day planned. My friend Wendy and I were going to take the kids to the zoo for their annual Easter treasure hunt. The fantastically awesome part was that our friend Leslie, who was an original member of our playgroup, but lives about an hour and a half away now, was going to make the trip with her mom and three girls to join us. Leslie is one of those friends that no matter how long you have been apart or how much has happened since you last saw one another, you can pick up exactly where you left off and not even miss a beat. I love Leslie, and I love Wendy too. Put the two together and I was incredibly excited to be spending the day with two of my very best friends. Awesome.

When we got to the zoo, however, the weather was not so awesome. It was cold, and rainy, and wet, and did I say cold…and wet? I really thought that they would move the festivities inside, but when we got out of the van I saw some people trudging up a hill with their Easter baskets in tow, I knew that we were screwed and would be doing this all in the rain…and COLD. Can you tell I’m not much of a cold person?


Everybody got there and the kids were as excited to see each other as the moms all were. We got our baskets and weather be damned headed out to gather our goodies. Now, these trips are fun and everything but they make me a little nervous because for Aaron, a kid with a peanut allergy, these trips are like navigating through a field of land mines. At any time we could encounter a table with treats of the peanut persuasion and I’d have to tell Aaron, “Sorry Buddy, gotta skip this one.” It makes me feel so bad for the poor kid that he can’t even just have fun and collect candy, but that he has to be constantly aware of what he picks up.

The second treat station that we came to was a kid’s candy dreamland; miniature Hershey bars, Hershey’s Kisses, and of course, mini peanut butter cups, littered the table in droves and the zoo volunteer manning the station said they could take whatever and as much as they’d like. I quickly showed Aaron the peanut butter cups and pointed him in the direction of the Hershey’s Kisses and the Hershey bars. Off to the next station.

By the time that we got to the end we were numb, but the kids didn’t seem to care. Their baskets were full of goodies and we were headed to McDonalds for lunch. What could be better?

So we loaded everybody up and headed out to get some lunch to counteract some of the candy that they had been shoveling in most of the morning. But as we drove down the hill, I looked in the rearview mirror at Aaron and he looked absolutely awful. He said that his chest hurt and that his belly was starting to feel bad. I figured that it must have had to do with being in the cold and rain for almost three hours and I told him that he would feel better once he warmed up and got something good into his belly; if you can call McDonalds good.


He never got any better though and at McDonalds he looked really rough. He didn’t want to eat, or play with the other kids, or anything. He complained about his chest and belly most of the way home and when we pulled into the garage he wanted to go right inside and straight to bed. Aaron only goes to bed at bedtime. Something was definitely up.

When Aaron s sick, or hurt, or just feeling sad the only person he wants is Elyse, and she jumps into nurse mode like nobody’s business. She sat next to him in bed and kissed him and hugged him and gave him his doggie to cozy up. When she felt like she had everything under control, she cuddled up next to him and content with her work she said, “I’m a good mommy.”

About a half an hour later, Mike came home and went to check on Aaron. He suggested that a bath might make him feel better and help him warm up after a long day in the cold. So Aaron goes into the bathroom to get undressed and all of a sudden, Mike is hauling a naked Aaron over to me on the couch to show me the ENORMOUS welts that were starting to cover his entire little body. PEANUTS!!!! That HAS to be wants going on. We immediately got him some Benadryl which usually works pretty fast, but when twenty minutes went by and he was not only getting more itchy, but started to develop a nasty cough and runny nose, we started to panic. A runny nose is one of the first signs that an anaphylactic reaction could be next.

We threw everybody together, dropped Elyse off to my parents, and hauled ass to the ER. When they examined him they said that his lungs sounded wheezy and they sent him right back to a room where we sat, and sat, and then sat some more, and watched everybody and their brother walk around looking like zombies trying desperately not to make eye contact with us which might prompt us to ask SOMEONE TO DO SOMETHING.

A nurse finally walked over and took some information about forty-five minutes later, and it was another good twenty minutes to a half an hour after that before the doctor rolled in. By this time the Benadryl was starting to help a little. He wasn’t coughing as much, but new welts were still popping up. The doctor decided that he should get some Prednisone and that they would watch him for another hour just to be sure that things were under control.

He sat back and let the steroid do its thing, enjoyed a popsicle, and slowly came back around to our cheerful little man.

All this time we figured that the exposure had to have come just from being around peanuts. It was in the air, kids everywhere were eating the stuff, maybe the Hershey’s Kisses were near the peanut butter cups and contaminated them. When we got home, I went to check out his bucket and about fell over when I saw an empty Mister Goodbar wrapper. In case you don’t know, a Mister Goodbar is a chocolate bar with PEANUTS IN IT!!!! I ran upstairs and was like, “AARON, DID YOU EAT THIS?” And he was like, “Um, yeah.” Well that explains it. That explains why his chest and belly were the first symptoms and why it took so long for welts to show up.

I feel like the worst mother alive. I let some peanuts slip through the cracks and it cost us a trip to the ER. Luckily that’s all it cost. It’s good to know that when he actually ingests a peanut (or a whole miniature chocolate bar full of them) that he doesn’t immediately go into anaphylactic shock, but that doesn’t make me feel much better.

He is completely back to normal now and very anxiously awaiting the arrival of the Easter Bunny. Thank God that guy knows the peanut situation. I can guarantee that there will be no Mister Goodbars in Aaron’s Easter basket this morning.