Saturday, November 03, 2007


We re in the midst of the joys of old bathrooms. This house is funny that way. The stuff in teh front of the house- built in 1929- gives us little trouble. Stuff in teh addition- circa 1983 downstairs and circa 1994 upstairs- is a mess. I mean a mess. This week its the shower. I think they must have tried to do the tiling themselves. Now we're trying to decide whether to just get a liner and seal the trashwork in, with the assumption that we will be ripping out most of this part of the house in about three to five years, or to do real repairs.

In anticipation of the grand event, we need to shut down teh use of our shower, and use the boy's bathroom. The caulk around the tub was cracking, so if it was about to be heavily used for showers instead of baths, it was time to re-caulk- or face another fun-filled bathroom problem. So I got out my handy-dandy scraper, got the old caulk off, put some fresh caulk down (new caulk is really wild stuff- far less conspicuous than the old stuff. Or I'm doing something really, really wrong.) The new caulk requires 36 hours to cure before exposing to moisture.

It went on so beautifully that it is (clearly) making me a little uncomfortable. So I checked it again this morning, and redid any spots that looked like they might be dodgy. We already had one night of no bathing the boys- two in a row won't do. We need a bathing solution.

That appears to be taking Indian-style showers in our bathroom. You know, the one we're supposed to be shutting down. :P Now imagine this: two boys. Water in a bucket. Soap.

Am I the only one who foresees two small, naked, wet, soapy bodies hurtling through the upstairs with squeals of glee?

Friday, November 02, 2007

Missing the Boy

Yesterday Andy had his first Kaleidoscope class. Kaleidoscope is a series of classes through the rec center for preschoolers. Each week is a different theme. They do crafts, read stories, sing songs, and talk about the different topics. This week was dinosaurs- so Andy was in seventh heaven. He got a new cardboard dinosaur mask, so he's a very happy boy.

It was also interesting for me. For one, I got to see a few more parents who have kids who are not in preschool- at least not on Thursdays. For two, I got to see Andy in action with other kids his age. He did perfectly. He wasn't the best kid, but he did just fine- he sat on the tape line when asked. He talked about his dinosaurs when asked to. He waited as well as everybody else (which, granted, wasn't perfect- but then, they were 3 and 4 years old!) He only had a little trouble when he asked for a T-Rex and got a Pteradactyl instead; but someone who wanted the pteradactyl traded, so that worked out. The teacher kept the lights down, which I think helped a lot. He didn't get flustered with all the kids, he did the coloring and rubbings, and otherwise had a fabulous time- like all the other kids. It was fantastic!

Joey would have loved it, too. He can do all of those things- sit in a circle, listen to a story, color... maybe not perfectly, but then, no one was doing it perfectly. He might not be able to answer questions about his dinosaur, but he would have grinned and charmed everyone anyway- and had a great time. I knw he has fun at school, but I do miss that boy.

Today is Friday- Joey's afternoon off. I'm considering all the things I could do with him. Theymight all be for naught, because my car is in the shop and I might have to disturb the afternoon to go get it, but still... a few hours with both my boys! Should we make playdough? Or pumpkin bread? Or maybe go to Chuck E. Cheese? Or perhaps head out to Wakefield for a little fall stroll? We've been out to Snead's alot, so perhaps something different. Maybe make turkey decorations? Or go to Grandma's and have a nature walk? I could make a fire in teh fireplace, and have them toast marshmallows? Or we could wander over to Aunt Christina's and visit Max and Charlie and Jack? Or go to the playground? We could get out the paints and markers and glue and have an art show. We cold go outside and relax in the sandbox. Perhaps we should start getting into the holiday swing and make a gingerbread house? Maybe we could go shopping and look a the Christimas stuff that's (already!) out? Perhaps we should stick to making pilgrim puppets and cornucopia pictures?

What is the best way to hug my boys and smooch on them and let them have a fabulous time?

Another afternoon where cleaning the house is put off for more important things...

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Happy Halloween!

We had a pretty good Halloween.

I had to work, so I missed most of it. But we got the pumpkins carved, and the boys went Trick or Treating pretty early so I could see them in their costumes. I think they were pretty excited. Andy practically ran house-to-house. Joey was just happy to be Little Bear.

Carving the pumpkins is something of an adventure. Andy doesn't like his hands to be icky, but once Joey got home to do his pumpkins, Andy was all about it. Andy preferred the carving. We did a new thing this year, with cookie-cutter like things. You put the cutters on the pumpkin, then beat the crap out of them until they punch through. Needless to say, Andy was in heaven. Joey wasn't so sure, but he loves getting his hands into the pumpkin stuff. Since he usually likes clean hands, too, this love of goo is a real mystery.

Of course, Joey had to wear his Little Bear hood. I think he was pretty pleased to see a whole costume went with it. He even insisted on wearing it during most of the carving festivities. He was pretty pleased with himself.

He insisted on his second pumpkin being a face like a "real jack-o-lantern!" so I had him draw out a face, and then he sat and instructed me as to the carving of his jack-o-lantern... triangle eyes, and a round nose, and a mouth just like a plastic light-up jack-o-lantern the boys were playing with. I usually use a lot of stencils to do pumpkins- simple ones. The complicated ones just never turn out nice for me. Simple ones do fabulous.

I wonder what to do now... do I pack the hood away, hoping to wear the costume next year (I had to pin up the legs)? Or do i let him have his Little Bear hood that makes him so happy, and hope it survives a year of use (and abuse)? Or do I race out to the shop, and try to get another round of fabric to make a new hood for next year? I have the feeling I will be in the fabric store in the morning...

Just as Joey got to be Little Bear, Andy got to be T-Rex. Anything Andy thinks is scary or unknown, especially things with bones, is a "dinosaur" right now. There were some scary decorations up at the gym, and he was fine with them, as long as they were dinosaurs. I didn't disillusion him.

Yes, one Little Bear and one T-Rex. My children's true selves emerged as they danced up the street in search of chocolate and lollipops...

Wordless Wednesday: At the Farm

Monday, October 29, 2007


Joey had a field trip today to a fancier pumpkin patch than the one we go to. I like ours better, but that's for a different day. The point is, he went. Then he came home.

Another incident occurred between field trip and home. The bus had to take a child back to school. Due to increased press about kids being left strange places by buses around here, such as poor Stimey experienced, instead of returning to school at the end of the route, the bus drivers now must take the child IMMEDIATELY back to school, then go back on their route. When the bus arrived back at school, apparently Joey got himself out of his seat and started to get off the bus, and had to be re-settled.

When Joey arrived home ten minutes late, he got off the bus and practically ran to the house. I thought it a bit strange, but said goodbye to the driver and followed him. I found him in the living room, his face buried in the couch cushions, absolutely inconsolable.

Thus begins a game of Twenty Questions that breaks the heart. Joey is not good at questions, but without them, I have no way of getting any information. Unfortunately, even if he answers a question, the answer may or may not be accurate, relevant, or even make any sense. It becomes a very strange game of Sherlock Holmes, sifting through the words I get to come up with some clues to what occurred with the child over the day, and to see if any of those occurrences might explain the current behavior. To make things more complicated, any incident he describes or offers may or may not have actually happened to him... he can get just as upset about something that happened to a classmate in his presence as something that happens to himself.

The clues I have are that he does not want to be hugged (HIGHLY unusual), something about Andy is not here (Andy was sitting right next to him) and Where is Andy? Something about Mrs. S and Mrs. H (his teachers), the bus, and someone asking him "Do you understand me?", a possibility that he almost missed the bus, and he refuses absolutely to discuss the field trip or look at the pumpkin he brought home. He also says he will miss recess, and will miss "first."

My current theory is that he did not get on the bus like he was supposed to, probably to come back from the field trip, and was threatened with either not having recess or some other threat if he did not get on the bus. He did not respond (probably process what was being said to him); perhaps he was asked to get on, then escalated to telling him his teachers were on the bus, to that inane question ("Do you understand me?"), to threats of punishment. If he was already upset, such a scene would certainly be traumatizing.

However, I have NO IDEA. I emailed the teachers, but have yet to have a response, so I sit here with no way to untangle these threads, and to try to talk to him about what happened- or didn't happen.