Triage

Jan 27 2009

By necessity, we run our house triage-style.

Just like a hospital, we’re in a constant state of intake, needs assessment, emergency stop-gap care and then, hopefully, meeting the greatest concerns with more thorough attention.  I’m not sure whether we ever really acheive the last part, but I like to think we try.  I suppose that’s for our kids and their counselors to decide when they’re adults.

To give you a general idea of a typical evening around these parts, I decided to track the nighttime happenings in the lives of the Woolseys.

Highlights from the evening include:

  • Participated in 14 instances of “Ian, put the dog down.” Do you think I should actually do something to enforce this?
  • Gave Sharing Lessons to Cai and Cael. There was only one water bottle with the cool pop-top lid, so of course no other liquid receptacle would do.
  • The water bottle broke. Gave “How to Handle Disappointment” Lessons to Cai and Cael.
  • Spent time deliberating Give Them Regular Cups Of Sticky Juice So They Can Learn vs. Save Myself the Mess.
  • Spent time washing apple juice off the floor.
  • Found it amusing that Aden had worn PJ’s (short sleeve shirt + shorts) under her clothes to school so she could wear PJ’s after school at daycare.
  • Found it ironic that Aden complained about being “too cold” to wear her leotard and dance shorts to dance class despite finally wearing the heavy coat that she refused to wear home from daycare with just PJ’s on. (Not cold when she decides to wear too few clothes, but way too cold when Mommy makes her wear a coat?)
  • Wondered, as I have every day for two years, whether Abby’s chronic complaints of stomach and head aches are a) a plea for attention, b) an attempt to get out of anything distasteful, c) food or environmental allergies, or c) a serious disease.  Pretty sure I’m going to end up having gotten this one Wrong.
  • Thought I was so clever feeding more and more cheddar cheese to Mr. Underweight (aka, Cai). Later found all the cheese jammed in his empty juice cup. Dang it!
  • Coached Abby on appropriate behavior for dance class if she wants to be chosen for Performing Company next year. By “coaching,” I mean “gave thoughtful and sage advice and was patently ignored.”
  • Worked with Ian on homework.  Was encouraged by his ability to learn 2 new spelling words and remember 2 old ones.  Wondered if he’ll ever get There, if I’m doing enough to help, and where the heck There is, anyway.
  • Read My Very First Mother Goose to my only avid reader, Cael. It’s a compilation of old nursery rhymes like, “Bat, bat, come under my hat, and I’ll give you a slice of bacon; and when I bake, I’ll give you a cake, if I am not mistaken.” What the…?
  • Said repeatedly in a happy, excited, encouraging voice “down the line, up the line, oooooover the hump and doooown to make a tail” while Aden practiced her lower case n’s.  At least, I think I pulled off happy, excited and encouraging.
  • Measured a can of soup, a toothbrush, a popsicle and the dog for a second grade math project. I hope I get an A.
  • Caught Cai sneaking chocolate, Ian sneaking a peanut butter cookie, Abby sneaking a later bedtime, and Daddy sneaking a potty break (the monster).

Time for Mommy to sneak a glass of wine.

Good night.

Thoughts on Gender

Jan 21 2009

Ah, the age-old question.

Do I teach my children the real names for their private parts or do I give them cutesy alternatives so they don’t embarrass me in public?

With a 10, 9, and 7 year old already in the house, this question was moot before it was raised.  No Thingys or Po-Pos or Tutus for us.  Nope.  We have good ol’ pensises and vaginas around here, and 2 year old Cai and Cael know it.

They know it, and they like to announce it.  Particularly when they perceive someone is headed for the bathroom.  That’s the perfect time to announce, at top volume, whether the person in question has a penis or a gina.  This also, apparently, happens during diaper changing time at daycare.  Yay for equipping socially-inept toddlers with correct anatomy terms!

In an attempt to stop embarrassing my long-suffering mother-in-law, I’ve been lately trying to link this fabulous anatomy lesson with the terms “boy” and “girl.”  My ultimate goal is that, rather than saying (in age-appropriate repetitive fashion), “Daddy penis!  Daddy penis!  Daddy penis!  Daddy penis…” and so on, into infinity, until someone (anyone, please!) confirms, “Yes, Daddy has a penis and he’s going potty…”  they will begin to equate “penis” with “boy” and say, “Daddy is a boy!”

See my thinking?

That in mind, here’s the conversation I had this evening with Cai and Cael after I finished my potty trip to choruses of “Mommy gina!  Mommy gina!”:

Me:  Yes, Cai and Cael, Mommy has a vagina.  Mommy is a girl.  People with vaginas are called girls.  Can you say, “Mommy is a girl?”

Cael:  Mommy girl.  Mommy girl.

Me, triumphant:  Yes, Cael!  Mommy is a girl!  Cai, can you say, “Mommy is a girl?”

Cai:  Daddy penis!

Me, trying to be friendly and supportive:  Yes, Cai, Daddy has a penis, so Daddy’s a boy.  You have a penis so you’re a boy.  Cael’s a boy.  Can you say, “boy?”

Ian, piping up helpfully from the next room:  I’m a boy!

Me:  Yes, Ian’s a boy, too.

Cael:  Ian penis!  Ian penis!  Ian penis!

Me, beginning to sigh:  Yes, Cael.  Ian has a penis, so Ian’s a boy.  Let’s all say “boy.”

Cael:  Daddy penis!

Cai, chiming in:  Daddy penis!

Me, resigned:  Yes, Cai and Cael, Daddy has a penis.  He’s a bo…

Cael and Cai, interupting joyfully:  Yay!  Yay!  [Insert jumping up and down in excitement.]  Yay, Daddy, penis!

At this point, something of significance occured to Cael because he stopped rejoicing with Cai about their father’s maleness.  Cael’s recently been understanding terms like “wait a minute,” “be right back,” and “later.”

After a moment of thought, Cael turned to me very seriously and said, “Mommy gina.”

Me: Yes, Cael, Mommy has a vagina.  Mommy’s a girl.

Cael nodded, came to a conclusion, took my hand sympathetically and said:  It’s OK, Mommy.  Maybe penis later.

MY NAME IS TIGER!

Jan 21 2009

Perhaps you think the use of all caps is an exaggerated move in the title. Maybe you don’t appreciate being yelled at just by looking at a blog entry.

 

Allow me to explain.

 

My seven-year-old daughter, Aden, has lately asked us to call her by a new name.

 

Tiger.

 

This began in early December. Aden decided she would heretofore be known as Tiger and only as Tiger.

 

In principle, I’m not opposed to this. I supported Abby when she went through iterations of being called Rebecca, Hayley, and Gabi. I diligently worked at remembering my son Ian’s all-too-appropriate request to be called Crash.

 

The problem is that there are so many names around here, sometimes I can’t even remember my own. I’m forever calling out combinations like “Ca… Cay… Abb… whatever your name is!…” So I think I should get credit for every time I remember my children’s given and nicknames and get bonus point for all of their preferred, made-up names.

 

Tiger disagrees.

 

She has been frustrated in the extreme lately by her less-than-bright mother who can’t remember one simple instruction. “My name is Tiger.”

 

“Ca… Cay… Aden?”

 

“My name is Tiger.”

 

“OK. Tiger. I already asked you to put your coat away once. Please do it now.

 

15 minutes later…

 

“Aden! Your coat is still not put away.”

 

“MY NAME IS TIGER!”

 

And she resorts to yelling it, red faced and frustrated beyond all measure. I think, in her book, we’re sort of even. I want her coat put away. She wants me to call her Tiger. If she gets a timeout for failing to remember the coat, then her mother should darn well be punished for her dementia, too.

 

Maybe she’s right.

 

I have to tell you, Tiger brings me great joy. She is 100% her own person, not to be swayed easily (or often at all) by others. I have no worries about peer pressure for her. She’ll be the ring leader or nothing at all!

 

Tiger just had a birthday. You’ll be relieved to know she received both things on her list. A Bible (finally! reference Christmas blog entry for why) and a tiger costume. She wears the tiger costume every minute of every day that I’ll let her. So far, school and church are out (although I did let her wear the ears, tail and bow tie — because tigers have bow ties… duh — with her dress on Sunday, which was good for a look or two), but all other time is fair game.

 

Yesterday was Martin Luther King, Jr. Day. Or, as the kids call it (despite our conversations about the important contributions of Dr. King to our society), a No School Day. Tiger wore her costume ALL day. Of course.

 

Here’s Tiger as she usually looks… beautiful!

 

img_12901

 

Now, here’s what I see approximately every 15 minutes when I’m home.

 

Tiger’s butt in my face asking me to clip her tail back on.  I should probably come up with a better tail solution.

Tiger’s butt in my face asking me to clip her tail back on. I should probably come up with a better tail solution.

 

Here’s an example of Tiger’s stubborn personality.

 

She lost one of her top front teeth over a month ago.  Since then, the remaining top front tooth (which has been very loose in its own right for more than a month) has migrated to dangling in the middle of her mouth giving her a troll-like, unitooth appearance.  Very attractive.  Will she pull it out, wiggle it or let anyone else near it?  Of course not!

She lost one of her top front teeth over a month ago. Since then, the remaining top front tooth (which has been very loose in its own right for more than a month) has migrated to dangling in the middle of her mouth giving her a troll-like, unitooth appearance. Very attractive. Will she pull it out, wiggle it or let anyone else near it? Of course not!

I caught Tiger yesterday, hiding in a corner by the pantry in the kitchen. She was clearly doing something she thought naughty, and she wouldn’t look at me or explain what was going on. I had my first clue when I saw a bandaid wrapper next to her. I didn’t know that I’m a bandaid-stingy mother, but apparently my kids feel they need to sneak them. When I finally physically turned her around, I had to leave the room for a moment for fear she misunderstand my maniacal laughter. I eventually returned to the kitchen and convinced her I’d let her keep the bandaid (with my new-found Stingy Bandaid Powers) if I could take her picture outside.

 

Yep, that’s the bandaid on her lip.  She bit her lip (on the inside), so clearly a bandaid was the only solution.

Yep, that’s the bandaid on her lip. She bit her lip (on the inside), so clearly a bandaid was the only solution.

 

If there’s one thing I’ve learned while parenting, though, it’s not to underestimate my children.  Tiger might be onto something.  After all, it was William Shakespeare who said, “Oh tiger’s heart wrapped in a woman’s hide.”

 

She’s just living the dream.