Tuesday, September 30, 2008

I promise I did not marry my cousin

We're going through a miserable teething week here at casa six-pack. And it's not Ellie, although in solidarity, she's been waking up at night too.

It's Evan, who will be three in December, and who has the world's most bizarre set of baby teeth. When he cut his first tooth, at the tender age of 11 months, I sighed with relief, I'd never had a baby take so long to cut one. Then he cut his second tooth. And as I looked at it, I couldn't believe what I was seeing, because those puppies were crooked. Not just a little crooked; Austin Powers crooked.

To make it a little bit more special, when the bottom front teeth came in, he developed a cross-bite. When he chomps down, his top and bottom teeth criss-cross in the front. Poor kid, I hear banjos in my head every time he smiles at me.

I couldn't dial the dentist fast enough, cursing the few Cosmos I'd had before I found out I was pregnant. The dentist took one look at him and said "I think we need to see an Orthodontist." My knees went weak, as I had visions of money flying from my wallet as Evan sported tiny brace-face. Fortunately, Ortho-dude didn't think he needed any corrective work yet. Yet. He was even kind enough to float us a small bubble of hope by saying that crooked baby teeth don't necessarily equate to crooked adult ones. I'm squirreling away my pennies anyway though.

Even curiouser, he never even got two of his baby teeth. On the bottom the lateral incisors just never showed up to the party. In fact this week when he mentioned that his mouth hurt, it honestly never crossed my mind that he was getting a tooth. Then last night as I was bathing him and he was mouth agape, yelling at Ellie, I noticed one just starting to break through. And damn if it's not coming in straight to boot. When we were brushing his teeth, I asked him if anything hurt. "Yeah, it hurts wight here, I told you." he said, pointing and clearly exasperated by obtuseness.

I honestly never thought I'd be so glad to deal with teething, I really thought I was going to have to pack him off to school looking like this.

Now, if you don't mind I'm going to research Curt's family tree. Just in case.

Monday, September 29, 2008

When I fill out his PreK application, I'll be adding extortion to his list of hobbies

Friday I put Ellie down for a nap and sprinted for the bathroom before Evan noticed I was gone. Any time I wander down the hallway and she's asleep he takes it as a personal challenge to turn on the siren and come searching for me.

He was hot on my tail though, carrying a six pack of the Ensure that we give to Lucas to keep weight on him.

"I have one of these? It's chocolate milk!"

"No Ev, those are for Luke. Mommy will get you some chocolate milk in your cup in a minute."

"NOOOOOO! I want this one, this one in the bottle like a big boy!"

I'm getting ready to stand up, wash up, and whisk him back to the living room, my hand clamped over his mouth when I notice that I'm out of toilet paper. I lean to get some from the cabinet and see that we're out there too. Then I spot it sitting on the floor next to my bedside table, Mike clearly unable to carry such a heavy load another 5 feet.

"Hey Evan, do you see the toilet paper?"

He looks over. "Yeah, it's wight there."

"Yes. Can you hand it to Mommy?"

"Can I have this?" He holds up the Ensure.

"Um, no. Those are for Lucas, now please hand mommy the toilet paper." I'm enunciating every word in the hopes that this will induce compliance.

"No, I don't want to, I WANT THIS." He's yelling now and my patience is about as short as Ellie's nap is apparently going to be.

"Evan, give me the toilet paper please, you are not having a shake."

He calmly looks at me, gauging my intent. He sets down the Ensure on the threshold of the bathroom then walks over and picks up the toilet paper, and I sigh in relief. Never taking his eyes off of me, he turns and gently sets it down next to the shakes, then turns and walks off.

Incidentally, under duress I can stretch a really, really long way.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Pack your bags, you're going on a guilt trip

I wanted to thank everyone for all of their support and advice with Mike and Brett. I've been having a really hard time finding my mommy way lately and you guys helped me so much to find my voice (and a little bit of sanity) again.

This morning I sat Mike and Brett down and told them that we were clearly at an impasse. And that in the interest of promoting trust and a good relationship with them, that I am going to believe that they were telling the truth about not taking the pop tarts. And how, especially as teenagers having the trust of your parents is a huge asset and not something that you want to find yourself without. I reiterated that they're coming of the age where things like going out, hanging out with friends, driver's licences, and curfews are going to start coming into play. All of which are not rights, but privileges that they will have to prove that they are worthy of, and that a healthy relationship with us is the best first step they could have towards earning them. Not to mention how hurt and disappointed I'll be if I find out that they were lying.

Then I told them that they would be un-grounded as soon as they had completed the usual regime of Sunday chores.

I don't think I've ever seen those boys move so fast.

Friday, September 26, 2008


What started as a sure bet on my part has now turned into a Mexican standoff; neither boy willing to admit guilt in the Pop Tart caper. As the days drag on they're both quite tired of being grounded, but still nary a confession. Yesterday I tried cornering Brett and offered him a deal of immunity; no prosecution, no penalty for lying, just finally be honest with me. He still denied it, but did tell me he'd fake confess if the whole thing could be over. It was tempting.

A few minutes later he mentions to me that he did once see Mike in the lunch room with what he *thought* was a pop tart. Michael has always been the prime suspect, just because swiping things is his MO, especially forbidden/monitored junk food. Last year I caught him trying to sneak an ice cream down to his room, and found a few more wrappers when I checked under his bed. A month ago we discovered $30 missing from Brett's wallet, which Mike had taken to pay the cafeteria for the crap he was buying at lunch time.

All kids do stupid things, they all will test drive lying, I get this. Both times Mike was busted he was lectured on the importance of honesty and integrity, and then ceremoniously voted off the island. And, the thing that worries me is the last two times I caught him, it was because I stuck with the accusation despite my creeping doubts of his guilt. The little snot is good at lying and I really had started to believe him. And I know some pop tarts and petty theft are pretty small potatoes considering what some of his contemporaries are up to. Lord knows I pulled my share of shit when I was his age, in fact comparatively speaking, he's a frigging boy scout. *shudders* But that doesn't mean that I condone it. This is do or die time, I only have four or five years left with him and today it's small shit, tomorrow it's alcohol and drugs.

So yesterday when I picked him up from soccer practice I made sure I was alone. (Don't worry, mother-in-law had the others) I had my best serious mommy-means-bidness face on and lit right in to him.

"Aren't you tired of being grounded? This is your last chance to come clean Michael, I mean it. I spoke to someone at the school today who says they saw you with a pop-tart at lunch. I want the truth now Michael."

"Mom, I seriously did not do it. I mean, I'm totally sick of being grounded, I'd much rather just be punished for taking them than spend forever stuck with nothing to do. I know I've lied to you before, I know I wasn't always honest, but I'm really telling you the truth this time, I didn't do it!"

We got home and I made a pissed off beeline for my room to finish putting laundry away. I had just shut the door when Brett asks him what the matter was.

"This stupid freaking grounding. Now she says someone at the school saw me with them and I didn't do it. I'm getting blamed for something I didn't do and it pisses me off." When I came out of the room he was near tears and visibly upset.

So, I'm stumped. I honestly have no idea if he's lying or being truthful. And at this point I'm so ready to be done with all of it that I'd happily just drop the matter, but if he is guilty what does that say to him? That if you hold out long enough and deny, deny, deny that you will get away with it? I have visions of him standing smugly in front of wife with lipstick on his collar stubbornly repeating that he really was just working late.

On the other hand, how much longer can this go on and what if Curt was wrong about them missing? Those damn things were up in the cabinet for quite a while, I'm wondering if it's possible that he just miscounted or forgot he'd eaten them.

I feel as though I'm stuck in a miserable Catch-22 and in uncharted waters. Any option that I come up with seems riddled with pitfalls; I'm running out of brainstorms and getting dejected about the whole thing. So I'm asking for suggestions. Books you can point me to on how to raise marginally normal-minimally farked up teenagers, clever solutions to the quandary I put us in, anything.

Stymied in Bumfark

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Putting the 13 in PG-13

Mike walks into the kitchen to make his lunch just as Curt and I were separate from a kiss, and rolled his eyes.

"Seriously, again? You two kiss too much."

"No such thing when you are married Mike."

"Well, when I get married I'm never going to do that in front of my kids and I'm going to marry someone that's the exact same age as me. It's just weird that Curt is younger than you."

"That's silly, did you think it was weird when your dad was older than me?"

"Well, still."

"Mike, I don't care who you marry as long as they are a good person and you are happy."

"So, I could like marry someone from another country and you wouldn't care?"

"Mike I don't care if you marry someone from another country, someone older or younger than you, I don't care if you marry a man or a woman, just as long as it's a good marriage."

"Oh my god, a man? That's just gross!"

"Mike, grow up. You can help being gay about as much as you can help what color eyes you are born with. And that's not the point, the point is all I want is for you to be happy."

"I know mom, but I just don't get the whole gay thing. I mean, who is the woman in that?"

"Well, one of them doesn't wear a wedding dress during the ceremony if that's what you mean."

"No, not that."

"Like who does the cooking versus the car maintenance, because there are lots of guys who cook and lots of girls who can change the oil."

"No, nevermind."

"No, you can tell me, I'd rather you asked me than someone else."

"Well, it's kind of like something in one of the movies that you won't let me watch."

"That's okay, you can ask me anything Mike."

"Really, you won't be mad?"


"Well, what I want to know is who puts the meat in the taco?"

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Brettism Hump Day plays chicken

A few days ago Curt went to pack his lunch and noticed that an entire box of pot tarts were missing. The pop tarts that the kids aren't allowed to touch (and that I only allow in grudgingly allow in the house for Curt...blech). The pop tarts on the very top shelf where we keep the forbidden; the shelf that is completely out of reach to the younger four.

We confronted Mike and Brett and demanded to know who had been taking them. Predictably the denials were quick and copious. I started getting rather pissed off, both because one of them was lying, but also because that they're now old enough to pull it off and be convincing. Gone are the days when I told them that if they blinked too much I knew they were lying and they'd stare at me like a bug-eyed-statue when trying to pull one over.

Finally I told them that until I found out who had taken them, they were both grounded. No TV, no computer, no games, no breathing until someone confessed. They both grumbled and moaned and when they went downstairs I really thought I'd have the guilty party in my clutches within the hour.

But time dragged on. Hours turned into days, and still no confession. What started out as a frustrated gamble on my part became rather amusing as they both began coming to me alone to profess their innocence, and I started to get a pretty good idea of who had been wiping pop tart crumbs off of their paws.

Brett: "Mom, seriously. I never get up on time, I don't even know where my alarm clock is right now. Mike is always up before me, but when I'm up he's always around. How could I have taken them without him seeing?"

Mike: "I'm pretty sure Curt just miscounted, I mean when is the last time he had one of those anyway?"

Brett" "Can I pleeease be ungrounded? I mean, Mike's not going to confess and you have to admit, I'm showing dignity under false suspicion. Doesn't that count for something?"

Mike: "It's totally unfair that I didn't get to go to the school meeting because of this stupid grounding. I mean, since the last time you caught me lying and went through my room, I haven't done anything wrong. Well, except for the whole Brett's wallet thing, but that was over a month ago!!"

Brett: "Mom, I'm ready to tell you who did it."

"Okay, Brett."

"It was Michael! Am I ungrounded now?"

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Brettism Hump Day! Scrooge McDuck strikes

For the past two days Brett has been tearing the house apart searching for his Civics book. Admitting fault not being one of Brett's strong suits *coughcough* he's spent a lot of time finger pointing at Michael, who he is sure took it just because.

I'd finally had enough and told him that he needed to just go and tell his teacher that he'd lost the book, and that if he has to pay for the replacement, it is soooooo coming out of his own account. Money being only slightly less important to Brett than air, he doesn't take this well.

"If I pay for a new freaking book and Mike shows me that he's had it all along, do I get to pummel him?"


"Dip him in hot oil."


"Photoshop his head onto a snake?"


He sighs, forlorn. "My life is so rarely fun anymore. I wonder if I sell all of his stuff on ebay if I would get enough to pay for the new book."

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Begging forgiveness

I've been feeling rather overwhelmed and introspective lately. Lucas has had a few bumps in the road and I've been taking some time to help him get back on track and get him what he needs. Honestly, it's left me feeling a little sad and questioning my mommy-skills more than I'd care to admit.

So, I apologize for slacking on da splog. I hope to be feeling more like my offbeat, sarcastic self soon and posting more regularly. Until then, a few pics from Hurricane Ellen, which seems to strike every hour on the hour around here.

I can blame global warming for this, right?

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Brettism Thursday! On Penacillin

Last weekend was the big white water rafting trip, and despite the kids apparent inablity to row in time, the trip went smoothly and everyone enjoyed it. The next day Michelle and her family drove up for lunch before heading back to civilization.

All day Brett had been itching around his face, and when I looked closely I noticed that he had a rash extending down his torso. Ruling out everything else that he'd eaten or come into contact with I figured aloud that it was probably from the funky life vest in the water.

Seeing the spots on his stomach, he starts to get nervous. "What? What do I have?"

Michelle's husband, a prankster in a class by himself, chimes in. "You have the River Clap."

"WHAT? What is that?"

"Ask your teacher about it on Tuesday."

Brett chuckles with the rest of us, and looking slightly confused wanders off. A few days later he comes up to me in the kitchen.

"Mom, seriously, what is River Clap?"

"Brett remember when we had the talk about sex? The Clap is a slang term for a sexually transmitted disease. He was joking."

"Great, no wonder when I asked my teacher she told me she'd tell me next year and walked away laughing."

*This morning Curt remarked that tonight was the NFL's first Thursday night game of the season, and my little brain started tingling with the sensation that I'd forgotten something. Ever since my dear hubs starting working the new, funky schedule, I have even (more) trouble remembering what day it is. I promise to hop out of my fog and start posting more regularly. Pinky swear.

**Also, NFL? It's SEPTEMBER. Give a girl a break, would you?