A Full Shut Down.

CLOSED

This blog has been temporarily suspended due to the author being in the middle of a near death experience.

Though not Ebola, the author accepted into her bloodstream a severe dose of Poison Sumac, an element that she is quite familiar with, as it plagued her already-awkward tween years with large, weeping mounds of burning, itching, raw meat where her skin once was.

In other words, Rachel has contracted a Flesh-Eating Bacteria.

Okay it’s not a bacteria but it might as well be. Because Sumac considers Rachel to be the greatest feast in the world. It is currently munching around her eyes and in her nose, ears, and other randomly chosen points of interest.

Too much information?

That could be a side effect of her complete lack of sleep and steroid/Benadryl haze.

To exacerbate her situation, her son decided to bless her at the beginning of the week with an all-night party hosted by DJ Croup, every project in her life converged into needing to be finished this week, she must finish creating several fantastic Halloween costumes for Trunk and Treat tomorrow night, and she has not yet recovered her house from the onslaught that is unpacking after a camping trip.

A camping trip that…you got it, brought her and Poison Sumac together again. Which means that unpacking all of those poison-ridden clothes may very well be the end of Rachel as we know her.

But she’ll have a pretty dang realistic Halloween costume. If you’re into flesh-eaten zombies.

The Brush of Death.

I’ve made many humiliating parental admissions on this blog.

You guys know that I only bathe my children twice a week.

You are aware that I never make their beds.

You have been apprised of my issues with Sippy Cups and Mold.

So you probably won’t be shocked that I’m not the best teeth-brushing mother, either.

(And although I’ve tried to be a flossing mother, it’s really a ridiculous undertaking since the gaps between their teeth are so large that it’s like rubbing a piece of yarn between two houses an acre apart and expecting to pick up some paint chips.)

But back to brushing.

Ali is responsible for her own teeth, and she does a decent job, although she must be reminded two times a day because heaven forbid a kid actually realize that they are responsible for the same things every single day.

I mean really. There’s just no logic to expecting her to know that she is required to brush her teeth today just because she was required to do so yesterday. And last week on this day. And last month on this day. And last year on this day.

Moving on.

Then there’s Noah.

I’ve been riding high on the fact that he’s gotten four good dentist reports, and have let this undeserved success fuel me in my lack of proper attention to his teeth.

(And I might also occasionally tell myself “Eh, they’re only baby teeth!”)

It’s not that I don’t try.

Really.

It’s just that he doesn’t appreciate my efforts and he’s a professional wiggler and whiner, so short of me buying a cast-off set of stocks from a medieval torture chamber estate sale or a second-hand straight jacket from a Mental Institution Going Out of Business Everything Must Go Sale, I’m not going to be able to force him to let me properly clean his teeth.

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So I do my best at night before he starts screaming and thrashing (because I’m supposedly hurting him but just wait till he feels how comfortable a straight jacket is), and sometimes I don’t even try in the mornings.

If I’m feeling really lazy, I’ll just ask Ali to brush his teeth while they’re in there together, and I don’t check up on them so I don’t have to feel guilty about her seven-year-old sub-par cleansing of her brother’s mouth garden.

Because I’m the best sort of Mommy.

Last Thursday night was one of those times.

I had taken the kids out of town by myself (more on that adventure later), and by nightfall I was exhausted. We’d skipped nap, we’d had adventure and intrigue, we’d walked and shopped and explored, I’d never had a second of alone time to regroup, and they’d asked a combined total of 1,238 questions.

There was no hope of having the patience for a screaming teeth-brushing fest in my immediate future.

So I sent Ali and Noah to the tiny hotel bathroom and instructed Ali to brush her teeth, then Noah’s.

The difference, however, was that I could see the children from my reclining comatose position on my hotel bed.

And what I saw changed the world…forever.

I did not see a screaming, whining, thrashing toddler.

Nor did I see a seven-year-old make a cursory toothbrush swipe across her brother’s face to be able to say she obeyed me.

I saw this.

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A toddler willingly opening his mouth for his sister.

When she told him to.

Wider than he has ever opened his mouth for me.

Then, this.

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My son accepting a thorough brushing of his teeth – with a smile.

A SMILE!! And even a giggle or two.

Then, THIS:

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She said “Say eeee!” And he actually said eeee.

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Every single night I tell that same kid to say eeee and he acts like he has no freaking idea what I’m talking about. Never, has he ever, put his teeth together and opened his lips to allow me to brush his teeth like a real human being!

I had chalked it up to him being three and not a bright firstborn and simply not understanding my commands. Now, I see that he is certainly bright. And extraordinarily talented at hiding his brightness.

And that his mouth can indeed open happily when a toothbrush is nearby.

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And that his Magical Sister will forevermore have the responsibility of brushing his teeth.

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The game is up, son. The game is up.

Tales from the Porch Swing.

The kids were playing outside while I was lounging flat on my back on the porch swing.

(That happens more than it should. But Motherhood as an introvert is exhausting.)

(And I’m exceptionally good at lazy when I want to be.)

Noah needed to go to the bathroom, so he headed over for me to unbutton and unzip his pants, then shuffled inside.

But it’s fall, y’all. And the kid had on blue jeans.

So he couldn’t get them off.

He came back outside and I wrestled him out of his jeans – because toddler jeans are nearly as hard to manage as women’s skinny jeans.

He sprinted back inside, naked from the waist down this time.

(My neighbors think we’re real classy.)

I continued my lounging in peace, scrolling on my phone, reading my tweets, doing all the things that one does when laying flat on their back in a gently gliding swing on a beautiful fall day.

After about fifteen minutes, I realized that Noah probably should have returned by then to collect his pants.

And then I remembered that he was especially gaseous as we were wrestling him out of his jeans. At the time I assumed it was from all the straining, but fifteen minutes later, I recognized the more likely cause.

He had to poop.

And he doesn’t wipe his own butt.

(I have been exiled to nearly eight years of constant butt-wiping. The day that I don’t have to wipe anyone’s butt ever again is going to be one with much rejoicing.)

So Noah. He was probably still sitting on the toilet, waiting for me to come clean his hinder, no way to reach me since he, unlike the rest of the first world, cannot text while pooping.

I went inside and was greeted with an aroma that confirmed my suspicions.

“Nooo-aah? Are you okay?”

“Yes! I pooped.”

I walked in and he was still calmly sitting on the toilet, most likely straining his vagal nerve and germinating toddler hemorrhoids due to my negligence.

“I’m so sorry, buddy. <wipe, wipe> So…what exactly was your plan? Were you going to sit here all day until I came?”

“Well, I yelled and I yelled for you, but that just made me poop more. Did you see all those poops in there?!?”

“Well then, I guess it worked out nicely!”

I got him cleaned up and washing his hands and thanked him for waiting patiently for me. Which is when he looked at me with love and adoration in his eyes and said,

“I knew you would know. You would know I pooped. You would know I needed you to wipe me.”

And that’s how a boy melts his Mom’s heart…with feces.

Noah Charm


On yet another round of “Mommy lays in the porch swing while you kids play nicely together,” Ali and Noah were drawing with chalk in the driveway.

They seemed happy and especially giggly, so I let them alone until it was absolutely time to call them inside.

That night, we were all riding in the car together when Chris mentioned,

“So either Ali’s handwriting has gotten really good all of a sudden, or she convinced you to write ‘poop’ on the driveway.”

“Whaaaa?! I didn’t write poop on the driveway!”

“Are you sure? Because it was really, really well-written. I stared at it for a minute, then said to myself, ‘well, I guess Ali asked Rachel to write it and she did for some reason.’”

“I did NOT write poop on the driveway. I do remember them talking about a toilet, though…”

“Oh! I saw that too and thought it was a giant white finger pointing to where she had written poop.”

Ali was listening intently and finally chimed in.

“I was the one who wrote poop on the driveway. And underneath that, I drew a brown, lumpy…”

“WE GET IT.”

When we got home, Chris let me out of the car and he shined the headlights on the artwork du jour so I could experience it for myself.

And I must say, she really does deserve an A+ for those letters.

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As well as marks in thoroughness for making the inside of the toilet bowl yellow.

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I got back in the car.

“Well that’s just something.”

“And did you know that it’s not supposed to rain for over a week?”

“Fantastic.”

The next day, my Mom stopped by. Noah dragged her to the driveway to show her the new facilities, as well as to demonstrate how very talented he was at squatting over the potty and pretending to use it.

 

And I’m going to have to start baking daily Apology Cookies for my neighbors.