Solutions to Spiders

Last night Evan went to bed with his newly made spider keeping watch along with his gargoyle on top of his bookcase next to his bed.  My husband decided he would lie next to Evan until Evan fell asleep. 


So after I turned off the lights and took Sean to bed, my husband and Evan began a long discussion of whether there were spiders or not.  My husband turned the conversation to the spider Evan made and how it kept all other spiders away.  So Evan climber out of bed, petted the spider, and laid it down to go to sleep.  Then Evan climbed back into bed and asked his father to sing him the Tiki Room song, which my husband didn’t know.  After contemplating this new development, Evan asked for a song about a Tiki, a pineapple, a princess, and a unicorn.  (I plan to write down the song my husband came up with.)  Then Evan pointed to one of his red Chinese paper lanterns and said that it was Mars.  The conversation went on.


After an hour, Evan was finally asleep, and my husband was free from his obligation.  He decided to go to bed too.  Now I wonder what kind of consequence this solution has. . . .

The problem with stairs, early walkers, and TV

After reading holeycheese’s response to the kid room post, I realized how aggravating having a second floor was.  I grew up in Arizona, and for a long time, the vast majority of houses were single story.  Until twenty or so years ago, I would say that nearly every house was a single story in the city I grew up in.  Due to the heat, second stories are not practical; they become too hot and take lots of money to keep them cool.  When I was a kid, I dreamed of a second story house.


Until I had babies, I loved climbing the stairs to the second story.  Wait, scratch that.  It was when I was pregnant that I first started hating second stories.   In my first trimester, I remember the desperate need to vomit when I was half way up the stairs.  I only made it to the doorway of the master bedroom.  Then in my third trimester, I hated heaving my bulk up the stairs like Jabba the Hut.  Then with babies, I became dependent on the pack-n-play and the baby monitor.  We rarely played upstairs.


Evan was an early walker.  I don’t say this to brag but to point out the colossal stress this caused.  At ten months, he was walking around with no problem.  (He began walking because he realized our friends’ kids didn’t crawl when they played chase.)  I was not ready.  I was in desperate need of him to stay in his pack-n-play and be content.  Or in his swing or jumper or anything that kept him immobile.  Ha.  Evan was determined to move.


At this time I was desperate to keep that vile TV from polluting my son’s expanding mind.  I took my showers during to morning naps; I cooked simple, quick meals with a baby on my hip; I desperately tried to remember every song and nursery rhyme I was ever taught.  I was blissfully unaware of the world around me; Evan was blissfully unaware of damaging influences like the Tellytubbies, the Roadrunner, Mickey Mouse, Sesame Street.  I thought I was making in roads to being to perfect Mom with a genius kid.  Just think what his un-television mind could achieve: brain surgeon, Supreme Court Justice, Nobel Prize winner.


Then one day I decided to make something a little more complicated at the stove.  I don’t remember what.  Maybe it was spaghetti or fried chicken or stir fry.  Whatever it was it was too complicated to keep Evan in my arms as I worked over the stove.  I placed Evan in the family room surrounded by his favorite toys, believing he had enough to entertain him for ten minutes or so.


About eight minutes or so, I heard a baby whine over the sizzling stove.  I turned around to find Evan was not in the family room.  Worry filled me.  I was now the worse mom in the world.  I followed the whines up the stairs, into the master bedroom, into the bathroom, to find Evan sitting in a sink that was filling with hot water as he tried desperately to get himself and his monkey out of the sink.


My eleven month old son walked out of the family room, crawled up the stairs, and walked into the master bathroom.  He climbed the steps up to the bath and climbed from the bath to the counter.  He sat in the sink with his monkey and turned on the water.  All because his mind grew bored of his toys.


I was defiantly the worse mother in the world.  As I pulled Evan out of the sink, I realized that he was crying because he couldn’t get out, not because the water was burning him.  Thankfully I had turned down the water heater temperature when we first brought Evan home.  I still dropped him into the bath, running cold water over him, just in case.  That poor monkey was never the same as he does not howl like a howler monkey should.


That’s it I thought.  I need to keep Evan safe.  Because our stairs are plain weird, we couldn’t put a gate at the bottom or top.  I tried gating the sunken family room, but that little stinker figured out in a week to haul himself up and through the banister that separated the rooms.  He hated anything that kept him from being mobile.  So I turned to the one thing I swore I would never turn to, I turned on the television and found an age appropriate show, which held his attention for ten minutes, enough time where I could salvage dinner from the mess I left it in.


From that day forward I used TV sparingly as a babysitter.  Evan was (and is) a mobile kid, and he never watched any show for more than ten to fifteen minutes.  But that was enough time to get the trickiest part of the dinner done or get some chores taken care of.  Today I use the Mickey Mouse Clubhouse show to get ready for the day and make my list of chores or groceries.  PBS entertains the boys while I make dinner.  When I was pregnant, I started DVD time, which calms Evan down for bedtime and gave me an hour or so to clean the kitchen and start laundry as I was too tired to stay up for more than an hour or so after Evan’s bedtime.


Now my husband disagrees with this approach of parenting.  Granted he’s never watched the kids by himself for a full day.  He’s never had to clean the house, do any chores, or cook a meal when he was watching the boys.  Actually the last time he watched the boys during lunch time, he piled them in the car and took them to In-N-Out.  Did I mention he’s also against giving them fast food?  On Saturday mornings, my husband is the one who turns on the TV, and he was the one who introduced Evan to Mickey Mouse.  Before that the TV was always on some sort of PBS programming, except Tellytubbies. 


My belief is everything in moderation.  How can we give our kids the tools to survive out there without a lesson in moderation?  It’s all a balance.  They have to learn to work and play.  They need to learn that they can have a healthy diet and still have some fast food or dessert on occasion.  They need to learn that you don’t have to be drunk to have a good time; they can drink in moderation.  I’m not sure watching TV or eating dessert will have all the effects I want, but at least I have a half an hour to take a shower, brush my teeth, and put something on with a little style.  (Bleach stained isn’t a style yet, right?)

My parents’ mistakes

I’m lucky to be alive, if you listen to the family tales.  My parents were young and stupid, and sometimes I think they should have read a few books before they decided to have a baby.  As the oldest, I knew I was the one they wanted, and if you listen to the jokes my dad used to tell us in our difficult teenage years, I was the only one they BOTH wanted, and I still gave them problems.  But as those first traumatic years are quite hilarious, I thought I would share and act as a warning.


Like I said, my parents wanted me.  They tried for me.  If my dad wanted to get my brothers out of the family room to have the TV, he’d tell them how my mom would start without waking him.  Yes, they ran for the hills; while, I stubbornly did not picture it.  But for a woman who wanted a baby that bad, she really tried hard to lose it.  My parents were young and broke and inherited not only an old oven but an old dresser.  My PREGNANT mother decided both pieces of furniture needed to be sparkling new for the baby.  She proceeded to use oven cleaner to clean the oven and paint stripper and paint on the dresser.  Obviously my mom didn’t read the very large warnings on the back.  Good job, Mom.  She even tried to go skiing, with the excuse that the doctor first said yes.  God must have been looking out for me that day.  It snowed, and my dad has still never skied.


My mom was determined to have a girl.  When I was born, no one knew what they were having.  After much arguing, they settled on my name that my mom found in a romance novel, which is probably why I avoid them.  But my mom refused to pick out a boy’s name, even though boys ran two to one in my family or that there had not been an eldest girl child born in living memory.  (I’m from a long line of oldest children.)  When my dad called his family to know it was time, my grandma demanded a boy’s name, and my dad gave her one.  Ebenezer.  Sometimes I really think he would have named me that out of some sick sense of humor.


My mom had a hard labor where they sent her home because she didn’t dilate.  She never did, and my heart rate dropped dramatically.  I was C-sectioned.  Not to much cause for an alarm.  Of course, I looked so much like my dad that my grandpa asked my mom if she had anything to do with me.  My mom admitted she was out when she delivered and I could be my father’s mistress’s.  Yes, they tell that story too.


It’s worth mentioning that I am a summer baby, born a few weeks before my parents planned to take a vacation.  No, I wasn’t early; they just assumed they could take a small infant on vacation.  Since they were forbidden to go any where, they used the vacation money to buy a nice microwave.  From that moment on, my poor mom had nightmares that some one was going to break in the house and put me in the microwave.  It was perfectly logical fear for her, until she was out of the hormonal crazed mind and back to her usually sane self.


In those days they insisted that mother’s set the breastfeeding schedule, every four hours.  (My boys ate every two.)  My mom happily stuck to the plan.  Except there was a glitch, I slept through the night from the first night home.  What luck, what bliss, but their daughter was missing the night feeding, and I became woefully underweight.  So much so, that my dad’s father would cry after every time he saw me, wondering if it would be the last time.  I nearly succumbed to SIDs twice, yet my parents caught me struggling to breathe and picked me up, so I could get air.  I was a fighter.


On my first overnight trip, my parents bonked my head with the hotel door.  Neither will confess on who held me and who held the door, though they both accuse the other of not holding the door.  The door slammed on my head, and I turned a bright shade of red.  As a parent, I would have rushed to the nearest hospital.  My parents decided to wait and see.  The family always assumes that’s what’s wrong with me.


I had several weird firsts.  My first roll was off the coach and into the corner of the coffee table, when my dad went to answer the phone.  My first picnic was out to the shooting range as the picture of a little infant with ear phones, sleeping next to a police bag could attest to.  I was also hospitalized for the croup, which really isn’t my parents fault, but it should be thrown in here.


My parents played Vatican roulette (the rhythm method) to conceive my little brother.  I was only six months.  My mom was in denial and had a cold, so she took Nyquil.  When she knew she was pregnant, she rode the Matterhorn; while, my dad held me.  My parents must have become wiser because there are no stories of my baby brother.  Just toddler stories of how I wandered away in Vegas and the state fair or how my little brother had the rotten luck of burning his hand pointing to something under the grill.


Now doesn’t that make you fill better?  You either didn’t make that many mistakes, or you did, but if you did, you can rest assure my brothers and I turned out rather intelligent and normal.  And, Mom, if you read this, did I miss anything?