Solly's School Saga (Continued)

Solly: Mom, um, you know I can't go to school tomorrow.

Me: Oh really Solomon? Why's that?

Solly: Because I am so, so, soooo busy tomorrow. I think we will just have to cancel.

Me: What are you doing to keep you so busy tomorrow?

Solly: Well, I have some writing stuff to do so we just have to cancel.

Me: You have writing to do?

Solly: Well, um, yeah. I have other stuff too that just keeps me so busy tomorrow. I can't go to school.

Me: Like what solly?

Solly: I have a lot, a lot, a LOT of growing up to do tomorrow.

Me: Solly, just out of curiosity, why don't you want to go to school?

Solly: Because I get so, so, SO stressed out at school.

Me: Seriously? Stressed out, Solly? Why?

Solly: Because Cody......Cody gives me the creeps.

Me: Cody gives you the creeps? You mean Cody, as in your best friend at school? That Cody?

Solly: Yeah, but he gives me the creeps.

Well, okay then.....and the drama to get him to go into the classroom continued into the next day when I forced him to go to school even though he was too busy and it stressed him out and the kid we carpool with gives him the creeps....and he didn't complain later about having to meet the cool parrot that came in for a visit with a local Veterinarian. But, the teachers said he was the only kid who acted like a parrot was so "last year's news" and they could tell he had handled birds before. If by handling they meant punching and kicking and occasionally getting beat up by a rooster who is too big for his britches, then yes, he has handled lots of birds!

I am sure this story is not over. Have a great day!


Boston or Bust

Um, I think I'll take the bust please? (Lord knows I have been waiting for my turn for far too long now.....I was beginning to think that I would stay in "Stage 3" forever but then I had babies and realized, stage 3 wasn't so bad after all....and apparently after I left the post-baby stage, I entered the TMI category so I think now is a good time to redirect.....)

Aaaaaaanyway, Boston is about a week away and as I glance out the window this morning, watching the stormy weather and utter gloom, I am feeling rather at peace about my decision not to run this year. After ten months in physical therapy for what started off as a little hamstring irritation (turned hip flexor strain) and has ended up being a continuing aggravation, it is clear to me that my body is not eager to be doing the kinds of distances that are required in marathon racing. 

So, there is no Boston for me this year. My name is there.....and perhaps even some of my spirit.....but that is the extent of my participation. At first, I was very sad about the decision. And every last time I got a Boston Athletic Association email or packet in the mail, I was terribly upset, as if the B.A.A. was just trying to antagonize me. It ate away at me, like ringworm running circles just under the skin.....and I cringed at the idea of "quitting" before I even started. 

But sitting here this morning, in the still and quiet and warmth of our home, I recall the craziness of taper week; the flood of anxiety; the fear of death, or worse, failure, and quite honestly, I am glad my body refused to cooperate with my insanity this year. It's about time one of us came to our senses! 

So, for those of you who were eagerly anticipating watching the miles tick away while I suffered through another 26.2 miles, rest easy knowing I will be happily coaching a group of 10 year old girls at a soccer tournament instead. I guess it's time to pass that baton on to the younger generation and forge a new identity.  (At least until the next crazy brilliant idea comes to mind anyway.....)

All in for Boston!
(You know, except those of us who found a tiny spark of sanity for once.....)

Now, how do I sign up for that bust? :)


Sweet Solly James

"There is a young cowboy, he lives on the range." (Or in this case, the coop.....)

My mother called me the other day to tell me I needed to write something nicer about Solomon. Her argument had to do with how sweet he is (which is true) and that I have painted this picture of a monster (which is also true). So she requested that I write something about what a love Solly really is.....so, here it goes.

Dear readers, I must confess, contrary to most of what I have previously told you (which is all truthful and honest), Solomon is a complete and total snuggle bug (when he wants to be). He is so sweet and tender and almost-gentle and loving (at least if you are his mom...and sometimes his dad....or a few select others), that he insists on hourly hugs and kisses and, quite like a little puppy, he wants his back scratched and his tummy rubbed every night at bedtime. He will attempt to curl up in your lap while you read him story after story (and by curl, I mean wiggle and squirm as if he doesn't really want to be there but when you set him down he immediately crawls back on you and continues his little wiggly jig.) He is cute and funny and smart as a whip (why daddy, can you just hold this hot chocolate for me and keep it safe, away from Liam....I'm just going to sneak off outside and run down the entire street chasing after mommy who just drove off but don't worry, you won't even notice I'm gone and it is totally safe because look, no cars!) Even his name, Solomon, is supposed to mean "peace".....and at one point in time we thought maybe by naming him something associated with "peace" and "wisdom" we could bring some sort of calm into our lives. (Read here for the story behind his name.)

So yes, I have painted him to be a monster of sorts but that is only because when he is not being totally and insanely adorable, singing sweetly to himself so that our hearts swell with love and joy, he is walking about destroying everything in his way, like Madeline's foot, which he took out recently with a kitchen stool:

 (Good feeling gone!)

So, yes, he is a sweet, loving little boy but that does not exclude him from also living up to his name: Solomon, the Destroyer, because, if we are being totally honest here, wherever Solomon is, there is also a disaster waiting to happen. Yin and Yang.....it's the complete package.

 "There's a song that they sing when they take to the highway, a song that they sing when they take to the sea, a song that they sing of their home in the sky, maybe you can believe if it helps you to sleep; but singing works just fine for me." (James Taylor)

And if you are Solomon, singing works great, along with a little daily smashing. Singing and smashing. If he were a super hero, he'd be SuperSweetSmashMan.

Is that better, Mom?


Volunteering Again

As if I didn't learn my lesson the first time, (think Liam's Horrific Halloween Party....the one where I didn't show up with the entire class's snacks until.....ah, just read it here) I opted to volunteer for the 6th Grade Spring Party so that I could make an effort to be more involved with Aidan's life. (Also known as SPYING.)

As luck would have it, they stuck me on Face Painting, which means, not only would I be actually engaging with a bunch of 11 and 12 year old kids (rather than silently judging from a distance) but I would not even once see my own son, who, in an effort to avoid me and the embarrassment I would most likely bestow on him, walked clear to the other side of the party once he saw where I had landed (he even passed up the chance at free Oreos and the Pizza table so as to avoid me! Kids.)

At any rate, for those of you who don't know me, I actually like face painting. I like the freedom to draw ridiculous things all over a kid's face and tell them how awesome it is (all the while snickering at the thought of those innocent parents who have to clean it up later through gritted teeth....I do believe I may have some issues). And I will admit, I thoroughly enjoyed this particular experience.

You see, as it turns out, 6th graders are all forming their little packs and clubs and cliques and when they get their face painted, they all want the exact same thing as the rest of their pack, you know, to be different. It's like a silly initiation ritual or something. And they were coming to me to help them. Ha ha. Ha ha ha.

So the first girl that sat down was part of a group of five girls who all wanted a sweet, simple rainbow like they saw on the suggestion sheet on the table. NOT! That would be WAY too easy. What they actually wanted was for each of them to walk away with a ridiculous black mustache, beard and uni-brow. (Why they would want such a thing is beyond me but who am I to question the wisdom of 6th grade girls?) So, I got right to work. I had each of them pick out a different color to add some variety and contrast to their black 'staches and then suggested we add long eyelashes underneath the brow. They were thrilled. After running into the bathroom to check themselves out, they came running back for more. (I had just completed a series of triangles on a group of boys' foreheads who were all too scared to put an eyeball in the middle....so they walked off with dumb triangles on their faces. And they didn't even laugh when I asked, "What kind of triangle you looking for? Equilateral? Right triangle? Wrong one?".....so I botched them up on purpose. Just kidding.)

But I digress. The girls came back and confided in me that the codeword for their club was "chickenbutt" and could I please write it across each of their foreheads.

Chicken Butt. CHICKEN BUTT. Seriously. It's like the universe is feeding me folks!

And while the fun part of me thought, "Hey, that's fantastic! Let's do this!", you will be pleased (and probably a wee bit shocked) to know that I do have a mature, adult-ish side that actually sent in a veto here.

"You know girls," I said, quietly and very seriously. "I will tell you the truth. I have a thing for chickens. And while I would love to do what you are requesting, I kind of think I might be stepping over some lines if I write that particular phrase on your foreheads. And I really don't want to get any of us in trouble so what if I just write 'Chicken...' as if to imply the code word without actually writing it all out? Our little secret, you see?"

You could tell immediately that I was their hero.....the wind beneath their chicken butt wings....because their ridiculous (manly drawn) faces lit up in excitement at the little secret about to be scribbled on their foreheads. They all sat down, allowed me to write "Chicken..." across their faces and then ran off giggling to take selfies and declare themselves the coolest girls in the school.

You'd think Aidan would be showing me off to his friends at this point but alas, writing "Chicken..." on a bunch of girls' foreheads, above their unibrow and mustache/beard combo, apparently doesn't cut it for 6th grade boys. I think his exact words were: "You know you have issues right?" But really, I can hardly be blamed for this one. It's the universe's sick fault! It's like I'm being egged on here.....hee hee hee.

Have a great day!




Along for the Laugh

Here is a short story to make you feel like a really, super awesome parent.....(apparently some of us are just going long for the laugh)....enjoy.

How I Accidentally Killed a Guy

As you know, Solomon has a knack for getting into mischief. (Think Curious George but with far more screaming, bigger costs....oh, and headaches.) The other day, he got into some pet supplies I had placed in a drawer in the laundry room (where he had served his hundredth time-out of the hour) and even when I noticed him holding a thermometer in his mouth in the car a little later, I didn't think much of it until we were standing in line to pick up the girls from school that afternoon. Solomon had spontaneously made friends with another little boy who had a green matchbox car. They were playing nicely, even taking turns with the little car, while the other mom was watching like a hawk. I do not know if she just sensed the monster within Solly that is always at the ready, if she was worried he would try to steal the car (which he would) or if she was watching her own son's behavior (which I could assure her was just fine relatively speaking), but it was very clear she was not too keen on our two boys playing together. They were having a grand old time none the less. They chased each other through the line, pushed the car along the windows and hung on the railing together, essentially creating their own entertainment (which I think became amusing to everyone when you saw the stress it created for Helicopter Mom.)  And that is when Solly pulled out the thermometer from his pocket, as if to share his most beloved object with his new friend. He stuck it in his mouth and then held it towards the little boy's face, you know, to share the experience with his new friend. Suddenly realizing where he had obtained the thermometer, I jumped in at that moment, quickly snatched the thermometer away before the other kid had a chance to touch it and jammed it into my pocket while explaining to the boys that it really wasn't a great toy actually.

The man next to me quietly noted how closely the other mom seemed to be watching the boys and how horrified she looked in that moment. I chuckled as I replied, "If she only knew that that was our cat's rectal thermometer."

He didn't stop laughing until he choked on his gum and died.

(Ok, ok, so he actually didn't die but he laughed so hard that by the end he felt the need to introduce himself, as if I were some parenting Goddess whose very presence was sacred and had made him speak in tongues by way of fits of laughter and joy. I wish everyone understood me so well.)

(Ok, ok, ok, he probably just wanted to make sure he knew who I was and more importantly, which children to keep his own away from, but I like my first theory better.)

Thus ends the story of how you are a far better parent then you realize (and of the most disgusting moment in Solomon's life to date, although, my guess is we have not seen the worse of it.....just sayin.')

Have a great week everyone!


The Day the Chickens Started to Melt

Oh dear readers, don't go getting your tail feathers all bunched up (if you still have any left after being completely pecked to death by the other cooped up hens this winter....wait, that part comes later).....the chickens have not yet melted, not entirely.

What? You want to know how chickens "melt"? Well, dear readers, I thought you would never ask! (Which really wouldn't be a problem because I was going to tell you anyway!)

It is a well known fact, like a general rule of thumb, that one should never cross one's neighbors.....you see, the problem with attempting to stir up trouble for the "crazy chicken lady," as a neighbor so affectionately called me when texting her daughter but accidentally SENDING IT TO ME INSTEAD, (hee hee hee, which of course endeared me to her forever....your own fault, my friend....) the chicken loving neighbor might just decide that at every possible turn, she wants you to be aware of the hens living next door (or right in front of your kitchen window, as the case may be).

The Beginning (of Somewhere in the Middle) of the Story:

This winter has been a wee bit brutal. We have had a lot of, um, cold weather and quite a bit of this white fluffy stuff known as snow (which really means only that, yes, winter came again this year too....). It all seems rather normal to me really, coming from Minnesota, but according to everyone here and their mother, the last two winters have been quite abnormal. At any rate, we had a nice big snow storm the other day and the girls wanted to go outside to play in it, and like usual, they asked me to come along. So I debated it in my head for all of two milliseconds: laundry, dishes and toilet cleaning or sledding out back with the kids......(it's because I love the kids that the housework is not done Kurt, I swear!)

At any rate, Lily and Madeline are really good at rolling snow to make snowmen so they decided we should make another snowman to replace the one Aidan destroyed. I was excited about the opportunity to make some monstrosity, er, I mean, a ridiculously big, totally awesome and entirely tasteful and pulchritudinous (thank you, thesaurus....) snowman in our back yard (right in front of the neighbor's window.....) and so I suggested we make the base super big, bigger than any snowman they have ever made; I mean, I was thinking ladders and pulleys and the possibility for needing outside help. But then this strange thing happened: the gigantic base we were making started to look an awful lot like the body of..... you guessed it, a chicken! So, of course a lightbulb went off in my head (which, truth be told, happens so infrequently that it would be totally irresponsible of me to ignore....so really, I was just being a responsible person y'all, that's all....) and that's when this happened:

And then, one thing lead to another (you know how these things go) and an entire flock was born......

And so, then, one day, they started to melt and um.....wait, where was I going with this story? Well, I can't recall but there may just be snow chickens in our yard every winter FOR THE REST OF OUR NEIGHBOR'S LIVES! (You did this to yourselves dear neighbors, really, you did. Might I offer you the number of a good realtor? Or are you totally excited to see what I come up with in the spring????) 

Hee hee hee.....

Have a happy last few weeks (months???) of winter!


Huckleberry Solofinn

Here's the deal, I don't always do things like normal people. I know, shocking. And while I give my kids a hard time about forgetting things I tell them, and doing things in ways that make absolutely no sense at all, they come by it very honestly. You see, being a very physical, hands-on learner, I find that if something doesn't literally hit me in the head, I will either not learn it at all, or at the very least, forget about it entirely. (And hit me in the head hard enough and all is lost too I assure you....it's called a fine line guys.)

So when dealing with Solly's preschool, I find it best if I just skirt around the edge, tiptoeing in and out, trying to stay under the radar because I know that I have probably forgotten the snack that day or the field trip last week or someone's (I dunno, perhaps my own kid's) birthday because none of those things jumped out and hit me in the head. (Calendars are so overrated.) And if you don't believe me, ask me what this random soccer mom and I talked about for an hour on Monday night.....I remember as clear as day because her oldest daughter accidentally hit me in the nose with a ping pong ball right in the middle of the conversation and while the other mom was mortified, I thought, "Oh Thank God, it isn't just MY kids!"....ok, ok, I also remember because we talked about how she wanted to move to a farm and raise goats and Alpacas and so obviously I loved her instantly!

But, I digress.....in all fairness, though, I feel I have earned the right to be apathetic about preschool having four kids who have survived to tell about it and done just fine without me drilling them with flashcards.....those moms who are freaking out about whether little Betty Sue is mastering her letters or Johnny can write his name legibly in four languages, well, they only have one kid, maybe two, so they probably should be worried (seriously, what is WRONG with their kids.....don't know their numbers to 100 yet?! Sheesh!) Quite honestly, I am just happy when Solomon doesn't smell like urine when I drop him off late in yesterday's clothes. (You gotta pick your battles people!) And the teachers know it, too. And since I know that they know I don't care, I avoid them like the plague. Kurt asked just the other day if I was at all curious to find out about Solomon's issues with "Fwanky" and I had to explain to him that I don't choose to talk to the teachers unless I absolutely have to since they already think I am a nut. He didn't even try to assure me that they don't, because apparently he is finally catching on. And that was disappointing because I was all prepared with my latest "teacher interaction" story, the one that went like this:

Me (upon dropping off Solly and our neighbor, Cody): Hi, Miss Nolan. Cody's mom told me to tell you that she......(I pause, because it was at this moment I realized I could not remember what Cody's mom had told me to tell them, like seven minutes earlier....didn't hit me in the head!)

Teacher (staring at me with what I am guessing was not amusement): Yes?

Me: Um, she told me to tell you that she will drop off the thing that she has at their house.....I just can't currently recall what that thing is. I think she said she had to wash it?

Teacher, with complete condescension: You mean the class dog?

Me, all excited: Is his name Oreo? Then yes! That's it! She said she would drop him off after she washed him. Something about Cody being sick and her wanting to make sure the dog was clean....

Teacher: Ok, then. Great. Thanks for that....Nut Job. (No, she did not call me a nut job, not out loud at least.)

At any rate, and forgive me when I get off track even more here, when Solly announces that, "I made good choices in school today," I know he means it and what he also means is that usually he doesn't make such great choices but today was so, incredibly different that his teachers actually commented to him that he had behaved well. (Good job, kid. Way to meet the average expectations for your age group....once.) Madeline and Lily have quite accurately compared him to little Davy in the Anne of Green Gables series while Kurt says he is more like Huck Finn and needs a swift lesson in being civilized. I am fairly certain that we will have to outsource the civilization of Huckleberry Solofinn if it is to happen at all. This kid is not like the others. Seriously.

Just yesterday we were watching Aidan's swim practice (and by watching, I mean I was watching while listening for the sounds of Solofinn playing with some large, detached metal piece of the bleachers underneath me.....hey, at least I knew where he was....) when I realized I could no longer hear him (scratch that part about knowing where he was!) I immediately went searching and found him in front of the fire extinguisher box, banging on the extinguisher with the handle he had broken off the door, presumably about to douse the place in fire retardant. I grabbed him, Liam and our stuff and we went to wait in the car. (Aidan should be thanking me for not allowing Solomon the chance to make a big scene. Happy Birthday, Aidan! And you're welcome!)

He's just not like the other kids, this one. He comes in this cute little bundle of love so it is hard to get too mad but on the flip side he is wrapped in destruction.....it's like a sweet little puppy coming in for a hug....but with a machete tail. Who doesn't love a puppy wagging a machete behind them?

But, try as I might, I can't get mad at him. Yesterday, entirely exasperated at the little boys hanging on me, and completely ready to call it quits, I yelled out: "Why?! Why must you always crawl into my lap and hang from me when I am trying to work? Why?!"

To which Solly sweetly answered: "Because I LOVE YOU!"

And that, dear readers, is how he has managed to stay alive for four, very, very long years. I just have to remind myself to be careful when he turns around.....that tail is a b!%@h!