Lost: Beloved Pet Roly-Poly

Lost: Gray Roly-Poly

Our four-year old's pet roly poly (a gray crawling insect with numerous legs that seem to move regardless of actual body movement, that will roll up into a ball when scared, also known as a pill bug) has escaped from captivity. Last seen at bedtime after it was tucked into its bed (a.k.a. a plastic box with a blanket on top) next to our daughter. If seen, please contact us immediately so that the whining can cease.

Seriously, in her attempt to have a pet, Madeline spent an hour yesterday trying to catch ants in the kids' bathroom. Apparently, they had come out of hibernation during those few 60 degree days we had and upon it snowing again, they all came running inside to hide from the cruel weather. At any rate, they found a crack in the bathroom upstairs and Madeline, thrilled to see "wild animals" in her own house, immediately went to work rounding them up and putting them in a plastic blue bowl. (I caught a glimpse of her future company: "Princess Pest Control: The humane way to get rid of your pets, er, pests.) Discouraged that they wouldn't stay inside the dish, she came running down the stairs to ask for help.

"Look Mom, pet ants!" she exclaimed, showing me the bowl. "There's one for Lily," she said, pointing to a rather lively little guy, "one for you," pointing to another rapid crawler, and then, pointing to a rather dead looking, half curled up, completely still fellow, "and that one is Aidan's." She gave Aidan's ant a little nudge to which it immediately sprung back to life and started crawling. "Oh wait," Madeline exclaimed, her face now wholly excited, "that one is actually mines! We'll have to find Aidan a different ant." She nodded her head up and down in reassurance that Aidan would not be left without his very own pet ant. 

After I stopped laughing, she continued, "But Mom, they won't stay in the bowl!"

And so it went: Foil, poked full of holes, for the lid and two little girls searching for more "pets" while Liam and I enjoyed a rather long moment of quiet downstairs. After a while, Madeline and Lily came skipping down, their bowl full of ants, and gathered up their coats to head outside.

"Where are you going?" I asked.

"Outside. They need some dirt to live in," Madeline answered cheerfully. And out they went, shovels in one hand and ants-in-a-bowl in the other. If there ever were a more delighted little girl, I know not. And it remained that way until they tried to bring the dirt-filled-ant-home back inside.

"Stop," I said at the doorway. "That bowl cannot come back in with all the dirt in it."

"But Mom! Where will the ants live?" Madeline asked in utter desperation.

"Outside, where they belong," I said cooly. 

Hours later, as we were getting the kids ready for bed, Madeline's eyes lit back up as we saw dozens of new ants crawling around the bathroom (apparently word gets around fast that we are an "ant friendly" home.) She collected some in her clear plastic box and set it next to her pillow in bed. (Because, you know, no one has ever gotten scared of creepy crawling things on them in the dark!) We headed down to get some water when what to our wondering eyes should appear but a beautiful pill bug, so little and dear. 

"Another PET!" Madeline exclaimed, reaching down to gently let it crawl onto her hand and up to her wrist.  (Oh, what luck....)

"That's a roly-poly," I told her, wondering what in the world I did as a child to deserve this.

"They like to crawl on kids, did you know that?" she asked, not really looking for an answer. She took the bug up to her box, ants now gone from both her mind and their bed, and set the little bugger inside. She carefully covered him with part of her blanket and got into her bed, only taking her eyes off the box for a brief second to find her favorite teddy bear. 

And that is where we last saw him. Although we're pretty certain no one snuck in during the night to steal him, we won't rule anything out until we have him back home, where he is well loved. And a bit hungry....


God's Pets

Today's car conversation:

"Mom, can we get a pet?" Madeline asked. "I like dogs. Especially cute little puppies," she said most likely in reference to the sweet, little, sleeping puppy my friend shared with her church class today.

"Well, we can't get one right now but maybe one day we can get a pet," I said. "You guys have to learn to do your chores and be responsible for yourselves before we can get a pet though."

"Yeah, but not dogs or cats," Aidan said. "Dogs make too much of a mess and cats do too much meowing and I don't like meowing much."

"Aidan, you can keep the dog in your room and Lily and I can have the cat in our room," Madeline said excitedly, apparently not listening to a thing Aidan had to say.

"Maybe we can have a tiger," Lily joined in, mimicking her sister's enthusiasm.

"A tiger isn't a pet, Lily," Aidan told her, knowingly but then went on to ask,"Mom, do some people have tigers as pets?"

"Well, there are some silly and, um, foolish people in the world who think tigers will stay cute and cuddly and so they get tigers as babies and then realize later they are really wild animals," I explained.

"Yeah, then they get bit, right mom?" Aidan said.

"Yes, sometimes people get bit if they try to keep wild animals as pets," I agreed.

"Why are there bunnies out in the wild?" Madeline asked.

"Well, that's just the way God did things I suppose. There are lots of different kinds of animals in the wild," I replied.

"Mom, does God have pets?" Madeline asked.

"Madeline, God can't have pets because God isn't real," Aidan said.

"Aidan, God is very real," I corrected. "But I don't think God has pets." (Although it's quite possible that God thinks of us humans as pets....I mean, there is an awful lot of biblical talk about obedience...are there human schools for that and if so, do they give out those Certificates of Completion regardless of whether you "sit" and "stay" or not?)

Aidan reeled me back in by going on, "I know He is REAL, Mom. I meant God doesn't have a body on earth and so God can't have pets...." There was a very slight moment of silence (I just make reference to it so that I can look back and know that at one moment in time, it existed....)

"But maybe all the animals on earth are like God's pets," Aidan went on.

At which point Lily chimed back in: "Yeah, God has a pet llama!"


Here's a quick follow up on my last blog about shoe shopping with the kids: My mother-in-law wrote me a little email after reading about our painstaking ordeal, I mean, lovely shoe shopping trip, suggesting I take the kids back to get Madeline another pair of shoes to better match the dress....And to think, all this time I thought my mother-in-law liked me, or at least, didn't want to torture me! Perhaps she'll want to give us a tiger too, knowing its care is in my hands! Of course, between another shoe shopping trip and a baby tiger, hmmmm.....I'll take the llama!


Shoe Shopping

Stupid joke of the day: 
Q. What kind of shoes does a chicken wear?
A. Re-bok-bok-bok-bok

My mother-in-law offered to buy the kids some Easter shoes. She had graciously given Madeline a beautiful gown for Easter, complete with a little matching sweater and both Madeline and Aidan were desperately in need of new shoes (to the point that Madeline was complaining that her shoes had grown too small). 

So yesterday, I took the kids to Target to go shoe shopping. We had a few other items to pick up and at each stop Madeline asked, "NOW can we go get shoes?" We took our time, however, in various departments, sometimes stopping only to browse while Madeline got more and more impatient. 

Finally, we arrived at the shoe department. I helped the girls out of the cart so that we could measure their feet. As is often the case when we finally go to buy shoes, Madeline's feet measured a full size bigger than the shoes she currently owns. I apologized that we had waited so long to get her shoes and she immediately went over to brag to Lily: "I'm growing my feet, Lily" before she went up and down each aisle of girl shoes looking for just the right ones. Lily, having gotten excited when she saw Dora the Explorer on a pair of sandals, sat quietly trying to get them on while Madeline proceeded to try on EVERY. LAST. PAIR. OF. SHOES!

"Oh, these kind of hurt," she said, taking off another pair of shoes, which were obviously too big and putting on the next. She followed up with, "Um, I don't think I really like these," as yet another pair came off. "These are pretty but let me try these too in case I don't like those," she went on and on and on....

At this point, Aidan climbed up into the cart, slunk down with his arms crossed and rolled his eyes at me. 

"Yeah, I hear ya, Aidan," I said quietly.  "Madeline, we are not going to try on the entire lot of shoes so please only try on shoes that you really like. How about these?" I suggested, to which I received complete disgust from the eldest and overly-opinionated girl-child. 

At last, we found a pair of shoes that would suffice for both Easter (albeit not as formal as her dress) as well as day to day life. Lily then decided she no longer wanted the Dora sandals that had taken her the entire time to get on and instead wanted the same as Madeline, but in white, not pink. We boxed the two pairs of shoes up and I turned toward Aidan. 

"Do you want to get your shoes now, too?" I asked him, in complete solidarity with the look of exasperation on his face. 

He jumped out of the cart, walked over to the clearance rack, picked up a pair of shoes, put them on and said, "I'll get these." 

And at that moment, heaven tore open, the Spirit of God descended down (more like a chicken than dove) and a voice said, "This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased!" 

And all God's children (especially those of the mother variety) said: Amen! 


Chicken Grub

We were leaving a solemn Taize-style worship service at church last night when Madeline came up to me with a grave look of concern, one that no four-year old should know, and hesitantly asked, "Mommy?"

"What is it, Madeline?" I asked, stopping in my tracks to get down at her level, giving her my fullest attention.

"I LIKE worms!" she exclaimed. Now, I don't know why I felt let down but somehow, that wasn't exactly the serious insight or question I had anticipated. (My bad.)

"We need to go back to California so we can go visit the worms," she went on. (Well shoot, now that you put it THAT way, let me book the flight!)

"You know Madeline, there are worms here, too," I said. Her face lit up, like only a four-year olds' face can.

"YYYYYYYYYES!" she practically yelled, leaping up, throwing her hands in the air and giggling with glee. I half expected her to burst into a little worm dance, clicking her heels a few times, while clucking...

"When can we see them?" she asked excitedly.

"Well, I think it has to warm up a little bit more and then they will come back out," I answered as I finished loading the kids into the car. All was silent for the drive home as I contemplated how it is that my most princess-like child (so girly a child that I have to think there must be some suppressed girly-girl gene in me somewhere....or perhaps in Kurt? hee hee)...how funny is it that our princess-child wants to get into the dirt and play with the worms. As we pulled into the driveway, Madeline broke the silence with a question she was obviously struggling to keep inside.

"Mom," she said, "is it warm enough yet?" 

(Uh no, but we are there yet....does that count?)


Today, after fulfilling my promise to paint the girls' fingernails purple and as we were outside with serving spoons and spatulas digging for worms, only to find the ground was still quite frozen, I thought: Wow, now this is not what I had imagined I would be doing ten years ago! (And for that, I am full of thanks!)

Cluck cluck cluck...


To My Hero (I hope)....Happy Birthday!

For Kurt's birthday I had the kids make him cards. They drew the pictures and then told me what to write. Madeline had me write the following:

Dear Daddy, You are the bestest daddy and I love you daddy. You are great. You are my funnest daddy. You go to work and I miss you. Love, Madeline

She then took the card back, pointed to a ghost-like blob in a bubble and said, "Look Mom, this is you trapped in the dungeon. And here is the Queen," she went on, pointing to a large person in a black dress, complete with a rather pronounced bosom. "And the bad Queen is going to turn you into a bad guy." 

Gee, thanks. I feel the love, truly....

"What does that have to do with Daddy's birthday?" I asked. 

"Well, daddy's over here," she said, flipping the paper over to reveal a long, skinny person with a great big, happy smile. "He's in his castle."

"Why is daddy in his castle and I am in a dungeon," I questioned. 

"Oh, he's taking a rest but he might come save you," she said nonchalantly. 

"So, let me get this straight," I said. "Daddy is resting happily in his castle while I am trapped in a dungeon by an evil witch?" 

"Yeah," she replied.

Figures. I turned to Lily's card where she told me to write: 

I love daddy because he gave life to us. I love daddy because he doesn't know where he is going. Love, Lily

Great....the hero of this story is lost and I'm trapped in a dungeon. 

Happy Birthday, Kurt! May your life be drenched in happiness, your days well guided and your plans wrapped up in success....especially those that include dungeons and rescues...

(And if all else fails, look on the bright side: at least you aren't the blob in the dungeon.)


Aidan's Birthday

Personal space is important to the chicken. It requires open space in which to roam. If confined they can become aggressive with a tendency to pick on each other. A low ranking hen may be cornered and cannibalized. -Cycle of Power: Animal Totems

Um, that sucks. I suppose it's a good thing Lily can fend for herself....

So someone asked me the other day about Aidan's birthday. I wrote about Madeline's and Lily's and Liam's birthdays, why not Aidan's? Duh, he didn't make the cut, obviously. No, really I just didn't get to it. (It wasn't even that I was offended that he wanted to wear his new Extreme Sport Helmet when riding in the car....I have mentioned how smart he is right?...While the girls sometimes throw their hands up in the air and yell as if on a roller coaster ride, Aidan pads up, just in case....I can only imagine how much fun Liam must be having watching all this on the way to the store....)

His 6th birthday party, back in mid-February, was supposed to be a sledding party. But we had our first real "melt" (as they call it here when the snow starts melting away) and basically there was no snow to sled on. So, we made a homemade snowman pinata, a bunch of little people came over to play, enjoyed destroying our work of art, had cake and ice cream, and then we looked at the clock and realized there was an entire hour left. Kurt and I looked at each other and said, "Uh-oh, now what?" We made it through with the help of our 15 year old friend and everyone seemed to have a good time. Not much to it really. 

Then we let Aidan open his gifts, mostly sent from relatives afar: a snow bike, razor scooter, helmet, Bionacles and whatever else. He was very pleased. And then a few days later in the mail came the gift of all gifts: Bendaroos! "The amazing, flexible building sticks! Bendawhat? Bendawho? Bendaroos!" Unfortunately, my kids have inherited my insane desire to own anything in an infomercial and when they saw this on TV, they HAD to have it. And like a good mom, wanting to live vicariously through her children's As Seen On TV products (that's normal right?), I asked grandma to send the Bendaroos. Seriously, how could you NOT want Bendaroos when you see this commercial?! (They are super cool...really.)
Anyway, here are the pictures for those who want proof that we really did make our own pinata. The only issue we had is that I stuck the carrot nose in a few days earlier than I should and it kind of wilted (duh) but other than that, he was pretty great for a first try, if I do say so myself (which I do.)

And somehow, even though he thinks the helmet is about as cool as the bike, he managed to ride the bike the first time WITHOUT the safety helmet. Fortunately, he was going so slow, it would only have mattered if a car had accidentally plowed through the yard and hit him....and then I guess it wouldn't really have mattered...and no mom, that won't really happen....we are hundreds of yards from the street, plenty of open space in which to roam so that the chickens don't pick on each other, well, at least not to death....

Bendawhat? Bendawho? Bendaroos!


Chickens and Hearing Loss

Studies have shown that when chickens are subjected to loud noise that damages their hearing, they can regenerate hair cells in their inner ear and self-repair the hearing damage. (See Deaf Chickens Hear Again for more details....if you are a nerd....or really bored....)

I just hope it applies to human chicks as well....

Mid-morning yesterday, we were running a little behind since we had to wait for the garage door man to work on our doors. It was time to get to the Senior Center where we buy our bread, so I addressed the girls:

"Madeline, Lily, get dressed. It's Bread Day and we need to go," I said.

"It's Red Day? Do I go to school today?" Madeline asked, a little confused.

"Bread day, Madeline. It's bread day," I corrected her. "And no, you don't go to school today."

"Does that mean we need to wear red clothes?" she asked, still misunderstanding me.

"Not red," I said again.  "Bbbbbrrrrrread," I clarified, extra slowly. 

"If I don't go to school today, then how is it red day?" she asked.

"Madeline, I think I need to get your ears checked," I told her.

She paused for a moment and then asked, "Mom, what's an earject?" 

I rest my case.