Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Breaking Point

In the early nineties I worked for a seasonal haunted house here in Austin called The Nightmare on Fifth Street. It was tons of fun! I have many, many stories about goings on in and around the Nightmare. The one I was thinking of today is the one about the bass player.

Those of us who worked the hallways in the Nightmare wore walkie-talkie headsets so that we could keep up with each other and with what was going on in different parts of the house. If Frankenstein needed help with an unruly patron, we would know. If there was a cute girl who was really afraid to go through by herself, of course the single guys on headset needed to know. You get the picture.

The Nightmare was located right next to a building that rented rehearsal space for local musicians. Apparently they could rent at any time of the day or night. There was one bass player whose equipment was tuned to the frequency of our walkie-talkies and we could hear his bass as he practiced. The first night it was funny. It became a joke. The second night it was a little more annoying. After that it was a kind of torture. The thing was, he didn't rehearse on consecutive nights. Sometimes the space between rehearsals was a week. Each night that we were open we wouldn't know when or if he would show up. The anticipation was almost as bad as listening to the rehearsal itself. And yes, we did try to change frequencies. The shared frequency was the only one that held up inside the building.

So, every night that the bass player practiced I had a contest in my mind. Who would snap first? We had five people on headsets and each night each one of us would have our own different breaking point. One night I might be able to stand it for 45 minutes at a time. The next I was off headset after 10 minutes. I could be walking the hall going to check on a particular scene and hear a strained voice in my ear saying, "I can't take it! I'm turning off for a while." I remember one night being outside on the sidewalk when a fellow headset wearer stomped out the front door, screamed, ripped his headset off and sat down on the curb with his head in his hands.

I bring this up because it applies to every day life. Some days I can take the constant questions, comments, requests, stories, toy noises, etc. Some days I want to rip off my Mommy headset and just sit on the curb. Today is one of those days.

I'll be off headset for a while.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

One More Reason to Love Kids' Birthday Parties

"Excuse me."

I heard the small voice behind me, but I didn't know that I was the one being addressed so I kept going. I was headed down the steps of the clubhouse to the bouncy castle to give Buddy the "five minute to departure" warning.

"Excuse me." A little louder this time.

I turned. A small girl of about three years old looked up at me. Her hair was disheveled from bouncing. Her feet were damp from the grass. She lifted her oversize pink t-shirt to reveal shorts with pink and orange flowers. Then she pulled the waistband out with one hand while the other hand disappeared down the front of her shorts. I watched and wondered with not a little horror at where exactly this was leading.

"Is this yours?" she asked as she pulled out a red cellophane bag full of pinata candy.

I cocked my head. So many things went through my head.

"No, sweetie, it isn't. But thank you for asking," I replied.

"Okay." And she stuffed the bag back into her shorts.

I almost asked her why she wasn't using the rather large pockets that I observed on her shorts, but she had already run up to the clubhouse.

I'm not sure that she found anyone to claim the bag of candy.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

JUST WAIT!

"Just wait"

I hate hearing those words. Ninety percent of the time they precede something I don't want to heard. The worst time to hear those words, though, is when they are used in regard to your life as a parent. I remember the first time I realized what damage those words can cause.

A friend was over with her two year old son. Princess was about 9 months old and perfectly content to crawl around and play with a variety of toys while I put together a page of her baby book. As my friend pried a pair of decorative edge scissors out of her son's peanut butter grip, she said, with a little bitterness, "Just wait until she's his age. You can kiss THAT hobby good-bye." There was know way that she could know my reaction to that casually tossed out comment.

I was really depressed there for a few weeks. Here I was, still a relatively new mom, having a more seasoned mom tell me that my future contained hours upon hours of chasing a hyperactive, peanut butter coated kid around other people's houses while my beloved scrapbooking supplies collected dust. Okay . . . so maybe I just took it kind of hard. I did go through another round of "baby blues" (a hormone related emotional low) when Princess weaned - which was around this time. But still, I think that it was an insensitive comment.

It wasn't until much later that I realized something very important: EVERY KID IS DIFFERENT!!!!! Say it with me now: EVERY KID IS DIFFERENT!!!! Oh, and while we're at it: EVERY PARENT IS DIFFERENT. And . . . EVERY SITUATION IS DIFFERENT!!!!!! My "just wait" moment is not necessarily the same as another's. So it's just best to keep your mouth shut!

(For the record, as Princess got older, I was still able to scrapbook. I haven't done it in quite a while, but my reason for scrapbooking was to document events in her life and in Buddy's life. Hello blogging!!!! Does anyone want a set of decorative edge scissors?)

But, please forgive me, I know that I "just wait" people, too. A friend of mine is pregnant with her first child. I find myself thinking "just wait" in her general direction constantly. I don't think that I've actually said those words to her because they are such a trigger for me, but I have probably said something very similar. I hate that. It's a fine line between wanting to share your experiences and opinions with a friend and being seen as that "seasoned mom" who only barks out warnings. I hope that I've stayed on the more positive side of the line.

Being a parent is a wonderful experience. And yes, there are many, many things that you won't fully "get" until you have the baby in your arms and start the journey of parenthood officially. But there are so many variable that I don't see how anyone can possibly feel that they have a right to utter the words "just wait" as a warning. Because if you sit around and wait for the "just wait"s, you miss an awful lot of the good stuff.

Speaking of waiting, there are also the "I can't wait"s that threaten to rob you of your in-the-moment-joy. I made a decision early on - before Princess was even born - that I wasn't going to get bogged down in the "I can't wait"s: I can't wait until she can crawl, I can't wait until she can talk, I can't wait until she's out of diapers, I can't wait until she's off to college . . .. You see how those can pile up? I wanted to enjoy each moment, each stage of her life because I will NEVER get those moments back. And, although it is very cliche to say, it goes too fast! I remember getting up in the middle of the night to feed her and soaking in every quiet moment. It was a sweet, special time that only she and I would share. I remember feeding her rice cereal and having it get all over the high chair, and I savored the sweet aroma and the stickiness of her cheek. I remember taking my time changing her diapers. After I would put the clean diaper on, I'd talk to her on the changing table, I'd tickle her tummy, I'd show her her own hands and feet and name her nose and ears and chin as I touched them. Soon she was pointing to them as I asked her where they were! All of those times would have been glossed over had I been focused on the future - which is so easy to do. I've taken the view that I "can't wait" for things that are actually on my calendar as events.

In conclusion, I would like to present a few of the Cabin's "wait"s:

Just wait until . . . .
you count the fingers and toes of your newborn.
your baby smiles for the first time.
you look at your husband/wife for the first time as a parent.
your cat/dog hears the baby cry for the first time!

I can't wait until . . .
we go to the circus tomorrow.
Grandmommy and Grandpoppy come in next week.
Princess and Buddy get home from school.

In my humble opinion, those are the kind of "wait"s that are okay to be spoken. Oh, and I try to only say, "Wait until Daddy gets home" in regards to when we'll order pizza.





Hell on Earth? No, It's Just Texas Weather

Here in Texas, we are in a drought of Biblical proportions. Most of the state is in a "D4" stage of drought which is labeled "exceptional". Yeah, it's hot and dry.

(For anyone living in the deserts of the western United States, just stop reading now. I'm going to whine a lot about our heat and triple digit temperatures. You live with that every summer. We're not used to it. So please, pat my head and let me get it out. Then we can have a popsicle together.)

I hadn't realized how how much I take running water for granted until I really had to starting thinking about it. In the United States, if we want water, we turn on the tap. It's pretty much that simple. Yes, there can be a drought, but really (we think), our water is not going to run out. I can just turn on the tap and get a drink whenever I want. Okay, I'll cut down my shower by three or four minutes. Maybe I'll think twice about that bubble bath. But really, we're not going to run out of water.

Wrong.

There are towns in Texas that have their reservoir going dry. You may have read about Big Spring, where the big spring is drying up. They are resorting to some extreme measures there. Some towns are turning off the water periodically. Austin closed some city pools early this summer.

We got word this week that we are going to Stage 2 water restrictions next week. Stage 2 includes:
  • Watering allowed 1 day per week for all City Water customers
  • Hand-watering allowed anytime
  • No automatic-irrigation after 10 a.m. on designated watering day
  • Vehicle washing on designated day before 10 a.m.
  • No charity carwashes
  • No automatic fill valves for pools or ponds
  • No outdoor fountains except to provide aeration for aquatic life
  • No water to be served at restaurants unless requested
  • No washing of sidewalks, driveways, parking areas or other paved areas
Sounds serious, folks.

I've been struck by the way the conditions have been permeating my everyday life. If you step outside, it is quite literally like stepping into a blast furnace. So the heat keeps us indoors. (Hubby - who's from Michigan - tells his relatives that our "winter" is August and September. We just don't go outside.) If the kids get bored and restless, I can't send them outside to play. They can't go ride their bikes because they might get heat stroke two blocks away. It's THAT hot. So we stay in and try to find ways to amuse and entertain ourselves that don't constantly involve electronics or screens. That's kind of hard after almost 70 days of triple digit temps.

There seems to be an undercurrent of anxiety and worry. Most of it is the economy, yes, but I can't help but think that the knowledge of a water shortage is always lingering in the back of most people's minds. Of course, it's all we can talk about. "Can you believe how much your water bill is?" "How are you cutting back?" "I haven't washed my hair in three days!" "Have you seen my lawn?" And the worst, we keep reminding the kids "If it's yellow, let it mellow, if it's brown, flush it down" for bathroom breaks. (That's the first restriction I'm leaving behind when this thing is over! Ick!)

Visually, you can't escape it at all. All of my plants on the back porch are dead. Our backyard has a brown, crispy swath cut out of it in the middle - the ribbon that is in full sun all day long. I refer to as the Yellow Brick Road. You can tell which homeowners have been heeding the current water restrictions. There are many lawns that are just completely baked - no green whatsoever. There are also lawns that are full and lush. (I hate to be mean, but I really hope that those people are fined. It's not just the bratty side of myself saying, "If I can't do it, I don't want you to!" It's now gotten to the point that I see those lawns and I feel like they are completely wasting water that we might need for sustenance in a few months. I get angry when I see those lawns. I feel that those homeowners are flipping us off. Maybe that's just me.)

The thing that I am most sad about is my garden. I really enjoyed harvesting the veggies from my own patch of earth. I LOVED the cherry tomatoes and the cucumbers. The okra were fun to give away (I discovered I'm not a huge okra fan). The peppers and eggplant were slow to grow, but worth it. And I have harvested and dried MUCH basil and sage. I love gardening. LOVE it. But I'm afraid that I'm going to have to give it up until this drought is over. I do have the ability to go out and hand water the patch (which I did the other night), but the city has really jacked up the price of water this summer, so it's costing a lot to keep the garden going. I'm not sure at this point that the return is worth it - and that's adding in the enjoyment factor.

So yes, it's been a hot, dry mess of a summer. The heat is oppressive and the drought is scary. We will come out of this okay, I know. And we'll be better for it. I'm learning so much about what I need and what I can do without. I NEED to wash clothes. I can do without the extra rinse cycle. Along those lines.

I will now close this post and go out and do a rain dance. And I promise that I will never sing "Rain, rain, go away" ever again!





Saturday, August 20, 2011

Post Roast Experiment - Success!

This week I found this recipe for a pot roast done in a slow cooker. It looks really good and I like the fact that it has butternut squash as an ingredient. However, once I really read all of the directions, I saw that the recipe required more time than I was able to give. I was going to be gone all day, returning only in time to eat. I wouldn't be able to add the squash the last two hours, much less do all the simmering and whisking. So . . . here's my version:

1 3-4 pound lean beef chuck roast
1 large sweet onion
2 cups baby carrots
2 tablespoons olive oil
salt and pepper to taste
hickory flavored liquid smoke - about 1/3 bottle
1/4 cup strong coffee
1/4 cup water

Cut onion into wedges and put in crock pot with baby carrots. Brown roast on all sides in olive oil then transfer to crock pot. Pour 1/3 of bottle of liquid smoke on meat. Combine water and coffee and pour over meat. Sprinkle with salt and pepper to your liking. Cover and cook 4 to 5 hours on high or 7 to 8 hours on low.

The smoke and the coffee really compliment each other well. I never would have thought of using coffee to season a roast, but I'm going to use it more often!

What are some of the most unusual, but successful, flavor combinations have you tried?


Friday, August 19, 2011

The Scorpion Story

We're in a horrible drought here in Texas. It's the driest summer on record. Lawns are brown and crunchy (well, except for the lawns of the people who stubbornly ignore the watering limitations - like we can't tell!). People stay indoors as if it were winter on the Great Lakes.

Another thing that happens in a drought is that critters start quite literally coming out of the woodwork to find water anywhere they can. Last week a neighbor said that she saw a coyote walking down her street. There was a report on the news about a wild fox and a kitten sharing a drink at a backyard watering bowl. I was reminded of the time that we had an unwanted visitor in our front room. This is a post from April of 2008.


I really wanted to be on time for my yoga class. I hate missing the warm-up. We were on track to just make it! I called again for Princess while I filled my water bottle at the sink. I heard her bounce down the stairs. There was a pause. Then what I can only describe as a vocal siren.

"ooooooOOOOOOOOOOOAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHH! SSSSSCCCCCCOOOOOOOOOOOOOORRRRRRPIOOOOOON!!!!!"

I will try to describe the chaos, but . . . like any good comedy, you just had to be there.

Princess came running full tilt through the living room to the back door. As she passed Buddy, he jumped on the loveseat and immediately started sobbing. Princess grabbed the doorknob, then let go (still screaming - I think she may have a future in horror movies), then ran two or three steps, then ran back to the back door. Buddy was jumping up and down on the loveseat, sobbing loudly. I came around the counter to where Princess was quite literally running in circles screaming. It was like the Marx Brothers meet Wes Craven.

Me: Calm down, Baby. Calm down. What's going on?
Princess: (still screaming in the Mariah Carey range) A SCORPION!!!! IN THERE!!!! (she pointed to the front room)
Buddy: (loud sobs alternating with small yelps)
Me: Okay, okay. I've got it.

I walked in the front room and, sure enough, there in the middle of the hardwood floor was a scorpion. It was mad as a hornet (sorry) and just looking for someone or something to sting. It made me wonder if scorpions can hear.

Me: Okay, Baby. I'll get it.
Princess: I STEPPED ON IT! I STEPPED ON IT!
Me: Where?!?!? Did it get you? Are you okay?
Princess: I'M FINE! I HAVE MY SHOES ON! BUT I STEPPED ON IT! AND I ALMOST TOUCHED IT! WAAAAAAAHHHHHH! (I found out later that after she stepped on it she thought that it was one of Buddy's toys and almost picked it up. It moved just as she was about to touch it.)
Buddy: (now only whimpering)
Me: I'm going to get it. It's okay.

I went and got the flyswatter. I thought about squashing the thing with my shoe, but the shoe I was wearing had a textured sole. All I needed was to have it wriggle into a crevasse and come out even madder.

I do need to pause here and tell about my one and only scorpion sting. It was the night before my birthday a few years ago. I had just gotten a cup of hot tea and was walking back into the living room. As I sat down on the couch, I spilled a bit of the boiling hot tea on my ankle. Or so I thought. What had really happened is that I stepped on a scorpion's head. I was wearing slip-on house shoes that don't have a back, so it's tail came straight up and got me just below the ankle. It felt JUST like boiling hot water. Long story short - I wound up going to the ER because 1) my lips went numb and 2) the pain was incredibly intense and was not subsiding at all. Turns out I'm mildly allergic to scorpion venom. The sent me home with Vicodin and Benadryl. So I do freak out a bit at scorpions and will do almost anything to avoid them.

But I couldn't avoid this one. It was in our front room. In our HOUSE. What does Lady Macbeth say? Screw your courage to the sticking place? Yeah, right, Lady M. I don't think YOU ever stared down the business end of a scorpion!

As I made my way to the front room, I could hear Princess saying over and over, "I wish Daddy was here. I wish Daddy was here." I turned and smiled as I waved the flyswatter and said, "Me too!"

In the front room I had an awful thought. What if I brought the flyswatter down and somehow the scorpion grabbed it with its pincers and then when I brought the flyswatter back up I flung the horrible beastie onto my back? I honestly don't recall ever killing a scorpion (I always have someone else do it) so what if one whack wasn't enough to crush its armor? What if I had to beat it and beat it and it got madder and madder? I was working myself into what could have been a full-on freak-out. But you would be amazed how much bravery you can muster when two sets of trusting little tear-streaked eyes are on you. I brought the flyswatter up like a light saber and WHACK!

Scorpion's armor is really thin. They splat pretty good.

(I didn't wind up making the warm-up for the class, but I figure that the adrenaline surge burned one or two calories.)

Sunday, August 14, 2011

The Musical Substitute

In honor of the beginning of the school year, I shall repost an entry from September of 2006.

Substitute teaching is not for the faint of heart. I know. I have been a substitute teacher. I didn't last long. I can't remember which class was my last - the kindergarten class when I had to put ALL of them in "time out" at the same time, the high school art class where they were throwing clay at each other or the middle school class that broke the pencil sharpener because all of a sudden EVERYONE'S pencil was too dull.

I think it was payback for some of the things that I did to substitute teachers. I wasn't that bad, but I did participate in a spitball marathon one time and another time I agreed to switch seats with someone and answered to a different name all class period. There was one teacher, however, who made a distinct impression on me.


He was a substitute for my eighth grade history class. He was probably in his late sixties or early seventies. No one had the heart to mess with him. Our teacher had left instructions for us to read a couple of chapters and do the study questions - enough work to keep us busy for the entire class period. Well, I was a quick study so I got done pretty early. I sat in the first row so somehow I struck up a conversation with the substitute. I am so glad that I did.

He was retired and substituted for something to do. I don't remember his primary career, but I do remember what he said he did as a youth. He had been a piano player for the local movie theater in the days of silent movies. He told me stories of his life in "the movies". He must have been an exceptional player. He said that they would send the reels of film and the score at the same time. Most of the time he wouldn't have any time to practice before the first showing. He would sit down and see the music and the film for the first time when at the first showing. Also, the sheet music would have been all over the country with dozens and dozens of other piano players and sometimes it arrived with a page missing here or there. When that happened, he had to improvise. Think about that - he had to improvise a musical score to a movie that he had never seen. That sounds amazingly fun!

That man is the only substitute that I really remember from my whole school career. I never saw him again after that day. I don't remember his name. I barely remember his face. I just remember that I came away from that class period with romantic scenes from the silent movie days dancing through my head to an improvised piano.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Double Take: A Buddy Story

I've decided that one way I can get in the habit of posting over here is to repost some of my favorite entries from LiveJournal. Here's one from spring of 2010.

Princess and I were cleaning up after breakfast when Buddy called down from the upstairs bathroom.

Buddy: Mom!!! I pooped!
Me: (a little surprised because he hasn't felt the need to announce this in a while - also, I'm frantically trying to think of what he might have eaten to cause his poop to distress him so) Okay . . .
Buddy: And it was big!
Me: (relaxing a bit, thinking that he was just proud) Oh!
Buddy: It splashed me.
Me: (thinking that he's freaked because of a wet bottom) Well . . . (on my way to say "Just wipe your bottom with some toilet paper")
Buddy: And some water got in my eye.

Just think about that for a second. Princess and I did.

Me: It got in your eye?
Buddy: Yeah! What should I do?!?!?
Me: Um. When you're done then wash your eye out with water, I guess.

By this time Princess and I were silently doing the "creep out" dance. You know the one: where you face involuntarily screws up and you get the shivers and scuff your feet. But we were also trying very hard not to laugh out loud at what we were seeing in our mind.

Here's what we deduced: Buddy does not sit on the toilet seat when he poops. He puts his feet on the seat and then squats. Yes. You read that right. How do I know this? Because several times he's called me into the bathroom to bring him a new roll of toilet paper and when I enter the room I've found him in that position. I thought that he was there just because he was being silly for me at that particular moment. Nope. That's how he poops. Yes, he takes off pants and underwear completely, perches his little tootsies on the seat and squats. It stands to reason, then, that a large plop could make it to his eye. Especially if he was looking down at that particular moment. Which, I'm sure, he was. Sigh.

I have absolutely no idea why he does this. He doesn't either. When I told him he needed to SIT on the seat, he replied that he didn't know how. At that time, and at this time, it's just not worth it to argue or try to teach him otherwise. I'm thinking that because he's got such a teeny little tush, he's afraid of falling through. I can understand that fear. I might address this at some point, but I'm thinking that he'll actually fix this on his own. I can't imagine him still doing this as an eight or nine year old. Or maybe this is something that his father should address. I don't know. All I know is that it makes for a good story!

Thursday, August 11, 2011

The Fit To End All Fits

Enough time has gone by that I can finally talk about The Incident in Wal-Mart. Beware. This is a long post.

March 31, 2006. Princess was a few weeks away from turning six. Buddy was still a few months away from being three. It was a nice spring day. Princess had asked if we could get out the watercolors and paint. I thought that was a good idea, but, alas, we didn’t have any watercolors. I told them that if they behaved that morning, we’d go to Wal-Mart that afternoon and get some watercolors. They behaved.

I have a theory about Wal-Mart. I believe that they pipe in some sort of air that contains a chemical that causes small children to become screaming, wriggling sacks of goo. But I digress . . .

I had a modest shopping list as we walked into the store - cleaning supplies, office supplies, etc. I put Princess in the back of the shopping basket and Buddy in the front. We went down several aisles and stopped in the school supplies for the prize of the watercolors. I handed each of them their tray and they gazed upon the colors with wonder. Then Buddy began to bang his on the front of the cart.

I told Buddy not to bang the paints.

Bang, bang, bang.

Obviously he hadn’t heard me OR I just didn’t give a good enough explanation (because I didn’t want to be the type of mom who said, “Because I say so!”). So I told him that if he slammed the paints on the cart, he might break them and then he wouldn’t be able to use them.

Bang, bang, bang.

Sigh. He heard me tell him to stop and then he heard me tell him why. Now it was just about obedience. I told him that if he slammed the paints on the cart one more time, I’d take them away from him and put them in the back with Princess.

Bang, bang, bang.

I calmly took the paints from him and put them in the back of the cart with his sister. Oh! Tragedy! Buddy began the Cart Twist Move - trying to twist around in the seat and maneuver out of the ornamental seatbelt that they have on the cart to make the cart seem safe. All the while, the wailing had begun. Yay!

I told Buddy that if he continued to twist around and yell, I would put the paints back on the shelf and he wouldn’t get paints this time.

Twist, yell, twist, scream.

Up went the paints.

Bedlam.

Now Buddy was screaming at the top of his lungs and twisting around with such vehemence that it was getting dangerous. Because I had been reading a book on behavior, I immediately deduced that at that point his fit was about attention and, in order to quell the storm I must ignore it. So I took Buddy out of the cart and put him on the floor. He immediately threw himself on my feet sobbing and wailing.

Because I needed to ignore this behavior and not reward it with ANY attention (even negative attention is attention), I slowly walked three steps to my right and browsed the scotch tape (seriously wondering if anyone would notice if I used it over his mouth). He crawled on hands and knees and again flung himself on my feet. Again, I calmly stepped away and moved back toward the cart, wondering if there was any way on God’s green Earth that the store was populated by deaf individuals. Buddy crawled back to me and collapsed once again.

Silently cursing the stupid parenting book that I had wasted so much time on, I decided that the rest of my list could wait and we just needed to get the hell outta Dodge. I scooped Buddy up with one arm and pushed the cart with the other - heading for checkout.

At this point in the story you may wonder why I decided to actually go through the checkout line instead of turn tail and run. Through this whole ordeal, Princess had been quietly playing in the cart. I didn’t want her to be punished just because Buddy had decided to do his impersonation of the Tasmanian Devil.

Please picture this - I’m pushing a cart with an angelic, blonde six year old girl who is sweetly naming off all the things that she’s going to paint when she gets home, and I’m holding an almost three year old wild thing who is screaming his head off and thrashing about so much that I almost lose him on several occasions. Yeah, you want me behind you in line.

I couldn’t risk putting Buddy down. He was too out of control. So I kept him on my hip as I took the items out of my cart and put them on the conveyer belt. I was not paying enough attention to Buddy or his fit, so he decided that he’d get my attention again. He bit me. Yes, you read that right. He sunk his teeth into my shoulder. Hard. Hard enough for me to cry out and instinctively swat his head. I gritted my teeth and told him NOT to do that again. He ignored me. More biting.

At this point, I had absolutely no idea what to do. Had I been at home, no problem. That was a spanking and then room banishment. But you can’t spank your kids in public. (Obviously.) You can’t even talk about spanking your kids. (I’m really risking something by admitting it here.) So I was out of options. I had THAT kid. That out of control, screaming to the point of discoloration kid. Everyone was looking at me. Most were looking at me with sympathy as if to tell me that they had been there. I do remember one lady looking at me with such scorn and ridicule that I almost walked over to her and handed Buddy to her and said, “Okay, show me how it’s done!” But at that point I was just ready to leave.

After a couple more bites, I put Buddy down on the ground. I did NOT, however, let him go. I kept a firm grip on his little wrist because I had absolutely no idea what he would do or where he would go were he free. He promptly bit my hand. Then he whirled around and, I am NOT kidding, he bit my butt.

That brought me to some sort of reality. It was all I could do right then to stifle my laughter. I saw the complete absurdity of the whole thing and I actually relaxed just a bit. I picked up Buddy (and my shoulder got a few more teeth marks) and I paid for our items. Then I took the screaming little mass outside to the car.

By the time we got to the car, Buddy was peaking. He was thrashing, gnashing and sobbing so hard that I thought he might hurt himself. I, however, was calm and collected. I knew that at that point that the only thing that would calm Buddy was sheer exhaustion. I wrestled him into the car seat and started the car. Then his screams started to be coherent.

He had begun yelling, “Stupid! Stupid! Stupid!!!” I was perplexed for a moment until I realized that “stupid” was the worst word he knew. He was cussing at me. That was enough to make me laugh out loud. My almost three-year-old was calling me a b*tch in his own little way. Oh me, oh my.

On the way home I called my mom and dad and just held up the phone for them to hear what was going on. They loved it. Payback is hell.

Throwing a fit that intense takes a lot out of a little body. He had calmed down a little by the time we pulled into the driveway. I got him out of the car and took him immediately into the to his room. I put him to bed where he screamed for another half hour before he fell asleep.

Of course I called Hubby to tell him all that had happened. When he got home, I showed him the bruises on my shoulder (yes, I had quite a few nasty bruise-bites). Hubby sat Buddy down and had a pretty intense heart-to-heart. He told Buddy that I was his (Hubby’s) WIFE and that Hubby was charged with taking care of me and protecting me and that he would do that no matter what. Hubby said that he knew that I had already given Buddy his punishment, but that if Buddy ever hurt me again, he’d have to answer to Hubby. Hubby did NOT do this in a threatening way. He didn’t intimidate at all (if you know Hubby, you know that), but he did make his point.

It’s been five years since this incident. I get a lot of mileage from this story! I enjoy telling it and, believe it or not, Buddy enjoys hearing it. He laughs and says, “I can’t believe I did that!” And then sometimes he’ll come and kiss my shoulder where he bit it. But we can laugh about it now because it was an isolated incident. That was the last knock-down drag-out fit that Buddy has ever had. It could be because we gave him swift and appropriate consequences. And it could be that we continue to demand of him (and his sister) good manners and acceptable behavior.

Or it could be because we now patronize Target instead of the poison-aired Wal-Mart.

And . . . Let's Try This Again

The recent troubles of LiveJournal coupled with my desire to really try for an audience (hello, Audience, whoever you are!) have spurred me to redesign this blog and try to make it work. I may still post on LJ because I have quite a few friends on that blog (not to mention that's how my mom keeps up with my life), but I think I'm going to concentrate on this site for a while.

For background posts, please go here: My LiveJournal Cabin77 Blog.

To everyone who may be new - welcome!