I have a stack of post-it notes that I've been collecting all
summer year, and now it's so overwhelming to write an individual post about each of them, that I'm going to have to just condense a few. I try to write these thoughtful posts, but then I remember that I'm keeping this blog for my kids, not for an audience. And when I say "for my kids", I mean "when they come to me in 25 years and say all they remember of their childhood was mom screaming a lot, I can show them this blog and say 'but do you see how BAD you were?'"
This summer we went to the pool a lot, because it's a free way to spend the day, and the kids love it. Harper spent one too many times pooping in the pool, so she got put on pool banishment until she became the boss of her own poop. And then mommy relented, because there's not much worse than sitting at the pool with a 3 year old who whines the entire time about wanting to get in the pool. Measure that misery against a poop-filled swim diaper, and it's kind of a wash. Eventually Harper seemed like she was becoming the boss of her own poop, and I foolishly gambled and took her without a swim diaper. As I'm watching the kids splashing around, I see Harper at the edge of the pool looking into her bathing suit bottom. I know exactly what happened, and I run at breakneck speed to get to her. As I'm walking up, she says "Hi! I pooped in my pants", and then I tried to hold my head underwater until I blacked out and hoped by the time I came to, someone else would have dealt with the whole thing. I grabbed her in a death grip and marched her back to our chair, at which point brown water is starting to stream down her legs. I wrapped her up in a towel and shoved her under one arm, grabbed everything else with the other arm, and hissed to Aaron to get out of the pool now, we had to go. Mercifully, the locker room was empty and supplied with plastic bags, which were used to scoop out, well, you know, from Harper's pants as I showered her and hoped that someone came by quickly with a spray of bleach. We got home and I gave her a proper shower, and then proceeded to freak out on her with a ferocity she had never before seen. In the 2 1/2 weeks since that freakout, and she hasn't had a single poop accident. I was telling my sister, and she said "didn't you have success with that method with Aaron before?", and was reminded that yes, the Super Parental Freak Out was the last (due to success) method in a long succession of methods in trying to get Aaron to stop swearing a few years ago. Which leads me to believe that my children are kind of dumb. I mean, you know I'm going to freak out eventually, and now that I know it's the only thing that works, I'm just going to get there that much faster. Wouldn't it be easier to save us all the trouble and just listen one of the first eight hundred times I ask you something? (Their answer is "it's easier, but not as much fun").
On one of those many, many trips to the changing table in a locker room, Aaron was watching me change Harper and I saw him do a double take, and a very concerned look came across his face. He whispered to me "hey, mommy?", and motioned me over. I leaned over to him while holding onto Harper and he whispers in my ear, while looking at her diaper, "Mommy, where is her PENIS?" How he has lived and bathed with this child for 3 1/2 years and never noticed that she has no appendage between her legs is beyond me, but I'm sure it's somehow a failing on my part for not teaching him. (Although, really, didn't he notice that I call her private parts something different than hers?)
Harper is much more interested in anatomy. A couple of months ago, she and I were showering together and I looked down to find Harper standing up, but bent in half at the waist.
"Harper, what are you doing?"
"I'm looking at my tootie!"
"Well, good grief, how closely do you need to look at it?"
"There's something in there!"
"What are you talking about?"
"What is IN there? Look! There's a button right in my tootie! What IS that?"
And I hemmed and hawed and mumbled something about the proper name, and said the button's supposed to be there, and it's all okay, and no, you do not need to see mine, and then I got out of the shower and wrote out a post-it note.
I wrote it on the same post-it where I had written a reminder about this summer when I was using the restroom, and Harper, as she is wont to do, barged in. I know this is entirely too much information, but she was simultaneously horrified and fascinated by what was going on. "What IS that?! Is that blood? Are you okay? Is your tootie hurt? What is THAT? Is that a bandaid for your tootie?" To all of the people over the next week who had to hear Harper tell them "My mommy has a bandaid in her tootie, and when I'm a mommy, I'll have blood in my tootie, too!", I apologize. And also to any of you who had to read that who are kind of squeamish. (Although if that makes you squeamish, you should probably never have children).
Good grief, every story in here has been about bodily functions! That's gross, and also embarrassingly indicative of how I spend my life.
Just a couple more little post-it notes that I want to make sure I don't forget (sorry, I can't make them all stories. Some are just little things that make me and Jason laugh and I want to be able to tell my kids when they're grown).
Jason has been biking with the kids over to a pond nearby and they'll feed the ducks and watch the turtles. Harper asks regularly "can we go to the turtle ocean?", and for some reason that's really precious to me. I guess it does look like an ocean to her.
Last one. At the YMCA, there are water slides the kids can go down, one red, one yellow, and one blue. The kids wait at the top of the slide, and the bored teenage lifeguard mumbles "red, yellow, blue" when the kid on the appropriate colored slide can go. One day when Harper was on Pool Banishment, I saw Aaron, "gobbles" still on his eyes, having an in-depth conversation with the bored teenage lifeguard. It involved lots of arm and hand gestures on Aaron's part, and a lot of leaning over and polite nodding on the lifeguard's part. That night when I was making dinner, I asked Aaron what he and the lifeguard had been talking about, and got an answer that summarized my boy perfectly. "Well, I was telling him that instead of saying 'red, yellow, blue', that it would be a better idea to have a light that all the kids could see, like a stoplight, but instead of red, yellow, and green, the lights would be red, yellow, and blue. Then instead of having to say the names of the colors, the lifeguard could just press a button and the right light would light up. I've been working on it in the office since we got home". I haven't seen it implemented yet at the Y, but I'm sure it's just a matter of time.
So, it really has been a good summer, if you ignore the arguing, screaming, bickering, crying, and tantrums. The kids took a vacation with Daddy and my mom to see Jason's mom. They got to pet horses on the beach (because my mom is a rebel and ignores the rules). They've spent a lot of time at the pool and are turning into great little swimmers. They've been spending a couple of days a week with my mom while I work, where they've been spoiled rotten with countless trips to the movies and play places, and more ice cream than they have had in all of their previous years combined. They got to go to a neighborhood fireworks extravaganza that was beyond impressive, and surprisingly not interrupted by any police officers. They had to say goodbye to an old friend, our dog Storm, who was ready to move on over the Rainbow Bridge. They got to take a vacation with all of us- including our dog Babe, to visit friends in Hilton Head, where we got to shove 5 children in front of a TV instead of our usual 2. Overall, it's been a really great summer! And I cannot wait for them to go back to school.
Thanks to Mama Sharon for the pictures!