Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Baby Versus the World

It has been a crazy couple of months. Besides the ongoing saga-of-Ren's-back (which will hopefully reach an anticlimactic conclusion in the next month or so), Stow decided to enter the fray. During a six-week period starting at the end of January, he had a fever for all but about five days. In the end, the doctors think he simply managed to catch everything going around in succession with maybe a teething fever thrown in for good measure. But the multiple tests, including an abdominal ultrasound, indicated an anomaly in one of his kidneys. So today, we followed up with a pediatric specialist.

One thing I have going for me is that Stow is possibly the most mellow baby on the planet, which means that even though the doctor's visit took close to five hours from start to finish, he was cool with that. What he wasn't so cool with was the blood draw. You might be saying to yourself, "Well, duh, Moe, of course he didn't like the blood draw. What kid likes needles?" But, you see, this was Stow's fourth blood draw in as many weeks, and he was much less feisty on the previous three. In fact, at his last draw, I marveled at the fact that he didn't seem to remember what lay ahead given the trauma of the previous two. Turns out that baby veins are tiny and some babies can be a difficult draw (No! really?) And each time Stow has had to have blood drawn, it has taken no less than four sticks. On previous draws, I'd been amazed by how stoic Stow was until the phlebotomist started using the needle to dig around in his vein in an attempt to get an angle conducive to good blood flow. Turns out Stow's not a fan of vein digging, particularly when the first three "stick and digs" tend to yield no results. Getting his blood drawn has started to feel like an epic saga.

So, when the specialist ordered a couple of blood labs today, I was understandably apprehensive. Since we were at a pediatric hospital, though, I tried to hold out hope as I took Stow into the lab for his draw.

Here's the short version of the story: blood was successfully drawn on the fourth stick.

Here's the long version (if I was going to give this particular epic saga a name, it would be, "Stow Wises Up"):

While on earlier blood draws, Stow remained quite unaffected until the digging for veins started, today, he was onto them from the moment we entered the lab. As soon as the phlebotomist started feeling his arm for possible veins, Stow began to grumble. And when she tied the rubber tourniquet around his tiny arm, he started to cry and make a break for the door. When that didn't work, with both eyes on the woman with the needle, he used his free hand to try to undo the tourniquet. Alas, since he was one nine-month old VS the world (or, in this case, three adult women), he failed to free himself.

I know there are moms out there who have to watch their seriously ill children go through much worse than what Stow went through today, and I want to applaud those moms for their strength and perseverance. Because, frankly, on this fourth epic-saga blood draw, I had a little trouble keeping it together.

Fortunately, Stow was all over it.

When his attempts to remove the tourniquet failed, he tried some baby Kung fu. Of course, he was no match for three adults, so he then resorted to looking the woman with the needle right in eye and giving her a dressing down like she's never gotten before(it's true, she told me). It sounded a lot like he was cussing her out in Japanese, and his stream of baby obsenities didn't stop until the needle was removed from his arm. His strongly-voiced objections unnerved her but didn't help his situation in the least.

And then, after his fifteenth sitick in four weeks, one of the lab technicians told me about the numbing salve I could buy at the hospital pharmacy that can be applied twenty minutes before a shot or blood draw so THE BABY CAN'T FEEL ANYTHING WHEN THEY STICK HIM WITH A NEEDLE! Are you freaking kidding me? THAT would have been nice to know about, oh, fourteen sticks ago.

So, the traumatization of Stow took a brief pause as salve was obtained and applied. And twenty minutes later, with no less crying (I mean, he was onto them, after all) but much less pain, three small tubes of blood were successfully drawn from Stow. The whole ordeal took more than an hour. And as we left the lab to go to get his ultrasound, I felt like I was emerging from a long dark night into a new day.

Hopefully, now that we have the salve, future draws will be less traumatic. And hopefully his sharp mind and ninja-like reflexes can eventually be trained to forget those first fifteen sticks ever happened.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Pink P Makes a Stand

"Mommy, I wanted to say 'I love you,' but I said 'Poopyhead' instead. Please don't get mad. It was an accident."

I hear this refrain from Pink P a lot these days (though sometimes she replaces "poopyhead" with "stupid" or "stinky socks" or "poopy bottom"). She certainly brings a sophistication to her mischievousness that Sky could never manage. Not only does she engage in these ill-conceived word games but she also lies and steals. She's a regular juvenile delinquent.

And she's only four.

As you know from previous posts (like this one and this one), Pink P's delinquency is primarily motivated by a strong desire for gum and candy. Sky wouldn't dream of taking Ren's chocolate without explicitly-stated permission. Pink P, on the other hand, won't hesitate to eat chocolate straight from Ren's fingers when he's looking the other way. She hides wrappers under furniture and claims innocence when you ask about the chocolate smudges on her face. Fortunately, her hiding and lying skills tend to falter under pressure, so I can keep up with her....for now. (I hate to think about when she's a teenager!)

She is not easily persuaded by typical forms of punishment or reward, so last week, I tried a new approach. My thinking was that maybe if I gave her more control over her snacks, like I did her brother, she'd stop stealing other peoples' stuff. So, I gave her a fifteen-piece pack of gum and explained the rules for responsible consumption.

#1 Ask Mom or Dad for permission before chewing a new piece.
#2 Don't swallow the gum.
#3 Dispose of used pieces in the trash can.

We went over these three rules a couple of times, and I clearly explained that failure to follow them would result in loss of gum privileges. She agreed, and our experiment was on. It seemed like such a great idea.

And it failed miserably.

All fifteen pieces of gum were gone in less than a day, and she only asked permission to chew the first piece. So, now we're back to a permanent gum embargo for Pink P, which I am sure will lead to more cases of theft and cunning.

In her defense (and I know I shouldn't defend her poor behavior), Pink P needs to establish a place for herself between her sometims mean and often needier older brother and her wholly-dependent and attention-grabbing baby brother. She has chosen to do this by wreaking all sorts of havoc at home (fortunately, she's fine at school). Bless Pink P for making her stand! I just hope it turns into lifelong independent thinking and not multiple stints in juvie.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

And Now Back to Our Regularly-Scheduled Program

"Mom, when your face looks nice but you say something mean, it just confuses me."

Sky said this to me a couple of days ago with a clear sense of conviction. He was responding to how calmly I'd told him that he needed to pick up his toys or they were going to Goodwill. And when he said it to me, I realized we were finally at the other end of a difficult three weeks with Sky. Not only did he properly identify what was bugging him, but he also clearly articulated it to me. (And in that simple sentence he also reminded me how hard he works to sort through and make sense of the myriad social cues he encounters every day. No wonder the kid acts totally nuts sometimes. Between the multiple confusing social cues and the incessant sensory static, he's got a lot on his mind. But that's another story...)

For the three or four weeks leading up to that moment, though, Sky had been way out-of-sync. He'd shown regression at school, with more outbursts and behavioral issues than usual. At home, we seemed to be stuck in a pattern of defiance and fits of anger. I can't imagine anything more heartbreaking and demoralizing than these regressive episodes that seem to come out of nowhere and that offer very little indication of how severe they will be or how long they will last.

This time, the regression started right before he got sick with bronchitis. I can always tell when he is about to get sick. His behavior noticeably deteriorates. In fact, his behavior has become a fairly accurate predictor of when something is going wrong with his body. (Unfortunately, not every regression is tied to illness. Because THAT WOULD BE TOO EASY! Sometimes it's stress, sometimes it's changes at school or home, and sometimes it's just Sky being a seven-year-old boy.)

Ever since his diagnosis, we've been left to our own devices in terms of figuring out what therapies to pursue and where to find them. Someone told me it takes at least six months post diagnosis to feel like you a starting to get a handle on things. By six months, we'd managed to get Sky into occupational therapy and speech therapy. We'd also managed to get him into a social skills group and had made considerable progress on getting support for him at school. We're almost 15 months post diagnosis now, and while Sky has made great strides in terms of his social and pragmatic language issues, there's still a variable--in my head I call it the "plus X"--that I haven't been able to figure out. We know that some of the unwanted stuff comes from his sensory issues. We also know things are worse when he is tired or sick. But lately, I've been trying to make more sense of the biomedical mechanisms involved in what goes on with him. (And, after much searching, I have finally found a doctor who is willing to engage with me in these conversations. Yay!)

I'd like to say that I feel enriched by this experience of trying to make sense of the kaleidoscope that is life with ASD, but I'd be lying. It's hard work, it's never-ending, and the target is always moving (and sometimes even shape-shifting). Am I glad my kid has ASD? No way! Do I love him any less? Of course not! Do I wish there was more support (social, cultural, and financial) for families with kids on the spectrum? Well, duh! But for now, we take what we can get and keep moving forward.

Check out this video from Stim Nation. With grace and humor, it reflects a bit of what it's like to have a kid on the spectrum.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

How I Met Ren, Part 4

Okay, I guess to talk about what happened next, I need to backtrack a bit...

During my two weeks in the hospital, in an attempt to get rid of the stress that seemed to have caused the ulcer, I spent a lot of time trying to figure out what was bugging me. Ironically, the ulcer attack came the same day that I'd signed a contract to stay in Japan for a third year. So, I took the suddenly revolt by my stomach to be a sign that I'd made the wrong decision. Those two weeks in the hospital, I mulled over my decision and tried desperately to figure out if I'd made the right one.

Ren knew about this. Which is why on our first date, as we (or at least one of us) looked out over the city, he told me I should definitely stay in Japan. He probably should have given up right there. Because my response was something to the effect of: "That's nice of you to say, but I've never made a decision based on a man before, and I'm sure not going to now." But, here's the thing about Ren, he's totally cool with me being a dumbass. Totally. Instead of feeling hurt or frustrated, he simply told me to do what I had to do.

Eventually, I decided to stay in Japan. I can't say if Ren influenced my decision or not because I don't remember. I do remember tossing a coin, though. And I suppose you could say the coin landed right side up.

After we'd been dating a month or so, Ren asked asked me if I would marry him. "I don't know," was my honest reply. After all, I wasn't ready to commit to an international marriage or to life in Japan or to being a step mom. I had things I still wanted to do. "That's okay. I can wait," he said.

And he did. For more than two years. He waited while I finished my stint on the JET Program, while I packed up my stuff and said goodbye to all my friends in Japan, and while I moved off to California to do my Master's at Stanford. Not once did he ask me to stop thinking about what I wanted to do. He just waited. And he managed to wait without seeming like he was desperate. Or making me feel guilty. Or even seeming like he was waiting at all. I'm not sure how he did it, but he did.

And then one day, April 21, 1999, to be exact, I said yes. I know the exact date because it was the day after the Columbine shootings. That day, as I drove from my apartment in Mountain View to the Stanford campus 20 minutes away, I thought about those kids who'd left for school that morning with no idea that it would be the last day of their lives. And I realized I needed to quit being scared of the things I didn't know. I didn't know if I could be a good step parent. I didn't know if I could manage an international marriage. I didn't know where we would live or what we would do. But I did know that Ren loved me, and that, in her own way, Big Sissy did, too. And I realized that if I knew that, I knew enough.

So that night, at the end of our daily two-hour phone conversation, I said, "There's something I want to say."

"What?" (Nani?)

"Oh, forget it." (Yappari, ii)

"No, go ahead." (Nan daroo?)

"Do you want to get married?" (Kekkon shiyou ka?)

"Sure." (Hai.)



"Goodbye." (Jaa ne.)

"Goodbye." (Jaa ne.)

Ren must've been in shock, because the next day when we talked, he said, "You know that thing you asked me at the end of the conversation yesterday? Were you serious?"

I was.

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3

Thursday, February 16, 2012

How I Met Ren, Part 3

So here are a few tips from the Ren playbook of luuu~v.

1. Obtain unwitting foreign girl's phone number before she leaves the hospital by promising to introduce her to various mountain trails in Kyushu.

2. Purchase mulitple phone cards to ensure that you have enough minutes to carry on a two-hour conversation on the hall pay phone (much to the chagrin of your fellow patients).

3. Call her, and in the course of your witty conversation, suggest that she stop by when she comes for her follow-up appointment with Dr. Miyajima.

4. When she stops by to say hello, ask her, "So whaddya doing next Sunday?"

At this point, you will totally confuse her because, after all, you are still in the hospital. So you will have to explain the concepts of "gaishitsu" (leaving the hospital for the day) and "gaihaku" (leaving the hospital overnight). When she hears this explanation, she will be flabbergasted because who ever heard of a healthcare system that allows you to stay in the hospital long enough that you actually need chances to go home for a day or two?

5. When you go to pick her up on Sunday, dress your best and take her to the nicest restaurant in town.

6. After a nice meal, take her to the most scenic spot around for a romantic stroll and, at the opportune moment, tell her you think you were meant to be together.


For a guy who hadn't dated in a really, really long time, Ren seemed to find his mojo pretty quickly. I just had a few suggestions:

First, when you take a girl on a date, make sure she knows she's going on a date. (Okay, this one wasn't really his fault. By my second year in Japan, I was used to being asked to meals by all sorts of folks. Since Ren is older, I wasn't sure if we were going on a date or if I would be eating dinner with his kids in exchange for a free English lesson).

Second, while preparing a drink for her to enjoy in the car on the way to the restaurant is an incredibly thoughtful gesture, Pocari Sweat really isn't the drink to set the mood.

Third, don't take a person recovering from a stomach ulcer to a French restaurant and order a five-course meal.

Fourth, when you take her on a stroll to a scenic point overlooking the city, make sure you take your glasses so you can tell her what she's seeing.

Fifth, for the love of God, don't wear your woven leather shoes. I'm sure they were expensive, but they just make her think you might be a middle-aged pimp.

(You know, I actually still kinda feel guilty about these shoes. After the first date, I told Ren I never wanted to see them again. He must've really liked me because I never did.)

Part 1
Part 2
Part 4

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

How I Met Ren, Part 2

On my third day in the hospital, I was finally allowed to join others in the common area and eat my first meal of solid food. And by solid food, I mean okayu with absolutely no seasoning. For the uninitiated, okayu is what happens when you boil your rice for way, way, way too long. It's a lot like watered-down paste. Made from rice. My first meal after three days consisted solely of okayu rice paste and weak tea. Yummmm. But sitting there, gloomily considering the gustatory challenge before me (after all, if I didn't eat it, I wouldn't be promoted to better food and couldn't secure my discharge), I had a chance to look around the room and see for the first time all of my Miyajima 3 floormates. They were either very old or what appeared to be members of the local motorcycle gang (bozozoku).

As I scanned the room, I noticed a not-white-haired, non-bozozoku, and (gasp!) tall Japanese man helping carry trays to various immobile patients. Maybe it was his matching yellow-striped pajamas, maybe it was the fact that he seemed to be born in the same generation as me, maybe it was his towering height (he was surrounded by old people, after all), or maybe it was the kindness he demonstrated to his fellow patients, but Ren stood out to me the moment I first saw him.

Almost immediately, I got the sense that I really needed to talk to that strange, tall man in the matching pajamas. So, after the trays were put away, I lingered in the common area and pretended to study the pictures of mountains hanging on the wall.

"Those are the Japan Alps," said a voice from behind. No kidding. As if reading my mind, Ren walked up to me and started telling me about all the pictures on the wall. From that first conversation, I learned a couple of astounding things. First, Ren, like me, was an avid hiker and spent as much of his free time as possible in the mountains. Second, his father was born and raised in the tiny mountain hamlet that had become my home. The conversation was brief and soon we returned to our rooms.

That night, Ren appeared in my dream. In the dream, we were sleeping side by side. It was a profoundly peaceful dream. Okay, let me stop for a minute (again) and emphasize the point that I don't normally dream about men, or sleeping with men, or sleeping with tall strangers in matching pajamas. But, there you have it, from the first time Ren and I spoke, he had clearly inhabited my subconscious.

"Weird," I thought when I woke up the next morning. It wasn't like I suddenly realized he was the man I'd been waiting for (Ha!). It wasn't even like I planned to talk to him again. But, I did find myself spending more and more time in the common room. And somehow Ren usually showed up. Later I learned that he spent his time waiting for me to go to the common room and then resisting the urge to run out and talk to me whenever he saw me there. But I didn't know that at the time.

When the day of my release finally came, I packed my bag and sat on the bed waiting for my neighbor to come get me. As I sat there waiting, I felt unexpected pangs of regret knowing I would never figure out what was going on with the tall stranger in the hospital room next door. I didn't even know if Ren knew I was leaving, and I certainly had no idea whether he liked me or not. Eventually, I convinced myself that too much free time relaxing in a hospital bed had made me crazy. I barely knew the guy, after all.

This is what I was thinking as I left the room and started walking toward the elevator. My heart started to race a bit when I realized Ren was sitting at a table between me and the elevator talking to a friend. I had no idea what to say as I walked past, or whether I should say anything, or whether I should even acknowledge him.

And then.

He stood up.

If you know me, you know I am not in the least bit romantic, or melodramatic, or prone to much in the way of sappiness, but when he stood up, I swear I could hear violins swell and everything else fell away leaving just the two of us.

"Jya, odaiji ni (Get well soon)," he said.
"Arigatou (Thanks)," I replied.

And then I walked to the elevator, out of the hospital, and to the car, and made my back up into the mountains.

To be continued...

Part 1
Part 3
Part 4

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

How I Met Ren

In honor of Valentine's Day, a little story...

When I moved off to Japan to teach English the summer after college graduation, friends jokingly reminded me not to "find [myself] a man" there lest I end up "staying forever." I thought the chance of finding a boyfriend, much less a life mate, in Japan was pretty slim. First of all, I didn't really believe in dating. Second, I had no burning desire to marry. And third, I couldn't imagine any Japanese man being "my type" (Whatever that means. After all, I had no idea what my type was since I had essentially sworn off dating). Okay, let me stop here to point out that my complete and utter pessimism about dating and marriage had nothing to do with any negative experiences related to dating and marriage. I wasn't the child of divorce, and I had never been dumped, lied to or cheated on. I was just insanely independent and probably too much of a realist for my own good. Marriage was the last thing on my mind.

Fast-forward eighteen months, or approximately half-way through my second year in Japan. By this time, I had traveled through most of Japan and been to China, South Korea, and Thailand on my own. Somewhere in Thailand, it occurred to me that it might be fun to share some of these experiences with someone. It also occurred to me that, at 24, I was tired and maybe ready to settle down a bit. It was a completely unexpected and somewhat unwelcome set of realizations. But, for the first time, I was willing to concede that it might be nice to be married some day. I still wasn't ready to go through the rigmarole of trying to attract a guy and date him, though, so I decided that the only way I would get married is if the whole thing happened so quickly that I didn't know what hit me.

And so it was, one cold February night, up in the mountains of rural Kyushu, that I got a severe stomachache and had to go to the emergency room in the city 45 miles below. After a rough ride down the mountain in the back of a farmer's K-truck, and some fervent banging on the ER room door to awaken the doctor on duty, I was deposited at Miyajima Hospital, where it was determined that I was not dying but would need to stay the night. With no car and no good idea of where I was, and with very rudimentary Japanese, I was at least stuck until someone from my town came to get me the following day. But by then, I had been in Japan long enough to know that no one was coming to get me unless Dr. Miyajima agreed that I could leave. What I didn't know is that unlike the United States, Japanese health insurance enables people to stay in the hospital long enough to recover from whatever ails them. In the end, I was at Miyajima Hospital for two weeks. Two weeks! (It turns out I had an ulcer). And, even then, I basically had to promise my firstborn child to get them to let me out early.

Once I got over the shock of what I perceived to be my unwarranted incarceration, I found hospital life to be pretty enjoyable. As the only non-Japanese person there, I was an instant celebrity, and once I got my electronic dictionary, the mind-numbing string of medical terminology didn't seem so bad. To be honest, I rather enjoyed the lazy afternoons spent chatting with my three roommates (once I got over the fact that I was sleeping in a room, a hospital room, no less, with three complete strangers). The best part was when my parents would call from the US (though I am 100% sure they did not think this was fun at all). Since I didn't have a cell phone, they would call the registration desk at the hospital and ask for me. No one at the desk spoke English, so my parents learned to just call and repeatedly say my name (and I'm sure they said it really loudly because that's what Midwesterners do when they think people don't understand them. They talk louder.) By the time the call was transferred through several nurses stations to me, my parents had spent quite a bit of money in international calling fees (pre-Skype, y'all) and were totally flustered. (Tee hee).

To be continued...

Part 2
Part 3
Part 4

Monday, February 6, 2012

Okay, Who Forgot to Send the Memo to Stow?

Stow obviously did not get the memo. You know, the memo that said he is supposed the be the one I don't have to worry about. Sky with his ASD stuff, and Pink P with the asthma and allergies have managed to shake me from any notion of carefree parenting, but Stow and I had a deal, and the deal was that he would only give me normal things to worry about. (I'm not sure what those things are, but I imagine they must exist).

See, Stow kind of sneaked up on us when we already had our hands more-than-full with Sky--just when we were realizing Sky was on the spectrum and thinking that maybe two kids was all we could handle. Don't get me wrong, I am thrilled to have Stow. I just wasn't necessarily expecting him. (And don't be giving me any grief about this whole unplanned pregnancy thing. Once we found out we were expecting Stow, we learned that just about everyone we knew who had three or four kids didn't expect the last one. In fact, I am lucky number 4 in my family. So it happens. A lot.) Unplanned does not mean unwanted, it just means unexpected, and a bit of "What the heck?!!?!" (As Pink P likes to say).

And at our house, it also means that, statistically speaking, Stow should be the easiest baby in the world.

But, I should know better than to rely on statistics.

A couple of weeks ago, I took Stow to the doctor because he'd gotten pink eye (ironically from Pink P). When they weighed him, he was 17 pounds, which means he was losing weight--falling from the 100th percentile at 4 months to the 10th percentile at 8 months. Which is just weird. I'd attributed the pound difference between his 4 and 6 month check to the fact that we'd changed pediatricians and were using a different scale. But there was no way to explain away the fact that the trend continued. I'm never sure when it's time to panic, but realizing he was losing weight made me want to.

And I did panic, for an afternoon or so. Then I did what I needed to do. I talked to a dietician and to his pediatrician. I made sure we were giving him all the food he was supposed to be getting. We were. But he was still losing weight, so we decided to up the ante. We increased the amount of food he got at meal time, and (gasp!) we started supplementing him with baby formula.

Of course, the introduction of formula was preceded by all sorts of feelings of guilt and failure. How could my milk not be enough? How could I not notice he wasn't thriving on it? How could I let my stress impact the amount and quality of my milk. It didn't help that Ren has an annoying knack for stating the obvious and doing it without much tact. When I told him about the weight loss, he said, "Well obviously your milk is the problem." (Gee, thanks, honey, that made me feel better. Not only is our kid starving, but it's my fault.)Anyway, we started adding a couple of formula feedings on top of the three or four times a day I was already breastfeeding, and we started feeding him an additional four ounces of food at meal time. And in a very short period of time, the kid gained two pounds. Two pounds!

It turns out that not only did Stow miss the memo on not causing me to worry, but he also skipped the tutorial on supply and demand and how it applies to breastfeeding. See, when you are hungry, you indicate that hunger (by crying, for example). Mommy reads the cues and feeds you. Then you eat, and when you eat, Mommy's body knows how much milk to produce. When you are full, you stop eating. If you didn't get enough, you cry. You don't just shrug your shoulders and go back to what you were doing. That's just confusing and counterproductive!

So now we know what we were missing and we're on top of it, but it turns out that even small babies have the power to produce enough crippling mom-guilt to stop me in my tracks for days at a time, and I am reminded that parenting is not (and never will be) for the faint of heart.

More about Stow's poor reading skills here.

Friday, February 3, 2012

Phalluses and Other Inappropriate Symbolism

So the "Phallus" story reminded me of all the times FB friends have asked me to compile some of the kids' famous quotes. Seems like this is as good a time as any. Here are a few:


"Dear Godsus..." (this is how he starts all prayers)

Sleeping Beauty is a wonderful name. "Awake Beauty" is not.

"'C' comes after 'D' [in the alphabet], just like dogs chase cats. See? 'D' follows 'C'!"

Sky: "Mommy, you know how the TV in the TV can see you just like you can see the TV? I forgot and walked past it in my underwear." Being the always alert and attentive mom, I replied: "It's okay as long as you were walking fast."

At 6 a.m. one foggy freezing-rain-and-snow morning in January, Sky informed me, "Mommy, sunscreen keeps you from getting a sunburn."

Overheard in the toy department, "Dear Santa Godsus, please make this toy for me when I am six."

I was trying to have a serious conversation with Sky when, out of the blue, he informed me, "Mommy, I'm a boy so I don't have to wear girl pants." It really does feel like I am talking to myself most of the time.

Sky’s bedtime comment: "I wish Jesus would change the world so that kids could watch as much TV as they want at night." When I pointed out that it wasn't Jesus but Mommy who made that rule, he said, "Well, then I wish Jesus would change Mommy!"

First thing this morning, while my eyes were still closed, Sky whispered in my ear, "Mommy, you can buy Pink P more clothes because she is getting bigger. And you can buy her skirts because I promise not to look under them."

"Mom, let me tell you something I know about kids..."

"Mom, can I eat an apple? I want my tooth to come out, but.....I also want to be healthy."

Sky's explanation of the word "kimono" when he was showing pictures of himself to his preschool friends: "That's the clothes they wear in Mommy and Daddy's TV show when people kill each other." So, to summarize, Kimono=Killing. So much for teaching 5 year-olds cultural awareness!

Maybe Catholic school is not the right choice for a little boy with an overactive imagination. Recently, he told his teacher: "Don't worry. When I am not listening to you, I am listening to the holy spirit."

"Mommy, people make shadows, not shade."

Sky: "Tonight when it's night-night time, can we try our new fireworks?"
Me: "Maybe."
Sky: "But, we have to create fire first." Followed immediately by, "Mom, when acorns get hot, do they make popcorn?"

Sky: Mom, I want to be a twin.
Me: It's too late now honey.
Sky: Why?
Me: Because you're five.
Sky: Jesus can help, I know he can.

I have been talking to Sky about not using descriptive words for people's body types. In particular, we have been trying to remove the word "fat" from his commonly-used vocabulary. So, this morning he says, "I wish you were a little more skinny, Mom. I don't like having a not-skinny Mom, but I really love you."

"Mom, last night I had a 'nightfair.' It was scary, but not scary, too."

Sky’s take on Star Wars: "Storm Jupiters" guard "Dark Raider" and "Y'obama" is a good guy.

Pink: Good night, Mommy.
Me: Good night, I love you!
Pink: I love you, too, Mommy.
Daddy: Night-night Pink P, I love you.
Pink: Shh! Daddy! It's night-night time.

Trying to watch the Florida/Butler game. Every time I say, "Go, Butler!" Both kids say, "Mommy, don't say 'butt!'" Hard to concentrate on the game....

"My mommy likes to park on the curb--sometimes with one wheel and sometimes with two!"

Sky's school essay: "The snake he said 1+0=1. Then he took 4 peesis of choklit. Then he said 2+2=4. Then he ate the 4 peesis of choklit. Then he said 100+100=200. Then he went to get food."

"I got it, Mommy!" After 45 minutes of patiently waiting and numerous failed attempts, Pink P caught the stray cat and excitedly brought it to me....holding it out to me by the base of its tail. Poor, poor kitty. It had no idea what it was up against, and the can of tuna I gave it as an act of reconciliation will probably never erase the trauma of facing off with my three year old.

Pink P: "Mommy, I'm making a princess for you. It's Sleeping Beauty. She's not dead."

Slowed but not Silenced!

Well, I haven't had time to blog, what with the continued saga of Ren's back, a round of pink eye, followed by a round of bronchitis, leading to Sky-rific regressive behavior at school. Then there was the discovery that Stow is losing weight instead of gaining it. Turns out he's just super mellow and if we keep feeding him, he will keep eating, but if we don't, he will just go about his business without raising the slightest suspicion. Who knew he was hungry? Obviously we didn't.

I did get a shout out from RFML today (though, they didn't mention me by name--those of you who have followed Sky's antics for awhile know that only he would name baby Pink P "Phallus." And, no, her real name is not Phyllis). Apparently Lydia thinks Sky's as funny as I do. You can see the link here. And, while you're at it, track back to the video. It's pretty great.

Meanwhile, once I am sane enough to construct a coherent sequence of ideas, I will be back in full force! I've been saving stuff up--lots to tell you, I promise!