Thursday, February 25, 2010

Observant (Or Not)

I have always thought that I would have made a great detective. I think I have an astute attention to detail. I notice things often that others don't notice. I can tell almost immediately upon walking into a familiar space when something is different or has changed. I have in the past described John's activities at home just by looking around at what was different from when I left the house in the morning.

So when the nurse at school called me to tell me about Jack's injury, and I told her I was with him at school and would come by and talk to her, I was surprised when she said, "So you must have seen it."

"Seen what?" I asked.

"The huge lump on his forehead. It's very hard to miss."

I hadn't noticed anything wrong with him, and as I stood in the hall outside of his class talking to the nurse on my cell phone and berating myself quietly for being a bad mother, I wondered why he hadn't told me he was hurt.

"You need to stop by on your way out so we can talk about watching for warning signs of a concussion."

I agreed, and apologized for being a lame mother that doesn't notice a huge lump indicating my child had experienced a potentially concussion-inducing injury.

I went back into Jack's room and made a bee-line for him and his injured head. I started moving his hair around to see the injury. "Mom, gosh, stop it! What are you doing?" He was behaving like a normal 8-year old being embarrassed by his mother in front of his class. "Why didn't you tell me you got hurt?" "Because I didn't."

So I called the nurse back. She was adamant that it was Jack. I asked Jack's teacher, who had taken the injured boy to the nurse, and she said that it wasn't Jack. The nurse was surprised and couldn't figure out what had happened. She either wrote the injured boy's name down incorrectly or the injured boy gave her my son's name for some reason. Jack had not been hurt, and I hadn't failed to notice the goose-egg on his head that the nurse made me feel so bad about not seeing. I felt vindicated.

So a couple of days ago Luke said to me, "I think you need to give me some medicine. Haven't you noticed I've been coughing since Thursday?" I hadn't really noticed. Last night, he complained about not feeling good, but I thought it was just his cold and cough and him trying to get out of school. At bedtime I took his temperature. It was 103. He vomited all night.

So I guess I'm not that observant after all.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Sin City

Here's what you get at New York-New York in Vegas if you ask for a room away from the roller coaster:

That is the view out of our window. We couldn't have been any closer unless we were directly under the tracks. I guess they figure no one is going to sleep in Vegas before the coaster stops running at midnight. They never met me, though.

But, I ended up succumbing to the temptations of the city and was not disturbed by the roller coaster. I stayed up late, I drank beer, I smoked cigarettes, and I gambled (and won!), all the while trying not to think of my grandma and how disappointed she'd be.

I also returned to my normal self upon hitting St. Louis soil. Other than playing poker with the boys and their authentic poker chips we brought them from Vegas, I have no desire to gamble. After stepping on the scale, I have no desire to drink. And my throat is still recovering so I have no desire to smoke. I was in bed last night before 10:00 pm.

I guess you could say I'm boring again. But I was really fun in Vegas.

P.S. Happy Birthday, PeePaul. Enjoy your day off and have a great birthday!

Thursday, February 11, 2010


My mom would hand my sister and I each a metal bowl and spoon. She would tell us to pack the snow down hard into the bowl.

We would bundle up and head into the yard with our tools. We would be careful to walk in a straight line to disturb as small an area of fresh, white snow as possible.

We would scoop the snow, careful not to dig too deeply. Grabbing dirt or grass would render our scoop worthless.

We would scamper from one spot to the next, avoiding any spots with tints of brown, yellow, speckles or other evidence of contamination.

We would fill our bowls, scooping and packing, scooping and packing until snow overflowed the brims.

We would carry our bowls into the kitchen, and then transfer the snow into our cups. A scoop of snow, a pour of Coke, a scoop of snow, a pour of Coke until we had the perfect combination of snow to soda. The perfection of a winter slushy.

This week, we finally had a snow day. I told my boys about winter slushies with the fondness and nostalgia of an adult longing for the simple pleasures of childhood. They seemed willing to try. What they weren't willing to do was collect the snow.

So I collected the snow careful to avoid even the most minuscule speck of off-white knowing Jack would refuse to try the slushy if he thought the snow was dirty.

I transferred the snow into cups and poured in the soda. I added straws. I took the slushies to my boys. I waited for the reaction.

I got a "gross" from both of them. I was amazed. Maybe the delicious taste is rooted in the preparation, and they did not participate in that step.

So, I guess my hope of carrying on the winter slushy tradition has been dashed. I guess I will have to stick with the winter tradition of Jack putting snow down Luke's neck as soon as we walk out the door.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Luke's Special Night

Jack had his first sleepover at a friend's house. They got to go to Monkey Joe's and stayed until it closed. Then they went to Incredible Pizza and stayed there until it closed. Then they went to the friend's house and watched a movie and played games. They were up until 2:00 am. They got up at 6:00 am the next morning. I don't know if that mom is my hero or my worst enemy.

When Luke heard about all of the fun things Jack was going to get to do, John and I told him he could have his own special night. He could pick where he wanted to go, where he wanted to eat, what he wanted to do after, and where he wanted to sleep.

He picked Texas Roadhouse for dinner, then we came home and played penny-ante poker. He slept in a sleeping bag in front of the fire.

Little did I know I was raising an old west cowboy.

Monday, February 1, 2010

My Fifteen Minutes of Fame

Up until now, we have avoided Kidz Bop. Jack and Luke are both music lovers and have preferred to listen to the real deal, which just happens to be much of the same music that John and I like. When they heard Fireflies by Owl City on an ad for Kidz Bop 17, they asked John to buy it. And when John found out it came with a bonus CD, Kidz Bop sings the Beatles, he couldn't resist. I guess that is his sneaky way of getting the kids to listen to the Beatles since they won't do it through Rock Band.

I find Kidz Bop to be a slightly more annoying version of the songs that get overplayed on the radio. But I do enjoy listening to Jack and Luke sing and a couple of my favorite songs made it onto Kidz Bop 17, though I suspect that after a few rounds of hearing them performed in this fashion they will be crossed from my favorites list.

One of the songs on the CD is Paparazzi. I explained to the boys what the word paparazzi means. They asked me if I have ever been "a paparazzi." I said no, but that I was famous once and was hounded by paparazzi. They did not believe me. In fact, they told me to shut up.

I felt I had to redeem myself, so I told them that in college I was famous because I was the Queen of Love and Beauty. Their eyes got wide. "Are you teasing?" they asked.

"No, I am not."

After a pause for reflection, Jack said, "Dad got really lucky."

Luke said, "All the boys must have wanted to marry you."

I didn't deny it, choosing rather to bask in the glory of their awe. Especially considering that the day before I had spent most of the day labeled by them as "Trash Lady."