Treading Water

Because my swimming skills rival those of Michael Phelps, I will use a swimming analogy: for the past four days, I have been treading water.

Since last winter I have had it on my calendar. Watch Court’s kids for four days while he and Alyx are in San Diego at her friend’s wedding. For months, I would swallow the foreboding feeling that arose as I anticipated the event. As the date neared, I fought heart palpitations and nausea. Two-year-olds are scawwy.

Don’t get me wrong; you KNOW I love my grands. And I spend as much time as I can with them, and gladly so. But at the end of a busy day, they go back – filled full of sugar and content with a life with few boundaries – to their parents, who then have to deal with the after effects. It’s our revenge for the nights we laid awake listening for their car and all of the bad report cards.

But this time there would be no handing over of children, at least not for a number of days. Bill and I would be IT. Those three children would be our charges for FOUR SOLID DAYS.

We lived, and so did they, but I’m not too proud to say that I am very tired.

It’s rather a blur, I will admit. I had thought we would be doing all sorts of activities and taking field trips that would rival those of a Montessori school. I envisioned healthy snacks and cooking adventures. What I got was four days of keeping them alive, reasonably well-fed, a not-completely-horrifying bedtime hour, lots and lots and lots of laughter, and a few tears.

In the midst of all of the unanticipated chaos, I vaguely recall making several trips to Panda Express for orange chicken and McDonald’s for hotcakes (both for the same meal). At some point Cole fell off one of the kitchen chairs, hitting the back of his head on the ceramic tile below. I immediately began reaching into the depths of my brain to recall Court’s health insurance information. By the time I picked him up to comfort him, however, the tears had nearly stopped. He, my friends, is the toughest kid known to man. Probably comes from being the littlest in the family. He didn’t even have a bump.

Speaking of Cole, by Sunday afternoon, he was calling me Mommy. I guess he figured he could have done worse. Jen came Sunday for the day and spent the night. When I became Mommy she was promoted to Nana. Pecking order in the mind of a 2-year-old.

Bill, who like me, appreciates the predictable order of his days, showed great patience and restraint. He spent quite a bit of time in his office with the door closed. And he hardly grimaced at all when I told him Saturday night that the toilet was backing up. Kaiya and Mylee were a big help as they ran around holding their noses and squealing in horror. Too much toilet paper and it was fairly easily fixed. Says the woman who didn’t have to touch the plunger.  I had a talk with the girls about just how much toilet paper is actually necessary in this first world country.

At various points of the past few days, the cousins stopped by as well. And this was much to Kaiya’s and Mylee’s delight. Cole finds the attention offputting. I’m just a normal boy, he seems to be saying to Dagny and Addie, both who want to smother him with love. Addie, sensing the kids needed something interesting to keep them busy (perhaps seeing the fear in my eyes), at one point set up a little outdoor classroom in which she demonstrated making a volcano using some of my kitchen supplies. I recall corn starch, vinegar and water leaving my pantry. The kids loved it…..

addie-and-zierks-volcano

They also loved making slime. A simple activity involving nothing more than Elmer’s glue, Borax, food coloring, and water…..

making-slime

Then there was the fashion show, featuring an enthusiastic Kaiya, Dagny, and Maggie Faith, and a less-than-enthusiastic Mylee, donning various scarves and other paraphernalia they gathered from my dress-up box. At some point, one of them happened upon my make-up bag and let me just tell you there was lipstick involved. And lots and lots of fragrance. Much fragrance. Fragrance that at some point becomes not fragrant.

But Monday night, I tucked Kaiya and Mylee and Cole into their own beds in their own bedrooms in their own house, kissed them goodnight and reminded them that when they woke up the next morning, Mommy and Daddy would be there.

I would do it again, my friends. Just let me catch up on my sleep and get the Mickey Mouse Clubhouse theme song out of my head. Oh, and finish cleaning up the slime that I still find in unexpected corners.

Thursday Thoughts

Home Again
Now that we are back in Colorado, at least for a bit, it is back to our regular routines. Like flossing regularly. Except that now I read that the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services is saying flossing probably isn’t necessary. Whaaaaaat? If I did my math right (which I’m sorry to say isn’t a given despite a very good high school algebra teacher), that means I have wasted something like 448,950 seconds of my adult life unnecessarily flossing. Those are seconds I could have spent on more important activities like playing Pokemon GO. And by the way, should the Department of Health and Human Services be worrying more right now about the Zika virus and less about our oral hygiene? Just sayin’….

Can We Watch Julia Child?
Kaiya, Mylee, and Cole were visiting the other day. As I was scrolling through Netflix to find something that we all could watch without having to cover anyone’s eyes, 7-year-old Kaiya noticed that Fixer Upper was on my Netflix list. “I like Flip or Flop a lot better,” she informed me, referring to a popular HGTV show. “You watch Flip or Flop?” I asked her, and she nodded. In the meantime, 6-year-old Mylee was lobbying for Cupcake Wars. What ever happened to Captain Kangaroo? I’m relieved to say that 2-year-old Cole was perfectly content with Mickey Mouse Clubhouse, which he refers to as Mee Mow. He hasn’t yet discovered HGTV or Food Network, although I’m pretty sure his father is encouraging a strong interest in SportsCenter.

Puzzling
A couple of years ago, I got into puzzles. I had a puzzle going all of the time, both in Denver and in Arizona. My puzzle-of-choice is Springbok, with its large sturdy pieces, and even more important, the pieces of all different shapes. Before I got distracted from working on puzzles, I had discovered White Mountain puzzles and developed sort of a love affair with them and their busy, nostalgic content. As of late, I have no longer been working on puzzles. But the other day, Bec and I visited the Denver Art Museum (someplace I hadn’t been for probably 25 years), and, as is always the case, we stopped in the gift shop. I do love me some museum gift shops. I walked over to the puzzles and found a White Mountain puzzle depicting different memories/places/tourist attractions of Colorado. On impulse, I bought it. I spent a bit of time in the first stage – separating the pieces that make up the puzzle’s frame from the other pieces, and then dug in. And was immediately hooked once again… And yes, that’s a gin and tonic next to the puzzle. All the better to think spatially…

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Expired
The other day I was rooting through our medicine chest trying to locate a bottle of aspirin that I was sure was somewhere. I finally found it, not in the medicine cabinet but in the little cabinet right next to it. I was distraught to see that it had expired many years ago. It occurred to me that my bathroom cabinets were probably full of all manner of expired products, and I undertook a thorough examination. By the time I was finished discarding bottles of expired medications and other products, my medicine cabinet was practically empty. The winner (or loser, depending on your outlook) was a bottle of prescription eyedrops with Bill’s name on the label that expired in 1986. That was long before we were married, meaning he moved that bottle at least twice after it had expired. I am thankful, however, that he likely hasn’t actually USED the drops for – using Abraham Lincoln’s vernacular – over a score. I was surprised I didn’t come across Castor Oil or laudanum.

Packing My Bags
I have mentioned before that I am a sucker for all of the various and sundry quizzes and lists offered by Facebook. The other day I came across a list of what the “perfect women’s body” is in various countries. I was delighted to read it because I learned that I don’t actually have to lose any weight. I just need to move to either Colombia or Romania. I think I’ll like the food better in Colombia.

Ciao. Gotta go work on a puzzle….