Under the Influence. Of Anxiety.

T shouting, “Mom! C is eating play doh!” Me shouting right back, “I. Am. Pooping! I cannot do anything about it right now!”

That moment perfectly captures the feel of the last two days.

My hormones are not in a happy place. Could be the first month on a new birth control pill. Could be the weaning. Could be freaking-out-about-my-class anxiety. Or we-are-broke anxiety. Or our-annual-Christmas-trip-to-see-family-is-going-to-involve-just-as-many-miles-in-under-two-weeks anxiety. Or I-have-an-anxiety-disorder anxiety.

My boobs. They still have milk. After some googling this morning I’ve learned that extended nursers can take up to a year to stop producing small amounts of milk. UP TO A YEAR! I’m certainly not engorged. Not in real pain. They just feel a little full, a little achey. Like they have a job to do.

I want to move on. Like C has moved on. I can actually sit on the nursing rocker with him in my arms and sing him to sleep at nap time. He doesn’t even ask to nurse anymore. As I hold him I’m grateful. One of my biggest fears in weaning him was I wouldn’t be able to cuddle with him because he would want to nurse.

How do I move on when my damn boobs are betraying me? Constantly reminding me that I want to be nursing him.

So I’ve been a crank. No patience for Z or the boys. Anxiety and anger bubbling close to the surface.

Last night Z and I decided that T needed to clean up the legos on the floor of his room before he went to bed. I told him that they should be put away by the time I got his cup of ice water or he’d lose his story. He grumpily got on the floor and started tossing them into the bin. He was still there and still working when I got back upstairs. So I didn’t take away his story. I sat and helped him.

Bedtime proceeded as usual. We got into bed and read a book. He turned off his light, took a sip of water, got into bed. I started singing to him. Halfway through Rudolf the Red Nosed Reindeer he put his hand over my mouth and said, “No more songs. Just cuddles.”

Ok. Pretty damn rude, but I don’t love the singing portion of events myself. We cuddled.

T, “After tonight I never want you to do my bedtime again. Never. Ever. You are never allowed to do my bedtime. Forever.”

Um, what the fuck?

Here’s the thing. He really hurt my feelings. And it isn’t like I haven’t admitted worse about myself here, but I’m deeply ashamed of how I felt. When someone hurts my feelings my initial impulse is to hurt them worse. I wanted to lash out at T. Make him feel like shit. I wanted him to lie awake after I left for the night, eaten up with guilt for being so nasty.

Dear god, I am an asshole.

Thankfully I was able to stop myself from being cruel to my four year old son. I was able pause and really think about how I wanted to deal with my hurt.

In the pause he told me he was upset that he didn’t get to hide under the bed.

Oh.

You see, when I get his ice water he hides. In his mind his hiding place is a mystery to me. But he always goes under his bed. I pretend to prowl around the room looking for him. And eventually I crouch down and yell, “BOO!” He screams with delight.

He loves it. What I should have known is he depends on it. Because he is as much a creature of habit as I am. Cleaning up the legos fucked with the program and he was furious.

I offered to let him hide. After a couple of minutes I whipped my head under the bed and yelled, “BOO!” On cue, he screamed with delight.

We cuddled again after he crawled back into bed. “T. Listen. When you say things like you never want me to put you to bed you really hurt my feelings. You need to apologize to me. Because I seriously felt terrible when you said that. But no matter what I love you very much. And I will always love you. If you are upset about something you need to explain that to me rather than being mean. Remember what Daddy and I said on our walk today? Just don’t be mean. That is the number one lesson we want you to learn in life. Don’t be mean.”

Sometimes it has been a shitty couple of days. But when it matters you rally and are not a despicable asshole to your young son. Yet another swift kick to the balls, Anxiety. I win.

heartbreaker

My heartbreaker. Kid needs routine. I need to remember that.

nose picker

Digging for treasure.

middle finger

Ah. Yes. This. Well, it is only fair to talk about the real crap jogging days if I’m going to celebrate the awesome days. I’ve broken 10 minutes doing a mile once well over a month ago. Tried to do it again on Thursday and today. Thursday my time was 10:01. Today? 10:00. When you try as hard as you can, when you push yourself and it just isn’t good enough, man, it fucking blows.

Bedtime

T and I were still in the bathroom when I heard Z ask C to pick out three books at bedtime last night. That has always been my job. Bedtime with C has been a special routine for C and me ending with me nursing him every night. I was putting lotion on T as I listened to Z and C. I broke down crying. T stretched his arms out wide and collapse into me. “It’s ok! I’m sorry you’re sad!”

Of course I cried harder.

Z and I let ourselves be sad in front of the boys. We want them to think sadness is ok, that it is normal. We hope they are sad much less than they are happy, but we don’t want them to hide their sadness or be ashamed of it.

A couple of minutes later in T’s room I was getting ready to read his story. He hopped down from the bed and grabbed his blue baby and a small scrap of cloth laying on the nightstand. “I almost forgot to wash you!” he said to the baby. He gently swabbed baby’s face with the cloth. “There! Now you are clean. I love you!” And he kissed the baby’s mouth once, twice, three times and set him down.

My heart melted. I was sitting in a puddle of love and sentimentality. My big boy can be loving and gentle and kind.

He reached for the stuffed batman doll that was lounging next to blue baby. T grabbed batman’s arm and pointed it at me, “Pew pew pew pew!”

He was shooting at me.

I burst into laughter. Keeping up with the mood swings of a four year old is impossible. Yes, he is compassionate and tender and loving and happy…and frustrated and disappointed and aggressive and he tests limits. Often all at the same time. He cracks me up. I think I’m going to quite enjoy being a part of his bedtime routine. I’ve missed it.

Both boys went down for bed just fine last night. I was a much bigger wreck than C was. The real challenge will be putting him down for nap time today. This is going to be gut wrenching for a few days. And then it won’t be. Just like the pacifier situation. He don’t look for pacifiers any more, he don’t ask for them. He is a resilient kid who rolls with the punches.

Not to change the subject, but I’ve got a bit of a problem. I currently own one non-nursing bra. One. Last spring Z and I went through our clothes and did a salvation army run. I tried on my bras and only one fit, so I got rid of the others, not that there were many of them to begin with. I don’t have any tanks with the built-in bra other than nursing tanks. Wearing the nursing stuff is just going to make me sad. Also the tanks are falling apart. We are really broke right now, but I need to address this situation. That said I am rocking the real bra today. The proper support feels pretty darn nice I must say. So I guess there is an upside to this weaning business…

c good morning

C was dressed and eating a cereal bar by 6:01am this morning. Between 6 and when he went to school at 9 we kept him busy enough so he only asked to nurse twice. We even gave him his first haircut.

T rough morning

At 6:05am this guy was much less excited about facing the day.

first and second batch

First and second batch of kombucha! My gifted scoby is growing a lovely new scoby. Yesterday I drank a serving. Holy shit. It is amazing, if I do say so myself! Fizzy and vinegary goodness!

Pacifier

This is my fault. I still think of C as a baby and it is a major disservice to him. He will always be my baby, T will also always be my baby. But C is the youngest, the last one. Accepting that he is growing up means accepting it is time to start letting go tiny bit by tiny bit, a torturous process I’m guessing I’ll wrestle with for the rest of my life.

His delayed speech has made it easier for the baby charade to continue. It’s been an excuse for so much. How can we transition him to a big boy bed if we can’t have a conversation with him? How can we potty train him? How can I wean him when he is so comforted by breastfeeding? How will he understand when we take the pacifier away? The truth is he understands language. I simply do not give him enough credit. It isn’t fair to him.

Last January we explained to him that he could only have the pacifier at night. Sometime over the spring he started taking two pacifiers to bed-one in his mouth, one to hold. And he’d switch back and forth between the two as he settled. Sometimes he’d lose them overnight and cry until we got them for him, but it was occasional-a small price to pay for a good night’s sleep. A couple of weeks ago he started losing the pacifiers more often. And more often. And more often. Suddenly Z and I have found ourselves up half a dozen times a night. We are at our wits’ end.

I need to be on a daily maintenance med for anxiety. Not only for my mental health, but for the health of the entire family. It isn’t fair to Z and the boys that the anxiety has been so acute lately. It puts a strain on everyone. I need to wean him in order to start the drugs. I’m still struggling with the letting go.

Parenting is triage so much of the time. It is easier to get up in the middle of the night every once in a while to pop a pacifier into his mouth than it is to deal with the struggle of taking the pacifier away. Until the day you wake up and realize you are getting up six times a night. A monster exists. And you created it by taking the path of least resistance.

So the time has come for us to do the hard work. Yesterday when C got up we asked if he was a big boy. He nodded. We told him big boys don’t need pacifiers. We suggested that we give all his pacifiers to our friend who is expecting a baby soon. We talked about it on and off all morning. I put him down for nap without one. It was terrible. He wept. I cried because when he hurts I hurt.

And then he slept for three and a half hours.

Last night it was another struggle, but he went down without a pacifier again. He did wake at 4am. And dude was up for the day. So this is going to take some work, this no pacifier deal, but we are facing it. We are back to making choices rather than letting the whims of a two year old dictate our behavior. He needs us to parent a hell of a lot more than he needs us to fetch his pacifier.

And in a few weeks I will wean him. The goal is for him to be done with the boob by the time we embark on our annual winter sojourn down south to see family. A friend was kind enough to come by yesterday to talk to me about how she weaned her daughter. She had great advice. And she listened, really listened to me. Which was a huge kindness. The talk made me feel armed with information. It reminded me that weaning him isn’t going to ruin his life. Kind of embarrassing that I needed that reminder, but I’ve gotten myself ridiculously spun up over this.

In other news, C’s speech therapy is going swimmingly. He has picked up a few words after about a month of sessions and both he and T love his therapist. He is working hard to overcome the communication issue. Z and I are working hard on letting him become a big boy.

bumblebee c

My littlest man rocking his brother’s Bumblebee costume.

family cuddles

The fam. Last night we cuddled on the sofa and watch Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire.

still running

The only social media my Dad follows is Instagram. He digs the pictures my sister and I post of our kiddos. Yesterday we were chatting and he asked me if I was still jogging. “Five days a week.” I told him. He wanted to know why I wasn’t posting pictures anymore. I told him I thought they were boring. And he told me it was the way he knew I was still doing it. He and my Mom have been wonderful cheerleaders during my foray into exercising. He asked for another picture. Guess he needs evidence. I’m in love with the top I’m wearing, by the by. Super comfortable and great for chilly days with the high neck and thumb slits so it goes over the hands.

Decay

T asked what the word god meant the other day. Talk about feeling unprepared.

“Some people believe that there is a higher being who looks over humans. The higher being is god.” Ugh, a four year old can’t comprehend that. But it was all I had. The conversation meandered until it somehow reached death.

Eventually I asked, “What do you think happens after you die?”

He looked at me like I was an idiot. “I will decay.”

In the wise words of the Dead Milkmen, “Jumping Jesus on a pogo stick!

When we were at my folk’s this summer T and my Dad watched some show on PBS Kids. That night T woke with nightmares about Decay. I assumed Decay was a bad guy on Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles or something. Nope. The show they watched was about science. There was a jack-o-lantern in a classroom and after a period of time they showed it all collapsed and decaying. Unbeknownst to my father T was basically scarred for life by the rotting pumpkin. Little man talks about decay all the time now. The nightmares have also continued.

Cut to bedtime last night. Z was on campus at a lecture given by Tony Kushner (according to Z it was awesome) so I put both boys down. At first everything was normal with T. I got him ice water. We read a book. He turned off the light. I tucked him in and snuggled beside him. I started to sing I’ll Fly Away.

“Some bright morning when this life is over I will fly away” Didn’t get much further than that when T burst into tears. “I don’t want to die!” he choked out. “Stop singing that song!”

We’ve been singing that to him since he was born, it is one of his favorites. I didn’t realize he’d been paying attention to the words. Hastily I started singing Wagon Wheel instead. But the tears continued. This wasn’t T trying to get out of going to bed. He was terrified. “Mama, cuddle me really tightly! I don’t want to die. I don’t want to be alone. I’ll miss Daddy. Daddy is my best friend. Where is Daddy? I need Daddy?”

“Oh baby, Daddy is at work. He’ll be home later.”

“Call him. Call him and tell him to come home. I need him.”

“Baby, when he gets home he will come in and hug you. I promise you. Right now I am with you. What is going on? Why do you think you are going to die?”

“I am going to die! And I don’t want to! I don’t want to be alone! I want to be with Daddy and Mommy and Charlie! I don’t want to die!”

“Baby, baby, baby. You are not going to be alone. You are not. Do you know what I believe? I believe there is something inside us that makes us who we are. Our soul. And our soul never dies. If it loves other people it will always be with those other people. You and Daddy and Mommy and Charlie will always always be together. We love each other that much. And I don’t think you are going to die anytime soon. I think you will live to be a very old man.”

“Mama, I don’t want to die! I don’t want to decay!”

“People believe so many different things about what happens when you die. Some people believe that you are reincarnated. That means that you are born again after you die. Some people believe in heaven, which is a place you go forever with the people you love. Some people believe that nothing happens. You get to decide what you believe.”

“I want to be born after I die.”

He cried for a long time. I held him tight and tried to hide my own tears from him, tried to make him feel safe. I asked him why he was so worried about death, but he couldn’t explain it. Finally, finally he settled.

I, on the other hand, was badly shaken. What. The. Fuck? I felt sick to my stomach. His distress was so palpable, so overwhelming. How do you help a kid who is scared to die? Did I tell him the right things? Did I make it worse? I don’t want to lie to him. I can’t bring myself to tell him he won’t die. Death is the only thing I am sure of when it comes to his life. That and he will be loved by his family.

These are the moments that scare me the most when it comes to parenting. More than when he is sick or hurt. What is the right way to help your child navigate complex emotional problems faced by every member of humanity? As an agnostic how do I explain god? As someone just as frightened of death as he is how do I ease the burden that we all carry- that every one of us will die? How do I talk about an afterlife when my beliefs are shaky at best?

This child I love so fiercely, my boy who is already an overthinker, who is filled with fear, who is anxious, who is terrified of nighttime, how do I help him? It seems like it should be easy, he and I are so alike. So far I can feel his pain perfectly. His fear slips into my heart where it grabs the hand of my own terror. I didn’t think I had room for more anxiety inside me, but he has proven me wrong. I will always be able to absorb his. But what good does that do? I want to help him, not just understand him.

When Z came home I explained what happened. Z had tears in his eyes. T hadn’t brought up death to him, the whole thing seemed out of left field. Z did go up to T’s room and hug his sweaty little sleeping body. T slept through the night and well past his usual wake up time. Z and I both went in to wake him. C joined us and there was a family pileup in T’s single bed.

He didn’t bring up death this morning. At school I asked his teacher and he hasn’t been talking about it there. Who knows? Maybe he’ll only be scared at night time. That’s how it was for me when I was his age. Maybe it will pass for a while. Maybe long enough for me to take a philosophy class on death and dying so I’ll be better equipped to help him. I’m kidding. Kind of.

serious face

Photos by Ellie Leonardsmith

Let’s end this one on a happy note. Z’s sister, our sister-in-law, and their daughter visited this weekend. Ellie is an amazing photographer and she took some family shots. If you are reading this in an RSS feed you might actually want to pop over to the blog itself if you are interested in seeing the new header picture. This was our “serious face” one. I really almost chose it for the header….

leonardsmiths

The lovely Aunt Dr. Kelsey and Aunt Ellie along with Graylyn.

cousins

Cousins! So many blue eyes!

happy k z

This man. He makes me so happy.

There will be more photos from the shoot on the next several posts. Ellie is amazing. If you are in the Twin Cities area and need a photographer check her out.

Grumpy Old Lady

Syracuse rocks in the summer. Last night the heat and humidity broke. I’m not sure it made it out of the 70s today. It is lush and green and comfortable. And the students aren’t around.

I know, I know. That sounds really bitchy. Especially considering without the students Z would have no one to teach. Especially considering I was one of the students for the last two semesters.

I went to a tiny college that put the liberal in liberal arts. There weren’t any sororities or fraternities  Hell, there were only about 6 straight guys who were undergrads. OK, the drug culture was overwhelmingly severe, but I avoided most of it by choosing to live in substance free housing and then moving off campus (a rarity-the dorms were all singles after first year) as soon as second year was over.

SU is a party school. It is a sorority/fraternity school. It is a sports school. Z and I were bewildered when we first moved here. These are not our people. But it’s good to be exposed to new stuff. And the school is large enough that we were able to find our people over time.

Still, when the kids come back in the fall it is a bit depressing. We live in walking distance from campus, in the University neighborhood. We are around the corner from the small business district. It is a fantastic location and I wouldn’t want to live elsewhere. But. That first fall we lived here our car was broken into. Then an extremely drunk kid tried to push his way into our house. He was basically wrestling with Z while I held newborn T and my phone. He only left after I yelled that I was dialing 911. That stuff really made us feel unsafe in our home. It was before we found friends. Before we learned that during the first few weeks of the semester the kids do drunken treasure hunts (that would be the car break in-only some CDs and the registration were taken and the next day the registration was thrown into our neighbor’s yard). So seemingly harmless stuff, but still not very cool.

Cut to tonight. Our yard turned into a jungle during our month and a half absence. We’ve been feverishly weeding and tidying and mulching. Most of it is done, but the ivy that grows on the side of our garage near the back of our property is trying to overtake the poor shrubs that live beside it. So I was absentmindedly weeding. And suddenly I pulled up a clump with something dangling off the bottom.

wallet in yard - Version 2

Yup. A wallet.  With an SU ID. Yup, I edited his name off of the photo. Because I’m not that much of an asshole.

At first I thought it had been stolen and tossed in our yard. But that theory made less sense as Z and I went through it. There were his bank card, drivers license, insurance card, credit cards. Also, it was just too far from the street to be tossed back where I found it.

5er in wallet

A five dollar bill had partially disintegrated and adhered to the cloth of the wallet. And look! A little slug made its home there as well!

robe swing

This wallet was not stolen. It was lost. In the back of our yard…..near the really awesome rope swing.

Z and I started to get angry. This little entitled shithead was in our backyard. What the fuck? Judging from the dates on the cards he was here sometime after 2010 and he is still a student at SU now. It look me about three minutes to find his parent’s phone number online. I called, got the machine, stared to explain who I was and what I had found whilst weeding and his Dad picked up. He was very friendly and told me the boy had lost the wallet during a night he had no memory of about a year and a half ago when he was a freshman. He said he was going to get the kid so he could maybe “shed some light on the subject.” I asked him to hold on a moment. Explained that the wallet had everything in it including $5. I told him it clearly wasn’t stolen. I explained about the awesome rope swing. I said, “Your son lost his wallet while he was in my backyard.” There was a very awkward pause. He said he was getting his son.

The young man’s voice was sheepish when he introduced himself. He asked me to cut up and discard what I’d found since it had all been replaced. I had told his Dad there was a walmart giftcard and the kid told me to keep anything of value. I asked him if he remembered a yard with a rope swing. He told me he didn’t remember anything. I believe him. I’m sure he was completely shit-faced. The call was wrapping up. And I couldn’t help myself. “Dude. Listen. You’ve got to stay out of people’s backyards.” “Okey,” he replied.

Whole thing seems kind of benign, huh? What am I upset about? A year and a half ago in the middle of the night I was in my home with my husband, toddler, and newborn. This kid isn’t small, judging from the pictures probably 180 or so. Considerably larger than Z and me. He was so drunk he can’t remember the evening. He probably wasn’t alone. What if we discovered him? What if a confrontation happened? He and his friends were in a fenced in area past the house, they were nowhere near the street. The idea frightens both Z and me.

Yes, kids will be kids. But there is no reason to be an out of control dickweed. Tonight Z and I talked about when we were college freshman–we weren’t angels, but we never went on private property while blotto. Hell, I don’t think either of us roamed residential neighborhoods while partying. And I’ll tell you what, if one of my boys pulls a stunt like this when they are teens they will be in extremely deep shit.

Don’t be assholes, kids. Respect yourselves and those around you. And stay in school. Love from your neighborhood grumpy old lady.

zombie c

But seriously. You come on my land I set my zombie child on you. This is what he looked like after eating a kid who ran into our yard to retrieve a lost football.

Night Fear

After telling T that I was done, done, done. Done. DONE. That I wouldn’t go back up to his room. That he would be in huge trouble if he called for me. After telling him all that I joined my father in the living room and said, “I hate myself right now.”

T is scared at night. It’s been going on for the last few months. We talk about what scares him. I make up stories about what will protect him. At our house it is his Star Wars Sheets, the Millenium Falcon toy that hangs from his ceiling, the blinds and curtains which are magic and won’t let the bad guys in. At my folk’s house it is his bear shirt and tiger. When we go out to eat and the cutlery is wrapped in a napkin with a rectangle of paper pasted into a circle I carefully open it and draw treasure maps and teenage mutant ninja turtles for him. A pile of them protected him last night.

The usual stuff didn’t comfort him. He told me he was still scared. But I was frustrated. I need a few fucking hours to myself before doing it all again in the morning. I told him I was done. I told him not to be scared. And I left.

When I was T’s age I was terrified of night time. As I would lay in bed, sure that someone was coming to murder me, I’d swear to myself that I’d figure out how to comfort my own child someday.

T has a long bedtime routine filled with special attention and traditions. I want to be able to take away his fear. I want to live up to the promises I made myself as a terrified little girl about how I’d raise my own kids. And yet I had the balls to tell him not to be scared. Total bullshit. He is scared. It is legitimate. And it is piss poor parenting for me not to validate his feelings. Piss poor.

I’m tapped out. I can’t figure out how to comfort him. I can’t figure out how to comfort myself. Lately my whole day is focused around how many hours there are until bedtime when I can get away from the kids. I forget to be grateful for everything I have and fantasize about how awesome it must be to get a break from the day to day. I am jealous of Z. I know he misses us, but I also know how incredible it must be to sleep alone for a month with zero responsibility for any other humans. I resent him for getting the break. I hate myself for being such a petty bitch.

I fail at this parenting business. I put my scared kid to bed and left because I can’t be Mom for one more fucking second in this day, really I can’t be Mom tomorrow either but I don’t have  a fucking choice. I hate myself. I hate myself for failing him. And I hate the parents who get it right. Those who have endless reserves of patience and understanding. Parents who soldier on even though they haven’t gotten a lot of sleep. Parents who don’t yell. Parents who are winning at this raising-small-humans gig.

I’m a bad mom. I’m a bad mom. I’m not good enough for him. I fail him constantly. I’m selfish and I want to escape. I fail him. I suck. I hate myself. And it would be easy to wallow in it all. Thankfully I recognize that rolling around in the filth of my self loathing is a well established pattern. It’s my mental illness taking over–I suck and I will always suck and there is nothing I can do about it.

Fuck that. I’m not doing that anymore. My boys are too important. There is something I can do to help the situation. I can start over tomorrow. He isn’t getting another Mom. I’m the Mom he’s got. So I will attempt to do better.

I love him so much. I love him and his brother and his father. I love him and I will fail him and I will have to try and do better the next day countless times as I’m raising him. Christ, it is painful.

splash

It rained all day and we were stuck inside. Out of desperation I took them into the rain after dinner to splash in puddles.

t in rain

He asked me to take his picture and then did this nonsense.

c in the rain

My very wet littlest man.

Pee Monster

It has been a shit week for anxiety and that is what I should be writing about because the writing helps me face what is going on. But I can’t right now. I just can’t. Maybe tomorrow I’ll be less of a coward.

So one more bedtime story and then I promise I’m done. We are running out of bodily fluids anyway. I mean, unless he asks me to tell him a story about Puke Monster. But what are the chances? Ok, ok, in this house the chances are pretty great…

The events of yesterday’s post actually happened on Monday night. Didn’t get around to writing it down until yesterday. On Tuesday night he did not get a bonus story, he just went to sleep when he was supposed to. And I felt all self righteous and like we were doing an awesome job as parents.

Yesterday was a rough one in T Land. He is acting out a lot. He is frustrated. We are frustrated. As I was nursing C at bedtime I heard T weeping and screaming from his room. He wouldn’t listen and Daddy took away his book. When Z and I met up in the hall Z said T wanted me to tell him a story. I asked if it was cool with Z if I did that being he’d taken story time away and Z said it was, so while Z tried to figure out where the FUCK the chirping sound was coming from that had been happening every 40 seconds for almost 8 hours I crawled into bed with T.

“Dude. What the heck. You have been a mess today. You need to have a good sleep so tomorrow you can really have the energy to listen and then Daddy will read a book at bedtime!”

“But I WANT Daddy to read a book today.” he whined.

“Nope. I don’t think so. If you wanted the book you would have done what he asked before he counted to three. He was very clear about what would happen if he go to three. So you made the choice not to have the book, babe. And I think tomorrow you’ll make a different choice. Now I’ll tell you a quick story. What do you want it to be about?”

“Ummmm,” he was clearly thinking, “I’d like a story about Pee Monster. And Batman.”

“Who the heck is Pee Monster?”

“He is Pee Monster. And he has pee bubbles.”

“Oh my lord, T. You are a nutter butter. Ok. So do you remember Green Lakes Park?”

“Yeah.”

“So all the kids were swimming at the beach in Green Lakes Park and it was really awesome. But then Pee Monster appeared and ran into the water. He was yelling and splashing. He scared the kids and started throwing pee bubbles and the pee was in the water! The kids began to cry and the parents were screaming and all of the sudden Batman swam from deep in the lake up to the surface! He was wearing scuba gear so he was safe from the pee! And he had a vacuum and he sucked up every last pee bubble! Pee Monster wasn’t a monster anymore, he was just a dude. He turned around and ran to his car and drove away and he felt really terrible about what he’d done. After that he was a really good guy. The end.”

And then I fell asleep for a few minutes. Hey, cuddled up to your kid who is all sweet smelling from bath time is not a bad way to spend time.

He was almost asleep himself when I snuck out of his bed and joined Z in the basement where we eventually found the chirping culprit–a smoke detector we’d never noticed on the landing of the basement stairs. And yes, when we moved in we had smoke/carbon monoxide detectors hard wired on the first floor and basement. Safety first, people. Safety first.

c hits t

Should I have stopped this from happening? Yup. If it makes you feel better I totally yelled at C as soon as I was done taking the picture.

he wants to go outside

He keeps handing us layers to put on because he wants to go somewhere. He’s wearing a hoodie and a jacket and he’s reaching for a raincoat.