Tuesday, May 26, 2015

The Stitches

Yesterday we went to eat at Margaretville with Starling's parents. They flew in for 10 days and Les, Starling's dad, went to USM with Jimmy Buffet, so we wanted to show him the place. (Okay. Truthfully, we were craving their nachos). The plastic surgeon's office (where Bry had to get stitches) is a few doors down. We needed to check in with the doc to make sure Bry's head was healing appropriately. After we ate, we started walking. There are signs on the sidewalk. Little advertisement signs beckoning people into stores to get jewelry, purses, and tattoos. Well. No. Not little signs. Massive, 'you can't miss me', signs.

Brighton ran SMACK into one. It was not a delicate greeting. It was a slam his face, fall flat on his butt, stare at the sign with little cartoon birdies flying over his head in a halo, smash. (Irony being we were going to see if he could get the stitches out of his face. Sucky thing- I didn't get it on video). While Bry and Starling were in the back of the doctor's office  talking to a nurse, I had the joyous responsibility of keeping Boeing occupied in the adorable cereal box sized waiting area. We played with the "jelly fish" on the desk. (That's kind of what breast implants look like, right)?

When we LEFT the office (with stitches still in), Bry ran into the SAME sign AGAIN. That's when I realized... he has some of his mama in him.

But why did he need stitches in the first place? Well... some kids are just born more accident prone than others. Some kids just have crappy parents. Apparently... Bry got dealt both hands, bless his heart.

Brookie and Bry got new boogie boards for their birthdays. (Boeing calls them skateboards. The other two kids call them surf boards. Both names implicate STANDING on the board = correct usage ). That's problem number one.

I told the kids (Brooke and Bry) to give water to our pup and kitty. Boeing insisted on helping. That's problem number two.

Boeing's enormous cup of water never made it to the water bowl. It dumped out all over the tile in the living room. The tile is slick like glass. That's a combo problem number 3.

Me. Problem number 4.

Starling. Problem number 5.

"Boeing! Seriously? The floor JUST got mopped! Water is everywhere." I almost slid down and busted my butt, which, like all normal people, gave me a great idea.

"Hey! Bring your boogie boards! This is going to be AWESOME!"

I demonstrated how to run and JUMP on the boogie board. I zoomed all the way through the living room and out the door. "It's exactly like a slipping slide." (Except not. You might die).

"COOL, MOM! We wanna try!!!"

Usually there is one responsible parent in a relationship. This would have been the time when that parent, the "bad cop" or parent with "common sense" or "rational/sane" parent would have intervened and shut down the party. BUT, it was just Starling.

"That's all you got? You have to get more momentum than that!"   

The kids increased speed, slid farther.

"Weak sauce!" He taunted.

After 15 minutes or so, once we had solidified the proper form and speed for complete and total disaster, we left our kids to enjoy their new game.

About 15 or 20 more minutes passed and in runs Brookie, "Bry is bleeding. Seriously. He is! He really is bleeding. Seriously. For real." I heard no screaming and crying and bleeding is a common occurrence in our house, so I wasn't too alarmed. (Although, he could have been unconscious somewhere. But Brooklyn would have told me. Four to five times).

After I finally said, "OKAY, Brooklyn. I heard you. Bry is bleeding," Bry walked into my room. He didn't look too worried or too hurt. He just had blood draining down his face like red syrup. He, of course, wiped it like he would wipe sweat, and then touched me. And my computer desk. And anything else that could hold a bloody hand print.

"Mo-om. I'm bleeding," he half whined, obviously out of annoyance that he had to stop riding his boogie board because blood was getting in his eye.

Really? I never would have guessed.

"Stop touching it."

"But its bleeding."

"Yeah. Brookie get a wet rag. Bry! Seriously. Stop touching your face!"

"But Mo-om, it is still bleeding."

"If you touch your face again you are going to time-out," I snapped. (Along with being an AMAZINGLY sound minded parent, I am also extremely sympathetic).

"Fi-ine. Yeeees Maaa'aaam," he moaned, slouching his shoulders impatiently.

I took a good look. My stomach went somewhere. Else. Gone. Evacuated. I started getting light-headed. (To add to my other motherly qualities, I'm also 100% incapable of looking at blood. Yes, Starling hit the jackpot on wives).

"Starling, I think you might need to handle this. And by might, I mean, now."

Starling took one look and said, "Yep. That's going to need stitches."

"What's stitches?" Bry wanted to know.

"Well. I may be able to super glue it."

"What's stitches?"

"Let me call the vet."

"Bry, look at me- I need to take a picture. Hey, stand still, man," I chimed in, camera ready.

"What is stitches?"

"We are going to need to go into the light."

"DAAAADAAAY! What is stitches?"

I answered because Starling was in the zone. He can only focus on one thing at a time. He is shockingly talented at tuning out anything other than his own brain.

"What?! I don't want to have to go to a doctor!" Bry shouted in horror. It was the first time he actually looked upset about the whole ordeal.

"The vet said he'll do it for $300 pesos. So like $28 bucks or so."

"Wow! That's awesome."

Starling came back from the vet with Bry about ten minutes later.

"That was quick," I said surprised.  

"Yeah. The vet said he thought I was talking about a dog."

"Ah. That sucks."

"He recommended a plastic surgeon on the frontage road. I mean, it is his face. We don't want him having too big a scar. But I'm going to do some research. I may can glue it myself."

Bry and Brookie went off to play while Starling hit Google and YouTube.

"Bry! Come here, bud."

He looked at Bry's wound. "I think it's too deep and wide to glue. See?" He opened it up with his thumbs, "It goes all the way to his skull."

"Starling. Seriously? You are really showing me this? What is wrong with you?" I melted into a green pile against the wall, my eyes threatening to roll into the back of my head.

"It says super glue kills the skin sometimes."

"Why are you still talking?"

"We want this flap to-"

"STARLING! Just do what you are going to do and don't tell me about it!"

 "We're going to a people doctor, bud."

"Thank goodness. Just go. Oh- and take some pictures," I moaned barely hanging onto consciousness.

About that time the Cable Guy arrived.

"bla-o, bla-o. somethingo, bla-o." (That's what I hear when Starling talks really fast Spanish to someone. And he never translates for me. Ever).

The man nodded at Starling and set to work doing something to our internet that, quite frankly, was working just fine.

"Can I go play now?"

"Oh." He remembered his son. "No, I need to go ahead and take you to the doctor. You can finish up with the Cable Guy, Wendi."

"Sure thing, babe." (I may have rolled my eyes a little because my Spanish is like the babbling of a 6 month old).

The cable guy finished fixing whatever wasn't broken. I don't know WHY Starling is always FIXING things. Something about adding something to something.

The guy explained to me exactly what he did. In Spanish. I blinked away my blank stare and nodded enthusiastically when he paused, assuming it was supposed to be my turn to talk. "Muchas Gracias, Amigo! Es muy bueno." He looked at me confused and left.

Bry returned with some nice stitch work and a sucker in each hand.

"Good, I'm glad your back! Do you want to go swim with Dillon?"


So we walked over to my friend's house and the kids played in the water while I stuffed my face with the kids' snacks.  

Then I had to cook something for our Wednesday potluck church meeting. I "made" chips, guacamole, and a bunch of sweet bread from Mega (the glorified Wal Mart).

All in all, it was a super great day. I was reminded how much home-schooling rocks and my kids now know how to ride a boogie board. And that is the moral of the story. Sometimes fun costs $60 in stitches.  

Monday, May 25, 2015


I suddenly have time to blog. My kids are glued to the television with their father watching a documentary. On crackers. I’m being serious. I am an apparent misfit in my family when it comes to exaggerated enthusiasm about how things are made. Especially crackers. I care how they taste. And if there is something to put on them.

I’m so glad Starling enjoys learning. I do, too… just not about anything boring. Or confusing. Or useless. Or useful but I’m never going to do it, use it, or make it.

It started with Bry asking me how waves are made. I don’t know. Something about the moon? Wind? But, when you are a home school parent, you can’t just pawn off your kids’ questions on their teacher and let them teach your kids the crap you don’t care about. Because I’m it. Here I am.

So I started researching. I am SO glad we live in the internet age where I can go to YouTube and type in “How are waves made?” And boom… all kinds of teachers pop up to teach ME, (and if I go through enough of them, usually one will start to make sense), and then I let them teach my kids or, if I magically understand, I teach them myself.

As is always the case with my children, one thing led to another and we began watching documentaries on tidal waves, tsunamis… and of course earth quakes since they cause disastrous waves. And historical documentaries that only throw in science facts as it relates to the thing I’m watching, in this case the Japan Tsunami of 2011, completely spike my interest. I was as glued to the t.v. as the rest of my family.

(That’s how education is supposed to happen. A question is answered and it leads to more questions. Eventually even the most UNINTERESTED person- in My fam ALWAYS me- finds a strand of curiosity that pulls her into a learning environment without even knowing its happening).

Of course... I just WATCHED the documentary. Starling was on his phone the entire documentary reading about the tsunami WHILE watching about it, WHILE looking up answers to all of his questions and spitting out facts that the video failed to mention. Bry asked why fire was on top of the water. (I wanted to know that, too, but not enough to spend time researching it when Starling the "I'll wreck the car trying to fact check something on my phone that my wife just said" was in the room). 

The difference between Starling and me is this: I typically answer or find the answer to specific questions for my kids and then I’m done. NOT the case with Starling. At all. If the kids give Starling even the smallest inkling of some interest in any subject whatsoever, he is GAME on. He not only tells them what they want to know, he blows their MIND with info. They’ll spend days together learning about whatever random thing they dared question. (This is fantastic. The kids LOVE it. This is also the reason I don’t ask Starling questions. Because I usually don’t REALLY want to know. I like two word answers. "The car exploded? How?" Just tell me the gas tank got busted in a crash. DO NOT take me on a ten day hike through the great research of Starling's brain and explain to me about vapors and engines and what parts were altered in the crash. I'm already lost, my brain has already left this conversation, and all I want to know at this point is what's for dinner). 

But, unlike me, the kids eat up information. Take electricity. Brooklyn asked me how electricity works. I researched it for all of about 2 seconds and realized I couldn’t even FORCE myself to care, or fit it into a nice package of two sentences, so I forwarded that question to Starling

The kid drew power poles (in her spare time for FUN) for a solid week.

Starling took the kids to the airplane show here in Cozumel. 

Me? “This sounds like a fantastic Daddy and kids bonding opportunity. I’m going to stay home and work on my novel. Have fun with that!” 

Starling’s enthusiasm was so great that Brighton is now convinced he wants to be a pilot when he grows up, and he needs a co-pilot. Brooklyn has eagerly agreed to join him as such. Starling and Brighton watch all things air plane. I won’t even pretend that I’m interested in airplanes, because I’m not. (I might feign interested in the making of a cookie because I want to eat it. But there's really no benefit to pretending to like engines). However, since my children are obsessed with planes, I find myself spending a massive amount of time drawing and cutting out airplanes.

 (I’m pretty sure my kids would have done just fine in the days of paper dolls. They play with my card board cutouts ALL the time. If only Boeing and the dog weren't in competition for destroying everything I own).

And then of course, there are the questions that kids ask that have no truthful answer. LIKE Brooklyn. She lost her first two teeth. She was so excited that the “tooth mouse” (which someone told her comes in Mexico instead of the tooth fairy) was coming that she became a trumpet of questions. She was sounding them off faster than I could comprehend them. (Not that it isn't normal. I can go wash dishes and do a load of laundry before Brooklyn finishes her 20 questions on a daily basis. I don't even have to answer. I don't even have to be in the room. No idea WHERE she gets that from..). 

Before I knew it, I was convincing her that the tooth mouse is a nice mouse that works for the tooth fairy. No he won’t crawl over her face. No he won’t get tangled in her hair or bite her in her sleep. No our cat isn't going to eat him. So she left him a note and cheese. Under her pillow. (And no. I didn’t play the ‘Santa eating the cookie.’ A stray animal got to eat that cheese because I flung it over my gate while wearing a flared upper lip and fighting a jumping gag reflex).    

Today I found myself lying to my OTHER kid. “Brighton! You better brush those teeth or the tooth fairy isn’t going to buy them! They’ll be too gross for her to use.”

Brooklyn said, “You mean the tooth fairy uses our teeth? For what?”

I was in such a rush to get out of the door for church (ironic I know), I just didn’t think that one through.

“Of course she uses them. She gives them to people who don’t have teeth. The people that got their teeth eaten up by cavity monsters.” 

I was so grateful today that Brooklyn couldn’t speak Spanish. She was eyeing all the elderly people in church with missing teeth. And trust me, if she could have said something, she would have said something.

And then there is Boeing. Dear sweet darling Boeing. He never asks questions. Why should he? He is two years old and knows all of the answers. So he just tells us all we need to know. “It’s mango. It’s good.” “It’s me-i-cine. It’s yuck.” “I not want to wear khakis to church. I’m gonna wear my swim soup. It’s okay, mom. It’s fine.”

Today the kids ran into the kitchen and asked if they could have a drink. “Sure. What do you want?”
Brooklyn said, “hmmm…. I’ll have pickle juice, please.”

(Such a little me. I keep a jar of green olives in the fridge door just so I can pop one or two after I eat anything sweet. Ice cream? Yum! Better chase that with a green salt block).  

I filled her cup with pickle juice. (Which counts as healthy right? I mean- it has remnants of vinegar-ized cucumber- WHICH is a veggie).  In barged Boe. “I WAN some of your JUICE, Bwookie!” She was going to tell him what it was, but I hushed her. “Let him have some. Starling, do watch this, dear.”

He took a nice looong swig. Then his face turned into a pile of squishy wrinkles, and I stepped out of the line of fire, with the thought he might projectile vomit. “Dat juice turned gwoss!!”

(THAT is how I deal with my life. The little victories). 

Just when I think all of my teaching and time-outs, and butt popping have gone unnoticed by Boeing, he’ll surprise me with a burst of knowledge. While we were in the MIDDLE of scripture study, Boeing slyly shimmied his way towards Starling’s guitar propped on its stand. When he saw Brighton glance his way, he announced fervently, “Bwy! You touch dis guitar, it’s a no no! And Bwy will need a pankin on his butt!”  

I can count the number of times I have spanked Brooklyn or Brighton on one hand. A time out and a talk? They listen to reason, they feel remorse, we move on with our lives. Boeing is a DIFFERENT story. I am having to COMPLETELY relearn parenting. Nothing that works for my other two works for him. I think age is the only thing that is going to “fix” him. He doesn’t flat out tell me no. He tries to “reason” with ME. (And most the time he has sound logic behind his argument, which only further irritates me, because all I want is a ‘yes ma’am’ and quick departure).  

I say, “BOEING JOHNSON, sit at that table to eat your cereal.”

“Mom, I’ll sit by you and eat my cereal. I’ll be so careful. I won’t make a mess.”


“Oh! It’s okay, mom. I’ll say pweeze nicely.”

What? He spends a LOT of time in time out. And even THEN he’ll come to me and say, “Mom! Time for me to get out cuz I’m all done cwying! Wook! I’m not cwying anymore!”

If my face were to freeze in the expression found most often on my face, I would be frozen with one eyebrow raised in complete perplexity, one eye frozen in a twitch, and crazy would be a frozen vapor seeping out of my ears. And my gaze would be directed at the last location Boeing stood.

He gave the dog gum. That worked out nicely. Then he had a picnic in my bedroom with crackers that Starling told him he could not have. He put an entire SLEEVE of ritz crackers on my floor. (Freshly swept and mopped). Starling spanked him and said, “Pick EVERY cracker Up, NOW.” He did as he was told. He picked every single cracker up off the floor and put them ALL on my bed.
Yeah. My pillow has scream marks.