Zeeb


In the course of our normal weekday, we were on our way to drop off Calvin at Kindergarten about 1/2 hour ago. The boys had fought me over getting warm duds on, as usual. It had taken about 20 minutes to get everyone properly outfitted for the cold, snowy day. I had already hit the breaking point, and had yelled at them for not being cooperative.

I was trying to fasten Kiki into her stroller, but with my gloves on, the laws of physics were against me, and I barely refrained from letting loose a long string of profanity. It took another few minutes to get her buckled in, just long enough for the boys to run down the street to the intersection. I have tried my best to instill in my children the importance of checking traffic before proceeding to cross the street. They are usually very good at it, and I am usually standing next to them. This time, there were a couple of cars coming, and the boys dutifully waited. I was about 20 feet behind them now, and starting to turn down my worry gauge.

My little Zeebie, impulsive, not always obedient, and only 3 1/2, suddenly made a break for it, just as I saw a gargantuan black SUV approach the intersection.

As my heart stopped, and an unfamiliar sound escaped my throat, Zeeb heard me scream and tried to stop, but got confused and tried to keep going and turn around at the same time. The truck, which had been driving pretty slowly, stopped about 4 feet from my baby boy.

I ran to him, he ran to me. I picked him up and moved him from the street, where I felt the world cave in around me. I didn’t fall down, but I felt like I would. Never have I sobbed so loud in public. I shook so hard I gave myself an asthma attack in the 30 degree air.

For a split second, I debated going back home and skipping school for the day, but somewhere in the recesses of my consciousness, reason won out. We kept walking the three blocks to the school. I sobbed the entire way, pausing only to chastise my middle child, ask him why he ran into the road when he clearly saw the approaching truck, and to cough hard enough to make me gag.

When we got to school, the truck was there. The driver was the father of two of Calvin’s classmates, his only two friends, twins. He had waited for us to arrive.

He got out of the truck and approached me. I’ve never spoken to him, though we wait for our children in the same place every day. He asked if I was OK, and gave me a hug. He said he was still shaking. He said he had seen my boys on the curb, and had slowed down and moved to the other side of the road, just in case. He must have had his foot already on the brake.

My darling little boy has no concept of what happened, nor really why I reacted so strongly. When we got home, he grabbed his buggy (his nasty old blanket that he sucks his thumb with) and went to have a nap in my bed.

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I slept through Sunday School again today. I had my head on my hand, and I kept nodding. I pretended like I was paying attention by telling myself that I had heard and understood the discussion. I would quiz myself on the last comment made. I was so sure that I was not asleep. I can’t even remember what the topic was. That’s what I get for staying up all night knitting and watching Bones.

I’ve come to this weird place where I must knit every night before I can go to bed, but since I’m not comfortable with the runaway spinning my mind has been doing lately, I have to have something to distract me. I guess I should get some books on CD, or make Derek read to me like we used to do every night. We still haven’t read the last Harry Potter. I actually haven’t finished New Moon, but that’s because I can’t read and knit at the same time. And I don’t know where it is, since we moved.

One of my children has the most precious laugh. I hate the word ‘precious’ because of it’s use in the phrase, “Awww! That’s so precious!” But that’s not what I mean. I’m thinking more along the lines of precious stones. When he laughs, I think of a cloth bag full of jewels; rubies, emeralds, sapphires, diamonds. The tinkling, joyful, sparkling sound is precious. It is irreplaceable. I hear him laugh and feel my insides getting fizzy. I have tickled him every single day since he was about 2 months old, when we first discovered the marvel of his laugh.

“Mom, if I eat my fingers, I am candy.”

Discuss.

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I don’t remember when this happened, but it was only a few weeks ago. I had made roasted mushrooms for dinner. My boys hate mushrooms, for who knows what reason. They used to love them, but suddenly they despise them. Anyway, both Derek and I LOOOOOVE mushrooms, so I make them sometimes, sauteed or roasted, with butter and salt and lots of yum.

So I made mushrooms one night a few weeks ago. I had quartered them, seasoned them with salt, pepper and thyme, and roasted them in olive oil. They were vaguely triangular and dark brown. I invited both my boys to try them. Calvin abjectly refused, and Zeeb, ever more adventurous, though still susceptible to peer pressure, eyed them suspiciously, but nevertheless sampled one. As he bit in, he grimaced and shook his little head rapidly.

“Ewww, Yuck! They’re pigs! They’re noses!”

When viewed through the eyes of a 3 year old, perhaps cooked mushrooms do actually resemble pig snouts. But really? Not that much.

If you didn’t get the reference in the title, it’s all about the pig’s feet.

Well, we moved into our beautiful tiny house. OK, it’s really not that tiny at 1300 square feet, not including the 800 square foot basement, but the kitchen really is freakishly tiny, and there is almost no cupboard or shelf space. Ah, well. I guess that’s the price I pay for rushing into buying a house. That, and the nightmare of a shower.

Anyway, here’s how it went down. Two weeks ago today, I went to volleyball practice and came home to find Derek cradling his arm. He said he had planned on cleaning up the living room and doing the dishes while I was gone, but upon his exit to take out the trash, he misjudged the outside steps to the parking lot and came crashing down on his left elbow. The next morning, it was swollen, so he decided to go to the nearest urgent care. Sure enough, he had a spiral fracture of his radius. Yes, my strapping husband broke his elbow taking out the trash. My brother said it was the sissiest bone-break he’d ever heard of, and someone from church suggested we come up with a more manly story. In any case, his little accident exempted him from packing or moving.

So I got some people from church to come over to load the truck, and some different people from church to unload it at the house. And I was left with millions of boxes of stuff thrown in at random to sort through and find a place for. That was Saturday, and now it’s Wednesday. I still have many, many boxes to put away, and I finally found the spoons. There are already many hand prints on the glass of the front door and on the stainless steel fridge that I didn’t want, but my realtor insisted on. Because, of course, what idiot would want a white fridge? One with three excessively greasy little kids, I say! I’m still mad at him for that.

So far I’ve hit my head on the chandelier about 5 times, and Derek has once. I’ve slipped on the carpeted stairs, but I didn’t break any elbows. Our next door neighbor mowed our lawn when she found out we had no lawn mower and Derek had his little ailment. She also trimmed the ivy from our porch. (We have a porch! We have ivy!) Two other neighbors helped me move in the dining table I bought. You all would be jealous of my great table. It’s a solid wood expandable table with turned legs that have acorns half way down. The matching chairs have the acorns too. The lady who sold me the table (for practically nothing) also sold me a cute cabinet with carved panels and a glass door. I might have to post pictures, because this stuff is too great. That will be after I get the real computer hooked up, after we figure out how to ground the circuits in the outlet so we can put in a 3-prong outlet.

Calvin is successfully transferred to his new school, which turns out to be not the one 3 blocks away, but a separate Kindergarten building more than a mile away. I was so worried about getting him there every day, since we still only have one car, and I really can’t drop Derek off every day to keep the car. Then I found out the there is a school bus (which is called a shuttle here, because of the local aversion to school buses) that picks up at the elementary school to take the kindergarteners to their building. So I will only ever have to walk my kids to the 3 blocks away school. I almost cried from relief when I found that out. It would have been fine if I only had one kid, but I think making Zeeb walk the mile and back twice a day would have been too much. Plus, at the pace my kids keep, it would have taken an hour each way. As it is, it took us 13 minutes to get three blocks today. And we didn’t even stop for Zeeb to puke on the sidewalk, like he did yesterday.

Hey, I’m not that bad of a parent. He puked because he was coughing, which was a natural result of his crying hysterically, which really came because I wouldn’t hold his hand while we walked, which was because I had to carry my 20 pound Kiki, which I can’t do for 3 blocks with only one arm. Which is Derek’s fault. He was clearing off the porch the night before, and he decided the stroller should go in the car, so we would have it in case we needed it somewhere. Anywhere except at home, of course. So anyway, Zeeb has a pretty sensitive gag reflex, and if he ever gets crying, he coughs until he pukes. Tons of fun. Mostly this only happens when he’s at home, safely ensconced in his own bed, in the middle of the night. Calvin has developed this amazing talent of leaping out of his own bed and running into our room, wailing, “Zeeb’s gonna puke!” And we can pretty much catch it in time. By that, I mean that we can catch it before it gets on anything other than Zeeb, his jammies, his pillow, his buggy, his pippo, and his bed. We haven’t had to clean it off the floor in quite a while, knock on wood. The other night, when he woke up coughing, I grabbed a bowl from downstairs and made it in time to save everything but the pillow and the jammies. But then I had to take him to the emergency room, because he couldn’t breathe. Turns out he has croup. They gave him some steroids and a chest X-ray, and he’s a lot better now. It’s been a long time since I stayed up that late.

This has gotten way too long. I’m tired. I have boxes to unpack. I’m sort of lonely, so if you are ever in Ohio, come visit me.

Today at lunch, I asked the boys if they would prefer peanut butter sandwiches or macaroni and cheese. We had some leftovers of mac and cheese from yesterday, and I’m talking about the psychedelic orange stuff. Calvin chose mac and cheese, Zeeb wanted a peanut butter sandwich. It was all fine with me.

The only problem with them ordering different things for lunch is that there is inevitably some extra. One sandwich is enough for them both, and half a box of mac and cheese is still too much for just Calvin. So I decided to have the extra for my own lunch. Half a sandwich, and about 1/2 cup of mac and cheese. But what adult can abide that stuff? Plus, since we have no microwave in our mini-kitchen, I had to heat it one the stove. I added a little milk, and put it in a pan. If you’ve ever seen leftover mac and cheese, you know that it turns into yellow noodles with no sauce to speak of.

I decided to try an experiment with the tiny remnant of Maytag Blue cheese that I got last week. I plated up Calvin’s noodles, and then put the rest on a plate for myself. I crumbled up a bit of blue cheese on top, and stirred it around until it was melty and a little creamy. I sat at the table, and caused a curious stir among the little people. I guess it looked appetizing to them.

Each boy asked for a taste. I warned them that it would be strong, and after Zeeb tried it, he asked for some more, so he could be strong like Superman. Calvin didn’t think it was overpowering, nor did he start gagging, like he usually does when he tries something new.

Soon, the boys were asking for bites of plain cheese. Plain blue cheese. A 5 year old and a 3 year old. I have no explanation for this phenomenon, especially since my boys are generally quite picky. I gave them a bunch of cheese, and then tried to put it away. They cried, and begged for more. This from the boys who rejected the fresh mozzarella I brought home two weeks ago. Inexplicable. Although they do like the Boursin garlic and herb sheep’s cheese with crackers.

Also, yesterday at work, Derek met Thomas P. Stafford. You don’t know who he is because you don’t know enough astronauts. Derek sums up his career nicely:

He’s one of 24 people who have been to the moon (i.e. in orbit or on the
surface) <<http://curious.astro.cornell.edu/question.php?number=534>>.
He never flew on a shuttle, he took pictures from inside the Apollo 10
module. Apollo 10 was the second mission to orbit the moon and surveyed
the location for Neil Armstrong’s crew to land during the Apollo 11
mission. Apollo 10 was the first to broadcast color TV signals, so the
color footage of the earth during the mission is mostly likely his
(note: the claim that he took the footage only comes from his talk
yesterday, when he said things like “this is a picture I took when …”).

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Derek used to want to be an astronaut. He used to be a 10 year old boy, you see. But ironically, he was rejected from even joining to Air Force (during that two seconds he thought it would be a good idea) because of his color-blindness. I say ironically, because he now works for the Air Force and makes way more money than he ever would have by enlisting, works fewer hours, and doesn’t have to get transferred all over the world. Oh, wait. Is that a pro or a con?

Who wants to help me pick out a house?

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