Tuesday, March 30, 2010

other than allergies

Try saying, "M is anaphylactic to all forms of milk and egg in any amount baked into any food." Then, if people don't understand what anaphylaxis is you must repeat the same information in a different way, "M stops breathing if he eats any form of milk and egg in any amount baked into any food." Mouthful. No pun intended. It wears me out some days, though it is always my pleasure to provide this safety buffer for him. Being new, even a year-and-a-half new, I must always be on my best behavior as I don't want to offend someone that I might need in an anaphylactic emergency. I've found I must always have his life-threatening allergies be one of the first things you learn about my family. I have found that, rightfully so, I get questions that cause me to remember the anaphylactic episodes in the midst of relative strangers. One of the reasons I wouldn't want to return to home is because a return means that I have to be new again. I would have to remember in the most unlikely places with relative strangers what happens when M eats one of the allergens that sends his body into anaphylaxis. I went out with some ladies the other night and it seemed that whenever the conversation came round to me his allergies came up. It was overwhelming for me.

A few years back, I was searching for something to keep a conversation going with a very boring person I had met. Work. I only knew about her work. So I asked about her work. She then brought up that she liked Irish Dancing. I asked why. She pointedly replied, "Because they don't only talk to me about work." Letting her rude comment reply slip by, I only thought to myself, "Well, I'd have more to talk to you about if you offered a bit more, Ms. Boring." Maybe I'm too boring to talk to? Perhaps I need to offer a bit more than M's anaphylaxis? Though, I can't see how one couldn't guess that there is loads more interesting about us than M's anaphylaxis. I offer the video below as a bit more about ourselves. We like costumes, cross-dressing, and saving imaginary animals in peril...for a start...

Sorry, once again, my technologically odd skills come to light. Please copy and paste in your browser window. Merci.


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Saturday, March 27, 2010

Too hard to whistle...

It is jaw-dropping news to my sisters that I have become more fastidious the older that I become. This blossoming skill of mine is also in direct contradiction to the life-purpose of my children. Still, I try my best to maintain some sort of cleaning regime within the chaos and grunge these littles exude. I found a new "eco-cleaner" at the store, which is hard to do here in Glasgow. It not only smelled nicely, but when I started to use it today I found that it was working, very, very well! Happy Saturday to me!
It is a sign of a good debater to be able to argue the opposing side's view as well as your own. (The kids are excellent debaters. Excellent.) With this in mind, I changed my cleaning viewpoint and sat at the dining table in G's spot. With my new cleaner in my new cleaning spot, I was happy to wash the table. It was then that I discovered that the rental agency's table did not have marks and mars organic to the wood and giving it character. No. No. It was all grime that I just couldn't see from my standard cleaning angle. I was working too hard to swallow a spoonful of sugar or whistle while I worked... Where is the young Julie Andrews and her special effects crew when I need her?
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Friday, March 26, 2010

boys are smelly

Costume changes are imperative for G. In fact, the wildness of her outfits is in direct proportion to how late I am and how potty trained she is. I was running late and needed her to be reliably potty trained. Therefore, I allowed her out the door in her brother's underwear, a diaphanous blue tutu, the heart sweatshirt you see above, wellie boots, red knee highs, and the kitty cat hat pictured below. To state the obvious, I was in a hurry and therefore and sadly, I don't have a picture.

We went to C's house for a long playdate. It was G, two boys, a girl and a few mums. G loved chasing the two boys for a while. They played all the games she understood from her older brother: Crashing cars, chase and tackle, jump on the bed, build/crash tall towers. Then, the boys had to use the potty. From the sound of things and without being graphic, the boys had a lot of boy type of fun in the bathroom. Amid this fun, G came down stairs in her outfit. She looked deeply into my eyes. She wondered if I would handle this information she was about to impart. She said, "Boys are smelly." The mums laughed. I said, "Hm." She then said, "I don't like boys. Not at all." I said, "I think boys are fine. M is a boy." She sighed a sigh of exasperation, pointed to the raucous potty-goers upstairs, "These are boys. They are smelly. M is not a boy. He is my brother." Then one mum said, "I'm sorry G, but boys will be smelly for the rest of your life." G replied, "But I don't like them today." She proceeded to list the boys she did like, "I like M. I like Papa. I like UDP. I like UB. I like....I like them WHEN they are not smelly." All of the boys in her rather long list were in her family, immediate and extended. That's right, you only have to tolerate someone if they are in your family and only if they are not too smelly. After we mums received our lecture on who G liked and did not like and why, she went to play "dinosaurs attack barbie land" with the girl in the group who became distressed when a triceratops ate barbie's head, but soon got with the decidedly boisterous and destructive and not smelly program. Thankfully, G was indeed reliably potty loving the whole morning.

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Sunday, March 21, 2010

Grandma Borst

I'll tell you a secret. I know exactly how old my grandmother is. I overheard the conversation between my son and herself. It went as follows:
Maddox: "How old are you exactly?"
GB: "Older than you that's for sure."
M:"How old is that? Have you goned to the elementary school?"
GB:"That's for me to remember and you to find out."
M: "I'm taller than you now. I growed up a lot since Minnesota."
GB: "Everybody's taller than me now."
My grandmother is not a liar. She is diminutive, though she's not admitted it to anyone but my son.

In this age, when my Grandma is old enough for her to remember and us to find out, I've had the privilege of knowing her in a different way. She has an intermittent dementia that is unpredictable as well. Today I called her as I do most weeks and found her lucid, perky, the grandmother I knew 10 years ago. I told her a joke I learned from a woman from County Cork where her dad and grandfather grew up. We laughed. She said, "You know your mother worries about you in Glasgow a lot. I tell her not to worry about a thing. You do just fine and you're funny too."

While we all know that Grandma might mean "funny" as in, "She's got a great sense of humor," or "funny" as in "Sweet Lord, protect her," I like that regardless of how funny I am, when she knows me she has complete faith in me. It is a skill I hope to acquire soon in regards to my own funny children.

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Friday, March 19, 2010

oversized part deux

Bug lost his school shoes. They had race cars hidden in the soles. They were prized possessions. We looked everywhere. Found nothing. I bought new shoes for him. Over the internet. He tried them on and said, "Mama! I'm so pleased! These are just the right size. You did it again!" All punctuation and wording is accurate. We live in Great Britain and children do say "pleased." I can't bear to post a picture. You can hear about my oversized adventures, but you can't see them anymore....

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Salty and Sweet

First, you must know these four things about G. 1)Food is a serious occasion for G. 2)She dresses for the occasion, sometimes she even changes during a meal, a few times. 3)She prefers not to be interrupted. 4) She closes her eyes and chews when she's tasting a new food and has done this ever since her first bite of real food, banana. When I described how the banana tasted, she looked at me like I was a co-conspirator who understood how great food is.

You must also know that I trained parents to describe the world about their hard-of-hearing and deaf children with as much detail as they could muster. "Food" isn't just "yummy." Cheerios are crunchy and sweet and smell like Midwestern fields after a rain and remind me of my childhood and calm me down when I feel grumpy. I have raised both of my kids talking like a maniac to them until they started to talk like a maniac back to me. This outcome is great. They have large and fun vocabularies and they are not afraid to use the words they've discovered.

This outcome is also embarrassing. G and I were walking alongside a group of carpenters working on a house. The air was cool, the sun was out, our noses were running. G started to lick her snot. I said, "Ew. G. I don't think boogars taste very good. Let's get a tissue." She says, "Naw. Salty and sweet. Perfect." To which, the Glaswegians double-over laughing and gargling the words "salty and sweet" in their thick and lovely accents.
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Thursday, March 11, 2010


I buy and I request oversized clothing for my kids. I do so for a number of reasons. As many of you know, I don't do much without solid reasoning, even if it's reasoning that's deemed eccentric by other standards. So, according to my "at least 5 reasons rule," here are six reasons for bigger clothing: 1)It is pragmatic. A coat too big might just last an additional year or even two. 2) The kids seem little in bigger clothing. I don't have to come to grips every day that this time in my life with these littles is truly fleeting. I mean, really, I can't just hug and giggle with them alll day long. We've got to get out the door and denial is a helpful and under-rated tool. 3) It's easier to ask and shop for bigger clothing. If a gift from a loved one doesn't fit now, it will surely fit later. No need to worry about trans-atlantic returns. 4) Larger clothing is protective. G trips, skids on the macadam, but the only thing threatened in her puffer coat are duck feathers that have already been plucked. 5) Bigger clothing is warmer. More body parts are covered, which is helpful when mittens are frequently refused, misplaced, or gnawed on in defiance. 6) Bigger clothing makes room for appropriate layering. Warmth is key in the wet moorlands.

Lately, I've been thinking it's time for me to stop. The kids always look a little extra out-of-sorts floating around in their clothes and Bug said to me the other day when I bought a pair of wellies in the right size, "Hey, good job Mum! These actually fit!" Sigh. It is a low-day in mothering when your son chooses to opt for the "positive re-enforcement" route regarding parental rearing. He's been waiting 5 years to say something like that. What a patient soul...

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Sunday, March 7, 2010

Delightfully Odd

When I was 18, my family got a dog. A black and white dog and while searching for a name for this adored and now missed pup, I thought it funny to call him "Red." Instead, they called him "Cooper." My mom only got my "Red" joke about 2 years later, but that didn't surprise me. Most people don't think I'm funny until about two years after I crack a joke. Until then, they think I'm delightfully odd. I know this off-kilter way I see the world is in the air or in the gene pool or in the food or something that I share with my kids. Maybe our toothbrushes? Still, I'm shocked when I'm greeted in the shower with a life-like rubber snake G has named "Fluffy."
We also have a stuffed sheep named "Fang" and a great white shark named "Cable." (Yes, Cable was too important to leave in Seattle. He's got Scottish mold growing in his tummy just now though. Poor Cable.) Our bee's name is just "Bee" but the bee is logarithmically bigger than an actual bee on an order of 10 I'd guess, so I cut "Bee" some slack for being called by his common name. The parasopholus in the picture below is named "Dead." I thought at first that G had mastered the meaning behind extinct and I would say, "Yes, dinosaurs are dead. They are extinct. Smart girl..." And she, reliably, would say, "No. Dinosaur Dead. This name Dead. Dead." The dinosaur would then be referred to by the name "Dead. I want Dead!" and I would bring, say, a triceratops, and she would begin a tantrum of the 2year and 7 month old variety coupled with shrieking of her own personal variety, "DEAD! DEAD! Please Mama! DEAD!" I'd ask "Ed?" and she'd literally give up on me, flop to the floor in exhausted rage, "Dead. I want my Dead." I then would feel quite pathetic that I couldn't just "go with it" and retrieve Dead from a forgotten bed of dustbunnies. Don't argue or question and don't ask her why she doesn't play with frothy pink things. I don't know, she doesn't know, and the parasopholus' name is "Dead."

The goggles are "doggles" and my toothbrush is just my toothbrush, but it is a communal toothbrush. I should warn you, if you visit and leave your toothbrush out, it will be used by everyone under hip height. So, in effect, you will also be using my toothbrush and M's and the littles'. It is all love in our casita. These are just the things the littles (G on this particular night) leave in their wake, placed just so, after a nighttime shower. I took a picture to prove that I'm not the only delightfully odd one here, and to prove that my kids have surpassed me in every way, as they should. They are delightfully odder.