Tuesday, September 30, 2008

We Have Hope!

If you've been following my last few blog posts and my escapades in the crazy world of preschool picking, then you know my struggle. And we finally have hope! In the form of a Montessori Magnet school in Hartford. I've never considered this before, mostly because I didn't know there were any other free options. Of course, we have to be picked from the lottery in March in order to go, but at least it's something to hope for. Especially since I am so turned off by the other free option of my town's preschool. I could technically send Mateo to any preschool I like and have his speech services done at an outpatient clinic, but then I have to pay for the preschool and I'm trying to avoid that. Why pay for something you can get for free, right?

But I'm excited about this Montessori school option. I didn't know much about Montessori before this, aside from hearing the name and thinking it was another gimmick to make wealthy white parents believe their kids were getting a better education than public school. But in researching it further, I really think that Mateo would do well under this "philosophy" of teaching. And I like that it is child-led, natural learning, and academics aren't pushed onto our young children who really aren't ready to learn to read before kindergarten. I don't know who made up that new standard anyway. Seriously, do you remember knowing how to read and write in kindergarten? All I remember about kindergarten is finger painting, nap time, and recess. We didn't learn anything but how to play with other kids and be in a classroom half a day without peeing our pants.

Anyway, it sounds a whole lot better than all that NAECY accredited crap that other lady was talking about. Sorry if you like the NAECY program, but it's my blog and I can write what I want and I happen to hate it.

Plus, this Montessori program is in Hartford, which is an inner-city where there is a high population of minority families. So my son will not be in the minority at this school. And that makes me feel a lot more comfortable than the school in our mostly white small town. They don't have special ed services so we would have to take Mateo to an outpatient clinic, but that's not a big deal. And honestly, I feel like this isn't a problem because who would have more experience with issues that come with a child with Mateo's background? A small mostly white suburban town preschool you have to re mortgage your house to pay for or an inner city magnet school that's free and 50% of the lottery are kids from that city? I don't mean to discriminate, but statistics show that more people that live in an inner city are at or below the poverty line, and when there's stress about money, there's substance abuse, child abuse, deteriorating family situations, criminal activity, etc. The preschool in my town may have more book knowledge about learning disabilities than the magnet school, but what I'm more interested in, is the practical experience with kids like Mateo. He doesn't fit one disability or another. There is nothing in a book that will teach you how to work with him.

So pray or cross your fingers or send positive thoughts or whatever it is you do, that we get chosen by lottery for this school!!! The drawing isn't till March though. So we're on standby.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Playgroup Nightmare Part II

So I went to our normal playgroup this morning with Mateo. This is the one that I've been going to since last spring and really like it. The facilitator is awesome and the atmosphere is very relaxed. Well, since it's September, we were starting a new year after having a break in August. When I walked through the door this morning all excited to get back to my favorite group and guess who I see? The "kindergarten readiness lady" from my last post! This is the administrator lady I met at the playgroup on Friday, who I didn't particularly like.

When the regular playgroup facilitator introduced me to the new lady, she said we've already met. I was like, "we have?" Cause I can't keep all those middle-age, teacher-looking ladies straight. And she mentioned she remembers me from the Friday playgroup. I was so thrown off and for some reason I felt like I was cheating or something. I don't know, going to more than one playgroup at a time, is that cheating?

Anyway, I was very thrown off and ended up saying that her playgroup was too crowded but we would try it again around the holidays. Smooth, right? I have no idea why I said that. So, I'm sure that made a good second impression - after my eye rolling last week. I'll bet she's just thrilled to have my son in her school. Well, she is facilitating this group as well as the Friday one at her school. So my nice relaxing group that I love has been infiltrated by this educational-uppity-accredited-professional-teacher lady! I knew this playgroup was called "Parents as Teachers" but since last year it didn't seem to involve any "teaching" I just thought it was a catchy name to entice people. But honestly, I don't want to be a teacher to my child. I just want to be his mom. Can't his teachers be teachers?

Oh, and she informs me that she will be our transitional adviser when we start getting ready for preschool in the spring. I just can't seem to get away from this lady! And it gets worse.

There are people out there that make certain assumptions about me. I am white, my child looks biracial (he is, although he is mostly Hispanic), I look pretty young too, and I don't dress/act like a typical mom. By that I don't mean anything offensive. I just mean that I am very laid back and say things to Mateo like, "chill out" and "don't get an attitude." I've never been to a playgroup with my husband so some people assume I'm not married, Mateo was an "accident", and I'm uneducated, poor, and need help to become a good parent. Which is just not the case - I am educated! Whereas if I was middle-aged, dressed preppy, and played golf, people would assume he was adopted from Guatemala.

So, I get a lot of unsolicited advice from people very similar to this playgroup lady. But this particular woman really irked me. I have my own agenda when I go to playgroups. I let Mateo play and I sit down somewhere comfortable and watch. This is a very thought-out strategy. Since there are all new toys that Mateo isn't sick of, he plays nicely by himself and leaves me alone. This gives me a break from playing cars, blocks, torture Luca, and eating strange things off the floor, for that one hour of peace. I'm a slacker mom. This is what I do.

Well, this new playgroup lady kept pushing me to be involved! I know, crazy right? She totally disrupted my routine and changed the whole dynamic of the group. We had a good vibe going and she had to bust in and make us play with our kids! Not only that but she kept telling me I should do this and that with him to help his speech and whatever else. And I was just like...

"blah blah blah...go away!" (not out loud, in my head)

I know it's not very mature, but seriously, he already has a speech therapist. I did conveniently add into the conversation that I used to work in special education. And that we adopted Mateo and I'm not an unwed mother living off of welfare and that I do know what I'm doing. Well, that last part may not be true, but she doesn't need to know that. I just really don't like this lady for some reason. You know how you can get a strong vibe about a particular person sometimes? I just have a bad vibe about her. And it sucks that we will be having to work with her at some point in Mateo's preschool career.

Anyway, I would homeschool but I couldn't stand being around my kid 8 hours a day, 5 days a week. He needs to go somewhere and I need to have a life.



get a look at that face!



dig right in! (it's a caramel apple if you can't tell)


not so great on the teeth, we found out

Friday, September 26, 2008

Justice's Non-teaching Method of Teaching

So after going to a playgroup at an uppity pretentious accredited preschool today, I have decided to patent my own method of teaching children. It's called the "Justice's Non-teaching Method of Teaching." More on that later. Let me tell you my uppity pretentious accredited preschool story first.

I decided to take Mateo to the once a week playgroup at the local preschool that also runs the town's early childhood special education program. Long story short, Mateo is scheduled to go here for special ed when he turns 3. So my hopes were high that I would like this school and would have the opportunity to meet some of the staff.

The beginning was fine, despite my son's best efforts to scare other children away from everything he was and had ever played with by yelling in their face. The classroom was very nice, but crowded, which is less than ideal for Mateo who gets overstimulated easily. But we did okay.

So we were at the very end of the group and having a snack when the parents started asking questions to the playgroup facilitator (who is also the head of administration and the special ed program for the school). Questions like....

Is there a checklist of skills my child should doing at this age?

Is there a handout about preschool readiness so we can start working on things with our child?

How can I make my child the smartest kid in the classroom giving them a leg up on the competition for coveted advanced placement classes and first string on sports teams therefore increasing their likelihood of getting into Harvard, becoming a successful surgeon, and paying for my retirement?

So the teacher started talking about this seminar they are running about school readiness and things to do to get your child ready. And I was a bit confused because I thought preschool was, like, glorified playtime and Mateo is already good at playing, so what kinds of things am I supposed to be preparing him for? So I asked what I thought was a good question, "readiness for preschool or kindergarten?"

Well, apparently that was an absolutely ridiculous question because the woman got very upset and passionately described how there is no such thing as "kindergarten readiness" (although she was the one to use the term) and we should never utter those words again and erase them from our vocabulary immediately. Then she preceded to tell me, condescendingly, that parents who dare to even think about getting their child ready for kindergarten are horrible, horrible parents and know nothing about child rearing and should be obliterated from the earth entirely. Okay, that might be an exaggeration, but you get what I mean, right?

So I guess the big thing now is school readiness (do you see a difference? Cause I don't but maybe I'm missing something). And I guess there is some kind of secret list of all the things we should have been doing since birth to get our children ready for school (guess I dropped the ball on that one) and apparently every other parent in the room knew about this except me. However, after seeing the look on my face, I think this administrator could tell I wasn't impressed.

So, to make me feel better I suppose, she tells me I am doing the first step by bringing him to this playgroup. As if I've never been to another playgroup or done a thing to encourage my child to learn and socialize before attending this NAEYC accredited playgroup that you have to apply for! It starts already!

And to make matters worse, as we were leaving, the facilitator bent down and asked Mateo was his name was, to which he replied, "juice." I'm sure that bodes well for us.

Well, to my credit, I think I'm doing a pretty good job. I've never pushed Mateo to do puzzles (mostly because Mateo does not lend himself to being pushed to do anything) but I give him the opportunity to explore them at his own pace. Well, just today he sat down at the table and did an entire puzzle almost completely by himself. So here's to non-teaching!

Back to my patented technique. It's called, "Justice's Non-teaching Method of Teaching." It's all about fun. That's the goal. Fun. It includes wrestling, tickling, hugging, kissing, playing hide and seek, playing monster games, blowing raspberries, and being silly. After that, you give the child some toys (i.e. puzzles, games, play-do, etc) and then go surf the internet. Well, there's no scientific data yet. And the only trials have been on Mateo. But he seems to be turning out alright. Besides thinking his name is "juice."

Anyway, I'm thinking about getting a grant to do some research. What do you think?


Stickers are a very serious business

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

9 Things I Learned at the Big E with My 2 Year Old

#1 - Dave most definitely does not run faster than a car moves through traffic, even when highly motivated to find an ATM before said car gets to the parking lot.

#2 - Mateo is the only kid I've ever met that can not and will not sleep in the stroller, to Mommy's dismay, despite all the tricks and bribes and putting huge amounts of effort into making him as cozy and comfortable as possible, which means our Disney trip in January is going to be a huge pain because we'll have to travel back and forth to the condo for nap time and we already know the kid can't function without a nap!

#3 - I love run-on sentences.

#4 - Funnel cake and toddler digestive systems do not go well together.

#5 - Mommy needs to lose weight. Yes, I realize I do say that a lot. I'm hoping that by saying it over and over, my metabolism will suddenly start functioning like it did when I was 9 and somehow I would not want to polish off an entire pint of Ben & Jerry's in one sitting.

#6 - The kid leash is most certainly coming with us to Disney. Whoever invented that thing is a genius. I admit, I had my doubts about the social impact of putting my child on a leash. But in a crowded place with an active two year old, I got over it.

#7 - My son loves animals and, given the opportunity, would kiss them, ride them, hug them, feed them, sniff them, stroke them, milk them, and everything else requiring him to be completely disinfected afterward.

#8 - Traditions are fun things to have with your family, but usually overrated and expensive so...

#9 - We're never going to the Big E again.

I know that 9 of something is an odd number but I'm rebelling against societies pressure to conform to certain expectations when it comes to the grouping of important information. That, and I couldn't think of 10.

So, maybe you've learned something from reading this, or maybe you've gotten dumber from reading it. Either way, I don't really care. See ya next time (or not) when I discuss the impact of modern religion on democracy and the upcoming election.

Ha, ha! Who am I kidding? I'll probably just post a video since I'm pretty lazy.


Kid leash


Why do double chins only look cute on babies and toddlers?


Friday, September 19, 2008

10 Things We Love About Fall

Our Favorite Things About Fall (in no particular order):

1. apple cider (spiked for Mommy)
2. The Big E - even though it's exactly the same every year and we never buy anything but greasy, over-priced, fair food
3. pumpkin picking and carving
4. hot tea with lemon
5. not raking leaves and not feeling guilty about it (they're just gonna keep falling)
6. fuzzy socks
7. new clothes (or old clothes that feel like new cause you haven't worn them since last year)
8. chili and cornbread
9. cool mornings that make you want to sleep in (until you hear that inevitable voice calling from the second bedroom)
10. camping - when we were one person less (the sticky, smelly one) and could go without having to watch Elmo on the laptop and spend the entire night in the car (see "Camping Trip From Hell" in the archives)

Those are my favorites. What are your favorite things about the season?


eating funnel cake at the Big E
*more about that on my next post

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Mateo, the Cool Karate Chopping Break Dancer!

So, it turns out Mateo might have asthma. Just add that to the list of medical issues he will be self-conscious about during his most vulnerable years (namely, middle school). Seriously, the boy is on the fast track to geek-dom. Between the cleft palate scars, the allergies, the eczema, and the asthma, he's a walking target ready for wedgies and swirlies. Do they even do those anymore? Maybe I'm in the wrong generation. Let's see, blog-bashing and compromising pictures on facebook?That's why I am preemptively taking action to make sure Mateo has something that makes him cool that other kids don't. So, as soon as next year, he will be starting either martial arts (that way if kids mess with them he can just kick their ass) or hip hop dancing.

But seriously, he did have an asthma attack on Monday morning. It was pretty scary, for me anyway, Mateo could care less. It didn't slow him down much. I noticed he was coughing constantly Monday morning, then he started breathing funny and getting lethargic and sleepy even though it wasn't nap time. So I called the doctor, unsure of whether I was being paranoid. I do call a lot. That may be an understatement. Let's just say the receptionists know me by voice.
And we are in the office, probably, every other week. But every time is legit, I swear. My biggest fear is that the nurses will start thinking I have M√ľnchhausen's or hypochondria.

But they told me to bring him in right away, which I did. By the time we got there, Mateo had perked up and was running around, screeching and playing, like his same old self. Clearly he didn't look sick and the nurses almost called social services on me.

But once we were in the office for a while, things got worse and worse. By the time the doctor came in, Mateo was breathing really fast and really heavy. When the doctor lifted his shirt his chest was caved in and his ribs were showing (not normal with Mateo's Buddah belly) from straining to get air. I was panicked and started saying to the doctor, "Do you see that? That's not normal. Do you see it? Should we bring him to the hospital?" I wonder why the doctor kept giving me funny looks.

So Mateo got a nebulizer treatment and now we have one at home we give him every 4 hours for the next 5 days, and an oral steroid. The sad thing is Mateo is so used to being poked and prodded by medical people, he doesn't give me a hard time with the nebulizer or any of his medication. And believe me, he has a lot! It's taken over my entire kitchen cabinet. And doctors always comment on what a good patient he is. It's just a testament to the strength he has going through all this so young.

Now for good news! Since having surgery a week and a half ago, Mateo's language has improved. So far he has added 3 really cute expressions to his vocabulary. While apple picking he started saying, "ah-bop" for apple. He also said "goo-gur" for good girl to Luca (our dog, who incidentally is not a good girl most of the time). He also said, "no kiyee" after he had been chasing around my in-laws cat for the entire 2 hour visit and heard me say at least 22 times, "NO KITTY!" This cat is not kid friendly yet no one seems willing to put the cat outside or at least locked in a bedroom when we visit, so I spend the whole time going out of my mind keeping Mateo away from it. Hence the term "no kiyee." Normally I wouldn't be that concerned, it's a cat, what harm can it do? But then I heard a story about a foster child who was scratched on the face by a cat and needed to see a cosmetic surgeon for stitches so it didn't leave a scar but Husky insurance wouldn't cover it, and since then I've been pretty paranoid about animals. My biggest fear is an animal will suddenly attack him and leaving devastating scars all over him. Mateo doesn't need anything else against him in this world and certainly no more scars on his face. And I do realize I say "my biggest fear is..." a lot in my posts and I guess I have many fears for my child. But isn't that all parents?


Mateo nebulizing while watching Elmo


"Ah-bops"


How cute are these little Tommy Hilfiger sneakers I got Mateo? I got them brand new at a Stride Rite outlet in New Hampshire this summer but they only fit him now. I think these are one of the first pair of shoes I've bought him brand new. Not that I don't buy him shoes. I'm actually kind of a shoe-whore. At any one time Mateo has 4 or 5 pairs of shoes that fit him for different outfits and occasions. I just believe in getting high quality name brand shoes for really cheap from consignment stores. That's why my son always wears Nike's and other fabulous footwear! You can never have too many pairs of shoes, that's what I always say.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Apples and Cider Donuts

We went apple picking today. It's one of our annual traditions Dave and I have been doing since we were dating. Below is a picture of us apple picking last September in comparison to today. Obviously Mateo isn't the only one who got bigger. That's the reason why Mommy did not participate in eating cider donuts at the orchard country store even though they are so deliciously tempting. And it's a good thing I started a diet last week cause I almost made myself vomit upon seeing these photos today. But, here I am anyway. Hopefully, next time you see a picture of me, I will be at least 30 pounds lighter. If you want to see more pictures of apple picking and other adventures, join me on facebook where I post all my pictures and become a great target for stalkers.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Need I Say More?

Mateo gets drunk, fingerpaints, then passes out and forgets the whole thing

Friday, September 12, 2008

Finally, he grows!

So I don't know if you've heard, but Mateo is very small. Not off the charts small, but enough that his little daycare friends started calling him "Frodo". He was wearing size 12 months almost till his second birthday. But now, he must have had a growth spurt, because he actually wears the size of clothing he's supposed to for his age! Whoo-hoo! This is Mateo in size 24 month jeans and a 2-T shirt. Okay, okay, so they're a little big. But there's room to grow for the fall. Just look at how big my baby is getting! He looks like a little man!



He looks a little chunky in this picture. It must be the lighting.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

This is me trying to be a good mom

Okay, so I've admitted many times that I am not one of those moms who is all about the homegrown and organic food. Honestly, I would love to buy all organic. I can't afford it. I'm too busy buying the entire series of "Fraggle Rock" (or any movie that keeps him interested for longer than 5 minutes) and I don't have any money left for "organic". But I was quite impressed with myself for cooking this yummy meal made of fresh fruit and handpicked blueberries. And, even better, my son helped me cook it! So, I spent quality time doing something educational with my son. That doesn't happen very often. Not because I don't want to (well, sometimes because I don't want to), but mostly because my son seems to have some sort of allergic reaction to anything "educational" or anything resembling learning. He must have an inner instinct that makes him want to keel over in pain and agony at the mere thought of doing a puzzle. But he was interested (and for more than 5 minutes) in "helping" me stir the pancake mix. He even tried to taste test a bit of raw egg for me. Mmmm....salmonella. So, despite the contaminated, pesticide soaked, non-organic fruit I got on sale from Shaw's (except for the blueberries, which we picked down the street; those are "all natural" cause the dog peed on them), I was feeling very good about my mad Mom skills. Maybe I'm not so bad after all!

So, without further ado, here is the fruitiest, most educational, and closest-to-organic-I'll-ever-get, dinner! Fruit salad and pancakes with blueberry sauce! (Applause)









Thank you, thank you very much!


Mateo and Mommy being "educational" (hence the scary faces)

Friday, September 5, 2008

Surgery

Last Friday Mateo had his third surgery in his two years of life. But it was the first one we were with him so, of course, I was a bit nervous. Here's a quick background. It was discovered a couple months ago that Mateo has sleep apnea. The ENT doctor decided that taking out the adenoids (which are like the tonsils but in the back of your nasal cavity) would help his breathing. It was actually a good thing we did it because once the doctor started the surgery she realized the adenoids were huge and blocking a lot of the airway. So there's a shortened version of what the surgery was for. On with the story.

We got to the hospital and went through the registration, then he got to put on little clown hospital pajamas and bright yellow socks that were too big and made his feet look like duck feet. The nurses explained everything that was going to happen and we met with the anesthesiologist, the surgeon, all the resident staff, the interns, the surgical nurses and their mothers, and everyone else who worked in the hospital or has ever worked in any hospital. Seriously, who are all these people?

Mateo was pretty unhappy, if you can imagine that, the pajamas were kind of fruity. But more than that, he wanted out of that place and he wanted out now! I really believe he remembers, at least on an instinctual level, his past surgeries.

So, soon it was time to go into the surgical room. I got all dressed up in a gown and hairnet thingy and mask so that I could hold him while he went under. They started with a gas mask and it took all of 5 seconds before he was getting a nice high and nodding off to la la land. Wouldn't it be nice if we could use that every night to put our kids to sleep? We looked into it but it's expensive! Then Dave and I were escorted to a waiting room that featured free hot chocolate and graham crackers (nice!) for the next hour.

The next part was not so smooth. They had warned us that young kids coming out of anesthesia are usually very irritable and angry. But since Mateo is normally pretty irritable and angry, I figured we were in for a fight. The nursing staff, however, did not know Mateo out of this environment and only saw this sweet angelic sleeping baby. After the surgery the doctor came to talk to us about how everything went. At our appointment with the ENT to decide on the surgery, the doctor said that there was a possibility we would be staying over night and to pack an over night bag just in case. After the surgery, the doctor concluded that we should most definitely stay over night because, "he's a complicated guy." You're telling me! Well, she meant physically, his nose and mouth because of the cleft palate. She was worried about him swelling up in the middle of the night and stopping breathing. Yes, we'll stay over please, thank you. As she was talking, I could hear this horrible screaming from down the hallway and it sounded oddly familiar.

Sure enough, that was our Mateo screaming his little head off and beating up the nurse. Actually, right when we walked into the recovery area, the first thing the nurse said was, "he's strong!" (And not in a positive complimentary tone). Apparently he had beaten her up pretty bad, pulled out his IV spilling fluid all over her, and needed 3 nurses just to hold him to get the monitors on. When he saw me he went right to me and stopped screaming but was still writhing around and yelling for juice. The nurses were still trying to put the monitors on him and I finally yelled, "would somebody please get this kid some juice!"

So between the Cowie, juice, and a Barney DVD, he settled down on my lap and began to calm down. Then he was admitted to the inpatient area on the 7th floor. So, now we have more nurses, and nurse managers, and dieticians, and child life experts, and doctors of all specialties, and more nurses, and nurse interns, and what the heck? But we did have a room to ourselves complete with TV and DVD and a plethora of entertaining videos that my son wanted nothing to do with. Instead he opted for more screaming then running around the hallways bothering other sick children and busy nurses. And they wanted us to stay there 24 hours?

That night Dave and I ordered pizza to the room for dinner. I should mention Mateo had not eaten since the following evening at dinner and had only drank juice up to this point. So he hadn't had solid food for 24 hours and he was starving! Unfortunately he could only have liquids for dinner that night which included chicken broth, jello, popsicle, and some vitamin supplement juice that smelled weird. As soon as he saw the pizza box he started begging desperately for it. I felt horrible. Dave started eating and it was like having a 5 course meal in front of starving children in Africa that you see in National Geographic. So I made Dave eat the pizza in the waiting room and continued sounding excited about the chicken broth. He was so hungry though he would've eaten anything.

Since only one of us could stay over night in the hospital with him, it was me. Not because Dave couldn't or wouldn't, but I wanted to. Last time he had a night in the hospital, when he had his sleep study, Dave took him and stayed there. So, it was my turn. But it really sucked. The pull out was really uncomfortable and there were noises all night long. A baby crying, nurses talking outside our door, carts rolling up and down the hallway, machines beeping, cats meowing, gun shots, boat blow horn, etc.

So the next morning, Mateo was up around 6:30, which is a little early for him but it was a new place and all. So I called the nurse in to get him some breakfast, cause the first thing most kids want to do when they wake up is eat. Normal enough, right? Well, I guess not because they don't give breakfast till 8:30. Okay, I think to myself, I'll just distract him till then. We'll go in the playroom. Nope. Playroom doesn't open till 8. The lights are off in the hallways, the wagons are locked up in the playroom, there is literally nothing to do. Do these people realize they have toddlers on this floor! Toddlers don't sleep in! I was very annoyed. So I called for backup. Dave. Who was supposed to pick us up when we were discharged, but came early with cars and toys from home (and my toothbrush, which I never knew I would be so happy to see). Finally the playroom opened, finally the breakfast came, and finally this very insecure ENT resident who couldn't have been older than me, came to discharge us. And we were going home!

Oh, sidenote, the day of surgery we got free valet parking at the hospital. When Dave went to pick up the car it seems the valet did not know how to drive stick and spent 30 minutes finding someone who does! Seriously, who hires a valet that can't drive stick? Does that seem so obviously stupid to anyone else?

Anyway, Mateo is doing fine now. And hopefully he will turn from rhino with a bad head cold to normal sleeping toddler and be much healthier from now on. Actually, we're hoping that since the growth hormones are released at night and can be stunted from not getting enough oxygen that now he'll actually start growing and not be in the bottom 5th percentile for height and weight anymore. Of course, we'll still love him even if he never gets past the 5th percentile but are worried kids at school will call him "shrimp". Not for his sake. Mateo is not a kid you want to pick a fight with. I just don't want to end up in the guidance counselor's office talking about why my son beat up a kid for the 5th time that year and it's only October. Oh, what we have to look forward to!




Wednesday, September 3, 2008

What do you call mouse boobs anyway?

Guess how we spent the labor day weekend and the end of summer kick off to fall? Cleaning the yard! Well, it was about time. It was starting to look like more like the wilderness and less like a civilized surburban neighborhood. People were beginning to "talk" about "those people" who let their young child play "out there".

Speaking of the wilderness, I felt a bit like we were on an episode of National Geographic while we were taking down our old shed and kept running (figuratively and literally) into "nature". We had this big, ugly, temporary shed in the back of the yard that came with the house and has become sort of a junk collector for the 2 years we've lived here. Well, we finally decided to take "Old Bessie" (that's what I just named it) down. And it was about time, according to the neighbors, who actually said "it's about time."

So as we were cleaning it out we saw many, many little field mice scampering around. That didn't bother me, I always say as long as nature stays outside it's alright with me. But we had a big bin of old camping stuff we were sorting through and inside was a little mouse running around trying to get out, in which Mateo was obsessed, and finally gave it just the right inspiration to jump out by yelling at it wildly as loud as he could. So it jumped out and climbed up a tree. Seriously. Who knew mice could climb? But Dave and I were concerned for the little guy. It was about half way up the tree and hanging on for it's life, scared to come down with all the commotion.

Then Dave and I had a half hour debate about a mouse's threshold to withstand the weight of their body while hanging onto a tree. Just when we were about to google it, Dave decided to get a broom to coax it down so it wouldn't fall and get eaten by the dog. When it came down the tree he was able to catch it (with gloves on). Then we showed it to Mateo, who tried to give it a kiss, being the kind compassionate child he is. He does love animals. Fortunately, Mommy doesn't love rabies and so there was no touching of the mouse.

So we let it free in the neighbors yard. But it will inevitably find it's way into our attic and end up in one of our "humane" mouse traps (the kind that snap and kill them quickly). Like I said, nature is fine when it's outside of the house.

Don't worry, the story is not over, there was more drama to come. As we continue going through the camping stuff, Dave empties a backpack out and not one mouse but a whole family of mice falls out onto the lawn. Actually, when I first saw them I thought it was two mice humping and almost covered my eyes and put up a "do not disturb" sign. But it was a mother mouse and 4 or 5 babies attached at the boobs...or nipples....or utters....or whatever you call mouse "parts".

Dave wanted to just let them run away but I was concerned about this mommy mouse and her babies that clearly could not be by themselves while she makes a nest for them. They were so tiny. I even told him, teary-eyed, she's just a mom trying to what's best for her babies, we have to help her! I could relate after all. Despite him being concerned that now we'll end up with 3 times as many mice in our attic this winter, he made a little nest in an old sack, transferred the family into it, then set them aside in the woods (bordering the neighbor's yard). Mateo was watching all of this very curiously, securely strapped into the swing so there would be no kissing of disease-ridden animals.

As Dave was putting the mouse family into the woods for safety, Mateo started grunting and pointing to something else in the grass. I ignored him at first (I know, great mom) because he's always grunting about something. But when I looked it was another, yes, another mom mouse and babies. It must have been mousey mating season or something recently. So, we went through the whole process all over again, another nest, another sack, another spot in the woods, another neighbor hates us, another mouse trap to set in the winter.

So, feeling like I should be a good mom and take this opportunity to teach a valuable lesson of some sort, I say to my son, "God makes all the creatures in the world, even the small ones. So, Mateo, we must respect them and show compassion." To which Mateo ran away to play in the driveway and smash more ants.

Coming up next...surgery! This Friday so stay tuned for more adventures!