A Waking Nightmare (It Wasn’t So Bad)

Just a few days after I brought now eight-year-old home from the hospital with her type 1 diabetes diagnosis, I had a very vivid dream.

In this dream, I was at a hometown buffet. I was looking around the room at all the different food options. I started to sob, “How can I possibly count the carbs on this? I can’t do it!” Then, in my dream, I collapsed in a sobbing heap to the tile floor while diners around me blithely picked up their plates, filled them, and simply walked around the distraught woman on the floor.

Fast forward six months. A good friend was in town from Florida. For some reason she wanted to go to hometown buffet. I think she associates it with the state we live and her time here.

Let me just say, I have never really liked hometown buffet. In my opinion, they overcharge for mediocre food. I would rather have a reasonable portion of excellent food than all I want of so-so food for the same price. My kids and other extended family members disagree. Regardless, we were headed to the buffet.

Before we left, I looked at hubby and said, “I don’t know if I can do this. Counting carbs for eight-year-old when she has unlimited food choices will be really hard. It will be just like my nightmare.”

Hubby said, “Well, just do the best you can. Eight-year-old will be fine.”

So off to the buffet we went. I had eight-year-old fill up her plates (yes, plates plural) with exactly what she wanted to eat. Then, and here is the amazing part, I looked at it, estimated the portion size, calculated the carbs in my head and accounted for the glycemic index of the food. All in about 2 minutes or less. Then, I gave her the insulin shot and she ate a mostly normal meal. Well, except for the fact that it was more carbs than I have ever dosed her for before. And, she had to get all her food at once, instead of deciding whether to go back. And she had to test her blood sugar before so I could take that into account, too. Meal times are really not so “normal” any more.

It is amazing what you can learn in six months when you have to. I never in my wildest dreams, or worst nightmares, thought I could actually look at a plate of food, tell you the carbs, take the glycemic index of the food into account, and then just know how much insulin was necessary. But I did pretty well. She was in the perfect range where her blood sugar should have been that night at bedtime.

Score: full-time pancreas:1, buffet nightmare:0.

So, take that, buffets. You can’t scare me anymore! I lived one of my nightmares, and I survived. Let’s just hope I never have to actually live the naked while speaking in church nightmare. I think that one may just kill me.


Reception Deception

My hubby and I went to a wedding reception Saturday night for the daughter of my hubs coworker.  It was in a small town, at the end of a canyon.

The drive was strange.  I guess we’re entirely too citified, but seeing black all around instead of the light pollution we’re used to was weird.  There were no street lights, not even much traffic coming the other way down the highway so everything felt, well, dark.   Isolated.  Like if we had to stop no one would ever find us again.  OK, now I’m exaggerating, but it was a surreal drive for us.

We pulled up to the church building the coworker’s other daughter had held her reception at.  On the way in, hubs said, “I guess I should have checked the invitation for an address, but how many churches can there be in one small town?”

We went in and saw a long, long line.  From a couple in front of us we heard, “The line wraps all the way around the hall and out that door, over to here.”  Wow.  We really didn’t want to wait that long since we were hoping to go to a restaurant up near the small town we’ve been to once before.  But, wait we did.

A mom with a toddler boy and a baby girl in a carrier was right in front of us.  The boy kept telling his mom, “I have to go to the bathroom.  Now!”

“Just wait for Dad,” the mom answered back.  But just a minute later the mom looked slightly frantic when it became clear that her son was growing more and more desperate.

“I’ll watch your baby while you take him to the bathroom,” I offered.  With a look of relief, the mom yelled thanks over her shoulder and ran with her little guy.

Once she got back, we had moved a little, but not much.  After about 15 minutes total, we made it close enough to see into the hall itself.

That’s when we noticed something.  It was the wrong bride and the wrong groom.  Well, they might have been quite right for each other, but they weren’t the ones we wanted to see.

We accosted some lady in the hall and asked, “Is there another church of this denomination in this town?”

“Oh sure,” she replied.  “just two blocks down the street.”

So, we pulled up to the next church building, and got out.  Luckily the line was shorter, and we got to see the bride, groom and their families.

Then because we hadn’t thought to call ahead and get our names down, the wait was too long for the restaurant we wanted.

So, dressed in our nice reception attire, we ate at the local Subway attached to a gas station instead.  While I would have liked my nicer dinner, I’m sure the mom in front of us at the first reception was grateful we were at the wrong reception, just at the right time, so her son wouldn’t have wet pants for the rest of the night.

Nothing, What’s the Motto With You?

motto Several of my friends have a family motto. Some of them even have their mottos cleverly displayed on a wall in cross stitch or decoupage. While our family has three mottos, I have yet to immortalize any of them in embroidery thread. I’m not Martha Stewart on steroids after all. And, I’m not entirely sure our family mottos deserve to be etched in stone or hand stitched on a sampler for that matter.

Our first motto is “Everybody carries something!” And yes, it deserves an exclamation point. I came up with this motto about six years ago when I was sick and tired of being the only person to haul in the groceries every single time I pulled into the garage. So now, I just have to say, “Everybody carries something!” and the kiddos know immediately that they are not to leave the garage without full arms. As soon as the youngest is able to navigate the stairs, she is also given something to carry. It makes for a happier momma, and a quicker grocery unload.

But I’ve found this motto also works with lots of other things. Like, when one kid needs help with her homework, but I can’t give it, I’ll tell an older sibling, “Everybody carries something,” and they know I mean that they need to help out with the homework. Or, if someone is particularly sad, or having a hard time, I will tell the others in the family, “Everybody carries something,” and they know they need to help carry the burdens of the sad family member, lift them up for a while. The “something” we sometimes carry is actually each other.

Our second motto is “Everybody goes, even if you don’t think you need to.” This started when we were at theme parks. If one kid needed to go to the bathroom, everybody had to go, no ifs, ands or but(t)s about it. It saved us many an accident and wasted time while waiting for someone else to make a second trip to the facilities.

This one has also morphed into something else. It has also become our way of showing support. If one child has a soccer game, I’ll proclaim, “Everybody goes!” and away the entire family goes to show our love and support for that child. The same goes for Daddy’s band gigs. And, it’s also a conveniently subtle hint to make a potty stop before we head out the door.
Our final motto is “You’re never fully dressed without your pants.” True, don’t you think? It’s been a necessary reminder for each of our kids as toddlers. My kids will probably have to repeat it to me when I’m old and senile. It’s also best if sung to the tune “you’re never fully dressed without a smile” from Annie.

So, those are our family mottos, serious, and not so serious. Feel free to steal them and make them your family’s own. But, if you decide to cross stitch one and hang it on your wall, make a second and send it my way.

My Freezer Find

I know I shouldn’t have done it. I really didn’t mean to. But before I knew it, I couldn’t take it back. Forgive me my freezer indiscretion. I have done the unpardonable. I consumed four-month-old ice cream cake that wasn’t meant for me.
I was getting some things out of the freezer to make lunch for the two littlest ones. I spied a reusable ziploc container, crusted over with ice. I knew what was in it. It had been sitting in the freezer door since Father’s Day. It contained the last two pieces of ice cream cake from the celebration at our house in June. I had saved them for my hubby but then had forgotten to have him eat them. Fast forward four months. I had been meaning to throw it out for quite some time. Its happy red lid reminded me almost every time I opened the door. I finally decided I couldn’t stand it any longer and took it out of the freezer yesterday.
Convinced that any unwrapped ice cream cake would be freezer burned after staying in there so long, and after looking at the ice encrusted lid and sides of the see-through plastic dish, I didn’t think there would be anything worth eating in it. I opened it and just about tossed it all. But then, I noticed something. Something that would be my undoing. While one of the pieces clearly had ice crystals denoting freezer burn, the other did not.
“Well,” I thought, “I’ll just take one little bite to see if I should save it for hubby. If it’s worth anything, I’ll put it back and let him know about it later.” I got out my spoon. I took a bite.
“Hey,” I thought, “this is actually pretty good. The Oreos are a little soft, but the ice cream and fudge center are still good.” I sampled just a little more to be certain. Still good. Too good. With one child who has a dairy allergy in the house, we rarely get ice cream. By rarely I mean maybe every six months. Bite after bite inexplicably kept going into my mouth; I swear my arm and brain had a little disconnect moment. Before I knew it, I was down to nothing except the freezer burned piece left.
I couldn’t very well offer that to my hubby. Not a very nice late Father’s Day treat. So, I dumped the rest. Then, I ate nothing but a plate full of baby spinach with no dressing and complimented myself on a very healthy lunch.

The Case of the Missing Diaper

As I was waiting for the Kindergarten bus today with some lovely ladies in my neighborhood, they noticed something I hadn’t.
“Andrea, are you potty training your two-year-old? It looks like she has on underwear, ” one asked.
Not even bothering to look I responded, “No, she’s just bumless. She looks like she doesn’t have a bum even when she has on a diaper.” It’s true. All of my girls have been bumless. Their pants have a hard time staying up once they’ve been potty trained. I wish I had this particular affliction, but alas, I am well enough endowed in the southern hemisphere. Must come from Daddy.
“Are you sure? ” my friend persisted. “She really looks like she doesn’t have a diaper on.”
My cute two-year-old was wearing leggings. As I looked little closer, I saw no tell tale elastic puckering underneath the leggings. I saw no panty lines either.
I peaked down the waistband and, sure enough, the cutest little bare bum greeted me.
“She must have taken off her diaper while I was in the shower!” I exclaimed, my face reddening. Everyone chuckled heartily. But I still had a bus to wait for. How long could two-year-old hold out?
I pondered how I could have missed a stray used diaper somewhere on the floor. I am somewhat unobservant, but I don’t think even I would miss that.
The bus arrived, and we started home. I was carrying two-year-old to get her home more speedily until another friend pointed out that she was likely to wet all over me, too. Too true. So, I put her down and attempted to cajole her along. But she and her five-year-old sister were too interested in the bike jumps and the dirt pile they encountered along the way. I was attempting to get them out of the all-too-enticing dirt pile when two-year-old stood up and proclaimed, “I pooped.”
Lucky for me, she didn’t actually go number two. But she did pee-pee down both legs and into her socks.
A bath and an outfit change later, we were finally ready to get on with the rest of our day. But I still haven’t found the diaper she took off herself. I’m telling myself she just put it in the trash. I’m really hoping my nose won’t find a urine-filled surprise in a cabinet or drawer somewhere. And now, every time I get out of the shower, I’m going to have to check and see if she’s a little more bumless than usual.

Cinderella As a Vampire, Aliens, and Sibling Rivalry


Is this the real Cinderella?

Is this the real Cinderella?

As I was driving in the minivan, my five-year-old piped up from  the back seat, “Mom, is Cinderella a vampire?” 

            Certain I had heard her incorrectly I said, “What?  Did you just say Cinderella and vampire together?” 

            “Yeah, Mom, is Cinderella a real vampire?” she asked in her most earnest voice. 

            “What in the world makes you think that?” I questioned. 

            “Well, (eleven-year-old) says she is, and he can prove it because of that  thing that is always around her neck.  He says that Cinderella is going to come and bite me and eat me in the night.  And (nine-year-old) says he’s right and that’s another reason she’s always hated Cinderella.” 


Or is this?

Or is this?

.       I did my very best not to bust out laughing.  I told my daughter that the black choker around Cinderella’s neck was just a fancy decoration, not a clever way to hide bite marks.  Though, come to think of it, Cinderella is rather pale.  And she hangs out with a cat named Lucifer.  And you never actually see her eat in the movie.  Hmmmm. 

            Truly, though, I was annoyed.  One more reason  for my five-year-old to hate and now fear the princess she most resembles.  Orchestrated by her older siblings. See https://woottonwondersandwoes.wordpress.com/2013/04/25/the-cinderella-conspiracy-sibling-rivalry-disney-style/  

            This little sibling trickery reminded me of something that my sister and I told my little brother.   We were all in the back of the truck when we were kids, driving to a fishing spot.   My brother, who must have been around five at the time, saw some communications towers up on a faraway mountain.  The landscape was pretty barren and not much else was around.  So naturally, he was curious about what the towers were and why they were there. 

            My  sister and I told him the towers were there to contact the aliens that were his real parents.  We said the entire fishing trip we were on was actually just an excuse to make contact with his alien parents and return him safely to his alien home where he really belonged.

      alien family
 At first, I don’t think he believed us.  But we were so ruthless, constantly haranguing him about it.  By the end of the fishing trip, he apparently trusted every word we said.  A year or so ago he admitted that he did, in fact, believe that he was a poor lost alien boy, kindly adopted by our parents until his real family could meet up with us and take him to the mother ship.  He didn’t say how long he believed it, but it must have been for a while.  And my sister and I must have been great storytellers/actresses to pull that deception off. 

            So, I guess I can’t fault my two oldest for what they said to my five-year-old.  Whether it’s Cinderella as a vampire, or an alien living amongst us, sibling trickery spans the generations
  And, hey, it is highly entertaining. 

Two Two-Year-Olds is Too Much Trouble

Don't be fooled!  I am not as sweet and innocent as I appear.  I'm a criminal genius!

Don’t be fooled! I am not as sweet and innocent as I appear. I’m a criminal genius!

Taking a two-year-old to the movie theater is a big waste of money. Paying for a babysitter would have cost the same amount as our two tickets combined, but for some reason, I thought we could have a “family” activity together. If family activity means me sitting at the very front, my hubby sitting at the very back and the other three kids occupying the seats we started with while our toddler ran amok, then we accomplished our family time.
Our movie began with advertisements and then previews. During the advertisements, my hubby decided to take the two-year-old and let her run up and down the aisle, burning off some energy before the show actually started. Sounds great, right? Unfortunately, she decided running up the aisle was really fun. And she didn’t want to quit. We finally got her to sit after the previews. Until the snacks ran out.
“Hi-Chew, Mommy?”
“No, honey, we’re out,” I said. “No more.”
“Hi-chew, Hi-chew, Hi-chew!”
After a bit more yelling, she ran to a row or two in front of us. We then discovered that neither one of us could see her. So I went to the front and hubby went to the back. I finally found her in between the first and second row. And, she’d made a surprise for me. After changing her, we came back and I thought I might get her to sit down. But no such luck. She had made a friend in the bathroom, another two-year-old girl who happened to be in the same movie.
monsters university

My two-year-old kept running up and down the aisle, roaring loudly. (The movie was Monsters University, so she was only imitating what she was hearing.) Then, at the back, she found her little partner in crime.
I wasn’t at the back, but hubby told me what happened. She and the other two-year-old found a way to liberate themselves from the theater. They worked together to open the door and get into the lobby. I figure the conversation went something like this:
“Help me push open this door. We’ll be free! Free I tell you!” (Blah, dooba, ricka door, fwee.)
“Okay. We can make a break for the candy counter.” (‘K, go troo buh treat!)
“Yes! Perfect! We’re so short no one will notice! And who would suspect two cute little girls of such diabolical treachery?” (Yeah! Go, blecka cute roosha evil, ha! )
Hubby said they giggled manically as they pushed open the door to the lobby. He got ours and the parents of the other girl picked her up before she got far.
I spent the last twenty minutes of the movie out in the lobby with two-year-old while she happily turned the wheel of a driving video game. Still, I have to wonder, what could she and her little co-conspirator done had they not been caught? The world may never know.