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Costumes

Asking Toby what he wants to be for Halloween is the last thing I should do the week before Halloween.  Yet there I was yesterday morning, blurting the question very open-endedly as if the world were his costume oyster.

Costumes stump me every year.  Maybe because I wait until the last minute, or maybe because Toby loves anything unorthodox and absurd.   Two years ago he was a railroad crossing.  I striped the arms of a white shirt with a red Sharpie for the “gates” and drew a big black “X” on the chest.  It looked okay, but relied heavily on his yelling of “ding, ding, ding” for anyone to get it. 

Last year he wanted to be a trash truck, but I convinced him to be a Dalmatian instead. I don’t think he understood the terms of our deal because on Halloween night he hopped around panting and barking, but also stopped at every driveway to dump an invisible garbage bin before going to the door.  By dark his friends were half a mile ahead and I was more than a little grumpy.

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Who Bloody Nose?

My kids are prone to odd maladies that lack medical urgency, yet still astonish and disgust everyone in their vicinity.

Take barfing for example. To this day Toby is the only toddler I have ever seen be personally delivered to his parents in the middle of church service by a gagging, vomit-covered child-care volunteer. If there were a barf Olympics I would enter Toby and tearfully cheer from the bleachers as he projectiled further than anyone in history. “That’s my boy!” I would say and then I would reminisce about long nights spent on the couch holding towels under his chin and how worthwhile it was now that he was on the podium singing our National Anthem.

Last week we were outside for all of thirty minutes, wherein the absolute first mosquito hatchlings of summer congregated on Toby’s shins for a celebration feast. It wasn’t like I didn’t know to hose the boys off in deet before subjecting them to the insect Hades of our backyard, but I hadn’t checked my entomological calendar for the precise mosquito life cycle. One moment I’m dreamily sipping my Chai latte in Spring’s sheltering arms, the next I’m digging through our medicine cabinet for the *AfterBite* cream and *Benadryl* because Toby’s legs are swelling to the size of Redwood trunks.

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Chaos Theory

I can’t think. I can’t think. I am doing a load of whites. I am making sandwiches. I am gluing decorations for the coffee social at church. No, actually, I am slathering Vick’s Vapo-Rub under Charlie’s snot-soaked t-shirt while peanut butter and scrapbook paper and dirty socks sputter through my cranial mess of smoldering, sparking wires.

I hate it when I get like this. When I have so many things to do, so many unrelated, taskly things, that I stumble around completely zombified, unable to finish even one of them.

Why do I need peanut butter? When I press my fingers to my temples I imagine my brain’s secretary fumbling for the file amid a cluttered, coffee-smelling office. You are hideously inept I say as she stares back guiltily.

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Oh My…

Go read this.

Booger-Nose and Poopy-Pants

Booger-nose is running through the house with a yellow yard stick, swinging it around like he is a ninja. Oh wait… no, he’s a railroad crossing and a train is coming. He grasps the yard stick end with both hands and down it goes, “ding, ding, ding”. It is just so exciting that I must watch it happen or else he appears exactly one centimeter from my eyeballs to make sure I see him. “I do see you,” I say, but I would rather not have this exact vantage point because the booger in your left nostril is very close to my face.

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A Weekend With the Crankertons

“Stop looking at me Charlie. Stop looking at me Charlie. Mommy make Charlie stop looking at meeeeeee.”

“If you don’t look at him, he won’t look at you,” I say as I flip down the visor mirror and make sure it is really me talking and not my mother.

“Say ‘Stop it!’ to Charlie. Why is he looking at me when I’m not looking at him?”

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Lunch… Interrupted

I ate a ham and cheese panini in a little cafe on the edge of Southlake Town Center. I had already been to the doctor that morning and told it was not time, see you next week. My friend Jerri sat across from me making idle conversation while I pouted about my inhumane state of being. Every so often we paused so I could breathe in and out and adjust to the intermittent cramping in my belly, false labor rallying to mock my ginormous, bloated, blob of a self. When we finished, Jerri looked at me curiously before parting with an intuitive suggestion: go home and rest. I waved off this gross overreaction like any deliriously pregnant idiot.

Though the cafe was around the corner from my hospital, I drove the fifteen miles back home with Toby in the backseat. I called a couple of friends to nonchalantly ask labor questions — but not because I thought I was in labor or anything. That would be really melodramatic. What I had was just a tightening around my middle every so often.

I was getting Toby down for nap when I suddenly doubled over in pain. It only lasted a few seconds, but it was very intense. I decided to call the doctor and Greg, just to be on the safe side. Greg flew home… the doctor, however, told me to call him in the morning if I still felt like something was happening. I sent Greg back to work and called my pregnant friend Jennifer to come over and sit with me. Greg protested, but I told him how labor lasts forever and I was not actually having it anyway. It was false labor.

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Dental Work

You should try it some time. Its really fun. I got some this morning and I was all like that was awesome right after my dentist made a porthole in my tooth deep enough to catch the men’s water polo semi-final in Beijing. I’m just kidding. About it being awesome that is… I think he really did drill to China.

I made a preemptive strike this appointment. Normally I hide the whining, gagging, nauseous flincher that is me in lieu of what I want to be, which is tough. I have had enough dental work over the last few weeks that I suddenly don’t care if the entire office staff groans when I whimper through their doors — in fact, I own it. Yes, sweet dental hygienist I am “the one” who requires 8 pain shots plus several boosters throughout the procedure I smile confidently. Yes, I do want the happy gas, no, that is not too much.

By the time my dentist lowers his archaeological equipment into my mouth I can barely tell you my name. I tap my foot jauntily to the instrumental worship ballads as if it were Abba Gold. The room is spinning a little…no problem… this is probably what it felt like at Woodstock. Yes, Woodstock was a place of infinite love. I like love. I can handle love.

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The Garbage Man

His truck is a work of art. A gigantic, belching, rank, marvel of lever technology. It has a claw. An enormously frightening, squeaking, crunching claw. I am postively riveted. Fascinated, really.

I love the groaning engine, the hissing brakes, the smack of the bin against the hungry chomping mouth. I love the way it gobbles the trash like a gloriously ravenous beast.

I want to be a trash man. No, no that’s not it. I want to be a trash truck. I wander the house all day with my arms cocked to one side, squeezing the life out of anything in my path before dumping it upside down. My bin of Lincoln Logs, my case of racecars, my baby brother… No NOT your brother my mom says quickly.

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The Girl Next Door

Actually, she lives down the street. I am not sure what manner of charms she imposed on Toby or if it is just her gloriously shiny blond hair, but he has suddenly become the pre-school version of George Clooney, flaunting three whole years of sophistication around the driveway on his swanky red trike.

He held nothing back. Her eight year old self floated gracefully up on a light purple Schwinn. Something inside him said Toby, she is special. Let her know you are a big kid. So after pointing out that her bike was “pwitty“, he reached for the all-time greatest pick-up line anyone under five ever attempted

“Lexi, do you need to poop? Because I know how to poop in the potty.”

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