Tuesday, August 28, 2007

It's a Lie!

Pennies do NOT make slugs spark and die. In a conversation with my brother, during which he inferred, sweetly, that I'm a wacko (he read the slug blog), he informed me that pennies are no longer made of copper, and, therefore, would not make the slimy bastards spark.

Now somewhere in the back of my mind I knew this; behind more important knowledge like how to clean spit up from the sofa, how to change a diaper while the baby is still in the carseat, how to prop the bottle just so with a blanket while the baby is eating because you have to pee so bad because your bladder and other "stuff" is so shot from having 3 babies that you can't hold it for more than 2 hours at a time and you wet your underwear when you laugh or sneeze or cough, how to wash dishes with one hand while stirring the mac and cheese so it won't burn and stick to the bottom of the pot and you have to order pizza for dinner again, but it will take too long so you decide on cheese sandwiches but there's no bread left so you say, "Fine, have cereal".

Anyyway, we caught another slug last night. So I pulled out the video camera and filmed the sequel to "Drunken Slugs". We put it in a container with pennies and it didn't spark, so we poured salt on it and the sucker dried up like... (I had something so funny to write, but it was completely rude and inappropriate, though it may resonate with some of you, so I didn't write it.) Don't ask me - I won't do it!

Monday, August 27, 2007


Dear Blogger Friends (and Tammy and Darcy),

Thanks, everyone for your support and suggestions for my "mood issue" the other day. I am grateful that everyone was so willing to help and to share that they have been there as well and I am heartened to know people care. That day could have ended up taking a very bad turn and it didn't because of all of you. I would list all your names and add the links, but I am still a little Blogger illiterate and can't figure out how to add the hyperlinks.

I am definitely feeling better, but nervous that the feelings will keep coming back. I think a trip to the Dr. is in order, so I guess I need to make a call.

I would additionally like thank the love of my life. Without her love and unconditional support, I would be a real crackpot. No comments from the peanut gallery please!


Poop, Puke and Slugs

I woke at 4 am to the thundering footsteps of my dog tiptoeing down the stairs. What the...?
"Cindy - did you take him out before we went to bed?"
unidentifiable grunt
So my girl got up and went down to take him out. I followed a couple minutes later because I didn't hear any doors open.
The smell of diarrhea poop knocked me off my feet. The entry rug on the tile floor near the back door was missing. hmmmmmmmmm...
I proceeded through the living room toward the laundry room, where I saw a light on. AAAAAAAAHHHHHHH! What the fuck! What did I just step in? Puke.
Enter the laundry room and see Cindy standing just standing there- looking quite defeated. Loose poop everywhere.
No screaming, no yelling. She just grabbed the papertowels and the mop and got right to work. Bless her heart!
I took Max out and he expelled more liquid from his behind and we came back in.
If all this doesn't sound bad enough, it gets MUCH worse!
As I walked out the door to walk Max, I saw it. A SLUG! It was at least a foot long and 3 inches in diameter. OK, maybe, just maybe , it was a little smaller than that. It was speeding for the poop laden rug Cindy threw out into the yard. (Yup, you guessed it, that's my big job today. Power washer here I come!) It had it's antennae up and it was cruising. UUUUUGGGGGGGGHHHHHHHHHHH! Gross! The fear and anxiety are now welling up. Gotta get rid of it. Can't let it get on that rug and sit there for the next few hours until I clean it. If one came so fast, there will surely be others. A slug party! No F*in way - not on my rug, not on my watch. So I picked up a couple sticks and managed to pick up the slug and fling it into the street. I figured that would buy me a couple hours. I walk back up to the house and there are 3 more on their way to the rug. Oh My God - what now? I know, beer. K told me beer. But do I have any slugworthy beer? Do I have any residual Coors Light from last year's party when my beer-drinkin', former friends came? Lemme check.
I move to the doorway to the laundry room where Cindy is on her 2nd round of mopping. "Cin, throw me a beer - a Coors Light."
Puzzled look.
"Uhhhh, what?"
"Slugs, I need beer for the slugs".
"OH, I thought you were gonna start drinking right now."
I'm thinking, this is not a bad idea, but no, I'll wait til noon.
"No, I'm gonna put the beer out and the fuckers will crawl in and explode." OK, I knew they wouldn't explode, but it made me feel better that they would die a horrible death rather than just getting drunk and dying of alcohol poisoning.
Got an old Chinese food tupperware - I knew there was a reason I kept these things -cracked open the can and poured it in.
I went upstairs to feed my now screaming babies and hoped for the best.
5 am - feeding done, Cindy coming upstairs to get her last 20 minutes of sleep before her alarm goes off and she has to get up for work. I make a left out of the babies room and something stopped me. I turned around and went downstairs to see how my beer bowl of torture was working.
3 slugs were slowly making their way toward the bowl. Too slow. What if they didn't go in? What if they were just playing with me and were really headed for the rug again. or worse yet, my house???!!!!! Nuh-uh. No way, not this time.
I picked up 2 more sticks and headed for the biggest fucker of the 3.
I reached for him. He rolled up, he struggled, made his slimy body into a hard ball. The game was on. I looked for 2 bigger sticks, hoping not to step on a slug while I was making my way to the driveway to get them. Success - 2 huge sticks. Now he was mine.
Back to the big fucker. Squished him between the sticks and dropped him into the beer.
Stood there. Watched. And watched. Patience, Elyse, something will happen. He moved around a little, like he was drinking it, like he enjoyed it. Not unlike I might do if I were dropped into a vat of Cosmos. I digress. Still nothing. So I picked up the 2nd biggest, dropped him in. Then the 3rd - kerplunk!
And it was done. I felt cleansed.
I went inside and back to bed after several thorough hand and feet washings.
As I lay in bed trying to fall back to sleep, feeling victorious, it hit me. I am terrified of these disgusting creatures and they cripple me with anxiety. I haven't won - not yet. I started getting nuts, worried that I am on a downward spiral into some kind of mental illness. One that will cause me to see slugs everywhere and in my dreams. And I will feel them on my skin and there will be some large sluglike creature following me everywhere I go, waiting for just the right moment to slime me, rendering me motionless, then sliding over me and absorbing my body into his.
Go into bathroom, take ativan, return to bed. Wait, wait, wait. Breathe, breathe, breathe.
Aaaaaaaahhhhhhhhhhhhh. Sleep.

I woke this morning and checked on my drunk little captives. There were four! I captured one - for real. I captured him! And he appears to be an adolescent, not huge like the others. This is a victory. I stopped him before he reached maturity, before he can do irreparable damage - to my psyche and my hostas.
That's right, our big beautiful, lush hostas are the reason we have slugs. I looked a few things up this morning and will leave you with these, my favorite fun facts.

I won't dare post a picture of my conquest.
Or maybe I'll put it to my blogger friends - should I post the picture? What's your vote?

All slugs are hermaphrodites.

Hostas and lettuce are two of their favorite foods. But they will happily chow down on just about any plant in your garden. But don’t worry—there are many non-toxic ways to subdue these slimy sons of snot!

1) Beer. Yes, it really does work. It’s also the best non-personal way to confirm that overnight damage is due to the slimy beasts. Just don’t use the often-cited “stale beer”, which slugs like about as much as you and I do. Place commercial traps or old margarine tubs on top of the soil close to the damaged plants, wait until dusk and then fill them with the cheapest—but freshest—beer you can find. The next morning, they should be filled with dead drunken slugs. Dump this defeated debris nearby (where it will attract their cannibalistic pals) and repeat every evening.

2) Copper. Slugs get shocked when they touch this shiny metal. Drop captured slugs into a jar of pennies and watch ‘em spark!
this is by far my favorite method mentioned, though way too personal.

3) Boards. Lay some old planks between your garden beds. The vampiric slugs will crawl underneath to hide from the sun. Come morning, lift the boards and scrape the slugs into a bucket with a flat piece of metal. Then do with them what you will. Hey—got any pennies?)

4) Human hair. Surround your plants with a protective barrier of hair. The slugs will get all tangled up in it and strangle (hey—it was them or the hostas!); and the hair will eventually add plant-feeding nitrogen to the soil.


K - you asked for it...

Thursday, August 23, 2007

What Have I Done?

This morning I woke with more anxiety than usual. Emma didn't sleep last night at all. She was up several times and crying constantly. She wouldn't eat when Jake did at 4:30, so she woke again at 6. I fed her, we fell asleep for 10 minutes, then it was a total loss from there. Everyone was up, except Jake. It's now 9 am and he just got up.
All I want to do is cry.
I feel like I have no idea what I'm doing. Emma was in her jumper, fairly happy, then just started screaming on and off for at least 10 minutes while I just sat here on the couch, trying to figure out what was wrong with her. She's been screaming a lot lately - her version of talking, but this seemed a little different. Was it? I couldn't tell. But why not? I'm her mother and I should certainly know these things after 5 months. Still screaming, but laughing in between. OK, out of the jumper - how about the play mat? She likes to kick the thing that plays music and lights up. Picked her up. Wow, her diaper is soaking wet. When was the last time I changed her? Can't even remember. It's basic, they are hungry, tired, gassy or wet. Simple. But not for me. Not today.
I ran out of cereal and formula Tuesday night, I'm running really low on diapers and was supposed to go get more yesterday. I didn't do it. I just sat in the house all day. Did nothing. Thank goodness I had enough formula to get me through this morning and just enough diapers, too. The last time I went out to get them, I bought the wrong size. They are way too small for Jake, and they barely fit Emma. They can't be comfortable, but I still didn't go get more yesterday. And I could have. Olivia was in school, so it would have been easy to just throw the babies in their car seats and take the ride to the store. Didn't do it. Don't want to do it now.
Now the tears are rolling. These are basic needs my babies have and I am no meeting them.
There's also this feeling I've have a lot lately - like everyone is mad at me. I must ask Cindy 3 or 4 times a day whether she is mad at me for something, but I can never figure out what I could have done. She always says no, but that nagging feeling won't let go.
Then there are the friends. The ones who live so close. They don't call or come over to play. I'm the one with 3 kids and it's always me calling to get together. What did I do? Are they mad? Or worse, do they just not like me anymore? Did I say something? Was I insensitive? Selfish? Mean? I'm sure I can be all these things, but I can't remember if I was.
And then there's another friend. I'll just call her K. She has 2 kids, almost 3 years and almost 1. We used to get together once a week. There was some craziness with my pregnancy and other family stuff, so we stopped for a while. But we always talked. She used to talk to me, tell me stuff. No more. I feel a barrier. I feel like she's mad at me. What did I do? I can't figure it out.
It gets worse. I feel like people I don't even know are mad at me - or just plain don't like me. For example, Bloggers I know only from this site. Never met 'em, never spoke to 'em. They commented a couple times. I commented a couple times. Now nothing. Something I said?
The paranoia is horrible.
Here's the kicker - the thing that sealed it. I'm crying like a baby. Usually my dog comes over and puts his snout right in my face and stares at me with those big eyes, as if to say, "It's OK, Mommy. I love you." Not this time, he went into the other room - and there he sits. I don't think it could get worse than that.
What have I done?

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

The Best Sister In The Whole Wide World!

I never had a sister. Never, that is, until I met Karen. She was Cindy's sister first, but now she is mine, too.

To say she is kind, considerate, thoughtful and funny wouldn't even begin to cover it. She is warm and compassionate. She is nonjudgmental and strong. She would give the shirt off her back - and has. Best of all, she cracks me up.

In the last year, Cindy and I have been through hell. Cindy has been hospitalized 3 times, had 2 operations and a lot of pain and recovery. I went through fertility treatments, and they wreaked havoc on my body. Before I even got pregnant with the twins, I was on bedrest. The pregnancy was difficult, I spent a lot of time feeling sick and weak and off my feet. A lot of people stepped up in a way we had not expected and we are very grateful for all that everybody did.

But Karen did what sisters do - without being asked, without complaints and with a huge smile on her face, while asking what more she could do. She took Olivia to stay with her when Cindy was in the hospital - all 3 times. If it stopped there, I would owe her big time, but it didn't. When I was pregnant, she offered to take her again and again. Cindy was exhausted from working 60 hours a week and taking care of me at night and on the weekends. Karen knew it and gave us a break more times than I can count. She was a Godsend. It was a place Olivia could go and have fun from morning til night and still stay on her schedule (sort of). I mean, Aunt Karen is a blast and any kid who WANTS to take a nap or go to bed on time when she is at Aunt Karen's house would be a fool. But Karen made sure she napped and went to bed and got enough sleep so she wouldn't come home all screwed up. She made sure she had great snacks and ate fruits and vegetables and, of course, lots of mac and cheese. Boy do we love mac and cheese!

Then the babies came and all seemed to be back to normal, as much as it could be with a 3 year old and newborn twins. Everything was going along, life was good, but we were tired and in desperate need of "something", though we didn't know what.

Then it came. The letter. Notification actually; that we had won some sort of prize. As I read it, my pressure started rising and welling up inside me was a huge WAHOOOOOOOOOOO! I yelled out to Cindy and jumped around and screamed like a crazy woman. You will know exactly why when you read it. You will have to click on it to see the full blown image so it's large enough to read. #2 is not visible because it is "EYES ONLY" - sorry.

So there it was, a gift from the Heavens. We checked out a lot of places and hotels and flights. As it turns out, 2 nights became 4 and we are going to Puerto Rico for our 5th anniversary in September. Karen happily agreed to the extra time and, as an added bonus, she insists she will have the twins sleeping all the way through the night by the time we return. Is there a better gift than that? I mean, if that were the only reason she were coming, I'd go sleep in the streets while she accomplishes that task.
But as it turns out, we will not be sleeping in the streets. If we had to pay for this trip, we might be, but with a little resourcefulness, we are going to have a great time and not worry one iota about money. We cashed in ALL our credit card points for the flight and got the cheapest room in a very expensive hotel/casino/spa. The room is GORGEOUS. As a summer special, we will get a $100 credit to use anywhere in the hotel, AND the spa in the hotel takes Spa.Finder gift certificates. Why is this important, you ask? Because my brother and his partner gave us 4 gift certificates for Christmas last year, which we have not used. Hot stone massage on the beach...here I come!

I would have posted a picture of my beautiful Karen, but she has yet to approve one for publication. When she does, I will put it up.

Thank you, sister - for everything!

Hugs and Kisses,


PS - Isn't fun the best thing to have?

My How They've Grown

I haven't been feeling well lately - a lot of pain in my mouth from all the dental work and from the grinding and clenching - due to stress and anxiety, they say. BAAAA! What stress? I got a mouthguard and wear it whenever possible, and though I'm adjusting, it makes my mouth hurt.

I've taken a lot of pictures lately because I don't feel like going out, so I stay in and don't feel like cleaning, so...
We went to a party for a friend's daughter and I caught the cutest picture of her oldest daughter holding Olivia in the pool. This is the girl who made the beautiful "Happy Birthday" driveway mural for Olivia at her birthday party.
At the party, they had this trampoline. OG loved it and Cindy just had to have it, so now we do. It's great for burning off that last bit of energy right before we sit down to dinner.
Olivia turned 3 the end of July and the twins turned 5 months on Sunday. As I look at all 3 of them, I can't believe how much they have grown and changed in such a short period of time.
Jake is such a happy little guy - always smiling, laughing, trying so hard to talk. He has a dimple in his left cheek to die for and the other day I discovered he has a matching one on his left butt cheek, too. I bit it so hard when I found it! I just couldn't help myself.
I asked Jake what his greatest wish was. His reply - "Peace!" Emma just gave me a blank stare and never did answer me. I'm pretty sure she's practicing for her teen years.
Olivia requested a photo shoot with her sister and her brother. Of course, I obliged.

Emma can stare you down for hours. It's a little harder to get her to smile and laugh, but when she does, it lights up the room. She also has other faces.
Can you say POUT?

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Ain't Misbehavin'

I read over this before I posted it and it is a little chaotic and hard to follow the timeline, but please bear with me. I had so much to say (so unlike me! LOL)

I think K, from Role Playing With Kids, started something. So I will hop on the bandwagon.

I will preface by saying, this is MY story, and not a commentary on anyone else's situation. My daughter, my parenting style, my feelings, her personality and mine, our relationship and our situation are unique and don't translate at all to anyone else's lives and in no way does this blog cast judgment on anyone. Having made my disclaimer, here it goes.

I don't have a child who hits or pushes or takes toys away from other children. She is usually the one who is on the losing end of those behaviors. She is, many times, slow to warm in a crowd or around people whom she does not know. She is a generally sweet and loving child. However, her mouth and her looks of death are her weapons. She can cut you with her tone and that tongue faster and smoother than a sword cuts through softened butter and those eyes could burn up the devil in one quick glance. People say she gets it from me. My mom would have agreed and surely chuckles from Heaven every time it happens .

Whenever she was fresh or disrespectful to me, it made me insane. I could feel my face getting red, my muscles tightening and it would take every ounce of willpower I had not to do something I would regret. For whatever reason, I was horrified everytime she would mouth off to me, especially if it were in front of other people. The dirty looks from other people and the shame factor added to my anger. It was something I had to put a stop to, but how? And I'll add this little tidbit. I DO NOT need other people, even my closest friends and relatives, to add their 2 cents when it happens. They will often say something to Olivia that is completely useless (i.e. - "that's not nice", "Olivia, you need to apologize to Mommy", etc.) and it makes the situation worse because she then feels shamed and upset on top of everything else. I am her mother and I will deal with it, thank you.

Back to the story.
I thought and thought and observed and thought some more. I analyzed her and me and Cin and our world and everything around us and I thought and thought and thought some more. I came up with this.
When Olivia chooses a behavior that I, and others, deem inappropriate, my 1st reaction is shame, then embarrassment, then anger that I am embarrassed, then lots of emotions follow. At some point, I get lost because I'm no longer reacting to the behavior itself, but to my feelings about it. After I get angry with her, I get angry with me.

I learned a lot about my daughter and myself in the last few months because I have spent more time, more REAL time, with her than I have since she was born. I have talked to her and asked her questions about everything she says and feels and does. She is far from being able to answer some of those questions in any meaningful way. Ahhhhh, my light goes on.

She's still just a baby. She is just beginning to have meaningful language. She is just starting to have all these emotions and barely understands them herself.
I learned that her behavior is not a reflection of what I have taught her, but rather a reflection of what I have neglected to teach her. She can only chose from her repertoire of words and behavior. She cannot use words she does not know. She cannot make a choice she does not know is available. Furthermore, even if somewhere deep down, she knows it's available, she needs practice choosing it. Children are not born brilliant decision makers. They need practice and reinforcement and encouragement. And they will make a lot of mistakes for a lot of years. They are supposed to.

A digression...It was misleading for me to write earlier on that Olivia does not hit. She used to. She learned it from somewhere, or maybe it's just a survival thing that she was born with. I remember the feelings of absolute shame when we would be in a play group and Olivia would just walk up to another kid - always a smaller one and always a girl - and just smack or hit her. No rhyme, no reason. "Mortified" doesn't even cover what I felt. I just didn't understand why she did it. I poured over every instance for hours and days after it would happen. I was at a loss. Finally, I decided I could never know why she does everything she does. So I changed direction. Instead of understanding it, I decided I would just put halt to it.
We worked SOOOOOOO hard on getting her not to hit. She was too young for timeouts and other discipline, so every time it happened, I talked to her about what she could do instead of hitting. "No, Olivia. That's hitting. You CANNOT hit (rather than "we don't hit"). You can rub her arm or touch her hand or tap her shoulder", etc., etc., bla, bla, bla. I thought about whether I should explain that it hurts their feelings when she hits, but I was pretty sure she wouldn't give a shit. Too young for empathy. It was so draining. It went on for about 2 months, then it stopped - all of a sudden and for good. I think her light went on. She got it. It took time and practice and consistency. Every time - the same exact thing. Draining!

Then about 6 months ago, other behaviors started that I didn't like - the talking back, the ignoring me when I asked her to do something, the running away laughing when I asked her to come to me, the forceful "NO!", no matter what I asked or said, and the whining. OH THE WHINING! She had a lot of changes going on in her life and I'm sure she felt like she had no control and was taking it the only way she knew how. What to do? I poured over books and the Internet and asked friends. Nothin'! Well, not true. One friend told me about 1-2-3 and it works like a charm. Not at first, but after she realized there was a consequence EVERY time I got to 3, her light went on again. And I stopped being angry. No loud voice, no angry tone. Just 1.......2......3. Thanks, K - you saved my, I mean her, life. But this doesn't work for everything. I still had that sharp tongue to contend with. Oh yeah, and the bloodcurdling, hair curling, bonechilling tantrums. I had to rid our lives of those as well.

So I decided to embark on the journey of knowledge in decision making - helping Olivia to choose words and actions that are appropriate and, more importantly, that feel good for her.
She would so often say to me, after being told no or being corrected, "Mama, don't be mean to me" or "Mama, don't be mad at me." After this happened a few times, it hit me like a ton of bricks. I need to explain things to her - nicely. She's old enough now. She needs - and deserves - to know why and why not. I could no longer go on the premise of "Because I said so." She is a little person with thoughts and feelings and emotions and a brain. That's right - a brain.

So the next time she was "fresh" to me, I asked her to come over to me and talk to me. I told her how it made me feel when she talked to me like that. I told her that there were other ways to tell me she didn't want to do something without being disrespectful. Little did she know she would have to to what I asked anyway (hehe). But we would work it out. So each time this happened, we would have a talk and discuss other ways to get her feelings out without shouting "NO!" at me. And on my end, I felt it was important to be careful with my tone, and to say please and thankyou, just like she was supposed to. She is, afterall, a very sensitive child. And on her end, she would have to learn that she needed to do things that I asked her to do, even if she didn't want to do them. And if she wanted to be mad about it, she could be. And she could and should express it. We went over different ways for her to be angry or upset. We play acted. It was fun. And in the end, she usually did what she was supposed to do with a smile on her face. But there were some tantrums. So what? They end and we hug and kiss and all is good again.

It's been about 2 months since we began our "journey of love" and we are all so much happier. Cin and I are relaxed. We no longer expect a blowup every time we open our mouths to speak to her, or when we have to say no. Olivia is happy too. And we can see it in her eyes, in her smile. She seems peaceful now, no longer in search of the fight, the drama. She is getting the attention, the right kind of attention, she needs and deserves.
Don't get me wrong. She still cries and screams and says,"NO!", runs away and laughs in my face when I ask her to do something and bedtime is still a struggle (mostly because I believe she loves spending time with us so much that she can't bear the thought of being away from us). But now these things only happen once in a while. She only gets a time out once or twice a week, and she will now go to it quietly rather than with a tantrum.
She is far from perfect. But why should she be? Why should I expect perfection from her when I am so far from it myself? I was being so hard on her because I wanted her to be well-behaved and well-mannered and polite. Why? So people would love her. It was crazy. Why do I care if people love her? It's my own insecurity and need for acceptance. So I had to get over it and stop caring what people thought of her and just worry about loving her myself and providing her with the gentle guidance she needs to become whoever she is supposed to be.

I'm pretty sure I blabbed on and on and on in this post, so thanks for staying with me!

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

OG's 3rd Birthday Party

FINALLY! It's over - so much preparation and it's over in a flash. Everyone had a blast.
The Slip N' Slide was a big hit.

The baby pool and the Pirate Ship pool were very refreshing.

The silly glasses were the all out favorite from the goodie bags.

Of course, everyone helped open the presents.

Except for the resident fisherman.

And the cake was DELICIOUS! As always, it was ice cream cake - cake batter ice cream on bottom and top with a center of smashed Oreos - double high! MMMMMMMMMMMM!