Saturday, November 7, 2009

The State of Things

All the stuff I blog about? Has been getting in the way of my bloggin' time. It is hard to blog about a lice infestation, sick kids, a food poisoned husband, a father with a re-fractured femur, and other things I can't even remember, because I have been BUSY dealing with all of the above mentioned blogging topics.

First of all - YES, I SAID LICE INFESTATION. Dang.

I really thought we were immune to this particular form of vermin. Seriously. Not because we're better than you, or anything, but because I have, over the years, received many phone calls that began with, "You're going to hate me...." and ended with "we don't know how long he/she has had it..." and WE NEVER GOT LICE. Ever. Even when the little victims had been sharing a pillow with my kids. So I thought we were just unappealing to lice. But I was wrong.

While I was at my dad's (where I have basically been living with various combinations of my kids) I noticed that Jules was frantically scratching his head. Frantically. And he is a rather frantic sort just regularly, so the fact that I noticed an increase in his franticness indicates that he was REALLY VERY frantically scratching his head. And I had a sick feeling and a "knowing". Jeff - otherwise known as the Irritating Optimist (and my husband) said, "He must have a little dry scalp."

If Jeff were watching an approaching tsunami - a BIG one with houses, cars, and cows riding the top of the wave, he would grin and say, "We might get a bit damp." Life's experiences (and we have collected a few during our almost 24 years of marriage) have not lessened his highly irregular and somewhat annoying habit of always expecting the best possible outcome no matter what. Sigh. Then again, if there were two of me running this house we'd have slit our wrists long ago. Which is basically unproductive.

So I had to make phone calls that began with, "You're going to hate me....." to a bunch of gracious friends who acted like it was no big deal but who were so loudly screaming The F Word in their heads I could hear it all the way over here.

We ordered a product called Lice Off that is supposedly non-toxic blah blah blah and takes 3 DAYS TO ARRIVE. Excuse me? WE HAVE LICE!! WHERE IS THE OVERNIGHT BUTTON????????

Now how did Jules handle all of this? Well, this is actually embarrassing but he seemed to enjoy the entire thing. Poor middle child will take his attention where he can grab it. Jeff sheared him and he looks adorable. Olive oil treatments seem to have taken care of the adult lice. And his hair is nicely conditioned. And he's speaking with an Italian accent. And I kind of want to put Parmesan cheese on him. And the dogs are following him around, drooling.

When I dropped him off at Chess Club with his new buzz cut I was like, "Oh no! I forgot to tell Jules not to brag about the head lice!" Yes. I said "brag". Because he is weird that way. And he's homeschooled and occasionally unaware of the things that freak public school (ie normal) kids out. But he didn't have time to blurt out the reason for his new haircut because his friend yelled, "Thanks for giving me LICE, Jules!!" Yes, I cringed. To which Jules grinned and replied, "No problem!" Just spreadin' the love.

When I picked him up from Chess Club he was scratching his head with his 2nd Place Trophy so it was a good night for Jules all the way around....bragging rights for both lice and chess.

And where is Joel in all of this? Hiding. His. Locks.

Joel looks like he doesn't care about his hair (because that is how it looks....believe a feather duster that hasn't been touched in centuries) but the reality is that he cares very much. And he is either using nerves of steel to avoid putting his fingers anywhere near his scalp to scratch....or he really doesn't have lice. Doesn't matter. The kid is using lice shampoo. Just. In. Case.

Joel has some braggin' rights, too, by the way. He earned his Brown Belt in Tae Kwon Do!

This is Ginger. She is awesome. And she could NO DOUBT kick Joel's rear in a millisecond. I honestly don't know how she resists the urge. Massive self control, I guess.

And Ellie? Where is she in all of this? Out of the house or sitting at the piano. She has a solo recital in 2 weeks and it is a very big deal and hundreds of hours of practicing have gone into this Big Event and we just hope people show up. She's also been babysitting a ton. And teaching a ton of piano lessons. She's been invited to participate in a piano immersion institute in Seattle and it costs what amounts to Big Bucks and we're making her pay for it, herself. (Character building and all that - plus? We don't have the money.)

The Little'uns also do not appear to have lice. But they are still disgusting. Because they have colds. Bad ones. Jasper is making the most disgusting sounds I have ever heard. I would almost rather he just quietly have lice. He told me that he coughed so hard he coughed up his bones. We had a brief discussion of anatomy so he would understand that it is impossible to cough up a bone. But he assured me that he is missing several bones. Camille has not coughed up any bones that I know of.

HALLOWEEN. We came and we conquered. The little'uns wore a variety of thrown-together costumes and Joel bought himself another ridiculously expensive mask. If you saw the mask from last year, you'll recognize that there is a Gene Simmons theme going. And to all the mothers of toddlers and pre-schoolers??? I am so sorry. The wake of crying children Joel left behind was embarrassing.

First stop was the neighboring farm where we traditionally stop to scare the poop out of Great-Aunt Maxine. Joel is holding his leaking mask with the swollen tongue with a chain through it. Ellie left us at this point to go to the movies with friends. Sadness. 'Cause she is big and all. And I can remember every single stinkin' Halloween costume I ever made for her. Because I did make hers. Because she was the first one....and she was a wicked witch (a vikkid vit, she said), a princess, a butterfly, a spider, a pumpkin....And Camille and Japser? Are wearing whatever they could throw together on short notice :)

I must take a brief moment to bore you with the conversation I had with the teenage sales clerk at Party City as she stuck Joel's mask into the bag.

"Yuck," said I. "It is leaking something all over the bag!"

"That's blood," said the teenage clerk. "You're lucky 'cause we usually charge extra for it. But this is the display mask and you're getting the blood for free."

The red gel-like stuff was pooling into the lower right hand corner of the bag.

"But what is it?" I asked, you know, concerned about toxicity and the possibility of permanent staining.

"It's blood," she said.

"I know," I said. "But what IS it?"

To which she replied, very slowly, "It's BLOOD."

She handed me the bag and added, "No refunds on masks. Happy Halloween."

I told Joel that this was definitely his last year to Trick-or-Treat. He is too hugely gigantic and old. And by the end of the night his bucket held 1/3 of what the little'uns had so that was The Public's way of agreeing with me. Here he is looking sad over "the lame bag of pretzels".

And here is Jasper after a fix. Because he has a little problem....with sugar. We are thinking of going entirely sugar-free with him (well, all of us).

So here is The State of Things:

My house is a mess. This is the hallway that leads to the kids' bedrooms. See the floor? This is the "old" part of the farmhouse. I HATE THIS FLOOR AND IT WILL BE WITH ME UNTIL THE DAY I DIE. IN FACT, I COMPLETELY EXPECT SOMEONE TO LINE MY COFFIN WITH IT!!

This is the boys' room but they don't sleep in it.

They sleep here. They are the two colorful lumps in the grass. The weather is cool and they have moved outside and this is a good thing because JULES HAS LICE for crying out loud. The fog rolls in here every morning off of the San Antonio the boys always wake up wet. Last night the coyotes were howling so loudly I swore they were less than a few feet from my sleeping babies.....who were loving every minute of it. And they often sleep in when they are sleeping out. So Ellie's piano students will be driving up and getting out of the cars....the little'uns will have friends over running all about....and none of this disturbs the boys snoring in the yard.

And this is the Little'uns' room but they don't sleep in it.

They sleep here. In MY room. Which is annoying but not worth a "plan" or anything that would require "stick-to-it-iveness" which is something I have never been good at. Eventually they will move outside to brave the coyotes. And yes, that is toilet paper. 'Cause we are out of tissues. And it is recycled TP so they are basically blowing their noses in sandpaper. That will teach them to get sick.

And this is the door to Ellie's room. And she DOES sleep in there. Without crying or stumbling out or asking for water or a back rub or anything. Because even though there is a humongous industry that has sprung up around teaching parents how to get kids and babies to sleep in their own beds (as if this is a necessary life skill they will not learn if we don't teach it to them)....all kids grow up. Even without interference, nobody grows up to be a 40-year-old man or woman sleeping between two stressed-out 60-year-olds who haven't had sex for 40 years. It doesn't happen. Ever. So....hey...everyone with tots out there.....STOP FREAKING OUT ABOUT IT! Your kids will soon not want to be in the same room with you. That is the sad/happy/normal/developmental truth of it. They will one day march down the hall and close their doors and mark off their personal space and you will need an invitation to get in. I promise. So let the little guys snuggle down with you while they can and throw away those stupid books!!Okay. Well, that was my little Attachment Parenting sermon for today.
Signing Off as Sardine Mama, or, The Mama You Hope Doesn't Call You Saying, "You're Going to Hate Me...."


  1. great post! Made me laugh and I even read the part about Jasper's bone coughing to my dad! Too funny!

    Great big Congrats to Joel!!! Brown belt, that's awesome! Is black next for him? You guys put red in the middle no? (We put Red before brown, everybody does it different).


  2. I remember having linoleum tile like that in the house I grew up in. Except it was avocado green. My mom hated it too. :-)

  3. Hannah - he has a red belt to go before his black...he's looking pretty sharp!

    Suzanne - would you believe Lowes STILL has this vinyl flooring in stock (in both avocado and the gold). It also shows up briefly in Apollo 13 in Tom Hank's kitchen :).

    We are in the process of peeling it up and are going to sand and varnish the wood floor.

  4. See? Homeschoolers are just like public schoolers...everybody gets the lice. And the parm cheese line was fantastic. And I'm applauding the AP sermon of the week. Loudly. Well, except for the fact that it's toned down slightly so as not to disturb the babies sleeping (in my bed).

  5. and why do you not show up in my blogspot-issued reader? blahgah.

  6. I recognize Jasper's dilated eyes from his halloween picture last year - too funny!

  7. I am in awe of how you can laugh in the midst of crisis! Crises, many of them, that is. I, personally, would be hiding in the closet. Congrats to Joel for the way-cool karate belt.