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Some people say that when you die, Heaven is supposed to be better than anything you could have imagined on Earth.  It is supposed to be like being in your most favorite place.  If that is the case, then Heaven would look a whole lot like summer camp, to me.  I’m not kidding.  When spring arrives (It’s sunny today…thanks, God!), I can’t shake the feeling that summer camp is around the corner.  I’m almost forty years old and I still get that longing to pull down the trunk from the attic and begin planning for summer days ahead.  Where’s my canteen, my flip flops, my sleeping bag? Alas, there is no summer camp for adults.  I only wish there was.

In Sleepaway:  The Girls of Summer and the Camps They Love by Laurie Susan Kahn, the author chronicles the whole summer camp experience.  The book is pure nostalgia…in black and white photos.  Kahn’s book is chock full of memories of camp rituals, camp menus, dances and songs…all from the single-sex camp perspective.  It is one that I can totally identify with. I, too, am an alumna of a girls’ summer camp…only my camp was nestled in the woods of Fishville, Louisiana…not near the rocky shores of Maine.  Amongst my bookshelves filled with Jane Austin, Tom Wolfe and Margaret Mitchell, this “picture/coffee table” book has a special place.  It’s a book that I treasure, since I did not have the foresight to save so many of my camp photos and memorabilia.

However, I do have memories. From the age of seven to seventeen, I spent two to six weeks of every summer at camp.  The smells, sights, sounds, and tastes of camp never fade.  I remember the smell of camp so vividly.  The smell was a heavy perfume of Off insect spray, bubblegum, pine tree sap, Coppertone tan lotion, and Sea Breeze anteceptic. The communal shower always smelled of bleach and one doesn’t forget the stench of horse manure steaming in the Louisiana heat.  However horrible the smell of the barn, the mess hall always smelled fantastic…like hot yeast rolls or hamburgers grilling.

Summer camp sounded glorious, too.  It was the most beautiful sound to hear a mess hall full of girls sing the dinner prayer…right before getting totally rowdy and shouting a round of bawdy songs or pounding on the tables demanding M-A-I-L!  There was no better music to drift off to sleep than to hear crickets and the lapping of the lake water…or the rustling of the wind through the pines.  The camp at full tilt was just as harmonious…to hear constant laughter, the thud of arrows hitting a bullseye, cheering at a game of tug-of-war, or the clopping of a horse’s hooves in a riding ring.  My personal favorite was the sound of the campfire with a circle of girls around it, holding hands….singing “The Call of the Fire.”

Camp was always bustling.  There was never too much time to get “bored.”  If memory serves me correct…here was my schedule:

6:45 – Reveille (yes, someone played a bugle to wake the campers)

7:15 – Flag raising (imagine 50 to 75 sleepy girls saying the pledge of allegiance…sometimes this included the flag being raised …and someone’s underwear)

7:45 – Clean up bunk & cabin before breakfast (The floors of the rustic -and I use that term generously – were always covered with grit.  To this day, I can’t stand to walk barefoot on a wood floor)

8:00 – Breakfast (we sang before and after every meal…there were always “hand” movements or some sort of motion to most songs….”Do Your Ears Hang Low?”, “Father Abraham,”  “Lemonade,”  “Clementine,”  “A Cabin in the Woods,”  “Be Kind to Your Web Footed Friends,”  “Rise and Shine,”  the list goes on and on….)

8:45 – Cabin inspection

9:15 – Swimming

10:15 – Arts & Crafts (Tues/Thurs), Archery (M,W,F)

11:15 – Horseback riding

12:15 – Lunch, Mail Call

1:15 – Rest hour (Playing cards, writing letters, making lanyards)

2:15 – Canoeing

3:15 – Snack (popcicles or frozen snicker bars)

3:45 – Tennis & organized games

4:45 – General Swim

5:45 – Clean up before dinner

6:15 – Dinner (which tasted really great at camp….mostly tossed salads with Good Seasons Italian dressing, spaghetti with meat sauce, hot rolls, green beans, fried chicken, corn on the cob…sometimes hot dogs/hamburgers on the grill)

7:00 – Evening Activity (This could be anything.  Every night was something different.  Some of the activities included:  skit night, overnight camping trips, capture the flag played with the whole camp divided into two teams, talent night, movie night…..but the last campfire of the season was reserved for the last night.  More about this later…)

9:00 – Lights Out (more bugle playing)

The last campfire of the season was the most special.  The camp counselors would go out into a clearing in the woods, near the lake and chapel, to build a huge bonfire.  The girls would be led from the camp in single file to form a circle around the fire.  This was a night that the whole camp wore all-white…white camp shirt, white shorts, etc.  We took a minute to take a camp-wide picture out by the lake (one which I wish I still had in its black and white starkness of all of these precious girls) before heading to the fire.  Because many of the new campers would not be familiar with the songs, sheet music would be given out.  I remember being so proud of myself to pass on needing the sheet music after a couple of seasons.  We would all link arms and begin the songs.  After singing Kum By Ya and It Only Takes a Spark, we’d pass out candles and each girl would light the next girl’s candle from one lit candle.  We saved this song for last:

“The call of the fire comes to us through the shadows
That follow the close of the day.
It’s flames bring us peace and a calmness of spirit
That drives all our troubles away.
We are thankful for days and the joys that they give us,
For nights and the rest that they bring
May we go on believing in this life we’re receiving,
Just now round the fire as we sing.”

Then, the counselors would award girls with some outstanding achievement while at camp….”Most Improved Swimmer,”  “Best on Horseback,”  “Most Courageous,”  etc.  I don’t think I remember a girl leaving the campfire without some small ribbon that she had “won” at camp.  Everyone cried..but, only as girls do when faced with leaving a place you love…and people you cherish.  Everyone wanted to stay.

So, why do I love camp?  Easy.  It’s about tradition.  A sense of belonging.   Innocence.  Everyone fitted in.  Childhood was cherished and observed.   Kids were uninhibited.  You ran and played and got dirty and didn’t care.  Gosh, I miss it.

I get a glimpse of that feeling on days when I climb on my sons’ tire swing and let them push me.  I can see over the picket fence in my backyard to the pond down the street.  It reminds me of some camp scene in the back of my mind.  Sometimes I get a whiff of camp while taking my boys hiking down by the river.  Nostalgia boils up from the recesses of my mind.

So, what do I do with this longing?  Well, I plan to send my boys to camp.  Every now and then I look online at a myriad of camps and get excited for them.  However, they are two to three years away from actually going.  It will be a while before I order the big steamer trunk and saving hotel bottles of conditioner.   In the meantime, I revel in my memories … and look forward to giving my boys the same chance to experience it for themselves.

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I hate change.  When Facebook changed the look of my “wall,”  I despised it.  When a well-meaning friend moved my sofa to the other side of my living room, I freaked.  Don’t even get me started on the whole controversy when they “changed” Coca Cola.  I am a creature of habit and I’m not afraid to admit it.  However, some change is good.

Very good, indeed.

I am referring to the weather.  I live in the south, where it is supposed to be balmy, even at Christmas.  This year is the exception.  It has been a very cold (and bleak) winter.  We’ve had a couple of good snows…which translates into some snow days for the kids (except mine who go to private school…I guess they want paying parents to know that they’ll make sure you get your money’s worth when it comes to education…keep ’em open…come hell or high water).  My kids have managed to use the plastic saucers and sleds to slide down our steep driveway through the snow.  We even made a snowman complete with carrot nose.  Our winter has been unseasonably cold and I say….

ENOUGH ALREADY!!!!!

Where’s this “global warming” everyone was talking about?  I’m tired of the cold…and wet…and overcast days.  It’s enough to make you think you’ve got seasonal affective disorder…even if you don’t.  I find myself watching infomercials and am overwhelmed with the idea of  buying things I’ve never bought before – like snuggies (those blankets you wear), ice scrapers, omelet makers, ShamWow towels and those lamps you plug in that mimic sunlight.  It seems like the colder it gets….t.v. gets even worse.

I miss the sunlight.  I actually miss spring!  I’m ready to shed these sweaters and enjoy sandals.  Frankly, I’m worried that it will be too cold to enjoy linen and seersucker at Easter.   I’ve never thought white shoes looked particularly good on anyone other than little girls at Easter, but I’d at least like the option of saying that white shoes were permissible.  (You know, you can’t wear white shoes after Labor Day…only on and after Easter?)  It’s just too cold to even consider the color white.  Goodness, gracious!!!!

I’m getting rather desperate over here.  I even feel the need to apologize to my mother-in-law, a woman who is chronically cold-natured.  Every time she visits, she complains that my house is too cold.  At seventy-two degrees in my living room, I’ll find her wrapped in a thick sweater, which she reserves for her visits to my house.  I jokingly tell her it’s because she lives in Florida, which is basically, like living in a third world country.

Up until now, I’ve always thought I’d love to live somewhere it’s cold and snowy with a long winter.  I imagined myself curled up on some sofa, feet tucked underneath me, sipping a big mug of hot cider while reading some thrilling novel while the falling snow softly blankets the ground outside my cabin…somewhere in the Adirondacks.  What a dream.  Yeah, it’s a dream…not reality.  It’s pretty difficult being cramped inside all day with three kids with a severe case of cabin fever…in southwest Tennessee.

I say bring on SPRING!!!!!!  I’m ready for a long, warm day…watching the kids swing on the tire swing.  My boys are ready to run through the freshly mowed grass in their bare feet.  Enough of hot apple cider.  It’s time for lemonade with big chunks of ice.  Ahhhhhh.   Change can be nice.

Change of seasons...and scenery would be nice.

Change of seasons...and scenery would be nice.

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I only wish I could have more Beth Moore moments.

I only wish I could have more "Beth Moore" moments.

Within the last three days, I have been bombarded with bad news from friends and family.  I have listened to friends tell me that they’ve lost their jobs, been diagnosed with an illness, had to schedule surgeries, homes are being foreclosed and depression is setting in.  Believe me when I say that I am no bystander.  Within the last six months, I’ve had my fair share of worries….a major health scare, two surgeries, radiation ablation, the death of my stepfather, and financial woes which accompany the present state of our economy.  So, don’t feel alone in your time of trial…I’m right there with ya.

However, I’m tired of “it.” “It” being bad stuff.  Illnesses, death, despair.  I’m just sick and tired of it.  I’ve got some serious anxiety lately…wondering where it will hit next.   Sometimes, I have nightmares that God is like some big bad mobster.  I’ve imagined him a lot  like Tony Soprano.  This “Mobster God” of my nightmares just keeps “putting hits out” on people.  My nightmares all end with someone (or me) in the back of a big black limo, headed for the Jersey turnpike…in a pair of cement stilettos.

But this is all no joking matter.  I find myself totally pissed off.  I mean really mad.  I keep asking God, “Who and what could be next?”  I don’t mind asking Him, “Can’t you just give us a break already?”  It’s not like we need any more crap piled up on top of what we’re handling.

Let me just say that I am “saved.”  Yes, I believe in God…and specifically, His Son Jesus Christ.  I wish I never questioned His grand plans.  I really would like to be as sure as Beth Moore, Kay Graham Lotz, or Nancy Leigh DeMoss of the whole Heavenly roadmap.  All of these Christian women just seem so sure about everything.  I don’t always feel like this.  I’d like to be one of those women that I’ve seen at church who, in her time of trial, just serenely quotes some Bible verse with a smile plastered across her face.  (You know who they are….the “Stepford Christian woman”…always ready with muffins in hand).  Anyway,  I’d love to have one of these “Beth Moore” moments.  However, I don’t see it happening.  It’s not in my DNA.

In fact, out of all the people in the Bible…I feel a kinship with St. Peter.  This is who I feel like I am most like.   Peter was totally imperfect, but he loved Jesus.   One particular story resonates with me.  It takes place in the garden of Gethsemane right before Jesus was tried and crucified.  The soldiers had come to take Jesus away.   When one of the soldiers made a move to capture Jesus, Peter took out his sword and chopped off the ear of the soldier that manhandled his friend, Jesus.   Everyone else just stood there.  Not Peter.  Peter took action.  Yes, Jesus admonished Peter for fighting….but, Peter wasn’t about to just do nothing while they took Jesus away.  I’m with Peter.  I don’t believe in just standing there and watching.   I believe in doing something.  Anything.

Lately, this includes arguing with God.

Why am I telling you all of this?

I told a clergy person that I wanted to know why I had to have a health scare.  I was told that God chastises his own.  Hmmmmm.  So, does that mean that I did something that required chastisement?  I took this to God and I told God that I haven’t “done anything.”  Lately, I’ve been living a pretty boring life.  Chastisement?  You’ve got to give me another reason.

Then just the other day, I shared with a group of Christian women that I have been “wrestling with God” over all of the things going on recently. (I was just “sharing.”  I wasn’t looking for someone to give me advice.) When one of the women told me just to “pray more,”  I looked at her like she had three heads.  “You’ve got to be kidding me?” I sarcastically responded.  “Pray more?!  What in the heck do you think I’ve been doing?” I said.

I meant it.  I have been praying.  Hard.  If arguing on behalf of myself and others isn’t praying…then I don’t know what I’ve been doing.  Someone very wise told me that the God of our universe can “handle it.”  God can handle my rage, my arguing, and my defiance over whatever reasons are given to me by well-meaning clergy and fellow Christians.  I don’t have to sing along to praise music and wave my hands in the air.  I don’t have to kneel on the edge of my bed with hands folded and speak sweetly to Him.  I think God is strong enough to handle what I’ve got to give Him.  I’ve got questions.  I’ve got some anger and I want Him to listen to me.  I’ve got a case to present on behalf of me and the people I love.  I can pace back and forth in my living room and shout out to God.  I can run on the treadmill and tell God what I really think.  Today I ran like someone was chasing me.  I had a lot to say…

He’s got to listen.  He’s got to give us a break.  At least, this is what I’ve been praying for.

By the way, it was nice to be reminded that my God isn’t walking around “zapping” us with bad crap.  He loves us.  I keep telling myself that.  Even Billy Graham said, “The Christian life is not a constant high. I have my moments of deep discouragement. I have to go to God in prayer with tears in my eyes, and say, ‘O God, forgive me,’ or ‘Help me.”

I keep telling myself:

Life is precious.

Life is a gift from God.

God is with me.

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Nap time is golden, kid!

Nap time is golden, kid!

I don’t get it.  I just don’t understand why my kids fight nap time.  Don’t they understand that by the time they are teenagers that they’ll be begging me NOT to wake them up?

The truth is that I love nap time as much or more than they do…when they stop fighting sleep and finally drift off to La La Land.  I cherish nap time because this is “Me Time.”

O.K., don’t think that I finally put my feet up and eat bon bons.  I actually get things done while they are asleep.  As soon as they are in their beds, I began my frantic attempt to get everything done as quickly as possible.  By everything, I mean all the things that are impossible to do with little ones underfoot.  You know…phone calls, emails, shopping lists, ironing, laundry, mopping, and general cleaning up.  When my kids are awake, I am spending most of my time breaking up fights over crayons, changing diapers, or finding something to entertain them so I CAN get something done.

Occasionally, (and I really mean once in a blue moon) I will nap when my kids nap.  This is usually when I am sick or have not slept due to one of my kids getting sick (see earlier post on Haz Mat suit and projectile vomit).

Anyway, I noticed today that my youngest, George, fell asleep in the van.  I had to run a few errands, which interfered with nap time.  When we arrived back at our house, I gingerly picked up a sleeping baby and placed him in his crib.

He slept.

For ten measly minutes.

Then he wailed like a banshee.

What’s up with that?  I know he’s tired.  I know that he needs his usual two hour nap.  For goodness sakes, Mommy needs his two hour nap.  What’s wrong with this kid?  Doesn’t he realize that nap time is golden?  In just five or six years, he’ll be begging me to let him sleep in on Saturday, take a nap on Sunday afternoons and unwilling to wake up before the crack of dawn.  Even my five year old is now a lump in the bed in the early morning hours….unlike last year, when he’d pop up at five o’clock each and every morning.  (No kidding, folks)

I even hear Kindergarten teachers complain about how hard it is to get their class to settle down at nap time.   One friend of mine says it’s the hardest part of her day to get all of her students resting or at least staying still for 30 or 45 minutes on a mat.

What’s wrong with this picture?

Wouldn’t you just love to return to Kindergarten?  I would.  If I could go back, I’d relish nap time.  I’d snuggle down on that mat and cover up with my best flannel blanket.  There’d be no begging me to take a nap.  I’d also gladly wake up to a snack of milk and cookies.  Are you kidding me?  Take me back to the good ol’ days where nap time was mandatory.  I know plenty of adults who’d welcome nap time at work.   I’m all for a little siesta.  Bring it on.

Anyway, I’m letting my youngest whimper a bit in his bed.  I think he needs a good nap.  Napping in the car seat is no nap at all, in my humble opinion.  He’ll thank me for it later.

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The day started like any other.   We all went to church, came home, played, napped, etc.  At 2 a.m., Jack came into our bedroom to announce that he was sick.  The exchange went something like this:

Jack:  Mommy?

Mommy:  hmmm?

Jack:  I feel sick. (burping sound then wetness hits Mommy and Daddy…we turn on the light and discover to much horror that we are splattered with vomit.  Great.  Just great.)

Without much warning, Jack threw up.

All over our bed.

All over Mommy.

All over Daddy.

It was vomit of the projectile kind.  If you are a parent, you know what I’m talking about.  It was the kind of thing that rivaled Linda Blair in the Exorcist.

There we were at 2 a.m., cleaning our carpet, cleaning Jack, and cleaning our bed.  Jack later fell asleep.  Mommy and Daddy did not. I think we were too freaked out.

Later today, Jack took a nap and is now feeling better.  You’d think that was the end of that, right?  NOPE.

I picked Will up from school, made him a turkey sandwich, and unloaded the dishwasher while he ate.  Suddenly (without any warning) Will said, “Mommy, I feel sick!”  Of course, only two seconds elapsed before Will had vomited all over the kitchen table, the cabinets…and me.  That makes twice within 24 hours that I was covered in vomit.

It was official.  The stomach virus that I just knew my kids had escaped had made it’s way to my house.  Seven out of sixteen children had been absent from Will’s prekindergarten class on Friday.  I thought we had missed the bug.  Well, no such luck.  This is when I decided that I desparately need a HazMat suit.

I could not be any more serious.  I really, really, really need a government issued HazMat suit!

As a stay-at-home mom to three little boys, I am solely responsible for “sick days.”  As part of the “deal” that my husband and I worked out when I decided to leave the workplace, I was to take care of my children if they could not go to school.  This arrangement was to free up my husband to keep his career going.  Plus, I wanted to be with my children when they got sick.  I never liked the idea of leaving them with someone else when they needed me.  I actually want to care for them, rub their backs, make soup, etc.  I don’t like to be away from them when they look so puny.  Most Mamas feel like this way.  I’m sure of it.

However, wouldn’t it be nice to just put on one of those big, hulking, HazMat suits…pour bleach on the floor… and clean the illnesses away?  You may think I’m obsessive compulsive, but I’m not.  I just know that when you’ve got a virus running rampant, you’ve got to clean…and you’ve got to do it well.  If not, everyone suffers.

I also want one of those suits, because  I really can’t afford to get sick myself.  Who takes care of Mommy when she gets the stomach bug?  Well, there’s no such thing as doctors who make house calls around here, sister.  I’m on my own.  I’ve got to stay healthy.  Therefore, I’m in search of one of these suits, but where to find one?  What would the neighbors say?  Could I go to the grocery store in one of those things?  Could I wear cute shoes with it or would I need to wear matching HazMat boots?

…and I just wonder…would a HazMat suit make me look fat?  hmmmmm.

Mommy prepares to clean up projectile vomit...

Mommy prepares to clean up projectile vomit...

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Did June ever say No?

Did June ever say "No"?

I just can’t say “NO.”  I guess I’m just easy.

Well, that sounds really bad.  What I mean is that I feel compelled to say “Yes” when someone asks me to do something. Whether it is volunteering for a silent auction  or making 32 sugar cookies shaped like hearts for my other son’s Valentines Day party at school…I can’t help myself.  I always say “Yes.”

Deep down I know I feel like I need to have my calendar as busy as possible so that no one can say that I am lazy.  With three little boys, all age five and under, who could possibly say that I am lazy, right?  Well, I was raised to believe that women who stayed at home instead of working forty hour work weeks were “ladies of leisure.”  My mother worked full time and was engaged in full combat battle of the “mommy wars.”  There was no word so dirty as “housewife” in my household.  June Cleaver, Donna Reed and Carol Brady were considered a bad influence on a generation of women.

And here I am…no longer a practicing attorney….now I am the dreaded…

h-o-u-s-e-w-i-f-e

Call me a stay-at-home mom, domestic engineer, housewife…whatever.  We can spruce up the title, but it is what it is.

So, to compensate for my new title since leaving the workplace, I try to stay as “involved” as possible.  This is what I had planned, right?  I wanted to be the mom who makes homemade cupcakes from scratch for school parties instead of store bought cupcakes.  I was determined to make my sons’ Halloween costumes, go to story time at the library, take trips to the children’s museum.  I wanted to be busy and involved.  What I wasn’t prepared for was the onslaught of requests…from everyone.  I didn’t know that when people got wind that I was a stay-at-home mom, they thought that I would have all this time on my hands.  I became a volunteer magnet.

Can you substitute for the preschool?  Are you available to teach choir?  Can you sew my child’s Halloween costume?  Will you make a paper mache volcano for the project?  Do you mind making 42 chocolate covered strawberries for the class party?  Do you mind babysitting my sick child?  Can you make our meeting?  Will you smock my daughter’s Easter dress?  Will you facilitate our group?  Can you fill in for me?  Will you chair this event? Can you do the Thursday morning group?  Will you return this to the store for me?  Blah, blah, blah!

The requests do not seem to end.

I am not a martyr.  I admit that I like to stay busy, so I usually don’t mind doing most of what I am asked.  However, I do think that most people assume way too much about stay-at-home moms.  It is assumed that because I am at home, that I couldn’t possibly be as busy as I would be if I worked outside the home.  Let me clarify:  Because I am not working outside the home does not mean that I am not working.  Period.   I work very hard, thank you.   Even if I didn’t volunteer my time for a variety of things, I would still be extremely busy.  Here are a few reasons why I am busy…at home:

I have a three year old that is struggling with potty training.  That alone takes most of my patience.  I hold my breath when we go out the door and into the van while he is in his “big boy underwear.”  Things were so much simpler when he wore a pull-up.  Now, we may have two pit stops from our door to his preschool….a mere five miles down the road. The ten minute car ride now takes thirty minutes.  Don’t get me started on how he feels the need to use the bathroom in the great outdoors.

I have a nineteen month old that is no longer content to be “strapped in”…to a stroller, a car seat, etc.  He wants to run free.  This isn’t happening while we are out and about.  At least not while I’ve got to keep an eye on my two oldest children.  Therefore, I (and everyone within a five mile radius) must endure screaming from a child secured to an umbrella stroller.  It’s the only way I get things done and I can’t bring myself to use a child harness.  Those things just look like leashes to me.  Plus, he is strong.  Very strong.  Walking an enormous English Mastiff down the sidewalk would be easier.

I have a five year old that has no fear.  Self confidence is one thing, but this child likes to run and jump and leap…you get the picture.  I must keep one hand on him at all times.  Otherwise, I’m back in the ER with blood and stitches.  For some reason, he thinks the big red cement balls outside of Target would be perfect to run and jump on top of.  For this reason, I try to avoid Target when my two oldest sons are in tow.  Not good.

Mental note to self:  Never, ever, ever let my sons watch Jackass.

What I am trying to get at is that I have my hands full.  I didn’t even mention housework, laundry, running errands, chauffering children, attending practices, church events, etc.  If someone thinks I’m lazy then so be it.  So, I’ve decided that I will not sign up for everything that is put in front of me without giving it some serious thought.  I’ve just been way too cavalier in filling up my calendar.   The main thing is that I’ve got to stop feeling like a sell-out for staying at home to raise my children.  I know I’m not the only one who feels this way.  Working at home is working.  Plain and simple.

I’m no lady of leisure.  I’m busy with or without all of my commitments.  I just wonder if June Cleaver ever felt frazzled?   Did she ever say “No” to the PTA when they asked her to chair the school benefit?  Did June ever buy Little Debbie snack cakes instead of making brownies from scratch?  Did June ever take off those pearls?  Who knows.  What I know is that I work…it’s just work within the four walls of my home.  There is no crime in thinning out my calendar and letting go of some of the madness….I think.


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I have a love-hate relationship with permanent markers.  I love those little sharpies and how great they are for labeling my boys’ jackets and coats.  I love the big ol’ honkin’ ones that I use to write Will’s name on the outside of his snack bag.  I love to doodle with them, too.  I really used to like those big markers that would smell like different kinds of fruit.  Even though our art teacher in school would tell us not to sniff them, the multi-colored rings around my nostrils would give me away as a “marker sniffer.”

However, I also hate permanent markers with a passion.  I didn’t have this much hatred toward an inanimate object as I do now….until I had children.  Permanent markers are not safe in the hands of a child.   This is pretty obvious, right?  Well, let’s just say that my boys can find a permanent marker that has been meticulously hidden better than a police dog can find contraband at the airport.  Let me explain…

Today I found my baby, George, squealing with delight as he was but inches from my white kitchen cabinet.

Holding a huge black permanent marker.

With the top off.

It was like I was running in slow motion toward my child…..Nooooooo!!!!!!!!  Stooooopppppp!!!!!!!!!!!  Drop the marker!

George dropped the marker.  As he turned to face me, I noticed a large black streak down one side of his face.  He had “painted” himself with the marker.  UGH.  This little incident brought me back to my first year with Will.  Will also enjoyed some time with a permanent marker…when he decided to paint his “private parts.”

I’ll never forget when Will was about George’s age and he found a black magic marker in my “stationery drawer.”  I thought my markers were safe in this little drawer along with my calligraphy pens, personalized stationery, and stamps.  I was sadly mistaken.

I don’t know when or how he found the marker.  I only know that my marker was missing.  I shrugged it off and thought I may have left it in a purse or a bookbag.  Later that afternoon….while changing Will’s diaper….I thought I was going to pass out.  I looked down into my son’s diaper to find that he was covered in black streaks from his lower belly to his….Well, let’s just say that his “private part” was completely black.  Will jumped up and begin to shout while pointing at his “privates” and laughing, “BWACK!!!!!!”

I thought I would faint.

I freaked out.   What would cause such streaking?  (the urine in his diaper caused the ink to fan out and look like raised veins)  Oh my Dear Lord!  Should I rush my baby to the doctor?  Was this some rare blood disease?  I immediately called the pediatrician’s office and waited for the nurse to begin her litany of questions.

Just then, Will walked into the kitchen holding …the black permanent marker…and began to demonstrate what he had done earlier….before sticking the thing in his mouth…and proceeded to giggle.

I grabbed that marker and threw it in the trash.  Will began to scream like a toddler who’s had his lollipop taken away.  I apologized to the nurse who endured my hysteria and told her about the marker.  She laughed.  I’m glad someone could laugh. Later, I hid all of my permanent markers.  Over time, I think I’ve become too lax.  I’ve stopped hiding stuff.  Today was a reminder that I’ve got to hide things again…things like markers.

Anyway, I’ve decided that along with my Ginsu knives, the permanent markers have their own “special place”….high up…away from little fingers.  So far, the “special place” is a cupboard above the refrigerator that holds all of the things that my boys find appealing…and that cause trouble…like  knives, rubber bands, twine, rope, sharp scissors, balloons, kitchen gloves (don’t ask) and now….permanent markers.

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