Posts Tagged ‘stay at home mom’

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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Steel Magnolias...sistahs

Steel Magnolias...sistahs

“I have a strict policy that nobody cries alone in my presence.”  – Truvy

O.K….so, I’m a huge Steel Magnolias fan.  I also love Fried Green Tomatoes and the Divine Secrets of the Ya Ya Sisterhood.  Yes, I’m a southerner.  Yes, I’m damn proud of it.  One of the underlying themes of these great movies is the importance of girlfriends.  Having a set of girlfriends seems to be very important to southern women.  I’m not really sure if it’s because we are bred to look forward to things like girl scouts, cotillion, sorority rush, etc.  Or if it’s because once we get older and married, we have to rely upon our girlfriends because our men seem to leave us on the weekends to play golf or hunt….a southern seasonal ritual.

Nevertheless, I’ve never doubted the importance of having friends nor in the absolute necessity of needing other people in my life.  My oldest friend from childhood, Nancy (we’ve been best friends for 35 years), tells me that it’s wonderful to have girlfriends…but even better to have “sister friends.”  In the south, we call them “sistahs.”  You know the difference when you’ve got ’em.  Let me illustrate what I’m talking about:

Girlfriends are friends that you go to lunch with, shop with and have fun, etc.  Sistah friends do all of the above, but will tell you if you have spinach in your teeth and won’t let you buy anything that makes you look fifteen pounds heavier.  Girlfriends will come by your house and drop off a casserole when you are sick.  If you are sick, sistah friends will drop off a casserole and pick your kids up from school so you don’t have to.  Girlfriends will make you feel better.  Sistah friends will sometimes tell you things you need to hear, even if it hurts…because they know you need to know or will know when to keep their mouth shut.  Girlfriends will listen to your problems over the phone.  If you have a problem, sistah friends will cry with you and share some deep secrets of their own.

When I was a child, I remember my mother and her “sistah friends.”  They would play cards, drink bloody marys garnished with long celery sticks and gossip.  I also remember that they looked out for each other.  I distinctly remember when one of my mother’s sistah friends had a cheating husband.  My mother’s friend, Margaret (not her real name…bless her heart), did not know that the scum bag was cheating on her.  Well, let’s just say that my mother’s friends did something about the situation.  (I can’t go into any details due to the statute of limitations on certain crimes in the great state of Louisiana…I’m just kidding…Well, maybe not.) They let Margaret’s no-good scoundrel of a husband know that they knew about his cheatin’ ways….AND let him know that if he didn’t straighten up…he’d be next on their “list.”  My mother and her crew could give Tony Soprano a run for his money.  All of this was done without an ounce of bloodshed or Margaret the wiser.  At the next card game, Margaret was happy as a clam and announced that she and her husband had planned a second honeymoon to the Bahamas.  The sistah friends had saved the day.  Pretty cool, huh?

Sistah friends are real.  Sistah friends let you in on their own crap.  Sistah friends are forevah friends.

I consider myself very lucky.    I have some great girlfriends, but I also count amongst my friends some serious sistah friends.

Over the last six months, I’ve had Cynthia and Sharby who’ve volunteered to pick  my kids up from school when I couldn’t.   I’ve had Nancy who calls me twice or three times a week from Greenwich, Connecticut and it seems like no time has ever passed since we last saw each other…which, sadly, was seven years ago.  I’ve had Julie, who has grown into the best sistah friend and confidant that a girl could ever have.  Julie and I were friends in law school, but who would’ve known that two people who live several states away could have lives that parallel in so many ways?  I also have Windy, who will share with me her love for trash t.v.  Seriously.  Who else can I sit with and honestly say that I watch “Charm School” or “Rock of Love”?  Hilarious.

Some sistahs come and go.  Some move away.  Some fall out of touch, unfortunately.  One sistah, Teresa, was my rock and my assistant when I taught a classroom of thirteen boys, all with severe behavior disorders.  Teresa and I laughed and cried through my early years of teaching special education.  We managed to have some fun outside of the classroom when we needed to unwind at the closest Mexican restaurant with a group of fellow teachers.  We still keep in touch, not as often as I’d like, but the effort is there.  Who would’ve known that my early years teaching those boys would’ve prepared me for life with three little boys of my own?  It’s nice to know I had a sistah friend who was there to help.

I’m fortunate.  So, here’s the thing….everyone needs some sistahs.  It’s like finding your soul mates among girlfriends.  It’s good stuff.  For now, I’ll leave you with some of my most favorite quotes from Steel Magnolias – the original movie about “sistah friends”….Enjoy!

That which does not kill us, makes us stronger. – Clairee

The only thing that separates us from the animals is our ability to accessorize – Clairee

Laughter through tears is my favorite emotion. – Truvy

Ouiser could never stay mad at me; she worships the quicksand I walk on. – Clairee

I would rather have thirty minutes of wonderful than a lifetime of nothing special – Shelby

I find it amusing. Men are supposed to be made out of steel or something. I just sat there. I just held Shelby’s hand. There was no noise, no tremble, just peace. Oh god. I realize as a woman how lucky I am. I was there when that wonderful creature drifted into my life and I was there when she drifted out. It was the most precious moment of my life – M’Lynn

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Breaker, breaker 1-9....its Superman and Lil Bear comin at cha!

Breaker, breaker 1-9....it's Spiderman and Lil' Bear comin' at cha!

It’s my own fault that it happened.  I slept late (late would be approximately 8:00 a.m.).  Will and Jack don’t have school this week, so I’ve been staying up late (this would be approximately 11:30 p.m.) to read, fold laundry, etc.  I am usually awaken by George yelling for me from the crib in his room or by Will and/or Jack prying my eyelids open and demanding juice and cereal.  Today, it was quiet.  Too quiet.  I sat straight up.  This was not normal.  Suddenly, I heard “loud whispering” (my boys can’t whisper…neither can their father…it’s a voice immodulation problem) and Jack howl with laughter.   Whew!  I could breathe again.

I thought maybe the boys were having fun together and hoped to catch a glimpse of the boys reading, placing puzzles pieces together on the floor…sharing a brotherly moment.  I tiptoed down the hall and flattened my body against the wall to sneek a peek.  I was totally not prepared for what I was about to witness…and hear.

I heard static…and a man’s voice.  This is when I saw my sons, in their own twin bed, each holding a Diego walkie talkie.  The exchange went something like this:

Trucker:  Breaker, breaker 1-9…this here is Blue Jay…I’m havin’ trouble findin’ 385 from highway 72…where’s the turnoff?

Will:  Take a left!

Trucker:  Take a left?  Where?

Jack:  Go to McDonald’s!

Trucker:  Where?! Did you say McDonald’s?  I think there was one seven miles back.

Will:  Take a right!

Trucker:  What?! Are you tellin’ me now to take a right?

Jack:  I want french fries!  (giggles)

Will:  I want a Happy Meal! (snickers)

Trucker:  Who is this?! Are ya’ll a bunch of kids?

Will:  I’m Spiderman!

Jack:  I’m Lil’ Bear! Go to McDonald’s!

Trucker:  Hey! Get off!

This is when I bounded through the door like it was a police raid.  Will and Jack looked up at me and knew that they were cold busted.  I confiscated the Diego walkie talkies.  I don’t really know how many truckers that they have sent to McDonald’s from Highway 72.  I cringe to think that Will, a.k.a. Spiderman, and Jack, a.k.a. Lil’ Bear, have diverted whole convoys from their chosen destinations.  Who knows?

I should say that I am frightened at their ability to take a simple walkie talkie to intercept CB radio frequencies.  Or maybe I should be in awe.  They are 5 and 3.  They are preschoolers and very, very smart. Plus, I haven’t even thought about “CB’s”, “handles,” or “convoys” since I saw Smokey & the Bandit when I was in the first grade.

Obviously, I need to start getting up at 5:30 a.m.   Otherwise, who knows what can happen next.  I only hope I can channel this “creativity” into something worthwhile.  I hope so.  I really, really do.

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Bout time SuperGirl gets some props!

'Bout time SuperGirl gets some props!

The boys think their Daddy is Superman.  I’m not joking.  They even talked me into getting him a Superman cake for his birthday.  Well..he does look a lot like Clark Kent, but that’s another story.   They want to be just like him.  On Sundays, Will insists that he wear a sports coat like his father to church and even asked for a necktie for Christmas.  Their father coaches their soccer team and spends a great deal of time with them.  I am very happy that my boys and their father have a good relationship.  However, my husband’s first business trip away from us gave me reason to ponder my role as mom.

A couple of weeks ago,  my husband had to go out of town on business.  In one of my “crazy moments,” I thought it might be fun if the boys and I took my husband to the airport to see him off.  This was a horrible error in judgment.  At first, Will, Jack and George took in the airport with total amazement.  They were so excited to see all of the planes as we approached the terminal.  We even ate dinner inside the airport before it was time for my husband to leave us and go through the security checkpoint.    After kissing all five of us, my husband said his goodbyes and told us all how he would return in four days..yada, yada, yada.  My husband waved to us and began his walk through security to check his bag, laptop, etc.  It was at this point my children “nutted up.”

Will began to cry and yell, “Daddy!  Daddy!!!  Take me with you!”  Then Jack began to wail,  “Daddddeeeeee!  Come back!  Don’t go, Daddddeeeee!”  George decided that he would not be left out of the ruckus and began to cry with his little arms outstretched toward his father.  I am not kidding you that every eye was on me and my hysterical crew.  It was a pitiful sight.  People looked at the children like they were homeless refugees.  I swear I thought I overheard one woman say to her husband, “Do you suppose that man is leaving his family…for good?!  Bless their little hearts!”  You would’ve thought that Daddy was headed off to Borneo.  The crying did not stop until bedtime…which was two hours later.

What is wrong with this picture?  Why all of the hysteria?!  Daddy would be home in time to eat dinner with us in four days.    What am I, chopped liver?

I do everything.  I’m not joking.  Since leaving the practice of law to be a stay at home mom, I can honestly say that I have done “my job” pretty well.  I cook, clean, sew, shlep the kids to and from school, grocery shop, volunteer at church and in the community, and manage to play several rounds of Candy Land all before my husband gets home from work.   My husband gets home at 6:00 p.m. and the children are in bed by 8:00 p.m.  You do the math.  He bathes them and reads them a story before bedtime, but I am the one who has to remind everyone to brush their teeth.  I am the Queen of Multitasking.  Daddy may be Superman, but I’m Super Girl for Pete’s sake.  Don’t I get any props?

I’ll never forget one trip we made to my mother-in-law’s house down in Florida.   Right after I discovered that I was pregnant with George, we flew down there with Will (then 3) and Jack (then 2).   The night before the trip, my husband had a business meeting, so I was left to handle everything by myself before our early morning flight.  I had to pack all of our bags and get the boys in bed…all with a horrible case of morning sickness, which sent waves of nausea through my body day and night.  Oh yeah…Jack was recovering from a stomach virus so I had been dealing with two solid days of disgusting diapers that smelled like rotting cabbage.

Once we arrived at my mother-in-law’s condo, I was exhausted.  Jack still had “bowel issues” and my morning sickness was on the upswing.  It was October and I was wearing corduroy maternity overalls in eighty degree heat.   Being hot, nauseated and pregnant…all at the same time…is not good for your psyche.  I could smell the stench of Jack’s diaper from across the room.  I sweetly asked my husband to change the runny diaper.  As my husband walked away with Jack, my mother-in-law said, “Isn’t that just wonderful that he helps you with diapers? He is such a “hands on” Daddy!”  This sent me over the edge.  I said, “Yeah, he should do those things…he’s their father.  No one thinks I’m great because I change diapers.  I change diapers all the freakin’ time!”  Let’s just say that I felt guilty for being so snappish.

I am glad that the boys love their father.  I’m glad that I am married to a Clark Kent…but Super Girl needs some props….

Who made 45 candy cane ornaments that looked like mice for Will and Jack’s classroom craft project? Who made George’s Christmas outfit and monogrammed the darn thing at 1:45 a.m.?  Who got Jack Batman pajamas and found a cape and mask to match?  Who makes Belgian waffles on Saturday?  Who books the birthday parties at gyms/inflatable centers/Build-a-Bear workshop?  Who hung the tire swing in the backyard? Who makes it all better with Bactine and a Superhero band aid?

Is it a bird?  Is it a plane?  No, it’s …M-O-M-M-Y!!!!!!!

So, will we all survive while Daddy is away?  I think so.  I’m up for the challenge.  Yes, he will be missed.  Yes, I realize that boys probably miss their Daddy a little more because he is the one that they need to emulate..to learn how to be a man.

P.S.  My husband called me once he settled into his hotel room.  He thanked me profusely for packing his workout clothes and a sweatshirt.  It had finally turned cold out in the southwest.  I looked on the weather channel before his flight and slipped in an extra pair of sweats.  For this, he said, “I don’t know what we’d all do without you.”  Well….it’s about time! 🙂

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Receiving His Grace

Receiving His Grace

Every year, our family leaves our warm and cozy nest on Christmas Eve to attend a church service.  It may not seem like an extraordinary feat to do so, but try getting yourself, two toddlers and a five year old ready for church and you may change your mind.  Sometimes I feel like Satan is on my shoulder whispering to me, “Hey! Wouldn’t you rather stay at home eating Cheese Doodles and watching Access Hollywood by a roaring fire rather than going to church and sitting on some hard pew for an hour?”  Let’s just say, that it can be rather tempting to stay home and do nothing.  However, I just couldn’t justify doing that…not this year.

We went to church and sang all of the old familiar Christmas hymns.  It is very comforting to sit and listen to the songs of old amidst beautiful candlelight.  However, something in the pastor’s short sermon caught me off guard.  He reminded us all that we should embrace and gladly receive His Grace and that Grace is a gift that is undeserved and unwarranted, yet it is something that He gives us gladly…no strings attached.”

I know that I have heard this a thousand times, but why did this tear at my soul?  Was it that I have never been good at receiving gifts?  Was it the mention of the word, receiving?  Probably.  I’m the type of person that is much better planning someone else’s birthday party or shopping for someone else than I am at doing anything for myself.   This couldn’t be the sole reason that I felt uncomfortable at the pastor’s words.

I pondered the word, gift.  My eyes filled with tears.  Christmas is the time for the giving and receiving of gifts.   In law school, I remember that my contracts professor spent a whole class period explaining the legal differences between a gift and a loan.  A gift is unconditional…it is gratuitous.  I’ll never forget how dumbfounded I was at hearing the definition.  How many times in my life did someone give me a “gift” with “strings attached.”  I cringe to think.  Plus, I’ve heard the story about Jesus’s birth in Luke’s Gospel a million times.  Why did I suddenly feel so unworthy to acknowledge God’s gift to me – His Son, Jesus Christ?

Suddenly, it hit me why I felt this way…this Christmas.  See, it wasn’t but four short months ago that I was diagnosed with cancer.  It was a low level cancer, but it was cancer nonetheless.  Tell a 38 year old woman with three small children and a husband that she has cancer and you’ll see a frightened and desparate individual.  However, I was fortunate.  My cancer was caught early and I had a surgery to remove the cancerous lesion.  Later, my oncologist told me to not look back…enjoy life.  I took his advice.

Throughout my ordeal I prayed.  The funny thing is…I never prayed for myself.  I prayed for my children.  I prayed for my husband.  I begged God to let me live for them.  I just wanted to take care of my family.  I had to.  Who would wipe my sons’ faces when they were dirty?  Who would know when to get those family photos taken?  Who would pack their lunches?  Who would know when to pick up the dry cleaning and when to sign kids up for soccer?  Who, God?!  Who?!

Well, God answered my prayers.  I was given His Grace.  It is totally undeserved.  I was given the ultimate gift.  I was given my life.

So, on Christmas Eve…this is why I was so uncomfortable.  I have been actively moving forward by putting the cancer behind me.  I have been scared to acknowledge that I even had the stupid illness.  I haven’t wanted to jinx myself.  I recognized that I needed to give thanks…this night…on Christmas Eve.  God gave us His Son as a perfect sacrifice to the world.  God gave me my health.  To not acknowledge this is like getting a wonderful gift and never writing someone a thank you note.  Tonight, I thanked God again.  Receiving is good.

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I recently registered on Facebook after several of my girlfriends told me how fun it would be for me to reconnect with old law school chums and friends from college, blah, blah, blah.  After several months of being hassled, I registered and began to fill out my profile.  Facebook asks you for your “Activities.”  I listed chauffeuring my three boys as one of my “Activities.”  It’s the truth.  That’s what I do.  I am the family chauffeur…to school, to soccer, to church, to play dates.

Plus, the more I thought about it, the more I decided that chauffeuring my kids around is very similar to being the designated driver for a van full of inebriated adults.   Let me explain before you think I’m being awful….

If you’ve ever been the designated driver in college, you know what I mean when I say that driving your friends around at the end of an evening out can be like driving a van full of kids.  I’m really not complaining.  My kids are good kids.  They say “thank you” and “please” and I don’t really yell that much.  However, their behavior is totally appropriate for children ages five, three and one. This means they act like they are five, three, and one.  So, at times, I swear that three small children can be as obnoxious as three wasted adults.  No joke.  For instance…

Anytime we are driving somewhere and I hear an old disco tune on the radio, I’ll crank it up.  (I just love Donna Summer) Suddenly, I’ll hear “No Mommy!  That’s yucky music!  Turn on something else!”  Then my oldest and most precocious child, Will, usually screams out, “FREEBIRD!”  This goes on until I solve the problem and put something on that everyone loves – Jimmy Buffett.   Suddenly…nirvana… I hear my sons sing along to “Volcano” or  “Fins” in unison.

I had the same problem with music in the car when I’ve been the designated driver.  First, someone wants to hear Dave Matthews, then another one wants to hear something else.  No one is content until you find music that everyone can sing to…like “Magic Carpet Ride” by Steppenwolf or if it’s a bunch of women, “I Will Survive” by Gloria Gaynor.  Before you know it, you’ve got full-blown karaoke in the third row seats.

Sometimes when you are the designated driver, you’ve got to make a pit stop. This usually entails a stop to the Waffle House or Taco Bell at 2 a.m.  Sometimes your group may ask you to make a stop at an all night grocery store if everyone can’t decide on what they want for a late night snack.  This kind of late night stop is analogous to taking three preschoolers to the grocery store.  I don’t ever remember my mother having much of a problem with taking kids into the grocery store.   Back in the 1970’s, women like my mother just let children sit in the car with the engine running while they pumped gas or ran inside the thrifty mart for a gallon of milk.  You just don’t do that anymore.  Now, you’ve got to unload everyone when you pay for gas, pick up dry cleaning, and certainly to do shopping of any kind. It’s a miracle that no one ever snatched me out of the front seat of my mother’s car.  Why didn’t people ever think of carjacking back in 1978?  I digress…

Anyway, taking all three boys into the store for one gallon of milk is no different than taking three drunk sorority girls into the grocery store to buy snacks for the evening.  First, the boys want to ride in the buggy that has the attached little tykes truck and seats four children…then they don’t want to.  This takes about ten minutes to get George, the youngest child, strapped in and for me to repeat the instructions that all of them are to “Be good…or else!”  I’ve untangled the cart straps and successfully fastened them around George.  This is when Jack, the three year old, has hopped on one of those scooters meant for the handicapped or the elderly.  Jack starts up the scooter and is driving the contraption past me and into the produce section.  When I look up, I see that Jack is dangerously close to a pyramid of navel oranges.  I manage to make it to the scooter before Jack takes out the pyramid and a table of freshly baked pies.  I yank Jack off the scooter and take this opportunity to strap him in a seat and repeat the objective of our mission.  We are only here for milk.  That’s it.

It gets better.  This is when Will announces, “I’ve got to go potty!.”  Going to the potty takes a good fifteen minutes or even twenty minutes if Jack decides that he has to go, too.   Now, it’s been almost half an hour since we’ve driven onto the Kroger parking lot and I’ve not even laid eyes on the dairy section of the grocery store.

After everyone has emptied his bladder, we once again head to the dairy department…which is located in the far recesses of the store.  The boys beg for a cookie from the bakery.  I cave and grab them each a double chocolate cookie.  Chocolate is everywhere…on the floor, in the buggy, on faces and hands.  Where are my wet wipes?  I can’t find them.  I want to scream.  I just want milk for Pete’s sake.

I am not paying attention because I am digging through my purse for wipes to clean dirty faces when I stupidly push the buggy down the “seasonal aisle.” It is Christmas, so naturally, the seasonal aisle is laden with Christmas decor, candy, and toys.  All three boys are start yelling, “Hey!  Look at Rudolph!…No, there’s a GINORMOUS bag of M&M’s…how cool!…No, look at those Matchbox Cars…Mommy! Mommy! Mommy!…Can we get one….PUHLEEEEEEEEEEEEZZZZZEEEEE!!!!!!!!”   Just shoot me now.

This is when I have a flashback of my senior year of college when I was the designated driver for a group of my girlfriends after a Widespread Panic concert.  After the concert, we ventured into a Kroger at midnight to pick up a liter of Diet Coke, a Harper’s Bazaar, and a bag of Doritos.  I had to herd five drunk college girls through Kroger without incident.  It was a hot mess.

Mary Kate had to go to “the little girl’s room” and Lizzy opened a jar of olives and was eating them in the deli while talking to a cute stock boy.  Lucy and Beth were sitting on the floor near the pharmacy looking at pictures of Brad Pitt in GQ.  My roommate, Hope, was begging me to consider getting a blow-up Christmas decoration for our tiny dormroom.  “PUHLEEEEEEEEEEEEZZZZZEEEEE!!!  Let’s get that mammoth snowman for our room!,” shouted Hope.  Let’s just say that I didn’t volunteer to be the designated driver for many months after that.

I snapped out of my flashback as we rounded the corner into the dairy department.  We got the milk and bolted.

Yes, I am the family chauffer.  Yes, I feel like a designated driver.  In fact, I may change my facebook profile from “family chauffer” to “designated driver to three boys all capable of embarrassing their mother at a moment’s notice.”  I’m just kidding.  No, really…I am just kidding.  I think.

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Every so often, I have to re-read “Bringing Up Boys” by Dr. James Dobson.   As I re-read the book, my hands are usually shaking and my nerves are shot because I have just returned from the emergency room or the pediatrician”s office.  If I am lucky, I will have only had to take out the first aid kit and administer some Bactine and unpeeled a Spiderman band-aid.  You see, my affliction is that I am the mother of three boys.

If you are still unsure as to what I am talking about…let me digress.   My boys are the rough, outdoorsy kinds of kids.  I have always prided myself on the fact that they are not content to sit and watch hours and hours of television.  My boys would rather go outside and sit atop their fort and pretend that they are pirates in a ship surrounded by a sea of alligators.  They are content to swing from their tire swing and yell out like Tarzan.  When it rains, Will (age 5)  and Jack (age 3) like to pitch a tent in their room and play “camp.”  I’ve even served them “camp food” inside their tent (even George – 18 mos. is allowed inside).  On occasion, they’ve taken naps inside the tent.  In other words, they are typical boys.

Let me say that this is not a rant….I just need the chance to voice my concern over Will & Jack’s latest Christmas request.  Will asked Santa for “Cowboy stuff.”  Will specifically asked for a cowboy belt, hat, chaps, rope…and cap gun.  Jack specifically asked Santa for a full Indian headdress, chaps…and cap gun (bow and arrow were optional).

At the mention of such items, I became nostalgic for the days of the Lone Ranger and Tonto, circa 1959?  I thought it was really cute that both boys wanted to dress up like John Wayne and Geronimo.  I couldn’t help but to think of the photo ops.  Even the cap guns didn’t sound so bad, since Santa would only give them a gun sans caps.  Harmless enough, right?

While getting the boys ready for church this morning, I asked Will about his Christmas list.   This is when said, “Oh, Mommy…I’m so excited about Christmas!  I can’t wait to get my cowboy stuff.  Jack can’t wait either.  As soon as we get it, we plan to have a “real war” in the backyard.  Won’t that be awesome?!”

My heart stopped.  This could mean scrapes, cuts, and the hurling of dogpoo (it’s happened before).  I’ve seen the boys reenact “war” before.  It was right after they saw Narnia and Peter Pan.  They were obsessed with swords for months.  I refused to buy play swords, so every tree branch and stick was brandished as a sword.  As soon as I heard the words, “On guard” or “Walk the plank!,” I was there in a heartbeat screaming, “Drop the sticks!”   See, I don’t want anyone to get hurt…at the same time, I don’t want them to lose their sense of adventure and what it means to be a boy.  It’s a dilemma.  Plus, I’m in constant fear that someone from the Department of Children Services will come knocking on my door any minute wanting to know why Will has a black eye or why Jack ‘s fingernail is peeling away from the cuticle (that happened as a result of climbing the neighbor’s fence and getting his finger caught between the slats).  Even the pediatrician’s office knows our insurance information by heart…now, we are just ushered into the same room – Examination Room #3, thank you.

I guess I’m just giving up.  This is life with boys.  Santa is bringing cowboys gear and such.  I think I better stock up on Super Hero bandaids.  It’s just a hard knock life with boys.  Life would be so boring without them.  I love ’em.  Thank God for little boys.  Thank God for my boys.

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