Monday, August 25, 2008

Da Vinci? You decide...

Clay drew a picture of me in church yesterday. After about 30 minutes of him staring at my face, sketching, staring at my face, and sketching, he handed me this.

I took the paper from from him and turned it to one side, then the other. Still not right. I rotated it once more. Got it. I turned to the side, gasped, then showered his glowing face with unadulterated praise.

That night I dreamt that I was a giraffe.

This morning I called a cosmetic surgeon in Salt Lake for nostril reduction and botox in my lips. And I pinky swore with myself to wear cucumbers over my eyes for the rest of my homely life.

Next week, I’ll ask him to draw Sean.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Part 2 Dead or Alive

It’s 6 a.m. and I’m woken by scratching of magpie claws on the roof above my irritated head. My eyes pop open when I suddenly realize I’m the only adult in the house. I storm into the garage intent on protecting our family and grab the BB gun from the top rack of the pegboard. I safely hold it pointed upward and make my way to the back yard in my robe and flip flops. I sneakily peek around the corner of the house, and when I see the swarm of black and white feathers dancing on top of the roof leaving annoying white droppings with every step to the hokey pokey, I raise the barrel and spray BB’s in every direction sending the magpies into a fluttering frenzy.

“Try to wake me up tomorrow,” I say in a raspy voice under my breath, eyeing the small, yet potent, shiny barrel. I walk back into the house feeling like a bit of a feminist, or maybe just an industrial-strength woman.
Determined not to let a flock of mangy, skunk-colored birds ruin the Whiffen family week of fun, I make the kids do their daily jobs, throw several towels in the trunk, then take them to the grocery store where we buy three big blocks of ice. We drive to a park with the biggest hill in Utah County. Judd starts quoting Kung Fu Panda lines in the car. I hear him say, “What are you going to do, big guy, sit on me?” I repeat it and we laugh. He starts to call me “Dad” and then he asks jokingly, “Are you Mom or Dad?”

I say, “Who do you think, silly?” 
He says, “Dad”.
I turn to look at him. “Then you’re Aunt Betty.”
“Well, then I think you’re stupid,” he replies.
My self esteem tanks as I remember earlier that day an email I got with the subject line that read, “Leeann you’re a moron.” Lucky it was a spammer.

As we arrive at the park, we carefully place our towels over the shiny, cold sleds and buzz our way down the hill. One bloody elbow, some torn ankle ligaments, and grass stains so deep not even the oxy-est of oxy cleaners seem threatening later, I decide to turn in my frosted bottom cheeks for a seat on the bench at the top of the hill.

As I watch the boys crash into each other, shards of ice flying in every direction, I overhear Judd say “Clay you’re my best friend, and Mom’s my best friend too.” For a minute I forgive him for not pooping in the potty, and for calling me stupid, because at least on this day, at this time, on the steepest sledding hill in Utah County, I’m my three year-old’s best friend.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Part 1 Three men and a lady…

As Sean “does his business” in Singapore for a week, I take my job as man of the house very seriously. I decide not to shave my legs, and I’m not getting near my armpits for quite some time. My bras are sitting in a pile at the bottom of the bed, and it’s a lucky day if I make it in the shower before 5 p.m. Bon Jovi “Dead or Alive” plays on the iPod in the background. I gather the boys around me in our usual football huddle and whisper, “This is going to be the greatest week ever in the history of Whiffen family fun.”

“What? Mom? I can’t understand you, can you talk louder?” Drew says, instantly ruining the inspirational moment. “But Dad’s gone.” says Clay.

Suddenly my resolve grows stronger.

I rush the boys into the car for swim lessons yelling orders for towels, snacks, and “don’t forget your Crocs.” I worry that they’ll sink mid-swim because they didn’t eat the scrambled eggs I made them for breakfast. Clay swore he saw the fly that landed on the yellow mound throw up before flying away. Drew and Judd left the table shortly after.

Over the course of the 30-minute swim lesson, Judd has to go potty (just number one) twice. Since I have to take him into the women’s dressing room, I cover his eyes to avoid seeing any naked parts he shouldn’t see. In those visits, we pass the familiar hairball and used band-aid. Just as we flush, I hear the whistle blow signifying the end of the lessons. The boys, wrapped tightly in their towels, baby step it to the car for our marathon day of jubilee not even The Wiggles could endure.

We head to Classic Fun Center fully equipped with water slides, a bounce house, and a jungle. Forty five minutes after entering the B.O. barn, a worthy name for a wet dog smelling, fly attracting fun box full of kids seemingly on speed, Drew yells, “Mom, Judd pooped in the ball pit!” Suddenly the place falls eerily quiet. Every parent looks in my direction, as if I have the scarlet letter painted directly on my forehead. It’s the same response we had last Sunday when we were in church and Judd yells, “What stinks! Ewww, Mom it’s your breath!” I eye Judd deep in the ball pit, three monkey swings, and a zip line away, his swim trunks sagging in the middle. I travail the American Gladiator-like course to rescue him and take him to the restroom. I duck and dodge kids and swinging objects until I finally zip-line my way across the crocodile pit landing on my monkey cheeks next to Judd. I proudly stand up wondering if I should try out to be a navy seal. Just as I bend down to grab Judd, I get whacked in the chest by a kid falling backwards. As we make our way through to the restroom, I hear a child say, “Mom, what smells like manure?” I walk a little faster. We find an empty stall so tiny, my bum presses against the door when I bend over to help Judd get his swim trunks off – my head so close to the toilet seat I see things that I hope aren’t really there. I’m grateful for the mach 2 (may be hydraulic) flushing toilet that cleaned the trunks nearly perfectly in three flushes. I’m happy to say we were “green” about the whole thing. Now, what to do about the SUV…

Alas, what does it take to train a 3-year old to go number 2 in the potty! Apparently it’s not tootsie pops, hulk hands that make growling and smashing noises, Indiana Jones action figures, a trip to Jump On It, a favorite book read-a-thon by mom who is sitting on the big potty next to the trainee on the little potty, pink, glittery jellies with a small heel, or a pleading, desperate mommy claiming she’ll give up her new 3G iPhone just to hear the coveted plop.

We praise the heavens and all the surrounding angels that our bodies weren’t made to go number 3.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Two days in the Life of a 3-year Old

I’m making tacos for dinner. I just finish grating the cheese and I put the rest of the block on the counter. I start browning the hamburger, and when I turn around I see this…

I walk into the bathroom and Judd is frothing at the mouth. I kick myself for forgetting the number for poison control. Bubbles continue spilling out as he talks. "Mom," he groans, a purple-hued bubble escapes his lips, "I ate this." He shoves the bottle of baby shampoo in my face. "I’m going to frow up. Please fix me.” He burps. Another bubble swims free.

Later that evening I tell Judd to go brush his teeth. I fully intend to help him, but I get distracted which seems to be happening a lot lately. He is gone for fifteen minutes, and when I find him, I see Drew’s eczema prescription cream out on the counter. “Eww, that’s bad Mom. Smell my bref?” What was that poison control number? I write a quick doodle on the back of my hand complete with skull and crossbones… “Add poison control to speed dial.”

The next day I find this

And this

And then I wonder, how can I get mad at this

So instead, that night before bed, we read this