Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Out of the mouths of babes

For reasons I'll never understand, T calls ketchup 'boo boo'. He has since he first started talking. He calls 7-up "snowman coke" ever since they put a snowman on the bottle this winter. Our dogs, Dot and Flash, were referred to as 'Dot' and 'Not Dot' for a long time. Any kind of baked good that requires an egg to make is 'cake'. Pizza is 'hot-za'. These are the only ones I can think of off the top of my head but I'm sure I'll remember more.

It's so funny what kids pick up. T loves to help me cook (well, okay, stir). I started singing "It's too hot, too hot baby" when we would pull stuff out of the oven and now whenever I say to be careful because something is hot, T will say "it's too hot baybayyyyyy" and I have to laugh. The kids and I love music. Our latest thing is ABBA. Last year, I taught T to do the disco "oooh oooh" with the traditional John Travolta disco pointer move. We hadn't done that in the longest time, but when we were singing in the kitchen tonight, he did it out of the blue. I was drinking water and almost snorted it out of my nose. And Dancing Queen is 'ance keen' just in case you hear him talking about it. T may not be big on talking, but there are very few sounds he can't imitate. And our diva-licous Ms. S is starting to talk. So far we've gotten "yeah" "mama" and "dad" out of her. Tonight she was trying to say 'card'. The more she tries to talk, the better T talks. I'm not complaining!

This weekend he pulled his Baby Einstein cards out of his closet and was flipping through them naming the stuff on the cards. I stood in amazement and just listened at the door. That little stinker can talk much better than he lets on. Okay then, pal. Game on! If he can say submarine, then there's no reason he can't say half the stuff he doesn't say other than he doesn't want to. Or maybe I'm just hoping. Tonight he got mad at me and put the first string of sentences together that I've ever heard. Granted it was, "T no want to. Mom, you go 'way! T do it. T do it self. Go 'way, Mom. GO!"

This weekend we got some stuff we ordered from Old Navy. We ordered some rompers for S since there is so little selection at the BX, we love the stuff from Old Navy, it was on sale, and Old Navy includes APO boxes in their $5 shipping. T was a little upset that there was nothing in the box for him and insisted on putting on one of the rompers. The picture speaks for itself.

Sunday, we were leaving the commissary and he started reading the numbers and letters off of license plates. It was clear enough that Sam understood him, so he's come a long way just in the last month. I'm so curious about what's going to happen with this evaluation - I really wonder what they'll find, if anything. If there's nothing wrong.. then how do we tame this temper issue and how do we get him to talk?

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Oh, for the love of comfort(er)

Late Saturday night/early Sunday morning, T comes into my room and croaks, Moooooooom. Too tired to fight about who sleeps where, I just pull back the cover and say, come on. He crawls in bed with me, then fidgets and tosses and turns. After a few minutes he says, "hold you!" so I sit up and pick him up and realize that something is wrong. He is on fire. Before I can ask him if he's okay, here comes the vomit.

Confession time. In our life before kids, R and I bought things like really nice comforter sets. Ones that have to be dry cleaned. Of course. BK (before kids) it didn't matter, all we had to worry about was dog hair and drool on the bed spread. Well, times have changed! Where we are now the only dry cleaner I know about is the base dry cleaner. We took our comforter there to have it cleaned not long after we got our household goods in. And from what we can tell, they charged us $30 to fold it, hang it on a hanger and put some plastic over it. It didn't feel, look, or smell like it had been cleaned. So much for the 'don't worry we can just have it cleaned' theory.

So, I'm a bit embarrassed to admit that my first thought was NO! Not the comforter! when T started to throw up. It took me forever to get the smell out of the couch when he threw up on it. So I tried to lean him over the side of the bed and at least aim for the rug or the floor. T, who had no idea what I was thinking or doing, I guess thought I was going to throw him off the bed because he suctioned on to me, which meant the vomit went all over me, the bedspread and the bed. Niiiiiiiiiice. I couldn't have just picked him up and headed for the bathroom, could I? Nooooooooooo. So now he's upset and crying and I"m trying to get he and I up off the bed without getting any more stuff on the bed or comforter. And, no, it didn't work well.

All this reminds me of my childhood and the countless times I'd tearfully tell my Mom, "You wouldn't care if I bled to death as long as I didn't get it on the carpet!!!!" I can now understand some of her thinking in that regard, and I'm just waiting to hear it come out of T's mouth.

T and I head into the bathroom and once he stops throwing up, he just collapses onto the bathroom floor and asks for his blankets. I go get them and his pillows and make him a little bed on the bathroom floor. He falls asleep, and I head back into the bedroom to clean up. For whatever reason, this stomach bug didn't come with the normal, strong 'sick' smell. So the baking soda and I went to work and it was cleaned up in no time. Still, I'm totally getting a new, cheap comforter. I realize the cheap one will last unscathed until I feel safe in getting another nice one, at which point, we'll all get food poisoning and the somehow manage to barf all over it. But that's life with kids, so whadda ya do?

Thinking that the worst was over, yesterday we were going about our business when S, who had just eaten lunch, stopped crawling/scooting, opened her mouth and started throwing up. It so much scarier in babies for some reason. I think it's the projectile factor. And she threw up and threw up and threw up. Then she had dry heaves for hours. Poor thing! I'm just waiting to come down with it today. Hopefully, I won't get it on the comforter, but just in case, I'm totally pulling out the spare blanket.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

My son, the photographer

T has discovered the joy of picture taking. When I trust him with our digital camera, he walks around saying, "Say cheese, _______" to whatever he's pointing the camera at - and it could be me, S, the table, the TV..anything is game. And honestly, to be three, he's not too bad with the camera if you don't mind 15 shots of the top of S's head or seeing what you really look like in the morning from the angle of a three year old. Let me just say it - not a good angle for me.

Anyway, here are some of the pictures T has taken over the last week.

Imagine - a picture of Thomas the Train

I have no idea how he got this picture, but I think it's cool

Our fridge as viewed through T's eyes. (A southern gal's gotta have her tea)

On one of our sunny days, the sun shone through our water dispenser, throwing a rainbow onto the floor. T had to get a picture (actually ten, but here are the two better ones).

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Why girl logic does not apply to cars

We are having the most beautiful weather right now. It's been sunny and relatively warm for Germany this time of year. So I was surprised that I've been having to drag T out of the house to 'enjoy' it. Once he's outside he's fine. I guess it's just the ritual of socks, shoes, coat, etc that he hates. And I must confess - if we aren't going to be outside very long, I'm the worst about letting the kids grab a light jacket. The car gets warm so fast that I don't really see the need for super bundling when all the buildings are only a few degrees cooler inside than Hades. I also realize that I'm asking fate for a nice kick in the tushie by doing this. Just in case we are ever stranded, I have blankets, water, diapers, etc in the car. Knock on wood, I really hope it doesn't happen given our penchant here for not being able to get help and the fact that German roads have no shoulder, so if the kids and I had to hoof it somewhere, we'd be in a very dangerous position.

Yesterday, after dragging the kids outside for a couple of hours, we had lunch and I put them down for a late nap. I was tired too - T's favorite game consists of rolling the ball down the hill, and guess who gets to chase it down? That's right - me. I need the exercise, so it's all good. At any rate, buy the time I got them fed, cleaned up, diapers changed and all, I was ready for a nap too. I was thinking I'd lie down for about an hour and then get them up so that they'd still go to bed on time. Well, umm... I woke up at 5:15 and the kids were still asleep, too. Shucks. And Kellie had called and left a message that she and her kids were going to the BX and to grab a quick dinner at the food court and hopefully we could meet them there between 5:15-5:30. Whoops - better get moving then! I get T ready, change S's diaper and grab some food for her and off we go to meet Kellie. Until we get down to the car and the stupid battery is dead. Now, this happened New Years Eve, if I remember correctly (which is questionable). Then it was because the the light over T's seat had been switched on and I had forgotten to check for such things before the kids and I hoofed it upstairs. OF COURSE none of our neighbors saw fit to mention this to us and of course our battery died. (I'm trying to let go of the disgust/anger/extreme dislike but it's proving to be stubborn - perhaps because of the continuing crappy behavior they exhibit. I've even prayed about it. GOOD ME: ...and please help me to not be so petty and to forgive and forget how crappy my neighbors are on pretty much a daily basis. EVIL ME:...and please show me the perfect opportunity to lean the bags of trash they leave outside their door juuuuuust right so that when they open the door it falls back into the apartment and hopefully ruins their favorite pair of shoes. GOOD ME: Shame, shame!! You are being petty and quite passive aggressive. EVIL ME: Look - I'm doing the best I can here. I totally resisted temptation on water delivery day to add the zero to their "please leave 1 bottle of water" note. That took restraint. GOOD ME: (clucking my tongue) Terrible example to set for your kids, dontcha think? EVIL ME: (sighing) Yes.. but aren't they young enough that they wouldn't remember? GOOD ME: Umm... is that the point? EVIL ME: no)

Anyway, being that I used to be a single gal with a car battery that occasionally died, I actually have a pair of jumper cables. So I pull them out, read the instructions and then run up and ask R to come oversee the process. Something about how that whole 'if not done properly, your battery could explode" is printed in big, bold letters makes me really uncomfortable. So R comes down, we hook up the cables, the car starts and life is good. I remember thinking - I need to remember this so if it happens when he's gone, I can handle the situation.

Fast forward to today. Dead battery. PHHBBTTTTT. So, I get out the jumper cables and try really hard to remember what it was that I was so determined to remember the last time this happened. No clue. I bravely move R's car over beside mine, hook up the cables and....nothing. Hmmmm. So either 1) it's not the battery or 2) I've done it wrong. All evidence points to #2. I get out the car manual. According to Honda, since the starter sounds normal, it's got to be the battery. It's not a fuse because there is some power (and if I'm wrong about that, please let me be ignorant for a little while longer). Now, the instructions say to hook up the cables in this order - PAY ATTENTION CHICAS!! This may come in handy one day -
Red cable to the red connector on stalled car
Other red cable to the red connector on non stalled car
Black cable to the black connector on non stalled car
Other black cable to the engine block on stalled car (Lemme channel Chandler Bing.. could we BE any more vague?!!?)

The engine block is what threw me. While I didn't actually think there was a block somewhere that said "ENGINE" on it (Stop laughing, Dad!), in my girl speak, Engine block means random metal thingy that I could connect the connector to. I refuse to incriminate myself by saying what I connected it to the first time. And by the way - the battery did not explode.

So, back to the drawing board. I've got two kids in the car, S is screaming her head off, which makes T all jittery, it's getting dark, no fewer than 7 men have seen me with the hoods raised, cables in hand, looking confused (including crappy neighbors - two of whom walk right by me and the other who observes from her perch of perpetual spying but no assistance offering aka the balcony. Truly, it would bring me joy for a pigeon to poop right on her head - bless her heart.)

I run upstairs to get the flashlight and try to find our ADAC info - which is the German equivalent of AAA. And it hits me - Kellie is at the BX, I'll call her and see if I have better luck trying to jump my car off her car. She says she'll come right down as soon as she gets done. I also remember that I could call Sam, who used to be in Security Forces, so she may know what I'm doing wrong or know someone who does. So, I have options. Options make me much calmer. Reinforced that I'm not alone in this, I go back downstairs, put S back in her car seat and hand T a snack to share between the two of them. And, excellent child that he always is in a crisis, he does it. Now that the kids are settling down, I'm standing in front of the cars again thinking - what did I do wrong?!!? To my surprise and shock, the couple that just moved in beside us shows up and offers to help. I explain that it's the whole engine block theory that's throwing me and Mr. new neighbor says that every time they've jumped a car it's been red to red/black to black between the two cars. OY! So, I try it, it works (stop laughing, Dad!) and I thank them profusely as Kellie drives up. Crisis over. And yes, I feel a little stupid. But I betcha the next time I have to jump a car, I can do it without reading the instructions. Whether I read this blog entry or not first is another matter entirely.

And, okay, okay!!!!!! I get the message, God. Two helpful people in the last week - all is not lost and basic human kindness still exists...just not with the crappy folks in apt. 2.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Ms. S, resident diva, took her first steps today. She would still rather scoot than crawl or walk, so I think I've got a little while longer before she starts running from point A to point B. At least, I hope so. Her personality is so different from T's that it's amazing for me to just watch her do - well, anything.

The other day, she was WP - without pacifier. It's getting to the point where I need to start thinking about how to convince her to give it up, which is hysterical for two reasons. 1) No matter how hard we tried, she refused to take a pacifier until she started teething and I stopped breastfeeding and 2) I'm not so sure S is going to be convince-able about anything.

Knowing this is looming, I'm trying really hard to only give her a pacifier when it's time to sleep. I do keep one in the diaper bag - just in case. She has figured this out, and the other day, she wanted her pacifier, and it was in the crib. So Ms. Thang scooted over to the diaper bag, got it unzipped, found the pacifier and turned to smile at me with this look on her face like, "really, Mom. You are going to have to try harder than THAT!" Lordy, lordy, I think I'm in for it.

So, when she took her first steps I was incredibly proud. Physically, she's been ready for a while. She can get there faster when she scoots or crawls, and she knows it. I'm trying to pay better attention with S, because I think R and I made some pretty massive mistakes with T at this age. But hey - that's why we started the college/therapy fund. Either way he uses it, it will make him a better person in some respect. Donations, by the way, are happily accepted. heh.

But to my surprise, S took her first steps in stride. (Come ON - it was too easy not to go for the obvious pun!) Realizing it wasn't getting her to where she wanted to be fast enough, she sat down and continued on her merry way. I had a moment where I fast-forwarded to the moment she leaves home for good and thought that I'd probably feel then the way I do right now...this girl's going to be just fine with whatever life throws her. It was an incredibly powerful and emotional moment and I have the feeling that if I try to tell her about this when she's leaving, I'm going to get the eye roll and a snort as she says, "Oh, Mom. Like...whatever! I was ONE!" Kids. Gotta love 'em!

Saturday, February 16, 2008

And the committee finds...

I met with a committee at the elementary school here on Wednesday. I'm not sure what I was expecting, but I was a little intimidated that there was a room full of 'experts' that were there to decide the fate of my son. Only three of the seven had even seen him and only two of those had any interaction with him at all. I keep telling myself that whatever happens, the important thing is that T gets any help he needs. At the same time, I'm resistant to attaching a label on him --like ADHD (which I know he doesn't have), Autistic (which I'm still not sure about), or anything else. No matter what happens, it won't change the way I feel about him -- nor will it change the fact that I'm going to do everything in my power to help him in any way I can.

But if I'm being completely honest, I don't want him labeled because I don't think he'll ever get an unbiased shot from that point on. I see on a daily basis all the things he's capable of. One of my greatest fears is that he'll learn to hide behind that label and stop trying to be the best he can be. That would, without a doubt, be a tragedy. So of course this makes me think about all the other kids out there going through this and how ready certain committees are to slap a label on you and go on their merry way. It really, really pisses me off.

On Wednesday, as we are discussing T, I'm noticing that more and more he's being discussed around me. I vow to fight for him tooth and nail. I fear it's going to take a fight to get him the assistance he needs. It figures that the one military member of the committee has already made up her mind that he's developmentally disabled/delayed/autistic. The Major is making a big deal out of the fact that T wouldn't 'self-soothe' and did not want to hear that it was temper. I know this because as soon as he got what he wanted, all was right with the world again. And I point out that she spent less than 10 minutes with him, so I am certain she did not get a complete picture. How could she? He refused to have anything to do with her. Of course it fell on deaf ears, and she tells me that I'm giving him too much credit. I shoot back that she's entitled to her opinion but until she's spent enough time with T to actually evaluate him properly, her opinion means little to me.

It's going well, dontcha think?

So, the committee decides to evaluate him mostly at Mrs. J's. We all agree that it will probably go better if I'm not right there. I don't want T to pick up on my formed opinions of certain *coughMAJORcough* committee members. Interestingly enough, they plan to email their findings to R, not me. I guess I'll only be notified of when to take him to the behavioral pediatrician. Whatever. This is one messed up system at times. I have no idea when any of this will happen, only that the evaluation is expected to be completed within 30 days. Stay tuned.. I'm sure this will not be my last post about this subject.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008


Today, after dropping off T at school, checking on our friend Sam's temporary cat (she's cat sitting for her boss), and attending an interview about T at the elementary school (more on that later), S and I decided to take a leisurely stroll through the Commissary. By the way, why on earth can't they call it the grocery store for pete's sake?!? One of the things I miss most about the states are the grocery stores. Wide aisles, better selection, non-expired food for sale... it's such a pleasure to just look at all the different products. Sigh. We'll be back one day. I hope.

All we really needed was milk but I just wandered around the aisles mainly to try and see if there were any good bargains. We get paid on Friday and my major purchases will be made then. We have had great weather lately, it's been sunny and in the upper 40s or lower 50s. Still, I was surprised to see a guy walking around in the Commissary in shorts and a t-shirt. Maybe they moved here from an even colder climate - like Antarctica. He noticed S, who was practicing her wave at people who passed by, and talked to her and made her giggle. Since she was tired, it was pretty amazing that he could actually get her to giggle. The only person that's been able to do that easily so far is T. We finished wandering and headed to the self checkout line, and I noticed the guy standing in line. He waved at S and she waved back. Then a lady with a small child walked up behind him in line. When he noticed her, he insisted that she go ahead of him, saying that he was retired and had all day while she had a small child. I heard this and debated about climbing up on the self checkout belt and yelling, "HEY! Did you hear this man?!?!!? THIS IS WHAT I'M TALKING ABOUT PEOPLE! SMALL ACTS OF RANDOM KINDNESS. IT CAN BE DONE!!!!!!!!!!!"

But I didn't climb up on the self checkout belt. I'm not convinced that it wouldn't loudly announce my weight to the entire store like it does the prices of the products you buy. "THREE NINETY FIVE. SIXTY-FOUR CENTS. THIS COMMISSARY PATRON WEIGHS _______" Oh HO - you didn't actually think I was going to announce how much I weigh, did you? HA!!! I also doubted that anyone here would have a clue - or recognize that small acts of kindness can sometimes make the difference between a really bad day and a really good one.

I tried to catch his eye to tell him thank you. After the last month or so that I've had, I doubt he'll ever understand how much that one random act of kindness did to restore my faith in human nature - well, except for the human nature in this building, which is just....beyond help. But you can't win 'em all, can ya? At least I know there's someone out there (on this base) willing to lend a hand just because they want to. Hats off to you, Mr. Shorts in 40 degree weather man. Hats off to YOU!

Friday, February 8, 2008

Breathe - just breathe

Holy moly, it's already Friday.

Today after S and I dropped T off at school, we did errands. We went to the post office and checked our mail (a movie from Blockbuster - sweeeet!), wasted enough time until the commercial areas of the base were open (meaning the Commissary and the BX) and then bought envelopes to send out some Thomas the Tank Engine and Tinkerbell valentines from the kids. Then, of course, we went back to the post office (the one on the base where we live since it's much less crowded and so much more efficient), mailed a bunch of stuff, went to the commissary, and finished just in time to pick T up from school.

And to my complete and utter amazement - I realized we were having a great day. A GREAT day! There was no pushing, no shoving, no hitting, no fighting over toys - easy diaper changes (and lemme just weigh in on that - easy diaper changes are the most underrated things on the planet. Of course, I may feel that way because the antibiotic S was taking gave her massive diarrhea and I sanitized the floor for almost two weeks straight because it got everywhere).

The kids napped well, we met some friends for dinner (IN PUBLIC) and for the first time in months, I didn't have to put T in a time out or pull him outside or wish that the floor would open and swallow me whole. For the first time in a year, T was the most well behaved child in the building, and my pride over that is so overwhelming that I still am unsure how to describe it. For the first time since R left, I really feel like things are going to be okay.

In the car today, I heard S start to cackle and I glanced at her to see how and what she was doing. She had pulled off her socks and was chewing on her toes. Apparently this tickled her because she'd chew and laugh, chew and laugh. She also managed to take off her jacket today, and I have no idea how she did it since I didn't see it happen. She's crafty, that one.

So after I picked up T, I had to decide how to get me, S, and the groceries upstairs in one trip. There's no real reason for that other than I just didn't want to make two trips to our third floor apartment. Now, in the last couple weeks something has changed because trying to put S on my hip and carry, well - anything else, really is becoming a problem. In no time, she's sliding down or pitching forward, and her new thing is to use me as her springboard and attempt to hurl herself backward. I guess I should be flattered because that obviously means she has complete faith and trust in me to catch her, but let's face it - there is a really, really good reason my middle name ain't Grace.

So, as I'm trying to figure out the logistics of carrying an infant and assorted crap upstairs, the folks in the first floor apartment are opening their shades. I know they see us because their son, who's a year older than T, knocks on the window and shouts, "HI T!!!!!!! HI!!!!!!" Those of you who know me realize that I'm generally independent. I don't expect R to..say..get up and hand me the remote unless my legs are broken or something equally serious. But it would be nice if just once -ONCE - someone in this stairwell upon seeing I needed help - offered to perhaps open the door for me or even ask "you okay? need any help?" Chances are I'll say no unless I really and truly can't make it. Of course that's not what happened today. Today, in what is becoming the grand tradition of crappy stairwell inhabitants, they just stood there and watched as I struggled not to drop my daughter on her head on the concrete. Niiiiiiiiiiice going, crappy neighbors. And little stuff like that brings out the worst in my personality anyway and I find myself muttering (which is actually a pet peeve of mine) about crappy, paper-stealing, non helping, sorry-assed people who expect the world to literally revolve around them and would rather roast a marshmallow if you were on fire rather than call 911, or as it would be here 117. Or is it 112? Given our past month, I really need to figure that one out.

I know it's very unchristian to hate and that really, hate is wasted energy I could be putting towards things that are way more important than the ill-bred miscreants that inhabit this building. And yet, for a brief moment today, I allowed myself to fully sink into quite the snit of anger and wish that someday, when they are in need, they are treated by others the way they constantly treat others. CRAPPY. So nah nah nah boo boo and phbbtttttttt.

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

I don't feel too funny today

It's already Wednesday. I should be glad in certain respects that time is moving by so quickly, but wow! somedays it's hard to keep up.

Our trip Saturday to Monschau went well. T pretty much behaved, given that he missed his nap and it was a totally new experience. He was soaked from the knees down from sloshing around in all the snow. Since there was no snow where we lived, I was really glad I over-prepared (other than snow boots and a change of pants, shoes, and socks for T). I usually don't even wear a coat and I would have frozen. They say cold weather speeds up your metabolism - how cold does it have to be to lose 20 pounds in a four hour visit? I can dream, right? The answer is probably too cold for human life to exist, despite the amount of blubber encasing the outside.

Anyhow, the kids and I spent a wonderful day Sunday just puttering around the house and doing errands. I scheduled T for a Child Find screening this week - to check on what I perceive to be his behavioral and speech issues. He, of course, refused to cooperate in any way, shape, or form, so now the testing has been moved up to the next level - autism spectrum screening. I've suspected that he may be mildly autistic for some time. I've also been told he wasn't by three different agencies - but I suppose that's neither here nor there.

Getting dealt that blow to my currently fragile reality - well - it's not the worst thing ever to happen, but it's not the best, either. However, I have faith that God will not be given more than I can handle, nor will he forsake me in my times of need. If I need to be tested to the limit to prove that to myself, then so be it. The important thing is that T gets the help he needs and I figure out a way to deal with his issues better than I seem to be able to right now.

So - for those friends and family that read this and have offered your unwavering support, please keep it coming just a little while longer. I know that this too, shall pass, but it sure seems like a looooooooong ride right now.

Friday, February 1, 2008

I think I'm glad it's Friday

For those of you who are counting, and I realize that it's just me, it's day 25 of R's being gone. But you know, we are still alive and kicking and after the whole finger thing, everything else magically seems manageable.

Right after R left, the BX called and said that the bed we ordered for T had come in. Unfortunately, my order was missing the mattress. So I took what did come in and lugged it up to our apartment. Wednesday evening, the day of spectacular unhappiness in the Dahl household, the BX calls. The mattress is here. And..(wait for it, waaaaaait for it) they want to deliver it on Thursday for FREE to compensate me for my trouble. (Doing the happy dance of not having to drag a mattress up three flights of stairs). Gratefully, I tell them I will stay home ALL DAY and they can deliver at their convenience. Yipee - and also - HA! to my sorry, paper stealing neighbors who would like nothing more that to watch me drag a mattress up the stairs while not offering to help.
The mattress comes in the early afternoon - so I coax T into 'helping' me get it in his room and onto the boxspring. We make the bed together and he proceeds to jump on it to break it in. S is excited because T is excited and I'm excited because there is harmony in my household. Finally! This is the mommyhood I thought I was signing up for. T doesn't even protest about taking a nap on his new bed and manages (at the time of this entry) not to pull all the bedding off even once. Things are looking up.
Friday dawns, and it's the day that we need to remove the stitches. I wisely decide not to mention this to T. We have a great morning - out the door on time without any stressing out, multiple errands completed before picking T up from school, and it's pay day so I can order pizza for dinner if I so choose.

I pick T up from school. The class has taken a field trip to the community playhouse, so that's where I go and get him. My friend Kellie and her two kids are there, so I realize it's going to be a little tricky to get T to leave. S and I go in, and I'm chatting with Mrs J and Kellie while T and the other kids are playing. He's happy to see me, which is always a good sign. The playhouse closes at 1:30, and people usually start leaving around 1 pm (mostly so they aren't the ones picking up the toys their kids leave all over, but that's just another one of my little pet peeves). I need to have T at the pediatric clinic around 1 to have his stitches removed, so I start the 15 minute countdown. All of a sudden, I hear this tremendous noise and as I suspected, T and two other little boys have dumped an entire bucket of legos and accessories onto the floor. Since Kellie and another mom had just cleaned all that up, I start to walk over to T. As he sees me coming, he starts scattering legos to the four corners of the universe.

Sniiiiiiiffffff. Sniiiiiiiiiiiiiiif. I smell a battle coming.

Ensuing battle - condensed version. Me: Let's pick up the legos. It's okay to play with them, but not okay to scatter them across the entire floor.
T: NO!
Me: We are going to pick up the legos. I'll help you, come on.
Me: (trying not to grit my teeth) If you do not help pick up all this stuff you scattered across the floor, you are going to lose your trains and tracks for one day.
Me: Okay, your choice.

I start picking up legos and the other kids and Kellie help me. T starts screaming bloody murder, which coincidentally, is what I'm considering at the moment. When that doesn't affect me, he comes at me, swinging. I catch his arms before he can hit me and say quietly but fiercely - do NOT hit me. I continue picking up legos. We now have quite the audience and I see Mrs. J out of the corner of my eye looking horrified. Yeah.. see what I deal with!??!!?!? And then I hear S wail. According to Kellie, T just flattened her. Oy! The images of growing up with my brother flash through my mind. I calmly drag him to the side of the room and hiss in his ear - that is UNACCEPTABLE. Whatever you do to her, I'm going to do to you - twice. Do you understand? Now, I know this is not the best way to handle the situation. But you know - I'm tired of the public standoffs. They rarely happen in private. They don't happen when he's with Mrs. J. And until Supernanny comes and teaches me a more effective way of dealing with this - this is all I've got.

Legos cleaned up, we battle over putting on shoes. T refuses to leave. Loudly. I'm getting sympathetic looks from everyone that's had the courage to stay and witness this war. As a bonus, I'm no longer embarrassed by this massive display of ummm.. individuality, I'm just committed to leaving the scene with as much dignity as possible. I do admit, however, that it flashed through my mind to head right over to the barbershop and plop our behinds down right behind grumpy the barber and just let T get it all out. Alas, we need to have the stitches removed. As I haul T out the door kicking and screaming, I hear the cleaning lady say, 'that lady need help'. WORD!

So, we arrive at the pediatric clinic. I get S strapped into the stroller and manage to get T into the waiting room with no further hysterics, until he hears me say we are there to have the stitches removed. Then he starts to cry - not the defiant, makes me want to tape his mouth shut rebellious cry of barbershop and playhouse fame - but the sad, scared I really don't want to do this mommie cry that on any other day would have melted my heart. But, it's not any other day. I pick him up and somehow manage to speak calmly and soothingly to him AND mean it. Maybe I have multiple personality disorder. Hmmm.. I need to look into that.

The airman that is going to be removing the stitches takes us into the room. T is crying and upset, but lets me unwrap his hand and lets Sgt. S (can't remember his last name, drat it) look at his finger and bring out all sorts of scary looking (in my opinion) equipment. Sgt. S is a godsend (bowing down to the greatness that he is). He manages to convince T to let him take out the stitches. T watches the whole thing, big, fat tears rolling down his cheeks, but doesn't jerk his hand away or freak out. My brave, brave little man. All done, we decide to x-ray the finger on Tuesday. We've all had enough for one day. The Doctor takes a look at it and says it looks good but that the fingernail may end up coming off. I hope not, but even if it does, it will grow back because the nail bed wasn't damaged. I hope. And, I don't have to keep the finger wrapped up any more. T had a completely different idea about that and insists that I wrap it up when we get home. I don't blame him. I wouldn't want to look at it either, and it's probably still sore. I even get him in the tub tonight. It's the first time his hand has been submerged in water in almost two weeks. Even though we've been trying hard to keep it clean, it needed a good soak. T wanted the bandage left on, but let me change it immediately after the bath. Hopefully I can convince him to take his next bath without the bandage.

And so starts our weekend. Tomorrow Sam and I are doing a little road trip to Monschau. Should be interesting.