Archive for the ‘Kids’ Category

When J set up our wireless router, enabling me to get web service anywhere in the house, including lying in bed (which, of course, I am not doing at this minute, no sir), I was delighted. Now, I thought, I can continue to mindlessly surf work even once the kids are at home and Maya tosses me off the computer to do her school work, or when I’m minding Boo in the bath or – the possibilities were endless.

The kids had different ideas. The moment they realized the laptop was now accessing the internet, they decided its primary purpose must be to play game with each other on Club Penguin. No, no and a thousand times no, I told them. I believe it took me a whole 4 hours to cave. It did seem kind of appealing.

The first time we tried it, Maya was out. Asher logged Boo on downstairs and himself on in my room. It isn’t that simple, though, because there are a number of different servers and you have to log onto the same one. Plus, even though chatting is allowed, Boo can’t read that well and Asher didn’t have the patience to type. He preferred to run upstairs to tell me something, then run back down to help Boo. (He tried to convince me to bring the laptop downstairs, but I insisted that would make it no fun. I have a very comfortable bed.) So up and down the boy ran, getting more exercise than he’s had in weeks.

We finally settled on playing hide and seek. Even though there is a whole town to hide in, it is actually very easy to find someone who is your buddy, because all you have to do is pull up your list of buddies and click on one. It then says, “Theo2467 is in the pizza parlour.” Asher’s solution was to move around so fast I couldn’t keep up. Not so exciting. But later that evening, Maya and I played and we’d actually find a place to hide, like behind a snowbank.

Maya was more fun, since she could chat. I’d hide behind the snow fort and when she’d show up, I’d jump out and cyberyell, “BOO!” We also played a couple games of connect 4. I won. It was hard for my old mind to take in, that I was playing a really basic game with my kid, only she was downstairs and I was upstairs. The hide and seek was the best, though, because the real version bores me silly. Does it count as quality time with your kid, if you both have useless wings and one is purple and the other pink?

The funniest part was when I decided it was bedtime. The chat (for all online and in the same room to see) went like this:

Me: Okay, time for bed. Log off.

Her: No.

Me:  Yes.

Her:  No!

Me: Yes!

Her: Nooooooo!

Me: YES!!!

Her: I don’t want to.

Me: That’s one …

And off she logged. Counting to three even works in cyberspace.

Unfortunately, having had a taste of the good life, the kids sometimes nag endlessly. The other day, Boo was playing on the main computer and Asher, bored, wanted the laptop. I told him I had work to do, which was actually true. “Can I play when you are done?” He asked. Yes, I told him, now go away and I’ll call you. But no, that would be no fun. Instead, he plunked himself down next to me and subjected me to this:

“How long do you think you’ll be before you are finished? How can you not know? Five minutes? Ten minutes? What are you doing, exactly? If you are writing, why do you have a web page up? That doesn’t look like work! You are just looking at web pages for fun! No fair! Well it doesn’t look like a web page for work. I thought you were a fast reader. How come you are reading that page so slowly? Another one! Why do you have to look at this one too? When are you going to start actually writing whatever it is you have to write? How long is this going to take? It’s taking forever! No, I don’t want to go help Boo. That’s the whole point, I want to log on and play with her on Club Penguin. At this point, she’ll quit before I even get a chance. Are you almost finished? Arggh, I’m going to die before you get done with this!”

I finally cracked and snapped, “If you’d just be quiet and leave me alone for a few minutes, I’d be finished a lot faster!” Which hurt his sensitive feelings and, valiantly holding back tears, he trudged out of my room. I felt so guilty I quit writing and game him the damn laptop. Victory was his.

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but at least Maya is feeling better.

I haven’t written must about J’s celiac disease, mostly because it doesn’t much affect our lives. He had it when I met him and has had it since he was a baby. Of course, little was known about the disease back then and his parents were erroneously told he’d outgrown it when he was 6 years, but he was re-diagnosed when he was 19. This means he’s lived with it for over 20 years and we’d pretty much adjusted a lot time ago. He has been having fun with all the new gluten-free products that have come out in the past several years. When he was a kid, it was rice, rice and more rice.

Which doesn’t mean it hasn’t affected our lives at all. For one, whenever we go to New York, he drags me to all the gluten-free restaurants (which are actually getting pretty good). For another, we avoided giving our children anything with gluten until they were a year old. Celiac disease, the latest theory goes, involves a genetic component, but also requires some sort of trigger, or challenge to the immune system, to cause someone to develop the disease. In J’s case, it was the early introduction of gluten when he was an infant. For other people, it doesn’t happen until adulthood, and often people have no idea why it begins.

We have a great family doctor who is very aware of the issues and any time one of my kids comes in with some sort of stomach complaint or hard-to-figure-out illness, she sends them off for a blood test. The test measures the level of a certain antibody produced by the gut when it is reacting to gluten negatively – to put it simplistically.

So when I took Asher in to see our doctor a couple of weeks ago because he’s always tired and run down, is pale and has big dark circles under his eyes and loosing weight, her first move was to send him for the test. This time, it came back positive.

It still isn’t conclusive. The next step is a stomach biopsy to confirm it, but first we have to get to a specialist. And until he gets that biopsy, we have to keep feeding him gluten or the test won’t be accurate. This, of course, is driving me nuts. I look at his pale face as I hand him a piece of pizza and cringe a little inside, feeling like I’m poisoning him.

If he is celiac, it is probably one of the least awful chronic illnesses we could have to deal with, since we already know the ropes and as long as he follows the diet, he’ll live a normal life. So that is good. But I can’t help but think of him being unable to eat anything at birthday parties, having to watch everyone else eating pizza during pizza day at school, and going through his adolescence having to avoid all the fast food his friends will be eating (at least he’ll be a lot healthier). It isn’t the worst thing, but it still sucks.

And there’s my selfish distress too. Before we had kids, I used to experiment with baking for J. I perfected a GF banana bread and have several great cookie recipes. I was even experimenting with bread. But then the kids arrived and the stores began to stock GF products and I stopped making the effort (poor neglected J). But if Asher is positively diagnosed, I’m going to have to come up with more variety. I’ve already promised to work on challah and matzah balls. It’s going to be a lot of extra work for me, not wanting my boy to feel deprived. (My husband, sure. But my boy? Never.)

Asher took the news very calmly, for the most part, telling me that he’d always expected this to happen at some point. Weird kid.

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Sigh …

I have a headache – a migraine that is sending tendrils of pain down my neck and shoulders and even making my right ear throb – and am trying to get a column written. And Asher is in an unfortunately good mood and keeps demonstrating his bloody yoyo me. “Sometimes I wind it up like this. I have two ways of winding it up. Are you watching, Mom? Mom, watch, watch. See, I do this. No wait, that isn’t quite right. Watch, I’m going to try it again …” Fortunately, he’s in a good enough mood that when I snapped petulantly, “I don’t want to watch!” he just let it roll right past him. Didn’t stop talking, though.

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Monkey Girl

We took our kids wall-climbing yesterday. All of them, even my diminutive 5-year-old.  It was quite the sight.

All three of them had a great time. We knew Maya would, as she’d done it before. We were pretty sure the other two would too, but it was hard to imagine the rock-climbing place let someone as small as Boo try it. They had no problem.

Boo, as I may have mentioned before, climbed to the top of the piano when she was about 8 months old. We have a metal-frame bunk bed in the basement and I put away the ladder to stop toddler Boo from getting to the top bunk, so she climbed the frame, repeatedly. I figured she would like wall-climbing.

I was wrong. She loved wall-climbing. She went up the easy walls like a monkey. The next step up was a set of walls where the holds were sometimes quite a reach for her, but she’d just stop half-way up the wall and consider her options, then keep pulling herself up. She’d get right to the top, rappel down and demand to go right back up. After 2 hours, Maya was worn out and her hands hurt. After 3 hours, Asher was wiped. J had to drag Boo out of the place after about 3.5 hours.

I wish I had my camera with me to take a picture of my kids hanging on to little holds two stories up. But I don’t feel too badly, because I suspect I’ll have a lot of other opportunities to take photos, especially of Boo.

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 I have a deep New Year’s post waiting to go up, but it is on the laptop, and I am not, so I have decided to slide straight into the trivial for my return post.

Webkinz is so passe, don’tcha know? My kids have moved onto obsessing over Club Penguin, which is smart enough to let a kid be a member for free, only without being able to do any of the cool stuff. For that, you need a membership.


After much negotiating, I agreed that Maya and Asher could each buy a month, in hopes that they’ll lose interest in that time and not beg for more (oh look! a slippery slope! why, it seems to be getting closer!).

Of course, Boo was outraged. It is so unfair, she mopped, that they get memberships and she doesn’t, just because they are older and have their own money. I put her off for a bit, but then realized that putting up with all the moaning and begging wasn’t worth the $6 membership fee for a month. And I did see her point.

We delightedly logged her on, as she announced her intention to buy a yellow puffle (a little tribble-like pet), just as her siblings did. Oh, how she yearned for that yellow puffle. I checked her account. She had $138. I asked Asher how much a puffle costs. A mere $800, he informed me.


At this point, I had two choices. I could have Boo sit at the computer for about 4 hours, playing little games that make Penguin money until she had enough (money, or patience), or I could play the games for her and get it done much faster. Most of the games on Club Penguin are beyond her computer abilities.

And this was how I found myself on Club Penguin yesterday afternoon, playing Connect Four with some child somewhere else in the world (actually, the skill involved in one of the games had me suspecting I was playing another adult). I also went fishing, played a version of space invaders and a maze game involving melting ice.

Boo and I are now the proud owners of a cute yellow puffle named Puffle.

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Mousy murder

We have mice in our cold storage room in the basement, and in the closets down there. We keep the extra dog food in a storage closet along with tons of other crap, and when I took out my winter boots, they were filled with dog food. They also got inside the gift I was keeping for my 5-year-old nephew – a set of kid-sized tools from Home Depot and filled his little tool belt up with food too. That made for a more amusing gift-opening experience. He was so happy he has his very own level and chalk line, he didn’t care.

So J did the manly thing when we found the boot full of food and set out traps in the cold storage room. The mouse find their way in every fall, no matter how many little cracks J stops up with steel wool. The kids refuse to go in when this happens, making it easier for me to hide gifts from them.

But today, our remaining cat, Roxy, got into the room unsupervised. Predator that she is, she found one trap under the shelving and dragged it out to the middle of the basement. Traps themselves aren’t so easy for a cat to carry, but when there is a nice, plump mouse in it, it’s a snap – so to speak.

Maya found the result, which is a bad thing. She came screaming upstairs, raving about “blood everywhere”! I didn’t panic. Maya exaggerates. A lot. Sure enough, there was a dead mouse, caught in the trap only by maybe a lip (eeewwww!), but I think Roxy did it a favour and finished it off. The ‘blood everywhere’ turned out to be a smear on the trap itself.

The positive side to all this is that Maya has now announced she will never again go down to the basement and since that is where the TV is, maybe she’ll never watch TV again. I wouldn’t count on it, but then again, I wouldn’t put it past her, either. When she was four years old and we lived in a different house, I flushed a wasp that got inside down the toilet on the main level and she refused to use that toilet ever after, convinced the wasp was going to swim back up and bite her on the butt. That’s only mildly insane when you are four, although she did irritatingly keep it up the whole summer until we moved. But what pushes it over the top is that this summer, she remembered the incident and now refuses to use the ground floor toilet in this house, which has basically the same lay-out.

I totally understand why people chose not to have children, given that they suck very life out of you for 20 years or so, but I do feel a little sorry for those who live the stable, expected life that comes from not living with these unpredictable, insane little creatures. Like, for example, an 11 year old who refuses must go upstairs to pee because her mother flushed a wasp down the main floor toilet in another house 7 years ago. I giggle every time I think of it.

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to sleep …

and dream lots of really weird dreams.

This was my day yesterday: I slept. I hate when that happens.

I seem to have a bit of a cold and coughing kept me up late Friday night, but when J woke me up at almost 10 am, I’d had pretty much 9 hours sleep, which should be enough for anyone. It didn’t feel like it. I felt really dopey. We started getting ready for synagogue, but discovering Boo had a fever derailed that one. She wanted me to lie in my bed with her, so I got my newspaper and propped myself up to read. Next thing I knew, she was gone and Maya was accusing me of going back to sleep. The nerve! I assured her I was just resting my eyes, then tried to fake my way through a conversation as I dozed off again.

A friend called, long distance. I hoped that would perk me up, and it did. But when I got up afterwards, I was really dizzy. You know how on TV they show that someone is dizzy or disoriented by moving the camera in slow motion so everything blurs? I actually feel like that sometimes. It feels like, when I move my head, that my brain takes longer to catch up to where I have turned. Very disorienting. I went back to bed.

For the next four hours, I went to the mall with my kids and J and looked at bedsheets and book shelves. We rearranged the family room, installing a flat-screen TV we’d somehow had in storage, and hooked it up to a spare computer so we could stream TV shows off the internet. I cleaned up all kinds of cat poop the dog had dragged upstairs. Then, I packed to go to Ireland, and even managed to get on in first class. Once on the plane, I realized I’d forgotten all my medications.

And on it went, vivid and realistic, except for the part where I’m certainly not going to Ireland (and never forget my meds), the dog doesn’t drag cat poop around the house, we don’t have a flat screen TV just kicking around and no need for bedsheets. I’d like the bookshelves, though.

After those travels, I managed to drag myself out of bed for a while and have something to eat. J went to a friends with the kids for dinner, and I was back to bed. All in all, I was awake about 6 hours yesterday.

The vertigo is weird, but the sleeping jag is something I’ve experienced since I was a teenager. More fun with fibromyalgia!


The weird searches are popping up again. Someone was looking for “bad bad webkinz,” which sounds really obscene to me, but maybe I just have a dirty mind. Someone else actually googled, “Chinese have floppy breasts.” This is bizarre on so many levels, not the least of which is that in my personal experience, women of Chinese origin tend to have smaller rather than larger breasts, and those are less likely to be floppy. But really, level of floppiness all comes down to letting small children do nursing calisthenics. That, and gravity, which affects all of us, no matter what our ethnic origin.

Every day for the last month, and I exaggerate not one bit, someone has googled ‘hanukaka.’ Why? Would the next person please tell me? I mean, I know why they end up here, because last year, I told a funny little story about how in daycare two years ago Boo made a brown, lumpy banana thing while all the other kids made Christmas tree decorations from their cinnamon clay and the daycare ladies proudly presented it to me and said, “Happy Hanukaka!” (The picture is here.) But what else can Hanukaka mean? I guess I’ll just have to go google it myself.

I went and found that entry from last year and discovered it was exactly a year ago, minus one day, and I was describing the green grass on my lawn. Oh, the difference a year makes! We are currently being so buried in snow we had to cancel our family get-together because you can’t distinguish the road from the not-road, as J discovered when he went to get Maya from a sleep-over. I swear, it bearly goes a day without snowing this year and it is lovely. As long as it isn’t bitterly cold, I’m happy.

I have even been getting lots of exercise shoveling the driveway. I actually like doing this. It provides a sense of accomplishment I cannot explain. But I shovel and the kids and dog play and it is good for all of us. Except my neighbour, with whom we share a snowblower. He derives deep, childish joy from snowblowing and when he sees me out there with my shovel, always comes to complain that I am depriving him. I tell him I am sure he can find someone else who would be happy to have him blow them.

Backyard fun (Boo needed frequent rescuing):







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