Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Wherein I Eat Crow and It Is Delicious

Remember how I went on and on about the evils of dental hygienists the other day?

Well.  I went to the dentist this morning and not only survived, but LOVED my hygienist.  Really, everyone in this new dentist's office of mine was kind and wonderful and wielded their pokey metal mouth-weapons with gentleness and patience.  Best of all, when I go back in a couple weeks (because of course I have to go back), I will be doing so medicated, because the dentist and hygienist together decided I am just the kind of person who needs a little pharmaceutical assistance when there are drills being used inside my person.  Like I said, wonderful people.

They're also being very conscientious about only doing as much work as our insurance will cover, and let me say it is positively delightful to have someone tooling around in my mouth who is not most likely also mentally outfitting his new boat that all this work is paying for.

Let's see, the dentist was great, the hygienist was perfect... who else?  OH, YES.  There was the lady at the front desk, whom I spoke to twice on the phone before ever arriving and to whom I said things like, "My date of birth?  Ummm,  I don't- I'm sorry, I just get REALLY ANXIOUS when I talk to you!"  Thankfully she couldn't see my free hand flapping manically as I paced around the house.  Somehow she divined that I might be just the teensiest bit nervous about visiting the dentist, because as soon as I walked in she told me, "Now, I made sure not to schedule anyone immediately after you, so you have plenty of time, and if it all just gets to be too much, you let them know and they'll stop to give you a little break."  Finally, someone who understands me!  (Although I would have died before actually asking them for a break; my fear of ever putting anyone out is way too strong for that nonsense.)

Scariest jack-o-lantern I've ever seen

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

A List

  • Due to the recent bedroom switcharoo, we've been doing some heavy-duty, soul-cleansing, beautiful, beautiful household purging.  So far I've sent twenty grocery sacks' worth of kid crap out the front door, destined for either the trash or Goodwill, depending on the contents.  I've also sold a number of items on our local facebook swap page, which involves taking a variety of photos and writing up a brief description of the item.  Evidently I've been doing this so much that, when Caedmon and I were scrolling through our recent photo uploads, he became alarmed when we encountered a picture of him amidst a big photo dump of stuff we'd sold.  He seemed torn between outrage and fear at this picture and turned to me to ask, "You're not going to sell me, are you?!"  It may be time to take a break from the purging, even if it does feel ah-mazing.

See?  Just trying to take a picture of him napping, but instead catching him mid- waking up stretch, NOT taking pics to sell our son.

  • It's always interesting to me how you can attempt to read a book at one point in your life, put it down because it's obviously just not the book for you, only to pick it up years later and be enthralled.  Eight or so years ago I finally got around to reading The Once and Future King, or got around to beginning to read it, anyway, as I got about twenty pages in and gave up.  I remember it was so disheartening, too- I love fantasy!  This should have been right up my alley!  What was wrong with me?  It must be the book.

Spoiler alert:  It wasn't the book.  It was me.  My brain wasn't ready or I wasn't emotionally mature enough or my seventh moon was in my fifth house or something, because now it's everything I knew it should have been eight years ago.  Keep in mind I'm only halfway through it; I could come back in a week and tell you about OH MY GOSH THE WORST BOOK EVER.  Either way, the internet has come through for me and proven that it is not always an instrument for evil by providing me ready access to The Camelot Project from the University of Rochester.  I found this when I kept encountering strange words throughout this close-to-100-year-old book set in Arthurian England.  What the heck is a cocodrill?  Glassgallows?  And by "mountain dew" they surely don't mean some kind of pop, do they?  Nope:  "mountain dew" was Scotch whiskey, which I know now because of this amazing database!  

  • This post was supposed to go up yesterday, but the dastardly MomQueenBee told the world (um, a week ago) about The Great British Baking Show, and rather than doing all the things I was supposed to be doing last night I instead watched the episodes she so cunningly provided a link to.  Not to worry, however; I vanquished that program by watching all the available episodes in one evening.  It's not my fault, though!  The people on that show are so lovely to one another and the hosts are possibly the most pun-happy people I've ever heard and everything is funnier when said in a British accent.  Not to mention the drama!  Will Richard's dough rise in time?  Is Chetna using too many spices?  How will Martha ever better her foe the proving drawer?  What is a proving drawer?

Friday, February 20, 2015

They ENJOY Going to the Dentist

Normally when our kids experience something that is similar to an event from my own childhood except light-years better- like healthy school lunch options or an air-conditioned school bus- I am cranky and cantankerous and go out of my way to remind them of how lucky they are, and if they dare to make even slightest peep of complaint they pay for it by having to listen to hours of bitter "When I was your age"s from me, e.g., "WHEN I WAS YOUR AGE it was so hot on the bus my face flesh almost melted clean off my skull!"  I swear the local nursing home already has a Scary Old Lady chair roped off for me.  I'm like Mrs. DuBose in To Kill a Mockingbird, except, you know, not addicted to morphine.

There is an exception, however, and that is the remarkable, heavenly wonder that is pediatric dentistry.

It's like Wonderland in there, except, you know, not inspired by prodigious opium use.  (Gracious, this post has way more drugs in it than I was anticipating!)  There are bright colors everywhere that somehow manage not be overwhelming or jarring.  There's a basket of toys in every room.  It has a drop ceiling with the standard tiles of fluorescent lights, but every third one or so has a transparent sky-image of clouds and planes and such lit from behind.  They have small flat screen televisions mounted to the ceiling above every Chair of Terror (sorry, just my personal term for any chair that might have a dentist in its vicinity), and the kids get to watch movies while having their teeth cleaned and inspected.

Best of all, though, are the hygienists.  Now, the hygienists I grew up with likely have Scary Old Lady chairs of their own waiting for them; the majority of them were what I will euphemistically call Not The Friendliest (and by "Not The Friendliest" I mean they could have received tips on bedside manner from Dr. Mengele and come away as improved medical professionals).

The hygienists our children see every six months are the absolute best.  Yesterday was Caedmon's first trip to the dentist (something he's been anxious to do after years of watching his siblings do fun dentist things), and, although it didn't hurt that the young lady was quite pretty, it was more how kind and patient she was with him.  "Do you see this big thing?  This is my special tooth camera, and I'm going to use it to take awesome pictures of your teeth!  See this thing, here?  See how it bends and feels all rubbery- go on, you can touch it!  That's what we're going to put in your mouth to help take the picture!  And I bet that because you are so big and so helpful we'll do a great job at taking tooth pictures, and then you get to see it right on this computer!"

And so on with her Tickle Toothbrush and all the other cutesy names I can 't remember right now.

This is the first time Adelaide hasn't walked out of the office proclaiming, "I LOVE going to the dentist!", but that's because she got sealant put on her teeth (sealant:  Another fancy thing they didn't have when I was a kid, that apparently puts a layer of magic stuff on your teeth so you don't get cavities- or I don't know, maybe it did exist; my hometown didn't even have fluoride in the water, because there were just enough crazy ignoramuses to ruin it for the rest of us).  Atticus isn't crazy about visiting the dentist, but he never really protests, just watches his movie and takes all the mouth-violating with a certain amount of stoicism.

I was tempted to ask the amazing staff if they took 32-year-olds, but I have an appointment of my own at a new dentist next week.  Perhaps I'll finally find a dental hygienist of my own who isn't channeling the likes of Caroline Bingley and Regina George.

No cavities so far in these teeth, nor in his sister's or brother's.  CAN I GET A "HALLELUJAH"?

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

King-Sized Luxury *UPDATED*

We got a new bed.

This may not seem particularly news-worthy, except Derek's feet fit on this new bed.  

It's really more of a "new to us" bed; Derek's parents got a fancy new bed, and offered their still-perfectly-good bed to us.  We hemmed and hawed a bit over this offer:  This old house of ours does not boast particularly large bedrooms, and while our current bed, a queen, fit just fine into our bedroom, wouldn't a king-size- what we were being offered- overwhelm the room?  Would we even be able to open the drawers to our dressers?  Neither one of us wanted to be forced to squeeze around a giant bed just to maneuver around the room.

Still.  It would be nice to have a bed that Derek could fit all his parts onto at once.  

So we measured and hemmed and cocked our heads and hawed and scrunched our eyebrows together before finally making the momentous decision and telling his parents that, Yes, we will take this upgrade you are generously offering to us.  

Then we had to figure out what to do with our old bed.  

We threw around a bunch of ideas before deciding that it was time:  Adelaide would get the queen-sized bed and a room of her very own.  Caedmon would move out of his current bedroom, Adelaide would move in, and Cade and Atticus would be cell-mates.  

And so Sunday was spent moving clothes and books and toys around, not to mention de-bunking the bunk beds, as we wanted to keep Atticus on an easily accessible bed due to his night terrors, but didn't trust Caedmon to be quite so far off the ground while unconscious.  We made peace with the potential outcome of that bedroom- now the home of two young boys, and not just any boys, but brothers- being the site of such frequent and and boisterous battles that it may one day calve clean off the house and fall into the backyard.  Without the civilizing presence of their sister at night, it feels as if anything could happen in there.

"And here we have the boys' bedroom..."

All this bedroom rotation and reorganization was made possible by the fact that all three of our young'uns spent the weekend at the bed-donating grandparents.  We did other fun stuff while they were gone, of course- I went to Brass Armadillo, only to find my beloved cast iron squirrel nutcracker was gone (somewhere Derek has a video of me the first time I locked eyes with that thing- I vaguely remember subsiding into hysterics at the sight of its really rather wicked looking maw that you controlled with its big, crazy-heavy tail), Derek got to go to an indoor driving range, and we braved the gooey-eyed masses to go to actual restaurants on Valentine's Day.  The kid-free weekend just happened to coincide with the whole Valentine-thing; neither of us realized what day it was until lunch-time.

Adelaide was, of course, absolutely thrilled when they all got home Sunday afternoon; she kept saying things like, "I don't think I'll be able to stop smiling for at least eight hours," and "I have my own room!" in pure disbelief.  

The king-sized bed ended up fitting into our bedroom just fine (although up the L-shaped stairway was another matter entirely), Derek demonstrating how he could rest both his head and his feet on the mattress at the same time.  Such luxury!  I still haven't gotten used to being several inches away from the edge of the bed and still nowhere near its center.  What am I, some kind of royalty?  What's next- a solid gold Monopoly game set?  Perhaps a carbon fiber toilet seat?  I don't know how I can keep up this rich girl/you're worth it- persona when all I really want is a cast iron squirrel nutcracker.

Two days and two nights after the bedroom switch, the novelty of sharing a room with someone still hasn't worn off for Caedmon, who is very sensitive to being "left out," and was what he complained about almost every night, heartbroken, when he had his own room but could hear Atticus and Adelaide talking and playing at bedtime in their own, separate-from-Caedmon room.

As for the most exciting part- the part that is slowly, against our will, raising mine and Derek's hopes- Atticus hasn't had a night-shattering, screaming night terror since the switch.  Now, IT IS MORE THAN POSSIBLE that he's just in a waning stage; the severity of his night terrors tends to cycle.  We have wondered in the past, however, if Adelaide wasn't contributing to the problem at least in small part.  For such a daytime-nice girl she has a disturbing tendency to yell things like, "NOOOO" and "Stop it- STOP IT!" whilst asleep.  Then there was that time, last spring, when our family was in a hotel room, all the children had fallen asleep, and Adelaide whispered, "I HATE YOU" to the room at large.  It was creepy and disturbing in the extreme.  Really, with a sister that whispers such malevolent messages sleeping above you night after night, how could you not have night terrors?

Still, we're working hard not to get our hopes worked up too far; the past has taught us just to enjoy each full night's sleep as it comes, and if there are two in a row?  Now, that's luxury.

UPDATE:  Last night was bad.  Baaaad.  Looks like I can't blame Adelaide for her brother's night terrors.  Not to worry, though; I already have the next tactic we're going to try in my sights:  Weighted blankets.  I had heard of these being used as a comforting and calming device for people with autism, but that medical expert The Internet informs me they're used for those with all kinds of sensory issues.  I really don't know if Atticus has sensory issues or not, but we've tried everything else under the sun- why not a weighted blanket?  Rest assured (oh, that unintentional pun elicited a sad laugh from me), I'll be spending some time googling "weighted blanket tutorials" today.

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Things You Must See

  • If you have small children, you might know about the Jesus Storybook Bible, which is wonderful and entertaining and doesn't make me roll my eyes like half the children's bibles available in Christian bookstores.  (Dear Christian publishers:  What on earth do pink sparkly princesses have to do with the Bible or what I hope for my daughter to learn from it?)  I recently did a google search for the audio version of the Jesus Storybook Bible, and stumbled upon some videos made by the publisher:

We've watched four of them so far, and every time I mean to take advantage of the five minutes' worth of my childrens' undivided attention these videos afford, but I'm always sucked in by the narrator, David Suchet.  Naturally he has a pleasant enough voice, but it's his gift of story-telling and humor and emotion that he packs into the telling of these stories that won't let me walk away.  It turns out he also narrates the audiobook, which means I know what Caedmon is getting for his birthday in... let's see... seven months.  Because there's no way I'll forget in that space of time.  

  • This video that shows how a woman takes hyper-sexualized dolls- you know, those things our little girls are supposed to be playing with?- and makes them look, as one young girl in the video puts it, "...Nicer to play with-you can kind of think they're the same age as you."  

  • I am currently reading this book, and it will not let me go.  It is officially a hostage situation.  Send help.

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

That's More Like It

Thanks to wonderful, wonderful friends, I think I've almost got this Valentine-party-game-situation licked.  Adelaide is thank-you-God capable of addressing and preparing her own Valentines this year, so that's done.  At least, I assume it is.  I think I glanced her direction all of one time while she was filling them out the other day, and she seemed to have everything more or less under control.  She's come a long way, baby.

Atticus has been steadily working on Valentines for his classmates since Saturday, which meant that, as of 10 pm last night, all that was left to do for this completely useless holiday was prepare Atticus's Valentine box for his classroom.

Unfortunately I had made the mistake of searching Pinterest for "Valentine's Day boxes" while Atticus observed from over my shoulder.  It took several minutes to explain to him just how little I was willing to invest in this whole project:  Zero dollars and maybe two television episodes' worth of my time.  That wiped out 90% of the results on there, but he did find an Olaf box I decided was reasonably do-able.

According to the Olaf Valentine Box Tutorial, I needed:

  • One empty Kleenex box
  • White Cardstock
  • Black Acrylic Paint
  • Scissors
  • One Orange Pompom
  • Two White Pompoms
  • One Black Pompom
  • Rubber Cement
  • Low Temperature Glue Gun and Glue
  • Black Craft Foam
  • White Craft Foam
  • A Sharpie

Of those things, I had:
  • One empty Kleenex box
  • Scissors
  • A Sharpie

Instead of all those fancy materials I cut up an empty granola bar box for various appendages and taped the heck out of the whole thing.  He also sports the tip of a real carrot for his nose, which is rather precariously attached to his face.  I thought about calling him White Trash Olaf, but Fiscally Conscious Olaf or Refurbished Olaf sounds way more pretentious and makes me sound like I made it this way intentionally due to my high-falutin' hippie ways.  The truth is I can't bear to buy all that stuff for something that will no doubt be trash in a matter of weeks.  

Good enough, says I, says Atticus, says Reused Household Materials Olaf.

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

They See Me Rollin'

Meet your new best friend:

That, dear ones, is a foam roller.  And it will change your life.

Now, before you start saying things like, "I already have a best friend," and "I really prefer my besties to do fancy things like talk and breathe," you must ask yourselves these questions:

  • Does your best friend ease back pain?  Hip pain?  Shin splints?  IT Band tightness? Any other pain in just about any other part of your body?  Because the foam roller does.

  • Does your best friend sometimes monopolize the conversation?  Because the foam roller is an excellent listener.

  • Do you ever find yourself saying, "WHERE HAVE YOU BEEN ALL MY LIFE?" as your best friend magically loosens that tight, uncomfortable spot on your front hip that has been plaguing you for weeks?  Because you'll say that to the foam roller.  Matter of fact, I said it just last night. 

  • Does it ever annoy you that your best friend came with a name all their own?  Because you're free to name the foam roller whatever you want.  Name it Ned.  Name it Betty.  Name it Dietrich Bonhoeffer, or Marie Curie.  I want to name ours Homey, but I haven't exactly run that by Husband yet, and have a sneaking suspicion he isn't going to find that nearly as funny as I do.  (Get it, Derek?  We'd literally be rolling with our Homey.)  (It's shameful how much I laugh at my own jokes sometimes.)

Really, though?  I want to carve our initials in a tree, I love our foam roller so much:  DC + KC + HC.  The foam roller isn't exactly a new fad, so I've heard a couple friends talk about them before, but it wasn't until Derek made this video that he started saying, "I think we need to adopt a foam roller.  Let's go to the store and give a foam roller it's forever home."  (He didn't exactly put it like that; Derek is just the tiniest bit less fanciful than I am.)

I watched it and agreed, and a month later, we had a foam roller of our very own.  We've each used it over the past few days, and oooooh.  Oh, my word.  It does all those things I listed in the first bullet point up there, plus helped me figure out that this weird shooting pain in my left leg was actually coming from my medial glute muscle; a couple days of rolling and it's almost gone.  I'm finally able to do a full forward bend again in yoga.  I've been rolling around on it in the evenings and go to bed feeling like putty.  The lady in the video calls it self-massage, and that's exactly how it feels, plus it does all this other stuff I can't usually be bothered with like strengthening my core.  

If you already have a foam roller, first of all, name it.  Second, tell me your roller's name.  Third, roll along with the video; she works you from tip to toe, front to back.  I had no idea my quads were so tight until I obeyed Madame Roller.  They were practically crying in relief from all the released tension.

Have you tried a foam roller?  Any other name suggestions for our beloved roller?