Wednesday, September 26, 2012

The Baby of the Family

I have an eighteen month old baby that does not talk.  He babbles.  He jabbers.  He does not form actual words.  This is very strange to me because it does not follow the pattern of any of my other children.  Then again, he is breaking the mold in many ways. For instance, he chews gum.  And he does not swallow it.  He will hand it to me in a sticky, slobbery lump with his little sticky, slobbery fingers when he is done with it.

 He also knows how to gargle with mouthwash.  Not that I actually let him gargle with mouthwash, but he doesn't know it is just a bit of water in the rinsed-out mouth wash bottle.  He is thrilled with oral hygiene. 

He is also a champion door closer.  He takes it upon himself to close the door to any closet or the pantry whenever he notices it ajar.  Same thing with the dishwasher...even when I am trying to load/unload it.  He is undeterred by my explanations that I need it open for the moment and goes ahead and shoves that door up as hard as he can.  He will not be satisfied he has done his job until he hears it slam.  Then he looks at me with a pleased smile on his face waiting for my unenthusiastic "Thank you, Wes".  Job done, he'll go on to find the next open door and I will stealthily open the dishwasher again to finish my job. 

He does the usual things - he takes out all of the pots and pans and arranges them on the kitchen floor.  I will give him a wooden spoon and some magnet letters off the fridge to stir in the pots and he is happily an alphabet soup chef for about three minutes. 

He climbs on everything.  For some reason that one line of "Ice Ice Baby" always comes to mind..."If there's a problem, yo, I'll solve it" except in my head I hear "If there's furniture, yo, he'll climb it".  He gets himself stuck in all kinds of ways with his climbing.  Sometimes he's gotten all the way up somewhere and he can't get down, sometimes a leg or an arm will get caught in the rungs of a chair as he climbs, sometimes he'll climb until he gets wedged in a tight space and can't move at all. 

His obsession with technology is unsurpassed.  The fits he throws when he sees a phone or a computer of any kind are pretty amazing.  He is not ashamed to scream and to cry - the turning red, shrieking, limbs clenched and shaking kind of screaming and crying - to get a go at that screen.  If you try to be a step ahead and turn your device off before you hand it to him he will find the power button immediately and turn it back on.  If for some reason he fails to get it to power up he will throw it, flinging it to the floor with such a look of disgust that I nearly laugh every time...only the thought of how unwise I was to willingly let him handle my electronics again, when he just threw it on the floor again keeps me from true enjoyment of his frustrated face. 

I feel like it must be because I'm old now and my energy is gone that this baby seems so active and, well, kind of a mess.  I mean, he's cute and dear and I love him more than I can say, but his waking hours require a level vigilance I just don't remember with my other kids.   I know he will grow up, and he won't be my little non-speaking, furniture climbing, door closing, electronics nabbing baby forever.  I'll miss his squeezable, kissable, babyness - but you know what?  I like my kids as they grow up.  I'm looking forward to getting to know him as his own person - and besides, my kids never really grow out of their squeezable, kissable, stage anyway. 

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Getting What You Deserve

You know what one of my least favorite words in the English language is?  It is "deserve".  This concept drives me absolutely crazy.  How many times has something good happened to someone and people tell them "Oh, you deserve it!".  Really?  Why?  What makes one person more "deserving" than the next?  Goodness?  Patience?  Beauty?  Suffering?  Misfortune?  I really don't get it.

Monday, September 3, 2012

"That Baby Needs Drugs", and Other Pleasantries

Judging by the number of comments I receive I know the world waits with rapt attention for the next installment of our adventure, so let's just wrap this thing up, shall we?

The drive back to Texas began without incident.  We planned to camp one night mid-way home, which would mean finding a campground near Santa Rosa.  Tyler decided he'd like to stop for the day sooner rather than later and have time to set up camp and enjoy whatever it is you are supposed to do when you camp.  (I personally have never been able to figure this out.)  That meant staying at a campground closer to Gallup (or, for those who know it's true significance, it is even closer to Grants!).  We needed to stop at a store to load up on camping food, which led us to a Wal-Mart in Gallup, NM.  Now, I know Wal-Mart and its customers have a bad reputation.  You can find ample evidence for every single complaint about Wal-Mart by visiting the store in Gallup, NM.  I don't think I need to say more about that experience.

We finally reached our campground at Bluewater Lake, NM.  I noticed a generous scattering of horse manure throughout the campground but didn't think much of it.  People ride their horses through campgrounds, right?  Imagine my surprise when later in the evening a herd of horses came running at a gallop through the campground, completely unattended by any human. They stopped and began to graze among the camp sites.  Apparently this campground is either in the midst of a wild horse preserve or in the middle of a rancher's grazing land...either way it was kind of cool and kind of disconcerting to be surrounded by roaming horses - particularly with small children around. 

We spent a completely unrestful night in the tent...3 of our children did just fine and one of them didn't take kindly to not being in his bed and showed that displeasure by crying and trying to gouge out my eyes with his little fingers...I'll let you try to figure out who.

Day 2 of the return journey saw us wending our way through more of New Mexico.  After our first post-camping gas and bathroom stop we were loading everyone back in the car.  Relevant to what happens next is this fact: Wesley cannot stand to be put into his car seat.  I'm sure it didn't help that he had been traveling for a day plus some, but even in the best of circumstances he screams and arches and writhes and generally acts like he is being mistreated in a cruel manner by unfeeling tormentors.  So, he is doing his usual thing as I try to get him in the car.  The woman getting into her car next to us says to me "have you ever tried drugging him?"....ummm.....come again? She continues "My dogs don't like the car and I always give them Children's  Benedryl.  You should try it."  A little "Ha ha, he just doesn't like getting buckled, he'll be fine in a few seconds" speech from me and an unconvinced smirk from her, and we were off. I had to wonder what kind of person goes around suggesting to total strangers that their babies need to be drugged (like dogs, no less).  Then I had to wonder what type of baby leads random passers-by to conclude they need to be drugged...

The next time we stopped for a restroom break we were still in NM.  It was hot and miserable and the Dairy Queen in the gas station had lost power which was a blow to our morale.  Two men were working on their motorcyles right in front of us.  They asked Tyler for jumper cables and a jump start.  I took the kids into the bathroom and when we came out the bikers had their engines revving and were ready to roll.  As we headed out Tyler tells me that these two bikers were members of the Knights Of Columbus.  They were returning from a Knights of Columbus Convention when one of their bikes broke down and we saved the day.  (Some of you will know why this story has significance.)

I was very grateful to cross the Texas state line. We grabbed a pizza in Wichita Falls as Tyler reminisced about his mission days, pointing out exciting landmarks like "This is the apartment complex where the other set of Elders lived - the Elders who asked me for permission to go stay in the sister missionaries' closet during a tornado warning" (permission was denied).  After that we were nearly home.  We arrived home and put the kids to bed in an upstairs that was 96 degrees according to our thermostat and they were so happy to be in their own beds that they didn't mind it (much).  Tyler and I waited to go to bed until the interior temperature was down to 86, and I didn't even mind it (much) either.