Nearly Wordless Wednesday: A Marriage of Convenience

Squish has decided that Blossom the Brainless Cat is almost as good as having a little brother. And it’s the closest he will ever get. (Why do I hear God laughing every time I say something like that?)

Blossom has decided that it is fall, and Squish is warmer than the laminate flooring. It’s a match made in heaven. Or Purgatory. I’m not sure how long this will last.

I can’t explain the helmet except to say that perhaps he is preparing for the bumps along the road to a true relationship. Or he was riding his bike in the family room.

Adventures With Squish

Unlike the other two kids, Squish has been pretty much a homebody. I don’t know if it’s just his busy little personality or the fact that we parents are now outnumbered, but it has felt much easier to stay close to home. We haven’t even gone to see relatives very often because Squish has taken then need for child-proofing to whole new levels. Rather than constantly remove diamond jewelry from his jaws and spray cleanser from his paws, we’ve opted out. We email pictures when we can so that family remembers what he looks like, but we’ve gone light on personal appearances.

Now that he is over three I was struck by a moment of insanity inspiration. The Padawan turned 10, and we were thinking of ways to celebrate his birthday. For the last few years, he hasn’t even been interested in a birthday party. Whew! I mean, er, awww fudge! He’s a Lego fanatic, so I came up with the brilliant idea of taking him out of state to an actual Lego Discovery Center. There was but one catch. Squish had to come, too.

My husband’s main concern was whether he would sleep in the hotel room. I reminded him that we’d have our two boys plus a pal of the Padawan’s. Would any of us sleep? Good point, he conceded. And we took the reins, bit the bullet, and every other pioneer metaphor you can think of, and we hit the dusty trail (look! There’s another one!).

The drive down was the longest of my life not too bad. One enforced rest stop and four hours later, Squish’s assessment is “This is really not fun for me.” Agreed. But he fluffed back up when we got to Legoland.

I had no idea what to expect at Legoland, but what I did not expect was a couple hundred screaming children and lines longer than Dollywood. But Squish maintained. He didn’t even ask us to buy him anything in the gift shop. He did great at the fast food restaurant with only one tiny incident when he announced to his fellow diners “I’m about to poop my pants!” I, of course, grabbed him up by the middle and hauled tail to the bathroom. He threw out his little chicken wings and screamed “I’m flying!” But whatever. I’m never going to see those people again. What do I care what they think?

The real fun began in the hotel room. I had no idea that hotel room beds were so very bouncy until I turned around to catch Squish on the vertical. I managed to intervene before he cracked his coconut on the ceiling. Squish is a born physicist, but it seems that no matter how often he experiences Newton’s laws, he doesn’t quite get it through his head without bloodshed. Usually his own. One day he’ll just know this stuff, right?

Though it was pouring rain outside and he had a touch of the runs, thus eliminating (sorry) the pool as an evening activity, he discovered the wonders of hotel room cable. And three different PBS stations. Feels like home.

The hotel has been the best part of the trip so far! Don’t talk to me! Dinosaur Train is on.

And then came bedtime. Do I really need to say that he didn’t want to go to sleep? We tried turning out the lights and just watching the Olympics (yay! More volleyball!). We tried turning off the sound and just watching USA win by the skin of their teeth. No dice. In desperation, I told the big kids that we were going to have to turn everything off until Squish went to sleep. Guess how long that took? Under three minutes. He went from jumping on his dad’s head to thumb sucking coma in about 200 seconds. Things got interesting.

I remembered why I don’t co-sleep. In the dead of night, Squish sprouted several extra arms and legs. All the better to pummel me with, my dear. And boy did he. I don’t think I slept for more that two hours total. If he wasn’t kicking me in the stomach, he was sprawling over my head or sticking his feet in my face. I finally put him between myself and my husband to keep him from propelling himself out of bed. I think I took the brunt of the battering, but none of us looked any good the next day.

It was the longest night of my life. I’m surprised the hotel didn’t charge us more for all the additional hours that were packed into the night.

Where Have You Bean All My Life?

There are days when I would sell him to the circus, and look. He's ready. And before anyone calls DCS, it's a stuffed gator.

In the last couple of weeks, Squish has taken toddler-itis to whole new levels. I find myself looking at this little dude and asking “Who are you, pod person, and where is my Squish?”  It has been a struggle to, as the experts say, find his currency. Unless that currency is small unmarked bills, which is about the only thing I hadn’t tried. Until yesterday. They were a gift from God, or at least from one of the kids in the youth group at church. Yellow jellybeans. And they are magic beans.

I have mentioned before that no one beats Squish at savoring treats. He keeps them as a pet. Today, he carried around his little bag of lemon beans for several hours. Oh, the power! All that was required to nip the naughtiness in the bud were the words “Do I need to take your jellybeans until you can make better choices?” I could have asked the kid to walk across fire, and he would have. As long as jellybeans were waiting on the other side.

The treats worked so well that I want to buy more, but I know it’s a slippery slope. If I let the bean habit continue, where does it end? I can hear the conversation now:

Squish: Mom, I just got expelled from the university for a hazing prank.

Me: That’s it, son. I am taking your jellybeans back until you untangle that kid’s underpants from the flagpole and let him down.

But for now I’m so tempted to stick with the beans. At least until after Easter.

Making Choices

Last week I did something that many have warned me not to do. I prayed for patience. And God listened. Gaining patience is a lot like making a diamond. Lots of pressure over along period of time. This week has been a trial by fire, and I’m laid raw. Everything touches me deeply, and my emotions are extremes in every direction.  But what I see here is a choice. I can focus my energy on clogged plumbing and repair bills and wallow in the depths of despair, or I can occupy my brain by appreciating better things. Today, I bring you my joys.

Things I Love About Squish

1) The way he says “Ta-da!” after pooping. I think more people should do this. Life in public restrooms might be more fun. I will if you will.

2) His ability to delay gratification. He is carrying around the same five M&M’s that I gave him early this morning. He can keep a snack as a pet. I wish I could do that. I have never met a snack that I didn’t snarf in five minutes.

3) The way he says M&M’s. It comes out “neminems.” I would feed them to him all day long just to hear him say it.

4) His new phrase is “I can burp my ABC’s!” He gets all the way to “D.” It’s an exciting development, as he has shown no interest in learning the alphabet until now. I will work with what I have. I’m going out to buy him some soda and see if we can get all the way to “Q.”

5) He is growing up. In the good way. I have taught toddler classes at the zoo the last couple of weeks, and he can sit on his bottom and listen. Without a wrangler. He even shared with his friends. And the zoo speaks to his heart the way it does to mine.

Squish, meet Korbin ferret.

6) That boundless energy can be channeled. When we go for our afternoon walks, he can run for over two miles without asking to be carried. This summer, hikes with the family will take on a whole new meaning.

7) He has amazing ability to multi-task. He can suck his thumb and pick his nose with one hand. Who wouldn’t envy that kind of dexterity?

8) He’s an adventurous eater. Who knew that magic marker ink was so tasty? And fun. Turns the tongue bright blue!

9) Little things make him happy. His whole day is brighter when he sees a train. Or a backhoe. Or a garbage truck.


There’s so much good around me if only I look. Cilantro is making an unexpected appearance in my herb garden. My husband went out to get milk so that I didn’t have to. The baby tortoises are doing great, and I got to give them their first soak and take them outside in the sun. I’ll post an update tomorrow. Complete with pictures because no baby tortoise story is complete without pictures.


Sneak peek!

It’s That Time Again

Woo-hoo! Nothing says birthday celebration like flammable choking hazard!


Today marks the anniversary of, as my husband puts it, Squish’s third trip around the sun. I believe I speak for everyone when I say that statistics make everything more fun, so here are the past three years broken down into their numerical significance.

Meals comped when my water broke in the middle of a crowded restaurant: Zero. Not only did they not give us our meal free, but we had to wait in a line to pay for it. Thanks, Cracker Barrel. Granted, they probably needed the funds to pay for the chair that they would later have to burn. But it would have totally rocked to get the fast-pass to the front of the line.

Times I have been completely humiliated by this child: Also zero. See above. After that incident, there was nothing left of my dignity.

Midwives it takes to evict a Squish: three. You’d think that third babies would shoot out like a wet bar of soap. Not so much. He held out until the third shift-change.

Trips to the ER for head injuries: Two. People like to say he’s “all boy.” Correction. He’s all “kamikaze stunt double.”

Trips to the ER for suspected poisoning: One.

Trips to the ER for all other illnesses: Four.

Illnesses he has shared with me: Twelve. A year.

Boxes of Annie’s Cheddar Bunnies consumed: 200

Boxes of Annie’s shared with me: Zero. But I don’t resent it. I don’t share food, either.

Stationary objects he has run into because he likes to watch his feet when he runs: 20 or so. Including mailboxes, recycling containers, support pillars, trees and people.

New gray hairs on my head: 15. They all have names. See above.

Times I have read Once Upon a Potty : 432. This morning.

Hours spent knee-to-knee in the bathroom trying to get my young padawan (potty-wan) to close the deal: This becomes higher math.

Futile attempts at turning my setter to a pointer: Five. I give up. Maybe one day he will learn to point Free Willie toward the ocean without doing a Zorro.

Days it takes to give kid a complete haircut: Four. Getting scissors anywhere around this child adds new meaning to the term death-defying.

Times I have felt like selling the kid to the circus: 147.

Times I have been glad I kept him: All of them. He may be a handful, but when he smacks my bum and says “Mommy, you’re an excavator,” I know he means it from the bottom of his heart.

Now, if you will excuse me, I have a date with a birthday boy.



Nearly Wordless Wednesday: A Tiny Misunderstanding

I wondered why my little Santaphobe was suddenly on board with paying a visit. He was suddenly so excited to see Santa. “Go see Santa and sit on his lap!” became his favorite phrase over the weekend. So on Monday, I loaded him into the car and we went. And on the way, it became clear. “You sit Santa’s lap, Squish take ‘pitcher.'” Oh. In the manner of parents desperate for that precious picture with Santa, I discussed, explained, negotiated, and bribed. So here’s what we agreed on:



No. Not this. This:


Yes, indeed. Sometimes the toddler wins.


It would almost be worth sending Christmas cards this year.




Santa photo: