Anniversary #4: Candy/flowers

For this month’s anniversary I took Kevin to a bona fide chocolate factory and we got to have a turn at being Oompa Loompas.


Note: employees must wash their hands before returning to work.


At the end of the candy-making I told Kevin there was an optional second part of the date, and that was to go home and plant a carload of flowers/plants we had bought that morning.  Kevin accepted because, he told me, he got the feeling this part of the date wasn’t really optional.  He knows me so well.

Anyway, we now have three pounds of chocolate to eat and only two weeks before the Easter Bunny comes and doubles that amount.  Maybe we could talk the Easter Bunny into dealing out dogwoods and hellebores instead of Cadburys and Hersheys this year?

Leo leo bo Beo…

Leo’s nickname changes based on what ridiculous things he is up to. 

He started out a tiny baby, all swaddled up and looking like a certain item on a Mexican menu, so we called him Leo Burrito (and his side dish, Rocco Taco).


Then he entered the oral phase of life, chewing on/eating everything he could, so he became The Goat.  “Hey guys, look what The Goat is eating now—do you think he’ll get electrocuted?”


There were other names.  Baby Pterodactyl, Guy Smiley, The Narcoleptic, Wounded Soldier, Captain EO, and when he’s sick either Crusty the Clown or Snotface Snotlout.


Next up came Baby Putin.  That name came during the Olympics when Leo entered into a particularly tyranty phase of life and developed opinions about absolutely everything.  All of these opinions, of course, were “NO!”  We couldn’t do, eat, or even think about anything without first asking Leo if he wanted to do, eat, or think about that thing first.  It was a fearful time for all.

Leo’s newest nickname is Pocket Dictionary, which you’ll understand if you go anywhere with him for awhile.  He will put on his “goots” then walk outside with you saying, “Out…hide…Mom…hand.”  At the crosswalk he yells, “COC COC ITE!” to point out the extreme awesomeness of the flashing crosswalk lights.  Then he spies Kevin and yells, “TAZE DADDY!” until Kevin fakes being electrocuted.

There is one nickname that has followed Leo from the moment he was born, and that one is “Sweet Baby Leo.”  Of course, I used to use that moniker tenderly but now I use it ironically, probably in the same way Mrs. Putin used to call her son “Sweet Baby Vlady.”

Why does it make me so nervous to put a Putin joke on the Internet?


So I bought some new Easter pants for Rocco.


Why do I even try?

(For any of you who noticed that black jacket hanging on he stair rail behind Rocco, yes it belongs to Grammy and yes she left it here last time she visited.  I told her I wouldn’t make fun of her for it though because I went to a musical with Kevin last month and left my shoes at the theater.)

Wednesday funnies

1. Rocco: Mom, I might be allergic to tacos.

2. Vincenzo is working on a report about JFK.  I walked in on a conversation he was having with Kevin as Vincenzo was taking notes:

Kevin: …yeah, but try to use some tact when you talk about someone’s death.  Don’t just say “He blew up.”
Me: Who blew up?
Vincenzo: JFK’S brother.
Me: Oh.  A lot of the Kennedys died tragic deaths.  And they died young.
V: JFK didn’t die young.  He was forty six!

3. Rocco:  Vincenzo, you just blocked my see of the cereal box!

4. Rocco: Look, I got the tail of the cherry!


Maybe one of these days I’ll have some time to write a longer post about what our jam-packed days are like and the inner workings of Mrs. Mouthy’s brain but for now you’ll have to do with this nicopatch of a post.

A few funnies

1.  Vincenzo showed me this paper he did in school on Alexander Graham Bell’s “talking machine” that could say simple words.  He drew it saying, “MAMA MAMA.”


I told Vincenzo I don’t know why Alexander Graham Bell is such a big deal—I myself made three talking machines that say “MAMA MAMA!”

2.  Rocco, helping Leo use the potty seat: Mom!  Some poop is coming out!!!  Oh never mind…it’s just his penis.

3.  Vincenzo to Kevin: Dad, when do we start growing out our playoff beards?


Yikes, it’s been awhile since I posted.  My days are just so packed lately I don’t have time to write about them!  Here’s a roughly edited posted that is probably awkwardly worded and full of spelling errors, but it’s the best I can do these days!

Vincenzo is the best sleeper in our house, but even great sleepers have their off nights.  Last week he got up around midnight asking for a Q-Tip because his ear suddenly felt dirty.  It was an easy fix, but a bit bizarre.

Last night’s problem was a bit trickier.  He woke up  worried that the next time he goes on a water slide it will fill all the way up with water while he’s coming down and he’ll drown.  We tried our best to assure him this is physically impossible in many ways.  I even drew him a comic with a better ending than the one in his head…


…but he remained unconvinced. 

Finally we told him he could read a book in bed to get his mind off it.  “Okay,” he said, and happily went back to bed reading a book about the assassination of JFK.  Oddly enough reading about a president being murdered in cold blood reassured his worried head that everything is right in the world, and he easily fell back to sleep.

Kids can be weird.

Vincenzo has always been a saver/hoarder.  I pack a lunch for him and toss in two pieces of Halloween candy, and when his lunchbox comes back everything is gone except for one and a half pieces of candy.  He has eaten just half of the lesser favorite of the two.

I’ve stopped packing two pieces of candy and the other day sent him with just one mini Reeses PB cup the other day.  It came back looking like this:


He gets a couple hundred dollars of birthday and Christmas cash each year and he never spends a penny of it.

I used to think it was cute and funny, how he saves his favorites, but now I am worried about him growing up being afraid of eating candy and spending money.  I don’t want him to deny himself life’s pleasures or to feel guilty when he indulges.  I don’t want him to be stingy with his money, just smart with it.  I don’t want him to binge on candy, just to enjoy it here and there.

So the candy comes back with a mouse-bite size out of it.  I take Vincenzo to the pantry and show him his bulging bag of Christmas, Halloween, and Easter candy.  I show him all our boxes of Girl Scout cookies and our bins of candy bought or given to us for whatever reasons.  Then I hand him his tiny Reeses PB Cup and tell him it’s okay to eat it.

He does.  He looks like he is being punished, and I feel a bit guilty about “making” him eat it.

Sometimes I have to do the weirdest things to help my kids turn out normal.

Mashed potatoes
Caramelized carrots

Potty Training Blues

I’ve written a couple times about how Leo has to do absolutely everything his brothers do.  As of the past two week, I have come to realize there is one thing, and only one thing he does not copy.  And this one thing is the thing I really, really wish he would copy.

Yes, we have started potty training, and Leo has absolutely zero interest in it.

My potty taining strategy has always been to just stick the boys in underwear, sit them on the potty seat every 45 minutes and let them have all the accidents they need to have.  I act cheerful and keep the whole thing stress-free for the boys—no pressure, we’re just having fun!  It took Vincenzo a few months of good-natured trying before he got it down; it took Rocco two days. 

We ran into a problem with Leo the first day I sat him on the potty seat and he *gasp* went potty on it.  He looked down at what was happening and yelled, “No!” with the most terrified look on his face, then stood up and tried to get off it, still with potty running down his legs.

The following couple of days were a mess, with him screaming at the mere mention of the word “potty seat” and us giving out Skittles just to get Leo within arm’s reach of it.

Then one afternoon he told me he had to go to poop so I sat him on the potty seat and lo and behold, he pooped and mercy, did he freak out.  You would have thought he pooped out a friggin’ zombie army, he got off of that seat so fast!

Seriously, what does he think I’ve been doing during all those diaper changes the past two years?  Wiping rainbows and glitter off his spanking-clean bum?

That first week, Leo was so terrified of his body’s waste-disposal system that he began holding it in for hours and hours on end.  I’d put undies on him and he’d fetch himself a diaper and insist I’d put it on him.  I’d read him a book to forget about the undies and we’d be all right.  Then four hours later I’d notice that he hadn’t leaked so much as a drop, and as it was bedtime I’d put a diaper on him and he’d enthusiastically fill it.  I’d change that and he’d fill the second one with equal gusto.

I’m a bit worried about the damage he can cause his system by holding it so much, so I rallied the troops at our house.  My boys have traditionally been “sitters,” so I did a mini-lesson on standing up at the toilet and instructed them to call Leo in every time they have to go.  I myself have taken to squatting above the toilet so Leo can see what happens.  So now no one in our house relieves themselves without a bemused two-year-old’s face mere inches away from their business.

Did it help?  No!  Not a bit!  Is it weird and creepy for everyone else in the family?  Absolutely!

The second week of training, Leo began to love sitting on the potty seat and we have been able to swap out treats for books.  He’s fine with undies, too, though he still holds it for an unhealthy amount of time.  Yesterday he had two accidents in the house.  We cheered!  We celebrated!  We gave him a Skittle for the having an accident because it was progress, man!

But despite the “happy little accidents,”* Leo has done nothing in the toilet seat since the first couple of days.  The potty seat is simply his new reading chair.

So yesterday Leo found a long-lost favorite stuffed animal and an idea hit me.  Now whenever I want Leo to use the potty I tell him his leopard has to go and I hold Leopard over the potty seat while subtly squeezing a water bottle behind Leopard to make it look like he is going potty.  It is the most bizarre thing I have done as a parent.  If you don’t believe me, take a stuffed animal and a squirt bottle and try it yourself.  You will want to go to confession afterwards.

After Leopard goes potty, Leo sits on the potty seat and wants Leopard to watch him, so he holds Leopard’s face right next to his business.  I mean, right next to it.  And the only thing more disturbing than making your child’s toy pee in a potty seat is watching your child’s toy press his nose up to your child’s junk while he tries to pee.

I’ll give it another week or two of trying but if things don’t get better we’re going to have to take a break.  I don’t know if Leo needs it, but all the rest of us most definitely DO.

In conclusion, come to our house where you can step on wet spots on the carpet and pee like a pedophile and see stuffed animals do things you really wish you hadn’t seen them do!

We’ll give you a Skittle if you do…

*’Sup, all you Bob Ross fans!

Update: I drafted this post two days ago and since then, BOOM!  Leo has been using the potty seat!!!  So everything that sounded weird and off about this post is no longer weird and off!  Right?

One Funny Taco

1. Rocco: Vincenzo, if you keep going to martial arts you’re going to run out of batteries!

2. Rocco, explaining who Leo is to a friend: Leo is a little boy.  He’s not a girl.  Leo is my son.

3. We have a lot of crosswalk signs that look like this in our city:


Rocco has been calling them “alien crossing” signs because the head is not connected to the body, so it’s clear these beings are not human.  Here’s a snippet from a conversation we had in the car yesterday:

Me: There’s another alien crosswalk, Rocco!
Rocco: Yes…no neck.
Me: It looks like aliens don’t have hands or feet either.
R: Yes, they do have hands and feet.  They wouldn’t be able to walk without feet.

He spent a couple minutes lecturing me on the anatomy of alien bodies, then concluded with, “I don’t exactly remember what they look like; it’s been a long time since we went to space.”

4.  This last one is my favorite conversation I have ever had with Rocco:

Rocco:  Grandma is my mom.
Me: No, Grandma is Daddy’s Mom.  I’m your Mom.
R: And I’m your mom.
Me: No, Rocco.  I’m your mom.  You call me Mom, right?
R: Hey Rachel, who’s my mom now?

5.  (Because it feels weird to end a post with only 4 points)

E-mailed to me by Rocco’s teacher: