Rocco Talk-O

The thing about Rocco is can talk nonstop for hours on end.  It’s not so much that he can talk for hours on end but rather that he cannot stop talking for hours on end.  We learned long ago he lacks both an “off” button and a volume button, so we have modified our own brains to tune in and out of The Rocco Channel at will.

Somewhere around the 45th minute of a 60-minute car ride yesterday, Rocco said something that made me tune in for a minute.

Me: What?
R: See, there’s a fish on the back of the car.  That means those people love the twins.
Me: You mean your cousins, The Twins?  As in Jackson and Christian?
R: Yeah!
Me: How did you decide that?
R: Because in the olden days someone would come draw half a fish in the sand, and if another person liked the twins they would come draw the other half to make a fish.

And suddenly I couldn’t stop laughing.  I recalled a conversation the boys and I had a few months back about the Jesus fish.  I had told them the Christians used the fish as a symbol to show that they were still in existence and they still loved Jesus, even though it was against the law and they could go to jail (in the PG version they simply went to jail).

So yesterday in the car I realized that during the entire historical religious lesson, Rocco thought I had been talking about his cousin, Christian.  In his four-year-old brain it used to be illegal for people to like his cousin and now, today, if people like Rocco’s cousin, they put a fish on the back of their car.

We’re always saying it’s a small world, but when you’re four years old it’s an even smaller world that might just revolve around your own cousin.

I love being a part of Rocco’s world.

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Sum-Sum-SUMMERTIME

Up until a week ago our morning routines started with the boys waking at 6:30 and needing to eat.  I’d simultaneously make them breakfast, pack lunches and snacks, and try to eat something myself.  The next hour consisted of me breaking up fights, checking Vincenzo’s homework folder, and helping the boys get into normalish looking outfits for school.  I’d load the car with whatever we needed for the day—changes of clothes, speech therapy binders, spare diapers, backpacks, lunches, sports gear, water bottles.

Then I’d head back upstairs to brush the boys’ teeth, wipe jam off faces, break up more fights, tie shoes, find Vincenzo’s jacket, and make sure everyone was wearing pants and had gone potty.  Then to the garage to help Rocco with his helmet, make sure he was wearing biking shoes, also make sure his school shoes were in the car for when we got back, get Leo into the stroller, close the garage door and run out underneath it. 

Then I herded the crew up to the bus stop, breaking up more fights along the way and dealing with children who refused to walk another step.  We’d wait for the bus on our wooded corner, Leo dragging me through the trees and brush, me armed with a plastic bag to discreetly pick up any heroin needles we saw laying around. 

I’d give V one last kiss before he got on the bus and then shepherd the younger two back home and load them in the car, ignoring the screams of whichever child didn’t get in first.  I’d buckle seatbelts, check the shoe situation, grab a sippy cup of milk for Leo, then notice Leo had pooped.  I’d unbuckle his seatbelt, change his diaper, buckle him back into car, then drive to Rocco’s school to drop R off.  Finally I’d head back home to give Leo a snack, read him books, put him to bed and then collapse on the couch for a nap myself.

I guess I didn’t really think about how challenging it was but now that summer is here it is soooooooo much easier.  Our morning routine consists solely of making waffles and eating them, then maybe making some more waffles a little later and eating them too.  The biggest challenge I face in my mornings now is remembering which kid likes only butter on his waffles (V), which likes only syrup (R), and which one likes both (L).

The afternoons have been quite a different story–we run pretty hard until it’s dark out, which  doesn’t happen until 10 around here.  But it’s beaches and parks, parties and play dates instead of waiting out martial arts and basketball practices in sweaty, smelly gyms. 

Maybe by September and I will be worn out and looking forward to the start of school, but right now, at least, I just want it to be summer forever.

I finally get to Mom again!  And now for some pictures of what Momming looks like this summer:

STOP!  It’s hammock time.

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Can you tell which castle was built by boys and which one by girls?

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The true reason we signed up for Amazon prime:

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Moments before he jumped off and gave Leo went flying both backwards and forwards:

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The boys eating lunch in the playhouse, delivered via zip line:

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Sharp Shooter

A couple weeks ago Kevin was standing in the ravine and I was standing several stories above him, on the deck.  He pointed to the toddler basketball hoop next to him…

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…and told me that if I could make a shot on my first try he’d buy me a new wedding ring.

He continually underestimates his wife.  I nailed that shot like I had been practicing for it all year, on the off chance he might make that exact proposal.  BOOM.

My next move, of course, was to throw away my wedding ring since I wouldn’t be needing it anymore.  Then later that day we went to Molbak’s to buy some Japanese maples for our ravine.

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On the way to the car Kevin said, “Hey, I thought of some great names for our trees!”  I looked at him skeptically.  “I named the one on the left ‘wedding’ and the one on the right ‘ring.’”

Beautiful.  Perfect!  I’m just not sure how to get these babies on my finger. 

Wait a minute…let me try something here…

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Not the right finger for a wedding ring, I know, but it’s just so rich in symbolism!

Happy Fadder’s Day!*

I don’t know why I love Vincenzo’s Father’s Day card so much this year.  Maybe it’s because he drew himself wearing footed pajamas.  Maybe it’s because he used the “T” in “FATHER” to stand for The Great One.  Maybe it’s because he wrote “YOu are great at everything you do.  That is 1 percent of the reason why I love you!”

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It’s totally the footies. 

Normally as a teacher I’d remind Vincenzo to color in the background, but instead I can only commend him on accurately depicting our white-walled, white-couched basement.  He has such a natural grip on the concept of working smarter, not harder.

And now it is my turn to wish a happy Father’s Day to all the moms who read this blog!

*The title is a tribute to the fact that between my three boys we have six, count ‘em, SIX “speech ferapy” appointments a week. 

This entire summer is brought to our family by the letter R.

Pushed to the brink

If you didn’t read today’s earlier post, go back and read that before you continue with this one.  No peeking!

So I forced Leo to sit on the big toilet this afternoon and he clutched me, terrified, screaming, until I “genitally” lifted him off, and then several minutes later I found him outside like this:

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I don’t remember this being in any of the parenting books…do you?

Just hold her WHAT?

So Leo is doing great at potty training…as long as we are at home with his little potty seat.  He is terrified, TERRIFIED of the big toilet, despite the little toilet seat thing we got to put on top of the big toilet.  He seriously has seizures when we try to make him use the big toilet.

So naturally, I turned to the Internet for answers.  Here’s my favorite answer from Yahoo Answers:

Just hold her genitally under the arms and over time, loosen up on the grip. Eventually find a spot where she won’t fall in.

You know, I think we’re okay just using the little potty seat for awhile longer.

I Am That Mom

I am never again going to think to myself, “I wish I had something to blog about…” because inevitably something will happen that day that is bloggable for all the wrong reasons.

Take today, for example.  At 11 in the morning I was wishing I had something to blog about, but all I had was the fact that Leo yells out, “CHOCOLATE POOP!” every time I change his diaper.  I wasn’t sure how to stretch that out for a whole post.

An hour later, waiting for Rocco’s speech therapy appointment, I pulled out our bag of books and Rocco reached inside and said, “Hey look, our missing lunch box!”  I looked.  We laughed together about how the bread had morphed into a greenish blue rectangle of mold, then I stuck the lunchbox back in the bag and started reading.

A few minutes later a lady sitting across from us said, “I know you don’t have biting ants here but you might want to do something about those little ones on your bag…”

I looked.  Our book bag was positively teeming with 100 tiny, flea-sized ants.  I took another look at the old lunchbox we had thrown back in and saw at least 50 more in there, so I ran it out to the parking lot to throw it away.

I came back to assess the situation and saw that the carpet appeared to be moving, there were so many ants on it.  I peeked into the book bag and quickly closed it, wondering frantically if there was an incinerator in the vicinity.  Trying not to totally alarm the office staff, I casually asked for a vacuum cleaner because “I think we brought in an ant or two,” omitting the word “hundred.” 

Then I enlisted the help of all the young children in the room to look for ants and I spent the next half hour on my hands and knees, vacuuming up teeny tiny brown ants from the gray carpet, our book bag, and my own person.  The ants on the carpet looked like this:

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I looked like this:

vacuuming ants

Once I finished vacuuming I looked over at Leo, who had a line of snot running directly into his mouth, and whose mouth was leaking a sludge of purple ooze from the Laffy Taffy he had eaten and I wondered at what point my alarm clock would start ringing so I could wake up and tell Kevin about this ridiculous dream I had just had.

Unfortunately I must have forgotten to set my alarm and so now I am stuck in this world where I am that mom with the oozing children, who leaves behind a colony of mold-eating ants wherever she goes.

If I were a person who embarrasses easily I would be hiding under my bed right now, but as a person who hasn’t felt embarrassed since every single day of junior high, I just have to say that today was TOTALLY AWESOME.

At least, it was for my blog!