Author Archive


All At Once: A Whole Bunch of “Firsts”

AUTHOR: | POSTED: 08/25/14 12:56 PM
CATEGORIES: Au pair, Blog, college, School

Sorry about my absence last week.  It’s been a whirlwind of “firsts” around here and as a result I had some choices to make about how my time was spent.  Sometimes I’m very disciplined about choices regarding time allocation.  Sometimes I’m not.  Last week left me with very little time for anything that didn’t have to do with one of our children.

Of course, that’s what happens when you have kids.  And, when there’s five of them…well…at certain times of the year–like back-to-school-time– there’s just not much left over at the end of the day for anything that doesn’t have to do with them.

Thank goodness I like all of them.

The week started out with a return trip to college.  Our dining room was suddenly filled with bins and boxes of dorm gear.  I’m happy to report there was less than last year.  Less stuff.  Less stress and less anxiety.  It’s amazing the difference a year makes.  Drew’s already been there done that.  Familiarity breeds comfort so a sophomore move-in is truly easier than a freshman start.  Still, we enjoyed having him around the house for the past three months.  We’ll miss him.  The kids will miss him.  Hell…our lawn will miss him–he’s a fastidious yard man.  And I know after having experienced how quickly his freshman year flew, soon these “move-ins” will be less about dorm gear and more about him making a home for himself away from ours.

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There’s that pit.

One peculiar little anecdote–moving your sophomore into a college dorm while  seven months pregnant is a bit of an anomaly.  Luckily there were only three flights of stairs this year, but still.  And the stares from the other parents.  I could almost read their minds while they tried to figure out our story.  “Second marriage?”; “Maybe she ate a basketball because who in their right mind would have kids twenty years apart?”  I’m guessing they ruled out I was the “trophy wife”.  I mean seriously?  I own a mirror and there ain’t nothing going on with me that screams “She’s a prize, isn’t she?

*****

No sooner did Drew leave than we turned right around a welcomed our newest family member.

No.  Not that family member! This little guy is under firm orders to stay put until after the first of November.  There is no time in the schedule for his arrival one minute before he is fully cooked.  I hope he’s a compliant child.  We shall see.

Anyways, when we found out about our impending bundle of joy Sean and I decided to pull the trigger on a childcare option that we’ve been kicking around for awhile now.  We’ve always had about 15-20 hours a week of help which was a God send.  Having a sitter here on a regular basis has allowed me to adequately meet the needs of every one of our family members including attending to our sons events without a trail of cranky distraction.

It’s a luxury and I’m well aware of how lucky I am to be able to afford the help.  I often imagine what our lives would be like if I was doing the house and kids alone-the way so many do—many while holding down a full time job–and I’m grateful for the resources at my disposal.

That being said, we knew given the commitments I made prior to this pregnancy (I have a book coming out in January…more on that later) we would need more help.  That’s when a colleague of mine recommended looking into welcoming an au pair into our home.  Of course, I knew what an au pair was, but always dismissed it as too expensive or fancy for our family.  She encouraged me to investigate the option, however.  Turns out it’s much more affordable than I ever imagined and the icing on the cake is that we get to do something we’ve always wanted to do.  Open our home to a loving individual from another country.

Enter Erica…stage left.

I picked Erica up from the airport on Thursday of last week.  I cannot tell you what a gift she has been to our family just in the short time she has been with us.  She is from South America and has introduced a spark of energy into our home that is priceless.  The girls immediately warmed to her and MK is loving teaching her all about our culture as well as learning about hers.

Thank goodness the language of puzzles is universal.

Thank goodness the language of puzzles is universal.

Tomorrow, I’m going to write at length about the program, state department requirements, expenses and all of the work that has gone into preparing for this experience.  So stay tuned.

*****

This morning we had our first day of preschool and kindergarten.  The girls are returning to the Montessori school they attended last year.  MK will begin her last year in the three year pre-primary program which counts as her formal kindergarten year.

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In her "classroom shoes".  Her Montessori classroom has the students leave a pair of shoes at school.  They where them while inside...and sometimes on the wrong feet.

In her “classroom shoes”. MK’s Montessori classroom has the students leave a pair of shoes at school. They where them while inside…and sometimes on the wrong feet…but that’s okay.  She tells me they feel just fine!

The twins are beginning a one year program that our school offers to kids who fall into a weird little age-hiccuped category.  (Our local cut-off for kindergarten is five years old by August 1st.  Because the twins have an August 11th birthday they technically cannot begin their pre-primary program this year but they are very ready for school.  Luckily our Montessori school offers a special classroom for young “threes” and fall birthdays where their developmental needs will be met and challenged.)

Looks like we've hit the age of the "over cheeser" smile.

Looks like we’ve hit the age of the “over cheeser” smile.

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For this, I am grateful.

I cannot wait to watch them blossom.

*****

Last but not least, Ryan started his senior year at St. Johns Jesuit.  I know I don’t write about Ryan much on this blog.  In fact, last Christmas I was at a party where one of his former teachers made a note of reminding me I have five kids and not four.  Apparently she was concerned that Ryan was left out of most of my commentary.

I thought it was cool she noticed.

You see, Ry is a “fly  under the radar” type of person.  Attention is not something he enjoys.  As with any story I tell about my family, I ask permission before I share.  Whether it’s on my weekly radio segment or through social media.  It’s a respect thing.  I do admit, knowing Ryan’s comfort levels I try not to ask that much in an attempt to save my Ry-sharing for the bigger moments.

This qualified as one.

With two of his teammates during the first mile of the race.

With two of his teammates during the first mile of the race.

We attended Ryan’s last first cross country race of the season this past Saturday.  He has decided to forego pursuing a running career in college so this will probably be his last varsity season for a sport he’s enjoyed since kindergarten.

He did not disappoint.

*****

As you can see we’ve had a lot of transitioning around here.  It’s been a challenge but I realize in the whole scheme of life it’s positive.  Our family is growing.  Both collectively and individually.  That’s to be expected with the passage of time.  I think that’s what makes this space so special to me.  I like recording the growth–our evolution.  It’s my hope that some day Drew, or Erica, or the twins, or this sweet little guy I’m still carrying will come back here and read;  learning about our family and what on God’s green Earth was going through their mother’s head when she decided to do this…or that.

And of course, see how loved they all were.

Happy Monday, friends.

A Third Birthday

AUTHOR: | POSTED: 08/14/14 12:22 PM
CATEGORIES: Blog, Daughters, gratitude, perspective, Surrogacy, thankful, The Babies!

Three years.

It’s hard to imagine that three years has passed since Reagan and Isabella joined our family.  Jennifer, our friend and their gestational carrier, joined our family for a celebration last night and she asked me if I though time was passing quickly.

They just seem so grown up.

And they are.

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No longer babies, these two little ladies are really starting to show us who they are.  To me that’s one of the greatest gifts of parenthood.  Our children are not ours to mold and shape.  They certainly aren’t extensions of ourselves.   As parents, Sean and I can’t decide whether Reagan will be a ballerina or a basketball player or whether Isabella will be a tomboy or the most feminine girly-girl on the block.  Of course, we have influence on what our children are introduced to but once the introduction is made, it truly is our job to observe and let the child show us who they are.

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Their big third birthday present was a bounce house.  Ryan gave it a life span of five months.  We tend to be hard on our play gear.

Their big third birthday present was a bounce house. Ryan gave it a life span of five months. We tend to be hard on our play gear.

It’s a privelege to watch them unfold.

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At three, Reagan is feisty.  She knows what she wants and she protests when we don’t follow her path.  It appears that she enjoys performing.  Yesterday I took all three girls school supply shopping.  As we neared the cash registers she spotted an end cap with ballet gear.  I haven’t the slightest clue how she knew what the pink shoes and leotard were for, but she scrambled out of the cart and snagged a pair for herself and refused to put them back.

She’s telling me something.

I think we are going to try an age appropriate dance class for her.

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Isabella is extremely verbal.  Her ability to articulate at such a young age surprised Sean and I.  At birth, in spite of her full-term status, Isabella was intubated and hospitalized for ten days due to breathing difficulties.  Both of us worried about the oxygen deprivation she experienced and wondered whether there would be long lasting impacts.  She was a late walker and her feeding and eating habits could be characterized as challenging, but other than that it appears she is developing normally.  She is very friendly, one of our more outgoing children, with a happy, easy-going demeanor.  And the girl can talk even the chattiest person right under the table.

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The two of them together are a trip.  They play with one another like most siblings;  one minute they’re “best friends”;  the next they are mortal enemies.  They take turns being the alpha, and for every like they share, there are two they don’t.  Reagan’s a screamer.  Isabella’s a crier.  Reagan’s shy at first.  Isabella is quick to warm.  They both like walking around in click-clack shoes and playing with their hot wheels cars.

They are individuals.  It’s my job to respect them.

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So, instead of molding them into my vision of what I think they should be, I’m enjoying the reveal. I’m certainly not passive in my parenting approach.  I’m more of a coach.  I cheer for them but I’m not a blind fan.  I provide support, guidance and boundaries that will–hopefully–teach them to be kind, confident and responsible.  Some moments it seems like it’s all working.  Other moments it doesn’t.    None of it’s perfect.  But in a way, I think that’s good.

Our imperfect world is full of imperfect people.  That’s an important lesson to learn.

We had a small family party with their god parents and Grandma Kate.

We had a small family party with their god parents, Jennifer and Grandma Kate.

Last night, after everyone else was in bed, Jennifer and I stayed up talking.  We both decided time is, indeed, passing quickly.  We reminisced about her pregnancy with Reagan and Isabella.  How big she was.  How much she sacrificed for our family.   We also talked about gratitude.  For Sean and I, it’s an undying gratitude to her for the gift of our daughters.  We are both convinced they wouldn’t be with us if it wasn’t for her.

Jennifer with the girls in 2013.

Jennifer with the girls in 2013.

Jennifer and girls circa 2014.

Jennifer and girls circa 2014.

 

For Jennifer it was about how thankful she is that she gets to visit with them.  “It’s nice to see what I did.”

I get that–at very profound level.

Blowing out their candles.

Blowing out their candles.

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Sean and I are so lucky.  We have five–going on six–amazing kids to shepherd.  They challenge us.  They push us.  They teach us.  And in return, we love them for it.  For all of it.

 

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*****

I know.  This post is an about face from Monday afternoon’s post.  Sean and I talked about the spirit of Monday’s post and we laughed.  We figure anyone who advises an expectant mother to “enjoy every single second of parenthood” probably doesn’t have a child at home under the age of 18.

That being said, we had a birthday here this week.  Our girls are growing up.  So pardon the my sentimentalism (Yes, that’s a real word.  I looked it up).

Happy Thursday.

 

 

 

Sometimes Parenting Sucks…oh…and pregnancy, too.

AUTHOR: | POSTED: 08/11/14 8:54 PM
CATEGORIES: 1015 The River, Blog, Blogging Honestly, perspective

I bought four pillows the other day.  Not throw pillows or decorative little squares.  They were full fledged, I-need-this-to-sleep-comfortably bed pillows.  And they were all for me.

The clerk in the bedding section of the department store must have thought I was a little odd.   I mean, I’m sure it’s normal for people to hit the pillows or squish the pilllows but I was pressing them against my side;  squeezing them between my knees; and hugging them to my very pregnant body all in hopes of determining which one would help me sleep.

You see, I’m getting big.

I can no longer sleep on my stomach.  I haven’t been able to lay on my left side since I pee’d on that stick--sleeping on my left side makes me throw up. As a result, my right hip is starting to get a little sore–especially considering I can’t lay flat.  I have to keep my upper body raised in order for gravity to help my Nexium-Zantac-Tums cocktail keep the contents of my stomach–well–in my stomach.

Making matters even more challenging, I have a horrible case of restless leg syndrome.  I honestly didn’t even know RLS was a thing until two pregnancies ago.  With Mary Kate and Logan I had minor boughts of the condition but unfortunately, this pregnancy has me playing world class soccer in my bed.  It takes hours to fall asleep.  And, once I do…I have to get up and go to the bathoom.

I’d love to report the pillows have helped, but I’m not sure they have.  As a result I am a walking zombie.

But…I’m not complaining.

Oh wait.

Yes.

Yes I am.

And that’s okay.

******

This morning I watched Savannah Guthrie bid the world of network morning television a maternity leave adieu.  Apparently her little bun in the oven is about baked.  In celebration of her momentous occasion the Today Show had a gaggle of celebrities give her some last minute parenting advice in a clever little montage.  You can read it here.

The messages were sweet.  Some of them were even funny. Many of them shared one underlying theme.

Enjoy it. Love every second of it.  Parenting is an honor.  It’s a privelege.  It’s the best job you’ll ever have!”

I don’t know if it was my sleep-deprived, grumpy, ill-feeling-pregnant-self but all I could think of was, “What a bunch of bull sh*t.

The more I thought about the well-intentioned, sugary advice to “lap up every second” the madder I got.  You see, after being a parent for the past 20 years I’ve realized that some of the duties us mothers are called to–well–to be frank–kind of suck.

For instance, last Friday night Sean and I lugged all five of our kids to the shores of Lake Michigan for an evening picnic at the water’s edge.  Great plan in theory but damn if every single kid isn’t their own little variable.  Four of our five were agreeable but one would have nothing of it.  Suddenly, after a week of playing at the beach without incident, she didn’t like sand, water, sunscreen and the site of seagulls made her scream.  In addition, she protested that her bathing suit was ill-fitting, her sandals were too tight and she had a tummy ache.

Therefore she screamed…for a solid thirty minutes.

Being the savvy parents that Sean and I are we weren’t about to let a crabby two year old thwart our plans.  We sat her in a chair, set up camp, and ignored her display.  It was us against her and we were determined to prevail.  After all, the sunset was brilliant, the other four kids were playing happily, and we figured we could outlast the tantrum.  It was a battle of wills and come hell or high water we were going to win.

Until…we didn’t.

You see, turns out two year olds have weapons up there sleeves–and in their pants–that can beat down even the most resolute parents.

Remember that tummy ache?  The one I ignored.  Turns out there was some truth behind her complaints.

Drew was the first to recognize there was a problem.

Drew:  Mom…what’s with the flies all over her?

Me: Um…I don’t know.  Maybe they are mistaking her tantrum as a mating call.

Drew:  Um.  No.  I think there’s a problem.

Ryan:  Oh my God.  Look at her leg.

Me:  What?…running towards her…”Shit!

There in lies the problem.  Shit.  Shit everywhere.  Turns out my recently potty-trained no-diaper-wearing little girl decided to end this trip to the beach the only way she could.  She used the one weapon in her arsenal we couldn’t ignore.

And she won.

And it sucked.

*****

This pregnancy is getting difficult.  At this point, I thankfully have no reason what-so-ever to be worried about the dangerous complications that I’ve experienced before.  So far, my blood pressure is stable and my body seems to be cooperating with it’s new inhabitant.  I’m grateful for that.  I really am.

But, here’s the thing,

Pregnancy is tough.  It alters a woman’s life in a way that forces her to sacrifice so much.  Discomforts that range from the minor to the major often plague women during the forty week gestational period.  Yet, and I can only speak for myself,  I always feel guilty complaining.  I feel like I should be thankful for this opportunity because so many women would give their left arm to be in my position.  My pregnancy is a miracle.  This little life I’m carrying is a blessing from God.

And just like those feelings, sometimes when I’m having a challenging parenting moment I catch myself thinking about how my life would be easier if I wasn’t a parent at all.

I know.

Can you believe I just admitted that?  Me.  The woman who went to the extreme of extremes to have this brood of children.

But I admit it.  There are moments where I wish I could beam myself to a parallel universe in which my current “challenge” (aka. “kid”)  didn’t exist.  For instance,  in the moment that I was wrapping my sh*t covered two year old in a beach towel and carrying her through the sand while she was kicking and screaming because suddenly she didn’t want to leave the beach–I wanted to be somewhere else.  In fact, I wanted to be someone else.  Anyone but this child’s mother.

Do I feel bad about that?  Maybe.  Kind of.  Not really.

Dare I say, “It’s normal”?

 

Look…I know it’s  not on trend to complain.  Gratitude:  Enjoying the small things:  Basking in the minutia of parenting;  well, it’s all  supposed to be the bomb.

Sometimes it is.

But…

Some parenting moments suck.  Kids puke.  They destroy things.  They can make bad decisions that put parents in undesireable positions.  They can break hearts with their tongues and do things that make you feel like you’ve have failed.   And, damn if they don’t have a special knack for embarrassing you.

When those parenting moments happen it’s okay not to love every single second of it.

We need to quit telling each other to cherish every moment.  As well intentioned as the sentiment is–it can lead to feelings of inadequacy and guilt.  And those are feelings that mothers don’t need any more of.  I’m pretty sure most of us walk around every day worrying that we aren’t doing a good enough job and feeling guilty about it.

*****

Considering my Y-list celebrity status I’m not at all surprised the producers from the Today Show didn’t invite me to participate in the advice laden montage for Savannah.  But, if they had, this is what I would’ve said,

“On most days you’re going to love being a mother.  But there will be days where you don’t; and that’s okay.  They pass.   But for the love of God don’t feel bad for not loving every single second of motherhood.  Oh…and don’t ignore complaints about stomach aches.  They often result in sh*t.”

******

We were visiting my parent’s last week.  They live on the shores of southern Lake Michigan.  Here are a few snap shots of the parenting moments I actually did love.

 

 

On the lawn of my parent's yacht club.

On the lawn of my parent’s yacht club.

Lawn bowling.  She's kind of dangerous.

Lawn bowling. She’s kind of dangerous.

Cousin mayhem.

Cousin mayhem.

Burning off some steam.

Burning off some steam.

Uncle love.

Uncle love.

Cuddle time.

Cuddle time.

Uninhibited smiles.

Uninhibited smiles.

How A Trip to The Fabric Store Turned into An Episode of “Cops”

AUTHOR: | POSTED: 07/29/14 7:30 PM
CATEGORIES: 1015 The River, Blog, Compassion, From The Files of You Can't Make This Sh*t Up

I was cruising along minding my own business.  McFlurry in one hand and the treasure of five yards of bargain-priced, perfect nursery-window-treatment fabric sitting comfortably in my passenger seat.  It was even peaceful as the kids were safely at home with my trusted sitter.  Life was good.  Until it wasn’t.

I was on my way back home and on a deadline.  My sitter had to leave at one and at 12:50 pm I was cutting it a little close, but that was okay.  I had accomplished everything on my errand list and was on the home stretch.  That’s when I noticed the red minivan in front of me.  It was drifting left of center as we made our way westbound through a busy intersection.  I remember thinking, “Correct.  Correct!  CORRECT!” And he did.  But only after it was too late.I was right on his tail as he side swiped three cars sitting in the east bound left-hand turn lane.  Rear view mirrors, glass and metal flew everywhere and because we were moving at a pretty good clip, there wasn’t time to stop.  Next thing I knew we were hundreds of yards past the scene of the accident.  And still driving.

LIKE NOTHING EVER HAPPENED.

I immediately noticed he’d seriously mangled his own car.  Surely he was looking for a place to pull over.  As he swerved into the right hand lane and turned into the Lowes parking lot I followed.  He was probably pretty shaken.  Maybe he was a young kid. If my son had caused an accident like that I’d want some compassionate witness to help him.   I’d stop, make sure he was okay and accompany him back to the scene of the accident.  After all, he had to be returning to the accident.  He’d caused it.  Right?

Next thing I knew he turned west in the parking lot.

That was the wrong way.

I could see he was on the phone.  Maybe he was so upset he called a trusted loved one–probably his mom– to see what he should do.  Surely the other person on the phone was saying, “Go back.  You have to go back.”  

But he continued to weave his way westward through the parking lots.  That’s when it occurred to me.  Could he be running?  Could he be avoiding being spotted by not getting back on the street?

So, I put down my McFlurry and followed him.  Every turn he made, I made.  Every zig zag and evasive maneuever he executed, I executed better—All the while laying on my horn, pointing at him and screaming “Go back!“.  Finally, when we hit the end of the big box parking lots, he had to get back out on the street where the accident had occurred.  As he approached the exit of the parking lot he was stopped by oncoming traffic.

He had a choice.

He could take responsibility, turn left and go back.  Or he could turn right and run away.

I kept thinking he has to know that the lunatic lady behind him in the Honda Odyssey had his plate number and description.  Of course he knew I’d give the police his information and then he’d be in bigger trouble.

That’s when I stopped blowing my horn.  You see, I think I’ve seen too many episodes of “Breaking Bad” and began to wonder who this person was.  What if he was a South American drug cartel member?  What if he’d just robbed a bank?  What if he had an axe?  (If you’ve seen Breaking Bad you’d understand my rather irrational train of thought.)

Irrational or not, that’s when stopped blaring my horn, sank down in my seat and waited for his decision.  When the light turned green he hesitated.  It was almost as if I could see the thoughts running through his head.  I held my breath.

And he turned right and proceeded to continue west…as if nothing ever happened.

*****

I make choices every day.  Choices that seem mundane and most of the time they are…until they aren’t.  I had no idea what this person in the red minivan was doing that caused him to drift left of center and hit those cars.  Perhaps he was adjusting the radio;  answering a phone call;  or spilling his coffee.

I do stuff like that every day.  He could be me.  Or, I could be him.

Ever since the mistake that led to my pregnancy with Logan I think about the choices we make throughout the day–especially the ones that aren’t the wisest but seem harmless at the time.  During my pregnancy I’d often wonder what had so distracted the person  that pulled the wrong embryos from cryopreservation that day.  Was he upset because of a personal problem?  Was she not feeling well and regretting her decision to come in instead of taking a sick day?  Or was there just something more pressing than following the tedious protocols that were in place to protect my family?

What I’ve always known in my heart was the person who made the mistake that led to my pregnancy with Logan didn’t do it on purpose.  There was no malice.  It was an accident.

Accidents can be forgiven.  But only after responsibility is taken.

When I was sitting at that light watching the driver who’d caused the car accident I was silently rooting for him.  Do the right thing.  Go back and face the music.  It was an accident.  You didn’t mean to.  It’s okay.  You’ll be forgiven.

As far as I could figure, it was the only thing he could do to fix it.

But he didn’t.

******

About fifteen minutes after returning to the accident scene I learned from the police that the driver of the red minivan had been arrested.  They’d caught him only a few miles west of where I’d told them I’d last seen him.

The officer was ecstatic that I’d gotten his identifying information.  The owners of the three mangled cars were thankful and wondering if the suspect had insurance.  I gave my formal statement and was informed I may end up in court.

I left feeling good but also kind of feeling bad.

I was glad to help.  I actually felt a little bad-ass.  But, then I thought of the guy who had made a mistake, caused an accident and then made a bad choice.   I’d had a front row seat to his demise.  Granted, I’m not sure what the circumstances were that led him to flee.  All I knew was his day had just gotten really bad and he had nobody to blame but himself.

If only he’d taken responsibility.

*****

If you are looking for the recipe for blueberry-zuchinni bread I talked about Wednesday morning on 101.5 The River with Rick and Marybeth click here.  

Two Bizarre Phone Calls; Four Staples in His Head; and A Remote Control Car Stuck in Her Hair…Just A Couple of Reasons I Should Never Leave My House

AUTHOR: | POSTED: 07/14/14 1:35 PM
CATEGORIES: Blog, college, From The Files of You Can't Make This Sh*t Up

My sister-in-law, Jo Ann, and I have a lot of repetitive conversations.  One of them always starts with, “If I die please promise me …”.  I’ve filled in the blank with making her promise SHE’LL pick out my casket attire;  SHE’LL make sure my house is clean before my wake; and–as should’ve been the case this past Saturday–SHE’LL supervise anytime Sean feels the need to cut one of our daughter’s hair.

Why was Sean cutting Mary Kate’s hair?

Well, let me start from the beginning.

Ryan is searching for colleges.   He’ll begin his senior year in August and in an attempt to get our parental ducks in a row we have scheduled four college visits before the academic year begins.  Early in June Ry and I set off on a two night road trip to visit Indiana University in Bloomington, and my alma mater, Miami University in Oxford, Ohio.  Both schools have stellar business programs–which is what Ryan wants to study. One of the schools fit his criteria.  He wants a “big school”.  One where he can earn a reputable degree AND have fun attending football and basketball games.  If you know anything about Miami, you know that it’s football and basketball teams are not all that great.  I admit it.  I kind of forced him to look.  But damn.  The Farmer School of Business at Miami?  Well, it doesn’t get a whole lot better than that…and it’s in-state, too.

Needless to say.  He loved IU.

Even though he was impressed with the possibility of being a Hoosier we are doing our due diligence.  That’s why this past Saturday the two of us trekked to Columbus, to visit THE Ohio State University.  When I told Sean I’d scheduled the admissions tour for a Saturday he was excited.  With Ryan and I gone, he’d have a day to himself with the girls.

I know.  I’m lucky.  He’s that kind of dad.

I’m sure he had all kinds of fun, “hey-girls…Mom’s out of town so we can do all that stuff she doesn’t like for the next eight hours” activities planned.  Unfortunately, the morning didn’t turn out as he’d hoped.  It all started to go south when–in true Sean form– he was running late for MK’s cross country practice.  As the story goes he was in a hurry, buckled the girls into their car seats, threw the twin’s stroller in the back of the Suburban and in his haste… slammed his head in the door.

Let me repeat that, HE slammed his OWN head in HIS car door.

I’m just not really sure how that’s even physically possible, and at the dinner table last night he admitted that he’s not all that sure how it happened either.  Regardless, he gashed his head something fierce.  (i.e., blood covering his hands and dripping down his face.)

Sorry for the gory details, but I’m painting the picture for you in order to foreshadow the shock of what he did next.

Because Sean is a runner and he loves all things running; and because this was only MK’s second cross country practice…which is about running; he grabbed a towel and drove her to practice.

I’m sure it was quite a scene.  Sean arrived at the park.  There were 45 other kids there…with their non-bleeding parents…and he jogged into the activity as if nothing was wrong…except the bloody towel on his head was kind of a dead give-away that things weren’t quite right.

This episode was the topic of the first bizarre phone call.

*****

Ryan and I toured OSU and I’m happy to report, he also LOVED it.  This is good.  Now he has two potential schools for a college education.  It was a two and a half hour presentation and walking tour that concluded with he and I crawling to our car in hopes of getting to the nearest restaurant.  Like I said.  We loved the school.  What was less than optimal was the timing of the tour.  It required us to skip lunch.   We were famished and when Ryan is hungry he’s crabby.  And, when I’m hungry, I’m bitchy (And when I say I’m bitchy let me clarify that being pregnant and hungry takes me to a whole ‘nother level of bitchy.  I was REALLY bitchy.)  So, after two huge subs from Potbelly’s followed with a plethora of sides that we just couldn’t resist, we were comfortably nursing food comas on the drive home.  That’s when the next bizarre call came in.

When I saw the phone ring I figured it was Sean telling me he was finally relenting and going to urgent care.  After all, according to all our texts since the 9:30 am head slamming incident, he was still bleeding.

Sample text….

Me:  You need stitches.

Sean:  Maybe.  I’d rather just take a nap.

Me:  A nap isn’t going to stop your head from bleeding.

Sean:  I know.  I think I’ll just take the girls to the park.

Ugh.

On the bright side the next phone call had nothing to do with his head.  Unfortunately, it had everything to do with Mary Kate’s hair…and a remote control car.  Hey…I said it was going to be bizarre.

Drew:  Mom?  (Said in that daunting tone that means something’s wrong.  Really wrong.)

Me:  What’s wrong?

Drew:  Um.  Well…MK was playing with the Strawberry Shortcake remote control car and she got it stuck in her hair.  Like really stuck.  

Me:  What?  How?

Of course, no one cared to explain.  And as I processed exactly what he was saying I realized I could here MK crying in the background.  I couldn’t make out exactly what she was saying but it sounded a lot like, “It hurts!”  followed promptly by repeated requests for her father to put down the scissors.

Sean has scissors?  Holy Sh*t.

Me:  Is Dad trying to cut it out?

Drew:  Yes.

Me:  Tell him to put down the scissors.  NOW!

But it was too late.  There was a shriek.  A wale.  And then I overheard something about the car eating her hair.

When Sean finally explained that he was left with no other choice–that the car was REALLY stuck—he finished with “Meh…it’s not really that bad.  You can’t even tell!  You know, unless you look closely.”

Great.

I hung up the phone, exasperated.  Saturday morning I’d gotten her hair into a pony tail for the very first time.  We celebrated.  I was ecstatic thinking of how easy it would be to pull it back from now on.  No more braiding.  No more wrestling it into a presentable “bob” so she didn’t look like Medusa at school.  A pony tail would be so easy.Who knew a remote control car and a scissor-happy father–who was bleeding from the head–would thwart my dreams of carefree little-girl-hair… within eight hours of the first pony tail?

I hadn’t even had a chance to send Jo Ann an SOS.

What is it they say about best laid plans?

*****

On Sunday afternoon Sean finally decided the bloody-towel-on-the-head look was getting old.  Four staples in the head later I’m happy to report he’s fine.

MK’s hair has since been trimmed.  It still, kind of, goes in a pony tail…with the help of a lot of hair spray and a headband.

And, Ryan’s next and last college visit to Michigan State University has been rescheduled from a Saturday to a week day.  A babysitter has been hired… and there won’t be a remote control car in sight.

Then, just maybe then, I can leave the house for a day without a bizarre phone call.

Now, let’s all hold hands and knock on wood together.