Archive of ‘family’ category

Dear Darling, I Need a Big Favor

Dear Darling,

You are my only girl and it is my responsibility as your mother to talk to you about important things. From the time I was a little girl, I’ve dreamed of being a mom and having these conversations. One day we’ll pine over Pinterest Boards as we plan your dream wedding. I look forward to seeing your face when you find the perfect prom dress. I’m even training myself to be prepared when you have your first period, but let’s not get ahead of ourselves, here. I have big dreams for you, my beautiful girl. I want you to be strong and smart and happy. I want you to fight for what you believe in and never let anyone tell you that you can’t do something. I want you to wear the brightest red lipstick you can find and blow kisses at the haters. But right now more than anything, my darling, I need you to fall in love with a boy band. And I need you to do it quickly so that I can start stashing away memorabilia for your midlife crisis.

If you’re anything like me, you’re going to have all kinds of cockamamie ideas throughout your adolescence. You’ll have an invention idea that you’ll want to send to Shark Tank. You’ll probably have a self-image crisis and decide to have a throw back fashion identity and will hope I saved something from the 90s. You are going to think that I am crazy and embarrassing and the most uncool mom in the world. These things, I will probably not love, but boy band obsession, this is one phase that I will get behind. You see, my dear, it is inevitable that you will fall down this particular rabbit hole. You come from a long lineage of women who have fallen in love with a musician. I had my boy band, your grandmother had The Beatles and your great grandmother had her everlasting love, Liberace. Perhaps that last pick was a bit misguided, but I digress. I promise, to give you my whole heart, and bank account, when you decide on the one that will be yours forever.

I solemnly swear to emotionally and financially support this habit. I will donate my 401k for shirts, pins, buttons and a Fat Head for your wall. I will buy all of the iTunes gift cards so that you can pre-order albums and instantly download singles. I will even subscribe to the YouTube channel so that you can watch the same videos over and over and over again. I commit to buying magazines, I’m not sure if they still make magazines, but if they do, they’re yours. As time goes on you will begin planning your wedding, coming up with baby names and decide whose family to spend Christmas with. The devastation that will come when you see him on TMZ with his new gal pal will be palpable. That day, we will cry together and eat crappy food and talk about how much better you would be for him. Once our sob session is over, I will help you to eradicate any memory of that low life from your mind. Together we will pack up your collection and ready it for trash day. But here’s where I am going to go rogue. I’m not really going to throw away anything. Nope, I’m going to pack it in a box in the basement and hide it among Christmas decorations and baby clothes that no else even know exist. Trust me, one day when you are yearning for your youth and an escape from the pressures of adulthood, you are going to want these things.

You see, my own life has recently come full circle and I’ve realized how important my mother’s support of my fan girl dreams was. In 1989 I fell in love with five boys from Boston. It was more than just a crush, it was an obsession. The New Kids on the Block posters covered my walls. My boom box constantly played their tapes-I’ll take you to the Smithsonian someday and you’ll see what I’m talking about. I wore t-shirts and giant buttons and I was sure that one day I would marry Donnie Wahlberg and live happily ever after. Well, your father’s name isn’t Donnie, your uncle isn’t Marky Mark and the Funky Bunch are nowhere to be found. I am not; however, disappointed. The fact that I never married a boy bander means that I can still hang on to a bit of my childhood fantasy.

This past summer, I pulled out my Hangin’ Tough t-shirt, it still fits which says a whole lot about how we were wearing our clothes in the 80’s, and headed out to see NKOTB, their more mature moniker, in concert. I walked into a venue that seats 20,000 and saw that many women who are exactly like me. These woman are the ones who are suddenly finding chin hairs that pop up two inches long overnight. These same women have given birth to babies and are wondering how did we all get here and why is time moving so fast? Long ago these women had crimped hair and frosted eye shadow and sobbed uncontrollably when five boys hit the stage. These women are my people. We are all the same. We’ve hidden our seventh-grade yearbook in hopes that our husbands will never discover the old us. We have worn breast pads that slipped and sprung a leak in the middle of the grocery store. We have had bad job interviews and terrible relationships. We have lived parallel lives and grown up together, although most of us have never met.

We gathered together, almost 30 years later, and soaked up every minute. We didn’t want to hear new songs. We didn’t want to see new dances. We wanted Step by Step with all five steps, all five boys and seamless choreography accompanied by pyrotechnic magic. And that’s just what we received. These guys know exactly what they are doing. Being able to watch 40-something men sing the same songs and perform the same moves three decades later is nothing short of magic. They came back just as their fans are coming of age. We are getting married and having kids and starting to feel old. We are disconnected from our youth and this has brought us back. If only for one night, we were those same crying girls with black hats and overalls that could take on the world.

And guess what? We did take on the world. We are moms and daughters and friends and doctors and lawyers and CEOs and teachers and waitresses and mechanics and whatever else we ever wanted to be. We all started as young girls and have grown into women stitched together by a common thread. And I wouldn’t change one bit of that. I want that same kind of happiness for you, my sweet girl. In 30 years, you will be living a grown up life filled with pressure and challenge and frustration and you will need an escape from reality, too. When the time comes, you will open the box that I have saved for all of those years and the memories will flood back. You will feel a pit in your stomach for what was, but flutters in your heart in anticipation of the reunion tour. You will belt out your favorite tunes, dance the familiar moves and swoon at their older, yet, sexier bodies. It will be worth every one of the hundreds of dollars you paid for the ticket. Trust me, if you allow yourself to get away from diapers and deadlines and sleep deprivation and you selfishly indulge in one night with 20,000 woman in your tribe, you’ve got the right stuff!

Love,

Mom

Mama Said There’d be Days Like This

Today was picture day. Now before you get all concerned that my kids showed up at school in white polos already stained with chocolate milk and week-old bedhead, rest assured, I remembered. As a matter of fact, everyone was up at 6am, in the shower, had a delicious breakfast poured right out of the cardboard box with love and in the car with time to spare. I gave my final farewells and watched my handsome boys frolic into school not a care in the world. I also saw several of their classmates headed into the building holding picture order forms. The same order forms that were sitting in the basket of papers that I had no intention of looking at for at least six months. $h!+!!!

Living in a Jack Butler world of North to pick up and South to drop off, there was no turning around, so I had to head down the street and make a U-Turn. Upon my return, the parking lot was full and there was no way for me to sneak in and out without anyone noticing. Instead, I got to take Handsome #3 and Darling, still in her pajamas, through the obstacle course of senior citizens sure not to miss the early bird parking for 8:15 mass and the throngs of parents who couldn’t wait for their arguing children to finally get out of the damn car! We made it through to the school office where I grabbed the envelopes ready to place my order when I saw that they only take checks. Since I had just forged my husband’s signature on the last check from the book at soccer uniform pick up, that wasn’t an option. Instead, I had to take the walk of shame, envelope in hand, with my disheveled children and order my prints online. Thankfully, that part went off without a hitch.

Handsome #3’s school day starts 45 minutes after his older brothers’. We have a daily ritual that includes him refusing to eat the breakfast that I have just prepared, crying that he hates school and an absolute refusal to let me help with any shoes or buttons. We live less than five minutes from preschool and we are late every.single.day. Once we get there it’s all smiles and high fives and how are you friends? His performance at home and the entire way there should garner him a daytime Emmy.

We walked Handsome #3 to class, but there was no time to dawdle. Darling and I were in a hurry this morning. As I mentioned, it was picture day and Handsome #2 really wanted to wear his favorite black glasses. One slight problem, they were broken. I promised him that I would go to Lens Crafters first thing and get those quality crafted specs back to school in an hour, before he saw the photographer. Darling was strapped in, my coffee was still hot and we were right on time to be waiting at the door when the store opened. I put the key in the ignition a little sputtering, a few lights flickering on the dash, but the engine would not turn. Perfect. I called AAA and they said it would be 30-45 minutes before the technician would arrive. Even more perfect.

Darling was done being strapped into her carseat about 45 seconds into our stranded state, so out she went ready to explore the front seat. She did a dandy job pushing every button, pulling every knob, finding my secret stash of tampons, gum and expired insurance cards. By the time she was finished it looked like a tornado had ripped through the front seat. The AAA man finally showed up, replaced the battery and $129 later, we were on our way.

Due to our little bump in the road, there was no way I was getting to school on time, but I figured I’d get the glasses taken care of as long as I was out. Handsome #2 loved those glasses. They were his first pair and he was super excited to get them back. Well he would have been excited, except that they’re discontinued and unavailable in the state of Missouri. Excellent! Mr. Extremely patient Lens Crafters Man, who wanted to kick me through the window after 30 minutes of total indecision about new frames, and I picked out a perfect new pair. They whipped those puppies up in no time and we were on our way.

I had just a few minutes before picking up Handsome #3, so I decided to run into Aldi to grab a few essentials. One thing on my list that I have be meaning to get the last 10 trips is that $.39 container of salt. Remember that, it’ll come back to haunt me in the later rounds. There was a child losing its ever loving mind somewhere in the store, I never saw it, but the whole city could hear it. Thankful it wasn’t mine, I said a quick Hail Mary for the poor mother and headed out. Once again, we were back on track ready to get Handsome #3 from school.

Handsome #3 was beaming at dismissal, happy to see his sister and me. “He had a great day, ” called his teacher. Of course he did, he only puts on the spitting pea soup show for me. We got home, had lunch, watched a little Elmo and were all just ready to relax for a minute. It was peaceful and happy and serene. Like the perfect little family in an antidepressants ad.

Since the morning was such a train wreck, I figured it could only go up, so I got creative. Sometimes I like to think that I’m June cleaver in a modest polka dot dress with a half apron and plastic-covered furniture. Today was one of those days and I decided to take my stay-at-home mom game to the next level. Oh the boys would just love a pumpkin bundt cake as an after school surprise, wouldn’t they? Of course they would, I’ll just whip one right up!

I got out my pan, I preheated my oven, pulled out the 800-lb-Kitchenaid and gathered my ingredients. I opened the cabinet to grab my sugar and flour canisters when that $.39 salt appeared, clearly unhappy with its new accommodations. In what can only be described as a suicide attempt, the salt took a free fall directly into my face. Caught completely off guard by the incredible pain throbbing in my nose, I dropped the freshly-filled with 5 pounds of sugar container that subsequently broke into 6,000 pieces the second it hit the granite. I would have taken a picture, but I didn’t want to hurt the feelings of any of the 4,656,000 sugar granules that dispersed themselves throughout my entire kitchen if they didn’t make the shot.

I was on the verge of tears when Handsome #3 ever so kindly distracted me.

“Mom! Darling pooped and she stinks so, so bad!”

I changed the diaper, put her down for a nap and came down to survey the damage. It was bad. I was defeated. Handsome #3 went to watch a show, Darling was sleeping and I needed my favorite rap playlist and a Diet Coke. I took a deep breath and tried to put things into perspective. I am thankful for my four beautiful children and a loving husband, who works his butt off, so that I can have these $h!++y days at home with our kids. I rolled my sleeves up, turned the speakers on high and got to work. “Hot n Herre” on my lips, I scrubbed the cabinets, the floors and the counters, and suddenly caught my reflection in the mirror and thought, Damn! I think my butt gettin’ big……..

Airing Our Dirty Laundry, All Over Saint Louis Hills

 

My first reaction to this video was to be critical of myself. The horrendous screen shot of a five-week postpartum mother, couldn’t they have chosen something better? I wanted to point out my errors, the way that I look and the way that I sound. But, I am throwing all of that out the window. I am so incredibly proud of this accomplishment. I stepped completely out of my comfort zone, put my heart and soul on the line with an original piece and the audience loved it. I am so incredibly thankful for the support of my family, my three brothers and my dad, who allowed me to bring a little laughter into the world at all of their expense, but particularly to my mother, who has always been my biggest supporter. I am also grateful for my husband and children who allowed me to take this time to be completely selfish and to do something just for me. I love each and every one of you!

The Listen to Your Mother experience truly was life changing for me. It helped me to realize that God has blessed me with a talent and that I need to take advantage of that talent. I am currently working on a collection of essays from my childhood, very similar to the following, that I hope to publish soon. I appreciate all of your kind words and your love. You will be seeing a lot more from me soon!

Bad Boys, Bad Boys, What’ca Gonna Do?

I have learned all kinds of things in my last eight years parenting boys. Frogs, bugs and reptiles are a regular part of conversation and I am expected to listen intently and care about the stories being told. Clothing will be filthy by the end of the day and no amount of hand washing, wet wipes or napkins on the lap can prevent it. Boys will beat the crap out of each other one minute and hug it out the next and there are never hard feelings, at all. No matter how much I preach about lifting the seat and aiming, my bathrooms, despite an inordinate amount of bleach and vinegar used, will always have a slight uriney smell. I have come to accept, albeit begrudgingly on the urine thing, all of this. It is a way of life in my house and that house is filled with happy, handsome men….and a couple of girls.

For the most part, my Handsomes are well behaved, have decent manners and do what they are told without much trouble. Sure, they all have their moments, but I can honestly say that I don’t worry too terribly much about how they will act when I am not around. I am not a huge list of rules kind of person either. We have the basics, be kind to one another, don’t talk back, put your dirty laundry in the basket, please don’t pee on your brother while you are both in the tub, all that kind of stuff. But, there is one thing in our house that my sons will unanimously announce as being the ultimate don’t cross mom on this one or she will lose her mind rule. I can handle any of the aforementioned and hand out a quick, knock if off, but when it comes to the Golden Rule in Come on Colleen land, there is no exception.

Picture if you will a lovely breakfast, lunch or dinner table. You are perfectly famished and could eat just about anything. Thankfully, there is a delicious spread before you, the company is equally as divine and you are feeling just delightful! Then, out of the corner of your eye, you spot a man at the table in a tank top. He could be the richest, kindest, funniest and most handsome man on the planet, but the second he lifts his arm to reach for the rolls, you see it. His sweaty, straggly, nasty armpit hair is dancing in the breeze. Pieces of dried deodorant are hanging on like the last bit of snow on a rock after the weather warms up. No matter how hard you try, you can’t look away and now you have completely lost your appetite and are resisting the urge to barf all over the table. Just, me? No, probably not any more…….

Did you get your tickets for the gun show? Nope, no way, not at my table. Not today, not tomorrow, not ever. The Handsomes know that they absolutely must have a shirt on when we are eating. Often times they sleep in their underwear so that they can be like their idol, The Grillin’ Fool, who incidentally is the only person in our house with actual armpit hair, and will wander down the steps blurry eyed and half naked. I don’t even have to say anything. A victory in and of itself, I have mastered, “the look” that sends them scurrying in to the laundry room to find coverage.

And before you get all, “But Colleen, Handsome #1, your oldest, is only eight years old, he doesn’t even have peach fuzz in those pits.” I gagged just typing that. No, you are right, he sure doesn’t, but, I wouldn’t hand him a Salem Slim Light and a Budweiser, two of my old favorites back in the days when I was fun, so why let him engage in other risky behaviors that could lead to his mother’s premature passing from gagging on her on vomit at the table later on in life? Just not worth the risk.

This rule is infallible at our home. As a matter of fact, even when I was potty training my youngest boy, opposition was quickly squelched my by eldest.
Me- Boys, you know the rule, you must put on a shirt before breakfast.

Handsome #2- Why? Handsome #3 isn’t even wearing any underwear!

Me- No, he isn’t, but he is also tucked under the table and no one can see that.

Handsome #1- Why are you even arguing with her on this one? You will never win.

Yes. A victory. I won! I won! I won! I felt so validated. They respect me and love me and know that this is important to me and a firm rule in our home. My handsomes are allowing me to mold them into strong, respectful and respectable young men that will make me proud. I was on cloud nine for exactly 11 seconds and then I got this series of pictures from Maurmi. Remember that whole, I don’t really worry about their behavior when I’m not around bologna? Well, well, well, apparently at my house the minute I leave it’s a great big, naked, let your arm pits hang out all over the place buffet……

 

wow

 

They are lucky they are cute…….

Put Me in Coach….

I am not particularly athletic, unless you include Sweatin’ to the Oldies, but as a mother of a lot of boys, sports, currently baseball, have infiltrated every part of our lives. I love to watch little kids get a hit, or make a catch and to see the pride beaming from their faces. There is nothing like watching your child smiling from ear to ear after making a great play and knowing that not one bit of that athletic ability came from you, and your pretty sure not your husband either, but hoping that it might last a few more years.

Recently, Handsomes #1 and #2 had weeknight games, at different locations, that overlapped; therefore, The Grillin’ Fool and I had to divide and conquer. It’s barely mid June and already 1000 degrees in St. Louis, so a full day at the pool followed by an early evening game, that I kind of forgot about until about an hour before hand, is about as much fun as I could possibly handle during the last week of my maternity leave.

In typical fashion, we couldn’t find hats, socks or cleats, despite the fact that every single person in the house swears that they put them away in their proper places just like I asked. Handsome #2 and I were headed out for the early shift. He was clad in head to toe black and grey polyester, bright blue and yellow soccer socks and tennis shoes due to the fact that we couldn’t devote any more time to the scavenger hunt for proper equipment. All the damns that I gave had melted in the heat.

The game started at 6pm and was located at least 15 minutes from home. We left at 5:51pm. I barely made it out of the subdivision when I noticed this in the rear view mirror.

h21

He hadn’t just nodded off, this child was snoring….loudly. Rather than poke the bear, I figured I would let him rest until we got to the field. We rolled in at 6:03pm and I noticed that every player on the field was female. Perfect. I had driven to the wrong place, miles past where we were supposed to be. Suddenly, Chief Meteorologist Maurmi comes in with this warning.

h22

I check my calendar, find the right location and get to the field at 6:17pm just in time for Handsome #2 to wake up with a seat belt crease across his face that could easily be mistaken as a failed attempt to gauge his eye out.

“Are we here? Oh good, my team is up to bat!”

He runs to the dugout and after missing the top of the inning somehow finds himself on deck. Seems fair that all of the other soon-to-be first graders who have battled the seventh circle of hell in the field should move aside for someone who just finished his beauty sleep, right?!?!?! He gets a hit, the kids finish out the inning and head back out to the field.

Handsome #2 didn’t seem particularly thrilled to be out in the heat and each time the thunder would clap, he’d look up as if God was talking directly to him. The other team got a few hits, scored a few runs and it was time for our boys to bat. Once again, there he stood with a helmet on, seemingly undeservedly high up in the batting order, when the coaches spot lightening and the game is called….at 6:31pm. In just 40 minutes, Handsome #2 had taken a nap, visited two Catholic Church fields, batted and gotten a hit, and played an inning in the field. This kid has done more with his athletic career in less than an hour than I have my entire life!

We headed for the car and he looked up at me and said,

“I need a nap, that was exhausting!”

 

 

 

 

Hey, You Guys!

 

Goonies-Movie-Quotes

On June 7, 1985, exactly 30 years ago today, ‘The Goonies’ was released. At the time, I was six. My brothers were four, three and eight weeks. My mom and dad were 33 and 36, respectively. Today, I am 36. My sons are seven, five and two. I am the exact age that my father was when he and my mother decided to head to the movie theater with four and three-year-old boys. Four children under six, including a newborn who was left with God only knows that day, would make anyone’s judgement a bit lax.

 

The anticipation was incredible. After what seemed like hours, 15 minutes real time, we walked in the doors. Candy, a huge tub of popcorn and one soda with four straws later, we were headed to the upper balcony ready for the Goonies experience.

 

We were all hooked on the tale of friendship packed with action, adventure and a really creepy guy chained up in the basement. Despite our young ages, we sat pretty still while devouring snacks and slurping drinks, until we didn’t. There was dancing down the aisle. Not tap or salsa, this looked a bit more like the hustle.

 

One-eyed Willy’s boat had just been discovered when the real performance started. A poor, Pepsi-filled toddler, began the chant familiar to all parents,

 

It began softly with a chair squirm. “Um, I have to go. I have to go to the bathroom.” He twisted and twirled. “I have to go. I have to go. Daddy, I really have to go.”

 

The Fratelli’s just appeared and now a kid is filled with urine up to his eyeballs. Perfect. With mere minutes of the movie left, but not wanting to miss a second, my dad did what any loving parent would do. He made the ultimate sacrifice. Even though he was really full, he forced himself to eat the last of the popcorn, creating a makeshift toilet and told my brother to tinkle. Right there. In the tub. In the theatre. And he did.

Goonies never say die……

Ain’t Nuthin But a C Thang……………

Along with pregnancy comes several fabulous side effects; including, but not limited to, vomiting, pimples, swelling, heartburn, cravings, sudden urges to empty your bladder and sleeplessness. This last one has to be one of my favorites. When I was pregnant with Knox, I would lay awake for hours daydreaming about the wonderful life that I would have as a mother of three and how my perfect little children would be super stars academically and athletically, that latter is hoping that there has been a genetic mutation somewhere along the lines because they aren’t getting that one from me. Yeah, well, that is what a normal person thinks about. I, on the other hand, concentrated mostly on my irrational fears and keeping my children safe from the Litarians of the world.

You see, as a young girl growing up on the mean, tree-lined streets of St. Louis Hills, I was exposed to, well, nothing. Not a damn thing…ever….And I liked it that way. That was until Nancy Reagan starting daring kids to stay off drugs and the nuns in the office decided to scare the $h!+ out of every child at St. Gabriel the Archangel. I can still remember the purple ditto that I brought home from school. I couldn’t read it, but I knew that it was bad and that I was likely going to end up dead because of it.

My mom explained that there had been a very bad man spotted in the neighborhood in a white van with no windows, perfect for nabbing, giving out lickable tattoos laced with LSD to children. *Editor’s note, this may be the combination of several dittos, regarding separate instances, but this is how my memory sealed it, so press on. And right then and there, I knew, that I was soon to be abducted, drugged and left to a life on the streets. There was nothing that I could do to protect myself, so I might as well get use to it.

As a child constantly being compared to Punky Brewster, I was also always concerned that my mother was going to ditch my brothers and I in a parking lot someday. Let’s think about that one for a second, shall we? In the 1980s, prime time television taught us that if your mom left you, you could simply climb into an old man’s apartment, with your dog no less, and life will be just fine. As long as another young girl and her old-as-hell grandmother are across the hall to help out. Sounds perfectly safe and logical, plus you get an awesome loft bed…..perfect….I could certainly fend for myself if I could just find Henry Warnimont……

So smart, yet so very, very stupid

As I grew older, I realized that my mother wasn’t really going to ditch us, even though she did leave people behind here and there. Well, just Jimmy on a vacation and sleeping in a hot car in the Schnuck’s parking lot one little time. I felt a bit safer in my skin. That was until daytime talk shows got a hold of me. I learned quite a bit about the average teen from my good friends Sally Jesse, Phil, Jerry and Jenny. I tuned in as much as I could and learned that, “just say no” was nothing compared to the thug life. I would sit in horror listening to tales of young girls being ripped from their happy, innocent lives and thrust into a culture obsessed with race, sex and drugs. What was a high school girl to do…..Wait, WTF did you just say? High school?

East Side, West Side, Irish Mob?

Yeah, I was pretty much on the fast track to loserville at 14 because I sincerely believed that I was going to HAVE to be in a gang. I was so naive and f%^)@ng stupid, that I was certain that not only was I to be recruited, from St. Joseph’s Academy, but that I would have to participate in an initiation. That is where I really started to get scared. I was pretty sure that I was not going to be able to beat someone up with a bat, or put cigarettes out on their face, and I probably couldn’t tattoo anyone, but if I had to, I guess that I would. I worried about where they would find me and what I would do when I was approached. In the early 1990s, we all wore bandanas. I made conscious efforts not to tie a red one around my head because I didn’t want to show affinity to a blood if the crips were around……

I was fearful of strangers, particularly females because I knew they wanted me. I was extremely cautious of the girls in over-sized hoodies and scrunch socks with the crunchy ramen noodle perms, huge bangs and the top portion of their pony tails pulled back so tightly that their eyes began to squint. Those were the ones that Sally Jesse made me fear the most. They lived the seemingly-innocent lives and then, Bam!, they were suddenly passing around the chronic and shoplifting for a living. I would walk to Target near Hampton Village, certain that any person standing at the bus stop would quickly break from the BiState line, throw a bag over my head and my initiation would begin.

All too soon, I would be living in a crappy apartment covered in newspapers with a dirty microwave oven and a Coleman cooler to chill my cans of Colt 45. I would change my name to Dimples Dark Eyez and hang out at the Bus Stop just looking for fresh meat. Young women would fear my tear drop tattoos and gold-capped teeth, but be equally in awe of my fingernails studded with diamonds and as long as eagle talons. This was my destiny and I had accepted it and perhaps started to look forward to it. At least with a gang, there was job security and a family, something that I was missing in my real life!?!?!? Hmm………

From the cradle to the grave….thug till I die…..

As an adult, who somehow escaped the thug life, I still find myself compelled to watch Lockup and wonder what could have been had things gone the wrong way on Hampton. For years, I wondered if any of my brothers had felt the same way, or if my mother feared me getting involved with a bad crowd. So, one night at Sunday dinner, I asked.

“Were any of you ever afraid of being able to participate in a gang initiation when we were kids?”

The blank stares were alarming. Oh my God, had one of them actually been approached? Did somebody get knifed and I wasn’t told? Who from the parish was part of the underground culture? WTF was going on?
Then the laughter started. No not just laughter, hysteria. Sort of like a pack of hyenias on methanphetamines.

“You can’t fight.”
“You have zero street cred.”
“What do you know about being a gansta?”

And then Big D chimed in…..

“Colleen! What the hell are you talking about? That is the dumbest thing that I have ever heard you say. For God’s sake! What gang would want anything to do with you? Now do the dishes.”

Yep…that’s me..well, as a white woman, and make that about $6, on a good day……

 

Day 8, you lost a wagon wheel and the baby is suffering from Typhoid

As of late, the Thomas family has been living a life eerily similar to those pathetic excuses for pioneers in the Oregon Trail video game. Everyone loved Oregon Trail Day at school, it meant a full 45 minutes of fording the river, shooting buffalo after buffalo knowing full well that you would never be able to carry the load back, purchasing senseless rations just because you could and hoping that no one caught dysentery on the way to California. I would have happily shot a buffalo and attempted to carry him home at any point during the last two weeks.
I have heard that boys are rough and tumble, prone to accidents and often covered in bruises, cuts and scrapes. I can handle that, I grew up with three brothers and the occasional scuffle would arise. One particular incident with a recliner has left one brother with a scar that could easily fool any late night bar patron to believe that he was either a) attacked by a bear or b) his kidney was stolen in the middle of the night and he awoke in a bathtub full of ice, but I digress. My sweet, innocent children have had a decent track record. No injuries, no major illnesses, just a pretty easy going four years.  Well, that is if you don’t count that little incident on Handsome #1’s first Easter, when I fell down the steps while holding him and inadvertently broke his leg in the process and didn’t seek medical attention for two days because, “he was fine.” Just a blip on the radar……
Happy First Birthday, you can discuss this with your therapist in 20 years
It was only fitting that our first  second major injury would take place on a day when we had plans. Not the kind of plans where you are going to the zoo and it rains, nope bigger. Not a birthday party that is cancelled because a child gets the flu. Nope, even bigger. My brother, Kevin, and his now wife, Emily, happened to be getting married on March 24. The exact same day that Finnegan marches into our bedroom and says pitifully, yet quite matter-of-factly,
“I fell out of my bed in the middle of the night and I screamed and cried and no one came to get me.”
Yep, the poor child took a header out of his bed and ended up with an injury requiring immediate medical attention, a mere six hours before he was to be a ring bearer in my brother’s wedding. Perfect! It certainly wouldn’t be a Dilthey function without a catastrophe, right? Right. So off to St. Anthony’s Cardinal Glennon pediatric ER for a couple of pictures. We arrived at the hospital and I very casually handed them my insurance card and asked, “How long is this going to take? My husband, two children and I are all in a wedding in a few hours, so we need to be out of here fast.” Hmmmm, that may have been a poor choice. Had I known then what I know now, I would have certainly kept a low profile in the ER.
He found this exciting and couldn’t wait to see his bones
Such a sweet baby, whose mother didn’t hear him cry….I could just die!
Handsome #1 was taken back to a room,  wheeled into X-Ray and asked a few questions about what happened. Ultimately, it was ruled a broken collar bone and he was given a sling to wear to help protect it. As soon as the sling was on, I proceeded to ask really dumb question number two, “Does he have to wear this in the wedding? I mean, there will be a lot of pictures.” The doctor looked at me like, WTF is wrong with you, and said yes it needed to be worn. Fabulous! The darling monogrammed john john will now be totally covered up, at least he will have on his black and white saddles, that made me happy…..Shallow, I know but don’t tell me for one second that if you have a darling outfit planned for your child and something changes that you aren’t pissed? You are just as shallow and a lousy parent just like me…..
This is the best picture I have to date, pitiful. Look at the tap dancer, it is a surprise we didn’t go right back!
Temporarily misplaced sling=Hillbilly healthcare
Handsome #! took to the sling like it was nothing and really gave me no trouble. Let’s fast forward to the following Saturday, shall we? We had family portraits planned that day for Handsome #1, Handsome #2  and Nephew #1 that day. I pressed their seersucker pants, white polos with their monograms and shamrocks and laid out their navy and white saddles. The boys were bathed, dressed and we were on our way to Faust Park.
The ride was uneventful, a little Fresh Beat Band, Yo Gabba Gabba, Dolly Parton for a diversion and a little 9 to 5. We no sooner pulled into the parking lot that I heard the familiar grumbling and splatter. I turn to see my precious Handsome #2 covered from head to toe in banana vomit. Perfect, just perfect. My picture was just ruined.  I couldn’t possibly get Finnegan’s picture taken without Handsome #2, so I turned the car around and headed back home. Not without an extremely over dramatic phone call to Scott where I sobbed uncontrollably about how nothing ever goes right, my life is terrible, I just want one simple picture is that too much to ask and blah, blah, blah…….I think he fell asleep have way through, or at the very least put me on mute.
The next day I had just about had it with being a parent and was thrilled to have a diversion and headed to a family baby shower. No sooner did I walk in the door from my afternoon of being a big girl without someone crying or screaming or rubbing snot on me, that Brennan awoke from his nap. He was clingy and acting incredibly disoriented.  I asked Scott if anything strange had happened and he said that he had fallen off of the chair and bumped his head, but didn’t really cry. This scared the shit of me and then the barfing came. Again, and again, and again. Back to St. Anthony’s Cardinal Glennon ER we went. Perfect, last Saturday, my son fell and I didn’t go to help him or rescue him, which he has made a point to tell everyone, and this time, my other son has fallen and I wasn’t around so I am just not sure what happened to him. I could already hear the call to DFS being made!
He was so sick
This was before the screaming began
Clearance to go home =44 0z of Diet Dr. Pepper
Same routine as last weekend, we got a room, a few X-rays some antinausea medication and the clinical diagnosis of a potential concussion. In other words, no serious damage and he was OK to go home. Thank God! No one even mentioned that I had been there the week before. Maybe they didn’t notice, or maybe they didn’t think that I was crazy, or maybe, just maybe they believed that I wasn’t trying to kill my children! I have certainly closed my eyes from time to time in an effort to make them evaporate, just for 10 minutes or so, but I would never hurt my babies.
Once we were settled back home, it because apparent that whatever was causing this barfing had taken over Handsome #2 and it wasn’t stopping. There was barf everywhere. Scott and I put the kids to sleep hoping for the best, but braced for the worst. And the worst was upon us, Handsome #1 started to barf too. I covered the furniture and floors with sheets, I handed everyone a bucket and urged them to aim well.  Typhoid, dysentery, diphtheria I don’t know what it was, but it was bad and they were down.
We have a piper down…..
Please note that is not vomit on the child, instead Popsicle residue
Thankfully, the plague was rather short lived and we were able to resume normal activity at the Thomas House just in time for Easter and Uncle Jimbo’s 27th birthday extravaganza.
I told you no more pictures!
My mom thought that it would be a real hoot to have a piñata at the party. Being the athlete that I am, I decided that I should help Handsome #1 to bust the piñata open…..It didn’t go so well……Well, I must depart now break time is over in the slammer, until next time, enjoy……