Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Fraternity Hoes

I am starting to panic.

It's spring time in Florida. The azaleas are in full bloom. The trees are cloaked in splendiforous green. Pollen is coating everything, including my car, my patio furniture, and the grimy pair of pink crocs that have been sitting on my back porch for two months.

All of this is fine and great, except for one thing. Two words. First word...sounds like...fraternity. Second word...sounds like...hoes.

Yeah. Maternity Clothes.

Is it just me, or are most maternity clothes hideous? Jumpers. Overalls. Billowy tops with ties and straps and designs in prints I wouldn't make curtains out of for a gaggle of VonTrapps. And WTF happened to the Motherhood store at the mall? One minute it was right there next to the plastic, germ-infested kids' play place, the next minute, gone. Did the play place scare tomorrow's crop of would-be mothers into sterilization? I mean, I can understand how that would happen...I myself feel my ovaries curling up like party favors whenever I pass it and hear the screams or see little kids clamoring, sneezing, or chewing on the brightly colored equipment. But where's a gal like me supposed to go for anything that doesn't ride up, fall down, expose my butt crack or other wise give strangers a sneak peek at waaay more skin than they wanna see. I am this close to buying a pair of gladiator sandals and a bunch of white sheets and trying to get the whole toga look back in fashion.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Counting Sheep. And Condoms.

Ah, Daylight Savings Time.... How do I hate thee?

Not that I mind Elsa waking me up at 6:12 in the morning instead of 5:12. That part is definitely nice. I hear the little shuffling of toddler feet across my carpet, and I open one bleary eye to see the silhouette of my daughter before me, her hair in disarray, her hands clutching some object I know she didn't go to bed with...a crumpled bag of Goldfish...a package of wipes...a condom (true story...we'll see if we have time for that one). 6:12 is doable, it feels like I'm actually synced with the circadian rhythm of the rest of the country and not floating in some unpopulated time zone in the middle of the Atlantic.

But it's the new shift in bedtime that is throwing us all off. Whereas during the winter months when we're all in a sort of post-Christmas stupor, the kids would bundle off to bed at 7:30, leaving Jeff and me a few precious hours where we could laze around, reconnect, and pass out during an episode of Pawn Stars, now we spend those hours taking turns chasing our children (usually Elsa) back to bed so we can enjoy our new subscription to NetFlix without having to pause it every five seconds so our darling daughter doesn't catch a glimpse of something terrifying and refuse to fall asleep at all. (Side Note: Last night I actually fed that fear by telling her that if she didn't get her little heiney into her bed and stay there for the rest of the night, the MGM lion she glimpsed--who very well may be hiding beneath her bed--was waiting to snatch her by the ankles and drag her back into its lair if she got out one more time....What? Too harsh?)

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Thick As Thieves

Having more than one kid is wonderful. Your kid will always have a built-in friend. A life-long ally and confidant. Someone to stick up for them when the world is cruel. And, as with my own lovely children, someone to blame when something breaks or goes missing or the dog is sporting an interesting bald patch on the side of his butt where beautiful tufts of fur used to be.

Monday was the first day of routine normalcy after a long stint of visiting family elsewhere, family visiting here, or getting ready to go enjoy some pool, park or playdate merriment. We didn't have anywhere to go, anyone to see, or anyone to hide from behind a giant Easter candy display at Target because I let my kids dress themselves in outfits that made them look either a.) like they were trying out for a role in Oliver, or b.) had just run away from the circus.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Treasure I-S-L-A-N-D

Just got back from a three-day visit to my parents' 'Winter Home' in beautiful, bustling, only slightly overrun by buffets, dollar stores and decidedly creepy looking out-buildings Wildwood, FL.

Rollie and Elsa LOVE visiting their Nana and Pop-pop. They look forward to going for weeks, and when the joyous day finally arrives, they clamor excitedly into the car, swing their legs in anticipation, and don't even start whining for a full ten minutes into the trip. Their excitement stems from the fact that Nana and Pop-pop will laugh at antics that make my eyes roll so often my children think the irises aren't blue but in fact a slightly pinkish shade of white. Nana and Pop-pop find the entertaining hilarity in Elsa's Ovaltine escapades, or Rollie's incessant line of 'what-if's', or my own exasperated responses to each child's bid for attention. Nana and Pop-pop have already been there, done that, their own energies sapped long ago. Now my arrival is a sort of Punch and Judy show for their enjoyment...kind of like when spectators watched gladiators ward of lions and tigers. No doubt it's pretty amusing to see their youngest daughter barefoot and pregnant and running herself ragged to keep her own daughter from testing the tensile strength of Nana's antique tea set. And when needed, my parents did a good job of interjecting their own brand of the form of Pop-pop threatening to remove his baseball cap and expose his bald head to the transgressor. Worked every time.

One good thing about going to Nana and Pop-pop's house is that my children have pretty much free reign over the entire estate. The estate here being the glorified double-wide, the sunporch and the carport. My mother doesn't mind when Rollie loudly slams his cars into each other all over her nice wooden floor. My father thinks it's riot when Elsa pounds out a few chords on his piano with her sticky fingers, or plays Hide The Cell Phone, Hide The Remote, and his personal favorite, Hide Nana's Reading Glasses. And they both got an enormous kick out of the look on my face when I pulled into their driveway after a few hours of leaving the kids in their charge and found my children, clad in nothing but undies, a sopping wet diaper and their respective crocs, squealing and ducking from the spray of Nana's garden hose. At least I didn't have to give them a bath that night.

And of course, one of the visit's highlights was going on one of Nana's Famous Treasure Hunts. Although I'm beginning to think of them more as Nana's Famous Half-Hour Spent Digging Around In Dirt And Unearthing Everything Except What Nana Buried There A Mere Twenty Hours Ago. My mother, God bless her, kept leading a treasure hunt pep rally for Elsa and Rollie, asking them if they were excited to go on the treasure hunt, and telling them she'd apparently heard tell of treasure-discarding activity going on in the woods nearby, and that we needed to take a golf-cart ride there post-haste and see what loot awaited us.

Pop-pop, armed with the metal detector, swept the ground where Nana could have sworn Native Americans used to play with Matchbox cars and pennies from 1992, and the fun commenced. What began as a simple excursion to collect some of Pop-pop's sock-drawer change turned into a heated spelling bee between my parents:

Nana: Rollie, why don't you start digging here?
Rollie crouched on the ground and proceeded to paw at the ground with his bare hands like a fox digging up a dead muskrat.
Pop-pop: Move over Rol, let me check. Sound of metal detector beeping, indicating we were burning-hot-close to a surprise.
Nana: I'm pretty sure this is where I B-U-R-I-E-D it.
Pop-pop: This says there's something right H-E-R-E.
Nana: This should be where the A-I-R-P-L-A-N-E is.
Pop-pop: Keep digging, Rollie.
Me (noticing the amount of dirt amassing under my son's nails and getting really grossed out): Um, can't you guys use the shovel?
Nana (digging half-heartedly at the loose soil and dead leaves): Try again, Hon.
Pop-pop sweeps the ground again, metal detector beeping insistently now.
Me: There's definitely something there.
Nana: The shovel is hitting something.
Pop-pop leans down and pulls up what looks like a wheel off a dirty old roller skate.
Rollie: Wow....Is it treasure?
Me: Maybe if you're a Xanadu fan.
Pop-pop: Are you S-U-R-E this is it where you B-U-R-I-E-D it?
Nana: Yes. I even put S-T-I-C-K-S to M-A-R-K it.
Pop-pop: There are S-T-I-C-K-S all over the P-L-A-C-E.
Nana: Not like the ones I P-U-T there.
Pop-pop: You're like an amnesiac S-Q-U-I-R-R-E-L.
Nana: Oh, S-H-U-T-U-P.

In the end, Rollie and Elsa wound up with a wheel off an old shopping cart, a door stop, a plastic flower pot and 83 cents. Last I heard, Nana and Pop-pop are still outside digging. Although I'm thinking that the metal detector is picking up the hardware from Nana's new hip....

Friday, March 11, 2011

We're Going Streaking!

Having a baby is a lot like being inducted into a secret club. Or a fraternity. The first six weeks of motherhood are the hazing period. Only instead of swallowing goldfish and streaking through the quad, you're getting sprayed in the face by tiny streams of pee and shlubbing around the house with your boobs hanging out (because lucky you, your nipples are chaffed and cracked and the best remedy is to let them air-dry after every feeding. Although I'm sure you won't hear your husband complaining.).

Recently a couple in our neighborhood had their first baby. Before they were pregnant, they used to zip around in their sporty cars, the husband sometimes on his motorcycle, go on date nights, and basically enjoy the life of any couple who has yet to join up with Phi Beta Pooh. Jeff and I would watch from our driveway and wave, and then mumble something like Lucky Bastards to each other as we dragged economy packs of diapers from the back of the car and hollered at one or both of the kids to do not under any circumstances pick up that dead worm from the driveway, put that mulch in your mouth, or pee next to the garage downspout--for God's sakes everyone can see you there, can't you at least try to be a little discreet??

But a few months ago while out walking I spotted the female half of the couple sporting what was obviously a round, pregnant belly. (And believe me, I am not one to ask a women if she is expecting unless the woman is like, going into active labor and begging me for drugs.). So I struck up a conversation with her, during which I congratulated her, asked he when she was due, if she knew what she was having, and told her how impressed I was that she'd lived across the street from me for two years, seen the antics of my children and still decided she wanted one.

Then she said to me, "I'll probably be running over to you for advice once I have this baby."

"Really?" I asked, truly flattered that I must look like I actually know what I'm doing. Which I couldn't imagine was the case. I mean, doesn't she hear me shouting at my children pretty much every day, especially when the weather is nice and my windows are open? Do I really look like I have it together when I'm chasing my children down to get them into the car, or when Rollie is happily watering the shrubbery with his own personal stock of Miracle Grow, or when I'm out washing my car with them and having to constantly keep them from either drowning each other in the hose spray, or soaking me so that I look like I'm desperately trying to attract attention from the landscaping company that never fails to drive by on my car-washing days? (Shut-up, Jeff...I do too wash my car more than once a year.)

Anyway, we spied the balloons tied to the mailbox, the various visitors pulling in and out of the driveway, and Jeff and I knew the day had arrived, and these poor suckers could kiss their date-having, motorcycle-riding days good-bye. A few days passed, and we didn't see any signs of life from the house. The shades remained drawn, the garage door shut, the lights eerily dimmed. It was like Willy Wonka's chocolate factory...nobody ever goes in, and nobody ever comes out.

After Jeff reported that he finally saw the husband hustling into the house armed with bags of fast food, I decided to offer to make dinner for them one night. Because I was seriously so ravenous and so unable to do much of anything those first few weeks of Rollie's life but breastfeed my demanding little infant and shuffle around the house in a daze with my boobs out like a zombified Lady Godiva. If it weren't for other people bringing me food, I would have been left to nibble on battered moles left on my doorstep by neighborhood cats.

So last week I brought over one of the only edible dishes I can prepare, along with a six-pack of beer. The new mom invited me into a house that had yet to see the battle scars of a kid who is old enough to draw on carpeting or use wall space as his own personal booger despository. And when I asked her how things were going, she sighed the sigh of a woman who has recently discovered that it's actually possible to get negative sleep in one night.

"I think his nights and days are mixed up," she told me. "The doctor said the baby's using me as a human pacifier. He eats every two hours, even at night."

Man I felt bad for her. Because that is exactly what I went through four years ago. How long ago it seems when I was the one without make-up, a shower, a scrap of self-confidence that I was any good at this whole 'mommy' thing....Actually that pretty much describes me yesterday.

All I could really do was shove food and beer at her and assure her that soon she would learn to function on nothing but dry cereal, Diet Coke and three hours of sleep. Because the only reason it gets better is that you just get used to it. You make it through the initiation, you make it through the bleary-eyed crying jags, the desperate attempts to get your baby to take a damn pacifier or locate an appropriate spot to nurse him before he explodes in frustrated anger that your boob isn't in his little pie-hole like Right This Second. You get used to doing more laundry than a prison inmate, and hearing Nick Jr. shows singing away in the background, and regretting every bad thing you ever did to your parents because you are now a strong believer in the karmic synergy of the universe (which means I am in for an interesting round of adolescent bullshit from a certain female child of mine). 

And sometimes you love it all so much that you decide to do it again. And again. And, so help you God, again. That's when you move from a regular member of Phi Beta Pooh to the high priestess of the Fraternal Order Of People Who No Longer Go On Vacations To Places That Don't Have Grown Men Dressed As Cartoon Characters. They're an elite bunch. I'm still trying to figure out the secret knock. It sounds suspiciously like wine being uncorked.

Monday, March 7, 2011


A month or two ago I started an entry having to do with lessons I've learned since being a mother of two. I think I only got through the first lesson before getting distracted by God knows what, but I'm sure it had to do with me discovering Elsa on top of Rollie's dresser, the shattered remains of his piggy bank on the floor, or Rollie using my laptop's disc drive as a new place to shove his quarters.

Either way, this morning I learned another valuable lesson I'd like to pass along to all my dear readers.

Lesson Two:

If you're child enters a room and immediately says, "We're sorry, Momma," he is guilty of some atrocious crime. And his accomplice is just as guilty as he is, if not more so.

I set my children up with every conceivable luxury they could possibly want while I take my showers: Their favorite show (right now it's Bubble Guppies, which has so many gross incongruencies--underwater campfires, undersea airports, fish that can play the mandolin and sing in Spanish accents--I don't even know where to begin), cups of chocolate milk, a nice comfy couch. And this morning, since we'd just returned from a long walk around the neighborhood, I assumed they were fatigued enough to stay out of mischief while I was out of eye-sight and ear-shot for eight minutes.

Side Note: You'd think I would know by now that one can never to assume anything when it comes to children. They haven't ingested anything but bathwater and boogers in three days, but one can't assume they're hungry. They went to bed at 10, woke up at 4, and had fifteen nightmares in between last night, but one can't assume they'll actually take a nap today. Their favorite princess nightgown is buried beneath ten pounds of dirty, stinky laundry, but one can't assume they won't dig it out from the pile, put it on, and make it into the car, only to be discovered because the scent of sweat and bacon is heavy in the air.

The shower is a dangerous place to be trapped. The hot steam, the flowery soap, the fantastic water pressure can all lull a mother into thinking that since she can't hear anything but her own thoughts for a change, then everything beyond her foggy refuge must be copacetic. (My question is, if someone is aware of her own blissful ignorance, is she still in fact, blissfully ignorant? Or is she just a mom who would like to get in a decent shower for once without one of her children coming in and asking her where her penis is?)

I got out, wrapped myself in a towel, and then Rollie came into the bathroom.

Rollie: We're sorry, Momma.
Me: Uh-oh. What are you sorry about?
Rollie: We spilled our chocolate milk all over the place.
Me (already picturing chocolate milk sprayed across my beige walls like someone had stabbed the Nestles Quick Bunny to death): How did that happen?
Rollie: Elsa did it.
Me: What exactly did she do?
Rollie: I'll show you.

I followed my beloved son into the family room, where I saw all the makings of a crime scene: A stool had been pushed up to the counter, where I'd unwittingly left out the giant canister of Ovaltine. The canister was nowhere to be seen, but its contents had been dumped onto the coffee table and carpet. As I inspected further, I noticed little tire tracks through the brown powder, and the tread patters left on the couch cushions. And Rollie clutching a chocolate-covered toy truck in his sticky hand. I found Elsa standing in the corner of the room, the canister of Ovaltine sitting on Jeff's subwoofer, which was also now covered in chocolate dust, the surrounding carpet coated in the same Willy Wonka pixie dust. 

I didn't scream. I didn't freak out. I didn't threaten time out or drawing and quartering or anything like that. I was just so...exasperated with the whole thing that I didn't trust myself with any response at all. If I opened my mouth, the most horrible of accusations would have poured forth. If I touched one of my children they may have instantly burst into flames as my anger somehow passed from my fingers to their chubby upper arms. All I could do was wonder how long it would be before every species of cockroach on the planet set up camp beneath our couch and waited until bedtime before descending upon my family room and gorging themselves on sweet, vitamin-fortified goodness.

Then I started cleaning (starting with Elsa, who even had it in her hair). This was my best comeback. Oh yeah kids? You gonna make a gigantic mess while mommy's in the shower? Well I'll show you! I'm gonna get out the vacuum and start cleaning up after you! Take that, you little shits!

In all fairness to them, I really should not have left the Ovaltine so visible and accessible while I was out of the room. I've already had to clean up after the results of my indiscretion twice (once I had to make Elsa stay sitting on the floor, the canister in front of her, while I Dust-busted her lap). I had been keeping it way up high on a pantry shelf, to where Elsa couldn't reach it even if she was standing on her tip-toes on a phone book on a kitchen chair. So really, I'm the idiot here.

Lesson learned: Dump Ovaltine all over the place once, shame on you. Dump Ovaltine all over the place twice, shame on me. Dump Ovaltine all over Jeff's subwoofer...clean it before Jeff comes home, turns on the stereo and wonders why a strange, brown, powdery substance is puffing from the speaker.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Oh Yeah...I'm Pregnant....

So I'm approaching the halfway-point of my pregnancy. One week to go. One week until I'm officially 'Five Months Pregnant,' and thus entitled to that wonderful, amazing thing called Parking For Expectant Mothers.

I guess technically I've been entitled to that all along, but during the colder months, I was super-paranoid about taking these spots, then clamoring out the car in a bulky sweater and having other, more obviously-pregnant woman give me the stink-eye as they waddled past from way back in the nosebleed parking section. (This actually happened last month at our local Babies R Us, and while I normally wouldn't have opted for the Expectant Mothers spot, it was raining, I had both kids with me, and I was decidedly bloated that day anyway. I did make a bit of a show of hoisting myself in and out of the car and walking with the Pregnant Lady Sway, but I'm fairly certain those key marks on my car weren't there when I'd first arrived.)

What parking lots should really have is a designated area for people with small children. The spaces would be in rows littered with speed bumps, the parkings spaces themselves wider by a foot in all directions, with cart collection areas every other spot. And maybe a person stationed outside at all times to wrangle a stray toy or child and help you wrestle everyone into their seats. This area would be right up front, perhaps even alongside the fire lane, so people could distract their kids with the possibility of a fire engine sighting and the kids would press their noses to the car windows and give parents enough time to shove their crap into the back of the car and get the hell outta there.

Sorry, this entry wasn't meant to center on parking lots (or around them, or whatever preposition you're supposed to use with the word center...Amy? You out there?). But that seems to be a metaphor for this whole pregnancy: My mind wanders. I have not truly focused on this pregnancy with nearly the scrutiny that I had with my first (or even second). I have been almost too distracted to notice that I happen to be gaining weight, sporting bigger boobs and now have little bumps and burbles in my belly that I'm pretty sure are not the result of an unintelligent culinary decision at the Taco Bell Drive-Thru. I would like to marvel more at the miracle going on inside my body, but whenever I want to pause and reflect on this little gift, someone attempts to scale the bathroom counter to reach her brother's toothbrush and use it as a scrubber to remove the peanut butter smears she got all over the wall. Or someone else is tugging at my shirt, demanding I play Toy Story with him, starring his figurines from the movie and a tiny stuffed tooth he got from his dentist, who will be the protagonist of the story (the tooth, not the dentist).

Not that I'm, you know...complaining. I think when I was pregnant with Rollie, I had waaaaay too much time on my hands. I reflected way too much about the fact that I wanted to vomit pretty much the entire first trimester. Or that I couldn't button my favorite jeans anymore at precisely 22 weeks gestation. Or that my prenatal vitamins left a taste in my mouth that made me feel like I'd just eaten a container of Neptune Salad that was just beyond it's expiration date (which may have contributed to the whole "Think I'm Gonna Barf" feeling those first thirteen weeks).

Even with Elsa, I still had a daily opportunity to lie around and count the minutes until my next milestone, my next ultrasound, my next brownie sundae. Back in those days, I had a child who actually napped, I wasn't writing as much, and the house was still in decent shape (meaning I didn't take one look at the wall behind my kitchen table and feel like I was serving spaghetti to Jackson Pollock every night).

In a way, it's good that I don't really notice this pregnancy. It's definitely making the time pass more quickly. I don't feel as sick, as tired, I haven't been obsessing quite as much at how large certain areas of my body are becoming (including, but not limited to, my appetite for Cinnamon Toast Crunch). I'm trying to take this whole pregnancy in stride, just sort of going with it and hoping my vascular system doesn't completely collapse before the end of July (seriously...spider places I didn't even know I had blood flowing....And I say spider veins because they just sound cuter than vericose veins...almost like you'd want to have them as pets and not want to remove them yourself with a pair of sterilized pliers because you cannot stand the sight of them).

But do I really want the time to go by quickly? Am I really in a huge hurry to be a mother of 3? If you've read the entry where I tried that for a few days, you know that I'm quite ill-prepared for this next phase. And a bit terrified. If I think I don't have time now to reflect on anything, once the third one is here, I definitely won't have time to reflect on even the most banal of lives little questions (like why are there currently ten-thousand children's-sized socks residing in the crack between my washer and dryer? Or why is there an odd odor of chocolate-flavored cheese emanating from beneath my couch? Or how in the H-E-Double-Hockey-Sticks did my mother do this SIX TIMES?).

In all seriousness, folks, I really am excited and feel pretty blessed that I'm having such a smooth pregnancy. And I am currently taking bets as to whether this kid is going be a boy or a girl; we're not finding out this time, so you won't see a payout until July, unless we decide to keep all the money to save up for a Stinky The Garbage Truck toy.

Until next time, dear readers. I'm gonna go scarf up some Cinnamon Toast Crunch. (Or is that wolf down? Or wolf out?)

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Anything You Can Do

I believe there is a special bond between little sisters and big brothers. Big brothers teach you how to be tough. How to 'shake it off.' How to fly over your handlebars and blow snot rockets and hit a fastball. They blow your precious dollies and Barbies to smithereens with Black Cat firecrackers, and while you are horrified and want to scream, you are also fascinated that such disregard for pretend human life exists. You are intrigued by the daring your big brother must posses when he passes his finger over a flickering candle flame, or builds his own ski jump in the front yard and practices helicoptering in mid-air. And when you try to imitate his roof-climbing, his fence-scaling, his rock-skipping, you find yourself falling painfully short, your skinned elbows and bruised ego reminders that you will never be as good at certain things. That when you finally beat him at ping-pong or Hunt the Wumpus, it's because he let you.

I already see this bond forming between Rollie and Elsa, and I love it. Sure, they get on each other's nerves, and sometimes I have to intervene before Rollie slide-tackles Elsa or she takes a chunk out of his arm (and sometimes I am way too late). But for the most part, their relationship has become familiar: Cool Older Brother Who Can Do Everything, and Adoring Little Sister Who Wishes She Could Pee Standing Up, Too.

The problem with this dynamic right now is that Rollie has picked up some charming phrases from God knows where, and now Elsa has caught them like they're chicken pox. Phrases like "Booger Head" and "Oh My Gosh," may not sound so bad when coming from an adult of lower intelligence or even a kid in elementary school, but when my 2-year-old daughter is prancing around the house in her plastic princess heels saying Poopy Butt over and over, it seriously makes me cringe. And wonder if other kids won't be allowed to hang out with mine because their parents don't want them to pick up up any obnoxious language. Soom I'll get calls from  other mothers from Rollie's class, and be forced to admit that yes, her son probably heard Snotty Penis Head from mine, and that I understand if Rollie is the only one in preschool not invited to her son's birthday party. At Disney World. All expenses paid.

I overheard the following conversation a few days ago.

Rollie: Hey Elsa, guess what?
Elsa: What?
Rollie: Boogers
Sound of both children dissolving into giggles.
Rollie: Hey Elsa, guess what?
Elsa: What?
Rollie: Poopy Butt!
Sound of both children dissolving into giggles again.
Me: Rollie....I don't want to hear that kind of talk, buddy.
Rollie: Elsa, guess what?
Elsa: What?
Rollie: Booger bottom.
Me: Rollie....
Elsa: Poopy Butt!
Me: No, Elsa, we don't talk that way.
Elsa: Poopy Bottom!
Me: Rollie, you can't use those words around Elsa.
Rollie: Why?
Me: Because she's little and she repeats everything she hears from you.
Rollie: But what if I have poopy on my butt?
Me: We don't say butt, we say bottom. (Man, could I sound stuffier and like I have less of a sense of humor? I actually prefer the word's shorter, more to-the-point, and for a Mom On The Go, possess that sort of succinct directness that is much more effective: I'm about to spank your butt seems to carry much more weight when I hiss it across a restaurant booth than I'm about to spank your bottom, which sounds like it came from a frail, proper grandma whose weak spanking would be barely register on the Pain-and-Humiliation-o-meter.)
Rollie: So I can say poopy bottom?
Me: Only in the correct context. Like in the bathroom. If you have actual poopy on your bottom.
Rollie: What if I have boogers on my bottom?
Me: ....Then we should probably have a lesson on proper tissue use.

It's not just Rollie's jokes that send Elsa into hysterical laughter. He's been pulling some physical comedic stunts that also tickle her funny bone. He pretends to trip and fall down, and not only does she chuckle heartily, she attempts the same nose-dive into the carpet (sometimes with tragic results). He mimes throwing up a stuffed animal, or plucking one from her ear, and she squeals with delight. I've heard him teaching her how to play games, how to draw pictures, and how to shoot hoops on their four-foot basketball net. And while she is an eager pupil, she still stomps on the rules, scribbles on the carpet, and knocks pictures off of end tables with her hook-shot.

I can just picture them in 7 or 8 years....they'll go off together and Elsa will be the one to come home with a bloody knees, the result of a bike jump attempt gone awry. Or missing a shoe because she tried to follow Rollie across a muddy field but one of her rain boots got sucked off her foot. Or she'll get stuck on the roof of their grandmother's house because she saw Rollie out there earlier but when she climbed  out there on her own, the window she crawled through shut and locked behind her and she was stuck on the porch overhang for half and hour wondering if she should shinny down a nearby tree or stay where she was until someone noticed the hungry vultures circling above the house. (Yes, these are all true stories....Matt actually got in huge trouble for the roof incident. Sorry about that one, Matty).

But for now I'll just have to keep stifling conversations about bodily fluids being emitted from the incorrect orifice, and trying to find clever substitutes for words both my children find uproarious. I think I need to invest in a good thesaurus. And lots of bandaids.