Saturday, January 14, 2012

Poop Used To Be Funny

I grew up with two older brothers, so conversations about poop were pretty much a given at the dinner table.

I could never quite figure out why my mom and grandparents were so appalled and annoyed by our topic of conversation.   There were plenty of times when I about pissed my pants hearing stories of big ones, little ones, smelly ones, ones that clogged the toilet and well, you get the picture.  I know several times one of the adults at our table would break “disgusted parental figure role” and laugh and then tell one of their own.  When it wasn’t poop, it was farts and when both those subjects lost their luster, fake fart sounds were made with armpits.  H-I-L-A-R-I-O-U-S!

Now, poop is a little less funny.  Oh sure, I have plenty of good poop stories from raising kids.  One of my favorites was from before I even had kids and was a teenager babysitting for two kids, ages 3 and 1.  Little Johnny (names have been changed to protect the innocent) was in the process of being potty trained and he and Little Sally were downstairs playing while I received instructions from their parents on what to feed them, bedtime, when they’d be home, etc.  I closed the door behind the parents and walked down to get the little monsters and make them some dinner.  Much to my dismay, they were playing with the Christmas tree and had removed a bunch of ornaments.  Upon further investigation, it looked like they were covered in chocolate.  I thought for sure they had gotten into the candy dish or something.  No such luck.  Little Johnny had removed his new big boy underpants that he had just shat in and was showing his kid sis the wonders of finger painting with poop…on the floor…on the ornaments…on themselves.

I promptly grabbed both toddlers and brought them upstairs to hose them down.  Once I got them cleaned up and dressed, I threw away the unsalvageable ornaments and scrubbed the floors.  What a mess, but what a GREAT story for the dinner table the next night!  My brothers would be so impressed!

Now I’ve got my own little monsters to clean up after.  It all started with the pets.  Walking two dogs, twice daily meant a lot of carrying hot shit in a plastic bag around the neighborhood.  The cat meant scooping poop, changing litter and now, chasing the dog away from the litter box because she thinks cat turds are a delicacy. 

Once the kids came, the shit really start to fly!  Tar poops, mustard seed poops, followed by projectile poops.  The poops that sounded like Mt. Vesuvius despite the fact my perfect little angel was sleeping soundly or happily nursing.  Then, I’d stand up to discover that the kid shat up their entire back, or the out the sides of the diaper or both!  I’d run to strip the baby down, and sometimes myself, depending on directionality, and Tom would walk in from work and I’d be standing there, half-naked trying to clean up the aftermath.  Tom looked confused because B.C. (Before Children), walking into a half-naked wife meant a romantic evening, but A.C. (After Children) it meant even if I did make dinner, he wasn’t eating it.  My favorites were the explosions that occurred in any one of the various large baby apparatuses, the swing, Exersaucer, Bumbo or the one that always delivered a B.M.; the vibrating bouncy seat.  That damn thing was like coffee and a cigarette after a big meal.  But what was worse was cleaning up those items.  Pealing off covers, wiping down little attachments and the straps and clips that would get poop stuck in every crevice.  Yuk.  I almost felt bad selling all those things in my garage sales, not because it meant my babies weren’t babies anymore, but because I knew what things had been deposited in them!

The kids get a little older, the poop gets firmer and more predictable and until your little angels start taking man-poops, you enjoy a little bit of a reprieve.  You can laugh at them when they hide in a corner to do their “business.”  You figure out the places that always mean a diaper will be filled, like going to the library, when they play at train tables or every time you go to grandma’s house.  You think it is cute when they drop everything they are doing and suddenly their face gets red and their lips curl a bit and then their eyes start watering and you know a diaper change is due.  Then you have the silent but deadly pooper like Colin.  No pause, no grunts, no red face, just a sudden aroma that you can smell from a mile away…unless you are Tom.

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve come home from being out and Tom is with the kids and I pull into the garage and can literally smell Colin’s diaper coming under the door (despite the fact it is sealed) from the garage to the house.  I walk in and expecting everyone to be in a slightly comatose state due to the fumes, but instead everyone is going about their business as if nothing happened.  I am pretty sure that despite the fact Tom denies smelling anything, he secretly has been holding his breath, literally and figuratively, until I get home and can change it myself.

I think my infamous “What’s Grosser Than Gross” blog from last year pretty much sums up the ultimate hilarious “my kid pooped in the worst possible place at the worst possible time and if I wasn’t laughing so hard, I’d probably have thrown up” scenario.  As parents, we’ve all had them, we’ve all had to clean them up and we’ve all lived to tell about them.

And don’t think that just because once you potty train, your cleaning up poop days are over.  Nope.  The kid goes on antibiotics for a double ear infection and you get loose stool (sorry, that is one of my least favorite terms, but had to use it) and not only do they have to go every hour, they leave skid marks no matter how well you wipe them.  I thought I had enough skid marks to clean up…just sayin’.

In addition to that, even on the best days they still haven’t quite grasped wiping themselves task and you are summoned at the most inopportune times to stop what you are doing because they “are done going POOPY!!!!”  Then, you get in the bathroom and they feel it necessary to give a commentary on how it smells and what shape it is.  I never knew a kid could poop the shape of a rhinoceros, but apparently Maddie’s got talent.

Colin is not potty trained yet, (or as he calls it “Riding on the potty train”) but he certainly talks about poop and pee enough.  In fact I hear “poopy, poo, poop, pee-pee, poo-poo” so much, I am beginning to think he has Turrets’ Syndrome and simply shouts it out randomly.  I don’t know what is more un-nerving, him getting kicked out of preschool for trying to bite the teacher or his constant potty talk.  It starts from the moment he wakes up in the morning.  Before he can even open his eyes, he starts saying it.  Then, he starts answering every question with the same response, “poopy.” 

“Colin, what do you want for breakfast?”

“Colin, what movie do you want to watch?”

“Colin, it is time to go to school.   Let’s go!”
“No, school is poopy!”

And when he isn’t saying some variation of “poop,” he says he hates things….because they are poopy.

He has started to use in other context that are especially embarrassing, like the other day when we were in the grocery store and I took him off the mechanical horse so another little girl could have a turn.  He promptly shouted, “Go away, you poopy GIRL!”  That poor little 2-year old girl didn’t know what hit her…on second thought at least he didn’t hit her.

He also tells me I’m “a poopy girl.”  Now that is love.

Our entire Christmas dinner consisted of him repeating the words “poop” and “poopy,” until we finally resorted to putting a bar of soap in his mouth.   Didn’t work.  Even my mom gave him a stern talking-to and it didn’t work.  Secretly I think she was happy we were getting our revenge for all the Holiday dinners we ruined with our potty talk.

I even tried a new tactic we are using with him when he makes bad choices and have him “try again.”  We told him to pick a better word and his response is now “soap.” Guess the old fashioned washing his mouth out with soap left a lasting impression after all.

Just when we thought poop was no longer funny, Maddie got put on an antibiotic that turned her poop bright pink.  It was like Pinkalicious and her Pinkerific Poop!  She was tickled pink that she had the ability to poop her favorite color.  Fantastic.

So, after reviewing this entry, I guess I can say stories about poop are still pretty funny…it is just the word that is no longer funny. I am pretty sure potty talk is gonna be around for awhile.  I know farts will eventually make their way into the repertoire, but I am hoping at some point the discussions will at least have plot.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Ice Capades

After our trip to Jamaica got cut short, (see “No Problem” My Ass for back story) we decided to dive right into winter when we returned home.

I focused on Christmas and Tom decided to build an ice rink in our backyard.  Tom came in and asked if it was OK for him to delve into this project, gave me the budget and a look of an 8-year old boy in the body of a 35-year old man and I agreed.  Secretly, it really brought back memories of my own childhood because my grandpa used to freeze our backyard and when he didn’t, the park two blocks from our house had a rink each winter.  I gave Tom my blessing and developed a new motto, “When life gives you winter, make an ice rink.”

Now, normally Tom’s project management skills aren’t the strongest, but he had the help of our neighbors, one of which built a stellar rink in his yard last winter.  I figured between them and a few Miller Lite’s, the job would get done and I’d be practicing my double Lutz and triple Sow kows by December 10.  Of course, I forgot to factor in that we are the Stien Family and nothing ever goes smoothly no matter how hard we try. 

Let’s start at the beginning.  Within hours of agreeing to this project, I looked out in my backyard and saw a hockey rink suitable for the Chicago Blackhawks to practice on.  I must have missed the memo that the Winter Classic was being held in our yard.  See photo below.  These guys used so much lumber our neighbor came over to see if we were putting an addition on our house. 

Once the frame was up all we needed to do was wait for the liner to come so we could fill-er up.  The liner wasn’t going to be ready for several days but luckily the forecast looked too warm anyway.  Surely by the time the liner was ready, this unseasonable warm weather would be a thing of the past and we’d be fine, right?

We got a call that the liner was ready to be picked up, but the shop isn’t open on weekends, closes at 5 pm and did I mention it is in Wisconsin?  Guess who got to load the kids up and drive 45 minutes to pick it up?  Moi.  (That’s French for ME!)  Tom and I were going out that night and my mother-in-law was taking the kids to a movie and then watching them for the remainder of the evening.  I had to high-tail it up to Wisconsin (luckily just over the border) feed the kids a quick lunch at McDonald’s and hop back in the car and get them back to our house by 1:15 since the movie started at 1:40.  Of course, I am not a big fan of McDonald’s and I was lucky there was a Subway right next to it (I think the only 2 restaurants in the small town we were in) and grabbed a sandwich.  Of course the kids saw the massive array of chips and I was forced to buy them each a bag.  And by force I mean, Colin was pretty much shop lifting them and trying to smuggle them out of the Subway.  My intention was to skip the fries at McD’s, but somehow I just couldn’t wrap my mind around how to order just 8 nuggets, milk and apples (probably because they won’t let you…it is either 6, 10 or 20 piece…no in-between).  I said screw it and they both got Happy Meals. 

We scarfed our lunches and headed back home.  Mission accomplished.  I got them home in time, the liner was in our possession and I was on my way to meet Tom downtown for a Blackhawks game.  Whew.  Of course, the kids then went to the movies with Grandma, ate their weight in popcorn and sucked down blue slushies.  Just for good measure, they baked Christmas cookies later in the day.  Needless to say I awoke to Maddie covered in blue chunky puke at 3 a.m.

The next day the boys got to work installing the liner and despite the fact the temperature was a balmy 40 degrees, they decided to fill it with water.  I could hear the hose running and envisioned dollar bills exiting my house by the minute.  Luckily our neighbor brought his hose over to chip in some of the water.  I went out to check out the situation and said a prayer to my grandfather who is normally the patron saint of good weather.  I guess my prayer was lost in translation his definition of “good” is warm weather not cold.  We woke up in the morning and the rink was no longer filled with water.  Strike one.

Of course, the boys got to work fixing the back corner of the structure because apparently it wasn’t strong enough to hold the 20,000 pounds of water.  It also didn’t help that we have a slope in our yard, so the water at the far back was 4 feet deep and the water closer to the house was only a few inches.  We essentially had a zero depth pool in our yard.  Pretty snazzy.

They were able to fix it and set out to re-fill the pool, I mean rink again.  I was trying to get the kids settled down to watch a movie shortly before bedtime and have a little relaxation time myself.  Unfortunately, since Tom was spending all his spare time in the yard playing pool boy meant I got to be single-mom inside with the kids.  Rather than relax I found myself with a stomach-ache just listening to the water flowing, yet again.  I was cleaning up in the kitchen and looked out the back window and realized that the back panel of the rink was detached and could see water pouring out, yet again.  My Irish temper rose quickly and I raced out to the backyard.  Tom was nowhere in site, but our two neighbors turned and looked at me with the fear of God in their eyes.  My first instinct was to swear at them like a truck-driver and ask what the f*ck happened this time.  They gave me some smug answer that almost caused me to jump and run in my new swimming pool (Baywatch style), straight towards them and strangle them.  Instead, I dropped a few more f-bombs and threatened to divorce Tom.  Little did I know Tom was on the other side of the fence clearing out our neighbor’s (not involved in the project) storm sewer that was covered with mulch. Strike two.

I decided to put this day out of its misery and just go take a shower and go to bed.  Of course, I took about a 30 second shower in order to conserve water.  Tom came in and I tried my hardest not to come down on him about the second failed attempt since I knew he was just as angry as I was.  We agreed that they went overboard and made the rink too big and that filling it was like making ice cubes…without an ice tray…in Florida.  The ground was still too soft and there was no earthly way the water was going to freeze at this point.

I agreed, however, that since we were already in this project about $300, not including the forthcoming water bill that we needed to do something in order to have a rink.  He agreed to scale it down and give it one more shot.  He was pouting a bit because making it smaller meant only the kids would be able to skate.  Funny, I thought the rink was really for the kids anyway? The brain-trust of neighbor boys came the next morning to assess the situation yet again.   Out the window went the plan to “scale it down” and they decided to simply disassemble our swing-set and move it off to the side in order to make the rink longer length-wise and avoid creating such a deep end of the pool, I mean rink.

After trips 55 and 56 to Home Depot, the rink was disassembled, the swing set was moved and they worked to give it one more shot.  I’m not sure what measures they took to ensure this thing stayed together, but I heard something about rebars?  I wasn’t sure what the meant so I Googled it and here’s what by good friend Wikipedia told me:

A rebar (short for reinforcing bar), also known as reinforcing steel, reinforcement steel, rerod, or a deformed bar, is a common steel bar, and is commonly used as a tensioning device in reinforced concrete and reinforced masonry structures holding the concrete in compression.

….or putting up a Godforesaken pool, I mean ice rink in your yard when it doesn’t go below freezing.  Yup, despite the Farmer’s Almanac predicting we’d have one of the worst winters in history, the minute we put that rink up (and I bought the kids snow boots), global warming set in and we have had the warmest December in history.

Just to give you a snapshot of high temps in December:
December 6: 37degrees
December 7: 34 degrees
December 8: in the 20s
December 9: OMG IT SNOWED!!!
December 10: 27 degrees
December 11: 45 degrees
December 12: in the 40s
December 13: in the 50s
December 14: 56!!! (broke out that pink dress I never got to wear in Jamaica)
December 15: 57!!!! (broke out my new bikini I never got to wear in Jamaica)
December 16: 34 degrees
December 17:36 degrees
December 18: 40 degrees
December 19: 36 degrees
December 20: 35 degrees
December 21: 36 degrees
December 22: 34 degrees (close, but no cigar)
December 23: 34 degrees
December 24: 37 degrees
December 25: 44 degrees (I’m dreaming of a Brown Christmas?)
December 26: 44 degrees
December 27: 40 degrees
December 28: 30 degrees (WOOHOO!! Freezing!!!)
December 29: 46 degrees (Never mind.)
December 30: 40 degrees
December 31: 39 degrees (Happy Frickin’ New Year.)

Of course, everyone keeps telling us that this means we will be skating clear through April, but that doesn’t comfort me at all.  Right now, I just (and I can’t believe I am even typing this) want it to freeze already!  I woke up this morning and saw the water moving a great deal and got a little worried until I realized it was just the wind.  So, now we have a wave pool.  It is a regular water park at the Stien house.  I say if it doesn’t freeze, we just move the swing-set back over and have the slide go directly into the pool, I mean rink and then we can really have some fun!

Did I mention in the midst of all this, the kids got a case of pinkeye and double ear infections?  One of the last nights Tom was filling the pool, I mean rink, he looked inside the backdoor to see Colin vomiting all over the kitchen floor.  Of course, once Tom got the rink finished and just waiting for it to freeze, he got sick too.

So, I haven’t been able to act out my favorite scenes from Ice Castles (excluding the one where she wipes out into a bank of tables and chairs and goes blind) set to “Through The Eyes of Love,” but I have my figure skates sharpened and sparkly costume ready to go when it does.
Tom and I practicing our moves for our rink....