— 1 —
Alas, it finally happened. One of us was stung by a scorpion. (You know it wasn’t me by the fact that this is a quick take and not one of a twelve-part series of posts written entirely with the caps lock key on.) My six-year-old son was being too rambunctious, so we sent him to the time-out corner to cool off. He sat down on the children’s couch we have there, and then started screaming — but this didn’t really get our attention since he’d been screaming for the past 10 minutes, hence the trip to the corner. Eventually I realized that this was a pain scream and not a “stir crazy kid who can never leave the house because we live in a climate inhospitable to human life” scream, so I investigated. He said something about his arm hurting, but I was confused since he hadn’t hit it on anything.
I was standing there scratching my head, trying to figure out if he was faking it or what, when he made the comment that the couch had pinched him. Then, it all came together: Pinching pain…him screaming and holding his arm…our insane house…“GET UP GET UP GET UP THERE’S A SCORPION IN THERE GET UP!!! AAAAHHHH!!! RUN! RUN!” I said, being careful to add, “DON’T PANIC!!!!!!”
Sure enough, I kicked the couch and a big scorpion sauntered out, its tail arched and ready for its next victim. I tended to my son with some AfterBite medicine that we buy by the caseload, while my husband tended to the scorpion with a shoe. As soon as my son realized it was a scorpion he stopped yelling and got a huge grin on his face. He was delighted to be the first of the family to know what a real scorpion sting feels like, and was extremely impressed by his own toughness.
On the plus side, discipline should be a breeze from here on out now that the naughty corner is associated with lurking, venomous creatures that could attack at any time.
— 2 —
Voting is now open for the Catholic New Media awards for blogs and podcasts! You need to create an account to vote, but it only takes about 10 seconds since they only ask for email address and username. (And I haven’t had any issues with them spamming people who register.) Then click here to vote. Also, you don’t have to vote for every category — you can skip ones if you aren’t familiar with any of the sites.
— 3 —
What’s a good book about art? I’m thinking of something really basic for people who kind of don’t care but don’t want to be completely ignorant of the subject (read: after laughing so hard I cried at Simcha’s post from last week, I too want to be able to throw around fancy French words).
— 4 —
If anyone keeps a list of Epic Encouragement Fails, I have one that needs to go to the top of the list: During that really bad day that I mentioned earlier this week, I went up to my room to sulk during the kids’ quiet time. Despite my efforts not to be discovered, my son found me, and, seeing that I was obviously really down, he decided to try to cheer me up. He got his snorkeling gear from his room and started telling me about it, talking about all the fun times that would ensue when we went snorkeling together one day. Then he paused, looked me up and down, thought for a moment, and in all innocence said, “You might need to lose some weight first, but then you’ll be able to swim just fine!”
— 5 —
When Yaya moved to town she got one of these Ooma boxes instead of normal phone service. Basically, you buy this one box that lets you use your normal phone through your internet connection, and then you’re done — there are no monthly fees for calls within the U.S. There have been occasional glitches with service, but overall it’s been great, and she loves not having a monthly phone bill. Just thought I’d pass that along for people who are looking to cut down on monthly expenses!
— 6 —
Guilty confession: until recently, we didn’t read many books with the kids. I assure you, it was not for lack of trying. My husband and I are both big readers and always thought we’d have one of those houses where hours per day were passed with little ones curled up on our laps, delighting in yet another trip through the well-worn pages of a cherished family book. But after about the 200th time the kids started acting like the Three Stooges on crack at reading time, we gave up. It just wasn’t worth the fighting, the elbows and knees in the eyes, the torn book pages.
One surprisingly positive thing came out of it, though: we developed a great love of oral storytelling. I’d have all the kids get in their beds, turn out the lights, let them get settled, and then I’d stand up and make up some story for them. Making it up as I went along allowed me to keep it at a pace that kept their attention, and crafting my own tales allowed me to convey moral messages of my choosing (though, admittedly, sometimes the moral was something like, “Don’t Forget to Bring Your Laser Sword When Going to the Land of Giant Scorpion-Bee Hybrid Creatures”). The kids are now at ages where book reading is everything I always hoped it could be, so we do that more often, but oral storytelling will always be part of our family nighttime routine.
— 7 —
Speaking of parenting hacks, the other day I found myself in a tough situation: It was the end of a very long day. It was late. The kids were completely uninterested in going to bed. I realized that I faced the real possibility of all four of the older kids melting down at once, which my husband and I absolutely did not have the energy to deal with. I was desperate to do something to get them in better moods. I started singing songs, and they revolted. None of the usual tunes were working. The three-year-old started to cry. The two-year-old screamed. I got desperate.
And so, my judgment impaired by utter desperation, I did something I am not proud of: I took some of the usual songs, and replaced a few of the words with favorite terms like “poopy” and “toilet.” The results were as bizarre as they were gross (especially with How Much is the Doggie in the Window — that one was really weird), but it got the job done. All the kids went to bed cheerfully, giggling about our silly songs, and I went to bed feeling guilty but also slightly proud of myself, though ready to forget all about this unfortunate episode.
A couple of days later we had a babysitter come over. She’s a lovely, holy young girl from a respected family at our parish. And while she was playing upstairs with the kids, I heard her say, “So, what songs does your mommy sing to you?” And the kids immediately regaled her with a passionate rendition of How Much is that Poopy in the Window.
Have a great weekend, everyone!
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