7 Quick Takes Friday (vol. 138)

— 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 withย 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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Comments

  1. says

    Aww, I’m sure you son didn’t mean any harm when he said that. I’m sure I’ve said countless things to my mom that I didn’t truly mean in a bad way. I just learned about how to set up those internet phones and they are really cool! The only thing I didn’t like about them was we had to buy a special Voice over IP switch so we could plug the ethernet cord from the phone into that to power it (since it didn’t come with a power adapter). Other than that, they are super easy to use and really cool!
    I hope some day I can be a good story teller to my kids. That is so awesome!

  2. Erika Evans says

    My family and I encountered our very first scorpion here in Texas while camping at Blanco State Park a couple of weeks ago, and I hope it pleases you that I thought of you immediately. Scorpion = Jennifer Fulwiler.

  3. says

    My husband once described a scorpion as worse than a spider but not as bad as a snake, while shielding me from a newly-killed one in our first home. Obviously, I saw a few others before we left that new construction community – CREEPY. So sorry! Love the proud grin, though. Sounds like my oldest son, Nate.
    Glad you can pull off the oral story telling. I am terrible at keeping the moral of the story kid-friendly enough. Much better with paper and planning. And if you haven’t read Walter the Farting Dog, please do. Your kids will love it, especially following up the Poopy in the Window song. Ha! Love it!

  4. says

    I remember story telling, book reading and inventive songs too. This week we our daughter started her sophomore year at college. Sometimes the parenting fun wasn’t so much, but its missed.

    I have heard good things about Ooma, but use VOIPo myself. Alarm and FAX issues have to be resolved with all these things, but they are otherwise great – feature packed and very inexpensive.

    My entry this week… Fr. Muir gives the background on the corrected translation of Mass. A young girl makes a big impact. How congress has suffered in the downturn. 50 people are asked 1 question. Time magazine lobs a grenade at the Catholic Church, just because they can. Fowl, mindless act of criminality in Cornwall. A cat smarter than us.

  5. Ginger says

    Art book : Sister Wendy’s “The Story of Painting,” a birthday gift several years back, turned me from an art ignoramus into an art ignoramus who now stops and studies and really, really enjoys many of the paintings I run into in museums, books, and online. Toward the end of the book, Sister Wendy even got me to start enjoying some modern painting styles, gently dissolving my gut reaction of “Nobody knows how to paint like the masters anymore, so now they do this.” Which I still do think on some of my crabbier days.

    • Meredith says

      Yes! Her books are so interesting and readable. We also keep a stack in the living room for the kids to look at, too.

    • Pat J says

      Ditto on Sister Wendy books and videos. The woman is both a hoot and a great teacher of Art.

    • says

      We have Sister WEndy’s 1000 Masterpieces, and the kids enjoy reading it as much as we do. It is one of three that stays on the coffee table (along with a book of The Eucharist in Art and my husband’s coffee table sized book about Beer ๐Ÿ™‚

  6. Jane says

    sister Wendy Beckett is my recommendation as well. love her. if you get a chance check out her art history show. must be on YouTube or huloo. she is a hoot.

  7. says

    “How to Read a Painting: Lessons from the Old Masters” by Patrick De Rynck is FANTASTIC. It taught me a lot about the mystery that is ART.

    If you want to sound like you know all about great Painters, it helps to know the joke about a painting thief whose getaway car ran out of petrol. Realising he had no money he cried “I Ran Out of Monet to get Degas to Make the Van Go”!

  8. says

    I have done the word switcharoo in the songs. Including adding “Daddy” to Old McDonald who’s action is “Fart”.

  9. says

    Ohh…. #7. I have so been there. Why is it that they don’t remember all the times you were a doting mother full of wonderful, child-appropriate songs? No. They just remember that one time you were desperate. ๐Ÿ˜‰

  10. says

    As for number 7, I secretly think all parents of large families are forced to do this at times. I have on more than one occasion, trying to stop a melt down in the tub before it starts, starting asking my kids silly questions that often include “Do we go poopy in the tub?”. That always turns their mood around. There is nothing funnier to them than hearing their mommy use a potty word. Alas, I know it will come back to bite me in the butt one day too.

  11. says

    Ha! Bringing in a babysitter is always dangerous. Especially, if they become a regular, then they know the REAL truth.

    Glad everything is OK with your son. But a quick pass of my eye over “hence the trip to the corner” yielded “hence the trip to the coroner”. Details make a difference!

  12. says

    You ar so full of wonderful stories, Jen. I sorry to hear your son was bit by the scorpian. However I laughed out loud at #7. My husband makes up stories all the time, and our little girls love them. The story ofyour six year old with the googles is so sweet. My girls call me “Squishy Mommy” when they hug me, and they mean it s a conpliment.

  13. says

    Ma chรจre amie Jennifer, I’d be happy to tell you all the French words you need – without having to learn about art!

    What is it with kids that they’re fascinated about poop talk?

    Love your blog & je t’aime toi aussi!

  14. says

    I knew about your scorpion story from your tweets, and I’m glad it turned out well(ish) for your son. The part that cracks me up, though, is that you have a children’s couch in the time out corner! As an art-lover I was initially scratching my head trying to think of a resource for “people who kind of don’t care” but I see that previous commenters have made some excellent suggestions. Sister Wendy is a great place to start.

  15. says

    I so wanna be you some days! Your life seems WAY more exciting than my own! LOL! #4 reminds me of something my nephew said to my sister at a local farm outting they went on. The farmer told them that drinking milk was really good for you, and even can help you lose weight, to which my nephew comment to my sister, “Mom, you should drink more milk.” Hehe.

  16. Wendy says

    Hi Jen! Sorry about the bite on the kiddo, they are not fun, so I hear.
    As homeschooling readers, if I sit sown on the sofa to read to my girls, I quickly fall asleep. If I read a chapter while they are eating lunch…that’s another story. Sometimes 2-3 chapters happen. We have been through more books with lunch time reading than anywhere else.

  17. says

    The scorpion sting must have been scary. We have internet phone here. In Australia it is called VOIP (voice over internet protocol) We can call any landline in Australia for 0.18c. We have had a bit of an issue with echo on the line though.

  18. says

    You know, I’ve never been to Texas, but I’m not sure that I could deal with the scorpions. Never mind that I go hiking in places that have bears and mountain lions (not that I’ve ever seen them), but I really don’t think I could do scorpions!

    And, I’m sorry, but #4 cracked me up! But then, my little brother at about that age, also thought I had to weigh about as much as some of his favorite football players… So I’m going to say that 6 year olds don’t have the best perspective on some of that.

  19. laura in nj says

    we replace words of songs all the time at our house, and no song is immune. the usual go-to word is “butt.” we also made up verses to kids songs like, “the mugger on the bus says stick em up!”

  20. Paula says

    Thank you for sharing your family adventures; I can’t stop laughing (great way to start the day!)

  21. Joanna says

    Art book recommendation:
    “Art: The world’s greatest paintings explored and explained”
    by Robert Cumming
    We have this and it’s great for
    non-art buffs because:
    a) it’s a picture-based book, so you spend most of it looking at art
    b) it explains the important points of each piece of art right on the same page, meaning you can put it all together at the same time. “Oh, so this painting is by so-and-so and that’s important because of XYZ. The painting itself depicts this and that’s interesting because of ABC. There’s this cool fact about the painting/artist/style/time period.”
    c) it’s clearly not written for art majors or the like but for people who would like to know more about art and don’t have a lot of time to study
    d) it’s not thick but it is a good size for the pictures to pop off the page (maybe 18″ x 12″). No squinting necessary!
    e). It’s a nice “coffee table” type book, so you can leave it out and pick it up when you have a few free moments, rather than putting it on the bookshelf and forgetting all about it

    Congratulations on your new baby and ever-growing family!

  22. says

    My husband was stung by a scorpion on our last visit to his ranch in Texas!!! The little bugger hid under the mattress between the seams. We took much pride and joy in killing him ๐Ÿ˜‰ They really are the scariest things to me. But after 7 scorpion-sightings in one week, we were lucky that only one person was stung. I still love Texas too!!

  23. NY Mom says

    Late to the art book party here (I will imagine the presence of brie and sparkling wine…), but I heartily echo the recommendations for Sr. Wendy Becket’s “Story of Painting”. She also has a few videos out from her TV shows. A few years ago I ordered several copies of the book (Amazon, used)for Christmas gifts – the recipients were delighted! I was astounded to discover SR Wendy’s openmindedness and incredible perception and sensitivity to visual art. Prepare to be charmed and converted!

  24. says

    I love the storytelling story — and great moral, too! Storytelling was a nightly tradition when our son was young. He and his dad had a nightly storytelling tradition at bedtime, and often my husband would encourage our son’s participation by pausing in the story and allowing our son to provide the next bit of action. A favorite series was Matthew and Booboo Bear — they had many adventures in their magical treehouse. (Similar to Calvin & Hobbes, but not as cynical, since it was my husband and not me doing the storytelling…)

  25. says

    Now I feel like a total wuss for all the whining I do about the mosquitoes where I live. I have never even seen a real-life scorpion (just all the scorpion photos on your blog!) Your poor son!

    #6 and #7 crack me up. I thought I was such a good mom with my first two, because they’re just not into potty talk. But to my 3rd potty words are HILARIOUS. So much for the good mom thing–it seems I just got lucky with the first two!

  26. says

    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.

    Finally, an answer as to why God made such awful creatures! Best. Naughty corner. Ever.

  27. Evan says

    Re #1: We do not have scorpions where I live, but we do have wasps. We also have wasps in our house, and twice in the past two weeks, I have been stung by a wasp in bed. Just thought you should know.

  28. says

    Glad everything is ok for your son who was stung! Our son was bitten by what we think was a brown recluse recently. He’s fine now, and I learned some really effective natural remedies in the process of getting it to heal, but it is certainly scary when a little one gets bitten/stung!

  29. says

    I only lived in Texas for a few years growing up, but I don’t remember ever seeing scorpions. Perhaps I just lived in the wrong part of the state? Or perhaps I’ve managed to suppress all memories involving them?

  30. says

    Jennifer, so I’m sitting here in a local Caribou coffee shop smiling and even laughing at your quick takes, and then realizing I probably look really weird to the people who see me and don’t know what the smiles are all about. Thanks for making me look like a looney! ๐Ÿ™‚ I always enjoy your thoughts on life, whether profound or just silly. Have a super weekend and watch for those scorpions!

  31. says

    Definitely make you think about a naughty corner – if it’s stocked with dangerous creatures.

    Fun songs are fun no matter where the words come from and yeah for getting the kids to bed ๐Ÿ™‚

  32. says

    Sorry about the scorpion sting!

    I got through a year of teaching a class of 14 2-year-olds by myself everyday by singing inappropriate lyrics to kiddie songs. I sang them mostly under my breath, and they weren’t bad words, just about nose-picking and the like. It is a small price to pay for a little sanity.

  33. says

    AHHHH #7 absolutely made my day!! That is 100% something my husband and I would do. Perhaps have already done. ๐Ÿ˜‰ Have a fantastic weekend!

  34. says

    Oh no, I’ve been wondering how your scorpions have been doing. I’m sure your son thinks he just such the man now to have been stung by a scorpion and survived!

  35. SteveG says

    I’ve done the song thing as well to incredibly hilarity.

    I’ve also been ‘inventive’ with books to..I recall reading a curious George book to the boys one time, and I am pretty sure they were as bored of this umpteenth reading as I was. Then, right in the middle of George’s adventure in the pizza parlor, somehow what came out was (in the same hushed, calm reading voice mind you)…

    ‘And then George picked up the pizza pan and smashed the pizza man square in the face with it’

    …the second of stunned disbelief on both of their faces, and the laughter that nearly had them unable to breathe was worth the guilt.

    Of course, I’ve never been allowed to read a curious George book again without such ad libs, and George has now turned into a horrible beast who terrorizes children and animals alike.

  36. says

    I’m so glad I got to work early enough that I could read your 7 Quick Takes before the day got going. I desperately needed a laugh, and as usual, you provided plenty of funny material.

    That definitely gives all new meaning to the time-out chair!

    I, too, have been guilty of making up new lyrics to children’s songs. The funniest time was when I was nannying for my two little boys and they loved hearing the “If You’re Happy and You Know It” song over and over again. I sang the usual lyrics and then a few verses that went: “If you’re happy and you know it, and I’d insert whatever action they were currently doing-playing with toys, walking around, etc. My sister, who came to help me care for the boys when she had off of school, and I looked at each other and laughed when I came out with “If you’rek happy and you know it…knock your balls.” One of the boys was hitting the two balls from the shape sorter together when I got to his verse.

  37. says

    Hahaha, I loved #7, had me laughing so hard I cried ๐Ÿ™‚ And the scorpion-infested naughty corner sounds like a great discipline tactic to me, right up there with duct tape, hehe! Glad your son is okay though, your posts always remind me of why we don’t live in Arizona or Texas or Florida, too many things that could kill you in those places. Nope, I’ll take my harmless little black snakes and daddy long leg spiders and cute squirrels and hummingbirds. Then again, we also have a bobcat, mountain lion, and bear running around our rural town, still better than scorpions though!

  38. whimsy says

    J Paul Getty Guide to Imagery Series

    Search that on Amazon and you’ll find lots of neat stuff.

    My kids love the OT in Art and Gospels in Art books. The biggest downside is the books are about 5″ x 7″.

    HIGHLY RECOMMENDED

  39. says

    I don’t know which had me laughing more #1 or #7. And as for #3… maybe there are some advantages of not having kids who demand you read them the same books over and over and over again….

  40. says

    When I first read take number one, I thought it said that YOU had been bitten by a scorpion. And I saw the lack of captions and the fact that it was inside a quick take and thought “wow, she’s really mellowed out about the scorpions, I wonder what happened?” And then I re-read your first few sentences and it all made sense. ๐Ÿ™‚

    As for your number 4, my daughter once complimented me by saying โ€œMommy, I think you feel skinny.โ€ Her words made me so happy and I thanked her for her sweet compliment, but that must have made her think she should clarify, because she followed with: โ€œYou LOOK big. But you FEEL skinny.โ€ LOL!

    Loved the story about the songs, that’s hysterical!

    Hope you have a great weekend!

  41. says

    #1 – Brave kid!
    #4 – Out of the mouths of babes!
    #7 – Desperate times call for desperate measures! Have totally been there, done that!
    Have a great, sting free weekend – Faun

  42. says

    My oldest used to have me make up bedtime stories, so you post brought back great memories. Unfortunatley I am the one that adds the bathroom humor with my kids. Walter the Farting Dog is the best! Maybe that would be a great regular read.

  43. says

    Okay, you have cracked me up again. But I think it was bad to laugh at the scorpion sting story, right? And the fat thing. And maybe the poopy thingโ€ฆ Hmmmm. Nope, I think it was good to laugh at it all. Awesome quick takes!

  44. says

    Hope the effects of the scorpion sting are not too harsh. They can be doozies, as my hubby learned when he got stung once when out cleaning our old hot tub. I love your “silver lining” to the event! ๐Ÿ˜‰ Hope that works out for ya! ๐Ÿ˜€

  45. says

    Oh my, AfterBite? That’s all you need for a scorpion bite?!? I would have thought treatment would be more like amputation or something. Thank goodness.

  46. Jenny says

    I admit I have a phobia in Scorpions and spiders too. I have heard some of the disadvantages when bit by a scorpion. I hope he’s getting well now. ๐Ÿ™‚

  47. says

    Ok, this is going to sound strange but I was bitten by a scorpion in Costa Rica and my friend told me to put some urine on it. (He told me in Spanish and I thought my inadequate Spanish was playing tricks on me) But I did it bc I was in serious pain and – it works. It takes the sting away and makes it feel much better. Just a strange FYI in case it happens again ๐Ÿ™‚ Blessings, Theresa

  48. says

    Just a strange FYI: I was bitten by a scorpion in Costa Rica and my friend told me to put some urine on it. (He told me in Spanish and I thought my inadequate Spanish was playing tricks on me) But I did it bc I was in serious pain and – it works. It takes the sting away and makes it feel much better. Just in case it happens again ๐Ÿ™‚ Blessings, Theresa

  49. says

    Hi, Jen! I hope your son is doing well! I giggled myself silly at the song for the baby sitter… my in-laws are fond of pointing out that if they want to know what really goes on in our homes, all they have to do is ask the grandchildren… I just know my moment is coming, LOL!

    Thank you for this generous opportunity… I found my way here from Calah’s blog. I look forward to getting to know more of the bloggers listed. I’ve been reading your blog for a bit, and I appreciate your perspective. As a cradle Catholic, I’ve always found that converts always help me breathe new life into my faith. Thanks, again!

  50. Michelle says

    We resorted to the same tactics when traveling from Chicago to the Washington DC area a couple of weeks ago. Trying to sneak in some summertime learning, I was so proud of myself for thinking of Mad Libs for the car ride. Even my second-grader who is suspicious of ANY attempts to disguise schoolwork as fun got into the act when we broke down and started using the usually off-limits potty and bodily function words. By the time we crossed from Maryland into Virginia (about 11 hours into the trip) we were all literally crying and holding our sides with the impressive (read disgusting) stories we’d made. NOTHING is funnier than diarrhea!!!!

  51. says

    Your silly singers might enjoy making up bagel songs. Those imaginary bagels can be made out of anything. For example:
    Bagel! Bagel! Bagel!
    I made it out of poop.
    If we run out of croutons,
    I’ll put it in your soup.

  52. Linebyline says

    Well that’s a relief. I thought it was going to be “How big is that poopy in the toilet.”

    In the realm of accidentally insulting your mother’s weight: Once when I was little, I drew a picture of my mother at the beach, using this stencil kit that (unbeknownst to me) was probably supposed to be used to make paper dolls. Well, somehow or other, it didn’t all line up correctly, and Mom’s torso came out much wider than necessary and a little misshapen. So to account for my artistic mishap, I added a little note with an arrow pointing to her belly: “This is supposed to be THIN.”

    Oops.

    Also, my family has one of those Sister Wendy art books that we bought for homeschooling. (Right. We had art class. Yeeeah.) Personally I don’t like it because she talks about sex an awful lot. Even moreso than the secular book I used in college.

  53. Selma Henderson says

    And for admitting it on the interwebz. And if you havenโ€™t read Walter the Farting Dog, please do.