Tuesday, June 28, 2005

Chocolate covered children Posted by Hello

While Left Unattended...

While weeding the side yard today, Kaleb and Leah decided to play "chocolate factory" in a garden mud puddle. My first reaction was digust and then, "Well, those clothes are ruined." But they weren't fighting so I shrugged and went back to my patch of weeds. And here's the results -- "enfants de chocolat."

Of course, this would be a happy ending if there weren't a toe biting incident in the tub afterwards (Leah's in a biting phase), followed by Kaleb-hysterics. But more on that later.

Sunday, June 19, 2005

Yummmm. Zacky's first meal with a spoon Posted by Hello

Leah BEFORE the swimming pool fiasco Posted by Hello

Our Little Exhibitionist

Today was an ordinary Sunday at the Belknap house. The kids were dressed and ready to go to church, although, as usual, we were running a little late. Leah was wearing a pink and green dress with a matching hat that Grandma had just sent. She looked picture perfect, adorable and innocent. Kaleb was still putting on his shoes, so I sent Leah out to the car while I grabbed my bag and keys.

When I got to the car, Leah was nowhere to be found. I called her name, circled the house and found her playing in the backyard, splashing around in a little swimming pool we had just set up the day before. Leah had stripped out of her diapers and they were floating in the pool while she jumped around them, giggling; she was soaking wet.

I plucked Leah up and carried her into our kitchen where I threw her diaper in the garbage and pealed her wet dress off and slipped another one on. Pressed for time, I whisked the kids out to the car with Leah mumbling to herself, “We don't wear clothes in the swimming pool. We only wear swimsuits in the swimming pool.”

We made it into the chapel before they started passing the sacrament, the quietest time of the meeting. It wasn't long before Leah began to throw what we fondly refer to as a Diva Fit. She shouted, “I don't want it” and began to cry, loudly. I scooped her up and made my way past Kaleb and out the pew, tripping a bit. Finally I got to the aisle and carried Leah out the chapel and into the foyer, her dress hoisted up to her waist. It was not a graceful exit.

It wasn't until we were out in the foyer and Leah began dancing with her dress held high that I realized what I had forgotten to do before we left the house: put a new diaper on Leah. My daughter was commando, buck naked underneath her little sundress. I replayed the last 5 minutes in my mind. Not only was Leah diaperless, but she had just mooned half the congregation on our way out the chapel.

Well, I thought, we just woke everyone up.

We couldn't go back in the chapel until I had stopped laughing. You know what they say, either you laugh or you cry.

Friday, June 17, 2005

Kaleb minus two front teeth Posted by Hello

Toothless at Four

When Kaleb was 2 he fell teeth-first onto the corner of his toy box. That toy-box mishap turned into an abscessed tooth a month and a half ago. On Wednesday he had both of his front teeth pulled to avoid further infection. And up until we left for the dentist's office I didn't think anything of it. That is until I got a little weepy looking for my keys.

Kaleb's my oldest and I'm acutely aware that he's growing up. He has lost his first baby teeth at least two years before he was supposed to. A mother's entitled to a few tears over that. Yes, I'll probably cry his first day of kindergarten. It's the great parental paradox - with each ounce of maturity a child gains, an ounce of infancy and childhood slips away, never to return. Maturity is what a mother hopes her child can achieve gracefully, yet that maturity solidifies a child's infancy into a mere memory. And I've always hated good-byes.

Kaleb was a trooper and only cried when the dentist injected his gums with the local anesthesia, four times. In fact, the dentist pulled the teeth out before Kaleb realized what had happened. “When's he gonna pull my teeth, Mom?” he asked, biting down on a bloody bit of gauze. “He already did, you brave boy,” I said, tearing up again.

We brought the teeth home in a little plastic treasure chest, the “Tooth Saver,” and I introduced him to the concept of the Tooth Fairy, something I hadn't expected to do for a few more years.

Kaleb tried to understand. “The Tooth Fairy is going to take my teeth?”

“Yes,” I answered.


“Yes. But she'll leave you money.”

“I don't want money, I want my teeth.”

And so Kaleb has been carrying his Tooth Saver around for the past couple days, periodically shaking it like a rattle. And while it's been misplaced more than once, something about him holding onto those teeth is calming. My little boy is also somewhat resistance to letting them go. He's even looked at himself in the mirror a few times to say, “I don't like my teeth out.”

Kaleb suffered a bit when those first teeth came in over three years ago, and we're both suffering a bit to see them go. But if I'm lucky the permanent teeth won't come in for awhile. And if I'm even luckier, high school graduation won't be for a long while after that.

Wednesday, June 08, 2005

Chastised by the Nurse Practitioner

Our pediatrician was too busy to see Zack for his one-year appointment; so I scheduled a check-up with the nurse practitioner. I have since decided that I love our pediatrician because he never clicks his tongue at me or implies that any Belknap sickness or injury is my fault. Not so with the nurse practitioner who is the Dr. Phil of health care providers. Halfway through the exam and her accompanying inquisition I expected her to ask, “You call that motherhood? How's that working for yah?”

The first few questions were a breeze. I began to answer confidently, bouncing Zack on one hip. I thought the nurse might nominate me for Mother of the Year.

“Is Zack off formula?” she asked.


“And eating solids regularly?”


“Is he still drinking out of a bottle?”


That is when the appointment took a nose-dive. She looked at me over her clipboard. “That has to stop.” She went on to explain how it's best if babies are off the bottle by the time they're 15-months old.

“Is he sleeping through the night?” she asked.

I shifted Zack to my other hip. “No.”

“What do you do when he wakes up?”

“Give him a bottle.”

She looked over her clipboard again, and then looked back down, clicking her tongue. She would have called security if Utah Pediatrics had the staff for it. I wanted to scream out, “I haven't had a good night sleep in two years, or a room to myself in over three. He just wants a bottle and I just want to sleep. Win, win, right?” But I kept silent and swallowed the guilt trip like a good girl.

“When they fall asleep with a bottle, the milk is trapped in the roof of their mouth where it can rot their front two teeth.” I looked at Zack; the thought of him toothless at two began to take hold.

“And about the solids, is he eating from all food groups now?”

“Yes,” I said. Back on track.

“Even meats?”

I wondered if this was a trick question. “Yes,” I said. “He eats chicken sometimes.” I should have stopped there, but I tried to be funny, lighten the mood. “Does hot dog count as meat?”

Ms. Nurse Practitioner didn't crack a smile. “It counts,” she said. “But not as something good.”

After a good long lecture on the importance of training Zack to sleep through the night, and a short tangent through the evils of hot dog manufacturing, I was ready to go home and have a big drink myself. But the nurse practitioner realized something Dr. Wilcox hadn't, something inherently understood by women and not men. Guilt is an amazing motivator. Because less than two-hours after I got home, I had moved Zack's portable crib from our bedroom to the kids' room, put his bottles away, and decided that he was going to start sleeping through the night that very night.

And you know what? I got the best night's sleep I had in more than 3 years. Who said guilt trips aren't healthy? I just might schedule all my appointments with the nurse practitioner. Sorry Dr. Wilcox, but sometimes a good bedside manner gets a mom nothing but sleepless nights.