The Death of a Toy Soldier

I picked up a dark green plastic army guy from the floor. I rolled it around in my fingers. A leg was missing and half of a small arm. As I twirled it in my fingers another leg fell off. “We have a casualty,” I announced to Bradley. It seemed appropriate since we were watching a G.I. Joe cartoon. I got up to throw it away.

“We have an injury,” I announced again, loudly so he would pay attention.

Brad yelled from outside, “What’s wrong?!” I can’t believe he actually heard me, he just turned off the lawn mower. He assumed it was one of the kids. Injuries are sort of common occurences around here with all these little ones (namely Collin).

I couldn’t help but laugh. “No, hunny. I was talking about an army guy. But way to be on the ball!”

I went to throw away the plastic toy. Before I plopped him in the garbage can next to the left over crust from lunch and dried out vegetables I announced, “We have a fatality, Bradley. He’s gone. There’s no saving him now.”

Just before I laid his battered plastic body to rest in the plastic cemetery (aka garbage can), I gave him one last farewell. “You led a good fight, soldier. May you find peace.”

Poor army guy. We sure do go through them. I think the dog chewed on that one. Lucky he wasn’t swallowed and left in the yard in a pile of poop. Garbage is a much better place to rest.

And I couldn’t help thinking about those toy soldiers in “Toy Story,” one of my favorite kids movies, and I really felt bad for the stupid plastic toy.


The Twins Playing Together

People always ask me if the twins play together. Most of the time they play side by side, which is pretty common for their age. They  also torment each other like all siblings do. But sometimes they play together and it is so darn cute. Check ’em out in action in the video.

***Warning: They are screamers. You might want to adjust your speakers.*** 


Itsy Bitsy Spider

When the babies were little it was so easy changing diapers. They just layed there and we got shit done. I would line ’em up, wipe ’em down, and smack a diaper on their little butts. I had a system and I was fast. If it was a sport I would have a medal in it. But then they start getting a little older and they realize they have better things to do than to lay still and get their diapers changed; like scale the walls, swing from the ceiling fan, try to ride the dog like a horse, or one of their other favorite past times that makes me over exert my vocal chords.

So what do you do when you’re trying to change a diaper and your baby (or babies in my case) seem to have taken on some sort of super human baby strength? I have tried an assortment of methods. 

I always seem to start with reasoning, which is the natural and logical starting point in my opinion. But it never works, no matter how smart you think your baby is. 

Sometimes I give them something to hold onto so they will occupy themselves, which nine times out of ten gets thrown at my face. Dang, they can aim.

Most of the time it ends up in a wrestling match. I try to hold her between my knees so she can’t roll. I grab a shoulder and roll her back over to her back. I fumble around looking for the tabs to the damn diaper between the screams and the fighting to get away.  This method rarely works either.

Distraction. That’s what works the best. But it’s got to be something good.

“Hey, look!” I say, pointing at the ceiling. “Do you see the spider?” I don’t know why, but they always stop and look for the spider. ALWAYS! Not Elmo, not Big Bird, but a spider. “See it?” I coax, while maneuvering the diaper under their butt and pressing down the tabs while they are still searching the empty ceiling with their big blue innocent eyes looking for a spider. Easy! Done!

But I’m not a horrible mom and we don’t have spiders on our ceiling. So then I sing them the “Itsy Bitsy Spider” song and everything’s good. Until my six-year-old comes around the corner, “Where? Where? I don’t see no spider!”  He used to have an imagination. I shush him and go to the next baby and the next diaper. 

I can’t wait until these kids are potty trained.

What are your tricks?


Mistakes in Crayon, Lucky Number Two, and Other Bradley-isms

It’s always the little things that I want to remember, like the way he looks when he first wakes up, how he eats his cereal, the way he swings his bat, the conversations we have (and just about every little thing about all of my kids). But these little things are the easiest to forget. You might be amused by them at the time. I may tell the funny story to my family or friends, but it fades… and they get older and there are so many things added that I want to remember. So I write them down and take lots of pictures to hang on to what I can.

Here are some of my favorites from the last month:

“Mistakes in Crayon”

As Bradley was getting dressed, out of the blue he says, “It’s okay if you make mis-snakes, I mean mistakes, Mom. Everybody makes mistakes,” he explains to me. “Sometimes I make mistakes in crayon.”

“Yeah. Everybody makes mistakes sometimes,” I agree.

“Yeah,” he says. “I make mis-snakes, I mean mistakes, in crayon at school sometimes, like when I do my ABC’s. Sometimes the teacher lets you start over. Sometimes she don’t. You never know what the teacher will say,” he tells me.

And I am not sure where all of this is coming from or why he’s talking about it now, while he’s deciding which pair of Lego Batman underwear to wear. But I go along with it. “Sometimes I make mistakes, too. But’s it’s important that we learn from our mistakes.”

“Lucky Number 2”

Bradley held up two fingers. “Mom, the number two must be lucky,” he said. “We have two eyes and two ears. We have two arms and two legs. And we have two parts to our butt so we can poop,” he says, laughing like he just figured out a silly secret.

Nice. Leave it to a boy to look at it in that perspective. I had to laugh, too.


Bradley sat at the table examining the blue lines in his hands and wrists.

“Mom, what if one of these vines break?”

“Vines?” I asked, puzzled.

“Yeah, these blue vines.”

I started to pay attention to see what he was talking about. “Oh, you mean veins.”

“Yeah. What do they do?”

“They help put blood through all of your body.”

“Oh,” he said. Obviously not what he expected.


And if I could understand half of what Collin says, I’m sure I could have a whole book of crazy kid stories. And with Elsie and Mallie coming right up behind Collin, it will definitely be interesting.

I love to hear kid-isms. What are some of yours?


The TRUE Story of the Tooth Fairy: Not My Best Parenting Moment

When Bradley woke up and found his tooth fairy money, I could hear his excitement. I heard him jump off his top bunk, I could tell he was smiling just by the sound of his bounce, and he came barging into the bathroom holding his money.

“Mom! She came!” he yelled. “Look at all the money she left me!” he said, holding a wad of ones.

“Wow! How much is there?” I asked, even though I knew. I’m a pretty darn good tooth fairy, if I say so myself.

“Let me count,” he said, going off to his bedroom.

I heard him counting each one very slowly; one, two, three, and so on.

“Five dollars! She left me FIVE dollars!” he said, giggling and doing a little dance. “AND she didn’t put in UNDER my pillow, she put in IN my pillow (meaning in the pillowcase). She’s tricky!”

“Wow! You are such a lucky boy,” I told him.

“Now I have seven dollars,” he said.

Now this wasn’t a problem until he said that he was going to put his money in his wallet, which we keep up high in a special spot so Collin doesn’t get it. He headed downstairs to put his money away and I thought, Oh, shit!  He’s going to find an empty wallet.

See, a few days ago I had “borrowed” a couple of dollars from Bradley’s wallet. We were going to the zoo for a field trip and I didn’t have any cash and no time to run to the ATM. So I took the couple of bucks out of Bradley’s wallet to feed the fish and goats. I was planning on putting it back and just forgot…until now, my “oh, shit!” moment.

I listened to him downstairs climbing onto the counter to get his wallet. I tried to figure out a way of telling him why his wallet was empty. I really hoped that maybe he thought that he had spent his money, but unlikely. I heard his footsteps coming back up the stairs. I was a little surprised at what happened next.

“Mom! The tooth fairy gave me some of my money, too! From my wallet! She IS tricky!” He thought this was great! And I could have been done with it, free and clear.

I could have let him think that the tooth fairy was “tricky” and put his money under his pillow along with what she gave him…but I didn’t. I told him the truth, that mommy took the money for the zoo and that I would give it back to him when I went to the bank. He didnt’ seem to mind.

NOT my best parenting moment…but pretty funny. Hey! I did give him FIVE bucks for that tooth, partly out of the “going rate” for the tooth fairy and partly out of guilt for taking his money in the first place.


On Playing Tooth Fairy

Bradley has been wiggling his front tooth for months now. I thought it would never fall out. At night when I would read him a book, he would listen to the story with his thumb in his mouth, wiggling away at his front tooth. Every night after we put the bookmark between the pages I would check it out and give it a little wiggle myself. “It’s getting looser!” I would always say. “Keep wiggling it everyday.” Sometimes I would try to grab ahold of it and pull, but no luck. It was a slippery little tooth.

I bought apples, carrots, corn on the cob, cucumbers; all kinds of crunchy stuff so maybe he would lose that tooth.

It just took him wiggling and messing with it until it finally fell out the other night. I was frying bacon for BLT’s for supper and he came in the kitchen with a wash rag hanging out his mouth and a tiny tooth in his hand. “It finally came out!” he said, smiling real big with a little bit of blood on his top lip.

“Yay!” I cheered. “Let me see! Does it hurt? Did you pull it out or did it just fall out?”  I wish I was there when it happened, and not in the kitchen cooking. But oh well, there will be other teeth falling out. With all these kids I think I will manage. I will have lots of teeth to collect.

And oh, he looks so cute with that open spot where the tooth used to be, just like a little boy in a Norman Rockwell painting that you see in calendars.

“The tooth fairy is coming tonight!”

We put his tooth in a baggy and tied it up. “This way,” I told him, “the tooth fairy will be able to find it when it’s under your pillow.”

It seemed to take forever for bedtime to come. I was as excited as Bradley for the tooth fairy.It felt like christmas all over again with the waiting and anticipation.

I stayed up as long as I could to make sure he was good and asleep. At 10:30, I grabbed my wad of ones and headed up the stairs to be the toothfairy. I was so tired I wished I had wings to fly me up the stairs.

I listened at the cracked bedroom door, resting my hand on the robot poster tacked to the front of the door. I could hear their little sleepy breaths, in and out. 

I didn’t hesitate. I plunged my hand quickly under the pillow, holding my breath, and searching for the plastic baggy with the little baby tooth. I couldn’t find it anywhere and started to panic, looking around on the floor, all the while searching under the pillow. What the heck? Where could it have gone?

He grinded his teeth (ugh, a sleeping habit that drives me crazy) and rolled over. I held very still, ready to duck under the bunk bed if he woke up.

When he rolled over, I noticed the baggy was stuck to the back of his upper arm. I snatched it quickly, hoping he wouldn’t feel the plastic coming off his sweaty skin, and simultaneously slipping the money under his pillow.

He settled in and never had a clue.

I went to bed, anxious for the surprise in the morning.


My Little Tough Guy

I don’t know why everything always seems to happen to Collin. Maybe it’s because he’s two. Maybe it’s because he’s a little dare-devil. Maybe it’s because he runs around like a little mad man. Maybe because he is just a crazy goofy kid. I don’t know. But over the weekend we had another injury.

He was on the platform of the swing set looking out of the opening and waving wildly at Grandpa Don, “Hi, Papa! Hiiiiii!!!!” and cheesing it up with that super cute honery grin.

And before we knew it he was falling out, face first, from the swing set. A horrible nose dive. It was like it was in slow motion, but Grandpa sure did move fast to try to catch him.

I took him and rushed him inside, holding him close. I wasn’t worried so much about the blood between his eyes, it was how he landed. I was so worried about his neck. But he was moving okay.

It actually looks a lot worse than it really is. It actually doesn’t seem to bother him that much, unless he sees a picture of it. When he looks at a picture of himself with the owie he holds his face and says, “Ow, mom. Ow!”  Otherwise, he has forgotten all about it.

Poor baby. Everything seems to happen to him. You can read about his finger that almost fell off here, or another bloody lip here… and the list goes on. He always has scraped up knees and bruises, but this was a little more than that.

Brad said, “I don’t think any other kids will want to mess with Collin. He is a little bad ass. Look at all that he’s been through and he’s only two. Tough little shit.”

He sure is.

And I think I have some gray hairs now.


Dog Language

The sun had just set and the sky was a pretty purple color of dusk. The sliver of moon sat at the top of our backyard. Bradley and I were sitting on the back steps, we just saw our first lightning bug for the summer! It was a perfect ending to a busy day; sitting on the warm steps and spending quality time with my oldest son, a cool breeze cooling us off. 

Then Bradley turns to me and says, “Mom, I know how to kiss you in dog language.”

“What?” I ask him, not sure of what he actually said.

And then he sticks out his slobbery tongue and licks my arm!


I get it now.

I think I need to get Bradley some “human” friends.


Kindergarten Graduation

I didn’t think I was going to cry today. It was Bradley’s last day of school, not that big of deal. Nothing like sending him away for the first day of kindergarten, which you can read about here. But I cried. I couldn’t help it.

The little kid chairs were lined up in front of the stage. A large yellow paper sign was pinned onto the stage curtains.

Someone started the graduation music on a tape player and the cute little kindergarteners started filing into the chairs. They wore little construction paper graduation caps and large white shirts that looked like graduation gowns. I was okay through this part. I didn’t cry. I waited and watched for Bradley in line so I could get a good picture.

I started crying when the principal said that “if she did her calculations right” this would be the graduating class of 2024.

Oh, my! 2024

That hit me like a ton of bricks. Maybe it’s because it is so hard to wrap my head around the idea of the year 2024. Maybe it’s because I am just facing the fact that my first baby is starting to grow up. He is just starting his educational career. Maybe it’s because I do not want to picture a young man sitting and looking for me at a high school or college graduation (not that I don’t want him to graduate, I just don’t want him to grow up. AND this would also make me OLD…er!). I want him to stay this sweet and cute little kindergartener. He is already growing up too fast! NO!!!

I wiped the tears from my eyes. I smiled and waved as he peeked over the heads in front of him to smile and wave at his mom. It doesn’t matter how old he is… or when he graduates. It doesn’t matter if someday there is a young man looking through the crowd to smile and wave at me. I will always be his mom. And even when he is a young man, he will always be my baby.


Line Drive


When Bradley got home from baseball practice the other night he was pretty pumped up. Brad said, “Hey, Bradley! Tell your Mom what you did to the coach.”

Bradley’s smile got even bigger. “When I hit the ball, I hit it really really hard! It almost hit the coach!” he said.

“Yea,” Brad said. “He hit it really hard. A line drive right at the coach’s head,” he chuckled.

Bradley really can hit this year. At his first practice he cracked them one after the other into the outfield. You could tell the coach looked surprised. Other parents in the stand said, “Man, that kid can really hit the ball,” or “He’s a little hitter.” Needless to say, this was a very proud parent moment for the both of us. I looked over at Brad leaning against the chain link fence, he had a proud Dad smile plastered on his face.

It doesn’t surprise me, though. Last summer Bradley spent most of his days in the backyard with a whiffle ball and a plastic blue bat. He stood on the sidewalk and would crack ball after ball into the backyard. Murphy, our dog, would bring the ball back every single time and drop it at his feet. He’s a good doggie outfielder.

Can’t wait to see Bradley’s first baseball game of the season this Saturday!