children, family, health, motherhood

Oh Well(ness) Visit

There are so many aspects of motherhood that get easier and easier as your children grow.  It is so nice to be able to take the boys for their wellness check-ups and for the most part, they behave like normal people.  For the most part,…

I no longer have concerns about Full Speed’s attitude or behavior while at the doctor.  As for T.Puzzle, his behavior is generally really good, but his attitude is precarious at times.

Overall, his recent 9 year wellness-check went very smoothly.  That is until we got to the portion where the doctor had to ask him direct questions.  Left to his own devices, it’s hard to know what he’s going to say.

Doc: “What grade are you in?”

T.Puzzle: “Third grade.”

So far so good.

Doc: “What do you drink with your meals?”

Imperceptibly, I gulped.

T.Puzzle: “Milk.”

I’m glad he didn’t share with her the 14,000 gallons of Sprite he consumed over holiday break.

The rest of the questions he answered as you would expect.  Grades? Fine.  Wearing a bike helmet?  Check.  Favorite food to eat?  Chinese (at least there are some vegetables in it, right?).

Then the questions turned to favorite hobbies.

Doc:  “What do you do for fun?”

T.Puzzle: “Video games.”

I appreciated his honesty and since his weight and height were in a normal range for him, I don’t think the doctor was concerned.  Also, the myriad of bruises and scars on his legs were evidence that he’s a rough and tumble kind of kid.

Doc: “What do you do to keep active?”

He looked to me to explain what she meant.

Me: “You know.  When Mom and Dad make you play outside?”

He paused momentarily….

T.Puzzle: “It’s classified.”

So close…

Better luck next year!

T.Puzzle with Mad Dog celebrating turning 9 at Legoland.


children, health, humor, motherhood

The Birds and the Bees

In a world where children are becoming more sophisticated earlier and earlier, I have been keenly aware of the changes in my boys, namely Full Speed.  Yes, his body may not be totally ready to burst into manhood, but I’ve had a feeling for a while now, that complicated questions have been churning in his mind.  I’ve always had a healthy sense of denial about the actual ‘birds and bees’ discussion because frankly, I thought I could pawn it off on Mad Dog.  Oh, how I loved living on this little island of glorious, ignorant bliss where all I would ever talk to my boys about were sports and movies about sports.

Both Mad Dog and I felt like the time for the serious conversation had arrived.  Mad Dog had the brilliant idea of finding some books about the changes boys face (see? I don’t even want to type the word puberty) and giving them to Full Speed since he is an avid reader.  This way, he would get all the information he needed and would be a good basis for Mad Dog to have the necessary discussions with him.

Life was so much more simple when books about Elmo ruled


Well, this didn’t go exactly as planned.  Full Speed, like his nickname implies, read the books speedily in one sitting.  Then, he proceeded to get a stomach bug that night and I was left home alone with him, for an entire day with all these questions swirling about.  I did what I had to do.  I talked to him about things in such detail it would have made a sailor blush.  While I was talking, I sort of had an out-of-body moment as I observed myself saying these almost unspeakable things out loud to my BABY.  I was woozy and light-headed.  Even though my insides cringed, I kept a calm exterior going.  I didn’t need to add to Full Speed’s confused wonderment by being flighty.  I had to sit there and I had to say it and I had to act like it was no big deal.

I think we both grew up a lot during this conversation.  At times, I felt like I was speaking to the adult version of my son, at other times, I could see the shocked little boy within him.  Either way, the timing and the conversation felt right.  I left the room knowing that he is armed with the correct information, he knows that his parents are there for his questions no matter how embarrassing and that some of the details of growing up are just plain gross.

All I can say is when it’s T.Puzzle’s turn, Mad Dog…. I happily pass the torch to you.

children, family, gratitude, health, kids, motherhood

Love is Patient, Love is Kind

I’m actually kind of speechless. Since I am a writer what does that make me? Wordless?

I cannot wrap my brain around the fact that we were given the greenlight to have my dog come home. About two years before I started this blog, we had to relocate her because T.Puzzle wa allergic to her. It was heartbreaking to lose her but it was the right thing to do. He basically had a runny nose for the entire first year and half of his life. I knew as soon as the words ‘dog allergy’ left the doctor’s mouth, my dog had to go.

As the years have gone by, T.Puzzle’s health began to improve. His eczema vanished, he outgrew his egg allergy and he had less and less sick days at school. Recently, I had started to suspect that his dog allergy had diminished as well. For my own peace of mind I scheduled an allergy test. It showed a vast improvement in his dog allergy which means my little, white fluffy ball of love can come home!

She is not a perfect dog and certainly no longer a puppy. She is sometimes a dog only a ‘mother’ could love. It is also very possible T.Puzzle may not respond well to having her around. There are a lot of variables I have no control over.

What I can control is how much I love her. I plan to care for her for as long as I have her. I want to give back to her at least some of the unconditional love that she has given me. She sat with me every day while I had the worst morning sickness of my life during my pregnancy with Full Speed. She would snuggle up for the long haul when I had yet another pregnancy related migraine or vein infection in my legs (yes, it is miraculous I endeavored pregnancy twice). It was during that time that she taught me about loyalty, patience and love.

Her official return date is early next week. I still can’t believe she is coming home. The good news is, she never once has left my heart.

Newborn Full Speed is carefully watched over
Newborn Full Speed is carefully watched over
T.Puzzle gets a little love
Baby T.Puzzle gets some of that unconditional love
children, family, health, humor, kids, motherhood, parenting

That Bites

On our ride home from school, T.Puzzle complained of a mosquito bite on his elbow.

Full Speed shared his thoughts.

“I hope it wasn’t from a mosquito infected with West Nile or malaria.”

“What are those?,” asked poor, sweet T.Puzzle.

Before I had a chance to shut down Mr. Encyclopedia of Dangerous Facts, Full Speed went on to state how they are both deadly diseases and last year alone malaria killed nearly ONE MILLION people.  I could see him in the rear view mirror as he gesticulated vigorously to bring his point home.  He then leaned back in a just-terrified-my-little-brother, satisfied sort of way.

For T.Puzzle, mosquito bites are like having a big brother.  They are persistent and a threat to your well-being.

Even on the soccer field Full Speed orders around his little brother.  No wonder T.Puzzle's so feisty!
Even on the soccer field Full Speed orders around his little brother. No wonder T.Puzzle’s so feisty!
children, family, health, humor, kids, motherhood, parenting

Birthday Emergency

Full Speed turned 8 last week.  I’d like to say it was uneventful.  I’d also like to say that my boys are calm.  It’s just isn’t possible.

Full Speed proudly shows off his present as T.Puzzle takes a peek.

It started off fantastic.  We celebrated Full Speed in a myriad of ways.  We had dinner with family, cupcakes at school, presents galore and planned to head to the beach for the weekend.   My personal highlight was when Full Speed’s birthday wish was, “I hope T.Puzzle’s birthday can be just as awesome as mine.”

A happy Full Speed bounding down the stairs on the day of his actual birthday.

Once we were at the beach, before we made it even out the door to the ocean, we had to make a quick detour to urgent care.  T.Puzzle had a swollen ear that need to be looked at.  Two hours and an antibiotic later, we were cleared for action.  I have to admit, playing soccer ocean side is pretty awesome even if your skill level is questionable at best (like mine!).  Both boys played with their usual intensity.  You wouldn’t have thought anything was amiss.  That is until we hit midnight and Mad Dog and T.Puzzle set out for a late night ER adventure (T.Puzzle developed uncontrollable chills, spiked a fever and seemed a mess).  Turns out he had bronchitis to boot.  The next morning he recounted crazy tales of having to pee in a cup (he thought this was ridiculously funny) and there was not one single person at CVS besides the pharmacist (imagine that! 3am isn’t a happening time for crowds).

T.Puzzle snoozes while receiving a breathing treatment in the ER.

All in all, Full Speed declared birthday number 8 as being one of the best on record (he only was sort of concerned about his brother’s health status) and T.Puzzle has made a full and quick recovery.  Mad Dog and I took a little longer to recover.  Thankfully, the Buckeyes pulled out a miraculous win on Saturday before we left.  Otherwise, that would have been the longest ride home of my life.  Go Bucks!