Thursday, May 28, 2009

The Please [Don't] Touch [My Kid] Museum

I admit it. I have had very few incidences so far in my little boys' lives where I had to go into Mama Bear Mode. You mommies all know what I'm talking about -- you see your child in a threatening situation, and you do whatever it takes to protect him or her. I had been pretty lucky, and Mama Bear had been hibernating.

Until recently.

We received a wonderful gift of four tickets to the Please Touch Museum in Philadelphia from one of Eric's lovely aunts, and we were all very excited to go. The museum is designed specifically for little kids and is an amazing combination of play, experimentation, and education. The boys loved each exhibit better than the last, and they were truly in kid heaven.

Statue of Liberty Torch made out of toys

Drs. Peanut and Pumpkin, at your service

Playing, exploring, learning...

Peanut using a pulley to raise his plane creation

to the ceiling in order to watch it fly

Pumpkin's favorite part hands down: the pretend grocery store. Watching my little man with such determination in his eyes as soon as we got him his own cart was both unbelievably sweet and hilarious at the same time. He was in the zone!

Both boys really enjoyed the water area. We saved this part for last. The kids could experiment with the water toys, and they had all types of contraptions the kids could maneuver to experiment with water energy. Peanut was a pro in no time!

I had to pull out all of the mommy tricks I know to get Pumpkin to leave the special three and under play area. He loved this tree slide and the lilypads that made frog noises when he jumped on them to hop across the pretend pond.

Looks like the best day ever, right? I mean, nothing could put a damper on this day!

Oh. Except maybe this:

So, both boys were completely excited to play in the McDonald's area. Most of the kids were lined up along the back wall, busy using various assortments of play food to make all types of hamburgers and Happy Meals. Then, this sweet little girl walked up to the counter and just stood there, looking around. So, compassionate mommy that I am, I asked Peanut to be the cashier and ring up her order. Why can't I learn to just leave well enough alone?!?

Peanut happily obliged, and he skipped over to take the little girl's order. He was announcing each item into the microphone as he pressed the buttons on the register to announce her total. It was so cute that I had to take a picture. The above shot is now known as Exhibit A.

See the bigger brunette boy to the left of Peanut who was easily at least a year older? Yeah, the one in the green jacket. Well, he may or may not be the kid I am referring to in this story. If that was the same kid, I would know his name since I did hear it; however, since I am certainly not saying that was the kid, we will just call him "B.B." (for "Bully Boy").

B.B. was playing nicely beside Peanut for a few minutes until he decided that he had to have the microphone. Unfortunately, Peanut was still wrapping up the little girl's order, and he told B.B., "Hey! It's still my turn." But B.B. wasn't really interested in the whole taking turns concept. No, instead, he put all of his weight into pulling that microphone away from my son while -- compassionate mommy that I am -- I tried to intervene from my booth a few feet away and tell Peanut to allow Bully Boy to have a turn for a minute.

Too late.

Bully Boy -- and I am not using that name lightly -- decided he had a better solution.

After he pulled the microphone completely away from Peanut, he then focused all of his force on my son (who, by the way, morphed into my firstborn helpless infant in my brain), and Bully Boy pushed Peanut to the floor. Please congratulate me right now for resisting my motherly urge to demonstrate what happens to bullies who dare to touch my children. It was not easy to suppress the Mama Bear in me who wanted so desperately to give him my own Quarter Pounder. Anyway, Peanut was wailing at this point, and when I flew over to him, he said, "Mommy, he's so mean!" to which B.B. responded, "And you're so dumb!"

No, I am actually not writing this post from a prison cell, so please offer me congratulations yet again. First you dare to harm my child, and now you insult his intelligence?!? This kid had a guardian angel looking over him, for sure. I quickly swept up Peanut in my arms and consoled him in the booth. I felt guilty doing it, but I told Peanut that unfortunately there are a few mean people in the world, and that I was sorry that he had to meet one.

What? You are wondering where B.B.'s parent was in this equation? Yeah, me, too. A few minutes after "the incident," a mousy man brought B.B. over "to apologize."

Yeah, I put that in quotes. Because this is the masterpiece of an apology he offered my son:
"Sorry, piggy eye."

Yes, I did have to remind myself to breathe in and out repeatedly.

But B.B. had some audacity calling Peanut "dumb," because when he went back over to his dad, his father obviously sensed my disapproval and asked what he said in his apology. And then B.B. told his dad exactly what he said. Good job, Genius.

So, Mousy Dad begrudgingly brought B.B. back over to us. Again. At this point, I had seen enough of this kid's face to last a lifetime, and his presence was making Peanut's state of mind worse with every encounter. He finally mumbled something that sounded like "sar-RAY" with an attitude that somehow pleased his father enough. Thank goodness; they were finally gone.

It really took a while, but Peanut eventually got over it.

Mama Bear, on the other hand? She had nightmares for weeks about people hurting her children. Retelling the experience still brings tears to my eyes. And I cannot with any sincerity guarantee that any future children with a penchant for bullying will get off so easily.

But for now, Mama Bear is going back into hibernation. And I hope she doesn't have to awaken that growl again for many, many winters to come.


Friday, May 22, 2009

Flashback Friday: Left Foot, Right Foot...

...Feet, Feet, Feet!
Oh, how many
Feet you meet!

These are Pumpkin's piggies when he was about four months old. I had recently purchased a new digital camera and wanted to try out the zoom. I haven't used the zoom very much since!

One of Pumpkin's current favorite books is Dr. Seuss's The Foot Book, so I thought this was appropriate (in case you were wondering, he always laughs at "sick feet" and "fuzzy fur feet"). Now I am gonna go put my tired, achy, seriously-needin'-a-pedicure feet up on the couch and grade some more papers.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

I heart kitties

Since I have been so neglectful of my blog lately, I thought I would entertain you with a delightful video my husband found. Maybe this will get your minds off the fact that I haven't added anything new or exciting here lately. Enjoy! :)

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Happy Mother's Day!

My own mom sent me this poem, and I thought it was worth sharing with all of you moms who can so readily relate. Thanks, Mom! And may you all feel especially appreciated on this day set aside to honor the hardest yet most wonderful job known to [wo]mankind.

Before I Was a Mom

Before I was a Mom
I made and ate hot meals,
I had unstained clothing,
I brushed my hair every day,
I had quiet conversations on the phone,
I slept as late as I wanted and I slept all night long.

Before I was a Mom
I cleaned my house each day,
I never tripped over toys or forgot lullabies,
I didn't worry whether or not my plants were poisonous,
I had never been puked on,
pooped on,
spit on,
chewed on,
peed on,
or pinched by tiny fingers.

Before I was a Mom
I never thought about immunizations,
I never held a screaming child so the doctors could give shots,
I never looked into teary eyes and cried,
I never felt my heart break into pieces when I couldn't stop the hurt,
I never got gloriously happy over a simple grin.

Before I was a Mom
I never held a sleeping baby just because I didn't want to put him down,
I never sat up late hours of the night watching a baby sleep,
I never got up in the middle of the night to make sure everything was okay,
I didn't know how special it could feel to feed a hungry baby.

Before I was a Mom
I had complete control of my mind and my thoughts,
I didn't know the feeling of having my heart outside of my body,
I didn't know that having something so small could make me feel so important,
I had never known the warmth,
the joy,
the love,
the heartache,
the wonderment,
or the satisfaction of being a mom.

Before I was a Mom
I never knew that something so small could affect my life so much,
I never knew that I could love someone so much,
I never knew I would love being a Mom,
I didn't know the bond between a Mother and her child,
I didn't know I was capable of feeling so much.

~ Author Unknown

Friday, May 8, 2009

Flashback Friday: Pumpkin and Great Nana

This was Pumpkin and my maternal grandmother, Nana, at her 93rd birthday party when Pumpkin was only four months old. Sadly, she passed away the following year, right before Mother's Day. She will always be the quintessential grandmother to me; the smell of her home always made me smile, and I have sweet memories of playing restaurant in her basement, spending nights at Nana's by myself, and eating Pepperidge Farm Ginger Man cookies with her at the kitchen table that overlooked her bird bath and the beautiful garden on her hill. She was the most gentle and most God-loving woman I have ever had the honor to know. I hope some day that I will have the privilege of being the kind of grandmother she was to me. I still miss you, Nana.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Birthday Party Highlights

Please sing this in your head as you read: It's the most...hor-ri-ble time...of the year....

I have two words for you: research papers. Aaaaaaaaaaaaahhhhh!!!! Run away while you can before I try to accost you with my red pen!

I really do enjoy my job, but I wish my job did not include grading over one hundred eleventh grade research papers. It takes forever. I have often thought of the old teacher joke of throwing them down the stairs; the ones that fall to the bottom get Fs and the ones that land on the highest steps are awarded As. Unfortunately, I have a conscience. Drat!

Anyway, here are some pictures from the boys' birthday party last month. They had a wonderful day with very generous friends and family.

Mommy and Peanut on our actual birthday

At the party play place:

Even Eric and I had a great time because we didn't have to clean anything up afterwards. (And I even ignored the pizza and cake who were trying to call my name as well. Yay, me!)