Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Another Boy in Braces and Popcorn Giveaway!!

There are now two people in the house who can't eat popcorn.

I've got a Costco box still half full of microwave popcorn packages. A few of the blogs I read have had some giveaways recently, so I thought, "Why not?"

Help keep our orthodontist bill down by taking some popcorn off our hands. Post a comment to this blog post and I will choose a few random (or maybe just my favorite) entries to receive some Movie Theater Butter microwave popcorn.

My middle son getting braces.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Basketball and Rapping on the Airplane

One of the highlights of spring break in our family: a quick trip to LA for my husband and two of my sons.

My middle son's all-star NJB basketball team did unexpectedly well, coming in 2nd in the regional tournament and qualifying them for the national championship tournament in LA. After winning four out of five games in two days, his team ended up 3rd in the nation for 6th grade NJB, with a big trophy to bring home.

In the team picture, my son is bottom row, 2nd from the right.

As you might guess, if you know my youngest son, he was not to be outdone.

On the Southwest flight, he talked to the head flight attendant. Then, when they were at 35,000 feet, my youngest took over the microphone and had the entire 737 airplane stomp/clap/stomping for him as he performed his Southwest Rap. He was rewarded with his own thunderous applause and in leu of a trophy was presented with his very own giant bag of individual peanut snacks.

While I wasn't there to see it, I can just picture the smile on his face carrying those peanuts off the plane.

I think everyone who knows my youngest has heard his rap. For those who have not, or those who want to hear it again, I will post it soon as a video. Please check back shortly.

So where was I that weekend? I was at an all-girl weekend in Monterey with my mom and a group of fabulous women learning all about free-motion quilting, which was pretty much the opposite of being at a boys' basketball tournament in LA. While I regretted seeing the games and the rap performance, I had a great time away from it all. Moms really need that sometimes.

Where was my oldest son? Staying with a friend and attending a bat mitvah. I forgot about the dog until the last minute, he had to stay somewhere too! Thanks dad, he enjoyed staying with you and is still tired from following you around all weekend.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Happy Easter

My boys are no longer very interested in dying eggs. I think they are pretty, so I did some myself.

They prefer the plastic kind of eggs, full of candy, hidden around the yard. This year the egg hunt was in the pouring rain. After the hunt, all the kids came inside and stripped down to underwear and tshirts so their clothes could go in the dryer.

Friday, April 2, 2010

The Kneecap Caper: Best April Fool's Joke EVER

This last Monday, when my youngest son was at the pediatrician being diagnosed with bronchitis, he mentioned to the doctor that his knee has been hurting. The doctor moved his joint around and said it seemed fine but she ordered a simple xray of the knee just to make sure. On Wednesday I took him for the xray. He seemed a little nervous, which I didn't understand until he told me he has never had an xray. With three boys I have already been to the radiology department so many times that I didn't register the fact that I had never been there with my youngest. They even recognize me in there now. After some reassuring and some "isn't this cool?" with the male technician, he was fine. I asked if my son could see the xray of his knee. We left with two films in a big red envelope. We looked at them in the parking lot. They were interesting but mysterious since we don't read xray.

Yesterday, the doctor called and left me a message that the xray was completely normal and there was nothing to worry about. So when my son got home from school, I told him, "The doctor called about your xray."

I swear I don't know where it came from. I meant to say "Everything is fine." But instead I said "There is a problem with your kneecap. It is completely separate from your knee."

I knew, obviously, that the xray would back me up on that. He looked at me with wide eyes, not sure what to say. I continued. "You know how some kids who have braces on their teeth have rubber bands on them?"

"Yes," he said, hesitantly.

"Well, you are going to need rubber bands like that to keep your kneecap in place. Here, let's look at the xray."

I pulled the xray out and there it was, the kneecap floating in position, completely separate from the femur above and the tibia below. He clapped his hand over his mouth with a shocked expression.

"I can't believe it! Oh my gosh," he said.

"Mom, mom! Mom, it's . . ." my oldest son said, deciding he needed to bring some sanity to this conversation and straighten us out with his knowledge of human anatomy.

I turned to silence him with an exaggerated wink, trying to tell him with mental telepathy that it's April Fool's day. His mouth formed an O and he smiled and looked back down at his homework.

"You know, you get to pick out the colors of the rubber bands," I said turning back to my youngest.

"Oh, so the rubber bands go on the outside then?"

"No. No, they have to go on the inside."

"Well then what's the point of colored rubber bands?"

"Oh, well they show up in color on the xray" I bluff.

"Oh. Oh. Oh my gosh. I can't believe it."

"When you have surgery on your knee, you won't be able to walk for about four weeks."

"WHAT?????" he shouted. "I will miss swimming in PE at school! FOUR WEEKS?? OH NO!! THAT'S NOT GOOD!!"

I looked over to my older two who were pretending to do their homework with the most ridiculous smirks on their faces, very much enjoying the scene.

Then my youngest son did something I didn't expect. He said, "Can I call Tali?" He asked to call a friend. My friend. He wanted to tell someone and he picked a friend of mine he knew would have a dramatic reaction. "Sure," I said, and handed him the phone. He blurted out the story to her. "My kneecap is not attached to my knee, I have to have surgery, I have to miss swimming, can you BELIEVE it?" I could hear her exclaiming and reacting on the other end of the phone. I turned away, laughing so hard that my body was shaking, tears ran down my face, and I was about to pee my pants.

"Here Mom, she wants to talk to you," he said handing me the phone.

"Hello" I said in a quiet and mostly controlled voice.

I pause. She pauses. "OH MY GOD ARE YOU CRYING??" she said.

"Noooo . . ." I said.

After she asked me a few confused questions answered by strangely monosyllabic muffled noises, she says "OH MY GOD IS THIS A JOKE? ARE YOU PLAYING AN APRIL FOOLS JOKE ON ME?" followed by a most hilarious belly laugh. I said, trying with all my will not to completely crack up, "Not you." She started to cackle, realizing what was going on. She was laughing so hard that I have to hang up because I couldn't hold it together. I went in the bathroom and tried to pull myself together. It didn't work very well. I was laughing and crying at the same time.

My older two sons had their heads determinedly down over their homework. They were wondering if I had completely lost it.

My youngest son has gone into his room. He reappeared in his basketball outfit. "What are you doing?" I asked.

"Going outside to play basketball. While I still can," he said.

"Listen, I want you to be careful with your knee! I don't want your kneecap to get out of position!" I warned him.

"MOM. Hello. I have had this for a long time. My kneecap has been just fine, I don't think anything is going to happen to it right now," and off he went.

Once he is out of ear shot, I tell my older boys "OK listen up."

"You— don't try to say anything to Dad when he gets home, you are not a good liar," I tell my middle son.

"You— make sure Dad sees the xray and you point to the kneecap and say 'that is NOT good' " I tell my oldest. They looked at me like I had lost my mind but were completely willing to play along.

Unfortunately, at this point I had to leave. I had something planned with some friends. I gave the boys dinner and instructions for showers and bed since I didn't know when my husband would be home from a late meeting.

I checked in with him later via text.

Are you home?

No, going to dinner. Just talked to boys, they are all fine.

Did you talk to Youngest?

Yes, seems happy.

? Good.

Why? Issues?

Knee issue.

I left it at that. I wondered, would he fall for this? I think maybe. But he was a trainer for a while in high school/college, he knows how a knee works. He is going to know something is not quite right. Right??

The next morning, as we are all got up, Youngest asks me "Did you tell Dad about my knee?"

"No, I thought you should tell him."

"Dad my kneecap is separated from my knee doctor called rubber bands surgery can't walk for four weeks!!"

My husband says, "For real? Not April Fools?"

Oh no, I thought. "Show Dad the xray." He ran to get it (knee seemed to be working on the stairs) and my oldest stepped into his role as they looked at the xray and pointed. I had to leave the room because I couldn't stop giggling. Luckily it looked more like I was crying.

"Oh wow," I heard my husband say, "look at that! Well I guess we know why his knee had been hurting."

His voice was serious. He was completely buying the story.

I was wracked by another bout of body-shaking laughter and hurried back into the bathroom to brush my teeth again.

My husband followed me into the bathroom. "Well he is going to have to learn how to use crutches! Wow, four weeks. He is going to drive you crazy for four weeks!"

"Oh I am going to leave town for those four weeks" I joked. I leaned over the sink, spitting toothpaste, to hide my contorted face. "I don't know, we need to get a second opinion," I mumbled.

Luckily, I was driving to school that morning and it was time to leave. I hustled the kids and headed out the door, trying to avoid any more conversation with my husband. My youngest asked if he could bring the xrays to school. I tell him he could.

On the way to school I tried to think. Can I let my son tell everyone at school that he has a damaged kneecap and needs surgery right before spring break? I try to think out the consequences of that. I decide that is not the best idea. But how to tell him?

He exploded from the car at drop-off, giant red envelope containing the xrays flapping as he sprinted toward his classroom. I parked and ran after him. I got to his classroom 30 seconds after him, and already the story was circulating.

I pulled him out of the class and asked him to come sit with me on the bench outside. I had to stop this.

Or did I?

I looked at him with as much seriousness as I could muster. "Youngest," I say. "I have to tell you something."

He took a deep breath. "What?"

"April Fools."


He stared straight ahead, and took another deep breath. Those wheels were turning in his brain at lightening speed. A moment later, the corner of his mouth twitched just a bit. Then, as the realization of all the ramifications dawns on him, a huge smile spread across his face.

"I want you to know that your knee is fine. Your kneecap is SUPPOSED to be disconnected from your knee. Your xray is completely normal. But you can keep the story going. Dad completely believes that you need to have surgery."

A maniacal grin on his face, he pulled out the xray and ran back to his classroom, saying "YEAH! I'm going to keep it going!"

So now the joke was on my husband. His day was full of stressful meetings. I know in the back of his mind he was wondering what to do about this surgery.

Later in the day he got an email from our son's school. It said they are concerned about Youngest potentially missing so much school and that we need to think carefully about how to time this.

My husband worked late and got home after the boys went to bed that night.

This morning my son, enjoying his acting role, told my husband that he was worried about his knee. My husband reassured him, telling him how arthroscopic surgery works, how his grandfather had a knee replacement, how many people have knee surgery and it all works out just fine. My son managed to take this all in and look concerned. He gave me a sly smile. He was enjoying this. Then my husband started asking me what doctor I thought we should go to, listing all kinds of names of doctors that specialize in this and that. All I could do was shrug my shoulders.

I couldn't stand it anymore. This had to end. I said to my son, "Tell Dad where the very best doctor who does this kind of surgery is."

"What?" he says with perfect innocence. "Oh yeah. Mom said the best doctor is in Hawaii."

He is so convincing that my husband does not catch a clue. "Hmm," he said. "I'm sure there are plenty of good doctors around here."

I pull my son over and whisper to him, "You have to end it. Now."

"So Dad. About my knee. About the xray."

"Yes?" he said, taking a sip of coffee.

"April Fools."


My friend Tali predicted that he would kill me. That our marriage would be in jeopardy.

Instead, there was no reaction.

"Gee, your reaction is a little disappointing," I pointed out.

"Well," he said. "I am going through all the people in my mind that I told yesterday about the knee surgery. I'm trying to remember them all. It's at least five or six, maybe more, I'm not sure."

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Texting Aspirations

I sent my husband the follow text yesterday:

Seems you should have married an organizational secretary with a taxi medallion who lives only to serve others.

This was after a testy phone conversation during which we were both driving kids around: he to go pick up one son from a friend's house where he was enjoying what I thought was an afternoon with no practice of any kind. I was going from dropping off one son at his baseball game, another at soccer practice 25 minutes away, only to return to the baseball field where big fat rain drops sent all adults to shelter and all kids out to field to dance (hey they are nine and ten years old). He was accusing me of being unorganized, I was accusing him of . . . well, of . . . I don't know. Maybe over-scheduling. I was just sick and tired of driving around.

I admit it. I am not the most organized person in the world. And I never will be. I am my father's daughter, he of aspirations to organization that include making lists of lists, he the son of the woman who organized by hiding things and had an encyclopedic memory of every piece of ephemera she possessed. I am organized, just in my own fashion. It works most, but not all, of the time.

I did not have baseball practice on my calendar for my middle son and so I let him go hang out with a friend. My husband, who is one of the coaches the baseball team, insisted that we talked about the practice that morning. He has not learned after eighteen years of marriage that I don't process any verbal instructions when I am not fully awake and uncaffeinated. And by the way if it's not on my calendar it simply does not exist.

So he rushed to retrieve that son and then back to practice while I shuttled the others to their events. Then the rain drops came. The baseball game, which has progressed through the first inning, came to a temporary halt. The overly optimistic umpires and coaches called for a 10 minute wait, while I stood around impatiently, getting soaked. When they finally came to the realization that the rain was not going to stop any time soon, the game was officially ended. At another location, the practice that my husband had made such an effort to get to was mostly rained out. I think they hit a few balls in the cage then stood around waiting for the weather to stop too. Meanwhile, 20 minutes away my older son was at soccer practice. I had a mental image of him playing in the rain, while his backpack with dry sweatshirt and phone sat on a wet field getting soaked. Turns out that was a premonition.

We all got back home, where everyone was hungry, wet and cold and wanting someone to make dinner for them, including me. I didn't have making dinner on my calendar. So it didn't exist.