The Big DumpTruck

Throwing Little Thought Pebbles at Your Windshield Since 1996

Category: parenting

Adventures in Bunnysitting

A week and a half ago, baby bunnies became part of the family when Mama Bunny lost her mind and created a nest next to the house within the fenced in backyard my dog uses as his personal Rest Area.

Maple Barn Photography: Bunnies &emdash;

We discovered the nest after Phantom discovered the nest, which was a Very Bad Thing. But three babies remained and we kept a close watch on the nest, wondering when they would be big enough to leave the nest so we wouldn’t have to supervise the dog.

I checked on them on Father’s Day, using a yardstick to move the covering so my smell wouldn’t be near them. I counted three that day. One night Phantom chased the mom across the yard, and I nearly had a heart attack. 

Yesterday, Michael and I were returning home from an errand and saw an adult rabbit had been killed by a car on a fairly busy street very close to ours. My heart sunk, because I just knew it was the mother. I had no proof, but I assumed that was the end of my not being involved.

A friend provinces a link to a website for dealing with sick and injured animals in Mass, and I called one of the numbers. I was referred to a 2nd person who gave us advise for determining if the mom had been to the nest to nurse at the regular dawn and dusk times. We put the string on top and prayed it would be disturbed by her when we checked it, but unfortunately, it was pretty clear she had missed the two feedings. 

I called back the woman [licensed by the state to] take in abandoned baby animals and arranged to drop off our bunnies. It was wonderful to see them out of the nest, and know this woman would release them in few weeks when they can survive on their own. She said we can come back to visit, so I plan to, with cash to cover their Timothy hay and formula bill. 

We also got to pet a baby possum and see the 8 woodchucks and 3 squirrels she’s currently fostering. God bless this lady and her animal-loving heart! 

I have a few videos for the past 1.5 weeks, including the handoff, at my photography website, Maple Barn Photo.

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Countdown to Vacation

I’m so very ready for my vacation. I’ve had enough of work, and of stuff going on outside of work. The way things have been going, I assume while I’m away my home will be destroyed by a bus-sized chunk of blue “airplane ice.”

But I shall take my chances and hope Captain Stubing steers away from any hurricanes we stumble upon, and I’ll give my now adult son <gasp> the keys to the swinging singles pad, with the assumption it won’t be overrun with garbage and vermin by the time I return. 

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Time to Think About My Major

When my son was very little he became alarmed while watching An Extremely Goofy Movie. That’s the one where Goofy’s son Max (wait, we’ll get back to the fact that Goofy reproduced later) is going to college. My son went into a complete panic at the thought that he’d have to leave home and go to college. At the time, he had probably just started elementary school (there may even be a post on the subject somewhere from when it happened) so I didn’t even think he knew what college was. But he did understand that you moved away from home and lived at the school, thanks to the movie. And he hated the idea.

So he asked me, tearily, if he would have to go to college. I said that I thought he would want to, but that if it would make him happy, I would go to college with him and be his roommate. He was very happy with this, and dropped the subject completely. (See, parents, sometimes when they are little, it isn’t about being honest with them, it’s about making them feel like you won’t ever put them in a scary situation alone.)

Anyway, I’m a woman of my word and he graduates high school in 2016, so he and I should probably sit down and start to talk about what schools we will apply to, and what my major should be.

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My Kid Razzle Dazzles ‘Em

My son starred as Billy Flynn in Chicago over the weekend. I took video of his three big numbers.

(Quality: taken with my iPhone from the back half of the theater, surprisingly not horrible, but not flawless.)

We Both Reached For The Gun (live, this number brought the house down)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ykkipCi-47E

Razzle Dazzle (This one is stuck in my head) http://youtu.be/J3heVAVjyuo

All I Care About Is Love
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M1ROEuy2WHU

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The Boy Wonder

My son, the actor. I like the way that sounds. A week or so ago he was nominated for an EMACT (Eastern Massachusetts Association of Community Theaters) DASH award. DASH stands for “Distinguished Achievement and Special Honors”. That sounds impressive, no? It is. I cried like little baby.

These are the Individual Performance categories. Michael, at 15, was nominated in the Best Youth Actor category, against every other under-18 boy in any production under consideration by EMACT.

http://www.emact.org/services/dash.asp

I’ve been in awe of my son’s talent for years now, but you always wonder if you’re just blinded by being his parent. This is independent confirmation that I’m not one of those American Idol moms at auditions telling her tone-deaf child “they don’t know talent when they see it!” When I say he’s really very good, I am not the only one who thinks so.

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Avoid Emergencies!

My son left his phone at home today. I spotted it in the bathroom after he’d left for the bus, and I felt the cold dread on someone who would go fetal in the same situation.

He texted me with minutes from a friend’s phone as I was getting in the car and asked me to bring it to the high school.

“You don’t need it anyway.”
“I like to have it in case of emergency.”
“Use the phone in the office in case of emergency.”

Wise words followed, that I’d like him to live by every day:

“I’ll just be every careful to not cause or be in an emergency.”

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Things We Said at KFC

My kid and I stopped by KFC in town. They normally suck at a molecular level when you go inside, so we tried the drive-through.

Here are some things actually said in the car during our adventure.

  • How does “grilled” anything serve as a valid substitute for extra crispy?”
  • How many legs and thighs do you need to order to equal the meat in a 2-piece breast meal?
  • Oh my God, the woman working the drive thru window is walking across the parking lot!
  • We’re going to be sitting here the rest of our lives. “So, what’s it like, living in a KFC parking lot?”
  • She’s taking so long they’re going to run out of legs. At that point, I’m going to kill her.
  • You could stab her in the neck with a soldering iron. And then turn it on.
  • Best worst wait ever.

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The Never-Ending Battle Against Evil

There are many battles that are fought on an hourly or daily basis in my life. The battle to get out of bed in the morning. The battle to get my kid to do his homework. Or acknowledge that he even has homework, which is actually step zero to battling him to do his homework. Or the battle to stop leaving socks in the living room. Or to stop using the laundry basket to store clean clothes.

But the most stupid ongoing battle in my house? Put the jar of pasta sauce in the fridge after you are done with it. Look, that’s a $2.50 jar of sauce and we only used half of it, and if you don’t put the leftovers in the fridge our $4 dinner turns into a $5.50 dinner and I CAN’T HAVE THIS HAPPEN OVER AND OVER AGAIN LIKE SOME FREAKISH RAGU-BRANDED NIGHTMARE!

So, I’m not saying this post was triggered by anything in particular, but there is an open jar of sauce on the counter and I think you know what that means. War.

Quick, someone send me a disguise kit, some C-5 (C-4 isn’t enough for this task) and a bag of that margarita mix that you just put in the freezer and then a couple of hours later you totally have a bag full of frozen happiness. I have to go battle some evil.

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Showbiz

My son, the previously mentioned 13-year-old who owns all the socks festooning my home, is an actor. He gets this from his father. I tried to act in high school. My God, I wanted to be a great actress so badly I could taste it. I took theater as an elective and I tried out for all the class plays and the musicals. I was never more than chorus in the musicals, and was only cast in one of the class plays. I still remember one of my lines from it, and I’m not even going to mention how many years it’s been.

Water, water in the kitchen
All around the sink
But you are in the living room
And not a drop to drink.

I played Lettie, an insane poet. It was a murder mystery. I’ll give you two guesses which insane poet was the murderer.

I don’t know that I did a good job. I made people laugh, but that’s because I was the comic relief. I’m pretty sure I spent a lot of the play wearing a shiny yellow raincoat. I don’t think I screwed anything up so badly that I destroyed the production, but I probably chewed on quite a bit of scenery. I think I’d be a much better actress now, because I understand how it’s supposed to work, if someone wants to give me a chance. I’d prefer not to be typecast as a psycho poet, but I’m sure if you happened to SEE me in that production, you might be tempted.

Where was I going with this? Oh, I was discussing my son, whose father used to have an Equity card . He is the tree from which this apple fell. The boy has the lead in one musical (The Sound of Music) and a supporting role (with 4 songs) in another (13: The Musical). He memorizes lines like there’s no tomorrow; another difference between us. (This paragraph could use more parenthesis.) He played Scrooge in the Middle school production of A Christmas Carol and was really good. And I’m not just saying that. Well, I did just say it, but I meant it, you know?

There are rehearsals for one or more shows 5-6 days a week. Tomorrow, he has SoM rehearsal from 9-11 and 13 rehearsal from 1:30-5, which is actually nice because it was supposed to be 12-5 and the drive between rehearsals is about 35 minutes. He’s at 13 rehearsals until 10pm tonight. This child is BUSY.

I can’t wait until he starts getting paid the big bucks for acting because I would REALLY like a house down on the Cape. Maybe something that looks like a castle with turrets and ramparts and whatever else a castle has. But made of glass so I can see the ocean. Ya, that sounds practical! Well, except for the bathroom. Maybe we can have real walls for the bathroom. But everything else should be glass. I don’t want an obstructed view. Also, he’ll have to make enough money for us to invest heavily in Windex. I’m just sayin’.

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Hope for Parents of a Fussy Eater

Hi, my name is Jody and I am the parent of a recovering fussy eater.

For years, my son would only eat one or two foods. Those foods would change over the years: where once he would only eat chicken fingers, he switched over to pasta with red sauce and never wanted chicken fingers ever again. He basically loved beige foods: chicken nuggets/fingers, french fries, dinner rolls, apple sauce, bananas, green grapes, dry Cheerios, toaster waffles, pancakes. All beige/yellow. All carbs (excepts, I guess, for the chicken, but really, processed chicken is probably more a carb than a protein.)

The boy was breast-fed (for 11 months), made the transition to solid foods at the normal time. He’d eat anything. Green goo, orange goo…it was all good. He loved his rice cereal mixed with apple sauce. To the point where he had it for breakfast every day for about 4-5 years, until he made the switch to toaster waffles, where he stayed until they discontinued his favorite brand a few years ago.

When he was being fussy, we worried and took him to the doctor. He was off the charts for height and weight (but in proportion) for his age, ate a ton of fruit, and only had red sauce (tomatoes) on his pasta, so the doctor declared he was actually a pretty healthy eater, all things considered. So he told us not to stress about it, because making food a source of stress is never a healthy thing to do. So we didn’t.

My son didn’t like hamburgers or meatballs until he was about 10. Then he loved them. He suddenly started loving salad with Italian dressing. No creamy dressings. Nothing creamy. In general, he rejected all dairy as something he didn’t like. We later learned he’s lactose intolerant, but seriously, when we went out for ice cream he would pick sorbet because that’s what he wanted.

I remember going to Disney with him when he was four, and planning every meal around whether or not the restaurant could serve pasta marinara. Any restaurant that has ANY kind of pasta dish can usually pull it off. Disney is the greatest place to take people with food allergies, etc., because they go so far above and beyond to make sure there’s something for you to eat. I will ALWAYS remember we went to the buffet at Crystal Palace and they only had mac and cheese on the buffet. Our server went down Main Street to Tony’s Town Hall restaurant to fetch my son a plate of pasta with sauce. (My friends, THIS is why Disney rocks my world.)

We had heard people say their kids outgrew being fussy eaters, but when you live with one for 10+ years, you start to think maybe they just meants small changes; and quite frankly, those were welcome. He added steak to his list of okay foods, which opened up a LOT of restaurants. Hell, even adding burgers did that.

But then something happened last spring. He was 12, and we were again at Disney, traveling with my sister’s family. My sister’s kids were always bottomless pits for trying new things. My BIL had a hard time understanding why we couldn’t just force my son to eat new things. He never lived with a fussy child so I suppose I shouldn’t have expected him to understand.  Prior to the trip my son and I talked about the restaurants we’d be visiting, and my son declared he’d use this trip to “try new things”. I thought that was a great idea.

What happened during that trip was that I had to start a log of all the new foods he’d tried, because nobody could believe it. Sushi (he loved), scallops (he loved), bison (he loved), etc. etc.  There was NOTHING he wouldn’t try. We were all floored. And then it continued. He went on a trip with his father and tried pot roast and lamp chops – loved both. He continued the trend by ordering things even I thought he wouldn’t like. Trout at Longhorn Steakhouse. On another trip this past January, he ended up trying 4 different kinds of new fish (flounder, mahi-mahi, smoked salmon). He’s since ordered mahi-mahi at the local Mexican place. He orders these dishes and cleans his plate. Last Saturday we went to a Tapas place in Waltham and he tried everything – including a cold crab and mango salad, a shrimp and lobster ravioli, ceviche, duck, an onion and potato omelette and goat cheese. He loved almost everything he tried. He’s starting to freak me out! He orders his burgers (previously plain only, not even ketchup on them) with onions, pickles and mustard! He’s also become quite the expensive date compared to the days of chicken fingers and ziti with marinara sauce. But my God, the options for restaurants!

I’m not saying this will happen to every fussy eater; my son may have be a statistical aberration. But his father is now officially fussier than he is, and food is no longer the biggest issue in our house. It’s really a different world now.

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