This is how I found Trooper's hand print reindeer antlers. He had snipped off each fingertip and left it all on the plate for Santa. This was some time before he sprinkled cayenne pepper on his dad's desert while dad was in the bathroom. I admit that I've been irritated with this child for most of the day for one reason or another, but these stunts had me laughing. In secret, of course. You can't let a kid know you think things like this are funny or its all over.
I was boiling some Penne to eat with sautéed vegetables when Trooper came in to help. Since I needed some space around the skillet, I asked him to tend the noodles. He graciously obliged, moving his stool over to stir the Penne so it wouldn't stick.
Well, I looked over and he was about to add another noodle to the pot, which had already been boiling for several minutes. "No, don't put that in there," I said. "It won't be cooked enough when the others are done, and it'll be tough."
"But Mom, his mom is in there!"
I cut my eyes at him. "His mom can be in that measuring cup. Put him and his family in there, but don't put them in the pot."
He sadly turned from the pot and began playing with dry noodles in the measuring cup.
For a minute.
I turned from the sink to find him quickly dropping one noodle into the bubbling pot. "Trooper! Leave the kitchen! I just told you not to put that in there."
"But Mom, he needs his mom! He's with his mom, now. They're hugging! Listen, can you hear that? That's them hugging."
How could I respond to that? How could I make him leave the kitchen, when even baby noodle got to be with his mom? So, instead of following through, I hid my laugh and sighed at my own weak will.
I had to smile when Trooper prayed for me to have 'a piece of quiet' one night, and add an 'amen' in the hope that it would actually work. I used to think I was a patient person.
Despite my ever growing conviction that I have no idea what I'm doing with this wild spark of a child, and a persistent fatigue of mind and spirit, there has also been laughter. For example:
In our bathroom we have a vanity that breaks up the reflection into three distinct parts, two of which are large enough to see face and shoulders clearly. The third and lowest mirror is little more than a narrow strip of decorative glass, not intended for practical use. The other day I was doing something at the bathroom sink, and Trooper was, of course, in there with me. He was trying to talk to me, but he began to get frustrated. "I can't see my face!" he complained, moving around to try and find a way to meet my eyes in the mirror.
In a moment of evil genius, I gasped in alarm. "Oh, no! It's gone!"
Trooper shrieked, "What?!" He jumped up and down, grabbing at his face in a panicked attempt to find it. For just a moment he was terrified that he had somehow lost his beautiful, googly-eyed face, and instead of feeling bad about my little prank, I laughed my head off.
Soon after breakfast one morning, Trooper was, as usual, causing some sort of mayhem or another. I, as usual, repeated some sort of instruction or another as I was walking by him. I don't know if his sudden gagging fit was in response to my instruction, or if he just randomly had a flashback to his time on the Star Destroyer, but before he could fall to the floor in feigned Darth Vader strangulation, his gagging triggered a real gag. I heard the difference in the sound and turned around to see if he was ok, but I shouldn't have worried. He was chewing away, and when he met my eye he said, "I'm back to eating my egg."
Trooper and Jonathan were playing a game where they pretend to snatch pieces of each other's faces and eat them or trade them. Trooper grabbed Jonathan's beard to 'steal' it, and Jonathan said, "Don't pull on my beard, I need it to hold on my 'yips' ('lips' in Trooperish)."
Trooper smiled, but I interrupted the game with this philosophical question: "Trooper, what's holding on your lips?"
His smile faded into a confused frown as his hands left Jonathan's face and began prodding his own mouth. "I don’t know?" he said, pulling at his upper lip. "My mustache?"
I should be nicer.
Me: OK, go get dressed and I'm going to use the bathroom.
Trooper: Be careful. Don't stick your head in the toilette.
1. Trooper's plate was empty all but for two small biscuit crumbs. He pushed it toward me, saying, "It's almost all gone."
I nodded as I ate another bite of my own dinner, "Mhm."
He stared at me for a moment. "Can I have yours?"
"What?! We have more biscuit and gravy in the kitchen."
"But I thought we were gonna trade."
My eggs, biscuits, and sausage gravy for his two crumbs. And of course I gave it to him.
2. I was telling a friend about Trooper's flu shot last year, when he threatened the nurse, telling her he was coming back and his name is Clive White. My friend laughed, and said, "What was he going to do to her?" And we moved on to talk about something else.
But then I heard Trooper saying something that caught my attention, and as I tuned in to him I heard him saying, "I swit her froat, shshsh, no, I just make her drink beer and die!"
Because apparently, sometimes violence is the answer.
Trooper on Trick or Treating:
After the first house, "OK, let's go back now."
On the way to the second house, "This is a disaster."
After the second house, "We have to go back to Miss Janet's house, now."
One minute later, "Come on, we came to get candy and we got a whole bunch of them!" (3 pieces)
Fifteen steps later, "Come on! We have to go back to talk to Miss Janet!"
And so on until we finally got into a small group with other kids. I told him I was sad that he doesn't like trick or treat, because it's one of his dad's and my favorite things. He said, "It's OK to be sad."
Trooper's story: When I was a little boy, I was a farmer. And then the chicken truck came and took away all my chickens.
Trooper on God's art: My favorite color is sunshine.
And I have some more for next week, and I'm itching to share them because they make me laugh every time I think about them. But you're going to have to wait. Love you too.
Hi, posting some pictures from the Korean festival we went to this weekend, and a related Trooper story. I think we tried a little of each food offered, and while some of them looked similar to (American) Chinese food (eggrolls, dumplings) they didn't taste like it. The flavor was very mild, almost bland to my spice-spoiled taste buds, and the filling was more squishy than what you'd find in Chinese. My favorite thing was a pancake-like fried bread that was stuffed with ground peanuts and something sweet, probably honey. Of course I would like the sweet food the best.
While we were there, we saw musical performances of both Korean folk songs and American songs, as well as a fan dance and a really cool martial arts demonstration from the local dojo. I recognized the man who was coordinating the kids in the martial arts segment; he was the one who gave me ice and paper towels for Trooper's split lip back when I tried getting him into tae kwon do. Trooper was a young three-year-old, and doesn't remember it, fortunately.
I hadn't started blogging then, or I would have written about that day. He didn't do well at all in the class, and it came to the point where he would sit and have a screaming fit the entire time. The last time I took him, we were coming back from the bathroom after calming down, and he was looking up at the trophies and displays while walking. Next thing I knew, he somehow tripped on the crack between tiles and fell forward. Back then he still hadn't mastered the art of putting his hands down when he fell (one of the things we had hoped he'd learn in tae kwon do), and he fell directly onto his face. His lip blew up like crazy and there was a hole where a tooth went into it as well as the split from the tile. Blood everywhere, and of course he started screaming again. So the nice dojo manager/teacher got us ice and paper towels. Trooper had already vomited there the week before (favorite super fit trick) so it wasn't the first time our class fees went to cleaning supplies instead of to instruction. I felt so self-conscious as I walked back to our seat to get our shoes and things. What if people thought I smacked him, and that was why he was oozing blood?
Yeah, that was a real tangent, but I'm sure you see how it's related. Overall, it was a nice festival with a surprisingly large turnout considering that it was hosted at a church building and not downtown, and it was especially cool because the proceeds went to charities overseas. We didn't get a lot of pictures, so I stole some nice ones from the facebook page. I hope that's not illegal or something.
Yeah, so it's been like a month and a half since I wrote any Trooper stories. Life has been dragging me along, but fortunately I've been scratching down notes on a paper by the fridge so when I got the chance I could put them down in sentence form for all you lovely readers. I think you'll like them.
1-2. Most of my notes are of little things, like the time I opened the fridge to find half a tub of cocoa powder mounded over the fresh apple crisp (turned out to be pretty good once I blew the excess off) and the morning Trooper had strangely green poop because the nurse had mistakenly served him slushy syrup when he was sick instead of Gatorade. This was in no way her fault, since the syrup was stored in Gatorade bottles and it was sitting on the counter near the medical notes and meds. But of course WE knew it was syrup and never thought about what someone else might assume... A lesson for us all.
3. Then there was the day that Jonathan fed the dog six chicken quarters worth of chicken fat and I said, "She's going to be up all night throwing up," and Jonathan said, "No she won't, if it makes her sick it'll happen before we go to bed," and I said, "No it won't, because it always happens in the middle of the night." And I was sure to say, "I told you this would happen," when the nurse woke me to tell me that the dog had pooped all over Trooper's floor.
The good news: Trooper's floor is hardwood and Trooper is a sound night time sleeper.
The bad news: The nurse wasn't kidding, it was ALL OVER the floor and it was INCREDIBLY rank, like, you can't even imagine how rank it was.
More good news: My husband has a hard-working conscience and he got up to clean the worst of it, so all I had to do was the final spray and scrub. Well, that and haul out the plastic bags of rancid intestinal discharge as he filled them.
Oh, and I should note that my 'I told you so' wasn't really valid because I had predicted vomit, not crap. But really, who's keeping track of details? I should also note that this isn't actually a Trooper story since all he did was sit up for a brief moment and then crash at the opposite end of his bed when I told him to go back to sleep.
4. Part of my being 'dragged along by life' has resulted in less attention to Trooper's skin care. There are so many life-threatening details that can't be overlooked that sometimes oil can seem relatively inane, but I knew it had gone too far when one day during school Trooper pointed to his leg and said, "Look, Mom, a giraffe!" And sure enough, there were some white scratchy looking marks that looked very much like a giraffe's legs, body, and extended neck.
5. Then there was just last week when I took Trooper to a Bridal Shower Pounding (not a good idea, I know, but it was that or not go at all), where I might or might not have brought the bride's kitchen products in a Walmart bag instead of a gift bag. It was groceries, who knew it was supposed to be in a gift bag? Hypothetically speaking, I mean. Anyway, Trooper kept licking my arm to get my attention, and I kept making him stand behind my chair so he wouldn't be so distracting. Then--and here's the kicker--he heard me refer to my soup as 'thicker' than the other soup. I guess this was a new word for him, at least in that context, and he got overly excited about it. He started saying (loudly) "It's ficker, it's ficker!". Only the 'i' didn't sound like an 'i', if you know what I mean.
The following is two Trooper stories that I wrote while we were in Ohio a few weeks ago, with a couple of follow up notes. I imagine you'll enjoy.
"For a while, the only thing I had to post was a brief story of Trooper taking apart the screen door and hiding the bolt in the dehumidifier, and I didn't really want to post just that. I'm not sure why he was being more 'normal' for a while, but the good news is that we're back to OUR normal. Trooper has been spending a lot of time with my family in Ohio, which is kind of bad in that he's learning all kinds of new mischief, but good because he loves it. Anyway, it's hilarious, so I'm not complaining. Now, if you ask him his name he'll probably answer 'Hubbabubba'. Today I said, "What about Clive White?" and he said, "No, Clive Blue." We went to see the Minion Movie, another bad influence, and I watched him watch the movie as much as I watched it myself. He was so excited that his mouth was smiling open wide and his arms were just flapping and waving all around. It was true love."
"Last night at a Chinese takeout place he was trying to steal the duck sauce from my mom's table and had us all laughing at the competition, and then he said, "Look, a dump truck!" He was so excited about it passing the window that everyone just had to look. And that's when he snagged the duck sauce and ran away with it. I'm not completely convinced that the entire thing was planned--more likely he really was excited by the truck and only thought to steal the sauce when everyone had looked away--but I wouldn't put it past him."
My favorite, favorite thing he did or said was when we were all sitting at a picnic table eating breakfast and having a lively conversation and he said, "I don't eat monsters. They get stuck in my teeth."
When we got home, I was talking to my mom on the phone and she told me that in the hustle and bustle of loading up the car and leaving their house, he had managed to turn on every light in their bedroom and bathroom (he'd been harassing her by turning on lights the entire time we were there) and then locked the door so they couldn't get in. As I began apologizing, my mom laughed and said it was OK, it had given them a good laugh and something else to remember him by.
Please make sure you read all the way to the end. It's definitely worth your time. Not as bad as the raw chicken story, but the same sort of thing.
-Me: Look, there's a moth in the corner.
Trooper: Ooh, can I touch it?
Me: Sure, you can try.
Trooper: Can I eat it?
-A library book sparked a conversation about slavery in the U.S., and as I did my best to explain things on a four-year-old level, Trooper seemed to experience an appropriate amount of incredulity. He asked questions like, 'Why white people kidnap black people?' and 'Why they make them work?' When I thought he was grasping it all as well as he could at his current level of development, he asked, "What about me?"
Well if that isn't a heartbreaking question, I don't think there is one. I answered, "No, not you, honey. That was a long time ago." Of course, five years ago was a long time ago to him, so that was a pretty vague answer, but it was the best I could come up with on the fly.
He said, "Oh. What about Santa Claus?"
-I came in from my morning walk and Jonathan was standing over last night's oily frying pan, pointing at it while he gave me a 'look-what-your-son-did' look.
He lifted the pan so I could see the Noise Putty that had been 'frying'.
-Our friend, Jenn, was over for lunch, and while I was getting stuff from the kitchen and she was in the bathroom, Trooper apparently raided her purse. On her way back from the bathroom, she told me that she had found something of hers in the hallway, right about the same time Trooper came to me and asked if I would wash his glasses. It turned out that Trooper had taken a wide, fat chapstick and smeared it over his lenses.
But that's not the end of the story. Later, after Jenn had gone, Trooper told me what else he had done with the chapstick. It went something like this, "Mommy, I put Miss Jenn's deodorant on like this," as he mimed rolling a deodorant stick under his arm. "And I put it on my face. It was spicy."
Tell the boy he doesn't have to eat breakfast if he doesn't want to. Listen to the boy whine about everything because he's hungry but doesn't want to say so. Encourage him to at least eat some strawberries. Keep him from drying up the city of Dover while he's washing the strawberries. Tell him he needs to get pants on because we're going outside. Argue with him off and on for twenty minutes about putting those pants on and cleaning up his trucks. Waste ten or fifteen minutes trying to send an encouraging email to a troubled friend because the internet isn't working. Answer the door while the boy is still not wearing any pants. Let the boy wear plaid shorts that clash with his shirt and striped socks that would clash with pretty much anything. Learn that the AC repairmen are going to arrive in 20 minutes and scrap all plans of going outside any time soon. Vacuum the floor and close all doors to the messier rooms. Set the repairmen to work and then wash dishes so they don't think it's always this big of a disaster. Spend fifteen minutes folding one load of laundry because the boy is 'helping'. Keep the boy from drying up Camden's water reserves when he's 'washing' the strawberry bowl. Answer a call from sick friend while fending off the child. Read books with the boy. Answer the door again, this time to a stranger. Clean up the Jello the boy spilled in the fridge at some point during the morning. Work outside in the yard until the sun gets to me and it's time for lunch. Help the boy cook himself an egg. Clean up the third of an egg that somehow ended up on the stove and floor. Eat lunch together. Decide that the boy has been uncooperative enough (lots of little things) that he doesn't get a trip to the park. Let him earn the possibility of a trip back by putting things away after lunch. Have a problem with him getting into the magazines at the grocery and skip the trip to the park. Suffer a mild injury to my upper arm when the boy's elbow goes between the muscles during cuddle time. It's an accident, but so painful that between that and the added frustrations of the day, I have a crying fest. The crying fest is cut short by someone at the door. It's the Verizon man, an hour before he's supposed to arrive. Sop up my tears and let him in. Call the husband home to talk to him because I don't know what the heck is going on with the internet anyway. Deal with boy, Verizon, and phone calls for an hour until I abandon them all and take a nap. The rest of the day goes more or less normally, aside from the boy crying because he lost movie privileges. Clean up more Jello, this time in the fridge and on the floor. Play cards with him. Get a phone-tree notification at 8:45pm, and decide that I could get a couple of my calls in before 9pm even though Jonathan is already busy on another call and I know the boy will drive me crazy. Make calls while being made crazy. Watch as the boy dances on his collapse-able stool while grabbing my arm and somehow collapses it under himself. Hang up on friend and pray the boy's lung hasn't collapsed as well. Breathe a sigh of relief when he starts breathing on his own and doesn't have to be ventilated. Get him ready for bed and clean up the mess he made in his room while not watching a movie. Congratulate myself when he falls to sleep almost instantly, probably because he's exhausted from spending so much of the day with his hands over his head, which is our 'active' version of time out, since the last thing he needs is to build up more energy by sitting still.
I feel bad for anyone who actually read this, but I feel much better after spilling it all out onto virtual paper. When compared to friends who are struggling with cancer, divorce, unemployment, and depression, my bad day is nothing, and I know it. But it's MY bad day, and I still need to get past it so I can start over tomorrow. Then I can get started on that insurance application. Won't that be fun.
1. One of Trooper's speech therapy homework questions was, 'What might a lady wear on her face?'
His answer, "A pretend mustache like at Easter time. That was funny."
If I owned make-up he would probably know what it is, but hey, when his teacher asked, "Who helps you check out books?" he was able to spontaneously answer 'the librarian', so he knows the important stuff.
2. I said, "Trooper, leave the oven door alone. You know you aren't supposed to play with it."
Trooper answered, "But Mom, I need to let fresh air in."
It turns out he had put a mango in there and he felt he needed to keep an eye on it. Once I realized what he'd done, I told him to put the mango in the fridge. A minute later I followed up with him. The fridge was open and the mango had escaped, rolling under the fridge door far enough away that Trooper couldn't reach it without going around the door, which of course he didn't do. Instead, he was lying on the floor with his arm under the door, trying to reach the mango with his fingertips.
Without him knowing I had seen, I asked, "Is in the fridge?"
3. Grandma White was visiting, and she and Trooper were talking in the living room. Trooper said, "You silly goose!"
"I'm not a goose," Grandma said.
Trooper thought that was hilarious. "No, you're a duck!" And then he must have called her 'duck' a few dozen times over the course of the day. I told her that from what I understand, 'duck' is a term of endearment in the UK.
4. In speech therapy, a question in the game was, 'What do bees do with flowers?'.
Trooper's answer, "They do pollination."
His therapist was at a loss for words for a moment, and then she congratulated him and said something about them also making honey (which of course he knows). Just don't ask him to identify the letters of the alphabet.
Hello! Thanks for visiting my blog! Around here you'll find posts about my books, my family, our intercultural experiences, and things interracial.