Monday, March 31, 2008

Just Checking

My little boy Benjamin.

He came home from school today and jumped into my lap for some cuddle time. He gave me big hugs and was just as sweet as can be. I tickled his toes and he laughed beautifully. His smile lit up my bedroom better than the sun shining in my window. He has undergone a huge change in the past ten days. It’s truly amazing.

I’m not kidding myself. I know it might not last. But I’m going to take it while I’ve got it and enjoy every minute of it. Why throw out the good now because of the possibility of a bad some day?

I realized after dinner that we were out of milk, so I decided to go to Walmart to get some since Mike was working late. I took Ben with me and left the other kids with Josh and Rhiana. On the way there, Ben was just chatting away about his day. He told me how he didn’t lose any cards at school. He also said that he was doing really good with his stealing, and he hasn’t stolen anything today.

Then, what he said blew me away.

He said, "But you’d love me anyway, right Mom? Even if I did steal? Even when I’m bad, you love me anyway? Cause I’m your baby, right, Mom? And you’ll always love me no matter what, right?"

I said, "Absolutely, Benny Bob. I’ll love you always and forever, no matter what!"

He said, "And you won’t ever leave me, will you Mom? You’ll always be my Mom, right?"

I said, "You betcha’ Benny Bob. I’m your Mommy, always and forever. I’ll never leave you. You’ll always be my baby."

"Even when I’m big, Mom? Even when I’m a big boy? I’ll still be your baby then?"

"Yep. You’ll still be my baby no matter how big you get. Part of you will always be my baby."
"Okay, Mom," Ben said. "I was just checkin’."

I’m so thankful that he finally trusts me enough to check.

Sunday, March 30, 2008


Okay...see if this makes sense to you....

Ben just came running in from outside shouting, "Mom!!! Mom!!!! Gabby said she’s gonna tell on me! Tell her she can’t tell on me!"

I looked at him, trying to stifle a giggle at the obvious. "Ben," I said, "what is Gabby going to tattle on you for?"

"She said she’s gonna tell on me for riding my bike through her sidewalk chalk. That’s all I did. Just rode my bike through her sidewalk chalk! And she said she’s gonna tell. I told her we’re not supposed to tattle!"


I sighed. "Well, Ben...maybe if you don’t ride your bike through her sidewalk chalk, she won’t be able to tattle."

Ben strained to understand this logic, then said, "Well, but you said we’re not supposed to tattle. So can I tell her not to tattle?"

"Sure, Ben. Tell her she doesn’t need to tattle because you already tattled on yourself. Now keep your bike off of her sidewalk chalk."

"Thanks, Mom!" Ben runs for the door, yelling, "Gabbby, I told Mom you were gonna tattle....and I was right....we’re not supposed to tattle!!!"

Ironic, isn’t it?

The Carnivoy is Gonna Get Me!

Ben was taking a bath. Suddenly, I heard him yell, "Mom! Mom! Come quick!"

Luckily, I wasn’t far away, so I ran to the bathroom very quickly. I saw Ben, standing naked in the tub, soapy bubbles all over him from head to toe. Baxter, our cat, was standing up on his hind legs, one front paw up on the edge of the tub, the other paw reaching out to Benjamin’ know.

Benjamin backed up as far as he could, and kept putting his scrubby down in front of know.....trying to keep Baxter from swatting it. I tried hard not to laugh.

Stifling a laugh, I said, "What’s wrong, Ben?"

He said, "Mom, the carnivoy is trying to get me!"


Confused, I said, "What’s trying to get you, Ben?"

Again, he said, "The carnivoy is trying to get me!"

I asked, "Baxter? Do you mean Baxter?"

He said, "Yeah! Baxter is a carnivoy! Our teacher said cats are carnivoys and they eat meat!"

Laughing, I said, "You mean carnivore?"

"Yeah," he replied, "A carnivore! Baxter is a carnivore and he’s gonna get me!"

Baxter once again reached for Ben’ know.....and swatted.

"Ahhhhhh!!!" Ben yelled. I went into the bathroom, picked up the wild carnivore and put him in the hallway. Relieved, Ben sat down.

"Thanks!" he said. "I thought that carnivoy was going to eat my meat for sure!"

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Faith Warrior CJ

Tonight, CJ was in rare form. Although he might possibly have two broken fingers, this has done little to squelch his excitement at having a splint and a sling.

This evening, CJ walked up to Mike and said, "Dad, you’re a faithful warrior. Just like me. I’m a faithful warrior, too."

Mike looked up from his computer and said, "I am, huh?"

CJ said, "Yep. A faithful warrior needs help sometimes. Help and rest. Just like me."

Mike just sort of looked at him like he was trying to figure this comment out. I was also trying to figure this comment out.

CJ then said, "Yep. I’m a faithful warrior. No, a man! A faithful man! A man needs help and rest. Just like me. Oh, well, I think I’ll go to bed. I’m a faithful man that needs help and rest."


Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Son or Pet? You Decide.

*Our cat pulls out his hair. So does our son.
*Our dog loves doggie treats. So does our son.
*Birds like to steal shiny objects. So does our son.
*Our cat uses a litter box. So does our son.
*Our dog runs off if we’re not looking. So does our son.
*Our bird likes to chatter incessantly. So does our son.
*Our cat likes to eat bugs. So does our son.
*Dogs like to chew on things. So does our son.
*Male dogs sometimes pee on people. So does our son.
*Birds put everything in their mouth. So does our son.
*Cats scratch when they are angry. So does our son.
*Cats jump over gates and climb on furniture. So does our son.
*Viscious dogs scare people. So does our son.
*Nice dogs like to lick you. So does our son.
*Cats like to rub their face on you. So does our son.
*Our bird tends to scatter his food everywhere. So does our son.
*Dogs sometimes pee on the carpet. So does our son.
*Some dogs bite. So does our son.
*Dogs growl. So does our son.
*Cats meow. So does our son.
*Our dog likes to hump our cat. So does our.....I think I’ll stop now.

Friday, March 21, 2008

Reparenting Ben

Well, back to the drawing board.

Most of my blogs are funny....this one is not one of those. So, if you’re looking for a might want to skip this one. If you’re looking for bare emotion.....this is the blog for you.

Why is it that as soon as you feel like you’re making progress with a RAD kid, you slide backward without warning? For whatever reason, that’s what has happened with Ben.

I think there must be something that triggered all of this. If we could figure out the trigger, I think we’d be able to get past it. Who knows how long that will take?

It’s so easy to get mad and just blame the kid when things like this happens. I mean, come on....what 7 year old pees in his closet? I know that Ben makes choices. However, I don’t think that Ben is in control of those choices. I don’t believe he chooses to live this way. Why would anyone choose to do that?

I can’t imagine how terrible he must feel inside his little head. What is it in his past that makes him want to pull out his hair, pee everywhere, and steal constantly? What is it that makes him hate himself so much? Why is it that he feels so unworthy of love that he can’t allow the little boy inside to be comforted?

So, we’re going back to square one. Ben told me last week that he wanted to be a baby again. Silly me....I should’ve listened to him right then and there. But I didn’t. Bad Mommy. So, what did he do? He showed me he wants to be a baby again by peeing in his room. That’s okay. I can handle a little bit of pee!

So, today, we went shopping.

We bought an octagonal shaped play yard to be Ben’s playpen. He loved it! When we were in the baby section looking for that, he saw baby toys and went wild! He wanted teething rings, rattles, little stuffed animals with chewable hands, and musical toys that toddlers usually love. He wanted baby wipes and diapers. He wanted baby cereal and toddler biter biscuits. And he wanted a little seahorse that lights up and plays lullabies.

What monsters haunt his dreams? What terrors reside in the recesses of his little mind? What memories make him feel so insecure that he feels like he must rely on himself alone? I can’t even imagine. But I do know one thing: if a little seahorse that lights up and plays soothing lullabies makes my baby boy feel calmer, safer, and comforted....well, it’s worth it to me. If holding my 7 year old baby in my lap and cuddling with him and talking baby talk to him makes him feel protected, then why wouldn’t I do that? If he needs a baby bottle to feel like his tummy will finally be filled, how can I not provide that for him?

I know this is unconventional. Those of you who read this who aren’t familiar with Reactive Attachment Disorder are probably thinking that I’m nuts. Maybe I am. But right now, I’m fighting for my baby boy’s life. I’m fighting for his future. I’m fighting for his self-worth. I’m fighting for HIM.

Some battles are waged with guns and bombs. Some are waged with fists. Some are waged with shouts and angry words. And some battles are waged with hugs, kisses, baby bottles, teething rings, and stuffed seahorses.

So, I’ll pick up my chosen weapons of war and ride into battle on a little blue seahorse that glows and softly plays a Pacobel tune.

After all, my Benjamin is worth fighting for.

your life your blog

School Communication Problem

Shouldn’t schools let you know if your 7 year old is suspended from school? You’d think so!!

We sent Ben to school this morning, only to get a phone call telling us that he got suspended yesterday for stabbing someone in the arm with a pencil. Luckily, the other kid had on a jacket and wasn’t injured. The lady who called seemed quite shocked that Ben had not voluntarily given us the form showing that he was suspended!

Is she new? Does she not know my son at all?!?

LOLOLOL...... Laugh or cry? Again, I choose laughter.

Off to go spend some quality time with my little warrior.....

The Weirdest Call From The School Nurse Ever



Hello. May I speak with Mrs. Gottlieb?

This is she.

Hi. This is the school nurse at Ben’s school. Is this a good time?

Oh, sure. How can I help you?

Well, Ben was in the office today, and I noticed that he has a large bald patch on the side of his head. Are you aware of this, Mrs. Gottlieb?

Why, yes, I am. It would be hard to miss, don’t you think?

Well, that’s true, Mrs. Gottlieb. However, I wanted to call to discuss this with you, as this is a very serious issue.

Well, thank you for taking the time to call me. I assure you, we are working on this problem.

Mrs. Gottlieb, I wanted to let you know that this is called trichotillomania. This is a medical condition that drives people to pull out their hair.

Yes, ma’am. I am aware of the condition seeing as how my son has it.

Okay. Well, I just wanted to make sure that you knew he has a bald spot. Also, I noticed he was actually eating his hair. This is also a symptom of trichotillomania.

Yes, ma’am. We are aware of the fact that Ben eats his hair after he pulls it out. He also likes to nibble on the skin from his fingers and toes.

Oh, my. His toes? I saw him picking at his fingers. Trichotillomania sufferers often pick at their skin, as well.

Yes, I know. It is apparently all tied up with his OCD.

Well, I did want to let you know that I sent some information to his regular classroom teacher, his PE teacher, and his music teacher about trichotillomania. I explained to them that this is a medical condition and not something he is doing to be stubborn, or to be a distraction in the classroom.

Thank you. I appreciate that. Yes, it is irritating when children get so stubborn that they pull their own hair out and eat it, isn’t it? It’s a good thing they won’t think Ben is just being stubborn.

I thought so. I wouldn’t want him to get into trouble for eating his hair in class.

Yes, that would be a shame.

Yes. I thought so. So anyway, like I said, I just wanted to make sure that you know that Ben has been pulling his hair out and eating it. Okay....have a great day!

You too. Thanks again for calling.


Help Wanted: Professional De-Urinator

Help Wanted: Professional De-Urinator
Mother of seven seeking a full-time pee cleaner upper. Must be willing to clean up pee at a moment’s notice. Pee may come from aging dog or seven year old boy. Most often, it’s the seven year old boy. The pee may be in a variety of places, some of which may require that you be able to flex your body in very unnatural ways to reach it. Reaching this pee may require that you be able to climb ladders or crawl on your tummy, as the seven year old boy seems to have made it his goal in life to apply pee in very unsual, and hard-to-reach places. This job requires that you own your own rubber gloves, and it is suggested that you obtain full haz-mat gear, including splash guards. These are particularly useful when opening ice cream tubs that have been filled with pee. Having no sense of smell makes this job much more enjoyable, but having an excellent sense of smell makes the search and deodorize missions far more successful. Responsibilities include: searching for pee, soaking up pee, wiping up pee, squeegying pee, deodorizing items that were peed on, laundering items that were peed on, and sometimes sniffing possible pee to determine if it is, in fact, pee. If you are a person who sees value in making the world smell better AND you have an almost non-existent gag reflex, this just could be the job for you! Salary commiserate with experience. Reference letters required. Excellent opportunities for advancement, seeing as how sometimes the seven year old boy likes to poop, too.

Monday, March 17, 2008

Things I Learned Before Breakfast

*Teenagers who are given the chance to make their own decision frequently make the wrong one.

*Buying your daughter a new pair of "dream shoes" is an excellent reward for keeping her room consistently clean for two weeks.

*When you try to hide surprise "dream shoes" in the closet, you will find out WHY her room has APPEARED so clean for two weeks.

*Nine year old girls cry and wail very loudly when they lose their "dream shoes" because they have piled dirty laundry and clean clothes together in the floor of their closet.

*Rolling a lint roller over your African American son’s hair as a joke, actually does help get the lint out.

*Eleven year old boys sometimes like to make their own breakfast.

*Eleven year old boys don’t always read directions when making their own breakfast.

*Pre-made sausage patties need to be microwaved BEFORE putting them on a biscuit....even if the biscuit is already hot.

*Eleven year old boys that bite into a frozen sausage patty will most likely spit it back out.

*If you charge your children $1 for each lie they tell, you can earn quite a bit of money from eleven year old boys in a fairly short amount of time.

*Even wonderful husbands that bring you flowers sometimes put trash bags in the floor instead of taking them straight out to the dumpster.

*Cats like to tear into trash bags that have old pork chops inside.

*Dogs like cats that tear into trash bags that have old pork chops inside.

*Pork chops bones are very sharp when you step on them with bare feet.

*Old, apparently incontinent dogs sometimes pee in the floor EVEN after they have been let out twice AND walked in the past hour.

*Although dog pee is warm when it comes out, it is shockingly cold when stepped in shortly thereafter.

*Without laboratory testing, there is virtually no way to tell if a puddle of pee belongs to the dog or your 7 year old son.

*Deciding it belongs to the dog, while possibly a false assumption, is sometimes the only way to protect your sanity.

*Spraying lavendar vanilla air freshener in a living room that smells like pee makes the living room smell like lavendar vanilla pee.

*Lavendar vanilla pee is not a scent that I find appealing.

*It is very tempting to go back to bed when your living room smells like lavendar vanilla pee.

*I have very little will power, and therefore, give in to temptation quite often. Sweet dreams to me....

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Paradoxical Situations

If a child is old enough to say in very clear English, "Go back upstairs! I have to change my Pamper!"shouldn't he be too old for Pampers?

If a child understands that others shouldn't see him while changing his Pamper, shouldn't he also understand that pulling down his underwear in public is not okay?

If a child steals a toy from his sister, shouldn't he know better than to tattle on his brother for stealing the stolen toy from him?

If a child pulls his hair out of his head in the winter, shouldn't that child expect his hairless head to be cold when it is freezing outside?

If a kid peels the skin off of his fingers and toes, shouldn't he expect them to hurt and bleed?

If a child picks up chewed gum off of the ground, shouldn't he expect it to include a little bit of dirt and gravel?

If a child pours milk into his vegetable soup, shouldn't he expect it to be "milky"?

If a child pours red kool-aid into his cereal, shouldn't he expect it to be pink?

If a child pees in his toy box, shouldn't he expect his toys to be wet?

If a child pulls the cat's tail, shouldn't he expect to be scratched?

If a child poops in his underwear, shouldn't he expect it to be "squishy"?

If a child puts his finger in a pill splitter and pushes it down, shouldn't he expect it to cut him?

If a child uses his CD to scratch up his brother's skateboard, shouldn't he also expect it to scratch up his CD?

If a child throws his dirty socks in the trash, shouldn't he expect to run out of socks?

And most of all, if a child hates himself, shouldn't he still expect to be loved?

Busy Brain In the Wee Hours of the Morning

Why is it that I get so tired during the day....sometimes for days on end....but when I get in the bed the least bit early, I wake up at 3:00 am??? Whatever it is that causes it, that is where I am. Awake. Wide awake. No hopes of going back to sleep. At least not until it's time for the kids to wake up. LOL.

While suffering from insomnia, I took some time to revisit an online RAD support group that I have belonged to for years and years. I remember when I joined that group. I was desperate. I didn't know what the heck was going on with my daughter, and I needed help. Unfortunately for me, life became even more hectic and all-consuming, and I sort of forgot that I was even part of this list. When I revisited the site and read some of the emails from "RAD newbies," I can't help but remember the stress of those early years. Thank God for the progress we have made.

Don't get me wrong. We still have plenty of evident by my "Actual things said in the Gottlieb house..." blog. LOL. Or any Benjamin Blog you choose. We definitely have plenty of moments where I wonder if it will ever get better. However, things have changed in such fundamental ways. Yes, most of my kids have changed. They have made progress....more progress than I thought was possible, honestly. The real eye opener, however, came when one of the cries for help on that list reminded me of how *I* have changed.

Thank God for the wisdom of Nancy Thomas and Deborah Hage. Thank God for "99 Ways to Drive Your Children Sane." It should be called "99 Ways to Keep Your Sanity When You Feel Like the Whole World is Crazy."

Dealing with RAD can suck the fun right out of a home. The RAD children make life so difficult that you have the urge to build an inpenetrable fortress. A wall around you to keep the pain out. At first, the pain is almost too much to bear. It keeps coming at you and coming at you. You question yourself: What did I do? I wanted to help this child....instead, I'm hurting my entire family. You beat yourself up because you can't "fix" it. Moms are supposed to be able to fix it, right?

And then, for me, that pain became resentment. Oh, how I resented my daughter! How I wished that I could go back in time and NOT do it. I just wanted it to be over. I could not imagine my life being like this from now on. I started to turn off my emotions. I just decided I wasn't going to let her hurt me anymore. Or at least I was going to pretend that she didn't hurt me. By sheer accident, I found something that actually started to work! LOL. When I didn't show that she hurt me, she didn't get what she wanted. I didn't give her the reward she was looking for.

Out of desperation, I started searching and searching and searching....and found Nancy Thomas. I thought....what? This woman is nuts! This stuff isn't going to work!

So I went on about my own way....trying to do it the way I *knew* I was supposed to do it. This knowledge was, of course, based on years of college and teaching experience and parenting. Ha! Guess what people! You can't take "normal" parenting strategies and expect it to work on RAD kids!

Finally, when I reached rock bottom, I was so desperate that I decided to try Nancy Thomas' way of doing things. To my surprise, it worked! Then the next idea worked! And the next... Now, I'm not saying that everything worked. Of course not. Not every idea works with every kid. You have to tweak it. Sometimes you have to fly by the seat of your pants. You have to be creative.

That is where everything changed for me. It was a subtle change...but very real. Instead of seeing this as a battle that had to be fought, I started to view it as a challenge that I was choosing to take on. I started to force myself to think of it as a game. A back and forth of mental prowess.

No one is so shocked as I am that my biggest mental foe turned out to be a 9 year old girl. LOL. Doesn't say a lot about my brain power, now does it? When it came to parenting this child, the degree that I spent tens of thousands of dollars earning.....and will be paying for from now on....was worth nothing more than the piece of paper it was written on. However, a paperback book that cost me $13 changed my life. If you are a RAD parent, and you don't have "When Love Is Not Enough," what are you waiting for?!? Go order it now! LOL.

So what changed? It's simple. I decided to start putting fun back into my family again. If my daughter wanted chaos, then by golly, she was gonna get chaos! But it was going to be chaos that I chose. I was going to be in charge of the chaos.

My theory is that RAD kids crave adrenaline. Normal feels scary to them. Scary feels good. It's a paradoxical situation, to be sure. So how do you combat this? You get silly. You wear weird hats. You moo like a cow. You throw pancakes across the table like a frisbee. You find joy and hang onto it with all of your might. And if you are so deep in the mire that you can't find joy, you fake it. Seriously.

Mike and I are terrible at fighting. Really. On March 15th, we'll have been married for 12 years. You know what our secret is? We can't have a darn argument without laughing. I think, in part, it's because Mike is just this big ol' teddy bear kinda guy....and although he can get cranky and take on his "umpire" persona, for the most part, he's just a big ol' kid. When I get mad at him, which I frequently do, and start grumping at him....he usually says or does something that inevitably makes me want to laugh. Oh, I fight it. I try to hold it back. I even get mad at him for making me want to laugh when I'm mad. But usually, the urge to laugh is far more powerful than the urge to be mad.

One day it hit me...why not use this on my kids? So I started doing anything I could do to short-circuit their attempts to make me miserable by doing everything in my power to make them laugh. Obviously, there are times that you have to be serious. You can't laugh off animal cruelty, for example. But you would be AMAZED at what you can choose to laugh off.
Pooping in a bucket? It's hard to laugh when you discover it in your kid's bedroom...but you gotta's funny. Peeing on a classmate? Well, I'm sure you are grinning a little bit right now at the very idea of that one!

I'm not saying you can laugh at everything, but come on, in order to parent these kind of kids, you absolutely have to be able to NOT take yourself too seriously. You have to be willing to look like a fool in public. If you're not, you might as well hang up your keys because you're not going anywhere for a very long time.

For me, the secret was to not allow my children to know that I was embarrassed. Is it embarrassing to have an 11 year old pee on herself in public? You bet. However, ask yourself: Who owns the embarrassment? It shouldn't be you. If you are owning the embarrassment, you need to return that gift to the generous person that gave it to you in the first place: your kid!
If anyone is still with me on this long, winding road, I leave you with this bit of wisdom. LOL.

Laugh. Laugh whenever you can. Smile if you don't feel like laughing. Pretend you are holding back a laugh. Practice saying things like, "Oh, you are so silly!" in the mirror so that you can repeat it convincingly to your child.

Put Jolly Ranchers in your socks and when things look like they are going to blow, drop to the floor and claw at your feet, screaming, "Oh, my feet! My feet! Something's in my sock!" If the kid won't come to your aid, pull your sock off by yourself. Picture a pinata bursting. Candy flying everywhere. Even the most hard nosed kid in the world is gonna want a piece of that candy!

Kid picking a fight? Before you turn around to look at him/her, pull the wad of gum out of your mouth and stick it on your nose. You'll feel stupid, but you'll look even more ridiculous! That kid is gonna at least be confounded for a few seconds...even if they don't laugh outright.

Short-circuit the anger. Do things to add chaos to your life.....but chaos that you control. Organized chaos. Planned chaos. Don't be afraid to be silly. It might seem hard at first....especially if you have been living in a state of doom and gloom for a while, but it will get easier.

Anger is like a comma. When in doubt, leave it out.

When in doubt....laugh.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Actual Things Heard in the Gottlieb Household

* dipped in BBQ sauce is good!
*That's not a cookie! It's a dog biscuit!
*Mom, he's eating boogers again!
*No, you may not bite my toenails. I'll use the clippers. Thanks anyway.
*Benjamin! Stop licking my toe! Mom, he's doing it again!
*CJ, that's AIR freshener, not hair freshener!
*I think I'm just gonna pee in the toilet from now on...
*No Gabby! The dog doesn't like it when you stick a pencil there!
*Mom, why is there kool-aid in the bathtub?
*Zach...Kim is right. You are not supposed to swallow the mouthwash!
*Gabby, did you drink the sea monkeys?
*Kim, your pants are on backwards....again.
*Ben...why is there pee in your toybox?
*Mom....CJ forgot to put on pants.
*Honey, I found the smell.... *gag*
*Is that an ice cream bucket full of poop?!?
*I'm done with my snack. I'm gonna go puke now.
*Rhiana, no more puking at the dinner table!
*Ben, honey....the cat can lick himself.
*CJ, those aren't shorts! Your waist is through the neck hole!
*Urine fumes are corrosive to CD players, you know.
*Don't let her eat the cat litter!!
*Benjamin, why don't you pull your hair out before you come to the table?
*Why are you wearing 16 pairs of socks?!?
*CJ, you can't glue hair to your arm pits! It'll grow in on it's own.
*No, can't pull out all of your teeth to get more money from the Tooth Fairy!
*Ewwwww....what did I just step in?!?
*Honey, Ben peed from the top bunk again! Everything's soaked!
*Oh no! That was his nighttime meds! *sigh* I'll write another note to the teacher.....
*Benjamin! They don't need to see your penis anymore!
*Mom, I forgot to wear underwear to school today, but don't worry--I didn't get on the monkey bars! (Said by my daughter while wearing a skirt!)
*No...deodorant doesn't go on your face.
*I know it says moisturizing soap, but you can't use it for lotion!
*You put what in your hair?!?
*No, you can't have a bowl of butter for a snack!
*At least he made it 30 minutes before being suspended today!
*Ben, you can't pee on people that make you angry. It's upsetting to your classmates.
*No, Ben! The doctor won't give you another shot just so you'll be even! You'll just have to deal with it!
*Gabrielle! Why are you outside naked?!?
*CJ, you cannot stuff seven big marshmallows in your mouth at once! Well....would you look at that...
*I don't know how that got in my underwear!
*It's just a little pee. Can't I wash it? It still tastes good!
*Ben! Stop chewing gum that you find on the ground!
*Yes, Josh, I know. I need a vacation, too.

Thursday, March 6, 2008

And Now For a Change of Pace...

Mike is really getting into blogging. Or at least he's trying to get into blogging. His computer seems to have other ideas.

This is a typical night in the Gottlieb household, after the children have gone to bed. Mike enters the bedroom....

Mike: "What'cha doin'?"
Kristie: "Blogging."
Mike: "OK. I'm going to, too."

Minutes pass. The sound of clicking keys is all that can be heard. Until...

Mike: "Daggum it!"
Kristie: "What baby?"
Mike: "Stupid thing. It don't like me."
Kristie: "I'm sorry Sweetie....what's it's doing now?"
Mike: "It won't let me download a picture to myspace!"
Kristie: "Let me see.....Oh, here's the problem. You have to pick a picture first."
Mike: "Oh."

Silence resumes. Clicking keys.

Mike: "Crap!"
Kristie: "What is it Sweetie?"
Mike: "Stupid thing."
Kristie: "What honey?"
Mike: "It won't turn the words the right color...."
Kristie: "Let me have to highlight the words before you choose a color. There you go...."
Mike: "Oh."

Silence again. Clicking keys.

Mike: "Ah...this sucks!"
Kristie: "What is it Pookie Bear?"
Mike: "Stupid computer."
Kristie: "Bad computer. What is it doing now?"
Mike: "It's froze. Stupid thing is stuck."
Kristie: "Let me see....Oh...okay.... have to wait until the little hour glass thingie has stopped flipping over and over....See? Now it's moving."
Mike: "Oh."

Silence resumes. Clicking keys.

Mike: "Well, that just freaking sucks!"
Kristie: "What's wrong baby?"
Mike: "I spend all that time trying to write a blog and it just disappears on me! I hate this. I quit!"
Kristie: "I'm sorry baby."

Mike gets up.

Kristie: "Where are you going?"
Mike: "To the bathroom. I need to practice taking the toilet paper off the roll and wiping my butt." (This is his sarcastic way of letting me know that he doesn't know how to do ANYTHING.)

Silence resumes...until he comes back in the room. Apparently, he has gotten his "anger" out of his system. He is smiling again.

Kristie: "How was practice?"
Mike: "It wasn't as hard as I thought."
Kristie: "Well, that's good."
Mike: "Don't you write about this in your blog. It's going in mine."

Oops. Too late.
Mike wiggles his fingers in the air like a magician getting ready to perform his best trick of the night.

Mike: "Just sit back and be amazed!"

Well, I am amazed...

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Letter to the Teacher

Dear Ms. C:

Good morning! I hope this day finds you energetic. If this morning is any indication, you will need every drop of energy available to deal with darling Benny Bob today. He is bouncing off the walls this morning. I'm not sure the walls will survive if he doesn't leave for school soon!

You will notice that Ben has a sling on today. No, he did not injure himself while doing the wall bounces! The sling is not for an injury at all. This is what I am tentatively calling our "Benjamin Anti-theft Device," or BAD for short.

The BAD came about in a moment of inspiration when we were discussing with Benjamin the possible consequences of stealing. This led to a discussion of historical proportions in which someone mentioned that in some countries, the punishment for stealing is to have the offending hand amputated.

Since I am fairly sure that amputation is not a feasible option at this time, we decided to try to simulate amputation by putting his arm in the experimental BAD. In the interest of schoolwork, we have chosen to provide young Benjamin with this valuable lesson by putting his left arm in the BAD instead of the more historically accurate "offending" arm.

I have taken great care to sew this BAD so that, hopefully, he will not be able to use it as a pocket for hiding his "loot," as I am fairly sure that this would defeat the purpose entirely and nullify the experiment.

I think the BAD might also have the side-effect of making it difficult for our little monkey to climb the bathroom stalls. However, as testing has not been completed in this area, that hope might be prematurely optimistic.

We did run some rudimentary tests with the BAD last night. Various sibling volunteers left their iPods and Gameboys around to see if they could be stolen and kept undetected with only one hand. Although we need further research to duplicate these findings, I am pleased to report that the BAD was effective in theft prevention.

I am, of course, aware that the BAD could become a distraction in the classroom. If this occurs, please feel free to remove the BAD from the classroom and send it to the office.
He can even carry his sling with him.

Yours truly,

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

I Fear We Have Met Our Match


It's a word that strikes terror into the hearts of countless teachers, children, and senior citizens who live around us. But not us. *We* are smarter than all of these silly people who can't handle one little child. Come on! He's 7 years old. What is wrong with these people? What schmuck can't handle a 7 year old little boy?!?

I mean...just because a kid eats boogers, hair, dog treats, and other unmentionable items...just because a kid finds a piece of used chewing gum on the floor of Walmart and pops it in his mouth....what's wrong with that? Some people might call that strange. I say he's frugal and has a very varied diet. Who knows what nutrients we are missing out on by NOT eating boogers and hair? Why...if I could get all of my kids to do that, I could virtually stop buying snacks! And you KNOW those dog treats have to be says so right on the can. Plus they freshen his breath for when he gives those doggy kisses. The dog really seems to enjoy the affection.

And the ever-changing aromas that waft from this child's body is an absolute delight to the senses. Where else can you get a mixture of urine, baby lotion, bubble gum (stolen from his sister), axe spray (stolen from his brother), and the occasional hint of poop? We should market that fragrance and sell it for $50 a bottle. We could call it "Eau de Benji." I bet it would be a hit in Paris.

And he is so considerate of others. At 7 years old, he already voluntarily uses deodorant. Granted, the deodorant is stolen from the medicine cabinet....but that's not such a big deal, is it? You know how some kids barely put any deodorant on? Not our little Benny Bob! That boy smears deodorant on from head to toe. It actually makes him slippery to the touch! Hmmm...I wonder if that's the idea? It makes it harder to catch him when he's making his fast getaway.

And my little angel is *so* creative! Why just this morning, he told me that he left his homework folder at school. Then he told his teacher he left it at home! Isn't that amazing how he can think on his feet so quickly? I am such a proud mother!

I will admit that the stares of adoring fans are somewhat bothersome when we go out. I just hope the paparazzi don't find out where we live! Obviously, he is easily recognizable.... He's so fashion forward! For example, last year when he wore the suspenders for three months because those darn pants of his just kept falling off of his body during Kindergarten. Geez...what is the problem with those pants?! Sometimes, they even managed to drag his underwear right down with them! It was purely coincidental that these incidents occurred when he was mad at someone.

Oh, and his hair! He always knows exactly which hairs to pluck to create that perfect circular bald spot on the side of his head. And I really admire the way he rubs hair lotion onto the bald spot so that his skin shines. It really brightens up my day.

Yes, our Benjamin adds so much to our lives. I could go on and on and on....

What's that you say?

Why are you laughing?

You say that's not normal?

Whatever do you mean?

Our Ben? Abnormal?



Sunday, March 2, 2008

Benjamin's Favorite Snacks

Ben is pulling his hair out again.

He has this huge bald spot over his left ear. I know this sounds alarming, but honestly, we got over the alarm part a while back. Now, we just sort of look at him and say, "Oh, another bald spot." He is truly a weird kid.

Today at dinner, we were having chicken nuggets. He reached up, yanked out a piece of hair, popped it in his mouth, and said, "Yum." No kidding. He may have even dipped it in BBQ sauce.

Yesterday, we were watching TV when Kim yelled out, "Oooo...stop that! Gross!" I looked over to see Ben pulling boogers out of his nose and eating them. I said, "Ben! Don't do that! Go spit that out!" He looked at me with innocent eyes, and said, "Too late." Popcorn? Ben don't need no stinkin' popcorn! Popcorn is for wimps!

Tonight, when he went to bed, I went to tuck him in. He was obviously chewing on something. The interchange went something like this:

Ben, what is in your mouth?
Ben, don't lie. I know you have something in your mouth. What are you eating?
Benjamin! What are you chewing on?
"It's just skin."
"Skin. From my toes."
"Don't worry, Mom. It's just meat."

Like I said, he is a REALLY weird kid. Look on the bright side: We'll save a fortune on the grocery bill.

Of course, now I'm wondering what was in that snack mix he made for me at school last week...