Red, White and Blue (A 4BOYMOM Adventure)

The 4th of July is one of our families favorite holidays. We have a tradition of buying fireworks from a local stand and setting them off in the yard at night. One year we were at my in-laws beach house on the Chesapeake Bay for the holiday weekend. The day was filled with fun events including a local parade, playing in the water, and a picnic on the beach.

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As it got dark that evening, my husband began to set up the pyrotechnic display in the yard. Our 2nd son was about 3 1/2 at the time and was scared of the loud sound and ran inside to watch from the glass door. We oohed and ahhhed as the colorful display began. A few minutes later my mother in law exclaimed, “Oh my gosh….no…” as she was looking towards the house. I glanced back to see my little blonde cherub standing with a small American flag in his hand watching from behind the glass. “What?” I asked. She couldn’t respond as she was gagging and retching. I looked back at my son again and couldn’t imagine what had happened. I stood up, walked to the door and asked my son what happened and he just waved his little flag at me and smiled. I looked at my mother in law again and she was wiping tears from her face and trying to form words between gags. Annoyed I begged, “What happened?” At this point the show was finished and my husband joined us on the deck . Between gags, my mother in law explained what she has seen. My son, my bubbly, adorable toddler, had pulled his pants down, put the flag stick in his bottom and then curiously had put it in his mouth!

Horrified, the only word I could form was, “Why?”

The following week the same son developed a sore throat and ear infection. As I often did, I had to take all my kids to the appointment. As the doctor looked in son #2’s ears and throat my cherub said, “I think I know why I’m sick.” Dread filled my body as I began to pray (beg) silently, “God, please, don’t let him say it.”

The doctor said, “Oh? Why?”

I begged to be swallowed by the Earth as I heard my son begin, “Well, on the 4th of July I had this flag…”

Once my son finished the story, I couldn’t bring myself to look up at the doctor and the room went silent. My oldest son sat with his mouth hanging open, stunned that his brother just admitted (to a doctor) what he had done. After what felt like an eternity of silence, the doctor proceeded to tell my son(s) why we need to keep our hands and other objects away from our bottoms and as he left the room I was sure that our file folder got a big red slash drawn on the font.

Many years have passed since that incident and that doctor has retired, but something tells me that he hasn’t forgotten that story!

Tissue Damage (another 4BOYMOM adventure)

This memory started out as a very scary incident. It began as a wonderful summer day at my in-laws cottage overlooking the Chesapeake Bay. Our day had been full of splashing in the small waves, digging in the sand and looking for sharks teeth. My husband and I were on the beach talking with the neighbors and our sons were playing happily while his parents were up at the house. Son #3 (4 years old) wanted to get a raft and asked if he could go up to the house to get it from the shed.

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We agreed and continued playing and chatting. A few minutes later my father in law (who had been in the house) was waving frantically at the top of the stairs that led from the beach up to the house. I made eye contact with him and it quickly became apparent that he needed one of us to come up to the house. My husband went up the tall flight of stairs taking two at a time. My heart raced as I imagined that my mother in law had fallen and was hurt. Then I remembered that our son was up there and started to panic. I quickly asked the neighbors if they could keep an eye on our other 2 sons and ran as fast as I could up to the house. I quickly scanned the yard and shed and didn’t see anyone but did see the raft laying in the grass. I ran into the house and heard sobbing and a low grunting sound coming from the bathroom. As I entered the small bathroom, my nose was immediately filled with the smell of gasoline and I saw my 4 year old son standing in the shower dry heaving. I let out a cry and wailed, “What happened?!” He had knocked the gas can off the shelf and it has spilled on him, getting in his nose and mouth. I completely lost control and started shaking and screaming. I had no idea what to do and my husband directed me to call poison control. I went to the kitchen phone and couldn’t remember the number so I dialed 911. As I pushed the three numbers on the phone, everything was suddenly in slow motion. Fortunately, the dispatcher reassured me that we could flush out my son’s mouth and nose with water and that there should not be any tissue damage. She suggested that I follow up with my pediatrician. Once we all calmed down and my son stopped heaving, we were able to return to a fun day.

A few days later that same son developed a cold and sore throat. I wondered out loud if somehow it was connected to the gasoline incident. A few minutes later he came to me in tears, holding out a used tissue. I asked him what was wrong and he held the tissue out to me and said, “Look, it ripped.” When I didn’t respond immediately he wailed, “They said there wouldn’t be any tissue damage!”

Out of the mouths of babes…..

The adventures of a 4BOYMOM

My husband and I have been on this crazy parenting adventure for almost 19 years now and it’s so much fun to look back at the moments (that weren’t funny at the time) and laugh. We have been blessed with four wonderful sons and are very proud of the young men that they are becoming. Since Mother’s Day is approaching, I thought I would share a favorite memory.

First, I must preface this with a word of advice for any young(er) women out there: I DO NOT RECOMMEND HAVING 3 BABIES IN 3 YEARS! With that said, please join me….IMG_2501

I had spent the morning in the pediatrician’s office with my 3 sons, ages 3, 2, and infant. My oldest had an ear infection and sore throat and needed an antibiotic. So for the second time that morning, I bundled them all up, got everyone in to the car and headed to the pharmacy. I knew I needed to hurry as nap time was approaching and I had run out of goldfish. I put child #2 and the baby in the double stroller and took the hand of my oldest as we headed down the aisle of the drugstore towards the pharmacy. Immediately I let out a groan as I saw a group of elderly people in line. I smiled and nodded as I took my place in line. Upon my turn, I handed my slip to the pharmacist and she said it would be at least 30 minutes. I tried my nicest to explain that my son had been up half the night crying because his ear hurt and really needed the medicine as soon as possible. She said that she would try to get it filled quickly but had several others as she motioned to the senior citizen posse standing behind me. As I pushed the stroller away from the counter, son #2 started to whine and fuss. He wanted to get out of the stroller. My oldest was holding his ear and started to whimper. I had a strategy: I would stand next to the counter and stare the woman down so that she would fill our order first. Five minutes later the baby started to wail and we were entering full meltdown mode. I decided that my strategy was failing and proceeded to pace the aisles. Child #2 was leaning out of the stroller trying his best to grab items off the shelves and I began to do what looked like a slalom course up and down the aisles. I quickly realized that this was not working and returned to the pharmacy counter to resume Plan A. The elderly group were entertained by us and I nodded as I heard the comment, “Wow, you have your hands full.” Yes, thank you, that is very helpful. As they continued to stare and watch me try to distract the squirming toddler and soothe my hurting son, I was thinking some not so nice thoughts. Finally, the pharmacist called my name and I quickly thanked Jesus and proceeded to move forward to pay. What occurred next replays in my mind in slow motion……I heard a sound and from the side of my vision, I saw things falling from the sky. I turned and saw son #2 holding on to a display, which he had pulled over and hated to die as I realized that it was raining condoms. I couldn’t bring myself to look towards the geriatric section. To make matters worse, the small packages were now stuck and wedged into every possible space of the stroller and in the baby carseat. The pharmacist looked annoyed and gave me a questioning look as if to ask, “Are you going to pay for those too?”

The rest is a blur, but I’m fairly sure that a bottle of wine was involved!

Oh Charlie!

Today I’m going to stray a bit and talk about motherhood. I became a mother almost 19 years ago to our first son. It was magical, scary and exhausting! Surprisingly, he survived our first time parent fears and freak outs and grew into a happy, healthy toddler. At the age of 21 months, our first born became a big brother.

Our second son is the star of the show today. His name is Charlie and I have his permission to share about him. He was the only one of our four sons to be born without induction and I swear he came out smiling. He was a cuddly, easy going baby and adored by his older brother. As Charlie became mobile, he didn’t walk, he RAN. (I’m not kidding). 17 months after he was born we introduced our third son into the world.

To say that I was overwhelmed is an understatement! I had three kids in diapers and Charlie refused to stay in one place for more than a minute. I remember leaving our oldest (age 3 1/2) with the baby so that I could run to chase Charlie. At the time, the movie “The Incredibles” had been released and we called Charlie “Dash” after the character who could run super fast. Charlie was happy, always smiling, and ready to offer a hug at all times. As he entered preschool I began to worry. Everyone said, “Oh, he’s just all boy.” We were restricted to playgrounds and friends houses with fences for fear of him running off. We had several near death experiences as he jumped in the end of the deep end of the pool, disappeared at the beach, and ran off in a busy parking lot. He got expelled from preschool for “using scissors inappropriately” and didn’t seem to fear anything. I would stay up at night worrying about the future of my adorable Charlie.  Every year on his birthday I thanked God for keeping him safe.

So imagine my pride as I write this today, just hours after his drivers license ceremony. My eyes filled with tears as I looked at him, listening to the judge talk about safety. He has grown into a wonderful young man who loves Jesus, works hard, and has a charismatic personality. Just last week we traveled together to tour colleges and he is looking forward to pursuing a future in graphic design. I am confident that he will do great things and am so happy that God chose me to be his mom!

“Love is patient, love is kind” 1 Corinthians 13:4 (NIV).

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