Monday, May 28, 2012

What Cookies Get You

If you perhaps felt a great disturbance in the Force recently, do not worry -- it was due to the fact that my brother and sister and I were all in the same town for the weekend. I believe our simultaneous presence also increased the frequency of solar flares and caused a two-headed calf to be born on a farm just out of town.

My mom came to visit for the weekend too. She got to nuzzle her grandchildren and take us out to eat, and we got to tell stories about how we raided her liquor closet growing up and didn't even bother filling up the bottles with water because we knew she would never notice the missing tequila. (Well, I didn't do any of that sort of thing. I was an angel growing up, unlike my brother and sister, a fact I would like to draw my mother's attention to in case she is thinking about revising her will.)

There was some serious cuteness involving children this weekend. Any hand-holding or spontaneous kissing among the cousins was immediately photographically documented. Many times, the level of cuteness could only be truly described using profanity, which is why at various times during the weekend, each of us found ourselves whispering to the other adults, "They are so! fucking! cute!"

Photographic proof of the cuteness is below, as shown by photos taken by my sister-in-law Margaret. Is there anything cuter than little kids holding hands?

Stella and her cousin at the gardens

Baby W and his cousin, on their way to feed the goats.
We also arranged for a professional photographer to document our family's cuteness, in case someday proof of this extraordinary cuteness was required, like when we renew our passports or something. For some reason, Baby W was quite cranky all through the photo shoot, which was unusual because he's normally pretty even tempered. Perhaps all the extra solar flares were getting on his nerves.

Anyway, I tried to cheer him up and buy his cooperation by stuffing him full of cookies. This approach didn't work at all, which shocked me because one of the fundamental underpinnings in the parent-child relationship is supposed to be the understanding that you can (temporarily) buy good behavior with sugar. In fact, I think it's written into the parent-child contract that as a parent I can expect at least 15 minutes improved behavior per cookie. Baby W flagrantly flouted the terms of our agreement. He will be hearing from my attorney.

See that cookie? And the lack of a smile?
I am so totally suing this shortie.
The great thing is that I have a little niece or nephew on the way, so the next time that I get together with my siblings, there will be one more little kid around. That is pretty much going to blow our cuteness quotient through the roof. I'm already looking forward to the next time we get together, which will hopefully happen when I go out to visit the new baby. But until that happens, I'll have to be satisfied with visiting the two-headed calf.

Monday, May 21, 2012

This Will Be My Most Popular Post Ever

I have been quite busy recently, what with medical school and fine-tuning my acceptance speech for the Nobel Peace Prize and all, so I've been neglecting Midwest Potato a bit. No doubt this causes great grief to all seven regular readers of this blog. (Seven readers, that is, if I somehow manage to make my mom count as four people.)

Anyway, I was looking back at old posts, trying to think what to write about, and I noticed that my most popular post ever was about chillblains. That's because I included a photo of Stella's poor winter-damaged fingers, and other people apparently also foolish to live in a climate not fit for man nor beast googled "chillblains" and found their way to my site.

The lesson that I learned from this is that people like to look at damaged extremities. So here is a picture of my toes.

A good rule of thumb is that the uglier a runner's toes are, the sexier his or her legs are. That's definitely true in my case, but since I'm not posting a picture of my legs, you'll just have to wait up until you can ogle them in person. I know, it's hard to be patient.

I also noticed that people really liked to look at pictures of my messy house on this blog. Then half the readers (that would be 3 and 1/2 readers) post something along the lines of "You think that's messy?! My place is so messy that we haven't been able to find the actual house since September and have had to camp in the yard! Also, we used to have a third kid but then he made the mistake of venturing into the den on his own, and we never saw him again!" The other half of people who look at the pictures of my messy house write notes to themselves never to let their children play over at my house, because I seem like the type of person who would probably have ringworm.

So here are two more messy house pictures for your enjoyment:

See how our living room is nearly indistinguishable from a cardboard box farm?  That's because the kids had a lot of fun playing with one big cardboard box, so we thought we should really amp up the fun by getting them four big cardboard boxes. Whoooo-eeee! Better step back, folks, we're having so much fun in our house it can't possibly be legal!

(Someday, it will dawn on Stella that while she was playing with cardboard boxes and eating whole-wheat parsnip muffins for breakfast, other kids were playing with their Wiis and eating Lucky Charms. Depending how old she is when she figures all this out, she will either be very angry or very grateful.)

So there you have it -- photos of blighted extremities and my trashed house. The only thing that would have been better is if I managed to somehow show both items of interest in a single image, by taking a picture of mangled foot, showing my disorderly house in the background. Next time, maybe. Right now I need to do something about this ringworm.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Ask Not For Whom the Toilet Tolls

The good news is that Baby W is interested in starting to use the toilet. The bad news is that he is also interested in helping everybody wipe. And I truly mean everybody -- his mother, his sister, his father, YOU if you came to our house (and something tells me now that you won't), and any visiting dignitaries like ambassadors who stop by to use the bathroom. If the opportunity ever arose, Baby W would consider it a true honor to help President Obama wipe.

Baby W is also talking a lot about bathroom issues these days. "Dada poop?" he will ask. "Stella poop?" So I reassure him that yes, every member of this family poops, except of course for me. I release my waste products in the form of fragrant rose petals, which issue forth from my body at regular intervals.

He's starting to let us know when he has a diaper that needs changing, which is one of the first steps to starting toilet training. The irony is that we almost never need him to actually let us know that. Usually we know perfectly well that he has a dirty diaper, although we pretend like we haven't noticed anything with the secret hope that the other parent will give in first and change him. It's a silent game of spousal chicken, and the stakes are high. We don't need a baby wandering into this emotional minefield.

Of course Baby W is very into flushing, too. He'll flush for you any time you need a flush. And he's good at waiting until you've finished before he performs his flushing responsibilities -- he just stands by the toilet handle until he is needed. Basically, he's a tiny flushing butler, at your service. I might get him a pint-sized silver tray that he could use to carry the toilet paper.

Baby W is also something of a flushing connoisseur. Whenever we visit bathrooms away from home, he has to try out the flushing action of the toilet, much the same way that a car enthusiast might keep an eye out for vintage vehicles when driving around the city. Baby W particularly likes the toilets that let you save water by choosing between two different flush levels as needed. So while I am in one stall, he will be in the next stall over, flushing the water-conserving toilet again and again and again and again and again. Just think of all the water he's saving!

I'm glad Baby W is interested in toilet-related activities, especially since it means that soon he'll be interested in actually using the toilet himself. In the meantime, I can put up with assistance with dirty diaper notification, flushing, and wiping. If Mitt Romney comes to use our bathroom, though, all bets are off.