Poop or Puke?

Turns out it’s poop.

Today is one of those days that I try to remember what we ever did before Google.  I seem to remember that if the set of 25 year old encyclopedias on the shelf in the den didn’t have what you were looking for, then you were out of luck.  I’m pretty sure I would have never found today’s question in the 1962 edition of the Golden Book Encyclopedia.  (And you better bet my momma’s pulling those bad boys out now, trying to prove me wrong.  Let me know what you find, Mom.)

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This afternoon I sat perched in Nana’s living room watching a family of robins.  Chica and Nana had done the same for about an hour earlier today, so Bubba and I had to check out what was so intriguing too.

Just as expected, Mama Bird brings a mouthful of juicy worms to the nest.  Next, the tiny, fuzzy (ugly!) heads emerge, mouths wide open and searching.  Mama picks a lucky winner, and the meal is gobbled up in seconds.

But then something happened that I had never seen before….Mama Bird grabbed something white from the nest, and she proceeded to eat it.  The first time I observed the mysterious white blob, I guessed it was maybe a grub that she had brought earlier and the babies had rejected.  I know all about picky eaters!  As I watched longer, though, and saw her pick up something from the nest every time she returned, I knew this white blob had to be something else.

“Poop or puke?” I wondered.

I’ve heard of animal mommies chewing up their food for babies, but the order of things just didn’t seem right as I watched the robins today.  Actually, I seem to remember reading an article about some celebrity who did the same for her baby.  (I just Googled that too….Alicia Silverstone.  Ok, I digressed.)  So if it wasn’t some form of premastication or regurgitation, then it had to be poop, right?

Right.  I found my answer here.

So you think your infant goes through a bunch of dirty diapers?  Turns out the baby robin poops every time it eats something.  Every. Single. Time.  And almost right away, too.  The cool part is (or maybe gross…it’s all about perspective) that when they are just a few days old, their poop comes enclosed in a neat package made from mucous, and it doesn’t contain bacteria at first.  So Momma Bird and Daddy Bird grab the package (called a fecal sac) right off the baby’s rear end and eat it.  It’s actually mostly undigested food, so this keeps them from eating all of the food they should be bringing to their hungry babies.  After a while their digestive system becomes more developed, and the poop starts to have bacteria.  When this happens, the parents stop eating the fecal sac, but they continue to cart it away from the nest to help keep things clean.  Once the babies finally leave the nest, their bodies stop making the sac…just regular poop from there on out.  Wow.

In case you care to watch…

So why am I telling you this?  (I almost wrote, “Why should you give a crap?” but that was just too obvious.)

I’m telling you this because in less than one week, it will be summer.  Glorious summer.  And one of the things I am looking forward to the most is time to just sit, observe, and be.  Even better than that, I can’t wait to observe and be and learn WITH my kids.  Today was like a tiny little taste of that.

After watching the birds’ business, we also hunted for live cicadas and made a collection of a dozen of them in Nana’s big blue pail.  FYI—no top needed.  Apparently they are too dumb or lazy or just incompetent to get out.

Kew!” Bubba said repeatedly.  I agree, Bubba.  Kew.

Come summer.

Image:  LILLY  © shudrbug  | Flickr Creative Commons

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Bubba’s Dictionary

The following might prove useful if you find yourself in a conversation with Bubba in the near future…

wawa  noun  1.  a transparent, odorless liquid for drinking and taking baths   2.  any liquid which comes in a cup

kakuh  noun  1.  Wheat Thins  2.  any snack item which, when opened, makes the distinct sound of a crinkly package

teetee  noun  (Alt. Pronunciation:  ditder)  female sibling

moe  noun  an additional quantity, amount, or number:  Moe wawa.

kew  noun  1.  an institution of learning      interjection (slang)  2.  repeated after Mommy or sister to express approval or admiration

ewww  interjection  used to express disgust when touching or viewing something icky

chews  plural noun   hard foot covering that must immediately be removed upon entering a vehicle

cox  plural noun  soft foot covering that must immediately be removed upon entering a vehicle

wok  noun  1.  a family outing involving the stroller  verb  2.  to escape from the grasp of parents’ arms and roam free:  Wok?  Wok?

no  adverb 1.  a negative used to express refusal, as in response to a question or request  noun  2.  the part of the face used for smelling

cheep  noun  a warm-blooded vertebrate with feathers and wings

pees  adverb used (when required) as a polite addition to commands or requests:  Moe wawa pees.

nanuh  noun  1.  paternal grandmother  2:  a tropical, yellow, cylindrical fruit

uhoh  interjection  used to make an intentional action seem unintentional

ah uh ewww  interjection  a term of familial endearment said upon parting ways

Just So You Know

Just so you know, I have the best family ever.  They love me so much that they ran away for the afternoon so that I could work for like 5 straight hours.  Alone.  Sweet, glorious, solitary work time.  Ahhh….

In between grading 45 animal posters, sweeping up dust balls the size of guinea pigs, and finding missing puzzle pieces in the diaper pail, I had some time to think.

I spent some of the time wondering just how long it had been since I had swept the bathroom floor or who exactly hid the puzzle piece in such an odd place, but mostly I thought about why I was enjoying such a great day.  The more I thought about it, the more I realized that all signs pointed to me having a bang-up kind of afternoon.  Really.

You see, I have a bit of a fascination with personality tests.  I think I probably took my first one in preparation to be a camp counselor in high school.  Since then I’ve been subjected to plenty of others—for jobs, teams, projects, classes, and every once in a while, just for fun.  It seems many people quickly forget the results of these tedious assessments, but instead I often find myself discovering some tiny new, helpful way to understand what makes me tick.  And it seemed that the longer I contemplated it this afternoon, the more sense it made as to why I was just delighted to be at home working alone.

So mostly because I’m curious to see if I would describe myself the same way in a few years (and less because I think you’ll actually be very interested) here’s a summary of me according to a few descriptions that I remember best…

INTJ—It’s been awhile since I’ve taken the Myers-Briggs test, but I remember one thing very well from my most recent assessment….I lean very far to the introverted side of things.  I actually think the last time I took it I received the highest possible score I could in this category.  So while several of my friends left last night’s retirement party spinning with excitement, I left needing some major recovery time.  This afternoon solo fit the bill exactly.

Acts of Service—I don’t think I had to actually take a test to know that this is my love language.  When Jay and I were dating in college, I got lots of gushy letters on my windshield and a few pretty sweet gifts.  But I’m not sure any of those things stood a chance against the day he took my car to the shop get it serviced without even being asked.  So when he takes both crazy kids for the afternoon and puts up with their shenanigans, not only do I get three times more accomplished, but I feel super loved.

listAchiever—The StrengthsFinder test is by far the one that has made the most sense to me.  Besides Achiever, my other four “strengths” are Focus, Significance, Learner, and Responsibility.  This description of Achiever is so me:

You feel as if every day starts at zero. By the end of the day you must achieve something tangible in order to feel good about yourself. And by “every day” you mean every single day—workdays, weekends, vacations. No matter how much you may feel you deserve a day of rest, if the day passes without some form of achievement, no matter how small, you will feel dissatisfied.

So while ½ of my little family (Bubba not included) would be perfectly fine spending the whole day watching Wild Kratts or StarTrek episodes, I’m just not wired that way.  I feel a greater amount of rest and peace after working hard and accomplishing tasks than I ever feel on a lazy day.

There are a few other tiny nuggets that I have learned about myself along the way.  Though they don’t necessarily explain why I’d choose a work day at home over many other options, I still think they are interesting and telling.  I use the idea of Multiple Intelligences in my class regularly, and I think mine are probably intrapersonal, logical-mathematical, and (maybe, more recently) linguistic.  And I once took part in a decision making simulation that showed that I like to spend forever in the gathering information stage, and then I fly right past the weighing options and into carrying out the plan.  Fascinating stuff, I tell you.

Here we are, 740 words later, and I’m stuck trying to wrap this thing up.  My brain that’s wired with the strength of Focus says that there must be some bigger point.

Your Focus reminds everyone that if something is not helping you move toward your destination, then it is not important. And if it is not important, then it is not worth your time. You keep everyone on point.

So maybe this is the destination I’m headed towards…becoming more and more fascinated with the Creator and his intricate creations.  No matter how many tests could be developed and taken, no combination of test results can fully explain any one person.  And those people around me who are the exact opposite from me—the extroverted, feeling, gift-giving, woo-ers—are there to help me see a fuller picture of the Master of creativity.

Yep.  I think I’ll focus on that.

One Thing….Or Ten

So I’ve sat here for entirely too long trying to make this post about one thing.  Here’s what it’s about so I can just get on with it:

We have two more weeks of school, the last two weeks have been crazy, and it’s time to just jot down the stuff worth remembering.  

That’s enough of a “one thing”, right?  Ok, good.

  • Yesterday I called Jay at work to tell him that he must dress his son before leaving for school or else I might break Bubba’s arm.  I wasn’t even kidding.  The ten minute wrestling/screaming match on the bedroom floor in order to put on a clean outfit just wasn’t the best way I could think to start my day.  Or his.  Today Daddy dressed Bubba, Chica put on his shoes, and we got to school early.  Thankful.
  • We finished By the Shores of Silver Lake last night.  I thought for sure they weren’t going to ever get the homestead for the winter storms and the unwanted overnight guests, but they finally made it, just in time for the more storms, it appears.  There’s just something not quite right about starting a book called The Long Winter when it’s finally getting hot outside.
  • Cicadas are my most recent fascination.  I watched one for maybe 20 minutes the other night as it emerged from its exoskeleton.  Earlier this week we pointed out the shells to Chica, and she (no surprise) proceeded to make up a Cicada Hunt song.  “We’re going on a cicada hunt.  Might be dead ones, might be live ones, might be real ones, might be shell ones.  We’re doing on a cicada h-u-u-u-nt!”
  • I admit my other recent fascination is The Voice.   Ridiculous, I know.  But because I can only watch about 10 minutes max before falling asleep each night, I’ll probably still be watching it in August.  Don’t tell me who wins, mkay?
  • One night Chica comes in her room and says in a worried tone, “Mom!  There’s something on the potty, and it won’t go away.  It won’t go away when I flush it!”  “Yes, Chica, that’s what happens when your mommy goes on a housework strike for one too many weeks in a row.  That’s why most mommies clean the potty every week.  I’ll get to it soon, I promise.”
  • On Saturday Bubba fed a giraffe from his hand and Jay fist bumped a turkey.  The Metro Richmond Zoo is a neat place.
  • Last week I did something pretty cool, and then I waited by the e-mail for the praise to roll in.  And it didn’t.  I know I have something to learn in this, but I think I forgot it when I finally got an e-mail about the something cool today.
  • Now that tests are over, there’s such a sense of freedom in my little brain as I teach.  Today we followed the rabbit trails for ever so long through decimal division and decimal multiplication and if numbers get bigger or smaller (or both) when you multiply.  Then how multiplication and division are related and two ways to think about division. And finally we made our way back around to pictures and stories to go with the decimal division problem we had in the first place.  And there were lots of Oooooooohhhhh’s and I-get-it’s.  Math is so cool.  My kids are pretty darn cool too.
  • Speaking of rabbit trails, while reading The Watsons Go to Birmingham and the part about a raccoon drowning a dog, I had to tell my raccoon story.  I just will never forget the image of Jay jumping out of his truck and chasing a raccoon down with a pocket knife in order to rescue his desperate wife.  That’s definitely one of my favorite CrossRoads memories ever.

Ok.  That’s enough for now.  Off to fall asleep to my 10 minutes of The Voice and continue my strike a little longer.  Summer, come soon.

I Just Wanted To Be Grouchy

I wanted to be a grouch this morning.

With drawers (finally) full of clean clothes for Bubba, Jay still picked a hideous outfit for today.  Picture it:  A longsleeve, faded blue shirt with horizontal stripes, bright red basketball shorts with vertical stripes, and water shoes.  It was too late to turn back, though, once I caught a glimpse of this eye sore.

I have stayed up until midnight on the last two nights working on school stuff, and I still have three unfinished huge projects to complete.  How does this happen?

We now have a set of sheets, two comforters, a mattress pad, and a sleeping bag that all need to go to the laundry mat.  Getting over this hump of bed-wetting is going to be the death of one of us.  Who has time to sit at the laundry mat for hours with three unfinished projects still hanging?  Seriously.

But I just couldn’t.  I couldn’t stay a grouch.  She wouldn’t let me.

As soon as we got in the car, Chica was singing her ode to spring.  Making it up as she went along, it was full of the “highlights” (her word) of this season that is finally upon us…

*The winter takes off its mittens so that it can do its job to make us warm
*The leaves are coming out, and they will all be out by summer 
*We don’t have to wear our heavy coats or our boots
*We get to go to school in the sunshine

Oh, and the best part….the summer is almost here, and then “we can do whatever we want”. 

Ok, Chica, I’ll take it.  I’ll take the wet sheets, and the late nights, and the crazy outfits and remember that it is spring, that I have plenty to be joyful about. 

Thanks, sweet girl.