When The Cat Goes To Camp, The Mice Pretend To Be Betty Crocker

Do you know what you have when there’s a thirteen-pound boy in your house who hasn’t napped more than seventy-five minutes in the entire day?

It’s called a Gremlin, people.

Don’t expose him to bright light.  Don’t get him wet.  Don’t feed him after midnight.

And those seventy-five minutes of napping?  That would be the total minute count, and you should, under no circumstances, be led to believe that those minutes were consecutive.

I feel like my day needs no other colorful descriptions for y’all, because there’s only so many ways that you can say DON’T ANGER IT and DON’T MAKE EYE CONTACT WITH IT before you just want to crawl beneath your deck in the shade, where it’s somewhat quiet, and have yourself a thorough snack of carbs.

In order to cope with all the non-napping and the I AM SO EXHAUSTED, MY HEAD WILL SPIN CIRCLES IF YOU WATCH CLOSELY, BUT I PLUM REFUSE TO GIVE IT UP AND GO TO SLEEP, SO I WILL KEEP SMILING AT YOU IN MY DELIRIUM, HOPING YOU THINK I’M ACTUALLY OKAY, I decided to make a cup of coffee.

Decaf, of course.  My brain didn’t need to shake any more than it usually does.

I had my coffee mug.  I had my K-cup.  I had the bag of sugar.  I had the carton of half-and-half.  What I didn’t have was a working Keurig.  I fired it up, according to the policies in the user manual, which is exactly how we have fired it up every day for two solid years, and what it sounded like was a lawn mower that was about to give up the ghost.  And then there was no coffee.  And the Gremlin was kicking in the living room and alternating between giggling hysterically and whining hysterically, and all I could do was stare at the coffee pot and think to myself, “Really?”

Which probably explains why I simply loaded Thing 2 up in the Suburban and drove to Starbucks for a chai latte.  Desperate times… desperate measures… blah, blah, blah.  On the way down the hill to my favorite restaurant, Thing 2 fell asleep, which just reconfirms in my book that a trip to Starbucks is a holy time and good for everyone involved.

(Dear Hubs, the Keurig is broken.  I’d make a stab at fixing it, but I made a stab at taking the pictures off of my memory card yesterday all by myself, and I don’t want to rush the progress in my attempt to become Less Helpless.  Love, Mama.)

What I really had to talk about tonight isn’t the fact that Thing 2 has convinced himself that he is a big boy and that he can survive the day with a couple of fifteen-minute power naps.  (Don’t believe him; he lies about this, unless he means YES, I CAN SURVIVE WITH A FEW SECONDS OF NAPPAGE, BUT ALL OF MY CIRCUITS ARE GOING TO MELT DOWN AND THINGS ARE GOING TO EVENTUALLY GET UGLY, BECAUSE CHERNOBYL REALLY WASN’T ANYTHING.  If that’s what he means, then yes.  He can survive the day without a nap.)

What I really wanted to talk about tonight is the small fact that Hubs and I have been living on the wild side this week, without the boy in the house.  We have gone plum, ridiculously wild since Monday.  It’s like we don’t even know ourselves any longer.

We.  Ate.  Peanut.  Butter.

The boy, you see, is allergic to peanuts.  We found this out on his first birthday, at his party, in fact, when I gave him a chocolate and peanut butter no-bake cookie.  (You didn’t think I’d actually BAKE cookies for a party, did you?)  Of course it was 104 degrees outside, and every one of the 40 guests who were there to celebrate his first birthday held the boy.  When he developed red splotches all over himself, I, in my very limited medical knowledge, assumed he was OVERHEATED.  So we stripped him down to his diaper, and he had his cake.  (And yes, he grabbed the candle and burned his hand, too, and the cake was from Walmart’s bakery, so you can just chalk that day up to one of very fine parenting.)  A few minutes after the boy was dressed in nothing but his Pampers, the red welts cleared up, and the party resumed in full swing, because my darling friend, Christy, bought the boy one of those old-school, Fischer Price popcorn-popper push toys, which was the hit of the party.

The level of loudness has never been duplicated in our house since that toy went away.  It remains the single toy that nearly drove Hubs and I into family counseling, as we plotted ways to sneak the boy’s favorite plaything outside to the dumpster every night while he was sleeping.

After the red welts were a thing of the past, I diagnosed the boy with a case of THE BABY IS WAY TOO HOT, because weren’t we all?  104 degrees is hard to take, even when you’re the cool-as-ice White Witch from Narnia.

The next day, in the air-conditioned comfort of our home, I gave the boy a leftover chocolate and peanut butter no-bake cookie.  Three minutes later, one of his eyes had swollen shut, his top lip swelled up so much, it touched his nose, and his right earlobe was nine times it’s original size.  And the red welts were back — across his cheeks and down his throat.  Naturally, I did what I do best in a situation like that:  I panicked, which is why I left pursuing the medical-type degrees to other family members, like Brother’s Wife, RN.  I called Dr. B, and I pretty much screamed into the phone, “HEISSWELLINGUPHUGE!!!”  And the boy’s pediatrician asked me what he had eaten, and I yelled, “I don’t know!” as I debated her worthiness as a doctor, because listen:  My boy’s face was swelling, and she was concerned with what he had eaten.  All I could think was that she wanted to know if his lunch consisted of processed food that signified a horrible mother, and whether or not I had represented the four food groups by giving him organic chicken chunks, strawberry pieces, green beans, and little bits of whole grain bread with cheese cubes.

And then Dr. B said, “He is having an allergic reaction.  What have you fed him?”

And that is when the boy was diagnosed over the phone with a peanut allergy, at the age of one year plus one day, because he was powerfully fond of chocolate, and he’d had that a million other times, but the peanut butter?  Never.

So we watched the labels on food products carefully.

And then, when the boy was four, his Tiny Tots soccer coach gave him a granola bar filled with peanut butter, and the boy took a bite of it before I could sweep upon him like a bald eagle snagging a salmon out of the river and yank it away.  One bite later, and we had welts all around his mouth and swollen lips.  We followed the granola bar bite up with a Benadryl chaser.

And then Hubs was eating peanut-laced trail mix while he was watching TV late one night, against me nagging that, “You can’t eat peanuts in this house!”  And Hubs said, “I’ll Clorox!  And he’s sleeping!”  The next morning was Saturday, and the boy was up at 4:30 AM to watch TV.  Actually, it was probably closer to 6:00 in the morning, but on Saturdays, 6:00 might just as well BE 4:30.  Hubs and I were trying to sleep in, which meant that we were trying to remain SLEEPING until at least 7 AM.  At 6:30, the boy shook me awake and said, “Mom, my neck and chest are on fire and itching awfully bad.”

I took one look at my baby, who was holding the remote control to the TV set, which his daddy had been using the night before.  The diagnosis was simple and didn’t require me calling our family’s RN:  Peanut oil was on the remote, and the boy had gotten it on himself, which created HIVES!  HIVES!  HIVES!  He had Benadryl for breakfast.

And that,  people, is why we have shut the peanuts down here at the Jedi Manor.  It’s why notes go home from the boy’s classroom saying, “Please bring treats to the class’ Christmas party, but we must ask you to refrain from bringing peanut products, because some children have allergies.”

Some children = the boy.

And so, all of that has been a lot of words to tell you that while the boy has been at camp this week, up on the mountain and far, FAR away from home, Hubs and I bought a jar of peanut butter.

We had peanut butter on our toast.  And we Cloroxed the kitchen counters afterward.

I had a peanut butter sandwich for lunch.  And I used Clorox afterwards.

And then, the pinnacle of the week was this baby:

THAT, people, is a frozen peanut butter pie.  It’s not pretty; it doesn’t have to be.  What is in that Oreo cookie pie shell is a mixture of creamy peanut butter, cream cheese, heavy whipping cream, powdered sugar and vanilla extract.

It is what Jesus puts on the buffet lines in Heaven every night for dessert.

Hubs and I mixed that sucker up two nights ago, and we froze it in the freezer.

(Because yes.  The freezer is usually where you freeze things.  That last part up there was a bit redundant.)

We had peanut butter pie for breakfast.  And as an after-dinner treat.  And as a before-bedtime treat.  And now there is one slice of pie left, and we both looked at one another this morning, and Hubs asked the question that was on both of our minds:  “Is there enough time to make another one before the boy comes back home?”

At the rate that we devoured that little beast, I would say there’s time a-plenty to make THREE more pies before the boy comes home this weekend.

And that, people, is how Hubs and I have been living things up while the boy has been off at church camp.

Plus, the sugar content in the pie buzzes us up enough to keep pace with our non-napping sweetie.

Thing 2 may be stubborn about napping, but his grin and all of his cuteness melts our hearts to goo.  We love that baby.

And we love the boy who prevents us from eating the world’s most perfect dessert:  Frozen (in your freezer) peanut butter pie.

Have a great weekend, people.

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