An Unfortunate (but Funny) Oops!

Yesterday, I wrote my post, “R.I.P. Ovary”.  

I wanted a realistic “tombstone”, so I set about creating one from card stock, a marker, and coffee grounds.  James had the idea to use our dying flowers and flower pot as the background.  I uploaded the photo, brought the prop into the house, and had to use the restroom.  I laid the card stock tombstone prop on the dining room table, and went about my business.  I walked into the kitchen, and we realized that we had errands to run before the kids arrived home from school.

We left the house in a flurry, and were in the car before I realized that we had never left a note for the kids.

James had left his phone behind, so I tried to call it; but the kids did not hear the ringer.

We pulled into the driveway a bit later, and saw two little faces on the window. 

They anxiously ran out to help us unload groceries, and said, “Mommy!  We are so glad that you didn’t die!”

James and I looked at them quizzically. 

“We saw the tombstone on the table, and at first we thought you had died, but your name’s not ‘Ovary’, and daddy would have told us in person.  Then we were sad for you since your friend ‘Ovary’ died.  Mommy, who was ‘Ovary’ anyways?  Did we meet her?”

Yup. Rock Star mother of the Year Award goes right here!  😉

Those poor kids!  I re-explained an age appropriate anatomy lesson.

 Realization dawned, and Ruby stomped her foot. “You mean we were sad for your body part? Mo-ther!”

Next time, I think I need to put my props away…

R.I.P. Ovary (c)Gracie K. Harold 2014

R.I.P. Ovary (c)Gracie K. Harold 2014


Sesame and Sunday


Our son, Rex, is anaphylaxic to sesame.  In the past, he has needed an Epi-pen® Jr. injection after accidentally eating some sesame chips.  This past weekend, James and I cooked hot dogs and hamburgers for the kids.  We have bought the same hot dog buns for months.  This weekend, we were in a frenzy due to a busy schedule and the fact that I am still tired and not quite up to 100% health yet.

We ate hot dogs Saturday night, and again Sunday afternoon.  Immediately after eating, we drove Rex and Ruby out to their grandparents’ home for a sleepover.  We noticed upon arrival that Rex had quite a few red marks on his neck.  He commented that they were bug bites from the bonfire we were at the night before.

We dismissed it, since he was exuberant and giddy.  We made plans for the two kids to stay in with an extra cell phone while grandma and grandpa went out for a bit, just around the corner.  We hugged our goodbyes and left for home.  20 minutes later, James picked up the hot dog bun bag and yelled, “Gracie! The buns list sesame as an ingredient now!”  I bolted over to him to inspect the bag as David said, “Mom!  Maybe those weren’t bug bites!”

I picked up my phone and frantically dialed the number for the cell phone that the kids had.  No answer…three times.  I texted. No response.

I texted my mom, and told her to call immediately.

She left her husband’s side to call me, and took off for home without even telling him what happened.

I asked if we needed to call an ambulance or not.  She said she would call back when she saw Rex.

Meanwhile, I called the allergist, who called the Emergency Room at the hospital.

Mom called back and spoke to James while I spoke to the Dr.

After I hung up, James and I hopped in our vehicle and took off for the hospital.  We packed caffeine as we assumed that we would be there for a long time.

We were at the hospital first, and I preregistered Rex before pacing and watching for the car that had my son in it.

They arrived, I rushed out and swooped him into a wheelchair, and marveled at the way he was giggling.

We pulled up to registration, and the nurse asked how many hot dog buns Rex had eaten.

I leaned over and asked him.

“None, mommy!  I didn’t eat any hot dogs. I had hamburgers!  A little voice in my head told me NOT to eat any hot dogs, so I didn’t.  Not yesterday either!”

We stared incredulously.  Thank God that this little man listened to that voice of warning!

The doctor checked him over just to be certain that the secondhand exposure hadn’t triggered his asthma, and he passed with flying colors.

James started laughing first, then Ruby snickered, my mom chortled, Rex giggled, and I shook my head as I laughed at our failure to ask the most obvious of questions.

The doctor assured us that we did the right thing, and that we could rest assured knowing that we knew what to do if there had been an actual reaction.  He did join us in snickering over the craziness of our Sunday.

We hugged our two kids goodbye again, and mom said, “Oh, shoot!  I never told my husband where I was going or that I was leaving!”

I quickly sent a text message of explanation so that once he walked home, he could retrieve the phone which he had left for the kids.

James shook his head and snickered every half hour for the rest of the night, as we sat up watching movies (we both had downed more than our share of caffeine!)

So we forgot to ask a crucial question, and made an assumption, and drove in two separate frenzies to the hospital…but at the end of the day, we laughed.

We laughed because Rex is alive.  We laughed because we care so much about him that we would not hesitate to do it all again to keep him safe.  We laughed because perfection is not a prerequisite for parenting.  We laughed because we were together, flaws and all…and we.are.loved.

Matthew’s Joke


Our son Matthew had a hard time accepting humor at first.  He would laugh at funny things on television or in movies; but he did not understand how to process teasing.  This brought on some very tense moments which required an extra dose of compassion and patience on our part.  We are, by nature, a family that thrives on practical jokes…and gentle teasing is one of our love languages.

By gentle teasing, I mean the following example: Rex walked into the house yesterday after playing out in the dirt.  I smiled widely, winked obviously and said, “So, mister man; were you going to wash the backyard off your legs?” He giggled, shook his head and said, “Ummmm, nope! Uh-uh. I wanted to keep it on me to remember the yard!”.  We laughed together as he walked out to clean up.

This whole interchange was a completely foreign concept to Matthew until a few months ago.  I remember one of the first “humor breakthroughs”.  I was driving alone in the car with Matthew and Marissa.  Matthew made an outrageous statement about something, and without thinking, I teasingly said, “Ohhhh, I see, Mr. Spoofer.  You are telling a Tall Tale!” as I winked at him in the rear view mirror.  *Cue tears.*  I felt awful.  He said, “My name is Matthew, not Mr. Spoofer!”.

I explained that Daddy and I called each other silly names just to show that we love each other…not mean names, but silly ones, like “Little Miss Pees a lot” or “Mr. I had Onions tonight”.  I explained that if the names change, the person still stays the same in their heart.  With a sinking feeling of dread in my gut, I asked him if he was starting to understand.  “*Sniff* I think so…since I was pretending to cry, Mom! I knew you were kidding!”

He got me.

About a week later, the five youngest kiddos were heading upstairs to bed.  It was a chilly night, so I hollered up to ask who needed an extra blanket.  3 little voices answered that they did.  I went all the way to the far corner of the basement to retrieve the warm layers.  My arms were heavy laden when I tromped back up the two flights of stairs.  I handed out two of the blankets, and went from room to room asking who requested the third one.  Total silence.  James said, “Are you sure that you counted right?”  I replied, “Three of the kids answered me.”  We heard snickering behind us, and turned to see the cherubic face of Matthew, dissolving into giggles. “Ha! I got you, MOM!  I asked for the blanket but then acted like I didn’t. I.TEASED.YOU!”

James and I shook our heads as we smiled.  “You sure did get me, buddy!  Way to go!”

That boy.  What a Spoofer!

The Vocal Mime

vocal mime

Vocal Mime @GracieKHarold 2014


I once persuaded a mime to *gasp* speak.

The autumn air was the perfect temperature on that fateful Halloween.  Our neighbor girl had  joined my family for a “Harvest Party” at our mega-church.  By mega-church, I literally mean that the campus sprawled out over acres of land.  The church event featured street performers of all types.  There were stilt-walkers, clowns, sidewalk artists, illusionists, and mimes.

My neighbor friend had to use the restroom.  We were at the end of campus that was in close proximity to the sanctuary building.  My mother didn’t want to walk any further until we knew beyond all shadow of a doubt that the restrooms were indeed open.  It was announced that we were expected to wait (or bounce in the case of my friend) until my mother returned from locating a “Person in charge”.

It was on that balmy night amid throngs of humanity pushing past us that my path intersected with the make-up caked-on, black-and-white-wearing, glove-ensconced mime man in the derby hat.

I admired his fashion panache immediately, and assumed he MUST be able to help us with our current bathroom dilemma.  I, in my artistic ignorance, assumed that he was a traditionally-painted clown who merely wanted to pay homage to the harlequins of years gone by.  (I was a rather nerdy child who loved researching things like “the history of clowns” in my free time.  Seriously, I did.)

I assured my friend that I would be back in a moment with an answer, and I stepped confidently away from where she was contorted in the “international bathroom dance”.  Pulling myself up to full height, I tapped the mime man on the shoulder and said, “My friend needs to go to the bathroom.  Is the sanctuary unlocked?”

The mime man proceeded to gesture me a strange series of movements.

I was confused.  I stood a bit straighter, and answered in a slightly louder voice, “My friend (pointing to her) needs to go to the bathroom (crossing my legs in the “potty stance”).  Is the SANCTUARY (pointing to the building) OPEN (opening my hands like a clam)?”

The mime man did something that looked like he was confused as he walked through an invisible door.

I repeated my above-mentioned question, LOUDER and with GRANDER gestures.

The mime man shrugged and walked away.

I was indignant.  My friend would wet her pants at any moment, and this fashionable historian was refusing to give us the answer that we needed.

I followed the mime man over to where a small crowd had gathered, and tapped him on the shoulder AGAIN.  I went through my spiel for the third time, adding exaggerated bounces to the potty dance, solemn prayer gestures to the sanctuary part, and mimicking his open-the-invisible-door-and-walk-on-through bit.

He threw up his hands in exasperation and stomped off.

I followed, wondering who would ignore a little girl in obvious need of a restroom. 

I tapped him on the shoulder again, and said, “Hey, Mister. I ASKED YOU A QUESTION!”

He whirled around and said, “Little Girl, I am a MIME.  I do not speak. I gesture, It is an art form which you have just ruined.  I DO NOT KNOW IF THE SANCTUARY IS UNLOCKED, I HOPE YOUR LITTLE FRIEND FINDS A BATHROOM. I have to go now as you made me break my mime-vow of silence.”  He burst into tears and ran for the parking lot.

“What happened to that man in the derby hat?”  I discovered that my mom had walked up beside me.

“I asked him if the sanctuary was unlocked so we could use the bathroom, and he started crying.”

Mom just blinked at me stupidly.  “Tell me what you did, Gracie, while we walk.”  We headed in the direction of the bathrooms as I retold my tale, complete with reenactment of gestures.

My friend speed walked into the haven of the unlocked restroom and found relief as I finished my story.

Mom simply shook her head, said, “Tsk tsk tsk, Gracie. Only you could make a mime talk…and cry.”  She started with a chuckle, and laughed on and off through the entire evening.

My family now refers to me in the following way: “Gracie is so stubborn that she can make a mime talk.”

I am, and I have. 😉