Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Once Upon A Time

I wanted to write this post because I hear all the time, "life is not a fairy tale!" While that may be true as far as being able to sum up the vast majority of your years in a simple three-word phrase "happily ever after," the fact is that in a myriad of ways, life is very much like a fairy tale.

Let me count the ways:

In our house, it's more rare that someone isn't running out the door without a shoe. Or even pants. But usually a shoe.

In the original Little Mermaid (the one Disney doesn't like to talk about), when she gets her legs from the sea witch, the Mermaid's feet bleed and experience stabbing pain with every step. Last week, I stepped on a Lego brick. Enough said.

"Hey, mom, I forgot my homework is to spin gold into straw, and it's due tomorrow!! I need help!"
"Hey, honey, the church needs someone to spin gold into straw by Sunday, so I told them we could do it. Of course, I just found out I have to work late, so...can you help?" The worst part is, no one will take my first-born child as payment for anything. If I pawn the kid off, even for a few hours, I have to pay THEM for the privilege. What a rip.

I can only go to the ball if I get all my chores done too, and sure enough, they suddenly multiply.

According to my children, nearly all apples are poison. The only thing more poisonous are vegetables. And I'm the old hag peddling them.

You work and work and work, but when you finally get into a good deep sleep, someone wakes you up with a slobbery kiss, or an announcement that they peed their pants.

Slaying dragons? Who has an actual problem with dragons these days?! I am, however, a first-class under-the-bed-monster hunter.

Some days, I'm both Beauty and the Beast.

I've traded my voice for obeying before. It's involves even more yelling than you'd think, and it usually ends up as a raw deal all around, just like in the story.

Small people think my hair is a magical rope that can hold their body weight. It can't.

When I'm not looking, elves come into my home, but instead of helping with chores, they sneak food and make messes.

No, birds and mice don't actually help my kids get dressed. But clearly, someone is feeding them ideas, and that person or thing has never heard of a weather report or matching.

After a day of overcoming obstacles, battling tantrums, long journeys filled with trial, physical feats of strength and agility, excessive amounts of thankless chores, all while struggling to maintain grace, beauty, and sweetness, the prince strolls in just before bedtime, throws around a few goodnight kisses, and somehow, he's the hero of the story.

A princess lives here. With every last one of her related licensed products.

Every so often, I get to dress up and go out for a special night. Then the prince and I glance at the clock and drive home as if our car will turn into a pumpkin to avoid spending any more money on a sitter.

Our story may not be the "happily ever after" of little girls' dreams, but it's an ongoing tale of adventure, peril, triumph, comedy, and even magic. Not a bad narrative if you ask me.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

It's Quiet...a little TOO Quiet

Since I wrote a post to whine and complain last month, I figure this month, I'll keep it more upbeat. I won't even mention the fact that while peeing in the potty is a huge success, we are still batting zero on the #2 front, and last week while we had company over for dinner Peyton managed to poop on the kitchen floor and then Sam stepped in it and started to shriek and cry. I just can't even talk about it. It's hilarious, but sometimes it makes me cry from embarrassment and there's too many conflicting emotions to handle!

This month, I'll talk about little Presley. Because she is a baby worth talking about! She's six months old now, and she is currently a perfect specimen of babydom (I know well enough to know that can change quickly, especially with the advent of teething). She is happy all the time, she loves everyone and everything, she smiles ear to ear constantly, and she even laughs and giggles when her big brother is all up in her personal space lying on her and smothering her with kisses. She loves her big siblings like crazy, even though sometimes when Sam holds her, Presley starts to slide down the couch precariously and it looks scary to me, Presley just laughs or does happy shrieks until I come "save" her. She's interacts with everyone she meets, and if she's on the ground, she just rolls around and plays with whatever crosses her path. She goes down for naps and bed easily. The only "complaint" I have is that she still wakes up every 3-4 hours to eat, but that's not much of a complaint, and if I do feed her, she falls right back asleep, or will put herself back to sleep in her crib even if you put her down awake.  If she can't find her binky she'll fuss for a couple of minutes and then just substitute her thumb. She thinks Sam's fart jokes are funny! (Which is good for Sam because the rest of us are pretty tapped out on the potty humor and no one else laughs) I usually have to wake her up in the morning or afternoon (sometimes both) to do the school run and she always wakes up happy. That's weird, right?

In fact, sometimes she's such a good baby that it freaks me out. I was actually happy when she made it abundantly clear she didn't like peas because at least she is capable of negative emotions (my future self just came back from Presley's terrible twos and kicked me in the shins for even saying that).

What Presley is NOT good at, is making me feel okay with the thought of being done with babies. Thanks a lot, Presley. I thought I would be so ready to be finished (since I probably have to be finished anyway), but she is just so cute and snuggly and such a joy to have around that it just makes me sad how fast the time is flying and makes me want to start over. I'm no moron though. I know loving the baby you have is not a good enough reason alone to have another one (especially if it's risky for your health). I know odds are just as good I could end up with another non-sleeper, or a colicky one, and then I will think the first six months is the longest time ever in the history of human existence. That's what I tell myself when I start thinking, "Hmmm, what are the actual odds a stroke will incapacitate or kill me? Is it worth it? Look at these thighs! Did you see these cheeks!?"

So then yesterday, when Presley got shots, I figured we might see some actual crankiness or she would feel lousy. She also has her first cold (which is nothing more than a stuffy nose--even her illness is low-maintenance). Sure enough, the shots did a number on her. Since she wasn't feeling well, Presley slept through the night. Uh huh. Then, every time I put her in her car seat to run errands, she falls asleep in there. She took a nap after school drop off, even though she slept during that too. When we took her brother to the indoor bounce house, her smiles were slightly smaller than usual, she sat on my lap for two hours looking around, and then she fell asleep on the way home. Next she ate, played with her brother, and is now taking another nap. Apparently, when Presley feels yucky, she just sleeps more. I kid you not.

I'm not sure where this kid came from. Either she's gearing up for one epically awful toddler-hood, or she should be nominated for sainthood now to get the process going. Only time will tell which.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Bathroom Business

If you're wondering where I've been, I really have no excuse for the lack of posts. I've just been super busy with life. And in fact, right at this moment, I should be finishing (okay, starting and finishing) sewing my Marge Simpson dress before our first Halloween party on Saturday, but instead I'm on here making a little post. This is mainly because I'm super lazy and have zero idea how to make the difference between my boobs, waist, and hips look somewhat defined while still only using a straight stitch and a single 3 ft strip of velcro. I'm going to channel my inner Project Runway contestant and "make it work," but first I'll give it even more of a think. Did I mention I'm lazy?

If I get them finished in time, however, our Simpsons costumes will be hilariously awesome. Possibly with the exception of Peyton, who is adamantly refusing to let us color his hair or skin yellow. Without that, he's pretty much a kid in an orange shirt and blue shorts. Every time I bring up how fun it will be to be yellow (and Sam already did it to show him what it's like), he just looks at me and says "Yeah...I not doing that." If it becomes a battle of wills, then trust me, no one will win, no matter the outcome. So orange t-shirt and blue shorts it is. No one will know who he is without the other four of us in tow.

But this post isn't about Halloween.

Actually, this post is going to be short because any longer and it will devolve into a litany of angry not-nice words I'm not allowed to actually say in front of my children. That is because we are attempting to potty train Peyton. Let's just say, a boy is a whole different ball game, and despite being 8 months older than Sam was, this experience is pretty much as much fun as banging my head against a brick wall. I suggest everyone reading this buy stock in whatever company makes Resolve carpet cleaner because we are going through it like water. It's only been four days, and I think there is more pee than carpet fibers on my floor. Sigh. Every time I start thinking "Maybe he's not ready after all..." and decide to give up, we end up having just enough success to give me hope. False hope, perhaps.

So today, I bought him some stickers to put on a potty chart. We had been using M&Ms but once he discovered that all it took was a few drops of pee in the toilet to get chocolate he began using that to his advantage a little too often (while saving the majority of the pee for his room). We went to the store and he picked out Angry Birds stickers (he is very much into Angry Birds right now). He was so enamored with his new stickers he kept staring at them as we shopped. In fact, he kept staring at them until he walked face first into a garbage can. Then a wine rack. Then I made him put them down until we got home.

Here's hoping that the hypnotic stickers are the motivation he needs to stop peeing his pants.

Friday, September 6, 2013

School Daze

At this point in time, Samantha has been in kindergarten for about a month. I was going to post on her first day, but I was busy moping/rejoicing, and I didn't want to jinx anything by saying she loved it in case she changed her mind on day 2.  After a month, she still loves it, and I love it too. She cried when she found out Labor Day was a three-day-weekend. When I realized she planned to fill that day fighting with her brother, I got a little emotional myself.
That's pretty much been the last month: me getting emotional. I cried a little at meet the teacher. I cried a little bit more after dropping her off the first day. Oddly, I cried the most after the first few days of school, on the first day I dropped her off at the curb and watched her walk to the playground alone instead of waiting on the playground with her until the teacher walked them into the building. She just looked so small walking along in the mass of kids. Even though it's just a standard-issue Princess backpack (sidenote: Argh! I'm so sick of princesses!), it looked like it would swallow her whole. And she's a tall kindergartner. Some of those kids look like they should still be in diapers when they're next to the sixth-graders.
I've gotten over it, however, and we're in a routine. Every morning, we wait in the long line of cars in front of the school for the gates to open indicating there is now adult supervision on the premises. We inch up to a reasonable place near the gate where a teacher is waiting to open car doors and help the little ones get out (This is especially handy since our car is a car-seat playground and Sam is trapped in the way back). After the door shuts, Peyton and I roll down the windows on his side of the car and as we drive by and she turns the corner at the gate, he yells "Bye, Sama!" and she turns back and waves at us. Then we close the windows to head back into the traffic leaving the school, and Peyton sighs and says "It's gonna be a willy lon day!" I'm not sure why he does that part, but he probably got it from me. It's our little system, and it works, five days a week.
Yesterday, though, as the teacher helped Sam get out of the car, I heard little voices yelling her name. There was a small group of kindergarten girls whose names I don't even know on the school side of the fence that were clearly happy to see her. Sam lit up, and booked it to the school faster than usual. The girls ran along on their side of the fence chattering away. In response to her brother's shout Sam waved over her head, but didn't look back. Today, it happened again, only this time, Sam didn't even wave. She didn't even hear us, she was already giggling and talking with her friends. This is as it should be, of course, but when Peyton said "Mama, Sama not look back!?" with a frown on his face, I felt like I'd been punched in the gut.
Then, even though it had been a month, some tears welled up in my eyes yet again. Happy tears for Sam, who is joyful and has friends, loves school, and is learning. Sad tears for me, as my baby girl doesn't want to look back anymore. Sad tears for Peyton, Sam's very best friend who now feels a little left out of Sam's special circle. Happy tears for Peyton, who is finally getting some time to be the leader and not be in Sam's bossy shadow all the time at home. Scared tears for me, as I realize for the first time in her whole life, I have no clue or control over what kind of friends she is making. These are children thrown together largely by geography, not ideology, not shared values or experiences. How I hope these girls will always be as sweet as they seemed by the fence, not mean girls, or frenemies, or kids who want to push Sam away from doing the right thing. How I hope she will be a good friend who remembers what we've taught her about how to treat others...without losing herself. There were a lot of conflicting tears mingling in my eyes in that brief minute. I did not let them fall, but I expect there will be plenty of opportunities ahead in this motherhood journey when these tears can not be contained.
As everyone else as learned on this journey before me, these young days really do fly by with lightning speed. Soon it will be Presley's turn at the gate and I will be crying my hodge podge of tears yet again, for her, as I did for her sister and I will for her brother. Peyton, quickly recovered from his slight, snapped me out of my thoughts with his usual sigh and his declaration "It's gonna be a willy lon day!"
For the first time ever, I found myself hoping he was right. Even though I don't always feel up to it in the moment, I need all the time I can get.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

A Little Night Music

I went back to bootcamp yesterday. I'm pretty happy, after over a year of migraines and no working out through my not so pleasant pregnancy, to even be able to exercise, even though I am really, and I mean really, out of shape now. I never thought I'd be grateful to exercise, but perspective is an amazing thing. However, I am super sore after two days of workouts. Last night, I barked at Daniel because I went upstairs to find the baby's gripe water only to have him tell me it was downstairs. He "thought I knew." If I knew it was downstairs, why would I have hauled myself up the stairs when it's so painful for me and took me a pathetically long time to manage it? I may have asked that question less than politely. Sorry, honey. My thighs were about to give out on me.
But I went back, and overall (last night's episode aside), it seems to be improving my mood. Thanks, endorphins. 
The only downside apart from the aforementioned soreness is that it's early in the morning. Like unholy early, and I have to wake up before five to get there. I'm not the biggest fan of waking up before five. I'm so against it, I even try to avoid hanging out with people that do like it. Guilty by association with mornings.
So, after waking up at 4:45am yesterday, and putting in a full day (I tried this whole new thing--no naps for me I am supermom! I work out! Screw that. If the kids go down at the same time, I'm resting. Laundry can just chill a while), I was ready to crash by 9.  Baby felt differently, so at 9:30pm, she did go to sleep, and Daniel and I crashed hard. We slept like the dead.
For a couple hours.
First, the baby (who usually wakes up one time a night to eat and sleeps like a rock the rest of the time), woke up with a stuffy nose just before 1am. In a zombie-like state I just fed her and put her back down. Apparently, no one told zombie me about the change in schedule, and habits die hard. Since obviously food doesn't actually clear breathing passages, though being propped up helped for a while, baby was up again at 2. I fed her again and she fell back asleep. Thank heaven the house wasn't on fire, I'd probably just attempt to rock and nurse the flames and go back to sleep.
Sometime around three, we heard a new person crying. Our darling son was having some sort of night terror. That is daddy's to deal with. Its the only good trade off to me being the only one with "the equipment" to feed the baby in the middle of the night. Still, the monitor is right next to my face, so he was keeping me up. When he seemed to be calming down, the baby woke up again. This time I was awake enough to do the math (gracias, Peyton) and realized she had only slept an hour and didn't try to feed her again. I changed her diaper and sucked out her boogers. She hates having her boogers sucked, so there was a calm-down period. As the baby was falling back asleep in my arms, Peyton noticed his water cup was empty. Rather than cry or ask for more water through the door, he opted for a complete and total meltdown. Screaming, crying, throwing his cup at the door, throwing toys and shrieking "I neeeeed water!" between sobs. He was lucky he was still half asleep because at that exact moment, we weren't feeling a lot of mercy for an intentional tantrum. It took him a while to calm down too.
I finally laid back down to sleep at 4:10. My alarm went off at 4:45. I got my already sore butt royally kicked and dragged my already sore legs home just after six. Daniel, equally bleary-eyed but ready for work, informed me the baby had woken up at five and was still awake in her crib. As she thankfully dozed back off and I decided to shower and get ready before the school prep morning dash, Sam poked her head out the door and said "Phew! You're up! Can I come out? I've been awake forever waiting for someone else to get up!"
This might be the sleepiness talking, but I am 100% convinced that my kids have taught themselves to read and write--even the baby--and colluded to make a schedule and take actual shifts to keep me awake all night long while still each being well rested enough to keep me up all day as well. I just have to find where it's posted and destroy it to get back to my peaceful nights. There is simply no other explanation!

My conclusion might sound a little crazy, but all my fellow parents can probably relate. Who hasn't had a night like this with kids in the house?

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Invasion of the Body Snatchers

Last night, the baby only woke up only once at 3am to eat. She slept from 10:30pm to 7am, which means I pretty much did too.
This morning, Sam came into my room while I was getting ready and made my bed, just to be nice. Then she did the same thing for her little brother, and after that, she got a bag and gathered up all the dirty diapers and took them to the garbage without being asked! When Peyton threw his hamper at her while she was walking down the stairs (can't win 'em all), he immediately apologized and gave her a hug without refusing five times first. Sam worked on a record amount of preschool pages, and actually worked carefully the entire time. Her brother didn't steal and rip up any of them. Peyton also let me change a stinky diaper without running away from me and trying to escape for 10 minutes before succumbing.
The baby had over 2 1/2 hours of awake and alert time this morning, but she was still willing to hang out in her swing while I did breakfast and showered and stuff. Usually she's asleep most of the time, but if she is awake, she wants to be held, so this was an awesome breakthrough. She then proceeded to fall asleep just before swimming lessons and stay asleep until we were nearly home. (We really hit the newborn jackpot with this kid)
Everywhere we have gone, Sam has held the door or gate open for everyone else to go through first. All hail Queen Manners! I didn't get hit in the face with a slamming door because the kids ran through and my arms were occupied even once, and it's usually a daily occurrence!
During swimming lessons, both older kiddos totally turned a corner and finally (after three years for Sam!) got completely into it, stopped fake crying, and quit being afraid. It was like they were competing to see who could be the best swimmer instead of vying for biggest wimp (in fairness to Peyton, he's never been afraid, he's just shockingly stubborn and doesn't want to do what the teacher says). Both begged for more lesson when it was over. It's pretty much a miracle. I had to make sure my sister was seeing the same thing, because at first I thought it was either a desert mirage, or hallucinations indicating I was falling victim to heat stroke. My goodness, it's hot outside. Why do we live here?
Sam told me I was a great mom. Yes, it was in context of asking if she could have both McDonald's and ice cream as a reward for her swimming, but I'll take all the praise I can get.
When the baby did start crying in the car, I overheard Sam singing and talking to her to try to cheer her up. I nearly melted. Figuratively and literally. Did I mention it's really hot here today?
After lunch, my sister offered to be in charge of all three kids during quiet time so I could go to the grocery store by myself. Do you hear me people? I went shopping, during daylight hours, by myself!
The store was massively packed, but when I hopped in the huge line, they opened another register and called me over, so I had to wait less than 20 seconds. When I got back, everyone was still in quiet time, or sound asleep. They are all still doing what they were doing, which is why my kitchen is clean, my dishwasher is running, and I have time to blog.

So, we are having a truly fantastic day at our house.  I can't even believe how well the kids are behaving. I've decided, if all this is indeed indicative of the fact that the pod people have invaded and taken over the bodies of my children...

Monday, June 3, 2013

Busy Hands

Sometimes, I'm convinced any (or all) of my children could make one of those Dos Equis commercials:

"I don't always accidentally grope you inappropriately, but when I do, it will be in public."

"I don't always vomit, but when I do, it's without warning."

"I don't always manage to pee around the diaper, but when I do, it will be when you're out of emergency clothing."

"I don't always mispronounce words, but when I do, I make sure they sound like vulgar names of body parts."
(This is a very real thing at our house. Peyton has decided his new favorite food is cherries. So, naturally, he pronounces it "titties." I kid you not. He is always announcing "I love titties! I want titties!" We have video proof. It's endlessly embarrassing in public, especially because saying "he means cherries" sounds so stupid. Titties sounds nothing like "cherries," and it's just bizarre to yell about your love for cherries. But it's true, and he does. Although the constant yelling may have something to do with how hilarious his father finds this quirk.)

"I don't always have public meltdowns, but when I do, you will run into someone you know."

and finally,

"I don't always skip meals, but when I do, it will be at restaurant. After the food has been presented."

Stay frustrated, my friends.