Wednesday, November 28, 2012

This is how it's gonna be?

My life, not unlike a caterpillar, has a clear cycle. It's a daily thing, and it goes something like this:

Put Peyton in high chair for breakfast. Peyton drinks his milk, then throws remaining unwanted solid food over the side of the tray.

I get frustrated and swear I won't bother cleaning it up this time.

Get Peyton down, wash his hands and face, and send him to play.

Sam manages to "accidentally" step on whatever dry food is on floor, I catch Peyton snacking on the intact remains.

I get utterly disgusted, give in, grab the broom and sweep (or vacuum) the floor anywhere near the table and high chair.

By now it's time for lunch! Back in the high chair!

Again, Peyton drinks his milk, eats a few bites of solid food, and drops remaining food overboard. He does this even if I let him pick his food, or it's something he really loves. I swear, this kid is living on nothing but milk. It's like a newborn all over again.

The floor is once again disgusting, but I will not sweep it again! I will not! It's a waste of time, he's just going to eat again in a few hours.

During naptime/quiet time, I end up stepping on a corn chip or froot loop. This is very gross, yes, but I will not give in yet. However, the floor continues to bug me. I can't make my own lunch with it grossing me out like that. What if someone comes over and sees I live this way? So, once more, I give in and sweep the floor. I don't know why I bother, since an hour or so later...

Afternoon snack time! Back in the high chair, and you guessed it, food on the floor. It's like he has a quota, a certain amount must be on the floor. If I give him half the food, he will just have to eat less, because the sacrifices to the tile gods must be made in full!

Since I learned my lesson during morning playtime, I just go straight for the broom to avoid watching him round up some smushed up string cheese and eat it in an hour. The kids play, the floor is clean, life is good.

Then, dinner time for Peyton while Daniel heads home and I put together dinner for the grown ups and Sam (or sit down feeling crappy and try not to lose it with the kids, depending on how the day is going). Once again, he bails food over the side for the peasant ants who depend on him for their livelihood and revere him as a cult figure who rains manna from the heavens four times a day, but also will vengefully step on them with no provocation.  (This is a joke, we don't really have ants. But it's a miracle we don't) I tell him for the 1000th time, not to do that. By this point, food issues aside, I'm usually pretty much at the end of my rope with the kiddos in general. More often than not, it's been a long day. As soon as Peyton finishes "eating," Daniel walks in the door, says hello to everyone, looks at the floor under our son and says "Wow, how does this floor get so disgusting? We really should sweep it more often." We. Yes, seriously, he says "we." In his defense, he also honestly believes he means "we," because if he were home while Peyton makes the messes, and he would have every intention of sweeping, therefore, "we."  I, however, realize this "we" actually means "me," and get irrationally irritated to a level only a pregnant woman really can.

Fantasy me punches him in the face.

Real me just stomps upstairs in a huff. Sometimes, on the way up, I shout "I swept THREE TIMES TODAY!" Other times, I assume he knows the drill by now and just go. He stays downstairs wondering why I'm always in such a bad mood when he gets home from work (because apparently, he doesn't actually know the drill by now, Mars and Venus, amirite?). I resurface after a few minutes alone, and we manage to have a decent dinner and evening. Someone does the dishes, but I refuse to sweep the floor on principle, waiting for that "we" to kick in and take care of it. Somehow "we" never surfaces. "We" is busy doing evening stuff, sort of like "me" is busy doing daytime stuff.

The next morning, I wake up to a nasty floor, and clip Peyton into his seat for breakfast.

In the background, I swear I hear "The Circle of Life." I can almost picture Rafiki holding up a dustpan reverently.

It may not be a cycle I'm particularly fond of, but it is what it is. I will be so happy when Peyton stops throwing his food overboard.

Friday, November 23, 2012

Pearls of Wisdom

Yesterday, in honor of Thanksgiving, Sam had a few pearls of wisdom to share with me, that I'm going to share with all of you. It's either that, or work out, or do laundry, and I'm still in a bit of Thanksgiving fog, so the longer I can put working out, the happier I'll be.

First, when she came to wake me up, Sam yanked my covers off (a technique I really dislike, by the way) and pointed out that my stomach now sometimes sticks out from under my shirt (only at night, when I'm still trying to make do with clothes I already have, it's not like I strut around like that during the day). Judging by the laughter, this was quite possibly the funniest thing she has ever witnessed. After she followed me to the the bathroom and amid a few gasps of laughter punctuated by choked out phrases, "Your belly....gasp gasp...sticks out...giggle giggle...of your shirt!!!" I finally got irritated and said, "Hey, Sam, give me a break, my belly is getting big, ok?"
Upon realizing she might have hurt my feelings, she immediately sobered up, and looked at me thoughtfully. Then she said "Hey, mom, it's true that your belly is getting bigger. Like its getting really really really a lot big. But, you've got a baby in there! Either that, or a giant hot dog. And you know what, Mom? Either way, it's totally ok. It's ok."
Awww, thanks, Sweetie. You managed to simultaneously exacerbate and help my body image issues. What can I say, she's a talented kid.

But Sam woke up feisty on Thanksgiving morning, and she wasn't yet finished sharing her theories on life. We scooped up Peyton, and headed downstairs to eat breakfast and start cooking our additions to the extended family Thanksgiving. I turned on the TV to hopefully keep them out of my hair while I wrestled with an orange roll recipe that I only have about a 20% success rate making (although it worked yesterday! Boom!). Unfortunately, the TV was showing one of those abused dog Sarah Maclachlan commercials. I hate those anyway, but when I'm pregnant, forget it. Niagra falls. To make matters worse, I realized Sam was starting intently at the commercial, and I could tell there was a question brewing. Sam has not asked a single question in over two years. Everything has at least 37 follow ups. After only about 5 seconds, not enough time for me to change the channel, here it came. "Mom, why are those animals so sad looking?"
Super, I was going to kick off my holiday trying to teach my kid about animal abuse. Happy Thanksgiving, everyone! (In case you're wondering why I don't just make something up to end the conversation, lying to Sam isn't just a moral conundrum for me, it's a physical impossibility. I'm a horrible liar to start with, and she's so smart, and there's so many follow-up questions, it's just too much to keep track of a web of deception on the fly. The few times I've tried, it's unraveled on me so fast, that I realized there was just no point even trying. So, she gets an age-appropriate honest approach, and I get migraines. That's where we stand.)
So, I sucked it up and said "Those animals are sad because the people they lived with, didn't treat them nicely." Then I waited for follow up question #1.
Instead, Sam looked thoughtful for a moment, and slowly added "Nope. I don't think that's it."
"What do you mean, that's not it?"
Sam shook her head and said "That's not why they're sad. Those animals are sad because those guys (meaning the rescuers) has them stuck in those little cages. I bet if they let them out, they'd look much happier! Geez!" She was disgusted.
This was an interesting approach, I admit I'd never thought about. The more I thought about it, the more Sam seemed to be onto something there. After all, these animals had already been rescued from abuse, and now had reason to be happy, but sure enough, they were all in cages. What animal looks happy behind bars? All of a sudden, I was laughing. Here they were, trying to be all heavy handed and induce guilt and my four-year-old is sitting there thinking the rescue operation was the reason the dogs were still sad. Maybe the problem was you, Sarah? Ever think about that? Sam wasn't buying the manipulation they were selling. I was sitting there trying not to cry at the sad animals, and my logical 4-year-old daughter was getting all cynical on me. Consider my mind blown at the total role-reversal.
Sometimes, I just love that kid so much, it hurts my guts. She is just so much her own independent person. She's got the softest heart I know, but try and manipulate her, and she sees right through it, and she will not have that crap! Will not have it!

Something tells me my little Sam will be okay in this messed up world.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Sibling Rivalry

Lately, Sam has been obsessed with when she'll be able to feel the baby kick. She asks all the time if she can feel it yet, and I explained that I would probably feel it long before she could, but I couldn't even feel it yet. She was very upset at this and grumbled something under her breath about "everything with babies takes sooooo long." Yesterday in the middle of church, she slammed her head into my stomach (which of course felt absolutely fabulous, and wasn't a huge uncomfortable jab that made me instantly have to pee--and that's a huge lie), and then informed me she could may not be able to feel the baby kick, but she could hear the baby crying in there. If that were in any way true, it would be supremely creepy.  Horror movie creepy. Sometimes kids come up with the creepiest things, and don't even realize how terrifying that would actually be in reality.

Naturally, I thought she'd be excited when last night in the car, I turned around and said "Sam, I'm pretty sure I did just feel the baby kick!"
Instead, she looked back at me, sighed and said "Yes. Well. I also just farted." She seemed irritated that no one was celebrating that as much as the baby kicking. As if her passing gas is even close to rare, or in any way cute.
Face palm.

I suppose we have reached that stage when things that she thinks are going to be exciting actually turn out to be a little irritating or cause jealousy. That's a natural and understandable emotion, but that doesn't mean its gotta be indulged. She's just barely getting old enough to understand "suck it up and act happy no matter how you feel, because you aren't diminished by other people's good fortune," but that's a lesson a lot of adults need to learn still. Sam isn't less special to me because a new baby is coming (and neither is Peyton). I am not less awesome if a friend gets a great high paying job, or a new house with a kitchen I would love, or is lucky enough to have a pregnancy that doesn't come with severe nausea, high-school flashback acne, and stretch marks. It's not like my stretch marks would disappear if another woman got them. If this life has taught me anything, it's that there are plenty of stretch marks to go around, metaphorically speaking. There are also plenty of great things, like love, happiness, and opportunity to go around too. 

Life is not a zero sum game, where one person finding happiness means another can't. It's a lesson I have to find a way to teach to my four-year-old, but it's a lesson we could all stand to brush up on sometimes. I think the world we live in would be a much better place if we all understood, not just knew, but understood, that envy is a pretty destructive emotion.  It only takes and diminishes the person that possesses it. What it does not do is add to the envious, detract from the envied, or make the world "more fair." Of course, as Sam so aptly demonstrated to me last night, envy is a natural and powerful emotion, so this is much easier said than done.

In this season of Thanksgiving, I hope I can take the time to really count my blessings, without buying into the temptation to count my blessings only as they compare to others.  What comes easily to me, may come hard to others, and what I consider impossible (like running), others do with ease (I've heard some people even enjoy it. Mystifying). That may not be "fair" on the face of that one facet of life, but when you look at the overall package, I believe in a loving Heavenly Father who is supremely fair in the end. I believe that our vision is more limited than we even realize, so we would all be better off if we just stopped squinting so hard to read the fine print on other people's lives, and instead, focused on our own story. I also believe that if we could see all the fine print, we probably wouldn't trade lives with someone else we thought was so blessed, if it actually meant taking on their struggles as well. So, that's my goal this week, to count my blessings and not grade them on a curve.

The biggest blessings in my life are my children and my husband. All three (soon to be four) of these amazing people in my life are infinitely special to me. All of them have their own special talents and abilities, that thankfully go well beyond bodily functions (although Sam and Peyton are very talented with tooting and belching, respectively). I'm thankful for my husband, who is a great man and a hands on partner in life--the kind you want with you in the trenches, but also for the long haul. He's also a fabulous dad.  I'm lucky to have the opportunity to work with him every day to raise these great and funny children, and I wouldn't trade my crazy kiddos for anyone else in the world. Not even for a kid who never farted or burped, or one that came potty trained. And that's saying something when you hate diapers as much as I do.

 Happy Thanksgiving everybody!

**Disclaimer: If this third kid actually did show up potty trained, I wouldn't exactly complain. I would be thrilled. Just in case anyone up there with any control over these things reads my blog.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

A Veritable Verbal Explosion

Now that Peyton is 20-months old, his language skills have just exploded over the last couple of months. Sam talked early and talked a lot, so it's been a different experience having Peyton take a different path and suddenly after being a pretty quiet guy, he now is a chatterbox. I don't know who, but someone dropped a quarter in this kid and got him started!

One of my favorite Peytonisms is about his blanket. He has a blue crocheted blanket that we got as a gift that he just loves and sleeps with every night and nap. We always called it "Blue Blankie" but a few months ago, Peyton started trying to say it, and his attempts finally evolved and settled into the word "Blee" (a mix of "blue" and "blankie"). So, he wanders around the house asking "Where my blee?" and announcing "Oh! Here my blee!" or "It's my blee!" as if it just returned from war! My personal favorite is when he heard the washing machine running, followed me in to the laundry room, held up his blanket and said "Wash my blee?" (It really did stink that day.) I love that it's his own term and he uses adult phrases combined with toddler speak so sincerely. He also understands when you tell him to do stuff with his "blee." If you tell him, "leave your blee on your bed and come for breakfast," he will drop it in his bed and say "Bye, Blee!" as he heads downstairs. What can I say? The man loves his blee.

But my other favorite skill that has come with Peyton's new found language is that he talks to himself (not unlike his mother). I love overhearing an unexpected pep talk given to himself by a toddler. Just this morning, I was putting on my make up, when I heard the pitter patter of Peyton feet, followed by the thud of a Peyton faceplant into the carpet. Before I could even turn around, he was back on his feet and I heard him say to himself: "Whoa. I fell. Okay, okay..." and then he shook it off and finished coming in the room. There are few things more hilarious than hearing a situation explained in the most basic terms known to man. You can almost see him thinking about it--hmm, something unexpected just happened, lets figure out what it was...all right, I got it, carry on.

And really, isn't that what all of us are doing on some level or another? Trying to piece together what is happening in our own little world based on our own current level of perception? I guess watching Peyton try to master skills I thought I had has taught me that we're all really just going through the same processes. Some of us are past the "blee" stage, but its not really by much in the grand scheme of things.  I'm grateful I have these wonderful little kids around to teach me these lessons, it's much nicer to learn them in the school of peek-a-boo than the school of hard knocks.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Booger Pants, Secret Shame and an Announcment

A couple of weeks ago, on the way to school, Sam shouted "Mom, help! I have a booger and these are new pants!"
I was intrigued by this combination of announcements, so I asked "What does having a booger have to do with your pants?"
"Well, if they were old pants, I'd just wipe the booger on them, but these are new pants and they're nice! I need a tissue!!!"
Isn't that lovely? The truly embarrassing part of the whole thing is, that of course, I really don't actually want my kid wiping her boogers on her pants--that's super disgusting. On the other hand, what I didn't know wasn't exactly hurting me, and the last thing I wanted to do was fumble around the diaper bag while driving to try and find a tissue.  Cleanliness or safety? So, the reality of the situation was I just would have preferred never to have found out what she did with her boogers. Plausible deniability--every parent's best friend.

In other news, I saw a study that said 53% of moms lie to make themselves and their kids look better to other parents. I would just like to point out that in case it wasn't obvious based on what I've told you above (and hey, the rest of this blog), I don't actually fit into this category. If I was lying to make myself better and this was the best I could come up with, someone would have held an intervention for me by now.  Let's all just admit that we're human moms, not super moms, or perfect moms, and laugh a little at our foibles.  Even if our kids pants are covered in boogers, if they're happy, fed, insanely loved, and regularly hosed off (and the booger pants run through the wash), we're doing ok.

And finally, while I may be fine with being an imperfect parent, I'm sorry to say lately I've been a downright unfit blogger. At least I have a good reason for that. Baby #3 is joining our family in early May!!! While I am beyond thrilled, I have also been beyond nauseated and it's been effecting my blogging (and parenting, and cooking, and cleaning). Now that I'm feeling a little better, (hopefully continuing to improve as I hit the 2nd trimester), I will try to be better about least until this kid shows up and I again face the endless pit of newborn needs. :)

Happy November!