Thursday, December 31, 2009

Can't We Just Get Along?

My daughters are about three-and-a-half years apart in age. I really thought it would be a good age gap. My older sister is only 10 months older than me and we were never especially close growing up. I figured my little one would have a good role model and my older one would love teaching her little sister how to do stuff. Boy, was I ever wrong! I guess it's because they're on vacation from school and are feeling a little trapped in the house by the cold weather. One minute, they're nice. The next, it's like the WWF in here! It's crazy. The older one bullies the younger one, threatens her, says "I'm going to call your teacher." The little one retaliates and bullies back, egging on her older sister under she gets a smack or a kick or a scratch. Then, she comes crying about how her sister hit her. I consider myself pretty level-headed. My thought is - if you don't want her to hit you, stay away from her and don't goad her. But, she's four so she doesn't really get that rationale. You'd think they'd be happy to go outside today and make a snowman and snow angels and throw snowballs and go sledding. Nope. Fights about who the sled belongs to. They've been loving the dollhouse they got for Christmas. But, they fight about which doll gets to go inside and who gets to be the mom or the sister. I don't want to complain about my kids. I don't want to be the mom that prays for vacation to end and school to start back up. But, I am that mom. I just want peace. I know kids argue, but does it have to last all day? Do they have to call each other names and hit each other? Can't they be like passive-aggressive adults and bottle up their emotions and then take them out on someone else later in life? That's what I did! There are only three days left until school starts again. Then the fighting will only take place 5 hours a day instead of 12! Give me strength.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Taking it too far

Why is it that kids can't stop themselves? When do they learn self-control? I try not to nag my kids (their father does that enough) but give them a warning that something might be dangerous or painful or lead to unpleasant consequences. Today, my daughter was wearing crocs and decided to slide on the ice in the middle of the street with her friend. I told her to be careful, that her shoes would make her slip and that she'd probably fall. Of course, what happened? Yup - splat right on her face. She waited till she got in the car to cry, and did so all the way home and then while laying on the couch. I know my kids don't like to listen. Why is it, though, that a tickle has to turn into a wrestling match that ends with punches to the gut and kicks to the ribs? Or standing next to someone leads to a game of tag that leads to shrieking in public places and bumping into unsuspecting passersby? They take everything too far. I don't think I'm that strict. I don't think I limit my kids too much. I may be wrong. I've been told by some that I'm too hard on them and by others that I'm not hard enough. I don't want to stymie their free spirits, but come on. I let them "swim" in the bathtub tonight. They had bathing suits on, a ton of toys, foam spray for the walls, and on and on. That wasn't good enough, apparently, because the game became splashing and soaking the shower curtain, walls, ceiling, floor, toilet, towels, toilet paper and anything else they could reach. Too far. So when will my kids get that internal stop sign? Or at least a yellow light so they'll slow down.

Friday, December 25, 2009

Presents

This morning, I was so pleased with my daughters. They woke up and opened their stockings and then did something quite unexpected. I thought they would run to the tree and find something with their own name on it. Instead, they found gifts for everyone else and wanted them to open their presents. They had so much joy in giving that it warmed my heart. Of course, things changed a bit later on when they began opening gifts. You'd think they were twins - most of what they got was the same. It was like you had to buy the identical gift so there wouldn't be any "sharing" issues. When I was wrapping, it seemed like so little. Once it was opened, it seemed like so much! Is it too much? When is it enough? It was sweet to watch their faces light up when they saw what lay under the paper. For the older one, she jumped for joy at a snuggie, of all things. The little one liked her princess and the frog doll. They each got a dollhouse, that my brave sister bought and offered to assemble. I'm sure she's regretting that purchase right about now. I loved that they wanted to play with everything right now. Everything needed to be opened (thankfully Grandpa travels with his trusty pocketknife) and assembled and tried out. Did I mention I ran out of AA batteries very quickly? And the tasty tester concoction of raspberry soda probably sounded better than it tasted. All in all, it was a nice, peaceful Christmas. The best part was sharing it with my parents, my sister and my daughters as we rejoiced in the birth of our Lord and Savior Jesus. Merry Christmas!

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Super Mom?

Do you know a Super Mom? In my view, there are two types - the one you admire and want to be like and the one you can't stand. BFF-MG is the first kind. She is all about family and being a mom. She gets cool ideas and does crafts and games and treats and so much fun stuff for her kids and their friends. I'm sure all the other moms in her school feel so lame in comparison. They come in with slice-and-bake cookies and she's got homemade cupcakes that are decorated for a specific holiday theme. She decorates the kids' rooms and does silly stuff for their birthdays and makes sure that everyone - even her hubby and us girlfriends - feels super special on their special days. I know the other kind of mom too. The one that seems to have nothing but time on her hands. She probably gets up at 3 in the morning and fills chocolate molds and then color coordinates her outfit with her kids' outfits and then makes a hearty breakfast for the kids and comes to school to read books. She's just a bit much and makes the rest of us feel lame. Maybe if I knew her like I know my BFF, it wouldn't bother me so much. The chocolate cornucopia filled with colored chocolate pumpkins for Thanksgiving? The chocolate "gingerbread" house decorated with candies for Christmas - along with goody bags for each child filled with gifts? Really? I wore an elf hat and called it a day. These Super Moms are great. They're usually perky and happy and healthy and glad to give lots of time and energy to the effort. I wouldn't mind being Super Mom some days. I just wonder if I have it in me. I don't like baking. I guess I'm creative to a point. But, do I have the patience to build a chocolate house? Do I have the willpower to do it without eating the roof?

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Listen up

I'm sure I've commented before on the large amount of ear wax my daughters seem to have. It is so bad that I have taken them to a specialist to have it removed since their pediatrician won't do it. I know it must be back because they can't hear me. They can't hear the horrible music on the radio either, because they ask me to turn it up. And Sponge Bob sputters his annoying laugh at very high decibels. They can hear each other, sometimes. It's usually when they're saying something bad that needs to immediately be repeated to me in a very whiny voice. They can't hear themselves too well because they feel the need to yell to me from another room and expect me to answer. They do this a lot and get aggravated when I don't run to see what they want. They don't seem to hear cars moving around on the street or in parking lots, because they have no problem walking without holding hands. And they definitely don't hear me when I say it's time to do something like get dressed or take a shower or brush teeth. They certainly haven't heard me the 100 plus times I've said that dirty clothes belong in the hamper and not on the floor. They haven't heard me tell them over and over and over to not just take off their shoes and leave them in the middle of the floor. They haven't heard me beg them to be nice to each other and stop fighting and hitting and calling each other names. They don't hear me tell them to pick up the toys from the floor because (ouch, dammit) someone is going to step on them! I really thought they could hear me because most of those times, I was looking them right in the eye saying those things! It's gotta be the wax, right?

Thursday, December 17, 2009

If it isn't one, it's the other

Why is it when you're a parent, everything doesn't run smoothly all the time? Some things are great sometimes. Other things are great other times. But, they never seem to come together all at once! Just when you think things are going well, something or someone comes in and upsets the system. You had things under control and life was sailing along, right? Wrong. It's a growth spurt or a cold or a problem at school or a dentist appointment gone wrong or a forgotten library book or a sibling rivalry. Minor glitches, yes, but still glitches. They are still things that put a wrinkle in the smooth. And how, as a parent, do you learn how to handle them in a manner that teaches your children how to cope? If you're an uptight person, you can't exactly let things slide. So, in reality, if you keep it up, your kids will turn out uptight too. If you're too laid back and don't worry about things, your kids might not learn how to respect schedules and commitments. Oh, what to do? This parenting stuff is hard. It's bad enough that I have to worry about my own behavior as a human being. Now, I've got two malleable people watching every move I make and forming their patterns based on mine! What a responsibility it is to be a role model! Well, it could be worse, I guess. I could be Madonna or Britney Spears, right?

Saturday, December 12, 2009

I'm a murderer!

Backing up out of the driveway this afternoon, I heard the crunch. You'd think it was ice, but then I heard the noise - the terrible sounds of a cat who had just been caught under the back tires of a minivan. I am a murderer. I killed my cat. The cat that I took home from college in 1991. The guy who'd been there from the beginning. Of course, poor Chuck didn't die right away. Thank God my Dad was at my house and said "Just go, I'll take care of it." I really didn't want to know what that meant, but I pulled out of the driveway and my four-year-old saw the cat lying on the ground. "Is Chuck dead?" she asked with horror in her voice. Yes. Chuck is dead and mommy killed him! Thankfully, she didn't put two and two together and realize that I was the murderer. She just asked how a cat gets up to Heaven. She wasn't happy with the explanation I gave (God brings him there). So, I started to tell her about spirit and her soul and her heart because I really didn't want to get into the gory details of burial and cremation and all that. I'm really quite immune to the whole pet death thing since I worked for a vet for over a decade and saw more than my share of animals being "put to sleep." I just feel bad because I used to joke about waiting for the cat to die. He was so old and annoying and used to run in the driveway right as you were pulling in. Little did I know he would be there when I was pulling out! The girls do want a new cat now, but I think we'll hold off. I can't have another death on my conscience just yet.

Monday, December 7, 2009

No shoes, no shirt - big problem

We had a bit of a warm spell, I'll admit, but now that it's December and the snow is here, it's time for warm clothes, right? Not in my house! My children are horrible when it comes to putting on clothes. The youngest is now going through a phase where she hates every pair of underwear you put on her. She doesn't ever want to wear pants either. She says she wants leggings. Give her those and she wants tights. Give her those and she needs stockings. It's crazy and it's making me crazy. It's fine that she wants to walk around the house with a tank dress on. It's fine that she'll walk around here with no socks on and just a t-shirt. But, then the tantrum she throws because it's time to put on pants??? Forget it. I purposely took her to the store to pick out pants. No jeans or anything with buttons or snaps. She got two pairs of sparkly pants and she still won't wear them. I asked the moms in my moms group for help and they were really great. Maybe it's dry skin. Maybe it's a sensory issue. Maybe it's a behavior issue. Maybe I just need a drink!

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Making a Mess

Sure, I'm used to my kids making a mess. Half the time, it looks like they just dump things on the floor and walk away. Other times, I don't even know where the stuff is coming from! It's like the toys and the junk mated and gave birth to more crap! But, here's the thing that I hate more than anything when it comes to my kids making a mess - paper. Why is it that these children need to use my paper? They take it from the computer printer, put a line on it and they're done. There's no possibility of writing on the other side - that would be crazy. My oldest loves paper. She really loves to cut paper. I think it's her hobby. If not, she secretly enjoys cutting it up because she knows it drives me insane!!! So, tonight she decides to make some snowflakes. Now, if finding little bits of paper on the floor drives me crazy, how do you think I was feeling during the snowflake project? I don't have OCD or anything, but tiny scraps of paper all over the floor are just annoying, right? Or is it just me? Guess I should be glad she wasn't using glitter too!

Monday, November 30, 2009

Second Wind

My kids hate sleeping! What is that about? Come 4 or 5 p.m., they are so cranky and icky and I know it's because they're tired. You think "Oh great. We'll eat dinner, they'll have a nice relaxing bath and then go to sleep." Ha ha ha. Joke's on me EVERY NIGHT! The clock's hands make it around to 7 p.m. and these little girls are wide awake. They are ready for anything. Well, anything except bed. Let's watch TV. Let's make brownies. Let's color. Let's play Barbies. Let's play a board game. Let's read 57 books. Let's play on the computer. Let's cut up every piece of paper in the house and leave the scraps everywhere. Let's do a makeover. Let's run up and down the stairs. Let's watch a movie. The list is endless. What I want to know is, where do they get the energy? I've heard of getting a second wind, but how much can these little bodies actually re-energize? Why, oh why, can't I do that. This is the time of night when I am just done. I've cooked and cleaned and bent over to pick up anything and everything so many times that I'm light-headed. I've done the laundry and folded it and put it away. I've done everything that I can do today and I am tired. I just want them to want to snuggle up next to me and quietly sit there while I read them a book or brush their hair or tell them a story. Shoot, if I had that chance, I would grab it. I wish someone wanted to snuggle up and brush my hair and tell me a story. Any volunteers? And then, when you're done with me, you can put my kids to bed!

Sunday, November 29, 2009

I am not my mother

I will never be my mom. Maybe it's because she's from a different generation or because she was raised in a very strict household or something else, but she does these things that I will never do. Now, I'm sure you're waiting for me to point out some character flaw, but I won't. What I'm talking about is more aesthetic. Here's an example... after Thanksgiving dinner, my mom took all the napkins and immediately washed them. When she returned them, they were ironed and folded in the neatest stack. Did I say they were ironed? I don't even own an iron! When I do iron, it looks like I used the pointy end. I could run that thing back and forth for an hour and there would still be a wrinkle. She actually enjoys ironing! She says it's relaxing! I can't believe I actually came from this woman's womb! I remember my mother-in-law telling me a story about when she first got married. Her mother-in-law told her "I iron all of Miguel's clothes, so now that is your job. I iron everything - even his underwear and socks." Of course, my MIL never did it, but I'm sure she expected something similar of me when I married her only son. Not gonna happen. I've always been astounded by my mother's ability to make things look nice. She has a way of folding a fitted sheet so that it looks exactly like the flat sheet. It used to drive me nuts as a kid because I'd always pull the wrong one out of the linen closet. I've tried to fold them, but it doesn't work. I even watched a Martha Stewart instructional clip on how to fold them but I still can't do it. Luckily, I stop short of rolling the sheet into a ball and throwing it in the closet. It's little things, silly things really, that I will always remember about my mother - the way she threads a needle or that she'll only use a razor blade to sharpen a pencil. I wonder if my kids notice things like that about me. I just hope they don't notice the wrinkled napkins!

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Fast Forward

I am always amazed by the amount of things my kids know. Sometimes, it bothers me because I want them to retain their innocence. Other times, it just astounds me that they are so intelligent. But, one of the things that I think is so great about kids is how they will use words or phrases and have absolutely no idea what they mean. Or when they sing songs and make up words or say something that makes no sense, but sounds right. Today, we were watching a video and the letters "FF" came up on the screen. Caty yelled out FF! Look at that! Now, we say FF all the time when we want to skip through commercials on a show on the DVR, but I don't think we've ever said 'fast forward.' So, I asked her why she thought FF was so cool and she said "because that's our word! someone else knows our word." I explained to her what FF and fast forward were and she seemed a bit disappointed when she said "Oh, I thought we made it up." It was so cute but I felt awful bursting her little bubble. Next time, I won't tell her!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Moms are no Aunts

My entire life, I have been compared to my older sister. "Why can't you apply yourself like Jennifer?" or "Why can't you get good grades like Jennifer?" or "Your sister is never late for school" or "Your sister never got arrested"... you get my drift. I thought I was done with it, but now even my own kids do it! My kids worship my sister. They adore her. They can't wait for her to come home from work every day so they can see her. When she is free, they are up her butt. What I don't understand is how she never seems to tire of them. She is so patient with them. She teaches them so much and uses every available moment as an educational opportunity. I credit my daughter being a math whiz because my sister is. I think my kids think I'm slightly intelligent, but when they ask me a difficult question and I give them the answer, they say "Oh, forget it, I'll ask Aunt Jen." Even if I'm sure of the answer! But none of that bothers me. Because I know if I die, my sister will be a fantastic mom to my girls. Here's what does bother me - making things from scratch. One day, Caty asked if we could make cookies and I told her I didn't have the stuff to make them, meaning that I did not have a slice and bake roll of Toll House cookies in my fridge. So, here comes my sister...Don't you have flour? Don't you have sugar? Eggs? Yeah, so? Apparently, these are the ingredients for cookies. Sure, I have them all, but I combine them only once a year and that is when I feel obligated to make Christmas cookies and bring them to family events. I'm no baker. I like to cook, but I'm just not fond of baking. It requires too much prep work and clean up and measuring and waiting for stuff to rise and rolling and kneading and aaaaaargh! That's a special project - it's not something you just do, like, when you're bored. Except, my sister does it. She makes cookies with my kids. She makes cupcakes with homemade icing. She makes bread and biscuits and pie and cake and muffins and everything else that normal people buy in a bakery. There are no boxes in her kitchen that say Pillsbury or Duncan Hines. She's probably never even used a container of frosting. To me, that is just crazy! So, tomorrow is Thanksgiving. My sister and Caty have made the cranberry sauce and a pumpkin cheesecake and probably a dozen other gourmet dishes. She did let me make the lasagna (for my vegetarian Dad) but she had Caty supervise the whole thing. I just can't catch a break. Hmmm. Maybe tomorrow during dinner, the gravy will be lumpy (yeah, right, sure. Fat chance).

Monday, November 23, 2009

What is it with kids and the potty?

Lord help me, if I have to buy another Pull-Up, I'm going to kill someone! My oldest daughter was potty-trained at 2. We were on vacation with BFFs in South Carolina. Their son was peeing off the porch and Caty thought it was awesome, so she started peeing too. She wanted to do it standing up, but we convinced her not to. She still thinks peeing standing up is pretty neat. (I do too. It's one of the only things men are masters of). Now, I know it's not fair to compare siblings. I know everyone progresses at their own speed. But, goodness, if my little girl doesn't stop her obsession with the Pull-Up, I will go insane! You don't even need to tell me all the things I'm doing wrong. Sure, my mom gives her a cup (or three) of chocolate milk every night before bed. No, she doesn't use the toilet before she goes to bed (because it's hard enough actually getting her to fall asleep). Yes, I know plenty of moms who don't give their kids drinks after 6 p.m. and who wake up in the middle of the night to walk their sleeping pre-schooler to the toilet to empty their bladder. And, yes, I know I'm a big, fat, lazy mom who just puts the Pull-Up on and deals with it in the morning. I guess I'd rather have that than the accident to deal with. But, now, if you don't take the Pull-Up off right away, she will pee in it! She's fully awake and aware of what she is doing. It's no accident (even though she says it is). I've even caught her trying to run and hide to poop in it. Are you kidding me? My kid will be wearing Depends in college, I'm sure of it.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

What did you say?

Had a couple of hours with the BFFs last night - cupcakes to celebrate a mommy birthday. Don't ask me if it was the sugar rush, the hardwood floors or something else, but the noise level in this house was crazy! Ten kids ranging in age from 2 to 7. Ten really loud kids. Ten kids that seemed to be bouncing off the walls like ping-pong balls. Funny, because on the way there, I thought my head would explode from listening to my kids in the back seat - arguing, asking why, singing, chanting, blah, blah, bibble babble. I actually started humming to myself. At one point, I tried to put the iPod headphones in my ears, but they caught me! So, the four moms are sitting at the table talking. We're being interrupted every few minutes by someone tattling on someone else or a big crash or a cry that needs tending to. But, basically, we're working like robots. Like we know who is walking over to us before we even see them and we know what they are going to ask for - so someone just pushes the cupcake over for her son and the other one holds her napkin out to wipe a frosting-covered face and the other one removes her hands from her lap and sits back just a second before her little one shows an interest in climbing up to sit on her lap. It was amazing to watch these ladies work this way. As the evening was ending, BFFMG says she never thought she'd be one of those moms that could just tune everything out. Pre-kids, she would see moms in the store and their kids would be screaming and fighting and hanging onto her pant legs and she would just be quietly walking down the aisle looking for Ovaltine. Now that she has two of her own and, for some crazy reason doesn't mind being the host to eight other kids, she has learned to tune out the incessant noise. Kids will talk and cry and whine and yell and sing and hum and cough and laugh and scream and sob and chatter and just make noise all day long if you let them. Sometimes you just have to unfocus and let your ears adjust to their noise as white noise. Believe me, if there's a really cry (like from hurt or needing help) you'll know it. It will be different than the droning. Then, once you right whatever went wrong, you can go back to your tranquility.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

No Santa

At school the other day, a mom approached me and asked for a favor. Sure, of course, whatever I can do. "Tell Caty to stop telling all the kids that there is no Santa Claus!" I didn't like the way she said it, but I guess she has a point. She told me that her daughter in Caty's second-grade class is her "baby" so she wants to keep up the ruse of Santa and the Easter Bunny and all of that as long as she can. Oh, yeah, Caty told her there was no Easter Bunny either. So, I told the mom that we celebrate Jesus and the real reason for holidays in our house, but I have never said Santa Claus isn't real. I have told her about the history of Saint Nicholas and that it is okay to see Santa as what he is - a type of cartoon or character. But, as far as a strange man sneaking into our house via the chimney to leave gifts? No. My kids don't think that gifts are free and that they fall from the sky. They understand that people work hard for the money they earn to buy those gifts. In our home, as should be in all, Jesus is the reason for the season. But, even if that wasn't the case, how do you explain to your kids that Santa doesn't visit everyone? There are millions of children all over the world that don't get gifts, right? And how come Mom? Why doesn't Santa give those kids presents? So, is it my job to teach my child to not state her beliefs? Or is it the other mom's job to tell her child to just ignore what other kids say about the topic? I figured out around age 6 that my mom was Santa because they had very similar handwriting. Maybe it's time this girl figure it out too. Maybe, tomorrow, I'll go to school and tell her that the Tooth Fairy is pretend too.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Sleep

Didn't I just write recently about my children and how they never EVER want to go to sleep? Yeah, well, it's 8 pm and both of them are passed out like drunks at happy hour. Hard tired - mouths open, drool leaking down their cheeks, little snores coming from their little noses. I don't know what hit 'em, but I like it and I would like a bottle of it to store in the pantry please!

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Bedtime

How sad is it that I am cheering because both of my kids are asleep before 10 p.m.? Bonus points because it's before 9:30!!! Seriously, I need the sleep equivalent of the dog whisperer to come over to my house and convince my kids to stop bouncing off the walls and go to sleep. Pre-schoolers need something like 13 or 14 hours of sleep a day. Yeah, right - tell that to my pre-schooler. They won't even sleep late on the weekend or a school holiday. Go to bed late? Wake up early. Wrong, girls. You've got it all wrong!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Growing up

Why does it go by so fast? They're babies and in the blink of an eye they're big kids. The way they look changes, the way they talk - it happens in an instant. Just yesterday, the girls in my daughter's Brownie troop were talking about being old enough to drive. Whoa! Slow down. When you're young, you just can't wait to get older. When you're older, you reminisce about youth. I guess that's why they say youth is wasted on the young. I noticed it today at BFF-AM's house. We were looking at her son, who is five. He broke his arm and was acting like such a brave boy. One minute he was that shy little boy with the cute, raspy voice and now he's brave? Now he wants to watch Batman and Superman and Indiana Jones? Um, no sir. You are just too darn little for that no matter what you think! You're not supposed to be going to school and reading books to your little sister. Of course, I want my kids and those of my friends (and I guess all kids in general) to love the experience of growing up and gaining more knowledge and experience. I guess I just wish they would take it a bit slower. One day at a time, you know? It doesn't have to go by so fast!

Monday, November 9, 2009

Stinky

I once read an article that said you should teach your kids about deodorant before they need it. My kids aren't listening. They're still a little young to worry about underarms, but how about breath? They hate to brush their teeth and, when they do, it's such a lame job. I've even given Caty some mints to put in her backpack because some days her breath is not pretty. She's got to be able to smell it. And while we're on the subject, how about the feet? My kids have got some stinkers. They get that from their dad! I know it's because they never wear socks and the shoes they wear are usually cheap ones (sorry, but I can't invest in $50 shoes when I have to buy new ones every 6 months!) but I put the odor-eater spray in there, sprinkle in the powder - the works. But, they still smell. I know because every day when they get home from school, they kick off their shoes and shove their toes in my face. I love my job!

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Prude?

I'm no June Cleaver. It takes a lot to offend me. And I guess it's because I'm the mom of two young girls, but I am so sick of women lately! Just when they were starting to get into this whole Hannah Montana thing, Miley Cyrus goes and starts acting like a hoochie. I guess we were watching earlier episodes when she was cute and a little goofy. Now, she's wearing underpants in her videos and shaking her rump. I don't get it. Why do girls want to be this way? Why do you want the bottom of your butt cheeks sticking out of your shorts? It's not like I'm so old, but when I was a girl, we would wear shorts under our Catholic school skirts so no one would see our underwear when we were walking up the steps. Sure, by the time we were in high school, most of the girls would roll up their skirt an inch or two, but nothing like these girls now! I can't take it. I don't want my girls to look at these people on television and think this is pretty. But, we can't even turn off the TV to avoid it! It's everywhere. You can't go to the mall. You can't go to the beach. You can't go anywhere that a girl over 11 might be, because you are bound to see something inappropriate. It's not like I want my kids to dress like the Amish or wear birkas or anything, but come on! Maybe just a little bit of cover? A scarf? A shawl? Can we get denim jackets and baggy pants to come back in style?

Friday, November 6, 2009

Too quiet

It's Friday night again and my girls are gone - off to Abuela's house to spend the night and visit with their daddy's family. I know I should be reveling in the peace and quiet. I've gotten all the suggestions - take a bath (don't like 'em), drink some wine (don't like it), watch a good movie and snuggle in front of the fire (I cancelled my satellite service and I'm scared of burning the mouse family living in my chimney). So, what to do? I do have a lot to do. I'm not feeling sorry for myself by any means. I just feel like I'm missing an appendage or something. When your kids aren't around, you don't just notice the silence - you feel their absence. It's hard to wave goodbye. It's hard to know you're not the one tucking them in at night. It's even hard to sleep without those little feet kicking me in the back. I'm sure I'll get used to it eventually but for now, I'll call them just to hear their voices!

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Independence?

When, oh when oh when oh when will my children learn to do anything by themselves??? Well, I'm sorry, they can get into trouble all by themselves. They can do the stuff they're not supposed to do. But, when it comes to the most simple tasks, they are at a loss. They won't look for anything! When I want something, I get up and get it. When my children want something, they stay where they are and don't move a muscle and say "Mom, can you get my baby doll?" Um, I can, but I won't. Why can't you get it? I ask. "I don't know where it is." Well, did you look? "No." There you go. Get up and go look for it. I don't mean to sound uncaring but Get it yourself. I know you can do it. I've seen you stand up. I've seen you walk. I've seen you bend down. I've seen you pick up a toy. I know you can do it. I have every faith in your ability, my child.

Monday, November 2, 2009

No sleep

Yeah, I'm still on a mission to shove a clock down the throat of whomever came up with this daylight savings time garbage! Seriously, next year, I'm not doing it. I don't care. I'm going to just start my own time. Isn't there a town in the Midwest that doesn't change their clocks? Maybe I should move there. I didn't get an extra hour. In fact, my kids woke up earlier than normal. Then, they went to bed much, much later. And now? Picture a pinball machine. You can hear it. Bing. Bing. Bing. Bing. That's my kids. Whining. Crying about every little thing and bouncing off the darn walls. I didn't even let them have any of their Halloween candy. They've had no chocolate or sugar and they're still going nuts. I think these past two days have been the longest of my life. I really need a drink.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Extra sleep?

Okay, whoever said that we would get an extra hour of sleep this morning since we set the clocks back, better check for smoke - because his pants are on fire!!!! What a joke. I didn't get any extra sleep. I woke up, saw a 6 on the clock and thought I was dreaming. I didn't know where I was, what day it was, what time it was and who those two little girls poking me in the ribs were. Maybe they're all hopped up on the sugar rush from their Halloween candy, but they were up and ready to go at 6. Does that mean it's really 5 or is it 7 o'clock? I'm confused. I need a nap.

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Halloween

What is the best part of Halloween for kids? I'm trying to remember the ones of my past and I come up with nothing. Of course, I remember Mischief Night - who doesn't? Eggs, shaving cream, toilet paper. Oh, a friend who grew up in Jersey told me they call it Goosey Night, but I think that's silly. I watch kids now and wonder. I see them look in the bag after you've dropped in the candy and hope there's no disappointment in their eyes. Watching my kids and my BFFs' kids running from door to door tonight, I've got to think it was the candy. Sure, they liked dressing up, but when Supergirl's cape fell off, she could care less. I swear, I had more costume pieces, accessories and other stuff that I was like a lost and found box. I'm sure the excitement of it is fleeting. I'm sure parents remember it way more than kids do. I'm sure my kids won't remember what their costume was two years ago or where we went trick-or-treating. I know I'll remember this Halloween for a long time to come. It was a great day and night with good friends (some of whom came from Florida) a pizza party, drinks, cupcakes and lots of fun. I don't know what my kids loved this year. Guess I'll wait till they wake up tomorrow and ask them. After they've begged for a candy breakfast!

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Up to no good

I have totally figured out a way to get my kids to get along. Well, two ways, actually. First, give them junk food that they shouldn't have and they will bond like glue, quietly sharing a bowl of doritos and giggling together when they touch hands during their grab. The second is to pay no attention while they play some crazy game or set up some messy experiment. They think they're getting away with something, and they are - kind of. I know I'm going to have to clean it up when they're done. I know something will probably get broken or stained or whatever. But, they are conspiring against the enemy (me) and in doing so are getting along with each other. So, in essence, I am doing the Jedi mind trick on them when they think they are getting one over on me. Pretty smart, huh? Now, if I can just make it work when it comes to homework, brushing teeth, bathtime, cleaning their room, eating vegetables......

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Rain, rain go away

It's been raining for two days. It's annoying. Sometimes rain is fun - when it comes down hard against the windows and you can listen to it as you fall asleep. Or when it's just enough to make some puddles for the kids to jump around in. And it wouldn't be so bad if, once in a while, people could take a rain day from school and work and just snuggle up on the couch with a blanket and watch a great movie. This rain is just yucky. It comes and goes and just makes the leaves all wet and slippery. It's not pretty or fun. This rain is threatening to ruin Halloween and that would just be awful! Kids will go crazy, parents will go crazy. It will be mayhem! So, rain, could you please go away?

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

More than one?

I don't know how these moms of multiples do it. Today, I had three seven-year-olds in my car and then met up with a couple more. You know what those little girls do? They yap. They yap, yap, yap, yap, yap and just don't stop. It's almost like white noise - this constant chatter that starts the minute they wake up and ends when they go to sleep. I don't know if boys are like that too, but it can drive a person insane! You've got to be a really brave, strong, patient person to have a lot of kids. Maybe, after a while, you just don't hear the yapping anymore. All I know is for the next trip, I'm getting earplugs!

Monday, October 26, 2009

You do it

You know that independent streak that kids are supposed to go through when they want to do everything by themselves? Yeah, that train hasn't stopped at this station. My kids want to do absolutely nothing by themselves! I think a four-year-old can brush her teeth by herself and pull down her own pants to go to the bathroom. I think a 7-year-old can certainly pick her own clothes out of the closet and put them on her body. Because, Lord knows when I pick out the clothes, she says they don't match and they're ugly. Listen, kids, if you're going to give your mother a hard time every morning, you are going to be late for school. You will miss the bus. You will be the last person to arrive at the party. You will not get the best seat at the movie theater. Whatever the event, you're not going to make it. Why? Because you don't want to brush your hair but you scream when I do it. You don't want to find your clothes, but you hate the ones I pick. You don't want to brush your teeth, but you whine and cry when I stand and watch you and make sure it gets done. Basically, what I'm saying is it's all your fault! So, stop blaming Mommy every time something goes wrong. Yes, we are adults and we are in charge and we should be running a tighter ship sometimes, but really, it takes us enough effort to get ourselves together - so imagine what it's like trying to do it for a bunch of smaller people who are not cooperating.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Costumes

Okay, I know that old saying that a woman has the right to change her mind, but my daughters are not yet women! What is the deal with changing their minds 57 times about what they will be for halloween? I can't take it. The little one was dead set on Tinkerbell. I don't know what happened, but all of a sudden, she wants to be Supergirl. Okay, fine. I go out and buy red satin for a cape, felt to make the super symbol on her chest, etc. Not good enough, apparently. She wants to be a pink Supergirl. What the heck is that? Supergirl isn't pink! I finally convinced her by showing her a bunch of photos online. (Beware - there are a lot of racy Supergirls out there!) So then there's the oldest. She never knows what she wants to be. Usually it changes a few times in the days right before Halloween. It works for her because she gets to be one thing for her school party, one thing for the party at her dad's job, and yet another for the actual day of halloween. Stinks for me, but she's been pretty okay about using things we find around the house. Like, it was easy to make her a pirate one year; a mummy, a rock star - these are all things I can create from my "stash" of stuff around the house. This year, she seemed to focus on Batgirl. Okay. I can do that. Easy. She's got black stuff around the house and I found a girl's Batman shirt for two bucks! My only issue is the mask/ear combo. I'm thinking a hoodie, a ski mask, something. Then, she decides she doesn't want to wear anything on her head. Cool. But, then she decides she doesn't want anything. She doesn't want to dress up. She doesn't want to be Batgirl. If she dresses up, maybe she'll be a mummy again. She doesn't want a cape. She doesn't want gloves. Um, how do I return the cut material to the store, dear? Why can't life be as easy as when I was a kid? Wear you mom's nightgown and curlers and be an old lady. Wear old pants and a flannel shirt and be a hobo. Wear a sheet and be a ghost. At least there is some reward for all the work we put into this halloween business... CANDY!!!!

Saturday, October 24, 2009

The grocery store

The grocery store can be one of two things - Heaven or hell - depending on the company. When you're alone, it's like a little vacation. You stroll, you browse, you meander. You check prices, you compare nutrition guides, you plan menus. You do anything you can to savor the time you spend walking the aisles. There is no rush to leave because that means going home. Now, when you are with your husband and/or children, it is the opposite of a good time. It takes twice as long, but not because you're enjoying it. It's because the kids are in and out of the cart. . If they're in the cart, they're reaching for something and grabbing stuff off the shelves. If not, they are running, they are racing down the aisles. They are pulling all the coupons out of those little automatic dispensers. They are stopping every few feet to beg for something they can't have. It's usually something they need. Something they only want this one time as a special treat. If you get it for them, they'll be really good. They'll feed the dog. They'll clean their room. They'll be nice to their little sister. With your husband, it's usually something completely ridiculous like the $6 hungry man dinner that he swears will satisfy him, even though he's hungry five minutes after eating it. And dad will let the kids get whatever they want. Sure, load up the cart with sugary snacks and chips. Why not? Mommy's the mean one that never lets us get anything good. She makes us get fruit and granola bars. You know what? I'm going out right now. If you need me, check aisle six. I'll be the one reading the magazines with no intention of buying them.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Where my girls at?

What is it about girls and having to know exactly who is going to be there and what is going on at all times? No matter where they go! Can't they just be pleasantly surprised? Can't they just let the event happen and worry about themselves instead of everyone else in the room? Tonight, I took Caty to a Halloween party. It's our third time going and she always looks forward to all the cool games and crafts and activities. But, tonight was different. The moment we walked in the door, her eyes were scanning the room for someone she knew. "Do you want to make a mask?" No. "Do you want to play the beanbag toss?" Nah. "Do you want to get a tattoo?" Nope. Nothing. She wanted no part of the fun. All she wanted was to find a friend to hook up with and hang out. Of course, she did find several of her friends to run around an be silly with, but not until I forced her to make a black cat bookmark and a clothespin bat! I made that kid have some fun whether she liked it or not.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Shower Phobia

Is there such a thing as a fear of being clean? If so, my kids have got it.... bad! They hate taking a bath or shower. I mean, I can understand not wanting to stop what you're doing to get cleaned up. But, they play in there so it's not like it can't be fun. The actual cleaning part doesn't take too long, so what is the problem? Tomorrow is Caty's class picture today so I figured it might be a nice idea for her to take a shower and have clean, knot-free hair. Well, let me tell you about the fit this little girl threw. She didn't want to get clean. She said I could wash her hair in the sink and that was all. I didn't want to hurt her feelings and tell her the shower would help do something about her stinky feet too. Both my girls finally gave in and took quick showers, whining, crying and complaining the entire time. Wait till I tell them it's time to comb their hair!

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

No sleep till...

What will it take to convince my children that sleep is their friend? It's a good thing! Why don't they get it? Sometimes, I feel like I could sleep all day. They could sleep for five minutes and be satisfied. Of course, they're cranky and hate life, but will they go back to sleep? Nope! My girls will wake up at 3 in the morning and think it's time to start the day. They want to watch TV. Um, no. How about you close your eyes and pretend to watch TV in your dreams, okay? I know they don't sleep well at night. They talk in their sleep. They toss and turn and kick and roll all over the place. You think they'd be a bit tired and want to stay in bed a few minutes longer. I've read many magazine articles by women whose kids like to come in their beds in the morning and snuggle - what's their secret? I guess I need to put a TV in my room and bribe my kids with that. "If you let mommy sleep for 20 more minutes, you can watch whatever show you want." My luck, the kids would be buying pay per view movies or watching wrestling! Ah, sleep. One day, they'll embrace it.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Don't like kids!

Well, I like my own kids and most of my friends' kids, but in general, I have got to say I don't like kids. In a group, I'd say. I don't know how people can be teachers. I would lose my mind! Today, I had the honor of hosting a Brownie Girl Scout meeting after school. It's my second meeting as the leader and I'm ready to jump off a cliff. I swear it's like someone fed these kids 30 cups of espresso and a few Red Bulls. They don't stop talking - EVER. They don't stop moving - EVER. They just yap, yap, yap, yap, fidget, fidget, fidget, fidget. Of course, I'm the one to blame for taking on the leadership role, but I thought it would be good for my daughter. It is good for her - she's one of the ringleaders of the crazy brigade! Today, I found her in the bathroom trying to climb over the stall, yes I said over. When I made her come back to the meeting, she said that I was mean. That's okay with me. I don't mind being known as the mean Brownie leader. I think I'd rather be known as the mean Brownie leader than the crazy Brownie leader who pulled out her hair and ran out of the school screaming!

Monday, October 19, 2009

Heartbreaker

"You're breaking my heart!" It was the cry from my four-year-old this morning when I told her she could not have a fudgesicle for breakfast. "But, we don't even have any fudgesicles!" I responded, as if that would mean a thing to this wounded child. "You don't love me anymore!" she howled. What? How could she say that? How could she think it? How do these kids do it? They can tug on our heart strings in both good and bad ways and completely control the way we react to a situation. Think about it. Your child does/says something really naughty and then gets the cute, impish grin and you can't help but laugh. Or, they tell you they hate you and you want to cry. How can someone so little and so unaware of their actions wield such a strong punch? The key for parents is remembering to not take it personally. Your kid doesn't mean it when he says he hates you or that he's running away or that he wants a new mommy. I guess we've all got to learn to let it roll off our backs. Soon enough, you'll get to the point where you're helping him pack for the trip!

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Mean

Why is it that whenever you ask your child to do something that might not be the most enjoyable task, you are mean? My oldest was on a kick for quite a while, calling me a mean mom about 100 times a day. It stopped for a few months and I never realized how great that was until today. Today, I'm mean again. I'm mean because I asked her to bring her dinner dishes from the table to the kitchen sink. I'm mean because I reminded her that her reading homework had to be finished. I'm mean because she had to take a shower. I'm mean because her pillow wasn't fluffy enough. Gosh, I thought I was kind of nice. Well, sometimes, at least. I wonder if my daughter will ever understand what mean actually means! Like, what if I locked her in her room and gave her Brussels sprouts for dinner? Or if I told all her friends that Caty is really not all that pretty. Maybe I could cut her hair while she's sleeping! See, I think those things are mean. Me? I'm not mean. Sure, I can come up with lots of mean ideas, but I would never actually do those things - especially the Brussels sprouts - now that is really, really mean!

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Names

When is the baby-naming trend going to turn, I wonder. Some of the names that people choose for their kids just don't make sense to me. It's not like we live in Charleston, where naming your son Parker or Houston or your daughter Shelby would be as common as grits. Yeah, I know I'm going to offend someone with this post, but really... today I'm at an event and we're in the children's section and, yes, there was a Shelby and a Bailey and an Avery and a Tennyson. Yes, I said Tennyson. Cool, yes. I think all of those names are pretty. And I totally get the whole idea of naming your kid after something literary (I am a writer, you know!) I wanted to name my first daughter Scout. But, here's the thing. You have to think about how many Taylors and Madisons are walking around right now. Maybe someone said this 30 years ago about the name Melissa too. You might think you're coming up with something original, but it really isn't because 20 other people are thinking the same thing on the day their baby is born! My husband and I disagreed on naming our second child. He hated the name I picked (Caroline) and I secretly loved the name he picked (Sabrina) but didn't want him to know. But, when we were coming up with name possibilities, I had four criteria - it has to sound good with your last name; it can't be some funky spelling that no one will ever get; it has to have a good nickname; and it can't be a name that kids can use to tease you with (think of Homer Simpson saying 'art, bart, cart, dart, eyart..Nope, Bart it is!') Just give it a thought. You may consider it the coolest name ever, but really - what kid wants to go through life with a name like Apple?

Friday, October 16, 2009

Running

I heard the funniest thing today. One of those classic one-liners that needs to be shared with the world. BFF MG was at her son's soccer game and hubby turned to her and said "Look at our son running. He runs like a fat kid." Got the mental picture? Now, that's funny.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Freakin' super heroes!

I have no idea where my children learned about Batgirl and Supergirl. There are no shows for these women. They've never seen a movie with either of these "superheroes" in it. So, how do they know them? And why on earth do they have to know them now? Three weeks before Halloween? You know why? Because they're trying to drive me crazy. Caty - who, last year was a rock star and used only clothing found in this house - now wants to be Batgirl. And Sabrina, the little imp who was so dead set on being Tinkerbell (much to mommy's joy because we already have a Tinkerbell outfit) will now be Supergirl. Freakin' super heroes! I was going to blame BFFM, whose family is doing the whole super thing - son is Batman, daughter is Batgirl, daddy is Robin and Mommy is Catwoman. But, my girls came up with it on their own! Why? Someone is poisoning their minds. Someone who thinks that I want to make these darn costumes! No, I don't shell out the $25 for a costume in the store, because those things are garbage made in China and probably contain toxic materials that will melt upon contact with a trick-or-treat bag. So, I will make the costume. Just like last year. And the year before that. Can't I be one of those parents that just gives their kid a stick and a bandana and says "Here, you're a hobo." Didn't parents of my generation used to do that? Can't I put baby powder and curlers in their hair and let them be old ladies? Isn't that okay? Well, if I'm going through all that hard work, I at least get first dibs on the good candy!

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Time Limits

When do kids understand time? To them, 10 minutes seems like an eternity if they're waiting for something and a split-second if they're doing something they don't want to stop. My kids will stay awake until they pass out at night if they're doing something they enjoy. But, if I say "You still have to do your homework before bed," they are suddenly tired. And, with them, everything is "I'll do it later." But, if I said that to them, they'd freak. This morning, Caty got up late and needed to get her tushie in gear if she was going to make the bus. I tell her to brush her teeth and hair. She's standing in the bathroom, looking at herself in the mirror. I tell her to get dressed and she's sitting on her floor, putting stickers in a book. I don't get too upset. I am not a morning person. I was always late for school. I loved sleeping and hated getting out of bed in the morning, but I realize I'm a parent now and I have to set a good example and can't let her be late all the time. My mom was at work when I had to get up for school so she wasn't there to pull me out of bed. Unfortunately, my wonderful older sister got that job and she did it really well. (I'm getting visions of water being poured on my head). There is a clock in almost every room. My kids see them. They know what they're used for. They know what time is. Problem is, they aren't slaves to the clock. They don't obey the clock. Really, they could care less about the clock.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Random thought

I think that if you ignore dust long enough, it should realize that it's not wanted in your house and just move out!

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Odors?

Okay, this is so random, but it just popped into my head and I figure if I think about it, then other people must too. What does your house smell like? Do you remember going to your grandparents' home as a child and thinking it smelled kind of funny? Well, sometimes. Some people had grandmothers that used to bake cookies instead of making stuffed cabbage or tripe or something equally offensive. When my daughter smells Listerine - the original brown stuff - she says it reminds her of my dad's house. It's accurate, since that is what he uses. Whenever I smell zippo lighter fluid, I think of my grandparents (lovely, I know, but it is what it is). So, I just wonder if my house has a distinct smell that is always there. I try really hard not to cook gross stuff, but I notice if I cook anything with onion soup mix (like meatloaf) the smell lingers and permeates everything! Ick. Can you come over and let me know?

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Falling Apart

So, I've been coming unglued for quite a while, right? It's getting worse. On top of the Brownies troop and the PTA board, I've got to find a job. And it might have to be full time! I know, I know, a lot of you working moms are saying "Big deal!" But, the idea of finding a job that pays a decent wage means I've got to commute pretty far. That will mean day care. Not looking forward to putting my little one somewhere. And, does that mean she has to quit nursery school? Or will I find someone who will drop her off and pick her up. Just feels like my life is unraveling right now. It's not falling apart just yet. It's just coming undone a little bit at a time and if I act fast, maybe I can keep it all together!

Friday, September 25, 2009

Random Thoughts

Got this in an e-mail from a friend and thought it was so perfect, so I had to share it. --More often than not, when someone is telling me a story all I can think about is that I can’t wait for them to finish so that I can tell my own story that’s not only better, but also more directly involves me. --Nothing sucks more than that moment during an argument when you realize you're wrong. --I totally take back all those times I didn't want to nap when I was younger. --The letters T and G are very close to each other on a keyboard. This recently became all too apparent to me and consequently I will never be ending a work email with the phrase "Regards" again. --Do you remember when you were a kid, playing Nintendo and it wouldn't work? You take the cartridge out, blow in it and that would magically fix the problem. Every kid in America did that, but how did we all know how to fix the problem? There was no internet or message boards or FAQ's. We just figured it out. Today's kids are soft. --There is a great need for sarcasm font. --How the hell are you supposed to fold a fitted sheet? --I would rather try to carry 10 plastic grocery bags in each hand than take 2 trips to bring my groceries in. --I think part of a best friend's job should be to immediately clear your computer history if you die. --The only time I look forward to a red light is when I’m trying to finish a text. --A recent study has shown that playing beer pong contributes to the spread of mono and the flu. Yeah, if you suck at it. --Was learning cursive really necessary? --I have a hard time deciphering the fine line between boredom and hunger. --Whenever someone says "I'm not book smart, but I'm street smart", all I hear is "I'm not real smart, but I'm imaginary smart". --How many times is it appropriate to say "What?" before you just nod and smile because you still didn't hear what they said? -- I love the sense of camaraderie when an entire line of cars teams up to prevent a dick from cutting in at the front. Stay strong, brothers! --MapQuest really needs to start their directions on #5. Pretty sure I know how to get out of my neighborhood. -- I find it hard to believe there are actually people who get in the shower first and THEN turn on the water. --I can't remember the last time I wasn't at least kind of tired. --Bad decisions make good stories. --Why is it that during an ice-breaker, when the whole room has to go around and say their name and where they are from, I get so incredibly nervous? Like I know my name, I know where I'm from; this shouldn't be a problem.... --You never know when it will strike, but there comes a moment at work when you've made up your mind that you just aren’t doing anything productive for the rest of the day. --There's no worse feeling than that millisecond you're sure you are going to die after leaning your chair back a little too far. --I'm always slightly terrified when I exit out of Word and it asks me if I want to save any changes to my ten page research paper that I swear I did not make any changes to. --I hate when I just miss a call by the last ring (Hello? Hello? Darn it!), but when I immediately call back, it rings nine times and goes to voicemail. What'd you do after I didn't answer? Drop the phone and run away? --I hate leaving my house confident and looking good and then not seeing anyone of importance the entire day. What a waste. --Why is a school zone 20 mph? That seems like the optimal cruising speed for pedophiles... --As a driver I hate pedestrians, and as a pedestrian I hate drivers, but no matter what the mode of transportation, I always hate cyclists. --Sometimes I'll look down at my watch 3 consecutive times and still not know what time it is. --I keep some people's phone numbers in my phone just so I know not to answer when they call. --Even under ideal conditions people have trouble locating their car keys in a pocket, finding their cell phone, and Pinning the Tail on the Donkey - but I’d bet my a$$ everyone can find and push the Snooze button from 3 feet away, in about 1.7 seconds, eyes closed, first time every time...

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Raising funds

Gotta tell you, if I get one more fundraising envelope sent home, I am going to flip. What is going on here? Sabrina is 4. Yesterday was her first day of pre-school. The first day. Yet, I got the fundraising packet at orientation the week before. I can't take it. The t-shirt and candles for Sabrina and then the catalog with $8 wrapping paper and $12 cookie dough for Caty. And, these are just the first. They are the big ones. Look, I know fundraising is necessary. I'm on my PTA board so I really know what it means to a school. And, yes, I do want my kids to be able to go on field trips and have special programs and all of that wonderful stuff. What I don't understandis why these companies gauge people and charge so much. Heck, I don't think I've ever in my life paid more than $5 for wrapping paper. Not because I'm cheap (I'm frugal) but because there is just no need to waste that much money on something that is just going to end up in a landfill. I cannot believe that the wrapping paper fundraiser is one of the most popular at our school. I love the spring plant sale. That might not be the best money maker, but boy does my garden look pretty! I will give money to the fundraiser. And I will do my duty and ask my parents and my friends and my in-laws and whomever else I can think of. Oh, by the way, if you didn't get my e-mail, you can feel free to contact me about buying stuff. Hint, hint. Wink, wink. It's just that I can't keep track of it all. There are 4 for my girls right now. There are nephews and cousins and BFFs kids and the list goes on and on. Then there will be Brownies and then my own causes. It's endless. I don't know how people do this stuff for a living. It's too bad there isn't one big organization that just has a bunch of money and, when we need it, we go and get it. Wouldn't that be nice? Did you know that you can just donate money to the PTA? You don't have to buy the candles or the paper or the $20 figurine for your mother-in-law. You can just write a check to the PTA. Isn't that wonderful? You can go do it right now. Send them to me. I'll make sure they get to the right place.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Torture

This evening, my youngest started complaining of a headache. Then she said her belly hurt and her knees hurt. She had a slight fever and actually asked to go to the doctor. So, we went - her moaning and crying and then falling asleep on the ride. Sabrina was pretty okay when we got there, but then the doctor came in and everything fell apart. She didn't want to open her mouth or say Ah or take a deep breath or do anything. Well, the pediatrician then announced she wanted to take a throat culture to test for strep. Uh oh. If Sabrina would actually speak, I could imagine her saying "No effin way lady." And here comes the nurse with the swabs. And what does she tell me to do? She wants my baby to hate me. I have to sit on the table and hold Sabrina on my lap. Then I have to hold down her hands and then I have to hold her nose. Okay, first of all, I only have two hands, so this is pretty difficult. But, do you know how bad I felt holding that little girl's nose closed to force her to open her mouth so the nurse could stick a long swab down there? I just wanted to die!! And, I think Sabrina wanted to be the one to make me die! It's hard to do things to our kids that cause them any pain. Even though we know it's for the best or it's something that must be done, it's still heartbreaking, isn't it? You'll be happy to know she got me back though. When we got home, she puked all over the place and let me clean it up. Round 1 - doctor. Round 2 - Breenie. Mommy never wins!

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Mom Friends

You know, someone once told me not to worry about high school friends. "They won't last. It's the friends you make in college and after that will last a lifetime." I thought about that today after running into two friends that I have known nearly my entire life. Granted, I don't talk to them often, but when I do see them it's like no time had passed at all. I guess they're not really high school friends, since I met them when I was very young. And, I thought of the comment yesterday, when I spent the afternoon with three women I have known for fewer than five years, but feel like I've known forever. And I consider them all friends - way more than acquaintances. Any one of them I would help move, drive to the airport or bail out of jail. So, I wonder who my children will remain friends with? Will it be the children of my friends? Will it be their classmates? They're both already bummed because they're not in the same class with many friends from last year. Should I tell them what that person told me? "Don't worry. You'll make tons of new friends this year!" Really? They don't want to know that. Kids are afraid of the unknown. They get anxious. The prospect of new friends means nothing to them! They want the old friends back. Sometimes, I get that. I want a lot of my old friends back too. I wish I could go back and fix some of the broken friendships, try to stay in touch with the people that slipped away. But, the other part of me realizes there is nothing gained by looking back. I'm getting ready to step away from a group of women that has meant a lot to me over the past four years. And, as much as it hurts to let go, I know that I have to in order to be fully involved with the new group of parents I am joining as a mom of school-age kids. Now, I can have a friendship that doesn't necessarily include a playdate!

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

First day jitters

Tomorrow is the big day. Second grade! Caty is not at all excited. I was surprised she was asleep about 1 1/2 hours earlier than normal - I guess her anxiety couldn't beat out sheer exhaustion. She is angry that she has to go back tomorrow but Sabrina doesn't start pre-school until next week. Nothing is ever fair in her life, poor kid. So, I'm hoping tomorrow is an absolutely fantastic day for her. She hated first grade and is bummed that her BFFs aren't in her class this year. But, I'm sure she'll come home with some new girlfriends. There will be new stories and new adventures, I hope. I'm praying the excitement will rub off on her. Hey, at least she's jazzed about having a new outfit to wear. It's something, right?

Monday, September 7, 2009

Back to school

Is it possible to look forward to something, yet dread it, at the same time? School starts the day after tomorrow and as much as I've been waiting for the big day to arrive, I'm also wishing it was further away. I want Caty back in school just to give her something to occupy her time. She gets bored fairly quickly and school is a remedy for that. But, I love being with her. I love chillin' with her in the morning. I love the way she asks me a million questions. I love that she's still young enough to want to sit next to me and snuggle. But, I don't love the way she fights with her sister. And I don't love the attitude she gives me, so I am relieved that the dose of reality she'll get from school will minimize those issues. So, today and tomorrow are her last days of freedom. Sabrina doesn't start school until the 18th, and it's only pre-school so it's a few hours, three days a week. As much as I will relish that free time to do work and/or chores, it always leaves a void. It's strange that you can feel this physical loss when your kids are absent. I asked Caty if I could make a big poster that says Welcome Home and hold it up when her bus gets home on Wednesday. Her jaw dropped to the floor. I told her maybe I could rush onto the bus carrying balloons and singing about how glad I am to have her home. I thought she would faint. Maybe I should do it anyway, because deep down (way, way deep down) I know there is a little girl who is happy to have her goofy mom love her that much!

Thursday, September 3, 2009

A brand new season

It's been a while since I've blogged and it seems that I never have the time to do this steadily. Actually, I probably do have time, but I spend it doing other things. Things where I don't have to think! So, a new page has turned on the calendar and it's a new month. September - one of my favorite months of the year. I love this time. Everyone is trying to hold on to summer, upset to see the sun fading sooner and missing the beach and the pool and the barbecues. Me? I say "See ya summer" without a look back. I love fall. It's so cozy and cool. It makes you want to be outside and get your cheeks chapped when there's a nip in the air. It reminds you of football and apple picking and jumping in leaves. And, next week, my oldest daughter starts second grade. I was so excited to buy her school supplies. We went shopping for a new pair of sneakers and it brought back memories of my first pair of "high" heels that I bought for school. Yes, I'm from a time when you had only a few pairs of shoes - one pair for school, one pair for play, one pair for church, parties, etc. She was a bit lost on the whole new shoe excitement. She wanted high heeled sneakers or ballet flats with rhinestones on them. And as I sat sharpening her 50 pencils, I could picture one of my old classrooms and remember the pencil sharpener mounted on the wall. Remember how awful it was when there was a loose one and the part with all the shavings would fall off and land all over your feet? (Please excuse my departure there) So, anyway, it's a new month, a new season and a new time. Make it a good one!

Monday, August 24, 2009

Slave to fun

So, here I am on vacation in Ocean City, Maryland. It's a lovely place, but a little too nice for me. I'm afraid to get sand on the floor! Of course, if there is sand, I will have to clean it. Just like I've been cleaning up after everyone for the past few days. Why should it be any different because we're in a different state and we're supposed to be relaxing? My husband is relaxing. My kids are relaxing. Me? Not so much. Why is it with kids that they're ready as soon as they wake up? They're ready for the beach and the pool and the boardwalk and fishing and collecting frogs and the water park and mini-golf and whatever else they noticed on the drive here. Do you know how they get ready? They don't. You do it for them. My kids are awake. They want to go somewhere. So, I have to get them dressed. My husband can't find the clothes or the bathing suits or the shoes. Then, they need breakfast. They ask for 10 different things and eat nothing. They want to go to the beach. So, now I have to get the rafts and umbrella and chairs and towels and sand toys and God knows what else. Oh, don't forget the sunscreen. Where is my husband while I'm running up and down (did I mention we're in a four-story townhouse?) - that wonderful lump is watching ESPN. Isn't that wonderful? He is such an awesome helper! So, I drag everything to the beach. Once we get there, Caty decides she doesn't like the water and wants a net to catch fish. She wants a bigger bucket and she wants to walk out to the pier and catch crabs and then walk back and find frogs. So, my mom goes back to the house to get the fishing net and buckets. She comes back with drinks and all the stuff. Where are my kids and hubby? In the pool. Because the beach was too crowded and too boring. When I find them in the pool, they want me to get them something to eat. By this time (and it isn't even lunchtime) I'm fed up with running around and doing everything. Kids wake up, it's time to go. Hubby is showered and dressed, it's time to go. Do they not realize that it takes a little longer for mom to get the kids showered and dressed, get herself showered and dressed, find another dry towel because her husband took the last one from the bathroom, find toilet paper because her husband used up the last of the roll, sunscreen the kids and herself, put drinks in the cooler, make snacks and pack them, find all the sand toys and pack them, gather the beach blanket and chairs and make sure she remembers the keys and pool passes. Okay, now mom is ready. Wait, I forgot something....

Monday, August 17, 2009

Not a baby anymore

Tomorrow is a bittersweet day for me. My little girl is turning 4. This is a rough one for me. I loved her at 1 and even more at 2 and, remarkably, at 3. Now, she's no longer a baby. Sure, she'll always be my baby because she's the youngest, but it's not the same. She doesn't say those cute little phrases she used to. She doesn't have those cute little vocabulary mistakes that make us all giggle. I guess all moms feel this way - like your child doesn't really need you anymore. I know that God gave me children because I am supposed to raise them to be adults and leave me someday, but, I sometimes wish that day wasn't coming at me so fast. I love hanging out with Sabrina. She makes me laugh. She's so bouncy. She's inquisitive and thoughtful. She likes to learn and explore and she's brave. She'll pick up a worm, even if she's wearing a princess dress. She's just a cool kid. I'm going to try to hold onto the baby part of her as long as I can!

Thursday, August 13, 2009

eek! a mouse!

Today was another of those rainy days that we have "enjoyed" in New York this summer. So, being the brilliant mother that I am, I decided to take the kids to Chuck E. Cheese. Listen, I didn't say it was a good idea. But, it's better than having them at home, bored and fighting. I knew it would be a bit crowded, but that's okay. I've been there at times when there was a line out the door! Can you imagine? People lined up all for the chance of playing some games and eating really expensive, really bad food. We've been there quite a few times and are becoming experts. If you get there before noon, it's not bad. The place is still pretty clean and there aren't hundreds of kids. Get there at lunchtime or after? You're taking your life into your own hands. The bathroom is teeming with odors and bacteria. You run the risk of your child finding something gooey or sticky inside the climbing tunnels. There are many older kids there too, so if you've got little ones, you have to be more vigilant in watching them. I look at the place as an indoor playground. I get cheap about it too, I'll admit it. We bought the plastic kids cups and bring them back every time we go. (It's allowed.) I very rarely buy food there because the pizza is worse than something you'd get in your school cafeteria. (If you put a lot of salt on it, it tastes better.) And then you use a coupon to get your tokens and win just enough tickets so your kids can get the requisite junky prizes and go home seriously happy. I don't really understand the characters there. They kind of freak me out. I thought Chuck was a rat, but maybe he's supposed to be a mouse. When they send out the guy dressed up as Chuck, I see those two buck teeth and I get the heebie jeebies. I can just imagine that nasty gray tail and whiskers and see him crawling around the bottom of a dumpster. Ick. And then there's a bird and some other things with big eyes. Really, if I was a kid, I think I might scream and cry and run from those awful things. Oh, and if you're wondering why so many parents keep going back to this place? They sell beer.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Looney toons

My kids are nuts. I'm convinced they are certifiable sometimes. I swear, you'd think they were locked in their rooms all day with no toys or human contact. When we go places, they go crazy. Today, it was the doctor's office. I knew they were wired. It was about 4 and they had been kind of silly all day. They saw a couple of kids they knew and that was it. My kids were jumping on the chairs in the waiting room and sitting on a wall like they were hanging out at the park. I'm no Miss Manners, but come on! This is not behavior they have ever learned from me. Yes, again, I will blame their shortcomings on their father. I walked out of there and, to my own surprise, told them how embarrassed I was. I guess I've just lost control. When they want to be, my girls are just two little wild women!

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Back to School

I just finished sharpening 50 pencils. Yes, 50. Before that, I labeled boxes of crayons, markers, colored pencils, pink erasers, glue sticks, white glue, you get the idea. Sure, I've got a month left. But, I loved doing it. Caty wasn't home so I got to do it all by myself. If she was here, she'd certainly want to help label her stuff and what fun would that be? I mean, she got to pick out the backpack, right? At least I should be able to take some part in that back-to-school excitement. I love it. Can't get enough. I can remember going shopping for school shoes. I can even picture this stupid tan pair with stacked heels. Oh, man, what a big deal it was when you got to 7th grade and were finally allowed to wear heels to school. That meant you had arrived. We didn't have to wear jumpers anymore. Instead, we paired our gray and green plaid kilts with hunter green polyester vests. It was so cool. The vests had pockets too, so you could put your pens in there. Pens! Not pencils. Not crayons. Real, honest to goodness pens. Going to Catholic school meant really not worrying about what you would wear. The only difference was your shoes and the style of your knee-high hunter green socks. Would you get the think, hose like ones or the patterned wooly ones that got pilled after a few weeks of washing? Oh, and the shirt. Would you wear the pointy collared white shirt or the Peter Pan collar? Decisions, Decisions. While Caty did seem jazzed about the idea of getting new stuff, she isn't really excited yet about going back to school. I can't imagine why. I wasn't even a good student and I loved going back to school. I know, I'm rushing it. Summer isn't over. I'm just so excited. Pretty soon, it will get darker earlier, the leaves will be on the ground and fall will be here. Sorry to ruin it for you summer lovers. That's just me. Maybe I'm high on glue fumes.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Peace?

I saw a bumper sticker today: "World peace begins at home. Be nice to your kids." I didn't know if I should hug the driver of the car or try to shake some sense into that hippie!

Monday, August 3, 2009

Frogs

My kids are obsessed with getting a pet. They want a dog and a kitten and a turtle and a guinea pig and hamsters and hermit crabs and frogs. I think that's all for now. Oh, a chinchilla too. So, a week ago, we're at a local farm playing with the animals and getting a horse ride, when the kids (mine and the two I babysit) find a frog or a toad or something. I tell them to leave the poor thing alone. We're driving home and Caty keeps asking me for a fish tank in her room. I tell her she already has an aquarium, but she can get a betta fish or something. No, mom, I just want the tank she says. I shudder. "Caty, is there a frog in the car?" Vicky, my charge, says "NO!" but my honest girl says "Yes, momma." They took the frog/toad from the farm so she can keep it as a pet. It was so precious to hear them making plans for the poor thing. They were going to take care of it so well. Then, we stopped the car and got out and frog/toad was nowhere to be found. All I can say is I hope he escaped. And, I'm glad the car was a rental because I don't need to be finding a frog skeleton one day while I'm in there cleaning! Caty was so upset about the loss of her beloved pet, that I promised to get her another one. Why I would pay for a frog when I can just wait for one to jump in the pool, I don't know. But I did. I bought two African Fire Belly Toads - one for Caty and one for Sabrina. They have nice little houses with cool rocks to chill out on. And I have to feed them live crickets, which is a bit icky, I must say. The things moms do for their kids. The girls want me to hold the things for them every day so they can pet them. Okay, really? I take care of the tropical fish and now I'm taking care of toads? This is ridiculous. Now you can understand why we don't have a dog!

Friday, July 31, 2009

Random Thoughts

I just realized that I am in my pajamas and ready for bed. It's 8:30 on a Friday night. What happened to life? A clean house means your kids are bored. There is no way you can entertain kids and let them play and BE kids if you're constantly cleaning up after them. Unless you can hire a cleaning person, wait until they leave for college. It'll be clean then. If you had a dime for every time your child did something they promised they would do just so that they would get something they wanted by making said promise? You'd have an empty coin purse.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Wax?

Does your child listen to you? I mean, really listen? I'm convinced that my kids have conveyor belts inside their heads that stretch from one ear to the other. My words go in, get carried to the other side, and fall out. That or there is so much wax built up inside their ears that my words just bounce off the wax and fall to the floor. That's got to be it! I mean, they wouldn't actually listen to what I had to say and then purposely disobey me. That would be crazy, right? Their big, brown eyes look at me sometimes and I think they're understanding me. Maybe they're just staring at my eyebrows and everything I say sounds like "blah blah blah blah." I know it isn't just my kids either. I've seen this happen with others. There's something going on here and, as parents, we must get to the bottom of it!

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Work

I need to make time to blog. Lately, I have lots to say, but no energy or time to say it! The past two weeks, I've been babysitting two girls, so now I have four girls ranging in age from 3 1/2 to 8 1/2 and I am just exhausted! Just can't explain how tired I am on Friday night. It made me think of something stupid I once said before I had kids. It was a comment to an old friend whose kids are now in their teens. I said something idiotic about never being able to quit my job. I said it must be so boring staying at home all day with nothing to do but hang out with your kids. Now, wait, don't get mad at me! Wipe off the coffee you just spit all over the screen. I said I made that stupid comment before I had a child. But, now, everytime I see one of those articles that pit working moms against SAHMs, I just laugh and ignore it. Because I know the truth. I know both sides of the fence. When my husband says something really stupid like "I'm tired because I work all week. What do you do?" or "I would love to be a stay-at-home dad," I just have to smile and walk away. Because smacking him upside the head is useless. It won't knock the common sense in there. He doesn't understand that spending time with your kids involves a lot more than turning on the television. Even if they're allowed to watch Tom and Jerry or something else that mommy doesn't usually let them see, pretty soon, kids will get bored. Sure, they will let you bring them to McDonalds every day for lunch, but the bowel movements are your reward, buddy. You don't need to take over my job - just stop making it harder for me. I don't need an oversized child!

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Guess What????

Only 48 more days until school starts!

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Exhausted

I know being famous has lots of perks. Right now, I think the biggest one is a star's ability to check into a hospital to be treated for exhaustion. Can I do that? Would I be laughed out of the ER? I'm not laughing. I'm tired. I can't explain just how tired. My bones are weary. I'm worn out! Last week, I started babysitting a little girl (who doesn't really get along with my 7-year-old) and this week, her older sister is here too. That's four kids between the ages of 3 and 8. They wear me out! Talk about energy. They don't stop. And when they're not moving, they're talking. Yap, yap, yap. Look at this. Look at me. Can I tell you something? Guess what? They never stop. I look at them and wonder how they don't just fall down. If I sit down for more than 2 minutes, my eyes start to close. Literally. I don't want to stay awake! So, I've got to find out how to get treatment for this exhaustion. What happens when you go to the hospital for it? What do they do, give you a Dr. Pepper and tell you to wake up and deal with it? Maybe that's what I need. I don't drink coffee, so maybe I just need to start mainlining Pepsi!

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Alex's Lemonade Stand

I cannot imagine what it must be like to deal with this - as a child or as a mom. I hope you can come and support this cause!
My mom's group, BabyMine Playgroup, is hosting a stand on Saturday, July 25 from 10:30 to 3:30 at Stop and Shop, Route 9, Poughkeepsie. If you can stop by and buy a cup, great. If you'd like to support the cause, go online and check it out. Every little bit helps!

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Wisdom

If worse comes to worst, we're all in big trouble.

Too many chicks

That's what I have in my house. Too many chicks. What is it about girls? Why do they have to fight all the damn time? I hear it all the time - "Oh, you're so lucky you have girls." Really? Why am I so lucky? Because boys fight all the time? They wrestle and run around and jump and yell and act crazy? Guess what - girls do it too. And they do it worse because they do it with little attitudes. So, in addition to me and the 7-year-old chick and the almost four-year-old chick, I have gone off the deep end and agreed to babysit a 5 1/2-year-old chick for the rest of the summer. Am I insane, you ask? Must be. Today was day two. Yesterday, my kids were so excited and hyper, they wanted to show poor Girl* every toy they've ever owned. "Come in my roomDoyouwanttopaintorcolororcutupsnowflakesorhaveasnack? Mom, make us a snack. DoyouwannawatchTV?Mom, where's the remote? What's your favorite show? Wanna watch Tom and Jerry?" Okay, so my head is spinning and it was only 7:30 in the morning! Today, we went to the children's museum and I guess Girl was a little tired or overwhelmed since it was her first visit and she just wanted to be left alone. Well, that doesn't sit well with Caty. When she wants you to do something, you need to do it. So, she started whining that Girl was being mean. That meant her little sister was going to stick up for Caty and yell at Girl. Then Caty would put her feet on Girl's seat. Then she would cry "Mom, Girl just flicked me." Of course she flicked you. Get your feet off her seat! Let's just say the ride home was not fun. Then they got home and cooled off in the pool. By then, Caty and Girl were best friends again and Sabrina was the outcast so she went in the house crying. I don't think you can win when there are three girls involved. Odd numbers just don't work. They can't. It's inevitable that two of the three will gang up on or gossip about the third girl. Hmm. What to do. Well, Girl does have an older sister, so maybe I could babysit her too? What? If I can do three, four will be a breeze! *Note: I know Girl isn't a very nice name, but I'm protecting this poor kid's identity!

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Nature girls

What is it with kids and nature? One minute, they're fascinated by bugs and worms and every other type of creature and the next minute, they're either too afraid to go near them or they're killing them. Yesterday, I thought Sabrina was going to cry all day when I picked her up from camp. Apparently, she was building a worm house for the worms she found and one of the other girls squashed the worm. I didn't even get her backpack on when she yelled out, "Mom, Angel is a worm killer!" I didn't know what to say so I just told her "Well, we've all got to be something." Really, I'm not into animal cruelty, but the death of the worm is not high on my list of crimes against nature. Yes, I do know how important worms are to the earth. I also know how important they are to fishermen! But, my kids sometimes take it too far. One day, they started a slug collection. Freakin' slugs. Now, that is gross. I can't imagine anything more disgusting than a slug. Well, maybe a leech, but when's the last time you saw one of them? I mean, what function do slugs serve? Man up and get a shell, would you? Then, you'd at least be a snail and no one would think that badly of you. What's worse than being called a slug? Ick. Caty has saved the snakeskin she found in our yard and the wren's egg that didn't make it into becoming an actual wren. I'm telling you, it's Wild Kingdom at my house. Today, it was a snake. I saw it first. I was outside doing some yard work and I saw it near the front hose spigot, so I called the girls outside to see it. My mother says "Oh, it's a viper!" (If you knew my mom, this would not surprise you.) Sabrina is viewing it from all angles. Caty looks at me and says "Pick it up." I refuse. She says "Why not? It's not poisonous. It's a garden snake." Oh, really, Jeff Corwin? Thanks for the lesson in wild reptiles. I'll keep my distance, thanks.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Swap

The other day, Caty and I were watching Wife Swap (another of her favorites in her addiction to reality TV) and one of the moms had to go live and work on a dairy farm. Problem was, this lady was used to lounging in bed while her husband cooked her breakfast. She sometimes stayed in bed until 3 - p.m. that is. The man would work all day and then he would come home and clean the house. He did everything while she went and got her nails done or sat out by the pool. Did I miss a meeting? Where do you sign up for this? My husband slept while I drove myself to the hospital for an emergency appendectomy. I think I need to find this chick and do Husband Swap!

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Reality

Does it make me a bad mother if my daughter is addicted to reality television? She is in love with it! I think it started with American Idol. I thought she liked the singing, but that's not it. I think she likes when people are voted off! She's totally into America's Next Top Model and she digs shows like Wife Swap and Supernanny. Another favorite was "I'm a Celebrity - Get Me Out of Here." She was a big fan of Torrie and asked me 10 times a day if I had voted for Torrie. Last week, she actually forced me to sit through a program called "I Survived a Japanese Game Show." That had to be the worst thing I've ever seen on television. But, since it's reality TV, it's kind of hard to explain to my daughter that it isn't real. She doesn't always understand that. She thinks if I recognize someone on television, that I actually know them. My luck, she'll start watching one of those stupid MTV shows and want to meet Flava Flav or something crazy!

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Guilt Trippin'

I'm sure lots of us have had that feeling that we're the world's worst parent, right? Today, I got a dose of it, big time. My mom and I brought Caty to the craft store, where she got a few items that were made for a dollhouse. She then asked me if I could bring back into the house a dollhouse that I had gotten for her and later put out in the garage. Well, um, oops. Yeah, that dollhouse? Um, yeah, I um gave that away. How awful am I? The face on that poor girl! I felt like the boy that stood her up on prom night! Of course, I can't buy her the dollhouse she wants - the thing is like 400 bucks! And the one I threw out was plastic and cheesy anyway, but no matter. I suck. I'm mean. I'm not a nice person. "Maybe Daddy or Grandpa can make me one?" was her question to my mother. "Well, I could try to do that," I told my firstborn. "No, I want Daddy or Grandpa to do it." I'm so horrible, she won't even let me replace the damn thing! Oh well, maybe she'll lost interest in it (yeah right).

Friday, July 3, 2009

I'm not dead yet

I made it. A whole week with no school, no camp, no VBS, lots of rain, and two kids at home. I am alive and so are they! Can you believe it? We survived! And don't anyone say something crazy like "the week isn't even over yet." Yes, it is. Saturday does not count. The week - Monday to Friday - is over. There was not one tantrum. No one has any serious injury, no permanent scars. We did it!

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Summer

Finally. School is over. I'm so not excited for me, but am soooo very happy for Caty. She absolutely hated first grade. It makes me sad that her first experience in a larger public school was like this for her. She wants to go back to Christian school, but it's not possible right now. The thing is that her first grade teacher was just awful. She was so strict. And, I know strict. 12 years in Catholic school makes me a strict teacher expert, I think. This lady went beyond that. She yelled at those poor kids every day. They got time-out. They got separated from the rest of the class. They got chastised and embarrassed and... well, it was not a good experience for any of them. So, Caty hates school. She'll have a great teacher next year, but won't have most of her BFFs in her class, so she's a little bummed. It's only the second day of the first week of her summer and things are going okay for now. The only reason is because my mom and older sister are home playing with the girls. If not, they would be beating each other up. Next week, they'll both have half-day gymnastics camp, so that should be a fun time too. We'll see. Wish me luck.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Beef

I don't have any problem raising tomboys. But, I do have a problem raising girls that have the manners of my husband. Seriously, I've got girls who now think it's funny to pass gas and then say "I just beefed." Really? This is sooo ladylike. I'm sure it's going to go over well with their future mothers-in-law! Or when they get invited to a black-tie alumni dinner at Stanford or when they're making their acceptance speech for the Nobel Prize. You're thinking that none of that will ever happen and you're right! You know why? Because they are learning their manners from a man who thinks it is okay to blow his nose in the shower! What am I going to do? I'm going to have to send my girls to a boarding school at Martha Stewart's Bedford estate just to rid them of the influence Caveman Chris has had on them. I have lost control over them! I can hear their lips smacking when they eat. I stand helpless as they pick wedgies in public. My little princesses are turning into frogs!

Monday, June 22, 2009

Precious

Today, I lost a friend that I have known my entire life - someone who is always a part of my memories of childhood. Of course, it breaks my heart that a woman who is only a couple of years older than me could die so suddenly. And, it just made me think "you never know." You really don't know God's plan, so you just don't know. It reminds me to laugh a little more. To let my kids be kids. To worry less about the laundry and more about playing outside. Every second I spend with my girls is a precious gift from God. I hope you feel that way about your kids too.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Crazy Kids

I don't get it. I consider myself a pretty calm person. Now, wait. I didn't say I was laid back or easy going. I know I am not those things. But, I'm calm. I'm not loud. I'm not crazy and wild and out of control. So, why are my kids like that? I don't understand. If you're tired, lay down. If you're hungry, eat. If you're thirsty, drink. These are not difficult concepts. I think even a child can understand them, don't you? So, why oh why oh why do my kids go ballistic on me when it's time to do anything? I do that whole countdown thing. I warn them. I let them know what's coming. I give them a chance to transition. But, then when it's actually time to get the pajamas on or take a bath or turn off the television or go to bed, they blow a gasket and go mental! I swear, my nearly four-year-old won't go to sleep until she exhausts herself and passes out! I mean it. I wish I was one of those moms that brings their child to bed, watches them lay down, reads them a story, kisses them good night, turns out the light and leaves the room. That will never, ever happen in this house. I know it's our fault (and when I say "our" I mean my husband) that my girls got spoiled. He always held them and laid near them when it was time to go to sleep. Now they want me to do it. But I can't just lay there. I have to read to them. I have to tell them stories. I have to hum. I have to tickle their tummies. I have to leave the light on. I have to get up and go get them water. I have to fix the blanket. You get the idea. So, really, I need help. I need these kids to just calm down already! Any ideas?

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Still not cool

One of my ultimate goals in life is for my children to realize how cool I am. I mean, I think I'm cool and a few other people have mentioned it, so it must be true, right? Well, the 7-year-old apparently has other ideas of cool. Those ideas do not include me. She thinks my husband is cool. I don't know why! I keep trying to tell her that he had the same Dorothy Hamill haircut I did in elementary school. Doesn't that knock you down the cool-o-meter at least a point or two? Well, I'll have to settle for being a fun mom. Yesterday, during Caty's school picnic, I was chosen to be in charge of some of the games. Of the four games, I did 2 and Caty said those two were the best games out of all of them! They were water games, so of course they were fun. But, when the kids were getting bored with the water balloon toss, I made it a water balloon fight instead and got soaked in the process! All the other parents were laughing (and videotaping) but it was Caty's mom that was right in the middle of the party - running and splashing with the first graders. And that made my daughter dub me the funnest mom there. So, I guess I'll never be cool to my kids. But, I'll take fun. Fun isn't bad.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Grandparents

There is nothing I love more than watching my kids with their grandparents. I can't describe the feeling I get when I see it. Looking out the window as Sabrina and my mom bend over a plant in the garden or catching Caty and my mom sewing together. I can just imagine what she's saying to them, what she's teaching them. They're learning something they'll keep for life and they don't even know it. The girls love to walk the dog with Nonno or sit on the big swing and laugh with Abuela. With my dad, they want to show him everything and get him to fix stuff. On Christmas, it's Grandpa's job to take all the pieces out of the box and put everything together since he's always got a pocket knife! I wonder if my parents ever felt that way. Not that I had as much interaction with my grandparents as my kids do with theirs. I only met my mom's parents once (they lived in England) and, while I did spend time with my dad's parents, it wasn't necessarily educational. I remember watching Mets games with my grandfather and going to play bingo with my grandmother. But our life was so different. We lived in an apartment. We didn't plant flowers or tend a vegetable garden or save caterpillars until they became butterflies. We didn't have birdfeeders or worry about composting and the environment. Maybe that's what's different - the environment. I see my kids in this open, happy, natural environment, sharing time with my parents and my in-laws. And, maybe, when I'm older, I'll be blessed with the same awesome feeling while watching my girls play with their own kids!

Friday, June 12, 2009

Pest?

Did you ever meet one of those kids that is just annoying? A pest? A pain in the butt? Today, we're at Sabrina's farm class and there was this girl. She was about 4 and boy was she a little pest! She kept standing up when all the other kids were sitting. She kept talking when the teacher was talking. She kept asking questions and shouting out the answers. She kept disobeying the rules and putting her hands on everything. She stepped on the plants in the garden. She slipped into the food trough in the barn. She was just a little pain! Of course, her mother was oblivious. Maybe she was high on lithium or something, but she just seemed to either not care that her precious girl was a pill or she didn't think she was. Whatever. But, as I was watching little Miss Annoying, it got me wondering - what if something thinks that way about one of my kids???? My goodness! I'm sure the possibility exists, but I can't imagine it! Am I in la-la land like that other mom? Could it be that my kids annoy someone and I don't see it? No. There's no way!

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Nine Years

That's how long it's been since the old ball and chain and I tied the knot. You're probably wondering what Mr. Romance did for me. A nice dinner? A trip somewhere special? Right now, those of you that know my husband are laughing. At least I got a card. This year it was even in English! You must know that one year my husband got me a Mother's Day card that was "for a wonderful caregiver." And he usually makes me drive him to the store and give him money so he can get the card. Chris and I just laugh about it but I wonder what the girls think. Caty gave us a Happy Anuversary card, which I thought was sweet. I just think that our ambivalent attitude towards romance might not be the best way to go when it comes to teaching our kids about marriage. I'm not at all touchy-feely and Chris, to me, is too much with the hugging and kissing. Maybe we should find a happy medium so the girls can learn what to look for in a happy marriage. Or, maybe, they can keep watching us be un-romantic and know what not to look for!