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


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


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!