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


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!