Thursday, December 2, 2010

'Tis the season

There are two things in particular that I am loving about this holiday season so far: the threats to call Santa; and the ridiculously large, delicious meals (and the bottomless drinks) that seem to be everywhere I look. Ah yes, this really is the most wonderful time of the year.

I have been waiting for the day when I could say "You better behave yourself or I'm calling Santa", or "Hmmmm, I don't think Santa would like that", or "Do that one more time and I'm telling Santa to take back all of your presents". Well, that day has come, and Yes, I have officially become THAT mom. And you know what? I'm not apologizing for it. It is unbelievable how well it works.

I'm not sure what family meals are like for the average person out there, but all of this eating has had me thinking about the average family meal for me. One of the most recent gatherings at my parents' house went something like this:

My brother stopped at the gas station on his way over, and walked in as he was cracking open the can of Ridiculousness that he had just purchased (It's approximately 40% alcohol, 40% caffeine, and 20% sugar). Appalled not at the fact that he was about to give himself a heart attack, but rather at the fact that he was drinking out of a can at her dining room table, my mother poured about 2 shots worth of his drink in to a wine glass with ice and poured the rest down the drain. Then overcome with guilt, she slipped him a 5 dollar bill so he could stop and get another one on the way home. (Um, who drinks a $3 can of alcohol out of a wine glass, btw?)

Just as everyone took their seats, Ty began smearing yogurt in (great-great) Aunt Jane's hair. CJ, refusing to even LOOK at the piece of chicken on his plate, promptly picked it up as he yelled, "I will NEVER eat chicken!!!" and whipped it across the table, nearly knocking over the lit candlesticks. That was approximately 17 seconds before my sister yelled at me (yes, she actually did raise her voice) for even thinking about mentioning the New Boyfriend, (who's not-a-boyfriend-so-mind-your-own-business-and-stop-talking-about-it:oh-my-GOD-you-are-SOOOOOOO-annoying). And that fiasco was followed up with my cousin dropping it on me and letting me know that not only is my blog only KINDOF funny sometimes
, and really, I come across as one of those crazy housewives who slips Ritalin into her coffee and madly types away at her computer while the kids go crazy in the next room. (OK, so I've contemplated Hydrocodone once or twice- big deal).

Yes, this dinner really happened, and yes, it was considered a normal series of events. And luckily, we get to do it about 5 more times before the season is over. I hope all of you are as blessed with family as we are. Happy Holidays!

Monday, November 15, 2010

The Wheatons do Halloween

I was never a huge Halloween fan. I mean, sure, as a kid I always liked dressing up and getting tons of candy, and as an adult I always liked dressing up and getting drunk, but I never really got in to all of the decorations and scary music and stuff the way some people do. And carving pumpkins? No thank you. Not fun. But Halloween with small kids is so great! Going to Target for the sole purpose of looking at all the "scary stuff", walking through the dark teepees at the pumpkin patch 50 thousand times, and picking out the perfect costumes are things that we are so excited about now! I almost hit the floor when my husband, Captain Businessman (CB)himself, (who I FORCED in to a cheerleading costume while we were dating), actually SUGGESTED that we all dress up as Yo Gabba Gabba this year. I think it might have been the most ingenius idea he's ever had.

We decided to make the day the zoo hosted it's trick-or-treating event the day we would debut the outfits. For the two weeks leading up to the day, CJ had changed his mind about 67 times about what he was going to be. First it was Spiderman, then Iron Man, then Buzz Lightyear, then it stayed at Scuba Diver for a solid 4 days (Whatever... he likes to wear his goggles in the bathtub... so what?) But luckily, with some major playing-it-up on our parts, (and the ordering of some pretty legit costumes) he decided that Plex would be a pretty fun option, too. So we dressed up and headed out.

As soon as we pulled in to the ridiculously crowded parking lot, CB noticed that he was the ONLY father dressed up. "Oh hellllllllllllllllll no" he said to me. "There is no way I'm going in as the only Jack a$$ in a costume. I can't believe you tricked me in to this" (sidenote: I tricked him in to nothing. Every mailing that got sent to our house to promote this event showed entire families in costume. Not my problem that so many other fathers were boring.)

Yet the second he stepped out of the car, he overcame the intial embarrassment. It started out as cute when kids dressed up as bumblebees, Spiderman, and ladybugs pointed and yelled, "Look! There's Yo Gabba Gabba!" It became funny when mothers of little Buzz Lightyears, Woodys, and other superheroes announced to each other and their kids that, "There goes the Yo Gabba Gabba family". And it became downright crazy when four seperate fathers on four seperate occasions approached us to say, "Wold you mind if my kid gets a picture taken with DJ Lance?" I kid you not. This actually happened. CB, who has never been in the running for Animated Father of the Year was doing Halloween Disney World style- walking around waving, smiling, and posing for pictures with random children.

When the zoo staff picked up on the fact that children were stopped frozen in their tracks not because they were mesmerized by the sad animals dreaming of worlds bigger than the confines of their metal bars, but instead by the fact that DJ Lance had somehow jumped out of their tvs and come to the zoo, they too took our picture. "We don't know who you are, but we think it's just great when whole families dress up". (Wait, I thought. How do you not know who we are? Are you trying to imply that there's life outside of Yo Gabba Gabba??? You must be crazy!)

Real Halloween came and went a week later, and was noted with a whopping ten minutes of trick-or-treating that was rudely interrupted by snow, sleet and a high temperature of approximately 15 degrees. Additionally, I learned that my children enjoy carving pumpkins as much as I do. (Yes, I carved both of them by myself while they beat on the side of the bowls with their spoons.) But who cared? Not us. After all, we had just become famous! We made it to the cover of the Zoo Newsletter, and got a spot on the website! Hooray for Halloween!!

Friday, October 15, 2010

Dada's morning off

I'm two months in to being back at work, and am still trying to figure out the best way to wake up: do I set the alarm for a crazy early hour which will ensure me plenty of time to get ready in peace (but also taking an enormous gamble, since it's quite possible that the buzzing of the alarm will travel through our paper thin walls and wake the baby dragon in the next room); or do I allow the baby dragon to actually BE my alarm (which ensures that at least HE'S waking up on his own terms, but then I chance him trying to crawl back in to the womb as I scramble to piece together a decent outfit and brush my hair)?

My loving husband, who had been letting me get up and get ready at a leisurely pace, finally decided that if I wasn't taking my lazy a** to go work out before work (as had been the original plan), I could start sharing some of the morning duty with him. Begrudgingly, I agreed. I even took it a step farther and told him to sleep in the next day, as I (Supermom) would get both myself AND the boys ready for our days. After all, every morning the boys are so quiet. They just sit there and eat their breakfast and watch their shows. How hard could it be?


On this particular day, I opted for Alarm Option #1, but defaulted to Alarm Option #2 when the dragon started breathing fire before the alarm clock had the chance to. Thinking that maybe Sleeping Husband would have some sympathy, I laid still and listened to the rhythmic beating on the side of the crib. When I realized that he was in fact NOT moving, I quickly rehearsed the "no-fail" morning routine that was already being used every other morning, and wished myself luck.

I tip-toed in to get the little one just in time to discover that he had successfully waken up his big brother. Both boys climbed into their little chairs which are placed strategically in front of the TV and waited anxiously for me to turn on Handy Manny. So far, so good. Literally the second I stepped foot on to the cold kitchen floor I heard padded footprints following me. "bup, bup, bup." I looked behind me to find two little outstretched hands reaching up to me. What? Why did he want me to pick him "bup"? Dada never carries him around. "No, go sit and watch your show so I can make your breakfast" was definitely the wrong answer. Drama King instantly started crying (loudly), and out of fear that Husband would wake up and deem me a morning-routine-failure, I picked him up and continued buttering some toast one-handed.

If my memory serves correctly, it was approximately at this time that the requests for water, a different show, a quick round of Candy Land, and everything shy of the moon began. I had finally convinced the little one that on-the-floor was cooler than on-the-hip just in time for him to spill his brother's Cheerios all over the floor. As I walked over to politely tell him to stop yelling at his brother because we use nice words in this house, I caught a whiff of something so gross, and yet so familiar. Ah yes, another night-time accident. "Blank" (the inappropriately big security blanket that replaced the little stuffed green elephant that I lost) was saturated, as were the pajamas he was sitting happily in. Oh good, I was hoping I was going to have to do laundry before sunrise.

A little while later, the breakfast grabbing and toy snatching seemed to be at a momentarily lull so I decided to sneak upstairs to take a quick shower. Before I even had the chance to lather my hair, I heard a little voice innocently cry out, "Hi Mama! I see your goobies!" Oh well. Showering before work is over-rated anyway.

I quickly covered up and walked in to my room, only to find I already had company. "Ba-pup", the little one exclaimed as he held up a tube of my too-expensive makeup. He had the lipstick up as far as it could be out of the tube, and was smearing it on his face. "Preeety."

The rest of the morning is a blur. I think I pulled something off of the unmade guest bed and ran an iron over it as the boys thought it was funny to knock every single pair of my shoes off the shoe rack. I managed to remember to change the wet sheets, wash the dishes that were left in the sink from the night before, change two poopy diapers from the same kid, and stumble in to work 20 minutes later than normal. Also known as: a series of events that NEVER happen on Dada's mornings.

Why my children save all of their drama and bodily functions for ME and me alone I'll never know. But there is one thing I DO know: I am about to become the morning workout QUEEN.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Mama Tears

When I was about 10 my mother took my sister, my cousin and me out to eat. We were standing in line being reminded to hurry up and make up our minds so that we wouldn't leave anyone waiting. When it was our turn, my sister and I spit out our choices as fast as we could, as my cousin stood staring at the menu. After being told to hurry up about three times, she finally opened up her mouth to speak. "What kind of cheese is on the cheeseburger?" she asked. With the quickness, my mother grabbed her hand, yanked all of us out of line, and hauled us to the car saying, "if you can't make up your mind in a crowded restaurant, you gotta go. You can take all the time in the world at home." And this was the story of our lives. When a poor, impatient mother gives you the opportunity to make a choice in a restaurant, you don't give her any time to think about whether or not she really has the money to be buying you that lunch in the first place. You make a choice and you enjoy it.

Why then, after an entire childhood of quick decisions, am I constantly second-guessing myself as an adult?

Where I came up with the notion that my 3-year-old MUST go to preschool I'll never really know. It's not exactly like my kid is shy or anything (he'll talk to anyone and everyone who will listen), nor was he falling behind academically (he did spend 10 hours a week with his teacher-certified nanny), but I didn't want to hear it. My kid was going to school and that was the end of the conversation. After months of research, consideration, reconsideration, site visits, and getting my anti-preschool-for-three-year-olds husband to agree that he actually would benefit from going, I finally decided on the perfect place to send my son. My son who's never been left ANYWHERE except the daycare at the gym, and well, let's face it- that just doesn't count. (After all, I was only a hallway away- I could easily drop in early to spy.)

As the summer flew by, we started talking up school more and more. Everyone was getting excited, and my former preschool teacher neighbor advised me to not worry about the first day of school tears. Don't worry, she said. They're normal, even for the most social kids. He'll probably cry for the first couple of weeks and then he'll settle in. They all do. Dada took him out to buy a new pair of sneakers, and when he showed me how fast they made him run, I was the one crying. He's too little to go to school, I sobbed to my husband. Call them back and say we're not coming. He's not ready. What if he gets picked on? What if he hates it? What if he cries for me and they don't tell me? We need to wait till next year...

But it was too late. I had made my decision, and I had to stick with it. He would start school, and he would learn to love it. And then it was here- September 18, 2010. The Big Day.

With his Nikes tied tight, and his Buzz Lightyear backpack strapped on, my baby, my buddy, my little man, let go of my hand to walk up the school steps all by himself. There he goes, I thought. The kid who still thinks guns are called space ships, who sucks his thumb when he's nervous, who still calls me Mama, and who innocently told his little brother last night that "you're my best friend". There he goes.

After agreeing that I wouldn't start crying in order to prevent him from freaking out, I followed closely behind as I snapped about 8 thousand pictures. When we reached the classroom door, I walked him in and crouched down. "I gotta go, Buddy. You are gonna have so much fun here." Bracing myself for a major meltdown, I opened my arms and leaned in.

What I got instead was the back of a button-down shirt, and a little hand that raised up just past his shoulder height. "ok, bye" he said as he continued to keep his back to me and wave at the same time.

Wait, that couldn't be it. Where were the crocodile tears, the "Mama don't leave me-s?" Instead I barely got a "see ya"???

With my own tear-filled eyes, I proceeded back down the stairs and back to my car. And I realized that now, much like when I was 10, my first choice was a good one. At least for now. (And I can always pull him out, right? Or maybe I should keep him in... Or maybe I should drop a day... Or... I know- or maybe I should just stop second guessing myself. Yeah, I'll start there.)

Friday, September 17, 2010

Market Misbehavior

How lucky are we that we live in the city that houses America's favorite large public market?! ( Located right down the street from our house, we frequent the market to load up on fresh, local produce, and to enjoy some homemade empanadas. Reading this recent article in our local newspaper reminded me of a time not so long ago when the boys and I attempted to make a quick stop on our way home from running errands.

On any normal visit to the market, I get anxiety just pulling in to the parking lot. Cars are driving in every direction, some weird version of a crossing guard is haphazardly directing traffic, yet it's unclear whether or not his eyes are actually open, and people are walking aimlessly toward their cars (while stopping abruptly at the faux Coach bags and tiger-face rugs which are appropriately placed in the middle of the parking lot), all while pulling rickety, overfilled pull-carts behind them (and likely taking out all small children who mistakenly will walk too close to the wheels). Hence the reason I am very rarely the driver.

This day, however, was not the norm. It was a random Tuesday morning, and I remembered on my way home from doing other things that the market was open for produce only. Great, I thought. The stroller is already in the trunk, and since it's the middle of the week, I'm bound to get a great parking spot. We'll be in and out in 20 minutes.

I pulled in to an excellent spot, and was pretty psyched that my plan was panning out nicely. I walked around to the back of the car, threw open the trunk, and was delighted to find out that the stroller was... ah yes, forgotten at home. Fantastic.

Ok, well, this wouldn't be horrible. There were only about 10 people milling around, only one row of vegetables to choose from anyway, and the boys were in good moods. We would all walk together. We could do this.

So we started walking. (Slowly. Very slowly.) First stop- some grapes. Easy enough until I look down, and my kid holding my hand with one hand (so I can't even pretend for a second that he belongs to someone else), and is touching all of the peaches with the other. Um, we'll take some peaches too. Yes, those ones right in front will be great. Thanks.

I really had no intention of making a second stop, but I also had no idea how much pressure I would feel as I walked down the aisle practically alone. (Where was everyone? At work or something? Weird.) The apple guy had really good intentions, I'm sure of it. Maybe he couldn't see Ty eying the plums, or maybe he just didn't care, but either way one thing is all I know: he, out of the goodness of his heart, picked a plum off of a huge pile and handed it to CJ. "Here you go, Buddy. This is just for you." Thank you, Guy, but you actually just did WAY more harm than good. Of course, it was no surprise that a riot between my two children was bound to erupt at any second. All CJ heard was that the plum was for him (and him alone, obviously), and all Ty knew was that he wanted one too.

Trying to redirect my children's attention, we walked up to the next vendor. ( I must say that even though it was weirdly uncrowded for such a usually crowded place, I was loving the quick service I was receiving.) As the only people at the stand, I had my pick of tomatoes. I noticed Ty's hand starting to notice that this guy was also selling plums, and literally before I had the chance to either pull it away or say NO, he had not only grabbed one, but had also taken a bite. (sidenote: I do feed my children. Honestly, I do.) That was approximately one second before CJ looked at the humongous guy in charge of this food and said, "Mama, is he a really fat guy?"

Oh God. Realllllyyyyy? Was this happening right now? My one kid's a thief, my other kid's a big-mouth, and my arm was turning purple from trying to carry too many plastic bags of cheap fruit. Lesson learned: next time, just stay home.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Not-Quite Campers

Camping, in my mind, is about as American as hot dogs at a baseball game. Well, as American as I am, one of those experiences will forever remain a mystery, and the other I am proud to add to my list of have-dones. Here's a clue: I have not consumed a weird link of red meat since approximately fourth grade.

We did our research (mainly by asking all of our camper-friends if we could borrow all of their stuff), and I'm still not sure why EVERY single person we told about our impending getaway started laughing. Like, out loud. I even remember one person saying, "you guys know that camping is outside, right?" Very funny. We get it. We're not exactly outdoorsy people. Well, we were about to prove everyone wrong. We could be outdoorsy. So we packed up and headed out. To a state park that had a hotel on the premises. Just in case.

With literally NO idea what to expect, we eagerly pulled up to a square patch of land. Were we in the right spot? Where the heck was the tent supposed to go? There's no possible way that this was the entire thing.

Well, after looking around, we quickly learned our place on the camping food chain. Our neighbors to the left had a humongous camper set up, complete with American flag lights illuminating their front entry way. The man of the site was sitting comfortably in his lawn chair sipping beer out of a can (the ultimate camping image), and his wife was sitting quietly knitting (a little weirder, but whatev.) These people hadn't left the site in at least a month. Probably longer. The family across the little dirt path had not one, but TWO deluxe looking tents. Each family member was going to get their own room in the first tent, and the second one was made completely of screen and comfortably held all of their food and supplies. We, on the other hand, came fully prepared with a single tent and a cooler. And so we got to work.

About an hour later, the tent was up, and the air mattress was blown up. In case you're wondering, a tent is supposed to look more like a pyramid than an oval, and an under-inflated air mattress is not sleep-conducive, even a little. Yeah, your tent isn't QUITE supposed to look like this:

Oh well, who cares? It worked just fine. And who needed fancy lights or deluxe tents, anyway? We had EACH OTHER. And we were CAMPING. (And oh yeah, NO- we didn't bring the boys. Another thing that people laughed at. We intelligently left them home. There was just no sense in forging unknown territory with two toddlers who sleep with their lights on.)

WOW! Things sure do get dark fast out in the woods. Between the darkest dark ever, the under-inflated mattress, the noise in the trees (bugs? frogs? Don't know, and don't care. But they were ridiculously loud), who could risk shutting their eyes? And I swear I heard raccoons walk across the edge of our tarp, which was also known as 6 inches from my face. When the sun came up and I realized I had been awake for the past 24 hours, I learned that my fellow camper had slept with a pocket knife next to his head, and had had visions of waking up to a bear looking him right in the face. Were these normal camping experiences?

At that point, he handed me the knife and told me to keep it in my pocket as I walked down the dirt path to buy us coffee and freezie pops. (Skip the judgements, please. Yes, we ate freezie pops on our camping trip.) I wasn't quite sure what he expected me to do with it, or even what I would have done had I been faced with the ultimate dangerous situation, but I was armed. So there I stumbled- bags under my bloodshot eyes (all that campfire smoke was killer), and the outline of a knife bulging out of the side of my leg, daring danger to come and find me.

Well, day two went surprisingly smoothly. We made breakfast sandwiches over the campfire, went hiking, had a picnic, tossed some beanbags into little holes, and hung out. No Blackberry, no Internet, no children, and NO hotel room! Just us, some trees, and some great people watching. We loved camping!

The next morning came quickly, and after finally having gotten some sleep (after passing out from pure exhaustion), we were ready to pack up and head home. Since we had never fully unpacked the car to begin with ("let's just keep everything in the trunk so that animals can't get to it"), the site took about 10 minutes to tear down. With visions of hot showers and clean sheets in our heads, we jumped in the front seats, and I turned the key. Hmmm, weird. I turned it again. Another note to self: If you don't drive your car for a few days, yet you keep opening and closing all of the doors and the trunk, your battery will die. We had been wondering all weekend why everyone had all of their stuff laying all over their site, instead of in their trunks. I guess we found our answer.

Luckily, Resident Camper to the left had a set of jumper cables, and was eager to help, snickering inside his head the whole time, I'm sure. I guess we're not quite campers, after all. But we're close. And we WILL try again. Maybe next time we'll even roast some hot dogs over that killer campfire.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Nanny Finale

There was a knock on the door and standing on the other side was a sight I've truly never seen. A woman who had very clearly just dyed her own hair/forehead a weird shade of red was standing there with some red lipstick that had landed on her front tooth, smiling a very toothy smile. She was wearing a solid purple 80's style sweatsuit, and the elastic-banded ankles came up just past her white socks. As she walked in to my dining room, I couldn't help but imagine just how many cats she owned. You have experience? REALLY??? Who hired you????

Then there was the girl who stood on my step looking like she hadn't eaten in months, with jet black hair, a skunk stripe of blonde, about 50 earrings and 51 tattoos. She came in (yes, I let her in, trying my hardest not to judge based on looks) and told me that she could start "whenever because I sit at home and don't do nothing." Ok, well, it looks like that'll be your agenda for a while longer. Good luck finding a job with small children. See you.

Or I suppose I could have hired the girl who showed up wearing a wool cardigan sweater even though it was 94 degrees out. She sat on the edge of her seat as my children started going crazy around her. It was dinner time, they were hot, and she was the third candidate to come through the house that day. It's called a TEST, girl- you have experience, right? Why then, did you not pick up on the fact that our family clearly wasn't a good match for you? Now, I'm not a genius or anything, but I'm pretty sure that if a kid whipped a matchbox car at MY head at full speed, I would consider the interview over.

After about 20 more inquiries, and 20 more "No's" (not enough experience, not old enough, too old, not a good enough personality, seems lazy, just not "It"), I was starting to think that maybe this whole "going back to work" thing was a bad idea. Maybe all these weirdos were a sign, after all. Maybe there truly IS no one good enough for my kids (Oh my God- am I THAT mom?). Maybe *GASP* WE are the weird ones. NO, that's definitely not it. We're probably the most normal family a babysitter will ever meet. People should be ecstatic to work for us. Right?? Right???

Between Ty having the most ridiculous stomach bug imaginable, and the ridiculous amount of anxiety that this whole hiring process was giving me, I was really having a glorious week. (These people were sounding so perfect in emails and on the phone- what was the problem??? ) But then, after the fourth night of literally getting three minutes of sleep, she applied. I have no idea why I even gave this girl a chance to prove herself. After all, she didn't fit the profile we had created in our minds at all. (But then again, that profile wasn't working out so well, was it?) But it wasn't even us who picked her- it was the boys. She walked in (at dinner time again- it very easily could have gotten ugly). Ty (who's even more judgmental than I) instantly started talking and playing (or was it flirting?) with her. CJ actually looked up from his crack addiction (Yo Gabba Gabba) and answered her questions. It probably helped her case to be young and very pretty, but whatever. She won.

Is she the best ever? I don't know. (Is anyone the BEST?) Will she be great? Probably. And will she make my transition back to work (full-time for the first time in three years!) easier? You bet.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Looking for Mary Poppins

Since this is now our fourth round of this game, I am declaring myself seasoned. I have finally learned how to accurately interpret the profiles of "professional" nannies. Just as I've learned that when I read a student of mine is a "social individual who likes to express himself verbally" I can really expect a disruptive, hyperactive, pain-in-the-ass to show up at my classroom door; I've also learned what to expect when I read the following terms in these profiles:

College Student: I will show up mostly on time and take care of your kids, but I will also call in sick after a long night of partying without thinking twice. On weekends, please pay me in cash and be home in time for me to make it to last call.

25 Years Old: I'll show up every day and take good care of your kids, but I would really prefer one of my own. Please do not act surprised if I tell you I'm either engaged or pregnant. Additionally, either of those things will take ALL of my attention, and I'll totally lose interest in my job.

Certified Teacher: I really love kids and will probably engage them in some pretty great activities, but the second a better job comes along, I will drop your family with the quickness and never look back. Year-long commitment? What's that?

has grown children Since my own kids have grown up, I will now tell you how to be a parent, and will act as though your children are my own. I will probably be overly annoying with the gifts and will tell too many stories about how many children I've "raised" over the years.

So who then, IS qualified to take care of my darling angels? Well, I thought the 40-something mother/nurse/dietitian from England would have been ideal. Loving? Check. Competent? Check. Ran when I uttered the word "taxes"? Check. Same story goes for the charismatic 30-year-old med school drop-out from Canada. I now have an addendum to my ad.

In fact, it now reads something like this:

We are looking for a full-time nanny for two only slightly chaotic boys. The older one is very social, and especially enjoys expressing his desires while others are holding a conversation that doesn't include him. He is opinionated and behaves best when never asked to perform simple everyday tasks, or leave something he enjoys. Potty training is not usually an issue, but the closet floor should be checked upon his waking. The younger one is a budding actor who is anxious to be as steady on his feet as his brother. He has his very own well-stocked first-aid cabinet, should an accident occur. He has the amazing ability to take his scream to a decibel we are sure you've never heard before, and we are certain he will be excited to show off this talent. Drinking on the job is understandable, yet not encouraged (unless they can't see you. If in fact they do, just tell them you're taking a sip of "Dada's pop"). These boys are the light of our world, so you must be willing to love them at least half as much as we do. add: Candidates must have greencard.

Interpret this ad as you will. Now... who wants a job???

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Mall adventures

My husband works a ton. Both at his career job and around the house. So when he asked me if I could do him a favor and go pick up his contacts for him really quickly before he had to leave for his business trip, I figured it was the least I could do. "Yes, I'm sure. Yes, I know where it is. The boys will be fine. It'll only take a second." Ah, famous last words.

I was POSITIVE that the eye place was a stand alone store right past the mall. So imagine my level of delight when I called Husband as I was traveling in the wrong direction in search of said store, only to learn that it was in fact IN the mall. Awesome. My plan to leave the boys in the car and run in to a store where it would be certain I would know no one were shot.

I drove around the insanely crowded mall parking lot for a solid 20 minutes (ok, you got me: maybe it was closer to 10, since my A.D.D. would never let that happen) before I settled on a spot one row away from the dead last. I glanced at the clock on the dashboard and was pleased to find out that it was nearing 5:00. It was one of the hottest days on record and my kids were about to start their meltdowns if dinner was not at the end of this rainbow. Not only that, but I didn't have their stroller with me, so they were about to have to walk. In the heat. Across the crowded parking lot. In the mall. This "quick" errand was already killing me.

With one slung on my hip and the other two steps behind me with his little hand outstretched to keep a grasp on my fingers, we began our half-mile journey to the front door. Did I mention that the "baby" weighs 26 pounds? And it was literally one hundred flippin' degrees out? I began glistening immediately. (Supermoms don't sweat, btw... they glisten.)

Once we reached the entrance, I decided it was time for everyone to walk. As we strolled (very slowly at this point) past a full length mirror, I almost passed out as I caught a glimpse of myself. Whoa. Three Spiderman stickers stuck randomly in the center of my chest, a yogurt (or maybe it was banana, who can tell?) stain on my shoulder, some ridiculous looking old work-around-the-pants, and a frizzin' out pony tail. Had Oprah been on site, I hands-down would have made it on to her "make over a mom" show, and the very thought of that makes me want to shudder. And cry. Where the freak was this store, and why wasn't it closer to wherever I was????

Walking in to any store with two small boys in tow is always a crap shoot. Sometimes I get the "oh wow your boys are so cute" and other times I get the look that says, "get your stinkin' kids and their dirty hands the hell out of my store". I had a feeling that walking in to a place that had no toys, walls of expensive glasses, and nothing but over-polished glass counter tops was about to warrant the latter. Oh well. Sorry- nothing I can do.

Luckily, the visit was relatively quick and painless. One of them sat down on the floor, and the other jumped up on one of their chairs and began spinning himself around in circles. Hey- they weren't screaming, crying, whining, or pulling the frames off the walls. Things could have been much worse. And much to my surprise, they didn't even complain on our trek back in to the heat to find our car. We made it home in time for dinner and I deemed our trip a success.

Much more successful,that is, than the last time we ventured out to the mall. It was Christmas time. (Yes, the last time I took them to the mall alone was six months ago. That's how not fun shopping with them is). I was in line in a makeup/all things beauty/nothing for small children store with the gigantic double stroller, waiting patiently in a very long line. Of course as luck would have it, the little one started crying (loudly, as is his style) as a girl from college came up to say hi. Totally put-together as always, she smiled as she showed me her two kids who were just waiting with her in line as if they liked it. We stood in that line together, making conversation as I continuously pulled small makeup items out of my son's hand that he kept grabbing out of the bins. (note: her sons were not. Why is that???) By the time it was my turn to check out, the line had grown to approximately ten people deep. I tried to maneuver the stroller around a standing kiosk of nail polishes, and wouldn't you know it: I was stuck. A second line of people touching shoulders with me, and the front wheel completely jammed against the wall of the kiosk, I could neither fit around it or in front. With completely and utterly no where to go, I looked around. Would I REALLY have to back up all the way out of this huge line? Oh. My. God. By this time, my friend had gone up to the other cashier and normally purchased her items. Just typing this now, six months later, is making me wonder all over again why in the world that store would make their aisles so friggin' narrow. Duh, so NOT PC. I mean, seriously. Luckily, a very nice fellow mom (or irritated co-shopper, you choose) volunteered to help. She lifted the front end of my screaming baby holder and helped get me out of my tight spot. Thank you, fellow mom. Thank you.

No more mall adventures for us.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Museum Mishap

We are so lucky to live in the city that houses the children's museum that is ranked number one in the entire country. We of course have become members, and it is a place that the boys and I frequent. Regardless, I apparently now have a three-year-old who has made his own agenda and is no longer afraid of the threat of kidnappers.

As soon as we pulled in to the parking lot we noticed our friends getting out of their car, which sent The Boy into hysterics since he was still strapped in to a moving vehicle and his friend was getting ready to walk in without him. After that slight crisis was solved by their actual waiting for us so we could walk in together, the chaos began.

CJ and his friend have known each other since they were babies. His mother used to be CJ's full time babysitter, and not only does she find time to shower and put together an outfit every day, but she always seems to have complete control of her two children. (I, on the other hand, was not only rocking some sweaty gym clothes in addition to the ponytail-slash-headband look in my hair that's too short for either, but I also had to ask her for an extra diaper before I even had the chance to say hello). CJ and friend have opposite personalities, and really don't even see each other all that often. It's actually kind of weird that they get along as well as they do.

Now, we have been to this place so many times that we have our routine pretty well rehearsed. The only thing that has been throwing it off over the past couple visits is the new-found fascination with Superheroes and the fact that the life-sized collection is all the way in the back. (Skip every single thing that Ty likes just to go see a gigantic Iron man first? Ah, decisions, decisions...)

Well today, it really didn't matter what we usually do, because CJ was on a quest to impress. Not only is he usually deathly afraid of any child over the age of 5 in a public place (I'm guessing it has something to do with a fear of being trampled), but he NEVER leaves my side at the museum. If today's visit was any indication of this brand new "I'm three now" personality, I promise to no longer make inappropriate comments about parents who walk their children using leashes disguised as animal-shaped backpacks. In fact, I may purchase a few. And use them.

Every single time I thought we were settled in to play, I would get Ty out of his stroller, start a conversation with my friend, and then look around only to find that CJ had decided to show his friend something new (even though it's quite possible his friend goes there more than even we do), and chances were great that what he was showing him was something he had literally NEVER done or cared about before. Like climbing UP the railing in the Berenstein Bears room, for example. That was a new one. (But he has sticky hands like Spiderman, so he can climb stuff. Duh.)

Perhaps the highlight of my day was when we were in a room where CJ really never spends too much time. We played in the fake sand box, and made the huge fairy tale giant talk and wave his arms. As I thought we were heading out, he told his friend to follow him. The friend kept playing where he was, and CJ started climbing the stairs of a huge pirate ship. By the time I asked the friend to climb up with me to go get him (approximately 7 seconds later), I got to the top only to find him NOWHERE. Not in the secret room, or on the rickety bridge. Not around the corner, or headed back down the stairs. O.M.G. I thought my kid got kidnapped. (Well, I didn't REALLY think that, but he totally could have). Just as I was about to start freaking out about my lost child who never leaves his mama's side, I saw one of the 8 million workers reach her arm out in a sweeping motion and a little blur of tan go squealing past her fingertips. And it wasn't a squeal as in, "I'm desperate to find my mother." No, it was a squeal of pure delight that not only had he broken free from my lock, but was too fast for her, too. She looked around with frantic eyes, and I called out, "I'm his mother". Her response: "Well, you have to stay with him". Oh really? Stay with your small child in a crowded public place? I never would have thought. Thanks for the parenting tip.

After that fiasco we decided to go eat. My friend had of course, packed healthy lunches for herself and her well behaved children. My kids on the other hand were forced to wait as I picked the item off the kids' menu that seemed to have the least amount of sodium. (Well, and a side of fries. Whatev. I really do feed my kids nutritious foods. Honestly, I do.) We almost made it through the whole meal problem-free until Ty, unbeknown to me, stuck the entire cap from his apple juice in to his mouth. Choking, but unable to cough and then crying and yelling with it still in his mouth, I reached in and yanked it out. A mother stopped her stroller and said to me with her nicely put together face, "oh my, is he ok?" Yes, almost unconscious, but ok. Thanks for your fake concern, and making me feel even less competent.

So with one kid who could have gotten himself abducted, and the other who could have choked to death, we headed to the car. After all that excitement, it was nap time. The happiest hour of my day.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Concrete Noodles

When I got my assignment for this year's annual company 4th of July family picnic, I thought, I can do this! Pasta salad? Not a problem! I even started nice and early so that I wouldn't be rushing around at the last minute, cramming the pasta in the freezer so that it would cool down enough for the rest of the ingredients. Nope, not this year. I was prepared.

Well, to make a long story short (and to skip a bunch of insignificant details), the noodles got seriously overcooked. As in, complete mushiness all stuck together in the pot. Totally inedible. So, I did what any sensible person would do (or, in retrospect, maybe not). I shoved them down the disposal and started over. So all I have to say is this: To everyone at the company party- I sincerely hope you enjoyed the heck out of your pasta salad because it was BY FAR the most expensive side dish I have ever contributed to a picnic. Your bill is in the mail.

When we got home from the party later that evening, I noticed that the sink was clogged, and annoyed, started plunging away. (Again skipping a bunch of insignificant details), when the always-supportive, understanding, level-headed husband and I (ok,ok, way more him than me at this point) were still plunging a day and a half later, it was officially time to call the plumber. Now- here's a detail that's not so insignificant. It was a holiday weekend. We had decided a long time ago that this would be the best time to finish re-doing the kitchen. So that was happening. As was the fact that the pool got some sort of leak underground and was only about to cost us a million dollars to get fixed. So as I'm sure you can imagine, not only was this noodle debacle happening period, but it probably couldn't have been happening at a more inconvenient time.

Plumbers, apparently, begin charging the second they answer your phone call. They do not stop charging until the second they have your cold hard cash in their grease-stained hands. Our particular plumber (who was excellent, by the way) stayed for an impressive 4 hours!! Yeah! Less time to finish the kitchen! Less money to use on any sort of vacation we were trying to coordinate! Awesome!! And don't think that I wasn't being reminded of this situation every five minutes as I heard things like, "yup, he's STILL here" or "I like to think you're smarter than this, Jenifer". My favorite was, "well, there goes another million dollars". My comeback of "yup, literally down the drain" (pun fully intended), didn't go over too well.

So, he finished the job and said that I made his record books, right between the wife who jammed an entire ham down her garbage disposal, and the one who put a five-pound bag of rice down her's. (An entire ham? C'mon... who would DO such a thing?!?) I'm pretty sure he even made a joke about sending the concrete noodle concoction down to the Gulf to solve the oil leak crisis. Now that's amazing.

Now here we are three days later, and a truckload poorer. But we've got finely tuned pipes and a pool in the backyard that is magical. And a kitchen that's completely unusable with the potential to be glorious. The lesson learned from all of this: encourage the boys to go in to plumbing. There's a lot of money in plumbing.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Vacation = Fail

As a mom, which is worse: the moment you look in to the back seat of the car and notice that your child has fallen asleep with only ten minutes left of the ride, and therefore realizing that naptime is officially shot for the day; or opening your eyes first thing in the morning AFTER your kids have already waken up, and therefore realizing that you have officially overslept and your opportunity to take a shower has already come and gone? Welcome to my world. Today is technically day two of our summer vacation together (since we won't count the weekend), and I have already failed.

On day one, I thought it would be fun to meet up with our playgroup friends to pick strawberries. And it was fun! We got to ride in a rickety tractor back to the field as I held on to the baby for dear life and prayed that I only felt like I was about to fall off. (there's no way I actually could have fallen, right?) When we got back to the field, CJ actually helped me pick some while whining the whole time that he wanted to go back to feed the goats. (um, sidenote: I hate goats. And most other animals for that matter. I did not like his suggestion). Ty sat his fat self right in front of the plants and picked and feasted, picked and feasted. We then moved on to the raspberries. CJ and his friend chased each other up and down the mile long rows of bushes in the 8000 degree heat while Ty continued to pick and feast. After about an hour or so, we walked to the car: hot, sweaty, and well-fed. I carefully placed the pallet of delicate berries on the hood of the car as I strapped the boys into their seats. I then strapped myself in and drove away. The pallet of deliciousness and hard work slipped quietly off the hood and tipped onto the gravel parking lot. (And yes, if you are wondering, this hot mess got out of the car and picked them all up.) The afternoon wrapped up nicely with a three hour nap and only a few small stones in the boys' snack cups. Me=Fail, but strawberry picking= success!

Supermom (that is me) decided to make dessert for the family dinner that was being held that night at my parents' house. Thirteen people warranted two Frozen Lemonade pies (courtesy of the food network) and some Funfetti cupcakes (because who doesn't love some Funfetti?) To make a very long story short, the boys threw outstanding tantrums and were actually pretty horribly behaved for most of the otherwise pleasant evening. We ate a fantastically fancy dinner prepared by our family from out of town, and my pies were a complete disaster. They didn't freeze, and were a total mess. Sometime around the eight thousandth comment of "hmmm, Jeni, what happened?" and my kids' screaming for no apparent reason, I started crying. Yes, right there at the dinner table. Real tears. Me=Fail.

Day two began with a trip to the gym followed by another playdate at a different farm (yay! more goats!) The workout was great, the friends were great, and The Boy's knee injury was also great. One second he was going crazy with all of his little friends on a gigantic jumping pillow, and the next second he was laying there crying. Me, thinking he was just being overdramatic as usual, encouraged him to stop crying and try something else. When he tried to run over to his friend and almost collapsed, I knew it was time to leave. So that brings us to now: ten o'clock on the night of day two as a full time Stay-At-Home-Mom (a job that does not come easily to me, in case you haven't noticed. But I'm determined to change that.) I'm still in my gym clothes, but The Boy has stopped limping. Here's hoping that tomorrow brings more sunshine and smiles and less tears and tantrums. Oh yeah, and maybe a shower too. It's happy hour and I gotta go. Cheers!

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

It's a Wiggly Party

It started with just one DVD. Yes, just one, and The Boy was hooked. (It's THAT addicting.) It then progressed to a different DVD every time we visited the library, dance parties to burned CD's in the living room, singing along in the car, trivia during dinner,purchasing our very own collection, and then we discovered the ultimate: our cable provider allowing us to access them (insert loud chimes while singing "AHHHHHHH" here) ON DEMAND!!! I knew we may have had a problem on our hands when he began pronouncing the word "car" as "cah", and "party" and "potty" became interchangeable. (well, they ARE Australian!). It seemed life couldn't get much better. I'm talking of course, about a crazy addiction to none other but THE WIGGLES.

So when it came time to start planning for the grand event, I could think of no better way to send my baby into year 3 than to throw him a huge Wiggly Party (and yes, this blog will be chock-full of Wiggles references. I apologize in advance if you don't get them. You're really missing out.)

Apparently, my child is one of the only ones left on the planet who is so in love with the four singing gentlemen in brightly colored shirts. The party decor is nowhere to be found. As in discontinued, gone, not in any store. Anywhere. (Well, except for on their official Australian website. I love my son. I really do. But not enough to spend 85 million dollars ordering Australian party decorations.) So instead, I opted to spend a mere 83 million ordering them from Ebay. Hoop-de-Doo, I was about to stamp,stamp,stamp, clap,clap,clap, and wiggle my hips just like that when I found them! The plan was finally coming together.

So I went ahead and reserved a park pavilion. Not one of the giant ones or anything. Just a nice shady spot with tables where people could come find relief from the sun. After all, we had been getting record high temperatures during the entire month of May. So there was not a chance it could (gasp) *rain* on that day, right?!?! The invitations were sent, the food was ordered. There was no turning back now. We were all getting excited to point our fingers and do the twist with the Birthday Boy.

No matter how much I plan, I always end up running around like a crazy person at the very last minute. I get these wonderfully fantastic ideas in my head and then drive myself insane trying to execute. Like the cake, for example. I thought it would have been so cool to cut a cake in the shape of The Wiggles' logo, frost it using exact colors, and then outline it with rainbow cupcakes (frosted of course in the signature colors of red, yellow, blue and purple). Well, for starters, making rainbow cupcakes, while they may be cool, are VERY time consuming. Especially when you have to make and frost 40 of them. And they can't really be made to far ahead of time for fear that they will go stale. Not to mention the frosting, while also cool, is VERY messy. And it must be the perfect consistency or else it will melt. So I had that going for me. I honestly thought that I was ahead of the game this time. The balloons, banner, gift bags, stickers, pinata, and streamers had all come in exactly on time, and were waiting patiently in a bag on the table. The 50 pounds of potato, pasta, and fruit salads (yummy, yummy) had been made earlier and were waiting patiently in the fridge. So all that was left was the cake. The only problem was that I am the opposite of artistic, and it was 10 o'clock at night ("all I have left to do is frost, how long can that take?" I foolishly said to my husband when he asked what was left to be done). Luckily, he only muttered under his breath for a couple of minutes as I trudged in sheepishly to ask him to draw me a Wiggles logo that I could transfer on to the cake. I think the muttering may have had something to do with always waiting till the last minute, or not letting anyone ever help with stuff.... I'm not really sure.

And so began the Great Frosting Project. And the (gasp) *rain*!!! And so it continued. Somewhere lost in a land of crazily bright frosting in approximately 7 different shades, I created cupcakes, cupcakes, and lots more cupcakes. And listened to rain, rain, and LOTS more rain. Sometime around 1 in the morning, I realized that my party (ahem, I mean, my son's party) was supposed to be starting in just a few hours. And then it started raining in the kitchen. How could this be happening?!?! Oh wait- no- those were just tears.

I stumbled in to bed some time later, with an array of frosting splatters still stuck to my hair, wrists, elbows, and probably my face. I fell asleep dreaming of park pavilions floating away like the friendly pirate ship rocking in the sea. Morning came approximately 7 minutes after I shut my eyes, and The Boy almost peed himself when he opened his first present- the Buzz Lightyear that actually shoots the lasers! "Is today my happy birthday?" He asked. "Can we go to my party now?" I looked out the window at the near flood conditions. Seriously, what were we going to do? Our house was neither big enough for 40 people, nor did we really want it to be. We could have it anyway and then change our phone number so that no one would be able to get in touch with us to tell us their kid caught pneumonia, or we could take Mom and Dad up on their offer to save the day (again!) and host it at their house, which was only about a mile away from the original park site.

So I turned myself into Anthony Wiggle , and loaded a party in to the back of my car. Soon the house became Wiggle heaven. People were dressed as their favorite Wiggle, and all the kids had access to as many juice boxes, chips, candy necklaces, and of course cupcakes, that their little bellies desired.

Outside, it rained. It poured. It thundered and lightening-ed. And inside, the kids laughed. They played. They sang and opened gifts. And they could care less about the rain. I watched my son have an amazing time surrounded by wonderful people.

And then, just like that, it was over. We looked at all of his fabulous gifts and rehashed the day's events. Two days later we went to the library. I walked over to the movie section and said, "Would you like to pick a new Wiggles movie?" And just like that, it was over. He looked at me and said, for the very first time, "No thanks. I'll pick a different one." Whoa. Wasn't expecting that one. Nor was I prepared for the feeling it left. My Boy doesn't want the Wiggles? Today, it's the Wiggles. Tomorrow it'll be, "no thanks, I'll sleep by myself" and then, "no thanks, I'll just drive myself". And just like that, it'll be over.

Monday, June 7, 2010

birth story

every year on our birthdays my mom tells us the story of our birth. we all know every single detail of all three of my mother's labors and deliveries, but it doesn't matter. our head cannot hit the pillow on the night of our birthday until mom has told us all about how we entered this world. (and we better listen cuz she brought us in to this world, and she knows how to take us out...)

so in keeping up with tradition, here's a little story for my little man. CJ, on your third birthday, here is the ever-dramatic story of your birth:

the year you were born, we had what must have been one of the hottest springs in the history of Rochester. I was involved with everything at work- tons of committees and trying to help seniors graduate kept me there late every day baking away in my classroom with no windows and air conditioning that only worked when it felt like it. needless to say, i was HOT. like, all the time. and tired. the running around like a crazy person and the heat caught up with me at the beginning of may and my blood pressure got too high. i was retaining all kinds of fluid and my ankles disappeared. so, your hot mess mama got put on bed rest. i was due on june 1 and had every intention to stay at work until memorial day weekend, but that all changed a couple of weeks early. not exactly what i had planned. little did i know that this was just one weird thing to happen in a series of many.

well, june first came and went and i was still as pregnant as ever. and getting ridiculously anxious to meet you. fast forward a few more days to june fourth. i went to the doctor and they did something too awkward for a mother to explain to her son, so let's just skip it and say that i finally started having contractions. by the middle of the night they were horrible and we couldn't believe it was finally go time. i think your dad made it to the hospital in 5 minutes. after being admitted to triage and hooked up to the monitor, the nurse handed me two tylenol and said, "i know you think you're in pain, but just take these, go home, and get some sleep." WHAAAAT? surely she was wrong. she clearly had no idea what kind of pain was actually occurring every five minutes. well, clearly neither did i. after getting zero sleep that night, we went in to the doctor's office to find out what was going on. ok, go time again they said. hoping for better luck this time, we headed back to the hospital. it was the afternoon of june 5. my contractions had been steady for about 18 hours.

at some point that evening (now about 24 hours in), they decided to break my water. holy new level of pain. afraid of all pain medication up until now, i could no longer take it. i succumbed to the invitation of an epidural and felt instant relief. the only problem was that you still had no intention of coming out. your heart rate was all over the place. i needed two rounds of pitocin, a refill on the epidural, and a cloth on my head because apparently my body thought it was running a marathon. finally, the next morning, it was time. the whole thing is blurry from then on in, but they tell me this is how it went: your head came out, and then all of a sudden they pushed you back in and fled me down the hall. Apparently your heart rate had dropped so fast that they had to get you out immediately. you were born at 8:19 on the morning of June 6, 2007. it took two doctors and a crazy amount of drugs to get you out. you were completely gray and had to get oxygen pumped in to you right away. on the test that they perform right there in the delivery room, you only scored a 3 (out of 10), and you had to be taken immediately to the special care unit. i, in the meantime, was losing a ridiculous amount of blood, and almost needed a transfusion, but this isn't about me...

you were in special care with the tiniest IV i have ever seen in your little baby arm. you had all kinds of wires attached to you and your face was under a thing that looked like a cake topper. when i finally got to see you and hold you way later that night, you looked right at me with your huge brown eyes. we immediately had secrets. i love your eyes.

luckily, we had excellent doctors and nurses, and we got to leave the hospital together a few days later. from that moment on, there was absolutely no indication that you ever struggled at all. You are smart (like, too smart for your own good most of the time), funny (really funny, and I'm not just saying that because I'm your mom), and beautiful. Even though you frustrate the heck out of me, i love you more than i ever dreamed possible. some day you will grow up and leave me, and i will look back on these crazy days and hold all of these memories close to my heart. happy birthday, connor jay.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

playgrounds aren't for wimps

if there's one thing my kids hate more than anything, it's trips to the doctor's office. they are fine when we talk about what's about to happen in the car on the way there, they are fine when we walk in and they see the giant fish tank, and they are fine when we get called back in to the room. it gets instantly ugly as soon as the nurse walks in. ty turns in to this koala-esque creature who leads me to believe that he may both strangulate me and cause me to go deaf in the same moment. i spend more time with the doctor saying, "what did you say?" than anything else. he does not stop crying to the point of almost-hyperventilation until we are checking out and he is picking a sticker out of the basket (for good behavior, of course). cj, on the other hand, enjoys reminding me approximately 50 thousand times that "the doctor's not gonna touch me, just ty, right mama?" and then proceeds to stick his thumb in his mouth and pretty much challenge anyone who walks in to a staring contest. it's especially fun when it IS in fact cj's turn to go. he not only refuses to take his thumb out or talk, but he also refuses to stand on the scale. i highly enjoy having to stand on there once by myself and then a second time while i'm holding him so the nurse can figure out how much he weighs. (last time i told her i was positive my clothes weighed at least 10 pounds. she just laughed. i wasn't trying to be funny.) i attribute my kids' fear of the doctor to their outstanding health, (which of course is a result of my outstanding parenting.) so i'm sure you can understand how delighted i was to find out upon walking in the house after work the other day that we were about to have to make an emergency visit. bonus- it was lunch time. which leads directly in to nap time, aka my happy hour. this was undoubtedly going to be an ultimate disaster.

i got a call from the babysitter just as i was packing up to leave that i really shouldn't worry, but just to let me know, ty fell on the playground and is bleeding from the mouth. his teeth are fine but he's crying so much there's no way to tell exactly where the blood is coming from. wishing for a second that i had imagined the whole call, i walked in the house to find a little boy sitting on his babysitter's lap who was covered from head to toe in every liquid possible that the body knows how to produce. surprisingly, i didn't freak out. after all, 90% of the time, the kid walks like he's drunk. he falls constantly, and i just assumed this time was a little harder than usual. but because it was his mouth this time, i decided to take him in to be checked out.

after an intense pep talk that concluded with a promise of chicken nuggets for boys who are good for the doctor, i walked in with two quiet, pleasant children in tow. (side note: yes, i bribe my children with food frequently. it works, and i will continue to do it. even if said food is sodium-laden questionable "chicken" that is cooked in a vat of grease. hey, i never said i was trying to win the mother-of-the-year award.)

the nurse checked him out and decided that since the cut was located right where his lip meets his mouth, she was going to have to have plastics take a look at it. Wha??? all of a sudden i had no idea what was going on. Plastics? as in surgeons who make old women look young again? for a 16-month-old with a tiny cut on his face? o.m.g.

about a half hour later, a doctor came in and poked and prodded at my poor little man's lip, mouth and teeth. surprisingly, ty didn't cry once. i knew though that this was too good to be true. when he decided to have a third person come in and look at it, i knew it was the beginning of the end. and right i was. by the time the second doctor came in and attempted to touch his face, ty pursed his lips together so tightly and began to cry. this happened in conjunction with some serious back arching and random arm flailing. while i was starting to sweat from restraining him, and feeling like i was about to cry as well, they were busy deciding that,after all of that, stitches would end up leaving a bigger scar than just leaving it to heal by itself. they did point out the hole in his mouth where his top tooth went all the way through his bottom lip, and said to call back if any of his teeth started turning black. unsure what to say at this point, i'm pretty sure i uttered something ridiculously intelligent like, "ummmmm, okay" as we started to run out the door towards that sticker basket. 5 minutes later, you'd never even know my man had just endured one of the most traumatic mornings of his life to date. he and his brother were two of the happiest chicken-nugget-eating boys i've ever seen.

(and i needed a drink. was it happy hour yet?) ;)

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Honor Thy Mother

the boys are the light of my mother's life. At her house (which is only 15 minutes away), they have their own bedroom and their own toy room. they have their own little seats at the dining room table and little cups with their names on them. it was at her house that they ate peanut butter when they were only 9 months old (WHAT?! YOU'RE SUPPOSED TO WAIT TILL THEY'RE ONE!), skipped nap time altogether (he was having too much fun and didn't feel like taking a nap...), and stayed up until 9:00 even though bedtime's at 7 (They just wanted me to sleep with them for a few minutes.) i'm pretty sure she likes them more than she likes us. so in thinking of the perfect gift with which to honor my mother and their "ga", i let cj lead the way. we walked in to the build-a-bear store with the intention of making her a small stuffed bear that she could tuck in to her travel bag. (she travels weekly for work). in my mind it would be soft and smooshy and would play a cute little saying in cj's voice when it's hand got pressed. we left with something just a little different.

the wall was covered with soft smooshy options and as i pointed them out, i said, "cj, pick out one for ga. which one do you think she would love?" he walked up and down the aisle as intensely as an almost-three-year old can in a toy store, and shot down all of my suggestions. "no" he claimed. "ga would love this one". and how could i argue?

after trapping him in the bathroom ("where it's quieter") we practiced recording a message to ga. it only took me about three tries before i finally figured out how to work the friggin' thing, then three more before he actually spoke on cue, and a few more minutes of begging and bribing with ice cream before i put the microphone up to his mouth, which was dangerously close to the bathroom floor at this point since he had decided to lie down, before he said something we were both satisfied with. (i think he really wanted it to say "please save me ga, my mama's a lunatic".)So Mom, if the recording sounds like it's from inside a toilet, well- it kinda actually is. Hey, we have to pick our battles, right?

Ah, mother's day: a day to show our appreciation for all of the mothers in our lives- to spoil them with gifts and meals and flowers. My dad took care of the meal, my brother the gifts and my sister the flowers. so what was left? Well, a fire breathing, 18-inch, bright green DRAGON with huge shiny gold wings and long white claws of course. That, mom, is our way of saying thank you. for your patience and your calmness; for your friendship and your phone calls; for your cooking and your babysitting; for letting them do whatever they want simply because they are at ga's house; and for putting things in perspective when i think i might drive off the nearest bridge. push the hand of your new cuddly friend and hear cj say it all, "Happy Mother's Day, Ga. I love you. Favorite Ga". I couldn't have said it better myself.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

last week at a glance

Monday- aunt tessie moved to a new house and dropped off a really fun surprise- her goldfish that she no longer wanted but was afraid to flush since it was, well, still alive. yay! good thing goldfish only have a two second memory.

Tuesday- the fish is still cool. they plaster their faces up to the side of it's bowl and stick their chubby fingers in the water. ty throws his red ball in and laughs. later that day we grocery shop and cj wants to walk. now, when they were babies, grocery shopping used to be a major source of my anxiety. if i put the baby's carseat up in the front of the cart, i could put cj in the big part, and hope that he wouldn't mind his legs being crushed under the groceries. i would then pray that ty wouldn't let the entire store see his ugly side- that loud, relentless cry that he's never been ashamed of and I would break out in to a cold sweat as i randomly started pulling stuff off of the shelves so that i could outta there as quickly as possible. time went on, and i got my act together, and now cj will only sit in the cart for a few minutes. the bagel bribery trick has played it's course and as a result, i send my most sincere apologies to the person who stocks the deodorant in aisle 5- i confess that it was my son who not only knocked over ALL of the men's speed sticks, but then reshelved them by putting them back up there, in a huge pile on their sides. i'll say it won't happen again, but to be quite honest, i'm not making any guarantees.

Wednesday- dada is mad. after the boys went to bed all he wanted to do was watch some sportscenter. he came up to the room where i was feeding my reality tv addiction and held up a dripping (literally) remote. "thanks for letting one of the boys put the remote in the fishbowl" he said and walked back out. oops.

Thursday- dorothy enjoyed a mid-afternoon snack of goldfish crackers. she then was given a bath and a new home on the kitchen table. (maybe while they're up there staring at her, they'll actually eat something besides chicken nuggets or peanut butter on bread.) Later that night while they were taking a bath, i heard myself actually utter the phrase "please stop grabbing your brother's wiener".

Friday- dorothy was served a breakfast of approximately 12 pounds of fish food. we are still very thankful to aunt tessie for such a wonderful surprise. After a long day of walking to the playground, digging for worms, eating popsicles and playing baseball, cj looked at me while we were eating dinner, pointed his chubby little finger right at my face and said, "you're the BEST." amazing.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Kids are so gross!

As soon as the oldest turned two, he started to love to be "maked". All daily tasks were now being performed sans clothing. Eating lunch, dancing to The Wiggles, collecting rocks... it didn't matter. He also started showing us all of the signs that he was ready to graduate from diapers. Hooray! we thought, as we proudly took our first-born son to Toys R Us to pick out a new potty. Look at us! Our son is potty training!! A year later and a year wiser, we have now decided that our littlest one will stay in diapers until he is old enough to move out of the house. There is NOTHING fun about potty training.

So having never done this before and completely unsure of what to expect, we brought home a brand new frog potty, stripped The Boy (as he has been fondly referred to as since birth) down to nothing, and hoped for the best. Surprising enough, the best was what we got! He was so proud of his new skill that he would sit on that thing and force something out about every five minutes. O.M.G. Could this be true? we thought. Did our brilliant child just potty train himself in one day?!?!!? And so it went, for about 3 days- this little "maked" boy would run in and use his potty and we would clap and dance and sing as if he had just won an Oscar. And then the novelty wore off.

At this time, the baby was about 6 months old, and was sitting up but not quite crawling. It was summer and we spent most of our time outside. We were out in the front yard and I put the baby down on our front sidewalk so I could run in for 2 seconds to get his exersaucer so he wouldn't have to sit on the ground. When I came out, The Boy was digging in the mulch and the baby was happily sitting exactly where I had left him, only this time, he had a mouthful of something, and a handful of something else about to go in. What could he possibly have in his mouth? He was not close enough to the mulch to have grabbed a piece, and no one had any snacks. Holy crap! (no pun intended) "CJ... did you poo-poo on the ground?" "Um, yup" was the little response I got, as he didn't even look up at me. Wow... the baby ate his brother's poop. (which is worse here- that he ate it, or that he was completely happy and was about to put another fistful in his mouth? hmmm- debatable.)

As I'm pretty sure any mother would, I jumped in to freak-out mode and rushed him inside to the sink. As I tried to force water into his mouth, I realized that it was still full. Before I could give myself a chance to actually think about what I was about to do, I made a hook with my finger, and scooped the rest out. As I tried my best to hold my breath and stifle my gags at the same time, I reached in again and again, scraping against the cheeks, and dislodging the pieces that were stuck up in the roof of his mouth. And just as the action was dying down, my nanny pulled up. "hejustateatonofpoopandidon'tknowwhattodoshouldicallthedoctor?poisoncontrol?911?" I frantically wailed, before she had both feet out of the car. And this woman, this wonderful woman who was teaching me how to manage my new life with two babies, no job, no down time, and a husband who worked crazy hours, just stood there and laughed at me. "There's no poison in poop!" she said. "Kids are just gross. They all do gross things! My daughter brushed her teeth with it once!"

I calmed down and gathered my sense back. Of course it wasn't poisonous, I knew that. Duh. Whoa, brushed her teeth with it, huh? I guess a little sampling on the front lawn was no big deal after all. And I looked over to find the little guy just sitting there, as fat and happy as ever. Like nothing had ever happened.

The more I told my story to people, the more people started telling their stories to me. Apparently, poop-eating is a common thing. As is touching it, reaching in to a diaper to show it off, and smearing it on the walls. I'm thinking of writing a coffee table book of everyone's disgusting tales of poo-poo. Even writing it now grosses me out. Yup. Kids are SO gross!

Monday, April 19, 2010

The great fridge give-away

I used to be cool. I used to be fun. And I used to know that pink was the new black (or was it brown? whatever.) What happened? Oh yeah, that's right- I bought a house and had kids. Not that my kids aren't cool and fun, because they are, but WOW.. life sure has changed.

We have been talking about redoing the kitchen for a while now. we talk a lot about a lot of things, but that doesn't necessarily mean they'll ever happen. Well, fortunately, (or unfortunately if you are the wallet), this happened. Not the whole kitchen- just the refrigerator. my ever-generous husband promised our's to a friend from work who was moving and needed appliances. nice, right? well, yes, but the only problem was that we actually still needed that refrigerator. So he nonchalantly went to Lowe's last weekend and then proceeded to text me 1000 times about what kind of fridge he was about to buy. (since he already promised our's to a new home, so there was no turning back now). Side-by-side or up and down? Freezer on top or bottom? Water and ice maker, or just ice? HOLY CRAP -who cares?!? and seriously, this is what we talk about now? Boo.

So yesterday comes and he states in very matter-of-fact type of way that I need to prepare the fridge for its departure. What?? Scrub it inside and out. Sure, no problem I said, as really I was thinking about the last time I did it- oh yeah, NEVER... and all of the food that was probably lost behind the twelve thousand yogurt containers, half-enjoyed drink boxes, and last night's pizza. And then I started filling a bucket with Mr. Clean. Boo.

He conveniently left to run some other important house related errands and I trapped the boys upstairs to play and got to scrubbing. It started out not as horrible as I originally thought. I only threw out about 3 bottles of crusty salad dressing (you know it MUST be old if it starts getting crusty), 2 Tupperware containers of unidentifiable dinner from who knows how long ago, and 1 used-to-be lemon that was hiding on the back of the bottom shelf. And then the boys' alone-time had been maxed. So I brought them down and they instantly wanted to help. One started dipping his hand into the now brown sudsy Mr. Clean bucket and licking the bubbles off, and the other one picked up a sponge and started "washing" the floor. Fantastic.

Just as I was starting to imagine myself slipping on the now soaking wet tiled floor on my way to hold the baby over the sink so he could throw up dirty soap water, I found it. There it was, in all it's glory, hiding underneath the vegetable drawer that I had never even tried to remove before. The most disgusting crusted over spill of something that resembled solidified Jello and barbecue sauce all at once. Perfect, I thought. I was really hoping for something else to make this task more enjoyable. So I started scrubbing away at this beauty only for it not to melt, smudge or budge an inch. This was going to require some serious work. So I started chipping away at it with the closest tool I could grab. A butter knife. Yes, I was chipping away at a 5-year-old spill with a butter knife as the boys had moved on from the initial excitement of the water bucket and were now becoming well aware of the fact that their mother hadn't really paid attention to them in close to a half an hour. I started to sweat as I realized that time was running out. Once the melt-downs start, even a beautiful Saturday afternoon in a city that hardly ever sees the sun can become ugly. OK, no problem, I thought: There's only food EVERYWHERE in the kitchen that could start to melt or spoil within minutes, no shelves or drawers in the refrigerator, puddles of standing water on the floor thanks to my floor-washer, and this gorgeous spill that is refusing to be set free. Must be time for a few rounds of "hide-and sneak". And so I abandoned my job and played. Fantastic.

And before we knew it, the clock struck it's magic hour of 1:30. And right on cue, they both started arguing, crying and whining for no reason, and asking to be picked up. Ah yes, nap time! On a normal day, something glorious happens once they're in bed. But not on this day. No, on this day, I had to resume my chipping (which was now accompanied by cursing) and scrubbing. Yet finally it was done! I stood back and admired my work as this beautiful food preserver shone back at me. Three years ago, I would have celebrated by grabbing a Corona and my husband and sitting out on the front steps to enjoy the afternoon, but that was then. This was now, and the longer I stood there, the fewer minutes I had to savor the silent house. I looked at the clock and headed upstairs to my own bed. Pink may be the new black, but nap time is the new happy hour. And anyone who knows me knows that I'm not one to miss that.