Thursday, February 26, 2015

Trying to be a good mother, I sat down to read X-Man a story. I picked The Day Jimmy’s Boa Ate the Wash. X-Man interpreted my attempt as intended to incarnate him and remove his finger nails one by one. So he decided to hide under the table and yell protestations. Cinco and Mac remained. Mostly intrigued by what horrible things I was perpetrating on X-Man. Like page turning. Eventually, Baba and Baby joined in, which made X-Man curious. We moved on to another Steve Kellogg classic and he crept back on to my lap. Only to realize that I was still reading. I don’t know if he associates reading with bedtime or just that he was choosing to not cooperate because everyone else was. I mean, it would be boring if EVERYONE was doing the same thing.

The experience left me tired and feeling rather inadequate. So I decided to focus how to know you are a good parent.

If you come home and find your eldest daughter watching ESPN…..you’re doing something right.

If your toddler follows you around your house, as you chase his naked sister, holding your coffee cup and yelling “Tawfy mommy, tawfy!” Doing something right.

If your son generously takes the veggies from his plate and puts them on yours, because “veggies are good for you and I want you to be healthy mommy.” Take it as a sign of success.

If any one of your children sees you snacking on vegetables and then corners you so that you are forced to share with them….you’re probably doing something right.

You are shopping in Costco and your five year old yells “Look at those pretty flowers Mom! I want to buy them so I can put them on you when you die. Because you like red.” Ignore the fact that your child is already planning your funeral and assume you’re a good parent.

If the same child, on the way home, asks you for your phone number so she can call you when she moves out, take it and smile.

If your son runs through the Christmas crowds in Target “pew” pewing people, because he announces he’s clearing a path for mommy…..well done.

If your child’s idea of a Valentine’s Day is to bring you coffee in bed, well done.  Even if they don’t add grounds and it’s your three year old. Who ends up yelling “OUCH TAWFEY HOT!

If your toddler kicks the back of your seat yelling “faster mommy faster” it’s just because they don’t want you to be late. Which is good.

If you awaken to your two year old smacking your head and then telling you “Go to sleep mommy, I pet you.” It could be worse.

If you’re son asks you if you’re 63….work on the math homework a bit more.

If your daughter asks if daddy has ever been to jail because mommy totally hasn’t…..consider your job done.

Monday, February 23, 2015

I left the little ones with the father figure while I soccered all weekend. Four games in one day, and this ain’t tournament season folks. I returned to a home that was in fairly good shape and a baby girl who could proudly say “STAR WARS” for me. Also, while I was gone, the father figure apparently established the trend of playing “Go” at the meal table. One he failed to share with me. So, when I failed to implement the playing of said ditty during dinner time, Cinco was greatly disturbed by my omission. The father figure swoop in to the rescue and Cinco entertained most of the family with her interpretive dance, as contained by a baby chair. I was less than amused, but I guess that’s my role as mom.

Another role as mom is to teach X-Man to speak in complete sentences. He’s not all that interested in doing so. But he is willing to humor me. Sometimes. X-Man’s all about the path of least resistance. I was excited enough when he finally decided to speak at all that I accepted his single word demands. I’m over that now. So now I’ve taken to prompting him with “May I please…..” He pretty much objects at first, but is a good sport and plays along fairly quickly. But everything breaks down pretty quickly.


“May”
“May”
“I”
“uh…E O E O”
“……”

Let’s try it again……

“May”
“May”
“I”
“Q..R…P!!!!!”

I hate the English language.  We agreed that I will accept any random letter shouted and will move one and he will say “please have” with little prompting. It’s tolerable.

Speaking English is exhausting and a greatly distressed Cinco just dragged me to the stairs to show me that X-Man curled up asleep on them. He makes me so melty.  


The father figure is trying to watch a TV show about cars....or something. But Cinco is standing on the coffee table in front of the TV dancing and singing "Go" in a very not demure manner. She also shouts "STAR WARS", complete with spirit fingers, anytime she believes that he is possibly paying some attention to anything other than her. It's working quite well. For her. She seems to make him rather melty. 

Thursday, February 12, 2015

If it absolutely, positively must be broken today….call Baby. She’s on quite the tear this week.

Unless it’s an electronic device. Then X-Man will just throw it in the toilet, after he’s used it. While it is still playing that delightful ABC tune.  The phone still functions as everything…..but a phone. Of course.

My mother comes over twice a week to work with one of my kids on school work. This particular child and I were butting heads more than was good for our relationship. Special time with Nana has been seen as a benefit and had worked well. And I get to visit with my mom at least twice a week. I see no downside to this arrangement.

I’ve just learned that after the Sprint technicians took a gander at my phone. It now only functions as a paper weight. Swell.

Anyway, back to my story. The front of my house has large windows. They are excellent for sunlight, not so much for privacy. So my mother and I sat sipping coffee and chatting, Nana dispersing candy to X-Man and Cinco. Baba and Mac headed out the front door to fuss with the snail mausoleum they constructed in the garden.  All the fancy homes have mausoleums. While the kiddos were weeding the front garden, they discovered a dead snail. They immediately came to the conclusion that as it had been crushed, clearly mom had stepped on it.  One would think I would remember crushing a snail, but let’s not allow facts to cloud our narrative. So, they constructed a brick monument to yet another (alleged) causality of their mother.

As they were laying today’s fresh flowers at the snail mausoleum (Seriously, I can’t get over saying that) Nana and I watched through the large windows. I observed that just to the north of our home, a police car was pulling another car over.  While unusual, I figured there was no need for alarm. That figuring changed when the second, third and fourth police car pulled in behind stopped vehicle.  I rapped on the window and gestured the mourners inside.
My mother and I continued our conversation, while I kept an eye on the police activity in my neighborhood. They were doing something with the car, although I didn’t see any “suspect” present. 

Then they started heading my way. All six of them. With a dog.

It. Just. Got. Interesting.

At this point my mother decided she wanted a better view. She put on her glasses. Her prescription sunglasses. I couldn’t help myself and commented that, as one police officer walked up our driveway and another took his dog to inspect our garbage cans, my mother now looked like she was trying out a disguise. I make wise cracks when I am nervous.

The nice officer knocked on the door. The dog sniffed my car. And four other officers stood at the end on the driveway. The dog was big enough for Cinco to ride and with two officers to carry X-Man, the other four seemed a bit excessive but what do I know about police work?

I opened the door, smiled my biggest non offender smile and asked “Looking for someone?” X-Man pushed his way forward and proceeded to display his finest McQueen underpants. He was certainly dressed for a ride in a cruiser.
The officer asked “Does Walter live here?”

Ummm….you mean X-Man? Because did you see what he did to my phone?

Uh, no. I think a Walter might have lived here earlier, as we sometimes get mail here addressed to a Walter. But we bought it from a Lydia or Linda (which as I write this now I remember is not accurate, but we get her mail too).

When’d you buy it?”

“Uh two years ago?” Yes, I was asking my mother when we bought the house. She was not helpful in this department, although she was not mobbing the door as every other person in the home was. 
So points to Nana for knowing how to behave when the police show up at the house.

"Thanks very much.” And away they went.

Confused? I am. I don’t know much about police work, but it seems to me that was giving up rather quickly. I mean, we didn’t smell like a Walter so we had that going for us. I just hope Walter isn’t an ax murderer because I don’t have a whole lot of confidence in the investigative prowess of the local police department.  Then again, maybe they were all on a coffee break and wanted their old buddy Walter to join them.  Maybe they were reminiscing about high school days and wanted to see if Walter still lived with his parents.

They all meandered back to their cars and drove off. And the other car disappeared along with them. Clearly nothing to see there. But plenty for the neighbors to talk about.






Friday, February 6, 2015

Some weeks are busier than others when it comes to my job. This week was one of them. This leaves the father figure running the show around the house, at least in the early morning hours. 

Unfortunately, the father figure’s strategy seems to be sleeping on the job followed by mad dashing to get everyone ready for the day….and himself off to work.  And so, as the school year progresses, the routine has fallen further and further apart.

And so yesterday, I could hear Cinco falling apart and shrieking at the father figure. Through my closed office door, I could totally determine what the cause of the hysteria was. Cinco wanted to watch “Go.” The father figure rashly assumed that any princess movie would suffice, especially if it was a Disney feature with a blonde heroine. No dice. She was crumpled up on the couch, weeping into a pillow. But with one eye on the movie…..mostly so she could protest every time it was not like “Go.”


The father figure was flustered and late, so he instructed Baba to dress X-Man. Baba embraced this task with all the enthusiasm of a fifteen year old trapped in an eleven year old’s body. She sat on the floor and yelled at X-Man to “get over here and get dressed.” Not one to cooperate….ever….X-Man was running in circles around her yelling “No. No. No.”  He stayed just arm’s length away from Baba, who was cooperating with him by not reaching to her full potential. Nearly four years into the experiment that is X-Man, Baba somehow was astounded that he refused to hop to her commands.
As I entered the room, the situation changed. Just slightly. Baba sat up from her prone position, crushed by the burdens of her incredibly challenging life. X-Man saw me and knew the gig was up. So he embraced the only option available……squinch his eyes shut. What he can’t see doesn’t exist.

Running with eyes closed is a skill that X-Man has been refining for years. He’s still not particularly adept at it. Mostly because he tends to do it when panicked, as the thought of pants is particularly disturbing to him. Baba was quick to throw in the towel….or the pants as it were. So I stepped in. His chants of “no, no, no” drown out my steps behind him, which caught him off guard. And he was greatly offended. Also, he opened his eyes and realized that his sister was watching a Princess movie and he was outraged.

As he lodged his protest about what was on the TV, I began the process of removing jammies and dressing him. It all went smoothly. He was so distracted by the fact that there was a TV in the house and it wasn’t showing Phineas and Ferb that he failed to realize he was putting pants on.

However, he became very aware of his circumstances when the final step in the process was required of him. While he is potty trained on the dayside of life, he still wears a pull up to bed. And he is to throw it away in the morning. This had never been an unreasonable burden, until that moment. It was too much. It was too much to live in a home that requires pants and doesn’t have Phineas and Ferb streaming constantly. So he embraced the only reasonable option he had.  Collapse on the floor and bellow.

And X-Man has been present in my life for some time now; I knew how I handled the situation. I sat and waited for the protestations to end. Every few seconds, X-Man would try to sneak off and I would calmly remind him that he has an unfinished task. So he would collapse on the floor again. Just a typical day in the life.

Meanwhile, Cinco had made her peace with watching the not “Go” movie. Mostly because she noticed that X-Man hated it. That made it a wonderful movie. For sure. So she sat fully engrossed. As long as she could. But X-Man was making sure that no one could hear anything except the tragedy that is his life. So Cinco, being a reasonable soul….when she is getting what she wants, took matters into her own hands. She marched over to her brother and picked up the pull up and headed to the garbage.

This presented two problems. First, X-Man had to do the chore, because I told him to. Second, Cinco was touching X-Man’s pull up and he was outraged. So he yanked it away from his sister and returned it to the floor where it belonged. And Cinco was shattered. Being from good Italian stock, she too collapsed to protest the cruelty that is…..something.


So there I sat, on the floor, drinking my coffee, observing two wailing children and one used pull up. And Thursday started. 

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Cinco is screaming. A lovely high pitched shrieking scream. She is also jumping on the coffee table while yelling “Go! Go! GO!!!!”  She’s not rooting on anyone. She’s dancing to the Frozen soundtrack. Mostly, Let it Go.  In case you are wondering, you can play Let it Go for three hours and twenty minutes without killing your cell phone battery. Way to fail me cell phone.

I was excited to discover that one of my favorite educational websites developed an app for mobile devices. It was the website that taught Mac how to read and I had been trying to get X-Man interested in it. X-Man, being X-Man, refused to be the slightest distracted by it. In no small part because it required him to use the mouse. So he would sprawl in the computer chair while Cinco valiantly tried to use the mouse. They didn’t get very far. So touch screens it is. I was excited to get X-Man involved with the alphabet games. But X-Man, being X-Man, was completely uninterested. He was interested the singing and dancing gophers. Singing the alphabet. Close enough.  Maybe he’ll learn to count correctly. Right now it’s “1, 2, 3, 5 minutes”.

We were at a wedding last weekend. It was crazy big. We picked a table close to the doors and not that far from the bar. A steady stream of cheese, crackers and punch kept the kids fairly well behaved. Mac loudly announced that his favorite part of a wedding in when they kiss. Because that means it’s over. Cinco discovered if she knocked over her juice, she could dart away to the dance floor while mom and dad were distracted. The first indication she had gone rogue was the sound of her bellowing “GO!!!!GO!!!” The DJ was not moved.



Towards the end of the evening, an older woman tried to high five Cinco. She was met with skepticism. X-Man observed to interaction and marched up announced “no no no!” Her took the woman’s had and moved it into a fist. Then he held it out to Cinco, who happily fist bumped the woman. She leaned over to me and said “Your children are so well behaved.” At least that’s what I heard, although I decided there would be no more wine for me because I might have slipped into fantasy land. But the lady continued “My husband is a pediatric neurosurgeon, so we know kids’ behavior.” I appreciated her compliments, but I admit I was thinking “well, he knows brain damaged children….so not sure where that leaves us.” 

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

The father figure is a texter. He's not one for conversation, but he randomly texts me through the day. Often, random thoughts. But I enjoy the fact that he's thinking about me.

If you scroll through our text messages, you'll notice that most of them are about various children and their performances at whatever soccer game we're at. Or the father figure sharing his thoughts on whatever diaper he's recently changed. I'm glad we get to share this parenting thing. Really, it's great.

Yesterday, as I was sitting down to lunch with some friends, the father figure sent me this message.....



Well then. I made sure to stay extra long at lunch. No need to rush.

On the way home from more soccer, the father figure was kind enough to send this helpful tip.....

It should be pointed out that up until this week, Cinco was good and terrified of baths. And while this posed problems, mostly of the hygienic kind, it was manageable. But the father figure decided that Cinco needed to be cured of this. So he dumped bubbles into her bath and threw her in. After panicky screaming for two minutes, Cinco determined that she wasn't actually dying and this was fun. So now, she asks for baths. Well actually, she asks for "bubbles." And the hysterics that last week came from being put in the bath now come from not being put in the bath.

This is a situation entirely of the father figure's making.


I'm going to go ahead and let him think those are all my shoes.



Monday, January 26, 2015

MOM! Baby hid my nerf darts!!!!!!
I did because you were shooting me with them!!!
I only shot you with them because you told Cinco to come sit on your bed!
I had to keep Cinco safe because you put nail polish on my cheek!
But you put chapstick in my hair!
NO! You were spinning around and spun into me and got chapstick in your own hair!
NOOOO! You were pushing me away from you and YOU got it in my hair! And then I got it in my hair brush and that’s your fault.
Cinco was near me, I was keeping her safe from your spinning.
Cinco was dancing with me!
Cinco was hiding from you!
No, she was chewing on your nerf darts.
And I took them away.
Oh ok.

Maybe they don’t listen to me because I tune them out myself.  I call it my coping mechanism. I also think that I’m going to need to upgrade my coping mechanism. More along the lines just not getting out of bed.  I mean, what else can you do if your children will fight over nothing. Quite literally nothing. Baby and Baba have always been scrappers. When both were quite young, I was still pregnant with Mac, piercing screams came from their bedroom. Investigating led me to the ultimate girl fight. Baba and Baby, three and one years of age, where attempting to smack each other. However, they were more interested in stretching themselves away from the other’s flailing limbs.

The cause of their fight, each one of them wanted to put a flower on the baby doll’s head. So, being the oh so clever mother I was at one time, offered them both a magic, invisible flower to place on the baby’s head. I left the room feeling smug and accomplished. Until they started screaming again, because Baby put her flower right where Baba wanted to place hers.

Of course.

I remember fighting with my sisters. A lot. And as we still all like each other, I am not too concerned with the daily, even hourly, squabbles. I figure part of it is them growing into themselves. Choosing what music they like, typically whatever the other doesn’t. Stealing each other’s clothing, but explaining that “it’s ok; I don’t even like that anyway.” They spend so much time together; they grate on each other’s nerves. Heck they grate on mine.

This makes the moments when they are supposed to be doing school, but are instead whispering to each other, rather sweet.  Until one of them realizes the other is using her pencil. Or eraser. Or something. And so mom yells at them. And they are reunited in their fight against the “mom.”

Yay, Mondays!


I’m going back to bed.