Wednesday, April 8, 2015

I don’t even have to start dinner before they start complaining. I’m just that talented. X-Man is still sitting at the kitchen table, head bowed, weeping because dinner is not cereal. Truly, I could serve them cereal and qualify as a good mother in their minds. I’m just going to tuck that away for future reference.

X-Man expresses sorrow quite eloquently. When he’s truly sad, and not just furious at me, he’s genuinely Italian. Full on body shudders, head in hands, wailing. Mediocre mother that I am, it fails to move me, at least in a sympathetic manner. I find it cute and amusing but not enough to convince me to stop making meatloaf for dinner. Meatloaf that he eats by the panful I might add. Also, it is not gross. It’s turkey meatloaf made with V8 and onion soup topped with French’s onions. He has no room to protest.

X-Man’s heartbreak is so eloquent, it can move strangers however. My son is well trained, while he doesn’t recognize fast food restaurants, he knows every coffee shop in the area. And he knows that there are Starbucks in Targets. One day as I commenced our nearly daily trip there, X-Man tried to tempt me “Look MA Taffey!!! Taffey! I tookie?” I’m trying a new path in life, one that has me wondering if I can lose weight if I cease to consume gallons of lattes. So I thanked him for the idea, but declined. However I did tell him I’d see if they had any “tookies” for him to have.

They did not. The display case was empty and the barista said there were no more in the store either. 

And X-Man collapsed. A cute little heap of wailing. His head was in his hand, and his head, heavy with curls, shook back and forth.  It was a moving display. More so for the other customers, one of whom actually bought his a little package of madeleines that were next to the register. They were greeted with tear stained cheeks, big brown eyes and “Tank you. Tank you for da tookies.”

I suppose I was supposed to feel like a monster or something. As I was completely unmoved by the display. Of course I had been treated to a previous show earlier in the day when I had told him he had to wear pants.

And when I told him that had needed to use a fork when eating dinner.

And that holding a fork in his hand while scooping food into his mouth with the other one was not an acceptable solution.

And when his brother told him Darth Vader was not Doctor Doom. 

Monday, April 6, 2015

It’s not there hasn’t been plenty happening. It’s just that there is plenty happening and not enough hours in the day.

Baba is annoyed with X-Man because he still calls her “Guys.” I don’t think it’s so much that he insists on calling her “Guys” it’s just that he calls his other sisters “Princess.” Cinco is especially appreciative of the moniker. She also behaves in a “princess” manner. Cinco is still obsessed with the movie Frozen. Or, more particularly, the song Let It Go. She sings it, mostly in church. She dances to it, in the most dramatic fashion. Complete with arms outstretched, mouth wide open, spinning in circles. With an audience. She’s polite enough to shake it up every performance to keep it interesting. This is good, because she makes sure to track down every family member and drag them to watch her sing Let it Go. Again and again and again.

X-Man is not much of a talker. His vocabulary is limited and often is just shouted. As Cinco’s vocabulary expands, he’s finally been motivated to try to speak more himself. I did take him to be evaluated for early intervention. It went about as well as anything involving X-Man. Basically, he wasn’t interested in cooperating. The aide pointed to a picture and asked if he could say what it was “NO!” And so on and so forth. Finally X-Man reached his boiling point of frustrating and bellowed “NO! NO SAY HAT!!!”

I brought him back on another day, and the only protestations came when it was time to leave “no wait, guys come back wait!!!” It’s never dull. I kinda think I’d like dull occasionally, wouldn’t mind checking that experience out.

Baba is twelve now. And very grown up. April is a crazy month, one in which all three of my girls have birthday. The father figure is now kicked out of the family home every July. It’s very hard to shop for a twelve year old. She got a phone for her birthday, because we no longer have a land line and there needs to be a home phone of some sort. She was unimpressed with the lack of internet access from it, which I suppose means I’m doing it right still.

Cinco is being potty trained. It has been an interesting experience. She never liked the sensation of poopy diapers and would bellow for me to come change her as soon as she was dirty. She’s been fairly compliant with the process. I’m mean and won’t let her use her binky unless sitting on the potty. And she only gets to play the alphabet games she loves on the tablet, if she’s sitting on the potty. But then she has her moments, when she picks up the potty and takes it into the bathroom, in general she gets to sit in front of the TV because I will do whatever it takes to no longer have to change diapers. Anyway, she carried it into the bathroom and then shut the door. She made sure to stay on the side of the door without the potty. Three minutes later she brought me a clean pull up and wipes and most certainly required a change. She’s exhibiting her stubbornness just slightly differently.

Anyway, between potty training, helping X-Man speak English, school, work and all the soccer in the world and the need to lose thirty lbs in the 49 days before my sister’s wedding, I’m a tired gal. Very very tired. 

Monday, March 16, 2015

No good can come from Friday the 13th. Seriously, I strongly recommend simply staying in bed all day. As that is my recommendation, Cinco made sure to get up extra early. She marched straight to the fridge and began to demand something. The problem was, whatever it was I offered her…..that wasn’t it.  Cinco had a cute way of saying no. She extends her arm and waves her hand while shaking her head saying “uhhun….uhhun.” It’s cute.  Except early in the morning before I’ve had my coffee.

There were several injustices perpetrated on Cinco on Friday the 13th. I wouldn’t let her suck on the plugged in charger. It seemed like an extreme method to solving her bedhead issue.
I wouldn’t let her dip X-Man’s hair in yogurt. I’m pretty certain she wasn’t interested in the conditioning aspects. When I explained this to Cinco, she collapsed in a weeping heap. Knocking over her bowl of yogurt in the process. She was not amused. I was.

I attempted to starve Cinco by refusing to allow her to sample all the apples in the house. I caught her sitting on the table taking a bite out of every apple in the bowl. She had a line of bitten apples, neatly sorted, those with bites out of the top, those with bites on the bottom, those with bites in the middle. She saw me coming and attempted to grab them all and make a break for it. As talented as she is, even Cinco can’t climb backwards off a table with her arms full of apples.

Meanwhile, X-Man has stopped screaming at me when I tell him no. He now just sighs and rolls his eyes. It is not an improvement.

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…’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.

“uh…E O E O”

Let’s try it again……


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.