Monday, May 23, 2016

I have no one to blame but myself. I’m the one who said he could push the shopping cart.

The evening began with a trip to X-Man’s preschool to admire their year’s worth of art projects. In order to avoid the family movie offering in the gym, I had told all the children that we would get ice cream afterwards. So we all admired X-Man’s work, he was able to explain it to us, which I guess is gauche when it comes to art, but otherwise I would have thought his footprint duck was a chicken.

The thing about Cold Stone Creamery is that they allow mix ins, candies mixed with the ice cream to make a delightful treat. And no matter what, all small people will ask for the bright blue cotton candy ice cream. And mix in something utterly hideous like m&ms. Not that the chocolate candy is hideous….but chocolate and cotton candy? Ugh.

Happily, both Cinco and X-Man bucked the trend, X-Man requesting chocolate ice cream and Cinco asking for….pink. Of course. Both had gummy bears mixed with their ice cream. And of course, both had to dig the gummy bears out of the ice cream they just been mixed in to. I was ok with that; it’s all part of the experience. I drew the line, however, at being introduced to each individual gummy bear…..followed by the consumption of the bear. X-Man added in some screams and “help me help me” while Cinco tried extra commentary but was unable to, due to cracking herself up too much.

We then headed to shop for curtain rods. The babies, as they are still referred to by their elder siblings, like to play in the elder girls’ closet. They tend to knock the closet doors off their runners, much to the annoyance of their sisters. So we were off to experiment with a curtain instead of doors.

We went shopping for curtain rods, so of course we ended up in the shoe section. But not before X-Man asked to push the shopping cart. He selected a half cart, and could actually see over the handle, so I acquiesced. X-Man has worked hard to mature and follow directions and I want to reward his efforts. Of course Cinco saw that X-man was pushing his own cart. I braced for the meltdown and demands that she too get her own cart, height requirements notwithstanding.

But no, Cinco had other plans. She wanted X-Man to push her in his cart. And X-Man willingly obliged. So we cautious proceeded on. X-man stayed near me and I began to relax a bit. Over the last few months, X-Man has been maturing and his behavior is becoming more age appropriate daily. As his ability to communicate has improved and his understanding of himself in space has strengthened, he’s able to truly be himself. And himself is delightful. But also….a four year old boy. A younger brother, with all the mischief that includes.

As we browsed the shoes,  Baba and Baby were helpful. Down to business and no nonsense, they quickly made their selections. Baba showed the savvy of teenager by pointing out that a pair of sandals that I was hemming and hawing about would fit her as well, and since she had outfits they’d go well with, I should but them and we could share them. Her arguments carried the day.

Meanwhile, X-Man and Cinco were chattering away. He was staying close by, not running amuck, so he lacked my full attention. It wasn’t until, arms full of shoes, I turned to the cart that I realized how he and Cinco were passing the time. The half sized cart was filled with shoes. From what I saw, things were going somewhat like this:

Cinco “I like dose shoes.”

X-Man “Dese? Otay.” Thump in the cart.

Cinco “and dose. I want does too.

X-Man “Otay!

Neither child was interested in returning the six pairs of shoes they had already selected but grudgingly allowed those who would wear the shoes to actually select their own. Mac still needed to be shod, so we headed to the children’s section. On our way, we passed a shelf filled with trinkets adorned with the ever present Frozen characters. Cinco observed “I like that Elsa necklace” X-Man, wised up to the situation, said nothing but just handed it to her. Cinco realized that this was a perfectly acceptable situation. She pointed to a set of Frozen socks, as into the cart they went. As I tried to quickly and painlessly find Mac a single part of non-ridiculous shoes in his size, X-Man found Cinco three pairs of Frozen crocs, in varying sizes, two necklaces and a set of socks. He also determined that Mac wanted another set of “cool” socks and threw them into the cart. 

I gave up on my shoe hunt when I heard Cinco begin to sweet talk X-Man into heading over to the toy section.

I want to look at the toys please big brother…..”  Do people actually fall for that? 

As I was subtly returning all Frozen merchandise, Baby announced she needed to use the restroom. I took a head count of those who needed to use the facilities and sent the older girls off while I finished deFrozening the cart. Three seconds after her sisters left, Cinco announced “I haft ta go potty.” I informed her that we would head over in just a few seconds. That was not acceptable for X-Man. He took off running with the cart. I yelled for him to stop and he shouted over his shoulder “It’s otay. Cinco hassa go potty. I be right back.” Cinco helpfully added “Don’t worry mom!

I’ve paid good money to help make him more independent and verbal.  I’ve gotten my money’s worth… yay….I guess.

Monday, March 21, 2016

Baby decided to take up lacrosse. She was exposed to the game before a soccer match. It caught her attention and she decided to take me up on my offer to expose her to other sports. So we jumped in, as in our area they are enthusiastically trying to build up a girls’ lacrosse team.

Unfortunately, we did not look before we leap.

Baby saw a lacrosse game. She saw a BOYS lacrosse game. She saw throwing and running and hitting. Oh boy did she see hitting. And THAT’S what she wanted to do.

Boy lacrosse players wear pads. Girl lacrosse players wear skirts.

Boys can hit each other. Girls can’t even throw the ball over each other. Which makes you wonder “why are you running around with that pink stick?”

Baby is unimpressed. She left the first practice and announced “IT’S NOT EVEN A SPORT!

We realized we were in for a bit of a surprise when we first went to pick up her stick. She had some options…, purple and polka dots. I believe there might have even been some butterflies. Baby was not impressed. The boys had black and white sticks. They also had deeper pouches so that they can hit each other without losing the ball. That’s not an option for the girls. But, it being Baby, she expressed her lack of satisfaction at check out. The poor clerk most likely regretted his question “Did you find everything you need?

It’s this spirit that is what makes Baby such an effective soccer player. After her third face plant, due to be shoved in the back by another player, her coach pulled her off the field. She passed his protocol and groused “I’d probably get a foul called if I didn’t get up so fast.” I think she’s right.

She’s my scrapper. At eight years old she was playing a soccer game and raised her hand to come out. Her coach pulled her and she took off running. She made it a respectable distance from the field and then vomited. She then trotted back over to her coach and said “Ok I can play again.” Her coach was dubious. After a while, and Baby’s nagging, he relented and put her in. She scored within three minutes but barely made it to the sideline before vomiting again. Her coach pulled her for good.

Leaving the game, Baby mentioned she didn’t feel well, so we made a stop at Urgent Care. She had a double ear infection.

That’s Baby for you. She doesn’t play sports with skirts.

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Cinco is on a tear. She's running her own birthday countdown. She's indignant that it somehow managed to not be her birthday still. She's put quite a bit of effort into making it her birthday. She's tried sweet talking the father figure in the wee hours of the morning "wake up daddy, it's my birfday.....make me doughnuts." Stunningly, this did not work.

She's also tried barging into the office while I'm working, also in the wee hours of the morning, flinging open the door and announcing "today is my birfday I am having a party."  I don't know how she's going to handle the fact that Baba actually has a birthday before Cinco does.

I also have a feeling no matter what happens, Cinco's birthday will not  live up whatever fantasies she has concocted. But considering the threeager behavior she's been exhibiting, I'm ok with a knock down to earth.

In recent weeks, Cinco has decreed everyone's favorite color. Those who know me know that me and red go hand in hand. However, Cinco has determined that my favorite color in yellow. Daddy's is red and Cinco's is purple. And everyone else has color appointed by Cinco. But I don't care enough to remember.  That, and Cinco is nothing if not capricious.

Cinco's also taken to critiquing my wardrobe. "No mommy don't wear that." Now, I'm no fashionista, but I would think if my jeans and sweatshirt look doesn't warrent a second look from my tweens.....why would my two year old care?

She also has thoughts on my hair. Now, I have thoughts on my hair too, les accepting than Cinco's even, but I also have the thought that maybe just maybe children should be seen and not heard.  And really really maybe children should not say to their mother "mommy, I don't like your hair, it's scary."

She's enjoying full run of the house. Mostly because the father figure has yet to have his fashion or hair critiqued by the toddler tyrant. So he still caters to her every whim "daddy play my song and watch me dance. " So he hops to. He did draw the line when she demanded that he take a shower with her. But the line was a princess bubble filled bath with daddy singing to her.

I've heard of Italian mothers coddling their sons. But Italian fathers raising bubbly princess tyrants.....this is new. And alarming.

Monday, February 22, 2016

“Mom, you need to take me to the beach!”

“Really, is that so?”

“Yes. I go beach now.”

“Ok, have fun.”

“NO! You hafa take me.”

“you’re not even dressed…….”

Things change between baby #1 and baby #5. Baby #1 and I would have tried to figure out what the heck she was demanding, what triggered it and how I could satiate her desire. Baby #5 and I know she’s actually demanding that I drive her to the beach….and I don’t care.

Clothed now in a sparkly blue princess dress, the threeager returns.
“Take me to the beach now! I dressed.”

“What about your shoes?”
Exaggerated sigh…..and off she stomps.

She soon returns, shoeless, but with a plastic cell phone.
“Mom! Change my battery! I need to call daddy.”

“Oh, is he going to take you to the beach?”
“I dun know, I has to ask him. Fix my phone.”

“Mom! Daddy not take me to the beach!”

That’s a shock. I’d point out the rain, why ruin a fantasy? Not to mention it’s not really the rain that’s preventing me from making the two hour drive to the beach. Anyway, she is busy carefully collapsing on the floor to weep. Making sure that her princess dress fluffs outward, creating a sparkly blue circle of sadness.

Lacking a sympathetic audience for her tears, she rises.
“I want to go to Costco. Let’s go.”

Now that we’re in the realm of reality….It’s still raining. And we don’t really need anything from there…..wait a minute, how about I don’t need to go to some warehouse store because my near three year old deems it necessary. Am I really that close to losing my edge? Aw, who am I kidding I never had an edge.   

“No sweetie we don’t need to go to Costco. Not today.”

Fortunately the blue sparkly skirt of sadness is still fully functional. And so she collapses again. Weeping tears of abject pretend. At this point, she’s basically phoning it in. Did I ever fall for anything like this?

There’s an exaggerated sniffle behind me.
“You want some coffee mommy?”

“Yum, mommy always wants coffee.”

“Yeah, coffee good. So ‘licious.”

It should be clear that this is going somewhere….but I’m tired. And distracted. Probably setting myself up for……
“you take me to Starbucks get coffee and hot choclit me?”

She’s good. She’s master level good.

Monday, February 8, 2016

I just realized that I have a 34 month old who still uses a binky. In general, I find it absurd to keep counting months at this point, but it helps to point out how far I’ve fallen. All others were de-binkied by 26 months. Well, except for X-Man. He blew that curve during a temper tantrum about 20 months. He ripped holes in each of his binkies during one “nap.” And by “nap” I mean “containment session.”  He was still young enough that his Nana thought me mean to refuse to replace them.  Of course, life has taught me that X-Man’s tantrums were usually based upon frustrations due to our failure to communicate. So, pretty much X-Man’s Nana was right.

X-Man’s failures to communicate are fewer and farther between. This isn’t always beneficial. The other day Mac was kicking a soccer ball against a wall. It’s actually a way to develop skills, so I don’t tend to object, until the ball hits a window. Of course, X-Man just ended up riding his trike in front of that one wall. Mac was fairly competent at aiming the ball over X-Man’s head. This eliminated any fear from X-Man. He quickly got bored with the whole situation and wandered off. With his trike parked directly in Mac’s path.

Mac, a fairly reasonable soul, moved the abandoned trike.  He continued shooting his ball. This was the moment of danger and excitement X-Man had been craving. He screamed “You moved my bike!” “It was in my way” retorted Mac. X-Man emphatically pushed his trike back. Mac objected “Move X-Man!

And that’s when X-Man, six inches shorter than his brother and about four pounds heavier, planted himself and bellowed “FIGHT ME!!!!!

Mac, interested in surviving both his brother and his mother, declined said challenge and continued to boot the ball over X-Man’s head. The result was X-Man yelling even louder “FIGHT ME FIGHT ME FIGHT ME!!!!!!!” He still hasn’t mastered the concept that Mac’s ignoring him was Mac’s form of fighting him.

The screaming drew my attention. There was no way I could pretend I didn’t hear it. So I stuck my head out the door and asked “Why’s X-Man screaming?” It’s a routine question in our lives. They explained the situation, Mac moved X-Man’s trike, and X-Man was dissatisfied.

X-Man was also dissatisfied with my handling of the situation. Apparently me telling him to ride his trike somewhere else was not the option he was looking for. So he followed me into the house, protesting loudly.

And that’s how I came to be sitting on the living room floor cradling a wailing X-Man in my arms. A child who was despondent because his older brother wouldn’t actually fight him. I kept trying to clarify the situation, but no, there was no confusion. X-Man wanted to fight Mac. Mac wouldn’t fight X-Man. And I was experiencing yet another new in parenthood. 

Thursday, February 4, 2016

I got to watch a fight while dropping X-Man off for school. I briefly considered getting involved, but if two grown men want to act a fool, who am I to get in the way. Even if their cars are blocking the parking lot exit. I’ll just let them know that yes, they are the awesomest men to ever man. It’s a dead tie and you morons left your car doors open in the pouring rain.

Yesterday we found ourselves without hot water. Typically we find ourselves in hot water, so this was definitely a change of pace. After dinner, it was clear this wasn’t an issue of running the washer and dishwasher at the same time. So, kitchen cleaning was a challenge and bath time became a Geneva Convention violation. And it occurred to me that I could take this opportunity to be a good mom. I encouraged the big kids to tidy up as best they could, I told them we could turn something on for the littles and play a board game. I’m pretty sure I read that on page 57 of the Good Mom’s Handbook. Maybe not so much littles watching Netflix, but I didn’t need their assistance while trying to investigate the water heater, and determine that it hadn’t actually exploded. And then try to relay this information to the Father Figure, who of course, was out of town.

So we all got settled to play a board game.

We picked colors, set everything up and began.

The first problem was that the kids kept laughing. You can’t have fun if you are trying to discourage the littles from crashing the party. I mean, they’ve been living with these monsters for how many years now?

But, as I suggested it, it was completely ignored by my children. So, soon enough Cinco emerged. She was already angry because X-Man took all her friends. And by all her friends she meant “Lego Friends.” I might have to consider therapy for her even earlier than originally anticipated. X-Man wanted to watch the Halloween episode of Littlest Pet Shop, and the whole alternating option lost all appeal to Cinco as soon as it was X-Man’s turn to select.

So, already outraged, Cinco joined us. She told on X-Man, got no sympathy, and decided “I play too.” Her first move was to gather all the pieces off the board and announce “Dese MINE.” I forgot to read page 59 of the Good Mother’s Handbook, which says Do Not Place Board Games on Coffee tables. My bad.

We wrestled the pieces back from Cinco, who was temporarily mollified when she was handed a die. Trying to work with the completely rational two year old, I offered to let her role for me.  She threw the die under the couch, but at least it was a start. Until I tried to move.

There’s something you should know about me. I am always the red piece. There’s no reason to not be red. It is THE color.

So I moved my red piece. And Cinco collapsed crying. “NO! You dis one!” and thrust the green one towards me. That prompted outrage from Baba “No I’m green! Mom’s red.” Cinco yelled back “No you lelow.” This left Mac without a piece. Somehow as we all tried to explain to Cinco that we indeed had selected our own colors, she ended up holding them all again. She handed the appropriate colors out to each person. And Cinco was the only satisfied person in the group. I told them to move their pieces on the sly as we tried to distract Cinco, but she was not one to be fooled. So every roll was trauma filled.

Fortunately X-Man emerged to announce his episode was finished. And both ran back in a desperate attempt to select the upcoming episode. Cinco was due a turn and did not select a Little Einsteins episode with a train and so X-Man was crushed. And the only balm for his soul was participating in our game with us.

Again, I tried to welcome him to my team. X-Man, not being a control freak of a toddler, was comfortable letting everyone chose their own color. However, he felt strongly about holding the cards and reading them. Something I had been doing previously, as I actually can both read and speak. X-Man is certainly making progress in the speaking department yelling loudly “NO I DO IT!” And again I tried to mollify him with the die.

X-Man is older and wiser. So he knew how to roll the die. He carefully put it down on Mac’s turn. He made sure it was a six. Baby objected strongly and demanded a reroll. Mac obliged and rolled a four. X-Man then objected and carefully adjusted it to the six he had “rolled.” Mac happily acquiesced to 
X-Man’s demands. Baby did not object when X-Man “rolled” her a six as well.

He had a system. He cupped the die in both his hands and manipulated it with his thumb until he had the desired result. And the desired result, when it was my turn, was a one.
It’s shenanigans like this which have convinced me, along with his teacher and speech therapist, that cognitive delays are not a concern with X-Man.

X-Man was clearly Team Progeny. And his siblings were perfectly content with the set up. That is, until Cinco’s episode was completed and she reemerged. And panic commenced. First of all, X-Man had her die. Not cool. And people were moving the wrong colors!!!! Mac was trying to move his piece six paces and Cinco was trying to force a green piece into his hand. X-Man was horrified, because if he knew anything, he knew that red was supposed to be in the back. And everything was broken everywhere.

So actually, it was the quintessential family game night. There was cheating, crying and fighting. And somehow I came out the bad guy. Of course the father figure came home and discovered the reset switch on the water heater—who knew—and ended up the hero of the evening.

Of course.  

Monday, February 1, 2016

tasteful, in numerous ways
Scary Mommy is an interesting site. I think it intends to be funny and witty and probably succeeds occasionally. I did not find the article Your Facebook Life Doesn’t Fool Me to fall within either of those categories. I don’t understand the author’s anger at what her “friends” share, or don’t share, on social media.  It might seem odd, since I make a point to share an unvarnished life on my limited social media profile.  But, that’s because, in all reality, that unvarnished life is my domestic bliss.

We don’t have a right to anyone else’s life. We don’t have a right to their struggles. And we shouldn’t demand that our friends share anything more than they’re willing to. I figure that’s what makes it so much fun when people do share the topsy turvy antics of their kids.

There seems to be a loss of privacy in the world today. It used to be good form that you didn’t share the ugly side of life, the fights, the messiness, the chaos. Now, apparently, it’s letting down the sisterhood. Nothing stands out in a sea of dirty dishes, there’s nothing unique about an overwhelming amount laundry. We all have the consequences of life in our homes. And who wants to see that nonsense during their escapes from reality. The big wide World Wide Web is not the place to air your grievances with your spouse, your in-laws, and your siblings. It is the place to chuckle about the chaos cause by a tiny army you not only created but invited to live with you.

at a luncheon no less
The nitty gritty is just that. No one wants to see it. We live it every day.  People share that which makes them happy. For most people those are the happy things. The beautiful moments, the special times that make them tingly with glee. And they want to share with their circle of friends. And that desire is human, relatable and understandable.

Who doesn’t want to put their best foot forward? Isn’t that why we brush our teeth and our hair before venturing into public? We wash our kids’ faces before school and have “school” clothes… know, the unstained shirts and jeans without holes in the knees. Why wouldn’t it be the same for social media?

It does not make one a liar.

at least he knew to hide in shame
Yes X-Man is screaming at me right now because he wants to take a shower. He’s soaking wet, wrapped only in a towel, freezing, because he used up the hot water during the last shower he took. The only that ended ninety seconds ago.  And yes, it’s a struggle to work with an oversized four year old, who really ought to be playing linebacker for a pee wee football league somewhere. And yes, I’ve laid awake worrying that he won’t ever talk, won’t ever understand….won’t ever many things. 
this is why I don't bake.

But what mom hasn’t?

So we share the beautifully perfect photos, the crafts and cookies, the good times. To show that it’s possible to crawl out of the haze, it just for the moment. And for those of us who don’t do cookies or crafts…..we share well…..other things.

My life is good. It is well in my soul.

the start of my day

It doesn’t mean the father figure always picks up his dirty socks. Unless by always it is meant never. It doesn’t mean my children obey me immediately. Or ever. They fight. They ignore the rules. They don’t pick after themselves. They turn their noses up at my cooking. And the father figure is irritating. Especially when he doesn’t do what I want.

the day got worse
I enjoy sharing my kids’ exploits, because in general they make me laugh. One of my favorite social media experiences was sharing the destructive streak my kids were on one summer day. I laughed, maybe cried a bit, but laughed more and, more importantly made others laugh. But, I keep them in context. And I don’t share everything.

The thing is I share the things I want to share. I share the things that make me laugh. It’s a constructed image, at least in part, and that’s ok. They’re my family. They’re my kids. They’re my monkeys and dang it if it’s not my circus. But it’s mine to share.

And yours to enjoy. 
this was a good shot.