Wednesday, June 24, 2015

One of the benefits of writing this blog is that people learn from it. So when they invite you to their wedding, they provide childcare. Two adults for my three youngers, Baby and Baba really can behave in public and while Mac can he prefers bubbles to bruschetta, and one other little child. The numbers seemed about right. The kids had a great time, although they still left their mark on the wedding. Or the reception. The bride and groom had lawn games set up for cocktail hour. When the children were brought outside to enjoy the fresh air, Cinco immediately found a ball being used in lawn bowling and toddled off with it. She made the reasonable choice of throwing it over the fence, which separated the reception area from a steep drop off to a river. She then found a Frisbee and did the same. Fortunately, in the bag a tricks the father figure has amassed over the years, jumping a fence in a suit is a life skill he has. Even with supervision, Baba still managed to give Mac a black eye. We’re that talented.

Despite some serious misgivings, I signed X-Man up for a Mommy and Me swim class. In an attempt to simplify my life, I had Mac’s class scheduled right before X-Man’s. I was very proud of X-Man as he did not stroke out in anticipation waiting for his class. He’s turned into quite the water baby. While in North Carolina, he discovered the joys of a life jacket and pool noodle combo. He gained independence that way and I got to sit poolside with a glass of wine. It was a winning pair. Until I had to jump in because, two hours in, X-Man was seconds away from falling asleep. Pool noodles make for very comfortable pillows apparently.  Anyway, this new found independence translated into mad pool skills in X-Man’s mind. He wasn’t a fan of me holding him during class. He kept demanding I put him down.  But putting him down, sans life jacket, didn’t work out the way he thought it would.  He was completely uninterested in kicking his feet while sitting on the edge of the pool, or splashing with his hands. But hopefully, he’ll realize he’s not Michael Phelps quite yet.
I was at the tail end of a long drive the other day. It had been a long day overall and everyone was on edge. The best part of the forty minute drive was Cinco’s screaming the entire time. It started with her screeching that she was stuck, also known as buckled up in a five point harness. The point was, she was not free to move about the cabin and this outraged her. X-Man was yelling back at her that she wasn’t stuck, she was buckled. There was a point in time where he too would bellow that he was stuck and I would inform him that it’s pronounced “buckled.” So he was happy to share this information with his sister. But halfway through the lesson, he dropped his minion toy so his energies were directed elsewhere. Mostly at me, demanding that I get his toy, which I could not reach, nor anyone else. Cinco then decided that she should get some of this action and threw her own toy. Now she was stuck and toyless. Too much for any one person to endure. So she made sure to spread the misery. Loudly.

And so we drove home, with in stereo screaming. My foot got a bit heavy towards the end and did not escape notice of those who frown on such behavior. The kids were so involved that they didn’t miss a beat. The cacophony continued. I simply rolled down my window and waited. I didn’t retrieve any information; I just sat, with my head resting on the steering wheel. I was certain the noise could be heard over the freeway traffic. When the officer approached my car, I just turned my head, without raising it and said “I am three miles from home.” He looked in at the reddened, tear smeared faces and responded “Three miles? Be safe.” 

And left me. Alone. With the screaming children. I am considering filing a compla

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

I got X-Man’s progress reports from his preschool. He hadn’t been attending for very long, so there wasn’t a lot of information to work with. However this comment did not escape my notice “X-Man is able to point to pictures when asked and answer questions. He does so willingly if he thinks it’s a game. If he thinks he’s being tested, he refuses to cooperate.” Yup, that’s my boy.

Part of the reason why X-Man missed school was the nearly two week long trip we took the North Carolina and Washington DC. It was as enjoyable as trips that involve homes on the ocean, with pools, and bonfires, and plane trips can be.  Other than the first major sunburns of the year, everyone seemed to survive unscathed. Relatively speaking.
I had grand visions of an educational trip throughout DC. My original plan involved traveling with a double stroller to make site seeing more pleasant for all involved. That got scrapped when, five days before we left, it occurred to me that we would need to rent a car to get from DC to North Carolina and back. In truth, I spent so much time trying not to think about the trip; fairly important aspects were getting overlooked. So that’s how the father figure and I ended up looking for cars that held seven people to rent over Memorial Day weekend. Our options were severely limited.  Seeing as this trip for my sister’s wedding was already costing more than the father figure and I spent on our own, I balked at the thought of spending two grand on a Luxury SUV. Luxury and sandy beaches don’t mix in my mind.
So we ended up settling for a vehicle that played fast and loose with the term “seats seven” and most certainly did not hold a double stroller. It didn’t seem to be a huge deal at the time. But we thought wrong.
We ended up walking the National Mall in 87 degree heat, with 67% humidity.  The children ended up less than impressed by anything other than the heat. Cinco and X-Man spent the day fighting over who had to ride on the father figure’s back. X-Man was more interested in the ducks swimming in the reflecting pool. Cinco was more interested in “RUN!” in any and every direction, other than the one we were headed.
Despite our lack of matching neon shirts, which seemed to be required wear when on the mall judging from the attire of nearly everyone else there, we managed to work our way down to the Lincoln Memorial.  The walk took longer than I had anticipated. Mostly because I forgot that there were a three year old and a two year old involved. My game plan involved lunch after we walked the mall. But as we didn’t even make to the Lincoln Memorial until after 3pm, I broke down and bought them the most overpriced cookies and Gatorade ever. But it brought a temporary end to the whining, which is invaluable.

We approached the Lincoln Memorial, tummies filled with cookies, little hands clutching half-drunk Gatorade bottles.  The memorial is stunning. As I guided the kids towards the quote from the Second Inaugural Address, X-Man, who had been enjoying the brief respite from the heat, tripped. While carrying his drink. The drink that had a cap, but a loosened cap for easier access.
I appreciated the signs about the mall, requesting respectful silence. I hadn’t considered the need for a “Please don’t dump your drinks on the marble” signs. Clearly the Park Service hasn’t either.
The father figure disappeared immediately. In fairness, he was pursuing a Park Ranger, but that still left me with a puddle of orange liquid and X-Man. Baba and Baby had ducked into the gift shop looking for paper towels. I was left with tissues to absorb the liquid. Absorb is a generous term there.
X-Man wanted to help. So he dropped to all fours and began slurp up the drink from the floor. And he was more effective than my tissues were. So there I was trying to restrain X-Man while attempting to clean up his mess. It was pathetic. Someone offers a few napkins from Subway but X-Man commandeered one to wipe his face with.  Then a lady came forward and said “This might be weird, but would you like a Kotex? They’re pretty absorbent.

So that’s how I came to be on my hands and knees cleaning up spilled Gatorade in the Lincoln Memorial with a stranger’s Kotex. I’m fairly certain my experience was unique.

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

If you give a mouse a cookie, he will ask for a glass of milk. If you give a threenager a cookie, he will crumble it up, throw it in the air and shout “Look Mom, snow! Messy snow!!!!

He will also strongly object to the necessary shower and hair combing that the sudden snow shower requires.

X-Man has been carefully juggling a grape with his knees. He keeps telling me it’s a soccer ball. Guess he’s been watching the World Cup along with his sisters.

X-Man wandered into the office today, as I was trying to wrap up the school year. He dropped his trousers, bent over and grasped both cheeks of his hiney in order to spread himself wide and bellowed “ouch Ma! Kiss it.

Now I admit, I wondered if there was a master plan and he was about to pull and prank on me. But I am X-Man’s mom and when he asks for kisses I comply. At least somewhat. So I dubiously looked at my son, kissed my hand and patted his bare rear. This was not acceptable. He objected “No Mom! Ouch” and bent further over, pulling his cheeks even farther apart. I repeated my attempt to render first aid. He was most certainly not satisfied. Bending even further over, so that his head was resting on the floor (oh those were the days) he glared at me through his wide stance “MOM OUCHES!!!!” I was unmoved. And confused. Exasperated X-Man gave what can only be described as a teenage sigh,  straightened up, took my hand and said “Kiss it!” I complied. He then firmly smacked it on the other bare cheek and pulled his pants up and carried on with his day. 

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

This is a zhu zhu pet.

This is what a zhu zhu pet sounds like.

There really is no good reason to have one of these. There’s absolutely no justification for having four in one home. Even if they are gifted to your child. By someone who claims to love you.

But there are four in our home. Still. No one plays with them anymore. But they still are the bane of my existence.

X-Man, or I believe it was X-Man although in all fairness Cinco seems to call the shots in their relationship, played a fun game with them. One of those two decided to play race, with the zhu zhu pets. The track well the heating ducts in the walls. They pulled out a bookshelf, which I how I know this was a “they” project and removed the protective grill. And sent their zhu zhu pets off the races.

Once of X-Man’s first naptime adventures after moving in was to throw balls down the same vent. As a result, the father figure determined it was way too complicated to dismantle the networks of tubes in order to retrieve X-Man’s toys.  We told X-Man to rage against the nap machine in a less frustrating manner and he complied for well over a year.  Which is why I’ve put money on Cinco being heavily involved.

So, the zhu zhu pets are now hanging out with the balls, and who knows what other toys. Which, in the father figure’s estimation, isn’t such a bad thing. Except that the zhu zhu pets make obnoxious noises. And they are sensitive creatures that and easily set off. Things like….air set them off. These toys are now residing in an air duct. In which air passes through…..regularly.

Air passes through these ducts, one is easily reminded how connected they all are. And how noise travels through these ducts easily and rapidly. It’s especially swell when the heat kicks on at night and the zhu zhu pets squeal its arrival.

Never boring. I yearn for boring. 

Monday, May 18, 2015

Mac made his first communion yesterday. It was a wonderful, special day that included phrase “we don’t kiss girls without their permission.” Yup, one for the books.

In the hours leading up to first communion, it’s good to provide the opportunity for peaceful reflection. Peaceful reflection is not achieved if your mother is yelling at everyone to find the white shirt she just bought for that day only! As well as the nice shoes that cost a pretty penny, and do not have Iron Man on them, making them more suitable for the occasion.  The items that I made sure to purchase the previous week and then stow them away safely for when they were needed. Only they were needed…..and most definitely NOT there. The bag from the other store we visited that day was there, along with those purchases, but the shirt that should have been put on ten minutes ago….not there. At all.

I turned the bedroom upside down in a totally calm and collected search for the missing apparel. The father figure laid in bed and “Thought about where they could be.” For realz.  That’s what he said. I did not kill him. Respect my self-control.

So that’s how I found myself driving, not to the church as I was supposed to, but to the store to buy ANOTHER white shirt, necessary to go along with the white suit, and a non-Marvel endorsed pair of shoes. I rushed out of the house, yelling at other locations to check and reminding someone to text me Mac’s shoe size and if they actually found it. They did not. And so I bought a shirt and the only pair of dress shoes available in Mac’s size.

I returned to what was supposed to be a peaceful, reflective environment. I charged in yelling “Why isn’t your face washed? Where’s a comb? Put your shirt on now. Put it on now! Why don’t you have socks on? Get dressed, get dressed, GET DRESSED!!!!!” Basically our typical home environment.

We left the house late fortunately; I did actually remember the boutonniere that I had remembered to order for Mac. It had been a source of consternation for the boy. He objected, saying that everyone would laugh at him for wearing flowers. Fortunately prom season is going strong and I was able to produce several photos of friends’ sons wearing boutonnieres themselves. While looking quite manly. He acquiesced, but did inform several strangers that he was wearing flowers like men do at weddings. 

We got there on time, squeezed ourselves in to best get pictures and watched my little boy, dressed all in white, with the exception of his brand new black shoes, wearing flowers as men are wont to do, make his first communion. His suit stayed white for a full three minutes after leaving church. Mission accomplished.

At least with regards to one son. Meanwhile, X-Man was less than entertained. There was a pretty little girl, with fabulously colorful nails sitting directly behind us. He turned his large brown eyes on her, and she appreciated the attention. As time passed, he took to holding her hand, which she coyly smiled at. Then he started to kiss her hand. I drew the line there. It seemed to be inappropriate on a few different levels. X-Man was not to be deterred. So in the end, I had to escort X-Man out, while he cried “Goodbye girl. Bye!

Today I entered into the store I visited after purchasing Mac’s shirt and shoes. I approached the front counter and asked the manager “Is there any chance that an airhead, who looks something like me, left a bag from another store here, with shoes and a shirt in it?

There are benefits to making a manager laugh. She tends to look a little longer and a little harder for you. And finds the items you left in her store. Which you no longer have need for.
Countdown to twelve hours on a plane with five kids…….three days and rapidly approaching.  

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

I am confused. I just returned from the doctor, still trying to determine the cause of my constant fatigue. Other than the five kids, homeschooling and work.  My blood pressure registered 98/63. 
That’s on a day when I have three kids who need to be in three locations at the same time. I take zen to a whole new level.

I haven’t written recently, mostly because that would require time to sit and type. I’ve been too busy taking X-Man to early intervention screenings, meeting to discuss those determinations, bouncing around soccer kick arounds and tryouts and potty training Cinco. That in itself is a full time job.
Cinco has a certain swagger.  She cocks her head, juts her hip to one side and extends her arm waving her hand in my face “No, no mama, no.” She will be a full time job until she’s thirty. She took her attitude and shelved it when it came to the father figure. All sweetness and light and kisses and hugs. 

That changed when I left town over a weekend for a soccer tournament of Baby’s. Being the only responsible adult in the house, he was forced to make her use the potty. She was not amused. She engaged in a battle of wills with the father figure, which is ALWAYS a losing proposition.  Along the way she dumped a cup of water on the floor in protest and was shocked….SHOCKED to find that her father would dare to force her to wipe it up. That was her one battle with the father figure. She even deigned to start using the potty for me when I returned home.

X-Man is off to preschool four days a week. He was given goals to reach as part of his early intervention. From the time of his final testing to the meeting to explain what goals they had for him, he already passed the first ones. Because, in the end, I am pretty certain that X-Man’s lack of speaking is due primarily to an extreme case of “I don’t wanna.” But he’s also discovered that not speaking actually makes his life harder than speaking. He’s fully charmed his preschool teacher already, in no small part due to his being potty trained. His speech therapist told me that he insisted that today was “Taco Tuesday”, offering her some play tacos for emphasis.

So there we are. My three year old has been in early intervention for two days and is about to test himself out already. Cinco uses the potty, independently except for demanding M&Ms. Mac is upset with me because he has to go to soccer practice, instead of running three miles with Baby. Baby is going to run three miles. Baba is twelve and a young lady. Soccer teams have been determined for the next season, school’s about to be done.

And I am ten days away from flying across country with five children.

Why is my blood pressure so low? 

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.