Friday, May 31, 2013

You know, kicking my chair when we were stuck in traffic was especially helpful. When you yelled go mom! Go!” It reminded me that I had superhuman powers which allowed me to pass through traffic as if a beam of light. I’m shocked that I forgot about them. And thank you for pointing out that the shoulder was available to drive on, just in case I felt like not using my forgotten superpowers. I can’t think of all the time I wasted sitting in traffic before your came into my life.

Thank you for reassuring me that it was ok that you didn’t make it to the bathroom in time and my bedroom carpet paid the price. Remembering that “it’s ok because it wasn’t stinkies” really set my heart at ease.

I wouldn’t have realized that “Wow mom, that’s how much you weigh!” at my last prenatal appointment, if you hadn’t been there. Also, I’m glad that you pointed out to me that my tummy is “squishy” and that I “probably have another baby in there.”

Thank you for mentioning that dinner smelled “gross.” It totally inspired me to cook something different. Maybe mentioning that a few minutes before we sit down to eat would guarantee a more understanding response from your mother.

I’m glad you can “totally tell” that I’ve “never been to jail.” But I’m not sure you should ask if your father has been to prison.

I had planned to pretend it wasn’t actually my cell phone ringing as we headed up to communion together. But it worked out better that you ran back to the pew yelling “I’ll get it mommy.”

I think the chalk outlines of your siblings on the driveway actually made the realtor’s job easier.

Teddy from Costco is a lovely man. But is actually NOT your father, no matter what you say. Loudly.
My cell phone is actually really just a device to play games on. Thank you for reminding me how unusually cruel it is for me to try to use it for work purposes.

I know that the first fourteen times you asked to play the Wii, I said no. But when you asked for the fifteenth time, I realized that you were asking to play the Wii, and that was totally cool. Thanks for your persistence.

It was wise of you to lose your binky in the Target parking lot. I will make sure to treat it with more caution and respect in the future. 

I want you to be able and comfortable in coming to me at any time and for anything. Even at 5am. When your brother climbs into bed with you. And steals all your blankets. You should totally come to me. And make sure your burst through my bedroom door yelling, just in case I’m sleeping.

I appreciate the distinction you made when you explained that I told you to not write on the car and when you drew people on the car is was drawing, not writing and therefore not naughty. It was an oversight on my part.

Thank you for teaching me that “gets dress so we can get on to school” means “sit in your room and sing…..naked.” I needed to learn about that aspect of well-adjusted behavior.

I’m still not clear on what “Be quiet and go to bed” means. Because it sure doesn’t mean what I thought it meant. Sorry I’m such a slow learner.

Thursday, May 30, 2013

A good mother takes her children to the library. I desire to be a good mother, so we have regular trips to the library. Something I’ve learned is if you are the mother of five and the checkout process is going smoothly, it means you’ve forgotten a child.

Yes, for the first time as a mother, I forgot a child somewhere. Now before anyone goes all sanctimommy on me, I hadn’t actually left the premises yet, hadn’t even exited the building yet. But I did spend a good five minutes blissfully unaware of X-Man’s presence.

When we exited the car at arrival, I told Baba to watch X-Man since I had Gestated Cinco. It wasn’t an unreasonable burden. I waited until she had selected her books and then she sat down by the train table that is the focus of X-Man’s obsession and I retrieved the books she had on hold. So far so good.  Mac had his Asterix book, Baby had found a couple Ramona books and Baba had her requested books for book club and X-Man had yet to attack another child playing with HIS trains. All the trains. His. As soccer practice began in half an hour, it made sense to leave while I was still batting 1000. And therein lies my mistake. Never, ever assume things are going well. That’s the surest sign disaster is right around the corner.

We gathered ourselves up and I instructed my two ambulatory daughters to “get your brother.” They got Mac. Not so much helpful. But it didn’t register with me as we started to check out. I ended up enmeshed in a conversation about the mysterious Hank the Cowdog book that the girls said they had returned but that the library was not so certain about.  It would have helped resolve the confusion if we had all been talking about the same title. Once that was resolved, I felt the panic of library fines diminishing and headed towards the door. Of course, I did have to lay down the law on bookmarks.  There were to be no bookmarks leaving the premises. I get tired of throwing them away every time I clean out my car. The concept of using a random piece of paper was shocking to them, but they got over it.

We headed into the vestibule and I did a head count. Things were too simple, too quiet, too organized. It took a second. I knew I was missing someone, but it took a minute to register. Baby and Baba ran back to the train table.  No hair had been removed, no eyes gouged and peace reigned at the train table. So that crisis was averted.

I admit the whole thing left me shaken.  Then again, after getting out of the shower today, but only after getting dressed, I realized that I forgot to rinse my hair. So maybe I’m just losing my last grasp on reality. Could be fun. 

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Moments in Mediocre Motherhood: I used to work in a coffee shop. Because that’s wh...

Moments in Mediocre Motherhood: I used to work in a coffee shop. Because that’s wh...: I used to work in a coffee shop. Because that’s what graduates with liberal arts degrees do.  I actually met a guy who was a member of a Ch...
I used to work in a coffee shop. Because that’s what graduates with liberal arts degrees do.  I actually met a guy who was a member of a Christian Rock band “HyperStatic Union” and he was excited that I got the play on “Hypostatic Union.” He said I was the first person to ever put them together, at least in their presence. I explained that I had a double major in philosophy and theology and would he like room in his coffee?

Ah coffee. No matter how often I say that Jim Bean is my mother’s helper, the truth is there is no helper for a mother like coffee. There is no liquid that is taken as seriously as coffee. I learned, as I became a coffee master, the details and depths that coffee knowledge can go. Coffee is a precious commodity. And it is to be savored, delighted in and valued.

With this in mind, I would like to thank coffee for all it does. It makes me almost coherent. I look almost human.  I manage to get dressed. And sometimes my shoes even match. I am prepared for nearly a third of the things that my children will spring on me. Coffee, you have been good to me.

I, though, have not been good to you. And I apologize. You deserve better than to be left for twenty four hours in the microwave. It’s a vicious cycle. I need you to function, but I fail to function enough to enjoy you.
I probably shouldn’t let you sit for two days in the pot. You want to help and improve my life, but it’s hard as you are ignored for days at a time. And then abandoned in the microwave.

I should have protected and respected you more and not let Mac paint the kitchen floor with you. Please don’t take it as a sign of disrespect. Just distraction.

I apologize for the cars and dinosaurs dipped in you. If I had my druthers, it would only be biscotti that graced your rims, but sometimes a child is hanging by one leg from a bunk bed and screaming. And by the time I get back to you, you have been swept off the table and into the Jurassic era.

I’m sorry for the toddler backwash that you are forced to endure. And the fact that sometimes I just drink you anyway. You deserve better than to be coughed in, while being discovered. Being poked by little fingers is actually a sign of how very interesting you are.

Someday, somehow, it will be just you and me again. And we will sit uninterrupted together. In peace and quiet. And we will pass judgment on all the other people in the nursing home.

Monday, May 27, 2013

Moments in Mediocre Motherhood: My X-Man is back!He finally seems to have overcom...

Moments in Mediocre Motherhood: My X-Man is back!
He finally seems to have overcom...
: My X-Man is back! He finally seems to have overcome the sickness of the ages and is back to his typical cheery self. There’s lots of ch...
My X-Man is back!

He finally seems to have overcome the sickness of the ages and is back to his typical cheery self. There’s lots of cheery chatting from him. Which tends to begin with him yelling “GUYS! GUYS!” He expects an answer from each and every member of the family and continues to yell until the whole floor recognizes him.

He has developed some bad habits however, during his illness. He still collapses on the floor wailing, but that’s mostly when he’s told that he can’t pick his nose. That’s become a new favorite pastime of his. I blame the father figure, who was working with him on the all the names of the facial features. X-Man is a particular fan of noses. Mac observed X-Man shoving his finger up his nose and mentioned “Oh, I think he learned that from me.” “WHAT! Why would you teach him that?” “I mean, I think he figured that out by himself.”

The father figure is also concerned that X-Man is just a bit OCD. Mostly due to his new habit of rubbing his binky on his cheek before inserting it in his mouth.  And sometimes, if things are particularly rough or painful or just boring, X-Man will pull it out of his mouth, do a quick rub by and reinsert. I’m at peace with the whole process as long as it stays away from the nose.

As  X-Man continues along his path of sweetness, he’s spending more time with Gestated Cinco. He still calls his sister “nice nice” and that is certainly how he treats her. For the most part. I have caught him trying to lick her feet. And I have no explanation for that. Gestated hasn’t actually seemed to notice. And I’m sitting here wondering how many more times I’ll have to yell “Don’t lick the baby’s feet!”

At least they keep it new and interesting. 

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

A hallmark of the postpartum period for me is anxiety. In non-hormonal periods of life, I buy it in Costco sized quantities. So life’s a barrel of monkeys after childbirth.

I haven’t really adjusted to life with five children, but that hasn’t stopped me from charging ahead and continuing with my never ending list of things that must be done yesterday. We have been ill since Gestated Cinco arrived, and has resulted in me referring to our little princess as Typhoid Cinco. It’s been ugly. I’m on a first name basis with every urgent care doctor in the system and am customer of the decade at the local Target pharmacy. Apparently being customer of the decade does not actually expedite the whole filling the prescription process.

So there I was, wandering the aisles of Target, listening to Mac ask me to buy him a toy, or a toothbrush, interesting choices for sure. The girls were arguing because they exist and X-Man was drinking my Starbucks. Gestated, fully aware of her typhoidesque behavior, was sleeping in her car seat.

I was grabbing random items, things that we needed. The girls would pause their arguing over whose hair style was more soccer-like, yes for reals, to remind me of something else they couldn’t live without. That toothpaste tasted nasty, they wanted that one, and they were out of hair ties….etc. Mac kept mentioning that he really, really wanted a toy.

Out of the corner of my eye, I noticed an onsite security officer was following me. And it seemed to not be a coincidence. If I stopped, he stopped. When I moved, he moved. Subtly was not his strong suit. Neither was facial hair growing, but that’s a different story. I immediately envisioned a large poster of my face hanging in the front of the store announcing “Shoplifter!” Never mind that I hadn’t actually shoplifted anything. Nor was I planning on starting. But obviously something had brought me to the attention of security. I tried to reassure myself that he just figured that I would try to smuggle something out in Cinco’s car seat, so when he saw me check out, it would all be fine.  So I played it cool, kept my nice mom voice on, continued shopping.  I made sure to carefully observe all that the girls showed me, especially the “cute” outfits. Because that’s what good moms do. They don’t snap “I said hands on the cart” they smile and enjoy random detours down aisles of stickers.

However, Dudley Do right continued to practice his French espionage skills. And I was getting frazzled. So I turned, real casual like, and made eye contact. I actually took it a step further and flashed him a smile and batted my eyes. Well, I’m sure that’s what he thought. I was actually begging for mercy Morse code style, but this guy was clearly more fluent in text speak than any code. I moved on, convinced that as his cover had now been blown, he would now move on to more productive endeavors, such as shopping cart retrieval.
However, he didn’t leave. I failed to fall for his arranging things on the shelf routine and found myself with a headache and a bad temper. At this point, both girls were pirouetting in front of a mirror and Mac was announcing excitedly that he wanted me to buy him the Angry Birds Star Wars pillow he saw. I asked outright “Slow day?” 

Ok, so that wasn’t really outright, but I didn’t think I would get far with “Hey jerk, what’s with the passive aggressive accusations of stealing?” He, in turn, looked sheepish and replied “Yeah, just killing time.” I would have had a sarcastic comeback but I was thrown by his sudden offering of items. Was he trying to frame me? And he was really bad at it because I already had that toothpaste, that box of q-tips and diaper cream in my cart. Didn’t I?

He continued “I was wondering how long it would take you to notice?” At that point, he noticed my blank stare.  “Uh, your little guy’s been tossing things out of your cart.” At this point X-Man put down my Starbucks cup and said “Uh huh” with his fat little hands reaching for his lost treasures.
See, Gestated’s ride took up most of the cart, so I had been placing items in the front seat with X-Man.  Which apparently became a game for him. In my defense, I entered the store with five children, and I knew where those children were in entire time. I also knew what almost all of them were doing that whole time. 

It was my turn to feel sheepish, and fairly annoyed that the same children who were constantly practicing to be paid informants for the FBI failed to notice X-Man chucking the very non-gross toothpaste that they absolutely could not live without.  So I gave up the whole nice mom charade announced “Hands on the cart and if you want your toothpaste, watch X-Man.” And attempted to retreat with my dignity. I’m not so sure that worked.

Monday, May 20, 2013

Baby made her first communion yesterday. It was a day to remember.  I’ll particularly remember pinning roses in her hair as she was bent over a toilet wailing that she was about to throw up. It takes a really pro to be able to style hair in those conditions.

Baby had a serious case of the nerves, which resolved as the service commenced. But for the previous hour, there had been tears and hysterics and nausea. She was convinced she would throw up while in church, and wailed “Why did I throw up and soccer, I wish I would now!”

Yes, soccer. Friday evening, Baby had a soccer game. She was playing well when suddenly she had a panicked look on her face. Clutching her stomach, she started to cry. Despite what I yelled, she didn’t take a knee, illness doesn’t help her listen. Her coach pulled her off the field and she threw up. Plenty. And then wanted back in the game. Since she was the second member of the team to vomit, and there was only one sub, her coach put her back in. The opposing team, having seen the vomiting, sensed weakness and mobbed her, so she passed right in front of the goal to her teammate for the first score of the game.  Afterwards she mentioned that her ear had hurt all day, so we took a detour through Urgent Care. Ear infection it was. I can remember a time when I would have been sad to spend a Friday night in urgent care, single handedly wrangling five children, but those days are a distant memory.

Saturday was spent operating heavy machinery in the rain, which seemed like a particularly bad idea come Sunday morning hysterics in the church bathroom. But as she was running around the reception with friends afterwards, I’m not going to feel too much guilt.

X-Man has decided that his first three syllable word should be Hawaii. We’re livin’ the dream here, about as close to the dream as we’ll get. And it’s just slightly alarming how many potlucks I attend to humor my children. I’m up to three this month alone. There should be a chapter about side dishes in “What to Expect When You’re Expecting.” 

Thursday, May 16, 2013

X-Man has been very sweet to Gestated Cinco. He may resent me for uprooting his life, but he bears no ill will to his baby sister. In fact, as I was changing her diaper, X-Man was leaning in, cooing “ni ni” or “nice nice” which is my constant refrain when he is in her presence. Moved by the moment, I reached over to stroke his fat cheek, and left a streak of baby poop on his face.

That perfectly summarizes my life at the moment.

Gestated Cinco is crying and X-Man is yelling at Baby “Mine mine mee” because he thinks he should be the one to put the binky in her mouth.  And I am forced to admit that I believe the highlight of this week, the week Gestated is a full month old, will be my successful teaching of X-Man to do the Night at the Roxbury dance whenever the new ringtone for his dad goes off. I got tired of White and Nerdy.  It was actually quite the accomplishment in my mind.

Hey, I own my mediocrity. 

Monday, May 13, 2013

They tell you to not cry over spilled milk, but when you’re two year old dumps your fresh hot latte all over the car while you’re nursing another child, well it’s hard not to. Especially when said latte was supposed to be your breakfast and lunch.

Then there’s after a long, late night nursing session, when your baby decides to thank you by vomiting up all of her dinner.  That’s a horrific case of spilled milk, because it requires clean up and changing and, worst of all, more late night feeding and less late night sleeping. It’s almost as painful as the time I dumped a bottle full of hand expressed milk. I still cry thinking about it.

I ran everyone to bed early tonight, because I’m feeling so very tired. It’s like the last three weeks have finally caught up with me. Of course the father figure has been snoring for the last three hours. Because he’s tired. I wanted to hit him, but that involved putting Gestated Cinco down, and that’s 
just not an option right now and it also required more effort than I can muster.  So I’ll mutter things sarcastically to him while he’s sleeping, in the hopes of permeating his dreams.

The problem with having a relaxing, calm Mother’s Day is that it just helps reinforce how very, very tired you really are. Gestated Cinco was born almost four weeks ago and I have yet to have a day off. Well, there was the day after she was born, but even then, I didn’t get to sleep until 4am. We left the hospital and ran errands, I kid you not. The next day I was at Baby’s soccer game, doughnuts in hand for her birthday, while listening to mandatory job training. It’s been nonstop. Partly because of how the father figure’s job situation played out, partly because our living situation doesn’t allow me to relax ever, and gas prices require me to consolidate trips. I’ve laughed about being a failure as at the whole stay at home aspect of motherhood, but I’m not laughing anymore. I’m just eating copious amounts of m&ms. 

Which might not be what Gestated is looking  for in her diet. Which than might explain why she is so not 
interested in anything but being held by me. But she’s perfectly cute so I’m down with that.

But it makes typing hard. And I gots my priorities. Not to mention that if she happens to drift off, I have a better chance of drifting off myself. And as it stands now, she's fascinated by the big, bright computer screen. 

Thursday, May 9, 2013

I think that 2013 is trying to kill me. I don’t know why, despite what I write here, I really am a nice person. At least I intend to be. And I don’t get what this particular year has against me, but there’s some serious hating going on.

Not everybody is as aware of everything that Starbucks does. I am. So I have been taking advantage of the half price Frappuccino’s this week. And sharing the wealth with my progeny. It’s been fun. So yesterday, I took Sir Cranky-Pants, and by that I mean X-Man, to get a strawberry one. X-Man is my eater, and he had to sit in a hot car for an hour and a half waiting on Mac, Baba and Baby, and he’s been sick. So what better for a mother to do than load him up with sugar.

X-Man enjoyed his first few gulps and then he wanted me to taste. So I did. But apparently I did it wrong, because he kept thrusting the cup in my face, with the straw up my nose. Which might have been the intention. I finally took the cup from him, because my nose needed a break, but no melt down occurred. Rather he turned all his attention on my cup of water. And polished that off without a second thought to the treat. I’m an awesome mom. I buy my kids sugary treats and they choose water. I should win on like ten different levels.

X-Man’s been sick since Cinco stopped gestating. So it’s been hard for him to adjust to mommy not always able to hold him immediately. He still is running fevers and breaking out in rashes, and three trips in one week to the doctor haven’t helped resolve anything. He’s angry and opinionated. He’s taken to hitting and biting me. Mostly when I tell him no, or put him down to pick up his younger sister.  He bit my leg in retaliation and was shocked, shocked I tell you, be find himself reprimanded. He collapsed in a heap of wailing, leaving me to wonder why  even thought I was the one who hadn’t bitten anyone and I was the one feeling guilty. And overwhelmed with the desire to pick up my little X-Man and soothe him, which outraged Gestated Cinco who would have bitten me if the thought has occurred to her.

X-Man has been a terror and I am about ready to ship him off to reform school. But then, as I was sitting in the doctor’s office for the fourth time in a week, I watched him scratch his sister’s head, as she slept her baby carrier. Not a “you told me no” type of scratch, but the gentle stroking that I often do to his own head. I started to scratch his head, which cause him to snuggle closer to me while doing on Gestated.
It was a beautiful moment. One that ended when I told X-Man that he couldn’t stick his finger up my nose while scratching his sister’s head. If I had thought about it, I would have just left it at “don’t stick your fingers up my nose”, but I was distracted by the head butt and collapsing onto the floor in a heap to wail away. Which might explain why he can’t get healthy?

If I had let him actually empty out the contents of the garbage can, all would have been well. But as the crazy lady with five kids who seems to live at the doctor’s office, I figure keeping up appearances was more important. That would be the appearance of not being moved by the immense tragedies in my son’s life. 

Monday, May 6, 2013

When it comes to parenting, I’m losing. X-Man is completely whooping me. Well, his antibiotic resistant double ear infection is certainly helping. It’s made for some super-duper fun times as he rails against life and the world. There’s been lots of angry screaming, throwing things and biting. And that’s just me. I kid…..mostly.

Baby had a soccer game Friday evening. I required the father figure to come, as I wrestled X-Man while he threw things and screeched at the little girls who wouldn’t let him run off with their soccer ball. He resorted to trying to bite me when I put the kibosh on his entering the field of play. Gestated Cinco heard the racket and realized that she was missing out on some sort of party. So there I was, wrestling a toddler, trying to get a newborn to stop crying and being very annoyed at Mac, who had traces of blood on his hand and therefore completely incapacitated.

 I have never been happier to see the father figure. He swooped in and took over X-Man and his rages.  Which quickly dissipated.  I was focused on the girls, Baba was off at tryouts, and the boys gravitated towards the father figure. After a little bit I heard the father figure say “Well, he did ask him to chase him.” And my ears perked up.

Apparently, a younger boy wanted to Mac to chase him. Well actually, four kids walked over to where Mac was sitting, contemplating the blood on his hand, and urged him to chase them. So Mac obliged. And then the boy ran to his mom. Mom, being the officious woman she is, turned to Mac and said “Don’t chase him.” Father figure to the rescue. The mom didn’t apologize for jumping on Mac without actually having a clue, but that would have been too much to wish for.

I was seriously irritated. A large part was due, I’m certain, to X-Man’s antics, that had started during an even that morning, followed into a trip to the doctor, my second in three day with all five kids, and had deteriorated. I wanted to snark about the boy who couldn’t handle being chased by a five year old and had to run to mommy, but then again my son had been wailing about a minor scrape on his hand so yeah, shouldn’t really go there.

But I did want to say, and most certainly thought, “Helicopter parenting….you’re doing it wrong!” Now, I’m not a helicopter parent, despite what the father figure might say. And I’m not one to jump on other people’s children. Sure there are cases where something needs to be said, usually when physical harm is imminent. But I dislike the hovering moms who are certain that their little angles are all perfect and victims. Maybe it’s just my own personality, but I’m always concerned that it’s my kid who’s responsible for any and all chaos. I’m good with that assumption, maybe because it rarely born out and I’m really not ok with other moms assuming anything about my kids.

It’s all ok for you to hover over your own children, but don’t go extending their magic boundaries to my kids. And that is all. Because apparently although I have spent the last three hours feeding Gestated Cinco, it’s just. not. enough.

Thursday, May 2, 2013

It’s hard to blog and nurse. And I’m all about the nursing because Gestated Cinco loves to eat all evening and sleep all night. Yeah, not going to rock that boat.  

Some things I’ve learned over the last couple of days……

X-Man’s doing all he can to make sure that his shirts do not suffer the same fate as his ears. He does this by liberally sharing his antibiotics with his clothing.

There are several suicidal deer in the area. I am not an enabler, although I  have been sorely tempted.

Mac’s shoulders are perpetually dirty because they’re where he wipes his face. For whatever reason. Also, the father figure has been caught wiping X-Man’s nose with his (X-Man’s) shirt.

Mac’s has been very politely sneezing in everyone’s faces, to avoid Gestating Cinco’s face.

Mac’s told me that he likes to hold doors open for me “to be nice.” He also likes to make mad dashes for the automatic doors and stand in the middle of the doorway “to open it for you.”

X-Man has taken to referring to himself as “baby.” And he’s still feeling under the weather, so occasionally 
I’ll find him sitting alone, pitifully whimpering about “baby mama baby na na.” It’s enough to make me give him all the cookies I can find. I own my pushoverness.

Taking five children to get your tires aligned is not as horrible as you might think. I still never want to do it again.

I admitted to another mom yesterday that at the moment I will settle for just being “not evil mom.” That seems impossibly out of reach these days.

I should apologize to the older lady at the doctor’s yesterday. But when you come stick your “real life” fake baby doll in my face because she looks so much like my real life real baby, I might exclaim “ew.” But it’s not actually passing judgment on your odd habit, and the fact that you have a stroller for your doll, at the doctor’s, but that I was a little taken aback. Maybe a bit more personal space next time.  Maybe don’t say “this is my baby” because I will actually think you are talking about a baby. Like real. Without weirdly painted on eyebrows, because honestly that’s all I really noticed. Well that, and you were carrying a doll, and showing everyone. It’s weird I tell you.