Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Today's been the kind of day where you scream hysterically if I put you down. You refuse to sleep. Or eat. And all you want to do is bite my nose. I'm sure there's a term for a day like today. 

It's also a "if you're a contractor I've hired please no call no show, it's pretty awesome keeping the toddler away from the china on my table because all the furniture is moved out of the living room. Still." 

It's a please cry because you don't think your contractions require apostrophes. And that I most likely invented contractions in order to ruin your life. And the kind of day where I require you to draw circles.

Today's the day you strike a deal with your sister that you will unload the dishwasher if she sweeps the floor. And when she reneges on the deal and you try to call her out she shrieks "You shouldn't have taken me seriously! Why'd you think I was serious?

This kind of day is the kind where I make the mistake of letting you look at the Thomas toys. And when the time comes to leave, you punch me and try to bite me and yell at me "Homas says ow!

Today was the day. The day when I was that mom. The mom carrying the shrieking, thrashing toddler through the store. And getting those looks. Because clearly I am the old woman who has so many children I don't know what to do. As the disapproval washed over me I may have said "Yeah I already tried frowning and tsking, but thanks for trying." 

What's the name of my autobiography.....oh yeah, that's right Not My Finest Moment.

But oddly satisfying. 
Today's been a blackout kinda day.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

"MOOOOOM! Can you come up here please? Now?" Those are chilling words to hear, especially after 36 hours stomach illnesses presenting in numerous fashions. "What's going on?" "There's nothing wrong. It's actually something good." And so it was, Mac had written, in his darlingest  first grader handwriting, i mac love my family. Punctuation comes later.

There are contractors galore coming and going. They seem mostly amused by the circus in which they were required to work. One mentioned to me that he too had five children. He proudly recounted how he had them alternate making dinners and doing their own laundry. They were able to function on their own as they moved out, teaching their roommates. Then he sprung it on me "My wife took off a few years into it. Left me alone with everyone. Make sure you're taking care of yourself. Don't burn out."
Sweet advice, and worthwhile as well. Not that I'm concerned that I'll burn out on motherhood. More likely just not wake up for three weeks straight. Now that sounds delightful right about now. I think of this blog as a way to vent frustrations or try to make sure I see the day's event in the most positive light possible.

To me it's bittersweet that I only have eight or so more years left with Baba. Not that she'll fall off the face of the planet, or write me off completely, but I only have a few years left to imprint my hands on her heart. It's going by way too fast. That's not to say I look at Cinco and think "ah man, eighteen years to go."

And now I have to go, start along my afternoon soccer runs. Wonder what I'll feed them, they really seem to notice if I'm not johnny on the spot with food. And the appropriate amount of food. Both Baba and Baby will enlighten me as to what THEY think to be good meals. Cereal for dinner is not a good option. Peanut butter and jelly is not acceptable for lunch because "there's too much sugar in jelly and I don't like peanut butter." Also, Baby doesn't like turkey burgers and when I told her they were for dinner her first question was "How big?" And in case you were wondering, they were too big.

So I wrote this post about not really needing that much of an escape from my kids. And then I took all five of them grocery shopping. Now I am ready to r-u-n-n-o-f-t. Screaming the whole way. Which will make it easier for them to find me.

Monday, October 28, 2013

If there's puke involved, it's a Monday. Especially if the father figure is going all white knight on the situation and decides to handle it. And reassures you that it's all good. Just on a hunch, it not being a first rodeo or anything, you decide to double check. And find that the little bit of spew that occurred in the bathroom and that the father figure cleaned up was preceded by copious amounts of spewing in the bedroom. Like the bed, and the floor and the clothing thrown on the floor because people still don't use hampers in this house.

Life with five kids is always complicated. It gets especially complicated when Cinco decides that she does want to eat anymore. At least during daylight hours. Because there are way better things to do like look at ceiling fans, trying to crawl and nurse at the same time and chew on my computer. But mostly look at ceiling fans or wonder why mom and dad bought a house with a stunning paucity of ceiling fans.

It's not that she's interested in table food. Well she is, until she actually tastes it. Cinco gets frenetically excited when she sees food. I'm still expecting her to take off with the hysterical flapping she does. However, she has yet to be impressed with what she's been fed so far. I consider it training for the rest of her life eating her mother's cooking. Never lives up to your expectations.

Now Cinco's the active little girls. She hauls diaper at a remarkable pace. So she does find herself needing nourishment, after her entertainment. So, when the lights go down, she starts to eat. All night. And my little girl who so perfectly slept through the night for the first few months of her life, threw that game plan out and wrote a new one. I'm not a fan of the new one.

After a couple of weeks of watching Cinco drift off for good around 5am and knowing that I had to teach a math class at 7am, I decided to write my own game plan. So I now have to pump a bottle for Cinco and feed it to her. It's a win win, she eats and sleeps.

The downside is that I have to pump. Which takes up it's own time, time that I don't really have. And it attract unnecessary attention. Mostly from X-Man. The first few times he just pointed and laughed. But obviously he thought the process over. He came over tonight and pointed and shrieked with delight "Mommy robot. Robot!"

I believe that I have solidified my standing as the coolest parent. I'm a robot parent. The father figure can take them to Chuck E. Cheese all he wants. I'm a robot!

Thursday, October 24, 2013

I'm sure you're all missing me and wondering why I didn't blog yesterday. I know I am.

I was kicked out of my house. By chemtrails. Or chemicals. Or something. Whatever they use to seal refinished hardwood floors. So, off to grandma's house we go.......wait I've been on this ride before.

So, the children who have always been fairly cooperative with bedtimes and not so cooperative. And have been running around the house. Mostly to their Nana who hugs them and loves them and tells them they are so cute. It's not helping.

And there's been a moment of weirdness.......which in my life isn't that unusual, but this was weird.

So this is a British actress named Jodhi May. She's about my age and my height and there are some similarities in our features. Oks she looks quite a bit like me. Or I like her, as she is older. I first became aware of her existence in 1992 when the film The Last of the Mohicans came out. The movie was acceptable and all that, my friends became obsessed for a while, but I grew tired of the whole thing. So I created the Help Through Strength Society and sent them anonymous letters advertising seminars to help them get over their addiction to the movie and the actor Daniel Day Lewis. The idea came to me while in church, which means on of two things, I wasn't paying attention or it was divinely inspired. I'm going with the latter. In case you were wondering, no one took me up on my seminar offerings. And, to add insult to injury, they assumed my older sister came up with the idea. She's always stealing my thunder. Seriously, she was three states away, and her baby shower gift totally out shown mine. Somehow hand crocheted baby cowboy boots are WAY more popular than baby jammies.

But I digress. As chemical refugees, we are all sleeping in my sisters' bedroom. And there are hand painted images from the movie in the room. That's the advantage to having artist friends obsesses with something, free artwork! And of course, Alice Munroe, portrayed by the aforementioned actress, is depicted.

So Nana comes into the room to say goodnight, and X-Man charges over to great her. After hugs and snuggles, he grabbed her hand and said "Mama, mama." I, being as attentive as always responded "I'm over here dude." Nana, fully aware that his mama was not outside the room, where he seemed to be wanting to head, just stood and smile. But X-Man was not to be deterred began to push her leg. Puzzled, Nana began to walk. X-Man rushed around put his arms up and said "up peeeze!" Nana obliged and then he pointed to a picture by the door. A depiction of a certain character from Last of the Mohicans. He pointed and said "Mama, mama." And then wanted down.

I would have assumed that his siblings put him up to it, but they hadn't ever seen the picture before either. Mac helpfully explained to him "That's not mom, that's some weird person." I have to admit, it's not the most flattering depiction of the person in question. And if that's how X-Man sees me, I'm just a little alarmed.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Since we all got home from soccer, I've yelled at X-Man fourteen times in the last three minutes. He discovered the drawer in my desk. So far he's tossed the box of push pins in the air, not really in the mood for 52 something pick up, he sprayed me with whiteboard cleaner, attempted to feed stamps to Cinco and sharpied his nose. Cinco is hovering at his ankles, yanking on his pants desperately wanting to join the fun.

Being more perceptive than her brother, she also scooted away quickly to the doorstop, where she began to play us the song of her people.

Today's been a scattered day of contractors and high school soccer games. Which is kind of odd, since I don't have any high schoolers. But Baby's soccer team got to run the lines of their soccer coach's high school team. They got to chase down errant balls. But mostly they got to do cartwheels, spin around in circles and then fight over the random ball that came their way.

And I really should be moving furniture with the father figure in anticipation of the floor refinishers that are coming tomorrow. I dread learning what all's involved. All I heard was the ominous "Well, you should be able to sleep here Wednesday night."

And it's time for me to go. The father figure is helping Cinco go to sleep, which means she's still awake and he's passed out. The other kids are in bed. I persevered through Ferdinand the Bull despite X-Man's adamant insistence that Ferdidand was a moo. And Mac kept trying to enlighten him on the reality of bulls and not being moos. As they were supposedly dreaming away, I began to blog. Only to be disturbed by a crash, and suspicious thumps. X-Man's eyes are large to begin with, but he mostly certainly had a completely stunned look on his face as I caught him rounding the corner. Sure enough, not satisfied with not one but two dinners tonight, X-Man snuck down and polished off the father figures dinner. In his rush to return, undetected, to bed, he climb off the table and knocked the plate off. Of course he would then step in the dinner remnants and tracked them back to the stairs.

Yet somehow I'm the bad guy who brushed his teeth for the second time. We're not waiting for Festivus to engage in feats of strength here.

Monday, October 21, 2013

I live to make other people happy. Ok not really, but that's what I say when things get awkward. Especially when I give the bank teller a cashier's check. And she politely tells me that she's never seen one that looks like this one does. Distractedly I reassured her that it's all good, I've brought several checks from my credit union here. See, we hide our money in a hard to reach credit union, I even hid the debit cards and checks so well that I can't find them, which would be effective. Except that contractors seem to not be in the mood to donate their services, so payment must be rendered. So I trek to the credit union and then to the bank, where they look at the paper I had them and are confused. The teller smiled a little uncomfortably and asked "Is there any other paper they gave you?" I obligingly searched my purse and pulled out another paper, and not the used tissues and baby wipes, and handed it to her. She looked very relived and said "Yes, this is actually the check." I must have looked horrified as I geuinely asked her "If this is how I am on Monday what's Thursday going to be like?" She laughed and laughed and laughed and thanked me for being so understanding. No, that's the problem, I don't understand how I am going to survive this week.

I was out taking full advantage of this perfect fall weather, trying to get my yard ready for winter. A neighbor came over and said "I was telling my sister that you have five kids and homeschool and teach classes online and drive this huge car. I don't know how you do it!" Yeah, because it's really the car that pushes it over the edge. We had a good neighborly chat which ended with her lending me gardening tools. As she was handing me them, she smiled at Mac and said "And soon you will be coming over to mow my yard!" To which Mac gallantly replied "Uh no. I stay out of strangers' yards." 

Meanwhile back at the ranch, X-Man was running amok. It seemed cute when, at the pumpkin patch, he came toddling over carrying a perfect pumpkin. I didn't think it through. The pumpkin he could carry at the patch was the one he could throw at home.

Yes, while I was visiting with our nice neighbor, X-Man was chucking pumpkins at the borrowed vehicle sitting in the driveway. He started with his own, but quickly moved up to his siblings larger pumpkins. The child was lifting produce the size of his head and torso and flinging them. As well as one can fling something nearly his own body weight. There's a ramp leading to our front door as well as stamps, because we are progressive enough to be ADA compliant, so he did settle for rolling Baba's huge pumpkin down it.

I after the third unexplainable thud, I turned from my conversation to see the fourth one go airborne. Really, an impressive feat if you think about it. He beamed at me and announced "Look Mama, BALLS!!!!" 

Now when you are throwing things that weigh what you do, there's not a lot of lift to them and therefore not a lot of destruction that can actually occur. Which is good, because all of the kids are, well at least the three oldest, are looking forward to carving their pumpkins. X-Man hadn't actually destroyed any of them. Which actually surprised me, because despite my instructions to cease and desist, he gleefully continued his hurling of gourds. There is no way that the X-Man pumpkin will survive until carving. The thing has got to be bruised beyond recognition.

As I hauled my little destructive goblin inside, he wrapped his very strong, yet very tired, arms around my neck and sighed in a satisfied manner, " I luv mumkins Mama." Oh honey, you can throw all the mumkins you want for the rest of your life.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Welp, it's official. I am a failure at homeschooling.Baba’s MSP (state tests ) results came in. While she tested at high school level when it came to reading, she was only one grade level ahead when it came to math. And as anyone who homeschools knows, one grade level is like way behind. So naturally, I freaked out. Which then caused great consternation for the father figure.  He was not impressed with my frustrations nor with my announcement that I am a complete failure on the homeschooling front.  He is still new to homeschooling so he didn’t understand my comments about being on the wrong end of the bell curve. He also thinks that throwing in the towel might be a slight overreaction.

It’s been quite the couple of weeks on the mommy internets.  Some guy wrote a post singing the praises of his stay at home wife. Apparently, if you say nice things about your wife and her life choices and how she cares for your children, you are insulting lots of other women. Or something.  I am waiting for the blog that sings the praises of stay at home mothers who don’t actually stay home all that much and homeschool, but apparently not well, and also work from home, teaching math, which is ironic because it’s not taking so well with the offspring.  But I don’t want it written by some guy I don’t know. That’d be weird. I mean, who wants affirmation from some random guy on the internet? Apparently lots of people.

And then there was the fit mom fiasco. Now, I have a couple more children than this lady. And I don’t really look much like her. Well, I too have arms and legs, but I most certainly don’t have her torso.  And apparently many women do not and their feathers were rather ruffled.

 I don’t know what this gal’s life is like. She says that she doesn’t have nannies and she plays with her kids to keep active. She’s also a personal trainer, so there’s that. I know that playing with my kids certainly doesn’t do that for my postpartum belly and I’m going to tell myself that she has housekeepers and cooks. Or something. It’s not excuses, it’s how I keep myself sane.

I can tell myself that I would look like that if my job required me to work out as well. I can tell myself that if Cinco would stop playing and crawling all day long, at least long enough to eat something, then she would sleep at night. And then I could sleep at night. Instead of being the metaphorical fridge that Cinco continuously raids. All night long. Maybe then I would get up the morning to work out, much like I used to. I should probably lay off the chocolate covered raisins as well. But baby steps.  But she’s right, I have excuses, I prefer to  think reasons, but excuses as to why I don’t look like her.

Unfortunately, in this day and age, often it seems difficult for some people to celebrate the successes of others without feeling as their choices are invalidated. In this day and age where equality seems to be misunderstood as sameness,  diversity isn’t always celebrated or appreciated. The fact that one mother manages to rock a six pack eight months after giving birth isn’t a slap in the face of those of us who are still gelatinous. She should be proud. I’m certainly proud of the super beautiful children I have and I had less to do with than she did with her rocking body. Being proud of that is not saying that other mothers are failures or weak or less successful.

But that being said, Ms. Kang….may I call you Maria, there are other angles to this to possibly consider. I’m got a couple of years and kids on you. And, I have girls. This doesn’t make me better but it does give me a slightly different perspective.  I am trying to set a good example for my daughters, I want them to see me exercise and heaven knows I run them across two states for physical activities.  I try to teach them healthy eating habits but they get treats as well. I am searching for a mean (not a mean girl just a good middle ground). And part of that mean is teaching them that it’s what’s inside that counts. Trite, I know, but there’s truth there.  A well maintained body shows an  internal peace, which is what I desire for them. But a well maintained body doesn’t require cuts, a six pack. They might have bodies that are soft and feminine, bodies that look life bearing, nurturing. They might end up with stretch marks, from growing life within them. And if they do, that will be beautiful.  It will be natural. It will be womanly.

Look, I get it.  I really do. I too am proud of how I handled most of my pregnancies. I’m proud that I lost  the baby weight immediately after four of them (that darn third child…..). It’s not that. It’s the wording you chose.

Perhaps the reaction would have been different if instead of asking “What’s your excuse?” you had said “You can do it!” Because, you clearly show that it can indeed be done. Maybe even “What’re your priorities?” Because often mothers don’t make themselves a priority, ever. And that’s not good or healthy, especially for their kids to see. But it’s the implication is that to not look like you is a failing that requires excuses. And honestly, that’s not helpful. It’s harmful.

Mothers are excellent at beating themselves up. They don’t need a reason to. They can create all sorts of reasons. Like your kid only testing a year ahead in math. It’s hard enough raising children with a loving support system around. It takes a lot of love to drown out the doubts that start shrieking the moment you wake up in the morning.  We, as mothers, should have each other’s backs. We shouldn’t  say “Hey, you’re not fit, why not?” We should ask, “How can I help you? What do you need? Are you taking care of yourself?" Because sometimes moms choose between running and reading a good night story. Sometimes moms choose between exercising and working. Sometimes they sacrifice their gym time for the carpool lane.  There are so many hours in the day. And after the cooking and the cleaning and the bathing and the working, there’s just time left for crying. Mourning the lost moments, the failures , all the things you so desperately want to give your children.

Moms don’t really make excuses, they feel guilty. And Maria, the backlash that you experienced didn’t stem from jealousy, at least not all of it. I read those comments, and I heard women hurting, told again they’re failing. It’s a reoccurring refrain, heck I was just informed by ESPN that Ican’t be a good mom if I have a large family. Too many kids. Just can’t be done.  So if you see an area where a mom is falling short, don’t judge her or pity her. Reach out a hand. Because if you haven’t been there, you will. Some day. And you’ll need that helping, uplifting hand yourself. From a woman who has walked in your shoes before.

So Maria Kang, you are remarkable and I respect you. You are motivated and successful and have beautiful children. Well done. I hope you are able to help other mothers achieve the success you’ve found.  And I hope that you are able to reach those women in gentle and compassionate manner. Because that’s what they need.  It’s what I need.  And I’m sure it’s what you need sometimes.  True, a gentler caption wouldn’t have garnered the attention of CNN but CNN will never understand the fierce love and passion that drives you. Drives you to succeed and drives you just a little crazy.

And this blog won’t write itself. That’s not an excuse,  it’s just a fact.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

I have been trying to start this for about an hour. Our house isn't exactly warm but 65 degrees isn’t exactly the Arctic Circle. That didn’t stop Cinco from shaking with the cold. Chattering gums. It’s a new phenomenon and it’s super cute. But it also indicates less than stellar parenting. So now that snuggle time is done I’m off to the presses.

I had originally anticipated writing something sweet about the father figure. But then a friend called. And I got sidetracked. I am not about to let something like sentimentality get in the way of a good rant.

The friend called frustrated and annoyed. She had come across an article published in a homeschooling magazine, one that was written by a starry eyed mother.  Or a good mother.  Our lives do not resemble hers.

Not to invalidate or diminish her experiences or perceptions, we all need something higher and better to strive towards. But this is why I blog.  Really. Because everyone wants to put their best face forward, to talk about their children in the best possible terms, to show how very happy and put together and successful their lives are. And that’s fine. It’s good.

But we all struggle too. We all have the children who won’t nap, who embarrass us in public, who are odd and try to drink from mud puddles. In parking lots. They poop on us; they blow their noses on our sweaters and think our smart phones exist for their entertainment.  They do this because they are children and we, as their parents, have two choices, to grit our teeth and try to survive or to enjoy the moment. Or at least laugh about it.

There are plenty of rose colored blogs out there, I’m not knocking them. But I hear the mother who feels defeated when she reads one too many tales of cooperating children who like to clean their rooms.  I’m the mom who has her arms wrapped around her husband’s legs screaming “Don’t leave I think they’re trying to kill me!!!!” And mostly mean it.

So I blog. I blog because I know twenty years from now I will remember the beautiful trips to the pumpkin patch and the excellent soccer games. I’ll remember the poise and confidence my daughters exhibit, but would I remember their conversation where they planned my funeral?

It’s the crazy, unscripted moments, the ones that make us cringe, that make our children who they are. It’s how we handle those times, the times that make us want to pull our hair out, throw our hands in the air and admit defeat. They are just as much a part of child rearing. Our sons will walk into the office, mouth full of tooth paste grunt unintelligibly and expect us to understand. And we’ll actually try to understand.  That’s routine. The typical night. Sure I don’t have to share, we’ve all been there. But we’ve all had the beautiful moments too. Those are easy to find joy in. Those are the moments that we feel like good mothers. We need to know that all moms have those less glamorous moments.  That every mom has lows too. We don’t like to talk about them. We think that if we were better moms our kids would be perfect, without the personalities they leapt out of the womb with. We try to pretend that those awkward moments don’t happen.

But the thing is, you never know what the moment that matters most to the kiddos. Which smile when they do something silly, dumb silly not cute silly, will be a source of comfort to them. Which time we chose to laugh about an absurd situation, rather than become frustrated, that they realize, really and truly, that we, their mothers, will always be there for them. That nothing they do, including walking out of the church bathroom naked, yelling “Mom I need help” will be a red line for our love.  Those moments, the non instagram moments, are often the ones they hold to. The time they messed up, but mom just snuggled them all the tighter.

Every mom has wonderful days. It not then that we need support. It’s when everything is falling apart. It’s when someone has spent three hours crying about having to do subtraction.  It’s when your toddler is thrashing in your arms during soccer practice. It’s when you’ve run your car off the road. It’s moments that come with kids. And it’s then that we need to remember that every second with them is special. Not wonderful, just special. Very special.  Because those moments that we feel like failures, often that’s when our children need us most. When they are uncertain, or when they know they’ve messed up, that’s when they need mom the most. And if mom can find something to smile about, something to laugh about, it’s just easier for everyone.

So some moms will blog about everything they do right. Not to gloat or lecture or to feel superior, but to celebrate. And I will blog as an attempt to figure out why my toddler is obsessed with licking the brand new window we had installed. Because both sides are essential to motherhood. And appreciating both sides in the only path to sanity. Sanity being a relative term and all.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Cinco is doing everything she can to keep me from writing tonight. I guess that's what happens when you get shots while teething. Misery loves company and all that jazz.

It fashion that is becoming alarmingly common for Miss Cinco, she made it very clear what she thought of the whole going to the doctor routine. She made her statement in neon yellow squishy smelliness. X-Man, on the other hand simply continued his routine behavior while at the doctor. Not cooperative. When the doctor asked him if he talked, X-Man defiantly announced "nuhun...not talk." Complete with a fierce frown, in case the message wasn't clear. Meanwhile Mac added the constant stream of consciousness "I'd like a sticker now. Which one should I get? I saw one I want. I'd like a sticker now." He left with a minion sticker.

A passing thought, the father figure is using the vacuum again. I bought it after we moved in and he has, I am not so ashamed to say, used it more often than I have.Apparently the extra tools appeal to men. I'm thinking about writing the company to encourage them to to add this fact to their advertising. Or maybe it's just that vacuuming hardwood floors is more rewarding or something. Whatever it is, I'm loving it.

There is a slight chance that I am overreacting to a circumstance. Or something. Some very pushy alarm company salesmen showed up in the door. They really wanted to come in, and indeed tried to. Every warning bell I had was going off. I was so uncomfortable that I wasn't even snarky. And that's certainly something. I considered telling them that we had contracted the services of Misters Smith and Wesson. Only I'm not sure what kinda of weapons those are or if they are still made. Nor did I want to throw anything out there that would attract unsavory characters to my abode again, searching for items that most certainly do not belong to them. I read some stories about break ins that occurred in town, after being contacted by "alarm" salesmen. And, in a fit of Internet stupidity, I read the comments after the articles. Mostly from alleged neighbors describing door to door alarm salesmen, with pushy demeanors.

That being said, googling the name of the company led to several complaints about their sales staff, including repeating the exact same spiel. Which should have set my mind at ease. But it didn't. Not even my second glass of wine did. I'm bracing for a break in at 6:30 am, as their modus operandi dictates. If I am indeed overreacting, which I am certainly hoping I am, I will share the story of my mostest greatest overreaction to date. Which is extremely embarrassing, but also, I'm afraid, rather amusing to others. So, if I'm not robbed in the next few days.......

Speaking of over reaction, I have learned that I am not to post sweet anecdotes about dearly beloved family members on facebook. No matter what I say, other family members will freak out and call.Thereby spilling the beans that I related a story that shows how the whole world sees her the way we do. The amount of trouble my siblings get me into even now. I wish I hadn't wanted to grow up so much!

Monday, October 14, 2013

I have said on more than on occasion that I need a hamper that looks like the floor, that way my family would use it.

I finally conquered my own personal Everest, the laundry. This allowed me to return the hampers to their proper positions, one of which is in the upstairs bathroom. And by return I mean put there for the first time since we moved. Hey, progress is a slow machine.

This disturbed Mac greatly. As we awaited the right time to buy our house, the kids kept their clothes in storage bins. Mac rejoiced greatly in his newly acquired dresser and was not interested returning to the chaotic ways of old. He looked askance at the hamper and asked me "Why is that there?"

"To put your clothes in."

"I don't want to do that."

"Well, I don't want to pick them up off the floor."

"Well I put my clothes where them belong. So I won't use that."

"You just need to put your dirty clothes in here."

"But I don't want to." At this point, the boy actually started to tear up. Over a hamper. A plastic one at that, hey the father figure bought it not me.

"What do you think happens with a hamper?" At this point I was genuinely befuddled. It's not like he hadn't ever seen one before, although there wasn't much actual proof he had used one. He knew that he was supposed to put his dirty clothes in it. He had when it was in the laundry room. So, befuddlement was really the only thing to describe my state at the moment.

"I don't know but I don't want to use it."

Hey get in line there kiddo. "All I want you to do is put your dirty clothes in it so that I can take them downstairs and wash them. That's all. They'll come back to you. Clean. And that way I don't have to pick up dirty clothes off the floor." For the record, I was standing on dirty Hulk underpants.

"But I don't leave my clothes on the floor." Yeah, because X-Man wears underwear. "I put them back where they belong. Where I found them."

"No, I'm talking about the clothes you just wore. Not the ones I folded and told you to put away."

"Yeah. I put them all in my drawers."

"Wait. You put your  dirty clothes in your drawers, with your clean clothes?"

"Yeah, back where I found them. Like you tell me to."

Oh sure, this is the ONE time you bother to do what I say. It actually does explain why I kept finding dirty clothes in his drawers. I figured it was a sloppy clean up job, but no it was very intentional. And well intentioned at that.

"Ok. Yeah. We don't put dirty clothes in our drawers. We put them in the hamper. So they get cleaned. That way mommy doesn't tell you to change your shirt three times because it's always dirty. Does that make sense?"

"No, not really."

And that, ladies and gentlemen is Monday.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

It's never a good sign if you hear odd crashing noises in the ceiling. Ones similar to what you think squirrels or a large rodent would make. It's especially not good if you hear those noises in the office, which is directly under X-Man's room. And he's supposed to be napping.

The boy had pried the grate off the heater vent and chirped "Ball go bye mom!" when I investigated further. He might have a new favorite toy.

I was having a serious discussion with Mac the other night. He admitted that he had seen a movie that gave him nightmares. I panicked, thinking of some of the shows that I had let him see, some that might have been too much for him. He liked Iron Man, didn't see Transformers 2, of course that would have given anyone nightmares. I asked him which movie bothered him. He looked down and said "Well it scares me to say, but it was Phinneas and Ferb." Well then. I'm not sure I wasn't taken for the let's postpone sleep ride.

The girls were making up jokes and sharing them during dinner. We have finally progressed past the point of "knock knock" "who's there?" "snow" "snow who" "chicken." Yeah, those alleged jokes really bothered the father figure. He kept trying to tell them "It has to be funny for a reason!" Mac finally decided that he wanted in on the humor action. "Mom I have a joke." "Oh really, what is it?" "Well, I don't really want to talk about it." He was working the irony angle apparently.

Or something.

I will continue to be held hostage until Tuesday, when my van gets a new computer. So I will have a running car and a window instead of plywood in my living room. If I'm not careful, I'm going to start putting on airs.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

It's amazing how much I get accomplished when I am forced to stay home. My minivan and I are locked in a battle of wills. I insist that it lasts until next spring. It keeps showing me how little control I have in this plan. I suppose this is just what I deserve, as all the problems seem to stem from the side of the car I ran into a telephone pole during the ice storm last winter.

On the other hand, I'm pretty much unpacked. Of course the downside of that is that ALL the toys are now unpacked and spread throughout the house. Batman was quite literally cooling his heels in the fridge this morning.

I've always known that the time would come when my children would recognize my authoritative count down, in a firm voice and emphatic hand gestures for what it is, a bluff. I don't ever know what I'm going to do. Mac used to hop to at the sound of "five", in recent months he's been dawdling until two, but he still gets going. I don't know if it's because X-Man has never seen the consequences of failing to respond to my most serious counting, or if it's because X-Man doesn't understand how counting works or if it's because he's X-Man, but he called my bluff.

Now part of being pretty much unpacked is that I've actually moved still packed totes from the living room to my freshly insulated attic. In doing so, I made sure to leave all the baby items and maternity wear near the front, because my maternity clothes, despite my warning to the father figure, ended up in the back of the storage unit and we all saw how THAT turned out. Anyway, there were many trips in and out of the attic.

Before I was taken hostage by my car, I still had to get three kids to four soccer practices (no this isn't common core math, Baby's practices with two teams) so the tote moving and organizing was a work in progress. Mac was generally unnerved by the existence of the attic. X-Man was smitten but generally content to sit outside the door and observe mom. At  least the first day. By day two, the awesomeness of the attic had reached an undeniable level and so he just had to explore. Barefooted of course.

I caught him sneaking in. I'm a fairly decent reader of two year olds, as I was heading out for the next load, I could see the wheels turning in his head. He waited for me to leave, or so he thought. So I put on my firm voice and said "X-Man come out." He did not. So I upped the ante "X-Man, five, four.. .." thump thump thump, and there was X-Man. Well at least down to his torso. He leaned out of the attic, looked at me, cocked his head and disappeared again.

Well, huh. I guess I'll keep counting. I walked over and met his gaze. He firmly planted himself. "Why aren't you wearing pants?" Seriously I turn my back for two minutes. " Three. Two." Extra emphatic hand gestures to indicate the dire situation he was in. At this point, X-Man looked at me and raised one eyebrow. Well now all the firmness of the voice won't account for anything if I crack up now. "One." Eyebrow still raised. Bluff called.

"Well now X-Man, mommy's going to have to take you out of the attic." Boy did I show him. That's my story and I'm sticking to it.

Monday, October 7, 2013

Starry eyed home  buyers saw the wood floors through the house and thought "how beautiful." They did not consider the consequences of placing a nearly mobile infant fully clothed on said wood floor. And she's outta here!

Seriously, even Cinco surprises herself as to how fast she can move her little diaper across any floor on the lower level. Her mixture of vaulting, army crawling and sliding is quite effective. The only direction she's  interested in heading is the direction of power cords. Any and all. Which makes our quality work time in my office not nearly as productive as you might think.

It's ok. There is a time to work and a time to snuggle my little sweeties. They are little for such a few precious moments, and it's a tiny fraction of those short moments when they actually want to sit still in mama's arms. So drink it in, bury your face in their ridiculously over grown curls. Enjoy them as they tickle your nose, he won't allow you to savor them for long. Hold their little chubby baby hands in yours. Trace their fingers with yours, don't worry about the dirt encrusted in their nails, don't wonder how it got their and why seven consecutive baths don't improve the situation at all. Rub their little jean clad thighs, let not your mind wander to whatever it is crusted on their pants. It's probably just peanut butter, from lunch. Because you put clean pants on today...didn't you? Took them out of the drawer. Of course Mac was cleaning up the room last night so who knows what got shoved  in where. Sweet little darlings. What's the point of shoes if you take them off the minute you get outside? Where have you taken those feet? Focus! These moments pass so quickly. And as much as they love you, they don't always fit in your lap. It is priceless time. A time that your heart will ache for. All too soon.

A mother will have a physical reaction when snuggling her little one. There's a peaceful relaxation that takes over. Knowledge that every second is a gift. And if that little hand reaches up to stroke your face while starring off in the distance....melt. You slide into a puddle of mushy joy. You can feel the love literally spread through your body, its warmth washing over you. Warm snugglinesss. And wet, wet too. Yeah.....

So wrapped up in the moment, missed the missing diaper. Good to know he's perfectly comfortable.

Thursday, October 3, 2013

But MOOOOMM....why don't you want to hear my inside scream?

They say that you forget the pain of childbirth. There must be something to that, as women freely choose to repeat the process. It seems to me that the memory fail sets in at pregnancy. I have a vague recollection that I hate being pregnant and that's about all. So there must be something that kicks in, or turns off as it were, the moment motherhood begins.

That explains how it was that I forgot how utterly destructive a two year old can be when left unattended. Fortunately X-Man was left unattended in his own room. During what was supposed to be his nap time. As we moved to our new half house (I was going to say halfway house, as in halfway done, but that didn't seem too prudent, who knows what the NSA will pick up ) X-Man graduated from a pack and play to a big boy bed. It's not that he's big enough to stay in a big boy bed, it's that he spent a good two hours vaulting himself out of the pack and play while raging about attempts to be contained. So, the bottom bunk bed became X-Man's.

I knew that he liked to play during nap time. I don't really care. The important thing is that he is enjoying peace and quiet. Mac is not "hugging" him or otherwise harassing him. He is not sticking tools and toy in the fridge. Or pushing Cinco in her swing, and by pushing I mean stopping the swing and attempting to climb in with the explanation "Help baby, help baby." And I have three minutes to myself, without X-Man following me everywhere holding yogurts pilfered from the fridge and yelling at me to open them. Lest you think this is my free time, this is when I grade papers, including one paper about the Colonial time period that featured Cortez and the Aztecs. It's not exactly a calm time for me. But it is quiet though and I'll take what I can get.

Today, X-Man was less subtle than usual. Mostly because he found the various containers under the bed which held the carefully sorted cars, action figures, Lincoln logs etc. X-Man's game of choice was entropy, and master it he did. Before collapsing in the middle of his great success. My personal game of choice is insanity, repeating the same thing over and over hoping for different results (explains the five kids) so back to sorting all the toys, each in its individual container. Right before tucking X-Man in for the night. Which involved him trying to push me out the door saying "go, go momma!" I cringe thinking of what I, and the insulation installers, will walk into tomorrow morning. (Yes the insulation installers who were supposed to be here a week ago. Only their third trip to this house. That will be its own story one of these days)

I had doubted my decision yesterday to let X-Man sleep on the upper bunk at nap time yesterday. As I entered the war zone in which my sons recreate, I doubted my doubts. Halfway through clean up I decided that indeed X-Man would be contained within the four bars of the bunk bed, a situation he didn't find nearly as outrageous as the four walls of a pack 'n play. This was my resolution until X-Man, who had been contained on said upper bunk as I cleaned, let out a thrilled "ooooh".  I turned to see him, well at least half of him. His upper half had disappeared into the crawl space that was above the bed. Scratch that plan.

Chaos it is. Contained chaos. I won't even imagine what having a two year old loose in the attic would result in.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

As I was cooking dinner tonight I found myself wondering how I fed my family before Pintrest. I'm not actually convinced that I did feed them before. Basically if the recipe has the words 'easy" or "crockpot" in the title, I'm all over it.

X-Man and I had a difference of opinion today. He thought the mandatory parents' meeting should take place on the playground, in the rain. And he was adamant. I tried to reason with him. And by reason I mean hold him on my lap with my hand over his mouth. He and I had a difference of opinion on the appropriateness of that tactic. He thought I should not do it. He also thought that he should thrash back and forth while arcing his back. Cinco thought that she should play dead in her carseat. But that got boring, so she ate her feet instead. She was singularly unimpressed with her brother's ability to throw a tantrum.

I finally had to carry the writhing X-Man out of the room. I looked him in the eye and said "You must stop this." He said "NO!" Oh, that did not go as planned. So I tried again, while adjusting my hold on him. "You must be quiet before I put you down." He responded "Help. HELP. HELP!!!" On that we agreed. I was most ready for help...of any kind. However, his pleas went unanswered, so he continued thrashing.  I continued holding and wondering if  Cinco was taking notes on the meeting, because I wasn't getting anything out of it. I was running out of options and was in danger of slipping a disc in my back, so I put the linebacker down and looked him in the eye. "X-Man, you must stop this now. You are being naughty and Mama needs to take care of the baby." Not really, the baby was holding her own, pretending she didn't know either one of us, but hey, I have to appear as if I am in some sort of control, or at least awareness of my children.

With red teary eyes, more than his typical amount of snot pouring out of his nose, X-Man looked at me, extended his arms and gasped "I want Mama."


So I carried him back in, he was gasping still, but sat quietly in my lap. Until he realized that in his tantruming, he  had caused his Thomas the Tank Engine to fall to the floor. He slid out of my lap, carefully walked Thomas over to his own chair, set down the train and then laid his head in his arms on the chair. And began to weep. Very discreetly. Which, for X-Man, requires quiet a bit of talent. He had wronged Thomas. Or, more accurately, he and Thomas had been wronged by his mother.

I allowed them their moment.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

I had a post written. It was about how the insulation company is bound and determined to drive me into the asylum. Seriously, not showing up on three different occasions, finally showing up, leaving holes in my ceiling and then not returning phone calls. And these were the highly recommended clowns, heaven only knows who we turned down. However X-Man deleted it. I couldn't be to frustrated with him however, it was on my phone. He grabbed my phone and turned on Netflix, and lost what I had been working on. However, as he was watching Netflix while sitting on the potty, all on his own, I couldn't be all that upset.

Heading home from soccer today, we stopped at Goodwill. Baba decided that she wanted to get her Halloween costume. She decided that she wanted to be a Pop Star. Which is code for "I want cute clothes and mom won't buy them for me so let's make it a Halloween costume." I still speak ten year old fairly well.

We found an absurd skirt and shirt combo, sequins galore and considered our mission complete. There were two shopping carts in our entourage, one holding X-Man, one holding Gestated Cinco. The fact I made it with Baby only running into me twice, is actually rather impressive.

At the checkout, a grandmother aged woman started gushing over Baba's outfit. Now, you might think that would make her think twice about her choice, but not much. I couldn't hear much of the conversation, as I was two carts back. And Mac was staring at me saying "Mom, look there's candy. Mom look there's candy. Mom look there's candy." There was indeed candy.

As the grandma lady with the odd haircut was raving to Baba, she made eye contact with me. She proceeded to inform me how intelligent my purchase was, as the incredible glittery skirt and shirt could be worn separately. I agreed. As we continued to converse, me saying that the combo together was really too much, but was acceptable as Halloween wear, a slight frown crossed her face. It was clear she was starting to count the number of heads between herself and me.

"One, two, three, four, five? Wow, did you do this all by yourself?"

Now that is a new question. I'm not quite sure what she was getting at, although I have been asked more than once if our family is a blended one, because clearly red heads and brunettes cannot come from the same parents.

"Well, my husband did help."

Now grandma lady wasn't particularly  quiet and I was using my inside voice. You know, the voice you use when in public that conveys the necessity of proper behavior. Firm and in control. Or that's what I assume I sound like. Of course it is. So it could have been the attempts of a harried mother trying to sound calm and collected, and failing, or it could have been my sarcasm. Either way, there was a group of shoppers suddenly laughing. And here I thought I was just telling it like it happened.

Grandma lady continued as we walked out of the store. "They're all so beautiful, I can't pick a favorite! Although I do love (X-Man's) hair, looks at this!" I agreed that picking a favorite was impossible. "But watch out for this one" pointing to Baba "With that hair and those teeny hips!" I didn't mention that those teeny hips were on a ten year old. Quite proportional from what I can tell.

And so we went on our way. Her with her enthusiasm about everything. Me with my beautiful children. With tiny hips. That they don't get from me.