Thursday, December 11, 2014

7HAnd so life carried on, for more de cades than i would  care to admit. I became a mother and continued on my father's tradition of giving a book every Christmas, along with other wonderful gifts. Our library grew, from the precious books i was gifted with, to i luce the ones I carefully selected for my own kids. Everything was right in ghd the world. But life is what it is, and we were faced with that which we try so hard to avoid, our mortality. 

No matter how old you are, there's never a good time to consider youf parents leaving this world. And early last year, we learned that the most optimistic prognosis for my father gave him just a decade. There were a lot of scientific words involved,  but the dumbed down for my benefit version was his heart was bad. Most likely a congenital issue, which, because of his relative youth, had caused severe damage to his heart before doctors had determined the source of his decling health.

So there it was, the reality that we aren't meant for this world.  That we will have to say goodbye at some point. And I will never be ready to.

It wasn't devestating though. The good news was my father married my mother, which workiing pretty well for me for quite a while now. Mom is nothing if not precise and contientious. Just the person you want balancing a strict diet and medication regemine. And so they took on this next phase of life.  With success. A few months in, Dad was kicked out of the advanced heart failure team that had been caring for hiim. He was too physically capable to be considered jn advanced heart failure.  His health actually improved as he was finally  treated for what ailed him.

So of course, my father, being the fellow he is, decided he would take his fragile heart and his delicate diet to Mexico. It wasn't a frivolous trip. Dad is a Third Order Dominican and is involved in the international Third Order community.  They were meeting  in Mexico City and he was determined to participate.  Mom and I were less than enthusiastic. We were both worried, he was still ill, although improving, his health was, and will always be, a concern.  But there was no talking uim out of the trip.  Even when I threatened, shoudl the worst happen, to bury him in a Sombrero escorted to thr afterlife by the sounds of a mariachi band. But he woulc not be dissuaded.  He would go. And he would visit the Lady of Guadelupe. 

So he did. It was a long week, filled with worry for those of us still at home. But he spent the feast of the Assumption there in the basillica. With The Lady.

When he returned,  there was a difference.  My father has always been a content and peaceful man. But he was more peaceful, more joyful. 

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

There was a time when X-Man ate whatever was put in front of him. And asked for more. This is not that time. He carefully picked all the vegetables out of his soup and piled them on the table. I instructed him to not do that. He carefully picked them up and dumped them in Mac’s bowl.  Looking back the whole incident, clearly Cinco rubbing the garlic bread in her hair shouldn’t have been my priority. Even though I don’t know how I’m going to wash her hair, as she’s still scared of water. 

Except when I’m taking a shower, then she’s convinced she should get in with me. Until I actually let her in…..them defcon hysteria.

X-Man’s finicky eating is still very toddler-esque. He won’t eat any dinner placed in front of him. He will eat dinner if he is sitting in my lap and eating off my plate. The father figure frowns on this greatly. As I should, but half the time I’m just happy he’s eating. Not that my fifty pound three year old is undernourished at all.

I should encourage the lack of eating in order to curb the boy’s energy. He’s upped the busyness to match the excitement of the season. He’s convinced that I’m holding out on him and that there really are bouncy balls hanging on the Christmas tree. He’ll find them if he has to test every. single. one.  Meanwhile Cinco is convinced that the snowflake ornaments are really cookies. She thinks she’s sly. The glitter on her lips betrays her.

I’d keep writing by X-Man just crawled into my lap, gave me a kiss and ran off. Which means he just did something very naughty. And messy.



Tuesday, December 2, 2014

It’s never good when your just turned seven year old leans out the car door and bellows “MOM!!!! Do we have any wipes????” It’s especially not good when you are trying to get updated by the soccer coach and you left X-Man and a full cup of coffee in the car.

And now I have to shampoo the carpet in my car.

The father figure recently started eating his vegetables, even when we weren’t eating a family dinner. He will grudgingly choke them down if the kids are watching, but he never freely eats them. So I was surprised, and touched to see him eating not just broccoli but also squash. I understood. He has another birthday coming, and, soon, will be entering into a new decade. He needs to take care of himself. He’s worked hard and we are planning for the future. He needs to eat healthy if he wants to enjoy those golden years with me.

I stared at him, dreamily, envision the upcoming years when my coffee won’t be dumped all over my car. He smiled back, holding a large scoop of squash on his spoon. “Gotta start eating better.

Yes, yes of course you do dear.

My twenty year high school reunion is coming up.

OH.

Which just reminded me that I will have to attend his high school reunion next year. I grabbed a spoon and started eating squash with him. I’ve got five of stud muffin over there’s kids to work off.


Monday, November 24, 2014

I've clawed my way out of the avalanche of life that has buried me. It's still there, but my fingers are free enough to type. And I am certain that you all are breathlessly awaiting updates on my life.

X-Man picks his nose with his tongue. There. I've said it. Before my life was graced by this boy, I was under the impression this was a strictly bovine feat. It's not. Having raised multiple toddlers, I've got it down when it comes to keeping little fingers out of noses. I don't know how to keep a tongue out of a nose. It's not something I've ever really thought about before. I mean, it's one thing to hold hands, but grab his tongue. But that seems less gross than him sticking his tongue up his nose.

Seriously! How's this even an issue in my life? Who ever brainstorms how to keep their kid's tongue out of his nose? There are no Pintrest tips on this.

X-Man has reached a tentative understanding with me. He will wear a shirt and underwear. Or he will wear pants and underwear. He will not wear pants underwear AND a shirt. I've accepted these terms. and the resulting embarrassment has diminished. Our understanding is so great that he will even bring me his underwear after using the potty. Great strides people, great strides.

As much as I would like to be able to say that it is some great filial piety that inspires X-Man to gird his loins.....it's not. He discovered that sliding down the carpeted stairs sans undies is not comfortable. After a few bumps and bellowed "OUCHES!!!!" on each step, he settled for underpants. But no pants. Allowing his style to be only slightly cramped.

And those of us living with X-Man breathed a great sigh of relief.  Especially as his desire to snuggle with everyone has not diminished. And his love of headstands has grown exponentially.

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Life is very busy, which mean little time for blogging. That’s not to say there aren’t all sorts of interesting life lessons being learned. And new experiences. Like croup. X-Man has croup, which is a new experience. X-Man with croup is very cranky. Which keeps me on my toes. But he’s so cute when hoarse.

My sister was part of these life lessons. We were visiting and I thought coffee would be a nice touch to the afternoon. So we moved to the kitchen where I turned on my single serving coffee maker. While we waited for it to heat up, I did a load of laundry because well, you don’t want to waste daylight. And then I moved back to the living room. My sister said “are we going to have coffee?” 

Oh yeah, that’s right.

We made coffee, gussied it up with corn syrup enriched creamers and returned to conversation. Or at least tried to. After thirty minutes of sitting quietly in another room watching a movie, the moment I sat down with my hot cup, the bat signal was lit and here came Cinco and X-Man. Not content to simply observe me attempting to enjoy the moment, they felt the overwhelming need to climb all over me. As much as I want to be there for my children, I wasn’t particularly in the mood to have them stand on my shoulders in that moment. Or sit on my head. It’s a natural result of two children fighting over you, they will try to up each other, climbing higher than the other.

Cinco won that particular battle, and X-Man found entertainment elsewhere. He bonded with my coffee. It became “my tawfy.” He hovered over the cup, talking to it. I think he was studying his reflection in the coffee. When I would sneak a sip, he would observe the diminished amount and whimper to himself “my tawfy….my tawfy.” And howl in protest every time I lifted the cup. He certainly didn’t try to drink it “my tawfy hawt” but he didn’t want me to partake either.He just hovered over it, cradling it in his hands, muttering to it quietly. 


I get loving coffee, but X-Man took it to a new level.

I’ve also learned that in the amount of time it takes to pull X-Man’s pants up and help him wash his hands in a public restroom, Cinco can empty the contents of my purse into the toilet. Again, a new experience. Life, it’s not dull.


Thursday, October 30, 2014

X-Man has been glued back together. And sent home. I advocated for a 21 day quarantine, taking one just to make sure he was ebola free. I mean, you can’t be too safe. But they were not interested. Apparently you can actually be too safe.

I was ahead of the game this year. We had people over to carve pumpkins. Because hacking up produce seems like a reasonable thing to do when one feels like celebrating. Why should evergreen trees get all the holiday action?

The pumpkins had been selected during a rainy, muddy trip to the pumpkin patch, of course. The father figure decided to go all father of the year and print of images to carve into the pumpkins. The girls loved it. He went all out, and as someone who can barely get through the triangle eyes, I was more than happy to hand everything off to him. And so had a monster face and a cool looking spider. I was happy to display them and was relived to check them off my to do list. But no good dead goes unpunished.


It was buffet time. We came home from a day of soccer to fine our decor defaced. Complete with gnaw marks. Which eliminated teenagers or other prankster. But not X-Man. I suspected squirrels, I've heard they lose their nuts over pumpkins. So we shrugged and called it a day. 

When I opened up the curtains the next morning I was greeted to this sight. Not only had some rude creature moved on to my non carved decorative pumpkins that were supposed to last until Thanksgiving, he had failed to clean up after himself. Which of course, again did not eliminate a child of mine. The babies kept watch, complete with smeared hand prints all over the window, but we failed to catch the culprit. 




Another day, another soccer practice and we returned to this.




 Not content to eat one decorative pumpkin, he went whole hog on the second one as well. And, his cleaning skill mirrored my children. Again the kids kept watch. It got to the point it looked as if several squirrels from the local high school showed up and had a massive party while the parents were gone.

He was not content just to trash the front porch area. He's chaos spread through the garden.




But our patient waiting eventually paid off and we saw this desperately hungry squirrel feasting away.


For the record, that would be the fourth pumpkin he had invaded. As you can see, he's extremely hungry. And under fed.


The mess is driving me nuts. But the open bar is irresistible to our rodent friend. And keeps the babies entertained for copious amounts of time. So for now, the carnage stands.




















Wednesday, October 29, 2014

I was planning a post for today. I actually had pictures selected and everything. Then X-Man played beat the clock with the front door in a desperate attempt at escape. He lost. And now is bleeding from his eye. Which means stitches or ebola. We're waiting at urgent care, he's watching Netflix,  I'm writing. It's almost as if we were home.

Of course he made the mad dash right as I was serving dinner. So I'm hungry and bloody and out of books on my kindle. And I'm very aware that I might have to pin down X-Man while people wave sharp objects near his eye. Stay tuned.

Monday, October 20, 2014

So while driving the children to various activities, a warning light came on in the car. It was a newer message for me, Service Stability System. I was clueless as to what that meant. A little googling told me that that sort of message usually requires about $1200 to fix. The father figure was unimpressed with my hysterical phone call and refused to tell me which shop to take it to until he researched the matter a bit further. Something about having to know what the problem was in order to know where to take it. So he came home, did his own research and determined that the brake fluid needed topping off. To the tune of $3. The message disappeared.

No good comes from a hysterical mother googling. I had images of the car, carrying all five kids tipping over, having a stability system requiring service.  Google probably could see me, willing to spend anything to keep my poor minivan hostage children safe, and gleefully saw “SUCKER!!!!”

Or something.

Not that we saved any money. After a quick trip to the car parts store, it was off to Lowes. To spend zillions of dollars on repairs to the house, courtesy X-Man. We prudently decided on the cheapest toilet paper roll holder, as it primarily functions as that on which X-Man stands to look out the window. The window you can’t see out of as it is in the bathroom, but that doesn’t stop X-Man. Hope springs eternal I suppose. We also pick a cheap hand towel holder, as the nice one we bought broke under Cinco’s weight as she swung from it.

The father figure then proceeded to patch to hole in the ceiling, that came from X-Man’s numerous bathroom flooding’s. X-Man was excited to help the father figure; Cinco got her head stuck in the step stool. I’m taking bets on how long the new bathroom fixture last. I don’t anticipate X-Man flooding the bathroom anytime soon. Not due to the repercussions of his behavior, those seemed to make no impact. But now he’s no longer napping, and by napping I mean, sneaking out of his room while everyone else stays downstairs to keep it quiet.


Speaking of failing to properly respect naptime, Cinco can now climb out of her bed. She still sleeps in our room, again for the solitude that nap time requires. Only her naptime looks more like a hurricane, if hurricanes emptied drawers.  The phrase “no rest for the wicked” keeps running through
my mind. And as I’m the one not rested……..

Thursday, October 16, 2014

When unattended, X-Man’s hair blossoms, or deteriorates depending on which parent you are talking to, a wild mess of curls. It’s particularly impressive when he wakes up. Add to it a bleary eyed, stumbling chunk of a kid, and it is incredibly cute when he wakes up.  His morning routine has made even the grumpiest of father figures smile. He staggers in to wherever a parent is, smiles widely and turns around. He then backs up, complete with beeping noises, until he reaches his intended target. And then he plops down in your lap. If you take a while to catch on to the routine, he’ll wait, standing in front you….beeping impatiently.

I’ve most likely made a strategic mistake. By the third sports practice of the day, X-Man needed to use the potty. And, of course, there were none to be had. So I took X-Man around the corner and let him have at it. He’s a fan. And decided he should try to go three more times.

It’s time to wean Cinco. At 18 months, she’s nursed longer than any other child of mine.  She likes to use her nursing opportunities not as chances to eat or bond, but rather as a means of driving siblings off of my lap. Also, she’s is just as content to lift my shirt and blow raspberries on my stomach. Followed by uproarious laughter on her part. The beautiful bonding moments that you read about on the interwebz…..yeah, not so much.  She doesn’t seem to care that the ample stomach on which she likes to blow copious amounts of spittle on is the size it is in no small thanks to her. I dread to think how she’s going to treat me in the nursing home.


So that’s my life at the moment. Mac, Baby and Baba are all hard working students. X-Man thinks he’s a truck and Cinco thinks she’s a clown.

Monday, October 6, 2014

I came home from Mac’s swimming lessons to find the kids watching ESPN….Monday Night Football. I’m doing something right.

It’s been crazy busy recently. Exhausting and overwhelming. I’ve been running the kids everywhere, while the father figure holds down the fort with the Youngers. We don’t do much as a whole family these days, but Saturday was quite the family day. A couple of soccer games, a birthday party and a wedding.

The father figure has maintained several friendships despite the circus in which he lives. And so, as people he’s been friends with for over a quarter century get married, he likes to attend. Part of his pleasure in attending comes from being able to show off his children to the various childhood friends and their parents. Why he likes to show them off confuses me, I much more into hunkering down and waiting everything out. And by everything, I mean toddlerhood.

But, I wasn’t in charge of this operation, so off to the wedding we went. It was in a lovely area. As we were walking in I had a sinking feeling that this wasn’t a good idea. For starters, they had breakable dishes on the tables. Along with real table cloths. Furthermore, the ceremony set up indicated it was a small, intimate wedding. All the easier to hear small kiddos, and who wouldn’t want the protestations of small persons to echo through their momentous occasion.
While we weren’t late, which was a first for weddings we’ve attended this year, we weren’t early, which meant we were closer to the front than I would have ever freely chosen. But trying to seat seven persons anywhere does not leave a lot of options, so we sat ourselves down. And waited.

It was a wedding, so it was running late.  Much to the children’s chagrin. Small persons were getting antsy, so when Baby offered to take X-Man over to admire the waterfall and pond just a few feet away from our seats. Against my better judgment, I assented. And so, Baby, Mac and X-Man went off to investigate.  I kept an eye on them, poised for X-Man to leap in.  Sure enough he stopped and prepared to enter the water. Fortuntately he wise chose to remove his clothing before submerging himself. Few things make me move faster than a naked toddler, as I have learned over the weeks.
I reached X-Man before he disrobed, although not before he had mooned the assembled guests. Everyone was restless, and had been observing the children near the water, anticipating something. We do nothing if not enteratain the masses. As the wedding party hadn’t entered yet, the skeptical was enjoyed by all without ruining anything other than my brief calm.

I missed the ceremony as Cinco decided that she should serenade the couple with forlorn songs about be denied the opportunity to observe the water falls due to poor behavior on the part of her brother. I rejoined the family in time to partake in the receiving line, which, due to the forward location of our seats, was towards the end of the group. This resulted in us entering the reception area to see several groups of five taking up tables that sat seven and left us with a table, right smack dab in the center of the room, set for four people.
An open bar makes all sorts of sitting arrangements tolerable. Mac made his peace with the fact that the bride and groom eat first at their wedding. Also, that the hour de overs people never actually made it over to our table, although I’m guessing they weren’t serving goldfish crackers anyway.

Cinco ate her body weight in prime rib; everyone else enjoyed their food, although with small persons on your lap, at a small table, it’s hard to eat your own plate of food. Baba and Baby were restless and offered to take their brothers outside. I quickly agreed. And ate all of six bites before Baba waltzed back in to give me an update “X-Man sort of fell in the water.”

Of course he did.

Sure enough, X-Man was shuffling in behind her. I’m unclear what was meant by “sort of” because the boy was sopping wet. His feet were wet as was his hair. In my book, wet head to toe means you actually totally fell in. No matter how you choose to look at it, the boy left a trail of wet footprints on the hard wood floor. The first party foul of the evening.


I think it says a lot of my state in life that my first thought, on observing my son was “Oh good, his clothes are still on.” It looks like he took the whole “you only live once” approach. 

Friday, September 26, 2014

X-Man burst through the bathroom door, only to find that his sibling was using it. No worries. He stripped off his pants and hopped into the bathtub and relieved himself. I was surprisingly ok with that.

Life’s been a handful recently. The kids’ activities keep us going, going, going. Rain or shine. It’s been pouring rain, but that didn’t put a damper on the kids’ spirits as the tore around the playground during Mac’s football practice. I was trying to keep an eye on Mac, making sure he was listening when I saw a cute naked tushy atop the playground equipment. X-Man had gleefully stripped off his pants and underwear, as they were wet. Wet from the rain, but wet nonetheless. I don’t run. Unless there’s a naked toddler involved. Then I can run very quickly.

X-Man was horrified at the thought of having to put his pants back on, wet and everything. But he complied and listened to the fierce warnings  I issued concerning the dress code on the playground. I was aware that his pants were cut to fit a diaper, and he most certainly was not wearing a diaper. Sure enough, minutes later the lack of a diaper and the wet jeans conspired against X-Man yet again. He was again atop the equipment, in front of the same police officer dad as before, jeans around his ankles. Although this time, he was struggling to keep his underpants up. He figured girded loins were sufficient, pants were not so much.


Of course, he wouldn’t have his pants so wet if he didn’t insist on laying flat on his tummy to blow bubbles in the rain puddles. Again, along with the publically nudity, this was a first time experience for me. 

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Cinco has taken to carrying a large duck around the house. A large duck that a sister of mine was convinced my children needed. He's an unwieldy size, so she ends up carrying him by the neck, in a charming strangle hold.

Life this week involves the duck. Unless Cinco spots greener pastures. She spent the morning hauling the duck around, while trying to carry various remotes to TV and DVD. Over all it was a disaster, lots of droppage, shrieks and tears. With a healthy demand for me to turn on the TV for her. Cinco's still missing the sleeping X-Man, despite the presence on a duck in her life. She seeks to drown her sorrows in Netflix, snuggled on the couch with her duck.

There is an interesting phenomenon I've discovered raising my boys. It's the rare pair of pants that makes it from Mac to X-Man. Most shirts have stains on them. But shoes survive. Most likely because they are so rarely worn.






These are a pair of such sandals that have survived my sons. They're are not well made. But they connect with both boys in a special way. They're Mac's "scary" sandals. That's what he always called them. He wasn't scared of them, maybe he thought he would scare others wearing them. The thought of Mac hurtling towards you, scary sandals or no, is itself a intimidating thought.

X-Man too has embraced these sandals. He doesn't call them scary, rather he's upgraded them. He calls them his "Doctor Dooms". Which considering what happens when X-Man is involved with much of anything....seems apt. Right now X-Man is running around the house, clutching his sandals, but not wearing them, and yelling "DOCTOR DOOM!!!!"

It's odd, because neither one of them ever named another pair of shoes, but both of them have a special name for this pair. And they were both rather ambivalent about wearing them, cool if they did, no biggie if they wore another pair. I am perplexed. And knowing me, I'll probably end up hanging on to this pair of scary Dr. Dooms.


The duck is good for riding too.....

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

We have reached the point where I believe the neighbors will start worrying if X-Man doesn’t dance naked in the front yard. I mean, it will clearly indicate that all is not normal in our household.  I can be ready for it…..waiting for his foray into interpretive dancing….yet again. But his ability to sneak out is alarming. As is his failure to be thwarted by deadbolts.  It often happens as the father figure is leaving for work, X-Man is doing his morning business on the potty and jumps off to bellow goodbye.  Or it’s because the UPS guy no longer rings the doorbell during nap time but always manages to stop by when X-Man’s stripped down. Basically the routine is the naked X-Man makes it once around the van before he’s caught. The boy is very fast.

Trying to keep X-Man clothed is a full time job. He’s doing very well with the potty training, well he’s trained. I simply forgot the last part of the lesson, always put your clothes on.

Also, it might be time to work on his not announcing all potty related thought quite so loudly. X-Man being who he is, his first full phrase was “ew doss gigusting.” After learning to use the potty he tacked on some more to the phrase “Ew doss gigusting poop in the potty.” Which is what he announces, in his oh so indoor voice, whenever he sees anything that reminds him of anything potty related. Like a giant cow picture in a produce market. Surrounded by health conscious hipsters. I tried to teach him about cows and that whatever he has deemed “gigusting” was most likely udders. Or something.

He keeps me on my toes.


Thursday, September 11, 2014

It’s been a beautiful fall day. With heavy winds. I’ve been enjoying it and threw open all the windows in the house to allow in the fresh fall air. Should have thought about that before breaking it to X-Man that I couldn’t find any of his minion underpants. And that we needed to brush his teeth. I almost judge my neighbors for NOT calling the police. Clearly someone was being murdered……or dressed. To add insult to injury, when he tried to toss some duplos into their container, he missed. I half expected him to rend his garments.

X-Man isn’t napping anymore. We’ve reached an understanding, naps aren’t required, but quiet time is. If not for his recharging, then for mine. I find myself craving the couple of hours of relative quiet that comes with Cinco and X-Man napping. So, I let X-Man have his quiet time. Which means I hear the sound of toys being dumped out and him thumping around upstairs and he stays upstairs. The relative quiet is uneasy, as X-Man does know how to open his door now. But that can be effective as it allows for easy access to the bathroom. Which typically is a good thing.
Until today. As I sat, trying to read and heard the unmistakable “plop….plop…plop” of water. From somewhere. And of course, that somewhere was indeed the upstairs bathroom.  I rushed upstairs to be met by the sight of my stark naked three year old son, sitting in the bathroom sink, water running. And of course, this sink lacked the overflow protections any normal sink would have, so the overflow spread all over the floor and the counter.  

I just stared. It had been a day already, and I just couldn’t process what I was seeing. Including how on earth he got himself entirely in the sink. He helpfully chirped “I wash mommy!” On closer inspection of my reaction he realized that he probably should hide and struggled to unwedge himself from the sink. “I sleep mommy!” A fifty pound toddler goes into a bathroom sink much easier than he comes out of it. 


We’re going to have to brush up on the definition of quiet time it seems.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Did you know that you can burn corn on the cob? Trying to cook dinner between soccer drop off and soccer pick up will lead to burnt corn.  Did you know that an 18 month old will not eat corn on the cob if it is burnt? See those seven burned kernels ruin the whole ear. At least for her discerning palate. She’ll stick with eating Destin.

X-Man and Mac also regarded the slightly burned areas with skepticism. I told them it was popped corn and they ceased to complain.

My morning house cleaning—which when you think about it is a totally absurd endeavor—was interrupted by Cinco’s screaming. X-Man had her by the arm and was pulling her away from her toys. He was yelling “Sleep bebebess sleep!!!!” He personally enjoys sitting in Cinco’s bed, and wanted her to get in with him. She grumpily assented, after realizing that the door would stay open, meaning it wasn’t really nap time.
X-Man covered her up with blankets, gave her a binky and patted her head while singing. While I personally wouldn’t find being whacked on the head while X-Man yodeled away particularly relaxing, Cinco nearly passed out. But try as I might, I couldn’t get X-Man to role model the behavior himself. However, Cinco look suspiciously like she might pass out.

Suddenly X-Man bolted out of Cinco’s bed and ran back to the toys her had dragged her away from.  He settled down in front of the very toy she had been playing with and launched into a new game. Cinco came stumbling out after him, clearly drowsy, screaming for the toy she had touched last.

Well played X-Man. Well played.

Monday, September 8, 2014

School is back in session. This means work, lots of work for me. It’s either my kids who need help, or student through work. Either way, free time is a fleeting memory. Which leaves little time to blog.
Cinco, on the other hand, has too much free time. The school aged kids are back to getting up early, the father figure supervises their breakfast and morning routine while I work. So of course, Cinco gets up with them. However, X-Man sleeps, and sleeps, and sleeps. Up to three hours after everyone else gets up. This leaves three hours in which Cinco has to entertain herself. She’s not a fan. Watching TV seems like a great idea, until she realizes no one else is watching it with her. So she wanders into the school room. I was prepared for having to entertain little ones during school hours, so I broke out the color wonder markers and paper to keep her entertained. It took all of five seconds for her to realize that she had coloring pages and markers while everyone else had notebooks and pencils. And that would not do. So the crawled up on the table and starting fighting Baby over her pencil. And notebook. She determined that she was best suited to sit in the middle of the table so that she could draw on everyone’s work to her heart’s content. This does not create a pleasant educational environment.
So Cinco finds herself ejected from the office, often. And so she follows me around the house. Yelling. I think she wants me to carry her around the house, to search for X-Man. She’s pretty certain that I’m hiding him from her.

X-Man himself is turning over a bit of a behavior leaf. We still have epic meltdowns. Mostly concerning my lack of hospitality towards the rocks he finds. And by rocks, I mostly mean large chunks of concrete, leftovers from our remodel. I don’t know where he’s finding them; I thought they had been all removed. Nevertheless, they are his preciouses. He loves them and likes to drop them on the wood floor. Keeping the rocks outside of the house isn’t an acceptable solution for him. However, storing his precious chunks of concrete on top of the fridge, just fine. I don’t understand, I just keep rocks away from my wood floor.


X-Man’s frustration with life is abating however. He’s speaking English more and he’s comfortable using the potty. For the most part. I forgot about one aspect of potty training. Remembering to put the underpants and pants back on after the fact. The result is a potty trained three year old who is still without pants, most of the time. He can also open the back door, so often I find him outside, swinging away, in the buff. It’s quite the show, which is probably why Cinco is so bored when he’s not awake. 

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

I wish I had thought ahead. But I guess that’s the point of an impromptu trip to the beach. I’ve been parenting for over a decade and still I thought that they would just go up to their knees in the ocean. Funny, funny thoughts. At least I remembered changes of clothing.

I didn’t seem to remember I was bringing a three year old boy to the beach. And that he would charge headfirst into the ocean. The first wave wasn’t big enough for his liking, so he promptly sat down in the tide. And as it drifted back, he rolled around in the wet sand. For good measure.

Cinco was quite smitten as well. That is until she discovered that she wasn’t in control of the ocean. She was personally offended that the water determined to come to her, rather than wait for her to come to it. She scolded it quite firmly. She also was annoyed by seagulls’ tendency to take off as you approach them.  But running around on the beach was quite enjoyable for her.

Mac tends to be a more cautious child. Except when in the ocean. He quickly decided that the water was awesome and that he should go all in. Seriously, all in. And he was happy to report to us about all the “gross slimy” sea weed and jelly fish carcasses he encountered. I also learned my voice does not carry over the roar of the waves.  

After X-Man was good and soaking, and had immersed himself in the pits of sand his sisters’ dug, it was time to go back. This meant a trek across a large dry sand patch. Cinco kept yelling at her older sisters. She was tired of walking along side me and wanted to walk with them. But they were walking too fast, which resulted in a lecture from Cinco. The child runs the whole family.

We rinsed the sand off, but X-Man needed a fuller treatment. He was stripped down to his underwear, which prompted Mac to ask “Isn’t that not polite? Or at least very embarrassing?” I hissed at him to keep quiet as we headed back to the car, X-Man strutted his stuff while clad only in his superhero tighty whities. 

The trip took longer than it should have. Mostly because X-Man kept collecting rocks and stuffing them in his underwear. Rather than risk a scene, I humored him and continued our stroll. With a three year old. With rocks in his underwear. Providing entertainment to those following us.

Like our family routinely does.


Thursday, August 28, 2014

If you want to have a successful year with me, as your teacher, I strongly recommend that your first email to me be NOT one where you tell me how I had typos in the email I sent you. Especially if your supposed typos are because you DIDN’T READ THE WHOLE EMAIL.  Reading for comprehension is your friend.
It’s been a week. The kind of week that leaves me frazzled and on edge. I’m back into school and work mode. That means getting up earlier and trying to accomplish more in less time. I made myself a cup of coffee and sat down to fold laundry. Of course, Cinco toddled out of the bedroom as soon as I had folded the first shirt. She settled herself down in my nap and decided that she needed to nurse. 
And by nurse she really meant run her foot along my jaw line. And try to drink my coffee.  And yell when I interfered with her plans. She takes the word “no” very personal.

It wasn’t long until X-Man joined us, with his newest toy…..a rock. Which Cinco very much had to have. So they fought over a rock. In the midst of my folding. It was not a disagreement that was resolved by finding another rock, but by the rock magically dividing and each child getting the same rock. At the same time.  Especially when Mac joined the fray. You would think that offering taking them all outside to find their own marvelous rocks would be a solution. It wasn’t.

It was clear that extra coffee would be needed so I made myself a new cup. But then I heard the lovely noise of a rock hitting my hard wood floor. So I went to investigate. Leaving X-Man alone in the kitchen. Not a good choice. I returned to an empty creamer bottle. One that I had used all of two times previously.  The creamer hadn't gone far. It was still in the kitchen. Oh was it ever in the kitchen.

Add in a fire in the microwave, the vacuum cleaner breaking after it accidentally sucked up the aforementioned rock and I was officially ready to throw in the towel for the day. But the icing on the cake was as I finally was able to put away the laundry, X-Man decided to play ball with the baby. He got up on the counter and threw the watermelon I just purchased towards his sister with a “catch baby!” The watermelon that I had purchased just hours earlier.  I declared it mandatory nap time for everyone involved, including myself.

My nap opportunity was interrupted by a call from the sleep clinic asking if I was available to participate in a sleep study, one that my doctor told me I needed. At that moment, sleeping with thirty monitors hooked up to me sounded like sweet, sweet relief.


I didn’t realize how high my stress level until I had to do a last minute grocery run. See the vanilla extract that the internet said would help get rid of the burnt smell in microwave, did help. If I wanted my house to smell like cigars. Which, actually I didn’t.  So off to get lemons I went. With everyone, since we had to get to soccer, or swimming, or something. And of course a quick trip for lemons turned into a trip that included pull ups, eggs, milk…..and coffee creamer.  So there I was, in the more expensive grocery store, trying to check out. In a hurry, because no trip to the store is complete without a trip to the bathroom for X-Man, hunting down a car cart for both Cinco and X-Man and saying goodbye to every item that catches X-Man’s fancy. It’s not that he wants anything, it’s just that he wants us all to see, acknowledge and then say goodbye to every banana, apple and pumpkin that catches his attention.

So there we were, hustling through the check out as some very old grandma wrote a check. She was cute and I wasn’t annoyed with her. Just annoyed with the situation. The situation which went downhill from there. Another lady joined us in line. She was more of a baby boomer, and had a disapproving look to her. I looked tired, my kids were chattering and she made a point of counting how many there were. FIVE. There are FIVE children here. She gave a look, complete with arched eyebrows and pursed lips. She looked irritated. I’m sure I did as well.

Grandma Checkbook moved on and we checked out. I reached into my purse and grabbed some cash to pay with. And then Grumpy Baby Boomer decided to stick her nose where it don’t belong. She said “I’m glad to see I’m not paying for your groceries.”  For a split second I thought I was in a coffee drive thru and she was actually offering to purchase my items for me. I turned to her “Excuse me?” “It’s good to see you’re not using food stamps.” 

The thing is, the way she said it, I think she thought she was paying me a compliment. Because only the super duper rich can have five kids and not need supplemental aid. Or something. Maybe because in the grand scheme of things, I’m still young. Well that’s what I tell myself anyway. But no matter her intent……WHAT THE WHAT LADY???????

Do you thank everyone in front of you at the grocery store? Or just moms with kids?”  She looked perplexed at the fact that I bristled at her compliment. Or that she wasn’t the only one who made comments that were out of bounds. She made another pursed lips raised eyebrows face and became very interested in her wallet. But my hackles were raised. As I moved from the checkout I did mutter, loud enough, “Chances are you’re getting more from Social Security than you paid in.” And huffed off. I mean,,,,that would be MY money lady. But who's counting. 



The kids had all been discussing which flavor of gum they would buy and were oblivious to the altercation that had just occurred. I left feeling irked. And that I most likely hadn’t handled it well. More like I had just written another chapter in my autobiography “Not My Finest Moment.” But then again, that would describe my whole week.


Monday, August 25, 2014

Random thoughts from the summer……..

Why is it that a mom can take her five children down to the hotel provided continental breakfast and no one bats an eye? Other than the stink eye for someone taking two yogurts. But should the dad take the children to breakfast, an hour after the mom already took the eldest because she had to get to a soccer game, well every one falls all over him.  Even when X-Man knocks over his juice, it’s sweet that Mac cleaned it up for me. If that happens to me, well I’m the clueless mom who’s not paying attention. But hooray for the dad who’s a dad!  And yes sweet fellow soccer mom to three, the reason why you can’t fathom handling two more is because your husband, their father, sits in his chair and dictates to you what you should do and what you are doing wrong.  I’d wring his neck, but that’s just me.

It’s been an interesting summer. It started with two children in diapers, neither one particularly verbal. At the end of summer, X-Man has no issues using the potty, although he still objects to underpants. He’s speaking, in an outside sort of voice, and over all becoming better behaved. The result is, he’s excited that he’s a big boy and that his attempts to communicate are understand fairly well. The result is that he’s happy, a lot. And when he’s happy, there’s no middle ground. I texted the father figure, asking for his assistance at a soccer game, because X-Man was manic. Manically happy, which means lots and lots of babbling, and trips to the porta potty. I better understand my father’s comment about me “I don’t know what’s worse, her in a good mood or her in a bad mood.


The rest of it’s all blending together is a very great haze.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

It’s been busy. Very busy. Not the good kind with fun events, but just crazy going going going. This makes me tired. And less amused by the endless stream of antics by my kids. Which then leaves me with fewer things I am willing to recount in a blog.

It’s the kind of week where when Mac bellows “MOM! X-Man has ice cream sandwiches in his pockets! makes total sense. Sure enough, X-Man had shoved frozen confections into four different pockets of his and made a break for the backyard. He was willing to share the purloined items with Cinco, who was waiting under the slide.

Cinco is at the end of her rope. She graced me with an epic meltdown as she was unable to participate in her older sisters’ soccer camp. She feels that her year and half worth of tagging along to various soccer events and practices has earned her the right to join in with all the other girls. Or her brother’s practice. Any chasing of any ball will do. But it must be with the big kids. Of which she is one.

Baby won her fourth soccer tournament of the summer. It was a feisty few games, in which I half expected to see Baby throw a punch. She isn’t ever the aggressor in a situation, but she does not suffer shoving patiently and will give as good as she gets. It appears that she is visualizing Baba as she goes full bore. She’s a spitfire, hiding behind a shy grin.

X-Man just discovered the cookies I hid. In the laundry room. In the cabinet above the washer. I think my time here is done.


Wednesday, August 13, 2014

How to take X-Man to a theme park.

1) offer to do doughtnuts for church at 7am, because nothing says successful family day like waking everybody up at 6am.

2) make individual potty stops for each kid. Because......why not?

3) Get to the park. Realize that you don't have the stroller.

4) Get to the gate. Traumatize the poor employee as you try to figure out what the heck you are doing. End 
up buying wristbands for everyone.

5) Stop at the bathrooms first, because X-Man annouced that he wants to see the potties.  Not use the potties, but definitely check them out.

6) Discover that X-Man has already removed his ride bracelet. 

7) Look for X-Man's not cheap ride bracelet.

8) Find X-Man's ride bracelet.....in his mouth.

9) Get a new bracelet...attach it around his ankle.

10) fight X-Man over the bracelet, explain to him that it is not actually giving him "ouches".

11) Attempt to move forward, only to discover the Cinco has made a  boom boom in her diaper. Lose X-Man as he decides to climb the retaining wall.

12) Finally release the children to the park.....commence running.

13) Explain to X-Man the concept of waiting in line.

14) Try a different method of explaining line waiting to X-Man.

15) Focus on the word WAIT while conversing with X-Man.

16)  Run after X-Man. Recognize that you are not as adept at bobbing and weaving as a three year old. 

17) Lose X-Man in the cave maze.

18) Crack your head while running through caves looking for X-Man. Swear you can hearing him laughing.

19) Find X-Man. Ask him where his shoes are.........

20) Take X-Man up and down the slide 37 times.

21) Take X-Man potty. Sit him on the potty. Check to make sure the door in locked.

22) Catch X-Man as he falls off the potty. In the two seconds it took you to shut the door, the boy has actually fallen asleep.

23) Lug the sleeping X-Man out of the bathroom. Commence chasing Cinco.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

X-Man’s potty trained. As trained as a three year old boy can be. I heard him run into the bathroom with his chant “gotta go potty, gotta go potty.” And then nothing. I decided to check in on him, only to discover him hunched over. “Look Mama bug!” Yes, it’s a bug. It’s also a puddle……but nice try.

Keeping true to form, I had grand ambitions for this weekend. Grand ambitions which mostly blew up in my face. A friend of mine has a photography business and was offering a family special. So I decided to take advantage of it. I had an image in my head that I wanted captured, as a piece of wall art. But I forgot who exactly comprised my family. Like say….X-Man. And Cinco.

We arrived at the agreed upon location. A beautiful local site with plenty of background options. And also, plenty of runners. We had picked the same date and time as some race. Fortunately, the runners were away from where we planned on shooting the pictures. So we carried on.

X-Man trotted happily down to the location, but once Cinco saw the scene, she began to wail. I don’t know if it was the grass, or the beautiful summer day, or the gentle breeze blowing, or being surrounded by her family, but she was having none of it. She wasn’t interested in sitting; she was very interested in running away. And if she was going to sit, she was going to wail. Nose scrunched up and mouth wide open. A lovely image.

It occurred to X-Man that if Cinco got to run, he should as well. And so he did. But not in the same direction as Cinco, because well…..that’s where mom and dad were going.  And he would only return under very loud protest. I learned then that Cinco and X-Man can cry at the exact same pitch. It’s actually quite an interesting phenomenon.

There are some very nice shots of four of the kids. Any four. Then there are also some shots of four heads looking for Cinco. Or Cinco stretching out her arms crying as X-Man bolts from the frame.  We finally threw in the towel and decided enough of the kids’ shots, let’s get some of the whole family.

So there are some shots of the whole family. In our natural state. Cinco crying because the father figure won’t let her put her fingers up his nose. X-Man writhing and yelling “help help help.” And the older kids attempting to deny that they are related to anyone present. The father figure distracted Cinco with his sunglasses. I distracted X-Man with my bracelet. It was working, up until I heard a disturbing crunch. X-Man had started to bite beads off my bracelet. As so as she figured out that he was eating something, Cinco demanded the bracelet too. And loudly protested the all the injustices.

To top it off, we left right as all the runners finished their race. Right where we parked.  I keep telling myself that I will miss these days, that the days of babies are the easy days. But that just makes me scared. And very tired.



Monday, August 11, 2014

For the first time this summer, we had a free weekend. It hadn’t occurred to me until halfway through Friday. I was plowing through the third kid’s drawers, removing the too small clothing, sorting and folding. I had cleaned the closets and all the drawers. Where was I getting all this time? Why did it take until August to get to this? What do I typically do on Fridays?

Oh yeah, that’s right. I run to soccer tournaments.

Immediately the guilt hit me. Here we had one free weekend and I was cleaning, and making the kids clean as well. Quickly I tried to salvage the remainder of the day. I grasped at straws, realized that I would be in over my head at the river, chances were literally, so I went to the next best option. The pool. With lifeguards.

It wouldn’t have been an option a week earlier, but Cinco had eventually fallen in love with water the last weekend, so the whole concept of staying within arms’ reach of both Cinco and X-Man seemed plausible. Until I remembered it was X-Man.
Sure enough, X-Man charged into the pool. He started in the ankle deep water and didn’t stop until he was in over his head. He grudgingly turned around and headed back until he could breathe. Cinco sat down in the ankle deep water and refused to move. X-Man did the exact opposite of refusing to move. And Baby, Baba and Mac assumed that I had brought them to the pool so that they could have a wonderful time.  They took off.

So I chased X-Man, tried to play with Cinco and fantasized about laying on a floaty while drinking a margarita. The lifeguards took pity on me and offered X-Man a little life jacket. It was a nice gesture and prudent. But also, a very bad thing. See, X-Man suddenly felt invincible and saw no need to worry if his feet could touch the bottom. He could just kick and be off. Swell.

So Cinco had to get comfortable on my hip while I chased X-Man. As well as one can when walking through water, holding a baby. And chasing a motivated three year old. Cleaning closets wasn’t such a hard life after all. Typical X-Man, he wasn’t satisfied fighting for survival in a pool that went up to four feet. Nope, he climbed out, and made a beeline for the larger lap pool. He was not impressed with my mom voice. I even used his middle name. Nope, nada. Well, he didn’t jump right in, which I saw him contemplate, but he sat down on the edge. Which is where the lifeguard caught up with him. She blocked his path with her floatation device. He looked up at her with his gargantuan brown eyes and said “Peeze?” She denied his request. He tried again. “Peeze, Dank you!” Nope. He looked dejected, probably because he could see me coming.

And that’s when I got to give my first time out at a pool. I was especially cruel. I made him sit on the stairs. Watching the fun. Wailing away. If we weren’t going to have a relaxing time, nobody was.
A subdued X-Man returned to the water, little duck in hand. He spent the rest of the afternoon chasing people with the duck. He has an odd noise, that’s supposed to sound like quacking…..I think. In general, it’s disturbing. But occasionally he’d bump into someone and yelp “GOOSE!!!!

We survived. The father figure came home to me lying on the couch, refusing to move. I had never been so sore in my life. I also think I’d never been as tense. The father figure asked why, and I explained about my day’s choices. He heard five children and pool and interrupted “WHY WOULD YOU DO THAT?” I mumbled something about being a good mom…….he helpfully commented “Well that’s your problem right there.”

In case you were wondering, Cinco still hates baths, with an insane passion. Pools yes, baths no. Which makes absolutely no sense. And so, is fitting in our life. 



Tuesday, August 5, 2014

The highlight of my week was watching the CrossFit games on ESPN. Not because of the competition, but because X-Man had to get in on the action. He observed for a while then ran into the kitchen where dinner was prepared but waiting for Daddy. He grabbed two corn cobs and began to do deadlifts. It took me a few seconds to figure out what he was doing, fortunately he was grunting along with his lifts, to help clarify.

He repeated the scene a couple days later with his father's flip flops. The boy is impressive.

We spent the weekend in a hotel suite. Or as Cinco and X-Man decided, a zoo cage. Fortunately there was a pool where they could blow off steam. Cinco began still terrified of water. Eventually though, her desire to do everything that X-Man does won over. Safe in her daddy's arms, she took to the water like a delicate swan. Acceptable for her legs to get wet, but not so much her torso.

X-Man clarified for me that he has absolutely no restraint or self preservation instincts. We entered the pool area and he charged yelling "WATER!!!!!" I caught him and showed him how to use steps to enter a pool. A pool that is WAY TOO DEEP for you unattended. He made it down the second one before he jumped. Now the water was just three feet, but still too deep for him. Did he panic? Of course not, he just figured that someone would save him. An assumption that proved valid.

He loved to jump in. His first time, he decided that he didn't need to wait for anyone. I assumed that he would be so frightened that he would wait for mom each time after. Not exactly. As I was walking Cinco around the pool, she was working up her desire to do everything X-Man does, X-Man climbed out. The father figure was swimming along in the pool to the other end where X-Man was headed. X-Man saw the father figure coming, but decided it was too long to wait. Baby was there, so might as well jump!

Baby saw the world's largest toddler flying through the air, towards her. She shrieked and ducked. X-Man splashed down near her and the father figure grabbed him by the leg. Undaunted the boy bobbed up and yelled "AGAIN!!!!"

Cinco and I headed back to the hotel room while X-Man was straddling his father's back yelling "FASTER!" That evening I discovered my first grey hair.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

I wish I could believe it is because they love me. I wish I could believe that they fight over me because they can’t live without me. I wish the screaming and the crying and the almost pulling my pants down this morning was based on their internal, overwhelming need for me. Not the overwhelming need to win over the other sibling.

The older children have spent every Tuesday and Thursday morning at sports camp. This means I am the sole source of comfort for the littles, X-Man and Cinco. Part of the benefit for them, or so I thought, would be more personalized attention and no sibling to whisper in their ear “Hey wanna watch minions?” So, how could it go wrong?

Well first off, I could forbid X-Man to smush up his banana and finger paint the table with it. Furthermore, I could offer Cinco a banana, which, until this morning, she loved. Now, she is terrified of them. Cleary I would have to hold her, to rescue her from the terror known as produce. X-Man, already traumatized by the quashing of his artistic expression, took this act, the holding of his baby sister, as a complete and utter betrayal of him.

But X-Man knows my heart, he loves that I love him dearly and I probably just needed a reminder of his existence. So he launched himself out of his chair, still covered with banana, and flung himself into my legs. Good thing I put on clean pants, otherwise what else would he have wiped his face and hands on? Cinco herself had to be cleaned up from breakfast so together we lurched towards to bathroom, Cinco in arm, X-Man hanging off my legs, bellowing as I clearly had forgotten he existed.

In order to clean X-Man up, I had to put Cinco down. So she collapsed on my feet, wailing. X-Man had his arms extended “hold please thank you. Hold please thank you!” I picked him up to attempt to assuage him, temporarily. Cinco was not pleased.

Exiting the bathroom, I thought I might have stumbled upon a solution, walk holding both children’s hand. Neither found this to be acceptable. So of course, both collapsed to the floor. I let go of their hands. They grasped my ankles, both, howling away. Good thing I had the windows open to cool down the house, otherwise the neighbors wouldn’t know how horrible a mother I was.

I dragged them to the living room, settled them in front of some toys and attempted to be somewhat productive. I checked my email on my phone and discovered that one of my articles for the other blog had posted. I decided to get on the computer to look it over, mostly because I had already discovered a typo, being an article I had written.  As they seemed content to bond over their mutual abandonment by their mother, I snuck off to do some much needed editing.

Cinco gave me fifteen seconds before joining me, needing to sit in my lap. Fair enough, I can type one handed. If only holding her was part of her plan. But she neededPotty Mommy, potty!
to sprawl across my lap and try to type along with me.  To not allow her to do so is to crush her soul. And of course, X-Man had joined the fray by this time. I tried to tell him I was holding his sister and couldn’t hold him, but he couldn’t hear me over his own tears and the howls of indignation coming from Cinco. X-Man held the ultimate trump card. When I wouldn’t pick him up, while Cinco sprawled all over me, and the computer, he yelled “

Yep, I’ll still drop everything to run that boy to the bathroom. Cinco figured this gave her easy access for the treasure trove known as the bathroom drawers. I positioned myself in such a way that she did not have access, so she toddled off to yell her frustration at the neighbors.

I returned to the computer, as I had yet to actually accomplish what I had set out to do. X-Man followed me and clambered up into my lap. Cinco’s sixth sense alerted her to the fact that she was being neglected somehow and came running back into the office. Cinco doesn’t try to ask permission, she prefers the plunge ahead and plead forgiveness approach. And so, she pushed her head through the armrest and used her abs of awesomeness to climb into my lap. X-Man considered being outraged, but he was tired from his previous exertions. However, Cinco was ready to play her ultimate trump card. She decided to nurse, it had to be right then and it would require my entire lap. Clearly X-Man would have to go. She gave him a helpful kick in the back to motivate him.

X-Man slid down turned and asked “Watch Minions?” I figured he had earned it by tolerating Cinco’s shenanigans, so I said ok. At that, Cinco decided she no longer needed to nurse. She’d go watch Minions too. And I had been replaced by a fat, yellow……thing. And I couldn’t be happier.



Monday, July 28, 2014

X-Man is three.  He spent the weekend yelling "Happy Thank You!"  to anyone he thought might have a gift for him. Although we hadn't

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

I am in the seventh ring of Hell. Otherwise known as "football practice in the rain with four other kids in the car." Two kids who should be napping right now. Two kids who are determined to start some homeschool emo club in the car as we speak. And one mom who just spilled her desperately needed coffee down her white shirt.  Did I mention we're on our way to meet out of town family for dinner?

I also re-injured my neck, something that hasn't bothered me since X-Man was born. But between sleeping wrong end getting head banged by X-Man.....I'm feeling particularly old. I have writer's block, which isn't helping me produce the posts I'm supposed to for my other blog. Not to mention that Mac is angry at me. I brushed off his attempts to come up with a plan for when a bully throws him in a volcano. I told him I had to pack for the zombie apocalypse. X-Man drank half a container of coffee creamer. The good news is he tried to share it with Cinco. The bad news is X-Man shared the coffee creamer with the baby who spent the rest of the morning trying to break in fridge to get more of that high fructose goodness. There is no more creamer left. And I have to the kids at speed and agility camp at 8am tomorrow. I'm probably be desperate enough to drink coffee black.

As I was typing that last sentence, compose on my phone while X-Man stands in my lap (sitting is SO 2013) I have to wonder,  what sane parent attempts to make their child more speedy and agile? I should start a sleepy and sedated camp. Would probably make a fortune. I'm pretty sure I graduated that camp not too long ago.

Monday, July 21, 2014

This is the summer of soccer tournaments. Every weekend. All weekend. The kids roll with it pretty with it pretty well. Down to bringing money for sno-cones. But still,  it's a lot, so I try to make it more pleasant for the kids. So I dropped the boys off at grandma's Thursday night, partly so that they didn't have to deal  with Friday games and Friday traffic.  And so I didn't have to deal with them during Friday games and Friday traffic. 
In the words of Grandma,  X-Man and she came to an understanding. X-Man is the father figured trapped in a toddler's body, so this is most certainly not grandma's first rodeo. As a result, everyone had a pleasant time. The potty was used appropriately and all was well on the home front. 

I left them on Thursday evening, before I began my soccer practice runs. Bouncing between practices was an enjoyable and quiet. I observed that Cinco, when there are no siblings blocking her, likes to head bang while I drive. She was enthusiastic and calm.

Friday was long, especially as Cinco fought her nap as much as possible. The father figure was supposed to pick the boys up, but he was stuck working late. I didn’t even get onto the right side of the river until almost nine pm, so the boys stayed an extra night. This worked out well, as Baba had an early game. This way we would go together and go pick up the boys. And so we did. Enjoying the calm morning and the simplicity of caring for two independent children and a baby.

I was excited to pick up the boys. I missed them a lot and I was ready to have X-Man’s hefty arms around my neck and Mac’s steady stream of consciousness. It was off without the boys there. And so we retrieved the missing pieces of the family and headed back to the soccer tournament.
 
We hadn’t hit the freeway before my head was hurting. IT. WAS. SO. LOUD. The serenity of the past close to 48 hours was not just shattered, it was pulverized. And there was no reason for it to be so loud. Except that suddenly there were two boys in the van.

First it was screaming for fun. X-Man was waving goodbye to Grandma and yelling “Bye grandma!” The he and Mac started to yell goodbye to the trees and houses and everything. Then Baby started to yell at them to stop yelling. So X-Man yelled at Baby.  And Mac gesticulated wildly and hit Baby. Who hit Mac, who yelled at the father figure, who yelled at Baby to stop hitting. Then Cinco joined in. It was as if she had forgotten all the noise she could make while her brothers were away. She excitedly shrieked and then removed her shoes, for no good reason. Continuing along the lines of random, not helpful, behavior, Cinco threw her shoes. One hit Mac in the head, which prompted more yelling. X-Man yelled because he could.

Then a fire engine flew by. This led to X-Man channeling theminion fire alert noise. Which is this decade’s seagulls from Finding Nemo. Only more annoying.

Ten minutes into a forty minute drive, the father figure and I exchanged horrified looks. It was chaos. And apparently we lived with this on a day by day basis. Clearly this was the case as Baba was sleeping through it. You don’t understand how insane it is until you don’t hear it for a couple minutes. All this chaos, stemmed from two little boys. Just two. Feeding off each other and continually upping the ante.

Of course, in the middle of the freeway, X-Man announced that he had to use the potty. Mac was concerned that we hadn’t heard and amplified X-Man’s bellowing. Baby, who was aware that we had herad, was concerned that we weren’t enthusiastic enough and started clapping and shouting “good boy! Good job! Good boy!” Cinco started clapping too.

By the time the bathroom break was done, things seemed to have settled down. Or I had reverted back to my survival mode. Life seemed normal. But I still remember peace and quiet. Maybe I’ll get back there some day….when the boys are in college.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Dear fellow toddlers,

If you think completion of potty training is the end of guaranteed personal time with mom, at least four times a day, think again. Just because she is no longer changing your diapers, you can still commandeer her attention. Since she is very desperate for you to be potty trained, she will most certainly play along.

1) Always refuse the underwear. It doesn't matter if it does indeed have Thomas the Tank Engine on it, or even Minions, no dice. NO UNDERWEAR. When she puts you on the potty for your first go around, make sure to put your hands on her face and pull her close to you and say "Peeze Mommy, Pullup no min-mins." She will still make you wear underwear, but will totally make you pancakes with strawberries and whipped cream. This counts as a win.

2) While she is making you smiley face pancakes, go ahead and remove your pants and underwear. Go and hug her legs and ask to see what she is doing. When she picks you up, she'll discover you're not wearing any pants. When she asks "Where are your pants?" Laugh, give your best smile and kiss her. She'll still make you wear clothes, but she'll give you strawberries as a consolation prize.

3) Remove your pants. Again. This time keep your underwear on. She will tell you "good job." Although that's not what she says to Daddy when he walks around in his underwear. Or Mac. Ignore the double standard as it benefits you and continue on. This too constitutes a win.

4) Refuse to use the potty when she takes you after breakfast. Refuse to use the potty before going outside. Cry and scream in need be. Wet your pants two minutes after going outside to play. You now will have mom's undivided attention while she changes your clothes. You'll probably have to sit on the potty again. But it will be worth it. Win.

5) Refuse to use the potty before and after lunch. Keep your pants on. She will consider this a win. Which is a win for you as she will tell you "good job" for doing what is expected from everyone else in the family.

6) Settle down for a movie, within the first five minutes, jump up and run to the bathroom. Yell "Poop in the potty" while doing so. This will get mom to run from wherever she is and assist you, while telling you what a good job you are doing.

7) Sneak out of your room at quiet time. Find where mom is, most likely holding the sleeping usurper, possibly dozing herself. Use the potty, quietly, then find mom. Stand with your nose almost touching hers, to make sure you will have her full attention, despite usurper's best attempts. Yell loudly "Chocolate! Pee in potty! Chocolate!" Usurper will cry, claiming you woke her up, but don't worry. Mom will be so pleased, she'll forgive the whole waking the sleeping baby thing.

8) Don't worry about using the potty again. You'll pee in the tub, which will require mom to draw you a new bath, but she'll blame the warm water. Pull up is on. You'll get extra snuggles though, for all your efforts.

Sincerely,

X-Man

PS for extra fun, try hiding the car keys in the bathroom drawer. While being forced to use the potty, count on usurper to try to throw a phone into the bathtub. Mom will be distracted. While she is removing usurper, press the red button on the keys. That will make the car very loud. And Mom will yell that usurper has the keys. She will be confused. Meanwhile, usurper will return to the bathroom. You get extra points if usurper follows Mom out the door, where she has gone to figure out what's wrong with the car, wearing your underpants on her head. About the time Mom sounds like she might explode, walk out to the car with the keys. Not wearing underpants, because they're still on usurper's head.

You'll totally have to go to quiet time after, but the looks on the olders' faces......worth it.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

It often is the plight of mom to feel ignored and unappreciated. This is because she does not even attempt to shower or use the bathroom while her children are awake. The experienced mother knows that the prime bathroom hours are between one and three am. Using the bathroom in any form, even to just muffle screams in the bath towels, is to remind your children that they are physically incapable of surviving five minutes without without asking you all their mostest pressing questions in the world. Including "Daddy says the minions are speaking French. Is the true?" Sounds like something the father figure would say. And of course "MOM! Mac says French isn't a language!" "IT ISN'T! IT'S A FOOD LIKE FRENCH FRIES!"

I worked out. I cleaned up the kitchen. I passed Mac in the hall at least three times. But it was only when I was actually in the shower that it occurred to him that he really wanted a Greek yogurt.....right then. Maybe it's the sound of running water that possesses them to come running to ask "What's for dinner. ...tomorrow?"

I try to shower during nap time, which is when I can get my workouts in. We've all seen what happens if I work out while X-Man is awake. And if I try to shower while he's awake, he will come in, sit on the potty and bellow, oh so gently, "MOM I goes potty." Repeatedly. Until  I actually observe him doing so. Then it's "MOM! All done." Which requires a second observation.

Being summer, I am on vacation from work.  So I've been getting up and trying to sneak a workout in when I typically am working.  This did bring me quiet showers for all of three days. Then Mac, who is desperately trying to beat the sun out of bed, started joining me in the bathroom. He would sit on the potty for an inordinate amount of time, recounting his dreams and thoughts on life in general. Now I love Mac more than life itself, but the boy won't stop talking. Never about what he learned in school or what he did at swimming or about the book he's reading. Nope, however, he will explain to you how if plants had brains, zombies would eat them and vampires aren't real which is weird because the letter "v" is real and it's a hard choice between being  hit in the head with a rock and have to eat squid eyeball ice cream.  All real "conversations ". All had before my morning coffee.

Eventually, the father figure will yell, from the bed, for Mac to leave mommy alone when she's in the shower. He will then roll over and pat himself on the back for his good deed of the day and go back to sleep. You know who doesn't go back to sleep?  Cinco. Cinco who was sleeping up until the father figure came to the rescue. She's awake and getting out of bed and he's back asleep. So there I am, with Cinco wailing because she must eat NOW before she dies and Mac trying to decide what's faster a cheetah or a rocket on fire,   because fire doesn't exist in space, and he really needs me to weigh in on the matter. And Baba wonders how you could forget
to shave both legs.

If you are wondering why I don't just lock the door, well maybe it's because "there's a spider" sounds a lot like "there's a fire" through a locked door and running water. Or I still have Mac's indoor voice ringing in my ears "Don't let mom know that Cinco has blood everywhere."  And by blood he meant red sharpie, which is bad enough. Maybe it's that I know if they're in "bonding"with me, they aren't out there, burning the house down or bonding with each other. Which seems to involve a lot of bruises.