Thursday, January 30, 2014

Things that make blogging hard......

A baby who can remove her own diaper. And does so. Especially when it is poopy.

A baby who tries to eat the poopy diaper that she removed.

A baby who gets her face close enough to the diaper so she can eat it, realizes that it smells like a poopy diaper, is outraged and throws it.

A baby who throws the poopy diaper that she has removed from herself, so she's sitting on the rug with her bare buns, in such a manner that it lands wrong side on the floor.

These things make it hard to blog.

Other things that make it hard to blog....

A toddler who, convinced that I have been holding out on him, steals his sister's baby food and takes off. The baby, seeing the food leave her sight, gives pursuit screaming.

A toddler, having purloined his sister's food, hides behind the couch to taste the delectable delights. The baby is hot on his heels settles down next to him.

Said toddler tastes the stolen delights and realizes that pureed vegetables tastes about the same as regular veggies and is infuriated. The obvious choice is to throw it.

The baby, seeing her precious food thrown, desperately tries to pick it up. That does not work. She is heartbroken.

Also it is not easy to blog when the toddler opens the oven door and encourages his baby sister to get in. Or when you hear "Get in baby" coming from the laundry room. Oh yeah, the toddler can open the dryer. And the dishwasher. And the front door.

I may never blog again.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Well behaved days result in uninteresting blogs. Fortunately, Cinco did her part last night.

I pulled the old trick of the father figure. Lay down with the baby to help her go to sleep and conveniently  miss out in the chaos in the rest of the house. The chaos was actually rather minimal last night as the father figure was playing chess with the kids, but I was ready to call it a night. And while I was ok with X-Man meandering around, I wasn't a fan of Cinco and X-Man holding court together.

So off to bed we went. It did not go well. If you've seen the "How to Fight a Baby" video well it was that. Only, Cinco wasn't the baby. Except sometimes she was. I just wasn't fighting all that well. Or at all. Cinco was very excited to be in bed with me. And she showed her excitement by trying to drag my face all over the bed to better show me....stuff. She has very sharp fingernails. And the easiest point of contact for her was none other than my mouth. My lips to be precise. So that was not exactly comfortable.

I would pry her absurdly attached little fingers off and settle her down. She was in bed with me because she screamed when placed in her own bed. I was beginning to think happy Cinco might be worse than angry Cinco. This hunch was confirmed as she viciously began to suck on my neck. In a "I lost my binkie, actually I threw it worth a shriek, and any port in a storm." As I pried her off my neck, she decided to fist bump me. With her head. On my eye socket.

While I was reacting with more noise than I would prefer to admit, Cinco realized "Hey, you know what I haven't done in a few hours....bite mom's nose!" And more shrieking from me. I believe I actually asked her "What did I do to you?!"

Of course Cinco felt bad, so she attempted to fix my hair as a sign of her care for me. It did not go well. Although my hair was due for a thinning. So, it was helpful I suppose. She was as successful as she was because she propped herself up by kneeling on my stomach. She also thought my eye lashes needed to be manicured.

I think this is why the father figure keeps staking out the couch..

Monday, January 27, 2014

We spent the weekend searching for and purchasing a car. It was not fun. We didn't get my first choice, which was a pulse quickening red, also known as ticket-bait.We found a very acceptable option complete with a clock that actually displays and sliding doors that open when you push the buttons. We're very fancy now.

It's the theater of the absurd here. I am at my wits' end. X-Man is physically capable of using the potty. He will so, just often enough to drive me batty. But he's more content to just not use it. And now that Cinco is eating solids, I'm done with diapers. So, I tried a different approach.

To the chagrin of the other children, I instituted the "Whoo hoo you used the potty" routine for the whole family. And then I promptly forgot that I did. Until Baba shuffled out and looked slyly at me and said "Well I just used the potty." And so it began. We all cheered wildly, told her she was incredible and gave her m&ms. Well, all of us except Mac and X-Man. Mac took off running to the bathroom himself while X-Man studiously attempted to open the coffee maker. But he was forced to pay attention when we all burst into applause for Mac.

And so, he grudgingly decided to participate. Which made to the whole dog and pony show possibly worth it. Cinco found the whole thing hilarious. And maybe just slightly alarming.

Friday, January 24, 2014

I typically don't post twice a day. Heck I barely post twice a week. But I stumbled upon this gem of an article titled "I Look Down On Young Women With Husbands and Kids and I'm Not Sorry." In order to not add to her page view count, I'll break it down for you here. 

"Every time I hear someone say that feminism is about validating every choice a woman makes I have to fight back vomit."

I am going to laugh if you're pregnant. Really, really laugh. And laugh again. And then you're going to have to labor. Which makes me laugh some more. Don't judge me, I was once a young woman, with a husband and kids. Now I just drink copious amounts of wine to drown out the screaming. Mostly by me, as I stare in the mirror. But I digress. 

"Do people really think that a stay at home mom is really on equal footing with a woman who works and takes care of herself? There’s no way those two things are the same.

That's a fair point. I mean, there are days when I don't change out of my pajamas until like noon...ok three...ok the next day. I cut my hair so I would stop putting it in a ponytail. It's in a ponytail right now. So yeah, I barely work at taking care of myself. You have a point. 

"Having kids and getting married are considered life milestones........... These aren’t accomplishments, they are actually super easy tasks, literally anyone can do them......... They are, by definition, average. And here’s the thing, why on earth are we settling for average?"

I guess it depends on what you think is average. Yes, women have babies. Lots of women have of babies. Some women have lots of babies. It's not the producing of the baby that's impressive, well until you actually think about the one sperm and the one egg that made this tiny heart that's protected by tiny ribs in a tiny person with perfect fingernails. It's the next fifty years. Now mom has a responsibility. There's a tiny heart that trusts completely in this woman, beautiful eyes that see with complete certitude that this woman will always be here for me, that the heart I grew under will always protect me. While that's always the expectation, it's not an average expectation. 

"If women can do anything, why are we still content with applauding them for doing nothing?"

Say what you want, but growing a person isn't nothing. It certainly isn't unusual, but it isn't nothing. Nor is being able to quell the rising passions of a toddler, or drying the tears of an eleven year old or keeping a six year old cavity free. Unless by nothing you mean not glamorous, in which case I would agree with you. I have no clue what I've done over the last eleven years, but I can tell by my physical and mental condition, it ain't nothin' sistah!

"I want to have a shower for a woman when she backpacks on her own through Asia, gets a promotion, or lands a dream job not when she stays inside the box and does the house and kids thing which is the path of least resistance..............You will never have the time, energy, freedom or mobility to be exceptional if you have a husband and kids."

And after she leaves Asia, Asia stays the same. Asia doesn't care who backpacks across her. Seriously. Now, take a mother away from a child. Heck I simply try to shower in the morning and it's either World War Apocalypse or the world's greatest injustice. Mostly because I won't let a toddler into the shower with me. Typically he hates the shower. Unless I'm in it. And he's fully clothed. I hope that you don't know what it is like to live without your mother. I certainly don't. As a little girl, I remember laying in my bed crying at the thought that my parents might die. Because, in my world, there wasn't an ordinary thing about them. Trust me, there were times I really wanted them to be ordinary. But they weren't. And they were my world.  

"I hear women talk about how “hard” it is to raise kids and manage a household all the time. I never hear men talk about this. It’s because women secretly like to talk about how hard managing a household is so they don’t have to explain their lack of real accomplishments. Men don’t care to “manage a household.” They aren’t conditioned to think stupid things like that are “important.”"

First off, guys don't complain about housework because well...they're guys. Ugly reality. It's not that laundry all the time is hard, not even the pairing of socks. Nor is cleaning although I am not of fan scraping smushed graham  cracker off the floor.  Nor is cooking three meals a day, for the most discerning palates created.What's hard is to juggle this to do list, while being completely available for any number of tiny persons. Tiny persons who can only be comforted by your arms. Tiny persons who will only sleep with their heads resting near the heartbeat that they were formed listening to. Tiny persons who trust you completely. Tiny persons whose little hearts need the cocoon that only you can form. And then these tiny persons grow. They grow into young people. Young people who want to be accepted. Young people who want to be liked. Young people who are setting off into the world, but so desperately need a navigator still. And so you navigate them, ever so gently so that they learn to be independent but their spirit stands strong. And that is hard. It's not just hard, it's heartbreaking. 

Just as you will never forget those first moments, the first glances at the precious face that's been nurtured within you, you don't forget the first time you wipe tears off your little girl's face. Not those tears of rage that come from nap time or teeth brushing, but the tears of hurt that come from the outside world. And you have to stay strong. You have to hold her and guide her and comfort her, without pounding on those who hurt her. That, my dear, is hard. You have to watch your babies stumble and fall. You have to watch them make the wrong decisions and just pick them up after. You have to love them enough to let the fly. But you have to be strong enough to let them come back. You have to love them enough that you would die for them, you would kill for them and you have to let go of their hands. And that is hard. Well, I wish it was just hard. Because working out is hard. This, this is gut wrenching, physically crushing, emotionally draining love. Love that you freely chose, love that you give not requiring reciprocation. That is all consuming. It is a different level than hard. 

Not to mention, I've tried to tell my kids that eating three times a day is "stupid." They've tried to tell my that teeth brushing is "stupid." That man who doesn't think much of housework, well he's maintained that bed making and clothes folding are pointless. 

"Women will be equal with men when we stop demanding that it be considered equally important to do housework and real work. They are not equal. Doing laundry will never be as important as being a doctor or an engineer or building a business. This word play is holding us back."

You're right.  Washing clothes isn't on the same significant level as brain surgery. Well, unless you don't have clean underwear. And you have to go to the doctor. That might get awkward. But it's clear you don't understand the mindset of those women who freely choose to stay home. It's not because laundry is awesome, or vacuuming is fun. It's because that's where they are. They, the people you are giving everything up for. The people you love so much it hurts. The people you would give the world to. So you give them clean clothes. You give them warm food. You give them a sanctuary to relax in. You're not doing housework for housework's sake. You're doing it for their sake. Because, much as you desperately want, you can't give them the world. But you can make their world beautiful. So you try.  

Is it important? Not to you. But then I don't do it for you. I do it for them. Am I important? Not in the slightest. Am I important to them? I can't walk out of the room without them chasing me down. Will it matter in twenty years? Just to a handful of people. But then, that's all I've ever cared about. Just my little handful of the world. 

I know the feeling of chubby arms clinging around my neck. I know feeling of a toddler's hand securely in mine. I know feeling of tears on my shoulder. I know I am needed. I am needed by five tiny persons. That's all. It's not impressive. But I am their world. Not because I'm special or even a good mom. I'm just a mom. But that's what's expected of moms. All moms. To be the world to their children. Until their children slip away.

If moms do their jobs right, no one notices. If we are there for our children, if we love them, if we listen to them, if we are there to guide them, precious few people notice. And what you don't notice, you don't tend to value. 

So go ahead and look down on me. I'll be looking east, showing my little one a sunrise for the first time. I prefer my view. 

Thursday, January 23, 2014

It's been a rough few days. Although I have been able to experience true stay at home motherhood. Just a little stir crazy now. There's only so much I can accomplish through online car shopping. It would also be helpful if the father figure wasn't working past car dealer closing times. Although, I am a fan of the overtime. It's helpful for the budget. Which has been blown by the sudden and yet expected demise of our vehicle. It was just supposed to hold out for another nine months. I mean, what's the point of a budget if everyone doesn't play by the rules.

Part of the roughness of my life currently, is Cinco is still considering getting whooping cough or something. She keeps practicing, mostly from the hours of midnight to 5am. The father figure has most helpfully moved himself to sleeping on the couch. Well, more accurately, he keeps falling asleep on the couch and then decided not to join the fun of partying with Typhoid Cinco. But last night, her hacking woke him up as well. He actually walked into the bedroom and asked "Is she ok? Do you hear her coughing?"

For the record, I was sitting up in bed....holding the baby. The father figure had nothing else to offer and so stumbled back out to the couch. My master plan is to fall asleep on the couch first tonight.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

I observed Cinco in the kitchen today. She opened up the cupboard behind which the garbage was stored and pulled out a napkin. She settled herself down on the floor and started ripping it apart with glee. She discovered last night that napkins rip up quite nicely. I swear she was giggling while she did it. I, of course, had to ruin the moment with a "What are you doing?" and watched her jump and scurry away. She recovered and tried to open the refrigerator while being totes cool.

I'm not sure why I got a kick out it quite like I did. I think it had something to do with Cinco exhibiting child-like behavior. Sure, at nine months, she still all baby, after all, she quick settled for trying to eat the fridge door, but it's fun to catch those moments of transition. Also of naughtiness. But she still makes it look cute.

X-Man, on the other hand, spent the entire day trying to lick my face. Couldn't tell you why. I did actually check to make sure that there was no errant food smeared anywhere. I think he just got up today and decided "Today I will lick mommy's face as I have licked just about everything else in this house." And, being the boy he is, there is no deterring him. Other than nap time. I'm considering donning Mac's Spiderman mask when X-Man awakes.

I don't know what the heck it is with X-Man recently. I was nursing Cinco the other day and knew that X-Man was hovering nearby. I did a double take when I saw him, because he was sitting with Cinco's foot in his mouth, staring at me. Almost like "How long must I sit here like this before she notices?"

He's weird. And awake again. So sitting exposed isn't going to work.

Monday, January 20, 2014

If you are going to leave your wife alone for several days, with five children, it's best to not text her about how relaxing the flight down was. Or how you had two margaritas with dinner. Or how you might go swimming. Or how comfortable the bed is. (this is especially cruel if your daughter chooses pull her mother's hair while sleeping in bed with her.

If you are going to leave your wife alone for several days, with five of your children, try to make sure that the fridge is stocked. You don't want to send your wife out to the grocery store at dinner time, as your daughter and son refuse to take simultaneous naps. This will result in the folks at Trader Joes recommending a bottle of wine for your wife as your two year old runs up and down the aisle stuffing cupcakes in his junior sized cart. And she will buy that bottle of wine.

If you are going to leave your wife and children for a long weekend, try to not leave on a weekend where there are three soccer games in two different states. And a swimming lesson. And a toddler who believes that he should be allowed on the soccer field because.....well all the other moms let their kids on! Including Baby! Baby's on the field and not me. You're so not fair mom!!!! I will bite your hand.

If you are going to leave your wife and children for any amount of time try to leave a functioning vehicle. One that runs for three days and then randomly decides to stop working isn't going to cut it. Most especially if it's 6:40am and everyone's loaded up and the car just dies. Baby's already demanding a new car because she gets carsick in the current vehicle. Your wife, who you left alone with five children, asked for a new car two years ago. And will call you at 6:50am to ask you what's wrong with the car. Beauty sleep and all.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

 Rough Translation transcribed 2:17am

"You know what I haven't done in 38 minutes? Nurse. You know what I love to do? Nurse.
I said I want to nurse. I KNOW you heard me. I SAID I WANT TO NURSE. And by WANT I mean NEED. Like TOTALLY. RIGHT NOW. MUST NURSE NOW!!!!!!

Is it too much to ask for just a smidgen of eye contact? Is it too much to at least act like you enjoy this bonding time? Here what if I pull your hair? You really react when I pinch your ribs. Something about my nails being really sharp. You make funny noises when I do that. It makes me laugh. 

What did you eat today? This tastes like coffee. I don't really like coffee. I KNOW I've told you that before. I going to have to try the other side. 

I said 'I'm going to have to try the other side'. Fine I'll do it myself. Have to crawl across you. In the dark. Probably will get strangled in the blankets but apparently you don't care. Have everything myself in this family. Next you'll make me change my own diapers. 

Good grief, this side is as bad as the first. What do you eat? More cookies less Thai. Please. I might as well crawl back over to the other side. At least there I can lay in comfort, which is all the comfort I get as the food here is less than stellar. Don't worry, I've got it. No need assist me. Really, heaven forbid you break a sweat caring for me. 

You know, this works way better for me if I lay on your stomach. No I said it's better here. BETTER. PUT ME BACK RIGHT NOW!!!!!" NOW!!!! Good thing you're not in the service industry. 

Hey, hey HEY!!! I know what you're doing. The binkie will not cut it. NO. NO BINKIE. Oh don't you get an attitude with me, just because I threw it. Hey you're the one who's trying to pull a fast one. I'm just being authentic here. Sure, make the father figure go get the binkie. Drag him into this. Don't every think about pawning me off on him. Like daddy and a binkie can even come close to what I need. He doesn't even have long enough hair to pull. 

All this work has made me very sleepy. I put my trust in you and then you go and try to shake me off. What does it take for a little girl to get some sleep here. Can you just leave me in peace? If you would just leave me in peace I wouldn't have to bring my teeth in to express my displeasure. This is really all on you. Really. 

But it's all good. I love you mommy. Mostly I love your nose. And your ear. I love both so much. I can't decide which I want to sleep with. Both. I need both. I love them both so much. Especially the way my finger can go in both your nose and your ear. While I am still holding them. That's so cool. 

NO I"M NOT DONE YET. Can't a girl get a little shut eye mid snack? Good grief. I intend to file a formal complaint.  Probably tomorrow."

Rough Translation transcribed  3:29am

"You know what I haven't done in a while? Nurse!"

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Today I did nothing. Not quite true, but everything stopped come 11:25 am. That's when Cinco fell asleep in my arms. This was monumental because Cinco hadn't really napped since Christmas, and wasn't sleeping well at night either. But here she was, dead to the world. Experiences over the last three weeks taught me to not try to lay her down. The minute Cinco's head hits a pillow BAMMO wide awake baby. Wide awake baby enraged that you had tried to ditch her somewhere.

So, book in hand, I hung out on the couch. I directed school. Which meant that I made Baby write the correct answers to questions. Including when she was asked yes or no questions, I deemed the numbers she wrote incorrect. Also, I expected her to use letters when writing her answers. Her attempts to fake cursive were not particularly convincing. So, I sat there, ruining her life. I also made Mac write the answers to his subtraction problems correctly. I wasn't moved by the spirit of the answer. In my book, 14 is not the same as 41. Even if you forgot how to write 14.

So there I was, whispering to the kids, watching them try to keep X-Man subdued, when suddenly Mac asked "Why are the police here?"

Now, there are many phrases that chill a parent to the bone, but this is most certainly up there with the worst. There really can't be any good reason for the police to come to your door.

Fortunately for me they didn't actually come to the door. Nope, they just parked themselves in front of my very unweeded lawn. Yeah, that won't get the neighbors talking. I tried to play it cool and not think about how X-Man had made a break for it out the front door, wearing only a diaper, earlier that morning. In all fairness to me, I had been showing the inspector who came to check the insulation work we had done all the places they had insulated. In case you were wondering, they hadn't. As I came down the stairs I noticed that the front door was ajar. So I didn't actually wonder where X-Man was, I knew. Sure enough, he was hiding behind the car, just waiting for me to catch him. This is good, because we live near a very busy street and I just don't need a boy who refuses to wear pants hightailing it anywhere.

So yes, my first thoughts when observing the police car was "aw man did they call the cops on me for that?" But they didn't seem all that interested in the house. One did get out to talk to the mail lady, but he kept pointing at the neighbor's house. Probably saying something along the lines of "So the naked boy didn't come from that house?"

Another neighbor came over to chat with the officers. "Yep, right over there. That's where all the crazy comes from. At times I think it spills over to my house. I resent that." I stayed on the couch wondering how messy a house had to be before it was deemed unfit for children. Wondering if I had yelled too much at X-Man when I found him outside. Or maybe I didn't yell enough. Maybe they think I go too much and my kids should stay home more often. Maybe tZhe energy inspector guy was horrified that we allowed the contractors we did inside the house.

Or possibly they weren't actually interested in me at all. But that's a boring line of thought. Also, I had one toddler with an incredibly snotty nose that was most definitely pressed up against the window closest to the patrol car. And as he was yelling at them, certainly sounded like he was cussing them out in baby or begging them to turn their lights and sirens on, it seemed hard to miss him.

They hung out a bit longer and then left. And thCinco slept for another couple of hours. And woke bright eyed for the first time in two weeks. So all in all it was an interesting afternoon. And X-Man drew me a very nice picture on the window with his snot.
at was the end of the excitement for the day.

Monday, January 13, 2014

Gestated Cinco has graduated from the school of X-Man medicine taking. Therefore, I get Amoxicillin raspberried into my face four times a day now instead of the typical two. But I suppose I deserve it. I myself feel like squirting garlic oil, hot compresses and everything else homeopathic into the faces of all those who sang the praises of garlic curing ear infections. Nothing solidifies your status as a mediocre mother quite like sitting in urgent care with two babies and three ear infections. Well, four if you count the double twice. Natural cures my eye. Well actually more like my kiddos ears but whatever. Not awesome.

I'm feeling frustrated and thwarted at every turn. As the reality of the end of life has been starting us in the face for the last week, the father figure and I have had some important discussion. We need to solidify our plans and wishes for our children should anything happen to us. Unfortunately, I've been blogging for the last year, which makes finding a home for our five children that much more difficult. "Seriously, you won't even know they're there" rings just a bit hollow. Although I could try the tactic "hey you can't do any more damage than I've done!" Seriously, Cinco just took her diaper off and started eating it. Which is why my blogging is becoming fewer and farther between antics of my babies.

Anyway, I think we've settled on family to raise our hellions  offspring. At some in time we should probably alert them to this fact, although it would make the reading of our still non existent will much more exciting, everyone cowering in a corner bracing for an influx of a basketball team's worth of children.

But the father figure was incredibly insensitive during the more personal aspects of the conversation. I am not a demanding person. Ok, that's not at all true, but he knew what he was getting into when he signed that marriage license. Somehow he didn't seem at all impressed by my list of things that were important. I have some particular wishes for the kids, if he were to find himself raising them on his own. We covered those. But then we moved on to some particular concerns of mine. Most important, that should he hear that something serious has happened to me, please stop by the house first and make sure it's clean before coming to the hospital. Or telling any other family. The last thing I need is to be lying in a coma know that my house is full of people silently judging my housekeeping abilities.

He was slightly listening when I first started outlining my concerns. But I think it was about the time I started mentioning making sure the closets were clean and the drawers were organized before calling my parents that he actually started paying attention. In a "wow I'm sitting next to a real live crazy person" manner. He had a befuddled look on his face as he stammered "what, what huh? No!"

Now this might seem odd to some, but I'm the kind of person who likes to make sure my house is clean before I leave it so that if something happens, the police won't think I'm a horrible house keeper. The father figure's response to that was "Who thinks like this?" Uh, the mother of your children. That's who.

It's not that I have odd priorities. It's because this is what I am. A homemaker. And if I make a messy home, well that's not good now is it? The father figure fails to see the logic in this. I tried to point out that it was a random Tuesday that the news cameras showed up at our house. Of course that was because credit card companies kept sending six month old Baby credit card applications. And refused to stop because she wouldn't send them a letter requesting that they stop. I threatened to max them all out right before Christmas and declare bankruptcy, leaving Baby's credit plenty of time to clear up before she needed it, but that didn't seem faze them. So I complained to the local "On Your Side" reporters. And they came on over. Unannounced. To a home that the father figure had not cleaned up while I was at work because "what's the point, they're only going to mess it up again."

Talk about an "I told you so." You think that the father figure would listen to me when it comes to keeping the house clean. But not so much.

So, if anything does happen to me, no one can come to the house until Merry Maids has left. You would think that the simple solution would be to keep the house clean. And that is the simple solution, but I live with X-Man. Who was greatly outraged that I wouldn't hold him while vacuuming today, he wrapped himself around my ankles and howled "hold me, hold me mommy." X-Man isn't the sort of fellow to help you hold him. If you lift him up, you're holding him, all forty pounds of his dead weight. Which then makes vacuuming and sweeping and the like very difficult. And considering the guilt I had due to this conditions of his ears, the "hold me mommy" pleas won out. Not to mention Cinco is very uninterested in my holding her and very interested on seeing exactly how many things she can fit on the floor. Her personal goal is to take every item in the house and place it on the living room floor.

That and walking. Gestated Cinco just took two steps. I'm not ready for Ambulatory Cinco by any stretch of the imagination. This cannot end well.

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

MOM! Would you PLEASE explain to Mac why cockroaches are bad!!!" There are tapestries that I really, really don't want unravel. But I don't trust Baby and Mac alone anywhere. I eemphasized my lack of knowledge of cockroaches due to lack of experience.

Gestated Cinco and X-Man have determined to remain sick for the rest of their lives. At least that's how it feels. Cinco is annoyed by her congestion and appears to hold me personally responsible. X-Man is an Italian male, therefore every illness is the single worst he has ever experienced and he is completely helpless. So much so that he laid outside the bathroom door wailing "help me" . And so I had to carry him back to the couch to watch more Thomas. The couch he has been laying on watching Thomas until I tried to sneak off.

He and Cinco are passed out in my lap. Both are completely uninterested in sharing their space. Fortunately they united in their displeasure and fought off the laptop. So I'm trying to do this while holding them and a phone. It is not easy.

They both smell of garlic. X-Man was holding his ear earlier tonight and saying "ow". And I have a sneaking suspicion that they both have ear infections. So I mixed up some garlic oil and tried dropping that in their ears. It may have helped Cinco, X-Man seems unfazed and Mac wants spaghetti for dinner. Or pizza.


Monday, January 6, 2014

When you marry someone you marry their family. It's more of a merger than a coupling. This is a great thing if the family's not all that crazy. To have your circle of those who love you grow is a wonderful thing.

But there's a downside. The more people you let into your heart, the more holes that are left as people slip away.

The father figure brought into our marriage a most remarkable woman. Nonna emigrated from Italy when it became clear Mussolini was bad news. She married, raised five children and enjoyed eight grandchildren and eleven great grandchildren.

She was the epitome of maternal. She fretted and loved and soothed. She spoke the language of food and spoke lovingly. If you weren't eating, she was concerned. She told me to stop chasing my toddlers and sit down because my coffee would get cold. And I needed to have a cookie while I sat.

And that was Nonna. Everyone loved her. Everyone felt loved by her. When I told my mother that Nonna had passed my mother exclaimed "Oh no, we love her!" They had only met her once, at our wedding, and yet she touched their hearts. It takes an extraordinary woman to move complete strangers like that. But Nonna was an extraordinary woman.

Nonna's life wasn't easy. She left home to start anew. She buried two children, one as an infant, one as an adult. But she didn't let it defeat her. She didn't choose to engage in self pity. She chose to focus on those who were still there with her and to embrace them fiercely.

I didn't feel like an outsider when I was with her. I wasn't an expansion member in her life, I was family. I was her grandson's wife and so I was her granddaughter. She made it so easy to feel comfortable and at home with her. She was the personification of love. One of the last times I saw her, she gave me a kiss and said "You are a good mother."  I'm not often moved to tears, but those words meant the world to me.

After Baba was born, we made a point of taking the kids down to see their great grandmother every year. It was a hassle. Long drive, young children, not much of a vacation. But my children got to know their Nonna. They got to have her arms wrap them in love. And they will know those arms when they feel them again.

May perpetual light shine upon her.

Sunday, January 5, 2014

The father figure decided that he would let me sleep in. He had been present during some of Cinco's wilder antics the previous night and had taken pity on me.

As it was Saturday, X-Man and Mac got up at the crack of dawn. It wasn't yet 7am. We were alerted to this fact by X-Man screaming about something. Or nothing. It could go either way. The father figure entered the girls room, where both boys were, engaging in some sort fisticuffs. Because where better to air grievances than your sleeping sisters' room? Certainly not your parents' room. At least if you want to live.

The father figure shooed the boys back in their room and encouraged them to play with all the loot that Santa had brought them. X-Man wasn't sold on the idea and continued his protestations. But the father figure cheerily said "Have fun", shut the door and headed back down stairs. He then sweetly said "I'm shutting the door so you can sleep." And there I was, enjoying the closest thing to peace and quiet that can exist in my life.

And then the phone rang. The father figure, previously in the running for husband of the month, discovered that his price was indeed time and a half and told his employer he'd come in to work. And with that, I was up and at it.

I'm still not clear if the father figure was entirely well intentioned when he shooed X-Man back into his bedroom. Because five minutes later, as I headed up to check on the boy, I could smell his accomplishments in the hallway. And I discovered what possibly could have been the reason for the boy's screaming. X-Man's diaper was around his ankle. And yes, it was most certainly smelly. Did I mention he was wearing footed pajamas?

Yeah. Yay me. It was pretty clear that the diaper had fallen down before the source of the smell entered the equation. And that I was going to have to wrestle a fecal covered toddler into a shower. And decide if the brand new Christmas present jammies were best consigned to a bio hazard bag.

By the time X-Man made it into the shower, the carnage spread over three rooms. Don't ask how. I wasn't certain how severe the damage was, so I unzipped him in the bedroom, shrieked and he took off running. With pjs around his ankles. This of course led to the inevitable butt plant on the new carpet.

And I ended up telling the father figure "Don't try to be helpful again." Which I think just might have been the reaction he was angling for.

Friday, January 3, 2014

Things that I've have learned because I left my children with the father figure.

X-Man will stick his head in a cereal bowl. While the milk is being poured in it. Because it is too long to wait for a drink otherwise. He might die.

Baby can climb the chimney.

Slurpees stain clothing.

Showers can be taken without soap. And without water hitting your body. If you play with the bath toys loud enough, daddy will believe you have showered.

X-Man can use my phone. But not the father figure's.

"It's not that scary to stand on the roof."

Even though mommy is the one who bought every single birthday present and Christmas present for every single child, and wrapped every single one, twenty minutes of video games with daddy makes him the best parent EVER TO EXIST.

Furthermore, taking the children to Chuck E. Cheese makes you the best parent to ever exist or who will exist in the future. Even though the parent who did not take you will be the parent who cares for you while you suffer from whatever biological weapon infected you there. Making you chicken noodle soup while you continue to ask for pizza.

The arcade trumps the park any day. Except the days when the father figure suggests going to the park. Then he is the best parent TO EVER EXIST.

The children should eat healthy. Except when they are left when the father figure. Then they should eat chicken nuggets and doughnuts. And someone should prepare them a healthy dinner.

X-Man can throw overhanded. But only indoors.

Thomas the Tank Engine is boring. Star Wars is not.

Telling a two year old to go to bed is the same thing as putting a two year old

to bed.

What constitutes folded clothes is subjective. My views are unique in the family.

Bringing home a movie to watch...awesome. Bringing home food to eat......but I don't like that!

Thursday, January 2, 2014

The sickness is still with us. I'll spare you the gory details, but there are plenty. Round one was a barrel of monkeys. Round two is living up to expectations.

I survived round two, which did actually surprise me at times. This point it's particularly challenging because X-Man is flying high. Cinco is no worse for wear. Mac is well enough, until he passes out for a two hour nap on the couch. Baby and Baba are down for the count. It's challenging try to juggle their needs while wrangling the healthy active monkeys.

Not that X-Man isn't helping. Baby was laying on the couch, with a cool washcloth on her forehead, some comfort against the fever she was suffering from. X-Man made a break from the dinner table, completely spagettied. He did, however, see fit to grab the cloth off of Baby, wipe his hands and face and then drop it back on her face.

So. There's that.

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Oddly enough, I find myself exiting 2013 more happy, more hopeful and more peaceful than I entered it. Despite........

Things I said in 2013.

if you can't remember how to make your bed I'm pretty sure I can't remember how to make dinner.

I stay home with my kids because no one can give the quality of care to my children that I can. No one. I'm in a class by myself. On a side note, X-Man can remove his diaper while still wearing footed pajamas. He's faster when the diaper is poopy. And Mac just announced "I like to wear my underwear for three days if it has a cool picture on it." I didn't say what class my childcare was........

I don't know why all my children don't have red hair. I also don't know why any of my children have red hair.

I know that it's in New York, but the name is still the Statue of Liberty.  

I don't know who came up with contractions, but I'm pretty sure that they didn't want you to cry about them.

Don't open the oven when food is cooking. Just don't open the fridge. Don't shut the dishwasher while I'm unloading it. 

Why are you trying to climbing into the oven. Yes I know it's hot! It's an oven!

Don't lick the baby.

That which does not kill you makes you stronger. Which means this family is headed towards Incredible Hulkness or the morgue.

I don't really know what you want me to do about Mac continuing to say that Madagascar is a real place. 

Don't lick the baby's toes.

Things I thought in 2013

I mean, really, who HASN'T sat at the exit of Target while their son empties his rubber rain boots of all the food that fell in them. And then put them on his feet. And then remove them....because there's still food in them. 

Brushing X-Man's teeth with his own toothbrush=torture. Not brushing X-Man's teeth with any other family member's toothbrush = torture.

Well I guess if you have to jaunt down to labor and delivery, that's as good a time as ever to discover you only shaved on leg this morning.

Today's capricious and arbitrary parental rulings...thou shalt not kick the lap top, thou shalt not climbing into the baby's bed, mostly especially while she is sleeping. Protestations continue.

My mom stare is completely wasted on my children. Fortunately it is not wasted on shoplifters at Target.