Thursday, February 27, 2014

I had to haul X-Man out of a friend's house. He was kicking and screaming and demanding to be returned to "Nemo." Nemo was a blue fish, definitely NOT a clown fish. But he was fascinating and X-Man loved him. I was perplexed by the name choice, only because X-Man has seen Finding Nemo once. And apparently "One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish" didn't make an impression.

After half a year in cub scouts, the father figure finally got him his uniform. I helped. I helped by getting lost on the the way to futsal one day and stumbling upon the scout store. Then I was able to tell the father's over here somewhere.

So Mac was uniformed up. Sort of. There's a bit more to the uniform than buttoning up the shirt and tucking it in. There are patches that need to be sewn on. At this point I realized, or remembered, that I was completely clueless. I assumed there was a reason why I had two different number patches and maybe they meant something as well. Also, there was a neckerchief. I was pretty sure the neckerchief wasn't supposed to be sewn to the collar, but then again, these are boys we are talking about. And there was a giant ring thing. After arranging the patches in an eye pleasing pattern, it occurred to me that this being a uniform, there might be a rhyme and reason to the arrangement of patches that I should be aware of before I started sewing. Also, there's a lot more about sewing I should probably know. I also wondered if the father figure had sought iron on patches because that would have bought him countless bonus points. And I am certai
n he would like those.

So Mac went to the meeting, sans patches and neckerchief with a large ring thing in his pocket because I figured it had something to do with the thing that was supposed to go around his neck. Or it was his secret decoder ring. Where was the father figure in all of this? The Eagle Scout father figure? Working. So I couldn't really be annoyed with him. But we were not presenting an impressive picture here.

Walking in I saw that Mac was the only boy wearing a uniform. At all. Apparently we were left off the email suggesting that due to power tools usage or something, uniforms not be worn. An auspicious start to his uniform wearing days for sure.

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

It's been a hard year.

Today the father figure's maternal grandmother died. Grandma Sugar, as he called her because she always called him "sugar", was a lovely lady. I didn't know her as well as Grandma Nonna. Grandma Sugar was a quiet, dignified woman. She was sweet and caring. Like Nonna, Grandma Sugar had six children, she too buried a child. And like Nonna, Grandma Sugar didn't let heartbreak defeat her. Rather, she took in her grandson and raised him herself.

 Grandma Sugar had 14 grandchildren and who knows how many great grandchildren. Well, Grandma Sugar knew. I was always surprised when valentines and birthday cards arrived promptly. I knew there were plenty of great grandchildren out there, along with grandchildren and spouses, but Grandma Sugar didn't ever seem to forget. Her letters would come with quotation marks around the names, the only other person I've ever seen do that was her daughter, my mother in law.

I loved visiting with her and watching her interact with her grandchildren. She'd talk with them and chuckle with delight as they explained whatever it was they were super excited about. Once she offered two year old Mac a couple of Oreo cookies. Because she was indeed Grandma Sugar, she smuggled him two more while I was pretending not to look. Mac could not believe his good fortune and ran off outside. When we returned to visit the next day, Mac hurried outside and began digging in a planter in the back yard. He retrieved his contraband Oreos and settled down on the patio. It was impossible to see where dirt ended and the cookies began. I was flabbergasted (only a couple years into the world of boys) Grandma was delighted. She laughed until the tears came. "Such a smart boy!" I had a slightly different take.

She was wonderful woman who raised remarkable children. As Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis said "If you bungle raising your children, I don't think whatever else you do matters very much." Grandma Sugar did it right, which is why she mattered so much to us. 

Rest easy Grandma.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

I have a bit of a conundrum. Everything has been going very well with the whole potty training of the X-Man. He's accident free and independently uses the potty. I don't have to ask or prompt him, he takes off running yelling "potty!!!" swings open the bathroom door and does his business. Life's good. If I allow X-Man to go commando.

The boy kept his pull-up dry for several hours while we were out and about over the weekend. He will keep his diaper dry when we are running errands. I put a pair of underpants on him, they're wet within four minutes. Maybe they scare him.

And again, child number for present brand new issues that I can't seem to figure out. I'm not a fan of the boy running around a natural during the day, because he doesn't respect the diaper within the walls of our house. Diapering him up won't fix it. I threw in the towel after six pairs of underpants this morning. He ran around in all his glory and was just fine.

I am perplexed.

Monday, February 24, 2014

Again with the chaotic weekend. I discovered that Cinco appears to be very friendly while out and about. It looks like she's waving at anyone and everyone. If people smile and respond, she gets very excited. She smiles broadly, bounces vigorously and waves more frantically. One might think she wants them to hold her. They would be wrong. She wants them to give her their phone. Sadly, if you are not holding a phone, Cinco won't even make eye contact with you. Not because she's shy, but because she is scanning for someone with a phone.

Over the weekend, I was reminded why I don't wait for the father figure to come home before showering. I had been in the shower a full minute when the door flew open and X-Man shoved an unopened graham cracker box into the shower and yelled "I have some mom?" I yelled for the father figure, who meandered in and removed X-Man. But the father figure remained to ask me the pressing question "How long has Cinco been scared of this bunny rabbit toy? See watch...." Sure enough he was holding Cinco in one arm and the bunny of fear in the other arm. And she was crawling up him to escape it. I pointed out that that particular creature hopped on its own which might be the source of the concern and if he did not shut the door and leave me in peace before the hot water ran out he was going to wish it was the zombie apocalypse.

I managed to forget it was Monday. So I forgot I had appointments with students. Later this evening I thought it was Thursday. It's a cruel, cruel world.

The father figure and I had a miscommunication when it came from retrieving Baba from soccer practice. The kind of miscommunication that results in both parents showing up to retrieve one soccer player. Which, considering the various miscommunication that could have occurred, well, it could have been worse. I was hoping the father figure would be able to pick her up, so I wouldn't have to wake the sleeping X-Man, who decided that 6pm was actually the appropriate nap time. But, as I didn't get confirmation that he was able to, I went and got her myself. The father figure thought he was supposed to call if he was unable to get her.

The father figure and the coach looked for the apparently missing child. The coach was getting very concerned. The father figure was slightly concerned. I think he was as concerned about calling me. Probably because he got to the field after practice was over, therefore technically being late, so if Baba had indeed disappeared, and he had been late, I would indeed kill him. As it was, we all chuckled about it, except for possibly the coach.

So in the end, I had to wake X-Man up for nothing. And put pants on him for no reason. Life is hard.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

I took a shower today. It went something like this.........

I walk into the bathroom and shut the door. Mac knocks on the door and asks for something to eat. I remind him he was eating an apple when I entered the bathroom..

As I entered the shower, X-Man lets fly a blood curdling scream followed by wailing, gasping and sobbing. Even though I knew it was X-Man, I still had visions of Cinco falling backwards down the stairs and landing on the hardwood floors. I bellowed for someone to tell me what had happened. Baby waltzed in and said "Mac took the papers out to recycling like you said but X-Man wanted to keep the McDonalds ad because he was looking at it."

Three minutes into the shower, X-Man starts pounding on the door yelling "Potty!" Someone let him in. I remind him that he is not allowed to open the drawers and throw toothbrushes, hair brushes or anything else into said potty. He starts to cry. Whoever let him into the bathroom did not shut the door, so Cinco followed him in. I yelled that someone needed to shut the door. So someone did. With X-Man and Cinco inside.

Cinco opened a drawer, X-Man yelled "No baby!" and slammed it shut. Cinco started crying. I popped my head out to make sure that no one's fingers had just been slammed. Meanwhile Cinco was pulling things out from under the sink and trying to crawl in it. Clearly my five minute hair therapy treatment wasn't going to happen.

Baba wandered in and said "Oh Cinco's in here" and wandered back out. Without Cinco. Meanwhile X-Man got off the potty, opened the shower door, offered me my towel, dropped my towel in the shower and decided he should climb in. As did Cinco. X-Man got in the shower, Cinco could not. And was outraged.

X-Man yelled at me "HOT!!!" and climbed back out, knocking Cinco over in his haste. Cinco, recognizing that he was off to something more interesting, didn't cry. X-Man remembered that he was in there to use the potty, climbed back on, jumped off and flushed. I don't know what, if anything he did, but he exited the bathroom yelling, "PONIES". I briefly thought of my waterlogged toddler running across my hardwood floors and decided,as the bathroom had been evacuated, it was time for me to escape.

And that, folks, is why I don't exercise. Because if you exercise you have to shower. And if you shower.....they will find you.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

I am not allowed to feed Cinco baby food. She won't eat it. If her sister is offering the exact same food on the exact same spoon, yummy yummy in Cinco's tummy.

Mac destroyed the shoes I bought him three months ago. Like soles completely off destroyed. I pointed out to him before we left for swimming class that he should probably not wear the disintegrating shoes, what with all the rain and such. He changed his shoes. Or so I thought. He actually removed the more falling apart shoe and replaced it, leaving the not so destroyed mate on his foot. But it was ok, he assured me when I discovered it, after we were out in public because "they both have Spiderman on them."

Also, I think Cinco broke my laptop. She dumped water on the closed computer while I was X-Man peeing down the heater grate. It's been that kinda day.

Monday, February 17, 2014

Gestated Cinco has been gestated for ten months now. We are at a bit of a loggerheads right now.

Cinco believes she is old enough to have full access to my phone. And that it is unfair that I attempt to hide it from her. She most definitely old enough to stalk me and discover all of my stashing places.

Cinco also thinks she should be allowed to feed herself. And only she knows how to properly use silverware. And while her discerning palate cannot tolerate pureed mixed vegetables, she is a big fan of broccoli smuggled to her under the table by X-Man.

She is certainly big enough to climb the stairs all by herself. But she would prefer that I always remain in her line of site. Unless she has a magnificent treasure that she's purloined, in which case she would prefer it that I make myself scarce.

In return, Cinco has recently decided that sleeping through the night isn't such a bad thing. But she still wakes up at night a feels the need to remind us that she is indeed in her own bed, and isn't the biggest fan of the arrangements.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

I have discovered the downside to potty training X-Man. Namely, he is now a two year old who uses the bathroom. As a two year old. So, earlier today, the urge came upon him suddenly and he burst into the bathroom. The bathroom that Mac was using. X-Man attempted to body check Mac out of his way. Fortunately, X-Man announced his approach with a violent swinging open of the door, so Mac, knowing his brother as he does, had managed to brace himself. For which I was particularly grateful.

I had never seen anything like that before and X-Man continued to introduce me to new experiences. Like bursting into the bathroom and trying to pull a sibling off the potty because he wanted to go. Because My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic won't watch itself.

I've potty trained four children now. And I was woefully unprepared for this usurping of the facilities. Although, I've lived with this boy for two and a half years. I really should have expected this.
I have discovered the downside to potty training X-Man. Namely, he is now a two year old who uses the bathroom. As a two year old. So, earlier today, the urge came upon him suddenly and he burst into the bathroom. The bathroom that Mac was using. X-Man attempted to body check Mac out of his way. Fortunately, X-Man announced his approach with a violent swinging open of the door, so Mac, knowing his brother as he does, had managed to brace himself. For which I was particularly grateful.

I had never seen anything like that before and X-Man continued to introduce me to new experiences. Like bursting into the bathroom and trying to pull a sibling off the potty because he wanted to go. Because My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic won't watch itself.

I've potty trained four children now. And I was woefully unprepared for this usurping of the facilities. Although, I've lived with this boy for two and a half years. I really should have expected this.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Thirteen years ago, the father figure and I celebrated our first Valentine's Day together as a couple. I was away at college and he sent me three dozen long stemmed red roses and a dozen chocolate covered strawberries. Last year, he brought me a bag of M&Ms the day after Valentine's Day because that's when they were on sale. I'm interested in seeing what this year brings.

It was a day of chaos. The kind of chaos that comes when children have non stop questions about their schoolwork. And the washing machine leaks. Mac discovered the mess and bellowed "EWWW X-MAN PEED ALL OVER THE PLACE!" With that kind of an intro, I was actually relived to find it was simply the washer. Well, that and it was an easy fix. X-Man was oblivious to the slander, mostly because he was hanging out in the bathtub. I've found that to be a very useful method of corralling the boy. Cinco is highly annoyed by the fact that I don't let her join in the fun and that water seems to be an essential component of the fun. Both facts irritate her greatly.

I work hard at not being too sentimental here. But there is a special joy that come to a mother when she sees her little girl bound off the soccer field, soaking wet, with a huge smile on her face. Baby is back at the outdoor sessions again, and she was thrilled. It almost made the bouncing between her and Baba's practices worth it.

Also, Cinco kisses. She lunges towards you with her mouth wide open. But unlike each of her siblings, she doesn't bite anything, nor does she lick or attempt to suck any part of your face. She just plants her drooly mouth on your cheek with a loud "MAH". If you kiss her back, she gets very excited and repeats the process. It's heavenly.

One should not live stream Olympic Ice Skating with Cinco. She will love it greatly, and in her enthusiasm, attempt to participate. Mostly by bouncing along to the music while flailing her limbs. This inevitably results in her hitting the keyboard and pausing the process. And she is devastated. Eventually, the Zamboni comes out and while X-Man's interest is piqued, Cinco's heartbroken. But what should she expect from a mom who insists on making baths for X-Man only and with water!

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

I have had another break through with X-Man when it comes to the potty. And this time, there has been consistent success. The first step was to have him go diaperless. The second step was to reward him with something he consistently desires. So the diaperless X-Man's been using the potty independently and then yelling to watch his "honies." That's right. I'm potty training my son using "My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic." The father figure isn't sure how he feels about this. I am completely sure. X-Man has figured the system out already. He goes enough to make it through a twenty minutes episode and then runs back into the bathroom. But I don't care. He's a fan of candy, but can certainly live without it. He apparently cannot go with his ponies. I don't care if he self identifies as a "brony." Bronies wear underwear.

Driving to swimming lessons today, the older kids were playing a game of "guess what I'm drawing." From the back I heard "Is it a frog?" "Is it a park?" "A soccer ball?' "Dinosaur?" "A monster?" "MOM'S FACE???"

It was a cup of hot chocolate. The art does not run deep in this family.

Monday, February 10, 2014
The Snowpocalypse has come and gone. Although we ended up snowed in, there's something about a disruption to your life, no matter the form, that just throws everything out of whack. Maybe it was the kids running in and out of the house. Maybe it was the increase in laundry. Maybe it was the bundling up of X-Man, who desperately wanted to be outside, followed by the unbundling of X-Man because snow is cold. But everyone is outside, so out we must go. But it's freezing!

So, that's how the last four days went. The kids hiked to the grocery store with the father figure. I took them to a coffee shop. We made good use of the snow days, even got more caught up with my grading that I have to do.

We had a few highlights to the days. X-Man discovered that when you throw a blanket over your head and run around the house, eventually you will run into something. Ignoring mom comes with a price. He seemed to think that I set him up the bump (see what I did there?) and was fairly me. I mean I did put the hutch weeks ago. But clearly I am to blame here.

I remembered why I don't cook with hamburger meat. I tend towards ground turkey, but my FIL bought ground beef on sale and gave some to us. So I used it, and had to drain it several times. This, in and of itself, wasn't an issue. It wasn't until I came out of the pantry to X-Man gagging and sputtering that I realized the extra downside to draining the meat. Thankfully, X-Man waited until I disappeared into the pantry before attempting to sample the grease. That wait length allowed it to cool noticeably. Besides, there would be no way that mom would allow X-Man to climb up onto the table, push a chair towards the counter, climb on to the counter and grab the grease. (As a responsible mother, I had kept it away from little hands....or so I thought). He got what he deserved. Although his nice jacket that he was still wearing did not deserve to be covered in a spit and grease mixture. Again, somehow I was to blame for grease tasting like grease does. At least how I assume it tastes, I've never actually drank it before.

I'm fairly sure Bob Costas gave us pink eye. We watched the Olympics and the next morning, Baba and Mac woke up with it. And of course we were thoroughly snowed in at this point. Now, one might think this would be the worst health outbreak of the Snowpocalypse. You would be wrong. X-Man figured he might as well spice things up by vomiting. Starting bright and early in the morning. Yucky stomachs means no food in my world. No food means torture in X-Man's world. He did not handle the deprivation well. I found him huddled in a corner in the kitchen, eating a contraband banana. This would not have been too serious a problem, had he not been so sweetly sharing with Cinco. He'd take a bite, she'd take a bite. I screeched in horror. They were not satisfied with a different banana for Cinco. They were not interested in Cinco having the bottom half of the banana, that was sans X-Man vomitus germs. Nope, alternating bites or scream city. I preferred scream city to the clean up that might have followed.

Later, X-Man stole my coffee, and Cinco followed him in the laundry room where they partook in the stolen delight. I figured that I had left the cup somewhere, and looked over almost the whole house, before discovering them. For the record, the father figure was allegedly watching the babies.  By that time, they had determined that it was more fun to spill the coffee on the floor, splash in it and then try to climb into the washing machine. Because, you know, they were dirty. I was alerted to their presence in the laundry room by, what else, screaming. X-Man and Cinco cannot both fit in the washing machine at one time.

It was an educational few days.

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

In case you were wondering, that's the wind screaming, not me.

It's been the kind of day where I show up to swimming lessons. After they're done. I'm having too many of those days. Between schooling my own children, the end of the first semester at the school I work for, X-Man on the verge of actually being potty trained and Cinco walking.....I'm losing my mind. Actually I've lost it. My mind feels as if it were stuffed with cotton. And not the good, clean cotton Raggedy Anne got. It makes blogging hard, because well....I think I sprained my brain.  So I'm enjoying wandering off into the iterwebz.

Something that I've come across a few times is the blog Reasons My Son Is Crying.  It started out as pictures of some guy's toddler crying because his snow boots didn't fit on his ears and morphed into something bigger where parents submitted pictures of toddler melt downs due to mom insisting on cutting their spaghetti before serving. The whole thing is fairly amusing because almost every parent has, at some point in time, desperately tried to mush the two halves of the banana together in order to appease the screaming tiny human.

But of course, it being the internet, there were people who were tut tuting the whole thing. Denouncing it as "disgusting" and "laughing at children for having emotions." I admit, I did struggle through her whole blog post and then chuckled at how very.....for lack of a better term, new at parenting she seemed.

I am most certainly a mother that author would tut tut at. Not only did I briefly consider posting a picture of X-Man to the crying child blog, it was X-Man sitting on the potty. Which she frowns on too, but that's a different post. There he was, curly head of sorrow in his hands, fake crying. Oh sure, those sobs were wracking his body, although there were no tears involved. He wanted to watch My Little Ponies, I said "you have to use the potty first" and he wailed. For the record, the fact that X-Man still feels the need to completely strip before using the potty was what kept me from snapping the shot.

The thing is, the parents were sharing these photos away from their children, precisely because they weren't interested in laughing at their children or in the presence of their children. But yes, they were most certainly laughing at the absurdity of the situation.

The amount of wailing involved with brushing X-Man's teeth is down right preposterous. The fact that I removed his footed pajamas after he dumped oatmeal down them, inside them, is reasonable. The fact I had to wrestle him, while he shrieked is ridiculous. It's 18 degrees outside, and I refused to roll down the car window tonight. So he pounded on it, and yes, cried. And rather than be frustrated by it, I rolled my eyes and thought, "well, I guess this will go in the blog."

Parents need outlets. They need to step back and breathe, They need to be able to laugh at the fact that their lives are being run into the ground by an army of tiny people they created. And they need to be reassured that yes indeed, your kiddos are just like everyone else's. Except, of course, that they are special little snowflakes.

And that's what I saw with the parents sharing and laughing about the posts. It was familiar. It was somewhere we had all been. And it's somewhere, at least I would, like to still be.

from "reasons my son is crying"
See, it's crazy frustrating to have to go through three different sippy cups until the correct color has been selected. It's enough to drive you batty when you attempt to change a diaper and are treated like a Gitmo employee. Never mind that the child will take off running, buns in the ai,r sans the most precious diaper in the whole world ever. And don't get me started on the absurdity of sitting on the potty and not being allowed to dip mom's and dad's toothbrushes in it.

But there are solutions to every one of those problems. We love these children so much that we will smush their cheese halves back together. We will dig through the underwear drawer to find Thomas underpants. We will bundle them up for a fun day in the snow, walk outside and agree that yes, it is too ridiculously cold to be out here any more and head back inside. And then back out. And then in. Cleaning the snow off the wood floor too many times to count.

from "reasons my son is crying"
We do this because these are the problems we can fix. And there is a comfort in this. There will come a day when kids will be hurtful, someone will be excluded, bullying will occur. Our children will cry tears we cannot dry. And the mom who chased down the balloon sailing away year ago, would give anything to prevent and avoid these emotions. Even if that means remaking a sandwich three different times in order to make sure it's cut just the right way.

There is a joy and a delight that comes with a life whose biggest challenge is that his hands cannot hold ALL THE CARS. It's a simple time. It's an easy time. And when the horse can't fit in the batmobile, you're going to laugh. And you should. Laughing with other parents, why not? It's a celebration of innocence. It's a precious time when we can fix things....mostly.

I'm a few more years into this parenting thing than the disapproving mother. And I'm not one to really pull the experience card. But I wish my older kiddos still cried because they couldn't fit into the refrigerator. I wish the biggest problem facing them today was the number of purple goldfish crackers they received. I miss that simpler time, and I enjoy remembering it. Because my heart didn't hurt as much when the doughnut didn't have the right color of sprinkles on it.
from "reasons my son is crying"

Monday, February 3, 2014

So far this year, I've had to google the directions on how to make a paper airplane. Twice. And I still did it wrong. With step by step directions. Clearly I did not engage in enough shenanigans in my school days.

So this article was sent my way by several friends. All of whom have larger than normal families. All of whom had heard most, if not all, of these comments. So clearly, the time for this article has come and gone. The world missed the memo. So, I propose,  "How to Answer the Stupid Questions that People should Never ask Mothers of Many Children." 

1. "Are they all yours?" 

I found simply saying "Well they're not yours...." usually sets this conversation to rest. I mean, I do find myself wondering who all these kids are and why do they expect me to feed them. But unless you're offering to feed them....don't ask.

2. "Do they all have the same father?" 

In the past I've had a snarky answer popped out in anger. But I do prefer humor to everything else. Plus, I enjoy leaving people flabbergasted. So now I just say "I think it's cute that you think there's more than one male in the world that would want to reproduce with me and willingly join this rodeo." In my book, speechless is good. 

3. "Wow! Your hands are full!" 
And my kid's diaper's full. What's your point?  When I'm together enough I like so say "Full hands, full heart." But I'm usually getting dragged through a parking lot by X-Man. And not together. 

4. "Don't you know how that happens?"

What? This conversation? You started it.

5. "Are you done?" 

Well I would be if you'd stop talking to me.

6. "Why did you have so many kids?"

Because the world needs more of my genes. You're welcome. Also, I'm not so good at the not having kids. I've tried it. Did it wrong. 

7. "Don't you have a TV?"

If you think watching TV is better, you're doing it wrong. And no, I will not offer tips. I'm too busy having kids. 

8. "Which one would you rather not have?" 

Does your village know you're missing?

9. "Were your kids planned?" 

Is there anything about this circus that looks planned? Seriously, I'm in yoga pants and a sweatshirt covered in baby food, I have a sneaking suspicion that that there is toothpaste smeared on the back of my pants. My baby is eating her shoe, my toddler is taking his shirt off and I managed to put make up on today. But only on one eye. Does this look there was any sort of plan to this?

10. "Better you than me!" 

Have you seen me? How bad are you? Have you tried blogging?