Wednesday, May 28, 2014

I very much want to be a good mother. So I do whatever research I can. Mostly that involves watching reruns of Super Nanny while eating ice cream. One of the tactics I've long employed, since being introduced to it by Super Nanny, is making sure to be down at eye level as often as possible when instructing children. I'm a tactile person, as are my children, so I like to be as eye level as possible, maybe even stroking their faces while talking.

However, Super Nanny failed to explain how to best handle attempting to meet your child at eye level, if your toddler takes this as an invitation to spring on your back. Repeatedly. And at 40 lbs, this isn't a small matter. He's large, but he's surprisingly quick. We have many moment in which behavior needs to be addressed and firmly. However, toddler climbing over his mother, who is trying to manipulate herself into whatever contortions will continue to allow instruction and eye contact, doesn't really allow for the firmness most situations we find ourselves in. As Cinco is often in on whatever chaos is prompting my correction, she certainly takes advantage, but being smaller and not quite as adept as X-Man, she tends to yank on my neck, while trying to climb over my head. I'm starting to think that Super Nanny is married to a chiropractor and has ulterior motives here.

I have yet to see Super Nanny suggest how to address the delightful situation that is created when your toddler removes his underwear and puts his pants back on. Normally this would be fine, unless the toddler ignores the fact that he needs to use the restroom. That is until he is in downward dog pose and the floodgates are opened. He is actually in the perfect position to admire his exploits, and sure enough, he maintains the pose while muttering "Wow." Cinco claps in appreciation and makes a beeline to the rapidly expanding puddle. Argh.

This is why I've explained to the father figure that it really doesn't bother me that X-Man typically strips off his underwear off in the living room before dashing to the bathroom. I enjoy watching him hustle away, while grasping his bare bum, as if to hold everything in during the journey. Whatever it take to not have to clean up Lake Erie in my living room.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

If your day didn't involve Cheerios thrown at you during your had a different day than I did.

Cinco decided to scream bloody murder for 45 minutes this morning, starting around 4am. I had given up on soothing her and was just going to let her scream in her bed when the ultimate trump card was played. Not one but two police cars pulled up in front of our house. I immediately regretted keeping some windows opens to cool the house down. The officers proceeded to knock on a different door. Cinco also let out an impressive belch and immediately passed out. The officers talked to someone for a while and moved on. The father figure was very much not interested in the goings on outside, and I was convinced that I would be arrested for some sort of failure at parenting.

I'd write more, but I committed to giving a brief talk tonight and my hastily jotted notes during swimming class, on the back of doctor's instructions for X-Man, aren't really cutting it. I used to be able to swing these things, pop up, give a brief talk and everything continue on swimmingly. It's how I aced my public speaking course in college. But along the way I sprained my brain and find myself trying to count to purple.

I will now try to get dressed to go out in public. Hopefully I will not have to dodge cereal in the process. Although they seem to have moved on to cheezit crackers.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

We were back at the doctor’s again. X-Man had a great time. As it had been a long time since we had been there, a whole six months, we went through checklists….again. No, X-Man doesn’t have arthritis, no X-Man doesn’t use a walker…, no, no. This delighted X-Man greatly, and he clued in pretty quickly that the answer to everything was no and happily bellowed the answers. Which helped convince everyone that checking his hearing might be the right choice.

X-Man was having a meltdown in the bathroom today. I didn’t let him keep my tablet while sitting on the potty. We tried that before and it ended up with my tablet in a pile of rice for a week. Of course, where X-Man is, Cinco is too. And before long both were screaming. X-Man in rage, Cinco in solidarity. As I tucked the tablet away, the shrieking got louder and more passionate and angry. I momentarily panicked as it occurred to me that X-Man might have turned his rage on Cinco. She was getting more shrill while X-Man was bellowing even louder.  Judging myself and my folly by leaving the children unattended, I stumbled upon the source of their rage. They had managed to lock themselves in the bathroom, which was its own source of potential catastrophe, but fortunately did not involve any blood drawing.

Bad mommy me had to laugh the scene in the bathroom. They sounded as if I had canceled Christmas and made them allergic to candy.  They were both pounding on the not latched door, with their heads. Knowing my children as I do, X-Man was leading and Cinco was imitating. As I gently pushed it open, I was greeted by snotty, tear stained faces. Complete over reactions to the situation. They were so hysterical that X-Man had forgotten to climb up on the sink and turn the water on and Cinco had forgotten to empty out the cabinet. Somehow it’s comforting to know that I still have that much influence over their lives. Or that they think so anyway.

The antics are dying down around here. Mostly because X-Man has acquiesced to using the potty and the weather is beautiful, which means everyone is outside as much as possible. It’s almost as if they’re gearing up for the other shoe to drop.

Monday, May 19, 2014

Nothing screams “HAPPY MONDAY!!!!” quite like both boys waking up at 6:15am. It’s almost as if the father figure installed anti-blackout drapes in their room. And nothing wakes a sleeping baby up quite like a couple of boys storming into my bedroom at 6:18am on Monday asking “Can we have breakfast?”

Baba had a question about her math this morning. It wasn’t too complicated, but I wanted to make sure she was clear on the concepts. So in the five minutes it took me, Cinco emptied the cupboard under the sink in the bathroom, while X-Man offered encouragement from the potty. She then moved on to my bedroom where she removed the closet door from the rails. While X-Man drew on the walls, apparently outlining their plans for the door. I hastened to their plotting when Cinco started screaming. Because she couldn’t lift the door.

As I attempted to restore order, X-Man ate the face off of a candle shaped like a monkey that I had had since college. He seemed offended that it did not taste good. Cinco tried to sweep the windows. Baba had another question, and I figured I should probably help her. That was probably not the right choice. X-Man and Cinco determined that I had been slacking on laundry. So they proceeded to help me. X-Man carried the clean laundry to the location determined by Cinco. The oven. It’s one way to solve drying and putting away issue.

Ah Monday.

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

If you are going to have a full blown meltdown, you might as well do so in the middle of Trader Joe's. Otherwise how else will the quiet customers know how abused and  cruel your mother is?

I am not a fan of the child size shopping carts that Trader Joe's supplies.  Sure they're cute but they're also a hazard when added to the herd that is my entourage. Mac gleefully put the cart in X-Man's hands who promptly charged into the flower display. It went down hill from there.  Unless your plan involves leaving your cart in the checkout line, with baby still buckled in, to chase a toddler down the aisle while he screams "Nooooo Mommy!!!!!"

It's a nice touch to thrash about while your mother attempts to purchase thank you flowers for teachers. Not being new to this game, I have the ability to dig my card out, swipe it and return it while keeping a toddler in lockdown.  I even manage to keep a hand over his mouth while he screams, which infuriates him, I know because he licks my hand to express his rage.

The tantruming continued all the way to the car and in the car. At one point I had to take the boy's face in my hands and say firmly "I don't care how long it takes, you have to be buckled in your seat."  At this point a little voice said " Excuse me"  I turned to see a little old lady standing behind me. "I know it doesn't seem like it but you are a good mom. I was telling the checker that you have a lot good tactics. Many more than I had in my day."

I smiled and said "Thank you." I didn't add that after spending three minutes wrestling X-Man into his car seat I figured out that at least part of his hysteria had to do with the fact that he had thrashed himself out of his shoe back in the store. Somedays you just take what you can get.

Monday, May 12, 2014

Ah Mother’s Day. I have a reoccurring fantasy when it comes to Mother’s Day. It involves a champagne brunch, in a beautiful setting overlooking the water, well behaved children eating quietly, chewing with their mouths closed. Peaceful. Serene. At no point does this fantasy involve X-Man climbing up on the table in pursuit of sausage. But I guess that’s what makes it a fantasy.

I’ve stopped dropping hints about brunch because my girls concoct grand plans for breakfast themselves. What they come up with is quite enjoyable, and not nearly as embarrassing should X-Man decide that this meal will be eaten sans drawers. Even though my Mother’s Day plans have never truly resembled the images I anticipate in my mind, I have enjoyed a series of delightful family days. This year was no different.

I got a head start on the celebration this year. The father figure promised the older girls that he would take them shopping so they could put their grand schemes into action. I smiled sweetly and asked if he would take all the children with him so that I could clean the house.  This clearly removed one of the items on his to do list and well, how hard could it be to wrangle his heard of children?

I have to wonder what myself twenty years ago would think if someone had told me that my idea of a special day cleaning my house all by myself and yard work I would reassured them that they had confused me with my mother.  But sure enough, I had a very satisfactory time.  And I knew I would wake up to a clean house on Mother’s Day which was gift enough for me. The father figure returned, children in tow, just as I sat down to enjoy my peace and quiet. He was not happy. I asked him how things went; he responded “You don’t want to know.” I pressed for details and he questioned what part of “you don’t want to know” was I unclear on because seriously man it didn’t go well.

The father figure’s first mistake was letting X-Man leave the house with his arms full of minion toys. He had four minion figures and the fart gun. Yes, that delightful contraption gifted to Mac by his uncle. I had forgotten its existence, as Mac hadn’t too much interest in it, until X-Man discovered it. Indeed. Everything about it, absurd noises, flashing colors, appealed to a two year old. He dug it out of the bottom of the toy box recently and has carried it everywhere. Cinco thinks it’s hilarious as does Mac, especially when X-Man sets it off while sitting on the potty.  

The father figure was of the opinion that the fart gun should not be associated with his family in public in any way, understandably.  He also was concerned that the various minion figures would be lost while shopping and he anticipated much wailing and gnashing of teeth should that occur. But X-Man would have none of it. And the boy hasn’t yet learned the lesson I have, which is never get involved in a battle of wills with the father figure. Ever.  So X-Man raged without his toys and the other children and their father proceeded to shop. Apparently X-Man had just calmed down when he saw a toy train that offered rides throughout the mall to small children. Because that’s a swell idea.  The father figure wasn’t interested in paying the arm and leg that it cost to ride the train, so X-Man commenced his full melt down rage mode. The father figure was not impressed.

They hustled off to the grocery store to shop for the various items the girls had in mind for their brunch. It was getting late and the bloom was off the rose in the father figure’s eyes.  The girls had an extensive list, based upon our Christmas and Easter menus, and as I like to grocery shop on my own, they were all lost in the store. However, they did manage to procure the last package of sausage, the particular type our family enjoys.  As they selected cinnamon rolls, the father figure instructed the girls not to place them in the basket. They were beginning to question that instruction when X-Man lunge forward, grabbed the rolls and yelled “MINE!” Cinco immediately hit him and tried to take them away from her brother. The father figured asked the girls if they still had any questions.  The wrestling over breakfast pastries subsided and the father figure fell into an ill-advised complacency. This was pierced by Baba’s shriek of “EWWWW!!!!” He turned to see a wad of raw sausage spit into the cart and X-Man, both hands still full of raw sausage, yelling “Gross!”  At that point the father figure officially threw in the towel. He should have held onto the towel to wipe away Cinco’s tears as she was denied any raw meat.

So in the end, the father figure and my children gave me the best Mother’s Day gift possible. The father figure had to walk a couple of hours in my shoes. And he found himself admitting, it ain’t an easy stroll.

Mother’s Day itself was lovely. We had a delightful brunch, with so much food I don’t have to worry about breakfast for the next couple of days.  There was lovely weather by which to work in the yard.  Baba offered to fold the mountains of laundry in order to avoid yard work. Fine by me. Dinner was delicious, even if Cinco threw up afterwards.

That evening, as I was relaxing and admiring my beautiful roses, the father figure walked into the room. “I forgot to tell you. X-Man can get out of his car seat. Completely. He can unbuckle both the buckles. I don’t know how he did it, but he popped up next to me while I was driving home last night.

Happy Mother’s Day to me.

wherein X-Man learns he is expected to smile in family photos.

Thursday, May 8, 2014

I miss the way we were.

There was a time when all you wanted in life was for me to hold you. Now, you want me to hold you, and let you drink my coffee and use my phone. While poking my eyes and trying to shove your fingers up my nose.

You use to light up when you saw me. Now you run away screaming "No, no no potty. No night night. NO OW NO!!!!"

You used to smile and turn your face up to meet the rain drops. Now you scream at me when I don't let you lick rain drops off cars.

You used to like to nurse. Now you demand to nurse while playing the hokey pokey.

You used to snuggle in my lap and watch TV. Now you try to eat the remote and demand to watch "Plonies" or "Homas."

You used to delight in eating any sort of baby treat. Now everything is inedible unless it is on my plate.

You used to let me dress you up, pretty head bands and cute shoes. Now you remove your clothing and throw your shoes. And scream if I don't pull the car over to put your shoes back on.

I used to be able to change your diapers. Now it becomes a wrestling match. But as you love to poop, the stakes are much higher.

You used to sleep through the night. Now you realized I try to do stuff when you sleep and you're afraid you're missing out.

You used to babble the sweetest things to me. Now I'm pretty sure you're cursing me out.

I used to be cute. Good thing you still are.

We can make this work, but you must stop moving the goal posts on me!

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

I’m not a strong willed person. I’m my family of origin’s pushover member (much to the delight of a sister a full decade younger than me). So when it comes to battling X-Man, it’s a particularly exhausting experience. He is the father figure’s son through and through.

So I was actually surprised when X-Man decided that he would indeed use the potty on a regular basis. It was certainly a relief. He’s also accepted the wearing of underpants, which is better for the entire planet. Especially since we have large windows in the front of the house, before which X-Man enjoys prancing.

But there are downsides to a potty trained child. Especially if he is feeling particularly confident in his abilities. Recently, X-Man has decided that he doesn’t need to be accompanied to the potty. He’s not very neat but all in all, things are ok if he takes himself potty. It’s the entourage that’s the problem. Namely, Cinco. X-Man and Cinco have become rather inseparable recently. And there is no universe where X-Man and Cinco tag teaming anything is a good thing.

In all reality, I should not have been horrified, at least I should not have been surprised, to find X-Man and Cinco hanging out together in the bathroom. Nor should I have been surprised to find them playing in the potty. I was surprised that it had been so completely used and not flushed, as that tends to be X-Man’s favorite part of the experience.  X-Man was probably angling for a second bath that day. On the positive side, at least this was one time that Cinco decided to not attempt to empty the bathroom drawers into the potty.

Cinco loves the potty and hate the bath. I am perplexed. She doesn’t want to take a bath in the tub. She also considered sponge baths in the sink the closest thing to being flayed alive without CPS being involved. But she loves the potty. I haz the confuzed. She had the outrage. 

Monday, May 5, 2014

"Hey! Who's kid is that?" Those are never good words to hear. Especially at a soccer game. Especially if you realize you don't know where X-Man is.
No worries. Two full teams, and their families, knew right where X-Man was. Two fields over, there was my son. Standing in the middle of the field, staring intently at my phone. The phone I handed him while saying "sit down right there and don't move." Well that worked well.
It's not that I was ignoring him. It was that I was trying to keep Cinco controlled. It had occurred to her, apparently for the first time, that soccer is played with a ball. And she should have the ball. Immediately. So I tried to distract her with another ball, which was not the ball that the other girls were playing with and therefore unacceptable.  Furthermore, there was a white line painted on the grass. Clearly in was intended to be crossed, so cross it Cinco would. No matter the lengths Mom went to stop her.
She fought the good fight, complete with shrieking,  tears and hitting. Her mother ensured that a good time was not had by all.  So it was inevitable that wanderlust would hit X-Man at the same moment.
He tried to play it cool, casually strolling through the crowds and across the fields. He stayed focused on my phone while ambling through the middle of a field of play. But he did pause and make eye contact with me. And that's when that sly smile crept across his face. The smile that says "Look at me mom, I'm being naughty." It's a smile that was introduced to me by my oldest but X-Man has turned it into a masterpiece,  complete with arched eyebrow. 
The eyebrow unarched quickly when X-Man was scooped up by a father and ushered off the field.  He was not amused and fairly certain that he had been victimized somehow. His displeasure was recorded and  noted. Meanwhile Cinco noted my distraction and made a break for it.
Baby was obvious to the chaos. She was feeling rather unchallenged during the game and had taken to shooting  goals with
her left foot. Or so I was told. I wasn't really focused on her game. I was enjoying the different scenery in which to yell at my children.