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.



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.

Monday, July 14, 2014

I am sitting at Mac's flag football practice looking at all the pretty, pretty hair. Longer and more coiffed than mine. It's a coed team, but it would be the boys who are rocking the flowing locks. Down to the side braid action. It was unexpected.

Baba is unfamiliar with any doo-wap music because, as she explained to her father, she doesn't listen to '80s music. And totally not '70s either.

It isn't a good thing, when visiting family, to hear your nephew say "Hey X-Man, wait......where are your pants." It good thing that a toddler can't move too fast with arms full of toys and pants around the ankles.

Cinco's still mad that I wouldn't let her wander around the house with a steak knife. Also, I still labor under the assumption that coffee should not be served in a communal family cup. Which is a personal affront to 
Cinco. Furthermore, I won't let her drink the bubbles. 

And now there's crying in football.....I'm so confused. Looks like Mac's practicing his touchdown dance. All in all, for the family introduction to football......it's going to be interesting. 

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

I will keep things short and sweet as copious amounts of family are still in town. Not to mention, the children all tend to disappear and while I'm sure they're all up to no good, it's no good of which I am unaware, so......I have little to discuss.

This is not to say I haven't learned things over the last few days.

My house holds twelve children remarkably well. I'm a little concerned. I had sold the father figure on the supposed fact that our home is too small for anymore children This argument might have blown out of the water. However, the father figure has taken up more X-Man wrestling in the recent past and that whole gleam in his eye has significantly dimmed.

Salted coffee is not good. In any way. What I haven't learned is how salted coffee came to be. Yes, the reason why my salt supply was decimated was partly due to X-Man climbing on the counter and dumping it all over the stove top. However, I still can't wrap my head around him dumping it in the sugar container. That takes a level of wiliness that I am still not certain that he possesses. Although he does continually surprise me. No other child will cop to it, so the mystery remains.

Muting your phone DOES NOT silence games. At least not if X-Man turns on Angry Birds: Star Wars, during his aunt's wedding. It's a good thing the game blasts the theme at the beginning, otherwise not everyone would have known what he was doing.

If there is a family barbecue to celebrate your brother in law's birthday, X-Man will strip down completely......because.

Cinco is completely my child. Part of her morning routine involves bringing me shoes to put on her. Part of her life routine involves removing her shoes constantly. And growing. So I discovered that she had lost the shoes (yes I'm blaming the baby here) that fit her and the shoes that her sister had put on her were very small. I found myself in Target with all the children, shopping for shoes for Cinco. She started to hyperventilate when we reached the shoe aisle. She laid down in the seat of the cart, with her legs high up in the air, waving her feet. In case I didn't know where to put her shoes, which, considering the missing pair, is a valid point. She was VERY happy. I had to remove the tag to give to the clerk as she would not remove the shoes themselves.

Tomorrow I am taking to children to a park where there is water nearby. I give it five minutes before they have all fallen in. Their knack for divining water and then throwing themselves bodily into it isn't useful in any way. They got it from me.

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

How to exercise with a toddler

Plan to get your workout done while it is still cool, keeping yourself on a tight schedule, as you will have to pick up the older kids from sports camp soon. Begin by getting the children settled in their morning routine. Remove the pull-up the toddler was wearing and put his underpants on. As you have for the last six months. Randomly, the toddler will announce “NO PANTS! Pull Up!” And remove his underpants. You will commence a battle of wills over not wearing pull-ups.

Do attempt to short circuit the meltdown by marching the toddler to the bathroom and having him use the toilet. As he does, approximately one second after being placed on it, do not try to understand why he is still screaming for a pull up. It will use energy better spent on your workout.

Eventually he will toddle upstairs and you can begin your 25 minute workout. Excitedly start the online radio station that boasts “exercise music”. Be very annoyed when it starts playing a song entitled “soothing songs for yoga.” Skip the song; discover the next song in line is “nature sounds for evening yoga.” As the baby steals the phone, you figure whatever she stumbles upon is better than “waves to squat by.”

As the intensity of the workout picks up, prepare yourself to be pelted with pull-ups. The toddler will have returned, not wearing underpants, but carrying a package of pull-ups. He will hurl them at you while bellowing “pull-ups mommy!” Dodging them will increase your heart rate, so over all, it’s a plus. Eventually, he will tire of throwing pull ups and start to gather them up again. He will sort them into piles of Buzz and McQueen. Apparently he will hold you responsible for the paucity of McQueens . You will be more distracted by the exercises you are supposed to be doing and the fact that the baby has turned off the music and is now texting someone.

As you move into jumping jacks, the toddler will realize that he left a couple pull ups behind you and he will need to get them immediately. In order to get them, he will need to crawl in between your legs and retrieve them. He will then feel offended when he gets squashed by your jumping jacks.

As he complains loudly, you will try to make him feel better. You will make yourself feel better by observing that even Shaun T isn’t doing his squats while wrestling a fifty pound toddler. You then move to calf raises, which become more challenging as the baby, eager to get in on the action, is now hanging off your leg.

It becomes impossible to continue on while holding children, so you have to peel them off you. Place them on the floor and proceed to jump over them. They will still carry on as if you have threatened to sell them into slavery. However, they will also complain when you stop jumping over them.  So continue on.

Also, make sure you dodge the water spilled by the baby. She’ll get bored and go back to playing in it. The toddler will try to clean it up, mostly with a baby doll. He will also find another pull up and throw it at you. It will work well as a fan, so hang on to it.

After the longest twenty five minute workout of your life, you will look forward to a well-earned shower. It’s at this point you realize that you are alone in the house with a two year old and a one year old. Good times.

At least you’ll be all sweaty like the kids you have to pick up from camp.