Thursday, August 28, 2014

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Monday, August 25, 2014

Random thoughts from the summer……..

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

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

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

Thursday, August 21, 2014

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

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

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

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

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

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

How to take X-Man to a theme park.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

17) Lose X-Man in the cave maze.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Monday, August 11, 2014

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

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

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

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

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

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

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

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