Wednesday, January 27, 2016

This is a Princess potty seat. It is the bane of my existence.

First of all Cinco likes to carry it around and make sure that everyone acknowledges the princesses who adorn it. She also prefers that you recognize them and greet them before assisting her up onto the seat. Of course, this happens while she is dancing out her need to use the toilet. So it’s a rushed procedure, but one that she demands be acted out each and every time. Yes, it does require her pointing to each princess. And also the horse.

It’s not that she needs the seat. She is perfectly capable of using the toilet anywhere else without it. 
Cinco’s preference for it has only grown the longer she’s been potty trained.  The bitter part of it is that she can take herself to the bathroom by herself…..if she doesn’t use the seat. With the seat, it’s a bit too tall for her to climb up. I think that’s part of her master plan. Also, keeping X-Man from using it. It’s not that her older brother has any interest in anything that pink or that princessy. It’s just Cinco is so convinced of its awesomeness that she’s concerned someone might try to illicitly use it. So, she tends to charge the bathroom every time X-Man is heading in. This results in mass chaos.

X-Man tends to wait three seconds longer than he should to make a break to the bathroom. And his break for the bathroom involves him running while pulling his pants down.  Now, throw into the mix a desperate two year old, hastily trying to save her precious princesses from whatever indignities she believes X-Man will inflict on them. Two bodies hurtling towards one narrow door yields just the results you might expect. Crashing, weeping and yes…..spraying urine. It’s yet to occur to Cinco that X-Man doesn’t sit down every time he uses the restroom. So the hysteria could certainly be reduced, but then where would be the fun in that? Not to mention, X-Man no longer clutches his rear end while racing to the bathroom when needing to sit and use the potty, so I guess a girl can’t be too careful with her guesses.  

And can we take a minute here and talk about the absurdity of the message “Glamour begins with Confidence.” What does that even mean? And why is it plastered across something that the user cannot read? Even if super genius toddler was using it, super genius is still SITTING on it. How about, “being the only high schooler whose mother has to change her diapers will be super lame.” I’m not sure how this seat is supposed to build confidence, Cinco is incapable of using the potty with the seat, too tall, and unwilling to use it without, mostly because it is necessary to stand on it in order to reach the medicine cabinet thus pilfering through all sorts of interesting stuff. Good times.

Cinco has taken to carrying the seat around with her to make sure X-Man doesn’t even look at it. X-Man has taken to locking the door while he uses the bathroom. Neither of these are desirable outcomes. 

Monday, January 18, 2016

I’m wrestling with a behemoth of my own making. I’m trying to find space in my weekly schedule for two voice lessons. Both Baby and Baba want to develop their musical repertoire, which has been poorly served by me so far. It’s needed for sure, but I am stretched pretty thin. As X-Man’s schooling continues, and adding extra speech therapy on, the few remaining hours of the day not filled with work obligations for me, or schooling for the kids, are pretty much packed. Shockingly, the girls’ voice lessons instructor does not have a wide open schedule allowing us to parachute in whenever we see fit. Too many balls in the air, not enough hours to catch them.

This is chaos of my own creation. I try not to complain too much, I did this to myself. A helpful father, not the father figure, pointed said “this is all your fault, you had all the kids.” Well yeah, true enough. And spoken like a man.   Four kids in activities might just be the straw the breaks me. Well, more like a four by four.  While trying to arrange carpools, I get sympathetic comments from moms along with the comment “You’re such a good mom. Nicer than me.” I smile and desperately hope they are right. I do so want to be a good mom.

I’m fairly certain that the complexity of my schedule is not an accurate measure of my fittingness as a parent. I hope it’s not a strike against me. I figure it simply indicates when it comes to my children; my primary love language is acts of service. 

There’s an overarching theme to parenting these days. Maybe it’s due to social media, maybe it’s Pinterest. But mostly likely it’s just the human condition. We seem to assume that the more difficult something is, the nobler it is. The harder something is then the more superior it is. And if we make things harder for ourselves then we are better for it. This mindset seems particularly prevalent when it comes to modern motherhood.

Look at the modern trends and fads in online mothering. Cloth diapering. Baby wearing. Extended nursing. Co-sleeping. Unmedicated childbirth. Homemade baby food. Homeschooling. All of these are wonderful things. Not one of them makes one a good mother. The whole kit and caboodle won’t guarantee anything. Nor will the failure to practice one or all of these condemn your children to a subpar childhood.

Motherhood isn’t supposed to be martyrdom. Motherhood of itself is sacrificial. There’s no need to make it more challenging. Your children will do that enough for you.  Whatever works for your family, that’s enough. But weighing yourself down under a yoke that is overburdened with unrealistic expectations from an online presence won’t bring your children anything better. Suffering shouldn’t be the measure by which we judge something.

The measure of anything, but most especially motherhood, should be the love by which it if done.  When we think about what we owe our children, it’s not artisan steamed vegetables consumed while wearing hemp diapers. We owe them the peace and security that comes from a loving home, a stable home. And that peace, that love, that’s going to look different in every family. It’s going to look different child to child. It might take the form of a baby wearing mother who shares her bed with her babies. It might take the form of a mom who utilizes daycare disposable diapers. Maybe even looks like a mom who spends every night running to soccer practices.

It’s not about what we do. It’s about why we do it. The varying love languages and personalities make sweeping statements and general conclusions impossible about love. At least as it is manifested to the outside eye.  We all want the best for our children. We all want to give them the world. But we don’t all have the same abilities and circumstances, the same personalities. And so we can’t give the same. But that’s not a failing. That’s not being a lesser parent. And more importantly, that’s not denying your children anything. Motherhood by its nature is sacrificial. You give of your body, your mind, your heart, your energy. Motherhood is the hard path. Making it harder for yourself doesn’t make it better.

If your kids enjoy playing multiple sports, then have them play several sports. But having your kids in multiple sports doesn’t make you a good mom. If homeschooling works for your family, then embrace it. But don’t homeschool because that’s what good moms do. If exotic home cooked meals aren’t your gift, don’t force yourself into that mold. That path just ends in frustration and exhaustion. Give what you can to your children. Give yourself. Give who you are. Because that’s who they want.
All of this rambling doesn’t actually help me with my current predicament. But it’s my source of comfort as we look forward to another week of crockpot meals. Which is good because Cinco’s asking me when she gets to take swimming lessons. Also, she wants to be on the pink soccer team. Sign me up. Or commit me. It really could go either way.

Thursday, January 14, 2016

If you make jokes about my family size, let me spare you the trouble. See, I’ve heard them all. They’re not funny. And your timing is off.

I’m a little sensitive to the subject at the moment. I went to pick up a prescription the other day. It’s a prescription I’ve been taking for a while……also the reason why I’m not drop dead tired ALL. THE. TIME. Anyway, for the first time ever when picking it up the pharmacist asked me “You’re not pregnant are you?” Uh…..

The answer was no. I knew the answer was no. But I still ended up just a little flustered. Maybe after one surprise pregnancy that only occurred to you to look for after three Long Island Ice Teas, you become just a little twitchy at the thought of getting back on that ride. Then again, maybe it was the prescription I was picking up and the fact that they ask you to contact them if you get pregnant while taking their medicine. Because they want to know what happens. Good times.

My day continued onward. And to the doctor. I was sitting in the waiting room listening to the nurses discuss what they would do with their ten zillion dollar Powerball winnings, I shared my plans. Change my name, buy an island….let my kids keep the house. They thought this might be the plan for success.

Anyway, off the doctor’s room. As the medical assistant was reviewing my medical history he asked, and I kid you not “how long have you been pregnant?” I pulled myself together fast enough to answer “about 45 months.” It was his turn to do a double take. “No, I mean right now.” Yeah, that’s what I was afraid of “Well, about thirty seconds.” “So, you’re not pregnant? “ “Not that I’m aware of. But it seems like it’s something we should ask Siri as this point.” “Huh weird. Let’s check your blood pressure.

It was 160/90.  Last time it was that high…….I was pregnant.

The guy stepped out and popped his head back in. “I took a look at the computer out here and I can’t tell who checked the box saying ‘pregnant’ but it’s been checked since 2003. That’s weird.
Now, I have spent a good part of the years between 2003 and 2016 pregnant. But I am fairly confident I have not been pregnant ALL of those months. And not pregnant in the months since Cinco made her delightful debut into the world. But at this point I was flummoxed. And in came the doctor.

You’re pregnant? Congratulations! But we should talk about your treatment plan…..
Me “I’m pretty sure I’m not pregnant.
Med tech “Oh I figured out how to get it off your chart! Ok, that was weird.”

I still almost swung by Target to pick up a pregnancy test.
And I’m ready to rethink this whole electronic medical records thing…….

Monday, January 11, 2016

I saw the new Star Wars. Back in the 1980s.

I mean I understand the need to remark a classic. It was clearly missing Emo Vader. I mean, they took the most terrifying cinematic villain ever and gave him a pashmina and some eyeliner. And feelings. Lots and lots of feelings. 

J.J. Abrams isn't renowned for his thinking outside the box. So I wasn't surprised to see Voldesith and Skywalker the Grey introduced. But seriously, the whole Emo Vader thing just didn't work for me. I was overwhelmed with the urge to yell "put your man pants on before your caftan of evil!" It's clear what happened. Numero Uno fighter pilot was the first born. He was the jock, good at everything and very popular. Mom and Dad appreciated his skills and the fact he was good at things that interested them. Then came Emo boy. Who was supposed to be born in a galaxy far far away, but his soul is from Portland. Where as super duper pilot boy was good at fighting bad guys, Emo boy was good at poetry. And constructing Artisan light sabers. From hemp, or something.   I'm sure there were plenty of slammed doors and "You guys don't even understand!!!" Dad would get him a leather jacket, so he could be one of the guys, when all he wanted was a scarf!! It make both the rage and the tears much more understandable. 

Which is why I spent most of the movie certain I was behind Emo Vader at the coffee shop the previous evening. And certainly why Mac announced "that guy was too whiny to be Darth Vader." Then again, considering the schnoz on Emo Vader, maybe they were doing an homage to a different terrifying space villain.

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

This lovely image is a picture of Bath and Body Works top selling scent, A Thousand Wishes.  According to the description the scent includes:

  • Top Notes: Sparkling Champagne, Twinkling Star Fruit, Golden Quince
  • Mid Notes: Crystal Peonies, Purple Freesia
  • Dry Notes: Gilded Amber, Almond Crème, Sugared Sandalwood, Velvet Musk

I don't know what any of that means. Especially what twinkling star fruit smells like. But the combo creates a wonderful, lethal scent. 

Yeah, I forgot to mention that over the holidays, in a brief foray in attempting to look and smell presentable, I almost killed the father figure. 

Twinkling star fruit? Turns out the father figure is allergic to it. Or possibly golden quince. Maybe glided amber. Whatever it was, or the combo of all of them. he nearly died. Or just couldn't breathe and sneezed constantly while in my presence. If we had actually ever updated our life insurance policies like we've talked about he would have had reason to be concerned.  As it was, he just has another reason to detest that store. 

Right before Christmas I got a pedicure complete with snowflakes on my big toes. I'm pleased. X-Man is quite smitten. First because he kept referring to it as a snowball. And tried to throw my feet repeatedly. This was better than what he moved on to. Catching snowflakes on his tongue. A pleasant enough experience during our recent snowfalls. But he got that look in his eye while I was sitting on the couch. With a twinkle that only he gets, and usually means something unpleasant coming my way,  Sure enough, the boy said "Look mom, snowflakes!" and promptly tried to like my toes. 

I did not kick him in the nose. Some days I impress even myself. 

Monday, January 4, 2016

I haven’t written in a long time. Such is life at Christmastime. And the fact that things were busy and complicated but not really noteworthy.

Everything was wonderful. This doesn’t mean there wasn’t plenty of stress leading up to big day. 
And I was left to bemoan the fact that I am that rare species of woman who doesn’t lose weight when stressed. Accurately measured, my stress level was def con supermodel. My body shape has remained def con mom jeans.

Life is not fair.
The father figure and I celebrated fourteen years of marriage of the holidays. You know you’ve been married fourteen years when you contemplate getting dressed up for your dinner date, but then don’t because that would require you shaving your legs. And you’re cozy.  And it’s worth it in the end, because you end up not going out and eating take out in your kitchen, while X-Man and Cinco swarm you eating all the best parts.

Yay marriage.

Also, the father figure bought me a heavy winter coat to keep warm at outdoor soccer games and a car vacuum to suck up all the turf residue left in the car by the indoor games. It’s sad how excited I was by both.

I did have a new life experience over the holidays. We went out to dinner for the father figure’s birthday. The hostess was smitten the moment X-Man marched through the door. She announced “You must be a happy family because he is so handsome.” Um…sure, we’ll go with that. X-Man, in turn, discovered that he could actually be waited on, happily, hand and foot. She brought him water, and then an extra spoon. I mean, you can’t expect a handsome boy to eat the ice out of his water glass with the same spoon that he eats his soup with.  I was particularly happy that she brought him an entire glass of ice cubes to eat, because that’s not a habit I’ve tried to break or anything.  He asked her to feed him, and she obliged. At this point I may have tried to hide under the table, while our waitress gushed to X-Man “your family so lucky, you so handsome, eat just a little bit more.” Of course she brought him out dessert as well.

Cinco was unimpressed. And also confused by the lack of attention.

I have to wonder if this waitress would still be as impressed if X-Man had display his new trick for her. During New Year’s Day football games, X-Man dropped his trousers, backed his bare hinny up towards his father’s plate of food and announced “I’m pooping on it.

The father figure is certain that this behavior stems from him being a four year old boy. And having an older brother. Not to mention the father figure has been mooned not once, but twice by his children. Well, each son has done it exactly one time. Each at the age of four. Shockingly, our daughters have failed to pass this milestone.

We both tried to regroup, struggling to understand that the child, who is in early intervention and struggles to use verbs, had managed a complete thought in proper context.  Mac volunteered that X-Man had been doing this to him for the last several days.  I’m pretty certain that Mac gave X-Man the reaction he was looking for, which was a far cry from his parent’s response.

Again, we were in for a shock. As the father figure, in his best fatherly voice, informed his pride and joy that this behavior was unacceptable and inappropriate, I joined in with the helpful observation “it’s rude.” Which wiped the smirk off of X-Man’s face.  He frowned and said solemnly “no, it’s funny.

Ladies and Gentlemen…..our verbally challenged son.