Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Wine for Whine

All of these Winos are moms of young children.

Or at least that's my excuse for killing two bottles of wine this evening.  In my defense, I shared them with Jason.  Did I mention I opened that first bottle at 2:00 p.m.?  9 hours is a long time to consume 4-5 glasses.  I'm just saying.

Perhaps I should explain why opening a bottle at 2:00 seemed like a good idea.  First of all, we were having our house cleaned today, so the only reason I didn't open it earlier is because I didn't want to be judged.  Before you get all that-must-be-nice about having our house cleaned, you should know it's related to my MS.  I can't clean the shower without sitting out the next several hours.  Not that I necessarily miss cleaning the shower.  So, yes...  I was seriously wanting to pop open a bottle at 12:45.  Waiting until 2:00 was impressive on my part.

I had a neuro appt. this morning.  My doctor switched me to an oral MS drug (No more shots!!!  Wooo hoooooo!) and then promptly sent me to the lab for blood work (Boo!)  We collected our kids from the hospital childcare center and I took them to the grocery store.  And that's about when all Hell broke loose.  I took the kids to the bathroom for 20 minutes of "Yes, Em, You need to try" followed by "Good GOD, Jacob!  What do we feed you?!" on the diaper changing table.  We cleared the room.

Then came lunch.  I mistakenly thought my screaming, bucking baby was hungry.  No.  He was just in a screaming, bucking, demon baby mood.  Silly me.  I had TWO strangers offer to help as he chucked food, sippy cup, napkins, toys, books, etc. from our dining area table.  One mom said, "You're doing so good..." as she patted me on the shoulder.  For 2 brief seconds I actually felt smug.  I've got this.  Screaming, feral baby was clawing at my face and I was pacing while holding him at the store entrance when I looked down and noticed...

I was flashing all who entered New Seasons. (Sigh)

Holding a squirmy kid had pulled my neckline down to the degree that I had some serious exposed cleavage going.  Kill me now.

Another stranger offered words of encouragement and two more strangers helped by collecting the items Jacob had decided were not worthy of being within 10 feet.  That kid has an amazing arm!  It took two adults to get us out of the store.  I owe the bag boy a thank you card!

So, yes...  2:00 became happy hour at my house.  Our amazing housecleaning duo couldn't come until later, so as it turned out we had been avoiding the house for nothing.  Sweeeeeeet.  The vaccuum is really easy to sleep through (and wine makes me sarcastic!)  Here's the best part, though.  My friend's awesome wife reminded me of a good point...  I was not bored today.  And THAT I can be thankful for.  There are obvious things to be thankful for, but when it comes to parenting sometimes I get blinded by the crazy factor.  It was certainly not boring.  And, in fact, I laughed out loud more than once in the  heat of the moment.  What more could I do??  I shared my story with friends and learned it was a day FULL of tantrums. I loved reading their stories and realized an important thing.  We are all in this together.  Even at 2:00 happy hour.


Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Imaginative Play FAIL

I think I was a pretty imaginative child.  I spent hours daydreaming from a cherry tree branch while singing Carpenters songs when I was little.  In my head I was high above the ground, but I was also a ridiculously short kid.  Practically a munchkin.  It was probably four feet.  I realize now that my imagination didn't hold a candle to Emily's.

I put Jacob down for a nap today and came out to find Em laying on her stomach behind the sofa.  I laid down beside her and whispered, "What are we doing?"

"We're hiding from Coco.  He's a monster."

"Ooooh...  Where is he?"

"He's in the kitchen.  He's really big and do you hear that?  His voice is green."

"Impressive.  I didn't know you could see a voice."

"We're pretending."

"Right.  Ooooh!  I have an idea.  We'll wear my invisible cape so he won't see us!"

"Good idea.  And we'll need to say something to scare him away."

"I've got it.  Ooga-booga-Coco-be-gone!"

"How about we just say, 'Boo.'"

She may as well have said, "Mommy, This is not that hard.  Try to keep up."

We tip-toed from behind the sofa and Em continued the elaborate tale that involved Miss Muffett (who apparently knows sign language), a treasure, a witch, and an unknown Disney princess named Giselle.  She insisted I play the part of the witch (noted).

"And my name is Sensashanah."

"Alright, Sensashanah."

"No...  SHENsashanah."

"OK.  Shensashanah."

"ShensaSHAAAnah.  You can just call me Violet."

At this rate I may be asked to sit the next one out.  You're clearly better at this than I am, Violet.  Be patient with me.  I promise to try harder tomorrow!

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

School is Now in Session

Lessons from Emily:

1.  Toilet water is fun to play with.
2.  It's possible to eat nothing but fruit for an entire week.
3.  The value of something increases exponentially when a brother has it.
4.  Tantrum memory lasts 5 seconds.  I'll be over it long before you recover.
5.  You'll do everything you said you'd never do.
6.  I don't care.  You're a superhero in my eyes.
7.  You will love me more than you thought possible.

Lessons from Jacob:

1.  Toilet water is fun to play with.
2.  A blueberry fits perfectly in a toddler nostril.
3.  Bathroom drawers may be used as a step ladder.
4.  Things with wheels are awesome.
5.  Private parts are even MORE awesome.
6.  You can hold me while making a PB&J for my sister.  Superhero status confirmed.
7.  You will love me more than you thought possible.

The biggest surprise lesson has been in the area of character education. I thought I would always be the teacher, of course.  We saw a woman crossing the street the other day with a baby in a stroller and (gasp!) a toddler sitting astride the attached overhead shade.  He held on for dear life while she pushed the wobbly contraption across the busy street.

Em:  "That is a cool stroller!"

Mommy on her high Mommy horse:  "Well...  That's not how it was made to be used.  The little boy up top isn't buckled in.  He could fall and get hurt.  That's not a seat and it's not safe for them to use it like that.  Especially crossing a street!"

Em:  "I guess they don't have a stroller with two seats."

(Gulp) She's absolutely right.  The young mother is doing the best she can with what she has.  I can't believe my 4 year old knows this and I was readily passing judgment.  I told Emily she was right and that I had forgotten that people generally do the best they can.  What a great reminder.  My other little teacher had a lesson for me that day as well:  Smashing bananas into your hair can be used to signal a meal is over.  All this time I've been doing it wrong!

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Beauty and the Beast

Em asked if we could play Cinderella the other day.  She told me SHE would be Cinderella "because I'm the beautifulest."  Ouch.  It's a fine line to walk when you're trying to promote your kid's self-esteem while trying NOT to teach her that self-worth is found in appearances.  I tend to catch myself, but typically only after I've already blown it.

"You're such a pretty girl!!  And SMART!  You're SO smart.  Which is so much more important.  And your imagination is fantastic.  And you're great at problem solving!  You could be a scientist.  Or an astronaut!  Or president!!  I should stop now."

I'm not worried about Em's self-esteem at all.  Mine, on the other hand, may start slipping if Emily keeps noticing things while I'm getting ready in the mornings.

"What are those lines on your belly?"

Stay calm.  Totally normal.  I'm proud of carrying two babies.  Let her know this is no big deal.

"When Mommies carry babies in their bellies it stretches the skin WAY out.  Some more than others.  Like...um... me.  So, it stretches.  And those are called stretch marks."

Em looked thoughtfully at my stomach.

"What about the line on your forehead?"

Awesome.  She's asking about a wrinkle.  That's super.

"When people get a little older they sometimes get wrinkles on their faces."  Em then informed me she doesn't want to get old.  Or have babies.  I obviously missed the mark on the whole this-is-all-very-normal-and-beautiful message.

"Why is your bottom bigger than mine?"

And that's when I kicked her out of my bathroom.  I can only take so much!

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Weimaraner Woes

Our Weimaraner, Blue will turn 9 in June.  9 going on 1.  Weimaraners are basically puppies until they die.  Or at least that's what ours seems to be.  We've even had multiple random Weim owners tell us, "Don't worry...  They slow down after 5 years or so."  No, they don't.  Not this one.

I'm not even sure how it came up, but we were talking about Blue's age with Em tonight.  Jason laughed as I did the mental math of a) how old he is and b) what this means in dog years.  I have my Master's degree yet STILL have to count by 9's to get to 63.  I'm going to pretend this is a MS thing.  Just go with it.

Emily suddenly said, "I'm going to be sad when Blue dies."

This was a moment.  Pet loss is a big deal to kids.  I've worked with several kids on this topic and felt like I should say something important here.  I hate those moments.  So much pressure!  I remembered the message we heard at church on Sunday that centered on grief and realizing that the time we have with loved ones is a remarkable blessing to be appreciated no matter how short.

"We'll all be very sad when Blue dies, but we'll also remember all of the times he made us happy."

Em replied, "I don't remember that."

Oh, my sage 4 year old....  This quickly turned into banter between Jason and I recounting the many times this dog has brought joy to our lives....

Remember the time he ate the walls??  That was a happy time.
Remember when he had an accident in your parents' house?
I remember the time he ate your earplugs.
Which time?
Remember when Blue nipped at a toddler?
Or lunged and growled at a family friend?
Happy, happy times.
I remember when Blue ate a plush toy and had to be taken to the emergency vet.
And when he ate a baby sock.  And an ornament.  There's a theme here.
Remember when we had to replace ALL of the flooring in our house?
Or when he damaged the wood floor in our new house?  Good times.
Remember when the groomer asked us NEVER to bring him back for nail trims?
Or when the vet told us to feed him boiled turkey and rice because he has food allergies?  
And then I didn't feel like cooking because I'd already cooked for the dog.
Remember when we had to buy $90 prescription dog food?
Like it was yesterday...  Because it was.

Believe it or not the pros outweigh his many neurotic behaviors and expensive health issues.  We make him wear boots these days to save our wood floors.  It's a fair trade.  I love our goofy dog.  It will be a very sad day when his time comes.  It will be an amusing day when one of the kids asks a friend, "Hey!  Where are your dog's boots?"  Could be worse.  It's not like we make him wear a jacket.  Oh, wait...

Friday, February 22, 2013

Mama Said There'd Be Days Like This

So, I tried to wash my face with toothpaste.  Not on purpose.  It's not like that time I followed some crazy Pinterest advice to slather my feet with shaving cream then wrap them in a Listerine-soaked hand towel which, by the way, does NOT remove dry skin as promised!  Minty fresh feet are weird.  And that was a mean joke.

Monday was a holiday then Em was sick.  Our routine is off.  That's my excuse.

Yesterday Jacob wigged out in publicPeople were visibly cringing from the high-pitched screams.  I yelled to the guy at the deli counter as if nothing was happening.  "CAN I GET TWO...  OF THE SALMON FILETS!"  We were beyond ridiculous.  We waited to check-out when I realized I was going to be late picking Emily up from gymnastics.  Ugh!  I explained to the cashier that we were in a HUGE hurry.

"Wow...  Frozen chorizo...  Where did you find this??"

Seriously??  At this point I totally exaggerated my non-verbal cues.  READ ME.  I looked at my watch repeatedly.  Took my keys out.

"Oh, I just LOVE this almond butter.  You know, I've actually considered buying one of those machines.  But they use roasted almonds.  I wonder how expensive those are..."

You've got to be kidding.

I was the mom who showed up to parent pick-up 10 minutes late.  Sweet.  I made it up to her by playing one of her games 50 times while Jacob napped.  Then my friend from college called.  The one I've been meaning to talk to FOREVER. 

"Em, I need you to be really quiet so I can talk on the phone, OK?"

"OK, Mommy!"


Em spent most of my conversation trying to get my attention.  Singing, dancing around me, "Excuse me...  Excuse me...  Excuse me..."  At one point she clipped a helium balloon to my back!  I finally walked out the front door just so I could have a conversation in peace.

Then I heard the dead bolt.  That's pretty much when I began swearing and tried not to panic.  She eventually let me in, I yelled too much and told her to go to her room.  She was singing before I closed her bedroom door.  SINGING!!  I calmed down and returned to talk it over.

"Did you hear my singing?"

"Yes, Em.  Lovely.  Do you know why you're in time-out?"

"Did you hear the words, though?"


(Cue sad puppy face)

"I was singing about how I'm all alone in my room and I don't like to be all alone."

"Ooooh...  Was the next verse about how you're in here because you were being rude while Mommy was on the phone and then made an unsafe choice by locking me out of the house?"

"No.  It wasn't that song."  Of course not.

I was still fuming when Jason came home.  Thankfully he knows how to diffuse me quickly and offered to teach her a lesson by locking her out of the houseOvernight!  We even made up our own little song to the tune of "Blinded by the Light."

Locked outside all niiiiight.  If you get cold, there's a dumpster to the right!

I felt better immediately.  For the record, she did NOT sleep outside that night.  We don't have a dumpster.

Monday, February 18, 2013

Little Miss Shares Too Much

Kindergarten students are my favorite.  Every year they crack me up and this year is no exception.

During an assessment where I asked a student how milk and water are alike, a little girl made a gesture with her hand as if she were drinking from a cup.  You don't get points for that, but I was curious if she could eventually get there with some prompting.

Me: "OK.  Can you use your words and tell me what that means?"

Kid:  (Stands up and staggers around my office) "I'm SO drunk!"


Me:  "Umm...  Where did you hear that?"

Kid:  "My Dad says that.  He drinks beer."


Next sweet Kindergarten moment happened last week while talking with a student about his home life.

Kid:  "My mom makes weird noises."

Me:  "What do you mean?"

Kid:  "At bedtime.  She makes lots of weird noises."

Me:  "Hmm..  Are you saying you're worried about her?"

Kid:  "No...  Her boyfriend says I just need to knock before I come in."


All of you parents think it's middle school and high school you need to fear...  Au contraire, mon ami.  Fear the 5 year old!!  They share EVERYTHING and they have no idea they're doing it.  Your 5 year old makes my work day so much more entertaining.  The downside is that my daughter turns 5 in May.  I'm in so much trouble.