Pages

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Friday Night Fun?

Third day of no sweets and I want a cookie so bad, I feel like a crack addict on the 1st day of rehab! The fact that I have six...yes, SIX boxes of Girl Scout Cookies in the house, is not helping! Lent has started and I always like to give something up...and also to do something...this year I have given up sweets and every day I am trying to do little random acts of kindness.

I'm not sure which is harder...the no sweets thing or finding things to do for people. It started out easy...Kids and I were at Target, saw a stray shopping cart and put it away. Of course, then the next kid had to find a stray cart and put it away...which meant I had to scour the parking lot for another cart for the little one...which took some time and freaked some people out, who thought we were stalking them...which we were...

The next day I was at the grocery store, looking at the market flowers. Another woman picked out some flowers and I gave her the plastic sleeve thing that she needed, so the flowers wouldn't drip everywhere... This morning I helped a friend deliver something to her kids at school...but what do I do when I can't find something?

I thought about that as I walked up to the glass doors of a department store. I could see an older woman walking towards the doors, right at me. "Oh good," I thought to myself, "I will open the door and hold it for her." But what does she do? She sees me and makes a sharp turn towards the OTHER set of doors! What the heck? HEY LADY! Can't you see I'm trying to do a good deed? Get back here! As these thoughts were streaming through my head, I pictured myself throwing open the door, stalking over to her and strong-arming her through the door. Guess that really wouldn't qualify as an act of kindness...

I wish I could give up something that I really don't like...driving the kids to school...picking the kids up from school...housework...making school lunches....laundry...trying to think what to cook for dinner...hmm...this list could get very long! Oh...cleaning toilets...Seriously...I think I either need to write the boys a letter:  "Dear Boys, please aim for the large white thing in the middle of the room. Please do NOT aim for the floor, the cupboards, the trash can, the shower curtain" ...OR I could paint the toilet red with a white seat...maybe they will think it's a big bullseye... Regardless...I just don't like cleaning it...

Even though Monday was a holiday...this has been a long week. Oh...Monday was a holiday...the kids were home...this HAS been a long week! So glad it's Friday...of course that presents a whole new set of issues...the kids think they can stay up as long as they want...it's the weekend! After 2 hours of after dinner playing, they have agreed to sleep in the playroom together and watch a movie. My husband sends them up to clean the playroom. "I didn't mess it up, Dad!" complains the oldest. And it's true...it was the younger ones..."OK, go find something else to do, stay out of their way," says Dad. He sets the younger ones to picking up the room, so that there is some floor space to sleep on. Soon, I hear the thump and then wail and here comes the youngest. The middle son is close on her heels. This can only mean one of two things...either he is concerned about his sister....or he caused the crying and is coming down to defend himself...you never know with him..sometimes he hides...

She has fallen over some miscellaneous crap on the floor and hurt her back on some kind of bucket...I think...hard to decipher through the sobbing.  After consoling her, I carry her back upstairs and find myself helping them put things away. The Monopoly game seems to have taken a few hits tonight...box broken, a game piece is missing...money is scattered all over the room. I stay upstairs with them and get things put away. We are done! I tell the kids to go get their pillows and blankets. The little one says she has a hurt spot on her face and runs downstairs to have Dad put something on it...the eldest is missing from his room, I assume he is downstairs too. The middle son and I wait patiently for their return. "I wish they would hurry up," he says, "I really like this movie." I go downstairs to check on them and my husband says, they will be up in 10 minutes...they are watching some gold mining show... "Hurry up , I say, your brother is waiting. Ten minutes later, they are ready. I go up to start the movie and the middle son is alseep. OUT! Poor kid...figures. Now the oldest says he is too tired and goes to his room...and here comes the little one..crying and whining...she doesn't want to be alone in the playroom... And so goes my night... I remember when Friday nights meant going out. Now they mean no homework, sleeping in the next day and juggling the kids. So glad I didn't give up wine for Lent...I think a nice Merlot will do...

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

NOT A Morning Person!

It's no secret that I am not a morning person. I never claimed to be...although, there was that year that I went to the gym every morning at 5:30am...but I can hardly count that...I didn't enjoy being up that early...it was still dark out...I was a "poser"...I didn't mean it, and secretly I was still staying up late at night, to retain my "night owl" status...oh, if my workout buddies only knew... the joke ended up being on me as I finally pooped out and at this point could only get up at that hour if the house were on fire or Publisher's Clearing House was on the front porch with my million dollar check!

No, I am not a morning person, and apparently neither are my children. Kind of sad, really. My husband is a morning person...or at least he was when I met him...He used to get up at 5am, play racquetball, work all day and still come home and be in a great mood! Must have been that he went to bed at a decent hour...but years of marriage to me has corrupted him. And although he strives to be a morning person, he follows my lead and stays up much too late to be the chipper morning person of his youth. (Sorry honey!)

If only I WERE a morning person, the "get the kids to school routine" would be SO much easier...As it is, most mornings do not go well for me. Getting the three kids up, dressed, fed, teeth brushed, lunches made, jackets out, backpacks filled, shoes tied, hair combed...is all a bit overwhelming. Oh sure, they are all old enough to do most of this themselves..and in THEORY it is a lovely thing. But I am learning to expect the unexpected... like the middle child telling me, "oh my thermos leaks now".  He couldn't tell me this yesterday, when I could have done something about it? Or the oldest asking me where his binoculars are since he is going on a nature walk with his class...What? I don't have time to look for them! Let's not forget.."I need to bring a share today!" and the grief that comes from searching for something "Share-worthy". Even when we are all ready and heading for the door...the little one will announce she has to go to the bathroom...again!

Today, we were doing fairly well....almost on schedule...when I wrecked it! Kids were finally in the car, I stopped in the kitchen to grab some ibuprofen for my back, since I was going to work out after dropping the kids off. I reached for the medicine basket and had to give it a tug..it seemed to be stuck...I pulled harder and sticky red liquid starting pouring out of the bottom of the basket...oh no! I couldn't just put it back...I grabbed it and ran across the kitchen to the sink, leaving a trail of red. I turned around to rush back to the cupboard, slipped on the red goo and slid across the floor, spreading goo as I went and cartwheeling my arms for balance. My mess had just gotten bigger. I mopped up what I could in the cupboard, checked the basket and retrieved the culprit...a leaking bottle of cough syrup...cleaned up the floor and headed for the car. Well, that wasted 5 minutes that we didn't have. (Sometimes I feel like my life is just one big episode of "I Love Lucy!")

OK, in the car, backing out of the driveway, I ask..."Does everyone have what they need? Backpacks? Lunches?  Do you have your share?" No...no share.  Back in the house he goes....alright NOW we are ready. I glance over my shoulder at everyone...What is that on the little one's sweater sleeve? UGH...it is FILTHY!  ARGGGHHH! She can't wear that. "Take of your sweater," I demand. She stares at me with large eyes. "Your sleeve...it's dirty." She spends the next valuable minute inspecting her sleeves, but of course it is on the other side of her arm and she can't bend it that way to look. "Take my word for it! You will have to just wear a jacket today...no sweater." As she tries to wiggle out of her sweater, I look at the clock and feel my blood pressure rising. We'll never make it, I think. Another tardy slip...noooo....!

On our way...there is a slim chance that we can do this. Oh wait, is that a red light? Darn...I needed that light to be green...Ok, we're still Ok...oh look, another red light! Awesome! And that is the way the whole trip to school went... Red light after red light. OK...we will be right under the wire, we are going to make it!... As long as there is no train! TRAIN!! $#@%! That's it! We are officially going to be late! I turn to the kids and say, "Sorry guys...we are going to be late...there is no doubt.

Three red lights, two stop signs, a slow jaywalker and a driver in front of us going 15 miles below the speed limit later...we arrive at school. We head for the office to get the tardy slips. The cheerful receptionist no longer needs to ask the kids their names...and with filled-out tardy slips, hugs and secret kisses.. I send the kids to class.

 "Whew! Glad that's over," I think to myself as I start up the car and pull out of the parking lot. I head for my workout as the "low fuel" light comes on..."no problem...I will just pull into the gas station on my way"...Or I would...if I had not forgotten my WALLET!! And so it goes...

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Growth Spurt!

Holy Cow! The kids are on a growing spurt! The middle child just came down the stairs, his pants looking more like knickers, than pants. The oldest looks like he is waiting for the flood and the little one's long sleeve shirts are now elbow-length, exposing her entire wrist, not to mention her pants, which are showing her socks, in their entirety...

Let's see...it's mid-February...four more months of school.  Can we hang on without having to buy more school uniforms?  But it's not just their clothes...their lunchboxes stink like an old highschool lunchroom, I've already replaced two kids' backpacks and the third one looks like it was run over by a bus.  Their folders are ratty, their shoelaces look like mice have been chewing on them, I can only find one sock per pair and end up throwing mismatched socks in their drawers. They have grown out of their underwear...but I can't pass the oldest's underwear down because the middle son says that is "gross". (I do it anyway)

I sent the youngest up for a change into the cute jumper I found for her. It's a size 6, she is 6 years old...perfect, right? She looked so cute, white shirt, navy jumper, navy leggings. "OK," I tell her, "Let's make sure it's long enough." She stands up tall, with her arms to her sides. The rule is that skirts and jumpers have to be longer than where her fingertips reach. Uh-oh...it's barely long enough..."Shrug your shoulders, Honey," I suggest. She complies...PERFECT! Now just walk around like that all day...

I don't know what I am so worried about...the kids don't care. The oldest spent a whole day at school with his shirt inside-out. It's a long sleeved polo shirt. Really? You didn't notice that the buttons are on the inside? I don't know which is worse...that he went all day like that or the fact that I didn't even notice when I sent him off to school. I really need to pay better attention...or invest in a good pair of glasses!

The apple doesn't fall far from the tree...My mom told me the story of when I was in second grade...off to school I went. She looks out the window to wave goodbye and sees that my pants are in the extreme highwater zone. She was mortified and felt so bad. She shouldn't have...I knew my pants were too short. I didn't care. I loved those pants. There was a top that matched...purple polyester, puffed sleeves with three heart shaped buttons and a white bib sewn in. (sounds lovely, right?)  The pants were the same fabric and I thought it was the coolest thing ever. Maybe I really only loved it because it came from my cousin Carol...I loved all hand-me downs and I was going to wear that outfit until I burst it at the seams! (which I think I did...)

I guess as long as no one points it out to the kids, they will be fine. And let's be honest...the boys wouldn't care if their pants were ripped, dirty, highwaters, too tight and backwards. Although the backwards thing might present a problem in the bathroom... The girl on the other hand...she'll be fine until someone points it out to her..and even then she will think it's OK...until they say they don't like it. Then it will be DRAMA and I will have to break down and make a purchase. Until then, I will cross my fingers and pray no one says a word.  After all, warm weather is on the way and I will break out the short sleeve polo shirts, shorts and skirts. What do you want to bet those won't fit either...? 

Payback?

God gave us children to keep us humble...and to pay us back for the embarrassing and/or bratty things we did to our own mothers.
Take our youngest...trailing behind me at the grocery store, singing "How Dry I Am..." at the top of her lungs. I love the looks I get from the other shoppers as she staggers and uses her best drunk voice. I shrug and grin at the people who give me little smiles...eventually, I get disapproving looks and end up pretending I don't know who she is...maybe even saying, "I don't know who the drunk little girl is...her parents should be ashamed."...
I think it's all payback from when I used to trail my oldest sister around, yelling, "Mom! Mommy! MOM!"...I was probably 13 and she was 26 or so...and not too thrilled with me. She would try to ditch me or tell people that "I've never seen this girl before"...ah...good times...!

At the age of three, our oldest was quite a talker. I'll never forget coming to pick him up at his nice little preschool, when the director pulled me aside. "Your son taught everyone some new words today." I didn't catch on, and feeling very proud, I said, "Oh! Really? How fun! What did he say?" "G*d Damn it!" she said without a hint of amusement...I felt myself willing my body to disappear as she stared at me. "Hmm...I am shocked. I wonder where he could have heard such a thing?"  Of course I knew EXACTLY where he heard it, Daddy! Daddy's in charge of driving him to school every day and admitted that his language is quite colorful as he critiques the other drivers' abilities.

When we were kids, there were two rambunctious (read devilish) little boys who lived up the street. One day, they came into our yard and the little one stood in front of my dad, looked up and said, "Why are you so FAT?" I can't remember what my dad said in return, but I am pretty sure that he taught them some fun new words that day.  I would be SO appalled if my kids ever said something like that to someone...(other than me). At least my kids are nice about it..."I like your big butt, mommy!" they say as the grab onto my belt loops dance behind me, singing, "I Like Big Butts", in a conga line around the house. It's all well and good at home, but there have been more than one rendition of the big butt dance performed outside our home, which always proves to be very entertaining for everyone but me!

I think my husband is a little more sensitive about it, then I am. Maybe that's because he is in good shape and really looks good...This morning he came downstairs without a shirt on. (He was "ironing" his shirt in the dryer) As he helped get breakfast for the kids, the middle one pipes up..."Ew Dad! That's gross!" "What do you mean, 'gross'? You walk around here without a shirt on all the time!" he replied. "Yeah, but I am little and I sit down so you can't see me. You are around the food!"  I snickered to myself as I watched the exchange...Daddy stalked out of the room and returned a short time later with a windbreaker zipped to the neck...

It's OK...I do my best to embarrass them every chance I get. The youngest is still little enough to not be affected by it...but the boys...well, all I have to do is give them a big hug and a big kiss on the playground as they head for their class lines. They are mortified and try to get away from me. Kind of reminds me of when Pepe LePew tries to kiss the cat that looks like a skunk..they can't get away from me fast enough.

I'm sure I can come up with lots more embarrassing things to do to them as they get older and actually care what other people think of them. I may even ask my sisters to share what they did to their kids... But for now, I will be content with our congo lines and entertaining new words...and maybe the husband and I can think of some more good ones over a nice bottle of wine.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Hurray for 3-day Weekends?

Hurray! It's a three-day weekend! I LOVE three-day weekends! I love having that extra day...the MONDAY...the Monday of sleeping in, no driving to school, no school lunches, and best of all...no breaking up the day to pick the kids up from school.

I had big plans for today...the first of which was to sleep in. But then I agreed to have my friend's daughter spend the day with us, so I knew I couldn't have unlimited sleep-in-powers. That's OK...so, I have to get up a little earlier than I want...the bathrooms need cleaning anyway and I can whip up some muffins for breakfast.

I should have known when I did my almost-nightly-fall-asleep-on-the-couch-and-wake-up-at-3am thing, that nothing would go as planned. Actually, I should have known when I fell asleep on the couch and the youngest came down the stairs, crying that she was scared and  I put her in my bed...that it was all going to fall to pieces.

If I had a brain in my head, I would have just grabbed my pillow and blanket and planted myself on the couch for the whole night. Why I think things will be "different" this time, is beyond me! (eternal optimist?) Be that as it may, I did make my way to my own bed, to learn that my youngest has grown! Now when she jams her head into my husband's back, her feet make it all the way over to my side! I gently turned her around and put her head on the pillow and climbed in beside her. (Why didn't I think to carry her back to her own bed?)

But by 7am, she had one leg wrapped around my neck and the other one wrapped around my chest, fully immobilizing me from any escape. I could hear my husband getting ready for work, but was facing the opposite wall...waving my one free arm in desperation, I tried to get his attention. Nothing. I whispered, "Help me. Help me."  He finally heard me and with a soft chuckle, he lifted the octopus off of me and moved her to his side of the bed. Rescued!

I fell back asleep, only to be awakened a short time later by the sounds of the 7 year old in the middle of some sort of struggle. I listened intently and again, heard him cry out, "NO!" I bolted upright and ran to his aid, preparing to take on the intruder who had somehow broken into our playroom. I got to the doorway and rushed in....to see the said "child in distress" playing a video game, controller in hand and jumping up and down, yelling "Nooooo!" Uh..."are you OK?" I ask. "Oh, hi Mom...I'm fine." "You realize that lump under the blanket is your sleeping brother, right?" He looked down at his feet and up at me with a sheepish and toothless grin..."Yep!" Alright then...and I headed downstairs to start my day.

I've baked the muffins, made the coffee, emptied the garbage and am halfway through cleaning the bathrooms. My fourth child for the day is here now, playing dress-up with the rest of the kids. I would get so much done, if I weren't so easily distracted...but seeing as how a Fairy with a Buzz Lightyear blaster, A dead pirate with a chainsaw and an "American race car driver" wielding a dagger just ran by...I think we can kiss the bathroom cleaning goodbye...I'm grabbing my coffee and watching the floor show!

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

The Nightly Routine

It dawns on my that the title of my blog is a bit misleading...it's not all "Why MOMMY drinks"...it could also be "Why Wifey Drinks"...!
I have the greatest husband ever! Hands down...he is the best! But like all good marriages, there are the little things... Take for example...I am a night owl...I either like to write or I like to stretch out on the couch and watch one of my programs after the kids have gone to bed. The husband usually can't hang past 11:00 pm...but if I can make it to midnight, my second wind kicks in and I am ready to do some chores!

Oftentimes, my husband will poop out and head to bed. "I've got your water," he will say over his shoulder as he heads for the stairs. (Yes, he brings a glass of water up to our room for me...every night...ever since I was pregnant with the kids...I think he forgot that I can carry my own water now...shh...)  So when he does this, I assume that the house is secure. I mean, isn't that the man's job? To secure the house and protect the occupants inside? To lock the house and protect his FAMILY? Am I right on this? (just nod your heads...)

Now, there are nights when my second wind is a no-show and I fall asleep on the couch. (every night).  TV blaring, lights blazing and I am sitting up with my neck in a weird position. I am disoriented and confused when I wake up. I look at the television and it's always some weird infomercial. I struggle to get my eyes open, and finally drag my carcass from the couch and stagger around the room turning off lights.

The dog needs to go out and I go to unlock the back door. Oh wait! I don't need to unlock it...it isn't locked! ARGH! I have been laying on the couch being burglar-bait for hours! That is a little unsettling... but now I have to check all the doors. Garage door...locked. Oh, looky here...front door is unlocked too! Maybe Mr. Burglar Man can bring a friend and he can come through the front door while the other burglar goes through the back and then we can all meet in the kitchen for snacks!! Yep...driving me to drink!

I go around and lock all the doors and head up the stairs to bed.  As I walk in my room, I can see there is an extra person in my bed...and if I get in bed, then there won't be much room for me! I love having the kids sleep with us...in theory...kind of depends on which kid we get. The oldest is like a colt...all knees and elbows, and I know he's there as I get a knee to the back.  The middle child likes to talk in his sleep (which can be quite entertaining) and tends to grind his teeth, which is about the equivalent of fingernails scraping down the chalkboard. And then there is the youngest..at first she is so cute, snuggling up with me. But then she stretches out and does a complete starfish, leaving no room for me... I try to stick out as long as I can...but eventually, I am right back on the couch.  At least now the lights are off and I can get some good sleep...oh wait...is that the sun? Time to get up...Dang...guess my drink will be some strong coffee!

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Why do we have bad words if we can't say them?

My kids are a source of constant entertainment...well...they're constant anyway...
Yesterday, the oldest (at the ripe old age of 10...excuse me...10 and a HALF) was standing with some friends as they told me what song they are playing in band, "Star Wars theme" they told me. "No way!! Shut UP!" I said with a grin. Now...I didn't say, "shuddap"! or "shut up"! I said it like "Elaine" on "Seinfeld".... and thought nothing of it.

As we started the drive home, he pipes up..."Mom, you told me to SHUT UP!" What? I didn't remember saying that...(there are times I would like to yell it...but no...didn't say that)  Really? When did I say that? He went on to explain that I had...indeed said it. I tried to explain myself.  "I'm sorry...I was joking around. Next time I will say, "Shut the front door!" He seemed to like that, and as I started to pat myself on the back, so proud of how I got out of that...the six year old piped up with a "Shut the FREAKING door!" Ohhhh....I need a drink!

The six year old...the youngest...and a girl! She is something else. So loving and sweet. Fun and funny...demanding and bossy... I can only imagine what adolescence will be like. Whee! She has been on a roll lately. So quiet at school. So polite at school. Last year, she went 6 months without uttering a word to her teacher. Now at least she participates. She is so shy and reserved at school...but at home...she lets loose. And lately she has had some very colorful language!

A few weeks ago, I was cooking dinner as my little sweetheart sat in the family room watching T.V.  Pretty soon, I looked up to see her jumping on the couch. "Please don't jump on the couch," I told her. She continued...again I told her in a firmer voice, "Stop jumping on the couch!"...still jumping and grinning from ear-to-ear, she looked at me and said two four-letter words! Not ONE..but TWO...AND she strung them together to make one long filthy word! I was stunned into silence and looked at her like a deer in the headlights as she giggled and bounced on the couch.  As my brain started to engage, a little voice in my head told me, "Don't react!"...so I very calmly and cooly explained that we do not talk like that. (Now, I know you want to know exactly what she said...all I can tell you is that one is something you step in...and the other word, well the other word...polite ladies do not say...but teenage boys do!)

Undaunted, she continued her trampoline act...looking at me the whole time. Stifling a laugh...I told her to get down. "JACKASS!" she yelled. Omigosh!! WHAT?  Seriously? If I had water in my mouth, it would have been the perfect "spit-take"! As I stared in disbelief, trying to hide a serious guffaw behind my hand, she yelled: "A-S-S!   A-S-S!    A-S-S!"  Now, this could have gone one of two ways...but I kept my extreme composure and said, "That's right! It's in the Bible. Jesus rode an ass."  Well, that did the trick...took the wind right out of her sails.

I ignored her and continued with dinner prep, as she lost interest and sat down. Whew! I thought to myself...cussing crisis averted!...or is it? Now...where did I put that cooking sherry?

Why I WISH I Could Drink Every Day...

I've been saying for years that I would write a book called, "Why Mommy Drinks"...and hopefully I still will...but since I haven't sat down and written it yet, I thought I would do the next best thing and write a blog about the craziness that is our life!


The kids were 4, 2 and 6 months old when I left my career. I worked for a home builder and was the "Vice-President of Marketing and Sales." Big title...big job! I was there for 10 years and loved it...and hated it...and loved it...and hated it... sound familiar?  Loved my boss Gary, he was the Will to my Grace! We understood each other and drove each other crazy! We built beautiful houses and helped people realize the dream of home ownership...back when real estate was still fun! It was exciting, creative, dynamic, stressful, exhausting and every day was different.
But with three kids under the age of 4, something had to give. And so my husband and I decided to put our marriage and family first and I left my job. But being the control freak that I was...we had to move 350 miles away, so I wouldn't get sucked back in...I knew the minute I saw a billboard on the side of the freeway that I didn't like, I would be right back there to show them how it's done.


I always said that working there prepared me for children...since many of the people there acted like kids...and not the good part of kids...temper tantrums, crying, yelling...(and that was just me!)
But I was SO wrong...NOTHING prepared me for staying home with three little kids! By the time we moved and settled in, the kids were five, two and a half and one. I had no idea what I was in for. I looked at the world of motherhood through rose-colored glasses...and the reality shook me to my core! 


No one told me that while I was nursing the baby, I should expect the toddler to climb all over me like I was a jungle gym, at the same time, trying to rip the baby from my arms. We went from one child (totally manageable) to two children (one parent per kid) to three kids (zone parenting)...and now the worst has happened...they realize they outnumber us and sometimes I see them plotting in the corner, looking over their shoulders at me and then getting back into the huddle.  


So join my journey as I look back on the early memories of child-rearing that drove me to drink and report the crazy things they do now that make me want to build a "Mom-Cave" in the closet under the stairs!