Friday, November 2, 2012

Tasty Babies

So, like nearly every mother in America, I attempt to get my kids to eat healthy foods. My oldest two are pretty good at trying and liking a variety, including the green stuff, and the third is coming along nicely in their footsteps.

But Z? Haha. At 19 months old he has PREFERENCES. He will not touch a stalk of broccoli, but he will eat a suspiciously grey piece of lint he got off of the floor. Why are kids so weird?

Anyway, I've resorted to dark measures to get veggies in that kid. Before I had children, I vowed to never be a slave to characters or marketing. My children would be immune to the sly ways of advertisers! They would make choices based on carefully weighing the pure, naked facts! Stick it to the man!

Now? Now I'd gladly pay for a stalk of broccoli if Elmo's face could be superimposed.

I learned recently that Z, despite being fairly new to the world, had definite preferences to what he wanted and didn't want to eat. I also learned that he was an early slave to packaging. So, I used that to my advantage.

I found that he enjoyed eating those fruit pouches, (ah, food pouches... Another post in and of themselves. Amaranth? I think I was 29 before I even had heard about that grain. Anyway...) And I found that he was far, far more excited about the once that had a happy, smiling fruit like the one on the right in the bottom photo.

"Hey Z! Want the happy fruit pouch? Look! He's smiling at you! Happy tasty fruit!" Inevitably, this question was met with a grin and a nod. Win!

But I ran out of those pouches. I had plain ones and this one with a... Baby on it. Z was flatly uninterested in the plain one and in desperation, I pulled out the one with a baby on it. "Look Z! A baby! Want to eat the one with the baby? Mmmmmmm, tasty babies!"

Somehow the translation from a tasty, happy apple to a tasty, happy baby didn't quite work. I'm apologizing in advance to the mothers I meet who will inevitably raise their eyebrows when Z toddles over and asks, "Eat? Eat tasty babies?"

Oh motherhood, you win.

Monday, October 1, 2012

Clubbing

I posted this on facebook this morning and decided that since I've been promising to blog, the first step should be to, you know... actually blog.  

Anyway, the following is a little postcard that Lexi(6) penned to her friend Hannah. She handed it to me and ran off to play. 

It was only as I was about to put it into the mailbox that I suddenly became concerned for Hannah... seems as if Lexi is developing some sinister tendencies. 


I'm thinking it'd be wise for Hannah to choose to come over and play. But I also think she might want to bring a helmet.

Friday, September 7, 2012

Uh, August? Where'd Ya Go?

So, I apparently haven't blogged since the end of July. Which means one of two things... either I got kidnapped by aliens who took away all of my internet contact so that I could help them to discover how to make eggplant into something remotely palatable.

Or... I was busy actually doing things instead of writing about them. I used to laugh when people would say that, convinced that I was managing to do both. However, the more kids I had, (and the more the littles liked buttons), the less time I had to actually write about them.

So, I'd text myself with random words or catchphrases to remind me to blog when I reached a time when I wasn't falling into bed totally exhausted shortly after my kids.

Except now I haven't the foggiest as to what my code words mean, so I guess I'm starting from scratch?

But, thankfully, my kids never stop being ridiculous, so there's always fodder for a story.

Today, it's my dear second born in the spotlight.

Last Sunday, we went out to lunch with Shaun's parents. They brought a friend from their community so he got to witness firsthand what chaos we bring to a dinner gathering.

(In reality, the kids are generally well behaved... but there's four of them and they're rather exuberant).

The sweet waitress noticed my kids were getting antsy and brought them each a little bit of tortilla dough to mold and shape like play dough. This worked for quite awhile. But then they were putting it on their faces, which was actually hilarious as well. Caly walked over to the end of the table where our guest was sitting and before I could say a word, she attempted to get the dough to stick to his arm. Good-natured about it all, he said, "Ah, it won't stick there because of the hair." She held the dough for a split second before plopping it directly on his head.

His very bald head.

I think I gasped in embarrassment, but he laughed and congratulated her on her quick thinking. Thankfully.

That kid. Geez.


Friday, July 27, 2012

You'll Look Twice at That Dropped Potato Chip

The county built a beautiful new park nearby and my kids and I had been itching to go. However, I don't function in heat, (read: I turn into a melting grouch who whines for iced coffee and a cabana boy to fan me in the shade), so we'd been putting it off for awhile. But a streak of 70 degree days had us scrambling to meet a friend and her two kids for a playdate in the sun.

The kids had a ball running around and trying out the new equipment. They only came to ask for food about 11 times instead of 235. An aside... what is it about going places that makes kids "hungry?" You know they're not hungry. You know this because they ate a full sandwich, yogurt, a pound and a half of fruit, and 37 pretzels before they left the house.

Around the 11th ask, it actually was lunch time, so we staked out a shady area on the turf, not far from the base of one of the slides. The kids happily munched away while we moms chatted.

A few minutes into lunch, inevitably, the newly potty-trained Sayer abruptly stood up and announced, "Mama! I have to pee!" I turned away for a second to put my sandwich down and said, "K, bud, let's go to the--"

I turned back around in time to see that my dear, sweet son had dropped his drawers right where he was standing and was happily creating a nice puddle of pee at the base of the slide. Horrified, I turned towards my friend whose eyes got wide. The two of us started shaking with laughter as we stared at S who was completely obvlivious. 

And of course, this was the longest pee of his life. Or maybe it just felt that way.

Cheeks burning and tears of laughter rolling down my face, I couldn't even look up to see if anyone else was watching. S finished his business, yanked up his pants, asked for "sanny-tize" and sat down expectantly.

I hurridly grabbed two half empty bottles of water from the stroller and started splashing them on the wet spot on the astroturf. This did not help the moisture problem. I now had the beginnings of a bigger puddle, this one of watered down pee.

Of course, I looked up to see a few moms who were staring at me funny, probably wondering why a sane looking woman was dumping bottles of water onto the ground at the very bottom of the slide. I caught the eye of one woman and quickly stepped in front of the emptying bottle to hide it from view and then waved.

She just stared. Which made sense because not only was I still obviously dumping water, but now that the bottle was behind me, it looked as if I was the one peeing all over the place.

The bottles emptied and I decided that nothing more could be done.

But when my daughter dropped a piece of apple onto the turf and made a motion to pick it up and eat it anyway, I may have ninja chopped it out of her hand.

Because REALLY, who KNOWS what people do on that ground?! Sheesh.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Enough

We all have those days. Those days when you've given a thousand kisses. When everyone is hanging on you, needing attention. When you've hauled around a toddler who seems allergic to the floor. There are those days when everyone wants something, anything, everything. And there's only one of you for a thousand needs. There are those days when the house is a mess, the kids are a mess... when you are a mess. When you have nothing else to give and you're empty, wanting to shout, "NO MORE!" with your hands over your ears.

And those little faces look up expectantly, so you don't.

Sometimes... sometimes those days come with rewards.

Sayer happened to be the last one to go to bed tonight, due to a late nap. As he wandered into my room asking, "can we just stay awake for a whittle bit more? And den I'll go in my bed," I asked him if he wanted to rock in the rocking chair with me like we used to do when he was younger. Smiling, he climbed into my lap, all solid arms and strong legs. He tucked his back against my chest and we grinned at our reflections in the mirror across the room.

I remarked to him, "You're getting so long! When you were teeny tiny, I could fit all of you on my lap."

He nodded seriously and said, "Yup. I am big. And Mama?"

"Yeah, baby?"

"When I get even bigger and bigger and bigger? And when I'm bigger than you and you're little?"

I smiled at the thought, "Yeah?"

"When I'm that big, I can snuggle you up on my lap and rock you and protect you from all the monsters." He patted my leg.

I had to swallow a lump in my throat as I snuggled him close. "You will? That's very sweet, buddy."

"Yup. Because Mama? That's what you do for me 'cause I'm little."

Indeed it is.

So, those days when you don't know if you can give anymore... Those beautiful kids that you pour all of your love, affirmation, encouragement, and belief into? They fill up and a little of it spills over and back into you.

And you can thank God for the reminder that your efforts are not in vain. That they hear, absorb, listen and know your love.

So, draw strength and carry on.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Kidisms - Episode # 11209

Driving in the car the other night, Sayer was nearly asleep when an ambulance drove by, lights flashing, siren wailing. He immediately gasped and shouted, "MOM! Did you SEE that?! I just saw... I just saw... I saw an ALIEN!"

"An alien?"

"YEAH! It had shiny lights and sounded like this, 'A woooooo woooooo!' An alien!"

I grinned, "An ambulance?"

He grinned back, "Yeah! An... annnn AM-BU-WANCE!"

I love kid mispronounciations. You'd think they'd disappear as the kids got bigger, but Lex had one of her own the other day that had me rolling in laughter.

We were at a minor league baseball game waiting to let the kids run the bases. Along the field line, they had a few staffers in super hero costumes, which of course, delighted my kids.

We recognized Batman, Superman, and most of the usual ones. Then there was a guy in a green costume, carrying a bow and arrow.  Lex wasn't sure who it was so she asked her cousin. She came back to tell me what she found out. "Mom, that one over there is Hot Guy!"

I tried to swallow my laughter and asked her to repeat herself.

"Hot Guy! Tucker told me it was Hot Guy! I like him and his bow and arrow. And I totally got to high five Hot Guy! Awesome!"

Michelle and I giggled and then Michelle said, "Hawk Eye?"

Lex looked at us strangely for laughing and said, "Yeah! Hot Guy! Hot.. Eye?"

"Hawk Eye."

"Oh! Hawk Eye!"

Very glad that was far more benign than it sounded.

Monday, July 9, 2012

Oh, Hi!

Posting has been light around these parts. Ok, posting has been non-existent.

My household has run the gamut of childhood illnesses lately. Three kids with hand-foot-mouth resulted in a quarantine that lasted nearly 3 weeks. We managed to get healthy enough to go out and about for the Fourth of July and directly after, ended up sticking close to home due to a stomach bug.

Perpetual illness is a given in a household of four children. One picks something up and unlike with toys, they gladly share it with every sibling that will breathe in the same air. Considering that several of my children have developed a weird habit of covertly licking things, the epidemic nature of germs is amplified.

Today, I made an appointment for Zoen as his stomach bug evolved into a cold which resulted in a wicked cough that had me wondering about pneumonia. (It's not, for the record). I also figured on an ear infection, because when it rains, it pours. (It was). I hauled all four kids into the office, which usually earns me a few, "My, you have your hands full!" (Nah, just my dungeon), or "Oh, these are all yours?" (Nope, stole a few on the way in).

This particular doctor's office has their doctors and nurses do something that leaves me marveling at its brilliance every time we go in. They blow bubbles immediately upon entering the room. The good, long-lasting, Gymboree bubbles. While the kids are chasing the bubbles, I can have a peaceful conversation. Genius. (They also use the bubbles as an evaluative tool, which just adds to the awesome factor).

Remember how I mentioned that they were the Gymboree bubbles? Yeah, those don't necessarily pop when they touch the floor or your head or the examining table. Instead, they stick and wait for a curious finger or foot to pop them.

I was running down the list of Z's symptoms for the doctor and half-paying attention to the older three kids. With my SuperMom underhearing, I caught Sayer excitedly saying, "MOM! I'm lick-popping the bubbles!" I ruffled his hair and started to say, "Cool, buddy!" and then my subconscious screamed, "He's DOING WHAT?!" I looked down just in time to see him stick his tongue all the way out and place it squarely on a bubble that had landed on the examining table. And before I could gather my wits, he dropped down to the floor and lick-popped another one.

I closed my eyes and tried to will my brain not to explode. I also had to swallow a bout of that hysterical laughter that wells up when the situation is too ridiculous to be actual life.

And this isn't the first time this has happened! Caly licked an examining table end to end once when she was about 2. You'd think I'd have taught my children tongue etiquette by now.

The doctor hid a grin and pretended to pull lollipops out of each of the kids' ears. That kept them from licking the trash can, at least.

So, here's a post, but I'm not promising anything regular. The kids probably picked up the Ebola virus or some extraordinarily virulent strain of a germ that causes a full body rash and a delightful case of the crankies.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Bedtime on Speed

Three out of the four munchkins have been down for the count with coxsackie virus (hand-foot-mouth, or otherwise known as sheer misery). The middle two had relatively mild cases, but Z was a mess. For the first day, he just wanted to sleep and when he wasn't sleeping, he was fighting a fever and being held. Then he got the sores and decided that sleep was for the weak. And he wanted to be held. Except he didn't want to be held. But don't put him down. And he didn't want to eat. Oh, and forget about drinking. And? He had a nice little ear infection to boot.

So we were bleary-eyed, watching for dehydration, and praying for this mess to leave.

Anyway, he's feeling MUCH better today. He's actually sitting on the table, eating a bowl of cereal while dancing to "The Lion Sleeps Tonight." He's sitting on the table because I'm so happy to have my kid back to normal that he can do just about as he pleases.

Or, my house looks like a tornado hit and coated everything with a sticky residue and a thousand dirty dishes so letting him sit there allows me unload the dishwasher in peace.

Because seriously, holding a baby for three days straight while the older three ran rampant, (before they got sick), doesn't exactly lead to a neat and tidy home.

But whatever. I'm stoked that we'll be out of quarantine tomorrow.

Anyway, like last time, being sick leads to interesting habits with my kids. Bedtime is particularly interesting. Last night, Shaun was out, so I was gearing up for a solo bedtime routine. Usually, this isn't a big deal.

The boys and I sat in the girls' room and I regaled them with a ridiculous story about a runaway dragon who needed his toenails painted and to be rescued by a superhero. Yeah, or something like that. I gave them kisses, tucked them in, turned out the light and took the boys out.

Sayer got his own kisses and hugs and a brief story and I tucked him in as well.

He puffed his lip out and said, "But... but... MAMA! I want a snuggle. No, TWO. No, EIGHTEEN!"

Now, I'm not quite sure how to quantify snuggles, so I gave him a bunch of squeezes and counted to 18.

Meanwhile, Z was climbing into S' bed and dive-bombing the elder brother and giggling. I knew no one was going to sleep at that rate, so I told S I'd be back to check on him and dragged the baby into my room to rock.

He was almost asleep when S appeared in the doorway. S doesn't seem to know how to whisper. And with one, "But MAMA, I am not dat tired!" Z was wide awake again. I gave S The Look and he trotted back to bed.

(It only took me four kids to perfect The Look).

Z drifted off again and I started to get up when Lex came in with the most dramatic pout on her face that I've ever seen and said in a louder-than-normal-speech stage whisper, "I DON'T KNOW HOW TO FALL ASLEEP!"

Because she hasn't been doing it every night for over 6 years or anything.

Another Look, another kid begrudgingly trotting back to bed.

I looked down and Z was peering up at me with bright, not-at-all-sleepy eyes. When I met his gaze, he bonked me on the head, giggled, and rolled off of my lap.

I scooped him up and went into S's room to see if maybe Z would drift off better if he heard the white noise. Besides, maybe my presence would lull S to sleep too.

Not... exactly. Z pretended to fall asleep several times only to sit straight up as soon as his body hit the mattress. Meanwhile, S was poking various limbs out of the window on his bed tent and periodically saying, "SHHHHH!"

Finally, I realized resistance was futile and took the boys in the living room.

Z was incredibly put-out that I dared to set him on the floor and he flopped face down and pouted. S laid next to him and patted his head and gave him kisses until Z was smiling again.

(That little exchange of sweetness made me want to delay bedtime every night. Almost).

Then Z decided he wanted to wrestle and ended up sitting on his older brother and sticking his fingers in S's nostrils. Sayer was cracking up. Z was cracking up.

And of course, Lex heard the commotion and ended up in the fray. It was 8:30. We had started bedtime at 7:15.

(Caly had fallen asleep by 7:20. She was totally the golden child of the day).

After much negotiation and a few stories, S was back in his bed and off to dreamland.

L wanted me to come in and say goodnight again. I told her no because Z would end  up waking up Caly and I wasn't about to deal with that mess. At this, Z turned towards me slightly, grinned, waved bye-bye, and took off towards the girls' room, laughing wildly as I chased him down.

That boy is too much.

Lex went to sleep and I spent the next 15 minutes diving after a very stealthy boy as he attempted to go raid the rooms of the sleeping children.

Shaun walked in the door and I handed him the baby and disappeared to eat my weight in guacamole.

Five minutes later, Z was out like a light. Of course.

Then we had to put the chickens to sleep. And that? That's a hilarious story for another day.

Anyway, I'm glad my people are nearly back to normal. I'll take a little craziness for that. Besides, when these kids are teenagers? Here's my documentation as to why I get to mete out payback. Oh, I will have my fun.

At 6am.

Muahaha!


(He thinks that face will get him out of trouble. He's kind of right... don't tell him that. Whatever, he already knows).

Monday, June 11, 2012

Lessons Learned

It's no secret that parenthood will teach you more about yourself than you ever thought possible. A dear friend likened the small people that run around our houses as tiny, magnifying mirrors. Uh, yes.

Obviously, I'm not a perfect person.

(What, you're surprised? I live to make you understand that I too am equal among the commoners).

Anyway, I've always had a tendency to swear when angry. Or when I accidentally slam my foot in the car door. Not my favorite thing about myself, so I've worked on it.

So when I had kids, I realized I should probably work a wee bit harder on my efforts to stop. For awhile, they were too little to tell the difference between a four-letter word like "duck" and a four-letter word like... well, you get the picture.

But gradually, they got old enough to parrot and I realized that I had to work double time to make sure they weren't going to yell the word that rhymes with spit when they dropped a block of cheese out of the cart at the grocery store.

I got very good with the filter. Stub your pinky toe on the bedroom door? "Super Smash Brothers!" Spill half a bottle of olive oil out on the floor? "Ratatouille!" Shatter the casserole dish on the floor that happens to have your uncooked dinner in it? "AAAUUUUUUUUUUUUUUGHHHHH!!!!" followed by some hissed words that probably don't need repeating.

Hey, I told you I wasn't perfect.

Anyway, like most things, my kids picked up on my weird word exclamation habit. Yesterday, Lex was in the back of the car and was exasperated by something and said,

"Oh peanut BUTTER and JELLY!"

Atta girl. Atta Mommy too.


Monday, June 4, 2012

Volcanoes and the Dentist

The other night, we had a sudden bout of severe weather headed in our direction. Severe thunderstorms aren't unusual in our area, but this time, we ended up with the treat of tornado warnings on top of them.

Relatively unconcerned, I gathered the kids and headed to the basement to hang out until the warnings were over. Because, better safe than sorry, of course. And if we were forced to stay in the basement, I could make a good case for them having to clean up their very own toy tornado.

Lexi picked up on the warning when she saw it flash across the television screen and worriedly asked if a tornado was going to whisk our house away. Because I value sleep, I told her that of course that wouldn't happen and the kids went about their business downstairs while I periodically checked on the warnings.

When the warnings expired, we came back upstairs and Caly said, "I'm glad that the volcano warning is over!"

And Lexi said, "Yeah, volcano warnings don't mean that a volcano WILL get us, but it might!"

I grinned and said, "Girls, not volcano... TORNADO."

Lex nodded and muttered, "Tornado. Right." Caly blinked at me. And said, "We had a volcano warning, too!"

I'm really glad that's not the case. Lava damage is not covered in our homeowner's insurance.


One of the other reasons that we are trying to straighten up the basement is that we're having a new roommate move in for awhile in a week or so. I mentioned that Dennis, the new roomie to be, was going to stop by to drop some stuff off and my social little people couldn't stop asking when he was going to arrive.

I broke a cosmic rule of parenting by telling them that he was coming since Dennis wasn't going to arrive until the following evening.

Caly must have asked me 793 times, "When is the DENTIST COMING!?"

Attempts to correct her into saying, "Dennis" were unsuccessful. "Mama, is the dentist here? When is the dentist coming?"

I'm very glad she's not correct. Dentists who make house calls are totally not on my list of modern conveniences I want to have in life.


Oh, kids.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Chicken Chickens!

The day before Easter, my husband fulfilled a notion he had to start our own backyard sustainable farm. Ok, not completely, but, he did end up getting us 12 tiny chicks of varying breeds. The idea is to raise them for eggs, not meat, most likely.

The kids took to the chicks right away and have already spent countless hours playing with them, feeding them, watching them, attacking them...

Wait, right?

Yeah.  So, after the little peeps grew into teenage chickens and got themselves some serious B.O.,we banished them into the shed which my handy husband re-purposed into a chicken coop, complete with an outdoor pen.

Every morning, the girls would go out and open the door to the coop to let the chickens into their little yard. Then they'd attempt to catch one or two to "snuggle."

(Yes, I know... we need a bunny or something).

Lexi began to name them... so far we have Snuggles, who apparently bit Lex but has since developed into quite a snuggler; Bitey, who... bites; Keysa... Caly named this one... it's little and who knows where the name comes from; Giraffy, who has spotted feathers that reminded Lex of a giraffe; and Feisty, who is the suspected rooster and by far, the largest chicken we have.

Lex has become slightly attached.

Fast forward to a few days ago. The kids were in the coop, giving the chickens the tops of strawberries. I was in the house attempting to throw together some lunch. All of the sudden, I hear Lex shriek,

"MoooooooooooooooooaaaaaaaaaaMMMMMMMMMY!  CALY KILLED A CHICKEN! SHE KILLED KEYSA!" Followed by hysterical crying.

I looked out the window to see Caly with a large stick in her hand, a guilty look on her face, and a chicken on the ground, suspiciously still.

I ran outside and ordered the kids out of the coop so I could assess the chicken. She wasn't concious at first but roused enough that I figured she wouldn't croak for the time being.  I set her up in a box and put her back inside the barn.

Then I turned to Caly, who said, "I don't want to tell you what I was doing."

Heh.

She eventually spilled and confessed to playing "spank the chicken" because apparently, Feisty was being well, feisty to the other chickens. Keysa got caught in the crossfire.

(An aside, I dearly hope I don't end up with weirdos dropping by now with the name of that transgression).

I had to exercise every ounce of self-control not to laugh outright at her ridiculousness. The things we never think we have to tell our kids not to do are the exact things that certain numbers of them will automatically do. It's a cosmic law of parenting.

Caly has been henceforth banned from entering the chicken coop. This may sound harsh, but the day before, I had to tell her and Sayer that chickens did NOT belong in buckets, no matter how much you wanted to see if they would get dizzy. And days before that, I had to ban her from throwing the chickens to see if they would practice flying.

She's a force. A force that I want supervised during chicken time.

As for Keysa? She's back to normal.

And the chickens have a short memory, because they're willing to let Caly snuggle them again. Or they're too scared to run away.


(Cell shot, sorry for the quality)



Thursday, May 17, 2012

Kid? Or Kitty?

Zoen's coming off of a week of being sick with various things and as a result, he's become "sick-spoiled."  You know, when you break any pretense of trying to stick with routine and just do whatever the heck works to make the kid feel well enough to sleep.

So, there were several evenings where he slumped in our lap to watch TV at 10:30pm so we could monitor whether his fever would break. Then in the wee hours of the night, he'd wake up and we'd repeat the process over and over.

So, last night before bed, he was still running a considerable fever so, right before I put him to bed, I gave him some motrin to attempt to stave off the inevitable night waking.

All went well until a bit before 1am when he woke up. For the first time in days, he woke up fever free. So, I nursed him and attempted to put him back in his bed, thinking, "Woot! He's starting to feel better! More sleep for us all!"

Hah. Hahahaha.

Apparently, Z was a fan of his nightly Food Network viewings and wasn't about to go down without a fight. First? Tears. And since he was still rather congested, I tried rocking him, bouncing him, and doing gymnastics to hopefully lull him back down.

I could almost feel his body trying to will me into the living room. If he could summon objects with his mind, he'd have that remote in his hands, no doubt.

He was MAD.

But, considering how I'd like to sleep halfway decently at night again, preferably before he turns twelve, I wasn't giving in. Shaun and I alternated between patting him/holding him and trying to stuff our heads under a pillow so we couldn't hear the other person's unsuccessful efforts in getting him to sleep.

Yeah, no one was getting much shut eye except for the three big kids who apparently could sleep through an earthquake happening during a hurricane.

(Small blessings, yes).

After about 2 hours, Shaun asked if I thought Z would fall asleep next to me. At this point, my brain had disintegrated into mush, so he could have suggested putting Z to bed in the bathtub and I'd probably have tried.

I pulled Z into bed between us. Initially, he was again, MAD.

But he warmed up to the idea of being next to me and snuggled his head on my belly. Then he flipped to my leg. Then he sat up and crashed face first on the mattress next to me. Then he headbutted me in the knee. It was like trying to sleep with a possessed pancake.

The kid's eyes were closed for most of this.

After a bit, the talking began. He chattered and chattered and sang. Shaun gave a halfhearted, "SHHHHHHH" and I swear Zoen laughed at him.

I was so tired that my eyes wouldn't stay open despite being paranoid that the kid was going to catapult himself off of the bed. I tried to keep a hand around his ankle to squelch any daredevil moves he would try to attempt.

I felt him lean against my chest and he got very still. I figured he finally crashed and opened my eyes to check.

He was inches from my face, eyes wide open, STARING at me like some sort of crazy person. When my eyes opened, his got wide and he stuck his finger in my nostril and giggled.

So much for sleep. I closed my eyes again. Z wrapped his body around my head like a cat.

And remarkably, he stilled yet again. I would have left him to sleep there, except I couldn't breathe. So I peeled him off of my face and tried settling him next to me.

He seemed ok with the relocation. So, once again, I closed my eyes.

You know how you get that weird spidey sense thing when a projectile is about to land on your face? Maybe it's the wind, or something. Either way, my eyes flew open in time to see my youngest child's head about to make excellent contact with my teeth. Like a ninja, I threw my hands up and caught his head.

And he bit me.

And laughed.

At 3:15am.

I started laughing too. You know that hysterical laughter that you can't stop no matter how hard you try? Yeah, that. Of course, Z thought this was wildly amusing and started chortling too. And honking my nose.

And with tears of laughter streaming down my face, I plucked him out of the bed, grabbed his blanket, and rocked him back to sleep in about 3 minutes.

He is VERY lucky that he's cute.


OK, that's not the cutest picture I have, but that certainly is the best personality shot I have.


Silly Baby.


Monday, April 23, 2012

Kid-isms, Episode Eleventy Twelve

Sayer has been a treasure trove of misspoken words lately. Maybe it makes me a bad parent, but 99% of the time, I just let them go... they're too funny to change. And besides, when I try to tell him how things are really said/pronounced, he usually doesn't listen.

All of the kids have been on a choose your own cereal kick lately where they pick two or three kinds to mix. Most of the cereals are named through description rather than brand. So, the other day, Sayer asked for "squares" and "waisin brown."  I giggled at the last one and said, "Hey bud, can you say 'raisin bran?'"

He looked at me, immediately said, "Waisin bran. But that cereal is called Waisin BROWN mommy, WAISIN BROWN."

Hey, it's brown and it has raisins. Touche.


Caly also has a few mispronunciations that I adore, like "callapitters," but her moments in hilarity are often a result of strange names for her toys.

Michelle bought the kids these tiny souvenir turtles that have little bobble heads and Caly immediately took it under her wing and named it Sarah. It was dubbed Sarah for quite awhile before it got lost in the diaper bag. She rediscovered it at a birthday party the other day and after calling it Sarah a few times, she declared that Sarah the Turtle would henceforth be called...

Turdy.

As in, "This is my turdy." or "Isn't my turdy cute?" or, the shortened version, "ONLY MOMMIES CAN TOUCH MY TURD!" and "My turd does NOT like to be bonked on the head.

Yeah, I'd like to see you swallow your laughter every time she brings you her Turdy to pet.

Between the two of them, we can write a new dictionary AND the next hot baby names book.


Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Trying to Say Yes

Awhile back, I made a pact with myself that I would try to say "yes" to the kids as often as possible. Obviously, requests such as, "Can I play on that little roof with the rake?" "Can we paint your car with dirt?" and Zoen's unspoken request to use the electrical sockets as keyholes are understandably denied.

But I realized that I often said no to things with little reason other than I didn't feel like making it happen or that it would make some kind of mess. Well, I need to get over being lazy and messes can be cleaned. 

So, I started saying yes. "Can we jump on your bed?" Sure! "Can we go to the library again today?" Why not? "Can we listen to that song again?" (And again, and again, and again, and... oh my ears... but ok!)

The experiment was a lot of fun for both the kids and for me. They got to do a lot of stuff that they wanted and I totally grinned at their wide-eyed response when I'd surprise them with a "yes" when they were expecting "no."

A day or two in, Caly turned to me and said, "Today is Hello Kitty's birthday! Can we have a party?"

A beat, and then... "Sure!" 

So, I made a cookie cake, Lex made decorations, and we set the table for a party. It started as a 7th birthday party for a giant headed Hello Kitty and morphed to a joint party for her and for Lexi's new pet, Pengy as well as for Sayer's stuffed bear, Rarey. The kids asked for gift bags (yes) and tissue paper (sure) and gathered presents for their animals. We waited until Shaun got home and had a little party and I didn't worry a bit that we were chowing on cake before dinner. Ok, that last part is a lie, but I swallowed my control issues and let them go to town.

I think it's safe to say that a good time was had by all.


The birthday Stuffy with C.


Rarey the Bear turns... one?


Pengy claimed that blowing a candle out while having a beak was tough so Lex helped.


And while Z didn't offer a stuffed friend for celebrating, he definitely felt like he should take part in the fun. Safe to say that the boy likes whipped cream.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Hairy

My kids like to "make my hair," which generally consists of three kids jockeying for space on my shoulders and around my head and trying to jerk a brush or comb through my tresses.

(By the way, the word "tresses" totally makes me think of glamorous, long, flowing locks. My hair more accurately resembles an electrocuted poodle at the end of the day, but hey, a girl can have vision!)

I generally encourage "hair-making" as it's a fairly enjoyable treatment aside from having my head yanked side to side on occasion.

The other day, having woken up at 5am with a maddeningly wakeful baby, I was falling asleep sitting up and relished sitting down and having tactile tabs on all of my kids. Ok, so maybe having a baby at the end of a fistful of my hair isn't exactly restful, but as long as he was using my hair as a climbing rope, he wasn't running away to get into trouble.

The girls and Sayer were taking turns spraying my hair with detangler and kept running into the bathroom to gather supplies. At one point, I had 11 barrettes, two headbands, and a curler in my hair. The kids pronounced me "Be-you-tee-full!" and continued to add items.

They were surprisingly gentle, aside from Z's yanks, and I was slowly lulled into a nice, relaxed state. 

Now, this is the thing with kids... they like making you feel nice and mellow. If they can get you to close your eyes, all the better. Generally, they choose this moment to ask you for candy. Or, better yet, to tip-toe off and get their own candy. Mom's halfway comatose, she doesn't care!

But occasionally, just to keep you on your toes, they decide to revert back into their infancy where they'd do things like let out loud shrieks in the night just to keep you on your toes.

I was leaning back against the ottoman and Caly was brushing my hair with a matchbox car. (Whatever, dude... it felt nice). She reached down to pick something up and suddenly said, "Ok, now... I'm going to doctor you. Don't worry, this won't hurt a-"

She wacked me over the head with a plastic stick.

"-bit."

I yelped and turned around and gave her a "what the HECK" look. She solemnly stared at me and said,

"See?"

Lexi took a picture with her camera.

"Caly, WHAT on EARTH are you doing?! That hurt!"

Lexi snapped another picture.

Sayer saturated the remaining dry section of my hair and half of my face with detangler spray.

She patted my cheek and shook her head at me, "Oh Mama, I had to. And really. It didn't hurt a bit. Remember?"

And then she gently drove another matchbox car over my face.

I'm seriously considering a bubble suit and helmet.

And I guess I should be glad they stayed out of mischief that day?  Uh, sort of?

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Caly-isms - An Exercise in Controlled Laughter

Shaun, being silly, asked Caly(3), who the cutest person in the room was. We expected her usual answer, "ME!", but this time she pointed to her cousin and herself... and then added on, "And Lexi and Sayer and Zoen and Daddy and Mommy and Robin!"

Shaun laughed and said, "I think you're a diplomat."

Caly grinned and said, "Nooooo, I'm just a mat. A mat! A MAP! I'm just a MAP!"

And cue singing of that horrid song, "I'm a map, I'm a map, I'm a map, I'm a maaaaap!"


________________________________________

Later, we're dying eggs and without a second thought, Caly plunged her hand into the cup of dark blue dye. I groaned and futily tried to wipe the dye off of her tiny hand. She looked like a Smurf. A delighted Smurf. I saw the wheels turning and intercepted them before it could get worse,

"Please try not to put any more body parts into the dye. Just... don't."

__________________________________________

Egg dying continued and Caly accidentally dropped hers into one of the cups. When she pulled it out, she looked down and saw a crack. "Oh NO!" she exclaimed...

"It... It hatched." She looked totally disturbed. I had to swallow my laughter and assure her that, contrary to her father's insistance, there were no actual chickens that would hatch out and ruin her egg shells.


__________________________________________

This morning, while I was getting breakfast for the girls, I caught sight of Caly's blue paw and my heart caught in my throat. In the matter of miliseconds, I was mentally searching her arm for areas of decreased circulation and attempting to understand why she was completely unbothered.

Then I came to my senses and remembered Egg Dying 2012. Hey, it was pre-coffee.



Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Overheard in Looneyville

We're driving home after picking up our farm share last night and I realized that I forgot something. "Oh! I forgot something!"

Lex looks up from the book she was reading and with a perfectly flat tone, says, "Well, crap."

I unsuccessfully tried to swallow my laughter and she busted into giggles. When we calmed down, I explained that it wasn't a pretty word to come out of her mouth and asked her to refrain from using it, like the word "stupid".

She said, "Yeah! Like freakin'!"

Um, yeah. That.
_______________________________________________

Shaun and the kids were naming book and TV characters and matching them to our family,

Lex: "I can be Belle because I like to read! Caly can be... Daisy Duck because she likes to help people..."

Shaun asked her, "What about me?"

Lex: "You're totally Goofy. Because you're goofy!"

Shaun: "And Mommy?"

Lexi: "Mommy can be Sleeping Beauty!"

Shaun: "That's nice! Is that because she's--"

Lex interrupts, "It's because she's tired all the time!"

Well, hmph.


_________________________________________________

Zoen has a new word. It's his first non-babble word. (Like "mama" or "baba" or the like).

It's "RAR-RAR"

He says it while running around the house or when he has something in his hand that would or could make a roaring sound. Like a dinosaur.

I think this is the most appropriate first word any of these kids has ever had. He's a mess.
_________________________________________________

I like to chat with the kids while driving home, (namely because it keeps me awake because kids are so hilarious when they're candid). I was asking Lex what she wanted to be when she grew up.

(Oh, and for the record, when questioned, Sayer said, "I WANNA BE A NUFFIN!" So there's that).

She thought for a minute then launched into a 10 minute monologue about how she wanted to be a singer THEN a paleontologist THEN a mommy.

She paused and then said, "Or, maybe I could just sing songs about dinosaurs and babies!"

A beat later,

"But man, dinosaur names are hard to rhyme."

Indeed.




Monday, March 26, 2012

How I Do It All... Or Not

When I'm out in public with my four little people and they happen to not be acting like howler monkeys, I occasionally get the comment, "Oh! Look how sweet your kids are! You have it all together! How nice!"

When I stop laughing, I assure the person that they're merely witnessing a ripple in the force. Because I decidedly do NOT.

Because before we left the house that morning, it looked more like this:

My 2 year old's face is inches from mine and I wake to feel him breathing on my eyeballs. I pull back in confusion and he whispers, "No, Mama mama! Hold still. I'm a makin' dem warm!"

I then notice that he is without clothes.

I debate closing my eyes and throwing my phone in his direction, but I've seen the variety of places he can pee, especially when his business is free in the wind.

Besides, the baby wakes up and is chattering and roaring from his room.

I free Zoen from his crib while a very grumpy 3 year old stomps in and says, "I want breakfast."

Sayer pipes in, "NO! I want lunch!"

"NO! BREAKFAST!"

In the midst of this, Zoen has emptied the entire contents of the laundry basket of clean clothes by tossing each item into the air with glee.

They're about to escalate into full-fledged screams, Zoen's are because the basket is now empty, so I discard my idea of fun pancakes for breakfast and consider tossing them boxes of cereal and letting them go to town.

I settle for the middle ground and fix the big kids bowls of cereal with milk. Zoen gets a banana which he happily eats until the very last bite. This is the bite he chooses to use as hair gel. It's effective. He now looks quite a bit like Bozo the Clown with his side tufts.


The kids finish breakfast (LUNCH!) without further drama and I manage to drink three gulps of coffee while it's actually still hot. We have a family wrestle session which leaves all of us giggling and ends when Sayer picks a monster booger from his nose and attempts to wipe it on my forehead. Ew. "But MAMA! Dis is a BIG ONE!"

Despite being 15 minutes removed from breakfast, the kids clamor for a snack. I dole out the goldfish. Sayer insists on taking them from my hand using only his mouth.

Zoen gets his legs stuck sideways in the kids' rocking chair and I have to rescue him. He rewards me with a bite on the shoulder. Affectionately.

I wrestle Z into clothes and start to get Sayer dressed. He insists that he does NOT WANT the bad guy batman underwear. Sadly, they're the only ones clean. So I think fast and tell him that because the bad guys are on the bottom part of his underwear, he'll get to squish them every time he sits down. He's delighted and puts them on. Naked crisis averted. 

The girls get themselves dressed without incident aside from Caly's propensity for really weird color and pattern combinations. So long as it's weather appropriate, she can wear what she likes. (And really, I love her free-spirit).

I grit my teeth and tell the girls it's time to brush their hair. Caly comes without a problem, gets her requested, "Just ONE pretty ponytail". Lexi looks like I've sentenced her to 100 days without food. The brush barely touches her scalp and she screams, "OWWWW!" I tell her that I'm glad to shave her head and she is quiet for a moment before saying, "Then I would look like Aunt Shell and she's beautiful! OK!" Yes, my oldest rocks. 

But since I don't have a set of working clippers, I gingerly finish brushing her hair between howls.

Caly and Sayer decide to hold hands and trot around the house calling each other "Mom" and "Dad" 

I put on a video for the kids and head back to my room to get ready for the morning. In the course of the 7 short minutes I'm gone, Caly and Sayer got into the markers and artistically decorated themselves. Zoen is in the midst of eating a marker and sports the purple lips to prove it. Lexi is zoned out by Electric Company and oblivious to the surrounding chaos. But then she busts out with a song describing a phonics skill so I call the video a win. 

At last, I'm ready, the kids are not in the buff, and the diaper bag has at least a diaper in it. Out the door we go!

I used to say that getting kids together to do one thing is like herding cats. But then someone used the term, "herding turtles." I find this to be ever so much truer. 

Our car is parked 10 yards from the front door. I think it took 92 minutes before everyone was in their seat without tears. 

We arrived at the grocery store and started walking around. The two middles rode in the front of the car cart. Zoen sat in the top. Lex walked. We happened by the lady who made the comment about me having it all together while we were next to the donut case. The kids were still because they were busy salivating over the sugar high waiting to happen.

I graciously said thank you to her anyway, and she turned down the pasta aisle. I watched her go and when I turned back around, Sayer had escaped the cart and was making a beeline for the deli counter. Zoen had resumed licking the handle of the grocery cart. Lex was begging for donuts and Caly was remarkably quiet.  Mostly because she spotted an old lollipop on the floor of the cart and was attempting to dislodge it with her hand, presumable to eat it. 

I removed the lollipop, handed Z a cracker, herded Sayer into the cart again, and deferred Lexi's request for donuts with promise of something slightly less awful for her. 

And then I started laughing again. Because I definitely don't have it all together.

But I like to think I definitely have it all.


Monday, March 19, 2012

One Year and Babyhood Has Disappeared

Dear Zoen-Bean,

Just a few days ago, you crossed over out of babyhood into being a ONE YEAR OLD. I would say toddlerhood, but since you started walking just after you turned 11 months, you've been toddling before your birthday.


You're a fun kid. The word that perpetually flies out of my mouth when describing you is "fierce."  You're fiercely happy. Fiercely stubborn. Fiercely persistent.


You can throw a dramatic temper tantrum that rivals both of your sisters'. This morning, as you threw yourself onto the ground like a limp noodle, I caught you WATCHING yourself have a fit. I think I have more than I bargained for in your drama department. I've never seen a kid reach to be picked up and then dive out of arms to arch their back and flail their arms and legs quite like you do. Why? Because I wouldn't let you put keys into the outlet. Forgive me for saving your life.


You're pretty bent on trying to test those boundaries of mortality. At 10.5 months, Shaun called me into the room because he looked up to see that you had used the toddler rocking chair to climb into the arm chair and you were steadily trying to scale it to reach the window sill. A week or so after that, we discovered that you could climb every step in the ladder that goes into our attic. Yesterday, I found you standing on the toilet. This morning, I found that you could climb the stool and attempt to belly-flop onto the stove.


And you know how mischievous you are because you'll look around to make sure one of us sees you and when we make eye contact, you grin like a little loon. Seems you like seeing Mama's heart jump into her throat.


Your daddy thinks you're a stinker because you are VERY opinionated about what you want. Generally, you want me, and that's it. I am quick to remind him of your second sister and how she still has him wrapped around her finger, so you're not alone in your stubborn preferences.

I know every parent thinks this about their children, but I think you're an incredibly smart kid. You know how to follow countless directions. You hear a word like, "phone" or "cup" or the like and immediately make a beeline for that (usually forbidden) object. You size up obstacles and spend an inordinate amount of time working your body around to master them. It astounds me that your attention span lasts so long. It's a little frightening how intent you get on what you want and how unwilling you are to let anything distract you. You're not speaking very clearly or much yet, but that's normal. You say Mama and have consistent sounds for "uh-oh," "that," "up" and "ball". I'm trying to start early in getting to make an attempt at a word before getting your way. You can imagine how that's going.


You're a semi-picky eater. Favorites are blueberries, strawberries, cheese, and sweet potatoes. Other rotating items are various carbs, eggs, and avocado. Least favorites are broccoli, green beans, and anything that's not your favorites.

You love to play chase games and absolutely thrive when your siblings engage with you. You make it difficult for them to play things that you don't understand, like board games or puzzles, because you toddle over and plop your behind directly into the middle with a grin. They alternately find this charming and maddening.


You're a terrible sleeper. I'm sure I have a great deal to do with this, but at this point, I've made my proverbial bed and find myself counting down until you're one and a half, when sleep SHOULD be better.

You hate to be told no and still give me the best pouty face ever. I laugh sometimes. It's hard to take you seriously when I'm telling you that you can't chew on a plug and you're utterly ticked about it. Some would say that redirection would be a gentler approach. I'd mentioned to them again about your fierce determination. You aren't deterred. I moved you away from something the other day 14 times before giving up and taking you completely outside so you'd forget. Only to have you head straight for it again when we came back in.

You are easily the happiest baby I've had and that makes up for you total maddening stubborn streak, (especially in the sleep area). I mentioned this morning that it's hard to be irritated with a wide-awake baby who's insisting on covering your face with open-mouthed baby kisses at 3am.


So, little Mr. Busy Pants, I'm looking forward to toddlerhood. Well, almost. I'm a little terrified. You're a force to be reckoned with. But you'll be a crazy force with a smile. And that certainly wins me over every time.

Happy Birthday Zo-Bean!

Love,

Mama


Monday, February 27, 2012

My Looney Littles

My kids are busy being my kids. Which means that they're being unintentionally hilarious and growing way too fast.

Sayer randomly had hives on his legs for the second day in a row and as I was looking at him, I remarked to Shaun, "I don't know why he has hives again. The hives are only on his legs!"

Sayer quietly tried to scratch and a few areas were reddened. He looked down and then exclaimed, "MAMA! Someone high-fived my legs and dey are all redded up!"
_____________________________________________________

The kids have grasped onto the idea that people get to choose a career when they get older. The one constant in Lexi's aspirations is to be a mom and live next door to me, (aww, right?!). Most recently, she also added that she wanted to be a worker in a grocery store. When asked why, she said she liked helping people and the grocery store would let her work only sometimes so she could stay home with her babies instead of having to work all the time.

Caly was listening in on this conversation and piped up, "I want to be a police officer when I get big."

I asked her why and she said, "So I can tell people what to do."

Grinning, I questioned whether she wanted to help people and rescue people too.  She tilted her head and looked at me out of the corner of her eye, "Yeah, that too. But I really want to tell people what to do."

I have a feeling the world's not ready for that one.
______________________________________________________

Sayer is ALMOST potty trained now. He's dry all day long, for the most part and now we're just encouraging the progress of doing the other "business" in the potty. The girls think it's a hoot to encourage him and often will say, "LOOK! I can do it, you can too!"

Caly, in particular, likes to help motivate. I'm thinking the gummy bears help.

So, the two of them are always in the bathroom, it seems. But hey, no one is peeing on my floor, so yay?

Well, the other thing that drives my kids into the bathroom is telling them that they may not run around using potty talk in the house unless they're in the bathroom. (I got tired of hearing "POOPIE! PEEEEEE!" and the like being shouted at all hours of the day, so the bathroom became the potty talk safe zone).

So this morning, I walked into the bathroom where Caly was er, doing her business. I asked Sayer to come out, and Caly quickly shouted, "OH! No, Mama! Let him stay! I want to tell knock-knock jokes with him!" So I left him in there and closed the door, just in time to hear "KNOCK KNOCK!" "Who's there?" "POO POO PEE PEE HINEY TALK!" and two little voices dissolving into laughter.

Hey, whatever keeps the potty talk away from the dinner table.
_______________________________________________________

Zoen is a ridiculously agile baby. At 11 months, he's attempting to walk everywhere. Not that remarkable, but the climbing this boy does? Yesterday, he used a toddler rocker to climb into a big chair near our front window and was trying to figure out how to climb onto the window sill. It's crazy. I didn't have babyproof much aside from stairs and plugs with the other kids, but I have a feeling I need a padded room for this one.

Don't believe me?  Look what he does with the slide in his brother's room:


He's ELEVEN MONTHS OLD.  I took that video on the day I first discovered he could do it. Since then, we've put a mattress on the top and he regularly scampers up there to try and dive over the side.

I need more coffee.


Friday, February 24, 2012

Parents Say the Weirdest Things

Kids are notorious for saying ridiculous stuff. Stuff like, "Mommy? My hair tastes like tree bark!"

What?

Yeah.

But parents say their share of bizarre stuff. We are normal, (ha), rational people felled into ridiculousness by these small people that come into our lives.

The first time I realized this was when Lex was about one and a half and I had to tell her, "PLEASE stop licking the dishwasher!"

Who says that stuff?

Parents.

My latest happened yesterday. Lately, Sayer (2.5) has thought it funny to run around trying to lick people. Thankfully, he's limited it to when he's in his house so far. But yesterday, we went to the park and he branched out.

I called to him and told him to, "stop chasing your sisters and trying to lick them!" (They didn't want to be licked... Gee. Imagine that). He looked at me, stopped chasing the girls, and ambled over to the slide.

Pleased that he listened, I went back to helping the littlest navigate the steps. (Yes, Z is terrifyingly agile).

Out of the corner of my eye, I noticed Sayer leaning forward on the slide. With his tongue out. Then he raised his head, looked at me and giggled.

Repulsed, I exclaimed, "EW! Sayer! Are you licking the slide?!'

Of course, Caly saw my reaction and jumped in to add her own tongue to the mix.

So I had two kids licking the park slide. The park slide where a squirrel probably peed.

Of course, I did what any good mother would do.

I took pictures.






And then I yelled, "GUYS! STOP LICKING THE SLIDE!"

And then I reflected on the weirdness of being a parent.

What's the weirdest thing you've ever said to your kids?

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Copy Cats!

This morning, the three kids happily munched their breakfast while I unloaded the dishwasher. Well, they were happy until the middle child decided it would be funny to imitate her older sister.

(Since Lex was the one to introduce this maddening habit to her siblings, I don't feel entirely sympathetic. Well, Lex and her FATHER).

Anyway, Lex said something to me and Caly immediately imitated her.

Not entirely fazed, Lex sassily turned to her sister and said, "Stop being such a COPY CAT!"

Caly yelled indignantly, "Lexi! I am not!!"

Annoyed, her sister replied, "You are. You are being a copy cat!"

And of course, not to be outdone, Caly shrieked, "LEXI!  I am NOT! I AM NOT A COFFEE CUP!"

Indeed she's not. But breakfast around here is certainly not for the sleepy.

Silly girl.

(I may dub that obnoxious mimicking practice "Coffee Cupping."  At the very least, it'll make me smile while they're driving me nuts.




Friday, February 17, 2012

Quirks

So, I've been mentally collecting these little things about me that are kind of... weird. Well, I don't think they're weird. But other people do. So I'm going to do what any good blogger would do and let you guys decide.

1. I stir my coffee with a butter knife. I'm guessing this is an odd thing. But I have an excellent reason! Since there's a Spoon Monster that has made off with the vast majority of my teaspoons, I hesitate to use them unless absolutely necessary. But with four small children who don't regularly need to cut their lunch, we always have knives. Hence, my solution!  Heck, whatever actually stirs the cream into my caffeine.

2. I sleep with a quilt, even in the summer. I have to. It's the weight. In fact, I love winter because I can pile on more blankets. I think I'd be completely happy taking a nap under a mound of sand. Apparently, they make weighted blankets. This has been on my wishlist for a long, long time.

3. When Shaun travels, I have to open the shower curtain before I go to bed. I know that the nation's serial killers aren't going to take refuge in my tiny bathroom, but I still can't sleep unless I do this.

4. When I drive alone, the car can not be silent or I get that creepy feeling that someone is in my back seat. If there's music on, I totally don't feel this way. Apparently, I firmly believe that my taste in music drives the criminals away.

5. I really, REALLY like rainy days. I liked them even more before I had kids when I could sit in my pajamas and curl up with a good book. Yeah, so I still sit around in my PJ's. And it doesn't have to be rainy.

OK, some of those are decidedly odder than others. And really?  I don't think any are that weird. So, what's your weird quirk?

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Junk In Your Trunk?

Right now, my car is clean. This is not notoriously the case. Usually, when I open the doors to my vehicle to let my children out, the kids are often followed by an avalanche of discarded toys, sippy cups, story books, and half-eaten granola bars.

I *TRY* to keep it clean but these kids have this habit of taking half of their possessions into the car whenever we go anywhere. Oddly, those MUST HAVE possessions that they can't live without for even a hair of a minute are tossed aside and forgotten the moment we pull into our driveway. It's another of those weird constants of parenting. Like, "Your kid will fall asleep for 11 seconds when you pull in your driveway and NEVER NAP AGAIN."

(And yes, I've limited how many they can bring or thought about banning outside toys but HEY! Look at that! THEY'RE HAPPY! While I drive! I will sacrifice much to bring about The Happy when within the car).

Anyway, my car is currently clean. And I'm aiming to keep it that way.

Now, way back when I started driving, my car stayed relatively clean. I'd pile it high with my soccer gear, backpack, and various CD cases. And my parents would periodically peer in the windows and suggest I clean my car.  So I would.  Begrudgingly, because really, what if I NEEDED one of the things I carted around?

But one day I discovered why.

I hung out at a friend's house one fall evening and we ate pizza and drank way too much soda and generally had a good time.  Soda was not an item that usually showed up in my house, so I took a can of Coke so that I'd have one for school the following week when I'd inevitably stay up way too late the night before.  Before I pulled out of my friend's driveway, I put the can in the rear seat cup holder.

And I promptly forgot all about it. For three months.

I was driving down the major road in our area on a cold January afternoon.  The truck in front of me had a bunch of crap that looked to be going to the dump and none of it was tied down particularly well.  Suddenly, a box dropped off of the back of their truck and to avoid running it over, I quickly swerved into the exit lane and headed off of the highway.

At the same time, I heard a loud "POP" come from the back seat followed by the weirdest, "SHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH" sound I'd ever heard. Then it started raining.

IN my car.

 It appeared to be raining... Coke?

As soon as I realized what was happening, I blindly threw my hand around the back seat, searching for the possessed can. Unable to catch it, I searched for a place to pull over. Ahead, a red light waited. I pulled up, slammed my car in park, and practically dove over the seat to grab the can. The can that, at this point, was spinning in rapid circles as it sprayed Coke from the windows to the roof to the floor.  I grabbed it, noticed the light was green, and panicked.  WHAT TO DO WITH THE CAN! THE CAN THAT WAS SOAKING EVERYTHING IN ITS PATH WITH A SHEEN OF HIGH FRUCTOSE CORN SYRUP AND CARAMEL COLORING!?

I swear that can was possessed.

In a moment of brilliance, (panic?), asI drove through the intersection, I tried to drink the soda faster than it was spraying out. It was so cold I thought I'd die of brain freeze.

Thankfully, the can seemed to have exhausted itself and I was only forced to down a mouthful.

I was able to pull over into a gas station parking lot and with the help of MANY paper towels, I got the car clean.

Moral of the story?  Unless you want your headline to read, "Car Crashes Into Ditch After Soda Can Explosion," clean out your car.

Your upholstery will thank me.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

A Gift That Needs No Re-Gifting

My 2.5 year old is a super sweet kid. He's the one who will snuggle up to me and say, "Mama?  You're my best fwiend!"

Yeah, he gets whatever he wants when he does that. It's distinctly possible he's working the system but I don't care.

Anyway, while we were in TX last week, Sayer wasn't feeling well and woke up rather crankily one morning WELL before the sun rose. I asked him to come and snuggle next to me so we wouldn't wake everyone up and he obliged.  After a few minutes he told me, "Mama?  I wuv you. You're my best fwiend."

(Here, kid... here are the keys to my car and the deed to the house. Powerless, I tell you).

Then he patted my arm and said, "Mama? I have sumpin for you!"

"Yeah? What is it?" I reached my hand towards his.

He scraped his finger across my palm and proudly said, "It's a BOOGER!"

Gee, thanks kid.

Hey, at least he's generous!




Friday, January 20, 2012

Motherhood: You're Never Truly Alone

I'm something of an introvert and in the past, I generally relished the quiet moments I would get to spend by myself. Before I had children, I had many of these moments. For a time I worked in an office where it was only me and my boss. He would frequently be in court or working with his door closed. I loved it.

Then I had children. And my quiet moments began diminishing. However, nap time usually provided me ample opportunity to recharge and get ready for the rest of the day.

Then? I had two children. The youngest was happiest when velcroed to my body and the oldest stopped napping. To cope, I learned the time-tested method of hiding in the bathroom for a few moments of quiet when I got overwhelmed. Well, sort of quiet. The kids would often sit outside the door and yell at me or push their fingers under the crack. I figured, if I could hear them or see their tiny digits, they weren't getting into mischief.

Then I had three kids... then four.  I love all of my kids, but sometimes, when they're testing my patience, it's safer to retreat somewhere to count to 10 so I don't end up yelling at everyone like a banshee.

So, I've continued my bathroom coping techniques. However, at this point, the oldest has learned to unlock the bathroom door from the outside, and she's been instructed not to enter if it's locked unless there's an emergency.

Unfortunately, we have very different definitions of "Emergency"

I'm in the shower and suddenly a rush of cold air enters the bathroom as my oldest barrels through the door. (I hate that rush of cold air).

"MOOOOOOOOOOOOM! There's a bee in the living room! A BIG BEE!"

(It's January, there's no bee, I can guarantee it).  I question, "Are you sure there's a bee?"

"Well, it COULD be a bee. I mean, we didn't SEE the bee. We just heard a buzz. Maybe it was your phone?"

"Lex, go out and please shut the door and wait. I'll be out in a second."

She does as I request. But I neglect to request that she lock the door.  Seconds later, the third walks in and starts chatting,

"Mama? So, I saw a crayon on the table and so I put it on the floor and so, Zoen ate it." (He likes the word so).  I panic a bit before I remember that Z is not in fact on the floor and realize that Sayer is regaling me with a tale from yesterday. (My kids like to eat crayons, what can I say). Before I can ask him to join his siblings in the living room, I hear a peculiar thunk and realize that in the name of being "helpful," my dear oldest has removed the wee one from his exersaucer and is herding him towards the bathroom. He has just pushed open the door with his head.

"Mom? Zoen wanted you." Lex is standing at the entry of the bathroom with the door wide open. I'm cold.  Zoen crawls to the tub and resumes his favorite pastime of throwing back the shower curtain and tossing random objects into the tub. Caly enters the bathroom and declares she needs to take care of some... business. Sayer pops his head behind the curtain and asks over and over, "Whatchu doing Mama?! Whatchu doing?"

I give up the notion of a relaxing shower and exit. The kids perch onto the edge of the bathtub and provide lively commentary on my getting ready process.

I look over at the four little people hanging out near the bathtub and begin to formulate a plan to retreat to the tool shed to uh, "fix" something. Like my sanity.


(This is a fairly accurate portrayal of my view any time I enter the bathroom. For anything.)

Then again, they're pretty good company. And they give me a great reason to narrate my treks through the grocery store. You should see the looks I get when I go by myself and end up talking to thin air.

See? Even when they're not actually with you, they're still there.

I'm pretty sure I wouldn't change a thing.  But if someone offered me a chance to shower in complete silence with no rogue gusts of icy air?  I wouldn't say no.

Motherhood. Where you're never, ever truly alone.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

The Dirty Kid In Class? Yeah, He's Mine

So, way back when I only had one kid, my friends, (who generally only had one kid as well), and I used to use the phrase, "Hey, at least she's not the dirty kid in class!" as a joking way to cope with times when we weren't exactly the most stellar of parents.

Baby fell down and busted their lip? Hey, at least she's not the dirty kid in class.

You gave your kid pop rocks for breakfast? Sad, but hey! At least they're not the dirty kid in class!

You get the drift. It was a surefire way to make each other laugh when one was having a rough day.

Fast forward a few kids. Throughout the past 6 years of parenting, I generally have managed to make sure my kids were clean when in public. And by clean, I mean, at least the parts that show... hands, faces, etc.

Sometimes someone would finish their breakfast on the way out the door and need a meeting with a baby wipe to get rid of the milk mustache before we got to our destination.

But generally, I've done quite well at making sure my kids were never the "dirty kid in class."

Until yesterday.

Once a week, I join a bunch of other women for a bible study at our old church. They provide awesome childcare and a homeschool class for Lex. The kids practically dissolve into tears when we have to leave. Good stuff.

Yesterday I got them dressed, brushed the girls' hair, brushed teeth, put shoes on, fed the baby and rushed out the door. I checked them each into their classrooms and settled into my seat and chatted with my group.  About halfway through our session, the child care coordinator slipped into the room and knelt down next to my chair. I glanced at my silent pager, thinking that perhaps it malfunctioned and she was there to tell me that the little one needed me.

But instead she asked, "Did... did Sayer have jelly for breakfast today?"  Puzzled, I told her he hadn't. She continued, "Because he has something on the top of his head that looks like jelly... his teacher wasn't sure if it was jelly or blood and didn't want to wipe it too much in case it was blood and it would dislodge a scab or something." I sat there with  my mouth half open for a few seconds.

And all at once, it hit me. The day before, I had some friends come over with their mostly school-aged munchkins to surprise Lex for an impromptu playdate. (And, not going to lie, some momma hang time). Anyway, someone brought donut holes. Sayer managed to finagle hmself a couple, of course.

Later that night, we were hustling out the door for a birthday dinner and I noticed something red and sticky on the back of Sayer's head. Jelly. I tried to wipe it off as best as I could, but we were in a rush, and it was, you know, jelly. So I left it and told myself that I'd toss him in the tub in the morning before bible study.

Of course, in the morning, Sayer was the last one up. He woke up, I threw clothes on him, and he ate his breakfast on the way. No time for a bath. Admittedly, I didn't even think of it.  

So... I tried to explain, "See... yesterday (wince), he had a jelly donut, and um, it got in his hair? And well, we were on our way out when I noticed... and... um... I was going to give him a bath this morning but... we were running late?"  I stopped because no matter how I explained it... the truth was still there,

I had the dirty kid in class.

So I did what any mother would do in the throes of absolute mortification. I laughed. And laughed and laughed. Because really, he might have been the dirty kid in class, but at least he wasn't the SMELLY kid in class.

For now.

I should probably stop saying that, shouldn't I?


Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Barnacle Baby

I don't remember which friend coined the term "barnacle baby" (Holly?) but ever since I heard it, it's been my favorite way to describe when the baby is in a phase of DON'T-PUT-ME-DOWN-BECAUSE-I-AM-ALLERGIC-TO-THE-FLOOR/CHAIR/BED!

Today, the baby is stuck to me. Like a barnacle.

So, I'm going to blog. Because I can generally blog while I fend off tiny hands and redirect them into attacking a snack. But loading the dishwasher when the kid is trying to dive bomb into said dishwasher from my arms, (and then crying when I put him down), is near impossible.

And really, the kid LOVES the dishwasher.  Here's photographic evidence taken with  my phone yesterday:


I'm fairly sure the blurry factor is due to a drool film over the lens of my phone. Z manages to get his hands, (and drooly little mouth), all over my phone more often than should be possible. I'm convinced that the big kids think it's funny to hand the phone to him. Either that or he developed go-go-gadget arms. You never know.

When he's not doing dishes, the baby is doing any number of things, most of which involve him getting messy. He loves getting messy.  See?


The kid likes blackberries. Blackberries are not exactly the least messy fruit on earth. But who can deny that face?


Perhaps he's why my kitchen looks like the Keebler elves had a frat party and forgot to clean up.

And the living room...

And... the basement?


Ah, no... can't blame that kid directly... but seriously, when the question is whether to put away the laundry or snuggle that smiley little barnacle baby, I think the right choice is fairly obvious.

(And yes Shaun, I promise I'm really putting the laundry away... eventually)
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