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)

Monday, January 2, 2012

Happy New Year! A Year in Review

Here we are again, thrust headlong into a new year where I'm sure I'll be making great use of my erasers as I continue to write 2011 until somewhere in mid-February.

I was looking back through my friend Amy's blog via her year-in-review post and got inspired to write one of my own.  However, because I'm clearly not as patient as she is, I'm going to accent the re-cap with pictures instead of links.


Lexi was on the cusp of turning five. She anticipated that birthday more than any in the past, citing the fact that five was her FAVORITE. NUMBER. EVER. We got her a camera for Christmas and she decided that she would document every mundane detail she came across. Her memory card cried.

The relationship between Caly, 2.5, and Sayer, 18 months, was beginning to change significantly, namely due to Sayer learning to express his strong opinions. These opinions were expressed with help from the fact that he was beginning to outweigh his older sister.


I started off the month being hugely pregnant. I ended the month gigantically pregnant. Shaun tried to take the kids places to burn off energy on a regular basis so they would stop trying to use my enormous belly as a jungle gym. I usually waddled along with them.


Halfway through this month I stopped being pregnant. Zoen was born on March 14th and immediately started off his reign as overachiever. He scored 10s on his Apgar evaluation and impressed everyone by handily popping his own thumb into his mouth shortly after he was delivered.

His siblings adored him as soon as they met him, especially his oldest sister.

I loved watching Shaun with the little guy... one so big... one sooooooo little.


Caly turned three! And for her birthday month, the weather turned from frigid into balmy and we spent countless hours outside. We also took a ridiculous number of pictures of Zoen that looked exactly like this:

Of course, he was the most beautiful baby in the world! But man, in hindsight, new babies sure are funny looking.

I decided it would be a good idea to host a million kids and moms here for a playgroup since the weather was lovely. Surprisingly, it went swimmingly. I'm guessing it's due to the chocolate.


I was cleared to resume normal life after my surgery and we decided to jump in with both feet. Science center, zoo, and the kids' favorite, the faerie festival


I celebrated my 29th birthday and continued to take every opportunity to tease my husband about being an old fart in his 30s.

The three big kids started learning to swim this year and made quick progress. Surprisingly, Sayer took to the water the best and I spent more time trying not to let him drown. His confidence level soared well above his actual ability to swim.

The kids learned that baby powder made sand removal super easy. Apparently, I neglected to mention that it applied mostly to skin, so they tried to wash the deck.


Sayer turned 2! We went to Texas! And we saw our beloved roommate get married in TN. The girls were delighted to be in the wedding.

Shaun and Z and I went to Alexandria for his staff conference and Z proved himself well as the easiest baby on the planet.


The kids discovered one of the countless toads that live on our property. This year, they were brave enough to touch it. Well, some of them.

We traveled to visit grandparents and Caly explored her daredevil side.


Shaun turned... thirty something? Hehe. We attempted family kid pictures. It was amusing as it always is, but we got a keeper or two.

Zoen continued to master the completely surprised expression that he wore at birth.

Sayer and Caly snuggled... with each other... an act unprecedented in this house. I caught it on film, just in case.


We have photographic evidence that Zoen makes the best pouty face in the world.

The kids spent countless hours playing in the backyard and giggling together. Generally, they were deeply involved in a gigantic game of "House" or "Fairy Castle" or "Super Hero"

Generally, the rest of the month was jam packed with pumpkin farms, science center trips, parks, and more. Then?

Halloween! We actually did the Trick-or-Treat thing this year and the kids had a ball.


The kids played outside more due to an abnormally warm November and discovered the joy of jumping into leaf piles.

We got ready for Thanksgiving and ate an inordinate amount of mashed potatoes. Ok, maybe that was just me.


At the beginning of this month, I had kidney stone surgery and most of the month was kind of a wash on my end. The kids got to do all sorts of fun stuff with Daddy so that was definitely a win. A little over halfway through the month and I started feeling well enough to panic about Christmas preparations.

However, we had a ton of fun doing some traditional things with the kids to teach them about Christmas and giving. I loved seeing the girls embrace tradition and bring their brother along on the way. One of their highlights, (and to be honest, my nightmare), was their Lego advent calendar. I think I stepped on more renegade Lego pieces through the course of the month than all other months combined.

We received sobering news regarding my sister-in-law's health, and were continually amazed by her grace, strength, and faith. Before she started her treatments, we went out to have some insanely good food.

Then? Christmas. Beautiful as always. The kids were ecstatic and enjoyed sharing their handmade presents with family and friends.

And of course, because the month was insane, I don't have a single picture until Christmas day from this month, and they're still on my camera.

So, that's it! If you're still with me, I'm amazed. This little review makes me grin as I read through all that happened this year.

Here's to 2012! May it be full of family, fun, and friends!
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