Friday, February 27, 2009

Once upon a time

Once upon a time there was a Mommy. This Mommy thought she had found the perfect toy. The Mommy bought the toy, a foam sword, in the dollar section of Target. The Mommy thought that a foam sword was a great toy for a tyrant toddler because the Mommy didn't see how the sword could effectively be used against her in a toddler coup. What the Mommy didn't know, was that the toddler was smarter than she. That Mommy enjoyed an entire afternoon and night of being benignly bopped with a soft object. Boy, was that Mommy proud of herself.

Then, her toddler greeted a new day. With seven whole hours of sleep to dream about world domination, the toddler had a few ideas when he awoke. His first idea was to strip the foam off the hilt of the sword, exposing the hard plastic underneath. The toddler was excited with this turn of events, but retreated to his room after he realized the drawbacks to the new weapon design (i.e. this made the sword shorter and put his tush within his Mommy's reach) so he went back to the drawing board.

The toddler hellbent on continuing his reign of terror forged a new plan. He left his room to examine the contents of the laundry room. In the laundry room he found the long cylindrical attachment for Mommy's vacuum. Eureka! Problem solved. He inserted the sword into the cylindrical attachment, crammed in the foam he had previously stripped from the hilt, to make the fit nice and tight. A weapon of mass destruction was created!

The Mommy was saved from certain death by the doorbell. It was the Papa to finish fixing the Mommy's door. The Mommy worries that she may find out in a future power struggle how much intelligence was gleaned by the toddler who watched the power tools with rapt fascination. For tonight though, the balance of power has shifted back to the parental unit, solidified by the offer of mint chocolate chip ice cream...the Mommy's secret weapon.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

The angry bitter fishwife

Okay, I am seriously tired of being sick, having sick kids, and buying kleenex by the boatload. This frigging cold/flu season has been hands down the WORST I can remember. This is the third time since January that I have been struck down by some kind of crud. The first time it was just a cold, but it sucked. The second was like a 48 hour flu. This time it has been a flipping week already. I am tired of coughing. I am tired of having my chest hurt. I am grateful that my throat doesn't hurt anymore, but, now my ears ache. Piss on this!

I want to breathe. Please look for me to have an accidental overdose in my quest to breathe somewhat freely. Starting tomorrow, I am going to pretend that I'm not sick. Maybe if I pretend well enough, I'll start to believe me. My husband will be home this weekend. Typically I spend all weekend trying to keep the peace and performing like a trained seal whenever he sees something that he thinks needs attending to (i.e. the dishes) this weekend is going to be different. I am going to rest. I am going to read. I am going to watch hours of mindless television. I am going to recharge my batteries that frankly probably just need replacing (someone let me know if they figure out how that works) and I am going to be VERY selfish. I may get my hair cut, colored, and highlighted. I may get my eyebrows waxed (so very overdue, thank goodness I'm already married) but that is all. I need some time for myself, and dammit I am getting it, even if I have to take hostages.

All of this is brought on by the fact that he totally stressed me out last visit because he needed a new tire, which he never got. He was then supposed to get a tire in the two weeks since we've seen him, but guess what? He hasn't. This trip will only be a day and a half. Less than 48 hours at home. However, he wants to make a tire change a priority while he is here? If he isn't coming to help me out, and so that the children and I remember what he looks like...why is he coming at all? Oh yeah! Duh! To get his tire changed.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

My Cuties

Jelly Belly...or maybe Jane here
Big Boy

Little Boy, he was about a foot off the ground...and so proud.

That's my Hercules

All of my babies, last weekend at the park.
Due to missing our Valentine portraits TWICE, I decided I would get some use out of the outfits.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

My two year old

In a wild attempt to preserve my sanity, I want to talk about my Hercules. This child is 31 months old, and in the seven LOOOOOOOONG months since his second birthday he has caused more trouble, found more trouble, and ultimately been in more trouble than my older three combined at his age.

All of my boys have wreaked a decent amount of havoc. My eldest was just shy of his third birthday when he was brought home in a police car. He figured out the intricacies of the deadbolt in the wee hours of the morning, and along with his co-conspirator (my across the hall neighbor's 3 year old daughter) chased their dogs almost a half mile away. I was frantically searching for him along with the maintenance crew from the apartments, neighbors, etc. I'm not even sure who talked to the police, because I was too hysterical to be understood. I was still crying when the police car pulled up moments later. That was my single biggest failing as a parent. Fun fact, the neighbors never even realized that their daughter was missing, and yeah, you bet your sweet ass I use that to make myself feel better. Start to finish that episode lasted 25 minutes.

LB's moment of glory has to be the great laundry incident. It was the summer after he turned 2, I had just gotten a bonus at work and had treated the children to some new clothes. I was working and their devoted Daddy was on childcare duty. Their Daddy had picked that day to clean out his work truck. He apparently left a bottle of paint thinner he found on top of the dryer. While he was cleaning away (how long he went without checking on my babies I know not) LB emptied the bottle of paint thinner. He poured it all over the dryer and into the clothes I had soaking in the wash (yes, their brand new ones that had never been worn) but luckily managed to not ingest any or get any on himself. My dryer however still looks like the Frankendryer.

My daughter is biding her time and waiting for her teenage years to make her parents miserable. That child has not, in all the years of her life (8 now to be exact) done anything wrong. She is for the moment a complete angel. I am however skeptical that her halo will make it through high school intact.

So, that leaves my Hercules. Hercules rocks my world. He is probably the biggest, smartest, and strongest at this age. He alternates between the real world and an imaginary one. The other day he asked me if I had seen his tool belt. I was confused about this tool belt, since we (he) has never had one. A few minutes later he came back with his shirt off and a diaper stuffed full of plastic tools. "Don't worry about it Mommy. I found it," is what he told me and away he went. He can count pretty darn high, I have heard him go as far as 80. He knows the alphabet song already, and is beginning to recognize written letters and numbers. Numbers and shapes are easy stuff. His command of Spanish is pretty darn astonishing, thank you Dora and Diego. He is a passionate tornado of love and affection.

However, sometimes he is more like Hurricane Hercules. Completely unpredictable, varying in intensity, fear inducing, leaving a path of destruction in his wake. Since his second birthday, we have seen the normal upswing in toddler bad behavior. Which includes but is not limited to hitting, biting, scratching, hair pulling, tantrum throwing, and screaming. Then there have been a few doozies.

In December he liberated a poker from inside the fireplace (like it wasn't mine and I didn't even know it was there) and threw it javelin like through the screen of our living room television. Did I mention that the kid has a mean left arm? Well, I no longer felt bad about him having to miss the Fourth of July fireworks because of his new baby sister. Let me tell you, it was one helluva show. Then the following weekend I came home from pricing new televisions to find plumes of black smoke billowing out of my windows. My husband was in the kitchen trying to pry a melted sandal out of our blackened microwave, courtesy of H, of course. Then the following month he stood at the top of the stairs and gave his sister a golden baptism. Earlier this week, I found him happily splashing and bathing himself inside my washing machine WHILE it was running. Then last night, the kids were getting ready for bed and H was hanging with them. H found his Halloween costume hanging in my daughter's closet. My daughter refused to help him put it on, so he grabbed one of the metal support slats from under her bed and hurled it at her head. Fortunately she ducked, the only casualty was a Disney Princess bell, which granted she would probably have cried less if the damn had hit her. H's only statement being, "I am so mad at you," pointing at his sister.

There are honestly days that I wonder if we will all live through this stage in his life with our sanity intact.

Monday, February 23, 2009

You've seen the how to give a cat a bath email...let me tell you how to bathe a 2 year old

I did laundry last night, which is my second least favorite chore, it comes right behind cleaning bathrooms, which is why I am almost always happy to make coffee for my guests, but pale when they ask to use the bathroom. I had just dried a load of bedding for my daughter's crib, and in an usually illusive moment of domesticity, I promptly headed upstairs to make her bed. I left the the baby asleep in her swing, three playing their game boys on the sofa, and H parked in front of Dora on the big television.

I stripped the old sheet off, removed the various toys and crib attachments so that I could lift the mattress. I put the clean sheet on and bumper pad in the crib, replaced the odds and ends and headed back downstairs. I was up there, maybe eight minutes. TLL was still sleeping, the big three were still gaming, H was nowhere to be found. The front door was still locked and the sliding door was still chained so I knew that he hadn't escaped. The search commenced. We checked bathrooms, under beds, in cabinets, and finally the laundry room. I found him inside the washer basin with the cycle still on agitate.

"Look Mommy! I found bubbles," was all he had to say for himself. Surely, this child will kill me before he turns three.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Reduce, reuse, recyle

My children have NO respect for the cost of food. This morning alone we wasted 1 cup of cereal, 2 waffles, and opened a third bottle of maple syrup. I should probably mention that I'm a foodie freak that buys all organic. The food waste in this house is killing me. I bet that I could shave $500.00 a month off our grocery bill if we just ate what we fixed for ourselves.

I buy four six packs of organic soda (yeah I know I'm a freak, but, it is the HFCS I want to avoid) to last this family two weeks. Which means that the big three are allowed to have about one can each every other day. My children hem and haw and cry over this completely unfair policy DAILY. So, as I have pointed out to them it amazes me that I have to pour out half cans of soda every time they drink them. I even suggested that they share two cans among the three of them by pouring the soda in glasses...all of my children looked at me like I had just sprouted a second head.

There are the little things too, like does one child really need a half a cup of ketchup for four chicken nuggets? Last night I found an open bag of chips (a major treat around here) on my kitchen floor. I threw them out. No telling how many the animals licked or what bugs might have been attracted to the easy feast. Yuck. In a storm of tears and temper tantrums my children demanded that I replace their treat because it was so unfair for me to throw it away. Uh yeah, sure kids, I'll get right on meeting your demands.

What I am going to do is spend some time coming up with a plan. I want to teach them about conserving and saving. Throw any suggestions my way, they will be appreciated. When I think I have a valid approach, I'll share it. Maybe you guys can help me find the flaws in it before the kids do.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

A little neighborly love...or not

My family and I live in a townhouse. There is a shared wall on each side of our humble abode. On one side, there lives a woman who tends to be VERY extremely unpleasant every time our paths cross. On the other lives a young mom and her two children. While I wish that the neighbor on my left would be a little friendlier, she causes us no real problems . She does however raise hamsters, and I find myself singing that Jimmy Buffett song whenever I see her. I am drifting off topic though, the young mother on my right is what I would like to talk about.

This is a young woman, all of 22, with two small girls. She has a 5 year old and a 3 year old. She is currently going through divorce proceedings with the children's father. I can understand as a mother who married very young and started her family very young that she feels compelled to sow her oats a bit. I get that. What I am a whole lot less understanding about is the constant partying. I feel like I am trying to raise my family in the basement of a frat house.

There is music that blares at all hours of the day and night. There is the screaming, yelling, and impromptu drunken karaoke. There are the cigarette butts and beer bottles that are all over the drive. There is the scuff on my bumper that wasn't there when I parked, but magically appeared when your drunken guest peeled out of here. There is the broken glass from the beer bottles that get thrown or run over. So far, I have had to pick it out of my daughter's hands when she fell on her skates and my dogs' paws. There is the puppy that gets chucked outside for hours so that she can sleep in, who barks non stop, causes my dogs to bark and ensures that there is no rest for the weary in my home.

As much as all these things bother me, I am bothered most by the two little girls, one in school already that have to live through it. When I see her children run outside at 2:00 in the morning looking for her, it makes me sad. Then it makes me mad, because I can't imagine what school must be like for her the next day. I am the last person who will judge a Mommy or a Daddy because they are drinking beer in front of their children. I will however shed actual tears when I see a mother stumble and fall and alternatively feel up today's boyfriend while her children look on. I wish that I could shake her, tell her that once she loses her children's respect there is no getting it back. I want to tell her that she will have the whole rest of her life to drink and party if that is what she wants, but, that she'll only have her children for a little while. One day soon, maybe I will tell her. Our friendly acquaintance is already a thing of the past, what have I got to lose?

Friday, February 20, 2009


I started a post today about my cats. The ones that have come to lay on my keyboard not once, not twice, but three times today alone. They accidentally sent one half written email and published two drafts to this blog. I was feeling a little like scorning my feline love, children got home today with their progress reports.

So, in a major change of subject, let the teacher bashing begin...

My oldest son is smart. Smart is in fact something of an understatement. My son is brilliant. I don't say this because I am a proud Mommy, I say this because it is true. Therefore, you might think that he would be a shoe in for the Honor Roll...NOT! You might think that I'd be able to devote more time to helping my younger, less brilliant kids with school work...NOT!!!

My prodigy's problem is that he is as lazy as he is smart. I spend copious amounts of time trying to get him to do homework. The first nine weeks went well. He brought home straight A's. Good times. Then came the progress report for the second nine weeks. He was sporting an A in Conduct, but B's, C's, and D's in everything else. I called the school and had a meeting set up with his teachers, the guidance counselor, and someone from the administration. In the meeting I explained (yet again) that my son's biggest problem was motivation, or lack there of. I asked why his grades were so low. I found out that my son wasn't completing his classwork and that he had missed five or so homework assignments. Homework is 10% of his grade, classwork is 40%, and tests account for the other 50% of his GPA. His test average in every subject was an A.

Okay, so I told them that I would try working harder with him to get the homework done. Then I asked why I wasn't told that he had stopped doing classwork. The admin rep suggested that the teacher send home weekly progress reports (computer printouts) so that I could stay informed. I was provided with exactly ONE weekly progress report. I emailed his teacher and I let her know that I was very concerned about my son's grades, but that I understood if the weekly progress report was not convenient, but I asked for her to please contact me via email or by phone if there were any more problems in class.

The second report card came out and he brought his grades up, there were only two B's. I wasn't really thrilled with his grades, not because they aren't good grades, but because for BB they reflected a serious lack of effort. He promised to do better this nine weeks. I have noticed that he has spent more time doing homework, and I helped him with the Science Fair Project From Hell. I was actually feeling pretty confident about this report...heh. He brought home a C in Math and an F in Social Studies. He also had a Scholarship Warning for...failure to do classwork.

Hey Teach, Whiskey Tango Foxtrot babe? When you didn't respond to the six emails I sent you asking about BB's progress I figured no news was good news. When I dropped off Valentine treats for the class, you just smiled and said thank you. What exactly is it that you are doing when your class is working that you don't notice who is on task and who isn't? If you were doing your homework, then you would know BEFORE the week that grades come out who is doing what they are supposed to and who isn't. Would it kill you to contribute in some way to helping me make this school year a successful one? There are things that I would much rather be doing than playing Homework Nazi. I do it though, even though I don't want to, because it is my job. Now, how about you do your job? Which is, in case you didn't know, to help make sure your student does his job.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

I made lemonade today

  • I just figured out how to add two of my favorite typepad blogs to my dashboard thingy!!!! It was really pretty easy...for someone that isn't computer stupid.
  • It is now 75 outside and very, very sunny!!!
  • I might get ready and take the kids to the park, and it isn't even Trash Day!
  • My house is pretty messy, but the big kids will be home soon and I think the lure of the park combined with learning about indentured servitude sounds like a great plan.
  • I got the most awesome quote in the mail, I ordered it off a link on another blog and I love, LOVE, love it! I cannot wait to frame it.

I am in a good mood and pretty determined to have a decent afternoon even though my day stunk. I am still reeling from peeling back carpet in my children's room to find that there is not any padding between the carpet and the floor boards. I am further distressed that seemingly due to my landlord NEVER fixing the roof, and the carpet getting wet every time it rains, there is a thick layer of mold on top of the bare wood. *shudder*

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

How big a debt is owed exactly?

Once upon a time I was a full time working Mommy. When I was was working, my work week was 80 hours plus, and I spent 12 hours a week commuting. My schedule did not allow for much more than meeting my children's basic needs. When I was working, in order to help us and the children my parents invited them to stay over school breaks. I missed my children when they were gone, but it was hard to argue the logic of keeping them home so that they could spend only a precious few hours with me when my parents are at home and they have a great pool which my kids love. Then two years ago, things changed. Our circumstances changed and I was able to work only part time, and eventually leave entirely.

Now, Mom is back on the job. Me being able to stay at home with the children has given me the ability to focus on things that I previously had little control over. For example nutrition. What I bought for our house was always pretty healthy, but not my aunt who was our childcare provider or my parents who spent a lot of time with the children. We never presumed to tell anyone who was kind enough to love and care for our children what to feed them based on our personal convictions. Now it is a different story. When the kids go to visit friends or family they know that they are allowed to eat anything they want, but not to bring it home, because I won't allow it in the house. My aunt tends to think this is pretty harsh and often helps the children to smuggle in contraband junk.

My parents are a different story. They live out of town, so when the children visit, they often go for two or three weeks. While I don't try to micromanage what they feed the kids, I do ask that they please limit the amount of food and drinks containing HFCS and artificial colors. My parents ignore this request completely.

Then there is the subject of games and game time. At my Mom and Dad's house there is unlimited game time. Hours on end that they allow the children to sit in front of the computer or Xbox. They also allow them to play games like World of Warcraft. I was so much opposed to this one, that I talked to parents about it. My father promised to monitor my son very carefully while he was playing and not to send the game home. Instead he sent him home a computer with the game already installed and instructed my son not to share his password with anyone including me.

I have realized that I can talk to my family until I'm blue in the face, but that they don't feel like they need to listen to me. Often my mother tells me, "we were good enough to have the kids all the time before...what suddenly now you care?" Ouch. Yes, now I care. When my children were younger they were easier to transition from 'on vacation' attitudes to 'home again' but now that they are getting older what is allowed at Grandma's house is a constant bone of contention once they get back home. In short, we are seeing behavior problems and attitude problems that seem to stem from what I think is overindulgence when they are away.

My family reminds me that they feel like I owe them liberties when it comes to my children for all of their help in the past. They tell me when I disagree with choices they make on behalf of my children that grandparents have rights too.

I worked very hard for many years to make sure that my children had health insurance, clothes on their backs, and food to eat. We survived those years and are rewarded by having reached a point in our lives that I am able to stay home and devote myself to learning about my children and trying different things to see what makes them flourish, and not having a little storm cloud labeled EBITA floating over my head. I think it is my right as a mother to do what I think is the best thing for my children, even if in the past I didn't have an opinion about something and now I do. I don't think that my family has the right to penalize me for having had to work, nor do I believe that I owe them the right to walk all over me as a mom because they have helped and loved my kids. I am forever indebted to my family for all of the things they have done, but it isn't a debt that I am willing to repay to the detriment of my children.

This subject comes up because last night when I looked in my son's book bag, I found his DS game thing. He isn't allowed to take his game to school, I don't know what parent in their right mind would allow such a thing. He informed me that I couldn't punish him for taking it because I hadn't given it to him, it was a gift from Grandpa. I very quickly explained that it doesn't matter if Grandpa buys him something, if he buys it for himself, etc., he is my child. He will live by my rules. Period. My parents called to talk to the children and my son brought up being in trouble because he had taken the thing to school. My father actually told my son that if it wasn't against school rules that I was wrong to not allow him to take it. WTF?????!!!!!!!

Then my mom called back to ask about Spring Break. I told her that I wasn't sure if I wanted my son to go or not. My mother told me that if I couldn't give her a sound reason for not wanting BB (the only one invited) to go that I was infringing upon her rights by denying her the opportunity to see her grandchildren. My parents are getting older. I realize that it is hard for them to take all of the children, but, I do ask them to be fair. If they invite BB, then the next time they should invite JB, and so on and so forth. They however tell me that they are closest to BB, and that as the oldest he has a right to have time away from his siblings to relax. They genuinely don't seem to care that they are hurting the other children's feelings. This includes but isn't limited to getting BB a DS for his birthday and having sent NOTHING at all for the rest of my children for their birthdays. I do understand that money is tight for them. I appreciate that they wanted to give my son such a special gift. I am disappointed that they can't see or don't care how hurt my other children are that they didn't get a present but BB got a really expensive gift.

I am not sure right now how I want to proceed with my parents. I am just really frustrated.

Internet homework

I am curious what other parents think about internet homework. All three of my school-goers brought home internet homework today. I am really, honestly, truly tempted to send notes in to their teachers, because I DO NOT believe in letting the children have computer time during the school week. This seems to feed their computer obsession, which granted they come by honestly, and result in plummeting grades. When I allow them to do internet homework, I have to play 'computer police' because they will, in no time flat, skip over from the homework website to a gaming/Disney/Nick/etc website. Therefore, internet homework means that I have to plan dinner/feed babies/clean/etc around the amount of time that my kids are on the computer. Tonight that will be approximately two hours.

If you are reading this, please let me know where you stand on this.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Why a gingerbread house in February?

H was fading fast here

BB with a smile even

Jelly Belly

Oh yeah, why? Because the damn thing expires in March of course!

Just because it made me giggle

This probably isn't funny...but, I found it to be rather hysterical.

Monday, February 16, 2009

It makes me crazy

Him: If you take H upstairs and lay down with him, I'll do the dishes.
Me: Deal.

The result: I put H to sleep and then figured since I was there I might as well stay put. Hubby put the one pot that I hadn't washed and his plate in the sink and ran water over them.

Me: silence

The result: I am in a bad mood half the day, silently fuming over being yelled at and his outrage over me expecting him to watch three children on his own. *snort*

Him: Why are you in such a bad mood?
Me: You didn't need to scream at me.
Him: *looking confused* I'm not screaming.
Me: This morning, when you woke me up.
Him: Oh? That? I was mad then, but I'm fine now.
Me: but, I'm not fine.
Him: Why? Are you mad at me? That was nothing. Just forget about it.

The result: This post

Sunday, February 15, 2009

I'm running short of virtues

Today at the mall, I stood on the second floor looking down over the railing and wondering if a fall from that height would kill a person. Specifically me. It was a fleeting thought, lasting only the briefest of moments, but it was there. Let me explain.

My husband, TLL, H, BB, and myself stopped at the mall on our way home from shopping to walk off some of our less than nutritious and delicious Costco lunch. I swear to you that without exaggeration, BB uttered five words for every single step he took at the mall. He babbled incessantly. Mostly about things that don't in any way concern him, for instance he chatted at length about me getting a new cell phone and which phone I should choose and which carrier I should go with. He talked about coffeemakers and waffle irons. He talked non stop.

I am not completely sure that he doesn't always talk that much, but, that over the other children I just can't hear him. Or maybe because we were two children shy of a full pack, he wanted to take advantage of the quiet to be heard. Perhaps his hot dogs were laced with speed. Maybe he got into my stash of energy drinks. It could just be that I am a horrible person and a terrible mother, but...I wanted nothing more than to scream SHUT THE FUCK UP at the top of my lungs.

I begged nicely through two stores for him to quiet down a little because I had a headache. I implored him to give me time to just finish my coffee before he asked any additional questions. I threw myself at my husband's mercy with my eyes. None of my efforts were met with relief. It was then that I looked over the railing and decided that jumping would be an extreme measure to block out my son's voice.

Fortunately, H looked back from his perch in the double stroller and smiled at me. I happily took his hand and accepted his quiet offer of love and affection. I thanked God for my little man just then.

Do any mommies know of a place where I can buy some patience? Growing my own doesn't really seem to be working for me.

Saturday, February 14, 2009


The result of the surprise visit on Thursday was that my grandparents saw my front door frame which has been broken for probably eight months. They decided that it wasn't safe and that they would fix it, screw the landlord. My grandmother nominated my grandfather to fix it and he came back yesterday to take measurements. Then he came back because he forgot a measurement. Then my grandmother came by to pick up the kids after school to take them to the park. Then my grandfather came back to fix the door. Of all of these visits, the only one that I expected was the visit to take measurements.

I really don't mean to sound ungrateful, because I'm not. I am really very grateful. I just wish that they would call first. That way I don't miss not one but two scheduled appointments for pictures. That way maybe between two days my children could take at least one nap each. That way I wouldn't be sitting here at my computer with HUGE GAPING holes all around my front door and rain streaming in those holes, with nothing else that can be accomplished on my extremely lengthy to-do list, because I don't know what time he'll be back to fix those holes. Stuff like that, stuff that I think could be better coordinated so that life could continue during this process.

On the plus side, our Daddy is home! I got to go to bed last night even though the kids were still up. I didn't get up with the baby once last night. I slept in until 8:30 this morning. I am rested. Well, I should be rested. Mostly, I'm frustrated, yawning and wanting to return to my bed for a nap. Oh, and I nearly forgot to mention, my husband wants to volunteer for a 6 month rotation in Afghanistan.

Happy Valentine's Day!

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Why did I tempt fate with my big mouth?

In return for my stupidity to publicly declare that I still had my pride, Karma was kind enough to strip me of that privilege. Yesterday was grocery day. Which is kind of a big deal for me, since I HATE leaving the house. I would have been content to starve, or at least let the grocery situation get a little worse, but my children were protesting the lack of choices, LOUDLY. Therefore the babies and I headed off to the store early, about 9:30, just after rush hour, right as Dora was coming on.

We had four separate destinations yesterday. Wally World, our local natural food store, Target, and Whole Foods. There wasn't a great deal I needed from the first store, but the layout makes for quite a journey, not dissimilar to hitting the four corners of the Earth. Then our little food market, that was really just a produce and lunch stop. Hercules was somewhat even tempered until this point. Then Target, as they have the baby formula on sale. By now H was anything but even tempered, he was more like Attila the Hun. I was only mortally embarrassed twice when he threw things out of our cart at other shoppers. However, I was also too tired to put much energy into my humiliation, so we persevered. At Whole Foods, his attitude further deteriorated, even though I would have said it wasn't possible if asked ahead of time. Finally, four and a half hours after we set out on our shopping extravaganza we were done.

H fell asleep on our four minute ride home. I spent an hour hauling groceries indoors. Then the shelving on the side of my laundry room above the washer and dryer fell. I had to move the washer and dryer in order to get the clothes and odds and ends picked up. It was then that I decided that because I had already moved the washer and dryer that I would try to clean out the exhaust vent on the dryer. While I was cleaning the exhaust vent on the dryer, I fell through the floor. Oh, only about a foot, but, WTF????? So, I felt compelled to clean out the hole in the floor. Then I called the landlord. He knew about the hole and was the one to tile over it. Well, duh! Why wasn't I surprised?

So, okay...picture this...every laundry basket I own is in the entry way filled with clothes that had just fallen to the floor. The floor in my laundry room and indeed in the kitchen where I swept a large portion of the mess out into is covered in lint and whatever. There is a huge gaping hole in the laundry room. There are broken shelves. There is an assortment of Valentines Day stuff because it had been stored in the laundry room. Every available surface is covered in groceries and grocery bags because I have just shopped for a family of seven for two weeks. My three school age kids come home and add book bags to the crap on the floor. They get snacks and sit down at the coffee table to eat them because the breakfast bar is covered in groceries. AND THEN THE FRIGGING DOORBELL RINGS.

The first thing I did was beg the children to be quiet and/or play dead so whoever was at the door would leave. The doorbell rang again. I was then forced to go look out the peephole and pray for the Mormons because there is no way I wanted it to be someone I actually knew. Did I find a Mormon? No. I found my grandparents. They popped in for a surprise visit to drop off more Valentines. Shit. Friggity frig. Damn.

I was forced to open the door and invite them in. Their expressions ranged from appalled to pitying. I tried to explain. Really, I did try, but, the doorbell excited the dogs. Who in turn barked. Who in turn woke up H. Who in turn started screaming. Then my grandmother made the mistake of touching TLL, who HATES strangers. She started screaming. I sat down on the floor so that I could hold both crying babies. The screams were deafening, nothing I said was audible over the wailing. They stayed for about an hour. During which time H never stopped crying. TLL would calm down periodically, but start again whenever they looked at her. The children got Valentine cards and a set of walkie-talkies. Of course, they didn't bring any batteries for the walkie-talkies which needed SIXTEEN!!! So, my six year old began sobbing. Then the dog stole my daughter's lollipop bouquet. When my grandparents left, there were four kids in tears. The baby had spit up all over herself. The dog threw up the cellophane lollipop wrapper. My home was in a total shambles, and if I didn't mention that I was in my pj's when they arrived, I meant to. I had an appointment to have their Valentine picture done, which we missed.

I was so emotionally and physically drained by my day that I accomplished next to nothing in terms of damage control last night. In order to have the Valentine portraits done, I am going to have to leave the mess, pick up the big kids from school, get pictures taken. Then I am sure by the time we get home, my grandfather who promised to come back to fix the lock on my door will be here. My house will still be a disaster. My daughter got up FIVE times last night, so I might well be too tired to care. Thankfully I am too tired to cry because I really want to. My husband will be home tonight, he will see the disaster. I'm sure that won't start a fight. Happy Valentine's Day Honey!

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Very very random thoughts

  • After I changed Hercules today and I bent over to pick up his dirty diaper to throw away, he giggled, "hey Mommy, I can see your big butt."

  • Both my babies went down for a nap at the same time today. I would have really loved to lay down with them, but, I of course had to get all dolled up for my date with the garbage cans. Yes Jen, I thought of you fondly, or at least wryly.
  • After I figured out how to insert a link in the text, I was so excited that I called my bf, who is a computer programmer. NEVER call a computer programmer with news like that. I finally hung up on him, though I'm not sure he noticed and he could possibly still be laughing.
  • I took my scrubby sponge and the tub and tile cleaner into the shower with me today. I was actually excited about being able to clean the shower while the babies slept.
  • Finally, as truly pathetic as enjoying eradicating soap scum is, as sad as I am to realize that I have to dress up to take out the trash, as freakishly computer illiterate as I obviously am...I still have my pride. I could not care if I scare the neighbors when I haul garbage, I could have asked my kids how to insert a link, but, I do care and I didn't ask because I still have my pride. Apparently pride and a big butt are all I have left.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

How freaking sad

Today I showered. I shampooed and styled my hair. I brushed my teeth and got dressed. I applied make-up and even spritzed myself with perfume. Then I is only Tuesday. Trash day isn't until tomorrow.

Monday, February 9, 2009

When you measure life in increments between bedtime and naptime

It is two hours past bedtime, your Tyrant Tot won't go to sleep. You have dealt with scary monsters, nightlight phobias, and one out of bounds 11 year old trying to sneak in computer time. You have made the trip upstairs carrying a 50 lb tot roughly 20 times, then jelly legged it back downstairs the same number.

You have a do the dishes tonight...tomorrow your sink will be empty....the path to your coffee pot will know how Martha feels everyday.

You give up on said dream, you decide to let the roaches have the dirty dishes all to themselves, tomorrow they will probably be as clean as if the dogs had licked them. You manage to carry the Tyrant Tot up the stairs one last time, sheer willpower keeping you from tumbling down like Jack and Jill. You let him sleep in your bed, because toddler beds are really uncomfortable for 5'6" mommies that have to share them with a 50lb toddler, 2 dogs, and a cat. You settle in for the night, tuck in you and your tot, make pillow nests for a cat and one dog, crook your arm just so for your spoiled Jack Russell to curl around. Your precious, sweet child leans over to give you one last kiss...and bam! He splits open your lip and knocks your front tooth loose. You decide that even though the cut is really deep and there are copious amounts of blood on everything, waking up five children (because the Tyrant Tot fell asleep while watching you ice your lip) to go have your lip stitched up isn't a priority.

One day, I will laugh. Probably. Assuming the swelling ever goes down enough and I don't end up losing my front tooth. One day...

Hercules:1 Mom:0

Mom: It is bedtime.
Hercules: I love you.
M: Thanks. I love you too, but, it is bedtime. Past bedtime.
H: I give you kissie?
M: Yep. One kiss. Then bed.
H: One huggie too? Please Mom? I love you.
M: One hug. Then back to bed.
H: Mommy, I'm scared.
M: Why?
H: It's dark.
M: Let's turn on your nightlight.
H: Okay. Mom?
M: Uh huh?
H: I'm scared.
M: (through clenched teeth) why?
H: Too bright.
M: H, you have to get in bed. It's late. I'm tired. We need to go to sleep.
H: Okay! You go to sleep. I'll turn off the tv when I'm done.


Last August it was a decade since my husband had his first heart attack. After he came home from the hospital some ten plus years ago, it felt almost like someone flipped a switch inside him. The kind, patient, intellectual man I married was suddenly very very angry. A lot of that anger I explained away as fear. From that time though, our relationship was forever changed.

When my husband is angry, it is a burn that is slow to start. Something innocuous is usually the spark that ignites the fuse. Then the anger becomes progressively hotter and it spews faster until it explodes fully. The actual explosion ends only when he breaks me. When finally he has gone through all of my defenses and he sees how much he is hurting me, when I am sobbing because I feel like my heart is breaking...only then can he let go. This whole process can take just minutes, or hours, or even days.

Today, I am wondering if his anger has forever changed me. Impaired me, as a person and more importantly as a mother. On my mind lately is how often I snap. How many times I lose my temper to find upon further reflection that I am not angry at all. Sometimes I am frustrated, annoyed, frightened, tired, or sad. All of these feelings or emotions have one trait in common for me...I dress them all as anger. A defense mechanism I believe it is called. I deserve to be more in control of what I am feeling. My children deserve to have a mother that is more patient and indeed better at hiding her impatience. I am working on me. I am working on acknowledging when I lose my temper and why. I am trying to make myself cognizant of when my patience has worn away and how I got there. I am in short...getting better. I am not the 'me' I was in my first days of motherhood or in the early years of our marriage, but I am a better me than I have been for awhile. Will I ever come full circle? Will I ever return to being the person I lost?

My husband has been gone for five months now. I am amazed by how different my house is when our Daddy is away. There is so much more of my 'teacher voice' and so much less screaming. There are more times that I realize that I can actually hear my kids, and less when I wish I were a million miles away. The house is like a balloon that is deflating, all the latent anger escaping. This reality is so much better than our old one.

I love my husband. The children love their Daddy. Of this there is no doubt. I ask myself a thousand times a day how I can show him this different and better family. How to avoid triggering his anger long enough for him to see our stronger, happier, more laid back existence. I wonder if he'll even notice. I want to let love and compassion be the strongest influences in our home, not anger and fear. I want to...put Humpty Dumpty back together again.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Just be careful not to pierce your tongue with them

It has been brought to my attention by the Costco sample ladies, that a two year old will eat anything...served on a toothpick.

This may well not be the safest practice, so I did go to the trouble of finding flat toothpicks that don't come to a point. However, a breakfast that my child has rejected mere moments before, becomes an exciting culinary treat if cut up, placed on toothpicks, and offered again.

In the week since I have started serving this way if necessary, all my fantasies about 'cereal-boarding' (much like I imagine water-boarding, just with soggy Cheerios and milk) have all but disappeared.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Why I might really be the worst Mom in the whole world

For BB's birthday in December he got a digital camera. The camera plus memory cards and case ran me almost $200.00. This was an unusually lavish gift for my husband and myself to give one of our children. The reason was simple, we had a little extra in the bank from his previous employer paying out his accumulated vacation when he left them, and we (I) decided that since the last few years had been so lean, we (I) wanted to give them one Christmas that they would hopefully remember for a lifetime. My lucky ducky eldest happens to be an almost Christmas baby, so his special day ended up getting inadvertently lumped in with the reserved windfall.

My son is a photography freak. He loves taking pictures and for the first ten years of his life they were all taken with disposable cameras as we never seemed to have enough set aside to splurge on a real one. When my husband left for the wilds of Miami, I decided that a camera was a priority. He was going to be missing so much of the children's lives while so far away, that I wanted to be able to capture all the significant moments and share them with him via the computer. I found just the camera I desired, and it's, um, pink. Yeah, pink. The lust in BB's eyes when he saw my camera, coupled with his willingness to overcome his phobia of all things girly so that he might use my camera, brought me to the decision that we would get him his own. He carried the camera everywhere and filled memory cards faster than we could upload files. Then after Christmas, the camera enthusiasm faded. His grandparents got him a DS Lite, we got all of the children a Wii (to share) and plenty of games. There was an expected dip in camera activity.

Then came his science project. We were in the process of doing his experiment and I asked him to get his camera so that we could take pictures of the scientific process. Or to prove to friends and family that, I can indeed do scientific type stuff if I absolutely have to. BB was forced to tell me that he had no idea where his camera was. Impossible. I myself had been carefully monitoring the camera case in his top dresser drawer. Except, the camera wasn't in the case.

The science experiment was completed. The display was turned in. The household fell sick again. Dad came home for a long weekend. Stuff happened. I asked him to look for his camera, but he was pretty halfhearted about the whole thing. Then I started looking for his camera. The more I looked in his room, the more I found things that really bothered me about my son. Brand new DS games on the carpet under his bed. An extra stylus in my truck. Papers that were supposed to have been turned in to his teacher. No camera though.

I made the decision to tell him that he would not be getting any more toys until he took the time and energy to go through and organize what he already has. I just don't feel good about bringing anything else into this house that he will need to take care of when it seems like he has stopped caring altogether.

I had forgotten that he has some Christmas money tucked away. We were at the store the other day, and he reminded me, but, I refused to let him spend it. I am not sure if I did the right thing. I assured him that as soon as he does what I asked, I will take him back to the store. It is his money though. Do I even have the right as his parent to keep him from spending it if he wants to?

Friday, February 6, 2009

Hey boys...I love you

Often my children make me crazy. I complain about this a lot. Rarely do I make the time to talk about the good things. Perhaps in this stressful time it is because the bad outweighs the good. Right now though I am filled with gratitude and pride in my two heroes from the last couple of days, my Big Boy and my Little Boy.

My two wonderful boys spent the last two days devoting themselves to helping me while I was sick. BB spent tons of time entertaining TLL, and even changed a couple of diapers. LB stayed on his best behavior and played almost nonstop with Hercules. They made it possible for me to spend as much time snoozing on the sofa as possible. It is without a doubt because of them that I am feeling so much better, so much sooner than I dared to hope.

Don't get me wrong, my house looks like there has been a Mom out of commission for a few days. My floor is almost completely obscured by clothes, toys, games, and DVDs. The laundry baskets are overflowing and so were the trash cans. It is because of the love and compassion that my two boys have shown me that I feel capable of dealing with all of these things. It is with pride that I recognize that though they may show little enough kindness and compassion to each other, they have both learned these lessons well. Today my heart is swollen with pride, and because no good deed goes are their tonsils.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

The biggest lie in the world

Has your pediatrician ever taken the time to assure you that "you can never spoil a baby?" Mine has. This is a BIG FAT LIE. Yes, you can spoil a baby. I know this to be true. Now. That it is too late. Now. That we have hit the point of no return.

TLL was sick a few weeks ago. Each and every time she cried, I ran. Eager to pick her up, comfort her, make her feel better the only way I could. Since her recovery, she continues to cry several times a night, expecting to be cuddled and soothed. I have indulged this because truthfully I really like our secret time. My day is so full with taking care of my other children and making sure my two year old doesn't take over the world, that special quiet time at night when it is just us, is great for catching up on hugs, kisses, giggles and snuggles.

Right now though, I am sick. The kind of sick that makes even sitting upright a monumental challenge. My head is pounding, my sinuses are throbbing, I can't breathe. I am shaking, I am sweating, I am freezing, all at the same time. I feel just shy of craptastic. My daughter however understands none of this. She slept a total of 3 hours last night. At one point I looked down at her face which is usually so tranquil, and realized that my girl was pissed. I was doing a substandard version of my usual performance and it made her mad.

Oops. A huge mistake has been made. One that must be undone for my continued sanity. Super Nanny where are you? I think I need you. Unless you are also a BIG FAT LIAR who says there is no such thing as a spoiled baby.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

25 Random Things About Me

I saw this as a Facebook note and I think it is a pretty decent way to start a blog.

1. My husband is 27 years older than I am.
2. We have 5 children.
3. My dogs are both mixes adopted from a shelter.
4. Their names are Molly and Patty.
5. My husband is Persian.
6. So is one of our cats.
7. A Persian cat is no less maintenance than a Persian husband.
8. After 11 years of marriage I hate rice, which my husband eats at every meal.
9. I have a tattoo.
10. I ran the dishwasher tonight for 6 baby bottles and a dozen pacifiers that I was too sick and too lazy to wash by hand.
11. I grew up Catholic, but, I give it up for Lent every year.
12. I am the least domestic person you will ever meet.
13. I really like it when my 8 year old calls me Mama.
14. Christmas is my least favorite holiday.
15. My absolute favorite portrait that I have hanging on my wall is of Toby, my other cat. Sorry kids.
16. I lost my wedding ring in 2001 and have never had it replaced.
17. My husband lost his in 2007, which made me secretly happy because he never wore it, but, he kept it in his wallet which made a mark in the leather that looked like a condom ring.
18. I have two half sisters and a long lost half brother.
19. I have had 3 of my 5 children without the aid of pain meds.
20. My husband has had 2 heart attacks.
21. I am totally neurotic about food and nutrition, maybe because I want my husband to stick around for a long time.
22. I have a favorite sister.
23. I despise Miley Cyrus.
24. My favorite living being to cuddle with is actually my dog Molly.
25. When my daughter wakes up during the night, I am often secretly glad because my days are so busy that I don't get to enjoy holding her and kissing her as much as I'd like.