Monday, September 20, 2010

Judging by Their Worst Day

It started out to be such a good weekend morning.  The oldest spent the night at a friends house.  The five and six year-olds were laughing and playing quietly in their room, and the baby was eating happily in his highchair.  On went the peppy cleaning music and I moved another load of laundry.  Everything was moving along wonderfully, peacefully.  As I entered the boys' room to put their clothes away, I was faced with the aftermath of a tornado, or so it seemed.  There were broken plastic hangers strewn about.  The contents of their closet was behind their dresser.  Every toy they owned was piled in the middle of their floor, and the telltale snack wrappers, from their booty dug up from the pantry, were stuffed between their beds and the wall.  It was like they were pint-sized drunken rock stars trashing a hotel room, right down to a five inch hole in their wall.  How on Earth did they do that in stealth mode?  How do you wrap your mind around that.  it makes no sense.  It defies reason.  So much for peaceful.

Except for putting their closet back together, I made them clean the entire thing.  It took four hours before it was spotless, four hours of yelling and screaming and crying and carrying on, four hours of time-outs and everything else under the sun.  It was four hours, but I refused to let them off the hook.  Then when the oldest came home, apparently after not sleeping for two nights, I got attitude for reminding him he had chores.  I had to wake him up three times and he the nerve to ask me what my problem was and why can't I just leave him alone.  Really?  There was no respect to be had that day and there was none given.

However, this is not about our imperfect front.  This is not about our lack of patience or understanding.  This is not about good parenting vs. bad parenting.  As parents, we tend to judge our skills based on our children's worst day.  Tantrums, backtalk, screaming fits that pluck that last nerve all serve as proof of our own ineptitude.  When our wits' end is frayed, that is when we should be proud of ourselves for not returning our little angel-butts (1/2 angels and 1/2 pains in the butt) to whence they came.  Of course we love our children.  Of course it is their job to test boundaries, and it is ours to hold fast and teach them.  Our actions will give them the tools they'll need to navigate their own paths through life.  It's easy enough to say that in writing.  Life, however, is made up of lessons that are hard to live.

I've read plenty of books, articles, and blogs by both the "professionals" and regular parents like me.  I have come to realize that people, in general, are vain.  There are so many people trying to offer help or advice on how to be the best parent you can be.  Obviously it is easier to tell someone what they should do or how they should treat and discipline their children.  Unfortunately, most of these people put forth their best days effort.  Best case scenarios only make us normal, everyday people feel even less deserving of their little gifts from God.  Even though, in real life, I have yet to meet a parent who doesn't give kudos to their kids for all the good and blame themselves for all the bad.  Whether its bad choices, bad behavior, bad grades or an embarrassing lack of table manners if it isn't good, it is our fault.  After all, we are the examples.  We are the ones teaching them.  They had to learn it from somewhere, right?

No, they are little people that are easily influenced.  Fun, is good.  They will learn that there are consequences for their actions by acting and reaping the consequences.  So each act of willful independence, each shirking of the rules is just them learning.  It is harder on us as parents than it is on them.  We should not judge ourselves by their worst day.  We should take pride in all they do right.  We should do our best and do it with love.  No one can ask for more.  Every day they grow into their own person.  Every now and then, they will test us one to many times and we may lose our minds just a little.  You are normal.  I am normal.  Perfectly well behaved children in all circumstances, not so much. 

I am grateful that chaotic days like this are few and far between.  So, from one sometimes overwhelmed parent to all the others out there.  Even whey they are tornadoes, you are a good parent.  Even when they do the opposite of what you have taught them, you are a good parent.  Even when you look at them and their disasters and want to run screaming in the other direction, you are a good parent.  We all need a little help sometimes.  We all need a break.  Even when those options are not available, and we are not at our best....we are still good parents.

Though the rewards won't come until they are grown, productive members of society, rest assured that generations of parents have and will continue to have those days that make us question what God was thinking giving us kids.  Then there are the rest of the days that are filled with silly songs and magic kisses.  That is what we hold onto when they are plucking that last nerve. 

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Grasshoppers: Birth of a Phobia

I have a ridiculous fear of frogs.  It is insane how mortified I get.  As a child I loved them.  I even grew tadpoles and caught babies by the canal.  I was fine, until one day I saw a toad that completely filled the dog food bowl.  We had a German Shepard, and he had a very big bowl.  After that, I stopped with the frogs.  It went unnoticed for years.  Until one day, my kid brother saw me stop short while walking along the path to our front door.  There was a tree frog on the leaf I had to walk by.  I had only stopped for a second and then continued on into the house.

Well, little did I know that kid brothers are EVIL.  Yeah, I said it.  He took a bucket and played outside while I was relaxing in front of the T.V.  As usual, my mother turned the television off and demanded that we either go outside to play or clean our rooms.  Is that even a real choice?  I mean, c'mon who cleans when it's only one of the available options, but I digress.  So, of course, my sister and I went outside.  I barely got past the drive when I got bombarded with tree frogs of all sizes.  Big ones and babies both green and white varieties.  I don't know where my brother got so many frogs, I can't imagine they were only from our yard, we barely had any plants.  yet, there they were being pegged at me one at a time.  From that day forward, I have had some weird frog phobia.

Perhaps it's that when I see a frog, I am transported back in time to that very day, to that very moment.  The moment where one highly unlucky frog landed with its leg in my mouth and I tasted frog foot.  Perhaps it's that I could not trust my own family to not take advantage of a little fear.  I can't say for sure, maybe it is all that and more.  All I know is that the very sight of a frog makes my blood run cold and turns me into a screaming, blithering idiot who is lucky to not wet herself in her hysteria over a two inch flippin' froggy.

I tell you this story, because years from now I will look back on today, as I see my 5 year old develop his own phobias from scratch with a little help from all those who love him, and know just where it began.   Where we live there is some mutant grasshopper thing that grows to be roughly about 4" from tip to tail.  That is a low estimate.  I've seen them bigger.  Anyway there was one about 3" long on our stack of bags of mulch.  I told my oldest to pick it up and feed it to the chickens.  He flipped out and said, "no".  Then my 6year old looked at it and tried to get it to move by poking it.  It didn't budge.  Then out comes our 5 yr old.  Of course, he wanted to see it too.  So he takes a look at it and turns to walk away.  Hubby, their dad, picks it up to show the boys that it doesn't bite and is not scary.  Then he pretended to throw it ad my 5 year old.  Unfortunately, the grasshopper didn't realize he was supposed to stay put on hubbies hand.  He pretend to fling his hand in the direction of the child.  The grasshopper took off and jumped right on the edge of his shirtsleeve.  As soon as the boy noticed it was on him, he went spastic.  he screamed bloody murder.  He couldn't have been any louder if he were being stabbed in the gut.  He flails shamelessly, and jumps and wriggles wildly.  He almost runs headfirst into the van.

Now, he is scared to go outside for fear that the giant grasshoppers will eat him alive.  it's ridiculous.  His big brothers just perpetuate the fear, and hubby can't stop laughing long enough to tell him anything, much less how dinner was.  Today, was the birth of a phobia.  I feel so bad for the kid.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Insomnia Sucks

Sitting here before dawn by the ethereal glow of cyberspace, I can't help but wonder WHAT THE HELL IS WRONG WITH ME.  Seriously, I don't sleep.  If there are three solid hours to be had, that is considered success.  The human body was not meant to function  efficiently on such low recuperation time.  Oh, and a severe lack of sleep apparently turns one into a cranky, paranoid beast.

Still, I'm drawn to the almost blinding glow of these stark white pages.  My vision blurring in exhaustion, my back aching from this crappy chair, and my mind racing from the influx of crazy facebook dwellers...I am still here.  It used to be that I could stumble a bit (love that site btw) and it would numb my mind enough to let the call of slumber be heard.  Now, however, my head is spinning so fast that I can't even be bothered pushing that  little green and blue circle that stares at me from the tom of my computer.  The more I learn about the lives of those that my path in life has left behind, the more I worry about the people I once loved.  The more I worry about those people, whom I haven't spoken with in 15-20 years, the more I am sick to my stomach because I can't figure out why they matter at all.  I don't know them anymore.  Do I want to?  Perhaps it's true that once you love someone, you love them for life.  At least in my case, I can't think of one person that was ever important to me that I would turn away to this day.  I still care.  I will always care.  It is highly inconvenient, especially when they take stupid chances on stupid things and I'm not yet in a position to tell them off about things.

So I sit hit here by the glow of the screen and my mind races through reasons why I let this effect my life.  Why can't I just separate things? Seriously, why do I care? Why do I care that I care?  I have lost my mind.  I left it on my pillow where it hopes to gain the strength to return to my racing mind. I shall let it rest and do without for the time being.  I don't think anyone has noticed yet.  How sad is that?

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

A Bit of Redemption, Part 2

Where was I?  Oh yes dreading the moment in hopeful anticipation of who the heck knows what.  Okay, enough of this.  Short version:  Early in the chat there was an exchange that went something like this (unfortunately, facebook doesn't archive chats and erases them periodically):
Me:  It's like you would go out of your way to push my buttons and then laugh when I would get annoyed
Him: Really? I can't imagine why I would've done that, except that guys tend to pick on the ones they like
Me: Really?
Him: Oh, like you didn't know.
Me: I had no idea, honest.  Wish I had.
Him: Why?
Me: I had it bad, I must say.
Him: I never knew.  That could've been great.

At this point, I think I lost my mind.  I was transported into that innocent school girl, running memory slides in fast-forward.  These memories came complete with emotion and nerves and ridiculousness.  It's embarrassing really.  Anyway. 
That whole time he liked me, which was unexpected.  The hoping and wishing and thinking, "well, maybe", all that time wasted and for what?  So, two and half hours of chatting later, and I'm all giddy.  It's the next morning and I'm all giddy.  I feel like an idiot and I'm all giddy.  It's funny how a little hindsight changes your view on so many things.

So, I still am not a fan of facebook and the stalking spies that it creates.  However, My self esteem has been elevated.  That always seems to happen when a cute boy likes you, even if it is twenty years later.  It's a wonderful feeling to feel wanted and remembered.  It's always great to be remembered.  So now, my neurosis has plunged me into the question of why does it matter.  High School was not such a fun place, neither was adolescence.  Yet it forges profound connections in the brain.  Visceral responses to thoughts of what never was.  It's confounding.  It's freaking me out is what it is.  Hubby, thinks it's funny.  He also thinks I'm a dorky kind of gal.  He knows me well, that one.

So, maybe facebook isn't so bad after all.  Until it annoys me again. 

A Bit of Redemption, Part 1

Hey look, it's a second post in as many days.  See, miracles do happen.  I needed an update of sorts, of neurotic sorts.  In my Facebook email notification hell, there was a ray of sunshine.  Okay, a few.  First, while perusing pictures of my non-friends friends, I came across someone I used to know.  I met this person when I was eleven and we were friends through high school, until the military called and left me there alone for my last two years.  Perhaps alone isn't the right word, but it was definitely a much more lonely place.  Anyway, there he was a blip in a list of friends that had nothing to do with me.  So, like everyone else, I sent a friend request, because, after all, isn't that what facebook is for, seeking friends in the most obscure corners of the universe?  That was yesterday.  Today, people hopped on and offline and some requested the fake friendship that the site offers, and others accepted mine.  Whatever.

However, while speaking to my sister this morning I happened to mention that out of all the people that have been searched, sought, found, and ignored he was the one person I would really like to hear from.  Then, wouldn't you know, like magic this afternoon he accepted my friend request, and instantly hopped on my wall with the line "It's been a long time, how have you been".  How innocent right.  After a quick two sentence update he chatted me up.  We were on their for about ten or so minutes.  No biggie.  Then he asked me if we could chat later and set a time.  We had a date to chat.  I had never had a date to chat, a cyber-date if you will.  Then paranoid me goes all obsessive and thinks that it isn't that, it's just catching up.  The thing is, it didn't feel like catching up.  Maybe I didn't want it to be just catching up.  Maybe, he thinks I'm someone else, and why the hell am I getting so ridiculous.  It was bad people.  So I call my sister and tell her and she's all nervous for me.  Why am I so nervous you ask?  It's a long and boring story.  Here is the short version.

New quiet kid.  Loud talky girl.  Girl really likes boy.  Boy hangs out with girl, kind of.  They argue fairly often, he was bothersome, but so darned cute. Skinny blond kid with the face of an angel and a bit of hell in his eye, he had a deep voice with a hint of a drawl and it didn't suit him.  It was the voice of a man.  They end the year in an argument and he goes to high school, leaving her behind for another year.  When in band camp (yes it's a real thing and it didn't resemble American Pie in the slightest) the summer before freshman year, there he was. A nod and a wave and nothing more.  She ignores it, heart a little broken.  Maybe they really aren't friends anymore.  Apparently, being awkward and neurotic are innate to my nature.  By the time school starts, they're back to that flirty not flirty thing that kids do.  The kind of flirting that in their own mind is embarrassingly and painfully obvious, and to the rest of the world is clearly visible; but they dared not believe the possibility. What if they were wrong, oh the humiliation of the dreaded rejection.  Anyway, he pushed her buttons for fun, she gets annoyed that he can push her buttons at all.  Through the years of this non-relationship, she remained clueless as did he.  They lived in the hope of one day.  School continued, each with their own lives, relishing the overlap and stolen glances, thinking, "if only" and never realizing the truth.  Through other crushes and heartbreaks, through family drama that always accompanies growing up, and through the sheer nightmare that is high school, a smile never ceased to brighten her day.  They were friends, blind to what could have been.  Then one day, he was gone.

Until yesterday that is.  So, back to this chat thing.  Usually I am not a fan of instant messaging.  It's annoying, and gets in the way of whatever I'm trying to do.  So, of course, I barely have time to feed, bathe, and sleep the kiddies because facebook kind of sucks that way.  People that I have really missed, some friends and some family, are quick to chat.  Which is great since no one picks up a phone anymore.  But between the other friend that I haven't seen in seven years, and my sister-in-law which I haven't spoken to in three, well, there wasn't much time to get things done.  You don't want that first contact to be "hey, how are ya, gotta run".  Well, maybe you do, but it seems so rude. So by the time I was done with my sister-in-law, who I knew when the above drama began in middle school by the way.  It was time for the date, the much anticipated, in a sick to my stomach dreadful kind of way, non date. 

The fact that I was all eager is a bit disturbing, just so you know.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

So I caved, Sucka

It has been years since my first invitation to join Facebook.  I have ignored them all.  My email gets a steady influx of requests from my actual friends to join the site.  It is understandable, they want easy access to keep up with things.  Oh how things escalate.  First, after years and years, they finally bully me onto Myspace.  Then, that gets passe'.   So I have a Myspace page that I haven't visited in months.  Then I get talked into twitter.  I'm not on there that often, but it's easy enough to keep open while I'm online, so I use it fairly regularly. I find it almost laughable how I'll tweet about my naked chickens, and everyone reads it.  How is that any kind of news?  Anyway, EVERYONE seems to do the Facebook thing, even my hubby.  Personally, I like being incognito in cyberspace.  Unfortunately, they make you put a real name down to sign up.  I suppose I could have faked my name, but then that would defeat the purpose wouldn't it?

So, after lunch, I received four invitations to Facebook.  I figured, what the hay.  So I lumbered through the process and changed most everything to private.  I may be on there, but you must be one of the privileged few to see my stupidity.  Now, in addition to the close friends that I would love to communicate with regularly, I have been searched out by those I barely remember.  Okay, that's not quite true.  Perhaps it is by those who I never think about.  However, I have spent the afternoon reliving high school hell, and I can't help but wonder if this is going to be the continued Facebook experience.  I know many people thoroughly enjoy this phenomenon, but I am NOT one of them.  Is it interesting to see where they are now? Sure for like a second, but once they are a "friend" they are tapped into your life.  I mean, your actual life.  If I were to put info on there about my sick kids, then everyone would know.  If I say, "Bored and hungry, mmmm pie", then people I barely knew twenty years ago....OK scratch that, ten years ago, haha, will know that I want pie.  Then my neurotic mind will go through how fat that makes me sound, because it's not like I will EVER post a picture of myself on the internet.  So, my word choice will be scrutinized for clues as to what this present-day me looks like.  Yes, I am aware that I am a bit paranoid and seemingly narcissistic.  Why else would I truly believe that people would be so obsessed by the nonsense that will be on my wall?  Which, by the way, is way too in depth to be open that way.  It's one thing to let me and the intended party see my notes and comments, but no one cares what I had for dinner or that it gave me hellacious gas.  The few that may care, well, now all their "friends" will now that they have a creepy gassy friend that is not at all lady-like.  That's how it will seem anyway.

All I know is, on my end, I'm not interested in what my "friends" say to their other friends.  I do not care in the slightest about their postings, as they do not affect me.  Now, one day I am sure I will spend hours trying to figure out all the settings and make my wall as bare as possible, Not.  Who has the patience for that much tweaking?  So now, I have a bunch of people that I perhaps used to know in another life, looking at postings to and from my family who I barely get a chance to keep up with.  How are my twisted inside jokes worth fifteen seconds in the life of someone I kind of used to know. More importantly, how is their stupid nonsense worth my fifteen seconds, which grows into two hours at 2 a.m.  Oh, did I mention the inordinate amount of time it takes to weed through and inevitably delete all the messages and notifications that are automatically emailed to you.  It would be fine if it only sent the emails about the people that I care about, but no, it is for everyone who is a "Facebook friend" and most of them are not friends at all.  Unfortunately, I don't plan to be on there often enough to not need the email alerts.  It will probably be the only thing that makes me check the page.  I can't believe I got bullied into this nonsense.  Everyone seems so happy to have found me there.  It's so sad.  I'm such a sucker.  It's almost like they just don't want to suffer alone, they had to drag me their with them.  They say misery loves company, well I'm there now.

I swear it's addictive and not at all productive and makes people anonymously nosy.  After all, I could spend days checking up on people that were once, however briefly, a part of my life.  They would have no idea that I stalk them on the internet.  Not that I do, mind you, but I could.  And if I could, then they could.  Perhaps, it is that very possibility that is freaking me out right about now.  There could be people watching me online, queue creepy music.  I thought, innocently enough, that why would people be bothered looking me up.  Apparently, it's what people do.  It is things like this that cut into our outdoor activities and cause our sedentary asses to grow fat and wide.  For the love of God people, turn the electronic devices off and go outside.  Have a picnic, ride your bike or play with your kids.  Just leave my browbeaten Facebook behind alone.  You're scaring me back into oblivion and it's only been a few hours.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Week One

School has begun.  The supply lists have been completed and the teachers have been met.  Unexpectedly, my pre-k four year old gets to go for the entire day instead of the usual three hours.  Woo Hoo, Woo Hoo, Woo Hoo!  I thought I would be sad to see him go to school like a big boy.  I was sad for the first one, no so much for the second since he had not been home alone and the two always fought (still do).  However, the four year old was the baby until last year.  He's been stuck to me since day one.  When his brother had to have surgery over the summer, I sent him and the oldest to Gramma's house.  It was difficult.  We both got over it.  He was not home a day when I found out that he would be going to school full-time.  Even that short amount of time was enough to realize that I had grown accustomed to quasi-quiet.  Screaming-tornado children are in direct conflict with my sanity. 

On the first day of school, 4 days ago, he was so excited and loved to be there and I was thrilled for him.  He's not allowed to ride the bus in the program, so I take him to school in the morning.  Usually, I'm not a morning person, but this forces me to be dressed and presentable before 8 a.m.  When I got home on Monday, it was unbelievably quiet with just me and the baby.  He's such a good baby, only cries when dirty or hungry.  I could not believe how much I got done before lunch.  I had to stop just to try to pace myself.  God forbid I get too much done, Hubby might expect me to do it everyday.  Sorry, that's just not going to happen. I even got to spend time with a friend of mine I haven't had a chance to see in months.  I used to think it was a hassle carting around my first child.  He was an only child for six years.  I took him everywhere with me.  Then came the next one, and the next one after than came a year later.  Now, there are four that I cart around with me everywhere.  It makes life...interesting, to say the least.  So, the past few days, of me and one very quiet child,  have been phenomenal.  I get enough accomplished during the day that I'm no longer rushed when they get home from school.  They are bathed early with clothes picked out for tomorrow.  Dinner is finished and they've eaten with enough time left over to relax before bedtime.  If I can keep this up, this year will be fabulous.

Then again, it is only the first week of school

Wasted Summer

With my son getting the "all-clear" after his surgery and two more away with Gramma, the reality of school starting in less than three weeks has me a bit panicked.  I'm feeling like I did back in High School when August rolled around and I could only reflect on a wasted Summer.  As I look around, I see nothing has gotten done.  Nothing was sorted through or put away, not one thing.  So, I sit here reflecting, once again, on a wasted Summer.

This was a Summer of worrying, which as we all know does not do anyone any good.  This was also a Summer of spending time alone with the one son who never had me to himself.  I suppose it wasn't really wasted at all.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Missing and No Action

When did the "to do list" become yesterday's leftovers.  I have been crossing items off of my list for days.  Literally, I do something and cross it off the list.  Yet, nothing is done.  There is no task completed.  Two weeks have passed since I sent two of my boys to Puerto Rico with family.  Usually, I'd be doing cartwheels and dancing semi-naked in my living room.  Actual naked dancing is reserved for special occasions and bribery.  Yet, this time, the ones that remain did so out of necessity.  One had surgery.  There is no dancing for surgery.  The other is still weaning, or so I tell myself.  Now, missing two and concerned for another, and being chewed to pieces by the last, that is where I am.  I am a worrying chew toy who feels incomplete in a house that is too quiet for comfort.  Who knew that the six year old could play by himself so well and so silently, without getting into trouble.  

So here I am.  I am unfocused and foggy.  Work has become a chore and hobbies just more things unable to be completed.  The joy I derived from my poems have been tainted by the past and thus avoided for a few days.  I sit here, guilty, and a little sad, and seemingly lost in the big picture.  Though, when I call my boys and hear the shrieks of the latest tantrum in the background, I do feel better and thankful for the quiet that surrounds me for now. 

Friday, June 25, 2010

Who Needs a Budget Anyway?

I used to be fairly good at math.  Really, I was.  I was never a mathematician, but even now I can still do Algebra.  I can also figure out a tip in about five seconds, and I'm pretty good at sales math too.  What's sales math, you ask.  Well it is just as it sounds.  If a pair of shoes was originally 62.99 and now it is on clearance for 75% off, but you also have a coupon for an extra 10% off, well I can do that math right there while holding the shoes and no calculator.  Obviously, without the motivation of new impractical footwear, I still am no mathematician.  Like I said, I used to be good at math.  Recently, it has been increasingly difficult to keep a budget of any kind. 

Hubby used to physically hand me his receipts every day and expect me to run and balance the checkbook at that very moment. Hahaha, did he not know me at all?  Just to be perfectly clear I have never been, I am not now, nor will I ever be that kinda gal.  It goes along with things like I am much better at folding laundry than putting it away, and I'll clean the house but you clean the van, and I'll keep those stupid cats fed and watered but I will not scoop the poop.   If I made it all my responsibility along with having to keep the kids  and everyone fed, healthy, and peaceful, then I would have a gaping bleeding ulcer instead of just mind-splitting migraines.  So, over time we developed a simple system.  He would put his receipts in an envelope and at the end of the week I would balance the checkbook.  This would work out great until he would bring me receipts that were weeks old and then, well, let's just say it wasn't good.  Recently, I decided to forgo checks wherever possible.  This works out great for me as I am in control of the actual checkbook.  I blurt out spending guidelines periodically as needed, depending on who has to see what doctor when, and how many co-pays we will need per given pay-period.  This is not tough stuff, tedious yes, difficult not at all. 

This routine worked for a long time, sort of.  Unfortunately, Hubby seems to be having some momentary lapses with increasing frequency.  I no longer get receipts.  This doesn't bother me as I check our account almost daily this time of year to keep things running smoothly.  Now, apparently, he is having some doubts concerning my grocery shopping abilities.  He won't come out and just say things.  Nope, he just kind of does things.  

Two days ago I called him on his way home from work to ask him if he could stop by the store.  He said I had to have a list that was no more than four items long.  Really? Fine.  His reasoning was that since he couldn't write it down, it was all he could remember.  Fine. I didn't mention that I actually emailed him a list of seven items fifteen minutes prior and was really calling to see if he got it.  After all he's fused with that Blackberry and could have just checked it once he got to the store. But since he wants four, I chose the necessities; toilet paper, milk, salt, and bread.  

This is where things went a little wonky.  See, on a whim I said "oh, if you remember, I would really like something carbonated".  That made five things, one of which was very vague.  I should have just asked for a Coke, or a Sprite, or anything in particular.  My kids tell me I'm a "coke addict" (this causes stares and sideways glances when blurted out in public, yay me).  It doesn't take much to know that Coke is my favorite soda, then Sprite Zero, followed by Sunkist.  The man knows this very well.  He replied, "anything? and that is more than four items".  Then it started. 

It takes a good forty-five minutes to get home in rush hour.  I called him ten minutes after he was to leave work.  We were on the phone until he got to the store down the street.  Yeah, I wasn't the one driving and talking and he refused to stop talking and hanging up would just have lead to more talking, which is usually my thing, but no (how's that for a run on sentence.)  Our conversation went like this:

Hubby:  "Anything?"

Me:  "No, not anything. You know what I like pick something".

Hubby:  "Does beer count as carbonated?"

Me:  "Really? No, and I didn't ask for beer.  You know I don't like beer"

Hubby:  "Mountain Dew is carbonated". (I think he threw that in there because of my nephew, please see previous post for further explanation)

Me: "What? Ew, no.  You know I don't drink that either. Look, don't bring me any nasty crap that you know I won't drink just because it's carbonated".

Hubby:  "But you said 'something', and Mount Dew is a something.  How about Dr. Pepper?"

Me: sarcastically sweet,  "I'm sorry, but it seems that I might have confused you.  Let me rephrase. Please Darling, if you remember, could you pick up a bottle of Coke"?

Hubby:  "Well, that's different.  That time you were specific.  So, if I bring home Coke Zero-

Me: exasperated, "No, Coke Zero is not Coke, Diet Coke is not Coke, Cherry Coke is not coke and Grape Fanta is NOT Coke.
Hubby: laughing, "it's okay Honey, all you had to do was say you wanted a Coke in the first place"

Me:  "Now I need two packs of wine coolers too, and I've already emailed you another list that has both the coke and the coolers on it, and before you ask, each bottle does not count as a separate item, and no I don't want one of every flavor.  I would like one strawberry pack and on screwdriver pack.  If they do not have one or the other please call me from the aisle while looking at the wine coolers and I will tell you if they have something I like.  Please do not, I repeat, do not under any circumstances choose a flavor of wine cooler for me that is not on that list"

Hubby:  "Are you mad at me"?

Huh?  I should have just told him that I emailed the list in the first place.  Perhaps I should mention that it had been a particularly trying day and I was a bit testy to begin with.  A coke would have made it all better.  I wasn't so lucky.  Just so you know, I wasn't yelling at the poor man, I just wanted to smack him a little silly is all.

When Hubby got home, he brought in the wine coolers and came to me with one cold and already opened. Okay, I know wine coolers are lame by way of alcohol, but if I steal away for five minutes to drink one in peace while hiding from my kiddies and my apparently very annoying husband, then I am invariably in a better mood due to the peace not the coolers, which means that I can tolerate my beloveds once again.  While I hid in a dark hole praying that no one would find me for those precious moments, Hubby brought in the rest of the items and was kind enough to put them away.  That was his way of saying, "Sorry, my bad", when he saw that I was really irritated, as evidenced by my glaring look, my rolling eyeballs, and my silence.

The man, in a very misguided effort to appease his angered queen (What? I could be a queen), thought he would save me from having to go shopping for a few more days.  He bought a lot of stuff.  Unfortunately, most of it was stuff that I don't usually buy, especially in the summer when the kids are prone to snacking all day.  I opened the pantry to find every space on every shelf filled with whatever was on sale two for one.  I'm all for a sale, but...can you say MIGRAINE?  In his defense, he did buy a weeks worth of meats.  Unfortunately, he bought four boxes of frozen waffles, ice cream, and eight packages of frozen mashed potatoes.  I have never bought frozen mashed potatoes as I am very particular about my mashed potatoes and nothing tastes like homemade.  So, now we are overflowing in freezer food and sugary snacks, and I still have to go to the store tomorrow because we need some vegetables so our kids don't turn into little tater tots.

All I can do is say, "Thank You", and point out all the good things he bought.  For if I would show anything but gratitude, he would never go shopping for me again and I just can't have that now can I?  I suppose it will be Cocoa Pebbles, and Fruit Loops for breakfast for awhile, interspersed with toaster waffles.  At least I can sleep for an extra half hour with not having to cook in the morning.  Needless to say, I don't have that particular receipt yet, but my shopping budget was just shot out the window.  I don't think I will be getting those shoes after all and we need new lawnmower blades that the store is ordering for him.  Gee Hon, thanks for telling me before you ordered them.  I hope we have a wine cooler left...

Thursday, June 10, 2010

"Dew" Kids, Veggie What?, and Family Fun

On my to visit my family I pondered how the next generation has grown, and is growing.  I thought of my niece, the first of my parents grandchildren.  She has always been amazing and headstrong.  Unfortunately, the strong will of hers tends to ride the the crest of the waves that accompany the teen years.  At eighteen, she knows everything and can't be told anything.  Her story will be written by her hand.  She has the same sweet heart at her core, but finding her way back to herself will probably be a bumpy ride, even for a great kid, oops...woman, like herself.  Now that she has graduated, and is under her own control instead of the perceived iron thumb of her Mom, life will teach her its lessons and we will be their to watch her rise and pick her up if she should stumble.

My nephew, who recently turned vegetarian bordering on vegan, well, that boy needs some help.  I can understand wanting to be healthy.  I can understand not wanting to assist the progression of animal cruelty by buying the products made with animals in less than ideal conditions.  I had to bring him a bunch of eggs from my wonderful free range chickens.  I had to pack them so they wouldn't get jostled around on a five hour road trip.  I was happy to do it.  After all, he was so excited to get these eggs, and I'd do it again.  Gladly.

Yet, after I get the cruelty of commercially grown egg layers speech, the boy eats all kinds of cheese.  Cheese that, potentially, comes from cows that are held in similar cramped and cruel conditions, and he drinks milk without a second thought.  So, through this, I realized a few things.  First, I apparently am an all or nothing kind of gal.  If I'm so against cruelty to animals (I do not condone animal cruelty in any way) that I boycott one item, then I would have to boycott anything associated with it even remotely.  I could not go veggie, I would have to go vegan.  I pointed out the flaws in his theory and he just rolled his eyes and stormed off.  I doubt he'll give it a second thought.  In his eyes, I'm just another silly grown up.  Then again, he could decide that he can give it all up and go back to meat, or my sister could kill me in my sleep for turning him vegan and thus make living with him unbearable.

I love you Sis, please don't duct tape me to a chair blindfolded and force me to eat tofurkey and soy ice cream.  (I am on my knees, hands clasped together and begging for a lighter sentence)

Did I mention that I love you sis?

Then again, this is the same manchild who thinks he's grown.  He is almost seventeen.  He is in full rebellion of authority.  He still loves ME, therefore I must not be an authority figure.  Hmmm, I just realized that I fall into that category of adult that he thinks is docile and useless, not so sure I like that very much.  Well, at least he still talks to me.  What more could I ask for?  Oh, I know!  I could ask for the boy to get clue.

My dear, sweet little nephew, who thinks he's a man.  Has apparently lost all of his marbles.  Wait, how many marbles did he have to start with?  I suppose it doesn't matter, as he still has none now.  To be full of hormones and charisma, the world is his oyster.  Unfortunately, he is high on clams.  Yes, by clams I mean the girlie kind.  My little baby nephew, the one once known as Bubba because he was so chunky and cute, the one who wanted nothing more than to suckle until he practically started kindergaten, has grown into a HO.  Not a wanna be ho, nope, a full on slutty girls calling him in the middle of the night kind of ho, girls screaming his name at his sisters graduation kind of...HO (imagine that last one sung in the 80's 'Hey, Ho, Hey Ho' style).  Oh, he's so proud, the silly boy.

As Hubby and I are taking my sister and niece out for a celebratory dinner, I learned a little something that was disturbing, hysterically funny, and oh so sad all at the same time.  Did you know that Mountain Dew has spermicidal side effects as do skinny jeans?  Apparently, one day as my dear nephew got into the car with his friend and my sister, he had the world's largest Mountain Dew in hand.  When asked why on earth he would get such a gargantuan Mountain Dew, my sister was regaled with this knowledge quite enthusiastically.  Just to be clear, MOUNTAIN DEW AND SKINNY JEANS IS NOT, I REPEAT NOT BIRTH CONTROL!!!

Wait a second...okay.  Sorry, I had to stop laughing.  What on Earth is that?!  Do teenagers today actually believe this nonsense?  Well, in his defense, if he would keep it zipped up in his skinny jeans, well, that would be birth control.  Oh, on the flip side, Dr. Pepper is suppose boost sperm count.  Yeah, fertility by soft drink...someone was very, very high to think this mess up.  I wonder if the high rate of teen pregnancy correlates to this street knowledge of how the body works?  Hmmm...My guess is that years ago some stupid kid really liked Dr. Pepper, and really, really liked sex.  Since, he could only afford either a six pack of Dr. Pepper or a three pack of condoms, decided that his thirst was stronger than his need for a piece.  He must have underestimated his lack of will power.  Anyway, nine months and six kids later, he deduced that his virility was due to the fact he drank so much Dr. Pepper.  At the same moment, one of his friends realized that all he drank was Mountain Dew and he didn't have any kids.  The word spread like wildfire.  Who needs condoms when you can "Do the Dew".  What they failed to realize is that the other kid, the Dew kid, couldn't get piece if he paid for it.  So, was it the Mountain Dew or his virginity that kept him from being a teen Daddy?  Hmmmmm?  Anyway, this theory grew into street fact and years later, there's my nephew, in his skinny jeans with his ginormous Mountain Dew.

Don't worry folks, Hubby and I got him a box of condoms with spermicidal lubricant.  Yeah, now, he can blame it on the Mountain Dew if he wants to.  I can rest easy knowing that STD's and the next generation of "Dew kids" has been prevented, at least in our family.  Unfortunately, I will never look at skinny jeans the same way again.  He wears them, I laugh in his face.  I'm still laughing at the thought.  I'll still be laughing in twenty years when he's married and has kids.  He can always count on me to bring this story up when I meet his girlfriends (if he ever thinks enough of them to bring them home...HO), or when I see his regular friends, or to all of my friends and apparently the whole world.

I put this in cyberspace as a Public Service Announcement.

Friday, May 21, 2010

You Said What?

Changes sneak up on you, even when you know they are coming.  Little ones start to give as good as they take, and big ones twist things perversely until your words turn into a mangled web of barbed wire in their minds.  I am amused and perplexed at the things children pick up. I'm even more amused about the innocent things they say that just sound so wrong.  For instance, we have three roosters that keep pecking the feathers off of the hens backs.  My four year old keeps calling them "nasty peckers".  I'd ignore it, as he means peckers as in they peck.  My oldest, however, is in middle school and notices everything having to do with any body part.  I never even knew he knew what a pecker was until I heard him in his room laughing hysterically as my son was yelling at the roosters.  He is the first of four boys.  It's all downhill from here:)

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Here is to us

Why is it that my younger ones follow the actions of my preteen and ignore my incessant guidance pertaining to their behavior.  I can understand the lackluster look in the eyes of my oldest as I give him the rundown for the day.  It's just too soon for the younger ones to take that route.  They haven't paid their dues yet.  They haven't gone through the good years of listening and doing what their told.  They haven't had a chance to let their sweetness take over.  Nope, they have gone straight to the attitude of one many years their major.

My snotty attitude is now thrown back at me and so is that look.  You know the look, the one that the parent gives the child just before they lose their mind.  Well, it's not so amusing when the kid gives it back to you.  It is way too easy to focus on all the things that, as a parent, you feel you need to change or improve upon. 

Today, I am choosing to look past the attitude at the way that manners show up unexpectedly in public, since they seem to have gone missing at home.  There is the way that help is offered before it is asked for with no begging or pleading or repeating of any kind.  It is nice to know that to the public, I have nice, well-behaved children (unless they are with me).  Doors are held open, politeness wins the battle over annoyance, and I am the best parent ever.  Home, however, is a whole other animal.  It makes me wonder just how much of what I say makes it through the thick skulls and seemingly deaf ears.  I can only hope that my words will linger during times of doubt or peer pressure, and that in my words will be found a moment of clarity.  They have shown me that they know right from wrong.  

At this point, I soak in the praise of others.  I let my kids go to their friends house more often, because I always get that wonderful call, the one that showers me with praise, the one that tells me what a fabulous job I am doing raising my children, the praise I only get when my kids are not with me. Yes, I get second hand info about my perfect little children.  First hand, I get little tornadoes that rip through the house ignoring my pleas for tranquility and neatness. 

I don't mother my children in order to get praise.  However, it is really wonderful to hear that out of all the things that you do wrong, someone else can see something that you're doing right.  Children try one's patience more than anything I have ever come across.  Your best side doesn't always show.  Your wits end is often exposed and it is just too easy to focus on the mother you wish you were instead of the merits of the mother you actually are.  

So, here is to all the real mothers with real limits to their patience, to the mothers who sacrifice daily without the kids realizing it at all.  Here is to all the mothers who would stop being so hard on themselves if only they would get a Thank You.  You are all doing a wonderful job!

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Timing is Everything

Usually the afternoons go pretty smoothly. Yesterday, however, there was a small hiccup in the flow of things.  I didn't really think anything of it.  The baby is having a bout of diaper rash and screams to be changed immediately.  So, I looked at the clock and determined that since the bus for my Kindergartener  doesn't get to the corner for another five minutes, I could change the diaper before I left.  There is nothing worse than listening to your child scream in pain.  I did a quick diaper change and left the house four minutes later than usual.  The bus stop is at the corner of my yard, it's not like it's down the street.  When I walked outside, there was a veritable traffic jam at the corner.  I ran to the bus and explained what happened.  The five cars behind the bus were honking at me.  As I began to walk to the house, I heard the kids on the bus calling for the other boy who uses the bus stop.  Apparently they sent him to knock on my front door, but I walked out the back.  So I had to gather the neighbor kid before I could take my boy home.  All the while, my son is yelling at me, "Ma, next time just bring the baby to the bus stop naked.  She (the bus driver) is allowed to see him naked.  It's OK.  So next time you have to do that".  It would have been cute had the entire neighborhood not been honking at me.  

I had no idea that they wouldn't let him off the bus if I wasn't there.  What do they do when a parent isn't there at all?  I've never been late before and I don't plan on being late again.  I think I'll change the baby in plenty of time from now on.  Of course it's just my luck that the one day I take a few minutes, is the one day she gets there early.

I plan to erase the event from my memory.  Y'see, I am not a thin woman.  Since I realized I was running low on time, I didn't have a chance to put on my other shirt.  So, I ran all jiggly like to the bus stop in a tank top (with no over shirt) shorts and flip flops.  I suppose it would have been fine had it not been a tank with a built in and very useless bra.  I was flopping around like water balloons.  That's about all the work out I can stand by the way.

So, as I said, I will swiftly rewind and erase the moment my entire neighborhood was exasperated and watched me flop myself in virtual slow motion to the bus stop to pick up my kid who demanded that I drag my naked screaming one to the bus anyway in order to never be late again.  

The joys of parenting never cease.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Relief Is Just a Phone Call Away

As an adult, interactions with my family (parents and siblings) results in some adverse symptomatology.  We all love each other very much.  Unfortunately, that love is laced with a good deal of stress and excitement.  Thus the weirdness ensues.  See, whenever we get on the phone with each other, one or all of us have to run to the restroom.  Yes, we are there for each other in times of need or irregularity.  My sister jokes that I should call her "Les-Lax".  She's right too.  Who needs Activia when we've got each other.  Regrettably, this phenomenon has made the use of cell phones in public places a bit precarious.  It's pretty much answer at your own risk.  At least there is no denying the love.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Be Careful What You Wish For

I have decided that God is trying to tell me something.  He is kicking me in my lazy butt and telling me to get over myself.  I know this, because, when it comes to me and my family, He has a twisted sense of humor though this really isn't funny.  I suppose that after all these years of me being unmotivated and a reluctant housekeeper, he decided to give me perspective.  Granted, I needed perspective.  It had to be something that I could not deny, and something profound, and it was. 

Let me give you some background.  I am married with four children.  There is always laundry to do and something to clean.  Dishes seem to be used by an army as I wash them repeatedly just to find them dirty when I need them.  My goal has never been to keep a spotless house.  If it were, I would fail miserably.  My house looks lived in.  Sometimes it's messy, and others not so much.  If I have more of the latter than the former I am happy.  See, I'm pretty easy when it comes to my house.  I learned a long time ago that if I strive for perfection, I would just give myself an ulcer.  Now, I don't worry so much...unless I'm expecting company, then I am a crazy cleaning lunatic. 

Okay, so for the past few months, I really haven't been motivated to scrub much of anything.  I clean and do what needs doing, but no more, no less.  I kept wondering how all these Moms keep such clean houses all the time.  Well, I know one who is always spotless, everyone else is normal...clean but still lived in.  Lately, I have slowly been buried by a to do list of seemingly simple tasks.  Simple is always complicated when there is a baby demanding attention and a 4 year old who needs equal time or feels left out.  The little things slowly add up to a gargantuan amount of work that there really isn't any time for.  Enter the powers that be.

My 5 year old, who will be 6 in a few days, has had a runny nose for years.  He has trouble sleeping and snores a lot.  I knew he had mild allergies and he was on Claritin as per the doctor.  After an influx of pollen, he had a severe reaction.  They put him on Zyrtec and eye drops and nighttime allergy meds all of which took a week to make a real difference.  So, I finally took him to get tested for allergies.  I dreaded this because I knew he would be in pain.  After having to hold him down as he writhed on the table as they were doing the scratch test (52 total), I then had to hold him still and try to calm him down when the itching was so bad afterward.  Well, he is allergic to so many things.  He is allergic to everything except for our cats, practically.  He is now on a morning regimen of Zyrtec, nasal wash, nasonex, and eye drops.  $200 a month on medicine that I pray works.  He will need two surgeries in the summer and then a four year regimen of allergy shots.

I'm not complaining really.  All I can think of is how lucky we are that it's just allergies.  It could be so much worse.  Allergies are manageable, for now.  It's a little scary to think that he's allergic to so many things from trees, to bugs, to grass, to dust.  At least he doesn't have food allergies, but the doctor warned me that allergies usually get worse or new ones many start in the coming years.  That isn't a good feeling at all.  So the shots are in hopes of preventing the allergies from escalating. 

So, I've gone from kind of cleaning, to having to steam and vacuum the beds and furniture on a regular basis.  I have to steam everything and try to keep it spotless.  I have to dust everything every other day and not have the dust go into the air, (I see a yard sale in my near future). I have to dehumidify a house,in Florida, where it is almost always above 70% humid this time of year, and I can't even get rid of the cats.  This will take some time to get into a routine.  I'm still working on trying to irrigate the nostrils of a five year old.  He stresses and is unable to relax and let the saline drip out of the opposite nostril.  I've done it, it sucks when you know what you're doing.  Hopefully he'll get the hang of it soon, because it's killing me to make him so miserable.

I asked for a little motivation.  There's nothing like your child's health to motivate you.  "Be careful what you wish for", is absolutely right.  I am officially motivated.  Now if my body will work as long as I need it to before my arthritis stops me in my tracks, it'll be great.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Is it really that good to be so popular?

Is it possible?  Could everyone be losing their minds at the same time?  Could there really be something in the water?  Something's going on around here.  Lives, whether yours, mine, or anyone else's, go around in cycles.  They ebb and flow sometimes in a beautiful fluid dance with the lives around them, and sometimes in great conflict.  In between those conflicted moments can be moments of peace and clarity, at least to some degree.  It's beginning to feel like things have gone haywire. 

The last two months, or so, have been interesting.  Chaos, inbound from all directions.  This one had a heart thing, not really an attack but she almost died.  That one is getting divorced because she went to dinner with an old friend, even the the husband has had a girlfriend for two years.  That one has a classes teenager who treats her like crap in public.  Yet another is having to take in distant nieces that she's never met because her cousin she doesn't know got thrown in jail for drugs.  Whew, breathe.  Talk about drama.

So, I have become the "go to" girl for people to vent.  I am honored to be held in such high esteem, to be trusted with the details of their personal lives.  Unfortunately, my emotions tend to act like a sponge.  The spew forth, and I soak it up.  It isn't intentional, but I get drained and snippy and mean just from listening to all this stuff. 

I have decided, for the sake of my sanity and that of my family, that I will do a much better job of screening my calls.  I will only deal with so many crises a day, no exceptions.  I will not go in search of drama or ask any probing questions.  I will bite my tongue and let them speak without offering any advice.  I will be an ear and a shoulder and move on.  I care for these people, but I cannot ride their rollercoasters and think that I will not get sick when it's time to ride my own.

Besides, it's funny how I'm always there when someone needs me, yet the few time I actually ask for help, they all run for the hills.  Not liking that part at all, yet can't really start acting petty while they're going through some serious stuff.  I can hear the settling in of resentment, and it too is making me sick.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

They Let It Be

Perhaps peer pressure has its place; perhaps not.  In-home make-up consultants can make for an interesting evening.  Pushy friends hijacked me, and I ended up having a pretty good time.  Not that the make-up or the demonstration were anything spectacular, but the people were ridiculous.  There were some teenagers and their Mom,  My friend, who ended  up two hours late, and some of her extended family. 

I swear watching these teenage girls made me glad that I have boys.  They thought they were so cute and funny, but really they were just mean hidden behind a smile.  I felt so bad for their mother.  I am well aware that I have conservative tendencies, but I really don't think there is a place for that kind of disrespect.  They weren't arguing, no one was in a mood.  Yet, these girls picked on their Mom until she excused herself to cry in the bathroom.  No one mentioned it, because they didn't want to further her humiliation.  Finally, I sat next to her and jokingly barbed back at these girls for her.  They laughed, but the oldest was annoyed, which made me feel better.  The Mom was thrilled to have someone on her side and began to give as good as she got. 

When did it become acceptable for kids to be that rude and insolent?  I know that children, especially teens, have a mind of their own and tend to be strong willed.  This woman lives in a home where her husband is king and she is but a servant.  That mentality has leeched into her children.  She has been broken.  For a moment that night, just a glimmer of peace set in, she was happier than I had ever seen her, all because someone thought enough of her to do something.  I think I was more shocked and disappointed at my friend and her family.  This lady has been close to them since they were kids.  Yet, no one said a word.  Everyone ignored it and let it happen.  This is not normal to me.  Though I never mentioned it directly, it was obvious she needed help.  These kids have never been told not to be how they are.  They have learned to treat people, women, this way.  What they don't understand is that they are young women themselves.  Will they expect to be treated that way too?  I guess that whole "do unto others" thing doesn't fly in their family.

This just makes me want to be a better Mother.

Give Me Back My Crayons

Twisted words and deaf ears.
All has been manipulated and misunderstood.
It can't be fixed.  
There are no repairs to be made, as more words make you guilty.  
Paths are altered by perception.  
An innocent smile can lead to sadness. 
What can be, often is swept away by the ramblings of others.  
A moment of doubt can end a friendship.  
What does it say about you, if you really don't mind? 
Pretty, pretty words to spout such evil.  
A beautiful smile can soften the blow.  
Why is it that memories are either good or bad? 
No one remembers the mediocre.  
Pain and sorrow, and pure joy, that is what lives on.  
Love will continue alongside of sadness.  
Yet the day to day nothing evaporates.  
In the long run, does it matter what you think he said, or what you thought you knew?  
If in a decade, you realize you were wrong, will it matter then?  
Can you trust yourself to know the truth despite the circumstance?  
Will love still be there anyway?  
Can a friendship last through the worst notions?  
Trust now and break later, or break now and believe later?  
Choice is colored by the voices of others.  
Don't relinquish control. 

Monday, April 19, 2010

I See the Rain

Gray skies and broken rain
Sliding down the windshield
A lifeline ever-changing
droplets, in contact they merge
Yet, some sit lonely, isolated
Only to be sucked into the paths of others
Left behind or swept away

As I sat it the  parking lot watching the rain on the windshield, I was reminded of how much it reminded me of people, of life.  There are some drops that sit stagnant, almost like they are afraid to move. They are often alone.  Though, at times they are grouped with others when, without warning, they separate as one joins the crowd and leaves the other longing.  A little shove from one nearby and the journey continues.  Sometimes there are many drops running alongside.  Other times the seem so tentative that they could be motionless.  They can trickle slowly or rush to an unknown destination.  Where there are two streams nearby, it is difficult to tell if the larger will devour the smaller, or if the smaller will draw life from the faster flow, thus reigning it in.  It is never the same path twice.  So many similarities and so many differences. It was beautiful and a bit sad.  I'd still be watching the drama unfold, had it not been for me getting swept away by the crowd.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Chicken Run

So, back to my chickens.  My oldest, who tends our flock, is a funny little bug.  He antagonizes the roosters then runs screaming when they defend themselves.  Yesterday, the chickens were running around the yard and he was in the pen gathering eggs and whatnot.  Well, one of the feisty roos kept leaping at him, quite agitated.  My boy was yelping and screaming "hi-ya" like some kind of kung fu master.  He had a garbage can lid as a shield, like some kind of gladiator.  It was so ridiculous that I couldn't stop laughing at him.  That's when I saw them.

Now, let me give you some background.  I don't talk to my neighbors much, don't know who most of them are and I'm not that interested to find out.  We live where people keep their fences closed and can't be bothered.  Works well for the most part.  Anyway, I look up and see this crowd of people.  My neighbors, many of them, from across the street on the other side of the pen were just watching the show. They were standing there all King-of-the-Hill-style with beer in hand.  A line of men watching my boy dodging chickens like it was some kind of training, like in Rocky.

Finally, after feeling so badly, they sent their son (my boy's friend) to see if he needed help.  Of course, he was fine and just being him.  I tend to think that they only sent help because they noticed me watching them, actually I was hysterically laughing at my boy genius, but still.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

So I Took a Whole Day Off

If I write down all the little things I do during the day, it may seem like a lot.  So then why doesn't it ever seem like I get anything done?  Besides the laundry and dishes and floors and garden and chickens and let's not forget four kids and a husband, I (like all parents) try to squeeze in some "quality time" with the boys.  Sometimes just making one on one time to help with homework uninterrupted has to suffice.  Yet, other times, I'm helping them sound out words and playing whack-a-mole like a crazy person.  They laugh hysterically at my antics.  Ah, if they only knew the wonderful stress relief it provides.  There never seems to be enough hours in the day.  In my defense, I do have some burgeoning physical issues that I'm working through, but I am still mobile so I do what I can. 

After days of pushing myself to the limit, and being forced by pain to watch all the work I did be undone due to a temporary lack of mobility (I have joint issues that flare up if I over do it), I decided that I wasn't going to do a gosh-darned thing today.  Well, I dried the towels that I started this morning, before I came to this decision.  Other than that, I did my basic taking care of kids thing and that is it.  I played the wii with the boys.  That was interesting.  When they got a bit too rowdy, they grabbed a shopping bag and went through the house picking up any little bits of trash they could find.  Yay me, I didn't have to bend or look at the confetti-lined floor that seems to come along with children, and they got a new and very constructive so-called time out.

It was nice not worrying about things.  I ignored my piles that need to be boxed up.  I never went into the kids' room after I heard the dumping of the toy bin.  Why get myself all worked up.  The mess will still be there tomorrow and we'll deal with it then, when I am prepared to do so calmly.  I didn't do a single dish.  I didn't unload the dishwasher.  I had a very lazy day off, sorta.  The mess grew a bit, but I so seldom get a chance to watch they boys interact.  I'm to busy chasing after them telling them not to do things, which I still did to a much lesser extent.

The only trouble is, it's scary how easy it is not to pay attention to the work that needs doing.  It would be no trouble getting used to.  I'm the only one around here who seems bothered by it.  Perhaps this is because I claim the mess as my own, though we all contribute to it.  Well, I'm willing to share the blame and responsibility.  I'll get this place ship-shape, but then things they're-a-gonna-be-changin'.  I'll never be organized enough to have bins with individual names on them.  You know, the one those really anal (God love 'em) people have in which they deposit things that they've picked up throughout the house.  If I find the oldest's DS it goes in his bin, Hubby's screwdriver would go in his.  It is such a wonderful fantasy of an idea.  I am just so not that person.  I'm more the type of person that would gather up the things the kids left strewn about the house and dump it in a pile in front of their doors and tell them, "whatever is left here by the time I count to ten is garbage". Then I'd watch them come running.  Once it's gone, there are no reminder bins to look at.  But that's just me.

Tomorrow, is a family day, one of those rare moments where a few extra dollars and Hubby's day off actually coincide.  I'm hoping it will be great.  After tomorrow, Spring Break is officially over and I can concentrate on what is left to do around here.  However, that still leaves the rest of tomorrow, after we return, to do nothing but bask in the glory of my laziness.  Yeah, I could live with that.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Mommies Are Allowed

Piles of crap seem to be boxing me in.  My world is slowly shrinking along with my floor space.  I think I have become a pack-rat in my old age.  Never did I used to shed tears for donating things that we no longer use or need.  However, the birth of my last child has turned me into this hording machine.  I intended to keep only the items that have been through all of my boys and some select ones from the baby that I especially enjoyed with him.  Yet, it seems that I am unable to part with anything.  I have diaper boxes full of clothes all washed and folded and separated by size.  I just can't seem to actually donate them.  Knowing that it is ridiculous is not helping me purge my house of this uselessness.

Hubby, in his infinite wisdom and kindness, brought home a bunch of giant boxes.  He isn't making me throw things out, just pack it up into stackable things to move to the shed.  At least he knows better than to press the issue.  I think the act of packing things up for good will probably turn me into an emotional pile of mush, through no fault of my own.  I guess things really are different with your last baby.  He is almost 8 months old, so I have a lot of stuff to pack up, but he's still a baby, my baby.  I have been fighting the urge to wean him, despite the fact that he bites like a rabid dog. 

My oldest is on the cusp of puberty and we have conversations like regular people, not kiddie conversations.  My middle two are all about "I can do it by myself".  Then, there's the baby.  He's the one that can't get enough of me.  He's still at the stage where I'm his favorite thing in the world.  He's the only one that is happy in my arms for long periods of time.  If I could, I'd probably hold them all day long.  As it is, I can only hold the baby until I need to be doing something else. I do get intermittent spontaneous hugs and kisses from the others.  Well, sparsely from the oldest.  Actually, threats of public displays of affection have persuaded him to do my bidding on many occasions. 

Don't get me wrong, I get all excited when the baby does something new or when his personality comes through.  He is a very joyous baby with the best laugh in the world.  He is on his way to being very mobile and I am thrilled for him.  At the same time, my heart is breaking.  I am well aware of the ridiculousness of this whole thing, but too soon it will be him running to be with his brothers and away from me.  I will soak this all in.  I will enjoy the feel of him in my arms and the look in his eyes when he rubs my cheeks and finds my nose.  It is too soon for him not to be the newborn he was just yesterday.  I look at him now and he's 4x the size he was.  He is his own little person. Yet, I still see the sweet little lump that he was.

I can see that he is going to be hard to let go.  There are 6 years between my first and second child.  It was bittersweet to see him reach all his milestones.  It is still bittersweet to see him grow into this little man.  He is my first baby.  He made me a Mom.  The next two were on top of each other.  They are a handful and I love them dearly.  It was different with them.  There was always something going on and things to do.  I was younger and rushed through it all.  With this one, I'm a bit more settled.  He is four years younger than his closest brother.  He is everyone's baby.  The boys embraced him from the beginning and each have a bond with him that is different than the others.  They are the ones that spoil him, if you can really spoil a baby?

I already miss the infant he was as we head down the road toward toddlerhood.  Oh, but there is so much joy to come.  With each new skill, with each smile of beaming pride, there is joy and love.  With this one, the last one, everyone is enjoying him.  We all have fallen in love with this mild-mannered, sweetheart of a baby.  He is the most laid back of them all.  He is making it easy for us to go GaGa over him.

I am so proud of my boys.  I just knew that there would be jealousy and the like.  I was wrong, so wrong.  They all help without being asked.  They all get joy when they make him smile and they all go nuts when they get him to laugh like only little ones can.  My boys, though rowdy and energetic, are gentle and kind.  I love them all.  Having them the way I did has allowed me to simultaneously bask in the different stages of growing up.  When the middle ones test their boundaries, I see how the oldest one is growing into this peaceful and brilliant young man.  It lets me relax knowing that it will calm down soon enough.  When the oldest is on a hormonal bender (he is at that age), I see the middle two with their cars and trains and tickle fights and remember how sweet he was when he was little.  Then I look at the last one and I remember them all and how different they were and still are.  I can see very clearly how they have always been who they are.  The stubborn one was born that way, as were the sensitive and the lazy.  I look at that little chunky one and try to see who he will be in a year or five.  Then I look again and he is still just a baby.

So, it will probably take me a whole lot longer than necessary to pack up these mountains of baby stuff.  I know that I will be loving it when it's out of my house and not reminding me of how tiny he was.  For now, it will be hard and I will be emotional.  I'm a Mommy darn it, I'm allowed.

Friday, April 2, 2010

A Hero in Gublerland

A little while ago, during a bout of insomnia, I found my way to Gublerland.  "What is that?",  you ask.  Well, it is the brainchild/ alter-ego/true soul of Matthew Gray Gubler.  I found it by accident and have been drawn back to it during subsequent bouts of insomnia, though it does warp dreams once sleep finally takes hold.  This site is full of interesting bits.  It's like a treasure hunt of little things to find and open.

On his way back from the bathroom, my oldest peeked over my shoulder.  I heard a sleepy, "what is that?" from behind me.  Scared me half to death actually.  Anyway, he pulled up a chair and I explained who the man is.  "He's that guy on criminal minds.  You know, the nerdy one.  Oh, he was the voice of Simon the chipmunk".  My son looked at picture of him and just couldn't see him as Simon, but thought it was neat anyway.  I'm putting this on here not because I'm his biggest fan, though I might be now, but because of what he did for my son.  Okay, he himself didn't do a darned thing, but his website sure did.

My son is very shy.  He is wonderfully creative and musically inclined.  Yet, he has a confidence issue.  Okay, maybe that isn't entirely correct.  He just thinks that nothing he does is perfect enough to be good, and if it isn't "good" to him how could anyone else stand it.  In reality, this kid is amazing, (perhaps I'm a bit biased).  Despite our diligent encouragement and the fact that we point out things that he enjoys regardless of their lack of perfection, he still is very hard on himself.  Enter Gublerland.

As he pulled up a chair beside me, I was scrolling through some artwork on the  Gublerland site.  My boy, was not impressed so much by the pictures themselves, as by the form or style.  You see, Gubler's art isn't perfection, by any stretch.  It is warped and twisted and glorious for what it is.  My son was enthralled.  He kept asking questions and was wide-eyed and finally understood what we have been trying to teach him.  He never has to be perfect.  When it comes to his creativity especially, he can just feel his way.  He learned, or is in the process of learning, that a drawing of a dog doesn't have to be a perfect replica to get the point across.  He learned that warped and twisted is perfectly acceptable, and not to be suppressed but celebrated as a different piece of who he is, (not that he's all dark and twisted, but we all have our moments).  He learned that a lopsided smile can be beautiful.  He learned that ordinary and extraordinary are just two steps apart.  He learned that if so many people can like the paintings and sketches that he was looking at, then maybe, he's a lot better than he thought he was.  Oh yeah, he also couldn't get enough of clicking on little oddities to see what weirdness would ensue.

Since that night, my son seems much lighter.  It's like he has been released from the doubt that bound him.  He doesn't believe that he is amazing, but he does acknowledge that he has some talent.  He is beginning to take the time to enjoy his endeavors more.  He isn't lost within himself while doing something that he loves. He is allowing himself the first steps of freedom.  This is something that, try as I might, I just could not teach him.  It is one of those lessons that he needed to learn in his own time, his own way.

So again, I say Woo Hoo, and a huge thanks to Matthew Gray Gubler.  Long Live Gublerland!

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Meatballs, Bowling Balls, a Pink Beaver, and Uranus

Boy has life in my house changed.  I remember when there was only one child.  He was so easy to teach manners to.  He was polite and kind.  The more they learn, the more I'm torn between tears and laughter.  I have four boys now.  Gone are the days of "excuse me" and niceties (when Dad's home anyway).  Now, the little ones just learned "anus" from the oldest, who by the way, is in middle school and can't stop laughing at the word "balls".  This is a recent development, and though it's kind of cute how he blushes every time he laughs at it.  He still can't help himself.  I know it only gets worse from here.  The younger ones are obsessed with planets and can you guess which one is Dad's favorite, and therefore the kids favorite?  Yup, Uranus.  I am such a lucky gal!

Hubby doesn't help, as he is so amused with this that he says balls any chance he gets just because the oldest can't help but laugh.  This is what my days have turned into.  We took the four year old bowling while the others where at school, the same day we had spaghetti and meatballs for dinner (my bad). Hubby spent all of dinner getting the little one to excitedly talk about the biggest, heaviest balls ever that he needed to roll. But it's okay because he is big and strong. Strong enough to roll big giant balls. "Oh, by the way son how are your meat-balls?", thanks my Dearest Husband.  I really needed that.

I swear that I used to be a lady.  Really I did, at least to a certain degree.  Being surrounded by all these little men has really changed me.  I fight against noxious gases and wrestling, talk of turds and long discussions about whose poo can stop up the toilet.  Try as I may to maintain a certain level of decorum in my home, I am severely out-numbered.

Now, I'm waiting for puberty and for the oldest to giggle at everything from tacos, to our roosters (cocks).  I refuse to ever call them that.  It is bad enough that there is a cartoon out there called Pororo.  It has a bunch of different animals.  There is a green alligator,  a white polar bear, a brown fox, and get this...a PINK beaver, an actual pink beaver.  I swear a man had to make that thing up.  The fox is more orange than brown, so you would think that they would make the beaver brown like a real beaver.  Nope, it's a pink beaver.  Hubby searches for it on the weekends he's home just so he can sit there and laugh at the fact that it's a pink beaver.  It's just so wrong.  What's worse is that I'm the one who had to point it out to him.  It stuck out like a sore thumb.  Yup, the oldest has asked why the beaver is pink.  The poor boy wasn't about to get an answer out of me, and hubby was laughing so hard that the poor kid just walked away.  After all, it's not like he was actually watching that kiddie cartoon, he just caught a glimpse on the way to grab a snack from the kitchen. 

If this keeps up, the poor boy will be giggling at everything and the younger ones will laugh right along with him because he's the cool older brother.

This is such a man house.

Friday, March 19, 2010

What In The World?

My husband saw my recent influx of baby patterns purchased on ebay.  I thought I would get the usual lecture, "More stuff you'll never use?...You sure do like wasting money don't you?", and the like.  He said nothing.  Next thing you know, I get an interesting pattern in the mail.  It is a Halloween costume, of sorts.  I find myself staring at an adult costume for Dorothy from the Wizard of Oz, a sexy version.  For those who do not know me, let me give you a little background.  I am about 5'7.5" tall and a bit chunky.  I had my last child 7months ago and I have exercise issues.  This is who I am, so I know I did not mistakenly purchase such an item.  I never even knew such an item existed.

Instead of the grand lecture I was expecting, I got that pattern and in the right size too.  So I put it on my hubby's pillow and forgot about it.  Last night he asked me, "So what'd you think?"  I asked him about what and he held up the pattern.  I said I hadn't really thought about it.  Here it comes.  Wait for it.  "I figured since you plan on sewing until next Christmas that I might as well put in a request".  Yup, there it was.  I wouldn't get a lecture, not a word, so long as I made this costume.

I suppose I should be flattered.  After all, he want's me in his little fantasy world.  He even put in a request for velcro so we wouldn't have to deal with zippers or buttons.  The trouble is, I am no seamstress.  Sure I've made kid costumes and baby clothes and accessories, but I never had to wear those.  This pattern is like six pages long and is fully lined and has boning and under things and whatnot.  I have told him I'm clueless when it comes to something this intricate.  I also pointed out the boxes full of patterns that I own and the very few things that I have actually sewn.  It didn't work.  He chose this time to compliment me on all the things I've made for the house and the kids.  He told me how amazing I am and that he has the utmost confidence in me.  I didn't have the heart to tell him that I can't even read the material requirements correctly because the chart is so convoluted.

Now, he wants to come shopping with me to buy the material for this thing.  Never in a million years would I have thought that he would ever accompany me into a fabric store to actually decide on something to purchase.  I am dreading the whole thing.  But if it works and I get all the extras when I'm done, then Woo Hoo, and all that without a lecture.  I will so be making him watch the kids while I try to work on this thing.

So, when my kids ask me what I'm making and I tell them a costume, will they expect me to wear this on Halloween. Hahaha, Never I tell ya NEVER.  Only time will tell.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Like the Christmas That Never Was

It's funny to me how things work out sometimes.  My 4 and 5 year old boys share a room.  The older one used to beat the crap out of his brother to get what he wanted.  We're talking black eyes without warning.  He was frustrated that when he would talk nice to his little brother his brother never answered back.  Nevermind that the poor kid couldn't really speak yet.  Now, the older one is sharing wonderfully, but more often than not, the younger one smacks him with something as soon as he gets bothered.  With all my teachings of kindness, really, he did it to himself.  The older one taught him how to be. Now, it is my job to un-teach it and it is taking a good long time.

Their relationship has resulted in what is essentially the removing of Christmas.  Between items they have either lost, broken, or weaponized, their Christmas gifts have just about been eliminated.

Example: GatorGolf:  Innocent enough game, comes with two plastic golf clubs.  Which have been used to beat each other with.  They have been removed. (reserved for a later date when both have been behaving and for limited use while highly supervised.  Works great as a treat)

Leapster games:  Educational and allows me some peace, great for long drives.  They have either been lost, broken, or accidentally on purpose flushed down the toilet.

They are blowin' through them fast.  I have half a mind to make them cornhusk dolls and call that Christmas.

I'm about to pull one of my "cleaning" sessions in their room.  Now, I call it "cleaning", but what I really mean is that I will go through all their junkie little craps that they seem to collect en masse and make them choose what to throw away.  This is reserved as an end of my wits tactic that serves a dual role as keeping the mess under control, and teaching the consequences for bad behavior.  Okay, maybe it serves a third purpose.  See, they are more than capable of cleaning their room with minimal supervision.  I'm in charge of the clothes, though they help put the laundry up.  They are in charge of the toys and trash.  When they decide to pretend to clean their room on a regular basis, I will usually sit with them and play director while they do the work.  When, after weeks of trying, I've had enough of them lying about their room and hiding things in their closet or under their bed, and I'm tired of piling it up in the middle of their room so they can really put it away, that is when I go all psycho on them (with plenty of warning).  Then once, maybe twice a year at my convenience, I will dump all of their toys and stuff in the middle of the room.  We will organize everything completely, and they must decide what to throw out.  They get through it with a lot of "I'm sorry" and tears, which breaks my heart.  However, for the next few months all I have to say is, "Do you want me to go in there an clean it for you?" 

Now, I'm really not a tyrant.  Enough is enough.  I'm not one to clean and vacuum their room every single day.  It's just not who I am, and when I've tried in the past I've been miserable.  So now I just don't try.  I do expect them to keep their room tidy enough, and they love to vacuum.  I never would have thought that one day I would use the privilege of vacuuming as a reward.  It's insane to me. 

I think I must now buy gifts with a frame of mind that includes, "can they smack each other with this?"   Unfortunately, the answer will always be "yes" so now I have to rethink the question.

Is blowing through Christmas inside of three months a record?  It is for me.

Monday, March 15, 2010

There Must Be Something Wrong With Me

I've been a bit bored and stressed, as usual I suppose.  Apparently I have this bad habit of buying crafty things in hopes of keeping myself busy through whatever this mind-numbing blur is.  So now, I have accumulated about 17 patterns to sew, and an almost complete set of knifty knitters from ebay.  That place should come with a warning.  It's like gambling, but not.

I am well aware of the fact that even on my best day, I really don't plan on making all of these things.  I justify it by telling myself that they are patterns for baby clothes and gear.  Lord knows that I have enough supplies to start quite a few projects.  I have patterns for the cutest things, in sizes for the whole family.  Unfortunately, I am not really inclined to make them.  See, I don't have the time during the day to pull all this stuff out.  Once the kids get to bed and I'm done around here, I'm too tired to deal with it.  So, I guess I know that I will likely never get to any of this stuff.  However, now that I have them, I will never part with them...just in case.

It isn't like I have the money to blow on all this crap.  Again, I justify this by telling myself that they are only about two dollars each and I can easily blow x amount of dollars in fast food for the family.  I can justify anything.  We all can.  The truth is, I really wish I could make all this stuff.  I know how to.  My skills are lacking due to lack of practice, but they come back quickly when given the opportunity.  I love to make things.  There is just no time during my day to devote to this stuff.

So, I have tried to do this knitting thing.  It is easy enough.  The thing that is making the idea of these projects seem doable is the fact that I can do it while watching the kids.  It doesn't really take a lot of concentration.  It can be done while watching them in the back yard.  If  you need to stop, it is easily picked back up.  As of now, it has been doable.  Let's just see how long it takes me to get bored with it.  Even though it is doable, it is very boring.  Whereas the sewing is not boring at all, but it takes concentration and a lot of time.  Both of which I don't have much of right now.

I am open to tips and suggestions.  Also, I'm wanting to get an embroidery machine and I really need to be stopped before i try to justify that expense.  Perhaps if I get all this sewing done, I'll try embroidery.  But I know I don't need it now, but I love looking at them and reading about them.  I am weak willed and have wanted one for years.  I am torn.  Will this ever end?  It's ridiculous, I know.