Think outside the box, inside the bathroom

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The other morning, I was braiding Jenna’s hair before school.

We’re facing the mirror together, and talking about lots of important things.

She starts: “Mom…… why does daddy always get to sleep in YOUR bed?”

Good question.

And I love that she just knows it’s MY bed, and her father is obviously  bordering on  rude for still occupying that space at night…..just ASSUMING he has the right….geez……

Also, she is looking to get him out so she can take that spot, but she’s subtle enough to not bring that up just yet.

So I say “Hmmmmmm, well I don’t know Jenna, where else would he sleep??”

She’s clearly thought this out, because she answers immediately, no hesitation.

“Well, why don’t we just get some blankets, and pillows, and make him a bed somewhere else? Like maybe in his bathroom?

Another great idea…. and it would make things a lot more convenient for him as well.

She did eventually offer to let him make a bed for himself in our room…and even said she’d help him build it.

Good compromise.

 

Facing the harsh reality

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We just got back from a week long vacation in Mexico.

Like last year, we spent a week sunning, swimming, stuffing our faces, napping, and waking up to start the cycle all over again.

As is the case with all good things, it was over too fast.

Even though I had gotten to the point of just eating fruit for breakfast because I simply could not stuff myself three times a day for a whole week…. I still enjoyed it.

Coming home for me meant remembering how to cook, ugh. And before that, going to the grocery store and buying food to do something with at home.

The kids and I walked through Trader Joe’s in a daze, them asking why can’t we just live in Mexico, me trying to find that secret aisle that will have everything I need to make fast, easy, delicious, healthy dinners for the next week without having to THINK about it.

The 4 year old probably got hit the hardest since we’ve been back home.

It didn’t take her more than a couple days on vacation to recognize what “all inclusive” means in terms of eating options…. and before long she stopped going up to the buffet with me all together. Instead, she chose to relax at the table, and airily directed me to bring her back an assortment of things to try.

Today, on our first morning back, she is requesting sushi, chocolate pastry, and maybe a waffle if it’s not too much trouble.

The stark reality of cold cereal and orange juice left her looking a little shell shocked…..

 

 

 

Identity theft

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I’m sitting on the floor as Jenna paces around me, trying to get the boys to come up from the basement.

She yells for them to come up, they ignore her.

Then she has a great idea.

She whispers to me, “I’m pretending I’m you….”

Yells again:

“I’m momma!!, Come upstairs!”

Big smile on her face, this is definitely going to work.

Looks at me, leans over and whispers again:

“Don’t worry….you’re still you….”

Whew!

Do it like a girl

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I took the kids to see a movie today, and noticed something while watching the previews.

Have you noticed there are more movies with leading female roles? Strong, tough, hard-ass females? There is some wonder-woman movie coming out, looks GREAT. And some kind of transformers movie, with a strong, young female lead. In the preview she’s actually saying how she used to get made fun of for doing things like a girl…. fighting like a girl, running like a girl. As she’s talking, you see her basically saving the world all by herself.

The preview ends with her saying yeah, she does do all those things like a girl…. don’t you?

Oh! Good one!

I really love that we are seeing this, that my daughters are seeing this. While feminism still sounds like a bad word to many, there are more people understanding what it means as well. I’m still figuring it out…

I still find myself saying things like “he was crying like a little girl….”, which is obviously something I would be kidney punched for if said in the wrong company.

It’s something I need to work on.

The other day, I was seeing a patient…. a very ornery older man, and at one point I called him “honey”. He wasted NO time telling me that he is NOT my honey. I thought it was a great lesson for myself, because as much as I don’t like strange men saying that to me, I somehow thought that my being a female, maybe also a mom, gave me the right to be that familiar with someone. Because it must be clear that I wasn’t hitting on him, or trying to make him feel inferior…. cause I’m a female, and therefore just comforting and maternal, right?!

Why should I just expect him to think that?

For all he knows, I’m some lecherous woman who has a thing for very sickly and elderly men.

Clearly I need to rethink my view on many things.  A comforting hug to me could be seen as a furtive grope to someone else. Yikes.

Now, in this case, his virtue was in no danger from me. He didn’t seem to feel threatened or uncomfortable….. just a guy, looking for any way to express his distaste for all human kindness… but this is the closest I’ve ever been  to the other side of that pervy encounter that so many females have endured. So I’ll use it as a lesson anyway, and think twice before I’m so generous with my “honey’s and sweeties”…

Chalk it up to this equality business.

 

 

How much do I love vomit? Let me count the ways…

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The past month or two, the youngest two are competing for title of “sickest kid”. This isn’t sick in a good way,this is just sick, regular sick.

Highlights include Sammy missing three days of school in a ROW, followed by Jenna waking up in the middle of the night to vomit in bed (two nights in a row).

I’ve mentioned vomit before, as I’ve had plenty of run-ins due to my excessive progeny. I used to call it puke, but I’m feeling less than friendly and I think vomit is a little more reserved. So it knows I’m not very happy with it.

Two nights of complete bed changes, bathing and hair washing, you think you know what’s up… you think you’ll be ready next time 3am rears it’s ugly, nauseous head.

But again, vomit likes to surprise us. Poor kid is sitting on the potty the next day and ends up vomiting all down the front of herself, getting the stuff everywhere in the bathroom EXCEPT in the toilet.

It’s fine, really. She’s a trooper, and thankfully that ended her surprise attacks of emesis…for now…..

Today, I’m here to report that we have moved on to Strep Throat. It’s official, and she gets to start the pink medicine we all cherished in childhood. I have to fight the urge to take a swig just to see if it’s the same as I remember.

People are starting to forget about us though… as we’ve been trying to avoid all human contact as soon as new symptoms start to show up so we don’t infect the earth.

Playdates, birthday parties, any social activity…all on hold…. every weekend we end up isolating ourselves to save our loved ones from the illness we have been wallowing in.

Uh oh.

As I type she has just announced to me that her belly hurts and taken up position lying on the kitchen floor. Not sure what is going to happen next…. but I’m considering a plastic wrap to cover the entire house. Just to be safe.

Wish us luck friends!

 

 

 

 

 

Over my head over here

 

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Looks are deceiving

 

I find the kids really annoying today.  It’s true. Kids ARE annoying.

Usually we all manage to put up with each other, as I’m sure I might possibly annoy them too.

But today…..

It has been a day of them egging each other on, teasing and poking each other, being loud and obnoxious in public….. Today they are the kids that people who don’t have kids see, and then think to themselves “I’m so glad I decided not to have kids”.

I think the last straw was in the hardware store. I just needed to get ONE THING. Well, two things.  A battery for the fire alarm that won’t stop chirping (also annoying) and some hardware to fix my towel rack.

As I walk with them, I stay between them so they can’t poke and tickle each other and try to keep their volume to a minimum. Jenna refuses to walk in a straight line, and at one point just collapses on the floor in a giggling heap. Pulling her up is impossible, she keeps her knees bent and won’t bear her own weight.

They find this hilarious. Me, not so much.

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My whispered threats of beatings once we are out of the public eye are not taken seriously, they know I’m bluffing.

They’ve reached that point of silliness that just doesn’t stop. We’ve all been there. The point where the laughter just doesn’t end, no matter what danger it may put them in.  They needed something to snap them out of it, a shock to the system.

Getting them buckled into their seats, I see the answer.

I had just bought them each a small box of valentine candy at the chocolate store. I glared at them, grabbed those boxes, and took them to the front seat with me.

I ignore their renewed attempts to annoy me. YES, they were now doing it on purpose! I open a box, and start eating it piece by piece, keeping my eyes ahead of me. Suddenly they aren’t laughing so hard.

“You can’t eat our candy!”

“Oh YES I can. I bought it. It’s MY candy.”

Seething from the back. From Jenna especially, you don’t mess with her chocolate.

To further illustrate how I am the boss of them, I pull into the Starbucks line. Order myself a tea and NO CAKE POPS.

I drive away and smile to myself as they sit, stunned, in the back.

Jenna is absolutely outraged.

She starts on a rant about how I don’t even love them because I took their candy and I’m not a good mom. Of course I have to return with how good kids listen to their parents and they weren’t being good for me.

“So, you don’t love us!” She’s not asking. She’s accusing.

“You don’t love us and maybe you don’t want to be our mom!”

I’m amused now, chocolate and tea has restored my humor. So I respond:

“I never said I don’t love you, are you saying you want a different mom?”

She doesn’t come out and say it, but she’s heading in that direction. I get a speech filled with 4  year old logic about how it’s physically impossible for a parent to actually love a child if they take candy from them. And maybe it’s time for us to part ways. Not that she doesn’t love me, but maybe we need a break. And besides, if I send her to a different house, they’ll probably have a dog.

I promised her there would not be a dog. She’s stuck with me, and her chocolate was delicious.

 

 

 

 

That Indian place

A few days ago I decided to order some Indian food from this place we know, it had been a good month or maybe even more since we ate from there.

I splurged, got three things instead of two for us to split, extra garlic naan bread…. I was VERY excited to eat it.

I waited patiently for the husband to come home, didn’t even unpack the bag. As I waited I thought of the delicious cream sauces, yummy warm bread and chunks of paneer cheese. This place….. when the food is good, it’s very, VERY good.

But when it’s bad……

So I unpack as soon as I hear the garage door start to open. Set the table, open everything, I’m ready!  Find a stray cashew in the rice, I remove it and ignore it. The husband has this belief (possibly not unfounded) that the food we order has been scraped off other peoples plates and into our containers. Maybe because it always looks different, they use different vegetables almost every time,  but the sauce is always the same so who cares!

We start to eat. And that’s when it all just goes to shit.

Someone forgot how to cook, or someone there hates me. One of our dishes had a heap of soggy vegetables and no cream sauce to speak of, rather it sat in a warm bath of its own broth and some odd spices. I tasted, praying for it to be better than it looked. Nope.

My staple dish, the one thing that ALWAYS looks the same, and tastes the same, SUCKED. The only thing correct was the peas and cubes of cheese. A horrible fake.

We cried a little, ate what we could. Cried some more. NOT satisfied.

Now, any other place pulls this crap, and I would not hesitate to call and complain. It was THAT bad. But that’s the problem with this place. I HAVE called them before, because of another issue we had with the food once being so spicy that it burned our lips off even when I had asked for it to be “very mild”. It was so hot, that eating was purely pain, we could taste nothing but our melting tongues.

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The guy on the phone was nice,  I recognized his voice. He was so sorry, offered to buy us a dinner to make it up to us, told me to order again and it would be much better. So I did, I went again a few days later to pick up my “free dinner”, after calling and talking to another guy reminding them that I was collecting on his promise.

I got there, and was assured it was going to be great…and told I had to pay. It was funny actually, I tried to tell the guy that it was supposed to be free because we couldn’t eat it last time. He smiled very indulgently, and basically said “no, it’s gonna be great so go ahead and pay”.

So I paid.

And that’s the problem. Because sometimes that  food is amazing. Sinfully good. So good that right now, as I type, I can TASTE it….. but you never know when it’s going to be that good again.

You want to walk away when it sucks, as it will about every 4th time…. but they know. They KNOW you will come back. Makes them cocky. They can literally give me rice off someone’s plate. I will eat that rice if their vegetable korma is amazing. I will eat it with ANYTHING. And they know that.

I’m not proud of the fact that I fully intend to order again in the next week or so.

By my calculations, it’s gonna be great  next time. I hope.

 

Am I sick, or do I just hate everyone?

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Yesterday was supposed to be a great day. The husband didn’t have much going on at work, so we had “talked about” going to a mall across town with the little ones.

We’d stroll around, basking in our love of each other. Hold hands over pretzel nuggets in the food court. Find all the pants we could ever need for Sammy, the kind for skinny boys who need an adjustable waist but also very long legs. Find the perfect jean skirt for Jenna so she can wear her blue and white striped tights with red hearts on the knees.

Goals, I had goals yesterday.

Then, yesterday actually happened. I did my usual Sunday stuff. Cleaned, washed floors. Took Jenna shopping for groceries. Came back. Built a model of the Eiffel tower in toothpicks. Cured cancer…… all while the husband was……somewhere…….doing whatever he was doing in the house. On the phone with his family, on his computer, drinking his coffee…..

At 2pm I asked him, as he stood in his wife-beater and shorts, if he was planning on getting dressed today? He thought he might eventually. He always seems so surprised to find out the actual time after he’s putzed around for hours.

 

 

We didn’t get to the mall he wanted to visit, but instead he insisted on rushing to the mall close to our home to see if we could at least find pants for Sammy. Dreams of pretzel nuggets were dashed.

It didn’t go well. I was annoyed, as I often am when faced with someone who has different time management strategies than me. I DID find the jean skirt for Jenna that would have been perfect with her adorable striped tights, and a pair of pants for my tall, skinny boy.

Unfortunately, my black mood would not allow me to be courteous to the rude lady manning the cash register, and I chose to leave all the clothes behind in a fit of pique that only hurt myself as I walked away. The husband was wandering around in other departments at this time, and so without knowing it, was saddled with the burden of somehow being responsible for me not being able to buy the clothes I wanted as he wasn’t by my side to smooth things over with the mean monster lady in the kids department.

The drive home…silent. We had a dinner to get ready for and I was thinking of what I needed to do for me and the kids to make it on time. Also thinking about that jean skirt. And pretty much disliking everyone and everything in general. Ever feel like that?

It wasn’t until we pulled into the parking lot of the restaurant later….  I realized that my crap feelings weren’t just psychological. I also FELT like crap. My nose was stuffy and getting stuffier, and starting to leak like a faucet. I had a weird feeling in my throat, like a pre-tickle…. just a little taste of something to come. My eyes were glassy…

I was getting sick!!  No wonder I felt like kicking someone. It all made sense, and actually made my mood better-as I realized I probably did still love my husband after all.

Whew.

 

 

We like nuts

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The 3 year old is going to be 4 in a matter of days. It’s pretty exciting, especially since each of the ninja turtles has called her personally-so she says-and they are in fierce competition with each other to get her the best gift. I can’t wait!

She’s growing up, uses the word “actually” a lot.

Like last week…. I picked the two youngest up from school and she is dying of starvation in the back seat. Begging to eat right now. NOW! So I decide to take them to a local place and eat with them, then bring dinner home for their dad.

As we get our food, I say to her “….and you were crying about being so hungry….”. she tell me, “actually, I wasn’t crying. I was whining.”

Touché.

She makes me laugh, and I’m enjoying it and also sad because this age is so awesome and goes so fast…… and she’s the last one, the last one!!!

Today though… takes the cake.

She’s reading, at the point where she can read simple sentences and is learning rules about letter sounds. She got how “SH” together make the sssshhhhh sound, and “TH” have their special sound. Today was a very special lesson about the importance of the silent “E” at the end of some words.

Her teacher sends some books home for her to read each week, I laughed at the title of one of them “We like nuts”. Of course, that’s just my mind in the gutter…..

She’s reading to me today, as I cook dinner. Sounding out her words like a champ. She gets to the nuts book….. opens and starts to read.

I hear “I lick nuts….”

!!???!!

We talked about the silent “E”.  How it makes the “I” have the long sound…. because we LIKE nuts….we just like them. that’s all.

 

 

 

Sweet rewards of parenting

 

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My teenage son has contributed to the vast majority of my gray hairs, and although I love him a crazy amount, he also makes me crazy.

From his special ability to only see things from his own viewpoint, rendering himself the victim in every possible scenario….. to his disregard for a clean organized room and bathroom which is all I really will ever want from him for Christmas….

It is sometimes quite a challenge.

And, you know, he’s a teenager. So multiply everything by 5 million because if those two chin hairs are any indication….hormones are raging, and rational thought is out the window.

Something is happening though…

Here is an example of something that kind of gives me hope that he might come out the other side of puberty in a good place.

He was at his dads house Monday, because that’s one of his nights with his dad. I get a call from him, around the time I need to put the little ones to bed, asking if I can iron some clothes if he brings them over because he forgot he needed to dress up for school.

“Don’t you guys have an iron??”

He doesn’t want his dad to iron his clothes, and he doesn’t want to….because neither one is capable of doing it well, not as well as me.

This is true….but also designed to inflate my domestic ego so I can’t resist demonstrating my mad ironing skills.

It works. He comes over and hands me a shirt that looks like-and probably was-balled up somewhere before it was fully dry, and a pair of pants with questionable history of cleanliness.

I iron them both, he takes them and leaves.

Later that night, I get a text.

Good night mom, love you. Thank you for everything you do for me. By the way  you need to step it up, you’ve been slacking lately. JK, love you but for real pick it up get your head out of the gutter, JK love you. Tell Gasan to keep up the good work, he’s been ballin lately.

Interpretation: I love you mom. I’m 15 and on the verge of being a man, but still kind of a little boy and I know maybe I’m hard to deal with but I’ll never actually admit that…but we can both just “know it” and I’m going to cover up any expression of feelings with little odd remarks about you not doing your domestic duties well enough and a nod to your husband for being a cool guy.

Progress people. I’ll take what I can get.