Wednesday, April 27, 2011

The Gods Are Laughing

Weird coincidence or is one of you trying to tell me something?  This morning I got an email from Kirk Martin of Celebrate Calm - their tagline is Transform Your Family.  Kirk wanted to tell me about a workshop to learn how to "create a calm home, eliminate yelling, arguing and meltdowns."  Who's going with me?

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Thou Shalt Not Find Parenting Easy

Nothing like getting smacked down by the gods of parenting. 

We've been having this problem getting the 9-year-old to bathe.  She throws fits about it every other night, starts out with moaning and groaning, leads to crying and screaming, ends with everyone exhausted and upset.  I'd been thinking about what changes needed to be made to make our evenings more tolerable and suddenly while chatting with a friend about it when it suddenly occurred to me - she should bathe in the morning when she's well-rested!  Of course, why didn't I think of this before?  Everybody is up around the crack of dawn anyway and there's like three hours before the bus comes for school - of course morning bath will work!

SCREEEEEECH!  Hold up Mama - ain't nothin' gonna go that smooth.  She went to bed easy peasy, but this morning she was hell on wheels.  "I'm hungry!"  Okay, these are your 5 breakfast options.  "I only want croissant!  I'll starve without croissant!"  By the by - she has had croissants maybe three times in her life.  Then on to "I don't want to take a shower!"  Okay, take a bath.  "No!  I'm not going to!"

The crap thing about morning fits - you can't send the kid to bed and let it work itself out over night.  She finally calmed down, ate a bagel, took a bath and went on to school.  You'd think that the trauma was over for the day - but no.  We had crazy bedtime meltdown, too.  "I don't need to go to bed. I'm not tired!"

A round of Benadryl cocktails for everyone!

Monday, April 25, 2011

The Role of a Lifetime

I just finished reading Allison Pearson's new book, I Think I Love You.  It's sort of about David Cassidy fans - I was more of a Shawn Cassidy girl, but that's not really relevant.  I won't tell you about the photo I had of him over my bed that was smeared with little girly kisses.  Sigh...  Anyway, back on topic, there is a great line in the book about being a mother (and it goes for fathers, too).

The the baby years passed, like an April shower, and the hard bit turned out to be the easy part, only you didn't find out until it was over.  Motherhood was like being in a play and only ever having the lines for the scene you were in at any given moment.  By the time you figured out how to play the part, the curtain dropped and it was on to the next act.

Ach - this is so true!  It feels like it takes forever to figure out nursing an infant; when you finally get it, it's time to move on to solids and sippy cups and holding their own fork.  And when you've figured out feeding them, they suddenly decide against eating anything that isn't a chicken nugget.  There are a million other things that you have to figure out before they change, too - but I had no idea simply keeping them well-fed would be so damn stressful.  With one kid, it wasn't such a big deal to modify what the grown-ups were eating to be more kid-friendly - but as we got more kids they all decided to be different and like/dislike different things (what is up with that - how dare they be individuals!).

The food issues and finickiness are a simple metaphor for the other parts of raising kids.  Teaching them to be good, well-adjusted people is a big responsibility that isn't as easy as it sounds.  And it never fails, when I finally hit my groove, the music changes - lately it's turning more into a death metal rage instead of a nice Do You Believe in Magic beat.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Why don't I get a spring break?

Day two of spring break.  Feeling some cabin fever with today's rain.  Interesting dynamic has developed between Lorelei and Violet - they are fighting over who gets to play with Zoey.  If Lorelei initiates some kind of play with Zoey, then Violet will go into Dog/Master mode and start calling, "Here boy, here boy!" Zoey just cannot resist this game - she immediately goes down on all fours and crawls over to Violet, tongue hanging out of her mouth and panting away.  After that it's like that scene in Annie where the dog catcher tells her to call her dog and a bunch of mean-spirited old guys start calling the dog too.  Both of them are yelling, "Here, Zoey, come here!"  The poor kid just runs back and forth until I tell them to cut it out.

I'm not feeling particularly relaxed for our spring break.  This is a busy time of year - I've started calling it "Cake Season."  The little girls' birthdays are five days apart at the end of April, then Greg's is the first week of May and there's mother's day and our anniversary also in May.  We're all full of holidays - and with Easter being so late, we'll also have bunny candy to go with our cake. 

Better start looking into a heavier exercise regimen, or maybe just get some over-sized furniture and call it a day.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Run Greg Run

I probably should not be blogging about parenting in the mood I'm in - so I'll talk about one of my husband's interests and an upcoming local event.  Greg is a runner - or was.  Since having 3 kids who get up before the crack of dawn it has been harder for him to find time for running that coincides with time that he is also awake and has the energy. 

He generally does a long run on Sundays - usually trail running somewhere in the Patapsco Valley State Park and he aims to run in the neighborhood two other mornings a week, as long as he wakes up early enough.  That doesn't always happen since we often have a lot of activity during the night.  Like last night - Zoey woke up around midnight and came to bed with us - she was pretty restless, but I was too tired to notice.  Unfortunately, Greg noticed, a lot.  Then Violet woke up around 2am and he ended up having to hang with her for a while to get her back to sleep.  So, no running today.

Before kids he ran a lot and he ran in races, although only one marathon - the Blue Angel (as in the Blue Angel Navy flyers) in Penscacola, FL - which is now the Pensacola Marathon.  If you've ever been to Florida, you know it's pretty flat - so the course was pretty flat, except for one spot.  The year Greg ran it was also the first year that a draw bridge on the course had been replaced by one of those bridges that goes way way up into the sky to let boats pass underneath.  There was a lot of moaning and groaning going on over that bridge - I was waiting about mid-way up for Greg, cheering on the runners.  I ended up walking the rest of the way up the bridge with him because all the training he'd been doing for the race had not included any hills - because, you know, he'd been training in flat Florida.

He hasn't done any marathons since; really he hasn't run many races since.  But in two weeks (on April 30) he'll be running in The Hills of Milltown 5K Challenge that is part of the Blossoms of Hope Cherrybration in Ellicott City.  Hopefully the hills be easier to manage since he's been running them for a while now.  If you're a runner you should come on out and join the fun.  My girls and I will cheer you on and be waiting at the bottom of the hills to help celebrate in Parking Lot D.


Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Do Clothes Make the Girl?

I've talked about Violet's fashion sense before - her interesting pattern and color combinations along with layers and layers of clothes.  Since spring hasn't actually been terribly warm, it hadn't really come up yet - but with yesterday's high expected to be in the low 80s, I told her there was no need to wear a long sleeve shirt under her short sleeve shirt.  She was planning to wear leggings under her skort, too - I just let that one go, picking my battles and all. 

"But, Mom, I'm going to be cold."  No, Violet, it's warm, you'll be fine.  She grudgingly left the long sleeve shirt in the drawer and got dressed, then immediately grabbed her arms and started fake shivering and complaining.  I pointed out to her that the pajamas she just took off were shorts and a tank top.  "Ma-om. That's pajamas. These are CLOTHES." Of course.

After a bit she stopped complaining and went on with her life.  Went to school (no crying for the third day in a row, by the way!), came home, played outside, decided that she was hot.  I suggested she take off the leggings and just wear the skort.  She headed up to her room to take care of this.  I didn't think much of it and probably about an hour passed before I noticed something odd sticking out of the waistband of her skort.

She was wearing denim shorts under her skort!  To be clear - that's denim shorts, the shorts connected to the skirt, and a skirt!  What is this obsession with unnecessary layers!  I swear I spend at least half my life doing laundry!

Friday, April 8, 2011

I'm a Bad Mama (jama)

The other day a friend on Facebook posted this:  "Are you the worst mother ever? Prove it. I would like to hear the best reasons for being called the worst mother (father) ever. I will send a cake or madeleines or brownies of the worst mother's (father's) choice to the winner. Yes. Yes it has been that kind of evening."

There were lots of great stories and some that scared me (mostly the mouthy teenager ones, since I'm not there yet).  In general, I don't get told I'm the worst mother - I just get "You're mean!" or "You're not fair!"  I guess that's when I know I've done something right, right?

My number 1 daughter (meaning the first, not the favorite - they are all my most and least favorites at any given time), has really been putting me to the test lately.  She has been super surly, sassy, and mean to everyone around the house.  I know it's hard on her having sisters who are significantly younger - with the ability gaps and naps they still take, there are times that just aren't fun for her.  I was having a talk with her about it recently - how she needs to cut her 3 year old sister some slack, that she just doesn't understand things at the same level as a 9 year old.  And I told her that she needs to stop being so cruel to her sister.  Of course, Violet picked up on this word immediately, so she's going around telling Lorelei not to be cruel or she says to me that Lorelei is cruel to her sometimes.  That just makes Lorelei angrier, so she says/does more mean things.  And so the cycle goes.

Punishing always leads to fun times.  We're on day two of a two day grounding from the computer, so at 7:45 this morning she was moaning, "I'M BORED."  Just love hearing that.  Yesterday I told her that she could do some chores if she was bored, "What if I don't WANT to do chores?"  Deep breath.  "Then don't tell me you're bored."

A couple of days ago my sister told me about an email exchange between Lorelei and my niece.  Niece asked Lorelei what she does when she's bored.  Answer: "Complain."  Niece replied, "Okay, I'll try that next time."  So my lovely daughter is spreading the joy of surly throughout the family.

That stock of wine that I was talking about a couple of posts go, just in case one of you stops by - well, it's getting smaller and smaller.  So, if you're gonna stop by please bring a bottle.

Monday, April 4, 2011

The end is near?

I watched part of the movie 2012 last night.  It was going a little long, so we couldn't finish it - had to go to bed.  In general I love John Cusack - loved Better Off Dead, Say Anything, Grosse Point Blank, High Fidelity - but all his movies aren't the same.  I'm not sure I would call this one good persay.  It was jaw-clenching wondering what crazy, implausible thing was going to happen next, that's for sure.

And it gave me nightmares.  For those of you who don't know - it's about the Mayan prediction that the world is going to end in December 2012.  Solar flares cause the Earth's core to become to hot and unstable, causing the Earth's crust to change shape.  So, earth quakes, volcanoes, everything falling into the ocean and the rich and those deemed important to the survival of humanity are given tickets to board arks built for the occasion. 

So last night I had nightmares about the world ending in spectacular fashion.  I've been trying to decide if I'm going to finish watching the movie.  Can there be a happy ending to the this?  Is it enough that John Cusack's ex-wife, their kids and her boyfriend may get to crash the ark party?  When last I left them their plane had just landed in China (although, they thought they were going to be making a water landing, but you know, all the Earth's land masses had shifted a thousand miles).

Has anyone else seen it?  I think I have to watch it, but maybe not tonight. 

Sunday, April 3, 2011

It's all fun and games until somebody loses an eye.

I had a small cardiac incident yesterday.  I was just getting out of the shower when Violet came upstairs crying and said, "Mommy, I'm sorry I poked Zoey in the eye."  I asked her if Zoey was crying (because I didn't hear anything); now sobbing, she said, "No.  Ahhhhhhh!  I'm sorry I poked her eye out."  FREAK OUT!

I pushed past her and ran down the stairs with visions of Zoey laid out on the floor in shock because her eyeball was dangling from the socket.  But no, she was sitting on the floor with both eyes still in her head watching Sbob Pants, as she calls him.  Greg was at the top of the stairs comforting Violet as I started back up.  I told her Zoey was fine, she wasn't hurt, everything's okay.  But she was still teary for a long time afterward.

What the hell?  I don't know what happened, but I definitely had that lift-a-car-off-my-baby adrenaline rush.  It sort of made me feel like throwing up.  God knows what I would've done if there really was a dangling eyeball - probably grab her and run all the way to the hospital.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Home, Home on the Range

As I was just puttering around in the kitchen thinking about what will be for dinner, Violet walked in and said, "I know - we'll go to your favoritest restaurant - Red Robinsons!"  No. Just no. I did learn my lesson about that.

We had a fundraiser night for the elementary school at T Bonz earlier this week - so we've had our night out, where I was told (against all expectations and to much disappointment, apparently) my children were very well-behaved.  But thinking about all this made me realize that I have not actually left the confines of my humble home in more than 48 hours - except to retrieve the recycling bin from the curb and to bring in the mail. 

We had play dates at our house yesterday and today, so the early portion of the day was filled, then there is nap time, homework, dinner and clean up, then bath.  By the time that's all over all I want to do is veg on the couch with my sewing and the TV to entertain me.  And maybe, just maybe, have a conversation with my husband.  But only if TV turns out to be disappointing.

I don't know how people do things at night during the week on a regular basis.  I ran into another PTA mom at the adult beverage store last weekend.  I was picking up a bottle of wine for a specific purpose - she was restocking, because you never know when somebody might stop by and you need it.  I was thinking, "Wait, people actually do that?"  Of course, her kids are older; in my little world I never "stop by" anywhere without careful planning and provisions made in advance.  And very rarely does anyone stop by my house unannounced, it's just a product of having little kids.

I was commiserating with a friend today about the state of our lives with little ones - we both realize that in time things will change.  The little ones will be bigger and less needy and (hopefully) less insane in public.  We will be able to do more things out in the world and have more of a social life.  In the meantime, we'll just have to be satisfied with what we've got and enjoy the crazy little people life.

Side note:  I would love having people just "stop by" - I loved growing up in a house where friends, neighbors and relatives always used the back door and never knocked.  And I even bought a few extra bottles of wine last weekend, so come on over!