Friday, December 14, 2012


Like so many people, mothers, out there, I am mourning today.  The day started like many others.  I was on the phone with another attorney when my two and a half year-old, whom I am trying to potty train, stood up on my nightstand and peed.  Oy.  That's about right.  I rolled my eyes, I picked him up and carried him to the bathroom without skipping a beat on my telephone conference.

Shortly after 10:00 a.m., I saw the first mention of another school shooting.  At that time, there was absolutely no information other than it was being reported.  We got busy.  Kaia refused to get dressed, then got dressed, then put her jammies back on and refused to get dressed again.  Mikko did well on the potty.  We watched some cartoons, we played some Thomas the Train on Mommy's phone, and we probably wrestled and tickled a little.  We went to the craft store to pick up the fixings for some projects the littles are making for their grandparents.  We came home and the kids played with stickers while I made them some lunch.

As they ate, I happened to scan the news again and I haven't been able to stop since.  20 children lost.  20 sets of parents who have holiday gifts that will go unopened.  20 moms who will wonder if the last thing they said to their child conveyed enough love for them to truly know.  20 broken families.  And those are my thoughts of the living.  When I try to wrap my incapable head around the terror these tiny people must have felt, what my children might have felt had I been less fortunate, I can scarcely breathe.

I sobbed into my children's chests as I pulled them away from their lunches.  Kaia asked what was the matter.  I only told her that I'd read a very sad story.  Mikko patted my back and said, "It's okay, Mommy."  When they came home from a visit at Grandma's this afternoon, the simple weight of their bodies in my arms, a feeling which is so familiar, soothed me.  The thought that I might never again fit their tiny bodies into the perfect contours of our hugs is more than I can bear.

And that last is the thought I imagine the victims' own mothers lamenting.  I know there will be a last time that my daughter sits on my lap, that my son needs my help on the potty, that my kids will want to be with me more than anyone else in the world.  I have faith that those lasts are far, far away from now, but my heart goes out to those mothers, those family members, whose lasts came far too soon.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Milestones can suck it

As parents, we look forward to all those amazing moments when our child accomplishes something new .  We snap photos of the first smiles, document rolling over, first steps, and first words.  We make charts and give rewards for learning to use the potty and following the rules.  We cry over first days at school and first kisses.  Frankly, we're downright nuts about milestones.

You know what milestone this Mama could live without?  Toddler bed.  The toddler bed, and all associated milestones, can suck it.  Mikko first climbed (read:  fell) out of his crib at about 15 months old.  I was NOT ready to move him to a safer, yet more escape-able toddler bed at that time.  I counted myself lucky when he stayed put for another 10 months.  But judgment day was a coming.

A few weeks ago, Mikko decided to try again.  Man, was he successful.  He climbed out and climbed out and climbed out and climbed out again.  I gave up and converted the stupid crib to a toddler bed.  At least if it's a bed, he might climb back in, right?  Not so much.

In fact, not so much that half of Mikko's sleeps have ended with me retraining the kid.  Like for real.  Here's a little taste for you:  Mommy brings both kids to bed.  The method of transportation is often a horsey back ride (sometimes a dually, which frankly this old body can hardly manage with the combined 55 pounds of small people up there).  I plop both kids in one of the two beds and sing lullabies until they screw around so much that I separate them.  Upon separation, I sing loudly from the middle of the know, to keep things fair.  I sing one last Broadway show tune, after I've said "this is the last song" three times, and I kiss them goodnight.  Kaia says, "Mommy, now say, 'Mikko don't get out of bed."  Alright, little mama.  "Mikko, don't get out of bed."  Mikko says, "Okay, Mommy."  Sweet, right?

Here ends all sweetness about nighttime at my house.

Act I.  Minutes after I've been lulled into thinking that maybe the little beasts have just gone to bed without a fight tonight, I hear giggling.  I let it ride for a few minutes, but eventually go in to find all of the lights on.  I forgot to turn the lamp off with the knob instead of the wall switch.  Dammit.  Kaia startles, still sitting in her bed  (she's the good one in this tale) and lays down immediately.  Mikko turns and runs into the attached playroom (closet), which is also bathed in light.  I see that the three thousand stuffed animals that Kaia must have next to her bed on the floor are piled in Mikko's bed.  The kid couldn't lay down there if he wanted to. I toss animals back into their corner, get suckered into one more song, kiss both kids and tell Mikko to stay in bed.  "Okay, Mommy."

Act II.  This time a crash brings me into the room.  Entire collection of Cat in the Hat books lay on the floor.  I pick those up.  I kiss Kaia and remove the books Mikko has tossed in her bed, on her head.  (Now I'm contemplating trying to rhyme this whole blog post a la Dr. Seuss, but I don't have the vocabulary.)  Anyway, Mikko dashes back to the closet.  I put him back in bed, turn off the light, and tell him to stay in bed.  "Okay, Mommy."

Act III.  Big sister upstairs says she just heard Mikko turn on the closet light.  This time he hadn't had a chance to do any damage.  I say, "No.  Mikko, in bed.  NOW!"  By say, by the way, I mean roar.  I notice Kaia's sleeping and shut my yap.  I kiss the boy, tell him not so nicely to keep his butt in bed and get up to leave.  "Okay, Mommy."

Act IV.  I promise this can't go on much longer....  Repetitive banging, so I go in.  Mikko has both tricycles out of the closet and next to Kaia's bed (not sure how he managed that without a sound).  Apparently, he wanted her to join him on his nighttime ride.  Amazingly, she slept through his offer, despite the noise of him ramming the front tire into the bed frame over and over.  I remove the bikes from the bedroom.  Mikko whines for his bike.  I whine for my sanity.  I tuck him in and can't remember if I told him to stay in bed or not.  He probably said, "Okay, Mommy."

Act V.  Okay, seriously, I'm done.  Light's on, I go in, and put the child back in bed.  He will NOT lay still.  Seriously, it starts with kicking his feet, walking them up the wall next to the bed, running them back and forth across the crib sides, bouncing them on the mattress...and that's just the kid's feet.  I lay my right arm across his lower body.  Feet cease moving, thank god.  Then he starts with his arms.  He rubs his eyes, he runs his hands through his hair, he pokes his finger in his ear, he puts his thumb in his mouth and pulls it out with a popping sound, he throws them up above his had, he swings them back down by his sides, he flails them around.  I take both of his arms and hold them still with my left arm.  Then the freakin' hands start.  He went as far as to wiggle his fingers to keep himself awake.  I had to literally stretch my fingers over the top of his fingers to make him be STILL.  And the little dude starts blinking his eyes!!!!!  I swear to god, this might have gone on forever if it wasn't 10:00 at night.  Thankfully, the blinking led to the droopsies.  Those eyes drooped for about 90 seconds before he drifted off to sleep.

Why does my kid hate me and why would anyone want to give their kid the ability to freely get out of their bed?  My darling husband suggested that maybe Mikko will sleep in tomorrow.  I laughed in that way that lets someone know how utterly stupid that thing that they just said is.  Now I have to go to sleep because Mikko's brand of "sleeping in" will include a 6:15 a.m. wake up call, at best.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Yes...this actually happened

So, it's taken me a long time to blog about this.  You know how there are those experiences in life that are so unbelievably bad, but that you know will be funny later?  They are moments that you can hardly believe didn't result in the death, or at least serious injury, of somebody or perhaps the maiming of really expensive electronic equipment? They're the stories that you almost don't call your best friend about because it was really that bad and you don't want to admit it, but you just KNOW she'll think it's hilarious?

Welcome to my Thursday afternoon.  See, my mother-in-law graciously watches my 2 and 3 year olds on Thursday afternoons for me.  I bring them over, put them down for their naps and when she comes home, I'm free to go to work, pick up our teenager or just have a few hours to think clearly.  On the Thursday in question, we arrived early because I had some things to arrange in the kids' rooms.  I set them up in the living room with an episode of Caillou.  I knew I'd be up and down the stairs a few times and since my 2 year old was going through a "Mikko do it" phase, I thought it best to gate them in the living room lest I come back to the top of the stairs to a tumbling toddler with broken limbs.

I had some things to get out of my car, so I snuck out through the garage door we had come in.  Bare foot and empty-handed, I ran out to my car, got the things I needed, and came back to the garage door.  As contained as my kids might be in the living room, that wouldn't stop them from trying climb the stone fireplace, crying because they couldn't see me or any number of other things I hadn't wrapped my head around before I decided to go back outside.  I got back to the door, turned the handle and found that it's locked.  No, seriously.  I locked my two toddlers inside a house that I couldn't get into.  Let that sink in for a moment or two.  Yup, two toddlers.  In a house.  Alone.

I only panicked for like 3 seconds before I started trying to figure out how the eff I was going to get back into that house.  I pretty quickly set aside smashing a window because I thought my in-laws would frown on that approach.  I frantically dug around for the spare key that had been moved since the last time I used it.  Finally, I gave up and ran around the house to the window where I could at least see the kids.

I didn't want them to get scared, so I tried not to sound as freaked as I was.  Although my cell phone was locked in the house with my kids, I had my work phone in the car.  And I used to think it was a bit frivolous to have two cellular telephones to keep my personal and professional life separated!  I grabbed that and called Kaia over to the window, through which she could just barely hear me.  She came when I knocked, thankfully.  I had her go get my phone and come back.  There was an amusing exchange where I tried to call her while shouting through the window explanations as to how to answer the iPhone.  She finally answered, while looking at me outside from her spot at the window, and I asked her to try and push the gate over.  I figured if there was a way to get them to the garage door, I'd talk her through opening the garage door and letting me back in.  It was an ingenious plan until she replied, "Not right now, Mommy.  I'm watching Caillou," and just like that she put the phone down on the window sill and turned back to her show.  By this time, my 2 year old had realized I was outside.  He thought it was a super game of peek-a-boo.  Unfortunately, every time he went to hide, I frantically knocked at the window trying to get his attention back.  That kid is a tornado and I couldn't imagine the damage he might be doing.  Thankfully, he liked peek-a-boo enough that nothing was broken or colored on.  I did have to coax him down from the entertainment center at one point, but he hadn't knocked down the tv yet.  After Kaia's show ended, and I wasn't there to start a new one, she came back to the mommy-at-the-window show.  She wanted me to put a movie in.  She kept bringing DVDs to the window and asking to watch them.  I kept telling her I couldn't put them on . She got bored with that and decided to stack them in front of the window until my view was blocked.  I had to pound on the window to knock them down so that I could see what I had no control over and she just kept putting them back up.  Awesome.

About 25 minutes after I managed the ridiculous, my mother-in-law came home to save the day.  I rushed in and hugged them both.  They were, of course, oblivious.  They went down for their naps like normal and I opened a bottle of wine before 4:00 p.m.  I called my mom and she said very helpful things like, "You know, this is probably the worst thing you'll ever do as a parent" and "At least you will probably never do it again."  I should hope so...and not.  My sister laughed.  My husband pointed out that I should carry a purse (I don't)...because normal, not paranoid people, carry their purses from the house to the car every time they have to run out for something silly?  Oy.

It was a rough one with a happy ending.  So, today's lesson is that no matter what bumble-headed idiocy you might have committed today, I bet you managed to avoid locking yourself out of a house that you've locked your children into.  Take some solace in that.  You've got me beat.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

My kids own me so bad

So I might have been FB venting about how difficult my kids have been the last 24 hours.  I like to think I'm one of those who 'rarely posts this kind of thing,' but who am I kidding?  FB is really only good for complaining about shit, bragging about shit and spewing political shit.  So, back to my complaint.  A wise friend of mine joked (?) that, "Your kids own you so bad."  OMG, she's so right.

It really hit me on the way home from the gardens today, when my daughter cried for twenty. five. minutes.  Over what injustice, you ask?  I wouldn't turn off the radio.  See, I started to get wise last night.  It starts out with petty little bribes, like "Oh, you don't want to put your jammies on?  Let's turn on your favorite show while we change you!"  "Oh, you don't want to listen to this song?  Let's find something you like!"  "Want one of those things that Mikko has?  Let's see if he'll share (he always will)?"  I woke up some time last week and realized that despite my de facto ban on princesses, somehow, one slipped through and she's inhabiting my preschooler.  DAMN!

Another wise friend of mine recently said something to the effect that life is much easier when we figure out that EVERYONE is winging it.  It's true.  I don't have a clue what I'm doing!  I have a sweet happy kid one week, even if bribes are to thank, and this week I have a Gorgon!  And, apparently, bribes are to blame!

So what do I do now?  Apparently I just make her cry.  I might take my kids to the liquor store later and make them buy me wine.  Lots and lots of wine.