Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Christmas at the Cannadays....

We have this bad habit of putting things that need to go down to the basement on the washer and dryer.  It's lazy, it creates clutter, but Kev and I both do it frequently.  Case in point, last night, after Kevin touched up the red paint (this is key....RED PAINT) in the kids' room, he put the paint can on the washer to bring downstairs.  Now I have this bad habit of putting things that were previously piled on the washer and dryer onto the stairs to bring downstairs.  At no point does it occur to either of us that it might just make sense to put shit away in the first place.

So last night, as I'm doing laundry, I put said red paint can on the top step.  I considered that, if anyone knocked it down the stairs, namely my three year old tornado, it would be an epic disaster.  Now, you know where this is going, but let me take you there....

We had neighborhood Christmas here last night.  Four families, six children, mine with a strict 8:00 p.m. bedtime, gathered at 9:00 p.m. to exchange gifts and enjoy our other "family."  I was drinking by 8:00 because I made the mistake of telling the kids at 6:00 that we were having company three hours later.  They were driving me nuts.  They were also tired, slap happy and maniacal.

So, as our company trickled in and more children arrived, my kids got SUPER nuts and the other kids weren't far behind.  Kevin had the wise idea to send the hyper kids into the kid-friendly, leaving the upstairs adult-friendly, basement.  And that's when it happened.  Red. Paint.

One of the girls comes to find me and tells me.  The paint had gone down the stairs, opened as it had in the nightmare scenario (perhaps vision?) I had considered when I put it down, and spilled all over the landing.  I'm not sue who all walked through the paint on the floor, but there are tiny red footprints all over the basement.  There were big red streaks all over the hallway until we captured the cat culprit and washed his paws (this is during a party, I remind you).  There was a time when one could find all of the men of the party scrubbing red out of the upstairs carpet, where we cared more that there was paint and we had a chance in hell of getting it out of the carpet, unlike the basement landing....

Mad props to my husband for not murdering me on the spot.  Ha!  Actually, when he wasn't terribly angry at me for my bonehead move putting the paint on the floor in the first place, I made the joke that he probably wasn't going to murder me after everyone went home either, but that if he did, he'd probably do it at the bottom of the stairs where there was already a big red paint splatter.

At 12:30 a.m. I ran to Walgreens to replenish our supply of carpet cleaner while Kevin scrubbed diligently at the footprints.  I can't imagine what the clerk thought of my red stained shirt, my raw, red hands and my four bottles of carpet cleaner, plus coffee.  When he asked what I was up to, I explained what happened. "Sure, lady," I'm guessing he was thinking.

My wonderful neighbors took it in stride.  They helped clean, they laughed at us, and we enjoyed our night nonetheless.  Whoever is hosting our New Years party, though, should probably take note.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

The Mommy Standoff

Let me preface the following by saying that, I have a bunch of mommy friends that I love dearly.  Generally, though, I find other moms terrifying.  I imagine them scrutinizing my kids' appearances (why, yes, that IS snot running down my kid's nose!), their comparison of the kids' behaviors and my handling of it, and the totally understandable but completely contemptible "protect-my-own-above-all-else" instinct.

On runaround days, when we have an hour to kill here, forty-five minutes there, I like to try and find a fun non-car ride activity to entertain my little people.  Today, we went to the McDonald's playland, which is kind of like Mecca for kids.  Not surprisingly, it was packed with screaming kids that quickly absorbed my own.  There was an employee patrolling the kids' area and insisting that the sockless tots sit down, as per the "you must wear socks" rule.  Now, I'm so far from a germaphobe that I actually considered protesting the requirement that my four-year old and her eighteen classmates each bring TWO antibacterial hand gels as part of their school supplies, but I'll admit that a bunch of kids with bare feet, around food, and playing at a place like this kinda grosses me out.  So I have a strict "you must wear socks" policy for my own kids, along with  "no fighting/pushing/hitting/pinching/scratching/kicking/generallybeinganasshole" and "when I call for you, DO NOT make me come up there because contrary to perhaps many adults, I WILL fit" rules.

Because of the day's torrential rains, I happened to have two extra pairs of socks for my kids (see above rule re: socks), that two parents thoroughly appreciated after their little people were chastised and removed from the tubes, tunnels and slides of the Mecca.  One mom in particular was very gracious, that is until Mikko's "pinchy fingers" emerged.  We really should call them his scratchy fingers because that's what the gesture is used for.  He flattens his little palm, curls his fingers menacingly and, I swear, magically grows much sharper nails than a nail-biter can possible boast.

So, it's mayhem in there, but all of the parents are pretty alert to their kid's cries, so imagine my surprise when I recognize my own son, usually an instigator, FREAKING OUT.  Now, I'm not about to suggest that my Rapunzel-loving, sister's princess undies-wearing, snuggle bug sweetie pie is a tough guy, but he's not a big baby, nor is he really ever the one getting hurt because he's kind of a pain in the ass when it comes to other kids, sharing and, well, generallybeinganasshole.  In fact, when one mom apologized earlier because her two-year old had hit him, I think I actually rolled my eyes and said it was probably a good lesson, then proceeded to explain to my son what a good lesson it was to my not-then-crying boy.

So, anyway, I get up to see to my sobbing child and he's crying so hard that I can't understand him.  Finally, I get out of him that, "she [gulp] hit me [sniffle] and so I [sob, gulp, sob] so I [sniffle] so I [gulp] so I hit her next."  I settled him down a bit and told him that when someone hits, he should find someone else to play with, that he does NOT hit back.

As I'm rounding the corner to sit him down at the table for a few minutes after the fray, the mom of the girl involved nearly runs into me with some serious fire in her eyes.  I started to explain and she interrupts and says, "Oh, so HE was responsible?"  I shrugged and repeated what Mikko had said and that I was sorry.  Then the mom gets down on her knees, yanks her daughters hand away from her neck and said, "He CLAWED her up there."  So, in all honesty, she did have a bright red scratch, a telltale sign that "pinchy fingers" made an appearance, and so I said, "Okay, I'm going to get him over here to apologize," because, face it, when your kid manages a cat scratch that might put your pet in trouble with whatever government agency "puts down" animals, he probably should apologize.  And he did.  Politely and sincerely.

The mom stormed off after making a scene to the rest of the people in her party about how she had to leave the room to calm down her poor precious child, with a tone that suggested that the devil himself made Mikko use his pinchy fingers, which frankly might be only slightly more unsettling than his generallybeinganasshole.  And I'm pretty sure that lady hated me right then.  She hated me for getting Surprise! pregnant, for growing a boy, for giving birth to him, for raising him with the absolute intention to hurt her baby some day...and generally for existing.  I sure hope that little girl likes her new pair of socks, courtesy of her attacker (yeah, my son wears Rapunzel socks....so you're in HIS debt).

As the day has worn on, I have gone back to the "we don't ever hit back" moment.  Sure, the scratches look nastier than a simple slap to the face might have looked, but Mikko has maintained over and over that this girl hit him first and he had the bright red cheekbone of someone who has been hit to show for it.

And dammit, I'm pretty sure I handled it all wrong.  I feel like I should have stuck up for my boy with a polite apology to the mother, but reminding her that it went both ways.  I might have won the mommy standoff when that mom tore around the corner and glared into the tear-stained face that was tucked against my shoulder.  Or maybe someday that little girl will grow up to be a drama queen who badgers her boyfriend and makes a big deal out of everything and my boy will grow up to be the kind of guy who won't take that shit from his girlfriend and he'll take mommy's advice and go find someone else to play with.  Sigh.  Raising kids is hard.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Moving sucks when you have little kids...or just generally

So we've all had to move, right?  First we move out of our parents' house, maybe into the dorms or our first crappy apartment.  Then we move once a year for seven years, each and every year that we're in college and law school.  Wait, what?  That was just me?  Don't tell me dad, who graciously moved me every time!  But seriously, you all know how bad moving sucks.  Now imagine it with kids.  Now imagine it with two kids under the age of five.  Now imagine trying to sell your current home, while searching for your future home and juggling all of the timing and financing and showings.  And did I mention that you're also supposed to imagine it with two kids under five?  And with a job.  I'm about to drop dead from exhaustion.

I wish I were a Hollywood type so that I could hire someone to watch  my kids, buy a house on my behalf, move my shit and sell my old house after I'm gone....also, so that I could take a hospital vacation and call it "suffering from exhaustion and dehydration."  Come on, you know you've thought of how blissful it was/would be to have a second kid and be "stuck" in the hospital with someone to take care of said second kid for two days, while leaving First Kid at home.

So we're looking for a home we can stay in for a long time.  While we're not too picky about school districts, they factor in.  We want a yard, enough bedrooms, a basement rec room, etc.  I started out just wanting a "house."  It's gotten so much harder.  So while I spent countless hours emailing my real estate agent or mortgage broker and perusing the Multiple Listing Service, I have spent less time enjoying the little beasts I'm trying to find more space for!  I miss them.

Here are some choice moments over the past few days that I believe are directly related to my elsewhere attentions.  Today, Kaia dressed herself sans supervision.  She came out in a black and white knit skirt over jeggings, a short-sleeved yellow t-shirt and neon yellow socks.  It was epic.  Last night, as I finished cleaning and staging for today's showing, I literally chased the kids around for an hour, insisting that they only play with one toy and when they were done they had to put it back.  That actually seems like something I should always do, but I sort of like the peace and quiet of letting my kids get their way.  When my agent stopped by for a walkthrough yesterday and commented on the Easy Bake Oven, I quipped, "Yep, two bedrooms, five people and at least one of every toy known to man!" Today, we've got a 7:30 p.m. showing (and a 7:15 p.m. bedtime), and I'm not going to let them step one grimy little foot in that place!  I'm treating the monkeys to a McDonald's trip, wherein they will be allowed to play as much as they want and eat as little as they want.  I might even get them chocolate milk.  And if we need to waste more time, I scoped out a nearby ice cream place.  Because I wouldn't have gotten away with putting them in storage, I have two garbage bags of stuffed animals ("friends") in the trunk of my car.  When Kaia gets home from our adventure tonight, she's probably going to flip out.  Although we were out of milk and juice when Kevin asked about groceries yesterday, the only thing I asked him to pick up was alcohol.  I am making mental plans to drink heavily as soon as this showing is over.

Some day, I will look back on this experience fondly, but mostly because I will never have to do it again with two children under the age of five.  Kids, man, they make shit hard.

Friday, March 22, 2013


Kaia is enrolled to start 4k in the fall of 2013.  Like all mothers, I waffle between really excited and really sad about it.  I can't believe how big she's getting, but I am so excited for her to start this next big phase of her life.  She's articulate and bright and I'm excited for her to have someone who can sit down and teach her how to use her abilities.  As a working mom, I don't feel like I adequately do.

So, I was really excited this morning for her 4k screening. She hadn't been in the school yet, but to drop off her registration in the office.  She hadn't met her teacher yet.  I was excited for her to do all of these new things!  Unfortunately, she'd been saying she didn't want to go as I mentioned it here and there in the days before.  Last night she told me she was a little scared and that she wasn't brave like Mikko.  I figured this was all pretty normal kid anxiety.  She's always with family, so I was prepared for the idea that a bunch of new teachers and kids would be a little daunting.  I was not prepared for the actual event.

We walked in to school and stopped in the office.  Obviously, I had failed to notice the three large, colorful signs directing us to the left.  Sigh.  So we went down the hall and met a staff person looking to take Kaia's picture.  She refused to take off the coat that she had two minutes before refused to put on.  She refused to put on the sunshine that bore her name in big bold letters.  She refused to let me put her down (actually crumpled to the floor like a tantruming two year old when I set her down).  Then, when the photographer relented and said I could stay in the picture, she wouldn't turn her head toward the camera.  Step one:  epic fail.

The room was set up in stations with five teachers.  Each station had a "game" to help gauge readiness as to a number of things.  The first teacher brought us over, picture failure aside, and sat us down. She complimented Kaia on her sparkley shoes.  She asked about her bear.  When she asked Kaia her name, Kaia said, "Mama do it."  This kid never calls me Mama.  In fact, as often as not lately, she calls me Ma or Mom.  She was baby-talking.  For a kid who says things like, "We have to hurry before the guests arrive" and "Mommy, it's polite to put our napkins on our lap at the restaurant," baby talk is a rarity.  Even when she was a baby she was articulate.  Although she came around and participated in two of the games, that's all she was willing to do.  Table one:  epic fail.

And then she was done.  Everything was "Mama do it" or some unintelligible nonsense.  The teacher suggested she take a break and go play with the toys, that we'd come back to it.  I left her playing with the toys for a few minutes to get a cup of coffee.  Of course, in all of my discomfort at how things were going, I accidentally slammed the door on my way out.  And back in.  Sigh.  After that, her 4k teacher brought her over.  She asked her about colors and body parts.  Kaia said nothing and hit her face in my hair.  Table two: epic fail.

Her teacher finally said that maybe we should try it on the retest day and that if she wasn't going to participate, she'd just get marked as unable to accomplish all the tasks.  We had been dismissed.  Can you get kicked out of kindergarten before you're even formally registered for school?  Indeed you can, my friends.  Tables three through five, unattempted:  epic fail.

I took Kaia out in the hallway to give her a pep talk.  Now, mind you, she was misbehaving a little in my mind, but she was also obviously uncomfortable.  Part of me wanted to threaten punishment, but part of me was trying to be understanding.  Frankly, with four or five moms standing in the hallway that suddenly went silent the minute Kaia started saying, "No.  I won't do it.  I don't want to talk to the teachers and I don't want to leave.  I want to play," I wasn't about to embarrass myself any further by saying anything else that would be met with my child's new version of "discussion."

I made some awkward joke about how we were leaving, "kicking and screaming if that's absolutely necessary," for the benefit of the moms who were all watching me (read=judging me).  Thankfully, she came willingly.  I picked her up, turned my back on those moms and started crying.  I hadn't even made it out of the damn building.  I didn't yell.  I'm not sure what good that would have done.  I told her I was very disappointed and that I was very, very embarrassed.  She sat pretty quietly for the remainder of the drive.

When we got back to Grandma's to pick up little brother, she was extra clingy.  I didn't want to pick her up. That finally made her cry.  "I just want to snuggle Mommy!"  Ugh.  On the one hand, I felt sickly satisfied that she felt bad.  On the other hand, when I feel bad, all I want to do is to snuggle my babies, so I get what I was taking away.  Eventually I relented and she apologized for being naughty.  And here we are, at home, and I'm still thoroughly embarrassed both by her behavior, by our dismissal and the fact that today, my kid was that kid and that is why the number #19 reason it sucks to be a mom is public humiliation.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Reason #478 that it sucks to be a mom

Yeah, yeah, yeah, I know there are a lot of wonderful, sugary-sweet reasons that people love being Mommy.  Although, honestly, a lot of my reasons relate to how funny my daughter thinks the word "butt" is.  I mean, this kid regularly tells me that she wants to eat my butt in that weird voice kids do when they're trying to make sure you know they're telling a joke when they really don't know how to tell a joke.  Anyway, back to why it sucks because that actually sort of rules....

If you've read before, you know I have an almost 3 year old and a just turned 4 year old.  I insist on saying it that way because saying I have a 2.5 year old a 4 year old doesn't do justice to the chaos that is having two kids only fourteen months apart and most people don't assume I was stupid enough to have kids fourteen months apart.  Instead, they give me too much credit and assume I waited the more socially acceptable eighteen to twenty-four months, which is mathematically possible if I say 2.5 and 4.  See where I'm going with this?

One of the joys that comes from having two kids this age is that one is still hanging on to the terrible threes (don't let anyone fool you, the twos don't deserve the title of "terrible" when the threes are yet to come) and the other is just starting.  So imagine your unbearable three year old.  When they're at their worst, they give you like ten minutes of normal kid for every hour of monster, right?  Well, when one of my monsters is giving me my ten minutes of "I better drink/eat/shower/breathe/work/etc. now because you're not going to let me later" time, the other picks up the slack.  If someone is in a bad mood at my house, it's like a black cloud hanging over the entire block.  Beware.

Well, Kaia was in monster mode the other night.  Mikko recently picked out his very own frilly, pink Rapunzel nightgown.  He calls it his "knit-gone," which cracks me up every time.  Actually, maybe it's my bruiser son in a short pink nightgown with lace that makes me laugh, but it's hard to say.  Kaia wanted that nightgown.  Mind you, she's wearing Mikko's 2T Thomas and Friends jammies, so it's not like she's not stylin'.  She just wants everything that anyone else has, especially if THEY like it.  After telling her no about a dozen times, she says, "I'm taking those jammies from Mikko and I'm going to wear it and I'm going to take it away and I don't care."  Frankly, I stayed pretty calm for that nonsense.  I think she would struggle to take Mikko down at all, much less if he knows she is going to try and take away his precious 'Punzel.  I think my reaction was probably to laugh and say, "Oh is that right?" while I watched her do exactly nothing to steal said jammies.

After that, though, we got into the "I'm not going to do anything you say."  Need to go potty?  "NO!"  Come brush your teeth.  "NO!"  Fine, time to go to bed then, if you're not going to cooperate.  "NO!"  Then the pinchy fingers made an appearance.  She sort of claws up her hand in a very mean and intense fashion and then claws at anyone in her path, usually Mikko.  I guess I should probably call it the claw, but that conjures fun tickle fights with Jim Carry in Liar, Liar, rather than my kid behaving like a brat.

So Mikko got cut.  I think she lunged at his jugular and while her pinchy fingers weren't sharp enough to do any damage to his neck, they sure did a number on my patience.  I yelled.  She dissolved into tears and sheepishly climbed into bed.  I caved and snuggled her until she settled down, telling her that while it's not okay to scratch her brother, she doesn't need to cry, blah blah blah, confusing, emotional mother stuff, blah blah blah.

So, finally, all is quiet and I've sung some Miss Saigon and Les Mis, using a perhaps too broad interpretation of the word "lullaby," and I get up to turn out the lights when Miss K says, "Mommy, you don't like me anymore, you only like Mikko."  Stab. Me. In. The. F-ing. Heart.  So of course I talked to her about why I yelled at her and why I was defending Mikko and why it's not okay to scratch, but that I'll never stop loving her or liking her, no matter what.  Sadly, I will never unhear those words.  And because I have a daughter and I was once a teenage girl, I know that this is just a toe dipped into the ocean of horrible things my child will say to me one day that I will never unhear.  And this is why being Mommy sucks really, really bad.

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Sock Fight

My daughter loves to go places.  It doesn't really matter where.  She's just about as happy with the grocery store as a trip to the zoo.  So, after a rainy day stuck inside, I decided to take her shopping.  Shopping alone with  Kaia is a treat for me, as I normally take both kids just about everywhere.  Imagine, if you will, pulling up to Target at any time of any day of the week, because around here, there are so many stay-at-home moms hitting Target in their yoga pants that it might make your head spin.  It's winter here, so if it isn't snowing, it's sloppy.  My kids refuse to wear jackets.  R.E.F.U.S.E.  They're not supposed to wear the big puffy ones anyway because, apparently, they're unsafe in carseats because the compression (of the puffy jacket) that would occur in an accident could render the carseat straps too loose.  Anyway, back to the kids.  Regardless of whether we get shoes on before we leave, they'll be off by the time we arrive.  I get jacketless Kaia's shoes back on, pull her out of the car, after asking four times whether she's going to bring her "friend" in with her or leave him in the car.  Usually stuffed animals come in, but she doesn't like it when they get snow on them, so this can be quite a discussion.  By the time we're over by Mikko, his shoes are off and I'm dragging Kaia because for some reason all small children think it's really inconvenient to hold hands in the parking lot, despite the risk of certain death by car...or so we moms believe.  We get Mikko out, I am still dragging Kaia from behind while trying to lift Mikko up over the puddles he so desperately needs to jump in.  By the time we get into the store, the discussion f who will sit where has already dissolved into arguments and I dump them wherever I want because they'll bitch no matter what we decide.  And that's just getting inside!  You get the point.  One-on-one Target time is peaceful.

We strolled through the aisles of Target.  I let her pick out some "black and white" trail mix.  By the way, chocolate or yogurt covered raisins and peanuts are AWESOME!  I complained that I should have gotten a cart because my basket was heavy and she immediately dropped her trail mix into the basket and tried to take it from me.  She dropped it, of course, but we laughed.  She asked permission to hide and then squealed when I found her.  She was so good.  There was no fighting with her brother to sit in the front of the cart (or the back...whichever he'd want, that's what she'd fight for).  She had my full attention, so there was no shouting, no whining and no fussing.  We were having fun.  Despite it being late afternoon, and prime time for meltdowns and Jekyll/Hyde situations, I decided to stop at another store.

I've been practicing more yoga and needed at least one more pair of pants...for yoga, not for Target.  I recognize the irony that I had been shopping at Target in my yoga pants, but I had really been at yoga earlier that day.  I swear.  As soon as we had parked, she said she had to go to the bathroom.  Gauging whether we should go to Starbucks, where I know they'll have a bathroom or chance it at Sports Authority where they might have a bathroom, I promised Kaia I needed only one thing and asked if she wanted to go potty first.  Because it was raining, I was really hoping we didn't  need to make the extra stop.  Wrong choice.  She said she could wait, so into Sports Authority we went.

I picked out five things before Kaia reminded me that I said I was only getting one.  She was hopping around in the universal potty dance, so I set my purchases down and we went to find the bathroom.  Back in the yoga section, I picked up my things and we went to check out.  I was feeling pretty smart right about now because I'd picked up two shirts that Kaia really liked, one yellow.  I told her she could wear it as soon as we get home.  If you've ever shopped with a preschooler (at least mine), you'l know that every time you go somewhere, they have to ask for something.  Probably ten somethings.  Usually, the something is colorful.  Almost always, it's something they already have four of.  Definitely always, it's something they Do. Not. Need.  It's like a rule or something.  So with my yellow shirt in hand, I was feeling pretty clever, having killed two birds with one stone.

I was feeling smart until we walked past the socks, that is.  Yes, socks.  There they were, seven pair of socks in rainbow colors, Roy G Biv, himself.  She was awestruck.  Then she was a puppy, begging for a treat.  Then she was a lawyer, justifying her position.  Then she was obstinate and there she stayed.  Even the teenage boy working the counter commented.  You know the type, the kid who blushes when girls talk to him, who would rather be playing video games in his basement, the guy who only says "Did you find everything alright" only because he's expected to and not because he wants to have any further conversation with you at all.  Even he said, "Wow, she really likes socks, hey?"  I laughed and said, "Yeah, she's a marketer's dream...just make it bright and colorful."  We completed our transaction, during which time checkout boy answered a call, took my information down for an I'm-sure-super-valuable-frequent-purchasers-reward program (which I am not), rang up all five of my "just one" things and the kid was still talking about the socks.  I had long since explained that she has about 30 socks and that these were adult socks.  I "fireman carry" throw her over my shoulder and try to make a game out of leaving the store so that I am not further embarrassed by her new, and growing louder, obsession with socks.

We get out to the car, where it's now raining, and she decides it's hissy fit time.  She would not let me belt her in.  I'm feeling pretty calm, so I say, "Fine, when you're ready, I'll strap you in and we'll head home."  Talk about underestimation.  I hop on my phone, text Kevin and let him know the scoops, FB about the nonsense, respond to the comments I get and mostly ignore that she's blabbering on and on and on and on and on and on and on about those socks.  I explain again and wait politely.  I wait some more.  Then I firmly say, "We are not getting socks today.  The sooner you are ready to get strapped in, the sooner we can head home."  She continues with some form of , "Socks, socks, socks, blah blah blah, socks, blah blah socks...., etc."  We sat there for no less than 20 minutes and I was sincerely regretting not having gotten some tasty caffeine before the sock fight.

Finally, she accepts that I have had too many years to cultivate my stubbornness for her to win this one and she stops talking about those freakin' socks.  Instead, she decides she needs Noodles.  Oy.  She argued that one until she pouted herself to sleep...securely strapped in by her seatbelt.  Mommy 1, Kaia 0.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Winner of the Mean Mommy award

My daughter is obsessed with stuffed animals.  I know you're thinking, "Yeah?  So is every kid."  Oh yeah?  Check this out:

This isn't all of them because I can't seem to find the subject of this blog post.  Ironically, that's what got me the award in the first place, a missing "friend."

About a year ago, I started squirreling away stuffed animals that I didn't see getting a lot of action.  I amassed a half a closet full of wayward friends.  Scout and Violet were some of the first victims of Operation Pare Down the Ridiculous Number of Stuffed Animals Laying on the Floor by Kaia's Bed.  My kids had a My Pal Scout and a My Pal Violet.  For those of you who don't know, they're interactive dogs in green and purple.  They can be programmed to say your child's name, put it in a song, share their favorite food and play with your kid.  When they were super little, they kind of played with them, but hardly ever despite my confidence that they were awesome toys.

I am not exaggerating when I say the NEVER asked for those freaking dogs.  So after about six months in isolation, I put together a box of friends to take to Goodwill.  A few months ago, Kaia randomly asked me for "that purple friend that says Kaia and sings."  I played dumb and said, "Huh, I have no idea where Violet is." That was satisfactory until about a week ago.

We're in the car, on the way to Grandma's, when Kaia asks again about the purple friend.  I play dumb long enough to realize I wasn't going to get away with it this time.  So I say, "Kaia, Mommy gave Scout and Violet to some kids who don't have as many friends as you and Mikko do.  You didn't play with it much, so I thought someone else might really love it and you wouldn't miss it since you have so many other friends you really love.  I'm sure we've made another child really, really happy."  Read:  guilt, justification, excuse, plea.

She wanted to know who had it, when she would get it back, what they were doing with it, where it was....  Then she wanted to know WHY her Mommy would give away her toys.  She really loved Violet, you know?  That first fifteen minutes of honesty was brutal.  She pouted the rest of the ride and wouldn't tell Grandma what was wrong when we arrived.  I explained, feeling awful.  After that, although she's talked about it a few times since, it has really died down.  I thought maybe she'd forgiven me or at least forgotten.

That is, I thought she'd forgiven me until last night.  Grandma and Grandpa were here babysitting and Kaia went to look for her favorite Dora jammies at bedtime (in the hamper because that's just what she does) and couldn't find them.  Guess what she told Grandma Tiny?  "Mommy probably gave them to some other kid!"


Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Why mothers drink wine and how, even after a girls' night out, our children still manage to kill the buzz

It sounds like the title to a Fall Out Boy song, right?  Unlike many FOB titles, though, this song, ahem blog, is actually about boozing and buzz-kills.  Kinda.

See, I went out tonight with a dear friend of mine, someone I see far too little of.  We went to a restaurant catering to stereotypical women who drink wine.  Neither this friend nor I are that stereotypical....well, at least when it comes to wine.  She opted for a sangria.  Okay, so I had wine in an oh-so-cliche move, but I did decide on a flight, so I didn't just have a glass of wine.  I had four.  I'm still grinning to myself about it.

As women do, we moaned a little about our lives, fretted about the impossible balance between our personal  (motherhood) and our professional personas, and talked about those things we all catch up on when we haven't seen each other in too long.  Then we moved on to the real stuff.  We talked about our feelings on motherhood, our children's less-than-perfectness, and the decisions that have brought us to these places in life that encourage us to drink four glasses of wine (me) or one, modest glass of sangria (her).

By the end, I had decided several things.  1.  I should really drink more.  Not just at home, but out in public!  A glass of wine (or four) really loosens me up to the shit that I really want to talk about.  It also allows me to throw my head back and laugh at my nonsense life in a way I haven't been able to do since I had kids.  2.  We. Are. All. The. Same.  I don't mean that in a non-PC, we can't give special people special allowances kind of way, but when it comes right down to it, our problems are different, our circumstances vary, but we moms really all deal with the same frustrations and the same real desire to sit at home in sweatpants instead of skinny jeans.  Admit it.  You know you want to.  3.  Good friends are too good to see too little of.

Oh, and 4.  No matter how much fun you have out with your girlfriends, you WILL have to go home and reality WILL kick you in the throat.  No, seriously.  I got home and went in to give each of my sleeping angels a kiss.  I left before bedtime, something that I very rarely do and always feel incredibly guilty about.  So I covered my little man up and brushed his forehead with a kiss and moved on to my girl.  I pulled the covers up ever so gently to her chin.  She blinked a little and I smiled down at her.  I imagine this moment in my head now, now that my four-glasses-of wine-buzz is gone, like it would be filmed for a movie - I'm too close, so my features are distorted.  My grin is all crazy and clown-like (ie, buzzy and scary).  I smile down at her and say "I love you," but she probably only notices my thick tongue and, in her sleepy stupor, is really just plain creeped out by me hovering over her face trying to kiss her.  And she FREAKS out.  She sobbed for 10 minutes about wanting mommy while I held her and tried to convince her that despite my two hours of blissfully adult conversation, palatal indulgence (because let's be fair, when the kids come out to dinner, I don't get to order seared Ahi tuna), and a limited moments to pretend I am the woman I was before I became "Mommy," that I was, indeed, Mommy and I was right here.

And I am.  Becoming Mommy really always brings us back around to just that.  And while wine and good, honest conversation will always be too seldom had and too short-lived, it is always with good reason that we moms stay home to rush in every time our little ones whimper for us.  It's because we're good at being moms, despite missing the women we were sometimes.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

The things I learned on my first solo trip (with kids) to Costco

1.  If my head weren't screwed on tight, I'd surely lose it.

Yesterday, my mother-in-law treated my husband and me to a Costco membership, as part of our Christmas gifts.  I have been looking forward to having free reign inside this store since the first time I visited.  So much Coca-cola!  As a mom trying to feed my family in a healthy but not organic expensive way, I can't beat the bulk frozens and Cheerios.

Yesterday, after I signed up and had my membership card photo taken, I promptly lost said membership card.   I'm fairly confident that the checker didn't give it back to me, but who am I kidding?  That's just as likely as a number of other alternatives, like it's in one of the bankers boxes full of files in my trunk or in my kids' hamper.  Stuff happens when you have littles.

I called this morning and was advised that they immediately shred any lost cards they locate, so I decided to brave it on a Sunday morning to get a new card and take a little more time to wander.  Bad idea.

2.  Falling on your ass in public is still pretty embarrassing, even when you're a "grown up" with two kids in tow.

I was pretty sure that being an adult would make me impervious to embarrassment.  I mean, not all kinds, of course, but the kind where my teenage self would have reddened, looked around to see who saw, and come up with something witty to say within 3 seconds to deflect from my gaffe.  Untrue, in case you haven't had the pleasure of the experience!

My little guys are 2.5 and 3.5.  They're both willing to be held as often as not and, assuming they won't always think I'm the greatest thing since Elmo, they won't always want me to hold them either.  So when they ask, I'm more than happy to oblige.  Unfortunately, there are two of them and one of me, a fact they are keenly aware of!  Mikko kind of requires holding at big stores where I have to stand still in line, otherwise I will lose him.  He was also a little sleepy, so wanted some snuggles.   Kaia was feeling a little cuddly too and more than a tiny bit annoyed that Mikko was being held and she was not.  I tried taking turns until Mikko started running off.  So I sucked it up, leaned down instructed them to hang on tight and dragged them both up, one on each hip.  That lasted for about 3 minutes before I was exhausted and I went to squat down and let them each sit on my respective knees.  Somebody moved, my feet slipped on the water from the snow melting from my boots (did I mention this line-waiting lasted about 10 minutes) and I was on my ass.  Perhaps mercifully, no one ran to my rescue.  So I laughed and went back to making the kids take turns.  I think they decided to give me a break at that point.  It didn't last.

3.  No matter how many samples there are, two kids will not last an hour at the store when they're sitting next to each other in the cart.

This really doesn't require much explanation.  Kids hit and push each other in close proximity, especially when that lasts a long time.  My little beasts are no exception.  I'll let you use your imagination.  Unless you have two kids 14 months apart, I assure you that the reality was worse.

4.  They will be DONE about three minutes before you're done, and that will extend the whole process at least another five.

Costco has this hyper-efficient system wherein you go to the left and your cart goes to the right, so the checker can put your purchases right back in it.  My kids aren't awesomely behaved, so I wasn't about to let them put an entire grocery belt between us.  So I pulled them both out of the cart after emptying it of all of our items.  By the time I had Kaia out, Mikko was already climbing over the side.  I had both of their hands and shuffled them slowly forward.  Then I realized we were in front of the card reader and the lady in front of us hadn't paid yet, so I shuffled them back.  Kaia stumbled (although she didn't fall) and started sobbing.  Like my-mommy-just-yanked-my-arm-out-of-the-socket sobbing.  Oy.  I hadn't pulled her at all, just walked backward while holding her hand, but she did stumble and I wasn't sure if she had hurt herself.  When she finally settled down enough to answer me between sobs she said, "I wasn't ready to move backward."  Tantrum over, cheeks awash with tears and, as always with a kid who refuses to wear barrettes, hair matted to hear wet face, I promised her she could ride on the back of the cart if she would please just cooperate until we got out to the car.  We finally made it out of there alive.  Once we were in the car and the kids were finally quiet, munching on some Pirates Booty, I decided that...

5.  Once you have kids, you really only enjoy doing things when you're completely alone.