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.