Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Bribery, Banks, Bikini Diets & Beer

I feel like I pretty much just blinked and June is about over.  This week the oldest two kiddos are in Vacation Bible Camp in the mornings.  All has gone smoothly except the drop-offs for Jimmy.  He is my more sensitive guy who takes a bit longer to adjust to new places and faces.  The start of preschool last year was only difficult for the first day or two so I figured since he’d mastered that, that this would be a piece of cake.  WRONG!  Picture lots of kicking and screaming and tears on days one and two of this week.  That brings us to day three.  I had upped the ante from day 2’s reward which was a triple push pop and the big time bribery for today was getting ice cream and also a trip to the pet store to see the fish(side note: Jimmy pretty much dislikes all other animals). The 2 youngest and I walked Jimmy to his classroom for dropoff with me chanting over and over“Fish and ice cream! Let’s have a good drop off, Jimmy!” sounding like a lunatic.  I handed him off to one of the teenaged leaders as the main adult in charge was busy helping someone else.  Teenage leader sees Jimmy and yells to the adult leader who happens to be her mother: “Mom, Jimmy’s here!”.  Adult leader turns and says: “Oh Jimmy’s here!” and goes into Operation distract Jimmy mode and immediately turns her attention to him.  There were no tears today as I did my best to bolt from the building with Bart and Sawyer.  At pickup, the adult leader informed me that things went better today- hooray!  We hustled to get Josie from her group and headed to Petsmart.
I am a magnet for “helpful people” and as we swarmed the fish section, a clerk overheard me and just popped over to say that she guessed we were “just looking”, but could help if we needed anything which somehow translated into a lesson on several of the fish we like looking at and the proper size of tank.  And now Santa will most likely be bringing an aquarium to our house.  Yes, it’s June…After our thorough inspection and lessons in the fish section, we peeked at the hamsters and guinea pigs on our way to pick up a new collar for Moxie.  As I waited in line, the oldest three ran over to watch at the window of the dog grooming area.  Sawyer as usual was bouncing off walls and the clerk actually asked him to calm down because he said Sawyer “was making the dog nervous”. 
Onto Friendly’s we went to pick out tubs of ice cream- much easier in my mind than eating it there with the four kids by myself.   Ice cream for lunch- why not?  So I am continuing on with my bikini diet.  Last night, the kids and I made a double recipe of chocolate cookies with white chocolate chips in them which went so well with my coffee this morning for breakfast.  I really am adopting the motto that it is really all about the illusion.  For instance, yesterday, I decided to give off the impression that I work out by wearing my yoga/workout capris and a t-shirt.  Reality is that the last time I worked out other than herding children was when I hiked up a mountain for our annual fall family festivus when I was less than a month away from popping out baby #4.  I do think I will be purchasing more yoga pants- they are just so incredibly comfortable and stretchy which is a huge benefit for my current diet…
Apparently I am my own subject in a twisted Pavlovian experiment to train mothers never to take their children to the bank with them as proven by the fact that I have done this twice in the past week while attempting to get my business account in order for my art studio.  My bank goes above and beyond to cater to clients with children.  In addition to the customary lollipops, they also give kids a token to use in the enormous gumball machine which actually dispenses squinky-type figurines.  And if you get there early enough in the day, there are fresh-baked cookies in individual bags on a table near the lobby.  Clearly this should occupy my children for at least five to ten minutes.  But then Jimmy whined because he didn’t get a “boy squinky”.  Josie was fascinated by some sculpture on the wall.  Bart was repeatedly squealing his super high pitched happy baby scream.  Sawyer and Jimmy tried hanging from the elastic line dividers.  As soon as I diverted their attention with blue lollipops, Sawyer plunked one in his mouth and started using the lines as a runway and I had to grab him by the collar of his shirt…literally to the amusement of the young bank teller.  As I got in the car with them to head home, I genuinely felt a strong urge to come home and pop open a nice cold bottle of beer.  Not so sure how it would have looked to the electrician or our builder who are working on the barn/art studio/mancave.  But on second thought, they’ve both been around my children long enough to understand my plight.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

The Twirl Test

For me, a big part of writing this blog is so that I have a place to process everything that is going on in my family’s life, especially when I have weeks like the past couple where I can’t catch my breath, but for a brief moment.  This past Friday was Josie’s kindergarten graduation which in Catholic schools like hers is a big to-do.  I love that her school makes it so special and memorable for the wee ones of the school and it brought back a lot of good memories from elementary school for me.  But I definitely could have done without the parental stress that comes with the end of the school year.  It really comes down to the fact that all these minute tasks that I am sure many prepared people had thought out much sooner than I had, managed to coincide within a one week time frame.  All these tasks really focus on one common goal- celebrating the end of the school year.  Two tasks that weren’t on my list, but that added themselves on were getting new rear brakes for the Gray Goose and going to the doctor for a sinus infection. One big task that was on the list was outfitting Josie for her graduation mass/ceremony.  Two days before the big day, she and I went out to buy teacher gifts and find just the right dress.  The gifts came easily, the process of convincing my six and a half year old that she had found a perfect dress, not so much.  She settled on one by 9 something P.M. which should stand for Past Mental because that is how I felt when we walked in the front door from shopping.  I practically had to force Josie to officially try the dress and shoes on before her little exhausted self was allowed to go to bed.  It was very clear that this dress just wasn’t “it”.  And the quick shoe try on with Josie sitting in the cart was a huge mistake as they slid right off her heels when she walked in them in our hallway. So the next morning, as we drove Josie to school, I asked her what colors she might like for her graduation dress. 
Later on the boys and I headed to Marshall’s where apparently they have decided to “shrink” the carts to be more mod and hip which meant that there was barely room for the baby’s bucket seat and the other two boys had to walk.  Or in their case, run and dart in and out of racks and dodge other shoppers and wipe out on the shiny linoleum floors with their determined, but done mother muttering all sorts of things at them while trying to find a dress and pair of shoes for their sister’s special day.  As luck would have it, there were all sorts of cute dresses in Josie’s size that must have just been stocked and they were crazy low prices $8.99 and $9.99.  I grabbed six of them reasoning that surely she would like or hopefully love at least one of them and that I could either return the rest or convince my husband that since she is my only daughter, she should get to keep the dresses.  I also managed to find a dress for myself despite the boys’ attempts to get us escorted out of the store.  I guesstimated on the shoes which bit me in the butt later since Josie’s toes were stretching off the front of the sandals, but I was able to easily exchange for the correct size without all the kids along later that evening.
Once Josie hopped into the car at pickup, I brought out the bag of dresses for her to look through.  Her impish smile and the way her eyes lit up when she saw the dresses more than made up for my mommy misery at Marshall’s with the boys. When we arrived home, Josie put on quite the fashion show for me.  The best part of it all, the moment I will savor forever like a snapshot in my memory, was the way Josie looked in the hall mirror and did her little twirl test after putting each dress on.  And when she had decided on “the dress”, I can not even describe how happy I felt. 
Now in contrast to my six and a half year old’s twirl test, I had my own sort of dress test.  One that is common to most women- “does this dress make my butt look big??” as I tried to contort the upper half of my body around to see enough of my rear view to be completely assured that the dress kept my butt in check.  And Josie definitely did not ask anyone the next morning when she put her dress on if her panty lines were showing the way I asked A.J. about mine.  Based on how she was climbing the playground in Chik-fil-a with her brothers and cousins after graduation, Josie clearly doesn’t care who sees her panty lines…or her panties.  Note to self- that girl needs to wear shorts under her uniform next year!

Friday, June 1, 2012

Hope for the Humor

This was a snippet of texts back and forth between a close friend and me this morning-
Me: I can’t wait til your little boy is four and a half and comes in the room and tells you such profound things as “Mommy, I just farted outside” or “Mommy, I’m going to fart on the baby’s head” Gotta love boys!
Friend: I’m sure this will come as no surprise, but that actually sounds great
Me: It actually is greatJ
Over the past few months, several friends have announced that they are expecting and one of my best friends had her second baby.  Other close friends are in the midst of the adoption process eagerly awaiting a sibling for their little boy(Side note: if you know anyone who is looking for the most amazing set of parents to adopt her baby, please let me know. Adoption is awesome!).  Last weekend when I was at the Child Life conference, not one, but two of my friends from my past life announced that they are expecting(one with her second child and one with her first baby).  Said friend who is expecting her first caught me so off-guard in my usual sleep deprived state as I was grabbing a coffee that it took me a little longer to notice the cute “I’m pregnant” sign in the photo she was showing me.  Upon noticing the sign and mind you this was the second announcement by a close friend in two days, I was so overcome by emotion(and yes, to all friends and family who know me, I know I am a big crier), I teared up.  There are so many obvious clich├ęd reasons to tear up in joy after a friend or family member announces that they are having a baby or adopting a baby.  But there are also so many teeny tiny, seemingly inconsequential, but incredibly joy-filled reasons that evoke the crybaby in me upon hearing such happy news. 
Above all, my favorites(and there are too many to count) of these reasons, involve the way that having a child in your life instantly cranks the humor notch up a billion times.  Kids are funny.  Whether it is something they do that brings about the laughter, your own reactions to them, or the sheer “I really couldn’t make this stuff up if I tried” aspect of it all, you will laugh so much once these creatures are in your life.  Those moments of laughter are what will get you by in the midst of times when poop is literally hitting the wall(trust me, it will) and you just want someone to give you some RESPECT(it comes slowly but painfully).  A big part of why I am writing this blog is so I can go back over my days and say “oh yeah, that day really sucked, but looking at it now, it was hilarious”.  That didn’t sound so convincing, but if I couldn’t look back and laugh, none of this would be worth it.  And it is worth it and then some.
The moments getting me by this week:
Realizing after several days of being on the receiving end of Josie’s latest retort “Seriously?” in the most snippy of tones, hand on her hip, eyes rolling, that I am the person who taught her that.  Apparently that is my word choice upon one of the kids making a “bad choice”.  Time to find some new vocabulary…
Jimmy’s dance moves that look like a combo of Martin Short’s character Ed Grimley and Elvis(lots of hip action)
Sawyer mimicking the Octonauts’(a Disney cartoon) marching routines
Baby Bart finding his “voice” and his squawks for attention over the roar of his siblings- this child is quickly following in the footsteps of his LOUD sister and brothers.
My hope for all friends and family with/having kids is that they are blessed to find that each day holds hundreds of humorous moments.  Some days you just need to use a really large magnifying glass to find them!