Friday, September 30, 2011

I've Done This

I've gone weeks, maybe even over a month, without washing my children's bedding.

Geez.  Give me a break.  There is just so much to wash that sometimes I completely forget about their bedding.  Alternately, there was a two to three month period where I washed their bedding in hot water every Saturday because I read that was a good strategy against...oh, I can't remember now...something about the flu or the common cold.  Geez, there's just so much to remember about taking care of kids that sometimes I completely forget what kind of perfect mother stuff I am supposed to be doing on a daily (weekly, monthly...) basis.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

I just used the dictionary

Can't put much of a story together tonight but I would like to share this:

1.  These are paper dolls Tulip made of me and my husband, Gabe.  They are supposed to be from the day we got married - a fairy tale filled with wonder, I'm sure, in Tulip's fantastic imagination.
These renditions are terrific because this particular paper doll set comes with over a dozen dolls of various skin tones and about 300 clothing pieces and accessories.  And, in case you didn't know, Tulip's Papa has a thing for purple shirts.  She must imagine that he wore a purple shirt at our magical wedding.  Of course.

2.  I did use the dictionary tonight.  I was commenting on a friend's FB post and needed to write "margarine".  Yup.  Didn't know how to spell it because I can't think of any other occasion in my life where I needed to spell "margarine".  I try my best to avoid reading the word "margarine".  I love using my dictionary.  It's so...old school.  So renaissance.  (I do know how to spell that - ha!)

3.  I'm happy to announce that since I have started my career as a blogger this summer, I have posted 50 little bitties.  (according to Blogger spell check, "bitties" is not a word but I am making it one)

4.  This is what my husband and I actually looked like on our wedding day.  Compare the hair of the paper dolls with reality.

Monday, September 26, 2011


I'm hiding from my daughter.

Luna has got it in for me tonight.

Monday night is movie night but we got a late start on movie night so it's just "episode" night.  Wolfie wants to watch the next episode of Eon Kid (gotta love Netflix) but Tulip doesn't want to watch it.  Some new scary characters were introduced recently.  She wants to watch The Secrets of the Furious Five - it's 24 minutes long.  Perfect.  Wolfie gets to watch his episode on the computer; the girls settled in front of the tv for Kung Fu Panda.

The big kids know the routine and don't give us any grief.  Pajamas, good-night milk, brush teeth, pee, hugs, kisses, go to bed.  What!?!?!  You're a teacher and an excellent mother; don't you read any books to your children before bed?  YES.  Every single night except movie night.

The big kids go to bed.  Luna is sitting on the bathroom floor for some reason.  Oh wait, the reason is that she's 2.  She tells me she wants to watch Eon Kid.  Oh, poor Luna.  Sometimes we make decisions too fast around her and she's smart enough to know what's going on while she doesn't know what's going on.  You know?

I tell her that she can watch Eon Kid tomorrow after breakfast.  Apparently this is one of Papa's new perks in the morning while getting ready for school.

Luna is thoughtful for 10 seconds and then says...."I want breakfast."

This is hysterical and a complete conflict at the same time.  I try to get her into bed and she tells me at least four more times that she wants breakfast.  I go to Gabe.  I tell him where her head is at.  I am part of a cycle of wants that she can't break right now.  I tell him that he has to rewire her little brain.

He tells me, "Take your wine.  Go in our room.  Close the door - she won't go in there; she'll come out her and I'll put her back to bed." 

I love teamwork.

And wine.

And two-year olds but not necessarily in that order.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

The Gift of the Magi

1.  I have two pair of dressy black pants I wear to work.  Two.  Sometimes I might want to wear these pants to, say, a family party.

2.  One of these pants is that type of cotton where you can wash and dry them, but if you don't remove them immediately from the dryer they are beyond wrinkled.  I don't iron much.  So I have to either remove these pants from the dryer immediately which really can never happen or I have to save them until I want to wear them and put them in the dryer for 10 fluff minutes.  Then remove them immediately.  This is a bit more reasonable since I am usually in the process of getting ready to go somewhere important, like work, and the fact that I am applying mascara in my underwear is a pretty good reminder that I have some pants somewhere - ah ha!  in the dryer.

3.  We have a hamper in our bedroom.  There is also a plastic laundry basket on top of the dryer, in the laundry room obviously, where we put "nasty" stuff such as dishrags, napkins, pee pee stained little pants, etc.

Now that you know all this, do you know where my story is heading?

I found my black insta-wrinkle pants in the dryer when unloading it.  So I folded them neatly and draped them over the edge of the laundry basket, which was empty.  My thought was, "I am going to wear these to the Zellerbration on Saturday so I'll fluff them when we are getting ready to go."

Saturday morning, Luna decided she wanted to wear underpants.  This is a "thing" going on right now.  She was about 90% successfully wearing underpants by the end of summer but then Mama went back to work and the puddles starting appearing so we switched to full-time pull-ups and those of you moms in my position can totally sympathize...right?  When she says she wants to wear underpants, I put her in underpants and attempt to begin all over again with the "You tell Mama when you have to go potty and you can sit on your potty" and "Remember, you are wearing underpants.  No pee pee in your underpants" and "How are those underpants?  Are they wet or dry?  Still dry!  Hooray!" and,  of course "Do you have to go potty?" every 5 minutes and at 4:23 minutes a puddle appears.

And this is what happened.  As I was helping Tulip put on her shin guards because she had a soccer game and I was taking only her because Wolfie and Luna were staying home with Papa and when Tulip and I were to get home we would all have a quick lunch and then get ready to go to the family party (aforementioned Zellerbration) and then we would go and arrive on time looking like a sharp, put-together stylish family and it would all happen just like I dreamed...Luna peed.  Which is a funny looking word when you type it.  It's not so funny when it's one of those waterfall pee pee in your pants moments.  I mean, the underpants absorbed nothing.  She was standing on the step stool in the bathroom pretending to brush her teeth and a torrential amount of pee gushed down and it really was like a waterfall because we could all hear it cascading down the step stool onto the tile.

"I make pee pee!"

I've got a shin guard tucked under my armpit and I'm heading into the girls' room to get a pull-up and a cloth diaper to clean up the puddle.  Gabe to the rescue.  I toss him the cloth diaper, air kisses, thank you's, I love you's, have a good soccer game, and off we go.

After lunch, I go to get my black pants out of the laundry basket to "fluff" dry and see some objects in the basket that were not there this morning.  I see a dish towel, a wash cloth, and a cloth diaper.  A soaking wet cloth diaper which had been touching my black cotton pants.

In addition to being insta-wrinkle cotton, these pants are also mega-absorb pants.  My pants have a wet pee stain the size of a pot roast serving platter.

This is my life...and perhaps a little bit like yours too, huh.

Friday, September 23, 2011

The Soundtrack of My Life

It starts with a conversation I have with myself, in my head, that goes something like, "Hey June, now would be a good time to take that second dose of eye drops."  I've had a nasty eye infection all week and I'm taking antibiotic eye drops three times a day.

So, of course, because I need a moment to myself, a moment I prefer to be uninterrupted, I notice Luna putting stickers on the wood floor while I'm en route to the bathroom.  I decide to deal with the sticker situation "real quick" and don't notice Tulip run into the bathroom.  I set Luna up at the table with paper because, "Stickers are for paper."

"Mama, I'm ready for you to wipe my butt....."

Gabe is cooking dinner.  He has two hard and fast rules while he's cooking dinner.  1) No one plays near the stove, and 2) He will not wipe a butt (unless he is the only home who can wipe a butt).

I take care of Tulip and proceed to wash my hands for longer than necessary because, darn it, I'm about to put in some eye drops.  But there is screaming.  Distress.  I mean, what is going on?  Did Luna pinch her finger in the piano lid?

Luna has a sticker on her finger and she can't get it off.  It gets stuck to her other finger.  And back and forth.  I successfully remove the sticker and place it on the paper I gave her.  I turn because, don't you know, I'm about to go put in those eye drops and Luna squeals, "No, Mama.  Don't go!"  She is so distraught over the stickers; she can't get them off the backing, she doesn't like that orange piece of construction paper I gave her.

I quickly make a grid out of post it notes.  It's genius, really.  Stick individual post it notes on the table.  Stick stickers on the post it notes.  Re-stick the post it notes on the construction paper or just on other surfaces.  Stickers on stickers that can stick and stick again.  Luna is completely satisfied.

I am putting in eye drops.  I hear Wolfie and Tulip playing some game in his room where they take turns spinning on a chair.

"After you, My Damn."

"After you, My Handsome."

I giggle with my eyes and squeeze out the eye drops.  Ineffective.  I put in two more drops.

Luna announces, "Hey guys.  Here I am!'

I've Done This

I've left for work in the morning, only to have already secretly called in sick, checked into a hotel room for the day just so I could take an uninterrupted nap. I've never actually done this.  But I have fantasized about it.

Join me folks - what is one of your parenting fantasies?

Sunday, September 18, 2011

The Negotiator

Having grown up an only child, my children's behaviors towards their siblings are sometimes foreign to me.  They make me think, "Oh, so that's how brothers and sisters do things..."

For example, I never ever had to negotiate.  I also never had to tattle or get tattled on.  Any directing I did was aimed towards my dolls so my make-believe always went the way I wanted it.

Tulip and Luna were playing and sooner or later Tulip hollered, "Mama, Luna won't blabbety blab."  I'm not diminishing Tulip's concern, but it wasn't really a thing.  I've learned to say, "You two will have to work it out."  As a mom with limited personal experience in sibling disagreements, I am apt to jump right in with an incredibly appropriate, gentle, forward-thinking though creative parental tactic.  But one day it hit me...I don't have to do it all.  They are going to be siblings a lot longer than I am going to be their mother.

I overheard Tulip say, "Luna, don't you want to go see Papa?"  How clever.  Send the baby away.  Humph.

Tulip is funny.  She has this tactic where she tells the other person what to say while they're playing.  For example, she might be creating something in the pretend kitchen and she'll say to Wolfie, "Wolfie, I want you to say 'I wish I had some Parmesan toast.'"  Wolfie will say just that and she'll swoop in as the waitress-chef with a fresh batch of Parmesan toast.  She'll follow up with, "Wolfie, I want you to say 'Do you have any tomatoes?'"  while she holds some wooden tomatoes behind her back.

Later today I heard her say, "Wolfie, I want you to say 'Tulip, don't you want to be the first to be served dessert?'"  Oh she is a clever one.

Friday, September 16, 2011

I've Done This

I have, kind of sort of, not fully supervised my children in the bathtub to save my sanity.

Let me explain a few things.  First of all, I have diligently supervised my babies in the bathtub.  Secondly, kind of sort of not supervising does not mean that I leave the area or put on headphones.

So what's this all about, you ask.  It starts with an old friend in Chicago.  Tracy and her husband lived in the same condo building as me and Gabe.  They were the first couple to have a baby, then they moved to Italy.  They had a massive garage sale the summer I found out I was pregnant so naturally I was very curious to see all their baby stuff.  Tracy had tons of SIDS prevention gear.  She touted her gear, all of it - "you definitely need one of these foam wedges for the crib" - that sort of thing.  I was dumbfounded.  I was probably looking at her, dumbfounded, in the middle of a "you need..." rant when she finally just sighed, dropped her shoulders and said, "Okay, what you really need is to know that all mothers have their thing.  You know, a mother's fear.  Mine was SIDS so I bought every anti-SIDS creation out there."

Okay, 6 1/2 years later I get it.  But SIDS was never my thing.  The bathroom is my thing.  And I'm not even all that fearful of drowning as you would imagine a mother's fear of the bathroom might be.  I'm just so anxious about all that hard stuff.  The toilet, the entire toilet, is hard.  Seat, bowl, tank.  The sink it hard.  And it has corners.  The floor is ceramic - it's so damn hard.  The tub is hard.  I just picture children slipping and knocking out their teeth.  Oh!  and that faucet.  Talk about your head-banging, backside-scraping welt maker.  Egads!

Knock on wood (if you can find any in that bathroom) none of my children have ever had a terrible bathroom accident.  But as they multiply and grow larger, the bathroom and bath time becomes a night at the water park.  They are splashing and stomping and diving and sliding.  Literally sliding.  One side of our tub is slightly curved so they stand up, lean their slippery butts against the wall, lift up both feet  simultaneously and whoosh! it's a slide.  It's a total lip-biter for me, that's for sure.

And you know what happens when I'm in there...supervising.  "Look mama!"  "Watch this Mama!"  And it just intensifies.  Each new bathtub stunt has to be grander than the last.  I don't need to watch my children do a jack-knife off the towel rack into the tub.  No no no.

So I wander around the hall, listening and listening and, oh who am I kidding, checking in on them every 2 1/2 seconds and trying again and again to sit on the toilet and watch them play so I really am supervising them.  You worry not.  But I'm just so eager for two things to happen:

1) Splashing only games.  Splash!  Splash like crazy.  Even though I'm irrationally fearful of you slipping, I've got tons of rugs and towels with which to cover the floor so you just go crazy in there and I can sop up the puddles.  Just keep your rear ends and feet down.  (You can even play that game where you pretend to sip bath water, or um, actually drink bath water and you can even, um, play that game where you actually sip bath water and spit it because all of those activities are typically conducted while seated.)
2) The end.  One last, "Be careful, it's slipper!" and then I can breathe a sigh of relief, but not until they are safely traversing the carpeted hallway.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Sugar Booger

Tulip has a stuffed animal, a pink sugar glider, that she named Sugar Booger.  We got it at the Children Museum (in Indianapolis and that place is awesome!) so the name "sugar booger" has been in our family for about two years.

This afternoon I wanted to scoop Luna up onto my lap so I said, "Come here sugar booger."
She said, "I not booger?" with some concern.

I said, "No, no of course you are not a booger.  But you are sweet."
She said, "I sweet.  I sooooooooo sweet!"

Oh, if only I had a nickel for every time I had to hide a giggle when my children were being serious.

Monday, September 12, 2011

The short a

Wolfie explain how bees make honey

Wolfie's reading and spelling homework featured words with the short a sound.

Is it a bag or a bat?

Is it a man or a map?

He had to read questions like this and write the word that matched the picture.

The final question asked him to write his own word with a short a sound.  Now, for some reason one of the first words Wolfie could spell was "bed".  I don't recall doing anything special with this word, or these letters, or this concept.  One day he announced, "I know how to spell bed...b - e - d."  He was also able to spell "go" and "zoo", thus these three words, and his name, became his beginning repertoire of words-I-can-spell.

Now, a year and a half later, he could finally put that special word, bed, to use.  Sort of.

Wolfie said, "Well I know a word, 'bed', and maybe I can put a short a sound in that word."  I asked him to sound it out and he said, "bad" and then smiled for he just made a correct choice, then looked a little concerned and said, "Well maybe I should chose a different word because that word is...uh...a bad word."  And then we laughed and he went with "man".

Saturday, September 10, 2011

On a scale from one to five...

Friday night is typically ice cream for dessert night.  As you can imagine, it is a big deal.  My children loooove ice cream.

Last night my husband brought home Rocky Road ice cream.  Unprecedented.  The children were literally bouncing in their seats as he scooped it into their bowls.  Occasionally they have chocolate ice cream.  It's a super treat to have a marshmallow for dessert.  Now they get both?!? 

When your 2, 4 and 6 year olds are absolutely silent at the dinner table, you know they love the dessert they are eating.  Only the pure bliss of being offered such decadence can cause this kind of silent communal eating behavior.

Papa, proud of himself for being the creator of this awesome experience, asked the crowd how they liked Rocky Road ice cream on a scale of 1 to 5.  First he gave them a brief review of how to rate something on a scale and even offered criteria:
5 - it's the best ice cream ever
4 - it's excellent
3 - it's really good
2 - it's good
1 - I kind of like it

"One!" said Tulip (with a chocolate mustache, chin and cheeks to boot.  plus, her ice cream was gone already)
"Two!" shouted Luna (um...she is two)
"Ten!"  murmured Wolfie with a serious mouthful of ice cream ('nuff said)

Friday, September 9, 2011

I've Done This

I, and I'm ashamed to admit, neglected to buckle in my baby after placing him in the car seat.

I only did this ONCE.  I was so frazzled leaving a family event because really what can be more frazzling to a new mom than interacting with a certain type of family member at a family event.  When we got home and I went to get the baby out of car seat, I realized that he had not been buckled in.  And we had driven on the highway.  For, like, and hour and a half.

I felt awful.  Beyond awful.  Mother fail of the year.  Of the century.  Then I allowed myself to blame my family member who put me into that state of frazzleness.  Yes, yes, I know that I and I alone am responsible for my own feelings but come on, I gotta believe that some of you out there know where I'm coming from and maybe, just maybe, did something just as awful once even though't your fault.

Whew!  That felt good.  Obviously this has been bugging me for over 6 years.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

For My Consideration

Now that I've been back at work for two weeks, there are some things...some behaviors...that I need to consider while reminding myself that I am now "working woman" and not "stay at home summer vacation mother".

For example, I must remember to shut the door when using the bathroom at work.  I hardly ever do this at home.  Also, regarding bathroom behavior, I must remember not to begin unzipping until I am within the private confines of the bathroom.  Likewise, I must remember to completely zip back up before emerging.

I have to think about what I'm going to eat for lunch, like, 6 hours before lunchtime.  I have to prepare this way, way ahead of time.  Do you realize at home this summer I ate hummus and chips for lunch 43 days in a row?

I have to wear a bra.  Every day.

And shave.

And wear a little make up and put a little effort into a hairstyle.

And wear deodorant.  (I mean, there's no masking it with a quick dip in the pool)

I can't lie down on the floor when I am tired.

I can't belch with reckless abandon even if I do say "excuse me" to teach a lesson in manners.

However, I do not have to refrain from singing, "the phone...the phone is ringing..." when my phone rings because 8th graders will chime in with, "there's an animal in trouble...there's an animal in trouble....somewhere".

And, I can be playful because 8th graders like that.

And I can laugh at mildly inappropriate but within reason jokes because 8th graders love that.

And I suppose, if I absolutely needed to lie down for 5 minutes, it would be okay.  Something tells me that a majority of my 8th graders would just lie down on the floor too because 8th graders really love that.

Monday, September 5, 2011

What my kids say now

Luna is into self-decorating.  She also says, "I be careful."  It took me a few days to figure out that she says this to announce that she is, in fact, doing something dangerous.  It makes sense.  We see Luna climbing a chair, reaching up onto the counter, her chair rocking precariously beneath her and we say, "Be careful."  So now, when she stands on a stool (three-legged, meant for sitting at her tea table, not a step stool) to reach up into her closet, she hollers, "I be careful!"

Wolfie uses the term "butt cushions" as if it is a legitimate anatomical reference.  I mean, he's not being funny.  And I have to try really hard to not let him know that he is being funny because then we'll lose that innocence.

Finally, Tulip will begin pre-school this week.  She told our neighbor that she will have a new teacher, Mrs. Engibous, this year.  That's a mouthful.  She heard me say this once. 

Friday, September 2, 2011

I've Done This

When my baby was a newborn I would inhale, deeply, his or her neck cheese funk.

Most times, after using my finger to scrape out the funk that settled in those chubby arm, neck or thigh folds, I would sniff it before wiping it off on a burp cloth.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

First Contact

Many parents dread a call from school.  Don't know how that started but there is a negative connotation to getting a call from a teacher.  There's been a problem, and issue, a disaster...
As a teacher, I suppose I get it.  Making those calls (the problem, the issue, the disaster...calls) are tough but lead to a better tomorrow for the child.

Wolfie decided to buy a lunch at school today.  He hadn't done that yet and he was nervous about getting in a new line.  Changing his routine.  Gabe emailed me at work to tell me that Wolfie had actually gotten pretty upset before getting on the bus but he had given Wolfie a pep-talk.

But then I got an email from Wolfie's teacher.  Being a teacher in the same school corporation, it's super easy for me to be in instant email contact with my children's teachers and vice versa.

She let me know in the email that Wolfie had a tough day.  He was nervous about lunch (we knew that) but he was also upset about something that happened on the playground at recess.  She indicated in the email that she didn't quite get the full story from Wolfie but she felt so bad that his feeling were hurt.

Uh oh.

This is all new to me, to us, as parents.  And the playground can be tough.  Typically everyone is playing but there is other intense stuff kids have to do some sometimes.  Negotiating all that fairness.  Reacting to classmates boundary-free choices.  Words.  Words not monitored by grown-ups.

I get home from work just a few minutes before Wolfie's bus drops him off.  I told Gabe that Wolfie's teacher emailed me about some issue that happened at recess.  We waited for him.  We waited for...the story.

Wolfie said there was some trouble on the playground.  (here it comes)

He said, "I was playing with a friend and...and...and...too many other kids wanted to play with me."

Gabe was standing behind Wolfie and was grinning ear to ear.  I tried to maintain a straight face and asked, "How did that make you feel?"  and followed up later with a, "that feeling is called 'overwhelmed'."  Yes, it became a vocabulary lesson.  What did you expect?

Whew!  The stress of first grade.  I can hear my mother-in-law saying, "It's just starting...."