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Thursday, May 26, 2011

A Mother of a Meltdown

  Eww...I just realized I dropped stew on my keyboard yesterday, ick....what was I saying?  Oh yes...meltdowns.  We're not talking about some kind of cooking fauxpax or a lesson in candle making.  We are in fact talking about a good old fashioned tantrum.  The kind of tantrum that leaves you exhausted, wondering somehow if your lack of parenting skills, somehow have resulted in this untethered outburst. 

  There are a couple of different kinds of tantrums that I, myself have been privy to. First,  This is what I call "the undercover tantrum", this is the kind where it's not totally obvious, although there is a lurking stinky attitude.  The grudge holding, stink eye if you will.  The second of these is much noisier,  with the threat of pushing the parent to the very edge of insanity.  In public this type of tantrum is embarrassing to say the least.  You struggle to maintain all composure, but inside you feel the cringe, the looming thought that all eyes are on you, somehow judging your parenting skills.  You somehow manage to whisper through your gritted teeth, "you better get off that floor, before you have a consequence..."   You really have no idea what that consequence will be at that moment, your just trying to get cooperation in a frenzied moment.

  Somehow, the child's attention is diverted...and "poof"...as if someone waved a magic wand....it's over.  We regain composure and move on to the next call of business.  We are a little worse for the wear, a little weather beaten if you will but we manage to pull ourselves together.  You know that if you can hang in there for a little while longer, bedtime will come and all will be well.  The scene in the Willy Wonka movie comes to mind, you know the one where Verruca's dad is trying to reason with her as he sweats it out.  The mom says something like, " happiness and harmony is what matters most with children".  Well we all know how that turned out for Verruca, now don't we?  I myself have given into the bribe, in a desperate plea I have caved and offered ice cream in return for "happiness and harmony". 

  I hear my parent's voices in the recesses of my mind,  "someday you will have children just like you".  When I was younger, I thought they were a little kooky.  The dawn of understanding has risen to enlighten me.  I get it now...sometimes I say to Big Daddy, "when they have kids of their own, we can just point and laugh.."  A little immature I know...what can I say....I hang around with kids all day  ;)

Monday, May 23, 2011

Welcome to Your Local Germ Fest!

  Few things in life get my dander up more than the public restroom.  Using the commode as a highly potty trained adult can be a tricky experience in a public setting.  After selecting a stall, you carefully open the door, your eyes scan the small perimeter as if in search of creeping marauders.  If the toilet is "usable", we begin the toilet paper process, the covering of every square inch of "sit" space.  Some chose to forgo this exercise and chose the squat method, hoping that their aim is on target.  Then, the flush,  some of the more neurotic among us may use our foot to flush, hoping to escape a handful of germs.  Last but not least, let's not forget to wash our hands.  You may need to hold your purse between your knees while you wash, then do the shimmy, side step over to the hand towels. Oh, I almost forgot, don't forget to use a paper towel to grab the handle on the door, lest you become a host of potty germs.

  If you have ever been fortunate enough to take a child, perhaps even 3 to the bathroom at once, your experience will be even better.  That day you achieve the elusive "potty trained" status, you are now enrolled in a new experience called,  "Take your child to every bathroom at every stop, no matter where you are".  Your patience will be tested as they touch the seat then touch your face as you are attempting to help them with their clothes.  As their clothes get wet while you are trying to help with the hand washing, you try not to mutter out a cuss word under your breath.  Parents all over the world can be heard in public facilities saying, "ah...ah... I just said don't touch that, why did you touch that?!"  In my perfect world there would be some kind of robotic device that came out of the wall in the bathroom stall after each use, to completely sanitize each area, sometimes I dream big...maybe someday.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Boys Are From the Sandbox, Girls Are From the Flower Garden

  Big daddy and I sat at a table enjoying coffee.  A large pane of glass separated our peace and serenity from complete chaos. The chaos of which I speak is happening in the large hamster type habitat for children to run amuck.  Our silence is shattered as my youngest daughter runs through the door with my son following close behind.  "WHAT DID I DO?!", he yells out in a desperate plea.  Apparently my girl was reacting to a minor infraction committed on her brother's part.  If I remember correctly, I think she felt ignored while he played with a new found friend.

  This scenario got me to thinking about the differences between boys and girls.  When my children were babies I had it all planned out.  I would teach my daughters to be strong, not to overreact...they would be soft but not overly sensitive if you will.  My son was going to be the perfect male specimen.  He would be sensitive and extra thoughtful.  I in my master mind planning was going to create the perfect balance in my boys and girls.  I'm beginning to see that these differences appear to be hard wired in the genes of these little people.  For ages men and women have struggled to understand each others complexities.  Striking that delicate balance of understanding, love and everything in between.

  I watch every morning as my girls lavish kisses and hugs on their dad. They follow him out to the car, wave good-bye from the window and pray for their dad's day.  All these "butterfly kisses" are preceded by my son shouting a hearty, "BYE DAD ! SEE  YA LATER!",  as he carries on about his business.  It amazes me to watch the differences, gives me a little more understanding into my own life...hmm..interesting.  Needless to say, my masterful plan has been pitched to the wayside.  I replace those plans with thoughts of guidance, and instruction.  Maybe instead, I can help them learn to live with each other in helpfulness and harmony.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

I'm Gonna Wash That Red Right Outta My Hair..

  We will begin this story with a look back in time.   I'm a natural red head with wavy hair...enough said.  So it begins...at age 16 the  "I wanna be blond bug hit me".   It all began innocent enough, if any of you remember "sun-in",  you'll know what I'm referring to.  A simple mist to the hair, a step out in the sun and instant highlights.  As any "junkie" will tell you....the road to "never enough" started with just one hit.

  At age 21, I was ready to take the plunge.  My mother pleaded with me...."Don't do it,  you'll regret it!"   As it goes, sometimes we just don't take our parents word for it.  The need to learn on our own and make our own decisions drives us.  I bought my first box of $3 hair dye..this was it,  I was going to be blond.  I somehow would be transformed into the beauty I always hoped to be.  Hmmm...it didn't produce the results I had hoped, the solution?  Get more hair dye!!  This went on until my hair was nearly yellow white with a slightly darker shade at the roots.  "Well", I thought..."no place to go with this but backwards." 

  In the years since then, I have gone up and down the color chart.  From yellow, white went to chestnut brown to burgundy red.  Currently, I am a lighter shade of my original self.  A thick coat of  frizz remains...my hair seems to get bigger and bigger.  In the shadows of my mind, lurks a thought, more of a threat really.. that one day in my old age, red haired  frizz will somehow resemble the makings of a circus clown.  I chalk this experience up to "life lessons",  in these lessons I have realized a couple things along the way.  1.  leave your hair to the professionals  and   2. learn to love yourself for who you are and to see the value in how God created you.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

The Mice Who Were Destined For Greatness

   I always thought that parents who denied their children the joy of owning pets were a little unreasonable.  The word "old fogey" comes to mind.  My opinion changed when I had my own kids.  Feeling that we had our fill with one feather picking parrot, one diabetic dog and four goldfish ( 2 who have since gone to "sleep with the fishes"), I decided that no more pets would be necessary.  The kids tag teamed us with a barrage of requests for more animals. These requests were always denied.....after about a month, our defenses started to weaken.

  "Hey! What about mice...can I get a mouse?", my daughter asked.  The idea of having mice kinda creeped me out, especially because I knew I would end up having to participate in the daily care of this little creature.  Well, one mouse quickly became three (3 children=3 mice).  We surrendered....we attempted to lay out some ground rules about the care and responsibility of  these new additions.  Off to the pet store we went, I'm sure we asked the pet wrangler more than once..."are you sure these are all females?  please no males..we don't want any accidents).  Side note:  mice can have babies every 21 days with a large litter.

  The journey began, wheels, mouse house and biscuits were purchased.  The kids lacked the squirmish instinct we adults have at the idea of reaching their hands  into a pile of mice to pick one up.  Turns out these furry things were actually very trainable and personable...hmmm..who would have thought.  These mice have been with us for several months and have actually become quite lovable and have been featured at our local expert night ( in which the kids showcase projects and expertise).  Some mice are destined for snakes and Decon...others for greatness.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Just who do you think YOU are?

  Hope everyone had a good weekend!  Did we really have a good weekend?  Did we meet all of our internal expectations for our lives?  If all went well,  our homes might be immaculate, the kids got a bath, our husbands met our emotional expectations and we had a couple of good meals.  I'm gonna go out on a limb here and say for many gals, one or more of these scenarios did not take place.  How did that make us feel?..how did we respond?

  We look at others around us and think, "surely, they must have it together"...we see what we perceive as flaws in our own lives and we allow shame to creep in oh so subtly.  We begin the slow downward spiral of self  loathing.  Let's step away from this dreaded descent for a moment.  We know we should love our children, respect our men and we have certain ingrained expectations on us as women.  But how do you love yourself?

  We  mentally assent to the term "me time",  but what are we believing about ourselves when were in the 'trenches"?   My encouragement to myself  and to you is to go easy on your self.  Let's not view ourselves in a bad light  because the house is a mess or the kids aren't a picture perfect image of manners.   Lets take life one step at a time and strive to enjoy the process.  I often hear older folks say, " enjoy them (your children) while they are young".  They don't really add anything to that statement, but I often wonder if they have regrets.  Did they let the years fly by in a downward spiral of discontentment?  Did they think they had to live up to the image of  "The Jones' "?  One day, I hope  my children will remember my love not my organized cabinet.   So, I will endeavor to keep this in mind when thoughts of  "you're not enough" show up at my door.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Did Someone Say, "Hot Date"? ...update...

  2 posts ago we discussed the impending "sleep over" in which my lovely little squirrels were venturing out beyond the tree.  I tried to tell everyone about my hot date with Big Daddy in which I was detailing the beautification process.  That post has seemed to vanish into thin air.   Today, I will give an updated version of my date night.  I was trying to decide whether I should go the route of the flat iron.  I in fact just crunched up my hair old school style and finished it off with some spray. I know what your thinking....but I really didn't look like I stepped off the set of an 80's video gone bad.  The metallic eyeshadow worked out ok but I might have been a bit pinkie, orangey in the face. Oh well, gotta give a chic credit for trying.

  The buffet was fair although I did witness a nose picking by an employee.  I might not be back for awhile.  I did get to talk Big Daddy's ear off and enjoy the time I had him to myself.  My littlest one did indeed ask to come home which worked out great since she was only next door.  I was told, she just took her little backpack and sat on the bench near the front door like she was waiting for the bus.  The other 2 were great.  One of them is actually asleep right now, a siesta after a long night's play.  I asked them today..."were you homesick? were you ok?"....the reply..."oh yeah , it was great, I wasn't sad!"  I did take their pictures with their sleeping bags and whatnot to commemorate the big day. Big for them, and me.

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Did Someone Say, "Hot Date"?

  Two posts ago, we discussed my squirrel's taking a few steps away from the nest.  That day has come.  I am swimming with emotions right now.  To name a few....elation, anxiety and then a little bit more elation.  Whether they all actually make it through the evening without calling or asking to come home remains to be seen.  Initially, I thought maybe I should stay home glued to the phone in case someone needs me.  I replaced that thought with "wow! I can call Big Daddy and invite him on a hot date!"

  With all the backpacks set to go I can begin the beautification process.  Katy Perry talks about "get your heart racin' in my skin tight jeans"....well I don't know about that.  I will try to get out my "nicest" pair of jeans, so that's about as racy as that's gonna get.  I think I'll go for the newest ones that give a little in the waist, that'll work.  I mean who can go to the Chinese buffet with skin tight jeans on?  There is no way you can eat more than your fair share with that get up on.  Okay, I'm kidding, I know your supposed to exercise extreme  discipline when entering the lair of the all you can eat.   Who am I fooling?   I'm gonna enjoy this small taste of liberty and eat the extra crab rangoon.

  I digress,  anywho....hair and makeup...hmm.. what to do?   For special occasions I pull out the false eyelashes, but where did I put the glue from the last time?  Ooh and I have that metallic eyeshadow....yeah, I said it, metallic....age appropriate?...maybe, maybe not...whatever, Big Daddy seems to like it.  Hair is another story...I could flatten it ...but I always get a weird groove in the back...hmm..I still have a little bit to figure it out.  I know my man appreciates when I make the effort, so at least he'll know I was thinking of him.  So,  I'll take my crazy eyeshadow and bumpy hair and just have a fun time with my date.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

The Summer Wardrobe Trenches

  Aah yes...the scorching heat must mean one thing....summer is on the horizon.  Only in our state can you go from 50's to 80's in a matter of days.  The dawn of summer presents several issues for many of us.  Many thoughts will start to crowd our already multi tasked minds.  We may ponder, " Will my shorts from last year fit?  Will the button close?"  The summer shirts come out of storage to see the light of a new day.  We may carefully inspect these items...how many stains did we collect last year?   Let's not forget the shoes, for choosing  flip flops is no easy task.  Finding comfortable summer shoes for size 10, alligator encased, Barney Rubble feet can be tricky.

  Keeping our hair manageable is no easy feat either.  If you have the great fortune of having thick, wavy hair such as myself...you may find your husband passing you by saying, "hey...Nexxus...size of a dime!"  If you're not familiar with the Nexxus line, they were the hair calming products of yesteryear.  Last, but certainly not least, let's talk about our faces.  Nothin' like a red, peely glow on your face.  Let's set that off with a little blue eyeliner that will be sure to leave a crease on our sweaty little eyelids.  Oh yes ladies, summer is here, let's get out there and put our best alligator foot forward!

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Where have all the squirrel's gone?

  My mind is a whirlwind today....my babies are headed to their 1st all niter away from home.   Technically, this wont be happening for 2 days, but the backpacks are out.  I watch as my girls attempt to pack way too much, take my favorite pillow and way to many stuffed animals.  They have this packing thing figured out. Enter my big boy, he announces, Mom.....I don't need to bring anything......just my light saber...   It's funny how the boy, girl differences come hard wired.   After watching his sister's parade of sleeping bags, backpacks and paraphernalia, he decides he might possibly need something to wear if he is leaving home.

  I'm a little nervous about this as my children have never been away all night.  I know they will be in good hands and mommy will be an after thought in the mind of the entertained child.  Anyway, I told them..."I'm just a phone call away ya know..."   Well, they know this and I think it's slightly amusing to them to hear mom going over all the rules and such.  I guess these times will come and mommy will get a little more courage while I watch the metamorphosis of the beautiful butterflies.


Monday, May 9, 2011

Daddy, this is your moment to shine!

  I hope everyone had a fantastic mother's day.  Mine turned out particularly enjoyable, but one of the things that amused me was my visit to the mall.  I sat with big daddy in the kid's play area.  There was a man there with his son.  As his son and my boy engaged in an imaginary battle, the man sat on the vinyl puffy bench with his head hung in a droopy manner.  You would have thought this guy hadn't slept a wink all night as he hadn't even had a startled jerk in about 10 minutes.  This kid could have left, circled the mall and been back without papa being none the wiser.  I leaned over to big daddy and said, " if that guy's wife shows up, he's probably gonna get a smack in the head..."  Fortunately, his wife did not show and he finally awoke.

  I sat and thought to myself, then spoke out loud about the carpet probably never seeing a cleaning and muttered something about the overwhelming feeling of sitting in a germ fest.  As I sputtered out my criticism,  another family caught my attention.  They were out for a mom's shopping afternoon.  The reason I know that is because the lady kept trying to convince her toddling bundle of joy to stay with dad and have fun.  After many conversations to no avail, the dad was hot under the collar.  "JUST GO!" he irritatedly said to his wife.  She finally decided to take the kid and leave the older child with the father.  I'm sure he didn't mind.  It was sort of fun to watch dads out of their element. Kudos to the dads who tried to give their wife a well deserved break, well intentioned if not perfect.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Caution...I will bite!

  There it was...emblazoned across the meaty backside of a 20ish something mom.  Caution...I will bite!  The red letters on the black sweatpants bellowed out for attention.  As I sat in my local mediocre eating establishment, I watched as this vision of modesty walked past and sat in the booth in front of me.  She was dining with her man and her baby.  As she picked up the baby, she started to babble in some elfin language I'm sure only her baby understood.  That's fine, I mean the dog and I share the same secret language.  Anyway, what was I saying?  Oh yeah....crazy jogging pants.

  The topic of modest attire has become of particular interest to me since I have become a mom with 2 daughters.  I will add the mention of my son to this list because modest dressing will also affect my boy's eyesight one day.  I was out shopping one day for my girl, she needs new shorts and we all hope the sun will eventually show it's face again, so began my search.  I was hard pressed to find a huge selection of shorts that weren't cut right below the fanny.   Now,  I know longer shorts exist, but apparently not at the store I was in.  I thought to myself, "gee, don't we want to keep our little girls, little for as long as possible?"

   I'm not saying modesty should mean turtlenecks and floor length dresses, don't get me wrong.  I think you can be pretty without being under dressed.  Just a concerned mom.....

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Six degrees of poo

  Let me introduce you to Rudy.  Rudy is the family dog who came to live with us at 7wks. old along with his sister Daisy.  Rudy was aptly named after famous football legend, Rudy Ruettiger.  Our puppy is reaching the sunset of his 10th year.  We are looking forward to celebrating his 11th birthday with hamburgers ( every year he gets 2).  Now that the fluffy introductions are over, let's get down to the nitty gritty.

  When the notion of getting a pet enters your mind, a couple of questions pop up.    A.  This could be fun and they are so cute or   B.   who is really going to be taking care of this animal?  Having no children at the time, we decided to embark on this joy ride.  One of my least favorite animal chores is potty duty.  This brings us to our story.

  After the recent winter melt,  all the snow hidden piles of "doodie" lay exposed in a mushy mess.  Deciding this clean up duty was inevitable I set out to conquer this disgusting mess.  I say to Big Daddy, " what am I supposed to do with all the poo?"....his reply, " just toss it over by the garden".  No problem, I think... I head out.  After assessing the situation, I realize this simple toss of the poo, has to reach a distance of about 50 yards.  Having very limited upper arm strength, my best shovel throw was about 4 ft.

  It was a particularly windy day,  probably not the best day to be ultra motivated.  The wind whipped as I hurled the slushy turds.  At first I thought maybe this will help my distance, not so much.  As I slung the shovel forward  and the bounty escaped my tool,  a gust caught it and I cringed as I felt the spray of melted snow and droppings against my face.  I looked back to see my children laughing at me in the window.  Needless to say, that wave of determination quickly dissolved.  Poop duty would have to wait.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

There goes my hero...

  Hey girls, let's shout a hip, hip, hooray for the good men out there!  Let's give props to the guy who will go out there and give his all to love his family.  The husband that will come home and listen to endless stories about kids and school.  I mean don't we all love the guy who doesn't have a big complaint about our frizzy hair?  Let's send a shout out to the man who will come right to your son's karate class from work on an empty stomach.

  I lovingly refer to my superhero as Big Daddy.  I love his dedication and his loyalty to the family that he has been given.  I like to watch as he and the kids enter the wrestling arena most nights after dinner.  I appreciate that he tries not to complain if dinner isn't great.  Ladies, lets give thanks if you have a "big daddy"...let's try to get that flat iron out once in awhile and show him the love he deserves!


Monday, May 2, 2011

Potty daze

Somehow the 2nd in command, Chimp mentor (me) got a much needed  3 hr. break.  I headed over to my local "drink our coffee and read our books" spot.  I didn't actually buy their coffee, but I sat there pondering, "can I actually bring the coffee out of the cafe?"  or "I guess I could sit in there...but what if I spill coffee on a book? Do I have to buy it?"  The last time I sat in there with big daddy, we managed to get a table directly across from the gentleman who stared right in our direction almost the whole time.

  Deciding against the cafe I found a chair where I could be alone with my book and my thoughts.  This spot happened to be in the children's section.  I sat undisturbed for about 10 min. until a mom and her tot wandered past me.  Slightly annoyed by this mild intrusion, I have no choice but to listen to this interaction.  In a loud voice, this mom announces, "NOW YOU CAN HAVE ANY BOOK YOU WANT BECAUSE YOU WENT POTTY ON THE TOILET!"... I'm intrigued....I have no choice but to discretely stare at this pony tailed vision of  pride.  Now, I have always taught my children not to stare....but I just can't seem to help myself.

  My best guess is that this child must be no more than 2.....My first thought? "Hey kudos, lady how'd ya pull that off?"  As this lady is wandering around looking for a suitable selection for " Timmy the Toilet Tamer", I notice that this kid is in a distracted daze, all consumed with the train table 2 feet from my chair.  "TWANE?", he says as he leaves his mother to play with the new found treasure.  My mind drifted back to my first child, I promised her, " when you go on the toilet we will go to the store and get you a cool horse to play with!"  Well, she did...and it was a major event in our house, pictures were taken, signs were made and a toy horse was purchased.

  I thought we had arrived,  sadly to say that event in retrospect was a fluke,  we spent the next year in the potty trenches...oh well.  We did manage to get out of diapers eventually as did the other 2 chimplets.  I don't remember making signs and taking pictures for the next training accomplishments.  The lady did find her book, complete with sounds of flushing and excitement.  I too, was excited for her....at least now I'd get my quiet little nook back.