Monday, October 21, 2013

Annabelle's First Live Performance of the "We Not Bite Song" or Part 2 of Disneyworld for Dummies

Where were we?  Oh yeah, I'd been yelled at by Tinkerbell and discovered the hard way that Tyler's butt bone was indeed connected to his foot bone.  

So after lunch things were going relatively well until it started to pour.  Amy's girls wanted to wait in line to get Minnie and Mickey's autographs, and my boys wanted to go shopping for souvenirs.  I figured shopping was as good a way as any to kill time while it was pouring, so I took the boys into a huge souvenir store. Truthfully, I wanted to go shopping to test the validity of a helpful piece of information a friend had passed along.  

According to my source, all Disney employees have the ability to comp you $20 worth of merchandise at any given time.  Apparently, the Disney people want to keep you happy because their research suggests that happy people spend more money in their magical little kingdom.  

My thought was I'd take the children to the souvenir store and wait for one of them to have a nervous breakdown and see what happened.  If you follow my blog, then you know the odds of a nervous breakdown were in my favor; unfortunately, my rotten kids picked that afternoon to turn into perfectly behaved pod children.  

I was getting frustrated.  I'd been waiting for months to see if my friend was right, and my darn kids weren't cooperating.  I knew better than to include them in my scheme.  The last thing I needed was to get permanently banned from Disneyworld because my children ratted me out.  

As a last ditch effort to try to test my theory, I gave Annabelle two princess dolls and let her walk around the store with them for a little while.  I waited until we were within earshot of a helpful looking employee and told her she had to pick just one to take home with her.  Sadly, there were no temper tantrums to be had.  She picked Ariel and handed me Princess Sofia with a smile on her face.  

I finally decided to throw in the towel and just go pay.  When we got to the checkout register, I was struck with a brilliant idea!  They had ponchos sitting at the register, and it was pouring outside!  When the guy rung me up, I looked at him and said, "You know what would put the "Magic" back in this rainy day for me?"  Being a good Disney employee, he asked, "What?" I smiled and said, "It would be beyond magical if you'd throw in a few free ponchos to compete my purchase."  He began to do the mental math.  The ponchos were $6 a piece, which meant he could comp me 3 without getting in trouble.  "How many ponchos are we talking about," he wanted to know.  I'd done my math too, so I answered, "Three."  He threw them in my bag with a smile.  I smiled back thankful that an opportunity had presented itself to test my hypothesis.

Later that night, we were in line to watch the parade.  It was quiet, and we were all enjoying a little break.  Annabelle had been in my baby backpack thing most of the day and being held captive was starting to get on her nerves.  Whenever Annabelle gets cranky, she tends to bite. For whatever reason, the urge to bite is also often accompanied by the need to break out in song.  It was completely silent in the parade area.  You probably could have heard a pin drop when all of a sudden, I heard a little voice sing out at the top of her little lungs, "We not bite! We not bite!  We not bite Mommy!"  Then just when all eyes were on my teeny tiny performer, she sunk her little teeth in me and the pain was so severe I almost passed out.  I'm pretty sure at that moment Annabelle was Disney's most talked about attraction!

We made it through the parade without any further outbursts.  Right as the parade was coming to an end, Amy looked at me with a panicked expression.  "We need to go now," she insisted.  Amy and I have been friends for a really long time, and she's not the type to go off the deep end without a good reason.  

We began quickly packing our stuff, and I asked, "Why are we in such a hurry?"  When she turned around to address me, I could see the worry in her eyes.  "The last time Joe and I brought the girls we waited to leave until the parade was completely over.  We got stuck on the monorail platform for two hours!  We can't do that with five tired children.  We have to go now!"  

Amy was right!  We had to go, and we had to go fast!  We made it to the monorail without incident, and thanks to Amy's quickly thinking, we walked right on.

Amy and I were feeling pretty good about ourselves until we stepped off the monorail platform.  Amy looked and me, and I looked at her.  "I don't suppose you remember where the shuttle dropped us off this morning," I asked her.  "Nope, I was kind of hoping you remembered," she replied.

Our five children all picked this exact moment to remember that we hadn't fed them dinner yet.  They were exhausted, hungry, miserable, and not at all amused when Amy and I told them we were about to embark on one final adventure of the day.  

An hour later, Amy and I were ready to throw in the towel and spend the night in the parking lot.  We had walked all over, and we had no idea where we were supposed to meet our shuttle.  Nothing looked familiar, and we had absolutely no clue what to do next.  We were both about to break down in tears when a nice lady came over and asked what was wrong.  We explained our dilemma, and she pointed her finger to a bench that was maybe a two minute walk from the gates of the Magic Kingdom.  "Shuttle pick up is right over there," she said.  We'd spent an hour searching for shuttle pickup, and it had been right under our noses the entire time!

We made it on the shuttle and all five of our kids fell asleep as soon as their butts hit the seat.  Amy and I were trying to figure out how to get five sleeping children and a double stroller out of the shuttle with the least amount of effort when a nice man volunteered to help us when we arrived at our stop.  

When we arrived back on hotel property, the shuttle driver announced that he was going to make a courtesy stop at Tower 4 since it was so late.  Amy and I were thrilled!  We were staying in Tower 5!  Surely it would be quicker to get off at Tower 4 instead of Tower 1 like we had planned!  

We unloaded our entire crew at Tower 4 and managed to keep most of them asleep thanks to our helper!  We had just gotten everyone loaded up when we realized that the person who had designed the hotel couldn't count.  Tower 4 was nowhere near Tower 5.  Nope, Tower 4 was right in between Towers 3 and 6.  It wasn't anywhere near Tower 5. Tower 5 was right next door to Tower 1, the tower we were originally planning on getting off at.

On the twenty minute walk back to our room, Amy and I decided that maybe we weren't shuttle people after all.  Suddenly, the crazy fees the Disney people charged for parking sounded extremely reasonable and affordable!

PS...I'm doing a giveaway on my Facebook page.  Head on over to all the fun details.  Don't worry I'm not giving away a child.  I'm pretty sure that would have people running in the opposite direction!

Thursday, October 17, 2013

How to Tell if You're on a Date with Your Boyfriend or Your Husband

A boyfriend will greet you at the door, and say, "Is that a new dress?  It looks nice!"

A husband will take one look at you and ask, "Is that a new dress?  I hope it wasn't expensive!"

If a boyfriend notices your car needs its oil changed on the way to dinner, he will offer to change it for you over the weekend.  Probably he'll make some cheeky remark about coming up with a "creative" way to settle the bill afterwards.

If a husband notices your car needs its oil changed on your way to dinner, he will suggest going to Wal-Mart to get it done after dinner since you two hadn't really figured out what you were going to do after you ate.  Walking around Wal-Mart sounds like a good plan to him, plus he's got a coupon.

When you get in the car with a boyfriend, he'll ask, "What are you in the mood to eat for dinner?"  

A husband will ask, "What restaurant do you have a coupon for?"

After dinner, a boyfriend might suggest going to a movie or going dancing to finish the night off.

A husband is going to drive you to the grocery store, the auto parts store, or the wholesale warehouse store after dinner because, sadly, that's where you will ask him to take you.  At this point in your life grocery shopping without your children is a real treat.

A date with a boyfriend usually ends the next morning at breakfast.

A date with your husband usually ends when you run out of money to pay the babysitter.  How much time you can afford to keep the babysitter on any given night will favor heavily into your plans.  

When you go on a date with your boyfriend, you make sure to wear your nicest lingerie.  You'll will want to be a show stopper at the end of the evening

When you go on a date with your husband, you'll make sure you wear something clean.  No sense wearing something that might give him any ideas. You've got two weeks worth of Grey's Anatomy episodes you plan on catching up on when you get home.  Plus if by chance something at BJ's Wholesale Mega Food Surplus was to put you in the mood, chances are he'll be so excited, he won't even care that your underwear doesn't match and that you haven't shaved your legs in months.

If it made you laugh, cry, or question my sanity, hit the like/share button.  Better yet, head back to my Facebook page leave me a comment. :)

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

The Hall of Motherhood

It was her first day in Heaven.  After being welcomed into God's waiting arms, she was led by an angel  into a room that looked like a post office.  It was a giant room filled from top to bottom with tiny mailboxes, each baring a female name.  "What is this place?" she asked the angel.  "This is the hall of mothers.  This is where life begins on Earth."  

She was drawn to a mailbox that bore her name.  What an odd thing to find her name in a place like this.  She had never been blessed with a child of her own.  Her angel guide walked over and opened the mailbox.  She was sure it would be empty, so she was truly puzzled to find it overflowing.  "These boxes are filled with selfless acts a mother commits in the name of a child," her guide explained. 

"Why is my box overflowing?  I've never given birth to a child," she asked knowing a mistake had been made.  "It's true that you never became a mother by giving birth to a child,  but throughout your life your kindness and your selflessness changed the lives of so many young people.  You gave birth to their hopes and their dreams.  That box contains memories from so many different children. They are who they are because you made a difference in their lives.  You were patient with them when they needed someone to listen, you guided them when they were lost, and you cheered them on when they succeeded.  Your body didn't give birth to their futures; your heart did.  You were never blessed with a child of your own because there were so many children who needed you."

She followed the angel into another room.  The second she entered the room she knew she had entered a special place.  The room was filled with angels rocking tiny bundles.  She was instantly drawn to the nearest angel and the bundle she was rocking in her arms.  Upon closer inspection, she was overcome with joy.  The angel was rocking the most unusual baby she had ever seen.  It bore the same shape and size as a newborn, but it was almost transparent.  Her guide, sensing her confusion, leaned in and whispered, "This is the room where the new souls are prepared for their journey into their mother's womb.  The angels rock them until they are paired with a mother."

Just then a beautiful sound rang out, and the entire room went silent.  Another angel appeared in the front of the room, and everyone look at him with anticipation.  The room was silent when he walked to the center of the room and lifted a precious bundle out of the arms of its heavenly nurse.  He carried the infant soul to the front of the room and looked as if he was about to make an important proclamation when another angel appeared and whispered something into his ear.  He nodded once to let the angel know he understood, and began to address the room.  He lifted the infant soul for all to see and announced, "This is Daniel.  His time on Earth will be short.  It's important we pick the right mother." The angel paused for a moment, obviously in deep thought.  When he addressed the crowd a few minutes later, he simply said, "Susan."   The room full of angels hummed their approval and excitement for his choice and went back to rocking their precious bundles.  

She was at a loss for what had just happened.  How could a room full of angels be excited for Daniel and Susan?  The question was on her lips when her angel guide looked at her with a smile on his face.  "You want to know why we would choose to send Daniel to Susan when we know they'll only be together for such a short time.  You want to know why we wouldn't spare Susan, and why we are excited for Daniel."  She nodded and patiently waited for him to continue.  

"We are excited for Daniel because in the short time he will be with Susan, he will know nothing but the purest form of love.  In their moments together, Susan will love Daniel, she will pray for him, and when the time comes, she will put his needs before her own.  There will never be a moment in Daniel's life that is filled with anything but Susan's love.  Their time together will be short, but their love for one another will last forever."

The silence in the room was disrupted once again when a bell began to ring.  "It's time!  It's time," she heard the angels exclaim.  "What's happening?" she asked her guide.  "Emma's daughter is about to give birth to her first child.  Emma's been waiting for this moment since she arrived in Heaven.  She rocked the infant soul in her arms, prayed for him when he was placed in her daughter's womb, and now she is going to be with him when he enters the world for the first time.  It is her greatest wish to be with her daughter as she gives birth.  We have all been patiently waiting with Emma, and now her time has come." 

"Will her daughter know that Emma is there?  I can only imagine how hard it must be to give birth without her mother there by her side," she wanted to know.  

"There will be a moment, a moment when everything just seems perfect.  Emma will hold her daughter in her arms as her daughter cradles her newborn son.  Her daughter will know, in that moment, that Emma is there.  She won't be able to explain the feeling.  She'll just know in her heart."

When the excitement settled down, she asked the angel the question she'd been wanting to ask all day.  "Why have you brought me here?"  Her angel guide smiled and led her to an empty rocking chair.  "I have brought you here because this is your place in heaven." 

Monday, October 14, 2013

What Does One is Like None, Two is Like Twenty Mean?

I remember bringing my first son home from the hospital and thinking, "What the hell have I done?"  It was amazing how much one teeny, tiny, human could turn my life upside down.  Going to the store to get a gallon of milk was suddenly a two hour trip from start to finish instead of the ten minute trip it used to be.  I had to pack a small suitcase anytime I wanted to venture out of the house.  It was hard and some days it seemed nearly impossible.

Then I had baby number 2.  Oh my goodness!  Two babies seemed like a lot more babies than one baby.  On paper two babies was only one more baby, but in reality it was like having twenty babies. There was no napping when the new baby slept.  Nope, when the new baby slept, my other kid wanted my undivided attention.  He didn't care that I hadn't slept in days. 

Leaving the house was a complete nightmare.  We ate a lot of takeout because it was so much easier to hit a drive through at the end of the day than attempt to take two small children to the grocery store!

The good thing about having a new baby is that sometimes people take pity on you and offer to take your oldest child for a little while.  I remember the first time someone took Colin somewhere after I had Tyler.  I remember thinking how easy it was to just take one baby somewhere. Why had I thought one baby was so hard?  One baby was nothing!

I had just managed to get the hang of two kids when my husband cornered me one afternoon while the boys were outside playing.  "Trust me," he said with a wink.  Two weeks later, I ended up staring at six positive pregnancy tests wondering how in the heck that had happened.  Fate is really a total smart ass because I'd sold all my baby stuff in a consignment sale a few weeks prior to the "trust me" wink, and the check came in the mail the same day I found out I was unexpectedly pregnant.  

On paper, three kids is really only one more kid than two.  In reality, welcoming a third child into your home is like deciding you want to turn your house into a three ring circus.  Only your circus acts won't care that you're the ringmaster, your tigers will bite if you're stupid enough to stick something in their mouths, and that balancing act everyone expects at the circus won't be done on a high wire; it will come at the end of the month when you are deciding if you should pay the electric bill or the water bill with the last $75 in your checking account.

When I was looking for a name for my blog, "One is like none, two is like twenty," seemed to be the only title that truly expressed the chaos that is my life. 

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Disneyworld for Dummies or That Time I Got Yelled At By Tinkerbell

Last summer my friend Amy and I thought it would be a real swell idea to take our five children to Disneyworld. I know, I know, I know.  Thinking about it now gives me hives too.  I'm still not sure what made us think it would be a good idea to take 5 children, all under the age of 9, to Disneyworld.  I seem to recall both of us wanting to go to Disney, but not wanting to go with our husbands because we'd been there, done that, and had determined that Disneyworld made men cranky.  

We spent months planning and dreaming about our trip to the happiest place on earth!  For whatever reason, we figured that the car ride to Disney was the only thing we needed to worry about, so we devoted most of our planning time to coming up with a plan to keep 5 kids happy on a 6 hour car trip.  Amy printed out nine million car games to play, I bought candy and small toys to use as bribery, and we even set up a system to use in case we needed to rotate seat assignments.  It never dawned on us that the car ride was probably going to be the least of our worries.  

The morning of our trip finally arrived!  We were so excited.  We loaded up all the kids and began our journey.  We waited and we waited and we waited for the kids to start acting awful.  Nope.  The trip to Disney was something straight out of a Hallmark card.  We only made two stops, and we made those because Amy and I had to pee.  Since I believe in full disclosure, I need to confess that Amy and I made all the children take a little Dramamine before they were allowed in the car.  Dramamine makes small children sleepy.  It also prevents motion sickness.  I bet you can't guess which benefit we were aiming for!

(Don't be all judgy.  Yes, we kind of drugged the children, but in our defense we obviously weren't operating with a full deck of cards.  At this point in the story we were still dilusional enough to think taking 5 small children to Disneyworld was a good idea!)

When we arrived at our hotel, Amy and I were convinced that we were in the clear, and it was going to be smooth sailing for the rest of our trip.  

The next morning we got up and headed out to catch the hotel shuttle to take us to the Magic Kingdom.  We were all so excited!  We even made it to what we thought was the shuttle stop 15 minutes early.  We were so pleased with ourselves!  We were on a roll!  We'd beaten everyone else there.  Ten minutes later we started to worry because we were still the only ones there.  A few minutes later a hotel guard walked by and asked if we needed help.  We told him that we were just waiting on the shuttle.  He looked at us like we were crazy.  Turns out we weren't in the right place.  We weren't even on hotel property anymore.  The Disney shuttle stop was on the opposite side of the hotel, a hotel that was as big as a small city.  Amy looked at her watch and yelled run!  There are a lot of things that are capable of traveling fast.  Two mothers, two eight years old, two five years old, and a two year old are not one of those things. Especially when one of the mothers is pushing a giant double stroller and the other mother is carrying a two year old, who refuses to sit in the stroller.  

Somehow or another we managed to make it to the shuttle stop with a minute or two to spare.  We boarded the shuttle and laughed; after all, it wasn't really a vacation until something went wrong!

We finally arrived at Disneyworld and survived the hell that is trying to smuggle a stroller into the a Magic Kingdom.  Nothing says welcome to the happiest place on earth quite like making someone unload and collapse their stroller approximately 17 times before they are allowed to enter Mickey's inner sanctum!

It wasn't until we walked into the Magic Kingdom that we started to worry that maybe we'd bitten off more than we could chew.  Turns out taking 5 kids to Disneyworld meant keeping 5 kids happy in Disneywold.  They all had very different ideas about how exactly to achieve that happiness too.  Amy's girls wanted to see the princesses and my boys wanted to ride rides.  Annabelle just wanted me to put her down, so I could chase her through the crowds.  It was only five minutes into our first day at Disney, and Amy and I were well on our way towards a well deserved nervous breakdown.  

We ended up stopping at a Tinkerbell meet and greet first because it was the first attraction we came to.  I put Annabelle in my backpack baby carrier to contain her while we waited since we weren't allowed to bring strollers inside.  It had been a long morning, so she instantly fell asleep.  Forty five minutes later it was our turn to venture into Pixie Hollow, and Annabelle was still fast sleep.  She absolutely adores Tinkerbell, so I decided to wake her up.  She finally regain consciousness right as we walked into Tinkerbell's treehouse.  I can only imagine what must have been going through her little head.  She'd fallen asleep in the real world and had woken up in the middle of a fairy tale.  

It was finally our turn, and I went to set Annabelle down next to Tinkerbell for a quick picture.  Tinkerbell looked at me and said, "I'm sorry ma'am, but you can't put her down here."  Hmmmm..."Why not?  This is where everyone else stood to get their picture made," I countered back.  I'd just waited for almost an hour in line with 5 cranky children to get this picture.  I was not in the mood to argue with a magical fairy. "She doesn't have shoes on.  All guests have to wear shoes in Pixie Hollow," a somewhat annoyed Tinkerbell informed me.  Apparently, I'd missed the no shoes, no shirt, no Tinkerbell sign out front when I'd left Annabelle's shoes outside in the stroller.  Whatever!  I now have a bunch of lovely pictures of Annabelle sitting in Colin's lap next to Tinkerbell.  Annabelle's butt wasn't allowed to touch Tinkerbell's floor, but everything was peachy when Colin provided a buffer between her booty and Tink's magic fairy grass.

The rest of the morning passed with relative ease.  Amy and I quickly learned that Disneyworld was only the happiest place on earth when it was our turn, and the rest of the time it was pure hell, but we made it through.  

At lunch time we discovered another hole in our vacation planning.  We'd brought in enough snacks to feed a small army, but we hadn't made a plan for lunch.  Everywhere we stopped had at least an hour wait for a walk up party of seven.  The kids were hungry, tired, and miserable, so waiting an hour wasn't exactly an option.  We finally found a place that was kind of like the mall food court if you went on a Saturday, when they were giving food away.  I'd never seen so many people in my whole entire life.  It was cafeteria style, so you had to serve all your own food and balance it on a tray while keeping your kids from running off and getting kidnapped.  This wasn't as big of an issue for Amy as it was for me.  Both of her girls were capable of walking next to her without issues.  My boys were perfectly capable of that too, but Annabelle saw lunch as her chance to run off and explore Disneyworld all on her own.  

I put her baby leash on and waited in line to order.  I almost had a small heart attack when I saw how much Mickey Mouse thought a hamburger was worth.  I was on a very tight budget and didn't want to end up with a bunch of extra food.  I asked both the boys what they wanted to eat.  Colin wanted a hamburger, and Tyler insisted all he wanted was a yogurt.  Normally, I would've ordered him something else just in case, but I was on a tight budget and he swore he didn't want anything else.  

Somehow or another I managed to load all of our food on a little tray, pay for it, and find a seat while dragging Annabelle behind me on her little leash.  I even managed to do this without spilling anything.  

The second we sat down Tyler broke into tears.  He's changed his mind.  He desperately couldn't live without a hamburger.  It had taken me almost 45 minutes to procure the food that was on our table.  There was no way in the world I was going to attempt to get another hamburger.  I did the only thing I could.  I gave him my hamburger and ate his yogurt.  I hate yogurt.  

I was exhausted, and all I wanted to do was sit still for five minutes and choke down the yogurt I didn't want.  I guess violating Tinkerbell's no shirt, no shoes, no Tink policy had angered the Disney karma gods because we had been seated for approximately five minutes when Tyler declared he had to go to the bathroom.  I asked him if he could wait long enough for us to finish eating, and  he said absolutely not.  

I asked Amy to keep an eye on Colin, and Tyler, Annabelle, and I went in search of a bathroom.  We found one on the other side of the restaurant, and Tyler declared he had to poop.  He sat down on the toilet and nothing happened.  He looked at me and asked if he could take his shoes off.  I told him no.  The last thing I needed was to arrive home with a souvenir foot fungus.  He looked at me with terror in his little eyes and said, "What am I going to do?  I can't poop with my shoes on."  I'd never taken an anatomy class, but I was pretty sure Tyler's butt hole had no connection to his foot bones. 

We sat for a little while longer, and Tyler was still unable to make any progress.  I was getting desperate, so I caved and let him take his shoes off.  Turns out I was wrong.  His butt hole was connected to his foot bones because the second his shoes came off the flood gates opened.

I'm going to pause here because this post has gotten ridiculously long.  I will post part two tomorrow or the next day.  

Until then I'll leave you with these fun photographs that pretty much sum up what it's like to take a 2 year old to Disney.

Where did Kindergarten go?

I honestly thought Tyler and I were going to live through Kindergarten.  We were making progress.  Last week, he actually got out of the car on his own once or twice, and he only tried to jump out of the car on the way to school once. 

He was making friends, and one day last week, he even got in trouble for goofing around.  His teacher and I both chastised him for his bad behavior even though we were both secretly thrilled that he was finally comfortable enough at school to be silly and goof off!  I just knew we had finally made it through Kindergarten Hell.  I was so wrong! 

Yesterday, Tyler got in the car and announced that he had homework.  It's been 25 years since I've been in Kindergarten, but I still remembered what Kindergarten homework was.  I figured he was supposed to go home and pick out his Show and Tell for the week or color a picture. Nope!  He had a packet full of crap!  

He handed it to me, and my heart sank.  The theme to Mission Impossible began to play on repeat in my head.  Kindergarten Hell wasn't over; it was just beginning.

The front of the homework packet included a cheerful note from the teacher informing me to try to encourage Tyler to complete one worksheet a night. The note went on to say that the packet had been designed to help reinforce concepts Tyler was learning in class, and that each sheet was intended to only take a few minutes to complete.  

All he had to do was write uppercase and lower case I's and J's 20 times each.  It should not have been a hard task.  Forty five minutes later, we were fighting over the proper way to make a lower case I.  I thought it needed to look like the example, and he was of the opinion that homework was stupid, and that I should just leave him alone.  An hour and a half later, we had a piece of paper that looked like it had survived a small nuclear eraser bomb, but it at least had 80 markings on it that somewhat resembled letters.  

I called his teacher, she's amazing, and asked what the heck had happened to Kindergarten.  She laughed, and said she often wondered that too.  I asked her if she honestly thought a homework packet was really a good thing for 5 years olds, who barely made it through the school day without going crazy.  She said that she personally wasn't a fan.  She confessed that she didn't recongnize the Kindergarten curriculum anymore.  She'd had to do away with what she felt were the most important parts of Kindergarten, nap time, show and tell, and learning through role play, to make room for concepts she fully believed belonged in the first grade classroom.  She ended the conversation by reminding me that it could be worse.  I only had to convince one 5 year old to sit still and complete a worksheet.  She spent her days convincing 25 kids to do it at once.

It's a darn good thing I don't drink.  I'm pretty sure if I did, I'd be an alcoholic by the time summer came.  

Hi! My name is Rachel, and Kindergarten homework has made me an alcoholic!

Since I don't drink, I'm going to go eat a cupcake, and try to figure out what the heck happened to Kindergarten.  I'm going to mourn the death of the precious time that was learning through role play, paste eating, show and tell, and afternoon nap time.

Saturday, October 5, 2013

I Love You Enough

Dear Oldest Son,

I know you think I don't understand.  You think I'm mean; you think I don't love you.  What you don't understand is that my main job in life is to love you unconditionally, to stand by you through the good times and the bad, and to guide you down the road of life.

I remember when you were a little baby. You were just beginning to take your first steps, and I'd never been prouder of anyone in my entire life.  Learning to walk wasn't easy.  You spent more time falling over than you did walking the first few days.  Each time you'd fall, you would cry.  Then you would put your little arms in the air and beg me to pick you up.  It broke my heart, but I would shake my head no, and then I'd make you get up and try again.  I know you didn't understand then, but I loved you enough to let you fall down because I knew it was the only way for you to succeed.

When you were two, you got so sick.  We tried everything, but nothing worked.  Daddy and I ended up taking you to the hospital, and for five days, you were a human pin cushion.  I've never felt pain like that before.  It was absolutely unbearable watching them torture you like that.  It was even more unbearable because I helped them.  I held you down each time they came in, and I will never forget the look in your eyes when you would look up at me and beg me to make it stop.  I know you didn't understand then, that in those moments, I loved you enough to do whatever was necessary to keep you safe.  You had something called Kawasaki's Disease, and we caught it in time. Thank God, it's seven years later, and you're happy and perfectly healthy.  

You just turned nine the other day, and you are well on your way to becoming an amazing person.  You are just beginning to scrape the surface of adolesence, and I know it's going to be a hard time for both of us.  Know that no matter what happens, I love you enough.  I love you enough to put your needs first no matter how hard it is.  Know that I love you enough to do whatever it takes to keep you safe.  Know that when I do something that makes you hate me, that I love you enough to make the right decision for you even when you won't understand.  Chances are, the times when you think I don't understand, the times when you think I hate you, and the times when you think I don't love you, will be the times when I love you the most.


Friday, October 4, 2013

I Just Want You To Like Me

Why I started this blog:

Once upon a time, I was a 22 year old new mother with a new baby that I had no idea what to do with and a husband, who was no longer answering my calls during the work day because he knew I was probably calling to talk about poop.  I was lonely and desperate for mommy friends.  I can still remember the excitement I felt when I saw the sign going up for the new Gymboree in town. I  signed Colin up, put on my best pair of sweatpants, brushed my teeth and my hair, threw on a little deodorant, and approached my first class like most single people approach speed dating.  In all honesty, trying to make a new mommy friend, while caring for a small child, is a lot like speed dating only the buzzer doesn't buzz; it cries, bites, and smells bad.

I still remember the day I met my first mommy friend.  She overheard me tell another mom where I lived, and she ran over, looked me right in the eye, and said, "I live in (bleep cause there are crazy people on web) too. Let's schedule a play date!"  Amy has been my best friend every since.  Interestingly enough, I met 4 of my best friends there.  No, I can't pick just one as my best friend.  They are all that awesome!  I actually found the Gymboree name tag my friend Jennifer gave me with her contact info the other day.  I don't even feel a little weird that I've kept it all these years.  Meeting these wonderful women was a turning point in my life.  They made me feel normal and better about myself.  

When I wanted to talk about baby poop, I called them.  It's been 9 years, and sometimes we still have conversations about poop.  Every time I feel like a lousy mom, they remind me I'm not.  I believe that every mother deserves that, and I know how hard it can be to find a good support system.

There are a million blogs out there that'll tell you how to be a better mother, get $7 million dollars worth of groceries for $1, throw a birthday party Martha Stewart would be jealous of for less than $5, why you should vaccinate/not vaccinate, why you should rear face forever, and why you should cloth diaper your baby.  I want to be the blog you go to when you catch your boys sword fighting with their penises, find out your daughter spent nap time finger painting with her poop, or when you have to do the walk of shame all day because you forgot to bring shoes for one of your kids to the pediatrician's office.  I want to be that blog that reminds you how awesome you are!  I want to be the place you go to feel better about yourself.  Regardless of what's gone wrong with your day, know I'm always here to remind you that we've all been there!  

Motherhood isn't something you should ever do alone.  You need someone to text when you having a little alone time in the closet under the pretext of playing hide and seek with the children.

PS...if you have a Facebook account, and we aren't besties over there, click hit the like button.  

PSS... Today I ate Colin's last birthday cupcake while he was at school.  When he asked what happened to it, I told him I found mold on it.  

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Dear Mama

Dear Mama,

It's been a hard six months without you. I've been thinking of the best way to deal with missing you today, and I've decided I'm going to spend the day following your best words of wisdom.

I was planning on spending the day cleaning, but then I remembered that dust will keep it you don't get it wet. I hit "the high spots" as you used to call them, and now Annabelle and I are on our way to sneak fast food into Colin at school for his birthday. At first I worried about what kind of an example I would be setting by clearly breaking the rules in front of him, but then I remembered how you used to always say that you should be able to do whatever you wanted on your birthday. Plus I am going to take some aluminum foil to wrap it up in. You always were of the mind that it was better to ask for forgiveness than permission, but the best course of action was to be smart enough not to get caught.

Annabelle has chosen to wear her plastic princess pumps for the occasion. I was about to open my mouth to protest, but then I remembered all the terrible outfits you let me leave the house in. I kept my mouth shut in your honor.

I told Sam I was going to make a wonderful home cooked meal tonight. You were never a fan of cooking, so this might seem odd. Don't worry. I don't plan on actually cooking. My mama always taught me that the city where you live is your home, and as long as the food you buy comes from there, then it's home cooking. I will put it in my own dishes when I present it to Sam for dinner. I always thought that was a nice touch. I'll also be smart enough to throw the containers away in the neighbor's trash, so I don't get caught red handed.

I promise to order at least one Coca-Cola with light ice today, and I'll make sure to share it with Annabelle because a little
caffeine never hurt anyone.

Tonight after I put the kids to bed, I plan on indulging in a can of frosting while I laugh at Sheldon on the Big Bang Theory because I know nothing made you laugh harder.

Mama you may no longer be with us, but know there is never a day that goes by that you don't live on through me.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

The Beginning Stages of Motherhood Induced Dementia

I used to be really awesome.  I graduated high school with a perfect GPA.  I obtained a 4 year degree in 3.5 years while working full time.  I even graduated Summa Cum Laude.  I never studied for tests, slept through most of my classes, and once got a 103 on a test about a book that I'd never bothered to read.  I never had to write anything down, and I never forgot anything.  My mind was strong, healthy, and amazing until I had kids.

Now I can't remember anything.  Last night I kept yelling at Colin to do his homework, and each time I'd yell, he'd remind me that he was waiting on me to make him a snack before he got started.  I swear we had to have this conversation five times before I remembered to throw his hot pocket in the stupid microwave.  He still had to come ask about it before I remembered to take it out of the microwave and give it to him.

I had to do the mommy walk of shame at the pediatrician's office yesterday because I forgot to grab Tyler a pair of shoes before we left.  In my defense, there were 13 pairs of shoes on the floor of my minivan, but none of them belonged to him.

I regularly stare at the children I gave birth to, the children I named, and I can't remember what their names are.  I stare at them blankly and run through all the names that sound familiar to me, Colin, Tyler, Sam, Annabelle, Mr. Nibbles, until I get lucky and they respond.  Sometimes I just point at them and say, "Come here child that I gave birth to!"  

I was really starting to worry about myself the other day.  I actually came close to making myself an appointment with a specialist, but got sidetracked because my friend called.  We talked for a while, and she confessed that she struggled with "Motherhood Induced Dementia" as well. Bless her heart, she can't remember the names and birthdays of her own children, but she can rattle of the names and birthdays of all of Nicole Kidman's children on command.  I can't ever remember what I'm supposed to buy at the grocery store or where I parked my car, but I can sing the entire Ninja Turtles theme song and Billy Ray Cyrus' hit "Achy Breaky Heart" without having to think about it.

I honestly don't think my mind is diseased; I just think my children have made me stupid.  My mind has withered thanks to all the ridiculous conversations I find myself having over and over again with them.

Child: Mommy what are you doing?
Me (Sitting on the toilet): Going to the bathroom.
Child: Are you peeing or pooping?
Me: Pooping
Child: How long is it going to take?
Me: I don't know.
Child: How many turds you got left to squeeze out?
Me: Oh my gosh!  I don't know!  Go away!
Child: It's okay.  I'll stay and keep you company!
Me: Please no.
Child: Why does it smell so bad in here?

I can feel more brain cells dying just thinking about it.  

I once read a study that people who have memory problems should get more sleep.  I don't think I've slept through the night since I got pregnant with my first son.  Pregnancy turned my bladder into a sad little organ that is incapable of holding pee for more than three seconds, and child birth pretty much damaged it past the point of repair.  I can't remember the last time I didn't have to get up and pee at least once during the night.  It's so bad that I saw a commercial for an over the counter over active bladder control patch, and I dropped everything I was doing and ran to Wal-Mart to buy it.  I'll let you know how it works out if I remember.

Sadly, it's not the potty visits that cause the most havoc to my sleeping patterns.  It's my children's need to keep me informed of all of their nighttime bathroom activities and/or sleep disturbances.  I'm not sure why they need to tell me that they've got to pee in the middle of the night. I will also never understand why children need to inform their mother they are sick before they feel like they can go puke.  It's the reason they never make it to the bathroom before they explode.  I think they honestly believe we won't hear them and come rushing to their aid unless they announce their intentions ahead of time.

I am also at a loss for why they insist on waking me up instead of their father.  I'd be willing to bet, Sam has never once been woken up in the middle of the night by a small child declaring their intentions to go pee.  I can't remember a single time he has levitated six feet off of the bed because someone shoved a finger up his nose, while he was sound asleep, so they could tell him that they'd had a weird dream about monkeys.

Sam is actually very good about getting up with our kids in the middle of the night, but he still hasn't mastered how to take care of them without my input.

My Darling Husband: Colin has a fever of 102.
Me (Half Asleep): Give him some Tylenol
Darling Husband (2 Minutes Later): Where do we keep the Tylenol?
Me (Still Trying to Sleep): Medicine cabinet.
Husband (5 Minutes Later): He won't take it.  He says it's not the right kind, and I'm not giving him the right amount.
Me: Ahhhhhhhhhh

By the time I get that all straightened out and climb back in bed, my darling husband is usually hot on my heels bringing in the sick child to sleep with me for the rest of the night.

I'm really amazed I can still function after having my third child.  I've been trying to write this blog post for the last 24 hours, but keep getting sidetrack because the kids keep needing me to do things for them and answer questions that just can't wait. 

Child: Mommy, mommy I need you right now!

Me: Can it wait?

Child: No, it's really important.  I need you right now!!!!

Me (Racing across the house): What's wrong?

Child: Can you throw this booger away?  I'm in the middle of my show, and I don't want to get up. 

I'm sure at some point I had a really awesome ending planned out for this post, but I honestly can't remember what it was.  I'm just going to go fold laundry while I hum, "Don't tell my heart, my achy breaky heart.  I just don't think it'd understand."  Then I'm going to call my bestie and see if it's time to send out my yearly birthday cards to Nicole Kidman's kids.  

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PSSS....if you've read this far, I love you.