Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Misadventures of Tuesday Confusion

My folly this time is in using terms that make perfect sense to me, but apparently not to everyone else. Since I found myself explaining some of the terminology to Rick today, I've decided to write a small dictionary.

Home Chickens: Sort of the opposite of a Free Range Chicken. We are people who are at home. I don't find myself in that position very often anymore.

Laundry Quest: A very exciting game that involves the children gathering up their own laundry and sorting it to be washed. There is not much more to it than that. Announcing "Laundry Quest" usually gets much more action than telling the children to go get their laundry. There is, on occasion, a small reward for the winner of "Laundry Quest".

Laundry Espionage: Much more exciting than "Laundry Quest". "Laundry Espionage" is the process of getting favorite sheets or blankets washed and put back into position before the owner realizes what you have done. This game requires stealth and ingenuity. This game was invented with Nicole in mind. Nicole has very strong objections to having her favorite sheet washed. She says washing it makes it feel wrong. Alex also benefits from this game, though, thankfully I have four of his favorite blanket(s) so it easier to accomplish.

Clean-a-thon: Pretty self-explanatory. Clean-a-thon is the game we play (and by "we" I mean "I") when there is a lot of housework to be done and very little enthusiasm for the project. This game involves setting the timer for 10 minutes of housework, followed by 10 minutes of rest/play and so on. I can on occasion get the kids involved with this because of the fun timer aspect. I think that this game might be more successful if I came up with a better name.

Shoe Shuffle: This is the exciting "game" of trying to find two matching shoes (per child). I try to encourage "Shoe Shuffle" at night because playing in the morning makes us late. Because of my recent refusal to "play", there have been a few occasions where a child has had to wear mismatched shoes or in the case of dance, only one shoe.

Mary Poppins: A sometimes successful game, "Mary Poppins" involves setting the timer for five or ten minutes and letting each child have a turn playing Mary Poppins. Because we can't snap and magically make things put themselves away, those of us who aren't having our turn being Mary Poppins act as the magic. We put the things away that get snapped at.

Tuesday Warrior/Mama Warrior: Because of my never-ending battle with TUESDAY, every week we pick sides, whether to be a Tuesday Warrior or a Mama Warrior. A Tuesday Warrior helps Tuesday to defeat me. I have been defeated if I am reduced to tears or if I find myself hiding in the closet or writing a blog entry with the door locked. A Mama Warrior works hard to make my day go smoothly. The children assure every TUESDAY that they are Mama Warriors, however, their loyalties have been known to change.

Parental Chicken: The game that Rick and I play when we are both doing our own thing, such as reading or playing computer, and someone is crying or something needs be be done. Whoever gets up and attends to the needs of the family first loses. I lose at "Parental Chicken" at least nine out of ten times, I always flinch first.

Vacuum Tag: The game of vacuuming while the children(usually a toddler) run away squealing, either with joy or terror.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Misadventures of Kate's Follies

I don't have a specific folly to list this time. I'm afraid that the whole entry is about Kate's follies.

As I was leaving church today, a mother of mostly teenagers stopped me and told me how amusing she had found watching me parading in and out of sacrament meeting. I'm sure that it was very amusing to the entire Ward, as we were sitting on the very front row. Rick was home today with a sick baby, so I found myself alone with the other three. I asked them all before entering the chapel if they had to use the bathroom. Of coarse, none of them did. Then, half way through the sacrament, Erika had to go potty "right now". I asked the other two if they needed to go, of coarse, neither did. When Erika and I reached the chapel doors to go back in, out came Nicole. She needed to go potty. About five minutes after Erika, Nicole and I marched back up to the front, Austin and Nicole both had to go potty "right now!" I didn't trust Erika enough to leave her while I took the others out, so off we all went again from the very front pew only to return five minutes later. When this sweet sister was talking to me after church, I mentioned how embarrassed I had been going in and out like that. She told me it was amusing to her because of how often she had been in the exact same situation.

I mention that story because it brought home something that I have been thinking about a lot lately. I look around me and have great admiration for the mothers that I see. I watch mothers bringing large families of neatly groomed, well behave children to church every Sunday. I do my visiting teaching in beautifully decorated and perfectly immaculate houses. I see these wonderful, amazing women running to little league, volunteering in school, cooking homemade meals, and caring for their children. They make it look so easy, like they could do it with one hand tied behind their backs. I have often found myself in near despair because I'm not amazing like these other women are. I make mistakes with my family. We eat corn dogs and hot pockets and mac'n'cheese because the more work I put into a meal, the less likely my family is to eat it. My house isn't perfect. My laundry piles up. My floor sometimes goes unswept. And, the worse part of all, I have no idea what I'm doing with my children. I am continually reading parenting books, trying to find the right path to be on. I feel basically clueless, flying from one moment to the next, just doing my best to do my best. Then, one day, someone said, "Wow! You're so on top of things. I don't know how you do it." That stopped me in my tracks. Me? On top of things? Me? And then I realized that all of my struggles are behind closed doors (isn't that where we want to keep them?). No one knows how often I have felt like I was drowning in uncertainty. It made me wonder, "Is it possible that all of those amazing mothers are just as uncertain as I am? Probably not, but it definitely gave me a new perspective on things. My kids are healthy and happy (for the most part) and for now, I'll keep doing my best to do my best.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Misadventures of the Best Intentions

This time my folly lies in my inability to separate my ego from my children. I tend to believe that any flaw found in my children is a personal attack on my parenting abilities. I like to think that I'm not the only mother who is guilty of this particular folly, though I know the children of the world would be much better off if we could rid ourselves of it.

For any of my four readers not intimately connected with my family, let me introduce you to Erika. Erika is my three (almost 4)year old little girl. Those of you who have read "Kate's Treasures" will know that she is very funny, definitely the clown in the family. She is incredibly smart, she has a way of putting ideas together and coming to conclusions that amaze me; for example:One day she wanted a treat for keeping her bed dry, I told her she could have some lemonade. She explained that because everything we drink turns to pee, lemonade could not be a dry bed treat and I would have to think of something else. Erika is also cute as a button, she has a hundred different smiles ranging from shy to huge to mischief. It is impossible to know Erika and not love her. These are the facts that I associate with Erika. There are also a couple of other facts that go with Erika: when she was two and a half she was diagnosed with cataracts and was discovered to be blind in her right eye. After my initial devastation (okay, devastation followed indignation, "How dare they think that I could produce a blind child!"), we dug in and got the problem treated. She had corrective surgery, she got her little bi-focal glasses, and she wears an eye patch to strengthen the eye. She also has some quirky speech issues. I call them issues because they are not officially problems. Even the experts are ranging in opinion from saying she is right on course for a child her age to saying she is harder to understand than a child half her age.

I write the above to explain the struggle I find within myself. When I look at my Erika, what I see is that smart and funny and beautiful little girl that I know so well. What I fear that others see when they look at Erika are the bi-focal glasses and the girl with the quirky speech. Because of my determination to give her the best possible start that I can, I have been fighting to get her into speech therapy. When I finally peeled back the first few layers of red tape within the district and got to the people that I needed to talk to, I nearly hung up on the nice lady on the other end of the phone when she told me that they were the ones that handled children with special needs. How dare she! My child doesn't have special needs! She just has a quirky way of speaking. How many weeks had I been fighting this fight? How many phone calls had I made? And I had finally reached the person who was going to get me an appointment with the right people, and I was going to hang up because I didn't want my child to have special needs. When I went to the appointment (which was a total fiasco far too long to detail in this already long blog entry) one of the nice ladies asked about her eyes. I had given them a detailed history of her eye issues in their paperwork. The woman said they would like to have a copy of her eye reports when I get them from Erika's Dr. to keep them informed of her progress in that area as well. She said that they would like to keep informed so that they could provide Erika with any extra assistance she might need throughout school, such as front seats in the classroom. How dare they! I am taking care of Erika's eyes. I will not have my child defined by her little bi-focal lenses. I smiled, Thanked her for her assistance, and made a mental note to get them as much information from Erika's eye Dr as I can.

I realized that day that, although I am fighting a lot of battles telling people that I don't want Erika to be held back by her glasses or her speech, the only person allowing her to be held back is me. I am letting Labels and my own ego interfere with what everyone is trying to help me do, and that is doing what is best for my Twinkling Little Star!

Friday, July 30, 2010

Misadventures of the Sweetest Thing

My folly this time is that after four children and seven and a half years of parenting, I am still completely clueless as a parent. It's actually worse than that, after four children and seven and a half years of parenting, I'm more clueless than I was when I started.

Sometimes, my children decide to do special things for me (most of these special things end up in my other blog "Kate's Treasures"). Last Sunday, Nicole woke me up about half an hour before I needed to get up and get ready for church. It started with a whisper, "Mom, I have a surprise for you." Then a slightly louder, "Mom, you need to come out to the kitchen. There is a surprise for you." Followed by, "Come on, Mom. Come see your surprises in the kitchen and family room." I rolled out of bed and stumbled down the hall, wishing that, for once, my surprise could be being allowed to stay in bed as long as I want. When I got down to the family room, I found that Austin and Erika were still in their "sleep out" beds, but Nicole had picked her bed up and put it away without being asked. In the kitchen, I found that the table had been set, complete with knives, forks, and spoons. With a big smile, Nicole asked how I liked my surprise. I looked lovingly into my child's face, and lied. I told her that it was the best surprise ever, that I had never had such a marvelous start to a Sunday Morning. I really was glad that she had put her bed away, but I prefer to have the family eat cold cereal on Sunday as it makes the morning go a little smoother. Plates, cups, knives, forks, and spoons were a little unnecessary for my plans. However, being up a half hour early had given me more time to make breakfast.

As I started making breakfast, being careful to make something that would require the use of all of the dishes set out on the table, Nicole asked if she had been good enough to earn the stuffed frog. The Stuffed Frog? Sudden clarity rushed in. On occasion, when the children have gone above and beyond the call of duty, I have allowed them to pick a surprise out of the Surprise Bucket. This usually requires an act of extraordinary kindness or doing extra work without being asked. Austin was the last person to be able to pick a surprise and he had to pick between the stuffed frog and the stuffed snake (my kids like reptile type things), since he picked the snake, the frog must still be there. How do I get out of this mess? I do love rewarding good behavior, but I don't want to teach the children that every good deed comes with a monetary reward. I felt that I had to tell Nicole that, although I loved my surprise and was so thankful for her thoughtfulness, I couldn't let her pick out of the Surprise Bucket. I explained, what I have explained before, that the one rule of the Surprise Bucket is that Mom chooses the moment when it will be opening and that moment is not at a time when we are expecting it.

Many tears were shed at this example of Mom's lack of appreciation. As I held my sobbing little girl, I was reminded once again that motherhood is like walking a tight rope. Where is the balance between good deeds getting you nowhere and good deeds being only for profit? I tried to help Nicole understand that doing all of that work for me and then asking for a reward kind of lessened the love behind her actions. She assured me that she had done the work because she loved me. And, in spite of my lack of feeling, she seems to love me still. Hopefully, that love will get me through the other pitfalls of motherhood and we will all survive.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Misadventures of the Best Laid Plans

My folly this time is that my imaginary self is much more energetic and organized than my real self

If you had seen me during the few weeks before the start of summer break, you would have seen one of those thought bubbles (you know, the ones from cartoons) following me around. My head was full of all of the things that the children and I were going to do this summer. I was going to sit down one on one with each of the children, every day. We would be doing our usual math lessons, but we would also be learning other things. Every week would have a new topic to learn about. I even had lovely lesson plans thought out in my head.

Not only would we have scholastic improvement, we were also going to do things. None of this sitting around doing nothing like last summer (and the summer before and the summer before and the summer before. You get the point). We would have weekly field trips. We would go to the zoo, museums, parks, nature centers, etc ... We were going to see and explore and enjoy everything.

Our house was going to get organized. We were going to establish fantastic routines that would liberate us from the daily grind of chores. We would be running so smoothly that it would feel as if the house was cleaning itself and it would take very little effort on our part as long as we stuck to our routines.

Reality Check Time! June started and we had school the first week. There was a wedding the second week and we had things going on. The third week we really needed to rest, after all it was summer and time to enjoy sleeping in, but only for a little while. I had plenty of time to put my plans into action. I'm pretty sure that you can see where this is all going. We're now 2/3 of the way through our summer break. We've taken one field trip up Mount Timpanogos, Had one awesome camping trip with Grandma and Grandpa, and Mom has managed to sleep in until 9:00 at least twice.

I would love to write more, but I'm off to the daily grind of chores.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Misadventures of a Well Taught Child

Sometimes, folly is unavoidable. Anyone with children knows that any activity can be turned to folly if children are added to the equation; the more children you add, the bigger the folly. Since the children were inescapable, I'm going to say that my folly lay in my drinking problem (no, not that drinking problem. My dishwasher is running fine). I am, of course, referring to my very strong addiction to drinking water. Normally, I'm able to keep this addiction in check, but when it gets out of hand it can lead to dangerously low blood pressure and an extremely overactive bladder.

I recently found myself out running errands with all four of my children. This unfortunate occurrence was brought about by Rick being out of town and my tendency to procrastinate. I was on my third store and just finishing my second liter of water since leaving home when I needed to use the bathroom. I put Alex and Erika in the Costco shopping cart, told Austin and Nicole to hang on, and raced to the bathroom. By the time I got to the bathroom, I really felt ready to burst. I asked Austin to come stand next to the cart and keep Alex from plunging to his doom on the concrete floor. "But I have to go potty, Mom," was his response as he closed the stall door. "I have to go potty, too!" chorused Nicole and Erika as they, too, disappeared into stalls. By now, I was doing a potty dance that would impress the most artistic of potty trainees. It was with extreme difficulty that I was able to keep my cool when Erika emerged a moment later to tell me that she was unable to go potty without my help. I couldn't go help Erika until I had someone to watch Alex and keep him from falling (I'm afraid that the seat belts in most shopping carts are a bit of a joke). When Austin finally came out, I asked him again to come stand guard over Alex, my situation becoming more desperate with each passing second. "Mom, I have to wash my hands!" (I interrupt my regularly scheduled rant to confess that despite my constant reminders to wash their hands for at least 20 seconds, the children usually don't spend 20 seconds on the entire bathroom routine.) Austin began to wash his hands while Erika chanted, "Mommy, I need help going potty." and I was dancing on tip toe with my knees tight together to keep from having an accident myself right there in the Costco bathroom. Austin washed, and washed, and washed, and washed. Then Austin, still rubbing soap on his hands, looked up at me with a big smile and said, "I'm washing my hands for more than 20 seconds just for you, Mom!" My return smile was, I confess, more of a grimace than a smile, but I tried.

Eventually, Austin finished washing his hands. I helped Erika go potty, and was finally able to go myself. We all made it home with clean, dry pants and all's well that ends well. The moral of the story is to not drink and drive, especially if you're driving with children.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

The Misadventures of Kharma

On our outing yesterday, the kids bought a package of Ring Pops. Nicole thought that this giant, shiny pink ring was the finest thing in all the world. She put hers on her finger and refused to eat it. She felt so glamorous with such a beautiful ring on her finger.

Then, this morning, tragedy struck our little house. While going to use the bathroom, Nicole had left her ring on the kitchen table. When she came back out, the ring was no where to be found. Erika was also no where to be found. After a little searching, Erika and the base of the Ring Pop were discovered behind the couch. Alas, the lovely pink jewel was gone from the base having been devoured by a greedy 3 year old. Many bitter tears were shed at this terrible turn of events.

Unfortunately for Nicole, Mom saw a definite parallel between Nicole's prized ring being eaten and the despoiling of some prized Barbies. Erika got sent to her room and Nicole, in spite of my current parenting philosophy that doesn't allow explaining or lecturing, got a lecture and an explanation. I couldn't help but try to make her see that, in the same way that she didn't understand me trying to save Barbies instead of playing with them, Erika couldn't understand not eating candy that was available.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Misadventures of Misrepresentation

This morning I printed off my previous posts so that I could put them in my journal. Reading through the posts I discovered that a lot of them are about the mischief of a certain little girl. I now feel compelled to make a couple of statements. Statement One: Every single word I've written about said little girl is absolutely true. Statement Two: That same little girl brings me so much joy that, at times, it takes my breath away.

I'd like to take a few minutes and write about the wonder that is Nicole.

As I've mentioned before, Nicole has a bit of a naughty streak in her. To be fair, I'm going to change that from a naughty streak to an independent streak. I don't think that she is really trying to be naughty as much as she is trying to exert her independence and her own way of thinking. For example: Barbies are meant to play with, it makes no sense to keep them locked away in boxes in the basement (my ability to see her perspective is what has kept her hands still attached). Does Nicole get into more trouble than the others? Honestly, I will have to say Yes, she does. Nicole thinks of things that simply wouldn't occur to Austin to try and Erika's exploits are still on a smaller scale.

Although Nicole does make me shake my head and wonder where I went wrong, she also makes me stop and think that I must be doing something right. Nicole is the most affectionate of all my children. She will frequently come and give me a hug and a kiss and tell me that she loves me. She is very generous with her compliments, to me and to all of those around her. She says the most beautiful prayers. While the other kids tend to say the same thing over and over (I do it. Admit it, you do it, too) Nicole prays so sincerely for all of her family and friends. Nicole enjoys writing loving songs about the Savior and about her Family.

Nicole is a happy little package of contradictions, one second making me pull my hair out in frustration, the next melting my heart by showing me how big her heart is.

I love you, Nicole!

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

The Misadventures of an Unclear Post

There has been a little concern expressed to me about my previous entry "The Misadventures of a Good Deed". People feel that Erika was treated unfairly in the situation of losing band-aids, bubble bath, and pizza due to the reprehensible behavior of her older sister. Please allow me to set the record straight. Although, she started the journey walking next to the cart, her frequent trips down a different aisle or refusing to leave her current aisle forced me to put her in the shopping cart. Erika had already lost her privileges due to the oft repeated offense of not staying with me. Please excuse my lack of clarification in my previous entry and realize that I'm an equal opportunity punisher.

The Misadventures of TUESDAY Laundry

TUESDAY laundry. What a terrible combination!

This time the folly falls squarely on Nicole's shoulders. Her folly was, once again, saying the wrong thing at the wrong time.

Our laundry ritual consists of me washing the laundry, me drying the laundry, me folding the laundry. The children's laundry is then separated into their own baskets and they are expected to take it down and put it in their drawers. Today as I was sitting down to fold the laundry, I asked Erika and Nicole to go and get their laundry baskets for me. Nicole told me that she didn't want to have to get her laundry basket, she just wanted me to fold the laundry. Instead of going through my usual "Poor Mom" tirade, I decided just to give her what she wanted.

I started to fold the laundry. Every time I came across some of Nicole's laundry, I calmly folded it and then told her that she needed to take it down to her room and put it away. I always seemed to find a piece of her laundry right after she had gotten back from the last trip down the hall and restarted her previous activity. It was funny to watch her growing frustration(I know I'm a terrible parent)as she was called away from her play again and again. It turns out that a weeks worth of laundry takes a while to put away if you do it one piece at a time. To her credit she lasted about thirty minutes before she started yelling about the amount of laundry she had to put away. I, of course, had to remind her that it was her idea not to use the laundry baskets. She did bring me the laundry basket in time for the last pair of jammies and three pairs of sock.

I'm not sure if Nicole took a lesson from this experience. The lesson that I'm taking is that sometimes giving in to a temper tantrum can be kind of fun.

P.S. To anyone wondering what Erika was doing during this time: Erika didn't get her laundry basket either. So she was also puting her laundry away one piece at a time. Her laundry lacked the drama because she didn't add any. She ignored my request for the laundry basket and she put her laundry away without comment. I do need to confess to not adding the vindictive timing that I used with Nicole. I wanted to show Nicole that sometimes it's better to just do what you're asked and not argue.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

The Misadventures of a Good Deed

My folly this time was giving my children what they want, an action almost guaranteed to backfire.

After picking Nicole up from school today, we went to the haircut store so Erika and I could get our hair cuts. When we were done, Nicole asked if we could go to Target. Having gone to the store yesterday, I didn't really need anything from Target and I told her so. She said that she would like to go to Target to get a cookie and look at the dishes (plastic dishes with Disney characters on them) and Barbies. I decided that since I didn't have anything that needed to be done, we could go. We got our cookies (Alex ate mine). We looked at the dishes. We looked at the Barbies. I let the girls walk up and down any toy aisle that they wanted to. I let Nicole look at the clothes. I let Erika look at the books. They picked out some princess bubble bath and I let them each pick out a box of special (character) Band-Aids.

After we had wandered around for about an hour and a half, and well past Alex's lunch time, I said it was time to go get some lunch. When we're at Target, lunch means getting a personal pizza from the eatery and letting the girls share it while I feed Alex some baby food. Announcing that it was time to leave sent Nicole into a fit of rage. She wanted to look at bicycles!!! I never let her look at what she wants to look at!!! The last remark was, unfortunately for her, the wrong thing to say after I had just spent an hour and a half looking at everything that she had wanted to look at. We immediately went to check out and, sadly, left behind the bubble bath and the special Band-Aids. Leaving behind our treasures and the loss of the pizza did, of course, start and equally impressive tantrum.

The lesson learned today is that it is true that no good deed goes unpunished!

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

The Misadventures of Catching a Snipe

My folly this morning was temporarily forgetting who my children are and what day of the week it is. I mention forgetting who my children are because anyone who knows my Nicole will not be surprised by the following episode. I mention the day of the week because TUESDAY (said with a definite note of doom, thus the capitals and bold letters) tends to be the day that things are always going wrong.

I woke up this morning when my alarm went off at 6:30. I knew that I needed to get up, but the coolness of my room and the warmness of my bed caused me to stay in bed a little longer than I should have. When Nicole and Austin came into the room around 7, I forced myself to get up. I told the kids that I was getting in the shower and would make their breakfast after I got out. Because I knew that at least 2 of the children were out of bed, I fully expected my usual shower interruptions. However, after 20 blissful minutes of nothing but quiet and hot water I got out without having spoken to my children once. This was a rare enough occurrence that I made note of it to all of the Internet world. It even crossed my mind that it was really the best way to begin a TUESDAY.

I had my bedroom door locked while I was getting dressed. That's when the knocking started. It was Austin wondering when I was coming to make his breakfast. A few minutes later, Austin knocked to ask where Nicole was. A few minutes after that, Austin had discovered where Nicole was and that's when the door pounding began. You would think from the frantic pounding that someone had just lost an arm or something equally awful. That wasn't the case, but it was almost as serious.

"MOM, MOM, MOM, NICOLE IS GETTING INTO THE BARBIES!!!!!!!" I have a collection of Barbie Dolls that was started when I was 15. I have collectors dolls, historic dolls, holiday dolls, dolls from around the world, dolls based on movie characters, and some that are just ordinary Barbies that for some reason had meaning to me. The dolls are all in their carefully preserved boxes. The children know that my Barbies are one of my few possessions that I keep just for myself, one of the few things that are completely off limits. Nicole knows from previous experience how seriously I take this offense. When I got downstairs, I found the box ripped open and the doll sitting on the floor next to it. It was "Happy Family Barbie", the doll that I purchased when I was pregnant with Austin, probably the last doll to be added to my collection.

I have read many parenting books most of which agree that "natural consequences" are the best ways to teach your children. So what is the natural consequence of despoiling one of Mom's prized possessions? The only thing that I could think of was cutting her out of my will and leaving all of the Barbies to Erika, but I think I need something a little more immediate. Maybe removing her hands?

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

The Misadventures of Tuesday Evening

My folly this time was preparing a meal that I was 100% certain that Austin wouldn't eat, 93% certain that Erika wouldn't eat, and 57% certain that Nicole wouldn't eat. Why, we may all be wondering, did I prepare such a meal? Because you can only eat tacos and cold cereal so many times. Tonight I wanted to have what I wanted.

Our misadventure began shortly after Rick left for scouts. Austin, who had just been released from his room after his dinner tantrum, was found at the stove beginning to prepare a grilled cheese sandwich. When I explained to him that he wouldn't be having a grilled cheese sandwich since he passed on his dinner and told him he needed to start washing the dishes, he informed me in no uncertain terms that he was having a grilled cheese sandwich because he hated what I had made and proceeded to tell me that he wouldn't be doing the dishes. My reply started in a calm voice (the calm before the storm) but increased in volume and intensity as I went on. The end note of the tirade was that I am his mother and will be spoken to with respect and if he can't manage that, he doesn't need to speak to me at all. Not my finest moment, I confess, but he had attacked my potato soup.

I decided that I needed a time out to gather my wits and keep me from saying anything else that I might regret. I hid in my bedroom closet and enjoyed a miniature candy bar. There is nothing like a sugar band-aid to soothe the troubled soul. While in there, I heard the baby crying. I wasn't concerned, he was in his high chair and I assumed he was crying to get out. I heard the kids calling for me, but I didn't feel in control enough yet to reveal my hiding place. After a few minutes, Nicole opened the door, finding me calmly sitting on the closet floor. She told me that Erika had put pepper in the baby's eyes. When I got to the kitchen, I found Erika hiding under the table, and Alex with very red eyes and salt and pepper on his head. Upon further investigation, I discovered that she didn't intentionally put pepper in his eyes, he rubbed it in himself after she had seasoned him. After intense questioning she assured me that she had no intention of eating Alex for dinner, so I'm not sure what the point was of covering him with salt and pepper.

The lesson that I'm taking away from this experience is that there is a reason that people put the children in time out instead of going there themselves.

Monday, April 12, 2010

The Misadventures of Whining and Pooh

This blog was inspired by a recent trip to Disneyland. First I think I should share my folly with you. I'm always convinced that doing nice things for my children will reveal previously unseen angels that I am certain lurk just beneath the surface, if only I could get to them. I've never actually found these angels, but I'm always optimistic.

The excitement and the joy I witnessed on my children's faces as we entered the park made me think that my optimism was at last going to be justified. It was while waiting for the ride "The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh" that my hopes were dashed. We had only been in the park for about half an hour but I was already hearing things like, "Mom, Erika is touching me!" and "When will it be our turn?"

Not long after that, I realized that the 3 year old had had an accident in her pants. Naturally, Mom is the one who handles such events, so off we ran to the bathroom for some fresh clothes. Because of this incident, I took the threat very seriously when she announced that she had to go potty right as we were about to board "It's a Small World" after waiting in line for an hour.

Things got really interesting after the stomach flu hit. Rick started to feel sick a little bit into the second day. He said that he would go back to the hotel and I could stay at the park with the kids. But the park was very crowded and I felt that 4 kids would be more than I was comfortable keeping track of by myself. The kids were disappointed to be leaving the park so early in the day, so Rick promised them that they could go swimming if we went back to the hotel. Because rick was laying down, it fell to me to take the kids swimming. I didn't really want to and felt a little resentment that he had promised them, knowing that he wouldn't be able to take them. After swimming, Austin started to feel sick, too. When he fell asleep, the girls got bored and wanted to go back to the park. By this time I was feeling pretty sick too, but I also felt bad that the girls were stuck in the hotel. So I bravely, and foolishly, loaded Alex and the girls into the stroller and walked back to Disneyland. When we got there, we found a very short line to see Mickey and I felt that coming back was going to be worth the trouble. But my stomach was getting sicker with each passing minute. It was the carousel ride that was my undoing. After the ride ended, I helped the girls off of their horses and raced with Alex off the ride to be very sick in a flower bed. When I was able to look up, I had Alex (of course, I was holding him) and Nicole but Erika wasn't with us. I looked back at the carousel and saw her all by herself, but before I could go get her, I was throwing up again. I tried to yell for her but couldn't stop being sick. I was finally able to go get her, thankfully, and I felt a little better. Since I didn't trust myself on any more rides, we went and got in line to see the princesses. We waited in line for about an hour and a half and were just getting close to the front of the line when Erika said, "My tummy hurts!" Having horrible visions of her throwing up all over Cinderella, I rushed us all out of line. Many bitter tears were shed by Nicole who didn't care if I was sick or Erika was sick. She wanted to see the princesses. She wanted to ride more rides. We wandered around the park, danced to the parade music, and rode one more ride before returning to our hotel at bedtime.

The next morning, we arrived at Disneyland early and waited in line for the princesses an hour before the attraction opened. Austin whined the whole time, in spite of the fact that we had waited for his Jedi Academy for at least as long the day before. We had a nice enough day if you ignored the protests of "It's too hot!" or "Why do we have to wait so long?!" In the early afternoon, Nicole and I were waiting in line for "Splash Mountain" and even with our fast passes it had been nearly 40 minutes. We were second from the front when Nicole looked at me and said, "My tummy hurts!" So off we went from another line. Right after leaving the line, Rick called to say that he and the other kids were on their way back to the hotel. So Nicole and I headed back, too. She insisted that she was too sick to walk and I would have to carry her. It wasn't a long walk, but a five year old gets heavy really fast. And all the walk home all I could think about was her complete lack of concern for me when I was throwing up in the flowers.

Our last day at Disneyland was delightful (again you have to ignore the whines to get to the good part).

We had a pleasant drive home, except for Erika's frequent bouts of car sickness. Of course, my manly husband, who is fully capable of gutting a fish and disemboweling a deer, is completely incapable of cleaning up throw up. So again the task fell to me to strip down and clean up the little girl and then wipe up the car seat while Rick hid in the bushes.

This post may make it seem like I didn't enjoy or appreciate the trip. I did enjoy it and was so thankful to have been able to go. That's why I started a second blog. One to share the joys of motherhood and one to share the pains.