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.