Sunday, September 27, 2009

Mommy's Purse

It is amazing the things that you carry in your purse as a mother. The list can be quite extensive if you have reached the phase where you no longer need to haul a huge diaper bag, but still require a few baby necessities on outings. In the last four years, my purse has held everything from the usual...wallet, keys, lipstick, to the not so usual..., nursing pads, race cars, Butt Paste. My purse is so well-stocked that I am sure that if we were stranded somewhere with no immediate hope of rescue, I could quite easily put together a meal, provide an entertaining after dinner show, and remove a gallbladder if the need arose.

More than just a vehicle for carting around all of my mommy stuff, my purse holds within it the power to distract a toddler for a good two hours if I get really creative. Case in point...dinner this past Friday. Mike, the kids, and I met my sisters, brother-in-law, and mom at Cheddars for dinner. I was relatively confident that we were screwed when we pulled into the parking lot and saw that it was so full and you had to park so far away, that some people were riding camels on their incredible trek to the front door. Oh yeah, it was that crowded.

Luckily, Ang and Derek got there before anyone else and had our table already when we got there. So we sat down and Elyse was happy with the initial menu and crayons bit, but she was really hungry, and after ten minutes she decided that she wasn't buying the crap that we were selling and she started to get, let's just call it cranky.

I pulled out the Teddy Grahams and it was like the clouds parted and beams of light radiated from the baggie of tiny, honey-flavored bears. She was beside herself with joy and was content for another ten minutes. After the novelty of the bears wore off, we turned to books, but Princess wasn't much in the mood for reading and she flung them across the room. Maybe her toy phone? Ah Hah! Success! Another ten minutes. Now if you are keeping track, that's thirty minutes since we sat down and if the cannibalistic looks on the faces of the people next to us were any indication, it appeared that there was no hope that we were going to see our food any time soon, and also, maybe we should move to another table because Leroy over there is starting to drool just looking in our general direction. Creepy.

After I had pulled out every legal baby item in my bag, I had to move to the illegal know, the stuff that you would never give your child until you have exhausted every other option and are left with hand sanitizer, appointment reminder cards, and the pepper spray. Finally, in a last ditch effort, I grabbed the hand lotion and you know what? That bottle of lotion kept her happier and more entertained for a longer stretch of time than anything else that I pulled out.

Kids, you just never know. Tomorrow I might pull out that same bottle of lotion and she might toss it aside with absolutely no interest whatsoever, but at that moment, the lotion was the magic object. She was happy pretending to put lotion on everyone at the table until our food arrived and once she saw her plate of spaghetti she was like, "Huh, what lotion?" The girl LOVES her some spaghetti. So I put away the lotion and twenty other items that were all over the table, for the next time that we get stranded or end up at Cheddars or get stranded at Cheddars.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

It Worked, It Finally Worked!

Yesterday was the first day that I was able to take Aaron to school and not have to peel him off of me before I could leave. The last several weeks have been absolutely exhausting as there has been an incredible amount of screaming every time, every single time that I had to say goodbye to Aaron at preschool, but yesterday was different.

It didn't start any different. He turned his alarm off and went back to bed. I had to turn on the over-head light in his room, announce that it was time to get up, and start making ridiculous threats that showed without a doubt that I meant business. You know the kind, "If you don't get out of bed, you will have to go to bed early tonight! If you don't get out of bed, the entire world will stop producing fruit snacks! If you don't get out of bed, we are going to be late and may God Almighty save you because Mommy CAN"T STAND to be late, and if we are late, Santa will find out and you KNOW what that means!!!" You know, the typical stuff.

Finally he drug himself out of bed and wandered out into the living room dragging his clothes behind him because, well, Mommy only said get out of bed, she didn't say get dressed. Kids, so literal. He decided that the pre-approved outfit of the night before did not suit sire's style that morning and so we had to choose a whole new outfit. A decision that should be easier than paper or plastic is more involved than holding a congressional hearing where Aaron is concerned.

We got through breakfast which was a whole other struggle and finally left the house five minutes late, LATE! As we were walking up the sidewalk to school, he talked about how excited he was that he had his umbrella and he seemed fine, but I have been fooled before. We got to his class and he started to tell his teachers about the umbrella. Hmmmmm, jovial. He went to wash his hands without a fuss. Hmmmmm, compliant. He grabbed his star with his name on it to hang on the bulletin board. Hmmmmm, willing. Could this be THE day?

He sat down at his seat and I opened the box of blocks that were at his table and he said with a sigh, "Urgh, this again?" Apparently he had played with those blocks a few too many times. Now this is usually where it all goes to hell. I hesitated and then I gave him a little hug and said, "OK Aaron, I love you. Have a good day." He hugged me and looked up and said, "I'm not going to cry today." I about fell over. I was speechless at first. When I came to I told him how proud I was of him and that I knew he could do it. He smiled, told me he'd see me later, and I left. On my way out I heard him tell the teachers, "I didn't cry today!" He was really proud of himself.

I know that I am lucky that we only did the crying thing for a few weeks. I know that there are parents that have to deal with it for months. I also know that just because it worked one day, doesn't mean that it will work every day, but yesterday, it worked. I walked down the hall and out of the school floating about ten inches off of the ground.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

This is Huge...

What I am about to tell you is so big, so huge, so exciting that I feel like shouting it from the rooftops. Last night...for the first time in WEEKS...I didn't have to get up with Elyse even once!

-cymbals clashing, drums banging, triumphant music all around-

Every night, EVERY SINGLE NIGHT for weeks and weeks and weeks Elyse has gotten up in the middle of the night crying for either her blanket or pacifier or both. Some nights I was lucky and she only did it once, but other nights we would see each other every hour on the hour, and let me tell you, those nights sucked!

So what changed? Well, I have been pondering whether or not a night light would remedy the situation. We still use her baby monitor and that casts a good amount of light, but it is a little harsh and sometimes I thought that she was waking up because of that light. I wasn't sure if I should try it or not, but after the night we had had prior, I was willing to try just about anything with in reason, or not, basically whatever got her to sleep a full night was A OK by me.

We did our usual bedtime routine; stories, songs, cuddle time, bed. We read "Goodnight Blue" and "I See A Monster" which are two of her absolute favorites. Then we did Twinkle, Twinkle, Itsy, Bitsy Spider, and I Love My Rooster. After all of that we had a little cuddle time and let me tell you, she is a great cuddler; 100% made for cuddling. She rested her little fuzzy head on my chest and I stroked her hair and nestled my face down by her neck which is undoubtedly the baby sweet spot. I started to get so emotional because I know how fast this time goes. I am going to blink and she is going to be off to preschool just like Aaron is now, but for that moment, in the dark, it was just her and I; my little baby who is more of a little girl now. It was one of those moments that I know I will never forget and no matter how far away we get from this time, when I remember it we will instantly be transported back to that rocking chair, in the dark, just her and I.

Anyway, after our moment, I put her to bed, told her that I love her, and left her room. I had very little hope that the night light was going to work, but what did I have to loose? I haven't slept, really slept, in so many weeks that the days are all blurring together into one massive time clump so if she got up once, twice, even three times it was just going to be business as usual.

The stupid cat started meowing around 4ish AM and when I saw what time it was I about jumped out of bed to do a cartwheel. It worked, it worked, my God it WORKED! She made it through the whole night and while I realize that 4:00 AM to most doesn't seem like the entire night, to a mom it's practically noon, so to say that I was ecstatic would be putting it mildly.

I know what you're thinking, "Why in God's name are you writing this? Don't you know that you just jinxed yourself and that this is never going to work again?" Yes, I am aware, but it was so wonderful that I just had to share it and so what if she does get up tonight? I slept for six hours straight last night...SIX. I am good to go for another eight weeks.

Monday, September 21, 2009

I Have Nothing to Write About

So, I have nothing to write about. Sometimes I have so many ideas that I can't decide which I should use, but then there are these times when nothing sounds interesting, everything seems lame, and I feel like a great big loser.

I could tell you about the time that I met Richard Simmons. He was visiting Wheeling about nine-ish years ago and held a workout in the Wes Banco arena, but that is pretty much the entire story. Well, that and the fact that my sister and I almost got into a fight with one of the women running the thing because we were waiting in line to get an autograph and we also wanted to get a picture with him too. How dare we request so much of Richard? When it was our turn to see him, we tried to explain that we were only allowed to get the picture and he said with a big smile on his face, "Oh, give me the damn thing," and he signed the crap out of it. He was really nice and also took several pictures with us. In your face mean event lady!

I could tell you about the New Years Eve that I got a nose bleed and I couldn't get it stopped and it bled off and on until the next morning when it was so bad that we decided that I had to go to the emergency room. I don't even think that they made me register. The nurse took one look at me and sent me back to an exam room. The doctor that saw me shoved so much gauze up there that I felt like Arnold Schwarzenegger in Total Recall. You would think that such a massive amount of gauze would do the trick, but we no sooner left the ER and headed to get a prescription filled when I started bleeding profusely AGAIN and went back to the ER. This time they used this cardboard thing that after it was rammed up inside my nose, they used a needle to fill it with water to make it expand. I believe all of this happened on a Monday and I had to leave that thing in there until in FOUR DAYS LATER!!!

I was never so happy to go to the hospital as I was that Friday to get the Rino Rocket, yeah, that's what it was called, out of my nose, that is until I saw the doctor come in with a bunch of paper towels and a pair of forceps. When you have experienced the kind of nosebleed that I had and you have suffered for days with this massive plug inside your nose, that last thing that you want to see is a huge wad of paper towels because that probably ain't good.

You could tell that this guy was old school and that he probably interned on the fields of Gettysburg because he was completely stone-faced, all business, and he was coming at me with no mercy. It took, oh, I don't know, 2.2 seconds for him to rip, RIP that thing from my nose and then he was gone. The nurse that came in to discharge me looked at me and said, "Oh, I think you may have developed an infection," because the whole right side of my face was swollen. Maybe if Dr. Kevorkian had taken half of the amount of time it took him to rip that thing from my face to really look at me, he would have noticed that things weren't exactly symmetrical and would have done something about it himself, but I am sure he had many more patients to torture.

The absolute best part of this story is when yet another nurse came back to give me an IV before they sent me off to get a cat scan of my enormous face and she brings a gown with her. She says, "Oh, hehe, you might want to put this on because sometimes this gets a little messy."

?????????????????????mouth hanging open??????????????????????????????

A little messy? Good God woman you are giving me an IV, not hacking my arm off. What do you mean a little messy? Are we talking like the guy on the bicycle that gets hit by Clark in European Vacation when the blood squirts out from his palm when he is giving them directions or more like Leatherface in Texas Chainsaw Massacre? I mean, I just really want to know what I am getting into here before I just hand over my arm. Clearly she was a student of Dr. No Personality Kevorkian.

She never did get the IV in place and had to call for backup, I didn't have an infection, and praise be to God I haven't had a nose bleed since. (Knock on wood)

Maybe I should tell you about how I met my husband, Mike, and how after one of our first dates I opened his truck door right into the concrete wall of my parents house? Or maybe the time that I fell asleep on my way home from work and ran into a guardrail? FYI, I wasn't hurt, but my car wasn't so lucky. How about the time that I fell asleep in science class back in high school and actually gave myself whiplash? I was in physical therapy for more than a year over that one.

I don't know. Like I said, I really don't have anything to write about. Maybe I will have something for tomorrow, but don't count on it.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Like Brother, Like Sister

Aaron and Elyse are so much alike it's scary. When Aaron was a baby I swore that there was no way that our next child could be as ornery as he was, but I was wrong. Elyse is rotten in ways that surpass Aaron so immensely that it boggles the mind. They both, however, managed to get black eyes before the age of two. Here is a picture of Aaron at eight months old sporting a black eye that he got after he fell into the nightstand in his room. (FYI: The right eye is the black one, the rest of the stuff on his face is dinner from that evening)

Here is a picture of Elyse after she was mowed down by Aaron and flung into the end table in the living room on Wednesday. For the record, Aaron pleads that he never saw her, but I doubt a jury of his peers would believe that lame story.

Elyse's doesn't show up real well in this picture, but you get the point. I thought that it was interesting that they both injured the opposite eye. They really are bookends.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

A Place for Everything and Everything MUST Be in its Place

I love order and organization. To me there is nothing better than spending a day sorting and organizing and finding a home for clutter. I will organize and sort virtually anything with mass and volume, and that takes up space. It's what I do. When I see clutter, there is a chemical reaction in my brain that blocks all other rational thoughts and the only thing that I can focus on is, "Must sort junk...must sort junk," and until I have been able to tackle whatever it is that is wearing on me, I find it very difficult to concentrate on anything else. Some would say it's a sickness, I would say that it is an endearing little quirk, Mike would say, "Someone help me. She is organizing my underwear by color!"

I have always known that I am a very organized person, but I became aware that maybe I was a little too organized when I was sitting in a doctor's office one day and all I could think about was, "That chair should be over here because then it would go, red chair, blue chair, red chair, blue chair..." and it was all that I could think about. Then I started wondering, "What would things look like if this table went over here and this chair was turned like this..." Long story short by the time they called my name it was like one of those big reveal moments on Trading Spaces and I was all, "Ta Da!!!" The other patients seemed a little pissed, but whatever. Some people just don't appreciate anything.

The lab that I used to work in was big on supplies, but very, very short on space and everything that was essential for the job littered every single square inch of the room. Do you have any idea what it was like to work there and NOT be able to sort and organize? It would be like putting Ru Paul in a room full of makeup, wigs, and show girl costumes and telling him, "Do not make yourself fierce girlfriend!" I believe that he would most likely implode and I almost did except that every three weeks or so, either myself or one of my coworkers would rotate to another hospital's lab for a week, and there it was much easier to be, well, organizationally insane. There were big open spaces, much less clutter, and for the most part, lots of extra time to spend cleaning and organizing. By the time that my week was up, I had done enough sorting therapy to get through another three weeks amid the clutter at the other hospital.

Before children, I always had my DVDs alphabetized, my remote controls lined up on the coffee table like little soldiers, and my canned goods were arranged nicer than your local Quickie Mart, but once Aaron came along I had to let go of a lot of that stuff. It was hard, very hard, and I remember the exact day that I had to surrender to the clutter. It had been way too long since I had done any dusting and Aaron was in the baby swing chillin', catching up on the latest Blues Clues, and I thought, "I think that I will clean." Of course, as soon as I started, he started wailing and I threw my hands up and said, "Screw it!" A little piece of me died that day my friends, but somehow I managed to learn to cope with some clutter. Oh it still drives me completely nuts and there are times when I will be sitting in church trying to listen to the sermon when all I can think about is, "The newspaper was all over the table when we left, and the breakfast dishes are still out...I bet that person's house is in order...," but somehow I have been able to function even with the obsessive thoughts running through my head over and over, and yeah, over again.

The good thing is that with kids comes a whole new crop of things to organize. When we bought Aaron his first set of play food, I really wanted to buy a special organizer to sort the stuff according to the food guide pyramid. Dairy in this drawer, meat in here, veggies in this compartment...Oh yeah, I'm totally sick. There are times when I could spend hours going through both of the kid's things attempting to put everything back with its original pieces. Cars go in the car bin. Diego doesn't belong with the Weebles. Doesn't Elyse know that this purse is an accessory and belongs with the hats? Urgh, kids.

My dream would be to spend an entire week alone with nowhere to go and nothing else to do but reorganize my house. I probably wouldn't even waste time eating. I would just survive on Diet Pepsi and anything that I could pop into my mouth on the fly. I would start at one corner of the house and I wouldn't stop until I got all the way through to the basement. Oh the joy! I'm not sure I could handle it. The only problem is that if I actually did that, I would most likely have to ban the kids from ever coming back. Sure I'd miss them, but the food in my refrigerator would be sorted by expiration date. Can you imagine?

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Rat Bastard

So we have a mouse. Yeah, a mouse. The other morning when I was sitting at the computer I heard this weird noise and usually when I hear something weird I just blame one of the stupid cats, but they were both sprawled out on the floor next to me so I knew it wasn't them. Then I heard it again and knew without a doubt that it had to be a mouse, well, that or the world's smallest burglar, but either way I was confident that both could be caught in a trap.

So this morning at 4:58 AM I heard another weird noise and to be honest, at first, in my sleepy state, it sounded like the buttons on my alarm were being pushed. I was sleeping with my back to the alarm and I have to tell you that for a brief moment my imagination went loopy and I convinced myself that there must be a ghoulish specter standing behind me, and the worst thing that he could think to do to me was piss with my alarm. No, I am not joking.

After I realized that that was insane, probably, I listened again and thought, "Damn stupid cat! What in the hell is she chewing on now?" Then I started whisper-yelling her name and I tossed my pillow in her general direction, but still the noise continued. Ooooohhhhh, it's that mouse. So I told Mike that I thought our mouse buddy was visiting, or mocking, or both, and he decided to give up his last fifteen minutes of sleep to commence Operation: Seek and Destroy Rodent.

I heard all kinds of commotion, but off and on I still heard that noise, My God THAT NOISE! I have a very low thresh hold for irritating sounds. I will not hesitate to smack you upside the head if you start slurping your cereal, or if you snap your gum, and don't even get me started on whistling. I have almost maimed Mike on more than one occasion for tapping his fingers.

I believe the word you are looking for is, anyway...................................

I told Mike that I wouldn't share the part of this story where I go downstairs to get an update on the mortality of the rodent and I find him standing on an end table, in his underwear, wearing a rubber glove, removing insulation from the ceiling while holding a garbage bag. You know, the official uniform of exterminators everywhere.


Mike set several traps all over the basement and as we are standing there discussing how this rat bastard infiltrated our home, we see him staring at us from the eves; mocking, judging, laughing. So we tried an intimidation technique where we held Bella up to the ceiling to scare the shit out of the mouse and force him to surrender to the awesome power of the cat, but Bella is all, "Hi there. Welcome. The food is over there and for your comfort we have a kitty bed available under the steps, enjoy your stay." Stupid cat.

After a FANTASTIC impersonation of Bill Murray in Caddy Shack, Mike left for work and not two seconds after he shut the door I heard a noise and some squeaking. Now, I may feel the need to inflict pain on anyone who dares to loudly lick their lips in my presence, but I am not for animal cruelty and I felt bad that the trap didn't just kill the thing immediately. Let me rephrase that, I felt bad for a while, until I realized that the trap probably only caught its tail because it has been running through the ceiling dragging the trap for a good twenty minutes now. What do you think will kill me first, the ridiculously loud ruckus of a rodent hurling itself through my ceiling or not knowing where the body is when the thing finally gives up the good fight?

Monday, September 14, 2009

A Well-Check and a Half-Day

Elyse had her fifteen month well-check yesterday. As soon as we walked in I knew that we were in trouble because there wasn't a single seat available anywhere, not one. We only stood for a few minutes though before we got a seat, and luckily Elyse was only a little fidgety so I was able to occupy her with magazines and Cheerios. Apparently the rest of the waiting room liked Cheerios too because I had a line of kids with their hands out snaked around my chair. This amazed me because under no circumstances would I EVER let my kids take food from a stranger in a waiting room, but no one seemed to mind. All I could think about was, "Theses people have no idea why I am here. Elyse could have Swine flu and here they are just letting me hand their children Cheerios." I also couldn't help but think about the germs that I might be picking up by touching all of those little cootie-covered munchkins.

The entire doctor's visit procedure gives me the willies. Hello, my name is Amy and I am a total germaphobe. I have gotten better since having the kids, but a doctor's office, especially a pediatrician's office, is like germ Mecca; the "it" place to be if you are a germ. I can't help but imagine that every square inch of that place is oozing with bacteria of some kind. So you can imagine how sick I was about not only sitting in the waiting room surrounded by disease and pestilence, but also touching the hands of those carriers.

A good twenty minutes past our appointment we got called back to the exam room. Elyse weighed25lbs 13oz and was 32 1/2 in. long. So she gained a little less than a pound since her twelve month well-check and grew a whole inch. As she is getting taller, she is getting leaner, and she is now down to the 86th percentile for weight but still at the 95th for height. She got an excellent report and the doctor thought that she was a super healthy baby. That's my girl! She did have to get three shots; two vaccines and the flu shot, so she was less than thrilled with the doctor by the time that it was all over. She holds a grudge like nobody's business.

Mike and Aaron met us at the doctor's office so that we could all have lunch together. This was Aaron's first day of preschool with the new shortened schedule and while drop off was a little rough still, Mike said he looked fine when he went in to get him. His teacher also said he did better. Better is good. I'll take better. I don't think that this is something that is going to go away overnight. He still seems very reluctant to fully embrace school and last night when we were putting him to bed he asked, "So when is school going to be over?" Well, not for a good eighteen years Sweetie, but you might get a few snow days.

So Elyse is healthy and Aaron is tolerating preschool. I guess I can't really ask for anymore than that, now can I? So to close, I will leave you with the song that Aaron made up last night before bed:

I love my sheep
I love my sheep
I love my sheep and my sheep love me
I love my rooster and my rooster goes, "Cluck-a-luck-a-doo"
I love my giraffe and my giraffe goes, "Roar!"

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Our Soccer MVP

Today was Aaron's first day of soccer and he did fantastic! He absolutely loves all sports and this was the first time that he was able to participate on an actual team. It was the first time this week that we got to see the real Aaron after the traumatic week that he had at school.

Mike and I were both so proud of him. Everything that the coach had him do, he tried his hardest and actually did really well.

I'm pretty sure that he would have ran the field all day if they would have let him. He is one of those kids that could just go and go until he collapses.

He was the first on his team to score a goal; his first of five that he scored today. Sure one of those times he almost scored for the other team, but he was able to get turned back around, bring it back up field, and score another point for his team.

Elyse was there with us and she was Aaron's loudest cheerleader. She loves her big brother and she clapped every single time that she heard anyone else clap, even if it was for the other team.

After the week that this poor guy had at school, I was so glad that this went well for him. He is on a team with one of his playgroup buddies, Sam, and we found out that one of his classmates is on that team too. This was just the thing that he needed to bring his spirits back up and after scoring five goals, I think he will be floating on cloud nine for quite a while. Way to go Aaron. We love you !

Friday, September 11, 2009

So Half Days It Is

As you can probably tell by the title of this post, things did not go so well yesterday for Aaron at preschool. It was difficult to say the least when I dropped him off, but the assistant told me that she would let him call me around 10:00, so when the phone rang right at 10:00 I wasn't surprised. However, it wasn't Aaron, it was his teacher calling to say, " Um, yeah this is Aaron's teacher, right, um maybe you should come in to get him and take him home. Yeah, that would be great." Then she asked me something about TPS reports and I was like, "Dude, one thing at a time." So, yeah, it was so bad that the teacher called to ask, no, beg me to come and get him.

When I got there he was sitting quietly with his teacher, but he looked like he had just done ten rounds with Apollo Creed and was saying, "Cut me Mick." His eyes were all swollen and he was so hoarse from the screaming, oh the screaming, all he could say was, "I want to go home, I want to go home." So I'm all, "Now what the hell do I do," because I really didn't think that taking him home was the answer. I had hoped that I could convince him to tough it out, tow the line, think outside the box, but he wasn't buying the crap that I was selling.

Again, for Aaron's sake I don't feel like I need to get too in depth with all of the details, but lets just say that after spending THAT much time trying to talk him down from the ledge, I wanted to climb up there myself. Long, long story short, I spoke with the principal who suggested that maybe we try half days for a while until he gets used to this new arrangement. So that's what we are going to do. His teacher assured me that this is nothing, and that if this is the only problem that we ever have with him we should consider ourselves lucky. "You're going to laugh about this some day," she said. Someday, maybe, but today ain't that day.

I am so disappointed in how this is playing out. Let me be clear that I am in no way saying that I am disappointed in Aaron because he is a little guy and this is a lot to take, but I just thought that school was going to be easy for him. He has never had any problems with separation before and I was positive that he was going to love every single second of preschool. This whole thing has made me question every parenting choice that we have made down Pampers vs Huggies.

Maybe we should have sent him to school last year when he was three, but he was THREE. I know that many children go to preschool at that age, but he just seemed so young then. Plus, Elyse had just been born that June and I was afraid that sending him to preschool just two months after her birth would make him feel like he was being replaced. Who knows, maybe he should have gone. Maybe he would have adjusted better. I don't know. Like I have said before, this is so troubling because it is so unlike Aaron, and I feel like I have really been thrown for a loop. I'm all, "Who is this kid? What's going on? If a tree falls in the forest and no one is there to hear it, are you a terrible parent for not sending your child to preschool when he was three?"

I guess the only thing that we can do now is try the half day thing and see how that goes. I'm sure that this isn't going to last forever and one day we probably will look back at this and laugh. I have no doubt that even though this is a rocky patch, Aaron is destined to do great things. All I know is that someday when he is giving his acceptance speech after winning the Nobel prize, he had better mention his mother first because after this week, the kid owes me.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

To Explain Where All of the S'mores Supplies Went...

Aaron seems to be having a little trouble adjusting to the demands of preschool. You know, coloring can be a real bitch sometimes. The other day when I picked him up, his teacher said that he was pretty upset for most of the day, and I was shocked because the first two days of school went by without any problem whatsoever. He was even mad on Monday because he wasn't going to get to go to school because of the holiday, and when he got up on Tuesday he was super excited to go, but somewhere along the lines I think the exhaustion of his new demanding schedule caught up with him and he started to snap a little; like mother, like son.

When I was driving him home I wasn't sure if I should bring it up or leave it alone, but I wanted to make sure he was alright, and so I ask him what went wrong. He started to tell me about how much he misses me when he is at school and the more he talked about it the more chocked up he got. I felt horrible. How do you explain to a four year old that this is something that he just has to do and that it is ultimately for his greater good?

So I was getting him ready for school yesterday and everything was fine until he started sobbing into his waffles about how much he misses me. I really didn't know what to say. I didn't want to say anything that would make the situation worse, but nothing was making it any better, and let me tell you, this is not Aaron. He has always been a very independent, determined little guy, but seeing him so vulnerable is ripping my heart to shreds.

For Aaron's sake I am not going to go into great detail about how dropping him off went, but I am pretty sure that as we walked the hall to his classroom I heard someone shout, "Dead man walking." His teacher assured me that she would call me if things got really bad, although I was skeptical that it could get any worse, and then I went home to eat as many microwave S'mores as I could fit into my mouth at one time. About two hours later when I hadn't heard anything from the school, I called to see how things were going. The secretary went to his room to check and when she came back on the line she said that everything was fine. Whew!

Now I wish that I could show you a picture of the faces of the teacher and her assistant when I walked into the door to pick him up because I am telling you, it was priceless. I knew immediately that things must have gone terribly wrong because that is how I usually look at the end of the day. Apparently, he had moments throughout the day when he was alright, but then those moments were shattered by incredible moments of wailing and gnashing of teeth. The teacher commented, "He is a very determined little guy." Um, yeah!

In short, I am emotionally exhausted. The thoughts of taking him to school today are too overwhelming to comprehend right now, and I am pretty sure that if he had it his way I would start homeschooling. All I can say is that I pray to God that things go well today because I am all out of S'mores supplies!

New Schedules Suck

Do you ever feel like as soon as you have a schedule all worked out it totally gets blown to hell? What am I saying? Of course you do. It comes with the territory. This summer we were in a really great routine. I got up early to get in gear, got some coffee (Mmmm, coffee), and I spent some me time on the computer basking in the glorious quiet of morning. By the time everyone else was up, I was mentally ready to start the day. It was a wonderful time, but now Aaron is in preschool and the schedule is all over the place. I know, he only started last week, give yourself a chance to get into a new routine, blah, blah, blah, but I liked the old routine, no I LOVED the old routine, and I don't do well with change.

With Aaron starting school, I have been bombarded with PTA, Homeroom Parents, fundraisers, etc, and then we also signed him up for soccer which will be taking place every Saturday for the next six weeks. Sunday school starts up this Sunday which we decided to make a real effort to take Aaron to every week and somehow in the midst of it all I got nominated to chair a new mommy group at our church. Me...chair of a mommy group...right. What I am saying is that we went from a family with a pretty laid back schedule, to a completely over-scheduled family almost overnight and I am freaking out just a bit. Ok, a whole, whole lot. From the day that I became a mother I knew that I didn't want our lives to be a constant marathon of places to go, people to see, and obligations out the yin yang, but more and more our front door is becoming a revolving door, and I wish someone would stop this ride because I feel like I am going to barf.

I want to do what is best for my kids and I want them to have full lives with many experiences and friends, but how much is too much? When do you say, "For the sake of our family and of Mommy's mental stability we just can't do anymore!" I feel like we just dug our way out of the baby stage through a mound of poo, spit-up, and drool, and we were just about to start really enjoying the more laid back life of having a toddler and a preschooler when we got hit with this insane schedule. I am using laid back loosely of course because while life with a toddler is still like trying to capture and groom a Tasmanian devil, it's not as bad as trying to do it on little or no sleep as with an infant.

So that's where we stand right now. I would really like to end this post with something funny or wrap it all up in a nice, neat, literary package, but it is already 7:15 AM, I am still in my pajamas, and I need to get Aaron's lunch packed. Damn you new schedule. Damn you all to hell!

Saturday, September 5, 2009

And For My Next Trick...

Have you ever attempted to get yourself ready in the morning while your children are awake? Now I'm not talking about slapping on a little tinted moisturizer, tossing your hair into a quick ponytail, and throwing on the t-shirt that you were wearing last night because, "Hey, I only wore it for a few hours and I'll be damned if I'm going to wash a perfectly good shirt before it's hit a proper expiration date." No, I mean real getting ready with makeup and a curling iron and everything. If you haven't, I highly recommend giving it a shot because it is a true test of your mental stability, and if you can come out of that still fully functional with all of your faculties without drooling on yourself in a corner somewhere then hey, you must be doin alright. Good for you!

Usually I try to get myself completely in gear before the kids are awake because even though I have done it with them hovering under my feet and I have come out of it still sane, I'm pretty sure that it's only a matter of time before I crack. Since I am familiar with crazy and I know that it's a fairly short trip to get there, I really try to avoid this kind of "quality" time with the children, but every now and then I decide that it would be fun to play chicken with crazy and I wait until the kids are awake to put myself together...I don't know why, because I'm dumb I guess.

When I have put myself in this position, I try to go in with a plan and by plan I mean a desperate, futile attempt at keeping them distracted long enough to do what I need to do before they realize that I am in the bathroom ALONE. It never fails that as soon as I get into a groove and I begin making real progress, I let my mind start to wander and I commit the cardinal sin of motherhood. I think to myself, "Gee it's quite." Don't, I repeat, DO NOT ever get so relaxed and consumed with what you are doing that you actually let yourself acknowledge the quiet and then think that you have a snowball's chance in hell at completing the task at hand because you don't. The minute that you think it, it's over, all over.

Once I am discovered, and I am always discovered, I have to pull out my Cirque Du Soliel moves where I balance on one foot with the other foot strategically placed behind me as a gate to keep Elyse away from the toilet while I apply mascara with one hand and juggle with the other. Well I have to keep Aaron entertained some how right? Usually a simple juggling routine will do the trick, but sometimes he gets pushy and I have to do the sword swallowing thing too. Kids, so demanding.

The foot/gate thing only works for so long and then Elyse starts to flip out and does whatever she can to get past me and by this time I have started my hair and I am into the comedic portion of my routine with Aaron and it goes, "A horse walks into a bar," remove toilet paper from Elyse's mouth, curl hair, "and then the Rabbi says," close toilet lid and try to remember to fish the rubber ducky out later, curl hair, "those aren't buoys!"

Thank you folks...I'll be here all night...Don't forget to tip your waitress.

By the time it's all said and done, I vow never to ever attempt this routine again and why in the world didn't I just get in gear before anyone else was awake? Inevitably, a few weeks later I almost always have a momentary lapse of judgement where I think to myself, "Surely it won't be that hard to just get myself together after the kids have had their breakfast? I think I will sit at the computer and have another cup of coffee," and one of these days the routine isn't going to work and I really am going to snap, but at least when it happens I will have a great show all worked out for my new friends at the institution.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Being A Mom Doesn't Make Things Less Disgusting, It Just Makes Me Less Reluctant to Do Disgusting Things

I have done things as a mother that my childless self would have looked at in horror and disgust. Things that I would never do for any other human being, probably not even my husband (sorry honey), but for my children they are perfectly within the parameters of normal. This doesn't make them any less disgusting, or humiliating, or horrifyingly grotesque beyond all stretches of the imagination. It just makes them a part of my daily routine as a mother.

I remember the first humiliating act that I had to perform as a new mother, and the entire birthing process doesn't count because, well, giving birth is in a whole other realm of humiliating, disgusting, and horrific. Yes, the end result is beautiful and there has never been a Baby Story that didn't cause me to get a little teary at the moment that the baby comes out, but come on, you have to admit that having your water break or broken for you, being checked to see how dilated you are by every intern, resident, nurse and janitor within a 20 mile radius A MILLION TIMES, and well, you know what can sometimes happen during the whole pushing stage, these things does not a pretty picture make. In my case, after I had experienced the whole labor process and pushed for two and a half hours, I got to have a c-section which even though it was performed in a sterile environment, still carried with it a certain level of nasty. For the love of God, some of my internal organs were set next to me while they tried to put Humpty Dumpty back together again. How freak show is that?

So anyway, my first humiliating act as a mother happened after we had gotten home from the hospital and I began the daunting task of trying to get a grip on the breastfeeding thing. It took my milk a long time to come in and everybody was all, "Pump, pump, you need to pump...pump up the jam, pump it up!" And I DID NOT want to pump because I had a newborn who was trying to set a world record for the longest nursing session known to mankind and the last thing that I wanted to do was attach something else to my body after I was finally able to extract the baby from my chest, but you do what you gotta do and so I front of Mike. I can see it like it was yesterday, me sitting on the couch desperately trying to squeeze anything, ANYTHING out that would qualify as substantial enough to feed to Aaron, completely mortified that I was performing this act in front of my husband who at one time I would have died of complete embarassment if I had so much as slurped soup in front of him which would have destroyed the illusion that I was a perfect and proper lady who would never think of doing anything so vile. Now there I sat allowing him to witness me being milked like Bessie the Cow before going out to the pasture to chew on some grass. A prim and proper picture this was not.

So Mike was sitting next to me, trying to be supportive, but still with a look of complete horror in his eyes and I said, "Well, I bet you never thought that you would be witnessing something like this, did ya?" And he was like, "Not in a trillion, bajillion years." You want to know the worst part? Somehow I didn't have the pump attached quite right and everything that I had pumped leaked down the front of my shirt. I was a hysterical, sobbing, mess of a woman with my boobs hanging out, milk all over myself, and a worthless piece of crap pump in my hand crying about how I had just wasted what little milk I had produced. Humiliating? Um, yeah.

In the gross category is of course diaper changes, but if you are a parent of a boy then you are familiar with the extra challenges present at diaper changing time. Once, when Aaron was very small, I was up changing him at night for the millionth time and I didn't bother to turn on the light. I had him all changed and I was just about to pick him up to feed him when I kissed him on the head first and his head was...wait for it...WET...with PEE...because during the diaper changing process he apparently hosed his face and had baptized himself in his own urine. To be honest I wasn't sure what to do first, clean him up or start pumping the Purell all over my face and down my throat.

Then there was the spit up. So, so much spit up. Both of my kids had a touch of reflux as infants and I spent most of my days covered in vomit, but without a doubt the absolute worst episode happened while I was visiting my friend Leslie last November. Elyse was five months old at the time and I had just finished giving her a bottle. She was getting cranky and I was trying everything to entertain her when I lifted her up over my head to talk baby gibberish too her. She saw the opportunity and chose that moment to hurl all over my face. No I am not kidding. You can't just make this stuff up. If that wasn't bad enough...

Squeamish people scroll down past this next part.

My mouth...was...OPEN!!! I gag just a little every single time I think about it. So there I was, covered in puke, still holding on to the baby volcano, trying not to hurl myself, and NO ONE DID ANYTHING. NOT...A...THING. Leslie, Wendy, you know I'm right. A hush fell over the room as seven people fought to hold back their lunches. Everyone stood in horror for a good thirty seconds absolutely paralyzed by the magnitude of what they had just witnessed. Finally Mike snapped out of it and was all, "What can I do? What can I do?" I was like, "Uh, taking this explosive child would be job one!" So he took Elyse, somehow I got my face wiped off, and I went to the bathroom to dry heave for what seemed like an eternity. Horrifyingly grotesque beyond all stretches of the imagination? Um, yeah.

I've used my own shirt to wipe noses. I have had poop on my hands on many occasions. I've cleaned up vomit that was not my own. I ALWAYS go to the bathroom with an audience. I've potty trained a toddler for Pete's sake! To say that my life for the last four years has been disgusting would be like saying that food poisoning can be a little unpleasant because I believe that motherhood is the standard by which all things gross is measured. With motherhood comes some understanding that things are going to get messy, but you have no clue to what degree until you are elbow deep in a diaper full of poo, haven't showered in three days, are wearing a shirt you deem clean because there is only one vomit stain, and you think that the last time you brushed your teeth was before you left the house to give birth.

Yes, I have done some pretty disgusting things, but nothing that every single mother on the face of this planet hasn't done herself once or twice or twenty times. My childless self would most likely want to bathe in a vat of hand sanitizer if she knew the things that she would be willing to do for her children. To her I say, "It's a filthy job, and I'm happy to do it, most of the time."

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Aaron's First Day of Preschool

As I had predicted Aaron had no trouble with his first day of preschool. I think that he has been ready for this next step for a very long time and even though it has been emotionally difficult, I have been ready for this too. The night before, he and I ran down to Wal Mart to get a last minute hair cut so that he would be looking his best for his big day and I also let him pick out an alarm clock which he thought was a HUGE deal. He got up with his alarm at 7:00 AM, got himself all dressed, and came out of his room ready for his first day of school.

I had his breakfast waiting for him, waffles as usual, and he was so worried about messing up his outfit that he refused to use any syrup at all. Smart kid!

He doesn't have to be at school until 8:30AM but he was ready with his jacket and backpack on by 7:40AM. I think he was a little excited.

A friend of mine, Leslie, had a picture on her blog of her and her daughter from behind heading into school and I thought that it was the sweetest picture ever. I got chocked up every time that I told anyone about it and Mike took a shot like that of me and Aaron heading in that morning. I love him.
Walking across the street with Aaron I started to get really emotional. It's amazing how fast four years worth of memories can run though your mind all in an instant. We got inside and I helped him hang up his jacket and backpack and he immediately went to play. I was so glad that he was so comfortable. Once I had the pickup routine squared away with the teacher it was time to say goodbye. I kept it brief, I couldn't handle much more, and I just hugged him, told him that I loved him, and headed for the door. I looked back, I had to look back, to make sure that he was ok and he was completely busy playing with his brand new friends. I waited until we got to the hallway and then cried like a baby.

The day went by quickly. Elyse and I had some great alone time and get this, she even took a nap and I had two hours to take care of things completely uninterrupted. Crazy huh?

Finally it was time to pick him back up and I felt like I couldn't get there fast enough. While I was waiting for him in the hallway, I stood up on my tip toes to see if I could see him and he was quietly sitting at a table with all of the other children that were waiting to be picked up. I could tell that he was kind of looking to see if I was there and when he saw me he got this sweet grin on his face and I almost began sobbing all over again. I held it together though.

To my disappointment he had little to say about his day, but I could tell that he was really tired. Eventually he shared a few bits and pieces like the fact that two boys got time outs and that he never did fall asleep at nap time. He was proud of himself for remembering to use his napkin like a picnic blanket like I had shown him, and while he couldn't remember any of the other children's names, it seemed obvious that he had made some new friends.

What an exciting time. I have already been flooded with letters about PTA and homeroom parents, fundraisers and school t-shirt order forms, and I'm loving it. This is what the last four years have been about; getting him and I to this point. He started out as a helpless baby that I had to do everything for and yesterday he became a preschooler. I am so excited to see what comes next because I have no doubt that he is going to do great.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

It's Almost that Spooky Time of Year, But Not Too Spooky Cause Dude, I Just Can't Handle That

Well, summer is over, the kids are in school, and there is a crisp chill in the air which tells me IT"S TIME TO BREAK OUT THE HALLOWEEN DECORATIONS!!!!! I have always been a person that loves Halloween, Fall, and everything that is related to Halloween and Fall. Even when I was younger and still lived at home, September 1st was always my go ahead to break out all of the decorations and commence placing random adornments of the spooky nature anywhere and everywhere that there was a free space. Now that I have my own home and children I feel like it is all the more reason to go crazy with the knick knacks and patty wacks of Fall and Halloween.

Even more than I enjoy decorating, I love to watch classic Halloween movies, you know, the really cheesy ones from the 80's like Halloween and Friday the 13Th. It just ain't Halloween until I've seen Jason hack a few unsuspecting campers to bits, however, I have found in the last several years that I just can't do scary movies that are more than a wacko in a creepy mask. I used to watch every new horror movie that came out and I remember watching many spooky movies with my parents on Pizza Night Saturdays, but as time goes by these movies just mess with me a little too much. I find myself lying in bed thinking, "Do you really need to get up and pee cause you know that undoubtedly there is some minion of evil just waiting for you in the hallway?" If I do muster the courage to take the long walk of about two and a half feet to the bathroom, I never, under any circumstances look in the mirror cause something freaky ALWAYS happens when you look in the mirror. And good God what is lurking behind that closed shower curtain? The horror...THE HORROR!!!

I remember when Mike and I were first dating and we went to see The Ring. If you haven't seen this movie consider yourself lucky cause I'm telling you it's gonna take years before you're right again. And just when you think that you have forgotten about that freaky girl and the...gulp...way that she crawled out of the TV, you're going to be in the bathroom at 2:00 in the morning and it's going to hit you and you are going to be paralyzed with fear on the toilet rocking back and forth singing, "Can you tell me how to get, how to get to Sesame Street?" Not that I know this from experience of anything.

Sometimes I am in the basement and I will be folding the laundry not thinking about anything in particular when BAM...that twisted puppet from the Saw movies jumps into my head and Aaron is all, "Mommy, why are you lying in a ball on the floor humming Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star?" Oh, I don't know, cause Mommy is a total wuss and may the Lord God help you if you are ever scared in the middle of the night because I am not going to be any help.

I could go on and on about scenes from movies that randomly pop into my head at very inopportune moments, like when I was working at the lab and would be going into work at 4:30AM and when I would get into the garage I would jump into the car as fast as I could and lock all of the doors because for some unknown reason the way that my cat Hailey was looking at me before I left reminded me of Pet Sematary. OOooo, I have chills just thinking about that one.

The bottom line is that I just can't handle scary movies anymore and I can barely handle the thoughts of the ones I have already seen. I envy the people that can watch these things and never think about them again, poof, completely gone from their subconscious, although these people are probably homicidal maniacs who should have a movie made about themselves that I would watch and then remember while walking to my car after leaving Target one night and the next thing you know a security guard would be taping on my window wondering why I have been sitting in my car for the last thirty minutes screaming, "I do believe in spooks, I do, I do, I do." So I think that from now on I will stick to decorating the house and I'll only watch my cheesy 80's movies because in those shows the only way Jason or Michael Myers can get you is if you happen to be a teenager who just had sex after carving a creepy pumpkin while camping.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

To Aaron on the Night Before He Starts Preschool


Yesterday, I was staring down at two little pink lines that told me that I was going to be a mother; still unaware of what that title actually meant.

Yesterday, the nurse handed you to me for the first time and I was overcome with love, happiness, and an amazing need to protect this beautiful gift that God had given me; thankful that you were healthy, perfect, and here.

Yesterday you called me Mama for the first time and we went to Mommy and Me classes, story times, and the playground. We played with Play-Doh, played Candyland, and built more train tracks than I could count.

Yesterday, this day seemed so far away, but four years have passed more quickly than I could have ever imagined. I have been there for all of your firsts; first foods, first steps, first words, but it is time that you start experiencing some firsts on your own because tomorrow is your first day of preschool.

Tomorrow you are going to be a student for the first time. You will meet your teacher and the children with whom you are going to experience this journey. You will learn and play and be challenged in so many new ways. I am so excited to see what you can do, to hear all about your day, and to watch you take this next step, but when we are walking to your classroom, and I am seeing you off on this new, fantastic adventure, please don't run in too fast, because for Mommy it still feels like it's yesterday.