Tuesday, May 26, 2009

In Which I Exercise Unusual Amounts of Restraint...

So I'm kind of a stickler for discipline. My kids don't get away with too much. At least not without suffering The Wrath. I'm pretty sure my Mean Mommy Look can beat just about any other moms.
This makes playgrounds, where I'm almost guaranteed to have to interact with other people's children, unbearable for me. I hate them. Not as much as I hate mall play areas, but I still hate them. I realize I am probably alone in my hatred of playgrounds and other people's children, but there you have it - my dirty little secret.* However, having children means having to suck up things you hate as much as possible and do them anyway so that your children don't become unsocialized kids who don't know what monkey bars are. So, yesterday, off to the park we went. And not just any playground - the local playground. With auxiliary parking a 15 minute walk away for when the real parking lot fills up. With a merry-go-round. With fancy brightly colored foam-ish flooring and every piece of equipment you can imagine.

There were something like a million people there, it was hot, I was cranky and hungry and at a playground - so generally dyspeptic. Elisabeth is a good kid, good at sharing, good at waiting in line - so not too much work except that you always have to watch her tricks even when they're not all that exciting. And you have to help her with the monkey bars and the zip line and the climbing wall. Essentially there is very little she will do by herself without whining about it. Anyway, she walked over to a play house and this tubby kid running around waving a corn dog was in there. He just looked at her. His mom was kind of hovering over him. Curiously she was NOT yelling at him as he ran with a sharp pointy stick in his mouth. That is neither here nor there. Also in the play house was a younger kid who looked exactly like tubby corn dog kid. He was probably 21 mos old - a lot like Charlotte. Being a lot like Charlotte, he walked right over to Elisabeth and shoved her.

I suppose I'm proud that Elisabeth didn't shove the kid back, although I wanted to shove the kid. She, instead, turned to me and said "Mommy, that little boy shoved me." So I said "thank you for telling me and not shoving him back." I turned my glare on the mother of the corn dog wielding tubby kid, awaiting my apology for her kid's behavior. None came. She just smiled and nodded. So I guided Elisabeth away and loudly said "we don't shove. It is not nice. That little boy's mother should explain to him that shoving is bad." Feeling pretty smug, we walked over to the big firetruck.

I kept my eye on the corn dog family. Strangely the mom wandered away from the shover and left the park with the corn dog kid. About to holler after her that she forgot her other kid, I witnessed the little shover push another kid. At that point it occurred to me that oh my gosh, the little one wasn't her kid!!! The resemblance was uncanny, though. Especially when I saw the family that the kid actually belonged to. I wanted to ask the dad if he was sure his wife wasn't sleeping with that other woman's husband or something. Night and day. But I felt very relieved that I hadn't let the corn dog mom have a piece of my mind about her shoving kid. That would have been embarassing!!!

* Another thing I hate about playgrounds - I have to run around after my kids. Making sure they take turns nicely, making sure they don't climb the wrong way up the slide, saving them when they get stuck way up on some piece of climbing equipment, etc.

Friday, May 22, 2009

She's waited 21 months to be able to tell us...

So, my dear little Charlotte learned how to crawl out of her crib.  We're not sure if this is yet the second incident of ballet class teaching children bad things - but it could be.  You start your kid in ballet and the first thing they teach them is to put their toe up on the bar.  This naturally leads to toe up on the crib and hey, look here, if I put my toe up and pull real hard with my arms I can climb up on the rail and perilously perch there until I (a) fall or (b) lower myself down in a controlled manner.  (These were the two outcomes of Charlotte's approaches).  This ballet business had the same effect on Elisabeth at about this age.

Doug, being a genius, figured out a way to rig up the crib to make it baby proof.  He took it apart, dropped the mattress all the way to the floor, then put the crib structure around the mattress with the railing dropped down.  Bam - a baby crate.  Worked like a charm for Elisabeth... who was apparently less interested in getting out than Charlotte - which is nothing short of shocking.

Charlotte is strong.  She pushed that whole crib away from the mattress far enough that she could shimmy right under.  Now, mind you, every night for her entire life we've ran some sort of white noise machine.  For probably 18 months it has been a humidifier.  So as I saw Charlotte shimmy underneath the crib rail and into freedom, I told Doug she was loose.  Upstairs he went, and when he got into her room she looked him in the eyes, with her "I'm really serious and I can kill with this glare" look and said, sternly, "OFF."  She turned it off, turned around and climbed back into her crib.  

And that was the end of the white noise.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Random Tidbits

Little things that don't merit their own post:

Garden = planted.  Green beans, peas, broccoli, carrots, potatoes, tomatoes, garlic, shallots, cucumbers, watermelon and cantelope.  I'll be planting some strawberries and raspberries in the upcoming weeks, but they're not in the garden - so garden = planted.  Whew.

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Elisabeth drew me a picture of my favorite desserts for mother's day.  They (apparently) consist of brownies, peanut butter cookies, and chocolate germ cake.

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On Fridays at the courthouse, if you have a 9am docket, you have to bring breakfast.  So I went to McDonalds to get breakfast sandwiches, and instead of going through the drivethru where I always have to wait for my 10+ sandwiches, I went inside.  I ordered 7 sausage biscuits, 4 egg and cheese biscuits, and 4 orders of hash browns.  The woman looked at me, standing there all by myself, and in all sincerity said "for here?"

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Charlotte is attempting to potty train herself.  I'm of the mind that I'm not even attempting with this one until she's old enough to put on her own pull up - and maybe until she's old enough to drive herself to the store to buy her own pull ups.  But Charlotte is a pretty stubborn kid and if she tells you she wants to poop - you better help her or else she's going to get onto the potty all by herself, dropping who knows what into the toilet in the course of getting up there (including but not limited to socks, onesies, feet).    And then, once she's up there, she demands a show.  I have to sing "Daisy, Daisy, give me your answer do..." time after time after time.  All the while patting on her lap rhythmically.  It is quite a job I have.  95% of the time nothing comes out despite her very best efforts.  Just thought you'd all like an update on Charlotte's bathrooming habits...

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Sunday, May 10, 2009

Happy Mother's Day!

This was, I think, my favorite Mother's Day yet.  I got warm cookies in bed, brought by my sweet little girls and husband.  Then, presents!  Followed by a whole day at home.  If I could get another two weeks of days like that (I'll even give up the daily presents), I'd be regenerated.   Sadly that isn't going to happen.  But, this is a pretty light work week for me, and I'm planning to escape early at least two days this week.

As we approached Mother's Day this year, I began to reflect on everything that has changed in my life in the past 4 yrs.  Here's the top 10 things I came up with.

1.  I used to have my own stuff.  Now, it appears that everything belongs to the kids and the benevolent dictators sometimes let me use it.   For example, anytime I have a pain of any sort I put heat on it like the guy in My Big Fat Greek Wedding uses Windex.  I have my favorite microwave heating pad that is purple and smells like lavender.  My mistake was letting Elisabeth use it when she had an earache.  Now, she wants it as a towel warmer, bed warmer, cuddle toy, etc. and I have to sneak in and take it away when she's asleep...

2.  I used to get calls from friends saying "hey, do you want to go to [insert hip nightspot here] tonight?"  And not only did I say yes, I went!  Without giving a thought as to who was going to watch the kids.

3.  Dinner was a meal that I clearly took for granted.  I even cooked, but I'd just cook, sit down (once) and eat.  I didn't have to get up 15 times for various ecoutrements.  I probably gained more weight though.  Our current situation is like aerobic eating.  

4.  Sleep was not nearly as coveted as it is now.

5.  Going to Disney was not nearly as exciting as it is when you have a four year old who literally can't sleep at night at the thought of it.

6.  Before kids, I did not count everyone to three when they started misbehaving.  For example, Maggie the Dog had never heard 1-2-3 before Elisabeth turned 2...

7.  Before kids, I never once found myself humming the themesongs to Backyardigans, Dora, Between the Lions, or Martha the Talking Dog.

8.  Before Elisabeth came along, I was not even close to being able to fully appreciate the joy people felt when new babies were born.  Sure I said I was excited, and I was, but after seeing your own babe for the first time and hearing that little cry something physical changes inside.

9.  Before kids, I heard every single pip and squeak and scream that every kid ever made around me.  Now, I have an amazing noise filter.

10.  Before kids, I never realized how much I'd cherish the feeling of a little person's hand reaching up to take mine.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Best Idea Ever...

That's the girls in Ginny's crate (of which the back 2/3rds are blocked off with boxes).  They got in on their own free will.  Charlotte thinks it is a hoot to pretend to nap in there.  I'm considering locking them both in there when they fight and letting the strongest one win...

Sunday, May 3, 2009

HGTV Here I Come...

For my weekend project, I built a raised bed garden. Not only did I build a raised bed garden, but I did it with an insane, biting, wildebeast - ugh, sorry, yellow lab, tugging at my legs, knocking me over, moving my drill, dragging my bag full of home depot goodies halfway across the yard, eating my screws, and generally raising my blood pressure well beyond acceptable levels.

And next week I will plant my garden, after filling it with layer upon layer of organic material. I did a lasagna garden last year - using cardboard, grass clippings, really really old decayed mulch, peat moss, and potting soil. The dirt that is leftover from last year's garden is just gorgeous. Black gold. This year, I'll do the same layers in the new part of the garden and then put some of my compost (first compost harvesting this year) in too.

I'm planting peas, green beans, carrots, broccoli, tomatoes, cucumbers, garlic, onions, watermelon and carrots under the "intensive gardening" theory. We'll see how it goes. I did a lot of reading today and, in theory, it ought to work. I have to build trellises for the peas, beans, and cucumbers. But now that I'm an expert at negotiating the lumber department at Home Depot, it shouldn't be a problem

Here are a few pictures of my raised bed garden:

And now for the not so HGTV reality... the below picture is what I did this morning. I'm just not Martha Stewart, as hard as I try. This is what it looks like when you go through 3 age groups of clothes for Charlotte (6-9 mos, 9-12 mos, and finally 18 mos). I swear, if there were an army of newborn to 18 month old kids, I could outfit them AND their little toddler army opponents with different outfits 3x/day for a year. The amount of clothing we have is truly ridiculous - it was ridiculous before I sent it to my sister and it multiplied before returning to us. I'm concerned that if we leave it in boxes in Elisabeth's closet, it is going to keep multiplying in there like really yeasty bread and suffocate her in her sleep.

Fear not, the room is clean now. Doug just came upstairs, saw this ridiculousness, and had to take a picture.

Friday, May 1, 2009

Kids and Dolls

I often find it sweet and cute and adorable and heartening when Elisabeth or Charlotte play with their dolls.  Elisabeth tucks hers into bed at night.  She makes me sing to them and kiss them good night.  She prepares meals for them in her play kitchen.  I'm pretty sure she treats them better than we treat her.

Charlotte hauls hers around and pretends to feed her.  She hugs her.  She cuddles her and makes her feel better.  

So very sweet.  Until... it isn't.  Charlotte this morning was all cuddles with her doll.  She was pat-patting her and kissing her and squeezing her tight.  And then in the next second she was flinging her onto the floor by her hair and running off to do something else.

Elisabeth decided she wanted to take the dolls to Nana and PopPop's house for Easter.  So she took her dolls - the same dolls that I have to treat as though they are my own children - and shoved them with great force into a rolly suitcase that looks like a tiger, that is approximately half the volume required for three dolls.   I swear she was actually stomping on them to squish them in.  

I hope that isn't an indication of future behavior, say when a parent gets too old to have a say...