Tale of Two Kiddies

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This is the story of a girl… (Why I am who I am today)

I live my life with a few sayings that may be trite but they get me through each day. 1. Never have regrets, just lessons learned. 2. It could always be better but it could always be worse, so be happy with what you have/where you are. 3. God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change. It would be very easy to regret my marriage, but instead I appreciate it for the lessons it taught me and the children it blessed me with. 

The story of my marriage and ultimate divorce doesn’t start with the day I met my ex- husband. No, we need to go back a few years earlier. The summer before I turned 22 I fell in love and I fell in love hard. That relationship didn’t work out and I was devastated. After a few years of disastrous dates and fruitless crushes, I found myself 25 years old and (ridiculously) nervous terrified that I was going to wind up alone. All my life when other children and young adults responded with “doctor,” “lawyer,” “teacher” to the question “what do you want to be when you grow up?” I quickly replied “a wife and a mom, and the best wife and mom a person can be!” So in my silly quarter-life crisis I turned to match.com to try to solve the problem of my singlehood. After a couple less than desirable matches, I met a respectful southern gentleman in the military, who was stationed not far from where I lived. We went on a few dates, I was not completely sold on him but his company was better than being alone (this sounds terrible I know) and he treated me well. As young adults in our mid-twenties we were irresponsible and selfish, we drank A LOT, and we had fun. After about 9 months of dating (and a few too many cocktails) I had a suspicion I may have been pregnant. We got engaged by default after he told me “you know if you’re pregnant you have to marry me right?” and I turned out to in fact be pregnant. I didn’t have insurance and he had good insurance, so we made the announcement that we were getting married and having a baby. It was a happy time, my parents threw us a beautiful wedding, and I was getting everything I wanted. In retrospect, the forewarning “be careful what you wish for” is especially pertinent in this situation. 
Two months after our wedding, when I was 5 months pregnant, he injured his back on duty. He quickly went from a hard-working and attentive husband and father-to-be to a suffering and selfish patient and victim. When our son was born 6 months after we got married, he was there for it and quickly left because he was in pain from his back. The next day I saw him for less than an hour because he had a special diet he was on (and apparently needed to be home for) and he wasn’t comfortable in the hospital chairs. When the baby and I went home from the hospital, due to his injury he was unable to help with any of the duties of taking care of the baby – he couldn’t hold him, feed him, bend to change a diaper. Six weeks later, my husband had his first back surgery. He recovered quickly from the surgery but required a second surgery about 6 or 7 months later. This was a much more extensive surgery that kept him in the hospital for about a week and the recovery at home stretched for years. Around the time my son was a year old, my husband was doing better and I wanted to have a brother or sister for my son and wanted them to be close in age, so we started trying to have another baby. My husband filled me with promises that he was better and that he would more than make up for what he couldn’t do when our first was an infant. I wound up getting pregnant on the first try. 

At some point between the first and second surgery, my husband became addicted to pain medication. To those who don’t think that prescription abuse is the same as drug abuse, most pain medications are synthetic heroin. Let that sink in a minute, SYNTHETIC HEROIN! That’s kind of a big deal. Due to my history working for a doctor who prescribed narcotics like they were candy, I saw so many lives ruined due to addiction, and that was one thing I never wanted to deal with in my personal life. It’s the reason I wasn’t working at that office anymore, it was too sad to see and I couldn’t morally be a part of it. Yet here I was, 26 years young, a one year old son, another on the way, and married to a drug addict. Drug addiction changes you, it changes how you interact with other people, it becomes your priority, you become selfish. Being the spouse of a drug addict is something I wouldn’t wish on anyone. A couple examples from around the time my second was born. When I was 7-8 months pregnant (with a 19-20 month old at home too), my husband went out of state to see a doctor in his home state and stay with his mom for a few days. The doctor down there wouldn’t help him, and most importantly to him wouldn’t prescribe him any medication. He wound up staying down there for over 2 weeks because he was going through withdrawals. I wound up in the emergency room due to anxiety and exhaustion. He didn’t come back until he found another doctor down there to get drugs from. He was too sick to even care what I was going through back home. When my second son was not even 3 months old he had to have surgery because he was born with a club foot. My husband decided it was more important that he move down to Florida before us than to stay for the surgery. It’s hard being a single mom while being married to the father of the children. That statement doesn’t sound like it makes much sense but that was effectively my life. 

Right after my second son was born; my husband was medically discharged from the military and took a job with his father down in Florida. I lived my whole life in the same area and my entire family was still in the area, so moving away with a 2 year old, a newborn, and a selfish, addict husband left me miserable. I tried to make the best of it but I was so completely alone. I have a huge, supportive, close family and I found myself in a place where I knew no one. I’ve never been more alone in my life. We didn’t have much money and with two small children, daycare would’ve cost more than I could make. I was home all day with the kids, then my husband would come home after work and do his own thing. Also important to note, my husband and his family are from the Deep South. That means that: My role as wife was to unconditionally support my husband, tend to every need of the children, keep the house clean, do all the chores and shopping, provide home-cooked meals, and cater to my husband on demand. His role as husband was to go to work and make the money. Everything we owned or leased or rented or paid for was in his name. He was mean and disrespectful when he wasn’t just completely ignoring the kids and me. I was trapped and thousands of miles away from my family or anyone I knew. I was so sad and lonely and depressed. Funny thing about being so miserable, you come to terms with the fact that this is your life, it won’t ever get any better, you may as well get used to it. When you’re constantly put down and disrespected and controlled, you even start to believe that you don’t deserve anything better, that it’s your fault that your situation is the way that it is. 

After about a year and a half, we moved to a different part of Florida. My cousin and her family were close by and it made it a little easier for me – and I’m sure easier for my amazing sister, who in that first year and a half made many trips down to Florida to keep us company. It was nice to have someone local to talk to and hang out with, I didn’t feel quite as isolated anymore, I started to feel a little more like myself again. One day after a particularly bad week, one that started with going to the car dealership to get myself a new SUV but resulted in my husband getting a new (used) car to commute in and me getting nothing (I know this sounds so trivial but it’s an important piece of this story because a) it is a good example of the selfishness and disappointment that I lived with on a daily basis and b) it’s interesting how after years of so many horrible occurrences, how something relatively insignificant can push you past your breaking point), I arrived at my cousin’s house with 2 kids in tow, crying hysterically. “I don’t know what I did to deserve this! This is not fair! I never wanted my life to be like this. I just can’t do it anymore.” I decided to leave. I’d borrow what I had to but I had to have a better life for my children and myself. I’d rather he ignored my kids from across the country than from the next room of the house. Less than a week later, my husband got in a horrible car accident. He was left with crushed feet that he couldn’t put any weight on. He was wheelchair bound indefinitely. After a few weeks in the hospital he came home. The master bedroom was converted into a hospital suite. He had a hospital bed and ramps were added to the entrances to our home. Not only did I have a 4 year old and a 2 year old, I now had an invalid husband with a bedside commode, medication that needed to be administered, and no one else but myself to provide the 24 hour nursing and custodial care that he required. I hated him before the accident but I am not heartless, there was no way I could leave him like that. After a few months with no income, and with our savings and the generosity of family and strangers depleted, we could no longer live on our own. My mom was the only one to volunteer for us to move in with her. At the end of November 2011, we flew home with whatever clothes we could pack in two suitcases each and whatever we could stuff into our small SUV (which my father and brother then drove up for us.) We sold or donated almost everything we owned before moving, we had practically nothing left but nowhere to put it if we did. We were only back home for a couple weeks when his medication “ran out.” My family physician came to the house and wrote him prescriptions and we paid out of pocket with all of the money we had left. We waited for him to become established as a patient with the local VA but that was delayed, due to his drug abuse he wouldn’t be able to pass the mandatory testing needed to become a patient and be treated. 

On New Year’s Day 2012, my mother and I took the boys to a movie. When we got home, my husband informed me that his father was going to fly up to get him and then drive him back to Florida in our only vehicle. His medications were due again, we had no money to pay for them out of pocket, and he wasn’t into the local VA system yet. The only way he could get his drugs was to go back to Florida where he was already established in the VA system there. He needed “his” vehicle so that his family could take him back and forth to appointments without putting the miles and wear and tear on their cars. I’d have to figure out what to do for a car with my two kids on my own. He also let me know that due to the circumstances, he was leaving on January 3rd. 36 hours after my husband told me he was leaving us for medical reasons, he was gone. We kept up the pretense that the separation was only temporary and strictly due to his medical necessities. I wound up leasing a new car a couple weeks later but right before I went to pick it up I received a call that it wasn’t insured. When I called the insurance company, they let me know that my husband had called them and told them that we were separated and my car could not be insured on his policy. He then closed our joint bank account. We never had a conversation or discussion about our marriage ending; he just took the steps to ensure that it was over. He came back to visit the kids 10 months later, for a long weekend that thanks to Hurricane Sandy became 6 days instead, and that’s the last time any of us have seen him. He attempted to call the kids about every two weeks after that; they weren’t interested in talking to him. Now about once a month he sends me a text to see if the boys want to talk to him. If they don’t, he just tries again the next month. Both of my kids were in the hospital for different things at different times in the past year or two, I was the one there with them while my family helped with my other son. He was nowhere to be found or heard from. He was a terrible, uninvolved dad when he lived with his kids; it’s not surprising he’s even worse from afar. This story is not all inclusive of every detail of the nightmare it was to live with him, rather a glimpse of the lowlights of what life was like. 

In the three years since he rolled out of our lives, our lives have become wonderful! I’m not exactly where I want to be but I’m getting there, slowly but surely. It could always be better but it could always be worse (and I know just how bad it can be!) so I am just so purely grateful for where I am right now. We are back with my huge, supportive, loving, close family and they have been so amazing to my kids and to me. My kids don’t have a dad but they have aunts and uncles and grandpas and grandmas who love them so much and are excited to see them and spend time with them and show them just how loved they are! I have enough money saved now to hopefully provide them with a house of our own soon but couldn’t be more appreciative of my mom for letting us turn her world upside down these last three years. It took a long time but I have my own life now too. I’m not just a mom anymore; I have hobbies and amazing, wonderful friends that I love! I would have never made it through any of this without my family and good friends. My life was so difficult while I was married that anything that comes my way now I know I am strong enough to deal with. At least once a day I whisper to myself, “God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.” I may have all the responsibilities and burdens of raising two boys on my own, but I also have all the joys too. I get to know that everything they have and everything that is good in them is from me. I still believe in love stories and fairytale endings, I still believe that I will one day have that. The beauty of the Hell I’ve been through is that when I finally do get my fairytale love story it will be my first. In my early thirties, divorced with two kids, I thought that all my firsts were behind me. With a little bit of perspective and a whole lot of optimism I now know that is not the case. I can’t wait to see what the future holds for me, each day gets better, even if all that’s happened is that I’m one day closer to my happily ever after. 

Kindergarten! How did that happen?!

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Kid #1 starts kindergarten on Tuesday. WTF?! How in the world did that happen so fast?! I remember clearly finding out I was “expecting” him (expecting – as if he had a choice. I’m expecting him but maybe he won’t show up. Stupid term. Anyway…) I remember clearly having him, the entire day from start to finish, stamped forever in my brain. The following (almost) 5 years has passed by in a flash. After that day in April 2007, I remember absolutely nothing clearly – not even my entire day yesterday. As they would say on Seinfeld – I had a baby, yadda yadda yadda, now he’s starting kindergarten. Seriously. How did the last 5 years turn into yadda yadda yadda? I honestly remember drunken nights out from 8 years ago more vividly and accurately than I remember almost anything from the past 5 years (having kid #2 being an exception to that of course).

I’m so excited for him. I’m excited for new beginnings. We’ve had many new beginnings this year, so it’s very fitting that school be yet another one. I’m also excited that, due to the many unexpected paths life has taken us on, we have wound up back in my home town. Kid #1 will be going to kindergarten in the very same school that I started my educational journey in 26 years ago. Circle of life or some other happy bs like that. It is pretty cool though. So far the best thing about kindergarten is (other than his happiness & excitement) the awesome threatening power. No matter what I need or want him to do or stop doing, all I have to do is play the kindergarten card and my wish is his command. Worst part so far, the school supply list. I’d like 5 minutes alone in a room with the sadists that compile this torturous list. Better yet, I’ll just send my 4.5 year old & 20 of his friends to spend 2.5 hours every day locked in a room with her. Oh wait… I just got it, advanced payback at its finest.

Thanks to starting the day after a holiday weekend, I’ve been trying to get everything organized & ready for Tuesday, so that maybe I’ll have Monday to relax & do nothing. Well, nothing other than take care of a 3 & 4 year old by myself, but that’s easy right? I just mean nothing extra to get ready for the start of school. However I’m on the fence. As much as I’d like to be super organized, have all set to go, & be the model parent, I also don’t want to set the bar too high. No sense being an over-achieving mom for the first week if I have no intention or plausible expectation of being an OAM the rest of the year. I try, really, but even my best efforts fizzle out by Day 10, or Day 2, who’s counting. Example: I bought a closet organizer at a yard sale. It has 5 cubbies, for Monday through Friday. The idea was to get all the outfits for the week ready, have them in the closet in their respective day’s hole, easy. The problem lies in implementing said plan. You see, it is hanging in the closet that is so piled high with shit that there’s room for Monday & Tuesday to hang, while Weds – Fri get smooshed together in a wad atop the pile. Actually that’s perfect because I don’t see it being used, or helpful, much past Tuesday. If only you could freely open & close the closet without a clothes-valanche threatening to knock you to the ground, maybe we’d have a couple days of organization.

Anyway I’m excited, nervous, anxious, happy, relieved, & shocked that my baby is starting kindergarten in a couple days. What do you do to keep some semblance of order & sanity in your school routine? Please remember who you’re talking to, any high maintenance or ridiculously involved suggestions will be politely thanked, laughed at for a length of time proportionate to the amount of time necessary to carry out the idea, & then completely forgotten/ignored/dismissed/unused. Thanks in advance for suggestions & good luck to any other first-timers dealing with school. *Good thing tissues were on the school supply list & good thing I had the foresight to buy in bulk at BJ’s – pretty sure I’ll need a few boxes on Tuesday!

My Missed Connections

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Pictured borrowed from http://cdn.psfk.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/05/iwishisaidhello-5-525×351.jpg?fedaf9

I don’t know about you, but I had no idea what Missed Connections was (or even that it existed) until I heard it referenced on a couple TV shows and then read this ad (which turned out to be a hoax) that was posted on Facebook or pinterest.

If you haven’t heard of Missed Connections, it’s a website where you can go to post an ad trying to find someone you had a chance encounter with. Made googly eyes with a cutie while getting your morning coffee? Take the what-could’ve- been craziness up a notch and post an ad saying “short, curvy woman with purple hair and multiple piercings & tattoos seeking tall, dark, handsome man in suit that was smiling at me in Starbucks on Main St this morning. If you were smiling at the 6’2″ supermodel in the bikini behind me, please disregard this post.” Anyway, the point of this is not to bag on Missed Connections, or the people who use it – but I will for just a minute because, come on, this is ridiculous. Who am I to judge someone going online to post a plea to find someone they shared the same air with for 30 seconds? I could say that you’re bat shit crazy and even if the person you’re looking for thought you were cute, chances are if they see your desperate ad, there will be no next encounter. Hypothetically this is a great romantic idea, realistically it’s a forum for the psycho stalkers to let the world know who they are.

In tribute to Missed Connections, I’ve decided to write up a few of my own ads. I have had my share of encounters that I’d like to repeat, whether they were fleeting or lasted awhile before they faded into the sunset or disappeared in a flash. Turns out I really do understand the desperation involved in posting these ads.

Ad #1:
30 year old woman looking for her youthful energy. I spent quite a lot of time with you up until about 5 years ago. Then you just stopped showing up. We had great times together – we used to go out until all hours of the night & party, even on work nights where we had only a few hours in bed before the alarm went off. Do you remember? We could wake up, shower, chug an extra-large coffee, be awake & alert to kick ass at work, then repeat the same thing again later. I’ve heard that youthful energy disappears when you have kids or gets transferred completely to your kids but I thought *we* were different. I’d love to see you again. Please get in touch, even if you can only visit a few times a month – I’ll take whatever I can get.

Ad #2:
Mother of 2 seeks all the extra money I should have had before I had kids. Now I keep my kids fed, clothed, entertained, & happy – and trust me that is not cheap. Kids are expensive. Thing is I didn’t always have kids. I used to work before them and I made money and I didn’t have any extra money to save. I mean I should have, being as though now that I have kids I have all these extra expenses that I didn’t have before and I manage to keep those expenses paid. I’ve never actually met you extra money I should’ve been saving. I caught glimpses of you between 2000-2007, but it was mostly at crowded bars, restaurants, casinos & clothing stores. You slipped away before I could ever have a meaningful conversation with you about a real future. If you see this ad, please contact me, I still need you in my life – now more than ever.

Ad #3:
Young-ish lady seeks one super-sized, iron-clad bladder. I assure you I am not a senior citizen, I am only 30 years old. I had a long-term relationship with you, from about 1987/88 until the summer of 2007. Remember that 8 hour road trip when you didn’t fail me once? How about those long nights of drinking when, if we didn’t break your seal, you were dependable the whole time?! I didn’t even realize you left, you just kind of started hanging around less and less and before I knew it you were gone. I miss you so much every night, usually around 3:30 am, and sometimes when I laugh really hard. I’m so sorry I didn’t do my kegel exercises to keep you around longer, I promise to train really hard if you come back. Please come back to me – my future *Depends* on it!

Ad #4:
Very tired, yet functioning, woman seeks quality sleep. Thanks to Youthful Energy we didn’t spend that much time together but when we did -ahhhh – it was bliss. Thanks to Solid Bladder, our time together was uninterrupted. I miss you. I know we still see each other in dribs & drabs, but I would like to spend some real quality time with you like we used to. We used to be able to see each other whenever we wanted, for however long we wanted. What happened to us?! If at all possible, could you meet up with Solid Bladder, find this fairy tale character I’ve heard myths & rumors about named Babysitter, and at least spend one glorious weekend with me? If it goes well, maybe we can repeat for several trysts – I would love to see you as often as possible.

Ad #5:
Lovely mother looking for nice appearance. My standards are no longer that high, so you don’t have to be super rich or beautiful. You’ll recognize me by my: dirty/unbrushed pony tail, yoga pants I slept in, snot/pee/vomit stained t-shirt, & cheap flip flops or sneakers (depending on the season). I’ll also have bags under my blood shot eyes, a crying toddler on my hip, & a whining preschooler clinging to my leg. Please try to see past all that and see the once beautiful woman lurking underneath. If you peel off all those layers and replace with some nice jeans, pretty shirt, cute shoes and apply a hairbrush & some makeup, I promise I clean up quite nice. It would probably help if you teamed up with some of the others I’m seeking – this one may take a team effort, but please, for the love of everything good & just in this world, please find me!

Is there anyone you’re lacking in your life? Add your Missed Connections post in the comments below 🙂

Mother’s Day fantasy wish list

“I believe there is no part of our lives, our adult as well as child life, when we’re not fantasizing, but we prefer to relegate fantasy to children, as though it were some tomfoolery only fit for the immature minds of the young. Children do live in fantasy and reality; they move back and forth very easily in a way we no longer remember how to do.”
As quoted in Questions to an Artist Who Is Also an Author : A Conversation between Maurice Sendak and Virginia Haviland (1972) by Virginia Haviland

Even though I’m -gasp- 30, I still fantasize. This is my fantasy Mother’s Day wish list:

1. A nap. Morning, afternoon, it does not matter. I haven’t napped in about 5 years. I’ll take one whenever I can get one.

2. A real shower. A shower where I can shave my legs, wash my hair – with shampoo & conditioner from separate bottles, & not be terrified that my kids are halfway to the playground when I don’t hear any fighting for longer than 2 minutes.

3. A trip to the bathroom alone. No open door, no audience, no running q&a session.

4. A full meal. Sitting down, in a chair, by myself. No sharing – which happens even with identical plates, no cutting other people’s food, no whining over the selection.

5. A phone call. Uninterrupted. No pleas for attention, no fighting, whining, hanging on my leg. No who is it? Can I have this? Can you do this? Just a nice enjoyable chat.

6. A full night’s sleep. In my bed. All alone. No feet kicking me in the ribs, no 3 am full-arm slap across the face, no waking up in a puddle having to change the sheets in the dark – or usually just throwing a towel over it until morning.

7. An actual quick trip to the store. I want to grab my keys, hop in the car, drive to the store, hop out, grab what I need, pay, hop back in car, drive home, go in house. Instead of the usual: search for 4 little shoes – 2 of each size – preferably matching, wrestle them on, find 2 jackets, wrestle them on, shepherd 2 kids out door & eventually to the car, fight to get them in the carseats & buckled, drive to store while questioning if milk is really *that* important, get kids out of car & safely into store, say no to various toys & candy for 20 minutes, grab what I need, pay, pay again for opened gum in kids’ pockets, keep kids from getting run over in parking lot, fight to get them back in seats & buckled, drive home with now screaming kids because they didn’t get every toy in cvs, wonder if the supermarket delivery system would drop off a gallon of milk next time, consider paying the $50 minimum for said gallon of milk just to never have to leave the house again, get home, get kids out of car, trip over the discarded jackets & shoes right inside the front door, realize you’re out of toilet paper, give up & go outside to collect leaves.

8. A massage/pedicure/movie. Anything that I can do for at least one hour without whining, crying, fighting, wiping someone else’s butt, constant requests for things that we don’t have or that they can’t have. Preferably something that can make me forget – for at least an hour – about the last 4 years of the above annoyances & the fact that I will be going back to it – & the saved up annoyances from the hour off.

9. A cup of coffee. Hot. From first sip to last. Without using the microwave even once.

10. A TV show. Not dvr’d. On at prime time. No kids out of bed – no bathroom trips, requests for water, etc. I want to sit on the couch at 9:00, watch a show in its entirety – commercials and all, and not get up or talk the entire time.

I love my kids, I really really do. I would include in the list lots of hugs, kisses, & snuggles from my boys but this was a fantasy list and I have no doubt that I will actually get tons of love from my kids. They are sweet sweet boys that love their mommy & show it a lot. I am very blessed in that way. That’s all I really want for Mother’s Day… Unless you’re offering anything from the above list 😉

Happy Mother’s Day to all you moms out there! And to any of you dads or kids reading, I can safely assume that your wife or mom would happily accept any item on my list too – so you’re welcome!

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Mother’s Day fantasy wish list

“I believe there is no part of our lives, our adult as well as child life, when we’re not fantasizing, but we prefer to relegate fantasy to children, as though it were some tomfoolery only fit for the immature minds of the young. Children do live in fantasy and reality; they move back and forth very easily in a way we no longer remember how to do.”
As quoted in Questions to an Artist Who Is Also an Author : A Conversation between Maurice Sendak and Virginia Haviland (1972) by Virginia Haviland

Even though I’m -gasp- 30, I still fantasize. This is my fantasy Mother’s Day wish list:

1. A nap. Morning, afternoon, it does not matter. I haven’t napped in about 5 years. I’ll take one whenever I can get one.

2. A real shower. A shower where I can shave my legs, wash my hair – with shampoo & conditioner from separate bottles, & not be terrified that my kids are halfway to the playground when I don’t hear any fighting for longer than 2 minutes.

3. A trip to the bathroom alone. No open door, no audience, no running q&a session.

4. A full meal. Sitting down, in a chair, by myself. No sharing – which happens even with identical plates, no cutting other people’s food, no whining over the selection.

5. A phone call. Uninterrupted. No pleas for attention, no fighting, whining, hanging on my leg. No who is it? Can I have this? Can you do this? Just a nice enjoyable chat.

6. A full night’s sleep. In my bed. All alone. No feet kicking me in the ribs, no 3 am full-arm slap across the face, no waking up in a puddle having to change the sheets in the dark – or usually just throwing a towel over it until morning.

7. An actual quick trip to the store. I want to grab my keys, hop in the car, drive to the store, hop out, grab what I need, pay, hop back in car, drive home, go in house. Instead of the usual: search for 4 little shoes – 2 of each size – preferably matching, wrestle them on, find 2 jackets, wrestle them on, shepherd 2 kids out door & eventually to the car, fight to get them in the carseats & buckled, drive to store while questioning if milk is really *that* important, get kids out of car & safely into store, say no to various toys & candy for 20 minutes, grab what I need, pay, pay again for opened gum in kids’ pockets, keep kids from getting run over in parking lot, fight to get them back in seats & buckled, drive home with now screaming kids because they didn’t get every toy in cvs, wonder if the supermarket delivery system would drop off a gallon of milk next time, consider paying the $50 minimum for said gallon of milk just to never have to leave the house again, get home, get kids out of car, trip over the discarded jackets & shoes right inside the front door, realize you’re out of toilet paper, give up & go outside to collect leaves.

8. A massage/pedicure/movie. Anything that I can do for at least one hour without whining, crying, fighting, wiping someone else’s butt, constant requests for things that we don’t have or that they can’t have. Preferably something that can make me forget – for at least an hour – about the last 4 years of the above annoyances & the fact that I will be going back to it – & the saved up annoyances from the hour off.

9. A cup of coffee. Hot. From first sip to last. Without using the microwave even once.

10. A TV show. Not dvr’d. On at prime time. No kids out of bed – no bathroom trips, requests for water, etc. I want to sit on the couch at 9:00, watch a show in its entirety – commercials and all, and not get up or talk the entire time.

I love my kids, I really really do. I would include in the list lots of hugs, kisses, & snuggles from my boys but this was a fantasy list and I have no doubt that I will actually get tons of love from my kids. They are sweet sweet boys that love their mommy & show it a lot. I am very blessed in that way. That’s all I really want for Mother’s Day… Unless you’re offering anything from the above list 😉

Happy Mother’s Day to all you moms out there! And to any of you dads or kids reading, I can safely assume that your wife or mom would happily accept any item on my list too – so you’re welcome!

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Is the glass half full or half empty? Who cares.

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The age old argument about the pesky glass is it half full or half empty, the new spin that the opportunist drank it while you were arguing over the proper status of its contents. From the perspective of a (dare i say, relatively good) mom – I look at the glass and care not whether it’s half full or half empty, I try to figure out how to make it completely full or, if that’s not possible, how to best split it between two kids and how to make the water appealing to said kids.

Isn’t that true of everything in life with kids? How do we split our time and resources and affection between multiple kids and responsibilities? Life isn’t always fair but is that a lesson a 4 year old or 2 year old need to learn? Can it be learned that early? The thing is while life doesn’t always appear fair, there is usually a reason behind it and typically it balances out. Being as though that’s a concept most adults can’t grasp, it is ridiculous to think that preschoolers are going to get it. We need to teach our kids to share and be grateful and that sometimes “no” is the final answer. There’s not always time or money readily available for everything they want. Some things are dangerous or frivolous or not a good idea at the moment. I think I’m doing a pretty good job. My kids don’t always want to share with each other, they whine & cry when they don’t get their way, they don’t always stay in bed when I put them there for the night, they don’t always eat whatever is given to them with a smile – but they’re kids (and sometimes surprise me by doing the right thing)! The important part is I’m teaching them these things. I’m hoping with patience & consistency & age, their reactions will become more socially acceptable & gracious. They are well taken care of – fed, cleaned, dressed, comfortable, safe – and very well loved. And they’re happy! They don’t know we’re struggling. Isn’t that the best I can do?

Due to unfortunate circumstances we’re in a less than ideal situation. My glass isn’t even close to half full. It’s closer to about a sip and a half left. As a mom I still try to figure out how to fill the glass, how to split a sip & a half fairly, how to make it appealing. My kids don’t need to know that’s all that’s left. I mix in some Kool-Aid, put it in a Dixie cup so their cup is full, and they slurp up their shared sip confident knowing that Mom will make sure they have more tomorrow. One day I’ll be able to fill that glass for them, maybe even two. Who knows maybe one day I’ll even be able to fill a third so Mom will have one too. In the meantime, having my kids best interests -short-term or long-term- in heart & mind with whatever I do, I think that’s the best I can do.

*Just in case anyone reads this literally – I assure you my kids have much more to eat and drink each day than a sip & a half of Kool-Aid between them. Please don’t call DCF.

Sorry I’ve been MIA

Sorry that I’ve been MIA. It’s been one helluva week. Awesome post coming tomorrow.. Well a post coming tomorrow, I promise. Kid #1 has his kindergarten DIAL screening tomorrow, I’m sure that will provide plenty of material – he has to skip for crying out loud! If you read my post about soccer, skipping will be way more challenging than reciting his ABC’s or counting to 30. Look forward to a blog post laden with mommy guilt over what a terrible teacher I’ve been to him & all the ways I’ve failed him. Isn’t that what kindergarten assessment is all about?

Soccer Tales of an athletically un-gifted 4 year old

Today started out early for a Sunday. The boys & I had to be at the soccer field by 8:45. Soccer is supposed to start at 9:00 but J’s coach wants us there at 8:45 so there’s not stragglers showing up at 9:05, after practice has started. I’m pretty sure he must have gotten a head’s up about my uncanny ability to consistently be fashionably late and created this rule just for me. I proved him a pretty smart guy when I showed up at 8:55. My dad had come to visit for the weekend, just to watch J play soccer – such a great grandpa! – and was staying with my sister. He was already at the field waiting for us. Pulling up and seeing him sitting in his car waiting I felt like I was 17 again and I missed curfew. Except between my dad & I that’s not that big of a deal because he’s pretty laid back & non-confrontational. So really it was just my own guilt I was feeling, now & back then. Anyway, it was such a beautiful morning and we had a blast watching a bunch of 4 year olds play soccer, or their version of it. We especially enjoyed my graceful (like a bull) son perform his version of jumping jacks. I really need to get this on video for you – it is hilarious. My poor kid, the coach could barely count, even he was cracking up. I can’t even begin to describe to you what his attempt looks like. If you’ve ever seen the “Elaine dance” on Seinfeld, imagine that but done by a tragically uncoordinated 4 year old. That’s the best idea I can give you for the awkwardness level. Thank goodness they only have to do 10 of them, so it’s a short-lived comedy put on by my sweet innocent boy. Bless his heart he tries though.

I’m so appreciative for soccer. It gives me such insight into my son that I otherwise wouldn’t have. It’s a unique perspective you get to have on your kid. It’s kind of like a fishbowl view. I’m there, he knows I’m there but gets distracted enough to forget this for a bit. I get to see how he interacts with & responds to different adults without me there. He’s talkative – boy is he talkative, he always has “just one thing” he needs to say. I see what he is like with other kids. He is friendly. I see the motivation he needs. He needs a good bit of encouragement. Left to his own devices, he will wander & get sidetracked. He literally walked off the field in the middle of a game to come ask me a question about where we were going to eat the bagels we were getting after soccer was over. (This is the same kid who before soccer, when I told him he needs to eat breakfast for energy before soccer, lifted his shirt, grabbed his “fluffy” – as I prefer to call it – belly and said straight faced & completely seriously “You see this? *This* belly gives me energy, I don’t need breakfast.”) The coach of the team he played against was so good with J & J responded so well to him, I was contemplating trying to switch him to that team. Haha, yeah right! There is no chance in hell that my kid would let me switch his team. He is so excited to be a Silver Bullet, I could never convince him to be a Ladybug. Can’t really blame him. The Ladybugs? For soccer? I get that they’re only 4 but come on, call me old fashioned but I don’t think that’s a good name for any sports team at any age. Maybe in the fall we can switch. Gives me plenty of time to lobby for a re-name or to convince J that ladybugs are the. coolest. thing. ever.

I am going to make sure that I talk to his school before they assign him a kindergarten teacher for the fall. I have this information now of how my son best needs to be handled in an instructional setting and you bet your booty I will be doing everything I can to set him up for success. He has his kindergarten/Dial screening on Thursday. I’m not sure if I should let them evaluate him first and see what they have to say without bias or if I should bring it to their attention first. What would you do? Have you been in a similar situation, what did you do? Are you -& I will love you forever for the insider info- someone who does dial testing? Also, I am 100%, undeniably aware that he will most certainly be failing the skipping test. Skipping? Worse than the jumping jacks. He kind of gallops with a little hop thrown in and then finishes it with some kind of weird triple-jump-ish thing. Seriously, if you’re a dial tester & you’re in my area or you know someone who is, make sure you have a video camera rolling. You could probably win the America’s Funniest Home Videos grand prize… But only if you beat out the jumping jacks video I’m getting next week!

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What to do with a fussy baby

I am now watching a usually very happy 4 month old baby boy. He is super cute but not very happy unless he’s being held. I’ve tried everything. Could anyone give me any suggestions as to what may help? I love these kids as if they were my own but it’s very difficult to take care of 3 other kids, all under 4, with a baby in my arms. I want him to be able to get the rest he needs and also be able to take care of the others. Sometimes I get very frustrated – and use humor and this blog – as a way to vent and stay sane.

*Note: This is an update to this post. The previous post been deleted. I’m sorry if I offended anyone, that was not my intent, I was just exaggerating for comical effect. Guess I’m not as funny as I thought. In an effort to keep this fun and light, I will save my sarcasm & humor for posts about people I don’t know, myself, & my kids – until my kids learn how to read, then it will just be for strangers & myself.

Who spilled the popcorn?

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So as I was sitting at the computer with some morning after uncertainty – unsure if I would be able to actually continue a blog, my kids came to my rescue. I was literally sitting next to kid #2, completely focused on my blog, unaware of my surroundings, trying to find & upload an old picture of a mess my kids made with some Cheerios. When I emerged from my daze I found my table & kitchen floor covered in cheddar cheese popcorn… And it’s 10:30 in the morning! Seriously?! It is irony at its finest. While I’m busy contemplating whether or not I’ll have post-worthy material every day, my kids are busy giving me something to write about!

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