Tuesday, July 28, 2009

All About Mommy

At some point, all babies go from "just SOMEbody hold me" to "hey you're not my mom!" Separation anxiety.  Sometimes even Daddy is not good enough.  I think it's between 9-13 months when they start this, and it comes and goes.  Sonya was around 1o months or so, Lana about the same.  Georgia seemed to not care who she was with, even at her first birthday.  I thought maybe she was just THAT easy.  She wasn't even going to have separation anxiety.  Just when you think you have them all figure out...

It happened almost over night.  One day she was fine with anyone holding her, the next day she was screaming if anyone even thought about picking her up.  The worst part about this isn't just that she doesn't want anyone else, but that she wants me to hold her, or be within two feet of her AT ALL TIMES!  This makes it difficult to do anything in peace.  If we're sitting in the living room watching TV, and I walk into the kitchen to start breakfast, she cries.  If I'm outside playing with them, go into the house to get some towels, she cries.  If I put her in her chair to eat and go to the refrigerator, she cries!  Yeah, it's getting old.  I do feel bad, but there's nothing I can do about it.  I can't hold her every minute she's awake.  I do have to pee sometimes.  Well, that was the problem last week.

We were all outside playing in the girls little pool, a daily occurrence lately.  I realized I needed to go in to have some private potty time.  The two older girls were fine playing without me, but I knew Georgia would get upset once she realized I wasn't next to her.  So I decided to bring her with me.  I sat her on the floor and gave her a couple books to look at, but that wasn't good enough for her.  She kept pulling herself up on my legs and trying to get my attention away from the book I was trying to read.  She whined and whimpered.  She fell and pulled herself up again.  Eventually I picked up her and her blankie, and sat her on my lap.  What else could I do?  She stuck her thumb in her mouth, completely content and I got to finish my potty time.  For those of you without kids, this probably seems strange, even a little gross and you're thinking how you'll never do this. But trust me, those out there with kids are thinking, "I've been there!"

Even though it gets a little annoying to not even be able to walk out of the room without the crying, I keep trying to remind myself that there will come a day soon when she won't even want to be seen with me driving her to school, let alone give her a good-bye kiss.  So for now she can glue herself to me when it's possible.  Even if it is when I have to poop.  

Sunday, July 26, 2009

A Day Out With the Girls

Just a note: this is a long one.

As with any job, there are good days and bad days.  Days that everything falls into place, and days that everything falls apart.  The job of stay at home mom is no exception.  Then there are those days where you think things may go better than you ever imagined, only to find yourself crying in a corner at the end of the day wondering where things went wrong.  Yesterday was one of those days.

Let me start by telling you that Andy high tailed it out of here to Las Vegas on Friday afternoon.  Somewhere about a month ago, I apparently agreed to this arrangement.  I'm pretty sure it was after a 2nd glass of wine one Saturday night, when the kids were in bed and I didn't have to remember what I was going to face alone for 48 hours.  I know I'm with them all day every day, so what difference does another couple days make? However, not having Andy here AT ALL makes a HUGE difference.  I have no backup for the morning Sonya/Lana fights or even someone for me to talk to at the end of the day.  Plus the girls miss him incredibly.  It's hard to say the least.  Either way, I agreed and I was okay with him having a weekend away with the boys.  Plus I will repay the favor soon enough when I head out with the girls for a weekend of massages. I really believe all parents need alone time away.  I dream of a day when we can maybe go away together!  

Since he was gone all weekend, I realized I had to find something for us to do, at least one of the days, otherwise there might be a few less kids in the house come Sunday night.  The problem is it's the middle of the summer in Los Angeles, and it's damn hot.  The other problem is there are not a lot of places I can take three small kids alone.  The movies would be great if Georgia were a bit older, but that was out.  The beach would be my preferred place, but if you have not been with us to the beach you have no idea the production that goes into that adventure. We're lucky we can handle that with two adults going.  So I decided to embrace the heat of the summer and head to the zoo.  We have a seasons pass, so even if we went for an hour, got ice cream, and came home at least it would be time spent out of the house.  Then I remembered that there is a merry-go-round at Griffith Park down the street from the zoo.  It's only open on the weekend and we've never been, so I figured we could go there, then to the zoo.  Perfect!  I had a plan, now if only it worked out with the naps...

This is where I thought things were going to go so well.  The girls were in great moods yesterday morning.  Georgia and Lana got up close to 6:30 which was late for them, and Sonya slept until 7:30, even later for her.  Georgia took a great 2 hour morning nap and Lana went down at 10am with no hassle.  I managed to even get a workout in.  Things were going great!  I decided not to shower, since it was so hot out and I was sure to sweat walking the hills of the zoo, but got dressed and ready to go.  Then I packed a picnic lunch.  I got everything ready to go and right on cue Lana woke up from her nap, on her own. (This is always much better than having to wake her up).  We all hopped in the car and headed to the merry-go-round.  Once we got there, we set up a sheet and the girls and I had our picnic lunch under a very shady tree, listening to the carousel music in the background. We were having the picture perfect outing.  I even took a few pictures on my phone to send to Andy.  Surely he was missing his girls while lounging peacefully poolside in Vegas.  Then we cleaned up and headed to the merry-go-round.  That's where things took a turn.

After we got our tickets and handed them to the lady, we walked around looking for empty horses for the girls to ride on.  Sonya was very excited, Lana on the other hand... well when we found empty horses and I went to put her on, she started to cry and asked to go home.  We were right in front of the music which was extremely loud.  Then there were the creepy horses.  And I do mean creepy.  At one point in time I'm sure they were pretty carousel horses, with lots of bright colors. However, the merry-go-round was put there in 1955 and if it weren't for the fact that people run it on the weekends, I would say it was the last time anything was done to it.  Some of the horses tails were missing, and they were all some form of a grayish, blackish dirty color.  Yeah, nice.  So I couldn't blame Lana for not wanting to get on a horse. We opted for the sleigh type seat instead, with Sonya on a horse in front of us.  

The ride started and Lana got better.  I was holding Georgia and after about a minute I could tell she was not doing so well with the spinning around, so I faced her toward me and she clung to me the rest of the ride.  Now I'm not one for spinny rides, but I can usually handle a merry-go-round. This one, however, did go a bit fast, but more than that the ride lasted about 4 hours.  Okay maybe not that long, but it was a while.  Long enough where where Sonya started saying, "I'm getting dizzy!"  That's never good, because she's been known to throw up after a couple spins on the tea cups at Disneyland.  I told her it would be over soon, so not to worry.  Although, I lied because it was still another 2 minutes before it ended, and I'm so not kidding about that.  Finally it ended and I was a little concerned about Sonya, but once we got off she seemed better.  I put a bucket next to her in the car, just in case.  Lana decided she had fun and Georgia was still curiously clinging to me.  We left and headed to the zoo.

When we were at the merry-go-round I was given a very false sense of the weather.  It had been breezy, shady, and generally gorgeous there.  The zoo was the complete opposite.  It was hot, and sunny with not a whisper of a breeze anywhere around.  We started to trek through the zoo and I was immediately sweaty.  Good thing I skipped that shower.  I figured Georgia would be tired so I layed her down in the stroller.  Within 10 minutes she fell asleep.  I did notice she kept jumping and waking up.  It was the kind of thing you do when you first fall asleep and you dream that your falling or spinning.  I just figured it was because she was sleeping in her stroller.  No biggie.  

I had promised the girls we would get ice cream at the zoo, and of course Sonya  asked me for it the minute we stepped foot past the entrance gate.  I put her off for about 45 minutes, but finally decided I was hot and tired too, so we got some.  Lana had chocolate and proceeded to drip about half the ice cream on her outfit, despite the fact that it was in a cup and not a cone.  Normally I don't really care about that kind of mess, but she was covered, so I changed her.  Then we went off to see the Red Apes.  Georgia woke up while we were watching them and I pulled her out of the stroller, because she looked so hot and sweaty and like she needed some air.  After I put her back in the stroller we started to head to the giraffes. That's when I heard a familiar and unfortunate coughing sound, and then Sonya yelled, "Georgia's throwing up!!" 

Indeed she was.  All over herself and the stroller.  Everything she had eaten that day.  Gross.  We rushed to the bathroom, which luckily was around the corner.  It was a smaller bathroom, and one that was hard to maneuver my double stroller, but I managed.  Once in there I remembered how the L.A. Zoo tries to be environmentally friendly and in keeping with that, there's NO PAPER TOWELS.  How do they expect me to clean up the puke all over my baby with no paper towels to use?!  Thanks for helping to save the trees, but I have a gross baby here!  What about that L.A. Zoo?!  I did have half a pack of wipees, so I would just have to make do with those.  It took me a while to get her cleaned up, and the other two girls were NOT helping.  Sonya decided to wash her hands about 15 times, because she liked the foaminess of the soap in there, and Lana of course wanted to do the same.  I was trying to keep her from falling out of the stroller, she kept standing up in,  meanwhile cleaning throw up off the baby and the backseat of the stroller, while yelling at Sonya to get out of the way to let the other people in the bathroom wash their hands.   Fun times I tell ya!

After about 15 minutes I had G changed and the stroller cleaned enough, even though it still held that lovely smell of puke.  We headed out.  I was done.  The problem with the zoo is it's a good 15 minute walk to get the hell out of that place, and with Sonya walking it was at least 20.  We finally made it to the car and I got Georgia and Sonya in.  Lana was being difficult so I had to force her into her carseat.  She was very unhappy about that, and didn't want her blankie or her drink as she melted down into a small tantrum.  After a couple minutes she asked for "BLANKIE PLEASE!"  It was not nicely, so I told her as much and gave her the example of how to ask to which she replied, 

"I can't!  I cying wite now!"

That was pretty much the way I felt right at the exact moment.  With at least another 24 hours before Daddy made an appearance, all I wanted to do was cry.  

We made it home without incident, but on the way into the house, Georgia got sick again.  Luckily it was on the porch and easy to hose down later.  I gave her a bath and she was completely fine after that.   I'm guessing it was the long merry-go-round ride coupled with the heat that did her no favors yesterday. She hasn't been sick since and had no other symptoms.  The day wound down okay, with dinner, a shower and getting them to bed wasn't too difficult.  

My saving grace was that Melinda and Sooz came over last night so I could have some adult conversation and, more importantly, some adult beverages.  If ever there was a day I needed wine!  Thanks ladies! It was one of those days that just went horribly awry.  Mom always said there would be days like this.  I just wish I knew ahead of time when they would be, before I agreed to let my husband take off for a weekend in Vegas.  

Friday, July 24, 2009

The Importance of Articulation

This evening I was loading the girls into the car to take them to In-N-Out for dinner.  (For those of you who don't live in CA, you have NO idea what you're missing!  For those of you who used to live here-sorry.)  I was putting Lana into her car sear when her Croc shoe came off her foot and she yelled out frantically, 

"Myyy COCK!!!"

Yeah-I think we're going to put those shoes away until she can pronounce her R's properly.  

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Pretending to Potty Train

Ask any parent, and they will tell you one of the more difficult times in raising children, is potty training.  For some kids it is easier, but even the easiest of kids still have accidents.  It's not fun cleaning pee in various puddles around your house.  Sonya wasn't too bad.  I put her in underwear two months before her third birthday.  She had 2 accidents that day and then she pretty much had it.  Well, except for the pooping.  She did NOT want to poop in the potty and held out for 2 days, waiting for me to put a diaper back on her.  When she realized it wasn't going to happen, she gave in and used her little potty.  That was all it took for her.  She did have pee accidents, during the day, every once in a while.  It took her a while to not have accidents at night too, but overall the experience wasn't horrific. 

Then there's my nephew, Zach.  I'm pretty sure Beth was ready to go the way of potty training dogs and crate Zach.  It took the better part of the past year to get him to poop in the potty consistently.  He had no problem going in the potty, but he had no problem going in his underwear either.  Whatever was most convenient for him at the time was what he did. Eventually they all learn, even though Beth did think Zach would be going to high school in diapers.  It seems that he does finally get it now. This is good because now he won't have to worry about being made fun of in the locker room.  Now that Lana is approaching 2 1/2 I though it might be a good time to see where we stood with her.  Let the games begin!

I decided to put her in underwear at the beginning of the week.  She managed to poop in her diaper  before I had a chance to change her, so I knew I wouldn't be dealing with that.  Instead we concentrated on the peeing.  And she did so well!  I asked her every so often if she had dry pants and she said she did.  Amazingly, in fact she DID!  Then we would head to the bathroom where she would pee and I would give her an M&M as a reward.  She didn't have one accident all day until after her bath when she insisted on wearing underwear.  I let her, figuring I'd put her in a diaper before bed.  She did pee in those underwear, but still, one accident all day!  "Lana may turn out to be easy with something after all!" I stupidly thought.  Why do I even put thoughts like that out there?  

Tuesday was not as successful.  She did pee in the potty quite a few times.  However, for the amount of times she peed in the potty, she peed somewhere else too, the floor, the living room rug, the brand new couch!  Let me say that again-The BRAND NEW COUCH!  Okay, it wasn't that bad.  It cleaned up very well, actually.  Still, I wasn't as confident in her ability to pick this up so quickly now.  I had already decided at the beginning of the week that this was a trial period.  If she had a hard time we could go back to diapers and try again in a month or so. Still, I was willing to give it another go before I  called it quits.

This morning I put underwear on her right away.  About 20 minutes later she decided she had to poop and was planning on doing it in the underwear.  I managed to catch her and rushed her to the potty where she protested, cried, and flat out refused to poop on the potty.  I promised her a lollipop, or 12 bags of M&Ms, or hell, even a pony if she would just go.  But nope.  Didn't happen.  So I let her leave the bathroom.  About half an hour later, I caught her just about to go again. I tried to do the same thing as before with unfortunately, the exact same result.  Now I had an even crankier Lana, because twice she was ready to go and twice I kept it from happening.  I thought if I could just get her to do it in the toilet once she'd be over whatever fears she had, but it was just not happening.  And now my child was backed up, so to speak.

 I left her alone with Mickey for a bit then eventually I asked her if she was dry.  She told me yes.  She wasn't.  She peed in the potty anyway.  I decided I needed to make my way to my own potty, where Lana eventually followed me.  Once again I asked if she was dry only to get one more lie from her.  I finally conceded that this wasn't working right now, so I put her back in a diaper vowing to try again in a month.  I thought maybe she would question why she didn't get to wear her big girl underwear anymore, but she was unfazed by the diaper.  Five minutes after putting it on her she came back and announced she had pooped. 

Yeah, she's not quite ready for the potty training yet.  

Monday, July 20, 2009

The Terrible Two Tantrum Throwing Tyrant

There is nothing that interrupts my daily activities more than a tantrum.  It doesn't matter who's it is, it just takes time to get past them.  With Sonya it takes longer.  Her tantrums last a week where as Lana's last about two minutes.  However, what Lana's lack in time she makes up for in frequency and Sonya, especially now, doesn't have them all that often.  I suppose that evens them out.  Still, when one of them starts breaking down I know whatever I'm doing, or planning on doing, is about to be put on the back burner.  This was the case on Friday morning when Lana started a morning meltdown.  

I'm not exactly sure why or how it started.  I do know at one point she came over to me and wanted me to hold her.  I was in the middle of trying to get breakfast for all of them and I didn't have a lot of time to play with, because we had gymnastics to get to, for her in fact.  I picked her up gave her a hug and held her for a minute, but told her I had to get breakfast ready and put her down.  She was not happy about this at all, and set about to throwing all of the letter magnates, that stick on the dishwasher and fridge, on to the floor.  I gave her a warning, but she wasn't listening so I ignored it and carefully stepped around magnets that were being hurled at my feet.  When she wasn't getting enough of a reaction from that she started to sit on the floor and whine and cry.  At this point I thought about putting her outside with a sign that said "FREE-Take at your own risk", but realized Social Services would probably frown upon that.  Instead she ended up in time out.  

Usually time out does the trick for her.  She calms down and is ready to listen when her two minutes are up, but something had really gotten into her on Friday morning.  She was still angry when I went to get her out, so I gave her another time out.  She was still upset after that one, but I decided to let her out and see if she'd calm down.  Instead she continued to kick and scream in a full blown, stereo typical, two year old tantrum.  Andy decided to step in and try some disciplinary action, since I seemed to be getting nowhere.  He put her in time out and got the same result. However, he stupidly forgot about not putting her to close to the toilet paper. When he walked into the bathroom, not only was she still screaming, there was toilet paper, shredded, all over the floor.  He left her there for another 2 minutes with still no positive result. Finally he took her out of her chair,  to the living room, where those of us in the kitchen heard Daddy go to the end of his rope and yell, 
"LANA!  THAT IS IT!  KNOCK IT OFF!"  This is somewhere I have been way too many times.  I hate when I scream, but sometimes you just have to.  Andy doesn't usually get to that point, because he's not dealing with them all day like I am, but trust me I've been there on more than one occasion.  All of us, including Sonya and Georgia had really had enough at that point.  The odd thing was Lana NEVER went on this long with her tantrums, and it seemed there was nothing stopping this one.  

After "the yell" he picked her up, took her to her room, and put her in her crib.  Then he took out every stuffed animal, pillow, blankie or fun thing in there.  He closed the door and walked back to the kitchen to finish his cereal, with Lana howling in the background.  I don't think either one of us knew what we were going to do at that point, but what happened next was certainly something neither of us expected.  All of a sudden the crying just stopped.  It was like blowing out a candle flame.  The fire was just gone.  No whimpering or whining, just complete silence and then we heard this, 

"Daddy?" Lana called.  Andy and I looked at each other completely surprised, not sure we heard right.  I think I might have even said, "Is that her?"  

"Daaaadddyyy!" She called again, but not angrily.  She called him like she does when she is ready to get up from a nap.  

"Yes, Lana?" Andy called back.

"I all done."  That was it.  Just like that, she was done with her temper tantrum.  Andy went in, got her out of the crib, and placed her in her chair where she ate her breakfast without incident.  Then after breakfast I asked her to clean up the mess she made in the bathroom, and in the kitchen.  She did so without giving it a single whine or complaint.  I was completely and utterly amazed.  If it would have been Sonya she would still be in her crib crying, but not Lana.  Nope she realized she had taken it so far that she was banished to her room without anything to play with or eat, and she was having none of that, so she just decided she was done.  The best part is that even though it was about a 20 minute disruption with our morning, we still made it to gymnastics on time with Lana in the best of spirits.  

It did stick with her to, because when we came home she said to me, "Daddy take all aimals owt of my cwib."

I said, "Yes he did.  How come he did that Lana?"

"Because I make a mess and  scweeming and cying."  she told me.  Then she said, "I sawy mommy." 

See people!  Kids-they do learn from their mistakes, when you effectively discipline them.  Who knew!

Saturday, July 18, 2009

The Force is Strong With This One

I had to tell you this next story, because it's a bit of a continuation of the last one.  

Thursday night I was giving the girls dinner and I decided to find out how things were going with Sonya and the boys at school, so I asked her.  

"Are the boys at school still paying Star Wars all the time, Sonya?"

She immediately brightened up and happily replied, "Nope!"

I found this odd so I asked her why not and she told me, "Because Liza and me told them not to."

Well, of course I had to have this clarified and I asked her a few follow up questions. She told me about her new friend Justin.  He decided he wanted to play with her and Liza one day. They were okay with that one condition. He had to stop playing Star Wars with all the other boys.  And, AND he had to tell ALL the other boys to stop playing Star Wars also.  According to my daughter he did both of those things.  

So my sweet little girl and her little friend have single handily put the kibosh on the boys at school playing something they loved.  See how young we start!  We girls just have this power over boys, even at the age of 4!  So I feel bad for the boys that they don't get to play their game anymore, but how stupid are they to listen to a girl they won't get to even THINK about dating for another 12 years.  At least by then she'll hopefully like Star Wars making this particular battle a moot one.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Help Me Obi-Wan, You're My Only Hope!

Here's another little Sonya story for you.

Last week one morning at breakfast, Sonya asked me if I knew about Star Wars.  Um hello??  Do I know about Star Wars?  I'm the Star Wars generation!  It's only my favorite trilogy of all time!  Of course I'm talking about the original trilogy and not the recent ones.  I like to pretend those don't exist.  So I told her, of course and that they were my favorite movies.  She proceeded to tell me the boys at school play Star Wars all the time, and did I know there was a princess in that movie?  Yes, of course I know there was a princess in that movie.  I wanted to BE Princess Leia so badly when I was a kid.  I made my mom do my hair like hers EVERY DAY for school.  She got quite good at it after a while.  Two braided buns was definitely the look then.  

Sonya was rather intrigued with the whole movie that the boys loved so much, especially if there was a princess in it.  I told her sometime I'd let her watch them, but not right now.  That is for a couple of reasons.  I don't really think she'd get much out of it at four years old.  Plus she has a bit of a scaredy cat syndrome.  She won't even watch most Disney movies.  The Sea Witch in The Little Mermaid terrifies her and the Cave of Wonders in Aladdin freaks her out.  So I doubt we'll be able to get past some of the aliens and monsters in Star Wars.  Not to mention the fighting and death.  No, as much as I'm excited to show my kids those movies, they will have to wait a bit longer.  After I told her someday she'd watch them she left to get ready for school and that was the last I heard of it. 

Then yesterday morning it came back up again.  Only it wasn't so happy this time.  

"The boys at school are always playing Star Wars!" She said, angrily now.

"What's wrong with that Sonya?" I asked.

"I don't like it."


"I just don't."  Then she said something that I will pretend I never heard.  "I HATE Star Wars!!"  Followed by this, "I don't CARE if there IS a princess in it!!"  

I was a combination of horrified and amused.  I mean how could MY child not like Star Wars? Then I reminded myself that she hasn't even seen it, but those boys at school will give her a jaded view, damn them!  Then I just wanted to laugh, because she was perfectly fine with liking Star Wars originally when she learned there was a princess in it.  Unfortunately, the boys playing Star Wars at recess started to annoy her so much that she rejected her very favorite of all things.  Princesses.  

So on the one hand I say kudos to the boys at school for bringing the princesses down a notch in her book.  However, if you've ruined Star Wars for my daughter, someday I will pull out my own lightsaber and kick some ass.  

Monday, July 13, 2009

Milk-It Does a Body Good

I  just thought this was too funny not to share with you all, even though it doesn't take place when I was trying to do something by myself.  

The girls usually eat dinner before Andy and I do, because Andy gets home so late.  I'll make them food and then us something after they go to bed.  This is the reason I am done with my day so late, but it's the way things are for now.  I always give the girls milk at dinner.  It's the first thing Lana will have.  She'll suck down a glass of milk before I've even put the food in front of her.  Sonya, on the other hand, I have to bribe with a pony and a princess castle before she'll even put the cup to her lips.  She does NOT like milk.  This is interesting, because it's how Andy and my tastes are.  I love milk especially when accompanied by a Tasty cake or some other treat.  Andy will only drink milk in his cereal.  Period.  

I encourage Sonya to drink it by telling her how good it is for her and how it will help to make her big and strong.  She never seems impressed though and is always asking me, "How much more do I have to drink?"  Then she holds up the cup to show the half a millimeter she's put in her body.    She's never happy when my answer is "more."  

One evening they were eating their dinner, and Sonya and I started our routine of "how much" and "more".  She stopped and said to me "I know, I know I have to drink it, because the most important things in life are family, friends and milk."

"What?"  I asked, holding the dish I was washing in midair.  I wasn't sure I heard her right.  She repeated it, 

"The most important things in life are family, friends and milk."  

"Where did you hear that?"  I asked.

"Daddy," she replied.  "That's what he says."

"Really?" I asked.  This seemed hypocritical coming from a guy who hates milk.  Although I guess he would say that about family and friends.  Later on that night I told him the story and said that Sonya had accredited him with the saying, asking him if it was true.  He laughed and told me he did tell her that family and friends were the most important things.  She had apparently  added the milk part all on her own. 

 I guess some of what I tell her does get through if she's ranking milk as the 3rd most important thing in life.  Unfortunately, it hasn't helped her to drink it any more willingly and we still do our routine every night, but at least now I know she knows it's for a good reason.  I mean it is one of the most important things in life, well, right after family and friends.  

Friday, July 10, 2009

Can't Shop With Them...

Recently, I hired a daytime babysitter to come over about once a week for a couple hours, so I can go to places like Target or the grocery store by myself.  This is something everyone told me to do when they found out I was pregnant with Georgia, and about to be dealing with 3 kids under the age of 4.  I really wanted to find someone then too, but it's not so easy to just go out and find a babysitter.  I don't want to just trust someone unknown person to take care of the three people who mean the most to me in my life.  Plus I was nursing Georgia and for those of you who don't know, all three of my girls were bottle protesters.  They would starve to death then take that horrible bottle!  It wasn't so easy to just leave her with someone who couldn't provide the "boobie juice".  Still, I figured at some point I would find a way to hire someone to help.  I found Tara through Lana's gymnastics class.  She's a really sweet 23 year old girl who has a ton of experience with kids, took college classes on kids and is CPR certified.  She may be more qualified to take care of my girls than I am. Plus they love her.  She is the nanny for one of the little boys in Lana's class, but she only works for the family until 2pm.  So, I had her start coming over every week for about two to three hours in the afternoon.  This has been a huge help for me to regain some of my sanity, as well as let me catch up on doctor's appointments.  And look!  I get to shop in peace once a week!  How 'bout it!

This past Thursday Tara got here at 2:30 and at 2:31 I was in the car, windows down, blasting the new Green Day out of my iPod.   Yes, I turn 17 when I leave the house alone.  It's just so freeing!  I decided I needed to make my weekly trek to Target.  I don't know what I need to buy there every week.  This was a question my sister, Beth, recently asked me.  Apparently, I need things badly enough that I HAVE to go there EVERY week.  I will curl up in a ball in the corner and cry if I miss a week of going there.  I'm pretty sure there are subliminal messages in those damn commercials.  Either way, that is where I was going and I was going ALONE!  Oh happy day!!  The grocery store is my number one place I hate taking all three of the girls, but Target is a close second.  

I parked and walked in by myself, which is sometimes a weird feeling, grabbed my cart and started to shop, alone.  Did I  mention that I was alone?  Just wanted to make sure I made that point clear.  Then something strange happened.  It was like my kid senses were heightened because I didn't have mine with me.  I started to hear all the other screaming toddlers and four year olds all around.  Now, I don't know if there are always that many there and I just don't hear them over the screams of my own, but there they were.  What the hell!  I was having my alone shopping peaceful time, and now here I was listening to everyone else's kid.  I felt bad for the moms and thought seriously about passing out Tara's number, because every mom should have time to shop alone at least once a week.  There was one woman near me who was struggling to get her toddler to just sit in the damn cart.  Lady, have I been there!  

I moved on with my shopping trying hard to block out the screams around me, and it worked for the most part.  Then I passed the seasonal section which was filled with back to school supplies.  This always annoyed me to no end as a kid.  Why did the stores HAVE to remind us right after 4th of July, that school was just around the corner?  We had only been out for a mere few weeks at that point, and there was still so much summer left.  As I was having this nostalgic thought and the sight of book bags and pencils took me back, it hit me.  OH MY GOD!!!  We are going to have to shop in THAT section this year.  Sonya, my daughter, my first born who can not be that old IS that old.  She will be in kindergarten this year.  I know it's just kindergarten, but still it's kindergarten at a big school where there are older bigger kids around.  Plus kindergarten isn't like it was when I was a kid.  It's more like first grade light now.  

All of a sudden I missed my girls and wished they were shopping with me.  I wouldn't get to do it with them forever or even much longer, because eventually they will all be in school.  My going places alone won't be such a novelty anymore.  I know there will be new challenges and craziness that will come along with school, but this time with just me and them is at the beginning of the end.  I still have Lana and Georgia, but they're not far behind Sonya and it'll happen before I know it.  And just to prove that point I happened to walk by the tiny baby clothes.  The clothes my littlest girl is no longer little enough for.  There will be nobody else that little again for me to take care of.   I don't know why it got to me, but it did and I turned down the rug aisle to look for a new rug for the girls room, and instead found myself overcome with sadness and started to cry-in Target. Nice.  My new baby time is really over now and although I have new things to look forward to with my girls, I am going to miss this time so much.  

I got myself together and started to turn my cart back out into the main aisle to go check out.  Just then one of the moms of the screaming toddlers walked by looking very frazzled and I thought, yeah it is going to be sad, but at least I'm not her right now.  Today I'm still excited to be shopping ALONE!

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Thinking Outside the Juice Box

There are days when I bring on the non-peaceful times myself.  Like, when I shower for example.  Sometimes, I take a shower with the girls at the end of the day.  We have a huge walk- in shower, so it's easy to fit us all, and it kills four birds with one stone.  If I get to a point in the day where I haven't had a chance to shower, I'll just wait until after they eat dinner and we all get clean together.  It's a pain in the ass in some ways, easier in others.  On the one hand it's nice getting everyone cleaned and teeth brushed (yes they brush their teeth in the shower) in 20 minutes, as  opposed to what it usually takes when done individually.  You know, half the day.  But it also means that I have to wash myself quickly so I can move on to them, and get out and dry quickly to again, help them.  So even though it can be a bit of a hassle, some days it's worth it.  Plus, some days it provides me with stories to tell you.   

Monday was one of those days.  I didn't have a chance to shower before picking Sonya up from school.  Then I decided I needed to get some things out of the garage and attic, which would make me sweaty, so no point in doing it before then.  After that we all went outside to the little baby pool and played in the water, while catching whatever rays made it through the 50 spf.  It was a nice day.  

After the girls had dinner we all made the trek to the shower.  I gathered up the essentials needed- towels, toothbrushes, the kids soap and such.  Then I started our shower routine.  I quickly washed, while the girls played in the falling water.  Sonya can wash herself, for the most part. This prompted Lana to want to wash herself too.  Georgia just sat and watched us all, clutching one of the loofahs.  For some reason she loves those things and always wants to hold one while taking a bath or when Andy or I are in the shower. She will crawl over to the shower and point up at it, make the "uuuunnnn" noise, until you give it to her.  It's kinda cute, but a little strange.  I have no idea what's so fascinating about the loofah, but she loves it, so who am I to stand in the way of the loofah love?    

Lana wanted to "wash self", so I gave her some soap on her loofah and she started scrubbing her legs.  Then I told her to wash her tummy and she did.  Then I said, "Wash you boobies too, Lana."  

She looked at me kinda confused and said very matter of factly, "I don't has any boobies."

"Yes, you do," I told her.  "They're just small right now."

She looked down at herself and then pointed at me and said, "When I get bigga, I has big boobie juice yike mommy has big boobie juice."

"Yes, when you get bigger you will," I agreed with her. 

 Now you might be wondering about this "boobie juice" expression.  Well, I'm pretty sure that's just what Lana thinks boobs are called.  When I used to nurse Georgia, Lana would ask what Georgia was doing and I would tell her she was having her boobie juice.  In the past week she's made a couple comments about her chest or mine and she's referred to it as "boobie juice" every time.  However, I'm thinking this may become a problem when she gets older.  See, I'm pretty sure my kid is excited to get boobs someday, but not because they'll make her feel attractive or like a woman, but because she'll have her own personal supply of juice anytime she wants.  

Monday, July 6, 2009

Bad Parenting

If you've been reading this blog for a while now, you know I let my kids watch TV.  I'm not one of these parents who thinks that TV is evil and won't let my kids watch anything.  That would be hypocritical of me since I'm a TV junkie myself.  Always have been.  Plus if I ever want a moments peace, sometimes the TV has to go on.  I'd love to know how those parents who never allow their kids ANY television do it.  However, I do monitor what and how much they watch.  I try not to let them watch more than 3 shows a day. They only watch the kids shows on PBS or the cartoons on Disney channel.  They don't watch Nickelodeon, not because I don't think Dora isn't a great show, but I don't need them watching commercials and begging for more toys we don't need.  While Spongebob is a fun show for adults and older kids, I don't think it's so great for the age my kids are.   Sometimes they can watch a DVD, also very kid friendly, like Sesame Street or a Baby Einstein with an occasional Disney movie on a rainy or sick day.  So yes, I do try to be a good parent with what they watch.  That being stated...

A couple weeks ago Lana was in one of her moods. (What else is new?)  I had to go out to run some errands and my in-laws were here.  Lana was not wanting anyone but me, but I had to leave.  Even though she had watched a bit of TV that day, I let her go to my room to watch Curious George I had on the DVR in there.  This made her quiet and happy and made me able to leave.  When I returned she was playing and in a better mood, and I forgot all about the TV being on back in my bedroom.  

About an hour later I was in the midst of getting the girls ready for bed.  Georgia was in the tub and the older girls were supposed to come join her when they finished their food.  Instead they ran around the house and ended up in my bedroom.  After a couple minutes I realized they were being unusually quiet.  

"Girls?"  I inquired.  Nothing.

"GIRLS?" I asked louder this time.

"What?" Sonya asked.  

"What are you doing?"  She didn't answer me, so I asked again.  

"We washing somting," Lana informed me.

I quickly went through in my head   how they could be watching something in my room.  Then I remembered I never turned off the TV from earlier.  So now not only am I a bad parent for letting my kids watch so much TV, now I've wasted electricity.  I couldn't figure out what they were watching.  After the DVR show is over, if you don't do anything, it'll eventually go back to whatever channel you last left it on.  In our bedroom, however, we have the DVR set up to record shows. When it goes to record a show, it has to turn to that channel.  So I hesitantly asked, "What are you watching."

Sonya wasn't sure what to say, "Ummmmm-this!  Come here, look!"

I ran to the bedroom and there were Sonya and Lana sitting on my workout step (which hadn't yet been away from earlier) craning their necks up at the flat screen TV on our wall.  I followed their eyes to see what it was they were so into and realized, no biggie,  it was a cartoon.  WAIT!  It was a SOUTH PARK cartoon!  Now, I used to be a huge fan of South Park and will still occasionally watch it.  It's always made me laugh, but it's designed to make ME laugh, not my kids.  

"No, no, no, no, no, no!"  I frantically searched for the remote control to turn it off.  

"What, that was a good show!" Sonya protested.

"It's not for little girls," I told her.

Then she wanted to know why.  As I stood there with images of Kenny getting killed, Cartman's annoyed statement of "screw you guys I'm going home", and Mr. Hankey the Christmas poo, all I could think to tell her was, 

"Just because it's not, now go take your bath."

They both reluctantly got up from the step, realizing their entertainment was not coming back, and went to the bathroom.

I then turned the TV back on, cancelled the South Park season pass and added Sesame Street, Mickey, and Word World.  Then, for good measure, I found Dora and put that on there too. I figured it's better for them to see commercials then Mr. Hankey.  Well, at least until college. 

Thursday, July 2, 2009

The Birthday Boy

Today is my husband's 35th birthday. I thought it appropriate if I wrote a bit about him in honor of his birthday, because without him there would be no blog. I know I said that about Georgia too, but without "The Sperminator" none of them would be here, so the credit should go mostly to him.

Andy and I met in college, but didn't start dating until a year after we graduated. It's a nice little story, but one I'll save for another time. After we got married we waited a couple years to start having kids and when Sonya came along in 2004, I realized just how good a daddy I had picked for my kids. One of the things I love most about him is how much he loves those girls. He's always helpful with them whenever he's here. They love him because he's the fun parent. The one who plays games with them and runs around outside with them. The one who will tell me they have too many sweets, but give them the extra scoop of ice cream anyway. He's the one who has a hard time telling his little girls, "no".

Every night, he'll call on his way home from work to see if they're awake. I will admit, I dread when they are still awake when he comes home. I dread it, because I get them all settled and into bed, just ready for sleep. At this point in the day, I'm done with them and need some time off. However, I understand that he doesn't get to see them all the time. He usually doesn't get home from work until 7:30 at the earliest. They get so excited when he walks through the door, and I'm pretty sure the neighbors down the street can here the shrieks of "DADDY!!" coming from our house at the end of the day. Then it's about half an hour of Daddy play time followed by another twenty minutes, at least, of trying to get them to where I had them before he walked in the door.

First they want to do "spinny". This is where he spins them around the room until they are all pretty "bizzy", as Lana puts it. Then after about the 5th time of that he tries to settle them down by singing songs with them. After that he leaves the room and we all hope for the best, but usually we hear from them, especially Lana, at least five or six more times. Still, they love seeing him and he them and for that I am willing to deal with them being awake just one hour more.

He also understands the work that goes into being a stay at home mom. He knows how busy I am all day with the kids and keeping the house running. He always encourages me to go out to dinner with the girls or for a massage on the weekend. If I don't feel like I can get to making dinner one night, he never gives me a hard time about it. Well not seriously anyway. He's always giving me a hard time about something, but that's because he's Andy and he jokes around alot. That is probably the first thing that made me fall in love with him. His sense of humor. He is, without a doubt the funniest, person I know. He jokes with the girls all the time too, even if some of the sarcasm is lost on them. Someday they'll get it and hopefully even pick up his some of his wit. My money is on Lana with that one.

I know this isn't exactly where he thought he would end up at 35. I didn't think it was where I would be either, but I'm starting to find that where we end up is where we should be. Without him I wouldn't have my three little inspirations. The reasons I'm writing again while getting to stay home and take care of them. Without Andy, I couldn't do any of that. I want to thank him for being such a great father and husband. I can't think of anyone else I would want to raise these three girls with. There is nothing I wouldn't do for him, because I love him, but also because I know there is nothing he wouldn't do for me. Happy Birthday Baby!