Wednesday, May 26, 2010

The Sweetest Things

I may have mentioned before how I have a wicked sweet tooth. I may have also mentioned how I have passed that sweet tooth along to all three of my girls, Sonya probably getting the worst of it. It may have been all those milkshakes I drank when I was pregnant with her. Actually, that might make sense, because Lana LOVES peanut butter and I craved peanut butter and chocolate constantly when I was pregnant with her. Georgia loves blue cheese dressing, and it wasn't until I was pregnant with her that I found out I could indeed eat blue cheese, which I love, as long as it was made in this country. Had to be pasteurized and all that. Huh. There could be an interesting study here, but I digress...

Oh right! Sweets! Here's where I was. Sonya loves all kinds of sweets. I can get her to do anything, as long as she has a reward of some sort of treat at the end. I realized just how bad her sweet tooth was a few weeks ago when she brought home a book she made at school. It was called, The Very Hungry Kindergartner.

It was a really cute book. They had obviously used Eric Carle's, The Very Hungry Caterpillar, as template for creating their own story. Each page had a day of the week and what the Kindergartner, Sonya in this case, had eaten that day. Every day they ate one more of what they had eaten the day before. She had written the food at the top, and the amount she ate and then drew a picture below it, to represent the words.

I started to flip through Sonya's book and read it.

"On Sunday Sonya ate one lollipop. On Monday she ate two ice cream cones. On Tuesday she ate three pieces of blueberry pie."

I was starting to sense a pattern. Every day had a new sweet. Then I got to Thursday where she did eat some carrots, but that appeared to be the only healthy item. Then I asked her,

"Sonya, where did you get the ideas of what you were going to eat each day?" I asked

"Oh, my teacher wrote them down on the board for us to copy," was her reply.

"She wrote down nothing but sweets?" This couldn't be right. I knew Mrs. Lombardo and she had been an awesome teacher all year and, from all appearances, a healthy eater.

"No," she answered. "She had other things, like chicken, apples, celery..."

"But you chose to just write down treats?" I said.

"NO MOM!" She replied, annoyed with me. "I wrote down carrots! That's a healthy thing!"

"It's the only healthy thing you wrote down though," I pointed out. "The rest is all treats."

Then she just stared at me blankly and shrugged her shoulders.

Needless to say, I will be packing her lunch when she starts full day school next year. I just can't trust that she'll get past the chocolate milk and cookie on the school lunch if left to her own devices.

Monday, May 24, 2010

The Nose Knows

As many of you now, I loves me my wine! I try not to love my wine everyday though, as it adds on extra pounds I don't need. Especially when I'm eating chocolate cupcakes every day, because I loves me some sweets! Anyway, I try to keep my wine consumption to the weekends. Sometimes I'll have a glass during the week, if it's been a particularly harrowing day with the kids. This is the last week of school for Sonya, which means she'll be home ALL DAY starting next week. I may have to up my rule to weekends and twice a week. I'll just double my workouts. We'll see.

I usually don't pour myself a glass of wine until after I get the kids in bed. Not because I care about them seeing me drink, but because I'd like to actually enjoy it. Lana is constantly coming up with new ways to push back her bedtime. Sonya and Georgia don't try as many antics, and usually fall asleep quickly. Lana is the worst. I know you all are so surprised about that.

First she has to go to the bathroom, even if she peed 10 minutes before I put her in bed. Then she wants to be covered up again. Then she wants the light on, or the door opened more, or a song to be sung to her. This goes on for a while. In her defense, she does nap during the day and is not that tired when I put them to bed. However, she still needs a nap and I still need her in bed with the rest of them. I've tried ignoring her and not doing what she asks, but it only makes it worse and she only yells more, which keeps the other two awake. So I end up "tucking her in" at least four different times every night. It's more fun than I can tell you.

One night, a few months ago, during one of her procrastination tactics I gave her a kiss and on my way out she said,

"Stop. Come here. Lemme smell yow mouth."

"What?" I asked, not quite sure what she was requesting.

"I wanna smell yow mouth," she said again.

I had heard right. At this point, I had already poured myself a glass of wine and had a few sips. I wasn't sure if this is what she was smelling, but I obliged her and let her smell my breath.

"What dat smell?" She asked.

"Wine?" I asked, not sure this is what she picked up.

"Ooohh, wine," she said back to me. I left the room and didn't hear back from her for the rest of the night.

Now on the nights when I've started to have a glass wine, she immediately knows. I will give her a kiss and she will ask to smell my mouth. Then when she does she gets a big smile on her face and says,


Great. I don't know whether to be proud that I seem to have given birth to the human breathalyzer, or worried that bottles of wine might disappear from my collection in a few years.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Louder Than Liquid Plumber

Over the weekend we had our plumber out here to check out, well, our plumbing. We've been having drainage issues. We had him come out with one of those nifty cameras that goes underground and explores the pipes. To make a long story short, we have some serious issues with some old pipes and they need to be replaced. Just how we want to spend thousands of dollars! Thanks 70 year old house!

Anyway, the plumbers have been here the past couple days working on it, under the house. Throughout the day we'll hear them banging on a pipe or talking to each other. It is kinda weird to hear that coming from under your house. The girls have gotten a little spooked from time to time, but I've assured them it's just the plumbers working.

Just a little while ago, I was sitting here reading my email. Sonya was sitting next to me working on her homework, and we could hear the guys under the house talking to each other and banging on pipes again. Sonya kept asking me if I was hitting something or kicking something.

"No, Sonya," I explained for the 30th time. "That's the plumbers who are working under the house you're hearing."

She was quiet for a minute and we both heard them talking again. Then she turned to me and said,

"I sure hope they're not playing under there." I immediately laughed out loud. She defended her statement, "No really mom! Because that would be dangerous!"

I guess I can't argue with logic.

Monday, May 17, 2010

The L Word

There are days where I have to think about what I'm going to write on here, and then there are days where this blog writes itself. Last week, Sonya helped give me the later.

The girls had just sat down to eat dinner, and I was running around doing my normal evening duties. They were chatting with each other and I was about to walk out the back door to go water the flowers. I started to put my shoes on and Sonya said to me,

"I have something to tell you, but I'm embarrassed of it." Well, THIS sounded interesting. I stopped turned around and said,

"You can tell me Sonya. What's going on?" I was trying to be nonchalant about it. I didn't want to seem too enthusiastic about finding out what she had to say, because this could make her not want to tell me at all.

"Well," she started, "this is really true." Then she paused and I encouraged her to go on. She sighed and said, "I'm in love with Eli, and I've been having dreams about him for the past week." She stopped, looked at me, and quickly said again, "It's really really true."

I stood there staring at her for a moment, chewing the inside of my cheeks to keep from bursting out into laughter. My five year old just told me she's IN LOVE. Not that she likes a boy or thinks he's cute, but IN LOVE. Where did she get that?? After I regained my composure I said,

"Really? Huh. Um, how or why are you in love with him?" This was all I could think to ask at this point.

She got a dreamy look on her face, sighed again, then said, "He's just so precious, he's so precious."

Precious?? I have NO idea where that word came from, but this made me want to laugh even harder. At this point I was smiling. There was no way around that. Maybe even chuckling a little. I was trying hard to squelch it though. The only way to do this was to ask more questions.

"What kind of dreams did you have about him?" I asked.

"I don't know...princess dreams," she replied.

"Like you were the princess and he was the prince?" I offered.

She shyly said, "Yeah." Then she got a worried look and said, "Don't tell anybody about this!"

Ooops. The Internet doesn't count right? Thank goodness she's to young to know this blog exists. Well, for now anyway. She can hate me later for it.

Then I asked, "Didn't you tell Lourdes and Gwen that you are in love with him?"

"Yeah, they know," she told me.

"What about Daddy?" I asked. "Don't you want to tell Daddy?"

She thought about this for a minute and said, "Okay... but I want YOU to tell him!"

"Sure," I agreed. Then there was one more question I thought to ask before I left her alone about her new found love,

"Does Eli like you?"

Without missing a beat and very confidently she answered, "Oh Yeah!" I guess it's good he likes her back, right? Well, at least according to her.

I've decided to volunteer in her class on Wednesday to see what this kid is like and find out what his intentions are with my daughter. I just hope he's the nice boy in class and not the one who runs around like crazy and sniffs glue. It's bad enough that she's five and "in love" to begin with, but I'm certainly not ready for her to be in love with a bad boy.

As my Dad always used to say- I think it's time to get out the overalls and shotgun.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

She'll Try Anything Once

This morning I made scrambled eggs for Georgia and myself. We ate after everyone else had already left the table, so I actually sat down to eat my breakfast with her. This is something I rarely do. Most mornings you'll find me sucking down a bowl of cereal while packing Sonya's snack, making Andy's coffee, and unloading the dishwasher. All while on the phone with my sister. Oh yeah! Mom=multitasker.

This morning I didn't want G to eat all alone, so I took five minutes and sat down with her. I had a bottle of hot sauce, and I put a couple drops on my eggs to spice them up a bit. Georgia watched me and then said,

"I some?"

"You want to try some of this?" I asked holding up the bottle. She nodded her head yes, then said,

"Tie it! You yike it!"

This is actually from a Yo Gabba Gabba song. If you have no idea what the last words of that sentence mean, don't worry. Yo Gabba Gabba is a show on Nick Jr the kids have become obsessed with. They sing different songs in the show about cleaning up, or sharing this one happens to be about trying new foods. It goes-"Try it! You'll like it! Try it! You're gonna like it!" So now EVERY TIME I want the girls to try something new, Georgia sings this song.

"Okay," I said. "You can try it if you want."

"You yike it!" She sang again.

I put two little drops on her plate. She dragged a piece of her English Muffin through it, and put it to her mouth. I waited for her reaction. She had a hopeful look on her face, which immediately turned to disgust and then she said,

"I no yike it."

I guess Yo Gabba Gabba isn't right all the time.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

A Love/Hate Relationship

Last week I found Lana and Georgia on the chair together in Georgia's room. Lana was "reading" Pat The Bunny to G, and they were so sweet together. I managed to catch it all on my new flip video.

Awwwwww...I know right! And then RIGHT after I took that video, Georgia decided she was done and wanted down. Only Lana didn't want to let her go. So... they fought. Lana screamed and tried to grab her leaving three nail marks on GG's back.

Ah sisters! They live, they love, they use fingernails as weapons.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Mommy and Me

I've been anticipating writing this entry for almost a year now. I'm not kidding. I didn't start this blog until after Mother's Day last year. After the nice Father's Day one I wrote last year, I figured I better make the Mother's day one just as good, if not better. So here it goes.

I've always wanted to be a mom. For as far back as I can remember all I've ever wanted to be is a mom. I know that's not a hip thing to want these days, but oh well. I think most people either want or don't want kids, based on their own childhood and what kind of parents they had. I mean I know that's a general statement, and sure there are people out there with great parents, who want nothing to do with kids and vise versa. I, however, am one of those girls who had a great mom and therefore wanted to be one. I'd say that proves to be true since both my sisters wanted kids just as much as I did, so I suppose my mom was doing something right.

My mom LOVES kids. She is a teacher and most of her career has taught either kindergarten or first grade. This love of children made her a great mom. She was always more than patient with us, and taught us all the important things a kid should know. Like when to say please, thank you and I'm sorry, as well as how to make chocolate chip cookies. She was always extra loving and compassionate when we were sick. She put up with our constant fighting, and dealt with our surplus of whining. As my kids have gotten older I hear myself channeling phrases of hers from yesteryear. Things like, "you're the oldest and have to set the example", "in or out!", the popular "because I said so, that's why" and especially, "GIIIIRRRLLSSS! WHAT ARE YOU FIGHTING ABOUT NOW??!!", come out of my mouth on a regular basis. I'm sure wine played a role in some of my mom's evenings as it does in mine.

When we hit our teen years, things became a little more, um... tumultuous. My mom was never the typical teenager herself, so she wasn't quite sure what to do with my sisters and me. Truth be told, I was not a terrible teen, as far as bad teens go. I never got into drugs and I think I drank maybe a half a wine cooler on my graduation night. Okay, so I did have sex at 17 with my high school boyfriend, but at least I was smart enough to put myself on the pill beforehand. There was no way I was getting pregnant that young. He was my first love too and not some random guy who was just trying to get me to give it up to him. I wasn't completely stupid.

I did, however, do some serious bitchy talking back, which was our biggest problem. Hey, I was hormonal. I guess the sex thing was a sore spot too, but still I'd say I was pretty tame when you get right down to it. I know friends who did a hell of a lot worse and put their parents through more crap than they care to admit. My sisters weren't terrible either. Beth wasn't anyway. Megan-well, she was worse than me, but my parents were seasoned at that point, so not as shell shocked. Still, we were girls so I think it was just worse in general. Girls are ca-razy, as my husband has pointed out more than once. There was something I heard on the new TV show, Parenthood, last week. Three of the mom characters were talking about their daughters. Two of them had teens and one had a younger daughter, but they were all discussing the problems they were having with each of their girls. Then one of the characters said,

"You know what the problem is with Mothers? Daughters." How true is that?? I mean I understand it from BOTH sides now.

Since I've been an adult, my relationship with my mom has had it's ups and downs, but we've managed to become pretty good friends. I know she doesn't always agree with the choices I've made in my life, or ways I choose to live it, but I think she's gotten to a place where she has learned to let it go...for the most part. We've gotten in our fights, but we always manage to get back to a place of common ground. It's her own fault, in a way. She's the one who always told us she gave us "roots and wings". The roots were our foundation as kids to have a basis on which to grow, and the wings were to spread and go out into the world to be on our own. I've only put into practice what she taught me. I've learned to fully extend my wings, while keeping my roots strongly planted. Plus now I have three kids, who she adores, so that alone pushes me up a few notches in the mom book, no matter what I do.

So, I suppose on this Mother's Day I want her to know what great job I think she did with my sisters and me. Like I said, we all couldn't wait to start our own families and we all seem to be doing a pretty good job being moms ourselves. Not to toot my own horn or anything, but TOOT! The fact of the matter is she was and is the inspiration for me, and I'm pretty sure both my sisters. If she wouldn't have been such a great mom, I'm certain I wouldn't be where I am today, as a mother or as an adult.

Thank you for kissing all my boo-boos, wiping all my tears and still giving me love, even when I said I didn't like you so much. Thank you for helping me take care of each of my girls after they were born and scrubbing my kitchen floor. Thank you for teaching me how to cook and even how to clean. I understand how much you love me and how incredibly unconditional that love is. It was something I didn't quite understand until I became a mother myself, but I do now. I totally get it. All of it. This is a damn hard job and you made it look so easy I had three of 'em! If I can be half as great a mom to my three girls as you were to us, I know they will become three amazing women someday, that's if we all survive their teen years.

Just know, no matter what, how much I appreciate you. Thank you mommy. Thank you for all that you did and all that you continue to do. I love you more than you know! Happy Mother's Day.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Lana's Day Out

A couple years ago, when I was hooked on the soon to be doomed "Jon and Kate Plus Eight" show, they did something with their kids I really wanted to put into practice myself. They took each of their kids out for a special day, by themselves. I thought this was a great idea, because having eight means nobody gets alone time with mom and dad. Only having three means there is more of a chance for each kid to get alone time, but to be honest it's not very often. Especially for poor Lana. So I decided back then that I would do this with my girls.

Up until now we haven't really tried it yet. Lana and Georgia were too young for a while, and by default Sonya has already gotten to do things with us alone, because she's the oldest. So a couple weeks ago when Andy mentioned that we should take Lana out alone, I wholeheartedly agreed. I asked our neighbors to babysit. They love playing with the girls and Sonya loves it when they come over. She actually gets upset when we come home when they're there. We figured this would be the easiest way to get her to be okay with us just taking Lana out. Even though she's had her own special days, I knew those would be a distant memory when she was faced with the fact that her younger sister got to go out and have fun for the day, while she sat at home with a babysitter. Thankfully, Georgia is to young to really get it or care, so we knew she wouldn't be a problem.

Our biggest issue was that we weren't sure what we were going to do with Lana. She's only 3, so there's only so many places you can take a kid that age that they will like and have fun. There are even less places with a kid like Lana. We asked her what she wanted to do and I gave her a few ideas. She finally decided she wanted to go to Chuck E. Cheese. Yay. On a day we didn't HAVE to go. Thanks Lana. But this was HER day, so we grabbed the extra tokens we had from past birthday and headed to see Mr. Cheese.

As it turns out, that place isn't too bad when you're there just to play games, and only have one child between two adults to keep track of. Plus we got there around 11am, so there wasn't a ton of parties happening yet, which meant less kids. Lana loved it. She played any game she wanted, as many times as she wanted and kept all the tickets for herself. Then at the end we let her pick out her own prizes. Something she's had to share in the past. We had decided we were definitely NOT eating there. I mean I know even bad pizza is still pizza and edible, but I question this rule there. Lana decided she wanted a grilled cheese anyway. She was there for the games only, thank the sweet Heavens. We hopped in the car and went off to a mall called, The Americana.

Now for those of you who live in L.A., The Americana is in Glendale and it's basically a mini Grove. For those of you not from here, it's an outdoor mall. But not a strip mall with a nail salon and a liquor store. No, no. It's got fancy stores, like True Religion Jeans, H&M and Tiffany's-daaahling. This means only window shopping for us. It's nice though, because there is a big open grass area with a huge fountain in the middle. Then every hour or so, water shoots up in time with music they play. There are also quite a few restaurants and a movie theater. We decided this would be a good place to grab a bite to eat and hang outside since the weather was absolutely gorgeous.

I was a bit hesitant to go at first, because places like that tend to be packed on the weekend, especially on nice days. Since I stay at home with the kids, I hate going to places on the weekend that are super crowded. It's just annoying because I don't have to deal with it all week. But again, it was for Lana, so I sucked it up. I was again pleasantly surprised when it wasn't as bad as I originally expected it to be. There weren't wall to wall people like I had anticipated.

We got something to eat at a little diner and then walked around. Lana was having a great time just walking around holding a hand of each of us. She was loving being the center of attention, for once. Truth be told, it was kinda nice having only one girl to watch out for too. Not that I don't love having them all, but it was a little less stress for the moment. I felt like I was actually doing something and enjoying it, rather than rushing to get through it before someone had a meltdown or started a fight.

They happened to have special things for kids that day. There were a couple bounce houses set up, which Lana wanted no part of, but they also had face painting, which interested her greatly. We took her over to the tent where they were doing the faces, and she chose a big purple butterfly with glitter to take over the left side of her face. She looked so damn cute.

On our way back to the car she said to us,

"I won't put blankie in mouth, when I get to the caw."

"Why not?" I asked.

"Cuz den my buttewfwy will come off," she stated.

"Good thinking, Lana," Andy told her. The face painting was a bigger hit then I thought. I mean to forgo blankie to keep her paint in tact. That's huge!

Before getting all the way home, I mentioned to Andy that we should stop for some ice cream. I mean no special day is complete without ice cream, right? At this point Lana was way past her nap time, which I had planned on for that day. She was started to get glassy eyed. Just as her eyes started to close Andy asked if she wanted to go get some ice cream. Her eyes immediately popped open and she drowsily said yes. I could see she was still fighting to stay awake, but I let her nod off for the next five minutes it took us to get there.

After ice cream we headed home. They had balloons at the ice cream place, so I had grabbed one for Lana. There she sat in the back seat, face painted, balloon on her wrist, Chuck E. Cheese prizes in one hand. She was looking like she had one hell of a fun special day. Then I realized how MUCH fun she looked like she had and realized this wasn't going to go over well when we got home. Do I know Sonya. She took one look at Lana getting out of the car and burst into tears.

"She got her face painted?" She asked me through tears. Then she saw the balloon. "You went to Menchies??"

"Yes, Sonya. You'll get a special day too and get to do fun stuff," I tried to reason with her. Stupid idea.

"I want to go tooommooorrowww!!! And I want to get my face painted," by this point she was sobbing.

After I explained that we wouldn't be going tomorrow, but she would indeed get her own day soon, she started to calm down. I told her how Lana couldn't wait to show her the face paint and that she needed to try and be nice and ask Lana about her day. This was true. One of the first things Lana said after getting her face painted was,

"I can't wait to show sissy."

Sonya slowly let her jealousy go and began to ask Lana how her day was. Before long they were off running around the house, playing with the balloon Lana had brought home.

Here we are trying to make one child feel special, and end up making the other one cry. Although, I really don't feel all that badly about it. Like I said, Sonya has had plenty of times alone with one or both of us, and we do intend to have a day like this with her soon. Georgia is still a little too young, but eventually I want to do it with all of them at least a couple times a year if we can. Especially, as they get older and more closed off to us. I'm hoping this one on one time will help them feel like they are still the most special one, because each one of them is. This way maybe they won't have to find something or someone else not so good for them, to make them feel this way in the future. In a perfect world this is the way it works. Right now, it's just a parenting theory I'm REALLY hoping pays off.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Three of a Kind

I feel I would be remiss if I didn't congratulate our friends, Dino and Katie, who just had their third baby last Thursday. Why would I do that on my blog you ask? Well, for a few reasons.

First of all, Katie has been a loyal reader of this little venture of mine, I think since the beginning. For that I thank her, because it always make me feel good when someone tells me they read my latest entry. It's even better when they tell me how much they can relate. I sorta feel like I'm doing some good. Then there's the fact that her husband, Dino, was in our wedding party, and Andy has known him most of his life. But mostly I feel the need to acknowledge their new bundle of joy on here, because she happens to be their THIRD GIRL. I know a little something about that.

Their two oldest girls, Rita and Lucia, are the same age as Sonya and Lana. So, they already understand the joys and pains of raising girls. Then when they announced they were having another girl, I'll be honest, I was excited. I mean I was excited for them, because girls are great and all, but I was excited for me, because I've got someone else who will REALLY get it. There's also the fact that Katie and I are headed on that same doomed boat to, "the teen years". Arriving in 2018. It's too bad they live all the way across the country in RI, so we can't commiserate in person. Then again, eight years is a long time and who knows where we could end up!

Anyway-I do want to sincerely say congratulations on the arrival of little Nora Grace (beautiful name!) and good luck. As it turns out, three kids is A LOT of work. Who knew! But if anyone else can handle it as gracefully as we can, or at least as gracefully as we pretend to, it's Katie and Dino.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Living on Bread Alone

A few nights ago I made the girls leftover Chicken Parmesan, pasta with a little Parmesan cheese on top, and veggies for dinner. I also gave them a piece of garlic bread, which I usually wait to give them until they eat some of their food, but for some reason I didn't this time. Call it a memory lapse or being distracted while on the phone with one of my sisters. Whatever. The girls sat down, I gave them their plates of food, and I went to the living room to start the nightly ritual of shoveling out all the toys. After about two minutes Lana got down from her chair and wandered into the living room where she announced,

"I done."

"You're done eating?" I asked.

"Yeah, I all done," she told me again.

"Did you eat ANYTHING?" I questioned her.

"Yeah!" She told me very matter of factly. "I ate cheese and gawlic bwead. Soooo, I all done!"

I started to march her back to her seat to begin my argument with her about eating, when I decided I just didn't feel like it that night. Screw it. Instead I let her go to take her bath. I mean the way I look at it, she had her grains in the bread and her dairy in the cheese, and can't garlic be considered a veggie? It does grow in the ground and all.

I'm not so sure this is what Jaime Oliver had in mind when he started his Food Revolution.