Thursday, September 27, 2012

Mommy Brain

I pack the girls' lunch and snack everyday for school.  Well, for Lana and Georgia it's just a snack.  Yesterday, Lana's snack was jello and when I put it in her lunchbox in the morning, I put in one of the plastic kiddie spoons we have.  I reminded her to bring it home, so we wouldn't lose it.  Then yesterday, after school, while I was getting her lunch ready she said to me,

"Mom, I remembered to bring home my spoon."

"Oh good job!  Thanks Lana," I said.

"Yeah. You know you forgot to give me a spoon the other day," she informed me.

"I did?" I asked.  "Sorry girlie!  What did you do?"

"Mrs. Lombardo gave me a plastic spoon," she said.

"Oh good," I said.  "Sorry about that Lana.  Sometimes mommies forget things."

"Yeah," she agreed.  "Sometimes they have no such good brains in their heads."

"Hahaha!" I laughed.  "It's true Lana, sometimes we don't."

That one can be so damn perceptive.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

All In The Perfectionist Family

My sister, Beth has always been very smart.  Not that Megan isn't, but this post has less to do with her and more to do with Beth, who coincidentally is having her birthday tomorrow.  Yay! 29 plus a few years,  right Beth?  Beth was the type of kid who didn't really have to study to much to make great grades.  She would study though, because the last thing Beth could have was an A-.  Oh and the horror or horrors if got one or two wrong on a test.  I think she had straight A's on her report card all 12 years of school.  If she didn't, she would surely have cried about it for at least an hour.  The times she didn't ace a test she'd come home crying.  If she wasn't sure about a test she was studying for, the night before she would cry about it and say how she was sure to fail.

All this was completely lost on me.  I was not a bad student, but I was never as obsessed with good grades as my sister was.  A solid B was great and if I got an A, freaking fantastic!  But I was known for getting a C a time or two and perhaps a D one semester.  However, in my defense, that was in French and my teacher was a loon.  I swear. You can even ask my mom.  So when Sonya came home last Monday close to tears because she didn't get 100% on her math test I realized, crap, I'm raising my sister.  

Sonya has always done well in school.  The kid was reading at three, for crying out loud.  She is just naturally smart, much like Beth.  When she doesn't understand something, all hell breaks loose, because she's just so used to everything coming so easily---BETH! (Incidentally, this is one reason why there is no way I could home school.  We would kill each other.  Or I would have to drink WAY more. )

Every couple of weeks she has a big math test at school.  She always does well with her homework and seems to understand everything.  There's a computer game that she can play the night before a test to review what she's learned.  She has always done well on the test.  Last Monday I picked her up from school and as she approached the car, I could see that she was upset.  I opened the door and greeted her, and she gave me a very upset, 


"What's wrong, baby doll?" I asked.

"I FAILED my math test on Friday!" she said, with tears starting to well in her eyes.  

"WHAT? What do you mean you failed??" I asked, very confused.

"I got one wrong on my test!" She told me.

"Wait, how many did you get wrong?" I asked.


"Out of how many?"  I asked.

"Twenty," she replied, holding back her tears.

Really?  One wrong out of twenty and she thinks she failed?  Perhaps she's not as bright as I thought.

"Sonya that's not failing," I informed her.

"It's not?" she asked.

"No.  That's still very good," I assured her.  

"But I knew the answer, I just did the wrong one," she told me and threatened tears again.

I wasn't quite sure what she meant by that, but  I told her to calm down and I would take a look at it when we got home.  

Once we got home she immediately pulled out the test and handed it to me.  You guys, she got a 95%.  If you remember correctly that's still an A or in 3rd grade, a 4.  Don't ask.  Anyway, I looked at the one she got wrong and realized what she had meant.  She knew the answer, but she colored in the wrong bubble.  Something I'm sure everyone has done at one point.  

"Oh I see what happened," I said.  "You just colored in the wrong one, but you knew the answer."

"Yeeeesssss!!!!" That was it, the damn broke and she was in complete tears.  

"Oh girlie," I said hugging her.  "It's no big deal!  You still did great and got a four!"

"I did?" She asked looking up.  

"Yeah, see." I pointed to the paper.  "Sonya you're not always going to get 100% on all your, tests baby girl.  Sometimes you won't know everything, or sometimes you make a mistake like this, but it's not something to get this upset over, (Beth)."

The crying started to cease and she wiped her eyes.

"As long as you do your best, that's all Daddy and I care about, ok?"  She nodded at me.  "Did you do your best?"

"Yeah," she told me sniffing her nose.

"And look, you got almost all of them right except for this one.  That was just a silly mistake and you can fix that next time, by checking your work if you have time, okay?"

"K," she said, a little more relaxed.  I gave her a hug and sent her to her room to start her homework.    

It's funny how life prepares you for things.  Had I not grown up with a sister who reacted the same way, I may not have understood why Sonya was so upset.  Fortunately, her Auntie Beth made me very aware of this piece of perfectionism.  I can see how she thinks that her not getting a perfect grade means she's failed and her life is over.  Although, I don't think we are quite at the "life being over" part yet, but I know we will get there.  Yay.  Can't wait.  Thanks for that piece of DNA Beth.  I'm giving her your number and she can cry to you next time she "fails" a test.  

Friday, September 21, 2012

Yo Ho, Yo Ho, A Pirate's Life For Me!

This past Wednesday was talk like a pirate day.  For those of you who don't know what I'm talking about you can find out about it here.  I learned about it several years ago on the morning radio program I listen to here in Los Angeles, and always found it funny.   So I thought it would be fun to tell the girls about it that morning.

"Hey girls!  Guess what today is?"

"What?!" They asked matching my enthusiasm.

"Talk like a Piiiirrrrrrrrate Day!  Aaarrrrggg!!" I said in my best pirate voice.

"Aaarrrgg!!" They said in their best pirate voice.  

Then they proceeded to talk like pirates for the rest of breakfast.  Georgia decided to squawk like a parrot for her pirate impression. Then I heard that Krispy Kreme was doing something in honor of the silly day.  They were giving free donuts to anyone who came in and asked for a donut in pirate voice.  If you dressed like a pirate you'd get a whole dozen!  Okay we didn't need that many donuts, not to mention I don't have a pirate costume on hand.  Really we didn't need any donuts.  But this wasn't about donuts.  It was about doing something fun.  

See, the problem with being the stay at home parent is that I have to be the one that does all the unfun things.  Things like time-outs, saying no to TV, making them do homework, or chores around the house, making them eat their fruit and veggies, and saying no constantly to treats.  Especially to sweet tooth Sonya.  Andy, on the other hand, is here on the weekends when it's easier to say yes to everything.  He gets to be fun Daddy.  Sometimes it sucks being the disciplinarian.  In fact, last week Georgia and I went to buy some shampoo at the beauty supply store.   It happens to be next to a Subway, and she asked to go there for lunch.  Of course I said no.  She pouted and said,

"Daddy aways takes us!  You never do!"  Then I think she said something along the lines of me not being fun, but in four year old speak.

Thanks for the knife to the heart GG.  

So when I heard that we could get a free donut by talking like pirates, I decided I was going to be the fun parent for once.  

Sonya had a half day of school on Wednesday, so we spent the afternoon with Stacy and Carter going to lunch and swimming at their house.  I was already up in the fun department.  Time to put myself over the top!  After we left, we went to check out a kids consignment sale to look for Halloween costumes.  It was about 4pm at this point.  Now usually I don't let them have anything to eat at after four, because if you've seen the movie Gremlins you know what can happen.  Or maybe because it's just to close to dinner and if they have anything past 4, dinner does not happen.  Today, however, I was FUN MOMMY!  SCREW DINNER!  

We got in the car and I asked them if they remembered what day it was.  They answered in their pirate voices, GG with a squawk.  Then I told them we were going someplace, where if they talked like a pirate, we would get a free treat.  They squealed when we pulled into the Krispy Kreme parking lot.  

I did get nervous for a minute on the drive over.  What if what I heard on the radio wasn't true?  Was I taking my kids into a situation where we were going to look like complete asses by asking for donuts in a pirate voice?  Not that I haven't done such things before myself, but to do it with the kids... I was planning on saving that kind of embarrassment for when they were teenagers.  Not to  worry!  When we got out of the car I counted at least five people DRESSED like pirates, walking out with their booty of a dozen donuts.  

I got the girls psyched up to do their best pirate talk for free donuts and in we went.  We marched up to the counter and the lady asked if she could help us.  The girls looked at me and I started,

"Aye!  We would like some frrrree donuts for talking like pirrrrrates!"  I said in my best pirate voice.  Behind me the girls were saying, "Aaaarrrgggg!  Donut please!! Squawk!"

She smiled at us and motioned us to the other  side of the counter where we each got a donut.  Now my original plan was to only let the girls eat half, because of it being so close to dinner.  But really? Is that what fun mommy would do?  

"Mommy, can we just have the whole thing?"  Sonya asked after scarfing down her first few bites.  

"Eh, go ahead!" I told them.  

"Yaaaayyy!!" They cheered.  

It did ruin dinner for the night, and they ended up eating half a sandwich at 6:30, but the important thing is we had fun.   I got to be the fun parent for once.  I went back to being boring, broccoli, no TV, don't even think about treats mommy on Thursday.  But for one day I got to be donuts for dinner mommy.  I know for  fact that when Talk Like a Pirate Day comes next September 19th, they are going to remember how they talked like pirates for donuts the year before.  I'm sure that will be followed by "Can we do it again?"  And I will say yes! Because being the fun parent once in a while is just as important as being the hard ass one.  Not to mention so much easierrrrr, matey!

Arrrrgggg! Doooonnnuuttss!!

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

One, and Two, and Don't Forget to Breathe...

Saturday morning I did a workout video at home while Andy went to the gym.  Sometimes we will go to the gym together, but it cost $12 to put the kids in the daycare there and we chose to save the money that day.  I turned on my workout, and after about ten minutes, I had Lana in the room working out alongside me.  Not long after Sonya joined her.  Georgia, of course did not want to be left out, so she soon followed suit.  On the one hand it was a bit annoying to have them in there because I had to try not to run into them as I did my "football drills" and squat jumps.  On the other hand, they were all really trying to follow along and they did the entire workout with me.  I know I tend to be a bit obsessive with my working out, but there are far worse things that kids can learn from their parents.  I'm glad that this is a good lesson I'm teaching them on a daily basis.  Perhaps it will make up for my weekly wine consumption they usually witness.  Hey-at least I'm showing them balance!

Working the triceps

Friday, September 14, 2012

Ignorance is Bliss

This past Tuesday was September 11th, which I know everyone reading this remembers well.  To our kids, however, it's just a day us adults talk about.  It's kind of like when we used to hear about our parents talking about JFK getting shot or our Grandparents remembering Pearl Harbor.  We can recall exactly where we were when we heard about the first tower falling, but to them it's just a story.

Now we call September 11th, Patriot Day, in remembrance of all the heroes and innocent civilians who lost their lives on that horribly sad and scary day.  At the girls' elementary school, they encourage all the students to dress in red, white, and blue to mark the occasion, even though for the most part they have no idea what that day means.  They will see images and hear stories at they get older, but they will not understand the feelings of sadness and fear that surrounded that day, and how much it changed us as a nation.  In some ways though, I think ignorance is bliss.  Especially at their age.  They don't need to know just how terrible the world and people can be.  Not yet anyway.  Fortunately, Sonya proved just how sunshiny she still sees things.

On Monday night I had all the girls take out their red, white and blue dresses they wore for 4th of July.  I told them they had to wear those colors for Patriot Day the next day.  Although, I may have been calling it Patriot's Day by mistake, which my mom pointed out later, is not the same.  There is a Patriot's Day in Boston in April, the day of the Boston Marathon. The Patriots also happen to be the football team we follow very closely in this house since my husband is from New England.  If you don't have a husband or boyfriend in your house, you might not know, football started last week.  In this house,  we know all too well.  

So there I was telling the girls about supporting Partiot's Day by wearing their patriotic colors. I was in Sonya's room that evening helping her find her dress and going on about how important the following day was, when she finally stopped me,

"But mom?" She asked, "What if the other kids at school don't really LIKE The Patriot's?"

Haha!  Oh...Ummm....I guess I never really explained fully what Patriot Day September 11th was about.  So after I finished giggling at her question, I gave her the children's Reader's Digest version about the day.  She seemed to understand better why she was wearing our country's colors and that it wasn't for as shallow a reason as to support a football team, (albeit an awesome football team with a hot quarterback).  

I have to admit though, I envy her innocence of the events of that day.  I hope she and her sisters never have to experience what the rest of us did eleven years ago.  To those who lost their lives and the loved ones left behind-we will always remember, and will make sure when our children are old enough, they understand the importance of what happened that day.  And that no, it's not just about a football team.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Making New Friends

Last Friday I volunteered in Lana's kindergarten class.  Now that I have free time for a few hours each week, I figured I should help out the very overworked teachers.  Lana has the same kindergarten teacher Sonya did, so I already know her and know how she works.  She always welcomes parent help.  She's not stupid.  I was looking forward to going and helping out, and even more interested in seeing how Lana behaved in a classroom setting.  Her preschool teachers always told me how good she was.  They weren't lying.

Lana is a model student in class.  She listens and responds when she's supposed.  It's obvious she saves all her antics and crankiness especially for me at home.  Or at least that's what I thought.  I learned that day that she tends to let it out at bit at recess too.  

Since school started, back in August, Lana would come home every day and tell me she "made up a  new friend!"  

"Really?" I would ask.  "What is her name?"

"Ummmmm...I don't know, I forget!" She'd tell me. 

This is the response I would get every day for at least two weeks.  I kept telling her to try and remember to ask names.  Eventually she came home one day and told me she found out the name of the girl she'd been playing with.  Jazlyn!  Well, at least she finally got one name.

So the day I went in to volunteer I was scouting the classroom to find this Jazlyn girl.  It's always interesting to see what kind of kids your kid likes to play with.  During recess a little girl walked in the classroom as I helping some of the other kids with an art project.  She looked around the room and I asked if I could help her with something.  She told me no, and I asked her her name.

"Jazlyn," she responded.  

"Ohhh!!  Jazlyn!" I said.  "I'm Lana's mommy.  Lana said you two are friends."

"Yup," she said nodding her head.

"Do you have fun at recess?" I asked, trying to make conversation with a five year old.

"Yeah..only...well...Lana is grumpy a lot of days," she told me.

"Oh really?" I asked feigning surprise.  Let's be honest, I love Lana, but she IS grumpy a lot of days.  I just didn't know the other five year olds knew it.  

"Yeah," she admitted.  Then she clapped her hand over her mouth like she said something bad and with widened eyes said to me, "Don't tell her I said that though, or she won't be my friend anymore!"

"I won't say anything," I promised her.  "Plus I think she's still be your friend."  Maybe.

Well, on the plus side it looks like Lana doesn't have any problem making friend. Even though she is grumpy, people still like her and want to hang out with her.  On the minus side, I think this means she may end up being a Mean Girl.  Great.

Friday, September 7, 2012

Alone Again, Naturally

Wednesday it happened.  I dropped Georgia off for her first day of preschool and there I was alone for three hours.  Awesome- right?  Fantastic!  You say?  Yeah, well, I went to my car and cried for about five minutes.  I couldn't help it and it kind of took me by surprise.  Two years ago, I was counting down the days until this happened and now?  Now I'm sad that I have no more babies at home.

Now, don't get me wrong.  Having three hours to myself was quite nice.  I went to the gym and shopped at Target alone-which for the record is even more dangerous because I have time to actually think about buying more things.  But still, I felt like something was missing.  All those times I had to reward with something from the dollar section if they were good, or ignore a major tantrum one of them was having in the middle of the store was not there.  Again, I thought I wouldn't miss it.  Dammit, I did.  Why does life do that to us?  Just when we think we're getting what we want we realize we already had it.

I know I will get used to this new way of life.  It's not like I've  THAT much time alone.  I still have Georgia on Tuesdays and Thursdays all day and Lana is home by 12:30.  It's just the road ahead is nothing but kids getting bigger and the house feeling a little emptier.  My sisters and most of my friends still have little ones at home and are envious of where I am.  Take it from me, it's harder on this side than you think it will be.  At least emotionally.  I suppose for me it's just difficult to  shut the door on that part of my life.  The part of having babies and toddlers, but I just have to accept that I'm past that. 

After I dropped Georgia off and I got to the gym, I sat in the parking lot trying to gather myself together.  I reminded myself that now I can focus on something other than just the kids sometimes.  I called Andy to commiserate with him, because unlike most husbands, he's more sad than I am about the girls getting older.  He told me he was sorry I was feeling that way and that he understood.  Then he said, in all seriousness, 

"Well, we can always have another baby."

Did I ever mention one of the reasons I married Andy is because of how funny he is?  

I immediately laughed at him and then realized,  I'm not THAT sad.  As much as I miss my girls being little and at home, I don't really think I could start that all over again.  I never say never, because that has made me a hypocrite more than once, but I wouldn't hold my breath on me having a baby ever again.  I know there are all new adventures to come with my girls in the upcoming years.  Even though they won't be as cute as they were at two, I know there will be plenty for me to be proud of and excited for.  I just need to focus on that.  But, I know deep down, I will forever miss this little face and all the cuteness that came along with it. 

"cheese" face

In her new classroom

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Going Commando

My in-laws came for a visit last week and were here during the holiday weekend.  On Monday we decided to go visit my grandpa and new step grandma at their home in Burbank.  Meta, my new grandma, owns a home, not to far from where we live. It's in the hills or the fancier part of Burbank.  Plus she has a pool!  Grandpa scored!  I've been up there a few times with the girls this summer, but Andy hadn't been up there at all.   I figured it would give us something to do on the day off with his parents.  So Monday afternoon we went for a visit and a swim at Grandpa's place.

We usually don't stay too long when we're there.  Just long enough to get in the water and have the girls practice swimming again.  I don't want them to forget by next summer, so I plan to take them until it gets colder around here.  So, you know, Decemeber.  

After a while, Lana decided she was done swimming and sat on a chair wrapped in a towel to dry.  She told me she had to use the bathroom and I sent her off inside, because she knows where it is.  Funny sidenote, the first time we went to Meta's house in May, Lana stepped inside and took off, investigating the whole place.  She's the type of kid who feels like everything is hers even if she's never been somewhere before.  she doesn't feel the need to ask permission to go look around.  It was quite embarrassing for me, but it's really just who she is.  And hey!  Look who knew where to go when someone needed to use the bathroom.  

She disappeared inside for a bit, but Meta and my mother in law were inside, so I figured she couldn't get into too much trouble.  After a few minutes she came out with her cover up on and zipped up.  This is something I haven't been able to get her to do all summer.  She does not like wearing that thing and if she's forced to wear it there is no way you are making her zip it up!  So I was kind of surprised when I saw her.  I was out of the water and drying myself off and she came over to me and said in a whisper,

"I'm naked under here."  Then she looked at me with wide eyes.

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

"Medz Mama put on my cover up, with nothing underneath it!  I don't have my bathing suit on, see!!"  Then she lifted her cover up to prove that she was, indeed, without her bathing suit and in her birthday one.  

"Okay, Lana," I said giggling at her.  "Put  your cover up down, I get it."  

"But I don't have anything on!!" She whisper shouted to me again.  

"It's okay, we're going straight home from here," I assured her.  "We'll get dressed there, okay?"

"Oookaayy..." she said still unsure.

We left Grandpa's not to long after that, but not before she told her sisters and her father about being naked under her cover up.  She was a little obsessed with it.  

When we pulled into the driveway at home, I had completely forgotten about it, but she hadn't.  As the door to the van opened she said, 

"Okay. I have to be REAL careful getting out."

"Why?"  I asked.

Then I remembered why she was concerened, but too late, she told me again.

"Because I'm naked under here!  I don't want anyone to see!" 

"Oh right," I said.  "It's fine, Lana, nobody will see, I promise." Then I carefully helped her out of the carseat, making sure to keep her private parts still private.  Then she ran into the house and immediately found something to wear.

Well, at least I don't have to worry when she's older about her pulling a Brittany Spears, or Mylie Cyrus, or any one of those crazy celebs who has been caught by a camera or two sans underwear.  Actually, on second thought, Lana will probably just announce it to everyone instead.