Friday, April 25, 2014

Losing A Little Bit of Childhood Magic

There comes a time with every kid when they really start to question whether the Easter bunny, Tooth fairy and the big guy-Santa are real.  I remember being about 7 or 8 when I realized the Easter Bunny and Tooth fairy weren't real, but held on to the idea of Santa until 9 or 10.  Sonya is 9 1/2.  The difference between us though is I never questioned my mom or dad about it, because I never wanted the answer.  As far as my mom knows I still believe in Santa.  Sonya, on the other hand, has always been a little to curious for her own good.  

I remember last year after St. Patrick's Day when the "leprechauns" came to our house, Sonya asked me then if I had done the antics she and her sisters thought the leprechauns had done.  I, of course denied it.  Over the year though, she started questioning me about other things, like the tooth fairy and the Easter Bunny.  The Elf on the Shelf in December brought on a constant line of questioning- "Are you moving it?", "Is it really you putting him places?", "Does he really go anywhere?"  She was always suspicious and I just did my best to avoid her questions so as not to blatantly lie to her.  Then she asked the big one, "Are you Santa Clause?"

To which I answered, "Do I look like a fat man in a red suit with a beard?"

"Well, no," she replied.

"Then I guess I'm not Santa," I told her.  See, not lying, just avoiding.  

I was getting tired of avoiding though, and to be honest I hated that she kept asking me in front of her little sisters.  I mean it's one thing for her to get it and know, but they are still little and I'm not ready for them ALL to not believe.  I decided at some point this year we would have to talk about it, but I just wasn't sure when.  Then my opportunity came one night a couple of weeks ago when we were eating dinner.  I'm not sure what brought it up or why.  Perhaps it was talk of the Tooth fairy since they each had a lose tooth.  All I remember is Sonya saying again,

"Are you the leprechauns and the tooth fairy?"

I think I gave some sort of vague, "I don't know why you would think that," kind of answer.   I tried to change the subject, but she persisted and mentioned something about me maybe being Santa and Georgia said to Sonya, 

"Mommy isn't Sthanta!!"  Then she whipped her head over to me and said, "Are you??"

That was it.  I had to talk to Sonya about this.  I couldn't let the little girls lose their magic yet, even though Sonya's was all but snuffed out.  So after I put Lana and Georgia to bed that night I called Sonya into the kitchen. 

"Come here I want to talk to you for a second," I said.

"Oookkkaayy..." she was hesitant.  

"So you keep asking about the leprechauns and tooth fairy." I said.

"Yeah," she said.

"Why?" I asked.

She shrugged her shoulders, "Because I think it might be you doing it. Are you?" 

"What do you think?" I put it back to her.

"I'm not sure, I think you might be.  Are you??"

I sighed and looked at her, "Well, yes."  

"You ARE??!" She was a little upset.

"You knew that already, Sonya.  Isn't that why you kept asking?" I said to her.

"Yeah, I guess.  Wait! Ooohhh,  You are??"  

Then a little light went off in her head,  "Wait! Are you Santa too?"

Well, I certainly wasn't going to say "Those other silly things are totally made up, but the jolly guy who goes around the world, breaks into houses just to leave presents to good kids, he's totally real!" 

So I just gave her a "you already know the answer to this one too" look.  

"You're Santa?!" She said a bit shocked.  Then, then she started crying.  

It was around then that my heart fell out of my chest and shattered into a million little pieces right next to the place where I smashed my daughters.  I'm still trying to find a few missing pieces.  

"You are?!" She said again through tears.

"I'm sorry girlie," I said hugging her.  I explained to her that doing all those things when she was little was fun for everyone.  After all, didn't she have fun believing in Santa and the Tooth fairy?  She admitted she did.  I found a great letter a mom had written to her daughter when she asked about Santa.  I thought the mom's response was perfect and had saved it for this occasion.  I had Sonya read it hoping it would make her feel better.  

It didn't make her feel completely better but I think it helped a bit.  At some point during this wonderful coming of age hour, Andy came home from work and he also tried to help the transition.  We told her how she could help us now with the little girls.  Easter was coming up and she could help with the baskets.  This seemed to cheer her up a bit, although to be honest, I think she could have care less about Easter Bunny, the leprechauns or the Tooth fairy even.  The one that hurt her the most was Santa.  I get it.  I was devastated too when I finally came to terms with it myself.  It sucked.  What I worried about most though, was her becoming one of those people who felt "betrayed" by her parents and that she wouldn't want to do this with her own kids.  So we talked about why we did this and how we were doing Santa's job, like the letter said.  Would she have not wanted us to do this and would she have rather thought there was never a Santa?  The answer for her was no.  She loved every minute of it and was glad she had believed in him, and the others, once.  

I also made it very clear that she was not to tell her sisters about this.  I wasn't too worried about that though.  Sonya likes to be in with the parents and have secrets like this.  It makes her feel important and grown up.  Which is kind of ironic, because one of the things she kept saying  that night was how it made her feel sad and that she didn't want to grow up and know this stuff.  I knew she would keep the secret though and she was excited to help play Easter Bunny soon.

After all the tears and talking for about an hour, we finally sent her to bed.  She seemed to be okay, but a little sad.  Later on that night I was telling Andy how bad I felt.

"Do you think I ruined her for life?" I asked, mostly joking but half serious.

"Yup," he said sarcastically. "She's going to need therapy for a while."

"Andy!" I yelled at him.

"Seriously?  Every kid finds out about Santa at some time," he pointed out.

I guess that's true, I just felt bad that I had to be the one to tell her.  Why couldn't she just have kept her mouth shut like I did when I was a kid? I never questioned my mom.  Mostly because I didn't want the answer I had to give Sonya.  

Then the very next day she and Lana lost a tooth.  It was Lana's 5th tooth and the first tooth Sonya has lost in a year and a half.  It was one of the bigger ones.  Lana immediately when to write her letter to the tooth fairy upon losing her tooth.  This is something the girls have always done.  Sonya did start it.  Then I saw Sonya at her desk writing something as well.  

"Don't come in here!" She yelled.  "I don't want you to see this yet."

"Okay," I said.  

She played along with the whole tooth fairy gig and put her tooth in the tooth bear next her bed as did Lana.  She had put a note and picture next to it like she always had, but asked me not to look until I came to get it later.  I agreed.  

That night  I got this letter and picture:

The letter reads:

Dear "ToothFairy"

This is what my tooth fairy will look like when I'm older.  It's for you to always remember when I lost teeth.  Her name is Sylvia Flower Power.  I love u.


PS She stands!

Yeah, she's going to be okay.  I, however, will not.  I think I cried for about an hour.  

Friday, April 18, 2014

This Is 40

For the past few months I have been freaking out, and usually not so silently, about this day as it drew near.  Today I turn 40.  FORTY.  1, 2, 3, that will take way to long.  10, 20, 30, 40.  That seems better.  Okay four decades seems better than 40 years for some reason.  Let me start with saying that it's not really the number or the actual age that has me freaked out.  I'm not worried about being closer to death.  Although I suppose I technically am closer, but the truth is I could get hit by a bus next week.  I'm not that close to "old age" where I'm freaked out about that.  Turning this age does bother me a bit because of the fact that my looks and youth are slowly fading.  I know that is shallow, but I'm just being honest here.  I don't like the fact that I LOOK older.  I always looked so young.  But the bigger issue I'm having with turning 40 is what it represents to me.   Here let me break it down.

The first decade of life, well let's face it, who remembers most of it?  The first decade I was just surviving and learning how to be a person.  When I hit the second decade and my teens, it was all I could do to get through the day without some sort of angst in connection to a boy, my clothes or my hair.  By the end of that decade, I went to college and started to grow up a bit.  Then I hit the 20s or what I like to refer to as, the party decade.   I don't know about you, but I did party and had a blast doing it.  Of course, that does get old after a while.  The 20s are also the time I learned about who I was.  I realized that I could be a bit overbearing, judgmental, opinionated, and a tad forthcoming with those opinions especially after a couple of drinks.  I don't tend to sugar coat things.  However, I am also loyal, kind, fun and hardworking.  It took me until the end of my 20s and even the beginning of my 30s to accept the "bad" parts about me.  It has also made me aware of what I do and how that can affect other people, so  I try to work on not giving in to those worse qualities, even though it can be difficult.  I had a good job for a while in my 20s, which I enjoyed and I got married to my fantastic guy at 27.  However, I was looking forward to what became the third decade of my life, becoming a mom.

My 30s have (so far) been my favorite decade.  I found out I was pregnant with Sonya one month before my 30th birthday.  Maybe that is why I wasn't so afraid of turning 30.  I had a goal.  I was working on something.  I was becoming a mom.  And yes, I'm still a mom, that will never change,  but the girls are older and don't need me like they did in my 30s.  Being  mom was something I always wanted to do.  It was honestly the biggest goal in my life.  I know that is so not PC to say these days, but it was.  Sure I had other dreams and aspirations, but without kids, none of that would have mattered to me.  I loved being pregnant and loved having babies. I wasn't crazy about the infant stage but it goes so fast that looking back now I suppose it wasn't that bad.  As crazy as I was during my 30s, and having the little two within 15 months of each other making me crazier, I still loved it.  Sure there were some days they drove me to drink, literally, and I was ready to run out and find the first place that would hire me, but I am so glad that I was there for all of it.  I was there for the funny things they said as toddlers, or the amusing things they did like the hair cutting incidents.  I know they still do need me more than they don't, but that's all going to change in this next decade.  And here is the reason that turning 40 freaks me out.  I have no idea where to go from here.

I feel like 40 is to old to try and start something new.  I know there are plenty of you out there who say it isn't, but most of the world would disagree with you.  Especially the hiring world.  To be honest, I don't even know what I would want to do.  The fact is I like being home with the girls.  I want to see them after school.  As they go through their teen years in the next decade of my life, I feel in some ways that's when I need to be here the most.  Sure they may not need help to get themselves fed or ready for bed, but what about when they are faced with being pressured to drink or take pictures of their boobs for snapchat?  What about when a boy breaks their heart or they are frustrated with their best friend?  I feel like I need to be around to monitor those situations.  I'm not saying I'm going to stop everything bad from happening, but being around will certainly help them to know that I am more likely to see what is going on in their lives.  So it appears that I should be okay with all this, but for whatever reason I'm not.  I feel like I need something else.  Something that doesn't involve PTA or Girl Scouts or any of the other things I do for them.  I need something for me, I guess.  I just don't know what that something is, and turning  40 is shining a glaring spotlight on the fact that I still don't know what I want to be when I grow up.

I know all of you have fantastic advice on what I could do and how to do it.  Trust me, I've thought of things too.  I still have aspirations of becoming a personal trainer of some sort, or teach workout classes.  However, getting certified requires me to take classes which cost time and money.  Those are two things I seem to be short on for myself these days.  Perhaps that will change once Georgia is in school full time next year, I don't know.  It's kind of a wait and see situation.

There's also this writing thing I do which I love.  It would be great to find something where I could write and do it from home, but isn't that the dream for every stay at home mom these days?  The market is saturated and I don't know that I'm good enough to break through that mess.  I already tried that once being a 20 year old blond hair, blue eyed actress, among the other 20 year old blond hair blue eyed actresses in this town.  We all see how that worked out for me.  If I'm being honest, that is another thing I would love to do again- act.  I've thought about trying out for a play near where I live, but again that lack of time thing gets in the way.  

I know, I know, I have to make it a priority for me and maybe that's what my 40s will be about.  Trying to find something for me while still being there for my family.  Right now I can't even imagine how I'm going to do that or where to start, but at least if I have an idea of where I'm headed that's better than nothing.  How much did I really know about kids at the beginning of my 30s before having the girls?  Not nearly what I thought, but I knew I had a goal of having babies and staying at home to raise them.  I did that, and I think I've done it well for the most part, so I can do this.  I can find something for me while still taking care of my babies and my husband.  Hopefully, finding something for me will help me to take care them even better.  Okay 40s, here I come!  Let's do this!

Monday, April 14, 2014

The Last of the Firsts

Look who lost her first tooth!

It has been loose for a few weeks now and wasn't really ready to come out as of a couple of days ago, but that changed quickly.  She came running out of kindergarten today clutching a little plastic ziplock baggie and yelling, "I lost my tooth!!

Yay! Wait, what? But you are my last baby to lose her first tooth and I didn't get to pull it out or be there?  No, in fact when I asked her about how it happened she told me,

"I pulled it out myself!!"  

Yup.  That one isn't going to need me at all by the time she is seven.  On the plus side at least SHE still believes in the tooth fairy which is more than I can say for Sonya.  More on that story next time.  All this combined with my impending 40th birthday on Friday, may have me rocking and crying in the corner while singing, "Cats in the Cradle" before the end of the week.  

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Not Quite Like the Spring Breaks in College

I think I've mentioned before that my family lives all over the country.  We are in Los Angeles, both of our parents are in Florida, Andy's brother is in Rhode Island, my sister Beth lives in Virgina and Megan in Wisconsin.  As you can imagine this makes it pretty difficult to get together for family dinners.  That's why last year when we went on the cruise it was so great because my sisters and I got to hang out with each others families.  I love that our kids got to play together for a week.  I wish we could do it more often, but it's so expensive to travel with five people and my girls have only recently gotten to the point where I don't mind traveling with them.  They are easier now.  They can be entertained by an iPad for two hours, and I can actually read a book without being in the bathroom.    

I decided a few months ago that we needed to go visit Megan in Wisconsin, because I haven't been to see her longer than anyone else.  She's been here to Los Angeles for one reason or another, so we have seen each other, but it was our turn to visit her and her family.  We decided the girls' spring break would be a good time.  You know, because as the rest of the country is taking their spring break to escape the cold, why not be the people going right to the heart of it!  And oh my sweet baby Jesus was it effing cold!  Or as I liked to refer to it- real life "Frozen".

Let me start by saying, I do not like the cold.  Nope, never have.  I don't mind it for a day or two, but winters in Boston during college may have kept me from getting to a class or two.  Who the hell wanted to go out when it  was 10 below and so windy that I could walk at a 45 degree angle?  I liked the snow, when it was snowing or right after, but the grey black shit it turned into in the city was not so pretty.  When we would finally get a slightly warm sunny day in March, I was that person in shorts and a tank top running around yelling "what a GORGEOUS DAY!"  In fact I believe I used to call those sort of days, "orgasmic".   That's why living in Los Angeles is perfect for me.  Our coldest winter day is 50 degrees.  Perhaps it gets colder at night, but I'm inside with the heat on under a blanket.

 My sister Megan is the opposite.  When she looked for places to go to college she sought out every good college in the tundra.  She eventually chose Marquette in Milwaukee, WI.  Since then her family has moved to the middle of Wisconsin to a little, and I stress the word little, town called Stevens Point.  That is were we went for spring/still winter there break.

How hot and dry our winter has been here in L.A. is just how cold and wet the winter has been there in Stevens Point.  Her girls didn't go to school for three days because it was TOO COLD TO GO OUTSIDE!  W..T..F?  I will admit I was looking forward to a little cold and some snow for a few days though, since it had been so hot here.  Plus she had heat and hot chocolate so we were all good.

We had to fly into Minnesota, because there is not close airport to my sister.  Well, not one that doesn't charge an extra $300 per ticket to get to it.  That was fine though because Minneapolis has something that I would never make a trip to go see.  Since we were there though, the Mall of America was a sight worth  seeing.

We got in on Monday night and drove the three and a half hours to my sisters house, arrived around 1am and unloaded the sleeping children from the car.  That's when it started.  Lana complained about a sore throat.  Crap.  I just brushed it off to traveling and it being late and her being tired.  The next morning she was still saying her throat hurt and she didn't feel well.  I gave her some Motrin and we went about our day.  The kids played outside in the snow and came in for some hot chocolate.  All seemed fine. It wasn't until we were sitting in the movie theater that afternoon enjoying the new Muppet movie that I noticed Lana totally spacing out.  It only took me one swipe of her forehead to know she had a raging fever.  Crap, crap, crap.

When we got back to Megan's I gave her more Motrin and she rested for a bit.  I had hopes that perhaps this would be a quick fever.  She would get over it by the morning.  I should have known better considering that Georgia had a fever two weeks before that lasted four and a half days.  The good news was we were at a family members house and not a hotel in Hawaii.  (So help me, if one of them ends up with a fever at the hotel in Hawaii next month.)

For most of the week we layed low and the kids played.  My sister has a gorgeous house with a gigantic playroom.  Not to mention a workout room where Andy and I could escape to get our exercising in and finish the first season of Orange is the New Black. (OMG! That show!!) It was fabulous in that aspect.  It was not so fabulous that Lana's fever continued the ENTIRE TIME WE WERE THERE.  We didn't let it stop us to much.  When we wanted to do something we would give her some Motrin and the fever would go away enough for her to enjoy the outing to the cheese factory, or the half an hour I spend with them building Baby Buttons the snowman. 

The Cheese Factory

Time to make the cheddar!

"Do you want to build a snowman?"-you know you were all thinking it.

So maybe there wasn't A LOT of snow to make a big one.

But this is one bad ass selfie I took!

 The only symptom she seemed to have was the fever.  And no, I didn't take her to the doctor for a number of reasons.  Georgia had the same fever and it went away, so I assumed this would do the same.  Plus every time I've gone to the pediatrician for a fever he's said, "it's a virus.  It will be gone within a week.  $25 copay please." So I figured what was the point? Plus Megan is a nurse and she didn't seem to be alarmed so I didn't feel I should be either.

The end of the week is when we went to The Mall of America.  Unfortunately, Lana STILL had the fever, but the mall has an American Girl store (not to mention the amusement park and mini golf course inside).  Aunty Megan had promised Lana she would buy her a birthday present there and dammit, no stupid fever was keeping that girl from American Girl.  So we dosed her with more Motrin for her to feel better and off we went.  Oh!  I forgot about the aquarium that's inside the mall too.  You guys this mall is CA-RAZY.  I've never seen anything like it.  Like I said, I would have never made a special trip, but I'm glad we got to go and see it.

An amusement park INSIDE a mall.  Similar to a chicken cooked inside a duck inside a Turkey.

Poor Lana!  She looks so terrible here.

So we did the aquarium, and American Girl.  We rode some rides at the amusement park, had lunch and then Lana started to go way downhill.  She was tired, cranky and obviously getting the fever back.  We were going home the next day thankfully, at which point I would take her to the doctor because it had just gone on for so long.

Andy and I were dreading the flight home the next day, because Lana had started complaining of ear pain.  I was positive it was an ear infection.  However, the problem these days is that they don't treat ear infections all the time like they used to when we were kids.  So even if that is what she had, I wasn't sure she was going to get anything anyway.  Still getting on a plane with a kid with an ear infection was not top of my bucket list.  However, short of renting a car and driving for three days, there was no way else to get back to Burbank.

I did give her benadryl for the first flight, which resulted in her falling asleep the entire flight. Phew!  The second flight I didn't give her anything but the Motrin and she fell asleep anyway and didn't complain of ear pain the entire time, which I found odd.  Maybe she didn't have an ear infection after all.

First thing Monday morning I took her to see the pediatrician.  I told him all the symptoms and said I was waiting hoping the fever would just go on it's own.  He assured me I did the right thing.  Then he took one look in her ears and described them as "miserable".  Oh.  Well, then. My mother of the year award should be arriving soon.

Did I still do the right thing?  And how come she didn't have terrible pain  on the plane?  Well here's a little tidbit for all you flying with kids.  Their ears bother them less with an ear infection on the plane.  When they have an infection their ears fill with puss where there would otherwise be pockets of air.  When we fly that air builds pressure until it pops.  If there is something filling that space, like the puss, there's no pressure and it doesn't hurt.  Who knew?! Still he said I was in the right to wait out the fever, but he was prescribing an antibiotic and suggesting I give her double doses that day. This is a doctor who is usually conservative about giving out the antibiotics, so I knew this was bad.

By the next day Lana's fever had gone down, and then came back for a bit.  I panicked and called the Dr again.  They assured me that I needed to give it a couple days to work properly.  By Wednesday night she seemed to be completely better even though low on energy.  Either way I was sending her to school on Thursday.  I half expected to get a call from the school nurse at some point, but fortunately I did not.  She managed to make it through the day and even to Girl Scouts.  She was exhausted by bed time and it took her through the weekend to get back to "normal".  She was spacing out and seemed to not hear us from time to time, although I'm not entirely sure that wasn't selective.  I'm just thankful she's better.  

I'm not usually the mom that freaks out just because her kid has a fever, because I have three kids who have had many fevers.  However, they have never had one that lasted so long and if I'm being honest I may have started to freak out by Tuesday just a bit.  She's completely better now, but slightly cranky and sensitive.  I guess being catered to for that long and not having to do chores will make going back to real life sucky.  And because I'm such a nice sister and was taught to share, we shared our germs with my nieces and both of them got the fever as well.  Fortunately, they never got quite as sick and were better within a couple days.  Still don't say I never shared anything with you Megan!  

Thanks so much for the hospitality!  We had a fantastic time despite the sick kid, and the cold wasn't THAT bad.  In fact it was quite a bit of fun, but only because I got to come back to the warm sunshine.  

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Five Going on Fifteen

Most days Andy drops all the girls off at school.  First Sonya goes and then the little two an hour later.  It's kind of a pain in the ass, which is why it's nice Andy doesn't leave for work until 9am so he can help with this part of the day.  Especially because I never have help during the afternoon run around.    On Monday, however, I had to take Lana to a Dr appointment right after their school drop off  (because she was on day 7 of a fever which slightly derailed our Spring Break, but more on that next post) so I decided to take Georgia and drop her off first. That way Andy was able to leave for work a bit earlier.  

Usually when I drop the girls off, I pull up to the curb where the gate is to the school, put the car in park and get out to help the girls out of the car then give them a kiss goodbye.  I don't really need to get out of the car because we have the van with the automatic doors, and I usually don't when I drop Sonya off, but I feel like I need to with the other two.  Like they need the little extra help.  Apparently they don't.  Well at least Georgia doesn't.

I pulled up to the curb outside of the gate on Monday, put the car in park and started to get out when Georgia shouted,

"No, no, no Mom!"

I stopped and turned to look at her, "What?" I asked.

"You don't need to get out," she told me.

"I'm just going to get out and help you and give you a kiss goodbye," I told her.

"No, it's okay.  I can do it.  Just give me a kiss here," she said.

"Ooookkaayy..." I said shutting my driver's side door.

She walked to me from the back gave me a kiss and yelled, "Bye!" Then she hopped out of the car, met up with her friend Julia and skipped off to school.

Huh.  Correct me if I'm wrong, but isn't FIVE a little young to be embarrassed by your mom dropping you off and giving you a kiss goodbye outside of the school?  Not cool, Georgia, not cool.