Monday, April 30, 2007

Experiments in Juicing 204

Prerequisites: Busy Toddlers 101, How to Avoid Yelling 102, Creative Discipline 201

Hello, and welcome to today's lesson in Juicing.

It should be common knowledge, but just in case you missed this important point in previous courses, I remind you that juice should never be given to a toddler unsupervised. This includes car trips. Even short ones to the post office and back home. Again: never leave your toddler with a cup of juice, even if it has a sippy lid.

I must apologize now, for I never finished writing this lesson. It seems that I will be cleaning the carseat yet again. I wonder how prune juice will smell later today after baking in the sun for 2 hours?

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

How Moms Develop Eating Disorders

A sure fire way of telling if you are developing an eating disorder is if you hide your snacks. Another problem is hiding while eating said snacks. Knowing that even your 6 month old baby knows you are indulging in a forbidden treat is not a symptom of paranoia - it's a sign that you haven't been hiding your snack attacks well enough.

Ever Wonder Where The Wild Things Are?

They live here. At our house.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

It's Just Not My Day

Today I have confronted just how unholy I am. I am stretched paper thin, even ripped in some places. Motherhood will do this to you. You are faced with your shortcomings on a minute by minute basis some days. It's what we do with it that counts. Today I have decided that I am weary and will just have to take up the battle again tomorrow. My brain is on "Stand By" mode until then.

It all began this morning, sometime before 5am. Miss M decided that the crack of dawn was the ideal time to begin our day. Oh, there was some talking and playing with her lovey and it was very cute. So I rolled over and assured myself that she'd nod off again at any moment. At about 5:15 I began to wonder about the crazy dream I was having: it involved me getting up and... oh, wait. That part really happened. So up we were. The poor dear was tired and ready for her first nap of the day before the rest of the family was even conscious.

We sent our Fearless Leader off to work early. It was more than a little strange to have half of our family dressed and breakfasted by 6:15. Strange, indeed. It was up to me to awaken the other half of the family, get them breakfasted and off to school. Surprisingly enough, it went fairly well. (Although I still don't understand how it is that the Wiggles have such a mesmerizing effect even on 11 year olds to the point that the children are unable to hear and see that the parental unit is headed out the door.) We prayed for each other on the way to school, and the kids were right on time.

I decided that it was time to brave the grocery store. We were out of cereal, eggs, milk, yogurt, bread and a host of other items. What did we eat for breakfast you wonder? Protein shakes and bagels. The Breakfast of Supers. We arrived at the store nice and early (always important in the desert), found a cart and got started. Again, all went fairly well. I managed to stow the bread under the carseat so Wonder Boy couldn't squeeze the life out of our future lunches. I stashed the chips under the main basket so that we could prove once and for all that chips are really made with potatoes larger than 1/4" across and are, in fact, larger than confetti. I actually found everything on my list. We made it to the check out. I began to unload the cold items first so they'd get bagged together - always thinking, I am. And then...

... It was like one of those slow-motion scenes in a movie. I turned from the conveyor belt to snatch whatever the next item was that Wonder Boy was going to be able to reach. My Mominator senses were tingling, I knew something was awry. I turned, only to find that WB had grabbed the dozen & a half eggs... and dropped them all over the remaining groceries in the cart. The word "noooooo" escaped from my mouth in that weird, slow-mo sound. It was then that I knew the day would truly be every sense of the word "long."

The day continued on in like fashion. Infractions before lunch included interesting indoor sporting events such as: Humidifier Toppling; Couch Long Jumping; Snack Dropping; Vacuum Vaulting and a host of other fun events.

I served lunch by 10:45. Nap quickly followed at 11:30. I was a bit sad when I had to spring him from Toddler Jail, I mean, bed, at 1:00. It is now 4:30. The patio is covered in rocks and aloe flowers. I think I see a solitary clean spot on that square inch between his shoulder blades. And he just grabbed his sister by the head while she plays in the exersaucer.

The grocery clerk took pity on me and sent a runner for new eggs... and she didn't charge me for the broken ones, either. I found that act of kindness to be most helpful today.

Now the crazy thing is: I really do like this life. I'm tired. I'm bruised, literally. I'm exasperated. I'm envious of friends whose children are all older. But this is the life I signed up for. These seemingly never-ending moments of dirt, temper tantrums and diapers will stop one day. And I will probably miss them.

Well, I will miss most of them. Some I won't remember. And the rest... that's what therapy is for.

And it is my hope that God can actually use me today to reach my kids. Because today I am broken. There is no way I can do this by myself. There's no steam left in my teapot. But I know deep in my heart that this is the moment God has been waiting for: for me to stop trying so hard to control my little people so that He can step in and lead us all together. I do hope, however, He has a bullhorn... or the kids will never hear Him.

So today I leave you with this:

Glory be to the Father,
and to the Son,
and to the Holy Spirit,
as it was in the beginning,
is now,
and ever shall be.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

And The "Gross Gene" Kicks In

The Gross Gene has switched on officially, as of today. Wonder Boy... my cute little guy... is just nasty. I knew the change was coming soon because he has been picking his nose for weeks now. Today, however, he decided that he no longer needed a tissue. He ate the fruit of his mining labors.


The Resurrection

I could go so many places with this post. But I want to specifically address the redemption of our Good Friday disaster.

Last night we continued in our catechism efforts. Let it not be said that I threw my hands up in the air and thus encouraged my children to become unrepentant, atheistic axe murderers. No. We've been talking about the fact that our desire to know God is a built-in need, common to all human beings. We hunger to know Him and that, despite our efforts to feed that hunger with other things, only He can fill us. We talked about the importance of being able to tell others exactly what we believe, the "reason for our hope." We talked about the Apostle's Creed and some of the specific phrases in it. There was no talk of zombies rising from the dead. There was, however, some drawing of Super Duck saving the day from Evil Sheep... evil sheep with horrible, gnashing teeth and bat wings by the Free Spirit. It was, I think, a successful evening for all.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Good Friday Disaster

There we were at the dinner table. We were unable to go to services because they were starting too late for the Littles to go - and, of course, we really don't take Wonder Boy to church right now anyway. So, DH and I decide that going through the Stations of the Cross as a family would be a good idea. I had the papers they both brought home from their respective Religious Education classes the week before and thought that would be just right. About 20 minutes, tops. A little explanation here and there.

I was in the middle of trying to explain to the 6yo about the Resurrection and that Jesus "was dead, but then He came back to life" and what does the 11.5yo contribute? "Yeah! A zombie!"

I wanted to ground him until his 30th birthday. That's great. My kid is equating the Resurrection to a freaking zombie!!!!!!!!!

I guess teaching standard prayers, sending them to RE classes, blessing them as they go to school, praying when we encounter emergency vehicles, praying before meals, praying/blessing before bedtimes, and having a holy water font (usually filled) are woefully short of adequate when it comes to imparting our faith.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Dinner Impossible

It was truly impossible at our house tonight. My best laid plans were for naught. Read on.

Tired of the daily question "what's for dinner," I had thought ahead and pulled out a chicken & stuffing dish from our freezer. It was clearly marked with temperature and baking time. I pulled it out early this morning and thawed it well before we needed to cook. I noted that it was about time to bake, so I made cornbread. Cornbread done, my attention turned to placing the chicken in the oven. Simple, really. I even gave it an extra few minutes uncovered to get the stuffing nice and crispy and golden brown. The kids set the table, the baby was fed and had a toy, the toddler was in his high chair eagerly awaiting his dinner delight. The serving spoon parted the lovely stuffing crust...

... only to find a watery, undercooked mess underneath. Oh, dear friend, it's true. My well-thought out dinner was a waste. I'm not sure what went wrong - I'll have to consult the recipe I used when I was stocking up the freezer with tasty eats. This was not, I repeat not, a tasty eat. It was not even edible. It was, I dare say (because it's my own cooking), revolting to behold.

I pulled out a bag of unspectacular ravioli and the kids ate corn muffins while I hurried to pull together some kind of entree. They looked rather pathetic... the children, that is... so I tossed them a few fruit cups. That bought me a few precious moments to finish the Plan B meal.

How was Plan B, you ask? Thoroughly bland and not unlike eating spinach with a dirty gym sock for flavor.

This was truly a culinary mission I failed to accomplish. There's always tomorrow.

How Many Times, Revisited

How many times can a toddler see Toy Story and Toy Story 2 before Mommy has a breakdown rivaled only by Buzz Lightyear in his Mrs. Nezbit tea-partying phase?

How many times can a toddler squeeze a peanut butter sandwich before it no longer resembles a sandwich?

Extra Credit Questions:
How many minutes will elapse before the peas a baby ate suddenly appear on her dress?
How many versions of Mr. Potatohead can you come up with?

Friday, April 6, 2007

Solids and Plane Figures

Today's exchanges in Toddlerese included:

"What sweetie?"
"The baby?"
"Ahhh! BAYBAY!!!" (At this point, Wonder Boy is shrieking and kicking in his carseat... rather vigorously I might add.)
"OH! You see an AIRPLANE!?"
"uh" (This is toddlerese for "yes.")

And let's not forget:

"tootootay byebye"
"Yes, the choo choo trains are all gone." (A main road leading to/from our town runs parallel to the BNSF railroad.)
"TooToo ByeBye!!!"
"Yes... the trains are gone."
"YES. The choo choos are all bye bye. They're gone, honey."
"TOO!TOO! TAY!!!...."
"Hey, you wanna get some french fries?" (This is my lame attempt at redirection while driving.)

And Mystery Baby has begun the joyous journey to Eating Solids. (shudder) This phase of babyhood has pretty much worn out its appeal. With the first two kids, we always commented on how cute they were as they spewed more cereal out than we shoveled in. With the third one, well... we were just happy if he ate anything. (#$%^$# reflux) Mystery Baby... well... she could stay on a liquid diet and that would suit me just fine... except I NEED some sleep. Maybe if we expand her dietary horizons, she will stuff herself silly and sleep. Just a little. Hey, a mommy can dream, right?

Tuesday, April 3, 2007

Mommy - the Human Napkin

My Dearest Friend summed up the purpose of motherhood in the early years. I felt compelled to share it with the world.

Mommies are walking, talking napkins.

I like to think of my clothing as my memo board. Our Fearless Leader gets home from a long day at the office and asks what we did. All I have to do is look down:

*We played with sidewalk chalk.
*We ate a snack.
*We took care of a runny nose.
*We ate lunch.
*We went for a walk... through a lot of dirt.
*We ate another snack.
*We helped with homework.
*We made dinner.
*We ate dinner.
*We took a bath... well... the kids did.

Someday, I will miss these Wash & Wear days.