Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Parenting by The Clash: the Results Show

Wowee, everyone, thanks for the responses! Some can be read below, and others were emailed and I will selfishly keep those to myself. It seems that staying has won by a nose, albeit with conditions and a good headache. Just so y'all know, the G man has not become a monster, at least not quite yet, but he did throw a mini fit the other day at King Soopers due to not wanting to ride in the cart and not wanting to be carried either, leaving me befuddled and wracking my brain trying to recall how I dealt with the girls during toddlerdom. Cora threw one fit in her whole life and I, like Tawni, simply walked away, figuring no one was going to kidnap a thrashing, wailing, kicking miniature lunatic at that particular moment in time. And if they did have the guts, I was pretty confident they'd return her speedily. That worked well enough for her; as baby Anna and I stood in line a few aisles down, Cora raised her red face, saw no one was paying attention to her - and the ones that were looked appalled - dusted off her pants and calmly walked back to my side. Anna, as far as I can remember, never threw fits at all. It simply wasn't her style; she much preferred whining you to death and walking as slow as possible, dragging her little mary janes along at the pace of a bedridden snail. There was one year while Christmas tree hunting, we all opted to leave her behind for the mountain lions as she drug her moon boots a half mile back, lamenting at the top of her voice about the weather, the lack of food, the wind, the bad trees, her mittens, her hat, religion, politics, etc. Unfortunately, the mountain lions saw that crazed look in her eyes and wanted nothing to do with her either, and now we just don't invite the little sprite with us. So, now we have the little man...and thanks be to you, I feel much more confident for the next shopping experience...I think. He is not quite yet at the age where he can be reasoned with as far as promising treats later ("later" is not a word in his vocabulary right now) and unfortunately the free cookie would send him into anaphylactic shock (which I suppose would end a fit, but eternally wasn't really what I was going for), but a few easily found treats in the purse should fit the bill nicely, and coupled with the correct timing in his day, well, I believe we at least won't have our faces put up on Soopers front door with a big red line drawn through them.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Parenting by The Clash

Anna learned how to use the sewing machine yesterday, and made, all by her lonesome, two pillowcases and one skirt (modeled in the center picture). She struggles in her academics, especially with reading still, so we took a break and did a whole afternoon of Home Ec. just me and her. It was a nice bonding time with Roosky and she is still talking about it and dreaming of fashion design...
This post is going to be interactive, folks. I want opinions about a pressing matter. Here it is:
To leave the cart behind, or stick it out?
If you're parents you already know what I'm speaking of. When a toddler has a freak out in the middle of Walmart, what do you do? There are two schools of thought here. Leave or stay. Now most books/experts/mommies will tell you that you leave the cart right there and hightail it home pronto. This tells the child that his behavior is not acceptable and will not be tolerated, and it has the added perk of rescuing fellow shopper's ears from ringing and their mouths from saying under their breath, 'Why won't she just take that little spawn home?' Now this is a good method, tried and true, but it comes with problems of it's own, not the least among them the fact that your cart is filled with perishables that took you the better part of an hour to pick out lovingly and who wants to just destroy all that hard work and just leave it with the strawberry ice cream melting slowly all over the chicken breasts (the ones that are on sale and won't be when you return). Some underpaid bag boy is going to have to put all that stuff away, you know. And really, when are you going to find the time and energy to come back and shop anew, much less desire to show your face there again anyway? Here's my other issue with this method: that little angel didn't want to be there in the first place (it's hardly Lego StarWars Skittles Palace that you're shopping at) and if you leave aren't you in fact, giving in to what he/she wants? Yes, of course, when you go home you aren't going to cheerfully dole out a months supplies of Chips Ahoy and give them a pony ride and that could disappoint them a bit, but all in all, most of them are just going to be glad to be out of that god foresaken market and home, even if it does mean a severe tongue lashing from Mom. And now that you're home and little Jr. is all settled down for the nap that was overdue, you have no groceries, or possibly toilet paper, and no foreseeable future date to go get those again. Dinner consists of bean casserole surprise with a M&M reduction and a hamburger helper risotto, with a lovely souffle of canned peaches sliced 5 ways with a cheerio crunch topping. So, readers mine, do you stay or do you go (now...if you go there could be trouble...if you stay it could be double...sorry, couldn't resist and now you know what those lyrics mean).
Scenario number two: Staying to fight it out. This is not for the faint of heart. Although you may be tempted to swat a backside, this is not advisable for lots of reasons we won't go into, but mostly because I don't want to turn on the evening news and see you on it. And as much as I would like to become a foster parent, receiving your kids would be awkward and uncomfortable. So, you give the monster a firm talking to usually while gripping his shoulder in a vulcan hold, and threaten terrible things in a hiss that you will never follow through on. Also not the best, we all know you have to follow through. It's also not advisable to tease your children as my husband used to that he 'drop the hammer!' That's just asking for little Susie to shout at the top of her lungs in a public place, 'No, Daddy! Don't hit us with the hammer!' Also a great way to get yourself on the evening news. If the child has superhuman strength like the Williams' children, attempting to fold their little 30 pound bodies in half so as to place them in that dratted cart, is a little like nailing jello to the wall. Pointless, insane, and impossible. It's like trying to fold a two-by-four in half. You can reason with Susie. You can bribe Susie. But reasoning with a two year old is laughable, at least at this point, and bribing brings consequences all it's own (like being forced to buy your 16 old a car just because he didn't steal Gramma's silver that week). If you can finish your shopping in peace, kudos to you, oh parenting God or Goddess, because usually mine is finished by dangling a wriggling, snot faced, toddler under my armpit, while fishing out the debit card and shouting, 'No, it's ok, don't bag that one, just toss it the cart, and I am so sorry, and he's never really like this, and -'
Incidentally, the first time I knew I was really and truly a parent was not when they laid my little bundle of joy in my arms or the first diaper I changed or the first time they said, 'mama,' it was when I called Mike in tears and sobbed over the phone,
'You know THAT mom in Walmart? Today...I WAS THAT MOM.'
Seriously, everyone of you, this is for posterity so be honest. Do you stay or do you go? And if you have no offspring, would you rather see a mom leave or struggle through? Leave a comment, an email if you can't figure out the comment thing, a phone call, a carrier pigeon, etc. I really want to know.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

It's Not-Back-To-School Week!

Hubby mine was very insulted by the photo of the cribbage board propping open the window, so here you go, honey bunny, a photo showing off just how great you are! This lasagne concoction weighed in at a whopping 23 pounds and you can prop my windows open with one of our own children if it means you'll cook me crazy amounts of ooey gooey cheese with tomato sauce!
All a guy needs: the remote control, a greasy snack, and no clothes to constrict ya while watching ESPN.

We started school yesterday, and if we could just graduate tomorrow I'm sure we'd end on a high note. Our typical school year starts out nicely scheduled (actually I prefer the word 'routine' as opposed to something that plans out every single minute of my day without room for error/parenthood) and when that routine stops working well, usually about 6 weeks down the road, we toss it out the window and fly by the seat of our pants for a bit, only to work out yet another routine to get us through the holidays. This is our first year trying to school with a toddler literally climbing the walls around us, and thank goodness the girls are very independent learners and understand when Mommy has to search the house for Sir Poops-A-Lot, who by the by, has learned to climb up on the changing table and perch precariously there by his toenails while he smears cocoa butter all over the curtains (be thankful it's cocoa butter and not what he was smearing yesterday). When he is not doing that he is stuffing treasures between the fire place and the wall, into the insulation where, you guessed it, we recently found "Snow Dogs." He is also capable of opening each of our three gates in the back yard and since he is OCD enough to shut nicely every door behind him, it's difficult to deduce which way the little guy went. So now two are bungee corded shut and one is tied with the dog leash, all to his frustration. His first sentence was, 'Mama rocks!' That's right, kid, and that's how we roll.

In addition to the kid's school work, we have instituted a new method of punishment 'round here: The Dreaded And Hideous Chore Jar. This is full of little folded up pieces of paper with all the yucky chores printed on them. After not doing something they know they are supposed to do they get the wonderful opportunity of drawing from this jar. In the past two days alone, Anna has washed, dried, folded and put away one load of laundry, dusted everything in the house that is made of wood and cleaned every baseboard. Cora has scrubbed the same toilet from top to bottom twice. Oddly enough, they're finding it fun. Each time they draw something I cross my fingers and toes and chant, 'get the Clean Up Dog Poop one!' But no luck so far. The jar is atop the fridge in case they get sneaky ideas of marking the easy ones. Please don't think I am being too hard on them, they get these chores for not doing the basics of Being a Kid 101. We're talking things like taking a shower and using up all the hot water but somehow "forgetting" or "not having enough time" to use any soap/shampoo. Or for having to be told 16 times a day for 9 years to brush your teeth. Or, and this is my personal favorite and source of all Mommy turning the Incredible Hulk in 3 seconds flat, putting your shoes in the vague vicinity of the shoe basket (which we have three of) and not actually in the shoe basket (which we have three of).

Still unsure of where we will be living come new year, so if any of you have basements and would like some know where to find us. We will keep the cocoa butter smearing in a contained area and promise not to misplace any of your movie collection. Or spit too often in your toilet, which is another of Baron Twerpy Von Twerpenstein's little past times. Especially if he's just consumed ridiculous amounts of blueberries...although it does turn your commode a lovely shade of violet.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

the world according to kids

A discussion of the wonderful (me thinks) family movie "E.T.":

me: Wasn't that a great movie?

Anna: No, I hated that movie.

me: What? Are you kidding? Oh, you mean it was too sad?

Anna: No, it wasn't too sad.

me: When E.T. died though, is that what bothered you?

Anna: No, if he would've stayed dead that would have been better. What kind of kid movie has things rising from the dead?! That's just creepy!

me: So, you would've liked it if the cute, heroic alien stayed dead, huh?

Anna: Exactly. When things die they seriously need to stay dead, Mom, I am not kidding.


Gianni is talking much more these days, although none of you would understand and would need his parents or siblings to translate his gibberish. His two favorite words are 'Ora (Cora) and Anna and he enjoys yelling them throughout the day whenever those big sisters get too far away from him. Potty training is going quite well, although every single time without fail that we decide he's brag-worthy he will feel the need to soil his Lightening McQueen underpants right then and there. Keeps us humble indeed. But for the most part, the kid stays dry like a champ and I am doing substantially less loads of itsy bitsy tidy whiteys. Lately he has not been sleeping well and since he is quite capable of crawling over the bars of his crib (which we moved him out of a couple months ago but he enjoys returning to at times) and plunging several feet to the hardwood floor below, we took apart "the baby bed" and put a childproof door knob cover over the door knob in his room so he doesn't wander out at night and scare the bejeebers out of his parents. I think that may have been a ridiculously long run-on sentence, please excuse me. He will be two (eep!) in October and he is feeling it, if you get my drift. It's been too long since the girls were at that age, and I'm not convinced Anna ever was, so I'm at a loss with what to do with him at times. He's not eating his he old enough to make him eat them now?! He won't sit in the cart at the grocery store, but instead wants to run amok and hide among the bread goods...old enough to discipline?! But he's just a baby! Right? I don't think poor first born Cora ever got away with those things. She didn't have dimples though...I think he could rule the world with the power of those dimples.

No word yet on Mike's job, but of course you will read it here first when we hear something. Our home study for DFS is Thursday and after Saturday we will be officially CPR and 1st Aid certified and ready to take on one small displaced munchkin at a time. I may have to change the name of this blog.

If anyone wants to contribute to the fines on my library card out of pity, please make checks payable to Laramie County Library. We lost a movie. It was here and then it was gone. Gone, gone, gone. We have torn apart this house again and again and found all sorts of missing items we thought we'd never see again, but no "Snow Dogs." We did find the remote control in the playdough which made us all swivel our heads towards Moose who gave us an innocent expression, dimples and all. When questioned firmly where Anna's doggie movie went he gives us a sad, sorrowful look and whispers, "Bye bye!" Not a good sign. Not a good sign at all. Now I can't check anything out and it's not like "Lost" is going to watch itself. Unless the island shifts and I go back in time to solve this mystery which isn't likely. I suppose I'll have to do constructive things with my time, like laundry, which is breeding laundry babies as I type, and educating my kids who must be around here somewhere.

Friday, August 7, 2009


A quick update on our whackadoo lives here:

Mike's contract with Eli-Lilly was not renewed for the coming year. This was not a huge surprise as this is how contracts work, but can be stressful if we think about it too hard/much. We will keep everyone in the know, you know, just as soon as we know. You know? In the meantime, we are hoping for his company to come through with another position as they have practically, almost, in a way, promised they will. He is doing well with the company and is well liked by his boss(es) so we are not quite to the stressing and freaking out stage yet. This job here will end December 31st, and with a little bit of luck and prayers, we will be cheerfully settled in a new place by then.

Monday, August 3, 2009

spud country

BFFs together again!

My oldest friend, Aerie, surprised me with a visit. Oldest friend, like I've known her since kindergarten, not gosh, she looks good for a 120 year old. And I guess it's not a myth, my eyes really do disappear when I smile.
I thought this was a nice artsy shot.

Fun with friends at the lavender farm.

Anna is disgustingly photogenic!
Moose doesn't understand the concept of smelling flowers yet, so he simply licks them. Cousin Karysse agrees with him: balloons are endlessly fun, at least until they pop.
Cora in a tree (where else would she be?)
Cora's surprise birthday party.
Some birthday pals: Sarah, Ethan, Cora, Channing, Emma.
Water balloon fights.

Well, it was time for another Idaho trip for me and the ankle biters. Strangely enough there are no misadventures to report this time: no bashing in of my van's windows, no running out of gas, and most importantly, no freak blizzards and shutting down of highways. So, pardon me if you don't get a good belly laugh at my expense today, such is life.
We started out the 2 week trip with a surprise birthday party for Cora's ninth. She was surprised, or more to the point, confused, and couldn't quite figure out how all her old friends showed up at the park at the same time. It was sweltering hot, but we had water balloons and a nice shady tree to climb up into. She was spoiled rotten, and now has the rollerblades and Nintendo DS to prove it, among other crazy amounts of loot. I can't believe it was nine years ago that we brought our little Yoda lookalike home from the hospital...sniff, snort, weep.
We spent a day at the lavender farm in Marsing where the kids got to pick their own lavender, pose by force for photos from their camera happy mamas, and pet their tame bumblebees.
My oldest and dearest friend, Aerie, and her little sis, my own little sis' oldest and dearest friend, Tanager, surprised me with an overnight visit and it was so much fun to chat and laugh and see our cute little kids together. What a blessing old friends are! I hope when my kids are grown they keep a precious handful of their childhood pals to reminisce with once they too are old and gray. Sappy? Yes, a bit, but also true!
There was a lot of time spent at Gramma and Papa's High House, mostly on the wrap around deck where Gianni polished off his potty training by running amok in his birthday suit. He gives new meaning to the term "golden arches."
We got to go see the best movie in the history of movies, The Princess Bride, at a park with a huge inflatable movie screen, one-bazillion people, and lots of snacks. Gianni fell asleep in my arms halfway through, no surprise as it started at 10 pm, and just when it started to get chilly he obligingly pee-ed on me, keeping us both warm for the duration.
We spent several nights at the Chateau Shafer, relaxing and playing Phase 10 and shopping. Mariah and I were forced, er, I mean, invited, to attend a spa put together by our entrepreneurial children. We were presented with a menu of services with footnotes that read 'Real money only,' and 'No checks accepted.' A few quarters got us massages by Isaac and mani's and pedi's by the girls. They then contributed their wealth to an ice cream treat. We were forever inspired by Sadie's superwoman strength through her chemo. She is a heroine in every sense.
The drive home, though peppered with sad thoughts of leaving behind our nearest and dearest, went well for the first 8 hours. Then we hit Rawlins, WY, which is the geographical oddity of the world. You can drive and drive and drive and never get any closer to home. It doesn't matter where you want to go, Rawlins is a black hole that is always a minimum of "2 more hours to go." I would have fallen asleep at the wheel due to boredom and frustration, but my kid's loopiness and chattiness and overall weirdness, helped me stay awake. Did I mention we have no dvd player for the car? No?
Now life is back to normal, or as normal as it gets for us. We are one home visit away from getting our foster parent certifications and are busily getting prepared for beginning the fourth and second grades. Our air conditioning/furnace mother board in our Boise house is broken, forcing our property manager to take $500 out of August's rent. If anyone wins the lottery this month, please keep us in mind. We will gladly pay you back on Monday for a hamburger today.