Do Differences Make The Difference?

Alright, so I just had a thought and I wanted to get it down. These thoughts might be a little bit jumbled because I’m just writing as I think…

Consistency vs. opposites. I’m thinking about parenting methods. Couples talk through their parenting beliefs, how many kids they want or if they want kids at all etc etc before really getting serious in a relationship (usually). It’s believed that you want a partner that has the same beliefs as you do when it comes to parenting methods. Whether or not to spank. Whether or not to start education before kindergarten. How to dole out punishment or maybe not to punish at all. There are hundreds of different methods out there.

And it’s generally agreed that your partner has to totally agree with you.

But… is that really true?

Bear with me here.

If we have to agree on everything, then why is the saying “opposites attract” so well known? I mean, yeah, you’re typically not going to find a lazy slob and a health nut in a serious and healthy relationship. There’s bound to be conflict there that just can’t be accepted.  But on the whole, with “opposites” you tend to find that perfect amount of adventure and self-realization when you find that person that complements you.

Maybe parenting should be the same way. Complementing.

Hmm…

Now, I don’t mean one parent should be a bully while the other parent turns the other cheek to everything. But maybe there’s something to the whole “good cop bad cop” thing.

I just wonder about this because I see SO many kids taking advantage of their parents these days. “Opposite” parents rely so heavily on  being on the same page that they compromise on their methods to the point of crippling themselves.

I can see kids nowadays laughing in the face of their mother who says, “Just wait until your father gets home!” Why? Because their father isn’t the bad cop anymore. Their father isn’t someone to fear anymore as “the parent who you do not want to cross”. Their father will probably just come home and say/do the exact same thing that failed to work with the kids in the first place.

Why don’t we adjust? Why don’t we improvise when things don’t work? Why don’t we switch things up now and again and keep our kids on their feet. Why do we stick so resolutely to one parenting method when we have two kids with two very different personalities that act and react completely differently to different situations?! WHY?!

Why are we making it so easy to be taken advantage of by our own children?! We are parents for a reason. We are the authority for a reason. Why do we put so much stock in these parenting methods created by complete strangers just because they have a PhD? So what if they’re the topmost authority in field A and field B. In my opinion, the theories sound great, but kids just can’t be categorized so easily. Kids have a whole range of different personalities, so one parenting method just does not suffice.

And in the big picture: How do we ever raise them to respect rules and authority if they don’t respect us? How do we honestly expect our kids to survive in today’s society and handle rejection and disappointment if we don’t force them to face the reality of rejection and disappointment in the comfort of their own home? No… I’m not saying make their lives a living hell. But why has it become so hard for parents to say NO and MEAN IT?

“Opposite parenting” can bring out the possibility of different parenting methods for different personalities and different situations. Sometimes the fit-thrower just doesn’t respond to positive reinforcement like the eager pleaser. Sometimes the wall flower blossoms under gentle encouragement while the attention-seeker thrives under strict structure.

So why don’t we let Dad continue to be the beast at the dinner table and Mom be the beast about bedtime routines (while the other parent couldn’t care less)? Why don’t we tailor parenting methods to our kid’s specific needs?

I can see plenty of flaws and loopholes in my thoughts here, but I think I might be on to something and I intend to look further into it.

As Mrs. Sparklenose – the fairy teacher from The Flying Fairy School on Sesame Street – once said – “Sometimes differences make the difference.”

What do you think? Do differences make the difference or am I just plain crazy?

Advertisements

Check Yourself

I’m pissed. (Yep, here we go. Brace yourselves.)

So, it’s not really a secret that husband and I would love to have more kids. Love. I adore our three kids more than anything else on this planet. I always will. Always.

So I need someone to explain this to me:

When I told a few family members and friends over Christmas time that husband and I were considering a fourth child, why did they have to give me that shocked “you’re kidding me?!” look? Or start LAUGHING?!

Why, when I said I’d love for Buddy, Peanut and Bear to have a baby sibling, did they have to twist that wonderful thought into, “Wow, don’t you think that’s a little extreme?”

Why, when I said that husband and I just don’t know if we’re done with our family yet, did they have to respond with, “Wow, that’s crazy!” or,  “Don’t you realize how much that will cost?” or say with disgust, “You’re not going to be like the Duggars, are you?” or, “Aren’t you afraid you’ll get more stretch marks?” or, “I just hope you realize the responsibility you’re taking on.” Or, this one made me laugh at the sheer gall, “Don’t you think you have enough to deal with with Peanut?”

In light of my resolutions post saying I am going to make more of an effort to stop caring what everyone else thinks of me, I have a few (very many, actually, but I’m going to try to keep them to a minimum…) choice words for you, family and friends:

Who the hell do you think you are?!

Let me address each of your awful questions and/or statements individually:

1.) Laughing in my face – Yeah. Um, no. Next time you want to laugh in someone’s face with baby news, you might want to check yourself. So, you think it’s hilarious that we’re considering a fourth child… okay… well I think it’s hilarious that you’re still living at home and you’re in your mid-twenties, but you don’t see me laughing, do you? A little self-control, if you please.

2.) The bug-eyed look – Really? Did you suddenly forget how to control your facial features? That look leads me to believe that ALL of that praising and ALL of those compliments that you gave me about how fantastic of a mother I am was all a lie. It makes me wonder what you really think of my mothering skills. So, good job. I don’t trust you anymore. (And for the record, I don’t need your fake praises to feel confident in my mothering skills. Husband thinks I’m a fantastic mom to his kids, and his opinion counts for ten million of yours.)

3.) Asking me if I think it’s “a little extreme” – Uh, what’s extreme? Having four kids? What if I told you that I wouldn’t even mind having five or *gasp* six kids?! *cue fainting*. Is it because you think we can’t handle four kids? Or is it because you would never have four kids therefore you think everyone else in the world is crazy to want four kids? Listen, just because you can’t handle cooking dinner without getting distracted and burning it doesn’t mean we’re not capable of keeping up with four kids. And let’s be honest… if anyone should populate the world with lots of kids, it’s Husband and me. At least our kids are going to be happy, healthy and well-adjusted members of society.

4.) Telling me I’m crazy – That’s not new news. But, really though? That was totally unnecessary, you asswipe.

5.) Asking me if I realize the cost that will go into a child – BAHAHAHAHAHA! You’re just so… wow. We’ve already got three kids, one of which has special needs which translates into many medical bills… What makes you think that we don’t understand the costs that come with a child? Oh, is it because you raised kids 20-40 years ago and you know everything about everything when it comes to raising kids? We aren’t rich, but we understand how money works and we’re good with it. Money is not a concern for us. And frankly, it shouldn’t be your concern either.

6.) The Duggars – Can SOMEONE explain to me why considering a fourth child is comparable to 19 kids?! I think this is where the question, “Don’t you think that’s a little extreme?” comes into play…

7.) Mentioning stretch marks as a demotivator – Coming from someone who has never had a child, I get that you totally don’t get it. Bringing a child into the world is worth stretch marks. It’s worth an episiotomy. It’s worth a C-section. It’s worth labor pains, morning sickness and nine months of discomfort. It’s worth all of the scars and trauma. When you have your first child and hold them in your arms for the first time and hear their little squeaks and warbles, you’ll realize just how stupid that question is.

8.) Telling me you hope I realize the responsibility I’m taking on – Uuhhhhhh… You’re kidding, right? So, what were my first three kids for? Practice? Well, then. If the first three were merely practice, then I’m confident that I would “mom” the hell out of a fourth child with my ability to feed, bathe, swaddle and burp. I will annihilate diaper rash, scrapes, cuts and bruises with ease. I can withstand crying, whining, screeching and wailing for hours without breaking down. I’m the multitasking master and organizing guru. I manage five schedules with ease and I still find time to read a new book on my Kindle every week. Seriously, do not lecture me on responsibility or I will full-out punch you where it hurts most.

9.) Using Peanut against me – For those of you who try to dissuade me with Peanut, Do. Not. EVER. use my daughter against me. Ever. This one, I am not joking about. How dare you. How. Dare. You.

And here’s the thing. I just said we were considering a fourth. Considering. As in still weighing our options. As in it’s very likely that we may not even have a fourth child. The fact that this handful of people reacted so negatively really hurt because these are some people who I love and trust the most. When I told them, I thought I was sharing possibly exciting news. But the response I got just floored me. What have we done to get a response like that? What have we done (or not done) to make these people think we’re not responsible enough, not smart enough, not financially stable enough? And what made them think it was even remotely okay to say some of these things? The only person that I would ever let speak to me like that is Husband, and even then… well… my response is never pleasant.

All I’m saying is that you don’t have to understand the reasons behind wanting a lot of kids. If you don’t think it’s for you, then that’s totally fine. Kudos to you for knowing when you’re done (or not starting at all). Just don’t pass your judgement on to families like ours who would love to be large and in charge. Would you like it if I asked you invasive and personal questions about your life choices or told you that I think you’re crazy? No? Then why do you think it’s okay to ask me these things?

And you know what? Scratch that… I honestly wouldn’t even mind the questions if they weren’t so rude and presumptuous.

Now that said, yes, I would have to agree with some of you that there are quite a few families out there that raise large families irresponsibly and their kids suffer for their irresponsible decisions. But, you’re our family and friends… you know me and Husband. Do you really think we’d let that happen?

So here’s some words of advice from yours truly on how to make it up to me: I love hot chocolate. I don’t like chocolate cake, but marble is fantastic. Never, ever give me food with coconut on it. I am always willing to put aside time to receive an apology. Goldfish crackers and toe-curlingly delicious. Feel free to ask questions and share your concerns, but you had better sugar coat it so much that I don’t know you’re doubting my mothering prowess. I don’t mind flowers, but I prefer handmade gifts that are difficult and frustrating to make. Especially ones that draw blood. And, of course, the quickest way back to my heart is by showering my kids with love and affection.

And for those of you that reacted positively, and those of you that nearly pooped yourself with excitement and told me to get pregnant RIGHT NOW… you all rock my socks off. Thanks for your love and support. (But if we decide against a fourth, please don’t murder me…)

******

Okay, this is where I step back and give you a friendly slap on the shoulder and tell you to wipe that confused and terrified look off of your face. If you couldn’t tell, most of this was written with extreme sarcasm. I’m upset by the comments, but I’m not actually that angry. I still love you guys, just… maybe check yourself before you say things like that from now on. Kapish?

Sickness Can Die

Our household is in the process of being run over by the steamroller that is sickness. All shapes and forms of it. And it’s nasty, frustrating and overwhelming.

If you know me, you know I love to spoil and dote on the people (and animals!) that I love. And I especially love playing sick maid. I can’t tell you why, but it makes me happy knowing that I’m able to make soup, bring a cold compress, give a back rub and ease away aches and whatever else to make sickness less of a motherf#@&er. If you’re healthy, I don’t give a damn about you. But if you’re sick, I’m there for you night and day.

Yet, there’s something that I’m realizing as the months roll by and I wade deeper into motherhood. Especially since 2013 started. I really… really do not like taking care of my sick kids. Like, at all. I dread it like I dread rush hour traffic.

First, there was Bear. She spiked with a nasty fever out of the blue and began vomiting. And believe it or not, I have little to no experience with vomiting so far. I don’t know how or why the vom-gods decided to bless me with their absence, but I definitely haven’t been complaining. We just haven’t really dealt with a flu. (stay tuned with next week’s inevitable *foot in mouth – vomit now everywhere* blog post…) Thankfully the puking only lasted half of a day and that stopped, but her fever remained for the whole day. She slept it off… when she wasn’t screaming from discomfort. I wanted to feel bad for her. And I did for the first few hours. But there comes a point when shrill screams and vomit overpower the desire to nurture and a mom just wants to get the F away.

Peanut got a fever, too. But that little angel of a child just slept it off and didn’t complain once. Or puke. At least, she didn’t puke for her first fever. The second fever she got a little over a week later resulted in a total projectile vomit all over the kitchen table in the middle of dinnertime. Mashed potatoes and corn. Everywhere. Husband quickly turned the other two around so they didn’t puke too, and I was left to clean up the… stuff. (Why do I always get stuck with the stuff?!) I only barely made it halfway through before I had to leave the room gagging.

I really, truly hate puke. So much.

Then, over the last week Buddy and I became snot-monsters together. It. Was. Awful. Our colds rampaged our systems and tissues ravaged our noses until we looked like Rudolph. We walked around the house with glistening or goopy noses from lotion, carmex and whatever else was nearest after a good nose-blowing session. I had to sleep in the recliner in the living room one night because my nose ran so bad that if I rolled over in bed, it would pour snot all down my cheek and into my hair and on my pillow case. I know. GOOD GOD. At least in the recliner I could stay on my back and keep everything in my nose until I wanted to get it out myself.

I know. I’m taking sexy to a whole new level, baby.

And Buddy… oh, Buddy… I’m discovering that he is extremely, extremely, extremely clingy when he’s sick. Buddy took “shadow” to a whole new level. Like, to the point that I was accidentally smashing my knee into his body and knocking him over whenever I turned around because he’s literally inches behind me every waking moment.

He also took whining to a level that I had yet to experience. That level where you seriously have to bite your tongue to hold in your feral scream because your child is whining that whine in that pitch all. day. long. He followed me around the house for days saying, “Mama I want you to snuggle with me.” or “Mama I wanna take a nap in the bean bag chair.” or “Mama I want you.” or “Mama I want you to pick me up.” I know, that doesn’t sound that bad. In fact, it sounds pretty dang sweet. But then add that whiny voice, and extend all vowels and put those requests on repeat for hours on end. Suddenly they turn into, “Maaaamaaaaaaaaaaaa IIIIIII waaaaaaaaaant youuuuuuuuuuuu!!!!!” “Maaaaamaaaaaaaaa Hoooooold meeeeeeeeee!!!” “WAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHH!”

I’m also realizing that, in my case, when my toddler is sick, even when I do everything they request exactly to the T, they’re still not happy with it. And when they’re sick and virtually unplease-able – just go ahead and throw a screaming fit in there with the ear-piercing whine.

All of that lovely sickness from the kids and add in the fact that I, myself was sick, and… well… you get the idea. It hasn’t been a pleasant beginning to 2013 for us. These are the times that, as much as I love being a stay at home mom, I wish I was vacationing far, far away.

I Hate Shopping in December

Last weekend was a prime example of why Husband and I like to get all of our Christmas shopping done before December. Early Saturday morning, I sent husband on an errand. He isn’t very good with details, so I wrung my hands nervously as I watched him back out of the driveway with a page-long list of specific directions from yours truly:

  1. Take the garbage/recycling to the dump. – We don’t have garbage pickup at our country home. We could have… for a price we weren’t willing to pay. Especially when the local recycling and garbage business is approx. 2 miles from our home!
  2. Stop at [local big chain] and return a pack of Christmas cards I didn’t open, then buy a few packs of stamps. – I almost peed myself with excitement with I realized we could buy stamps at [local big chain]. For the life of me, I can never make it to the Post Office before they close!
  3. Put those stamps on the stack of Christmas cards I have done, go to the post office (BEFORE NOON) and send them out. – He didn’t make it before noon, either…
  4. Get a sweater for $20 for Husband’s giving tree gift at work. – I had to get uber-specific here or husband would have gotten poor “Karen” a men’s flannel shirt. Probably not what “Karen” would have wanted. Husband’s fashion sense is usually… lacking…
  5. Stop at two different family owned stores 30 minutes away for gift cards for family members. – I try to shop locally at family owned stores whenever I can to help out the local economy. I encourage everyone to do the same!
  6. Get groceries. – Y.I.K.E.S.

I was nervous for another reason, too. Husband and I just can’t handle shopping on weekends. And shopping on weekends in December turns us into murderous monsters. We just can not handle the crowding, the thoughtless or rude people, the traffic and bad drivers and the list goes on and on and on. I can usually handle it better than husband, who is typically mild-mannered. But boy does he turn into a beast on weekend shopping days in December. And boy did he have a monster of a list of errands to run… (For the record, I volunteered to do these errands, but he insisted on doing it.)

While he was away, the mail came. More specifically, my super-cute heeled boots came!  They went from $40 to $25 after discounts and sale prices were applied. *takes a bow*

Say hello to my new favorite shoes.

Say hello to my new favorite shoes.

I then remembered that Gigi, my Grandma, had called me a few days prior asking me to get the kids gifts on her behalf, gave me a price range and said she’d pay me back at our family Christmas. I was very apprehensive to go Christmas shopping over the weekend, but this was the perfect opportunity to take my boots for a test-drive and break them (and my feet!) in! It was settled.

Husband got home, frazzled, exhausted and forever-done-with-all-things-Christmas-related, and I went out into the fray with a list I had compiled in his absence. I headed straight for the store, feeling all kind of gorgeous in my new boots. I immediately noticed the incredibly full parking lot and gulped. I’ve gotten far too used to shopping in the middle of the day on a weekday when the rest of humanity is at work. This was going to be… busy.

I pulled into the lot and decided to just park farther away to avoid confrontation. I was halfway through my turn into the aisle when Douchebag Driver came flying out of his aisle, cutting off another car, and went careening around the corner to fly into my intended aisle. He almost hit me before slamming on his brakes and throwing his hands in the air. As if I was the one at fault. *eyeroll* I bit my tongue and finished pulling into the aisle, leaving the idiot behind me. Literally and figuratively. As I pulled in, I saw someone pulling out of a spot, and another truck waiting to pull in with their blinker on. I waved at Blinker, letting him know I wasn’t going to take his coveted parking spot, and left plenty of room for the other car to back out.

Enter Douchebag Driver.

He suddenly appeared next to me, driving around my car, momentarily blocking the car pulling out, then backed up so close to my front bumper that I could see the bald spot on his nasty, greasy head. Ooooooooh, you son of a… *deep breath* No, no. Douchebag Driver isn’t worth the anger or the car repairs that I’d probably have to pay for the road rage I’m contemplating on inflicting on him at this point.

The car backs out after giving Douchebag Driver a nasty look, and Douchebag Driver proceeds to TAKE THE SPOT! Seriously, dude?! Both Blinker and I laid on our horns at Douchebag Driver, and Blinker pulled up right behind Douchebag Driver and began yelling out the window. I backed out of the confrontation with a foul taste in my mouth and parked in the back of the lot.

I got into the store and immediately noted the herds of people milling about, blocking all of my usual main routes. Oh, boy. No wonder Husband was so frazzled when he got home… I braced myself and headed for the toy department. My goal was to find a baby doll for each of the twins and a big truck of some sort for Buddy. I have never bought the girls a doll, so I never realized just how many dolls there were out there, how expensive they were or how complicated they’ve become! The girls are going to be 2 in March, so they don’t understand how to take care of a fever or change a diaper. God do I wish they could change diapers… Finally, after digging through a mountain of giggling, pooping, burping and wailing dolls, I found a simple, action-less doll with a change of clothes and a few bottles and brushes for their… uh… plastic hair. Then I got a doll stroller and a doll pack-n-play for $10 each. The girls were done for a very reasonable price and I knew my sanity would stay intact at home with these poop-less, belch-less, noise-less dolls.

The next aisle was full of tractors and trucks. Perfect. Buddy got a John-Deere tractor with a trailer. You may think that’s kind of boring, but if you knew Buddy, you’d know how perfect this is for him. He loves big machines. We live next to a farm, so any time he sees a tractor, he dashes to the window and jumps up and down, yelling, “TRACTOR! TRACTOR, TRACTOR TRACTORRRRRRR!!!!” Husband usually does this when he sees tractors, too… I also got Buddy a noisy little toy gator. No, not the animal, the pimped out golf cart. He discovered his great grandparent’s gator this past thanksgiving and fell in love with them.

Buddy loves the EZ-GO!

Buddy loves the EZ-GO!

Once I had my gifts from Gigi done, I noticed my feet were starting to hurt a little bit from the heels. This was to be expected considering I never, ever wear heels and these ones are brand new. But, I reminded myself, no pain, no gain! So, I moved on quickly to the next two things on my list. Ribbon and brownies.

I usually get distracted by all of the shiny objects in fabrics and crafts, but as I navigated through the herds to the other side of the store, I noticed the discomfort in the balls of my feet escalating quickly. These were not shoes for putzing. I quickly found a simple roll of ribbon and checked my list off. Next? Brownies. After husband got groceries and came home, we realized he forgot brownies. Uuuuh… no. So, once again, I made my way through the herds and found the cake/cupcake/muffin/round cake/pound cake/angel food cake/strudel/wherethehellaremybrownies section. The shelves that should have held my favorite store brand brownies – were empty. I scowl and grab a non-store-brand family sized box of brownies and toss them in the cart.

I just want to go home and get these boots off because my feet really hurt now. I’m starting to get angry and impatient. At everything. And everyone. Especially those people who leave their cart on one side of the aisle and stand on the other, blocking everyone and pretending they don’t notice it. Then when I politely say, “excuse me” I get a glare or an eye roll as if I’m the annoying one. No, you moron. Just… no.

I look at what’s next on my list. WD-40. SON OF A… that’s on the other side of the store back in Hardware. UGH! I brace myself on the cart and begin trudging/limping back through the herds of shoppers, narrowly escaping serious injury from a five-year-old yielding his totally unobservant mother’s cart. *deep breath*

I get to Hardware and look at the aisle signs… not sure where exactly to start looking for WD-40. Hmm… I start walking along the aisles, which span the entire length of the store from front to back. Of course. I get from the back of the store to the front with no success. I turn around and try again. Still no luck. And my feet… my poor feet… I want to whimper at this point. I brace myself and make one more round through Hardware, this time walking through every aisle, even the unlikely ones, trying to find this one stupid can of WD-40. I am NOT going home without this stupid… *deeeeep breath*

Then, finally, I see the tire and lube express. (Please tell me I’m not the only one who still giggles at “lube”). So I head over to the oil aisle, hoping and praying that my suspicion is correct. I scan over the products and spy a shelf in the darkest, filthiest corner of the entire store. Two older men stood in the aisle, staring at me like I was the thing from the black lagoon. Whatever, dudes. I can look good in these boots and change the oil in my car. Bite me. I go to the shelf and, low and behold… WD-40.

I almost dance on the spot as I grab it from the shelf and whip it into the shopping cart. I was finally home free. I got to the front and by some miracle, get to an open checkout counter. I paid and headed for the front door, rolling my eyes dramatically at the groups (yes, more than one) of women standing directly in front of the doors and gossiping. I bark out a slightly annoyed, “EXCUUUSE me.” to the women who look at me with disdain… until the see the look on my face, which I can only compare to an Orc.

They stepped aside silently and I trudged past them, eyes on the prize. I made it to the car, whipped everything in the trunk and smashed the shopping cart a little too aggressively into the cart corral. I practically fell into the car and immediately took off the boots.

[insert exaggerated sigh of relief here]

When I got home, Husband asked me how shopping was. I just gave him a look. The look. He laughed and nodded his head in agreement. I’m afraid to know how his trip into town went with his SIX errands he had to run. Poor, poor Husband. One thing was for sure. We weren’t doing anything above and beyond necessary until after bedtime for the kids. And we were drinking. Alcohol. Now.

After a thankfully easy bedtime for the kids, we grudgingly took out all of the gifts we’ve accumulated for everyone. It was wrapping time. My gift wrapping started off nicely enough. Everything was beautiful and square and even and perfect. But after a few thousand gifts and a roll of tape that just would not tear nicely, my patience began to wear thin. Again.

By the end, the gifts looked like this:

If you receive this gift, don’t you dare complain. Husband’s gifts look worse. Merry Effing Christmas.

An exhausting weekend of single-parenting

It’s been HOW long since I’ve posted?! Whoops. My bad.

Honestly, I think that last MRI with Peanut was a bit of an eye-opener for me. This blog has always been about one thing for me. Healing. It’s been about reaching out for support, for a shoulder to cry on, for a venting post, for an ear when I want to celebrate and everything in between.

Peanut’s MRI in April wasn’t her first, but it was a major scare for me. I didn’t know what was wrong with her and it could have been fatal. After I got the amazing news that she was just chubby (I know, who’d have thought being overweight would be something to celebrate?!) I realized that I had been spending WAY too much time on the computer. I had effectively become addicted to blogging and facebooking. My kids and husband, in the meantime, would spend the evenings without me for an hour or two every night. I’d be posting blogs, pictures, videos and comments galore while they played and laughed without me.

I realized all of this after Peanut’s MRI. She could have been very sick, and I was venting on my blog instead of spending more time with her and her siblings. Shame, Mommy. Shame.

So, that said, shall I update you on my going ons since my last post?

*******

I started working out. No, for real this time. I finally gave in and started something that I’ve been dreading and avoiding like the plague.

P90X.

It sucks. It sucks so bad. I hate it. It’s awful.

But I love it. My butt hasn’t looked this good since before Buddy! I also feel much more energetic since I’ve been eating healthier as well. It’s amazing how much happier and optimistic you feel when you’re in shape!

*******

We had a family vacation!!! I went to Colorado for a week with the entire family. I am actually in the process of writing a blog post right now about it. Be prepared.

*******

This brings me to this weekend. The main reason I wanted to post a blog… Husband is currently out having a great time with his friends. He is camping and golfing and going on a brewery tour and playing baseball and cards and cribbage and drinking and so on…

He and his friends get together every year and go camping somewhere around Wisconsin. They’ve been friends since they were kids. Unfortunately, like most friendships, time and distance has made their friendship a little harder to maintain. Hence the camping trip. It’s a guy’s weekend to catch up and do guy things.

I think this is GREAT. I love that husband can get away with his buddies and leave his stress and worries behind, if only for a weekend. I have always been fine with him going. In fact I almost always push him out the door. I know we both need our time away from the kids and each other. It’s not that we don’t love one another, it’s that we need to recharge now and again. I get it. I’m fine with it. I’m happy for him.

Until this year, at least. This year I’m singing a different tune.

I hate him. I hate him and his stupid friends. I hate them with a passion.

Why?

Because they took the van. MY van.

I hate the van. I hate all vans. But it’s my only mode of transportation. It’s my only ticket out of this house. It’s my only chance at a taste of freedom so I can go shopping, go to the beach, go visit a friend. anything!

But no. I’m stuck here. I have no vehicle and no way to see anyone or do anything. Normally I don’t mind staying at home, but that’s because I know I have a vehicle if I wanted to go somewhere. Knowing that I can’t go somewhere even if I wanted to makes me feel like the walls are suddenly closing in on me and I’m desperate to leave.

Oh, and did I mention WHY they took the van? So they could golf. One round. One day.

SERIOUSLY?!

Husband had brought this up to me months ago. I hated the idea from the get-go. But eventually, after giving him a verbal beating, I gave him the green light. I knew he and his friends had been wanting to go do this for years now and I knew our van was the only way they could fit everything.

Still, I wasn’t pleased.

So this weekend came and I watched in dismay as husband removed the car seats and loaded the van with lots of fun-looking things. Camping gear, golfing gear, alcohol and snacks galore. All things which I would have LOVED to indulge in. But no. Instead I would be single parenting three kids ages two and under for the weekend.

I DON’T KNOW HOW SINGLE PARENTS DO IT.

OH MY GOD.

I repeat.

OH. MY. GOD.

I now worship the ground they walk on. No longer will I judge them for running errands in their pajamas. No longer will I judge them for giving their kids ice cream for breakfast. No longer will I judge them for leaving their houses trashed.

No longer. They’re superhuman. I swear. The same goes to military Moms and Dads while their spouse is overseas. The fact that they’re not only simply surviving, but also staying sane, amazes me.

Superhuman.

I’ll admit I do most of the parenting in the house, but when Husband gets home, he usually makes dinner and takes care of the dog. He is there to help keep the kids in line when I’m getting exhausted. He is there to help me get the kids ready for and into bed.

It’s Saturday afternoon and I’m beyond tired and exasperated. It’s like the kids knew Husband would be gone this weekend and saved up all of their insane antics for JUST this weekend.

Friday morning:

I woke up to find that Buddy had woken up already and was in his sister’s room with a loaf of bread. Or… what was left of a loaf of bread. It was mostly smooshed and strewn around the bedroom. Each kid was happily chattering and munching on a slice of bread.

There were also diapers. Diapers everywhere. I don’t know who did it (whoever did it is lucky I don’t know…). There were tens of diapers strewn around the floor among the bread slices. But that wasn’t all. Oh, no. The box of wipes was opened and ripped apart as well.

When Buddy saw me freeze in the doorway of the bedroom with a look of pure fury on my face he dove behind the recliner and refused to come out. (I have a feeling he’s the culprit… at least the bread culprit.)

That was when I noticed the butt paste. In Bear’s hair. It was smashed and smeared into her hair until her entire head was totally white.

Oh. My. God.

They have never done this before. (With exception of the syrup incident.)

Seriously?! Husband hadn’t even technically left yet and I was already dealing with crap like this?!

I took my time cleaning up the diapers, wipes and bread and gave Bear a quick bath to clean her hair. Thankfully it came out with a little bit of soap and water. Her hair was still nasty and greasy looking, but at least it wasn’t white. I was satisfied. I got the kids up and dressed and sort-of fed them breakfast.

In a moment of genius, I decided to give them toast. *HA! Take that!*

Late morning came and I had gotten the kids together quick for one last trip out of the house before the weekend came. We ran to the local second-hand store and I went to look for a few things for Husband for Father’s day. I had this great idea for a gift but it required some extra work on my part. I was planning on working on it this weekend.

I found three picture frames and wandered for a bit to see if I could find anything else exciting. We were there about half an hour when I came across the jewelry rack. I started looking through it for fun when the girls started SCREAMING.

They were struggling against the straps of their stroller trying to get at the jewelry. They eyes were gleaming with excitement and their mouths were opened in a giant O-shape as one squeal after another erupted from their tiny little mouths.

I cringed, embarrassed of their outburst (if you hate listening to one baby screaming in a store, imagine two at once. It’s pretty awesome.). I grabbed the stroller and started to walk away from the jewelry.

BAD. IDEA.

The girls were pissed. They wanted the jewelry and their [insert meanest swear word you can think of here] Mother was taking them away from it empty-handed.

They SCREAMED. They THRASHED. They WAILED. They SCREECHED. They HOWLED.

Buddy and I looked at each other, terrified.

I ran to the counter to pay for the picture frames and get out of there as fast as I could. The stroller was shaking dangerously as the girls thrashed in their stroller in fury.

They have NEVER done this before.

Everyone looked down and away, embarrassed for me. I was that Mom to them. The one that everyone immediately assumes is a terrible, negligent parent when they see kids misbehaving this badly. I wanted to beg with the fellow customers to understand that the girls have never ever done this before. But I doubted that anyone would have heard me over their screaming anyway.

The middle-aged woman at the register smiled encouragingly at me. I apologized profusely as I ripped out my money to pay. She laughed and said she didn’t mind crying babies. The only thing that bothered her was ear-piercing screams.

Cue ear-piercing screams.

I swear they can understand more than they let on.

After I finished paying, now completely mortified, I ran out the door with Buddy and the girls in tow. After I got home, I saw that husband had just gotten home from his half-day of work and was finishing packing for his weekend of fun and relaxation.

Yeah, he wasn’t even technically gone yet…

He had gotten me some McDonalds on his way home as a treat before he left. Even though I had been eating healthier up until this point along with the exercising, I took one look at the greasy fries and burger and dove in. It was delicious. It was absolutely delicious.

Now moderately appeased, I realized that husband was going to eat nothing but camping food this weekend and felt bad. He’s kind of a picky eater and prefers healthy stuff. So I started throwing some things together and made him a banana-nut milkshake with as many natural ingredients as I could get my hands on.

I took a sip and I was in heaven. It was amazing. I poured husband a glass and he gratefully took it and loved it. But then the kids saw it and of course demanded some. So… by the time I poured everyone a glass, there was none left.

I never got any.

Like a lost and forlorn little puppy I sat and watched everyone chug down my masterpiece and rave about how yummy it was. Husband ran out the door soon after that and I stood in the front window looking even more forlorn as I watched MY van disappear.

This was the beginning of my temporary single-parenthood and I was already feeling the exhaustion and frustration.

Most of the rest of the day went the same. The kids fought, cried and made a huge mess. The dog broke something outside. The internet stopped working for a few hours. The list goes on.

After finally getting them all down for a nap at the same time I collapsed on the couch. I watched maybe ten minutes of TV and got bored immediately. I wanted to get out of the house. I wanted to go camping. I wanted to have fun, too!

With another stroke of genius I realized that we still had our tent here. I raced into the basement and pulled it out. I rearranged the living room and got to work setting up the tent. Once the tent was up, I ran around the house collecting pillows, blankets and anything squishy I could find. I set up the inside and ran and got a bunch of toys and books and threw them in there as well.

By the time I was done, I was excited! I plopped down inside of the tent and soon-to-be cave/castle/airplane or whatever the kids wanted it to be and smiled to myself. I was going to make this a fun weekend if it killed me.

Eventually Buddy woke up from his nap and came downstairs. His eyes went WIDE as he took in the newly transformed living room and immediately dove in. Satisfied with his excitement, I went into the kitchen to make myself a quick lunch before the girls woke up. I didn’t see much of Buddy in the kitchen after that. He was busy running around every other room in the house.

Eventually the girls woke up and screamed for me from their respective beds. I went to their room to get them out to join their brother. When I got in there though, I found yet another disaster.

Diapers, wipes and now butt paste smeared into the carpet… and Bear’s hair. Again.

I cursed the heavens as I once again picked up the diapers and wipes, folding them neatly and stacking them nicely back into the drawer they’re stored in. I got Peanut out to join a very happy Buddy in the tent and I took Bear to get her second bath of the day. Once the bath was done Bear joined her siblings while I changed out of my now sopping wet clothes.

Apparently Bear wasn’t so excited about two baths in one day. She thrashed with all of her might while I tried to wash the paste out of her hair.

Finally, I figured I should get dinner ready. I took out all of the leftovers and put them in new dishes and pretended I was making a new big thing. You see, the kids are incredibly picky when it comes to leftovers. They hate eating anything from a Tupperware container. I still make them eat it, but they scream and cry through the whole ordeal and leave everyone crabby and drained.

I did NOT want to deal with that. So… I tricked them.

Unfortunately the tent was too much of a hit, though, because when I told them it was time to eat, they all refused to leave the tent. When I picked up Bear (usually the most… erm… “enthusiastic” about eating) she freaked out. FREAKED OUT. She thrashed so hard in my hands that I dropped her.

Yes. I finally did it. I dropped one of my children. It was only a foot from the ground, thank God! But it was one of those falls where she landed right on her face and the rest of her body bent over her head.

Oh. My. God.

I felt awful.

Until I went to snuggle her and apologize and she BIT me!

She’s never done that before.

Dinner went terribly. They totally still knew the food was leftovers despite my fancy new dishes. So now I had three kids throwing their “nasty” leftovers on the floor and twice the amount of dishes to clean.

Joy.

This was about the time that I gave all of those “perfect” moms out there the middle finger and popped open a bottle of beer. I left the kids strapped to their chairs as they mangled what food they had before them and I retreated to the front porch and drank my beer.

At least I made it until dinner before I needed it…

Once done, I came back in to find all three of the kids magically eating their food. Or what was still left on their plates and not strewn across the kitchen floor, anyway. No screaming. No thrashing. Just silently munching away.  I froze. I was scared to move. I was scared that if I moved, they would realize I was there and go back to being possessed by the little demons that have wreaked havoc on my day thus far.

I went to the front door and let the dog in to do his deed. He is my favorite floor cleaner in the entire world. He does better than any appliance I have purchased to date. And he’s much MUCH better to snuggle with than a swiffer wet mop.

Nothing much more exciting happened for the remainder of the night. Well, unless you count me lying awake, terrified and jumping at every little noise.

You see, after I had put the kids down to bed I saw a new post on facebook from my Aunt. She had posted a picture of two kids from the 50’s sitting on the lap of a creepy looking Easter Bunny. It made me chuckle… until it reminded me of a certain fictional character that TERRIFIES me. Frank the bunny from Donnie Darko.

Oh. My. God.

I don’t know what it is exactly about this bunny but he freaks me out more than Chucky or even the clown from IT. Both of them are fictional characters that I, for some unknown reason, was allowed to watch as a child. I was scarred from life after that. I can’t stand creepy dolls. Clowns I can handle. Except that one from the movie. And I’m terrified to approach any gutter wells. I refuse. I will never EVER approach a gutter well. *shudders*

But yeah, Frank the bunny from Donnie Darko creeps me out much worse. I had finally forgotten about that stupid bunny, and then my Aunt had unknowingly posted this picture that reminded me about him, on the weekend that I would be sleeping alone. Of course. (P.S. I’m not mad at you auntie! It was just terrible timing! And the events that follow are absolutely 100% my own fault.)

So, I found a picture of the bunny to share with her for laughs… but then started looking at more and more. Which led to me looking at other creepy-as-all-get-out websites. Eventually I ended up on one of those “scariest places on earth” sites. It had everything. Including videos. Lots and lots of videos. Mostly of abandoned insane asylums with paranormal activity.

I watched them all.

Needless to say I freaked myself out to the point that I had to leave the hall light on. Just in case.

The next day I woke up refreshed and rejuvenated after a good night’s sleep.

NOT.

I trudged grumpily into the girl’s room. Buddy was up before me again. The diapers, wipes and bread were strewn about the room again. The butt paste was smeared in Bear’s hair. AGAIN.

*bang head on wall*

Seriously… I mean… *sigh* I just give up.

I left it in her hair and put her straight in her high chair for breakfast. I just didn’t want to deal with another fight. I went back in the bedroom and gathered the wipes and diapers and threw them back in the drawer. I didn’t fold or stack them neatly. They’re stuffed in there in little balls. The wipes are jammed back into the container. I have to open it completely to get one out every time now.

I just don’t care.

I made instant oatmeal for breakfast for the first time ever and prayed that they would just eat it without a fuss. I’ve never given them oatmeal before, so this was a HUGE request on my part. Please God. Please just give me this one thing. Please.

He gave it to me. The kids silently inhaled the food. There wasn’t a single drop of food on the floor.

They have never done this before.

After breakfast I finally attacked Bear’s bath. The third one in two days. The third one as a result of butt paste in her hair. I mean… really, Bear. *siiiigh*

After the bath I was thoroughly and completely fed up with being stuck in the house. I had seen a ridiculous number of trucks pulling boats and jet-skis driving past our house, most likely headed to Lake Michigan. It had been a gloriously beautiful day, albeit rather humid. I really REALLY wanted to go to the beach.

But, of course, I had no vehicle. Our kiddie pool just wasn’t the same.

I. Wanted. The beach.

Once I put the girls down for their first nap of the day I decided enough was enough. I was going to figure out a way to get all three car seats to fit in the back of our car. It took over 30 minutes and I nearly lost a finger among all the straps, clips and corners, and I had to throw my body weight into closing the doors, but I did it.

I had a vehicle. We were going to the beach.

I threw myself into packing. I gathered towels, water bottles, beach toys, sandals, hats, sunscreen, sunglasses, swimsuits, swimming diapers, dry clothes and snacks. I put the double stroller in the trunk of the car and stuffed the beach belongings around it. I changed into my swimsuit  and lathered myself in sunscreen. Once the kids were up I changed them, fed them lunch, dressed them in their suits, threw on their hats and sunglasses and sandals and stuffed them into the backseat of the car.

We were doing this. I wasn’t taking no for an answer.

I hopped in the front and rolled down the windows and grinned like a fool as the summertime tunes cranked out of the radio. I was so excited!

About five minutes later I arrived at the state park on lake Michigan that had the beach I wanted to go to. I began turning into the drive when all of my happy thoughts came to a screeching halt.

*NOOOOOO!!!!*

My eyes were glued to the bottom left corner of the windshield. The sticker-less bottom left corner of the windshield.

&*%%^#%^&*%&^%&*%%^$%^&^$#%@$@$%##%^&*!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

**for those of you not in WI or who aren’t familiar with a state park system, you need to pay for an annual sticker/pass to get into these parks**

Oh. My. God.

OH. MY. GOD.

The [insert curse here] park sticker was on the [insert curse word here] [and here] […and here…] van!!!!! [curse curse curse curse curse!]

To say I was furious would be like saying Hitler was kind of a bad guy. I was BE-YOND furious. Way beyond.

After my last couple of days. After all of the prepping I did. After rearranging the car seats so I could actually get out of the house. After I got the kids and myself all dressed and ready.

I couldn’t go to the beach.

[curse curse curse curse CURSE!!!!!]

I threw the car around, seeing red, and the phone was in my ear before I knew I dialed the number. The phone, much to husband’s luck, went to voice mail. I left a very angry message, yelling about nothing and everything. Poor husband… I mean, I know I technically let him take the van. But still. Come ON. I just couldn’t win.

After a few minutes of fury, I remembered a little beach that I could go to a few miles away. All was not lost.

By the time I arrived at that beach I was much happier. Not only did I still get the chance to go to the beach, but I had heard two of my current favorite songs on the way. Husband had called me back on the way and level-headedly reminded me that I could have just gotten a day pass. Derrrrrr. I blame the insanity surrounding me the last couple of days.

After we hung up I pulled all of the beach stuff and the double stroller out of the trunk and loaded the kids in. They strained to see the “big water” as Buddy called it.

**for those of you who haven’t seen one of the great lakes, they look like the ocean. There are big waves and water for as far as you can see. The beaches are big, the sand is white and the boats on the horizon are typically yachts and the like. They’re huge. It’s pretty amazing to have something like this only a couple of miles from home**

Amazingly, we were the only ones on this little beach. I always forget how pretty it is there! I found a nice spot near the water and got to work immediately unpacking the beach things. I got the kids out and we were all lathered with sunscreen for a second time (just in case) and relaxing on the beach.

The girls were sitting just within reach of the waves and giggled and gasped as the waves crashed into their legs and wrapped around their little bellies before withdrawing back down the beach. Then they would squeal all over again when they saw another wave approaching and throw their arms wildly in anticipation.

Buddy was busy de-sanding the beach as he took one shovel-full after another and threw it into the “big water”. Once he tired of that labor he began collecting shells and bringing them to me, wide-eyed with wonder. He loved all of the different colors and shapes. Especially the white shells. Then he bravely waded into the water, yelling out in delight as each wave broke around him, nearly knocking him over.

Eventually we were joined on our private little beach by a man with a jet-ski. He walked the trailer down into the water and began fiddling with the motor. I watched the kids with amusement as they all sat in that head-tipped-back-and-jaw-hanging-open position with awe. Eventually the man waded out into the water with it and hopped on and stood up. Buddy nearly tipped over with excitement as he literally screamed and danced on the spot when the guy took off in it. He kept looking back at me like, “Holy sh*t Mom!!! Are you seeing this?!?!”

For another fifteen minutes we all sat and watched as the man spun, dipped and jumped through the waves. At one point Buddy looked back at me and pointed out to the jet-ski, announcing, “Mine!” Yeah… I want one too, Buddy.

Eventually we all ended up laying out on the towels, relaxing and enjoying the sound of the waves crashing into the beach, the seagulls calling out, the leaves in the trees blowing in the wind, the jet-skis chasing one another and the giant boats occasionally honking at one another far on the horizon.

It was so incredibly peaceful.

The time came when we were all just too worn out to continue on. I packed up and changed the kids into dry clothes. I dragged the stroller back through the dry sand, and loaded the kids back up. I got the stroller and belongings stuffed back in the trunk, then finally collapsed into the driver’s seat. I took a deep breath of the beautiful, beach air and smiled. I had done it. I got out of the house.

What an exhausting weekend. And I still have to get through half of Sunday. I’m not sure what Sunday will bring (besides Bear probably getting butt paste in her hair), but I know what husband can expect when he gets home. A deliriously happy wife to see him, a giant load of laundry to do and a tent to take down in the living room. 🙂

Defiance with a side of attention to detail

What happened to toddlers supposedly having short attention spans? What happened to the terrible twos just being about throwing emotional fits and no more? What happened to toddlers forgetting they were, in their minds, unfairly wronged by their parents when they were refused of their demands?

I’m beginning to think husband and I created a superbreed child. Buddy is a child with uncanny insight into mechanical development and has a knack for thinking outside of the box like his father. But he also got his strong will, determination and unbelievable attention to detail from me.

Superhuman.

Instead of getting easily distracted by Elmo’s world mid-fit like he used to, Buddy now makes demands and sticks with it. He isn’t easily deterred. In fact, he will purposely ignore me when I attempt to bribe him with TV, candy and stories. He completely overlooks the temptations that a typical toddler would jump at and keeps pushing me for what he wants. He is beyond persistent.

Then, when he realizes I’m not going to give in to his demands, it’s time for a meltdown. But, instead of having the meltdown and eventually getting bored with it, he holds a grudge. A big, fat grudge. He remembers when his Satan of a mother refused him another sippy cup of milk and gave him *gag* water instead. He remembers, and he plans. He lies in waiting. He waits for the perfect time to strike back. To tell me it is not okay to overlook his age or intelligence because there will be payback, and it will be merciless.

Oh, he does the typical screaming fits with long, drawn out one-sided conversations that are comprised mostly of the word “NO!”. He does the throwing things game and the collapsing-in-the-middle-of-the-store-and-screaming bit. He does it all. But he goes beyond the necessary protocol for a toddler’s typical refusal to behave and listen.

When you’re least expecting it, he sneaks in a stealth attack or he makes a great escape despite our best efforts to keep him contained.

Examples:

Stealth attack: Once, when I dared to gift Buddy with our atrocious well water he went into his typical fit. When he realized I wasn’t paying attention to him, he went into the living room and quietly sat cross legged on the living room floor with his new sippy cup and just examined it from every angle. The level of concentration on his face was amusing to me at the time. His little eyebrows were furrowed. His eyes were moderately squinted in a way that reminded me of someone that was trying to work through a particularly difficult math equation. His mouth was screwed up into a little pout on the side of his face. I left him to his work, assuming he was just checking out the colors and pictures on the side of his sippy cup.

Nope.

About fifteen minutes later I had finished cleaning up the kitchen and turned around to find Buddy standing in the kitchen doorway with a diabolical smile on his face. He was still holding his sippy cup. I eyed him cautiously for a moment, knowing full well the potential he had to pull wool over my eyes sometimes. When I assessed his stance and face and found nothing to be concerned with, I continued on around him and into the living room.

*squish* “Aaaagh!”

I stepped in a puddle of water. I hate wet socks. HATE. Buddy knows this because when he sees me step in Remmy’s water bowl slobbers and throw a fit similar to a toddler, he goes running into the bedroom to fetch me another pair of socks. (He does have his moments of sweetness, I’ll give him that.)

I growled to myself and ripped off my now completely ruined sock and headed towards the bedroom. *Hmm… wonder why Buddy didn’t get me some socks…*

*squish* “AAAAAGH!”

Another puddle of water. I scowled and growled and ripped off the other sodden sock. *Why the heck is there water all ov… OH!* I turned around to find Buddy, still smiling, standing in the midst of a living room full of water puddle land mines. I now noticed the lid of the sippy cup was loose. He figured out how to take it off. With me watching, he took off the lid and dumped another puddle on the floor. “BUDDY! NO!” He, of course, giggled and ran away.

I think he may have inherited my vengeful spirit as well…

Great Escapes: Buddy has a knack for thinking outside of the box. No matter what we do, we can’t contain him to his bed come bedtime. We had to take the railing off of his crib because he figured out how to stack his blanket and pillow to climb out. For fear of him hitting his little noggin we transitioned it into a toddler bed. From there, with his new-found freedom, all hell broke loose. What it came down to was either go back to his room for hours on end and ask, tell, plead and demand that he stay in bed, or put up a gate. After a couple of weeks of trying to talk to a toddler (seriously? talk to a toddler? what were we thinking?) we opted for the gate. He can sleep on the floor after throwing a fit all night for all we cared at that point. We weren’t spending our few hours of evening free time chasing him around.

That’s where we made our biggest mistake. We underestimated him.

What started out as a crapshoot attempt at making a step-ladder with all the wrong objects around his room, became a full-scale escape attempt every morning. I swear he spent that night quietly contemplating his bedroom belongings like a Macgyver baby and created an escape out of things that I would never have given him credit for if I wasn’t positive he was the only one in his bedroom.

Almost every morning I wake up to Buddy climbing into bed with me despite the clearly high enough gate in his bedroom doorway. When I go to check how he escaped, I’ve found a number of escape setups. He’s used his lidded garbage can. He’s used his blankets, somehow sort-of folded to give him height.Yes, I swear my toddler attempted to fold a blanket. He’s used his toy basket turned upside down. But what shocked me was that he put a couple of tin lunch boxes underneath the wicker basket for a more sturdy foothold. My two favorite escape methods to date are his books and his stuffed animals. He stacked them next to the gate. Biggest on the bottom, smallest on the top. Someone tell me… how, how did he figure that out? How did he figure out that would make it sturdiest?

Unbelievable.

Another interesting thing about Buddy is his love of figuring out puzzles. But not just any puzzles. He wants to know how everything and anything works. Buddy has absolutely no reservations about pushing foreign buttons. He loves buttons, levers, switches and everything else electrical and mechanical. He especially loves remotes, electronic devices like DVD players and game consoles (especially turning them off when you’re right in the middle of a game… *grumble grumble*), light switches, doorknobs and anything else man-made that you can imagine.

Unfortunately for us, while this one may be innocent fun instead of spiteful vengeance, it costs us in electronic repairs and hot water.

Why hot water, you ask? Well, he figured out how to turn off our water heater. Yeah. Cold showers aren’t too high on our “fun stuff to do” list.

It’s interesting to watch him operate on a regular day-to-day basis. I’m not sure if he would have been like this without watching me, but he is kind of a neat freak. After I take my shoes off from getting the mail, he takes my shoes and sets them on the shoe rack next to one another. He does the same with his own shoes. If he notices his potty is crooked, he will straighten it so it’s perfectly perpendicular to the wall. He will sometimes clean up his toys without my asking him. The list goes on…

I would have been perfectly content with a child of average intelligence and curiosity. Don’t get me wrong I’m happy to have such a bright son.  I really am… but sometimes he’s just very hard to keep up with. He’s very intense. I know he will grow out of it and grow into an intelligent adult, but this stage just feels endless sometimes. The thing that scares me the most is that it’s not just Buddy I have to keep an eye on. All three kids will get older. This means that if the girls are anything like Buddy, they’ll get smarter and more diabolical as well. Probably more so because they’ll have a mentor in Buddy.

As I have no choice in the matter I guess I’ll just have to keep surviving. In a way I kind of can’t wait to see what kinds of shenanigans the girls can come up with. Will they match Buddy? Will they surpass him? I don’t know, but I pray daily that I will be able to manage the oncoming tsunami of three toddlers under one roof.

*sigh*

Does anyone know where I can get a lifetime supply of coffee?

Oh no he di’int

Well, hello again readers!

Did you finish reading my 4,000+ word post I added half an hour ago?  No?  Well too bad.  I have something else I want to talk to you about now and it can’t wait.

This weekend Husband is leaving me alone with the kids for what I hope is the last time this year.  Normally I whine and complain about how hard it’s going to be, but I never ever say no.  Not because I have no backbone.  In fact, I probably have too much backbone and I don’t know when to back down or keep my mouth shut.  I need to come up with a new term for too much backbone.  Stiff spined?  Maximum backsimum?  eh.  Those are lame.  I’ll think of something sooner or later.

Moving on.  I let him go because he deserves a break just as much as I do.  He can only handle about half as much “parenting” as I can before he’s ready to throw our kids out the window.  Patience has always been a strong point of his, but I think I max his patience out pretty quickly and he doesn’t have much left to deal with the kids with a level head.  (To quote Kristina from Parenthood, “I’m sorry I’m psycho honey.”).

All of the guys in his family and a few family friends gather in central Wisconsin at his Grandparent’s house.  There’s around I believe 100 acres of private land to hunt on and three other houses/lodgings located on the land.  The guys stay at one of the other houses.  During the daytime hours they spread out and hang out in tree stands all day long hoping to shoot a deer, then come nightfall they drink, play cards and be jolly obnoxious kids again.  I think it’s a great tradition.  guys need to be guys.  I’ve never had a problem with Husband going away and doing this.

This year I was a little bit apprehensive because of the three kids, but thankfully I have been alone with them all on another weekend so I had an idea of what to expect.  I graciously agreed, and after work today he will head straight up north.

I am officially alone until Sunday.

Now, let me tell you why I regret letting him go this year.

First, there was the whole Children’s trip a few days ago that wore my patience and energy down to a pulp.

Then, for the last two days, my sleep had been all off kilter.  Two nights ago I didn’t get to sleep until 4:30 AM.  Last night I didn’t get to bed until about 2:30 AM.

This resulted in me being very tired yesterday morning, and incapable of functioning as a human being this morning.  Husband shook me awake when he left for work to get one last hug and kiss goodbye before the weekend and told me he heard Buddy talking to himself upstairs.  Hinting for me to go get him up.  I fought to open my eyes a crack with every ounce of my energy and grunted in acknowledgement.

As soon as husband left the room, I must have fallen right back asleep.  The next thing I knew, Buddy was on the bed and pouncing on me.

WTF?!

I started awake and sat there looking at a giggling, and more importantly, free Buddy.

Uhhh… did Husband let him out anyway?  I noted the time and saw it was about half an hour after Husband had initially woken me up.

I shrugged and got out of bed before I fell back asleep again.  I changed Buddy and we went into the kitchen to make him some breakfast while we waited for his sisters to get up.  After preparing his breakfast and setting him up, I poured myself a nice hot cup of coffee and pulled out a chair to join Buddy and chat.

I didn’t actually get to the table though.  The second my big fat 135 pound ass touched the chair it completely collapsed under me.  Collapsed!  Before I knew what happened I was sprawled on the ground and my coffee was dripping down the kitchen wall.  By some miracle it had missed both Buddy and me.  Buddy, of course, thought he had just witnessed the funniest trick on the world and was dying laughing at the table and telling me, “more!  more!” in between giggles.

Now I had a huge problem.  I had a broken chair, a broken ego and most importantly, no coffee.

How in the WORLD did I just smash a chair at only 135 pounds, you ask?  Simple, make sure it’s already broken.  Husband and I got our mismatched kitchen table and chair for free from a coach of his while he was still in college.  It’s a decent table and chairs, but it’s obviously worn down.  Some of the bars that hold the chair together on a couple of chairs have been falling out lately and the chairs will creak dangerously when we sit down.  We’ve just been popping them back in and forgetting about it.  It was honestly only a matter of time before this happened.

I just wish it had happened on any other day than today.  Now I had to fix this damn thing myself.  I went into the basement and got the biggest strongest nail I could find and grabbed a hammer.  Better yet, I grabbed a couple more nails just to be safe.  I hammered the legs back together and plopped defiantly back down on the same chair with another cup of coffee.

I win.  Dammit.

The girls finally woke up and I tended to them without any excitement or strange happenings.

The big dilemma that makes me wish husband stayed home came when it was nap time for Buddy.

I put him down like I normally would.  He goes down at the same time every day.  He whines for about five minutes then falls asleep on his own.  I don’t coddle him or give him a nuk or tuck him in special or lay with him until he falls asleep.  I put him down and get back to my business.  It’s always worked out really well.  (I’m aware of how lucky I’ve been with nap time.)

Well, today he kept whining longer than usual.  I ignored it and figured he’d eventually fall asleep.  I plopped down in our recliner in the living room, which is directly under his bedroom, to catch up on the computer.  Suddenly heard the most horrifying sound in the world.

*BOOM!*

It was the sound of my son falling out of his crib.  I remember an acquaintance of mine describing how she felt when she heard that sound for the first time.  She said, “I hoped it was a robber breaking in.  Anything but my son getting out of the crib!”

Now, I can completely understand what she meant when she said that.

Oh. My. God.

I knew the nightmare my son had just unleashed on me.  Not only for this weekend, but probably for every nap time and bed time from here on out until he’s old enough to stay in bed on his own.

I listened helplessly as his little footsteps ran across the ceiling and thumped down the stairs.  Then, there he was, tear-stained and smiling.  My darling little Buddy.  My little escape artist.

Here we go.

I hoisted myself out of the recliner and took him back upstairs.  As soon as he realized I was putting him back in his prison, he started screaming and thrashing violently.  The second I put him in his rib, he started to climb out.  I stopped him, told him, “I’m sorry sweetie, but you have to stay here and take your nap.”  Then silently walked out of the room, leaving behind a very angry and defiant toddler.

This went on for another two hours.

Two.  Hours.

TWO.       HOURS.

Do you realize how long that is?!

Oh. My. God.

In the meantime I’m trying to take care of two very pissed off girls.  They hate when I walk out of the room, but I have to in order to put Buddy back in his crib.  Eventually I did something I saw on Supernanny.  I just sat on the floor in his room with my back facing him.  He didn’t try to get out, and eventually he fell asleep.

My nerves are shot.

This weekend is going to be a nightmare.  An absolute nightmare.  Maximum backsimum can’t help me here.  What I need is a glass of wine.  Maybe a bottle.  Maybe two.