Tuesday, April 19, 2016

13 April 2016 Things are looking up. My two-year-old folded under my expert investigational skills and gave up her stash. I now have plenty of pens, markers, and sharpies. She is adequately decorated to her standards and we only tagged two more walls and her brand new play kitchen. Upon a very calm and sincere request she casually took me into the room of my oldest and showed me there were lots of markers so I could color too. Note to self, don't kill the oldest.
18 April 2016 I had this surreal day. Greg was working from home today and we had a rare occasion of eating lunch together (don't worry we still had to take three kids). I accomplished a few things around the house and accomplished a few errands. My four-year-old had their first tee ball practice at the park, which was adorable. The family spent extra time at the playground and no one feel off of anything. The dog went too and was walked excessively. My husband spontaneously took all of us to Sweet Tooth Fairy after the park for a cupcake treat. We came home and had a great family night complete with a lesson my ten-year-old has been dying to share with us. We even got in two episodes of Doctor Who as a family. Yippee! What a great day! Did I mention, a friend texted and asked if she could take my three youngest for a few hours so I can have some time to myself. I know right! I wasn't even dreaming. I thought wow I love today! Last night the eight month old started running a fever, spent the entire night fussing and threw up (I mean she spits up sometimes so it is hard to tell) and is generally just feeling crappy. I spent the whole night holding her so today my back, shoulder, arm, and head are killing me. Everytime I put her down she was fussing within ten minutes. So no playdate. And maybe no time today for just me. So what if all seven of us passed around the same cupcakes, milk shakes and sodas last night. Sharing is caring. This I will chant while standing on one foot with one hand behind my back with fingers and toes crossed. I'm going to hang on to yesterday, the great day and enjoy some extra snuggles today. With any luck the rest of my little ones will skip this plague. Here is to optimism. As long as Murphy doesn't see it as a challenge. ;-)

Friday, April 8, 2016

Yesterday I changed about a million soiled diapers from my two-year-old. No doubt, correlating to her snack yesterday. While washing my one washable hand afterwards (all two minutes) the same:

She found a highlighter in my boxed up house. (Note: I can't even find a pen after looking for a half hour two days before.)

She left a lasting impression on five walls and two doors.



Feeling incredibly grateful that I have NOT painted those walls yet I celebrated my way to the magic eraser and began the magic. Upon re-wetting it in the bathroom I found this gem:

OK, so much for not being on the non-painted walls. The little turkey.

Next time, I'll just ask her to get me a pen.

Thursday, April 7, 2016

A bad day....

The definition of a good mom is recognizing you aren't perfect but if you're trying your best then you convince yourself you are still a good mom. I try to stay positive. If you dwell on the negative then it seems like you're failing when in reality most days you're ahead. My sister says she laughs at everything because if you don't then you might cry. I follow the same counsel which has only embarrassed myself or a loved one in a few unfortunate circumstances. But I digress.

Today was really really hard day. If someone needs the movie rights I'll be in the closet. It's a long post, but I promise entertaining if you take the time to read it. Trust me it felt a LOT longer in person. Read it when you need a timeout.


---------- Good Morning, I Mean NIGHT Sunshine

It begins at... 1 AM when I finally fall asleep for the night. I start my day at 3 AM with a hungry baby. +1 for Mother of the Year. At 5 AM a scared toddler who needs to sleep with me is poking me in the face. Has she been there long? I make her feel safe I bolster myself, as I slide over myself and the baby who's still blissfully asleep next to me. Ugh..okay that's at least a -1 for Mother of the Year. I mentally tell myself I'll put them both in bed in ten minutes as I feel a popsicle curl up next to me. Yeah, +1 for a good mom.

---------- Is It Really Morning?

At 7 AM I wake up the teenager for school, by stretching my foot out of the bed over the sleeping toddler and pound in the floor three times. Does that count? I think I heard a yell... I struggle to regain total consciousness and I mentally tell myself I'll put the babies back in bed when I have to leave to drop the oldest off at school. Sure why not. +2 for mom.

At 7:15 AM I hobble, yes hobble, like 90 year-old to both children's beds because my back and shoulder are locked up and I just want to cry from the pain. I manage to only partially drop the two year-old onto her pillow. Still snoring. I send a thankful prayer heavenward. I get the baby into her crib without incident too. Things are looking up today. +1 for a good mom.

I lay down for ten minutes mentally willing my body to unkink itself. I leave for the junior high at 7:30 AM. Back home at 7:45 AM Successful delivery, babies back in their own bed. +3 for mom. I lay in bed smiling to myself as I set an alarm for 8:15 AM for the next batch of kids. 30 minutes of sleep sounds sooo good! I implore my husband to volunteer to be their chauffeur. He says something I hope was a yes as I lose consciousness.

I sleep for thirty three blissful minutes until the alarm goes off. The blaring of my phone vibrates with every ache in my body. I slide out of bed barely maintaining my stance. I pause briefly at the top of the stairs debating. Yell, and risk waking up the littlest, or brave the stairs that are dancing before me? I think at this point I'd do anything for five more minutes of sleep. I make it downstairs one at a time without falling and wake up the eleven year old. I then maneuver back upstairs to wake the four year old carefully trying not to disturb his little sister below him. Success! +1 for mom.

The four year old is all ready sans boots. The eleven year old is almost ready. I let out a contented sigh as I tuck the four year-old into my bed. He just need five more minutes. To cuddle. I smile as he snuggles into my pillow with a grin. It's 8:42 AM I can give him my place for a few minutes can't I? I am a good mom. +1 for mom.

I will myself to stay conscious until 8:50 AM when I realize my husband is still in the shower.....he's not going to make it. I sigh. I frantically start barking commands. Get in the car! The car! As we race to school my preschooler is grumpy and my eleven year-old is flustered. OK, maybe that didn't go as well as planned. -2 for mom. But I'm still ahead right?

We get to the school as the first bell rings. My older child won't be tardy. I smile. I am a good mom I can do this. I walk my son to preschool and check him in as he runs into class gleefully. OK, so no permanent physiological damage. I am a good mom. I get home as my husband is getting dressed. I think, I am a good wife as I don't complain about being tired.

I nestle back into bed smiling as I check the time. I've got maybe a half hour of sleep until I need to be up. I smile as my head hits the soft, blissful, perfect, cradling, oh so wonderful pillow...and the baby cries. Sigh. Hook her up and drift off again. Yeah, I'm the only one here. We are counting it. Co-sleeping is a positive thing right?

---------- I'm Hungry.

The four year old explains she needs cereal an inch from my face twenty minutes later. I hand her my kid-zone wielding cellphone. She gleefully accepts crawling into bed with me and I smile as I start to doze off. Wise mom. Probably shouldn't count that one though I think as I nod off. That's not breakfast.

Twenty-eight more minutes of almost sleep with the loud cellphone proudly beeping and vibrating on the pillow next to me I throw in the towel and make a conscious effort not to track the hours. Not a grumpy or bitter mom, that is good right? Well almost not grumpy. We'll call it a draw.

Cereal, juice, fruit for the little ones. Start a load of laundry. Get the three of us dressed to pick up the preschooler. I have plenty of time. Good mom. +1 for mom. Just as I'm heading to grab a shirt for myself from the laundry room downstairs I hear rattling from the front room. Banging.

---------- The Home Intruder

From an empty front room. Door is shut. Windows shut. An EMPTY front room. Not even any furniture and there's loud rattling coming from INSIDE the fireplace. Something is pushing the doors from the inside out. I might be hallucinating. I really should sleep more I think.

Crash! Crash! Crash! I jump. Nope, not hallucinating...I think. My two year old asks "what that mom?" Dang. I was OK with a small hallucination maybe. It's already been a day and it's only 11:50 AM.

After gathering my wits, brave mom, I approach the closed fireplace doors just in time to see a face collide with the panes on the other side. After perhaps a minor terror attack, yeah....minor, my eyes focus through the dirty glass on a terrified and agitated mourning dove. In my fireplace. Poor thing. Maybe my days not so bad. I am a good mom.

I debate. I check the time. Twice. Will it get out? Can it wait? Schools out in five minutes...five minutes away. I throw on the shirt, realizing I've been standing in my front room in my undergarments....with no window treatments for five minutes...or more. -1 for um...stupidity. Still ahead I think! You are a good mom!

I threaten the two year old with white lies about the bird biting her as she reaches for the handle. She jumps back and begs me to "get the bird" as I run to the dirty clothes hamper for a towel. Hmm hope she doesn't have nightmares... I'll call it a wash.

Eight minutes later I'm releasing a grateful (a little personification isn't so bad now and again right?) mourning dove back into the wild. I'm a good human being. Compassionate. As my toddler starts crying for letting "her" bird fly away. No nightmares then. Good. Crying two year old...well a wash then.Still a good momma I think to myself wondering if there is bird flu on the towel. Does that wash out? Why did I grab a new towel again?

still a good .....crap.

---------- The First Strike, Please Don't Take My Kid DCFS

I'm mentally remembering the warning that at ten minutes after the bell children would be turned over to authorities (ahem DCFS - You know the Department for Children and Family Services who rescues kids from brain-dead or unwilling parents) as I hypothetically wonder what would happen if the reporting officer also writes me a speeding ticket. I look at the clock as I scramble in after the preschooler. It's 12:17 PM. I'm only 17 minutes late.....I don't see any cop cars...yet.

He wasn't the last child there. I quickly thank the teachers and collect my son. Surely you get three strikes or something right? He's not the last one here. I'll just sneak out...unnoticed. I'll keep my son and we'll call the score even. Reset to +0 for mom.

Ten blocks away I stop looking for DCFS in my rear view mirror. I chuckle to myself. I am a good mom. The whole bird thing was like an act of heaven. You're still a good mom! I even obliged the kids in the same DVD for the eight millionth time. I sigh and release my desire to lose myself in music. They are happily telling the pirates to give Dora the Explorer back her treasure. I watch their giggling from the rear-view mirror. +1 for personal sacrifice and my kids happiness. I am a good mom.

---------- Operation Rubber Gloves

At 12:45 PM a 5 minute trip to WalMart for just rubber gloves is my game plan. I mentally prepare as I walk an isle over to collect the cart before I unleash the hounds. Got my game on! A fantastic mom! With the cart at the side of the car and 6.4 seconds to grab the infant, get her into the shopping cart and grab the two year old as she emerges from the car, I make it with a second and a half to spare. I covertly encourage the four year-old to "ride" on the cart too. No child speed bumps here! I am a good mom. A smart mom. +1 for mom!

I am on a mission. Gloves. I can't change diapers with stitches on the hand that should have been gloved yesterday as I sliced it open trying to save the world. Yeah we'll um..save that story for never telling. It was proud moment...but suffice to say I can't wash it until tomorrow. Get gloves. Stay a super mom. Change diapers. Simple. You got this.

I find the gauze, the antibacterial ointment, the stretchy bandages. Only been in the store less than five minutes! I can't find the gloves. On a schedule momma (or toddlers tend to self-destruct). Oh! ask the pharmacist! +1 for ingenuity mom!

The pharmacist not only showed me the gloves but offers me one from his stash to make sure I can get it over my fat bandage. How nice of him. Good plan mom. As the pharmacist walks away as I see shiny white things cascade to the floor next to me. Huh?

---------- The Poisoning

You see, meanwhile, the two year old has helped herself to my asthmatic child's allergy meds in my purse. Crap.

"Did you eat these baby?" I implore. "Yes, mommy."

"OK. How many baby?" I'm trying to act calm as my pulse races and I'm simultaneously looking up poison control on my smart phone. "1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 8, 16, 7, 9." Phew! Glad we tracked that number down! It will be OK I think to myself. She will be ok. You are still a good mom. In a totally lucid moment of terror I actually stuck my finger in her mouth then tasted it. What did Zyrtec taste like again? I actually feel better that her mouth tastes like spit. (Looking back that was uh...gross.)

I'm shaking and dialing poison control as I'm picking up the remaining pills of the floor. I am also having day-mares of my child dying, elderly people slipping on little pills on their way to the pharmacy, and other toddlers foaming at the mouth as their mom looks at bandages unexpectantly. What was I thinking about three strikes before DCFS shows up? Hold on, this is only strike two....breathe! It's ok. It's going to be ok.

While I'm on the phone with poison control shrieking at my son and heading towards the produce department wondering how to make her will fit into one of those hanging scales (yeah I know a check stand would have been better in hindsight)... Was it 24 pounds, 32? How much does she weigh.....Then, I see my other four-year-old son's blue hands. Blue. Two blue hands. Bright blue? I start to panic, then realize he's wearing gloves. Oh ok. Not dying.... Wait....I didn't pick blue gloves. My gloves are white....

---------- Officer, Seriously It Was a SIMPLE Mistake, OK Two Simple Mistakes....I'm Sorry!

Now, I admit at this point I'm not firing on all cylinders. I'm frazzled. And frazzled bad.

The guy at poison control listens to me stubble as I try to remember my kids birthday, my name and her weight and what she took as I'm walking back to the pharmacy with the four-year-old in tow. He's explaining he needed the gloves for you see he is Spiderman and Spiderman obviously wears gloves. I'm taking deep breaths holding my sanity by a thread explaining it is shoplifting and he can go to jail with bad guys. You don't open things until after mommy pays for them I say. Good parenting I think. +1....

The discombobulated voice in my ear says..."uh.. Ma'am where are you?"

Oh right. Poison control. My two-year-old is trying to poison herself and my other child is guilty of petty theft. -2 for mother of the year. Can you get two strikes on a single pitch?

"I'm at WalMart."

"Your child ate Zyrtec from an isle inside WalMart?" he says incredulously.

Oh no of course not. I don't let her run around. I'm a good mom I think. She ate it from my open purse I put on the seat right next to her. With a neon sign that said eat me while I ignored her. Don't say that I think. I wish I wasn't against lying.

"Um..no sorry they were in my purse. She got them from my purse. I carry them for my daughter with asthma." +1 for being prepared right? Still a good mom...? I mean, baseball is a stupid analogy right? Who needs strikes. Let's not think about strikes.

Now in hind sight, that phrasing about bad guys to my son, er... Spiderman.... it wasn't the best. Especially to my son, who was wearing Spiderman boots, Spiderman underwear, and a Spiderman hoodie with the shield that you pull over your eyes and looks like a mask. Oh and his new blue Spidey gloves he found by himself in unopened boxes conveniently on the shelf. Well, previously unopened. Of course I don't know that yet. As I'm going through the boxes of gloves to get the opened ones so I can buy them and avoid prison time my...ahem...Spiderman ... Well, he's fighting bad guys. Somewhere else. Out of view.

---------- Hide and Seeky Spidey!

What follow is poison control hearing me exasperatedly calling out for my missing Spiderman. The one who isn't with me anymore. The one I'm not calling about so poison control guy doesn't know about. "Spiderman! Spiderman! Get your butt over here right now! Come to momma! Now! Spiderman! Spiderman! I need you. I need you right now!" I will not attempt to wonder what the guy at poison control was thinking.

Accidental poisoning, shoplifting, and now you've lost a four-year-old at WalMart. Hey, you saved a bird didn't you? Yeah, not quite worth a toddler. I'm a real winner... Three strikes better be a bad analogy. We're throwing out baseball cause lady you're batting 1,000.

I made sure to tell the poison control guy I was a real good mom. Three times. I mean bad moms would never say that. Repeatedly. When he laughed I of course knew he was laughing with me. Did I mention I laugh when I'm stressed so I don't cry and that maybe sometimes it might have been the wrong time to be laughing? Did he think I had cracked up. Then again, I think I might have.

After I assured him there was no way that my two year-old ate more than 17 pills, that I had all three of my children with me safely...wait oh yes have an infant here too I say. He didn't sound, um, confident in my assurances. I hung up the phone. But not until he warned me that he would be calling back and to be sure I answered the phone when he called to check on the two-year-old. It sounded more like a threat. Standard practice I console myself. Right? Of course he's just checking on the two-year-old. I mentally challenge myself to make sure the four-year-old is around and making happy noises when he calls back. Wish the baby made louder happy noises. Sigh.

I get all three of them to the car IN seat belts and allow a minor emotional meltdown. Just a minor one. Still no sirens or flashing lights. They aren't taking your kids Jamie. You're OK. You just need...backup. Gotta regroup. You are...still...a good....mom. I don't feel as certain today anymore. My dad happily and unknowingly agrees to lunch with the crazy bus. Good. Things are looking up.

---------- The Naked Iron Man Does Broadway

I parked out front waiting for my mom to get home from work. It's 1:15 PM. I tell myself it's just easier than taking the kids out of car seats for just a few minutes. But inside, I know it is really to regain composure. The toddlers are happily singing back to Dora. I can do this.

Parents in tow I'm driving to lunch. They don't need to know about poison control right? Mental note, hope that guy from poison control doesn't call back to check in while driving with bluetooth connected through the car speakers. I should note that yesterday, I calmly asked my dad to drop by...like right now please so I could leave the kids with him while I did a quick errand. Was it time sensitive? Eh, not really. I mean just a few uh...stitches. He took that pretty well but yeah, we don't need to tell them about poison control today. Maybe we'll mention it if tomorrow is better.....or never. I was checking my rear-view mirror. Still no flashing lights. Good. I'm a good...too soon to feel like finishing that one.

On the way into the restaurant, the four-year-old has a meltdown. Bad days for mom are like blood in the water for sharks. He wants to wear this other shoes in the car. The red ones. Apparently, Spiderman is no more. He is now Iron Man. Spishhh spishh go his hands...I mean repulser cannons.

I decide TODAY I will pick my battles. Give him whatever he wants and not start crying. I AM..A..GOOOD..MOM...I tell myself rather forcefully.

Change his shoes in the parking lot (with the last shred of nerves I have left). Ignore the looks from others that you are a pushover parent. I'm really not. Nope. Today, I'm 49.9% insane. (On a good day that's only around 23.8% but not a pushover..usually.) I ignore the shushed speaking. I am still a good mom I think trying to convince myself.

My mom has the baby. Dad has the two-year-old, which just leaves me with the uh..Iron Man. I can do this. Just as I am starting to order, Iron Man announces he is about to spring a leak. Like now. Of course, the bathrooms are no where in sight so I leave the line to escort Iron Man. Get him situated and back to line. See we can do this.

Grandma and Grandpa are sitting right outside the bathroom. Iron Man will be fine. As I'm about to order, the two year old starts screaming...break line...she's ok. Back to line. I mean back to the back of the line. Again. It's lunch hour. On a week day. At a busy Mexican restaurant. Sigh.

Just as I get to the front of the line, again. Iron Man starts screaming "Mom! MOM!" I think, hey! Grandma and grandpa are right there. He's fine! Until grandma starts yelling. "Jamie! Now!!!!!!" I turn to see Iron Man. His pants and underwear are around his ankles. In the middle of the restaurant. I rush, damage control red alert! No one as noticed yet...except those two guys.... Who cares about just two random dudes on a lunch break. Who hadn't dropped their pants at four right? Sure.....Until my son screams: "I need to wipe my penis!"

Sigh. So much for no one noticing.

Shushing only makes it worse. Just so you know.

The shushing also didn't stop "Mom, my penis is wet" or "I can't get toilet paper for my penis" or "my penis has PEE on it." By the time we are out of the bathroom my tears are threatening and I just want to find a whole. A dark one. But I take a deep breath, drop him at the table (that didn't take by the way) then wait for the fourth time at the back of the line to order our food.

Six minutes later my dad, who forgot we came in the same car... my car.... Says: "Well Jaim, thanks for meeting us. Don't worry about it. We better get going though. We will be late for our appointment" and stands up. As I start stacking garbage on my remaining lunch he apologized. It was not a problem I say thinking that I want to go home and cry anyway.

---------- Who NEEDs Backup Anyway?

I drop them off without incident. Even make it to my own driveway. Still no lights nor sirens. I can do this. Then, after a minor emotional meltdown, actually get all three kids into the house alive. Then I realize the baby has leaked through EVERYTHING and has a sore bottom. And I feel bad. Really bad. Ugh.. Good thing you have the gloves? Who am I kidding, poor baby. But, she forgives me easily as I feed her and I feel grateful. It's 2:45 PM .

When poison control calls back at to check on the two-year-old at precisely 3:08 PM that is exactly when the two year old comes in to yell to me she pooped in the front yard. Naked. Yes you read that right.

It's not embarrassing at all to be talking to poison control about an accidental attempted poisoning outcomes while the same child explains that there is poop in the front yard, and she lost her clothes, and there's poop all over her leg and my bum too mom. Can you clean up the poop? I pray he doesn't remember Spiderman.

"No really poison control she is just fine this is normal. I mean, abnormal I mean I'm a great mom. I mean this is the first time she had pooped in the front yard but the naked thing is normal. I mean...." JUST STOP TALKING JAMIE! I scream internally..."she is good. Great. Fine. No worries." *facepalm*

At least I'm sure she's behaving like herself. No medical hangover there.

"Oh, she is fine thanks so much for checking on her." Meanwhile I am beginning to think that DCFS will show up as I'm longing for a closet to hide in. I take a mental note he didn't ask about the other two kids. That's a good sign. I'm staring at the coat closet. Wondering how long it would take them to find me. Officer my mommy is in the closet.... Sigh, OK no closet. But is it bedtime yet?

It's 3:13 PM.

---------- Mom's Having a Hard Day, Let Us All Gang Up On Her. 44, 16, Hike!

The ten-year-old and fourteen-year-old arrive home and immediately start fighting. Why is it that the kids don't listen when a parent is talking, but they hear EVERYTHING when a sibling is being a parent? Loud and clear, so they can fight and complain to their parent about it? And why does no one have an immediate need to do homework until they see a sibling on the computer. And then the yelling and drama and "just forget it you don't care about me anyway!" Anyone have a missing Oscar?

I've almost convinced myself that I can hold on to my sanity and my children until my husband gets home. Hubby calls. He will be at the church until 8:30 PM or so. Did I mention I have five kids and he is the Bishop the BISHOP! I mean I am totally being set up officer!


Maybe if I tell the kids I have an errand to run, leave the oldest in charge and hide in someone else's closet? Is that allowed? I ruminate on that one for a few minutes. Laugh. And tackle the rest of my day. 8:30 PM can't come fast enough tonight.

I need a time machine or crystal ball to know it will all be worth it. Just a peek to know that they will turn out ok. Please?

I'll take either. Seriously either one. You pick.