Tuesday, December 29, 2009


"Twas the night before Christmas, and all through the house,
EVERYTHING was stirring...except, perhaps, the mouse.
The stockings were laid in front of the tree with care,
Until Owen and Connor dragged them someplace over there.
The children were wired, not ready for bed,
Perhaps all the candycanes went to their heads."

Yes, Christmas Eve was full of activity in the Sawdon home.  Santa was being tracked on NORAD.  My sister-in-law and I were busy making candy for the party.  The kids were wearing their new pj's (the one present they get to open this night,) and the countdown until bedtime seemed to take forever.  The older two began the annual negotiations with their father regarding what time they were allowed up the next day.


"WHAT??!!!  Come on!  Six?"

"No.  Seven-thirty."

"Come on, we were allowed up earlier than that the year Marissa was SICK!"

Marissa turns to Jay, "now is the time we ask Mom to jump in."  They look at me.  I give Bruce "the look."

"Honey...what time did you get up on Christmas when you were a kid?"

"That doesn't matter!  We barely get any sleep as it is with the two babies!" 

My sister-in-law is giggling on the couch, gesturing to me that the time he woke up was WELL before 7:30.

"It shouldn't matter, then...we'll be up anyway."

"Fine. Six-thirty.  If the babies are up before then, we'll get you up."

Irelynn carefully picked out some cookies to leave out for Santa, and instructed me to make him some chocolate milk. 

"Everybody leave Santa reg'lar milk...but what he really likes is chocolate milk."

We sent the older two to bed, and turned to the toddler.  Oh boy.  This was going to take awhile. 

After responding to many questions, ranging from "will you keep Connor and Owen away from Santa's cookies and chocolate milk?" to "When does Santa get here?  Like, three o'clock?," we finally got her down.

The older children were up at 6:30am on the dot.  They actually had to wake up the toddler.  Connor was awake (for his normal 3rd feeding) but Owen was not ready. 

Now, I suppose you could say we spoiled our children this year (or Santa, rather.)  I mentally tallied up the number of items for each child, thinking perhaps I was a bit overzealous as I scanned the living room, piled with presents.  I counted about eight items each...which doesn't seem too bad.  However, I suppose when you have five children...times eight gifts...it makes for quite a pile.

The children began tearing into presents.  The boys (for Owen was now up, begrudgingly,) were sitting in their brand new blow-up Little Einsteins rocketship with balls...and trying to rip thier own gifts.  I looked around.  It looked like Toys 'R Us exploded in our living room.  Irelynn was excited about each and every gift she got...even the pajamas.  She had something to say about every one of them...until she got to the gift.  Over the course of the holiday season she claimed that she wanted just about everything for Christmas...from the talking dollhouse to the automatic toothpaste dispenser.  However, the two times she saw Santa (whom she is terrified of in person) she only asked for one thing:  the pink heart cash register (it was a Disney Princess one.)  I heard a small, quick intake of air.

"Is that what you asked Santa for?"

She just nodded and looked it over carefully, pushing each button.  I smiled.  These are the moments I absolutely love.  The first reaction they have when they realize that Santa came....and then, when they open the one special present...the thing they wanted the most.  It makes battling the holiday crowds, searching store to store and over the internet, watching as your account gets depleted and you have to get "creative" with dinners for a few days, stressing out because you also have to worry about everyone else on your list worth it to see their eyes light up like that.

There are two parts of Christmas I do not enjoy.  The cleaning up of all paper and packaging, picking up every little piece before it gets lost, and trying to find a home for the new additions.  Worse than that, though, is trying to get the toys out of their packaging.  Nothing like having an eager child bounce next to you as you first yank open a box, then peel off a couple layers of packaging tape, to reveal a maze of twisty ties, and finally realize that even after that...you still need a screw driver to unscrew the toy from the piece of plastic anchoring it in it's temprorary home.  There should never be a reason that a toy should be screwed into a piece that you are supposed to discard after removing.  Seriously.  By this time, the child has moved onto a different toy...or stolen one from a sibling.  I do see benefit to doing this before wrapping...it would make Christmas morning go much smoother.  However, I can barely find time to actually wrap a gift, let alone remove each item from it's original packaging.  Perhaps next year I could hire some elves cheaply through the "No Elf Left Behind" program...I'm sure there are some out-of-work elves in this economy looking for work...

Well, overall, I'd say it was a good holiday.  The kids got what they really wanted.  Our home was filled with family, food and music.  My husband splurged and bought me an iPod.  And Santa brought me good coffee.  What more could you want? 

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Age Appropriate Reading

You can tell your age by the magazines you read.  Or at least where you are in life at the moment.  My fitness and celebrity magazines have long since been replaced.  First it was parenting magazines...starting with pregnancy publications, reading month by month to see how the baby was developing (and seeing what to expect in the coming months.)  Yes, to a pregnant woman it is fascinating to know exactly when her unborn baby no longer has webbed toes.

Once the pregnancy is over, the parenting magazines take over the house, providing information on everything from stages of food, to how to survive on no sleep.  This stage surprisingly does not last long, however.  When a mother is inundated with everything child....when the visions of the sweet tot dressed in the perfect Gap outfit with the perfect nursery outfitted by Pottery Barn make way for the reality of hand-me-downs that you don't mind getting stained, the footed pajamas that they reside in because they are just so comfortable, and the constant battle to pick up the pots and pans on your kitchen floor and take away those parenting magazines, which they are gleefully tearing to shreds on your floor, while the very cool expensive educational toys gather dust on the cute Pottery Barn shelves in their rooms.  This....this is when the parenting magazines begin to lose their luster.  As a mother, I have enough things related to children in my life.  My entire life revolves around children....the last thing I care to read about is what it is like to be a parent.  I could probably write a few articles myself (although I'm not sure how helpful they would be...but I'm sure there would be some entertainment value to them.)

No, now is the time one wants to focus back on herself.  That person that lies somewhere deep inside...buried under the sweatpants covered in her child's lunch and streaks of toddler snot.  The person who used to know all the words to Greenday and Aerosmith songs, but who now sings the theme songs to "The Backyardigans" and "Imagination Movers."  The person who used to dream about Johnny Depp, but now checks out Mover Scott...and Dave.  Dave's pretty cute, too.  Somewhere buried under diapers and legos, there is a woman there who is more than a mom.  And we turn to magazines to find her. 

There is my absolute favorite, "Real Simple."  This is my dream magazine...the way I dream that my house will look, the way I dream that my organizational skills will be, the way I dream I will be put together...a hip young mom with an immaculate house.  You may laugh...but if we don't have dreams, we don't have much.  I notice that I have also subscribed to what I call my "mother's magazines."  Not parenting magazines...or magazines on how to be a mom...no...MY mother's magazines.  The ones I remember my mother subscribing to.  Did I really reach that point in my life?  I'm reading Better Homes and Gardens...Family Circle...and Woman's Day.  Articles on cooking...on how to make your home more organized, decorating, and the occasional article about kids.  However...there are always articles on make-overs.  You know...the stressed mother who has let herself go, who gets a new hairstyle, make-up tips and new clothes.  Oddly enough...those are the most inspiring.  Because you see that even though you are stressed, wearing your husband's tee-shirts, and probably don't remember how to properly apply eye make-up, let alone know what shades are in season...there is hope.  There is still an attractive woman there. 

I did subscribe to one more magazine.  I keep it hidden in my nightstand.  It was a total vanity purchase.  It has nothing to do with kids.  It has no advice on how to organize my home, or be a better wife.  It is a fitness magazine, plastered with pictures of women with rock hard abs, the time and money to go to a gym, fill their iPods with the latest tunes, and don the best running shoes.  Why would I waste my money on such a thing?  I suppose it is another dream magazine.  There are still quite a few years before I can focus on myself in that way.  But in the five minutes I have in the bathroom, where I lock the door and skim the pages...it somehow rejuvenates me.  It reminds me that somewhere under my muffin top and stretchy pants there is an attractive woman there.  And someday I will find her. 

I just hope it happens before I start subscribing to senior citizens magazines.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

The Best Laid Plans...

I finally succumbed to my husband's overzealous Christmas spirit.  While the holiday season begins the day after Halloween for him, it does not begin until December for me.  Even then, I do not tend to want to put up a tree until a couple of weeks before Christmas.  Although, I have to admit, having smaller children once again has brightened my spirit...there's just something about the awe and wonder of a small child discovering the magic of Christmas.  And by magic, I mean the things that we forget to appreciate when we're older...the things that do not have to do with the commercialization of the holiday season...or, if they do, it is purely because it really does seem magical to them.

For instance, my three-year-old waking up, glimpsing out her window and being heartbroken to find out that it had not snowed overnight.  I'm not going to lie; I do not like the snow.  It makes me think of scraping windows, shoveling walkways, and taking an extra 20-minutes each morning to bundle up children before they leave.  But there is something about a tiny girl looking to the sky, waiting for the sprinkling of powdery snow...with dreams of snowmen and snow angels...that make me *almost* wish that it would snow.  And, I admit...I am very curious to see the twins' reactions to their first real snow experience this year.  It almost melts away the Scrooge inside of me.

Thank goodness for this...because without it, I'm not sure how I would get through the holiday season.  Or the weekend we decide to put up the tree, for that matter.  You see, I have this internal battle inside:  I have my "stressed-out, wishing everything would end already, trying to make ends meet and buy presents, detesting all forms of Christmas music because my husband has been forcing it into the household since Halloween" side duking it out with my "wanting to give my children a magical experience, live in the moment, appreciate everything, and live it up at the holidays" side.  They do not mesh well.  I'm an inherent over-achiever residing in a worn-out, lazy body.  My mother-in-law, who has perfected the art of not only surviving, but hosting, planning, and enjoying the holidays, would laugh at me, and give me a suggestion for an easier way to do things.  My mother, who painstakingly makes every effort to make gatherings "proper" and full with tradition (I must make the eggnog, she puts great-grandma's beads on the tree, while the men put the lights on the tree,) would applaud my efforts and claim that I am Supermom.  I just feel like all my attempts are in vain:  I'm a Martha Stewart wannabe trapped in the body of Mr. Bean.

For example:  while the children put up ornaments, I tried to make red and green pancakes in the shapes of snowmen and Christmas trees.  They did not turn out perfect...but...I think it was still cute.  However, while trying to shape pancakes and not burn bacon, I notice that Owen has become extremely quiet.  These are the moments a parent must worry:  when a child cannot be heard, it usually means that they are up to no good.  I round the corner to find him sitting on the floor, with red and green posterboard rings in hand (another attempt at being crafty and fun:  I had the three older children make red and green links, tape a Hershey Kiss to each link, to be torn off each day leading up until Christmas.)  The boy was covered in chocolate...from his face on down to his feet.  All I could imagine was the red and green tin foil that he would be pooping out over the course of the next few days as he had been sitting there, plucking each Hershey Kiss off, and devouring it whole...wrapper and all.  Meanwhile, the older children are arguing in the living room...Jaylond was upset to discover that after spending a half hour in the bathroom, his sisters had decorated the entire tree. 

Needless to say, the holiday season has not gone how I planned at all.  My pancakes did not *really* look like trees and snowmen.  I believe the older girl even made a comment about the food dye making them taste funny.  The toddler boy wrecked his older sister's Christmas countdown craft.  The children argued nonstop.  An ornament or two shattered.  The living room floor was now covered in fake pine needles and newspaper wrappings.  I still cannot stand to hear Wham's "Last Christmas" or that song about the Italian Christmas donkey. 

However, somewhere between standing outside with Irelynn while putting up her beloved blow-up Christmas Snoopy and hearing Owen, for the first time, point at a picture and say "Santa," my heart melted.  Maybe it was the snow that gently fell while Irelynn and I put up lights, with her telling me all of her grand plans for what to do when we get "real" snow.  Maybe it was watching her bravely tell Santa the one thing she really wanted for Christmas.  Or maybe it ws noticing, that despite all the imperfections I saw...the kids all really enjoyed my silly attempts to make the holiday bright. 

I'm not sure when or how...but I think my heart grew three sizes this month.  It seems that while I was busy worrying about presents and money, thinking the kids only appreciated things that came from the store...I didn't take time to look through their eyes, and see that the season was much more.  Snow forts and cookies, music and magic, although fighting was apparent, it wasn't that tragic.  Christmas specials and crafts, lights and elves, though nothing was perfect, it was all heartfelt. 

Now...if I could only find a good deal on roast beast...

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Star Trek for Breakfast

I am sitting here typing in complete silence.  It is 9am on a Saturday, and all the children are eating breakfast behind me.  To what can I owe this moment of Zen?  Apparently Star Trek.  Or Eggo, as the case may be, who came up with the brilliant idea of creating Star Trek waffles. 

They were originally meant for my husband, who is an avid Trekkie.  He has a Star Trek blanket.  He has a mock phaser.  He even has a box of stale Star Trek cereal sitting on his dresser in our bedroom.  I bought it for him, thinking he would eat it.  Apparently cereal could one day become a collector's item.  Who knew?  I'm waiting for our room to become infested with mice.  The older children were quite put out that they were not allowed to partake in the Star Trek cereal. 

When I originally bought the waffles, I informed him that a box of frozen waffles would NOT be setting on our dresser....these were to EAT.  The children rejoiced, and the box was devoured before Bruce even got a waffle.  I realized I needed to make a compromise.

The next time I bought waffles almost ended in disaster as well, as I bought them while visiting the in-laws up north.  Our stores down here do not carry the Star Trek ones anymore, so I thought I scored big-time.  Unfortunately, I then left them in my mother-in-law's freezer.  Luckily for me (and my husband,) my mother-in-law made a trip down only a few days later, and she brought the waffles with her.  A new rule was put in place:  no one was allowed to eat the waffles until their father had eaten some first. 

The following days I was hounded by children wanting to know if their father had eaten his waffles yet so they could have some.  I finally, one morning, made some for him.  The boxes were officially open.  Which brings us to this morning, the first morning the children are allowed to have waffles.

Owen and Connor are shoving them in their mouths, looking like little chipmunks.  Irelynn had me carefully cut her's so I did not distroy the picture in the middle.  The older girl excitedly put her's in the toaster and described the aliens adorning the front.  We are officially down one box. 

This is why my morning is quiet...I have a table full of content kids, happily eating alien encrusted waffles. 

Oh...wait...Connor just tried to steal some of Owen's.  So much for the quiet.  Ah, and now Irelynn is trying to cheer Owen up with her rendition of Beyonce's "All the Single Ladies."  I suppose it could only last so long...

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

The Twin Trail

It was subtle...but I could detect a faint scent of Gerber body wash and banana leading into the kitchen.  I crouched down...yes, I could see some tracks...small markings where someone had stepped in the banana.  Tracking babies does not require strong detective skills...but it does require a strong stomach and large amounts of patience.

I followed the trail of Cheerios into the kitchen, where it looked like a poltergeist had been present:  cabinets were all open, objects had been strewn across the kitchen, and I'm almost positive I heard things slamming in a far off room. 

I pass the toddler, happily eating her pancake at the table.  She looks at me, and calmly points toward the hallway. 

I see the remains of graham crackers littering the hallway, and fingerprints on the walls.  Then, I saw it:  the telltale sign that one of the twins had recently been in the area:  Owen's diaper was sitting on the floor.  Twin droppings are not rare...but they are key to finding their location. 

The bedroom door was closed.  I could hear voices on the other side.  I slowly opened it...being careful to not spook them...there is nothing quite like a toddler stampede.  Sure enough, Connor was sitting in a pulled out plastic drawer, and the elusive Owen was hiding under the Leap Frog Learning Table...I could tell it was Owen by the bare butt cheeks sticking out of the back of it. 

I suppose I should look at the bright side:  if they ever get lost in public, it won't be too difficult to find them.  I just hope Owen leaves his clothes on.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Daily Life

Drip Drip Drip
The coffee is taking too long.
The teens are running
Toaster Strudel is cooking
The toddler is demanding cake.
In a brief Bill Cosby moment...I consider it.
The teenage girl can't find concealer
The teenage boy can't find socks
The babies are climbing the furniture.

Kids are off to school
The Imagination Movers sing
Owen dances along.
Irelynn needs help going potty
Connor gets into the trash
He is now covered in blue and green frosting.

The dishes mock me from the sink
As I scrub blue fingerprints off the wall.
Twin boys fight over a toy
The toddler intervenes
Creating two screaming babies.
Naptime doesn't come soon enough.

Kids are home
Homework begins
Arguments ensue.
Dinner preparations are made difficult
By babies stealing pots and pans.

"Shut up!"
"You shut up!"
"All of you go to your rooms!"

Dinner is dished
Dishes are set
Settled into chairs are the kids.
The noise begins
The kids unsettled
With dishes now placed on heads.
Food is on the floor
Kids are arguing
The toddler is demanding cake.

Time for baths
Where both children and adults get covered in water.
Babies are clean
Older kids are bored
The grown-ups are exhausted.

Older kids are sent to bed
The toddler is carried, screaming, to her's.
The babies are rocked, one by one.

It's finally quiet, but way too late
I open a beer, anyway.
Time for bed...but first get the coffee pot set.
It won't be long, the alarm will sound,
And we will start it all over again.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Boys vs. Girls

Don't get me wrong...both of my girls are strong-willed young ladies.  I like to describe them as...feisty.  However, I have found baby boys to be a whole new arena.  While both genders are fascinated by and unnervingly adept at mastering many forms of technology...I have found that there are a few differences in how each gender applies these skills.  Irelynn could change and play CD's at a young age.  She was a button pusher...examining the device with scrutiny and remembering how to not only change the source and input, but also how to play, stop, and skip tracks.  The boys, while intrigued by the fact that their actions have an equal and opposite reaction...are much more interested in finding out just how much force the objects can withstand.  For example:  can the Wii remotes, after successfully interrupting the current Star Wars game between the older children, then still work properly after being slammed into the end table, dragged across the floor, and licked?  And how does the surround system really work?  Realizing that the buttons not only control the power, but the volume as well, was not good enough.  They have successfully managed to tear the face plate off of the box and examine the wires inside.  The blu-ray player has not only been opened, closed, and stopped mid-movie, but it has been shoved off of the entertainment center (after removing the DVD and licking it.)  And the boys work together as a team.  Just as you scoop up the one as he opens the DVD player, he smiles at his brother, who then proceeds to remove the DVD and run across the living room, waving it triumphantly in the air.

The differences do not lie only with electronic exploration.  I have learned that food is much more than a simple source of fuel.  It is an art medium.  Now, I remember messes with Irelynn.  I believe I have pictures of her cute chubby face covered in spaghetti sauce.  What I do not remember, however, is food being used as a weapon, a game, or a form of expression.  Never before have I had to clean the floor, the highchair, or the child nearly as much as I do everyday with the boys.  Connor is just plain messy.  I swear the child has a hole in his mouth.  Owen...Owen is an artist.  And I think he may have anger issues.  He has thrown food at his brother.  And the floor.  I have also given up on putting food in a bowl or on a plate, as he thinks it is hilarious to wear it on his head. 

I also do not remember my heart stopping quite so much with Irelynn.  Although she liked to explore her surroundings, it did not involve climbing shelves, balancing between coffee tables and reclining chairs, riding the cats or surfing on Fisher Price xylophones.  Having two boys makes this all that more nerve-wracking, as you try to decide who to save first:  the boy trying to climb onto the dining room table, or the one riding the snarling cat as he smacks it over the head with the xylophone stick. 

While I can honestly attest to the fact that boys are much more difficult as toddlers, I must say that by the time they reach the preteen years, the tables turn.  The boys suddenly become the easier ones as hormones kick in and mood swings come out in full force.  I'm not sure which is more difficult, honestly...the toddler boy...or the teenage girl.  I guess I'll go with the toddler boy, being as I have double the trouble.  But...I do think that I will be thankful in about ten more years that I did not have twin girls.

Currently, though...I'm thinking about investing in alot of bubble wrap.  Or maybe just a couple of very large dog crates.  If I get one big enough...perhaps I can use it on the teenage girl occasionally...

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

It's a Molson Night

It was a dark and stormy night in the Sawdon house. It began when the toddler woke up from her nap with an attitude that rivaled her older sister's. In fact...I think she had her older sister scared.

"Irelynn, did you have a good nap?"

The toddler whirled around and glared at her sister.

"Um...ok then..."

It all seemed to go down hill from there. I was making a Hamburger Helper meal...mainly because I couldn't justify eating pizza for the third time in the past week. Jaylond was making a sound that he called "beatboxing," but sounded more like an angry duck with bad flatulence. The older girl was repeatedly telling him to "stop." The toddler was on a mission to take out her anger on every living thing in the house. I hear the CD player in her room switch songs. She was at the table glaring at Jaylond, so I went to her room to see what was up.

Owen was standing on his toes, reaching up and hitting the skip button on the player. He found a song he liked and started bouncing up and down. I scoop him up to take him out of the room, and he loudly expressed his displeasure...which only encouraged Jaylond's noise session to increase in volume as well.

Connor...where was Connor? I head back into the kitchen to find him scooping scraps of food out of the garbage can...and eating it. Well...there's a nice story for them in a few years...while Owen is mastering his technical skills, his brother is eating out of the garbage. Nice. For the record: I do feed my children. Honest.

Dinner is ready, Bruce is home, and I crack open a beer. We sit down at the table, and our toddler quickly informs us that she does not like what we are about to eat. Now, just telling us this was apparently not good enough. She had to circle the table and whine...and repeatedly tell us that we ate this just yesterday and she did not like it.

"Irelynn...we did not eat this yesterday."

"I know. But I don't like it!!"

Owen was grabbing handfuls of meat and sauce and tossing it on the floor. Connor was taking his spoon and smearing it all over the table with all the concentration of a brooding artist. Irelynn circled behind them and came to me to tell me, once more, that she did not like what we were having. It was then that Connor decided that she would make a nice canvas, as well.

I thought Jaylond's flatulant duck was bad. The scream that came out of the toddler's mouth as food hit her head made me fear for the glass bottle sitting in front of me. No...not the beer...please, not the beer...

When the toddler came to her senses and moved out of the range of our little abstract artist, she circled back around the table only to discover that the older girl had taken the cup that she had wanted. As we witnessed yet another meltdown, we also happened to notice that the older girl, having put strawberry syrup into her milk, did not bother to get a spoon to stir it. Instead, she shook her cup in a circular motion, thus splattering pink milk onto the table.

Owen growled. Connor screeched. The older two argued. Irelynn continued to demonstrate just how healthy her lungs are.

The rest of the night is a bit of a blur. My husband let me take a shower. I'm not sure how long I was in there...but I did run out of hot water. I was beginning to imagine how long I could survive locked in the bathroom if we stocked a mini-fridge full of beer in there. The children are now finally in bed, and I have cracked open another Molson. It's a good thing we bought the case at Sam's Club.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Yard Waste

It was time. We had not ventured into the jungle that was now our yard since shortly after our sons' first birthday, in the beginning of September. Bruce had been telling our oldest son that we needed to mow it one last time...for over a month. Cleverly avoiding it until now, the yard became a major undertaking. You would have thought we had told our son he needed to fix the economy in one day or something.

While he begrudgingly cut the grass in the front, my husband tried to wrangle stray lawn furniture and fixtures in the back. The girls were playing an elaborate game that involved pretending to drive to Sam's Club and purchasing pretend slushies. I was attempting to herd babies across the yard, and keep them from eating dandelions. My husband, whether he was frustrated at the amount of time things were taking, or he just felt sorry for Jay, took a turn with the lawn mower, starting along the back. I glance over and see that my husband is no longer mowing the lawn...but going at my garden with a vengence.


Nothing but the loud whir of the lawnmower as he pummels the garden.


I am beginning to wonder if he is ignoring me, or he honestly cannot hear me. I begin to run across the yard, baby in my one arm, the other waving frantically, as if my husband can somehow see me even though his back is turned.


The older kids look at me, eyes wide, and Bruce finally turns around and looks at me, confused.


He cuts the motor and shrugs.

"I was taking out that huge ugly weed on the side of the house."

"That's not a weed, that's my butterfly bush!!!"


"Do not mow the garden, please. Stick to cutting the grass."

The older girl begins to snicker, and Jaylond says, "our family could have their own TV show. Seriously."

Yes Jay...I agree.

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Time for an Update

I am dusting off my keyboard (or rather, wiping off the banana and jelly stains which have accumulated from toddler usage) to add an entry to my blog. I know it's been awhile, and my mother, for one, has reminded me more than once. With Bruce's insane work hours (which I'm still convinced are not entirely legal,) I have been trying to settle into the role of single mom...which as my toddler demonstrated the other day with the phrase, "DAMMIT...I can't find my shirt!"... I'm not handling it very well. I could blog about the preteens' adventures in middle school (although I think the older girl would KILL me;) I could blog about Irelynn and her idea of decorating pumpkins, involving a Sharpie marker and a gooey pumpkin canvas, and her attempts to "help" her sister decorate her's....or I could blog about finding Owen under a bowl of Ramen noodle soup, with a huge grin, and noodles sliding down his head. However, I think the most interesting recent event was our trip up north....me with five children...and no husband...on a four-hour drive.

I shall spare you the details of getting ready for the trip, which my sister could tell you was pure mayhem, and skip to the car ride up there. All was well until we stopped to eat at a Burger King. It wasn't a "real" Burger King...it was one of those gas stations that had a fast food corner inside. They had one high chair. I had two babies who had been cooped up in a van for a couple of hours. Needless to say, this was not a pleasant dinner. Connor's food ended up on the floor. Owen's food ended up in Connor. My food...did I have food? I don't remember. My poor mother, who graciously rode with us, became the second high chair. Then we noticed an odd smell. It was a whopper...but not one that we ordered. Owen figured he would relieve himself while we were stopped. It would have been good timing....if the restroom had a changing table. We made do with the counter.

Back on the road...and into the rain...when my windshield wipers decided not to work. They got stuck in the "up" position. Brilliant. Luckily, they started up again, but now I see that part of the weather stripping on the bottom of the windshield has come loose. As we drive in the rain, with now cranky, screaming babies and two preteens that CANNOT get along, the little black rubber strip mocked me, flapping in front of my face. My mother, always the optimist, tried to cheer me up with her own version of the "suburban housewife" rap, pertaining to driving up north.

"We're going to Elmira....to have a Bud-weis-uh!"

The rubber strip, having not brought our spirits down sufficiently, entwined itself in the wipers, freezing them up the air. My mother gasped and fumbled for the cell phone to inform my stepfather that we had an emergency (he was driving behind us.) I told her it was ok, it wasn't a life or death situation, and we made it off the road into Zilwaukee. After fixing the problem (which meant yanking the dang strip from the window entirely,) we were back on the road with working windshield wipers once again.

Owen and Connor expressed their displeasure by alternating between crying, screaming, and yelling at us in what I believe was Klingon. My mother came up with another colorful verse to her rap, ending in the chorus:

"We're going to Elmira...to have a Bud-weis-uh....or two...."

I finally enlist the help of the older boy to quickly move the portable DVD player to the middle of the van and put in some Backyardigans...stat.

Ahhh...as we are almost there...quiet.

Once there, I was relieved for a moment. Until I realized where we would be staying. My older brother and sister-in-law were remodeling the main part of the house, so their massive garage had been converted into a livable space. It was huge, and had their couch and big-screen TV, a dining room table, and their fridge and stove with room to spare. Unfortunately...it was not baby-proof...and it was still a garage...meaning outside the "living room" area....it was concrete. I have really under-appreciated having a gated, baby-proof room in my house. The entire weekend was spent baby wrangling. We attempted to block off dangerous areas with dog crates, ottomans, and my future brother-in-law's...well...I think it was a laundry bag, I'm not sure. We chased them around couches and tables. When I say "we," I am referring to my sister, my mother and I...and occasionally my future brother-in-law who was probably afraid that my sister would kick his arse if he didn't help out. The rest of the family pretty much ignored the rampaging toddlers, whose favorite activities became walking up to the big screen TV and banging on it (after the initial awe of witnessing "Micky Mouse Clubhouse" three times bigger than they are used to it.) Connor also found the box of empty beer cans...which he was determined to get into, not to mention the shelf of breakable items, and the nice Macbook that was precariously left out within their reach.

Naptime and nighttime were excruciating. They did not want to nap. They wanted to cry. And bang on the TV. The pack n' play was set up in another room, with the creakiest floor imaginable. I spent hours trying to rock them asleep atop an exercise ball, and then figure out where each creaky part of the floor was located, and try to avoid it. I think most of my time was spent in that room. At night they woke up several times, and luckily a couple of times my sister or my mother would hear and come in to help. The first night, however, one of my brothers, who will remain anonymous, created a different...um...obstacle...while trying to get the twins to sleep. My sister was holding and shushing Owen. I was on top of the exercise ball, rocking Connor. And in stumbles...the anonymous brother...who was more than slightly intoxicated. He waddled into the room in a confused state....and I say "waddled" because his pants were halfway down, his hands gripping the sides of them, as I assume he was in search of a restroom. My jaw dropped as he stopped in front of me, and gazed down at Connor.

"Awwww...." He stared down at him...for at least a full minute.

I glance questioningly at my sister, who gives me the "I have no clue what to do right now" look, as we are exposed to much more of our brother than we ever wanted to see. Lets just say, we were "Chris"tened that evening. Finally, he comes to his senses (sort of,) and turns around to waddle his way toward the other bathroom....his pasty white butt hanging out in all it's glory. We hear my stepdad come downstairs a few moments later, knocking on the bathroom door, inquiring, loudly, if he fell asleep in there. My sister sets Owen down and decides she'd better help. She guided our brother back to the garage area and the couch. Needless to say, it was the favorite story told around the table the next day.

When it was finally time to head south, we had a new set of adventures awaiting us. A toddler having to go potty...right now...led us off an offramp that, while signs claimed they had gas, food and lodging, had pretty much nothing for miles, except for a lone DNR office. We finally decided to just turn around and see if the DNR place had a restroom....we pulled off onto a dirt driveway and turnaround....and found that apparently this turnaround was meant for jeeps and SUV's...not minivans. We got stuck in the mud. The kids found this quite funny, as I desparately spun the wheels to no avail. I, however, did not. In my sleep-deprived state, my sense of humor left me somewhere between the last chorus of my mother's rap and the boys' decision not to sleep. Luckily, my stepfather did have an SUV...and some rope. So, we finally got out...and stopped at the DNR office. After yanking my toddler out of the van, in her bright pink footed pj's and sneakers, running to the door and yanking on it....I realize that the sign in front of me states clearly that the DNR is closed on the weekend. Brilliant.

I set Irelynn down, and she walks next to me back to the van.

"It's ok, Mommy. I don't have to go anymore."

"You don't?"

"No...I already went in my pants back when we got stuck."


So, we get back on the freeway and about two miles down....see a rest area. Of course. So I stopped, and took out the toddler to put her in a new pull-up....and then realized we were out of pull-ups. Could this trip GET any better? So, I have my 3-year-old squeeze into a size 3 baby diaper (because I was not about to risk driving another few hours with her only in underwear,) and get back on the road.

Having had literally no sleep over the weekend, I began to feel drowsy...I was starting to imagine that I was in a submarine in search of mermaids...when I realized the babies were sleeping. So I asked Jay to please turn off the Backyardigans mermaid episode that we had now watched for the fifth time. We pulled over into a gas station, and as my mom stood there with the kids, I ran in and purchased a 32-ounce Mt. Dew, a 5-hour energy shot...and a bag of M&M's.

We made it home safely. My husband would not be coming home that night. Wonderful. I'm beginning to really hate his job. So, after several more feedings, and hours of rocking, the boys are down, I collapse onto the bed, and vaguely remember my husband arriving home sometime between 4 and 5am, just in time for Connor to wake up...again. Needless to say, I picked up Connor, handed him over to my husband with a bottle, and climbed back into bed.

Hopefully now that I have gotten some semblance of sleep since this event, I will have time to update my blog a little more often. Hopefully.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Life With Twins

It is amazing that I have not lost weight by now...I mean alot of weight. I feel as though I am constantly on the move. It must be those late night snacks...you know, a bite of cinnamon cake as I heat up a bottle at 3am, a shot of Redi Whip as I put the milk back in the fridge. Not great, but short of brewing a pot of coffee in the middle of the night, I do all that I can to make sure I don't accidentally give the boys soda or rum in my sleep-deprived state. Which leads me to the first, and actually, most difficult part of having twins. You learn quickly to live on no sleep.

Anyone who has a baby will say, "yeah, so? We've all been there." No...no. It is not the same. Trust me. Take what you have been through...and multiply it by two. And crying it out is not an option when babies are sharing a room. Not unless you want two screaming babies...and eventually a toddler waking up wondering what all the noise is...and another cup of water.

We have it down to a routine at night. As soon as a baby cries, I jump out of bed and grab him, shushing him, in hopes to not wake the other baby. I bring him to my groggy husband, along with a diaper, and he begins to change him while I go out to prepare a bottle. Or two, depending on whether or not the other baby is also awake. We do it this way, because if my husband were responsible for getting up to get the baby...well, it might never happen. He will take about three minutes just to sit up and get his bearings...then, eventually stumble out of the room. The entire house would be awake by the time he got there. And so...this is my responsibility. Hence the late night foraging on my part. We then feed the babies (or take turns if it is only one at a time,) and put them back to bed....only to repeat the routine a couple of hours later. I have learned that rocking them back to sleep does not work well...unless you want to be rocking for a good hour, and then have to stay up because the next baby is up after that. An hour of sleep is still an hour of sleep.

Then, during the day, after several cups of coffee, I commence damage control. Has anyone seen the movie, Shrek the 3rd? There is a scene in it where Shrek is dreaming about coming home to find not one, but several little ogre babies...they are all going in different directions, and he is running around like crazy trying to scoop them up before some dangerous peril befalls them. That is a fairly accurate description of my day.

I have them pretty much locked in the living room, which, for the most part, is fairly well baby-proofed. However, they find ways of getting into things they shouldn't. Don't ask me how....they just do. For example, we have a computer out there. They can't get to the cords, but they have managed to pry open the computer case. As I pull Owen away from the now open computer, I hear a squeal behind me. Connor has climbed into the infant seat I had sitting out to take to a Mom 2 Mom sale...he is standing up in it, holding onto the handle, and rocking it back and forth while squealing with joy. I set Owen down to go grab Connor and put the infant seat on the other side of the gate.


I whirl around to find Owen shoving the external hard drive back behind the entertainment center. He opens the DVD drive on the DVD player and pulls out a disc...licks it...and tries to put it back. Meanwhile, Connor has found the remote, and has switched the channel.

"Look Mommy! It's Obama!"

Irelynn is trying to help me do damage control by yanking away any item she thinks they shouldn't have, but is momentarily stunned by her idol on the television. Connor sees his chance, and takes her juice...which is not spill proof.

This is why I am exhausted by the end of the day.

Last night I ran out to the store, leaving a reluctant husband behind with the kids. As I searched the coffee aisle for some pumpkin spice cappuccino (I will have to ask my mother-in-law where she finds hers,) I see a woman scanning the coffee shelves. She has a baby in her arms, and she is trying to console her. I look down to see another baby in an infant seat, fussing in her cart. The woman looks tired. I smile.


She smiles and nods.

"How old are they?"

"Two months."

I smile down at the babies.

"I recently celebrated my twin boys' first birthday."

Her eyes got wide and she smiled.

"It does get easier."

It wasn't a lie. It wasn't the complete truth...but I remember those days. Those are the days that you really wonder if you will ever get through it....the days you are scared out of your mind. In that way, it does get easier as time passes. You learn that this, too, shall pass. You are stronger than you think...and that life may be difficult, but it isn't without wonder, amusement, and a whole lot of humor. Someday she'll look back and think that it wasn't so bad. Or she'll blog about it...one of the two.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Trying To Go With The Flow...

"Irelynn...get your pants on!"

"I am!" She is zoning out while Mickey Mouse starts singing the "Hot Dog" song.

I am frantically running around, putting together the diaper bag, looking for Connor's missing shoe, and trying to locate the directions to the apple orchard. It was Irelynn's field trip day at her preschool. I run back to the bathroom, thinking I'd better go one last time. Great...a kid forgot to flush. I flushed the toilet...and instantly regretted it.

The brown water began to rise. I quickly grabbed the plunger and desperately tried to unclog the toilet...with no luck. The water continued to rise, spilling over the top.


I glance around at our bathroom floor, littered with tub toys, clothes, and a pair of Irelynn's shoes. I picked up a shoe and set it on the side of the bathtub while continuing to plunge.

"NO NO NO NO!!!!" The water is still spilling out, now covering the floor and making it's way to the hallway.

The three younger ones, trapped in the living room by a baby gate, are getting concerned. Owen starts shaking the bars, calling "mamamamama...."

Connor starts crying.

Irelynn tries her best to keep me calm.

"It's okay, Mommy! Mommy...everything is okay...Mommy, listen to me...it is ALRIGHT!"

I grab the phone and frantically call my husband, who is riding in the back of a jeep across the state for a project he has to do for work.

"THE TOILET IS OVERFLOWING!!!! I CAN'T MAKE IT STOP!!! I don't know what to doooooo....."

He calmly tells me to turn the water off at the pipe. Oh. Duh.

"Mommy....everything is okay!"

I turn the water off, and grab the carpet cleaner and begin sucking up poop water from the floor. My mom arrives. It's time to go.

Luckily, the apple orchard trip was fun...and incident-free. But then I had to come home.

As the older children arrived home from school, I informed them that the one bathroom was out of commission. It starts off okay. Jaylond, the thoughtful child that he is, took an excruciatingly long time announcing that he was going to be occupying the bathroom for awhile, so if anyone else had to go, now was the time. He asked every member of the family, multiple times, if they had to go. Finally, slightly irritated, I snapped.

"JUST GO!" I took a deep breath. "Sorry...but I think you're fine to use the bathroom...just go ahead."

I kid you not....thirty seconds later, the older girl is tattling on him. She decided she did, in fact, have to go...and he was "not hurrying up." I remind her that he offered plenty of chances before he got in for her to go. This apparently did not matter. She set up camp outside the bathroom and began a verbal assault until the boy had no choice but to surrender.

She apparently needed to do the same thing, because she spent a good 20-minutes occupying the bathroom. When she finished...right on cue...the toddler informs me that she, too, has to go.


I lead her to the working toilet...only to find out that it is no longer working. It, too, was now clogged.


"Mommy...I have to go poop."

Okay. Deep breath. I have the older girl retrieve the toddler potty from the other bathroom, and set it in the hall, so I can work on unclogging this toilet.

"But Mommy...I can't use this potty. It isn't clean."

"Irelynn...just use it right now. I can't do anything about it at the moment."

She finally condescends to using the dirty potty. I hear the babies start to cry in the living room. Owen is yelling for me, Connor is whining. Jaylond disappeared downstairs, and the older girl is whining about the fact that our house currently smells like a sewer.

"Mommy! Come wipe me!"

Bruce finally arrived home...looking a little scared.

"Are you okay?"

"It's been a pretty shitty day."

I love my husband. Truly. How many men would come home to that, go unclog multiple toilets, and scrub down a bathroom with bleach, and then have a beer with his exhausted wife?

Needless to say, our family then had a meeting regarding toilet paper usage and proper flushing technique.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

The Gym

After many attempts to exercise at home, all ending prematurely in babies waking up from naps, or overly affectionate cats disrupting my downward facing dogs, I finally gave up and joined a gym. I have never worked out at a gym before. Now I remember why.

First of all, I am not exactly the "gym" type. I do not own real "workout" clothes. My hair does not look cute pulled back into a ponytail. I do not own an iPod. And I do not know how to operate an elliptical machine. The treadmill I figured out ok...but as I'm working up a sweat just walking swiftly, I feel slightly awkward next to the tall, shapely blonde running next to me effortlessly. I look down at my over-sized tee-shirt bearing the confused face of Vizzini from "The Princess Bride" and the words "Inconcievable!" on it. I have some stretchy capri pants that resemble pj pants more than workout pants, and no iPod. I'm beginning to feel self-conscious.

The next time I went, I tried to prepare a little better. I found some stretchy black yoga pants at Target. I wore a tee-shirt, still baggy, but less conspicuous. At least it was not advertising movies or beer, as several of the tee-shirts I own do. I even dug up my $10 MP3 player that I bought a long time ago and have never really used.

I decide to try out the elliptical machine. I'm not quite sure what the different settings mean. I see you can incline it....so I push the button. Nothing happened. I push it several more times. Suddenly the machine tilts up...at nearly a 90-degree angle. Whoa. I frantically push the "down" button until it becomes slightly more tolerable. After 10-minutes I decide it's time to move on. I step off of the machine and immediately hope that no one is watching as I realize my legs have been reduced to jello. I pretend that nothing is wrong, and concentrate extremely hard on walking straight to get to the spray bottles and paper towels. Somehow I made it to the table, and lingered there, hanging onto the water fountain, acting as though I am just extremely thirsty, and not, in fact, trying to keep myself from falling to the floor. I start to feel normal again, and decide to move on.

I get on one of the bikes. It also has options ranging from "auto pilot" to "alpine pass." I finally choose a setting and begin working out. This isn't so bad. Almost easy. I then realize that I am listening to "Champagne Supernova" by Oasis, and pedaling to the beat of the song. Hmm...better find a more upbeat song. I flip through, finding some Katy Perry songs. I realize I have a song of hers that is not one of her more popular ones. I start cracking up at the lyrics. I then realize that I am sitting there, in the middle of a gym, thoroughly amused on a stationary bike. Again, I hope no one is watching.

I survived that workout session. I even came back another day...with all three little ones...with intentions of utilizing the free childcare. But that, my friends, is another story. Perhaps I'll tell it tomorrow. In the meantime, I must go back to my daily workout of wrestling Connor back into his diaper.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

The Spider and the Beach

It was a typical evening in the Sawdon household. Babies were crawling around, climbing on things, wreaking havoc in the living room. Connor was screeching. The Disney channel was providing background noise. The older children were finding new and creative ways to prolong doing their chores. Irelynn was attempting to get my attention in various ways.

"Mom...you remember this?"

I look at her, and she says what sounded like, "back off, Bitch."


My mind frantically races, trying to remember the last time we drove somewhere and whether or not I had said anything inappropriate at the wheel.

"Backyard Bitch!"

My mouth is still hanging open.

"Backyard BEACH," my husband interjects from the chair. I glance over at him.

"It was a 'Phineas and Ferb' episode," he explains, "where they built a beach in their backyard, and then they sing about it, Reggae style...'Nothing's out of reach, we got a backyard beach.'"

For those who want to see...and hear...what she was trying to sing, here is a link:


"That's what I said....backyard bitch."

"Irelynn it's backyard beach..."

"I know...backyard bitch..."


"Peach...backyard peach!"

We look at each other. Close enough. I make a mental note to warn the preschool teacher the following morning.

The next few moments are a blur....I recall my husband spotting a spider, but before taking care of it, he wants a flashlight to get a closer look at it. Meanwhile, the older girl is frantically trying to figure out the corner in the house that will put the most distance between her and the spider. Jaylond is trying to be a heroic big brother and swoop all babies out of the way, who respond with noises that sounded like they belonged in Maurice Sendak's Where the Wild Things Are. Irelynn is skipping around the living room singing, "Backyard Bitch." Bruce tells Jaylond to get the headlamp from his work bag (a "cool" gadget he found online...an LED light...that you wear...on your head.) He shines the light at the spider.

"Man, he has a big ass....I just want to make sure...."

Irelynn, now on the couch, pipes up, "that 'pider has a big ass. I don't like big ass 'piders."

"Irelynn, don't say that...Daddy shouldn't have said that." I glare at Bruce, who has a sheepish grin.

He begins debating with Jay what would be the best angle to swing a shoe to ensure the spider does not escape. After much deliberating, my husband makes an executive decision and finally gets rid of the spider. We then realize, as the cat jumps past him and out the window, why we are having spider problems...the cat has successfully torn a hole in the window screen...one big enough for him to fit through.

I make a mental note to visit the hardware store.


My "To Do" list just keeps getting longer...and more odd.

I think I'm going to have alot of explaining to do to Irelynn's teacher.

Friday, September 4, 2009

We put the "fun" in "dysfunctional."

I am already anticipating calls home from the preschool. An outing yesterday made me realize just how dysfunctional our family sounds at times.

It all took place in the van. My sister rode with us to the store, and then out to lunch. I usually try to tune the kids out in the van...literally. As the arguments get louder, and I begin to hear the infamous "MOOOOM!," the volume on the radio goes up. I've found that this is a useful trick...it annoys the kids almost as much as they annoy me...and they stop arguing for about 30-seconds. Most of the time I can successfully tune them out...but sometimes there are things that just cannot be ignored.

Irelynn started talking to Owen. I do not know what the conversation entailed, as I was not paying attention until she informed me that Owen was using some interesting language. Owen does not talk yet.

"Mommy, Owen said, 'what the Hell!'"

"Irelynn...Owen did not say that, and you do not need to say that, either."

Then, from the back, the older girl (probably seeing that I was momentarily listening to kids' complaints) chimed in:

"MOOO-OM! Can you tell Jay to stop pointing the gun at me and poking me with it?"


"Do not be waving the gun over the baby's carseat! I want you to set the gun on the floor, and kick it forward. I want your hands where I can see them."

My sister is starting to crack up. I reassure her that it is a squirt gun...not a 9mm. Not that I would put it past my kids. I begin to realize it sounds like I'm raising my kids in a ghetto.

But on a happy note...Happy Birthday to my baby boys. Here's to making it through the first year!

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Connor's First Haircut

I had not intended on cutting my baby's hair yet. It began with taking the children out to get haircuts for the start of school. I ventured out to the local Fantastic Sam's with all five children in tow...and, as always, it turned into a bit of an adventure.

I put the babies in the monstrosity of a stroller, Irelynn at my heels, and the older kids walking at enough of a distance that it could be questioned whether or not they belonged to me. I'm finding as they get older, that distance seems to grow ever so slightly. It could be because I am no longer cool, in my formula stained oversized tee-shirt. It could be that I say words like "Yay," "Poo-poo," and "Binky." Or it could be because I am pushing a monster stroller that is packed with enough supplies to survive a week in the wilderness.

As we enter, people stare. I sign the kids up, and Jay is the first to go. The stylist is trying to convince him to go a bit shorter, as he was beginning to look as though he had a mullet. He agreed that a mullet was not cool, and let her go to work, without going too short, of course...because clean-cut is also not cool.

Irelynn repeatedly asked if it was her turn. She is the only toddler I know who absolutely loves to get haircuts. She asks once a week or so to get another one. It was finally her turn, and I ask Jay to help entertain the babies so that I can be next to her. Jay took the term "entertain" quite seriously, and the next thing I know Comedy Hour has started up in the waiting area, complete with the twins laughing and applauding. People begin to smile and giggle. It can only last for so long, though, before something happens.

"Uh, Mom...we have an emergency over here!"

I look over to Jay, who is holding Connor.


"Connor took his pants off!!"

Sure enough, there was my smiling baby boy, pantless. I go to help put them back on, which, if anyone has a one-year-old might know...is not an easy feat. Connor was determined to only be in his diaper and shirt, and put up a good struggle. We finally got them on, and Irelynn's haircut was finished. And she had to go potty. Now.

I look pleadingly at Jay and ask if would mind watching the twins for a couple minutes so I could run her into the bathroom. The older girl was busy getting her hair done. Jay let out a sigh that said "do I have a choice?"

We made it to the restroom just in time.

We came out just in time to find out that Owen apparently had to go, too. Jaylond informed me that he stank...big time. And he was cranky.

Finally the older girl's hair was done...it took awhile because not only did they cut it, but took the time to flip it, mouse it, spray it and scrunch it. It was certainly flippy. And had alot of volume. And would look nothing like that the minute she washed it. I did a mental cringe and hoped she realized that.

Then, I had a mental lapse. The thought was that, I was here anyway...it would be awhile before I came again...and I didn't want to try it on my own. I looked down at my shaggy-haired baby and asked the lady if she had time to do one more. I sat him on my lap, Irelynn kept his attention, and curls began to fall. I began to get worried...but upon my request, she left the curls in the back. At the risk of giving him an uncool mullet, I let her trim up the rest of his hair.

Then...the big moment came....the moment the kids all wait for (even still, as teens)...time to get the after haircut sucker. Alas...they were all out of suckers. I thought Irelynn might cry. But then, they came up with something better. A Hannah Montana poster. My toddler perked right up.

So, it ended well. When we got home, I put the babies down for a nap, and hung Hannah right under The Jonas Brothers poster on Irelynn's wall.

At least the kids' look good. All four of them. Well, five, because Owen has yet to grow enough hair to warrant cutting.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

What is this term "sleep" you speak of?

I miss sleep. I remember having only one baby...and there got to be a point where she would sleep through the night. I don't remember when it was, but I'm pretty certain it was before she turned a year old. Of course, with one baby, you can let her cry it out a little. It is very different when you have two babies.

First, Owen does not want to sleep. He resists it with everything he has...he might miss something. You cannot simply lay Owen down when he is tired. It is equivalent to feeding a Mogwai after midnight. Suddenly you hear yelling...snarling...the shaking of crib bars...and every once in awhile, what sounds like something being launched toward the other crib. No, Owen needs to be rocked to sleep...every nap, every night. And if he is not completely asleep, you might as well just continue to rock, because he will wake up, and he will turn into a little Tazmanian devil in his crib. Once Owen is asleep, however, he sleeps well. Unless his brother wakes him up. Which brings us to Connor.

Connor generally goes down without too much of a fuss. For the most part. However, he has some sort of internal alarm clock that is set to go off every two hours. The only way to hit the "snooze" button before the alarm wakes up his brother is to have a bottle ready quickly and shove it in his mouth....generally before you even finish changing his diaper. Sometimes, at 3am, I do not move very fast. That is when Owen wakes up...and begins morphing into a gremlin. If he is tired enough, a bottle and diaper change will be sufficient enough to coax him back to sleep...but if he becomes alert enough, the rocking process must begin again.

My husband makes fun of me and how much coffee I drink. Along with the 5-hour energy shots (which I can tell you do not last five hours. Perhaps they mean five hours of working at a computer or something, not five hours of chasing babies, wiping off the eyeliner that the toddler found and applied to her cheeks while I was feeding a baby, mediating preteen battles, and attempting to clean during children's naptimes.) He can't understand why I'm not completely wired. Over the years I have built up a tolerance to caffeine. I can put away quite a bit before I even get a buzz.

I think someone needs to invent a 24-hour energy shot for moms. It should taste like chocolate. It should also help you lose weight.


I must go chase some babies now...they have informed me that they are finished with their breakfast.

Friday, August 21, 2009


I used to be a neat person. I also used to be sane, but that is another story.

I was very organized. My room was neat...I loved office supplies...in fact, that was my favorite aisle at the store. I learned how to meticulously balance a checkbook. My mother even once told me that I should be an interior decorator.

So, why, then, do I live in a constant state of chaos? Is it because I married a packrat? Well, partially, but that's beside the point. Is it because I have five kids? Probably, partly. But that still does not explain where my skills seem to have disappeared to. I think they somehow got lost in the fray of being responsible for someone other than myself. That...and somehow priorities began to shift. Watching my kids splash in puddles or paint became more important than keeping them perfectly clean. And life suddenly became more important that my home...because my definition of "home" changed. After many moves, ups and downs, and constant shifting in our lives...my family became "home," rather than my house. Houses will come and go...but life goes on...and if you're too busy folding clothes...you might miss it.

I'm not going to lie...I used to be slightly OCD. My children would attempt to straighten the living room...and I would go behind them and reposition the pillows and the knick knacks. I wanted my baby to always be dressed in the cutest outfit...especially if we were going out somewhere. I look at my poor boys now, one donning only a diaper, and the other in some stained sweatpants, and feel slightly guilty. My toddler streaks through the house with Tinkerbell underwear overtop a pair of ruffly tights...and a Halloween shirt. The pillows are on the floor, and we have very few knick knacks now.

In my defense, I can tell you that Owen loves to dance and cuddle, Connor loves peek-a-boo, and Irelynn bakes up all sorts of things with me...which can be seen by the flour on the counter, the eggshells in the sink, and vanilla extract stains on the floor. Jaylond crushes me in Wii bowling, and the older girl...well...she can ignore me really well....when she's not going on about Edward from Twilight, anyway.

Of course...this also means that I have trouble keeping track of things now. It also means that you could probably scrape together a full meal with the contents that have dropped onto the dining room floor on many days. And sometimes....I have to wear dirty pants because I didn't get to the laundry.

How does one find a balance with kids? I can only imagine how much more difficult it must be with working moms.

I did buy a new planner. It's really cute. The sheets can be taken out and posted up on my bulletin board. I've even began...get this....meal planning. I even broke out different colored markers to fill out the wall calendar with everyone's activities.

If only there was a magic Clutter Fairy to help out with all our...stuff. Come to think of it, a magic Laundry Fairy would be nice, too.

Well, my kids might never know what an organized home really looks like...but hopefully they will know that they were loved, in all their dirty, crazy clothes-wearing, disorganized glory.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Stretch-Strollers, Room Mist, and Hannah Montana

I am often suffer from illusion that fewer kids make for an easier shopping experience. When dealing with five children on a normal basis, the thought of going out with only two seems like...a luxury. A piece of cake. It's what normal people do. I underestimate the issues that still arise when the two children in question are still babies.

My sister-in-law offered to take the older three children swimming. My toddler was ready two and half hours before they were supposed to go...donning her swimsuit, lifejacket, and carrying around towels. It was a challenge to get her to eat breakfast. Finally, the time came, and off they went....leaving me....free. Sort of.

I decide to get out of the house, and head to the dollar store, followed by the mall. My mother accompanied me and the boys. I was feeling pretty good....stroller, check. Diaper bag, check. Bottles....juice...snacks, check, check, check. Pacifiers and blanket animals...check and check.

I always forget just how big our stroller is, though. It is the stretch limousine of strollers. It is a double stroller...PLUS an added seat off the back to accomodate the toddler. It is a brilliant design for someone with three little ones....and a real bitch to turn corners. People stared. We almost took out a couple of end caps. Connor lost his binky. Owen dropped his bear. Connor threw his juice.

We ventured on to the mall, and tried to maneuver through Bath and Body Works. I think I rear-ended an old lady. My mom accidentally sprayed room mist on her wrist, and promptly used the tester hand soap to wash it off. Connor tried to sample some antibacterial lotion from a display. We smelled some candles, and left.

It was then that the rest of the kids met up with us, and their aunt went on her way. After getting some icecream (not because the kids deserved it, but I think my mom and I did,) we returned my mom to her house, smelling like Fresh Cotton. I then found out that my husband would be working very late tonight.

So, I decide to try to make my life easier...by taking the kids to another public place. I decide to let them rent movies to watch tonight, so I wouldn't have to deal with arguing. Not wanting to risk taking out a rack of New Releases, I forego taking the stroller in, and carry Owen...while Jay carried Connor. Owen grabbed my keys and began smacking me in the face with them. Irelynn grabbed the new Hannah Montana movie, and started describing the pictures on the back...and telling me that it was NOT Miley Cyrus on the back, it was iCarly. Whatever. The older two commenced arguing about whether to rent Inkheart or Coraline. Finally a decision was made, and we made it to the counter. The lady looked at me like I had three heads. I calmly paid her, and took the "New Moon" candy out of Owen's hand and put it back. Irelynn wanted to carry Hannah Montana. Owen wanted to smack me some more with the keys. Jaylond wanted to know what we were having for dinner.

Dinner. Crap. I pulled through McDonald's.

The older girl wanted to know what they did to deserve all the neat stuff today....ice cream, movies, McDonald's. I told her every once in awhile we get to splurge.

"Oh. I didn't know we could afford all this in today's economy."

We made it home. I bathed the boys with the help of Jaylond...although I had to take over dressing Owen because he kept getting away from him and crawling off naked. We watched Hannah Montana and now I have the damn "Boom-Dee-Clap-Dee-Clap" song stuck in my head. I'm sure Irelynn will want to watch it again tomorrow.

I hope Bruce doesn't work late tomorrow. I think I need to get out...without children. Perhaps to return the Hannah Montana movie...

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

School, Christmas Music and Out of Work Elves.

The start of the school year is creeping up...normally I would be excited and slightly relieved (even the Wii gets old for the kids once in awhile)...but this year I am starting to feel anxious. And not in a good way. The source of my anxiety is the fact that my husband has already started listening to Christmas music. In years past, I could avoid it until 100.3 WNIC started playing Christmas music in early November. However, now with internet radio stations allowing you to choose your favorite genre of music...there is no escape.

Why should Christmas music bring on such feelings? It is a reminder of what will soon arrive...the start of school, which brings the onslaught of new and innovative ways to drain parents of money. School pictures, touch-ups on school pictures (heaven forbid your child have a blemish,) yearbook orders, fundraisers, school supplies, school clothes, "cool" shoes, lunch money, and field trip money. And now...my toddler will be starting preschool. I know she's ready...but I'm not sure I am.

The thought of the multitude of paperwork coming home is enough to make me want to seek shelter somewhere. My primary goal over the last year has been to get myself organized. It has yet to happen. As I sit here, I am surrounded by unsorted mail, two packs of crayons I bought recently because they were cheap, scattered coupons, an empty wine glass and a bottle of sunscreen. How am I going to handle the influx of handbooks, syllabuses, magazine fundraiser order forms, read-a-thons, jumprope-a-thons, picture information and school internet usage forms?

Then...that leads to the holidays. Christmas with FIVE kids now. I'm not sure how to explain to the three-year-old that the economy has hit Santa hard this year...he's had to lay off some elves and outsource to other mythical creatures. Perhaps the kids should leave out beer instead of cookies this year...

I'm not sure where I was going with this blog entry. But all of the sudden I feel like a candy cane and some hot chocolate...with a little Peppermint Schnapps.

It is still August, right?

Thursday, August 6, 2009

When did this happen??

I see it coming. It won't be long now. My days of sitting boys on the floor with a toy are over. They race each other across the carpet on hands and knees. They pull up to the couches and grab books. They yank magazines off the end table and rip them to shreds. They work together to climb, pull, and throw Wii accessories.

Yesterday Owen let go of the couch...and fell. Connor pulled up to the walker and took a few steps with it. Irelynn has had the upper hand for awhile now...but they are beginning to tag team her.

I am afraid I can no longer avoid it. In one month they will be a year old.

I look at my babies...Owen with his big toothy grin...Connor with his curls...and realize....

I am about to have THREE toddlers.

Friday, July 31, 2009

It's not what you can do for your family...

Have times changed that much? I remember being a child and having chores. Although I do believe, for a brief time, we were paid an allowance, for the most part it was just understood that these things were a required part of being a family. Not so say we ever enjoyed chores...but we also knew better than to dispute them with our parents.

My children do not seem to belong to a central unit...a working family all contributing to the good of the whole. They have somehow along the way formed their own little unions, and as time goes by, we see them collectively bargaining over wages, benefits, and working conditions. If one has already fullfilled his or her primary chores, anything else asked of them is up for negotiations. A simple task such as getting the milk out at dinnertime turns into an all-out debate over who should have to do it based on who has already surpassed their daily obligations, or who got the milk out last time. It results in one of us choosing a child, who will then sulk as he or she reminds us that we are asking for something outside the stipulated terms of labor.

Our two preteens have different approaches. Our daughter, always the activist, will strike if she feels she has been treated unfairly. She is quite vocal, and will stand firm in her beliefs. Our son, however, is the negotiator. He will agree to extra tasks, if he can get something in return. A bonus, an advance in his paycheck, or other privileges as defined by him.

I am thinking about joining a union myself. The working conditions here have become atrocious. I don't really feel that I get paid what I'm worth...and there is no health insurance, despite all the work hazards. I'm thinking I might go on strike...at the very least demand more coffee and beer.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Survival of the Fittest

Twins are fascinating little creatures. It is not dissimilar to watching one of those wild animal shows on the Discovery channel...in search of food, smaller animals and the toy that makes the loudest noise, they demonstrate the skills necessary to survive in a household full of children...the youngest being the same age.

Connor, for instance, not as physically adept as his brother, has learned the fine art of the pitiful cry, causing concerned parents to scoop him up at a moments notice. Owen, relying on brute strength and speed, has mastered crawling to get to his destination.

Owen was thought to be in the lead, having learned to crawl much earlier than his brother, and pulling up to his knees. Connor was still not understanding that his knees need to bend in order to move...so his brother would pass him up, leaving Connor in an awkward Downward Facing Dog position. Connor would look on in frustration, outdone by his brother again.

We have learned, though, that you must not underestimate the trailing twin. Yesterday, upon entering their bedroom, I discovered that Connor had made his mark. Literally. He may not have been the first to crawl...but he was the first of the twins to remove his diaper, stand up in his crib...and pee through the bars. My naked baby stood there, in all his glory, with a wide grin on his face. His brother sat in the other crib, giggling.

Connor now crawls...not as expertly as Owen, but he gets where he needs to go...and now also stands, which his brother has not yet accomplished. It shall be interesting to see how Owen responds.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Three going on Thirteen

I take my daughter by the hand and lead her down the backpack aisle. It is a big moment...the first time we go "school shopping" for her. I smile as I see the Dora and Princess backpacks. This is going to be so cute. Will she go with the Tinkerbell one? I am focusing so hard that I didn't notice her slip her hand out of mine and move down a couple of feet.

"Look Mommy! Hannah Montana!"

I glance over, and sure enough, next to the "Witches of Waverly Place" and "iCarly" backpacks is "Hannah Montana."

"Yeah...Hannah Montana....did you see these Princess ones?"

"MOMMY!!! Jonas Brothers!!!"

"I thought I saw Tinkerbell over there...."

"I WANT THIS ONE!!!" She excitedly grabs an iCarly backpack, based on a show that the older two (and Irelynn, I must say,) watch religiously on Nickelodeon.

"Um...are you sure?"

"Yes!" She puts it on and, with a wide grin, struts down the aisle.

I suppose I should have seen it coming after the shopping trip we had just made. She had saved up every quarter, every allowance dollar, every coin she had ever received. She proudly carried her bulging wallet through Wal-Mart and picked out....a Jonas Brothers CD. She had been saving for it for weeks. She gets a dollar allowance a week for cleaning her room and helping me pick up all the baby toys everyday....which she had been doing without fail in order to save up for this CD. The cashier was thoroughly amused to see my three-year-old pay for it at the checkout counter.

On the way home, we listened to her new CD, while she happily clung to her blue backpack adorned with the image of a smiling famous teenage girl.

I actually don't mind that this morning Dora is yelling on our TV...at least I know that part of her hasn't grown up too much yet.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Good Intentions

As I sit here, finishing my dinner consisting of beer and reduced fat popcorn, I am reminded of my intentions for today. I have many good intentions...like eating a healthy dinner, for one. But then...things happen. I am gone most of the day to a bridal shower. The older kids are invited to stay at their uncle's for a few days. It is 6pm, the babies are fussy, and Irelynn hasn't had her nap. I make her some soup, and put in "Kung Fu Panda," and bathe the boys who are now covered in blueberry juice and noodles. Shortly after, they go to sleep. And I don't feel like cooking.

My good intentions are not limited to the meals I wish I had planned. They color my life...from the environmentally-friendly tote bags I invested in to pack my groceries into...that I forget to bring into the store...to the highly-rated workout videos I spent hours researching on Amazon.com that are currently gathering dust on my entertainment center. The huge pack of brightly colored Sharpie markiers I bought to color code my calendar for the school year are still in the drawer...buried under the bills that I meant to file...the ones that I meant to read, put due dates on the calendar in red Sharpie marker ink, and yet sit there, unfiled, with late fees having had to have been paid.

Sort of like the Senseo coffee maker I bought...and all the fancy coffee...because if I was only going to have one cup a day now, it was going to be my one indulgence. I do make a cup every morning...and as the hectic morning drags on, I find myself leaving it on the counter, only to be microwaved later after putting the boys down for a nap. Not so indulgent.

Or the bags of frozen boneless skinless chicken breasts that reside in my freezer, along with bags of frozen vegetables from Sam's Club...in hopes of making healthy meals for my family. More times than I'd like to admit, we wind up making frozen pizza or picking up McDonalds, because I just don't feel like cooking.

I did just purchase a mother's planner from Amazon.com (after much research, of course,)...it has space to write in all of your activities, a section for kids, and a section for meal planning. I fully intend on using it when it arrives.

I also intend on researching some easy, quick and healthy recipes to help me fill out the meal planner section.

Until then, though, I have plenty of beer and reduced fat popcorn. Which reminds me...I need to fill out the really cool organized grocery list sheet that is on the fridge and blank...we are out of frozen pizza...

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

I'm just regular.

Today I would like to share a song that Irelynn sang to her baby brother yesterday. We were in the van, her clutching her big purple stuffed frog, Froggy, and trying to entertain Connor.

"I'll be five,
but I'm not five...
I'm threeeeee......
I'm three....
And my Froggy is purple,
Yes, she's purple,
But I'm not purple like her.
I'm just regular,
I'm just regular,
I'm just regular meeeeeeee!"

These are the moments that make it all worthwhile.

Monday, July 13, 2009

College Chaos

Why did I think putting the children in summer classes at the community college would be a good idea again? Yeah, yeah...college credit...a good learning experience...something to occupy their time. I somehow did not have the foresight to realize just how I was to accomplish this with FIVE children.

The day began with the older girl losing her glasses. Which somehow became everyone else's fault. As did the fact that she could not find her white sandals. Along with the fact that the second pair of glasses that she owns (that she picked out at the time) "look stupid."

There were no clean bowls. The children actually had to wash out a bowl to eat breakfast...only to find out that we were out of 2% milk, forcing them to succumb to the ultimate grossness that is my skim milk.

They also did not get through their laundry, and therefore because their clothes were still in the washer and dryer, and I wasn't able to do a load of towels, there were no clean towels to take showers. This, too, was apparently my fault.

Somehow, through the chaos of searching for lost items, cleaning banana off the bottom of my foot that Connor had thrown off the high chair, packing up babies, and grabbing the school schedules...we all managed to pull out of the house a half hour before Jay's class started.

Not being familiar with the college myself, there was a momentary clog in the works as I tried to figure out, between detours, construction, and "permit-only" parking, how to get to the building on the far side of the campus. We ended up parking, and putting one baby in an umbrella stroller while I carried the other. With the toddler in tow (who had insisted on wearing her rain boots for some reason,) we set out on our trek across campus. We were running late. As we tried to speed up, the boots got the better of the toddler, and she tripped on the sidewalk, scraping her knee. I handed Connor to Jay, told the older girl to push the stroller with Owen, and picked up the toddler. We finally made it into the building....he was the last one to arrive to class. I apologized to the teacher, who looked at my sniffling toddler with a bloody knee, two wide-eyed babies, and the preteen girl, smiled, and said, "it's okay...totally understandable."

Poor Jaylond.

On the way back to the van...the toddler tripped again, scraping her other knee. So, the whole way home she was crying, Connor was fussing, and the older girl was telling them both to be quiet.

Thank goodness their aunt has offered to take the older girl to her afternoon class and pick up Jaylond in the middle of the day...so I will only have to pick up the older girl when her class is over.


It's only 10:30 and I want to go back to bed.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Why I haven't been posting...

I have been fairly scarce over the last bit of time, mainly due to the fact that my husband was out of town and I was dealing with the excitement of being a single parent to three children under the age of four (thanks to my mother and father-in-law taking on the preteens, it was only three kids and not five.) I don't remember the time clearly...I think I've blocked most of it out. I do remember a toddler kicking me because she wanted to watch "The Backyardigans." I faintly remember the screaming...not getting much sleep...and consuming mass quantities of coffee.

Upon his return, he told me that I could go out for a little while...by myself, and do something I enjoy. What sounds good? Something by myself...relaxing...not associated with kids....I decided I'd go tanning. I had not been tanning in years. It was back when I was in shape...and actually cared about how I looked.

Tanning this time was not exactly the same experience. I have alot more...surface...to tan. But, the feeling was the same. Nice, warm, quiet. When I was done (it only lasted 10-minutes,) I checked myself in the mirror. I didn't look pink...not bad.

My lower back was still in pain, so on the way home I stopped and bought an Icy/Hot back patch to put on that night. I felt good as I laid down to sleep...my back, as it turned out, was slightly pink, but not too bad. I had applied the back patch to my lower back, and drifted off to sleep.

The next morning, I awoke feeling slightly uncomfortable. I looked in the mirror...I didn't notice anything until I turned around. My back was bright red. Not that, "oh, it looks like you got a little sun," red...but the ((gasp!)) "WHAT did you do to your BACK??!!" red. I started to remove the back patch. Ow. Ow. I pulled a little more...OW. I took a deep breath, and decided to do it quick...like a Band-Aid.


I dropped to my knees, certain that I had just taken a layer of skin off of my back.

I was red for the next three days.

But...you know what? It was still worth having that time to myself. The color on my back has faded from chili pepper red, to flamingo pink, to, finally, a golden tan.

After dealing with two sick babies, and arguing teenagers today...I think it might be time to go again...

Friday, June 26, 2009

The Day Before...

My husband was preparing to leave for Kentucky...again. He was to leave early Friday, and not be back until sometime, probably late...on Monday. The events leading up to his departure only foreshadowed what was sure to come.

It began with little things...fussy babies...tattling toddlers...bickering preteens. Then...I threw my back out. I'm not quite sure how...all I know is that I was bending over to lift Connor out of his exersaucer....and could not bend back up. Brilliant. Luckily Connor is part monkey, so he clung to me with a death grip, utilizing all fingers and toes. As I hunched over, I slowly managed to get him to his crib in hopes to put him down for a nap. His brother pulled down the bumper in his crib, peering over and grinning at me.

I waddled out of the room, receiving strange looks from the older kids. I tried to ignore the cries from the boys room, hoping that by some miracle they would cry themselves to sleep. It was when Connor's cry turned into a fit of triumphant squeals and giggles that I decided I'd better go check on them.

I peered into the room. I could not see the boys through the bumpers in the cribs...but above Connor's railing I saw a pudgy little fist clutching a bright orange diaper...and waving it in the air. I walked over to find my baby naked....and proudly holding his diaper in the air.

I also found out that my toddler had decided to change out of her Pull-Up...and into some big girl underwear after I put her down for a nap. She woke up crying...and soaked. Changing the sheets did not seem to improve the condition of my back.

I also decided to enlist the help of my sister-in-law to venture out to the store and stock up on easy dinners for while Bruce was away. Luckily, this was fairly uneventful. Although, I do believe she made the formal decision to never have children of her own while we were out...

This was the day before. The fear began to set in. I took some ibuprofen, 8-Hour Tylenol, and a beer...and went to bed.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Beer, Baby Fat...and Tony Danza.

I stare at my stomach, still hanging over my pants like a deflated balloon. How can it be 9-months later, and I still have a muffin top? I have tried walking. I have tried lifting babies. I even tried waking up at ghastly hours to try and follow Jillian Michaels as she literally has me kicking my own ass. However, I have found that waking up at that time only leads to me falling asleep on the couch midday and having a toddler wake me up to inform me that Connor is chewing on cords, and Owen somehow removed his diaper (by himself, she swears,) and it is "poopy." I have since given up my morning workout.

My brother-in-law informed me that he has lost 30lbs.

"Thirty pounds?? How did you do it?"

"Try having your appendix taken out."

"I had two babies taken out...and it didn't do anything."

Perhaps I have driven my poor husband nuts with my complaints about my weight. Or perhaps he just saw it and thought it looked cool. But the next thing I knew...he had a "surprise" for me. My brother showed up to help him go pick it up. My brother is a tad clueless.

"So...are we going to pick up the Tony Danza machine?"

I start to smile. Bruce looks at him funny.

"Um...you do know I haven't told her yet, right?"

My brother's face turns red...I'm not sure if it was because he had inadvertantly given away the secret...or because he had somehow confused Tony Little with Tony Danza.

Yes...my husband bought me a Gazelle. He found it on E-Bay. It is really nice. I had to get ready to go to the store, so I did not get a good chance to try it out...but as I was about to leave, I notice my husband awkwardly trying to use it...with his beer sitting in the attached cupholder.

"Hey, look...it even has a place to set your beer!"

It appears Tony has thought of everything. No wonder he's the boss.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

The Mother's Lament

Why is there no time that is sacred to a mother? There is no such thing as "personal time" or "alone time" (except for those moments when I go to the store without the kids, making my husband a very unhappy man.) When at home, the mom seems to be the go-to person for tattling, asking the location of items ranging from toilet paper to the belt that he swore he left on the dryer, to that pink shirt that she got two years ago, you know the one...the one she wears on Tuesdays? Oh...and the favorite Dora sippy cup. Why does Dad never have to know these things? Or help to locate them?

And why is it that I cannot even go to the bathroom and be alone for five minutes? Within seconds, the toddler is banging on the door, wanting to come in and "help." Or have a deep conversation on why my butt is bigger than her's. Or I have preteens knocking on the door, tattling on each other...or asking for the location of various items (see above.) My husband, on the other hand, can take his laptop into the bathroom and sit peacefully for a half hour.

My husband has the option of a variety of breakfast foods, limited only by the time he decides to crawl out of bed in the morning. Even then, there are the drive-thru options at McDonald's on his way to work. My breakfast consists of a variation of leftover Gerber Puffs...a taste of baby oatmeal (to make sure it's not too hot for the babies,) left over Toaster Strudel crusts from the toddler (wouldn't want it to go to waste)...and some reheated coffee that sat out because I had to take care of some random incident concerning a toddler that wanted to be a little too helpful with the babies. Who would have ever thought I would be jealous of someone having McDonald's food?

Well, while the toddler is decorating her Toaster Strudel, I am going to go reheat my cup of coffee...and maybe call my mom. Maybe we can go visit her today...and I can get some "alone time" in her bathroom....see...even as a grandmother, your kids will still rely on you for silly things. I wonder if she knows where my fat pants are?

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Time Off

The preteens were arguing. The babies were fussy. The toddler was in the midst of a full-blown, kicking and screaming, tears streaming down, snot plastered to her face tantrum. I calmly moved my wallet and cell phone from the diaper bag to my purse. I smile sweetly at my husband, who is holding a baby.

"Is there anything else you can think of that we need at the store?"

He gives me this look that clearly says, 'you are going to leave me here with these kids...alone...now???!!'

"Nothing I can think of," he responds in a flat tone.

Did I need to go the store at that moment? Were we out of some crucial food items or medication? Nope.

Did I feel guilty as I watched my husband's face start to cloud over as he realized that yes, yes I was going to leave him there with all of the kids. Nope.

You see, I am alone with these children for 10-hours a day. Five days a week. I have endured tantrums that would make your hair curl. I have been peed on, spit up on, pooped on, and colored on. I have cleaned up Play-Doh, Moon Sand, glitter, smashed in Gerber Puffs, oatmeal, and some weird green sticky stuff the older girl "accidentally" hid under her pillow. I have refereed battles that would have made the WWE look like something off the Disney channel. I have tried to simutaneously feed two extremely fussy babies, only to have my toddler walk in with poop smeared on her hands, legs and butt and tell me she had an "accident."

So, do I feel guilty for leaving my husband in charge of the chaos for an hour? Not so much. You would think, however, that when he complains about how horrible it was, and is in desparate need of a beer (or Tylenol) by the time I get home, that he would understand why I am generally in a perpetual state of stress. Or why the house isn't always perfect.

Well, I suppose he has learned somewhat. Everyday he used to come home and begin with:

"What's for dinner?"

Followed shortly by:

"What's wrong?"

He has since changed his phrasing a bit. It is now:

"Do you have any thoughts on dinner?"

Followed by:

"How was your day?"

I wonder what would happen if I ever took a whole day off?

"Would you like me to pick up Chinese and a bottle of wine on my way home? After dinner, why don't you take a bubble bath, and I'll get the kids ready for bed."


(wiping tears away from face)

It's a nice dream, though, isn't it?

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Desitin and Power Locks

The highlight of my day was not walking into the living room to find a baby, naked, covered from his belly button to his knees in Desitin.

"Irelynn...what are you doing?!"

"Connor needed butt paste. You're welcome."

Nor was it that Owen has discovered that if he rolls far enough across the living room floor, he can chew on his father's laptop cords.

It was not even walking to the back bathroom to discover that one of the older children had clogged the toilet...again.

No, the highlight of my day came later that morning, when after much pleading, and the dazzling smile that only a toddler can give, I decided to let Irelynn play outside. The babies would not go down for a nap, so I placed Owen in an old bouncy seat, and Connor in his infant carrier...and set them out on the front porch so that Irelynn could blow bubbles in the driveway.

Now, let me pre-empt this by saying that we recently bought a new (used) car. It is black. It has a moon roof. It looks very interesting to a 3-year-old.

Irelynn kept making comments about the new car. She said she wanted to drive it. She called it a "spy car." I thought it was cute. I clutched my coffee in one hand, took turns rocking Connor and Owen with the other, and held a phone between my ear and shoulder as I spoke to my mom, describing the coolness that is the new car. Owen was not so amused. I decided it was probably time to go in. I opened the door to put Owen inside, came back out to grab Connor and Irelynn when I discovered that Irelynn was not in the driveway blowing bubbles. She was inside the car.

Now, you would think it would hit me at this time that this could be a problem. But I was still chatting away on the phone...telling my mother how cute it was that Irelynn was sitting inside the car. Then I went to open the car door. It was locked. All of the doors were locked. Irelynn grinned at me through the window and waved. The panic set in. There is only one key to this car...and the last I remembered, Bruce had it. Bruce was at work.

I inform my mother that I needed to call her back. I call Bruce, and as luck would have it...he had left it on his dresser instead of putting it on his key ring. I sprinted through the house...setting Connor on the floor...barreling past a screaming Owen...and grabbed the key. I got outside and unlocked the door as Irelynn vaulted over the seat into the back.

"Don't Mom!"

I carried her, kicking and screaming, into the house.

She asked me later that day if she could "drive the car." I don't think so, kid.

The good news is, Connor is now rash-free...the laptop no longer clutters the living room floor...and our vehicles now remain locked so as to keep out both criminals and toddlers. If only I could get the older child to flush the toilet...we'd be all set.