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 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 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 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 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 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 the highly-rated workout videos I spent hours researching on 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 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 (after much research, of course,) 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, 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 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 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 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 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 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. 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...